Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas Faith and Grace!

Dear Faith and Grace,
There was not one second that went by today (Christmas) that we didn't think of you!   We love you so much..  we prayed for you and trust and know that Jesus was holding you both in his arms today... on this last Christmas Day that you are NOT home forever!
We have been waiting for 4 Christmas's... thinking this has to be the last Christmas without our babies home....  Just know that we love you...  We all talked about you nonstop... and just know that we can't wait for you to be home forever! 
You are LOVED precious babies....  by ALL of us!
We love you and are coming soon!!   Rest my sweet girls ~ in HIS arms... 

(Note:  Go to bottom of blog to pause music playing before listening to this song.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dec. 17, 2010 - Our last visit for a while...

We went to the BH @ 4 pm today...   When we arrived the caregiver quickly begin telling us that when we didn't arrive this morning at our 'normal' time...  the girls were very sad... and then as the day progressed and we didn't come... they got MAD.   The caregiver said they were distraught and upset ALL DAY.     :( 
Symbat explained to her that we were leaving... that the judge decided on our court date of Jan 11th... and we have to go back to America due to expiring Visas, and that this would be our last visit until close to Jan 11th. She was SHOCKED about the court date as well... and said that we had been here in Kazak. visiting the girls for a LONG time.... what was the deal?!

That is every ones response. :) Smile and remember that God has a plan!

Ok... so we asked first about putting pics on the girls beds... They allowed us to tape 2 pictures up on each girls bed.
The girls were VERY excited. As we started to go into the room where they sleep.. Phil grabbed the camera... and guess what... it won't turn on. (batteries are ALL dead... we guess!)... Symbat had her camera and took the pictures... I borrowed her camera and downloaded them... however, you can't see much of the room. (but, it's better than nothing)
Here they are:

This is Faith's bed.  There were 13 beds in this small room.   I knew what the room would look like... but, it was heartbreaking at the same time!   I KNOW that the Lord's presence will surround that bed in the center back... as well as the one in the front against the wall! 

Still working on Faith's bed.... they were SO excited about putting the pictures on their beds.  :)

Here we are working on Stella's bed.   Yes... those are tears in my eyes.   I know it's God's plan, but let me just say it hurts.. and it hurts DEEP. 
 I as well as Symbat explained to the girls that when they are laying down to sleep they will remember and KNOW that Mama and Papa LOVE THEM VERY MUCH and that we are coming back!    We aren't sure how much they understand... Symbat agrees that they don't/didn't seem to understand. 
As we came out of the bedroom... I was BAWLING.    One of the caregivers saw me and smiled SO sweetly... I asked Symbat (while BAWLING - with the caregiver watching me) to PLEASE tell them that we love them and that we are coming back.    The caregiver was so sweet.. and said she will tell them every time she works.    She told Symbat that F and G have been waiting a LONG time on us.. their Mama and Papa.. and they will NOT forget us.    She was so least I know ONE caregiver will talk to them about us.   The bummer is that they rotate so much... it goes days before they have the same caregiver again.... urg..   
We wouldn't be leaving tomorrow if it wasn't God's plan.. this has to be the best thing for all of us...  We keep telling ourselves this. 
We are leaving these babies in the Lord's hand...  He will take really good care of them.

We left a gift and cards for them... Svetlana is going to give the cards to the director.  (we wrote on the front what days to give them to the girls)    Symbat translated it all in Russian... so the caregivers can read the cards to them.    Svetlana hopes that since we are giving them to the director that she will for sure get them to F and G on the correct days.    We left New Year's Day presents for them with Svetlana as well.  She is going to go see them and give them the presents as well as watch their New Year's production.   We are so thankful for this.   She said she would try to send us some pics via email!  

Prayer request:   We realized that our I-171H form expires about one week before we will most likely be bringing the girls home...  (meaning we'll have to have a home study update.. and pay oh about $1000 total again for this immigration letter from the US government as well as a HS update.)  
This is crucial and could delay us even longer if we have to redo it...    We pointed it out to Svetlana tonight and she was JUST sick...
She is going to go visit the lawyer on Monday and explain the situation again.    If the judge would waive the 15 day waiting period after court... problem would be solved!   We need to gain one week somehow/someway... or we're delayed due to this form.. yet again..  
PLEASE pray that Svetlana will receive good news with the judge on Monday... and that when we book tickets to come back.. the prices will be SO inexpensive that we'll be shocked!!!   Lord, we KNOW you have ALL things under control....  and as I've said everyday for weeks.... We choose to TRUST you!

