Thursday, February 26, 2009


We have power! Of course, I resorted to crying on the phone with the electric company, but hey, whatever works, right? The last time I called (this afternoon) the customer service agent told me the service would be on "tomorrow" and I just lost it. I've been a wee bit stressed and I just broke down. I did keep my composure long enough to ask to speak to a manager, but I'm pretty sure she could already tell I was on the verge of tears.

It worked--we're back in business. :) :)


Our dossier has been shipped!!! Hooray!! Plus, since our facilitator this time lives in Kyiv, we were able to ship through the USPS instead of FedEx. Much cheaper and we still get to track it. I'll keep you posted as I follow our paper packet around the world.

Lots of people have been asking "what next?" Well, now we wait. Some more. ;) Here's a breakdown of what needs to happen:

Our dossier makes it to Kyiv
Our facilitator translates it and finds it to be mistake-free
Our dossier is submitted to the SDA
The SDA accepts it and gives us a travel date
We go get the girls! :) :)

Adoption giveaways!

Head on over to Amanda's blog and check out her great giveaways! They are giving away a Sorrelli brooch and a $50 Paper Shouts GC. Like us, they are in-process to adopt two special needs kiddos (who are also super-cute, by the way).

They're also doing a really cool fundraiser with a walk-a-thon. They have tons of items to giveaway so make sure you check it out! I love her description of the walk-a-thon and all of the significant numbers. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It was a small dime, sitting in the middle of the parking lot. While normally I would have been happy to find it, today it brought me to tears.

I heard this morning that my employment letter was done. Rather than wait the 3 or 4 days it would take to get it from one company location to another, I opted to drive to our other campus and pick it up. The plan was to pick it up and then take it to be apostilled. I wanted to wait while they apostilled it, which I knew would take a little while. As I was walking out to the car, I realized that I had used almost all of my change for parking meters on our last trip to apostille. Well, I thought, God will just have to provide. I figured I could run in, drop off the documents, and then wait for them to be done in the car. I thought my few nickels would be able to handle that.

And then I saw the dime. And God reminded me that he even cares about my little problems, like change for the parking meters.

I went and picked up my employment letter, but it was yet again not right--the date on the letter and the date of notarization did not match. So I waited for a new one, which was able to be done while I was there. I took the two new, correct copies and went for apostilling. I found a parking space and got out of the car with my precious two documents and my few nickels.

And then I saw the remaining 44 minutes on the meter. More than enough time for the apostilling. I cried as I hurried across the street.

The apostilles are done. Our dossier is complete. And I am humbled by a God who loves me so enormously that He would die for me, and so intimately that he cares about my lack of change for parking meters.

Still no power in the other house. It is supposed to be turned on tomorrow, but it's warm enough tonight that you don't need to pray for the radiators. ;) Thanks for helping us keep them insulated.


I love old brick houses! The temperature only dropped a couple of degrees for each floor last night--the radiators are safe! :) :) And the temperature isn't supposed to get below freezing for the next couple of days. Of course, the power is supposed to be turned back on today. I'm still fuming over some communication issues with the electric company that have caused this delay. Hopefully this whole mess will be over soon, and we are VERY thankful that this didn't happen after we had already moved in. Going without power and without heat for a few days would not have been pleasant.

Yesterday Mark and I took the rest of our dossier to be apostilled. I think I forgot to tell you that we already had half of it done. :) Unfortunately, there was a problem with my employment letter. I'm trying to get that corrected today, as our facilitator really needs to submit our dossier soon. There is a chance that one or both of the girls will get transferred to another orphanage if we do not get over there quickly. While they might still be available for adoption, it will complicate things greatly if they are moved. Not to mention that the orphanage they are in right now is wonderful, with a very caring staff, and that might not be true for the next one.

Please pray for my employment letter and that we will be able to get to the girls soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cooling off

Still no power. 47 degrees upstairs, 57 degrees downstairs at 5pm.

Please pray for our radiators again tonight. An unusual prayer request, no? ;)

Will update tomorrow morning, hopefully with good news.

Still no power

Mark went over late last night, but sure enough there wasn't any power. We're praying that the radiators didn't freeze and crack last night. If they did, we are looking at well over $10000 to repair/replace our heating system. And yes, we could put in forced air then, but it would still be over $10000 to run ductwork and buy a furnace.

