Monday, March 30, 2009

Just a quick note...  

We are all alive.  7 of the 9 of us are either sick or recovering.  Yikes!  And on top of that, everyone who has entered our home since we've been home has come down with the flu.  Sorry everyone!  My mom is VERY sick with it.  She was only around us the night we came home...  


It's a good thing that we live in the USA so we can get good medicine!  I take that so for granted.  At least I did until this trip to Ukraine.  Thank You, God!

This weekend is the Down Syndrome Easter Egg Hunt.  We'll be there with all our crew.  It'll be a fun day, no doubt!

Thanks for your prayers during our transition.  It's going GREAT!  We played with all the kids out in the backyard tonight.  Swinging, bubbles, sliding, wagon rides.  It was a great time.  No pictures.  What was I thinking!!!????

I WILL post some pics soon of our trip home, etc.  We'll also get some pics with all the kids together posted soon!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Everyone's Home  

It is so good to be home. I went to church this morning and led worship in the first service and then came home. Feeling pretty rough today, but I couldn't have been anywhere else this morning! It's so good to be home.

After the first service, me and Blake and Seth came home and we've all been together just hanging out all day. It's been good times. I've been in bed a good portion of the day but the kids have been in and out and I've been downstairs with the crew part of the day. I gave the three little guys and Seth baths. The boys LOVE the bath. They are just fitting right in. On a scale of 1 to 10 of how they're doing making the adjustment, I'd have to give Micah a 9 and Matthew an 8. The boys are just so special and so in love. I was so worried that they would not bond to us and after seeing Micah in action at the institution, I was worried he would just constantly try to leave the house...really. But they are smitten with us and with the other kids. Eli doesn't care much for Micah yet because he's so loud I think, but Eli and Matthew will be buds. Micah loves to play with Seth...two rough and tumble guys!

Micah is so glad to have a family. There is no doubt. He is all hugs and kisses. When he's gotten in trouble and we've had discipline him, when get leaves time out he can't wait for his hugs and love and affirmation (which we are very careful to give every time). And I wish you could see his face when I tell him I love him. I started out telling him in russian and english and now I'm down to just english. When I say Papa love Micah, you can just see in his glowing smile a look of relief and joy. There's no other way to say it. It's a look I will always remember.

Matthew loves hugs and kisses. He doesn't interact with us as much as Micah, but he's not in the same developmental place as Micah, yet. When we walk by him if he's sitting on the floor, up go his arms and when we scoop him up, he's all smiles! He doesn't seem to get the "I love you" words yet like Micah does, but it's only a matter of time, I'm sure.

There are moments when we say to ourselves, "What have we done!??" just because of the sheer numbers. Hopefully they never figure out that the big people are way outnumbered! :-) When we were all out together on Wednesday, we were certainly a CROWD! I would say that I wondered what people were thinking, but I'd have to say it was obvious what people were thinking by the looks on their faces. LOL!!!

Well...in case you didn't get the picture, IT'S SO GOOD TO BE HOME!!! It was wonderful being with our church family this morning. It's like being in a nice warm hug. Ahhhh. Relief.

The two boys, Hannah, and Bethany are all getting over this respiratory infection/flu. The boys are nearly better, Hannah is right behind them and Bethany just started today. Hopefully, no one else will take it. I'm off to work tomorrow for as long as I can last. The coughing won't stop and the body aches are raging, but I'll be good for a while in the morning. In the scheme of the universe, it's a small thing!

I hope you have seen the hand of our Almighty Father throughout these last 6 weeks and especially in this last week. I hope you have experienced His love and blessing as He has worked in our lives and we've shared what He has done. I hope you've seen HIM and not us. I hope HIS name has increased, not ours.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Finally...an update.  

What a week. We went from high, high emotions on Tuesday night...Great excitement and celebration...to Wednesday.

We slept so well Tuesday night. The boys, however, didn't sleep so well. We let them play in their beds though. The thought is that they need to learn our schedule and get acclammated as quickly as possible. So we got up Wednesday morning and I went to the doctor first thing to get my diagnosis of double pneumonia. Continued on my meds and started feeling better after several breathing treatments and some amazing antibiotics. And some cough syrup with codiene. (In fact the doc said not to tell anyone I had it or someone might steal it...so if it comes up missing, I'll find you. :-) ).

Anyway, Tuesday night when I got in and saw Eli, he was white as a ghost and his lips, tongue and nailbeds were white. That's not a good sign. I thought at that moment that he looked like someone with Leukemia (not that he had it, just that he looked like someone who did). Wednesday morning, he looked the same. Mary and I decided that the needed to see the doctor.

So the doc took one look and sent him for a CBC test because he was obviously (to the doc) severely anemic. The lab didn't even believe the results could be right but they were. His hemoglobin level was 3.0 (should be 11-15). The doc said he must get to the hospital because he could go into heart failure at any time. Also, he mentioned that this was either indicative of internal bleeding or leukemia. So from high excitement of being together again after 6 weeks to complete terror and fear (not lack of trust in God).

The call went out to pray and we began getting messages from all over the world that people were praying and were spreading the word to others. There is power when God's people pray. On behalf of Eli and our family, I say THANK YOU for praying. I'll let you know the answered prayers in a moment.

