Thursday, December 11, 2008

His name is.........



Jonathan McGee Copeland. I cannot post pictures of Jonathan until all work is done. I had a wonderful time in Vladivostok, Russia via New York and Seoul, Korea. I was able to visit J. on 4 different days--4 hours a day until the last day when I was only able to spend an hour. This process is so different from the journey with Will, but then aren't all "pregnancies" different? I'll post more details about Jonathan after we return home, which will probably be sometime in February. He is a cutie, who is very little. He certainly needs to get home quickly in order to experience nurturing, love, and good nutrition. I do wish that I could return much sooner.

I returned home on Sat morning after about 30 hours of flying and layovers. I was so thrilled to be greeted by Will who was genuinely excited about seeing me again. He was very good for Ashley, who watched him in my absence. I think that they both had a good time.

I returned in time for finals and have been busy finishing grades and other end of semester details, of which there are many. I'm battling jetlag and a messed up lower back. I guess the long flight did an interesting thing---while I had twinges of back pain, I thought that my back was just tight from sitting for so long. Monday, while I was at work, I stood up quickly and searing pain shot across my lower back. I ended up visiting a chiropractor on Monday and will visit him again tomorrow. In the mean time, I'm struggling to sleep at night and have a hard time moving during the day. Will keeps praying for me at random times, which brings joy to my heart.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Almost time.........

Today was the last day of classes before Thanksgiving break. I was thrilled that almost all of my students were in my classes today. I did receive about 25 philosophy of education drafts that I need to finish reviewing before I leave. I assign my students in one class to write their philosophy of education. I assign a grade and give them an opportunity to rewrite as many drafts as they can before the final one is due. Today was the last opportunity for them to turn in drafts before the final one which is due next Thursday. Some of my students have turned in 4 and 5 drafts. I know this process helps students, but it certainly is more challenging as I prepare to leave for Russia on Saturday.

I received my visa today--Yeah!! I have to fax a copy of it to EAC tomorrow. I also finished the Hague online adoption training today, which cost another$120. I had to fax the certificates of completion to EAC before I could travel. So many extra hoopd then my last process with Will's adoption. I'm excited to meet my hopeful son--I hope to get even more excited as the day to leave draws nearer.

Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday. One of my friends took Will and me to dinner and she gave me a fun singing card that inspires Will to dance. Check it out!!! video

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Whirlwind

I found out on Thursday that I'm heading to Russia on Nov 29. Wow..... Due to internet protocol, I cannot be specific about the region I'm heading to. However, I leave on Sat, the 29th and arrive in region on Dec 1, Monday afternoon. I will head to the orphanage and do paper work Dec 2-4 and head home on Friday, Dec 5 and will arrive home on Saturday Dec 6. My trip will literally fly me around the world. Amazing..... I'm excited to meet my new son--Of course......Thank you for your continued prayers for him and for this process. I have much to do before I travel.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And.....



First, I want to thank the many people who have prayed for me, this adoption process, and for the child who has been referred to me. I continue to be humbled and grateful for the ways in which God has been and is working in our lives. The news....It's great! The doctor evaluations were good and so, I have accepted this referral! Do I hear an Amen?? Because of internet protocol (I've signed a document to follow certain protocol rules), I can't share a lot of information or pictures that I currently have. When I am able, I will--Trust me! I faxed over agreement papers and have about 15 documents to complete for the region that I will be visiting. Those documents include more medical exams, police clearances (again), and other details. In addition, I am in the process of extending my immigration approval from the US gov, which includes updating my home study (with additional details) and being refingerprinted in Pittsburgh. If the immigration approval isn't extended, the entire process can be delayed. After completing the paper work, I will find out my travel dates for the first trip, where I will meet my "new son" and be officially presented with the referral. I will probably be in Russia for 5-6 days. I will then have return for court a month or two months later. Depending on court decisions, I may stay or have to return to Russia for a third trip. I'm praying that I will be able to go within a month and then return for only a second trip--the sooner the better.

I'm not telling Will quite yet--He is having a hard time waiting for Christmas. Since I have no true idea of the timing, I will wait to tell Will. In the mean time, Will continues to pray for his brother and talks about him frequently. He has no idea how much his life is about to change....

My niece, Ash, came over for dinner this evening. She brought a chef's hat and apron that my mom had sent for Will. (She had been in California over the weekend.)

