Thursday, December 27, 2012

Almost a third of the way there!

Take a look at our fundraising thermometer. It's moving up!  We have been very blessed this month in our business and have been able to save $5,000 for the adoption.  We also have been blessed with generous donations from family and friends in December, including a Christmas Jar full of money that someone left on our doorstep on Christmas Eve.  The kindness of everyone just overwhelms us.  We are so grateful for all of you.  December does tend to be a busier month for our business, but next month we hope to set aside another $5,000 between what we can manage to save and our tax refund.  Our dossier is being submitted and we probably will be traveling in February.  We still need financial help, especially if we add two more sisters to the adoption!  If you can donate, even just a little, to helping change the lives of our three Ukrainian girls, please do!  Everyone's help makes a difference.

We called the girls yesterday morning.  Our wonderful neighbors who have been translating during our phone calls come every time we call at 9 in the morning.  This time our friend, Brenda, who opened our eyes to helping orphans, also came over with a 15 year old Ukrainian boy she is hosting for Christmas.  He would help with the translating as our neighbors have a hard time understanding everything.  We in particular wanted to ask the girls about their two younger sisters who we thought weren't alive anymore according to what we thought the girls had told us previously.

We called and were told that the girls were in class.  It is 6 pm for them, so that seemed odd.  We were told to call back 1/2 hour later.  We decided to play a game while waiting which turned out to be really fun.  Our kids joined us, our neighbors, Brenda and her host son in a lively game of spoons.  I've got to bring that game to Ukraine to play at the boarding school (the girls' orphanage).

A half hour went by and we called again.  We were able to reach the girls.  We skype to a landline in Ukraine.  I love it because we can all hear the girls over speakers and we can all talk to them.  Our translating neighbors were glad to find that Brenda's host son, a really nice kid, couldn't understand everything the girls say too.  They haven't lost as much of their Russian as they'd thought!  We were able to learn from the girls that as far as they know, their sisters are alive in in a different institution.  They haven't heard anything about them since they were separated when Lyuba was 6. 

I have talked to our facilitator about this and the Ukrainian facilitator will be looking into whether or not we will have to adopt all five at once.  Not knowing is becoming hard on me.  But I have faith that things will turn out how they are supposed to.

Snezhana and Sam - Everytime we talk to Snezhana she asks to speak to Sam.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Photos of all three girls! And where we are with everything.

We had never seen Diana, not even a picture of her.  I came up with a plan to obtain pictures of her a month or so ago.  It was a long shot and it worked!  Here are a couple pictures of all three girls at their orphanage.
Lyuba, Diana, Snezhana

Lyuba, Snezhana, Diana
I'm resetting our fundraising thermometer.  Thanks to all who have donated, we have had enough money to complete our homestudy and dossier.  Now I have in my mind the amount that we will need to fly to Ukraine and finish the adoption.  It is the bulk of what we will need and is $34,000.  We currently have $6,000 towards it.  We have been truly blessed this month in our business and think we will be able to set aside $5,000 more for our adoption for a total of $11,000.  I'll update the thermometer when we are able to put the money in the account.  December tends to be a busier month for us.  Things usually slow down after the new year, but we're hoping that between our tax return and what we can save in January, that we can come up with another $5,000 ourselves.  We are living as frugally as possible!  Our dossier is in Ukraine.  Everything is done except for USCIS which is almost approved.  It is still looking like we will be traveling in February, around the third week.  You can help these three sisters have a better life by donating to their fund.  We appreciate so much all of you that donate! Thanks!  We can use prayers too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our dossier is mostly complete and is in Ukraine.  We are just waiting on USCIS (Immigration) to approve our file with them.  We finally were assigned a case officer to look at our file last Friday.  She will approve it once she receives a small revision to our home study.  Hopefully that happens before Christmas break!  I am amazed to be this far into the adoption already.  And am so thankful at how smoothly things have gone.

We had another little miracle on Sunday.  I love witnessing these small miracles.  They keep reminding me that God is watching over the girls.  We had called the Saturday before last and told the girls that we would call them on Sunday, a week and a day later.  We told them we'd call at 6 pm  their time (9 am our time.)  Sunday morning we received a text from our translators telling us that our translators were sick and couldn't come.  We were disappointed and worried for the girls.  We didn't want them to think that we didn't want to call them.  We thought about calling them ourselves, but we only know enough to say their names and "I love you" in Russian.  It wouldn't work out too well.  About 9:30 am our time I received a call from friends of ours who got to know the girls over the summer.  They live in the Netherlands and speak Russian.  He had just gotten off the phone with Lyuba and was calling me to let me know what she had said.  I couldn't believe it!  We've had him call before, but hadn't asked him to this time.  He called at exactly the time we told the girls they'd receive a call!  The girls got their call and we were so grateful for this little miracle.

Weeks ago we had sent the girls a disposable camera to take some pictures of themselves with.  They were supposed to send it back with their friend who was coming out for winter hosting.  Her host mom would mail it to us.  Last time we talked to the girls they still hadn't received the camera.  When our friend called on Sunday, Lyuba told him that they had received the camera and had sent it back with their friend.  We should be receiving it by this Friday!  Hopefully the pictures turn out and we finally get to see a picture of Diana.  Since Jay and I aren't giving presents to each other, I said to Jay that we should wait to look at the pictures until Christmas morning!  I don't think we really could wait that long! 

