GOTCHA DAY

Court Date

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ava's Baby Shower

Yesterday we had Ava's baby shower. But before that we had a very very busy day.
We woke up about 7 am, Dan took Zachary with him to his Heart Walk for Bethesda Memorial Hospital, and I took Allen to his Football game. Dan was able to make it to the game before it started so Allen was happy.
After the game I went to BJ's Wholesale it's like Costco where I had ordered the cake from. OH how adorable the cake was. I cropped her picture put the Russian flag with her Birthday on the cake. It was very cute!
I ordered a 4 ft sub sandwich and Uncle Brent made ribs allday which were AWESOME! Thanks UNCLE BRENT.
People started to arrive around 2pm I made a photo album with all her pictures and had a picture in a frame and everyone signed it.
Ava will be styling with all the clothes she has gotten. She has better clothes than me.
I put a slide show of pictures on the blog of her Shower.

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME AND CELEBRATED OUR DAUGHTER.

HOPE WE HAVE COURT SOON

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No updates yet


We are waiting on our two documents, Our marriage certificate from Texas and our FDLE from our Homestudy H.S agency to be sent to Tallahassee to be apostilled.

We are Anxiously waiting for any news and hope we will be with Ava or have her home by October 30th her 1st Birthday. It's a long shot but anything can happen. All documents have to be in so we can get a court date. Pray we hear something soon. Thank you again, The LOVE & SUPPORT FROM EVERYONE HAS BEEN JUST WONDERFUL.

Half a world away
A child waits for a family of her own
While a half a world away
A family waits to come bring her home

WITH LOVE FROM FLORIDA & RUSSIA

Sunday, September 21, 2008

WAITING FOR COURT DATE .........

As many of you know Russia requires two trips. We are waiting anxiously for our court date so we can bring little Ava home to join our family. We are getting ready for our baby shower this next weekend Sept 27th which is also a busy day. Dan has the American Heartwalk for the hospital, I have to take Allen to football and then Ava's shower.
We are getting together our last bit of court documents. I am waiting on my Marriage license from TX, and Our FDLE-Florida Dept of Law enforcement.
Hope it will be done within the next two weeks.

We wanted to say thank you to Gail for making a donation. It helps more than you will know.

That is all for now. I need to go get the boys ready we are going to order the cake for Ava's Shower.

Friday, September 19, 2008

We are Home


We are home. We had such a great trip. We are tired. I have never felt jet lag like this I cant seem to get enough sleep. We already slept twice today and I am ready for another nap.

The boys were so excited to see us. I didn't even bring my luggage in I just ran in the house and gave them the biggest hugs and kisses. Allen & Zachary gave me the biggest hug and didn't let go. They love the pictures of their sister. I was telling them she loves music and to dance and Zachary started laughing with the big grin. You could see in the boys faces they just lit up. They couldn't wait to see all the pictures of their baby sister. She is 11 months old this month. Her Birthday is Oct 30th so we are hoping we will either be in Russia for her Birthday or she will be here with us for her 1st Birthday. I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE FOR THE PRAYERS, GOD DID ANSWER THEM. PLEASE PRAY WE ARE WITH HER FOR HER 1ST BIRTHDAY, THAT WOULD BE THE BEST.


WE ALSO WANTED TO THANK YOU, SPASIBA TO OLGA IN RUSSIA SHE IS GREAT AND HELPFUL, AND ELENA IN RUSSIA. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST. WE CANT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR EVERYTHING.
ALSO THANK YOU LESLIE AND EVERYONE AT CHILDRENS HOPE.

That is all for now I am going to go take another nap.

ALSO DAN AND I ARE AMAZED BECAUSE ALL THE KIDS BIRTHDAYS WILL BE TWO WEEKS APART. OCT 30TH, NOV. 11TH. NOV. 26TH, BUSY MONTH THEN CHRISTMAS.


With Love

The Israel Family

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We are coming home

Well unfortunalty how Russia works we have to leave Ava until court. We are hoping to be back before her 1 st birthday on OCT 30th. We are saddened we have to leave her but we have no say. PRAY all our courts docs are in fast.

