Back to Bulgaria

In 2011, we brought our son Jordan home from his orphanage in Bulgaria. It’s been five years since Jordan entered our family and this year, we are preparing to bring home a new son or daughter from Bulgaria.

Jordan in his Bulgarian orphanage - June 2011

Jordan in his Bulgarian orphanage – June 2011

The process to adopt from Bulgaria is, in brief:

-Complete a homestudy (1-3 months process)
-Get immigration/USCIS approval to adopt (2ish months)
-Send our pile of paperwork (dossier) to Bulgaria and have that processed (don’t remember how long)
-Travel on trip 1 to accept child’s referral (we will know the child by photo and medical history before we travel)
-Roughly 4-6 months for Bulgarian adoption process to complete before we bring our child home.

Our family posting for our adoption paperwork over five years ago...

Our family posing for our adoption paperwork over five years ago…

There are many other details… with the dossier preparation, with training requirements and with the process of connecting with and sharing our hearts with our closest family and friends. We covet your prayers as we walk this road. International adoption is never a completely smooth process and unlike our first adoption, the parameters for the child we will adopt are not completely set (age, special needs, etc.). We are a few steps along in the decision process, but are waiting on the Lord a bit on this one right now.

You may also see some fundraising from us this time around. The total cost, including legal fees, agency fees and all the plane tickets is somewhere around $30K. We WILL complete this adoption even without fundraising. However, that’s a lot of money and it’s not easy to come up with it (particularly the second $15K) despite saving towards this adoption for some time. I don’t have a special fund set up yet, but at some point I probably will have one to make it easier for some friends to join in with us.

One of my favorite parts of adoption is the miracle of an orphan becoming a son or daughter. I want to share this with you. There is nothing like the hope of redemption. The lifelong process of parenting is harder to share… so I hope you hop on to witness the miracle that is adoption. One of the main drives behind our family pursuing special needs adoption again is the acute need of these children. They didn’t ask to be born with their bodies and/or minds different or broken, they didn’t ask to be left in an orphanage. We cannot leave them when we have the capacity to help. Even imperfectly. Even just one.

Well, pray for us! Here we go!

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria from when we picked up Jordan

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Jordan’s Soups – 2016

Sometimes people ask me for Jordan’s soup recipes, so here they are!

Jordan eats a pureed diet and needs a specific thickness to his soup. I can add texture in now, such as cooked rice, and he tolerates a pretty wide variety of hearty flavors. I make large batches of soup for him and freeze whatever I won’t use in the next few days… bringing out a few tubs each time I need more. These soups are delicious and hearty and a complete diet. They can be made without dairy by substituting oil for butter and coconut milk for the cream.

These recipes are good enough that we eat them as a family and I have even brought some of them to potlucks. You’ll notice that cabbage and dried seaweed are added to most of the meals. If you eat a more varied diet than Jordan, then you can skip those. But if you’re feeding a kiddo who doesn’t branch out, then keep those in there for the vitamins and minerals they contain. They don’t influence the flavor or texture much.

1. Chili
2. Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
3. Butternut Squash Soup
4. Corn Chowder
5. Curried Carrot Soup
6. Minestrone
7. Tomato Soup

Chili

1 cup butter
2 lbs. Hamburger
2 onions, chopped
1 Tbsp pepper
2 tsp garlic salt
3 (30 oz.) cans tomato sauce
32 oz. salsa
Up to ½ cup chili powder
120 oz. canned kidney beans
3-4 cups bone broth
Optional:
1 handful seaweed
½ cabbage
1 ½ cup brown rice

1. Cook hamburger. Add everything except rice to pot and bring to boil. Simmer covered and stir until everything is soft.
2. Puree.
3. Add rice and stir regularly while cooking.

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

1 c. butter
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
¼- ½ head cabbage, chopped
1 handful dried seaweed
1 tsp+ salt
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ c flour
12 c. chicken broth
2 pkg. long grain and wild rice (6 oz.?)
1-3 lbs. chicken breast, chopped
4 cups half and half

Melt butter. Add all veggies and seaweed. Saute optional. Add seasoning and flour. Sloooooowly add in chicken broth, avoiding making clumps with the flour. Add rice packages and chopped chicken. Bring to boil and cook until tender. Puree until smooth if desired. Add half and half. Test flavor and add salt as needed.

