Friday, November 14, 2014

3 months in

Hey all! Today marks 3 months home with our kiddos and what a crazy 3 months it has been. I'm not going to lie to you- we weren't prepared at all. We thought we were. We "planned" and "researched" for 3 years before we brought our kids home. We joined adoption groups and took hours of training and read all the books and blogs out there and thought we were ready. We knew it was going to be hard. We thought it would be like trying to swim across the Atlantic with nothing but little floaties on our arms. We were mentally prepared for that long distance swim- trusting that faith would keep us from drowning. We got as ready as possible, put on our floaties, and jumped in feet first. But then we realized it was never an ocean we were going to swim through at all. It was actually an erupting volcano full of lava. And now we were dead. No going back or starting over- dead. Disintegrated by the scorching heat. My thoughts were as follows:

Um...where the heck is the ocean, God? The ocean would have been hard enough! Impossible to cross without you! Where the heck did this lava come from? No one told us about the lava!!!!!! We weren't ready for lava! We didn't choose lava! If we had known it was lava, we would have been too scared and we would have said no! This isn't fair! I don't want to be dead! What are you doing, God? 

 Our first month post volcano can be summed up into one word: Terror. Second month was more like, Freak Out. This past third month? I almost want to say Bearable, but the truth is none of this is bearable. Adoption is not bearable. It's brutal and it kills you. You cannot swim in lava. It's not possible to survive jumping into lava. But at some point in these past 3 months, after we were long dead, I started to notice something strange. None of this was bearable, and I was dead, and yet...somehow...I was still getting up every morning and trying again. And again. And again. Failure, despair, sleep, get up, try again. Failure, despair, sleep, get up, try again. Over and over. And I thought, wait, this isn't possible. It's not possible for a human who is dead to be able to get out of bed every day and keep trying again. Not humanly possible.

And then it clicked. Not humanly possible.

Oh yeah. Hi God, you died when you adopted me, but then you came back to life, didn't you? You are powerful enough for that. You can cause a bush to burn, but not be consumed. It's not humanly possible, but with you all things are possible. 

So, in light of all that, I would have to say this past 3rd month has actually been more like...Hope. Which doesn't make sense to me at all, because I'm dead. Our old life will never be again. The old me will never be again. And yet we have hope? Not humanly possible. Only because of God and his amazing power and mercy.

Adoption is brutal. It's awful. If I had known the truth, I would have been too afraid to say yes. Because I am human and flawed. Thankfully, God knew best for me and my kids. Thankfully, He brought us together. Thankfully, he kept holding on to us as we were dying. Amazingly, He is still getting us through each day and making us into a stronger, brand new family.

To Him be all the glory for this. Because only God could have brought my family back to life.

Maybe someday I'll write more with actual details, but right now I'm sure my kids wouldn't want their business blasted over the internet by their mom ;) As proof that we are seeing glimmers of hope in the darkness, here are some pictures of my amazing, brave, survivor children :)


First camping trip





 some OT shaving cream fun- had to sneak this one ;) 

First football game

Bleary-eyed for first day of school

And then our princess :) First pic is first day of school, about 2 weeks home, second two pics are from just a few weeks after that :) 






We still have a long road of healing to walk down, but if you were to come up to me now and ask me "Was dying worth it?" I can honestly look you in the eye and say, "Because God is who he says he is, yes. Yes it was."







Saturday, September 6, 2014

HOME

We are home!!!!! Actually, we've been home for two weeks and one day now ;) Things have been so crazy busy that I haven't had time for blogging. I ended up flying out to our kiddos' country the day we passed court for Salome! On August 11th, she officially became our daughter :) Her name is Sophia, but we also call her Sophie. We have gotcha day pics but they are somewhere on Alden's phone at the moment haha. She is stunning- such a fighter and her giggle is the best. Seriously. She has been such a blessing. After Alden busted her out of her mental institution and brought her back to the capital city where I was waiting for them things were pretty difficult. All 5 of us were crammed into a tiny apartment while we waited for passports and visas so we could all go home. And I was sick. Everyone told us that last part in country after you have all the kids out is the hardest part and they were right! But God got us all through it in one piece and all 5 of us flew home on August 22nd. The boys did great on the flights- they were such troopers and Alden and I were so proud of them! Sophers had a rough time but the flight attendants were super sweet to us and even drove us to all our connecting gates. They even took us to a private waiting area while we waited for our connection in Munich. It was such a blessing to be able to give Sophie a break from the stroller (which was too small) and let the boys play some games they had there and nap for a bit. Our last flight from Charlotte to our home was cancelled last minute so the airlines called a driver for us to take us the rest of the way home! So many people were reaching out to us to offer us assistance during that day of traveling and we were so grateful. Once we got home we crashed since it was after 10pm that night. Here are some pics Alex took of our first awake day at home :)





