Sunday, June 22, 2014


We are NOT pregnant....we are FINALLY adopting!!

Mr. Prince and I have talked about adopting for years.  It's fairly long, but here's how we've finally come to where we are now...

Back in 2004 (right after Princess Pea was born and Sid was 2) we applied to be house parents for underprivileged children near Chicago.  We had visited the facility because friends of ours from college worked there and really loved what they were doing there.  Both of us could stay home or either of us could teach at the school there.  The process took over six months.  They didn't like that we had two kids, nor that we planned to have more, so we stepped out of that process after declining a high school group home in 2005.  Our training and love was for elementary kids, but they didn't think we could manage two young children as well as a house full of elementary girls.  We disagreed.  And knew God wanted to bless us with more children.  In fact, just weeks after declining the position, we found out we were pregnant with Angelica Pickles!

Over the next few years we started to hear more and more about Foster care and the hurting children taken away from their parents during rough times.  We started the process to be Foster parents in 2007, officially applying in 2009.  There were some delays in the process as we birthed Boo Boo in 2008 and unexpectedly were pregnant with Miracle as our application awaited approval.  Our desire was to be emergency Foster parents for infants and toddlers, hoping one day that would lead to an adoption.  I had babysat children out of my home for over five years and we had four cribs/playpens set up throughout the house.  We were eventually denied a license due to the ages of our children.  They said the state rule was no more than three children under the age of three in a given home or four children under the age of six.  We had both.

It was incredibly disappointing news for us.  But, we contended to apply again in a few years when Angelica Pickles would be over the age of three.

Then, Fall 2009 we were blessed with Miracle.  With her doctor appointments, seizures, therapy for cerebral palsy and such, it took me over two years to really get a handle on Myra's care in addition to my daily responsibilities of being a homemaker, homeschool mom and wife.  Adoption had never left my heart, but I knew it was something that would have to wait even longer.

(If you wanna learn more about Miracle, start with THIS post and there are more links there, also.) 

(Funny, I started following THIS blog after reading THIS post about another little girl with special needs that was born months after Miracle.  This mother was such an encouragement to me and left me wondering why God hadn't given Miracle her daughter's diagnosis instead of the ones Miracle had been given.  Come back and look at this after you read the rest of my blog!)  

God knew the entire time.

In early 2012 I contacted the local Foster care agency and inquired about starting the process again.  I was then told that the state of Indiana had changed their requirements so that no more than five children could be in a Foster care home, including biological children.  The previous requirement had been eight.

It honestly felt like another punch in the gut.  I knew God had called us and had given us hearts for children and adoption.  I didn't understand why we kept hitting walls.  But, God made it clear to me we were to adopt before we were going to have more biological children.

I started looking into domestic adoption, despite the cost.  I called some reputable Christian adoption agencies and one told me that no mother would ever choose our family due to having five kids.  In her 30 years, only one mother had chosen a family with more than two children, and that was because they had previously adopted.  Even children with Down Syndrome had so many parents waiting, homestudy ready, that it would likely take us a number of years to adopt.

Another punch.

After more months of research, I found out we could apply to adopt through the state of Indiana, we just couldn't Foster.  By then our Foster care classes had expired, so we had to start the process from scratch.  So, in late 2012 we started the process in the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP).  Our second homestudy was done in May 2013 and we were approved on Mr. Prince's birthday in September 2013!

I began immediately looking for our children.  We were open to special needs, sibling groups, boys or girls.  We sent in for information for many, many, MANY children.  Some we got back and knew we couldn't handle their needs, and others we never heard about.  Our homestudy was requested for a few children and we were never chosen.  For three months I spent HOURS searching.  It was emotionally exhausting.  But, I thought this was finally our open door.

Then the Foster to Adopt agency contacted me and told me that if I planned to make more inquiries, we would need to get a domestic homestudy to do so.  They didn't want to help us any longer.  

So, we contacted a highly recommended local homestudy agency.  We sat down with Jan for free and discussed with her why we wanted a domestic homestudy.  We were hoping their agency could be prompt in sending out our homestudy to Foster care agencies across the nation since our Foster care agency no longer wanted to support us in this.  Jan was very compassionate, but was very straightforward in saying she really thought we would just wait forever in the SNAP program.  She had experience in the Foster to Adopt world and she said they would likely never find our large, one-income family a desirable adoptive family.

