Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jan 20th - Court Session Number 6

As I wrote out the title of this post... I am seriously in shock.. you see this is SO not how I thought this would be.. I never dreamed we'd be STUCK in a foreign land FIGHTING for daughters who our God spoke and  told us repeatedly to come and get... hummm...
sometimes... things DON'T go the way you see them in your mind (and/or heart)... and things happen lots of times that leave all of us wondering if we missed God altogether...     

Let me just stop right there and go back to the beginning of this LONG exhausting day.. and let me just tell you it was another EXHAUSTING one... 

We went to the babyhouse this morning for what we thought was our last visit to F and G this trip...  It was sad.. but, they don't really understand what's happening... (they are 3 years old)...    We told them through the translator that we wouldn't be back for a while.... but, when we came back we'd be picking them up and we'd go home forever.. they said DA (yes)  and smiled and ran on to play with another toy... ;) 
It's bittersweet that they don't really understand..
One of the caregivers took some time today and came into the bonding room and 'enlightened' us on their personalities...  It was funny.. cause when she left.. Symbat said... NO DUH woman!   We have spent a lot of time with F and G.. and we see their personalities SHINING through!!  :)   it was funny...

We left the babyhouse and they dropped us home for a couple hours.. we made a quick lunch... prayed... read the word a little.. and Phil got out his MP3 and started listening to music...    We got more and more and more nervous...  I prayed all the peace scriptures I knew... we talked and laughed and cried.. and hugged.. and tried NOT to stress... and trust God..
Next thing I know.... Phil is crying and says... Listen to this...    He ran across the following song on his MP3: (notice the verses at the first...  yeah..  it was just what we needed to read!)


so we are then feeling really good.. The Lord has reminded us yet again that He has this!!!   :) 

The driver and translator then arrive to pick us up @ 2 pm. We are going to Svetlana’s office before court to go over the new documents and prepare. It is obvious after about 10 minutes of arriving in her office that she is VERY concerned about today and the judge. She tells us that she took the new updated forms to the judge yesterday and that the judge had LOTS of questions. She (Svetlana) told us to be prepared again to answer things are stupid as, “what are we going to feed the twins? They most likely won’t like America food, etc”… That gives you an idea of the insanity… She said that the judge had looked at all our pictures in the dossier and was concerned that there are no neighbors anywhere close to our house. She said she attempted to tell her that this is the ‘country’ and we live in the ‘country’. Svetlana said she asked her ridiculous questions and for us to be prepared because she would ask us LOTS of things in court again today.


In the previous sessions Svetlana has been a very calming force for Phil and I.. She’s very confident, yet kind and VERY easy to talk to.. and just puts you at ease. Well, after knowing her for 3 months… and 5 previous court sessions.. it was obvious that she was VERY concerned about today.

As we sat in her office I could just feel the enemy getting a grip on my mind… our faces were dropping and Phil and I were both getting so stressed (as you could imagine!)…

I begin quoting scriptures (in my head) and praying and declaring victory, peace, grace and the Lord’s will… and the Lord reminded me of the scripture that he gave me prior to the very first court date… WAY back on Dec. 14th… (at that time.. I remembered thinking… oh Lord.. what does this mean… but, I knew)… The scripture says:
They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 1:19
I began quoting that in my head over and over and over… and off we went to pick up the ladies and go to the courtroom.

We arrive and find out that the judge is still in session.. and we aren’t called until 3:45. We waited for over 45 minutes… our insides were rolling… I have NEVER in my life felt such a mixture of emotions. I finally couldn’t sit any longer and paced and cried out to God and DECLARED this town, people, country for HIS glory.

I reminded him of the times he’s shown me over and over and over again that we are supposed to be in Kaz. At this EXACT time… and I begged him to PLEASE let this finally be about the twins… You see.. I have selfish moments… I begged him… I cried out… I said, God enough is enough… I am THRILLED that you have big plans for all this… but, when is it going to be about the girls… They need us… we need out of here… God PLEASE!!! … but, as quickly as I cried that in my heart… I apologized to the Lord… I DO NOT want to be selfish… I want this to bring HIM the Glory… (more about this in a minute)

At one point I look at Phil and he’s FURIOUS.. I lean into him and tell him to relax… and that this very moment was going to help someone – somehow – sometime.. There would be someone who is reading our blog.. or reading this chapter in the book (the book I’m going to write).. and they are going to be facing a situation that seems impossible. A situation where they are facing a den of lions… Phil said.. NO a den of snakes! :) and our story of God bring victory through this will help them. They will read our story and KNOW that God still does what he says. He does still rescue, save and set free…. Phil just grinned at me.. and said.. I love you! ;)

So… at 3:45… we go in the courtroom…

Svetlana presents the new documents.. she looks them over and the ?’s begin… Over and over and over…

She doesn’t  understand the forms… we all explain… she finally moves on to the Dr’s.. there are 4 Dr’s here as witnesses.. they completely redid the entire medical exam and made ALL new documents for her. EVERYONE is jumping through hurdles. The Dr’s all testify to the DYNAMIC changes in the twins since the first of Nov… (BINGO..their Mama and Papa met them for the first time on Nov. 4th) HELLO!!!

The Dr’s say that EVERYONE can see a huge change in them since Nov.. and that they all feel it would be best for the twins to continue in our care.. etc. etc..

They were 100 % supportive.. and honestly I was surprised at what all they said about us. We had NEVER seen any of these Dr’s before… CRAZY!!!

The judge DRILLS the Dr’s about ?’s.. and gets on to them for the previous commission and the forms not being filled out and signed correctly… I tell you this judge has some power issues…

The Dr’s are then dismissed…

She then lights back into ME… :) Oh joyous day! The drilling continues.. I have NEVER in my life experienced anything quite like her.. it’s INSANE the way she asks the ?’s.. then reasks.. and it’s like she’s playing a MEAN mind-game… I have NO idea if I need to change my answers a little… or if she’s liking what she hears and seeing if I’m going to answer consistently for the 34th time.. ;)

I am fairly quick on my feet and think quickly.. and she throws me for loops.. I am not kidding. It like the most tiring thing I’ve ever EVER endured. She’ll tell me to expand on one response (that my answers aren’t elaborate enough… then the next one.. she’ll say JUST answer the ?!) (which is what I was doing.. oh my!)

She then looks through the forms for the millionth time and asks us TONS of ?’s about them… and then discovers an error in the translation. The lady who translated failed to translate the signature line on one of the new forms… It’s right there PLAIN AS DAY on the English (original – notarized and apostilled version).. but, the translator failed to put the signature line…. She sees it.. and that’s the end..

Svetlana explains that it’s a simple error.. she demands that it be fixed and she WILL NOT give a verdict today..  (we were in court for an hour and a half)

SERIOUSLY.. I am in shock… my chin (I know) hits the floor… (at this point I’m worried Phil’s going to snap… cause he’s CLOSE!)… If you could hear her ?ing… you’d be amazed at our ability to continue to answer and smile and the fact that we’ve not knocked her out of her chair backwards… (sorry… but, I’d like to… urg!)..

However… when she started saying all that… The scripture came to me that we are supposed to Pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use us (that’s my version of that scripture)… so, I started praying for the judge and asking God to bless her… The word says to pray blessings on our enemies… I want her to find the Lord… I want her to realize that Jesus Loves her so much… I prayed for her and fought back the tears as I looked her in the eye… Honestly.. it was very easy… My heart breaks that she doesn’t’ know Jesus… purely breaks for her…

Ok… so she then says tomorrow at 3:30.. and the DOE lady stands up and goes OFF on her… She says there is NO way she can be in court tomorrow… she has personal plans. She then says… just give your verdict NOW… why are you putting us all through all this? The judge says she will not give a verdict until that form is correct… and we can either have court tomorrow @ 3:30 or on the 25th @ 11:00 am… there is a roar in the room. The DOE lady continues to argue with her… and tells her it’s not fair to us, etc..

