Monday, September 21, 2009

Pray for speed...

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."

Russian Pressure is Growing in Ukraine

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


You know, just about the time I think we are getting to a point of "rolling" I find out we are still going uphill. It is hard to get up speed going that direction but it is the direction we must move, nevertheless. I know things are in the works but if you are not familiar with God and his divine sense of drama, then this sort of activity is not for you. Some days I wonder if it is for me, but I have never seen the ramp that says "Exit Here". Living on earth does not afford the view that lets me see the insiders view of the whole picture. I want to know where we are in the process but I simply cannot. I am mortal. So I can only carry the ball when I have it and right now, I do not. But by golly, we are in the game and that says alot I think.
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

Labor Day Shift

Something seems to be shifting, the winds of change are stirring both inside and out. The crisp little hint that autumn is on the way as the garden is winding down and the end of summer's flowers bake face down on the browning stalks. Good sleeping weather invites open night time windows. It has been a good summer. We have made some huge decisions and tackled the walls of our personal Berlin, wanting desperately what is on the other side. Perseverance has begun to move walls, as God has arranged events to line up according to a better outcome than we were originally facing.
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

Baby steps

With the passing days I learn patience and perseverance, along with the fact that there is always something I can be working on to get a little closer to that beautiful little girl. I sent my passport off to update my married name on it-missing the deadline to do that for free by 4 months--oh well. Live and learn-I seem to do that as a constant approach! The dossier is in the works and we have to get more health tests for clearance. We have received a response to our request for help from the governor. He made a phone call on our behalf with a noted interest in the process. I have written back and suggested he take a more direct approach to helping us since I am not entirely convinced that the person he talked to was separated from the effects of the Governors indiscretions and perhaps tossed that post-it note in the trash. He stated he "hoped" it helped. I stated he was capable of making sure it helped and that hope I had when I went in to see him. I felt I had nothing to lose and so much to gain.

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!