Monday, March 30, 2009

I.D. #'s - check, apply for passports - check

Today was a productive day. We were able to recieve the children's I.D. #'s and apply for their passports all before lunchtime. Praise God! This whole adventure has been about my checklist. First, it was the paperwork - Homestudy, copies, notaries, and apostilles then the Dossier. All while fundraising and sharing our mission with others. I thought that was the hard part, making sure all out T's were crossed and I's dotted - WRONG. I am homesick! I have all my babies together and I want to come home. We are so close now. We expect to recive the kids passports either Thursday after 3pm or no later than Friday. We are praying they are available Thursday. I have learned that EVERY day counts here. IF, they are ready Thursday we would like to travel that evening to Kiev and take care of the kids medical exams and apply/receive their Visa's on Friday. That is our prayer - Nothing is impossible with God! We would be able to travel home with the first flight available. We can not change our travel plans until we have the kids passports. It is $50 a ticket to exchange them once, it's $200 a piece to change them a second time. We are scheduled to come home on the 10th. We will be home sooner than that, Lord willing! We had to "pick" an estimated date to come home. We chose the 10th by recommendation of our agency. I suppose things have moved along quicker than expected. It sure doesn't seem so from here.
By the way, the Ukraine time change happened yesterday. They sprung forward without anyone telling us. We were "late" for our ride yesterday because they showed up an hour early and they had to wait for us to rush around. Same thing happened today! Finally we asked Irina (our translator), why are we late? She falied to mention the time change to us. We got it now! Neadless to say, I had NO make-up on today. I know I can't belive it either.
Were able to pick up a couple of things while we were out today. It didn't go as well as we would have liked. We wanted to shop for souveniers. Not a good idea, during naptime. We have to do things while we are out, on one trip. It's too expensive to go out more than once or take the time to travel back to the center of town. Marcus was tired and was not feeling well. We want him to gain strength and get well before we travel home. It seems the days we stay in he gets better than we HAVE to go out again to take care of business. I plan to keep them both in the next couple of days. They are both not over their colds. Taylor and Tanner are doing great! They have stayed well and we pray health protection for them too.
Sorry there are no pictures from our adventure today. I know I can't belive it either. We are in survival mode here. It's not exactly a picture taking community. There are even stores that ban cameras from entering, like the grocery store. Yesterday, we were at a park and I saw a man "all decked out." We were in an open, public park so I wipped out the camera. He was carrying his umbrella to "hide/cover" himself from picture takers and held up his hand and rubbed his fingers together for us to pay him to take his picture - I don't think so! How was I suppose to know? Just like the time change, we are clueless!
But Praise God, we have our kiddos! I have to stay focused on the task ahead. This is not a vacation, it is a mission to rescue these babies. We'll take a FUN vacation some other time. :)
Thanks for listening.
We lOVE you and MISS you terribly.
I said this when we had to leave our home recently due to a kitchen fire and I'll say it again, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. I should put that on a plaque or something.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Video - Baby You Belong!

We are Alive, Well and Blessed!

Our first family picture outside of the orphanage gates. God is so Good!