Alex loves photography and hiking and Mark loves riding his bicycle and playing football and soccer. They both are loving their new schools! There have been some wonderful moments with them these past two weeks and some hard moments too. Imagine being a teen boy who has grown up in an institutional setting your whole life until now- not really having any authority figures to answer to before, and now you are in a new culture, new environment, with a new language to learn, grieving the loss of your old country and way of life while also learning what it is like to live in a family with parents who care about you. It's hard! Alden and I are learning how best to reach each boy and every day we are seeing little glimpses of progress. There are some really hard days, but some wonderful days too. We are taking things one day at a time, not taking anything personally, and praying a lot. 

Here are some more pictures of these past two weeks we have had together :)
 my old graduation robe from college with his soccer medallion









 hiking one of my favorite trails growing up!


And now for Sophie girl :) What a blessing she is! Her new doctors and specialists are phenomenal and her teachers at her new school adore her. She is doing so great! She eats like a champ and sleeps through the night. She responds to my voice with huge smiles and giggles. She's also a total daddy's girl :) She's pretty heavy so I'm getting some decent biceps from carrying her around ;) Can't wait to get a specialized whellchair for her and other adaptive equipment. Her OT specialist discovered yesterday that she loves swings. As soon as we placed her on a platform swing she stopped all stimming and went into her nap pose- it was amazing! We are learning more and more each day what she can do and what she can learn. She has already gone from not having any interest in toys to being able to grasp them and explore them for up to 10 minutes at a time! Smarty pants ;) 




Thank you all for your support and prayers! We need them :) Will try to post more pictures and updates as I am able! One of these days I might actually remember to get a family photo! haha

Friday, August 1, 2014

updates

Hello friends! Thanks for your patience as things have been very busy around here! We have a court date set for our daughter, but it's a week later than we were hoping for and budgeting for. God has already provided a place for Alden and the boys to stay while they paperchase and wait for court, however, which will save us a lot of living expenses during that extra week! Praise God! Also, our FSP jumped up $1,000 yesterday!!! I couldn't believe it! Our FSP (linked to the right of this post) needs to read $12,273 for us to be fully funded for all their plane tickets home- we are getting so close!!! So grateful!

I wanted to give you a little update about how our girly is doing :) I can't post pictures yet, but she is adorable! She has gorgeous hair- can't wait to grow it out! She and I will get to grow out our hair together :) She laughs every time Alden picks her up and she has the cutest giggle ever. She can't tolerate being held for very long, but she loves to have her back rubbed. We don't know if she can see or not, but she responds to sounds and touch. Alden was allowed to take her outside and push her in the stroller they have there so she got some sunshine! I can't wait to post pictures :) We would love prayers that court would go well and we would have a kind judge!

And here are some more pics of our SONS (still not tired of saying that!):



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gotcha!

This past week was a big week for the Fahringer family :) I'm so happy to announce that there are two less orphans in the world- we passed court for our boys!!!


They did so well answering the judge's questions and our team said that Alden did very well too. I'm so proud of my boys! "Sheppard" chose Alex to be his new name and "Pierce" chose Mark to be his new name :) These sons of ours (never get tired of saying that ;) ) are so sweet and so much fun! They are keeping Alden on his toes for sure ;)  Bonding with them is going well and they ask every day when they get to come home.





Our girly's judge is on vacation until the 31st, so we are hoping that we will have court for her not long after- maybe around the 5th of August. We would love prayers that we will get a court date for her soon and that there are no delays!

Our yard sale was such a blessing and we raised $400! We are not yet fully funded, however, and we estimate that we need to raise about $4,000 more to get them all home (assuming there are no delays...). Thank you all who have donated already- we can never thank you enough!! And please keep those prayers coming :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yard Sale!

Hello! Things are going very well- Alden has now met all 3 kiddos and we have a court date set for the boys! Court for Salome will hopefully be not too long after- thank you all so much for lifting us up in prayer!



