Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 8, Jordan's Birthday Party

Jordan turned 17 today! I can't think of a greater gift than those who have nothing giving of themselves. Happy Birthday, Jordan.

Lizzie's groupa singing Happy Birthday!

Heidi showing love to two orphan girls.

That is all for now. We are scheduled to have court on Thursday morning, but that is dependant on the SDAs approval and sending our documents by Wednesday. So we wait. If court happens this Thursday, the 10 day wait is over on the 13th of February. I would spring her from the orphanage forever on Valentines Day! Barring an "unforeseen circumstance", we could be home by the weekend of February 19th!

I tell you this because I don't believe in superstition or jinxing things, I believe in the power of prayer and God's Love for us! I feel your prayers working here for us and after 3 long years, perhaps God feels it is time, too!

~ Felix ~

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 6, Saturday night fun

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are 15,000 words to ponder until next time...

~ Felix ~

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 5, 'Till no one sleeps in an orphan's bed

Behind these cold harsh walls...

...around this aged instituational building...

...down this icy pathway...

...through this creaky door...

...along this worn hallway...

...there lies an orphan's bed...

...where this girl has slept for over 8 years. But not for long!

Her time is up, her restictions have been lifted, her family has come, they have found favor at the SDA, and met approval from the regional inspector and from the orphanage director, her paper-chase is done!
Since we arrived in Kherson at 10:30 on Thursday, lots of work has been done! In fact, all the work to ask for court has been done. There is nothing left to do until court. We have asked for a date for next week and all papers are off to where it all started Tuesday, the SDA. Things are happening fast! I keep looking for that unforeseen circumstance, but it hasn't occurred. So we make plans, Heidi and I. We are pretty sure that she and Jordan will fly home the weekend of the 5th of February! Very soon, Lizzie will no longer sleep in an orphan's bed.
~ Felix ~

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 4, Evening Orphanage visit

After we finished business for the day, we were able to keep Lizzie out for dinner. We took her back to the orphanage as agreed. After all, Big Nick loves us because we follow the rules!

When we arrived, we were greeted by all the girls in Lizzie's groupa. What do you do with kids who have no parents, but want them desperately? You treat them to unconditional love for the evening and PLAY WITH THEM! Here, Tohmah and I (Vika's little sister) play thumb war.

Heidi gets some lap time with the girls! From left to right is Tohmah, Heidi, Nastya, her sister Ilona and Lizzie! Nastya and Ilona ask me and Heidi everytime, even on Skype, to find them a family. Problem is, they aren't registered and they have an older brother in the orphanage. He doesn't want adoption but has stated that he will sign off for them. Heidi and I are advocating for a family to fight the same fight we did with R & took two and three years! But they cry for a family. Ilona took my arm again tonight and asked. Breaks our hearts...theirs, too!

Heidi and the girls play I Spy. I don't remember who won, but Nika in the center is a "card-shark"!
I start chillaxin' on an orphanage bed after wrestling with little Nastya, Lizzie comes over and it's complete bliss for both of us. Thank you Lord for bringing this little girl into our lives!

Last week, little Nastya turned 10. Her sister Ilona is 12 or 13. Nastya recently won 1st place at a wrestling competition at the orphanage in her age and weight class. I ask her to demonstrate her moves. Watch her take me down!

Like I tell all my friends who want to come on a mission trip to orphanges anywhere in the world. Your life will be changed and you'll never be the same! Come get sweetly broken for the Lord's Least of These!


Day 4, Her day!

We arrived safely in Kherson this morning at 10:30. My buddies, Andrey and Vanya were waiting at the train station, too. They took our abundant luggage (mostly orphanage donations) straight to the Bible House. Thanks Guys! We immediately went to the inspector's office with Tanya, our Kherson facilitator. The inspector was waiting on us. Heidi once again pulled out the picture book...lot's of smiles, no questions, and a "posh-leet" (let's go) rom her.

