Friday, December 12, 2008

American Soil

We just arrived back home this afternoon...and it is very good to be home!

We had an amazing, exhausting, exhilarating, emotional and heart-wrenching trip.  36 hours in the air in 6 days but all worth it for the 4 hours we were able to spend with our daughter.  Since our last post we went to the Notary in Russia to officially accept the referral and spent another couple hours at the orphanage.  We also had some time to explore Krasnoyarsk but could only handle the cold for about 15 minutes before we found an excuse to find some coffee.  In front of our hotel they are preparing for Christmas and New Year celebrations with a huge tree and ice sculptures.  The temperature hovered around -15 F most of the time we were there.  This doesn't seem to bother the Siberians, but Peta would never be able to find enough paint to scratch the surface with all the fur coats.


Our second visit with Anna went very well and it took less time for her to warm up.  She was laughing and playing and we were able to try some clothes on her as well.  She loved to play with the toys we brought and was full of giggles when Ryan played "Airplane" (tame version) with her.  We were comforted to see that she is really well cared for although any one-on-one time is scarce for her.  Saying goodbye was excruciating.  Having been able to spend time with her, see her environment, love on her and then have to leave her behind was as hard as we thought it might be.  We rest in the fact that she is God's child and He will take care of her during this next phase.
Several people have commented that we have not shown pictures of her face...this is because the Russian government and our agency (as well as us) are keen on protecting her identity until we bring her home.  We wish we could share the 175 pictures we took of her but that will have to wait.




After the long ride back to our hotel, we packed up and were up at 4 AM Thursday headed to the airport. We managed to miss our connection in Moscow so had a long layover but were in Amsterdam by that evening. It wouldn't be a full travel experience if our luggage wasn't lost so we were able to put a check in the box on that one for a night in Amsterdam. We were able to extend our stay in Holland and go check out our old stomping grounds. It was a really nice debrief and date day. We had coffee with our former Pastor and his wife, took pictures of the hospital where Brooks was born (filled a missing scrapbook page for Amy), ate Oliebollen in Wassenaar, caught up with our Dutch neighbor and had dinner with the Linkerhof's in Den Haag.



When we got home, we went straight to get Bradey out of school early. The boys did really well with Amy's Mom and we are extremely grateful to her for keeping the show running. We are so thankful for everybody's prayers while we were gone...we could feel it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yesterday was the day we met the little girl who we have cried for, yearned for and prayed for.  Our little "Anna".

We landed in Siberia in -27 degrees Celsius at 5:30 AM.  We were taken to our hotel for breakfast and a much needed nap.  We had a chance to shower and prepare for our meeting with the Ministry of Education.  This office overseas all the children who have no parents in this region.  After a meeting with her we were driven approximately 45 minutes to the orphanage.  We met the orphanage director and were able to ask her questions.  She was a nice lady with a genuine concern for the children and the homes they will be placed in.  She was a very warm, inviting lady who also loves the children she is in charge of, and desires loving homes for each of them.  The orphanage was very well taken care of, clean with lots of toys and pictures.  After our meeting we were walking to the room to meet our little one, and as we passed the stair well we saw her being walked upstairs by her caregiver.  Immediately our tears started flowing. 

She was hesitant at first, there were lots of people around fussing over her.  After about 30 minutes of being timid she started to warm up and crawl around.  She stuck close to Amy's lap, we called it her "home base".  She would crawl to get a toy then back herself right back into my lap.  She and Ryan started a game of pass the toy and she loved that.  We played for about an hour and a half, then she drifted off to sleep in my arms while staring at Ryan and him whispering to her.  At her mealtime her caretaker came to get her so we had to say goodbye until the next day.

It is 5:30 AM now, we are starving and in much need of coffee!!  Not a Starbucks to be found in this Siberian tundra.  We will go to the orphanage again at 2 PM.  Please continue to pray, especially for strength today as we will have to say goodbye to her for the next few months.

We are struck by how big our God is...no doubt He knew long ago about this very little girl and placed it on our hearts 6000 miles away.  We have no fear or doubts about this reality and have a sense of peace that only he can give!

Finally!





