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. ;)