We are simply waiting for criminal clearance and fingerprinting. Today we should have our application for Lifesong for Orphans completed and in the mail. Woo-hoo!
Apostille: A simplified and standardized form that is used for the purpose of providing a certification of certain public documents relating to adoption, including notarized documents, that is used in countries that are in compliance with the provisions of the Hague Convention.
This and many more words are becoming part of our everyday lingo in the Finley Family! We have been on the FAST TRACK with our paperwork. Here’s what’s been accomplished thus far:
Home Study through ForeverFamilies in Warrenton
1. Application Form – completed and returned
2. Autobiographies – completed and returned
3. Statement of fees – reviewed and signed
4. Sworn Disclosure Statement – completed and signed
5. Corporal Punishment Statement – completed and signed
6. Child Abuse Registry Records Check – completed, signed, and will get notarized and sent today
7. Criminal Clearance Report – getting fingerprinted tomorrow
8. Medical Forms – completed
9. Employment Verification Letter – completed and notarized
10. Financial Supporting Documents – completing today
11. Tax Form – copied and returned
12. Vital Records – We’re missing our marriage certificate. We promise that we really are married! This should arrive by Thursday from the Vital Records Department in Wake County, NC.
13. Adoptive Parent Education Registration – registered, but need to do the work
14. 1600A – completed and will send with payment and accompanying vital records TOMORROW
1. Power of Attorney – for Dima to work on our behalf in Ukraine – notarized, apostilled, and out of our hands.
2. Petition to Adopt Katya – gives Dima the authority to check on Katya’s exact status – notarized, and in the hands of Kevin Faust for apostilling
We have a variety of documents IN PROCESS for the dossier as well as for our Lifesong application. This is the organization through whom will raise support and apply to receive a matching grant.
I LOVE checking things off the list and the fear factor is diminishing. Bill has come alongside in HUGE ways tracking down documents, handling the finances, making contacts, etc. As challenging as all the paperwork is, I’m thankful for it as it HAS to weed out those who might adopt for less than honorable reasons. For us, the process is creating more oneness in our marriage as we tackle the work together. Also, we’re tracking down information and documents that we should have in our file system anyway. AND, our vocabulary is increasing 🙂
Seriously, although I am nearly buried underneath a mound of paperwork, I’m on “Cloud 9.” Yesterday, Bill, the kids, and I drove up to Bethesda, MD. Now, if you’re from the East Coast, you know this means that we had to go around Washington, D.C. which means that Mapquest, although useful for directions, was absolutely useless for timeframe. What should have been a 2 1/2 hour drive was a 3 1/2 hour drive, but I was so excited that I didn’t care.
We arrived at this gorgeous home and there were little Ukrainian kids running everywhere and people chattering in Russian and English. At first we saw NO ONE that we recognized, but I knew were in the right place. Soon we connected with Maggie, Vinny, K.T. of Frontier Horizon … and DIMA!!!!
“Now, why all the excitement?” you ask.
Dima is our FACILITATOR and we were able to meet him!!! This is the guy who makes it happen in Ukraine. He translates all of our documents into Russian AND Ukrainian and then holds our hands through the whole process. That we were able to meet him before traveling to Ukraine is just huge and we really like him. He’s sharp, but not intimidating. And the kids like him too. 🙂
We also met Oksana, Svieta, and Ira – all names of other Ukrainian friends. Ira (that’s Ee-ra), will transport a little care package to Katya for us. This is what kept our six kids busy all the way up to Bethesda. They drew pictures, wrote notes, and talked about Katya the whole way up.
