Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Well, MERRY CHRISTMAS, to my few followers!

Just thinking about how very thankful for the many things that have taken place in our life this year. I'm thankful for meeting Meggie, 1 year ago this week. I'm thankful for the joy that we had while being a part of her life. I'm sad that we no longer have the opportunity to be her parents but I know that God is watching over her. But He is also watching our other daughter, Liga during the holidays. She still doesn't know about the "Friend family" but I pray that God is preparing her heart to accept us and allow us to love her as our own!

We found out over the weekend that we will more than likely not get our travel dates until mid-late January, when our Latvian lawyer is back from vacation. I've told others that I truly believe she deserves this vacation but wish that it wasn't so long in the middle of our adoption. But what will probably happen is she will return and have the letter of invitation, as well as travel dates and we will travel almost immediately. That's my prayer anyway! Joe says to not have any expectations and therefore no disappointments but a momma can pray and hope, can't she?

We are excited about family coming today to spend the holiday with us. On Sat. we will get up and have our traditional Christmas breakfast of Fried Bread, we'll get ready and head over to help serve Christmas Dinner to those in our community. We'll return and have a relaxing afternoon, eat a wonderful Lasagna dinner and open Christmas presents! Joe preaches on Sunday, so I'm excited to hear him! He is such a powerful preacher and I really enjoy hearing him preach God's word!

I pray that you are warm and filled with JOY this Christmas. I know that so many have been hurt, abandoned or feel alone this year but God is with YOU and He is the ultimate healer & comforter!

We love you all and will keep you posted (as always)!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

everything update...

Well, since we are waiting again... here's an update on everything else!

Joe is busy as ever; I think he prefers it that way, really. He's been chopping wood for the fireplace, building a bike path in our woods, calling on new families, teaching, preaching and most importantly being an incredible husband and daddy.

Keegan has been hard at work with Joe. He is becoming such a responsible young man. He works so hard and seems to enjoy the time he spends with his dad. He also likes earning "minutes" for the PS2 that a good friend let us borrow! He sometimes earns an hour and a half in household chores besides work with Joe.

Ethan is doing good. He turned 11 the day after Thanksgiving and was able to have a couple friends over all day Sat. The beat the tar out of each other with the giant boxing gloves (you know the ones you use with an inflatable ring?). They played with Legos & Bionicles and had (fake) sword fights! He too is enjoy the earned "minutes" for the PS2. He made a very responsible decision the other day to trade minutes in for a strike, rather than play time. If they get 3 strikes they no longer get to play with the PS2. Smart move on his part, he already had 2 strikes!

Micah is recovering well from surgery on Nov. 16th. She is still on crutches, which is longer than expected but she is an old pro with them. We go back on Dec. 20th for a 2nd post-op checkup. Hopefully, she'll be able to walk with just the boot.

We had our annual Live-Nativity this past weekend with our church. Takes dozens of people to make it work and it was a huge success! We had over 600 people drive through on Fri & Sat.

And last but not least, I am thankful for another year of life. I had my 37th birthday on Sat and it came & went like most days but yesterday it hit me, I'm in my upper 30's now and will be 40 in only 3 years. UGH! I'm getting things ready around the house for Christmas, traveling and school and also,the church christmas program. We will have our program on the 18th & 19th and I'm kinda ready for it be here.

Adoption news: we are still waiting travel dates. Our amended home study was sent to GA and rec'd on Thursday, Dec 2 and then overnighted to Latvia. Overnight really means 7-10 days but we are praying it gets there sooner. God knows that I'm ready but He also knows when it's best to travel. So... I'll on Him!

Until later...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amedments, petitions & APostilles - Oh My!

Well, on Wed. before Thanksgiving, our amendment to our HS was finished & notarized by our HS agency. They put it in the mail & we got it Fri. Our amendment was to change the age criteria from 9-11 to 9-14. You see, in Latvia they apparently add "time" to the child`s birthdate for their age. Even though we could possibly have our adoption done before Liga turns 12, they want to "be sure". We were going to have to resubmit all our immigration paperwork USCIS but the USA submits the age of referral (which was 11). Whew! That saved us about $600 & several months!

Tomorrow, I`m heading to COlumbia, MO for Micah`s 2 wk post op appt. On our way home we will get the documents Apostilled & mailed to our agency in Georgia. I`ll also scan a copy for the same agency & email it so she can forward it to the Latvian Lawyer, who in turn will submit it to the Latvian Ministry & hopefully have a court date scheduled for Jan, by Dec 10th!

That`s the latest update! Pray for early Jan dates! COntinue to pray for Liga; we haven`t been notified that she is aware of what is happening. It will be such a huge adjustment. But I feel that she will thrive with the one-on-one attention and love from a Mommy & Daddy.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy your time as a family as you all prepare for the events that will take place between now & CHristmas, as well as Christmas & celebrating the Lord`s birth!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's a girl!

Sorry it's taken so long to post our wonderful news but it got kinda hectic around our house over the last 2 weeks. SO...

On Thursday, November 4th we got a call from our agency making sure we were still ago for the adoption of an 11 year old girl from Latvia. We confirmed this and then she said it could be as early as January and as late as May to get a referral. A referral is basically the Latvian Ministry matching our name and her name. We get a semi-detailed report for her medical history, family history, as well as, social, academic progress and various other things, including a foster parent's report.

So Joe and I prepared to wait, yet again! BUT... On Monday, November 8th, we got an email for a referral for Liga Lukasonova, 11 year old girl from Latvia. We were shocked to say the least, in fact, I struggled to say much more than "OH my Gosh!!!" We took the referral reports and took them to our pediatrician to make sure on all her "health issues" and after speaking with them and feeling confident that we must continue, we emailed back our "YES"!!!!!!!!!

Within 3 hours we were told that if it was possible that we would travel before Thanksgiving. Talk about another shock! But, the lawyer in Latvia said that it would be best to wait until early January because we might get stuck in Latvia over Christmas. Thankful for Daina (the lawyer) giving us a heads up, we were quite satisfied with going after Christmas.

Liga was a twin and was also born prematurely; with that comes possible complications considering she was born at home. We have made a decision that we will love her with all of our being for who she is, not who she will become! She struggles with school, short term memory issues and has terrible eyesight but she will be our little girl nonetheless. She has lived in an orphanage since birth, until recently she moved into a foster home.

We have to have an Addendum for our Home Study that changes the approval age from 9-11 to 9-13. Our HS agency is getting that worked up and hopefully by Dec 3rd the new petition and approval letter will be notarized, apostilled and mailed off to our agency in GA. Please pray for a speedy turnaround! I'd love for it to be done sooner and in the Ministries hands before Dec 10th, when the Orphan Court closes! God is God of the impossible ~ always has been and always will be!!!!!!!!

Pray for Liga, she doesn't even know about us right now. She will receive a "get to know you" package shortly after finding out but it will still be a shock!

As soon as we know anything more.... We will let you know!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

As we wait...

One thing about WAITING is that life still must go on.

