Thursday, December 18, 2014


We got a referral!!  We can't believe it.  They told us it maybe quick and it was. We received the information on Tuesday the 16th. Today we told them we want them! We can't show you pictures yet but we can tell you about them.  They are currently in foster care not an orphanage. 

The oldest is 6 years old.  She has brown curly hair, just like me! She has blueish green eyes that are just beautiful.  She loves to sing.  She is very talkative, according to her foster Mom. She does have a issue and I was a little nervous at first. However, the nerves when away after the foster Mom sent us a video of her.  She is health and a extremely happy little girl. In the video she is playing some version of duck-duck-goose but with someone dressed as a bear. She is running and laughing. She has a huge smile on her face. This made us fall in love with her.  We are going to have to build a castle to keep her away from all the boys chasing her. 

The middle child is 5 years old. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He is very smart and sweet.  He hopes to be a tractor/truck driver when he grows up. We believe their foster home is on a farm.  He is going to be my Mommy's boy, I can already tell.

The youngest child is 4 years old.  He has very light brown hair and blue eyes.  The foster Mom said he does his choirs around the house but can be stubborn. When I told my father that he replied with "Pay Back!"  I might be in trouble with this one. He has this smile on his face that says "When this picture is over my horns are coming out."

We can't wait. We will have more information in the next few days!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting for the Match

All of our paperwork is in and approved.  In Latvia there are two ladies that match orphans up with families wanting to adopt.  They have had our paperwork for four days now. Every time the phone rings, I pick it up. Most of the calls are just telemarketers.

I have found some other couples that have adopted from Latvia. The information I am receiving is great!! Thank you all for the information.  Sounds like most but not all kids have had a hard time getting food when needed.  Jeff and I already decided we are going to do a food table where there is food out 100% of the time. We will have raisons or Cheerios out. Over time the kids will build up trust that they will always have food and that we will not let them starve.

While I was looking up information on orphans in Latvia I came across John Waller's newest song called "Orphan".  John is a Christian song writer that adopted a sibling set of two, one boy and one girl. The link below will take you to his song. The girl in the song is John's adopted daughter, she also sings at the end of the song.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

So Close

Latvia currently has all of our translated documents! The only thing they need is our I-800 approval letter.  We have been talking with our new case working and through a comedy of errors we are finally approved!!  She will be mailing out this one page I-800 either today or Friday.  I really hope it went out today.  Our agency has been asking us when we will have this.  Our agency believes that Latvia has a sibling set in mind and they just need that letter.  I am starting to get hopeful again. I am also starting to feel like wrapping up a bunch of open projects, right away....Jeff's "to do" list got a bit longer  :-)     

“Adopting any child is a walk into the unknown. It takes Faith.”- Unknown

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dossier almost there

We have almost everything for our Dossier.  In case you don't know what a Dossier is, it is a 8" paper pile that has our entire life in it.  The paperwork is what Latvia will review to see if we are a good match for their kids.  The feeling is simmilar to your first date.  What do I wear? Do I have food in my teeth? Hope they don't notice the pimple on my nose. If they like what they see then we receive a match for some kids!

We only need our I-171 form from USCIS and our Dossier is 100% complete.  In order to get this piece of paperwork from our government we have to submit money (of course), our home study, application form, and new biometrics.  These biometrics will take some time. We have to wait for an invitation to the FBI headquarters in downtown Cleveland.  We have done this before but this time USCIS wants us to start over again.  However Jeff talked to an officer and they will push it through using our old ones but we must get new ones done by November.  This will save us a couple of weeks!  

Our agency is allowing us to send all of our paperwork besides the I-171 to Latvia for translation.  It will take them some time to go through all 8" of paperwork.  So hopefully by the time we get the I-171 the rest of our paperwork will be finished being translation.  

