The Adoption Journey of Chris and Lydia Bischoff
Category Archives: Join us in the adventure!

Four Weeks and Counting

by Lydia

Four weeks from right now, I should be in Latvia, for the LAST trip needed to finalize our adoption!!! We are all anxious and very ready to have this process completed! Chis and I have been working on this adoption for 14 months now, and the girls have been home for nearly 3 1/2 months. It’s an odd feeling, knowing they’re home, but it’s not really finished yet. Limbo is not a fun place to live.

But, 5 weeks from now we should already be on our return flight, probably in Houston going through immigration, waiting for the officer to slam his stamp on their passports and say, “Welcome Home.” :-)

And this part of the process will be finished!

But before we go, we have some things to take care of. Namely, we’re still raising money for the trip. We’re about $5785 shy of what we need… which when you think about it, it’s really amazing…. we started this journey needing about $40,000… and we’re down to just $5785?! God is so good!

We do have some fundraisers going on right now, and I’m embarrassed to say that one of then ends tomorrow (Tuesday)! (I just have not been able to get on here to update you! Grr!) But here’s the information!

This is a perfect time to get your early Christmas shopping started, and help us with our LAST trip to Latvia for our adoption! We have 2 opportunities for you right now. Pick your favorite, or shop both! And it’s all online! How does this help us? Both consultants are donating their profits to our Adoption Fund! Get your shopping done and help us at the same time!

1. Scentsy: What scents make your home feel like the holidays? Evergreen? Cinnamon? Cloves? Cider? Caramel? (My favorite scent right now is coconut lemongrass!) Do you love having candles but hate the smoke, the soot and worry about the flames? Here’s your answer! Scentsy has a wide range of scented wax and warming dishes. (Elegant, themed, and even wall plug-ins!) Today (Monday) there are some great deals going on, including some $5 plug-ins, which are so cute!!!!!

Go to https://trunyan.scentsy.us/Scentsy/ then, at the top you’ll see a place to choose the Bischoff Adoption Party! How simple? (Order buy October 15 – yes, tomorrow) Thank you for your help, Tanya!

2. Tastefully Simple: Is easy, yummy food more you style? Got a party you need to take some food to, but you’re just not the creative type? Do you enjoy cooking but really just want something easy to make for dinner? Do you wish someone could meal plan for you and make sure you’ve got all you need, and include the simple recipes? Then you need to check this out! Beverages, breads, sauces, desserts, dips, soups, just to name a few things available! There’s even some yummy looking gluten free mixes available! Everything I’ve tried from Tastefully Simple has been delicious. Why not give it a try? Thank you, Katerina, for your help!

Getting hungry? Head to www.tastefullysimple.com/web/kbarnett Fill up your virtual shoppung cart, and head to checkout. At the bottom right hand corner you can choose the host by searching for my name. Easy-peasy. (Order by November 2)

So there you go! Get some great scents for your home (and car and office and…) and plan your holiday menu at the same time! And help us finish our adoption! It’s a win/win! Also, everything can be shipped anywhere in the country!

If you have any questions, please let me know! (If you’re local to me, I have scent samples for Scentsy, so contact me!)

(And, as always, you can go to our page at the top and make a donation via PayPal! :-) )


Our First Week

by Lydia

Just one week ago we met these amazing girls. They were so shy and reserved. That first day we were out and about and A was too shy even to tell me she needed the restroom. Now, just a week later, they ask, even beg, for things (ok, more like intense requesting than begging… “Can we have popcorn, please, please, please?!”). A is quick to point out every ice cream truck in sight during our daily walks. N is also voicing her opinion, and both girls are opening up little by little.

We were all talking the other day about how we’ve only been together for one week. Even the girls were surprised by the short amount of time, declaring, “it feels like at least 3 weeks, or maybe a month!”

We go walking each day to get out of the apartment. Recently, we’ve started buying cheap bread and going to the park to feed the birds & ducks. We’ve done a bit of shopping, and also found a park with a swing set. A could swing for hours. This is a great find. “Finding Nemo” and speaking “whale” have become common occurrences in our home and through this we’ve found that the girls are hilarious! They make jokes in English and their English is growing each day. They even speak to each other in English. We all 4 are speaking both languages (sometimes in the same sentence) and I think that has helped a lot.

