Saturday, December 26, 2009
As I was unpacking my shopping bags, he told me Merry Christmas and handed me a printout of the email.
What a wonderful Christmas present.
Are appointment is 2/10/10 at 9:00am. That is a Tuesday. We will fly out on Saturday or Sunday.
We are smiling ear to ear!
Thanks to everyone for all the prayers.
R & T
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
We will receive our appointment date after this form is submitted/accepted.
Thanks for everyone for all the prayers and support!
We are almost there.
R & T
Thursday, December 3, 2009
At least we have been busy, so the wait has not been too bad. And, we have a busy weekend planned - tomorrow night, we hope to go to Connie Maxwell Children's Home to view their live nativity, Christmas lights and maybe even take a carriage ride. I have ridden through there lots of time - at least 3 times each year while I was an activity director at an assisted living. So - the thrill has not been there for a while. But, we have never been to the live nativity or on a carriage ride, so that will be exciting. Saturday I plan on going to Anderson to do some Christmas shopping and then Saturday night, we have a family birthday dinner for Tim's brother. Sunday, we have church and then our Christmas Cantata at 5:00.
Please pray that the SDA approves us and that we find out our appointment date soon.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.
Will update if we hear anything.
R & T
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Hopefully, we will have an answer by next Friday.
My wonderful, self-admitted OCD husband decorated the Christmas tree last night. I had a massage and when I came home, he was just getting started. I went to bed around 10:00 and when I woke up at 3:30 - surprise!!! Once he gets started, he can't stop.
We decided to add some color to our tree this year. We normally use ivory or gold balls in addition to our special ornaments. This year, we bought shatterproof balls and used blue, red, green and gold. I really like the new look. I think it is something a child will like better also.
**for those of you who know us - the Star Trek tree DID NOT go up this year. Don't faint - there are no Star Trek ornaments on the main tree either. He did mention putting it up next year or turning that tree into a child-themed tree.
***for those of you who may not know us that well - Tim love Christmas. I love it, but he has me beat, no doubt about it. But - he didn't work retail for 12 1/2 years and he has never had to put up 5 trees at work for 5 years in a row. Thank goodness I only have to do 3 at work now - but that takes the fun out of doing a tree at home.
Today we will decorate the mantel and the outside.
I am going back to bed. Just woke up and saw the tree and, well, I got excited!
Hope everyone has a great weekend.
R & T
Monday, November 23, 2009
So..here we are waiting again. We were waiting to hear something before getting down all of the Christmas decorations because we didn't want to go all out and decorate and then be rushed to take them down if we were in the process of preparing to travel.
Looks like we can put out all of the decorations.......hopefully we will have a child by Valentines. Both of our mom's birthdays are in February, so maybe they will get a grandchild for their birthdays.
Will update as soon as we know something.
R & T
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I know this one is not the easiest on the eyes, but I love it and the meaning behind it. There were few to choose from that were Christian themed. Which brings me to a rant.....
It took us at least two years to find a decent, affordable Nativity scene for our yard for Christmas. My mother and father-in-law reminded us of this last week while we were having dinner. They are searching for one and have the same problem. Everything we found is either blow mold or inflatable, cartoon-like. We finally found a Fontanini one online, but paid more than we wanted and it is still not exactly what we wanted.
I have seen the following Christmas decorations while in search of the Nativity:
a flying pig
all Disney characters in various poses
a ferris wheel
Santas in every shape, color and size - playing golf, being stopped by the police for speeding in the sleigh, in a rocking chair, dancing, singing....well - you get the picture.
What part of CHRISTmas do the retailers not understand?
Keeping Christ in CHRISTmas in our household.
R & T
We ask for prayers that our dossier be accepted and for a travel date that meets our needs.
Thank goodness we have a busy weekend planned. If not, I think I would go crazy with anxiety. This afternoon, I am shooting a wedding reception for a friend from work and then going to see the movie The Blindside with another friend. Then, tomorrow we have church and tomorrow night, our Thanksgiving meal at church, so that will take out minds off of things.
I feel better about my "replacement" while I am on leave from work. She will not have to do the payroll part of my job, so she should be fine. I have full confidence in her and I know she could handle it even if the payroll portion were included, but it makes me feel better that she will not be overwhelmed.
Going to take a nap (why am I awake at 6:30 on Sat?), then I need to make a cake (pound cake with caramel icing) for the Thanksgiving dinner.
Will update when I have an answer from the SDA.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I just scanned it and emailed to our facilitator to see if it will be OK. Then, hopefully, we will get it to Ukraine in time for submission on 11/23/09.
The orphanages in Ukraine are under quarantine until at least 11/22/09, so some couples who are in country hit at a bad time. Hopefully, the quarantine will not be extended so these families can finish their adoptions and those of us who are waiting to submit will still get to travel when anticipated.
