Our Journey

This blog is a small peek inside our family's first adventure into the world of adoption. We welcome your encouragement & financial support, but most importantly we appreciate your prayer covering as we climb the mountains & wander the valleys of this incredibly crazy, yet exciting journey God is leading our family on. We also ask for your prayer covering over our new children, wherever & whoever they are, that they will sense God's loving presence as He snuggles them for us, & for protection from satan's evil schemes toward each of us. Though we may be on opposite sides of the globe, or just a few miles apart, we trust God has already been preparing all of us for each other as our family grows again. May all the Glory in this journey go to our Heavenly Father, who adopted each of us as His own beloved sons & daughters.

About Us

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our Divided Attention

We wanted to update everyone on the latest happenings in our family...

Rick has been in Texas for one week now. He loves the crew he works with, loves the work, loves the instructors who show him what to do and turn him loose to do it. Knowing he is doing well and enjoying himself makes it easier to want to pack up the house here in Idaho even faster so we can join him as soon as possible. At first I was really not looking forward to going to Texas (I'm sure you couldn't tell that by my previous posts), mostly because we knew no one within a 5-6 hr drive of our new hometown, and the general "unknown" of moving to a new state. God made us to need relationships, and I was dreading going to a place were we knew no one.

But God has seen fit to orchestrate several new friendships (online for the moment) to welcome us to our new hometown. It is so neat to know God has placed multiple other large, homeschooling, and/or adoptive families within a short drive of where ever our new house will be that have welcomed us with open arms already. I am growing more eager to get to Texas so I can meet these families we are becoming friends with. And I'm grateful that God has heard my deepest desires and has already provided the right soil for those new friendships to grow and blossom.

While Rick "goes to prepare a place for us", the children and I do our best to keep our hand to the proverbial plow here. There is so much to do, with no specific timeline, and a lot of questions rattling around inside my brain. I'm an "internalizer", a thinker, a planner, a wonderer. It's always been difficult for me to pack for a move without knowing what the new house will look like. I prefer to have some sort of visual in my mind so I can picture where things will go, or what things I can leave behind because they won't "fit" the new house. This is a growing curve for me. It is stretching me out of my comfort zone! Thankfully I trust my husband completely to find a home we will love and will fit our family's needs well, and I trust God to lead him to just the right home. That calms a lot of my wondering; God's peace that we are moving where He's called us and He's holding our hands as we take each new step in faith. Because of that peace, with each box that gets packed, my stress level goes down.

But my full attention is still divided, which is not my usual way of doing things. Typically, I'm like a dog on a meaty bone. When I get started on something, I tend to prefer to stick to that one "project", and don't like to get distracted by other "projects". I want so badly to work on the fundraising to bring our children home sooner, but I know my attention needs to be focused primarily on preparing this home for cleaning and closure. I'm learning that I must release the fundraising efforts to God and concentrate on the task ahead of me. So you may not see too many new blog posts over the coming weeks, but know that our adoption has certainly not fallen off our radar! With every box I pack, I think about bringing our new children into our new home, in a new city, in a new state. It will be as new and different to us as it will be for them. I wish there was a way to "swing through" Ukra*ne and swoop them up and bring them to Texas with us so we can experience walking through the doors of the new house together. But I know it doesn't work that way. Just as Rick is going to prepare a home for us, once we join him, we can work together to prepare a place for our new children as well.

At this point, our best estimate on moving day will be no less than 4 wks from now, but likely no more than 8 wks. It seems so weird to not know for sure where we will spend Thanksgiving, but we are thankful for all the things God is doing in our family. There are so many factors involved with the "when" part of this move. We're just eager to bring our family back under one roof again, and do what God has been leading us to do in the adoption process. We know moving to Texas is part of this process, but we're looking forward to being able to unpack and settle in to our new home so we can return much more of our attention to the "business" side of adopting. We want to bring our WHOLE family together, not just those members who already share their father's name, but also those precious children who don't yet know they have a father yearning to give them his name and his love. Wow, that sounds just like our Heavenly Father!

