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Friday, April 29, 2011

Ahhh... the roller coaster!

I told myself that I would be able to handle it better this time. I am pretty good at offering reassurances and encouragement to others. But, taking my own advice? Not so much!!
Was thrilled this morning to find out that our dossier was delivered. That means we should be submitted next week, right? Well, our "Request for Information" letter was part of an earlier package that Fed Ex lost. We sent a new copy with our dossier just in case. So... Fed Ex found the lost package and it also arrived today. Which is good. But, we found out that the request letter has to be submitted and processed before our dossier can be submitted. This processing can take up to a week. It's possible that we won't be submitted next week. And each delay puts us at greater risk of running into the anticipated "shut down." UGH!
It's scary... and yet that poses the question. Are the things I tell others just words or do I really believe it when I say that this isn't a surprise to God and He is in control - not me?

It's Not About Us

It's about the life of a child! When Mark and I began the process to adopt, we wanted to be parents. We hoped that would happen for us. We wanted to raise a child, nurture, love that child. Help him or her grow to be responsible, productive members of society. Someone who cares about others, who looks beyond themselves.
So, now we are parents - we've achieved that goal, fulfilled that dream. We have a beautiful daughter who we will raise, nurture, love - help her to reach her full potential. We knew that parenthood would not always be easy and we entered the ranks of fellow parents recognizing that some days would be easier than others. That we would get less sleep, have less money, more mess, more stress, get attitude (oh, yes... Miss Maia has got some attitude - lol!), and that our lives would forever be changed.
We didn't anticipate that Mark would lose his job after we returned home with Maia. But, it is a gift that he is able to be a full time dad to our daughter - and not miss out on those moments that wouldn't have been possible if he was still driving truck. We had hoped to get Maia's adoption expenses paid off quickly (not going to happen). She is just starting to learn what it's like to be part of a family, we are starting to notice that she is feeling more secure, she is thriving because she has love and attention that she has never known before.
Adopting another child is certain to increase the sleep deprivation, cause us to tighten our finanacial belts even more, make our house messier, and "smaller," and create additional stress for Maia. We will have another child who has never known what is like to be part of a family and we will all have to adjust.
And in spite of this, we have made an intentional choice to embark on this adoption journey again. Why? Because on the other side of the world, there is a child that captured my heart. A child whose life is at risk. If he is not adopted, he will be transferred to a place where he will receive minimal care. He will not know what it is like to have a family that loves him, he won't have kisses and hugs, he won't go to school or have the opportunity to learn. He won't have opportunity. He will exist until he doesn't exist any more. His life will be lost.
And it is within our power to do something about it. God has chosen Matthew to be our son and He expects us to be faithful to that calling. We recognize that the road ahead will be challenging, but we trust that God has placed us on this journey for His purpose - not ours!
So... it is NOT about us! It is about the life of our son. When I think about the ultimate sacrifice that God made - His son's life for my sins... well, somehow the sacrifices I may have to make in my "cozy" life seem pretty minimal. Especially when I think about the little boy who is waiting on the other side of the world, perhaps dreaming of a new life and a family of his own. A little boy who has seen other children leave with their new parents and wonders if his time will ever come. Soon, sweet boy, soon - it will be about you and your new life!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Passports and something cool

After we arrived home with Maia, we had to send her Ukrainian passport to the Ukraine Embassy in Chicago for processing. I mailed it at the end of February. We've been hearing horror stories about it taking up to 6 months to be returned - ugh!
About 10 days ago, we applied for for a US passport for Maia. We requested that the application be expedited.
Both passports arrived in today's mail  - what's the likelihood?

So... here's my "something cool." For those of you who followed our first journey, you may remember that we met some great families when we were in Kiev. On our second night there, we had dinner with Jeff Hanon and his daughters as well as Pat and Jill Birschbaugh. All of us were on our way to meet our kiddos for the first time. We were able to meet up with Jill and her friend Debbie in Kiev again on our way home. Jill, Jeff's wife Debbie (different Debbie than Jill's friend), and I have kept up with each other via our blogs. It is so fun seeing how their boys are just thriving in their new homes! Well, what is really exciting is that the Hanons and the Birschbaughs are also traveling back to bring home more precious angels! It is possible that we may be in Kiev at the same time as the Birschbaughs again. I'd also been hoping that we would be able to meet up with Jeff, but that seems less likely. AND there was a family who was about a month ahead of us in the journey who adopted their little boy from Maia's orphanage. They stayed in the same apartment that we did and were a huge help for us as we prepared for our trip. Well, this family is also going back for a little girl and we may be traveling at the same time as they are. I just LOVE how God is working!

