Saturday, January 29, 2011

waiting days one and two

Things we've done while waiting (in no particular order). Ate pancakes-3x.
Walked the "mall"-2x
Almost got hit by a car-1x (we learned quickly that yellow lights here are for when the light is about to turn green) Spoken to by Russians in Russian-2x
Smiled and nodded polietly (same amount)
Number of times groped by a Russian trying to butt in line-4x
Number of train tickets to Moscow bought-3!
Naps taken-2
Total combined hours slept on the hard squeaky bed-approx.8
Loads of wash done in the worlds tiniest washing machine-1
American food consumed-chicken nuggets,french fries,pizza, coke "light"
Same amount actually tasting American-0
Jazz concerts to be attended tonight with Anna-1
Days left until we see our boy again-6

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fairly Faulous!

My dear friend, Meagan has a more than fabulous shop on Etsy called "Fairly Fabulous". She hand makes these fun and funky one of a kind clothing pieces for children (and some grown-ups too). Cute stuff like stuffed owls, leg warmers, tutus, t-shirts for boys with hand stitched ties, really, really cute stuff. Please check her out HERE
Anyway, before Meagan hosted two Pampered Chef Fundraisers for our adoption, and now she wants to donate 10% of her February sales to us as well. What a generous friend......

Now our story- Meagan and I met in High School in Florida, in drivers ed to be exact. That made us fast friends. I guess experiences like that have a lasting impact! Anyway, Meagan has always been charismatic and driven, she was (and still is) a wonderful photographer, journalist, and also had the "privledge" of wearing the giant Kowboy head of our mascot at football games. (Yes I spelled it with a "k" on purpose) Anyway, now we live literally as far as two people can lie apart in the US- different coasts, numerous time zones. But one thing is for certain, I am honored to call her my friend. She has been a prayer warrior in this crazy journey. She is a wonderful, fun mother to her two beautiful girls. If I had to name a "top 10" of people excited about our adoption, Meagan would definately be in the top 10. She calls and emails frequently just to check up on us. She always knows what to say and reminds me that I wasn't always a pastor's wife and it is perfectly ok to cuss at USCIS employees. For that I love her. It's funny how moving further apart has made us closer together, but I guess that is a test of true friendship and the sisterhood of a Keyette. (That's another story) Anyway- THANK YOU MEAGAN!!! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh Happy Day ;0)

Today the Judge said "Da!" Charlie is finally ours! Court went very smoothy.....thank you for your prayers. The proceedings were only about 1 1/2 hours, everyone was kind and professional. Not to say that we weren't nervous beyond all belief and dreading the worst, but it was a success!
Thank you so much for your prayers and for thinking of us today....Now we just must endure the wait, but since we are professional "Waiters" that should not be so bad! We were told we could go and get him on Monday, February 7th (a day earlier than originally thought)
Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

At last.....

Together again......Things went pretty well today, considering Charlie hasn't seen us in 10 months and he is so such bigger and even more independant now.
He pretty much screamed the first 30 minutes until the Russians cleared the room, then I guess he figured he was stuck with us and wanted to see what goodies we brought for him. He had his little picture book and would identify "mama" "papa" "Stasic" in the book. Dr. Anna would ask him "Where's mama?" and he would dart his eyes at us and say "nyet". What a stinker. An incredibly handsome, perfect little stinker.
We spent the early part of the day with him- he is totally potty trained and they say "he is the leader of the class" now and he is still "very active" and "very naughty". ;0)
Once we joined the class again he started to smile and laugh and "show off" for mama and papa, including a trick where he jumped out of his crib and landed on his feet. Oh boy.
His hair has gotten a lot darker, now he REALLY looks like his papa. It's uncanny. Everyone says it.
This whole thing feels see him, to hold him.....finally......
So tomorrow we will prepare for court and do some paperwork (imagine that...more paperwork). So it will be a boring day. Hopefully next time I post, it will be after court and I can tell you he is ours (AT LAST!)
Please remember to keep us in your prayers Thursday early morning as it will Thursday 10am here (we are 8 hours ahead of you....) We are nervous about court and hope that things will go well. Talk to you soon!
Love, Chad and Sarah

Monday, January 24, 2011


Greetings from warm and sunny pskov. Oh wait its negative 14c here! And there is an amazing amount of snow on the ground. If this much snow was in south carolina we would be shut down for weeks!Anyway we are doing well. Tommorrow we get to see Charlie. We can't wait! We ask your prayers for four things: travel. It is scary here. Two, there was a major bombing at the Moscow airport, the one we leave from on FEb 17th. Many Russians lost their lives today. These types of dangers really frighten us traveling in a foreign place. Third, that Charlie is happy with us tommorrow. FOrth, for court on Thursday. There is a recent story of abuse by an american with an adoptive russian boy all over the news here. They say that court. Was going to be tough for us before, now even worse. If you happen to be awake from 2am-5am on WEdnesday night say a lot of prayers for us as it will be 10am here. They said to prepare to be grilled for close to 4 hours before a verdict is reached. We are nervous. Today we had our medical exams by 8 doctors. That deserves its own special post, one where I am at an actual keyboard and not a tiny cell phone, too many words! But the end result was positive. Thank you for your continued prayers. Love you all!