With Love

April Dan Allen Zachary & Ava

Our Little Angel .........AVA MCKENZIE


I know everyone wants to know what happened today. This morning we went to the MOE to sign papers to decline the first referral then we went back into the office and they had a referral for us of a little girl, So the the picture came across the table and Dan and I didnt know really what to think because the picture was taken when she was 1 month old and now she is 10 months old so we said we will go meet her. We went into the Orphanage and it was love at first sight. She went to Dan with no hesitation not a peep. She was a little hesitant with me but after a couple minutes she was fine. We played for an hour and she had not had a nap so they went to put her down for one. She is perfect in every way possible. We unfortunatly leave tomorrow but know in our hearts that she is the one. YOU JUST KNOW. We wont see her again until we come back for court I hope it is really soon. PRAY everyday we come back soon.

With Love From Russia

PS We are not allowed to post any pictures that is the rules, sorry.

GOD ANSWERED OUR PRAYER. WE MET AVA

WOW ! We are blessed we found our little Angel Ava. I will update soon first I need to go call everyone.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why .........................We are NUMB

Well as most of you have seen we turned down our referral. Due to Medical issues that could not be corrected we have decided not to accept. We dont know what will happen now. We are so Distraught and very emotional right now. I never dreamed we would ever turn down a child, you dont come here and do all the paperwork not to accept. We have as many questions as everyone else does. We just want a healthy little girl.

What broke our hearts tonight and made me break down was when my son who is going to be nine said send us pictures of Ava and we told him she was sick and we couldnt bring her home and Allen said "Daddy why you can't you bring her home a fix her" I just started to loose it in tears. Dan works in the ER and Allen thinks that Dad can fix anybody but unfortunatly not in this case.

We dont know what tomorrow will bring but we have to believe God has our little girl waiting it just is taking longer to bring her too us.

I am not mad or upset with my agency at all, they are wonderful. It's not there fault they dont have the medicals.


With Love
Hoping to meet our Daughter soon

Sad News

Unfortunatly we have denied the referral. I cant get into the details but pray they will have another referral for us by the time we go home or we might have to stay longer in Moscow or may even come back.

WE ARE PRAYING PLEASE HELP US THROUGH THIS DIFFICULT TIME. THIS WAS A VERY HARD MEDICAL DECISION.

Monday, September 15, 2008

2 nd day in Moscow- IT'S COLD


Hello - Здравствуйте!
We have had a busy day. We woke up at 4 am Russia time we couldnt sleep anymore so we rested until we met with Laura & Greg another family we met on the airplane from a different agency. Finally about 11 am we all met because they got lost. Moscow is a huge city. We walked around and did some shopping we bought a duffle bag because Delta Airlines Broke my Luggage and there is a big hole in it.
After that we went to eat at McDonalds which was crazy. About a 50-100 people in a little building waiting to order. Had a okay time ordering some people speak a little english but not much. After our belly was full we went to do more shopping and then back to our hotel to sit and talk in the Hotel Cafe'. We had espresso and Hot chocolate. It is FREEZING HERE. After we said bye to Greg & Laura who also meet their child tomorrow we went back to our room to get a little shut eye only to find out Debbie & David also from Florida tracked us down and had their little girl with them traveling through Moscow to go back tomorrow morning, Oh Danielle is her name she is just precious. We went to a place that said Italiano. Very good food not bad in price at all. Dont know what it was called but it was at the Olypmic Plaza.
After dinner we went outside to get some fresh air and it rained so it was about 10 degrees colder than when we got there. Burrrrrrrrrrr. So we said good bye to David Debbie and Danielle and went back to our hotel. Now we are going to sleep. BIG DAY TOMORROW.

With Love from RUSSIA -MOCKBA

Goodnight Spokoinoi nochi

Sunday, September 14, 2008

WE MADE IT TO MOSCOW/ Tired


We arrived this morning at about 1030 am Moscow time. There were two other families from CHI on our flight with Tver region one was on 3rd trip the other was on referral trip. We all stood in Customs line for 1 hour or so. VERY BIG EYE OPENING EXPERIENCE. Our Translator dropped us off at the Renissance Hotel and we wont be seeing her until Tuesday morning to go to the MOE receive our referral and off to the orphange.
Dan and I got to the Hotel took a shower and went to sleep for about 3 hours then we decided to go venturing out. We are staying across the street where the olympics was held many years ago. They have converted the stadium into a HUGE flee market. One thing I suggest to anyone is learn Russian beacause it is very hard to communicate. We found Mcdonalds but nobody speaks english. We have a lot of respect for people that travel to the US not knowing english it is tough.

Tomorrow I think we will be going to the Puskin, Red Square and doing sight seeing. We need to find a sim card for the cell phone to make international calls. We did find calling cards after walking around for a while. There are no Internet Cafe's here so we have to pay for our internet through the hotel which comes out to be 15.00a day.

