Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas is fast approaching

Before you know it, Christmas will be here. We have been so busy with school and church activities, Christmas parties, Doctor appointments and after school, run, run. I am ahead this year because presents are wrapped....a few little things to get yet, however not one cookie is made(TOM) I love to cook but really dont like to bake...I dont like to measure anything and that can make for a bad batch of cookies. So Tom is the cookie maker. I am really looking forward to Christmas long as the kids don't fight..ha ha ha. I am looking forward to staying in my pj's, not dropping kids off to school and sleeping in till 8, thats when Sydney prefers to get up. I am hoping for snow sometime when they are off, hot chocolate, movies and a warm fireplace. Basically, I want to be lazy and hang out with the kids. Since I have an easy 1 day a week job (Tuesdays) I am off for 2 wks since Christmas and New Year's Day fall on a Tuesday. Well I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Great Friend, Jennifer Hanks

Hello everyone...a little update on the family. We are all doing wonderful. Sydney is so well adjusted and is a true blessing to our family. The boys are all doing great and are so helpful with Sydney...they are fantastic with her. She is spoiled rotten. Our lives have changed dramatically, and for the better....I have learned a lot about being patient through this adoption adventure and that all good things do come to those of us who wait and trust that God will make things work in his time.

However, I am writing this blog today to recognize a person who I admire dearly, and that is Jennifer Hanks. I met Jennifer over the phone about a year ago when I talked to her about advice on adoption. She has adopted three beautiful children from Guatemala. She and her husband have been so helpful to us throughout our journey. Jennifer is now in the midst of adopting her fourth child, beautiful Sara, an eight year old from Guatemala. Jennifer and her husband Tim already have visited Sara this past fall. As many of you know, adoptions from Guatamala are going through some tough times so this is a very stressful situation for the Hanks family right now.

I would like to say that no matter what Jennifer is going through, she is always more concerned about everyone else. I have never met Jennifer in person, but we talk on the phone, through emails and read each others blogs. In each blog entry I read of hers, she is always praying for friends and families who are going through tough times. She was my strength when I was in Vietnam and things were questionable about bringing Sydney home. Jennifer is so strong in her faith and truly leaves things in God's hands...knowing that the best will happen when it is time. I admire her so much for her patience and strength. Jennifer is a beautiful person, caring and selfless and I try to be like her every day...but fall pretty short. So I am asking anyone who reads this to say a prayer for the Hanks family and pray that Sara will come home soon. It is time for Jennifer to get her miracle....she prays for everyone elses... Thank you for being you Jennifer.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I am a bad blogger. But, yes we have our beautiful baby girl Sydney. We have been home a little over a month and she is such a blessing. Sydney sleeps 11 hrs at night, eats good and is becoming so animated and full of life since we first got her. The boys are in love with her and yes sheis spoiled rotten. I will post some pics and write more is very busy with 4 children. But I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support during our adoption, it was a stressful journey but that seems so long ago already. We are blessed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Get your Visa call

FINALLY...we got the call. Yipee....I am sending our passports for visa's today. Our travel date is expected to be about Sept 29th...we will know more in a week or 2. They have not scheduled the giving and receiving ceremony yet but expect it to be the first week of October. I will write more when I know. we are getting closer.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Change for a child fundraiser

Well its the end of August and it is the end of a three month fundraiser for our adoption through our church. They thought of this fundraiser, "Change for a Child" and have collected"change for the past three months. Today they presented the collection to our family. They had posters up with this poem:

"Change for a Child"

Somewhere in Vietnam there is a child who needs things to change
Somewhere in Vietnam there is a child who is going to see things change.
She will become a sister to Tommy, Alex and Anthony.
She will become a daughter to Tom and Ruth.
And everything will change.
Please save your pocket change and bring it to church the last Sunday in each month this summer.
Let's help the Rally's change a child's life.
Use your change for Change!
"The King will answer them, I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant (they seemed), you did for me."
Matthew 25:40

I thought that this was an awesome idea and am so grateful for everyone who donated time, money and prayers in helping ease the burden of the expenses during this adoption process. We lost count at $840.00...gave up on adding the pennies...but we will bring it to the bank tomorrow. Every little bit of change adds up and I have faith things will work out. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Someone in my yahoo group who got her referral on the same day as we did from the same orphanage got her travel date on Friday. I am so happy for her and I also hope that means that the rest of us get some travel news too.
Have a great Day

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We have come a long way, baby