We are all together! I'm not sure were to begin since so much has happened since we were able to post last time. The most important news of all is that we have rescued Marcus and Macey. It was not the Gotcha Day we planned for or anticipated. But none the less we are all here in Odessa together. We were told early Thrusday morning that our court decree was not ready and that we would have to wait until Friday to pick up the kids. We were disappointed to say the least. We went to our regular morning visit and saw Timur first. Irina was working with the principal to get any paperwork for pick up started. We were to meet Irina upstairs after our morning visit to sign our "release" papers. It was going to be an exciting time for us. It turned out to be one of the hardest moments of our lives. All I can say at this point is that is cost ($) us ALOT to rescue our children that day. I believe in my heart it would have cost ($) us any other day the same. Wayne and I were caught off guard and defeated! Just know that our main focus has always been Timur, then Natalya when we learned of her. It remains our focus today! I will be glad to share my heart at a more appropriate time. After our morning visit and our "meeting" with the principal we headed to the internet cafe' to SKYPE The Malones. I wanted to hear their voices. Even in the mist of our "unusual" day I wanted to know about Eli. It was wonderful to speak with Chris and get the details, pray with him and encourage him to take care of himself. I then called Mary at the hospital were we were able to share our day with one another. I loved knowing she was there with Eli and could give him hugs and kisses from me. I wanted to be there for Mary and Eli myself. It was hard to be happy about our afternnon visit knowing Eli was so sick. I hung up being encouraged and reminded who our provider is and that we serve a just God. The best part about this adoption journey has been doing it together with the Malone's and knowing that there are belivers praying for us back home while we are here "alone." I will never take for granted the fact that we are "like minded" with so many and then there's others that we come in contact that don't believe. My prayer has been that we can show the love of Jesus with those we meet, even if we don't speak the same language. Our afternoon visit Thursday was actaully our time to rescue our kids, both Marcus and Macey were coming home! I was not prepared emotionally or physically, I was drained. It was not a big-to-do, a party or anything I had expected. Let me tell you, I have had to lower my expectaions this entire trip. The ONLY thing that has been MORE than I can imagine is Macey and Marcus. We even decided that we wanted to bring home THE outfit of Timur's, guess what, it is a groupa "uniform." The orphanage had several of them and reluctantly traded with a NEW outfit we had bought for them. We did the best we could with pictrues and video, not the best. They brought Timur to us sick. Just from the short time that we left him until it was time to rescue him, he had broke out in a fever and a hoarse cough. They were reluctant to send him with us but decided too since we bought a whole list of medications to care for him. So we left our "special" day with two sick kids. They said that Macey was better, but she still has a cough we are treating her for. Our first stop with the kids was dinner at the cafateria with Todd Hollis, Alina and Irina and her husband. The kids ate mashed potatoes and a fish nugget. They were both hungry and did great! We then took them back to our small apartment to take a bath and get ready for bed. It was a long day and it was late. Let me tell you now, there were no pictures of their first bath. It was heartbreaking. Neither one of them would sit down in the tub of water. They both stood there crying like I had never seen before. Macey stood with her face to the wall and her back towards me, like "Wash me and get it over with, FAST! I was devistated and so sad for them both. We got them out quickly and held them close while they smealt so good and clean in their new, fresh PJ's. Timur's hair even fluffed out and Macey looked like such a big girl with her hair down out of 3-4 picktails. It was so sweet to put them to bed that night. It was a great ending to a difficult day. Yesterday, we left for Odessa at 8:30am. We arrived at Macey's hometown and waited 3 hours for her birth certificate. Three hours in a van with two sick babies. We then traveled quickly to Odessa just in time to receive Timur's birth certificate and legalize them both before ending the day at 8pm. We were driven to our apartment late, in the dark were me and the kids settled while Wayne was driven to the market for essentials. We fell into bed after 10pm. It was a long day to say the least. We started today with high hopes for a good day. I knew I would be staying home with the "littles" while they were getting well. We didn't need to keep them out another day. Wayne and Taylor went to the market with Irina, had lunch out and bought this internet card for us to use. Tanner, Marcus and Macey all took a nap after our lunch together. Neither Marcus or Macey have had a fever today, Praise God. We pray each day they get stronger and might want to do some sight seeing while we are here. We are literally on the Black Sea. We have bought NO souvineirs. There have been none to buy. Hopefully we will find something here in Odessa, it is a much bigger town. We will not have as easy access to the two places we liked to eat or the market here. We also have to pay more and wait longer for a cab. Now, we need a mini van taxi to go anywhere together. :) We will eat more here at this apartment than before. We will get up early Monday to apply for the kids passports and ID numbers. We are praying GOD speed to get these completed this week. IF, they are completed Thursday we would like to do their medical and visa in Kiev on Friday. I will keep you posted on the progress. We are hopeful the rest of our adoption process goes quickly. We will do much better and the kids too when we are home. Taylor and Tanner are doing great! They have been a HUGE help and love to care for their new brother and sister. I could not be more proud of them. This has been a learning experience to say the least. There are some things I wish they never would have heard or had to go through but it's all part of the process. We are praying God is changing each one of us for His good. I will do my best to keep posting. Trust me, I miss you all and want to come home! We have our kids, the "vacation" is over.

UPDATE: Eli Malone does not have Luekemia! Praise God!

I know my friends at the Scrappin Pad are having a well deserved time of pampering and are productive with their albums. I miss you guys and wish I were there. I will have lots to work on next time. :)


Friday, March 27, 2009

The Dickinsons are in Odessa

Internet problems abound here, so I am posting for Meghan and Wayne. This is Todd Hollis, who adopted Alina from the same orphange.