Our friend also told us that Lyuba had said that they hadn't seen their two younger sisters for five years and that they were in an institution.  There are 7 siblings all together in their family.  The oldest two are too old to be adopted.  I thought the girls told us, through translators and gestures, that their two other sisters had died.  Now I'm not so sure.  Our facilitator in Ukraine will be checking into the situation to see if they are attached.  If they are, we will be adopting five!!!  I'm not thinking too hard about that right now.  Lyuba had told us the names of all of her siblings except for one.  I tried to ask her for the name, but Lyuba didn't understand me.  She did tell our friend on Sunday so now I know it! 

We are so grateful for the support and donations that we have received.  Thank you so much.  We are getting closer to our goal.  If you have the means, please donate to help our three girls.  If they were to end up in the orphanage, they would have a terrible life ahead of them.  It makes me sad for the other, just as deserving children who will never be adopted.  We can only do what we are capable of doing.  And at this time we can change three lives for the better.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pretty to hang on windows, in your car or on your Christmas tree!!

My sister-in-law is making and selling these beautiful beaded and crystal butterflies as a fundraiser for the adoption of our three Ukrainian sisters.  Make a donation on our blog and in the comments section of the donation page give your name, address and what color you'd like.  Butterflies are $10 each.

"It will be okay"

I have to admit, I'm having a hard time getting into any kind of Christmas spirit.  Other than buying a few gifts for my kids, both American and Ukrainian, I have no desire at all to spend money!  Every penny that we can save will go towards the adoption.  I'm now trying to convince my kids that the 6 foot fiber optic Christmas tree that we bought on clearance several years ago will work great for our Christmas tree. 

The funny thing is that, even without being "in the Christmas spirit", I actually have felt closer to God lately than ever.  There have been many small miracles associated with the girls.  They are being watched out for.  Things have gone really well with our paperwork.  We are just waiting on one last thing from Immigration and then our dossier gets sent to Ukraine.  What keeps me up at night is the money.  A year ago adoption was not a thought at all in our heads.  Even when we decided to host orphans we thought it would just be for the summer to make a difference for them.  Little did we know that we would bond with them.  We thought we could let them go to another family who was planning on adopting them.  But God let us know that the girls are supposed to come to us.  

The only thing that keeps me going is the thought of Lyuba and Snezhana and their sister, Diana, in the orphanage waiting for us to bring them home.  They are helpless at this point.  These girls want and need to be out of the orphanage and into the loving arms of a family as soon as possible.  It is up to us to help them.  The problem is, we only have and can save a certain amount of money before Ukraine gives us an appointment date.  We have to fund raise the rest, about $25,000 now.  Please, I ask you to donate to our three girls in an orphanage.  Each of you who have the means to help are truly their only hope.  Do I sound melodramatic?  Well, I kind of feel that way!  I just know that we are supposed to adopt them even though it is so expensive and we don't have the funds ourselves.  I get really nervous about it, which brings me to the title of this post:  "It will be okay".  During the time after the girls left to go home to Ukraine and our neighbors were in the process of adopting them, Jay and I had no peace about it.  We decided to pray for peace.  When I prayed for peace, and I was only asking for peace, I immediately and strongly felt these words, "You will adopt the girls and it will be okay."  That last bit, "it will be okay", seems like a funny add on to me, but it has given me much comfort.

If you can donate a large amount to the girls' fund, we would be forever grateful.  On the right side of this blog is a link to a tax deductible donation way to give.  Even a small amount is tremendously appreciated.  Lots of small amounts add up!  Thank you to all who donate and all who have donated.  Words can't even express how we feel.  Thanks!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun Memory Friday

A joke that Jay and I have is that Lyuba and Snezhana must think that Russian is the second language of the United States.  It seemed that almost everywhere we went we ran into Russian speakers.  There was the pediatric dentist that we were referred to who spoke Russian, which was soooo helpful for little Snezhana.  A cousin of one of the dental assistants at our family dentist spoke Russian and came in one day to translate.  The receptionist at the doctor's office spoke Russian and had a conversation with the girls.  The week the girls arrived we had neighbors move in just around the corner who speak Russian - both the husband and wife.  The girls loved talking to them.  Like most of the Russian speakers here in Utah, they went on missions to Ukraine.  We did meet some Russian speakers who didn't pick up the language through missions.  One was the family that we became friends with through the experience.  They had lived in Moscow for 10 years and could all speak Russian to some degree or another.  We also met two Russian speaking sister missionaries at Temple Square.  And the Russian proprietor at the Russian restaurant in Salt Lake that we visited.  It was amazing to watch all the Russian speakers emerge out of the woodwork!  The other joke between Jay and I is that the girls must think they managed to come to the only family that doesn't speak Russian!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The last document we are working on is the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) form.  We have been waiting for our biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment with them.    Last week we received Jay's and my appointments in the mail, but not Ben's (being 18 he gets one too.)  Tonya, our facilitator said that Ben's would come later, but to call and see if we can schedule his with ours.  Once we have all three appointments in hand we can go in earlier and try to get in.  On Monday I called and left a message with a supervisor at USCIS.  Then later that day I was surprised by receiving three new appointments from USCIS in the mail.  There was one for each of us.  I called Tonya that night and she said that was unusual to get new appointments and for all three of us at the same time.  She said that someone is looking out for us.  Yes, someone certainly is!  I've witness many small miracles and had promptings that I have followed that have made a difference.  Tonya told us to go ahead and try to get in the next morning.