Again, thank you for your continued prayers

Friday, November 7, 2008

Please pray fervently

This evening I received a referral for a baby boy--I do not know much about him and will receive a dvd and some minimal medical information tomorrow. I am thrilled and grateful that God has brought this referral. I will be sending the medical information and dvd to a doctor to assess this child's health. Please please pray for this baby and for peace and guidance for me as I must respond by Wednesday evening if I will accept this referral. In the process of adopting Will, I did not accept the first referral I received. That decision was one of the most, if not the most, difficult and hard decision that I've made. Again, please approach the throne of grace for wisdom and clarity. Please also pray for this child as well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The past couple of days have been challenging for me as I struggle with patience and peace in this adoption process. Yesterday, I received a letter from Shaohannah's Hope, an organization established by Steven Curtis Chapman to help adoptive parents with financial grants. The letter informed me that I did not receive a grant. I am disappointed. While I didn't really expect to receive a grant, I still had hope that just maybe....... I have another grant application in the "hopper" and have yet to hear any word. I am still convinced that my deepest convictions about God must determine how I pray. Yet, like the Psalmist, my soul feels downcast. Pray for this child who yet lives in Russia and pray for me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

still waiting





We've had a busy last few weeks. My sister, Cheryl, was here for about a week at the end of September and first part of October. Her daughter, Megan, was here for almost three weeks. Megan came in order to attend two weddings that were only two weeks apart. Of course, Will absolutely LOVED having his aunt and cousin here. We traveled to Chambersburg PA for the wedding of Jeff and Kristen and then two weeks later, we traveled to Rochester New York for the wedding of Rachel and Simon. The fall colors were spectacular as we drove to both weddings. We also went to a pumpkin patch and went on a hayride through an apple orchard while Megan was here. The orchard also included a trek through a corn maze, which Will enjoyed.

This week I visited the local Christian school in anticipation of sending Will next year. I was thrilled to find out that one of his buddies from his day care will be attending there as well as at least three children from his Sunday School. I find that the time with Will has passed so quickly. My baby is growing up??

We have heard nothing about the status of the adoption--these are the days that are difficult.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

living and still waiting....






but, not always patiently. We have not received any referral or updates.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Lord's Day

Generally, Will and I read a story, have devotions, pray and sing before going to bed. The last few days Will has asked to sing I will sing of the mercies of the Lord..... Sometimes, I am ALLOWED to join in and other times, I'm not. I was particularly struck with the words of the Psalm tonight--"thy faithfulness to all generations" When I think of Will's adoption into a covenant family and the anticipated addition, I am in awe of God's faithfulness to all generations. Will wasn't in top form tonight, but he was energetic. video

Friday, September 26, 2008

ODDS and ENDS

We've had an interesting week. I attended meetings with the PA dept of Ed in Clarion on Monday and Tuesday. I actually learned quite a bit there that I believe will be helpful to our department as we make substantial overhaul of our certification programs. Lynda picked up Will from daycare and he had a great time heading to the Farmer's market with her. I was able to pick him up on Tuesday, which confused Will because he thought that Lynda was picking him up. The drive to Clarion was nice--about an hour and a half north east of here. It was sunny and the leaves are starting to change. Nice!

We've heard nothing about a referral although we are scheduled for a medical evaluation with Children's Research Triangle when one arrives. This is the same organization I used when adopting Will. Some days and weeks seem more difficult for me to truly wait on the Lord for this referral. I have followed many adoption blogs over the past year--I'm truly happy for those who have adopted or who are in country. However, some times I come across a blog where the family started after I did (Ukraine), chose not to adopt internationally, and now are the parents of an adopted new born. I am so tempted to keep asking God why? In these situations, people refer to God answering their prayers. I know that God is answering my prayers even now, but it is hard when the answer (at present) isn't what I want to hear. I am so reminded of my sinful nature as I hear myself telling Will that he cannot always get what he wants just because he asks nicely. How much do I continue to need to learn as a child of the King?

video

Saturday, September 20, 2008

And???






No news on the adoption journey. Will and I pray everyday for "his brother" and know that God is protecting him even though he is not known by us at the moment. Certainly, I hope that the day comes soon, very soon!

Will and I have been busy on weekends and the evenings. We've been enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. I really like the fall season here in western Pennsylvania. It has been sunny and 70-80 degrees. Last Sunday evening, the remnants of Hurricane Ike hit. We had wind gusts of up to 79mph. Thousands of people lost power and were in the dark for up to four days. We were spared the power outage but lost quite a few tree limbs.

Last week, Will and I went to Pittsburgh with education students. We rode the Just Ducky tour, which I thought was a great tour of Pittsburgh. The tour is in an amphibian truck, which was cool. We had two great tour guides. We saw quite a bit of the city (it is much nicer than I knew) and we also went on the rivers as well. Will got to drive the boat. We also had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe.

Work is keeping me busy. Will is enjoying school. He seems to be learning so much. He had such a great week last week--he was given a teddy bear by his teacher. Actually, the bear was one of many donated and he was told that if I would agree, he could take the beat home. This teddy bear is the LARGEST teddy bear I've seen.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Breathe

Yeah!!! My apostilled birth certificates arrived today and were overnighted to EAC. The complete dossier will be on its way to Russia! So, now we wait--knowing (believing) that the child who is to join our family is already born. Will and I have been praying for this child for almost a year, although I did not pray with Will as frequently during the Ukrainian wait.

We went to a EAC picnic at the Cole Ranch in Williamburg, Ohio on Saturday. We enjoyed ourselves. I had the opportunity to visit with Tricia, who heads the Russian referral department. So we wait and continue in prayer.

I received a booklet from Shaohannah's Hope a few weeks ago. (We've yet to hear about a grant) The booklet has some devotionals as well as thoughts of other adoptive parents. I was quite struck with the one comment about continuing to LIVE while you wait. I was struck by that because I've been so guilty of not doing that at times this summer. While Will and I had some fun times, I realize that I tended to be anxious.