Meghan and Wayne brought Natalia and Timur out of the orphanage last night (Thursday). The got to have dinner at a restaurant for the first time as A FAMILY OF SIX!

Today was filled with travel to Timur's hometown for a new birth certificate and then to Odessa for a new birth certificate for Natalia. Lots of hours in the car. Lots of waiting in (or outside) of offices. And now, lots of waiting in Odessa.

Meghan and Wayne should be back online tomorrow. Please know that they are a complete family as of last night.

Keep thoughts and prayers coming.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today is a Bittersweet Day!

Today is NOT our GOTCHA DAY! We will not be "springing" the kids today. Tomorrow is definately our day! Long story short, 1. We are in Ukraine, anything is possible 2. Irina was told TODAY was THE day. She arrived at court this morning to find out our paperwork is not ready but will be by the end of the day. Not what we wanted to hear. We wanted the paperwork to ready first thing this morning so we could "spring" the kids and leave right away for Odessa. This ONE day will cost us many. We pray this "extra" day will allow Macey to continue to get well before traveling. This also means we will not be home NEXT weekend. Each "little snag" in the plans cost us more time here. Coming up on a weekend doesn't help with being productive. They only count business days here. We are bummed! We do not see the Big Picture. God knows why these little guys weren't suppose to be rescued today. We will make our usual visits today and try again tomorrow.

We also ask for prayers for our Best Friends, Chris and Mary Malone.
They are enduring a trial today. Their youngest (birth son) Eli is very ill. He is in the hospital as we speak. I would ask that you pray for them and for little Eli.
Remember, Eli is the little guy that we named Marcus Timur after, he is our inspiration for adopting a child(ren) with Down Syndrome. Yesterday was his 5th birthday. I would ask that you visit their personal website and offer your prayers and words of encouragement. You can read ALL about Eli's condition right from Chris and Mary themselves. Praise God they are HOME!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We saw Macey today!

Good News, We saw Macey today! We went to the orphanage first thing this morning. We were excited to see BOTH kids today. As it turns out, Macey's doctor was home sick today. I had to address the principal (director) of the orphanage. I explained our situation about Macey being sick, not having been able to see her for 1 week and the fact that we are leaving with them tomorrow. We have only met him the one day, when we arrived. We made a comprimise. We had already gone to get Marcus while I went to check on Macey. That way Wayne, Taylor and Tanner would be spending time with him. We were able to see both kids just not together. We played with Marcus for the first hour then returned him to his groupa. The second hour was spent with Macey just inside her groupa, it's what we would call a "mud room." It's a small room with lockers for coats and shoes, no toys or chairs to speak of. We fetched Wayne a chair and the kids and I played on the floor. I opened her groupa door, I saw her right away. She looked beautiful! I couldn't wait to get my hands on her. They took her potty and wiped her nose before bringing her to the little room we were waiting in. It didn't take long before she came to the door with ALL smiles. She remembered me! It was a great time together. We played with a new toy Tanner bought from the outdoor market. It is a spinning top. Macey loves it! Tanner made a good choice. She was all smiles to see us but I could tell she didn't feel well either. I can only imagine being "cooped up" in a room with other sick kids for a week. I can tell she is conjested and we had to wipe her nose several times. She was not running any fever. It was hard to return her to her groupa after our visit. She didn't want to leave us. She held on tight and cried when I let her go. It was heartbreaking! We returned later this afternoon to play with her again. We chose not to visit Marcus becasue we didn't want to give them any excuse to say her had been exposed to the sickness, even if it would have only been through us. It was hard not to visit with him, I'm sure he missed our time together. We felt it was the best option considering our circumstances. We do not want to be responsible for anything changing our plans at the last minute. Our second visit with her went about the same. It was a sweet time together. We were trying to make up for lost time. Unfortunately, she left the same way as this morning, upset. I wonder if she was afraid we wouldn't return again for another week or she just didn't feel well. Either way it was hard to leave her AGAIN. We will all be so happy to be together tomorrow! Please pray she continues to get well. I have a feeling once she has some fresh air and is not exposed to eveyone elses sickness she can get well sooner. Please continue to pray for THE process. Nothing is over until it's over! I look forward to sharing our Good News tomorrow.
Thanks again for continuing to pray for EVERYONE involved in this adventure. It is a GOD thing that we are even here able to rescue these TWO precious babies.

