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God Is Always Faithful

GodIsFaithfulIt’s been a month since I last wrote with the heartbreaking news that a law was passed banning Russian adoptions by U.S. citizens. I’m sure many of you are wondering what is happening and what is the latest news.

Unfortunately, not much has changed within this month. We have definitely been staying as updated as we can, keeping in touch with our agency and also the American government, who regularly send us e-mails with all the developing news.

Russia and America signed a bilateral agreement in 2012.

 “The Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are pleased to announce that theAgreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation Regarding Cooperation in Adoption of Children will enter into force on November 1, 2012, following an exchange of diplomatic notes between the U.S. and Russian governments.

The Department of State and USCIS work to promote a safe, ethical, and transparent adoption process for prospective adoptive parents, birth families, and children involved in intercountry adoptions.”

US Department of State

In that agreement, it stated that the agreement remains valid for a year from the time one party notifies that party. A spokesman for Russian President Putin, stated that the agreement would remain valid until January 2014.

Here is an excerpt from a letter that we received from the National Council For Adoption:

“On January 22, 2013, The Russian Supreme Court ruled that families who had been issued court approval to adopt before January 1, 2013 would be able to bring their children home to the United States. This includes families who are currently in their 30 day waiting period after court approval. This is helpful news for the approximately 52 families who are past court approval. The many hundreds more families and children who are at earlier stages in the adoption process are not addressed by this ruling. The United States State Department has stated that they “continue[s] to urge the Russian government to allow U.S. families already in the process of adopting a child from Russia to complete their adoptions so that these children may join permanent, loving families.”

What does this mean to us? We don’t know. We do know that, as of today, our adoption has been banned. Some families who have already been through court are bringing their children home. Even though they have been granted approval from the Russian government to become parents to those children, many of them are still going through many difficulties and obstacles to bring the children home.

For us, the expectations are very grim. We had our paperwork in Russia, but hadn’t received a referral or made any trips to Russia yet. According to the Russian government, our adoption cannot be completed. The American government continues to urge the Russian government to allow all the families that started the adoption process to be allowed to complete their adoptions.isaiah55

Meanwhile, we wait. We pray. We cling to God. For some reason He has led us through many different “events” in our short marriage. Our story continues.

Is it God’s will for Russian adoptions to be banned?

With all my heart, I know this is not true. Did we mishear what God said when He gave us the desire to adopt children from Russia?

When disappointments come our way, we start to question God’s voice, His will and even His goodness.

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world, full of sorrow, heartache and pain. Evil has a place in our society and laws are passed that God isn’t happy with. Can He stop it? Sure He can!

Since we live in a world where there is sin and evil humans make wrong and hurtful decisions. Humans are not robots and God allows the consequences of wrong decisions to have come into effect and they hurt innocent people. There are so many examples of different situations in our world where God allowed bad things to happen. Think of Stalin and Hitler. Think of abortions, war, and murder. God is absolutely horrified and opposed to all of it.plansjeremiah2911-1

We know that God will be beside us in these dark and difficult days. He is always faithful, always, ALWAYS faithful. If we will not be allowed to complete out Russian adoption, we will continue with other options. This will not stop our journey. We won’t give up. No matter what the future holds, we know that God will be beside us.

This is what I tell myself all the time:

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I’ve heard many other adoptive parents who have gone through the process describe adoption as a roller coaster. There are so many highs and lows, but most of all, you feel completely helpless and out of control.

We started our paperwork in the fall of 2011. The paperwork itself was a mountain to climb. There were so many times of frustration because even that didn’t depend totally on us. We were at the mercy of others as we begged for their signatures or their part in proving that we will be worthy enough parents to be trusted with a child.

 

We saved for two years in order to be able to fund the adoption. TWO YEARS. We had to read so many books and take so many different courses about parenting and adoption. We subjected ourselves to unfolding our private lives and became completely open because that’s what would bring us to our children. It’s not exactly commonplace to submit paperwork and fingerprints for a criminal background check, get a lettters from our employers to confirm that we both have jobs and have a certified public accountant look at our bank accounts, paychecks, tax returns, and other assets and determine how much we’re worth. We had to visit the doctor to make sure we were healthy enough to be parents, and have out home and marriage inspected by a social worker.

We comforted ourselves with the thought that all this was necessary to prevent crooks from being allowed to adopt and told ourselves everything we had to deal with would be worth it once we brought the children home. When we finally had every single piece of paper notarized, apostilled, and finally sent to our agency, we felt like at last there was some headway and we did our part in this seemingly endless process.

