Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Major Hurdle -- CLEAR!

There is no leading up to a grandiose announcement--Tully got his pardon today and all pertinent papers have been delivered to the investigations division of DSS in Columbia. It should hit the head office at some point tomorrow. I can hardly believe it!
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

The Hearing

Well our pardon date is upon us! How quickly the time has crawled by. For those of you who have asked for information regarding this the hearings begin at 8:30 a.m. at 2221 Devine st. Suite 404 Columbia SC on Wednesday October 28th. I ask for prayers that all will go smooth sailings through this thing. I imagine Tully is nervous but he has not mentioned it so I am speculating as one who has known him for 15 years. Ultimately it is still not us who is most impacted so we view this as a preliminary adoption hearing because it is Marina that is in the balance here. Which brings me to another request. If you are so inclined and have not already written a letter of support, we could use a few to send to Dept of Social services to support our ability to be decent parents. They are the dept. standing right behind department of corrections who will next consider us as potential adoptive parents. I am hoping many things will take place by Halloween that will set us on the course to being cleared in a timely fashion by immigration. Our email address is for supportive parent letters. It does not have to be fancy or long. Just honest and "diplomatic".:)

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 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 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

From the outside in...

"After being on RR for a few months now, and reading about all of your lives, I have come to a new understanding about DS. First of all, I realize I knew very little about it in the first place. I have had 6 children and have never been tested for DS in pregnancy because, well... why?, I would love whomever God gave me. That said, I didn't really think much about down syndrome, haven't known anyone personally with it, and it seemed sort of like a 'scary unknown'.

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

Jeremiah 33:3

Is it true, if you call to God that He will answer you? When is the last time that you did so with true expectations in your heart? I saw a sign once that asked why someone would expect a million dollar answer to a ten cent prayer and it really stuck with me. Is our God too small? A sky genie vending machine where we take our paltry requests? As Jonathan, our preacher asked us to consider today, how much time do we devote to talking with God? Time is His gift to us, and our gift back to Him. Ten percent tithe is the biblical request of our incoming funds, but what about ten percent of our time? Doesn't sound like much does it? But would you stop to consider it is 2 hours and 40 minutes a day? We often feel great if we remember to say our prayers going out the door in the morning, and as our head hits the pillow at night. And yet this is the most important relationship of all time. There is not a single issue that has not been addressed in some manner in the bible. Not one. He has given us so many words that address our heart. Our head, too. So I press this to you, seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God. Listen for his sacred echo, his Holy Spirit whispering softly to you. The answer is there. John tells us in 1 John 5:14 & 15 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him." The more time we spend seeking God's will, the more aligned we are to hear his voice and open up to the great and mighty things He would share with us. It is also how we will know what to ask that is of His will.

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 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