Thursday, May 24, 2007

Congratulations, Timmy!



I know this is our adoption blog but I just had to congratulate our Timmy!!!!

Tomorrow is Timmy's last day of kindergarten! He has done such a great job at learning his ABC's, letters, numbers, the clock, colors, shapes, how to tie his shoes, our phone number. The most impressive things he has learned this year are how to read and our address!!! Those of you who know our address know that the written version is longer than the actual road!

We want to thank the RiverTree Christian School staff and all the teachers, assistants and volunteers - especially Timmy's teachers over the past 3 years, Ms. Nancy, Miss Jenny, Ms. Connie, Ms. Nicole and Ms. Laura - for their precious time and pouring of their hearts into our children. Thank you for loving on our children, consoling the boo-boos, wiping the tears, giving the hugs, doling out the discipline, sharing the laughs, endlessly tying shoes and retying shoes, reading to our kids, playing with our kids, teaching our kids about God and being an example of compassion and God's light to our children. You have won the hearts of the kids and us parents!

We are so proud of you, Timmy!!!

You have a heart for God and for people - you can't say that about too many 6-year olds. We hope that we set an example of what kind of person we want you to be - a Christ-follower.



WE LOVE YOU!!!


Daddy and Mommy


*KISS*

Monday, May 21, 2007

Until I See You Again

I dedicate this song to my precious, Taya ...

Until I See You Again
Mark Schultz

Oh child, precious one
Let your life shine like the sun
But you say “How long ‘til I can come home
‘Til I can rest in your arms again”
And I say “Not long but don’t miss this life and I’ll be
Waiting ‘til then”

Live with the wonder of a child
Pray with your arms thrown open wide
Love with a love that has no end
Until I see you again

Oh child, precious one
With each breath know you are loved
But you say “How long ‘til I can come home
‘Til I can rest in your arms again”
And I say “Not long but don’t miss this life and I’ll be
Waiting ‘til then"

I love you, Taya!
Mama




http://play.rhapsody.com/markschultz/brokenbeautiful/untiliseeyouagainballadversion


On Their Way!

They are finally on their way! We mailed our dossiers to our adoption agency this afternoon. They will get them tomorrow and start reviewing them. Once they are approved stateside, they will be sent to Ukraine for translation and processing. There is a family leaving for Ukraine on June 4 and will hand-deliver them to the facilitator. This will cut down on the time it takes to get it delivered to Ukraine via FedEx or other courier service.

Once the dossiers are received in Ukraine, the facilitator will submit for a number in the lineup. The translation process will begin and then the waiting begins again. The government will have 20 days within which to approve or deny our requests to adopt.

Once the approval is made, a number is issued (kinda like a docket number in our court system) and a date is set for us to arrive in Kiev. Our arrival date could be as long as 3 months or longer. Ugh!

John is planning on going to Ukraine in June with Dan from our adoption agency to visit Rymma and to meet some little girls that we could potentially adopt from her orphanage. I just love John's heart!! Plus, I know he is eager to see Rymma! :0) I would LOVE to go too but I am scheduled for surgery in mid-June and will be unable to travel.

Thank you all for your sentiments and continued prayers as we continue to trust God with what His plans are for our family.

Blessings,
Lucia

Sunday, May 20, 2007

To My Little Mouse...

To my Little Mouse...

I write this letter and know that you may never receive this letter but it's something I need to do.

We received the news today that you can't join our family. I first was sad, but then I thought about you and it made me smile.

I never got the chance to hold you as a baby. I never got a chance to watch you grow. I never got to watch you go to the prom. I never got to walk you down the aisle on your wedding day. So many things I never got to do. But this isn't about me. It's about you!

My dearest Taya, how much I love and will always love you as my own. It was awesome to have you visit us for the 3 weeks and see some of the USA. I am so glad to hear that you have Guardians! I am a better person for knowing you and loving you. And if loving you is what set you free, then it is worth every tear of joy I shed for you, my little daughter. I hope your guardians love you more than I can ever dream.

I wish I got you to know Jesus as your personal Savior so that I may once again see you in heaven and get to hold you again.

My wish for you is to grow up and become an awesome young lady. To know that the heavenly Father loves you and that a father here on earth loves you very much and is so proud of you. Always keep your beautiful smile and never lose your spirit.

I will always love you.