The judge then looks at her and says.. you pick.. it’s either tomorrow or the 25th… The DOE lady said ok to tomorrow.. JUST FOR US!

The judge says she will give her verdict tomorrow… and it will be a short session… Can this really be true?

Everyone (including Svetlana) feels good about tomorrow and feel she’s going to give a positive verdict…

As we were walking out of that courtroom…. I can’t even tell you the physical struggle I had within myself…. Honestly I was MAD…. WHY GOD I cried… Why can’t you just stop this… PLEASE … do you care??

I just walked down the hall away from everyone… I fought back the tears… I thought of having to post NO VERDICT again…. I thought of Bay and Brook.. My mom… our family.. all waiting… our plane tickets.. yet again (have to be changed)… I thought of it all.. and I said… Ok God.. I’m serious… I am tired.. and you said in the word.. that you wouldn’t put more on us than we could bare… and well, I feel really close to that point.. and then I said… I KNOW you are doing something here… but, I’d really like to see a little something… I know we’re planting seeds.. but, somehow, someway.. PLEASE show us that we’re doing something for you…

And then I walked out with Phil… where the group of ladies were standing BASHING The judge… I quickly thanked the DOE and gave her a HUGE tearful hug and thanked her for agreeing to tomorrow and that I was so sorry… and that I knew she did it just for us.. and we were so so so sorry, yet thankful! She was all smiles and so kind.. but, SO mad at the same time at the judge.

They are bashing her.. talking about how they’ve NEVER seen any adoption like this EVER in all their years.. and that this is the most ridiculous fight they’ve ever seen or dealt with… They kept apologizing to us and we smiled through the pain and said it was ok… we are ok! I felt led at this point to say that we realized one positive thing out of 7 court sessions.. they quickly wanted to know what.. and I told them that if not for so many court session we would not have gotten to know them so well… and thanks to that judge we had WONDERFUL life-long new friends in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan!! They were ALL smiles and agreed… and LOVED that I said it… I told them that we had LOTS of great friends to visit every time we came back to visit Kazakhstan.

They laughed and said.. wow.. you will really come back here after all you’ve been through? We said yes.. OF COURSE!!!! And I quickly felt led to share with the DOE and director of children’s services that we were making plans to come back with a group of family and friends and do something BIG for the BH here… they were IN shock..and asked what we meant… We told them a HUGE outside toy.. or something just as HUGE for the kids there… They were in shock.. even Svetlana said… are you guys really still going to do that… with all you’ve been through here? They were in shock… we quickly said yes.. and in my head.. the Lord softly spoke…” SEE… I am working… you just showed them ME!”

Let me tell you that I was about to BAWL at this point… the driver then arrived and we all get in the van (jammed in there).. and they ladies are all talking 150 miles per hour in Russian.. and Symbat looks over and says.. do you know what they are saying? They are all amazed and talking about you guys and the fact that you are going/ planning on doing something HUGE for this city/country after the way you’ve been treated… They are in shock.. and are saying what good people you are! It was INCREDIBLE!!!!

Now.. let me just share a little more.. you see I didn’t want to keep trusting God.. I REALLY wanted to kick and scream and throw a HUGE fit…. Cause to me.. I’d put in the time.. it has been a LONG HARD road… we are tired, broke and completely exhausted… but, I wouldn’t change ONE single thing of this journey….

You see.. I said long ago to the Lord.. back when the ‘waiting’ was killing me.. back when there was NO news from our agency… back when others were traveling and bringing their babies home… back when my heart was breaking because my child(ren) were in an orphanage and I was STUCK in Oklahoma doing fundraiser after fundraiser after fundraiser…. I told the Lord in one of my fits that I wanted HIM to get all the Glory.. and that I wanted this very journey to GLORIFY him in Magnificent ways…

… I am so proud to be able to say that I am glad the judge didn’t give her verdict today… or last week.. or last year (ha ha 2010!)…. Because one person’s life is worth some pain… one person’s soul is worth some sacrifice…

Yes.. my flesh wants it to end.. and I miss Bay and Brook so much I think I feel physical pain.. and I DREAM of the day that I can sign Faith and Grace out of that DREADFUL orphanage forever…. However, I do not want to miss what our Lord is doing… because HIS plans are incredible!

I am so thankful for all our your amazing messages… you are sending such sweet comments and things.. and saying that our faith is admirable… PLEASE don’t admire it… PLEASE be motivated to know God deeper…. PLEASE stop what you are doing right now… and cling to him a little more..

He so desires to be EVERYTHING to us.. and yet we put him last most times in our lives… I’ve seen on FB that most of America seems to be having a snow day… It looks like most everyone I know is home today.. (unexpectedly)… You know what.. that’s NOT the case..

God orchestrated YOU being exactly where you are at this EXACT moment reading my blog about HIS greatness.. He knew you’d read the challenge I issued to you… TO CLING TO HIM… to experience him in a way you have never before…

Yes.. I know it’s scary to COMPLETELY sell out to him… and YES, I know that some people will think you are a fool… (Believe me I know.. I get the comments and I get the negativity – and close family and friends just don’t comment)…. But, you know what…

There really is NOTHING else to live for…. I mean really… He gave IT ALL for us.. and he’s the real reason we are all even alive… He designed us to worship HIM.. he molded us in HIS image!

Find some time today – TAKE some time today and seek him… Read the word.. INGEST more of him! He’s right there waiting on you.. gently calling YOUR name…

Join me today as we celebrate him.. and HIS amazing GREATNESS!

Oh.. and court is tomorrow @ 3:30… and she’s gonna say YES!!!  … and everyone is GOING to know exactly what our Lord did for us!!!!

… and I DELCARE the Lord’s Glory here in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan!!!



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jan 18, 2011 - Update

There's nothing really new to report or note today... it's VERY cold...   (big surprise, I know!)... I snowed a little (about an inch) overnight... and that has again left everything with a new coat of white.   I can't help but feel sorry for the street workers here though... they work for hours with shovels and remove the snow by hand... only for a couple days to go by and it snows again.. thus they start all over.    I know they are used to it.. but, I can't help but feel bad for them...and honestly for more reasons than that.    Just remember today to not take your freedoms for granted.    Take a moment and thank the Lord for the ability to even know him....  wow... we have so much to be thankful for..
Phil and I are trying to continue to cling to the word.... rest, relax and enjoy the last few days of this time here in Kazakhstan...   

We arrived at the BH today to find out that Grace had face planted the floor this morning while RUNNING to breakfast.   Notice her nose in the pictures... bloody, cut and bruised.... oh Grace!  ;)
Here are some pictures from this morning:


(Well.. after about an hour of attempting to upload these pics... I am giving up.. sorry!   Internet is still really acting strange...  can't access blogspot AT ALL via apartment internet... so I have walked to hotel lobby to upload these.. can't even get it to work here @ the hotel..  oh well!)

We had a good day with the twins...   Papa took his MP3 player and they LOVED sitting in his lap listening to Praise and worship music (;))      One of their favorite new things to do is to tell me they have sugars behind their ears and have me looks... which of course ends in LOTS of giggles and kisses as we make sure to get all the sugar off and from behind their ears. 
I know I say it everyday... but, they are so different...    They look at us differently... their smiles are different!
Faith threw a HUGE fit today and DID NOT want her Papa to leave her...  The caregiver finally PULLED her off him and held her...  ;(    so so so sad and hard to keep leaving them there.  

