Monday, December 28, 2009
Tomorrow is Marina's birthday and there is nothing she needs more than us at this point (so no socks and underwear just yet:). She will have spent 5 years of her life in an orphanage with no idea of a mom and dad and brother. I want to request something that will take about 5 minutes for you to do. I heard about this cool idea the other day and it is called 5&5...I am going to ask for a 5 dollar donation for Marina for her birthday through our sponsorship link
http://www.reecesrainbow.org/sponsorbachman.htm then can you forward it to at least 5 people who you truly believe will also donate 5.00 for her adoption fund...and see if they can forward it to 5 people they will truly believe will donate. Guys, we are 9000.00 away from bringing her home. 5 bucks is a cup of coffee to you and me, and a golden ticket to a family for Marina. Please pray this turns into a birthday miracle for her. And for us as well. Then we can all know that we invested just a little bit but as a team it will bring her home. Thank you thank you thank you. Cathy Tully and Evan
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Elsewhere in the world hope is seeping in through the segway of a little girl who does not know she waits for us. Our home study has been sent to Social services for committee review. I assume it will take way longer than I hope but it is completely out of my hands at this point. Tomorrow morning I will take a gamble and put the I-600a immigration request in the mailbox as well. Logical thinkers tell me to wait until I hear from DSS in case they turn us down. The warrior in me knows I will take them to task if they turn us down so I will go ahead and file for our fingerprint appointment and see if we cannot shave some time off of our wait. I have that goal of February 1 outlined in sunlight in my heart as the day we hope to submit our completed everything to Ukraine. This is becoming more and more of a reality every day and it takes my breath away. It is the day the Ukrainian State Department of Adoption reopens for the year and we have worked hard to get the right to stand in that line.
Tully and I spoke a little last night about upcoming events. He remembers the conversation regarding deciding to help Marina much differently than I do. I found it very interesting that we can tell this same story so differently. I think our fears and memories get hazy in order to propel us forward sometimes. In short, he thinks it was me pushing us forward and I felt that the lead was his (even if only temporarily:) "She" that completes thousands of documents is ultimately in charge of motion, at least to a certain degree. I think that God simply used us for each other to take steps forward that we might otherwise have been afraid to make.
We are in still in need of prayers through the holidays. It is still difficult. I wonder that it will be that way forever, even though we have fun in between the hard times. And yet this year is so different from last in that we have come a long way. God's grace is sufficient for us. God has Caylyn and that is sufficient for us. God gave us Jesus as the ultimate lamb, perfect and sacrificial. The more I learn about that kind of love, the more I want to learn. May we learn by doing.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
At some point this last week I dreamed of Marina. That she was sweet and could repeat what we were saying to her. Which means I could hear her voice. This was the first time I have dreamed of her and it was enchanting. For the last few months I have believed her to be in various institutions. Yesterday I received this email that came via Ukraine.
This news was welcomed with tears of joy. I was so surprised at how deeply this affected me. She is doing better than I had imagined and my intensity for seeing her is not driven by fear for her well being as it is simply because I am growing to love her more and more every day. Today she is especially real to me and I cannot wait to see her. Evan was completely enchanting when I told him that God was looking out especially well for Marina and that she was doing well. He jumped out of his chair and ran and hugged me, telling me this was wonderful! I did not see that coming! He understands so much for a 4 year old. And he is looking forward to being her brother, asking me many questions that I have no answer for. I now have two peices of information on Marina. One is her photo, that is old. The other is this update as to where she is. Not too much I can share with Evan that is not speculation.
Our home study is nearly ready to go to DSS for their final approval. I have finished all my information finding and returned it to our social worker. Then it goes to immigration for processing. Pray for speed and precision for God's timing and reasoning for this rocky journey. Evan is sleeping next to me as i type this, having gotten up to see if it has snowed at 7 am, which it has not. But the day is cold and grey, something we do not usually see until February here in the south. Love, Cathy
Sunday, November 22, 2009
And speaking of Hi Marina...I went to church by myself this morning because Tully stayed home with Evan who was coughing his head off...and as I was listening to the music I got so caught up in realizing that one day she really will be here, God willing. I really will hold her little hand and watch her as the music flows through her from head to toe. The tears began to well and then fall. The sermon was on Love. The only change I think I could make to 1 Corinthians 13 is that love is patient...it should say that love is fierce. I find that my love is not very patient with the space that is between us. It is the same sort of determination that I feel when I know I will see Caylyn again and throw my arms around her too. Mother love. The kind that can make you crazy insane to keep harm from your little one, protecting at all costs. Mother bears insight a sort of connotation for a reason...Then there is Jesus love. The kind of love that can make you crazy insane to understand that someone loves you that much...enough to die for me and you and prepare a place for me and you, and my children, and your children...for all those that love Him too. What an honor to be loved by the King of the Universe. What an humble honor. May we be fiercely full of love and grace and thanksgiving as we celebrate a day of being thankful for all that we are, no matter where we are. Our opportunities are boundless when they are backed by God Himself.
Plowing forward. This is our journey with the breathe of God at our back.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Anyhow I found this exerpt from her blog this morning and wanted to share it just a little further...
