Friday, February 25, 2011


Here is what we know:
Our papers were submitted to court on February 15th (our Feb 14th) and a judge was assigned one week later on February 22nd. The judge told our agency representative to check back in two weeks – March 8th. March 8th is a holiday. So the next time we will possibly hear anything is March 9th. And at that point we may get a court date; we may be asked to redo paperwork; we may be told that she hasn’t looked at the papers at all and check back in another two weeks.
Emotions are running high. Brady, Madison, and Blake are getting frustrated. And I am having a hard time putting things into words so my blog entries leave a lot to be desired…..

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Children of Vladivostok

I realize that I forgot to mention that the books/album we are taking over with us to Vlad arrived. Actually they arrived the same day we got the first pictures of the Little Guy emailed to us. We are really happy with how the books turned out. The concept was to show children from Vlad before they were adopted and a picture of the child currently. The pictures really do say a lot. The darkness, lack of emotions, and hollowness in their eyes in the before pictures stand out. In the current pictures you can see a sparkle and a depth behind the eyes. It really is amazing. There are 50 children represented in book. We will be writing personal messages in each one and delivering them to the baby home directors, the Minister of Education, and to our agency representatives. The children sitting in the orphanages now, need all of us to shed as much positive light on adoption as we possibly can. The negative press is only making the process harder and harder. I shudder to think of the changes that may be coming to the international adoptions in Russia. I had mentioned before, that I would love to share the album with all of you, but it just isn’t something I can do on a blog. For future adopting families in Vladivostok, we hope you will be able to flip through it during your stay at the Vlad Inn. I will share one photo however. The way the book is set up, there is a hard cover with a window in the middle of it for a picture. I had actually planned to just type in the title of the book in that section. Well, the program wouldn’t accept text. I had to insert a picture. I didn’t want to put any one specific child on the cover so I used the picture below. There is something about this picture that is very symbolic to me. This is Blake and his group mate Victoria looking out the fence in Artem during one of our visits. Blake and Victoria were adopted just one day apart in April 2009.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Random Ramblings

Thanks for the t-shirt orders. Keep them coming!

I don't really feel like organizing my thoughts right now so I will just make a list of thoughts/questions/ramblings.

- Our agency told us today that the earliest we should expect to hear anything is March. We are looking at about another month before we hear anything regarding our case.
- I am bummed about that news and am praying that they are wrong.
- I know that some of you think that March is right around the corner. 
- I hate wishing time away.  I know that I should enjoy the here and now.  But honestly, I am ready to fast forward to the day when we are officially Baby B's parents and are introducing him to his big brothers and sister.
- We visited the Little Guy the exact same weekend we visited Blake in 2008. With Blake our documents were not submitted to court until March 23. It would appear that we would be over a month ahead of where we were last time. I should take great comfort in that. I am finding myself being unsettled though and want to go back NOW!
- We want to return to Russia so bad our heart hurts.  At the same time we have so much anxiety about leaving Brady, Madison, and Blake for 25+ days.
- Do you know that the judge can assign you a court date right away or he/she legally has 60 days to let your documents sit on his/her desk before even reviewing your documents?
-Has anyone had a male judge oversee their Russian adoption? I have only heard of female judges. (random thought - I know!)
- Do you know that sometimes there is a pre-hearing that is done between the judge, prosecutor, orphanage representative, and the agency facilitator if the judge requests one?
- I am tired of relishing in my own disappointment. I know there are so many others that have it 'worse' off than I. I know that we are blessed and so fortunate. I want to turn the corner and put an end to these negative emotions that are running wild inside of me.
- I know God is in control and His timing will be perfect for our family. I just can't stand when people try to derail or postpone His plan!  I still struggle with not knowing the timing of the plan.  I am still a major work in progress and am thankful for God's grace and patience.
- Do you know that most of the other thoughts I have right now are not appropriate to post on this blog?  :o)

I think I need to take a deep breath and remember slowly, surely, steadily... we WILL be reunited with our son!

Wow - I feel better just typing this out!  Good therapy session!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Last Chance - February 22nd

We are excited that our dossier is going to be submitted to the judge tomorrow (February 14th) which will be Tuesday in Vlad.  While we know we could still be looking at a long wait before heading back over, we also know that we could be pleasantly surprised with a court date very soon.  So we feel motivated (aka stressed) to bring closure on a few things.  We have decided to set an end date to our t-shirt fundraiser for the Ussuriysk baby home. If anyone is interested in ordering a shirt or otherwise making a donation below is the information.  The last date to order is February 22th. 

T-shirt information
We feel compelled to make a donation on our second trip to the Ussuriysk baby home. 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 on the right 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
You can send payment in the form of a check or use the PayPal button on the right side of the page.

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 More Pictures!

