Monday, November 26, 2012

Court Date!

                 What a day!  This afternoon I received a call that all of our documents have been received and approved by the judge and a court hearing is scheduled for December 17th!  This is such a blessing on so many levels...the first and most important being that we are even closer to seeing our little boy again, and ultimately closer to bringing him home!
                  In approving our documents the judge accepted all of our training, which was a huge answer to prayer, as the laws on parent training recently changed and we weren't sure if what we had done was enough!  In addition, now that we are heading to court before the new year, we will not have to re-do all of our court documents, many of which were set to expire in January!  Now the timeline is for us to head to court in a few weeks, and then return around January 17th to bring Levi home!  Those dates are not set in stone just yet, but that is the general idea.

                   On our third trip we will have to stop in Moscow for Levi's passport, visa etc. so the trip will be slightly different than our first two.  We would really need to know if the 30 day wait period was being waived in advance in order to prepare the documents needed for that, as well as for travel purposes.  Therefore I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that we will not be bringing him home with us on this trip.....I'm still clinging to that .00000001% chance that something may change, but just knowing that we are heading there soon is a huge blessing!

                   Once again this all seems so surreal!  It's crazy to think back to last year at this time when I was debating whether or not to even tell people what I felt God was calling us to do, out of fear that it may actually be true.  I'm not sure why we tend to be so afraid of the unknown, but this has been the most amazing journey.  I'm not sure if I can accurately explain this, but all of the joy and excitement we are experiencing seems so undeserved when I consider that we are just doing one thing that God has commanded us to do.....we are called to care for the's a command, not a suggestion....and yet as we do what God commands of us anyway, WE are blessed.  Time and time again I find that as I truly follow Him, I am the one who feels blessed beyond measure.

                    Three weeks from today we'll be heading back to Krasnodar and making this official!

First Steps...

          I realize that this may come across as rather confusing as I have been unable to post the blogs with all of the details about Levi, but just know that this little piece of information that we just received is a miracle........

                                               Levi is walking!!!!!!
          Just to receive any word on how he is doing is extremely unexpected and rare....but to read those words blew me away.  He is one determined little boy and I so wish I could be there to see him show that nothing is going to stand in his way.     
          I am overwhelmed by all of the implications of this one update as well.......He needs some help and support in making this possible, so this also implies that the caretakers are taking the time to work with him and help him....he is getting the attention he so needs.  It also demonstrates his spirit.....we saw glimpses of this during our time with him, which we labeled as his "stubborness" at the time....but it is such a spirit of determination, of pushing forward and wanting to experience life.  This is a milestone that most babies his age have recently made.....the fact that he too is reaching such a milestone with all that is holding him back.....leaves me speechless.  I want to be there to cheer him on, to clap and make the biggest deal out of each step!
           I pray that he will never lose his spirit, and that even as he has setbacks that will temporarily keep him from walking in the near future, that this will not discourage him.  He is so precious....we are SO blessed!!!!!!!!!   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holding Out Hope

         As we head into the end of November, I had assumed it was now fairly unlikely that we would be able to travel for court in December as originally suggested to us.  We have been waiting, without word, for some type of update since we returned from our first trip.  Finally, this evening we have been updated.....although all of our documents are there and waiting, there is a release letter that is required to be sent from Moscow to our region, that has yet to arrive.  We were warned that this often takes quite a while, but our facilitator is hopeful that it will arrive by December 1st.  If this is the case, she also feels fairly confident that we will still be able to go to court in December.
         Just the fact that there is still hope is a huge relief to me.  We've been advised to go ahead and order our visas for December through March as this should cover our next two trips, even if the court date does not happen until January.  We would so appreciate your prayers that we be able to go back in December....not only to bring Levi home sooner, but also because if we are unable to go until January, many of our documents will have to be re-done, re-notarized and re-apostilled. 
           I do realize that this may be what I want and see as best, but God may have other plans.  But I know that we at least have to ask!  So while we're/you're at it, maybe you'll want to join me in praying for an even greater miracle.... : )  ........We've been told that the judge has already said he/she would not waive the 30 day wait period for the adoption to be finalized.  This is why we would have to return in January to bring Levi home.  The only time the wait period has ever been waived is for extreme medical conditions, and Levi's condition (thankfully) is not considered an emergency.  Maybe I'm just being foolish, but I have been praying that somehow our 30 day wait period would be waived and Levi would be able to return home with us on our second trip!  There are so many reasons why, in my opinion, this would be best (not all of them are for my selfish reason of just wanting him home!!).......but again, God is in control and knows best.....He's knows/sees all of the things that I could not possibly be aware of, and I'm ultimately grateful that this will all play out according to His perfect will.  But until we know what that is, please join me in praying for what may seem like the impossible, but is more than possible with God!
           I know I've said this a million times, and I'll say it a million times more....thank you, thank you, thank you and thank you for being on this journey with us and for all of your prayers!!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Russian Nesting Doll Ornaments

