Wednesday, December 29, 2010

oh boy...

So, anyone have a carseat for a 3.5 year old?
How about two convertible crib/toddler beds?
A double stroller?
A mini-van? :)

I'm starting to realize the number of items we don't have and the cost. Yikes. I know we have raised the money to adopt Vlad which is awesome, now I'm trying to figure out where the rest of these things will come from..... :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Especially on Christmas...

The holidays are a bit bittersweet for me. I seem to do alright in the day-to-day routine of life. But I become intensely aware of the absence of my parents on days when parents are supposed to be there, like Christmas. I am on edge all day because I know at some point I will miss them and I hate missing them. It hurts too much.

But I'll tell you what makes Christmas quite sweet -- matching Paul Frank monkey pajamas and the presence of Syrus.

I mean who doesn't love a new pair of pajamas and how cool are you when you match with the people you love the most. Who couldn't help but smile just a little.

And then there is Syrus. Syrus is like a flood of healing for me -- his presence filling the absence of my parents. Not replacing them, but pushing into my wounded heart and soothing it over and over again. This little child doesn't realize just how much he mends and heals me with his zest for life, his love for me, his joyful giggle, his boundless energy, his sense of humor, and his desire to discover all the world's secrets -- all things that grief has tried to kill in me. And that Syrus is reminding me to have each day. Especially on days like Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the vote

No word on the vote -- it seems that it didn't happen today. It may be happening tomorrow morning instead (well, in a few hours since they are 8 hours ahead). If not, it will probably be postponed till mid-January. On one hand, this vote is definitely good for me -- I mean I REALLY have to just rely on God in this situation since I know nothing and have zero control over the outcome. All I can do is pray for my sweet Vlad and that his country will allow us to bring him home. Please pray with me, my friends. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Making a list, and checking it twice

Santa isn't the only one with a list. I have mine too -- a list of what has happened over the last 10 days. I just keep going back over it -- what a blessing!

Here is my list:
*First semester ended and finals have been graded.
*Syrus sat on Santa's lap -- hilarious pictures to be shared. :)
*Christmas shopping is SO close to done!
*I got almost our entire dossier approved! Just a couple documents left.
*On Wednesday we have our immigration fingerprints.
*Got our blood tests done for our dossier.
*Syrus has taken five steps in a row!
*All the money has been raised to adopt Vlad -- such a humbling miracle!
*And I have been praying and praying for the vote in the Ukraine.

Ah yes, the vote. It is currently scheduled for Wednesday the 22nd in the morning (which would be somewhere between midnight and 4am our time). I am trying so hard to NOT panic and cry all the time. That is my usual go-to in a time like this. I really want to trust in God's plan -- I just feel like I have had my heart ripped out so many times in the last three years that trusting Him isn't my go-to for sure. It's usually my last move after I have completely lost it. :) So, yeah, "working on trusting God with my son Vlad so that we can adopt him" is definitely going on my list of things to work on for this week. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

no words

I feel like I should write something tonight, but I'm not sure what to say. On the one hand, there is much celebrating to do. Thanks to all of you who have so generously given money to completely fund Vlad's adoption!!! I don't have the words to express how thankful we are to be surrounded by people who have given so generously to a little boy on the other side of the world so that he could have a family -- our family. Words seem so trite. Perhaps when you see his little face in our home, that will be thanks enough. :)

And little Brady has a family! I wrote about him a few weeks ago -- he is a six year old boy with Down Syndrome who is in an institution. He is a boy I think of and cry for all too often. And now he is a boy with a family. God is good. I have no other words.

And in the midst of all the celebrating, there are talks of the Ukraine voting to shut down all international adoptions. They have talked about this in the past but this time it is different. This time no one knows IF it will happen, WHEN it would happen, and HOW LONG it would last. They want to become a Hague country which is good in theory but the process to do so would mean shutting down all adoptions indefinitely. Again, I am at a loss for words. We are so close to traveling to get Vlad. And he is so close to being transferred to an institution. We have the money. We have the paperwork almost in hand. We have little clothes and a bedroom waiting. And now this.

