Friday, January 30, 2009

A Step Forward

I am excited to say that we just found out that our preliminary court is set for Feb 12. It feels good to have an actual date set. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long afterward to be assigned an adoption hearing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Year Ago Today

Wow, it is hard to believe that it has been a year since we met Caleb!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not the News We Wanted but . . .

We got word from our facilitator this morning. Apparently she has answered all of our emails but for some reason we weren't receiving her replies. We were afraid that might be the case because there were some days we didn't received ANY mail at all. She said the court hasn't had the hearing yet (the preliminary hearing prior to the actual adoption court) Instead, today she received a written request from the court requesting extra copies of our dossier. Her husband will take care of these tomorrow. I get the feeling our judge is proceeding very carefully and cautiously, probably since (s)he has not handled an international adoption case before.

Of course, we want everything done right . . . but FAST!! :) :) :)

I am really missing Steven. I can't imagine what is going on in his little head right now. Maybe "these people named Mama and Daddy were visiting me, hugging me, holding me, playing with me, giving me stuff and now where are they?" Of course, I don't imagine he's putting his feelings into words but I would think it would be very confusing to him. I don't want him to lose any trust he was beginning to build in us. I wonder if he's acting sad or even angry? Or worse, what if he just puts us out of his mind?

Please pray for our facilitators, for the judge, for Steven, for us, for our finances. Please pray for our baby-sitter who is also just 'hanging' along with us, not knowing when we will need her. Please pray that we'll at least be there by Steven's birthday in early March.

And a totally non-related but very important reason we need to get back there is I don't think we can claim Caleb on our income taxes until he has a U.S. social security number and we can't get that until we have a birth certificate and we can't get that until we are back in Ukraine. I would really like to get our taxes filed as early as possible because you all might guess we could definitely deal with a tax refund any time now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Good Laugh on a Gray Day

Someone sent us the following link about 'romantic country love songs' and our whole family thinks the short video clip is hysterical.

Friday, January 23, 2009


We have heard nothing further AT ALL about our adoption of Steven. And you all know what a patient waiter I am not :(

Interestingly enough, a year ago on this date we were en route to Kiev for our SDA appointment on Jan 25 for a certain little boy whom we now call Caleb.

The "Real Story"

Wow! It turned out the email version of Kurt Warner's story had several inaccuracies but as the Snopes site points out (thanks, Shelley) the reality is even better than the partially fictional account copied in yesterday's post. Please check out for the real story.

I'm kind of embarrassed that I printed the email here before finding out how to check it out for myself. However, I am still impressed with Mr. Warner and his sincere love for the Lord and for his family, including an adopted son with disabilities (though not Down syndrome.) I want to share this story with my sons as a real-life example of a modern day football 'hero' who plays well and hard, who lives well, and who--win or lose--consistently gives all the glory to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Super Bowl Quarterback, Adoption and Down Syndrome

Now how often can you get all three of those combined into one story? Yesterday we received this article about a guy whom my husband regards highly. I really don't know how to verify it, but it's definitely a heart-warming tale:

Kurtis The Stock Boy & Brenda The Checkout Girl.
In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.
Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card and punched out, then left. He looked at her card, BRENDA. He walked out only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible.
He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, let's take the kids with us."
She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair. He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.
Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary - - - he had a different mindset.
That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.
A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added two more kids. (Another part of the article mentioned 7 children)
So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals . . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Little Bit of News/ Sanctity of Life

Our facilitator told us this week that it's POSSIBLE we could have our adoption hearing the first or second week of February!! She's hoping to be able to let us know more certainly this next week when her husband represents us in a preliminary court procedure.

I do consider it a privilege that we are the first ones to do an international adoption in this particular orphanage and court. Please pray that God will help us to present ourselves well and to speak up for these little ones whose voices perhaps have not been adequately heard.

