Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Marina!

Holy smoly we survived Christmas and ten thousand questions on when we get to open presents by Evan the un-weary warrior. I tried to talk a bit about whose birthday it is we celebrate and why but conceded that he is 4 and a foundation is different from a finished construction...feeling that the foundation is the most important step this year. Our oldest dog died Christmas eve, and I found Pita Christmas day under the shed after a hard rain. I told Evan that God must have given Caylyn the dog for Christmas and although he cried, he was ok with that. somehow after explaining it to him I felt alot better too. We are currently in Florida on our yearly trek to seek out sunshine since Caylyn moved on. Christmas was a bit more festive this year and we found ourselves celebrating more than beating down the conflict of grief with celebrating, whereas last year I think grief won out by a landslide. I personally would be lost without the cirlce of family and friends that join hands and prayers for us and realize one day too that you will know I prayed for you all as well. In that regard we keep each other standing and moving through life.

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 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

Counting down Christmas

Evan is getting to be quite the little walking calendar and since he can now read his name he is able to keep a tally of what is his upcoming gifts under the tree...which, to date, is all of them! His enthusiasm is a catalyst to move us forward and although it still feels raw to celebrate much, his encouragement is working its magic. Christmas is coming and Evan is the grand announcer! He planned the raising of the tree, and the lights on the bushes and we complied. Yesterday the three oversized kittens that were napping under the tree were not enough to simply look warm and festive. Evan wrapped his own sneakers and some toys in some confiscated gift bags and begged us to come see!! I have to say he has a real flair for merchandising. This weekend we will actually start wrapping gifts and raising the excitement level up a notch or two. It does not hurt that the weather report has said snow and freezing rain every nine minutes tonight. Festive is creeping in through the segway of a 4 year old little boy. Evan commandeered Tully on a must do shopping trip the other night. Evan went into his room and got down his bank and stated he had to buy his friends gifts that very minute, especially since Jenna Kate was his girlfriend and she needed a gift. (Sigh) Tully took the roll of chauffer and the pair went out to dinner at Mcdonalds and a "the sky is the limit" shopping journey through Dollar tree. They had a blast and Evan did all the decision making, which was totally impressive when he was able to share with me his chosen gifts. He really has good taste and decided all by himself who would get what. He is still proud about that! Personally so am I that he thought of his friends in such an independent manner.

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.
Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Overload week

This has been one of the most emotional weeks I can remember going through since Caylyn left us. Long term little warrior David Wilkerson relocated to heaven this past week and in all seriousness I always believed him to be the alternate ending to what we experienced but with all the best choices and hard fight that family went through, the ending was a sad surprise to those of us still on the planet earth. His relapse manifested as tumors and went undetected in his bloodwork. So by the time the family discovered the life altering problem, there was not one decision to make regarding his care. I went to his life celebration and out of that great big church I realized I was sitting one row over from the third family group of our "club" ...The Kain family. Little Julia also has DS and has battled Leukemia. She was there and looking so precious I almost had trouble focusing on the event at hand. As I greeted them after the service it was blatantly obvious that they are the sole survivor of our group. Seeing Julia (age 3) was such a journey back to that wonderful age with Caylyn. You cannot believe how much kids with DS remind you of each other, despite how infinitely different they are. Anyhow as I was crumbling inside suddenly Julia reaches for me and is in my arms before I can fully appreciate the moment. Then she wraps her little arms around my neck and lays her head on my shoulder. I have never fought tears so hard and lost that battle so quickly for as long as I can remember. I layed my head back on her little shoulder and my tears fell as I remembered how yummy those hugs are. They are soul hugs, and you must believe me when I tell you that they encompass the heart completely. I looked up and her dad had tears running down his face. Then Julia went back to her sister. Over in mere seconds but one of those fine kodak memories that somehow remain timeless in a thirsty soul.
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.

Cathy, Marina was transferred to an older child orphanage for all typical children. So she is doing very well and is NOT at the institution. He has spoken with her parents and they are very glad for her to be adopted by your family.
So he reiterated what I told can request only Marina upfront, visit her, know her, and decide at that time if you'd like to consider a 2nd child. You would have to request a 2nd appt at the SDA, go back to Kiev, etc to get thr 2nd child's official referral....
He says she is a beautiful child, easy, calm and affectionate.
There are no other children at her new orphanage with Down syndrome at this time.

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