Sunday, December 26, 2010


After many more unforeseen obstacles we passed court on November 29th and I returned home with the children on December 23rd!!! What an amazing blessing to be home for Christmas :-) I'll post pictures later...once things are a little less chaotic and the holidays are over ;-)

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Have a Court Date!!!

Okay, so last week I had been working on a long post updating everyone on everything the past few weeks but got sidetracked. Then my sister had a baby (a boy!) on Sunday but developed life-threatening complications on Tuesday. Thankfully, she seems to be doing better, but please keep her in your prayers!!

So I still haven't gotten around to finishing up that post. But...we got the call today with our court date!!!!!! I don't want to give too many details here on the web, but soon we'll go to court and God willing Ivan and Yana will legally be ours :-) We'll have to return shortly for the third trip to pick them up. I *think* we will have our Christmas miracle yet!

There are so many details to work out! Those of you who have adopted know what I'm talking about. Plus this comes during the busiest time of the year-Christmas, but also the best time of the year. :-) It's not too early to put up my tree, right? I need to start crossing things off of this massive to-do list.

God also showed off in a big way by arranging it so that our friends from church (adopting two children from the same orphanage) have a court date at the same time. This is a huge blessing! Not only will we have friends to travel with, but then just I will go back to Russia to bring the children home with one of the other parents. It saves us money and will be so much easier on our children at home if at least my husband is still here with them. We are so thankful that this detail has worked out this way!

Again, I'll still try to update more later. Thanks so much to EVERYONE for helping us get to this point. A month ago this really seemed impossible! Please pray that all of the details work out wonderfully. Also, the finances are still an issue so please pray for this aspect (for our family and our friends).


Saturday, October 16, 2010

And the winner is....

...Melissa Mambort!!!!

Melissa is a friend from church. She has had a difficult couple of weeks too. First someone stole her wallet out of her pack on her wheelchair. Then her computer died. I think the Random Number Generator at picked the perfect person to win the iPad!

We really didn't know what to expect with this fundraiser. We thought maybe we'd raise a few hundred dollars. Well with 230 wonderful people participating we raised $7565.18!!!! We are so grateful and really thanks is NOT a strong enough word!!!!

I have so much more that I want to say, but I'll save that for another post later today :-)

We pray that everyone is blessed for their generosity!


Friday, October 15, 2010


All I can say is WOW! As of 8:30 AM on Friday, October 15th we've raised $6098.18 with this iPad raffle!!!! (the widget doesn't reflect cash or check donations) We have 167 entries so far-still great odds to win! When we decided to raffle off this iPad we certainly didn't know what to expect. We've have been thrilled with the response and support we have received! Oh, and the comments, notes, and well-wishes...all I can see is that it has truly been love poured out! So many of them have brought tears to my eyes. I plan on printing them all out and will save them for I and Y :-)

In just over 24 hours we'll be using a random number generator to draw the winner of the new iPad. Saturday is also a big day at our church. It is our MADD, INC event (Make A Difference Day, In the Name of Christ) where hundreds of our church members will be participating in many, many different types of service projects in our community. I think it's quite fitting that on Make A Difference Day we'll be drawing the name of one of the 167+ people who have made a big difference in our life!

Thanks again for helping us to bring our children home. :-)

iPad Raffle Details: Make a donation in any amount and your name will be entered in the drawing for a new iPad. We will draw the winner at 9 AM Saturday, October 16th. Donations can be made by paypal account or credit/debit card through this Chipin Widget.

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12


If you'd like to read more about the story behind the "Pay it Forward" Ransom iPad then check out this post and this one.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


As of 9:45 PM on Wednesday, October 13th we've raised $5199.27 with 137 entries in our iPad Raffle :-) Why isn't the total a whole number? Because yesterday our nieces and nephews came over with the money from their piggy banks! How awesome is that!?! These kids want their cousins home and they mean business. They aren't just waiting around for the adults to change the world; they're starting right now on their own :-)

Guess what the friendly FedEx guy is bringing me tomorrow morning (well I don't know for sure that he'll be friendly but I'll be too excited to notice otherwise!)? Our FBI clearances!! This is the first of two big obstacles standing in the way of our Christmas miracle. Two weeks ago it looked like they wouldn't come until the beginning of November and then it would be too late to get a court date before the Russian court system closes down for their winter break. Having our children home for Christmas was impossible and this was one big reason why. There was nothing I could do about it. It was in God's hands and he decided to "show me" because I had started telling people it was impossible that it would come in time.'ll be here in the morning!