The taxi driver took Heidi, Jordan and me over to the orphanage while Tanya and the inspector waited for the taxi to return for them. We waited in the lobby of the orphanage, saw and waved to the director, Big Nick, and met his wife and assistant. She led us down the hall. Meanwhile, a little orphan girl that recognized us from previous trips ran for Lizzie. Soon enough, Lizzie appeared and almost knocked me over when she ran to me. Heidi had the camera ready, but the picture turned out blurry. Here's the next picture as she turned to Heidi.

After a brief meeting with the director in his office, he invited Lizzie back in. He was all smiles, very pleasant and said, "I know this family and I know that they follow the rules and are good for children. They have my blessings for the adoption and may proceed forward. I have no questions for them". He then played the same "are you sure you want to go to America" joke with Lizzie that he did last year with Rimma. He was all happy and joking for most of the meeting. We didn't bring it up, but it wasn't us that he was upset with. Obviously, another American family had stirred him up. Good news for us.

Tanya immediately launched into paper-chase mode. She and the inspector started telling Big Nick and the new, inexperienced orphanage lawyer what to do and what forms she needed. We got all that done, signed and notarized...yep, went to the notary palace again! Tanya is getting documents together to send out on the train tonight to the SDA so that we can push for court. Tanya is amazing, she just GET'S IT DONE! Love my "Team Oleg"!
It's almost 4pm here and we were on our way out to the orphanage after signing forms, visiting officials and getting documents notorized. (We took a quick respite at the Bible House and yes, my friend the spining paint chip is still here). But Tanya just called and said that she has Lizzie with her. Wow, again she's out working her tail off, again! She said that they were heading over to the inspector's office. I can only assume that she wants Lizzie to write her letter of adoption tonight so it goes to the SDA with everything else. Afterwards, she's bringing her to the Bible House..guess we are getting to sneak in a day out with her. Of course, it's official business, you know ;-)
We have the same visitation as before, after 4pm on weekdays and we can take her out on the weekends. Tanya is getting documents together to send out on the train tonight to the SDA. Whoo-hoo, we are a big GO!

I'll try to send you an update after tnight's visit with Lizzie. See ya soon!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 3, Referral in hand

Today we goofed off and checked out of our apartment at noon. The leasing agency allows their renters to store luggage at the office, so we did and we walked uphill to our SDA referral appointment. We arrived at the appointed time, between 4 & 5pm, to find our Kiev facilitator Nadia first in line for us! Nice! Not 10 minutes later, the lady holding all the referrals for all families showed up. Heidi and I signed for our referral documents...we can officially start the process for our girl!

After looking at the paintings for sale along the street, we started hoofing it back down the hill to kill some time along Krashatik street. About a block from the Independence square McDonald's (you know the one) we got a call from Aimee and Matt Garrett. They were dining at said McDonalds! We found them and spent almost 2 hours or so catching up, making jokes and generally "cutting up". Nadia joined us later (Matt & Aimee used her for their adoption of Anya a couple of years back) and she joined in the fun. Nadia was surprised to hear the the Garretts and we live only a mile apart, but knew her! How cool!

At 6:30 pm, we had to leave our fine company and head back to the leasing agency to pick up our luggage (they closed at 7pm). We are now (7:45pm) sitting at our favorite internet cafe at the train station blogging to you and checking e-mails. At 9:30 we will make our way to our train car for the overnight trip to Kherson. We will arrive there around 10:30 am tomorrow morning. The Bible House folks and the Agape people have already arranged to have a driver meet us at the tracks and take our luggage to our Bible House room while we head off to our regional director appointment. Very nice of them to help us again...thank you guys, I know you read this!

Our Kherson facilitator will meet us at the tracks when we arrive. If all goes to plan, we all will go to the regional director's office and meet with him or her for a few minutes and get the approval to enter the orphanage as legitimate adoptive parents. He/She will accompany us and watch to see if there is a developing bond between us and our "prospective adoptive child". What do you think will be the case? :-)

So around noon or so, Lizzie will enter the room. Can't wait to snap that picture! Well that's all for now. We will chat again tomorrow. By that time we should have done all the above, we will tell you all about it. Keep those prayers coming! It seems that the director is mad at us for something somebody else has done. Don't worry though, all is well.

By the way, if my spelling is off, please forgive me. I am typing this on a Russion keyboard with faded letters and no spell checker. Pretty good I'd say myself! Bye, all for now.