So, we are trying our best to get all of our schoolwork done but our schedule has filled up to the brim with "stuff"!!! We have PE class with the local homeschooler group at the YMCA, every Tuesday. Every other Thursday we have Fine Arts Day with the homeschoolers. Play practice for Church every Wed 6-7pm & Sun 3-5. Jr/Sr High Play Practice every Thursday 4-6pm. I have MOPS every other Tuesday. Church Saturday night and Sunday morning. AND... I work 10-15 hours/week at DQ making cakes and decorating them. No complaints, we volunteered for EVERYTHING but we are busy. Some days Joe and I have to write out every activity to guarantee that we get to every place.

We are getting things around the house ready for Micah's surgery Tuesday, November 16. Her and I will travel to Columbia, MO and spend the night there because it's a 2 hour drive and when you have to be at the hospital around 6am... Well, you get my point. She will stay in the Children's Hospital overnight because she will have 3 major incisions and the possibility of them lengthening her Left calf muscle. She will be in a hard cast for 6 weeks, in a robo-boot for 6 weeks and possible physical therapy afterwards. So we are looking at Feb 8th, 2011 as her FREEDOM from confinement.

***Adoption Update: Nothing much other than we did hear from agency and lawyer that we can move forward on this other little girl. But that doesn't mean she will be ours until her name is on her Birth Certificate! I'm not being cynical just realistic. We will not get to meet this child until we travel and spend 2-3 weeks with her during the "bonding time". We have chosen to take this step of faith because we believe that God put us on the road of adoption. We have to accept the decision of Meggie and the Orphan Court. We also know that some may think that this is moving WAY TOO FAST but first of all adoptions don't move fast "normally" but God is the God of the impossible. He can take a wounded heart and heal it, renew it, restore it and prepare it for the next journey. That's where we are. The kids are starting to talk about this new little girl and the things they will do with her. They ask questions and have opinions but they are on board with this. They are ready to move forward too! Please pray for Meggie. She just doesn't understand.

I have a friend that is adopting Meggie's foster sister and they are in Latvia right now. They will not see their little girl until Tuesday but on that day they will see Meggie too. I have asked them to hug her and tell her how much we love her. I wish I was there to tell her myself but it's just not that way. God knows the future for Meggie and He has her in the palm of His hand!

*** hopefully soon I'll be able to share a new fundraiser idea!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Let this begin with a huge Thank You for your prayers & letters of encouragement.

But I also have to give all the glory to Jesus Christ who is the ultimate comforter and healer of broken hearts. He has made it possible to talk about what is going on and not break down. He has began the process of healing for myself, Joe and the kids. It is obvious that people are praying because I can see a dramatic change in Micah. She still doesn't care to be around when someone asks me what is going on in the adoption but she is opening up more and isn't crying as much!

On Saturday afternoon, Micah and I cleaned her room, but more specifically we cleaned Meggie's side of their closet. We organized and through trash away. But this opened the door for Micah to start asking questions and "deal" with all the junk/rejection. God is good!

So here we are waiting again... But this time we are waiting for news on another young girl. We have lots of questions we are still waiting for our agency to answer but she has to wait for the Latvian Lawyer to get back to her. Until we know more or are able to say more... please pray for this young girl. She is 11 and she has long, blond hair and wears glasses. She's actually built a lot like Micah and her bio is like reading Micah's bio! WEIRD!

So as we receive more info. we will fill you in.

Thanks again for all the prayers and encouragement. God is moving & we're gonna step back and watch His handiwork!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Things are changing ....

I have tried to write at least 10 posts since Sept 11 and each won`t post and it was getting so frustrating. So I`m praying that this one will post and I am able to relay a few of the changes that are taking place in our adoption!

We were told during the 1st week in Sept that Meggie`s dad was appealing his loss of parental rights. Over the next 2-3 weeks she was fine but the calls and emails were shorter & more strained. Then on one of our weekly phone calls she wouldn`t talk at all but we tried to ask questions and she continued to be silent. Until she started talking in Latvian with her Foster Mom and then got back on the line & said she didn`t want us to adopt her. She said she wanted America but not us. We have written her in Latvian, had our Latvian Lawyer call her foster family, we`ve tried to call back but she is standing her ground & is maintaing that she doesn`t want us to adopt her. The Orphan Court is now involved and we are waiting for their report.

Although we are waiting for the report, we having been praying for God`s leading. We have spoken with our agency & have started looking at other options.

We have always felt that she was our little girl. She has chosen that she doesn`t want that to be. We don`t to force her to be our daughter and by all intense & purposes, we can`t, she has the final say. We will continue to love her whether she lives in America with us or another family or if she is in Latvia. The time she spent with us this summer will not be in vain. Seeds were sown and she was shown an example of a functional, loving family. She was coming to understand what sin was & how it effects not only us but those around us.

Anyway, the decision to look forward has been tough but done with lots of prayer (and of course, tears)! This is not easy & we ask for your prayers! Our children are all dealing with the rejection in different ways but Micah is having the hardest time "dealing"! They don`t understand why and neither do we!

Please also pray for Meggie... she is making an immature, life changing decision. She doesn`t understand how this is going to change things for her.

I will do my best to keep you posted as things change or if she changes her mind.

Until next time!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Girls...

Our life without Meggie just seems so dull in comparison. She is "the energy" that unsettles life, "the giggle" that makes you laugh when least expected, "the snoop" that gets into everything because she has never seen it or experienced it before and she is "the missing child" I never knew was missing until now!

I got to talk on the phone with Meggie yesterday for about 20 mins. She says she is doing good and school is going fine. She was playing with Inessa (foster sis) and her 2 bio sisters, Victorija and Kitija. She had a hard time hearing because she was in the same room as everyone else and they were kinda loud. So, I heard "what" alot! She put Inessa on the phone for a little bit and it was sweet to hear her voice. She also put her sisters on the phone, who by the way, speak NO English, at all! Interesting situation! We giggled a lot because of not being able to relay what I was trying to say, many times. She asked if I would call her again today because she wanted to talk to Micah on her birthday. So we called again today. She spoke with Micah for all of 45 seconds and they were both kinda frustrated because of the language barrier. You have to call with the thought that you will "what" alot and not be able to convey all that you really wanted to say. She's not a big talker, either. So it's fairly one-sided. If you met her in person, she is miss-gabs-alot but not on the phone. While here, the only way reason she wasn't talking was if she was mad, in trouble, eating or sleeping! Get the picture?

Well, in other news...
Micah turned 13 today! Last night Joe took her out on a daddy/daughter date to a restaurant in a cave. She loves steak but we never allow her to order it because we have plenty of steak at home, but she was able to order a steak and enjoy. This was meant to be a special night out, one where she will remember it and expect equal or greater treatment from the man she will one day be married to. Joe presented her with a purity/covenant ring. The ring is a family ring that we had sized, cleaned and the stone switched with her birthstone, which is sapphire (and her favorite stone because it's blue). It's a beautiful 14K gold ring with a oval sapphire center. On each side is a heart with 3 diamonds (chips, really). It looks so beautiful on her long slender fingers. She also signed a contract/agreement to wait till she is married to be sexually active. The committment is not only to God and us, but to her future husband and children. I'm so proud of the young lady she has become. She's not perfect by any means but she is such a responsible, sweet, reliable, loyal, tenderhearted and humble young lady! I once told someone that if your daughter could be your best friend, Micah would certainly be mine. She is so excited to have a younger sister and has come to realize that my love won't be divided, rather multiplied and given to both, as well as the boys!
Anyway, she woke up late and because we really have celebrated all week her birthday, she said "I know I won't be getting any presents on my actual birthday but can I have breakfast in bed?" ABSOLUTELY! So this morning I served her 2 Large chocolate chip pancakes w/ syrup and 4 slices of bacon with a large cup of Strawberry/Chocolate Milk! She smiled from ear to ear!

