Saturday, January 29, 2011

Paperwork and More Paperwork

As is the case every time that Kevin and I prepare to leave the country, there are all kinds of papers that must be updated and printed off for the baby-sitters: daily routine, rules of the house and medication schedules, for example. Then there are the temporary guardianship papers to fill out (times 6) and the will to be updated as well. Honestly, I'm kind of proud of myself for starting nearly two weeks in advance rather than the usual last-minute (yes, I have hand-written a will on the way to the airport before.)

Besides all these, I've been working on Caleb's 3rd annual report for the Ukrainian consulate in San Francisco. This involves compiling a bunch of pictures taken in the last year (I usually get very carried away on this requirement-10 pages of photos so far!) as well as filling out a four-page form: biographical info, medical updates, personality, new accomplishments, eating and sleeping habits; likes and dislikes; interaction with immediate family; acceptance by extended family; additional comments. I love bragging on his progress but it all takes time.

And I've been working on our on-line income taxes as well--whenever we get a tax document in the mail or email, I've been plugging its info into the right spot in the tax program

Just tonight I created a masterpiece. It is simply a Word document called "notes to self." Whenever I think of something that pertains to our trip, I've started jotting it down on that page. My usual tendency is to write these important tidbits on whatever scrap of writing surface I can find close by (back of envelope, front of notebook, , blank deposit slip, even palm of my hand) and then the priceless papers get misplaced or I dare to wash my hands--and I'm in trouble. But surely I shouldn't be able to lose the entire computer!!

It's 2:03 am. I have had way too many of these late, late nights. I've got to get some sleep.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A REALLY Cool Progression of Verbs

This morning I was re-visiting part of my Bible-reading for yesterday and these words from Exodus 3:7-10 (in the well-known story of Moses and the burning bush) jumped out at me. "The LORD says: I have seen the misery. . . I have heard them crying. . .I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them . . . . So now, go, I am sending you."

Of course, if you know me, you know I am looking at this in context of orphan care ministry and I am teary-eyed. It's like God is saying to me, "I see each one of those 145+ million orphans. I see those who cannot walk, caged in their cribs within stark orphanage walls, hidden away from the eyes and consciences of the societies around them. I see filthy,ragged children huddled for warmth around water pipes under city streets. I see the less-than-perfect ones abandoned to die in the garbage heaps. I see the confused, calloused "cases" who have been bounced from one foster placement to another. I truly see their misery."

I believe God is saying something like this to me: I hear their crying. Their loud wails of loneliness, grief and abandonment. Their insistent, angry, frightened, pain-filled sobs against their abusers. Their weakening, barely-audible whimpers from persistent hunger. Even their silent, voiceless cries when they've totally given up all hope of ever having anyone respond to their needs. Maybe no other ear on your entire planet is attuned, but I--from my heavenly throne where I am eternally and rightfully surrounded by glory and adoration and beauty and abundance and perfection-- I truly hear their cries.

I can almost hear God saying, "I am concerned about their suffering. It bothers me deeply. It totally breaks my heart. I earnestly, infinitely care. I am not isolated or insulated from what is going on. In fact, I care so much that I am going to come down and rescue them through YOU."

So God is calling his people. Who's in?

Another Donation

Let this be a warning to ya'll: There's a mysterious person- -or perhaps a whole gang of such people--who keep secretly donating to our family's adoption grant through Reece's Rainbow!! Be on the lookout for these daring hombres--they strike without giving any advance warning whatsoever and apparently in broad daylight to boot! If you should catch them in the act, would you firmly detain them so they can be properly . . . . thanked.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Childcare and Packing and visits

Hey, these are important parts of our adoption journey!! Between speaking with one lady at church yesterday and another in town today, I think we have the child-care aspect of our trip covered. The lady at church uses the same virtual school for her boys and has agreed to let James stay with her family for a week so he can continue his schooling. The other lady is a foster mom and a developmental tech and a friend of the family--she will do great with our other kids. It is such a relief to know our children will be in good hands.

And today I actually got out a suitcase and put a few things into it: warm things (thermals, gloves, hand/foot warmers, wool socks) and toys (baby doll, bottles, Polly Pockets, Magnadoodle) to play with during our visits with Abby.