January is sanctity of life month. This year I'm not speaking at church--they've heard my speeches, they've seen my posters, they've felt my passion. I really don't have anything more to say right now. This year I'm DOING sanctity of life. I hope I'm showing my kids by example that all children matter, that vulnerable kids of all abilities are so valuable to Jesus that He would send us almost half way around the world at considerable financial and emotional expense to bring one more little guy with Down syndrome to our home. Not because WE are special but because Steven is special. Not because our decision may always be popular nor the results of our decision easy but because it is right to do right. Jesus said, Let the children come unto me and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Scott and Kathy Rosenow

Scott and Kathy Rosenow of The Shepherds Crook are a devoted Christian couple who have chosen to follow God in extra ordinary ways. As parents of 4 home-made children and 13 chosen children from around the world, they have lots of experience with hearing God's voice in regards to adopting children with special needs. They are two of my modern day heroes, though I have never had the opportunity to meet them in person.

Today I received an email from them with an urgent request for a little boy from Liberia with hydrocephalus who desperately needs a family. PLEASE pray for this little one.

Included was a copy of Kathryn's Story which really blessed me and I hope it will you as well. I got Kathy's permission to copy it here.

Kathryn’s Story
In August 2004, Scott and I traveled to China to adopt our twelfth child, Caelyn. After we had been home for about four days, we got an email from one of our staff volunteers who was in Guatemala at the time. She told us that she knew this was terrible timing since we had just returned from China with a new child who has significant special needs, but she felt strongly that God had placed it on her heart to contact us and she just couldn’t ignore this prompting any longer.
She told us that there was a three-month-old baby girl there who had been diagnosed with microcephaly and severe developmental delays. Six Christian families had considered adopting this child, but each had backed out one by one. Then she told us that she had been given just a few more days to find a family for her. If she wasn’t able to do that, this little girl would be declared unadoptable and probably spend the rest of her life in an institution for the mentally retarded.
As our volunteer rocked this helpless and unresponsive baby, she prayed that God would move someone’s heart to make this child their daughter, and over and over again, our names came to her mind.
After she emailed us, we agreed to pray about it, and the orphanage sent us a CT scan of this baby’s head. We had a couple of neurosurgeons, and several other doctors, take a look at this film. The prognosis was the same from everyone who saw her film—this was a baby who had been born missing parts of her brain, a child who would probably never respond to anyone or even recognize her own parents or interact or be able to return love in any way. Then we got a medical report from Guatemala that said she also seemed to be deaf and blind.
Our whole family was scared to death to move forward with even considering the adoption of this little girl. In spite of his fear, though, Scott was ready to obey God. I, on the other hand, was just so terrified that I obstinately refused to even open my heart to any leading from God in this area. One night, I’m ashamed to say, I even stated aloud to Scott and our older kids that I absolutely would not agree to adopt this child under any circumstances. After a shocked silence from all of them, I went to bed and spent the night crying and wrestling with God in my sin and misery. Finally about 4:00 a.m. I got up to pray. Pouring my fears out to God, I confessed the sinfulness of my heart, surrendered my will to His, and told Him that I would obey Him if it was His plan to bring this child to us, but that I would need so much more from Him than I had ever needed up to that point. By the next evening, Scott and I both knew that God was indeed asking us to move forward with adopting this little girl.