Here's the travel itinerary:
Leave Pavlodar apartment @ 7:30 am on Saturday morning.
Flight to Almaty @ 9:20 am  (2 hour flight)
Wait in Almaty for 15 hours.   :(
4:20 am Sunday morning - fly to Frankfort
Frankfort to Chicago
Chicago to OKC - supposed to arrive in OKC at 2:08 pm Sunday afternoon (OK time)
2:15 ish - GRAB Bay and Brook and melt into an emotional pile!   :)  
Go eat some REALLY good Oklahoma food!!!   Texas Roadhouse?   YUM!!!  
Sunday evening... Christmas Caroling via trailer (hayride)... back to church for hot chocolate and yummy goodies.     
Life resumes at home....  (on the outside... on the inside.. 1/2 my heart is in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dec. 16, 2010 - Update!

I haven't posted pics from the last 3 days... so I thought I'd post a few!
Here are a couple of my favorites from yesterday! 

Doesn't get much sweeter than this... :) 

When we arrived yesterday for our visit the children in their group were just changing out of their costumes for the New Years production.    The caregivers put G and F's back on them so I could take a picture!   Despite the look on Grace's face... she was VERY excited to put it back on for a picture! (honestly!)

I just love this picture.  I hope they realize how much we LOVE them!
This is from today.   We decided to 'break' a rule and put on some chap stick.   They were SO excited!  

Here I told them to show Papa how pretty we are...   Grace is such a hoot!  :)

NO explanation needed... isn't that precious?! 
We did some shopping today... It was a busy day!   We found a couple of animals to leave with the girls.   Svetlana is going to go and visit them on New Years and take them a present from us.    The caregivers/director said that we can also put some pictures on their beds tomorrow. 
I am so happy that we'll be able to do that.
I had a melt down in the middle of the visit today... and just started BAWLING!    Both girls were SO sweet... however, Faith wiped away one of my tears... kissed my cheek and said very softly and kindly, "I love you Mama!"    (with NO prompting or anyone saying anything....)   MELTED my heart! Grace was so sweet as well.. and brought over a book and wanted to read with me.. (cause I always read to them ; ))
We talked to them about us leaving, etc.. through Symbat today... we aren't sure how much they really understand. 
Despite the pain and agony that we feel... we know that this is evidently God's plan... (for us to leave them)... so we know he will take perfect care of them.
He spoke to my heart YEARS ago... that, "he had them in the palm of his hand... and honestly that was a better place that with us!"    so.... we are resting in that.
Busy day tomorrow... our last day here.

oh...  and as we were taking the girls back to their room today...  (I was carrying Faith)  Faith touches my cheek and turns my face towards hers and says to me.. " Mama... Violetta Mama Machina (car) go... PLEASE?!"    She repeated this three times in the most pitiful, sad face...
she was asking to go with us in the car... begging me... she said "please" in English...  
Thank you Lord for the strength I know you are going to give us...  cause I know you will be carrying me when I walk out of that babyhouse tomorrow..
Lord, We trust you!   

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We are coming home...

I am just going to state some facts.. cause I know everyone is wondering..
Svetlana was not able to get anything done about our court date.     It is officially Jan. 11th.   There is NOTHING that can be done.

We are coming home... we've spent LOTS of time on Skype and Internet trying to figure out how to get home... when, how, etc...
it was a mess due to Kaz. independence day being tomorrow.
We leave Pavlodar on Sat. morning...   so we'll get to see the girls 2 more times before leaving.  We will arrive in OKC on Sunday afternoon @ 2:00 pm.  (Bay and Brook... we can't wait to see you!)

I will write more tomorrow...  way to emotionally and physically drained to even type right now.   I just wanted to let everyone know what was going on. 
We are ok... we know (even though we are very disappointed) that the Lord has this all under control.   His timing and plan is WAY better than ours... and we TRUST him!   

PLEASE pray for Faith and Grace that they will understand and know that we are coming back soon...


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Court - or Interview Round 1 - Dec. 14, 2010

I don't even know where to start...
ok.. after the bh visit this morning (which was another great visit!)... we came back to apt... ate a few bites of lunch... (not much.. we were SICK!).... and prepared for court or our 1st interview process.   The driver and translator picked us up at 3:30pm... we then picked up lawyer, the rep. from the DOE, and the Director of Guardianship at their offices.   We had a VAN full!   They were all so kind and assured us even in the vehicle to not be nervous.. that all would be ok!  :)