Skip Bo, Uno, Up Words, and Monopoly have all found their place in our living room. We have also finished a beautiful puzzle of Riga. (Ok, we all helped N do the puzzle. She’s so fast! All 1000 pieces were done in 4 days!)

Stories. Lots of stories. They’ve begun to open up and tell us more about their background and we have done the same. I’m so thankful they brought some photo albums with them. Their foster mom was great about taking pictures and keeping albums for each girl, so we get to see pictures of them when they were very little. Very rare thing in most cases.

Both girls have started to pray at meals and/or at bedtime. Hugs and whispers of “I love you” are plentiful. Last night A told us she will tell the court “yes”, that she wants to live with us in America. She said, “It’s time. It’s time for us to be a family.” Melt my heart. N said she still has time to think & decide, which is true, but her excitement over A’s declaration was a pretty good clue as to which way she’s leaning.

Two more weeks until court and 16 days til we get to start our trek home. We’ve started a countdown, and showed the girls their plane tickets. I think we’re all almost ready to come home and start our new life together.


A New Thing

by Lydia

There is no way to summarize this day. There is so much that I could say but a book would not cover this day.

The girls are here. In fact, they are sleeping in the next room. We met them barely 12 hours ago, life before them is like a foggy dream.

Some highlights:
*Meeting their foster family of 6 foster kids and 2 foster parents who love all of these children dearly.
*Foster Mom crying when we gave her a gift to thank her for raising the girls.
*Lunch at a restaurant and trying to discover what they like to eat.
*Court- I never imagined that I would cry telling the judge how badly I wanted the girls to stay with us
*Holding A’s hand walking through the streets of Riga.
*N speaks English very well, but A has been shy… but once they got going, there is no stopping them, in either language.
*Playing Latvian Monopoly together.
*Looking at pictures together while sharing the stories behind them.
*N telling us that her foster sister said that she and A were so lucky to have a Mom & Dad.
*Praying with the girls before bed and not only getting a hug from each of thern, but a kiss from A.
* A million looks and smiles that mean so much.

Our hearts our full and we are so blessed. Thank you for being part of this journey.


On the Verge of Something Great

by Lydia

Our time in Latvia has been wondedful so far. Honestly, at times it has been easy to forget why we are here. It’s just so normal for us to be in Latvia! We have had the privilege to see a number of our friends here, and do some touristy things, including eating some amazing food! But today was a good reminder as to why we are really here.

This morning we went to an interview with the girls’ social worker. We thought we were going to be interviewed but, in fact, they were expecting to answer our questions! So, we sat in a tiny office, with no windows, on an 85° day, and thought of everything we wanted to know about the girls that noone had told us yet. We learned so much today, the most exciting being that the girls know that we are coming and they have said that they are ready to be adopted!

This evening we also moved out of our friend’s house that we were staying in, and have moved to an apartment in Old Town Riga. We’re in a great location and are enjoying our time here already.

Tomorrow morning we will meet our lawyer and we will travel about 2 hours east to the girls’
foster home to meet them and then bring them back to Riga with us. We are so very excited, and nervous, but we can’t wait. We should be meeting them around 10:00am ( 2:00 am Texas time ).

Thank you to everyone for your prayers & support. We couldn’t do this without you.

Also, please understand that we will not be sharing details about the girls’ past in our blog. We want to honor them & protect their privacy.

( We’ll try to post more pictures tomorrow. :-)  )


Overwhlemed and Thoroughly Blessed

by Chris

Custom made cake in the shape of Latvia with the colors of the Latvian flag… from someone we don’t even know!

This entire journey of adopting our children has been a step-by-step matter of faith. So many people say they would like to adopt but don’t have the money. Well, let me tell you, we don’t either. We are not those people who have $50,000 saved in the bank, or those that have big ticket “toys” that they can sell. No, we are the ones who lived paycheck to paycheck, counted our pennies and felt we were living well when we could go out to dinner. One year ago we were living on one paycheck… mine… that of a secretary in a school district that hadn’t given raises for a while. Our “good car” was a very loved 1997 Jeep that the paint was flaking off of. (The “other car,” well, we won’t talk about it except to say that no air conditioning is brutal in 100F summers in Texas… we know this from experience.) We were both still in school, and we were living in an apartment that we could only afford with the help of school loans, but anything cheaper we didn’t feel very safe in.

