Thursday, December 28, 2006

God surely has a day we will see it...

I am sorry it has been a while since I updated. It has been a rocky week for us. Thank you so much for your continued prayers. We greatly appreciate it. I wish that I could tell you that we have been having the times of our lives but unfortunately that is not the case. Last week we received a letter from Natalija, Edgar's foster mom, stating the decision from the court. The letter was disheartening to say the least. The court has given us stipulations that we just simply cannot meet. First, they stated that in order to bring Edgar on the visa we would need to find a Latvian citizen that lives in the Atlanta area(and plans to be here long term) to be his guardian. This person would be his guardian and have control over his life decisions, but he would live with us. We found this to be a ridiculous request. I can not imagine calling on a stranger and asking them if they could be a guardian for a child they haven't met. Not to mention our insurance wouldn't cover him and a host of other issues that could come about. Second, they stated that they would be willing to let him come next summer to visit but only if we bring a chaperone to accompany him and live with us for the entire time he is here. This request is also crazy since he has been in our home 3 times already. We have not seen the actual court document. Helen was able to verify that the first item she did hear mention of but she was not aware of the second item. She has not been able to get a copy of the document so far. Natalija ended the letter by telling us that she did not have the heart to tell Edgars all of this bad news and that she hoped that in all of our love for him that we would be able to break it to him. This frustrated us because of the language barrier, how could we be sure he understood???
Since he has been here, Edgars has been very angry. He is hurting and angry and we have been receiving the brunt of that anger. He is doing everything he can to push us away. Gene finally told him that because this could very well be our last visit together we need to make the most of it.
It breaks our hearts but we know that we have to let him go. God obviously has a plan for Edgars that does not include us. Every door that we have tried has been closed. We love him very much. Our children love him very much. He is a great kid and he deserves a family that he can call his own that can be his family forever. We will continue to talk to him, write to him and love him but we have to give him a chance to find the family that God intended for him to have. So if you know anyone, a good Christian family(who are 18 years older than he is), who would open their hearts and their homes to him, please tell them about him. We promised him that we would tell everyone we know about him.
He is a good kid. He needs a lot of love, firm discipline and good medical care. With all of this the doctors say he will grow to normal height.
Please pray for Edgars and for our family.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday Dec 21

Thursday we had a great day! Edgars and I went to the kids school where they were having something they call Reindeer Romp. The kids and teachers were all in the gym dancing and singing Christmas songs. The teachers all had on antlers and they were dancing all around the gym in some sort of train. Edgars was in shock. He said if school in Latvia was like this the kids would never leave!! I had to explain that school isn't like this all the time! They do work sometimes! haha! We went to Morgan and Patrick's class parties and had a good time. The kids love Edgars and had fun playing with him. They were all impressed with how good he was on the monkey bars! One boy even said "I wish you were my brother!"
We took Morgan to Speech and while she was in there we went to Target so the boys could pick her out a gift. Edgars thinks we are made of money and asks for everything he sees. I keep telling him that Christmas is only a few days away and that he doesn't need any of those things. He tells me "Just put it on your credit card" We have tried very hard not to give him the impression that it is all about the money. I can tell that is going to be something we continually work on this time!
I will try to update the blog more frequently now that things have calmed down! Have a Merry Christmas!
Love Krista

Wedensday Dec 20

Wedensday was a pretty uneventful day. Edgars woke right up with the kids even though I am sure he was still exhausted from the jet lag! We took Patrick and Morgan to school and they insisted that we walk inside. I was reluctant since I had not had a shower yet, but I knew they were excited to introduce him to everyone. Patrick and Morgan have told the entire school about Edgars and they were all anxiously waiting to meet him!
After we left the school we came home and hung out for a while. Edgars had no problem entertaining himself with Rusty, Shiloh and Bo. The dogs love him and they get plenty of play time when he is around.
Wedensday night at church the kids found out their parts in the Christmas Eve play. Edgars is going to be a wise man, Patrick a shepherd and Morgan a sheep. They are all very excited!
Over all our day was uneventful but we had a good time anyway.

Dec 19 He's Back!!!

Sorry that I have been slow to update our blog. Since Monday everything has been CRAZY and my To Do List is a MILE long!!
Tuesday my mom and I flew to Detroit to meet the kids. We had a great flight and got there around 11:00 and immediately started trying to find out what we could do to meet them. Sometimes in customs it gets confusing if you don't know where you are going and you can easily get lost. We were hoping to meet them down in customs like Jennifer is able to do if they fly into Atlanta. We tried to find an information desk that was shown on the directory but we had no luck. Finally we just went to one of the gates and asked someone. She told us we needed to go down to International Arrivals and they would let us in. We grabbed a bite to eat and then asked someone else. She told us that no way would they let us back there and that our best bet would be to wait for them outside of the customs area. When we got down there we asked someone else and she said that since they had a connecting flight they would not come out where we were standing but that there was a hallway on the 3rd floor where they would come out. So back we went to right where we started. We asked an airport policeman where the hallway was and he showed us. Once we found it we decided to go sit at their gate so we could at least see their airplane land. When I got up to go to the bathroom the board said they would be landing at 1:20. When I was walking back it said they had landed. Then the excitement began to build!! We were watching to see their plane come to the gate and there was a guy sitting there waiting to take that plane to Amsterdam. We started to talk to him and found out he is from Romania. He has been in the US for 8 months and doesn't like it. He said that in America everyone smiles all the time even though they don't mean it. You ask them how they are and they say they are fine even when they are not. He said that even though he can make more money in America, he would rather be with his family and in a country where people say what they mean. It is funny because Jennifer is always telling us that in Latvia they call it the "american smile", when you smile even though you don't mean it. It is sad that we hide behind our smiles and don't let people see who we really are. I apologized to the guy who was quite content to talk for hours and told him we had to go meet the kids. We walked over to the hallway and waited...and waited...and waited. Since we had received so many different answers we were afraid we were in the wrong spot. We were also afraid that they would not know where to go and go to the wrong place. But at the same time we were afraid to leave and go check anywhere else knowing that as soon as we left they would arrive!
Finally about an hour and a half after they landed we saw them walking down the hall. They couldn't see us and so we just stood trying not to be noticed since we could not get into the hallway to run to them. Finally Ilga spotted me and started to wave and then Edgars saw me. He ran and jumped into my arms and hugged me and then he hugged Nana. Then he said "What are you doing here? This isn't Atlanta!" He was very surprised! All the kids were just standing there staring at us not quite sure what was going on. After meeting everyone we asked if they were hungry. They said No. But then I said "McDonalds?" and they all instantly changed their minds. So we went to McDonalds and got fries and drinks. Then everyone had to go to the bathroom so we showed them where it was and Janis, Olegs and Edgars ran right into the girls bathroom! We realized it and started to run after them but they also realized it and ran right back out! hahaha!
There was a cool fountain in the center of the terminal and the kids were fascinated watching the water dance around. Eventually we made it to the gate to wait for our plane. When we got there Ruta realized that she left her bag. So Liza, Kristine and I trucked all the way back to the other side of the airport to McDonalds where her bag was waiting for her! Thank Goodness!
We had a good 2 hours before the plane arrived at this point so we just sat at the gate talking. The kids were cutting up and goofing off and having a good time. They were giving us chocolates and little things they had made on the plane. Ruta was cracking me up. She had a balloon and she would blow it up and put it under her shirt and say "I have a baby!" Then she would let it deflate and say "No Baby! No Baby!" Edgars didn't stop talking from the time he saw me to the time we landed in Atlanta! He kept saying "Oh Krista..." "Oh Krista.." The kids were trying to teach me how to say things in Latvian and cracking up laughing at the fact that I didn't say it right!
Shortly after taking off from Detroit Ilga and the kids were all asleep except for Edgars and Alex. I am sure Alex wanted to sleep, but he was sitting beside me and Edgars and I don't think he could sleep thru all Edgars talking! hahaha!
When we landed we took the train and then stopped at the bottom of the escalators so we could let all the families know we landed. Our phones wouldn't work so finally we just decided to go up anyway. The kids were anxious and I know the families on the other end were as well!
Edgars ran and jumped into a HUGE hug with Patrick. Then Morgan. Then Gene and Papa! It was so neat to see from the other side of things. The kids coming up meeting their families, some of them for the first time.
We left the airport and Edgars and the kids talked the whole way home. I could tell his energy level was drifting though and he went to bed with no fussing! I wasn't too far behind him because I was exhausted too!
We are so glad to have him back. Even if for only 3 weeks!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Not the answer we expected