Francis Chan wrote, "How we live our days, is how we live our lives." I had to read it several times as I let it soak in. Because it is true. So often we find ourselves waiting for a specific moment, a specific call, something special. For what? How we spend our days... that will be our LIFE. Because today could be it. If Jesus came back today and said, "Let's go!" would we be ready? Would we be doing what we want to be doing when we meet Jesus? People say to me often, "You are so lucky that you found your calling, that you know your purpose in life." This statement boggles my mind. I AM so blessed to live the life that I do. But it isn't rocket science. God did NOT part the sky and shout out to me, "Katie! Serve my people." I read it in His word. You can too. We can all see as plain as day that Jesus says the number one commandment is to love the Lord and love your neighbor.
Wow. That is profoundly simple. Until you read it again. And widen the understanding. I want to do more and better than I did yesterday. Or the day before that. But in order to do that, I can only accomplish that when I let go of me. Because I am not big enough to do God size things. But God is big enough to do God size things through me when I let Him. And letting Him in feels like sunrise on my face. I saw a book title the other day while perusing Amazon and the title was a one sentence Whammy. "Deliver me from Me-ville". What else can I say? I did not even have to buy the book-(at least not yet:). The title alone was extremely loud in the way it pointed a finger. The apostle Paul talks about how every day he has to die to self. It sounds like we are giving something up that we need. But we are not. We are giving up smallville for a Grand Plan. Life is hard most days. What makes life hard is that we are often waiting for something that we have focused on as a goal. So we end up losing the days that we do have our hands on.
Today is a new day. Be thoughtful how you spend it because you exchange one day of your finite life for it. Leave something good that makes a difference where today is. I personally have succombed to the enemy of stolen opportunity many times. "where did the day go?" "Wow time flies"....Time never seems to just walk in sync with me. It either flies or crawls...and in clarity here, it does both at the same time. Wow this was a long day, but it sure flew by! What will today bring in opportunity to serve, to give? To share a kind word, a soft smile, a chance to make a difference in someone's day? I learned recently that church is not where your own ministry is. It might be, but the Church provides opportunities. Not ALL opportunities, but some. A few, really. But I am exposed to the Heart desires of God all the time. These are my own personal opportunities to serve. And I have probably blown it a million times. Conservatively speaking.
Grace from God gives today a new chance to be tomorrows yesterday with results. This is a lot like saying "play nice" and "don't run with scissors". We know these things and yet we allow the enemy to steal our days anyway, as we don't play nice and sometimes run with scissors when no one is looking. The next thing we know, we are in time out, and bleeding. Waiting on something we know in our souls will not look like the painting we have crafted. And the potential for it to be way better than our childish version is always there when we let it go. Trading finite wisdom for infinite. So Lord, I let go of the day and offer it to you. I know you know me. I know You love us all. Talk with me in my times of floundering and frustration, when I do not understand that you are indeed creating the most amazing tapestry of our wildest imaginations, if we would just stop pulling the threads and let you work.
If you did not know from the subject matter here, we are still waiting on approval from the next level of DSS. Slowly our dossier (french word for "your soul on paper") which is complete, is beginning to get un-complete as the time frame for said documents withers by the calendar of constriction--nothing can be over 6 months old, not even the ten year old marriage license--the notary on it has to be recent when it is submitted. The notary license has to be NOT expiring for a year after we submit. In blind faith I will re-order the documents. And the notary stamp has been reapplied for. Perhaps we will travel in the spring now. But I know it is not my plan to force. We can only be obedient to doing our part. Thanks for prayers. And I have finally wisened up and stopped asking God to teach me patience:). Now I just ask for it as a gift. Give me patience. I resist the obvious faux pas to tack on the word "Now".:)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Yesterday we loaded up the Durango with tent, 2 blow up mattresses, 2 camp chairs, toys, clothes, bedding and bath items, small coffee pot, cookware, food for a week and no flashlight. We are going camping for 2 days. Never think an item is too obvious to put on the list.
My husband takes on the driving as it gives him radio control privileges. I cannot hear anything whatsoever because I have a new book and have been transported on page 11 into the story. Our son is settled in to the back seat with various items designed to keep "Are we there yet?" to a minimum for our 4.5 hour trip. All is well and the book is pretty good. I look up at the first "are we there yet"? so I can give a truthful answer. what I see is a big blue sign that says "Welcome to Georgia". Since we are camping in Murrells Inlet in Myrtle Beach this sign is not so welcome. We are almost 2 hours the wrong direction on I-20. There is no shortcut back. I will spare the details but Thank God Almighty for nap times for 4 year olds. When he awoke we were exactly back to the point we got off track, two and a half hours prior. There is no one in the car I do not feel sorry for. No, we are not there yet.
It is dusk going dark when we pull up to Huntington Island state park. Again we are greeted by a welcome sign that is nearly covered over by the no vacancy sign. This is not so welcome either. Seriously I begin to doubt my husbands salvation as I hear non christian verbage (and nounage) coming from his mouth. Twenty more minutes in the car is torture now but we break up the monotony with a victory cry when the illumination of the Dollar General sign looms ahead on Hwy 17 Garden City Beach. 3 flashlights and some tylenol and a pack of gum and socks later we are excited to be in the final 10 minutes of our prison on wheels. It starts to sprinkle small drops of rain.
