About Me

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My husband and I, the Dynamic Duo, have been married since 2003. We've weathered the storm of chronic disease (diagnosis 2006), infertility (diagnosis 2007), turning 30 (2006/2007 respectively) a first adoption (2009) of a tender hearted, compassionate Ukrainian BIG boy (born 2006), who has told us he'd like a baby sister, baby brother, big brother, and REALLY big sister. We recently completed our second Ukrainian adoption journey, which brought us a daughter (born 2005). We'll see what else God brings our way!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Attitude

Alright, alright...you're all wondering about my temper tantrum, huh? Well, let's just say this Christmas could have been better. Where do I start? Ah, yes...


I left off with my sister in law's visit, which was wonderful. The next weekend, the first weekend in Dec, my mother in law came to visit, which was equally wonderful. We went to Bronner's, which is the largest Christmas store in the world, and bought the world's smallest Christmas tree, which was fun.


The next weekend started all the drama. Friday, Dec 12th, I took our cat, Max to the vet. He had a blocked bladder and required sedation to get the cathiter in and all the pee out. $$$ We compromised with a one day observation at the vet, and then careful observation at home. He started eating like a champ, and is doing alright now.


Sat, Dec 13th. Dave was on the computer and saw a drop of water fall from our drop ceiling. Well, it turns out our Christmas tree stand got a hole or crack in it and was slowly leaking on to the blanket it was sitting on, and then through our hard wood floors, which are now slightly warped, and through the drop ceiling directly in to our printer. We just laughed. What else could we do? So Dave got that all cleaned up and purchased a new printer with scanning and copying capabilities with the Christmas check we received from my Grandma Stobie in the mail that day. Haha God...you're a funny guy! While at work, I got a call from my mom saying my Baba (grandma) wasn't doing so great. She ended up passing away a few hours later.


Sun, Dec 14th. I had to work, but Dave and I wanted to pick up a few small things for his family for Christmas. So we're at Pier One and I get a call from a friend. She told me about these two small girls that needed to be adopted in to a Christian home. Would we consider this? I was so shocked I told her I'd have to call her the next day to get more information. Phew! What a weekend!


Mon, Tues more work. Tues night drive to Buffalo, Wed Baba's wake, Thurs funeral & drive back home. Friday major snow storm. Phew! I was exhausted!


Since then, we met these two little girls and decided not to adopt them for a variety of reasons. The little girl we were researching with medical needs in Russia is being researched by another couple who will have the first choice of adopting her. Because of differences between me and my husband, we are very limited in the ethnicity of children we would be willing to adopt. Plus, our adoption agency sent us a letter saying the economy is causing greater delays in all adoptions.
Great. So maybe I won't be a mom this year...or ever. At least I won't believe it until it happens.
Thus the spiritual temper tantrum...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Kicking, screaming, finding the floor, crying "IT'S NOT FAIR", thrashing limbs

Sigh. I'm in the midst of a major spiritual temper tantrum. More to come later....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Fun

The week of Thanksgiving was interesting, to say the least. I got sick Sunday and got progressively worse until Tuesday. I couldn't breathe, my throat hurt, and I was having a hard time sleeping. And, of course, this couldn't have happened at a worse time. I have my Bible study on Mon and Tues mornings, I had to work Monday, and prepare for my sister-in-law and her family to come in to town. But I have a wonderful husband who supported me as much as he could during this time. He bought me medicine, didn't make me feel bad for not cooking, and let me lounge next to the garbage can so I could throw my thousands of snot rags in the trash easily.



