Thursday, March 29, 2012

Halfway There!

Or somewhere near that anyway. Our Home Study is done. Our dossier is started. We are waiting on our letter from USCIS to find out when our biometrics appointment is and are you ready for it? Our adoption is over half way funded.

YES HALF WAY!!!!!!

We have been blown away with the generosity of God's people. We have even received some large donations that are anonymous. So since we don't know who you all are, from the bottom of our hearts thank you, thank you, thank you. God loves our Andriy and wants him to have a family. That is so clear and He is providing. We are amazed and humbled to have such wonderful friends and family.

I've been meaning to tell you all of this for a couple of weeks now, but we have been blasted from all sides with drama after drama. Our adoption is moving full steam ahead and apparently we have attracted great attention from folks who want to help and also attention from the one who wants to make it all stop. We have been under attack the last 2 weeks. I can't even explain everything that has happened. It's just too overwhelming and some of it is super personal. But I will say we need prayer. Especially our daughter Danielle. She has been attacked mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Please pray for our precious girl. She loves Jesus so much, but with her learning disabilities her thinking gets so confused. I recently read this article that helped me with my perspective of it all. If you have a special needs child in your life please read it. If you feel like judging the children or parents of children with disabilities please read it.

Will Salvation Heal Brain Damage?

I guess the deceiver thought that while we were busy with the adoption that we would not notice that he was trying to hurt our girl. Well we noticed and we acted quickly. We are working on an alternative plan for her education. She is home with Mama. She seems to have so much more peace these last few days. I think she is actually relieved to be out of that negative environment called the public high school. It wasn't the special program she was in. In fact it was great and really tailored toward her abilities. It was the kids she just couldn't seem to stay away from. She was getting abused. Papa Bear and Mama Bear had to take action. Don't mess with our cub. Most likely she will be home schooled along with Andriy next year. She does not fully understand the plan yet. We don't either. But we know her days at public school are done. I thought middle schoolers could be awful. High school kids are worse. All I can say now is please pray for wisdom for us, her heart to be fully turned towards Jesus and her cooperation as we make these adjustments.

Wow! I needed to write this but was scared to. It's kinda private. But it's real. I know we are pretty good parents so I have nothing to hide. I have been judged alot over the years. I've gotten the strange looks and rude comments from people who refuse to take the time to understand her. Her brain was damaged long before I ever held her. Get over yourselves judgmental people. This is our life and I love my daughter will all her issues. God made her this way for a reason. I know some of you who read this have kids with special needs. I know you get it. I know you will pray for us. She is our first little starfish. She came close to washing back up on the shore. God is so much bigger than all of this and we trust that His plans will not be stopped.

So here we are. In the middle of this journey called adoption. Trying to minister to our very special daughter while we wait to go get our son. We want to make sure she knows how much we love her, that her safety and health are always at the forefront of our minds. She is not going to lose part of Mama and Papa through this adoption. She is gaining a little brother who already loves her and can't wait to come home and be here with her (and ride her bike). She was the one who talked Papa into hosting Andriy in the first place. Our little starfish wanted to rescue another starfish. She gets it. We are so proud of her. She has such a big heart and so much compassion for those who need the most help. We know God has an amazing plan for her life. For starters we know she is going to be the best big sister in the world.

She already has decided she is his hairstylist!




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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ADOPTION BLOG HOP

I just joined an Adoption Blog Hop over at We're What Willis Was Talking About...

Please join us and a bunch of other wonderful bloggers who are in the process of adopting. You will find encouragement, fun and heartwarming stories, inspiration and families who need our prayers.

Here is who has joined so far...





So come on over. Link up if you have an adoption blog. (Right now it is limited to adoption blogs only. An advocating blog hop is planned for later.) Have fun reading some other adoption stories. Join the fun!!!!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MARCH MADNESS & WAITING

It's been a couple of weeks since I did an update on our adoption. It's been busy and a little stressful. I admit I lost a few nights sleep last week as revisions to our home study were made. But it is done and it is now off in the mail to the USCIS with our application. We were trying to wrap up that part of the adoption process during the regular craziness that typically goes on around here. We've had extra doctors visits & and an emergency dentist appointment, some emotionally heartbreaking stuff happening to people we love very much and me having a 2 week long migraine. YEAH! There really never is a dull moment around here. I can honestly say I have not been bored in years. Not even for a minute.

