Saturday, September 17, 2011

Updating Our Health Examination

With our dossier being mailed to India on September 30th, we are making sure all paperwork is updated.  That meant doing our health examination over again.  Ours was done in July 2010 so the paperwork was over a year old.  Bummer!  I don't mind seeing our doctor, but I do mind having a needle stick me.  The lab tests are AIDS test, Tuberculin test, and RPR (VDRL) test.  The rest of the examination is a breeze.  Answering questions, me just chatting, is easy.  So once again, we've got that checked off our list!

We've been asked a lot lately about updates or news on the adoption, and there has not been much to tell.  All I know is that on October 1st our dossier will be in India.  All of our paperwork has been sitting in Tulsa for months, and I'm just happy it will finally make it to India.  We are looking forward to a day when we can give our family and friends some actual news...and good news too! 

Any other families redoing paperwork lately?   :o)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Keep Living Our Lives

I've got India on my heart and on my mind.  I dream everyday about our child.  I'm so ready for another baby, but we still have a long wait ahead of us.  India adoption laws were redone this year, and we're unsure exactly how it will affect us.  Hopefully this Fall we will have a better idea what the timeline might look like.  After reading through the new adoption rules last week, I was a little bummed.  I sighed and gave Ryan a "now what?" look.  Ryan being very wise said, "We keep living our lives until the time comes."

You may ask what is the Brice Family up to this summer.  Schools here do not get out until the second week of June so that's when our summer began.  My son Brody and I went to Alabama to see my folks our first free weekend.  The next weekend we travel to Virginia Beach for our niece's 1st birthday party.  The last week of June was youth camp.  While B and I was traveling all through the south, Ryan worked hard on preparing for camp.  We had 155 teenagers go to camp at Mrytle Beach this year.  It was an awesome week. Brody also had a blast at the beach. 
The Skywheel
Before I even knew it, it was July.  Ryan's family visited us this past week.  It was so nice to have family here in North Carolina.  This week we are preparing to go to Honduras.  I've been washing clothes and trying to get suitcases ready.  Ryan is taking two trips of teenagers to Copan, Honduras. I'm going on the first trip with him.  While we are in Copan, we will work with the Chorti.  The Chortí Indians are the desendants of the Maya Indians. 
Please be in prayer for this unreached people group.  They are starving.  The rains came very late this year, and they are just now beginning to grow crops.  So there is currently no food.  Our church has been sending teams to them the past few weeks to give out beans and corn.  Our two student mission teams will be giving out food and telling Bible stories.  We've been planning this trip for a year, and everything we've planned has changed.  We are excited about this opportunity to show them love.  I blogged about the book of
Esther a few months ago, and I shared my heart about the "for such a time as this" moments. That seems to be the theme of this year.  We are once again faced with a huge task before us, and we are humbled that God is bringing us to the physically and spiritually hungry "for such a time as this." 

When we return from Honduras, Ryan will again two days later take another team to the Chorti.  Pray Ryan will have lots of energy to do the work that needs to be done.  Pray the July team will plant seeds in the hearts of the Chorti and the August team will come water those seeds.  Pray there will be a great harvest in many different ways.

Brody is pumped to get to spend some time with his Nanny and Pops while I'm in Honduras.  They are taking him to the circus.  I can hardly wait to hear what he thinks about the circus.  There will be several fun adventures with his grandparents!

August and September will be pretty busy too.  B and I might get to go to Texas.  Brody has his preschool graduation, and then he will start Kindergarten.  Oh MY!...Kindergarten!!!  August 25th is his BIG 1st day of school.  Then a few days later Ryan heads out on a trip to Nigeria, Africa to the Dibo people.  My two favorite guys will both be off having adventures.  I'm a little sad to have a quiet house during the day come fall, but there are a couple of volunteer activities I'm looking into. 

We've made plans all through the winter, but then our calendar is a little blank.  I had great hopes 2012 would bring a baby into our lives, and our traveling plans would be to India to meet our child.  I want my 2012 days to be filled with taking care of my two children, but I know in reality this may not happen.  So I will take the hubs advice of "we keep living our lives."  It's a must to keep planning and to keep doing.  And I'm sure there will be lots of fun along the way!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Brody and I making a memory at the Birmingham Zoo

Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.  ~Elizabeth Stone

I just wanted to wish all the moms a very Happy Mother's Day.  Being a mom is hard work, but the salary is the best because the reward is pure love. 