Well, I think I've written way too much! Just thought I'd write what else is going on because we are still waiting...We are almost 1/2 way through September ~ good news to me!

Until next time...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I don`t even know what to title this....

I spoke with Cathy again and she explained everything. Meggie`s father is appealing the loss of rights but as I said before it shouldn`t affect our adoption. The court system is skipping the lower level courts & going to highest level to get things taken care of. "Father" is unemployed, living with bio. mother who is pregnant again (all 3 of their children have been taken away because she is a severe alcoholic, and the 2 younger ones have FEtal alcohol syndrome. As well as several pregnancies have not gone to term with awful outcomes). AND he has only contacted Meggie one time in two & half years. The date is set & cannot be changed to an earlier date. I don`t want to push~they may decide to move it further out. Cathy told us to prepare for Jan/Feb for travel dates. My heart is so sad but know that this is part of the journey God has laid out for us. The wonderful roller coaster of emotions continues. Meggie knows about her father and is really upset. She cannot understand why he would do this. (Neither can we, for that matter)

So, I listen to the song that keeps me going! I read God`s word & find truths in there that comfort me, change me and cause me to move! I am enjoying family, the little things that we do together. I`m meeting new adopting moms that are in the same boat as our family, I watch as friends bond with their little girl for several weeks and other friends bring their daughter home for good tomorrow! God is good ~ ALL THE TIME! His ways are not mine and I have to get on my knees & praise the Father that loves Meggie more than I could ever imagine~that has her written in the palm of His hand! He knows all of our heartache and He`s lifting us up!

Until next time....

Monday, August 30, 2010

Huge Prayer Request!!

This morning we rec`d a call from our agent, Cathy with some less than great news. SHe had rec`d an email from our Latvian Attorney that Meggie`s Biological Father has appealed his termination of parental rights. These rights were taken in Feb 2008 and upon finding out that she has an adoptive family he decides to appeal. Our lawyer said that a high level court date has been set for early December. The court will not reverse the decision because he hasn`t made any contact with Meggie. This apparently will not affect our adoption, only delay it.

We are asking for your prayers:
1) that the date will be moved up. (we had hoped to travel in Oct);
2) for wisdom on the part of the judge. They will see the big picture & seek to do whats best for Meggie;
3) that our hearts will remember daily that God is in control.

Thank you for your prayers & support!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

While I'm Waiting - John Waller

I just get so busy!

Okay, so it's been over a month since the last post and I'm truly sorry for anyone that actually is following this. We started this as a journal of our long journey to bring Meggie home.

We had an awesome summer or rather 5 weeks with Meggie. The first couple weeks were tough because she had to "protect" her heart and would sometimes say "I won't let you adopt me!" or "you can't adopt me". While those were extremely hurtful statements we did our best to not show the internal pain that was surrounding our hearts. At week 3 we spoke with the Latvian translator and she spoke with Meggie and asked if she really did want to be with us (her answer was yes) and that she needed to be careful. She might actually get what she says she wants, even though it was her only "trump card" and was used when she didn't get what she wanted. After that conversation, we didn't hear those statements. It was extremely hard to let her go at the airport and she didn't want to go either. She held on for awhile and finally released and went to sit with her foster sister, Inessa. Which by the way, is an incredible young lady, that also has a forever family in the process of adoption. She is like the older sister Meggie never had and I believe Meggie will struggle more with the seperation from Inessa than from her 2 little sisters. I have been writing her adoptive mommy and we are both committed to keep the girls in contact with each other and hopefully travel to see each other over the years.

Well, now that Meggie is home in Latvia, we sit here and wait! WAIT<>Prayer Requests:
Please pray for us... we are having another Garage Sale on 9/10 - 9/11 (by the way, I dislike GS with a passion). We are doing another pancake Breakfast with another adopting family on 9/18. And possibly doing another fundraiser on 9/25. Pray that God's handprint is all over it. That He endorses these events. Pray that our court date comes Mid-Oct. Pray that our in country time is less than 12 days.

Please Pray for some friends of ours; they were the ones that introduced us to Meggie by hosting her over Christmas. They left on 8/18 for 30 days In-Country time & court for the little girl they are adopting. The place where they are going is in a lot of political turmoil and don't think about the child first. Our friends have 2 young girls they left in the states with family. So pray for a soft hearted Judge, smooth processes, and distraction for the sweet little girls back home.

Please pray for some other friends of ours also. They are in the process of adopting and just found out this week that the little girl they had come to know as Lillian and love as their own daughter, will not be theirs. The birthmother with lots of pressure from other family sought to keep her parental rights. This family is having very positive attitudes about this and have turned to God for their broken hearts. They will recieve another referral for another little girl but we don't know when.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


We have now had Meggie in our home for 3 weeks and 1 day. We have faced a roller coaster of emotions and endured the heartache of stories told by a 10 year old that shouldn't even understand these types of situations. It is so interesting to watch how our family seems to have been inadequate, empty, not as fulfilled, quiet :), and even boring before this bundle of energy came into our home on June 26th!

One of the things New Horizons, the hosting program says it to not be soooo busy that the child believes that's how "American" life is. Well, life at the Friend household is always busy and on the go. Prior to 6/26, somedays Joe and I were like ships passing in the night. The life of a "minister" family can be crazy busy and always entertaining. During the summer we are often doing day trips with the youth group or friends, so it has been great to find new and adventurous things to do.

Because Meggie's favorite "occupation" is swimming we try to hit the pool several times during the week & weekend. She is turning into quite the water baby. Her swimming has improved immensly and she is gaining more and more confidence with every trip there (she is still using the life jacket). We have taken her to different kinds of swimming experiences. We went canoeing & kayaking 2 weeks ago and got out and swam for awhile. We also went to Elephant Rocks State Park & Johnson Shutins State Park on 7/13. We climbed awesome rock formations and then got to swim in the Johnson Shutins rock beds and water currents. We all felt that adventure the next day with all the sore muscles, bumps & bruises.

Meggie has made some new friends and it is such a joy to watch her open up to children her own age (she has no problem with small children~she is used to being around her 2 younger sisters). She has started to get to know some of our friends and has begun talking to them (cripling shy child).

Her english was pretty good when she came but she has impressed us all with how much she has improved. We have learned a few new words and she has learned dozens. She is helpful with charades, hand descriptions, color identifiers and laughing when we just don't get it. Her favorite english words are "why & no"! She still hasn't learned how to place them correctly. She will say no to anything we suggest out of fear/nervousness. She will try new foods and situations but first says no.

Food issues haven't been too bad. She doesn't like anything beef. She likes pork (chu-ga) and chicken. Loves almost any raw veggie and fruit. Not a huge fan of breads, rice or noodles. LOVES CANDY! ESPECIALLY ANY SOUR CANDY!!!