Another punch.

Jan went on to tell us how many children were currently waiting for families around the world and, with our openness to special needs, we could likely adopt fairly quickly through a Waiting Child program.  We had told her we were open to special needs children and had been drawn to the idea of a child that was deaf or had Down Syndrome.  The problem was, I didn't want to adopt internationally.  My thought has always been that there are children HERE in America that need parents, too.  And the outrageous cost we could never afford.  And the travel that would take us away from our other children.  I had made this little picture in my head of what I wanted.  We desired a multicultural family, but just wasn't desirable.

But, God calls us to the hard and undesirable sometimes.

Over the next month, I gave up.  I stopped looking for children.  I stopped talking about adoption.  I was beaten down.  I looked briefly at the countries Jan had suggested, but with no gusto or ambition.  I read about many other hang ups we might run into with international adoption.  Every site was discouraging.

Too many kids
Too young of kids
Too little income

I told God I was done and really just wanted to birth another child.  I wrestled with him the entire month of December 2013.  I got an email from Jan on Christmas Eve (why was she working on Christmas Eve?).  It was about an additional agency that was not on my original list.  They had waiting children from the Philippines.  Something drew me to contact the agency and I stated to look at their waiting children in early January.

January brought about many changes, as I started full-time midwifery school.  In my journal on January 4th I wrote, "I have been prompted to leave the uncomfortable to follow God into the unknown.  Adoption.  Cerebral palsy.  Doula.  Midwife.  Moving.  Some exciting.  Others daunting.  Many teaching patience and trust."  A major change in my heart.

We found two little girls from the Philippines that were 9 and 6 just days into January.  Sisters.  They were absolutely gorgeous.  Our girls were currently 9 and 7.  We got their complete profiles and I just cried reading them.  Their personalities sounded so much like my girls.  Their father had left their mother and she had started in the 'dancing' industry to make money.  The girls had been in custody of the country for only 2 years and had just become available for international adoption in December 2013.  They seemed perfect.  We fell in love.  So did our kids, especially our girls.  We sent in our application to the Philippines in January 14, 2014.  We were told we would wait around a month.  

On January 29th we got an email that another family had been identified for the girls.

Biggest punch yet.

I was shocked.  We didn't know we were even being considered alongside other families.  My kids' reaction was the hardest.  Angelica Pickles cried and cried.  She named her favorite stuffed animal after the little girl her age.  She talked about what it would be like to live with them all the time.  She was upset her older sister wasn't crying, too.  It was a hard, hard week.  I had no idea where to go from here.  But, I felt God showed me that week that He could make His Will happen whenever He wanted to.  That the situation was wholly in his hands.  That He can help us find our child through the heart of an adoption agent on Christmas Eve, or He would help us find them another way.  But, our hearts were broken between here and the Philippines.  And I never stopped praying for those girls.  And praying their family would be better than ours.  And perfect for them.  Yet, I still wondered if this door was completely closed...

I didn't look for kids outside of the Philippines for a while.  Each month the Philippines sent out a list of the hard to adopt kids (where we found the girls) and I waited expectantly for that list in February, March and April.  We asked about a little girl that was 6.  She wasn't likely to make it through to us.  A family with a current dossier in the Philippines was inquiring about her, and if they declined, she would be offered to all 20+ families currently waiting with dossiers.  THEN, she would be offered to us.

So, I continued to wait and pray.  Pray and wait.  I contacted a few other agencies and expanded my search to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand.  I just didn't see my child/ren anywhere.  And my heart still hurt for the girls.

Some time in March I viewed THIS video.  It rocked my world.  I had seen many Gotcha videos but this one made me bawl and bawl and watch it over and over.  (Get some tissue if you plan to watch it!)  I attempted to hold back my tears as I showed Mr. Prince.  I had heard of Reece's Rainbow before, but never looked at their site in any detail.  I mulled over this site for hours reading profiles and falling in love with these children.  Reece's Rainbow is a site committed to advocating for special needs children, especially children with Down Syndrome.  We had talked about the idea of adopting a child with DS, but we hadn't talked about what exactly that would look like for us.  I had so many questions.  Could we really do this?