Sunday, December 7, 2008

Almost there

Just a quick note to let everybody know that we have made it to Moscow. Our flights were pretty uneventful and now we have a few hours in a hotel before catching our next flight to Krasnoyarsk. We will catch a bite to eat (they have TexMex in the hotel!) and a few winks before continuing Eastward.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers!

Hopefully we will post tomorrow after we have met our little girl!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tick-Tock until Takeoff!

I'm done!  Yep, we are officially packed, it took Ryan 20 minutes and me 5 days, but we are done packing our bags for our journey.  So many things to think of since we need some clothes with us for our important meeting just in case our bags don't make it to us. But then there is the other factor of packing enough clothes for -7 degrees as the HIGH.  

My mom arrived yesterday and has already been a huge help watching the boys, cooking food, baking cookies, and watching me pack.  

Our ride comes tomorrow morning at 5am to take us to the airport.  We should be traveling until approximately 6pm Sunday night west coast time.  Please pray for us that night as we will be going directly to our meeting with an official then off to the orphanage to meet our baby girl.  Pray for peace for us and for her.  This will be a time of uncertainty and confusion for her, wanting to be held by complete strangers who don't speak her language.  We pray that even in the short time we are allowed with her she will start to understand that we love her.

Our next blog will be from Russia, so stay tuned!  We can't post pictures of us with her but we will give as much details as we can.

In His care,
Ryan and Amy


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Siberia Bound

Well, it has been a whirlwind since we accepted our referral.  We have been frantically working on our paperwork that is needed for trip #2 since we were told we may be able to cut some time between trips if we complete as much paperwork as possible to bring on trip #1.  

On Friday we received our itinerary for our trip and we leave on Saturday, yes, in 6 days!!  We mobilized quickly and booked our air travel and reinforcements (Amy's Mom) to take care of the boys.  We are so blessed that we were able to cover our complete flight to Krasnoyarsk and back with airline miles and our friends (Pilot) donated the flight for Amy's Mom...thanks Jeremy and Danielle!!!

We leave on Saturday and after 19 hours (over 3 days) in the air will FINALLY get to meet our little girl!  We are so completely excited to spend even just a few hours with her NEXT WEEK!  We return on Friday, the 12th.

We hope to post more during our trip, so check back!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Call

We have been silent on our blog for the past week, but not for lack of things to tell!  Our last post was about us daydreaming the day we would finally receive a referral.  Well, it happened that very next day!!  How good is our GOD!!  We received the call on Thursday morning that our agency had a referral for us to review.  So many emotions overcame us as we reviewed the medical information and pictures of what could be our little baby girl.  We began to pray for the Lord's will to be done in this situation and not ours.  Today we discussed the medical file with an International Adoption Specialist and any fears or concerns we may of had with her health were completely laid to rest. Praise the Lord!  We have officially accepted her referral and are in the process of getting our visas and travel itinerary so we can go meet her!  We hope to travel in the next couple of weeks.

We have been told not to give specific details about our little one, but we can tell you she is  just over one year old and as adorable as can be!  

Thank you to everyone for your prayers for us during this past year of waiting.  We will post any new news as we get it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Could this be the week?

We are praying that this week we will get a call from our coordinator... Not the usual call that we are missing some paperwork, or that one of our papers needs to be re-done, but THE call, the one that says we have a child for you!    Oh what a sweet day it will be.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prayers Answered!

The paperwork we were waiting to receive from The Netherlands was finally faxed to us last week! It seems it has been lost in the mail but Ryan was able to convince someone in Holland to fax us a copy in the meantime.  So last Thursday, Amy and Brooks spent a good portion of the day driving to our social workers house to pick up our home study, then to the notary, then to Olympia to have the Secretary of State put their seal on it, then to the UPS store just in time to make the overnight shipping cut off.  So according to our agency our paperwork is now in Russia and all we have to do is sit and wait:-)  Ryan and I are having fun playing the guessing game of when we will get the call.  

It is exciting times around here, the feeling that many good things for our family are just around the bend.....


stay tuned!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Paperwork Prayer Needed!

