Friday, January 28, 2011

Waiting on documents from Moscow

Now what? Our last set of documents arrived in Vlad on January 25th. They are being translated now. It was our hopes that they could be submitted to the judge next week. We have since found out that we are waiting on some documents that come from Moscow. These typically take 4-5 weeks and our request was sent in mid-December. They are supposedly ‘coming any time now’ but are probably delayed due to the holidays. As soon as they arrive our papers can be submitted.

Slowly, steadily, surely, surely, surely…..

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

50 faces

We are trying to finish up the photo album project that we started. We are calling it ‘The Children of Vladivostok’. We have 50 children to include in the album that have been adopted from the Primorsky Region of Russia. There are 15 Ussuriysk graduates, 22 Artem graduates, and then 13 from various other locations like Spassk, the baby homes and hospitals in downtown Vlad, etc… The intent of this project is to show the various folks in Russia why there is a need to continue to place children in loving homes. The negative press does so much damage to the international adoption process. It is our hope that the smiling faces in these pictures will undo even the smallest bit of that damage that has been done. I just can’t help but to think that in some way this collection of photos is going to make a lasting impression on the folks that see it.

Thank you again for all of you that sent your pictures. Many have asked if I can share the album with them. Unfortunately for privacy reasons I am unable to share the album. I thought I could at least make it available to everyone that sent pictures, but in order to do so I needed to have each contributor’s permission. Not everyone would like the project shared so to respect their wishes, I will not be sharing the album electronically with anyone. A copy is being made though for the Ministry of Education, Directors of the Baby Homes, our agency representatives, and a copy for the White Rabbit Room at the Vlad Inn. I am still working on the album. It is more of a challenge than I had anticipated keeping everything organized and the right pictures with the right information. I hope to have it completed by the end of this week. A part of me wants to hurry up and get it done ‘just in case’ we get our court date call soon. Another part of me doesn’t want to complete the project yet because it gives me something to work on to help time pass by as we wait for good news. I guess I better just err on the safe side and bring closure to the project.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One of those nights

Some days are easier than others.  I seem to be struggling quite a bit tonight with missing our little guy.  Do you think they ever show the children the pictures we leave behind or does that just make the wait even more difficult for them too?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

And they are off...

Our remaining court documents are on their way to Vlad as of today.  I will be tracking that package to see when it arrives of course.  After the documents are translated, I BELIEVE they will then be submitted to the judge for review.  In the meantime, we will try to get ourselves back to good health.  I think we all picked up a bug last Friday when we went to the doctor's office for our physicals.  Nothing like going in completely healthy and coming out feeling like you were hit by a truck! 

Little Guy,
We pray for you each and every day.  Blake refers to you as 'My B.....' and tells me he is going to read Green Eggs and Ham to you soon.  Madison was so excited on Monday when we got the documents we were waiting for.  She insisted that she be the one to call dad and tell him.  She can't wait to hold you.  Brady calls you Baby B..... and can't wait to show you your new bedroom.  It used to be Brady's room, but he wanted you to have that room so he moved to the bedroom down the hall.  Daddy and I talk about you often.  I have a big to-do list for daddy.  We have some 'baby proofing' that needs to take place before your big arrival.  Something tells me you might be a little ornery and full of energy once you get settled in.  If I concentrate really hard I can still feel your little head laying on my chest during our visit on the day that you were not feeling well.  I will forever cherish that moment, and I am grateful that daddy captured it in a photo.  Please know that we are doing all we can to get back to you as soon as possible.  We love and miss you so much!

Monday, January 17, 2011

They arrived!

We got the two documents we needed from Russia today (Child’s Health Statement and the Court Petition). I am so very thankful to have them. We will get everything apostilled tomorrow in Springfield – even if we have to put on skis or ice skates to get there!

