Friday, April 30, 2010

Bilateral Treaty?? - Talks resume May 12th

I try to sift through information we receive and not overact.  I would like to stick to the facts and not speculation.  Lord knows I make enough of my OWN speculations!! 

One Source: This week Russian State Duma took a new bill into committee that seeks to amend the Russian Family Code to require a treaty between Russia and the home country of the adoptive parents when an international adoption takes place in Russia. The bill, in the State Duma document database as No. 364094-5, has been assigned to the State Duma Committee for Family, Women, and Children's Matters. If passed this bill would allow Russian officials to suspend adoptions to Americans until a bilateral treaty is worked out between the two countries, which is what has been is discussion at the recent meeting in Moscow between the US and Russia.

Second Source: 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Talks start today.

The US delegates are scheduled to meet with Russian officials today in Moscow to discuss and intercountry agreement. We are praying that all goes well; that egos and power trips do not come in to play; and that the best interests of the children are kept in the forefront of the discussions.

Russian PAPs: If you or anyone you may know is in the process of adopting and is open to a girl age 4 or older please contact me by leaving a comment or emailing at .

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Remembering Gotcha Day!

April 27th of last year was the day that Blake said goodbye to the Artem baby home. I have mixed feelings as I reflect on this day. Of course the most overwhelming feeling is gratitude. We are so blessed to have Blake with us. I can remember the relief we felt when we had him buckled in the van and we were backing down the bumpy drive. He has the biggest smile on his face, and he left no doubt in our minds that he was more than ready to begin his new life as an Overstreet. We were also very excited to finally have a webcam session with Brady and Maddie. They were more than ready to see their new brother. Mostly today I am grateful!

The other feeling that I can’t help but to have creeping up is a bit of sadness. Justin and I can vividly remember the faces of the other children in the Bee Groupa. We can’t help but wonder what has happened to them as they moved from the baby home into an orphanage. I think about the caregivers and director of the baby home. I pray that they have the supplies and staff they need to care for the children. I pray that they know how important their jobs are in the lives of the children. I pray that they aren’t stressed and taking their frustration out on the children that are so hungry for their attention….

(post continued and pictures on our private blog)

Currently we are just waiting for the FBI fingerprint clearances and trying to stay tuned to whatever comes out of the US delegation’s talk with the Russian officials.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What next?

Just a quick update to let you know that we are continuing with business as usual. “Go until you get a no.” That is one of our mottos. We still don’t know how things will turn out in the end with the U.S. and Russian relations on the adoption front, but that is always going to be the case. We just have to believe that things will all work out.

We have completed our homestudy visits and have all of our paperwork filled out for that part of the process. Our fantastic caseworker is working on getting the report compiled. It can’t be sent off to Springfield for approval until we have our FBI fingerprint clearances back. We sent our prints off on 3/12/10 and I was told today we were in the process of being processed (gotta love that) and that I should check back in two weeks if we haven’t received the clearances. The last time we went through this process we were able to get our biometric fingerprint appointment in Naperville before our homestudy was completed. We were told today that now they won’t assign the appointment until they have received the homestudy. At least I can stop watching the mail like a mad woman for the appointment notice!

So what we have really is a chain of events that needs to take place - most of which is out of our control. From my understanding it goes like this… Receive FBI clearance (maybe 2-8 more weeks??) – homestudy sent to Springfield for approval (don’t know the average turnaround time) – homestudy sent to Immigration Services – Biometric fingerprint appointment assigned – wait for appointment and the approval from Immigration Services – Finally documents can be sent to Russia. Sooo our documents will be in Russia… ummmmm…. wellllllll… sometime!! :o)

I know for those that have not been through this process none of this makes a bit of sense. I can barely make sense of it myself. But it helps me to type it out and get it out of my head for a bit!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We Are The Truth – Adoption Blogger Day

The Joint Council on International Children’s Services is taking steps to share the positive stories of children adopted from Russia. Our family has sure been blessed by Blake and I wanted to make sure I took a minute to share some of the highlights. I am going to copy another person’s idea of doing the ABC’s of A.D.O.P.T.I.O.N.

A is for Attachment

Attachment is one of the biggest fears we can face when parenting. Will we love our child enough? Will he/she love us back? Will our bond be special? Will he know that he can rely on us and no longer have to fend for himself all of the time? We are very happy to say that we feel Blake has attached to us very quickly. Sometimes he is still a little more 'friendly’ with strangers than we are comfortable with, but the progress that has been made in the past year is exciting.
D is for Discovery

Each stage of parenting we discover a new challenge. We also discover new joys. Blake could have totally shut down and withdrew from us when he arrived home, but he didn’t. He embraced his new life and all of his new discoveries.
O is for Ornery

Part of Blake’s personality is he is ornery in a fun way. His orneriness is most apparent when he is playing with his big sister and big brother. They have so much fun together.

P is for Poser

Blake likes to have his picture taken. He is a total cheese ball! Of course his adorable smile and gorgeous eyes makes him a great subject to photograph.

T is for Transportation

Blake loves anything with wheels! He tells Justin all of the time, “Daddy – I like your truck.” He even has made some elderly people’s day by complementing them on their walkers that have the little seat you can sit on and wheels.
Photo courtesy of Lauren Hensley
I is for “I like it allllll day”

That is one of Blake’s famous phrases that many of us have begun using. We can say, “Blake do you want to go to school?” He’ll say, “Yeah – I like it alllll day”. We can say, “Blake do you want some more M & Ms?” He’ll say, “Yeah – I like them alllll day!”
O is for Overstreet

Blake is an Overstreet through and through. He loves chocolate. He understands our sarcastic humor and is learning to give it right back to us. He has compassion for others. He is learning about having a strong faith. And he knows that family is one of our most prized ‘possessions’.

