Thursday, September 29, 2011

Truth and a Dare (or more like a favor)

I read a blog today that brought tears to my eyes.  It's written by a woman I've never met: Jen Hatmaker.  Check it out

"Faith has nothing to do with being stoic or "chipper" or falsely propped up. We have entered the suffering of the orphan, the mission of Jesus. It is hard and painful. It hurts and makes us cry. Suffering is like that. Spouting off Christian clich├ęs or pretending to be strong isn’t helpful and it isn’t true. It cripples true community and confuses and isolates a watching world. "

So here's the truth:  This is hard.  Really hard.

We sent our paperwork off (hopefully the last of it) on Tuesday.  It should be sent out to Russia today.  We have no word on a court date.  We have no idea when we'll have word on a court date.

I have this be an encouragement to both Barry & I, but also to be a testimony to Sveta when she is home of the people that love her dearly and prayed for her homecoming.  I also stole this idea from my new friend Jen (who has no idea I even exist).

Will you make a sign that says "We love you Sveta" or "Can't wait to meet you" or "praying for you" or something even more creative?  Take that sign, and take a picture of you, friends, and/or family holding the sign, and send the picture to me?  I can't tell you how much this simple thing will mean to Barry & I, and Sveta down the road.  Would you do that for us?  

Email it to

Thank you for walking this journey with us.  Thank you for asking questions, for praying, and for being interested in our lives!  Thank you for supporting us as the path gets steeper and more and more rocky as we go on.  But, I was reminded today also that we are fighting a battle...against the powers of darkness.  No wonder this is hard.   We know we asked for this.  I know I asked and wanted to fight this battle - no one made me.  I'm so glad I am...but I'm going to try and be honest...that the battle is tough.  

Thank you for fighting with us.
We love you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Not a "yes", not a "no"

Sometimes a definitive answer is best.

Sometimes a definitive answer is not what you get.  Instead you get this:

The judge has your documents and will tell us if he/she is going to give a court date next week.  We're pretty sure that you can't get a court date without the documents that you are missing...but your home study agency won't write the documents the way the Russian court wants them to be.  Could you talk to your home study agency about that?


Before everyone gets angry at the Home Study agency...let me explain in more detail.  Our home study agency works not only on home studies, but is also a placing agency for many countries including Russia.  We aren't using them as our placing agency because they don't work in the region where Sveta lives.  The complicated part is, if they sign our documents and don't feel legally good about it - it could jeopardize their ability to work in Russia at all. (Which would mean MANY families couldn't adopt).

So, here's how I'm praying:
1. That God would work out the legal details and the paperwork would be acceptable to all parties.
2. That the judge would be filled with compassion and grant us a court date even without the necessary paperwork.
3. That the judge would make that decision QUICK!
4. There aren't any more glitches before traveling.

I want to again thank each of you for praying, financially supporting, and caring for our family.  It is an incredible blessing knowing that I can post what's going on and you will rally around us!!

We are blessed!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Plea for Prayer

There are two main things I want to ask of each of you today.  Be prepared, they're both labor intensive, and you'll really need to seek the Lord on them.

1. Pray for us. 

We got word late Friday night that our Dossier is in need of more paperwork.  After anger, and sadness, I've moved on to practical steps of what I can do about this.  We have an email and a call into our Home Study agency and we will hopefully get all 4 pieces of paper signed, notarized, apostilled, and sent soon.

But, here's what we need prayer for:  Pray for the judge in Vladimir that our in-country personnel is planning to visit this week sometime.  Pray that he/she will allow for a court date to be made without these papers.  Sometimes they are able to get a court date with a promise of the papers to come, and sometimes they are not.  It depends solely on the mood of the judge that pray that every judge in Vladimir wakes up joyfully this week so that when our friend goes to visit him/her we get a court date.

You can pray before you go to bed each night around 10:00 pm...that will be 6:00am in Russia, just about the time that the judges are waking up.

2. Consider adoption as an option for your or later. 

I spoke briefly with our placing agency this morning on the phone about our paperwork situation, and she also mentioned that their organization has just been made aware of two little girls that are in need of adoption.  They are medically healthy except they need either cleft-lip or cleft-palate surgeries...things they will NEVER receive as an orphan in Russia.  Most likely these two girls are in the orphanage systems simply because of their physical appearance.  They are both adoptable seperately...they're not related to my knowledge.

