Thursday, September 30, 2010

Odds and Ends

Happy 5th Birthday Blake! Pictures from his party on Saturday were posted to our private blog.

Check this out. This is great if you upload your pictures to Walgreens. Today and tomorrow (September 30th & October 1st), you can get a FREE 8×10 Photo Collage! Just login and create the collage. Then, use the code FBColl to get the free offer. Don’t forget to select in-store pickup and you’ll pay absolutely NOTHING! You can only use this once per account. I shared my albums with Justin and we created a second one under his account. Completely free!

We are still waiting to hear exactly when we can expect the letter that says that the address on the letterhead works under the same license as the address that is on the official license. Why do we have to make things so complicated?!?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yes and No

Here is what we found out today….

The regional operator did not say “Yes” to registering the documents that Irina has shown to her, but she didn’t say “No” either. She told Irina that she needs to see the apostilled originals to give an answer and regarding the address she said that the home study agency should write a letter that the address on the letterhead is the main office and the address on the license is an actual address, or something like that...

So hopefully we get that letter ASAP and then one of us will have to run it to Springfield to be apostilled and sent off to World Links. I have decided that I am taking this as good news. At least we didn’t get a No……….for now.

A HUGE thank you to Jodi (see below). This is one of the main reasons I took to blogging. The power of networking online is amazing!

(Dave and Jodi)

The comment below was left on our blog last week.  If you are reading this entry I would LOVE if you would email me.  We need to produce the same letter ASAP and it may be helpful for our caseworker to be in touch with yours.  Our email is

"We are using Lutheran Child and Family Services in Illinois for a Russian adoption. Our agency had them write a letter that they use both names and that it is all the same agency. Our social worker wasn't surprised by the the request as they had gotten it before. Our social worker got the letter for us pretty quickly. It was notarized and then we got it apostilled."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

To Apostille or Not to Apostille

That is the question.

Well we should be excited. The last document that we needed to arrive so that I would have everything in my hand before Monday came in the mail today. I will now be able to get everything apostilled in Springfield over my lunch break from my work meeting that I have on that day. This is exactly how we had hoped it would have worked out. BUT…..

There is always a but isn’t there?

Earlier this week our placing agency, World Links, had me scan everything that I had and email it to them. There is some question about the silly letter head again. It is hard to explain, but in a nutshell there are some mailing addresses that don’t match up because there are different branches of Lutheran that all operate under the same license. This SHOULD not be a problem as the license number is all the same blah blah blah but they feel that they should check before sending everything over to Vlad. They are hoping that one of the girls in Russia, Irina, might be able to ask the regional operator if this will work and let us know by Monday. World Links suggested that we wait to have the documents apostilled until we know for sure. Justin and I decided that since there are 6 documents that have the letterhead (there are several others too that have to be done) and it only costs $2 in Illinois for apostilling that we will go ahead and get it done on Monday. The most we will be out is $12. Now I am praying that the Regional Operator is in a good mood when she sees our documents and lets us register.

As a side note, tomorrow afternoon we will have a party to celebrate Blake’s 5th birthday. His actual birthday is Thursday. He is so excited and we are so pleased with the progress that has been made in the last year. I will share pictures and details on our private blog next week!