Eli began receiving transfusions Wednesday evening and they went on through the night and on Thursday. His hemoglobin level rose slowly but steadily. The possible diagnosis changed to either TEC (see a couple of posts ago for an explanation) or Leukemia. The only way to know for sure was to have a bone marrow biopsy but he was not yet strong enough for that so it was postponed to Friday.

Friday morning, Eli's level was at 8.6 and he was our normal Eli again. Happy, laughing, playing, eating.

Before the doc did the biopsy, he let us know that he was pretty sure that this was TEC and that he would recover fully! We were guardedly excited. About an hour after the biopsy procedure, Eli was on his way home. While Mary was waiting on valet parking to find the car, the doctor ran into her downstairs and told us the GREAT NEWS! The bone marrow was perfect and there was NO DOUBT that he did NOT have leukemia. So that means it's TEC. 100% recovery rate. Usually, it takes from weeks to a year for the body to begin producing new red blood cells and most people have to continue having transfusions periodically until that happens. But God had another plan. The doc told us that according to the results of the biopsy, Eli has ALREADY BEGUN PRODUCING NEW CELLS ON HIS OWN!!!! Now that's an answer to prayer! That's the power of God!!! We are so grateful to God that we caught this and that it turned out the way it has. I don't know why God chose to do this, especially right now, but we are so thankful that we can trust Him even when we don't understand.

Here's a couple of other things to be thankful for. TEC is a VERY GRADUAL problem and Eli has probably not been producing blood cells for 5-6 months. Everyone around him was surprised to find out this had happened because they had not seen any signs. The hospital staff told us that caregivers rarely see it happening and it's caught only when other problems pop up and the child is taken to the doctor and the color change is rarely noticed first. But think about this...we hadn't SEEN Eli in 6 weeks so the change over the last 6 weeks was immediately seen by us so we were able to get him help before permanent damage was done. For that we are so thankful. Not only did our trip save the lives of 2 Ukrainian boys, it, at least, saved Eli from heart damage or brain damage and at most, saved his life. God's timing is impeccable. He is SO AMAZING!!!!!!

We simply cannot explain the feelings we have had this last few days or the range of emotions we have experienced. BUT, we can tell you that we trust our Father regardless. He IS faithful. He IS trustworthy. He IS sovereign.

Thank You, Father, for all You've done. Thank you, friends, for your persistent prayers.

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Praise God  

The doctor is near 100% sure that Eli does NOT have leukemia!! He's
nearly certain it's TEC and that is a manageable problem. There is a
100% recovery rate. I'll post more later. Our boy is coming home in
about an hour!!! Thank you for praying. There's still recovery but
we can breathe again.

Update  

Good morning. Elis blood count is up to 8.6! They are going to do a
bone marrow biopsy this morning. We are hoping for TEC!

Thank you all for praying!

Early Friday Morning  

Woke up early this morning, of course (my body is still on Ukraine time).  Thankfully, the boys are still sleeping right now.  And thankfully the other 4 kids are able to sleep since MIcah's not screaming.  :-)   


I don't have a newer update on Eli yet, but I turned on the computer and was overwhelmed by your comments and encouragement and wanted to say thank you.  And a big thank you to Meredith for linking from her blog .  I heard from people as far away as Greenland that they are praying and spreading the word to others to pray too.  Thank you, thank you.  Jesus knows and the Greatest Physician is on the case we know.

I'll have an update later this morning.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

6:30 p.m. Update  

Eli's hemoglobin is up to 7.  Thank God.  He's currently taking his 4th transfusion.  It takes a little over 3 hours and then they will do another CBC test to see where he is.


Tomorrow morning he will undergo a bone marrow biopsy.  He'll be under anesthetic so that's always a concern especially since he is so weak right now anyway.  We'll have preliminary results tomorrow afternoon.  

The other possible diagnosis besides Leukemia is Transient Erythroblastopenia of Childhood 

Obviously, we are hoping for TEC.

Thanks for your prayers and kind notes of encouragement.  

Trusting God.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Eli Update  

The boys are doing so great today. They are laying down for a nap right now. I don't know if they sense something is wrong and are just on their best behavior or if they are really this good. It doesn't matter right now, I guess. Just grateful.

Sorry I haven't updated yet this morning, it's been a bit crazy around here.

Last night, about 9:30 p.m., they started giving Eli transfusions. He has now completed 3 transfusions and will likely have at least 2-3 more. They take over 3 hours each so it's not a simple thing. When they sent the pre-transfusion blood work to the lab, they called back up to the floor and said that something was wrong with the blood and asked if it had gotten diluted somehow and that there was no way the results could be right. Well, it was right. His count was at 3.0 . A normal range is 11-15. 10 would be acceptable. All the nurses were surprised he was alive.

They have ruled out the possibility that he is leaking blood internally. They did some kind of test to see if he is producing red blood cells or not. The test showed that either he is not producing red blood cells or his body is destroying them as fast or faster than he can make them. There is a condition that some children get that inhibits blood production. There are treatments for it and some of these children begin producing cells again eventually. The other possibility is still Leukemia. Originally we thought that the white count was good, but the doctor said last night that white count was low too. I don't know how we got confused on that.