I hope to be able to update more tomorrow I am sure we will have time.

We miss everyone and cant wait to see our daughter.

8:40 pm Moscow Time/ 12:40 pmEst
April & Dan

Friday, September 12, 2008

We leave tomorrow..................... YAY


Wow! So the time has come to really get my butt in gear, I am slacking on packing. It really has not hit me yet. I need to pinch myself. Dan works half day today, Uncle Brent is driving down from Orlando area to watch the boys.

Poor Allen Asthma has been acting up because of the winds from Hurricane Ike. So he is on breathing treatments, etc. He is doing much better today than yesterday. We are picking up the kids early from school to spend as much time with them before we leave tomorrow morning. We have Football tonight and Allen has a game tomorrow ( GO DOLPHINS.) BUSY BUSY BUSY

I will be sure to post when I can. We dont get into Moscow until 1030am Moscow time and 230 am Florida time so time difference will be hard but well worth it.
Thank you to everyone for the thoughts and prayers. ITS REALLY TIME TO MEET OUR PRECIOUS DAUGHTER. WE ARE SO EXCITED !!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

3 Days until we go to RUSSIA. YAY !!!!





We are 3 days away from starting our Journey to Moscow to meet our princess. We are Anxious, scared, nervous, excited, All the above. It's normal to be nervous about the unknown. You wait for all these months, 17 months since we started this process and now we are getting close.
Dan is so funny all of sudden he comes and says are you ready with this big smile and grin. He does his little nervous twitch with his legs when he is nervous/excited. Poor thing is working and trying to keep concentrated on work but knowing we are leaving soon he can hardly concentrate. I brought him lunch at work today and I could tell how tired he is. His mind is wondering and its hard for him to sleep. We are so excited and can't wait to see our little girl.

Thank you everyone for all the support.

I will update our blog before we leave and while we are in Russia.

Monday, September 8, 2008

5 Days until we leave

I still have not started packing. I will start that process today. Thank you to everyone for your support we have had a lot of positive feedback and are greatful. People have really come together to help us while we are gone and I wanted to thank them personnally. Thank you Brent for coming to take care or the Boys and the house while we are away, Alex & Kari awesome neighbors, Meghan & Bill who have taken the time to send us things for Russia. Sorry if I left anyone names out THANK YOU TO EVERYONE.

DONATING FOR A GOOD CAUSE- GIVING A CHILD A HOME
Please help us by making a donation even $1.00 or any amount will help. Safe and secure and goes right to our adoption account.








Saturday, September 6, 2008

1 Week until we travel to meet our Princess

Today is Saturday. I am getting ready to take Allen to his 1st Tackle football game of the season (GO DOLPHINS).
We have finished booking our Airline tickets which I have to give Dan credit where credit is do. He booked Tickets, I took care of the last bit of paperwork. The only thing we are waiting for is our Visa's which should arrive this week sometime. Hurricane Ike looks like it will be staying south of us but we still are not out of the woods yet. I will be sure to update all information this week.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

HURRICANE IKE/ TROPICAL STORM HANNA


SOUTH FLORIDA - WE ARE GETTING POUNDED WITH RAIN AND WIND FROM T.S HANNA BUT THAT IS THE LEAST OF OUR WORRIES. HURRICAN IKE IS SHOWING HIS UGLY FACE AND HEADED TOWARD US WITH SPECULATIONS THAT IKE WILL HIT TUES OR WED WE ARE NOT SURE EXACLTY WHERE IT IS HEADED. PLEASE PRAY FOR EVERYONE THAT IS DECIDES TO STAY AWAY FOR U.S COAST.

ON THE ADOPTION SIDE WE LEAVE NEXT SATURDAY AND ARE VERY EXCITED, BUT IT'S NERVE RACKING WHEN I KNOW I HAVE TO LEAVE MY BOYS AND MOST LIKELY NOT HAVE POWER. MOST LIKELY WE WILL NOT HAVE INTERNET, POWER, PHONE AFTER THE STORM. WE WILL BE SEEKING SHELTER AT MY HUSBANDS JOB-HOSPITAL WHICH IS A SAFE PLACE.