I have been busy with my Mom lately...she has had some issues with her ankle, they think she may have a stress fracture and we are waiting for results from a bone scan. Recently she has had double vision ( not that her regular vision is very good with macular degeneration ). We went to her eye specialist yesterday and he thinks she had a stroke in her eye (not the same as a regular stroke ) in her third cranial nerve in the eye. It should repair itself but it could take three months. So she is hobbling around with an air cast and is dizzy and seeing double, poor Mom. This has been hard for me...adjusting to health issues for mom....knowing that she is 80 and deteriorating health wise. It is always something I have thought about but really didn't want to face or expect to face so soon. But really is it "so soon", she is 80. Not that she is on her death bed....but little things I she becomes more and more dependent on me for things ( which I gladly do, I am very close to my mom) , however it is sad...her regressing into a child almost...the woman that I looked to for help or advice ...who made me poached eggs on toast and sat by my bed side and patted my arm till I fell asleep (up until I was 14)...who I called everyday when she lived in Florida and she raised 5 children on her own. She was the strong one and now I feel as if she is a child and the tables are turned and I have lost that strong mother in a sense. I do a lot for her and take her out everyday and yet I feel as if I am not doing is hard to divide the time between my three boys, Tom , work, house work and this adoption process. Sometimes I wonder if God planted the adoption seed in my head to help me when Mom is not here anymore. Not that the boys don't keep me busy but the demands of a baby or toddler require more of your attention and time. As I said, I am hoping Mom gets"better" and by no means do I think she is leaving me anytime soon...but these are just some worries I have had on my mind and thought I would write about them.
As far as our adoption is concerned, no news on travel. But recently have thought about this whole process and am amazed at how far we have come. I am remembering all of the paperwork...the trips to Frankfort...reading and rechecking the paperwork and still screwing things up. I remember thinking that this process will never end or that I would never get my I171H in the mail.....that we would never get our referral ...and here we are 7 wks ago we got our referral. The first two weeks after the referral went fast because you are so excited and showing everyone the picture.....then it drags.....more waiting. Hoping to get an updated picture but it does not come, wishing for a speedy travel date every time the phone rings...checking your email 20 times a day. It is a wonder that I get the stuff done around the house that I do. Of course in the midst of all of this you have people asking you constantly about the adoption. "When are you going...did you hear anything new...why can't you just adopt an American much does it cost to adopt." You know people are interested but sometimes you just don't want to talk about it.... The best or maybe worst I have heard is...."Well at least it is easier than having your OWN baby" Well first of all she is My Own baby...I already love her as much as my boys and I only have seen her in a picture. Second of all I had three babies and it was much easier than this whole process..the waiting , the unknown, the endless and mostly ridiculous mounds of paper work, the home study and the financial burden. I only had $20.00 copay to have my boys...And I didn't have to prove that my septic system is working properly or send a picture of every room in my house , or collect three years tax returns etc. etc. etc. There is nothing easy about adoption and or parenting for that matter. I know that going through this has taught me a little about patience (or taught me that I have none). I also have learned that things will happen the way they are supposed to and that things are never as bad as they seem. I am very blessed that I have a healthy family and more than I ever deserved ..a great husband and children. There are so many people out there who are dealing with so many bigger problems and issues in their lives....that it puts our lives into perspective. So I wait patiently (as patiently as I can) and trust that God will help us get through this journey when the time comes. We have come a long way, baby and soon we will be bringing you home.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back to School

Well we are back to our, homework and decent bedtimes. I think the kids are liking school. Our Wednesday night church started up again and we are all doing well. The heat has been a bit too much....I am on the "countdown" for fall. Fall means cooler weather, awesome leaves, pumpkins, candy apples, crisp air and hopefully soon, a trip to Vietnam. I talked to our caseworker a little over a week ago and she feels we should get our travel call by the end of this month...I hope so. But until I get the "call", I won't get my hopes up too much. The waiting is tough but I do know all of this has really moved along much faster than most so I will not complain. Tom has had a lot of stress at work and it has been very busy that I think he is looking forward to this trip more and more just to get a way for a bit. He is looking forward to the adoption, just not the travel part of it. We are pretty well packed for the most part....a few loose ends to tie up and minor paperwork. not much else I can do until we get the official travel date. I have been keeping very busy cleaning the house (spring cleaning in the summer) washing walls, moving furniture , baseboards etc. Tom thinks I am "nesting", maybe he is right. Although I am one of those strange people who loves to clean. I also have been keeping busy with my mom, we cleaned her house too. Her ankle has been hurting her so the Doctor took an x-ray and thinks she may have a stress fracture although he wants a bone scan too make sure. So he ordered her a "boot" air cast thing and it does make it feel better. After the bone scan I guess he may refer her to a specialist depending on the results. I hope it is not anything major because we are likely to be leaving in September and I hate to leave her if she needs help. We will cross that bridge when we get to it. We did hear back from the place that we applied for an adoption grant but unfortunately we were denied. Oh well, we will survive....I am sure there are people out there that needed it more than us, but it sure would of helped. Sorry I am skipping around here... Well , hopefully soon I will have more news and will update then. Until next time....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Kentucky Down Under

