Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Now what?

The infamous question… now what? So here is what we ‘know’ or anticipate to be happening now. On September 1st our dossier is supposed to be submitted to the regional operator for registration. We are fully expecting there to be issues with us registering. Our homestudy agency had a name change in the middle of getting our dossier ready. They went from Lifelink/Bensenville Home Society to Lifelink International Adoption which is a subsidiary of Lutheran Social Services. The likelihood that the papers will suffice given the differing names is about slim to none. So we need to find out exactly that the regional operator requests so that we can begin to get this whole situation fixed. We would much rather get it all worked out now instead of between trips one and two when we are anxiously awaiting court.

We also need to clarify that we aren’t putting everything on hold until harvest is over, but we have asked that we get registered before getting any more information on potential referrals. It is just better for us to get through the registration process and then move forward. For my city slicker friends (heck for my country friends like me that were clueless), I know how hard it is to understand that one week (actually it ends up being 10 days) away from something could be such a big deal. I have had numerous people ask why we couldn’t find someone else to help out or why the crops can’t wait until we get back. Ohhh if it were only that easy. During harvest, Justin will often times get home at midnight and be back out by 6 a.m. for days on end. The window of opportunity to get the crops out of the field is rather small. And guess what? No crops = no money = no travel to Russia. I am totally downplaying this in order to spare you the details, but believe me when I say the timing has to be perfect in order for us to travel in the next couple of months. And I have already warned Justin that I will be pushing hard for him to get finished as early as possible. During harvest, I usually welcome a day of rain just so I can see him. Or I will try to get him to stay home an hour or two longer so he can get a bit more sleep. Not this year! I am going to be setting his alarm FOR him and giving him caffeine like it is going out of style! Lol

The final thing on my heart today is a comment from a dear sweet fellow blogger. I will forever have the picture and information of a little boy born March 6, 2009 from Vladivostock, Russia in my heart. At first this was not sitting well with me. But I now have a new perspective after this amazing insight. It read: “I know God is in control, and maybe He needed to "introduce" you two into this little boy's life so that you could pray for him...maybe you're the only ones praying for him specifically. Just think...you HAVE taken this boy in....you are praying for him, and sometimes that's better than anything else!” Thank you for the peace you helped me find Liz! I am grateful!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thank you note to my husband.

Dear Justin,
You know exactly what is best for our family! I was such a mess last week wondering around the house aimlessly. I wanted to get so much done and had no energy to do any of it. I felt like a rug was pulled out from under my feet. When you insisted that we go away for the weekend and take the kids camping, I was so annoyed. Camping?!?! We are so new to the world of camping. I didn’t want to pack up anything and definitely didn’t want to deal with the mess when we got home. But you insisted that we needed to do something fun one last time before you got in the fields and the school year craziness got in full swing. You took care of all of the details and made sure the only thing I had to do was pack my own clothes. You stocked the refrigerator and cabinets and had everything loaded up. You set the stage for a family weekend and made certain I had nothing to complain about. When we got home everyone helped with the unpacking and we were done in record time. And guess what???? It was exactly what I needed. I was forced to relax. I was forced to reflect on all I am blessed with instead of the inconveniences and disappointments the week brought. You said all of the right things and helped restore the happiness that I was feeling just a week before. Thank you for knowing exactly what I needed! I love you! ~Heather

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It’s ok...

Excitement, relief, stress, curiosity, nervous, apprehension, these are just a few of the emotions we have had over the past few days. On Friday afternoon we received word of a potential referral for us. There were some concerns that we had with the medical information and sent it off to an IA doctor. It was determined by Saturday morning that there were a few bits of information that we need to gather before any type of decision could be made. We had a great phone call on Saturday afternoon with our agency rep. We still have to have our papers officially registered in Vlad. She also mentioned that she will have information on two other little ones. That information may be available as early as today. In addition she agreed she would pass along the questions we had about the little boy and try to get answers for us….

So here is the deal though with the timeline, we either travel on September 3rd and be back by September 12 or we have to wait until after harvest is over (or close to it) which is more like November. There was a chance if everything aligned that it was going to work for us to leave a week from Friday. For about 4 days it was actually looking like that might happen. We were overwhelmed with the idea that we would have to get everything together so quickly, but in terms of farming it would have been the best situation.

Today we found out that we needed to wait. The regional operator that does the official registering won’t be back until September 1st and lately she has been requesting additional documentation. There is just no way for us to get over there before harvest.