They have arrived!

This is Sarah's sister Brittany (currently on dog duty and blog duty (they don't have any internet) while they are away!)

I received a text message from Chad and Sarah last night, and they have arrived!!

"Just so you know we made it to St. Pete with no problems, good flight.  It's 6 am here. We are leaving for our doc appointments at 7."

YAY! One day closer to seeing Charlie and bringing him home!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ready or we come.

The bags are packed....almost. I have 4 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, 3 sweaters, one court outfit, 5 pairs of socks, 7 pairs of undies, 1 jacket and 1 pair of pajamas to last me for 25 days. I am trying not to think about that. I am just hoping that a washer and dryer are somewhere in our future.
We leave tomorrow at noon for the airport. I just can't believe that we are going back to Russia. If I could think straight I'm sure I would have some wonderful, witty story to tell you. But seriously, my brain is not working.
So this is what you get.
Russia or bust.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Book in Charlie's Library

Plus: This is a wonderful, sweet book by Lisa Bergren explaining adoption from a spiritual point of view. It touches on birth mothers, waiting, and waiting, and waiting....and the promise of a forever family. This is my favorite line talking about the wait to be together forever: "I trusted that God knew you, and knew me, and knew when we'd fit perfectly together."

Minus: Crying like a baby in the middle of the Christian bookstore.

Challenge: Reading it to Charlie someday without bursting into tears.

Ready to go!

On Sunday we had a very sweet time with our church family. Our friends Jana and Blair organized a Sunday school donation drive for us and they collected over $1,300! Wow!! That will allow us to go see Charlie three more times while we are in Russia before we are allowed to go pick him up. That is such a blessing. Then, during service, our Pastor called us forward for special prayer. Everyone came forward and surrounded us in prayer. It was so amazing. It's nice to know that people will continue to lift us up while we start this next leg of our journey. It was an excellent reminder that we are all adopted into God's family and that Charlie will invited into a loving community of believers upon his arrival home as well. Chad's parents were there visiting from Florida and that made the day even more special!
I know it's only Monday, but we are sooooo ready to go. It's hard to believe in just 5 days we will be in Russia again. I've started going through our paperwork, getting our documents separated into envelopes- St. Petersburg's medical results, all the documents needed to get Charlie's visa in Moscow, and then copies of our most recent Dossier.

Then there's always the small errands, buying plenty of dog food, getting a new suitcase (the zipper of the old one busted out on our last trip) and all the other million little things that are on the must do list. Of course I had some coupons and gift cards that I needed to use today too since they expire while we are gone! I mean, I couldn't let my CVS extra care bucks expire!! Now, I just need to get someone to buy my newspapers while I am away....

Rundown of the week:
Monday- (MLK Day, no work) Ran errands. Tried to finish up some banking (fail! See MLK day) The snow has finally started to melt, so I took the car to get washed. Then it rained. Dog food, couponing, paperwork.
Tuesday-Deliver cookies, Work, get papers notarized
Wednesday- Work, Teaching Chapel, Teaching Wednesday night (my 5th and 6th grade boys, I am going to miss those rascals!), Youth kids and parents are having a baby shower for us during Youth! How sweet!
Thursday- Drive to Columbia to get everything Apostilled (FOR THE LAST TIME!!!). Bunco at Carol's!
Friday- Pack, get haircut??
Saturday- Fly to Russia!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Charlie's new sizes!

Call it Momma Intuition, but we got new sizes for our sweet little guy yesterday and we were right on target with what we bought for the trip! We even got his shoe size (something we have never had before) and we actually bought him the right size snow boot for the trip too! Whew....One less thing to worry about.
He is in a size 3T (they might be a little long, but they'll fit over his chubby little belly) and a size 9-91/2 shoe. He's grown 4 inches!!! And has gained about 4 pounds. We are so happy he is healthy and growing! Thank you sweet Anna for always keeping tabs on our boy while we've been away!

Charlie’s size January 2011Weight - 31 lbsHeight - 35.8 inches tallFoot – 6.1 inches long
January 2010 SizesWeight- 26.4 lbs
Height-31.5 inches


We FINALLY got our new USCIS approval in the mail today. I dreamed about it all night, when I woke up I got on the computer to look up our SIM id number (as many times as I called USCIS I should have had it committed to memory) because I was going to have to call tell them it HAD to be mailed today. I got to thinking (always dangerous) if they didn't send it by today we wouldn't get it until Wednesday because Monday is MLK day and there is no mail. So when I got online to get our case number, I went on, even though I checked the tracking number before I went to bed. And...POOF! It said the letter was in Greenville! I couldn't believe my eyes.....
So down the icy road came the mail man and if my driveway wasn't a skating rink I would have ran to meet him. It's here!!! We are almost done!!!
One more trip to Columbia to have the document Apostilled and we are done!! 8 MORE DAYS!!!