Mark will be headed to the house after he drops the boys off, so we'll know shortly. If there's water on the floors we're in trouble! I'll post an update as soon as I know anything.

And can someone explain to me why when I call and say our power is out, they send a technician out within 30 minutes who disconnects our power and removes the meter from the wall, but when I need power restored they say "well, we should be able to get someone out there today or tomorrow"???

Edited at 9am: Still no power, but the radiators appear to be intact--no puddles or leaking. Yay! The house is currently between 45 and 50 degrees. Provided we can get the power back on today, we should be okay. And yes, I'm calling the electric company to check on the status of our "ticket" every hour.

Monday, February 23, 2009

In the dark

Since sometime last week we have had a power problem at the new house. As in, half of the house doesn't have power. The weird thing is that it's the back of the house, both floors. And every once in a while the power flickers on for a few seconds and then goes out again. Because the lack of electricity means the first floor thermostat isn't working, we have had to turn the first floor boiler off since it couldn't regulate the temperature. Now the first floor is pretty cool, although we still have heat on the second floor.

I talked to the electric company's repairman, and it looks like we have a problem with our meter base (where the electricity comes into the house). At some point (we don't know if it was the original intent or not) the house was a two-family, divided by floor, and there was one meter for the first floor and one meter for the second floor. Then it was converted to a one-family and one of the meters was circumvented, meaning all of the electricity for the house was going through one meter.

According to the repairman, something has been burning behind the meter base. Basically at some point there was way too much electricity going through the meter base. It's not something we've caused, as we don't have any appliances hooked up yet, but it's something we've got to deal with if we want power (and for our house not to burn down--that's sort of important to me ;)).

I'm tired of spending money just to get the basic necessities for this house. I want to paint, and put up curtains, and get moved in! Every "new" repair means less money for the adoption. That's where I get discouraged. I know God will provide, although I am baffled as to how He is going to do that. :) We do have a life insurance policy we are holding in reserve that will help pay for part of the adoption. We're not cashing it in until we need it for the adoption so we make sure it doesn't get used for anything else.

Thankfully, we have an excellent electrician whom we really trust. He's coming out tomorrow to take a look at the meter box and see what needs to happen. Hopefully by the end of the week we'll have restored power again!

Updated at 10:45pm: The electrician (whom we love!) was able to come out today and replace the meter base (I don't really have any idea what that means; that's just what I was told). I called the electric company at 4pm and they are supposed to be turning our power back on so that our pipes won't freeze tonight. Mark has just gone over to the house to see if the power is on and to relight the boilers if it is.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Did we work them too hard?

Today was "build-a-fence day," in case you were unaware. ;) The four of us rebuilt the back fence of our new house, one picket at a time. The boys helped a little bit but it was an awful lot of nails and they got bored after 40 or 50 4 or 5 or so. The boys spent the rest of their time playing the yard. Unfortunately the rest of the nails still had to go in so Mark and I did a lot of hammering. I am, however, very proud that I am able to help Mark in this way. There are so many things I can't help him with that it's nice to be able to contribute. I think I come from pioneer stock. ;)

Right as we were finishing up the fence, my dad and stepmom stopped by and we headed back to the house (that we live in). We all played for a bit, Mark went to a meeting, and then my dad and stepmom went to meet up with some friends for dinner. Since I knew we still had a bit of evening in front of us, I thought it would be beneficial for the boys to have some downtime (after Zhenya smashed Dima with the drawers under the bed...sigh). So I put in a story on CD and told them to sit on their beds and listen. I didn't want them to fall asleep as it was really too late for a nap, but I did give them the option to lie down if they wanted. This is what I came in to a few minutes later:

Friday, February 20, 2009


Today the boys had a short school day, but because of the way it worked out the school offered care for the students until the time they would normally be let out of school. As a result, the boys spent hours playing basketball--and they loved it. Also in the process, Dima managed to sit in some gum. I am happy to report that hot vinegar and a toothbrush worked and his pants are as good as new. Well, as good as they were before he sat in the gum. They certainly didn't look new. ;)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our monkeys

This is why they're starting gymnastics class next Wednesday. :) I have video, but blogger wasn't interested in loading it tonight. They were laying on top of Dima's bed and flipping themselves under the bed, and then crawling out from under the end.