We arrived at the courthouse @ 3:55...   We quickly saw the BH director and sat with her.   We waited for about10 minutes and then went into a VERY small room... we could not all fit in it.. so we moved to a larger room.    It was not anything like the courtrooms in America....    There was a large desk (for the judge),  and then smaller desks for lawyers and the court reporter.    We sat directly behind Svetlana (Lawyer) and the BH director.    The judge entered the room.   Everyone stood.   She proceeded to ask questions...   and everyone identified themselves.     She then looked through our paperwork and asked LOTS of ?'s to us as well as Svetlana.    Last night when preparing our speeches we found an error on our financial sheet.   My annual salary was incorrect (a typo) thus making the entire form INACCURATE... we were devastated and struggled with what to do.   We decided to tell Svetlana and confess and hope for the best.    Svetlana explained this error and that we only realized/saw it last night.... and the judge was fine with us just correcting the info... (WHEW!!!  Thank you LORD... this potentially could have meant NO court until our social worker redos this form and sends it to us here!)...
so... she proceeds.... she had been looking through the papers for a LONG time before ever even looking at us... I found that VERY interesting.    We were asked everything imaginable...  from financial questions, to questions about Bay and Brook, etc...   I honestly can't think of one thing that they don't know about us.. that they could have asked us.    LOTS of questions. 
This lasted until about 5 pm.    At one point the BH director was asked ?'s about F and G... their medical diagnosis and development info... she then was VERY complimentary of us... and spoke of the amazing changes she's seen in the girls.  :)
Honestly, it went VERY well..  we felt confident and good with our answers.   The judge seemed to like our answers and even smiled a few times at me.  :)   (I knew I could get a smile.. ;))    All seemed VERY good!  
The judge then says she is VERY pleased.. and will set up our official court date.    Keep in mind that we NEVER gave our prepared and memorized speeches... :)   urg!  

She begins shuffling papers and then says.... 
The official court date will be January 11th! 
 That's when the entire room GASPED!   I am not kidding you.   The director, Svetlana, the ladies from the DOE... all started talking.  They explained to her that this wasn't best for F and G... that we'd have to return to America without them.   We'd be devastated... they'd be devastated.    They ALL (I mean all of them) spoke at different times (and sometimes at the same time :))  and shared their own views about how this was NOT best for our family or the girls.   The judge argued and stood firm that she ONLY has 4 working days left in Dec. to work.    Svetlana and the other ladies in the room seriously drilled her for over 15 minutes.    They continued to FIGHT for us and F and G... it was truly incredible!     (The 16 and 17th of Dec. are Holidays here..  Kazak Independence Day)... The judge must be off days the next week... we don't know the details.  

I was fighting back tears by the time it all died down.... the women in the room where smiling so kindly at us and KNEW we were so disappointed and devastated.   They were TOO!    As we were walking out of the room they were all telling us they were SO very sorry... and it's so wrong that the officials don't care more about the children than this.... (They said this!)..  We all get into the van and they are RAVING!   They are so upset... and saying things like... it's SO stupid... why couldn't TODAYS time slot have been court instead of her ridiculous "interview"!    They all said that they have NO idea what she'll even ask us in court... cause it was all covered today.   What is the deal? 
Svetlana is just sick... she was teary eyed with me.    She suggested we go get some coffee to talk.   Svetlana, Symbat, Garnadi (driver and Svetlana's dad) all went to Krendal's.    Svetlana says it's NOT over yet...  she's called a friend who can pull some strings.    We should know more tomorrow.  (Thurs and Fri. are holidays here.)
She  says she is hope full.. but, doesn't know if anything can be done.   She is trying.. and we are hoping and praying that we'll hear good news tomorrow.

Ok... so we walked away without really learning anything...
except that we now know that this entire group of officials 150% approves us adopting G and F.    We felt very good about the judge...   We know it will be granted.  
While setting at Krendal's we felt led to share with the staff about our desire to come back here (aka Mission's trip) and do something BIG for this BH as well as Kichary.    Svetlana and Symbat were very excited.   Svetlana said she was IN 100%...   she could arrange things on this end and that would be an incredibly wonderful thing to be a part of!   We are excited...  we are laying the ground work for HUGE things... and it's all God's plan.

Yes... we are VERY disappointed that court wasn't decided and we still don't know..
the thought of leaving F and G and possibly having to come back 2X's is overwhelming...(for many reasons from the girls to finances!)
 but, we saw in the midst of this INSANE crazy mess of a journey.... God's hand!       I have to wonder how many of those women today.... who were fighting for us will be involved in the mission trip.... God has a plan.   This is just the beginning!     Maybe those ladies need to be around us more.... maybe someway they are seeing Jesus in us...  If one person here sees Jesus in us..we can be delayed... It's ALL for him and about him anyway... right?!   YES... most definitely!

We have been so encouraged and uplifted by the incredible amount of love and support we've felt from around the world.    We are so so so TRULY blessed!
Please keep praying.... wouldn't it be awesome if they call.. and we have COURT tomorrow?   God could do that...   :)  
or if that isnt' his will....  we'll be coming back after the new year for court!
We are yours God.... Faith, Grace, Bay and Brook are yours!     We will rejoice and give you all the praise and glory when we are all 6 together forever!
Thank you Lord for continuing to provide, strengthen, and be exactly what we need you to be!
God has a plan... and WE TRUST HIM!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dec. 13, 2010 - PLEASE pray for us!