Pray about these girls, or others whom you've heard of.  If you are at all interested in adopting either or the girls, or if you know someone who might be, contact me.  I'd LOVE to give your our agencies information.

Thanks for praying and praying and praying.
As soon as we hear anything, I'll post.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A glimpse...of 3-year-old-isms

Today began with reading Philippians and remembering that I must do everything without grumbling or arguing...even wait.

So, I decided to start on more tasks that need to be accomplished before Barry & I fly to Russia soon.  I started with gathering medicines and toiletries for all three of us.  I also worked on a few more things and then had lunch with one of my greatest friends.  I was encouraged by her, and challenged by her honesty.

Our lunch ended too early, but I had the privilege of taking her 3-year-old for a little drive to another great friends house.  She talked my ear off.  We talked about liking green beans, suckers, and mac and cheese.  We talked about barbies, and cows, and her being Sveta's friend.  We talked about her brother being in school, and her getting big and going to school too.  We talked about how daddy is bigger than mommy, and Barry is big too.  But Jessi is little, but not as little as she is.  We talked about gray kitties, and how I don't have any, but I do have a dog named Griffin.  We talked about the baby cows, and the new dog at her house too.  I was kind of sad when I said, "we're almost there."  And she replied, "there it is" when we pulled into the driveway.

It was 20 of my favorite minutes that I've lived in a long while.  It gave me a glimpse of life...and although I know it won't be all roses, it let me see joy in this time.  What a joy to spend time with a little girl who I hope and pray is one of Sveta's greatest friends too.

Friend, thank you for letting me borrow your little girl, since mine is so far away.  It was truly a joy and a blessing.

And thank you Barry, for being okay with a dinner of leftovers, and setting up FaceTime so that when we're on opposite sides of the world, we can still see each other and talk.  :)  Yay technology!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

To Sveta

Sveta received her first piece of snail mail.  And I couldn't think of a better first piece of mail to get.  It's an invitation to a ceremony making Jill (Sveta's Aunt) a part of the Hall of Fame at the University of Louisville. 

Perhaps we could take this with us and tell the judge in Russia we need to hurry things along ... she has parties to get to!

We are currently waiting to hear from Russia.  The homestudy has been sent off.  It'll be translated and submitted to court.  Then we'll get a court date.  We're hoping for a court date in mid-October - which would mean we'd likely miss Jill's induction. 

Last Friday we sat and made lists.  One for what needs to be done before we leave. This is the longest list.  Bolting the bathroom vanity down, installing safety latches on doors (though this is mostly done), filling out more paperwork, preparing for court, chatting with our family doctor, getting meds for the trip, and, of course, purchasing plane tickets and getting visas for the trip ... just to name a few items on the list.

One list of what we need to accomplish in Russia (and it's not as simple as "grab the girl".)  We'll get all kinds of pictures for her to look back at, we'll journal ever detail we can of this trip, we'll interview more caregivers and the director, we'll buy some clothes for her, and we'll get some Russian books and toys to keep her busy on the long ride home.

I (Barry) have a list of things I will do upon my return ... when Jessi is still there working and waiting.  I hope this list gets longer and longer so I don't have the chance to sit and pull my hair out. 

And finally a list of what we will do when we are all home together.  Which includes things like sending some announcements out and visiting doctors for some tests that we can actually understand.

It feels like we are very close - though she hasn't moved any closer!  Thanks for the mail Jill!  And CONGRATS!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Forever Reign"

"You are good. You are good.  When there's nothing good in me."

These lyrics have been echoing in my mind for the last few hours. I can't seem to get them out of my head, and I'm grateful that I can't.

There's so much truth in them.  So much truth that I don't always want to hear.  I always know that God is good...but I don't want to hear about the part where there's not anything good in me. 

Even when I loose faith, forget spending time with God, or decide that this path is hopeless and taking TOO long...He is good. 

And that's why I'll sing:
"You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign"

I'm running to His arms tonight as we wait.  We are waiting for the Russian postal system...which I have very little faith in (at least at their speed).  But it's on it's way. Tonight I'm praying that God picks up that piece of mail and sends it right where it needs to be...and QUICK.  Once it's received, translated, and submitted...we'll move from waiting to running around like crazy people preparing to fly to Russia for my month long stint! 

"My heart will sing, no other name, Jesus, Jesus."  And tonight I'm singing in great joy, hope, and anticipation.  For my God is good, even when there's NOTHING good in me.