Davids Story

This post is from my bloggy-friend Ashley's blog. Please read this touching story and consider making a small sacrifice on his'll be blessed and bless a wonderful family to be in return. When I see David's face, I think about Charlie. How this could have easily been him if "luck" wouldn't have been on his side and he was never matched with a family. Would the years have rolled by as he grew older and older and quickly placed in the "un-adoptable" category because of his age? Would he have been turned out onto the street on his 16th birthday. I know we can't save every orphan, but then again, maybe we can. It starts with one orphan at a time. Here is Ashley's first blog post, make sure you read all the way down to the end!:

Shooting down dreams….

If you’re familiar with my blog, you have come to expect the pictures of winsome young faces with the almond-shaped eyes and button noses that are characteristic of children with Down syndrome.You have read how these children have no hope for a future in the places where they are hidden away, how they are rushing headlong toward transfer to the mental institutions.
You have probably also read that there are 150 MILLION orphans in the world today, a number that is growing all the time, fed by poverty, disease, war, famine, and natural disaster.
Today, I’m going to share the story of ONE of those 150 MILLION orphans: Davids.
Davids’ face is not like the faces of the other children I’ve shared. No almond-shaped eyes, no button nose. Davids does not have Down syndrome. And he’s not a little boy, either. Although he’s tiny for his age (more the size of an 11 year old), he’s 15—just days away from his 16th birthday.
Just as the orphans with Down syndrome face a tragic end when a certain birthday approaches, so Davids future stands to change dramatically, devastatingly, in a few days. For when Davids turns 16 later this month, he will no longer be eligible for adoption.
Not only that, he won’t qualify to stay in the orphanage anymore. Orphanages are for children, not young men. No, Davids will “graduate” from the orphanage to the street. He will walk out of the front doors with no family, no home, no job, no direction. He will be easy pray for drug dealers and pimps in his country. 15% of those who find themselves in Davids’ situation resort to suicide within their first year on the streets.
That, in itself, is tragedy enough.
But it gets worse.
A few months ago, an American family who met Davids while he was in the United States as part of a hosting program decided to adopt him. When Davids heard the news, he was ecstatic. Of course he was! This is a boy whose dream is to come to America, to have a family, to one day become a pilot. And his dream was coming true! This family had fallen in love with him. They wanted him to be theirs. They chose him.
Davids, about to receive the news that a family had chosen him.
Can you imagine his excitement over the next few weeks, knowing that he had a hope and a future? Can you imagine how he lay in bed, awake—how could he sleep with such joy welling up inside his heart?—and dreamed of the day he would be reunited with this family who had chosen him?
But as the weeks and then months passed, there was no more information. The orphanage never heard from the family. And then, the awful news:
the family changed their minds.
They had also met a Latvian girl who was in the U.S. as part of the same hosting program, and in the end,
they chose her instead.
So now, not only does Davids face a bleak, frightening future, but he is left wondering why his dream was shot down.
I’m beside myself.
If I could, I would go get him. Everything within me wants to say I AM DAVIDS’ MOM!!! Everything within me looks at this boys picture, reads his profile, and wants him to be my son, to be my boys’ big brother. I would sell everything to go get him.
If I could.
But I can’t.
I can’t, because doing so would jeopardize—negate, actually—our adoption of Baby J. See, her country doesn’t allow concurrent adoptions of non-related children.
So I can’t be Davids’ mom.
But I will tell you this: I know Davids’ mom is out there. I know his family is waiting for him; they just don’t know it yet. They will have to commit quickly, or he will be lost forever.
I will stand with Davids’ family. I will lift them up in prayer. I will help raise funds for them. I will bake pies until I can’t see straight. If Davids’ family is out there— if YOU are Davids’ family—know that you are not alone.
But if you don’t act soon, Davids will be….
For more information about becoming Davids’ family, contact Le Ann Dakake, Director of Hosting Programs, New Horizons for Children 678-313-8321 cell
Or Cathy Sawyer, An Open Door Adoption: 404-667-0694

Ok- Now to the rest of the story after the initial post:
In less than 48, David has found a family!!! That is amazing news!!! Now, here is where you come in. This wonderful family has 6 months to complete Davids adoption. In the adoption world that is like warp speed. The adoption community has committed to raising $20,000 for Davids adoption. Please consider donating to Davids adoption, it is tax deductible! We are trying to raise the funds in the time Davids future parents committed to bringing him home, 48 hours! 24 hours have already passed and the good news is, we have raised over $10,000. So we are right on target, but won't get there without your help. Ashley's blog has suggested donating $16 to honor Davids finding a family before his 16th birthday. Or maybe $48 to commemorate God's amazing miracle in finding a family for Davids in 48 hours. Any amount, even $5 will be multiplied and blessed!
CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE PROJECT HOPEFUL DONATION SITE. All donations are tax-deductible. ***Please put DAVIDS in the comment section to ensure that your gift is credited to his fund.***
Get in the middle of this miracle, bay-bee!
So…who’s with me?

