Adopting Grace

The journey to bring our little girl home

Browsing Posts in The Process

Another Hoop

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We were warned the dossier was like a moving target and we’re learning how true that is! Even though ours is over there now we learned this week that we need to redo one paper (which has actually been redone twice so far this week because Philip’s name was misspelled) and get another amendment on our home study because there was a difference between some numbers on it and another paper in the dossier. Thankfully the people we need to help us have been working quickly and we’ll get these new documents over there as soon as we can. Our stateside team has been very hard to reach this week because it’s made up of volunteers and they occasionally have to have lives…totally understandable, but very hard to be patient with when it’s your papers that are waiting! We’re hoping to know early next week whether or not our dossier can be submitted while we’re mailing the new docs or not. If not, it could set us back another week or two. I know this kind of craziness is normal and we’ve been told by another family who went through this process that it can happen right up until the adoption is final, but somehow I thought if we were careful enough it wouldn’t happen to us. So much for that, huh?

On a more positive note, another adopting family let us know about a blog of a family who is currently in Grace’s orphanage! We got to see our first pictures of where she lives and hear a little about the place. We know it’s in a poorer part of the city, but seems to be a very well kept facility with a caring director. What I can see in the pictures is nicer than many of the other places we’ve been seeing so we’re hopeful that Grace really is being well cared for. It doesn’t sound like she’s in the same group (called a ‘groupa’ over there) as this little boy so we won’t get any new pictures of her, but we’re hoping that when we get there they’ll at least have a baby picture or two that we can take with us.

So, please be praying for our papers! They are hopefully being translated right now and, we’re praying, can be submitted soon. The government just reopened yesterday and we know there will be a little back log of dossiers so we’re not sure when to expect to hear something.

Just Keep Going

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Tomorrow is our biggest fund raiser and we’re almost ready. Philip and I went through each item last night making sure each bid sheet, item and display was in order. We have 76 items worth over $4,700…wow! We’re keeping it all in our bedroom to keep kids out of it and I keep walking in thinking…hmmm, that painting would look great in my living room and that necklace would look great with my outfit…and the kids would love to use those tickets for the Playstation…and I sure could put that scrapbooking stuff to good use…and I really want to use the photography sessions and vacation package. As much as we’d like to keep all the items, we’re hoping there will be others who want them too so none of them have to come back home with us!

We’ve been watching our dossier on the FedEx site as it makes it’s way around the world. It made a stop in Memphis before heading over to Paris and now it’s back ‘in transit.’ We’ll have to wait and see where it touches down next. Please be keeping our papework in your prayers. We received a new set of checklists for dossiers (after ours was already in the mail) that’s huge and we’re trying to wade through it to see if there’s anything in it that will cause problems for us. Apparently several families have had problems recently with certain documents and these changes are a response to that, which is great except that having to redo papers at this point just got a lot harder and could take long enough that some of our other papers would then be older than 5 months, meaning they would then need to be redone too. Philip is doing a good job staying calm about it and I have to keep praying to stay calm.We really appreciate all your prayers for us and Grace as we keep moving forward.

It’s Here!


Our i-171H from the federal gov’t is here! The (sort of) funny thing is…is has been for a while and we just didn’t know it. We received a letter last weekend saying that we’d been approved and our paperwork had been forwarded to another office. We assumed we’d get an official looking form soon after,so when we didn’t we did some research and realized the letter was actually the I-171H! It’s only identified in tiny print on the bottom and almost looks like junk mail. For such an important piece of paper it’s very plain. I had been all ready to get excited when it finally came in the mail, only to realize it was sitting on my kitchen counter! After feeling a little dumb we heard from several others that they had done the same thing when theirs came. So we’re getting it apostilled and hope to send out our dossier early next week. The Ukrainian gov’t is closed for the first 2 weeks in July (a scheduled, routine closing), but our dossier has to be translated anyway and by the time that’s done they should be accepting dossiers again and we won’t really have lost any time.

Everything else is moving along too. The dinner and auction is coming together and we ended up hearing about another family in Ukraine who said they would be willing to let us stay with them if our orphanage is close by. We’re really hoping to get an exact location soon and we’d love to be able to stay with one of these missionary families…partially to cut costs and partially because it would be great to get to see firsthand how God is working through them.



