Saturday, October 18, 2014

It's Almost Time!!!

Brian arrived safely in Laird-Michael's home country on Friday evening. He has spent two days in the capital city and will be traveling by bus tomorrow to Laird-Michael's hometown. He has enjoyed his time in the city and took a walk today to check it out. He enjoyed some corn and turkey pizza on his walk for lunch. Weird, huh? He stopped by a convenience store to check it out and bought some chips (sour cream and dill) and a beer ("because it had a soccer ball on the can!")

Today, another Reece's Rainbow landed and arrived at the hotel. Brian was glad to have some American company. They had dinner together at the hotel restaurant. Will you pray that Scott gets his luggage?? It was lost on the way over. Air France has promised it to be delivered tomorrow, but both Brian and Scott leave tomorrow - for the same region and the same hotel! We are hoping they can get Scott's luggage to him before he goes.

Brian meets his translator tomorrow at noon and they will walk to the bus station. The trip is about 6 hours long and puts him in town around 18-19:00. Please pray for a safe bus trip through the mountains for Brian and a safe car trip for Scott. They will meet back up in region and, I think, be heading to the same orphanage each day. I'm glad they both have someone there for a few days.

Also tomorrow, my good friend is flying in to town to help me with Sterling this week. I am so grateful and so blessed to have help. Sterling will be getting a ride to and from school. He's been really sick with croup and a sinus infection so we have been trying to lay low. He is on all kinds of meds and hopefully will feel much better tomorrow!

I would post pics and add so much more detail, but I'm running on 4 hours of sleep from a croupy boy and my energy level is shot after dealing with his emotional little self today. The pediatrician prescribed steroids (our first time with them) and I didn't realize they would turn him into an emotional wreck. As soon as I get more information from Brian, I will update! I don't expect to hear anything until tomorrow afternoon or evening.

On Monday morning, Brian will get up and will meet his translator in the hotel lobby. Together they will walk to the orphanage to meet with the orphanage director at 09:30. (That's 02:30 EST - I'll be asleep dreaming of this meeting.) That means that when I wake up on Monday, we should have NEW PICTURES of my newest little love. I CANNOT WAIT!!! I am so excited.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

And he's off!!!

Brian's flight left tonight at 20:00. It is currently 21:00 so he's been in the air for an hour. I'm assuming they will begin wheeling dinner and/or snacks and drinks around very soon.

For those not in the know, I am a very anxious traveler. I'm just not cut out for planes. I find them intriguing. I enjoy watching planes take off and land. I enjoy airports. I hate flying. Phobically hate flying... So today was very rough on me - even though I'm not the one on the plane. Putting my other half on a plane was just as hard as if it were me onboard.

Brian, however, is very excited to be headed back to Europe and he's excited to be getting a new passport stamp. He will have one up on me. He is also excited to meet up with a fellow adopting dad who will be in region with him. He should be able to do some fantastic sightseeing (the Black Sea!) as well. Hopefully we get fantastic pictures of the area that Laird-Michael calls home and also fabulous pictures of our little lovey.

Brian's flight lands between 05:00-06:00 my time (EST) so by the time I wake up he will be in Europe. He will have a five hour layover in Germany and then he will continue on his way landing in the beautiful city of S______ around mid-day my time tomorrow.

I have prayed. We prayed through text before take-off.  Sterling and I prayed at bedtime. When I wake up my husband will be delivered safely to Germany. And then, on Monday I will have new pictures of our littlest son. How exciting!!

Also today, I began to get the stage 2 part of our dossier started. I mailed off our i800 and i864w forms. I got my fingerprint cards done (we already have one for Brian - everyone is saying we need two but I am going to call courier services and see if any of them will accept one since he isn't here,) and I got the ball rolling on our medical forms. That is everything for dossier stage 2. Of course, it all needs to be apostilled and then sent over to Europe. Hopefully these things get turned around quickly so we have some sort of movement before the Holiday shutdowns on both continents. I would be ECSTATIC if our little one was home before Easter.

I promise to try to be diligent with the blog while Brian is away to keep everyone up to date. He has promised to send pictures and daily synopses and information for me to write blog material with. I know that a lot of you are just as excited as we are!

We hope you will join us on this 10 day trip!

