Sunday, December 30, 2007


Still no word from Immigration. I guess the 10 days didn't include holidays. Hopefully, the letter will come by the end of this coming week.

Just wanted to update you that I heard that the quotas for 2008 have changed. It seems like the quotas for the specific age groups won't apply after all. I guess that means that more than 32 children under 6 years of age can be adopted from Ukraine by U.S. Americans. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Last night, I had a very dear friend come and visit me. It was so nice to sit down and catch up with her. I was missing her. At one time about 9 years back, we were very close since she lived right next to me, but we had drifted apart all these years since she got married and moved away.

Still, she still holds a special place in my heart, and yesterday we got catch up like long lost friends, and boy, did it feel nice. Half way through our conversation, she told me that she was expecting again. I was very happy for her, as she told me her plans to have a home birth (which is just awesome) and everything, but a part of me is envious of the fact that even though she is only a couple of months pregnant, she knows exactly where her child is, and is already able to do everything in her power to nourish, protect, nurture, and love her child. What a blessing.

Boy, did I take this for granted when I was pregnant. I'm not sure I even thought about what a blessing it is to carry a child each and every second while it is growing inside you, and then be able to be with him from the moment that he is born. When our children come to us through adoption, we have no choice but to leave the nourishing, protecting, nurturing, and loving up to someone else until the day comes that they finally join our family.

Today, I am feeling that this day can't come soon enough. I wonder if our child to be has gotten a hug today?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Wishing you all a very wonderful day!

This morning John opened up a present from me ----a brand new jacket for when we go to Ukraine. I also opened up a package of 3 sixty minute DVDs to video our trip. Even though we are still not going for a couple of months, it is fun to plan ahead. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Open Arms Ukraine

Since I won't have much to report on the adoption, at least for a while, I wanted to share some other things in the mean time. I found this video on You Tube and was very touched by it. I thought of Ashley, Debbie, and a few others as I watched it. I love the pictures of the boys asleep. Something about a child sleeping, even a teenage boy that seems angelic to me. :)

Enjoy, and don't be afraid to act on the heartstrings that might be pulled on while watching this video.

Another letter from local USCIS office


There may have been a communication problem. The process time for orphan petitions from start to finish is currently about 2 1/2 months. However, we will send your fingerprint appointment to you in about 10 days. Sorry for the confusion.


Stephen D. Hull
Adjudication Officer

If this is true, then we'll be done middle of February.
All I want for Christmas is my I-171h, my I-171h, my I-171h.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Off to be Apostilled!

I had 11 of our documents notarized on Friday and mailed them off to the Secretary of States Office in Sacramento this morning to get apostilled. Yeah!!!

So why was it so hard for me to let go of that precious, yellow, certified, manila envelope and hand it over to the post office clerk? I know better than to worry about it getting lost, but I couldn't help it. I keep telling myself that I have to just trust that it is going to come back to me in the pre-paid self addressed envelope that I included.

Don't worry, I'm over it already.

I emailed my local Congressman a very nice letter, asking if he could help speed things along for us. He just had a baby himself and so I am hoping that he will be able to relate to our situation and how frustrating it is to have to wait without any specific timeline. I just feel that with the new 2008 quota, our paperwork needs to get over there as soon as possible.

Hey, at least we are not at a complete standstill like many families waiting to adopt from China. Don't even get me started on that....... I feel so sad for them. There is just no reason that makes real sense to me as to why it takes so long to adopt a child. Doesn't anyone else feel that a child's precious life just ticking away in an orphanage should me minimized in every way possible. After all, it is their childhood that is literally being robbed from them. It just isn't fair.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Still waiting

At the suggestion of others, I contacted our local Congressional office. Connie, I loved your idea, but that is how I first mailed our application--- with a nice letter thanking them for helping us last time, and it got us nowhere.

Anyways, the person I talked too, I have a feeling was just a clerk for that office... and he really wasn't able to help me much. I do give him credit that he called me back twice, but he gave me info that I had already read off the Immigration site. He started out the conversation like this.

"I'm so sorry, but I have really bad news for you. It looks like Immigration is barely processing applications that were filed back in June. It looks like they are really back logged."

I told him that that wasn't possible because I knew of others who had filed their application later than June and already gotten their approval. Ugh!

I don't think I got very far. I hope they didn't put our application at the bottom of the pile because of my pestering.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

USCIS responded


Thank you for your inquiry. We received your application. We are currently experiencing delays regarding orphan petitions. However, we will process your case as soon as possible.