I keep thinking that soon I'll post about orphanage life and some of the things we've seen and witnessed...   however, everyday I can't bring myself to type it out.... you see... it's hard to keep leaving MY babies there...    Thank you Lord for protecting them...

I guess I'll sign-off... Please say a prayer tonight that our paperwork is almost here... expected arrival was Wed. (tomorrow).... and we're praying and trusting that there were/are NO delays.   
Court is Thursday @ 3 PM...  Jan. 20th...    (that's 3am Thursday morning for most of you...)
Thanks for the overwhelming prayers and support we've seen and felt...
We are so blessed by all of you...  

I decided to try one more time before posting this... and this one picture uploaded:
This is the Dr was has been F and G's Dr since they were 3 months old.   She has been very kind to us and was the one who testified for us so STRONGLY in court.   I asked her about taking a picture with the twins today.. and look at that.. they sit right down and smiled PERFECTLY!   humm...   why is it that when we want them to do this.... they go CRAZ?!  ;)
(Faith): I think that smile says:  "I sure like this music"...   :) 
Jammin' with Papa... life is GRAND! (notice Grace's nose... OUCH!)

Notice Grace... she just  relaxed as she listened and leaned on Papa... (it has to do with what they are listening too.. :))
Oh my.. this is a metaphor of life in the future with 4 girls!! ha ha!!!   Dishing out tenge (money)! Played again with it for a long time... so sweet!  They are now counting to 5 in English... thanks to counting and recounting the tenge!  :)
Faith with the ever so faithful cards from Bay, Brook, and Nana...  these cards are CHERISHED by both twins... and they play with them and read them and talk about them.... sure can't wait till our 4 girls and Nana meet in person!  ;)  What a grand day it will be!
Nothing more to say than: SUGAR!  Grace was cheering me on to get Faith's sugar... ;)
...and then Grace is QUICK to say that she's sure that she has some behind her ear as well... Faith's helping me look... YEP.. you guessed it.. she did!   Do you know how bad it is to leave sugar behind ears?  ...it's BAD... very bad!!!
...and we ended the time back in Papa's arm... listening to some sweet tunes with Papa!   Notice Phil's hair?  He's lost so much hair since Oct.. seriously.. he has!  Bless his heart!   

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jan. 16, 2010 - Update

I've had 3 different friends send me Psalms 37...  I think it's a sign that Psalms 37 is for us!   It's so true and has been such an encouragement to us today...
I am including a link to a church website that one of our dear adoption families attend.. they sent us the link and I wanted to share with you... 
I think it will encourage you as it did me today..
To see the sermon notes on Psalms 37 from Cornerstone Community Church's blog click here!  Get out your bible and read the scriptures... I just know that God has something for YOU in this passage as well!!

Here are some pictures from today:  
This is one of the girls FAVORITE things to do... blow raspberries on each others belly's!!  Fun times!!  They crack up and really laugh!!     Papa was telling Grace to get ready her turn is coming.. she was CRACKING up.. and quickly laid down for her 'tickles'!!!

Here we are looking at our tenge (money). Grace discovered one tenge (less than one penny) in my coat pocket on Sat. right before we left.  I let her put it in her little purse... you would have thought I'd given her a new toy.   As you guessed, Faith wanted one too... so they both put one tenge in their little purses and we left.   :)   They went straight to the bag of toys today.. found their purses and made sure they still had their money.  They played with the coins the ENTIRE time...  They ended up with 4 coins each (yeah.. we're softies).... Here we are just playing with our money... Telling girl secrets!  ;)  As you can see Grace is SO proud of her money!

I had to include this one.. cause this is the.. "I'm so stinking cute and sly... and I already know how to work these people look".. from Faith... my goodness she's SO ornery!

Here we're just all smiling... :)  We sat in this corner and whispered and played with those purses and those 8 coins for a LONG time! :)


HA HA HA... I still can't believe I am posting this and not deleting it immediately... hee hee!   This is how we feel sometimes...  WOW.. seriously..  we have 4 daughters... LOL!!!    Better not let that judge see this one... oh wait.. maybe she's to play in why we have those looks... ;)    Thought everyone would enjoy this... so I posted it...   see I have a sense of humor! ;)  

Ahhh... much better.. except that Faith had dropped one of her tenge..  you can't have everything right?!   You would crack up if you saw how many takes we have on this picture... I think this will be the story of my life.. will we ever all 6 look at the camera and smile together... I sure hope so.. but, I have my doubts!!  ;)    However, I'll take all 6 in front of the camera.. smiles, crying or screaming!!!  :)  (remind me later that I said this.. ha ha)
another one I just had to include...these are the same babies that back in Nov. did not even know how to hug.. they were LIFELESS and limp... do you see the hugs we get back now??  do you see their arms?  if you could feel them... and see the kisses and love..  oh man.. Thank you Lord for Faith and Grace... We are so blessed by them!


Another example of how far we've came..  back in Nov... there was NO way that we were going to all sit down together and attend to ANY task for more than about 10 seconds....    Now.. they will both attend to tasks with us for as long as we want them to... It's absolutely incredible.    My brain is AMAZED... my heart knew it all along.. but, my brain wondered....  You would never believe the difference between Nov. and NOW.. it's absolutely mind boggling... 
Here Papa is showing the girls how to spin their coins on the floor... such a simple thing.. but, we played together with those coins for over an hour!      Back in Nov... we CHASED them the entire time and pulled them down off the ceiling...  when we'd leave we were exhausted... but, as you can see... now Phil and I just lay around and play!  ;)     ha ha!!!

Well...  I guess that's it for today... 
Go check out that blog I linked at the top.. and study those scriptures... it sure blessed me!  I know it will you as well!!!
Have a wonderful Monday and Thanks over and over and over again for the love, support and prayers... only a few more days until F and G are officially ours... Thursday has to be the day!!!
Keep praying...  and praising our Jesus for what He has done!!! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Jan. 16, 2011 - Update

Well.. It’s Sunday evening for us.. (Sunday EARLY morning for most of you.) I debated about even posting to the blog tonight… but, decided that hopefully my honest writings and what we are going through will speak to someone’s heart today…. And if just one person is encouraged to hang on for the Lord.. well, it’s more than worth it.


You see.. honestly… it’s been a VERY hard day for both of us.. Phil’s been down and I’ve fought being down all day as well. This normally isn’t the case… usually when one of us is down the other is up.. therefore an encourager.. but, NOT today… whew!

I honestly don’t even know what I’m going to say.. but, just prayed and asked the Lord to just type for me…

The down/negative feelings started yesterday afternoon… you see I think it was/is because we had a LONG stretch with virtually NOTHING to do. We did not get to go see F and G today (Sunday)… so from 11 am on Sat.. until 9:20 on Monday (when they pick us up)… we have basically nothing to do… It’s bitter cold… therefore walking far at all is not desirable… we’ve watched every movie we brought several times… we’ve hung in there for a couple months now..and made the best of being ‘stuck’ here… but, this stretch has been the hardest yet for us… (we are torn between missing home (Bay and Brook) so much... and NOT wanting to leave F and G either)

HUGE SIGH… now… you see I have recognized all along that this feeling of doom hanging over our heads was totally and completely the enemy… and I have quoted those scriptures that the Lord has given me out loud and over this situation… I’ve taken authority over it and KNOW that God is bigger…. And KNOW that he is and will prevail!!!!

…I just wanted to share a bit of my internal struggles.. you see I think that as Christians we often HIDE behind what is really going on in our hearts and lives.. We want others to see us as having it all together.. we hide behind our masks (Marriage encounter couples… can I hear an AMEN! ;)) If we would be more transparent with each other… we could help each other through the struggles we face in life.