So that leaves the second BIG and little obstacle...raising the rest of the money to finish this thing! It's BIG because raising another $22,800 sounds rather unheard of. Then again so was coming up with the $47,000 we've already raised/earned. Nothing is too big for God! This could also be considered a little obstacle because it could be overcome by many little donations. We don't need people to donate thousands of dollars (although I'm not stopping anyone if they feel moved to do so ;-). If people kept spreading the word and many people donated $20, $10, or even $5 we could still have the money raised by this weekend (which is pretty much when we need it to still bring the children home by Christmas).

We're so grateful for everything that has been done on our behalf already! We've also loved the kind comments and encouraging words. Prayer is very important to us and we could really use all we can get. There is a big mountain in front of us, but thankfully we serve a God who is in the mountain-moving business! :-)

Raffle Details: Simply make a donation in any amount and your name will be entered to win the new iPad. Donations can be made with a paypal account or a credit/debit card through the ChipIn widget below. We'll draw the winners name the morning of Saturday, October 16th!


If you'd like to read more about our adoption story and how we won this iPad then check out this post. :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

$3555 and our Chrissie story

Wow! As of 11:30 AM (Eastern) on Tuesday, October 12th we have 71 iPad Raffle entries and have raised $3555 towards bringing I and Y home!! We're so excited to see what the rest of this week brings. Lorraine was very kind to post about our fundraiser on her blog. The story behind the iPad gives me chills. I love seeing how God orchestrates so many details for the good of His children!

Although I don't know Lorriane and never met Chrissie, something happened when we were in Russia and their family was the first thing I thought of. This is what I sent to Lorraine:

I started following your blog just prior to Chrissie’s surgery. Since I wasn’t familiar with her story I looked through the archives and couldn’t help but smile. Just by looking at her pictures and video I can say with absolute confidence that she was completely filled with joy! If you look up happiness in the dictionary you will see her picture. :-) I knew that was because she had been adopted into a loving family. We prayed and prayed while she was in the hospital and felt heartbroken when she left this earth. There was no way for me to begin to imagine your grief.

About two months later we were in Russia for our first trip in the adoption process. Although the children had been here the summer before we really never learned much about their medical history. The first thing the orphanage director said was “you know about I’s heart condition, right?” No, we didn’t! My heart stopped and I instantly felt fear and panic. Not knowing what we’re dealing with really didn’t make me question whether we’d continue with the adoption, because that was a given. Although, it did make me wonder if our situation was going to be like yours. I questioned whether we were setting ourselves up for unimaginable grief. I doubted whether we could handle that.

Then my thoughts turned to Chrissie and her undeniable joy! I think she was trying to remind me that it wouldn’t be about the possibility of heartache, but instead the guarantee of happiness. It wouldn’t be about a scary medical diagnosis with an unknown prognosis, but instead the blessing of living life aware of just how precious it is. Because of Chrissie I realized it wouldn’t be about giving of ourselves and resources, but instead receiving an endless amount of love and joy. I realized that it wouldn’t be about an earthly future of unimaginable loss and grief, but instead a future with a direct connection to an angel in Heaven.

There is still a lot we don’t know about I’s heart condition and we’re praying it isn’t severe, but thanks to Chrissie I’ve been able to feel peace. We don’t know the future; only God does. We do know that these children are meant to experience the love and joy of a family…and we are that family!

Thanks again to all who have donated and are helping to spread the word! The iPad raffle continues the rest of this week. By making a donation in any amount your name will be entered to win the iPad! :-) Donations can be made with a paypal account or a credit/debit account through this ChipIn widget. If you'd like to make a donation by check instead, then please contact me at japplin at buckeye-express dot com.


Please scroll down to read more about the amazing week and a half we've had in this adoption journey...or should I say faith journey :-)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Celebrating Chrissie!

Today is Chrissie's 5th birthday! She's celebrating it with our loving Father in Heaven. Stop by Lorraine's blog and participate in Chrissie's birthday celebration. Be sure to check out the pictures from the party they had for her before the surgery. Nothing can compare to a smile like that! :-)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

2330 steps closer!!

