Saturday, July 31, 2010

No license…

We are back from a fantastic vacation in Colorado (pictures uploaded to our private blog). We emailed back and forth with our case worker a couple of times about the agency license. Much to our disappointment it has not arrived. According to the State the license was mailed on July 19th. Well as of July 30th no one from LifeLink has seen it, and of course a faxed or emailed copy does no good because it has to have an official seal. Ugh! So we continue to wait. On the bright side, at least the license WAS renewed! God must know that I still need to be put through his patience academy cause each semester I FAIL!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Heading east to go west.

We are heading out today for our family vacation to Colorado in 1 hour. I have to get going!!!! We are super excited. But first we are actually going east to Peoria to have lunch with Justin’s brother for his birthday and then on south to Springfield to have all (but one) of our documents apostilled and mailed to World Links. We STILL do not have Lifelink’s new agency license. I am choosing not to be totally stressed and freaked out by this. Their current license expired last Sunday. It is my understanding they have been issued the new license by the state but they have not been given the actual piece of paper – which of course is what we need. I guess they are running 1 week behind on issuing those. I will withhold my comments on what I think about that! So our sweet caseworker who we adore and trust implicitly suggested that we send off everything we have. As soon as she gets the license she is going to personally drive it to Springfield – apostille it – and send it to World Links. Sooooo maybe – just maybe our dossier will be headed to Russia before we make it back from vacation.

It has been fun lately to hear the increased talk around the family about child number four. We have four stools at our kitchen counter and both Brady and Madison have said on more than one occasion that their brother/sister (depending on whose talking) can sit next to them. Then of course Blake pipes in with a “nuh-uh they sit by me!” They are such amazing children. They think it is completely normal and common place to add members to one’s family through adoption. We love them soooo much!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

T-shirt fundraiser

After hearing such positive feedback, we thought we shouldn't wait until trip 1 to get the t-shirt fundraiser underway.  Here is a copy of the email we sent out this morning.  If I can get my act together, I will figure out a little badge or something to keep on the side of the blog for people who want to donate/purchase a t-shirt.  Anyway if you are interested in more information just leave a comment with your email address (we can't reply without you entering your email address) or you can email us directly at

Friends and family,
Some of you may or may not know, but Justin and I will be returning to Russia one last time to complete our family. We have not been given our referral yet, but we do plan on going back to the same region, Vladivostock, where Blake was born. We feel compelled to make a donation on our second trip to the baby home (aka orphanage). We will not give them a cash donation, but instead we plan to take additional money with us and then have our facilitator take us shopping for items that are needed for the children once we are back in Vladivostock. We feel this is the best way to ensure that the children are being helped in some way.

After being given very special t-shirts from our friends, Ryan and Sandy True, we got the idea of trying to raise money for the baby home instead of attempting to do it all on our own. Many people have asked how they can help out with our adoption, and we feel that helping us help the children is a great thing! We plan to send this message (or one similar) out when we return and have some pictures of the baby home to share with you. But we thought we would go ahead and get started on our efforts. If you are interested at all in making a donation or purchasing a t-shirt please just reply to this message and we can give you more information.

T-Shirt Details:
See the attached pictures for an idea of what the shirts will look like. If you can't open the attachments just let me know.

You can specify your size and color of t-shirt (all text will be white). The dark grey color in the photo is not available.

Front: Я верю (The means I Believe in Russian)

Back: The geographic outline of Russia. Running through the graphic is Psalms 68: 5-6 which reads: "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families." This is in both Russian and English.

Youth sizes available...S - 6-8 M - 10-12 L - 14-16; no toddler sizes; adult S-XXXL

Colors available in adult and youth...Red, Orange, Gold, Lime Green, Kelly, Brown, Purple, Pink, Hot Pink, Maroon, Black, Dark Gray, Light Grey, Marlin, Light Blue, Royal, and Navy


T-shirt with text on front only: minimum of $15 donation

T-shirt with text on both front and back: minimum of $20 donation

$2 more for 3XL

Shipping will be added to any orders that can't be hand delivered. We can figure the cost of that out via email :o)


~Justin and Heather

Friday, July 16, 2010

Christianity Today article

This article was just shared with me by Sandy True on Facebook. The beginning part of the article brings back some haunting truths to my memory. The top of page 4 holds heartbreaking thoughts as well....

Abba Changes Everything Christianity Today A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturday was a good mail day.

We were excited for what awaited us in Saturday’s mail. First was our fingerprint appointments were assigned for our immigration approval. We had fully expected them to schedule us for one of the days when we were in on vacation with the kids. But much to our surprise we have appointments on August 3rd which works out perfect for us!

The second exciting piece of mail was a huge packet of documents from Lifelink, our homestudy agency. We almost have everything we need to get our documents sent to Russia. We are waiting on a letter of good standing from the state of IL for Lifelink and their new license. Their current license expires on July 18th. I am a bit nervous that somewhere down the road we might have a little drama with this situation. See, our homestudy agency is merging with Lutheran Social Services. But it is my understanding that they will still keep their name – Lifelink. In theory there shouldn’t be any issues with this, but we know to expect the unexpected. It was still nice to get the official homestudy and slew of other documents in our possession. One step closer….