One of my favorite parts was sort of being “part of” a conversation between Ira and Dima. You see, Dima needs our “Power of Attorney” to find out exactly when Katya will be available for adoption. Since he flies out of the U.S. on Wednesday, the easiest thing to do is get this taken care of before he leaves the country. But, Dima doesn’t fly out of Dulles and so once we go to Richmond to get our POA apostilled, we’ll hand it off to the Fausts from Buena Vista, who will give it to Maggie at Dulles, who will give it to Ira before she gets on the plane to head back to Ukraine. Ira will carry it, along with the care package, all the way to Ukraine and the hand it off to Dima in Kiev before she heads to Odessa. At this point Dima is then authorized to “represent us in all matters related to the adoption of a minor child.” So, here’s my favorite part. Dima was explaining that Ira would not only need to deliver the care package to Katya, but would also need to serve as courier. Dima was speaking in English, but Ira wanted him to speak in Russian. He wanted to speak in English for my benefit, but spoke mostly in Russian because making sure Ira understood was more important. So, there was a quite bit of Russian exchange and then Dima turned to me and said, “It’s taken care of.” 🙂 I loved it. It reminded me of when we were in Ukraine back in the spring. Our hosts, translators, etc. would have these l-o-n-g conversations in Ukrainian and then turn to us and tell us in three or four words all that we needed to know. Sounds kind of strange, but this little exchange brought back the memories of how I fell in love with Albina, Pietra, Oleg, Luba, and so many more.
So, things are happening and I’m energized. We still have a TON of paperwork to do, but seeing these precious kids, the translaters, guardians, and folks from Frontier Horizon was just thrilling to me. Thank you, Lord!!!
1. That I won’t be able to do my work as a wife, a mom, and in the church this semester because I’m consumed with adoption paper work.
2. That I’ll mess up paperwork and create an impossible situation that won’t be realized until we get to Ukraine
3. That Ukraine will mess up paperwork and Katya won’t actually be available for adoption
3. That the financial resources for adoption won’t come in
4. That once we arrive in Ukraine and “choose” her, Katya will not want to be adopted
5. That I won’t be able to run while we’re in Ukraine
6. That I will be forced to eat potatoes every day for five weeks
7. That our time in Ukraine will stretch on endlessly in bureaucratic red tape
8. That Ukraine will close adoption before we can get Katya
9. That Russia will move on Ukraine as she did on Georgia
10. That gas reserves will run out, Russia will hold out, and Katya will freeze
Some of these fears are silly, others are more practical, and others are so far beyond my control. When I consider Katya being so far away in an orphanage I’ve never seen, impacted by world events which are 5th or 6th page in our local newspaper, I am shaken. What if the “Bear” raises her head and claims the “Wayward Cub” by force or by freezing before we can bring Katya home? What if civil war breaks out in Ukraine as the rift between East and West, old and young widens and Katya is lost forever.
I can truly say along with Jonathan Edwards, “the doctrine of God’s sovreignty has very often appeared an exceeding pleasant, bright and sweet doctrine to me” and yet this process is testing what I believe.
But, by the grace of God, I have not received the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but have MYSELF received the spirit of adoption as a daughter of God, by whom I cry , “Daddy, Papa, Abba!” knowing that perfect love casts out ALL fear and so I fall on the neck of my Daddy and ask Him who is perfect love to displace my fear with love and with courage and with resolve to fix my eyes on Christ, the author and perfector of my faith trusting that He who has begun a good work in me, and in our call to adopt Katya, will see this good work through the completion. (Romans 8:15, 1 John 4:18, Hebrews 12:2, 1 John 4:8, Philippians 1:6)
So pray with me that Katya will be safe, that the orphans will not freeze, that Russia will back off and behave in a humanitarian way, that I will be diligent in the work God has set before me every day and will not allow fear to have a foothold in my heart. Pray that our family will catch glimpses of the bigger picture of this call and that our hearts will soar with true hope knowing that we are stepping out in faith into something that is far greater than what we can see or touch.
