Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beautiful Chaos- Part II

We arrived in Ukraine on November 27, 2013. We returned to America on January 15, 2014.

49 days. 7 weeks. That's a really, really long time. We were in Ukraine over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

When we started the process of adopting from Ukraine, we were told it could take anywhere from 5-8 weeks for the in-country portion of the adoption. I don't think it was possible at the time for me to comprehend what that amount of time would really feel like. Justin spent several years in the military and said this was similar to his 5 trips overseas with all the "hurry up and wait."

What did we do those 7 weeks? The short version: the first and last few days of our trip were busy with paperwork and appointments. The vast majority of our trip consisted of a daily one hour long visit to the orphanage. Each day we went on a walk around our neighborhood- some days these walks were miles and miles long. We tried a lot of the restaurants around our apartment building. And if I am being honest- I spent a lot of time looking at the calendar and counting down the days till we could go home with our girl.

We've now been home 5 weeks. Most days it feels like our time in Ukraine was ages ago. There aren't adequate words to describe how thankful we are for Nadiya and how dearly she is loved by our family.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Beautiful Chaos- Part I

The week before Thanksgiving we got the exciting news that we would most likely receive our travel dates on either the 28th (Thanksgiving) or the day after. I was betting we would be invited for our first appointment on 12/18. I was mentally prepared to have as little as one week's notice, but thought we would have anywhere from 2-3 weeks to make final preparations for our extended time overseas.

On Saturday, 11/23 we had a wonderful fundraiser- our final one! My aunt and uncle opened their beautiful home for an evening of dessert and silent auction fun! People were very generous and our matching grant was completed. We went home that night feeling blessed and excited. I was looking forward to a memorable week- Thanksgiving and THE phone call!

Monday morning the 25th I was feeding EJ her breakfast... At 8:30am my cell phone rang in the next room. My heart skipped a beat but as I ran to the phone I told myself, "Don't be silly- it wont be THE call- not for a few more days." Sure enough, it was! Nancy and I exchanged greetings and then she dropped the bombshell. "I have some shocking news. They want you to be there this Thursday. You have to leave tomorrow!"

Nancy laughed as I ran into our bedroom where Justin was still sleeping. "Wake up! You have to
wake up!" We had very little time to make a decision. Nancy explained that if we had to decline the appointment, which seemed reasonable given that we were in no way prepared to leave the next day, it would be a risk. We would delay our process for an unknown amount of time. The thought of saying no to meeting our new daughter the next week made me sick.

We promised to call Nancy back as soon as we could decide. We went over the "cons" of leaving the next day- biggest of which was getting the time off work approved for Justin. Ideally his employer wants 3 weeks notice... We figured they wouldn't be crazy about 24 hours. After a few minutes, Justin told me, "I'm sorry babe, I just don't think we can do it." My eyes welled up with tears but I agreed that whatever he decided was best.

We kept talking, praying, and calling our closest loved ones for advice and wisdom. Finally we made our decision. LET'S DO IT! And so the countdown began- 24 hours to shop, pack, purchase plane tickets, arrange things with the house-sitter, get things settled with J's work, cancel therapies and appointments, and figure out how to get the very large amount of cash we needed in hand for the trip. (Our Reece's Rainbow account money would take 2-3 days to transfer over, thus meaning we couldn't get it in time)

To be continued...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Odds and ends

I'm currently experiencing a very weird and heightened version of nesting. The combo of adding another child to our family, going out of the country for 6+ weeks, and trying to pull together cold weather gear for the lot of us means that I now have a 4 page long (and growing) to-do list.

Soon we will be setting up the second crib in EJ's room. I'm very curious as to how she is going to adjust to this new addition. We try to talk about "sissy" a lot and show her Nadiya's photo. She doesn't seem to have an issue with me holding other people's babies when we are visiting friends, but is *definitely* a momma's girl so I'm assuming there will be some growing pains ahead.

Here's to receiving travel dates very soon!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3, 2012

This is the story I've been wanting and waiting to write- our adoption story one year in the making.

Over the years I've occasionally felt the discomfort of comfort. Have you ever felt it?  A comfortable life with stable jobs and a house in a safe neighborhood. Friends, parties, hobbies and church on Sunday. Please hear me say that there is NOTHING wrong with any of those things... I do, however, believe these lovely things become a burden when we ignore what we *should* do because it doesn't seem easy or safe or convenient. 

Many times I prayed that the Lord would give us the courage to be obedient if and when He asked us to step out of our comfort zone- truly having no idea what that might look like.