Our dossier (the complete collection of paperwork) was sent to Russia and we were registered in the Krasnoyarsk region. We were told that parents were getting referrals quickly, like in the matter or 10 days! We were so excited and held our breath. Maybe we would get a referral quickly. Months passed and we still waited. We called out agency every once in a while to find out if they had heard anything. Each time we were told to keep waiting; they hadn’t heard anything.

Finally in November, we were told that WE were next to get a referral. We were the only ones from our agency that were waiting for a referral in Krasnoyarsk. One morning, both my husband and I were sleeping after working the night before. It had been an exhausting week before that, since my brother got married and all of my family came down for Thanksgiving and the wedding. I was really sick and after working 3 nights with a fever, finally fell asleep. That’s when we got a phone call from our agency.

Our case manager told Sergi that there was a possibility of two girls and we had to sign a letter, scan it and email it to them that very day, ASAP. Sounds really promising, right? Since in our paperwork we had documented that we wanted to adopt two children, a boy and a girl, we now had to sign a letter stating that we would be willing to take two girls. We both jumped out of bed and waited for the next email from our agency with the letter for us to sign. We were so excited! We emailed the signed letter to the agency and told ourselves, maybe we’ll get a referral tomorrow, or sometime this week?! We called our parents and told out siblings. It was such a joyful, exciting time.

The next day, our agency informed us that the letter was fine, but it needed to be signed and apostilled. I should have known. We went to the bank that day to get it notazired and posted it overnight to the state capital where we hired a courier to take it to the Department of State to get it apostilled and sent overnight to our agency.

And we waited again. Every time one of us would get an email, our hearts would start pounding and we rushed to open our phones just in case we were getting a referral. We knew that if we didn’t get a referral by Christmas, we wouldn’t get one until the end of January, since all of Russian workers are on a long vacation and nobody is working from New Years’ til the end of January. We kept hoping and praying.

A week before Christmas, just when our hopes we at the highest and we finally allowed ourselves to get excited, we heard the news that Russia was considering banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans. That day I felt like all my dreams came crashing to the ground. I cried and cried, but still held on to a glimmer of hope. Maybe the law wouldn’t pass. Russian adoptions had been threatened before, so I told myself to just hope for the best. I don’t watch or read the news but I checked it everyday now. As the law went through different stages, my heart sinked lower and lower as it passed every time. The day after Christmas, it was voted on unanimously by the Russian parliament. This morning, my husband and I found out that Putin had signed the law into effect.

I hate politics with a passion, so I don’t want to get into it too much, all I’m going to tell you is that the U.S. passed a law called the Magnitsky Act which bans Russian diplomats who are known human rights violators from coming to the U.S. or from having accounts in American banks. Russia retaliated with this new law, banning U. S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans.

We don’t know how all of this will end and it’s completely out of our hands. I never liked roller coaster rides, but I would tell myself to hold on, and eventually the ride would end. No matter how drastically I was being thrown around on the ride, I was buckled it safely, it was all an illusion and I wouldn’t be hurt. This time, the roller coaster is real and we don’t know how it will end. We are asking you to pray with us. Pray for all the parents waiting to adopt Russian orphans into their loving homes. Pray that all those innocent children would get a chance to be given a family and a place of belonging. I’ve been through a lot in life and I know that sometimes that ending isn’t “and they all lived happily ever after.” We know that our lives and our future are in God’s hands, so we’ll wait and see how He wants our story to continue.

What NOT To Say

We all know people or someday will, who are going through some rough times. When we come face to face with tragedy or suffering, it’s very difficult to know what to say and how to act. It’s pretty awkward most of the time.

Since we went through a dreadful experience ourselves, we’ve heard many variations of “encouragement and sympathy” from folks. I thought it might be helpful to share what we’ve learned, just so you have an idea what it sounds like to the person who’s hearing it. By no means do I mean to judge anyone, since they all meant well, but instead want to raise awareness.

So here goes. What not to say if you’re visiting someone in the hospital, talking to someone who lost a loved one or is dealing with a tragedy:

1. “It could have been worse.”

I know it could have been worse, but that doesn’t help my pain right now. Don’t minimize the situation.

2. “It’s God’s will.”

As a Christian, I know that, and I’m kind of processing that right now. I’m a little confused about that now and maybe just a bit mad at God about it too.

