Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And You Thought The Adventure Has Come To An End Until Sergiy Gets Here....

It's me here were talking about.  Adventure end.....why of course not.  OK today it hits 3PM and Kolya and I are pacing the house like two hungry lions waiting for our meal.  The meal is the homestudy, the last piece of the puzzle for us to bolt to downtown Raleigh to get Apostilled.  Well 3PM and no homestudy.  My heart just sank.  I sucked it up and sent a letter to Mary who worked on our homestudy and to Tonya saying thank you and I know they did all they could to help us but we will now not make the time frame now to turn the dossier in unless it is nothing short of a miracle at this point.

So I get Kolya and I ready to head into town to buy some items for Thanksgiving and right before I leave I get an e-mail from Mary telling me to call the post office to see if they can track it in their building.  Then following after her email I got one from Tonya telling me the same thing and it was followed by the words.  "SERGIY IS LEGALLY FREE, like you thought but here is your confirmation".  So I knew I had to jump in the truck and race to the post office and hope there was some glimpse of hope to get this homestudy and off to be Apostilled tomorrow then off to Ukraine that afternoon for our last chance shot.  I followed the directions to the post office hub were I was told it would be if it was there from USPS.  Well we arrived to a townhouse subdivison.  So obviously that was not the right place.  So then I just drove to the closest post office and they basically told me that if the precious envelope was not showing up on line I had no chance in well the place where it is really really hot that it will make it.  BUT.....yes there was that BUT that can give you hope or tear you down, he said you can call this number because it is the hub that receives and sorts the mail.  I confirmed the address with him and sure enough it was that place that took me to the townhouses.  But there was another route to getting to it on the other side of the highway.  So I called them and basically she said until it gets scanned into the system and arrives in Raleigh after several steps there is a chance.  So we left the conversation with me calling back between 6AM to 8AM tomorrow morning.  She said the night delivery has not made it in yet so to check the tracking hourly to see if the item is found.  Sure enough Murphy came back again.  All the USPS tracking systems were broke for 2 hours after that call.  I could not do anything.  LOL!  Again all I could do was laugh.  USPS does not like me! FINALLY the system was up and running and at 4:49 the package at least was scanned by someone in Raleigh.  It is here!  Thank heavens it made it!!!  So I called her back at USPS and we started laughing.  She said OK it made it through the first step.  Now it will have to go through a couple more steps and scans and pending it does not fall behind something and get wedged or off the track it should make it in time.  LOL!  I am hoping at this point I can hide Murphy or accidentally leave him at home so he does not cause any problems.  So she said call beg and plead in the morning and see if they will let you come down to the hub before the envelope is loaded onto the truck to start deliveries.  The lady who I will be calling sounds like she could kick my bootie and take me down so I am praying for a miracle and that she will be willing tomorrow to let me come pick up the package.  Oh so how I am praying.  We are so close........

Grab You Coffee, Your Glasses If You Wear Them & Get Ready For A Ride!

OK as you all know the goal has been to get the dossier ready and have it to Ukraine before Sergiy arrives should the Lord open the doors.  I actually sit here with my coffee and glasses laughing thanking God more like opened the doors and pushed us through right to the next and shoved us through again saying "RUN NICOLE RUN".  Why do I say all this....well here we go.

On Thursday November 10th Joe and I were on cruise control not manic control working on the dossier to get it completed again before Sergiy arrived so we would be able to go green light go once he left and fly in about Feb./March hopfully.  I found it interesting as we were sending off for certain things how they were coming back awfully fast.  I thought it was pretty cool not knowing all to come.  The email comes in from Tonya our main gal here in the US working our dossier "Ukraine is shutting down in December and January.".  Basically her words were kick it into high gear.  I was thinking we don't have a chance in Ha-ties to get this done.  Then I realized our I-600A USCIS is already approved for 2 kids.  We only got one kiddo, it hasn't expired.  We could pull this off!

So they adventure begins.  As most of you folks know that followed Kolya's blog, Murphy loves me.  He goes everywhere with me.  I swear he is hiding in my purse and just hitches a ride.  So if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.  I actually started busting up in the post office as the second I walk in all the computers stopped working and would not process credit cards!  I know this is all God testing me under pressure allowing things to happen to see can I hold up and will I hold up and let beautiful Christian words come out of my mouth in time of distress as my 14 year old son is watching my every move waiting for me to BLOW.