Regardless of the fact that we are scared, we are trusting God. I never would have believed that such fear and faith could co-exist. But I think I've changed my mind.

He was to have a bone marrow biopsy today, but he's not strong enough. They have to anesthetize him for this procedure. He has developed a heart murmur which COULD be a result of the inflow of blood that he has experienced. If that's the case, his heart will readjust which we certainly hope is the case.

His hemoglobin is up to a 6.2 from a 3. His color is getting better and he is laughing and happy and seems to be feeling so good. We don't know how long his counts have been dropping but it's good to see him more his old self.

If something changes this afternoon, I'll post again. He'll be in the hospital for at least several days and if he has leukemia, we hope they will begin treatment immediately. It's not going to be easy regardless of the diagnosis. Both possibilities are critical and neither has a quick cure. So I guess our new "normal" is going to be different than we could have ever imagined. At least God knew about it and has it all planned on. Of that, we can be sure.

Thank you for your prayers and for those who have been over to help last night and this morning, THANK YOU. We're set for the weekend and we'll regroup at the first of the week or sunday night and we'll let you know what we need and how you can help. Being needy is so difficult for me. I'm a very independent person and don't like to be a burden to anyone. Through our adoption journey, I really learned that if we're all in it together, it's so much easier. The funny thing is, one of the things I was looking forward to about getting home was that once again, I'd be in a place where I could handle things and direct our family's life. God had other plans it looks like so once again we're in the needy seat. So instead of railing against it, I'm TRYING to embrace it and allow other to help. So if we need something, I'll try to let you know. Brenda Done is going up to the hospital to visit with Mary and keep her company a little this afternoon. THANK YOU BRENDA!! Last night, she, Carol and Wartha & Gus came over and helped get the kids dinner and bathed and the boys were in bed when I got home from the hospital. Wartha came back this morning and took the kids to school and Carol came and fed Matthew his breakfast. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!! Then I had a wonderful surprise when Annette M. dropped by and brought some lunch for us. Someone is bringing food tonight too. God is so amazing the way He brings us all together and provides such support. We surely couldn't survive with you. I'll keep you "posted."

By the way, in case I haven't mentioned it lately, we have the greatest kids ever. So blessed.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Prayer Needed & Update on Today  

First, let me say that it's great to be a child of God.  Second, let me say that I am so glad to be an American.


I asked for prayer in a previous post today.  Let me tell you what's going on.

Last night when we got home from the airport, we got to say hello to Eli (our youngest child) who had waited at home with Nana while we got picked up from the airport.  When I saw him I knew something was wrong because he was as white as a ghost.  His lips were white.  His tongue was white.  Not color in nailbeds, etc.  I was so sick myself though that I thought that maybe he was just really tired and maybe he was cold.  I said hello to him and hugged him and Mary took him to bed so we didn't really think much more about it.

This morning, we were more coherent and when we saw him again we knew that he needed to see the doctor just in case.  The earliest appointment we could get was 2:45 so since the kids were out of school (I had been to the doctor early this morning and was sent to bed to rest on my medications), I decided that we really needed to do something with them til lunch and then I'd come home and rest.  So we went to Home Depot to get a couple of swings to replace the ones that are broken on our swing set (since the kids love to be outside so much and Micah will LOVE swinging!).  Then we went to Walmart to get a television.  Our television went out the week after we left for Ukraine (SORRY NANA!).  Sidenote before you ask:  No, we don't use the television as a baby sitter.  Yes, Eli LOVES to watch Miss Patty Cake and Barney.  Yes the new kids seemed to like that too when we let them watch it on my computer in Ukraine.  Yes, I need my wife to be SANE and to be able to let the kids watch something so she can take a breath every now and again.  Okay...enough justifying.  :-)  :-)  How did I get on that subject anyway?  Maybe lack of sleep and strong medications.  Argh...

But I digress.  Where I was trying to get to was that the couple of hours we were out, Eli didn't get any better.  He wasn't sick, per se.  There are no symptoms except the lack of color and fatigue/lethargy.

So Mary took him to the doctor and I stayed home and rested with the other kids.  (Matthew and Micah took naps today!  And another side note is that they are asleep right now too!  The go down pretty easily.)  She called me and said she had to go to the hospital to get a blood workup because our doctor took one look at him and said he is severely anemic.  Before Mary could get home from that, the doctor had called me at home (it's never good when the lab calls the doctor and he calls you before you can get home from the lab since it's only 20 minutes away) to tell me that his hemoglobin should be at 10 and it's at 3.5 and that he must get into the hospital to see a hemotologist immediately.  He called back after Mary got home and we got our instructions for admittance and he then told us that he may be near congestive heart failure because of the lowness of the count.  He told us that there are two things that might be causing this.  1.  He could be bleeding internally.  2.  He could have Leukemia.

Well, Mary and I became sobbing basket cases when we got up to the bedroom by ourselves.  We called in help and off we went to the hospital.  The hemotologist came in right after I left (isn't that the way it always happens?).  They began doing transfusions about 15 minutes ago and will continue them through the night and throughout tomorrow to try to get his counts back up to at least 8.  Then we'll move on from there after he's stable.

