"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last Day for Usborne Books Fundraiser

Here is a message from Ann:   Don't forget! My Bring Katya Home Usborne Fundraiser ends tomorrow! http://www.myubam.com/HOS195109 or Go to www.BooksKidsRead.com and click on Bring Katya Home. My entire commission will go to Katya's fund and the hostess books will be donated to her silent auction fundraiser.

Please check it out if you need books for your children or for gifts for others.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some Questions Answered

Yesterday I received a message from someone, asking a lot of questions. I don't have a ton of time to answer them in detail as I'm busy with caring for my family and bringing Katya home, but I felt they were important and deserved some answers. So, I'm going to give some answers, and I'm also going to have Charity write some answers (without reading mine). I will share mine today, and maybe in a few days, I will have the opportunity to share some of Charity's answers too. I hope that it will clarify the situation for any of my readers who are experiencing similar questions or concerns.
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C. from down south in the USA writes:

I have a question about your adoption belief system. Maybe that's not the right way to put it. I'm wondering why this one little girl from half way across the world is more important to you that the millions of needy children that pour through your local agency every year. Don't get me wrong- I am pro adoption. But for that very reason I feel like $20,000 spent on one child could be better used to minister to ten US children who do not having loving families. And I'm not measuring the worth of a soul either. All little children deserve a loving family.
Which brings me to my next point. You are not really finically  able to get this girl. Is it wise to put all you've got on the line, when you don't have what it takes to bring her home? You are asking for other families to put their all on the line too, for the sake of you providing a home for this child. And like I said, that same amount of money could reach many children. At least in the state of  ______, adoption is free. Even your court costs are covered. On one of the blogs (I think Reese's Rainbow) there was a lady practically ridiculing those who back out of adoptions like what you are doing. I was really turned off by that. I think lack of money and other resources is a perfectly good reason not to adopt. Adoption is no easier than any other parenting and especially adoption overseas and special needs. It is no picnic.
I think if you are a prepared family with a call from God to adopt, with your own money in hand, then by all means you should answer that call. But there are few families like that.
The other thing is, while I was touched by the stories of these precious, innocent, abused children, needing help, attention and love, I had to think of two things.
1) What are the governments of these countries doing about the millions of orphans? Why are they not doing something to provide homes or education? If they were concerned about the welfare of the children and they wanted them to find good homes, it would not cost $20,000 to get a child. It sounds like someone is making dirty money. If nothing else, someone should be teaching, educating, and handing out condoms to these people who are creating a world full of orphans. You have to get ahead of the game and stop the mess, because not you, or anyone else is going to be able to give homes to 300,000 children. Not at $20,000 each!
The other thing is, while I understand how fundraisers work, I think it is selfish of people to have to GET something for donating to your cause. If they really cared about helping you bring Kayta home, they would give without Tupperware, books, clothing, cake, etc. I say, shame on them for not just giving you the money.
I hope I didn't come across too strong. These thoughts have been on my heart for a long time. And if you knew me better you would know, I never mince words. I hope you will share your story with me. I am in a community where adoption is looked down on, and F. and I feel called to adopt. Not sure when. We are waiting on God's timing. I have worked with precious foster children.
God bless.

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#1. I'm wondering why this one little girl from half way across the world is more important to you that the millions of needy children that pour through your local agency every year.

When Paul and I first set out to adopt, over 6 years ago, we actually had in mind to foster to adopt through the USA system. We took all the classes, and began to wait and wait for our homestudy appointment. We had NO intention of adopting internationally, and had in fact refused to even consider the idea, due to the costs. It wasn't even on our radar, so to speak. Until the day God literally dropped Kristina's urgent need for a family into our laps and said, "There's your daughter." God spoke very clearly to both of us. We wrestled with the projected cost of her adoption-- $45,000. She lived in the far, far East of Russia, and airfare alone for her adoption ended up costing close to $10,000 for the two trips we were required to make. After seeking a lot of counsel and spending serious time in prayer, we committed to her, knowing it would take a series of miracles from God to pull off her adoption. Fortunately, we were in a church that was big on believing in God for miracles, and they prayed hard with us through the whole process (almost a year long). Ironically, about a week or so after we committed to her, we got the phone call that the local Social Services was ready to start our homestudy. Interesting timing. God's timing, I believe to this day.

With Katya, again, we did *not* set out to seek an international adoption. We were open to whether or not God wanted us to adopt. We had a handful of opportunities to adopt a child here in the USA presented to us by people advocating for children over the last few years. Every single time, God firmly closed the door and said, "No." We were happy with our family of 4 children, and did not necessarily feel the need to adopt again, but we wanted to be open to it if that was what God had for our family. God eventually laid Katya on our hearts, and we began to pray and advocate for her. In Sept. of 2009 I went on a medical missions trip to her orphanage and spent a week working there. We continued to advocate for a family for Katya for almost another year, but no family was able to complete her adoption. We try hard as a family to be open to God's leading and voice in our lives, and we know that He has spoken to us that we are to pursue adopting her. It's that simple.