Well we got an answer from the Orphan Court, but it was not the answer we expected. They denied our request for Edgars to come on the student visa, for now. They said they will revisit the case in 6 months. Helen says that it is probably because of it being in the middle of the academic year. We will know more when we get the official report from the court.
We were of course devastated to find this out. Everyone had told us that the Orphan Court has Edgars best interest as utmost priority. We never thought for one minute that they would not see it as his best interest to be with us. It baffles me that they would think that he is better off where he is than with us. But...we have prayed and prayed, and so have so many others for God's best for Edgars. And for whatever reason, unknown to us at this time, it is not God's will for him to be with us. We are saddened but we will press on.
The orphan court did approve for him to come for Christmas. So we will take him for 3 weeks and love him up as much as we can. He will be here December 19th. My mom and I are flying to Detroit to meet the host kids and Ilga. He has no idea. I can't wait to surprise him!
When I look back over the rollercoaster last year since we first signed up to host this boy for 3 weeks last Christmas, never knowing the journey it would bring us on, I am amazed. God has changed our lives so much. I would have never guessed that bringing an 11 yr old boy into my home for 3 weeks would change my world forever. It hasn't been easy at times, many times. I have sat in my closet and cried until there were no tears left to cry. But I have also been given a much deeper joy and a compassion I never knew. Never be afraid to let God take you on a journey, even a difficult one. Because on the other side of the a mountaintop with a view you could never imagine!!!!!!!!!
Keep praying...and if you haven't already...reach out to someone else this Christmas...and find the blessings that can only be found in helping others.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tomorrow is the day!

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. Our family had a very good holiday filled with lots of family, food and of! We are busily preparing for Christmas and also for Edgars arrival.
Edgars went to court this past Saturday and he said it went very well. They asked him questions about us and if he wanted to live with us and go to school. He, of course, said he did and that he considers us his family. Tomorrow will be the final orphan court hearing to decide our case. The court will meet at 3 pm which is 8 am our time.
Please join us in praying that the court will rule in our favor!
I will update when we know more.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

We have a Court Date!!

Helen called yesterday morning to let me know that Natalija's court date went good. She also let me know that they will be interviewing Edgars on December 2nd. She said that was the soonest they could see him. They will have a formal court session on December 6th and we will have a decision!! We have been waiting a long time for this! We are excited and nervous.
Helen asked me to go ahead and type up a letter inviting Edgars to come for Christmas and return in January. If the courts deny our request for him to come to study, then she wants to have the invitation ready so that they can at least approve him to come for Christmas. So I typed that up along with a letter stating how the courts can check on him while he is here. I am sending these papers with a family that is leaving on Wednesday.
Within just a couple of weeks, we will know the outcome. I pray that the courts rule in our favor and Edgars can finally be home!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Message from Skype and Leap of Faith!!

I got a Skype message from a boy from Edgar's home today that Edgar is going to be singing a solo in a concert on Thursday! I am so excited for him! I wish I could be there to see him! It is hard for me being a "mommy" from 6000 miles away. I would never miss Patrick or Morgan singing in a concert. But I can't exactly hop on a plane to Latvia! :-(
He also told me that Natalija, Edgar's foster mom, is going to court on Thursday so they can interview her about our case. One of the court's concerns was how Natalija felt about Edgar coming to be with us. I was happy to hear that at least some progress is being made. I pray we have a decision soon. I know they still have to interview Edgar. I have emailed Helen to find out if she knows when they will interview him.

Gene and I are taking a Leap of Faith and we went ahead and booked Edgar's plane ticket!! We wanted to make sure that he was on the flight with the Simple Obedience Host Kids so that he would not be flying alone. Airline prices are LOW right now so we decided to step out on faith that he IS coming and we reserved him a ticket! He will be here on December 19 at 7:28 PM!!!
Also...I am flying to Detroit to meet him!!!! After Gene and I discussing it and talking with Jennifer, we decided it would be best if Edgars gets approved for the Student Visa for me to be there to make sure everything goes okay in customs. Ilga, the chaperone, is going to be by herself with 6 other kids. It might be hard for her to make sure everything gets handled correctly when she is looking out for other children. And I am sure she will appreciate having an extra person there to help with 7 kids on a 3 hour layover. I called and booked both of our flights and they were able to sit us together on the flight from Detroit to Atlanta. I am sooo excited! I am not going to tell Edgars that I am coming to Detroit, so he will be VERY surprised!! Please pray for me because I am terrified of flying, much less flying alone. I figure Detroit is a lot closer than Latvia, so I can do it!!
The guy who helped me book our tickets was awesome! He made sure Edgar got "good seats" on all the flights. He also made sure that even though I was booking separately from the other kids that Edgar was sitting by them on every flight. It was nice to have GREAT customer service from an airline!!
Keep the prayers coming! A lot has to fall into place in the next month!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Call with Edgars

I have tried to call Edgar at school this week and I kept getting this message "Thank you for calling TELE2, the mobile phone you are trying to call is switched off or is not accepting incoming calls" I knew that Edgar would be upset that I have not talked to him since last Friday. Today I tried again and got thru. He asked me "Krista, why you not call me one day back and two days back?" I explained to him about the message. He told me that he was sad today because today was family day but his foster mom Natalija did not come and visit. He said he prayed and asked God for me to call him. He said he told God "God, whatever you have to do, please let Krista call me" I told him that God always listens and answers our prayers, sometimes not how we would think but he always is there.
We talked a little about his interview he will have with the Orphan Court. I told him to be honest and to tell the truth. I asked if he knew what the truth was and he said yes, it was not lying. He said "Krista, I tell them YES! YES! I want to come to America!" I explained to him that it will only be for one year. This was very hard for him to understand. He asked me why it could not be forever. I told him that the Orphan Court wants to do what is best for him and that right now if they approve it, it will only be for one year.
We were talking about Kristaps, his brother, and how he was doing when I hear a lady come and scream at the top of her lungs in Latvian. I asked Edgars what was going on and he just started to cry. I asked him what was wrong and he just kept saying "I miss you. Please bring me to America. I miss you soo much." I asked what she said but he would not tell me. Then he said he had to go. It was so hard to hang up with him crying like that. It was hard to not be able to hug him and tell him everything is okay. I just told him that I loved him and I would try to call tomorrow and that I would pray for him. What else can I do from 6000 miles away but put him in God's hands.
I tell you what, this experience, while it has brought many joys, it has also been one of the hardest experiences of my life. I will be glad when I can look back and see why God has brought us thru all of this. I know that it is coming one day. Please pray for Edgars!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Helen's visit to the Orphan Court

