Sunday, December 30, 2012

FAQs

This blog entry is dedicated to answering the questions that I hear the most. Here we go...

Q: Do you have a particular child picked out? 

A: No. Ukraine is a "blind referral" country, which means that adoptive parents cannot select a child prior to arriving in the country. Sometimes it is possible to get information on a child before traveling (e.g., temporarily hosting a Ukrainian orphan in your home, obtaining information from an another adoptive family or missionary, etc.), however we have decided to not go that route as there's no way to officially "reserve" a child. Because Ukrainians always have adoptive preference over Americans, we'd hate to fall in love with a child's photo and get there to find out he/she is no longer available.

Q: What is the process for getting your referral? 

A: The SDA (State Department of Adoptions) will issue us an appointment date. We then travel to the capitol of Ukraine, Kiev, to meet with the SDA at their appointed date and time. During this meeting, we will be shown files of available children matching our desired characteristics (e.g., age range, sex, etc.) provided in our adoption petition and homestudy. Included in the files are generally a picture of the child, their medical history, and information regarding their orphan status and background. Once we've reviewed the files and selected a child we wish to meet, the SDA will grant us permission to visit the child's orphanage and meet the child. We then travel to the city where the child resides. If, after meeting the child, we decide to adopt him/her, then we will complete the paperwork to adopt and wait for a court date. We are allowed to meet up to three children on one trip, but we hope that the first one is "the one!"

Q: What happens while you wait for a court date?

A:  We get to visit our child in the orphanage :) and explore Ukraine.  Mark also plans to work remotely for several hours each day.  

Q: What happens after court? 

A: After court there's a mandatory 10-day waiting period. After the 10 days, we apply for our child's birth certificate, passport, and pick him/her up from the orphanage. Then we travel back to Kiev for the child's medical exam (a U.S. requirement) and apply for their visa at the U.S. Embassy. Once the visa has been issued, we can travel home! Upon entering the U.S. our child automatically becomes a U.S. Citizen.

Q: How long will you be in Ukraine? 

A: The amount of time in-country will vary depending on where our child is located, how quickly we get a court date, etc. We estimate that our one trip will be about 4-6 weeks from start to finish.

Q: How old will your child be?

A: We're not sure. We've been approved for ages 1-8 but we're imagining our special one will be somewhere in the middle of that range. We'll see! We may not know yet but God does!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Travel Update

A few people have asked me if the Russian ban on U.S. adoptions will impact our adoption. The answer is no, because we are adopting from Ukraine, not Russia. We originally planned on Russia, but felt led to change direction and go with Ukraine. How clear it is now and how gracious the Lord was to show us that! My heart does, however, break for the hundreds of thousands of Russian children who are left with very little hope and without a family to love them. Every child deserves a chance. 

Also, we found out today that no travel dates are being given out between now and January 20th. Our agency suspects, however, that we will be given very short notice to travel on or shortly after the 20th. This puts us right where we thought--traveling at the end of January or beginning of February. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fundraising Update

We are so close to traveling I can't even believe it! So exciting!

I'm happy to report that we raised the $10,000 that we will pay at the time of our referral. Yahoo! THANK YOU to those who helped us, we couldn't have done it without you!

As great as it is to have that deadline covered, we have various in-country costs that we still need help with. To give you an idea of where the money will go, here's a list of some of the costs:
  • Airfare--2 on the way there, and 3 on the way back :)
  • Apartment for approximately 4 weeks
  • Daily driver 
  • Translator
  • Food 
  • Orphanage donation 
  • Child's Immigration Visa 
  • Child's Medical Exam 
  • Child's Passport
  • Misc. documentation and fees
In an attempt to get some of these costs covered, we've planned one last fundraising event before we go.  We're having an event at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) in Riverside Plaza on Thursday, January 10.  On that day, bring in a copy of the flyer below and CPK will donate 20% of your order into our adoption fund! This counts for dine-in, take-out, catering, and all beverages!