3. “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

Maybe not, but it sure feels like it. (Besides, the truth is, God DOES give us more than WE can handle. WE don’t have the strength to handle most of the awful things that happen. That is why God carries us through those awful times.)

4. “Maybe you have sin in your life.”

Yep, and who doesn’t? If that’s the way God worked, we would all have cancer, bury loved ones or die ourselves. I’m so glad that God isn’t like that.

5. “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

Same as above.

6. “You need more faith.”

How much faith is “enough faith?” I thought there was something in the Bible that said you need faith like a mustard seed. That’s pretty small, if you ask me. If you have more faith, maybe you can pray for me?

7. “It’s all for the best.”

How is burying my child and almost dying myself “for the best”?At this moment, it sounds very cruel to my ears.

8. “God wants to heal you.” “You should go to this healing conference/ have a prophet pray for you”.

How do you know? Sometimes, it’s not God’s will to heal.

9. “Stay positive.”

I’ve been going through a lot of negative, and there is a time to process that. Of course I try to be positive, but it’s kind of lame to say it.

10. In regards to a losing a child. “You’re still young. You’ll have more children.”

How do you know? Just because someone is young, doesn’t mean they will have children. Besides, even if I have 5 more children, they won’t take the place of the child that I lost.

So what SHOULD you say, or do?

It’s ok to admit that you don’t know what to say.

“I don’t know what to say. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. I’m so sorry that you’re hurting. I just want you to know that I care about you and am here to share your pain.”

Pray more, Preach Less. Prayer is SO powerful. 

Listen More, Talk Less.

Give hugs, hold their hands. (If they like that sort of thing).

Instead of saying “If there’s anything I can do, just let me know. I’m here for you, no matter what.” That’s very sweet, but most people won’t call you up to ask for help. It’s uncomfortable and we all want to be independent, not needy. Besides, nobody knows what you would actually be willing to do.

Here’s what to do. Be practical and SUGGEST what you are willing to do.

  • “Is it ok if I come by and bring you dinner one night?”
  • “Can I babysit your kids so you can catch your breath?”
  • Give gift certificates to a restaurant, the hospital cafeteria, a grocery store, a gas station, etc., depending on the situation.
  • Organize prayer chains/Manage Calls.

One of Sergi’s brothers helped out with this a lot. We had so many people praying for us, and of course many of them called to get updates. Dmitry talked to Sergi to get all the updates and he took all the calls so that Sergi didn’t have to deal with it. He had enough on his mind.

  • Organize fund raisers.

Act normal around the person and their family. I’ll never forget coming to church for the first time after the hospital. Yes, I had a bunch of tubes sticking out of me, and looked pretty awful, but I felt SO uncomfortable when one woman kept obviously staring at me and looking me over from head to toe.

I also remember how wonderful it felt when people treated me like a normal girl, and laughed with me, sometimes cried, but most importantly they didn’t act weird.

We had some amazing people who supported and encouraged us in our darkest days. It means so much to be prayed for, loved and knowing that others care about us. We could never have done it without the family of God gathered around us.

Be an encouragement. Don’t be afraid to step up into that awkwardness and extend your care. We are not meant to deal with our pain alone.

Sergi and I on a random, spontaneous stroll close to Clearwater Beach.

No news on the adoption front. We still have not gotten a referral. This made me think about waiting. Sometimes, we don’t have a choice. The situation is out of our control and we’re told to just WAIT.

I am not a very patient gal, and really don’t like when I can’t control everything. I am Type A personality with a Capital T.

When we were doing the paperwork, it somehow felt like we were “doing” something to make progress, even though so much of it was out of our control too. Now, we just check e-mails much too often and every time our agency calls my heart pretty much goes out of control with its wild beating.

My phone is like an attachment of me, and you can be sure I’m checking that e-mail ALL THE TIME!

We spend so much of our lives waiting. It always seems that when we get to the next stage that we are waiting for, everything will be better. We will become better people, our lives will have more order, control and happiness.

When we are single we think that when we get married everything will be fantastic. Then we can’t wait to have children, buy a house with a picket fence and enjoy our family. Then we can’t wait til our kids grow up a little and we can get some sleep and peace (or so I’m told. I guess having toddlers means you don’t have a life, never sleep and take showers once a week, LOL). Then our kids grow up into surly teenagers with teenager problems and we can’t wait til they grow up, settle down and we can stop worrying about them so much. And on and on and on. It never stops, does it?