On another note, classes began today. The first days are always interesting....Will and I went to the farmer's market after school and bought a huge zucchini. We then made zucchini bread. Yummy! Will was quite proud of himself.

If you're reading this blog, please continue in prayer for this adoption process and for the child who will join our family. Thank you for those prayers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Frustration, Anxiety, Peace????


Summer is truly coming to an end. I started back to work full time last Monday and have lots of odds and ends to complete.

Since my last post, we attended our denomination's international conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My parents arrived in PA a couple days before the conference began and drove over with us. They also returned with us and stayed for almost a week. Will LOVED the conference. He loved staying in the dorm and taking a shower. He also was thrilled to run around. I was happy that he ad learned PS 84B before the conference. He was so excited as the conference opened and 1600+ people lifted their voices to sing Ps 84. He quickly turned to me and with the biggest smile said "Mommy, they are singing my advancing song." He then turned and joined in with a loud voice--Advancing still from strength to strength.

As for the adoption front, I returned home with no birth certificates. I waited until Monday, Aug 3. My dad was able to go to the county office in Fresno and pick up two certified copies and Megan overnighted them to Sacramento to be apostilled. I'm still waiting on the apostilled birth certificates (as well as the original two I ordered). At least, once the Sacramento office apostilles the certificates, I should at least get them sooner. This waiting is frustrating--if I had only paid attention to the certification dates, I could have taken care of this while I was in CA. This just adds to the anxiety of waiting for a referral. I struggle with feeling peace although I pray to have peace. Certainly, this adoption feels like a trial of faith and trust--one which I want to completely give to God but can only pray for the Spirit to help in my weakness.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What?? My bad

Another stumbling block--I talked to an EAC rep last night about my dossier. It seems that my apostilled birth certificates from California were certified in Oct 2006 and Russia will not accept such "old" documents. I knew that all notarized documents needed a notary's commission to be valid for at least a year, but I failed to look at the certified date of my birth certificates. So.........I overnighted a request for two more birth certificates. Once they arrive here, I will overnight them to Sacramento to be apostilled. There goes another $100. Deep breath.....Will I look back and see God's clear hand? I believe so, but I am tired.....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pray, breathe, and live....



I have good news to report! On Friday, my last apostilled (corrected) document returned from the secretary of state's office, I found out that I was approved for a home equity loan. Thank you for praying for those specific items. My dossier is now on its way to Russia and we're now in the wait mode--this adoption process has certainly taken much longer than Will's adoption. Since I initially started last September and in Ukraine, I feel that I have been waiting for a very long time. However, I believe that God has this adoption in His care. In yesterday's morning sermon, the pastor preached from Psalm 127--he particularly emphasized the practice of living out God's sovereignty--I was convicted and challenged. I am so guilty of trying to figure everything out on my own. So, I continue to ask for prayer for this child--and for the needed resources. I have applied to Shaohannah's Hope for an adoption grant--we'll see.

I was able to participate in a conference phone call with Robert, family members and different therapists regarding Robert's progress. He is progressing slowly, but progressing cognitively. He is still struggling with balance and dizziness and so is unable to walk without the aid of a walker. The neurologist reported that she thinks that he will never be able to return to full time ranching as before and that he needs to consider other options. We continue to pray that she will be proven wrong as God continues to work His mighty hand in Robert's life. I'm showing a picture that was taken in June that includes my sister and both brothers. We were all together at my parents' house celebrating father's day. Please pray for Robert and the entire family.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Faith.....



As the title of this blog suggests, this is my journey to family. While we are busily enjoying a lot of different activities, I am consistently praying about this current Russian adoption, the child who will join our family, and the resources needed. I visited with my bank loan officer and I believe that I can work out a home equity loan. I'm a little anxious because I no longer have the large equity that I had in our previous home. I will be taking the needed papers in to the bank tomorrow and will wait. If you're reading this, please pray specifically for the successful outcome of this loan. I'm also applying for two adoption grants--we'll see. FAITH.

Last Wednesday, Will and I had a great time at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He particularly loves the aquarium and polar bears. We came home to find that my apostilled documents from the state had arrived. I quickly called EAC to tell them that I would be forwarding my completed dossier to them. THEN.....I checked all of the documents and there was one mistake. The wrong notary's name had been placed on one of the copies of my deed. It's easy to ask God what He is trying to say with another delay. I quickly sent it back and hope to receive it soon. FAITH

Will and I have been enjoying the simple things of walking, playground, riding on a scooter, building Lincoln Log forts, and chatting. The boy LOVES to talk! I'm glad that my parents will be visiting here a couple days before we all head to the international church conference in Michigan. They will return with us and visit for about a week. Will will continue to be on cloud nine when his grandparents are here. I think that the visit will also be very good for mom and dad. They certainly need a change of scenery!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

He is REALLY FOUR!!!