It is a joy to be a mother to Brody!  I watch him daily grow and grow into the amazing boy he is.  It's bittersweet to see my baby grow into a little man.  I held a friend's baby recently and as I handed the little bundle of joy back to her mother my chest ached.  I long to be a mother to another baby.  There is just a need inside of me to take care of people.  So as we continue to wait in the adoption, I pray God will allow me love on those in my community around me. 

Adoption update...things a starting to move again in the India adoption world.  We are extremely excited about eight children now being with their forever families.  I have loved reading the blogs of these families, and I have shed some tears of joy over these last few weeks.  It's also exciting to know that there are spots for eight more babies at the orphange.  Our family is #8 on the non-NRI waiting list.  There are six families on the NRI list that come before us so really that makes us like #14 on the waiting list.  The estimated time for a referral is 18-24 months.  That's a long time, but I remain optimistic that things will continue to keep moving making the waiting time a little bit shorter.  I think if God can move mountains then He can move paperwork too.  I chose to be optimistic in everything.  I figure I can always cry later if I need to, but I rather look for the good right now.  While I'm looking at the good, being #8 is better than #10!  It's good to be at a new number.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Until Every Child Has a Home

I love Divine Appointments.  What's that you might ask?  I call them the moments God has put you somewhere to minister to someone.  It's a moment you did not anticipate at the beginning of the day however God choose to use you to bring glory to His name.  I love it when my day is "interrupted" to encourage someone.  I had one of these sweet appointments yesterday.  When I had planned my day yesterday, I did not have sitting at a table discussing adoption with a precious couple on the schedule.  Praise Jesus, He had on His schedule to do just that!  What a blessing it is to be able to share the passion God has given to me!     

What passion has God place on my heart?

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Esther.  It's Esther 4:14 that stirs my heart to pray daily to be in the kind of moment that would be classified as "for such a time as this."

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
God has been placing me in the position over and over for weeks now to speak about the many orphans in the world.  I'm not really good with words, but I keep remembering the first part of verse 14 "For if you remain silent at this time."  There are too many children waiting for relief and deliverance from orphanages and foster homes for me to keep silent.  I have to be a voice for them and encourage couples to adopt them.  Me and my little mouse of a voice is terrified sometimes to speak up, but I know my father the King of Kings has placed His daughter in these royal positions for such a time as this.  Hmmm..."until every child has a home" might take a long time, but I think it would be an honor to spend the rest of my days trying to accomplish that goal.  I'm not sure what this life is going to look like, but I'm pretty excited about it. 

Here is one of the videos of our adoption agency Dillon International.  It was the phrase "until every child has a home" that made me like Dillon so much.  I find it a great video for anyone who is considering adoption. I hope you find it an encouragement too.  There are so many wonderful agencies. I didn't put this video on my blog to promote one over the other, but just to give the encouragement someone might need to start the adoption process.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Whys

We get asked often why we are adopting and why we are adopting from India.  Although those are personal questions, I never mind answering them.  My life is an open book for all to read so I'm just fine with sharing my thoughts and reasons.  Feel free to ask me questions anytime.  We created this blog to let family and friends know what is going on with the adoption, and we also want to be an encouragement to those who are adopting, have adopted, or may be considering adopting as well. 

Why adoption?  
My doctors have all recommended that I not try to conceive again.  My body and pregnancy just don't agree.

1st pregnancy- Baby Andy miscarried at 12 weeks
2nd pregnancy- Baby Brody born at 28 weeks weighing 2 lbs. 4 0z.

It would be a great risk for me to try for a third baby.  It was also very difficult to watch Brody fight to live.  I would not want to make another child have to go through what he did.
My first time to see Brody.  He was 2 days old.
This week we celebrate Brody's 5th birthday, and he is doing wonderful.  We still work hard to help him in some areas, but we are so thankful for all the struggles that have made us a strong family.  Brody really wants a brother, and I hope one day he gets his wish.