A small part of me is relieved. Today is the very first day of school for Brady, Madison, and Blake. We have tons of back to school routines to establish and such. But there is also a huge feeling of disappointment as well. We have asked our agency not to see the information on the other two referrals until we are officially registered and are closer to being able to travel. We can’t stand that we have a little face in our head and can do nothing about it. As for the referral that we received on Friday, we will continue to pray over him and his situation. Honestly I never dreamt when we sent our dossier to Russia that we would make it over there before harvest, but then much to our surprise, it seemed like we may have been wrong. Now we are back to what we expected. We know that this is the rollercoaster journey of adoption. Of course there are bumps, turns, and flips. That is the way it works.

So what now??? Tonight I will crash. The emotions of everything going on around us has worn me down. Then we wait until the regional operator returns to see if she registers us or requests more documentation. In the meantime I have written this scripture in a number of places. Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

PS. I NEED (ok maybe want) CHOCOLATE!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Looking ahead

Monday – opening ceremonies at work welcoming back the faculty and staff. Brady and Madison have to be dressed and ready to go on the stage by 7:30 a.m. as they will perform with other students and sing for us. Also the t-shirt transfers are in and I have some orders to get placed. I can’t wait to see the shirts done in different colors!

Tuesday – I have to speak in front of the entire faculty and staff – I never get used to that! Brady and Madison start piano lessons. We have back to school night at Madison’s school that evening.

Wednesday – Brady’s first day of 4th grade and in a new building. Madison’s first day of 2nd grade. Blake’s first day at his new school/day care center.

We also have reason to believe that this week will be a pivotal week for us on our adoption journey! We are full of excitement and nervousness! Hopefully we will have exciting stories to share as the week unfolds.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I don’t believe I have shared this on the blog yet. I will do my best to put my thoughts into words, but I know that I won’t be able to explain my intentions well. So if you do not ‘get it’ or ‘catch my drift’ – no worries…

Justin and I both decided that we needed something to help us remember to be in constant prayer about this adoption. We are both very busy people and day-to-day life often gets in the way of the things that we want to keep as a priority. We decided that we would give up something sacrificially. We had never done this before and so we thought we would give it a try. I chose to give up chocolate (Justin will have to blog about this if he wants to share what he gave up). So I made a promise to God that until we travel on trip one to meet our son/daughter I would not eat chocolate. Now I must tell you that I am not one to sit down and eat an entire candy bar. BUT I am one that would have a handful of M&Ms or two Hershey Kisses after a meal. And when I am stressed I love to gnaw on Tootsie Rolls! So I couldn’t decide what constitutes chocolate and what doesn’t. Just to make sure I don’t mess this up, I have sworn off all chocolate flavored things too – like hot chocolate; oreos; etc… This all started on March 21. So what are the results 5 months later???

Each time I want chocolate, I remember to pray. Pray for God’s guidance, for His hand in the mix of this adoption. It really works! I do have to admit one slip up though. About a month ago I noticed that I was focusing a bit more on how long I, ME, MOI had gone without chocolate. I was patting myself on the back. While we were in Colorado, Justin came out of a shop with a delicious looking coffee drink. Without a second thought I took it from him and took a sip. As soon as I swallowed tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. I just swallowed some mocha chocolate something or other! My heart broke. To some it may seem so silly, but to me it was devastating. I had a hard time letting this mistake go. I felt like I had disappointed God. Then I realized that part of my frustration was also in the fact that I couldn’t any longer brag that for X number of months I have had NO chocolate. What a reality check that moment was! This sacrifice has NOTHING to do with ME or MY accomplishments. It is a constant reminder to speak to God continually – to pray without ceasing. So I have moved on from my slip up even though the disappointment is still there and I am trying my best to keep my promise.

Now that I am back to work and getting stressed to the max, I am praying about our adoption constantly. I would love to have some stress relieving chocolate around 3:00 p.m. each day. For now, I am getting a great dose of prayer – and for that I am thankful.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Great present!