Our prayer is that God's grace will meet us where ever we find ourselves.  The desire of our hearts is, of course, that whatever happens, Eli will be spared.  Please pray with us.  Thank you dear ones.  PS>>>I'm feeling almost human again and hope to be that much better again tomorrow.  Thanks for praying.

Update  

Just wanted to let everyone know that I have severe pneumonia in both lungs.  I'm on a couple of meds and breathing treatments.  Caring for myself AT HOME which I am very grateful for.  Thanks for your prayers.  I'll post again maybe tonight or in the morning about our trip home and a few other things I have never posted about.  


Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

PS>>>  I have an urgent unspoken prayer request.  Please just pray, God knows.  I'll give details later.  Thanks!!!

We're home.  

Hello friends,
We're home. It 5:30 am. Micah is awake downstairs. I just did a breathing treatment so am wide awake. It's good to be in our bed again. Ahhh... I cannot believe we are actually home and we are now nine instead of seven.

I go to doc at 8:30 this morning. Will report after that plus there's lots more to tell you! It was amazing to see our kids last night. Wow.

Until later today. Bless His Name.

Oh... We're public now so if you use a reader to read blogs you can add our feed now. :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Exactly 4 Hours Away...  

In 4 hours, our parents will back in Oklahoma! There probably won't be much sleep tonight, but we aren't going to school tomorrow, so it doesn't matter. All we can do is wait and pray! We have our van(Clifford) all done up with window paint, and we are all ready for their arrival!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Last Transmission from Ukraine  

It's 7:20 p.m. in Ukraine on Monday night.  The boys are asleep and we are doing nothing.  :-)

We are so ready to go home I can hardly stand it.  I can also hardly believe that it's time to go home.  In some ways it's hard to believe we've been gone this long.  In other ways it seems like we've always lived here.  Ugh.

I am still really sick.  I thought I might be getting better, but have had a relapse today.  Please pray for me as we travel.  I'd so like to be better by the time I get home.  I need some medicine that I know what is and what it does.  I'd kill for some Nyquil right now.  We are out and have been (I only got 2 doses of it...Mary had needed it when she was sick).  Or some Robitussin.  Or MY BED!  Anyway...thanks for praying.

Also...please pray that the boys will be well behaved tomorrow and that we can maybe actually rest on the flight.  Yeah, right.

Well...thanks for following the journey with us.  We will continue posting when we get home.  We'll open the blog to be public.  We'll put a BUNCH of pictures on soon after we get home.  You've only seen the tip of the iceberg and we have lots from the last few days.

Jesus is Great.  God is Mighty.  The Spirit is alive and well.

See you in the USA soon.  We have all our documents and will head to the airport tomorrow at 4:00 a.m. Ukraine time and will be home at 9:12 p.m. Tuesday night USA time.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday – March 22, 2009  

We had a good night’s sleep finally!  Last night we decided to move the boys to one of the rooms that doesn’t have windows (an interior room) so the boys wouldn’t wake up with the sun.  And so that my coughing wouldn’t wake them up.  The night before last we only got about 2 or 3 hours sleep (Mary and I).  I would start coughing, Micah would wake up, finally he’d go back to sleep, I’d start coughing, Micah would wake up…  I think you get the picture.  :-)

Well, this morning, they still woke up at 5:30ish but we could hear Micah in the other room just singing quietly to himself in his bed.  About 6:30 he started crying so it was time to get up.  :-)  The boys were both so happy this morning.  There’s some pics down lower on the post of this morning. 

John & Tracie come today to Brovary with Emma and Aiden.  That’ll be fun!!  We are having tea with Yuri and Sveta this morning to thank them for letting us stay here.  We have a couple of gifts for them and we want to share our gratitude with them.

Later, we’ll go to the Renok to get some pants for the boys.  We only have 2 that really fit them.  We’d like to get another pair so we have at least  2 changes of clothes for the trip home.  You just never know what might happen!  :-)

 

DSCF2002

Friday in Brovary with Jamie.

 

DSCF2004

Papa & Micah

 

DSCF2007

Mama & Matthew

 

DSCF2010

This kid loves to serve!  He’s also quite a NEAT FREAK!

 

DSCF2023

A little quiet time with Matthew…  Friday

 

DSCF2025

Back where it all began at the SDA for a quick picture and to deliver our court documents to the SDA.

 

DSCF2026

While we were at the Embassy on Friday, the boys stayed with Jamie.  We told Jamie to just leave Micah in his bed.  We had put everything up that he could break.  What we didn’t do was move a bag that had trash in it.  So he was searching through it.

 

DSCF2028

And unloaded everything he could.  :-)  He finally did go to sleep though.

 

DSCF2035

Saturday…Waiting for naptime, Matthew had such a good time playing in the sunlight.  He just giggled and giggled.

 

DSCF2036

DSCF2037

DSCF2040_face0

Saturday, after nap time…  Micah got one of his favorite things!

