Our Weekend in Michigan

September 29, 2008

We are so grateful for how we were blessed this past weekend. After a pretty discouraging week Steve and I had the chance to reconnect with friends from Michigan. Our hearts were refreshed by what we experienced.

Eight years ago Steve interned at a church in the Detroit area. We started dating during this time and as a result, I got to share in the relationships Steve formed with these great people. One such person is a girl named Jill. Jill felt burdened to help us in our adoption. So she gathered together people who knew Steve and asked them to come pray with us and consider giving financially.

We hung out for a while and just got caught up. Brad, Jill’s husband, led us in a time of worship through music. As we sat together in their living room, singing the song “Blessed be your name”, my heart just rested on the words “You give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name.” I was overwhelmed to be sitting there, among friends who were with us through this process of adoption, singing to our God who has gone before us and is coming behind us through this process of adoption. It was a beautiful moment and one that will be forever etched in my mind. I’ll think about it often in these months leading up to our adoption.

Steve and I then had a chance to share our story and where we are in the process of adoption. It was so neat because often I am updating people through words typed out on a website, but to be able to sit face to face with a group of people and give them an “update” was such a great experience to look in their eyes and see their support and compassion and excitement.

At the end of the evening, we spent some time in prayer – asking for God’s perfect timing, for His protection over our little baby, and that our baby would be loved and touched. It was truly a picture of the body of Christ, bearing each other’s burdens and walking side by side, hand in hand, through life. And though we wanted nothing more than to just be with people and share our story, those that came also brought kind cards with financial gifts.

In addition to all of this we were able to visit with Steve’s best friend from NJ. He is now married and has several kids of his own. We’ve all grown very close over the years. These dear friends of ours blessed us deeply with their friendship, their encouraging words and an overwhelming financial gift. We are truly humbled and honored to have such great friends.

Again, we have been blown away by who God uses and how He provides. We are so grateful to our Michigan friends for their love and support of us. We were refreshed, encouraged and energized to continue on in this process! What great friends and what an amazing God we have!

Updates:

  • We received what is called an “I-71H” in the mail this week. This is our official US approval to be able to bring a foreign orphan into the United States. So exciting! They will be sending the approval to the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia.
  • We are still in the process of getting the final 2 documents we need to complete our “dossier.” They have been notarized and now going through county and state authentication. We’re hoping by the end of the week, we’ll be able to send them into CWA
  • We had a great financial weekend and are hoping to hear something soon from our grant applications

Prayer Requests:

  • Praise God for His provision for us!
  • Pray for the paperwork to be authenticated quickly
  • Pray for little “St. Pete” that he/she would be loved and touched by their hard working caretakers

We’ll update again next Monday! Love, Kate & Steve.

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An Uneventful Week

September 22, 2008

So, I wish this blog could have been entitled “Completed Paperwork Sent to Russia”. But, it cannot. We found out this morning that a newly added requirement means that we have to redo a document we thought we completed. In addition to that, we’ll need to have it notarized, apostilled by the state of Ohio and then sent to CWA before it can be official. We were hoping that there would be no changes or additions to the paperwork (“dossier”) sent into CWA. But, as Steve says, it’s better to have a little bit of discomfort now than a lot of pain later. It is so important to have our documents perfectly ready before they are sent to Russia, because we definitely don’t want to be stressed out by incomplete documents when we are there!! So, all that to say… a little disappointing news this morning, but not the worst it could be.

This weekend, we will be traveling to beautiful Detroit, Michigan. Steve used to intern at a church outside of Detroit before we were married. He still says that the year he was there was the best year of his life (pre-marriage of course ☺). One of our good friends, Jill, called us a few weeks ago with a desire to want to help us financially. So, she put together invitations and mailed them out to all of our friends from the church, asking to come and join us in our journey. We’ll have great times of laughter and memories, I’m sure. And we will also have the opportunity to share our story, have some time to worship and pray together. When it is all done, they want to take a “love offering” for us. We are so grateful and we can’t wait to spend the evening with these treasured friends!!

Yesterday, Steve and I went on a walk and we were talking about how we are doing in life. We talked a lot about how we really want to just enjoy each moment that God gives us and not always be looking towards the “next thing”. I don’t want to look back on this year and regret wasting it by being consumed with the wait. I believe God tested me this morning with the news about the incomplete paperwork. My first reaction was to be so upset. I really thought everything was perfect and ready to go. I was so frustrated. But, then, I remember the conversation that Steve and I had just yesterday. Really, what is just 2 more weeks of waiting in the big scheme of things? There is so much to be grateful for TODAY.

Thanks for journeying with us. Through the slow times, the fun times, the waiting times and the moving times.  We are so grateful to have friends like you!

Updates:

  • We have been notified that 2 of the 3 grant applications have been received and we hope to receive a response in the next month or two.
  • We are in the process of completing our last document needed for our dossier
  • Money contributions have slowed considerably. We continue to have some funds trickle in slowly but surely. Every little bit helps. We are so grateful!!

Prayer Requests:

  • That God would allow us to rest in Him, find peace in Him and enjoy the entire process of bringing home our little “St. Pete”
  • Continued prayer for our little one – that God would be building and molding a special place in their little heart for us
  • Wisdom and compassion for the grant organizations who read and review our application

We’ll update again next Monday. Thanks for your prayers and support! Love, Kate & Steve

Progress Report

September 15, 2008

Well, the past 7 days have been another waiting-type week. We received word from one of our grant organizations that our application has been received and in the process of review. We trust that the other 2 are also being reviewed. Please continue to pray for wisdom and compassion for the people that read our applications! Our agency is also in the process of finalizing our registration packet that will be sent to Russia. We are hoping it will be ready to send out to Russia by the end of the week. So, things are definitely moving, but we are waiting and praying as they move.