In 2008, we went to Africa for the first time, and it was a  trip that changed our lives.  Had Brody been on that trip with us, I'm not sure Ryan would have ever got me to leave. On day 3 of that trip, I told God how much I loved being in this village and would gladly move there.  So we began praying from that day for several weeks if God would have us to change ministries and go on the mission field.  God did speak to our hearts and gave us a knowing that our place was to continue to serve in the church and share God's word with teenagers.  He did move us to North Carolina, but He sent us here with a passion for all the nations.
Hassan and Housayni with their beautiful mother
This is who I meet on day three who broke my heart.  These tiny twins who probably weighed around 4 lbs. were so precious.  Their mother's milk was already starting to go dry, and I couldn't help to wonder as I held them if they would survive.  I wanted to help them, and I cannot hardly describe what it feels like when your whole chest aches so badly with the feeling of you need to do something.  Now these boys have parents who were doing their best for them, but I started thinking about all the orphans who have no family.  I thought about what if Brody had been born to a different family, and they gave him up because they thought it might be too hard to take care of him.  I had to change the way I thought of the world after my eyes had been open to the desperate needs of the world.  There are so many orphans in need, and our family is incomplete and is in need of more little feet running about the house with sweet little smiles that light up the room.  So we will build our family through adoption. We have lots of love to give, and we can hardly wait for our baby to come home where he or she is hugged daily and told what a special treasure they are.

Why India?
Selecting an adoption agency is no easy task.  There are many out there, and you will find yourself asking "Who's the best?"  I'm not sure there is one better than the other, but the best fit for our family is Dillon International.  We prayed a lot about what country to adopt from, and we just kept being led to India.  I've never really been around many people of Indian heritage, but during those weeks of prayer I bumped into so many of them.  Whether I was sitting in a waiting room or in an airport, someone from India would end up sitting beside me to which we had wonderful conversations.  I even came upon a family who had adopted from India at a grocery store.  God kept confirming India over and over to us. 

India is not a huge country, but it is the second most populated country in the world.  Many of its people live in near starvation on the streets in overcrowded cities.  A recent study showed the Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, have 421 million poor people.  This is more than the 410 million poor in the poorest African countries.  It was hard for me to believe at first that eight Indian states account for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African countries combined.  As I wrote in my last blog, UNICEF estimates the number of orphans at 210 million in the world in 2010. This includes the estimated 86 million orphans in India, 44 million orphans in Africa and 10 million orphans in Mexico.  To us, there just seemed like a bigger need for adoption there than in other countries. 

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8  I remember my youth minister George teaching this passage when I was sixteen years old, and it had a great effect upon me.  He shared the importance of being God's witness to our neighbors, to the person who's locker is next to you, to the old lady on the other end of town, to the opposing college football team in the state and their fans, to the people up North who don't drink sweet tea, to the people across the country, and to all the nations until we reached the ends of the earth.  I am called to go to all distances to share the gospel.  My heart's desire for many years has been to be an Acts 1:8 family.  As a family, we will be a witness in our community, state, country, and world.  India is our "ends of the earth."  We may not be able to bring the gospel to the whole Nation of India, but we can bring it to one child.

These are the answers to the "whys" we get.  It may not make sense to some, but that's ok too.  It's what is good and right for our family.  My prayer for writing this is that it will plant a seed for a new thought to someone. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

They Cry Out "Love Me!"

I have come to realize more and more that the greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, to be shunned by everybody, to be just nobody (to no one).  -Mother Teresa of Calcutta

UNICEF estimates the number of orphans at 210 million in the world in 2010. This includes the estimated 86 million orphans in India, 44 million orphans in Africa and 10 million orphans in Mexico.

That's a lot of children crying out "Love ME!"  My heart breaks thinking about 210 million children who feel unwanted and unloved.  I was talking with a friend this week who has adopted a little girl, and she said something very important and inspiring to me.  She said, "We just don't talk about orphans enough."  So today I'm going to talk about them.  Maybe so many children are not adopted because people are not aware of the great need to help these children.