Yesterday I received a call from Helen. She was able to get our documents translated quickly and she has already made a visit to the Head of the Orphan Court. I had Edgars take his photo albums to her at church and she brought the albums with her to the court. She said the lady studied the documents quite a bit and asked many questions. She could see that we cared a lot for Edgars and that he seemed to be very happy in our family. She also liked the fact that he would be closer in proximity to his sister, Karina, who he loves very much. She asked Helen to compile some of the photographs into a document that she could share with the others who would be reviewing our case. She is also going to call Edgars in for an interview and ask him what he wants to do. Edgars very much wants to come to live with us, so that is not a concern. She is also concerned that they won't have any way to check on him and see how he is doing.
She is going to take the documents and review them and get with the other members. Helen explained to her the urgency due to Christmas but she said that it could take as much as a month or longer...
After I got off the phone with Edgars I thought of several ways the court could check on Edgars and I sent an email to Helen. I suggested that the chaperones who come on the hosting trips could check up on him and write a report. I also suggested that she tell them that we have a webcam and she can call and see Edgars and checkup on him anytime. I also offered to have the social worker come out at whatever intervals the court would like to check on him and write a report. Hopefully these suggestions will help eliminate the court's fears.
Please pray that the court will see that this is Edgars home and where he belongs. Please pray that they will do so quickly so that he can be here for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Our Documents are on their way to Latvia!

I gathered together all the documents for the Orphan Court -- A letter from our hearts telling why Edgars should be placed in our home; A letter from my employer, Gene's employer and our bank showing that we have sufficient funds to support him, and our home study showing that a social worker agrees that our home is a good environment for him. Gene took all of it and got it apostilled on Monday. For those of you that don't know an Apostille is sort of like an International Notary. We had everything notarized and then the Apostille office verifies that the Notary is legit. The Orphan Court may not have required these documents to be apostilled because it is not an adoption, but to be safe we got them apostilled anyway.
I also gathered all the documents for the Embassy - A letter from us explaining why we think they should allow Edgars to come, the I 20 (document from the government/school showing that he is accepted), A wonderful letter of acceptance from the school, The I-134 form (document stating that I intend to support him and he will not become the responsibility of the state), letters from our employers and the bank backing up the I-134. We got all of this notarized. We did not have to have it apostilled because it is going to the US Embassy and not an International Court.
After three trips to the school I finally got an I-20 that is correct. The first trip the lady was out and forgot to leave it. The second trip the I-20 had a school completion date of May 2007 and the back page wasn't signed. Because we weren't sure if the May 2007 date would pose a problem, we decided to have her extend it to May 2009. I am not sure if it will make a difference, but I would rather cover all the bases.
It is a lot of legwork just to get everything together. I was going to overnight the documents to Latvia which costs $100 and really isn't a true overnight but more like 2-3 days. However, my friend Wendy is leaving for Latvia today and she took the documents in her purse so that they can be hand delivered to Helen. She should arrive in Latvia tomorrow morning.
Helen will then take the Orphan Court documents and have them translated(to the tune of about $20 per page so about $200). Once the translation is complete she will go to the Head of the Orphan Court and talk again about our situation.
Please pray for us. There is a lot that has to fall into place and quickly.
First the Orphan Court has to approve for Edgars to come to go to school. Once they approve that, then we have to pay a $100 visa fee and a $100 SEVIS Fee (SEVIS is the system that keeps up with International Students). Three days after she pays the VISA fee she can make an appt with the Embassy. At the Embassy they will interview her and Edgars to find out why he wants to go to America and why they should let him go. She has to convince the Embassy that we are not trying to "immigrate" Edgars. We hope we accomplished that by the letter we sent them. But who knows...We have heard from others that the interview is tough. Once the Visa is approved then we can book his plane ticket. We would like for Edgars to fly with the Simple Obedience host children who are flying on December 19. They are booking their tickets on November 15. Ideally we would like to book his by then. Tickets are very cheap right now, only $600! If we could get his plane ticket booked soon, that will save us a considerable amount of money.
As you can see...a lot has to come together. We know that God has a plan in this and we are trusting for his perfect timing. Please pray that things go favorably and we can bring Edgars home. I am not sure how I can bring him again and have to put him back on a plane in January. Pray for our strength and our patience.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The neverending wait

I wanted to give an update on the latest with our neverending wait to bring Edgars home...
Helen was able to go to the Orphan Court on Monday. She said that the lady at the Orphan Court had consulted with her colleagues and they were reluctant to approve Edgars to come to school in America for a long period of time(we were requesting thru High School). They had lots of questions for Helen. They wanted to know why Helen was coming instead of Natalija(Edgars' foster mom). They were afraid Natalija would not be in agreement with this. Helen assured them that she is... but she is going to double check with Natalija and make sure that she is being honest and even get her to write a letter to the court. They also wanted to know why we weren't adopting him and she had to explain that. After much discussion the lady agreed that it seems it would be in the best interest of Edgars for him to be in our care. However, if they approve it, it will probably be on a year by year basis. This does not mean that we will have to go to Latvia every year, just that they will have to look at the situation each year and make sure Edgars is happy and healthy.
Helen asked us to rewrite our letter to the Orphan court and include in there a paragraph about the fact that we want to adopt Edgars but can not due to our age. She said that we need to show them the bond we have with him and let them "hear our hearts". I expressed to her my concern that if he comes for a year and then they make him come back that is going to be harder on everybody involved. She truly feels that if he is happy, stable and growing they will leave him. The Orphan Court has above all else, Edgars best interest in mind.
Both Shiloh Hills Christian School and Furtah Prep have agreed to take Edgars. So placing him in a school is not a problem. Helen wanted to wait for the Language School because she is familiar with it. I assured her that both of these schools are good schools and that Edgars will be fine there until the Language School is able to accept him.
I rewrote the letter to the Orpahn Court and emailed it to Helen. She gave it her stamp of approval. Now all I have to do is get all the documents gathered up and on their way. Helen didn't think I would need to have everything notarized and apostilled but I think we may anyway just in case. I would hate for the process to be slowed even more by something as small as a stamp that costs $3. Also the school mailed me the I 20 and a letter of acceptance last Friday and I have not received it. My notary mailed me some documents I had forgotten last Friday and I have not received those either. I called the post office to inquire about the delay but they were no help. It seems like roadblocks every way we turn. So tomorrow I will go hand pick up the I-20 and I guess I will go back to the bank and get another copy of the letter and get it notarized again. Oh the joy of paperwork!
Edgars is doing fine. He is out of school this week and loving having all day to play and goof off. Even though it is very cold every time I call he is outside playing! At least he is getting a break from the rough time he has been having at school lately.
Well..until next time...keep the prayers coming!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Waiting..and more waiting

Gene says that if nothing else this process is teaching me patience. I hate to wait.
Helen called this morning to let us know that she did go to the orphan court this morning. The lady she talked to in the department for Foster children was not sure the process of bringing a child on student visa. She said she would have to consult with her colleagues before giving Helen any kind of answers on whether this would be possible. Helen seemed confident because she said the lady seemed especially sympathetic to the situation. We should hear something back from them in the next day or so.
We are still waiting to hear from Furtah about the I 20. I will call them tomorrow if I do not hear from them today. Other than that we are just gathering the documents we think they will need and waiting.
Please pray for us during the waiting...its hardest for me. However I know that we are going to have quite a testimony to share when we get on the other side of all of this!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

America Loves Me!