Our dossier is in Kiev, but for some reason the "shipment is on hold." If it hasn't been delivered by the time we wake up (they are 8 hours ahead), we will call to find out what the problem is. So, we anticipate being submitted next week. Right now, it's looking like about 5-6 weeks from the time of submission to the appointment date. This would put us into June. The pending closure is in the back of our minds, of course. But... I remind myself this is in God's hands. We had similar stresses last year. Just like then, we can't back away from this because of the uncertainty. We have to proceed with each step until there is no longer hope. And I believe that God wants our sweet boy to be home with his forever family as much as we do!! I trust in an all powerful God!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We've got a button and...

Check out our new button to the right!!  Please consider grabbing this and adding it to your blog.  Thanks!

And I just checked... our dossier is in Germany!

On it's way!!

Realized I didn't post about this last night... Maia's baptism pictures deserve a day all to themselves! But, thought you might like to know that our dossier left my hands yesterday afternoon. As of 7:20am this morning, it was leaving Cincinatti, OH. Not sure the path it travels but if all goes as planned, it should be in Ukraine by the end of the day tomorrow. Submission to the SDA tomorrow is probably not going to happen, but we are anticipating submission next Thursday May 5 (they only accept submissions on Thursdays). And hopefully we will be traveling by the end of the month. I remembered a slight sense of anxiety when I put our dossier for Maia in the mail. It wasn't any different this time, just praying for angel's wings to carry it and Godspeed in it's journey.
We've got a lot of money to raise in a short period of time. There is a planning meeting at our church tonight for the fundraiser that they have generously offered to host. This is scheduled for May 15 and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to share our story once again. God has been so good to us in this journey to grow our family!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maia's baptism

Here are a few pictures from Maia's baptism. Thanks to all of our friends and family who shared in this special day with us and especially to Maia's sponsors, my friend Dolores and Mark's friend Brad! And on a humorous note... our pastor said that they used up all of the A's to spell Maia's name. :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Home Study Finalized!

We're driving to St. Paul tomorrow morning to pick it up. Next, we'll take all dossier documents to the Secretary of State's office for apostilling. Then, off to the nearest DHL location to send our dossier to Kiev!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

We went to the sunrise service at 7:30 and then stayed for a nice egg bake breakfast.
Melanie looked at her rhubarb when we got home and said it looks good. For me that means lots of strawberry rhubarb crisp, mmmmmmmm. Later we will go to Albert Lea for Easter with Melanie's family.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday and the long awaited update

I know... we are so behind in posting. It has been a whirlwind week! Last Wednesday, we received an email from our agency letting us know that the Ukraine will be temporarily closing for adoption processing beginning June 12. This is to make the transition from the SDA handing adoptions to the Ministry of Social Affairs assuming responsibility for this. It is unknown how long the shutdown will last. Our little guy turns 4 shortly before the shutdown.  If we are not close to travelling, we have two reasons for concern. First, there is the risk that he could be transferred to an institution - making his adoption more difficult. Second, there is the risk that he could be taken into foster care - making it impossible to adopt him - yes, truly impossible. We were asked if we still wanted to proceed and if there was any chance that we could have our dossier ready to go this week. As soon as I managed to catch my breath, I immediately responded that of course we wanted to proceed and that we would do everything in our power to get our dossier ready.
That started a whole lot of busy-ness! Fortunately, Mark had already completed his physical. Mine was scheduled for May 17 so I contacted my doctor who was kind enough to see me the next day. Our home study update visit was already scheduled for this Monday so I emailed our agency to let them know that our situation had become even more urgent. Immediately started gathering the necessary dossier documents. God knew what He was doing when Mark lost his job because we would not have been able to accomplish all of this if we were both working - it just would not have been possible.
Anway... so then Friday, I had to put my sweet kitty to sleep. That was a hard end to the week. She's been with me since she was a baby.
Betsy, Tim, Gavin, and John arrived Friday evening so we had a house full of company. Saturday, the guys went to ATV training for Gavin and John. Maia and I had a pretty quiet day. Saturday evening, we went to an adoption fundraiser for a couple who is adopting their son from Ukraine.
Sunday was Maia's baptism. We decided to have a private ceremony following our church service since she is a little older. It really was a beautiful event! I'll try to post pictures soon. About 20 friends/family attended and we had a nice lunch at one of the local restaurants. Then, some people came back to our place to visit for a while.
Monday, back to work and then our home study visit in the afternoon. That went well. On Tuesday, Mark and I headed to the cities to get our police clearance letters done. One more item to cross off our dossier list. Work yesterday and today, along with multiple revisions of my employment and medical clearance letters. I will be picking up the last piece of paper tomorrow morning.
And now, we wait for our home study. Unfortunately, it is not going to be on it's way to Ukraine this week. Mark talked with the agency (different than our adoption agency) and it will be early next week before it is ready. I'm frustrated. It is out of my control, but I feel like we are somehow failing our little guy. I want to get on that plane now! I have to remind myself that none of this is a surprise to God. He knows the outcome and getting myself all upset is not going to help matters. I think I probably need to go back and read some of my posts from Maia's adoption. Ahhh... the roller coaster ride.