No news on the adoption. We have not gotten any updates or new pics yet. Hopefully all will go well for travel in September. In the mean time I have been keeping busy with the boys and my Mom as well as getting some cleaning done. I have not been as energenic with the heat and humity....I LOVE FALL and welcome it....not much of a hot weather person. I took the kids to Kentucky Down Under on Thursday. We had a great time. Alex took his camera he got for his birthday and took some pictures. We got to pet a kangaroo, feed sheep, milk a cow and got to go in a cave. It was pretty nice. I especially enjoyed the cave since it was 60 degees in there. I didn't want to come out. The kids are getting anxious for school and we got their supplies last week. Trying to enjoy the last bit of vacation before our routine sets in. I will keep you posted if anything new and exciting happens.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Its been a while since I have posted anything. We have been so busy. The day after our referral our corrected I 171 H came so that was two great days in a row. We had company, my niece and her boyfriend and new baby girl came to visit. We had a great time and it gave us experience with a newborn. I don't believe she was out of any one's arms the whole time she was here! I have been busy trying to get things ready for our trip to Vietnam....all the little items..meds, diapers, creams, clothes, gifts for the officials etc. No matter how light you pack, it takes up so much room. Anthony helped me pick out the clothes for Sydney...he had to have matching socks for each outfit. I know we won't be going for a while but I want to be prepared because I know I will go into panic mode when we get"THE CALL". Alex had his 11 th birthday on Monday and he is having a party with a few friends today. We went school clothes shopping today...they already got letters from teachers and start back on the 6th of August. Summer is flying by in one way but seems slow when waiting for a travel date. I am growing tired of the heat and humidity...I am more of a cool weather person which should make traveling to Vietnam interesting. Hopefully if we go in September it won't be quite as bad. Well that's all the news I have for now.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


We got our referral today. Our new baby girl is beautiful! She was born on May 19, 2007. Since she is not officially ours yet, I am not posting any pictures at this time. I am so excited I can't think straight. I'll write again when I know more and can take this all in.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

My Mom's 80 th birthday and Vaccines

Its been a while since I have entered anything. We have been very busy. Summer is flying by. Mom had her 80th birthday on June 28th and my brother came from Pittsburgh to surprise her. We had a great time. We had a cookout and had great hot weather to use our pool. We have also been trying to finish up some projects around the house. We always have too many started and not enough finished.

On the adoption referral yet ....I won't speculate either July or August. We did get our vaccines last week ....Japanese Meningitis, Yellow fever, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid...and we get to go back in a week for one more and then 30 days after that for another one. We also got a prescription for malaria pills and Cipro (antibiotic) to bring with us. Tom did great with the shots I had muscle aches and the worst headache for 2 days but I am doing good now.

I did have an issue with the I171 H , apparently I filled out the application wrong (go figure) so for another 200 $ and a new updated form they will fix my mess up. Hopefully it won't take long to get back. It is a quick fix...all they need to do is forward my original application to the Embassy in Vietnam...I apparently did not check the right block when filling out my application. I still don't quite get how that should cost 200$ ....but then there are a lot of frustrating things about this whole adoption process that I just don't get so I can add it to the list. Sherrell from my agency said it was not a big deal and it won't change our referral, so that is somewhat encouraging. I just didn't handle the news well and had a rough week. Tom bought me roses with an "It's a girl" card and balloon attached to them. He wrote some nice things and told me we will get through this. It was very nice. We saw Evan Almighty this weekend and at one point "God" said...."When we ask for patience, God does not just give you patience.....He gives you opportunities to be patient." That really hit home. I have had soooo many opportunities to be I have to really work on it.

Tommy is going to church camp and before you know it the kids will be going back to school...they start back on August 6th this year. Well , that is all for now...until next time.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Officially, all documents are in Vietnam and our I797C is on it's way. Relief. Now a whole new set of worries.... Our adoption agency told us that we should have our referral in about one to 2 mos. That caught me by surprise. She said we are in the next group of 4 families and she actually has a "Batch " of baby referrals on her desk and one is ours. "Batch" is her they are cookies. She has to wait the proper time required by Vietnam before she can send out the referrals. Once we get one , it will be several pictures of our baby girl and a limited medical history/blood work. Our agency recommends having these evaluated by a pediatric physician before we agree to accept that referral. We found a doctor who specializes in international pediatric medicine located in Lexington and she will review the records and also supply us with info, meds etc. for our trip to pick her up. She will be available 24 hrs a day during our trip and gives us cell phone # and Internet access to contact her if any medical question should come up while we are in Vietnam. Once we accept our referral it should be 2-3 mos before we can get her.
Of course this is all speculation and nothing is definite. Just somewhat of a time line that we have been told. We did pick out a name....I'm not sure if I have posted it yet....Sydney Marie Rally....we will insert her given name somewhere...I just don't know it yet.
Until next time......