Will actually turned 4 on June 24, Tuesday. We celebrated his birthday with family in CA on June 12. Will said he turned 4 then because of the BIG 4 on the cake. We celebrated with Ash on Sunday after church with dinner and a cake. After evening church, Will got a great present--a car's patio set--from Ash and Ryan and we had more cake. Will and I made cupcakes on Monday evening and he took them to day care to celebrate with the kids there. On Wednesday evening, Bill McFarland came for dinner and we finished "Sunday's" cake. Will said that since the cake was all gone, his birthday was over.

I certainly am enjoying living life as a mom of an ever changing young boy. He loves life! We visited with his friend Lexi on Tuesday evening--only to discover that she had had her tonsils out earlier in the day. That evening as went to bed, Will wanted to pray for Lexi, our neighbor who has had surgery on his hand, and his Uncle Robert. I ask him every night what he wants to pray about--Tuesday, he commented that God makes people feel better and so he want to pray for his friends. How much I continue to learn about my own faith as I listen to Will express his faith in God. I am thankful to God for my four year old boy! Truly a gift!

I've been teaching a grad class all week. So, life has been pretty hectic.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We're back..........




We arrived from CA early this morning--1 am. I finally got to sleep sometime after 3:30. We had a great and extremely busy time in CA. My niece graduated high school--I attended my college room mate's wedding in southern CA (Beth Carlson to Craig White)--I also attended my cousin Amy's wedding--celebrated Will's 4th birthday--went to Disneyland with my parents and my niece Chloe, who is a couple months younger than Will--visited with my siblings including Robert, who is progressing slowly from a traumatic brain injury.

I am in the midst of finalizing the last of the documents that I need to apostille in order to have my dossier submitted in Russia. While we were gone, my apostilled birth certificates arrived as did an amended immigration approval. We're getting close to the wait period. After I finish the paper work, I need to figure out the money situation. For those of you following this journey, please pause and pray for the child that God is preparing for us as well as for the resources that we need. Thank you. I was thrilled to go to the annual Memorial Day EAC adoption picnic at the Cleveland Zoo--it was cool to walk in the parade of nations with others from Yaroslavl, Russia, the city where I first met Will.

I really enjoyed seeing Disneyland through the eyes of a child. I always enjoy Disneyland, but was thrilled to see Will's reaction to Mickey Mouse, Mark Twain's steamboat, flying Dumbo and the storybook canal ride.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To Russia, with love......



Sometimes, I am humbled by God's sovereignty and my weakness of faith. In my last post, I wrote that I still believed that God had a brother for Will and recognized that it would take a miracle of God to open any door for adoption. I'll make the story very short, but I do want to bear witness to God's perfect grace as I see this story unfolding. Last week, I was talking to the National Regional Director for European Adoption Consultants (EAC), the agency I used when adopting Will. I've talked to Pat numerous times since adopting Will and she always tries to convince me to adopt again. Russian requirements for adoption agencies have changed since 2004. EAC has been granted a non-expiring Russian accreditation. At any rate, I am able to adopt a Russian child younger than Will through EAC. Initially, I did not have that option. By God's grace, I am on a different journey than I had planned. I believe that God has been paving the way--I just wasn't always in tune with His perfect will. So......I have numerous documents to gather--Registration documents first and then 48 documents to apostille for the foreign dossier. If you are reading this, would you please pray for the child that God has created for our family? Would you also pray that God will provide the financial resources? I really don't know how this part will work. The financial issues are challenging for international adoption--because I have to "come up" the a lot of money up front.

Geneva's commencement was this weekend. My sister, Cheryl, was here for a little over two weeks--She returned with her daughters and me after being at her mother in law's funeral in Ohio. My niece, Ashley, has moved in with us for a few weeks until her rental house is available.

Will has had a lot of company and so heading back to daycare was difficult for him. We head to CA in two weeks, so he'll be able to visit a lot of family.

We're heading to the Cleveland Zoo on Saturday to attend the EAC annual picnic.

Friday, May 2, 2008

And a miracle will come?

I received another email from my American facilitator--He stated that unless a miracle occurs, the door for adopting from Ukraine has closed for me. Sadly, because the law specifically is directed at single people, I wonder about the "equity" for single people. Of course, that sends me in a lot of different directions that are probably not healthy for me. I confess that I feel at peace with the status of the Ukraine adoption--peace because I am confident that God answered my prayer. However, I grieve because I still think that God has a brother for Will. I'm saddened when Will speaks of what he will do when his brother comes. He consistently says that God is still making his brother. I have yet to hear from the "last" agency regarding any option for me in Russia--but that door is apparently closed.

On another note, my brother in law's mom passed away on thursday. The timing was unexpected. I've thought again about the distance between us and my family in CA--when will we face this situation? My brother in law, living in CA, was told that his mom (in Ohio) still had "time" and he and my sister had planned to go to Ohio on May 12. His sister called on Wed night to tell him that the end was near--before he could even make arrangements, she was gone. Our lives truly are like a vapor...what does the Psalmist say?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Disappointment, yet faith must prevail

I'm pasting the email that I received from my American facilitator on Monday. Needless to say, I'm very disappointed. I have pleaded with God over the last few weeks for some clarity about the timing of the Ukrainian process and more specifically, that God would make His path so clear as I waited. God has answered my prayer--I confess that answer wasn't the one I wanted.


