Thursday, March 25, 2010

Evan's Birthday

This past WEEK was Evan's birthday...and we celebrated constantly in the way of surprises that kept showing up. His party was at the Karate school, and it is by far the best party in town. That young man played those kids into exhaustion and they Loved it!It was his kids from school and was just the right size for activities. Evan did get his Wii and it really has been fun for our family, though I play it very little. The day of Evan's birthday we hosted our friend from Belize, Sharon Arthurs and her team of bible quiz members, 4 kids from ages 10-12 and 2 more chaperones. We had an absolute blast with them here and enjoyed the short time with them immensely. Evan loved the kids and they were gracious to meet him on his level of interest and play. The kids did a demonstration of how they answer the questions and have also memorized the book of 1st Corinthians. Yes, all 31 verses. It was both impressive and humbling to say the least. We ended the time together by going to Landrum Dayspring church and Sharon spoke a wonderful message that day. I was sadly distressed to learn that the host and owner of the hotel we had stayed at in Belize had been robbed, tortured and murdered in that very hotel last March 10th. His son found him when returning from school. That man was such a gentle happy soul I cannot imagine his last hour on this planet without tears. They did catch the three men but the justice system in Belize is lame to say the least. Maybe it is easy to say that when you know the person whose life ended in such greed and injustice. Anyway the story said that the wife and son would stay in Belize as they cannot sell the hotel and basically have no where to go. I think I remember they were from Taiwan originally.
Evan's real birthdate was yesterday and it was very hard to convince him he was 5 again and still, rather than suddenly 6. Too many birthdays I guess. Yesterday we got home and yes, there was another gift in the mailbox. Thank You Shelly! We also got a sweet card and financial support from our prayer warrior Susan...remember when you used to just be Marina's warrior?? Thank you as well!
I know there are alot of problems in Ukraine right now getting the interpol clearance forms printed out for everyone over there who has court coming up. The clearances have appeared to be done, but not printed. So no one has proof of said clearance. Nothing surprises me anymore with government involvement in general and how often it involves paperwork that has gone amuck but that does not mean I am not troubled by these events. As long as we have been at this journey we have seen Ukraine stumble and shut down many times in this adoption department. Thankfully they get going again so far each time something comes up. In that there is some light I think. I am reminded here that we have been battling our own US paperwork troubles as well. and.....
We have yet to hear anything from USCIS immigration. I know they have 90 days to respond. They will either say yes, no or they need more docs. I am resolved to the fact that as usual this is way out of my hands. Evan asked for a little sister for his birthday as we got to school wednesday. I said not today and count on the fact that she will be big by the time we get her. I could not tell who was more disappointed, me or him. Even Tully is getting frustrated and he is usually the last to say anything about the frustration of waiting. So we go on living our lives here and trying to get ready for going there. One day it will come....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When, oh when, will this mountain crumble??