Friday, June 1, 2007

Vacation Pictures

Little monkeys on the run

I almost forgot, while we were in Animal Kingdom, the boys called..."Mom, Mom....come here...look at these little monkeys." We go over and these 3 little monkeys were standing on the hand rail and in some could have touched them....I am thinking Wow this beats that petting zoo with the goats and sheep. Tommy gets real close to take a picture. All of a sudden a worker comes with a walkie talkie and apparently these moneys escaped from their area which was surrounded by water and they usually don't cross water. The trees by the railing had grown enough and they jumped over. She said .." I'm glad you didn't touch them they have razor sharp teeth and are aggressive. What a fun trip that could have been....getting Rabi shots on our Disney trip. And out of the whole family I would have been the idiot who would try to pet the little monkey ( I didn't)


Hello Again

We have been so busy and we also went on vacation so I have not had time to write. OUR IMMIGRATION APPROVAL FINALLY ARRIVED. I mailed the copy to our agency and she will take care of the rest. All of our other papers have been sent to Vietnam for translation. She will fax a copy of the approval to Vietnam and they will start the translation knowing that they will receive the authenticated copy soon. So ....more waiting. We planned this vacation to Disney and Sanibel island 8 mos. ago before we realized we were going to officially adopt. I am so glad we went...I was worried about the money but we had already paid for the trip or we probably would not have gone considering we are adopting. We had a great time and I am glad we could enjoy it with the boys. Its much harder to travel with a baby. We brought our food into the park and took turns carrying the back pack...(I got stuck with the most) It helped cut down on the expenses. The beach was great ....we rented a beach cottage with our friends from Cape Coral.... Stan and Bonnie and their boys Easton and Everest. We saved that for last to help recover from walking all over Disney. It was a much needed vacation but it is good to be home.

Saturday, May 5, 2007



Not sure where to begin. A couple of weeks ago I took mom and we went to Frankfort to get our adoption documents authenticated by the state. It was a great day and we get to the building and there were a ton of steps. Mom did great. She had to use her inhaler halfway up but I was quite impressed. For those of you who don't know my mom she will be 80 in June and has COPD and uses oxygen at night. Of course we are still waiting for immigration to send the approval letter and I am becoming impatient. People here told me it only took them 2 or 3 weeks to get theirs back, we are going on the 5th week. I sent all of the original copies of our documents to the Vietnam consulate in CA, and they are processing those. I had to send our photo pages , applications for Vietnam, a large check etc. to our adoption agency in MD. I sent it priority mail since it was mainly copies and they guarantee 2 day delivery. My advice to anyone adopting (which I should have known better) NEVER SEND ANYTHING USPS, USE FED EX
!!!!!! The post office in MD has LOST my package. Tracing the package shows it got to the post office.... but not delivered. Its been over a week and well I'm cranky. I had to cancel the 2 checks which cost me 50 $ plus the photos .....I know its not the end of the world but I get discouraged and think..."Maybe its a sign I shouldn't be doing this"....Tom says "no, it's a sign people don't know how to do a job." so tomorrow I will again reprint the photos and wait for the agency to send me new things to fill out and maybe I will fly them there myself. I guess I can try Fed ex. Okay, now that my pity party is over...Good news......We worked hard this week at the church and people donated items for a yard sale in support of our adoption and we had the yard sale today. We raised $600.00 and plan to do one next week too. I had so much help from the church, Stacy and Greg Nunley, Debbie Moore, Vivian, Doris and Vernon, Phil and Joyce Fox, Sam and Ed Tye, LeeAnn Strunk, Cheryl Tinsley, Uncle Hugh and my mom......of course my kids...and Joey that includes you too ...everyone that donated the items as well as anyone I may have forgot to mention....THANK YOU....Everything helps...My candle fundraiser is going on till the 15th of May and then I give up on the fundraisers. It is exhausting and its hard to ask so much of will work out in the end. So, I will try to be optimistic that things happen for a reason and that when bad things happen ...good things can turn out from them. Adoption is just a very stressful thing with loads of paperwork and waiting, waiting, waiting. We have been blessed with three great boys and I know that someday we will be blessed with a wonderful daughter.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Ginger with her new baby