~ Michelle

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We Found "The Cookie Crumb Girl"

*In case you're just reading this, and realizing this is a new post, I just realized I'd completely forgotten to publish this post when I first wrote it, so I'm leaving it backdated to when I first started writing it so it fits in the blog timeline appropriately.*

Well, we said that if God led us to the actual location and identity of "the cookie crumb girl", we would pursue her as well. We are now in pursuit of both girls! We trusted that God would work every detail out if we were supposed to work toward her adoption in addition to the second girl we've fallen in love with. Well, yesterday I got word that God knew in advance that "Person A" was going to know "Person B" who would know "Person C" who was in Ukra*ne at HER orphanage spending time with their new child as we speak. And God knew that "Person C" would "coincidentally" have been able to interact with her while playing with their new child and had photos of "our girl". I don't know if I can describe the way my heart pounded when I saw those pics and read more about her personality. Interestingly enough, her real name is the Ukra*nian/Russi*n form of one of the names we've previously considered for a future daughter! The journey to get our "cookie crumb girl" has officially begun! Get outta this momma's way!! It's time to bring both of our girls home!

~ Michelle

Monday, September 12, 2011

Who Uses NetworkedBlogs?

I'm trying to set up my Networked Blogs account, and it asks me to choose 5 blogs to follow. Do any of my readers have a networked blog account for their adoption related blogs that I can "follow"? If so, will you send me an email with the link? Our email address is shown on the "badge" for our Facebook page in the side columns. (Putting it here invites automated spam.) Thanks.

~ Michelle

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Just Being Willing

With so many uncertainties in our life right now, even knowing what child(ren) we will be adding to our family is still an unknown. So we continue to pray that God would lead us to just the right child(ren) He intends for us to adopt. Because the Ukra*nian government does not allow anyone to “promise”, “hold”, or in any way “stake a claim to” any of their orphans until the prospective parents arrive in their country, by invitation of the Ukra*nian Government, for the official adoption process, there is no way to know for sure that any specific child(ren) we hope to adopt will actually be available until that day arrives. All we could do is have faith, and trust God to know what's best for our family, as well as each orphan that is available. It doesn't stop us from hoping for specific children though. And we are.

In case you haven't read from the beginning of our blog, we began with three specific children we identified from an online “ministry” photolisting that we especially hoped to add to our family; two little brothers, and an unrelated little girl. The brothers have since been adopted by another family, so we were back to just hoping for the little girl with the cookie crumb on her lip... not knowing if WE will be the family God has chosen to adopt her, and if she was meant to be adopted alone (there is no indication at this point that she has siblings), if she was meant to be a part of another non-sibling group, or if God was simply using her profile to draw us into the adoption process. We still do not know for sure on this one.

We have been asked numerous times since the boys were adopted a variety of questions including 1) how many children we intended to adopt now, 2) if we still intended to adopt “the girl with the cookie crumb on her lip”, 3) if we will be pursuing an entirely different adoption plan, etc., etc., etc. So to answer the questions the best we can at this point...

We would certainly love to adopt her (the girl with the cookie crumb on her lip), if God leads us to her actual location and provides the information on exactly who she is. I have searched the official Ukra*nian Government photolisting site, and have not been able to identify her specifically. We don't even know at this point if she is actually legally available! Unless we adopt through the agency/ministry that profiled her, we do not have any additional information to track her specific location or her orphan identification number (what the agency/ministry has already provided on their website for the general public is all fake names anyway, nothing specific, and they won't give any further info without a contract with them). In doing a lot of research these past three months, we've learned that the Ukra*nian Government does not recognize any foreign “middlemen” (ministries, agencies, etc.) attempting to represent adoptive families, only their own facilitators licensed in their country to work on behalf of adoptive families from abroad. So each adoption from Ukra*ne is an independent adoption in their government's eyes. Because of this, we see no need to spend more of God's money, or our supporters' generous contributions, for an American “middleman” agency or ministry to do the exact same paper chase we are able to do by simply working directly with the registered Christian Ukra*nian facilitator that we intend to contract with. By doing this, we should be able to save a SIGNIFICANT amount of money on our overall adoption expenses. We will have to trust God if this precious "cookie crumb girl" is supposed to be our daughter, that HE will direct us to her in the end. We will continue to pray for her safety and provision, and pray that God leads us to her another way if it is His intention for her to join our family.