And then everything changed.

We tried to justify why we shouldn’t host 2 orphans for the summer. It made no sense, for all of the reasons above, and more. The more we fought it, the less successful we were. So, we gave in and said “yes.” We would bring a brother and sister from Latvia into our home for the summer. Our hope was that it would lead to adoption, but for now, it was just for 5 weeks.

In a matter of weeks, our lives were turned upside down. Before the kids even got here, Chris was offered a job, and he wasn’t even looking. And it was more than double what I made. I was suddenly able to stay home for the whole time the kids were here. And the $6000 that we needed to raise to host them… not a problem. It all came in, be it from our measly savings account, mega-garage sales, t-shirt sales, or generous friends.

But, a few weeks into our hosting experience we realized that this was not going well. We realized that these two children were just not the ones for our family. In the end, dear friends of ours stepped up and asked if they could adopt them. We were thrilled. Those 2 children are now home in the USA and starting to settle into their new lives.

So, we started over. And the Lord led us to a picture of two precious sisters. And everything we’ve done for the last 9 months has been to bring them home.

  • Thousands of dollars, reams of paper, and weeks of work spent on applications and our home-study.
  • Police clearances from 6 states and 1 foreign country
  • Physicals, tests, and numerous papers to be notarized by our doctor
  • Piles of paperwork sent to Austin to be apostilled (something like an international notary)
  • Fingerprinted 3 times (one of which was denied for Lydia and had to be redone… in Dallas, of course)
  • Countless FedEx envelopes crisscrossing the country
  • Fundraising forever! T-shirts, garage sales, “$2 for 2 girls on 2/22″, and donations from super generous friends and strangers!
  • (Did I mention we also bought our first house in the mean time??)

It has been quite a journey. In April we found out that the girls had agreed to meet us and we were indeed traveling to Latvia! Extreme excitement, extreme panic as we had so much money still to raise. (And a remodel project to finish… which is being discussed in my upstairs as I write.)

Chris and Ryan grilling up the rollers and sliders.

But today was another amazing fundraiser, another amazing outpouring of love from our church. With just 11 days to go before we get on a plane to meet our kids, our church hosted “The Bischoff Bake-off & BBQ”! Burgers and hot dogs on the grill, a ton of goodies for a bake sale. The shining moment was auctioning off some of the prime baked goods (including a cheesecake I made), as well as the Elders and Admin team for the church. I’m proud to announce that my cheesecake brought in the highest bid, going for $350!

Our church auction

Our church auction

Before the sale started we were about $3300 shy of what we needed for this trip. Our little church of maybe 80 on a Sunday morning poured out their love all over us and two girls they’ve never met. The final tally for the day was $4346.81! We are so blessed and overwhelmed with their love and generosity! God is so good!

As today closes, we are a mere 10 days away from getting on a plane to meet our girls, fully funded (for this stage), and abundantly loved. To everyone who has bought a cookie, made a $2 donation, donated or bought something at our garage sales, or wears a t-shirt exclaiming that “He sets the lonely into families”… Thank you.


Announcing…

by Chris

Adoption Announcement 2013

Check out some of the other adoption photos we took!


Holding Pattern

by Lydia

Holding pattern describes out adoption journey quite well right now. You know how you’re getting ready to land at your final airport, and the pilot starts circling the airport? You can see it, but for now you’re stuck just going around and around. Yeah, that’s us.

We found out about 1 1/2 weeks ago that I will have have to go back to Dallas and have my fingerprints redone. I guess Immigration wasn’t able to get a good read on my prints, so they scheduled me to go back again for a second try. Argh! And, you can’t really just walk in and do them. You have to have an appointment. So, we’re in a holding pattern until March 27 when I will go and try again. Please pray that they can read them this time!

This has been a huge hold up for us. The rest of our documents are already in L@tvia and should all be translated by now. So, it’s just sitting there, waiting for this one clearance, and then it can go to court for L@tvia to approve us to adopt. After that, it will take another 4-8 weeks to get our referral (or to be “matched up” with the kids). We’ll then get our travel dates which could come with as little as 2 weeks notice, but possibly 4 weeks.

