Just wanted to let you all know that there is, in fact, light at the end of this tunnel and that God is good. We're in the process of making some big changes, but we can't exactly share details yet. I promise to let you know just as soon as everything is official. Much love to all of you, thank you so much for your prayers and support--you cannot imagine how important they have been. My best wishes for a great weekend for all of you!
Ok, so here's the crazy part of the week--last Tuesday I went to the doctor with this wonky rash on the right side of my chest and arm...guess what? I had shingles! The Doctor asked if I had been under any stress, since that can trigger them. I said, "you have no idea...."
Luckily, we caught it quickly and the antiviral stuff has worked (although made my stomach funky). I have learned that I probably need to deal better with my stress level, and that I probably also needed the weekend of sleeping a bunch.
No specific news right now, but we will keep you posted and let you know as soon as we know something... Much love!
Just wanted to let you know that there have been some setbacks here with the adoption. We're in the process of re-evaluating what we are going to do, but we would ask for your prayers as we make some serious decisions about where we go from here. We're not giving up, but we are changing directions. Please know that we appreciate all of your support, and that you are so very important to us.
Apparently, Russian banking giant "Sberbank" is doing a new promotional drive for the bank in hopes to inspire confidence and "cutsify" the bank. They're using little creatures they call, get this, "Sberbies"---or maybe they could spell it "Sburbees"? Most people who saw these on the website just thought they were kinda creepy. I have to agree....What do you guys think?
Members of the Russian and the American leadership team for the camp at Lesnoi Gorodok, just outside Moscow...I miss all these people so much! Americans in Russia--we dressed up for "International Night" at the camp--Kevin and Jen are into the spirit, here!
Some of the camp kids singing at the dedication of the Vnukovo United Methodist Church
Last night at the camp worship--a picture of the stage--these were tealights that they lit as part of the worship service
The new Vnukovo sanctuary--isn't it beautiful? And we got to be part of the dedication!
Mike, our fearless leader, accepting bread and salt at "International Night" from Anastasia, one of the Russian leaders at the camp.
In the Kremlin on a Sunday---Irina hangs out with the Americans!
Ok, this was in the Kremlin, and they couldn't resist channeling John, Paul, Ringo and George...we really want t-shirts with this picture on them!
The Kremlin from the river as the sun is setting---wow!
After our trip to the souvenir market--it was a "hat" kind of day!
Hi Everybody! So sorry that it has been so long since I have posted anything. It has been a wild and crazy summer.
Just a few days after we got back from camp, I was headed out the door for Russia! Unfortunately, this wasn't for the adoption, but it was for an amazing mission trip with the people from LaCroix United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
We were in Moscow for more than two weeks--the first week was spent working on the Vnukovo United Methodist Church's new sanctuary and existing building, and then the second week we did the second installment of the youth and young adult church camp at Lesnoi Gorodok. Finally, the last full day we were there, the new sancutary at Vnukovo was dedicated in an amazing ceremony with music and food and prayers and fun.
What can I say? Amazing group of people on the American team, amazing friends old and new in Russia, and God just moving and working and pulling all of this together. If anyone has questions, we also spent a couple of days just seeing Moscow: Red Square and that area, the ballet, a boat trip down the Moscow River, walking down Arbat Street, the souvenir market at Izmailovsky (we stayed at the hotel near the market, so it was literally right outside the door!), exploring the metro, eating at McDonalds, ordering pizza for delivery online from Pizza Hut (go figure!), and wandering through GUM and the Kremlin. We also flew in and out of Domodedovo (a new experience, and a great improvement over SVO, but it was still pretty crowded when we were there--but, no luggage lost, and nobody held up in customs) on the new American flight out of Chicago. Again, an improvement over the trip two years ago, but it is still such a LONG flight to Moscow (that's really the only BAD part of the trip!)
We also spent lots of time getting to know (again) the people and youth at the church, and the kids at the camp. The worship and teaching times at the camp were so Spirit-filled, we had such a great time, and even the food was better this time---sadly, though, I had no REAL pelmeni (just those at the hotel). I miss those kiddos already--thank goodness for facebook, and for the fact that it is keeping some of us in touch now that we're home!
