Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yahweh is Merciful

Saturday afternoon we received the final document necessary to complete the dossier! A good friend from high school who is now a CPA actually agreed to certify our assets! I was so happy to bring that, along with our letters from the Sheriff's office stating that Chris and I are model citizens :)

I proudly dropped them off, let the coordinator check off the final boxes and was filled with glee that the paper work mountain that had appeared insurmountable was now beneath me!

So I ask the dossier coordinator..."Can I find out where we are on the waiting list?" And she said, "Let me see if the director is busy." She brings me into his office, and we greet. I ask him where we stand on the list. I know it is really all dependent upon when referrals come in, but it would be nice to know if we are near the top of the list or if we are somewhere down on the bottom.

He checked his list, up and down...sorted it...studied it...lots of silence. Then as if out of nowhere, he produces a color picture on a piece of paper and places it in front of me. "This little boy is available. He is a little older than you were hoping for - almost 15 months old"

I couldn't put the picture down. The first thing I noticed is that he has my daughters same exact nose. It is her feature that Chris and I fight over getting to kiss! Kind of a family joke. Then I just was captivated by his eyes. He looks like he could so easily be a biological child of ours! He was absolutely beautiful. I fought hard to keep the tears from rolling down. And I couldn't speak.

I finally asked (and stumbled over my words quite a bit) "What happens if this is the baby we want?" I was thinking, "How do I get this picture to my hubby? Will he like this child? Is he healthy? Is he walking? Will there be any problems with the adoption process?" and on and on...

We did talk about some of those questions, as I was able to settle my heart down a bit. But I just knew that this was the baby.

The director said he would do some checking and when he got some updated information he would officially email us the "referral". So I left and called Chris and told him that we could be getting a referral very soon!

The next day, I got the email. I found out his name - Ivan! And got a copy of his medical report. Chris and I called the director and asked some more questions. The director told us about a family who was going to adopt Ivan. They were making their travel plans and were told that he was not adoptable because they didn't have a release from the birth mom to allow him to be adopted in his file. They had already had a doctor review his medical form. They had gone on to adopt another baby boy and had been home about 3 weeks with him now. But he said she would probably love to talk with us and share any information she had.

She emailed us yesterday! She was so happy and said she'd prayed for Ivan every day! She was so excited that Ivan may be placed right here in the same city!

What a story this is already turning into. I looked up the meaning of the name Ivan, and it means "Yahweh is Merciful" or "God is Gracious". Yet more confirmation that this baby exhibits God's love and mercy and grace over us. God is so merciful to give us a chance at a second child!

What is the next step??? Well, have accepted the referral, and now our dossier is being registered in that region of Russia. As soon as that is complete we will receive a travel date. We expect to be going to see him in as soon as 3 weeks!!!

Please continue to pray that all goes smoothly in this process. It has been emotionally draining, logistically difficult and also a huge financial burden...but it all seemed like nothing when we saw that sweet picture above. So your prayers are much appreciated! Feel free to leave comments on the site. I'd love to hear your encouraging words!

James 1:17 (New International Version)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Matthew 7:11 (New International Version)
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Homestudy Success!!!

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Chris and I have completed the homestudy!!! I have an inch-tall stack of photocopied documents that went into this process. We had a 3 hour interview with the Social Worker. We had 10 credit hours of classes (which took us probably closer to 30 to complete) and we had people all over the country writing letters on our behalf...and it all boils down to a 6 page report. Our whole life, all three of us - in 6 pages. Wow! Have I never felt so insignificant! :)

Finally when the report is finished, we kept our momentum going so that we could finish our dossier just as quickly. Well, here we are nearly a month later, and we're still working on it. I have learned some valuable lessons...first, the enemy will interfere with God's good work. No matter what you do, Satan is there to frustrate you, to make you want to give up and stand up road blocks to keep your pace going. If he make you feel that you can't handle something, can't persevere through something or can't tolerate something, he can keep you from God's blessings and diminish your faith. The dossier is much more tricky, because there are probably between 80-100 documents, and the Russians are extremely particular! Even the abbreviation of a state can completely invalidate a dossier document! We must practice extreme patience with this process!

I had a situation with my CPA... well, what was my CPA. I had them prepare my taxes from 2005 to 2007, but I did our own in 2008. I needed a CPA to certify our assets - or really just state that I certify that these are our assets. I contacted them, and they told me in no uncertain terms that since I did not use them last year, they would not do this for me. I was appalled! There was no, "Well, it will cost this much" or "Let's see what you have and we'll let you know if we can help you" It was just "No". Well, after I let them know in no uncertain terms that they have lost this customer for life, I felt so rejected and angry! But God provided another way, a connection to a childhood friend that said he would take care of it for us.

Second, many, many things are out of your control. There are documents that you take extreme care with, have notarized, and then send off to some third party, and trust that they will provide you the proper information in a timely fashion. Some documents have taken weeks to return! Some we are still waiting on. Others returned to us very quickly. But the bottom line is that we cannot worry for the things about which we have no control. I have experienced a lot of stress in getting the forms from our Doctors completed. I have to bring a notary, I have to convince them to write letters (on the spot) and I have to trust that they will have their medical license with them, and also trust that the medical license does not expire within 6 months! I was able to mitigate some of this by social engineering some letterhead from a doctor's nurse for these letters so I could draft them on their behalf ahead of time, but the front office is so trained to "protect" the doctors, that getting a question answered like "When does the Doctor's medical license expire" is almost impossible!

All this leads to the third lesson - All things through prayer and petition! I was trying to complete all these things on my own. Getting rather pious with my husband about the tasks I would delegate to him. Ride heard on everything and worry about the events to come. But I am learning that God knows the timing and we must one - trust that if we have a roadblock, there may be a reason for it and two - we need to be praying to keep the enemy attacks down and for discernment about which roadblocks are attacks and which are of God. I realize now that we are close to the end of the waiting list, God wants to match us to the perfect child for us! He already knows who that is, and a little longer wait or a little push to get things through will divinely line us up with that perfect gift.

Our dossier is almost complete. I am praying that we will have everything by next week done that we can do, and that everything that we can't do will fall into place by the end of August. Our next step is a baby referral and a whirlwind trip to Russia to meet the precious baby!

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.