We arrived at the babyhouse this morning to quickly find out that we were taking the girls to a Dr's apt. in town.   WE WERE SHOCKED!   The girls were VERY excited and we dressed them as eskimos... :)  and off we went. 
They were VERY overwhelmed..   but, excited at the same time.    Grace was much more relaxed, but she's been in a car a few times before... for various Dr. visits.. today was Faith's FIRST time.... and it was so obvious.   She was VERY overwhelmed, but excited... but, clearly shocked and scared.    Honestly... I'm so glad we got to take them out today...  Thank the Lord!   She now has a little of a clue about what to expect... 
They were VERY sad when we returned and they found out we weren't playing today.... sad eyes and almost tears..    :'(

Here are some pictures from the outing:

We then met with Svetlana (lawyer) at 3 pm.   We found out that the judge is NOT one she would pick....  We found out that tomorrow is NOT the only court date... it's just the beginning..  this judge likes to DRAW things out and out... she said she HOPES we will be finished with court by the end of the month....  we found out we will NOT be coming home this week..... we found out we will NOT be bringing girls home with us this trip....  we found out that she will not and has never before waived any waiting period... it will not happen...  we were told there is NO way!!

Let me just tell you that we came back to the apartment WIPED smooth out... see we had thought we'd find out today... if it was possible to bring the girls home 'if' we stayed till the end of the month... we thought if the answer was NO... we'd be contacting our travel agency... and getting flights booked for the end of the week... we 'thought' we might get to see Bay and Brook's Christmas play at church... we thought we might be bringing F and G home THIS YEAR!     We thought we could be home with Bay and Brook for Christmas if nothing else....    we THOUGHT all wrong!

After a GOOD hard cry across the bed.... and some serious CRYING out to our God....
there are some things that I do know:
HE has a plan...  
HE will provide...
HE is in the miracle working business..
HE says there is a WAY when there seems to be NO way...
HE will see this through to the end...
HE is holding our hands...
HE has written the end.... we won't even believe it...
HE said to TRUST HIM.....
HE will NOT forsake us....
HE will provide and make a way were there seems to be NO way!!!!!! 

I grabbed my bible and opened it with tears streaming... and read this in Jeremiah 1:19:
"They will fight against you but will NOT overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord!"

PLEASE pray for us....   We have our speeches written... we've rehearsed and memorized and I think we're ready to go....    
Dear Lord.... my prayer is that the entire courtroom tomorrow be filled with YOUR presence.... let them FEEL you radiating off of us... let us SHINE for YOU tomorrow!  
... and fill our mouths with exactly what you have designed for us to say...

Court (or the first part of court) is on Tuesday at 4 PM our time... so that will be Tuesday morning @ 4am for most of you... please pray!

Friday, December 10, 2010

WE HAVE A COURT DATE!!!! Dec. 10, 2010 Part 2!!!!

We received a call from one of the translators this evening at 6:30 and she had GOOD news!!!
We have court on TUESDAY, DEC. 14th @ 4 pm!!!!!!!!!!
We are so excited and thrilled!!!
We have a meeting with lawyer on Monday... and we will know more info.... wow!!!!!!!

We are so thrilled!!!!!!!!
(oh.. and if you live locally and see Bailey.. PLEASE act surprised when she tells you... We called them and my mom and she asked us to please not post it on the blog until she can tell people! )    Thanks!!  

Dec. 10, 2010 - Update!

Received the following comment on yesterdays post and wanted to share:
On the way home, I was thinking and praying about you guys, "Doesn't God know that things are moving slow down here?" "Doesn't He know that time lines and deadlines are getting tight?" "What if...? Doesn't He know......? What if...?" (Yes, I know, where is my faith?) Then I turned to my right, and guess what, the most beautiful sunset!!! It was a light blue sky, with brilliant white clouds trimmed in gold, a golden sun just above the horizon, and silhouettes of houses and barns. BEAUTIFUL!!! And God said "Yeah, I know." (Just as calm and collected as can be.) "I have a plan. And you won't believe the ending!!!"