we check in to a nearly packed ginormica camp ground and are given a sight near the bathroom. This sounds both great and logical as I sign the paperwork. As we find the sight, having circled the dark ginormica campground three times in search of "our" sight I realize the bathroom is lit up as a lighthouse beacon simulating daylight for all. It begins a steady rain. I walk back to the camp store to renegotiate our space. She kindly gives us the darkest on in the entire campground. At that point all the rangers have gathered around the glow of the weather radar screen. One pinpoint green dot of precipitation. Over the campground. I feel conspicuous now. I know it is over me. Rolling my eyes and blowing rain out of my dripping hair I mutter "Go figure" and nonchalantly head back out to traipse through the green dot effect. I get BACK in the car. We circle the campground entirely 2 more times to the irritation of those already asleep. We locate our pitch black hole and i am temporarily afraid that we will be sucked in to the dark never to return. I forget about this possible out to this impossible day as it begins to torrentially downpour. My laughter, not driven by joy, borders on maniacal. Having borrowed the tent, there is no familiar feel to the wet metal bars that fall into the mud. Luckily there is a picture of what it is supposed to look like and that has to suffice for instructions. I cannot wait for the rain to stop because I cannot stand sitting in the car for one more second. Our son deliriously cries that we are here! we are here!. It is too dark to know exactly where here is but yes, here we are none the less. In 30 minutes the tent is up thanks to the help of the head lights gracing 1/3 of the entire section of the campground we have been allotted between two large winnebagos. At 9:15 pm there is no way to start a campfire out of green wet wood. We eat cold hot dogs and tortilla chips, bananas and gogurts. Our 4 year old bounces in joy and says it is the best supper ever. I love him to pieces for carrying his positive outlook for this long. I now vow to stay with him on this. Tomorrow is indeed in sight.
The air mattress is also new as I bought it off craigslist just yesterday for fifteen dollars. It is awesome and actually the height of a regular bed with box springs. As I join my son in the tent for our dry cold dinner by flashlight I sit on the edge of the bed. Never do this unless you are in the circus. I realize too late that I have sat on air with a full plate of food. Seconds later I recover to squeals of delight from my son. My plate is semi-intact. My dignity far from it. "Do it again mom, that was funny!". Lucky for me my husband is still out muttering in the dark amidst the soft rain, trying to make a ham salad sandwich from memory, since he cannot see his hands.
Finally we are physically ready to release the day. Mentally it was gone hours ago. At 5 am I realize that the entire campground IS the flight pattern for the Myrtle Beach airport, now supporting jumbo jets bright and early...bright may be too optimistic there.
I lay in the soft darkness, remembering my prayer list and lifting up those I love and some I am not sure about but feel their burden, to the high court of powerful appeals. The soft breathing of both my husband and my son are the only sounds that filter through the air. Seamlessly the sun rises up the most beautiful morning. Coffee is brewed. Hot chocolate next. Fire brings about eggs and bacon, blueberry bagels, juice and yogurt. Our RV neighbors do not hate us as much as I had imagined the night before. The light of the day reveals that we are only 3 camp sight blocks to the beach...which we drive. We are not lazy but a 50 pound tired 4 year old will be heavy later on. The sky is a true Caribbean turquoise and it is 80*. We pile out of the car and our son hits 50 miles per hour on legs, failing to stop even due to the 65* water and the waves are screaming riptide. Actually I am screaming stop, riptide. He does and now I remember why we go camping. This beautiful day is why. The ocean is bigger than us and reminds us of God --wild and unpredictably predictable, and always there. "Look mom, magic shells!!" I agree, then back up and ask why they are magic...the answer is simply because they are so beautiful he says. I look at the beaten broken shells in his sandy wet hand. They are beautiful. I think they might be a lot like us. They became magic when they were noticed and appreciated.
With that thought wafting through my mind, my husband lays a perfect albeit lifeless monarch butterfly on these little pages of this now documented journey. The day may be fleeting but it is ours. Yesterday must have been the caterpillar. Today the beauty of a Monarch is laid in my lap.
I wrote this a couple weeks ago on our camping trip. I am sharing it here to remind me that sometimes even the worst part of a journey has its purpose. We are currently under review in the highest offices of DSS investigations. They do not make exception to their rule very often. I imagine very few people ask them to consider this request. I have a little more paperwork to gather tomorrow. Maybe that will be it. In the meantime we pray for Marina to remain healthy and patient and well out of harms way. I would hate for her to ever get to miss this family idea of a vacation:)
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Now for the details...of course we were late due to a 15 car fender bender mess on I-26. I seriously wonder how those people ever get to work on time that live there. Traffic is hideous. The pardon started around 9 and Tully and I went in and faced the Pardon board members. They opened up the affair by asking various questions. Tully of course did not get a peep out of me to help but those board members seemed to want to hear from him mostly, and any of you that watch us in conversation know that it is a bad habit of mine to offer him my words when his might tumble around on his tongue...but not today. I tried to sit still and not bawl...the adrenaline is wicked in that sort of pressure. Getting up at 5 a.m. and consuming half a pot of coffee does not help. But it was only minutes later and we were escorted back to where my mom had Evan in the lobby. And we waited for their verdict. The NICEST woman came in to tell us his pardon was granted. I fought back the urge to bawl and the big boulder rolled off my chest. They even knew we needed our certificate of freedom right then and did what they could to provide it in about 15 minutes. That was it. I realized on the way there this morning that Evan thought we were actually getting Marina today but other than that it went much better than anything I could have expected. It has been a long exhausting busy day and tired is an understatement so I close with thanks to everyone who prayed and wrote letters and made phone calls on our behalf, which is really Marina's behalf. Life got a lot brighter for her today I think. Once we are approved through DSS which I expect soon, we can send off our information to request permission from immigration (USCIS). This will be the most difficult time frame. I must go finish some dossier paperwork now and research the immigration process since it changed 9 days ago. This must all be approved and notified back to us by Nov. 20th. Exactly 3 weeks. Or no travel date until the spring. Don't stop praying now!! Thanks fervently all of you, Cath
Thursday, October 22, 2009
We are heading out to go camping for a couple of days with Evan who has been on a "lets go camping at the beach" quest for a couple of months now. I checked the weather and it looks like either now or never...so we will likely head to Hunting Island this weekend and see if it is as relaxing as it looks in the pictures on their web sight. We are really looking forward to this but no one as much as Evan who is binging off the walls with this dream come true. I love the child enthusiasm. It is totally to the edge and quite infectios as well--I wish we were more like that in our life quest but we tend to slow down on our hurrahs and our level of excitement gets stuck a little closer to the middle of the road...so my prayer for you today is that we all find something that kickstarts our hearts and puts a smile all over us- and we invade someone else with it--someone else who is stuck in the middle of the road. What a neat goal to share with someone, as the sun is cresting over the horizon. And as our sun comes up, little Marina is heading for bed on the other side of the world....
