Monday, August 17, 2009

We've Arrived Home

After over 30 hours of travel we arrived home safe and sound. It was an incredible week that has stretch us and tested our faith beyond anything we could have imagined. We remain confidant in the knowledge that we have had an experience that is only a small part of a huge picture that we may never understand. Yes, we are hurting and praying for Galina and Tanya. We know that our lives will continue and be blessed but as we turn these two children over to our God we wonder what their lives will be like in the future. Mark has prayed this entire journey that if this journey that we were on wasn't going to bless our family then he wanted God to stop it. It has been stoppped with both of us knowing that it was God's plan. Our oldest son Gabe told me he thinks that maybe God allowed us to go and spend time with the girls so that I would be allowed closure. I know in my heart that it was necessary for me to see Galina and hear her declare that she didn't want to be a part of our family for me to believe the truth. We have been so blessed by so many of you who have walked with us and at times held us up. We have established life long friendships through our adoption journey. We had the opportunity to meet and hold our Kazakhstan granddaughter, Simbat, and spend time with her mother Madina between our flights home. It's time to put this journey behind us and move forward and hold fast to the knowledge that we have gained.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We Are Coming Home

We want to thank you all for your support and prayers. We did as many of you suggested today and what Mark and I also felt was something that we needed to do to make sure that we were fulfilling God's plan for our family. We talked to our in country coordinator and agreed to meet other children that were available for adoption. We met 4 children ages 4-7. We knew as soon as we met each child that they were not meant to be ours. We did meet a 7 year old boy on the playground that we both felt could be our son. We inquired about him and late this afternoon we were told that he has 3 siblings and it would be complicated to adopt him. We have prayed and prayed and prayed about our situation and we feel we have done everything that we could/should do in this journey. We are so blessed to have so many family and friends that have been so supportive both here (Ault's and Howell's) and back home. Our kids have been amazing!!! We have purchased our tickets home and will be arriving in Chicago late Sunday afternoon. We will be spending tomorrow with Madina(our exchange student daughter from 2001) and her new daughter in Almaty. It's time to close this chapter in our lives and move on to being Cash's Grandpa and Grandma!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Very Sad News

It is very difficult to write this and we don't even know what to say. We were called to go to the orphanage early today for our bonding time. When we arrived our in country coordinator was there with 2 social workers. They had been talking to Galina for over an hour. Galina has refused to become part of our family. We did have the opportunity to talk to Galina and Tanya. Galina was very definite in her decision. She wouldn't even make eye contact with us. Tanya said that if Galina wasn't going she was afraid to go and seemed relieved. Our hearts are broken and we are wondering God's plan in all of this. Please pray for our family.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hello Out There

OK, if anyone's reading our blog we would sure like to know. We check it every morning for comments. Only 1 comment today. Have we already been forgotten? Please let us know that you've been here!!!

Eating Out

Mark and I went to the bazaar this afternoon and went to a small restaurant off of the meat market. The people in the restaurant couldn't speak English and the menu was in Russian so the man brought out different things that he thought we would like. We had a bowl of noodles with broth, meat?, green peppers and onions. It was very tasty. The one thing we knew that we ate was palmani. The other families that are here are going to wait and see if we get sick to see if it's a place they should eat. LOL!

Day Three Bonding

Today we started doing our bonding for 3 hours instead of splitting it up into 2 sessions. We arrived at the orphanage at 10a.m. and were met by the orphanage director. She came special just to meet us because there are no children there right now. She told us Tanya's history and gave us the chance to ask questions. Galina came in the room first and was crying. Apparently, Tanya was picking on her. She came over and sat on my lap for hugs. I had made arrangements for Lacey to call so Galina got to talk to Lacey. This brought a smile to her face right away. Mark is learning more and more Russian. I think he might be learning more Russian than the girls are learning English. We asked permission to go for a walk and actually went to a magazine (store) and got some pastries, juice, chips and chocolate. We took a blanket and went and sat by the river. We gave the girls dry erase boards and started teaching them some basic English words. After about an hour they got bored with us and we went and walked down by the river. Mark tried to teach them how to skip rocks and also juggle with rocks. We then returned to the orphanage and Alma was there waiting for us. Galina started crying again and said she wants to go home and to see her boyfriend. Alma is concerned about Galina and thinks she's going to be rebellious. She asked me whether we think that she is going to agree to come with us. We are hoping and praying that she will. Alma said that she is filing papers today for us to adopt the girls. I am going to have a talk with Galina tomorrow to make sure that she understands what is happening and that she is agreeable.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day Two Bonding