Just as God called Abraham to leave what he knew and what was familiar to him, God has called us to do this. Why? He knows.We don't have to know for sure. Adoption isn't just about "getting another child". If that is all it was about, it would be simplest and easiest to just go get the handiest child. As you say, all children are deserving of a family! But I believe God has specific children for specific families--just as He had a specific husband for you, and a specific husband for me. Just any man wasn't necessarily what we were looking for, right? We wanted to be led to THE ONE that God had created uniquely for us, and us for our husband, no matter where he was located. ;-) That is the philosphy my husband and I have about adoption--we believe that God will show us which children He wants our family specifically to have. No matter where on God's planet they are located, when God calls, we must follow the call.

#2. A.  Which brings me to my next point. You are not really finically  able to get this girl. Is it wise to put all you've got on the line, when you don't have what it takes to bring her home? You are asking for other families to put their all on the line too, for the sake of you providing a home for this child. And like I said, that same amount of money could reach many children. At least in the state of  ______, adoption is free. Even your court costs are covered. On one of the blogs (I think Reese's Rainbow) there was a lady practically ridiculing those who back out of adoptions like what you are doing. I was really turned off by that. I think lack of money and other resources is a perfectly good reason not to adopt

Before a family is allowed to adopt internationally, there is a very rigorous examination made of their finances, and their financial status, in addition to many other aspects of our lives. All aspects are examined closely--income, debt load, personal net worth of all property and assets etc. Not only does the home study agency make a close investigation of all of this, the USA Gov't does as well. The USA gov't especially wants to make sure that a family bringing a child into the USA has the financial resources to care for the child in EVERY aspect--housing, food, education, medical care etc. Home study agencies AND the USA gov't are both wise enough to realize that many families can take care of a child after they are home quite well--they just don't have $25,000 plus sitting loose in the bank. Because of that, fund-raising to help with SOME of the adoption costs is recognized by them as a legitimate thing. Both the home study agency AND the USA Gov't get paid to examine us--that is where some of the adoption costs come in. Several thousand of them, to be exact.

As to us asking other families to put their "all on the line too"--in my world, asking some one to put their "all" on the line means that you are asking them to give every thing they have. I am unaware that we have asked ANYONE to give every thing they have--to sacrifice till they are at risk of losing their home or starving themselves or their children. If so, that was never our intention. Even we--while living sacrificially, are NOT starving, our house is firmly in place over our heads, and we are all properly clothed. Doesn't God ask us to be willing to sacrifice for others?? Doesn't He have plenty to say about the snares of riches and His heart for how we should care for orphans and widows?! Wouldn't Jesus were He on earth today have plenty to say about the wealth and luxury that is present in so many of our homes and lives when others around the world have so little? And no where do I read in the Bible that we are to limit ourselves to caring just for those in our own country.

I would never presume to tell any one that they MUST adopt internationally in order to obey God's call for their life. But that is what He has called *us* to do--and we MUST obey Him. We must obey Him even when it's not easy or pleasant, and even when our human eyes do not see exactly how He is going to provide for this adoption. I have full faith though that HE IS FAITHFUL and that since He provided for Kristina's adoption He is perfectly capable of providing ALL that we need for Katya's in one way or another. God sometimes WANTS us to walk by faith, and not by sight, and to get out of the way with our human reasoning and our desire to be "safe" and have all our ducks in a row so to speak, so that His power and glory can be manifested! With Kristina's adoption, we saw that again and again and again . . . . and with Katya's, God has ALWAYS made sure we had the money we needed for the next step ON TIME. Lack of funds has not delayed her adoption process. Not once. (Thank you, God!)

B. At least in the state of  ______, adoption is free. Even your court costs are covered.

Nothing in life is truly free. Somewhere, there was a price, and someone paid it. In the case of adoptions in your state, SOMEONE is paying for those. Probably tax-payers in the USA. And that's fine. I have no real problem with that. BUT realistically, we need to think about this: When you adopt in your state, *YOU* are asking others to pay for *YOUR* adoption--without them even KNOWING or GIVING PERMISSION to have their funds spent to pay for your adoption. Because there ARE costs associated with that adoption that ARE paid to the Social Workers, the Judges, the Lawyers etc. And those costs are paid by SOMEONE. While I can not cite a reference, I have been told that the total costs for an adoption through foster care easily run up to $10,000 or more. Paid for by SOMEONE, SOMEHOW.

 When we ask others to help with our adoption, IT IS A CHOICE THEY CAN MAKE. They can choose to help, or they can choose not to help. We appreciate ALL our friends, whether they choose to help or not. Whether they help or not is totally between them and God. We can present the opportunity for them to help bless Katya's life, because this isn't about us--it's about the life and soul of a child. And God will make sure that she comes home, with or without help from others. He knows how to do what seems impossible. So my question here is: Is God calling you to help with someon's adoption--not necessarily even Katya's? If so, listen.

#3.Adoption is no easier than any other parenting and especially adoption overseas and special needs. It is no picnic

You are so right about that, C. Adoption is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Parenting our hurting daughter for the first 6 months she was home had me on my face before God many times. The first 4 years with her were VERY hard even though not so hard as the first 6 months. After she made the choice to yield her heart and life to God's control, the change in  her has been amazing. But she's not all healed. She still carries emotional scars as well as special needs that will impact her whole entire life--needs that there is NO CURE for. Needs that will impact her life in many, many ways, including her choice of life work. But hasn't God called us to be wiling to suffer for His sake? To suffer for the sake of the Gospel?