~ Felix ~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 2, End of Day Report

Its midnight here and I need to turn in. But before I do, I wanted to answer a few questions that were asked.

#1 - Our friend,Oksana, called us yesterday to tell us that Lizzie was down-in-the-dumps and upset that she hadn't heard from us, that she thought her adoption was to be in January, and that she was extremely sad. (Oksana didn't spill the beans) Heidi and I mulled it over and decided to break the news. I called once, no answer. I called twice, still no answer. A few minutes later she called us back (she didn't recognize the new phone number). I answered saying, "Hi there Lizzie Rogé!" She said, "Dad! Is that you, is this your phone! Where are you?" I said, "Hmmnnn, in Kiev!" The next 30 seconds were filled with squeals and "YES, YES, YES", and more squeals! My hearing may never be the same! So to answer your question, yes, she now knows. What she doesn't know is when we will arrive at her orphanage and see her for the first time since last year!

#2 - The picture book has been used twice now at the appointments and yes, it is a bit more emotional for them. We took a photo book the first time and I don't think it had the same appeal. However, we didn't have adopted kids then either. We feel a picture book or photo book is worth a thousand questions and we have never been wrong. Heidi uploads photos to Snapfish and prints two specific of the entire family to show the SDA, the judge, and all officials and the other targeted specifically for the orphanage staff showing "their" kids. Money well spent in our opinion. We leave the orphanage picture book with the director and staff. The "entire family" book we keep and bring home to add to our library. I think Heidi makes each book for around $2o.

#3 - The Boyarka orphanage visit went very well. We handed out the letters and gifts. A few kids said hello and wished N, J & K well-wishes on the video we took. Galina is down to 33 kids now and she has a set of teen girls and a brother-sister teen pair too, all wanting families! Boyarka is approximately 30 km from Kiev. Any takers?

#4 - Pictures will be forthcoming, probably once we get to Kherson after Thursday. I'll try to post some on FB tonight, but it is 12:18 and I need to get to bed.

~ Felix ~

Day 2, SDA appointment

We have her! The appointment that took three long years to achieve was over in 10 minutes...and three of that was the official looking through our picture book.

Side note: If you bring a picture book or photo album for the official to look through, it eases tension for you and any doubt they have during the appointment. We were only asked one question: "Why do you want to adopt older children?" Heidi put together a Snapfish picture book this time and, for the second time, it worked wonders. She just handed over the book, no more questions. Just let 'em look through the book and you'll get oooohs and ahhhhs!

We were told her history and medical background. I remember thinking, "Wow, we know more info than they do!" Like I said, it was over in 10 minutes. The official told us that we will have the referral between 4 & 5 pm tomorrow. Our facilitator is already buying the train tickets for us to go to Kherson tomorrow night on the over-night train.

Our friend, Oksana is here and we are off to Boyarka to visit our first three children's orphanage to bring gifts and letters. We will meet up with our missionary friends, Becky and Nadia to have our regular dish of Shoshleek, yummy!

Please note our Ukrainian Phone number over in the right-side column, on top. If you need us, give us a call.

~ Felix ~

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 1, So far, so good!

Hi there folks, we made it to Kiev! My trusty laptop clock tells me its 1:04 am in Colorado, so most of you are sleeping at this hour. No worries, sleep dreams!

For everyone else awake, here's a quick recap of the travels. Huge kudos goes out to Clay & Selene Peck, our pastor and his wife, for the travel pills! The package says that it helps knock the edge off being jet-lagged and helps to reset the natural circadian rhythm. Jet lag averted and with the help of two Benadryl tablets each, we all slept 12 hours last night! In fact, Jordan is still out! None of us slept well on the 14+ hours on three plane rides.

We departed Denver enroute to Chicago on Saturday. That trip went well and there were no problems. We got into O'Hare after a loop around Lake Michigan.

The second flight, Chicago to Munich was delayed 30 minutes while they fixed a light in the first class cabin. No, we didn't fly first class. We were in the rear with the gear!