By Wednesday I was feeling better, and looking forward to seeing my family. I prepared the full Thanksgiving meal...turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, gravy and stuffing. I loved every minute of it! My sister-in-law, Wendy, arrived Thursday afternoon with a hungry bunch. Tony is her husband, who is Italian and gave us some home made Italian spagetti sauce (Mmmmm.....) and her boys are CJ, age 9, and Sam, age 6. I haven't seen them since the summer...I couldn't believe how tall they were!!! I enjoyed smothering them with kisses and hugs and catching up on their activities. CJ plays hockey with a traveling league and is really good. And Sam is learning to read...I can't believe it! I love to hang out with Dave and Wendy. They have such a goofy and fun relationship...it's good to see Dave enjoying himself with his sister and her family. I didn't have much time with them because I had to work Fri night and Sat morning. We had lunch and then off they went.



Dave's Crohn's is getting progressively worse. I really don't know what more to do for him. He's now eating chocolate shakes before bed to try to gain weight. He has no energy, and is in constant pain. The pain meds he's on aren't cutting it anymore, so we're going to look in to experimental procedures/medicines to see what we can find. I'm growing more and more concerened about his health and the lack of resources we have at this point. But God is good and He will guide us to where we need to be with this.



Our cat, Max, isn't doing so great either. His arthritis is bad more than it is good these days. We find him in odd positions unable to move. And I'm having to feed him his dinner. I don't know how much longer we should keep him alive. He's stuck in the back room of our basement while we're gone because his brother, Fritz, attacks him...silly cats!



Thanksgiving week was also the last week the Ukraine was going to accept dossiers for 2008 adoptions. Apparently it was a very competitive time. I guess I wasn't surprised to not be submitted, but a little disappointed. We have to wait until the first week in Feb to hear any news now. But somehow I'm not heartbroken about it. It just feels like good timing. We couldn't afford to go to the Ukraine right now anyway, so we can get more fundraisers going in the mean time.



One of the things I've noticed about this school year is that I'm really struggling with my walk with the Lord. I haven't been able to pinpoint where my walk got off line. My prayer life isn't what it should be, and I don't devote myself everyday to digging in to God's word. My excuses are that I'm working now, and I have a lot going on in my personal life. My husband is ill, my grandmother is dying, my youngest brother is rebelling, and my children are still not with me.



I'm learning a lot in BSF's life of Moses study. Moses didn't become a humble leader totally dependent on God over night. He struggled even in the wilderness with God's "obstinate" people. I prayed on the way home from work Mon night that God wouldn't punish my discussion group because of my disobedience in prayer, that God would bless them all by encouraging them to be at class Tuesday morning. We're learning about the building of the Tabernacle. How majestic and beautiful it must have been! God is so good and so worthy of our praise and adoration. But we must come to Him recognizing that He is holy, and we are sinful. And because He hates sin I must consecrate myself by confess my sins daily, hourly, ASAP to be acceptable to come before the Holy God. I also need to recognize that I can't approach God in a halfhazard way. What do I do to prepare to worship Him on Sunday mornings??? After my plea to God Mon night, I had a wonderful time Tuesday morning with my ladies. I'm convicted every week in some area of my walk. Growth is what I want and God desires of me. And the more I learn, the more I'm responsible for. Sigh. Maybe I should stop learning...(Just kidding!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jack, our sweet doggie

You all know quite a bit about our adoption process. So I thought I'd take a different direction in this blog. We haven't heard anything new about the adoption, and perhaps this is making us a little stir crazy.

I went out of town for a few days to visit my parents, and, apparently Dave's creative juices were flowing. Our dog has inside and outside toys. When it's rainy, we don't usually walk him, so we have to exercise him somehow. He's a spaniel/lab mix, which explains his obsession with retrieving anything. We love to see his skid across the kitchen floor trying to get traction. My husband jokingly says Jack needs race tires.

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In this video, you'll see how amazing my husband has been at training our dog. Oh, and Uncle Todd is a friend of ours that watches Jack for us at times. One day he jokingly called himself Uncle Todd, and it's stuck ever since.

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Jack LOVES his squeaky balls. He would be a great hunting dog. In the spring while we rake leaves, we'll throw his ball in a huge pile of leaves, and he'll sniff it out. He also loves to pounce head first in the leaves (and snow).

