Blessings Along the Way

October 27, 2008

This past week we were in North Carolina for my brother’s wedding. We had such a great time and it was so fun to spend time with our parents and all of the other extended family in town for the wedding.

On our way to North Carolina, we had a 2 hour layover in the Detroit airport. As we were eating dinner in the food court we saw this precious family walk up. The parents had 5 children all under the age of 5…and they all looked very different from each other. I wondered right away if some were adopted. We watched for a little while at how cute they all were and then overheard the mom tell someone that her kids were adopted. After we finished eating, we said hi to the family and talked a little bit to the mom about their adoption. She was so encouraging, telling us that the wait is difficult, but once you finally get your baby in your arms, you forget all about the waiting. It was so encouraging.

Later in the week, we went with my parents to my favorite lunch place in the world, Serendipity. We were eating outside and noticed a Russian flag hanging from a storefront in the same parking lot. It turns out that it was a Russian art gallery, so we decided to go in and check it out. When we walked in, we were blown away by all the beautiful artwork. Inside were hand made nesting dolls and other wooden toys famous in Russia. There were also beautiful paintings by a current Russian artist, Anatoly Kostovsky.

We began to speak with the owner of the gallery and discovered that she moved here from Russia 6 years ago…from Saint Petersburg!! It was so amazing to get to talk to her. We chatted for about 15-20 minutes about Russia and culture and St. Petersburg. She was so excited that we were going to be adopting a baby from her city. She asked for my phone number and is going to call me to give me information about where to stay, what to do, etc. I asked her if I could give her my email address, but she said that she “doesn’t trust email for something as important as this.” I loved that so much! It was a reminder of the deep sense of pride that Russians have for their country.

My dad bought us a picture that is just perfect. It is called “evening walk”. As you can see in the image below, it is a small house (maybe even an orphanage) with snow on the roof, and the spring flowers on the trees beginning to bud. Walking in front of the house is a woman in a long coat, pushing a baby carriage. The picture is not only something we can show to our child of the talent and artistry that comes from Russia, but everytime we look at it and see the mom pushing the baby, we are reminded to pray for our little St. Pete. Here it is:

Evening Walk by Anatoly Kostosky

We are so grateful for the small encouragements that we have been receiving from God – from seeing that adoptive family in the airport, to having such an engaging experience with Olga in the Russian art gallery. Amidst the waiting and the setbacks, God is giving us little blessings along the way to remind us that He is in control. We are grateful.

And the best news of all for the week. This was the email I received today from Fiona, our CWA case manager:

“Hi, Kate. Just to let you know your dossier is going out today via UPS. It should arrive on Thursday. Next step is that it will be translated and then registered in the region. This generally takes about 2 weeks. I’ll let you know when we have an official registration date. And great job on getting everything done so quickly.

Take care, Fiona”

So now, we wait and pray that the registration process would go quickly and that God would continue to provide for us financially as we get closer and closer to bringing home little St. Pete. Thanks for walking with us. We know that we absolutely could not travel this journey without you!

Updates:

  • Our paperwork has been sent to Russia today. Hopefully, it will get there by Thursday and then it takes an average of 2 weeks to be translated and registered in the region.
  • We are getting ready to begin the next stage of paperwork. That includes updated financial statements, medical blood tests, police records and employment verifications.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray that the documents would be quickly translated and processed in St. Petersburg.
  • Pray that once we are registered, God would match us perfectly with our little one.
  • Pray for the grant organizations who are continuing to review our applications. We should be hearing back from them soon.
  • Pray for the fundraising event on November 21st. That God would go above and beyond our thoughts and dreams.

Until next Monday, Kate & Steve.

Born in Our Hearts

October 20, 2008

If you remember from a few posts ago I told you about my friend Sue, who had a desire placed on her heart to help us financially with our adoption. She wanted to be able to give “big”, but didn’t personally have the resources. She did know, however, that she had the giftings and abilities to be able to network with people and plan an event. So she began to envision an evening fundraising celebration.

This past Thursday night, she invited a few women to brainstorm how to pull of the event she envisioned. Sue invited me to be a part of this meeting and to say that I was both excited and humbled is an understatement. After sitting at Starbucks and hearing all the ideas as well as the details that need to come together, I have to say I am SO excited! Here is the plan that came from that meeting:

The event Sue and the others put together will be on Friday, November 21st from 6:00pm-9:00 at the Coventary Oaks Pavilion at Firestone MetroPark. (I initially thought it was an outdoor pavillion but no worries, it’s indoors ☺). We are calling it “Born in Our Hearts.” We will be having all different kinds of soups, bread and yummy homemade desserts. We will then worship together through music, followed by a chance for Steve and I to share our story and God’s heart for adoption. We hope the evening will raise awareness for international adoption and encourage us through this long journey.