Friday, October 16, 2009
But after peeking into all of your lives and especially 'getting to know' all the sweet children on RR, I have evolved into feeling like it is me who is missing out by NOT having a DS child. I feel like they represent pure love in it's most innocent form. I have mentioned to relatives that I think our next adoption will be a child with DS, and they look at me like I have two heads! But, they just haven't
'seen' yet. When I think of the Bible verse "let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these" I especially think of a child with DS, with their joy and innocence. And I thank all of you, and especially Andrea with her passion and love for these children, for opening my eyes and my heart to the beauty and potential of each child that the Lord has created with that special 'extra something' called down syndrome."
This was a recent post on our adoption chat group. I thought it was so amazing and it reminded me of how many people do not choose to follow through with a special needs birth because society convinces them that not perfect is not good enough. It also reminded me that sooo many people do not know that there is such joy in this life amongst the struggles. It is why we are adopting Marina. Because God loved us so much that He trusted us with Caylyn and knew that we would learn to live through Cay's life and ultimately through her death. I wonder that He held his breath as he waited for us to know that it would be a good thing to commit to more chaos and love in our lives. Loving is scary. Releasing someone you love to the arms of God is even scarier. To say you will do it again, well, that is either brave, loony...or we are being held to the standard that was the hopes for us in the first place. To get back up when gale force storms completely knock you out. To realize that Christ is standing behind you in a life changing game of trust--just fall back and don't even look. Now that is faith. Of course God has never dropped me, but he sure has scared me half to death a few times. He has a dramatic side.
Orphan sunday is coming up in November and if you ever thought that you were destined to do something big in your life consider that these kids are sitting on a shelf, already cast aside and waiting for something that they do not even know exists. A family. Consider sponsoring an adopting family, or become one. Life is meant to be lived. and you just have no idea what you are missing:)
We are doing everything possible to beat the clock on our dossier submission. The USCIS clearance requirements have been relocated to a central location in Texas. I have every suspician that this will not shorten the process. However my God is bigger than (even) our own government so if we are to travel then it will happen. It will happen easier with prayer. Maybe the difference is you. Please lift Marina for safe keeping? Thank you so much. Cathy
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Tully and I are scheduled for his pardon hearing on October 28th at 8:30 a.m. so if you are in the Columbia SC neighborhood of the pardon and parole board, drop by in support. I am still trying to figure out how we are going to get there at that hour:) In addition I have written a request to the Department of Social Services to meet with their investigations board for a review of our request as well on the same day. It is ultimately them that we need to appease. I have yet to hear back but they likely have not had time to consider my request to meet with them so will post when we hear from them next. After that we will submit our 1-600 to INS, the immigration board who will consider our international request. We are moving as fast as we can, but it is not us who is leading this motion, or we would have been there already. As of last night we have indeed been informed that the Ukraine State Department of Adoptions will stop accepting dossiers (the entire compilation of US on paper) as of November 30, 2009. We have precious little time to manage this effort before Marina falls through the cracks. I ask that you please pray with us to conquer the walls between us and her. I do not believe this can be done without prayer. Prayer is what has gotten us to this point so I see no reason to slack on it now! :)
In addition to all of our own fundraising I have felt lead to assist another little girl who does NOT have a family as of yet. Reeces Rainbow utilizes the Christmas season to fund raise for their noncommitted children who have Down Syndrome in an effort to increase the grants for future families. This is how Marina came to have 5000 dollars in her grant before we committed to her. The focus of our Christmas child is Sophia who will be 2 in February of 2010. She is relatively young for a Ukrainian orphan and we hope to really make an impact with her fund raising. If you have any indiviual or group interest in assisting us with Sophia's grant raising please contact me at email@example.com. I will have bracelets available for her and also Christmas ornaments for her to commemorate that she is not forgotten.
Sophia will be 2 in February and has a mild heart defect and Down Syndrome. It is possible that her heart defect has healed, which is often the case with orphans checked at birth and then again years later. I will post more details of the fund raising as the opportunity solidifies. Thank you for remembering us and these beautiful children who have mistakenly been set on a shelf. Cathy
Monday, September 21, 2009
As of late I can only hear the echo of James, "You have not because you ask not." Please help us as we pray for the efforts to clear our past and our paperwork to plow forward at breakneck speed. We want Marina home before Christmas. With rumors of an Israeli preemptive strike in December and so many other grumblings in the world, I desperately want to get our family together and back on American ground. Craziness is brewing and I do not want her lost in the cracks of the earth. I wish they could all be safe somewhere, a place to call home that is lavished with love. "I cannot save all the starfish but I will make a difference to this one."