With Katya, we don't know what challenges all lie ahead of us. We have no rose-tinted glasses. Remember, I spent a week in her orphanage. I know how hurting and broken Katya is to a certain extent. Realistically?? I think we are embarking on the hardest part of our lives--you pray for us!

Having said all that, I will also tell you that adoption has been one of the biggest blessings in our family's life in SOOOO many ways!!! Its' broadened our world, given us new friends, helped our family grow more into the kind of people God wants us to be, given us the love and joy of another daughter in our home, and so many other things. God knew our daughter had a heart that would be hungry for Him, and He orchestrated her life so that she would learn to know Him as her Savior and Lord. To me, there is nothing more amazing than that! Praise God!

And, when my precious Kristina, now 11, tells me, "When you rocked me and sang to me in the orphanage, that was when I knew I wanted you to be my Mama. No one else had ever done that, that I could remember!" I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God led us to Khabarovsk, Russia to bring her home. Her heart was hungry for a family, even though 5 years of orphanage life had taught her that she could not depend on any one to truly be trust-worthy.

#4. A. 1) What are the governments of these countries doing about the millions of orphans? Why are they not doing something to provide homes or education? If they were concerned about the welfare of the children and they wanted them to find good homes, it would not cost $20,000 to get a child. It sounds like someone is making dirty money. If nothing else, someone should be teaching, educating, and handing out condoms to these people who are creating a world full of orphans. You have to get ahead of the game and stop the mess, because not you, or anyone else is going to be able to give homes to 300,000 children. Not at $20,000 each!
Many of the countries are still recovering from years of back-breaking poverty and Communism. They are doing the best they can with what they have in terms of education, resources and the values they have been taught (or not taught). Many are VERY concerned about the children, and that only what is best for them be what happens. In fact, that very awareness has INCREASED the cost of an adoption. Here's one example--in both Russia AND Katya's country, families used to be able to basically go over, meet their child, fill out the paperwork, and get home in a week or so. As problems arose for many of these families, and some of the children were abused and/or killed by their new families, or rejected for one reason or another (some truly as trivial as after they got the child they discovered they had a prominent birth mark under their clothing!), countries said, "Wait a minute! This system is NOT working! We need to have more time to observe families interacting with the children. The parents need more time to interact with the children before they decide they really want to adopt them. The children need to have more time learning to know the parents before they are forced away from all that they are familiar with and put with these strange smelling and speaking people!" So . . . longer times in country. And yes, that costs. People have to have some where to stay while they are spending time interacting each day with their child at the orphanage. People need to eat. People need transportation. In the case of our adoption of Kristina, we were required to go meet her, spend time with her, then return home, complete more paperwork, and then retun to finalize the adoption. That second trip was almost 3 weeks in country. You can not travel for free.

As to dirty money?? Umm, the people who help with the adoption have families and lives too. Do you think they should spend each day working to help famiiles adopt for free? And if so, who should pay for their food, clothing and housing? Do some of them make a VERY good living at what they are doing?? Yes, probably so. And since many or most of them are not Christians, they do not know what God says about living simply. They see it as a chance to provide a good living for themselves and their family--and is that really so much different than what most people want to do?!

B. If nothing else, someone should be teaching, educating, and handing out condoms to these people who are creating a world full of orphans. You have to get ahead of the game and stop the mess, because not you, or anyone else is going to be able to give homes to 300,000 children. Not at $20,000 each!
Birth control is not the real solution to the orphan problem in either of the countries I have contact with through adoption. Because most of the orphans are not in the orphanages due to huge family sizes being more than what any parent could care for. According to UNICEF, there is a 67%  birth control rate in Katya's country. Most families have only one or two children. What then is driving the high percentage of orphans? MOST of it stems from this: Lack of education and support about special needs. As soon as a baby is born that shows signs of special needs, the pressure is on. "Put your baby into an institution. You can not care for this child! Who will help you?! There are no programs for a child like this. There is no life for them. They will ruin your life! You will end up homeless and on the street! Put them away--forget they were born to you and go on to have another healthy child who will care for you!" When THOSE are the voices you hear from everyone in your life--or nearly everyone--and when you KNOW there is no support system, and NO ONE YOU KNOW has EVER cared for a child with a handicap, so how would you go about even starting to care for them?! When even your very Doctor angrily tells you, "This child has no business being in  your home! You have no way of caring for this child! Let the experts do it!" WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?!!

It's all very well for us to sit here in our snug little communities where a mulitide of resources are at our finger tips, and where on a normal day we are likely to see someone with a developmental or physical handicap about and out in town, and criticize the women who are broken and scared and hurting in countries far away and say, "I would never give up my baby!" No, here in America, you would not. But you don't know what you would do if years of conditioning had taught you that NO parent should raise a child with a handicap, and that they belong in orphanages. You don't know what you would do if you had NO RESOURCES. You don't know WHAT you would do if Doctor's LIED to you about how horrible your child's life was going to be if you took them home.