One More Day until Gotcha Day!

Today is Wednesday and we are on our way to see BOTH Marcus and Macey this morning. We have missed our visits and time with Macey for a week now. We are praying she is well and able to join us today. We want to love on her and play with her before our BIG day tomorrow, Thursday. We will rescue BOTH our children tomorrow, Lord willing. We will keep you posted with the Good News. Today we will pack up between our two visits and prepare to leave Izmail Thursday morning with our 6-pack. The journey is NOT over! There is more work to be done. Please continue to pray for us as we need thier birth certificates, passports, medical exams and their visas. We will be home as soon as these are complete. The sooner these documents are obtained the sooner we can come home. Please pray for the authorities we will encounter, that they would have favor with us. We pray for our travels to Odessa and our stay there. Also for our travel back to Kiev. This time we will be traveling with two small children. We pray our time left in Ukriane is short. Thank you for continuing to follow this adventure. It's not over until we are safely home in the USA and then it's only the beginning...stay tuned!
We love you guys!

Welcome home Malone family, Welcome Home!
We can't wait until we're all home together.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Time of Gratitude

I want to take the time to say Thank You to my family. Wayne, Taylor and Tanner have been real troopers through this adoption process. It would not be untrue for me to say that it has been consuming for me. There have been hours of paperwork, copies to be made, apostilles, phone calls, blogs to keep up with and fundraisers, more than one fundrasier. Not once have any of them complained or said, "I don't want to do this" or "Can we be finished?" We committed to Timur Labor Day weekend, that's just 6 short months before our SDA appointment. This adoption was not in OUR plans or budget but in God's plan. We are so grateful that Chris and Mary Malone shared Reece's Rainbow with us. We are sure we would not be here, in Ukraine today if we hadn't listened to THE call. We are priveleged to be here with one focus on our minds, to rescue Marcus Timur and Macey Tatum. We chose to bring our children with us for a couple of reasons: One, we had no one step up and offer to care for them during our time away. As a homeschooling family we are together more than most. We count it a priveledge that they have been able to experience the joys and trials of this trip firsthand. There is no place I would rather them be than with us, together. It has always been just the four of us, we are in this together. Now we can say, they were at the "births" of their new brother and new sister. We have wanted to be open to what/who God has planned for our lives. I know it was a surprise to many of you that we had accepted a second referral. We decided as a family to obey the call of God, open our hearts a little wider and accept a second child we knew nothing about. Talk about Faith! We have been blessed more than we deserve. I am so thankful that we listened once again and thought not about ourselves but about the needs of someone else, Miss Macey. I am eternally grateful for a God-fearing, loving husband and two children who love the lonely and want to share their lives with them. This trip is only part of the journey we are on. This experience is temporary, we will have Marcus and Macey for the rest of our lives. That is the best news of all, they have a future. I am so glad God would choose to use our family is such a powerful way. I am grateful we didn't listen to what "makes sense" but obeyed what makes sense to God. We are here together ready to welcome two children who already have our hearts and who will be with us from now on in just ONE more day. I am thrilled to know this day has finally arrived and we are ALL together to share it. This will definately be a trip to remember. Thank you for wanting to follow this journey with us and love these two babies you haven't yet met. Taylor and Tanner say they are happy to share them with each of you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

We need your prayers, Macey too!

Unfortunately we are unable to see Natalia (Macey) this morning. He groupa is still sick. The doctors told us she is running a low grade fever, like one-tenth of a degree too high. They do not want to expose her to Timur and take the risk of getting him and his groupa sick. My head understands but my heart doesn't. We were told we could go see her for a few mimutes just inside her groupa doors. We have chosen to wait unitl Wednesday. For a few reasons: we do not want to upset her with only a few minutes, not enough time for play, we do not want to risk any of us getting sick from her groupa and IF Timur were to get sick we could not "Spring" them on Thursday. I do not understand myself how they can keep either of them after the court decree is issued but we don't want to "ruffle any feathers." Our mission here is still the same: to rescue both Marcus and Macey as soon as possible. We do not need any "issues" to keep us from doing so. With that said, Thursday is another BIG day for us. Irina (our translator) will be here to pick up the court decree hopefully by 8am, we need to "Spring" the children by 10am in order to be to Natlaia's hometown and Odessa (Timur's birthplace) and have their birth certificates picked up before closing time Thursday. Everthing we do is on a time schedule that day. Our prayer is that we are productive and get the necessary paperwork completed. We will have more paperwork to do on Friday, I beleive applying for their passports. We would like to have these things done before the weekend. The sooner things go through, the sooner we can come home. Remember we WILL have Marcus and Macey with us during this time too. It will be a long day of travel! Thank You for listening and praying on our behalf. We couldn't do this without your love and support. I should say, we wouldn't WANT to do this without the loving family and friends we have waiting back home. We'll keep you posted!
P.S. We want to wish my younger sister, JENNIFER a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY today! We love you! Thank You so much for your love, support, prayers, help and encouragement with the adoption of your new niece and nephew. We'll CELEBRATE when we get home, soon and VERY soon!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another Day in Paradise - Enjoy the Video