The garage sale is over and it was amazing! A couple days ago I honestly couldn’t have told you how this was all going to work, but it went so well and was such a blessing. We moved 2 HUGE business-sized trailers worth of stuff out of the church Friday night…in the biggest storm I’ve seen in a long time. We were seriously not sure whether we would get to finish because it looked like we might be in for a tornado. And then at 6am we moved it all back out of those trailers and into a water-soaked park. It might not sound like ideal conditions, but we’ve had rain for the past 2 weeks and are schedule for more all next week. In fact, Saturday has been the only totally dry day during that whole time. It was sunny, with a slight breeze and absolutely beautiful. continue reading…



Image By: Crystl

Wow, for people who usually live a pretty quiet life these last few days have been very odd! Last night the local newspaper editor came by the house to do an interview with us (Grace crawled up in his lap and insisted he read her a book). They’ve agreed to run a story and help with advertising our fund raisers. Then Philip and I got up early to head over to the Christian radio station here to do another interview. I was kind of nervous, but it went really well and was much easier than I anticipated. We have ads in the local paper, have posted on multiple places online and will have signs up all over town…hopefully we’ll have a good turnout! For you locals, here’s the info again:

HUGE garage sale at Davis Park in Mt. Vernon this Saturday (the 19th) from 7:30-3:30. We’ll have food, clothes, electronics, crafts, toys, games, furniture, musical instruments, kitchen and housewares, etc. What originally started out as something that would fit in a friends’ driveway has overgrown the pavilion at the park! There is a chance of rain that day so PLEASE be praying for good weather! continue reading…

Try Again


First Major Fund Raiser is Next Weekend!

Our amended homestudy arrived this week and the kids and I took it to UPS this morning to be expedited back to the US gov’t so our paperwork could continued to be processed. Please pray that we made all the correct changes so we can recieve our approval soon! We’re also ready to send in the last batch of papers for apostilles as soon as they are reviewed by our Reece’s Rainbow team…they have been wonderful to double check everything for us to make sure there are no small mistakes that could cause problems in Ukraine. Those are the last pieces of our dossier and it’s exciting to see them almost done! continue reading…



Ok, the paperwork problems look like they might be fixed and hopefully our forms will be processed soon. The officer in charge of our case has been very helpful and explained that there are some recent changes to the system that now allows them to be more thorough in their work. We had to include some specific examples of how we are educating ourselves and preparing our home to take of a special needs child. While it’s annoying to have to slow down to fix this we’re incredibly grateful it happened in the US instead of overseas. Once we get the US approval we will be about ready to send our dossier off to Ukraine…before they come up new papers to include! Just last week another paper was added to the list that should be in the dossier. We were warned at the beginning that putting this together is much like aiming at a moving target and it’s starting to feel that way!

The plans for the garage sale are continuing to come together with a lot of help from a lot of people. There’s still a a bunch of items to be sorted and organized before June 19th so I’ll be spending as much time as I can up at the church working on that. We did receive word this week that we’ve been accepted into the LifeSong program, which is an organization that helps families afford adoptions. Our church recently started a LifeSong account so now our paperwork will be sent to our church leaders and they will decide whether or not to award us a matching grant and how much that should be for if it’s awarded. We weren’t expecting to hear anything from them for several more weeks so that call was a pleasant surprise! At home we’ve been converting the work out room into a bed room and have made pretty good progress. With the exception of Kasia’s bassinet in our bathroom, everything seems to be finding appropriate places in other rooms. It’s exciting to think about having all 4 kids in the same house in just a few months!

A Bump

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Image By: Antony McAulay

Our paperwork has hit a little bump and we’re hoping it will be cleared up soon. We received a call from the officer processing our I600A form (the one for the US gov’t) saying we didn’t include enough information in our homestudy about how we are preparing ourselves and our home to accommodate Grace’s condition. Our social worker has written plenty of studies for this country before and never had a problem like this so we’re not sure why this is happening, but we’re trying to reword a few parts and then will have to resubmit the study before the US gov’t will give us the form to complete our dossier. Thankfully the officer did call us instead of just making us wait for a letter to arrive and our social worker  responded almost immediately to help us fix this. We’re hoping to have it cleared up next week so the officer can continue processing our form. Please be praying that we get it all fixed now so don’t have problems with it when it’s sent overseas.

Plodding Along

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Not much has happened this week, and yet we’ve stayed amazingly busy! I had to call someone from the Department of Homeland Defense to tell them we’d done our prints early or they would have waited to process them until our original date. We have no way of knowing how long it will take them to process them, but hopefully it will be quicker than the original date. There were 17 other families in the system ahead of us so it may take a few weeks. continue reading…

Because We Want To


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We got to make the trip to Des Moines today to try our luck at getting an earlier appointment for fingerprints and it worked! While a friend watched the older kids we headed out and just prayed we weren’t wasting this trip. When we finally got there and the guard asked us what we were doing there so early all I could think to say was, ‘Because we want to.’ Brilliant, I know. Thankfully I didn’t actually say it and Philip explained why were trying to expedite the process. They were very sweet and let us do our prints today…and then we rushed back home to get the kids because our friend had received word that her daughter’s water had just broken and her grandbaby was on the way! Because we made such good time we were able to get the last paper notarized and after I get the last batch of papers faxed to Des Moines for apostilles we’re done with the dossier except for the form we’ll get from the fingerprints! It continues to amazes us how quickly this is all coming together. It was only 2 months ago that I first saw a picture of ‘Big Gracie’ and now we could be only 1-2 months away from getting a travel date. Lord willing she’ll be home by her birthday!