I'm nervous about these visits. It's hard enough trying to build a relationship with a complete stranger-- but when that stranger is 9, speaks another language and you are on HER turf and very possibly being observed during every rather long visit for 5 days --yep, I'm nervous. I well remember the difficulties of visiting with Caleb and Steven. I am expecting it to be even harder with Abby because of her age. One thing that MIGHT be in our favor -- she might have a longer attention span and may be able to do more complex activities. It's harder than one might think to keep a child entertained for a prolonged period of time when communication is so limited and when she probably doesn't really know HOW to play with toys.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Probably only moms will understand how glad I am to have checked off the following 4 accomplishments from my mental "to do" list this weekend: Christmas stuff sorted and put back in the closet; socks matched (except, of course, for ALL the ones with no mates); hallway bathroom cleaned-even shined the mirror; checkbook balanced with bank statement.

Of course, more eternally significant was the sweet presence of the Lord in the service this morning led by our Youth group.

Could you who read this please read the very sweet note on my last post from a lady I don't even know who is helping to get the word out about our adoption. Perhaps you could bless her by visiting her blog as well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We have our plane tickets

Well, e-tickets, anyway!! It is so exciting to actually have the dates, times and even the requested seats on 4 of the 6 flights. This time I just booked using Travelocity on the internet. We have been so pleased with the services of Golden Rule in the past. This time, however--unlike our highly-unpredictable trips to Ukraine-- with the dates for our flights being quite set there didn't seem to be any need for the extra expense of refundable tickets. Yes, I know, there are a couple people who have been delayed even in Abby's birth-country (by that bizarre volcano in Iceland) I for one am sincerely hoping that there will be a severe lack of seismic activity while we are out of town.

I'm not so tickled that both departure and return flights require this kiddo to get up way before my alarm clock usually squeals. There was one possible flight that allowed a much more leisurely departure but it only showed thirty-something minutes between flights in Germany. Ack!! There was another that gave 7 hours in Germany and the thought of a little touristing was sparking my attention. However, a fellow adoptive-Mom (who DID take advantage of an 11-hour stopover to do some sight-seeing in that fair land) reminded me that it took her quite awhile to get OUT of the airport in the first place AND that a person is supposed to check in 3 hours before their next international flight. So . . . I guess I will have to be happy with just wandering around the airport shops.

Finally I wanted to share the sweet words of one of my sweet friends when I announced we'd be meeting Abby on Feb 14: The best news of the morning Joy!! A Valentine's day meeting with the little girl who holds your heart in her hands. :o)" Isn't that a wonderful way to say it!!

$305--Thank you so much

I just want to thank whoever donated to our adoption grant with Reece's Rainbow. That is so majorly encouraging.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Great News! Travel Dates! and Birthday Pictures

Hi Joy,

I have the answer already :)!!! Please, go ahead and book and pay for your
tickets! It is already arranged - our visits with Abby will be Mon.,
Feb.14 through Fri., Feb.18. You will be arriving on the 12th and
departing on the 19th.

I will be the one making the hotel arrangements for both you and me. After
I make them I'll let you know if you will need a credit card or cash. Most
of the hotels would accept credit cards but P. is a real small town
so I am not sure if they would. They might want cash. Anyway, I will let
you know next week.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Too Much to Post

There have just been too many BIG things going on around here since Family Christmas Dinner at our house. And yes, our Christmas Tree is still up even though many of our Nativity figures throughout the dining room and living room have toppled over.

For one thing, Kevin's Dad passed away on January 5. I was so grateful we had seen him right before Christmas and again on New Year's Day. Even though his death was expected, it still hit me harder than I'd thought. My heart remains very heavy about it and there is an internal exhaustion that is hard to explain. We had his funeral at our local church on January 11. Kevin did such a good job sharing memories and I related some as well. It was bitterly cold that day--like around 5 degrees F. The air felt just like ice. Maybe in the future I'll post what we had to say. Thankfully, all of Kevin's siblings were able to be there.

Another stressor is that I am James' home learning coach and the end of our semester is Jan 20 . . . so we are truly working our tails off trying to get to the mandated 24-25% in ALL subjects by that day. (We started late in the year or else we'd have to be at least 40%) Because Idaho Virtual Academy is still a public school we have to meet all the state regulations--just like anyone in a brick and mortar building.