Yesterday Natalija (Edgar's foster mom) came to visit him at his school. She brought with her what Edgars referred to as "Ten Hundred" cards. He was so excited! He kept going on and on about how he got cards from people he didn't know. He said "I think one was from China!" I told him I didn't think so. But he just kept talking about how he got gum, and money and lots and lots of cards. It made his day! He said "Krista, Everybody in America LOVES me!!" I said "Yes they do!!" Thanks to everyone who sent him cards to make his birthday special!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Change of Plans

After a tear filled day Gene and I have decided not to wait for The Language School to get approval before bringing Edgars on the Visa. Edgars' school is not a good situation. He is being bullied among other things. We feel very strongly that we need to get Edgars HOME with us as soon as possible. After contacting several schools, I found a school called Furtah Prep that is willing to accept Edgars on a temporary basis until TLS is approved in SEVIS. I am going to go tomorrow and submit an application and pay the registration fee and get the ball rolling. They can probably issue the I-20 form that we need by Friday. I have A LOT of information to gather between now and then. I am praying that Helen has the time to go to the Orphan Court and get the ball rolling on her end. Please pray for us!! I have no idea how we will get this all done or how we will pay for it. But as I have said so many times before in this whole process --- GOD IS BIG!!
Until next time...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Edgars!!

Tomorrow is Edgars 12th birthday. We got to call him today and sing him happy birthday. He had a birthday party at a popular restaraunt called Lido. Some friends of ours left for Latvia on Saturday for their first court date in the adoption of their daughter and we were able to send a birthday present to Edgars with them. We got him a CD player and some CDs. He asked for an IPOD but I just wasn't comfortable sending an IPOD to him in Latvia. I told him he could ask Santa for that at Christmas! :-)
We had lots of people send Edgars birthday cards. He said that everytime his foster mom Natalija goes to the mail there is more mail for him from America! He was so excited! I can just imagine how special that must make him feel to have so many people think of him on his birthday!!
Morgan sang to him "Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a Monkey and you smell like one too!" He didn't know what to think about that! He said "Krista, she called me a monkey??" haha! I had to explain it was just a silly song. He said "Yes, Morgan is a silly goose!"
Tomorrow he has to go back to the boarding school so we are hoping we will be able to call him on his official birthday on his teacher's cell phone. It is very hard being so far away. I want to be with him on his birthday. Hopefully next year we will be!!
As many of you know we met this wonderful boy thru an orphan hosting program. It changed our lives! If you are interested in hosting you can contact Jennifer Peters at or visit the Simple Obedience website. The winter hosting is coming up soon and there are some wonderful kids available to host. Even if you are not interested in adoption you can host a child for 3 weeks. It is life changing for the child and for you!
So far there is no updates on the process with the Student Visa. We are just waiting to hear if the school gets approved. It has only been 2 weeks so I am trying to be patient!!
Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers and support!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Site Visit Went GREAT!

The ICE inspector called TLS on Thursday and asked if he could come a day early. So he came at 4:00 on Thursday afternoon. Everything went great and he said that Kim was the most prepared of ANY School he had visited! This is great news in our favor. He said that he would type up the report and submit it this weekend! Now all we can do is wait and PRAY!

Edgars is doing pretty good. He spends Monday thru Friday and school and then comes home on Friday afternoons. I had an interesting time trying to call his school for the first time this week. Natalija, his foster mom had given me two phone numbers to call. I called the first one on Tuesday and said "Edgars Ludzu" which means "Edgars please" and the lady said something in return that I did not understand. So I just repeated myself "Edgars Ludzu." Well, I guess she realized we couldn't communicate because she hung up on me. I called the other number and got no answer. So I gave up for that day. On Wednesday I decided to try again. So Jennifer helped me to figure out how to say in Latvian "Do you speak English?" And "I only speak a little Latvian" So once again I called the first number and I said "Hello, Do you speak English" (in Latvian of course) and she said "No" and so I said in Latvian "I only speak a little Latvian" and she said "Edgars?" and I said "Yes Yes Ludzu!" and she just started laughing and started talking to someone in the background and laughing and then they just hung up on me. I was so defeated. This Language barrier is HARD! I was trying to find someone who could help me find out how to talk to Edgars but noone was available. So finally I decided to try the second number. So same scenario...I call and when this lady answers, I say in Latvian "Hello, Do you speak English?" And she says "Oh, yes, of course" and I was SOO Thankful! I said "Good, Good! Thank You!" She says "Edgars?" and I said "Yes, Yes" and she says "One minute"
Finally I got to talk to him! He told me that his daytime teacher was the one I called first, she doesn't speak any English and she isn't at the school at the time I am calling. His nighttime teacher is who I will be calling and she speaks English! YEAH! I was so happy! He says he likes school, he likes his teachers. He said that school is very easy and he can do everything they ask of him. This is apparently a big turn around from his previous school! The entire time we were on the phone his friends were in the background saying "Kreeeeeeesta! Kreeeesta" He kept saying "They like your name!" hehe!
Gene and I both got to talk to him on Thursday. He said some kids were kicking him and chased him up a tree and then he got in trouble for being in the tree! We were so upset. I am sure he is being picked on because of his size. Me and Gene were both like We HAVE GOT TO GET HIM OUT OF THERE!
I know we can't shelter him from everything, but I hope we can give him a better environment!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Site Visit

We got word today that the inspector from ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) is coming out Friday September 15 to visit The Language School. The principal has to gather a lot of documents to prepare for this visit. He will review the required documents as well as tour the school. Once the visit is complete it COULD take up to 90 days before we know if the school was approved. We are praying that the school is approved and quickly! We really want Edgars home with us by Christmas! He asked me today how many days until he could come home. I wish I had a number to give him. Right now I just had to tell him I don't know. All we can do is pray that it is soon! Once the school gets approved, then we have to pray that Latvia approves everything. We have a lot of hurdles ahead of us but we are just going to pray thru every one! I can't wait until the day that I can post "He is here FOR GOOD!!"
Keep the prayers coming!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Call from Helen

I got a call from Helen Vipass yesterday that made my day! Helen Grimshaw is a wonderful lady that works with Helen Vipass at Hope for Children. She was told during the summer hosting that she had cancer in her retina. 7 doctors confirmed this diagnosis. She went back to the doctors this week and PRAISE GOD - There was NO Cancer!! The doctor's could not figure out why, but we know why! Because God is BIG!!!!!!!!!
Helen confirmed that Edgar is starting a new school on September 4th. It is a boarding school but it is in Riga. He will stay there during the week and go home on Fridays. This is better than last year's school where he only came home for summer and Christmas! I asked her if they would be refrigerating his medicine and she said she would make sure they do! Edgar seems excited about starting school which suprised me. He is usually opposed to anything involving school. This school really seemed to make an impression on him. Helen said that it is a new type of school in Riga and doesn't seem to be as formal. Schools in Latvia are apparently a lot more formal than American schools. Fun is not in the schools' vocabulary. Hopefully Edgar will do well at this school!
I have gotten accustomed to talking to him and seeing him on Skype almost every day. It is going to be hard to only get to talk to him on weekends.
As for an update on the Student Visa - The Language school is still waiting on approval. Helen said that once the school has approval she will go the head of the Orphan court and discuss the situation. This way we will know how things are going to go before we even have an official court date. We are all praying that things will go smoothly and he can be home by Christmas!
I will keep you posted. Keep praying! Phil 4:6-7

Monday, August 21, 2006

Letter from Latvia

We were so excited to open the mail today and find an envelope postmarked Riga, Latvia! I was expecting to find a note from Edgars. But it wasn't, it was pictures of Edgars and his friends, along with a letter from Natalija his caregiver. I took the letter to a friend's house so her son could translate the letter for me. He couldn't read all of it because Latvian is his native language and not Russian. However he was able to get the main idea. Basically she was just thanking us for our heart for Edgars and telling us how much he dreams of having a family to call his own. She also said that our calls mean a lot to him. It was neat to get the letter and to see the pictures of him in Latvia. We are praying that someday soon we can make his dreams come true and become that family he has dreamed of calling his own!!

