Thursday, September 30, 2010


Today we were submitted to the SDA!!! I am in shock! Extremely excited and feeling a bit unprepared for what's next ... packing and travelling! We should hear back within a couple of weeks (probably sooner) about our SDA appointment, at which time we will book flights and fly to the country in order to have our appointment. Once there, the official referral is given for each child separately (so we will have three separate appointments) and we will be able to meet the children and begin the wait for our court hearing to make adoption legal.

Prayer is needed and appreciated. The Lord has done a great work, and continues to manifest himself in answered prayer all around us. From the USCIS approval time, keeping Matthew and Ivanna from being transferred, provision, etc. - the Lord has continually tapped us on the shoulder and sweetly reminded us that He is completely in control. May He always receive honor and glory through this adoption. We praise Him and thank Him for having opened our eyes and allowing us to carry a burden, and then allowing us to be apart in a small way. I am humbled.

We are not done yet. We have lots of work to do and this is where I would ask that you continue to pray for this journey. Provision, timing, travels, safety, health of everyone travelling, etc. This is probably going to be harder than compiling the dossier, or awaiting USCIS approval, or even fundraising. We will be separated from some of the children, and travelling to meet new children. I think what will be hardest for me, as a mom, will be leaving those other children behind.

Please continue to pray for Brian - that he would have a family willing to step out on faith and commit to his sweet little self. Also, a family has asked that we pray for little Berkeley on the Reece's Rainbow site. She has been transferred to an institution. Heartbreaking, and yet - there is still hope. I will leave you with Berkeley's sweet smile. Please consider praying for her and Brian.

Berkeley is located on Reece's Rainbow and is in the "Older Child" section (over six).

Here is the link to that page:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Buddy Walk Bling

My friend, Malissa Farmer has made these ADORABLE korker bows with Down syndrome awareness colors (yellow and blue). These are so cute in little pigtails. Whenever my girls wear any of these, we usually get stopped and the girls bask in compliments. Malissa makes all different color combinations and will make them to satisfy any order you may want to have. She has also done some in the Reece's Rainbow colors and they are very cute. These particular bows are special. Any of the Ds awareness bows sold will benefit our adoption of Matthew and Ivanna. All proceeds will be deposited into our family sponsorship grant. The cost is $10/set and this includes shipping. These bows are made on french clips, but if requested - they can also be made on alligator clips. To order: simply email Malissa at ~
These are PERFECT for the upcoming Buddy Walks!
~ A special thank you to Malissa for her donated talents ~

Thursday, September 23, 2010

While We Wait

There was a recent post on the Reece's Rainbow blog that was quite blunt, and very impactful. It isn't long, just short and to the point. I have provided the link below for you to click on.

Please click here ~

Also ~ I will be continually posting every now and again about Brian. I appreciate your help in either linking his information to your Facebook, or blog. He is a little boy with a growing grant that desperately needs a family. Every child does really, but this particular little one has captured my heart - and doesn't want to let go. I love him, and pray for him daily. I hope you will too.
Perhaps you could perhaps give up a latte and put just a small amount into his grant. Trust me, every little bit helps. There is no amount too small, or insignificant. Plus, it's tax deductible. I know ... I just know, that if we can continue to help his grant grow - this will help his family (whoever they are) commit to him. He needs a family soon, due to his age. His birthday is in November and he will be five.

So please, help Brian either by praying, donating, or re-posting his information.
Thank you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Benefit Boil Pictures

The Celebration in honor of Matthew and Ivanna was a wonderful time of fellowshipping with friends and family and sharing our burden to adopt. We all were able to have a delicious low country seafood boil in a stunning location. (thanks to family: Kris and Donna McGaughey) We also had many friends donate time, talent and money to help us in this endeavor that was widely blessed of God. At the end of the evening it was figured to have brought in nearly $8,000.00!!!!!
We had a wonderful time, and think that everyone who attended (104 adults alone!) had a great time as well.
Again ~ thank you to all those who helped in this very special event! It was a huge blessing and we will NEVER forget this day!
The following are some pictures of the day. Thank you to Garth Henson for taking these and helping us to capture sweet memories.
My son, Justus is ready for the festivities.

Reece's Rainbow brochures next to hair pretties we made for fundraising.

Reece's Rainbow cookies made by Donna and Deb.
Soooo cute, and they were yummy!

Some of the folks who cam and celebrated Matthew and Ivanna with us.

Phillip sharing our burden for adoption.

A young man from our local boyscout troop serving up crab!

Kris, the "master chef" pulling a boil off the fire.

A boil hot and ready to be "dumped".

Bring on the boil!

Donna McGaughey pictured. She is my sister n law. She and her husband own the boathouse and allowed us to have the event. What a blessing! Thank you!