Another day with Timur, IS a day in paradise. We have had a fun time with him the past few days. We miss Macey but have enjoyed getting to know Timur. He loves the snacks we bring him. (Remember the Cheetos without the cheese). He loves to laugh at himself, growl, grunt and make funny noises. I think he has found his voice and likes to hear it. Taylor and Tanner have been quite the entertainers. They absolutely enjoy him and have loved every minute with him. He comes to us with a smile on and leaves with one too. What a happy baby boy! We miss Macey and had no idea we would spend all weekend without her. We were hoping we would get to see her sooner. We will be so excited to see her tomorrow. Please join us in prayer as we hope she is better and able to join us. We want to spend as much time with her as possible. We will be leaving Izmail on Thursday and will spend the whole day together in a van, with no car seats as we travel to Odessa. We all need this time together. This is why we are here. We are reminded daily about the mission we are on. God has truly blessed our time together and we are grateful for the process so far. We look forward to coming home. We can not wait to share the FUN with each of you. You will be blessed! Marcus and Macey have no idea what to look forward to. They will be so surprised, in a good way! Blessings, Meghan

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A day of sightseeing in Izmail

Bite my tongue...I thought there would be no oppurtunity for sightseeing while we were here. We took the oppurtunity today. The weather was beautiful and we wanted to see something other then the orphanage walls and the outdoor market. Through our translator (by phone) we asked to take our taxi driver to lunch then off to see Izmail. We had a nice lunch together at our favoorite cafeteria. There was not much conversation but we did smile at one another. :) It was the least we could do for ALL of the trips he has made for us, take him to lunch that is. Wayne shared pictures of our home, his band and Marcus and Macey from our digital camera. He took us to a museum of the Turkish War. The dialogue was in English. It was great for the kids. We felt like we had a History lesson. We went indoors of the Greek Orthodox church that is in the center of town. It was breathtaking! We walked down to the waters that divide Ukraine and Romania. We were witin a rocks throwing distance. No we didn't cross the border to get our passports stamped, Bummer! We also went to the dock of a large cruise ship that takes passengers to Germany and Austria. All in all it was a great tiem together. I think our driver enjoyed himself too.
P.S. He pulled out his camera and took a picture of us too. I'm sure we will give him plenty to talk about. :)
Our visits with Timur were great today. He was cheerful and lots of fun.
We're looking foward to Monday when we get to see Macey again, Lord willing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The countdown is on...6 more days!

We have only six more days until we can rescue our sweet babies. We enjoyed our visits with Timur today. Wayne put music on his cell phone and gave it to Timur to listen to. He looked at it real close and held it up to his ear to listen. It is amazing to see them discover something new. We hope both children enjoy music as much as we all do. I can not wait until Wayne plays his guitar and sings to them. Who knows, maybe this trip will inpsire a song from him. We check on Natalia with each visit. We don't get to see her but I ask about how she is doing with the staff. They say today she is feeling better. "The" doctor will be in over the weekend to check on her groupa. We are not expecting to see her until Monday. Pray she continues to get strong. We have a lot of traveling left to do.
My sister commmented on the cafe' we use the interenet at. It is so not a Starbucks, aren't you so funny. :) Imagine the public school library where you work on a computer or listen to books on tape in a cubical. There is grafitti on the walls and the kids are not allowed to "look around" at others computers. This is a public place, anything goes. I will leave the rest for you to imagine.
We decided to come to the cafe' before eating dinner this evening. We will go to one of our two "hot spots" to eat dinner then home for a movie. Sounds like a fun Friday night to me. :) We are enjoying out time together.
Please pray for the authorities we will be dealing with this next week. We have birth certificates to obtain, their passports, visas and their medical exams. This is all while Timur and Natalia are with us. We pray they travel well. (no car seats)We will travel from Izmaiyl to Odessa, about 4 hours in a van. We'll stay a few days to obtain the paperwork necessary then back to Kiev (about 6 hours of travel). We will go to the Embassy and have thier medical exams completed in Kiev as well. We'll keep you posted on our timeline as it goes.
Thank you for your words of encouragement and prayers. We depend on them!
Thank you to those at home "holding down the fort." You are a God send. Thank You is not enough.
Have a great weekend.
P.S. The pictures are of Timur eating a snack of yogurt we brought him, the new shoes we bought him to travel home in and Timur discovering Wayne's cell phone. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The sun will come out tomorrow...

