Adoption

DAP Appointment time (and the exploration of Kyiv)!

We arrived in Kyiv a little over a day ahead of our government appointment, due to flight schedules and what was available; so, we had a day to kill first and foremost. Though we had a driver available at an hourly rate, we decided to save what we had and venture out on our own to explore downtown, Independence Square and to see how far we could get on the limited Russian we knew. The answer: surprisingly far! Fortunately, we were in a “safe” neighborhood that was close to businesses, restaurants and even an underground mall.

Compared to Guam, the freezing temperatures were truly shocking to the system, but that didn’t stop us from putting in about 7 miles on foot the first day. Our highlight of the day was wandering into a restaurant for lunch that offered a lot of prepared food (like a buffet, but staffed), that you could pick and choose what you wanted — all traditional Ukrainian fare. Our meals came out to about $5 USD total and we had way more than we needed. Everything was delicious too, especially the pelmeni and the borscht! (I really need to learn how to make those!)

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The following morning, I just couldn’t sleep. The moment we had been preparing for was finally upon us, and at last, we were going to learn who was about to come into our lives. We were dressed and ready to go with about three hours to spare for our 9AM pick-up time, so we took time to journal and pray that the Lord was guiding us throughout this process and leading us to whom was supposed to join the family.

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Heading into our DAP appointment!

Finally, the head of the facilitation team we are using picked us up in front of our apartment and took us to our appointment at the Department of Adoption and Child Protection (DAP). We met a few other American families who were scheduled the same morning we were, most of whom were adopting teenagers they had hosted over the holidays prior. We all waited on these faux leather couches in the lobby area, as we saw people walking by with piles of files, and others dealing with walk-in issues (like a protest organized by seniors on the building’s steps outside for greater pension pay). The anticipation and anxiety hung thick in the air until we finally heard the gruff voice point to us and say “You! Come now. Your turn.”

We made our way into a small room where three files were sitting on the table. “This file is a good fit for your family” we heard from the facilitator translating for us. “You may have few minutes to look and make decision.” We looked at the files in front of us, verified their locations (as Steve can’t travel to a couple of the regions, by order of the US Military), and made our decision. When we pointed to the file, the head of the department started reading out the history they had had on them, about their needs and where they are. There was just one little picture of them — arms outstretched, eyes tightly shut and definitely crying. While saying “yes, we want to visit them” was another leap of faith, we knew this was the right path.

Adoption

Flying Across Asia

Hi, there!

So the last few days have been a bit crazy, but I wanted to start catching up on what we haven’t updated on. We will continue chronologically. I apologize if some of these details get a little dull, but I’m trying to write down all the details we can, both for my memory and to share with our little one when they become old enough to hear more of their story.

SO! On the evening of December 2nd, we were picked up by some truly incredible friends of ours (who are watching Dumbledore and Toulouse in our absence) that took us to the airport. While most airports tend to get slow and shut down around 9 or 10PM, our tiny Guam airport isn’t one of them! At 2AM, the airport was packed with tourists heading home, restaurants were busy and there was no room to find seats in the waiting room. Seemingly, we were the only people leaving home as well.

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At the airport in Guam, and ready for the next big adventure!

We took a Korean Air flight to Seoul, and by the time we landed at 7AM, our internal clocks were scrambled enough that we were ready for lunch! Incheon Int Airport is gigantic and we had a beautiful Korean lunch for breakfast. Unfortunately, flying East to West seemed to mean fewer flights so we had a LOT of time to kill during our 7 hour layover.

Now here’s where the fun begins: when we booked our flights to Kyiv, the majority took the route of Guam –> Seoul or Taipei —> Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt –> Kyiv. There was a real steal of a one-way flight, however, that went through Kazakhstan. It involved taking an airline we had never heard of before (Air Astana) and flying through a country we were very unfamiliar with, but the price difference was more than enough to urge us to book that route.

Admittedly, before we traveled, I didn’t know much about Kazakhstan, other than the Kazakhs had a strong tie to horses and that Borat was filmed there. I didn’t have any expectations regarding our two flights on Kazakhstan’s main airline, Air Astana. To us, we just needed to get from point A to point B the cheapest.