Jordan’s Squash Soup

1 cup butter
2-3 onions, chopped
24 cups peeled, chopped winter squash (butternut is good)
12 cups bone broth
2 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
6 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
Salt (usually 1+ Tbsp)
Optional (in Jordan’s):
Handful seaweed
½ cabbage, chopped
1 lb. chicken
Rice

1. Add all ingredients except rice and cream cheese to pot and bring to boil. Simmer covered until everything is soft.
2. Add cream cheese. Puree with a hand blender.
3. Add enough rice/quinoa/whole grain to soup to thicken consistency appropriately. Stir regularly until cooked.

Corn Chowder
~I usually double~
1 lb. bacon
8 medium potatoes, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
¼- ½ head cabbage, chopped
4 cups broth
4 cans creamed corn
3 tsp+ salt
1 handful dried seaweed
4 c half and half

Cook bacon and crumble… or cut into smaller pieces and cook. Do not drain. Add everything except half and half. Cook until tender. Add half and half and puree with hand blender. If thickness is needed, add oatmeal to thicken. Do not boil excessively after adding half and half. Test flavor and add salt as needed.

Curried Carrot Soup
1 c. butter
10 c chopped carrots
4 large potatoes, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
¼- ½ head cabbage, chopped
12 c. bone broth
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp+ salt
4 tsp curry powder
1 tsp pepper
1 handful dry seaweed
2 c. whipping cream
Brown rice

Add butter through pepper to a pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Puree with a hand blender. Add uncooked rice, oats, pasta and cook to thicken, stirring regularly. Mix in whipping cream. Test flavor and add salt as needed.

Minestrone

½ cup butter
1 tsp. chopped garlic
4 onions, chopped
4 cups celery, chopped
10 carrots, chopped
8 cups chicken broth (homemade bone broth)
8 cups tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
2 (15 oz.) cans green beans
4 cups baby spinach
6 zucchinis (or other squash), chopped
2 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. basil
Salt and pepper to taste (a lot)
Optional (usually in Jordan’s):
Small handful dried seaweed (for trace vitamins/minerals)
½ cabbage, chopped
1 lb. chicken
Pasta

1. Add everything except pasta into pot and bring to boil. Simmer covered until everything is soft. Puree with a hand blender.
2. Add pasta (usually Orzo for Jordan) – enough to thicken the consistency to preference. Usually 1-2 cups.
3. Optional to top servings with parmesan cheese

Tomato Soup

1 c. butter
4 onions, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
¼- ½ head cabbage, chopped
2 tsp.+ chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
7 (28 oz.) cans chopped tomatoes
6 c bone broth
1 ½ Tbsp dried basil
2+ tsp salt
1 handful seaweed
2 c. whipping cream

Cook everything together except whipping cream. Puree. Add uncooked rice and cook to reach desired thickness (about 2 cups dried?). Cook. Add whipping cream. Test flavor and add salt as needed.

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What I Really Need…

For those of you who don’t know, Jordan is allotted a small wad of cash each year from the department of disability to help with expenses related to his disability. This year we were able to spend roughly HALF of it. Why only half? Because after putting hours and hours of paperwork together (seriously!) – most of the requests were DENIED. I am SO discouraged and AGGRAVATED! about having this aide extended and then redacted…. about being teased and denied repeatedly. ArrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRrgh!

Something needed to be done. So… I wrote yet another request for disability services. This time, I wrote it for one of Jordan’s therapists… the one who has donated a great big pile of time helping write the endless requests. She and I both need a pick me up.

Those of you who have written one of these suckers will appreciate it best. For your viewing pleasure, I give you… What I Really Need:

Joanna is amazing.

Joanna is amazing.

