“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”

James 1:27

Our cell phone number in Ukraine is: +38 097 828 9477. We are 8 hours ahead of Texas time. We can receive text but cannot send them. You can also reach us by email at joniredding@hotmail.com.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sick of paperwork, Praising God for donations!!

I’m tired of paperwork.  Really tired of it.  I just want it all to be finished.  I mailed our Home Study to our agency last week so that we can be registered with the SDA.  I heard from them today saying that I didn’t send the correct Power of Attorney form that she needs in order for her to register us.  The problem is that Jody is leaving early in the morning for the entire week.  So, we had to find a notary today – on a Sunday.  Nothing was open so we started calling notaries listed on the internet.  Jody found one who would meet us in Schertz (only about 15 minutes from us) and sign it.  We were in a hurry so I grabbed the document and loaded up the kids in the car.  We stopped at Sonic and got the kids ice cream – which ended up being their dinner because they weren’t hungry when we got home.  Anyway, she notarized the paper but she made a mistake and wrote “Texas” in the space for county.  She crossed it out and wrote “Comal” and said that it would be fine.  Wrong, Ukraine doesn’t allow corrections to documents.  I found that out once I got home and scanned the form to our agency.  So, waste of time and $35.  I had a feeling it wouldn’t work but I only brought 1 copy with me.  Luckily, I emailed our social worker that did our Home Study to ask a question about it and she said that she was just getting in town from a trip to Nashville and she would stop by on her way home from the airport and notarize it for us!  Wow, isn’t she great???  She also came over early one morning a couple of weeks ago to notarize another document before Jody left town.  She didn’t even charge us.  So, that is done.  I’m going to Austin to have it apostilled and then I will mail it right after that.  When I was looking through everything I also noticed that the paper with the Doctor’s license isn’t done correctly.  The license was supposed to be copied on to the form, and THEN signed and notarized, and instead they glued it on the paper.  So, I will have to once again ask them to redo it.  My Doctor finished our Medical Forms (for the 2nd time) and I scanned them and sent them to be approved but the agency is checking with the facilitator in Ukraine to see if it’s ok that they are on 2 pages instead of 1.   I really hope they accept it like it is because I am embarrassed to ask them to do them again.   I can’t even count how many times I have called the office or texted our Dr. about these forms.  He is a friend of ours who was actually not accepting new patients several months ago when we switched to his practice.  He accepted us because we are friends and now I imagine he is regretting that!  Sorry that I am boring you with these details but reading about some others mishaps has actually helped me avoid some costly mistakes throughout this process.  So, that is where we are – very close to being finished, but completely sick of papers and forms!

Now, on a much more positive note, we have had several blessings since I last posted about money.  We have had donations ranging from $5 to $500 and they total $1030.  Praise God!  He just continues to amaze me!  We went over to visit some friends yesterday because their parents were in town and it had been a while since we had seen them.  While we were there, L (friend’s mom) brought me her Christmas card that she had been meaning to mail and it also had a check for $100 in it!  What a blessing!  It’s also a huge encouragement because with each donation or word of encouragement it feels like there is 1 more person on our team, praying for us.  The peace that I find in that is amazing.  Our garage sale is scheduled for March 12th and people have been very generous donating great things for us to sell.  We have a bounce house – that is like new because it was only used inside.  There is a really cool organ – I need to look it up because it might be worth something.  We have several bikes, strollers, car seats, clothes, just a lot of cool stuff!  There are a lot of toys too and they are like new.  A couple of friends of mine have brought them over and they are separated into bags with all of the pieces together.  I have no idea how they can do that.  Toys with pieces don’t last long in our house!  One of my friends dad is getting rid of TONS of stuff.  It was probably about 3 suburbans full of stuff.   Someone in her family was into ballroom dancing and there are the most fabulous costumes ever!  Ellie is already planning to buy a few!  Here is a funny garage sale story – my friend brought several bags of clothes over and then last week I had a message from her husband on my phone.  It seems that she had gotten rid of some of his shirts that he still wears and he needs me to look through the bags and find these 3 or 4 shirts!  I will have to check with my friend before I decide if he should get the shirts back or not.  Or maybe once I see them I will decided for myself if he should keep wearing them or not. Smile  

