New belts for Christmas

Mama & Papa are proud of our kiddos all getting their next Tae Kwan Do belt at the December test. Brandon achieved his brown belt, while Anna & Ben both achieved purple.

When it was time for board breaking, the instructor made sure Brandon demonstrated his flying side kick, since he recently won the class competition to get the highest. After the test, they boys set up a target & demonstrated it a few more times, which I was able to capture:

Ukrainian acrobats?

We’re experimenting with different methods of sharing pictures and video. Check out this entry from yesterday’s Twin Cities blizzard that dumped 17-20″ of heavy snow on us.

Merry Christmas!

Warm Heart & Hearth

Ahhhh, the Christmas season is upon us! We’ve had our share of unwelcome news over the last few weeks, but when we take the time to think through what is important, it’s Christ our Savior and living the gospel.

Of course this is MN, so time to think through the important things is usually due to being stuck in the snow, or frozen to something. Here in the next couple of days we will get our first few days of double-digit-below-zero nights of the “winter”…which one might expect if it were winter already. I better get a fire going!

Anyway…the purpose of this post is to distribute our Christmas Letter to those of our online family and friends that didn’t get a card (please don’t be offended by that by the way…we’re on a budget!).

Click here to open PDF: MerryChristmas2010TheRengerts

This is kind of an experiment…comment if you have an opinion

Update from Kiev on adoption news

The state department posted an update today, that at least brings the pending legislation back to the realm of obstacle vs. cliff hanger:

Adoption Notice

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues

December 9, 2010

On November 3, 2010, a proposed bill that would place a moratorium on intercountry adoptions from countries without bilateral agreements, including the United States passed a first reading in the Ukrainian parliament.  On December 7, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv learned the proposed moratorium bill has been scheduled for a second reading during the upcoming plenary session on December 16.  As the plenary session does have several important agenda items, this schedule may be subject to change depending on the progress of each issue.

Additionally, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv was informed that a slight, but possibly important, change was made to the text for the second reading.  The bill originally stated, “intercountry adoptions will not be allowed for the citizens and permanent residents of the countries with which Ukraine does not have bilateral adoption agreements. The change eliminates the word “bilateral,” which may allow the possibility of multilateral agreements, like the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, to take the place of bilateral agreements.

The Ukrainian State Department for Adoptions (SDA) has indicated that adoption processing will be conducted as usual until mandated by a change in legislation.

The Department of State cannot predict the outcome of the second reading. However, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is active in encouraging its counterparts to consider the Hague Adoption Convention as the best means to address concerns in the adoption process and to safeguard cases in progress.  The Embassy is monitoring the situation closely.  Any prospective adoptive parents with cases currently open in Ukraine are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy Kyiv Adoption Unit.  The Embassy maintains a listserv to communicate with U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents and will use this to send updates as information is available.

In case you forgot…you’re not in control…

Very sobering, and surprising news on the adoption front:

The Ukrainian legislature is in the process of voting on a bill that would suspend all intercountry adoptions from countries without bilateral agreements with Ukraine, including adoptions from the United States.  The bill passed a first reading and vote, but must still pass a second reading and be signed into law by the president.  The second reading could take place in the next few weeks.  If the bill passes the second reading, it may be signed into law as early as the end of 2010.  The draft bill appears to include suspension of all adoptions in progress.

The Department will post updates as information becomes available.

This notice is posted at the Department of State website at http://adoption.state.gov/news/ukraine.html.

Yikes! The new rules they are proposing for international adoptions are not compatible with the current U.S. system. At first we thought it would just make Ukraine another one of many countries part of the Hague Convention, which requires additional background checks & reporting. That would likely disrupt the timing of things, and cost more, but it wouldn’t end adoptions to the U.S.

What the current bill actually requires however is a level of federal control and accountability in adoptions that the U.S. does not have. Here, the states set requirements and agencies/social workers (mostly private businesses) implement them. Praying like crazy this doesn’t happen!

In a way we’re glad we didn’t know about this when it happened last month. Our hope is that it gets rejected/dismissed quickly and that the uncertainty doesn’t drag on. Last we heard, the next hearing is scheduled 12/16…please pray!