Quote: "So far no morning sickness...but the papercuts are terrible!" - unknown

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Country Change

We are going to Latvia!!  It was not an easy decision to make but after a few weeks of evaluating pros and cons, we switched.  We did join an agency which is great to work with an experienced staff.  We are currently gathering up all the new paperwork needed for Latvia.  We only need our revised homestudy report and our BCI back and we can submit to the translators.  We have already been told of two sibling sets available. These kids are so adorable!! 
I put a map on this blog because, if you are like me, when I first hear of this country, you may not know where it is located.

Below are some fun facts about Latvia
1.The national flag is one of the oldest flags in the world. It dates back to the 13th century. The legend says, a Latvian leader was wounded in battle, and the edge of the white sheet in which he was wrapped was stained by his blood.  This sheet was carried into several battles afterwards, making it the flag we see today.   
     2. In terms of Environmental Performance index Latvia ranks second in the world
   3.   Arvids Blumentals was the original Crocodile Dundee. He was the inspiration for the movie.

     4.   The children are mostly blonde or brown hair and either blue or brown eyes.
     5. In 1924, the Laima’s watch tower was set up to help Latvians be on time for work.

   We should have another update soon. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 14th US Adoption Rule change

We are one day away from the July 14, the infamous rule change in the US.  Last Thursday we saw the USCIS rules for “the change”.  We were grandfather in under exception E.  However, it states that we cannot change or update government documents and our home study on or after July 14.  Well our home study per Ukrainian rules is set to expire around the end of August. We were also not sure how Ukraine would like our home study expiring while we are in country.  So what to do…

I called our home study case worker and begged her to update our home study this past Friday since this Monday is July 14.  She let me know she could not update the home study.  What a crushing blow.  I wanted to break down right then and there; however, I knew I had to figure something out.  All I needed was our signature page update of our home study, which could not get updated unless something in our home study could change. Home study’s go over your finances, living situation, and what you are looking for. So I started to think, what can I change in my life to get an updated home study? Well nothing has changed with our finances or living situation.  The only thing that could change was what we were looking for.  So I told her we decided to raise our age range from 0 – 6yrs to 0 – 7yrs old. That would work. She did it Friday so our date on our home study is 7-11-2014.  We are good for 6 more months from that date.  

Jeff happened to be in a plane while all of this took place. So I told him I changed our home study to say that we’d be willing to take 6 kids.  He freaked out but still loves me.  I did tell him in the end what I actually did, after he finished trying to see how we could afford 6 kids.    

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Silly Document Changes

Just a short update, hard to write a lot when you go farther backwards then forwards.  Ukraine wanted three documents verbiage changed.  One being “ in the past 6 months I made…” they wanted us to say “in the last 6 months I made…”  Well, we had no form to fill out so how was I to know they want last and not past?  Please note they also have my home study that has my salary, financial paperwork that states this as well. The second one was the date said 6/20 and not 20/6, that was a translation error.  The last one was on our promise to register our children, we said “we would register them upon completion of adoption” and they wanted “upon returning to the country of residence.” Again we had no forms or sample to go by so we did our best. We have kids sitting in an orphanage and my paperwork was held due to silly document changes!
If you are reading this blog and thinking about adopting from Ukraine contact me and I can send you my forms so you have the correct verbiage and don’t have to worry about document changes. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nesting Stage

Jeff and I have been working on starting a family for a few years now.  I have heard several women talk about this famous “Nesting Stage”.  I had never caught the nesting bug until now.  WOW and I’ve been doing some crazy things around the house.  You start doing these things and in the middle you think I have never done this before why now?  Nesting that is why. Below are some of the not so normal things I have been doing.
1.  Cleaned the pan under the fridge.  (Have to admit 1st time. YUCK) 
2.  Got into a large debate over a Growth Chart.  It is super cute but the debate was crazy.