Dear Gayle:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is very bad news
for you and Ukraine, I am afraid. They have a new law restricting
adoptions to only married couples, and I am told that this time they passed it with a
veto-proof majority. I am still trying to get more information, but
it looks like this time it will become law regardless of the President's possible veto. I have two other single parents in the same position as
you,and I am advising them to switch their dossiers to Russia or Latvia, as
both countries accept single parents and you would not lose all the time
and money you put into this process. You can contact the USCIS to switch
yourcountry for adoption, and then contact your local agency to change your Home Study and prepare the dossier for whichever country you choose. I am sorry to have to tell you this very bad/sad news, but I hope you will continue to move forward with your adoption plans and that God will see you through the changes you have to make. If there is any way I can help, please be
sure and let me know right away.

Blessings,


Russia is probably not open to me if I wish to adopt a child younger than Will. I'm checking on a couple of agencies, but none look promising. Latvia, which is open to me, will take 2-3 years. By that time Will will be 6 years old. If we are to add to our family, God will make the path so clear that no road blocks will deter His will.

Will continues to provide a sense of joy--This evening, as I was washing dishes, he runs up to me, throws his arms around me, hugs me and says "I'm glad that God gave you to me as my mommy." What joy God has brought into my life through Will's presence in my life!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pass the torch...


An excerpt from the Geneva website about the torch relay:

"Geneva’s 160th anniversary celebration was one which the Geneva community far and wide will remember for a long time. At the center of the anniversary celebration was a torch with a flame that traveled from Ohio to Pennsylvania in a symbolic journey of the college.

On Saturday, April 19 at 11:30 a.m. a spark was kindled at the landmark stone in Northwood, Ohio, where the college began 160 years ago."


Will and I were 2 of the participants--I really enjoyed the time that we spent celebrating with so many people. Will though really enjoyed the bus ride to our spot and eating the pizza when we returned to Geneva.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Life is happening......









WOW!!! Almost 2 months without a post. Shame on me! We've been busy with all what is partof life at present. In a nutshell---Spring break came and went with snow, cold and sickness; Easter came and went with family and friends here for dinner and Easter egg hunt; work has been extremely busy; Will is continuing to grow and mature and become quite independent; and as spring begins to emerge, I can hope for the warmth of summer. I'm posting a number of pictures that have been taken over the last 2 months.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

just a quick note

Will has been going through withdrawal since Cheryl and Bus left very early on Sunday. He has struggled with going to sleep and has made several attempts to go into my room and stall. On Monday night, I confess though that he spoke in a way that touched my heart--I had a difficult time scolding him for getting out of bed. I was working on the computer when I heard a knock at my door. In walks Will and he says, Mommy, I'm hearing God speak to me.

Me: What did you say?
Will: I said speak Lord for I am hearing. (We had read the story of Samuel as a boy about 3 weeks ago)
Me: What did God say?
Will: He said Will, I love you.
Me: What did you say?
Will: I told God that I love Him too.

Words and spirit that touch my heart. I'm so thankful to have been entrusted by God to raise my son.

No news on the adoption front. I'm still waiting for my dossier to be submitted.........I've been praying that God would be especially near. The uncertainty is always hanging around in my mind.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Yes-It was valentine's day...


And where does the time go??? I've been enjoying having my sister and brother in law here since last Friday evening! Bus had a meeting here in Beaver Falls on Saturday, Feb. 9. Cheryl and Bus traveled here from CA with a mom, her daughter, and another girl from the Fresno RP congregation , who were interested in looking at the college. They left early on Tuesday morning and Cheryl and Bus are here until early Sunday morning. Cheryl and Bus have been playing and watching Will throughout the week, which has provided Will with all kinds of fun attention. All the Californians have endured the extreme cold of last weekend and the snow as well with good spirit! Will enjoyed "playing" guitar hero with Ash and Ryan's Wii. Looks like he has the moves!!!

Will and I went "sledding" for the first time on Tuesday late afternoon. The college was closed at 3 pm and we took advantage of "free" time to use the saucer sled. I wasn't sure if Will would enjoy sledding, but he certainly seemed to.

Because of added traffic at the house this week, Will has been very aware of Valentine's Day! I came home from work on Wednesday (the 13th) and he greeted me with a huge Valentine balloon. As soon as I walked through the door, he ran up to me saying "Happy Balentine's Day! Mommy, you are my Balentine! Do you love it?" Of course, I responded by giving Will a big hug and kiss assuring him that he is my valentine and that I love the balloon. He quickly ran to Uncle Bus and said "See I told you my mommy would tell me she loves it"

Will was thrilled with the candy and cards from Uncle Bus, Auntie, Megan and Paul, Grandpa and Grandma, and mommy. He also received a little bee that, when pressed, says You're my little love bug! He had to sleep with that bug last night. Will gave me a card he made and some candy (courtesy of Auntie!). I continue to learn about how to joy in giving as I live through Will's eyes! He is so happy and excited to give gifts!