I realized something though. I don’t think I’ll be a different person, be happier and enjoy life more once we finally bring the children home. Even though there are times when I think I’ll simply bust if we don’t get a referral RIGHT NOW!

I can be just as happy right now.

I don’t have to live life as though I have my foot on the brake pedal, just waiting to finally ease off and press the accelerator. I am “living” right now.

I have an amazing husband and God has blessed us SO much already. I know that’s enough. I don’t have to look around my apartment with frustration, just waiting to enjoy my surroundings when we finally buy a house. We have a cozy home and I love it. I can enjoy the fact that Sergi doesn’t have to spend hours mowing the lawn and if the refrigerator breaks, we don’t have to fork over the cash for a new one. I don’t have to wait until all my ducks are in a row for me to start doing what I love. I have a tiny apartment kitchen and a hand me down dining room table that only seats four, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying sharing our home with others, and some of the best memories were created with everyone crammed around our small table. Serving the food buffet style is an awesome option too:) By the way, invest in some folding tables, then you can even invite 20 people and still have a place to seat most of them.

While I wait for the things that are out of my control, I can move on with the things that I can do.

I can read books about parenting to prepare myself. (As much that is possible; I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more once I actually have children). I can invest in my marriage and make it better and better. A great marriage is a choice and I want to make mine as wonderful as possible. It’s nice being able to sleep in on the weekends, be spontaneous with our free time and bond because there’s no one else around. We can save money for a house and avoid so much stress and headache. Dave Ramsey says that if you buy a house without a good Emergency Fund in place, Broke, Desperate and Stupid move into the spare bedroom:).  We also know pretty well what we do want in a house since we know our likes and dislikes by now.

At the Quitter conference with Jon Acuff

This winter, Sergi and I heard about Jon Acuff’s Quitter conference and we were able to pack our bags and drive to Nashville, Tennessee. Just like that. It was fantastic and were so glad we went. Jon Acuff is a best selling author and is a speaker. He also works for Dave Ramsey’s team.

I continue blogging about food and sharing recipes and cooking tips with others. It’s so rewarding to hear comments from readers and know that others are finding the blog useful.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

We always think that it will “be better” over the horizon without realizing what wonderful stage we are in right now and savoring the moments that we have today. What are some things that you put “on hold” till more improved times?

The things that happen today will be the memories that we savor in the future, living them over and over again in our minds. Make these moments worth remembering and savor them today, because TODAY is that golden, beautiful time.

Keep praying for our adoption and for our children. We appreciate all your support.

What Is Your Dream?

This Sunday, our pastor talked about a guy in the Bible named Nehemiah. Many years ago, I heard a sermon on this subject and through this story, I learned a very valuable lesson, so I wanted to share it with you.

At that particular time, Jews were slaves in the land of Persia. Nehemiah was a cupbearer of the King. One day, he found out that the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed and wild animals were roaming in the city and “the survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame”.

Nehemiah was so troubled by this news that he sat down and wept and mourned for days. He eventually got permission from the King to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls. Nehemiah and the other people who were helping him rebuilt the wall in only 52 days. That is incredible! Can you imagine rebuilding a city wall without any modern technology in 52 days? That’s nothing short of a miracle.

It’s interesting to me that Nehemiah had such an emotional experience when he heard the update of Jerusalem, his native land. There were many other Jew that were now living in Persia, and I’m sure they must have known what had happened and some of them must have been very bothered by the ruination of their city.

However, Nehemiah didn’t just stop with feeling sad and upset. He REBUILT THE WALLS.Since we started telling people that we are adopting, we’ve heard many, many people tell us “Oh, that’s so awesome. I want to adopt too!”

It’s interesting to me that so many people want to adopt, yet not many of them actually do it. Since I was a little girl I’ve been troubled by the plight of the orphans. When I hear the statistics, my heart just breaks. Can you imagine that only 1 out of 10 Russian orphans will grow up to a normal functioning member of society? The thought of those children on their own in this big world, who never learn what love is, what a family should be like, and don’t have anyone to teach them basic life skills, is mortifying. I don’t want to feel the emotion but them brush it off and go on living my life. I want to do my part, and do what I can to give a home to a child who doesn’t belong to anyone. I want to encourage others, who have that desire also, to make a step and start acting on their dream.

I believe that everyone has a passion inside them about something. Not everyone has a desire to adopt. Not everyone should adopt. (By the way, just because a couple doesn’t have children, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are obligated to adopt. And just because a couple already has their own biological children, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t adopt.)