Wow, we've already raised $2330 in our iPad raffle! That's 2330 steps closer to bringing I and Y home that didn't exist even a week ago. We feel so blessed to be supported by so many of our friends, family and even complete strangers. We've even started receiving donations from people we don't know because others are spreading the word!

A little over a week ago I was trying to accept what was becoming more and more evident...that we wouldn't be able to bring the children home until the spring at the earliest. I felt devasted and like I have let these children down! They have waited for us to come and bring them home ever since they returned to Russia 14 months ago. If we don't bring them home until the spring that will be about 19 months they will have waited to return to the home and family they are missing. They know they have parents here waiting to give them more hugs and kisses than they can stand. They have siblings ready to resume their games of chase, reading stories and playing with toys. There are tubs ready for bubble baths, comfortable beds with warm blankets and cupboards full of food so they'll never feel hungry again. There is a large group of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins ready to welcome them into the family. There is a large supportive community and a great church that lives by the Gospel and goes to great lengths caring for "the least of these." There is even Max who is waiting for his friends from the orphanage to start arriving and join him in his new life. While it has been very difficult for us to wait, their waiting has been much worse!

These are the thoughts I was consumed with last week. You see the Russian courts shut down for most of December and January. We were told that we need the last of our paperwork and the rest of the money within about 2-3 weeks to be able to get a court date before they close. We were faced with two huge obstacles. The first was getting back our final FBI clearance. They are no longer expediting them for adoptions. We were told not to do them until after our first trip, otherwise they may expire before court. It was beginning to look like they were going to arrive too late to still be able to get a court date yet this year. A friend passed on a number to call and check. The man on the phone sounded sympathetic when I explained why we needed them ASAP and he said we should have them in about two weeks. Then yesterday I noticed that our account was charged the fee to process the clearance. I'm praying that this means it will be sent out soon and we'll receive it on time. So I'm feeling good about the first hurdle.

That means raising the rest of the money we need may be the only thing stopping us from having an amazing Christmas with ALL of our family together. A week ago I would have said it was impossible. Yet, I kept hearing a little voice in my head saying "God can do this." Now here we are with the opportunity to raise the rest of the money we need through this raffle.

Please continue to spread the word about our fundraiser and pray that God will be glorified by this story! It's all Him! It has been the moment we said yes to adopting these children and will continue to be as we rely on Him for strength and guidance when we begin the new journey when our children come home. We believe that God doesn't call the equipped, but that he equips the called. We're trusting that his ways are always the best. :-)

If you'd like to participate in our fundraiser the details are easy. Make a donation in any amount and your name is entered to win the iPad. Donations can be made via this ChipIn widget with a paypal account or credit/debit card. If you'd like to make a donation by check please contact me at japplin at We'll draw the winner's name the morning of October 16th. Thanks so much!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hope, Faith, iPad!

Wow, I feel like God has really spoken to us this week! My 36th birthday was a few days ago. People kept asking me for gift ideas and I really didn't know what to say. All I really want is to have this huge invoice paid to my adoption agency and have the money I need for two more trips to Russia to bring my children home for good! The problem is I don't think people were looking to spend quite that much on my birthday...

I'll admit, I've been feeling a bit down and at times desperate about this. We have come so far in this adoption process and we're nearing the end, at least in terms of paperwork. Still, the money isn't there to finish this. I've literally been waiting on God, trusting that his timing is perfect, even if it's not what I had in mind.

For some reason this week has been particularly hard and I've been losing hope that we'll have the money in time to get the children home by Christmas. One evening I was praying and asking God for a sign of hope. Then I started reading MaryBeth Chapman's book, Choosing to See (which is amazing!). Beth Moore wrote the prologue and at the end she included a Bible verse. Isa. 43:5 says, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." My eyes widened and I instantly felt peace.

Also, this week I noticed some of the blogs I follow were trying to raise money for a sweet orphan named Yulia. :-) I was able to watch something amazing unfold. They were able to raise over $20,000 in just 5 days! They raffled off a new iPad as an incentive. I was inspired and thought that would be a great way to raise the rest of the money we need for our adoptions. The problem was that I didn't have an iPad or the money to get one. I debated using my birthday money and my husband's overtime money (which I had planned to put towards the adoption) to buy an iPad and try to raffle it off, bit it seemed a bit risky. I decided to wait and just pray about it.

