Process Update

It’s been an exciting week in my adoption process! My international adoption agency, WACAP, formally approved my home study and my paperwork will be on its way to India very soon!

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What does this mean? What comes next? Well, I’ve already filled out all of my paperwork for I-800A for USCIS, which is a fancy adoption lingo way of saying my paperwork for the US government to determine my eligibility to adopt a child. My agency has all of that paperwork and will be sending it off this week (if they haven’t already). They will also be sending my paperwork to India to be reviewed and registered with CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority). That is typically a 2-4 week process. And then, potentially as soon as the same day that I am registered, I can be OFFICIALLY MATCHED WITH MY BUTTERFLY! I dream of that day and cannot wait until I can tell the world who by baby is! (Well, kind of tell the world…lots of things will still be in place to protect the child’s identity).

I am almost 75% funded. I wrote a check for $7,320 yesterday (the biggest check I have ever written in my life!) for the first round of agency fees. I couldn’t believe (still can hardly believe!) that I had it all in my account already thanks to the immense generosity of friends, family, and total strangers. My sweet butterfly…so many people love you and care about you and are working hard to bring you home to your mama.

Since I can’t share any photos of MY butterfly yet, I leave you with these photos of another child I love with everything in me. God used this child to set this entire process in motion far before adoption ever seriously crossed my mind or my butterfly was even born. I am so in awe.

 

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I’m in awe…

I’ve been behind in updating but only because so many incredible things have been going on! I’ve been working lots of hours and long days…between two jobs, adoption paperwork, and adoption fundraising, I’ve got a lot going on. But I remind myself every day what and who this is all for, and that makes it all worth it.

It has been less than three months since I officially started the adoption process. I had $30,000 to raise and was stepping out COMPLETELY in faith. Going in, fundraising was the scariest part about the process, as raising $30K is no small feat. I had no idea how I was ever going to get there. I spent many nights laying awake in bed, anxious about how I was going to make the next fee, let alone the entire process. Never in my WILDEST DREAMS did I imagine that I would be 2/3 of the way there less than 3 months in, but to my amazement and astonishment, that’s where I am. I have officially hit the $20,000 mark (donations & grants combined). I still can barely believe it and tears well up in my eyes just thinking about it. I dreaded fundraising (still not crazy about it), but honestly, it has been a gift and a privilege to bear witness to the incredibly generosity and kindness of family, friends, and complete strangers. People I haven’t spoken to in years, people who I know are barely making it with what they have yet still find it in their hearts to give, people who I have never met and who I likely never will meet, and anonymous folks I’ll never know the identities of…all working together to help me bring my butterfly home. There’s not a word or phrase to describe how encouraging and heart-warming it has been to bear witness to. It’s truly a gift and I am so unbelievably grateful. Even as I write this, tears of immense joy and gratitude well up in my eyes and roll down my cheeks. I am so thankful.

I intended on updating a little bit more about the process and my preparations for having my butterfly home, but I’m overwhelmed with emotion and it feels right to sit with this immense gratitude and pure amazement at the ways in which God works for right now. I promise that I won’t keep you on the edge of your seats much longer though 🙂

Thank you for walking this journey with me and being a part of my life and the life of my little butterfly. I cannot wait for the day we are united together as a family and he gets to see the huge community he has rallying behind him.

[Note: If you’re interested in helping me raise the remaining $10K, there are lots of options on how you can get involved on the donate page of this blog. Every single gift, large or small, is greatly appreciated.]

 

Community Yard Sale!

I’m excited to announce my first official fundraising event for my adoption: a community yard sale! It will be on July 22nd from 7:00am – 1:00pm at 2670 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd in Durham (right next to Foster’s!). And look, it even has it’s own page on this website now and everything! 🙂

I need your help!

  • De-clutter your home and donate to a great cause: a precious child with EB coming home to his forever family!
    • Drop off locations in Durham, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough or we will arrange pick-up!
    • Email EBadoption@gmail.com to coordinate donations
  • Help me organize logistics and keep my sanity…I’ll be forever grateful!
  • Got a truck? We need your help to transport bigger items! (EBadoption@gmail.com)
  • Bake sale – I’d love to add a bake sale if I can find enough wonderful bakers out there! Shoot me an email if you’re interested!
  • Not local? You can still participate and help! Learn more on the yard sale page

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I have been overwhelmed and overjoyed with the amount of support I’ve received so far, and I know this will be no different. Thank you for helping me to bring my sweet butterfly home!