I BAWLED when reading this... BAWLED!   (Thank you so much Kathy for sending this to us!)
There is not much left to say after reading  that...  thank you Lord for continuing to remind us...because heaven help us.. we need the reminders!  
Here are some pictures from today:
We brought headbands that Aunt Linda sent today.  They were thrilled and LOVED wearing them.  I tried to fix their hair (even with is being SO short).    I love how relaxed they look just lounging on Papa, and their arms around each other.. so precious!
Here Faith is writing something VERY important, and Grace had spent some time folding the baby blankets very neatly!  (I can't wait to have her help folding wash clothes at home! :))
This is one of their favorite games.   They go to Papa and raise their shirts up asking him to 'blow' on their belly.   It's so precious!   We are now blowing raspberries on each other.    Let me just tell you that we Gobbles figure out a way to have a good time... regardless of how many hours we are stuck in a room with the SAME toys!  :)   

We won't be going back to the babyhouse for two days...   We won't have another visit until Monday.   I hate that we are not going to see them for 2 days... but, we are continuing to trust God and know he has them in his hands!  
We have the entire weekend looming before us...   my o my... what to do?!
Thanks for the continued prayers!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dec. 9, 2010 - update about nothing!

There is nothing to update... except about the twins. We requested a meeting with our lawyer for tomorrow... only to be told that she is out of town. Hummm.... guess we won't be hearing about a court date... :(

Trusting, Trusting, Trusting the Lord!!!

Today's visit was once again good...

Here are some pictures:
Oh.. remember yesterday how I said that I sure hoped they didn't cut their hair off again.. well, they did. Go figure.. Oh well.. it will grow!

Here is Faith riding on her personal "horse" She was saying, "Mama watch... Stella (Grace) ride!"

Grace and I were talking about Bay, Brook, Nana and Cody when Faith started yelling...
...and she's off to ride the horse!

Only to stumble and fall in pure "Grace" fashion.
...however, she quickly begins to moan and even said, "Mama" while fake moaning and crying. She came to me and cuddled into me... :) It was AWESOME!

It's truly amazing how quickly the worst moaning and painful experience is OVER...and you are fine! ;) Goodness... I've never loved so much drama! I'm telling you it's bonding like you read about in all those adoption books! I couldn't be more pleased with their progress! :)

Here they are... however, it's much more fun to FALL OFF the horse than actually ride for any length of time!

Symbat let Grace wear her headband and Faith wear her watch. They were tickled... and LOVED every second.

Last night was interesting at the classes. We are going back tonight to speak at 2 more. We were asked LOTS of ?'s... from why were we here, do we like Obama, to what was our favorite thing about Oklahoma, can we country dance. It was very interesting to hear the different ?'s.. and we were allowed to ask them ?'s as well. We had a great time, and look forward to going back. They asked us to not talk normal, but talk to each other in our 'southern' accents! LOL! We tried to explain that we were.. but, don't know that they ever understood! ;)

Will YOU please pray about this... Dec. 8, 2010 - update!

I have a request... a very specific request for ALL of you! I know that if you are reading our family blog... then most likely you are praying, loving, supporting and thinking of us... our little family! We can not even begin to tell you how appreciative of that we are.... as the holiday season gets well under way... we can't help but think about the children around the world who really don't have anyone.

The caregivers at the orphanage here rotate daily. The same one is not there for several days. They rotate through a group of them (meaning that it's several days before you see the same person again), and for us it's been very common to see a caregiver (who was with our girls one day) to be mopping in a hallway the next. Anyway... even when these children (orphans) are in a loving situation where the caregivers really care and love them.... it's still NOT the same and it's not even close to a family!

I know that you are WELL underway in the holiday activities. Rushing through the list of things to get done... decorations up, presents bought and wrapped, parties to attend, programs to go to... the list goes on and on.... see remember I know this... because this is normally me.

This year things are different... There is nothing that I can do.. even though my mind races through the things I know I'm missing... the girls parties, our work Christmas parties, the girls programs, shopping, baking, decorating! It's ok though... and I know I'm at this point... this place during this Holiday season so that I will have this time to REALLY think, pray, and consider things...

Given all of that.... I want to ask you a favor this holiday season.

Will you PLEASE not forget the millions of babies/children around the world who are alone this holiday season? Will you do something?

What you might ask...

The first thing you can do is: PRAY for them.. pray that anything standing in the way of them finding a forever family would be removed, pray for them to somehow, someway feel and know Christ's love and peace this holiday season as well as throughout the new year.

The second thing I want to ask is this.... (because I feel and know that there are some of you reading my posts who are feeling this): If the Lord has been/is gently pulling at your heartstrings to maybe reach out in a bigger way... from a donation to a great organization who helps, to supporting a family who is adopting, to maybe ADOPTING a child yourself... would you PLEASE trust him! If the Lord is pulling at your heartstrings and speaking gently to you... he will provide the means, the way, the avenue to complete it... you just have to say.. OK Lord I'm willing.. show me what to do! :) Please on behalf of the 150 millions orphans worldwide RIGHT NOW... do something... please, because ~ "All they really want for Christmas is...."
(scroll to the bottom to pause the music player/playlist in the background before listening)