  3. Rug Doctor to the rescue!  Rented one from ACME (grocery store) and it was amazing. Spent many  hours using the machine until I was able to make several sweeps across the carpet with the cleaning solution remaining mostly clear. Now how to keep Jeff and dogs off the carpet? 
  4.  While reading other adoption blog there was a story of an adopted girl who always wanted to have a family picture hanging on the wall.  Well Jeff and I never had pictures of family on the wall so that had to be fixed.  Side note: In the store I was laying out all the frames to see how it looked and a store worker came over and said “that is a lot of work, just buy a custom frame, save time on hanging.”  Jeff most likely wanted to agree but not me.  So Jeff had to put 24 holes in our wall at exact locations…. he did an amazing job!!! They are all level too.

  5.  Went to a Thirty-One party and started buying totes like a mad women.  Now that I am going to be a proud owner of 5 different totes our kids will be so organized.  Jeff, do not worry none of them are pink. 
  6.   I have been getting rid of everything we don’t need or haven’t used in preparation for kids. We had three spare rooms full of stuff that is all gone now.  I also did not stop there every room in the house has been picked over.  I gave to goodwill about 60% of my closet… all of my closets.  It is really amazing how much room we have in our closet and how few clothes we wear, especially Jeff, he is still looking for his old flannels.   
  7.  Our shed had some water damage coming in the front so we put an overhang. Well this Mom to be could not have her shed feeling non-homey.  Now the shed has a panted floor with the word “welcome” spelled out.

  8.   Our mail box is in working condition however there is a broken rivet. That had to be fixed. Not sure how kids will notice but it is all fixed now. 
  9.  The house has two windows that sometimes let in colder air. So we took down the molding and used expandable foam to fix all the holes.

 10. When through the entire refrigerator and combined half bottles of condiments. Also, threw out more food then I want to say out loud that was expired from all food storage places. 

Jeff has been great with helping me on all my different projects. He sometimes finds it weird when I pull my toothbrush out to clean or how I can spend 4 hours cleaning a small bathroom.  At church our pastor had a sermon a few weeks ago and he talked about this “Nesting stage”.  Jeff and I just started laughing.
Hope to have an update soon with travel dates!!  The waiting is almost unbearable but the projects just give me a temporary distraction.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Waiting until middle of June

We have everything turned in to Ukraine in our red folder.  We had an issue before in Ukraine with our paperwork not being turned in with the correct folder color.  This means we now have to wait up to 20 business days to find out when we can travel!!!  I am writing this a bit late so on June 16th!

You would think Jeff and I would be jumping up and down and going crazy with excitement.  However, with the new US adoption law going into place 7-14-2014, I am cautious.  Obama signed the law in 2012 and here we are less than 2 months from the start date and USCIS doesn’t even know how they are going to implement the new laws. We sat in on a nationwide conference call this past Thursday to understand the details and the gist of the entire phone call is; there is a new law and we don’t know how it will affect you, please be patient and check our web site in two weeks to see where you stand….  Of course if you don’t comply not only will you not be able to complete your adoption but you are also threatened with the possibility jail time and large fine.  

The gist of the new law requires all non-Hague countries to perform all the requirements of Hague nations.  However of the 7 requirements Ukraine finds 6 of these illegal.  So do we get to break US law or Ukraine law….  When this question was brought to the attention of USCIS officials their answer was you’ll have to wait until we can generate specific guidelines for each country.  Where the real stink of it all comes into place is that you now have to use a “Hague certified” adoption company to perform any and all international adoptions.  Of course to that would cost up to $30,000 extra and double the work.  All of our US approved paperwork is in the hands of the Ukrainian Gov’t. so now we get to pay a third party who has done nothing for us thousands of dollars to watch us board an airplane to Ukraine.  

So as a backup we’ve tried to find “accredited” adoption agencies, of all the agencies in Ohio there are only 4, and they will not accept us because we’ve done all the paperwork already.   We also been denied by three out of state agencies….no one will take the liability because they don’t want to break the new US law which no one know how it is even going to be implemented. 