"When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

SEPTEMBER BRINGS HAPPINESS


AS MOST OF YOU HAVE READ WE ARE TRAVELING IN 10 DAYS TO BE EXACT. WE WILL BE TRAVELING A DAY EARLIER. WE LEAVE SATURDAY SEPT 13TH BECAUSE AIRLINE TICKETS COST ABOUT 1200.00 LESS. WE WILL BE STAYING AT RENAISSANCE MARRIOTT. WE ARE EXHAUSTED FROM ALL THINGS WE HAVE HAD TO DO TODAY. VISA'S, HOTEL RESERVATIONS, AIRLINE TICKETS, AND SINCE WE ARE ARRIVING 1 DAY EARLY WE HAVE TO FIND TRANSPORTATION TO OUR HOTEL OURSELVES, FUN!

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT HAS LEFT COMMENTS, WE THANK EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

WE GOT OUR REFERRAL


How exciting! We got a call around 4 pm from our coordinator. The conversation started off like anyother call from Leslie except for one miner detail she sounded excited. She said so what do we have you working on, I told her and she said well you better speed it up cause you got your referral! I said no way you not kidding , right!? I started crying oh my gosh no way no way. Then I dont remember half of the conversation. I only called Leslie 3 x after that.

Now we have so many things to do before Sept 14th I dont know where to start.

Foreign adoptions down in Russia as foster care grows

Foreign adoptions down in Russia as foster care grows

Fewer Russian children are being adopted abroad, although the number of total adoptions in Russia is declining, figures show. The statistics point to a complex future for the country's orphans as the government struggles to implement additional means of foster care even as it tries to encourage more Russians to adopt.
According to the U.S. State Department, which released figures for the 2008 fiscal year, the number of foreign children adopted by Americans fell by 12 percent.
In 2008, there were 17,438 adoptions for abroad, while there were 19,613 in 2007. Much of this decline is due to fewer adoptees from Russia and China. Although Russia has not yet released statistics for 2008, the numbers from previous years confirm the trend.
There were 6,689 foreign adoptions in 2006, and only 4,536 in 2007 - a decline of over 30 percent - according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Education and Science, which is responsible for developing adoption programs and legislation in the country.
The United States is the chief destination for Russia's foreign adoptees - in 2006, American parents adopted 3,468 children, making up well over half of the total number of foreign adoptions.
But these numbers do not indicate that Russians are adopting more children. Of the adoptees, the share of those who remain in Russia has increased - from 7,767 in 2006 to 9,537 in 2007. But overall adoptions decreased in 2007 by about 3 percent. Indeed, the number of adopted children peaked in 2004 at 16,434, and has been declining ever since.
This is explainable by foster care programs. While adoptions declined, there has been a rise in the number of children in new, alternative foster care initiatives. Whi­le not adoptions formally, these included various kinds of foster care in which a child lives with a guardian or a family that is paid by the government. There are at least three kinds of foster categories apart from adoption. Although the government officially considers adoptions the best option for orphans, it has opted to develop these programs to bring down the number of children without parents.
Since 2006, more stringent laws regulating foreign adoptions have gone into effect. According to Yekaterina Bridge of the World Association for Children and Parents, that has meant more paperwork.
"In 2007, adoption agencies were getting accreditation based on new rules, and that has led to fewer adoptions," she told The Moscow News.
"The first accreditations were received only in June, 2007, and this caused a delay."
Explaining the decline in the number of adoptions, Bridge cited alternative forms of foster care, but noted that these forms had their drawbacks.
"Local officials in the provinces are wary of developing foster care because of the money issue. They fear children could be taken advantage of for the government subsidies."
While she said her agency was supportive of the government efforts to develop newer forms of foster care, she cited the latest figures for children without parents as "staggering."
As of December 31, 2007, 171,044 children were listed in the official adoption data base.
Officials acknowledge the need to encourage more Russians to adopt.
"Adoption is the top priority in placing children with families," says Alexandra Ochi­rova, who chairs the Public Cham­ber's Commission on Social and De­mographic Policy.
"But the statistics do not show that the problem is being solved. Since not enough children are being adopted, other forms of foster care are being offered."
Ochirova does not believe that foreign adoptions will solve the problem, however.
"There are various points of view, and the interests of the child should be put first," she told The Moscow News. "But I believe that this problem should be solved inside the country. This doesn't mean we should have a ban on international adoptions, but considering the demographic situation, it would be good to make the population better prepared to adopt Russian children."
Ochirova says that raising awareness, advertising, and easing bureaucracy would lead to more adoptions. There are many Russians willing to adopt, she says, but they are daunted by the bureaucratic process.

LOVE

Love... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:7
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7