Sunday, October 24, 2010

Surprise...Chloe can read...in English!



All the girls are doing incredibly well and settling in. They go to bed at 8pm and are up, by themselves, around 5:30 or 6:00 every morning. We have minor melt downs but nothing near what we were prepared for. We were called in for a meeting at School because Krista was getting up during class and walking aroud. When they would say something to her she would bark at them. The only adjustment that we made was allow her to earn stickers for good behavior. The first day she earned 5 out of 6. By Thursday that week she brought home 6 stickers. And since she even had a seven sticker day!!!

video

This is the cutest video! The volume quality isn't great but the video is priceless. Home only three weeks and already reading. The book is called "I Like" and Chloe is reading it.

All the girls are doing incredibly well and much better than we expected at this point. Tessa is a good helper and usually a real joy. She does have her moments that usually happen just after we say to word "no". Brooke is super attached to me and when i'm home she connects herself to my side and that is where she stays until i pry her off.

I Love being a Papa! Thank you Jesus for your trust and favor!

Shane

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We are doing AMAZINGLY well! The girls have settled (settling would probably be more accurate) in well and we are having only minor incidents of misbehavior.

The first doctor visit was today. The girls were well behaved, but stuck close to Mama & Papa for the most part. Atleast until the end when they discovered all of the fun things they have there.

Monday....School! They have been asking to go to School all week. We made the decicion to allow them to start right away and get them into the grove of real life.

God Bless!

Shane & Diana

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WE ARE....HOME!

It's been real busy this past week and we haven't been able to update this blog.

We all arrived home Monday night at 8pm. The girls were well behaved on the flight all things considered. Chloe had a bit of a melt down the last 30 minutes of the flight. She was very tired and we had to wake her up to strap her in.

Yesterday was the first full day home and Diana was able to take them to the store and park.

For the most part things are better than we expected.

We'll try to update again soon.

Peace and Love friends!

Shane & Diana

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chloe Yana "Banana" in the morning. She is super strong headed but usually always giggly!

Tessa Katia Lewis is the ring leader. We walked to the store together last night for milk and i so loved it. She was so proud walking with Papa, at the same time so focused on the task.

Krista Oksana Lewis is a super cutie that is super mischievious. Always in to something.

Four movie stars on Gotcha day!

All dress, packed and ready to leave the orphanage forever.

Sorry for the long wait between posts. It has been very busy to say the least!

We GOT'EM! We took them out of the orphanage on Friday. The first night was SURVIVAL! They were out of control stimulated, running like crazy, screaming and into EVERYTHING. What made it worse was that we were staying with friends at their apartment. There wasn't one door or drawer left un-opened. Their bed time is 9pm, the first fell asleep at 1am.

The next day we called and rented our own apartment. It was much much better! Oksana is still into everything and light switches are her major weakness. Bath time is always an adventure. The first night was total chaos with some damage to shower curtains and rods. The second night was much better with only minor flooding. Last night we did it assembly line style and it worked out much better. Overall they have been a joy and blessing with moments that are challenging. They are all very loving.

That is all the time i have now. They are hovering over Papa wanting to go out to play.

Peace and Love!

Shane & Diana

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We have finished all of the paperwork in the region. Tomorrow we submit for passports and hope to have them Monday or Tuesday. After we have their passports we head to Kiev for two more days of paperwork, then.......HOME!!!!!

Friday we will have a going away party for the girls at the orphanage. After the party we dress them their new clothes and we take them away from there forever. We had hoped to be in Kiev before the weekend but it isn't going to work out. The bonus is that we will have the weekend with them to just stroll around the town and get to know each other.

A little video of me playing with my girls.

video

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paper Chase!

Sorry friends for not being able to update the blog. We just got internet yesterday and couldn't find the time last night to blog. Then today we were up at 4am to resume the paper chase. Tomorrow is another 4am wake up so please be patient with us.