We originally had a 3 hour layover in Munich, but with the delay and grabbing lunch, we only waited for an hour. We flew into Kiev without a hitch and made our way out of the plane. Getting through customs, grabbing bags, and getting out of the airport was no problem. I love that Munich to Kiev flight much better that the Frankfurt flight...less people and fewer problems, always!

We were picked up by our facilitator and taken to our Kiev apartment. We are right on Krashatik Street and a block away from Independence square where this picture was taken with Jordan.

So now it is time to start the day! We are getting in touch with all of our missionary friends here. Calls have been made to Becky, Karen, Oksana and Andrei to name a few. I think we will sight-see today and take it easy. Our SDA appointment is tomorrow at 10 am to ask for Lizzie! Yeah! We will let you know how that goes.

Tomorrow, after the SDA, I think the plan is to take gifts and letters to the Boyarka Dietski Dom where our first three kids were housed, then have dinner out at my favorite Shoshleek restaurant with Becky and Nadia.

So here, we long last!

God is talking to me again...this was K-LOVE's encouraging word of the day.
Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
~ Psalm 37:3, NLT
~ Felix ~

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Time to Fly!

Lizzie adoption at EveryTrail

The big day is here! I must finish packing a few last minute things and this laptop, so it's time to log-out.

Our trip takes us this time from Denver to Chicago O'Hare to Munich to Kiev! I'll post on FB at the airports as time permits, but this blog will recommence on the other side of the Earth when we settle in somewhere in Kiev.

Keep those prayers coming! Bye for now.

~ Felix & Heidi ~

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Come get me, ALREADY!!

They're coming, they're coming, they're coming...

In three days Heidi, Jordan and I head out for Ukraine! Whoo-hoo! I can't believe the day is actually here. Three years of toil on this side of the Earth and three years of waiting for her family on the other side are almost done. Barring any "unforeseen" circumstance, Lizzie will be forever home soon. I can't wait to change that title under her name over there on the right side! We Skyped with Lizzie directly from the orphanage this past weekend. She kept asking when we were coming...we wouldn't tell her. It's for her own good. But she's more than ready! You could see it in her eyes and the glow of her smile. Ready, set, here we come!

Just like last adoption, the plan is for Heidi to go home right after court to be with our kids. Jordan will be going back with her and getting right back to school. She's got her assignments from her teachers and blessing from the principal, so we are taking her. We are bringing Jordan because I feel it is necessary for her to experience the humble beginnings that her siblings endured, to do some mission work of her own, and to learn some compassion...especially when her sib's behavior drives her nuts! Her teachers and I agreed that it was a better education for her than she would get sitting in a classroom in High School. Besides, she has a 4 point "oh my gosh" GPA in an AP environment! (Rimma, Nadia and Kole are working at pretty much the same level, too. Yep, I'm a bragging Dad, sorry). Our kids will be staying with other Ukie-adoptive parents in our town until Heidi gets back home. I will be staying behind again for the remainder of the adoption, two to four weeks depending. I'm praying for the two weeks! Ukrainian adoptions are hard, though! They are harder than pushing a greased pig up a muddy hill! So I'm preparing for the long-haul.

So here we go again...another winter Ukrainian adoption! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. My next post will be a short blurb right before I pack up the laptop and head for the airport. Talk to you then.

~ Felix ~

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rada Vote??

I checked the Rada website the first thing this morning. Since Ukraine is 9 hours ahead of US MST, I knew that Parliament would be done with their daily business. The vote was definitely on the agenda and when I clicked on the bill, this is all that it said:

"Consideration postponed (01/11/2011)"

The website didn't say when it was postponed to or if it will come up again soon. We will query our sources and keep you posted on developments if any. What does this mean? Well, it's good news, but the vote is still out there. So far, we are still a go for Lizzie's adoption and we are headed out still on the 22nd of January.

Stay tuned!

~ Felix ~

Monday, January 10, 2011

We Will Be Invincible!