There is still much to be thankful for.
- If all goes well, we may have Matthew home within a couple of months. Please pray that our dossier will be submitted in time for us to travel to bring him home before the government shut-down.
- Our church family is going to host an adoption fundraiser dinner and silent auction for us! This support is such an encouragement to us as we step out in faith that God will provide the means to bring Matthew home. Several friends have already committed items for our silent auction and I am so thankful for them!
- My doctor who was willing to squeeze me into his busy schedule at a moment's notice and repeat the paperwork several times to ensure it is exactly the way it needs to be for our dossier.
- My supervisor who did not give me any grief when I told her that I would probably be needing this second parental leave within 6 months of the first. Our staffing right now is VERY tight and my co-workers have to cover for me in addition to doing their own work while I am away. When I told them, everyone was encouraging.
- About A Child and our facilitator Olga who are doing everything in their power to "make it happen."
- Our Family Sponsorship Page which is up and running on Reece's Rainbow. It means a great deal that Andrea, Shelly, Michelle, and the rest of the team allowed us this opportunity.
- And thank you to everyone who has donated to our FSP.
- Oh... I almost forgot a HUGE thing to be thankful for. Last month, I posted about an adoption grant that we were able to apply for even though the deadline was officially past. On Friday evening, we received a call that we have been chosen as one of the Bella Adoption Grant recipients!!! They will be allocating $1500 towards Matthew's adoption fees! Thank you to Becky for telling us about the grant and thank you to Kris at Bella Adoption!!
- Maia and Mark are at the top of my list, too!
- And most importantly, Easter is almost here and I am thankful for the promise of eternal life that comes with that day!

I do have one prayer request - please pray that our home study will be completed ASAP and that our dossier will make it to Ukraine (and be submitted) so that we can bring Matthew home before the shutdown.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


we have been working very hard to get things done to go get Dima (we are calling him Mathew). with that said the blog has not been updated as often as it should be. Continue coming back to see us, we will get things up to date soon.

I would like to say thank you to the people who have donated to us getting Mathew so far. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Our FSP is up and running!!

You may notice a new "button" to the right - we are privileged to have a Family Sponsorship Page through Reece's Rainbow! We will soon have another "button" that can be added to your blog, FB, etc. I'll keep you posted about that.
There is so much to share, but it will have to wait a little while. We've been very busy. Maia's baptism was today and I'll post pics soon. The next couple of days are going to be crazy, but check back  - I'll be sharing exciting news in the next couple of days!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Farewell faithful friend

Yesterday, I had to say good-bye to  my sweet "baby kitten." Meechie was 17 years old. She has "owned me" since she was about 10 weeks old. It was so hard, but I knew it was time. She was suffering. When I took her out of her carrier at the vet's office, she just laid down, put her head on my hand, and purred. She knew... I held her as she took her last breath and thanked for the many years we shared. I will  miss her.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Post-Op Update, Testing, and Fundraising

Surgery was a week ago tomorrow. Maia has really done well. We've noticed a significant improvement in her eyes. The convergent squint is barely noticeable now and she seems to be using both eyes simultaneously although we don't know for sure. Maia had a follow up appointment with the eye doctor today. He was thrilled with her progress! It will take a couple months before we know how successful the surgery was, but she doesn't need to be seen before then unless there are problems. No need for patching or any mention of further surgery or glasses right now so that is great news!

This afternoon, Maia had part one of testing for Early Childhood Intervention. It was the cognitive part of the testing. We won't know results until all three parts are completed. Part two is next week and part three the following week. On one hand, I would love it if she was testing at or above her age level. However, I also really feel she will benefit from some services that the school might be able to offer her. So... it's hard to know what to pray for. I guess we will just pray that the right assessment and recommendations be made to help Maia reach her full potential.

When I posted about Matthew, I mentioned that we planned to do some fundraising. I don't know if anyone can provide any feedback about your experiences with this, but I am really struggling with the idea. It makes me feel very vulnerable... I am used to being a person who helps others out and I don't like asking others for help - especially money. And right now, lots of people are feeling stressed about finances. So, I'm not sure what to do. UGH!