- Posted September 15th, 2009 at 10.45am in American Leadership.
MOSCOW - Is the Obama Administration, busy pushing the “reset button” with Russia is about to suffer a geopolitical setback in Ukraine ? When talking to the security experts here, it sure looks like it.
Ukraine is the key to making Russia an empire and, some here believe, a superpower once again.
In the run up to Ukrainian presidential elections in January 2010, the Kremlin has been ratcheting up pressure on President Victor Yushchenko, which Moscow regularly vilifies as pro-American and anti-Russian. .
Ties between the two countries have increasingly frayed following the 2004 Orange Revolution, the 2006 and 2009 gas conflicts, and the war in Georgia last August. The relations have reached their lowest point in recent weeks, and there is a buzz in the Moscow policy elite of further mischief to come.
The current tensions between the two countries were starkly illustrated by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s recent letter to the Ukrainian leadership.
Medvedev accused Preisdent Yushchenko of a litany of anti- Russian abuses, including arms supplies to Georgia before the 2008 war. Medvedev has announced withholding the appointment of the new Russian Ambassador to Ukraine until more “positive dynamics” are reached in bilateral relations after the elections.
A similar message was ominously conveyed in Medvedev’s presidential video blog. Standing on the balcony of his Black Sea residence in Sochi , with a war ship in the background, Medvedev delivered a stern message that resembled a threat of a war to come.
This letter and the video address were clearly intended to undermine pro-Western forces in Ukraine and offer support to pro-Russian politicians and separatists, especially in the Crimea, a majority-Russian speaking peninsula in the Black Sea .
The Russian leadership and Kremlin strategists believe that there is much at stake in the coming presidential election. Many of these issues are strategic, and after the lukewarm response by the West to the Georgian war and Russian-instigated secession of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Ukraine may be the next target.
The anti-Ukrainian rhetoric in Moscow resembles the invective against Georgia before and after the last war.
Ukrainian politicians call the Medvedev’s letter a blatant interference in Kyiv’s internal affairs. The anti-Ukrainian campaign is in synch with Russia ’s aspirations to secure the “privileged sphere of interests” President Medvedev called for after the Georgian war and many time since. It surely starts to look like an “strategic information campaign” before a massive political intervention — or worse.
Moscow has a number of goals in Ukraine . Foremost, Russia is determined to maintain its Black Sea Fleet base in the port of Sevastopol , beyond the expiration of the current naval basing agreement in 2017. Russian tactics to achieve this objective include distribution of Russian passports in Crimea; a campaign to change the procedure of appointing the mayor of Sevastopol, and the loud encouragement of separatism by prominent Russian politicians such as Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow, and Konstantin Zatulin, a loudmouth nationalist MP.
Secondly, Medvedev’s message contained a pointed criticism of the recent EU-Ukraine agreement on pipeline modernization. Ukraine is a key energy transit state for Russia . Around 80 percent of Europe’s gas imports from Russia travel through its pipelines.
Ukraine ’s importance to gas transit will be undermined when Russia finally bypasses it by building Nord Stream pipeline to Germany in the Baltic Sea and possibly the South Stream pipeline across the Black Sea to Bulgaria , Romania , Hungary and Austria .
Lastly, it is clear that Russia is heavily committed to persuading Ukraine to abandon its road to NATO and the EU. Russia ’s information campaign is also focused on defeating support for the European Neighborhood Policy; making Russian the second official language:; and on bringing about a “favorable” result in the presidential elections.
Russians would like to see Victor Yanukovich as the next president. He is the leader of the Party of Regions, who was defeated in the past by both Yushchenko and (in the parliamentary elections) by Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko.
Moscow may “swallow” a Timoshenko victory, although the relationship may be a rocky one.
The danger is that, as Europe and US are asleep at the wheel, Moscow may encourage separatism, seriously destabilize the Crimea or even Eastern Ukraine if one of the candidates fails to concede the elections.
Ukraine is emerging as a flash point in relations between Russia and the West. 2010 may be the Year of Ukraine — and it may not be a pretty sight.
The author wants to thank Owen B. Graham, Research Assistant at the Davis Insitute and Khrystyna Kushnir, a Fullbright Scholar from Ukraine , for help preparing of this blog.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I spoke with the Deputy in Chief of the Governors office today. She is a remarkably nice person and took more time than she should have to listen to my story. Even the part where I repeat that time is of the essence. She asked me if I wanted her to make a follow up call to see where we are. Dragging in a deep breath, I answer yes, and I am hopeful that I do not assist in aggravating those in charge of this crazy circus hoop that we must jump through called a pardon. This is not my dwelling ground and I do not exactly know the protocol for how much is too much with the Pardon and Parole Board. But God can manage the world without me worrying about every step so today I pray that I represented His will in the course of events. May He use this next phone call to nudge it even closer to allowing us to really begin to roll.