Ok so in the midst of this all I am doing the last minute round ups for the NHFC hosting kids before the deadline is to host them, prepping and doing the NHFC training for new host families (Thankfully we managed to not scare anyone off!),  then homeschooling Kolya, driving to the Secretary State 2 times a day for Apostilling of dossier docs (Trying to find parking spots was no fun! I even got a ticket OOPS!), working on the dossier itself, working on the "Way of Gods Grace Ministry, running our rental house business, paying the bills, grocery shopping, trying to keep a somewhat clean house and then trying to start up this skateboard ministry locally.... holy cow oh how I know I can BLOW....so instead of blowing a seal I just start laughing and looking up to God smiling.  It is actually quiet comical.  At this point I actually wait for a somewhat disaster to happen because I know it will and can and it is a matter of hours if not minutes before it occurs.   

Like I mentioned all the docs are filing in beautiful and then "IT" happens.....yes the "Murph" shows up.  Yup Murphys Law!  When you take documents to the Secretary of State to be Apsotilled their job is to not read all your person documents but to vouch the notary is in fact a notary, the stamp looks all pretty as it should, the commission date has not expired and all is good.  Well all my docs seem to get into the hands of like the one teacher that just never liked you, and she would look for anything you did wrong so she could RED pen the snot out of your paper.  Well she red pen'd me alright.  Mind when reading this basically all the docs I am turning in are all the same formatted docs as we did for Kolya less then a year ago.  YES SHE REJECTED THEM.  You heard me she red pen'd me.  8 docs she denied because she did not like the way they were written.  I am standing there listening to everything she is saying of why she denied them knowing that was not her job to read my docs, what she was saying was contradicting and made absolutely no sense and basically with re-wording it, it was saying the same thing.  Now at this point this is also the most difficult documents for me to have gotten.  I had to line up a notary to meet with my doctor to sign which took me 3 days to do and 2 attempts and it almost did not get done.  The gal that finally was willing to go to the doctors office was not even our banker she was a gal that heard we were adopting and she was adopted and said I have to do this for you.  THANK YOU NATANYA CHADWICK.  The first issue is the writing got messed up when originally had the doctor info. written so I had to have the nurse write it because it was a write-over and Ukraine won't take it and it also had a spelling typo.  So basically we had to re-do it and re-notarize it and re-apostill it.  If it weren't for Natanya, Dr. Bloom and his nurse truly this adoption would not be happening.  It was 3 days of buckling down on getting this form completed correctly.  OK so back to the Secretary of State office, I am being denied this forms to be Apostilled because she doesn't like the way they are written.  All that is going on in my head is Kolya is watching me.  Funny enough I did not blow....so who does.?  My son.  LOL!  Kolya starts passing.....Oh know mum, Sergiy, we can't get Sergiy mom.  I told him everything will be OK but explained Ukraine has it laws and so does America.  We will get it right just have to keep trying and not quit.  I told him we went through the same thing for him and he was worth every penny.

Ok so then we have to go back to get these docs re-written to find out our notary that did them the first time said because of the way they were re-written they could not do it.  Holy Toledo!  So Joe and I just sat there for a second in front of him and our hearts just sank and couldn't even find words.  I sat there with a grin and absolutely speechless.  We had everything typed up with him still as the notary and no time to waste.  He looked at us and said "give me back the forms, I will do it".  The next day Kolya and I made peppermint brownies for him, Natanya and Dr. Bloom.

