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!