 

DSCF2044

Saturday dinner…  Bread and Hretchka.  A true Ukrainian.  Bread in one hand and Hretchka in the other.  :-)

 

DSCF2045

True happiness.  He had three bowls!

 

DSCF2046

Matthew enjoyed it too.

 

DSCF2049

Sunday morning…waiting for breakfast.

 

DSCF2050

DSCF2053

We had such a good time at breakfast today.  Everyone was so cheerful!

 

DSCF2054

The one who has been a grump every morning was so happy today.  Waking up on your own is such a good thing!

 

DSCF2055

DSCF2057

 

What a joy and blessing.  Far outweighs the frustrating behavior (which I happen to be dealing with right now while I’m writing this post).  :-)  He has determined that the level of discipline we’re using right now has become a game.  :-)  Such a little boy!

“This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it!”

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Be blessed our friends.

KIDS:  We’ll try to skype later today.  Hope you have a great last day of spring break!  Tomorrow it’s BACK TO SCHOOL.  BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAA!!!!

NANA:  It’s ALMOST over!  Ready to go home yet?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 21 - World Down Syndrome Day  

img1.jpgimg_4.jpg

"to acknowledge our community of people with Down Syndrome who have made such wonderful progress over the past decades" --from the World Down Syndrome Website

So...how did we celebrate Down Syndrome Day in Ukraine today?

We took our two new sons who have Down Syndrome to the MALL!

Okay.  So we stick out anyway.  We speak English.  We smile.  We had two kids in strollers (the only strollers in the mall...it seems that people use strollers OUTSIDE...not inside).  We went to the big MegaMarket grocery store first and we decided we wanted to see every aisle so off we went (MegaMarket is very much like WalMart).  Wow...a lot of people just stared at the boys.  Not in a bad way, but in a curious and surprised way.  Kind of like..."Oh, you can take THEM out to the store?"  :-)   And Micah is a hugger and kisser so anytime I would get close enough he would reach out and grab me and pull me down to him to give me a hug and get me to kiss him.  I mean, this happened a LOT.  So people saw that and when I would stand back up I caught LOTS of people eyeing us.  It was great!  Talk about AWARENESS training.  :0)

We had to go the meat counter and get some ground beef (yes, Ken, it's really beef ONLY).  It's a big glass case.  It started that one girl was helping us and peering down through the glass looking back and forth at the kids.  They wanted to see the meat so I pushed them right up to the glass so the girl had a good view of them.  By the time we stepped away from the counter, there were 4 girls all peering the glass, trying not to be obvious.  LOL!  And then there was more hugging and kissing.  :0)

We were in the bakery near the end of our grocery store trip and all the ladies there were just looking at the boys with such surprise!  Really surprised I think to see "this kind" of person out and about.  :-)  Customers and workers alike couldn't keep their eyes off the boys.  I loved watching them watch our boys.  Maybe they have become more aware.

We then went upstairs where there is a big McDonald's type play area only its HUGE.  You have to pay so there is a gate and attendants.  Very nice.  So I went in with Micah.  The parents just looked and looked.  Don't misunderstand.  It wasn't staring in a bad way.  Just curious and surprised.  It was very sweet really to see everyone noticing them and I would love to know what they were thinking.  

We went into a big toy store...more looks and staring.  More "awareness."  We had 2 taxi rides too.  More awareness.  The driver seemed real interested in them.  On the way home he watched them in the mirror and smiled.  He asked me their age and I told him.   He really seemed amazed by the boys.

So God, all the people who saw our boys today... please make them aware that you created this little guys just the way you wanted to and that they are very valuable to you and that they will become valuable to this society in Ukraine.  

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

We're Coming Home \o/  

LUFTHANSA             24MAR KIEV           MUNICH         655A    830A
LH 3233             TUESDAY BORISPOL       MUNICH INTERNA
S ECONOMY                   AIRCRAFT:      AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A319
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED

LUFTHANSA             24MAR MUNICH         WASHINGTON DC  1025A   258P
LH 9280             TUESDAY MUNICH INTERNA DULLES INTL
S ECONOMY                   AIRCRAFT:      BOEING 777-200/300
UA 0903                    FLIGHT OPERATED BY  UA UNITED AIRLINES
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED

UNITED AIRLINES       24MAR WASHINGTON DC  OKLAHOMA CI OK 655P    916P
UA 7080             TUESDAY DULLES INTL    WILL ROGER
S ECONOMY                   AIRCRAFT:      CANADAIR REGIONAL JET 700
                            FLIGHT OPERATED BY UNITED EXPRESS/MESA AI
                            RESERVATION CONFIRMED

Ummm...it may be time again...
snoopy-dance.gifsnoopy-dance.gifsnoopy-dance.gifsnoopy-dance.gif
snoopy-dance.gifsnoopy-dance.gifsnoopy-dance.gifsnoopy-dance.gif

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ugh... Friday in the big town of Kiev  

Well, through my own neglect to find out the right info and ask the right questions, we were unable to get our visas today.  We have to go back Monday and we should be able to walk in and out with them.  Flight on Tuesday...so does God know what He's doing or what???  Now it's just a frustration, if we had moved our ticks to tomorrow (which we were very close to coming on to Chicago tomorrow) it would have been frustrating and expensive!