Our awesome facilitator is starting our dossier. So now we wait some more. Wait for paperwork to fill out and gather for that process. Wait for the letter to come from USCIS with our appointment day to get our fingerprint scan in Durham. Then wait for the appointment. (We may try to do it early).

I consider myself a patient woman. After all I waited 37 years to find my Christopher. It was a long wait and at times I was really discouraged, but I was pretty patient I think. The reward for my patience is this hunk.


Back off ladies, he's mine!

This time waiting is a little different. I didn't know who my husband would be or even if he existed. I didn't have a face to look at in photos. I didn't know his name or where he lived.

I know the face of my son. I know his name and where he lives. I know he is waiting for us and that he loves us too. I know he exists because I held him in my arms while he cried, I saw him riding a bike up and down our street and I sat next to him every night at the dinner table for a month. I heard him call me Mama. This waiting is very different. It's even different than when I adopted my daughter. That was a 2 year process, but at least she was with me the whole time. It was hard because there were alot of court dates and alot of setbacks but I knew that eventually she would officially be my daughter and I could hold her everyday while I waited.

It's hard not to be anxious about it really. I'm anxious to have him home, to get to know him better, to learn more about his life so far. I'm anxious to take him EVERYWHERE. To the beach, the zoo & the museums. To teach him English so he can communicate with us better. To learn some Russian myself. To take him through the McD's drive thru for ice cream again.



I want him to meet all our our family and friends. I wonder what he did today. How he is doing in school. What his friends are like. Did he get the package we sent him? Is he wondering why we didn't call (we tried)? Does he think we forgot about him again? Are the older boys picking on him? Did he get to keep the stuff we sent him? Did he like what we sent?

Everyday I have a little quiet time in the morning. I have to get my thoughts in order before I really start my day. Because I know me. I will get anxious. I will calm down and have peace then 15 minutes later my mind will start racing again. I will start thinking about him and all that has to be done to get him here and prepare for him to be here.

Then I remember what I told Andriy over and over again when he was here. You see there is something my son and I have in common. He gets anxious too. He didn't want to go home. He wanted to stay. He begged us to come get him. I'm sure he is wondering when we are coming. We have heard that he has asked more than one person how long this process takes. How long will it be before Mama and Papa come for him. How much paperwork is involved. He is probably even more anxious than I am. I kept telling Andriy over and over again that God has a plan for him and we need to be patient while He works out His plan. So I have to keep reminding myself of that and pray that he remembers what his Mama told him too. We both have to remember this every minute of the day.

Here is what I read in my quiet time the other day. From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

"Trust Me one day at a time. This keeps you close to Me, responsive to My will. Trust is not a natural response, especially for those who have been deeply wounded. My Spirit within you is your resident Tutor, helping you in this supernatural endeavor. Yield to His gentle touch; be sensitive to His prompting.

Exert your will to trust Me in all circumstances. Don't let your need to understand distract you from My Presence. I will equip you to get through this day victoriously, as you live in deep dependence on Me. Tomorrow is busy worrying about itself; don't get tangled up in its worry-webs. Trust Me on day at a time."

Psalm 84:12
O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!


Matthew 6:34
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


So it's March and I'm trying not to go mad with anxiety and the waiting. We are only 9 weeks into this process. I know we have a loooooooooong way to go. I'm trying to be patient and wait on the Lord and praying Andriy is being patient too.

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Teamwork Tuesday: A Home for Harlen

It's Teamwork Tuesday and today we are sharing Harlen.

Here is Harlen:




What a handsome young man he is.

Harlen is 6 and is so blessed to still be at the baby orphanage. This may not be the case much longer and he needs a family now. Maybe you are looking at your son right now. Maybe you are Harlen's Mama or Papa.

Harlen was born in November 2005, has red hair and blue eyes. Harlen has Down Syndrome. He also has $2615.50 in a fund at Reece's Rainbow towards his adoption. Let's see if we can get that $$$ amount up today.

