Monday, November 30, 2009

While We Wait...

So life goes on while we wait. Right now, there are four Colorado families that are in Ukraine. The Houghton's, the Haan's, the Jensens and Victoria & Martin. We will go soon as well as the Stoke's family. NICE!

In the meantime, we have been out and about, having fun as a family. The weekend of the 21st had us trekking to Winter Park Colorado to tube the infamous Frazier Hill! It's a daunting hill at first glance, but our kids were up to the task. On our first run we linked up all the tubes and went down the hill as this giant, speedy amoeba. Subsequent runs were done solo followed by a few more family-blob runs. Those bumps in the pictures make for some exciting "air time"!

Nadia on her first solo run
The kids were off from school all week and I joined them on Wednesday. We did the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday. Our friend, Bob Sisco, insisted on buying and cooking the entire dinner for our family. Who am I to argue with him! He gets up at 4am every Turkey day and Christmas to do this. The Sisco's are very generous people that we have known for years. They have no grandchildren as of yet and our kids consider them their third grandparents. Bob insists on picking up our kids every morning for school and bringing them home every afternoon. He is a sweet person with a heart of gold and tells us that he has nothing to do and wants to help. I believe God sent us the Sisco's to assist us in bringing home all six of our children. The Sisco's had a full course Christmas dinner, hot and steaming, on the table when we arrived home last Christmas Eve with our three kids! I don't know why I haven't mentioned the generosity bestowed upon us by the Sisco's. It could be the humble nature by which they conduct themselves. I like to think that some of that rubbed off on me, and that is the reason for not speaking of them before. Our kids love and adore Bob and Marileen and their grown-up kids, Aimee and Nick.
Fearless Julia about to tackle "The Hill"
The next day, Friday, I took the kids up to the mountains to cut a "kids Christmas tree". Being the tree-Nazi (hmm, is it blasphemy to mention Christmas & Nazis in the same blog?) of the family, I felt the need to have a separate tree just for them. I like my gold family tree just the way it is and I don't have the heart to refuse the wonderful handmade construction paper and Popsicle-stick ornaments that kids so often bring home from school, church and other various events. So this is my compromise. Perhaps I will be able to let go one day! But dang it, my sweet Granny had a gold tree and looking at it reminds me of them and my childhood. BTW...the kids tree looks pretty darn good, too!
We went with our friends, the Stoesz family and had a picnic lunch on a rock outcropping afterwards. Love that Stoesz family!
Kolya gettn' ready!
While I took the kids to the mountains, Heidi participated in Black Friday! She claims that she is all done Christmas shopping. Yeah, right, we will see! Heidi did find a lot of bargains and sure knows how to make our holiday dollars stretch. I'm the compulsive buyer in the family!
That evening we went to see the Nutcracker ballet at CU in Boulder. The Boulder symphony was my favorite part and the dancers are amazing. Yep guys, you won't get your "man-card" pulled for taking your family to see a Christmas-time ballet. Besides, do you realize how hard it is to stand on those tippy-toes for so long and make it look good, all the while seeming to enjoy that kind of pain??!! I don't know how that guy that plays the boy robot-toy holds his arms up for what seems like eternity. Ladies, you know the part I'm talking about!
On Saturday I spent time putting up the lights, ornaments and trees with the kids. Heidi had a scrap booking lunch date. That evening, we switched places. I needed a break after being with the kids for 4 straight days. I had a "Man-date" with my bro, Ken K. We went to the see the apocalyptic movie, 2012. It was a good movie with great CG scenes.
During the movie, I couldn't help but to think of God and the promise of being with Him when our time comes. It's natural to fear death I think. As a Christian, the glorious afterlife eases my fears a little. What I fear most nowadays is the bleak reality that orphans face upon entering a 16 year old adult life in Ukraine. I can't save them all and I am grateful for my three and eventual six. It was once stated to me that if just 6% of Christian families took in just one orphan, there would be empty orphan beds the world orphans! If you can give, if you can adopt, if you are soul-searching, if you are counting on this empty-promises world...won't you consider this, for the rest of their lives.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays
~ Felix ~

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock...

For some reason, I don't remember the wait we experienced with the first adoption. I guess we were busy or something. This go around is excruciating and has me just itching to go! I try and remind myself that I was soooo ready to leave after the 7th week of that adoption, so I shouldn't be in a hurry to return. Not that I don't like Ukraine, I love it. But it was very hard to feed and clothe three kids in a foreign land where the government doesn't care that you are almost broke and not at home or working.