I wanted to post here a yard sale fundraiser some friends are throwing for us! When we got our travel dates we were not fully funded, but have had some very generous and wonderful donations come in from dear friends who are local to us. We are now a little over $4,000 short of being fully funded. God has been providing for us in amazing ways- one of those ways has been through this yard sale :) I have been wanting to do one for months but lacked the energy and the resources to do it! Here's the link to the sale information:
We are so blessed by these amazing friends of ours for taking charge of this for us- even though they are up to their eyeballs in their own paperwork for the son they are adopting! :) This is their blog by the way...I would LOVE to see them fully funded too!  http://journeywiththethurstons.blogspot.com/

If you don't live near enough to come out to the sale which is THIS SATURDAY July 12th then feel free to share the link above with friends! Also if you live farther away but feel led to donate to our adoption costs, our link through Reece's Rainbow is still open (right side of the blog) and all donations through them are tax deductible! Thank you all so much! :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

short update

Thanks everyone for your patience! It's going to be pretty quiet here until we pass court- once we pass court though be prepared to be bombarded with pictures! Visits are going very well and we are so appreciative of your prayers for us- please continue to pray that we will get court dates soon, and that we will have kind judges! Thank you :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dates!!!

And just like that we have dates- JUNE 17TH! Wow! I'm glad we were mostly packed already! this next week will be speant in a panic induced state while we get last minute things together and we won't have much to post until we have passed court- which could take several weeks- we appreciate your prayers as we start this crazy journey called parenthood!

THANK YOU to everyone who donated and helped us pay the ransom for our children! Thank you for letting God use you in this way to be a blessing to us- we can never ever thank you enough!

:)

Monday, June 9, 2014

waiting...

Hello friends! We have been in the "waiting for travel dates" phase going on 7 weeks now and it is HARD! I check my phone like a crazy person, hoping our stateside facilitator will call me with the news of those darn dates! That call could come at any second and we are on pins and needles so we've tried to focus on staying busy with other things. There are a lot of travel preparations we can't do until we know those dates (booking plane tickets, for example...) but there are a few things we can do now! We have an umbrella stoller and a toddler size carrier for our girly all ready to go plus a few clothes for her as well. It's hard to buy things for the kiddos now since we don't know what size they are yet, so we will end up buying clothes for them to wear home while in country.

Also, some of Alden's amazing family members came to visit us a few weekends ago and brought a uhaul absolutely packed with gifts for the kids and yard sale items to help us with fundraising! We now have a second loft bed for Pierce and a MATTRESS!!!! We knew the bed was coming, donated by Alden's aunt who is amazing, but the mattress was a complete suprise from Alden's mom! I cried.  I wish I had some pictures to share with you all but sadly I have been forgetting to take any! I blame adoption brain.

Also, I owe you a picture of the puzzle! It's coming together nicely- I'll try to post a pic soon!

Oh and a sweet thing that happened last week- Alden and I looked all over for those rubber bibs that have the catch-all thing at the bottom for crumbs to take with us for our daughter and couldn't find them anywhere! All our friends with infants have them, so we thought it would be easy peasy to get one. WRONG. But my co-worker heard me lamenting our inability to find these things, and the very next morning she showed up at my cubicle with not one, but TWO rubber bibs! I cried again. I need to also mention that she is due very soon with her first! And yet she went out and bought ME baby things?!? Who does that?!? Amazing.

Please be praying for us as we continue to wait- and once we get those dates we will have another whirlwind of things to do (which includes yet more paperwork....shudder....). Please pray that we will not worry and that we will press into God more and more through this journey. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

and then there were 3


God is doing something huge…I really don’t know how else to type this out other than just to say it and give him all the glory. God is also giving us a daughter. With special needs. And she is beautiful- a treasure! We are so in love with her and are blown away by God’s faithfulness to us in this journey. First the boys, and now our girly! We are so blessed and humbled that he would choose us to parent these 3 children. He has provided everything we have needed each and every day since we first committed to Sheppard. And we know he will continue to sustain us long after the kiddos are home with us. For our girly he has provided over and over again already. She is listed as “Salome” on Reece’s Rainbow.
 
 We are so so so excited to get our girly HOME and shower her with love and therapy and medical care and more love each and every day! We are so thankful God has given us the ability to meet her needs and add her onto our adoption (thanks to generous supporters who raised her grant money through RR, we didn't even have to fundraise for her adoption costs!) We have had so much fun getting her room ready- lavender walls, fit for a princess. Our boys’ room is coming together too- bit by bit, day by day we are getting closer to becoming a family. To God be ALL the glory for this! He is making our family into the way he wants it to be. And he makes no mistakes. I am feeling so anxious to just have them all home already! As we continue in this waiting period for travel dates, God keeps reminding me that I can have all the peace I need in him. I have been memorizing this verse-
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the L
ORD GOD is an everlasting rock
Isaiah 26 : 3 & 4
He is indeed an everlasting rock, and while we can never repay him for paying for our sins and giving us eternal salvation, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to live our lives for his glory!

 
 
 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Submitted and Puzzle Fundraiser!