Friday, August 18, 2006


It has been almost 4 weeks since Edgars went home and we miss him more everyday. We are able to talk to him frequently and see him via Skype, but it just isn't the same as having him in our arms!
Just yesterday I got an email from the principal of The Language School stating that she had received the money to apply to accept international students and she would be starting the application process today. Typically the process takes 90 days. So it is looking like November before the school can issue an I-20 for us to send to Latvia. We are hoping that this will allow us enough time to bring him here by Christmas and he can start school after the Christmas holidays.
I will keep you updated as we know more but right now it is just a waiting game!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why Latvia

People often ask us "Why Latvia?". The most important reason is that God has turned our hearts toward Latvia. There are a disproportionate number of orphans in Latvia for the size of the population. Often times families or individuals who have the desire to help simply can't for a lack of resources. There is little hope for the orphans to recieve help in Latvia. Here are some heartbreaking statistics and facts that have been shared with us:

Last year a survey was taken of over 1000 children in Latvia. Here are the results:
  • 54% of surveyed children do not have enough to eat
  • 62% do not have sufficient clothing
  • 44% don't have electricity, heating, hot water or cold water at home
  • 39% said they cannot turn to doctors for help with medical needs
  • 52% cannot afford to buy the medicine they need
  • 80% live in families where parents/guardians drink heavily
  • 79% said they don't wish to study
  • 53% don't have the study materials they need
  • 66% said they don't have anyone to talk to, to share their thoughts with, ask advice of
  • 32% think of commiting suicide
The statistics are even more heartbreaking for the orphans of Latvia:
  • The older an orphan gets, the chances for his/her adoption drastically decrease.
  • Each year many orphans between 15 to 18-years-old leave the orphanages.
  • Most of these orphans have no one to turn to for help.
  • About 10% of them will commit suicide after leaving the orphanage before their 18th birthday.
  • 60% of the girls will end up in prostitution.
  • 70% of the boys will enter a life of crime.
  • Only 27% of these youth will find work.

From an article titled "Plight of Orphaned Children in Latvia":

Latvia is one of the smallest countries in Eastern Europe and also one of the poorest, with children often bearing the brunt of chronic poverty. Since the fall of communism, the ex Soviet Republics have struggled to move towards true democracy and a free economy. Living standards have declined dramatically over the past decade and many families – particularly those with single parents - are living below the poverty line.
Amid these tough social and economic conditions, some mothers cannot cope and either abandon their children or give them up to orphanages. Hundreds of thousands of children in Eastern Europe and post-Soviet countries currently live in such institutions.
These post-Soviet children’s homes and orphanages are overcrowded, run-down, and under-funded. Even in some of the ‘best equipped’ orphanages, children are undernourished and physically small for their age. Education standards vary wildly due to limited budgets and other priorities, and children have very few life or work skills to enable them to integrate back into society. Most lack the proper education needed to be admitted to the secondary educational facilities, or they drop out quickly if they manage this feat due to the pressures of providing for themselves without proper support. The majority of youths have nowhere to go once they reach the age of 18 and must exit the only home that most have ever known. A life in the streets leading to crime, prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse is the destiny of most of these young people.
These orphans are easy prey for sex and slave traffickers. According to Amnesty International, young women and girls, often vulnerable because of economic deprivation or for having already been physically abused, are easy targets. They dream of a better life, which the traffickers promise when they offer them "work" in the West. Instead of getting a proper job, the women and girls find themselves trapped, enslaved, forced into the sex industry.
Trafficked women and girls are exposed to a series of human rights abuses, including abduction, deprivation of liberty and denial of freedom of movement, torture and ill treatment, including psychological threats, beatings and rape. To escape their devastating life, suicide is unfortunately the only option some of these children feel is available to them.

"We know what love is because Christ gave His life for us. We should give our lives for our brothers. What if a person has enough money to live on and sees his brother in need of food and clothing? If he does not help him, how can the love of God be in him? My children, let us not love with words or in talk only. Let us love by what we do and in truth."

1 John 3:16-18

Friday, July 28, 2006

The most American Latvian Boy :-)

Helen says that "Eddie" is the most American Latvian boy she has ever seen! He loves all things American. She said on the airplane he was talking to everyone, taking away his accent and trying to sound American. At our goodbye party on Sunday one of his friends was talking to him in Russian and he said "I'm sorry, I can't understand you, can you please speak in English". Then he told us that he wasn't going to speak in anything but English when he got back home. He said when he goes to school he is only going to speak in English. We told him that might not be a good idea and he could probably get in trouble. He just laughed. I am sure that he has reverted back to speaking Latvian and Russian by now but I don't think he is going to have any trouble adapting to the American culture!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Safe arrival, sad hearts

The kids made it home safely to Latvia. Edgars called me on Skype this morning. He said the flight was bumpy and there were a lot of tears. There were a lot of tears back in America too!!
It was hard to leave the airport. Hard to come home to a house that felt empty to all of us. Tears came quickly for Patrick and Morgan at bedtime, and for me and Gene, too!!
We are just holding out hope that Edgars will be back in our arms soon. Helen is going to work on getting information from the orphan court on the Student Visa and we are going to work on this end to get him enrolled in school. Once the school gets approved to be able to bring him, then we can go forward. For now we just wait. Patience is going to be our challenge over the next few months. Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers. The phone calls and emails of support over the past couple of days have meant the world to us. We are so thankful to have wonderful friends!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Time to say goodbye

Wow...four weeks have gone by so fast! Tonight our hearts are very heavy!
Today I took Eddie (as he likes to be called) to Walmart to pick out some gifts for his brother, Kristaps and his friend, Serges back in Latvia. He also got a couple of things to keep him occupied and some snacks for the plane. We picked up the last of his pictures and finished up his photo album. Then we cooked Shishkabobs and corn on the cob (or popcorn as he calls it) which were YUMMY! The kids played together a lot this evening and then finished it off with Eddie taking a BIG bubble bath! I have to fight back tears to recount the day because tomorrow night at this time, he won't be here.
Last night he said "Krista, are you my mommy?" And I said "Yes, I am your American mommy." He said "Except you don't drink, or smoke or hit" So I said "No, but sometimes me and Gene disagree and we get mad at each other, but we work it out and everything is okay." and he said "Yes, you use your words and not your hands."
Part of the purpose of Frontiers for Children is to show these kids that there is another way than the way their lives were with their biological parents. That conversation showed me that he realized there is another way. Not that our family is perfect by any means, but we have Jesus and we have love and that makes all the difference!!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Only a few days left...

As the time nears for Edgars to go home, the tears are coming more frequently for me and for him. None of us want to say goodbye. Especially not knowing what the future holds. I know that God is going to take care of him, but it doesn't make it any easier to let him go. Please pray for us as we go thru the next few days. We are trying to make the most of every moment.
Gene's family came up today and we went to the park and grilled out. We had a great day. Edgar managed to step in a nest of yellow jackets and got stung three times. It was scary, but he is okay. We thought for a little while we might have to take him to get a shot, but we gave him Benadryl and he was okay.
We had a long talk at bedtime about when he goes home. I asked him to keep reading his Bible and praying every night just like we do here. And I asked him to remember that when he doesn't have anyone else, he has God. I hope that he will remember that when he has hard times and we can't be there to wrap our arms around him.
Going thru this process has been probably one of the hardest things that I have ever gone thru in my life. But I know that God is carrying us thru it. It is truly life changing and no matter the outcome, I am grateful for the experiance. After all, it is in the valleys that we grow.