*Please forgive typos and grammar errors. I am beyond ready for sleep!*

Tuesday, October 7, 2014



Today we got our travel dates! The agency asked us if we could travel this weekend. That is definitely not enough time for us. So, we agreed on October 18th through 25th. Brian will take this first trip and he is actually leaving October 16th. He will fly to Frankfurt and then onto our boy's home country. He will be heading back stateside on October 27th. We built in an added day on each end because the flights were cheaper (MUCH) on the weekdays instead of the weekends even with the cost of hotel factored in.

This news came so fast! We just got our written yesterday and have been over the moon excited about that. I honestly did not expect to hear dates until later this week or early next week. And, we didn't expect to travel until around Halloween. This means we are moving with some serious speed. We have already booked Brian's ticket and luckily, I have an amazing friend who is going to help me out while Brian is gone.

This means we have NINE days to get Brian prepped and packed. I cannot wait to have new pictures of our little love!!! This is very real now. We would appreciate prayers for safe travel for Brian and for peace here at home while he is gone. I've never been without him that long and I know we both with miss him. :(

If you feel led to donate you can donate to our Reece's Rainbow FSP here:

As soon as we get any additional information - I will post it!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Exciting News, Big Decisions, and Frustrating Situations

Interesting blog title, yes?

Exciting news: We got our written referral today!!! This is very exciting. I suspect we will have our travel dates here within the next week. Typically, with our NGO (non-governmental organization) families travel 3-4 weeks from the written referral. This means we will likely be travelling the last week of October or the first week of November. Which is kind of what we have been thinking all along. It could happen sooner though! We just have to wait and see. The crazy thing is - when you hit the point of nearly time to travel - it all becomes so real. The nerves, the stress, and the anticipation just hit you like a brick. We've been waiting for the "Written Referral" email excitedly. But, now that it is here, I've been an anxious mess all day. All the what ifs and the what nows start creeping into your mind and you start to wonder if you're really ready. All normal. Having done this once - I know that. But it doesn't stop the range of emotions from tackling you like 300 pound defensive lineman. Adoption is hard work and it is not for the faint of heart. On another note, we have decided on a middle name. Our Little Man's name will be Laird-Michael Dimitrov Hinz. We love his current middle name and we love the tie to his home country - so we are keeping it. We think it sounds fantastic with his name as well.

Big decisions: The million dollar question is, "Who is making the trip to Europe?" In the beginning it was Brian. Then, recently, it was going to be me. But we had some news in the form of an offer from a very close friend today that may have pushed the envelope back to Brian. So, as of tonight, we think Brian is going. There are so many factors that play into this decision that we did not have to worry about with Sterling's adoption. Things like getting Sterling to school and swim practice. The fact that his school is on the complete opposite town from my (Erin's) school and the same side of town as Brian's school increases our challenges. FMLA and paid time off are also playing huge roles as well as possible dates for his coming home trip and availability of help. It really isn't an easy decision. It's a HUGE decision. In some ways we both want to go. We both want to experience his home country. We both want to meet him. We both want to hold him. But for other reasons, neither of us want to go. Report card time is coming up, I (Erin) hate flying (PHOBIC,) Brian teaches college two nights a week as well. So, this decision has not come easily and there are still some factors floating out there that are important to this decision making process and we need to get those ironed out before we have a definitive. As soon as we know, for sure, we will keep you posted. Regardless of who goes, expect lots of pictures.

Frustrating situations: So, when we started on this journey we KNEW we would have to fundraise some. We had the money for the first agency payment and we knew we could get the last agency payment. We weren't overly concerned about travel, but that might be a factor down the road. What we knew we would need help with was the middle agency payment. We set up a GoFundMe account to help with that. Well, we went to withdraw that money tonight and we discovered that there is an 8% fee associated that we didn't know about. I swear we researched it. But their advertising is a little tricky. We read it again tonight and we still think it's worded in a rather tricky fashion. In short, it's our fault. We are losing almost $500 of fundraised money due to the fees. We can still make the agency fee. But losing that money really is a punch in the gut that we were not expecting. It's infuriating actually. So, if you are a family in process, stay away from GoFundMe. Lesson learned. Like I said, it is totally our fault, and it did give us the option we needed to have access to that money NOW (when the second payment is due), but beware. We would have figured something else out. For now, the GoFundMe Page is going to be shut down and all further donations can go straight to Reece's Rainbow:

All in all, things are moving really quickly. I really cannot complain. This process has been SO DIFFERENT from the Ukrainian process. Not harder. Not easier. Just different. It's LONGER. That is for sure. But, we are actually moving at a REALLY fast pace. Just so I have record somewhere, this is what our timeline has looked like so far. This will be Greek to some of you, but some of you will appreciate seeing this all typed out.