So in all this...  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!

MAY write more later.  Feeling very bad.  I'm afraid that with my other flu virus that my immune system was down enough that my shingles have come back.  But it's much worse than ever before.  But this too, God knows!!  Great Jehovah Rapha...please heal me.  I cry out.  I need Your help.

Love you all.

KIDS...it's almost time.  I can't wait to hug and kiss you and just be with you.  You're not going to school on Wednesday and we'll all be together until church time!  :-)  Also...excited about your surprises.  I love surprises!!

PS... the song on yesterday's video is called "Baby Mine."  By Bette Midler

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Operation: Survive Till Tuesday  

Day One


video

I'm feeling really bad today, but God is STILL ON HIS THRONE and in control.  So I have joy!

Our medical appointments were strange to say the least.  Pretty cursory exam...but glad it was SHORT!  The lady doctor just stared at me and Micah when she sat down.  Mary wasn't in the room yet.  The doc said "why are you doing this?"  "2?"  I said we love children and want to help them.  She said but why these children?  They are so...  so... and she wouldn't finish the sentence.  I'm not feeling well so the filter through which my speech and facial expressions usually flow may be a bit week today and perhaps my face gave away what I was thinking.  I just held him closer, kissed him and she said she was sorry.  It would just be difficult for her she said.  Well the visit went fine and then we went to sit in another hallway while everything was being stamped (for about an hour).  You may remember that I said playing with Matthew in the little mud room was like playing in a doctors' office waiting room.  I would now like to retract that statement.  It turns out the little mud room was UTOPIA!  But let me just say that the boys did remarkably well today.  I was so pleased.  We had an hour and half car ride there, there for over an hour and half then another 45 minutes to the embassy.  Then at embassy for about an hour and then in the car about an hour to get home.  They were TROOPERS and I'm so proud of them!!!

The embassy was fine.  We got our papers turned in.  Then the lady behind the glass asked where the pictures were.  I told her I didn't have them (I suddenly remembered that George had them and he was behind all the security and gates because he's not allowed to come in.).  So I had to go out and he was standing at the gate and waved them at me through the bars.  I'm thinking...George, that guard is going to kill us!  You can't do that!  But the guard grinned and nodded his head.  I guess he saw the fear in my eyes.  :-)  So I got it all turned in and paid my $1400 (ugh) and we were told to come back tomorrow at 2:00 for our interview and to get our visas.  YES!  Then we're ready to go home!!  No all we need is plane tickets.  We'll get those tomorrow and we'll be home Tuesday.

Yesterday was so sweet and yes, overwhelming.  I wondered last night if we would actually survive this and wondered all over again what we had gotten ourselves in to.  Today has been such a blessing with the boys.  Yes, I know that tomorrow may be completely the opposite and they may completely out of control.  But today was good.  We'll worry about tomorrow when it comes.

I'll write more about yesterday and the trip in the car with our new sons later.  Today, I'm feeling bad and need to stop now.  God bless you all.  Thank you for loving my family.

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord!  Psalm 139

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Operation: Gotcha!  

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

DSCF2060

Here we are!  We sprung em!

Matthew left the orphanage at 11:30 a.m. and Micah left the Mental Institution at 1:30 p.m.!!!!!!!!!

Okay…I asked ya’ll to pray for a miracle today.  I didn’t even know what I was asking you to pray for but I felt God prompting me to ask you to pray. 

Let me back track a bit…
Yesterday, I think I told you about the Ministry of Social Defense and that we had to have approval from them to remove Micah from the institution.  It doesn’t matter that we had a court decree and everyone had signed off.  Well, George saw the guy 3 or 4 times and he kept saying he’d do it, but he didn’t understand…etc.  He finally said last night at 6:00 p.m. that he would do it and fax it to the institution by 10:00 a.m. this morning.  Well, we found out this morning that not only did he not do it, he left town this morning to avoid making a decision.  No comment.  George’s comment to us as we were about to dress Matthew to leave the orphanage was “They are not going to let you have Misha.”

Believe it or not, I didn’t panic.  We have been trusting God and just knew that His hand was in control.

Also, we were unable to apply for passports yesterday because we needed something from both orphanages to get it done that we didn’t know about previously (some new rules or something).  So at the end of the day, we hadn’t really gotten anywhere.  So I asked you to pray.

We got to Romaniv to the institution.  We sat in the car while George went in to get some papers.  I felt that I needed to asked a couple of people here to pray so I texted them and asked them to pray for a specific miracle.  It wasn’t 10 minutes until George came out and said he needed us to come in and sign the papers.  I didn’t know what the papers were, but the longer we were in there, it became obvious (I can catch a word or two here and there and sometimes understand what’s going on…other times, I just get it completely wrong) that they were going to let us take Micah right then.  I asked George if I understood right and he said yes, we were taking him.  He said that they knew what was happening with this guy and said it was crazy and that they would take care of it.  MIRACLE #1!!!!  Praise God.

We were on cloud nine!  So it was off to Zhytomyr to apply for the passports.  We were hoping the right man was going to be there to get the old style passports so we could get them quicker.  We had hoped to get them by 6 tonight or first thing in the morning at the worst.