We are doing great and so far everything is going very well!

Please continue to pray us on home!

Love to you all!

Shane & Diana

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here we come girls!

Tomorrow we are back on the plane to bring our girls home.

Please continue to pray for us and for a shield of protection over our girls!

Much love to you all!

Shane & Diana

We know your hearts and your loving spirit. We ask that you also add our friends the Bollinger's to your prayers? They are in an all out battle in trying to bring their girl's home.

THANK YOU FOR SAYING YES WHEN GOD CALLED!

"Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” - John 13:35 NLT

We want to send out a huge amount of gratitude to all that have and continue to circle around us as we step out on this journey of faith and love. There is no way we could possibly have done any of this without your prayers and support. We are truly amazed and humbled by the love you have shown us! You all know who you are so we won't put you on the spot in this post. From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you for the love!

Peace and Love!
Shane & Diana



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Home

We arrived home safely on Thursday evening. A little time to regroup, prepare a few more things for the girls homecoming, and then right back to get our girls.

Pray for peace and protection of our girls while we are home!

Peace and Love!

Shane & Diana

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

QUADRUPLETS!


WE ARE OFFICIALLY THE PARENTS OF FOUR BEAUTIES!

We head home Thursdays and will be back to finish up the paperwork and bring our girls home on the 18th.

Thank you all for your prayers!

Shane & Diana

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Court

Asking all our friends for Prayer as we head into Court in about 7 1/2 hours. We'll post an update as soon as we can.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Monkeys!


We spent the morning with the Monkeys (Our girls) and had a great time as we always do. We walked around the area, played on the bars at the school playground and purchased a treat at the store.

My Friend Hannah wrote this about this picture and it brought me to tears because i never thought of it this way. "Want to know what makes me happy about this picture? I can just hear them saying, "Look at me! Look at what I can do!" And there you are, to look and admire them. :)".

"God sets the lonely in families" - Psalm 68:6

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Bell!





Today, in the entire country, all the children return to school. It is a celebrated day here and they refer to it as "FIRST BELL". They have a ceremony where the senior class welcomes the kindergarten class in. It was great to watch and we thought about the everlasting impression that must leave on a 6 year old to have a teen celebrate the day you start school.

So, as you can see we were able to accompany our girls to their first day of school. It was such a great experience for us to share in their culture and create a memory!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another Roller Coaster ride


The day started out with us visiting our girls in the morning. It is always the best part of the day when we are greeted by four smiles, four hugs and four kisses. We were only able to spend about 45 minutes with them because we had a meeting about our court date today. It was enough time to get some playing in. As we were leaving we had a break through with Oksana. All the other girls love to give us a kiss goodbye. But, Oksana usually will give you her cheek. Today she insisted on a kiss just like the other girls. We understand her and where she is at right now. We found out that we are the third family that has committed to adopting her and she has been a bit protective of herself. So, we are seeing signs of her opening up. Praise God!

We were very concerned today is it looked possible that we would be having either two or four separate court dates because our girls are unrelated. We put a call out to our friends for prayer and God answered! We are scheduled for court on September 8th, one court session for all. We have an up hill climb ahead of us as we are in uncharted territory. We will be the first to adopt four unrelated children out of this region. Prayers are requested!

Tomorrow is another huge holiday here as it is the firs school bell after summer vacation. We're going to be picked up real early so we can walk our girls to class on this special occasion.

Full report tomorrow!

Peace and Love Friends!

Shane & Diana

Monday, August 30, 2010

McDonald's Delivered!


We have been promising the girls that we would bring them McDonald's French Fries. Today we delivered. You think we are spoiling them?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Playing with my Girls!

video

They could keep this up all day...although i'm sure i couldn't! ;)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Requesting a Court Date tomorrow!


Tomorrow after we visit the girls we head over to the Court offices and request a date. Please pray for an expedited date!

