Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A little closer

Just a quick update...
  • Mark's employment verification - Yep
  • Melanie's medical clearance - Yep
  • I-171H - well... kind of. We received the electronic version of our corrected approval yesterday. The hard copy was supposed to be sent overnight mail to us, but I'm pretty sure that the post office is not delivering mail at this time of night. So, we are still waiting.
As soon as the precious piece of paper arrives, it will be notarized. I'm waiting for the "ok" from our agency coordinator before getting the last documents apostilled.
My hopes of having our dossier in the mail by the end of September are out the window. I'm pretty disappointed. But, I keep reminding myself that God knew about all these delays before they happened and HE is in control - not me!! Somehow, I seem to keep forgetting that - lol!

This cold seems to be getting the best of me, I have developed cement on the brain. Time to spend a few moments with that sweet hubby of mine who just got home from work before we head for bed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

So close and yet so far!

Thursday morning, I was on the phone at 8:05am leaving a message for the caseworker assigned to our I-171H paperwork. She emailed me around 10am apologizing for the error and saying she would email me when it was resolved. 

I know it may have been unrealistic to expect the correction the same day, but I was still hoping... Friday morning, I was on the phone again, leaving another message asking Officer E to please give me a call. She did call me back to tell me that she was waiting for our files to be returned from the State Department. The USCIS (NBC) does not keep a copy of them once they are approved, only forwards them on for consular processing. The request had been made for them to be returned, but until then... she can't do anything. UGH!!! I asked if it was possible she might get them back Friday, she gently informed me that she has no control over the State Department, but that we were on her "high priority list."

Mark and I discussed it, we've decided that we are going to call our senator's office tomorrow to see if she can do anything. I hate being pushy, it is so not in my nature to be assertive. Conflict is something I avoid if at all possible. But, this is not about us. It is about the reason for our trip to Ukraine. It is about getting there for that specific reason. We need to get our dossier on it's way this week!!

Still waiting for the revision of my medical clearance, too. Hoping to pick that up Tuesday morning. It had been my plan to take the last documents up to the cities for their apostille on Tuesday. Seems unlikely that we will have our I-171H approval (hard copy) by then. But, I am praying for a miracle.

Other than that, the weekend was ok. I'm still not feeling too great so we kind of laid low. Mark got the garage cleaned out enough for me to put my car inside which is good since we had frost last night. Ran up to my parents' place yesterday, had dinner with them, and picked up Mark's skid loader. Today, we ran a couple of errands, missed church (not on purpose - we totally lost track of time), and took a nap. I tried a couple new recipes - Vegetable Barley Soup and Zucchini Coconut bars. Good fall food!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A video worth watching

Please take a few minutes to watch this video. Are you being called to make a difference?  Also, check out Adeye's blog here. Can you help rescue Yulia?

Waiting for a response

  • I called our assigned officer this morning at 8:05am.
  • Got voice mail as usual.
  • Left a message.
  • Couldn't stand the wait.
  • Sent an email at around 9:30am.
  • Got an email back aound 10am saying that our application was being looked into and that I would be emailed when things were resolved.
  • Still waiting...
  • Sigh!
And praying that this nasty cold that hit me is short-lived. I'm feeling pretty miserable!

Excitement but only for a moment

Our I-171H approval arrived yesterday. This means that the United States Center for Immigration Services has approved us to bring home a little one. Well, actually they have approved us for 2 little ones (if we choose). YAY, right?

Well, as I started looking at the paperwork, it isn't right. It only lists Mark as being approved - the line where it says "spouse's name" is blank. And where it lists the age of children we are approved for, it says "0-18 months." That's a pretty huge deal because there just aren't children available for adoption in that age group. Our home study approves us for 0-5 years of age and that's what we need our form to say.

I will be on the phone as soon as the office opens this morning to get this corrected. Hoping that we will have all the paperwork compiled so that I can get it apostilled on Tuesday and mailed that same day.  Prayers would be appreciated!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The REALLY good news

That sweet hubby of mine didn't share the best news of the weekend! But, that's ok because I really wanted to share it myself.

We are approved! We received an email on Saturday from our caseworker at USCIS saying that our application had been approved and was being sent to for consular processing. In the meantime, there are a few documents that have to be re-done and I am working on those. I am hoping that our I-171H (approval to bring a child into the country) will be here by the end of the week. If so, I'll get the last of the documents apostilled next Tuesday and be able to get the dossier on it's way by the end of the month.