Anyway, thank you for your prayers and support for Maia's surgery and recovery! She's doing great!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fun Saturday and prayer request

I've probably shared this before... I love bargain shopping! This morning, I met my mom at my favorite consignment store - they were having a bag sale with proceeds going towards breast cancer research. All the clothes you can stuff in a bag for $20. My kind of deal!!  So... how did I do?  Here's the list:
  • 3 pairs of pants (one Liz Claiborne)
  • 1 pair bib overalls
  • 1 pair Tommy Hilfiger capris
  • 2 sweaters (one Halloween)
  • 1 turtleneck
  • 1 denim hoodie type top
  • 3 jackets
  • 1 skirt
With this sale, you don't have the ability to try things on so you have to take a chance on fit. EVERYTHING I bought fit perfectly! $1.58/item - LOVE IT!!
Then, mom and I had lunch and visited. My sweet hubby watched Maia while I was gone which was very nice!

This evening, we went out for dinner with a couple who is adopting a little boy from Ukraine. It was fun to visit with them and hear their story. They had been working with the same domestic adoption agency that we had used, but met their son through a hosting program and knew they needed to bring him home. We met at our favorite restaurant - Famous Dave's. Maia is becoming quite familiar with it - lol! She started pointing to the building as soon as we turned the corner onto the street it is located. And as soon as she heard the music playing as we walked in, she started "dancing." Maia really did great while we visited (I think it helped that she had a good nap this afternoon), she was patient for about 2 hours!

I do have one prayer request this evening. If you have followed our blog since we began the process to bring Maia home, you will know what a roller coaster ride it is to adopt - especially from Ukraine. The process is very uncertain and things can change at a moment's notice. Tonight, we found out that the Ukraine president has signed a bill which switches authority for processing dossiers from the SDA to the Ministry of Social Affairs. We have no idea what this means. There is the potential that they will temporarily suspend acceptance and processing of dossiers while making this transition. We are a little ways from being ready to submit our dossier again, but please pray that the change will be seamless and that it will have no impact on our adoption or any others that are currently in process.
I'm less stressed (so far) than I was last year when we experienced similar circumstances. I think because we've already lived this once. I trust that God is in control and He knows the outcome. He wants our little boy to be home as soon as possible and His timing is perfect. Now, having said that - I'm feeling very antsy today! I want to be in Ukraine right now, holding Matthew and loving on him - reassuring him that he now has a forever family! Soon sweet boy, soon!

Friday, April 8, 2011

God's Provision

God cares about even the smallest details of our lives - the things that we often think are too minute to "bother" Him with. He knows about them and wants to hear about them from us. Sometimes, He gives us a reminder that we SHOULD be bringing those things to Him so that He can answer our prayers.

Case in point... Maia's baptism is coming up. I've been wondering what she should wear. She received an absolutely BEAUTIFUL dress at one of her showers, but I really wanted that for Easter. Plus, it's got some  bright, vibrant colors and I wanted something a little more subdued. She has some other very pretty dresses as well - believe me, this girl is well provided for in the clothes department. And I have bought probably less than 5 outfits for her. Friends have blessed Maia with adorable hand me downs and new outfits, too. Anway back to my point (lol), even with her overflowing closet - there was nothing that fit the occasion of her baptism. Yesterday, my patient husband waited while I searched a couple of stores to find "the" dress. I didn't want to pay full price for a dress that she would most likely wear only once so I checked out the Goodwill and a nice children's consignment store. No luck.

I decided I would probably have to break down and buy one of the dresses I had seen at a retail store, but I was really hoping that God would provide something for Maia. I hadn't really prayed about it because it just seemed trivial. But God knew...

I arrived at work this morning to find a big bag of clothes with a note "For Melanie's daughter." I looked inside and guess what??  There was a lavendar dress that will fit the occasion perfectly!!

Yep - I have a God who cares about ALL the details of our lives and wants to bless us!! Thank you to the person who blessed Maia this way (still have to find out who this is) and thanks to God for meeting not only my needs, but sometimes my wants as well!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Just a note to all of you thinking and wondering about Mathew. Because we choose not to have a private blog (by invite only) we can't post his picture. But I have had my physical this morning. It is required for an adoption. Melanie still needs hers.

Now for thankful Thursday. Maia is doing great. We have a little red hairy ball that makes noise and vibrates when you bang on it or through it. Maia is having a ball with it. She is not her normal self, but she is doing well.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Today Maia had her eye surgery to correct an eye problem. She had 4 muscles adjusted (2 on each eye). Her eyes are red and puffy. I will let Melanie tell the rest of the story, she is better at it than I am.