I have spent the evening painting sugar cookies we made in the shape of the letter A. The cookies are Evan's calling card because every time we are in charge of the cookies, we always paint them blue with the best powdered sugar icing around. This week the letter is "A" and we make the snack for 5 days to represent said letter. Monday was applesauce, tuesday was fresh apples in agave, tomorrow is blue A sugar cookies. With the two days after that I am contemplating artichokes, anchovies and apricots. So far no recipe is stepping forth to accommodate me. as you can see life with a 4 year old can be thought provoking. While I am making cookies, he is riding home from daycare with his dad at the wheel. Evan says he wants to get sick so he can die and go to heaven to play with Caylyn. Today at school they learn the "sign" for "Play". We have known this for years because Caylyn taught us. No wonder heaven looks like a good idea today... anyhow I think Tully responded sweetly when he explained that we would all go when God invited us but we have a job here as a family and we have alot to do to get ready for Marina who needs us to be here when she gets here. Then a long time from now, we would get to see Cay and Jesus too. Man, and I thought the cookies were giving me a hard time....
Last week it was a year and a half that Caylyn has been gone from our care. It hardly seems possible that it has been that long. Which just goes to show how weird time is. When you want to hold something forever it can slip away. Then it holds you forever in a state of want. In the meantime the world surely must be picking up speed because time is flying by, except on the days it is standing still. At this point you are thinking, time is not the weird thing here...
I got my passport back, and Tully and I will complete our health tests on Friday (his is done but results in 2 weeks). I will next acquire payroll information and documents regarding our home and the square feet and how many bathrooms it has. I honestly think people do not adopt because it is insanely tedious and ridiculous in some of the intensity of the questions. Followed by making sure you have a notary person in your pocket for emergency notifications which is every single peice of paper.
It is time to put Evan to bed. I think his heart rate is back to normal now that he has watched a little tv--earlier he had turned on the whirl pool jets while taking a nice bath and there was only enough water in the tub to certify the jets as weapons. He was screaming like a madman and it was really hard to look concerned while inwardly trying to contain peels of laughter. I cannot wait to see what all he teaches Marina when she finally does get here! His skills are mindblowing:)
PS I wonder that it is a coincidence that Evan's bible verse he has memorized this week is Proverbs 2:6? Only the Lord gives wisdom. Knowledge and understanding come from Him.
i haev heard it 50 thousand times this week and it gets more reassuring everytime I hear it. Especially since I do not believe in coincidences.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Usually my own view of autumns breathe in a sense of slowly dying but not this one. This one is a fighting season, one dressed with armor to defeat the clock of allowing Marina to sit in her own cold winter without us. I wonder if her winds of change have begun to blow internally? What has God whispered in Marina's dreams the way He did for Caylyn to take away the fear of her change?
Yes, Tully and I talked about how we both feel a new zeal brewing internally. By the way, the Governor's phone call has moved mountains and someone was placing appropriate calls to those who wrote character letters on behalf of Tully. Working right up to the 5 oclock hour on a holiday weekend from a government office. If we can just get everything together for them by wednesday of this week, maybe we can make that deadline to actually filing our dossier by October for a winter travel date. Otherwise we wait for the spring and too much sitting and hand wringing will be accomplished with that--besides her windows of opportunity will slide a little further towards closed. Institutional life can be life depleting from all I can process about it. So much to do, so little time.
Evan has learned his first bible verse this week through his soccer team devotional time. Proverbs 2:6 "Only the Lord gives wisdom. Knowledge and understanding come from him." May each of us be granted the wisdom He is lavishing, may we know and understand that His ways are the most appropriate for the path we walk, and the love we seek. Then may we trust it for all it is worth. Which is everything.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The bracelets have really taken off and I have a thousand dollars to send in to Reece's Rainbow for Marina this week when we get back home from Pennsylvania as we are here to celebrate Sue's big birthday (Tully's mom). I won't say which big birthday but it sure was fun and great to see so many family here--the food, friends and family were plentiful. It has been a great week and the weather has been incredibly accommodating, though fall is definitely hinting with the breezes that it is on the way. This breeds a new sense of urgency with the speed at which fall is arriving. I so truly do not want Marina in the Ukraine through Christmas unless we are with her. Please pray for the time line to work in her favor. Every day matters.
I really want to thank my niece Chelsea Callais for re-designing this websight--it is so amazing and NOTHING that I could have come up with in this millenium. What an amazing sight now, and thanks for the grand work. For those who need this done, she is also available for hire for a nominal charge. Obviously she has some skills and I might add too, speed!
I would just like to add that we need many prayers to get through the process so if we come to mind, take a moment and ask God's favor for Marina. If definitely takes a village to raise a child...and I believe it takes Prayer warriors to protect her from the things that are set to doing harm. Thank you if you are a warrior.
One last note, I am going to be published for the second time in Rejoice Magazine this next issue. I am grateful to share the gift I have been given through such a wonderful venue.
Happy birthday to Sue!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
As for Marina, she has been transferred to an institution but I am told that is ok for the moment and it will be easier to gather her into our world. I know it motivates me to get busy on her paperwork-I took a hiatus from it after spending 8 hours organizing it. Tully's heart is beginning to awaken to her coming again. I know he had shut down on the dauting fact that we had alot of hurdles to overcome. And he had shut her out because it is painful to entertain losing another child, even if it is one you have never had. But he is working harder on the playground he is building and mentions how he has made consessions for a ramp if the ladder is too much for Marina. Hope has a voice now even if it is small.
