Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hello to all of you blog-checkers! I cannot believe Christmas is here. This is such a sweet and busy time of year. Our kids are out of school for two weeks, and I love it! We are going to have so much fun. Wearing jammies until noon, playing games, and of course - with a mother like me - doing crafts! Our latest discovery is the hot glue gun - low temp. Oh, man that can bring hours of creativity! We made a whole town out of saltine crackers, marshmallows, and sugar cones. We are so so blessed!

I'm sure you're waiting for an update on our adoption. For those who are reading our blog for the first time, I'll back up a bit and condense the past year as quickly as possible. Also, for major dates of interest you can see our "time line" in the right margin.

Well, in November of 2005 Rob and I first discussed adoption. We went through the rational reasons NOT to adopt. We have three kids already, we're a healthy, happy, strong family. Why would we want to mess that up? But, our hearts were softened, and we began to realize, what a great situation we have to offer a little child who has NOTHING. Another thing, I am a huge supporter of Life, and oppose abortion with a passion. Adoption is such an active way to take personal responsibility and thank a mother who chose life for her baby - even though we will most likely never meet her.

Through lots of prayer, research and confirmations we submitted our application to adopt in January 2008. We decided on Russia pretty much through the process of elimination. China has a three year wait, Guatemala is closed, Columbia won't adopt if you already have three kids, etc. We knew for sure we were to get a little girl and she should be "older". We have specified a little girl between 24 - 48 months old. Initially we had pictured the little gymnast with blond hair and blue eyes. But, we learned that Russia is so huge - making up 1/3 of the world's land, they have many different backgrounds. So, we are totally open to Gypsy or Asian features. Whatever, it doesn't matter to us.

We completed our "dossier" - the major pain the rear paperwork nightmare - in April. And less than two weeks later we received a referral - which means a child matched for us. That was amazing because after Russia receives your paperwork, it has to be translated into Russian before the Department of Education in Moscow will begin the process.

To make a long story short, in August, that little girl in the region of Vladivostok, ended up being adopted by her grandmother before she officially "cleared the data-base" - which is when the child is still open to domestic adoption. So we were back on the waiting list.

Then in September we received another call for a referral in the region of Astrakhan. We had to re-do some additional paperwork for that region very quickly. They asked if we could travel in October. Typically after you receive your referral from the Department of Education in Russia, you receive your official travel dates within a week. After waiting two months, there was some confusion, and that referral fell through as well. So, here we are just playing the waiting game, and back on the list.

I have gone through a series of emotions. Being excited, sad, happy, frustrated, etc. And, Rob - he's a rock. So steady and patient. He just says the time has not been right, and it will happen when it happens. What a guy! We have come to the realization that just because we are following God's call, we are not exempt from heartache. Man-kind is so full of failure. Even if the people in Russia are making a mess of things, our God can make it good. Besides, He is much more concerned about shaping our character than making things happen when we think they should. God is not bound by time. "He makes all things work for good TO THOSE WHO ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE". We believe that!!

It is seriously such an honor that God placed this call on our life. We know whatever challenges we will face, He will be faithful to our family. Hopefully you feel caught up on our process, so I'll wrap it up now. Rob just looked over my shoulder and said, "You're really bloggin' it up".

Please check back again! When we receive news, I always report it on this blog site. Thank you so much for caring about us! Keep praying for God's purpose to be fulfilled in us. Pray for our little girl over in Russia - her health, comfort, diet, care, etc. Love to you all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Step Back

We were told this week that we are back on the "waiting list" for a referral. Life goes on...
Of course we are praying that the Lord will shape us to be the best we can for Him. We trust Him to work through us to save a little girl who needs a family. We'll be right here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Little Note from Audrey

Audrey 6 years old:
"We're ganna get Tess soon, but we don't know when. My mommy is fancy and she has good lookin' style. Daddy is handsome every time he steps on the pathway. Blake likes football funner than everything. Will loves dogs. Me, I am wacky all the time. And I gotta say something else about May (our dog). She got married to Grammy's dog. The End."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hangin' In There

We had a happy Halloween with our little bulldog, poodle, and Mizzou football player!