 And what if you lived in a 7 story flat that you had to climb 7 flights of stairs for EVERY DAY with NO ELEVATOR in the building, and your child was born with a handicap and you were told, "This child will never walk!" Realistically, how are you going to carry that child 7 flights of stairs once he's 5 or 6 years old and weighs 50 lbs? And what about when your husband hisses at  you, "If you don't send that child off, I will leave you! And then where will you be?! You know you don't make enough at your job to keep a roof over y our head!"?? What would you do?  And what would you do if your parents, who you live with, scream at you, "Send that child away! Don't bring her home! If you do, a curse will fall on all of  us! We will kick you out onto the street tonight if you show up with that child in your arms!" ?? What would you do? Put yourself in the shoes of these precious, hurting mamas, and pray for them.

THIS is REALITY for the women of these countries! Are things changing?? Is there hope?? Yes!!! Thank God, there are whispers of hope! There are small rays of light shinning into the countriese and change is starting to happen. As families adopt special needs children and countries start to see the change that a loving family can make in these kids lives, change starts to happen. Even though we are no longer required by law to send post-placement reports back to Russia for Kristina, we continue to send photos and reports on our own! We WANT them to see how she is thriving! We WANT them to know that the child who was deemed "severely retarded" and scheduled to be shipped to a mental institution by a panel of TEN EXPERTS (and yes, I have the paper with every one of their signatures) is doing well in 4th grade, excelling in piano lessons, and a wonderful addition to our family! We want the sceptics to KNOW that a good family, good nutrition, good love MAKE A DIFFERENCE and create positive changes than a typical orphanage can never duplicate.

Most agencies that I know about--certainly both the one we used for Kristina's adoption AND Reece's Rainbow--work to provide support and education to the birth countries of our children. Realistically, not even all the children in orphanages are available for adoption (that is a whole 'nother post in and of itself, and one I will not get into today). But Steven Curtis Chapman of Show Hope has said
that if each Christian would adopt ONE child--just one--there would be an end to the orphan problem in the whole entire world. That's pretty staggering to think about . . . and pretty sad too. Can every Christian adopt a child? No. But far more could than are doing so. And some of us are willing to adopt more than one, so if the body would arise and begin to act . . . .

What kind of miracles do you think we could see God do if the professed Body of Christ would rise up and begin to pray and seek God's face and heart for orphans?!! I think there is NO END TO THE MIRACLES WE WOULD SEE, and God would be delighted to move mountains and bring His children home!! WOW! Just thinking about that gets me excited! C'mon professed followers of God--Arise in greater numbers than you have been!

#5. The other thing is, while I understand how fundraisers work, I think it is selfish of people to have to GET something for donating to your cause. If they really cared about helping you bring Kayta home, they would give without Tupperware, books, clothing, cake, etc. I say, shame on them for not just giving you the money

While we appreciate out-right donations, there is no way under the sun I would expect people to just hand over money while I sit still. If I can work to help raise money for my daughter's adoption expenses, why is that less honorable than my husband going to work each day? The economy here in Ohio is rough for many people. And if I can help someone obtain something they NEED and still pay my adoption expenses, I'm happy to do so. No one is being asked to order something they don't need. But if you need a  bowl, I'm happy to sell it to you. If your child needs a cobbler apron to keep their clothing clean, why shouldn't I sell it to you and help you AND me both in the process? Is it wrong for people to work to earn their bread to pay for their other expenses? God says we should be willing to work, so I think not. We have tried hard to provide items that would be a blessing to a wide variety of people. While I'm aware that not everyone wants every type of item we offer, that's fine. We don't expect people to all need or want the same thing! We have even been contacted again and again by people asking us to make custom items for them so that they don't need to go elsewhere to buy it. Many of the poeple who have purchased items from us have given out-right donations too. Either at the same time, or at earlier or later dates. Lots of people have given freely from their hearts expecting nothing in return.

And don't forget .. . . some people just enjoy fundraisers, and see the first three letters in the word as part of the whole package deal--FUNdraiser.

When we have helped with others adoptions, we have both given out-right gifts, and also purchased items that we needed. I have NEVER ONCE bought some thing just to buy it to make them be able to adopt. Never. If I don't want the item, I simply donate if I wish to help. I would assume that most, if not all, of our helpers are doing the same thing with us.

#6. I hope I didn't come across too strong. These thoughts have been on my heart for a long time. And if you knew me better you would know, I never mince words. I hope you will share your story with me. I am in a community where adoption is looked down on, and F. and I feel called to adopt. Not sure when. We are waiting on God's timing. I have worked with precious foster children.
God bless.


I am aware  you don't mince words. And while I try to be kind and diplomatic, I'm sure you have seen I don't mince words either when the situation requires it. I appreciate the honest struggles and questions  you are having here, and I pray that as you seek God's face and His heart for orphans with your husband that you will find answers. Its' not easy to feel called from God to adoption and to think you are not in a supportive community for it. I hope and pray that something will change there for you--perhaps God will use your burden and passion for orphans to reach out to others. Be the seed of change! I know that as a result of our adopting Kristina, other people have opened their eyes and hearts to God's burden for orphans, and have adopted. I thank God for using Kristina's story to bless other people.