Pree-vyet (Hi) from Ukraine,
The sun came out today. It was so nice to wake up to sunshine. It was still cool today but the rain went away and the sun came out. Thanks for the prayers. We had our morning visit with Timur today. He was so happy to see us. We liked THE outfit so much we got to see it again. :) We played, laughed and tickled Timur until it was time for him to go to lunch. He eats fisg soup before taking a nap. Our visit wasn't the same without Natalia. Knowing she was right upstaris was so hard. We know she has to be missing us. We have spent 4 hours a day with her since we met her. I wish I could explain this absence to her where I know she would understand we ARE coming back. I asked how she was doing today, she's sneezing. Please continue to pray for her health protection. We want her to stay strong and healthy for our trip home. We can rescue them 1 week from today, but who's counting? :) We took advantage of the sunshine and ate lunch out today. We like the cafeteria near the center of town. They have good food and a clean bathroom (with a real potty - no squatting). The only complaint is they have hot pop. I will include a picture to show you what I mean. They have coolers for the pop but do not plug them in to cool the drinks, STRANGE. (Notice in the picture, they even leave the cooler doors open). My guess is they want to save the energy. We then walked to the outside market. Imagine Old Paris Flea Market back home only BIGGER. They sell everything! From live chickens, lots of boots and hats, candy, clothes, fresh vegatables, toiletries to automotive parts - the list goes on. Several of the "booths" sell the same thing. I wonder how each vendor makes a living. We have bought a few odd and ends. We are not big spenders at the market. We came back to the apartment to unwind and refresh until our evening visit with Timur. We again had a great time with him. He is my "doll baby." He is so affectionate and has a sweet spirit. He loves to kiss Wayne and Tanners chin with his tongue. I like to cuddle him and play patty-cake with him. We clap together, roll 'em up then throw them in the pan - he laughs EVERY time. Then he claps on his own to do it again. The simple things! He loves our attention. Today we were able to feed him a snack. Imagine Cheetos without the cheese. He loves these things. They dissolve in his mouth immediately and have no nutritional value at all, but he loves them. This evening we went to the internet cafe' after our visit and dinner. The cafe' is quick and allows us to use SKYPE. The kids got on their own computers there and checked in on their WEBKINS. It was a great use of time. I was able to call home to our family this evening. It was great to hear real voices. My mom was so happy to hear from us. She was able to say hello to T&T. I talked to both of my sisters, Barbara and Chris' mom - Nana. Taylor so wanted to talk to Hannah but she wasn't home. It's hard to find a good time to call because of the time difference. It won't be long before we can talk to everyone and better yet share Marcus and Macey with each of you. I'm sure Taylor and Tanner will share. This has been a great experience for all of us together. We are all bonding at the same time, watching them both discover new things each day and be together as a family. God knew what was best for our family. I wouldn't have it any other way. We will begin it all again tomorrow. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and following us on this adventure.
P.S. I would not have a scrapbooking business if I lived here. No one takes pictures. There are some places that we are NOT allowed to use cameras and other times I have to ask. This will make for an interesting Ukrainan trip album.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today is an emotional day!

Today has been an emotional day for a few different reasons. First and foremost, the Malone boys ARE coming home. Today is their GOTCHA Day! They were both "sprung" from the places they have called home, one is an institution and one is an orphanage. From this day forward they will have a loving home with a FOREVER Family to love and care for them. I am so happy for the Malones. This has been and continues to be an amazing journey for them. I am so glad we can be a part of God's work in thier lives. I can not wait for the day Mary and I pack up our kids, all 11 of them and head for the park. It is a day we see coming quickly.