Today I spoke with the chaperone that we must contact every week with the hosting program about Meggie. Some days when she is mad/frustrated she will be kind of hurtful with her words and say that she doesn't like us or want us to adopt her. I told the chaperone that I believe it is manipulative and intentionally trying to hurt us (I think she wants to see if we will still love her regardless). The chaperone is also a director of an orphan court in Latvia and was so helpful. She agreed with me on why she was doing it. She explained what would take place in court and that Meggie really wouldn't be given an option. She would be asked if she understood, only. She also asked to speak with Meggie. She asked Meggie if she wanted us to be her family and if she wanted to come to America to be with us. Meggie said YES! I know that tomorrow that may change but today I am so satisfied!

Meggie is probably one of the happiest and smiliest children I have ever met. She is high energy but welcome to our family! She laughs, snuggles, tells interesting stories and loves to loved on. She does have her moments, what child doesn't but they are coming further and further apart!

Micah & Ethan go to church camp tomorrow, Joe & Keegan leave early for NYR on Wed.. So Meggie & I will be alone for 2 days, just being Mommy & Meggie!

Please continue to pray for the bonding that continues to take place.
Please pray for the $$$ funds to come in. (this includes the foundations that are deciding on our grants)

May God bless you daily!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The last 48+ hours have gone quickly and have been a flurry of emotions, stress and sleep deprivation by all! We left our home at 8 am Friday, June 25th to head to Chicago to pick up Meggie from O'Hare! Her flight was supposed to land at 6:30 but came in early (although it still took 1 hr 45 mins for customs. When the kids started out the whole crowd was cheering. Even those around us were cheering because they had stood there with us hearing our stories of these incredible Latvian orphans! When Meggie came out she was all smiles and recognized us. I say that part because it has been 5 1/2 months and although she sees our pictures on Frype... well, you just never know. Anyway, she instantly came to me and gave me a hug and I kissed her. The kids surrounded her and loved on her. We got our family picture taken for New Horizons for Children and she was ready to go. As soon as we were leaving the airport, she was taking her NHFC T-shirt off that was over her clothes and her ID tag! When we got to the van she was not in the mood to talk or anything... she wanted to sleep! Before we were out of the parking lot, she was asleep. It was 4 am to her. She had left her foster home early, early in the morning on the 25th and got a plane at 12:25 pm and arrived at 2 am in Chicago! She was exhausted.

We drove for 5 hours until we got close to St. Louis (12:30 am). When we got to the hotel, she was wide awake!!!!! She was talking, laughing, coloring and hungry!!! So, we had a picnic on her bed! The other 3 kiddos were tired but awake because they didn't want to miss a moment. So until 3:00 we were up... but I decided I couldn't function the next day w/o some sleep, so I turned on Disney, turned off the lights and said watch & enjoy! At 4, all of them were asleep! We had to get up at 8am to go to Six Flags in St. Louis! Yeah we are nuts to decide to go to a place like that after the previous day but in hindsight... it was a great decision.

Our trip to Six Flags pushed us to communicate with a non-English speaking child through our actions and facial expressions (oh & a little bit of charades!) When we pulled into the parking lot, her eyes were saucers and she smiled from ear to ear! She loved the waterpark and it was an awesome time for her to rely and trust in Joe. They went into the wave pool and although she can swim, she gets nervous when the water is on her face. She had to hold onto Joe and allow him to protect her! AWESOME!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's off...

Our Dossier has been sent via UPS to Thomasville, GA to our Adoption Agency. It is supposed to arrive at their office by 3 p.m. on Monday, June 21. I'm tracking it but you just never know. There have only been a few times in my life where I was that nervous. The man at the UPS store had to reassure me a few times that it was safe and would arrive to its destination. So, we wait again. As soon as it arrives to the A.A. it will be forwarded to Daina, the Latvian facilitator/lawyer/translator. She will spend the next several weeks translating the entire Dossier into Latvian. That's a lot of paperwork! As soon as we get our USCIS approval we appostille it and send it to the A.A. and the same process will occur. Then all that will head to the orphan court, where a referral will be given and a court date scheduled (soon there after). When will that be? Could be as early as the end of September to Late November.

Life continues to go normal (as normal as it has ever gone). We are trying to mentally, tangibly and emotionally prepare for a 4th child to be in our home. The only things left to get for Miss Meggie is toothbrush/toothpaste, pillow and a swimsuit!

When we pick her up from the airport we will have about a 2+ hour wait while she makes it through customs and then we will head home. Well, sort of.... we are planning on making it all the way to St. Louis (area) to spend the night in a motel. We will rise in the morning and go to Six Flags with our church group. We had originally planned that we would come all the way home and only the boys would be going but figured that she is a kid. Meaning? In spite of being extremely tired, she would want to go to an amusement park.

It is interesting to watch how people respond to our adoption. For example, today while at Hillbilly Days at Bennett Springs Park, Keegan was looking at marionette puppets. He has always wanted something he can control, so what better than this. Anyway, he talks to everyone and was telling the vendor about Meggie & that he wanted to buy one for her as well. The lady said, "Well, since you're being so kind, instead of 2/$12, how about 2/$10." SOLD! Later another vendor heard and while I was buying stuff, he gave me another seasoning packet. Some people are confused why we would choose International Adoption over Domestic. Well, as you know we weren't looking into adoption until God placed Meggie in our lives and why international because that's where she lives. Had she lived in Idaho, I'd have chosen Domestic. I know there are thousands of children here in the United States and that breaks my heart. I also know that there are so many children living in other countries that need a home just as much but instead of being provided for until they are 21 (like our system), they age out at 16. Some children like little Katy, that is handicap, are being put into "Independent Living Skills" at 10 or 11, so that in the following year they will be on their own. Thank God that Katy has been adopted by a family near St. Louis that saw that immediate need and have adopted Katy and are providing for her medically, physically and emotionally. Okay, off my soap box!

We will see Meggie in 6 days! Keep praying for her young heart and her ability to understand all these changes taking place in her 10 year old life. Please also pray for Meggie's 11 year old foster sister Inessa. She too is coming to the US on the hosting trip. Her hosting (soon to be adoptive) family has hosted her before and they continue to pray for her to be able to accept her situation and move past some of the emotional scars her biological mom has given her. She is becoming more and more open to being adopted. Please pray for Yuri. He is a 10 year old boy from Latvia that will also be coming to Lebanon this summer with some friends of ours. This is his first trip to the US and I can only imagine how scary that is to this young man. Please also pray for the other 177 children coming to the states. Some of these children are as young as 4 or 5. Pray for the chaperones that will travel with them and their abilities to understand and meet the needs of these children.

Thank you for your support and prayers. We need them daily! May God bless you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

We continue waiting...

Something that happens everytime I say we are going to do something is that it doesn't happen or circumstances change and we have to wait or change another piece of paper or document.

We originally sent off our USCIS paperwork in early May. On May 23 we recieved it back with a rejection letter because I apparently can't add and sent in too much money. (the gov't rejected us for too much $$$~Go figure!) Anyway, so that got re-sent out a couple days later and now we are waiting for our approval letter, which will probably be in 4 weeks or more! We also didn't send in our Dossier because we didn't have all the paperwork needed. We have gotten all the stuff we do have Apostilled and are waiting (as patiently as possible) for 3 original, notarized copies of our Home Study Agency's License. As soon as that is ready, we will pick it up and Apostille it and send in all our paperwork.