And I thank you forgiving  me an opportunity to share my heart with you, and the rest of my readers. God bless you and your husband.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What To Say?

Tonight, I sit and stare at my computer screen. I feel little inspiration to write. The journey thus far has left me a bit drained . . . weary . . . worn . . . and wondering  . . . curious . . . .cautious . . . . a little sadder and a little wiser . . . reaching out to God and asking again and again for His guidance . . . wondering how He will open doors . . . and what lies yet ahead of us? What additional painful experiences will we be going through before Katya is finally home safely with us? What amazing things will we see God do?

I don't know . . . . and it the NOT KNOWING that is so hard at times. I don't know about you, but I LIKE to know things. Especially things that affect me so deeply and personally as this journey to my daughter has been.

For around two years, I sat and stared many nights at dear Katya's face on my computer screen, and wept and prayed. I did not understand why God was so clearly calling me to her--and yet Paul didn't see it or get it at that point. I only knew I was to wait . . . to not run ahead of God . ..and to hold Katya with an open hand. I still don't entirely understand all of what that was about . . . but I have little glimpses now and then.

I trust in time more of it will be made plain to us . . . and maybe why the journey to Katya has been so hard. . . some of that has been revealed to us . . . and it's not pretty. I can not say more than that. But Paul and I both earnestly covet your prayers for our spiritual and emotional protection and well-being. We need contnued prayers for a hedge of protection from God to be placed around our family. Thank you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thinking Outside of the Box to Raise Funds

Late this just-passed winter, my Dh and teen son had a two week long fencing job locally. They repaired and replaced a fence around a post office. Part of the terms of the job were that they were to clear all debris and damaged fence and supplies from the property. They hauled home the items as they came home each evening and dumped them in a large pile.

This past week my Dh did not have any paying jobs, but that did not mean he was idle. Oh no! He and Todd worked hard loading up the scrap fence and a few other things of scrap that accumulated here over the past year and hauled them in to the local recycling place.

Wanna guess how much their work gave us for Katya's fund?? Roughly $522.00! We were very, very happy to be able to add that to Katya's fund and I share this as a little example of how to think outside  of the box when trying to fundraise for your child's adoption.

Our property is neater and cleaner again, and the money we need for Katya's ransom has taken a large jump. Very definitely a win-win situation if you ask me!

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In other happy news, we recieved our first donation today for the April 9th fundraiser, and got emails or messages about a few other donations. We are very grateful and excited about them all! We also plan to take all the left-over items that haven't sold on our blog like aprons and blankets and things like that to the auction so if you have been thinking about purchasing one, NOW is the time to buy them--otherwise, they are gone.
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Also, someone has kindly offered to do an Usborne books fundraiser for Katya! Here's the info they gave me to share with you. Please share the info with anyone and everyone who might have any interest! The clock is ticking and we still have a very short time span to finish raising the funds we need for Katya! I know with God's help and the kindness of others we WILL accomplish that goal and Katya WILL be coming home, God willing.



Here is the link http://www.myubam.com/HOS195109 or they can go to www.BooksKidsRead.com and click on "Bring Katya Home" in the upper right corner.

Usborne Books & More believes that children should have every opportunity available to them,...
... especially a good education. We offer an incredible variety of fiction and non-fiction titles in all age ranges and subjects. The combination of Usborne and Kane/Miller books enables Usborne Books & More to offer you one of the most creative and original book lines in the United States.

All books will be shipped directly to you within 2 business days of your order. The consultant, Ann Mackowski will donate her commission (25% of sales) to help bring Katya home to her family. In addition, the free books a hostess earns by holding a party will be donated for the auction on April 9th.

If you need book recommendations or have any questions, please e-mail Ann@BooksKidsRead.com and she will be more than happy to help.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mysterious Money

For three weeks in a row now, we have found money in our mailbox at church. First week, a $100 bill in an envelope with our name on it. No note.

Second week, $100 in an envelope with our name on it. No note.

Third week--today--$65.00 in bills folded and stuffed in our mailbox.

We don't have a clue who is putting the money in there, but I know God knows. I know He sees. He sees someone (or some someoneS) whose heart is tender towards orphans. Someone who wants to quietly help, with no fanfare. I would love to know who is caring so I could thank them, but I don't need to know. GOD KNOWS. And I know He will see and reward them for laying up treasures in heaven. I know He will see and reward them for caring about a little girl who has been declared not fit for a normal life due to a head deformity. A little girl who has a heart that is hungry for love . . . for hugs . . . for kisses . . .  A little girl who has been waiting for OVER SIX YEARS for a Mommy, a Daddy, and a family!!

Tomorrow, check the thermometer for an update! We have been working hard to haul in the scrap from a fencing job Paul did this winter, and some other misc. scrap from some other jobs, and the Lord has blessed us with good results for that. No, not enough to complete the adoption (I wish!) BUT with that money and what has been coming in recently, you are going to see a nice fat JUMP in the therm!!! ;-) I'm happy about that, and I know God is too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

And It is THERE!!!

