PK and the Gang

Bringing Eastern Europe to Eastern North Carolina

Archive for the month “August, 2015”

Polish Holidays and a Huge Thank You

I want to start this post with a huge thank you! Our Chrome Buffalo drive ended on Wednesday and Becky and I feel so blessed. Through your generosity, we received $330 through the drive site and with other gifts and donations during the drive we raised another $150! This money will go towards sending our dossier to Poland. Next week, we actually head to Durham to have our fingerprints taken by USCIS which will lead to the last form we need for the dossier. After that, we just have one more (very large) stack of papers to send to get apostilled!

Our Lady of Czestochowa, the Polish Black Madonna

Our Lady of Czestochowa, the Polish Black Madonna

While we are doing our own little celebration because we’ve been so blessed, today is a pretty big holiday in Poland as well. August 15 is a kind of double holiday there – the Feast of the Assumption and Polish Armed Forces Day. The feast of the Assumption celebrates the belief that Mary was taken bodily up into Heaven. The Catholic churches will have special masses today and many people will make the pilgrimage to Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa where Poland’s famous Black Madonna is kept. There are several legends surrounding the icon including that it was originally painted by St. Luke on a tabletop belonging to the Holy Family (though studies point towards it actually being a Byzantine icon) that came to Poland in the 1300s. Another legend surrounds how it got its dark coloring and the scars on Mary’s face. Hussites (a protestant group predating the Reformation and very opposed to icons) stormed the Pauline monastery in 1430, plundering the sanctuary. Among the items stolen was the icon. After putting it in their wagon, the Hussites tried to get away but their horses refused to move. They threw the portrait down to the ground and one of the plunderers drew his sword upon the image and inflicted two deep strikes. When the robber tried to inflict a third strike, he fell to the ground and writhed in agony until his death. Despite past attempts to repair these scars, they had difficulty in covering up those slashes as the painting was done with tempera infused with diluted wax. Another legend states that, as the robber struck the painting twice, the face of the Virgin Mary started to bleed; in a panic, the scared Hussites retreated and left the painting. The painting is still kept as Jasna Gora and many Catholics travel to pay homage the painting.

Today is also Polish Armed Forces Day. It is in honor of the Polish military and a way to remember the victory of the Battle of Warsaw in 1920. During the battle, the largely outnumbered Polish forces held off the invading Red Army, ensuring Polish independence for a time. Many national cemeteries will have a reading of the soldiers who died in battle. Today will also hold a very ceremonious changing of the guard at the Poland’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I’m loving learning more and more of the culture of PK’s home country and want to share it with you all. While we might not celebrate all the Polish holidays when we have PK here, I’m going to have to start making a note of which days I should wear red and white – the Polish colors.

Again, thank you all so much for all of your support and love! Until next time!

Paperwork and T-Shirts

Well, the days tick on and we are slowly but surely making progress. Two weeks ago, we mailed off a few of the documents that we needed to get apostilled and then the I-800A, which will eventually lead to us getting approval from Immigration to bring a child into the country. These forms are starting to make their way back! We have the documents that we need from Connecticut back and two days ago, our FBI checks came back with their apostilles too. The Connecticut documents make both Becky and I happy since they have a big, shiny, gold seal. It just looks official. The FBI pages aren’t nearly as impressive, but what’s important is that they get the job done. While we haven’t heard much back from USCIS and the I-800A, we did receive a letter saying that they got our paperwork and forwarded it to the office in Missouri that processes those. Hopefully, we’ll hear back about our fingerprints before we head to visit Becky’s parents in Connecticut at the end of the month.

The "official" shirt of this fundraiser.

The “official” shirt of this fundraiser.

We’re currently in the middle of our fundraiser with Chrome Buffalo as well. The drive will continue until August 13. This company is awesome. Essentially, they are a husband and wife team who do this because they know from first-hand experience what the cost of adoption is. When they found out that there were some technical issues at the beginning of our drive, they not only fixed the problem but extended the drive by three days to make up for the time. This may sound a bit strange, but Becky and I set a fairly low fundraising goal because we like the company so much. Each drive that meets their goal raises the statistics of the number of successful drives they have facilitated and we wanted to do our part in helping make that number a little higher.

We are so blessed that we have so many family, friends and strangers that have shown us love and helped us already reach that goal of $250. That being said, adoption is expensive and we will certainly welcome and can put to good use any other money that is raised. We often get asked about the cost of the adoption and I know I have laid some of this out before, but when we send all the paperwork that we are currently trudging through to Poland, we have to send over $6000.  After we accept a referral (and, no, we don’t know how long after the papers get to Poland that it will be when we get a referral – we know of families who waited months and even two years), we have two trips to Poland. Each trip requires us to send over $8000 before we travel and then we have the expenses incurred by having to live in a foreign country for about two months. Thank goodness that there’s a good exchange rate between American dollars and Polish złoty (pronounced zwol-teh)! We currently have a good amount of the $6000 and any funds that we raise will go towards that and the other fees.

If you’re moved to help us out, please, know you have our thanks and love. If you want to buy a t-shirt you can click here to purchase shirts until 13 August. Some folks have asked if they can just make a donation and you can find a Paypal donate button in the sidebar or at the bottom of this post. There’s also our JustLove Coffee storefront and it, too, has a link in the sidebar.

Thanks to everyone who has given, asked how things are going or even just sent a prayer in our direction. Becky and I are constantly overwhelmed by just how loved we (including PK) are.

Until next time!

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