As for news on the adoption front.....we're still in a holding pattern. I haven't heard anything from Dave Daulton since Feb 4. The next step is for my dossier to be submitted to the SDA in Kiev. I confess that it is difficult to wait----but, then my mind drifts to the numerous Psalms that use some aspect of the phrase---"Wait on the Lord"--I recognize that God has the whole timing and results in His hands, yet in my frailty, I can't help but cry out to the Lord to bring this adoption about with the "right" child.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My struggle with trust

Every birthday, my mom sends me a card with the reference--Proverbs 3:5,6--Trust in the Lord with your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. Today has been a struggle for me in trusting FULLY in God and leaning not on my understanding. When I awoke this morning, the first prayer that came to my mind was to pray about the submission of my dossier to the SDA in Kiev, Ukraine. As I currently understand it, I am on a waiting list to have my dossier submitted, after which, my dossier is approved and then an appointment date is set. Even as I drove to work after dropping Will off at school, I struggled in prayer to God about His timing and my timing. I confessed my struggle and tried to give the timing of my appointment and trip to God wanting to believe that God is preparing the right child for our family.

I found at this afternoon that my dossier was not submitted. Dave wrote that he is following the process and may know better in a couple of weeks, but that there is a good chance that my dossier won't be submitted until March or April. In spite my prayers, I am really down about this situation. I confess that I so want to go to Ukraine, come home, and spend time bonding as a family without having to go to work. But........

Will and I made Valentine cookies before dinner--He loves to cook or bake! He seems to be feeling better today. After church yesterday, he seemed off and had a bit of a runny nose. I gave him some Motrin and I decided that he needed a nap--He didn't agree! Within three minutes of putting him in bed, he fell asleep and slept for 4 and a half hours! Needless to say, we didn't make it to evening church.

A couple of interesting "Willisms"--Saturday as we were walking home from the basket ball game, I was telling him that he needed to respond to people when they talk to him or ask him a question. This was in response to his lack of response to some people we were sitting by at the game--his respone--sometimes I'm just shy and I can't say anything--whatever!! The other interesting comment--as church was beginning yesterday morning, he had to go to the bathroom. When he hadn't returned after an appropriate amount of time, I went downstairs to check on him. He was standing outside of the bathroom. I asked him if he had gone to the bathroom--his response--I am waiting for all the girls to go out then I will go. At that moment, a little girl came out and he quickly ran into the stall assuring me that he could go by himself.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

new shoes......



It's Saturday----the end of another long week or at least a busy week! Will and I headed to Costco to pick up some goodies for the company we're expecting on Friday. But, of course, Will remembers today the one where he got "FIREMAN" tennis shoes! I thought it was time to get Will some new shoes.......

We went to the first half of Geneva's men's basket ball game--A tight game and Geneva was trailing at the half. Will was exhausted--so after a quick bath, he is tucked away in bed.

My friend, Lisa, has an "emergency" C-section on Sunday morning. Their son, Drake, has had several complications---so prayer has gone up for the little guy. He seems to being doing much better. I have been reminded of how each of us breathe as God so determines---our birth is so much part of God's grace. Ps. 139--He knew us in our mother's womb.....I think of how this connects to the child God is preparing to join our family. My thoughts are that this child is currently living in an orphanage and in God's timing we will all be brought together. But, like in Drake's birth, we need to be bathing that child in prayer now as well as for the rest of my life.

As I understand it, my dossier is scheduled to be submitted to the SDA on Monday, Feb. 4. This time is my metaphorical pregnancy that needs as much prayer as if I were physically carrying this child.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the "bee hives"

Today, just before seminar, I received a call from Will's daycare telling me that he woke from his nap with an intense case of hives. I immediately left work to pick him up and sure enough, he had massive hives on his back, stomach and neck. I couldn't figure out how he got them--but they were intense. Think of a donut that is bright red and you perhaps have a visual of the hives. We picked up some Benadryl on the way home and within an hour, the hives were pretty much gone. I racked my brain trying to figure out how Will contracted hives and eventually came to the conclusion that his undershirt must have accidentally been washed with my clothes. I still use Dreft detergent to wash Will's clothes because of his "sensitive" skin. The medicine made him a bit (just a little bit) sleepy. Will's response was that he didn't feel well and so needed to be in his pajamas and stretch out on the couch. The "sleepiness" worked for awhile and after a bit, he was running around as one of the pictures suggests! I guess he does take after me!!! (I seem to react the opposite to drowsy and non-drowsy medicines!)

In the early evening, Will overheard me chatting on the phone about his "hives." So, in a conversation with Megan, he told her that he had bee hives. This evening in prayer, he prayed this prayer--"Heabenly Vater, please take away my last hive. Thank you, Jesus. Amen" Again, as he is making it his practice, he is now voluntarily praying about "real" things instead of listing items that are in his room or toys he has played with. Like most mothers, I'm treasuring these types of actions in my heart (and of course sharing them on this blog.......)

