Family Pic Nov 2015

Family Pic Nov 2015

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Pictures of Aaron

Here are the latest pictures of Aaron:

I think we have success!

Good news on our verification of mortgage dilemma!! So the only point of contact I have with the "executive" I spoke to on the phone is her personal fax number. Last night I decided to write a letter giving more details and further explaining the urgency of these adoptions complete with pictures of Julia and Aaron's sweetness. I asked her to please forward this letter on to whomever was delegated the task of notarizing this document, in hopes that they would get this to us as quickly as possible. I also stress the need for the instructions to be followed exactly or it would have to be redone. I offered to give them our FedEx account number so they could overnight it to us and bill us. I think they get the picture now.

Our next step was to get a lawyer friend of mine to write a letter with his law firm letter head on it, reiterating our request and urgency in the matter. Steve and I also looked up how much it would cost him to fly out to TX on Monday and resolve the matter personally. The momma bear in me was coming out!! I was going to give them until tomorrow noon to hear something back from them before we proceeded with any of these options.

Well, about a half an hour ago I received a call back from the executive and she told me that our verification of mortgage is notarized and that they would overnight it for us. I couldn't believe it! She said she would call back with the tracking number. I just got off the phone with her with tracking number in hand. I also got a chance to verify with her some of the instructions just to hear it with my own ears that notary's expiration is more than 12 months out, that all the dates match up, stamp or seal is not covering anything, is right side up, and complete. She sounded a bit annoyed by this, but I didn't care. She has no idea what a hassle this has been. And that I don't have much confidence in their competence. But praise the Lord....He has heard all of our prayers. Thank you everyone!

As soon as we get it in hand and make sure everything's okay, we will overnight it back to TX to get it apostilled. If our immigration approval gets back quickly, it won't be long!! Yay!!!

I should have known this was going to be a great day! First thing this morning, I checked my email and Autumn Winkle had 3 pictures of Aaron for me. She finally got to see him and was sure it was him. The coolest part is that one of the pictures is him walking while holding a woman's hand. I was overjoyed to see such progress since the last videos I have of him from some physical therapists where he is in a wheel chair. The pt's commented that he had a good chance of walking with surgery for ankle contractures combined with physical therapy. I can already picture him running around outside playing with all the other kids. I was so very happy to see these pictures. I will post them here later computer has not been cooperative with this for me. I need Steve's help.

Thank you all so much for praying for this to finally come through! God is good all the time : )

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fingerprints done!

Today Steve and I drove up to Alexandria, VA and got our fingerprints done as walk-ins....yay!!! I then emailed the National Benefits Center I.S. officer to let the officer assigned to us know that the prints are done and they can expedite the approval. She wrote back and let me know that she has forwarded this information to our officer. Hopefully this shouldn't be too long.

Right now we need prayers that our mortgage lending company will notarize the verification of mortgage letter. I called them yesterday to give it one more shot. I took the advice from many of you followers who commented on my previous blog about this. When I got an agent on the line, I started by explaining the dire circumstances of Julia and Aaron and pleaded for them to be able to help us. Long story short, I was able to get an "executive" on the phone with me. She seemed sympathetic and was emailing instructions along as to what we needed and how it could be done. Their problem is that they do not have a notary. We again offered to send and pay for a mobile notary to go to them. She called me back a little later and inquired about how that could be done. Rocket science....I know, but at least someone sounds interested in trying. I told her that whoever ends up notarizing the document can just go to their bank on a lunch break or something....that it doesn't have to be very complicated. So, we're asking for prayers now that this task gets into the hands of someone willing, able, and competent enough to accomplish this in a timely manner.

Our volunteer helper through Reece's Rainbow has been in contact with someone in Ukraine asking if there is something else we can do. She has replied that this "simply must be done." I know you all have been praying for Julia, Aaron, and our family, but I just thought it would be helpful to let you know specifically what we need prayers for at this moment! At the latest we were hoping to have our dossier ready to send out in mid-January, so it can get to Ukraine, be translated, and submitted by the beginning of February. This is when the SDA office reopens and begins processing dossiers after being closed for several months over the holidays. Aaron turns 6 in February and we have heard that the orphanage he and Julia are in typically transfer to institution in April. And Julia just needs us to get bring her home as soon as possible. Our goal is to get an SDA appt. in March.

Thank you all so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers! Seeing new pictures of Julia makes me even more anxious to get her in my arms. The Winkles have been unable to see Aaron. We sent a gift with them (photo look book) to give to him. They asked the nannies if they would give it to him and they said they would. We so hope they did!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Girl

The Winkles have sent a few more picture of Julia. I could sit and stare at her sweet face all day!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ups and Downs

From our family to yours, we hope you all had a Merry Christmas! We are looking forward to all God has planned for us in this upcoming new year.

This week has been a trying week for our family. The beginning of the roller coaster started with the best Christmas gift we could receive right now.....updates and new pictures of Julia. It was unbelievably wonderful the day we saw Julia's big smiles. The Winkles, who are in Ukraine now adopting their two boys from the same orphanage, got to see her again. Even though she was having a hard time keeping down her bottle, she was still smiling.

For several years now, we meet up with my side of the family at a ski resort about an hour and a half west of where we live. My parents own time share and we spend the week before Christmas here. So we packed up the four kids and headed out there. Only this year, Steve wouldn't be joining us. He is trying not to take any time off so he has as much leave time as he can possibly have for our travels to Ukraine. It was much harder than I thought being out there without Steve. It just wasn't the same. Evan, our 20 month old was coming down with a cold, was very fussy, and getting into everything!

Highlights for the kiddos......

