Saturday, March 26, 2011

So far, no morning sickness - but the paper cuts are TERRIBLE!

As I was researching all sorts of things online the other day I came across a t-shirt that said this...I immediately began laughing, which was much needed at that point. 

It's hard at times to explain:
  • to people that we are expecting because I'm not showing around my waist.  
  • that instead of labor pains, I have the pains of leaving my child in an institution for additional time while I wait on paper work to come through.  
  • that my child won't be able to be held and cuddled by them right away when she comes home.
  • that even though my hormones might not be affected, my emotions are - and that sudden outbursts of tears are to be expected.
  • that staying organized and trying to finish up paperwork is how I'm "nesting."
Recently I've been extremely stressed with the details of the adoption process, and with the emotional stress that not being with your daughter causes.  I have realized though, that God is teaching me incredible things about Him being in control even when I feel completely helpless.  He's stretching me, and helping me to trust in Him more than I ever have.  I also am rejoicing in Him more often, because I'm on the lookout for all that He's doing...and it's a LOT!!

I want to rejoice now that in just two short weeks, we will be with our daughter.  I'm pretty sure that these are going to be 2 of the longest weeks of our lives, but then we'll look back and think otherwise.  We've been given buddy passes that will allow us to fly standby to Russia for less money than one of us could fly on a regular ticket.  We've been offered a place to stay by my dearest friend while in Russia.  We've been provided for by countless generous people who know us well, and who barely know us.  God is moving.  He's showing us that He is in control - He is providing - He is sustaining - He is comforting.

Please continue to rejoice with us in this process...and stay tuned for an update from Russia complete (hopefully) with pictures of our family!!  Here are some specific requests::
  • Pray for our first meeting together as a family (That all three of us would be prepared, open, and well received)
  • Pray that God would continue to provide all we need: Sveta's current care, finances to finalize the adoption, stamina, patience, understanding
  • Pray that Barry & I's relationship would continue to be strengthened through this process, and that our faith would continue to be pruned and grown
  • Most importantly, please pray that Sveta would be open to the love of Jesus Christ, and her new parents
Thank you for praying.  We are ready to travel, and ready to see our Svetlana again.  We are also ready for the fact that she may be terrified of us, or that she may just cry upon seeing us.  Pray that not only our minds are ready, but our hearts too.

Nursing my papercuts,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Marking Checks on the Checklists

Sometimes I feel like all I'm good at doing is checking things off lists:  send dossier - check, email agency - check, read book - check, apply for this - check, apply for that - check.  It's been the story of my life the last few weeks.  I do feel like this week (being Spring break) was enjoyable despite all of the checks I tried to mark of my various lists.  Here's what I've accomplished - it'll serve as an update on the process::

1. Painted stripes on one wall of Sveta's room.  So cute!
2. Received letter stating that our I-600A is in process and we'll be receiving information on when to get fingerprinted.
3. Organized all adoption documents into a nice little file box.
4. Registered for "toddler" stuff at Target!  We picked out all sorts of fun things that came highly recommended by my good friend Cari. 
5. Called international adoption doctors and am waiting on insurance information from them.

So, now left on my checklist:
1. Paint one window sill in Sveta's room. (Thanks to Rachel who painted the other one!)
2. Print pictures to give to our daughter when we visit her next month.
3. Create list of questions to ask when we visit with orphanage staff.
4. Apply for grants.
5. LOTS of other things!!  :)

My favorite thing we've done over Spring Break was purchase a little blanket stuffed animal buddy for Sveta that we will begin sleeping with so that it smells like Barry & I. Then, when we go to Russia the first time, we'll give it to her so she can start getting used to us.  Great idea from Mari Jo.  Thanks!!

Love you all,

P.S. - The picture has 54 pieces showing (so that you don't have to count)!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Updates (and a little story)

Some updates ::

The process is moving along smoothly.  We'll make our first trip (of two trips) soon - looks like we'll be gone for about 6 or 7 days in April.  The trip will take place before Palm Sunday.  We'll have the chance to ask caretakers many questions about Sveta and her surroundings and hopefully take many pictures. 

With this trip we are to make a payment of about $16,000 (not including the travel expenses).  We still have a little work to do in order to make this payment.