Not much news on our travel dates. I talked with our adoption agency yesterday. They said we're "penciled in for November or December". What?! What happened to October? At this point Rob and I are just planning on leaving next summer. At least the weather would be nicer! Honestly, my goodness! We are trying to save a little girl over there. I don't know why Russia makes it so difficult. We're trying to stay positive. I ordered a stocking for "Tess" from Pottery Barn that matches with ours. We'll have it hanging on the fireplace and ready to fill if she's home by then. If not, we'll fill it anyway, and give it to her in Russia!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just Along for the Ride

Our family took a little weekend trip to St Louis. As always, we loved spending time together!

We have not heard any more on our expected travel dates for our trip to Russia. But, you know, really - we're just along for the ride. This entire adoption is God's idea. So, we're just waiting for His perfect timing. We just had a reminder that God has our entire picture in His view. Five weeks ago I broke my thumb playing volleyball. We had thought we would be traveling across the world with my hand in a cast. But, this week I have started some minor physical therapy with my hand and it gets stronger everyday. Wasn't that thoughtful of God to have us wait to travel until I am whole? It will make it much easier to carry my suitcase and click my camera!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No Travel in October

Hello blog-checkers!

I talked with our adoption agent in St. Louis yesterday. Not too surprised, but we have another set-back. Apparently, the regional representative in Astrakhan is "out of town and will not be back until November". The contact person in Russia told us, "they meant to contact us ten days ago." Oops - just a little oversight. So, there will not be any travel for us in October. Whatever - our bags are packed and we'll just be ready.

Just to re-cap and fill in our time lapses - Russia contacted our adoption agency on September 10th and asked if we could travel in October. After we said yes, we were told we would be getting our exact travel dates within a few days. After one week, they said we needed another document. After two weeks, they said they needed 3 more documents. Both times I went to Topeka and Fed-Xed the papers the very same day. As of today, we have been waiting four weeks to hear what date in October we would be traveling. That is when this new information came in that we will not be traveling at all in October.

You know, Rob and I were talking about the situation we are finding ourselves in. It's such an eye opener for us. We KNOW that God wants us to save a little life in Russia. We TRUST Him every single day to direct us. And, we desire to be OBEDIENT to His call for our family. But, just because we are walking in faith and trust in Him, we are not exempt from all the hassle and disappointments of this crazy process. Through the process God is shaping us. We are forced to learn so more when we walk through the fire, and God is with us, rather than Him leading us around the fire. However, I'm really hoping we learn our lesson soon, because I am pretty tired of waiting. ;)

We look forward to getting our little girl as soon as possible. We do not want her to be effected by any of the dictatorship. Please continue to pray for her little mind, heart and body. We know God is sheltering her with His "feathers" as she waits to get home!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Here is a picture of Blake, Will and Audrey exploring a stream near our house. We had a successful "treature hunt". We found "butterfly shells", lots of frogs and a deer's jawbone. What more could we ask for?!
I can't help but think all the time about our little girl waiting for us in Russia. She has no idea about the world we'll be introducing her to. How fun!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Waiting for that Travel Date

No word yet on our travel date. It could be any day. When the Department of Education in Moscow contacts us, we'll have about two weeks to get our plane tickets, visas for Russia, etc. There are a lot of things that cannot be done until we have our exact travel date. So, we're just living life as if we are not heading across the world at a moments notice. Today I went to Topeka again to send in some additional documents. I definitely don't need directions to get to the Secretary of State's office!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We Are Going To RUSSIA!!

Praise the Lord - we got the call today!! We have an official referral from Russia! They asked us to travel in October to meet our new little girl! Somehow, our region was changed and we are not going to Vladivostok. We are going to Astrakhan, Russia. This little girl has Asian features and we do not know how old she is. Hopefully we'll find that out soon!

It's all just so exciting! I will send more information about Astrakhan if you are interested. It is in the south-west section of Russia by the Caspian Sea.

I'll write again soon!

Details about Astrakhan from CHI

Here is the information about Astrakhan our adoption agency sent us...

We are glad to present you the Astrakhan region. The CHI started its work in Astrakhan region about 3 years ago. We consider Astrakhan as one of our most stable-working regions, it maintained open even during months of slow down during re-accreditation waiting period!

Astrakhan is the administrative center of the Astrakhan region, which also includes 12 other districts and towns, situated in the southeastern part of Russia, about 1000 miles away from Moscow.