Actually it seems to crumble as I am climbing the side of it now that I give this some thought. It has been hard to update this week since we were cleared by social services. I have never gotten so much as a phone call to explain to me what has occurred but from what little bits and pieces I can gather, social services had taken apart our home study to pass it around and read it. Albeit they had it for three months so why it could not remain intact is beyond me. This is the part where I write that they seem to have misplaced some of the papers. The certified ones. That are somewhat difficult to obtain at a moments notice. I have been lead to believe that USCIS will need the original documentations on these. I am so discouraged and sad, why can people not understand that every day Marina is not HERE she is losing out on opportunities to learn and be cared for? Children have windows of opportunity where learning certain things are easier when that window is Open...hers have been sliding down and closing each day that we are carelessly set back. I take some responsibility for this as well for some of the things we had to clear because we were once ever so stupid, but at this point my biggest concern is how much institutional damage has been done and how difficult to learn to love will it be for her? I have been communicating third party with the newer facilitator in our region in Eastern Europe and she does not have recent information on Marina because the director of that orphanage always wants an update on us and there is little that she has had to offer him so she has been avoiding the orphanage altogether. From what I have heard she is now very happy that there has been connection with us and will be able to talk with that director and give him the insight as to our whereabouts on this crazy board game we are hopping around on. It is a far reach but I sure hope for some more recent photos and maybe even a guestimate on what size little Marina is now. Evan talks about her at school and all the time here at home, trying to ascertain what she might know and what she may not. This has been relatively funny and sad at the same time. He did say that he might need to teach her how to be wild. I am pretty sure that is a freebie thrown in for all kiddos by God:) Then Evan asked me if she had any clothes or was she cold and naked. I wonder how that four year old little mind of his works. The day I found out about the lost papers incident I was distant and brewing a storm in my head, therefor not paying any attention to Evan even though I was giving him the MMhummm answers that are usually reserved for marriage talk. He flat out asked me, are you mad at me or what? I felt pretty bad so I sat down and told him someone lost some important papers that were taking away time to go get Marina and he fell apart and started crying! He finally was able to explain to me that he was afraid someone else would find the papers and go take Marina from us. WOW! The age of enlightenment has sure hit him earlier than it hit me, perhaps by about 35 years.
So here is my basic understanding of things. I believe that God is the creator of everything. I believe some of those things revolted because of the nature of power and greed. And I believe that there is a battle raging over our heads that we could not possibly comprehend. We are often pulled into that battle because we are the objects of God's heart and jealousy is as ugly as power and greed when left unchecked in these revolting little creatures that create mayhem and destruction on the earth to turn us from God. There is a chance that we will turn to Him as well though and that was the turning point for us that sealed the deal that we would never turn back. So now that we have chosen our side, the battle is to create doubt about the power of God. And disrupt our hearts. So as the mountain crumbles under foot as we climb forward, I know that we have been given certain abilities and gifts to navigate. And I can rest in the truth that whatever we can do, we should do. Whatever we cannot do, God will handle. Prayer is fuel. Fill'er up!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Forward motion

Today we finally got the call that we were cleared to submit to immigration for final stateside approval. After much contemplation social services has smacked their seal of approval on our homestudy....nearly 10 months after starting this process and finding out that misdemeanors are not nearly as harmless as they appear on paper. Social services of SC has forwarded our homestudy onward to USCIS where immigration adoption personnel will have the pleasure of sitting down with that 45+ page homestudy and a cuppa whatever, and again, strangers decide if we can do this thing. I honestly feel that the more yesses that are said, the less likely a NO will be the final word.
TOday, other than the homestudy approval, was not totally terrific. The HVAC dude came out and determined that our compressor was shot and our unit had a freon leak, unrepairable. I can drag this 3 and a half ton unit over to sit next to our car that was given the same diagnosis. Evan also came home sick from school but I feel he can at least be repaired. He is sleeping softly next to me as I type this. His questions on the way to school today involved various birthday plans and ideas coupled with when is Marina going to come here to stay? Can I take her to school with me? Can she come to my party? And finally, "Don,t worry mom, she really is coming here". He plans to teach her how to be wild and crazy. He will certainly be a fine teacher! He was watching Signing Times at school yesterday and that is the coolest little video! I think we will try to keep an eye out for this as it will be a great tool for teaching Marina how to speak what she wants or at least sign for it til she gets the word figured out to go with the want. Evan will be 5 in 22 days and that is the big fat deal of the century for him. Tully will be another year older on the 9th and Caylyn left on the 8th, 2 years ago. My mom has a birthday the day after Evans and my brother in laws' is the 16th. Wow, That is a lot of celebrations! I might add that World Down Syndrome Day is March 21. Since baby Sophia got her family last month I am happy to add baby ANNA to the advocation spotlight! Fundraising for her grant begins today. I hope to have one person a day donate at least 21 dollars to her fund each day. This makes a huge impact on who gets adopted as the experience is very expensive...and worth it! Please consider a tax deductible donation to help defray the costs of bringing her home so her family might take that leap of faith and commit to her!
Will keep the updates coming with the process of obtaining our 171-h, the approval of immigration. Pray for speed for us and no more financial warfare, and that Marina stays protected healthy and happy, looking forward to all the goodness that she cannot even dream about now. The days where Evan teaches her to be wild and crazy....oh boy!
ps did I mention we had a flat tire this morning as well?? Yeah, lets not bring that up!

PSS Will update photo of Anna soon as photos on other computer.