Monday, March 31, 2008

Physicals... Check, Check!

Well, just a few more things we can cross off our list on the dossier. We had our physicals done and found out for sure that we don't a bunch of crazy diseases :) Our doctor did write negative for mental illnesses - we put on a great show :) Actually it was quite painless and somewhat enjoyable - our doctor spent a lot of time talking to us - he leads music at our church and it was great to get to know him a little better. We are very thankful as well to have finally found a great doctor since we moved (two years ago)!

Yep, we are pretty close to finishing the dossier - just a few papers left to get together and then all the apostilles - but that's not too bad since we live fairly close to where we get that done.

But all that to say and we still have absolutely NO idea when we will be able to submit our dossier to Ukraine! So we could end up having to do everything again in six months if we haven't submitted by then. Everyone you talk to has a different opinion because it is pretty unpredictable right now... Some say we won't even be able to submit in 2008 - what?!? That would be crazy to think it could be a year before we could bring them home but we knew there are no guarantees going into it. I know all the reasons and the varying causes of these delays, but the bottom line is - it STINKS! These bureaucratic issues affect lives... Oh well, as frustrating as it is, I can't and don't dwell on it - I know that God is in control and that His timing is perfect and that nothing is too hard for Him. So we will do what we can to complete the dossier - regardless if we have to do it again, it will feel amazing to just send that thing to Ukraine and be done with the paper chase. I must confess...I was bragging a bit at the start of gathering my dossier - "oh this is really a piece of cake", "why does everyone say this is so hard?", etc... Well last night I nearly had a fit when I realized that I had to REDO some papers that required driving all over town today :) I am eating those words!!!

Also, please pray for my friend who also hosted with us this Christmas. They very much have wanted to adopt the little girl they hosted and have found out that she is not available at this time. It is uncertain what her situation is and whether she can become 'adoptable'. They want the best for her - it is not about them. Just pray for God to work mightily in this child's life.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Talked to the Girls!

We were able to talk to the girls this morning! They were so precious - they got on the phone and said "Hi, how are you?" Then "I miss you very much" All in English! They are coming along in their English and most importantly are excited about learning and working hard at it - so proud to show us what they have learned. They talked about what they've been doing and are very excited that they have Spring Break this week. They told us "Happy Easter to you" but their Easter is not until April 27th. I wish I could record their voices and our conversations. You can tell Katya is the oldest - she talks more than Nastya - and we know that Nastya is quite the talker! But I guess with the two talking together, Katya takes charge - a typical big sister! Not pushy, just older... It is always good to talk to them and just know that they are okay. On Friday I was feeling especially burdened to pray for them. We hadn't talked in over weeks and for some reason I was concerned.

I was in the midst of praying for them nearly in tears as I was driving down the road and my phone rang. It was a woman who works with the orphanage. She is an American and told me that she is bringing some children over this summer for hosting - for the WHOLE summer! I explained that sounded wonderful and that of course we want them here - especially for the lovely summer months when we enjoy lots of family time and things are less busy than in the school year. BUT the big problem is finances - we are bit tapped out from hosting at Christmas and are trying to save as much as possible toward the costs of adoption. Things are so uncertain about timing for adopting them - it could be as early as October but more likely Christmas or even much later... So impossible to know how things will go because just about everything in this is out of our control. So I told her that we really wanted to but were not sure if we could. She called back a little later and said that she could give us a pretty nice discount since there were two. This woman is personally 'in process' to adopt one of their friends in the same orphanage and so understands where we are coming from. Her organization is small and run by just her and her husband and provides a lot of aid to this particular orphanage.

Anyways, the bottom line is that even with the discount - it is still expensive along with everything else. Can we actually make such a decision based on finances when these girls, whom we hope to make our daughters, could spend the summer bonding with us, learning English, getting much needed dental work done, and just being loved on? Just pray for us that we will be wise about this decision - if it is critical for them to be here this summer, then we want to bring them, but if we need to wait then for the patience to do so. I know that as in each decision in this process, God will direct our steps and will provide for what we need. Just maybe not always what we want! But He knows better that we....

In the meantime, guess what we did this weekend - I mean besides our nieces birthday party and Easter? We got fingerprinted for our 171 approval. That is huge step in getting our paperwork together - now we are just hoping the approval form comes quickly and with no snags in about four weeks. That can often be the most time consuming thing!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Moving Forward and Great Video

Well, we are slowly but surely putting together the dossier. I feel kinda smart to just know all this 'adoption lingo' now - words like dossier, I600-A, homestudy, appostilles, etc... I was clueless just a short time ago. We are almost done with some of the most time-consuming parts of the dossier (the word for the whole packet of papers/documents that must be submitted to the country of adoption). The most time consuming document is the CIS Approval - which after waiting for over six weeks, we are finally going to get fingerprinted in a few days. We have quite a few little documents to get together - which individually don't look like much...but when you put them all together and throw in a few snags for each one... it is quite time consuming and confusing. And to know that if one little mistake is made (like a mispelled name one time) - then the whole thing could be slowed down by months or more...just a little bit of pressure :)

At the same time as we are doing all this, we are hearing worse and worse news from facilitators in Ukraine about the conditions over there for adoptions. Things are just not easy in Ukraine - very unstable, changing constantly, and with different reports from different people. Anyways, more on that later.

On a very positive note, we have had the incredible blessing of being able to talk to Nastya and Katya quite often. It is wonderful to hear their voices! It is kind of crazy to talk to them halfway across the world and in a totally different time zone. We know that this is pretty unusual to have the chance to talk to them regularly and we are very grateful. We had no idea when Nastya left if we would be able to contact her at all. Through an amazing set of circumstances, we made contact with one of her caretakers who is also a translator! She cares deeply for the children and is willing to let us talk to them most every week and translate for us. Nastya sounds good and always very excited to talk. We love her and miss her and have been thankful to get to know Katya quite a bit through talking with her as well. They ask all the time when they can see us again... They are also so excited to talk and tell us about what they are learning in school, what they like to do, what they had for dinner... They tell us that they talk about us and pray for us every night in their beds - which are next to each other. They often discuss the bible classes they have and the missionaries who come on Saturdays. The same person who is translating for us is also giving them extra English lessons each week (in addition to what they already have in school). It is fun to hear them talk in English a little and they think it is hilarious to hear us try to talk in Ukrainian!

They both seem to be a part of our daily conversations and prayers. We are always imagining what they would think about this and we wish they could do that... We did send a package that arrived recently.

Please keep praying that the Lord's will for these precious girls would be done... We know He loves them more than we ever could even imagine and we pray for His hope, salvation, joy, and love to be poured into their lives.

Here's a video on Ukraine that was recently made by an adoptive family in Florida. We have followed her blog for some time. Check it out if you are interested - an amazing story - start at the beginning.

And please watch the video.

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.