Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why adopt?

God has blessed Preston and I beyond our comprehension with four beautiful children.  Through each of their lives, and Mia's death, we have learned more about His character, love, peace, provision, presence and so much more.  Our lives are full of the joy, excitement, sense of accomplishment and tender love that only children offer with their innocent heart.  Parenting is one of the most difficult and amazing jobs ever!

So why adopt?  Why now?  About two and a half years ago Preston and I were riding to a Christmas party for the boys at Glenwood (a home for troubled boys, most with autism but the group we work with has behavioral problems) that our Sunday School class was hosting.  A few weeks earlier I felt God stirring in my heart to start praying about the possibility of adoption.  I mentioned it to Preston on the ride home and he told me that God was working in his heart too but did not want to say anything until I brought it up...knowing we had a lot going on at home and he did not want me to feel overwhelmed.  We committed to pray about it for a while and just allow the Lord to lead us in His timing.  For the next year and a half we would pray about it, talk about it, but knew the time was not yet here.

Along the way, we had a few different friends of our family to adopt.  God was painting beautiful pictures of adoption right before our eyes.  Some friends of ours have four biological children and God called them to adopt two girls from China, 10 years old, one with physical disabilities and one with some cognitive delay.  We have another family of good friends that is finishing up their adoption of the most precious little boy.  Their little boy has down syndrome.  As a mom of two children with special needs, these adoptions are one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  These parents see and understand the perfection in God's creation... just as God planned it to be, not as society said it should be.  Any thoughts that tried to creep in to my mind about this task being too overwhelming, God put to rest when He brought a particular scripture before me.  I felt God saying these words found in Deuteronomy 31:6: "Be strong and courageous.  Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is The Lord your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you."  For me, the dread was just the unknown of the entire process.  It was so reassuring to watch God walk with our friends and to know that God would walk with us through the process.  We had another family of really close friends who were finishing walking through this process as we were starting.  They were so wonderful guiding us in every step, praying with us and for us, motivating us, etc.  They now have the most precious little girl!

In October we decieded to attend an information session on adoption from China (where we initially thought we would adopt from), orphans in general, etc.  We felt God telling us this was the time to get started.  Learning there are 153 million orphans in the world just rocked my world. 153 million children with the danger of a life without parents.  There is nothing I could physically do for all 153 million, but God could use me to change the life of just one.  If all Christian families in the world adopted just one, there would be no more orphans.

So, why adopt?  God has clearly called our family in 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."  He has been and will continue to be with our family in Deuteronomy 31:6.  Looking back on the process so far I can honestly say the dread of the unknown left the day we went to that initial meeting.  God has guided us every step of the way through this joyful and exciting process.

Now we are here in Ukraine, just waiting for the day we can bring Karis home with us.  God knew from the beginning that Karis was part of the Hite family.  We are so blessed beyond measure by all five of our children.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Beach time Saturday

We declared Saturdays to be beach days!  This morning everyone got ready and we headed out.  The first time we opened the door it was raining.  We only had to wait about 20 minutes to try again.  It ended up being a beautiful day.  The beach is about a 45 minute walk away from our apartment.

On the way we found a huge snail.  It is about the size of my finger.  As we passed the same area on the way home the snail was trying to cross the street. Logan picked it up and carried it safely to the other side. We were surprised it had made it about half way across on its own without being killed. On the way home we found a different area filled with about 25 huge snails.

All the boys had a great time at the beach.  They all loved the water. We were careful not to get any water in the boys ears.  We also spent lots of time playing in the sand.

Our sand sculptures.
Logan enjoyed playing on the high bars at the playground.
Logan free jumping down from the high bar.

Friday, July 18, 2014

While we wait

We are now in the waiting process of our adoption.  We are making the most of our days here.  Preston is working 9+ hours a day, but has it arranged so we spend some good family time in the mornings together and then some good family time in the evenings together.  Here are some pictures of our activities yesterday.

There is a really big store about 5 blocks away that we call Sam's.  Of course that is not the real name, but it reminds us of Sam's at home.  They have a play place in the upstairs area by the restaurants.  We went there yesterday and played for about an hour.

 Logan doing some flips on the rings.  He is ready for gymnastics when we come home!

 Owen was attracting all the girls.  He is such a little flirt.

 Here is a picture of Sam's from the restaurants upstairs.  And here is another of us in the restaurant.
 The roads here are crazy.  Here are some photos of the good roads in town.  You should see the roads between here and Kiliya.


Every day a tractor comes and picks up these tanks of Kvas.  It is a drink sold on the street that is a tart carbonated beverage back from the soviet era.  I have not tried any yet.

 Logan always enjoys having his photo with all the statues.

This is our bus station where we catch the bus every day from Izmail to Kiliya.  The station has closed for the evening so all the busses are at home with their owners.
 Logan enjoyed another play place in the town square last night.

 Nathan and Owen enjoyed ice cream while Logan played.

 Here are some photos of our apartment.  Living in Ukraine for the summer is good for the imagination.
                                     This is our main room.  It is also good for...
a playroom...
 an office...
                                 a living room...
Logan does his "school work"...reading, math, English and science and Preston and I also sleep in it at night.
Here is our kitchen and laundry room
 along with my workout area every morning.
 This is the boys movie area and bed for all three.  We put suitcases on both sides of the bed so it goes from wall to wall.  They don't sleep on the suitcases but it keeps them from falling out.