The third thing that arrived is a little picture book we made to leave with our little son/daughter after trip one. During Blake’s adoption, we got word of his referral so quickly we didn’t have much time between finding out our travel dates and actually leaving. We created a photo book for him, but it didn’t arrive until the day after we left. As a backup I took a little album with plastic sleeves, a stack of pictures, and note cards. On the plane trip over to Vlad I created an album for him. Later our sweet blogger friend Amy took him the photo book that arrived late about a month before we returned for court. So we decided to go ahead and create our book now and just have it done. I did a 5x7 version this time instead of the 8x10. It seems it would be easier for him/her to carry. We are happy how it turned out. I took little phrases and translated them in Russian on two different online translators and then translated them back to English. This was a triple check to make sure I wasn’t putting something horrible like a cuss word or something in our book! I wish I could share the original version with you, but it isn’t possible so here is a picture version of our picture book. The pages – especially the front and back cover – are shiny so the photos on here aren’t that great. But in person it will be perfect for our little guy/gal!

Friday, July 9, 2010

T-shirt inspiration

So while we were in Denver we meet up with Ryan and Sandy True. We hung out with them during our entire stay at the Vlad Inn during our second trip – April 2009. I wish I could explain to you how energizing it was to spend some quality time with them. It is a challenge for people to understand why we would adopt from Russia. It is even a bigger challenge for them to understand why we would adopt from Russia a second time! We don’t live in a large city and there isn’t a big group of people that have adopted internationally around us. We do live in a university town, and that helps bring some diversity, and we do have a couple of friends that can relate to the adoption process. But for the most part, people just don’t get it. We are so fortunate and grateful to be surrounded by friends and family that support us. They are excited for us because we are excited. But as sweet and caring as they are, there is a disconnect and not a full understanding of what would make us go through this trying process again. And to be perfectly honest, had we not felt God’s calling and gone through the process ourselves, we too would not have really understood why people do this. So that brings me back to Ryan and Sandy. They could completely relate to the process and reminisce about the days that we both said we were NEVER going back to Russia. They remember all of the hoop jumping and various other ‘things’ that happened that you just don’t blog about. But the most energizing and motivating thing they could say and remind us of was what a great NEED there is for adoptive parents in Russia. It is sometimes hard for people to see this. Because like all of us, people wonder if there is such a need, why is it so expensive, why is it so complicated? We can’t answer those questions or get into the politics or the cultural differences that make that a reality. But the fact still remains that there are children all over that need a family. It just so happens for us that we are being called across the world to meet that need one more time. I could keep going on and on, but Ryan and Sandy really helped reignite the passion that we need to persevere through these next several months.

So on to another exciting thing. Ryan and Sandy gave Justin and me these thoughtful t-shirts. They came across a lady that was selling them to raise money for a mission’s trip to a Russian orphanage (those don’t happen that often anymore from what I have heard). So we are thinking that once we know the exact baby home we will be going to, that we will do something similar to help raise money for them. We would sell them between trip one and two and take the money with us to purchase whatever we could with the funds we raised. So I am putting this on the long to-do list as well. What do you think?

This is the front of the shirt.  It says I believe...
This card was attached to the tag.  I don't think we would attach a picture of children to the tshirt, but we would share photos from our trip(s) to help people understand what they are supporting.

And this is the back of the shirt.  It is obviously the geographic outline of Russia. And running through the graphic is Psalms 68: 5-6 which reads: "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families." This is in both Russian and English.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blake’s Readoption is complete!

Today has been a day of great news. One piece of good news that I can pass on to other PAP’s is that we got a message today from one of our facilitators in Russia. They are expecting families in July and August. So it doesn’t sound like there will be two months worth of ‘off’ time -- for vacations anyway.
Today was our court date for Blake’s readoption hearing. It lasted about 5 minutes. Justin was the only one that had to take the stand. He just had to say yes. Yes he is married, yes we live at…, yes we wish to readopt Blake, yes, yes, yes. Then the judge just asked me if I am Heather and if I agreed with all of the answers that Justin gave. Very simple. We should have certified copies of his new ‘birth’ certificate in a few weeks.

Pictures from court and more exciting news posted on our other blog!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Back from Denver

I am really hoping to have time to blog soon, but in case it takes me a few more days to find the time I thought I would write a couple of notes.  I had a great conference in Denver and I can't wait to share about our visit with Ryan and Sandy!  While we were gone our caseworker received the official approval document for our homestudy from DCFS.  She sent our homestudy to UCIS so that we can be assigned our fingerprint dates.  World Links has all of their documents done and appostiled.  We have all of ours ready to be appostiled.  Now we are just waiting on the papers from our homestudy agency.  I dare to think that our registration documents can possibly be in Russia in two weeks!   Ohhh and we received an invoice for the payment that is due to World Links when we send the rest of our registration documents.  Let's just say... there is no turning back when that payment is made!  :o)