And we found out this really neat coincidence… we signed our application for adoption on March 6th… our Little Guy’s birthday. Tell me God doesn’t have the greatest ways of keeping us on the journey He intends for us to take. I love that!!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Terrorist and Virginia Criminal

Well, I am thankful we fought the urge to move our medical appointments up before Christmas (those reports are only good for 3 months). We have those appointments today and then we will officially have all of the things that we need to gather for court. Unfortunately there are still a couple of documents that we need to receive from Russia that we are still waiting on. We had hoped to have those by today and then have everything back in Russia by the end of next week. Of course that was wishful thinking. So we do what we expect to do during this process…. wait.

One thing left on our checklist besides the medicals is a sex offender clearance. We decided to get that done yesterday. With Blake we just did a clearance in the state of Illinois and it was no big deal. Well this time around we were given a national database site that we were told to use. I wasn’t too worried about it. You pay some money and you get the results instantly. You need every area to say in red “No Records Found”. So I type in my first and last name, date of birth, and social security number. I pay for the service and hit enter. Instantly the report is back. It has ‘Heather Overstreet – terrorist’ on it!!!! I felt tears come to my eyes. What on earth is this all about? Is it because I have been out of the country a few times? It is because a lot of my online correspondence has the word Russia in it? What is the deal!?!? My heart was racing and of course there is no number to call. I can only submit an email inquiry. So I immediately sent a desperate sounding email out stating that I am in no way a terrorist and that I just HAVE to have a report back that has “No Records Found” in all areas.

I come to my senses – slightly – and try to remain calm. There has to be some way of getting this all straightened out in a timely manner right? So I decided to go ahead and get Justin’s search done. I do the same for him. I enter his first and last name, date of birth, and social security number. I make the payment. The results come back instantly and what do I see? Virginia Criminal!!!! I don’t know that he has ever been to Virginia! My heart is pounding again and this time I can get more information. The record coming back was for a Justin M. Overstreet. My Justin is Justin L. Overstreet. So clearly this whole online search is not working for us. I immediately get another email sent out. It sounded equally desperate as the first one, and this time I noticed we were supposed to allow at least 2 days for a reply. I was pretty sure I was NOT going to be waiting two days at all to get this worked out. At this point I had to deal with some other things and I decided to walk away for a bit and see what Justin thought we should do. Thankfully about an hour and half later I got an email reply that those results were simple name matches and that when you add our date of births and social security numbers we are actually not terrorists or criminals in Virginia. That is good to know!!! They also attached the records that we needed that clearly stated in red “No Records Found”. I am so happy to have that cleared up. A part of me really wonders why this is even necessary. I can’t even count the number of times we have been fingerprinted and cross referenced in both state and federal databases… Whatever!

Also yesterday, Brady, Madison and Blake all three had their dentist appointments for their cleanings (no cavities!!). Before we left we scheduled their next cleaning for 6 months from now. When I was given the date, I asked “Do you have 4 slots at that time?” The receptionist looked at me a little funny and said that she thought she did. So I went ahead and scheduled the Little Guy’s first dentist appointment!!! Who knows – we may need one sooner than that or we may have to cancel it, but it still felt good to do!

So basically to wrap things up we are waiting on some important papers to get to us from Russia so that we can submit our papers to a judge to review. Slowly, steadily, surely…..

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The pictures will tell the story….

First of all I am relieved to say that our FedEx package arrived in Vlad today! A huge relief!!!

We are receiving several photos for the album project we are doing (see here for details – deadline January 15th). It is absolutely amazing to see this pictures coming in. We want to thank all of the people who have sent pictures already! To see the ‘before’ pictures and the sadness in the children’s eyes it is heartbreaking. But when you see the recent photos and how much life and light shines through the children’s eyes now that they have a loving family – it is heartwarming! We can only hope that this album, which we are entitling “The Children of Vladivostok”, will encourage the people who look at it to continue to see the value in placing children in families that can provide them with the love that God intended all children to have.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