And just for the record, their bedroom was clean before this (the drawers in the middle of the floor go under the bed) and it was clean again right before dinner. We usually pick up and put away all toys before meals. It just keeps things a little less chaotic. I've found that the times we don't do that we seem to have more arguments after the meal regarding toys. It's like coming back to the chaos of messy toys and rooms makes their minds a little chaotic, too. We certainly don't need that! LOL

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The promised pictures

These are the two other mantels that you hadn't seen yet, mainly because they were lying down on their sides. Mark moved both of them--by himself!--and reattached them to the wall. Do I have the most amazing husband or what?

The one on the left has its missing cabinet door, which is intact, but one side of the cabinet door frame is cracked so until Mark can fix it it's better off unattached. The box in the picture of the mantle on the right contains the missing tiles from the front of the fireplace. Those will get fixed eventually too. :)

Today the boys helped Mark build a new front fence. Mark is rebuilding it as the old one was falling down. Most of the fence boards he is using for the new one are recycled from the old one.
Okay, I have to explain this picture. The boys were waiting for Mark to finish cutting so that they could help him nail in the fence slats. Here, Zhenya is waving his hammer in the air and yelling and giving "manly" grunts. Who knew testosterone kicked in at age 5??

Dima hammering

Zhenya hammering
(Please forgive the poor hammering technique--we're working on that. ;))

Friday, February 13, 2009

Who needs Halloween?

The boys made out like bandits today at their Valentine's Day parties. Quite the haul for two small boys who aren't allowed much sugar. I'm sure Mark and I can help ease the burden, don't you think? ;) I'm so, so happy they got to participate in this. I have lots of fun memories of Valentine's Day parties in school, but we don't really celebrate at home.

Dima has had a fantastic week. He kept all 3 of his apples (they lose them for behavior problems) every day this week! As a result he got a special prize and got to go into another classroom to visit some pet gerbils, which he loves. No fever problems today. I'm pretty sure it was dehydration, and I've been making sure he has plenty of water available today.


There is one aspect of being an adoptive parent that absolutely breaks my heart, and I think about it nearly every night before going to bed. When our boys were little and they would wake up in the middle of the night scared or sick, if they cried out no one came to their rescue. If fact, there's a good chance they were punished. As a result, they have not ever called out to us in the night. One night several months ago Zhenya had a nightmare and woke up screaming and crying. Not once did he call out for mama or papa. This is so, so sad to me as it speaks to so much of what was missing in their early lives.

Last night, Dima got up to go to the bathroom about midnight. He gets up and goes right back to bed without a problem. But tonight at dinner, he was asking me about our bedroom door being open, and I told him that I leave it open a little bit so I can hear him and Zhenya. This sparked a discussion at dinner about how if they wake up scared or sick and call out to me, that I will come to them. And Zhenya brought up how when he woke up crying from "the dream he didn't like" :) :) that papa came in and picked him up. While I don't want to start an every night sort of thing, my heart would really rejoice to hear them call out for us in the night when they need some comforting.

Update on the house

I'm just going to have to make a list...


--Four of our radiators are cracked and need to be replaced. There was one major leak--a 3" hole causing a waterfall down the inside of one wall. We are going to have quite a large bill for the HVAC guy, as they charge $83/hour! We've decided to go into HVAC as our next careers.
--We still have quite a bit of HVAC work to do.
--The plumbing is not complete, and there is some apparent confusion over what else the plumber is responsible for (we personally think, based on the bid, quite a bit).
--We are NOT going to be moving into the house by the end of the month as we had hoped and planned.
--The contractor who was supposed to be fixing our pocket doors has vanished and taken a bolt we need with him.
--Mark found a large slab of concrete in the backyard which is preventing him from putting in the necessary fenceposts for the back fence.


--We have heat! It's a balmy 68 degrees in the "big house," as we refer to it (which is warmer than we keep the house we currently live in).
--We have water, electric, and gas utilities up and running.
--We still have a house to live in.
--Mark has reinstalled all of the mantles and they are gorgeous! Pics hopefully coming soon...
--Mark has put in fenceposts for the front fence and hopefully will have that finished in the next few days.
--Now that we have heat we can patch the many cracks in the plaster walls as well as several holes that were created to repair said waterfall above. And we can paint!
--Did I mention we have heat?? :) :)

Update on the adoption

We have our redone, new medical forms and I think they are correct. ;) We're both waiting on our new and improved employment letters. Mine is supposed to be coming through interoffice mail and Mark is searching for a way to get his notarized as they don't have a notary at work. As soon as we have those documents, we will be taking everything to be apostilled and sent to Ukraine. Do you feel like you've heard that before??