So you can imagine just how thrilled I was when I found out yesterday that I won the iPad they were giving away!! Now, some may wonder why I donated to the adoption fund for another child when we’re short the money we need to complete our adoptions. The truth is I believe we are ALL responsible for ALL of the orphans in the world. Making a donation to Yulia’s fund was a no-brainer and had nothing to do with thinking we’d actually win.

If you're not familiar with our story, here it is: We met I and Y through an orphan hosting program in July of 2009. We were looking into adoption at the time but decided to try to adopt from our local foster care system because we felt there was no way we could ever afford an international adoption. When we heard about the orphan hosting program through a wonderful charity (FORO-Friends of Russian Orphans) affiliated with our church, we thought this would be a good way to help out an international orphan by giving him or her a sort of vacation experience. What we didn’t know was that God had His own plans.

Not only did He plan for us to adopt Y, the 5-year-old little girl we hosted, but He wanted us to adopt I, a 4-year-old little boy being hosted by another family at our church. We spent nearly three weeks with the children and then had to put them on a plane headed back to Russia. We had no idea how to overcome all of the obstacles to adopt them, but we knew we had to try. Of course everyone thought we were crazy! We already have four young children. With I and Y added, we’ll have 6 kids in a 5-year span (currently between the ages of 4-9). Crazy? Maybe, but we knew they were meant to be in our family and we needed to get them back as soon as possible.

The other neat thing is that 9 of the children who participated in the hosting program are being adopted by families in our community! Seven of the children will attend the same church and school system. FORO brought over 10 more children this past summer for a hosting experience. All of those children are being adopted too! To these children their friends from the orphanage are their family and now they’ll be raised here together. :-) I also think the long-term impact on our communities’ awareness of the needs of orphans will be huge. :-)

God has been so good! He has opened doors that seemed impossible to open. One of the biggest hurdles has been coming up with the nearly $70k it’s costing to adopt these two children. When we started the process we did not have a single cent to put towards it. Through very generous donations by others and extra work opportunities for my husband and I we’ve gotten this far. We still have around $40k yet to pay out (an invoice here for over $23k from our agency and two more expensive trips to Russia). We are still short about $28k of that to have these adoptions paid for. To us this is a HUGE amount, but we know our God is BIGGER! We need the money very quickly too. Everything has been completed and we’re just waiting for the last of the paperwork. Once that comes in a few weeks (and if we have the money ready to go) we will receive our court date and can bring our children home shortly after.

The children desperately want to come home! They’ve been here so they know what they’re missing. We made the first trip to Russia this past July. It was great to see them and we were told that they constantly ask when we’re coming for them. The sad part is that they thought they were coming home with us then. Every 5 minutes one of them would say, “Okay, let’s go home to America!” We asked the translator to explain it was just a visit but she wanted to wait until the end. It was heartbreaking to leave them again.

So since we've been blessed with this new iPad we are hoping repeat the same miracle that's already occured...raise all of the money we need to bring our children home! The details are easy: From now until 11:59 PM (Eastern) on October 15th any donation you make to our adoption fund will enter your name to win the iPad. You can make a donation by clicking on this ChipIn widget.

If you'd like to make a donation by check please contact me at

We're praying that all of you wonderful supporters of adoption out there who understand the need and struggle will help us bring our children home!! I used to think that it would be so much easier if we were just wealthy and already had the money. Then I realized that this testimony for these children, who have only known rejection and abandonment, will be so much greater knowing that it was a loving God and the care and concern of many, many people who understood their worth that brought them home.

God has already used this iPad to ransom one child. We're praying it can be used to ransom two more!

James 1:27 "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."


Adoption Process: One Year Later

Well, as you can tell I wasn't able to keep up with this blog once we started the adoption process (not that I was doing a lot with it prior). Once we said "Yes!" to God regarding adopting these children that also meant saying "Yes!" to a ton of paperwork and working as much as possible to raise the money we need to bring our children home.

It has been a very challenging year. I really had no idea how difficult this process could be (more on that later). Through it all we have relied on God as our source of strength...especially when we've reached points where there was NOTHING else to rely on (I'm learning that God likes it this way :-). God has been GOOD-better than good, through it all! Over and over we have experienced miracles that only He could manage and our faith is so much stronger because of it! I have so much to share, but right now I want to start a separate post regarding a GREAT fundraising opportunity!