Friday, July 21, 2006


It is the transmission that went out on my van. I don't know anything about cars, but something about the rings and pistons were broken in the bottom of the case. It is going to cost us $1800 for them to rebuild the transmission. I read on the internet that this is common for Fords. It is only a 2003, there is no reason it should need a new transmission! But we recognize that it is an attack and we are just going to keep pressing on!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dentist, rock climbing and car trouble

Today was a challenging day. I had to go to Columbus for a meeting for work so Gene took off work to take care of the kids. Edgar had his final dentist appointment today. Last night we made cookies and brownies for Dr Mike and Mrs Vanessa. They have been so nice to give up their lunch breaks and do all of this work for free. After the dentist Gene took the kids rock climbing at Escalade Climbing Gym.
On the way home from Columbus my van was acting weird. The dash kept shaking on and off and it was concerning me, but thankfully I made it home without issue. When I was on my way to meet Gene and the kids for dinner my van started acting really weird and even though I had the gas pedal to the floor it wouldn't go over 20 mph. At Christmas my van acted up and it was just a small part that needed to be replaced so we thought it was that part. Gene ordered the part and bought some stuff to clean it. We ate dinner and then while they went back to the gym I went home to get some work done. I didn't get half a mile from the gym when my van wouldn't go anymore. The engine was running fine, but it might as well have been in neutral because no matter how much I pushed the gas, the engine revved but the car didn't go. Gene thinks it is the transmission. We had to have the van towed to a shop. Its only 3 years old so I can't believe the transmission would go out already. I am praying it is a small part that is going to cost very little.
Everything has been falling into place for us to bring Edgar on a Student Visa. A $3000 transmission job will seriously hinder us being able to do that.
I was teasing Edgar and asking him what he was doing to my van since at Christmas while he was here it broke down and it has been fine since then until now. He laughed and told me a crazy story about him opening his dad's hood and unhooking some wires so his dad's car wouldn't work and then when his dad would leave he would hook them back up, then a few days later unhook it again until finally he got caught. I asked if he got in trouble and he said no, his dad was very happy.... Sometimes we don't know what of his stories to believe, but I made him promise not to do that to our cars anyway! hahaha!
The next few days are going to be very emotional for all of us, add to that the stress of car trouble. We just have to remember to keep our eyes focused upward and He is going to take care of us!
Keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Only one week to go...

Sadly three weeks have flown by and we only have one more week before we have to say Goodbye! It has gone so fast. We have had a great time. At the very least we have given Edgars an awesome summer, went lots of fun places, taught him about God, loved on him, gotten his teeth fixed and gotten answers about his medicine. That is a big, huge praise!! I still am praying that we can offer him more. We have not met any families that are interested in adoption and money has not fallen out of the sky to pay for the visa. However, God is big and he has a big plan for this special kid. I am keeping the faith.
Last weekend we went camping and had a lot of fun. Edgars caught 12 fish and he has asked us for a fishing pole to take back to Latvia. We went swimming at Lake Allatoona and the kids wore Gene out - standing on him, climbing on him and using him to catapult them into the water! We all got a lot of sun and Edgars is very proud of his tan!! :-)
Monday we went to the dentist and Edgars got his tooth pulled and three fillings. He even got to put his tooth under his pillow and found a surprise from the tooth fairy this morning! He said he saw me do it. I promised him it wasn't me! (It wasn't! It was Gene! hehe)
Then we went to Stone Mountain for the afternoon/evening. It was hot, but we had a great time. The night finished off with the laser show. Edgars loved it! He didn't care much for the pictures on the mountain but he LOVED watching the building behind us where the lasers came out.
Pray for us this week. Emotions are running high. I can feel myself start to tear up whenever I think about it. I have noticed the tears are coming a little quicker for Edgars as well. It isn't going to be easy, but I am glad for the experience all the same!
I uploaded the pictures thru last week on Photoshow if you want to take a peek!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Good News from the Dr!

Doctor Schultz, the endocrinologist just called to let us know that Edgars' bloodwork came back good. His thyroid level was normal. His Growth hormone was in the low range, but he expected this. He said it isn't out of range, so that is very good. He said with the proper dosage, getting the hormone every day and keeping the medicine refrigerated it should be in normal range in no time! This is great news!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Swimming in the buff :-)

Last night we went swimming at the home of one of Edgars' friends, Ineja. All the kids were swimming and having a good time when all of a sudden Edgar yells "Help me, Krista!" I hollered back to him "What do you need help with?" He says "My bathing suit, it is downstairs" I looked over and he was completely in the buff! We were all laughing so hard we could hardly help him. I didn't have my bathing suit on so we got one of the kids to retrieve his suit from the bottom of the pool. Gene held a raft around him while he put it back on! The boy is so skinny, even tying it as tight as it would go it barely fits! I think next time we go swimming we will safety pin it! But it gave us all a good laugh!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Just for you Jackie :-)

A good friend of mine told me I needed to share some of the stories I was telling her on my blog. So here is a couple...

Last night our small dog Bo got locked in the boys room. While he was locked in there he had an accident and pooped on the carpet. I cleaned it up and everything was good. Then later when Edgar was praying he said "Thank you God that Bo pooped on the carpet" I started giggling. He said "What Krista?" I said "Why did you thank God that Bo pooped?" He said "Krista, we are supposed to thank God for the good and the bad!!!" He is right. Even the poop on the carpet! :-) At least we have carpet for him to poop on!!

Then later that same night, I was praying and telling God that I really needed a word from him about what we were supposed to do and if we should bring him on a visa and if so how would we pay for it, etc... He gave me Matthew 17. I was reading it and it wasn't making any sense. Then I got to Matthew 17:20. He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
I read the note at the bottom and it said "If you are facing a problem that is too big for you. Take your eyes off the mountain and place it on the God who has the power to move that mountain." It gave me chills! Point taken, God! I know you are big enough. I'm moving out of the way, You can do your work! :-)


Monday, July 10, 2006

2 weeks gone by already!

Wow! It is hard to believe that two weeks are already gone. The time is going by entirely too fast! We had a great weekend and Monday. Friday night we had a hosting event which was a game night. I don't think any of us actually played any games, but we had a good time. Edgar got to spend time with some friends and he enjoyed it. Unfortunately there were not any interested families that came. We were a little disappointed about that.
Saturday we went to our encounter group Bible Study and then two friends of Patrick and Morgan's came over and ended up spending the night. Yes, we had 5 kids! They all had a great time. While they were outside playing Edgars saw a lightning bug. He had never seen one before and so Madison took him outside to try to catch one. The next thing we knew he came in screaming at the top of his lungs. Apparently while they were out there a herd of deer came walking thru the woods behind our house. They were both very shocked by this! Edgars wanted Gene to go shoot them! haha! We had to explain that we would get in big trouble for that!! The kids had a hard time going to sleep because they couldn't stop giggling, but finally around midnight they settled down. Sunday we went to church and then to Pump it Up for a birthday party. The kids all had a blast! It wore them AND us out! Today we took the kids for a surprise trip and drove to Chattanooga. We went to the Tennesse Aquarium and then to the Imax. Edgars LOVED every minute of all of it. He was fascinated by the animals. He kept asking us if he could live there. He kept saying "I love this! I love this". At the butterfly center part he got a butterfly on his finger and held it and we got some great pictures. He had a blast and so did we!
He cracked us up during the Imax. It was 3d and he was trying to grab everything that came at him. He was trying to feed the "fish" his popcorn and talking to them. It was so funny!
No one wanted to come home. But tomorrow it is back to the daily grind of work and everything.
We go back to the dentist for visit number 2 on Wedensday!
Thanks for your prayers! Keep them coming!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

We survived the dentist!