I am here today, however, to say that Air Astana offered the best coach flight I’ve ever been on, and if anyone happens to find themselves traveling through Europe to Asia, I highly recommend booking through Air Astana. From the moment we boarded, traditional, peaceful Kazakh music was playing over the speakers. Our seats had more leg room than usual and were donned with goody bags filled with blankets, pillows, slippers, ear buds, shoe bags (while you wore slippers), toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion, and ear plugs. The flight attendants each spoke 5 languages completely fluently (Kazakh, Russian, English, Korean, and Chinese were ones we heard) and seemed to have the social grace of an ambassador. And the food!! For airline food, it was delightful. Hot meal choices of beef stroganoff, turmeric chicken that included fresh salads, desserts, olive plates, etc.

Air Astana was a highlight in our very very long travel day (32 hours, including layovers). While Kazakhstan was experiencing a blizzard at the time we landed and we had to trudge through the snow to get to the terminal, we were left with a very positive initial impression.

Finally, we arrived in Kyiv at about 9:15PM. The passport process and baggage pick up were both a breeze and soon, we found ourselves exiting the airport to see a man waiting with “Ryder” on a sign. Niko became the first introduction to the team we would be working with in Ukraine. He spoke perfect English (and 7 other languages), and ushered us into his car to take us to the apartment we’d be staying in in Kyiv.

On the way, Niko stopped at a 24-hour deli, so we could pick up basic necessities like water, and food. We ended up with a sampling of varenyki (Ukrainian dumplings filled with anything from meat, pickled cabbage, onions, mashed potatoes, and the list goes on).

Apartment buildings (from what we’ve seen so far) can be a little deceptive. The outside may look a little run-down and the entrance may seem slightly scary, but the interior of the two apartments we’ve now been in have been wonderful. Due to the number of people traveling through Kyiv at this time of year, we ended up with a 2-bedroom apartment in Kyiv that was located very close to the Department of Adoption and Child Protection (DAP), where we would have our ministry appointment on Tuesday.

Beds in Ukraine all seem to be rather close to the ground too. Mattresses are firm, a bit like Japanese futons, but are raised 6-8 inches off the ground on platforms. We contacted family and easily fell asleep in our exhaustion from the longest day ever.

(More on Kyiv and our DAP appointment to follow!)

Adoption

The Final Hours

In less than 12 hours, we will be traveling to the airport.

In less than 12 hours, the next phase of the journey begins.

In less than 12 hours, we will begin our final transition into parenthood.

This process has been surreal.  The ups and downs, twists and turns, have been nothing short of breathtaking.  When we started on this journey, we had no idea how we would get to this point.  The financial and logistical obstacles were like a large mountain…scratch that…a completely vertical, 10,000 ft wall.  Nevertheless, we proceeded forward.  With the help of you, our friends and family, we were able to scale that wall.  You provided your support and prayers, and before we knew it, we had grappling hooks, toe spikes and a whole assortment of metaphorical equipment to get where we are today.  We’re on top of that wall now and getting ready to rappel to the other side, and it’s all thanks to you.  Thank you.  From the bottom of our hearts, we could not have done this without you.  You have made the impossible a reality, and we’ll never forget it.

-Steve

Uncategorized

Preparation, Chaos and Excitement

In just 5 days, 5 hours, 59 minutes and 36 seconds, we will be on a plane heading westward to Ukraine.

In just 7 and a half days, we’ll officially be meeting with the Ukrainian government and will know for certain who we’re bringing home.

This countdown is at the forefront of my mind as we scramble to get the last few items checked off our checklist. Have we repacked for the 200th time? Did it take into account the added items (or subtracted items) that learned we needed or didn’t need? Are we prepared for a bitterly cold winter compared to Guam? Have we quadruple checked that all documents are in the binder, and any identifying information is with us? Bills paid ahead of time? Enough cat food and litter for Toulouse and Dumbledore? House deep cleaned and organized? Post office notified? Debriefed at work? Library books returned? The list goes on….

This will be the longest trip that we have taken yet. The idea of 6-10 weeks in a foreign country (for Audrey, at least; less for me) is really quite daunting, especially when the climate is so much colder than what we’ve grown accustomed to. The language and customs are foreign, and we’re a world away from everything we are familiar with. When we’re also traveling “blindly” in regards to our referral, it adds another level of not knowing what or who exactly to be prepared for.

Yet despite the stresses, we cannot help but feel an ever-bubbling sense of excitement. In just over a week, we’ll be receiving the referral for our child. At long last, we’ll be fulfilling what we know to be God’s will for this journey.  But it doesn’t end there.  We know that this is where the hard work truly begins.