We also would ask that you lift up our friends the Harper's as they request a court date tomorrow as well. And, our friends the Bollinger's as they start tomorrow on a more certain path! There are many other Families here as well that need your prayer. Please pray for an unmistakable momentum to start here so that all will know that God is the Father of all and He alone makes these decisions!

Peace and Love!

Shane & Diana

UPDATE: WE DIDN'T HAVE ALL THE PAPERWORK COMPLETED TO BE ABLE TO REQUEST A COURT DATE. SO, WE WILL TRY AGAIN EITHER TUES OR WED. PLEASE PRAY!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sisters!

The trip to the doctor today was not nearly as bad as I thought it might be. Our girls are such troopers. They went in, had their blood drawn and were out like it was nothing. I would have preferred spending the day with them just playing. But, it was good to see how they were away from the orphanage also. Tomorrow our driver is off for her 10th anniversary (Happy Anniversary Natasha!) so we won't visit the girls tomorrow. We will likely spend the day with some missionaries that we learned about.

If that isn't a perfect picture of sisters there isn't one!

Momma packed the perfect lunch for the trip to the Dr.'s office. Sausage, cheese, crackers and fruit (as requested)! And jello for dessert...Mmmm!

The "I so have daddy wrapped around my finder" look!

You can't say I didn't warn you about those eyes!
The girls call me Papa. But we have not forgotten about the Papa that allowed us to come on this trip.Clearly we are "without words" Blessed by our Father! We've learned that this is absolutely not something we ARE doing! Rather, by the grace of God we are allowed to do this! Thank you Jesus for the honor of Your trust in allowing us to care for these Precious Angels in this temporary home!

Peace and Love Friends!

Shane & Diana

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A little look into Heaven!

I have to say the major grocery store near our apartment puts all the big boys back home to shame! The meat looks better, it is cleaner and the carts roll better!

Oh and the desserts.....Mmmmm!
video

Back to two players in the game.


Diana rested all day yesterday and felt good enough today to go visit the girls. That gave Dad a better opportunity to spend some one on one time with them. How amazing each day is with them! They love to sit on my lap and just play, give kisses and hugs. I AM INCREDIBLY BLESSED BY OUR FATHER!

Tomorrow will not be such a fun day as we have to take them to see a doctor and they have to get blood drawn. I'm not looking forward to it! I'll probably suck up to them afterwards with a trip to McDonald's.

Peace and Love Friends!

Shane & Diana

Monday, August 23, 2010

The test of Fatherhood.

Diana has come down with a cold and opted to stay home and rest up. So, i went to see the girls by myself. Yes, it was active!!! Yes, i'm pooped!!! We had a great time and played like mad. I always had at least one girl in my arms, usually two and at times three. Maybe we'll try four tomorrow...NOT!

Each day we bring them some water and a small treat. To my amazement, they asked if tomorrow we could bring them fruit, meat, bread and cheese instead of candy? SURE! I'm all for that! in a few minutes i'll walk up to the store and prepare for tomorrow.

They are active but so so sweet. They love the attention from a Papa. The care givers kept telling them that Papa must be tired and that they should give him a break. They would respond "But our Father is strong". If they only knew just how tuckered i was.

Peace and Love to all of our friends!

Shane & Diana

Sunday, August 22, 2010

God Speed!


Everything went perfectly well today! Praise must be given to God because it could only be by His will that this was accomplished so quickly. We had to drive out to two of the villages where our girls were born to get a paper that allowed us to continue with the process. Because Monday and Tuesday are Holidays here it was declared that Saturday would be a work day. But our facilitator called for two days to let them know we were coming but no one answered. So, on a chance we drove way out in the country to two different villages and were able to get what we needed.

Today (Sunday) we will just stay here at our apartment. Tomorrow we start visiting our girls daily and just enjoying them.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sweet Day!


We spent our second day with the girls yesterday. I can't describe the feeling of walking through the gate and having four little smiling beauties running to you yelling "Mama Papa"! They are so precious and we can see already will be a handful. I could go on forever about them!