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Monday, November 10, 2008

A Hymn for my children

At the beginning of each BSF class, we sing two hymns. Some time ago, perhaps even a month ago, we sang a hym called "God Will Watch Over You." As I started singing the hymn, my eyes teared up and I couldn't finish it. I could see my child being taken care of, even without me. I think this was God's way of reminding me He is in control and taking care of my child(ren). I've found the words and the tune and I'm going to dedicate the hymn to my children...

God Will Take Care of You

Be not dismayed whate'er betide,
God will take care of you;
beneath his wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
when dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
lean, weary one, upon his breast,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
through every day, o'er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Still Waiting :(

Well, we're still waiting. But we've found out that the SDA has been reviewing dossiers for 2009 adoptions since Oct 14th. I've heard of several families getting the word that their dossier is being reviewed, which is exciting and depressing at the same time. Things are progressing, yet I haven't heard a thing :( For some reason this week has been tougher than most. I keep seeing friends who are pregnant and their small children running around and wonder why God chose me to be the one to jump through hoops to become a mom. Is He protecting me from something? Will I be a terrible mother? Why me? God is using this time to prepare me for motherhood-the business, sleeplessness, and exhaustion from constant correction-but it's so hard to accept the answer "Not yet".





In my Bible study, we're studying the life of Moses. Life wasn't easy for the Israelites while they were in the desert. They had to trust the Lord for their provisions. Yet the Lord always answered. My focus is on the not grumbling part because I know that this process is going to glorify God somehow, in some way. God IS providing for me, but not the way I want Him to provide. Right now I feel like giving up and throwing in the towl. Can I make it 6+ more months? Do I have the strength, or patience to wait or discover there are no children for me to adopt?





This is where I take a deep breath and repeat over and over again "God is in control. God is in control." I settle a bit after that, but it still takes time to drag myself up from the pit of dispair. Will it ever happen? (grumble grumble)




Outside of my little pity party, life has been pretty terrific. I have a friend who just got engaged. I started praying with her at the beginning of last year for a husband or for her heart to be content with being single still. And low and behold, she met her man less than a year later, they started dating in June and are now getting married next June! How humbling to see such a direct answer to a prayer.



My job is still great. I'm really enjoying the customer service, and being able to see the newest shoes coming in. How fun! And our candle fundraiser raised almost $1,000! This is a great help to us. Thanks to all of you who purchased a candle! We put the money towards a loan we took out to cover some of the latest costs. Our second fundraiser has been put in to motion, which is perfect timing. November is Adoption Awareness Month, so I'm hoping people will be more generous. I've also looked in to doing a few fundraisers at restaurants. We'll see. Ultimately, it's all in God's hands.



Not much else is going on. I volunteered this morning for the Mom to Mom Bible study and was challenged by one of the children. I was in the 3 year old room this morning. While helping a child put a puzzle together, I overheard a sweet conversation between and boy and a girl:



Girl: Super Boy, will you help me with my puzzle?

Boy: Sure...I'm Super Boy and I put puzzles together!

Girl: Did you ask Jesus in to your heart?

Boy: No.

Girl (with ashen face, mouth wide open, eyes as big as the moon): You have to. You won't be able to spend forever with God if you don't.

Boy: Really?

Girl: You should ask Him in to your heart so you can live with Him forever in Heaven. Jesus is your friend.

Boy: My friend? This piece goes here.



It was darling! And I thought about how timid I am to share my faith. Even in the small things, like telling strangers that God led us to our decision to adopt. How simple it is to tell others about Christ, yet we are bound by the desire to be liked, or to not offend. I'm praying for boldness for Christ because I believe we are steps away from Jesus return and if that is the case, I wish to carry a train full of friends and family members with me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It is FINISHED!!!!

