Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Still no news, but we should be hearing something soon! 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Like two drops of water!"

We were able to talk to Lyuba this morning.  As usual she is very anxious for us to come get her and her sisters.  We're anxious too!  I also talked to our facilitator this morning.  She told me that a family that submitted their paperwork one week ahead of us just received their appointment date for the 11th of March.  It is looking like ours will probably be around the 18th of March.  So hopefully by the end of next week we'll hear something.  This waiting is hard!!!

Lyuba has a really close friend at the orphanage.  I haven't even thought to ask for permission to use her name so I'm going to call her Nadiya which means "hope".  Nadiya was hosted through the same organization that we hosted through during the summer and this last Christmas.  Nadiya was in the room with Lyuba during our phone call this morning.  I've talked to Nadiya's host mom several times and was able to have Lyuba tell Nadiya that her host family loves and misses her.  Nadiya deeply loves and misses them too.  She didn't want to go back to Ukraine at the end of Christmas hosting and tried to stay.  I understand what that is like after watching Lyuba and Snezhana beg to stay with us at the end of summer.  Lyuba went on and on about how she and Nadiya are best friends.  They are so close.  They are like two drops of water!  That must mean something in Ukraine!  They both love to dance.  Nadiya's host mom has described her to me as very loving and good with younger children.  She loves to do hair.  She sounds a lot like Lyuba which is probably why they are such good friends!

Lyuba and Nadiya at the orphanage.
"Like two drops of water" according to Lyuba.
Nadiya's host family wants to adopt her.  They have the paperwork all lined up, they just need to raise the last amount of funds to finish the adoption.  They need $17,000 to be fully funded.  I have now twice felt that something needs to be done to help get Nadiya home.  She is 15 now.  When she turns 16 towards the end of this year, all hope for adoption for her is lost.  She will have to leave the orphanage and will be on her own.

We have been very blessed to be fully funded for our children and I feel strongly that I need to help Lyuba's friend.  If you can help at all, please donate through our paypal link or mail a check to the address on the "Donate Here" page and be sure to specify that it is for Nadiya.  We will send the funds to her adoptive family.  Please be sure to specify Nadiya because we are still accepting help for our girls for their dental work and we want to be sure to apply your donation to her.  This really is another opportunity to make a tremendous difference in someone's life.

Thanks everyone for the support you've given us.  I can never say it enough!!!

Nadiya with her younger "host" siblings during Christmas hosting.

Friday, February 22, 2013

No appointment today.  I've been talking with other families who submitted their dossiers at the same time we did.  It sounds like it's taking a little longer to receive notice because there was a backlog of dossiers when the SDA (Ukrainian government adoption agency) opened in January after their holidays.  In order to preserve my sanity, I'm going to start expecting to hear something towards the end of next week!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Still no appointment date yet!

I promise I'll let you know as soon as we receive it!  I can't wait to go get the girls.  :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We haven't received our appointment yet.  It will come any day.  I've had several people ask if we will still accept donations.  I've thought about it, and while we don't need help with funding the adoption, we will have some big expenses once the girls are home.  All along my focus has been to get the girls home.  Then we could focus on needs that we will have.  The girls that didn't come out for summer hosting will need dental work done.  Lyuba and Snezhana needed about $4,000 worth last summer.  Thankfully we were able to get theirs all done.  We will also need to buy a larger vehicle.  And we still owe about $3,000 to New Horizons who we hosted the girls through.  New Horizons has been very good to us.  Not once have they asked for the money.  When I brought it up with their accountant, she told me to wait until after the adoption to begin payments.  The people with New Horizons truly do have a heart for the children they are helping.  If you would like to make a donation, we will accept it.  The paypal donate button is still up along with the link to the tax deductible route - The Eli Project.  Any donations will be, and have always been, the girls' money.  It is their future that we are the stewards of.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We are fully funded!!!

I am in shock and am so happy.  We just received a very generous donation and are now fully funded for the adoption.  Jay and I are thankful to this donor and to each one of you who has helped us achieve this goal.  What a relief to not have to worry about the funding anymore!  Now I can concentrate on getting our house ready, us packed and whatever else needs to be done before we go.  And while in Ukraine we can give our full attention to the girls and the adoption.  This is an amazing blessing for which we are so grateful. 