Stephen D. Hull
District Adjudication Officer

Ugh. Just what I was afraid of. :(
I've just eaten my fourth Oreo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Limbo

Still no word from Immigration. That's the only hold up. As soon as it's done, I''ll have everything apostilled, and then we'll be set.

When I was Christmas shopping last week, I went ahead and bought a musical play set with little instruments that are stored in a drum. It is so cute and it is approved by Parents Magazine. I think it will be perfect for our new son since we don't have many baby toys around anymore. I also feel like I chi-chinged since I didn't pay nowhere near $44.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I don't want to be a slave

Have any of you been following Tami's blog? I am totally in awe of what they are choosing to do, and I believe that God will bless them because of their decision. Her comment, "The real challenge of international adoption is avoiding becoming a slave to your circumstances," hit me hard. Isn't this so true? Here they choose to go see a three year old little girl, that they later find out she just had surgery so they won't be able to visit her for at least a week. They get to go back to the SDA which is no small feat in itself, and can easily choose to go visit another child and keep on with the process, but instead they decide to put things on hold while this little girl heals so that they can still go meet her instead.

How many of us would have chosen to go meet another child because it would have been quicker and just plain easier to do? I think that I might have, if I am honest with myself. Yet, that would have made me a slave to the whole process rather than taking the time to do what I felt my heart was telling me. I would have convinced myself that this was God's plan for us to choose another child or else this little girl would have been available for us to see. I would have convinced myself that it was in every one's best interest including my children at home, for us to take the quickest route possible, when in fact I may have been altering God's plan.

So thank you Tami, for giving me much to think about as we continue our adoption journey.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Marriage Cert in mail

Hi Everyone. Just our marriage certificate came in the mail yesterday. Still progress though. But, I was feeling pretty daring and emailed USCIS asking them, "What's up?"

No really, it was quite polite. I asked them if I should have gotten a receipt for the check they cashed almost two weeks ago. They supposedly have two business days to respond. We'll see.

Oh, and thank you for all of of your coments. They have been so encouraging.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Waiting for the Mail

How many times have you been held hostage by your mailbox or email?

That's what I feel like right now as I am anxiously waiting for a letter from USCIS so that we can go and get fingerprinted.

I thought that the letter had finally come today, but it turned out to be one of our daughter's delayed birth certificates from when we readopted her back in September. Hey, I'm not complaining because something we have been waiting for finally came in the mail, but I will be doing the dance when something from Immigration shows up. I probably should have started my counter from the day that I mailed it off since according to the USCIS automated system, I am to expect long delays. :(

Monday, December 3, 2007

2008 Quotas for Ukraine

Children under 6 available to ENTIRE U.S. is ONLY 32 children!!!.
Ages 6-9 - 83 adoptions
Ages over 10 - 115 adoptions
Siblings with one of children under 6 - 92 adoptions
Siblings over 6 - 138 adoptions
TOTAL - 460 children

What have you heard? What do you think? Does this include children with special needs, children over age 13, and siblings of children already adopted and here in the US?

I guess it doesn't really matter, because it is pretty sad that Ukraine even has a quota.

Police Clearance Letter

We just got our fingerprints done last Friday and I got the official police clearance letters in the mail today. Unbelievable.

I hope USCIS is just as fast.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Homestudy in hand!

Our home study came in the mail today! USCIS has cashed our check!

It is so exciting to be accomplishing each step that I am not sure if the waiting once our dossier is done will be as easy. At least I feel that right now we are in control of how fast things are moving along. Once we turn in our dossier, it is out of our hands.....literally.

1/2 way done

We just got back from having our 1st set of fingerprints done for our police clearance letter. Check.

Color photocopy of passports. Check.

Mailed off for marriage certificate. Check. BTW, did you know that you have to have the request notarized?

Employment verification letter on company letterhead. Check.

And now I am working on our proof of home ownership and letter of guarantee to register our child.

It feels good to know that we are half way done with the paperwork. Compared to Russia this is a breeze.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I had a dream

Last night I had the most wonderful dream. I didn't want to wake up.

Last night, I dreamt that John and I were in Ukraine. The warm sun was peeking in the cracked window between the tree branches. We were visiting with another American couple who was also adopting. I was sitting on the couch with our little boy covering his face with a blanket to shield him from the sunlight that was magnified through the crack in the window. He was warm and cozy, his blue eyes closed, almost asleep............... and nursing.

The quiet sound of him suckling was like sweet music to my ears.

For anyone that has had the experience of nursing their precious, cherub like child, I'm sure you know exactly what I am talking about. There is something so natural, so innocent, nothing short of the way God intended for our precious little babies to be fed.