The city is located in the Caspian lowlands, on the river Volga, in its highest point. In the west the Astrakhan region borders on Kalmykiya, in the north - on the Volgograd region, in the east - on the country of Kazakhstan. The city is situated on 11 islands and occupies a territory of 500 square kilometers. That is why sometimes it is called a "Russian Venice". Its population is close to 500 000 inhabitants, mostly Russians and Tatars, that is why Asian facial features are quite common here.

Climate in the Astrakhan Region is sharply continental and droughty. Deserts and semi-deserts cover 70 percent of the total land in the region. Comparing with other Russian regions where CHI works, climate in Astrakhan region is the most favorable: summers here are pretty long and winters are short and not very cold. But still you will need good boots, wind-breaking coats, hats, gloves and scarves, layers of clothes from mid November till mid March. The temperature in January ranges from 30 to 13F and the average July temperature is 65-90F.

Astrakhan is one of the oldest Russian towns, it was founded in 1558 and has a long and interesting history. Read more about Astrakhan on the following page

Friday, August 29, 2008

Paperwork Headed To Moscow

After a week of scrambling to get more paperwork together, it was all sent to Moscow this afternoon. Our CHI rep looked over every document and there were no errors. That's a miracle! The number of rules and regulations for each little detail is unbelievable. I won't go into specifics, but they literally make sure every "t" is dotted. I'm joking - I know it's crossed.

This paperwork was "region specific". These were documents that CHI told us to wait to send all summer. And then suddenly, they needed to be there immediately. Apparently, we had been officially registered in the Vlad region without all the paperwork usually needed to be at that point. It was because we had a referral - which is a specific child - before our documents were even translated into Russian. The Department of Education in Moscow reported that we were officially registered on May 21, 2008. When our original referral fell though, they reviewed our dossier and realized they had never requested the additional documents. So, that is what was sent in the mail today.

Because we are, for sure, registered in Vladivostok we could get a call any day with our new referral. So, we just wait and see what will happen.

In the mean-time, we are enjoying our kid-o's we have now! I feel jealous of the time their teachers get to spend with them. They get them for eight hours a day. I'm down to one hurried hour in the morning, and five hours in the evening. Rob and I try to make every minute count when we are all together.

I'll write again when there is more news. Keep praying for our little Tess girl. We are praying for: her health, her nutrition, her care-takers, and for God's protection to shelter her. A verse I pray for her all the time is Psalms 91:4 "He will shield you with His wings, He will shelter you with His feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection." I love the way the strength is in His wings, and the soft shelter is in His feathers. And, those wings stretch to the far south-east corner of Russia. God is so cool!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moving On...

I just talked with our representative in St.Louis. The little Asian girl in Vladivostok was adopted domestically on Friday. We found out the little girl has a five year old sister, and our agency thinks the family there in Russia adopted both of them. So, really this is good for her.

Now, we are back on the "waiting family" list. We are at the top and could get the call any day. Our representative in St. Louis (her name is Pam) said Vlad is moving quickly and there are not many families waiting in that region.

Some really great news - we now are able to have direct contact with our Russian representative in Vladivostok. Her name is Ira and we have already emailed each other. She sent a picture of herself, and I sent a picture of our kids. Her emails are so cute with some words mixed around. We still have our St. Louis rep, but now we can cut out the middle man with tough questions.

Keep praying for our little girl. She will be between 24 -48 months old. And, God knows exactly who she is.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Republic of Georgia Conflict

We wanted to let you know that the conflict with Russia and Georgia does not have any effect on the American adoption process. As of right now, things are still moving forward. You know, it's just a sign that there is really no such thing as "soft Communism" - which has been said of Russia in recent years. Communism in any form is dangerous.

We have not had any additional news about our little girl. The eastern countries take the entire month of August off for their "holiday break". Hopefully we'll hear more in September.

Keep praying for her! We can hardly wait to meet our new little chickie!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

End of Good ol' Summer

We had a perfect summer together! Swimming, playing, making crafts, growing a garden, going to Kalidoscope, the zoo, Wonderscope, Crown Center fountains, Vacation Bible School, Jedi Camp, Ocean's of Fun, World's of Fun... We just about did every fun thing in Kansas City! Now the new school year begins this week.
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it just happened."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Peace Through the Wait

Several friends have asked how Rob and I how we feel about the news we received last week about the little girl in Vladivostok. We are very thankful we have not traveled to meet her. It is all still very abstract, if you know what I mean. It's the idea of her, but not her personally that we are attached to.