Here is Harlen's link on Reece's Rainbow. Please check it out if you want more info about Harlen or about adopting one (or more) of the beautiful Reece's Rainbow kids.

Please also feel free to share this post with your friends on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. Maybe if all we share it, Harlen's Mama and Papa will find him. Also, if we share it maybe his adoption fund will get some more donations.

Blessings,

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Monday, March 19, 2012

A Special Host Home Needed for Yulia

Yulia is a very special young lady. She is the first child with Down Syndrome that is in the New Horizons for Children host program. NHFC is a Christian based, international hosting program, which brings over orphaned children from Eastern Europe twice a year to share with them the love of God and the love of a family.

Here is Yulia:


Look at those big brown eyes. She is so beautiful.

Here is a little we know about Yulia:

"She is high functioning and so sweet! She was able to copy dance steps while waiting on our team to ask for her to come to an interview. She wrote her name and recognized it later on some other document. She did simple addition and subtraction as well. She speaks and communicated in Russian with our translator and her tutor. She gets around great and interacted with other children easily."

For a child to be able to come on the hosting program they need to have the ability to travel with the other children and chaperones and they need to be able to handle being away from their regular caregivers and stay with a host family. Because she is high functioning (many kids with DS in Eastern European orphanages are not) she was picked for the summer program. What a wonderful opportunity for her and a host family.

So now we just need to find the best possible host family for Yulia.

She currently has a $500 scholarship towards her hosting fees.

Personally I would love to host Yulia but we are in the middle of adopting Andriy and can only qualify to adopt one child from Ukraine right now because of our limited income and small house. I know that if I hosted her I would want to adopt her because I am a big mush. I want her to have the best opportunity to be in the best home possible and have to possibly meet her forever family while being hosted. BTW - NHFC is not an adoption agency or program. They are a hosting program but many kids do meet their forever family while being hosted.

If you are interested in hosting Yulia or any of NHFC's kids this summer for 5 weeks please go here and fill out the short form to have access to the photolisting.

I can tell you from experience that this is a life changing experience for host children and host families. If you can't go on a missions trip this summer you can bring the mission home by hosting.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this. Please feel free to pass this on to any Christian families you think might be interested in hosting Yulia or another child in our program. Please also share on Facebook and Twitter.

Blessings,

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Crafts For Orphans

I love it when young people "get it". I don't even know these girls but I'm proud of them. They get it. They see that there is a big world full of big needs beyond their front doors. Many adults don't even get this. They understand there are children in this world without Mommies and Daddies who need a family. They understand that these children are languishing in orphanages and institutions in far away countries. They understand the most of the world has forgotten about them or doesn't even realize they exist in the first place. many people don't even want to acknowledge that they exist because to do so would mean they are now responsible to do something about it.

I have seen the orphan crisis up front and personal. I have been to far away places and seen the babies laying in the cribs with almost no human contact. I have seen their tummies bulging from malnutrition. I have seen the ones that have been there so long that they just stare at the wall with a blank stare on their faces because they know that no one is going to come and really hold them anymore. They have given up on life. Someone has to speak for them. Rachel and Faith are doing just that.

So I had a take a few minutes to share with my readers about what they are doing. I think these girls are fabulous.

Rachel and Faith are twelve year old girls with a heart for orphans. They also are pretty talented and "crafty" girls. Here is their blog Crafts For Orphans.

They are selling items they have made themselves. Most, but not all of the items are made out of duct tape. COOL! My daughter went nuts over the duct tape purse. Obviously alot of love and hard work goes into their items. Please take a look and consider purchasing something.

Here are a few examples of their work.





The proceeds from sales of their items will go towards the adoption funds of these 3 precious children on the Reece's Rainbow website: Harmony, Sasha and Wyatt.

We don't have a photo of Harmony at this time but this is Sasha.



This is Wyatt.



All three of the children have very special needs and so desperately need families able to meet those needs. Adoption is expensive and money should never stand in the way of providing a child with a loving family. What Rachel and Faith are doing is wonderful and I really felt it was important to help them get the word out.