So, today is another paperwork day. There are some papers we must get done before we can begin filing with the court. So please pray that we get these papers today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

God comes through again!


God is amazing! We did receive the referral we needed today so this evening we are on the overnight train again to the region to do more paperwork and love on our girls.

We are now heading out the door to have dinner with the Harper's and another couple John & Diana from Indiana. Then back here to grab our bags and head to the train station.

Shane & Diana

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back and forth!









We have been on a fast run since we arrived. Tuesday was our appointment and we recieved our referral that afternoon. That evening we took the overnight train to the region. We arrived there about 6:30am, went to our apartment, freshened up real fast and headed out to meet our girls.

We were doing okay until we pulled up to the front gate of the Orphanage. That is when all the emotions hit us that the time we have been waiting for had finally come. We took a few minutes to pull ourselves together and then headed in. We aren't going to go into great detail about how it all went down. But our time there with them was amazing. So many emotions! Instantly you feel like they have always been yours!

They were a bit shy at first but started to open up very soon after. Krista was showing us all the things she is good at. Chloe said when we gave them a Teddy Bear "They always bring you something when they come". and then before we left she asked Mama "When will we go home"? Mama said "soon. Yana, "When is that"? "What if i finish all the bottle of water you gave me while your gone"? and she kept going...so impatient...love it! I don't think they really know what a Mama and Papa are, only that they have always wanted one. After a little while Dad finally picked one of them up and gave them a hug and kiss. They seemed to like it because they kept coming in "pit stop" style for another, then off running around again. We were only there about an hour because there was a lot of paperwork to complete before we boarded the night train again heading back to Kiev. New procedure in place that requires lots of travel.

So, at the moment we are back in Kiev waiting for a second referral so we can catch another train back to the region tonight. The Ukraine is on Holiday Monday and Tuesday so they are working this Friday and Saturday. There is much paperwork to be done and we're going to try to get as much done as we can. Olga our facilitator is amazing!

KEEP PRAYING FRIENDS!

Shane & Diana

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heading out!

We had our SDA appointment today and received our referal. They are very kind there and you can tell they do this because they love these children. We have to return in a little bit to get the form we need and then we board a train tonight for the region.

We also met the Harper's for lunch today. We hit if off like old friends. We hope we get to see them again before we leave.

We'll try to keep you updated. We aren't sure what kind of internet service we'll have in region. We will also be on a dead run through Friday. Small snag that we can't talk about yet, but God has it handled!

Shane & Diana

Monday, August 16, 2010

We made it to Kiev

Just wanted to update you all real quick and let you know all is fine. We made it to Kiev and Miss Olga was there waiting for us.

Tomorrow is our appointment at the SDA. We probably won't be able to travel to the region tomorrow because we have to wait on the official paperwork.

We'll keep you updated!

Shane & Diana

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Leaving Tomorrow!

It is 11:30pm and I just got in from dropping our 16 year old son Alexi "BIG MAN" Lewis off at his best friends house where he'll stay while we're gone. You are never reminded more of just how much you love your child as when you have to leave them! Our comfort comes in the awesome Christian loving family that will care for him while we're gone.

So, we are out of here tomorrow to go meet our girls for the first time. We are very anxious. Bags have been packed for three days and sitting by the front door. Please keep us in your prayer!

Shane & Diana


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Girl's room ready and waiting!

This is a video we made for our girls so we could show them their room.


video

Daddy's Girl's


Pretty much the cutest girls ever!!!


Friday, July 30, 2010

WE HAVE AN APPOINTMENT DATE!

We heard yesterday that our appointment date is August 17th!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Waiting Stinks!

We are so close that the anticipation is nearly killing us. We know this is God's will and we must accept God's timing. Easier said than done! God continues to show us His faithfulness and each time we learn to trust Him a bit more. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for not being able to fully trust. I think that is maybe part of the process of growing into the comfort of His love?