But alas, we wait and we wait and we wait. I wonder what is going through R's mind as she waits, too? She is away at the sanatorium with no way to communicate to us nor us to her. Does she wonder why we aren't there yet?

I toyed with the idea of putting up one of those countdown tickers or moving slide counters. I'm sure it would drive me crazy looking at that thing every time I open our blog. Besides, I don't need a counter to tell me that our appointment is 8 weeks from today.

Cue the Jeopardy music...for 55 more days!

~ Felix ~

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Birthday Girls, September '09

Z's birthday is this weekend. Another year has passed without her being home. Thankfully, this may be the last time she spends the occasion without her forever family. We hope to bring her home in a year.

Why a another whole year when we are adopting in January? Remember, Ukraine has a law forbidding international adoption until the orphan has been available for Ukrainian adoption for at least one year. A silly rule really when you consider that the child must consent to adoption and R & Z would never go with anyone but us even though we told them to take a family if it was in their hearts. So we wait, they wait, because of course, children are better off in an orphanage without love, support, nurturing and parental guidance. A piece of hear say excited me over a year ago when I heard that there was some consideration on dropping the one-year wait for orphans over the age of 12. But that never materialized and like I said, it turned out to be just here say.

We have been traveling to Ukraine since we met and fell in love with R & Z. The first year we were there for Z's, this time Heidi was there for R's birthday. Of course, we have two celebrations during one party. Combining the trip with some mission work for UOO and fostering the relationships with growing Christian organizations and friends made good economic sense. I keep telling my self that it is God's money, not mine, and that a little money spent on airline tickets now is a lot better than lots of money spent on teenage therapy later.

In January we go get Rima and if all goes according to His plan, an unknown brother to add to the family. A return trip for Zina, hopefully this time next year, will make our family complete. Though we are separated by distance, we have been Mom & Dad the past two years. They were born in our hearts, December 2007 and we have been family ever since.

I can't wait to see them again in January.

~ Felix ~

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Metcha" Anniversary

Today, November 12th, is our "Met-cha" anniversary. It's hard to believe that a year has passed since we first saw our kidos. I can still see the place and time we first laid eyes on them.
The first one I met was Nadia. She was leaning against the wall outside of the director's office after we had met with Galina. She had just been summoned from school and had a look of fear and bewilderment. I can only imagine her concern as she was told that a couple was here to meet her and her siblings for possible adoption. Nadia has told me since that she saw us first and that we passed her as she was sitting on a couch during our tour of the orphanage. Nadia immediately grew 7 inches in 7 months and has became a sweet young lady. There are days when she tries to get bossy with her sibs, but she gets back into routine when warned. She had to be the "Mom" all those years and it was hard to let go and trust us. But eventually it happened, and Nadia is getting to enjoy her late childhood. Nadia is terrific with her English and played both team soccer & volleyball this year. Nadia is a daddy's girl.
The second one we met was Kolya. He showed up about 2 minutes after we first met Nadia. Galina was positioned at the staircase and he was hiding behind her as the introductions were made. He was shy at first and we would come to realize that his few misbehavior incidents the first few weeks were a result of his struggle to let go of the only caretakers which he gave his loyalty. While there, he would come to see us as the authority and care providers he so longed for. In the past year, Kole has mastered English and gained a few pounds. He has a great attitude and sense of humor. Always the pleaser, Kole hardly complains and always does what is asked of him. Mom always says, "we need 10 just like him". Kole is definitely the "Mamas boy". He played competitive soccer this year on one of the best teams in Longmont. They went undefeated and Kole definitely contributed. He is a treasure to have around!
The third one we met was Julia. She was at the sanatorium when we came, so our driver and a caretaker had to go get her. We first met Julia in Galina's office. Heidi and I were ushered back into her office to talk with the kids and she arrived in due time. She had to sit closest to me on the other couch and in my peripheral vision I could see her checking me out. She held onto the Teddy bear we gave her and was silent for most of the discussion. I can still see her in that blue sweater she wore. The poor child hadn't worn clean clothes in a long time and her hair was severely matty and cut incorrectly. I just knew she was a diamond in the rough and that we had to rescue her from that lonely, dingy place they had her. Julia has since learned English and is doing well at school. Lots of therapy and TLC has helped Julia learn about family life and she is a sweet little girl. It's still a struggle most days with "Yule" as I call her ( we still call her Yulia at home), but I couldn't image our lives without her and her gentle, caring spirit. Equally affectionate with both of us, but sways towards Mom on most things, Julia marches to the beat of her own drum. You can't and shouldn't put her in a mold. Simply put, Julia is Julia. She has gained 15 or so pounds and grown a few inches in the past year. Mom swore she grew an inch the 10 days she was gone in September! Julia's favorite activity is the horse riding therapy class she attends on Saturday mornings.
In 27 days, we celebrate "Got-cha" Day!
~ Felix ~

Monday, November 9, 2009

We have a date!