Red, Ely and Buddy

Ginger and her new baby

These are some pictures of our neighbors horses. Ginger just had her baby girl this morning and the kids wanted to take some pictures.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Hello again,
I finally received my passport on Friday. We are just waiting for immigration approval. Our church is sponsoring a big yard sale on May 5th for a "fundraiser" to help the adoption expenses. The congregation is donating items and of course I have a huge amount of yard sale stuff collected already at our house. The kids have collected clothes and old toys from their rooms to donate. We are also going to have a candle fundraiser from the candles I sell and hopefully we can raise some more. A big thank you to my friend Julie Allman who sent me a check recently to put in our "baby" fund. We really appreciate it. The kids and I went to a big consignment sale and got a lot of pretty baby clothes for cheap. 1 and 2 dollar outfits that are in beautiful condition. Not much else new....just keeping up with the boys and soccer schedules. Hopefully my next post will be about immigration approval!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

April Update


A little update about our process. We received Tom's passport in the mail last week and of course mine has not been processed yet....hopefully soon. Our homestudy was sent to immigration so really we are playing the waiting game. If all goes well we should get our approval in about 60 days but that all depends on if the paper work goes smoothly. We just pray that it does. These are pictures of some things my friend Lynn sent that were her daughter's. Thank you Samantha.....our first girly clothes and teddy bear.

Friday, March 23, 2007


These are various pics of our remodeling, our house, the nursery and the dog....These are for you Lynn.....Finally

The only other girl in this house ...KOHL

mural I painted on kitchen wall

Dining room remodel

Kitchen remodel job

Nursery Pics

Nursery pics


The adoption paper chase is still going on. We are waiting for our passports (which should be here around April 9Th ) and for immigration. Our home study should be mailed to immigration within the next week and hopefully things will move smoothly after that. Our friend Vickie who works with Tom gave us a ton of baby things....she is moving and did not want to take them with her. So we had to go get the stuff before she moves. WOW we don't need much...she gave us a crib, car seats, bouncer chair, stroller, an exersaucer, tub, potty, toys, toddler bed etc. So we moved our office to the spare bedroom and started on the nursery....a little early but we had nowhere else to store it. I'm so excited. I did however purchase the crib sheet set from eBay a month ago because I am going with the "cow over the moon theme." Tom had bought me a painting for my birthday a few years ago and it is that theme and I love the painting and wanted to go with it. It is not frilly and pink but the stars I painted on the walls in the nursery are glittery and I think it is fine for a girl. I am posting some of the nursery is a smaller room but good for a nursery, its close to our bedroom. When she gets older she can have a bigger room. The boys played with the toys in the nursery more than they played with the toys they had when they were babies.....go figure.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

March 9,2007
We started our Adoption Fund Raiser today. We are doing a raffle for a $225.00 Gold Canyon Candle basket loaded full of wonderful scents. The drawing will be on March 31, 2007. This will help to offset the adoption expenses. If all goes well, we may have one or 2 more raffles. This will help get rid of some of my candle stock. ( I am a demonstrator for Gold Canyon Candles) We are also going to have a big yard sale at Tom's work to help raise funds and spring clean too!

January 2007

January 2007

We received the home study packet and chose our placement agency. We decided to go with Small Miracles and adopt from Guatemala. We started the home study appointments and sent back our application for Small Miracles. The boys are so excited. Alex wants the crib in his room. I reassured him he would change his mind after a night or two. I have completed the first round of the "Paper Chase."

February 2007

Due to the Governmental problems between Guatemala and the US, we have decided to switch countries...we are now adopting from Vietnam. Unfortunately the travel there is obviously more complicated and lengthy, but we are much more confident there will be less problems.
We are now going with World Child International. Fortunately the switch requires little change and we are moving along smoothly.

March 8, 2007

We have completed our final home study appt. They inspected the house and interviewed the children. It will take about 2 wks and the final draft will be completed and they can forward this last step to Immigration to process. That final process should take 60 days as long as there are no mistakes. Then we can complete our Dossier to be sent to Vietnam. According to the agency, we should be on target to travel in September. I have learned not to count on these things because adoption is never on time. We are awaiting our passports and authenticated marriage license. Those items should be here soon.

Our Vietnam Adoption Adventure

Welcome from the Rally Family. 3-10-07

We have decided, after a couple of years of discussion, to add a new member to our family. We would love to have a little girl and so our adoption adventure begins. I will back track with the dates since we came to this decision at the end of January 2007. This blog will allow me to keep track of the adoption process and be a nice diary for our new daughter.