Good food + a good cause = a win-win! Please share this flyer with all your friends and family--let's fill the place up! 
Please don't forget to bring the printed flyer with you. It's required in order for us to get credit. If you'd like the flyer emailed, let me know.

Hope to see you there! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Packing List

After hearing that a couple of adoptive families recently got a 4 DAY travel notice, I decided that I should take a look at our packing list more seriously and start gathering the stuff we need. Here's a few of the highlights from the list:
  • A roll of toilet paper...some airlines and most public places in Ukraine do not provide toilet paper or are not quick to replenish the toilet paper when it's gone. 
  • A flashlight...it's not uncommon to have the power go out at the airport in Kyiv. The power tends to go out all over Ukraine often so we'll be prepared.
  • Only three days of casual clothes and one professional outfit. For 4-6 weeks. 
The weather may be in the negatives, and we may be toilet paper-less and sitting in the dark, but I CAN'T WAIT! Let the adventure begin. We're ready for you, baby!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winter Coats

We're all set for our Ukrainian winter...


Well, Mark's coat may be a little too big....
Do you think the fact that 100 of him could fit in it means (a) it's the wrong size (b) he can eat all he wants over the holidays or (c) he may actually need all that layer room to stay warm during an Ukrainian winter?

Actually, the wrong size was shipped so a new one should arrive soon. I'm betting the correct size won't be as funny though.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Project 1:27 COMPLETE!

We had our Project 1:27 event today and it was so much fun! What a blessing it was being surrounded by family and friends sharing their time and talents. A big thank you to Sandy, Trish, Debra and Skip, Traci and Lane, Erin and Cody, the Reed family, Jill, James, my dad, and my grandpa for helping out, and to Karen for allowing us to do the project at her home! If it weren't for you guys, we'd be painting and working alone through the new year, so thank you! :)

Last night we went to Home Depot to purchase the needed supplies. Home Depot graciously donated $75 towards the project! Scarlett wanted to help, so she came along: 
Fast forward to today's work day. 
Here's the group priming the wood fence: 
Along with Debra washing the windows (she was a serious expert!):

After the primer was dry, we painted the fence gray to match the house. 
Ta-da! Here's the finished product: 
Next we worked on the dirt side yard. Here it is being leveled and raked:
 Pathway stones starting to go down:
Adding sand between each stone:
My grandpa laying down a weed cloth and covering up the dirt with a mulch mix:
Side yard DONE!
Here's my cute hubby cleaning the carpet:
Her air conditioner was also serviced by James Santo. If anyone needs theirs done let me know and I'll give you his contact information! 

A shot with some of the volunteers:
Mark and I with Karen: 

Thanks again to all the volunteers and sponsors who made this day a success! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

USCIS

Today we had an appointment at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office to get our fingerprints taken. This is just another step toward the completion of our "Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative" and once approved will grant us advance immigration approval. Pretty cool!

I couldn't take any pictures while we were there because we weren't allowed to have our cell phones on, but the process was pretty quick and efficient. Thankfully it was quick because I had an interesting lady taking my fingerprints. She managed to ask me "is blonde really your hair color?," "were you a blonde when you were little?," and "are you sure??" Hello, I'm standing right in front of you with my blonde mane! After an in-depth discussion about my hair, she moved on to the fact that she couldn't believe someone so young would be adopting. She told me most people wait until their late 30s, 40s, 50s, and yes, 60s before adopting because "then they know they can't have their own kids." Hmm...as if that's why we're adopting!  I thought she might finally be coming around when said  "an adopted child is just like any other child," but then she decided to finish the sentence with "because you can't take 'em back once you get 'em!" Gee, thanks for that revelation, lady!

A friend of mine who is currently in the process of adopting a child from China recently wrote a blog post about the petition I mentioned earlier, and it's so beautiful I thought I'd share. It's much more eloquently written and doesn't involve any hair color or age discrimination :) Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Provision: Every Step

Wow! God is so faithful.