I want to be very clear... there is NO doubt in my mind that God moved mountains on our behalf. Last Thursday, I read a post on a blog I follow that spoke volumes to me. God cares about the smallest details of our lives. And if He cares about little things, He definitely cares about big things!! I clearly heard the message, "I go before you in this adoption. I am in control. I am working behind the scenes in ways you can't even imagine." One of the items that we need to get re-done is employment verification letters (we completed them too soon and they don't reflect September's income). I hadn't been in too much of a hurry because I was expecting our immigration approval to take several weeks - even though I was praying for a miracle turn-around time. On Friday, I clearly heard God telling me, "Melanie... trust me enough to ask for those employment verification letters TODAY. You won't have to re-do them again."  Well.. I got busy at work and didn't follow up. So, when Saturday's email came - I was really kicking myself. It was a perfect reminder that when you hear that voice, listen to what God is telling you!! He is all-powerful and amazing! And His plan for our adoption is perfect. I am in awe at His faithfulness.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, part 2

Well we did go 4-wheeling, and had a great time. Although I did get stuck pretty good. We went to Snake creek, we need to go back there again.

Next piece of good news is I was looking on craigslist and found a trailer that should work for the bobcat. I will go look at it today after church


Saturday, September 18, 2010


Today is Saturday, we plan to go 4-wheeling at Kellogg mn. I hope the rain stays away. This will be the second time we will go 4-wheeling this year. I think we work too much. 


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fingerprinting? Check!

I should have added one more "thanks" in yesterday's post. When Mark called to tell his employer that he would need another day off (after taking off the day before we started vacation for Todd's funeral) for our fingerprinting (on what would have been his first day back from vacation), they didn't give him a bit of grief - just said, "ok." So, I am thankful that he had no difficulty in getting the time off so that we could cross one more item off on our checklist.

We headed for St. Paul this morning. My sweet hubby agreed to lunch at a place I have been wanting to try for over a year - since I saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It was a little drive-in place serving Italian food. We ordered from our car and they brought our food out to us. Talk about yummy rigatoni and spaghetti sauce! 

Then, headed to the application service center to get our fingerprinting done. Walked up to the counter, gave the gal our appointment letters explaining that we were there 2 weeks early. She said, "Yes, I was expecting you today. I've got your paperwork right here." So nice and welcoming! It was totally unexpected. We were done within about 20 minutes and on our way home.

Called USCIS as soon as we arrived and found out that our application has been assigned to a caseworker - YAY! She wasn't available, but I was able to leave a voicemail message for her. Now, to get those corrections done for our dossier.

And adoption stuff aside... it was awful nice to spend the day with Mark! Even though we just had a week together, I still was really happy to get that extra "us" time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Such good news and a HUGE thank you!

First of all, let me say that our vacation was wonderful! Thanks to Mark's sister Betsy for watching the "puppy" for us and to our neighbor Sandy for feeding the kitties while we were gone. Thanks to Mark's parents for allowing us to invade their space, being gracious hosts, keeping us well-fed, and giving Mark the chance to help out with the fishing tournament. We are looking forward to making the trip next year with at least one new family member. The weather was perfect (at least in my opinion, but I like it cool), it truly was a time of rest and relaxation - and oh, so hard to come back to the real world and stack of paperwork that was waiting for me at work this morning. But... there was incentive to come home. Wait... the HUGE thank-you is yet to come!

Our fingerprinting (biometrics) appointment was scheduled for Sept. 28. We had requested an appointment to plead our case for earlier fingerprinting - this was scheduled for tomorrow. Although we were hoping they would squeeze us in while we were there, we knew that there were no guarantees. As I shared last week, we had made some contacts hoping that our USCIS I-600A application might be expedited. Arrived home to find a message on our answering machine from Senator Amy Klobuchar's office saying that she would like to help. Faxed some information to her and Mark followed up with a phone call this morning. Early this afternoon, we received a phone call telling us that it would not be necessary to go to the "plead our case" appointment - we have been scheduled for biometrics (fingerprinting) TOMORROW! If I hadn't been working, we could have even went today!