You see…. I know what my mask is.. and I’m trying so hard to not hide behind my mask of “valdicotian – head of the class – perfectionism” and be totally true to myself and all of you… If I can shatter my mask and share from my heart with you…(become more transparent) maybe some of you can take your mask off and stop hiding behind it as well… You know it’s when we really take those masks OFF… (ALL THE WAY OFF) that God can really use us…

You see the enemy knows exactly what you are going through… he knows the EXACT person, thing or situation in your life that will cause you to really question it all…. He has your number… your ticket… your WEAKNESS.. and he will use that to his best to destroy you….

For me… it’s been tiny whisperings of things like…. What in the world were you thinking? You’ve deserted Bay and Brook for this… why do YOU think you can parent 4 children.. maybe that judge is correct… maybe you aren’t cut out for this.. maybe you can’t afford to raise 4 children…

And then.. the real things start hitting me…. Like… yeah.. you look like a fool… how do you think you are going to finish this.. you know how much money you have…. You are going to have to fly back over here again.. you have another round of monthly bills about to be due… you ARE going to need to feed your children… and on and on and on….

Now.. you see the reason I am bombarded with these negative thoughts is because this is MY weakness…. I will just admit it…. I am sort of a controller… I like things MY WAY. I am a planner… I figure out a solution and I stick to the task until it’s completed…

And the enemy knows this… however, there’s NO solution to be had (in my fleshly thoughts/mind) when you are not and have not made any income since Oct… there is NO income coming in… and you are paying money daily for apartment rent, driver fees and translator… your bills at home are still happening every single month…. and you have spent THOUSANDS more than expected and still no positive verdict in court…

And there is no solution or way that I can control or change the situation with the judge… it’s beyond my control.. for the last 3 years I’ve had NO control… (during this adoption).. there was NOTHING I could do to speed it up, slow it down… or change anything… I have had to totally lean on the Lord… it’s HARD.. let me tell you HARD!

You see the enemy knows that if he can get my mind to start thinking about all those details… I will get my focus off the Lord….. of the promises that he’s given me…. And I will begin to worry… and then HE WILL HAVE ME!

The same is true in your situation… I know I keep saying this… but, I guess myself (I'm SURE it's me) or someone else needs to hear it again… we are faced with a choice.. I had a choice today. I could have listened to all those thoughts… I could have harbored on them… and continued to try to ‘figure’ out a way… but, I CHOOSE to again PROCLAIM the word over this situation the ENTIRE thing.. and TRUST MY GOD!

The bible is FULL of promises that apply to ANY situation you are facing… Just look… they are there.

The scripture that stuck out to me today was:

TRUST in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understand;
In all ways acknowledge him
And HE will make your paths straight!
Proverbs 3:5-6

It says to "trust in the Lord"… what does trust mean?

Trust means to have “complete confidence in a person or plan”….

Wow! Not ½ way.. some of the time confidence… NOT have confidence when things look and feel good.. but, COMPLETE confidence in HIM all the time!!!

So… we should have complete confidence in Him with ALL our heart!

Then is says… “and lean not to your OWN understanding..”

WOW. This. Was. Just. For. Me! I don’t understand… I don’t understand why things are and have happened the way they have… and I’m quite sure there are things happening in your life/world that you don’t understand.. PERIOD! The word says we don’t need to understand it.. just TRUST The Lord…

In all ways acknowledge him.. and HE will make your paths straight!

Now.. did you hear the last part…. It’s a PROMISE!!! It doesn’t say, “he’ll think about it” it says, “AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT!!!!”

So… is there really a reason for a downtrodden face or a feeling of overwhelming defeat.. NO!

As I was typing that last sentence the thought came to me that someone would read that and say in their mind… but, Lanetta…. You don’t know what my situation is.. you just don’t know..

Let me tell you this… In Luke 18:27 Jesus himself (in RED letters :) said): “What is impossible with men is possible with God!”

No matter how impossible it feels or looks or seems… OUR God is bigger… He’s bigger than any mountain you might face (there’s a whole entire different passage I could write about!)… I won’t.. I will stop.. but, I could go on and on and on..

Our God is bigger than a judge, some paperwork or a country… and what he says WILL COME TO PASS!

He is still the same God who changed the water into wine in the bible… he healed the leapers, he walked on water, he fed the multitudes with virtually nothing… he’s the SAME GOD… he DOES not and will not Change.. the Word says… He’s the same yesterday, today and FOREVER!!!

We are the ones who limit him… we choose (wow.. there’s that word again) to live life and exclude him… (and we all really do this)… none of us are truly living in his complete fullness…

Lord,
Help us ALL to be more like you..

I desire for you to radiate out of me, Phil, my 4 girls.. Lord.. I want our lives to be what you’d have them to be… Father I pray that we can become more like you every single day!!! Help us Lord to focus on you.. help all of us Father to ingest you… so that we can RADIATE you to those around us. Help us Father..and everyone reading this today to draw closer to you… I ask that you would move in hearts and lives today.. Lord, we do want more of you.. we desire to be just like you.. Heavenly Father show us the way.. guide us and lead us…. We put our hands in yours and give you the lead… Thank you precious Father for your peace, mercy and grace… You are my rock… and to you I cling!

~Amen

(I promise to post more about Faith and Grace tomorrow.. :))I have a very honest post about orphanage life brewing… it’s sad.. it’s heartbreaking.. but, someone who’s seen it on the inside needs to share… PLEASE pray for every single child tonight who is living in an institution… it’s NOT where those precious babies are supposed to be.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Court Sessions 4 and 5!

Just a warning that before you even start reading this that this will most likely be a LONG post. We still have limited/no internet in the apartment… I am typing this in a word document and will go the hotel lobby later and post it to the blog!!

HUGE SIGH!!!!

Where do I start.. ok..
(I apologize in advance for jumping around so much…. Lots on my mind and LOTS to say!)

Yesterday morning they picked us up at 10:30 and we went straight to the notary’s office here. Svetlana made an additional form for the judge hoping to please her regarding our income. The forms we are required to give…. Show the average household salary in the state of Oklahoma. The judge DOES NOT understand or choose to believe us regarding the forms.. and she has it in her head that you take this amount and multiply it times 6.. (for a family of 6)… and we HAVE to make above that amount. This would mean that we make an annual salary 6X’s the average salary in Oklahoma… Let’s just say that’s it’s safe to say that we do not… ;) Hence the problem. She DOES not understand the form… or what it means… URG!!!
… so Svetlana provided another form with a chart… showing the average salary for a family of 6… and she now has it in her head that we make $1500 per year LESS than the poverty level for a family of 6 in Oklahoma… (which again is insane…. She doesn’t understand the forms)
Sorry.. I got ahead of myself there..
Ok… so we get the ‘new’ form.. and head to court. When we arrive at the courtroom the bh director is not there.. and it’s 11:15… (15 min. late)… Svetlana calls her and learns that the judge called the director 15 minutes before court started and said if she doesn’t bring one of the Dr’s that are on the twin’s Commission (group of Dr’s) to court.. she will not rule in our favor… or postpone court once again. So Baghdad (director) is busting her rear to find a Dr who is available in 15 minutes to come to court for us… These are the INSANE sort of things that she is doing and requiring…. Absolutely INSANE! (Svetlana also said that this is only the 2nd adoption case that this judge has EVER had...)