I feel in love with THIS profile (don't miss the videos!).  'Yulia' is a three year old girl from China with Down Syndrome and possible hearing impairment.  We didn't think China was even an option for us due to our income and family size, but we were told by 'Yulia's' agency that we could ask for waivers since she had special needs.  We had a long, hard conversation about finances, the future, Down Syndrome and all the other things swimming through my head.  And in mid-April we began to pray and fast about this little girl.  Is this who God wanted us to adopt?  My plan was to finish out my semester of school and we would possibly proceed in mid-May if we felt that was where God was leading.

Days later, on April 21st, we received an email from the Philippines agency that the two girls had become available again and they were reviewing our file!  I literally couldn't stop crying for hours and just paced, praying, up and down my street.  My kids thought I was nuts and really wanted to know what was wrong.  I called Mr. Prince at work and we decided it was best to not tell them.  We didn't want the same heartache for them.  I told them there was a possibility of good news or bad news and asked them to pray for good news. They weren't exactly satisfied with that answer, but they stopped asking.    

All I could think of was that God wanted me to trust, wait and understand that all of this was part if HIS plan.  I couldn't stop thinking about traveling to bring these girls home and what that meant for our family.  I had never given up hope that they would come back to us if it was God's plan.  My friends even got goosebumps when I called them and asked them to pray.  It seemed like the 'end' to the beginning of our adoption story.

The Philippines asked for additional information about Miracle's special needs.  I thought this was odd, and was possibly a little offended by it.  Why does this affect how we would parent these two girls?  We were currently raising four other 'neurologically typical' children and they were doing great.  We sent a positive response about how much we love Miracle and include her in everything that we do despite the fact that she doesn't talk or walk.  And then we waited.

On Mother's Day I had the privilege of watching one of my best friend's babies (#4) assimilate into his family immediately following his birth through Skype.  (I missed the birth by moments!)  She never knew, but I cried and cried with my camera off (they thought I had technical difficulties and honestly weren't paying attention that much for obvious reasons).  I wanted to birth another child.  And all I could see was having not three, but now FIVE little girls being a part of my next birth experience and being little mommies to another little Kellogg baby some day.  I had waited to have children for almost 5 years now awaiting an adoption.  So, it was just a little emotional for me. 

The day after Mother's Day, May 11th, I got the news that another family had been identified for the girls....again.

There are no words for my feelings.  I felt peaceful, yet hurt.  Accepting, yet torn.  I still pray for them and think of them often.  But, I guess they were never mine.  And I had been praying that God would give me peace either way.  See, as I was waiting I started to question whether I really could take in two older girls.  Could I really parent them well?  This wasn't my original plan either.  I had succumb to the fact that this decision was not mine.  And I was peaceful.  I was glad that I couldn't mess up God's plan as long as I searched for His Will.  That peace beyond understanding - that is what I claim for that day.  

I also found out that while we were waiting on these girls, the six year old girl we had inquired about (also from the Philippines) had become available to us.  But, since we were waiting to hear back about the girls, we were not given the opportunity to look at her profile and she had been accepted by another family.  My heart immediate sunk, but I quickly accepted that as God's way of assuring we would eventually adopt who He wanted us to adopt.

We had been majorly distracted from praying about 'Yulia' from Reece's Rainbow through these few weeks.  I still had her photo on my iPhone screen and still thought about her, but I truly thought the girls would be ours.  But, as I prayed about these girls while we waited, God kept assuring me that I could parent who He places in our arms.  That His grace is sufficient.  That it would be His strength that would allow us to adopt and parent this child or children He had planned for us.  At the time I was thinking about the girls and the difficulties I knew they could bring to our family.  The sacrifices that would have to be made, the prayer that would be required, the money that would have to be raised.  But, my heart immediately turned toward 'Yulia' after we found out we were not chosen for the girls and these promises from God still rang true.

I struggled for a few weeks wondering what I would do if we moved forward with 'Yulia' and the girls become available again.  I prayed over and over, that if these girls were going to come back again, that they would come back to us before the end of May, not 6 months down the road.  I prayed for direction and leading from God and begged for peace.  Begged.  I read about Down Syndrome and Mr. Prince and I had many conversations.  My heart grew for this little girl, yet I was somewhat reserved because of the hurt I had already been through with the girls.

It took a few weeks to get all my questions answered about the process.  In that time a few families started to inquire about 'Yulia'.  I was told that no one had ever pursued her in the 3 years she had been waiting.  We sent in our application for them to review our information to assess if we would be able to adopt from China.

