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!!