Statistics of Orphans:
-Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa
-Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans
-Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)
-143,000,000 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home
-Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
-Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system
-Every DAY 38,493 children age out
-Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home
-In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.
60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.
-Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves.  Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

Well reliable statistics are difficult to find, even the sources often list only estimates, and street children are rarely included. But even if these figures are exaggerated by double, it is still an unacceptable tragedy that over a million children would still become orphans every year, and every year 7 million children would still grow to adulthood as orphans with no one to belong to and no place to call home.  They are totally vulnerable and easily fall prey to predators and slave recruiters. The disastrous outcomes of most children who age out of institutional care is evidence that these children don’t know the meaning of love.

There are so many children who just want to be loved.  What will we all do about them?  Will we act like they don't exist or will we find ways to support them?
Support them by prayer
Support them by adopting
Support them by helping others adopt
Support them by helping their orphanges
Support them by being Foster parents
Support them by encouraging those who have been adopted
Support them by being a voice for them
Support them by however God leads you to love them



every child deserves to learn what it feels like to be loved
These are all pictures of children who are orphans.  Aren't they just beautiful creations!
I'm sure they all cry out "Love me!"
Will we love them???

Monday, February 14, 2011

We're On The Waiting List!

Today was a great day!  We are delighted to announce we've made the waiting list.  I'm a Whoo Girl so I've saying "Whooooooo!"  all afternoon.  I'll call someone up to tell of our good news and all I can hardly get out is "We're on the list!  Whooo!"  It is such a wonderful feeling to have made it one step closer to getting a baby.  We are number 10 on the non NRI (non resident India) list.  It is an estimated time of 10-18 months for a referral.  This happening today on Valentine's Day is so appropriate.  It's a day all about love, and we already have love in our heart for the baby who will be a part of our family one day.  I'm amazed how love for someone I've never met makes praying more passionate and fun because I care for the future the baby, saving money easier because of the purpose, and keeping a house in order more important because I want it to be home where children feel cared for.

Just a cute Indian baby!
A Note From Ryan: Cristy posted this from my computer which is why it says below that I posted this entry.  I am certainly not a "Whoo Girl"- but am glad to be married to one.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our Dossier is Complete

All the papers that had to be apostilled

The last couple of papers we were waiting to come in finally made it here yesterday.  We added them to our big stack of papers, and our dossier was complete.  I immediately took them to the Post Office.  I was so excited, and all I wanted to do was dance.  I must say the Post Office people were not as excited as they should have been when I announced our dossier was finished.  If my life was a musical, the PO scene would have been fantastic.  Well, Brody and I danced and took pictures of us mailing it anyways.  When it's time to celebrate we just don't care who is around and watching us.

This means we should be on the waiting list very soon!!!!

Ok, so I know somebody is reading this going what's a dossier.  So I will do my best to explain it.  A dossier (pronounced "doss-e-aye") is the group of documents that you have to put together in order to begin an international adoption.  It's a lot of documents!

What Goes Into a Dossier?
While dossier requirements are different for each country, here is what India requires:
  • Financial information- written letters from the financial institutions with which you do business stating your account balances
  • Adoption Bond- petition for guardianship and post placement agreement.
  • Original certified copies of birth and marriage certificates
  • Particulars of Property- list of major items the family owns and their current value
  • Employment verification - must be on company letterhead and have a recent date.  Must state position and salary.
  • Homestudy – notarized copy of home study performed for adoption.
  • Power of Attorney- gives the head of the orphanage in India permission to operate on our behalf before we arrive.  
  • Results of criminal background check
  • Copy of the photo pages of your passport
  • 3 Letters of reference
  • Name affidavit- states every possible combination of your name.
  • There are also three other documents that our adoption agency will include in our dossier.

You can understand our excitement now that you know how much work goes into the dossier.  Ryan has been amazing at this!  We are just pumped about the completion of the dossier.  Not only do these documents have to be notarized but they also have to be apostilled too.  Depending on what state you are sending it to depends on the price.  It's $5-$15 per document.  And some of the documents above required multiple originals.  Documents must be sent to the Secretary of State in the state where they were certified of notarized (We had documents from 4 different states).