We also plan on having a bonfire where we can roast some smores and hotdogs. This evening is for all kinds of people – close friends, high school students, their families, people who have a heart for adoption, people who want to know more about adoption and people who just want to support a good cause. Sue’s vision was to pre-sale tickets to help organize the details more effectively. Ticket prices are $15 for adults (18 and up) and $10 for kids (ages 5–17). If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, you can email Sue Lindsey at suelindsey@neo.rr.com. We can’t wait to see what God is going to do with this event. I’m already so encouraged by the outpouring of people who are wanting to help be a part of it – both people that I know and people who I don’t know. God is just amazing.

On Tuesday night I leave for North Carolina for my younger brother’s wedding. I’m so excited to see he and his beautiful fiancé share this special day. It seems like just yesterday (even though it was over 6 years ago) that I was walking down the aisle on my wedding day. At that time, Steve and I had no idea the path that God was going to lead us down. Our dreams and thoughts of what the first 5 years of marriage would be like was much different than it is now. Our dreams then pale in comparison to what God has actually done in our lives and how He has used His plans to deepen our relationship more than we could have ever anticipated.

Although our dreams began with the desire to have biological children, we never imagined the deep passion and desire we now share in walking this road of adoption, fully convinced that the baby God has for us is in an orphanage somewhere in Russia. This road has not been without pain and frustration. We often wonder why God has written this story for our lives. But at the same time, I can honestly say that the joy, peace, excitement and fulfillment that we have received from walking this path have brought us not only closer as a couple, but closer to the heart of God.

We have truly felt that God is walking before us as He leads, He is walking behind us as He strengthens, and He is walking with us as He secures us in His arms. We are so grateful that God has given us more than we could have asked or imagined in the making of our family. As always, we thank you for taking this journey with us. Thank you for crying when we cry and celebrating when we celebrate. We have been absolutely blessed beyond measure by the people in our lives.

Updates:

  • We had another small setback with getting our documents sent to Russia. There was a last second change in what they required. We are hoping by the end of the week the entire packet of documents (dossier) will finally get sent out!
  • We are so excited to have the date for our fundraising event nailed down. We hope you save the date! If you are interested in purchasing a ticket contact sue Lindsey

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray that we would be able to get our dossier sent to Russia in the next two weeks. We are trying to remain positive and flexible because that is the only way to get through an international adoption!
  • Still no word from the grant organizations we applied with. Please pray they will be generous to us!
  • Pray for little St. Pete. As it continues to get colder here, it is also getting colder in Russia. Pray that our little one would be warm and healthy and held close by their caretakers.

Celebrating Russia

October 12, 2008

First of all, I’d like to say thank you for your outpouring of love and support over my last blog update. The emails, phone calls, Bible verses and hugs were just what I needed. Thanks for letting me be authentic on this blog. It’s much easier to just pretend that everything is just great all of the time – but, there is much freedom in honesty!

Last week we received a newspaper clipping in the mail from a wonderful friend, Mary. It was an advertisment for a “Russian Festival” at a nearby church. So, on Wednesday afternoon, Steve and I had a Russian-style date. ☺ What a fun experience! We walked into a big fellowship hall-type room that had booths set up all around the edges. They were selling authentic Russian crafts, toys, books and music. My favorites were the “nesting dolls” – which Russia is famous for. It was so neat to look at how intricately made they were. Many of them are used to tell Russian fairytales, which are also a very important part of the culture.

I think our favorite part of the festival, was it’s music. There was a live, authentic band playing the whole time. I love how music is such a reflection of a culture. The Russian music was beautifully played, but very complex with each instrument playing very different melodies, but still coming together to make a beautiful song. It was great

a few snapshots from the Russian Festival

For lunch we had Chicken Kiev (yummy), and a dish called Halushki, which is dumplings and cabbage (I liked it, Steve not so much). Steve had a Russian-style sausage called kilbasi (which he liked, me not so much). Then we split a poonchki for desert which is like a fried sweet dinner roll with powdered sugar on top. That was a winner for both of us! We will probably not be losing any weight when we eventually go to Russia ☺ The whole experience was a good reminder that the Russian culture is very different than what we live in everyday. We know when the time comes for us to go there, it is going to be difficult, but at the same time we truly want to embrace and experience Russia – it’s beauty, it’s uniqueness, as well as it’s challenges.