The other moving motivator is that the Ukrainian State Department of Adoption will close down in November for a 3 month holiday. If they do not have the dossier in October it could easily be february before we see her...and she will be 5 and she will have lived in an institution for way too long. So today I reassess our paperwork and see if I cannot align a few paper stars. Just in case.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Give sweet hugs to Cay for us. We miss her so much. What a lesson in love and diligence you sent. Wow.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Habakkuk 2:3 tells me that the vision is for an appointed time...though it tarries, wait for it because it will surely come.
How many of the Psalms ask me to wait upon the Lord? just about every one I have read seems to mention this important task. And so I relinquish my hold on the plans I know he has for me, plans for hope and a future, plans not to harm me but to prosper me. (Jer 29:11) I let God by God, and I will simply be me. It is a good fit and I am grateful that the world is not my responsibility today. I am also grateful for his promises and his instruction book. what would we do without them?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I am haunted by the stories of people who make the summit of Everest. Such incredible devotion is required, such total focus of body, soul, and spirit. Reaching the top of the world’s tallest mountain becomes for those who try the central driving force of their lives. The goal is so remarkable and the journey so uncertain. Many climbers have been lost on the mountain. Those who reach the summit and return safely are among a rare and elite group of mountaineers in the world. Why do they do it? How do they do it?
John Krakauer recounted the desperate tale of the ill-fated ’96 expedition in his book Into Thin Air: “There were many, many fine reasons not to go, but attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act—a triumph of desire over sensibility.” It is a feat begun in desire that can be accomplished only through desire. Krakauer explained how one of his climbing partners attained the summit: “Yasuko had been propelled up the mountain by the unwavering intensity of her desire.”
Desire—it’s the only way you will ever make it. Take marriage, for instance. Or singleness. Either makes for a far more difficult and arduous ascent than Everest, in large part because it does not seem so. The struggles are not heightened and focused into one month of do or die; rather, they stretch on across a lifetime. So it is with any act of faith or of hope—anything, in other words, that makes a life worth living. How can we possibly sustain such an intrinsically irrational act as love if we’ve killed our desire?
(Desire , 18–19)
This is the way I feel about getting through to bring Marina home. It is an unwavering intensity of desire to touch her with my hand to her little face, to bring her face a little smile, to seal her heart with the hope of Love, where she may know none. Caylyn is the one who delivered the message that love is alive and well in our home. It has been resuscitated and rescued from absolute death, a revival the likes that anyone who knew us would have to see to believe. Of course, the orchestration by the graceful sway of God's hand creating our beginner's song of life is the true songwriter of our ability to love. Trusting Him in his message is seen as daring in a society that demands perfection, that proverbial carrot we chase. His rules of creation though, include rules that we have been taught ought not to apply to us--we cannot embrace defective children, surely you don't ask that of us? I promise you His economics of design are not bound by what we think we can and cannot have, do or be subjected to. And yet can you imagine for a moment that I know many families who are jumping at the chance to bring home a child such as that society deems damaged. Why do you suppose that is? Could there be something to the giving rule of love? Love is patient and kind, not jealous or boastful or proud or rude....Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. If that is what Love can be here on earth, imagine this..."No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9) I admit I am a novice at Love but I do know that the more true love you give, the bigger it gets. Hitching our hearts to the creator of love seems like an insurmountable explosion of Great Love....perhaps that is the real Big Bang theory?! Like we would be so blown away by the reality of what God is creating for us on the plains of heaven! Makes me want to go see now, but I have committed to loving these children and bringing hope to their hearts first. I have prayed since Evan was a small baby that he would rise up to be a mighty warrior. My position as his teacher and mother to his life here on earth is not finished yet and I shudder to think of him unprepared because of anything I failed to help him with. Yes, our days are filled with busy and crazy, the two sidekicks that seek to make us insane, but under it all there is an order to this plan that boggles the mind heart and soul of mere man. That the spirit has the tenure to whisper it into our hearts nonstop is a comfort on its' own.
In the Message Psalms 51:17 reads "Heart shattered lives ready for love don't for a minute escape God's notice".
Lord, give me the wisdom to be patient to your rules. It is your "game" and I am only in it because you created me in the first place. I want to find the joy and excitement in knowing you are indeed guiding me. And honestly, I cannot wait to see you at the end of this life. Congratulating me on finding my way, catching me as I run, a winner, into your kingdom. In the meantime, allow my life to be an example to others in the game, so that they too, may be a part of the happy ending. Protect this wild journey with surprise twists and turns, never a surprise to you. Chutes and ladders is not a game for sissies and whiners, is it?
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I believe God whispered today. I also think he whispered to Marina to be patient. Things are happening she cannot imagine. In that light I believe things are happening that I cannot imagine either. I am grateful for the faith that has carried me daily. I am blown away by the support for years by my friends and family. I am humbled that God ever chose me in the first place. I would love to be remembered because I answered His whisper and was obedient to His calling. and the One I want to remember me is only Him.
Hang on Marina, someone is coming. You are special. We are all special but most importantly, we are each special. Listen....