Jody is going to be out of town this week so it’s going to be a little crazy.  Ryan started baseball last week and Jacob starts this week.  A couple of weeks ago I was telling a friend how nice this semester has been.  All the kids activities were on Tuesday.  Tuesday was crazy trying to get everyone where they needed to be on time but we had all of those other evenings to just be home.  Well, that was a short phase.  Starting this week, we still have our hectic Tuesdays but we  have added baseball which will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  So, I guess I will just enjoy our Thursdays.  I am so thankful that Jody is such a great dad.  He loves taking the kids to their practices and usually coaches their teams but this week it’s just me (with some help from Granny and Grandaddy).  Pray for me because I tend to get a little grouchy by the 3rd evening that he is gone– or maybe you should pray for my kids Winking smile   I’m going to be leaning on Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  During these busy weeks, my quiet time is often one of the 1st things to go but it is the thing I need most.  I’m not letting it go this week!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Adoption Update

Well, I heard from our adoption agency today about our girl.  The Ukrainian family has decided to take her into foster care.  We are sad but we know that God is in control of this.  I think I am most disappointed that she will be going into foster care and she’s not being adopted.  But, I don’t know anything about the situation so all I can do is pray for her.  I pray that this family knows Jesus and will teach her all about Him.  Please, keep praying for her.  Her name is Sandra and here are a couple of pictures of her.  You can see why we fell in love with her.



So now we have a couple of options I guess.  We could try and find another child from the same agency or we can just do a “blind adoption”.  I think we will probably do a “blind adoption”.  We submit our Dossier and get an appointment with the SDA (State Department of Adoption).  We travel to Ukraine for our appointment and they will show us files for children that fit our qualifications.  We hope to find a girl who is between the ages of 6 and 10 with no siblings and no major special needs.  We select a child from the files and then we receive a referral to meet that child.  We will travel to their orphanage and meet them.  If we decide to adopt this child and the child wants to be adopted by us, we move forward with paperwork and get a court date.  If it is not a good match for either the child or us, then we get another SDA  appointment and start over.  Each family can have 3 SDA appointments while in Ukraine.   The uncertainty of this process is what really scares me.  I’ve read so many horror stories.  But once again, God is bigger than all of this so I just have to find peace in that.  His plan is best – no matter what!

I have been working hard on our paperwork and it is almost finished.  The only thing I am waiting on is our Medical Forms and our USCIS approval.  On Friday, I mailed our Home Study and Power of Attorney to our agency so we can go ahead and be registered in Ukraine.  Things are moving quickly and we could be traveling anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks from now.  Wow!  I can’t believe it.  I’m so relieved to have the paperwork finished so now I can start thinking about all the other details.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Biometrics and Jody’s lost wedding ring

Although it might have disrupted Jody’s Valentine’s Day plans for me, our Biometrics appointment was yesterday.  We went to USCIS to have our fingerprints taken.  New Braunfels doesn’t have an office so we had to go to San Antonio but the appointment itself was pretty quick and we were done in about 30 minutes.  We stopped by Wal-Mart on the way home to buy some last minute things  for our Family Valentine’s Party and Jody realized that his wedding ring was not in his pocket.  They made us remove them before we were fingerprinted so he put it in his pocket.  We searched the car and it was nowhere.  For some reason, I wasn’t that worried about it.  I told him that he could at least get a comfort fit band now.  He reminded me that was the original one and it had sentimental value.   (I think our roles were a little reversed here.)   He asked me if I would be jealous that women would be hitting on him all the time without it!  I told him that I was more worried about people thinking that I was cheating on my husband when they saw me with a ring and him without! Smile  When we got home, he put a washer in his pocket and reenacted the scene (this is true, he really did this).  He came to the conclusion that it must have fallen out in the parking lot when he got his car keys out. He drove back to the USCIS office and looked around the parking lot.  He went inside to ask about it and CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? somebody found it in the parking lot and turned it in!!!!!!  You would probably be even more amazed if you could see this place!  God is so good!  I wish I could contact the person who turned it in to thank them.   What a nice Valentine’s Day! 

