Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Arrival in Chisinau!

We arrived in Chisinau on Monday, Dec. 30th.  We traveled through the night and got just a couple of hours of sleep!  Hope was great on the plane.  Both planes were on time and everything went smoothly - just long and tiring!  We've had one meeting with Lena and it was very quick.  She was quite the handful but was probably overwhelmed with all of us plus the translator and Albina (our facilitator).  She probably weighs more than Hope and is almost as tall.

We also visited with Will Marin and he and Hope hit it off well.  I've included pics of he, Hope and Andy playing ball.  I think he loves everything and can really put away some fruit.  He was very kind though and gave each one of us a piece of the fruit we brought him.

We also visited the director of social services in Chisinau (similar to the director of a county DHR).  She was there when we adopted Hope and gave her a special bell made in Moldova.  Today, she gave Hope a horse made by some children at one of the orphanages.  We told her about Hope taking gymnastics and she told us how she was at one time the top gymnast in Moldova.

New Year's Eve is a much bigger holiday here than in the States.  In fact, it is probably the most celebrated.  We walked to the downtown square area tonight and there was lots of celebrating going on from a concert to an iceskating rink to all kinds of vendors.

We are staying in the same apartments that we did during our first trip for Hope's adoption.  It is very nice and clean, close to the square and shopping and restaurants and very safe.

Will Marin, Andy and Hope playing catch

Hope receiving the little handmade horse from the director

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Long Awaited Letter!

A really BIG challenge in the adoption process in regards to Lean has been a referral letter from the Ministry in Moldova.  I am relieved to tell you that after much prayer, frustration, delays, persistence, and patience, we received the letter on Dec. 12th!   According to our timeline, we could have received this letter at the end of May or early June.   We immediately FedEx'd our acceptance letter to the Ministry in Moldova (they will only accept the original notarized document). 

We still have lots of challenges ahead that at times seem like endless mountains - we make it to one peak and then have to start climbing another.  Now, we have to wait for further documentation from the Ministry to proceed.  

We have booked our flights.  Andy, Beth, Hope and I will be leaving for Moldova on Sunday, Dec. 29th.  Andy and Beth will be returning Jan. 3.  However, Hope and I have a return date of FEBRUARY 9th!  Yes, I did mean February!  We don't really know what this trip means in regards to future trips, court hearings, bonding time, etc. but are trusting that God will go before us and open doors.  We treasure your prayer support so please keep praying.

When I get tired and frustrated and doubts creep in, I am reminded of Christ's love for me.  He certainly hung in there and stayed focused on His Father's will in order to adopt me into His family sacrificing more than I can comprehend.  It is this GREAT LOVE that keeps me going and sustains me.

Beth, Hope, Dow - can't wait to add two more little ones to this picture!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Andy's Trip

Andy made it back home today with lots of pics and videos of Will Marin.  We are grateful for every text, email and FB message.  What a blessing it is to know people are concerned and prayers are being prayed!

The situation in Moldova with international adoptions is very complex and difficult.  I am still trying to grasp all the players, issues, and challenges.  It is like a big web of intrigue where you don't know what move to make next.  And at the center of all of this are precious children with no voice.  For those of you considering international adoption, please do not let our experience discourage you.  With most countries, the process is streamlined and you know what to expect.

Again, we hope to have the paperwork on Lena next week, so please keep praying.  The Council met Thursday and assured our contact in Moldova that they agreed to issue the referral for Lena.  Andy was able to see her for a second visit.  We feel like we are closer than before.

Andy told us so much about Will and his personality.  Looks like we will have our hands full with him!  .Andy made arrangements for him to receive tutoring in English.  Andy also called me during his last visit with Will so I could hear his sweet little voice.  He kept saying "come, come."

We don't know exactly how things will turn out, but it looks like Hope and I will still spend an extended amount of time in Moldova beginning the end of December.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Meet Will Marin Birchfield!

I have been waiting for the day for sometime now and glad it has finally arrived.  Please meet Will Marin Birchfield.  He turned six in September but is somewhat smaller than Hope!  Andy describes him as delightful and energetic!!!  Andy and I had discussed how much and what Andy would tell him during this week.  Well, no need to worry about that.  On the first visit, Will asked Andy if he was taking him home!

Andy has had several good visits with him and Will has enjoyed the iPad.  Andy says the director of the orphanage is very kind and compassionate.  She said they call Will Marin the "son of light" because he is so bright and full of personality.  She also said he walked by the office and saw a computer and said his daddy taught him to use a computer.

Today he asked Andy if he would visit him everyday.  The translator explained that Andy would visit on Thursday but then had to go home and bring his mommy back in about 30 days.  Will said he would wait!  I can't tell you how emotional this is!  Will Marin is also telling everyone he found his parents!!!  At first this puts a smile on my face but then my heart breaks because I think of the others who have no parents!  Please pray for these children.

Also, thank you, thank you for your prayers.  God is paving the way but Andy said it is "tough plowing."  Andy had a great visit with the US Consul at the Embassy this morning and we seem to have their full support.  We need some breakthroughs in regards to Lena with the Ministry of Social Protection so please keep praying.  WE are praising the Lord for these two precious children made in His image for the purpose of bringing Him honor and glory.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Andy in Chisinau!

Andy made it to Chisinau this afternoon around 2 - 2:30 Moldova time.  He connected with our agency's contact in Moldova, Albina.  Albina is someone you want on your side because she is tenacious and persevering and doesn't give up!  For those of you who know Andy, you probably think my description of Albina is very appropriate for Andy as well.  Put the two of them together and you you have a pretty effective team.

I talked to Andy about midnight his time.  He said Lena's case was more of a challenge than we thought due to politics and varying views on international adoption by officials.  However, he met with the local director of social services and after showing her pics of Hope, he thinks he may have convinced her. We are not sure who the other "players" are.  He plans to see Will Tuesday morning and Lena Tuesday afternoon.

Please pray that God will continue to clear the way for the Ministry in Moldova to turn over needed paperwork on Lena.  A "council" will meet either this Wednesday or Friday which we have been told will agree to releasing the paperwork.  Please pray that they meet this Wednesday and Andy will get news that it has been released.

A couple of people have asked if there is a chance that we will not get Lena.   Anything can happen with adoptions but I firmly believe that God spoke to both me and Andy at the beginning of this adoption about adopting both children.  God is faithful to what He promises!