The only problem with the scenario is that my son will be adopted. Since I will not have given birth to this child, my body will not have made the hormones needed to produce milk. Secondly, my son will not be a newborn. He will most likely be drinking from a cup or at the very least a bottle. The desire to suckle harder when he will be used to the easier flow of a bottle, will not be there. I do not know if a child can be taught how to nurse after they have been fed with a bottle for so long. Thirdly, I've had a if the other reasons for not nursing worked themselves out, I'm not sure my body could even be jump started into producing milk if my body is unable to make the right hormones needed to lactate......... even if just a little.

It is all so overwhelming.

Until now, I couldn't think of one downside to adopting. But, not being able to nurse my baby is so sad to me.

I have adopted before, but they were older and so I never gave nursing a serious thought with my daughters. One of of my daughters did though. When you think about it.....that is even sadder. Don't get me wrong, my daughters are so much better off having us now, even after missing out on so much in their early life, but that doesn't change the grieving that I as their mama now goes through for them because they missed out on the closeness that nursing provides. Their body being cuddled in their mama's arms, their face having skin on skin contact, being familiar with the smell of their mama, and the eye to eye contact that reassures them that it is okay to fall asleep......... is something they will have to grow up without ever having experienced. To me, that is something to grieve.

Come to think of it, have any of our adopted children ever had the pleasure and closeness of being held and cuddled by their mama while nursing from her breast?

Even though it wasn't from my breast that my adopted daughters have suckled from, I'd like to think that they did get that opportunity with their birth mothers.

Though, I am pretty sure that the only way I am going to be able to nurse my new son is in my dreams, I believe that God will open other doors for us to experience that same kind of intimacy between that of mother and her nursing child.

Still I will miss the chance to nurse my little baby boy. And I will miss the opportunity to show my older adopted daughters just how beautiful and intimate nursing your baby can be.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Doing the dance

Our homestudy is in the mail.

We are getting fingerprinted for our police clearance this Thursday.

Things are moving right along.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Homestudy draft looks good!

We got the rough draft of our home study last night and after a couple of minor changes, I am excited to say that I think it is done! Our agency looked it over too, and was able to suggest some changes to the part of the home study that discussed us adopting from a disruption to make it more understandable when translated into Russian.

I did mail off for immigration, but after reading on Frua, I am a bit concerned. I mailed off one personal check for the immigration fee and fingerprints instead of two separate money orders like suggested by some of the families on Frua.

Oh well, I can't change things now....I can just pray that the officer accepts what I have mailed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I went ahead and mailed out our I-600 today. I forgot what a hassle it is just getting together the right paperwork to send in with the application. Copies of marriage cert, birth certs, passports, and proof of health insurance is like putting together a mini dossier.

Thanks for all of your comments. I am hoping that we can get our fingerprints done before our home study is sent in, like many of you were able to. I'll let you know.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Still no homestudy

Well, I am a little disappointed that I haven't seen our home study rough draft yet, though I am told it is coming. Maybe this week. I do know however that our home study agency is working on getting us a copy of their license and a letter that states that their license is non-expiring. For those of you that do not know, this is a document that is needed for a Ukraine dossier and probably most dossiers when you adopt internationally.

I am toying around with the idea of sending in our I-600A without our home study. Since some of you said that you got to get your fingerprints done before hand, I wonder if this would be true for California? When we adopted from Russia, we had to wait until we had our home study, but at this point, doing something feels better than doing nothing, even if it doesn't get us any further along.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What was I thinking?

As you can see from the video, I am truly a nut. But, I also love my children so much, and am already thinking of things to take to Ukraine that will make our new son laugh and smile. Don't you think this froggy is just too cute?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Let's play Tag

I really enjoyed getting to know some of you last time I was tagged and so I thought it would be fun to play again and tag someone new. If you are tagged, please go ahead and play even if you have not adopted from Ukraine or are not currently in the adoption process. :)

What are the first three things you bought for you new child?

bed comforter
and more clothes

Who laid the first big kiss smack dab on the face of your new child? Or, who is going to be the first one? You or your hubby or a sibling?


What was one of the first phrases you learned in your child's native language?

Ya lyublyu tebya

What was your favorite food in country? What country? If you haven't traveled yet, what are you looking forward to eating?

potato filled pirogi in Russia

What was your least favorite food? Or, what do you refuse to try while you are in country?

Gelatin dish with settled meat at the bottom. I can't remember the name, but I remember how gross I thought it was. Sorry to those who love this.

What part of the adoption process has been the most sentimental to you apart from meeting your child?

When the plane landed on Russian soil, I got goosebumps all over. My thought? "My daughters are here in this country! My daughters are here in this country!"