As we've been preparing for our Project 1:27 event this weekend, I've been somewhat worried about getting all of the supplies. My biggest concern was getting over 100 stepping stones to create a walkway. And not just any type of stepping stones, but ones that matched the existing ones already in the yard. Imagine my surprise when I was visiting with a friend on Monday and she told me that the previous owner of the house left a ton of stepping stones. And not just any stepping stones, but the exact ones we needed. WOW!! My friend and her husband graciously donated all of them! Thank you friend! :)

I can't help but smile thinking about how detail-oriented God is and that he provided us with the exact stepping stones we needed. It may seem silly, but it was exactly what I needed at the exact right time.

Not only has God provided us with literal stepping stones, he's provided financially for us every step of the way. Every single financial deadline for the adoption has been met just in time. Anytime I'm feeling discouraged or concerned, He always provides someone in my path to offer me encouragement and confirmation.

I'm looking forward to our project this Saturday and pray it will be a blessing for everyone involved. If you'd like to sponsor the project, it's not too late! Follow the instructions on the right side of the blog or click here to read more about it. Thanks!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dossier Submitted!

Great news! Our dossier was submitted to the SDA (State Department of Adoption and Children's rights) in Ukraine this morning! This means that the SDA will enter our information into their database and hopefully deem our application as complete and approve it. If so, then in about a month we will get an invitation to travel, which could be about four weeks after that. There is a possibility that the holidays may delay the process, but we're hoping that doesn't happen.

Please pray that our dossier is approved and that our travel date is according to God's perfect timing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Project 1:27

As a part of our adoption fundraising, Mark and I are planning an event based on James 1:27: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  On Saturday, December 8, with the help of several volunteers, we will be going to the home of Karen Mueller to spend the day doing several projects on her property (e.g., fence painting, landscaping, miscellaneous repairs, etc.).  Each volunteer will send out several sponsorship letters to friends and family, requesting a sponsorship pledge that will go directly toward our adopt costs.  The hope is that, with at least a dozen volunteers, and with each volunteer getting several sponsorships, we will be able to raise enough money to make a big dent in our adoption costs.  In addition to helping us bring our child (orphan) home, we are able to help and bless a widow, thus fulfilling James 1:27!  

Here's the sponsorship letter:
If you're interested in volunteering or sponsoring the event, please let me know!  

Thank you in advance!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

We have so much to be thankful for. This week has been especially full of blessings. Here are just a few of them:

1. The sales from our open house totaled $1200.  Not only was the day profitable, it was fun! Thank you to everyone who came, we loved seeing you all!

2. Our dossier got hand delivered (by another adoptive family) to Ukraine on Sunday. It's currently being translated and should be registered by Tuesday or Thursday. No more worrying about the mail--it's there safe and sound!

3. Once our dossier is submitted next week, we could be traveling to Ukraine in as soon as eight weeks!

4. Babygirl's room is coming along great! I decided to paint it on a whim last week and I love how it turned out. It's also the new home of my childhood dollhouse. I'll admit, I can't wait to play with it again! I'll post some photos of the room once it's done.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Provision


Earlier this week, I was thinking and praying about our next, and largest, financial obligation of $10,000. It seemed feel pretty overwhelming and it was hard imagining how we’d come up with it.

In the midst of my thoughts, I received a call from a friend stating that he/she wanted to be a private donor and match all incoming donations up to 5 THOUSAND DOLLARS.  What’s $5,000 matched? $10,000—exactly the amount needed for our next deadline! WOW!

God is so good. He always provides what you need to accomplish His will and His timing is always perfect. Always.

So, if you make a donation, it will be doubled and go twice as far! $20 will be $40! $50 will be $100! $100 becomes $200!

There are no words to express our gratitude for all of the donations we’ve received thus far and for this new matching system. All I can say is thank you for your generosity and for supporting this divine call.

Another praise? I thought we raised $553 from the auction. I was wrong- we’re now at $653! A generous participant donated an additional $100 for their item.

Please don't forget our Diadem Boutique fundraising party is this Saturday from 1-7pm.  I hope to see you there! 