Every day I am more anxious to get to the girls. Two little girls in an orphanage in Ukraine who were featured on Reece's Rainbow died as a result of flu (Margarita and Katerina). Meredith posted a beautiful tribute to them on her blog. I am so thankful that it was not our two, but I know how quickly illness can strike over there with a lack of nutrition and often little to no medical care. However, I also know that our girls are in a good orphanage and most importantly are in God's hands. He will bring us all together at just the right time.

And we have over $1200 in the girls' adoption fund!! Thank you thank you thank you!! :) :)

Update on boys

The boys did great with me gone (in fact, I'm thinking we might need to make this a regular occurrence--just kidding, Mark! ;)). They had good days at school and mostly good evenings with Mark. They expend a lot of energy to obey at school so it's a little harder at night when they're tired. ;) We talked on the phone every night, and they knew where I was as they have visited my mom's house, too.

It was a great trial run to see how the boys do without one of us, but there are still a lot of reasons that I'm not keen on leaving them with anyone else for an extended time (for, oh say, an adoption?). We are still working on behaviors that require close supervision and discipline, and I'm not sure I'm willing to dump that on someone else. LOL

Yesterday Dima came home from school sick--more or less. He had a fever and was a little lethargic. Mark had him all day, and ibuprofen brought his fever down without a problem. He fell asleep at 4:45 and I let him sleep until dinner. When I woke him up for dinner he originally said he wanted to go back to sleep, but then changed his mind after he had his pajamas on and decided to eat dinner instead. He went to bed right after dinner and slept well all night, and was fever free this morning. So we sent him to school. LOL

Seriously, there are two reasons we went ahead and sent him to school. One: he has spiked a fever like this once before, and I think it's due to dehydration. He had no other symptoms outside of the fever and said he felt fine this morning. He hasn't been drinking a lot but has been very active at school. Two: today is their class Valentine's Day party. The boys have never participated in Valentine's Day as they weren't in school at this time last year. Since it's a once-a-year event, I hate to have him miss out on exchanging Valentines with his classmates (I don't care so much about the party). Mark had him drink a few glasses of water this morning--we'll see if he makes it through the day.

Update on me

Thank you all for your prayers and support of my family over the past week. It is much appreciated.

I did go to Springfield for my grandmother's funeral, and because of a generous husband and a generous employer, I was able to stay for a few days to help out a little. The service was good and I was really joyful to know that my grandmother is no longer in pain but is restored and in a loving, eternal relationship with her Father--all due to the choice she made to trust in Jesus Christ.

I also had a good time with my extended family, most of whom I got to see two weekends in a row as we were in Springfield a couple of weeks ago for a work conference for Mark. It was fun to get to talk and enjoy the company of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandfather for a few days.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Watching the progress

The boys had a not-horrible day at school yesterday which was a definite step up from some of the days this week. Today they were able to play a good portion of the day, although Dima had a bunch of homework to do as he has decided not to do his work at school. So he doesn't get to play at home until he finishes the work he opted not to do at school. And they're not things he can't do--he's just being a little rebel.

I was able to have a wonderful talk with a friend from church this morning one-on-one, just chatting over coffee. Mark had a base ball meeting and then he picked the boys and me up and we went to the park. The guys played base ball and the boys and I hung out at the playground. I am so amazed at how much Dima's gross motor skills have improved. Both boys can now swing independently, which neither of them could do when we came home (or even 6 months ago). Dima can jump (from about 5 feet up) and land without falling (Zhenya can't even do that yet! ;)). He loves to climb and run--he can climb on the monkey bars and flip his legs up. When we were at the playground last January (2007), Dima could not even hold himself up on the bars--he didn't have the grip strength. It's really amazing how far he has come in the past year.

And that progress makes me super excited to get the girls home and get them the therapy (and possible surgeries) that they need. I'm anxious to watch them grow and progress and develop in their own ways, and to get to celebrate their successes along with the boys'.

I will be heading down to Springfield, MO, tomorrow for my grandmother's funeral. We decided it would be best not to have the boys there, so Mark and the boys are staying home. It will be an interesting time since this will be the first time either of us have been away from the boys overnight.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Prayer request

I just received word that my maternal grandmother passed away this morning. I'm very happy that she is no longer in any pain, and that she is in the loving arms of her Father.