We are hoping for an appointment on 1/10/10 or 1/17/10.
We are in the process of purchasing warm clothes such as Under Armour and Cuddl Duds, etc. A wise hockey player once told me that "it isn't cold unless your snot freezes." Well...I am afraid that it will be that cold in Ukraine in January. My DNO told me today that the 6 weeks of cold is my price to pay in place of labor pains. I don't know, but I think 6 weeks is an awful long labor.
I am sure it will be like childbirth - the reward will far outlive the pain.
Looking forward to snuggling with my honey and our new baby(ies) in the cold.
R & T
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Today I found out from my HR department that I will have to take a personal leave until the adoption is approved. Then, when I get home, I file for FMLA. That gives me 12 weeks from the time of adoption. Although I will not take the full twelve after we return, it is good to know that I have that much time if I need more time with the child(ren) to help adjust or if they need medical attention.
Today at work, I developed a training calendar for the PRN staff member who is going to fill in for part of my job while we are gone. She will do the staffing coordinator portion of my job. She will have three weeks of training and I am anxious for her because it seems old hat to me by now because I have been the only one in the position since we opened. Everything has been developed by either my DNO or myself and I hope I can get her trained and that she will feel confident to fill in. I just don't want to overwhelm her. It is not like she can pick up the phone and call me at the drop of a hat if something goes wrong!
I am still excited and scared. It is difficult going in with so many unknowns. But - we know that we are following God's will for us and that He will guide us in all that we do - we just have to be sure to let Him lead and to follow where He takes us.
Updates as we get them.....
R & T
Saturday, October 31, 2009
This time next year, I will be putting my energy into my child(ren)'s costume, not my own. Such a great feeling. I can hardly wait!
We also had a small, baking sized pumpkin decorating contest. Our staff showed out! We gave pumpkins to each department/shift and the only rule was that they could not carve them. The winner was "Reggie Rehab" from the therapy department. They took children's overalls and placed them on a quad cane for stability, stuffed them and had the pumpkin as his head. They even made a little walker for him! Too cute.
I just love all of the fall events and can't wait to share them with our child(ren)! We don't necessarily celebrate Halloween, but we do enjoy the Fall Festival activities.
Eagerly awaiting this time next year,
R & T
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tim sent most of the paperwork to the State Department for Apostille. We still have the Home Study Addendum, State Background Check, etc. that should arrive from our Social Worker via mail tomorrow.
I have been emailing with our translator and she said that she expects us to travel in December. She still has not heard when the SDA will shut down or if they will in December.
I have read where folks are traveling 2-3 weeks after their appointment dates, so that would put us traveling in December.
I am nervous about leaving work for that long and neither of us have ever spent Christmas without our families. But, we know it will be more than worth it have our child(ren).
Please continue to pray that the SDA appointment will go well and that we will graciously accept God's will, whatever it may be.
R & T
Friday, October 23, 2009
It seemed like such a long time when we found out about the submission date, but the time has really passed quickly. As much as we would love to have our children for Christmas, we are concerned about being in Ukraine during the holidays. Of course, we will go whenever we are told to do so, but hate the thought of having to spend additional time there while the government offices are closed for the holidays.
My HR Director had me complete the FMLA request this week. Our company is a national company, but we do not have a huge workforce. She said that we need to get it forwarded to our home office because she doesn't think they have handled a FMLA for this type of adoption before. Which reminds me. - I need to email our facilitator and let her know that I will need a copy of the appointment letter scanned to myself and HR. They will need something official and that is all I can think of to provide them in advance of the trip. Any suggestions from those of you have been there, done that?
I am excited and ready to get started on the room for the child(ren.) It is hard not knowing if we will come home with one or two children and the ages/sexes.
My sister has a trundle bed that she is giving us. I bought a duvet cover that has bright blue, light blue and green stripes on it and have purchased sheets in solid colors that match. This should work for either sex and can be prissied up with some ruffles, etc. if we do get a little girl. We will just move the furniture and get that bed ready before we leave. We can adjust accordingly when we get home and I am sure that our parents, brother and sister will help if we need anything set up before we get back.
I just cannot believe that we are this close now. I have tried so hard to hold my excitement in case we submit and have to re-do something and get a new submission date, but sometimes, I just can't hold it in.
Please keep us in your prayers as we travel further in this journey.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Then....everyting will go to our facilitator to be translated and submittted on 11/23/09.
Keep us in your prayers!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The boxes have a very special meaning to me. Years ago, my mom brought a VHS tape to me from a lady she worked with. It was a tape of their church delivering the Joy Boxes to the Ukraine orphanages. The precious little children broke my heart. I wanted to go there at that very moment and bring all of the children home! The Joy Boxes that we send each year are delivered by the members of the same church that made the tape that I saw.