Please pray for the vote in the Ukraine -- it was scheduled for next week and now has been postponed to the week of Christmas. Please pray that they would continue to allow adoptions rather than stopping them indefinitely. Please pray that we would get to Vlad in time. Please pray for I have no words to describe the heartbreak both we and Vlad would experience. Please pray. Just pray.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

christmas time is here again...

I love how things like traditions and memories get passed from one generation to another. Yesterday we took Syrus to get a Christmas tree and he wore a sweater and hat that were his dad's when he was little -- hand-knit by Pie who was Syrus's great grandmother.

And today we have been decorating the tree, unearthing ornaments that my parents used to hang on our tree when I was little. Syrus was especially interested in the Sesame Street ornaments that I loved as a child. And today he helped to hang them on our tree.

I can't wait for Vlad to enter into the traditions and memories of our family -- he will have these special things passed to him because he will have a family to share it all. He will wear his dad's baby clothes and pick out his favorite ornament next year when Christmas time is here again.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

trucking along

I love this photo of Vlad -- sure it's from far away and he's not looking at the camera or anything. But still I love that he is in his half-tucked in yellow shirt, blue shorts, and gray tights, and he is trucking along back to his place with the kids.

This is what I imagine him looking like when I meet him for the first time -- I picture him with the same half-smile on his face, walking with big strides right into my arms and me pulling him close for the first of many hugs. How sweet it will be for him to come trucking along back to his place with the Buricks.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

God's blessings just continue...

So I had an AMAZING conversation with Immigration (USCIS). I called to see how our application was moving and a woman answered the phone. She looked for our case and said that it had not yet been assigned to an officer yet. I was of course disappointed and explained to her how Vlad's country is considering becoming a Hague country and that would mean it would close down on international adoptions for who knows how long. She said she knew about the situation and would speak with her supervisor and call me back on my cell phone. I hung up the phone thinking, "Yeah, right. She'll never call me back."

Boy was I wrong! A few hours later she called and said she opened our file and saw the photo of Vlad I had sent in with our application. She went on and on about adorable he is and said SHE requested to be our assigned officer and her supervisor said yes! She gave me our fingerprinting appointments and said she already looked over our application and homestudy and everything looks good! She needs one minor detail added to our homestudy and then once we have our fingerprints done, she will approve us! How amazing is that! She gave me her name and said to "call if I need anything or if there is anything else she can do to help us adopt this adorable little boy." I was FREAKING OUT!!! I have heard horror stories about immigration but evidently ours will not be one of them. What an incredible blessing!

AND, our sweet homestudy social worker sent me this poem because she said it reminded her of Vlad. She is another example of one of the blessings God has placed on this road to adopt sweet Vlad. I get emotional every time I read this.
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

--- Unknown

Friday, November 26, 2010

little syrus

This face. So thankful for this face. My son, Syrus. I am so thankful for him, for his brother Vlad across the ocean, for the new little one arriving in June. And I am so thankful for my sweet husband who has taken care of me over the last three days as I have struggled with major nausea -- it has been rough. Josh has been amazing as usual. The most selfless and generous man I know. I've had a lot of time to think while I have been sick and I have been reminded again and again of how good the Lord has been to me and my family. How He is always there to walk me through the next step or to help me jump the next hurdle or to carry me across the next raging river. And I see it all the time when I look into the eyes of my son. It's like he knows the secrets of who God is and what He is doing way before I do. Syrus crawls up to snuggle with me when I am feeling the worst and makes me laugh when I am feeling particularly cynical. This kid and God are definitely on the same team. And it's good to know they are rooting for me. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

check out these blogs

First is Danil's family -- he is the sweet little boy at Vlad's orphanage who was about to be transferred to an institution, but not anymore. His parents are Jessica and Josh and their blog is

