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!