Last year Rice Memorial Baptist did boxes for teens, as we will be doing again this year. I will always remember the joy on the teen's faces when they got combs, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Things that we take for granted are treasures to these children. And to Tim and me, the child(ren) that we adopt from Ukraine will truly be a treasure.
When we began visiting at Rice, I was very excited to learn that their primary mission work is in Ukraine! I know that God led us to Rice and that this is all His will that things are working out as they should per His will.
So while we complete paperwork - for hopefully, the last time - fill some Joy Boxes, continue our Rosetta Stone program, pray for all the orphans of Ukraine and pray for our child(ren) and their caregivers.
Love to all,
R & T
Saturday, October 10, 2009
We have been out of town this past week for a vacation at Myrtle Beach. We really needed a break from work and running around, so we decided to take our normal week. It was nice to see the children there at Broadway at the Beach - riding rides, the two little boys who ran down all out down the beach to their grandmother and the cute kids in Red Robin. It was nice to know that we should have our little one by the next time we visit.
We got our laptop, so we should have at least some access while we are in Ukraine. We will be using Skype, so we need to get the family all set up on it as well.
We have been picking up some clothing along the way such as boots and leggings for layering. We will really have to limit ourselves because last week, for the beach, the car was packed! We wouldn't have room to take a child if we had one. There is no way we can lug that many clothes around Ukraine. At least we know if will be cold there. This week at Myrtle is always a challenge. We take shorts and jeans, short sleeves and long sleeves, and more shoes than we do in June.
Thanks for hanging in there. I am sure we will have more to report as the time get near.
Please keep us in your prayers.
Love, R & T
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The change of requirements for obtaining a submission date is where we got caught. When we began this adventure, an entire dossier was needed to obtain a submission date. Just as we have our dossier about 95% completed, the "rules" changed and all you need to obtain a submission date is a home study.
Our advice to those just now beginning the process - obtain your homestudy first. In our state, we had to have the medical form completed for the homestudy, but that was all. You can complete your homestudy, submit for translation/submission date and then, when you obtain your submission date, you can complete other paperwork while waiting to travel.
Since our submission date is Nov. 23, we will begin to get our paperwork updated in Sept. or Oct. as we know that it can easily be done here in about one month. That way, we will be assured that our paperwork will still be valid when we travel - hopefully in Jan or Feb 2010.
This new process should help to expedite the process for others. We got caught in the change and it slowed us down. BUT - we know that God has a reason for all things and we know that He has a plan for us. He has a child for us and it will happen in His timing, not ours.
Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers.
R & T
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I know that the SDA closes during the holidays, so we are probably facing travelling in January 2010. This is a little disappointing because we will have to go through Christmas again without our child and we will have to re-do a good amount of paperwork. I will check all of the paperwork next week to see what will have to be re-done and re-aposstilled.
Advice to those adopting from Ukraine: be prepared to have some paperwork done 2-4 times, and be careful when you remove money from any retirement accounts if you are counting on your adoption tax credit to cover the taxes owed on the money removed from those accounts.
At least we have a submission date and more time to save extra money for the trip!
Monday, May 18, 2009
We had to send our SLED background check back to SLED to have it notarized. Note to anyone pursuing international adoption & living in SC - the SLED background check must be on SLED letterhead and notarized by SLED. You will need to include a note asking for it to be notarized because they do not automatically do that.
We are again working with the doctor's office to assure that the medical certificate is correct.
Hopefully, we will have both the SLED clearance and the medical certificates back this week so that Tim can take everything to Columbia next week to have it apostilled.
Ukraine is at the moment letting people request submission appointments with only a home study. We are too close to do that, but it may mean that we need to expedite our translation as others will be trying to push their paperwork through.
Please keep us in your prayers. We know that the Lord has this all mapped out for us and that everything will happen in His time.
Updates will come as we complete each step.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Most paperwork is only good for 12 months, but must not expire until 6 months after your anticipated travel date. So, we have to have a lot of things updated:
Here's a list:
- Home Study will need an addendum stating that everything remains the same since the original home study. Thanks to our wonderful Mrs. Smith - this will be in the mail to us tomorrow!
- Need a more recently dated copy of Social Worker's license card - again - Thanks Teresa!
- We had several papers that our notary signed, but did not date. No need to list all of those here.
- Our SLED background check was done with our home study and SLED just stamped NO CRIMINAL RECORD on the release/request that we sent them. It must be on their letterhead. So, we get to pay for this again.....
- We have to have our employment letters updated and they must be worded differently from the original ones. (SDA decided that they need to read differently.)
- Physician's forms must be updated and they need to have the international diagnosis codes for all diagnosis. I held on for 10 minutes yesterday trying to get an appointment to do this.
- Our statement from the Tax Assessor was not correct. I wrote down exactly how it needed to read, but they typed it the way they wanted to and Tim went back and got that corrected today.