Then there is Angel's family -- she is the little beauty with HIV at Vlad's orphanage who is now going to be adopted. Her parents are Brandy and Michael and their blog is

Lastly, you should really see Julia and Rob's blog. They recently adopted a little boy named Aaron who had been transferred to an institution -- the same institution where little Brady is. If you want any information about Brady, they have so many amazing and heartfelt stories about him. Every time I read their blog, I am moved by their love for Brady and their passion to advocate for him and so many other little ones. Their blog is

Thursday, November 18, 2010

he got his blanket :)

On Monday, Vlad got the blanket we sent him. My friend wasn't allowed to take any photos, but she said when the nanny gave it to him, he put it on his face to feel how soft it is. How sweet is that?! And she showed the nanny photos of our family and told her we are adopting Vlad. The nanny began to cry and hugged and kissed my friend! It's so good to know that someone besides me really loves Vlad. And to know that at night he is snuggled under a blanket from his mom.

Monday, November 15, 2010

first ride at Disney...

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Florida with my students -- so many wonderful moments all packed into five days or so. And yet, in the midst of performances and taking Syrus on his first ride at Disney World, I couldn't get this little boy out of my head. I found myself weeping at night for him. Just weeping. His name is Brady.

"Brady is a tiny six year old who has already been transferred from the relative safety and comfort of his baby house to a mental institute for boys ages 6-18. He is a friendly, active and energetic little fellow. His DS has given him a tongue thrust that makes it difficult for him to swallow, but he manages.

Brady is the youngest boy in his group at his underfunded, understaffed institute. There are only 2 workers to manage all of the needs of the 26 very needy boys in his group. Because of this, the boys are restricted all day, every day. Brady is not free to run, play, jump or climb. There are no swing sets, slides, toys or books for him to enjoy.Brady has reacted to all of these restrictions as any other freedom-loving toddler would: he has become an escape artist. He ducks under the outstretched arms of caretakers to get away from the dull existence they impose upon him. He dodges the grasping hands of the older boys in his group a hundred times a day as he runs for the door.

Why is Brady so intent upon escape? Because he knows that there is a better life for him somewhere. He has not lived at his present institute forever. For five years, he lived at a baby house with children of his own age. He had toys. He had a playground and daily activities. He watched mothers and fathers come to visit. He watched adoptive parents come to gather other children into their homes. Brady knows what a mother is, and he wants and needs one so badly that he will climb from his chair up onto the table, trying to fold himself into the arms of a visiting mother.

The caretakers at Brady’s institute call the Down Syndrome boys their “Sunshine Boys” because they are the only source of joy in that dull, desperate place. Brady is the best possible example of a Sunshine Boy. He will add joy to any home. He has a heart full of love, and he is ready and willing to give that whole heart to the first mama and papa who offer him theirs."

I am hoping and praying and crying out to God that Brady's mom and dad will see this and go get him. He deserves to have his family take him on his first ride at Disney World too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

and we're off!

Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow I am taking the Furnace Company (35 high school students who do comedy improv and dance) on a trip to Florida for five days. They have 8 performances in 3 days, and we are stopping at Disney World as well. Syrus is of course coming on this trip. He will get to meet Mickey Mouse -- I can't wait to see his face!

There is one performance I am really looking forward to more than the others on this trip. We are performing at Community Haven for 100 adults with disabilities and then for 4 and 5 year olds with disabilities. My students have never done anything like this. It's about time. It's funny how much your children change you. It's pretty obvious that Syrus and Vlad have their influence all over me. :)

Tomorrow is also the day that all of our immigration documents will finally be sent off. It is about time. Everything is in order. Signed and sealed. Now it just needs to be delivered.