I'm attaching another photo of Will that was taken this weekend. I was watching the news and he decided that he needed to watch his Leap Frog word movie so he "could learn"--This concentration was accentuated with the "hot chocolate mouth ring" after coming in from playing in the snow.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday, monday


We had a fairly quiet weekend--I'm still "fighting" some kind of cold--I took some non-drowsy medicine which essentially knocked me out. I'm feeling better today.........

We had a couple of moments over the weekend that gave me pause as to how Will is maturing and how grateful I am that the Holy Spirit is working in him. On Saturday, as he sat down to eat his breakfast (let him eat in front of Mickey Mouse on tv), I saw him fold his hands and bow his head and thank God for his food. I think that I was so touched because I hadn't asked him or reminded him--he just did it.

The other moment was when Will decided that he needed to bring his Bible to church. In the evenings, we have been going through the book, Teaching Little Ones About God. It always has a biblical reference that we read. Lately, Will has been enjoying this time. Will enjoys finding the story and then always wants to know where in his Bible (as in point to it mommy), we are reading. In church, he then wanted to follow along where the pastor was reading. We had tried taking his Bible to church before but he didn't seem interested.

Kristen (current student teacher), Rachel, and Mandy (graduated) came over for dinner after church. It was nice to see them as they seem connected to me through my niece, Megan, who also graduated and who is their good friend. They love Will and of course he plays that one up.

I continue to read several Ukraine blogs. I pray for this child and for the process. I know that I have to trust God is His timing-I want to, but I also want this waiting process over -- I want us all to bond as a family..........

Since the day was much warmer when we got home @ 4--Will and I walked to the playground. He worked a little at the "big" climbing wall, but it ended up being too cold--so we left. Will still looked cute at the rock wall.

Friday, January 25, 2008

IT'S FRIDAY..........

All I can say is yippee!!!! I had two board of trustee meetings to attend today--I confess that I didn't stay for the whole time in either meeting. I was able to just take care of odds and ends. I do need to focus on class prep on Monday though......

I came home fairly tired and Will and I had grilled cheese sandwiches. I just didn't feel like cooking!!! I've been pretty faithful working out on the treadmill-Will entertains himself on the third floor while I'm on the treadmill, so it works out!! I watched The Last King of Scotland this evening! It's a pretty intense movie-I think that I like it.......

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another day....



Will is in bed--busily singing and doing almost everything he can do to delay going to sleep. We were interrupted three times by the phone while we were having family worship and bedtime stories. He has been trying this "delay going to sleep" mode since we returned from CA. Fortunately, he has been sleeping during nap time at his pre-school. I think he is one who doesn't need that much sleep.

The GREAT thing of today was having the opportunity to meet with Julie, a niece of Adel Aiken, a colleague and friend. Julie is a missionary to Ukraine and I was thrilled to be able to share and chat with her about my plans in Ukraine. I certainly hope that my appointment will be when she is there. Since she works with university students, her "furlough" is when students are off, rather than taking a year off at a time. I gleaned a bit of insight from Julie on aspects of Ukrainian life and culture. I am thankful for the chance to chat with and meet Julie.

Will had his hair cut this afternoon. He looks so grown up---The couple of pictures I'm adding here are of him this evening, proudly displaying his Saturn mobile that he made in school and the other is verification that he is learning how to shovel snow!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Back at this blog thing????

I cannot believe that I spend so little time actually writing on our blog--I think of "things" to write frequently and (obviously) never sit down to write down my thoughts.

Work has been hectic since returning from Christmas break! Hopefully, I will have less meetings to attend by the middle of February. The myriad of meeting seem to consume so much time at work that I "feel" that I have very little time to meet with students who want to meet with me.

I've been a bit anxious with our Ukraine adoption. While I pray for the child I believe God has in store for our family, I confess that I have to beg God to help me in my obvious anxieties. I've read so many blogs lately in order to familiarize myself with what to expect--I'm beginning to overly try to look at this adoption from a very flawed perspective. I read on one blog this evening about Ps 20. The writer is in a "waiting" mode for their departure date. In her blog, she quoted from Ps 20:
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.....
but we trusts in the name of the Lord our God....

For those of you who know me, this is one of my favorite Psalms. I think that God, through the working of the Spirit, brought me to the blog that had this Psalm quoted. As I was praying on the treadmill earlier this evening, I asked God to help me in my anxiety. I take comfort in the truth of this Psalm.

As for the adoption process, I received an email from Dave Daulton today. My dossier is in Ukraine, translated and ready for submission. Evidently, the SDA (national adoption center) is next accepting dossiers for submission on Feb. 4. I pray that the time of the appointment will be known soon and that it will be in the middle of May. I (notice my plan....) would love to go to Ukraine in May and return home in June with Will's brother. This timeline would give us some time to bond before having to return to work.

I will try to establish the discipline of blogging--I think it will be helpful when I'm in Ukraine.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday already???

Well--it seems as if we've had a long week. Will wore his new "Christmas" suit to church--Mom was right--He looked quite handsome! (Will wore the suit for the cousins Christmas picture while I was at Kentfield Hospital) I enjoyed seeing everyone again. Of course, so many people asked about Robert and continue to pray for him and our family. After church, Will, Evie Hemphill and I went to Mrs. Hemphill's apartment at the RP Home in Pittsburgh. It was good to visit her and see her new digs!