Daddy

God's Will

Life is never as we plan, is it?

Just minutes ago, we received word that Taya is no longer available for us to adopt. The only information we were told is that she has a guardian and is no longer at the orphanage. Of course, with confidentiality laws they were not able to tell us if she is with family.

John and I are heartbroken over the news. We feel like a part of us has been taken away and we are deeply saddened by the news.

We will forever miss our "Little Mouse" and pray that God will protect her and provide for her. We hope and pray that she is exactly where God wants her to be and that she will have the opportunity to become all that God wants her to be. We hope to see her in Heaven when we leave this earth and to give her all the hugs and kisses that we have saved up for her.
We went into the hosting/adoption process with the intent of doing God's Will or to be a vessel in His plan. We can only hope that His plan was for her to be reunited with her family in Ukraine and that through our hosting Taya, it was a wake-up call for her family to welcome her back into their arms.

We are thankful for the time that we got to spend with Taya and hope that she carries memories of us with her as we will of our time with her. We will miss her laugh, "PLEEAASE, John," "Mama Mia" and "Mario" when playing GameBoy, her little "Natasha?" when she wanted to call her, her "mm-hm" when she understood what we typed in our pocket translator, her mannerisms and her playful spirit. Most of all, we will miss her smile and her beautiful little face!! I am thankful that I got to spend time creating a scrapbook with her that she can look back on and remember the family in America that loves her very much.

We have asked our adoption agency to gather bios of other little girls around Taya's age and who are at Rymma's orphanage for us to consider. God has laid it on our hearts to bring two young ladies into our family and we want to honor Him. Please keep us in prayer as we discern our options.

Praises for Bob, Gail and Natasha returning home safely from Ukraine last night! After 9 months in the hosting/adoption process and 22 hours of travel from Ukraine, Natasha is finally at home with her new forever family! We are excited for all of them!! (The picture below is of Bob, Gail and Natasha before heading into court to finalize the adoption.)
Many blessings upon you and yours,
Lucia

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Thrill of Victory (over Satan) and the Agony of Da' Feet

HALLELUJAH! Our papers are notarized and apostilled! We ended up getting to go to Columbus yesterday to get our papers apostilled. Satan was on the prowl the entire time. But WITH OUR GOD, WE WON!!!

It started out that we got to the Secretary of State's Office around 3:30. We headed to the offices after checking in with security and getting badges. Kathy (who apostilled everything) questioned my divorce papers because of the county signature - the Clerk is no longer in office and a deputy signed it and didn't date it. UGH!! She went to her supervisor who said they could attach a True & Accurate Form to it and then we would have to take it to the County Courthouse to get the notary's signature authenticated. I told them that we have to use the Ukraine form and offered to type a copy myself but they would not allow me to use a computer. DOUBLE UGH!! So, we decided to go ahead and do what they suggested on the offchance that it would fly. (We have e-mailed the document to the adoption agency and are awaiting their response/approval of the forms.) ** As I got ready to post this, we got word that the forms and my re-dos of the photos are acceptable! PRAISE GOD!!!

Instead of driving (which in retrospect would have been a LOT easier and worth losing our meter fee!!!), Lucia goes walking through Columbus in her black heels and hose trying to trek "3-4" blocks to the courthouse and get back before 5:00 - it was 4:15 when I left the SOS Office. (John stayed back in case they had other questions.) About a 1/3 of the way there, I had to take off my shoes. By the time I reached the courthouse - which I might add was more like 12-14 blocks!!, my hose were in shreds, I couldn't get my shoes on and I had blisters on the bottom of both feet. I could hardly walk. The only thing keeping me going was picturing Rymma's and Taya's faces and being reunited with them at the end of this journey!