We received the happy word this afternoon that our precious Fed-Ex package not only made it safely to the city and country where it belonged, but that it was also delivered and signed for! THANK YOU JESUS!!!

Now begins the important work of translating and submitting it. We are praying for a smooth process for that--and a speedy one.

We are also praying for the funds, because there is not a lot of time left and the sense of urgency grows almost by the minute. It's hard to sleep . . . it's hard to stay focused for me right now because I want so badly to be over there. Everyone is coping with the situation in their own way. Chad went and brought his beloved musical crib toy that he has cherished all these years and told me that he wants me to sell it to raise the money to get Katya. TOTALLY SPONTANEOUSLY. It moved me to tears. I cry easily these days. All those "pregnancy" hormones must be running rampant, you know?!

Both Paul and I feel the enormous weight of trying to raise another $15,000 in approximately 4 to 5 weeks very heavily. Paul didn't have work yesterday or today so he and Todd worked hard loading and hauling off steel left from the fence job they did a few weeks ago. After the expense of the trailer and bob cat rental, we raised around $300 for Katya's account. Then there is at least another pick up truck laod that they can hand-load. They plan to do that tomorrow and haul it in for recycling as wsell, We expect that to net us around $175 -$200. So little by little . . . but realistically speaking, we need to be raising $3,000 a week! That's a staggering sum to our minds. But I know it's not to God. We are working hard, doing what we can do. And like Paul says, "I said from the start of this that God would need to help with the funds. I don't know how He'll do it, but He'll just have to if we are to bring Katya home." And He has been faithful. We have ALWAYS had the money so far for each step. So . . . I am choosing to trust. Not to panic. But we are working/thinking/planning/plotting/considering all possible options/seeking advice and counsel/asking for help to pull off a massive fundraiser/ and generally yelling and letting people know we need help. WHHEEEWWWW.

So . . . consider this your official announcement--WE NEED HELP!!! We don't ask for ourselves, but for the sake of Katya.

On April 9th, there is a local church that has graciously offered to allow us to use their church fellowship hall to throw a massive fundraiser. From NOON to 4:00 p.m. there will be GOOD FOOD, GREAT MUSIC, and GIFT BASKETS AND OTHER ITEMS being auctioned off!!! (Yes, all those G's were intentional!! ;- ))

So . . . how can you help??

  #1. By praying.

  #2. By showing up if you are any where close enough to drive in.

  #3. By donating gift cards, gift certificates, hand-made items, services (if you are local to the area or have an online business) new elecontric items, and so on. Please don't think any item is too small! The donation of a single item can be combined with others to make a gift basket that will be a delight! New books, CD's etc. are all welcome! Use your imagination! The possiblities are almost endless.

  #4. If you are willing to help with any aspect of the setting up, food prep or any thing like that, please let us know! We can put you in touch with the committee that is handling that. We have some lovely ladies from our town and from our church who are working together to create a great meal, and a fun time for everyone. I'm soooo greatful to Kimberly and her church for being willing spearhead this event to be the hands of Jesus to Katya!

Now, some more info--the meal will be by DONATION. We want EVERYONE to be able to feel like they can come and help even if they can only afford to throw in a dollar or two. We especially thought that with the earlier time, it might appeal to Seniors who would like a good home-cooked meal. So spread the word if you know of any who might like to eat out on a Saturday and help a good cause! The event will be one where you can eat and run if you need to, so don't be afraid to come!

WHERE?? THE ANCHOR CHURCH  (Directions: http://maps.google.com/maps/place?oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF8&q=The+Anchor&fb=1&gl=us&hq=The+Anchor&hnear=Zanesville,+OH&cid=1505199067741804531&z=14

WHEN??? APRIL 9th, 20011 from 12:00 NOON TO 4:00 PM

WHO??? YOU AND ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIONS (as Rabbit would say!)

WHAT???  GREAT FOOD, GOOD MUSIC, GIFT BASKETS AND OTHER ITEMS FOR AUCTION

(There--I think I covered all the basics--my old English teacher would hopefully approve!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

And It's DONE!!!!

The stack of documents

The check-list Charity created to help do one final check before we slid them prayerfully into the FedEx Envelope and rushed for the FedEx box. We made it. The 1.3 lb package of documents was picked up last night and at last check a few min. ago has left Paris, France  .. . it should be to it's destination by tomorrow I presume, assuming no issues. Now the count-down begins. . . and the fund-raising intensifies. "Katya, honey, hang on! Mommy and Daddy are coming for you soon!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wonderful, WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL NEWS!

On March 14, 2011, we finally received that wonderful piece of paper . . . that plain, black on white that looks so ordinary but holds so much meaning! YES!!! Our "Golden Ticket" finally arrived from the United States Gov't!!! We have official permission to pursue the adoption of a special needs child of either gender up to the age of 11 years!