It is raining here, like ALL day long. We woke up to rain and it continues today. It does not make for a cheery day. We thankfully have a taxi driver who takes us to and from the orphanage for our visits with the kids. He also takes us to one of the two places we like to eat. It's been in the car, out of the car. No walking today.

Our friends the Hollis', who are adopting from the same orphanage left for home yesterday. They are spending their 10-day waiting period back home. We are here in Izmaiyl all alone. Our translator came for court then left again. She will be back after the 10-day period is up. There is not much to "sight see" from here that we can tell. We see things from a cabs point of view, very fast. We will try to get to the outdoor market again but it will only re-open when the rain stops, maybe Saturday. I am reminded daily - we are not on vacation. We are on a mission, to rescue these two precious children.

This morning we had a good visit with both of the kids. I was so excited to see Timur this morning. He had on THE outfit. You ask, what outfit? THE outfit we first saw him in. It is a Red, White and Blue sweater outfit. From the first picture I saw of him, I could say he was coming to America. I may even ask if we can keep it. :)

We found out after our morning visit that Natalia's groupa is sick. Several children are running fevers, have runny noses and are coughing. Natalia did not display any of these symptons during our visit. We were told we could not see her this afternoon or for the next 2-3 days. They will keep her groupa together. They do not want to expose her to Timur then to his groupa. I understand but it's difficult not to see her, knowing she's right upstairs. She doesn't understand why we didn't come to visit this evening. I miss her already! Please pray for health protection for her. I do not want her to get sick. It is highly possible since she eats and sleeps with these other children. We will continue to pray God's protection for her.

Today seems like a SLOW day. The weather outside isn't helping. I almost felt guilty playing with Timur alone. I will be so happy to have them to ourselves. We are counting the days. We will be able to "spring" them ouseleves 1 week from tomorrow. We will love and and care for them the rest of their lives. Praise God!


Monday, March 16, 2009

We are officially a family of SIX!

We had court today at Noon. It was quick! We were the very first family to be seen and were finished by 12:20pm. It was a nice size room with the judge and his panel on a platform, another desk with the respresenative from the SDA, orpahange and the prosecutor. The four of us were joined by our interpretor, Irina, who translated as we went along. They had Wayne and I each stand and say our names, birthdates and address. Wayne spoke on our behalf. He told the judge how we were looking forward to having Timur and Natalia included in our family. They would have the medical and educational support that they need. The judge asked if we had any more children? We turned around to Taylor and Tanner. The judge asked them if they wanted this adoption. Both kids were smiling ear to ear and gave a confident, Yes! It was so nice to see the judge smile at us. That was his way of saying, Congratulations! It was an emotional time for us. We were declared their parents by 12:20pm. It was professional and offical. It was quick and to the point. It was the day we have looked forward to for 6 months and it's over. We thank God for allowing us this awesome responsibility. We feel overwhelmed with His love for each of us.
There were no pictures taken inside the court, not allowed.
We are on our way to visit OUR children, gotta go!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"From a Kids Eye View"

What a trip! I'm so happy to have come with my parents on this adventure. God has opened my eyes to all I have at home. I'm very thankful to have all that I do. This is a trip of a lifetime!
We do the same thing every day: Eat, go see the kids, eat, see the kids, eat, go home and watch a movie and go to bed. The highlight of the day is seeing the kids and all that they discover. I still can't believe how smart Macey, I mean Natalia, is. She discovers so much in one day. Marcus (Timur) is a cutie pie. He laughs at all most everything and is very tickelish.
It's great to know we have so many friends and family watching and reading about us. You all will just love the kids and our stories. Keep the comments coming!

Cousins: Payton, Rylee and Lily - Thanks for watching our blog. I can't wait until our next family get together. Your going to love these guys!

Besties: Blake and Hannah - I wish I were home with you guys on Spring Break this week. I miss you guys already! I can't wait for you to meet Macey and Marcus.
Malone Nine + Dickinson Six = Our own party of 15!
How many seats does your van have? LOL


Friday, March 13, 2009

We enjoy our time outside together!

We have had a few beautiful mornings this week. The sun has been shining and it's been warm enough to take the kiddos outside. You would think it was a blizzard out there the way they bundled them up. Timur enjoys his big brother pushing him in the stroller while Macey loves her freedom to walk the grounds.