I wish that I had time and space to tell you everything that happened--I will post just some of the pictures, so that you can get some sense of what an amazing experience these few weeks we were there. If anybody has any questions, I am more than happy to answer--
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. ---Proverbs 3:5-6
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption. And by him we cry "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson
Dec 27, 2010------HOME 1 YEAR! Oct 17, 2010------K's 2nd Birthday (the first one with us)! Jan 17, 2010------K's 15 month birthday
Dec 27, 2009-----Finally HOME with baby K
Dec 24, 2009-----To Moscow and to the US Embassy
Dec 23, 2009-----Pick up baby K from the detskii dom in Kaluga--she's ours forever!
Dec 23, 2009-----Finally arrive in Moscow EARLY in the morning
Dec 19, 2009-----Leave (try #1) for Russia with Auntie Susan
Dec 14, 2009-----Final Exams at MSU and Drury
Dec 9, 2009------Leave for home
Dec 8, 2009------Court Date in Kaluga---10:00 am. The nice Judge said YES!
Dec 6, 2009------See baby K again for first time in month and a half
Dec 4, 2009------Leave for Trip 2 to Kaluga
Nov 17, 2009-----Travel dates for Court in Kaluga!
Nov 5, 2009------Last payment to CSS :-)
Nov 3, 2009------Pick up and apostille the notarized copy of Homestudy Agency's new license and Fed Ex to CSS
Nov, 2, 2009-----Homestudy Agency emailed scan of Homestudy Agency's Updated License to Kaluga
Oct 17, 2009-----Baby K's First Birthday
Oct 14, 2009-----Police background checks and updated dossier documents mailed to agency
Oct 7, 2009------Steve's Birthday AND 70th Birthday of the Baby Home in Kaluga
Sept 29, 2009----Petition to adopt baby K notarized, apostilled, and Fed Exed to agency--ALSO, as of today, we've officially been pursuing this adoption for 4 YEARS!
Sept 20, 2009---Our first meeting with baby K
Sep 17-26, 2009--Travel to Russia to meet baby K
Aug 11, 2009----FBI fingerprints taken and mailed
Aug 7, 2009-----Visa applications mailed
July 28, 2009---Travel dates to visit baby K in Kaluga
mid July 2009---Dossier registered in Kaluga region
July 6, 2009---- Dossier pulled from Tula region
Apr 9, 2009-----Dossier registered in Tula region
Feb 24, 2009----Dossier #2 in Russia
Feb 20, 2009----Homeland Security fingerprints renewed
Feb 13, 2009----Dossier #2 apostilled
Feb 11, 2009----Dossier #2 to notary
Feb 6, 2009-----Homestudy #2 finished
Nov 21, 2008----Physicals for homestudy #2
Nov 7, 2008-----Fingerprints done for homestudy #2
Nov 4, 2008-----Homestudy visit with social worker
Oct 21, 2008----Contract signed with CSS
Sept 26, 2008---Received paperwork from CSS
Sept 17, 2008---Visited Dr. and diagnosed with shingles, received call from CHI that Izhevsk is "closed"
Sept 10, 2008---First call to CSS
Aug, 2008------CHI guidelines for correspondence with regions "changed" but no clear communication as to how or what this will mean for us. Follow-up call to agency gives us very different information than just 3 months previously
July 18, 2008---CHI denied Hague Status
May 27, 2008---Visited in CHI office, bad vibes, representative had "lost our file"
Early Feb 2008--Assigned to Izhevsk region
Jan 25, 2008---Dossier #1 Apostilled
Dec 24, 2007---Received Homeland Security Approval
Dec 21, 2007---CHI reaccredited to work in Russia
Dec 13, 2007---First trip to Homeland Security, first set of fingerprints for Homeland Security
Oct 25, 2007---Homestudy finished
Aug 10, 2007---First set of fingerprints for adoption
July 31, 2007---First physicals for adoption
July 5, 2007----Homestudy biographies finished
July 2007------First agencies reaccredited to work in Russia
April 2007-----Began to work on homestudy
July 2006-Spring 2007--International adoptions from Russia basically shut down during this period, while we were also attempting to get settled and moved-in. This was the "black night of the soul" period for me
Early 2006-----Attempted to straighten out the miscommunication with CHI, began the process of paperwork for homestudy, but then learned around March that we were to be moving in June. Agency advised us to wait until after we were settled in new home to begin the homestudy
Dec 2, 2005-----Applied for new passports
Nov 30, 2005---Contract signed with CHI
Nov 21, 2005----Initial phone conversation with CHI representative (mistakenly told to pursue our I-600 first before the homestudy)