Attn: IFS non-services
Re: Request for IFS funding
Patient Name: Joanna Blanchard
Date of Birth: need to know basis
Date of Evaluation: 9/28/16
Author : Rachel Davis, BCA (Best Client Award)

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to request a unicorn my therapist Joanna Blanchard who has the following diagnoses relevant to this request:
Parenthood, Being a woman, Self Employment, Occupational Therapist, Sons, Sons who pull their own teeth at school

Background and relevant history:

Joanna is a stunning and talented Occupational Therapist located in Clark County. I don’t know where exactly, because she has a driver’s license and tends to go all over the place, but chances are good that she is in Clark County. Unless she wanted to buy something and not pay sales tax. In that case, she’s probably in Portland somewhere.

Joanna has complex and multiple diagnoses related to motherhood, adulthood, wifehood, and general being alive-hood. In addition, her social and sensory development has been permanently altered by her extended immersion in child and autism-related environments. It is unclear whether her development in these areas is heightened, deadened (reduced), or just twisted all turvsy, but bursts of chicken photos surface on social media at frequent intervals. Her husband claims she has good reason and we all like chickens and all, but some of us think she should branch out to other fowl. What’s more, the chicken thing is mild compared to her ridiculously enthusiastic support of all her clients, whom she covers with encouragement and praise for the littlest things. And by clients, I mean her clients’ parents. I personally have been touted as the world’s best mother for making homemade pop tarts. … That one may have been deserved, I guess. I’ll try and think of another example.

Joanna now lives at home (in xxxxxxxxx County!) with her husband and two sons. She attends occupational therapy sessions all day long several days a week besides doing all the mom stuff, going to her sons’ therapy and alternately encouraging 🙂 and ENCOURAGING 🙁 her children’s school teachers.

Recently, Joanna has been tattooing unicorns on herself, doodling with unicorns and being spammed (by her “friends”) with unicorn poop memes. Her entire community is invested in her well-being and we can all see that it’s time for Joanna to have her very own UNICORN.

Request and benefit: A real live, three-dimensional, sparkly, flying-type unicorn is needed for Joanna’s yard and home, so that she can have instant access to the many and varied magical and emotional benefits intrinsic to unicorn ownership.

Specialist report:

This request is medically necessary for the following reasons:
1) It will, or is reasonably expected to, reduce or ameliorate the physical, mental, or developmental effects of an illness, injury, or disability.
And
2) It will assist the individual to achieve or maintain maximum functional capacity in performing daily activities, taking into account both the functional capacity of the individual and those functional capacities that are appropriate for individuals of the same age.

• First, and most obvious benefit to owning a (flying) unicorn is the immediate removal of traffic from Joanna’s life. As we all know and hate giving our lives away to sitting in traffic, it is obvious that this will be a benefit to Joanna’s mental and emotional health as well as save her a (unicorn) crapload of time.
• Unicorns historically have been known to be able to remove toxins and poisons from drinks, so Joanna would, of course, be safe to drink pretty much anything at this point. If she’s lucky and she looks around real hard for the right kind of unicorn, she might also get the calorie-deletion benefit that would allow her all-she-can-drink milkshakes and pumpkin spice lattes without any (cough) repercussions.
• It’s debatable, but different sources cite that unicorns can heal wounds and illnesses… with the touch of their horn, a teardrop, etc. As a mother, this catch-all for any and all childhood boo-boos is definitely awesome. It must be agreed, however, that she be allowed regular sick leave for herself and her family despite never being sick again. TV days and snuggling in sweat pants all day must remain a part of Joanna’s sensory diet.
• I haven’t even touched upon how beneficial the simple presence and appearance of a unicorn in Joanna’s home and yard will be for her well-being. It needn’t be harped upon since I’m sure we all can imagine.
• For more and various uses for unicorns, see the book, 101 Ways to Use a Unicorn, by Rob Pearlman.

Alternate options tried but deemed unequal:
a. Dog (tongue!)
b. Cat (attitude)
c. Chicken (peckishness)
d. Fish (lack of feet)
e. Rhinoceroses (no magical abilities)
f. Etc.

Item specifics:
One or a pair of healthy, immortal, drop-dead gorgeous unicorn(s)
Cost is priceless plus incalculable shipping and handling for a total of the gross national debt. Nobody in government seems concerned about that, so I doubt you will either.
Details for the capturing of a unicorn can be found here: http://www.epochcatcher.com/blog/2015/4/how-and-where-to-find-unicorns
(The article notes that if a fair maiden is not around to attract one, watch for a rainbow and have a pumpkin spice latte handy)

p.s. I strongly suggest you do not google for “how to find a unicorn.” Some people don’t know what that word really means.

