Friday, September 25, 2009

Good news in 3's

It's beautiful day here in Colorado, unlike the past few days we have experienced. Since Monday it has been overcast and rainy, with snow falling in the mountains. The front range is but 15 miles or so away and we have a good dusting on the peaks and especially Longs Peak, for which our town is named.

What makes the day even better is that I have good news...three pieces of good news, in fact!
  1. Heidi comes home tonight! Right now she is somewhere over the Atlantic.

  2. My Dad flies in tonight too and will be with us for two weeks!

  3. The Bahamian marriage certificates with apostiles arrived today!
So this completes our dossier, which is in the hands of our facilitator already. We were missing just this one document. I've forgotten how long ago we sent off for it, I think it was last month. What took it so long, do you think? Perhaps it's the pretty lace and gold embossed seal they put on it. All of our other documents are plain, black & white papers from Colorado, but these really stand out!

~ Felix ~

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No time to blog in Ukraine!

No time to blog - but having a great trip! Had lunch with the DeYoungs and McE's today. Please pray for the McE's second appointment! DeYoungs are headed to K-town tonight!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Felix talks to Galina

So, OK, my sweetie has been on a whirl-wind tour of Kherson & Kiev the past week and hasn't posted as much as she would like. That's alright. I'm sure she will catch us all up when she gets back, which will be Friday night around 10:30-ish MST.

I've skyped with Heidi and got to hear, not see R, Z & Vika this past weekend. They could not get skype to work correctly at the Bible House. They could see me, but could not hear me, so we spoke over the land line while I took them on a video tour of Internat Longmont. Heidi and I have talked three times over the phone and the reception has been crystal clear like she was in the next room, an oddity for Ukrainian telecommunications. Welcomed, but odd.

I called Heidi this morning as they were driving to the Boyarka orphanage where our kids lived. We talked for five minutes before they got close, then I told Heidi that I would call her later to see how the reunion went. About 20 minutes later as I climbed out of the shower, the phone rang. It was Heidi saying that she had someone who wanted to talk to me. I could hear champagne pouring in the background. It was Galina, the orphanage director, saying...

"Prevyet Felix, Kak de la? Felix, blah blah blah Kherson, blah, blah blah dee-yet-ty blah blah Diet-ski Dom Boyarka, blah blah blah!" (Of course, the blahs are something in Ukrainian and the rest is a phonetic sounding of Ukrainian words that I understood.) She was telling me that we don't need to adopt kids from Kherson, we need to adopt kids from her orphanage in Boyarka.

How sweet is she! If you have read my posts from our first adoption trip, you will remember that Galina is super-pro-adoption and will go out of her way to help you with the process, even letting you take the kids home after the first couple of days. In her words, "Children belong in a family, not in an orphanage or Ukrainian foster care."

Although pre-selection is a no-no, this doesn't stop Galina from asking us for families for her children. She does have some cuties there! Perhaps couples not finding the children they are seeking should go see her. Tell her, Felix sent ya. And don't forget the champagne, Galina likes her champagne!

~ Felix ~

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How Great is Our God?

Wow! It's been a whirlwind trip. Today is our second day in Kherson. The girls are great. Ochen happy. Getting to spend more time with them than ever before, so no time to blog!

Carol and I are doing well. Tatiana fussed over us and treated us like queens. Went to church this morning and recognized the music. Girls are spending the afternoon with us at the Bible House.

How great is our God!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Heidi In Ukraine

I've received a couple of phone calls from non-Facebook folks asking if Heidi made it OK to Ukraine. She and Carol did make it safe & sound to Kiev and then to Tatianna's home, Thursday evening in Ukraine. My clock tells me that Ukraine is 9 hours ahead of us, so it is Friday evening there now.

Sorry, I assumed everyone was following her on FB, too. Other than this post, I want to let Heidi tell her story there in Ukraine. But, she will not always be near an Internet provider and she will post as time and resources allow.

~ Felix ~

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Life is Good!

Yep, life is good! And it's been great since I decided a number of years back to put my faith and trust in Him. The power of prayer brought me and Heidi together, brought us children, and will bring Rimma & Zina home.
Life was good this past weekend, too. Since I will be Mr. Mom for 10 days starting tomorrow, I needed a relaxing fun day walking and talking with God...and catching his trout! A friend and I went up to Rocky Mountain National Park and hiked in to a secluded lake to spend a day fly-fishing, one of my favorite things to do. He blessed us with a beautiful day, lots of sunshine, and about 20 trout apiece. My hat says it all (Life is Good)!