Tuesday morning, with our three appointments in hand, we drove up to Salt Lake City, over an hour's drive away.  We were about there when I remembered that I had meant to remind Ben to bring his driver's license.  Thankfully he did have it with him!  Tonya had told me that we'd have to plead our case to the security guards when we arrived and she wasn't kidding!  They were nice, but wondered why we were coming early.  They were really busy that day, couldn't we come back next week (which would still be early, our appointments were three weeks away!)  Jay and I were about to give in to coming next week, but I suddenly spoke up and explained to them how we have three girls waiting for us in Ukraine and Ukraine won't be accepting new applications soon for a couple months.  That we have to get our application done so we can go sooner to get them.  Their hearts softened once they realized we were there for an adoption and there was an urgency to it.  They went to speak to the people who would be processing us.  Then came back and told us that we could proceed.  We were excited!  We were filling out the paperwork when we realized it needed our social security numbers.  Ben doesn't have his memorized so I called home hoping that one of the kids would pick up the phone.  They did on the first ring (unusual) and I guided our daughter, Sara, to find our folder with our social security cards in it.  She found Ben's and we thankfully were able to finish filling his form out.

We were elated when we left that we'd been able to complete that part of the USCIS application.  We then decided to run a few blocks up to the state capitol building to see if a form I had dropped off last week to be apostilled was possibly ready to be picked up.  It wasn't done, but the clerk told us that we could pay the expedited fee and she could do it then.  I saw that I'd left a self addressed and stamped envelope with the form so we told her to go ahead and process it when it was scheduled to be processed.  We'd just receive it in the mail later.  The clerk then said, "Well, it's on the docket to be processed today.  I'll just do it now if you want to wait 15 minutes."  We were happy with that and took a tour of the capitol building for 15 minutes.  Today I'll UPS all of our apostilled documents to Tonya to be translated.  The only document we are waiting for now is the USCIS one.

I can't believe how far along we are in this and how fast things are moving.  From what I understand, we are getting things processed faster than normal.  I have been doing my part as quickly as I can, but I know that people have been touched in ways to help things move along faster.  I strongly feel that someone wants the girls here with us and soon.  I keep thinking about Snezhana and how she ended her conversation with me when she found out we are adopting her with, "mamamamama."  She needs to be here!  Both girls bonded with our whole family.  I have posted a picture below of Snezhana snuggled up to me.  I feel it shows the bond she has with me and how comforted she is by us.

We still need $37,000 to raise to complete the adoption.  There is a good chance we will be traveling to Ukraine in February to pick up the girls.  We are doing all that we can do to get them here.  There are three girls in Ukraine who are in an awful situation, through no fault of their own.  They want to be with our family so desperately.  Even before they found out they were being adopted they asked us when they could come out again.  What the girls face at age 16 when they have to leave their orphanage and provide for themselves is unthinkable to us.  We can't let it happen!  I have witnessed many miracles in all of this and know that it will happen.  I just have to keep my faith up that it will.  Is there anything you can do to help them? Can you donate ANY amount to their adoption fund? We would be grateful forever! This truly makes a difference for three precious souls.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dreaming of Being Adopted

Yesterday, during our weekly call, we were finally able to tell the girls that we are adopting them.  When we first called, we could only get a hold of Lyuba.  We told her we had something to tell them all and needed all of them together.  She kept telling us to tell her and she'd tell the other two.  She also asked if they were coming out for Christmas hosting.  Because it would cost about $9,000 to host them for Christmas, we aren't able to host them.  It would make the adoption take longer as we need to raise funds.  We told her we'd tell her when all three were together.

Finally Lyuba was on the phone with Diana and Snezhana in the room.  When we told Lyuba, she told the other two, with excitement, "They want to adopt us!"  I about cried when Lyuba told us that she has dreamed of it.  Even though it was obvious they wanted to be adopted, we asked each girl individually to be sure of each one's desire.  We were especially wondering how Diana felt since she has never met us.  We were thrilled that she really wants to be adopted too.  She kept asking when she could come to our home.  She is becoming more talkative during our phone calls.  We do send her as much love as we can in the mail.  We have hoped that she feels it.  And Snezhana said yes also.  Snezhana has been quiet when we've spoken to her in previous phone calls, which was unlike how she was while we were hosting her.  But yesterday she sounded how I remember her.  She specifically asked to talk to me, but besides being able to say, "I love you" to each other we couldn't understand what else she was saying.  Whatever it was, we just heard, "Mamamamamama."  I feel that, while all three really do, Snezhana especially needs to be here as soon as possible.  The girls kept asking, "When are we coming?"  We could only tell them it would be in the spring.  We've just barely missed getting our dossier in to Ukraine before they take a two month break from receiving new applications during their holiday.  Otherwise we would be leaving in January to get them.  We couldn't end the phone call.  We kept saying, "bye", and then continuing the conversation until our phone card's minutes ran out!