What are some things that get you excited? What makes you emotional? What are things that you would like to change?

Our brother and sister-in-law, Dmitry and Ulyana, are absolutely dedicated to creating great music. They write songs, music, practice their instruments and perfect their vocals. You should see the amount of work they pour into their music.

Instead of relaxing after work, they get together for practices with the band a few times a week and many nights they stay up til past midnight because it’s important to them to achieve a professional level in their music and to create new songs think of new ideas, and do their absolute best in every way.

They save up their money for new equipment, instruments and lessons.  Almost every summer they use their vacation time from work to travel to Russia on mission trips. When they see people’s lives change from the hope that they hear in the message of the songs that is their reward. They are so inspired when they have Family Festivals in the Russian cities. There are puppets, games, music, free ice cream and lemonade and they look around at the happy, smiling faces of families having a great time together and building memories. They share with others the value of family.

Right now they are in Russian with the Message band. Check out their website and listen to their music at messageband.com. They are some music videos on there too.

What are the things that you’re good at? Organizing events, writing stories, designing websites, selling cars, or taking great photographs? Maybe you are passionate about providing medical care or education, designing beautiful homes or beautiful hairstyles?

Make the most of your talents. Don’t just dream – ACT.

When you hear the statistics of Russian orphans and it brings you to tears, don’t look for excuses, look for answers. Start saving money, research agencies and set actual goals. You may need to postpone buying a house or going on a vacation. If you keep postponing your dreams until a better time, that time may never come. Trust me, life has a way of throwing things our way all the time.

Some dreams aren’t as spiritual as being a missionary or evangelist, but are just as important. Feeding people may not be spiritual, but it makes me happy. I love sharing our home with others and sharing recipes with other cooks.

You can serve with your skills by selling cars, starting a business, or becoming a physician.

Be the best you could possibly be. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. There are challenges and frustrations and you won’t like every step of the process. Keep your goal in mind.

Be creative. We’ve had a nightmare of getting our paperwork together. It’s been very frustrating and very long. One of the last things that we have to do is have all the documents notarized and apostilled (nationally notarized). The documents are sent overnight to the capital of the state, where they are processed in the Department of State, and then sent out again to us, at which point we send it to our agency.

If you live close to the capital it’s easy to just stop by the Department of State, drop off your paperwork and pick it up the next day. However, if you live 7 hours away, like we do, that’s not an option.

Last week we found out that our social worker completed her part of the documents incorrectly. We had to get the right signatures and then send the paperwork to the capital again. We would lose so much more time. It was very frustrating, since we had already done so much work to get the paperwork finished up to that point, and now to be so close to a referral, to only have more delays. We found a courier service in Tallahassee, who we sent the documents to, she took it to the Department of State and sent it to our adoption agency. Now isn’t that a creative? She is an adoptive mother herself, and saw first hand how valuable this service would be to adoptive families.

So, that’s the news on the adoption front. We could get a referral any day now!

Be like Nehemiah – if you see a need, don’t be complacent. Start acting. he could have easily gotten comfortable in his new home, with his great career, but he chose to care. He chose to make a difference. With a lot of hard work, dedication, passion and divine intervention, amazing things will happen.

Paperwork Part 1 Complete

Tomorrow morning our agency should receive all our paperwork and set the wheels in motion for us to FINALLY get registered in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Yep, we completed our paperwork! This Saturday, we received all those precious pieces of paper, apostilled by the Florida Department of State. They all have fancy gold seals on them, look very official, and most importantly, it means that we are done with the first part of the paperwork process.All these documents are at least one page, most 2-3, some even have more than 10 pages! This was a pretty hefty stack to send out.

I had gone to a baby shower that day and when I came home Sergi told me to close my eyes and led me to our office, where he had all the paperwork spread out. Wow! Kind of appropriate after returning from a baby shower, wouldn’t you say?

When we started the adoption last fall, I never imagined that the paperwork would turn out to be such a nightmare. I thought it would be the easiest part of the process, since we both are organized and pretty good with sorting thorough paperwork and documents. I seriously thought we would have it all completed by February.