Please don't hesitate to share and tweet this post. Most people just don't know about the global orphan crisis unless someone tells them. Now you know. Please pass this along. Please pray for orphans everywhere. Please pray about what you can do to make a difference in their lives. Check out the Crafts for Orphans blog and make a purchase. Take a look at the Reece's Rainbow website and consider what you might be able to do for one of these precious and vulnerable children. You may think you can't make a difference, but you can. Rachel and Faith are two kids making a difference. I am committed to doing the same.


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Cyril K. needs a forever family

Today I am advocating specifically for Cyril K.

This is Cyril.


Isn't he adorable?

Cyril needs a forever family.

Cyril is 5 years old and has Down Syndrome, but is healthy. We don't know much about Cyril except that he has beautiful brown eyes and black hair. He is said to be calm, affectionate, active, smiles and babbles.

As I type this Cyril has $2143 in his adoption fund at Reece's Rainbow.

How can you help?

Pray for Cyril. Pray for his health and those caring for him. Pray for a forever family to step up to adopt him. Pray for God to provide the funds needed for his adoption.

Give. Donations to Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible. You will see a donation button on Cyril's page here.

Consider adoption for your family. Maybe you are reading this right now and you are realizing that Cyril is YOUR child. Take a look around the Reece's Rainbow website and you will see many children that need a family.

Become an Orphan Warrior, Guardian Angel or take a look at some of the families that are currently adopting and need prayer and support.

Share. Share this post. Share the Reece's Rainbow website. Share, share share! Flood Facebook and Twitter with this information. Let's advocate for Cyril and kids like him that need a family.

You are the helper of the fatherless. LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

Psalms 10:14,17-18



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Saturday, March 3, 2012

We didn't forget him

Andriy got a special visit from his Aunt Nicole (my sister) while she was in Ukraine last month. She got to go to his school to interview kids for the summer hosting program for New Horizons for Children. She also delivered gifts and letters from his Mama, Papa and other family members.

This is his sad face as he explained he thought we had forgotten all about him.




This is his happy face after receiving the gifts.


More smiles as he got lots of hugs from Aunt Nicole. I'm so blessed that now I'm going to have 2 kids that are big on hugging.



We could never forget our boy of course. But after a month of being back in his snow covered country he thought we had.

We are so thankful that Nicole was able to go there and deliver his presents and give him lots of hugs from his Ameriskansky family. We miss him so much. She was able to assure him that we still love him and have not forgotten him.

He wants us to call him. We tried to call the school office and ask for him one day last week. That was a major fail. I can only speak 4 words in Russian and none of those words would help me in that situation (Especially since one of those words in "poop" in Russian). So my bro-in-law and nephew are going to come over in the wee hours of some morning in the near future and help us try again. My nephew, Kolya is becoming quite a good interpreter.

So here is a final look at our boy in his native surroundings. He is carrying Aunt Nicole's suitcase to the car for her. What a little gentleman he is.




Gosh we miss him terribly. Please pray for him as he patiently waits for his Mama and Papa to come for him. We are going to write to him often and hopefully get to call too. We don't want him to lose hope. We are coming for him as soon as we can. Please pray for us as we go as fast as humanly possible to get all the paperwork done. Did I mention we miss him terribly?

I am reminded of the first Sunday we took Andriy to church while he was here. We sat in youth group and Pastor Aaron was preaching from John 14. Andriy was using the Russian Bible App on my phone and I set it on that chapter. Of course he didn't understand Pastor Aaron and so he just started reading the chapter. When He got to John 14:18 he kept reading it over and over and looking at me and then back at the verse.

John 14:18
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."


Hang on my precious child. We are coming.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wow - I got picked!

What a privilege! I got picked to be a guest blogger for the next few days by Gina and Patty over at Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid.

Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoian are sisters who together wrote Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid: A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Children. I've been following their blog for a while now. The humor, camaraderie and encouragement there and on their Facebook Page has been a tremendous support.

Here is the link to the article about us and One Little Starfish today.

I am so honored to have been picked by these 2 amazing ladies who have given me so much encouragement the last couple of years and helped me learn to embrace our imperfect life.

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