Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Information

We have a new judge!  This could be a double-edged sword, but I choose to believe that it is nothing short of an answer to prayer.  There is a lot of information in this blog that won't completely make sense because it doesn't make sense completely to us right now.  I suppose it doesn't have to and I'm focusing on the fact that something is moving.  We have been bottlenecked and in a choke hold for a long season and finally the water is starting to flow again.

The first judge, henceforth known as Karma, had asked for more paperwork two different times and had seemingly not been in too big of a rush to do her job as she pushed the deadlines every single time.  Brock had asked our agency on several different occassions what the repercussions would be if she did not meet her ten day deadline.  Each time Irina would tell us that it would not be in her best interest to break the law and they'd never had a judge not meet the ten day deadline.  Well, surprise surprise...just as with almost everything else in this adoption case, we got to be the guinea pigs.  Karma didn't respond in her ten day waiting period which ended Monday.  What do we do now?  We wait.  Surely Tuesday...nope...we wait. Then today, we got a call from the agency.  Our case has been assigned to another judge as Karma has been on extended leave or vacation or something (Irina didn't seem to know the answer)  Good news:  Maybe this judge will have more experience.  That's the nice word for me to use.  "Compentence" "Intelligence" and"Common Sense""almost made the cut, but I thought that would be unkind.  This new judge took the case on Monday and no, we don't know why we are just now hearing about this.   But that's okay, we don't have to know, we just have to rest in the LORD and that He seems to be positioning events for the "Let's Bring Roman Home" phase of our story.

In an effort to "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God for your life" (I Thess. 5.18) I am so incredibly thankful for the new judge.  It may be out of the frying pan and into the fire, but I just have a sense of peace that it is nothing short of an answer to prayer!  I am so incredibly thankful that for the first time in almost four weeks we have news and a ray of tangible hope.  I am thankful that this new judge received our paperwork on Monday so we already, unknowingly have three days under our belt.  I am thankful that this morning I prayed and asked the LORD for some sign that we were still pursuing Roman correctly and that ours would not be a tragic failed adoption story.  I told Him that I didn't have the strength to fight today if I wasn't certain that He was calling us to this fight.  I am thankful that a "bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out." Isaiah 42.3  As I was reminded last night, "When you can't see His hand, trust His heart".

For those of you who have committed our family to your prayers, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  I believe from the core of my being that our victory will be won on our knees.  Please be in prayer that this new judge will be filled with His compassion and will have wisdom to understand all of our paperwork so maybe we won't have to rush more paperwork to Russia.  Pray also that this juge will accept the waiver that we signed for Karma for our medicals and this judge will also allow us to redo our medicals on the same trip that we go to court so that we don't have to fly back to Russia, redo our medicals and then fly back and wait for a court date.  We aren't out of the woods yet, but I can see sunlight filtering through the leaves!  Praise the LORD!

One closing thought:  Brock and I have both had several people tell us that they have been inspired by or encouraged by our faith in Jesus Christ and His goodness in spite of all of the complications in our adoption story.  We don't feel very inspired but I know that there is a treasure in the jar of clay  that is far more valuable than anything either Brock or myself can offer in our own strength.  Ultimately we both know that if someone comes to an understanding of our wonderful, merciful and all-powerful Savior because of our story, then that is far more important than Roman coming home in "our" time.  I have complete confidence that He who began this story in us will be faithful to see it through to completion and we are His instruments to point to His glory.  Some days have been much easier than others and our faith has faltered and at the same time grown.   There is nothing in our own strength or character that is remarkable, but Christ has made His mark in our hearts.  To those of you who are not Believers, our faith may seem like utter foolishness.  His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  If our God was small enough to be understood, He wouldn't be big enough to be worshipped.  He's heard every prayer offered and has known every tear that has been shed in this entire process.  I don't know why He hasn't made our path a little easier up until this point and I don't have to know.  Every single time we've surrended all over again, He's given us a peace that passes understanding that has guarded our hearts and minds.  I wish we had both been blameless every step of the way, but we have failed miserably so many times.  His grace is new every morning, though. 

And one morning soon, we will begin our next chapter.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The day of my last blog, Brock and I skipped town.  We went to a cabin on Kentucky Lake and kept the computer turned off.  Cell phone time was limited  Other than a few walks under the brightly colored canopies of autumn's paintbrush, we sequestered ourselves in our cabin, reading, cooking, jigsaw puzzling and of course a little Cardinal baseball!  Both of us desperately needed to just breathe and rest.  For 48 hours, we didn't have to answer any questions.  We both felt in a tangilble way the prayers that were thrusting us before the throne of God. I don't know that I have ever felt His presence more completely than I did that weekend, and all we had to do was just rest in His goodness.  Paperwork and the politics would just have to wait until Monday.  The only thing we felt like was being asked of us was to just rest and peacefully trust. 