May 1: Officially Matched
June 16: USCIS Lockbox Date
July 11: USCIS Biometrics Done
July 25: USCIS Approval
August 13: Apostilled USCIS Approval Shipped
September 19: IAC Meeting
September 23: Verbal Referral
October 7: Written Referral

We are super excited to get to meet/see/photograph our littlest man. We cannot wait to share his information with you as we get it. We are not allowed to publicly disclose his country of origin but we will post pictures as we can so that you can see the gorgeous city that he lives in. Whoever goes will work on disseminating information to the other so that we can have a blog up and running while the trip is in progress. We might run on a one day delay, but we will try our best to keep you informed. Keep in mind that this is the FIRST trip. Laird-Michael is NOT coming home yet. He likely won't be home until March or April. This trip is very hard because after meeting your little, you have to leave them there. Then, in the months between all of the legal stuff occurs and you go back for your second, or 'pick up', trip.

Thanks for all of the support and well-wishes, the pixie dust and prayers, and the listening ears and loving hearts. We really do appreciate it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Things Are Starting to Come Together

OK! The ball has finally begun to roll.

Last Tuesday, September 23rd, we were informed that our dossier was accepted and that we were given a verbal referral by the governmental adoption committee. This is very exciting news. But, what does it mean?

Well, now that we have our verbal referral we should receive our written referral, our legal document allowing us to come meet our littlest, within about three weeks time. Once we receive the written referral, we will be given travel dates. These travel dates are a little flexible - but hopefully they will work fine.

Brian and I are trying to decide who will go to Europe and who will stay behind. The funny thing is neither of us really wants to go. But, we have very different reasons. For me, it is because of the plane. I am horrified of flying. I will fly when I have to. I have flown to London, Germany, Ukraine, and California in the past three years; I just don't enjoy it one bit. Even medicated, it's not something I like (or that I am particularly 'good' at.) I am a ridiculously anxious flyer. Brian, on the other hand, doesn't hate flying. His desire to stay has more to do with the day to day logistics of our family life. He takes the Peanut Butter to school and picks him up because their schools are close to each other. He also takes him to swim lessons because those are on the same side of town. That is all on the East side. I, inconveniently enough, work on the West side. And we live in the middle. This means if I stay and Brian goes, we have to figure out how to get PB to school the entire time he's gone. We can skip swim for a few weeks. There are so many other factors that will impact the decision, including FMLA time, hours of paid vs. unpaid leave, etc. But for now, who is travelling is up in the air. I don't mean to sound so negative. We would both love to see a new part of Europe. It's just very scary for me to get on a plane and Brian loves analyzing what is best for all involved. I would be very excited to see our littlest's home. So, right now we are just trying to work out what is best for our little family and how to make it happen.

Another thing Brian and I have been trying to narrow down is this little guy's name. We know his first name. His name is Laird-Michael. With a hyphen. I keep getting asked, "What will you call him?" We will call him by his name. Laird-Michael is what we will call him. His whole first name has significance. We cannot say that we won't ever call him Laird by itself. However, that is not currently the plan. The middle name, however, has been the toss up. I think we've finally decided that we are going to keep his current middle name for a couple of reasons. First, it sounds great with his first name. And second, we really want to keep that tie to his home country. We were going to keep PB's name as his middle name; but, we decided to name him in honor of someone before we left for Ukraine. This time, we feel pretty strongly about keeping LM's culture intact. So, this little guy's name will be Laird-Michael Dimitrov Hinz. Pretty cool name!

