Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thank you...

we have surpassed our first thousand!!! We have a ways to go, but we are so excited!! Now we only need to do that about 30 more times!! Thanks to those family and friends who have been so supportive, whether with your finances or your prayers! You cannot begin to imagine how our kids lives are about to be forever changed because of your love!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

USCIS Fingerprint Appt Dates!!

Today, we received our fingerprint appointment date for USCIS - sooo excited!!! George and I go on February 3rd and my mom's appointment is February 1st. We are also excited because we don't have to drive to Tampa for our appointments! There is a biometrics office in Fort Myers that we will go to, so that is only like 20 minutes away!

Also, we picked up the copy of the updated license from our doctor's office today and we got the rest of the "new" forms notarized. We are DONE with our paper chasing!! This means that once McKenna reviews it and gives us the okay, we can send EVERYTHING off to be apostilled by the state. At $10 bucks an apostille, it's certainly not cheap (we have quite the stack) but we have it all! We are only missing our I171-H (which is what we will get back from USCIS hopefully not long after our fingerprint appointment date!) Eli, Ana, and Tatya...we are coming!!! Soon God-willing!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quick Update

Okay, so tonight I thought I probably should quickly bring everyone up to speed on the adoption. I'm kinda tired and we're all fighting the yuckies, so I'll try to keep it short :)

Last Thursday, we experienced our own little miracle of sorts. We had refiled our I600A with USCIS and about 2 weeks ago, I started checking on it's status. At first, we were told by the national customer service people that the Tampa office had received our paperwork. I emailed them asking about when we would get our fingerprint appt, only to get a response back that they did NOT have our paperwork. I called the national people back again, and they assured me that the Tampa office really did have our paperwork, and to email them AGAIN. I did, and well, I got a short and to the point email that said AGAIN, NO our paperwork was not there. I thought "Oh great, our paperwork is lost and now I have ticked off the adoption officer in Tampa, and she is the one I need to approve our paperwork...GREAT!" So, I called the national people back (which, by the way, is NOT fun - sooo hard to get an actual person who cares!) and they told me they would "escalate" my call. Which I guess means that you get to talk to supervisor....but she was VERY nice! Unfortunately, she pretty much told me that they get a TON of mail a day and well, who knows where our application really is?!? She did suggest that I go to our bank and try to find out if the cashier's check was cashed (yes, we paid $910 for this kind of service and we still will have to pay that 2 more times - once for each child since they are not sibs when we file our I600- for a total of three times!) She said if it was cashed, it was a good sign that our application was in process and that SOMEBODY had it! She also told me to wait 30 days and call back - we have been dealing with this since the beginning of December. As you can imagine, I was not at all comforted from this conversation. Since this really is the last thing we need (beside our doctor's updated license which we are STILL waiting on) before submitting our dossier, you can imagine how panicked I was. Thankfully, the cashier's check WAS cashed AND last Thursday, the adoption officer from our office actually called me to let me know she had received our application! YAY!! And after I explained to her the whole situation, she was very understanding and not at all upset with us. She even called me back a few minutes later to let me know she had my application and our homestudy (they were sent separately) and she was going to work on it. It was a huge THANK YOU GOD moment! So, now we are just waiting on our fingerprint appointment from her office and then we wait for our approval. More of that whole hurry up and wait part!!

But God really used this situation, to show me just how weak my faith really is at times. I can't even begin to describe the depth of despair I felt when I thought about just how LONG this part of the process could take - how quickly the government moves isn't really something you can control, especially when you picture your lost application and your children waiting in an orphanage . I'm not trying to be dramatic, but everyday these kids wait, makes it worse, Ana is already 3 and needs OUT. But we've known from day one that this adoption was HIS and that these children are HIS, which is okay for me, but then He keeps reminding me that the timing is also HIS. Ouch! Now that one hurts ;) It runs directly in the face of my own will and my own plans! And to spell it out even more clearly, I came across this today during my quiet time. It's from the Message, 1 Peter 2:21-25, and it's talking about Jesus...
"....They called Him every name in the book and He said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right..."
Wow! Now that one hurt even more ;) I want to be there, but giving up control (which I don't really have anyway - just look at what the people in Haiti are going thru), now that is hard for me. Jesus didn't just trust that God would set things right, He was CONTENT! I can tell you that during the last few weeks, CONTENT hasn't really been one of my emotions. So, point taken! This whole adoption is weaving something into the fabric of my heart, something into the fabric of my life. It is changing who I am, and how I look at life, and most definitely what I want out of life. It is changing my husband and my family. And this journey has only just begun! He is faithful, even when I"m not! He does not lose heart, even when I do SO, tonight I am content to let God set things right, for my family, for my children, for ME, and I will continue to step out in faith for these beautiful babies, trusting that His ways and His TIMING are so much better than mine!