 

Big goals and overwhelming peace

NEW GOALS!
GOAL 1: TOTAL OF $2,472 by Friday, JUNE 9th
GOAL 2: TOTAL OF $3,332 by Friday, JUNE 16th
(currently at $1,570 as of Sunday, June 4th)

It’s been so incredible to feel everyone’s support and encouragement. People are coming out of the woodwork and blessing me and my butterfly in ways I never would have imagined. Saying that I am so very grateful seems like a huge understatement.

We have two big fees coming up (agency fee and USCIS fee) and therefore two new goals. The amount for each goal is the total number that we aim to see the YouCaring status bar at, but YouCaring is NOT THE ONLY WAY! YouCaring will take a credit card processing fee. You can also donate at paypal.me/dellickeradoption (no fees) or cash or check (contact me for info). Any non-YouCaring donation will be entered on this site as an “offline donation” so this total will still reflect all donations from every source!

This is overwhelming and seems nearly impossible. But today at church I was reminded of the very moment that I felt God speaking to me, telling me that this child would be mine and that He would make the way, that $30,000 was nothing to Him. I will never forget that moment and that feeling of overwhelming peace and provision. Although I don’t always feel that, I know it to be true. Thank you for being a part of the ways in which God is working to bring my butterfly home.

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Daily Life with EB (video!)

Ella is an incredible little girl who LOVES Star Wars, who I got to meet Ella last year at a national EB conference in Texas. The Washington Post did an incredible video on Ella that gives you insight into what daily life with EB looks like for her. I urge you and plead with you to take 5 minutes out of your day to watch it. Maybe even share it with someone else. Ella can’t escape EB, and neither can my little butterfly waiting to be brought home. Most of us can. So perhaps, just for 5 minutes, we can learn a bit more about what a life without escaping EB might look and feel like… Watch Ella’s video now

My butterfly is living with Ella’s same condition, but does so without a mama to be held by and a place to call home. Can you even imagine what Ella’s life would be like if she was in an orphange instead of her loving home with her incredible family?! I don’t even want to imagine it. This is EXACTLY why my exhausting pursuit of adoption is worth it. Why working several jobs is worth it. Why being vulnerable and asking for support and donations is worth it. My butterfly doesn’t deserve to live with EB, let alone live with EB without a family.

If you’d like to help me bring my butterfly home as soon as I possibly can, you can donate via PayPal (no fees deducted) or my YouCaring page (a credit card fee is deducted). Unless you specify to remain anonymous, you can see exactly where you donation goes on the “donate” page of the blog. I am so grateful for your support.

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Ella taking a break from the painful process of removing her bandages in the bathtub

A Promise to My Butterfly

Meet Gabe, a precious little boy who has Junctional EB and is on home hospice care. His dad videoed him talking about what his life could be without EB…

“Maybe I’ll hit home runs next time, or shoot baskets, or score touchdowns,
or do anything…I would rather do anything than have EB.”
[Click Gabe’s photo below to see the whole video and hear all of Gabe’s thoughts. As heartbreaking as it is, let’s honor Gabe in his final days by listening to him and allowing his voice to be heard instead of scrolling by because it’s painful for us to see and hear his pain.]

Gabe

“I would rather do anything than have EB” — those words keep replaying over and over again in my head in Gabe’s sweet voice, a voice that reminds me so much of my Jonah. Oh how much I wish I could take it away from you, Gabe. Since announcing my adoption, countless people have asked me the life expectancy of individuals with EB. That question is almost always followed by something like, “how could you ever adopt a child knowing that you will likely outlive them?” My answer: How could I not? My calling is unique and something that not everyone is cut out for, and that’s ok. And it’s an incredibly difficult and heavy piece of information to carry. Seeing this video of Gabe in his final days really hit me hard, knowing that by adopting a child with EB I am making myself oh so vulnerable to devastating times such as these. So today I am taking some time to myself to pause, reflect, and process. Writing is the best way I know how to do that, so I’ve decided to write a letter – a promise – to my precious butterfly.