So yes, tomorrow we are off! Off to Florida with Syrus and the Furnace Company and off to the immigration world to get Vlad!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Approved!!" (said in the Target Lady voice from SNL)

Yep! It came in the mail today! We have been approved by DCFS!!! What does that mean? Well, in the state of Illinois, you have to have your homestudy approved in order to submit it to Immigration. There are only two states that require this step in the process, and, of course, Illinois is one of them. Usually it takes 6 weeks to 3 months to get your homestudy approved by DCFS, which is why Illinois is one of the most difficult states in terms of the adoption process. However, we were approved in just TWO WEEKS!!! Now, our homestudy will be off to immigration for the next approval which also takes about 6 weeks to 3 months to receive. But hey, for Illinois, we are ahead of the game. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

miss angel

I am so excited to say that Angel has a family! I posted her and a number of other little ones at Vlad's orphanage who are facing the institution a couple of weeks ago. Then a sweet woman emailed me this weekend and asked about the situation. And now she is going to be Angel's mom! So amazing! As soon as they have a blog, I will post it so you can follow their amazing story. Another one rescued.

Monday, November 1, 2010

um, yes!!!

There he is! In the yellow shirt! In music class! My son, Vlad! Can you believe it? I had to blink a number of times when I found this in my email today from my dear friend. What a relief to see him still at the orphanage hanging out with other kids. He looks teeny but so sweet. Those dark eyes, blond hair, and little hands. I love him. Can't wait to see that face in person, take him in my arms, and whisper in his ear that Mama is here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

the Ewok

For his last Halloween as an only child, Syrus went as an Ewok. He rode a pony at Sonny Acres and spent time with his new friend Ragen who is also getting a new sibling from Reece's Rainbow. Her parents Deanna and Rob are adopting Melanie and we had such a blast getting to know them this morning and sharing our surprisingly similar journeys with our kids and our adoptions.

It is such a joy and relief to find people who are on the same path as you who you really connect with and enjoy. I felt like Deanna and I kept nodding our heads as the other one would share a piece of our stories from finding out our babies had Down Syndrome to discovering Reece's Rainbow. It was such a breath of fresh air to laugh and just enjoy one another's company. Can't wait to hang out with them again -- and hopefully travel together to get Melanie and Vlad! To follow their adoption journey and see pictures of their beautiful daughter Ragen, visit their blog at

And yes, the Ewok will venture forth again, this time to go trick-or-treating! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

to be your mom

I find myself sad tonight, missing Vlad, longing to be his mom. It's funny how you can miss someone, love someone, ache for someone you only know in a photograph. All I know is that he is my son and he still seems so far away. There are only a few days left in October and we have yet to send our application to immigration because our homestudy has yet to be approved by DCFS. Our window of time is about to close. Not forever by any means. It would mean we couldn't submit our documents until February instead of in November. It means we couldn't travel until March instead of in December. And while this seems like only a few months, tonight it feels like an eternity.

I'm not sure why I am feeling all of this tonight. Perhaps it is because Syrus just woke up from a deep sleep with loud sad crying. After holding him and rocking him, kissing his little tousled head and singing to him, he fell back to sleep and I tucked him into his crib. These are the things I am longing to do for Vlad. I just want him here. Don't know how else to say it. But I know these feelings all too well. They are called GRIEF. I am grieving. Grieving for the three and a half years I have missed with Vlad. Grieving for the next few months I will again miss with him. I don't want to miss anymore.

I just want my son. So bad the tears pour down my face and my heart just hurts. In part because I am not the only one waiting. He is too. I don't want him to wait anymore. He has waited long enough. And believe me, I know what it is like to miss your mom and want her there more than anything. In some ways it can't be described unless you have felt it and tasted it and cried it, night after night. Both of us have been missing our moms for three and a half years. And I'm tired of it. I know what it feels like and I don't want him to feel it anymore. I want our lives together to start. I want to know him and what makes him smile and laugh. I want to be there to pick him up from preschool and take him to get new jeans for the first day. I want to watch him go down the slide with little Sy and catch the two of them at the bottom.