With 11 days to go and a wake up, I'm getting restless to start Lizzie's adoption process! Last year about this time I posted the "Y'all ready for dis" theme song, which made me chuckle and keep my sense of humor for the beginning of our second adoption journey. So this time, I've been searching for a new song to post. I think I have one. My concern with tomorrow's supposedly Rada vote on adoption moratorium is ever-present and God, in His infinite wisdom, is speaking to me again. This morning, the K-LOVE Encouraging Word is from Ephesians 3:20 is,

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Right after I received that message and while I was still mulling over the vote, I went into the grocery store to buy my weekly stash of apples. This song by Pat Benatar started up in the overhead speakers, We Will Be Invincible!

The enemy is not Ukraine, rather, those dark forces that will attempt to suppress His work in Ukraine. OK, Lord! Let's go get it done!

~ Felix ~

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Plane tickets purchased

Hello, Felix here! The blog got hijacked by my honey during the holidays. She sent out Christmas cards with a link to our blog and proceeded to write about each family member. As time permits, she will finish up with her little project. In the meantime, I got the itch to write here it goes, a little story in pictures for your amusement.

So yes, as the title explains, I bought tickets today! Where are we going you might ask? Are we going to our favorite little island in the Bahamas for a nice vacation? Looks nice and inviting, doesn't it!

Are we going sailing on a catamaran in the BVI? Oh, I so want (and need) this escape right now!

Am I going to jump into the sea and snorkel off this patch of reef near Staniel Cay? NOPE! Aww man!

Our faithful followers know where we are going and unless you've been hiding from us, you too know where we are going! We are going WINTER...again...for the third adoption trip...again! Did I mention that it will be in WINTER? AGAIN!

But, I will go anywhere, anytime, to the ends of the earth, to bring our little girl home. She wants it! She awaits it! She has waited three years for it! It is home, and parents!

Are we taking the kids? Just one! Jordan will accompany us and she will get to experience Ukraine, the culture, a few orphanage visits and the adoption process. She is making an above A average in all her classes and her teachers agree that the experience is worth missing school for a little while. Jordan will fly back with Heidi after we have court, which should be two or three weeks after we arrive. I will stay on again for the duration, which I pray will be only two or three weeks more.

Yes, I will stay behind again! But don't worry about me, I'll have old friends to keep me company. It will be good to spend time with my old friend, the dangling, occasionally spinning, paint chip above my head at the Bible House! (last year's story, here) In my boredom and derangement, I will once again attempt to deduce what force is acting on my friend and thereby causing said spin motion. How exactly does it happen when there is no air movement or heat rising from the radiators? Hmmn? Is it the rotation of the Earth?

Of course, when the paint chip and I have finished our discourse, there's always my friend Lenny. Lenny stands strong and is always available for my questions. My favorite question to ask him is how he feels about the American burger restaurant behind him that serves Coca-Cola or the store next to that that sells Levi's! He never answers, rather he continues to scowl. I don't think he likes it much.

Sadly, one friend I will not get to see is Frozen Flat Cat! (inside story, ask me about him sometimes, but only in person. And no, I wasn't responsible for his demise). He could always be counted on as a navigational aid. Ahh...many a time I told the cabby to turn left at the FFC! He could always cheer me up, too! After all, I reasoned that no matter how cold it got or how hard the adoption proceedings were going, it was always better to be on my side of the ice!

If boredom sets in and I am restricted from seeing our Lizzie, I have thought about taking a little tour of Ukraine...or somewhere else in Europe for that matter. After all, I'm already there, right? I've thought of Italy, Germany, or even Greece as great destinations. Ohh, I've always wanted to see Greece! If time is short and I don't mind harming my health, I hear Ukraine has reopened this little slice of heaven to tourists again...Chernobyl! No need for a flashlight at night anymore! Not when I'll glow in the dark for the rest of my life!

I hope I haven't offended anyone, least of all PETA. Hey FFC was there before I got there. Many snow-ings preserved him all winter! I'm just enjoying a moment of levity.
I do like Ukraine! After all, five of my children are from there. I have made many wonderful friends there too! It will be joyous to reconnect with them!
Time is closing and we leave on January 22! Our SDA appointment is the 25th. Please keep praying for the moratorium vote which we have heard, is rescheduled for January 11th.

Stay tuned, a little girl's dream is about to come true after three years of patiently waiting! You won't want to miss a thing!
~ Future Frozen 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.