I tag Sig, Nataliya, Wendy, and Tara. Please let me know if you want to play too because I don't want to leave anyone out. :)

Ooooo, I'm excited. Sarah, Annie, and Karen have decided to play. :) I really appreciate their honest answers that you can tell are straight from the heart. Thanks guys!

We have a a counter!

Awwe, I wanted to say we have lift off, but that wouldn't make much sense {LOL}, at least not until we leave for Ukraine.

Thanks Tami for the hot tip. ;)

Now that we know how long we have been waiting since we started this process I wonder how many days will have passed until we are back home with our new son?

Today, My own personal guess is 176 days. I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but hey, it is just a guess.

What's yours?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Through the Grapevine

I've heard it through the grapevine that a rough draft of our home study has been written. I hope to see it later this week.

Also, does anyone know if there is a time counter that counts up instead of down? I would like to see how many days from when we started this process until we bring our son home. I wonder if it will be shorter or longer than a 9 month pregnancy. Our last three adoptions took 8 months, 10 months, and 5 1/2 months.

Oh, and a big thank you to all of you who left comments on John's post. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

From My Hubby

Hey everyone!

I’m not proud of this by ANY means, but this is my first "blog" for public consumption done compliant to my wife’s repeated request for my "father perspective" or my "husband’s perspective" which I guess previously she’s only had to speculate about. She asked me to spend just 15 minutes writing to you all today. And I think the topic was restricted for me to be about number eleven so here goes…

As most of you probably know we are planning to adopt, er have actually started to adopt, a young boy from the Ukraine!

Here are the natural, immediate questions which come to follow in ANYone’s mind…
Totally Honest answers making for a quick blog are "Not sure", "Don’t know", and "Can’t say" respectively (or in any order for that matter!)…

So rely on Christine to fill you in with the details as she gets them!
Ok, bloggin is easy after all!

Shoot…this only burned 6 of my 15 minutes so I guess, with such a major undertaking, I should share better details of motivation/understanding of the process than that!

I’ll start with the "Why?"
Firstly, there is clearly the good husband motivation—Christine has extreme joy and interest and passion and expertise in helping other children--as well as in parenting our own. If I’m the supply chain manager at odwalla, she’s the Supply Chain Director at home! But for so much of the day now, the kids are away in school, and she (nearly) insanely, wants to do more! One role I have as a husband is to see that her life’s purpose and energy and vitality and joy never wane. Well it can, and will, diminish for anyone, any time one might be tempted to sit back, or rest on laurels, or think "I’ve done enough. Now, time for myself". I distinctly remember, when we went to Russia, that fear set in with Christine and she expressed regret and anguish about how she, realistically speaking, just ‘lost’ her normal life and perhaps reduced our marriage’s capabilities...Her scrap booking, or our restaurant dining, or our movie-going, or our quick getaways, hotels, etc, were destined to die/change with 8 kids then, and losing "all that" while wrestling with schools and new family dynamics maybe just was way too much for us, she expressed. But that’s what is cool about Christine…She was right!

Well there went my 15 minutes and my Dad just walked in. So I’ll pause…
Ok, he left, and I’ll resume…
Where was I? Oh yeah, Christine was right in saying that we got too much to handle on our own. (I think one life is too challenging to go it alone. And that a marriage, if left solely up to the whims and abilities of the two married parties, is also destined to be less than intended. And that any family with any number of parents or children is too much for that family if they look only internally for the secret for its success). Our family of 8 then and ten now and 11 later will be successful (whatever that means!) with the help of friends, grandparents, the community, the Church, and with God’s hand in all of that. Reliance beyond ourselves gives us great senses of relief and joy and community and thankfulness that bringing in another child is bound to repeat and amplify.

Secondly, there is the good Father motivation—I have 5 daughters that may be mothers some day. Four of them missed out on proper parental nurturing. Good parents are good examples and the best way to demonstrate and teach parental nurturing is with a baby—A baby that Christine and I will love and nurture as parents AND a baby that my other children will be able to see, and live, and participate in the nurturing process themselves as big sibs so that they will be far more skilled and aware when they eventually become parents.

Thirdly, there is clearly the good Samaritan motivation—we ALL see, or at least know, of many orphaned children in the world. So to see this and DO nothing, even if we FEEL compassion, is still DOing nothing, which in my book (and Book) is not right. And I understand the rebuttal that such an endeavor may leave me also doing nothing about AIDS, or widows, or literacy, or gluttony, or other things I see and know about. But no one can help all ills everywhere, so maybe folks must chose the ways they can help where they have skills or experience or gifts and capacity. All of which we have for orphans, so logically, this is the area of help where we chose to focus. As our family numbers grow, folks have crassly asked me, "You know you can’t save them all, don’t you?" And with the absence of joy in that truth, I acknowledge them--but I’m still convinced that what we will be doing for that one child is making a world of difference for him-- so having the compassion and capacity simply makes the action almost necessary.