Today I took Edgars to Children's Dentistry of Woodstock for his first dental visit. The dentist, Dr Mike, has agreed to see him for free and fix everything that he needs fixed in his mouth. Edgars was a little frightened at first. He has had some bad prior experiences in the past with dental work. Ms Vanessa came and took him back and he was comfortable with her since she had taught his Vacation Bible School class. After about 30 minutes she came out to tell me that he was doing okay. After an hour they finally called us back to tell us he was done.
Dr Mike said that Edgars has 7 cavities and one tooth that needs to be pulled. He treated the worst tooth today. It truly needed a root canal but they are not equipped to do that. He said he treated it with a medicated filling which should give the tooth a 50% chance of survival without a root canal. We have to go back for three more visits for fillings and to get the tooth pulled. Edgars was very brave, as usual. He's a tough kid!

When we were on our way to dinner, Edgars told me that they put something over his nose and it made everything funny. I tried to explain the concept of laughing gas! He said Narnia was very funny. Last time I checked, that wasn't a comedy, so I am guessing the laughing gas worked very well! :-)

Tomorrow we go to an event for interested families to meet the kids. Please pray for Edgars to find a family to call his own!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Endocrinologist Appointment

Edgars doctor's visit went very well. They weighed him (52 lbs) and measured him (51 inches). Even for his height he is underweight and for his age he is VERY small(In the 3rd percentile). He cried when he saw the chart. It broke our hearts. He was hoping so much that they would tell him that he was closer to where he should be. They drew his blood and are going to run some tests and will get back with us about those. The doctor said based on his age, weight, height, etc he should be taking 1.1 mg of the Genotropin and he is only taking .8 so we will begin increasing that tonight. We also found out during the visit that while he is at the boarding school they are not refrigerating the medicine. The doctor said that this can make the medicine much less effective, if at all. So all these daily injections could have been no good because the medicine was ruined by not being refrigerated! It is so frustrating that the people at his school do not see the importance of maintaining this medicine. Hopefully Helen can talk to them about the importance of the medicine being refrigerated and that they have to make sure he takes it EVERY day! I will update the blog when we hear back from the doctor in regards to his tests.

I promised Edgars that I would take him for a surprise when we were done at the doctor if he was VERY brave. So when we left we went to Walmart to let him pick a small toy. He has gotten in the habit of saying "I Need" about everything. I have been trying to teach him the difference between "Want" and "Need". When we were leaving Walmart Gene pointed to something and said "I need this". Edgars hollered over to him "Papa Gene...want NOT need!" hahaha I told him at least I have taught him something! :-) It gave us a good laugh!

Happy Fourth of July!

We had a good 4th of July. We hung around the house and relaxed and then that afternoon went to the Braves game. It was neat to see the huge flag that they spread out across the field. When the F-18 fighter jets flew over it scared Edgars to death! The game was going good and then the rain hit. At first it was only a light rain but then it got harder and harder. We waited around for a couple of hours but finally decided to give up. The kids were very disappointed to miss the fireworks! Luckily we went Monday night to the fireworks in Kennesaw. They didn't get 4th of July fireworks but 3rd of July is close enough!
Hopefully we can get by Stone Mountain while Edgars is here. The fireworks after the Laser show are pretty good!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tired but Having a Blast!!

Gene and I are worn out but we are having a blast! We haven't slowed down since last Monday. I am hoping after tomorrow we can hang out at home some! I have got Edgars (or Eddie as he now wants to be called) saying "Chill Out" and that is exactly what we need to do this week!!
Friday we left at 10 am and did not get home until 10:30 at night!! We picked up Helen (Edgar's Children's Home Director) and Kara (Jennifer's Daughter) and we went to US Play for bowling. We had a good time bowling and we all bowled really well (Thanks to those bumper lanes!) haha
When we got done bowling we went to "Chicken and Cheese" for Pizza and games. Then we went to Kennesaw Mountain for a little while. Finally we ended up at the church for the Vacation Bible School Ceremony. Patrick, Morgan and Edgars all did wonderful on their performances. We were very proud of them!

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed to Columbus. We went with Nana and Papa to Hollywood Connection which is sort of like an indoor amusement park. Edgars loved the rock climbing wall and EVERYONE was amazed at how fast he went up the hardest one. The lady that worked there said most people can't make it up it. Edgars made it up in less than a minute. I am beginning to think he is part monkey! After Hollywood Connection we went back to Nana and Papa's for the LONG awaited Shishkabobs! They were delicious!! Then we went to the movie Cars with my brother and his family. It was a cute movie!
Sunday we went and had lunch with Mamom and Grandaddy and then headed home. On the way home Gene stopped at a fireworks store and got a bag full of fireworks (the legal kind). The kids had a blast last night lighting them! Every kid in the cul-de-sac came out to join in the fun!
It was fun but it was hard to get the kids settled down after that, especially Edgars! I learned how to say "Edgars, please go to sleep" in Latvian and when he doesn't listen to me in English I start using Latvian. For some reason then he knows I am serious, and listens. :-)
Things are going great and I can't believe it has already been almost a week! Tomorrow we are going to the Braves game and Fireworks and Wed we get up VERY early to go to downtown Atlanta to the Endocrinologist.
Keep Praying!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

We made it thru Day One!

Edgars woke up bright and early his first morning in America! He had a great day! We went to the free summer movie and saw Yours Mine and Ours which was really cute. Then we went shoe shopping. Edgars found some Hummer underwear and that made his day!!
We discovered that Edgars medicine is working to help him grow in one area. His FEET! He has grown 2 shoe sizes since Christmas!!! We went to McDonalds and Edgars ate two hamburgers, some chicken nuggets and fries. I took him for a much needed haircut. Then when we came home, there was no slowing down. It was outside to play in the slip and slide, the sprinkler and ride our bikes around the block. Then cook dinner, then eat, then off to Vacation Bible School! I should lose 10 lbs by the time he leaves! he he!
Also, another praise - God is so Good - Edgars' VBS teacher is also a hygenist at the dentist where my kids go. I had called to see if they would see him and they said they could clean his teeth for $110! I was like that is a discount?? Well she talked to one of the dentists and he has agreed to clean his teeth and do any work during his lunch hour for FREE! First the endocrinologist and now the dentist! God is really taking care of us!!
I have found (so far) that hosting is easier the second time around. We didn't really have any getting to know you period. It is as if he never left. Someone asked me the other day if it was going to make it worse that we brought him and we can't adopt him. But the way I look at it...I would rather bring him twice a year for 3-4 weeks than never at all...
Keep praying! It is obviously working!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

He's Here!

We got to the airport about 3:15 today and the kids did not come up the escalator until about 6:30! We had no idea where they were and why they were late. Patrick and Morgan were VERY restless asking every other minute "Where is he?". Finally someone shouted "There they are!" Edgars saw me and came running and jumped into my arms! It was a wonderful moment!!!
He talked the entire way to dinner. We asked him where he wanted to eat and he said "Chicken and Cheese". I was like Where? He said "You know the big mouse?" Finally it occured to me - Chuck E Cheese!! We talked him out of there, promising to go there another night. We ended up at Golden Corral instead. Edgars told me that he had 3 cups of coffee, 3 cokes and a Mr Pibb today. That explains why he has been HYPER!!! After we ate dinner we came home and Edgars reunited with Rusty, Shiloh and Bo. It took us a while to wind down but after a bubble bath and Bible story he was ready to go to bed. He didn't want to do his shots before bed. He told me he has not done them in 7 days because they hurt badly. I hope this endocrinologist can give us some answers!
Tomorrow we will get some new shoes (the ones we bought him at Christmas are well past time to throw out) and a hair cut! He said he wanted an American Haircut! (I'm not sure what the difference is, but whatever! )
Keep us in your prayers and especially the other families who are getting acquainted with children they have never met and speak little to no English!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Women of Faith

I went to the Women of Faith conference this weekend and it could not have come at a better time. It was just the encouragement I needed to prepare me for the next four weeks. I hope I caught some Contagious Joy! All the music and speakers were amazing but Avalon sang a song that just really spoke to my heart. It is called Orphan of God...The chorus goes something like this...
There are no strangers, there are no outcasts, there are no orphans of God. So many have fallen but Hallelujah...there are NO orphans of God!