Before getting the papers authenticated, I asked for a number to call a cab to pick me up. I got the authentication done in about 2 minutes! Who knew?? I went down to the street to wait for the cab who finally showed up about 10 minutes later. He sandwiched himself between two city busses and as he went around the front one, he did not see me and kept going. I thought he would circle the building and after 5 minutes, I realized he didn't. In the meantime, John calls me to see where I am - by this time, it is 4:50 - the SOS Office closes at 5:00! I try to hail a cab and ask a police officer in a cruiser for a ride and both have people in the car. I even went so far as to ask a lady who was being picked up for a ride - I was desperate - but no luck. TRIPLE UGH!! By this time, I am in tears. John calls me and asks me where I put the keys to the car and he was coming to get me. My heart sank! I had the key in my purse --- with me!! He then tells me that there is a cruiser and a tow truck waiting to tow our car as we had parked in a tow away zone! NO!!! We had put in enough money for 2 hours but we didn't see the notification on the meter. By this time, we are both frantic! As John is waiting for me to come back, the receptionist at the SOS Office calls and says she is on the way to get me. God bless her! I was back at the SOS Office in about 10 minutes and got in their offices at 5:28. Kathy had waited for me! I gave her a big hug before I left! With our apostilled papers in-hand, a few bruises and a $40 parking fine, we are back in good ol' Magnolia and but one step away from getting our papers in the mail to the adoption agency on Friday.

Needless to say, da feet are very sore today and I am in sneakers. As I was driving into work today, I couldn't help but think about the pain that Christ went through for God's sons and daughters. The pain that I went through yesterday is no comparison ... and yet, He endured the pain of lifetime in just a few short hours. And much like the pain of being separated from His Father at the end (when He bore all our sins), John and I suffer from the separation from Rymma and Taya. We only pray that we will soon be united with them as Christ is with His Father.

Thank you for the prayers! We are blessed to have the friends and family that we have!
Lucia

Are there hidden camera's somewhere???

This is for Tuesday but we got home too late and were too tired to post...

Have you ever had a day where you should have stayed in bed??? I think that should have been yesterday - for at least me - for the way it started out. It's got to be on Candid Camera or something!

Tuesday morning- Got to work and was waiting for Lucia to finish checking all the documents to be sure we are ready to get them authenticated. So I picked up Hope Mobile for brakes being done around 10:30am and headed to RiverTee to pick up the docs from Lucia to take to courthouse. So far, so good! I parked in the newly renovated parking garage downtown that has a unmanned payment machine to pay your parking cost. Got to courthouse at 11:40am and, of course, it was a half crew due to lunch. Came back to garage and that's where the fun began.
It took my ticket gladly AND it readily accepted my credit card. Then the !@#$% machine said "out of service!" So I WAS TRAPPED IN THE GARAGE! I placed a called to the owner and finally found a way to get out. So I flew over and got Lucia and we headed to Columbus.

We got to Columbus around 3:30 and found a parking spot .... more to add later tonight.... Ok- So I see Lucia filled in some of what went on. It was a lesson for me and a blessing in disguise. For had Lucia not gotten stuck, I wouldn't have gone outside to see that our car was potentially being towed! I can't imagine the grief we would have gone through coming out to find our car gone. When I finally got to move the car out of the way, Lucia went upstairs to pick up the final apostilled papers. I found an alley behind the building and just parked there. I was so overcome by emotions that I cannot begin to describe. I simply just sat in the car and cried because I couldn't believe that we had finally finished this HUGE hurdle in getting the girls.

I spoke with Dan this afternoon and, at this point, he has no information about Taya possibly having a guardian. So we are praying that this still works out for both Rymma and Taya to join our family. S0 we ask for your continued prayers!

Agape,

John

Monday, May 14, 2007

Paperwork, pictures and surprises!

Last night after John and the kids went to bed was spent going over the adoption paperwork and getting it in order to get them notarized today. What a task! This form for this; that form for that. Signed by one of you; signed by both of you. This needs notarized; this doesn't. CRAZY!

We e-mailed our photos to the agency last evening and got a return e-mail today that while they were nice, it was not what the government wants. I - of course - did my usual "over-the-top" scrapbooking. They simply want a FEW pictures with captions - nothing fancy. Grrr! So, tonight I will stay up and revamp all our pictures. The good thing about the scrapbooks is that I can give them to the girls as gifts! :o)

Another piece of good news is that all our documents are notarized and ready to be authenticated by the county court tomorrow. MANY THANKS to Linda for putting up with us and all this stuff!! I told Linda to send us her bill for her carpal tunnel aggravation! LOL (If you have ever purchased a home, the amount of paperwork and signatures is about the same!) We are planning our trip to Columbus on Thursday to get everything apostilled and then in the mail on Friday to our adoption agency! YES!!!