I hope that through this post and the above video... you remember to think of at least one of the 150 million at some point this busy season. STOP in the middle of Wal-mart, Target, or Old Navy.. anywhere and anytime that the Lord brings it to your mind... If you are thinking of it.. he's calling you to it... to pray... or maybe do more! :)

Just remember you are not alone... it's scary to step out... I KNOW! You will NOT be alone... you will have support and our wonderful savior will hold your hand the entire time!!!! :)

Here's some info about our day... still no court date... still NO word. :) smiling through the pain...
We had to go to the BH later today. The music teacher asked us to please not come until 9:45 on Mondays and Wednesday. They are working VERY hard on a special program for New Years and the twins were missing BIG rehearsals. :)

(Bay, Brook, and Cody... just wait... they will fit in so perfectly with your family holiday productions! :) I can't wait to see the first production!!!! :) I hope they do what the director (Bailey - the boss ;)) asks... hee hee! )

When we arrived they were in the little room eating a snack...and we could only see the caregivers. We heard their voices IMMEDIATELY saying.. "Mama came... Mama came!" (Russian) to their caregivers and little friends.
The caregivers then brought them to us. Today's visit was FAST and CRAZY. We only had one hour to start with and then we had to wait on them.. and then another local lady who is bonding was sharing the room with us. The girls stayed with us today... and didn't even seem to care that the other lady was in the room. It was so awesome to see them choose to play with us! PROGRESS... so so so much progress! I can't even tell you how much they are understanding. They are following my one step commands in English PERFECTLY! I experimented today.. just to see what they understand, and honestly I was amazed and SO excited!
Here are some pictures!

Here the girls (Faith in this picture) were showing this caregiver the pictures of us together. They LOVE looking at these pictures! If we have to leave them and come home without them.. I hope we are able to leave these pics with them, and I hope they will be allowed to look at them. They were VERY proud to show her. The girls seem to really like this caregiver and seem to really mind her! :)

I just think this is the sweetest picture of Grace. I had pulled her hair over and put this barrette in... isn't is amazing how different she looks with cute hair?!? Their hair has grown SO much in 5 weeks. I hope and pray they don't cut it all off again... but, if they do.. oh well.. it will be ok! (I asked about requesting that it not be cut.. but, they said if everyone else gets a haircut.. they will too.. :( ) I think Grace and Faith look a LOT alike in this one.

Today's picture of the black eye... OUCH! She still loves the attention we give her about it! ;)

5 weeks ago they were SCARED to climb this ladder. Papa told them that they could trust him.. and he'd NEVER drop them. Symbat has been telling them what Papa says.. and slowly (over the past several weeks) they have trusted him MORE and MORE... until now... they have NO fear! :)

...Before Papa can help one down.. the other one is going up... saying (in English)... "Papa, HELP! Papa, HELP!" (and LOTS of giggles!) They have both slipped a couple of times while going up.. and Papa was there to grab them... There faces were amazing.. BONDING at it's finest!!!! :)

Phil and Symbat leaving BH. It was blowing and snowing and COLD.

Another group of kids out - headed to playground... while we were leaving.

I guess that's it for today... It's 2:30 in the afternoon here. We are going to speak tonight at 6:30 to 4 English classes for some local friends. We are excited (I am) about this... :) Two nights in a row with evening plans.... WOWZIERS! We are turning into social bugs here! :)

The landlady finally brought the DVD player back.. it had been broken for about 2 weeks. We are thrilled about that. The laptop is overheating when we watch DVD's on it... so that's a little scary. (We would be SO SO SO upset if the laptop quit!) We have been watching about 4-5 Seinfeld episodes per evening. LOL! No, we've never really watched Seinfeld before.. however, someone left an entire set of Seinfeld here in the apartment (seasons 1-5)! They are funny! It's much better than watching Animal Planet or ESPN America (keep in mind that ALL stations are in Russian!)... Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dec. 7, 2010 - Update!

It's Tuesday.. Dec. 7, 2010. I picked today out on the calendar on about the 15th of November... about 5 days before bonding ending.... I picked today as my "guess" about court... I guess I was incorrect!
I want to share a little about today with you... cause I don't ever want anyone to think I'm not 'real'... We are trying SO very hard to cling to the Lord and his promises and make the CHOICE to trust him... and we have done that! We have confessed it... said it in our hearts, prayed it to the Lord, and said it OUT LOUD to each other numerous times!!
However, even when you make that choice... and are trying with EVERYTHING within you to live that choice.. or totally trusting God in your situation.... that doesn't mean it's not going to easy.. in fact, I think that most times it's gonig to be hard... and sad... and heartbreaking... but, even in the midst of falling across our bed in tears today (missing Bay and Brook so much I had a good cry)... down deep... I KNOW the it is going to be ok! I didn't have that great of a day today. I have been so emotional... my tears are right there... about 1/2 second from appearing and I can feel it. I finally gave in and had a GREAT hard cry... and that helped some!
Just when I think... this is so incredibly hard and I can't take it here ONE MORE DAY.... I put the sim card in the computer to look at the pictures from today.... and here is the answer... (times 2!)....