And so that answers a few of the major whys, though there are doubtlessly others. Maybe when I have more time, I will write more about the whos and whens.

--JR / Dad / Hubby

Friday, November 9, 2007

Random Questions about Adoption

1. What are you going to name your new son? We will probably keep his first name and change his middle to have family significance. This is what we have done with our daughters.

2. Will you be circumcising your son? No

3. Are you going to nurse him, Mom? No, but I would if I could.

4. How big will he be? He will probably be on the small side for his age which is fine because the best gifts often come in the smallest of packages.

5. What if he has special needs like your daughter? So what. Children with some sort of disability have less of a chance of being adopted.

6. When will you be traveling? Hopefully, springtime.

Keep them coming :)

Please keep adding to the list as you come up with items to bring to Ukraine. I've posted links to other contributor's blogs. Please check them out too, as they are worthy of reading. :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Things to take as I think of them

Thinking ahead, I've already started to compile a list of things that we will be taking with us. A lot of it comes from Laurel and John's blog who are in Ukraine as we speak.

1. Laptop computer
2. Wet Wipes
3. Spatula
4. Snack, snacks, and more snacks
5 Zip Lock bags
6. Sharpie Markers
7. Balloons
8. Deck of Cards
9. Reading material
10. Disposable Bibs
11. Luggage Tags (maybe I can borrow Laurel's)
12. potato peeler
13. baby sling This one is my favorite.

If you can recommend anything that I am missing please let me know. Also, if you are getting ready to travel, what are your "must takes?"

Here are things that I have added thanks to contributors Nataliya, Kathy, Annie, Shelley, and Tami. Check out their blogs, as I have come to enjoy reading them very much.

14. grocery bags
15. international adaptors
16. small umbrella
17. photo album of family (I planned on that but forgot to add it to the original list)
18. tape measure
19. flash light
20. wash clothes
21. a roll of TP
22. Sink Stopper
23. DVD player
24. Convenience comfort food like brownie mix and hot chocolate

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

May you be safe while you are waiting.....

May you be safe and sleep soundly through the night,
May you be safe as you wake to the morning's light.
May you feel our love from so far away,
May it comfort and protect you throughout each day.
We will pray for you my little one,
Until our time of waiting is done.
We will pray that the Lord keep you safe from harm,
Until the child of our hearts becomes the child in our arms.
Author Unknown

One Step Closer

Our social worker visit couldn't have gone better last night. :)

It is so silly how I tend to get a little nervous the day of these visits, when we are old pros at the home study process. Between adopting three times before and having four post-placement visits, they shouldn't phase me anymore. But still, I found myself doing a little bit of extra cleaning. You guys know what I am talking about.

It got real when the part came when she asked us what kind of child or children we wanted to adopt. You know questions like, "Are you hoping to adopt a boy or a girl?" "What age range would you consider?" "Have you thought about birth order?" "What disabilities if any are you willing to consider?" "What made you decide on that?"

The visit ended with her looking at the room we are preparing for this child. We have already done little things to make this child feel welcome into our home. Sveta wanted to make sure that the blanket we got for his crib would be nice and cozy. William wanted to make sure that the bed was fixed properly. The girls have dug up baby toys that I had given them to play with when they played babies. Jonny helped me to pick out the comforter. All of the kids have helped me to move furniture.

Sure we still have a long way to go, but little by little, it is coming along great. I might get brave and paint a little mural of dinosaurs on the wall like I did for the boys' room upstairs.

Each day, we are one step closer.

On a final note, I wanted to thank my Aunt Tanya. Right before the visit last night, she called to ask about when we thought we would travel. She was considering coming up to help with the kids while we are gone. She doesn't know, but she brought tears to my eyes because she helped in answering a huge prayer request I've had --- That we find childcare for when we are gone.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

This is the last time for a while --- I promise

I went shopping at Costco the other day and bought two more things. They were very cute and only six or seven dollars each. I promise to stop buying clothes for awhile, at least until we submit our dossier.

BTW, if our homestudy visit is tomorrow, how long do you think it will take until we get the finished product so I could submit our I-600? How long was yours?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Enjoyable read

Hi. I have nothing to report here or talk about today, but I wanted to encourage you to read, if you haven't been already, about the Boylans who are in Ukraine right now. They are good friends of ours and I get so excited each time I read their blog. There roughing it right now, but they are on a trip of a lifetime.

