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.