Image of unicorn:

Appearance is varied, but below are a few appropriate examples:

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unicorn

unicorn1

Should you have any questions regarding these recommendations, please do not hesitate to call me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this manner.

Sincerely,
Rachel Davis, MRS
Awesome OT Client
(of) Everybody Stims Occupational Therapy

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Catchup Post #4

Lots of videos with this one!

New doggy love.

New doggy love.

Fall birthday party for Maggie (age 7) and Carolyn (age 4). It's a treat to see the cousins all together.

Fall birthday party for Maggie (age 7) and Carolyn (age 4). It’s a treat to see the cousins all together.

Family <3

Family <3

Carolyn and Felicity are two peas in a pod.

Carolyn and Felicity are two peas in a pod.

One of my favorite things about Neal visiting is getting to experience a little live music.

One of my favorite things about Neal visiting is getting to experience a little live music.

Snuggles.

Snuggles.

A story about Benny. Benny came to investigate Jordan who was sitting in the kitchen with me. Jordan investigated Benny in turn by firmly grasping his tail. Benny returned the favor by chewing gently but intently on Jordan’s hand. Jordan let go in surprise after several chews by the dog and even pulled his feet up onto the stool he was sitting on. Benny, unperturbed by Jordan’s tail-pulling abuse, decided he liked Jordan and laid himself down and fell asleep. I love this dog!

After the tail pull.

After the tail pull.

Chocolate, chocolate-chip scones.

Chocolate, chocolate-chip scones.

On our way to the Secret Keeper Girls night!

On our way to the Secret Keeper Girls night!

Mother-daughter... <3 <3

Mother-daughter… <3 <3

OT time!

OT time!

Joanna is amazing.

Joanna is amazing.

<3

<3

Anna has beautiful posture.

Anna has beautiful posture.

Miss Cassie is a wonderful teacher.

Miss Cassie is a wonderful teacher.

Anna has many friends in her class!

Anna has many friends in her class!

The girl in the t-shirt is a teacher's helper.

The girl in the t-shirt is a teacher’s helper.

Strong!

Strong!

Stretching...

Stretching…

Tall!

Tall!

Beautiful

Beautiful

<3

<3

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From the birthday… here is Maggie playing with her birthday gift: a remote controlled car. Her laugh is medicine to all of us!

Jordan and Joanna working together:

The kids and I went to the Buddy Walk together. The bounce house was a hit. Jordan didn’t want to come out!

We got a used treadmill… which Jordan is fascinated in. This is cute and funny… he wishes it was on:

Ballet 1:

Ballet 2:

Ballet 3:

Ballet 4:

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Catching up #3

Here’s another peek into our family… September this time!

A forced smile that makes me laugh and a frame full of capped honey that makes me drool!

A forced smile that makes me laugh and a frame full of capped honey that makes me drool!

Chopping up the honey to drip out through a strainer.

Chopping up the honey to drip out through a strainer.

Almost all cut out! It's so beautiful!

Almost all cut out! It’s so beautiful!

And so delicious!

And so delicious!

All ready for the first day of school!

All ready for the first day of school!

Waiting for the bus.

Waiting for the bus.

Maggie doing her math. That purple inflated, bumpy thing has been great for helping her focus on bookwork.

Maggie doing her math. That purple inflated, bumpy thing has been great for helping her focus on bookwork.

We do school in our pajamas!

We do school in our pajamas!

Fourth grader hard at work.

Fourth grader hard at work.

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See? Pajamas!

See? Pajamas!

Anna is in ballet again this year and I love watching her.

Anna is in ballet again this year and I love watching her.

We said farewell to our sheep this September. We needed fewer outdoor chores.

We said farewell to our sheep this September. We needed fewer outdoor chores.

Carolyn turned four years old!

Carolyn turned four years old!

Watching her open regifted toys from her sisters was the best part.

Watching her open regifted toys from her sisters was the best part.

Video of straining the honey:

Adorable video of Carolyn receiving one of Anna’s stuffed animals as a birthday gift:

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