I promise you will enjoy reading about their journey.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

One little boy

Yes, we are adopting from Ukraine, but that wasn't how it started out. Let me share with you how it all began.

Our whole journey originally started because I got an email of this little boy from an adoption site. This little boy touched my heart, and as I learned more about his story, I shared with my husband. The agency he is with told me that he has caudal regression syndrome and sent pictures, some of them being of his legs. They wanted me to see his legs because after all, that is what would most likely make or break our decision in their mind.

Honestly, before I got the pictures but, after doing some research, I still had no clue what to expect. This little boy looked so sweet and innocent, I didn't even think it really mattered what the rest of his body looked like. His face to me is still angelic. To me, a child is a child, this little boy is just a little boy, and he deserves to be rocked and cuddled, and loved to feel special. This little boy needs a family to call his very own.

When I got the pictures later in the day, his short, malformed legs that were white and smooth and virgin never having touched the floor to crawl or scoot, were the most heart touching thing I have seen in a very long time. I cannot explain the feelings that stirred inside me when I looked at the pictures.

I learned that this little boy, Mikhail, also has a full grant to cover all of his international adoption fees. I have become friends with the family who has also been touched by this little boy but was unable to complete the adoption because they found out they were expecting.

As I inquired more about Mikhail, I finally asked if they would make sure that the region would be okay with our large family. Many regions in Russia don't want to work with families that have more than six children. I thought that since Mikhail had special needs and nobody else has been inquiring about him, we would be welcome with open arms.

Sadly, this is not the case. The facilitator said our family was too risky to work with because of our size. Needless to say, I still grieve for this little boy. I can't explain it, nor do I expect anyone to understand, but I just want him to be with a good family. My heart goes out to him.

In the region that he is in, there is a group that provides therapy for the children. The family providing the grant and I have tried to find out how we can get Mikhail these services. Recently, another family that traveled to the same region brought Mikhail the little red wheelchair he is sitting on in the picture.

Doesn't he look adorable?

If anyone is interested in adopting this little boy, I would be more than willing to share all the info that I have on him.

If anyone steps forward because Mikhail has touched their heart, my prayer will be answered.

God Bless.

To me, Mikhail is one amazing little boy, because though we cannot adopt him, he has opened our heart to adopt some other little boy that is just as deserving as him. I will be forever thankful for that.


Our medicals for both the home study and dossier are done. (I'm doing the victory dance!)

Both of our blood pressure was exactly 120/70. Goes to show just how much we are one. Just kidding, but really, I thought that was kind of neat.

I'm convinced that kids actually make you younger, at least they seem to for us. Our health is great and we have the medicals to prove it. Yeah!!!! (doing the dance again) ;)

So you know what we did right after?

We went to Carl's Jr. and had lunch. Nothing like a big, juicy, mayonnaise dripping down you hand kind of burger to raise that cholesterol level. ;)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Social Worker Visit Scheduled and a Crib

We are almost done with our home study paperwork. Just the medicals are left, and we are getting them done in the morning. I've written a check for the remaining balance of our home study fees and the social worker is scheduled to come out Monday evening. Everything is going very quickly this time, and I anticipate having our home study finished by the end of November. Much quicker than last time around.

Today I happened to run into someone from church that I knew would be great to ask about a crib. Turns out she had one in the garage that she was more than happy to give me. I was very thankful because now we can have it set up for when the social worker comes to visit.

I wanted to mention that I have another blog about our family's smiles and trials, so please come check it out. It's link is under my other blogs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Down memory lane

Since we have started a new, long ride to Ukraine to find our son, I wanted to post these two videos of our two trips to Russia when we adopted back in 2005. Boy, does it bring back memories, and I look forward to making new ones.

We're gonna be pirates!

Jonny and I after looking through many comforters online, decided on this cool pirate one. I think it looks great and will stay age appropriate for many years to come for him and our new son. Plus, I got a really good deal on it!

Kid's medicals are faxed!

When John and I went in to get our skin test, the nurse filled out new medical forms for five of the kids. I was there to help her, to make sure no mistakes were made. Yeah, they are done! I've already faxed them to our homestudy agency.

While we were there, Jonny went ahead and got the rest of his shots since he is now four. Jonny was much braver than John, and didn't cry until his third shot which is the painful MMR. But now he is done with shots, and he got a cool prize for being so brave. More yeahing!

