Thursday, March 31, 2011

Records Dept, Mexico, and Karate

On Monday (March 28) I called the National Benefits Center to speak to our Adjudicator Officer for our I800. She is so super sweet! She was in the midst of reading the chico's files right then and had nothing but kind, gracious words. Let  me just say, that for a government agency, I am pleasantly surprised. Every time I have called this office the people answer quickly, kindly and are genuinely concerned about your issue.

All that said, we are unfortunately at the mercy of the Records Division of the NBC right now. After the Officer read everything she had to send the files to the Records Division and everything has sat in that office since  Tuesday morning. I've called each day this week to see if there is any progress, but so far nothing. Apparently they can legally take up to five business days to process the file. Something that should normally take an hour, according to our officer.

So, this will most likely mean our travel is delayed by a week or so. I'm still praying we'll leave while the calendar still says April, but the reality of that isn't looking too good. Oh, well. Par for the course. God's timing is best. Thankfully, I don't feel frustrated or stressed over the delay. I have peace about the timing. (Maybe it has to do with the massive To Do list that still needs finishing and I KNOW I need more time! LOL!)

Brent has been away all this week on a mission trip to Mexico. He gets to see our two Tarahumaran children we sponsor, which I'm so excited for them! They LOVE it when their "padrino" (sponsor) visits. It's a big deal! I am sad to miss them (only men were allowed on this trip!) but glad they got to see Brent. It has been a construction trip where they are expanding the church and helping to finish one of the houses in the Tarahumara community for a new believer. God is working so mightily in Chihuahua. It is humbling and awe-inspiring to be a tiny part of it. Also, I hear he's working on his Spanish! I'm hoping he learns a lot so he can teach me before we go to Colombia!

Cait, Grant, Jake and Quinn are feverishly practicing their karate since they have a tournament this Saturday. They haven't done a tournament for a few years so there are a bunch of nervous kids around here! We've been trying to get school done this week but it's been difficult since I've been focused on my long To Do list. We keep interrupting our school day to sort clothing for all seven, shop for clothes, reorganized toys, pack stuff up for donations, and clean. Right now the house looks worse than when we started, but there is a method to the chaos! Each pile has a purpose! If I could just get the kids to stop knocking the piles over and mixing them up, I'd be fine! LOL!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reality Check!

I just happened to be scrolling through some back posts of my blog and I suddenly had a major REALITY CHECK! I had written a long post back in December that listed each of the legal steps we needed to progress through in order to bring our chicos home. The last time I remember looking at it we were at step 3.

Well, I just noticed suddenly we are at STEP SEVEN! Oh, my word! How did that happen? I mean, Step 10 is- Meet Children! We're almost there! I feel in shock! I mean, I know it in my head, but just now it really hit my heart!

I am not an overly emotional person, but lately I am really starting to have a full range of emotions! I am vacillating between total "I can't think straight because I'm so stinkin' excited" to "Oh, Lord, this is so much bigger than what I can handle. Are you absolutely sure you will give me strength? Cause I am not so sure."

It is very easy to let myself go down the mental trail of all the "what-ifs". They run the gamut all the way from, "Will we have enough money to stay in country a month", to "What if we have 3 kids with severe RAD and will our family be destroyed by it" to "WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE WE DOING?"

But I know that is completely giving in to Satan's desire to get me to doubt God's sufficiency. So lately I'm having to do a lot of "taking my thoughts captive" and "renewing my mind". I'm having to listen more carefully to the quiet whispers of the Holy Spirit since our life is such a whirlwind of activity  and I am easily distracted. I'm so thankful too, for a hubby who keeps me grounded and yanks me back to truth when I stray.

I'm not really sure why I wrote all this out, but somehow it has been therapeutic to get it out of my mind so now I can move on! LOL!


Since the day we accepted our referral, life has doubled it's frenetic pace! Even without adoption, March and April are our busiest months of the year. For some reason, this time of year is extra busy for Brent with getting called out after work hours are over, and we have lots of church activities that are reaching their crescendo moments during this time. Add 4 kids and a mom with spring fever when it comes to the school books and we have a bit of chaos!

This year, though, it is reaching a new height of craziness! Brent is getting ready to leave for a week long men's mission trip to Mexico next week. He's led multiple ones in the past, so it's nothing new, but as you can imagine, it does consume extra time with laundry, shopping, packing, and paperwork logistics! I'm so excited for him to go (but a little jealous! I miss everyone down there!) but will miss him lots!

This weekend is our church's Women's Retreat, but Brent had to work and my TO DO list was just too long, so I've chosen to skip it this year. I'm sad, thinking about all my friends chatting, learning, praying, and getting silly at 3:30am., but I know it was the right decision. Lord willing, I'll be there next year!

