Sunday, December 29, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
I want to try to capture my emotions from today as compared to last Wednesday.
As I stood in the hallway Wednesday, December 4, waiting, I felt like I was going to throw up. I was already a nervous wreck walking in. The truth is, the information they gave us didn't really shock me. You see, in my two pregnancy losses, I knew before I saw the doctor each time, that there was a problem. Now, in this adoption, I knew there was a problem. It's a mom thing, I guess. The knowing something is wrong with your kid before you officially know that something is wrong. That whole meeting is still a blur of emotions to me and I realized today that I have no memory of walking back down those stairs on Wednesday. The only memory I have of leaving that office was after we got further down the street and Our facilitator asked what we wanted to do next. My thought was that i wanted to cry..... I didn't want to be seen. But we had some stuff to give to some friends who are also here adopting, so, I realized I had to pull myself together so I could be presentable to people. There is a picture of us after lunch that day.... While I was trying to hide my anger, fear, frustration, etc., it is still quite evident in that photo that I was ready to beat someone.
I realized today, while standing in that same hallway, waiting, that I didn't have that sick feeling. There was peace. I know it was because so many of you were praying. It was even evident to our facilitator who looked at me intently as we walked in and said "Julia, you look in better spirits today than when we waited last week." It was true. I felt better. I stood there, looking at the same map of Ukraine that I had stared at for about 30 minutes last week, but this week, I actually noted where Moldova, Belarus, Poland and Russia are in relation to Ukraine. I saw cities on the map that had just blurred 5 days earlier. I noticed the river running through the country and noted the Cyrillic spellings of landmarks. We talked about politics, about the current events in the city, we talked about a taxi to get home and the pizza we had eaten. We stood quietly waiting for a while (the couple in front of us had been late arriving and took a long time, so our 2:45 appointment turned into a 3:30 meeting)
We still don't know why we needed to wait 5 days for this meeting. We may never know. The political situation here is definitely not improved over last Wednesday. I'm not sure how that will end. That is not the point. The point is that we know Christ is still on the throne. We know that he raises up kings. We know that he defends the fatherless and sets them in homes. We know that He has us here now for a reason.
Your prayers are still much needed as we begin yet another paper chase tomorrow.....
Our orphanage director told Lena tonight that he meeting went well and she was excited. It is still amazing to me that our countdown now can more accurately be measured in weeks instead of months.....
Just as other info, we walked out of the meeting into a massive amount of snow falling! It was so beautiful! I had noted earlier that the city was pretty, but after the weight was gone, it was even more striking! With snow falling everywhere! And people walking quickly! Like a storybook.
We walked about four blocks to a "tram" that rides down the mountain to the city. I couldn't get a picture due to there being rules around here about not taking people's pictures without permission..... And people being EVERYWHERE! With the chaos going on around here, I didn't want to risk getting yelled at, or worse.... It was kinda built like the big trams that ride down the mountains in gatlinburg, but it didn't go up in the air, it stayed on a track on the ground.... But went straight down the steep hill... Connected to both the train track and to a wire above the tram. As we started moving, I noticed that in the distance the snow was falling so hard that I could not see past about 100 yards away....the snow storm was where we were headed and It was a giant gray wall..... Like the end of the world:) about that time our facilitator noted to Ronnie that this tram was built over 100 years ago. So, we were going down a steep hill in a snow storm towards the end of the earth on a 100 year old tram.... But with the next necessary approval in our process fresh in my mind.,,, it was awesome!
We got in a taxi and headed out of town to our home. I couldn't tell you if there were many protestors today mainly because I wasn't looking for them.... But also because I couldn't have seen that far away if I had wanted to. :)
Keep praying for us, for her and for this country! There are definitely things that we miss from home, but we all have a list of things we love here too! (The food is awesome! Both traditional foods they cook, and the produce at the store.... It's real food!)