So much for a short post ;)

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Most Beautiful Faces...

I have ever seen! These girls are literally the faces of an institution. They are faces that the world has tried to hide away, but oh, how beautiful they are! They DESPERATELY need a family to go and GET THEM OUT!!! They are fortunate enough to still be adoptable at this point. My prayer is that a family will come forward QUICKLY, but if not these two girls are at the TOP of our "next adoption" list. We just can't get them quickly enough. They remind me of the blog written by Derek Loux, who tragically passed away in December. We never had the honor of meeting him, but his family has forever changed us. And we are so blessed to be a part of this "adoption revolution." ...HAPPY BIRTHDAY CORRINA!! YOU ARE LOVED! (Yes Corrina will be SEVEN years old tomorrow and YES she only weights TWENTY ONE pounds!)

By: Derek Loux

Friday, December 12, 2008

Renee’ and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novograd Valenski, Ukraine, using wireless internet. We are in the middle of adopting three special needs boys from an orphanage here. Two of the boys have Down Syndrome. Roman is high functioning, energetic and happy. Dimitri has serious mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is the size of a 1 year old. He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him. Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited resources. The harsh reality of the “survival of the fittest” principle is a life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast. Our third boy Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can’t get enough! He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience. So with two of our boys, we get an immediate return on any investment we make. With Dimitri, there’s not much immediate gratification. In fact, it’s unknown when and if there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, “Why try? What’s the point? What will this produce? What good will this do? Why not select a boy who has more potential? This looks like a lost cause.

Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri’s house. The day had been long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.

I was thinking, “Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable … and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What if Dimitri doesn’t improve at all? What if we get “nothing” out of this? … Ahhh, there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”. The love the Greeks called “erao” love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can get out of it. This is unlike “agapeo” love, the God kind of love that treats someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It’s when I love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His kind of love into my weak heart, and He’s using little Dimitri to do it.

On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, “This is Redemption. Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.

My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can’t even really appreciate or comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what is about to happen to him … but … he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy, I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly “Papa” feels towards us.

Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to “pay Him back”. You’ll never get close you goofy little kid.


Girl, Born August 28, 2002

This beautiful Katie is in the same institution with Miss Corinna, below. They are both just waiting and waiting, day after day, month after month, for their forever family to save them from this miserable existence. Even through all of this, Katie finds a reason to smile and wave to the world with her tiny, precious little hand.

Katie has light brown hair and the brightest blue eyes!

We are waiting on medical info for Katie, but from our missionary who visited with her: "Katya looks pleasant, she is very happy and smiling a lot. She is able to indicate her wants and needs. She does not have any words yet, but she tries! She has good use of her hands, she plays with dolls and toys. She is crawling, can sit and tries to walk (with help). She likes blocks and other toys, sensory toys, dolls, pencils, crayons and books!"

Many more photos available, please consider saving or sponsoring Katie's adoption! Would love to see one family adopt both girls! We have already lost at least (5) children with DS from this institution, let's make a chage for these kids and find some adoptive families!

More photos available!

Please contact Andrea for more information

Corinna (1) (FIRST PICTURE)

Girl, Born January 12, 2003

Corinna is a beautiful little girl who has spent the last 2 years of her life in a mental institution. She has SO much potential, and is close to walking, but spends much of her days lying in bed for lack of anything else to do. She was sent to this facility from another baby house we work in now, so it is imperative that she be saved!

She does have some strabismus, but no heart condition. She is able to stand on her own, but is not walking quite yet. She is very much a baby, even at 6 years of age. She is only 21 pounds at this time :( But she will really blossom in the care of a loving family, and has every reason to be able to walk and run and really thrive. There will be very little left of this "shell" once she gets home into her new life! She has tremendous potential, and could be another amazing success story!

The orphanage staff tell us she does like to play with toys, is interactive and affectionate, and has "potential to improve".

More photos available!