This is a call to all our faithful family and friends to pray for us.  We have heard this week that we are not able to accept a referral until all our paperwork has been updated. Originally we were told that the document from The Netherlands will not hold us up, but that has changed.  We are still waiting on Amy's police background clearance from The Netherlands to come.  Ryan received his last week, which seems odd that Amy's did not come at the same time.  Please pray that it will arrive ASAP, because our coordinator would like it to be hand delivered to Russia with a family that is traveling there early next week.  Once we do get it, we will make a quick trip up to Olympia to have it Apostilled by the state and then overnight it to the family.  

We know God can make this happen, so we are praying it and trusting in His timing. Thanks!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

16+9=25!

It's not over, until it's over...

We were feeling so relieved that our updated Dossier was going to be completed this week, (with the exception of the document still needed from The Netherlands) and we would finally be done with this paper chase and be able to focus on other things.  Oh, how wrong we were!  Our adoption coordinator told us she would be sending a packet of information relevant to the region we have just been assigned to, and that there would be some more paperwork involved with this specific region.  No big deal we thought, we have done our Dossier 2 times now so what more could they possibly need from us?  Only Russia could think of 16 ADDITIONAL documents they need signed, notarized and apostilled from us, and 9 more from our social worker.  That makes 25 more documents to hunt down from California, Texas, The Netherlands, Washington and the FBI.  What more do these people want to know about us!!  Seriously, we are boring, law abiding people who just want to bring our daughter HOME.

The good news among this frustration is that these documents will not hold up our referral or our first trip.  So we will start tracking all of these down now, and turn them in as quickly as we can in order to expedite our court hearing on the second trip.  

Someday we might look back on this and smile, but today we are too buried in paperwork to see the humor.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Feeling Patriotic

Here are a couple clips of our cuties.  Brooks is 3.5 and Bradey had just turned 4.


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Friday, October 3, 2008

Exciting news today!

We were able to talk to our coordinator this morning regarding our next steps in the process.  Typically when a family is registered it means a referral of a child will be coming within 2-3 weeks, however, for reasons unknown at this time Russia seems to be moving slower than normal for referrals.  Our coordinator felt that we should be prepared to travel within the next 2-3 months.  That is great news!  The race is on to get the things accomplished that we wanted to before we meet her.  We do need prayer that some paperwork we need from The Netherlands would come quickly and not delay these plans.  

It looks like we will be visiting Siberia at a very cold time of the year! I am not too interested in knowing what negative temperatures feel like, but of course Ryan in his love of the extremes can't wait:-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!!

God is sooo good!  We were going about a pretty normal Wednesday when totally by surprise we received an email from our Adoption Coordinator that we have officially been registered in the Krasnoyarsk region of Russia!!!!  This is a HUGE step forward for us in the process.  Typically when a family is registered it means that they have located a child that fits your request and a referral will be coming "shortly".  We have a phone conference on Friday with our Coordinator and will receive more information then, but for now we are rejoicing in this big step closer to our little one! 

What an amazing God that he was mindful of how much this would mean to us and He orchestrated it to happen on my birthday.   He is so especially fond of each of his children that even a small detail like that he had planned.  No greater gift I could have received. Thank you Jesus!

More information to come on Friday!!! Stay tuned:-)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Adoption Update

"But these things I plan won't happen right away.  Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow, be patient!  For it will surely take place.   It will not be late by a single day."  Habakkuk 2:3

This verse is speaking to us right now as we enter our 10th month of waiting for a phone call to tell us there is a little one waiting in Russia for us to come for her.  Many days the wait seems too hard to endure.  Time passes, new school year begins, holidays come and go and still no phone call.  We cling to the assurance that it will happen in His time and not ours, and when we look back on this it will all be crystal clear why the wait was for our best interest for the Lord is never late!  Please continue to pray for our little one that she will be cared for and loved until we can bring her home.

Sweet Potato Meltdown

Welcome to our new blog where we will share the good, bad and the (sometimes) ugly moments of our lives.  

Here is a little history before you watch this first video.  For their entire lives there have been 2 things Bradey and Brooks won't eat - tomatoes and potatoes.  Because they will eat almost any other vegetable without complaint we don't force them to eat these.  Last week we put on their plate what they thought were sweet potatoes, the funny thing is it was really butternut squash and after all their drama we explained what it was and they happily ate it....such is the DRAMA some days in our house! 
(Be sure to mute the music below before watching the video)

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