Yummy dessert provided by my dear friend, Amanda Savage!

My sweet hubby finally gets some crab!

Chloe, my youngest daughter. She is munching on a Reece's Rainbow pretzel stick! YUM!

My sister n law; Becky. She is proudly wearing all of her medals from Special Olympics.

Kristin, a lady that happens to have Ds, playing the piano. It made many tear up. Beautiful.

Lot's of friends and family gathered and had a great time!

"Ivanna's Bouquet" ~ flower hair pretties to help fundraise for the adoption.

"Ivanna's Bouquet" brought in nearly $300 at the boil.

My sweet Ethan playing his heart out.

Gabriel... so focused in his playing.

My son, Isaac, playing piano - wearing his boyscouts garb.

A young musician who donated his talent and time. Beautiful music!

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Made It

Our Dossier has made it! It was delivered today, two days ahead of schedule AND on my birthday! A great birthday gift indeed! Now ~ the countdown begins. The next steps are: translation, submission to SDA, and a travel date given. Can you believe it? We are nearly there! Please keep praying that things will go smoothly. That our region will even perhaps waive the ten day waiting period, and that God will continually be glorified throughout this journey.
*Also, please pray for an upcoming vote happening tomorrow in this country. Matthew and Ivanna's country are voting on a proposal of closing down to international adoption. If this happens, then all international adoptions could be stopped in their tracks, and children would lose out on being adopted ~ and would forever be without the love of a family. I ask that you pray this does not happen. Thank you!*

Thursday, September 16, 2010

En Route

Our dossier is officially "en route" today. I sat in our living room this morning and arranged all of the pieces of paper into the order needed. I looked down and decided it was a good idea to pray over it. I started to pray that it would travel quickly and get to it's destination, then I started to pray for Matthew and Ivanna, and then ... I wept. Just a time of purely praising our Lord for all He has done thus far, and envisioning how it will all be when we finally see Matthew and Ivanna. Praising my Saviour for how He has led us down this path, and how He continually provides. Another reminder of that was in the FedEx office. I walked in and overheard the Christian music as I sat the package down on the counter. I smiled. The sweet lady came to the counter and smiled brilliantly. I told her what I was doing, and where it had to go. She clasped her hands and tears came to her eyes. As I filled out the forms, she went to her terminal to see how much it was going to be, it was about $120 - but wait, she then decided to give me a discount, and $97.00 will get it to it's destination by Wednesday! Wow! She related to me a recent testimony of a loved one's salvation testimony, and I was reminded of how good our God is. He is working amongst us in so many ways.
So, now ~ we wait to hear from Eastern Europe. The next step is to be submitted to the SDA for approval. This happens on Thursdays. After SDA approval we then get a travel date. So very exciting.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dossier Update

On Saturday we had gone in to our local credit union to finish notarizing our dossier. We hoped to get this done for approval by our stateside team so we could then apostille on Monday (today). We hit a few roadblocks; so we decided to try again Monday morning and then head straight to the capitol for apostille.

We were successful at the credit union and piled all six kids into the suburban for our trip southward. When we first arrived, we had gone to the wrong building - and were re-directed and found the correct location. The kind gentleman behind the counter looked through our documents and then let us know that everything looked good, except ...

Wait. I immediately thought, "AHHHHHHH!!! NO ~ NO EXCEPTS..... "

... except ... one document (done that morning) didn't have stamp on it. Yup, the notary forgot to put her stamp down. She was so kind to listen to me ramble on about the adoption, family and such - I probably distracted her. I didn't catch it, and here we were an hour and a half away from home. Phillip ran out to the car to grab my trusty red folder to see, if just maybe there was an extra blank copy of that document in there. Guess what? There was! Praise the Lord! So, someone else there notarized it (for free) and we were back in business. $300.00 later and 20 gold labeled documents done, we started to ready the kids to leave. That's when I thought I better get a receipt for the older documents I had mailed in for apostilling. I thought they could just look that up and print it out. They looked, but no history of them apostilling. Then they looked at those documents. Lo and behold, these older documents had been done at the Dpt. of Licensing, AND had a totally different seal, signature, and title.


Ok. No problem, they can re-do the documents so the whole apostille matches. *sigh* This was great news, but as the woman was re-doing our documents I sat and wrote out another nearly $200.00 check. *sigh* She comes over and hands us our prettily sealed paperwork and says to not worry about paying. She says it was their fault for mis-directing me when I had called them originally and asked how to apostille documents. Hmmmm ... was I really in a government office?!? ANOTHER ~ PRAISE THE LORD!

So, now the dossier is ..... (cue the music) ..... DONE! I am just awaiting word from our team to see if we can mail this thing out! WOW ~ I CAN NOT BELIEVE WE ARE GETTING READY TO MAIL OFF THE DOSSIER! So excited. So thankful. Thank you for the prayer.