Is there really anything else that I need to say? The Lord has a plan for these babies... and he is holding Bay and Brook in his hand as well...

We took the picture albums that we are required to have for the judge for court with us today. (We went ahead and had 2 copies of all the pictures printed... so we'd have a copy in case anyone keeps it!) You have to have pictures from everyday of bonding to show the judge. The girls were SO excited to see themselves with Mama and Papa in pictures. I'm sure it was probably the first time they've ever seen pictures of themselves. They were SO excited! They pointed out everything in every picture... over and over and over!! SWEET memories! :)

Grace is showing Faith that she's in her picture... ;)

A close-up of Grace's eye today... OUCH! She has quite a shiner!

I had them to kiss each other.. and got this one... Phil and I were talking today and it's so sad but they don't even know how to be affectionate with each other... :( so sad..
...oh and those pink wash clothes... I brought those today as blankets for the dolls... They loved that! The simplest things are the best toys!

As we were leaving the BH this younger group was bundled up and headed to the playground ahead... (it's NOT a playground by our standards.... SO SO SO sad)
We went out tonight with our translator and driver and drove around Pavlodar. They wanted to show us the New Year's Lights. These are all at the enbankment/park area. Phil and I walked down there on Sunday evening and looked around... but, it was SO cold that the camera would not turn on.... however, tonight was a little warmer... so we got some pictures. This is the FAMOUS New Year's Fir Tree. Symbat says it's very popular here and everyone comes to see it!
It is very big and quite beautiful!
This picture is across the street from the tree... That is the outside ice skating rink. It's very big and pretty... and LOTS of people skate every night... it's Tuesday night here and it was packed. I really thought about giving it a try.. but, noticed quickly that EVERYONE can really skate.... We did not see anyone holding onto the side like an idiot... so I decided not to give it a try. Plus ~ Phil really wants to avoid a hospital visit while here... so he strongly discouraged it!
The building behind the rink is the Mayor's building... That's what Symbat said.
Here we are with Garnadi - he's also Svetlana's (lawyer) Papa! We really wish we could communicate with him more.. he seems so nice.. but, we have to communicate through the translator! (except for simple things)
Lights across the streets.

Have a wonderful Wednesday... Paka for now!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dec. 6, 2010 - more Lanetta Ramblings.. BEWARE!!!

Ok... so here's the REAL scoop with my thoughts/feelings/emotions!! Read ahead with caution... cause I'm not leaving anything out!

First about our health... umm... Last Sunday (7 days ago) I woke up with a BAD sore throat and running a temp. I fought it for days and was MISERABLE. Finally Phil convinced me to start the round of antibiotics that we brought for such a situation! (I was saving them for if I 'really' might need them... hummm... Phil thinks 5 days with a temp is ENOUGH!) So, I started taking them last Friday.. and on Sat. morning woke up MUCH better! Sore throat gone by Sun. AM... only for Phil to begin to get a sore throat yesterday... (YES, he's already taking his prescription of antibiotics.. lol! Smart guy, huh?!)... so I wake up Sunday morning totally and completely so congested and stopped up that I can't hardly breath. Continues to be that way today... so stopped up that people noticed... urg!! The translator thinks it's because it's COLD in our apartment... well, I doubt that.. but, if they could make it warmer that would be GREAT!!!

Anyway... prayers for our continued health would be VERY appreciated!

So... we sort of silently gave ourselves a deadline of last Friday to receive our court date.... We thought sure we'd hear by then... and then when our lawyer was going to meet with the judge on Friday.. so we thought OH YEAH!! We thought sure we were about to hear something... The entire weekend went by and we heard NOTHING... This morning Symbat says the judge needed an additional paper from Svetlana... she's taking that to her (the judge is a woman) today (Monday)... and we should hear something soon.... "should and soon" don't really mean much... keep this in mind... BIG SIGH!!!

Ok... so over the weekend... we went back and forth between requesting an apt. with the lawyer nicely... throwing it all to the wind and giving them ALL a piece of our mind.... or just continuing to sit here silently....

See... it's really hard to sit here silently... we've been here LONGER than we thought....than THEY told us we would be... we are bored...we miss home... we miss Bay and Brook... everyday that goes by is another day here.. costing money and another one that we are both off with no pay... hummmm...