On May 24th the director of Across the World Adoptions contacted me and told me she didn't see any reason why China would not allow us to adopt 'Yulia'.  I was still in denial, but wanted to believe her.

We began to work on our Letter of Intent and started to get more excited.  We announced that we 'hoped' to adopt a little girl from China to Mr. Prince's family on Memorial Day.  We were reminded that day that 'Yulia's' birthday was the same as Mr. Prince's maternal grandmother, Helen Frances Plasterer.  We had always wanted to name a baby after Helen, but nothing ever stuck with our other kids.  Helen raised four children with a rare disorder and all four died by the age of eight.  This was in addition to the other four babies she lost by miscarriage/stillbirth and the five she raised into adulthood.  She was an amazing women who only met our first two children.  But, I have said since Miracle was born, she was the one person I wish I could talk to about raising a child with special needs - she did it four times with grace!  My appreciation grew for Helen ten-fold after Miracle was born.  Mr. Prince and I went home and quickly decided without much discussion that 'Yulia's' name would be Frances Joy Yutang Kellogg.

Frances from Helen Frances 
Joy describes Down Syndrome perfectly
Yutang is her given Chinese name

She would be known as Frannie Joy!  Our attachment grew.

May 28, 2014 we sent our Letter of Intent (LOI) to adopt Frannie Joy.  And we waited....again.  We held a fundraising garage sale in early June and raised a little under $1600.00!  We posted photos of Frannie at the sale, but I was still a little nervous because I wasn't SURE she was mine yet.

Well.... we just received our Pre-Approval to adopt Frannie Joy on June 19th!!  She is ours!!  Well, not officially...but a promise has been made from China that we can come get her next year!

Frannie Joy will be four on September 22 - the day after my birthday, two days before Miracle turns five and the day Helen Frances would have been 93.  We are waiting for our home visit for our homestudy, but all our paperwork is done.  We are starting our I800A application for USCIS and our dossier paperwork.  We hope to bring her home early 2015.

We are beyond excited to finally be bringing home the little girl God had planned for us long ago!  And the events that shaped our love and opened our hearts to adopting her is quite obvious to us now.

God has shown me through raising Miracle that life isn't always easy and life isn't always fair but His plan is perfect, His grace is sufficient and His love is unconditional.  I have struggled throughout the last number of years waiting for answers, waiting for direction, waiting for healing and waiting for adoption.  I still have things I'm waiting on.  And though I know in my heart that God's timing is perfect, my head still yearns for my own timing.

I want Myra to be healed NOW.  
I want Frannie to be here NOW.  
I want to move NOW.
I want to be a midwife NOW.

I'm still running into road blocks for many of these things.  But, I just have to keep reminding myself that those blockers are there to slow me down and point me to my Savior and Redeemer.  That Christ is my strength and God is my path.  This story sums up much of the last 10 years of my life.  It's kind of odd to see it on a blog in just a few number of paragraphs.

If you feel drawn to help fund our adoption, there is a PayPal DONATION button on the top right corner of our blog (you don't need to have a PayPal account to donate).  We need to raise approximately $35,000 to bring Frannie home.  The process goes quickly for waiting children and they will expect that we move quickly to raise this money.  We have some fundraisers in the works and plan to apply to grants.  Currently, we are $1800 short to pay China the $3500  'acceptance' fee for Frannie.  When we turn in our dossier in three months or so (my goal is her birthday), we will need an additional $6260 to send our dossier to China.  And, we are praying about possibly bringing home an additional child if God provides the funds quickly for Frannie, if China and USCIS would approve us and if we raise an additional $15,000 on top of Frannie's $35,000!! 

I understand not everyone is in a position to donate money, but we also need some people who could commit to pray for this process.  I would love to know if any of you are willing to do this for us!

We have always felt love and support from our friends and family and I have no doubt the support will blow us away again!  I know there are already people who have asked when and how they can donate.  Here you go!  Please feel free to link your blog or Facebook to this post and spread the word on how others who haven't (yet) been called to adoption can help bring an orphan home.