I'm a little concerned about Heidi leaving tomorrow and traveling to the other side of the world. She will be gone 10 days, enough time for the house to burn down, for me to age 10 years, or to have each kid ask me a million times, "When is Mom going to be home?"! But, this is important and a commitment we made to R & Z two years ago.
Heidi will also be hand delivering our dossier, meeting the former camp kids, connecting with our Christian based support group and meeting with all of our friends over there in addition to seeing R & Z. Everyone has brought over letters and gifts to deliver to the kids from the camps. Our kids have written to their friends still at the Deitski Dom in Boyarka and there are letters from other adopted children to their friends at various orphanages, too. Carol P will be going with Heidi, she will be met at the airport by friends, she will be on the train with Julia (the same Julia that accompanied the kids this summer and works at CBN in Kiev), the AGAPE team will meet her in Kherson, and she will stay two blocks from the orphanage at the Bible House apartment. So she is in good hands and will be safe. Still, I wish I were going, too. I'd like to see the girls and meet our friends.
Hopefully, the time will pass swiftly for me. I will be busier than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs as I juggle 5 practices, 3 events, 8 homework nights, and two games in 10 days...and that's just the kids! I still have my Boot Camp program and Running Club, which I admit, may have to be put on hold. Pray for me as I take on 'Single-Parent-Dom' and raising three kids on my own. I lucky though, Heidi cooked a week's worth of meals and froze them, so it won't be too bad for me! Thanks, Honey! That being said, I shamelessly won't turn down an offer for dinner or baby-sitting from our friends, hint, hint, wink, wink!
Look for me and the kids at the FRUA picnic in Colorado Springs on Sunday. I'll be the one sleeping in the big brown van whilst my kids run amok with other kids that speak Russian & Ukrainian! Also, don't count on me blogging for the next 10 days, either. Please don't go away on us though. I bought Heidi a Netbook and hopefully she can blog about her trip to Ukraine. So, I'll defer to her and ask her to keep us up to date. Blessings...
~ Felix ~

Friday, September 11, 2009

We be on Island Time, Mon!

Getting married in our favorite place on earth those few years back seemed like a great idea at the time. We were married in the Bahamas! (Why is it ok to say The Bahamas, but not correct to say The Ukraine?) Sorry, I digress!

We really didn't run into problems with our marriage certificate until we started adopting kids. Getting an expedient apostilled copy of your marriage certificate from the Bahamian government takes as long as the in country process of adoption in Ukraine! Even when you pay the "expediting" fee and include a pre-paid Fed-Ex envelope.

Don't get me wrong! I love, Love, LOVE the people and country of The Bahamas! In fact, we are going to retire there someday! In 2006, I tried to buy a house there, but decided against it...not wanting to rent it out 11 months of the year to have it pay for itself. I like the slow, melow lifestyle that is Hopetown, Abacos, Bahamas...when I'm on vacation. Official transactions, however, go at a snail's pace and can completely unnerve you! The officail slogan of the country should be, "No worry mon, evv-ree ting be ahh-rite".

So it is with great fortitude and patience that we wait on THE LAST DOCUMENT for our dossier. Heidi flies out to The Ukraine (hee-hee) next week and possibly without it. No doubt that we will have to mail it to Oleg later.

Last month my sweetie asked me if we could get remarried in Colorado just for 'paperwork' sake. That would be a great idea, if only Colorado didn't take 6 months to officially file your marriage license, we found out. Wish we would have thought of that one earlier. Oh well, "evv-ree ting be ahh-rite, Felix"!

~ Felix ~

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Girls handed over

Whew, WWIII avoided! However, what has this done for future hosting programs? Frontier Horizon, UOO? Let's hope the Ukrainian government doesn't go berserk over this.

I wish that I had written this on the previous post, I did understand what the man was feeling. That's how i felt the day i put R & Z on the plane back to Ukraine. What was their future, who would tuck them in at night, who would love them as we have? Starting an international incident & ignoring the law isn't the answer!

I hope he gets the girls...legally! Perhaps our experience could educate the man...e-mail me, Larry. Lost causes aren't hopeless when God is involved!

~ Felix ~

International Incident

I deleted my last post. I was angry and I shouldn't write when I'm angry. I'm sorry, I want to lead a Christian life and this blog is meant for encouragement, love and compassion among other things. I believe in the power of prayer so it is that which we will do in this matter.

The actions of this man in Florida are putting the future of hosting trips and adoptions at risk. This is all the ammunition the nay-sayers in Ukraine need to push a moratorium through. No more adoption, no more Frontier Horizon and Ukraine Orphan Outreach (UOO), no R & Z with our family. This is what I was upset about. Pray with us!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Golden Ticket

The 171h arrived in the mail yesterday. I opened the letter with the USCIS return address like little Charlie opening the Wonka Bar he purchased with his last dollar. Inside was our Golden Ticket. The big prize!

Most PAPs (prospective adoptive parents) understand the importance of this document. It's a biggie! If you don't remember, I'll fill you in. This document is actually just a letter telling you that you have been approved for the terms you requested in your home study. In our case, up to three kids ages 8-16. The embassy in the country for which you are adopting gets a cable informing them that you are approved for adoption there. This letter is the culmination of all your hard work stateside; the home study, the social worker visits, the fingerprinting, the background checks, the child rearing classes, the peering into your life with a magnifying glass by outsiders. A USCIS officer looks at all your information and letters of recommendation before rendering his or her verdict. For the second time, we received a favorable review and have been granted our 171h.