I truly believe the hand of God was upon us today for so many "near misses" to have been taken care of. Praising His name ... for He is worthy ...

Friday, September 10, 2010

I-171H Received

I almost didn't believe it at first. Today, while opening the mail, I came to the envelope I had been expecting since last Friday's email stating our I-600A approval. I hurriedly opened it, all the while praying (not sure why since I already received approval notification). Out came a measly little plain white piece of paper. Yes, it stated it was from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - but it was so ... unofficial looking. Not that I care what it looks like, but it did make me panic thinking for a minute that maybe I had imagined that we were approved and somehow we really hadn't been. I flipped the paper over and looked EVERYWHERE for the label: I-171H ... finally I found it. It was in a tiny font at the very bottom right hand corner of the page. WHEW! This little plain piece of paper is what the U.S. considers our golden ticket to adoption. I am praising the Lord for it and am so very thankful for such a quick approval process. We will be busy at the notary tomorrow and then off we go on Monday to our capital for apostilling. If all goes well, we should be mailing our dossier out of country on Tuesday! Once the dossier is received, it then has to be translated. Our team in Eastern Europe will translate and ready our dossier for submission to the SDA (court system) for approval. Once the SDA makes a decision of approval, a travel date is given. Right now, people who submitted a couple of weeks ago are receiving travel dates for October. It is a very real possibility that we could be travelling in early November! That is amazing to think about. Please continue to pray for a smooth process and for the country to remain open to adoption.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Family of Eleven

Yes, that would make me a mother to NINE children! Wow! So, I can imagine that you are counting out the children right now in your mind trying to make sense of it - LOL. Yes, we are hopeful to bring home not just Matthew and Ivanna, but another child. Who? Not sure. We are trusting Christ to reveal that to us while we are in country. We are doing what is called a blind referral. We won't know age, gender, size or type of special need until we sit before the court and are handed different files to choose from. We then can look through and make a decision based on the information available. This has been a decision that has been BATHED in prayer. We have gone back and forth on who this child should be, not an easy decision to make. That is when we decided to put it in the control of our Lord. He knows best, and we are open to WHATEVER NEED and WHOMEVER is chosen for us. It is exciting, nerve racking, and like flying by the seat of my pants. I don't know what to pack or who to prepare for. At least with Matthew and Ivanna I know their age (sort of) their special need requirements (kind of) and their gender (most definitely). I covet your prayer for our family as we continue to prepare in all aspects.
I am dreaming of what the future holds ~ and am getting excited. God is good to direct our path, and although at times it seems a bit like your wandering or doing things in a roundabout sort of way, I am learning that there is even a purpose in that. Yesterday, I went to the 'about us' section of this blog and re-read it. In it we outlined three goals: to see Matthew and Ivanna to come home, to see other children committed to as a result of this journey, and ultimately to see God glorified in all we do. It was good to be reminded of these things, and I pray that this can be our focus continually.
It is wonderful to see how God is working in this journey.
~ I am thankful as He sees fit to turn our burdens to praise! ~

Friday, September 3, 2010


I awoke groggy this morning after being up with my sweet Justus through the night. I put the coffee on and walk to the computer. I go to check my email - and lo and behold I have a message from our USCIS officer ~ stating that he received our phone call and that he just approved us this morning! He thought I might want to know! I jumped up from my seat (yes, really jumped) and was shaking because I was so excited! So shocked! So amazed! Praising Jesus and thankful that God has it all under control. Why did I doubt?

We JUST turned our I-600A in a few weeks ago, in fact USCIS has a receipt date of August 18th for our application. They sent us a biometric appointment for September 21st, and as you know from my prior post - we were able to get those done on Monday. Yes ... you read that right, just this last Monday! I had called then and no officer had yet been assigned.

Meanwhile, I had sent letters to a few state representatives, and even to my senators - hoping that Ivanna's medical condition (ASD, heart condition) would prompt a medical expedite. I was hopeful that a formal inquiry from that level would quicken the slow process. Well, Senator Patty Murray rang the bell. She went above and beyond and helped us get this application approved in a very quick turn around time. We appreciate her working on our behalf. We don't necessarily see eye to eye politically speaking ~ but we are so very grateful for her help and quite pleased to see a government official actually working on behalf of their constituents.

Start to finish - Just over 2 weeks. Yup. That is what it took from USCIS receiving our application to approved! THAT is amazing since some applications are taking 3 months to approve - and is a reflection of the power of prayer and of the hand of God. Thank you to all who prayed. I am forever grateful to you.

Thank you Jesus for guiding, directing, and helping us along.
Oh ... and I am no longer groggy. Pretty much wide awake now.

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