Now for the biggest part, the medical form for the dossier which will be done on Thursday. Even though we only need 2 forms on their letterhead, I have 10 just in case. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Even though Ukraine doesn't require post-placements

When we adopted from Russia two years ago, we had to pre-pay for post-placement reports because Russia requires them to be done by an agency. Well, come to find out, Ukraine doesn't have those same requirements. They just want us to fill out a form and submit it to the embassy. Woo-hoo! That's less money we have to come up with now.

But, I want to readopt our son once he is here, and in California they require a recent post-placement report to be filed in addition to the readoption paperwork. So instead of paying for a readopt social worker visit after our child is home, I am going to pre-pay for one post-placement visit to be done at six months so that I can do the readopt on my own, like I did with all of our daughters. This is so much cheaper --it should save us about $200.

Did I say that.....

I wouldn't get stressed out over the little snafoos that are bound to happen in the adoption process?

Well, I lied. I just can't help it. But, boy, after last night, I really know when I am feeling stressed. Let me tell you, it's a feeling that I can't stand having. Thankfully, I am over it now. In the past, I wouldn't lose the stress until whatever I was stressed out about was completely resolved.

Turns out that the medical forms I dropped off at my doctor's office for the kids were not filled out correctly. They just changed over from paper files to completely computerized, and it looks like some of the info in the charts didn't end up in the computers. Two of my sons were seen in the last month yet they wrote down that they haven't seen them in two years. What??? They also forgot to add all of the previous immunizations done by our old doctor's office, so they looked really behind in their shots. Plus, they wrote that they still needed the Hep A vaccine when that isn't even a required immunization. Besides, I already discussed it with them and decided not to give it to my kids because they were not at risk.

Agghhhh! But. But. I am thankful there is a but. When I called the office this morning to talk to the office manager, she was very apologetic and asked me to bring new forms to fill out tomorrow when we come in to do our TB test. She will get them filled out while I am still there so I could look things over to make sure it is done right. She is so nice and so sweet and I really appreciate her doing all of this in the first place. She doesn't really have too, and I have heard horror stories of other doctor offices not being very cooperative with the adoption paperwork.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sorting out the marbles

I already feel the nesting coming on. I know it sounds really silly, but I spent a good part of the weekend sorting through all of the toys in our playroom. My wonderful mother-in-law came over for a while and helped me. Annalyn chipped in to. We went through everything and separated out all of the choking hazards. No more marbles or legos.

Our plan is to move Adam and Caleb to what used to be our playroom, and make their old bedroom which is right next to ours, the new room for Jonny and his new brother.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Playing Tag

I've been tagged by Tami. The only problem is that I've already answered these questions over at Smiles and Trials just a couple of days ago.

My answer to this problem is to change the questions slightly, and even go as far as to add some other, more bold questions to tag someone else with. Here goes:

Jobs I would love to do while still being a Mom:

1. Write a book
2. Help run an orphanage
3. Run Christine's Creative Catering (I love to cook!)
4. Collect lots and lots of donations and homebaked cookies to give to the homeless.

Places I would love to live for one month:

1. Russia
2. Ukraine
3. Any ocean beach destination like Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico, or Puerto Rico
4. Any of the New England states in fall
5. Any one of the southern states that Forest Gump was filmed in
6. Michigan to get to know some of my internet friends.

Food I really don't care for:

1. Fish
2. Game
3. Sausage

Concerns about adopting from Ukraine (or where ever you are or have adopted from)

1. Not being able to choose only one child. I would want all that were shown to us at the SDA.
2. Leaving my other children at home.
3. Buying gifts for everyone in Ukraine who helped us to adopt our child. Who do you buy for? What are some good ideas for gifts?

I hope you guys don't mind that I changed things a bit. Now I tag Chris and Virginia at and LuckyMom over at Hopefully, I will get to know them a little better. :)

Not going to drive a bus

Right now, our youngest child is four years old. He is in pre-school three times a week in the afternoon. Next year he will be in kindergarten everyday. Because of this, I have had countless people come up to me and talk about how great next year will be. I'll have so much free time now to go and do all of the things I haven't been able to do for so long. Go out to lunch with long lost friends. Make an appointment to pamper myself with a pedicure, and new hairstyle. Go out on an all day shopping spree, or even simply stay in bed and sleep all day. My friends talk about me now having the chance to finally catch up on all of my scrapbooking.

Funny thing is that, you would think that I would be jumping all over this opportunity to have some freedom that society thinks I have missed out on all of these years. In reality, I am just not into doing these things, and I find much greater joy and satisfaction in being with my family and raising my children.

