“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, May 29, 2011

One week from today!

I just can't believe that we are leaving in a week.  I am in Waco right now at the hotel computer.  We came to go to our great friends wedding reception last night.  It was so much fun.  This is the Jacob who my Jacob is named after.   I want my boys to grow up and be just like him!  This was the first time we met his fiance and she is precious.  We are leaving this morning to go to Ft. Worth for a wedding tonight.  It's so funny because I haven't been to many weddings the last few years and now all of the sudden we have 4 this summer.  Two of my cousins are getting married and 2 really close friends.  The one we are going to tomorrow is another girl that I have known her entire life.  I lived with their family during part of my 1st year of teaching at Grapevine.  She was in 6th grade then.  Wow!  The rest of my family is still sleeping but I woke  up at 5:00 am like I have every morning since I found out we are leaving so soon.  There is just so much to do.  I think I'm on the verge of a panic attack.  I have a list and I have separated it day by day so I am getting things done.  I'm going to try to run some of my errands while we are away this weekend.  My mind is going a billion different directions.  I just don't see how I can get everything done.  One of the huge things I am dealing with right now is a one-time reimbursement from Texas for adoption expenses.  They give you $1500 per child after the adoptions.  But, I have to send the paperwork to them, then they will send me a contract to sign.  I have to sign it and have it back to them before we leave.  I don't even see how this will be possible because we only have 4 business days before we leave.  Just typing that made me sick to my stomach - 4 business days!  Ok, deep breath.  God will work things out.  I have had a huge blessing because my sweet friend who is a lawyer is doing a will for us.  We just sent him the information and we are going to call him tomorrow night to talk.  Thank you so much Caleb!!!!  So many people have offered to help and I'm going to try to look at my list and see what things I can start delegating.  It's hard because there is so much to do but I'm leaving my boys for 3 weeks and I want to spend every minute I can with them.  Ok, now I'm crying in the lobby of the hotel and the guy next to me is wondering what is going on.  Changing the subject.......  My friend is at the same orphanage right now adopting 4 kids.  She called yesterday and she went on and on about how sweet my kids are!  I can't wait to meet them!  She has been able to send a bunch of pictures also which we love.  I'm hoping I can post some soon.  Please pray for her because she was feeling pretty homesick yesterday.   Ellie is so excited about going!  Ok, I think my kids are probably getting up so I better head back to the room.  And then we are off to visit the Baylor Bears before we head to Ft. Worth.  Thank you for praying for us!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

11 DAYS!!!!

I can’t believe we are leaving in just 11 days.  Right now we are planning on leaving on June 4th but that might change to the 5th if we feel like we can get there early enough. Plane tickets are expensive!  I had estimated $1200 each ticket round trip but it looks like they are going to be $1800 each.  So, that will be an additional $3600 once we buy all of them.  Wow!  Jody, Ellie and I will be making the 1st trip.  We will stay 2 to 3 weeks.  We will have our appointment, meet the kids, do all kinds of paperwork and running around and then have court.  After court, we will come home for the 10 day waiting period.  Many families choose to stay during the waiting period but I don’t think I can be away from the boys that long.  On the 2nd trip, only one of us will go back.  That trip will be 1 to 2 weeks and we bring the kids home with us!  I can’t even think about the financial part of things right now.  We have had so many wonderful people help us with donations and I’m just going to trust that God has provided what we need.  It is a little tricky because it is probably going to cost an extra $6000 for the 2nd child, but then you get double the tax return.  So, in the end it is actually less money that we need overall but more money up front.  Not sure how to handle that and actually I’m glad that I don’t really have time to think about it right now.  God will work all of that out.  If we end up with more than we need, we will donate to another family or orphan ministry.  If we end up with less than we need, then I don’t know.  Oh, there is so much to do!  I started making a list today and it grows by the minute.  In addition to getting things ready for our trip, I have to be at school for something every day this week. It’s crazy!   There are so many things that I’ve been putting off but now have to be done right away.  I’m still trying to get our family picture book together because I’ve heard that is very helpful during your appointments and meetings.  I sent a bunch of pictures to be printed.  I have to write out what I want to be translated and send them to our adoption representative who will translate them for me.  Then I can put it all together in a book.  So far, I have 2 pages finished.  Yikes!   I started making a packing list also and I realized that I am going to have to purchase all kinds of things at all kinds of places.  I need to buy European converters.  I have no idea where to get one of those things.  We also have to figure out what we are going to do about a computer.  The only laptop we have is Jody’s work one.  He can’t add programs and it doesn’t have skype which we will need very bad when we are half way across the world from 3 of our kids.  My sister has one we can borrow but it has to be plugged in which won’t really fit because most of the time we will be using it at restaurants and coffee shops.  Jody thinks we can find one pretty cheap.  Our DVD burner is broken on our desktop so if I could find a good deal on a laptop with one that would be great.  All of our videos are stuck on our camera and flip and I also need to get that taken care of before we leave.  I need to have plenty of room for video taping our new kids!  Jody is pretty morbid these days and keeps reminding me that we don’t have a will but we need to do one before we leave.  I have no idea how we can fit that in.  Is there something we can download from the internet that  would work?  We just need to basically say who gets our kids if something happens to us.  I’m just trusting that God isn’t going to let something happen to us because 6 kids is A LOT!  Sorry this post is so random.  That’s even after I erased half of it because it was so chaotic.  That is how I feel right now.   My mind is all jumbled and I don’t know where to start.