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
There are also not many opportunities in an independent adoption to apply for grants from organizations. There are many wonderful organizations to help offset adoption costs, but we found only a couple that we could apply to.
LifeSong for Orphans is one of those organizations. We applied in August, just after receiving USCIS approval, and found out TODAY that we can be set up with a tax-deductible account through them. The instructions are posted below.
I have changed our donate button on the side from youcaring.com, that has served us well so far in this process, to instead, lead you to LifeSong's donation website.
We are praying that we will soon qualify for a matching grant with LifeSong for Orphans as well. We may not know that for a couple of days or even a week or so... but here is the AWESOME part! IF we get a matching grant (it could potentially be up to $4000 - but that depends on the funds they have available and we just don't know that yet) and if you have already donated through the LifeSong for Orphans account... your amount will still be matched, dollar for dollar.
For example: if you give $10 tonight, and next week sometime we find out that we get a matching grant - your $10 will then retroactively turn into a $20 credit in our account!
Unfortunately, this cannot apply to any gifts given prior to today that were given outside of the Life Song account.
So, worst case scenario, we will have immediate access to whatever funds you donate to apply towards these final costs.... AND you get a tax receipt (according to the rules stated below) and BEST case scenario, your amount MAY be doubled!!!!!!
So, here are the instructions:
You can click the link to the right of the screen and simply submit (our family name and account number should be noted: "Mayhew / #4091" ....
Checks should be payable to “Lifesong for Orphans". In the memo line put "Mayhew / #4091" to assure it goes to the correct account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744. Lifesong has been blessed with a partner that underwrites all U.S. administrative and fund-raising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.
Also, Lifesong requires I tell you this:
NOTE: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use. Individual donations $250 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $250, will gladly be sent upon request. Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.
1. You were assigned an appointment date with the Department for Adoption and Protection of the Rights of the Child (DAPRC) (formerly SDA). Your first step is to attend this appointment. They will ask you a few questions and then show you information about children available for international adoption. *Note: if you have filed for a specific child, they will show you that childs information if she is available for adoption. (This is that magic date of December 4, for us.
2. The next day, you will return to the DAPRC to pick up your referral for the child which will allow you to visit her at the orphanage. You can now travel to the region of the orphanage. Depending on the location, you can take a car, bus, train, or plane.
3. There will probably be a visit to a Notary before you depart for the orphanage, to notorize some of your official documents. Your facilitator will arrange this.
4. You will arrive at the orphanage and be formally introduced to the regions Social Services person, the orphanage director and then to your child. You will have time to visit with the child (a day to several days) before you ask her if she wants to be adopted.
5. Once you commit to the child, you will meet with the regional Social Services persons (one, two, or more meetings). These officials will review your requests for adoption and issue their stamp of approval in order for you to apply for a court appointment. Your child may (depending on age) be required to write a statement saying that she wants to be adopted by you. Then your child may be taken to a local group of physicians for some medical exams.
*Note: steps 4-5 can take from 1-5 days, or more if you need more time to visit with the child before committing to her.
6. Once you receive the approval from Social Services, your facilitator will file paperwork with the DAPRC requesting a court date. There may be additional Notary fees at this point.
7. The waiting time for your court date can depend on several factors; the region, the judges schedule, holidays, etc. It is possible to only have a couple of days between the time you request the date and the time you receive the court date. But it is more likely to take several days to a week or two, or more. Be patient.
8. On the appointed date, you will attend court. Also in court will be, your facilitator, the child, the orphanage director, the Social Services person, a DAPRC representative, and other officials if necessary. There will be a judge and a jury of two or more members. You will be asked to stand and address the court. Your facilitator will assist you with the process. The judge will hear the appeal, recess for a deliberation period, and return with his decision. Upon completion of the court process, the child will officially be your son/ daughter, although she may or may not be allowed to stay with you during you 10 day waiting period.