Monday--we did the oil change thing with the coupon from the dealership! Will was fascinated with all the cars. It took over an hour, but Will was in great spirits. The weather was so warm--almost 70-so, we went for a walk and then played at the playground.

The tree and all the decorations came down on Tuesday. I had expected Will to be upset because he had repeatedly stated that the tree should always stay when I mentioned taking ti down. Perhaps the trick was to get his help! We also did a Costco run. Evie came for dinner and as we finished, Ryan stopped by. Will practically bounced off the wall to see him. They both left around 8 and I had a longer time getting Will ready to go to sleep!

Wednesday was the the BIG SHOCK DAY!!! Will had to go school for 8 and half hours and I went back to work. While I got a bit done, I had a leadership team meeting all afternoon!

So, here we are today! Back at work----I have almost finished my syllabi, but my computer at work went bonkers!!!!! I hope to finish the syllabi tomorrow! After picking up Will, we headed to the bank, where I withdrew a little money as I try to save up the cash that I will need to take to Ukraine. We then headed to WalMart where I found a children's table and 2 chairs on clearance! Will is thrilled. He finds that it is a great place to do his puzzles! Speaking of which--Will seems to have taken to puzzles. I'll have to keep my eye out for puzzle sales!

I have been reading a lot of Ukrainian adoption blogs. I'm feeling a bit anxious--will we have a healthy younger brother for Will? How long will I be in the Ukraine? When will I go? I so want to fall on my knees and truly feel as if I've handed my anxiety over to His grace. But, sadly I hear my old nature rattling around with fear to fully hand the adoption over to God. Fearful because of wondering if the learning I need will involve going through struggles. In ways, I suspect that I internally understand Paul's view of what i want to do I don't do, etc. Dear Lord----be with the child that you are preparing for our family!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Christmas cont.

As I mentioned earlier today, I would write about our Christmas. We celebrated our Christmas at home on the 18th. (I worked on the 17th and 19th) Will awoke to a new bicycle under the tree and a couple of puzzles. He was excited. I got the bike at Costco and the directions said that it would take 15 minutes to put together. One hour and 45 minutes after I started--it was done! To be fair, I think the directions were poor!

We celebrated an early Christmas as a family on Saturday, the 22nd, at Kentfield Rehab Hospital. We were all happy to be with Robert and Kathleen. As we sang Christmas carols, Robert began to cry during Silent Night. I don't think anyone had a dry eye. It was a happy and sad time celebrating in this way, but somehow the family is closer.

I was sick with stomach flu on Christmas day and so stayed at mom and dad's as everyone else headed to Mike's. I was glad to see Will and Chloe open a few presents in the morning. They were happy and thrilled that Santa had eaten the cookies and Rudolph had eaten the carrots!

Dad and I visited Norman Goehring on Wed. I was shocked to see Norman a year after being diagnosed with ALS. He seems to have a good attitude and while he had a speaking trach, it was hard to understand him. On Thursday, Dad, Cheryl and I went back to Kentfield. We had a good time with Robert and were there until Saturday, On Sunday after church, I had a chance to visit with the Keys family. Monday, Mom and I took Chloe back to Kentfield and spent New Years Eve with Robert and Kathleen. We left for Fresno on New Years Day. Will enjoyed time with Grandma on my first trip to Kentfield (one night at Megan and Paul's), Cheryl and Bus' on second trip and one night and Mike and Teresa's. Wednesday evening, we were able to visit my McGee aunts before heading back home.

So, here we are on Saturday......Will and I went to Geneva's basketball game. I'm slowly getting back into being in this time zone.

January 2008

Wow! I haven't posted since November-hard to believe! Perhaps one resolution for the new year is to be faithful in writing in this blog. We arrived home from CA on thursday evening. Lynda Szabo picked us up at the airport. This flight was much smoother than the flight days out to CA. We left for CA on Dec 20 and arrived on the 21st. We had to spend the night in Denver because our flight to LA hadn't arrived and by the time we were scheduled to arrive in LA, we would have not made a flight into Fresno. Regardless, we left the airport @ 10 pm and arrived at the Marriot at 10:30 pm, courtesy of United airlines. Will LOVED spending the night in a hotel. We had tried to fly standby on a direct flight to Fresno, but only one spot was available. The women at the desk took pity on a mom and three year old and so we stayed at the Marriot. I had no brush, but did have makeup in my carry on. Will slept well until 5 am--I dosed a bit through the night! We left for the airport at 6 and eventually arrived in Fresno at 1 pm on Friday, the 21st. I'm thankful that Will is a great traveler--he was excited the whole time.

I'll write more about our Christmas in CA later. For now, I'm excited that the final piece of documentation that I needed for the adoption came early this week. I was waiting on a notarized state police clearance. I overnighted the CIS approval (notarized of course) and the state police clearance to Dave Daulton yesterday. The next step is to have the entire dossier apostilled, translated, and sent to Kiev. I continue in prayer for the child that God has picked out for our family.