Friday, October 31, 2008

Karina Waits for Us

For anyone that is interested in understanding more about the plight of orphans in Ukraine and families that are adopting, please visit this blog: David is gifted with words.

He wrote about Karina in yesterday's blog:

"There was another child, a young girl in the process of being adopted by an American family that hosted her. They recently asked us to keep a lookout for their girl when we made visits to the Internot. Since this was the last time I was going to be at the Internot, I did not think I was going to have a chance to find her. But when Anya was going around saying goodbye to different people in different rooms, I recognized this particular girl from the picture of her on the family’s blog site! I told Cindie, “There she is! I have to get some video of her for her family in America!” That is what I did.
I remember how starved I was for any little bit of anything I could get from Ukraine about our kids when we were waiting. Any picture, letter, any news. A thirty-second video would have been a feast. What a blessing to be able to do that for them. This girl waits for her family to come for her. I hope for not long. The family waits for the SDA. Everyone hopes. Finally, a dossier is submitted. Will it be accepted?
In adoptions, it seems, trepidation is a devoted companion. What will go wrong? What will happen next? Everything matters, it is all so important, and it is all, so out of our control. My fear has always proved an opportunity for me to improve my trust in God, to grow my faith, to exchange my fear for faith, usually with the expenditure of some degree of effort. I’ve never wanted of such opportunities.
How do you say goodbye to this family’s little girl, as she waits and as they hope? I felt sad, leaving her behind."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Etc., etc., etc. -Sheila

We are so excited that things are moving in Ukraine. It is difficult to wait, but it is not as hectic right now as it was during our dossier preparation phase. We hope that the translation is completed and the dossier is notarized (AGAIN!) by Thursday. If so, it will be submitted to the SDA (State Department of Adoption) for approval. Please pray that we get approval. Several dossiers have been rejected recently. (a rejected dossier means that this process could take another year) We are so ready to see Karina!!! We were able to send her a package through Bo Bowen, a friend of ours who faithfully shares the gospel in Ukraine. He is going to be running an evangelism clinic in Odessa next week. We hope he will be able to go to Orphanage #4 and share there. We also hope that he will be able to see Karina. One of Bo's translaters is Tasha Sobko, she worked at Twin Lakes this summer and lives in Ukraine. She and Karina became very close over the summer and I hope Tasha will be able to see Karina and encourage her.

Thank you to those of you who were praying for my devotion on Monday p.m. I could feel your prayers. My audience was very patient with me as my knees knocked. When you teach on anything you learn so much more than your listeners do. God is so benevolent to continue to teach me. I am thankful that he uses His Word as a tutor to my heart. May I continue to apply what He teaches and never stop seeking to grow more into His image. God is so creative ( duh! He is the CREATOR!) to use many ways to teach and rebuke us. I have now turned to blog babbling.
Our house now looks more like the Kebbler Elves live there than we do. I have been a candy making machine! Actually all of us have (especially Storey Grace). We have been mixing and stirring and dipping in chocolate until the kitchen looked like a tornado had ran through it and left us some sweet surprises. I have many tasters at my disposal who are more than willing to let me know if something is not up to snuff. Getting ready for November 8th has been a lot of fun. It has given me specific time to pray for Karina as I work. Matthew did a great deal of work on the dossier and on our adoption presentation video, but I am really not gifted in either of those areas. (We would still be working on the dossier next summer if I had to get it together.) This booth is something I am familiar with... shopping and food:) It has also been a great way to work with the children and practice some practical math problems :)
Speaking of I found some boots to wear while we are in Ukraine. Bargain Boutique is my shop of choice and today after quite a bit of searching I found them. This may seem quite trivial to you, but I am not a huge fan of cold weather and I am thankful for some warm footwear. You may wonder why boots, when I am going to be running (literally) around Ukraine. We have been given specific things to wear while we are there so that we will blend in. I kind of think this might be hopeless but we are going to try. We need to wear dark clothes, mostly black. We also must wear dress clothes to all of our appointments (Think church clothes.) On court day we need to be really dressed up. (Suit and tie day) It may sound a bit odd, but our outward appearance will go a long way in helping us adopt Karina. If you have any suggestions on how to stay warm, let me know. Jackson is as far north as I have ever lived!!

November 8 - WFCA Day

WFCA - FM 108 - the voice of French Camp Academy - has invited us to have a booth at WFCA Day on November 8 in French Camp, Mississippi. Anderson will be there selling the delicious, Famous Karina Cookies and we will be there selling various, mouth watering baked goods, seasonal sweets and Cajun delicacies (Sheila is from the bayou on the MS/LA border). Please pray that we will be able to sell everything we bring and that God would use this to help pay for some of the adoption expenses. If you are able to come to French Camp on November 8 we would love to see you!
Thank you, WFCA, for helping!