The Judge then calls our names and court begins @ around 11:30… BH director is NOT there… and the judge is upset.. but, allows us to start and she arrives (with a Dr) at about 11:45.. WHEW!!!!
The judge calls the Dr to the stand… and RIPS her a new one. There are these issues with the latest medical evaluation that was completed and the judge is being SUPER picky about the forms and says that they were not completed properly… etc.. and threatens to shred them all… The Dr. was an idiot… I am not kidding - a pitiful excuse for a Dr… she didn’t even know what to say regarding the evaluation that was completed and honestly… I can’t blame the judge for not accepting her witness as true. It was the most INSANE we’ve ever seen.
The judge jumps from the financial forms and DRILLING us about them.. to the medical forms.. to the other ladies in the room… She asks us all the SAME questions over and over and over.. at one point… she was asking me for the 4th time why I would choose to sacrifice my attention of my biological girls and share that attention with these two girls.. I just started bawling… she told me to not be so nervous and emotional and stop crying! NICE!!! I apologized and said it was my daughters we were talking about – ALL 4 of them! Svetlana later said that she was proud of me showing emotion… it showed her that we really do LOVE the twins…
I can’t even explain or type out how she raked us over the coals time and time and time again. She continued to ask the same ?’s over and over and over… and as soon as we felt like she was ok with an answer… she would find a new thing to drill someone about.
We could NOT get her to understand about the income. She has it in her head that we make BELOW the poverty line… We explained time and time again.. that this was the average salary… and that it was for an entire family NOT one person…and that you don’t multiply it times 6. URG… she NEVER understood (or choose not to)…
Keep in mind that we are average middle class… we don’t make a lot.. but, enough to support a family of 6. What is crazy is that the average salary here is $400 per month… we make a little more than that… sigh….
After 2 hours and 15 minutes of fun.. she decided to recess and give the director a chance to get a surgeon to come at 3:30 to speak as a witness…. This is all regarding the medical forms/issues that she has. This all has NOTHING to do with us. However, is one of her biggest issues as well.
We wait and go back at 3:30… and the same thing all goes on again and again.. more ?’s about income… attempting to explain that she’s not understanding the chart correctly.. etc.. the other women in the room try to help her understand as well.. NOPE.. she will NOT budge… she says that she will give us a chance to show her with additional forms…. And postpone the date until Jan. 20th… giving us a chance to get forms proving what we “say”… This being that we are not at poverty level… and that we do make well above the average salary for a family of 6.
She repeatedly asked us if we knew about the 'bad' adoptions of Americans in Russia... and about the woman from TN that sent her son 'back'!   She grilled us the last 3 sessions about this and what will we do when we decide we don't want F and G...  how can we be certain that is not going to happen...  NO matter what we answer or what we say she comes back with something... URG! 
Numerous questions about our bio. daughters being jealous...  and having to give  up their lifestyle for F and G... it just goes on and on and on....

So… we left about over 4 hours total of grueling questions and attacks…

My description doesn’t really do it justice.. to be honest.. it’s hard to even explain it all…. And I’m so emotionally drained. Everyone who walked out of the courtroom was DRAINED. The DOE, BH director, Dr’s, prosecutor and everyone who is involved continually told us how sorry they were… and hugged us and just kept expressing how sorry they were they she doesn’t understand the form about our income and that she is being SO awful to us… They all spoke up for us repeatedly and said that they have told her that they 100% support a positive decision from her regarding us and the twins. They continue to tell us to just get the forms she wants… and show her… and she will grant us the twins. They keep encouraging us saying they just know it will happen… and that the twins were meant to be ours.. 
We just know this too..
The forms have been created, updated, notarized and apostilled and are on their way to us… thanks to Janet, my mom, my brother, and our social worker in Oklahoma!
However, it takes 5 days to get a package… and Thursday (the day of court) is the 5th day… PLEASE pray the forms make it… PLEASE…. Svetlana does have the scanned forms….so she’s saying we can get them translated and ready to go with the scanned ones… Just pray the originals make it by Wednesday!
As all this was happening… I just repeatedly thanked the Lord for what he was doing through all this…and promised him that I would indeed shout it from the rooftops when this was completed… and that I trusted him!
You see… It hurts… my heart is breaking inside… I got an email from my mom telling us of her telling Bailey and Brooklyn… there were TEARS and as you can imagine heartache… You see we’ve been gone from home since Oct. 20th… away from Bailey and Brooklyn…. We were home with them for 13 days (in December)…. It will be a little over 3 months soon… that’s a long time…. And they are so ready for this to end as well..
Brooklyn said to my mom through tears.. “Nana, why can’t that judge just let us have our Mama and Daddy and sissys home NOW!” yeah… sobbingly heartbreaking… HUGE sigh!!
I just continue to remind myself through my sobs and tears that God knows and knew that he’s already blessed us with Bay and Brook when he spoke to us and orchestrated this very journey. He knows all things and he wouldn’t have placed us on this journey and abandoned my precious oldest 2…

So… back to yesterday.. we got back to the apartment about 5:30-5:45 pm… It was a LONG day. We had to get our flights changed, contact agency, family, employers about updates.. and get the ball rolling with LOTS of things… there was NO internet in the apartment…. Really? Can we catch a single break here?

I couldn’t make myself start the process of chain of events of getting online etc.. and walking down there right away… plus, I really needed to let off some emotions…. So those who know me know what I did… I started unpacking our suitcases… we had packed up the entire apartment because we were supposed to leave @ 6:20 last night… As I am taking everything out of the suitcases the tears start and I have a good bawl…. Phil and I cry together and encourage each other. We got our bible and asked the Lord to show us something to cling to…

Phil’s bible fell open to the follow passage:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his might power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your wait with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this , take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and request. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6: 11-18

Wow! As I started reading this outloud to Phil.. I just bawled… there are SO SO SO many nuggets of GREATNESS in this for us (where we are today) and for all of you reading this.

Please know that I realize and know that most of you reading our blog and keeping up with our journey are facing things in your daily lives/walk with God that you are struggling with. We all do… and no matter how little the things you are struggling with seem to you compared to others… KNOW that God does not see it that way… he is just as concerned about what you are facing as what I or anyone else is facing…
Let me share some of the things the Lord pointed out to me in these scriptures…
First thing was his confirmation that we indeed are not fighting a fleshly battle here…. This is not a battle with the judge… this is a spiritual battle of good verses evil. The first part says to “be strong in the Lord and HIS might”.. in other words… when you feel like you can’t stand anymore… No worries.. God didn’t ask you or me to stand…. He said to STAND IN HIM… ;) Next he tells us to “put of the FULL armor of God”… meaning get prepared.. be prayed up… have the word stored away on the tablets of our hearts.. be ingesting God… everywhere you turn put more of him in YOUR Life.. through music, reading, listening to others, reading books, the word, etc…
Then it says, “When you have done EVERYTHING.. KEEP STANDING!”.. WHEW!! That was JUST for me… I have done everything I knew to do… for the past 3 years… trusted God, tried to put on the armor of God daily (I could have done so much more… but, I’ve tried)…. And you know what… God says here…. KEEP STANDING… KEEP SMILING, my child…. VICTORY IS MINE and it’s ON the way!!! Thank you JESUS!!!
Then it goes on to say, “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”…. Wow…. Our feet fitted with the readiness of PEACE! Peace… No fretting… no worring… no crying, screaming or fit throwing… peace that you TRUST him… Peace that you KNOW He has it all under control… PEACE.. Sweet wonderful perfect Peace that comes straight from the thrown of GRACE!!!! I think there’s something to learn from “our feet fitted”…. Not just half-way thrown on flip flop kind of peace… but, serious WINTER shoes that fit YOU…. FITTED peace… Peace that regardless of what is thrown at you… or who attacks you… or what is said…. You DO NOT waiver in KNOWING that God is in control… Peace that SURPASSES all understanding!!!! Lord, Help us ALL get enveloped that kind of peace!

