Sunday, September 28, 2008

Leavin On A Jet Plane..

...We're ready to go (well almost)...don't know when we'll be back again!

All very true!

We leave the house about 6:00 tomorrow morning - dawn will be breaking...

Today has been a flurry of activity getting things finalized. I hope I'm not forgetting to do anything...

We had our last conversation from the US with Nastya and Katya on Saturday! That was so fun to hear their voices and they asked us to write them letters and to send Uno :) Shhh...we have decided to surprise them rather than telling them that we are coming!! I can't wait to see their faces!

My Dad is doing amazing. Thank you to all who have prayed for him. It is truly a miracle that he is actually just fine. Because they got to him so quickly, very minimal damage was done and besides a few meds and healthy habits - he does not need any surgery. He is home and cleared to work and play golf :) Amazing.

Well, I guess that's it until we are in Ukraine. Wow!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Dad

This morning as I was spending a little qt with Ben - taking a walk and then swinging him on the tree swings - my sister comes racing up to us in her car, jumps out, and says - "Come on now, Dad's having a heart attack." What?!? This happens to other people. This can't be really happening.

My phone was not working - of all times - so she had to come find me. I swooped up Ben, left him with Jason (my brother-in-law), and we raced to the hospital. It turned out that my dad was having some strange symptoms this morning - back pain, jaw pain, nausea, and right shoulder pain. He mentioned this to my mom as he was about to leave for work and she just had an intuition that something serious was going on although at the moment it didn't seem that serious. I mean, we just moved our office and he had been doing a lot of lifting and hanging cabinets - so it would be normal to be a bit sore. But she just felt that he needed to be checked out. She is not usually an alarmist. Well they left for the ER and on the way, things started getting worse and by the time they arrived and hooked him up to the EKG, he was having a full-blown heart attack. They were able to slow it down with meds very quickly and within 45 minutes he was airflighted to an amazing heart hospital in San Antonio. My mom, my sis, and I raced over there and got lost on the way. The fear of the unknown during that time is hard to describe. By the time we arrived, they had already put in a stint and he was SO much better. His color was better and he seemed much calmer. I think they said that he has very minimal damage and at this time does not need surgery, which is just miraculous considering how bad the blockage in a major artery was. Incredible how quickly those stints work - I had no idea. Once the immediate fear was past, I was very intrigued with how it worked.

Praise God that things went as they did. Praise God that my mom listened to the warnings that the Lord sent her. Praise God that my dad was with my mom when this happened. I have seen way too clearly how small differences could have made for very different outcomes. I know that if things had gone different, God would still be good and would still be sovereign and that regardless there is hope and grace... But, I am so very thankful that today, his life was spared, and it was not his time to go to heaven. I will never understand why God allows things to go the way they do in good and bad times, but I will never forget what I once was told. "When you can't understand the hand of God, trust the heart of God." In other words, God is good - all the time.

I also know something else. I love my daddy. I just saw in an instant what a wonderful man he is and what he means to me. He does so much for his wife and his children and his grandchildren. He has used his gifts to create a beautiful haven (well several actually) that bless his family and many others. He has a kind, giving heart. He has a desire to introduce others to Jesus. He has a heart for prayer. He has been such a wonderful mentor and partner to his two son-in-laws. He is a wonderful grandpa who has taught his grandkids countless life lessons and created precious memories of tractor rides, pancakes, golf lessons, Aggie games, swimming lessons, trips around town and oh so much more... My dad is not perfect - but who is? But when you look at his life and the family he has led and the choices that have defined him, you can most definitely see the wonderful man he is. And I'm thankful that he will have more time to enjoy his family and us him. So Dad, don't worry about a thing and just enjoy the beauty around you. God has given you more days and I am thankful for each one. Love you Daddy.

Psalm 91: 12-14
So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
Do return, O LORD; how long will it be?
And be sorry for Your servants.
O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


OCTOBER 2nd 2008








Did I mention excitement?!?

I have felt all those emotions and many more in the past 24 hours. Yes we did find out Monday - it just took a few days to have time to sit down and type this. Praise God that there were no problems with the change of appointment date! We continue to see His hand in this process in so many ways and although this week is a flurry of activity with getting ready to leave and finalizing things here - it has once again been incredible to see how He keeps providing in little and big ways. Things are falling into place that I could not have orchestrated and wonderful people have been so very helpful and supportive. From free antibiotics from our doctor, to an amazing travel agent that saved us lots of money, to the most wonderful family in the whole world, to work things for Zach coming together, to a sweet offer of a coming home shower for the girls, to a vet who was able to squeeze in my sick dog :( yesterday...I could go on and on!