Kellogg Family (2014)
Princess Pea, Mr. Prince, Boo Boo, Sid the Science Kid, MommyK, Miracle, Angelica Pickles

I'm thinking Frannie's blog name will be Kai-Lan.  
Seems appropriate considering the cartoon names our other kids have adopted.  :) 

I know many of you are blog browsers....
Please stop and say HI!  
Leave a comment so I know you visited and I can come follow your family story or adoption journey!  
Over 700 people have already visited this post, but I only know one of you!  ;)

Family Update *BIG NEWS*

It's been FOREVER since I blogged.  And a lot has happened in the last year.

Allow me to summarize...

We completed our school year last month and I'm currently planning year 2014-2015.  Sid the Science Kid will be doing mostly high school work during his 7th grade year, Gracelyn will be going into 5th grade, Angelica Pickles will be in 3rd and Boo Boo will be in 1st/2nd.  Miracle will continue to stay home with us due to the help of a nurse during my 'teaching' hours.

This year I'm making lots of changes to my curricula due to being in school full-time myself.  This past January I started full-time midwifery school.  It was a difficult semester managing homeschool, a home and my own school....but we survived!  This is a two year program that will take 2-4 to complete due to attending a required amount of births and prenatal appointments.  I'm SO excited about this program because birth and pregnancy has been a passion of mine for so many years!   

Mr. Prince continues to teach 3rd grade students at a local elementary school, but had a rough year.  Teaching is becoming more and more difficult as our culture shifts.  He is currently working at a summer Clubhouse program and really enjoys his time there.  Mr. Prince has been an incredible help this last semester picking up the slack I've left as I did school for hours and hours every evening.

MommyK and Mr. Prince at a cousin's wedding, 2014

Sid the Science Kid has 'graduated' from his church's elementary school program and is now in the 6th-8th grade program.  Exciting, but he is already starting to learn about 'cliques' and 'cool' kids.  I don't look forward to these middle school years coming up for any of my kids.  He is still doing leaps in bounds in school and completed a Pre-Algebra program this year!  I'm finding it hard to keep up with him.  I'm praying these next few years he finds some passions (other than Legos) and starts to develop a love for something.  These are important years coming up and I'm a little nervous about parenting a tween!

 Sid the Science Kid (11) with Miracle (4)

Princess Pea has bloomed in her dance classes this year and has matured a lot.  Academically she is keeping up with her brother and blowing me away.  She has been watching me do the laundry for years, and last month, asked to fold a basket.  She did awesome!  So, I told her for the summer I would pay her $.50/basket to help her raise money to buy her 3rd American Girl Doll (this will be the second doll she's purchased herself).  I haven't folded a load of laundry for WEEKS!  She is such a little helper and little mommy.  She blesses my heart so often!

Princess Pea (9) practicing for her Restored to Glory Presentation

Angelica Pickles just turned 8 and is still a very spunky little girl!  She had a rough beginning of her school year, but by the end of the year she was enjoying school and reading much better.  We also found out how crazy quick at math she is!  She has grown a lot dancing for Restored to Glory this year as well, and it was her first year in a different class than her sister.  She really bloomed in some friendships at church and I'm excited to see her interests in church activities, school and dance take off this year.  She adores her baby sister and often takes time to play with her daily.  She loves to help in the kitchen, too.

Angelica Pickles and MommyK

Boo Boo's personality just keeps getting better!  He's a such a clown and tries to be funny constantly.  His newest thing is the daily mo-hawk.  I have no idea where he comes up with these things.  Boo Boo finished his entire 1st grade math book this year and is reading at a 2nd grade level.  He seems ready academically to be going into 2nd, but he still seems like my baby!  I'm thinking I'll have him straddling between 1st/2nd this coming year.  He loved the soccer and basketball teams we put him on this year and is probably the one who uses the 10ft hoop we purchased for our backyard the most.  He constantly wants to be outside.  We really enjoy what he brings to our family.

Boo Boo (6) and MommyK

Miracle has had a pretty uneventful year, which is some ways is a good thing!  Her seizures have been under control for the most part and she's been happy.  She now sleep in her sister's room, per request of her sisters, but still takes naps on our laps or the downstairs couch.  Her head control hasn't improved much, but she's eating a few ounces 1-2x daily!  We just received her Upsee harness this past week and I cannot wait to work on walking with her in that!  We had numerous friends donate the $489 to pay for the Upsee a few months ago and are so thankful for their constant love and support!  

 Miracle (4) happy in her stander!
Miracle has changed our family's perspective on life completely.  And that brings us to our next update...
Stay tuned for my next post!  :)