**note: one parent is allowed to return to the US after completing the court appointment. That parent should make an appointment (by email) at the US Embassy in Kiev to sign necessary documents before departure.
9. After court, you will enter into a 10 day waiting period. During the waiting period the decision can be appealed (although this rarely happens). There is nothing else to be done during this time. Use this time to enjoy Ukraine with your new family.
10. After the 10 days, you will receive an official copy of the adoption decree and then you will begin the final processes, usually in the region of your child's birth. You will need to return to the Notary one more time.
11. Your facilitator will now file for your childs new Birth Certificate and ID number. You will apply for these based on where the child was born and where he is registered. It will probably take 3-7 days to get the returned ID number.
12. Now you will make application for a new Passport at the official passport office in the region of your childs birth (fees required). You will be required to submit a passport sized photo with your application. It may take 2-5 days to receive your new passport. You will return to the office to pick up the passport.
13. After receiving your passport, you can go to Kiev to the Medical office to complete the travel exams (fee required). They will give you a sealed envelope after the exams.
DO NOT OPEN! You will deliver this envelope to the Embassy official.
14. You can now make your appointment for the Embassy(make appointment at the US Embassy website). You should ask them to send you a list of the required documents that you should bring with you to the appointment. This will be a two day process. On the first day you will register, deliver the appropriate documentation (sealed medical envelope, adoption decree, passport, etc), and pay the Embassy fee (fee required). On the second day you will be interviewed by an Embassy official and then receive your stamped passport and your Visa. You will also receive another sealed envelope that you should keep with you during the flight home. You will present this sealed envelope to the immigration officer at your point of entry into the USA!
**note: if one parent has returned home prior to the Embassy appointment, he/she should have signed all necessary documents at the Embassy before departure.
15. You can now go home!
This whole process, on average, takes approximately 5-8 weeks. But there are factors that could extend this time.
Ukraninan or American holidays
Judges or officials on vacation
Correcting inaccurate documentation
An appeal during waiting period (unlikly)
Adopting multiple siblings
Adopting unrelated children
Adopting children from two (or more) different regions
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Friday, November 8, 2013
My heart jumped! I screamed! Finally! We will go get our girl!
I called Ronnie, he had not yet seen the email. So I got to tell him.
By this time, Josiah and Lydia had come running, wondering why I was squealing and jumping around! I told them that we are going to get Lena soon! Josiah, wearing only his diaper at the time, turns around, gathered his milk cup and snack in his arms, and said, while walking towards the door "should we take Lena some milk and snack too?" He was ready to go get his sister!! We spent a good bit of time yesterday jumping in circles in the living room!
I am now panicking about getting everything ready in time, but I also work best in a time crunch. So, I guess I got that. We will be having a Ukrainian Christmas this year and I could not be more excited!
Our next steps are like this::
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
We just talked with our facilitator. He went back to the SDA today to check on our status, and while we are still not fully approved, the SDA worker basically told him that in this case, this would not be a problem, but that documents with this error would likely not be accepted again.
I have heard awful stories of minor details being the reason for rejection. I was afraid of that..... but in this case, our prayers have been answered. Jesus calmed this storm. He worked in the heart of an SDA officer. This will not hold us up for now.
As I said, we are still not officially - fully - approved.... but our potential problem that we learned about yesterday, is no longer a potential problem. AND we didn't have to wait two weeks to find out!!!!
Praise The Lord! Thanks be to God. Keep praying!
Monday, October 14, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
But the largest percentage of time is waiting.
We waited for our home study
We waited for our fingerprints
We waited for our USCIS approval
We waited for our dossier to make it to Ukraine
We are now waiting for our approval, so that we can turn around and wait for our travel date.
So, while we wait. We pray. We prepare a pink room for a beautiful girl. We raise money (only about $8,500 to go!). We try to build a relationship via text message, facebook chat, and rough phone conversations.