Today is my birthday and it started out with my three sweet children and amazing husband singing happy birthday!  I love them soooo much.  We have also already received word that our documents are in the hands of our interpreter in Vladivostock!  This is fantastic.  Now we have to pray that: 1) The interpretation goes fast 2) we are not asked for any more documents before registering 3) God has the information for our son/daughter in the right hands to be passed along to us in the next couple of weeks.  Wow - that's a lot isn't it?!?!  Harvest is going to come early this year.  That is typically a good thing, but we are so nervous about the timing of our referral.  Justin will not be able to travel in the middle of harvest, but we have no control over timing... Ok - I refuse to go into that whole struggle today.  Today I am celebrating and the great gift of knowing that our documents didn't get lost any where and they are safe in the hands of a lady that we adore and trust! 

Ohhh - we were having trouble getting the transfer for the back of our t-shirts made for the fundraiser.  Last night a friend rescued us with some great photoshop work.  We are hoping to hear later this week that the transfers were made and then we will really kick off our fundraising for the baby home!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Now that was fast!

Much to our surprise we received our Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition – otherwise known as I-171H today! Without this approval letter no one is allowed to bring an adopted child into the country. So obviously we are excited to have this in our possession. We just had our fingerprint appoint last Tuesday. This was a much faster turnaround than with Blake’s adoption. Justin and I have both read it over like 3 times each just to make sure it is the real deal!

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
—Psalm 92:1

Ohhh - and happy 34th wedding anniversary mom and dad!  We love you guys!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Visas, Sleepless nights, Day dreaming…

The home study agency license arrived today in Pennsylvania for a quick stop just before heading over to Vladivostock with a hundred (ok may not that many) pounds of other papers with our names on them!

It was suggested to us that we apply for our Visas now. This is a new way of doing things for us. With Blake’s adoption we just did a tourist visa. We had to pay expedited shipping each time and worry about it not arriving on time. Well this time we are applying for a multi-entry visa and it will be good for one year. So at first I was a little shocked at the price, but when I calculated the tourist visas plus the expedited shipping we paid last time, we would actually be saving a little bit of money. And a HUGE bonus is we will only have to send out our passports through the mail one time! Yeah for that! We should have the visas in our possession on August 31st.

We also ‘know’ in our hearts that there are some little boys in Russia – probably over the age of two who are just waiting for some visitors. :o) We are open to either a boy or girl referral, but we are fully expecting a little boy referral. I won’t say anymore, but needless to say my hopes are up for a quick referral! Justin will not be able to travel right in the middle of harvest so we need God to intervene here on our behalf. All of this new scurrying around has created a whole lot of excitement and nervousness. On top of that I started back to work yesterday. This is my busiest time of year. Usually around this time, I have dreams at night that I am late for an important meeting. Or I show up to train our new staff and have a vital piece of clothing missing. But already I find that I am getting consumed with thoughts of ‘the email’ - the one that Justin and I will open and see the little face of our future child. It consumes my thoughts already!

I do know that I need to chill out. I need to focus. I do know that so many things can go wrong. But for now I am going to relish in this new giddiness, anticipation, and in the fact that for at least a couple of days we have zero adoption papers we have to complete.

Reminder to self: Breath!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just in time!

This morning I emailed our homestudy agency again to see if they had gotten the new license yet. Much to their frustration and mine, as of noon they had not gotten it. A little after noon I had an email from World Links, our placing agency. They wondered if we would want to go ahead and send over all of our other documents to be translated and then when the license came they would send it. I had replied with a yes, please send them. Any movement forward keeps us happy. But as soon as I hit send, I had that feeling in my stomach – the one where you know you need to rethink something. I could just imagine the drama of getting the license to meet up with rest of our packet. And if the license is separate would it be under extra scrutiny – some i not dotted correctly or t not crossed? I was unsettled about the decision for a whole 5 minutes! Then Justin came in and told me he just heard from Carole, and the license arrived this afternoon! I quickly called and emailed World Links and told them not to send our documents. We will get the license apostilled and in the mail to them Monday morning. So next week all of our documents will make their way to Russia together!

Of course I am back to work full time beginning on Monday, but those license will get to Springfield to the secretary of state one way or another. We are so relieved. And the pit in the stomach feeling is gone!

Monday, August 2, 2010

So true!

Check out this post on another blog.  It is ohhh sooo true!

We are heading out this afternoon to Naperville so that we can be at the immigration office bright and early for our fingerprint appointment tomorrow.  I love that it takes us like 4 or so hours to get to an appointment that takes 15 minutes (a little sarcasm).  I wonder if they will determine that Justin or I have committed any crimes or have falsified our identification since the last time they ran our prints????