Now, we will be asking for urgent approval so that we can get the last few items in our dossier apostilled - it would be great if we can have our dossier on it's way to Ukraine by the end of the month. We will ask for an appointment with the SDA in October.

So... THANK YOU to Senator Amy Klobuchar and her staff for taking the time and making the effort to assist with the expedition of our biometrics appointment. We are so thankful for your willingness to help us out!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vacation and Control

It's so nice being on vacation! We've caught some walleye to bring home, relaxed, and been able to just unwind. Spending time with Mark's mom and dad is precious as well. Haven't taken any pictures - not a big deal since I wouldn't be able to upload them here anyway.

I'm trying hard to let go and remember that I am not in control. At the same time, our journey is also weighing on my mind. I'm wondering if our fingerprinting appointment is sitting in the mailbox at home. We've sent some emails to individuals who might be able to help get our I-600A application expedited. And truly, there probably is not much more I could be doing if I was in the states. But... my need to be in control and "know" what's going on is making it difficult.

I am reminding myself that God gave us this time away for a reason. And I'm pretty sure that it was not for me to spend it worrying and stressing. So, I will distract myself with other things (or at least attempt to) and be thankful for the beauty that surrounds me. It truly is gorgeous here and even though the weather is chilly, I love cuddling up in a cozy sweatshirt and watching nature. Life will catch up with us soon enough.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A little break

Looking forward to some much needed R&R - some time with my hubby - all the good stuff that our annual trip north brings!!  We're headed to Canada to spend a week at Mark's parents' place... relaxation, books, naps - here I come!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What if? God's response

Let me start out by saying that I am tired so this post doesn't flow quite as smoothly as I would like it to. But, it seems important to get this done tonight so here goes.

One of the blogs I follow is written by Lorraine. For those of you who have followed my blog for a little while, Lorraine is Chrissy’s mom. Chrissy is the precious angel who fought long and hard to recover from heart surgery, but is now bossing her heart in heaven. Anyway… Lorraine’s blog today really struck a note with me and I feel compelled to share here with you.

Maybe you are considering adoption, but there are barriers holding you back. Maybe you have never thought about adoption. Maybe you have thought about it, but decided it’s not for you – for whatever reason.

But, for each of those arguments – God has a response.

My(Your) Argument – I’m too ______________ (fill in the blank; rich, poor, fat, skinny, old, young, single, divorced, set in my ways, etc - whatever it may be).
Response – What if God decided that whatever your ______ (blank) was should be reason not to call you His child any longer? What if His love for us was based on how perfect we are?

My (Your) argument – My house is too big, too small, etc. ( whatever the “issue” with your house is).
Response – Jesus said, In my Father’s house, there are many rooms. I go there to prepare a place for you. What if He had said, “Sorry… my house doesn’t have enough room for you?”

My (Your) Argument – I’d love to adopt, but I want a child who is __________ (fill in the blank; white, black, purple, green, boy, girl, perfectly healthy, smart, beautiful, etc)
Response – What if God said, “I’d love to call you my child, but you aren’t _______(your blank) enough for me to claim you as my own.

My (Your) Argument – I can’t afford to adopt.
Response – What if God said, “The price is too high, I can’t send my ONLY Son to die for your sins?”

I could go on and on with arguments and responses. I’m not proud to say that I have made many of those arguments myself. Mark and I are not going to be young parents. We’re overweight, we don’t have a big house. Although the lifestyle we live now is comfortable, we aren’t rich by any means. Adopting means cutting back on things that I really enjoy. It’s not going to be easy. I am selfish. I’m not going to be a “beautiful” mom – my child will probably be embarrassed by me. I am conservative, somewhat old fashioned. I have issues, I’m insecure and unsure of myself at times. I like to be in control, there are times when I am not very tolerant. I am so far from being the person that I want to be.

And yet in spite of all the human shortcomings and failings, God loves me and claims me as His child. He cared enough to send His only Son to die for me to have eternal life. If we claim Him as our Father, can we really justify all of those arguments that I listed above and the endless list of other arguments that come to mind? Somehow, they seem a little hollow when I consider how I would react if God repeated those arguments to me. I am SO grateful that He doesn’t.

So… are your adoption related arguments really valid? I challenge you to ask yourself that question. Perhaps you can make a difference in the life of a child by saying “What IF I choose adoption to claim a precious son or daughter as my own, just the way God claims me as His?”