French Camp Presbyterian Church

The LORD continues to bless this adoption and is using his body - his church - as a blessing to us and to the orphan in need of a family.
We want to thank French Camp Presbyterian Church for accepting donations to the Karina Adoption Fund to help pay for adoption expenses. This is the church that Matthew attended while in high school at French Camp Academy ( Donations are tax deductible and can be written to French Camp Presbyterian Church with Karina Adoption Fund in the memo line.
We need to raise $17,000 by the end of November.
The address is:
French Camp Presbyterian Church
323 School Street
French Camp, MS 39745

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Thanks for the prayers!
Our dossier is currently being translated and should be submitted to the SDA next week! SDA is the government agency in Ukraine that oversees adoptions. SDA stands for The State Department for Adoption and Protection of Rights of the Child - which is a department of the Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports of Ukraine.


Please pray that our paperwork will get out of customs and into the hands of our facilitator.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Video of Karina Taken Today!

A family went to Karina's orphanage today to bring their two new daughters home. While there, they saw Karina and made a short video of her. We are so thankful for this family. Thank you for taking the time to video and send it to us! What a joy it is to be able to see Karina's face, hear her voice and to know that she is ok. Thank you Wolff family!! May God bless your return to the States with your new daughters.

Karina is in the pink stripes and the girl in black with dark hair has just been adopted and is leaving the orphanage. Her name is Anya. When Anya went to say goodbye to her friends, the family recognized Karina from our blog and made this short video.

You can follow the Wolff family blog at

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our Dossier is on a Tour of Paris-Sheila

Just an update to let you know what our dossier is up to. I think it has taken a mind of it's own and decided to see the sights in Paris- I don't blame it. I am just a tad jealous that it is in Paris I must say. The Fed Ex traking device that we are wearing out says that it has departed different locations in Paris 4 times. Maybe he stopped at the Louvre or at the Eiffel Tower, may be he had a yummy French pastry, who knows!!! Anyway, enough of my silly humor. Please keep praying.
Today Matthew met with the team that he is taking to run the next camp in Peru. He said they had a great meeting and he is looking forward to working with this group. Grace Bateman came out and helped give everyone the vision of Peru Mission...thanks for coming Grace. It was good to see some of the team that went last year return again. I can't wait to see how God will use this year's team to His glory.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Where In The World is Our Dossier?

Keeping up with the left Paris, France about four hours ago...headed to...?

My First Blog Post -Sheila

Up until now, Matthew has been keeping you posted on our progress. I am not very technologically literate. But I have really enjoyed reading the blogs of other adopting families, so I thought I would try my hand at blogging. This journey has been, need less to say an exciting ride. Through all the ups and downs I would not have it any other way. Karina is so worth whatever we have to do to adopt her. It is hard to express how she has grown in our hearts over the last 4 months. Even as I write that I realize that it has been a very short period of time. This dossier process has seemed like a life time!! Now, we have time to relax a bit and reflect on what all God has done. How he has grown us and how he has strengthened us. He has used many things to do both. I must say that he has used the Body of Christ in an amazing way. Just when we needed a word of encouragement someone was there to offer it. Specifically the ladies in my Thursday morning Bible Study have been a sip of cool water on many a dry morning. These ladies have prayed for and asked about the adoption so many times, more than I can count. Thanks ladies! Our discipleship group has also been a great encouragement as well. These folks are a great group!!! It is a privilege to be able to pray and learn with them on Wednesday nights. There are so many people from our church who are praying it is often overwhelming. I must say that in several worship services I have been amazed at how God has used the preached word to comfort and encourage me. Thanks Ligon and Derek. I know Matthew has already blogged about Anderson, but I must also say that his mom Erin has also been such a blessing. She has been so supportive and encouraging. She is a dear and longtime friend.

Many people have asked what my parents have thought about Karina. They love her. She spent a long time talking to my dad on her visit to Picayune and he really enjoyed getting to know her. They can't wait for her to come home. They look forward to having another granddaughter.

So you may be asking what are we doing now that the dossier is out of our hands? Well, we are not just sitting around. We are actually playing a little catch up on all the things that had to be postponed because of the dossier. I have been given the opportunity to give a devotion at our church on Monday night. If you remember I would greatly appreciate your prayers. The title of the devo is "Made to time to do it!" How appropriate a title. I am definitely going to be drawing on all of the things the Lord has been teaching me over the last few months. They asked me to speak in April or May. Only God could have known how much my life would have changed by October. I am also getting ready for a bake sale for Karina in French Camp. The radio station there is having an arts and crafts fair and they invited us to have a booth to sell Karina Cookies and other baked goods. I am making jar mixes to sell. It is fun. I have never made them before, so this is also a new experience. Please pray for us on November 8th. I am sure we will have a great time seeing many friends in French Camp. You can also pray for Matthew on November 4th as he will be speaking, at French Camp Academy during their chapel. It is exciting and humbling to see God's hand at work in all of this, thanks for joining us on this adventure. May God be glorified in all!!! Thanks for reading my first attempt at blogging. I hope it wasn't too long.