One Month

I see tonight the ticker at the top is at one month since we left the Little Guy… So far I have been a little at ease because I prepared myself for the holiday stand still. And even though I have been trying to fight the feeling all day, I realize that my anxiety is increasing. Knowing that in theory things should be moving again in Vlad, makes my head spin. Will we have the two letters we need from Russia this week? Will we be able to get everything in our hands by Friday so we can get them appostilled and sent back over next week? Where are our documents we sent out on December 22nd? And the list could go on and on. I am not ready to let these overwhelming feelings get the best of me. I know that so far everything has moved smoothly for us. I know that we are incredibly lucky blessed. I just can’t help but get worked up now that I know we should be seeing some sign of progress. I will just have to tell myself to breathe – just breathe.

This past week was a big one for our family. We have made the announcement that I will not be returning to work at the end of this current contract which ends in June. It was a tough decision as I really care for our department and of course it will impact us financially. But there is an overwhelming sense of liberation, relief, and excitement with what is up and coming for us. I will now be able to be at home with our little guy. I never really dreamt we would be adding a child to our family that still has THREE years before kindergarten! We are also really excited about being more available both physically and mentally for Blake, Madison, and Brady. I will help Justin with his rental and farming business. He needs me :o) There are so many things I can say about this decision (sometimes I feel we have to defend it) but perhaps I will expand on the topic on our family blog if time allows.

Slowly, steadily, surely……..

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This and That

I am so excited that my twin niece and nephew were born this morning! We can’t wait to see them early this evening!

Psych evals done.

Blood drawn for lab work.

Call made to Federal Ex(tra slow!) I am very thankful the documents we sent over were just to give us a head start on translation and not the next set that will be sent that we will want there lightening fast. We shipped our documents on December 22. As of January 5th they still show in route on the tracking site. I fully expected delays with our holidays, Russian holidays, and winter storms but this is getting ridiculous. Keep in mind we pay well over $100 every time we use this service. In my call, I found out that this company does not actually deliver to Vlad. When the documents/packages arrive in Moscow they then give them to an external agent to then be delivered. According to their customer service representative, our documents were handed off to said agent on December 29th. There is no estimated time of delivery on their tracking site. So now we have a service ticket open and supposedly someone will be contacting this external agent to see when they plan to deliver our package. I have a feeling I know what the particular external agent is doing right now but I won’t even go there!!! The Russian Orthodox Christmas is January 7th so that will be an additional delay I am sure….

What did my last post say? Slowly, steadily, surely…..

Monday, January 3, 2011

Slowly, steadily, surely...

I don't know if you remember or not, but we traveled to meet Blake the exact same weekend we traveled to meet the Little Guy just two years later.  It has been awhile since I have looked back at what I posted two years ago on our blog.  Tonight when I took a look at my beginning of January posts this is what I found...

I saw this on another blog and  thought it was appropriate - a Living Bible translation of Habakkuk 2:3 and I feel like it is written for times like these. "...these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day."

I guess that is a rather fitting scripture just as much today as it was two years ago!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Keep passing it on!

Below is a post about a project we are working on. We are really excited about the response we are getting. Several people have asked about sending pictures of children from other Baby Homes/Orphanages in the Vladivostok region. At first we were limiting it to Blake’s and Little Guy’s Baby Homes just to keep things manageable. But I think we can put something together that would make sense and look nice if we include children from any baby home, orphanage, or hospital in Vlad. The main objective for the album is to encourage the folks in Russia to continue to place children in loving families. No matter how well staffed an orphanage is and no matter how many resources they may receive, nothing makes more of a positive impact on a child’s life than being part of a forever family. We believe we owe it to the children to do anything we can (big or small) to help them be placed with a loving family. (See the post below from December 27th for details.)

As a side note we had fun ringing in the New Year at home Brady, one of his friends, Madison, one of her friends, and Blake. And I was super excited because we finished Little Guy’s room! And because we got the room done we were able to upload pictures and order our photo album for court. We are excited for new beginnings in 2011!