Happy stress is planning for a trip to Eastern Europe in less than 4 weeks--made a little trickier by the fact that my husband is largely unavailable for the next 2 of those weeks. If you remind me, I'll explain that better a little later. Also made trickier by the fact that our main baby-sitter is due to have her firstborn here very shortly so will not be available to care for our kiddies as we'd planned many months ago when we started this adoption process. Hey, there was a time we had to prepare for Ukraine in 5 days so 4 weeks shouldn't be that hard, right??

And THEN Jan 18 is a big day in my life because someone I know well will meet the half-century mark on that day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Verbal referral at last!!

Yeah!!! Today Toni from Abby's birth-country emailed saying we have received verbal referral from the Ministry of Justice there. Exact travel dates are yet to be confirmed but we are possibly looking at mid-February!! I am so excited as you can probably tell. This first trip lasts approximately a week and involves us visiting with our new daughter daily for 5 days and then having to leave her behind for a few months until the legal processes necessary both here in the U.S. and there in Eastern Europe are complete.

We're coming Abby!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rats! The Ministry of Justice in Abby's country did not meet again today. This makes at least the 3rd Friday in a row that they have not met (holidays). But our in-country facilitator says they ARE supposed to meet next week. Remember that our dossier was submitted to them back on Dec 17. Under normal circumstances I believe they would have probably issued our verbal referral for Abby the next week. If I understand the process correctly, once the verbal referral is given, the adopting family and the facilitator start working on travel dates. We really ARE getting close.

Oh, how I hate waiting. I know I have never mentioned that before. (yeah, right!) I guess God knows that I need practice with patience. Isn't there a Bible verse that says something like "when patience has done its perfect work, you will be ___ (I can't remember the word) and complete, not lacking anything." Obviously, this is an area that remains greatly lacking.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Amazing Vacation Opportunity

My friend Candice and her husband are taking off on January 24 to adopt two cuties from Eastern Europe and are fund-raising like crazy. They are conducting a give-away for a week in a lovely condo on a beautiful beach in sunny Florida. Please copy and paste the link below into your browser to find out how to donate.

I am copying this from Candice's blog:

This is is give away for a 7 night Stay at Sand Castle One Condominiums in Indian Shores Florida. Indian Shores is about half way between Clearwater and Saint Petersburg. This is a fully equipped beach front condo with direct beach access, an in-ground pool and hot tub, an exercise room, library, rest rooms on the ground floor by the pool (easy access from the beach), wi-fi, and so much more. This particular unit is on the 9th floor and has a breath taking view of the ocean from the large balcony!

The condo is available to be booked during the months of June-September and it subject to availability (you can book what ever week you like provided that someone else has not already booked it).

It has 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, Living Room /Dining Room Combo with full ocean view and direct access to the balcony, Beautiful and Fully Equipped Kitchen, and a Washer and Dryer. The Master Bedroom has a King Sized Bed with a full ocean view and direct access the the large balcony!!! The 2nd bedroom has two full size beds with a canal view! And there is a little spare room with a little pull out love seat. So the condo sleeps 6 or 7 Comfortably and there is room for a pack and play in any of the bedrooms if you have a baby. All bed linens, bath towels, and wash cloths are provided. You have to provide your own beach towels. There is ample dresser and closet space. There are grocery stores close by if you want to cook in and save money or there are wonderful restaurants for your enjoyment.

Where else can you find such a win-win situation: helping bring orphans home to their families with the possibility of a dream vacation thrown in for good measure?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

First Things First

On this 1st day of 2011, I thought it would be cool to point out how many major life questions can be answered if we just read, believe and live out the first chapter of the Old Testament (Genesis), the first chapter of the New Testament (Matthew) and the first chapter of Psalms. We'd know that God created the world; that we are created in His image and therefore our lives have amazing purpose; that God worked redemptively all the way through history even through some of the most sordid events; that Jesus Christ the Son of God was born of a virgin and came to be our Savior; that God has a good plan for our lives and HIS WAY brings prosperity of the heart.

So . . . Happy New Year!!