We’re hoping a little girl will splash in the waves with us and build castles in the sand. We’re hoping she will eat peach ice cream on the Fourth of July and chase the deer at Big Meadows. We’re hoping this little girl will take turns with her brothers and sisters on the rope swing and laugh at Dr. Seuss. We’re hoping she will cry out “Mama!” when she falls down and skins her knees and tattle when a neighborhood boy hurts her feelings. We’re hoping she’ll teach us Russian and learn English. We’re hoping she’ll jump in leaf piles and play “Bush” in the front yard. We’re hoping she will roast marshmallows and go grass sledding in the early morning frost as the days get cool. We’re hoping she’ll hang ornaments on the Christmas tree and that her eyes will widen in wonder as she visits “Bethlehem” once more. We’re hoping that she’ll go to bed night after night, warm and safe, dreaming sweet dreams after being read to, prayed over, tucked in, and sang over. We’re hoping …
But our hope is not in our ability to storm the gates and bring her home, as much as this mother’s heart wants to do that very thing. Our hope is in the One who remembers our affliction and our wanderings …
But this I call to mind and therfore I have hope: The STEADFAST love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is YOUR faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in HIM. The LORD is good to those who wait for him to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the the LORD.” Lamentations 3:21-26
His love NEVER ceases. Every morning are new mercies when my mother’s heart is breaking, when I long to tuck her in bed and sing over her, when I consider her life in Odessa and the hole in her heart from abandonment. The hole is also in my heart now as I go to bed at night praying for her, wondering if she’s warm, wondering if she’s well. Yet I will hope in Him, wait for Him, seek Him with my whole heart. In Christ alone will I hope and I will wait for Him to bring about that which He has orchestrated.
We’re hoping our Christmas Picture will have Katya right at the center surrounded by brothers and sisters and a Mama and Papa who traveled across the ocean and back to bring her home … in 2009.
I think adopting Katya would be fun because I would have another sister around my age who likes to do the things that I like to do like play dolls, play blocks, play paper dolls, and stuff like that.
When Katya was here it was really fun figuring out what she was saying. It was nice to know that we had a neighbor up the street who knows Russian so that we could easily find out what she was saying. I liked her saying “Smaht-ree-a!” and “Id-ee-so-dah.”
I feel like God is leading us to adopt her. He just keeps working everything out. When we talked about Katya coming to stay with us this summer, it just seemed impossible. But God worked it out. It will have to be God leading us because it will take a lot of money. We’ll have to find someone to stay with our dogs, Tanner and Topsy. That will be hard. But if God is leading us, He’ll work it all out. He’s the King and He can do anything.
I really liked being at the pool with Katya. We played in the spray pool and splashed around. We had matching bathing suits. Katya really liked her goggles.
I hope we get to adopt Katya because it would be great to build a relationship with her.
When I think about Katya at the orphanage, I feel sad. I think it would be so hard – everybody pushing her around. She has to be protective of her stuff. I don’t want her to stay at the orphanage. I want her to come into our family and really be a part of our family, just another one of the Finley kids.
When Katya was here this summer, it was difficult because there were a lot of things she didn’t know about – like not throwing sticks or spraying Pine-Sol at people. But, it was also really fun because it was a challenge to build trust with her and develop a relationship with her. I like a challenge. Katya is so funny. After we watched “Pink Panther,” she snuck all around the house singing, “Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, dad-dum …” Mostly, it was fun to be with her. She’s fun and funny.
I’m excited that we might have seven children in our family. Some people might think it’s a lot, but it’s really fun. Katya even kind of looks like us. There are three of us who have blue eyes and blondish hair and three of us who have brown eyes and brown hair. Katya has brown eyes and blondish hair.
I’m hoping that we get to go to Ukraine to get her. I think it’s important that we all go to get her because we need to see what her life is like there. I think God probably wants to do something in us kids’ hearts in Ukraine, but I don’t know what yet. It will be really expensive to go, but I’m hoping that God works it out.