It was quite a day. We went to the orphanage at 10:30a.m. Tanya was crying ALOT. She wasn't even able to answer any questions or talk. We finally asked her to show us around the orphanage and she started to feel better. As we were going to her classroom Galina arrived. She immediately started crying and came over and hugged us. We talked for a few minutes and then finished having Tanya show us around. Galina came over and grabbed my hand as we were walking. We went back to the room we had been meeting Tanya in. Galina started crying really hard then. The director of her orphanage brought her and she went over to her and cried and cried. After about 15 minutes of her being really upset they told us that Galina didn't want to be adopted. The director of her orphanage told her that if that was still her decision after 10 days she would come back and get her. There was much discussion for the next several minutes and then it was time for us to leave. Our in country coordinator pulled us aside as we were leaving and told us that she was going to give Galina 5 days to make a decision and she was going to talk to her about the seriousness of it tomorrow. She told us that if she decided not to be adopted she wanted us to think about adopting another child. Neither of us was very upset because we thought she might have problems thinking we had abandoned her all these years. We went back in the afternoon for another visit and arrived to two smiling girls. They talked about many things. Galina remembers everything about being at our house. She had all of the photos and the backpack that we had given her. She could remember everyone's names. She told us that she lives in a group home instead of the main orphanage because she is such a good girl. She writes poetry and has had some published. We didn't ask her during this visit if she had changed her mind but our translator told us that she has. We aren't going to pressure her at this point and just try to have some fun with the girls. I took our laptop and went through all of the pictures and they really liked doing that. Galina had also been brought from summer camp. She told us she had a boyfriend there and he didn't want her to leave. Galina is just as we remembered her. Please pray for all of us that we keep our focus on God's plan for our family.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day One Bonding

We arrived in Ust Kamenogorsk at 2 this afternoon, were taken to the hotel and then went to meet Tanya. Galina will be brought from her orphanage tomorrow to Tanya's orphanage for our bonding. Our impression of Tanya is very good. She is a very gracious young girl. She is shy but made eye contact and answered our many questions. She came over and sat between us and at one point started crying when the social worker was explaining to her what being adopted entailed. For her this is a last hope for a family and a chance in life. The social worker asked Mark and I many questions about why we wanted older children, if we were scared and how our grown children felt about it. After Mark answered these questions she said that if we were OK with it then they were too.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Today's the Day

Wow, what a week!!! First I want to thank everyone for their prayers and calls of encouragement. We are 11 hours away from takeoff and less than 72 hours from seeing Tanya and Galina. We received our passports with visas by special courier last night at about 8:30p.m. We also celebrated Mark's birthday last night since today with all the last minute details he might be forgotten. Everything's packed thanks to Beth's experienced hand. We have 4 pieces of luggage all weighing close to the max. Brent and Beth will take us to the airport and drop us on the curb. They want our truck for the month. LOL! We are looking forward to meeting Mike, Vonda and Luke at McDonald's in Frankfurt. We became blog friends back in February and soon discovered that we were moving along step by step together. We prayed that we would travel together and God has answered our prayers!! We will also meet another family that has been in Ust for 2 weeks already. Several months ago we all dreamed of sharing a pizza together at Pizza Blues. As we tried to work out all the details God already had it done.

Prayer Requests:
1. Safe travel.
2. Protection for our kids left back in the states. Lacey and Nichol will be moving into new apartments while we're gone. Gabe, Christine and Cash will be coming to Michigan for a wedding.
3. Discernment when we meet the girls and God's peace that passes all understanding that they are meant them for our family.
4. That Tanya and Galina will know that they will be loved and cared for.
5. Anything else you can think of because at this point we are beyond words that God has blessed us with this opportunity!