We are leaving next Tuesday morning. We can't wait! At this point I can't wait to climb onto that plane and get out a great book I've been saving and just sit and read for a few hours. I LOVE airplanes and airports. Just booking our airfare was exciting and especially things like connections in Germany and Chicago - super cool! I'm like a kid when it comes to airports. Now, I may be singing a different tune by the end of the long travel but right now I am giddy!!

But also very busy and very sad to leave the kids. Wow the emotions fluctuate from happy to sad in a moment when I think of leaving them. That will definitely be the hardest part. And at night when/if I think of all I still need to do - I get a little stressed. Or like last night when we were replacing a broken stove, my dog that I've had since before children came down with something bad going one with one eye (sunken in all the sudden), to a toilet overflowing in a major way, to having a bit of a cold, to a list 10 miles long - I became a bit stressed for a little while... But you know what - I seriously don't have time to be stressed - if I do I will waste precious time. So no stress for me!! Remind me of that at 11:00 tonight :)

More soon!! Did I happen to say that we're excited!?!?!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Appointment Soon!!!

Wow, the last two days have been hard to not know what was going on! After briefly talking to our facilitator, N, on Monday and discussing the need for a new appointment, I expected to hear from her by Tuesday morning. Well, I heard nothing and when I tried to call the connection was horrible and I couldn't hear her. I was getting a little nervous and second guessing our decision not to jump on a plane, etc. But really that would have been impossible to leave with less than 24 hours notice with three children to prepare childcare for and many other things to wrap up.

So, we agreed that it was the right choice, but still I wondered if maybe something had gone wrong. So finally this morning I called N again and thankfully her phone was working - she had been in an area with no phone and no internet. She explained that all was fine, that she talked with the deputy director of the SDA and that the appointment would be the first week of October. We will not know the exact day until Monday. So while I am anxious to book airfare, I am so relieved to know that it was not a problem to change the date. And now we can get everything ready and head out in about two weeks!!! How incredibly exciting!! Hopefully a firm date on Monday!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sort Of Have A Date...

Well, we got a crazy email today from our facilitator saying that we have an appointment at the SDA on Thursday! Yep, that would be in three days folks. Basically that would mean we would have to leave tomorrow. Not possible of course. Our facilitator realized this and said that she feels very confident that she can change the date to at least two weeks from now. I asked if we could maybe have three weeks since she has to change it anyways, but she is not sure and said to be ready to leave in two weeks... We'll know more tomorrow.

So, I think God must have a sense of humor with this one :) I mean - I wrote yesterday (see post below) that I was trusting Him with whatever date we were given and this is true. Actually, except for a very fast heartrate when I first read the email, I was quite certain that it would work out. I imagined two weeks being the absolute shortest notice that we would have and that even that would be highly unlikely. But now two weeks seems like quite a bit of time when we were looking at one day! If at all possible we would have thrown stuff into a suitcase, found tickets and left. But it just isn't. I'm not sure what happenned for us to be given such short notice but it would be impossible to leave so quickly with three children to get ready, packing, and Zach's work that needs to be wrapped up before he leaves. We hope to hear what is going on tomorrow.

So, if you read this tonight, please be in prayer that our facilitator will be shown favor with her request to change our date tomorrow morning (around midnight or so if you live in Texas) and that the date will be at just the right time. She was not concerned but you just never know (obviously from today's events). We have some other things going on that we can't talk about on here but that makes leaving even more difficult right now. We can't wait to go get the girls but need to get a few things prepared to facilitate a smooth transistion when they come home. Please just pray for the Lord to give us the time we need to do what truly needs to be done and for the wisdom to leave the rest for later. Pray that Zach will have the time to accomplish what needs to be done at work so that he can leave with a peaceful heart.

Hopefully more news tomorrow...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A quick conversation...

We were finally able to call the girls this morning!!! It was shorter than expected because Alla's phone quit working in the middle, but so sweet to talk to them. I didn't realize until today how much English they had learned - we relied on Alla so much less than we had before to communicate, and they actually understood and answered me in English about basic things. It was so wonderful to hear their voices and to just 'reconnect' a bit. It did make me miss them even more though and I wonder if it is the same for them... They asked again when we were coming and again we said we didn't know but that we hoped it would be soon...