So, tonight I want to say to Vlad that we are coming, sweetheart. Not as soon as I had hoped. But we are coming. I promise. And I can't wait to see your face and tell you just how much you are loved and how excited I am that God picked me to be your mom. That's right, YOUR mom.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So exciting -- both of my boys

BIG V update:
Not much to report in terms of the adoption paperwork -- our homestudy is at DCFS waiting to be approved. So we are waiting. Waiting to get Vlad. However, a friend of mine who is adopting from the same orphanage spotted him in a music class with the rest of his group. No pictures of him yet. But she is hoping to give him his blanket this week. So exciting.

LITTLE SY update:
This has been a major week for Syrus. He got his passport in the mail AND he has been standing up on his own without holding on to anything. This is a big deal! Once he gets himself in a standing position, he gets so excited that he topples over. Cutest thing ever! So exciting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

these are the faces of children about to be transferred to an institution

Angel has HIV -- she is three years old

Parker has HIV -- he is four years old

Kirk has HIV -- he is four years old

Lori has HIV -- she is four years old

Irina has Fetal Alchohol Syndrome -- she is five years old and has a lively spirit that will wither in an institution

Preston will be bedridden in an institution for the rest of his life -- he is only four years old and should have a chance for more

Kyle has minimal health issues -- he is almost five years old and won't have the same life he would with a family of his own

Eric will be bedridden in an institution for the rest of his life -- he is four years old and needs the love and care of a family

Tanner has one functioning kidney -- he is only three years old

All of these children are in the same orphanage with Vlad. The orphanage is overcrowded and the institution has room. So these little ones will be sent to the institution in November. Unless....

Unless someone takes a leap of faith.
Unless someone sees their son or daughter in one of these faces.
Unless someone makes a move to save one of these little children from a short life in an institution considered to be one of the worst.

Visit to find out more about these little ones or contact me and I can give you information.

Let's find families for these faces.

Monday, October 18, 2010

life as a supermodel

Ok, this may be a bit shameless, but I really think it would be cool if a kid with Down Syndrome was the gap baby this year. (And I think it should be MY kid!) :)

Vote for Syrus! Who can resist this shot from his passport photo shoot?! You can vote once a day for as many days as you can.

So, cast your vote by clicking on the link below!


Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have NY!!!! It is about time! That means that tomorrow our homestudy will be sent to DCFS for approval. Now, we're moving. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

no pressure...

Out-of-state clearances, how I despise thee! However, I have warmed up to a few. Yesterday we received PA, MA, and CA which is pretty sweet. We have five of the six states done.
And thus we wait on the dreaded NY....

On a way cooler note, my good friend Mel is in the Ukraine this week. She will be going to Vlad's orphanage with his blanket. I can't wait! Maybe she will even get a photo of Vlad with his blanket. No pressure or anything, Mel. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's about time

Guess who has a family!!!!! I know. Not hard to guess when his photo is right here. But I'll say it anyway. DANIL HAS A FAMILY!!!! This is such a huge answer to prayer. Josh and I have been praying and weeping for this little boy for the past couple of months, knowing he would be transferred to an institution in November. Yet, all along God knew that his family was coming for him. And they are such an amazing family -- we have been emailing all weekend and I can't wait for you to meet them.

It's funny. Part of my agonizing over Danil dealt with the fact that I couldn't bear that his story would end in an institution. I couldn't accept that God would allow that to be how his little life would end. I didn't want to believe in a God like that. I have wrestled with God over this and cried out to him every day for this little boy. The problem was that I wanted to write Danil's story. I didn't trust that God could handle it because He wasn't taking the plot in a direction I liked. And here God is showing me who He is and that Danil's story is even more powerful because at the eleventh hour, his family found him. God is a much better storyteller than me. He has reminded me of that a lot over the past three years. This little boy is helping that to really sink in for me. It's about time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vlad, I'm coming too!

Guess who is going to the Ukraine with us? That's right, Little Sy got his passport photos taken today and turned in his application so that he can go with us to get his big brother. He was pretty excited, and looking pretty fly in his shirt and tie -- very Justin Timberlake. We had such a great experience at the post office with the woman who processed his application.