To those family and friends that have helped to support us on this journey and have taken this leap of faith with us, thank you. We know this adventure has had more than a number of twists and turns, but we’re finally in the home stretch! Stay tuned for more frequent updates as we get ready to travel!

-Steve

Adoption

WE HAVE TRAVEL DATES!!!

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This week, we received the call that we’ve been waiting for since September: “Your appointment with the Ministry is scheduled for December 5th. You can finally book flights!”

The relief was tangible. Our dossier was accepted (on it’s initial look-over… it’ll be reviewed again after our referral appointment) and we finally have an appointment to meet with the Department of Adoption and the Protection of Children’s Rights, to proceed with the next BIG step of our adoption.

We immediately booked flights (stopping over in Seoul and Almaty, Kazakhstan), and we’ll be arriving later in the evening on December 3rd. As of right now, we are exactly 15 days, 4 hours, 11 minutes and 56 seconds away from flying out of Guam. It feels so surreal.

So what now? We are re-packing our “go bags” for what seems like the 200th time, making sure everything is in order at home, celebrating Thanksgiving in the midst of all of this, and trying to enjoy our last couple months as a family of 2 (and 2 cats) amidst all of the chaos. Steve will be returning to Guam after our appointments and initial meetings with the kids are through, until our court date comes up, and I (Audrey) will be staying in Ukraine during this time. At this point, at least one of us will be in Ukraine for Christmas and our 3rd married anniversary. It’s definitely going to be a bit of weird year as far as holidays are concerned.

And as for the child or children? Who is coming home? Honestly, we don’t know yet! The planner in me is going absolutely crazy, but I know we’re moving in the right direction. We’ve now seen a few profiles and will continue to see several more (including at our ministry appointment, if we aren’t decided before then) until we have a definite direction. While we already feel drawn to one individual already, we’re tentative to not announce anything until we’ve had our ministry appointment and things are a bit more set in stone. At the moment, we are currently leaning towards one to two children, depending on how logistics shake out. The sibling group of four was a very unique situation (detailed in previous posts), but an identical situation is not where we feel led. What we do know is that whoever will be joining our family soon will be the best fits for the family.

And for now, we’ll be racing around, tying up loose ends and getting ready to make our journey across the world!

Adoption

Heartbreak and Hope

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About a week and a half ago, we received a call late at night from our agency. “The four kids you were hoping to adopt… they are no longer available for international adoption.” We were then told that their biological grandparents, who had regularly visited them in the orphanage but hadn’t stepped up to parent them, learned from the PSAs that were issued in local newspapers and in government sites (as well as from the orphanage, itself) that those four were going to be adopted internationally. Legally, until court, extended biological family has the right to step up and parent the child or children (which is right and ethical). In the grandparents’ case, they had the choice to either step up to parent these kids or to lose their ties to their grandchildren complete. They chose to step up. And with that, the kids’ case was subsequently removed from international adoption consideration.

Initially, the feeling was like getting stabbed in the chest multiple times. For months, we had seen these kids as our kids. We had kept tabs on any updates, tracked their progress in the orphanage, and worked tirelessly to get them here. Every photo of them scattered across our house was an instant tear trigger. Their room with four beds, the car with four car seats… it all haunted us of a dream and possibility that wouldn’t come to fruition. The initial pain and grief that I (Audrey) had… can’t even fully be described.

But then, we started to think critically about the situation. Had we done this over, would we have known that the four’s case would end like this? Would we have chosen the same exact path again? As both parents were deceased and these four were such a large group that had been in the orphanage for a while, by the numbers, the odds were well in our favor. In reality, there’s no way we could have known that things were going to change once again.

Our initial anger towards the country also subsided. Ukraine doesn’t pre-match, meaning that your referral (the children’s files) aren’t guaranteed until you’re IN country and through court. While pursuing waiting children, like we did, tends to add more certainty and generally works in people’s favors, there’s no guarantee. This process is different compared to other countries that assign you a match (chosen by the government), which adds considerable time to the adoption process (years even). Despite the uncertainties, I have to agree with Ukraine’s motive. Not pre-matching gives the adoptive family choice in the matter as they can select the child or children they wish to pursue, whether it’s prior to travel or at your appointment with the government. Not pre-matching means that kids can find homes faster, as the government doesn’t have to work on selecting a “match” for a family. And, not pre-matching means that birth family has up until the last minute to choose to parent and gives them the opportunity to keep the child in their birth country, culture and family. It’s far from a perfect process, but I can at least understand that the idea is to keep the most important person in the adoption (the adoptee) at the center for how Ukraine’s adoption program is run.