This is a wonderful thing after waiting so long  . . . and God willing . . . the stack of documents now sitting on our kitchen table will be in a Fed-Ex envelope wending their way to Katya's country by Tuesday evening!! Please pray for all the crazy running around we have to do to tomorrow to juggle the lasts steps in between the appointments and such that were scheduled already for the day! It's going to be a long day but it will all be worth it if we can get that dossier safely to Katya's country and then be able to officially let the powers that be know that we are serious about adding Miss Katya to our family! Can't wait to see my sweet heart again . . . . can't wait to love on her . . . can't wait to watch her  completely capture her Daddy's heart and wrap it around her little finger. ;-)

We are being told to expect to travel in about 5 weeks or so . . . please pray for the remaining funds that we need to raise!! And as always, please feel free to share this blog with others and ask them to prayerfully consider joining in helping to bring Katya home.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Purple Flowers for Katya For Sale

A friend has put up a print of one of her original paintings on Etsy to help raise money for Katya. Please check it out! It's beautiful, and reminds me of the color of Katya's dress in this picture.



When I said that to my friend, she replied that it had reminded her of that too--hence her choice.

Check out the painting here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/69765069/original-art-print-purple-flowrers-for

Original Art Print - Purple Flowrers for Katya

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SALE!!! Help Get Katya Home!!!

I've got some REALLY good news to share! Yesterday after a lot of phone calls and some stress we found out that our USCIS application AND Paul's A-file have been approved, pending review by one final supervisor. Our approval was expected to go into the mail yesterday yet--or if not yesterday, TODAY. That means by the end of this week we could be holding the paperwork in our hand that grants us approval to bring a child--hopefully Katya--into the USA!

And guess what that means?? That means that by early next week we should have our dossier on it's way to Katya's country!!! And guess what THAT means?? That means that in about 4-5 weeks after that we will probably be traveling to Katya's country to meet her! Paul for the first time--and for me, seeing her, holding her and loving her again! (OK, I'm bawling like a baby practically just at the thought . . . it's getting SOOO close--so real!!!)

So . . . in the midst of all this great and exciting news . . . the real damper is THIS: Realistically Speaking, We Are Still About $15,000 Short of What We Need. We still the $9,000 fee for the faciltator's in-country. We still need lodging for six weeks approximately, we still need money for food, for paying transportation fees (not included in the $9,000), Embassy Fees, Medical Exam for Katya etc. We DO already have what it should take for airfare unless airfare goes up beyond $1,000 a person. (We are budgeting that much per person and prayig it is enough!) So that is covered, thank God! But the rest needs covered.

So . . . SALE TIME . . . . we have reduced the prices on our items that have been listed for awhile . . .

ALL the items in the "Teacup Pincushions are on SALE. All the fleece items are ON SALE. We need those items to MOVE out!! Click on the "tabs" above to see the sale prices and what is available! First come, first served! If you have been pondering buying something, NOW is the time! Please spread the word!! Help us bring Katya home!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

So Dainty . . . A Skirt for Sale

Another T-shirt skirt has taken shape under Charity's skillful hands.


Lovely light cream lace . . .


Sweet birdie ribbon.

Charity's careful stitching along the ribbon . . .

A bow on the front of the skirt at the waist . . .

Kristina was the model for these photos . .  in our bathroom--nonetheless! Thought you might enjoy a "behind the scenes"  photo!!  (Yes, that IS a paint can there on the floor--I don't know how or why it snuck back into bathroom because I had cleaned all that stuff out a few weeks ago!)

T-shirt skirt for sale made from an up-cycled skirt. No holes, tears or stains as far as I can discern. Super soft cotton jersey T-shirt fabric with all new embellishments. Approximately 15.5 inches long, and around 25 inches in the waist (without stretching elastic).
Asking $14.00 and that includes shipping to the Lower 48! Shoot us an email at: phdfam@gmail.com if you are interested. First come, first served!

Chad says, "I Want Katya To Come Home!"

Back in the summer of 2010, Chad saw me looking at Katya's picture one day and told me, "That girl needs to come live with us." When I agreed that she did need a Mommy and Daddy and a family, he told me he wanted to pray that she could come live with us. Since I knew that his Daddy and I were privately praying about that very thing, I told him he could go ahead and pray about it, of course!

So, for a couple of nights--and even at times at mealtimes, this is what Chad prayed: "Dear God, We found Katya's picture on the internet. Please let her come live at our house. Amen."

When Paul realized that Chad was praying like that, he wasn't too happy, because at that point, he'd only very reluctantly agreed to help pray about what God's plan for our family might be in regards to Katya. He felt that he was "too old, too tired, and too poor" to do another adoption, and he didn't even really WANT to be praying about it, but had agreed to do so after I asked him if he would. So Chad's sincere little boy prayers were a bit unsettling to Paul.

And then, after a few days of Chad's fervent petitions, he ON HIS OWN changed his prayers. With great conviction and assurance, Chad began praying, "Dear God, thank You that Katya is coming to live at our house. Amen." And he was SURE. Absalutely positively beyond a shadow of a doubt SURE. He was SOO sure that for awhile I was truly worried about him because he would tell us with great urgency that we needed to go get Katya NOW because she was waiting for us, and she was sad and worried we weren't coming!! This really rattled Paul, and I have to admit, it shook me up abit as well. Paul was still "kicking against the pricks"  (See here for more interesting insight into the phrase) at the time, and it wasn't what he wanted to hear, that was for sure!