I feel that it was providential that we told the girls yesterday.  I had been concerned that they would figure out that they weren't coming for Christmas and be hurt.  I knew they would know that kids from their orphanage were going because Lyuba's friend, who had been hosted during the summer, is being hosted again by the same family.  Apparently they have found out because Lyuba kept asking about it before we could tell them they were being adopted.  Saturday night I was pushed into calling New Horizons and our adoption facilitator to ask about telling the girls.  I feel that this is just another example of God's hand in all of this.  I have seen it soooo many times.  He truly cares for these girls.

We still have about $37,000 to raise to complete their adoption.  If you have the means to donate, please help the girls.  They NEED a family and I know that it will happen.  We are so grateful to all who help us.  Prayers are very appreciated also.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fun Memory Friday (How to Feel Rich Quick)

I have decided that if I ever start to feel poor, I need to host an orphan again.  I will never forget the night we brought the girls home from the airport.  We arrived home about 2 a.m.  It was like Christmas as they excitedly ran all over our modest house discovering things.  One would find something and call the other one over to see it.  They then went outside and found the trampoline in the backyard.  It was very obvious that they had never jumped on a trampoline before.  It was hilarious and scary at the same time.  The next day they started riding the bikes that we had rounded up for them.  Again it was obvious that they had never ridden a bike before.  It was wild watching a 10 and 13 year old learn to ride a bike up and down our street.  They quickly caught on to the new things they were being introduced to.  It was so much fun that I am really looking forward to watching D when she is finally able to come and try things for her first time.  Truly, the antidote to feeling poor is hosting an orphan!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Whew!  I ran up to Salt Lake today to pick up the paperwork that was being apostilled.  I had received a call from a man with the Lieutenant Governor's Office yesterday letting us know that the paperwork was ready.  The girl at the desk today couldn't find our paperwork and insisted over and over again that no one called me yesterday.  It was insane, but I insisted back that someone did.  She and another girl called people and looked around for it as I sat there thinking about all the different forms I'd have to get filled out again and notarized if they had lost the paperwork.  Thankfully they eventually found it in their inbox all apostilled.  I was very relieved! 

We just have two more items to be apostilled and one has already been dropped off at the Lieutenant Governor's Office.  I just have my fingers crossed they don't lose it.  I can't believe we are at this point.  I am so excited to be this far in getting the girls home.

As always we are needing donations.  These three girls absolutely must leave the orphanage and have a better life.  We can't do it ourselves and we are so thankful to all that have donated.  It doesn't matter the amount.  At the Halloween Carnival some children each donated $1 into our donation jar.  I almost cry now thinking about it.  Large or small, everyone's donations are really making a difference in three girls' lives.

Tomorrow I will post a new Fun Memory Friday post.  I had so much going on last week that I forgot to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I can't believe it but we are getting close to the end of the initial adoption paperwork.  There will be more in Ukraine and after we get home with the girls.  Yesterday we received our biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment in the mail.  Our son Ben, because he is 18, needs to be fingerprinted too, but his appointment hasn't come yet so as soon as we have his we will go in for the fingerprinting.  We should be able to pick up our paperwork that is being apostilled from the state capitol and drop off one more thing to be apostilled.  If we can get everything in fast enough we will go to Ukraine in January.  It is looking iffy though and we probably will go in April.  I don't like the idea of the girls not coming home sooner.  But we are doing all that we can do on our side.

We've applied for a couple grants and we'll apply for more so the fundraising paperwork isn't over yet!  We could use prayers that these organizations will be moved to help us.

We've got a couple fundraisers going.  Check out the fundraising page!  And some more planned in the near future.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Find Change to Make a Change

We are doing another fundraiser to help pay for the apostilling of the adoption documents.  We're calling it Find Change to Make a Change in Three Girls' Lives.  My friend inspired this idea when she told me how she was able to find about $50 worth of change around her house one day when she and her daughters decided to hunt around their house for loose change.  We're asking you to help make a difference in L, D and S's lives by finding loose change around your house and car and donating it towards making their adoption happen.  It really is an opportunity to make a difference in three girls' lives.  Our family can't do it by ourselves!


Where we are in the process...

I drove up to Salt Lake City yesterday to drop off the bulk of our paperwork to be apostilled at the State Capitol. It needs to be apostilled, which is like notarizing it internationally, so that Ukraine will accept it as being legitimate.  It should be ready for me to pick up next week. Then I mail it to my facilitator to be translated before it is sent to Ukraine. There is still a little more paperwork we are waiting for the government to get back with us about that will need to be apostilled and included in our dossier. Utah is an expensive state to apostille in unfortunately and it is costing us hundreds more to do it than it would in many other states. We can bundle a couple things to save money, about $45.