When we came to work on Monday, we got a further clarification on what the judge was asking of us.  Our income was reported in three different documents in our dossier:  Our home study, Brock's letter from Shelter Insurance confiming his employement and our tax returns. Since Brock and I are both in sales, our annual income is approximated.  Since Brock is an employee of Shelter and his staff, including myself, are employees of Brock, Shelter pays Brock Williams Agency LLC more than what he pays personal taxes on since he has to pay his employees out of those commissions.  It works like this:  Say Shelter Insurance pays Brock $10 a year.  Of that $10, Brock pays Brooke and other office expenses and then pays us $6 a year. The home study said that we make approximately $2.75 each.  This is the part where we start panicking.  Yes, our total income is $6.00 a year, but Brock makes a lot more than I do and there's no way to prove that he and I make the same amount.  And according to the homestudy, we should only make $5.50 The agency asked us to write a letter to explain why each document had a different number.  It was easy enough to explain that the homestudy was approximated.  And it was fairly easy to explain that Shelter pays the business more than what we pay ourselves, but there was no way to prove that Brock and I make about the same amount of money.   We prayed that God would show us a way to handle this situation with integrity and honesty.  We could just write a letter adjusting everything to make it look right, but we knew that God couldn't bless dishonesty.  We hadn't caught it when the homestudy had been written and now we were worried that our oversight was going to make everything crumble before our eyes.  Brock started trying to do "forensic accounting" and called our CPA.   Then, we got a ray of hope.  When Brock and I set up the LLC, he made me 49% owner.  Which is close enough to 50%!  Praise the LORD!!!!!

Tatiana, our Russia Power of Attorney did ask the judge if she had anything against our family adopting Roman.  We were told that the judge said that she was very much pro-adoption and that the best place for any child would be in a home with a mommy and daddy who loved him instead of in an orphanage.  Her concern was that with the seeming discrepancies, the prosecution would push back when we were in court.  It is much easier to do the footwork to "prove" our stability while we are here in the States than we are in Russia.  I am so incredibly thankful that we have a more complete picture of what is happening behind the scenes now.

So, Friday the 21st, Brock and I made a mad dash to Columbia to pick up another letter from Shelter than explained why there would be a discrepancy between Shelter's commission check and Brock's personal tax information.  From there, we went to Jefferson City to have it apostilled and overnighted to Dallas so it could go out in the mail with the rest of the documents on Monday.  We set it for a 10:30 delivery time with FedEx.  Monday, though, the driver got a little ahead of the game and tried to deliver it to Buckner at 8:27 AM when Buckner opens at 8:30 AM (hence the 10:30 request time!)  Brock called and talked to three different FedEx representatives before we finally got the driver to go back and deliver the package.  As of yesterday, Monday the 31st, our paperwork is sitting in the courthouse waiting to be reviewed (or in the process of being reviewed).  The judge has until Friday the 11th to respond with either a request for more paperwork or a court date.  We are praying for the latter.  Both Brock and I had felt a tremendous sense of peace after we left the FedEx hub in Jeff City that Friday.  Maybe this would be our last trip to rush to have something overnighted before we get to see our little man again.  Hurry up and wait has been the theme of these last few months.

We cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers for us.  Just when I thought we couldn't take another step a few weeks ago, God put words into the mouth of a friend...

[You can keep doing this!]  Here is why:  a little boy in Russia needs his forever mother and father!...And he needs to know our God. When he gets older he will hear how his mom and dad fought until they couldn't fight anymore, cried out to God, and He carried them the rest of the way!  He will hear how you and an entire community stopped dead in their tracks to pray and he finally got to come home!  You will have amazing answers when he asks you how do you know God is real and that He loves me?  There will never be any doubts or questions in his mind because you have really went to the ends of the earth for him....

The community supporting us may not be a geographical community, but it has bound us up with love.  We have felt strength from your prayers and encouragement more than any of you could possibly know.  We have one simple prayer request in this chapter of our story:  Pray that God would give wisdom and compassion to the judge so that she can understand our financial situation in a culture that is completely different from hers and that she will be moved to set a court date quickly so we can bring our son home.