We did get word that Latvia is behind in their referrals so we made a quick decision to host Meggie over the summer. The last day to commit to hosting was May 14th. We called in on May 22 and they said okay. We have overnighted, emailed and faxed paperwork to be able to do this but we are super excited to have her with us from June 25th ~ August 1! We will be picking her up in Chicago on the June 25th @ 6:30 p.m. We haven't decided whether we will stay in a hotel or just drive through the night.

Our decision to host was quick but we had already thought about it earlier in the process. The bonus with hosting is that our 1st Trip time will be cut down from 18-21 days to 10-14 days. That's about a $175/day savings. Plus, since there is the delay, we won't be traveling with summer airline rates. We will run into the fall/winter rates, which by the way are like $300-$500/ticket cheaper. That's huge! So in the end, although we are spending the money now, it will even out somewhere in the end and there is the bonus that we get to spend this 6 weeks with her and have a blast while doing it. I'm anxiously waiting for her to be here.

Every time we go to Wal-mart we pick up a few items that will be needed for her. New bedding, clothes, shoes, flip-flops, backpack and bathroom essentials have all been added to her belongings. We have also set up all of her appts. ~ Dr., Eye Dr., Dentist and Hair. We have been blessed by the Dr.'s and companies in Lebanon, MO that are willing to provide their services free of charge because she is a part of this hosting program. We have made it known that we will be adopting her but at this time she is here on the hosting program and we will not have insurance on her. (They come with a major medical ins. in the event that are hurt and have to go to the ER but...)

We also received a grant a few weeks ago. We had applied for their maximum amount of $10,000 but were fortunate to receive $3,000. We are have gotten one letter stating that we didn't get the grant. But... we still have several out there and a few more that we will be applying to. We had another garage sale and did okay. We will be trying to have one more to get rid of the remaining items that we still have that are good quality and would sell for a good price if we were at a good location (which our house is not, we live 15 miles in the country).

That's all for now! We still covet your prayers. Specific prayers would be for the grant foundations and their decisions; safety for Meggie getting here and until she returns; Bonding that will take place while she is here; God's will in all circumstances!

May God bless you until next time!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sorry it took so long!

It's so hard when there is so much time in between the next step in the process of adoption. We sent in our USCIS application 3-4 weeks ago and are mailing in our Dossier by Tuesday of next week. We have had a few hold-ups here & there but overall it's not been to bad.

I spoke with our Agent a few days ago and she did say that the Latvian Ministry (that does the court work & hands out Referrals) is way behind and they are moving slower, also! So what took only 6-8 weeks in the fall is taking 3-4 months now! We were hoping to be traveling by late August/early September but apparently that may not happen. maybe that's God's way of handling the money stuff!

Speaking of money:
1) We had a garage sale on April 30-May 1 and we were praying that we would make over $2500. Okay, so that's a lot and many people thought it was way out there. But I serve the God of the impossible and He proved that all things are possible through Him. We made over $3200. Who makes $3200 on a Garage Sale? We did because awesome people donated soooo many items and God's handprint was all over it!

2) Our adoption agency got a call today from one of the foundations that we have applied to for a grant. They called this morning before their board meeting to decide the recipients of the grant. I prayed for each board member and their decisions. We could really use the grant money to help with Agency/Facilitator fees before each trip (3 trips total).

Hopefully, I will be better at this in the future. As I said, it gets hard when there's not a whole lot of "new" news!

Please continue to pray for our family, Money (always an issue), Meggie (as she waits), paperwork to travel with speed, translations to go smoothly and the Latvian Ministry to get on the ball! Thank you in advance!

In Christ Alone, Brenna

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We are officially done!!!!!

Our Home Study is Officially Done!!!!!!!
After all this time, paperwork and patience ~ we are able to say that this chapter of our journey is done! We were blessed with a great Home Study agency and Social Worker. This past week we were sending emails back and forth to each other re: the HS! You see, the lead Social Worker on our HS got married yesterday, IN HAWAII! So, before she left, she diligently worked to get it done. She made calls to expedite clearances, she retyped things to comply with the Hague Convention, she was constantly on the phone or in email on our behalf. Thank you Emily!!!!
Now, the next chapter begins, it actually is two parted!
1) I800A ~ the immigration "stuff"
2) Grants!
This week I will be busy filling out the I800A paperwork to send to immigration. This is the documentation, along with 0ur HS, that they review and decide if they a child from Latvia can come over to the USA!
We will also be finishing the last couple blanks on grants to be sent out to several organizations and foundations. We will be sending out 4 this week and more if I get on the ball. Show Hope is one of the grants we are applying for ~ this is the one started by Steven Curtis Chapman. Another grant is to a foundation out of Kansas ~ one of their requirements was that we either have to live in or have connections to Kansas (I grew up & graduated from there and my family still lives there). Two of the grants offer a substantial amount and we have requested their max amount. We are not trying to be greedy or selfish, it's just what we are needing. We know that this adoption is God's will and we don't have the financial resources to come up with that $$$, so we are trusting in God to lay it on their hearts to help us. We have looked into a 2nd mortgage or home equity loan but we haven't lived in our home for at least a year (that will be in late August) and therefore do not qualify!
Both of these things are a huge matter of prayer! Please, Please, Please go before the Lord on our behalf. Specifically, that the turn-around for immigration is quick and that we are able to receive the grant $ amount that we have requested from all four places. If we don't receive $$ from these grants, we will continue to send in other grants as they are due. We have 12 more that we could qualify for.
We have several more fundraisers & a garage sale (that is growing bigger every day)! God will provide!!!
***Meggie Update: We continue to write to Meggie several times a week. She gets an email from both Joe and me almost daily. She addresses it to Mommy & Daddy, she signs it "love your Meggie", she said the other day "I love me Mommy, Daddy, 2 brothers and sister!" In every email we tell her what we are doing in our daily lives and also remind that want her!
***Prayer Requests:
~For all the families that are currently involved in Russian adoptions. The Russian gov't has closed all adoptions between Russian and America. This will possibly affect the surrounding countries. Latvia is a border country. Kazikstan is a country that will possible feel the pains of Russia's decision.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pancake Breakfast

Come one, Come all!

We are having a Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser on April 3rd, 2010 at the Mills Center in Lebanon, MO. We will be serving buffet style: Pancakes, sausage, bacon, juice and coffee. The cost for all this wonderful food is by donation. We don't want to squelch the Lord's leading to donate generously! He He :)

April 3rd, 2010
Mills Center
Lebanon, MO
7:00-11:00 a.m.
Cost: Donation!!!

Please come and help us raise money to bring Meggie home. Tell your friends. Tell your coworkers. Tell your neighbors. If you want flyers to take to your neighbors, coworkers, friends or family please let me know! We need your help!

Thank you!
In Christ Alone
The Friend Family ~ Joe, Brenna, Keegan, Micah, Ethan and Meggie Friend

Monday, March 22, 2010

The power of the words: "I LOVE YOU!"