I wish I could say the same for all the people we have talked to this week about the out-of-state clearances, but unfortunately it has been quite rough. We need clearances from six different states, and as of today, we have them from only two states -- Indiana and Texas. We are still waiting on California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and the dreaded New York. Please pray that those will come this week. It has been very defeating to say the least. So, it was nice to have such an easy time applying for Sy's passport today. And great to see this smile -- I can't wait for the brothers to finally meet.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


We had our last homestudy appointment on Monday -- it was great. We have had such a great experience with our social worker and the whole agency. I can't believe it is done. Well.... done except for the out-of-state clearances. We are STILL waiting on those. Every day is precious and we need each one. I just keep praying that God will hand deliver them to us so our homestudy can be officially done and on its way to DCFS.

Ugh. I hate waiting.

I hated it when my dad was sick. I hated it when my mom was on the transplant list. I hated it when Syrus was getting tested for Down Syndrome. I just hate it. And yet, I know that there is something mysteriously good in the midst of the waiting. I know it provides me with an undeniable opportunity to do what I am told -- to wait on the Lord. Not wait on state governments or immigration or Ukrainian bureaucracy, but wait on the Lord.

My focus always seems to go straight to my obstacle to try to solve the problem and climb over it myself. I am the classic control freak after all. Yet, I knew when I got into this adoption process that there would be a built-in waiting time. There was no way around that. So, rather than trying to change my waiting time, I am going to USE my waiting time. I am not going to stress out every day by running to the mail box, making five million phone calls for updates, pacing around my home worrying. I will not direct my waiting at these things. I will direct my waiting to the Lord.

(Not sure what that's going to look like yet, but it sure feels good.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

let it snow...

October is finally here and we are closer to bringing Vlad home. Our last homestudy appointment is on Monday. We are praying that all of the documentation and paperwork has arrived so that it will be ready to send off to DCFS by Tuesday. Please pray that all of the state police clearances come in -- we need them for EVERY adult that lives in our home, for EVERY state they have ever lived in. As many of you know, we have six adults living in our house -- Josh's parents, my sister and her husband, Josh and me. And though it does mean extra paperwork, we wouldn't change the fact that they all share our home for anything. They are each so dear. And on a cold Saturday night, all of us are curled up watching the Notre Dame game together and listening to the wind howling outside.

I love that there is a chill in the air -- this year more than ever I am looking forward to snow. Snow will be a sign that Vlad will soon be home. A friend of mine shared that she had a dream about Vlad the other night. She saw him smiling and laughing while snow fell around him. Such an innocent and sweet dream.
So, yeah. I'm really looking forward to snow. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

holding pattern

We are really moving along! Please continue to pray for our paperwork to move quickly. We are about a week away from having our homestudy complete, and then everything goes off into the hands of the government for approval. It is so exciting to see everything wrapping up but now we enter into a weird governmental holding pattern. I am just trusting God and his timing. The story of my life, right? :)

And in the midst of all of our paperwork coming together, my heart still breaks for Danil. It seems I am in a holding pattern here too -- I can't stop thinking about him and weeping for him and begging God to intervene and give him a family. He is about a month away from being transferred to a mental institution for the rest of his life. It is beyond my realm of understanding to think that this would happen to him when he is only four years old. He should have the rest of his life ahead of him -- Christmas presents, birthday cakes, first days of school, bike rides, tree forts, all the things that you have when you are a little boy with a family that loves you. Danil should have all of that.

Now let me make it clear that the paperwork and fundraising do NOT have to be complete in a month in order to adopt him. He just needs to have a family step up and decide to adopt him and the orphanage will hold him -- hold him in their arms until you can.

I can't wait to hold Vlad in my arms for the first time. To put him in a pair of jeans and a Notre Dame jersey. To see him come running down our driveway when I come home from musical rehearsal. To hear him playing in his room with Syrus. To rock him to sleep at night. To just be his mom and hold him. That's the kind of holding pattern I long for....