I then went on to read this:
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Ephesians 6: 19 – 20

This is exactly how I feel here…. I want to share with this dark place… (yet wonderful people) about the Lord… however, feel like an ambassador in chains…. And feel like an ambassador in chains regarding the court processes as well… This is my prayer…. Just as Paul prayed from prison…

The commentary in Phil’s bible says the following about this scripture:
“Undiscouraged and undefeated, Paul wrote powerful letters of encouragement from prison. Paul did not ask the Ephesians to pray that his chains would be removed, but that he would continue to speak fearlessly for Christ in spite of them.”

As I read this and thought about it… I realized that instead of begging God to deliver us from this… and to end this soon…. We should be praying… Lord let this very journey conclude when YOUR will has been completed. I think we often times BEG God to deliver us from things that he is trying to use for his Glory.
Now… don’t get me wrong… I’ve know that he was using our story/adoption/journey for his glory… but, don’t want to get so selfish in my own ‘wants’ that we miss an opportunity for God to SHINE through in Greatness!!!!
As I was sharing all this with Phil and we were discussing all this etc… we talked about how we had made SUCH connections with ALL the ladies involved in our case. I will look up and one of them will catch my eye and smile gently…. Trying to reassure me that it will all be ok… I just trust God and know that he’s up to something here…. ;)
If we hadn’t been to court 5 times for hours… we would NOT have made such connections with them… and they all keep saying they’ve NEVER seen anything like this…. Our family… F and G will FOREVER be remembered in their hearts and minds… and hopefully… I pray and cry to God that this is true.. they are seeing Jesus in us! I pray that this judge is as well…. She must be seeing something she likes in us… she keeps making us come back and back and back.. ha ha!!!
All these ladies have made us promise we’ll send pics of the girls and our family… and I just know that we’ll forever be in contact with them…  Jesus shining through us for years…
F and G have NO idea the impact they are making on so many people…
They are changing so much it’s incredible. Grace doesn’t even smile the same as before. She looks for us when she wants to show us something and is making appropriate eye contact…
They remember EVERYTHING we teach them… I’ve been teaching them body parts… and they are quick to tell me the English word and show the body part the next day!
INCREDIBLE!!!! I just held them today and cried…. I don’t know how to explain my emotions except that we feel like we are the blessed ones… to have the opportunity to love these two babies as our own… wow… we are so humbled and honored.

I got a little off track there… but, let me go back… I got up this morning to check online on the documents and with the travel agent to ensure that our flights had been successfully changed etc.. and still No internet in apartment… so I bundled up and walked to Hotel down the street. We had so many messages and sweet comments, emails, etc… from all of you. Thank you… you will never know how much it helps and how great it feels to read just the simplest comment of praying… we enjoy hearing from everyone so much…

I was reminded of the lyrics to one of my favorite praise and worship songs….
I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

So.. I of course had to go to You Tube and listen…. TEARS streamed down my face in the Hotel lobby as I felt our savior trading out my sorrows…. Take a few minutes and praise him with me:
(remember you have to pause the music on the blog at the bottom)





Did you notice the small font at the bottom of one of the screens? Yeah… isn’t that JUST like the Lord… ;)


I happen to click on this video to watch (out of the thousands of this song on You tube)… and there is the following scripture:

When my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I.
You’re my refuge and a tower of strength against the enemy.

Psalm 61: 1-3

INCREDIBLE and JUST LIKE OUR GOD!!!!

No matter what you are facing today… Please join us in trusting God… His word does NOT return void and if you allow him… He will use the very situation you are in RIGHT now.. for HIS Glory!!


Dear Lord…
I pray right now for everyone reading this blog… I ask that you’re amazing presence fill the room where they are sitting and that they will feel you and know you are with them and alive and well!    Lord, grant them the desires of their hearts… heal whatever thing they need healing from… Lord move in their lives in ways they would have NEVER ever dreamed you even could…. Father, Your word says that we are MORE than overcomers in YOU!!! We are standing in your word today… TRUSTING you… help us all Father to put on the WHOLE armor of God… like your word says to do.. so that we can stand against the enemy… Thank you Lord for defeating him for us.. now all we have to do is claim that victory in YOU!!!!

We are amazed by you… and in total and complete surrender to your divine plan and purpose for our lives… Dear Lord… I thank you for your amazing grace and mercy… and I thank you for what you are doing in all our lives!

We love you Lord and we give you all the praise and glory forever!

~Amen

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jan. 12, 2010 - Part 2 - Trip to the Village!

We went to the village at around 4 pm this evening...  We had a GREAT time! 
Here are some pictures:
This is Symbat's daugher Lenar... She's a doll and I was thrilled to get to meet her!
 Symbat has been teasing us for months... saying that we HAVE to try horse meat while we are here... it's Kazak's national meat.. etc..   Phil finally caved and told her we'd have a CELEBRATION dinner on the night we got a positive verdict for court.. and he'd order and try horse!    Guess what... Symbat's mom pulled out all the stops in 'impressing' us and made a traditional Kazak meal of Horse meat and noodles...  YES...  Symbat was dying laughing... but, we were happy to try it!  
Here is the horse dish!

Here we are at their table.   From left to right:   Symbat's mom, Symbat's ex-Mother-in-law, Phil, Me, Gernadi and Symbat.

I took this picture as we were arriving at the village.

The outside of their home.

Playing with Lenar...Symbat's daughter.

Symbat and Lenar...   She's so CUTE!

Symbat snapped this as I'm trying my first BITE of horse... she thought it was SO funny... she's such a goofball!   It wasn't as bad as I suspected... however, it's more of a mental thing... knowing you are eating horse!  yummy!  ;(
I included this picture... because it shows more of the 'real' time we had.  Everyone is smiling and laughing... we had a wonderful time!
Symbat's family was so kind and opened their home to us.... we felt so welcome and they shared with us about their family as well as their beliefs as well.    We feel very honored that we were welcomed into their home... and feel like we now have a family here in Kazakhstan!  

We did find out a bit of good news tonight as well...
There is a non-published flight tomorrow evening to Almaty.... so WHEN the judge gives us the positive verdict tomorrow... we will still be able to catch all our flights as our original itinerary states.   This is good news...  We will not have to pay the fees for changing, etc... and we will be able to make it to Bay's games on Saturday..... (if we have NO delays or cancellations on the way home!)...

This brings up another point... I hesitate in even posting this... but, I've had several people ask what they can do to help us... what do we need?      I have had a couple of CLOSE friends tell me that I MUST post about our jobs etc.... so... I am going to post about this.
I have been off work with NO pay since we left on Oct. 21st.... I had 3 personal days that I used for the first 3 days, but, since then I have not received ANY pay in ANYWAY... in fact I've also had to pay for my medical insurance... so in addition to receiving NO pay... we've had to pay for medical insurance.

Phil had 2 weeks of vacation that he had saved for this year.    He was able to use those... so the first 2 weeks of this journey were paid vacation for him.    He then also switched over to "unpaid leave" from his job.     We have also had to pay his medical insurance while receiving no pay.  
Now... I just want to say that we are BOTH so very blessed to have been able to take off - take leaves like we have been with our jobs.   Our employers have both been exceptionally wonderful with all the unknowns and ups and downs that we've faced. 
We were home for 13 days in Dec... and Phil worked EVERYDAY he could while we were home (he was able to work 4 days).   Unfortunately we were out of school while I was home.. so again I still did not return to work.    We came back on Jan. 2nd...   Phil earned an additional 2 weeks vacation at the first of the year.. and his employment was kind enough to allow him to use that 2 weeks immediately.... so 2 weeks of this trip he has been paid. 