Soon they'll be in our arms again!
We will receive our appointment date any day now.  The appointment will be about two weeks from the date we receive notice of it.  I'll post as soon as I hear something.  :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

We talked with the girls this morning.  As usual they asked when we are coming.  We told them that we should be there by the end of March.  Next week we should receive our appointment date and then we'll call them and tell them exactly when we'll be there.  It is amazing that we are this close.  We told them that they were signed up for school and that they would just go for the last month this year only to help them learn English.  They were excited about that.  They all wanted to know what grades they would be in.  Lyuba practiced her English on us.  She's trying so hard.  Over the summer Lyuba and Snezhana didn't care to learn English.  They knew they would be going back to Ukraine where they didn't use English at all.  Now that they know they are coming here, they have incentive to learn.  It's going to be fun to watch them learn it and I can tell that they'll pick it up fast.

Diana had been in the "hospital" last week when we called.  We've come to learn that what they call the hospital at the orphanage is more of a quarantine area so they don't get the other children sick.  When we called today Lyuba told us that Diana was still in the hospital.  But after speaking with Lyuba for a while, Diana suddenly showed up!  It was nice to hear her. 

Snezhana is doing great.  She's the hardest to understand because she holds the phone close to her mouth and she speaks mostly Ukrainian.  She laughed a bit which was fun to hear.  We were able to learn that her favorite food is a mush food like our cream of wheat.  If only I'd known that during hosting!

We probably talked to the girls too long.  At the end of our conversation suddenly Lyuba said she had to go and kept saying "bye-bye."  Then all three girls said "bye-bye" into the phone.  It was so cute.  Then they were gone.

We are so close to going.  Thankfully, due to all you who have helped, we have enough funds to get to Ukraine, pay our fees and live for a few weeks.  We will continue fundraising up until we go and while in Ukraine.  And we'll blog as much as possible about our experience there.  When we get to the girls' orphanage region, we'll be in a very rural area.  I don't know how good our internet access will be.  Jay is hoping to be able to work over the internet so it will be a priority to have internet at our apartment.  We know that a lot of people are interested in what happens with the girls so we will do our best to keep you updated!

If you can donate to getting the girls home, please do.  These girls must have a better chance in life.  I think that most people who have met them feel that too.  We appreciate everyone's help!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just Waiting and Fundraising

Next week we should get an email with our appointment date in Ukraine.  We'll leave approximately two weeks after receiving the email.  I can't wait to get the email and go.  But I'm also nervous about it coming too fast and us not having our house ready and things packed!  And we need to get more fundraising in!  This weekend we'll start switching kids' bedrooms around to fit the girls in.  If we get far enough along, I'll post some pictures.  We'll also call the girls.  Next week we'll be able to tell them when we're coming.  That is going to be the FUNNEST phone call.

We are going to continue the $5 for 5 Girls on Friday fundraiser until we are funded or the girls are home.  Each Friday please contribute only $5 to getting the girls home!  All together we can create a miracle.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Craft Fair Was a Success!

Thanks everyone who showed up to help us run the craft fair.  And to everyone who came to buy things from our vendors and us.  We really appreciate you all.  I was already nervous about turnout and when it started snowing Saturday afternoon, I became really nervous!  But we had a good turnout.  We had 23 awesome vendors while we ran a silent auction, food and bake sale.  Mexican food was donated by Rosarita's in Santaquin.  They are the nicest people there.  And their food is delicious.  They gave us much more than we ever expected.  Please go patronize them if you are in the area.

We wouldn't be able to get our girls without your help - thanks!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentine's Craft Fair Tonight!

Come tonight from 6 to 9 at Peteetneet in Payson, 10 N 600 E, and shop to your hearts content!  Over 20 local vendors will be selling a variety of things.  We will also fundraise with a bake sale, food for sale (come hungry!), our own items and a silent auction.  The silent auction consists of donations from some wonderful local businesses.  We will even have a small yard sale area!  There will also be entertainment.  The food includes Mexican donated by Rosarita's in Santaquin.  Also we will be selling vareniki, a Ukrainian dish.  And hotdogs and California rolls (yummy).