In faith, we chose the name Kathryn Felicity for this baby. The name means “pure joy,” and we asked God to work in her life to make her joyful and to bring joy to others through her in spite of the bleak picture others had given to us about her abilities.
God graciously provided all of the money needed to cover the cost of her adoption, and He moved her process through smoothly and quickly, so that four months later, Scott and I were in Guatemala to meet and bring home this new little daughter.
When we brought her to our hotel room, she was like a little body with no one inside at all—she was like an empty shell. She stared into space and wouldn’t respond to any sound, no matter how sudden or how loud. She did indeed appear to be deaf and possibly blind, just as we had been told. I started to cry, placed her in Scott’s arms, and went into the bathroom where I sat on the floor and cried while I begged God to help me know how to love a child who would never be able to love me back. I just kept saying, “God, I’m so scared. This is too big. I can’t do this.” Over and over again, the chorus to the song “The Voice of Truth” went through my head. I clung to the words,
“The voice of truth tells me a different story, The voice of truth says, ‘Do not be afraid.’ The voice of truth says ‘This is for My glory.’ Out of all of the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.”
I had to make a choice on that hotel bathroom floor to listen to what I knew God was calling me to do, regardless of what the future held, because I knew that this was for His glory. It wasn’t about me or my comfort or pleasure. I found tremendous peace and courage in remembering that it was God who had brought us to that hotel in Guatemala, and that He was the One who had placed that brain-damaged baby in our arms as our child. That knowledge gave me enough courage and strength to start that first day with little Kathryn Felicity.
When we bring a new child into our family, we always choose a song to be that child’s special song, and when I came back out into the hotel room, Scott was singing Kathryn’s special song to her. Whether she could hear him or even know that he was there with her, Kathryn’s daddy was singing to her. By the end of that first afternoon, Kathryn had made very brief eye contact with us. We kept singing to her, and by the next day, she had smiled at us. Music and love continued to unlock the world where Kathryn had locked herself safely away, and she rapidly became the brightest little light that God had ever brought into the life of the Rosenows.
Even though her hearing has turned out to be normal, and she isn’t blind, she is somewhat visually impaired and she definitely suffers from brain damage that we have been told may have been caused by an attempted abortion. But God spared her life. He has a part for her to play in His plans for this world.
She is four and a half years old now and finally learned to crawl just this past Christmas. She may not ever walk, though; she has cerebral palsy. She is beginning to talk to us—sometimes even four to six words at a time. She knows every member of her family and loves them and calls them by name as she orders them to “come here” or “sit down.” She crawls through the house trying to keep her two-year-old brother and sister out of trouble and trying to tattle on them when they get into mischief. And her smiles and giggles fill our home with amazing joy. We cannot even imagine our life without all that she has brought into it. The pictures below show the striking difference between the Kathryn we first met in Guatemala and the Kathryn of today.
Rarely does a day pass when I don’t think to myself, “I almost missed this because I was too afraid to go where God told me to go.” And even when I was so obstinate and sinful in my fear, He chose to bless me with this beautiful gift anyway. He didn’t need me to fulfill His plans for Kathryn’s life. He could’ve accomplished these plans without me—in any way He liked. But He brought her to me. What a merciful Father we serve.
We can’t always know how things will turn out when God calls us to step out in faith, but we can know that we will never have peace or be content if we refuse to obey Him. And He will bring joy and peace into our lives when we do obey, and this joy can sometimes come from very surprising circumstances.