Thank you everyone. We love you! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Top 10

Wow! What a week it's been. Here are the highlights:

  • $553 was raised through the online auction! THANK YOU!  This amount will cover more than half of our next fee--translating our paper work into Ukrainian. Praise the LORD!
  • I finished up our dossier paperwork on Friday and had it notarized. I feel like this task deserves much more than a bullet point. Really, I'd like to scream it from the roof tops. See me to the right with our completed packets? Finishing this step is definitely one of my new "favorite things!" 
  • The dossier was mailed to Sacramento where it's currently getting apostilled (fancy, expensive term for an official seal by the Secretary of State). I feel sorry for the poor man at Fed Ex who helped me mail it. Me: "What do you mean you can only insure documents for $1? This is my LIFE!!!"  
  • Mr. Fed Ex also helped me mail my immigration approval to Texas. 
  • AND mail copies of my dossier to Clovis, CA. 
  • You better believe all this mailing and nail biting caused me to open up a Fed Ex account so I could get constant updates and track my blood, sweat, and tears. 
  • In case you're wondering, all 3 document packets arrived safely (hallelujah!). 
  • After all the dossier documents get the apostilles, they are mailed directly to God's Waiting Children, get translated into Ukrainian, and are sent off to Ukraine. Oh, it's only 6,000 miles away, I'm sure they'll be fine.
  • Then we wait. And bite our nails more. 
  • As a side note, for those of you wondering, yes, it looks like we'll be able to get our dossier in before the November 30 holiday cut off. :) :) :) We're coming for you baby!

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's Auction Time!

Thank you for visiting our online auction and coming alongside us on this divine journey! 

Due to the generosity of the people who donated the following items, all of the auction donations with go directly toward bringing our child home. 

To bid on an item, leave a comment with the item # you're interested in, your bid amount, and your email address. The auction ends Wednesday, November 7 at 7pm PST and each item will go to the highest bidder! The suggested retail price/initial bid/value is just a guide--bid whatever amount you feel comfortable with.

**If you're having trouble leaving a comment, try switching browsers. We've heard Firefox is causing issues, but Chrome works great.  If you still have problems, email me at JJackson6@gmail.com with your bid and I'll leave the comment for you. 
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#1-Custom Pet Portrait - 5x7 Reverse Painting


Have your very own customized pet portrait made! Kristen Lamb of The Quirky Lamb will draw and paint your fur baby on the reverse side of glass to create a prized original for your home. 

The portrait will be painted in a repurposed 5x7 frame from a photograph the winning bidder provides.

Check out her facebook and etsy shop.

Suggested initial bid: $45
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#2-"Eustace" Owl- 6x8 Reverse Painting

This classy owl is painted on a re-purposed, vintage 6x8 frame.

Eustace is backed with classic beige burlap, giving the piece a canvas-painted feel. The technique used is reverse painting (which involves painting/drawing on the back of glass to create an image on the reverse side).  Materials used: pen, acrylic paint.

Eustace is a one of a kind original done by Kristen Lamb of The Quirky Lamb. All pieces are hand-signed and dated. Check out her facebook and etsy shop.  

Please note: This is a vintage frame--it may have scratches, and the backing may not be in pristine condition. The frame does stand.

Suggested initial bid: $55
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#3-"Henry" Yellow Bird 5x7 Reverse Painting


This proud, yellow bird is painted on a re-purposed 5x7 frame.

Henry is backed with classic beige burlap, giving the piece a canvas-panted feel. 

The technique used is reverse painting (which involves painting/drawing on the back of glass to create an image on the reverse side).  Materials used: pen, acrylic paint.