I’m feeling very convicted as I’m typing right now.  I’m so consumed with all that I have to do that I haven’t even stopped to pray for the kids today.  Please be praying for our girl.  I can’t even imagine how hard it’s going to be to make this decision for herself and her little brother.  She will be deciding to leave the only thing she has ever known.  She is leaving the 2 older brothers that she loves so much.  She is giving up the hope that someday her mother will come back and get them.  She’ll be going to a country where she doesn’t understand what anyone is saying and where the way of life is so unfamiliar.  She will be choosing to join a family that she really doesn’t know anything about.   All of this at 13 years old!  This breaks my heart.  All of these things that I’m worried and stressed about are nothing compared to what she is going through.  So, instead of making list and researching things on the internet, I think I will be better off if I just spend some time praying for the kids tonight.  Maybe tomorrow I can get stuff done.

Appointment Date!!!!

We just heard that our appointment is at 10 am on JUNE 7th!!!!!!!  Wow, I can’t believe it’s so soon!  I can’t even think right now…. wow!  More later!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Waiting

We heard today that our facilitator went to SDA to check on our case.  They told her to come back after next Tuesday to check on it.  I’m hoping that will be the day we get our appointment.  So now we wait…….

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


We are still just waiting to hear something.  I am hoping that we will hear our travel date and that it will be soon.  Everyday the news changes.  One day they are still giving out appointments, the next day they are not.  One day they are closing for several months, the next day they are only going to close for a couple of weeks.  So, we have no idea if we will be going in a couple of weeks or not until the fall sometime.  This is really hard.  My emotions change minute by minute.  I just want to get over there and bring my kids home!  The last news that I heard was that they are not giving out any appointments to families who were submitted in May.  So, that would mean no appointment for us.  I’m hoping to hear something different soon. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011


So much has happened since my last post.  We have been praying constantly about what to do.  We have no idea what is going to happen in Ukraine – if they will close or continue to issue appointments.  It changes from day to day.  When I wrote my last post we had decided to host these siblings for the summer – the 13 year old girl and the 6 year old boy.  At that time we thought that Ukraine adoptions would definitely be closed during the summer so why not?  Then we heard that they are likely to continue giving appointments and we might still be invited to travel this summer.  If we hosted, we would be postponing our adoption until the fall and who knows what could happen in Ukraine by then?  They could close completely or change the process and we would have to redo our paperwork.  During the process of praying about whether or not to host, we somehow fell in love with these kids!  On Monday, we decided that we should go ahead and host the kids with the plan to adopt them as long as everything worked out.  Monday afternoon a contact from the orphanage emailed us some new pictures of the kids.  They were precious and really touched our hearts!  Tuesday morning, Jody had to go out of town for work.  He called me on his way and said he had changed his mind and thought we should just go ahead and try to adopt them.   So we decided to go ahead and submit our paperwork.  I made this sound much easier than it was.  We prayed so much about his decision.  We have been seeking God’s will like never before.  We kept going back and forth, changing our minds over and over.  I have really never prayed about a decision this much before.  We were so torn.  Thank you to those of you who listened and provided Godly counsel during this struggle.  I am so thankful for my friends, I don’t deserve them!  We were submitted on Wednesday and our facilitator requested an appointment at the end of May or beginning of June.  Wow!  It would be so great to travel that soon to bring these kids home. Nothing is certain or the least bit predictable with this process and especially with this country so I am trying not to get my hopes up.  I’m trying, but it’s not working very good.  There are still many things that can happen.  TG (the girl) has said that she wants to be adopted but she could still change her mind.  TLB (the little boy) doesn’t have a chance to say yes or no, it will be whatever his sister decides.  I am going to be praying for her to feel at peace with her decision.  Can you imagine having to make a huge decision like this at 13?  She will be deciding to leave her 2 older brothers in Ukraine (who she is very close to) and come to live in a country where she doesn’t speak the same language and doesn’t know our family.  I can’t even imagine all of the fears that she must have.  It would be hard enough to make that decision for yourself, but she is also making it for her little brother.  That is so much pressure.  One thing that is a little comforting to her is that 3 of her really good friends have been adopted by 2 of my friends here.  My friends daughter, her BFF, is going to call her this weekend to tell her about our family.  The girls are sooooooooo excited that TG will be coming.  They are already planning slumber parties and all kinds of activities.  Ellie is so excited because she loves these girls and knows that she will love her new sister even more.  It is just amazing how God works.  We started out to adopt a girl – ages 6 to 9.  I have spent hours on the SDA website looking at pictures and I have never looked at a child over the age of 10 and I have never looked at boys because that wasn’t my plan.  God had a different plan though.  Psalm 37:4,5 says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  He is faithful to fulfill his promises and He has given me a completely different desire. My desire is now for TG and TLB!  I want to give these kids a family and teach them about Jesus.  Oh, I just can’t wait to have them here so I can love on them!