Eventually (obviously) Paul began to feel peace about adopting Katya and conviction that it was the path we were to take. We joyfully announced the news to Chad and the rest of our children. Chad was matter of factly happy--he'd known all along it was going to happen!

So many times on this journey, when it has begun to feel impossible to me, and when the thought of raising another penny, let alone the approximately $15,000 we still need to come up with makes me want to sink down and just yell, "I'm done! I QUIT!" Chad's faith keeps me moving. If he has the faith and assurance that he has, it could only have come from God speaking it into his little heart. How can I let him down?! I can't. We can't. No way. We can't give up on Katya--she needs us--and Chad is a wise and sensitive enough child to realize that. The other day he prayed all on his own, "Dear God--Tell those other famiiles to find ANOTHER child and keep an eye on Katya for us! Amen!"

Chad is going to be the best brother to her, I'm sure. A protector, and champion. He will defend her and advocate for her! Why am I so sure of that?? Because--he has been ever since he "found her picture on the internet". He has worried about what we would need for her to live in our family--"a bed, a dresser, toys--and oh yes! A booster seat!" He has insisted that we HURRY UP and get her home again and again. He has begged us even to go to the airport because he is sure she's waiting for us there . . .  And, Chad defends and protects his sister, Kristina. So I know he will do the same thing for Katya.

Chad wants Katya to come home! He wants her to come home SOO badly that he wanted to HELP DO SOMETHING to raise funds for her. So . . . he allowed his precious doggy, "Honey", to model the many uses of the ""Doggie Paws Bucket Bag" we have for sale. Check out the photos.




Bucket Bag and Coordinating Apron are still available for sale together or separately. Check the "Aprons" tab at the top of the blog for purchasing info! Help Chad bring Katya home!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Customer's Photo

Remember the T-shirt skirt we made?

Today we were happy to see a photo of the customer wearing it! M. looks really great in it, I think! And what a perfect vest to go with the skirt! Thanks for sharing it with us, K--and allowing us to share it!



Photo by KW--used with permission.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Let Your Heart Be Moved--A NEW GIVEAWAY!!

Clear back when we were working hard to raise the funds to get a small team over to Katya's orphanage in EE in 2009, a blogger stumbled on to a link or post about our project, Being both an adoptee and an adoptive father himself, he--Hevel--was interested, and began following my blog. Over time, our family and his have gradually learned to know  each other a little better via the wonders of modern communication. Now Hevel has a family of children. And they have been having a heart for Katya and her need for a family.

So what do you think they did? They decided to do something revolutionary . . . something amazing in this day and age. Something awesomely kind and wonderful . . .something that WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN KATYA's LIFE.

This family has a tradition that the children enjoy. They like to go once in awhile to a shop on Friday and enjoy either some coffee or a nice hot cup of chocolate. But, thought these children, if we would be willing to give that up . . . and do something to help Katya . . .

And so the idea was born!! You can read all about it and how YOU can participate by going HERE. Because with generous, caring children like that over on the other side of the world . . . children who KNOW what it's like to need a family . . . surely . . . surely . . . they won't be let down for lack of participation in their grand idea, will they?? No, I have faith they WILL NOT. You, my faithful readers will NOT let them down--of that, I am sure!!

The Latest CreationS For Sale

This apron was a remant bin find. As I stared at the two pieces of fabric a few days ago, it just looked to me like it would make sense to put them together and make a fun and funky apron for a little guy! Charity agreed, so the Doggie Paw apron was conceived. Once home, we washed and dried the fabric, and then set to work.

Here is the finished result, gently flapping in the breeze on our clothes line.



And best of all?? It's FOR SALE--all proceeds to help with Katya's adoption expenses. We are currently working now on raising the $9,000 facilitation fee that goes to the helpers in-country.

Made with Charity's usual careful attention to all the details--like no raw edges on seams!

Made with all new materials in our non-smoking home with love and care!


Made for a boy approximately ages 3 to 6. Pops over the head and ties at the sides with the perky polka dot ties that match the front pockets.


A close up shot of the fun little "patch" pocket that is just right for holding a marble or a piece of candy!


Asking $16.00 and that includes shipping and handling to the Lower 48 states. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED! (And this is truly one of a kind apron--we do not have enough left to make another apron like this . . . )  PayPal through the button above (NOT the Reece's Rainbow button--the one above that clearly marked PayPal) if you wish to purchase this sweet little boy's apron. Remember, it goes to help bring Katya home!

And now . . . AN UPDATE . . . Charity tackled a new project tonight with the scraps from this "Doggie Paw"  apron, and she has turned out the cutest little "Doggie Paw Bucket Bag". Check it out!

Close up of the side tag


Fully lined . . . and carefully stitched!


And . . . if your child wishes to, they can even reverse the bag!


$10.50 for the bag if purchased alone. And that includes shipping to the Lower 48. If you wish to purchase it WITH the apron, I will combine shipping, so the total price for APRON AND BAG would be $24.00 instead of $26.50 if purchased separately.

Charity puts a lot of time, effort and love into the items she is making. She is sacrifcing a lot to be able to help bring her sister home. I'm so very, very proud of her and I know God is too.