I thank God for the people He has circled around us to walk and comfort us through this process. As we reflect back it all seems to come in excellent timing. The Twietmeyers, Houstys, Dykstras, Buckmasters, Hiems, Allens, Kocis', Jones', Devenouges, Batemans....and many others that seem to ebb and flow in perfect choreography as we journey through the process.

After reading a friends BLOG this morning many thoughts I had seemed to come together in perfect clarity. From the beginning people will always tell you "That is such a great thing your doing". And it was a great thing we are doing for possibly the first month of the process. Then it starts getting difficult and very emotional. You start to second guess yourself. All through the process God is growing and preparing you for the "gotcha" day. On the surface it seems like alot to go through and you think it is a shame it has to be so difficult to "save" children. I believe the process is perfectly difficult and necessary. It changes you as a person. The Journey is a requirement and a blessing in itself. We are not the same people we were back in November when we started this journey!

Next update will be pictures of the girls room. Diana was up until midnight working on it. Not that it needs much still, but it helps her deal with the waiting.

Shane

Friday, July 2, 2010

We are submitted!

Our Facilitator was able to get us submitted before the July 1st cut-off at the SDA. So we are now waiting on a call for our appointment date.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dossier in Kiev!

Our Dossier has been delivered in Kiev. Next it will be transcribed and submitted.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dossier on it's way to EE!

We received word today that our Dossier was good and has been sent on to EE. It should arrive there the 29th.

Shane

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dossier sent!!!


I woke up at 5am this morning and headed south for my two hour drive to Indianapolis to get the final three ducoments for our Dossier Apostilled. I figured they must open at 9am and since they are on EST that would mean they open at 8am our time. I kept thinking I was going to have traffic issues since i'd be hitting Indy at morning rush hour.....But it was as if God cleared a path for me. I wasn't delayed at all!


I arrived at the Government building about 8:45am EST. Pulled up front and there was one open parking spot right in front of the entrance. I walked inside, cleared the security check and arrived at the Secretary of States office about 8:50am. There was no waiting and within 5 minutes i was back out the door.


I drove back home and finished putting the papers in order. Then the OCD kicked in. I sat that the table for what seemed like an hour just rechecking the Dossier. This is hilarious because i had just yesterday gone through it for hours as well. I guess after all the time and effort it is hard to accept that the paperwork is actually done!


Diana and I drove to UPS together.....And off it went!


I always think that the process will get a little less stressful the closer we get to bringing our girls home. I guess I feel a little less stressed but i realize that until they are here in our home safely tucked away in thier beds i won't be able to rest.
Shane

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SO CLOSE!

Tomorrow morning i'm driving to Indianapolis to have the last three forms Apostilled. Then i'll overnight it to California for one last going over by Victoria (Director of About A Child) then we're submitting!

Yesterday we received more incredible news. Getting close to traveling and not having all the money we decided to ask our Credit Union for a loan. Problem is, they do not and newer have given a signature loan for the amount we were asking. In fact, we were requesting more than double the amount of they're MAX signature loan. We prayed about it and left it in God's hands. Our mighty God came through as He always does. We got a call from the loan officer yesterday and she said...WE ARE APPROVED!

Two of our Great friends are in EE right now meeting thier children. One of the families is adopting from the same Orphanage and Group as we are. We so hope to make our first trip when they return for thier second.

Thank you all for your Prayers!

Shane & Diana

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dossier is Complete!

We received the I-171H on Monday and Hammered Down on the rest of the Dossier this week. We completed all the paperwork at 4:30pm this afternoon, scanned it and sent it off to our Facilitator for review. We hope to be submitting next week!

We are still quite a bit short on the funds we need. We are meeting with our Church staff tonight to see if they can help. Our back-up plan is to apply for a loan with our Credit Union. They have NEVER given a signature loan of that amount before but will be presenting it to the board.