We've been filling in any free minutes with shopping for spring/summer clothing for 7 children plus all the miscellaneous items for packing for a month in Colombia! It's very overwhelming!If anyone has any summer hand-me-downs, we would be greatly appreciative! Girls size 4/5T, sz 8/10, and 14/16 or Juniors 2-3. Boys sizes 6/7, 8, and 10! Whew!

We also finished the boys' room. I found the most adorable quilts with frogs on them at Target and Brent hung coat hooks, window curtains, a curtain for the closet, and a mirror. Next week I hope to finish the girls' room. Theirs is a little more difficult since we aren't fully sure whether we're going to put a bunk bed in there. So far we have a double bed and a toddler bed. Cait really doesn't want to sleep on a top bunk, and Luisa might love it, but we want to wait until we know how she does going to bed before we purchase any extra furniture. So the older girls will sleep together until we know what to do. Does anyone else's children do that? Both my older boys beg to sleep together every night (in a twin bed, no less!) and Cait and Quinn always sleep together. I only separate them when they are talking and carrying on and won't go to sleep. Crazy kids!

Today, I am elbows deep in food preparation. I decided to do a big bulk cooking day so that when we come home I can pull a dish out of the freezer instead of stare into the empty refrigerator for half an hour wondering what to fix all the ravenously hungry children! So far I have 4 Baked Zitis, 2 Chicken Tetrazinni's, a batch of Breakfast cookies (with 3 more ready to go), and am working on about 100 egg/sausage burritos and breakfast quiches. I wanted to get to some bean/cheese burritos, but I think I'll save that for another day. The freezer is looking full!

The kids are roaming in and out of the kitchen, trying to eat the Breakfast cookies, and playing outside in the spring weather.

We received an email saying our I800 was sent from USCIS to the National Benefits Center. Now we just wait for the approval I797C letter! Hopefully that will come next week!

Ok, enough of a break for me! Back to the kitchen!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


You all  have NO IDEA how long I've ached to write the word "Referral" with a bunch of exclamation points behind it!!!! And this week I finally can!!!!
I just need to do it one more time! Just humor me!!!


Sorry, three times! LOL! Ok, it's out of my system for now! LOL!
So without further delay... We would like for you all to meet the newest-soon to be- members of the Trautman family!

Luisa is our 7 year old beauty!
Jhonatan (Jonathan) is our handsome 5 year old little man!

Cindy is our cutie-pie 3 year old princess!

So here's the story... the abbreviated version....
Last time I wrote, we had just found out that for some reason our referral was being delayed for a month.  Without going into a lot of details, let me just say that this past month has been the absolute most difficult month of our lives.
About two weeks into our month long wait, we were confronted with some difficult information about our kiddos' medical information. It was absolutely gut-wrenching as we received good news, bad news, confusing news, doubtful news, and more confusing news. For the rest of the month we were 99% sure that we were not going to be able to adopt the chicos.
It was an incredibly intense time of praying, researching, educating ourselves, searching Scripture for insight, pleading with God for clarity and wisdom and talking, talking, talking. We truly feel it was God taking us through the refining fire. For a few days we would feel peace and comfort and then the whole world seemed upside down again.
We learned so much about our hearts and learning to surrender our dreams and future to Him. Even though it was extremely painful, as the pruning process usually is, it was absolutely beautiful to see how God chose to reveal Himself to us.

On Tuesday morning we received the most wonderful news from our doctor that we could have heard. All the drama and confusion was for naught! There were NO medical concerns after all! God couldn't have made Himself more clear to us! Praise HIM!

Sooooo, as soon as we heard the news, we got the ball rolling! We signed the Referral Acceptance Letter and sent it off to ICBF! They will be ours! We will be theirs! FOREVER!

We are so excited! I think that because of this crazy past month, we love these kids more fiercely and passionately right now than we would have otherwise! I can't wait to hug and kiss those little cheeks, and tuck them in bed, sing songs with them, dance crazy in the kitchen with them, and love on them forever! Cait, Grant, Jake and Quinn are already bursting at the seams with excitement and their own "I can't wait to..." list! When we told them that we had accepted the referral, they all screamed at the top of their lungs and were jumping all over the sofa for 5 straight minutes!

Today, our agency mailed off our I800 to get Immigration approval! They are saying that we should be in Colombia by either the end of April or the beginning of May!

We are still giddy with excitement, but now the crazy busyness starts! Paperwork, care packages, finalizing bedroom arrangements, shopping, packing, making housing arrangements, and a thousand other things are now on my 6 page long TO DO list! LOL!  I am going to cherish and love every minute of it, though, because each one is bringing us one step closer to our little ones!

Rejoice with us! Today these children have a family!!!