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.