We have almost all of our paperwork completed.  The Dr.’s office needs to correct a couple of mistakes on our Medical Forms.   We still need to have everything notarized and then go to Austin to have it apostilled.  We had to have Jody’s employment letter apostilled in Louisiana so I mailed it last week.  We should get that back in the mail any day now.  So, we are waiting to get our approval from USCIS and then we will be ready to mail our Dossier to Ukraine!  I can’t believe it’s so close!  Still, no word about our girl's status.  Please, keep praying!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Prayer Request

I got an email from our adoption agency today saying that a Ukrainian family has expressed interest in the little girl we have been pursuing.  She has been available to Ukraine citizens for 12 months with 2 to go until she is available for international adoption.  I don't know exactly what is going on, just that they are interested in fostering or adopting her.  I will know more in the next couple of weeks.  Please be praying for her. Pray that God will place her exactly where she needs to be - even if it isn't with us.  If she is adopted by this family, I pray that they know Jesus and can teach her about Him and his love.  Also pray for us.  I already love this little girl and  have been praying for her constantly since the moment I saw her picture.  My heart breaks thinking that she might not be ours.  I know that God works all thing together for good for those who love Him and I am holding on tightly to that promise.  God has led us this direction for a purpose.  We will have exactly the child that He intends for us to have.  We would love for it to be her, but I know that God knows better than I do.  I start to get a little panicky when I think of all of the uncertainties of a blind adoption so here I am once again reminding myself that God is in control!  Please pray that I can focus on Him and not the things that I have no control over.  Pray for the kids too, Ellie especially.  She is upset thinking that this little girl that she has been praying for might not be her sister.  Her prayer every night has been "God, please give us the orphan that you want to be in our family.  And please let it be S...."  It did open up a great talk tonight about how God knows what's best for us even when we can't understand what He is doing.  Also, Ryan explained to her that it was like when we picked out the 1st dog from the pound and didn't end up getting it but then we found Bebe and she was perfect for us.  Funny that Ellie quickly reminded him that Bebe jumps up on people, is mean to Miley, and barks all the time!  She is still thinking that "S" is the girl for us and no one else can compare.  I feel a little bit like that myself so please help me pray that feeling away!  Thanks for praying for us!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


God is truly AMAZING!!!!!  I know that the Bible tells us over and over that His heart is for orphans and widows but now we have been able to experience this for ourselves!  Since my last post, we have received $7250 in donations!!!!!!!  WOW!!!!!!!!!  $7250, can you believe it?????????  We are so thankful for all of our friends and family who have donated!  Thank you for helping change an orphan’s life!  We love you and are so grateful for your support!  When we started this process, I remember wondering how in the world we would come up with the money to do it, but somehow we knew God would provide it for us.  We felt sure that He was leading us to adopt, and He would give us the way to do it.  Money has been our biggest obstacle so far during this process.  It just costs so much and we don’t have it!  I just had to keep handing it over to God and reminding myself that God equips us to do what He calls us to do!   At the beginning, we wondered if we should wait to start the process until we had the money.  We felt like God was calling us to step out in faith, believing that He would provide.  I have kept going back to a story in the Old Testament when the Israelites were crossing the Jordan River on their way to Jericho.  In Exodus 3:13 Joshua told them “as soon as the priests….set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”  They were going to be able to cross on dry land.  So, of course in verse 15, “Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest.  Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the waters edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing….”  The part that stood out to me was that they had to obey God before He parted the waters.  He could have parted it as soon as it came in to view and it would still have been a miracle but instead He required them to act on faith and put a foot in.  I can just imagine walking toward that huge river wondering how it could actually be parted, but I bet they just kept reminding themselves that God said He would do it so they stepped in on faith.  So many times I need everything to be in order or make sense before I act.  This time He called us to obey based only on faith that He would provide. Once again, I can’t believe that He is giving me this opportunity!  My relationship with Him has grown deeper and deeper through this process.  We started this journey to bless an orphan and God has blessed us far beyond what I could have imagined!  I am so thankful that God has already provided so much of the money that we need!  A few verses earlier in Joshua, God explained to the Israelites that when He parted the Jordan for them, it would be a reminder that He would conquer all of their enemies.  Later when they experienced more difficulties and doubt they could look back on this miracle and be encouraged.  It was a reminder that this was God's plan, not theirs and He would work everything out how He had planned.  We know that there are many obstacles that we will still have to overcome but I know that this will continue to be a reminder to me that God is in control and that He is going before us to prepare the way.

Ukraine Orphan's Testimony

This is the testimony of an orphan from Ukraine who now has a loving family.  Her story is heartbreaking but very common among orphans in Ukraine.

Orphan Sunday - Ukraine Transition House from Grace Place on Vimeo.