There's no other way about it, the girls HAVE to be adopted!
Please help by donating.  You are truly changing their lives.
We hope to adopt their two little sisters that they haven't
seen for five years.  We'll do all in our power to do so!
We just need $12,000 and we leave in just under four weeks. Our goal is to raise $10,000 today. You can help us reach that by coming to the craft fair and/or by donating on the blog. If everyone who reads this were to donate only $5, it would make a big difference!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What are you going to do if you don't have all the money when you need to leave for Ukraine?

I've been asked that question a couple times now which means that it's a good time for me to blog about it!  I have a couple answers to that question. 

The first one involves the faith that we've had to have the whole time we've been adopting.  We know we are doing what God wants us to do.  We have had a strong answer that we will adopt the girls.  We have witnessed many miracles associated with the adoption and have faith that God wouldn't "drop the ball" financially.  Ten days ago we had $13,000 in our account.  Now we have almost $22,000!  Many people have been touched to help the girls and donate.  We will go to Ukraine and continue fundraising while there.  We have friends who will help us fundraise at home if needed.  Right now we have enough money to pay our airfare, give our facilitator in Ukraine her big chunk of money and still have enough to get by for about two weeks.  By the time we leave, we hope to have enough to stay for a few more weeks if not enough to complete the adoption.  I have watched as a few people have done this.

The other answer is that if we absolutely must, we can come home after completing the first part of the adoption and fundraise and save our money until we have enough to send one of us back to complete the adoption.  This is not preferable as it adds more airfare to the cost and the girls have to stay in their orphanage longer.  But it is a possibility if we need to.

Jay and I have a strong drive to adopt the girls.  Without it I wouldn't have lasted this long!  We just know that the girls have to be adopted.  Others who have met the girls feel the same.  It is going to happen.  We just need your help!

The fundraising thermometer is moving up!

We have been so thankful to everyone who has helped us.  Several people have surrounded us with fundraising support which has made all the difference for us, especially as we have tackled bigger projects.  We have received many donations for which we cannot even express how grateful we are.  Because I've never fundraised before I had no idea how much love I would feel behind each donation.  I have learned how much a $5 donation can mean.  Some of you have donated over and over.  I am learning from you and plan to be like you in my future giving.  Thank you all so much.  You are all truly angels for the girls.  We would not be able to do it without all of you.

Picture of Lyuba at the orphanage
that we recently were given.  Her
name is written in Russian
at the bottom. 
Can't wait to see this
face again!
 We still have a distance to go, just over $12,000 now.  While it's still a huge number, I'm feeling a lot more confident now about the amount we need.  While in Ukraine we'll learn if we can adopt Liliya and Sasha, the two younger sisters, also.  We'll need up to about $15,000 more if we can adopt them.  We hope we can as it would get them out of their orphanage sooner and would cost a lot less than starting all over again.  If we can't adopt them now, we'll learn which orphanage they are in and send care packages to them like we have been sending to the older girls.

We plan to take several suitcases full of donations for both of the orphanages to use.  When we call the girls on Saturday, we plan to ask the worker who answers what they are in need of.  We'll bring what they need and some fun things for the children.  Once we have a better idea of what they need and how much room we'll have, we'll post a list for anyone who'd like to help.


Monday, February 4, 2013

We're down to four weeks away from going

I can't believe we're getting this close.  We won't know for sure until we receive our appointment from Ukraine, but we are projected to leave in about four weeks.  Next week I'm expecting to receive the email with our appointment.  This is crazy that we're this close.  I love it!  There is so much that we need to do before we go.  We do have the girls signed up for school, including Liliya and Sasha, so they can attend as soon as they are ready.  The biggest objective in going to school for the last month of the school year is to help them learn English.  We still need to get our house ready for three to five more people.  We need to start thinking about what we need to take to Ukraine.  And what we want to bring for the other children and the caretakers at the orphanage.  They are in a rural and very poor orphanage.  We want to help them out the best we can.  We also need to plan what my parents will need while taking care of our children who are staying home.  And continue to fundraise.  It will be wonderful to be able to stop asking everyone for money someday!  We are getting closer to our fundraising goal.  If you can help in any way, we are so appreciative.  There's no way we would be able to do this without your donations and support.  Thanks.