We sat in the car with both boys and Mary went to take Micah for a walk and George came to the car and said to come sign some papers.  I asked him if we would get the passports today or not.  He said, they’ll be ready in 10 minutes.  It took ONE HOUR to get what often take 3-5 days!!!!!!!  MIRACLE #2!!!!! PRAISE GOD!!!

DSCF2071

Here they are!  The miracle passports.

It has been very overwhelming tonight and we are certainly in for a difficult time, but God has brought us this far and will not be leaving us now.  We know that.

Tomorrow we go to the hospital for health checks and to get our visas. 

Unfortunately, we can’t get plane tickets until next Tuesday.  There is some big event in OKC apparently.  So…we’ll be home Tuesday night.  We don’t know the time yet, but we’ll know soon.  But Tuesday’s the day.

The only problem…I have the flu now.  Mary is quite a bit better, but I have it now.  Ugh.   It’s terrible.  My chest and back are on fire from the coughing.  Mary described it, but it’s hard to understand until you feel it.  Please pray for me.  Tomorrow will probably be worse than today.

Thanks for your love and your prayers.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!

Psalm 119:19-33

Love you all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Can you say...  

CARSICK???


We're still in Zhytomyr...still darting here and there...  fast, slow, stop, swerve,  UGH...

Does it cost extra if I throw up in your backseat?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009  

Happy St. Patrick's Day...

I hope YOU remember to wear green.  Mary didn't so she got PINCHED!  :0)  So glad I have my green pants on!  Hee hee!

We are in Zhytomyr trying to get all the documents done.  But things are always so iffy.  You're always on the edge.  In fact, before we went to the office to get our birth certificates, we went to the Ministry of something or other to get the permission to take Micah from the institution.  Apparently, even with the court order and the approval of the inspector and the institution director, if you don't get the okay of the "ministry" then you're dead in the water.  Glad I did not know to worry about that!!  They didn't understand why a family would want to adopt two children with Down syndrome.  George talked to them and explained our reasons and the guy said that he COULD understand it for our family.  Maybe new inroads are being made. 

We got to the office where they do birth certificates.  There was at least 30 people waiting in the hall and a large waiting area.  George walked right into the office as someone came out and said, you are invited...  Yeah right.  We got some real looks when we rushed into the office.  George said we must hurry because it was 10 to Noon and they would close for lunch.  I asked about all the people we cut in front of and he just shrugged.  He says if you don't penetrate, you'll never get what you want.  Okay...that may explain why some people don't like Americans.  Yikes!  So the lady said she was too busy and maybe we would do it tomorrow.  George said maybe we will do it today.  To look in the envelope and maybe you'll help us this afternoon.  I don't know what envelope or the contents therein.  I didn't ask.  

Yesterday, we were at the Notary (everyone OH's with great surprise...NOT).  We had visited her when we first got to Novograd and she helped us.  Yesterday she said, "I hope our children bring your family great happiness and joy."  Then she said that what we are doing is a miracle. She got teary eyed.  I was speechless.  Here, in the middle of Ukraine, God was impacting the heart of a Notary.  God is so Great!

Please pray for some things that I can't mention right now to happen today and in the morning.  We need a miracle!!

We'll get back to Novograd late tonight and start again early in the morning.  :-)  I'll try to post again later, but if not, Be Blessed!

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord!
Psalm 119

Monday, March 16, 2009

PS on the last post  

Don't forget to scroll down and see the post for today!  But I needed to add that the court released our papers EARLY by one day.  When we went to proof them today, they told us that we could have them today!!!  That's a HUGE PRAISE!!!


We hope to have some good news on Wednesday so please pray!  We'll share more later!!

Monday in Novograd (March 16, 2009)  


We sprung our little Matthew this morning (well only long enough to get a passport photo made!).  He was so cute when he saw me.  He pulled away from the caretaker and walked to me so that's a good thing (especially after being away from him for 10 days).

We are working hard on documents and will have a LONG day tomorrow in 3 cities getting everything done.  So I probably won't post tomorrow and this MAY be the only post today.  Mary is still pretty sick so I'm going to be at the apartment with her as much as possible.  We have to go to the notary today (of course) and sign some stuff, but that's probably all we'll do.  We won't go see Matthew tonight because Mary shouldn't take the germs in.  We'll be at the notary anyway.    PLEASE PLEASE pray that she gets better soon!

We love you all and look forward to seeing you all soon.

Psalm 119

1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart.
 3 They do nothing wrong;
they walk in his ways.
 4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
 5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
 6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
 7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
 8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord! Be blessed our friends.  We love you.

Kids:  Hold the fort.  It won't be long.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

This Week In Pictures (Week Four)  

Today marks a MONTH that we have been in Ukraine.  I cannot really believe it.  In some ways it seems like we just got off the plane.  In other ways it seems like we have been here forever.  Literally.  At moments I can not even remember living in Moore, Oklahoma.  We NEED to come home.  We NEED to be with our kids.  We NEED to get Matthew and Micah home.

It’s been a very rewarding time spiritually and for our marriage.  We’ve been so close in the past years and getting closer, but these weeks here have been such a blessing.  It’s us and the Lord.  That’s a good place to be.