In addition to the little girl with the cookie crumb on her lip, we have also fallen madly in love with another little girl. She is approximately 9 months younger than “the cookie crumb girl”. And thankfully we do know her REAL identity and location. We first noticed her gorgeous, mischievous grin on the actual Ukra*nian Government's photolisting site while searching for the cookie crumb girl. This second girl's photolisting indicated she had “special needs”, but nothing specific was listed, of course. It's been said that the majority of the children available for adoption in Ukra*ne have “special needs” of some sort or another, ranging in basic developmental or emotional delays resulting from their lack of a family environment, all the way to extremely severe, or even life threatening, medical issues. Even though the majority of the orphans there have the “special needs” labels in their personal medical files, the Ukra*nian photolisting doesn't show the “special needs” label for the children with “minor” conditions, so we knew it must be something “fairly significant” for her government profile to have that additional label. Still, she caught our eye... and our hearts. I translated the photolisting into English, and was able to read her real name. It's a beautiful name, but I will refrain from sharing it for now until we get further into the process, but needless to say, we talk about her a lot in our home. We think of her as “one of us”. And we're past really noticing she has “special needs” (kind of like forgetting we have identical twins... to us they're just two of our individual daughters). I wouldn't want to single this little girl out as “our child with special needs”. Besides, doesn't EVERY child lacking a family have a very special need?

Funny thing though... out of the thousands of children listed on that official government photolisting site, can you guess who's picture we “coincidently” came across on a stranger's blog a few weeks ago while bloghopping? Yes, Hers!! Of course. Because that is so like God! When this second little girl already has our interest from the first photolisting we found her on, then we get to see even more personal photos of her taken by this blogger, how could we not want to find out more? This dear young lady (the blogger) has spent an extended length of time in Ukra*ne recently on mission trips helping out with the orphans there. This little girl was one of the missionary's favorite children to spend her time with. It was through her blog that we learned so much more about this precious girl's personality, her love for interacting with those around her, and the joyfulness she has sustained despite the unfortunate physical consequences of being shaken by her father as an infant. Unlike many stories of the results of shaken-baby syndrome I've heard about in the media, where a child is left with various forms of long-term brain injury, this little girl appears to have suffered very limited negative mental or cognitive affects from the abuse of her father. To the best of our understanding, her “special needs” revolve primarily around her physical mobility, from the observations of the young woman who spent time with her in her orphanage. At this time, she is unable to walk on her own and is delayed in many physical aspects of her daily life, which has the potential for improvement when she is finally able to have the physical therapy she so desperately needs and deserves. But her joy has been untouched by her sad circumstances, which simply amazes us. We've not met this little girl yet, but she inspires us already. There are days I think about her when facing a challenge, and ask myself, “If she were in my shoes, would she find joy in this situation... anyway?”. She's as physically beautiful as any of our biological girls, but her inner beauty is what draws people to her, and she has Rick wrapped around her little finger already, even she doesn't know it yet! He has believed without a doubt from the moment we became aware of her that she is meant to be our daughter. I was not that far behind him in believing it too! Our whole family is smitten with her really. Even in our online house-hunting in Texas, we evaluate each home with her needs in mind. (Yes, we think about the sweet girl with the cookie crumbs too, but her “special need” is just a simple condition requiring a specific medication, and is not related to physical mobility like the second girl.) So if it's part of God's plan, we would love to adopt both girls. God will have to work out those details if that's what His desire is for us, and for them. We are not fully equipped or experienced with the medical issues these girls would bring to our family, but we are willing to adapt our lives to them and their needs. They may seem like large issues to many, but not to us. Maybe it's just because we're willing to adapt to their needs. And that's all that really matters in the end. God's not looking for those who are equipped already. He's looking for those who are WILLING to become equipped. Just like what Rick will be doing in Texas over the next few months; although he already has a basic idea of what the job entails, and has some experience with it, he will be trained for the specific job ahead of him. Although Rick and I have a basic idea of what “the job” will entail with adopting these girls, God will do the specific training when the time comes to start “the job”. It's all part of just being willing to represent Him and His love to these precious children, and continuing to trust in His bigger plan. Here we are, Lord. You can send us to get these children!

~ Michelle