The situation we are in "FEELS" wrong... It "feels" unfair and completely makes the FLESH mad!!!! Why do they make it SO hard to give 2 babies a forever home?!?! WHY does it have to be like this.....
The list of ?'s and emotions and feelings and fleshly things WANT to rear their heads.... BUT, when any of us are in a situation like this... a situation that seems to not be going the way that WE feel or think it should be or that we think or feel would be best.... we are ALL faced with a choice...
You have a choice in whatever situation you are facing TODAY... right now.... and we have a choice... right now today..
We can allow the enemy to come against us... (cause that's exactly what is happening)...we can feel sorry for ourselves, gripe someone out, or just pout...
OR we can CHOOSE to TRUST our God, Lord, our Savior....
Have you thought about the fact that HE died for you... and me...
If it would have just been YOU... he would have still died... He gave his life... HIS LIFE for us.... for you!!!
Why would we even question trusting him in a situation that is really as simple as this one we face.... or the one you face.
You see when we are facing these situations and 'choices' God already KNOWS the outcome... He has already written the ending....
and we just have the SIMPLE job of CHOOSING to trust him!!!! :)
Simple... isn't it?! I challenge you today.... REGARDLESS of what you are facing... regardless of how BAD or IMPOSSIBLE it seems to you... or through the natural eye...
Just choose...
make a choice... trust him!!
Tell him.. cry out to him and trust him!!
HE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN!! I can promise you that!!!!

So... we did NOT request to meet with the lawyer... we came back to the apartment with smiles and made some lunch! We choose to trust the Lord that he has a plan and we will go to court and come home FOREVER at the EXACT second he has planned!!

We received a FB message from a dear saint yesterday who said that while she was praying for us... God spoke the following to her. As you can imagine we continue to be in AWE of God's amazing plan... and as you can see in what she wrote to us... God is asking us to continue to TRUST HIM!!!
Here's what she wrote to us:
"You are so precious to me! Fear not, fear not, fear not...for I am the Lord God Almighty. I am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I am meeting your every need. I know your every thought before you think it. I have numbered your steps. He says, my word does not go out and come back void. I hold the world in my hands. Trust me, trust me, trust me. I have things in store for you that you cannot even imagine! Lean not on your own understanding, just believe! I'm holding your hands! "

As you can imagine the TEARS ROLLED while reading this over and over and over! We are so thankful for the Lord using others to continue to encourage us! Thank you Lord for all you've done and are doing!
...and on that note... my babies are PRECIOUS!!! Those little rags are theirs that the caregiver let them bring today... no idea why.. but, we were hiding from Papa while snuggling!! :) I know you can't see them... they were REALLY hiding! ;)

Grace fell this morning before we arrived and REALLY hurt her eye.... There is a close up below... I would NEVER want one of my girls to get hurt, but this injured eye was a GREAT bonding time for she and I. She was running wild and acted fine when we arrived... but, as the caregivers told us about it and I showed her attention and love and made sure she was ok... she started whimpering... and whimpered the entire way to the PE room... :) YEAH for Grace!!
Getting more attention from Mama for her hurt eye!

She has a sore on her chin from falling as well... :(

The girls both had to go to the bathroom. This is becoming a daily adventure. Mama takes them back up to their room and they go potty... They are LIKING this a lot. :) I got BUNCHES of hugs while the girls were going to the bathroom from the little girl I mentioned before... SO precious!
Symbat snapped this picture while I was coming back down the hall... they are jealous of each other and attention and both BEGGED me to carry them... :) There is NO way.. I would say no!

Here we are coming back into the PE room! (I really doubt they even had to go to the bathroom... ;) )
We had been rocking the babydolls and I said... I sure wish I had one of my babies to rock... and Grace (yes Grace) came running!!! Faith went to Papa and it was a GREAT moment!!! :)

Grace's eye... isn't it awful? I bet it turns black... nice!

YES, you are seeing correctly... that is Grace during our daily cuddle - singing time!!! Notice how much more she's curving into my body... Thank you JESUS!!! :)

I am telling you that hurt eye was great for us with bonding... she is seeing that Mama and Papa really do love her and I think realizing that we are going to keep coming back.... (Lord, I trust that if we have to come home without them... YOU HAVE A PLAN!)
...and Faith eats up snuggles from either of us. She will play for a while and then come to one of us for HUGS... she just curves into us and absorbs EVERY SECOND!

Tomorrow is going to be warmer... so we are excited! We have plans to go to the outside market tomorrow. We've not ate out ONE time in a week... and been really being good... so we are THRILLED to get out. We need to find some more "Kazak" souvenirs for the girls! :)
Just remember today... to TRUST in our Lord!! He will NEVER fail you... leave you ... or forsake you.. he is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIGHT!!!

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me!” Matt 18:5

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Click here to visit our website to read about how our journey to international adoption began... and how God spoke to our hearts to open our lives and family to a child who otherwise might not ever know him.
God bless!

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