Wednesday, September 28, 2011

From the Heart

I've been quiet.  It's not my nature, I know this.  My heart has been heavy.  My head has been FULL!  The weight on my shoulders almost unbearable.  I owe you an update, though, and I'm going to focus on our pending adoptions for now.   For some of you this is redundant, because I have also send this via email.  Sorry for that, my energy has been zapped.  More soon, I promise!

The purpose of this update is two fold.  A lot has happened recently with regard to our pending adoptions so I thought a detailed update might be in order.
Purpose One - Adoption Updates!!
KYRGYZSTAN: As you know, we began the process to adopt again from Kyrgyzstan in January 2008. We received Kamila's referral July 12, 2008.   For 3 years, 2 months, 17 days, we have waited, fought and prayed for her to come home! We have never given up on her. It has been a painful journey, but one we have had to take. I'm sure you would agree that no matter what happened to your children, you would never turn your backs on them. It is no different for us. The good news - finally - is that Kyrgyzstan has signed the necessary amendments to the Family Code and Parliament has passed all of the regulations into law which will allow adoptions to proceed. The bad news is that we will be required to start the process completely from scratch. Only 3 of the current 5 agencies will be allowed accreditation in Kyrgyzstan. Families who end up with the two non-accredited agencies will likely have to be "picked up" by the accredited ones. Families will have to re-do their dossiers and be "re-matched" with their children. This is a risky process, but one we have been told should go smoothly. Families will also be required to make TWO trips to Kyrgyzstan to complete their adoptions. What this boils down to, unfortunately, is not only yet a longer process, but a much more expensive one. We will need to raise at minimum $15,000 to complete her adoption.  This is merely an estimate and as is the case with any adoption, but especially this one, things could change at any minute.  We are very hopeful (cautiously) that she will arrive home in very early 2012!
ETHIOPIA: In March of this year, we committed to the adoption of two beautiful toddlers with minor medical needs from Ethiopia. They are unrelated siblings living in an orphanage in Addis Ababa. We have worked so hard to save and raise funds for their adoptions and we have been incredibly successful. Throughout this process, we have been blessed by a grant, by the generosity of many during a fundraising event we held in June, by the selfless generosity of friends and strangers, and by the ability to pick up extra shifts at work. We committed to these children knowing that it would not be an easy road, but that it would be worth it! In just a couple of weeks, we will be notified of our court hearing date. We hope that it will be in December. We will travel to Ethiopia for the court hearing and spend a few days with our new children. B, the boy, repeatedly asks the orphanage workers why people keep coming to take the babies home and why no one wants him. It breaks my heart to hear this and breaks my heart that he doesn't yet know he has a family waiting for him; a family that loves him already. No child should have to live even one day feeling unloved or unwanted, much less years of their lives. Both B and H are in desperate need of medical resources that simply cannot be offered in Ethiopia. They need to get home!! After the court hearing, we will return home and wait to be invited back to Ethiopia for Embassy clearance at which time, the children will be free to leave Ethiopia and begin their new lives here with us! Currently, we still need to raise approximately $22,000 to complete their adoptions and time is quickly running out!!
Purpose Two - On My Knees, I Humbly Ask for Your Help!!
For those of you who have stuck with me this long, thank you for continuing to read on. You are under absolutely no obligation to make any sort of donation or anything. I am reaching out as a loved one, a friend, a fellow human being who needs help. Our children need help. Some of you have already reached out to us and offered support and for that we are more grateful than you will ever know. Perhaps you know someone who might be interested in one of our fundraisers. Perhaps you or someone you know might be interested in hosting a bake sale at Church or has a youth group that needs a holiday project. Every single dollar that we can raise is an absolute miracle to us. We have so far to go and so little time to get there. Our children cannot wait.
It's not easy, especially in today's society where we are expected to be strong and self-sufficient, to admit that we need help. It's not easy or even acceptable to ask for help. I certainly never thought there'd be a time when I would be pushed to do it. But, here we are, in a position where we do need help. I have found something that is worth setting aside pride for - actually, not something, rather five little someones. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my children. So, I come to you, my heart open, my soul bared, asking for support whether it be in the form of a financial contribution, prayer, or simply forwarding this message or links to our fundraisers.
I get that the economy is terrible. I get that everyone is struggling in their own way. I get that no one really has "spare change" lying around. But, I also know that none of us is suffering as much as any child who is stuck in an orphanage. We have several ways that people can help if they feel compelled. All I ask is that you consider passing our info along to friends, family, church members, coworkers, anyone who you think might listen. Please encourage people to visit our blog, friend me on Facebook, email me, snail mail me, whatever. I would love the opportunity to educate and advocate if anyone wanted to learn more about adoption or specifically adoption of children with special needs. The Holidays are rapidly approaching and we want nothing more than the gift of our family to be whole!
Ways to Help:
Tax-deductible, secure donations to: click on the Network for Good icon and designate the donation for The Fenske Family OR mail to From HIV to Home, PO Box 19212, Denver CO, 80219. A tax receipt will be sent to you by mail.
Handmade Tutus: Any size, any color shipped direct to you - only $20 each! Perfect GIFTS!
Fundraising Events: You can set up your own fundraising event at your church, school or youth group - let me know and I will be happy to help!!!!
*Pass this along to friends, family, coworkers, post links to your Blog and Facebook pages*
Thank you so much and God Bless!!
The Fenskes

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kinder - What?

I thought I was ready - I really, really did.  We bought supplies, talked about it for weeks and yesterday went to orientation.  We toured school, did a few "dry runs" of drop off and pick up, met Esen's case manager, teacher, the school psychologist, and spent some quality time in his classroom.  He seemed very excited and very open to the transition.

Today, we were in the drop off line of cars (about the fourth back) and Esen decided that "Mama, you should probably walk me in, today."  I pulled out of the line, parked and we walked up to the drop off door where the outside TA was waiting to shuttle kids into the Gym.  We started talking to her about the process so he'd be ready for next week.  I had my camera in hand so I could get some pictures of him in front of school and walking off into school.  Then, his buddy arrived and they RAN OFF into school together.  No tearful goodbye, no pictures, nothing.  I guess I have to be happy that he's well adjusted and confident, right?

His first day went really well.  He was happy and exhausted!  I absolutely cannot believe he is off to school already.  It really doesn't seem possible.

Heading to Orientation

Testing out his seat

Ready to learn.....I think?

First day as a Kindergartner

Special "First Day" after school snack