To help fund the girls' adoption, we are selling Dalton's bread mix - makes four 1 pound loaves and comes in white or wheat. It is the same recipe as Grandma Sycamore's. We'll be selling this at the Valentine's Craft Fair in Payson, but you don't have to wait to buy it there! Buy some now too. :) $8 per bag. Each bag makes four 1 pound loaves. The picture shown is the wheat bread.  You can stock up on it.  The mix has a 1 year shelf life.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

We were able to speak with the girls this morning.  Before we asked to speak to them, we wanted to ask the orphanage worker who answered the phone some questions about the village they live in.  We were curious what kind of accomodations there are.  I had confirmed to me what I have suspected.  They live in a very small village - less than 3,000 people.  We will stay in a town about 12 miles away.  The worker was so friendly and happy to answer our questions.  She told us it was really cold in Ukraine, 2 degrees celcius.  I was happy to see when I converted the celcius to farenheit and checked our weather to find that it was colder here today.  I think we should be able to handle the cold weather in Ukraine!

Our conversation with the girls was great.  Lyuba really wanted us to pinpoint a time that we would be coming.  Because I won't know for sure until we receive our SDA appointment, I don't want to give them a time that is too soon and let them down.  We told her that in two weeks we should be able to tell her when we're coming.  That is going to be a really fun phone call.  Lyuba sounded great.  We laughed a bit with her and she said it was good to hear me laugh.  She's learned a little more English.  We've learned a little more Russian in our phone conversations ourselves!

We asked to speak with Snezhana next since last week our conversation was cut short with her as she had to go to dinner.  Snezhana sounded great too.  We got laughing at one point with her where she would laugh, then we would laugh, then she would again and so on.  It's the first time we've heard her laugh since she left and it was so good to hear.  She laughed all the time during her stay with us in the summer.  Jay had to take a phone call at the beginning of the conversation with Snezhana.  When he came back and said "hi" to her, she told him that she loves him. 

Diana was talkative and she sounded really good.  We told her we love her and she said she loves us.  I think she's starting to believe we really do love her.  She is the one who couldn't come out for summer hosting, so she hasn't met us yet.  We asked her about her memories when she was younger.  She remembers having a pet dog, cat and a parrot.  She told us she still wants an mp3 player!  She also likes dolls and wants a dollhouse.  We had asked her what she wants when she comes to America.

After calling the girls, Jay and I went around town putting up flyers for the Valentine's Craft Fair fundraiser we are holding next Saturday, Feb 9.  Businesses have been very nice and have donated items for the silent auction we'll hold too.  At one business, we were talking about the adoption to the ladies who work there.  One of them mentioned a family by name that is in Ukraine right now.  I thought I recognized their name as one of the families also on the Eli Project.  Later, when I was home purusing Facebook, I noticed that a friend, who happens to be in Ukraine adopting now, had "liked" a picture by a family with the same last name.  Out of curiosity I clicked on it and saw that their location is the same town that we will be staying in by the girls' orphanage!  I couldn't believe it.  I wouldn't have clicked on the picture if I hadn't just heard that name.  They are adopting a girl from that town.  I have been wanting more information about the area, but it is such a rural area that there isn't much about it online.  I have sent a message to this person hoping to learn more about the area.  I also was able to find her blog which has several pictures of the town, which is about 12 miles away from the girls' town.

Snezhana always wants to say "hi" to Sam!
We are excited that we are getting so close to leaving to get the girls.  The closer we get, the more of a reality it is becoming and we are so happy.  It will be hard to leave our other children for up to two months.  But we are thankful that they will be in good hands - they are staying with my parents.  They will be able to easily continue going to their school.  We'll be able to skype with them most of the time which will be very nice.  Thank you everyone for your support, prayers and donations.  We know that we could not do this without you. 

Lyuba so happy!  During summer hosting.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Looking forward to calling the girls tomorrow!

I'll update the blog after we call the girls.  There's only 4 or 5 more Saturdays left after tomorrow to call them.  Then we see them!  Thanks everyone for your donations.  We're getting closer - we're going to make it!