Wow! A lot has happened since the last entry. The visit with my brother and his wife was nice. We got a family picture, including two of my cousins, an aunt, and my grandma. My Baba, who has been living with my parents since Nov 2007, is doing fine. She's starting to really show her mind's deterioration, but is still hanging on. It was really nice to spend the week with her, hearing her story again, and enjoying the Ukrainian language.

Everything kind of happened at once after that. BSF started Sept 9th, I started a job Sept 10th, new volunteering opportunity Sept 10th, another volunteering opportunity Sept 11th, and was ready to give up something Sept 12th. I had two emotional breakdowns that week because it all seemed like so much! But God is good, and He placed me in the right job with the right manager.
Yes, you heard me right. I have a job, finally! I'm working at Sears in the shoe dept, and at first I didn't think I'd enjoy it for long. But I'm starting to get to know my coworkers and I really enjoy the customer service aspect of the job. It's not a very high stress dept, and I really appreciate that. Everyone in the dept acts like an adult, so my manager, or dept lead, can treat us like adults.

I turned 31 at the beginning of Sept. It's the best birthday ever because I'll be 31 when I become a mom. How exciting! We've been saying that a lot lately...this will be the last time we (insert vacation, holiday, etc) before we're parents!

The adoption has advanced to the next big step. I've been trying to explain to people where the adoption is in comparison to pregnancy. The paperwork/home study part is like the attempts to conceive. It can be a long and tedious process at times, but in the end it's rewarding. Handing in our dossier to our adoption agency is like taking a pregnancy test and waiting for the results. We received confirmation that all the documents are perfect, so our adoption agency is sending the documents to the Ukraine on Monday (yes...this Monday) to be translated!!! We are officially in the pregnancy stage.

I anticipate the first few months to be beyond excited; we'll hear about when the documents have been translated and what comes next (kind of like hearing the heartbeat for the first time, and getting that first ultrasound picture). And we'll start nesting and preparing for a child (or children...we're still praying for twins) with eager anticipation. But at some point, we're going to be ready for our child(ren) to come home so we can be a family (kind of like the last few weeks of pregnancy).

I have a feeling the waiting is going to be torture for me, so I'm thankful I'm really busy. This is going to be a growing time for us, as we prepare for our child(ren), get excited when we hear we're going, and feel disappointment as delays come. But I know my God is powerful and His timing is perfect. He has taught me that much, at least.

Most of you know we've been applying for grants, scholarships, and no interest loans for some time now. We've been denied for all of them. However, we did get find some fundraisers that we're going to try. I was really discouraged and a bit overwhelmed by the denial letters. But God is good, and He uses those types of things to bring us back to Him. He is the provider, not any organization or person. And He provided for me in a big way. I was bringing a friend up to speed with the adoption, letting her know about one of our fundraisers. She was soooo enthusiastic and volunteered to take the catalogue to the drama team (which I've been a part of, but had to drop out of because of the job) to see if anyone would be interested. I almost cried right there. The following week, God used a variety of my friends to encourage me (without them even knowing it). What an awesome God!

We've started two fundraisers. The first is a candle fundraiser, kind of like the fundraisers schools have. You order a candle from a catalogue, and half the retail cost is given to us for our adoption. The second is a money request. We've found an agency that will help us raise up to 50% of the cost of the adoption. We send you info, and you send them a check that gets credited to us. You get a tax deduction, and we let the organization know when we need money for the adopion. It's a win, win situation.