With that, we began to see this change as the best-case scenario for everyone involved. As beautiful as adoption can be, adoption begins with loss and trauma. While we could argue that we could have possibly provided a better home for those four kids, that’s not what this is about. Because their grandparents chose to get custody, those four kids will not experience the loss of biological family completely. They won’t experience the loss of their bio country and they won’t experience the loss of culture and language. This IS the best case scenario for them. And for us, we never entered into adoption hoping to split up families. We wanted, only, to provide a family for a child or children who didn’t have one at all. For everyone involved, this really was the best case scenario.

Finally, we started to have hope again. We have no regrets loving those four kids as much as we did, and we learned a lot about ourselves in the process. They expanded our idea of who we believed we were capable of parenting. They opened us up to greater possibilities and we learned so much more about their country, the adoption process and orphanages in Ukraine. We are also certain that the child or children that will enter our family soon will truly be the best fits for us.

So with that, we are hopeful for the future. We don’t know exactly where this journey will bring us (though we’ll know soon!), but we know we’re on the right path and heading towards something truly great.

Adoption

Awaiting travel dates! Almost there!

Since our last update, our dossier underwent several checks by various staff at our agency, a few documents were redone as they were expiring, and our dossier was translated, re-notarized in Ukraine and submitted to the Ministry of Social Policy!

Travel dates are a little bit of an adventure. We have a pretty good estimate that we’ll be leaving on our first trip sometime between the end of November or end up December, but our official travel dates will only give us 1-2 weeks of head’s up notice before we need to meet with the Ukrainian government. It’s a little of “Guess what? You’re traveling! In 5 days!”

We’ve been covering our bases so far, in preparation. We’ve been working with a travel agency that specialized in last-minute travel dates (and has dealt with many many overseas adoptions) that will help to bring our travel costs down and help to make certain that we get there on-time. Steve has kept his office abreast of potential timelines and has saved up over a year and a half of leave time (he’s used just one day of leave since he went active duty in March 2016). We’ve also found a wonderful wonderful friend that has agreed to look after our house, our cats and our mail during our time away. And, the packing process has definitely begun to make sure that we’re not leaving anything important behind (like necessary documents, power converters, etc). After all, I (Audrey) will be in Ukraine from the start of this until we can officially come home — that’s 6-9 weeks in a foreign country!

In any regards, it’s getting very exciting!

Also, with more good news: all of the hard work that has been put into the grant process has finally been paying off in our favor. Through this process, we’ve met some truly magnanimous people along the way. Some of these people have come from enormous foundations and others represented smaller family foundations consisting of people that just wanted to promote adoption. We’ve been very fortunate so far and after the months of effort that have gone into grant applications, it’s been quite validating to see some progress there.

So where does that leave us?

As of right now, we currently have enough to pay our foreign program fee (the big one) and get TO Ukraine! YAY! However, we’ll still be working to get HOME from Ukraine and to get the kids’ passports and visas. Our financial gap is closing quickly, but in all honesty, we still could use some help.

How, you might ask?

Well, there are two routes: the first helps in the immediate term (but comes without tax benefits) and the second, in the longer term (and comes with tax benefits). While the first would help a little faster than the second, both would help these kids get home and adjusted.

So, first, we still have a YouCaring page up and running. We can’t thank you enough for helping us get this far and not have to delay timelines due to finances. That link is: https://www.youcaring.com/adoptedryderchildren-731436

Secondly, we have been awarded a $1000 matching grant through God’s Grace Adoption Ministry. This means that up to $1000 is matched by the foundation, granting $2000 total. Additional funds beyond the $1000 matching limit can be donated through GGAM to our fund and will still receive a tax benefit. That link is https://ggam.org/support/families-received-grants/ To follow this link, click on “Help Support a Family’s Adoption” and make sure to choose our name in the drop down menu on the following page.

While we still have a little longer to wait, we’re speeding towards the finish line.  Until then, we’ll be prepping, continuing to apply for further grants, and awaiting the official dates. We can’t wait to share their sweet faces with you all!