Then there is the example of us. I am gratefeul we have indeed been rescued just for the asking. Well, just for the asking and believing. Man that seems so incredibly impossible for some folks. And yet I used to top that list. The miserable one in charge. My heart was a wreck so many years ago. It is nothing that the police could have captured on paper. It was not Tully's fault, though his heart looked like mine. Socially broken. Emotionally windblown. Years of healing, Jesus working daily, by the minute, by the nanosecond. See us now? We are better beyond our wildest expectations. Lightyears from perfect but lightyears from where we have been. Now we stand in our zoo-box, being examined to see if we might still be wild by people who do not know us. We would like to think we can stand up straighter or brush our hair and wear the right thing to pass the test. But they are hopefully looking at our hearts. That is where the real opportunity to see us lies to see the taming of the broken and the re-release of a new creature, capable of love as it has been taught to us by the great Teacher. The decision is weighing on our hearts but we know it is in the hands of the beautiful God who patiently molds us. He will take us where we are needed. We really hope it is to Marina. Another adventure of a lifetime sitting in a zoo-box across the sea.
Friday, July 3, 2009
especially now. My desperation to bring Marina home is mounting out of sync with your plan. The injustice of waiting is like rocket fuel to my angst. The more I must ask for help from outside my "christian" circle the more I realize the world can be so hateful and ugly. And I am brought back to Esther. She waited even the one extra day when the rest of us would have crooked our fingers at the enemy and cackled like the hens we are. I hate to ask this because I am sure it will hurt. But I really do want to be patient and peace filled. I want to believe you are Good. Caylyn is in heaven and that is good! I know she is happy and totally ok. I do not believe this at all about Marina. I am afraid she will fall between the cracks and life will drain out of her, joyless and full of bad things as memories in a world she will never understand. And I am afraid you will ask me to be a prayer partner only for her. It does not feel like enough. The power of prayer is visually hard to track most days. Especially for someone who is not so patient. And love afar is really hard to share. Do you struggle with that too? I bet you do. Help her. Help us. Love us from afar! And yet I find that you are right here, struggling to teach a bull how to dance.
Oh God, you are God and I am not. Please take the lead. I know this, that You, with a penchant for drama will continue that theme. Orchestrate the biggest waltz to her safe arrival and invite the lost and unconvinced to the party. Let me flatter you and not embarrass you along the way as a jr. hich girl at her first dance might.
Today we practice Dancing with God. Let me hear the symphony of your music, not the cacophony of mine. Let us dance to the same song. As in the movie "Dirty Dancing", remind me to watch your eyes and not our feet. The step of trust begins here. I trust you as my teacher. You lead as Lord of My Dance.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The Arrows strike at the most vital places in our hearts, the things we care most about. The deepest questions we ever ask are directly related to our hearts’ greatest needs and the answers life gives us shape our images of ourselves, of life, and of God. Who am I? The Romance whispers that we are someone special, that our heart is good because it is made for someone good; the Arrows tell us we are a dime a dozen, worthless, even dark and twisted, dirty. Where is life to be found? The Romance tells us life will flourish when we give it away in love and heroic sacrifice. The Arrows tell us that we must arrange for what little life there may be, manipulating our world and all the while watching our backs. “God is good,” the Romance tells us. “You can release the wellbeing of your heart to him.” The Arrows strike back, “Don’t ever let life out of your control,” and they seem to impale with such authority, unlike the gentle urges of the Romance, that in the end we are driven to find some way to contain them. The only way seems to be to kill our longing for the Romance, much in the same way we harden our heart to someone who hurts us. If I don’t want so much, we believe, I won’t be so vulnerable. Instead of dealing with the Arrows, we silence the longing. That seems to be our only hope. And so we lose heart.
Which is the truer message? If we try to hang on to the Romance, what are we to do with our wounds and the awful tragedies of life? How can we keep our heart alive in the face of such deadly Arrows? How many losses can a heart take? If we deny the wounds or try to minimize them, we deny a part of our heart and end up living a shallow optimism that frequently becomes a demand that the world be better than it is. On the other hand, if we embrace the Arrows as the final word on life, we despair, which is another way to lose heart. To lose hope has the same effect on our heart as it would be to stop breathing.
(The Sacred Romance , 32–33)
This is why she is in an orphanage in the first place. This is why we struggle to maintain the way through hellish conditions to gather her into our hearts and arms. Someone believed the lie that she was less than good enough, less than God's plan. We know by experience and faith that these children are so much more than meets the superficial world eye.
I learned last night that Marina is in the Krivoy Rog baby orphanage in Dnepropetrovsk oblast, Ukraine. Tsurupy str., 30. Just to know this seems to pinpoint that exactly somewhere in this world, there she is. The "exactly" seems to make is so much more real. And today the fight to get closer to her continues. Today we begin the chase to the Governor of SC. I am glad my God is in charge. I have seen him part waters and build bridges in ways no human has ever done. I will call to him and he will show me great and mighty things that I do not know. He knows the desires of my heart. He wrote me a note in John 15 last night. I have begun to put on my full armor. And then I will stand.
When we release our hold on this world, we gain the next one, as well as this one. When we make our small dreams here, we give up everything. God Almighty, Today is yours!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
In an effort to move forward I have sent the Attorney General a package reflecting most of the thoughts here. Scathing honesty in the hands of a politician could leave burn marks, I know. But I think he is different. And I think He can help. It was the path I was lead down. I have learned that with God, paths rarely show up in a linear fashion, but rather serpentine all over the place. I am prepared to follow the journey to this Child. And if it means petitioning every crazy politician in the state of SC to help me, I have nothing but time to devote to bringing Marina Home. I don't see the point in taking No for an answer. We need her and she needs us. For some reason she is the one. I know it. Pray for us as we seek the break in the wall that will unite us and bring her home.