Well, I guess it's time to wait, and wait and wait....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Whirlwind Month

This past month has been filled with emotional ups and downs. Around the end of June, Dave's dad was taken to the hospital because he was extremely weak (he couldn't even get up from the couch). They learned he had pnemonia and was severely dehydrated. They took the fluid out of his lungs and tested it, and they found cancer cells. I'm not sure if the cancer was too much, or if he was too weak, but they determined he would only live for another 6 months at most. We went in to visit him over the 4th of July weekend (he was released from the hospital by then), which was nice. Dave had planned on traveling to Buffalo at least every other weekend. This past weekend (Dave's scheduled weekend to visit) his father deteriorated rapidly. Dave went in on Thurs, Dave's dad was trasferred to a hospice facility on Fri and I came in on Fri night. We spent a great day with him on Sat. He opened his eyes and was able to say a few words here and there, but he was very drugged up. He passed away on Monday, July 21 at about 9:30am. The wake was Wed and the funeral Thurs. Dave and I stayed with his step mom, Claudia, during this time so she wouldn't be alone. Dave is handling things fine, and we're coming together as a family to make sure Claudia is taken care of.

The entire process was short lived, but so many blessings came from it. The reunion of family (I got to meet Dave's four half brothers and get to know one of his half sisters a bit better), the support from all aspects, the miracle of a good day with Jim (my father-in-law)...there are so many things to praise God for through this...I wouldn't even know where to begin!
So that has taken up much of our time. However, the adoption has been proceeding quite nicely. We've received all our paper work back for the adoption (including the state police clearance letter), Dave has finished all his education requirements and we're forging ahead with some requests for funding. Dave found an interest free loan we'll be applying for, as well as some grants and some fundraising opportunities. I'll keep you posted on everything. So far, we've been denied a couple grants because of Dave's income. But we know without a doubt God will provide for us.

I have a few activities coming up. First is my brother's visit from Montana the 9th of August. He and Katy are driving to my parents house in IN, and we have lots of family coming in to see him. The next weekend, my mother in law and an aunt are coming to visit. The following weekend, my sister in law and her family are coming in to visit. We are really looking foward to August!
Dave also finished the garage project for the summer...epoxying the floor. We're still working on getting everything back in position, but it looks pretty cool. Now it'll be easier to clean up after working on the car.

I'm working on getting more pictures up, but I have to find where Dave put them on the computer. I have some great ones of Bermuda, and I'll see if he can get some pics of the garage to share.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Progress

Dave and I had the priveledge of celebrating our 5 year anniversary with his sister and brother in law on a cruise to Bermuda at the end of May. We had a blast, although it was a bit bumpy for a while there. Bermuda was a typical island with gorgeous beaches and a bright personality. I sound so ho-hum about it! But we really enjoyed soaking up the sun, eating more than we ever thought possible, and letting someone else clean up after us....ah, the luxury! I even bought a towl buddy for our baby :)

The big news, however, comes with the arrival of our home study, and the submission of our immigration paper work. We've been told to expect a two to three month wait for our approval, which we need to submit the final paper work...the dossier. I'm praying that this will be turned in by the end of the summer, but I'm not sure that will be possible. Dave is dedicated to finishing his education requirements by the middle of July so he doesn't have them on his plate any more. I've been working diligently on the dossier paperwork...with great rewards! We will be starting our state police clearance on Wednesday, and then all we'll have left is our medical physical/mental assessment and our paperwork will all be done. I'm looking in to starting some fundraising soon...I have a feeling this summer is going to fly by.

Dave's racing started up. He's raced once, with his next race coming up this weekend. He's excited to say the least!

We had some pretty vicious storms roll through our area last weekend. We'd just put everything away from working outside on a beautiful sunny Saturday and were relaxing watching TV when the weatherman said we had a severe thunderstorm coming through with possible tornadic activity. We watched a black line of clouds roll in to our neighborhood, with winds that literally came out of nowhere. One minute calm, next minute tree limbs were flying from the sky, and the next minute calm. One of the smaller tree limbs fell on to the phone wire in our backyard. The wind was blowing so hard, it tore off the bracket holding the phone wire on to our house! We had some minor siding damage, but that was it.