I probably won't post again until after we meet the girls. We are hoping it will be Monday when we arrive in Ust. Ust is 10 hours ahead of Michigan. Look for an update when you get up on Tuesday morning.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Off and running!!!

I called in the troups. Brent, Beth, Ty and Chelsea came to our house today to divide and conquer. Lacey, Beth and Chelsea went and got the last few gifts we needed. Me, Brent and Tyler went and got a laptop. Our flights have been purchased. We will leave from Detroit at 6p.m. on Saturday night then on to Frankfurt where we will meet up with our blog friends Mike, Vonda and Luke. From there we will all travel together to Almaty and arrive at 11:55p.m. on Sunday night. On Monday we will fly to Ust Kamenogorsk where we will meet our daughters. Our visas are being picked up tomorrow by Fedex same day delivery. They will board a commercial jet at Washington Dulles airport and be picked up at Detroit airport by a courier who will deliver them to our home around 10:30p.m. Friday night. It has been a day filled with joy, fear and excitement. We ended our day today with our small group having dinner at our home and great fun and fellowship.

We Have Been Given Faver!!

Just a quick note to everyone who has been praying for us. WE ARE going this Saturday, the 8th. The man at the embassy is expediting our visas. I will post more about soooo many answers to prayer that we have received over the past several days when I can calm down.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Office Closed Due to Vacation...AGAIN

Really truly I do not like drama but the past 24 hours has been full of it. Maybe, I should say, the last 6 years of our adoption journey. As I posted yesterday we received our LOI and were told that we would travel on August 15th. That changed today. We have been told that the judge in our region will be leaving on vacation on August 31st so that wouldn't allow time for our court hearing. We were first told that if we couldn't leave by this Saturday, August 8th, that we can't go until September 20th. Our visa application is en route right now to Assistant Stork and the embassy is closed tomorrow. The embassy no longer will expedite a visa. I asked what our options were and if we could travel on Monday or Tuesday if that would leave us enough time. We could be on that plane tomorrow if we just had our visas. AA told us that they will call Ust tonight and get a cut off date for us. In the meantime, AA told us to call Assistant Stork and ask them if it was possible for them to request our visa overnight. The man at Assistant Stork was wonderful. He had me print off our flight itinerary for August 8th which Eldo at Golden Rule Travel is able to hold for us until Friday. He then told me to write a pleading letter to the man at the embassy. He said it will depend on what kind of mood he is in whether he will grant us an expedited visa. Assistant Stork will let us know by Thursday at noon whether we will have our visas by our flight on Saturday. If not, we are hoping that we can still go the beginning of next week. So close! On the positive side all of our papers are in order and we will go... it's just a matter of Gods' time.

Monday, August 3, 2009


WE GOT IT!!!!!! I received a call this afternoon. We will be leaving on Saturday, August 15th to be in Ust Kamengorsk on the 17th. Two weeks from today we will be hugging our girls. PRAISE GOD!!!!! More details to follow.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


We've had an interesting week. Last Friday we received a call from an associate pastor at our church asking us for help. There is a teenage boy in our community that was adopted from Ukraine 6 years ago and has disrupted from his family. The principle at his school has been caring for him for the past 6 weeks and they are looking for a family for him. He immediately thought of us and called. Mark and I were very perplexed by this, asking God, why now when we are maybe a week or two away from going to get our girls would you put this on us. I met with 3 ladies on Thursday to talk about this child's situation. We brought it to our small group for prayer on Thursday evening. The tables have been turned to where Mark can't stop thinking about him and I am thinking... not an option. We've been talking and really praying about it and went our separate ways to do errands this a.m. and Mark just called me from his cell phone. He said he was driving and praying and God really spoke to him about this situation. He referred to Nehemiah 6:3 I'm doing a great work and I can not come down. We have a plaque as you enter our home that was made by Mark's best friend after studying Nehemiah in our small group and this is what the plaque says. We need to keep to the work that God has given us and not get distracted. When Mark shared this with me I got chills. Our adoption has been a HUGE walk of faith for Mark. Thank you Lord for speaking to Mark and him being open to listening to your voice!