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's in the mail?

Well according to USCIS, our form is "in the mail". HOWEVER, when I enter the pre-paid tracking number into the computer it has not been sent. Soooo....either:
1- They are lying
2- They sent it in their own envelope
3- The 8 inches of snow on the ground is hindering mail processing and delivery
Call me a pessimist, but I am going with number one. They aren't the most efficient, forthcoming people I have ever dealt with. So, today I will call them again. Especially since we aren't going ANYWHERE ANYTIME soon with all this snow on the ground.
Today has been a nice day to:
1-Pack up the Christmas tree (I know we have been a little pre-occupied.....)
2- Organize a few things in the house (It's called nesting I suppose, but I want everything around me clean and organized)
3- Do some laundry in case we lose power (they are expecting ice and sleet later on today)

Friday, January 7, 2011

One bag packed-one to go....

So I started packing up the stuff we know we won't be needing until we get to Russia- Charlie's clothes, gifts for the workers, snacks and food. AND IT FILLS AN ENTIRE SUITCASE! Yikes!
So that means we have one suitcase left to pack everything else for me and Chad....right.....
So I guess we'll pack a weeks worth of clothes and hope for the best. I did get a good travel tip from a travel magazine we subscribe to- pack a zip lock bag with a clothesline, clothespins, travel detergent, and a chamois towel for your own portable laundry system. That way, at least we have clean socks and underwear, I suppose the rest is just details....
I think for our carry-ons we will bring our suit bag for our court clothes and jackets and a small backpack for our camera, court docs, and laptop. I hope that won't be considered "over-packing" as we were labeled last time we went to Russia- I mean who knew Russians wear the same outfit for like a week....So maybe bringing three pairs of shoes was a little excessive last time. But really- two suitcases for three people for 25 days? I mean really....I pack a full suitcase for a long weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Barnabas Bear

This year Charlie got a Barnabas Bear for Christmas from his Grandma Donna and Grandpa Rick. Every year Family Christian Stores Foundation in partnership with the James Fund introduce a new bear in the fall and a new lamb in the spring. Their mission? "Reaching out to orphans and showing them the love of our heavenly father" You "adopt" a Barnabas bear or a sweet little lamb for $10 and an orphan receives a plush animal to love as well. Its a win-win. All purchases are also tax deductible.....To date, they've sent nearly 1,000,000 plush animals to orphans, foster children and children-in-need all across the U.S. and around the world.
Please check them out the James Fund HERE
Or Family Christian Stores HERE (shop online or in stores)
How precious!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting Better....

Well, we still haven't gotten our form from USCIS, but the good news is our social worker overnighted the updated home study on Thursday and it was received by USCIS on Friday the 31st. I am giving them a few days before I start harassing them again (maybe until Tuesday?) But I am soooo glad that little hiccup was so quickly resolved. I hope that is our final setback....
As for our visas- we got them while we were away! Thank goodness my sister was at our house while we were on vacation, she was there to sign for them upon arrival! UPS said- "Sarah Deetz?" and she said "Why yes I am" Yeah Britt!
So, now we are all set- money ordered, visas and plane tickets in hand. Come on USCIS. 19 DAYS AND COUNTING......

Winter Meltdown 2011

The Whole Gang!
 We had a great trip with the youth down to central Florida after Christmas. We just got home yesterday. Great kids, great trip, GREAT God!
We arrived Wednesday night (about an 11 hour drive), Thursday we did an awesome ropes course. On New Years Eve we went to Sea World and then we celebrated in the New Year together after dinner at Chad's parents house. After being awake for 20 hours, we slept about 5 hours to turn around and spend New Years Day at Universal's Islands of Adventures. Of course, the new Harry Potter attraction was a big hit! As the kids say- it was pretty EPIC. Around 5:00pm one of the rides caught on fire and black smoke billowed for about an hour. We were able to reach all of the kids (thank goodness EVERYONE has cell phones these days) and no one was even in the vicinity when the fire broke out. We turned around on Sunday and drove about 10 hours home. Whew. I am tired.....but what a great time with "our kids"!

Ropes Course

Destination Unknown- Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios

Harry Potter World- EPIC!

One of the rides caught on fire while we were there!
No one was injured and none of our kids were on the ride.