I know it's been awhile but there really hasn't been much change. We are still waiting for the approval of our Home Study. There have been a few minor setbacks that we had to take care of and then we wait again. Right now our wait is on the states of IN & KS. We are waiting for their Child Abuse & Neglect Clearances to come in. You see we have to have this for every state we have lived in since 18. Praise the Lord it's just been 3 states. Anyway, it's government and they have no idea that we are waiting for the HS to be approved so that we can apply for grants. Oh well, it will happen in time.

We continue to write to Meggie everyday with email. She still asks for posts (snail mail). It just takes so long and I'm so bad about getting it out to her. Anyway, we had a few days where she didn't go online and we didn't hear from her. Then she sent an email asking why we didn't tell her that we wanted to adopt her while she was here. Very good question. As part of the hosting program she was a part of, we were required to keep our intentions unknown to the child until after they returned to their home country. Why? Well, there have been several families that told the child and then something came up (ie. losing a job, getting pregnant, no money) and they later backed out, leaving a child heart broken & confused and an orphanage/foster home staff having to tell the child. The children believe they are on a "vacation". It's all fine until you know with all your heart that this is your child and want to scream it from the roof tops. While Meggie was here she asked me if we were going to be her new Mommy & Daddy and I had to say "I don't know" and then change the subject. So I wrote her telling her that we knew before Christmas that we wanted her, that she was special and loved. We told her that we wanted to shout "YES!" when she asked but couldn't. We had to follow the rules even thought we didn't want to.

She wrote back "Thank you for telling me. I Love You!"

I was super excited and even cried. I want to believe that she said that just like when Keegan, Micah and Ethan said "I love you" for the first time, when they were infants. But a child that has been through so much and has had few examples of love, may not truly understand the power of those words. Every letter I write tells her that no matter how confused, angry or sad she may feel... I will want and love her. The last several letters I have closed the letter with: Love from your mommy from America. She wrote back the other day "Love, Your Meggie"! It's amazing to see how even through email we can connect and break down some of the barriers of language and hurt.

I love Meggie with all of my heart, just like I love Keegan, Micah and Ethan. She is engraved on my heart just as they are. I can't imagine my life without her. She has affected our entire family and we all long for the day when we can hold her in our arms and tell her that we love her. I dream of the day she will call me "mommy" and tell me how much she loves me but I know it will take time and I am willing to give that to her.

***Fundraising note: We are at the end of our 1st of many fundraisers. We sold coupons for Antiquities Portraits and will know our total raised as of Saturday. We are also doing two Pancake Breakfasts (April 3rd & May 8th), as well as two garage sales. We are applying to 17 adoption grants, only 3 of them can we do at this time (or when the home study is done) because deadlines have passed for the others but we will send it in on the next deadline. It's been fun to watch God at work. Just this last weekend I saw God's hand all over the place. He's so obvious if we just take the time to look.

Well, I wrote more than I planned. Thank you for following along our journey. Thank you for your prayers, financial help and encouragement. May God bless!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm a little behind in posting my news but I've had a sick kiddo and haven't had the chance to get into Joe's office and blog.

So... let me back track a bit...

Thursday, March 4th: We got a heartbreaking email from Meggie. She is confused and just doesn't understand the whole concept of Adoption. In writing we cannot use the term "adoption" because it is interpreted as "we come to take you"! If that's not a scary statement I don't know what is. We emailed her back and explained that no matter how she is feeling, whether angry, sad, confused or apathetic, we were going to love her. We tried to let her know that we want her and care for her, NO MATTER WHAT!

Saturday, March 6th: We got to talk to Meggie! Her foster mom answered and was worried because Meggie doesn't speak English very well. It didn't matter to me, I just wanted to hear her voice. She sounds different thousands of miles away. After talking for several minutes, we got back on the phone with her foster mom. I asked how she really was doing and she said that Meggie is good and that she likes us. I said that Joe and I were the ones adopting her (just to make sure you knew) and she said, "We did not know this!" She said she would make sure Meggie kept writing and then said Goodbye! OKAY, so we have been emailing and writing all this time thinking that Meggie understood but apparently she didn't. Can you imagine the confusion she must have felt.

Sunday, March 7th: We got a great email from Meggie and she answered questions that she hadn't up to this point. Next to the first email, this was really long and it seemed that she was grasping the situation. I wrote back continuing to reassure her of our committment to her no matter how she feels. The next several months will be a time of straightening out confusion and building relationships.

Today: I happened to get on Frype (her email/chatting ~ kinda like a European Facebook) and she was on at the same time. That has never happened before. We were able to chat back and forth for almost an hour. She is not a girl of many words but we made headway. I asked her individual questions and she answered them. I guess that's easier than trying the anwser an entire list of questions on email. She said that there are 12 other kids in her home right now. We already knew that she was in 3rd grade but they call it "class 3". She said there are 13 children in her class. She asked how Micah has been (she's been really sick this week) and said she was happy that she is feeling better. I told her about "her room" and that we hung more clothes in the closet just for her. It was so much easier chatting vs. talking on the phone. I hope we have another chance to do that again.

This week has been the largest roller coaster of emotions and there were times when my faith was tested beyond what I knew I could take. I'm very blessed to be in a community of other adopting families, to have the support of friends & family and most importantly, have a Savior that meets my every (emotional, physical and spiritual) need! 2 Chronicles 20 was a huge encouragement to me this week (thanks Lenita) and I was so glad we have an awesome radio station that kept playing songs that filled the need I had to be encouraged.

Until next time...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I love communication....

Okay, so if you don't know me and you're reading this, let me just say that I, Brenna Friend, have no problem communicating. I love talking, texting, facebooking, singing and e-mailing. Right now I especially love e-mail. We have been so blessed to be able to e-mail Meggie everyday and her respond daily, as well. Sometimes, the messages she writes are really short (mostly because she is trying to write in English and it is tough! When she writes in Latvian, they tend to be a little longer and we just translate them.

We were given her foster mom's cell phone. We haven't called just yet because we don't have a landline and need to time it just right because there is an 8 hour time difference. She did ask for more "post" aka. snail mail. I remember being a little girl and wanting mail to come to me. Well, we plan to go from a letter a week to try to send one every day. It'll take a little planning but it's easily done.

We were so grateful to be a part of the Tucker family's homecoming. Their plane was 30 minutes late but the turnout of support was incredible. It was awesome to watch Kristen run down the terminal into her little girls arms and then into a heap on the floor where they reunited in tears. The older girls they adopted looked tired and overwhelmed but relieved to be in America. It's hard not envying them for where they are but I know that we will be there very soon. Holding our little girl and our 3 older children in our arms, loving them unconditionally! On American soil!!!!!!!

*** We are almost done with our Home Study. We have one more interview on Monday, March 1; our social worker will plow into all the info and create an awesome HS that will be, God willing, approved and we can start on our Dossier. We have some of the paperwork done for it already but there is much more to come, at least that's what I've been told. I would love to have our little girl here with us ASAP but money, paperwork, people, government, other people's time tables are all the "stuff" that gets in the way! But she'll be here before we know it!!!

That's all for now.... Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, February 19, 2010

His path, He's in Control!