We both will be very glad if this little girl is able to be re-united with her birth family. If they truly want her, that is what is best for her. To stay in her own country where she knows the language, would be much easier for her! And, if she has someone to love her, that is just one less orphaned child in the world. We are in this deal to bring a little girl home who has nothing. God has called us to turn our life upside down to save a little unloved baby girl. Where she is, who she is, when we will meet her, when we will bring her home... God's plan and timing.

I am doing a Bible study right now on "The Patriarchs" - awesome, by the way! We have studied Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Now we are on Joseph. That guy went through so much to get to the place God had for him. But God was preparing him so he would be equipped for the future. We know that God is shaping us for the future He has in store for us. My personality wants instant gratification. If you give me a job, consider it done - yesterday if possible. Ha! So, what a work God is doing in me. Forcing me to depend on His timing - and to be at peace while I wait. I am so glad He loves me enough to spend time adjusting my personality.

So, if this is the little girl for us, good deal! If not, we will wait to hear who she is. We will remain the in region of Vladivostok. Our paperwork is registered there. That is something concrete we know. For everything else - we just wait. I'll write again when we have more info!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Disappointing News

We got some disappointing news today. Our adoption agency called us with some information about the little girl in Vladivostok we have been assigned to since April. Apparently her grandmother has visited her in the orphanage and might be interested in adopting her. Obviously, she has priority over an international adoption. However, she only has until September to make her final decision. At that time the little girl will have "cleared the data base" and be closed to domestic adoption.

Because of this set-back, we will definitely not be traveling to Russia in September. Our paperwork will be on hold there until that time. If she is still available, we will travel soon after. If she has been adopted, we will have to wait for another referral.

Of course, I'm feeling a little down about this news. But, with all my heart - I want to do God's will and follow His plan. He's completely in charge. This whole adoption for our family was His idea that He planted in our hearts. So, we will wait for His master plan to unfold.

I'll continue to keep you informed as we get more information. In the mean-time, our home will be busy getting ready for the new school year. Audrey starts 1st grade, Will 2nd and Blake 3rd. Heavy sigh...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Step Closer to Russia

Today we got a phone call from our representative at Children's Hope International in St. Louis. She said we need to begin our next phase of paperwork. Yeah!
These documents are very specific to our region in Russia, and need to be completed before we travel to Vladivostok. Some of them expire within 60 days. So, we are obviously getting very close to our expected travel date! There are about 30 papers that we need to get together. Of course, being the NON-procrastinator that I am, I already have most of them typed up and saved in my computer until I have the last bit of information to add to them. But, they all have to be signed, notarized and appistilled in Topeka before I send them. So, it will still be a pain in the rear to get it all done. I think those Russians just sit back and laugh as they get our documents. They're probably saying, "Can you believe what these people went through to get this ridiculous information!". HA!
I'll write again soon...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Little About Our Family

Rob and I have been married for 13 years. We have three biological children. Blake is 10 and quiet & determined, Will is 8 and tender-hearted & funny and Audrey is 7 and independent & positive. Oh, we love them so much! Rob is such a commited dad and husband. He makes family time a priority and is a Godly leader in our home. I am a stay-at-home mom and I love my job! Today I made home-made bubbles, went swimming, read "Double Fudge" and built a fort out of blankets. Does life get better than that? We are very close to our extended families. They love our kids beyond measure! We are so blessed to have them! We go to Antioch Church, which is non-denominational.Our dog May is a standard schnauzer. Today she stained her "beard" blue with a smoke bomb. We also have a darling turtle named Dribble, two fish, and two hermit crabs we're baby-sitting for the summer.We love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - the One and Only God! All things were created by Him. He holds time in His hands. We are honored He is using us to display His Redemption and Love by adopting a new little girl into our family. We are ready for a wild ride!!

Our Blog

>Our first blog post! How exciting! We wanted to set up this blog so you will be able to walk right along with us through our adoption process. There is a "time-line" on the side to give you a quick reference point.

As of right now, we are still just waiting. But, that's the way the game is played. The "waiting game" the adoptive community calls it! Honestly, God's timing has proved best, so we patiently wait for His plan to unfold. We're just the players - He's the coach!

Hopefully this will be a fun, uplifting blog! We'll do our best to keep you updated in the months ahead! Join with us as we pray for God's blessing and direction every step of the way!