Since we were so determined to get the paperwork done and be on our way to Russia, it was very frustrating to work with people who aren’t as motivated as we are and kept prolonging the process. Every piece of paper is worth it’s weight in gold, for the amount of work we had to do to finally get the signatures we needed. Some people would just shake theirs heads and say, “We don’t do this type of thing, or “we’ve never done this before.” Yes, adoption is not that common, but it’s not that difficult, since we provided every single piece of information that would be needed. All they needed to do was sign it. You don’t have a notary? We’ll bring our own. Just sign the paper:).

When we had gone to many different offices, collected signatures, stamps and notaries, we sent the paperwork to the Florida Department of State to get apostilled (national notary). A week later it was all returned, informing us that most of it was notarized incorrectly and we had to do it over again. You’ve got to be kidding me!

Apparently, we need to know the notary’s job too. They had to include a certain phrase in addition to the signature and stamp, which most of them hadn’t.

Now it’s all behind us. We made 2 sets of copies and sent it all to the agency today. Sergi spoke to our case manager and told her to expect it tomorrow morning. We were so excited to hear that she had already told the agency workers in Russia about us and they had “promised” that we should have a referral within 10 days! Of course, that’s if everything goes smoothly and there aren’t any hiccups on the way. We are going to take it though. We soak in any good news and are going to stay hopeful. We just might be flying to Russia very soon!

Please keep praying for us and our children. We will be meeting them soon. I can’t even imagine what it will be like to see them for the first time. Right now I am just reveling in the thought that the first part of the paperwork is behind us and we only have a few more to do to have the second part completed too. It is such a victory to us, I feel like throwing a huge party to celebrate. I would, but I’m too tired. I’ll just drop on the living room sofa and grin up into the ceiling.

We have been faithfully filling out and sending in different paperwork for the past eight months. Last week we went to the bank to get the first stack notarized and then sent it in to the department of state in Tallahasse to be apostilled.  A state apostille (pronounced “a-po-steel”) serves the purpose of authenticating the signature of the notary public who has signed the document. In effect, the apostille is stating that the notary whose signature appears on the document is in fact registered and has a valid, current commission in that state. The documents will come back with a pretty gold seal, making it very official-looking. We are hoping to get the documents back this week. That would be really awesome.

From that point, we will send it to the agency, they will have it translated to Russian and send it to Russia. Then we wait for the referrals. (When they send us basic information and pictures of the children and we decide if we want to proceed witht he adoption and fly to Russia to meet them.)

This week my sister, Elina, her husband, Vlad and their two girls, Adalia, almost 2 years old and Ariella, 2 months old, were visiting us.

Vladimir, Adalia, Ariella and Elina

We had such a great time together. Sergi and I really enjoyed spending time with our beautiful nieces. It made us even more excited to finally become parents.

We have spent the last 6 years as a couple, just Sergi and I, and it will be quite an adjustment to having 2 toddlers in the house. After going shopping with Adalia or Ariella in a carseat in the back, it makes parenting become so much more real.

Addy helping Sergi figure out the carseat

 We got a  small glimpse into our new life and we LOVED it. It was so much fun watching Addy’s pleased expression as she would hand Sergi something to put in the cart. I’m definitely not used to having a little person running underfoot in my kitchen or opening all the cupboards and playing with the mixing bowls.I’m also not used to cuddling a two month old who looks at you so trustingly and smiles so sweetly and wholeheartedly.

What can be more beautiful than a smiling baby?

They have pulled at my hearstings in so many ways! The most important discovery we made was how much richer life is with children around. The world seems happier and brighter. We are very ready to embrace our new roles.

We have heard some great news from our agency and some other families who are adopting from Krasnoyarsk using our agency, who have told us that referrals are coming in very quickly, like within 10 days! We are so hopeful and happy. I just want to go start packing right now:).

We didn’t realize that we can send in the first part of the paperwork and then work on the second part, (which are all the documents that we will need for court), so we finished all of them! Or I should say, the biggest part of the paperwork. We still have a paper or two to finish, but it’s no big deal compared to everything else that we had to do. All of this means, that we shouldn’t have any holdups for court, on our end anyway.

Here’s one of the pictures for court that Elina took outside our apartment.

When you adopt, you have no privacy:). We have to send pictures of every room in our home, the front and back of the house for the Russian court. They even know how much money we have in the bank, what we own, how much we earn, if we have insurance, etc. Even our siblings names, occupations and where they live. It feels kind of funny to disclose everything – I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have anything to hide.  

Please continue to pray for us so there wouldn’t be anymore delays with the paperwork, and we could finish it quickly.

We just might be on a plane to Russia very soon:).

One of the trips to Russia

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