                 A while back I mentioned these ornaments, but now that the holidays are approaching we are starting to sell them!  Each summer we attend a camp with our youth group.  Some of the students at the camp choose to take part in an Arts and Crafts track time for 3 days out of the week.  This year, as one of the crafts, the students made these Russian Nesting Doll ornaments as a way to help our family raise money for the adoption.  It was such a blessing that these teenagers would take time out of their day to make these.  They are all different, but each has a picture of a traditional russian nesting doll attached so you are able to see where the design comes from, with a small message on the back.  We are suggesting a $2.00 donation per ornament.  We have tried to avoid fundraising that asks anyone to buy something or give money and were very blessed with all of the donations people gave towards our yard sales etc.  Many have also, willingly and generously (that seems like an understatment!), given monetary donations, and we are forever grateful to all of you!  This will likely be our last attempt at raising money as we feel we are almost at the point where we will have enough.  I will try to keep a bag of the ornaments on me, but feel free to request that I mail them to you, or put some aside if I may not see you in the near future.  Some friends and family who are not local have asked to use paypal and that's great too.....the link on our page to "donate" is available for those who prefer it.  Please don't feel ANY obligation whatsoever to buy one!  You have all supported us tremendously throughout this journey in so many different ways and we so appreciate it!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Time For Everything

        The other night we, as a family, were playing in Caleb's "big boy room."  Before long it was bedtime, and Caleb lay down on the bed and requested to sleep there.  Assuming he was likely just trying to buy more play time and avoid going to sleep, I played along.  Much to my surprise he eagerly settled into bed, we read a story, prayed and said goodnight.  For those who aren't aware, Caleb was deeply attached to his crib....many mornings I would go to get him and he would say "no!" and ask to stay and play in his crib.  I had assumed that the transition would be forced, and at the last possible time before Levi comes home.  The point is, the now empty nursery is screaming for a baby to occupy it.  It has somehow amplified my desire for Levi to come home......

        It's been a little while since I've posted on here....mainly because there are really no updates.  Its been over a month since we returned from meeting Levi and we haven't heard much.  I'll be honest, I've started to lose hope of possibly going to court in December, and have started considering that Levi may not come home until February or even later.  It's been a challenge to feel so helpless, while feeling such a sense of urgency that this little boy needs to come home! 

        Last night I was really having a hard time....whenever I start to feel bad for myself, or about something, God always seems to remind me to look at things from His perspective...or compares my situation to His.  Obviously I believe that Levi would be better off here....I've tried to do everything as quickly as possible in order to keep things moving along.  We've done everything that's been asked of us and are just waiting.  It just seems crazy!  I started to hear Jesus reminding me....."I gave my life...I did everything my Father asked of me....I took your place, I paid for your sins...I took everyone's place.....and still I wait for them to come to me."  I love my sons more than I ever could have imagined loving anyone.  There's just nothing like the love for your child, and you can't understand it until you are a parent.  I can't even fathom the love that God has for us, his children.  I can't imagine having given my life and still having my children reject me....or purposefully waiting to come to me.  My longing for Levi to be home with his family is probably not even a fraction of the longing God has for His children to come to Him, and the pain He must feel as we turn away.  If I have to feel this for a few months of my life, and it gives me a deeper glimpse into the love God has for can I complain or feel sorry for myself? 

       There is a time for everything....right now is my time to learn a little more, to draw closer to God and to wait for my son to come home.  I pray I won't forget that this was God's idea from the beginning...His perfect plan to reveal in His perfect time.....I long for that perfect time, but I'm so thankful for the journey and for all that He is teaching me along the way.