N is for Never-ending

The amount of love we have for Brady, Madison, and Blake is never-ending. The challenges that we face to be good parents is never-ending. The gratefulness we have that God led us on a path to bring Blake into our lives is never-ending.
Professional photos Courtesy of Mary Efflandt Photography

Russia Suspends Adoptions...

Praying for a quick resolution that is best for children....

Monday, April 12, 2010

If you could please...

Joint Council on International Children’s Services is looking to present to President Obama and President Medvedev a petition, signed by American adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, and advocates of adoption.  Please add your name to the list if you feel compelled to help.  Thanks!

Glimmer of hope

I think empathy has gotten the best of me over the weekend. My heart has been so sad…as if we had our referral already and were waiting to be reunited with him/her. I think the timing of this recent ordeal has what has magnified the emotions. One year ago today Justin and I left Brady and Madison at the Moline airport to head to Moscow and then on to Vlad. I can’t imagine the fear I would have felt if there was the threat that our court date would have been canceled because of one person’s senseless act. Thankfully as of this morning we have not heard of any canceled court dates. Also, I didn’t realize until this past weekend the extent to which I long to complete our family with a little boy or girl from that area of the world. Of course we knew we ‘wanted’ to, but the doubts I was having about whether or not it was worth the heartache and trouble have disappeared. There is no doubt this is what we desire for our family.

I was really thinking this morning on my way to the YMCA that I needed to find some glimmer of hope that somehow things would be ok. Of course my mind knows that in the end – no matter what – ‘things’ work out, but I want them to work out on MY terms and on MY timing. I still have sooooo much growth to do in the ‘relinquishing control’ area of my life. I have no doubt that this isn’t the last of the trials we will face during this process. But for today, I am going to cling to this glimmer of hope that arrived in my email inbox this morning! Our dear ‘angel’ in Vlad stated that she got confirmation that in spite of the last event with the boy the agency will keep working. There are not expecting a negative effect on the adoption process – at least not yet. So for today that is what I will focus on. The hope that God is at work in this situation and that there are enough compassionate people in powerful positions that will see what is best for the children.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Anger Building Up

I have been trying real hard to not let overwhelmingly negative thoughts consume me during the past 24 hours. The whole situation surrounding one lady’s poor choice (read entry below if you don’t know what I am referring to) is threatening to affect the possibility of thousands of children finding a forever family. Yesterday I found myself giving the lady grace in my mind. My heart kinda hurt for her that she would get to such a point of desperation that she would do something so irrational. As I have learned various facts I find that I am getting angrier. Besides her final act of betrayal, one thing that bothers me is that in her January post placement report she did not indicate to her caseworker that there were any problems. As far as anyone knows at this point she did not reach out to various organizations for help. If she did reach out and people ignored her, that is such a sad thing. But the point being there were soooo many other steps that should have crossed her mind to take to help her son.

For my own mental health and because I am working real hard on ‘changing my attitude’ I need to stop reading some of the internet commentary about this situation. Our blogging friend Amy has an entry that has some of the rhetoric that is being thrown out about international adoptions. No matter what anyone thinks about the adoption process or where a child comes from – if you have compassion at all - you have to know that a child growing up in an orphanage is never going to be better than having a forever family.
I sit here brokenhearted, frustrated, worried, skeptical….

Friday, April 9, 2010

Much better solutions than this....

Please read this article.  The boy in the article is from the Vlad region.  It shall be interesting to see what the trickle down effect will be.  So sad! So maddening!  There are much better solutions to the problems the family was having than this.  And notice that the statistics still say there are over 740,000 children needing homes in Russia.

I will be praying for those involved directly and indirectly.  I am sure the agency that is being temporarily blacklisted must be sick about this as well.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

We celebrated Blake’s first Easter this weekend! It was so much fun for all of us. Here are Brady, Madison, Blake, and our dog Annie on Easter Sunday!

We received notification that our I600A paper was processed. Now we wait 7-10 days to get our fingerprint appointment. For those that don’t remember from last time, we will have to go to Naperville for biometric prints. We finally have doctors appointments made for April 14th and 15th for our updated physicals. We have had so many physicals in the past year and a half it is crazy! We are hoping to get a packet from World Links this week and start on whatever paperwork they need separate from our homestudy. Moving right along…

Thursday, April 1, 2010

We like this day - no joke!

April Fool’s Day will always be a special day to us. On this day last year we got the call with our court date to finalize Blake’s adoption. We had been waiting for 4 long months to be reunited with him. That call allowed us to stop focusing on how much we missed him and instead focus on how excited we were to see him again.

We enjoy connecting with other families that are going through the process of adopting from Vladivostock. I have been praying for this particular family.  Because of a citizenship issue, they have been waiting for 8 months now to be reunited with their daughter. My heart breaks for them! We often say that this process has so much to do about hoop jumping and very little to do with what is best for children. Here is a video that was posted to this family’s blog that is an example of how a technicality can hold up the process of children being placed in a family. Video:  Red Tape

Update: We have NOTARIZED copies of both our state police clearance. Our master agreement with World Links has been sent. We are STILL waiting to hear from our doctor’s office about our medicals and what appointments we need to make. All in all are moving right along.