And I am hoping that out there, somewhere, someone with just a little bit of faith in a big God will hold Danil too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

blankets and brothers

Highlights of the last few days:
1. People keeps donating to our adoption fund. Thank you to whoever you are. God is using you to save Vlad from an unthinkable life. Thank you.

2. One of my favorite moments was I sent a blanket to Vlad with his name on it -- it will be the one thing he has ever owned.

3. My brother is a writer. A beautiful writer. I had a profound conversation with him over the weekend which really refocused me and gave me a peace I haven't experienced in the past few weeks of anxiety over deadlines and paperwork and etc. My brother simply reminded me that the reason why we decided to adopt didn't really begin with Vlad. It began with a desire to chase after Christ and do something that required a crazy brand of faith. It was born out of a need to celebrate all that the Lord has done in and through the last three years of great sorrow and loss. It started with a pull to seek rather than wait to be found.

And my brother told me to do just that -- not chase after Vlad, not run after the cause of special needs orphans all over the world -- but sprint in the direction of God and what He is doing. This is a GOD-story after all. Not a story about me or even a story about Vlad. But a story of God at His creative best, up to His usual incomprehensibly wonderful and unexpected storytelling. And this was a much needed reminder as I was feeling rather suffocated under the weight of timelines and approvals and stacks of paperwork, each in the way of my son coming home. And I, the consummate control freak, was somehow thinking I could tackle each of these obstacles on my own.

It's so humbling and lovely when your little brother brings you home again to a place where your needs are so big that only a mighty Savior could conquer them. To a spot where you have to trust Him because you are truly not able to get the government to move faster. To a home where Vlad will one day live because that is the story that God is writing. I love that. Thanks to my brother -- you are such a great storyteller.

Friday, September 17, 2010

his name is Danil

Ok, I am the type of person who keeps my problems to myself and doesn't like to lean on anyone when I am hurting. But this is just too big for me. I have been hurting for this little boy.

His name is Danil. He is in the same orphanage as Vlad. He is already 4 years old. In November, he will be transferred to an institution from which no one has ever been adopted.

He is a lot like Syrus. He has Down Syndrome and is sweet, gentle, and quiet. He is healthy, with no heart condition. He eats and sleeps well, is social and active with other children. He would make a great addition to any family. There is no reason he should spend his life in an institution. It's just not right.

Josh and I have been praying for Danil every day. Praying that his family will find him in time. Hoping that someone might be inspired to adopt him and invite the kind of sweetness and love into their family that we have every day with Syrus.

Oh, I hurt for this little guy. His name is Danil.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a good day

Thank you to all of you who donated to Vlad for my birthday. It means so much to us and to our little guy -- such a tangible encouragement when the days have been challenging. We are pushing so hard to meet the November deadline and your support is such a taste of God's goodness. So thank you.

We had an AMAZING homestudy appointment today. Couldn't have gone better. I love our social worker. She was so easy to talk to and really seemed moved by Vlad's situation. She is projecting that our homestudy will be done by the first week of October which is a huge answer to prayer. Once the homestudy is complete we wait for approval from DCFS. Once we have THAT approval, we wait for approval from immigration. Those approvals can take weeks and weeks to receive. Weeks that Vlad doesn't have. So, continue to pray for the process and for our sweet little guy. He is a fighter and so are we.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

best birthday gift ever!

It is incredibly rare to have a baby picture of a child who was left at birth and has lived his whole life in an orphanage. So I was shocked when a good friend found this baby picture of Vlad! She found it on a public adoption site for children from Eastern Europe. You can imagine my surprise when I saw his adorable face. He looks so much like Syrus did as a baby.
Thanks so much, Mel -- this is a priceless birthday gift. And thanks for walking through this journey with me. I can't wait for for the day our boys come home. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"it's your birthday! we're gonna party like it's your birthday!"