Which leads me to some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head... Obviously we have not heard yet about our appointment and I have to confess that I was stressing out a bit last week over when that might be. My emotions have felt torn between not wanting to leave my babies here and needing to get quite a few things done before leaving, to being ready to hop on the first plane and go get the girls. My old controlling, planning nature kicked in, and I began to imagine different timeline scenarios and what would work best and what just wouldn't work at all for the timing of travel (it is a lot of things to arrange to be gone for so long with work for Zach, the kids left with my parents, pets, my office work, and some other big things going on right now).

However, the Lord has once again calmed my anxious heart and showed me it is so silly for me to be thinking like this. I am worrying over something I have absolutely no control and He sees all the details and knows when the right time is. He sees the needs of all of us, of Allee, Jadon, and Ben, of Katya and Nastya, and of circumstances that we may never know. He will provide the time for us to do what we need (although I may have to readjust my thoughts on what that truly is), and He will provide for our needs and our children's needs while we are gone.

Hopefully there will be another update soon...I have been told that we should have travel dates by Monday. We are praying for God to handpick those dates in His perfect wisdom!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Guess the Date!!! (And De-Lurking...)

Okay, we decided to have a little fun during this waiting time... We have been waiting to hear when our SDA appointment in Ukraine will be since we submitted our dossier on August 7th to the SDA. We thought we would hear by now and are starting to get a wee bit impatient. However, it helped that we were very busy with our girls here in August and didn't have much time to dwell on it. It also helps that Kevin and Pam submitted on the same day and haven't heard yet either. I think if it weren't for you guys we would be concerned!! Our facilitator happens to be in the US vacationing and we haven't heard from her for at least a week - hoping for good news soon.

So, in the meantime, leave us a comment with your best guess for when Ukraine will issue us an appointment at the SDA to recieve our referral for the girls. This is the next big step in the process and after we are given that referral, we will go on to the girls' region, accept the refferal and wait for a court date. After court there is a mandatory 10 day wait, during which one or both of us may come home - not sure of the costs of that yet. After that, we have to get a few paperwork things done like medicals and visas I think and then we come home!!!

So, the SDA could be anytime in the next few months - we are told to expect it to be anytime between now (well not for at least a few weeks) and Christmas. We pray that is the case!

And if it's your first time post a comment - just click on the comments tab below and leave a message - pretty easy! We'd love to know who all is reading and appreciate you following our journey!!!

What's your guess?!?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In The Air...

Well the girls are flying across the ocean as I type this. This is the third plane they have been on today and I hope that they are sleeping right now... As I snuggled, talked and prayed with Allee, Jadon, and Benjamin tonight, it seemed so strange to not be giving back scratches to Nastya and reading with Katya. Every so often today, I have seen something as I cleaned my house (which appeared to have been hit by a hurricane :)) that reminded me of a particular moment or I could almost hear their voices calling me in their adorable English/Ukrainian vocabulary.

Our day started long before anyone should be awake. With just a few hours of sleep, after much packing and children who didn't want to go to bed on their last night, we awoke at 4:00 am. We quickly got ready and loaded the car with five sleepy children and a few suitcases. The stars were beautiful :) The girls were upbeat for most of the way to the airport, and thankfully they didn't experience any motion sickness this time. We were all allowed past security so we ate McDonalds and were quite a sight trailing through the airport - bedhead and all!

The girls continued to say that they didn't want to leave and got emotional over insignificant annoyances...but they were sweet and accepting about it at the same time. Finally we had to say our goodbyes and off they headed. Katya hugged me hard and quietly said, "Thank you Momma."

It is hard to comprehend that we just sent the children, who are the daughters of our hearts if not by law, across the world to a place that they don't want to go. I do think that they will be happy to see their friends and caregivers once they get there and we looked at a bunch of pictures last night of their friends to help them get excited. They do have some close relationships with a few friends and adults there and for that we are so thankful.

I don't know - I thought it would be easier this time than at Christmas because we have a clearer picture now of a hopeful future to be reunited soon. But it wasn't -it was harder. I think because my heart is less guarded this time and they truly feel like our daughters. Which, although difficult, is a blessing that God has already begun that process of knitting our hearts together. Amazing what can happen in three weeks! It has flown by but yet seems a lifetime ago that they arrived. Hopefully time will fly before we ee-dee-tu-dee (go to) Ukraine!

So-lod-kee to-bee snueef sweet girls.