For now, enjoy this photo of our “quality control,” testing to make sure that the twins’ beds are up to standard.

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Adoption

The Paper Chase is Finally Over!

The last several months of work culminated in finally sending off our dossier this past week! The paperwork is OUT of our hands and will be received in translated form by Ukraine. Now… we wait for travel dates!

These last few weeks were about as insanely busy as can be. It’s been a race to complete this as quickly as possible, because some of the documents have a 6-month expiration date (until they need to be received by Ukraine’s government), and we were coming up on a few of those quickly. Back and forth and back and forth to the Dept. of Administration and Governor’s complex this past week, getting apostilles and certificates of authentication for each paper was truly tiring. On the bright side though, it was at least within driving distance of home! Fortunately, we hit the deadlines! We’re sending one back-up medical file (the only document we were truly concerned about) this week straight to Ukraine, just in case they have an issue with our current ones. Hopefully, it isn’t needed, but we’ve learned that it’s better to be safe than sorry and run into any more delays.

To be honest, sending off our dossier came with a  mix of emotions. On one hand, we’re trying to get paperwork there as quickly as possible and sending the dossier off was a huge step! On the other hand, it means no longer having any control over the paperwork and it’s a little anxiety-inducing to let go of it! Praying everything reaches its final destination without issue!

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Each of the above apostilles is attached to a notarized packet of pages. And these are only the Guam apostilles!

So what’s next on the docket? We’re preparing our home, our hearts, and our finances for their arrival! We should be hearing back from several grants shortly and hoping that a few of those come through. We’re also going to continue to actively fundraise, especially as we received news that we can only have one international layover coming back to the States. Since the shorter route home has no less than two international layovers, we need to take the long way around the world (approx 17,000 miles of traveling) across two oceans to get home. Ouch!!!

Stay tuned for future updates! We’re one BIG step closer to having the Ryder family together!

Adoption

One Step Closer! Now what?

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This past Friday, we got in touch with USCIS (immigration), who informed us that our packet had been reviewed and as of July 19th, we have officially been APPROVED!! The official (and final) paperwork will be arriving within a few days.

This was a huge hurdle that we’ve been waiting on for almost two months and we’re so excited to have the final pages coming together.

So now what? What’s next?

Now, we’re double, triple and quadruple checking each and every piece of paper, making certain that every notarization is up to snuff and every document is perfect. Finally,  we can get the last lot of documents apostilled.

In the next couple of weeks, we will officially be submitting our finalized dossier to Ukraine. All of the work that has gone into these last several months will be compiled together, in one box, and get shipped off. The feeling is both exciting and a bit anxiety-inducing.

Currently, due to the new anti-corruption committee that was put in place this year, the timeline from dossier submission to travel has been extended from about 6 weeks to roughly three months. At this rate, we will likely be traveling around the beginning of November.

Until we travel, we’re working on grant writing and fundraising, as we can see a bit of a looming wall of bills ahead. Hoping to have these kids home by Christmas!

Adoption

An Interesting Turn of Events

Since we began our journey to adopt back in December, we’ve learned that a lot that this process has been a lesson in faith. When we heard the Lord’s call to adopt, we selfishly wanted what assumed would be easiest. We were hoping we would get the healthiest, youngest children available because we assumed that the healthiest and youngest would somehow be better fits in our family than any alternative. This plan seemed to work in our favor, as the first “match” we pursued was a little boy just under the age of 1 year. He was beautiful. While he had a few special needs listed, that gut feeling hit us with the force of a speeding truck. This is our son.

This feeling helped to sustain us and empower us as we proceeded through the home study process. At that time, we were approved to pursue two children. We opened our mind to the idea that the second child (while statistically more likely to be a boy) could also be a girl. We trusted that the second match was out there and we were willing to enter into it blindly and wait until the very end (at our meeting with the Ministry in Ukraine) to make a decision. When we were shown pictures and offered little A, a boy about a month older than M, it seemed like it could be a good fit. They were close in age. “A” only had a couple of listed needs on his health profile that made him a logical choice for our family. But admittedly, we didn’t get that same punch-in-the-gut feeling. I assumed that my love for him would grow over time, and we put pictures of both of them in frames and around the house to help our hearts and minds prepare for the changes that would develop. Yet even still, A just didn’t feel like OUR son.