I have been having a hard time fundraising lately.  I don't do very well at asking for money.  I really don't like it.  I'd rather give.  The only way I am doing it is because L, D and S absolutely must be adopted.  I can't stand the thought of them stuck in the orphanage and graduating from it to very bad circumstances for them in Ukraine.  Jay and I already feel as though we are their mom and dad, we just need to make it official.  And then they will have a good foundation for their futures. 

I have been busy with paperwork - getting the dossier ready and filling out grant applications.  But I've decided that it's time to pick myself back up and push fundraising again.  The amount of money we have left to come up with does instill some fear in me, but I do have faith that God will provide in some way that I don't see at this time.  Any help you can give us is so appreciated, be it through prayers, spreading the word or donating.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We were able to call and talk to all three girls this morning!  Our neighbors who speak Russian were kind enough to come over again to translate for us.  This is the first time we have spoken to S since she left and the first time ever that we have spoken to D.  They are all doing great and love the candy that we've been sending them.  I had been curious when D's birthday was.  We asked her and learned that we will be celebrating five birthdays in the same month!  D and S have birthdays in the same month that three of our children have.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

We're starting to get cartwheel pictures in.  Have you submitted yours yet?  There's still time.  Click here for more info.

Fun Memory Friday

I really enjoyed hosting the girls and getting a glimpse of a different culture.  At times the girls seemed like barbarians to us and I know that at times we seemed like barbarians to them!  I think the key to enjoying it was having a sense of humor about things.  One of those times when having a sensitive funny bone came in handy was when my husband took the girls shopping.  They came home with this huge smoked turkey drumstick.  I'd never seen one before.  It actually was tastey.  We ate some and then put it in the fridge.  A few days later we were helping the girls clean their room when we came across the turkey drumstick under one of their beds!  I incredulously exclaimed, "We're living with the Flintstones!"  I was getting a kick out of the humor of that and don't worry, the girls didn't speak English and had no idea what I said.

Friday, November 2, 2012

I forgot to post a new memory today, and I ran out of time last week too!  I've been so busy with working on the dossier and fundraising.  But I have a funny memory that I have been meaning to post and will do so tomorrow.  The Flintstones are involved along with a huge smoked turkey drumstick.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Now you can donate to our adoption and get a tax deduction by donating through the Eli Project! 

Here is the link to our Eli Project page

I've spent a lot of today working on paperwork again. The next couple weeks will be full of that same fun, I can tell! I talked to our adoption facilitator a little more today and learned that we have to have everything in by November 27 to be able to go to Ukraine in January. Otherwise we will be going in April because the SDA (Ukraine adoption agency) doesn't take new applications for a couple months after November 27.  While I am worried about coming up with the money and Ukraine would be a bit more pleasant in April, we need to get the girls here as soon as we can so they can start learning English and go to school here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yesterday we mailed off the USCIS application.  I've been filling out grant applications.  Today we received in the mail dossier stuff to work on from our facilitator.  It is a lot of paperwork to process, but it is exciting that things are moving along.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Exciting news!  We were able to talk to L today on the phone.  It was the first time we have heard her voice since she left for Ukraine.  Neighbors of ours who speak Russian were kind enough to come over to our house this morning.  We made a call to the orphanage and were able to get ahold of L.  S and D were getting ready for bed and couldn't come to the phone.  Next week we'll try an hour earlier and hopefully be able to talk to them too.  We have never talked to D before, so that will be exciting.  And I know S will be happy to talk to us also.  L says that they have been receiving our letters and packages.  I'm so happy those are getting through.  I can't wait until we can actually hold the girls in our arms again.  And meet Diana!

Yesterday we had our last yard sale and made $260.  It was a lot of work, but we are happy to be that much closer to our goal.  It's getting too cold to have more yard sales, but I am going to continue selling things online.  If anyone has something that can sell well online that they don't need anymore and want to donate it to us, we'd be very appreciative of that.

Our cartwheel fundraiser story was written up about in the Daily Herald and then aired for a very short segment on KUTV Channel 2 News on Friday.  That was exciting.  Hopefully we reach readers and viewers who feel impressed to donate to our cause.  I absolutely know this is what God wants us to do and I have faith that the way will be opened for us to adopt the girls.  I know the orphanage workers care for the girls, but the girls need to leave the orphanage and live with a family, our family who loves them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You read the Daily Herald article and saw us on KUTV, now get the story from us!

We appreciate the Daily Herald and KUTV for publishing our story.  Without a community effort we will not be able to help these three orphaned sisters by adopting them.  We hosted planning to host only, not adopt.  We choose to adopt when it became clear to us that the girls are adoptable and it is God's will that we do.  Read more below.
A video a friend of ours made.
Jay and I (Arin) have been happily married for 21 years and have five children living at home. We also have a married son. We enjoy doing things like camping, hiking, biking and playing games with our family. We have felt that we have a good life and have wanted to do something to help someone in a meaningful way. Last spring we discovered an orphan hosting program and felt strongly pulled towards two sisters from an orphanage in Ukraine.