I'm in a new Bible study called He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear from God. As the title indicates, I'm learning how to get myself in to the condition to hear what God has to say to me clearly and loudly. Tonight we talked about sanctification, the process of becoming more and more like God through the work of the Holy Spirit. There are 3 types, but we focused on lifestyle sanctification, or the regular decision to yield to the power of the Holy Spirit in our daily decisions. Boy, this isn't easy. There are TV shows and movies I want to watch that aren't holy or pleasing to God. But I think the hardest thing right now has been to wait on God's timing on the adoption. My tendency is to want to circumvent His plan to speed things up. But I must instead order my day with His priorities and accomplish His work for me each day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Busy Months

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last report! So much has happened. Let's see. I guess the first event was my brother and sister-in-law's ceremony. It was in North Carolina in the middle of April. Dave and I drove down on Thursday and returned on Sunday, then I had my Bible Study the next two days...it was exhausting, but worth it. I enjoyed the time with my family just hanging. I didn't get to spend much time with Katie (my sister-in-law) because she was getting the finishing touches on the day tied up. But I did get to hang with Mike a bit.

We also went to Buffalo May 2-4 for Dave's nephew, CJ, first communion. It was unbelievably cute! It was more family time, which was fun. And we got pretty excited because we came back with a piano! Dave's mom gave us her piano because she's down sizing.

During all of these activities, Dave and I worked hard at finishing some education requirements for the adoption. Dave has completed requirement #3 and I've finished the whole kit and kaboodle. Now I'm going to concentrate on finding a Ukrainian support group as well as getting more paperwork together.
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t's been very interesting how many people either know of, or know someone who is tied to the Ukraine. I don't know if it's the area, or if Ukrainian adoptions are becoming more popular, but I'm really encouraged by the stories I've heard.

I think the biggest change in my thinking over this time period is that we're telling people that they can treat us like an expecting family (because technically we are). That was a really big step for me, to go from being shy about telling people, to telling them I've got a child on the way. Of course, when I tell them I'm expecting next spring, they give me a confused look and I explain we're adopting.

My in depth Bible study (Bible Study Fellowship) is ending next week. I've been so challenged in my thinking through the study of Matthew. God has opened my eyes to areas of Jesus life that I never considered. For example, on the way to the cross, Jesus was offered a drink laced with a seditive of some kind. But Jesus refused the drink. He had more work to do on the cross, praying for those that had sinned against Him, and thus the Father. He also made arrangements for His mother to be taken care of. And for three hours, He took on the sins of the world so that He could be the last sacrifice needed to fulfill the Law. What an amazing and loving saviour. And as I look at my life and the pain and suffering I've gone through with infertility, I recognize God has had work for me to do: encouraging others, working with different ministries, and glorifying Him in all that I do, say, etc. And I recognize that while Jesus was going through such immense pain, He fulfilled His Father's will. And by His resurrection, He conquered death and sin...how can I not seek out His perfect will despite any circumstance?

Friday, April 4, 2008

March is over and We survived!!

Well, all the craziness of March is over. And we made it through. Our social worker met with us Tuesday, March 18th. She came to check out our house and living conditions. After careful thought, she has decided to recommend only one child for us. Since Dave and I want both a boy and a girl, we're going to leave the gender of our child up to God and His leading once we get to that point in the process.

I left for Ecuador on the 19th at some ridiculously early time, and spent the week with my friend Lorena. I had such a great time! Spending time with Lorena is like breathing in the Holy Spirit...He flows out of her in abundance! And I have a few new Ecuadorian friends.
While I was hanging out on mountains in Ecuador, Dave told me he was going to finish a surprise project for me. It was exciting. When I got back (at midnight!) I couldn't wait to see what he had done. He started the baby's room, which was really difficult for me at first. I had a hard time going in to the room because it overwhelmed me. The fact that a child is coming in to our home is much more real now than it was before.

That has prompted us to start a baby registry at Babysrus and Target. It's hard at times because there isn't a lot of information about what to register for when you're adopting. Especially when you're adopting an unknown gender and unknown age. And even if you do know the age of the child, you don't know their mental age. But I figure if I start a registry now, I can slowly add things to it as information and advise comes in.