Last night we got another special surprise. This one was from one of our blogging friends, Jody . She and her family just completed their court trip and landed on U.S. soil yesterday. They have quite an interesting story! While Jodi was in Vlad, she kept an eye out for anyone that was going to Ussuriysk that would be able to get some updated pictures of the Little Guy. She was not able to find anyone, but her agency’s facilitator mentioned that she would be going the first part of February, and if she had time that she might be able to get a couple of pictures. Well apparently she had time! She sent us three more pictures. I don’t know if she was there the same day as our facilitator or if Little Guy was just in the same outfit, but he was sporting the same blue and red checked shirt tucked in nicely to his styling blue shorts. His eyes are closed in two of the three pictures, but that actually brought a smile to my face. Justin and I have so many pictures with Little Guy’s eyes closed. We ended up switching cameras and turning the flash off and that seemed to do the trick. Anyway, it reminded me of us sitting on the floor in the visiting room laughing at how many pictures we had with his eyes closed. What is super special about these three pictures is that these were taken in his group’s play room. The other 8 we received were kind of like a personal photo shoot with nothing really in the background. In these you can see the tables that they eat the meal at and the toys that sit on the shelf. Also there are three of his group mates in the photos as well. It will be special for him to have these photos in the years to come.

For those that asked, Little Guy will be two years old in less than a month. He has chubby fingers and cheeks. Based on the measurements we got when we were with him in December, he would be wearing a size 6 shoe and 12 month clothing. We will be taking some 18-24 month clothing with us. If they don’t fit we will leave them at the baby home and purchase a few new items at the baby store in Vlad/Ussuriysk.

Please keep praying for the judge’s heart to be softened when he/she views our documents on Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2 Month Mark

The ticker at the top tell us that today marks two months since we last saw the Little Guy. Honestly it feels like an entire year has passed since we last saw him.

We did receive a special surprise today. Wanna guess what it is?....

We received eight new photos of him! It really is a bit bittersweet. We are so grateful for the pictures and being able to see his little face. But here are some downsides... he is getting bigger (that is a good thing) and we aren't there to watch him get bigger (that is bad thing); he has that 'look' in his eyes (those that have been in orphanages know the look I am referring to); his new haircut is horrible; and his little red shoes look to be too tight on his feet. I am trying to not be negative and want to be upbeat, but those are the things this momma notices when she looks at her little one that is sitting across the world with out his parents.

Just take a look at this picture.  Tell me this isn't a little one in need of some lovin' (and a wardrobe change!).  I actually think it is kinda sweet that they got him dressed up for his pictures for us.  This is a very typical outfit for the baby homes.  You can see that they tried to color coordinate and tuck his shirt in like a little gentleman.  Wow - if you could see the haircut as well you would really be in for a surprise.

Above all else though these are photos that we will cherish.  Any pictures that we can get our hands on prior to our official adoption date are special.  These photos are the only things that we will have to share with him when he asks about the time he spent in Russia.  So no matter what saddened emotions the pictures stirred inside of me, for the most part I am feeling very grateful.

I know that we have some amazing prayer warriors that read this blog (I could feel the strength your prayers gave me to get through last week).  We are specifically praying that the judge that sees our dossier that will be submitted next week has a soft heart and understands the importance of getting Baby B----- home to his forever family very soon.  Please join us in that prayer!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A big step forward!

God just knew I needed a little pick-me up! Our paperwork arrived from Moscow today. This is a huge relief. Now Irina will run around and get everything notarized in Vlad. She will then submit our documents to the court next Tuesday (they only accept documents on Tuesdays). Then we will wait to hear from the judge on if he/she needs any additional documents of if he/she can tell by the pictures that we sent that we are more than ready to have the Little Guy home and just issues us a court date. I know there is still a wait ahead of us. A part of me is still feeling defeated by the wait, but the other more rational part of me knows that you HAVE to celebrate the small victories in this process. This is one steady step in the right direction!

Slowly, steadily, surely……

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Before the Morning

Worship music has become very important in my life. I turn to so many songs in the high and low parts of life. There are songs that help me celebrate, songs that help me share my admiration for the Father, and songs that help me get through heartache. Unfortunately last week has been full of unimaginable heartache. On top of that, the silence from Russia is maddening. This is a song that I am trying to pull strength from today…

Before the Morning
By: Josh Wilson

Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you
If there’s a God who loves you where is He now

Someday somehow you’ll see you’ll see

Would you dare would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

So hold on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

My friend you know how this all ends
You know where you’re going
You just don’t know how you’ll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on cause there’s good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time but you’ll see the bigger picture

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory

It’s just the hurt before the healing
Oh the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1

We are so excited for Sabrina and Giorgio. They received their court date! We have had our hopes up that we would meet them at the Vlad Inn. We are still waiting on the letter from Moscow. I am trying my best to not be consumed with negative thoughts about why we may be delayed.

I won’t go into details on this blog, but this is a very sad time for our family. We have suffered a tremendous loss today. My heart is breaking. These sad emotions only make me miss the Little Guy even more. Today Jeremiah 29:11 has come to mind. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I have to believe it to be true….