We had an e-mail waiting for us from our facilitator this morning. We have our official SDA appointment on January 18th, 2010!

I have some work commitments during the first and second week of January as well as mid-March so this date works well for me. I was concerned about having to make up work when we returned. It seems the Lord had it all planned out all along, he knew my needs without me having to ask! Also, the US and Ukrainian Christmas & New Years days will be done so there will not be any government or embassy closures. Perhaps we can get everything done in quick order this time.

We talked to Zina this weekend again, well actually, Nadia talked to Z for over an hour. They were giggling and laughing and sharing information about school and such. Z originally wanted to share a bedroom with Rimma when they all are finally home. Nadia was happy to announce that she and Zina worked it out and they want to be "bunked" together. It is good to see two long distance sisters getting along and wanting to be together.

~ Felix ~

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hospitals & Broken Phones

Our friend Bruce is in Kherson finishing up the adoption of his two kids. He reports that Rimma has been sent to the sanatorium for a strong reaction to her recent TB test. This will be the second time in as many years that she has had this happen to her. R does not have TB, rather, the inoculations they give in Ukraine cause false readings. Wanting to be safer-than-sorry, they send kids for a 6-8 week stay. This should have no impact on our adoption of her. Julia was in a sanatorium for the same reason when we met her. My only concern is that R doesn't like the food there and the last time we saw her at the sanatorium, she was all skin & bones, having lost a good deal of weight. I can't wait to get her home.

For the past two to three weeks we haven't been able to call Zina. We knew something was wrong and sure enough, Bruce discovered that Z's phone is busted. We will get that remedied by working through Oksana or Sergey.

Thank you, Bruce for helping us with the girls while you go through your adoption process. We all appreciate your efforts!

We are still waiting to hear about our appointment with the SDA. We weren't going to know something until next week anyway. But, with the 3 week closure, we may not know anything for sometime.

~ Felix ~

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

3 Week Shutdown in Ukraine

H1N1 has hit western Ukraine. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko ordered a massive and unprecedented disease-control program to go into effect immediately in an attempt to prevent the spread of the disease. Schools nationwide will close for three weeks, and "all mass gatherings will be forbidden," Tymoshenko said. Seventy-one people have died of flu and acute respiratory infections in Ukraine since the start of the epidemic, according to the Prime Minister.

So what does this mean for adoptions? We have not been advised by our facilitator but certainly this will delay our appointment by at least three weeks, if not more. Most government offices will follow suit, it is assumed. We are taking the news in stride, we still have some prep work to be done before R comes home and we were a bit concerned about a sudden appointment date. We may be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas after all.

Our real concern is for those families in Ukraine adopting now, including our friends Bruce Deyoung and Jim & Teresa. We also have Richard & Cindy and Martin & Victoria in our prayers. They have appointments this month and have made plans or bought airline tickets to travel.

~ Felix ~

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Rules, Revisited

Since we seem to have a week or two before knowing of our SDA appointment date, I thought that we could revisit an old topic from a past posting.

In a recent e-mail a new friend, Tiffany, spoke of the 10 rules of our house that we instituted once we got home with the kids. She thought that they were a good basis for her own set of rules in her home. That post is almost a year old and her e-mail got me to thinking about them again, although they are ever-present and in plain sight on the fridge door. They have been tweaked a little since that post and sometimes the kids act like they don't exist, but I am quick to remind them to go read rule such-and-such when an infraction occurs. Here they are again, refined by lessons learned this past year.
  1. Be kind...PERIOD!
  2. Keep your room tidy and make your bed every morning.
  3. If you make a mess, clean it up immediately.
  4. Return your things to your room after use.
  5. Turn off lights, water, radio, television when not using them.
  6. Eat only in the Kitchen or dining room.
  7. Wash hands before eating and when returning from outside.
  8. You will do your kitchen day after every meal, your laundry on your day and your daily chores.
  9. Obey Mom and Dad when you are told to do something.
  10. This is your home, take care of it.

~ Felix ~

About Us

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