What exactly does ‘Apostille’ mean?
When you present a legal document in a foreign country, it is often very difficult to determine whether the document is genuine and legal.  In 1961, the process for legalizing documents for use abroad was abolished and replaced by a simple certificate of authenticity, called an ‘Apostille’, under the Hague Convention.  An apostille is a certificate that is attached to an official legal document to verify that the signatory on your document is genuine and person who signed your document is a recognized and authorized person of the organization that issued the document.  Each apostille is dated, given a unique reference number and registered. 

I just want to encourage those who are in this process, or thinking about doing it that YOU CAN DO THIS!  I know there will be moments of this process that you will want to pull your hair out, but just keep going and it will get done.  It will be so worth it when you are finally holding your child! 

Remember Psalm 82:3 "Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy."

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    When Love Takes You In - Steven Curtis Chapman

    When Love Takes You In by Steven Curtis Chapman is such a precious song to me.  I've been thinking about it all afternoon.  I have babyitis pretty bad.  Yeah, I know babyitis is not a word, but sometimes I just ache to hold a baby.  Brody is getting so big, and he loves to remind me often that "I'm a big boy."  It's hard to believe he will be turning five in a couple of months and will be going to kindergarten in the fall.  I love being a mom, and I really want several kids running around our home.  I like hearing the sound of little feet going across the floor, and I know all too soon my daytime will be very quiet.  Today I've just been daydreaming of what our second child will be like and when he or she will be a part of our family.  Such fun thoughts...

    And somewhere while you’re sleeping
    Someone else is dreaming too
    Counting down the days until
    They hold you close and say I love you

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    I Love THEM Sooooooo Much!

    If you give a kid markers and a sheet of white paper and tell him to draw what his life is like, you will always be amazed at what he thinks about it.  Brody drew a picture of the sun first.  He said he likes to play outside when it's hot (he gets that honest from his mom).  The rectangle is our house with a little triangle for the roof.  To the right is Ryan, then me, and Brody below us.  I'm not sure why we have such long legs.  The four legged creature is Maggie the dog beside our mailbox.  To the left of the drawing is an electrical box and a tree with some grass .  The best part of his drawing is the two potato looking things at the bottom below the house.  Brody said, "That's my baby brothers coming from India.  I love them soooooo much!"  That's right folks, Brody believes we're getting twins.  I tried to explain that twins are rare in India, and we don't get to pick if the baby is a boy or a girl.  Of course, Brody assured me that he will be getting two babies.  What really blesses my heart is to hear him say, "I love them sooooo much!" 

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Chai While We Wait

    It's a new year with all new possibilities!  Our home study is complete.  We're hoping to have the rest of our paperwork complete in the next couple of weeks.  Our goal is to be on the waiting list in February.  I'm so excited!  It nice to know we've done everything on our part that we can do and all there is left to do is wait. 

    Waiting...well, that's not one of the easiest things in the world to do.  To fill up time we continue to prepare our family for the child to come, and we try to learn about Indian heritage.  Our neighbors Chad and Dawn gave us a wonderful Indian cookbook for Christmas.  It's packed full of all kinds of information.  We've really enjoyed reading through it.  One of my new favorite things is chai tea.  Chai is Hindi for "tea," so adding the word tea after chai, as is so often seen in coffee and tea houses in the country, is redundant.  So I'll just say I really enjoy drinking chai.  I'll share a favorite chai with you, and maybe you can drink chai along with us while we wait. 

    Darjeeling Tea with Cardamom

    2 cups water
    1/4 cup loose Darjeeling tea leaves or 5 tea bags black tea
    2 cups whole or 2% milk
    1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
    2 whole cloves, crushed
    2 to 4 black peppercorns, crushed
    Pinch of ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup cup sweetened condensed milk or 4 teaspoons sugar

    1. Heat water to a rapid boil in 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce heat to low.  Add tea leaves, simmer 2 to 4 minutes to blend flavors.  (If using tea bags, remove and discard.)
    2. Stir in remaining ingredients except sweetened condensed milk.  Heat to boiling, take care not to let milk boil over.
    3. Stir in condensed milk. Strain tea into cups.

    Recipe by: Raghavan Iyer