I think that adopting Katya will be great. It will be fun to see her learn new things like English and see if she still keeps her original language, Russian. I think it would be fun to learn Russian as well. I think it will be hard too because she’s in an orphanage right now where she has to be very protective of anything that’s hers, even fight for it. And that’s not the way it is here. But, sometimes we fight and I don’t want her to learn that. So, I think it will be good for us too as we try to live in a way that will be honoring to God.
One of my favorite times with Katya was the 4th of July. We were with another family who has adopted several kids from Russia and so they could help us. She also seemed to really love the fireworks. Another of my favorite memories was when we were climbing the maple tree together. Only Katya, Mom, and I were here and we had so much fun. She’s a great climber and I liked having some time with her all by myself.
If Katya stayed in Ukraine, she most likely would end up living on the streets. Older children don’t get adopted as often as younger children so she would probably be there until she turns 15. She might be able to get a job, but possibly she would be on the street. Her grandmother is getting older and can’t care for her and sadly, probably won’t live until Katya leaves the orphanage.
Besides, I think it will be fun to have another little sister and I’ve always wanted to adopt. And, she is so cute – with her blond hair and brown eyes. She fits right into our family and would be a great addition.
I think adopting Katya will be really fun. I’m looking forward to seeing her and Piper get to be friends. Piper’s always wanted a little sister. Although we saw when Katya was here that she didn’t really want to be “little sistered,” it will be fun to see their relationship develop. It will be more like they’re twins.
For me, I’ll be CLEARLY one of the oldest kids in my family. I’ve always been right at the middle point.
When Katya was here, it was really fun to figure out what she was saying, especially “E- DEE-su-DAH!” which means, “Come here.” And “SMAH-tah-REE-ya,” which means “Look!”
One of my fears is that she won’t really feel part of our family. I really don’t want this to happen. I think that if we just love her, even when she doesn’t show love to us, she’ll develop trust and we’ll get close to each other.
I feel like God’s called us to adopt Katya. He’s “put her” in our lives. Us kids have always wanted to adopt, but Mom and Dad have always said that they were open to it, but unless God put someone on our doorstep, they didn’t feel called to adopt. God kind of “put” Katya “on our doorstep.”
I think some people may scorn us for our decision to adopt. When we were having a yard sale, someone asked, “Why adopt a child from another country when there are so many here?” There’s nothing wrong with adopting from another country, if it’s really what God has called you to. At this point, God hasn’t brought an American kid into our lives to adopt. He may at some point, but for now, He’s brought Katya.
I’m really excited to go to Ukraine (hopefully) this summer to bring Katya home. I’m excited to go to our sister church in Rivne and to go to Odessa where Katya is. I expect that it will be very hard to see all the kids in the orphanage and that I’ll want to bring them all home, but I trust that God will give me strength to go through it. I think it’s cool that God has called our family to this because one of my dreams is to run an orphanage in another country. I had dreamed about this when I was 7, but really had forgotten about it until now. It will be cool to see how God uses this adventure to plant His purposes in my heart. Another thing that is really cool is that while we were at IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Kansas City, a man prophesied over my mom that she would have a connection with an orphanage in Eastern Europe. At that point they had not even thought about going to Ukraine. I love how God works out His plans.
When Katya was here, she not only learned from us, but I learned from her. I learned how to be more patient and not to just love to be loved, but to love more like Jesus. I learned to love without looking for reward, but reward did come as Katya was able to show me more and more that she cared, even just a little. One time, we went on a walk and she got frustrated with me because I wouldn’t pick her up. She kept getting more and more frustrated, but eventually she picked a flower and brought it to me and held my hand. I saw that she could love me, even when I didn’t do everything she wanted me to do.
I think we should adopt Katya because God’s told us to. As we’ve prayed together as a family, read in the Bible, and watched God work out circumstances, I can see God moving us to working to bring Katya into our family.
For me, God is teaching me about real love. Adopting Katya isn’t about me feeling good about myself or even having her love me, but about us, as a family, loving her. I’m really excited about the hope of her coming into our family.