Over the summer our family was blessed to host the two sisters ages 10 and 13. Originally we had been told that the girls probably weren't adoptable because of multiple siblings in other orphanages. That was okay, we thought we would give the girls as much love and good experiences as possible for the summer to help make a difference in the girls' lives. But from the first week the girls were with us, I strongly felt that the girls needed to be adopted. The girls were so good and happy and fit in our family so well. As time went on the girls showed much love and compassion for our family and others that they were introduced to in the community. Over the summer we were able to learn from the girls that they only had one other sibling eligible for adoption, a sister age 12 living in their same orphanage. Two older siblings were too old to be adopted and two others had sadly passed away. The girls spoke no English when they arrived and we don't speak Russian. But some things could still be communicated. The last week of the amazing summer stay, while at the dinner table, the two girls started listing all of the members of our family by name and then adding their names at the end. They were letting us know that they wanted to be a part of our family. On the hour drive to the airport the two girls cried over and over again, "Ukraina no, America yes." It was very hard to send the girls home and we miss them greatly. Friends of ours were able to contact the girls via phone recently. We were comforted to hear that they are doing well, school is going well and they are healthy. They really, really miss our family and America. They say that everything was so good in America. And they love our family.  You can see the love between us in the photos on our Photo page.

We strongly feel that God wants the girls we love so much to come to our family and feel so blessed to be able to adopt the three wonderful sisters. I have felt that I have seen the hand of God in the whole process starting with finding the girls all the way through to fundraising for the adoption. Because we didn't host planning to adopt, we don't have the funds saved up and need others' help in raising the funds. We are trusting that God will touch people's hearts to donate and are very appreciate of the sacrifice people are making in donating to help get the three sisters home to their forever family. If you have the means, great or small, to help us bring our girls back home to stay, please donate.


Home Study Done!

I'm so excited.  Our home study is done as of today.  We are working on the dossier.  We can start applying for grants now!  We should be traveling to Ukraine by the middle of February at the latest (hopefully!)  We have three months to raise the rest of the money we need.  If you can help us, we appreciate it so much.  Even little amounts have made a difference.  One of my favorite sayings that I tell my kids comes to mind right now, "many hands make light work."  And that's true with fundraising too!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cartwheels to Ukraine Contest is Here!

We are happy to announce that our cartwheel photo contest is up.  Are you ready to join the cartwheel challenge?  Here are the rules:

1) Donate $10 using the donate button on this blog and email a picture of you or someone you know doing a cartwheel to have a chance to win one of 10 prizes. Email your picture to: You can enter different pictures as many times as you'd like at $10 each.

2) When you donate the $10 leave your email address in Paypal's comment section so we know which cartwheel is yours.

3) We will post the cartwheels on Triple Treasures Facebook Album.

4) Have all of your friends visit the album and "like" the cartwheel they like most (probably yours!).

5) The top 10 vote getters will win prizes (prizes to be announced as we accumulate them)! The winners will pick their prize in order of most votes.

Winning cartwheel photos will be announced on November 19, 2012.

Adoption Blog Spotlights Our Story and More Updates

Visit this Open Adoption Blog to read the interview that the author, Kathryn LeBaron posted on her blog.  We are excited about this and grateful to Kathryn.

The homestudy should be complete any day now.  As soon as it is done we can start applying for adoption grants.  And we start the dossier.  I am excited to be at this stage!

We have received donations for several of our fundraisers.  I have really appreciated the supportive comments that some donors have made.  Thank you so much!

A journalist from the Daily Herald interviewed us yesterday along with a photographer from the Herald coming out and taking lots of pictures of me doing cartwheels.  My leg muscles were pretty sore after that!  That probably was the hardest portrait assignment that photographer will ever get!

The Eli Project, a charity that accepts tax deductible donations for adoptive families, has decided to continue providing this needed service.  I have been busy filling out the application for us to be one of their families and will update this blog with that information when it is available.

We are starting the Cartwheels to Ukraine Part Two fundraiser really soon.  I'm just trying to figure out the logistics of it.  That's next on my list and I hope to have it up and running by tonight.

Thanks to all who help us and who spread the word of our cause.  We still have a lot to raise, but know that adopting our three girls is what God wants us to do, and he will provide through wonderful people who donate and help us and who we are eternally grateful for!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Arin Does the Cartwheels!

Today is Cartwheel Day!

I'll be doing the cartwheels today at noon just after the costume contest at Santaquin City's Halloween Carnival.  45 W 100 S in Santaquin. 

How many do you think I can do?

I'm wondering too!

There's still time to make a pledge on the Cartwheel Page.

Monday we announce Cartwheels to Ukraine Part 2 where you get involved in the cartwheeling.  It will be lots of fun and there will be prizes.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Memory Friday

Each Friday we post a memory from our summer with the girls.
This week's memory is provided by one of our neighbors, Janice.
"We met S and L 3 weeks into their adventure. It was marvelous. My girls came home and told me they met these two girls that were staying with their grandpa for the summer. I thought nothing of it. Then when I met the host family, I got the real story.