Today is a great day :) It is April 24, 2014 and our Dossier is officially SUBMITTED!!!! Thus begins the countdown to travel- we could be hearing when our travel dates will be in mere weeks! Eek! So much to do! I've already created the packing list of all packing lists so now it's time to get to it!

And we still have some fundraising to do haha. Whew! the next fundraiser we are rolling out is our Puzzle Fundraiser! We got this awesome puzzle for the boys (isn't it the coolest?):


It's a 1,000 peice puzzle and each peice can be sponsored for a $5 donation to our FSP through Reece's Rainbow! The link to our FSP is here: http://reecesrainbow.org/70400/sponsorfahringer and there is also a button on the right side of our blog that links to it. All donations are tax deductible! Once you make a donation, let me know (either a comment here on the blog or a message on our facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/fahringerfamilyadoption) and I will write your name on the back of a puzzle peice for each donation! Once the puzzle is finished, we will frame it in a clear case so the boys can flip it over and see all the names of the people who helped us bring them home forever! It will be artwork for their room :) I will be posting updated pics of the puzzle as it gets filled in with more and more names so keep checking back here for updates!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Trust and perspective

While our "paper baby" is finished and waiting to be submitted to our boys' government, a whole new paper process has been taking up my spare time now- applying for adoption grants. The applications are miles long and involve interviews with our pastor who then has to fill out even more paperwork on our behalf. It's pretty daunting. Yet while I was looking up requirements on one of the grant sites the other day (The Orphan Foundation), I saw some statistics that helped me re-focus on why we are doing this. Yes the paperwork is hard. Yes the fundraising is even harder. But it is nothing compared to what our boys have been through already and what they would have gone through had God not opened our eyes to them in time.

There are 143,000,000 orphans in the world
There are an additional 20,000,000 “displaced children” in the world
The combined count of these categories makes the orphan population the 7th largest nation on the planet – slightly larger than the population of Russia

In Eastern Europe, less than 50% of the orphan population will live to see their 20th birthdays
In Eastern Europe, of the orphans that survive their 20th birthdays, 50% will end up in organized crime, drugs, or prostitution 
 

Since we committed to Sheppard in December, God has been teaching me something big. In the midst of the paper chasing. Getting bedrooms set up. Planning how to manage time off work. Fundraising. More Fundraising. In the midst of all this crazy. God is asking us to trust him, completely. He opened our eyes and broke our hearts for orphans in the first place. He loves Sheppard and Pierce more than we ever can and has sustained them all these years. He's got this. In light of this, suddenly the hard stuff of adoption- the tedious, never ending mess- seems so small. As Alden and I were worshipping with our church yesterday, celebrating Christ's ressurection and defeat of the enemy, it suddenly hit me just how patient God is with me. Every day when I worry about funds or travel, every day that I choose not to trust him, he loves me through it. He invites me again and again to trust him. And I realized just how blessed we are to even be on this journey. Here we are, out in these deep waters of a journey we never could have imagined for ourselves. What an undeserved blessing. What a God we serve.



Monday, April 14, 2014

matching grant recap

So, after our AG fundraiser we were offered a very generous $350 matching grant! To sweeten the pot, I threw out a little extra incentive- if we could meet the match in one week's time, I would chop off and donate all my hair! Well, our amazing supporters blew that fundraiser out of the water and we met our match and then some in mere days!!!!! So, here are the before and after pics for you!
 
 
Before...
 
 
 
and After!!!

 
THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to help us break our boys out of the orphanage forever! We are brainstorming a few more fundraisers since we still have quite a ways to go before we can finally shout that we are fully funded! We only have about a month left before traveling to our boys' country so we are scrambling to get these last few fundraisers together- stay tuned!
 
As for our "paper baby"- it is now in the boys' country being translated! Once it is ready it will be submitted ot the goverment and then will begin the hurry up and wait period for travel dates- usually dates are given a month or so after submittal! We can't believe how close we are to meeting our boys!!! I will be posting pics of their room once we get another bed set up- so much to do! :)


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

And the winner is...

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in our American Girl Doll Giveaway!

We are thrilled to announce that thanks to all our wonderful supporters, this giveaway brought in a total of $786 in donations!

We are completely blown away! Thank you so much to everyone who shared the giveaway on social media, gave generously, and prayed for this fundraiser to be a success! We could NOT have done this without each and every one of you!

And now the moment you have all been waiting for..............the winner is............

Sarah J.! Sarah will get to pick out the American Girl Doll of her choice. Congratulations!



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

American Girl Giveaway!