While on my trip, I finished two books for our education requirments...one more to go and I'll be able to focus completely on the paperwork for the dossier. Dave made some serious progress on a really long book he's reading. Then once he finishes his online class, we'll get our home study and begin the process of applying for loans, grants, and other sources of financial help. Still a long way away, but a few steps closer :)
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n April we have my brother's marriage blessing ceremony, which is only a couple weeks away. It's in NC, and we're driving...a 12 hour drive. But it's going to be a great time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Home Study Progress

March is flying by! We've had our interviews (both as a couple and individually) in the last week and a half, and I attended a baby shower and wedding on Saturday. No sleep for the adopting!
We're making progress with the education requirements. We have 6 education requirements to fulfill: an online course, a class taught by our agency, and 4 books to read. We've completed the online class and are finishing the class at the agency tonight, and I've finished one book. But we still have a long ways to go.

We meet with our home study social worker for the last time tomorrow. She's coming to our house to evaluate the living conditions, which are excellent, of course! We found out at the first meeting that our social worker approves us to adopt two or one, so it isn't just our decision. And I found out that there's a Ukranian population just a few miles south of us. Who knew?!

As we've been going through the education requirements, I've been gathering paperwork for the next step, submitting the I-600A. The I-600A is a form filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). At this point, all we're waiting on is the home study paperwork, which won't get to us until we've finished 4 of the 6 education requirements. But I still have a lot of paperwork to gather for the dossier (requirements for Ukraine), so that'll keep me busy.

I'm leaving for a week on Wednesday to visit my friend Lorena in Ecuador. I'm so excited to see her and spend time with her in the beautiful mountains! And the trip there and back will allow me plenty of reading time (I don't plan on reading much when I get to Ecuador!). Dave plans on taking Thursday and Friday off to catch up on reading and house projects, and to have some relaxing time at home. He's been very dutiful with his reading requirements...every day finishing about 20 pages. It's a lot to take in. I'm so appreciative to have a husband who's as dedicated to this adoption as I am. Many times the husbands are being dragged along by their wives. And, I admit, I was more excited than he was in the beginning, but now we're both excited and anxious to get our child(ren) home.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March And Frankenmuth

March is going to be a very busy month! We have a class the first and third Monday for our home study, all four of our interviews with our social worker, a wedding and a baby shower, my trip to Ecuador, Dave's sister's visit, a trip to Buffalo, and possibly listing our house for sale. Phew! I get tired just thinking about it. To gear up for this month as well as relax from a few stressful weeks, Dave and I decided to leave life behind for a night and head up north. We went to Frakenmuth (a touristy German village with lots of little shops) on Friday evening, had a nice dinner, experienced Bronner's off season (Bronner's is the world's largest Christmas store), and then chilled in our hotel room...very relaxing. This morning we ate a leisurly breakfast, did a little shopping at Birch Run (a ginourmous outlet center) and then did a little dreaming driving around looking at houses and neighborhoods...very fun stuff! We're making progress with the adoption while staying sane, which isn't always easy. We need specific prayer at this time for two major decisions:

First, pray that God guides our decision to sell our house or stay put. It's pretty tempting to want to move right now, but we need to follow what God's will is, not our own.

Secondly, pray that God guides our decision in adopting one or two children. We have gathered a lot of information in our first class, which makes it seem overwhelming to adopt two children at once. I think I'm up for the challenge, but Dave is unsure. So pray that God would change one of our hearts so we can progress in unity and faith (which is always our primary goal). When we're in God's will, He provides...that's the promise I'm hanging on to right now.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Adoption is our answer...