We are also excited because we have a date scheduled to have a fundraiser dessert in the area. This is the fundraiser that our dear friend, Sue is heading up. It is going to be at a park on Friday evening, November 21st. It will be a “Russian party” because it’s an outdoor shelter at the end of November in Ohio. So, make sure you dress in your finest Russian fur jackets and boots ☺ There will be a time of worship and then Steve and I will have our chance to publicly share our story with friends, acquaintances and maybe even people we don’t know who we are but want to support a good cause. Be looking for more details to come, especially if you are in the area. Our main hope is just to be able to share our story and God’s heart for adoption. We are hoping it will be an encouraging and inspiring time for all!

At times it feels like the adoption process will never end, but the reality is things are moving and we are getting closer and closer each day to holding little St. Pete in our arms! We really can’t wait to meet him/her and for the little one to see how many people have been eagerly anticipating their arrival into our lives! Thanks for taking this journey with us!

Updates:

  • Most of our paperwork is complete. We were told that it will take about 2 weeks for all the documents to be mailed, translated and then registered in Russia. From there, the real “waiting” begins ☺
  • We are in the middle of taking a 10 hour online class about international adoption which is required by the US. It’s pretty interesting and we’re learning a lot.
  • Mark your calendar for Friday, November 21st and tell all of your friends. We’ll give you more details as they come!

Prayer Requests:

  • Continued patience as we wait
  • Pray for our little one as the cold weather comes – that they will be warm and free from illness
  • Pray that God would continue to stir in the hearts of people to give – more than we could ask or imagine!

Until next Monday, love, Kate & Steve

Happy and Sad

October 6, 2008

“Aren’t you so excited?”, a kind, well-meaning friend asked me referring to our adoption. But, the reality of that moment was “no, I would not have used the word excited to describe my emotional state at this time.” The day she asked the question, I had just gone to a doctor appointment to discuss some infertility issues. Just because we’re adopting, it does not erase the other physical issues and side effects that go along with our infertility. So the last couple of weeks I have found myself often wrestling with the balance of excitement and joy about our adoption, with the continued frustration and sadness over our infertility.

In the process God is continually bringing me to a place where I now know that adoption is not a “replacement”. That would be just too much pressure and responsibility to place on our little St. Pete. He/she is not supposed to fill the loss of our infertility. We are fully convinced that God has led us to international adoption. He has put it in our heart as a desire and a passion and honestly, I can’t imagine not doing it! So, in that way, “yes I am absolutely excited about our adoption”. I am anxious and can’t wait to see St. Pete for the first time, for our eyes to meet and all this love I have stored up in my heart for him or her to finally be poured out into their life. But, there are times when I am also just sad. Am I allowed to say that?

This past week was one of those times. Maybe its because I spent a few days at the doctor’s office taking blood tests and trying to make some health related decisions. Maybe its because one of the tests I had to take was a pregnancy test in order to proceed with some other treatments. Although I knew (and actually hoped) that it would say no, it was almost as if that little test were mocking me. NEGATIVE – it seemed to scream.

God has been teaching me to truly live and feel and respond to the realities of life. That I don’t have to put on a plastered smile and act like everything is so wonderful all of the time. God is big enough for all of my emotions – for my excitement, for the joy and gratitude that He has led us down this beautiful road of adoption; and also for the pain, sadness and confusion that we will all face in our lives. I’m learning that I can be both happy and sad – and that doesn’t make me crazy. Just human ☺

Updates:

  • We are still waiting on 2 documents to be authenticated. Once these are all complete, our agency will send them off to Russia to start the process of registering Steve and I to officially adopt from their country
  • We are continuing to receive donations from all kinds of people – people that we know and don’t know. We are so grateful.

Prayer:

  • Pray for the caregivers in Russia – all of them, but specifically where little St. Pete is – that they would love our little one and feel encouragement from our prayers
  • Pray for speed with the documents so we can get registered in Russia
  • Pray for continued financial giving – God has already done so much through people and we are asking for Him to continue to stir in the hearts of people to give
  • This month one of the 3 grant organizations we’ve applied to will review our case. Please pray that they will be generous to us!

Until next Monday, Kate & Steve.