It's been 5 weeks and 1 day since Meggie went back to Latvia and I am missing her so much. Somedays it's just looking at her picture, sometimes it's a song, sometimes it's hearing a little girl laugh, it's never the same, but it's what brings tears to my eyes as I wait for her to be home.

So... Yesterday we had Part II of the Home Study. We met our Social Worker in Springfield at the Library Center. We were late because I got us lost. But she was very gracious and we started our 2 hour interview process. She met privately with Joe and asked pretty much all the same questions he answered in his Questionnaire and a few more. They were done in less than 25 minutes. Then it was my turn, that took almost an hour. The questions weren't hard except you had to remember what you put; I guess they were verifying whether what we put was true and similar to the questionnaire. Then the kids all went in together. I was glad about that because they were all nervous. They thought they would have to go alone. Joe and I sat outside the room and could see in. It was nice to watch her talk with them and share several laughs together. I know she asked them how they felt about another sibling. What they wanted to do with her. What were some negatives and positives to another child in the family? They were glad when they were done.

We have our Dr. appts scheduled, reference people picked, and need to drop off forms for the kids Dr. to fill out. We will meet again with her on March 1. This time it'll be for Joe and me to discuss marriage stuff. Then we will be finished with our end of the it. Then they will scrutinize our answers, financial capabilities, and family dynamics to approve or not approve. That's all in God's hands!! He's the one that put us on this path ~ He can take the wheel!

I am learning quite a bit about potential situations and concerns while following the Tuckers journey in Latvia. From bringing laundry detergent and Beef Jerky because we won't get to the grocery store quickly to entertainment that needs to be brought. I'm writing everything down.

Well, that's all for today. We are sending another letter to Meggie tomorrow. I wish we had a way to communicate with her, where we get a response. It's tough being one-sided. This too shall come! Oh, we also sent off tons of documents to our Placing Agency this week. So good to get those out of our hands! Bye for now!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Keeping in Touch!

We wanted to keep in touch to let you know that we are still plugging away with the adoption. We had everything notarized that needed to be. We are trying to patiently wait for our taxes to be done so that we can pay for the next couple steps in the process. We are also talking with the bank re: a home equity loan. We would be able to consolidate the little debt we have and come up with some extra funds for our adoption. Pray about that matter, we have only been in our home for a few months but we bought it for considerable less than it's value.

We sent a Valentines box to Meggie with goodies for her and the rest of the children at her foster home. We also were able to put a letter in there saying that we were wanting to adopt her. She will hear/read in directly from us. She will read that we know that she was meant to be our little girl. That Micah is so excited to have her be her little sister. When the lady at the post office asked the box's value... I had to pause... PRICELESS! Not the $8 worth of goodies but that precious note that she will hold in her hands telling her that she is wanted and loved. That we can't wait to have her home in America with us.

Okay, gotta stop crying and keep typing! We want to thank everyone for your prayers, encouragement and financially help. We KNOW that God is faithful and will provide. He knows our hearts and our desires to have Meggie with us. He also is the Daddy to this little girl and wants the best for her, so I truly believe that in His timing He will get her here. AND... His timing is perfect!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Living Vicariously through the Tuckers...

We are here in the states, while our good friends, The Tuckers are in Latvia. They have now been reunited with their girls and had their court "experience" by now. It's bedtime and I know that are excited about tucking their girls in and kissing them goodnight.

It is truly a joy to read their blog and feel like I'm there. I look at all their comments and prepare myself for our journey in the late summer - early fall. I'm not going to try to rush the time but can't wait till we are there.

We got our Highway Patrol Fingerprinting done today. Very exciting...just one step closer to our little girl. Doing all these things to prepare has given me opportunities to talk about adoption. There are so many people that are ignorant about it or just fear child trafficing but I've had the chance to inform so many people about the joys and struggles with adoption.

That's all for now. Anxiously waiting the next update from The Tuckers.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Home Study Part I ... By Brenna

***Random AWESOME Info: We got a call on Thursday from our Adoption Agency and they said that Meggie has been told that we were the ones adopting her and she was excited about it. That's important because if she wasn't excited, there would be no point pursuing all of this... Why? Meggie has already gone before the court and was asked if she wanted to live with her bio. mom or go to foster care. She chose foster care. She was 7 when she appeared before the judge. If they will allow her at 7 to make a life-changing decision like that, they would do it at 9/10. So... PRAISE GOD! That's huge!

So... we had our first taste of "home study-itis". The nerves were overwhelming for me... for Joe, he just kept cleaning ----EVERYTHING! But whatever works to calm his nerves that he says don't exist!

Anyway, first of all let me say that we are so blessed to be working with an Christian Placing Agency, Home Study Agency and Social Worker!!!!! I didn't realize how important that really was until I had to answer why we were adopting. The answer? "After praying for forever family, God laid it on our hearts!" Or when it was just a frustrating couple of days and I talked to our Placing Agency and she asked if I was giving it to God.

Second, the social worker is not only a christian but has adopted 3 children, as well. She understands the nerves and the fear of telling every last detail about yourself. Both Joe and I really liked and felt a connection with Kimberly, our social worker. She could not only talk with us as a professional but as one that has experienced adopting an older child. She counseled us on the risks, concerns and joys of internationally adopting an older child. We were very comfortable with being ourselves with her.

As stated in the previous post, we worked hard at making our home "safe" so that we could pass the inspection. Not every social worker or HS agency requires such changes but ours did and WE PASSED!!!!! Meggie will be sharing a room with Micah. So, their beds, closet, number of escape windows and adequate room to play & live where all checked and Approved.

We have schedule another visit but this time it will be in Springfield at the Library Center. We will be in a room and she will have private interviews with everyone in the house. Some of the things that I can imagine that she will ask to the kids are: "How do you feel about your parents adopting another child?" "How is that a good thing?" "How is that a bad thing?" "How do your parents discipline you?" Just to name a few!

Okay, I've gone on long enough! Have a blessed day! 2 Tim. 1:7

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Home Study... by Brenna

Yesterday I scheduled our first Home Study visit. We will have a social worker come to our home and do a walk through, as well as sit and educate us on issues that will arise with Adoption! Walk through.... that's kind of a scary notion. To have a person walk around your house and point out all the things that need to be fixed, removed or added to make it possible to bring your child into your home. **It's funny because our children are thriving quite fine with things the way they are right now. I'm sure this will make our home much safer and comfortable for all of us! :)

Some of things that are needed to be done feel silly but give the Home Study Agency peace of mind and security that are willing to make changes in effort to get our little girl. Anyway, we have moved all our cleaning supplies up high, instead of below the bathroom and kitchen sinks (which are out of the way, but still accesible and reachable to all of the kids). We have installed more smoke alarms (1 or 2 of which will go off because of the fireplace or my cooking). We have added child safety locks to our medicine cabinet (which by the way, all three of my children and in the future, Meggie will be able to open). We have checked the dates on all the medicine in our cabinet and the antiobiotic cream in the First Aid Box. We still have to purchase a fire extinquisher but this too will be an improvement. I'm feeling safer already! :)

Anyway, we are excited and nervous. You just never know what they will ask besides the questions that we have already answered in our huge packet of essay questions. BUT... we praise the Lord that He has provided us with a Christian social worker. She has also adopted a child and has been through the Home Study process and understands the emotions that come with it! How fortunate is that?