Sometimes I get so frustrated that we can't adopt Edgars. It breaks my heart to think of him alone 6000 miles away and I can not wrap my arms around him. That song was a reminder to me that even though he has been orphaned by his biological parents...Hallelujah...he is not an Orphan of God!!!!! And as hard as it is to imagine, God loves him even more than we do!

Pray for us...3 more days...and then at least for four weeks we can wrap our arms around him and fill him up with love before that dreaded day when we have to say goodbye again.

Monday, June 19, 2006


We have been praying to find an endocrinologist who would be willing to see Edgars this summer and we have finally made contact with one! In a previous blog I had mentioned that a lady at our fundraising yard sale gave us the name of an endocrinologist who would see Edgars. Well, God brought that lady to our yard sale for a reason. After many phone calls and messages Gene finally got thru to a lady at their office. Dr Shultz at Pediatric Endocrine Associates is eager and willing to see Edgars this summer. In fact he has an appointment on July 5th. She even felt sure that they could see him for FREE! This is a HUGE Answer to prayer! We have some obstacles to overcome to make the visit the most that it can be. First and foremost we have to get his medical records from Latvia and somehow get them translated. They need to know results of some specific tests in order to determine if the medicine he is taking is working. We are so thrilled that they are willing to see him. Now we need to pray that we can get the answers they need in order to treat him.
Thank you all for your prayers! Keep sending them! They are working!

8 days to go!

Time is flying by and Edgars will be here in only 8 days!! We are trying to finish up preparing for him to arrive. We just have to make some signs for the airport and go grocery shopping and we will be ready! His favorite food is Shishkabobs so we are going to have that the night after he arrives. If this time is anything like December, all he is going to want to do is go to bed when he gets here the first night! Now that Gene has made that trip, he completely understands! Food or anything else is the farthest thing from their minds when they get off that plane. Sleep is the number one priority! Speaking of Gene's trip to Latvia, we finally uploaded those pictures onto our photoshow website. You can view the pictures in the Spring 2006 gallery. The photoshow link is to the right of this posting.

We had our final hosting meeting on Saturday night and it went well. We got to meet the other families who are hosting. Unlike last time we hosted, the other families are not from our church. They are also all new to the hosting experience. We got to share with them a little bit of our experience and let them know that even though it is not always easy, it is very worth it.

Karina, Edgars sister, is flying out today to Belize on a mission trip. Please keep her in your prayers. She will not get to see Edgars this summer, but we are hoping she can at least talk to him a few times. She is also looking into getting a webcam so they can talk via internet and see each other. If you have not heard of Skype, it is wonderful! You can talk to other people who have Skype for free and if you have a webcam you can see each other. If they don't have Skype, the long distance rates are very cheap. Skype is free to download and we spent about $20 for a webcam and a microphone. Edgars home has this set up also and we are able to talk to him and see him! It is very neat!

Please pray for us as we prepare for his arrival. Pray that the children and chaperones have a safe trip. Pray especially for Edgars that he will find a forever family while he is here!! He needs a Mommy and Daddy to call his own!

Thanks for going with us on this journey!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Our Yard Sale was a success!

We had our yard sale today and it was very successful! Thank you to all of you who donated! We raised about $350 to help with the cost of Edgars trip! We are excited but also GLAD that it is over. We are tired and hot!! Several people inquired about the hosting program. People were generous and told us to keep the change. One guy bought $7 worth of stuff and gave a $20 and told us to keep the change. It is so neat to see the kindness of complete strangers!
Also, we met a lady who referred us to a pediatric endocrinologist who she feels sure will see Edgars. Gene is going to call the doctor on Monday. Pray she is willing to see him for reduced fees or even better - No fees!
Thanks for all of your prayers! We will keep you updated as things happen - 17 more days....

Friday, June 09, 2006

Welcome to our Blog!

Hi Everyone!
Gene and I figured we would jump on the blogging bandwagon to keep you posted about our hosting experience. You can check back here frequently for updates.
I will give a little background for those of you who weren't with us thru our experience so far.
After much prayer we were led to host an 11 year old boy named Edgars for three weeks last Christmas thru a program at our church. (You can see pictures on our photoshow website)
When we signed up to host, we had no idea what an impact it would have on our family. When that little boy came up the escalator at the airport, we fell in love. Of course there were hard times. There was the morning that we couldn't figure out what he wanted to eat for breakfast. There were the times he tested us to try to see if we meant it when we said that we would love him no matter what. There were the times he got mad and stormed to his room because he didn't like our rules. But there were also the times when he made us laugh so hard our sides hurt. Like when he hid in the laundry basket and scared me to death. And when he got to ride in a Hummer, his favorite car. There were also the times he made us cry because we could tell how hard his 11 years of life have been and how much he wants a family. Then there was the first time he prayed at night before we went to bed. We don't have a clue what he said, but it made us cry anyway. We got to watch him reunite with his sister who he had not seen in 2 years which was awesome. And then before we knew it the day came when we had to say goodbye. When he walked away Patrick called after him "Goodbye, You were the best friend I ever had". I nearly lost it. After only three weeks it felt like my child was being ripped from my arms when they took him onto that airplane. You see we thought that when Edgars came that we would change his life. Instead, he changed ours. And we have not been the same since.
We knew going into the hosting that I was too young to adopt Edgars. Latvian law states that both parents must be at least 18 years older than the child they are adopting. We tried anyway. Helen, Edgars Children's Home director at Hope for Children went to the Dept of Family and Children in Latvia but sadly they declined our request. We knew that God has called us to take care of Edgars even if we have to be his family from 6000 miles away. We have called him every week since he left. He looks forward to the calls and so do we. He breaks our heart every time when he tells us he misses us and he wants to come to America.
When noone signed up to host Edgars for the summer hosting we knew that God had called us to bring him. Although we were sad in one way that no one who COULD adopt him was going to host him, we were excited in another way that we get to spend 4 weeks with him!
We are praying that this summer a family will come forward who will want to adopt Edgars. He is a wonderful little boy who has so much to offer.
He found out this week that he is coming with us and he is very excited! All he can talk about is coming to America! He wants to eat Shishkabobs! That was his favorite food when he was here! He ate more that one night than he ate the entire time he was here.
We are having a fundraising yardsale tomorrow to help raise funds. Thank you to the MANY MANY people who donated lots and lots of items! We are so blessed to have wonderful friends!
Also, we found out yesterday that someone has covered the entire remaining cost of the hosting. What a HUGE blessing!!! We do not know who donated the money but we are praying that God blesses them abundantly!!!!!
Edgars flight will arrive around 4:45 on June 27. We can't wait to wrap our arms around him!! Please continue to pray that God will prepare us and him. Also, we are trying to find an endocrinologist who is willing to see Edgars at a reduced price. Please pray that we can find one. We believe the daily shots he is taking may be unnecessary. We would love to get him some more tests to see for sure.
We love you all!