 Here is our dryer.  Ukraine has a wonderful breeze, everywhere.  It is so pleasant.
 Logan used his imagination to make a double bladed lightsaber.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

great book worth reading

I recently finished a great book, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  The boys physical therapist recommend I read it and mentioned all her students read the book too.  The book was absolutely wonderful.  It is a story of a fifth grade girl, Melody, who has CP.  The book is so true to the real life of a child and family of a child with physical disabilities.  If you want a fun read, very easy middle grade level, and are interested in learning more about the life of a child with CP I definitely reccomend this book.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Adoption petition accepted!!!

We received a call from our facilitator today that our application was accepted by the Department for Families and Children in Kiev today.  Thanks to so many people who prayed for it to be accepted at the first submission. Please continue to pray for the approval process.  The process is allowed to take 4 weeks, but is sometimes done in 2 weeks.  Please pray our process will only take 2 weeks.  We want to get Karis home with us!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Documents on their way to Kiev

Thanks for all your prayers!  We received our documents yesterday from the town social worker.  Our facilitator is on his way to Kiev today with the paperwork.  He will go to the Department of Families and Children Wednesday to submit our paperwork.  This is another big area for prayer.  Many times the DFC will only accept 3 or 4 adoption petitions a day. They are only open for submissions Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11-1. Lately they have also been very picky about wording causing the town social workers to redo their work adding a week or two delay on to the adoption process.  Also, they are now legally allowed to take 4 weeks instead of the previously allowed 2 weeks for processing.  So, please pray they accept our petition to adopt the first time and willl process it within 2 weeks.

We are also in a 3 week waiting period until we can see Karis again.  Her orphanage closes and all the kids go to the Black Sea for camp now.  We will definitely miss seeing her but are glad she has the opportunity to spend some fun times with her friends before coming back with us.  Yesterday she had to hug and kiss Preston and I four times before we left.  The orphanage director told us she waits for us to come and play with her every day.  We told her yesterday that we would not be at camp but would be back to see her as soon as she returned.  So, for the next few weeks we are just spending time hanging out at our apartment and doing some activities (playground, beach, etc) in Izmail.  This is also giving Preston a lot of time to work.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Growing closer

Logan, Preston and I had a great visit on Friday.  We were able to play with her for almost three hours, until she was called in for lunch.  Both Preston and I got several kisses from her...melting our hearts.  She continued to love playing with Logan.  We did our usually: climbing, tag, picking huge weeds, monkey bars, etc.  It was lots of fun.  On Thursday we introduced her to the piggy back ride.  We tried it before but without Logan there to demonstrate it she was not sure what we were doing.  She loves piggy back rides and wanted many on Friday.  There are always other kids out playing at the orphanage when we are there.  On Friday several of the older girls wanted us to take their pictures and have pictures taken with us.  We had lots of fun with them and trying to communicate...them in Russian and us in English with a little Russian.  We learned a little about their siblings...some at the orphanage and others already adopted and living in the US.  Many of the older kids know Karis is getting adopted and seem happy for her.  The children there are friendly and we can tell the orphanage does the best they can with the means they have to take care of the children.

Preston and I tried twice on Saturday to catch the bus to the town where the orphanage was but were unsuccessful. The first time, the bus just was not there and the second time it was packed.  We are always the first people on when we arrive about 10 minutes before it departs on weekdays.  So, yesterday we decided to be 20 minutes early incase it was full and we were already too late.  By the time the next bus came it would be too late to spend any time with her because we would need to catch a bus back to our town just about the time we were getting there.  Plus, we did not want to be stuck in her town and not able to get back to our boys for the evening.

So, we just stayed in our town and ended up walking to a museum on the Fort Izmail, learning of the Ukrainian merge with the Russians to defeat the Turks who were taking over their land in the 18th century.  It was really neat to learn.  We also found a beach on the Danube River and Logan was able to go swimming.  We plan to go to the beach each weekend we are here to let all the boys get in the river.

Here is an update of where we are in the process:  We are waiting for some documents from the town social worker, signed by the Mayor.  We are really hoping to have these in hand on Monday.  Please pray we will be able to have them.  The orphanage has been great and has already completed all the paperwork we needed from them.  Once we have the documents our facilitator will take them to Kiev.  Kiev only accepts them Mon, Wed and Fri from 11-1.  They then have to approve the papers...which they have been sending out a lot of redos lately for word choices they don't like in the you can pray that they are satisfied with the wording of our documents and will accept them.)  (If they do not accept them our facilitator will need to come back to her town (about 10 hour drive) and ask the town social worker to redo all the paper work and have the Mayor sign it all again (could be a 2 week delay).  Once Kiev accepts the paper work they will let us know if they plan to take 10 or 20 business days to review and approve the petition to adopt.  Once they have given us the approval we will go back to the town she lives in and apply for a court date with the local judge.  Getting this date could be a few days or a week or two after we apply.  Once we go to court we will legally adopt her.  She will remain at the orphanage for another 10 business days (by law) and then she will be able to come and live with us!!!  We will then get her new birth certificate and passport in her hometown, which will take a few more days and then be off to Kiev.  Once in Kiev we will have up to a week getting her American visa and her American doctors appointment.  There is still a lot to go, so keep on praying.  So far all of our appointments, documentations, etc have all gone well!