To my beautiful butterfly, 

I may not have held you in my arms yet, but I already love you more than I ever thought it was possible to love someone. Your life has not been easy, and you’ll continue to face challenges and battle tremendous pain for the rest of your life. EB is unfair and I would do anything in the world to take it away from you. I would take it upon myself for the rest of my life if it meant giving you even just one day free from the its effects. Although I cannot do that, I can promise you these things…

I promise to give you every opportunity in life that I can. I promise to let you experience everything you can and not set arbitrary limitations on you because of your fragile skin. I promise to always hear your voice, knowing that you know your body better than anyone else. I also promise to parent you, to guide you, to teach you, and even to reprimand you in love, but I promise to keep your best overall well-being as my highest priority. I promise to do my best to not hold you back because of my own fear of you getting hurt. You have known more pain in your short life than most, not only because of your EB but because of your experience as an orphan. Even the best care and love from an institution, organization or even foster home cannot replace the care and love of a true family. You bear the wounds from that loss on your spirit and heart the same way you bear open wounds on your skin. I promise to honor that, to sit with you in it, to hold you, to pray over you, and to love you through it. I’ll want to fix it, but I never want to invalidate your experience and pretend that because you now have a family, that pain has disappeared. It may never disappear, and that’s ok. 

Very few things are certain in life, and you know that better than most. I promise you all of these things, and I also promise you that I will screw up sometimes. I will hurt you and let you down, and it would be unfair of me to promise you that I would not. I am human, as are you, and we will both make mistakes. We will struggle. But we will struggle together. I promise to never leave you or give up on you, no matter how hard things get. We are meant to be together, this I know for certain. I did not choose you any more than a biological mother chooses her child. God has ordained our paths. I promise to cherish every second that we have together – even the hard ones – knowing the value of each passing moment. We will have such a special life together. It may not be “normal”, but it will be ours. We will have each other. I promise to support you and cheer for you, to let you take risks, to hold you when you fall, to care for the wounds of your body and spirit, and to love you with an unrelenting, never-ending love. This is my promise to you, my sweet butterfly, my precious child. 

I’ll love you forever,
Mama

 

 

 

 

 

My story with EB

Most people who know me even just a little know that I am passionate about advocating for individuals with EB and funding research for a cure. Many of those people know about Jonah. But not many know the full story of how God worked to bring Jonah and I together and to change my life forever. I posted this story on my About Me & EB page, but thought I would share it here as well. I get goosebumps every time I think about how many intricate details God coordinated to bring all of this about…

In college I was a a part of a Christian outreach organization to high school students called Young Life. We gathered weekly to pray for the students we served and loved, the community, and the ministry of Young Life and all those involved. I wasn’t able to make it to these prayer gatherings very often, but one week I was and our area director asked us to pray a woman on Young Life staff in a different part of the state, her family, and her newborn baby who was born without skin in several areas of his body. His future was unknown. I remember exactly where I was sitting and where Andrew was standing as he read this prayer request that had been emailed out to the Young Life community. I had no idea at the moment, but my life was forever changed in that moment.

This sweet little baby’s name was Jonah. He was given a 30% chance to see his first birthday. I could not stop thinking about him. About two months after Jonah was born I began to nanny for a family with three children. The youngest, Olivia, was born on the exact same day as Jonah. I held sweet Olivia in my arms and thought of this little boy who was born the very same day but was living such a different life. As I changed Olivia’s diaper, I prayed for Jonah’s diaper and dressing changes. As I fed Olivia, I prayed for Jonah’s feedings (imagine trying to force feed a baby who had blisters and open wounds inside his mouth). As I rocked Olivia to sleep, I prayed for peace and comfort for Jonah. Nothing had EVER been so heavy on my heart and I knew I was called to do something.

Jonah beat the odds. He Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 2.15.35 PMmade it to his first birthday. In fact, he’s celebrated EIGHT birthdays so far! Although it was not the first time I met Jonah, the photo to the left is the first photo I had taken with him. Jonah is a HUGE part of my life now. This past April his mom (now my good friend) Patrice and I directed our 6th Annual Jogging for Jonah fundraiser to raise EB awareness and funds for a cure. I am a member of the Young Leadership Committee of debra of America (the country’s largest nonprofit for EB advocacy and research) and have started my own nonprofit called EB Promise to advocate for orphans who have EB, provide them with life-saving bandages, and unite them with loving adoptive families.

I could go on and on about how Jonah has impacted by life, but it is much shorter to say this: There is only one explanation of why my life has been so impacted by Jonah and EB, and that is Jesus. There is no earthly reason why I should care so much about EB – a disorder that has no direct impact on my life or the lives of any of my family members. But God put EB on my heart and it’s changed the path of my career, my life’s work, and the call on my life. I have known for years that God was calling me to adopt a child with EB, and I’m excited to say that the time has finally come!