November 3rd, 2012

I found myself browsing the Reece's Rainbow website. It wasn't the first time I'd looked at the precious children listed or thought about the overwhelming need with regard to adoption. Some time previously I had cried many hot tears while reading the story of Katie's adoption. I remember showing Justin pictures of her painfully thin body and sobbing- it was the first time I truly understood the tragedy of Eastern European orphanages. But, in order to cope and move on, I pushed it from my mind. That's always been my coping mechanism with difficult things. Distraction and denial work wonders when you are trying to forget something sad.

Back to the 3rd... As I sat on the floor of our den I very simply and clearly heard the Lord tell me that our family would adopt one of these children. And as crazy as this sounds... I didn't feel scared. (Ok, well maybe a little) It almost felt like I had been preparing for years for this exact moment... that this thing that made absolutely NO sense in the eyes of the world made 100% sense in light of who God is. 

I later approached Justin, fully expecting him to laugh me out of the room. Imagine my shock when he thoughtfully listened and agreed we needed to pray and consider this endeavor. God was clearly at work in both our hearts.

The next weekend our church observed Defending the Fatherless Sunday. Justin and I were so blessed by the wise words preached by Tim Columbe, a father of 4. You can watch or listen to Tim's sermon here. (And I really recommend that you do!) More and more, this adoption "thing" seemed like a real possibility for our family.

We continued to talk and pray and read and research. We very clearly felt God was asking us to adopt, but timing and money were scary obstacles. After 9 months and many, many hours of conversation and prayer- we started our homestudy and began the process to adopt a child with Down syndrome from Eastern Europe.

So here we are, one year later. Waiting to receive travel dates and daily longing for our child who is half a world away. It seems mind boggling when I consider the way our hearts have changed and grown in just one year.   

My prayer this evening is that we will always have the faith and obedience to say "Yes" to what God asks, no matter how scary or uncertain the task. 

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."
Matthew 6:19-21

Saturday, October 26, 2013


On Thursday, October 24th our dossier was formally submitted to the government in Nadiya's country. Now we wait for our travel dates! We expect to receive dates in December and travel in January.

We are praising God for His faithfulness throughout our process thus far. It feels good to be done with the "paper chase."

As we wait to travel we will continue with our fundraising and begin to gather things we will need for our trip. Visiting Eastern Europe in the middle of winter is going to be quite an adventure!

Please continue to pray for our soon-to-be daughter. We cannot wait to hold her in our arms! I am going to have 15 months worth of kisses to plant on her sweet face :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Paperwork update!

As of Thursday, our dossier is now in the hands of our in-country facilitation team! They will translate and notarize all the documents and then formally submit our dossier to the government. We will be notified when the dossier has been submitted and then the wait for travel dates begins!

If travel dates continue to be issued at the rate they have been for families recently, we would theoretically be invited to travel to Nadiya's country in mid to late December. There is a great likelihood, however, that due to the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays in EE, we will not be invited to travel until January.

Either way, it won't be long until we travel! I am beginning to put together lists of cold weather items that I need to start accumulating. Tonight I even searched for baby sized snow suits at our local consignment store :)

Please continue to pray for little Nadiya. Justin and I so yearn for the day we can hold her in our arms!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

T-Shirt Time!

Monday 11/11 Update:

I will be ordering the shirts this evening. They should be shipped to me in the next 2 weeks. Thanks to everyone who ordered. Personally, I can't wait to start wearing mine :)


Justin and I are super excited to roll out our next fundraiser! Money from every t-shirt purchase will go directly to our adoption fund. And seriously, these are some great looking shirts!

Keep reading for details on how to purchase your shirt.

As an extra incentive, the first 20 people to purchase a shirt will have the chance to win a $20 iTunes gift card! I will draw for a winner once we sell 20 shirts. 
Update: My dear friend Jenny was the winner of the gift card and insisted I keep it for another drawing. Let's keep this thing going :) The next 20 people to purchase a shirt will be entered to win the $20 iTunes card.
Sara G is the winner of the $20 iTunes card!

The Details:

Sizes Available: Adult XS-XXL

Shirt Cost: $20 (US shipping included for those who don't live near us)

How to purchase: Donate to our Reece's Rainbow FSP here. You can also write us a check or pay with cash if you prefer.

Send me an e-mail to let me know what size shirt you want! petersadopt13(at)gmail(dot)com

The last day to purchase shirts will be November 10th!