So, here we sit waiting for a written referral. Hopefully it will come towards the end of next week. We could be travelling as early as the last week in October. It might be the first week in November. But, we expect it to be somewhere in there. This means that if I go, I will get to meet our little man before his and my birthday. When we received his old medical file, we found out that Laird-Michael shares my birthday. That was a pretty awesome sign. :)

We have started to look at pricing for airfare and hotel/food/travel in country. Let me tell you, it is not pretty. Brian and I are trying to problem solve through that one. A lot of our larger donations have been through Reece's Rainbow and we are so blessed to have had that number go up. Thanks to all of you who have made it happen. The catch is, we won't have access to that money until AFTER the first trip. So, now we are on a hunt and a brainstorming session to pay for first trip travel expenses. If you'd like to help with immediate travel expenses you can donate to our Go Fund Me page here:

That is a Hinz57 Ketchup post. I know there is a lot of random information in there but that is exactly what the adoption process is like right now! Hope you stick around to meet our littlest love.

(On a side note, comments for the blog are turned off. It is here for your reading pleasure only.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fall Update

Well, summer was a mad rush of paperwork hunting and waiting for government forms and apostilles. We finished up our dossier and sent the majority of it to the agency in mid-July. Then, all we had to do was wait for our USCIS approval. As soon as that came in the beginning of August we shipped that off to Tallahassee and awaited for the golden apostille to return so that we could call our dossier done.

As far as I know, our entire dossier is complete and waiting in country to be submitted. I really thought we would be submitted this week, but we were not. As soon as we get submitted the real waiting begins. Once we are submitted, the government will review our documents and issue us a travel date. I am guessing travel will take place in late October or Early November. This will be the first trip. During this trip, Brian will go to B and meet Laird-Michael. He will accept the referral formally and get to spend time with our little man. This trip lasts about 2 weeks. The hardest part of the trip will be leaving our boy there until it is time for the pick-up trip.

Unfortunately, there is not much to share. Hague adoptions are a long and slow process. As soon as we are submitted we will let you know! So exciting to be getting so close.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A BIG Update!

Wow it has been busy around here!

Brian, Sterling, and I are all winding down the school year. We made it through our state testing weeks and things are starting to wrap up and wind down. We have 11 days of school remaining and they are BUSY!
On top of that, Sterling and Brian were both sick with sinus infections and between all of that and Mother's Day - I am just getting around to updating the blog. Hopefully, I will have a lot more time to update over the summer.

We have BIG NEWS! We have a name picked out. Our newest little man's name will be Laird-Michael. We have had a lot of inquiries about the name choice. First, we both love the name Laird. We had a short list with 4 names on it: Anson, Archer, Laird, and Lincoln. Brian and I both crossed one off the list. Brian nixed Lincoln. I removed Archer. That left us Anson and Laird. In the end, we went with Laird. Our original intention was to use Michael as a middle name. However, Laird felt too short when coupled with Sterling so we decided to go for the hyphenated first name. Thus, Laird-Michael was the final decision. Michael has been a long standing middle name and was supposed to be Sterling's middle name before we changed it to Patrick. Michael comes from a long list of Michaels that are very special to us. Mike Shewchuck, Mike Hill, Mike Wiles, and Saint Michael. We are still working on a middle name - although we have it narrowed down - we are not ready to share it just yet.

We have MORE BIG NEWS! We were officially matched with our littlest man through the EE government through which we are adopting. This means that he is officially on hold for us and no one else can adopt him. It also means we have a mere 6 months to get our act together and get our dossier overseas. This should be no problem. We have nearly EVERY piece of our dossier except the BIG 3. The homestudy is NEARLY finished, I think our SW is just putting the finishing touches on it and then she should be mailing us our copies. Once we have that we can apply for our i800A from USCIS (I'd REALLY like to get that in the mail ASAP.) And I still need to send off our fingerprints to the FBI Channeling service so we can get those back too. Our HOPE and PRAYER is that our dossier is COMPLETE and ready to be shipped to EE by August. IF this happens, Brian should be able to make first trip Oct/Nov and then pick up trip would be Feb/March.
We are REALLY hoping to get this ball rolling. There is nothing (besides FBI stuff) that is left in our court. Everything else is waiting on the homestudy to get into our hands. So please pray she gets that done THIS WEEK!

As soon as we know more - or make some progress - I will update! Thank you for your continued love and support!!!