That means we have a pretty good chance of traveling sometime in June. It’s much later than we had hoped, but, well, it is what it is. As long as we get to go at some point (soon), I’m doing my best to be patient. :-)

In the meantime, we’re trying to prepare on this end. We’re keeping busy with preparing our house, buying some things for the girls (we have nothing for kids, really), reading about adoption, praying, and fundraising.

On that note, a huge thank you to everyone who participated in $2 for 2 on 2/22! At the end of the event our cumulative total was, no joke, $2,222! How fun is that? Since then we received a few more donations and are now 29% funded ($3770)! We have almost reached our anticipated budget for plane tickets, which is super exciting! We are so thankful for you and to the Lord for the provision for this adoption. There is no way we could do this on our own.

If you would like to help us out and be a part of giving these two precious girls a forever family, you can make a donation through PayPal (use the link on this page), or if you would like a tax deduction, let us know and I can give you information on how you can do that.

Bless you & thank you so much!


2 on 2/22 for 2!

by Lydia

Good morning! It’s 2 on 2/22 for 2! We’re asking you to consider helping our adoption with just $2 today (or, is that 2day?) on 2/22 for 2 amazing young girls! Suggestions for finding $2 include… in the center console of your car, under your couch cushions, in the vent trap of the dryer, or floating around in the bottom of your purse. So, go to www.paypal.com to donate your $2! Send it to the address lydiabischoff (at) gmail (dot) com. (If you mark it as a gift, no fees will be taken out and we’ll receive the whole $2!) You do *not* have to have a paypal account to do this, just a visa or master card… and it’s available to most countries around the world, so all of our international friends, you’re included in the challenge! (And yes, you are free to give $2 for each girl if you want to. :-) )

Our dossier is in Latvia right now and in the process of being translated! The one thing we don’t want to happen is for the process to be held up because we don’t have the funds. We appreciate your interest in this adventure! So join with us and let’s get these girls home!


Yard Sale Success!

by Lydia

Yesterday we held a yard sale at our dear friends’ house to help raise money for hosting/adoption. It was a blast and a success! We had a good amount of items donated to sell and a beautiful day to have it.

We advertised it as an adoption fundraiser, so we had people asking questions about it, which is great, because we got to share our story. One lady was there with *her* adopted daughter and started crying when I told her what we were doing. After we talked, she asked me how much her items totaled. I told her $3. She said, “Well, you’re getting $20. God bless you.” A number of people gave more than we asked and the bartering was easier when we said, “Well, you know, this is a fundraiser to adopt 2 precious girls from Eastern Europe. (Pulling out my phone) Do you want to see their picture?” :-)

And we had a ton of fun, too. We had two Clone Trooper helmets for sale. When things started slowing down in the early afternoon, Chris and our friend Ryan put them on and sat by the curb on a couch that was “On Hold.” Later I told them they should go down the street to the main intersection with the last “Yard Sale” sign we had. They did… and we suddenly had people coming by and telling us that the Clone Troopers directed them! Hey, whatever works, right?! :-)

In the end I think we made $768. Not bad, at all. This morning our church surprised and blessed us by matching our earnings with another $800. Wow. And, our awesome pastor announced that an offering would be taken for our hosting/adoption on Orphan Sunday (in 2 weeks)! We are so blessed! This is in addition to an anonymous $100 donation at church. All I know is God will provide for what He has asked us to do.

And, there’s still time! If you’d like to pitch in to make a life-changing difference in the lives of 2 amazing girls, you can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking HERE, or if you’d prefer to write a check, you can make it out to:

New Horizons For Children
3950 Cobb Pkwy, Suite 708
Acworth, GA 30101

Please include a note that it is for Chris and Lydia Bischoff.

Thank you!!


New Hosting/Adoption T-Shirts for the 2012 Holiday Season!

by Chris

We’ve got some great new designs for this holiday season, and like last time, all of the sales proceeds will go directly to helping us host and hopefully adopt our girls!!

I’m excited to introduce our new online store where you can easily pre-order your shirts today!

http://chrisandlydia.net/shopping/

Thank you so much for joining us on this journey!


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