I had forgotten a Mother's Day gift from Timmy in the car from Friday when I picked him up from school. I opened it this morning when I got to work. It was a picture of him made into a magnet - REALLY CUTE! Then a little book "About Mom" with an awesome picture of him on the front. Inside it had little blurbs about mom. "My mom is 'Luchea.' She is 30 years old. (I WISH!!! LOL) My mom likes to help me build train tracks. (He LOVES trains!) I love my mom because she helps me." Gotta love him!

Tonight is going to be a long night as well but well worth it. I will catch you up on things once we get all our paperwork signed, sealed and sent!
In His Name,
Lucia

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mamachia's AWESOME Mother's Day

Today, was an extraordinary day in my life! Never before has a Mother's Day been so meaningful to me. John, Sammy, Sabrina and Timmy gave me a beautiful card that looked like it had been scrapbooked! I told John he did a great job in picking it out! :o) Yes, he picked it out all by himself!!

We got up this morning and attended church as a family at RiverTree. The service was excellent - as usual. You can go to www.rivertreechristian.com and listen to the sermons online. At the end of service, Pastor Greg's wife, Julie, shared some gifts that their daughter, Tabitha, had made her for Mother's Day and a letter that she had written when Pastor Greg was away for a few days. Then Julie sang a song that melted my heart - "In My Daughter's Eyes" by Martina McBride. I don't know how she kept a straight face through it - even Tabitha was singing along with her. It was all I could do to not cry uncontrollably.

My reaction to the song is bittersweet. You see, with the news about Taya (see previous post), it hit me hard that I may not see myself in her sparkling eyes again - the bitter. Just after we got the news about Taya, we FINALLY received a letter from Rymma - we have been waiting since January!! The sweet. She starts out, "Dear Mom and Dad." Music to our ears! She goes on to say that she can't wait to come and be with us again and that her birthday would have been better had we been able to celebrate together. We did not know her thoughts until receiving this letter and we are so happy to hear that she wants to be with us!!

The rest of the day was fun too with John and the kids! They has asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day and I told them that I wanted them to cook for me! LOL John grilled steaks while Sammy made salad and Sabrina cut strawberries for shortcake. Timmy set the table. Shauna showed up LOL - but she also brought me flowers (they are beautiful!) and a card. The card didn't have any writing on it but she wrote "Happy Mother's Day, Mamachia! I could never ask for a better (step) mom! I love you! Shauna" This is the most sentimental gift I have gotten from her in 7 years and I will cherish it forever!!! Sabrina stayed up last night and scrapbooked me a beautiful card, tag and all! She helped Timmy make me a card too and he made two of them for me at church!! Even Derek (my 21 year-old) called to wish me Happy Mother's Day and invite me to lunch one day this week! I am the luckiest wife, mom and stepmom!!!

We are still working on our dossiers. John is scanning our photos as I type to send to the adoption agency to get their "approval." I put a lot of love into them and hope that they "pass." We are hoping to get our papers notarized and certified tomorrow, heading to Columbus on Tuesday or Thursday and mailing out our papers by the end of this week!! YES!!!! Wish us luck!! Then, it's another waiting game! Ugh!

In closing, I want to say THANK YOU to John and the girls and Timmy for giving me an AWESOME Mother's Day! And another thank you to the kids for helping us this weekend to get our old house ready to sell!! You guys rock!!! I LOVE YOU!
Mamachia

Friday, May 11, 2007

Wishing Upon A Star ...

Thank you, Honey, for the beautiful words. (I hate when you make me cry!) I LOVE YOU more than you will ever know. You are the husband I prayed for and I am blessed to share our lives and love with you and our children ...

I don't know how much I can add to John's earlier comments, really. He eloquently spoke words from both our hearts. We want only what is best for Taya should our adoption of her not come to pass. I am praying HARD that whatever happens, it is in her best interest and that God will bless her with the family that she is meant to have - whether that family is ours or another.

I often tell people that God has a sense of humor - I grew up as an only child. I now have 2 sons, three stepdaughters and a possible two more daughters "on the way." I am a mother, a stepmother, an adoptive mother-to-be, a wife, a daughter, a sister-in-law, a daughter-in-law, an aunt - and I wouldn't change a thing!

As Mother's Day approaches, I am reminded of the relationships between mothers and their children. I am envious of mothers who have a special bond with her daughter; I miss doing things and laughing with my mother - I want with my daughter what I had with my mother; I celebrate in the relationships I have with my stepdaughters, and I rejoice in the relationships that I have with my sons. I am truly blessed!