Please pray for my grandfather, my mom and her two sisters. We are all happy Grandmother is better, but there is still grief for those left behind who will miss her.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Scratch that

The bit about the dossier being done? Not so much.

We got word on Tuesday that our facilitator is changing some of her documents, which means we need to redo some of ours. Unfortunately, that also includes the medical form and the employment letter. I'm waiting to hear if the medical form we have is acceptable--there's a chance it might be and I really don't want to redo that if we don't need to. The employment letters have to be redone since the wording has significantly changed.

The dossier will NOT be sent out this week. Maybe the end of next week if everything falls into place.

Such is life as an international adopter.

But hey! It's more time to get moved in, more time to save money, and more time to get excited. Yep, for the first time I've started allowing myself to get excited about the girls. There are a number of reasons I haven't allowed myself much excitement yet--one of the main ones being that international adoption (especially from Ukraine) can be very uncertain. Things can change at a moment's notice (like paperwork!) and just when you think everything's moving right along you're back to square one. In this case, we're not back at square one, and we are making progress and should have the dossier sent out soon.

I am so very very grateful to the many people who help us along the way...doing documents, answering questions, praying for and with us, and giving to the girls. We're getting closer!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Exuberance for life

Lately, Dima seems to have found a new lease on life. He has been happier than I have ever seen him, and more affectionate too. We're seeing more genuine laughter and less of the chaotic, high-piched giggling that just comes from being over-excited. In addition, he has started exhibiting "normal" little boy behaviors that were missing before--like talking to and playing with his teddy bear.

Dima's teddy bear is a large brown bear that came from school. It sleeps with him at night, and he always wants it there, but he's never paid much attention to it until lately. Recently he's started talking to his bear at night before he goes to sleep. He tucks the bear in with him, or plays hide-and-seek with it under the covers. I'm so glad to see him experiencing strong independent pretend play. He does do pretend play, but in the past it has been intitiated by Zhenya.

We do have to curb his enthusiasm a bit at times--I think he gets so overwhelmed with happiness sometimes it just spills over. He's started bear-hugging people (adults) at church and extended family members. We're not concerned about his attachment. He's pretty solidly attached to us and still displays good signs of attachment. He's only hugging people he knows well, and that he knows Mark and I know well and that he sees us interacting with. But I still had to have a talk with him at church about reserving hugs for family and sharing high-fives and handshakes with friends. Of course, then we promptly went into church and Mark and I were hugged by several people. :)

It's hard to know if we should curb Dima's enthusiasm for loving on people. It's almost like he wants to share his joy with the world. And it's not wrong for him to want to hug people, we just need to teach him the appropriate times and places.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Over a week, huh?

Wow, throw in a few snow days and my schedule's as far gone as the boys'.

Quick updates...

We got a nice little snowstorm which dropped enough snow and ice to close school for 2 days. I was even sent home from work early one day! The boys were very excited to go back to school--they get away with a lot more at school than they do at home.

We spent the weekend with my family while Mark was attending a conference for PTs. It was a nice weekend and the boys had a great time playing with their cousins--although their one girl cousin (5 years old) is really missing out on having some girls to play with. We're hoping we can remedy that. :)

All of our dossier documents are in! Now we need to go get everything apostilled and send it off. For those who are curious, I have no idea for a timeframe. I'm hearing lots of rumors...submit in March and travel in May, etc....but we really don't know when our dossier will be submitted so it's anyone's guess. We'd like to travel after the boys are done with school, although if we leave them here it might be better for them to have the consistent schedule of school.

Serious.Life Magazine

Recently, I stumbled across a blog of a fellow adoptive family. Not only do they have adoption on their hearts, but their little girl Abby is also fighting leukemia. I've enjoyed getting to know the Riggs family through their blog, and I've also learned about a publication that they put out called Serious.Life Magazine. They just published the February issue today which highlights Abby's visit by a whole pile of fraternity boys. :) In addition to the featured stories, they also included a blog rollcall, and we're in it!

The magazine includes a lot of great content from bloggers, as well as great features, photos and other content. The magazine gives away a bunch of ads to charities and ministries. Besides great articles on interesting people, there is a lot about family, adoption, personal finance, spiritual life, humor… all sorts of “life” topics. You can check it out through the link, and if you're interested you can subscribe and receive it free every month. I was pretty impressed with what I read today--particularly the ways to save money! LOL