---Kacey went skiing with her uncle and conquered a black diamond slope!
---Regan, at 3 yrs old, went tubing for her first time!
---While making Christmas cookies, the mixer was turned on before the bowl was secured on the mixer stand. Powdered sugar and melted butter went everywhere.....HUGE MESS!! All we could do was laugh : )

The first major bummer of the week was the culmination of a long battle with our mortgage lending company. We were defeated. We need a verification of mortgage form from them, notarized BY THEM and sent back to us. Sounds pretty simple right? Not so much for this company. They are not a bank, just a loan collecting agency that bought out the original lending institution. And they are located in TX, so there is not much we can do from here. Anyways, after many ridiculous conversations with about 6 different "supervisors" trying to make it as clear as possible what we need, they sent us the form.......NOT NOTARIZED!! We were not surprised, because after talking with them many times, we have come to the conclusion that they are all idiots. What was even more laughable is that they sent a letter attached to our document.....advising us to get it notarized!!! They couldn't seem to understand that THEY signed the document and it is THEIR signature that needed to be notarized. So one day last week, I thought I was going to give this one more try and call them about it. After another ridiculous explanation of how and why THEY need to notarize the form, the "supervisor" explains that they don't have a notary. So I told him we would call a mobile notary service and send someone to their location and pay for it to be notarized. After being on hold several times the person I'm speaking to says he'll get back to me after he sees if there is anything he can do for us. He calls me back a few minutes later and says that they WILL NOT notarize this verification of our mortgage form. Why? Because their papers all have a letter head on them that hold up in a U.S. court and therefore they do not need to notarize the form for us. I explained that it needed to hold up in international court. They don't care. That's not their problem. Bottom line, they won't do it. It was very disheartening. We are still waiting to hear back from our volunteer through Reece's Rainbow what our options are. A contact person in Ukraine is being consulted as to what will suffice. Unbelieveable.

Now on to some good news.....

After that horribly defeating situation, the next day we received great news. We had previously contacted Congressman Wittmann's office to get them involved with expediting our USCIS (immigration) approval. Shortly after this we received in the mail our fingerprint date. Jan. 10, 2011. We really thought this was too much time to wait.....three whole weeks getting nothing done....just waiting. It would have been a three hour drive from where I was to get to the office where they do the fingerprints. I really didn't want to drive that far in one day, to attempt an unannounced walk-in and get told no. So God paved the way. The woman from the Congressman's office sent me an email that we have permission this week to walk-in any day M-Th. This will save us 2 weeks!! And now that we're home, it will only be an hour's drive.

The light is at the end of the tunnel. As soon as we get the mortgage verification thing resolved and get our immigration approval (which should be expedited from here on out).....we can get everything apostilled and our dossier will be complete. We are praying that it can be sent, translated, and submitted by the beginning of February! Pray with us : )

The second bummer for the week: During the week, our furnace went out at our house. So we arrived home to no heat. Thankfully, we have two space heaters and borrowed a few more from friends to keep warm. We have been using our fireplace every evening as well. We have someone coming tomorrow to replace the whole unit. God has already provided the money for this expensive replacement. Steve had already recruited several people to the company he works for and receives referral bonuses! The bonuses will almost exactly cover the cost of replacing the unit. It is amazing to see how God provides for us, sometimes even before we know we will need it.

The third bummer for the week was that I missed almost the entire children's Christmas Eve service because Evan was so fussy. I had to keep him out. Steve was working on the lighting, Kacey was Mary and Ethan was an angel. I got to see the very beginning, but had to spend the rest of the service out of the sanctuary. I might as well have stayed home. Thanks to my awesome husband, I did go to church this morning, by myself. He stayed home with the kids, so I could spend some much needed undivided time in worship and prayer by myself after a crazy week of ups and downs!

Throughout this Christmas week, both Julia and Aaron have been in our thoughts continually. It did seem like something was missing without having them here with us. As we approach the new year, I am getting a sense of being in the "third trimester." Starting to think of all the things that need to be done before the arrival of two more kids.....does nesting happen in adoptions too? It must!

Happy New Year and God's richest blessings to all of you!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wonderful news!

I spent all morning checking my email and Autumn's blog today, knowing she and her husband were going to orphanage today to see their baby boys for the first time. This means she would be in the same room as Julia and MAYBE get some new pictures of her and info. on how she is doing. To read her update today go to Anyways, Julia seems to be doing really well. She was laughing and smiling and playing with toys. Autumn was able to get three pictures of her today.

Aren't they wonderful? She looks so happy! We can't wait to make her giggle ourselves.

Aaron is in a different room and is not sure if she is going to be able to see him, but she is going to try. We'll keep everyone posted.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Speeding up immigration papers!

Steve has been in contact with Congressman Wittmann's office to see if they can speed things up with our immigration papers/fingerprints. His office has been moved by Julia's story and they seem to sense the urgency of Julia's circumstances. Praise God!!

We are also very excited about the Winkles getting ready to travel this weekend to adopt their two boys from the same room that Julia is in. We have sent two "look book" toys with pictures of our family in them for the Winkles to bring to Julia and Aaron. We pray the the orphanage caregivers allow the children to keep them. Julia's has links attached to hers, so it can hang from the side of her crib bars. We are also very anxious to hear from them about how Julia is doing physically. We're not sure whether they will be able to see Aaron since he would be in a different room.

Anyways, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as the tremendous amount of paper chasing. We are just waiting for a few more documents to come back to us, including the immigration papers. Then all we have to do is take them all down to Richmond to have them apostilled. After which, our dossier will be complete and will be sent to Ukraine!

Also, if you notice to the right, we have added the chip in for Aaron. We have raised the money to bring Julia home and have about $1000 for Aaron. We understand that to adopt a second child from the same orphanage will add $5000 to the cost of the adoption process. So we only need to raise $4000 more!