The other thing we are doing is trying to prepare ourselves (and anyone else who cares and will listen) for the reality. For, you see, adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is how we are moved from sin into the family of God. It is the picture of salvation. But do you know who needs to be saved? Lost people. People who cannot help themselves. People who are without hope and in need of saving.... those are the people who are adopted into God's family.
Adoption, similarly, while beautiful, represents some of the most painful portions of life. Adoption never happens without first having severe pain.
I am reading a book now that will hopefully help us be able to help Lena process the unfathomable pain that happened at some point in her history. I am constantly on blogs, articles, FB pages. I have said before that we may never know her full story, and the story may come out in parts but whatever it is, I want to be sure that we are as prepared as possible to assist her in processing it. The grief of losing a mother - whether through adoption or death - must be addressed. The love of our family cannot fully be understood or even accepted until she is able to process her past - and that may take a lifetime. I read that to say to an adoptee something like "You are so lucky" is similar to saying to an amputee "You are so lucky to have that prosthetic leg" They my want to respond with "yes, that is a good thing... ya know what would have been awesome? Keeping my leg to begin with!" And, while I realize that many people mean this in a very good way, it can be interpreted to the adoptee very complex.
There are multiple locations and information sites that I can help you find if you are interested in helping your family be prepared for our family's adoption, or another adoptive family. Just comment.
There are days that my tears just seem on the edge of overflow. Today is one of those. I am a simple basket of emotions and just really want to hold her, hug her, tell her that I love her and promise that we will be there for her forever. Knowing that she has homework and someone else is helping her, that she may cry and someone else is comforting, she may be cold and someone else has to give her clothes or blankets to keep warm. We understand that she is in an excellent orphanage.... but you know what an orphanage is not? It is not home. I am ready to bring her home. I am 15 weeks into this process and I am ready to go get my daughter and her princess smile, her awesome sense of humor, her conviction about what is right and her strong opinions. I am ready to learn her language and have Josiah and Lydia teaching her English. I am ready for complicated conversations, charades for primary communication and the whole world being a giant game of Taboo. I am ready for emotions, questions, laughter, dinners, and games. I am ready to be outnumbered children/adults in my home and have them all using language skills that confuse me and Ronnie. I am ready for her to have friends here that love her, along with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Not that I am ready to replace her heritage, but I am ready for her to add to that heritage. We do not want to remove any part of her history that she wants to keep.... we just want to give her some new promises of hope!
Monday, September 30, 2013
We are thrilled to be almost 60% funded with some great options for funding coming in the next weeks.
We are also thrilled and very grateful to have already submitted our dossier to the Ukrainian government.
Now we are waiting.
It is hard to wait.
No one in our generation likes to wait.
The process at this point looks approximately like this:
Submission Sept 24,
3-5 weeks until we hear about our approval
3-4 weeks until we get a travel date which is approximately 3-5 weeks before we actually travel.
THEN 6-8 weeks in country.
That looks like travel time will be around December 3-17 and given the delays in the government around the holidays it will likely have to be two trips (I CANNOT imagine getting on the plane for a trip home and having to leave Lena there for a few more weeks!!!) All this culminates that our process would likely not be complete until early-mid February.
This is all according to the way other people's process is going right now. It is all unofficial and every process is different. Every region, judge and orphanage works a bit different. All kinds of things can speed up or delay the process.
Friday, I was walking with my kids in their stroller and I started praying. I was asking God to have His hands on each person that comes in contact with our paperwork. I know that this doesn't always mean that he will speed things up.... but just that they would hear our story, see our hearts, overlook the possible "t" not crossed or whatever. That they would see Jesus in our paperwork. While I was praying, I just started feeling the urge to ask for more than just a smooth process (for those in this process, you know better than I, that asking for the smooth process can be a miracle in itself!)