I just want to say that given all the above... we are doing very well.   God has provided EVERY penny we've needed so far.. and we know HE will continue to do so! 
It's truly amazing when you look back at where we started and what God has provided.    He is so so so FAITHFUL and we KNOW He has a plan and He knows the exact answer to all the ?'s.... finances to the judge to EVERYTHING!    
I've had some people ask and I just wanted to let anyone who was wondering know that Lifesong (tax deductable) is still accepting donations on our behalf and will until we bring the girls home.  
We continue to trust God and watch as he provides for our little family!
We are honored to be at this place.... in his will... and humbled by his AWESOME sovereign plan for us as well as his PRECIOUS children! 

I better sign-off and get to packing... so sad to leave Faith and Grace tomorrow... but, also ready to KNOW they are ours...  Court in exacltly 12 hours... 
Please keep the prayers coming...     we are so humbled by the comments, emails, love and support... we feel it... THOUSANDS of miles away... thank you SO SO SO very much!!! 
The One who calls you is FAITHFUL and HE WILL DO IT!!!!!   1 Thes 5:24
AMEN!!!

Jan 12, 2010 - update and pics - Part 1

Hello to everyone today... sorry for the bummer of a post yesterday.  :(    We are doing much better today and continue to know and trust that the Lord continues to know the best in all things... and His word DOES not return void. 
Thanks for the positive comments, thoughts, emails, FB comments, FB posts, FB messages and prayers....  we are so blessed and encouraged by the continued support and love we've received from all of you!  
PLEASE keep them coming.. and PLEASE keep praying!!!


You can so relate this situation to anything you might be facing in life... we are once again given a choice.... we have to decide what we are going to do... Are we going to fuss and complain and get mad and upset... or are we going to continue to walk in the FAITH that our Lord calls us to walk in... He says to have FAITH and HE will see things through to the end...  The bible is FILLED with scriptures to stand on... and that's why we have His word.. to claim, to remind ourselves....  and HIM...  in times like this...  
We also realize that we are not fighting against fleshly things here...but, there is a spiritual warfare going on... and we are claiming and rejoicing because our Lord already defeated that very enemy.... we just have to (as Christians) walk in the power that he's given us!     We are claiming the word and the promises that he's given ALL of us to stand on.... and are encouraging each other that HIS plan is far greater than ours!  :)

SO... I woke up this morning... with a smile and a song... and just KNOW that all things will work out for GOOD!    ;)  
I realized last night that tomorrow is Phil's mom's birthday...   She passed away 3 1/2 years ago.. and knew nothing of our adoption.    She would be HONORED that the girls became ours on her birthday!   She prayed for years for Granddaughters..... and I told Phil the night we met the twins that his Mother had a hand in this... ;) 

Here are some pictures from the last few days...
The girls are still sick.. but, seemed to be a little better today! 
Lots of lovin' happening... it's like they can sense our leaving them again soon...  mixed with our sadness, anxiety... and them both being sick...  it's like they LOVE the love.. and we LOVE giving it out! 



so.... I have been thinking and stating things I'm thankful for all day to Phil... and positive things that are happening.. etc..   This morning 'would' have been our last visit to F and G this trip... cause we were supposed to leave tomorrow...   so we get to see them at least a day or two more.. that's a plus! 
It snowed all day yesterday.... it was BITTER cold and blizzard like... you could only see a few feet in front of you etc....   BLOWING snow...  very very cold!    Phil and I are guessing it snowed probably 6 more inches total.   Keep in mind there was probably about 6-8 inches already on the ground.   You can imagine the snow now... and it's beautiful.   The sun is shining today... and glistening...  we enjoyed a yummy lunch at Krendal's and then walked back to the apartment... and I took the following pictures... and YES.. it's COLDER than it even looks... BRRRRR!!!!!    ... another thing I'm thankful for.. seeing God's amazing work and this beautiful winter in Kazakhstan!
One of the streets on the way back to the apartment...

A fun (COLD) self portrait while walking!!!   :)

The park up ahead... isn't it beautiful?
The park in the winter... BRRR!!!

Phil WAY up ahead...  ;)   Doesn't it look like we're in the middle of a forest somewhere?   Nope.. in the middle of Pavlodar in DEAD winter!!! 


Trees in the park!
Below is a picture of one of the ladies who works in the apartment building... There are 3-4 ladies and one man who work here... and months ago.. I quickly started earning smiles from EVERYONE of them.. except for this lady.   Phil and I talked about this lady... and how she DID not smile back... I told him then... that I would be her friend by the time we left this apartment for good!   I wanted her to see kindness and Jesus in us... she seems so cold and tired and sad...  I've smiled at her day after day after day.... and she's frowned and looked away and looked back at me with VERY angry mad faces LOTS of times.. I've silently prayed for her... and continued to smile... try to communicate simply with my NO Russian... and SMILE!   About 5 days ago... she sort of smiled back...   :)    3 days ago... she really smiled back...  2 days ago... I talked with her and showed her pictures of Bailey and Brooklyn... ;)    This morning as we were waiting on the driver... I had the chance to talk to her through Symbat (translator)... I told her thanks for her kindness to us and for being so helpful... she was full of smiles and SO surprised that I'd want to talk to her at all...  We talked (through Symbat) until the taxi came.. and as I walked out into the BITTER cold... I once again KNEW God was in this... :) 
When we came back from eating at Krendals and walking back... I asked her to take a picture with me... and she happily agreed!!   She then wanted to take one with Phil... in front of the fir tree!  ;)   
Thank you Lord for the opportunity to show her Jesus.. through kindness and smiles... you know that Jesus shines through any language barrier... any problem and any situation!



Below is a picture I took from the window of our apartment... Isn't it beautiful?  

We are going to the village in a couple of hours to visit Symbat's family.  I am really excited about getting to go to the village and meet her family.    I will go ahead and post this... and add those pictures.. stories after we get home later... :)  
Paka for now...  
I know you know and are praying.. but, court tomorrow is at 11 am our time.. so Wed. night 11 pm your time...  it'll be here SOON!  Less than 24 hours!   Thank you Lord for favor, amazing grace and your presence that is around that judge right now as well as in the court room tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Court

Today has been a very sad day for us...  My heart is so heavy.. that I know it's ONLY by the grace of God that I'm even still able to type....
The visit this morning with F and G was good... however, they are BOTH very sick... and we were accused of taking them in the PE room with another family who was bonding... and now due to US exposing their little girl...  that little girl is sick and the smaller group is coming down with the same virus...
YEAH... I'm sure it was us.. and F and G.. the entire group got sick from our girls in oh let's see... 11 hours.. NOT LIKELY!!!

Then to end the session... Faith SCREAMED and BAWLED and BEGGED me not to leave her...  CLINGING TO ME SCREAMING.... "Mama Nyet (No) Paka (bye bye)" over and over and over"....

so we then have less than an hour to get to court...
the judge GRILLED everyone in the room for over 2 hours....
she asked us the same things over and over.... and then proceeded to demand that we prove what the minimum income for a family of 6 is in the state of Oklahoma...   All our forms (which they had us to prepare) state the average income... not the minim....  she wants the minimum....  we told her our 'guess' ... that wasn't enough...
She grillled Svetlana... Svetlana got really upset after about 1 1/2 hours... and the judge did not like that ONE bit... she read her the right act... then at one point she gripped at our translator and at one point or another she pretty much had it out with everyone in the room.....

She did not make a decision...  and called for a recess to review the  documents.... (how long does it take to look the forms over?).....
oh.. at one point she demanded that her verdict will not be made until the girls mother is brought in as a witness...   No one has seen her for YEARS...   her rights have been taken away YEARS ago...
the list goes on and on and on.....