Monday, September 20, 2010


This past Sunday’s sermon at church left me with mixed emotions. On one hand I have come a long way with regards to this topic, and on the other I have so much work to do. The main point of the sermon was to be grateful in all circumstances. It encompassed the idea of patience and entitlement. One particular illustration was about a funeral precession and how in our culture, out of respect, it is tradition that people in their cars would pull over and allow the precession to pass by. Today IF people still pull over you can look at the mannerism of the onlookers you can see that they are annoyed, impatient, and inconvenienced. Instead of being prayerful for the family and friends that have lost a love one or grateful for the blessings in their own life, they are worried about the appointment they will be late for. I could go on with the other illustrations and such, but the point is we are of a generation and culture who feels entitled. We especially feel entitled to instant information and instant gratification. I have come a long way in the past few years with my feelings of gratefulness and recognizing my blessings. But I have a long way to go in the area of patience and my sense of entitlement to the things I want done. The entitlement I feel isn’t really toward material things it is more toward MY timeline and MY plans. I know that God is trying to beat this lesson into me with leading us into a second international adoption. I must say though I am a slow learner!
A little update on paperwork – we have the approved homestudy back from DCFS. So today we mailed off a packet of information to USCIS or Immigration to update our I600 to reflect the new agency name in the homestudy. I thought that was the only paperwork we were waiting on to get back from the State, but I was wrong. We need Lutheran Family Services’ letter of good standing from the State. It has supposedly been sent…. One week from today I will be in Springfield for my work meeting. I feel ENTITLED to have all of the documents in my hand so I can stop by the Secretary of State’s office that day and get the documents apostilled. I just don’t see why MY timeline doesn’t line up with everyone else’s ALL of the time! (I told you I am a slow learner.)

Daily prayer continues to be for a safe, productive, and speedy harvest!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Targeted date

Our reprinted homestudy was forward to DCFS on Friday. I don’t think this step is required in all states, but in Illinois all homestudies have to be approved by DCFS before they are ‘valid’. Supposedly they are fully aware of our situation and understand that there has been no changes to the homestudy other than the letterhead it is printed on. We are hopeful for a quick turnaround time. There is an ideal date in my mind that all of the reprinted documents would be in my hands. On Monday, September 27th I have to go to Springfield for a work meeting. I could leave over the lunch hour and have the documents apostilled and sent off to World Links that day. If I don’t have them on that day, I will have to use a personal day from work to take the papers to Springfield. And as you can imagine, personal and sick days are very valuable right now since we will be need to be gone for both trips one and two. In theory there really isn’t any reason that everything can’t be to me by then, but we are talking about the adoption process after all – expect the unexpected!

On a side note, this is Justin’s second day harvesting. I have never been more interested and motivated by harvest in all of our 18 years together. I pray every day for a safe, productive, and SUPER fast harvest!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

T-shirt fundraiser

We are very pleased with how the t-shirt fundraiser has gone so far. We really haven’t been ‘pushing’ the idea much. We figured the month after we get home from trip one we will really try to promote the fundraiser. In the meantime, I thought I would share the initial post about the t-shirts again with everyone.
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!

T-Shirt Details:
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 (not in youth sizes), 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

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We will try again

First of all our visas have arrived and are valid until September 1, 2011. That is surely going to be long enough for us to complete this adoption right?!?!?

As I mentioned, our dossier was submitted to the regional operator for approval on September 1st. And as we thought, she did not accept them. We have to have all of our papers redone on new letterhead and sent back to Russia. I was completely braced for this news. This is just how things work with this process. So we will jump through these hoops and get back on track. Now I have no doubt that this new found patience I have this week will disappear in the days to come, but for now I am ok with what is happening. So as far as I know this is what must happen:

  • Our homestudy has to be reprinted on new letterhead.
  • It then has to be sent to DCFS for an approval signature again
  • We have to get a letter of good standing from the State for Lutheran Social Services
  • A whole slew of documents that accompany the homestudy have to be done with the new name
  • We will drive all of the accumulated documents and reapostille them. Thankfully in Illinois the cost is $2 per document unlike CA which is $20 I believe and $15 in PA.
  • Then World Links will send everything back over to Vladivostock. Last time the FedEx bill for that was $152.
  • Then we pray that the regional operator is head over heels for our newly printed documents and lets us register.
 In the meantime, on Tuesday our caseworker will come and do a quick home visit so that we can resend our new homestudy (ok new paper – no new information) to USCIS aka Immigration so that we won’t have any trouble bringing our child home.

Sounds like fun huh?!?!? I have complete confidence in our caseworker, World Links, and the gals in Russia that they will do all they can to move this right along. Our problem is going to be the folks who sit at a desk and have no personal connection to any part of the adoption process. They will be our biggest challenge. My prayer every day is that God will move in the hearts of any person that touches paperwork related to all adoptions. That he/she will have a stirring within their soul that they too are affecting the life of a child and those waiting to welcome them home.