02/15/08 We started researching adoption over the summer, and went to our first adoption meeting in October. Going in to the meeting, we had very different ideas of what we wanted...Dave wanted a girl, either white or hispanic, and to adopt a toddler domestically. I wanted a boy, either white biracial or black, and I wanted an infant domestically. We came out of the meeting both wanting a child from the Ukraine (because of my family heritage), and I didn't care if we got a boy or a girl. (That's probably the time I knew God was asking us to adopt first, then have biological children.) We knew we had some time to think about it, so we set our thoughts aside. Once we made the decision to adopt at the beginning of January, we looked at the possibility of adopting two children at once. We don't want just one child, and it's a lot cheaper to adopt two at once. The youngest we can adopt from the Ukraine is 18 months, so we're looking at adopting a 2 and 3-4 year old. Pretty crazy!

We started paper work after the beginning of the New Year. First we had to fill out a preliminary application, which was only a page long. Then we went through a short hour long adoption awareness class, where we learned some basic issues with international adoption. Then we filled out a 30+ page formal application. This is where we needed 4 references, a floor plan of our house, and basic educational, professional, and family information.

So, for those of you who don't know much about adoption, here's some info we received in our packets of information that explains the home study process and why this is necessary:
"A home study is required by the state and federal governments. Individuals who are interested in adopting internationally are required to submit an approved home study by an adoption agency to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for their review and approval. Home studies...typically consist of 3-4 interviews..addressing the following topics: motivation and understanding of adoption, home study process, child desired, social history, marriage and family lifestyle, child care and child rearing philosphy, employment, financial and health info, home and community, references and clearences, and a summary with a recommendation...It takes approximately 8-12 weeks to complete the home study process and the home study report with is usually at least 5 pages in length

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Letter to Family RE Adoption

January 17, 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, the past few years have been crazy to say the least. We have some bitter sweet news to share with you. Let's start with the bitter. Most of you know, but June 2006 Dave was diagnosed with Crohn's disease (after many tests, procedures, etc). What a terrifying ordeal. Currently we have everything under control with medicines, and have even been able to take him off of some meds because he's doing so well. Crohn's is a digestive disorder that can be very painful at times. Fortunately, he doesn't experience the pain most patients experience.

We've also experienced some big changes...like my brother's elopement and my parents moving to Indiana from Texas, as well as the recent deterioration of my grandmother's health - she's been given about 6 months to live.

What most of you don't know is that Dave and I have been trying for 2.5 years to get pregnant. This has been a very emotionally draining time for us. This past April after some testing, we discovered an issue that is preventing us from getting pregnant. I spent the summer in mourning, trying to make sense of why God would allow this to come in to our lives. We weren't sure at the time if the issue was fixable, so we maintained hope. This past week, however, the doctors told us the situation was status quo and what the next steps were for testing. We both agreed to not pursue them at this time. Basically there is little to no chance of us having natural children at the moment.

But, God is good. We get to talk about the sweet news now! God has been preparing us for some time now to accept all these circumstances. Although these types of circumstances can destroy a marriage, God has strengthened ours. We've been in counseling for quite some time, and have learned how to communicate more effectively with each other. We have also found more trust and a stronger bond. The biggest news, and the news we are most excited about, is our decision to adopt. We've started the process, and we can't wait to have our children home with us in a couple years. We're looking at adopting a sibling pair from the Ukraine at this time. God has answered our prayers to unify our hearts in every aspect of this decision. There are so many things that I prayed for thinking there was no way we would agree on this decision or that. But God has changed both my heart and Dave's heart! What an amazing experience!

We both feel that God's will for our lives right now is to adopt. We serve a powerful God who can restore health, and because of that we have hope that our reward for our obedience and surrendering our desire for children to Him will be the eventual conception of a biological child.

Adoption is very overwhelming for us both financially and emotionally. But we know that as we follow God's will in obedience, He will provide. Please pray for strength, provision, and patience for us (especially me). I'm sure we'll start an adoption blog sometime, so we'll keep you posted. And as you can see, the sweet far outweighs the bitter!

With Love,

Natalie and Dave

Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12