I felt in my spirit to ask for more. Verses began to flood my mind along the lines of "Ask and you will receive" Did you know there are many different forms of this, but it is all only contingent on asking within the Will of God. So, seeing as how we fully believe that we are in the Will of God by bringing Lena home. I feel like we can - and even should ask. The thing that I felt led to request was that we get to go to Ukraine in November.
Again, this doesn't make sense according to the timeline that others are experiencing right now.
It also doesn't completely make sense as far as Ronnie's work schedule.... but that is another story.
I started praying for November - and then remembered that Lena birthday is in November.
That evening, among some other miraculous answers that I will not talk about now, I was telling Ronnie about my prayer time that morning. He responded, "oh, I have been praying for that too!"
Basically, we are asking for something that can ONLY happen by God's hand. There is no way we could take credit for this. But November travel would not only be good since Lena regularly asks us to come for her birthday, but also because we could possibly get the process managed in one trip and get most - if not all - of it done before the holiday shut-down.
Many times in Scripture you read of really bad odds - stories where the deck is stacked against God's people and then you read "But God...." and that is basically what this amounts to. God has shown Himself already in this process. We have learned so much about Him in these last months that we otherwise might not have learned.... and now we are asking for a "But God" moment. We are asking for something that doesn't make sense.
So, we want you to join us. The Bible tells us over and over to ask. And also instructs us to ask in one accord (believing together) for BIG things. God enjoys giving to His children. He specializes in giving things that cannot be explained by any other means. He doesn't always answer with Yes - but we will ask regardless.
If He says "no" we will go when we are allowed to go - we will work until the day we bring her home - and we know that the work has just begun. We will work to show her love. We will work to be a family and make sure that she knows she is just as much a part of us as anyone else is. We will make as many trips as we need to make, we will stay as long as we need to stay.
We know that God can move schedules. We know that He specializes in overcoming the odds. We say - with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego "We know our God is able to save us but if he chooses not to - we will praise him anyway." We know our God can move these schedules - but if he chooses not to - we will praise Him anyway!
Monday, September 23, 2013
$8 per scarf - plus $2 for shipping if we don't see you very often.
You can request colors as well!! Let me know what team you want to support - or what colors you need....
EXCELLENT Christmas gifts!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Lena misses us. She loves us. However, there are so many things that are complicated in translation right now. I think this is a bit of a double-edged sword. I think it is good, in part. She is trying to communicate some more complicated issues with us. The answers to every question aren't "normal," "good," "yes," and "thank you." There are sentences with bad "google translate" explanations. There are questions that we ask and the answer doesn't make sense. We aren't sure then if the question was written badly, or if the answer is crazy. Ronnie at least has an understanding of the language - mainly - the alphabet. He can find words and derivatives in the Russian/English dictionary. I tried that the other day and the first word took 9 minutes. 9 minutes to figure out one word means that by the time I could respond, she was gone. Conversations with her online often end with her just simply disappearing. I am not sure if she is on a time limit, or if her internet just cuts out, or if this is cultural. I write "I love you" often, just in case she disappears before I can write my next sentence.
She doesn't understand why we can't come in September. We try to explain. I don't think it works. Saying "we are waiting for the Ukrainian government to invite us." seems to never translate well... because her next question is always, "when will you come?"
Yesterday she asked when we would come - I said "hopefully December or January." She responded by reminding me that her birthday is in November.... If she could only know how badly I want to be there for her birthday. For this weekend.... for today.
It is worth it. It is hard already, but it is worth it.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Thanks also to the Calera Police Department for keeping us safe during the race and the Calera Fire and Rescue, for being on hand in case of emergency (which we thankfully did NOT have one!) We have some of the finest in the country!!
In other news.....
Lena has now started her English lessons and in the last week we have also been able to talk with her twice with an actual person to translate the conversation. This is SOOOO much better than just using google translate - or other translation apps that are on our phones. We actually know that communication is happening. I also got to shop with her, via telephone photos this week. She asked for some dresses - so we shopped together.... It is seriously just as exciting to shop for her right now as it was to go to the baby stores when I was pregnant.... I LOVE it!