We are so close to finishing our Dossier!  So... it's a great time to do a GIVEAWAY, as a fundraiser to help us bring Sheppard and Pierce home!


We're giving away an American Girl Doll!
 
 
(image from the AG website)
 



I am so excited about this giveaway! I loved the American Girl dolls when I was growing up and still have my Samantha doll!
 
There are two ways to enter the contest. Here's how:


  • Share this blog post on Facebook, twitter, your blog or other social networking site. You can earn one ticket this way! You must let me know if you do this, too; otherwise I might not notice it. Please send me the link to the site where you shared this post, either in the comments here, or in a private message at https://www.facebook.com/fahringerfamilyadoption .
Only 1,000 tickets will be given out!
All contestants will be entered into a spreadsheet, and the drawing will be done through RandomPicker (www.randompicker.com). We end the contest whenever we reach 1,000 tickets, or on March 31st, whichever comes sooner. Please make sure I have contact info for you, so I can let you know if you win! If you are the winner, you can choose your American Girl doll (up to $110), or Bitty Baby Twins (up to $115).

Homestudy!

Hello friends!
Just a quick post to let you all know that we have our final homestudy!!!!!!!!!!
 
So excited!!!!!!
 
So what does this mean?
Well, we now only have to wait for one last peice of our Dossier, which should take a few weeks we think to get it all completed and sent off to our sons' country! Then begins the waiting period for travel dates...and more fundraising ;)
Stay tuned for our next fundraiser (I'm really excited about it!)
Thank you and please keep those prayers coming!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

and the total is...

$575!!!!
That's how much our co workers raised for us this past week! Incredible! Thank you thank you! 
The delicious cupcake sale brought in the most funds along with another coworker selling homemade salsa for us! Huge shout to out to my two co workers and their amazing culinary skills! Other coworkers have been dropping by my cubicle throughout the day to give us even more donations! One friend literally threw some bills at me and then ran away! I (Mary) love the people I work with so much and they always keep me laughing!

Also, we are receiving more donations to our adoption grant through Reece's Rainbow here. I try not to check our page too often but it's so exciting to see the numbers climbing! I know I keep saying this but Alden and I are truly so thankful for everyone's support! It means a lot to have you along side us eagerly anticipating the day we can bring our boys home forever! :)

On the paperwork front, we are so so so close to finishing our homestudy! Once that is completed we won't be able to relax just yet since we are also working on finishing up our Dossier paperwork at the same time, BUT we can tell we are nearing the end of the paper chase and we couldn't be happier about that! We could use prayers that the rest of the paperwork is completed without mistakes and as quickly as possible and that Alden and I would remain patient and calm :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

fundraising update

We are pushing onwards and upwards with this fundraising thing and will announce a new fundraiser very soon. My wonderful co-worker also had a cupcake bake sale for us for Valentine's Day :)
 
 
I will update you with the amount she raised for us soon!
 
Also we should be finished with our homestudy very soon! Eeeek! Prayers are appreciated that the final bits of our paperwork will come together quickly and seemlessly so we can go get our boys as soon as possible :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sim'ya = Family

Hello friends!
our second shirt fundraiser in honor of our second son, Pierce, is off to a great start! We have so far sold 14 shirts! The fundraiser is only open for 4 MORE DAYS and we have to sell a minimum of 50 shirts for it to be successful. What does that mean? It means that if we don't sell at least 50 shirts, then we lose all the money pledged since no one is charged and no shirts are printed. We like how BonFireFunds sets this up since it is no risk to anyone involved and there are no upfront costs for us :) You can even help us reach our goal if you can't purchase a shirt right now by sharing our fundraiser with others! So, feel free to share this fundraiser on your facebook and twitter accounts so it can reach as many people as possible in the next 4 days! 

The word on the shirt is our favorite Cyrillic word :) It's pronounced "Sim'ya" and it means "Family"



We even have hoodies and long sleeve shirts available! Youth sizes as well for the short sleeves! Share away! 

4 DAYS LEFT! :)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

our wonderful supporters and NEW shirt design!

Alden and I are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support we have been given since we announced we were adopting. We are thankful for each and every one of our friends, family, co-workers, church members- all of you who are praying for us and supporting us! We can't wait for our boys to meet you all :)
 
Below are just a few of our amazing supporters who helped our tshirt fundraiser for Sheppard succeed! (I love these pictures!!!)
 
 
Sheppard, you are so loved already

 
You have so many people praying for you right now

 
friends and family you will soon get to meet

 
they are holding up our arms as we fight for you and your brother

 
and we all can't wait for you to finally come HOME!
 
 
 
 
Once again, thank you! THANK YOU!