"Our families connected in an amazing way. Our kids (and the adults) all click amazingly. We got together and had a BBQ which also (conveniently) landed on my birthday!
Arin made an amazing cake, that I may or may not have had too much of......

"The 3 weeks we had to get to know the girls was way too short. We did get in some other fun activities. We went to Lehi Trafalga and to Seven Peaks.

"Arin and Jay were amazing and took the girls to experience so many things and meet so many people that love them so much. When they get here, they will already have a great support system.

"We also got to go to the airport to see the girls off. While it was very difficult, I am so grateful that we got time with them while they were here, and I am even more grateful at the unselfishness of Arin and Jay and their willingness to bring 3 orphans into their family, so I can fully benefit by their association :)"
Thanks Janice for your memories and your support with the girls.

With Janice's family.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Where we are at in the process

We are still working on the home study, which is the first step.  We had our home visit on Monday.  It was much more pleasant than I had expected.  Thankfully we were able to get our house clean, especially considering Jay and I had only a few days notice that the case worker was coming on Monday and we were going out of town on a rockhounding trip together leaving the kids at home for Friday and Saturday!  We gave the kids strict orders to keep the house clean.

On our trip Jay and I almost became stuck in mud on a dirt road while searching for agate because it began to rain!  It rained so much that we came home early and cleaned most of Saturday.  Of course, the case worker was more interested in our parenting skills than our housekeeping skills.  Thankfully we both come from good families and have great children.  It was easy to answer her questions.  I don't have the results back but she seemed to be fine with us.

It may be another two weeks before the home study is complete because we are waiting to receive our insurance card.  We have had accident insurance and insurance for things like heart attacks, strokes, etc.  We've known that we need to get "real" health insurance, but it is expensive and we've been waiting until getting out of debt.  We are close on that goal.  But we need real health insurance to adopt and it is a good thing for us to have.

I had wanted to complete our home study by the end of October because several grants have October 31st as a deadline for applying.  I'll have the grant applications all filled out and ready to send so as soon as the home study is complete we can apply.

We are also in the fundraising stage.  We probably won't leave that stage until we go to Ukraine to get the girls.  We have raised about 1/10th of what we need.  We are more thankful than we can ever express for the people who have donated to help get the girls home.  Every contribution, large or small, excites us and is helpful.  If you have the means, please help our three girls come home.  You will make a big difference in their lives and their future children's lives.

I continue working on the blog and facebook page.  I plan to write up our story about how we found these girls and came to decide to adopt them.  I don't normally give my spiritual experiences, but in this case I will because those experiences explain a big part of why we are adopting the girls.  I'll put our story up in it's own page titled something like, "How We Decided to Adopt" on the blog soon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cartwheel time is almost here!

                                                     Another hard training session!

Remember, this Saturday I will end the cartwheel fundraiser by doing as many cartwheels in a row as I can.  We're asking people to donate by pledging an amount per cartwheel that I pull off.  You can pledge in your head or place your pledge in the comment section on this blog's cartwheel page.  Check back on Saturday and we'll post a video of me doing the cartwheels.  There will be a 20 second delay in case of catastrophic failure.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fun Memory Friday

I asked Jay what one of his favorite memories with the girls was and he said he loved it when he would come home from work and the girls would run out to him yelling, "Papa!"  Throughout the days that Jay was at work the girls would both ask me periodically where "Papa" was.  Whenever the phone rang they wanted to know if it was Jay.  He rough housed with them and especially with S, the younger one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10/10 is Here!!!

We are asking everyone to help us get our three beautiful girls home from Ukraine by donating $10 today on 10/10.  We are happy to accept larger amounts today too.  You can donate using the "donate" button to the right.  Our family loves them so much and needs them home as soon as possible.  We truly appreciate everyone's support.  We cannot do it without your help!
                                      L and S who we hosted this summer.  D stayed behind
                                              at the orphanage.  We are adopting all three.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Helped A Child T-Shirts

We are selling these dye-sublimation shirts to fundraise for $17 each.

Printed on them is:

I helped a child
You can too
Make a difference

Colors:  white, yellow, lime green, light pink, blue, off white
Sizes:  Youth 2-4, 6-8, 10-12, 14-16, 18-20
           Adult S, M L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL

To order:  Make a payment through the donate button on this blog.  Leave a message stating how many shirts, which color(s) and size(s).  Leave your name, address and email address or phone number.  If we will be shipping the shirt(s) (in U.S. only) add $3 for parcel post or $5 for priority mail if only one shirt.  For multiple shirts add $5 for priority mail.  If you want insurance add $2.  Please indicate which shipping method you want and if you are adding insurance.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A quick update

I've been really busy with filling out paperwork for the homestudy, working on fundraisers and normal, everyday life lately.  Last week we sent in our background check applications and applied for passports.

We received exciting news this morning.  Friends of ours who live in The Netherlands and who speak Russian have been trying for a while to call and get through to the girls at the orphanage.  Today they were able to talk to L for a few minutes.  It was so great to hear from her.  L was excited to hear from our friends.  They've been getting our letters, yay!  They are doing well, school is going well and they are healthy.  The girls miss and love us.  Everything was so good in America.