IIt's my birthday and everybody keeps asking me what I want. No I don't want a song by 50 Cent. But I will take 50 cents from anyone who wants to give it for my son, Vlad. The cost to adopt Vlad is $25,000-$30,000 which sounds crazy when he is an "unwanted" child with special needs. Here is the approximate breakdown of the costs:


$2800.00 - Homestudy
$1200.00 - USCIS, i-600a and fingerprinting
$8000.00 - approximate cost of flights
$10,000.00 - facilitator fees
$3000.00- lodging for 4-5 weeks
$1000.00 - food/other supplies for 4-5 weeks
$600.00 - passport for Vlad
$550.00 - visa and medical for Vlad
$2500.00 - transportation in country for 4-5 weeks
$1500.00 - orphanage donation / dossier preparation costs

Whew! A lot of money but every penny becomes one step closer to Vlad having a new life with our family and spending his next birthday with us. So we'll take your 50 cents. And we'll start the party here. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

my prayer

Praying for my little boy tonight. As always. Can't wait to hold him for the first time and let him know how much he is loved. To watch him playing on the floor with Syrus. To see him running and laughing in West Chicago. Awwww, yeah!

Please pray that all of our paperwork moves and moves quickly. The country he is in does not accept submissions for adoption during the months of December, January, and February. So we are racing to get everything done by November 1st -- a large task to say the least when you are waiting on the government. Please pray that the way would be made clear for us to adopt Vlad before his country shuts down. Even though he doesn't turn four till next summer, we don't want him to be transferred to an institution for even one night. I can't bear the thought....

So, yes. Pray.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

the life of a child with special needs

I am starting to realize what a daunting task we have ahead of us. It's not the paperwork that weighs on me. It is Vlad's situation. And it is the fate of so many children with special needs in not only Vlad's country but in so many countries around the world.

When a child is born with Down Syndrome or any other number of disabilities, that child is given up for adoption and taken to what is called a baby house, an orphanage for children under the age of four. While this seems extreme in itself, keep in mind that as a parent of a child with special needs, there are no resources. There is no special education. There is no medical assistance. There is no cultural acceptance. There is no support or future for your child. If your child has a disability, you give your child away. You aren't given any other option.

And then the clock begins to tick. A child with special needs has a four year window to be adopted or something worse is waiting. For at the age of four, if you are a small child with a disability, you are transferred to a mental institution where you will live the rest of your life -- however long that may be. Most four year olds die within the first year of being committed to an institution for their lives become one without affection, interaction, stimulation, nutrition, hope -- without all the things that make us human. And all of this because they have a disability. All of this because they are different. All of this because they are like our son, Syrus.

This is what has started us on the path to bring Vlad home. When I look at our son Syrus, I can't imagine this being his life. For his story is one of such laughter and love and joy, not just from him but from us as well. He spends his day playing with so many people who love him, invest in him, and believe in him. This little boy has made me more of myself in the short 18 months that he has graced the planet than I was able to be on my own for 30 some years. And I can only imagine that Vlad will do the same if given the chance.

And this is why our task is so daunting. I don't stress out about completing a form or getting a document notarized. I am devastated by the "life" that Vlad will lead if we don't get to him in time. Vlad turned three this summer. He's got a little over ten months before he will be transferred to an institution. And to me, this is not an option. I can't allow our son to be tied into a crib for the rest of his days. I refuse to let our son think that he has no value. I won't allow our son to walk down that lonely and dehumanizing road. It won't be Syrus's life and it won't be Vlad's either.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What a difference a year makes

I just received this photo of Vlad today. All our other photos of him are from a year ago. Look how much he has grown! And look at those sweet yellow shorts over red leggings. He's got swagger. What can I say? :) I love him. My son.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Awwwwww, yeah!

that's right. here he is. look out.

And we're off...

Here is the Burick family, minus one — our son Vlad will be joining us sometime in the next few months from Eastern Europe. We are about a month into the process of bringing him home to meet his brother Syrus, and we can’t wait!