We have now sent all of our dossier docs to the Ukraine and they should be arriving this week. We are [[prayerfully]] going to be able to submit our docs on September 24... which "should" lead to December travel time. This may cause some complications due to the holidays.... but we know that God is in control of the timing - he knows our vacation restraints and well, we just aren't concerned. He has obviously provided so far - He will continue! We know it! I also know that it would be unbelievable for us to be able to be together as a family at Christmas time! I think Christmas in Ukraine would be awesome. Complicated? yes.... but absolutely wonderful!
We got to see a new photo of Lena tonight from some events that her orphanage participated in recently and it was so wonderful to see her smiling face.
Our next event will be another yard sale.... Please be saving whatever extra goods you have that might sale and bring them to us at anytime between now and October 4. Last yard sale made over $1,400..... we would LOVE to match that again!
Thank you for your prayers and support. We love you guys!
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Josiah's has a verse on it from the book of Job -
The Spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
His verse came as I found out I was pregnant. We had just experienced my first miscarriage. After that I really was hoping that I would not be pregnant again unless God would allow me to be able to hold my baby. When I got that little positive stick, I knew that the Spirit of God was crafting and creating that small baby inside of me, I just knew that God would give him life.
When we were first pregnant with Lydia, it was immediately after my second miscarriage. To be honest, I was pretty nervous to even take the test. We weren't intentionally getting pregnant at the time, as a matter of fact, we thought we would wait a while to even consider having another baby... and then... God had another plan. A bundle of joy, wrapped in this tiny little princess. Her verse is from Psalms:
You show me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of Joy!
My prayer for both of these two, every night as they go to bed is from the old Testament:
The Lord Bless you and Keep you. The Lord make His face to shine on You and give you Peace.
So, when we started this process, I started praying about Lena's verse. What promise had we been given for her? What verse would speak to her in a way that only Scripture can do? We haven't done the painting yet, partly because I am down to about 2 verses that I haven't fully decided on yet, but I know one thing, her promise is peace.
We don't know her whole story. It may be a lifetime before we do. We may never know. But I know that every adoption begins with tragedy. Tragedy deeper than most of us can imagine. Even in deep dark tragedy, we fully believe that Hope can be restored. Her heart can love again. and Peace can rule in her heart. We want our home to be a place of peace for her. Not the kind of peace from cheesy music and candlelight, but Peace that passes understanding. Because I know that for her, peace will HAVE to pass understanding. It will likely not make much sense that she have peace. My prayer is that she will know the Prince of Peace and that He will put peace in her heart.
So, while I am still praying about her actual verse for her wall.... this is my prayer for her every night - from 2 Thessalonians:
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.
Seems all encompassing right now :) peace, at all times, in every way....
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Second - the process.... I updated our timeline. But here are more details (probably more than you want to read... but here we go)
Ronnie has been the one to deal with official documents in this process to date. He is the details person. But yesterday, I was the one to take our applications for a "no criminal history" check to ABI (Alabama Bureau of Investigations) in Montgomery. Ronnie reviewed all of our documents with me after we had them notarized last week so I at least knew which packet to give the lady. The process was a bit different than I had expected, but in about an hour, I had my papers. The last papers that I needed in order to go to the Secretary of State's office for Apostilles. I had a good friend (Samantha Hyde) with me for emotional support and organization.
I had parked a good bit away from both offices intentionally. I knew where a good parking place was. I get nervous driving in cities with one-way streets, parking issues, and buildings that aren't familiar. I also enjoy walking on nice days. So, I parked where I knew what I was doing, and we walked the 10ish blocks to ABI, and then another 5 or so blocks to the Secretary of State's office. This would stop me from being flustered from driving down a one-way street the wrong way, or missing parking places along the route, and would also let me burn some of the nervous energy in the process.