A few of our friends are working hard on putting together an event which will involve some good food and fun which will raise more funds toward the adoption.  Tell many about this ... invite the whole town, or state, to attend!  Here's the address you can copy into your browser to check it out.!/event.php?eid=131607803577981

Jessi has a friend coming over tomorrow to put some paint on one of the walls in Sveta's bedroom.

We continue to be amazed with the support of family and friends.  Thank you all for your prayers and support as we work toward and wait for Sveta's homecoming.

A Little Story ::

Several days ago we received some recent pictures of Sveta from the in-country associate with the adoption agency.  I was excited to get the pictures and soon went to CVS to print some pictures out.  A lady working there had to help me a little with the process. 

Then I waited for the pictures to print.  I was very eager to have them ... and I think she could tell. 

The first picture dropped from the machine and I snatched it up quickly ... and starred with what I suppose could be described as a proud father's smile.

The lady who had helped me was standing near enough to see the picture.  "She's cute".

"Yeah, she is", I replied.

"Is she your daughter?" 

"I think so."

The expression on her face was nearly priceless.  And I didn't catch on to what I had said until I explained to her that my wife and I are adopting her ... then she gave a big, "oohhhh!".

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Called Out. Chosen. Sought After.

Some stranger will walk in to her colorful playroom and show her incredible love.  She’ll think it strange that he doesn’t speak the same language as she does.  She’ll not understand much of what he says.  But she’ll understand that she is loved. 

While he’s there he will ask many questions … inquiring about her.  What does she like to eat?  What time does she go to bed?  When she’s startled at night, how is she best comforted?  In those moments is she even comforted at all?  What time does she wake?  What does her room look like?  Are there many others in her room when she sleeps?  Is it quiet or noisy when she sleeps?  What are some of her favorite toys? 

Then he’ll leave.  And she won’t see him for about two months.  Which, to a 3 year old, feels like many, many years.  While he’s gone she might forget that he was there.  But he will not forget about her.  In fact, he’s preparing a room for her in his house. 

Finally he will return.  And he will call her daughter.  She’ll be taken to a place called home.  It’ll take some time to get used to, but she’ll later describe it as the place she was always supposed to be.


Called out.

Sought after.

Svetlana,  my daughter,  I cannot wait until you are here with me. 

Your father.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Exciting updates...

1. What a blessed weekend we have had!  We are so incredibly blessed by people we've called friend for a while, and new friends too.  We had dinner on Friday evening with incredible friends who really want to help us raise the rest of the money we need for our little one to come home - then we met with some equally incredible new friends on Saturday who'd like to do the stay tuned for the event of the year!  We're not sure what all will go on, but we know it'll be great!!

2. Our Dossier documents have been received by our placing agency and should be sent to Russia early next week to be translated (40 hours of work), notarized again, and finally submitted in person at a scheduled appointment to the Adoption Center in Vladimir.  We'll see how long that takes, but after that's done - we'll travel soon after.  EXCITING!!

3. We received word this past week that Sveta is doing well.  We also have a few new updated pictures (we can't post - sorry), and information about her development.  Apparently she hasn't completely decided - but she's favoring using her right hand, she feeds herself nicely with a spoon, and can dress herself.

4. Barry is working on a post that will be much better to read than all of mine have been.

I think that's all the updates!!
Love you all,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Apostille = Not in Webster's Dictionary

So thanks to a wonderful woman that Barry has none for a while we've had all of our Dossier documents now we're ready for them to get an apostille.  Well, I've tried to figure out what an apostille actually is, and I had to look on "" because Webster's (yes, the "holy grail" of all dictionaries) doesn't even define it. 

For those that are curious - here's what I finally found, "an apostille (French for, notation) is a preprinted small (minimum 9 x 9 centimeters) form having ten numbered items of information with blank spaces to be filled in by the designated authority in the issuing country."  This is basically something that was created to aid in the acceptance of documents between countries.  Thankfully, the people at the State Department have been extrodinarily helpful!  Tomorrow, my incredible Father-in-Law, Ray, will be taking our documents to the Authentication Department to be apostilled (if it can be a verb).   We will get them back on Thursday, add the pictures that Russia requires, and send them to Global so they can add their necessary documents.  Once that happens, my understanding is that we'll have it all translated into Russian and it will be submitted to the proper authorities in Russia.  Hopefully the translation, etc, won't take too long - but we have NO idea. 

We're also in the planning stages for an additional fundraiser - so stay tuned for info on that!  Thanks to many many incredible people - we now have 44 puzzle pieces!