We also have completed our Apostile of our Marriage License from Kansas. Basically, we have ordered 3 certified copies of our marriage license and had them certified by the Kansas Secretary of State. They are a beautiful, shiny documents that are sent with our dossier, (packet of all our paperwork that is sent to Latvia). Done! Yeah!

Well, that's all for now. I'll catch up with you soon!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Waiting... (from Brenna)

WAITING...It's so hard! You hurry up and finish this bit of paperwork; get these documents taken care; fill out this essay about your life. All this while still waiting! But every minute, hour, day or week is one step closer to your child. I can only imagine that the times of waiting will melt away when you finally have him/her in your arms!
I've been told several times before that "adoption" is a process of hurry up and wait! I've heard and didn't really think anything of it, until we started this process. I watch as friends wait for the day they fly to Latvia to get their two young girls. I've watched as another friend waits for the courts to make a decision about her little girl in Kazikstan; a decision that will benefit this precious baby. I'm watching yet another friend as she waits to be moved down the list for her little baby from Ethiopia.

A friend of mine said that this will definately refine the virtue of patience in us. If you look the word patience up, you'll find a definition that doesn't sound like what you hear everyone talking about. Patience means perserverance! To press on and keep going in spite of the waiting and difficulties that may arise. Patience takes on a whole new meaning for me when I look at it that way.

We are blessed by the family and friends that are supporting us through this amazing and life-changing time in our lives. We are blessed to have found Christian agencies to work with while we wait for our Meggie!

Okay, Random thought/info.: We were able to get Meggie's address yesterday and sent off our first letter her today. We found a web-site that translates our English text to Latvian. So she will understand what we have written. The last time I wrote a letter to her, I apparently didn't put the right symbols around the vowels and instead of saying, "we have four dogs", she read "Daddy eats the dogs". Hopefully, this time, there will be no confusion!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Brenna's Take on Good-byes!

As I write this, Meggie is back in Latvia. We had an awesome time with her on Wednesday, the day before her departure. We laughed, played, did craft things and enjoyed a great meal together. She requested spaghetti with ketchup and Olive Garden delivered to order.

The only gliche in the day... I didn't get to say good-bye to her. When we dropped her off I had planned to come back with pictures to put in her photo book but things didn't work out. I didn't get to give her a huge hug and tell her good-bye. But you know what I truly believe with all my being? God ordained it to be that way! I would have been a basket-case and she wouldn't have understood that. She cried most of the night because she didn't want to go back to Latvia and that would have broken my heart even more to have witnessed that.

So, for me, I told her "See you Later"! Which I will!!!!! How awesome is that? It may take months of paperwork, tears and frustration but she is so worth the effort. I've done it for 14 + years with my biological children. I can surely do this for the child conceived in my heart!

By the way, we have paid 1/2 of the finder's fee to New Horizons for Children (hosting program) and the $50 Application Fee for Home Study. We know that God will provide the funds to bring Meggie back to her forever family. I've been reading an incredible Adoption Bible Study and something that has stood out to me is this: Christian Adoptive Families are missionaries that are bringing the mission to them. They are not only giving them a permanent family to call their own but they introduce them to their Lord and Savior, so that they can have a permanent family in Christ. That's adopting them twice!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Meggie is going home tomorrow and I knew I would be sad. I was not expecting this hug, but I got it. This is the very first hug Meggie gave me and I am so excited that Brenna for whatever reason just happened to have the camera on her phone ready. I am going to keep this blog short by saying that I will be looking at this picture a lot! My first hug!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First big step of faith

So it begins. We've told God that we are going to trust Him, and now is the part where the rubber meets the road. There is a $200 application fee, $2,500 mandatory donation (finders fee), and a $1,500 home study fee. These are what actually gets the ball rolling. Before these things are done, it is all just talk.

We have our support letters written and a list of God's children to send them to. Note: If you want to be on that list, give me you address:)!!! My email is Remember it doesn't have to be a huge donation, it can be 5, 10, or 20 dollars just whatever you can spare. But remember the more you spare the sooner we get Meggie! We have even bought the envelopes for the support letters. Now the fun part of addressing them begins.

One thing you might face in this process if you ever choose to adopt is, PRIDE. Your pride will get in the way and you will fall into the trap of self-effort to come up with the funds. Remember if this happens, you might get the money saved, but it will probably be after they turn 16 and are kicked out of their orphanage to allow younger kids to come in. Their chance of learning what Jesus did for them and turning their life over to him drops immensely.

Their is a children's movie called, "Up" and in it this couple want to build a house near this beautiful water fall. They start saving their money, but everytime they get some saved something happens. The car breaks down, they need a new roof, medical bills, etc. Before they know it they are old and the wife dies and they never got to fulfull their dream. This happens in real life everyday, don't let it happen to you. If the Holy Spirit is leading you to adopt, suck up your pride and let Him use His children (you and me) and resources to do it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Men painting their daughters nails

They say that a person will treat their spouse like they treat their brother or sister, or their mom or dad. I don't have a sister but I love my mom tremendously. Growing up I would do things that would make my mom feel loved such as, rub her feet, french braid her hair, and even paint her nails. I still do that kind of stuff today with my wife and daughter. I especially like doing those things for my daughter because I want her to look for a man that will be interest in making her feel loved. I need to be the type of man that I want my daughter to marry.
Meggie is not big on touch, and she is also very shy. This stems from all that she has been through in her short life. (things that no child should have to go through) So, I have been doing everything I can to break down those walls. Yesterday was awesome, and much progress was made. She let me paint her nails! This may not seem like a big deal but she is trusting me more and more every day. She picked out the color red for her nails. When I started the second hand her forehead itched and she scratched it with her thumb nail leaving red finger nail polish all over her forehead. She realized she did it right away when she looked at her thumb and all the polish was gone. We all got a pretty good laugh out of it and I repainted the thumb. More quality time, I'll take it!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Overcoming fear

I was telling someone the other day that for me to say, "We are adopting Meggie" is one really scary thing to do. I guess the biggest reason for this emotion would be a lack of confidence on my part. Not a lack of confidence in that we should adopt her. But a lack of confidence in getting the money to adopt her. I am 100% sure that God wants me to do this. How can I be so sure? I asked for a sign and I got one. So with that prayer answered, I just need to have faith that since this is God's will He will make it happen.
Now listen this is the most important part. My LACK of faith in raising the money DOES NOT determine whether God will provide it or not. If it is His will and I have accepted that and turned it over to Him then it is in His hands and He will do it. Praise You Lord!
So if you have prayed for something and He has given you the answer, have FAITH! Get excited and shout it from the roof tops because He will bring it about.
We are getting Meggie today and going to Bass Pro Shop and then the book store. I will tell you that when we are with her, I can't stop looking at her. My heart aches that she will be going back to Latvia while we or rather God raises the funds to bring her here. Oh how I wish there wasn't such a language barrier. I have so many questions. I want to know everything in her life for the past 9 years. Did you feel loved? Were you hugged very much? What is your greatest fear? What do you remember about your parents? Did you ever know your dad? So many questions. Maybe it's because I am a guy and I just want to fix everything. I think most of all I want to give her something that she has never had. Security. Have a great day y'all.