Prayer Needs:

  • Mary is sick with a bad cold.  We travel to Novograd tomorrow (Sunday) so please pray that she’s better in the morning.  She’s been in bed sleeping most of today and needs to be better.
  • Dickinsons have court Monday.  Pray for God’s peace for them.
  • The Loux’s come back Thursday to complete their adoption of Aiden and Emma.
  • Pray for our kids and my mom.  They’re ready for us to come home.

In case you have somehow missed it, we’ve been in Kiev since last Friday night.  We’ve had a relaxing time in Brovary (outside of Kiev).  Here’s a breakdown of our time.

Friday- Arrived at 10:00 p.m.  Ate a VERY late dinner.  Stayed up all night to see the Loux’s off to the airport at 2:30 a.m. and watch Inspector Poirot movies with Jamie.

Saturday- Chris got up at 7:00ish and the ladies slept till 10:00.  We stayed in our p.j.’s all day!

Sunday- HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY!  We went to church.  I took Mary and Jamie to lunch.  We bummed around downtown Kiev for the rest of the day and got home at about 8:30 and had dinner.  TIRED!

Monday- Jamie led our group devotion time.  We went to Darnitsa and had a meal at McDonald’s and then shopped for the boys.  We bought a bath tub, some tights, a bottle…and some surprises for the kids at home.

Tuesday- Went to the Chernobyl Museum and lunch at Pyzata Xata.  Then we went to a renok (an outdoor market) at Lisova Metro stop.  We saw some VERY interesting things.  Had a nice evening at home (ha…I’m calling it home.  It’s time to go back to USA).

Wednesday- Chris led our group devotion time.  We went to Terminal and messed around.  There is a bowling alley, ice skating, race cars, groceries, shopping center (Mary got a new shirt that looks hot!), and all kinds of stuff.  We made Italian for dinner for Mark and Sasha Miller (the Youth Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Loday, CA (they were travelling back from south Ukraine to the USA).

Thursday- Mary led our group devotion time.  We stayed here in Brovary all day.  We worked here on the property for Yuri and Sveta (we moved a huge pile of bricks out to the driveway to make it passable because of the mud).  We did this for several hours and got a lot done.  Played a game.  Had dinner…  Watch Poirot!

Friday- We went to Babyn Yar.  Had lunch at the King David restaurant (a Jewish restaurant near the synagogue).  Got my modem working for my mac that will work all over Ukraine anywhere!  Had tea with Sasha (an adoption lawyer).

Saturday-  Mary’s been in bed sick.  Chris worked on the computer for Jamie.  We’ve done very little.  Had pancakes for breakfast.  Grilled cheese for lunch.  And cornbread for dinner.  Then we stayed up late watching Poirot.

Sunday (tomorrow) – we are planning to go to Novograd about 3:00.  We’re having church here tomorrow because Mary doesn’t need to go out until she has to.

Hope you enjoyed my chronology, but it’s for us so we can remember.  :-)

Here’s our week in pictures…

 

DSCF2001 
I LOVE this woman!  She gets more beautiful every day.

DSCF2004
Happy Women’s Day Mary and Jamie!

DSCF2005
This is the McDonald’s where “someone” in our party spilled two coffees.  I think there may be a sign on the door with the pictures of the Americans that says “shoot on sight.”
 

DSCF2011
The Kreshatik on Women’s Day night.

DSCF2013

DSCF2015 
Jamie and Mary

DSCF2023
Lovers and best friends.

DSCF2029
The entrance to Chernobyl Museum.

DSCF2041

DSCF2048
An American artist (Launa) made this painting.  Every part is part of a poem and scripture.  It’s all words.  It was incredible.

DSCF2052
Halfway through the day at the museum, the power went out for about 5 minutes.  A good time for a break since it was dark!

DSCF2057
Happy Birthday Matthew!

DSCF2058 
Mark and Sasha Miller

DSCF2059 
Jamie and Sveta

DSCF2061
Yuri and Sveta

DSCF2062
Slavic (helping Yuri with construction)
 

DSCF2064
“I got you, babe!”

DSCF2066
One of the monuments at Babyn Yar.

DSCF2071
The Jewish memorial at Babyn Yar.

DSCF2073

DSCF2072

DSCF2078
Part of the remaining part of ravine of Babyn Yar.  Flowers and wreaths were strewn all the way down the side.

DSCF2086
Massive section of the ravine at Babyn Yar.  It stretches as far as the eye can see.  You can’t tell from this photo but it’s DEEP and large.  Between 200,000 & 300,000 people were murdered here during WWII.  Over 33,000 Jews were killed here during the first few days of German occupation alone.

DSCF2087
Lunch at the King David restaurant.
Jamie, Sveta, Mary

DSCF2095

DSCF2097
On the metro escalator that goes on and on and on.

DSCF2098 
Advertisements in the metro on the escalator.  March 21 is Down Syndrome Awareness Day in Ukraine!!!  Praise God.

 

Be blessed!

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.

I was reminded of Isaiah 43 this morning and read it again.  Thank you God for bringing us here to get our sons!