As I was leaving the school office one morning after Jonny's speech therapy, something on the wall caught my eye. It was info on a course being offered by the district to teach you how to drive a school bus. This interested me, and I took down the info. This was something that I could do. I had my answer to what I would do after Jonny went to school. Rather than go out and all of the things I mentioned earlier, I would go out and drive a school bus.

I could do that. That sounded like fun. I already drive a fifteen passenger van, so how hard could learning to drive a school bus be? It sounded like the perfect plan.

Later in the day, after the kids were home from school, I was trying to call the bus garage to get more info. Caleb asked me what I was doing. After I told him, he retorted,

"Mom, you can't drive a bus. Why do you have to work? If you do, you will be gone before we go to school, and you won't be home when we get home."

Wow. What an eye opener for both John and I. Thankfully, John's income is enough that I didn't need to work, I didn't really want to go out and work outside of the home, and at least some of my kids didn't want me to work either. What in the world possessed me to even think about it?

One word. Society.

Society makes a woman feel like maybe her being a mom is not as significant of a job as going out into the workplace. In reality, I think I have one of the most important jobs in this world ---raising my children to grow up to be moral, responsible, God-following adults in this world.

So, our plans for next year. I'm going to be a new Mama to one precious little boy waiting for us in Ukraine. I really can't think of anything I would rather do.

Lab tests complete!

John and I had our blood work done yesterday. Part of the lab request was to have a urine sample, something I didn't tell John until we were in the car driving to the lab. Needless to say, that was a problem, and so he dropped it off later in the afternoon. Potential problem #1. I hope his urinalysis meets back up with his bloodwork. Only time will tell.

I hate having little things like this consume my thoughts. It's like if I worry about it enough, the outcome will change. In reality, the second part of the test may get lost in which case he has to do it again. So it delays things a couple of days. That's life. This time around, I refuse to let things get me so upset. I'm realizing that it just isn't worth it.

But on the upside, I am so proud of my husband. He absolutely hates needles, and he did this blood test like it was nothing. Such a difference from three years ago.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It felt right

Today I was out buying clothes for some of my other kids because they seem to have grown at least two inches overnight. One day their pants fit them, and the next day they look like they are ready for a flood.

Since I was buying clothes anyways, I came across this cute outfit and I couldn't resist buying it. It felt good to have something tangible in my hands that represents the *new* son that we will be adopting. When we were in the process of adopting Anna and Sveta over two years ago, I started giving away all of Jonny's clothes as he outgrew them. We just didn't think we would be doing the baby thing again. Now that we have had a two year break of no changing diapers, I am thrilled that we will soon be doing it again. Call me crazy, but I am looking forward to doing the baby/toddler thing all over again.

Anyways, I bought this outfit and I'm not even sure it will fit the boy we adopt, but it will eventually. I have learned this with my other children. They will eventually grow into it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A pokin' we will go

This morning I met with the office manager at our doctor's office. She was so nice and supportive, and willing to do whatever it takes to get our family medicals done.

I have the lab requests for our bloodwork to be done in the morning, and we are going to go in early next week before our actual physical to have a TB test so that it could be read on the day of our visit. So on next Thursday, if all goes according to the plan, we will be completely done with both our homestudy medical and our medical form needed for our dossier.

Compared to Russia's requirements for medical exams, Ukraine seems to be much easier so far. Or maybe it just seems easier because this is the second time adopting internationally for us. I'm not sure, but it is times like these that I really appreicate how wonderful everyone is that works at our doctor's office.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Working on our homestudy

When I called to talk to our home study agency I was surprised to find out that the Hague Convention requires parenting classes, even for parents that have already successfully adopted, like in our case. Thankfully, we only need five hours versus the ten hours required for new families just starting out. I have even heard that some agencies require up to 25 hours. Yikes!

Anyways, we are using to complete our five hours of training. What is really cool is that, it is all online. After looking at other sites, I found this one to be the easiest, most accommodating, and most affordable.

A couple of other online course are:

We are almost done with the classes and need only one more certificate. This has not held up the paperwork stage of the homestudy, and I am happy to report that we are almost done with all of it as well. All we need to do is the employment verification, and medicals.

I am meeting with the office manager at our doctor's office in the morning to discuss with her exactly what we need them to do. Since they were more than happy to help us last time, I am hopeful that things will go well tomorrow and I will be in and out of there in no time.

The agency we are using to complete our adoption gave me the exact medical form needed for our dossier, and a sample of how it should be filled out. How much more simpler could it get?

Monday, October 22, 2007

The cat is out of the bag

This blog was made especially to journal our experience as we start the journey to adopt from Ukraine. When I have more time, I will share more about the How, Why, When, Who and What??? Please stay tuned as I share candidly about my feelings.