I had heard MANY stories of THIS part of the process being where mistakes get made.... I did all I could to get it right the first time.
We then walked to the Secretary of State's office, found the right door (thankfully) and finally, (app $300 later) had the packet all together!!!!
Another friend picked us up there and took us back to our car. My heart felt lighter immediately. Samantha and I sat together in the car and ordered the documents - two copies of this, one copy of that, three copies of this.... etc. We reviewed the packet three times to be sure EVERYTHING was exact. Every apostille matches the notary, every date is correct, every name is spelled EXACTLY right.
We enjoyed some Dreamland and a short visit to the river just to breathe for a minute and then headed to Bridgestone to leave that precious packet with the people that are [currently] taking it to Ukraine! WOW!!!! Our dossier (minus one form) is headed to the translator!!!!
So, this morning we got up early (again) and headed to USCIS in Birmingham. This time Ronnie had to be present as well. Our Biometrics appointment date is not for a couple of weeks, but we wanted to see if we could get in early. AND WE DID! The USCIS man got us on the list and 30 minutes later our biometrics were complete!!! WOW! That is the last appointment we have until we are in Ukraine! Everything else is "wait - and mail - and wait - and mail" The results of this today will be the final form for our dossier. The paperchase is almost complete (of course, barring any mistakes.... )
I never expected us to be here, now. We are 62 days into the process, our documentation is one form and translation away from being complete. We are 43% funded with some big fundraisers on the horizon. We have had amazing opportunities to talk with Lena lately and although we miss her horribly, we can see the process moving and that helps./
Every day is one day closer to being reunited with our daughter. Every step makes that feel less like an abstract idea, and more real.
Finally, please stay up to date on our fundraisers! We are amazed at how far we have come.... but we still have a ways to go! Pray about how you can help, and then DO IT :)
Praise be to God who has orchestrated EVERYTHING so far. And although we know there are still some big steps between here and there.... He has never lost control. Praise Him!
Friday, August 23, 2013
But regardless. This morning Ronnie woke at 4:09 and happened to think to check his phone. Amazingly, she sent us a message at 4:10 saying "Hi."
I sent photos of backpacks, purses, shoes, notebooks - she told me what she needed, liked, wanted.
Ronnie asked her a lot of questions. Some more personal than we have felt the freedom to ask prior to today.
We showed her photos of Josiah and Lydia from the last few weeks - she said "our family!"
We showed her - for the first time - a couple of photos of extended family. Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. (my family is pretty loud and we know we can be a bit overwhelming for first timers... I figured we should go ahead and start with introductions before she gets in country :)) HA!
She said - again - "our family."
Not long after that, maybe it was the first time she felt freedom. Or the first time our communication had gone deep enough. Maybe it was that I have only recently realized that I had not called her "daughter" in my messages.... and started that this week. I have referred to her as daughter to others.... but in my emails and texts to her, I have called her princess, sweet girl, and Lena.
Regardless, about one and a half hours into our conversation it happened. "мама я також тебе люблю"
Momma, I also love you.
Enough. My day was perfect. I am, emotionally, really mom of three.... legally, we still have a ways to go - but we have crossed yet another small - yet great - step to bonding.
We talked for three hours. Sometimes clearly, and some things I still don't understand.
I had yet to get really emotional about this whole process. Not that I haven't felt strong emotions, obviously..... but I haven't cried. Until today. About 5 hours after she got offline, I was driving, I had bought her some shoes. I have bought so many other things for her - shirts, dresses, school supplies, hair bands, make-up. But the shoes apparently got me. Today. I cried.
I cried joy tears - because she called me momma.
I cried fear tears - because I have to admit every day that nothing is for sure. (but that is true in all of life)
I cried pain tears - my daughter is halfway around the world asking for school shoes.
I cried hope tears - we are taking steps this weekend and next week towards bringing her home.
I just pulled in the parking lot - with Josiah in the back seat asking what was wrong - and I cried.