Adopting Grace

The journey to bring our little girl home

Browsing Posts tagged dossier



We just found out our dossier was submitted today to the Ukrainian gov’t today! That means our facilitators must not have found anything else they thought was questionable in our paperwork and our next step is to wait for our travel date. For most families it takes another 2-3 weeks to get a date and another 2-3 from there to actually travel, putting us traveling around the end of August or early September. Hopefully not much longer now!

-you keep a copy of the Secretary of State number and fax in your car at all times.

-you have nightmares of your 2 year old using your dossier or grant applications as a coloring book.

-you haven’t had time to clean your house in months.

-you combine feeding the kids breakfast, cleaning the kitchen and regular household chores with learning another Russian word.

-you dislike another country’s government as much as you do your own.

-you daydream about what it will finally be like to have this little person in your house, playing along side your other kids.

-you now consider explaining your complete financial status to total strangers a normal thing to do.

-you regularly wonder what on earth you’ve gotten yourself into.

-you pray more than you’ve ever prayed before…about pretty much everything.

-you have the opportunity to see God doing some pretty amazing things and share it with countless others.

No word yet from Ukraine. Thursdays seem to be the day new dossiers for kids in our category (age and special needs) are submitted so we’re praying this is our week, but know it could still take longer.

More Of The Same

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Philip and I just returned home from some pre-adoption training today in Des Moines that Bethany Christian Services allowed us to sit in on. While we didn’t hear anything new it was pretty helpful…mainly because we didn’t hear anything new. We’re starting to get to the point in our research and prep work where we’re familiar with what’s in all the books and educational resources so we feel like we’re going into this as prepared as we can. The final speakers were a couple who adopted a sibling group a year ago and we thought it was pretty funny that most of the really challenging stories they shared were the same things we deal with on a daily basis. While their kids had come from pretty rough backgrounds, after the first 6 months their problem areas sound very similar to any family with a bunch of small children. We did get a few more pointers on some ways to help with building a bond with Grace when she gets here, some of which are going to be hard to carry out, but seemed to be tried and true methods from quite a few adoptive families. We were encouraged to make sure that absolutely everything she needs on a daily basis is performed by only Philip and myself for at least the first few months. All food, gifts, help getting dressed or cleaned or help around the house should be coming only from us so she can understand what our roles are in her life and so she is forced to depend on us and start to trust us. Because these kids have been cared for by so many different people who never stick around they will accept just about anyone, which is great except that it allows them to not form a strong bond it any one person. We realize this is going to be tricky because so many people are going to want to meet her and interact with her and because we will be tired and want the help, but it sounds like it’s in everyone’s best interest to do this for a while.

Also, the documents that had to be redone in the dossier are finished and in the hands of one of our stateside facilitators who happens to be going to Kiev this weekend. This saved us mailing time and about $100, which is what it’s cost every time we’ve had to ship something over there. As far as we know we just get to wait until we hear something back from our Ukraine facilitators, which means this is the first time since this whole journey started that we don’t have anything really pressing to do this week! Philip and I are trying to figure out how to tackle the list of projects that haven’t been done the last few months and are looking forward to the breather!

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.

Blessed Again


The dinner and auction are over and were a huge success! After weeks of not enough sleep we went into it just praying God would make it what He wanted it to be…to bring the people, weather and atmosphere He wanted. And it was beautiful. It rained all morning and part of the afternoon, which concerned us a bit, but God provided a 40 foot donated tent to completely cover all the auction items and a completely covered (gorgeous!) lodge for the dinner. We assumed we’d just have to find the silver lining in a rainy event, but at 5pm as the band began to play we watched the clouds part and wonderful sunshine come through and enjoyed dry weather for the rest of the evening! We had a great turnout, an amazing band, delicious food, totally awesome friends and family to work with and the auction worked! We had tried so hard to be organized so the check out at the end of the auction would go smoothly and quickly and, even with a few hiccups, we got all the prep work done in the scheduled 30 minutes and had everyone checked out in another 30. It was truly amazing!

The support we received from our friends and family was so encouraging and, through them, God provided another HUGE chunk of the resources we’ll need to bring Grace home. Between the proceeds from tonight, the matching grant and donations that have been sent in from around the country we are now at about $18,000! We were told to expect a cost of between $20-24,000 which 4 months ago sounded like an impossible bill, but today is so close to being met. And while we praise God for continuing to provide for us financially, I’m more in awe of how He’s taking care of us on a day-to-day basis through this. It’s been a very stressful time, but just when we think it’s getting to be too much we’ll have a friend call and offer to watch the kids while we do some task or someone else will call just to say they are praying and ask how we’re doing. Others have offered pretty much every resource you can imagine, just when we needed it to take the next step in this process…and all of this is done for a little girl they’ve never met but are praying fervently for. It’s humbling to be in the middle of this whole thing and truly amazing to see how God is working around us and growing our faith. And we continue to pray that He is letting Grace feel his presence as strongly as we can.

By coincidence it was also my birthday. This is by far the biggest party I’ve ever had and one of the best birthdays I can remember. Philip and the kids surprised me on Saturday with an ice cream cake (I’ve always wanted one of those…yum!) and singing and I kept catching myself trying to imagine what it will be like to celebrate next year with Grace here too. I’m really looking forward to it.

P.S. We just got confirmation from FedEx that our dossier was received in Ukraine!

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.

All Falling Together

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The dossier is on its’ way and should be in our facilitator’s hands by next Tuesday!!! It was exciting and scary to put that in the mail. We’ve worked so hard to get all those papers together that I didn’t want to trust some random employee to take good care of it, but I knew I had to. So now we’re watching the FedEx site each morning to see where it is in its journey. So far it’s still just ‘in transit’ but I’m hoping as it continues we can watch it move across the world.

The dinner and auction are coming together well. We have over 50 items for the auction and I want at least half of them. Some of our friends are especially artistically talented and I’m loving the things they’ve made for us. It’s been a ton of work and pretty stressful at times, but then I’ll get a few phone calls or emails and I can see again how God is putting it all together. As I took a few minutes to just sit down while the kids are napping I was wondering why I hadn’t heard back from the Parks and Rec director about a question I had for our reservation and how I was going to manage to do all the work on the day of the auction…and then the phone rings and it’s the director with all my answers. A few minutes later I get another call from a friend who wanted to help with anything we needed that day. I know God is in control and I know he’s going to do whatever he wants with this event, but when we get those little glimpses into how he’s working it’s so encouraging!

Please keep praying for God’s timing in this whole process, for protection for our paperwork as it travels, for good weather for the dinner/auction on Sunday and for Grace’s health and protection while she’s waiting for us. Thank you!

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.



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…