It is this 171h that allows you to get an immigration visa in your adoptive children's passport and, in turn, allows them to become US citizens the moment they land on US soil. It's your Golden Ticket that gets your children to Wonkaland!

~ Felix ~

Friday, September 4, 2009

The "Glory Week" revisited

Being that we were fully immersed in the feelings of euphoria with this week’s news, we forgot to tell you of a few other pieces of information. Sorry about that! We have been smiling from ear to ear all week and everyone at work keeps asking me ‘what are you so darn happy about?’! So here are a few more tidbits about the “glory week” as it has come to be known.

1.) We received word through our stateside adoption agency that our I-171h has been approved and should be in the mail any day now. A small piece of information was needed by the approving officer and our agency supplied it for them. So, the “Golden Ticket” is completed.

2.) Heidi and Carol P. bought their plane tickets to travel to Ukraine from September 16th to the 25th. I don’t recall mentioning this to you, so I’ll fill you in. We made a commitment to not only adopt Z & R, but to also visit them at least once a year until they are home. We used to go to the Bahamas or to the USVI every year. Heidi and I jokingly stated when we put the girls back on the plane in 2007 that our vacations will now be in Ukraine for the next few years. That has become a reality. The first trip we took was in April 2008 to go see the girls, do some fact finding, hire counsel, participate in some mission work with Agape ministries and to show the girls that we were serious about our promises. Our second trip occurred during our adoption of Nadia, Julia & Kole. We were able to time the trip over Zina’s birthday where we threw her a birthday party, her first one ever. This trip was already in the works when we received the news about Zina’s registration and Heidi planned to go over for Rimma’s birthday this time. She will celebrate both birthdays at the same time just like we did last year. She will bring care packages, photos, letters and gifts from our many UOO pen pals and volunteers. She will also touch base with all of our friends and support network in Kiev, Boyarka, Kherson, & SB. Heidi will also visit the children from the 2009 camp and will “grease the wheels” for our next year’s camp. And, of course, she will spend lots of time with Z & R. I will not be able to go this time because we have children at home now and I need to save up vacation & leave time at work to go adopt Rimma +1. I really wanted to go and I was worried about Heidi going alone, so I insisted that she have a travel companion. Enter Carol. She will be going with Heidi to learn the ins & outs of traveling in Ukraine and what life is like in the orphanage system in Ukraine. Carol and her family are working on their own adoption dossier for Ukraine and she feels that this trip will help her understand the process and belay any fears of the unknown when they travel there. So, it’s a great situation for everyone involved. Thanks, Carol, for accompanying Heidi!

3.) Since Heidi is traveling to Ukraine, we thought it would be a good idea to hand-carry our dossier to our facilitator. This will save us the $150 or so dollars that FedEx charges as well as the Western Union fees. Heidi will be able to meet Oleg firsthand and pay him the initial upfront money he will need to get started with translation and SDA submission. Therefore, we have been busy little bees all week getting the loose ends tied-up on the dossier. Since I don’t like to get stuck more than I have to, we always wait to do the medical stuff last. So this week we completed all that by getting the exams, blood work, and TB tests done. I was still ‘all smiles’ at the laboratory, thinking of the wonderful glorious miracle God bestowed upon us this week.

4.) Thank you to everyone for all the comments on the blog, the prayers, the e-mails of congratulations, and the phone calls. It is truly a blessing to have so much support and God’s help in our lives! I want to clarify something, though. It is a huge miracle of overcoming the insurmountable obstacle of getting Zina registered for adoption. Everyone prayed for years for this to happen and I had to learn and struggle with God’s timing. While I too pray that we could bring Z home on this trip, it most probably will not happen. You know that I will ask and will do anything legal, ethical and morally proper to get her home sooner than later. I no longer doubt the reasoning of God’s plan for Zina; it could be that He still has work for her to do there. In the meantime, please join me in continued prayer that she could come home this trip and we shall see if that is His plan. As it stands now, we will be adopting Rimma + an unknown child and returning in the late summer or early fall of 2010 for Z. She understands this, too.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful week we have had! God is good! Amen!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Miracle has happened!

Zina has been registered!

We awoke this morning to the miraculous news and we have been doing the happy dance ever since. I don't think that we will ever stop! Thank you God for hearing our prayers! Thank you everyone for the same prayers!

We are proceeding at God's speed to bring Rimma home soon and we will return in the Fall of 2010 to bring home Zina. Only then will our little-big family be complete.

A song from our worship team keeps playing over in my head, "Oh, Happy Day..."

~ Felix ~

About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.