Ok now in the midst of all this of course there has been minnie Murphy disasters one after another and at this point I am glued together by the joy of our precious God and glue and silly putty.  So now we are down to yesterday but let me give you the timelines so you can see how God is orchestrating all this.  Again November 10th we are to get a COMPLETE dossier together in less then 2 weeks!  And all we had done November 10th was decide to adopt Sergiy, nothing else.  Our docs were suppose to head to Tonya and be there by Friday, November 18th so they could be sent to Ukraine on Saturday.  Yeah you read that right, Saturday.  Eakk!  Tonya said if you can ship Fed ex straight to Ukraine by Wednesday they will make it in time you have a chance.  If not its a no go.  Right now I feel like Rocky in the ring with my BIG gold coat on with my big boxing gloves jumping all over the place punching the air.  Take my coat off and I am ready to roll.  Somebody start playing ROCKY!  Or let me give you another scenario to make this fun.  I am a big black bull with big horns and scraping the ground looking at some dude taking a red sheet and flashing it at me and I don't like red BUT there is a fence in between us.  Soon as that fence is moved I am running like a horse let out of the gate at the Kentucky Derby.  So I am sitting here waiting on one more piece of the puzzle.  I know it is completely 100% in Gods hands.  So Joe and I were married in Monterey, CA.  So we have to order our marriage certificates then once they arrive send them back to CA to the Secretary of State to have them Apostilled.  The certificates come back in no time so I turn around on Tuesday last week and send them back Express Mail including a distress letter of urgency along with a Express Envelope coming back.  I got a fuzzy feeling on Thursday I should call the CA secretary of State to make sure they made the mail.  Thank heavens for fuzzy feelings.  The gal said they were 3 weeks behind on Apostilling and hadn't even opened ours.  I explained everything she Apostilled them right there on the phone with me and stuck them in the mail.  So Friday I am thinking ok they will arrive, the SBI prints will arrive and the homestudy were just waiting to make sure we are not child abusers and once we have that clearance we are ready to rock and it will all come in Friday.  WRONG!  So the Express Envelope does not make it as it should, the SBI prints arrive and Joe's doc has a write-over on the Notaries commission so Ukraine wont accept it and no child abuse clearance.  So close yet so far away.  Meanwhile in the midst of all this fun we find out that Ukraine is changing some docs.  Holy smokes.  So we clear that up real fast.  So now we hit Saturday and Sunday and my hands are tied I cannot do anything because everything is closed.   I get an email Sunday night YEAH were not child abusers!!  So we got that clearance.  Now I need a new SBI sheet for Joe.  They do not allow you to come in person everything is done via mail.  I call and the very nice lady understood and felt bad and said I am fixing it right now come down.  So we jam down there and pick it up.  I called the post office at 2 different numbers and was told (by the way there are many details I am leaving out....this is the short version of the last almost 2 weeks! (: ) to call.  Both folks I talked to said the Apostilled docs are at the post office.  I drive to the post office and that is when all the computers froze.  Tonya called me and I explained no one can find my express mail package that was suppose to be her Friday and I broke all the computers by my sheer presence!  LOL!  We both got a laugh because she knows disaster is always trailing me.  So after 20 minutes in the post office no one knows where my envelope is.  So I was sent to another post office to be told by a very nice lady there is absolutely nothing she can or will do and that it is not there fault the package did not come on Friday as I paid for it to be delivered.  So I hung up and called back and spoke with a manager who was willing to track my driver down to find out our package was on the mail truck with him and it was delivered to me at 3PM.  HALLELJAH!!!!!!!  Ok so now the race is on for the homestudy to arrive.  Yes all backwards order but it is coming together to meet the last day to ship on Wednesday.  Mary Mooney and Levacy Smith have been champs and working overtime to help us meet these deadlines.  What looked like would not even be able to be sent to me (homestudy) after needed edits because Ukraine would deny it how we had they were able to make the changes yesterday and ship it to me.  So today is the big DAY!!! Basically the last documents, the homestudy is the last thing I need to ship to Ukraine.  If they arrive in the mail today we can make the deadline to ship.  It is 12:20!  Our mailman arrives between 1:30 and 3PM.  Todays the make or break day!  So I am praying for a miracle here.

So with all this said God has heavily weighted upon my heart to trust him completely and thoroughly.  Not only with this last piece of the dossier to make it before the Ministry (used to be SDA) Ukraine shuts down for the holidays but also our finances, every aspect of our adoption.  The reality of we could be flying back for Sergiy in as little as February we have less then 3 months to find under a rock $26,000.00.  I am going to start looking under the big rocks for buried treasure!  LOL!  I am completely humbled and at peace.  But if God has brought us this far he is not going to just let go.  With Kolya's adoption we did Belks sales, silent auctions, puzzles, etc.  Our family has already done the Belk sale to raise funds towards Sergiys adoption.  We are doing a couple things to fundraise but I feel God is asking me to not give him just a piece of this like I tend to do but all of it, this whole adoption so that he may be glorified.  To be honest I am scared to death.  Even when you fundraise you fight kick and scratch so in a weird way you do have some control.  So this is a toughy for me because I am going to give up even that piece of control and step back.  I even cringe writing this because I am a full throttle kinda girl.  So instead of me clogging up my blog for Sergiy about fundraisers to help fund his adoption I am going to journal about all about our journey and the needs God meets for us.  Then isolate any fundraising we do to one area on the blog under "How You Can Help".   Right now Kolya, Joe and I are starting a skateboarding ministry online and locally www.fallenbutsaved.com it is almost done.  With our love for skateboarding we are starting this ministry as an outreach to the kids in our local skatepark where there is so much need.  We are taking sponsorships to raise funds to build cutom boards for these kids.  At one point I had 20 kids around me just talking to me about their lives, needs, hurts and desires for their lives.  So many of them broken.  Joe and I used to do ministry in skateparks with our youth group many moons ago in CA and we so forgot all the needs in those parks with so many broken kids.  Our plans with this business is to outreach and also make custom boards and raise funds for Sergiy's adoption and turn it over to the boys so they can learn the life skills on how to raise and manage their money the way God intended and to give in the process.  The site is almost done (I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT AMY MCCOY, Thank you girl!)  and I know we are all so excited for all that God has in store and what he will reveal to us as a family growing in faith and trusting him to meet our needs.