We were so glad to hear from them.  We are grateful to know that the girls are receiving our letters.  We miss them so much and can't wait until they are home again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fun Memory Friday

One of my favorite memories from hosting L and S is when we took them to Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  The first thing we did at the visitor's center was ask for Russian speaking guides so the girls would understand everything.  Two sister missionaries were found for us.  One was from Latvia and the other from Russia.  I introduced our family and then L and S as visiting us from Ukraine.  The Russian missionary asked if the girls were from an orphanage.  She said she could tell they were because she was raised in one herself in Russia.  She erased any lingering fears I had that hosting the girls could hurt them by thanking us several times for hosting them.  She told us that while she was never chosen to be hosted herself, she saw the beneficial effects hosting had on the chosen orphans.

Our family enjoyed visiting with both missionaries. We were excited to tell the Latvian sister that the orphan hosting program also hosts orphans from Lativa.  L and S enjoyed communicating with them in Russian.

                                                     Our family with the two missionaries.

                                      L and S loved the sisters!  Russian missionary is on left.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cartwheeling to Ukraine Fundraiser!

How many cartwheels do you think I can do in a row?  We're going to find out on October 20th!

One day when the girls were first here we were having a bonding moment with them.  We had been having a harder day with L when we took them biking to a church parking lot.  L started doing cartwheels and wanted Jay to do one.  He did!  As I stood there watching them I knew it would really help me bond with L if I did one too.  I hadn't done a cartwheel for at least 25 years.  As the girls and Jay watched, I channeled my inner 11 year old self and proceeded to do a somewhat decent cartwheel.  I was surprised!  And it did wonders for my bond with L which was my desired result.

Now I'm doing cartwheels to get the girls and their sister back home to their forever family.  On October 20th I will do as many cartwheels as I can in a row.  We are asking you to pledge whatever amount you want per cartwheel that I do.  So if you pledge $5 per cartwheel and I manage to do 4 in a row (wow!), then you would donate $20 towards getting the girls here.  Place your pledge in the comments section of this blog or on the Triple Treasures Facebook Page facebook page.  You can place a limit on the amount of cartwheels you will pay for.  So no worries that I might moonlight as a circus performer and can do hundreds!  When it's time to pay, you can use one of our donate buttons or hand us the donation!  Pass this along to your friends to join in the fun and let's get the girls here!

How many cartwheels do you think this crazy mom can do?!

Monday, October 1, 2012

We had our yard sale on Saturday and had a great turnout.  Thanks to everyone who came and supported us by donating and shopping.  Thanks also to the wonderful friends who helped us run the yard sale.  We could not have done it without them.  We now have about $1300 raised out of the $40,000 total we need.  There is a long way to go, but I have faith that we will make it.  I have seen the hand of God in all that we have been doing.

Today I was able to contact our case worker to get our home study started.  I was so excited because she sounds like she will get the home study done fast.  We start with a background check.  I printed out the application.  Got our social security cards out of my files to make copies and realized we no longer have Jay's.  So disappointing because I had planned on mailing everything to our caseworker today!  Jay is now down at the Social Security office applying to get a new copy of his card.  It could take up to 10 business days to come.  In the meantime we'll keep fundraising.

We have several fund raisers planned:

Let's see how much we can raise by donating $10 on 10/10!  You can donate here on the blog through the "Donate" button or at the YouCaring site that our friend set up for us.

T-Shirt Fundraiser  A friend of mine designed a neat t-shirt for us to sell.  She is hosting a boy this Christmas through the same program that we hosted the girls.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

We are led to adoption

In April we began a journey that we didn't know would lead to adoption.  Through a friend we learned about an Eastern European orphan hosting program.  Our friend posted several pictures on her blog of orphans who needed a family to come to for the summer.  A picture of two girls caught Arin's attention.  The look in the older girl, L's, eyes spoke to Arin and we decided to host them.  We were told that they were probably host only because they had multiple siblings in other institutions.  We thought that would be okay, we would love them for the summer and give them as many good experiences as we could.  To read more about about our experiences over the summer, visit our blog  It isn't completely updated yet.  I (Arin) will update it as soon as possible.

While the girls were here we discovered they had another sister in their same orphanage who had been in the hospital when the hosting program was interviewing the children.  Because the program didn't know about her she wasn't able to come with her sisters.  We sent gifts home with her sisters to give to her hoping she would feel our love for her.  We also found out that they are the only adoptable members of their family.  They have a brother and sister who are too old to be adopted.

While we had challenges with cultural differences and communication, we discovered how good and wonderful the girls are.  They are very happy and said that their sister is a lot like S (the younger one), laughing all the time.  We love them so much and they love our family.  We had hosted them hoping to make a difference for someone and were now thinking about adoption.  But we weren't ready when they left to go home.  We spent the next 7 weeks feeling troubled with no peace about our decision not to adopt them.   At one point we prayed for peace and the immediate answer Arin received was that we would adopt them and it would be okay.  At the time it seemed almost impossible, but the way opened up for us.  We now can see other promptings to adopt them that we had not recognized before.  We were led to them and need to get them out of the orphanage and into our home with our family and community that love them.