Isn't this a great story? I'm sorry I couldn't get the before and after pictures of their beautiful daughter to print--the difference that love makes is unbelievable. I hope that this will encourage anyone reading it to go ahead and do what God has called them to do.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We are still in the waiting mode as far as our current adoption goes. We think maybe this next week a judge will be assigned to our case and I hope we will find out our court date as well. That would help so much in knowing how to plan for our next venture overseas.

I have really tried to be low-key about fund-raising for this adoption. I totally realize that our economy is tough, that we all just finished Christmas shopping AND that so many of you are raising money for your own adoptions. But just in case someone out there in blogland wants to know, we do have an account at In addition to the blessing of knowing that you have helped to give a child a family of their own, there's also the benefit of knowing that all monies donated to our adoption through the charitable organization Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible in the United States. I would also very much appreciate your prayers for Steven, for a court date in the near future, and for the rest of our family as we are again planning to be away from them for an extended period of time.

Thanks to each of you who has supported us in any way.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Finally! I got the pictures of our trip loaded onto the computer. I feel like I deserve some kind of national prize for this major achievement :) We're talking I got the back off the phone all by myself, got the tiny little memory thingy out of the phone and even found the device manager on my computer to help me trouble-shoot the problem with my USB device. No, a national award would be much too inadequate for this amazing feat of technological skill--this is definitely the stuff of international acclaim :):)

My plan is to go back through the blog and edit the posts by putting the pictures in where they actually go. But because you've been so patient, I'll go ahead and post a few here, too.
Well, I see that the pictures loaded in the opposite order. Oh well! The 3rd one is actually the first picture we took of Steven. You can see a few of the other kiddos in the background. The top two are taken the day Kevin was playing car with him in the hallway.
I sure miss this little guy though I am so glad to be with the rest of our family.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

We are fine

We've had people calling us to make sure we got home safely. Thanks for your concern but I'm sorry to worry everyone.

We got up about 2:45 am on Dec 31 to be ready for our driver at 4:00. Silly me, I'd forgotten we had untouched ice cream in the freezer so decided I'd better have some for breakfast. They had the yummiest, creamiest, smoothest ice cream there in Ukraine. So Kevin scooped me up a bowlful. Unfortunately (1) ice cream (2) very early in the morning (3) on an empty tummy that had already been rather unsettled a couple of days did not turn out to be a particularly wise choice. I was thankful for the round pink tablets marked with a P-B!

As you might imagine traffic was extremely light on our ride to Kiev-Borispol airport. Our driver Nikolai helped us in with our bags and got us in the right waiting line for Ukrainian Airlines. We waited there until everyone in front of us proceeded to the check-in desk. Unfortunately, they were only checking in the Paris-bound passengers so we had to stand to the side briefly until other agents opened up the desks for Amsterdam. We went through the usual passport control and security checks--they even checked the bottom of Kevin's stocking-feet at one place--I guess to see whether he had blades hidden in there. While waiting for our flight to be called, we visited with another adoptive couple from the States who were traveling with their 3 children and were returning home for the 10 day wait after court.

On our flight we visited with another lady from the States. She and her husband were returning home after completing the adoption of their new daughter from Ukraine. What a great visit that was--we found out we've been following some of the same adoption blogs, she works for UPS like Kevin does, she and her husband are very active in providing aid to orphans through a non-profit organization. That flight went fast.

The flight to Minneapolis did NOT go fast :) I was so tired though that I did sleep in spite of the fact that we had daylight all the way. It seems when you've sat all the longer you think you possibly can stand that you check the time and see that you have at least 3 or 4 more hours to go. Being able to watch movies on my personal screen made that last part bearable for me. Kevin and I watched Meet The Robinsons and Cheaper By the Dozen.

Of course, with Minneapolis being our point of entry, there's passport control, picking up all of your suitcases, going through customs, being questioned about agricultural products (the sniffer dog picked up the lingering scent of the jerky we'd quickly eaten during the end of our flight--otherwise it would have been confiscated), re-checking bags, going through another security check and finally into the main airport. It was fun to recall doing all of that with Caleb in February. After a much-appreciated freshening-up I took the opportunity to call our kids and chat at length and then my parents--so great to be able to talk again.

We ate at the Subway there in the airport which was a good thing because no complimentary meal was served on the way to Boise. I snoozed quite a bit on that flight as well. Praise the Lord, we had clear runways in spite of the very wintry weather that has been coming through the US. Kevin's sister and nephew, Pauline and Brandon, met us at the airport with our van and a full tank of gas. We couldn't chat long because we were planning to meet our kids before the stroke of midnight. Kevin got Mountain Dew and sunflowers in the shell to help keep him awake and we headed for home. (We did the drive through at Jack in the Box, too) We stopped at the church first and sure enough, Mom was there at the New Year's Eve party with our 3 oldest. Those welcome home hugs are great. Then on home where Daddy was staying with J and Caleb. More hugs, more excitement, more chatting. Neither Mom or Dad were feeling that great so they headed on home. I finally landed in bed about 1:30 am which--remembering the time difference--was 31 1/2 hours since I'd gotten up in Kiev.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers. Thanks to everyone who helped in any way at all with caring for our children. And thanks to God for his unspeakable Gift--Jesus Christ. Without you and you and you and YOU we would not be adopting again.