We feel so blessed to have Sergiy with us this Christmas and get more excited each day we get closer!  So glad you are right with us reading along and in prayer as we take this journey as a family together!

**QUICKY UPDATE:  Just found out last night our complete dossier was emailed to Ukraine to start translation so when the last doc arrives (homestudy) hopefully today the translation will prayerfully be ready to go so we can rock and roll!**

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Big Thank You To Belks

Yesterday was the Belks charity sale and Joe, Kolya, my sister Denise and I worked two stores to raise funds for Sergiys hosting/adoption expenses.  At these sales this is always a perfect time to buy clothing, raise awareness about the program you are representing and raise funds for your need.  Last year we were able to buy Kolya a wardrobe for about $150.00 and Christmas along with paying for Kolya's homestudy and part of his adoption.  This year my sister who is becoming a foster parent scored baby clothes and we scored BIGTIME for Sergiy and sending clothes back to Ukraine to the kids in the orphanage.  It was incredible. 

We were able to get 26 shirts for girls at Sergiys orphanage, 10 boxers, 2 jeans a winter jacket for Sergiy. A much needed belt for Kolya. 12 pairs of socks for Sergiy. A Christmas frame and Christmas photo album Kolya wanted to Sergiy. 14 shirts for both boys.  Mens slippers for Kolya for Christmas and a hat for me when I go back to Ukraine with NHFC (I look like I belong in the Alps with it).  All this for $140.00.  Thank you BELKS!!!   

Belks has been a huge part in helping us get a step closer to bringing our son Kolya home and now they are helping us bring Sergiy here for Christmas and a step closer to home should the Lord continue to open the doors for us to adopt as he is.

We could not do this without your support!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The News That Came In.....

For 2 weeks leading up to the call yesterday from poor Renee with NHFC who is the bearer of bad news at times I have been feeling very strongly about Sergiy coming and moving for to adoption but when it came to Konstantin there has been just a blank void, not bad or good just blank.  I have not been able to pin it.  Joe said do you think we are not to host and adopt him.  I told it's not that I just feel this empty spot and I can't figure it out.  Well the call yesterday explained that blank void and empty spot I could not pin.  Konstantin will not be coming to America.  He has been offered a foster family in Ukraine and he and his brother jumped on that wagon.  Apparently the director knowing we were hosting and intended on adopting although he could not say so he really tried to push the boys to wait it out and come to American but they were ready to go. 

This news to me was 100 percent completely understanding.  These boys have no idea (except from the interview trip I was on with NHFC if he even recalls me) who we are and all the know is a family wants them foster family or not.  Not knowing what it is like here in America, with our family and we intended on adopting them.  I would jump if I were in the same position.  With the news I was actually happy for the boys.  I know there is a movement in Ukraine currently by Ukrainian men trying to push in different regions Ukraine families to adopt their children.  I know nothing about this foster family.  What if that is the case.  What if they are Christians.  These are questions I do not know but I know my Lord does.  So I find peace and rest with this news and am excited for the boys to stay in Ukraine.  So Joe, Kolya and myself are in prayer for them several times a day for these guys. 

So where are we at now??  We are still moving steam boat ahead for Sergiy.  The homestudy is in Ukraine and we are just waiting for the news on the processing.  As of yesterday the SDA officially changed over to it's new name thankfully without shutting the doors and with that the only issue is the stamp for the lady that will process our paperwork and many others has no way to validate it because the new stamp with the new SDA ministry name has not come in and won't be in until I believe November 14th.  So she is stuck with the old SDA name and outta luck using it. 

But we know the Lord is in charge and he is mighty so we rest in that.  He knows our family and the plans he has for us.  So meanwhile we wait on him, keep moving forward fundraising for Sergiys adoption and prepare for ministry in Ukraine and leading at team back for the "Way of Gods Grace" orphan ministry to start building in April.  Praise the Lord!