Today we need your prayers!

Blessing!

Shane & Diana

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I-171H is on the way!

I haven't posted in awhile because there really wasn't much more to say. But today we recieved exciting news.....USCIS is sending out our I-171H today!

Our Dossier is nearly complete and hopefully we'll be mailing it out for review next week.

Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes!

Shane & Diana

Friday, April 2, 2010

New names and a new life

We had not previously posted the pictures or information about our girls at the advice of a friend. We had time to consider it all and have decided to introduce them to you.
We have decided to give them all new first names so that they will feel chosen and accepted into our family. Thier current first names will be thier middle names so they have a choice when they are older.


Meet Brooke Natasha Lewis! She is 7 and the only one that we know of that knew her mother. I cry every time I tell the story about her Dolls. We are told she plays with dolls and is very proud of them. She really lights up when talking about them. She is always obsessing over them and takes exceptional care of them. The poor child doesn’t understand why she is in an Orphanage and why her mommy left her there. So her way of dealing with it is to care for the dolls the way she wishes she would have been cared for. She says to her Dolls “I will always Love you and will never leave you so you will not feel lonely!

Meet Chloe Yana Lewis! She is 5 and the absolute cutest little button you'll ever see. We are told that she sings constantly and that she has an amazing voice for such a little girl.


Meet Tessa Katia Lewis! She is 6 and as you can see has SUPER smile power!

Meet Krista Oksana Lewis! The is the little angel that stole our hearts at first sight and started us on this journey. We still don't know much about her. Only that she is 6 and doesn't smile in any of her pictures.

If we don't talk about it how will the stigma ever go away?

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
HIV isn't something our girls did, it is something they were born with. After much research and considerations we have decided to raise our girls with their condition in the open. We want all to know that HIV isn’t what it used to be and there is a lot of misinformation out there. We have done quite a bit of research, talked at length with Carolyn Twietmeyer at Project Hopeful and met with the Physician Team at the University of Chicago. We believe that it would been worse on our girls dealing with all the secrecy in thier lives than dealing with ignorance. Only when people start talking about HIV will the ignorance go away.
Most of what people know about HIV comes from the 80’s when we weren’t clear on what we were dealing with. Here is what we know today: HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is NOT spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). There has NEVER been a confirmed case of HIV being spread from family member to family member or through sports related contact. You have nothing to fear! It is merely a chronic treatable disease here in the US today. We can and will snuggle with, tickle, make funny noises by blowing on thier tummies and kiss our girls, "yes" on the lips! Our girls can play sports, go to school, get married, have children and live happily ever after in the Love of our Lord Jesus!
More information about Orphans with HIV can be found here:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

5 Mom's - 20 Adopted Children - 8 with HIV


"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." - James 1:27
One of God's greatest gifts to the world are Mom's!
Meet Cindy Allen, Traci Hiem, Diana Lewis, Carolyn Twietmeyer and Bridget McDonough Kocis who together are responsible for bringing 20 Orphans (8 with HIV) home to thier loving arms.
Praise God!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Adoption Tax Credit Extended thru 2011

The Adoption Tax Credit, which was scheduled to expire in 2010, has been extended for one year, through 2011.

The Adoption Tax Credit will see several positive adjustments, as confirmed by Joint Council on International Adoption Services: The maximum credit will increased from $12,150 to $13,170.

The Adoption Tax Credit is now retroactive to January 1, 2009. This represents a potential increase of $1,000 for adoptive families.

The Adoption Tax Cred was made refundable. If a family has no tax liability, the IRS will refund the amount due. Please consult a tax professional for all of your tax questions.

The extension of the Adoption Tax Credit through 2011, was passed as part of the health care reform bill which was signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday, March 23, 2010.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Home Study Approved!

We have been approved by our social worker to adopt our 4 girls! The homestudy has been typed and was sent to the state for approval.