I don't even know what to say...   I don't know what to type...
our next session is on Jan. 13th @ 11 am....    now, we will miss our flights home.... we will now miss Bailey's ball games on Sat.haven't seen ONE of her games this year yet...) ...  
everyone is saying there is NO way she will waive the waiting period... there's no reason to ask...s o that's officially out of the ? now....

The ladies who support us so much were so kind.. and gave us hugs and begged us not to be sad.. finally, through my tears in the van.. I said. that I just don't understand why she seems to want to attack us... we are trying to do a good thing here... give two little girls a wonderful home... and give them everything they could ever need... why is she so determined to attack us time and time again?  

As I was sitting in that court room fighting back the tears... and just let me tell you at about 1 hour and 30 minutes... you could just feel it was NOT going to end today.... I started just praying in my head and thanking the Lord for this judge... and the positive verdict and for Faith and Grace... and the scripture he gave me before court on Dec. 14 came to mind: 


"They will fight against you but will NOT overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord!"
Jeremiah 1:19:

...so I guess that all I can say is that even when my heart breaks into...  I don't understand why things are the way they are... I wish I could make things differently...  I am thankful that the Lord reminds us that HE is in control... and HE will rescue us (including Faith and Grace)!
Thank you Lord for your promises....  

PLEASE keep praying

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another Video

This is the 2nd video from Jan. 5th...  After the reunion video the caregiver had the girls run to the bathroom before leaving with us (to go play)...  this is the video of them returning to our arms after that... ;)   Listen closely... Grace says, "I love you" with NO promting with her little hands on my cheeks!!!!!   AAAAHHHH.... the sweetness of our heavenly father keeping these babies for us...  We are so blessed!!!

Reunion Video

The long awaited video is finally here... :)    The girls had NO idea we were there... and the caregiver didn't tell them it was us... she just called their names!  :)   Pure sweetness!!   (make sure you pause the music at the bottom of the blog... and don't have your volume to loud... Faith's screaming will HURT your ears and blow your speakers!  ;))  


Jan 8th - Update!

The Internet seems to be working better this afternoon so I decided to post some of the pictures I have been meaning to post from the last few days.   sorry about the video in the last post... I have spent so much time trying to get these 2 videos on the blog that it's really crazy.  I have tried EVERY suggestion (program) that anyone has sent... and still had NO luck.   I was able to email them to a friend today (and they appeared to send...) so hopefully she will be able to upload them for me... we shall see though! :)

Here are some pictures from Jan. 6th that I wanted to share:
Here are the gifts that we have all ready to go for 'after' court.   I got them ALL ready to go on Jan. 5th... hoping we'd need to be handing them out of Jan. 6th!  They are still sitting on our table!

Here's a close up on the photo card I made and attached to each gift...  I wanted to leave a picture of my precious babies with everyone who helped us!   I'm so thrilled about how cute they turned out!  I just had to share! :)

Here we are trying on the NEW boots that Aunt Linda sent.   I took them home and we had to exchange them for 3 sizes smaller.   Grace wears a 6 and Faith wears a 5!   They were THRILLED and LOVED them!


I guess I was feeling brave after court.. but, I decided to take baby lotion and just put some on their little hands and faces.  Their cheeks are SO dry due to the cold weather.   They LOVED it.. they smelled and smelled and smelled it!   We so take so much for granted..
 As I mentioned before Svetlana (lawyer) invited us to her home last night for Christmas dinner with her family.  The meal was delicious as well as great company.  I can't even begin to explain how kind and wonderful she is.  We enjoy spending time with her so much and she truly makes you feel so at ease.  We are so blessed with such a wonderful in-country staff.   We had a GREAT meal...it was delicious... lots of wonderful food, desserts, music, and GREAT company!
From left to right:  Symbat (translator), Me, Phil, Alexander (Svetlana's husband)  and Svetlana.   (Her son was taking the picture!)

The delicious goose!   It was wonderful.  Svetlana cooked it with apples, pineapples, and oranges.  It was wonderful!

Here are some pictures from our visit to the babyhouse yesterday - Jan. 7th!
Phil discovered that you can turn the view finder on the camera around so that the girls can see themselves while we're videoing them...  This was Faith's reaction to seeing herself in the screen!  ;)

Isn't that precious?  
The girls are just as excited with clothes/shoes, etc.. as they are with toys..   They were SO excited to try on their new coats.   We even said, "Thanks Aunt Linda" on video!  :)    They weren't smiling here.. but, wanted to show you the cute coats ( and boots)!
It's really amazing... they'll be playing and notice they are wearing their 'new' boots and the excitement starts all over again!  

Grace... She LOVES these Dora glasses and wears them most of the time! (so so so cute!)..  It's amazing how much different they look with some cute piggy tails and hair bows! ;)   They want me to fix their hair everyday FIRST thing! ;)


Faith and I...  Doesn't she look different with her hair pulled back?   They are so precious! ;)

Grace had taken her hair out... and decided to put the book on her head!   SILLY girl!  ;)

Papa had an owie... Faith was taking care of him!  ;)
We didn't have as good of a day with the girls today... it was stressful (honestly).   There was another family in the room and when we are sharing the room the girls SHOW-OFF... or test us or something...  who knows... but, it causes us to stress...      The girls always want to play with the other family's toys.. and we are constantly trying to keep them on our side of the room.   Grace wasn't herself today....  honestly we are wondering what's going on with her.   They both look so tired and have dark circles under their little eyes.   Grace was so much more active today... and we had a difficult time getting her to settle down at all.. :(

I am going to be honest here today... I had to fight off a melt down today while at the babyhouse... I am just so tired... the past 3 years of fighting for my kiddos has proven to be exhausting...    I am just so ready to get them out of here and home and safe and loved.   I am so tired of wondering and being watched... and feeling guilty and afraid for things as simple as baby lotion on their hands.    It's truly incredible... and SO tiring.   
There are times when we get so tired... and just want to fast forward life a little to get through this yucky part.. :)
However, as we were eating lunch today and I was telling Phil...   I don't want to fast forward and possibly miss what God is trying to do...  I have no idea what that is... but, I've always known down deep that our journey/life/adoption was for a HIGHER purpose that what we knew of... I just know and feel that the Lord has a plan in all the delays... all the discouragement... all the 'stuff' that gets so old and tiring to our selfish fleshly minds.. 
I was telling Phil that I know that it will only be seconds until I'm looking/thinking back about this very time... and 5 years will have gone by...  I will be the BUSY, yet content happy Mother to 4 adorable, sweet, and wonderfully adjusted and bonded little girls!
We are trying so SO SO very hard to relax... enjoy the time... seek the Lord and continue to trust him that his ways and timing are PERFECT!

Let me just tell you though that there are times when I want to scream...  when other families (who have arrived LONG after us) are finished with court and taking their babies home.... I want to say... OK Lord...  HELLO!    BUT, as quickly as we have those selfish/fleshly thoughts... we are reminded of all the ways/times that the Lord has proven to us that he is doing something FAR greater than we know...

Faith and Grace.... your precious little lives are touching so many people...   I can't wait to see what awesome things God has planned for your little lives!   Wow!   Gives me chills!      I am honored to be your Mama!   :)    You bless my heart in ways that you don't even know...  

Have a wonderful Saturday and remember today to NOT take the little things for granted.... there are thousands of babies/children/kids/adults worldwide who don't have the little things...   

Just thought I'd share one my my favorite quotes... just a little something to think about today... What can YOU do to make a difference??
"Sometimes, I'd like to ask the Lord why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, when He could do something about it... but, I'm afraid He might ask me the same question!"
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me!” Matt 18:5

Visit our website...

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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