Hi, everyone - it's been a long day, but all is good. Maia really did awesome. We arrived at the hospital at 8:15am and headed to the pre-op area. Got admitted and waited. Maia was very tolerant for a while. Unfortunately, things didn't move quickly and our girl was getting quite hungry and tired of staying in the same area. We finally got called back to the pre-anesthesia care area at about 11:30am. She got an oral medication to make her drowsy and I have to say that she was pretty darn funny!! The staff took a picture of her in her cute pjs and scrub cap - she looks very "loopy" - lol! The anesthesiologist took her to the OR at noon and they started the procedure at 12:30pm. It took about 90 minutes and we were finally called back to the recovery area around 2:30pm. I have to say, it was hard to see my sweet girl with her face so puffy and bloody tears coming out of her eyes. It took Maia quite a while to wake up - she was very content sleeping on the cart. Her nurse Ben was wonderful! Finally Maia opened her eyes,  looked at me and said "Hi (one of her new favorite English words)." That was a happy moment!! We left the hospital at about 4:45pm. No nausea, vomiting. Her eyes are bothering her and she is rubbing them - but overall - she's doing great! She was seeing well enough that she recognized me from a distance of probably about 100 feet when I walked out of the store after picking up some medicine for her.  Maia had a little bit of dinner, snuggled up with momma, daddy, and the cat - then played for a few minutes before heading to bed.

Thank you for all of your prayers - we know that they have been heard! It will take a while before we know how successful the surgery was. Will go back for a follow up appointment next Tuesday.

And now... I need to head for bed. I am absolutely wiped out.


Maia is doing well, she is resting and we hope to go home in the next few hours



It is noon and Maia is just going in for surgery. It could be up to 2 hours.  Check back in about 4 hours and we will try to have a post again to let you know how she is doing


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Maia update

Maia had an appointment at the Spina Bifida Clinic yesterday. I had to work so Mark took her. They met with the physical therapist, occupational therapist, social worker, and doctor. All indicated that Maia is doing very well.
At her visit in January, there was some discussion about whether to brace her ankles because they roll inward. Unfortunately, they haven't improved since January. But, they haven't worsened either. So for now... we are going to just monitor things. The concern with applying braces is that it may make her ankles actually weaker since they don't have to work as hard at maintaining alignment. She is not having any difficulties with walking itself (other than her balance and weakness with steps) so I am not in a huge hurry to put the braces on. No formal physical therapy was recommended right now. From the occupational therapist, we need to work a little more agressively on teaching Maia to dress and undress herself. She is able to undress her bottom half, although she would much prefer to have this done for her. Taking the tops off is a little more difficult. And we've got quite a ways to go on getting dressed. But, it will come with time.
The social worker was impressed with Maia's adjustment so far and the physician had no concerns, but was able to give us some suggestions for the constipation issue so hoping this will help. Routine follow up in 3-6 months! 

Tomorrow is Maia's eye surgery. Report time is 8:15am. I am hoping we will be home by early afternoon. If I remember correctly, the surgery will take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Please pray for wisdom on the part of the surgeon, that the staff caring for Maia will have compassion and understanding for our girl, and peace for Mark and me. I trust that the outcome is in God's control and it is not a major surgery. But, I still wish that Maia didn't have to go through this. Thanks in advance for all of your encouragement and support!

Will update you tomorrow.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


This Wednesday Maia will have surgery for her lazy eye. On Monday we will take her to the Spina bifida clinic for a check-up


Friday, April 1, 2011

Thank You

For your words of encouragement and support!  Veronica, your words echoed those that Mark had. If we had not committed to bringing Matthew home, he would have always wondered...

We do trust that God will provide for this adoption. We plan to set-up a Chip In site in case anyone would like to donate and are hoping that we will also be able to have a family sponsorship page on RR. Will keep you posted about that as things progress.

God has already spoken to our hearts about finances. On the morning after we made "the decision," we received an email from a couple at our church asking if there was a way to donate money directly to Matthew's adoption. They had no idea that we were considering adopting him ourselves. And this morning, Mark got a call from Becky (our previous social worker with Catholic Charities). She wanted to share information about an adoption grant that might be available to us. The deadline for application was March 15, but if we could get the paperwork in today they would be willing to consider our application. Mark spent the day compiling all the necessary info and was able to submit it at around 4pm. Whew! Thanks to Nana who kept an eye on Maia so that Mark could get this accomplished! Please pray that we will find favor with the review committee. From what we understand, they will consider our application around April 15.

So.. we ARE trusting that God will be faithful and provide the finances to bring Matthew home soon!