Henry is a one of a kind original done by Kristen Lamb of The Quirky Lamb. All pieces are hand-signed and dated. Check out her facebook and etsy shop

Suggested initial bid: $40
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#4-Photography Session with Jacquelyn Pope
One 2 hour photo session with consultation, 20 edited photos, and disk with full shoot.
Redeemable in San Bernardino County area (CA). 
Contact j.noelle.pope@gmail.com for more information.
Starting bid: $100
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#5-Keller Technical Solutions
This coupon is good for either free malware (virus, spyware, etc.) removal from one computer OR one free hour of labor from Keller Technical Solutions. 
Must redeem in Redlands, Loma Linda, San Bernardino, Yucaipa, or surrounding areas by June 15, 2013.
Valued at: $75
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#6-Kitchie Kaddie

Attend your next potluck carrying your casserole dish in style and with ease!
Carrier holds a 9x13 casserole dish.
For more information, contact Judy Lopez at kitchiekaddies@gmail.com, (909) 881-1048, www.facebook.com/kitchiekaddies


Suggested retail price: $25
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#7-Choffy

Choffy is brewed chocolate! 100% premium cocoa beans roasted and ground to create a rich drink that provides long-lasting energy and whole body wellness. Richer and robust than hot chocolate, it brews just like chocolate. But unlike coffee, it supplies you with long-lasting energy without the crash or other negative effects of caffeine. In fact, the only thing that's addictive about it is the taste!
This is 12oz bag of Ivory Coast Choffy. Go to www.drinkchoffy.com/jillpierce for more information. Suggested retail price: $15





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#8-Sony Bravia 32” HDTV & Corner Stand
Sony Bravia 32” HDTV Model KDL40EX500
Great picture quality
Comes with original manuals and remote
Corner stand holds 6 devices
Local Pickup Only (Redlands, CA)

Suggested initial bid: $50
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#9- AUTHENTIC Coach Handbag



Pink and tan Coach handbag, brand new with Coach keychain.
Measures 12" w x 3" d x 8" h.
Suggested initial bid: $30
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#10- Dry Erase Menu Board

Have a hard time figuring out what's for dinner? Use this dry erase menu board to make your meal planning easier! Black 14x14 frame with black vinyl lettering. Suggested retail price: $35
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#11- Dry Erase Menu Board

Have a hard time figuring out what's for dinner? Use this dry erase menu board to make your meal planning easier! Black 14x14 frame with black vinyl lettering. Suggested retail price: $35

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#12- Diadem Boutique Handbag


Charcoal handbag measures 17"w x 7"d x 12"h and has optional crossover strap. Interior has side pockets, middle zip pocket, and side zip pocket. Exterior has a back zip pocket. Gold hardware.
www.diademboutique.com
Suggested retail price: $45.99
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#13-Diadem Boutique Watch
Round gold watch with studs and diamonds. Face measures 1.5" diameter.
www.diademboutique.com
Suggested Retail Price: $45.99
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#14- Diadem Boutique fashionABLE scarf



Etanesh Stripes by fashionABLE- creating sustainable business for women in Africa.
www.diademboutique.com
Suggested retail price: $32.99

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#15- Diadem Boutique Earrings
Black and gold teardrop earrings measuring 1.5" w x 2" h
Suggested retail price: $11.99
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#16- Diadem Boutique Necklace
Gold necklace with mint green rose. Adjustable chain.
Suggested retail price: $9.99
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#17- Illustrations
Hand drawn and painted illustrations on brown paper. 
Contact j.noelle.pope@gmail.com for more information.
Specify which illustration you're interested in in your bid.  Suggested initial bid: $10
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#18-$25 Starbucks Giftcard
Suggested initial bid: $25
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#19-$25 Starbucks Giftcard

Suggested initial bid: $25
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#20-$25 Starbucks Giftcard

Suggested initial bid: $25
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#21-$25 Starbucks Giftcard

Suggested initial bid: $25
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#22-$25 DSW Giftcard

Suggested initial bid: $25
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#23-$25 Nordstrom Giftcard
Suggested initial bid: $25_________________________________________________________________#24-$15 Subway Giftcard


Suggested initial bid: $15
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#25-$15 Coldstone Giftcard
Suggested initial bid: $15
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#26-Mary Kay $25 product gift certificate, facial, & color makeover
Product gift certificate redeemable online from any location; facial & color makeover redeemable in areas near Riverside county in CA.
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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!