I read a poem this morning while preparing our photos for our dossiers. It read: You are what I wished for when I wished upon a star. John, Derek, Shauna, Sammy, Rymma, Sabrina, Taya, & Timmy - YOU are my wishes come true! Thank you for letting me be your wife, your mom and your stepmom! I LOVE YOU!!

Lucia a.k.a. Mamachia

Emotional Roller Coaster Ride

It's amazing what happens in 6 months in our short lives. Yesterday, we have received unconfirmed reports from the Ukraine that it might not be possible to adopt Taya now. We have been told that a Ukraine family is interested in becoming or has become her Guardian. This news has been very shocking to Lucia and I , thus the reason I titled this post an emotional roller coaster.

When I first received the news I was upset to be quite honest. Then I reflected back the the beginning of the journey where Lucia and I decided to take this journey, together. Our main goal was to honor and bring glory to God first and change two young ladies life's as forever family in the process. Our pray from day one was that God's will be done and for him to get the glory. So reflecting back on that if Taya is with a family that loves her, then its a win-win. It's hard to conceive that we might have to let her go but letting go of someone you love has the best positive effect on everyone in the situation.

So we ask that you stand with Lucia and I in agreement in prayer that God's will be done with this adoption of Taya ( and Rymma). That blessed are the peacemakers. That Lucia and I are following God and our hearts in this journey and want to see it to the end. To run the race and endure this together and with all our family in friends as we simply rejoice that we got to have Taya here for 3 weeks. My only wish at this point is that she will be saved so that no matter what we can be a family together in heaven if this doesn't work out for whatever reason.

Lucia and I cannot begin to express the appreciation of all the support and prayers we are receiving from all over the world concerning this adoption(s). We humbly thank you all and we love you all.

Lastly, with Mother's Day soon approaching I dedicate this post to Lucia and my mother, Sue. These 2 incredible woman have supported me and loved me unconditionally. I would not be who I am today without great women in my life! Thanks Lucia and Mom!

Agape,

John n Lucia

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Tears of Joy!

Greetings All!

Lucia and I started this blog to track our progress of the adoption of our daughters, Rymma and Taya. As of this post, we are about a week away of submitting our dossier to the Ukraine Government.

I have just finished being away camping with Sabrina this weekend for Indian Princesses and received AWESOME news from Lucia. But first let me step back and bring you all up to speed...

Lucia and I hosted 2 beautiful girls (just as beautiful as our other 3 girls) from the Ukraine back around Christmas time for 3 weeks. At that time, Rymma was 12 and Taya was 10. We had a wonderful 3 weeks with the girls and it was soon apparent that Lucia and I wished to add them to the rest of the family. On New Years Eve, we asked Rymma (Taya had already fallen asleep). Rymma was SO NERVOUS (like we weren't too!) She responded with an I'm not sure yet reply. A short time later, we asked our friends Val and Julie over for dinner. (Val speaks Russian and he and I went to Ukraine together last Oct on missions trip). We had Val ask the girls again at dinner that evening if they wanted to be a part of our family and both of them said, "I don't know." Which I'm ok with because of the shock of just coming over here was overload. Before we knew it we were at JFK airport telling the girls goodbye. It was a VERY emotional experience for all 4 of us. It was then Lucia and I knew we had bonded very much more than we realized with Rymma and Taya.

Poof! Ok, that kinda brings you up to speed a little. Well, about a month and half after the girls got back, we got a letter from our little mouse (Taya) that her answer was yes! That she wanted to be with us and not to forget her!

So I'm at Camp Tippecanoe this weekend and Sabrina was on the horseback ride and out on the trail when I checked my voicemail on my cell. Lucia said she had talked to Dan and that Angelina had a letter from Rymma and that Rymma has said yes too! The emotions just overcame me as sat in my truck and just cried tears of Joy. I don't think I could have received the news at a more appropriate place than Camp Tippecanoe because I have taken all 3 of my girls there since they were little girls and is the place I would love to take Rymma and Taya too once they are here. So it has been a very emotional weekend for Lucia and I as we race to submit the paperwork in time before the deadline of 558 dossiers.

So PLEASE continue to pray for Rymma, Taya and ourselves that we can finish this race and become a forever family.

Agape,
John-n-Lucia