Please contact Andrea for more information

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My American Girl...

little Miss Gianna (as opposed to my 2 Eastern European beauties.) She is getting so big! and is soooo much fun!!! I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this age. We do, of course, have our moments, and some days NO! is our favorite word, but I love her spunkiness! No one can throw down and flop around like my daughter! She has such a STRONG personality, but the sweetest little spirit. And she is VERY compassionate (she saw a little boy crying the other day while we were out and she was still talking about him that night, poor thing...boy crying, boy crying, she kept repeating!) She is also usually very concerned with Thomas (yes, Thomas the train - he is one of her favorites) and I'm not sure why. She just worries about him...along with ALL of her Sesame Street friends. Most days, we can be found dragging Ernie, Bert, Bird (this is what she calls Big Bird), at least one Elmo and Cookie around town. Now, thanks to Auntie Jenn we can add Oscar to the mix! She is also in LOVE with Frossy (Frosty the Snowman) and can you believe we sing the song EVERY night before bed as a family?? She, of course, sings the loudest and just loves the end "Thummmpy Thummmmpy Snoooooowwwwww!!" I think she will be dragging her stuffed Frossy around well into the summer months and probably making us sing the song too. Yes, I just said "making us". I admit my almost two year old knows how to "make" us do stuff. The big blue eyes and pouty face get at least daddy every time! I wonder what will happen when there are FOUR pouty faces and big eyes! Poor daddy! LOL I can NOT wait!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sweet Nikolai

This little boy has grabbed my heart since the first time I laid eyes on him. Why can't I just bring him home with ours? What is ONE more? LOL Thankfully for my husband, Nikolai is NOT at our kids orphanage (AND we would have to add another room on to our house!) But oh how my heart aches for this little boy. Unfortunately, instead of looking forward to his 6th birthday, this little boy is very close to being sent to the institution, if he hasn't been sent there already. I pray that his mommy and daddy are out there and that they come forward soon! He deserves a family, they all do!
Nikolai (45)
Boy, Born April 7, 2004
This beautiful boy reminds me so much of my Reece. He is already 5 years old and is facing the institution soon. His eyes are so beautiful, hazel and soulful. When you wash his hair, it is so soft, like duckling fuzz! He is very smart, cheerful, self-sufficient, and friendly. He is delayed in his speech, but if he was able to get it out, he'd be saying "But where is MY Mommy?" (see right). Nikolai is healthy, active, and strong, and will truly thrive in a loving, family environment. Please give him that chance!

For more information, please contact Andrea directly

I have $1098 in my grant fund towards the cost of my adoption!

Friday, January 8, 2010

If adoption paperwork really was pregnancy...

we would be nine months and waddling. Everyone always refers to the adoption process as a "paperwork pregnancy" and I can see why. We are almost there which, by the way, is just as exciting and nerve-wrecking as preparing for birth. Our homestudy is finalized (yay!) and the only 2 things missing for our dossier are our family doctor's updated license (because his license expires before we travel, we have to get a copy of his renewed license, which he should have in the next week or so!) and our 171H, which is what you get back from sending in your I600A (basically the government's blessing). Oh, and we are waiting to hear back from our homestudy provider, as their office's notary expires in May 2010, which is not acceptable to our kid's country (it has to be good for at least 6 months after submission). This means they will need to re-notarize the copy for our dossier. I just looove all these little details!! But honestly that is not bad! Then all we have to do is mail off some more stuff for the apostille, and I'm happy to say our part of the paperwork is almost done. Whatever will I do with all my free time?? SERIOUS FUNDRAISING LOL ;)

Drum Roll Please....

We have decided on names! Tatya, Ana, and Elijah will God-willing be joining the Simons' family in 2010, which makes it one exciting year for us! As you can imagine, there is much excitement in our house. Even little Gianna loves talking and praying for her soon to be sibilings. She loooves to look at their pictures and say their names over and over. Sometimes she even wakes up in the morning saying their names...not sure what she's dreaming about at night, but it is sooo cute! Gianna especially loves to say "Tatie" and has decided that she should sit next to her in the car. Can you tell that our Gianna is quite the little director? She certainly has a mind of her own, as was evidenced yesterday by anyone who saw the two brightly colored bows in her hair. She insisted on wearing both on them (one bright blue, one bright pink) and well her outfit really didn't match any of it. Lets just say I pick my battles and matching isn't one of them :)

  © Web Design by Poppies Blooming 2010

Back to TOP