Money Needed for Adoption

Many people have asked how much money we need to pay for this adoption. The remaining amount we need is $17,000. This includes all the remaining adoption fees and travel to and from Ukraine. We are so grateful for those who have already given and we continue to be amazed at the precious four year old, Anderson, that sells "Karina Cookies" to help bring Karina home.
When we started this adoption process we knew that God wanted us to adopt. We did not have the money but we knew that if this was from God then he would provide. He has provided every step of the way so far and we know he will provide the rest.
We appreciate your prayers that God would bring this money in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our Dossier is Headed to Ukraine!!

All we can do is fall to our knees and thank our gracious heavenly Father for allowing us to complete everything needed for the Ukraine dossier in three months. We started the adoption paperwork near the end of July and today we sent all of it to Ukraine! We thank God for his incredible provision.
So what have we been working on for the past three months? Here is a partial list: Home Study, interviews, family history, childhood history, education history, parenting skills, parent education class, adoption education studies, view of discipline, reference checks, local criminal clearance, state criminal clearance, FBI clearance, fingerprints, various applications, home inspection, waste water inspection, employment verification, income verification, mental evaluation, physical evaluation, emotional evaluation, children's medical evaluation, various medical tests, bloodwork, birth certificates, marriage certificates, work with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, social worker license, agency license, social worker employment status, passports, petition to adopt, letter of obligation, Power of Attorney, rejection of dossier letter, appointment letter, statement of home agreement, notaries and apostille's.
Thank you to all involved along the way. Our social worker from Catholic Charities is amazing. She is one of the reasons why everything was completed in three months. We highly recommend Catholic Charities as the home study agency to anyone considering adoption. Thank you to our local and state police departments, notaries, the Secretary of State Department of MS, our doctor, Twin Lakes, and everyone else involved in helping get our paperwork done.
A huge thank you to Amy. Amy is our dossier examiner to make sure that all the paperwork is to SDA specifications. SDA is the governement agency in Ukraine that oversees adoption. Amy, thanks for all your time, quick responses and your patience as we had dozens upon dozens of questions. Thanks for catching things that needed to be changed or corrected.
Thank you to other parents that have adopted or are in the process of adopting. Thanks for your stories, your encouragement, your advice, your visits, your help, your prayers and your blogs. You have been a tremendous help and encouragement.
Thank you to everyone that is praying. This is not possible without your prayers and God working because of your prayers.
When we realized that our dossier could be sent in soon, we did not have the financial fee that was due with the dossier. However, when the time came to send it off, God had provided the money. To those who have given, thank you!
Our dossier is gone, we are tired, we are thankful. It has been an amazing journey so far and one that we would not have wanted to miss for all the riches the world could provide. It has been a journey of trusting God with each step and learning what it means to lean on him. And we still have a long way to go...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two Pieces of Paper

We are waiting on just two documents and our dossier is complete and we can send it to Ukraine. Please join us in prayer that this last bit of paperwork will be finished soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thank You, John and Marie

My brother, John, and his wife Marie have been a huge blessing to us in this adoption journey. They love Karina and have been very encouraging and supportive of adopting her. Thanks, John and Marie, for your support and prayers. Karina can't wait to be able to see her cousins again! Love you both so much!

Thank You, Gordan Family

Saturday we met and had a picnic with the Gordan family. The Gordan's adopted a brother and sister from Ukraine last year and it was very encouraging to meet them and hear their story. They gave us great advice as we prepare our dossier and get ready to go to Ukraine. Thank's so much for encouraging us and for investing in the lives of your children!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Karina's Adoption Story Part III

A missionary in Odessa sent this picture taken of Karina yesterday.

We have recieved the form from immigration!!! We have everything we need to send our adoption paperwork to Ukraine!
This journey has been such an amazing adventure of faith in God's providence. We are thankful for his timing and provision.
The paperwork is being verified this weekend - there can be no mistakes anywhere - and we hope to send it to Ukraine first of next week.

Prayer: Through this process we have learned of people that have been praying for Karina for a long time. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for her to find a family. And thank you to everyone who is praying now as we go through this process. The prayer of our brothers and sisters in Christ have been so encouraging. Thank you!

Thank you again to four year old Anderson Ulerich. He is still hard at work selling cookies to help bring Karina home. Anderson, thank you for your love for Karina!

And thank you to our family and friends that have been so encouraging, helpful and lifting us up in prayer. We love you!

Below is a letter sent from Karina this week:

My dear family,
I really, really miss you, more than you miss me. I miss America. It was the best summer. Please tell everyone who I know I said hi. I really, really love you. I am studying in school. I have good grades, but 2 bad grades (but not in English!) I have an A in English. Right now we are studying about travel. I read my Bible in English and I really like it. I was in a beauty contest but I don't know which place I got. I would like to go back in time and go back to America but I know that very soon I will have a little sister and 3 little brothers and beloved parents.
Please tell Rachel I said hi. I also miss her. I already filled the whole album. It was nice but I miss my wonderful family. Every evening I look at our photos. Did you get my picture? I drew it right after I got back from America, but when I drew that picture it was without corners and I like to draw with corners. Well that's it. It is time for me to go do my homework. I love you and miss you!