So our next biggest fear is that when we get our date and fly to Ukraine and go through the process and the kids are ours in the eyes of the Ukrainian Gov’t., but will the US allow us to obtain visas or passports for our children?  We’ve written USCIS, called them and again not one there knows…. So what should we do?

One thing we are going to do is have faith that this will all work out.  We are going to trust our facilitators and their judgment even though we have never met in person.  We are going to pray that it will all come together. To tell the truth I feel deep down inside that this will all work out and that Jeff and I will be blessed with some amazing kids.  That really I am just growing and molding and I need this time to do just that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Looking forwards

Sometimes I thinking about how much energy, money, and time we put into paperwork for an adoption and I get discouraged.  I am always asking myself, why does it have to be so hard? The emotional rollercoaster you are put on is challenging. I have been able to keep my spirits up by reading peoples blogs who have completed an adoption in Ukraine.  Their stories are very similar to ours.  So that gives me hope that with every down turn, every paperwork correction, political unrest, ink color, folder color, and so on; that it will all come to a beautiful ending.

Some people may already know that we know of a few sibling sets currently available for adoption in Ukraine.  Some of these sets along the way have follow off the eligibility list, either by adoption or other reasons.  I keep looking at their little faces every night to build up my strength.  I pray that they are safe and with everything going on be able to get food and basic needs.  Also, that one day they will get to know a parents love, by us or another family.

Tomorrow our paperwork will be turned into Ukraine!!  I hope to have a good update soon.  With this submission we should be receiving word of our travel date in the next 20 days or so.  I really hope it is soon. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Paperwork Complete??

We have submitted all of the paperwork to Ukraine, we believe. Currently they are telling us that they have everything however, we feel they are missing our FBI background check.  We have contacted Ukraine but due to the unrest it may take them a few days to reply.  Jeff and I decided we are going to mail off our FBI background checks first thing tomorrow just in case they don’t have it.  Spend $150 in shipping it over to Ukraine or possibly delaying the adoption further…easy decision.  We are not willing to risk any further delays at this point. We still have the US deadline of July that we are trying to beat.  We have a chance but it is getting tight.

We have been hearing information about some of the current adoptions going on in Ukraine. American’s are not allowed to travel to certain regions of Ukraine. There was a US couple adopting a 15 year old boy from Crimea region.  They had to leave the orphanage and their son before their adoption was complete.  Since Russia took over all government agencies including adoptions this boy’s adoption was halted due to Russia’s refusal to allow Americans to adopt Russian kids.  The 15 year old boy tried to commit suicide because he felt this was his last chance to be adopted into a family willing to accept him.  I know there are people within Ukraine and at the Crimean orphanage desperately trying to work a deal but currently the adoption is still on hold.  Why is it that in times of war or unrest it is the children who suffer the most?   

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Round Two Home Study

We have completed our new home study!  The first draft should be in our hands in a few days.  Once we approve the draft it will be off to the county and state to apostle. We are working on the items that needed update dates for the dossier. The dossier is a group of paperwork that includes our home study, which is sent to Ukraine. This is the package of paperwork which is reviewed by the Ukrainian Government and is what they base their determination on.  Once a favorable determination is received, then hopefully we’ll be receiving a request for a meeting in Ukraine.  If you receive a non-favorable determination then Ukraine will not let you adopt.  We are not worried about that part. We feel we will have everything submitted to Ukraine in the next two weeks.  Hopefully we will get our invitation for end of April.   Ukraine already has several of our documents so we hope it will be faster than the standard 20 day wait. 

The excitement is building here at the house.  We have rooms rearranged.  Jeff and I put up a huge family wall with some blank spots.  We hope to have our first family picture in the frame by the time we come home with the kids.  Since we are not sure how many kids and of what age, it is a challenge trying to be prepared.  We have been very fortunate and people have been donating lots of items to us.  That will prove to be helpful.  So thank you all for your support!