We thought it would be fun this week, to give you a little “progress report.” It’s so amazing to think it has only been 4 months since we officially decided to begin our adoption from Russia. God has done so much so far and we are continuing to trust Him to finish what He has started!! Steve put together this little image to show how far we have come and how far we have to go. We also put together a list of who God is using to make this happen. If you are like us, you will be blown away by the people helping bring little St. Pete into our arms.

Step #1: Initial Agency Costs • $6,550 – COMPLETED!

This includes our overall cost of going with Christian World Adoption, application fees, online training resources and even post-adoption fees.

Step #2: Department of Immigration • $830 – COMPLETED!

We had to get fingerprinted at the state department and also paid some hefty application fees.

Step #3: Completion of Homestudy • $1,500 – COMPLETED!

This was a rather lengthy process of having our home inspected by a fireman, a social worker, the clearance of background checks and medical exams.

Step #4: Completion of Dossier$7,200 COMPLETED!

A Dossier includes a pile of documents like financial statements, tax records, marriage certificates, proof of home ownership, completion of homestudy, etc. The big chunk of money that goes with the Dossier is the 1st half of Russia’s international fee.

Step #5: Child Referral • $7,000 – INCOMPLETE

We can’t wait for this day – when our agency sends us the picture of the child selected for us. At this step we’ll need to pay the 2nd half of Russia’s international fee.

Step #6: 1st Trip to Russia • $4,000 – INCOMPLETE

When we finally get to head over there we’ll meet the child selected for us. Assuming all goes well, we’ll come home, finalize a few things, then return to Russia! The expenses at this stage of the race are airfare, food & lodging.

Step #6: 2nd Trip to Russia $9,000 – INCOMPLETE

This is where we go to pick up little St. Pete!!! This stay will cost us more because we will be required to stay in the country longer.

Fun Facts: Where the money has come from (so far):

  • Ohio
  • North Carolina
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Georgia
  • Ireland
  • get this…not 1 but 2 from the Middle East!

Fun Facts: Who the money has come from:

  • Our parents
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts & Uncles
  • Cousins
  • Steve’s friends from college
  • Kate’s friends from high school
  • The friends of our parents
  • The parents of our friends
  • High school students at the Chapel
  • College students
  • former students from our church in North Carolina
  • Parents of young children
  • Parents of teenagers
  • Parents of grown children
  • And of course, our closest friends

Until next Monday, Steve & Kate.

The Right Thing

September 8, 2008

On Thursday, I went to my mailbox only to find a very large packet of documents, sent from the state of Ohio. There were 23 documents to be exact, all “officially authenticated.” So, I decided to take a picture of them 🙂

I’ve never seen so many official documents at one time! It was such a fun moment to see all of the work over the past few months: of home studies, fire inspections, doctors visits, financial statements, and lots of signatures. It all finally came together for one purpose. All of these documents were sent to CWA this past Friday to be reviewed and translated before being sent to Russia.

I wanted to take just a small moment to tell you how incredibly amazing our agency has been so far. I am a member of a few of the yahoo groups of people who are adopting from Russia. It seems like so often people are writing on the message boards about problems they are having with paperwork issues or authenticating problems. And although the past few months of paperwork have been busy, I have never once wondered what I’m supposed to be doing.

Our agency so clearly lays out exactly what to do, from start to finish. We are so thankful for them. While we know there will be bumps in the road ahead because that is just the nature of international adoption and working with another country, we are just so grateful that the bumps haven’t begun early!

We also sent out 3 grant applications on Friday and we are praying that as the organizations receive them, they would be filled with compassion and generosity and a desire to give big.

This past week we heard a great story about a guy who graduated from our students ministries a couple of years ago. Laurelyn, our friend and contact for our personal fee donations, got an email from him that said “I just watched Steve and Kate’s story on YouTube…how do I give?” I love that so much. God continues to amaze me with who He is choosing to use. It reminded us to pray for people who may haven’t yet seen our video or read our blog, that He would lead them to our story and stir in them a desire to give…and that they would respond.

Sometimes I wonder why God has put this burden on our hearts. Recently I asked God, “Are we making the right decision? Why not something cheaper? Why not something easier or with less paper work?” His response came to me through a radio broadcast from Steven Curtis Chapman who has adopted 3 children from China. Steven Curtis Chapman said this, “the right thing is often not the easiest thing, or the cheapest thing, or the most understandable. It is right because it is what God has called you to do. Because He has called you to do it, He will guide you and make it happen. So when it is all over, you can look back and say, the only way this could have happened is by God.”

God has put us in a place where we know that the only way this adoption is going to happen is through Him – from the finances to the details to the wisdom to the providing of just the right baby for us. We give Him the glory. Thanks for journeying with us. We are so grateful for each of you who read this blog, who share in this beautiful path of adoption with us.

Updates:

  • CWA has received our documents and are in the process of reviewing them
  • Our grant applications have been sent out and should be reviewed over the next month

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for wisdom for CWA as they review our paperwork – that they would be thorough and that we could quickly send out the paperwork to Russia
  • Pray for those who review our grant applications
  • Pray for those who are finding our blog and our story for the first time, that they would be stirred with a desire to give
  • Pray for our baby who may be in an orphanage even today. I’m praying right now (10:20pm) that he/she would be sleeping peacefully and that God would already be putting a desire in their little heart for us

Until next Monday, Kate & Steve