Doesn't look too bad as much of this is an easy fix. AND - I surely would rather know and get it corrected NOW than have it submitted to the SDA and then be returned!
Looks like we may travel Oct. - Nov. now. I guess I'd better start looking for some good boots!
In other news - We celebrated our 24th Wedding Anniversary yesterday! Hopefully we will celebrate our 25th anniversary with our child(ren.)
Please keep us and our future child(ren) and their caregivers in your prayers.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
We only need the statement from our tax assessor and we will have to update our medical forms and our employment verification and we will be ready to submit to UA for review before having everything apostilled.
Thanks to Colleen for the info about FRUA and the yahoo boards.
I have not read anything official about a moratorium. Hopefully, if there is one, we will get there before it hits.
We are at peace and know that we are doing what God wants us to do and through Him, all things are possible.
Thanks for all of the prayers!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Tim and I both became frustrated because the 1-800 numbers that we called claimed that they did not have the phone number for the Greer office and did not even have an email for them. The info the representatives gave us was the info that we could find on line. Finally, I was given an email address to the Charleston office and emailed them while Tim mailed a letter to the Greer Office - where we had mailed our I-600A, etc. And...guess what they wanted...our alien number! OK - ummmm.... we don't have one because we are Naturalized USA Citizens! Then, on the 800 #, they asked Tim for the A# for our children....after he had explained that we are applying for adoption.
After all of this.....we find that all of our files have been transferred to the Charleston Office. I knew that DSS had sent their study/approval to Charleston, but everything on the USCIS site said to send everything for the I-600A to Greer!
The good news is that the INS has everything that they need and our request is awaiting final review. Whew........
Now we just have to do a couple more things and will be ready to submit to Cathy Harris, our advisor. The SDA in Ukraine has recently made some changes and Cathy has found out what they want. We have to get a certified Tax Assessment of our house and a certified Deed. Plus, the employment statements that we got are not good enough. They now want a copy of the 2008 W-2 forms that are signed by our employer and notarized. We should have all of this done and ready to submit to Cathy by the time we get our INS approval.
Keep the prayers coming that nothing else drastically changes. I heard a rumor that Ukraine may put a moratorium on adoptions, but it is unfounded. I think someone misread the info from an interview with a Ukrainian official concerning Ukraine joining the Hague Convention.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Anyway, we were finished and out of there by 9:45. We headed back to Gaffney to hit the Prime Outlets and hit the storm about the time we got there. We shopped a little and then headed home. We got home around 2:00 pm, just when the hard rain hit here and the thunder and lightening followed about 30 minutes later.
We are still waiting on my passport which I applied for on 02/25/09. Tim applied about a week earlier and receives his about a week ago, so it should be here any day now.
After that, we just have to mail those copies to INS and then wait for their response from that and the fingerprinting, etc.
We have been tossing some names around, but nothing settled yet. We will most likely follow what most people do and give the child(ren) and American first name and keep their Ukrainian name as the middle name.
Will update when something new comes along.
In my last post I asked for prayer for Cornethia and Jim Bob as they were going to their 3rd referral. They are applying to adopt the 7 year old boy & 8 year old girl that they met at that referral. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Our pastor recently returned from a mission trip to Ukraine. They visited the Zhitomir region and said that at one of the orphanages, there were several children ages 3-6 who were available. He also said that last year, that area only had 10 adoptions, but had already had that number adopted out so far this year. It was explained to him that last year, Ukraine had an "International Year of Adoption" in which they focused on adoptions withing the country, but that this year, there should be more children adopted to parents who reside outside Ukraine.
Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers. Thanks to all of those who are currently in Ukraine or have adopted in the past and who are sharing their experiences via blogs. A special thanks to Staci and Damon for their account of their adoption of precious Wesley. Please keep them in your prayers as Wesley faces surgery in April. Thanks for the email, Staci. Also, please keep Cornethia and Jim Bob in your prayers as they are in Ukraine now and about to go for their 3rd referral. Your faith is an inspiration to me.
Until we have something else to update......
Monday, March 9, 2009
Speaking of fingerprints.... we had a SCLED background check and a DSS background check, plus a medical form completed by our physicians which included testing for HIV and Syphilis, but no drug screen. I just find that extremely odd. I would like to think that they US and Ukraine would like to rule out drug use in adoptive parents.
I will update when we get the finger print appointment. Until then, we wait..........
Monday, January 26, 2009
We both had our passport photos made this week and hope to apply for passports this week as well. I do have to check with our advisor, Cathy Harris of Ukrainian Angels to see if we should to ahead and file with INS and make appointment for fingerprints since we do not know exactly when the home study will reach them. I will do that via email tonight.
We are now know at church as "the couple adopting from the Ukraine." We joined the church last March and it is not a huge church, but we do have two services and sometimes we know people by face, but not by name. We are excited to have our church family and friends praying for us.