In the end, we didn’t want either of them to be a second-best fit in our family, and chose not to accept “A’s” match. We trusted that there was still another little one out there that we would know from the very beginning that they were meant to be ours too.

By the strangest turn of events, I saw a video listing of a boy (N) that was aging out of the “baby house,” where kids under the age of 5-7 (depending on the orphanage) reside. He had the cutest little voice and most earnest expression that our hearts couldn’t help but melt a little. While we weren’t certain if he was meant to be ours, we reached out to the person who was  referenced as the point of contact to ask for more information. We had mentioned that we were in the process of adopting two children and were home study approved for two. When she asked if we had already been pursuing another and asked to see their picture, we sent her M’s picture.

“[M’s name here]!” she exclaimed! “I know him!! Did they tell you he has siblings?

The air felt stagnant. In that moment, you could have heard a pin drop. The feeling of sheer shock hung thick in the air. Siblings…? Multiple siblings??

We came to find out that M’s three biological siblings resided in the same orphanage with him, but they were legally separated due to a differentiation in special needs. M’s special needs were greater than those of his siblings, so he was legally separated from them in order to be more adoptable, while his siblings stayed part of a set. His file, alone, was sent to our agency and as many orphans often have siblings that they’ve never met, our agency assumed that little M must have had siblings that were either already adopted, far older, or in another orphanage.

In reality, his older brother (H), aged 2, had a crib that was side-by-side with M’s. His fraternal twin sisters (S and H), aged 4, were in a different group for older kids in the same orphanage, but the staff members tried to get them together every now and then. There was even a video shoot of all four of them in the hope that they could, one day, be adopted all together. The more we dug to get more information, the more we found out. We saw their official Ukrainian profiles with the government, videos and photos of them shot by various Ukrainian charities, and photos from an American-based charity that works with orphans in Ukraine.

It is thanks to our new friend, a very kind woman who works with the aforementioned American-based charity, that dedicated so much of her time to help us. She was able to direct us towards resources, answers and offer assistance every step of the way. We owe her so much in helping us get our family together!

Before immediately jumping to conclusions and making snap decisions, we looked at the feasibility. COULD we take on four kids? Could we give each of them the proper care, attention and education that they need? How would we balance time, finances, and our future goals?

We took some time to think and get over the initial shock of the news. When you believe that your future son is an only child for four whole months, it really is surprising to find out that he is the youngest of FOUR. But after this initial surprise left us, we began to smile.

Looking back on the beginning of this, we fell completely in love with this little boy. Had we known that he was one of four a year ago, I not certain that we could have gotten over that initial shock and jumped off that cliff at the beginning of our adoption journey. It would have just been so new and so out of our comfort zone. But instead, by the time we learned of M’s older siblings, our hearts had already been prepped and softened. We had already discussed going back in the future and for older kids with more severe needs. Looking at each of M’s siblings, we were able to look at  them and think “Yes… that is our child.” That punched-in-the-gut feeling was there too.

As of now, our home study has been updated and published to reflect the approval for up to four children. We worked and met the additional standards needed to bring in two more children. We sent off our immigration paperwork with our updated home study and are on the cusp of receiving immigration approval… for four orphaned siblings.

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These kids have already endured more than most of us ever will, and yet, they continue to be so resilient and still so hopeful. We’ve been blessed to have spoken with a family who was recently at the kids’ orphanage. They met the girls and spoke of how they stood out as two of the sweetest kids they saw on their seven-week trip in Ukraine.

We know the road ahead will be filled with many challenges and bumps. The process to bring four children home isn’t easy, and the road after that won’t be a piece of cake either. Fortunately, we are preparing and setting up structures in place to help everyone get adjusted — ourselves included.

Our new goal is to get all the kids home by Christmas. We pray that this is a possibility and are praying for the safety and security of these four until we arrive. Sorry to surprise you all! The journey of adoption always comes with many twists and turns and this is pretty big twist! But we’re so SO excited to be their parents, and so SO excited to get them home.

Thank you so much, family and friends, for sticking by us this far. We can’t wait to show you these precious kids! Miss S, Miss H, Mister H and Mister M will all be Ryders soon.*

*Note: full names cannot be posted publicly, so please bear with us as we must resort to using initials. With two of our kids having names that will start with “H,” we’ll be using “Mister” and “Miss” to refer to whom we’re speaking about. Again, please bear with us. This is part of our contract and is to protect our kids’ identities until the adoption is finalized.