Doug Woolley Doug and Marsha Woolley

Adoption in Kazakhstan E-mails

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The following E-mails were sent to our friends to inform them of our adoption journey and to provide a focus for which to pray for us. We appreciated that support! Although the change of the law in Kazakhstan took us by surprise, it did not take God by surprise. We believe that God used it to direct us on the path He wanted us to take.

  • Flying to Kazakhstan for Adoption; Leaving May 6th  (May 5, 2006)
  • We've selected our 2 children                                    (May 11, 2006)
  • Adoption: Bad News - Good News                             (May 28, 2006)
  • Pray for a swift court date for adopting Dimitri           (June 3, 2006)
  • Adoption Court Date set for Friday!                            (June 7, 2006)
  • Judge ruled favorably for our adoption of Dimitri!      (June 10, 2006)
  • Web Site Update - Officially became parents            (June 29, 2006)
  • Flying to Kazakhstan to bring back Dimitri                 (July 12, 2006)
  • Kazakhstan Adoption is complete! Dimitri is home    (July 21, 2006)

News on our Adoption (May 5, 2006)
Flying to Kazakhstan for Adoption; Leaving May 6th

Dear Friends,

After a long journey of paperwork, finger printing, medical exams, notaries, apostilles, check writing, express mailings, and waiting, we have finally been approved AND INVITED to travel to the country of Kazakhstan to adopt two young children!

On Saturday, we will start flying far away from Tampa, Florida to the city of Kostanay, Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is located just south of central Russia and just west of Mongolia and China. We have been requested to be in the region of Kostonay on May 10th, after which we will be introduced to two young children, according to our criteria. Ideally, we would like a healthy boy and girl, both under the age of 5. In accordance with Kazakhstan law, we will spend two weeks bonding with our potential children for two hours each day. At the end of this period of bonding, there will be a court hearing where the judge will interview us and hopefully grant us the adoption, pending a 15-day appeal
process. After the court hearing, we are free to return to the USA for 2 weeks and then return to Kazakhstan for a second trip to pick up our new family members!

We hope to be able to provide you with further information after we meet our children. If possible, we will send a picture as well.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, as we trust God to guide us.

Doug & Marsha Woolley

News on our Adoption (May 11, 2006)
We've selected our 2 children

Dear Friends,

Today was an exciting day. We had the privilege of playing with Victor and Nina for two hours and taking our first photographs of them. So many of you have prayed for us. We just wanted to share a little of our joy with you.

Victor is almost 8 months old and is a happy, healthy, active boy.
Nina is 12 months old with a few tummy problems. She is beautiful but tiny.
Both are much younger than we had anticipated, but we also see it as a blessing.

We were introduced to them yesterday, and today we gave our official decision of our intent to adopt them, pending two weeks of bonding, a court hearing, followed by a 15-day waiting period, and then an official decree of adoption by the judge. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Enjoy the pictures,

Doug & Marsha Woolley
(Victor & Nina)

News on our Adoption (May 28, 2006)
Adoption: Bad News - Good News

Dear Friends,

After having 2 great weeks with our 2 children, we were told on Tuesday of a new law that had just been passed down the previous Friday. This law says that only 1 child may be adopted. Our Social Worker in Kazakhstan tried to appeal this to allow us to return home with both children since we had ALREADY BONDED with both children and one of the children needed medical attention, but the
authorities would not make an exception. We were heart-broken as we had to choose one child to leave behind. Marsha was devastated. We went back and forth, back and forth (for days) on this choice and even considered coming home without either one due to the unfair implementation of this law.

Although we were willing to take Nina, we obtained further information from a doctor in the U.S. (based on the doctor diagnoses here) that she has a disease called Cystic Fibrosis, not just a small tummy problem in the Pancreas, which was another devastating blow. Our choice seemed clear at that moment to take Victor (and then the plot thickens).

We also received further information about potential problems with Victor that would not be detectable for months or years to come. At the present time there are no other babies/toddlers available for adoption in this region. This has been very hard on Marsha who especially bonded with Victor and loved having a BABY in her arms.

After the initial shock, we looked for the Lord in the midst of the storm. It is possible that God is closing a door in order to open a window for us.

In order to keep our hearts and minds open, we decided to revisit a little boy that we had briefly met in another orphanage the first day we arrived. He is a healthy 6-year old boy that is intelligent, athletic, and socially beyond his age. We have spent the last 4 days with him (Dimitri) and dozens of other kids his age. What a blessing to be surrounded by these little people all eager to receive love and give it! We have run and played like we were kids again.

Meanwhile, a special bond has been formed especially between Doug and Dimitri.

At this time, Dimitri only speaks Russian, but internationally adopted children learn English very quickly (a few months) once in the U.S. - and Dimitri is very bright and talkative.

We have attached a picture of cute Dimitri.

Perhaps we will select Dimitri; or perhaps baby Victor; or perhaps we will come home without adopting.

As our stay has been extended in Kazakhstan to finalize a choice, please be in prayer for us and the choice we need to make.


Doug & Marsha

News on our Adoption (June 3, 2006)
Pray for a swift court date for adopting Dimitri

Dear Friends,

After what seems to be the longest month of our lives, we have decided to proceed with the adoption of 6-year old Dimitri. He's a precious little boy with lots of energy, charisma, and curiosity. If we would have had a biological child, he might be just like Dimitri. He has aspects of both of our personalities, which makes us marvel as well as scratch our heads at times. Welcome to parenthood!

Please pray for
- a swift court date for adopting Dimitri and favor with the judge and social worker;
- no new laws to come about - e.g. only adopting girls; only adopting unhealthy children; etc. (sort of joking)

Tentatively, we may have our court date on Friday, June 9th or Monday, June 12th. It should be determined on this upcoming Monday. We can leave for home the day after the court date, but it takes a few days to get home from a 10,000 mile journey with 4 flight legs (with some overnight stays due to
scheduling). After we spend about 3 weeks in the U.S., Marsha and I plan to return to Kazakhstan to bring Dimitri home. This 2nd trip should only last about 1 week (we hope).

Thanks for all your e-mails and prayers and support you've given us throughout this entire process. You've rejoiced with us and felt our pain. As we were seeking God's will, we would glean each day from the wisdom, love, and encouragement that you provided. It's always amazing the people that God uses to speak a word in season.

We are attaching a picture of Dimitri with his soon-to-be parents (Mama Marsha and Papa Douglas).

Tonight we will celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. We feel blessed as we have much to celebrate, especially with wonderful friends like you.

Doug & Marsha

News on our Adoption (June 7, 2006)
Adoption Court Date set for Friday!

Dear Friends,

Thanks for all your prayers. We are so thrilled and relieved that we have a court date on Friday (June 9th) at 10 am (Kazakhstan time; Thursday midnight ET). We pray that all the paperwork will be in order and that the judge will rule favorably for our adoption of 6-year old Dimitri. Attached is our latest family photo.

Doug & Marsha

P.S. If all goes as planned, we should be in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday night, June 13th. (We will still have a 1 week trip back to Kazakhstan in early July to pick up Dimitri and finalize some administrative things)

News on our Adoption (June 10, 2006)
Judge ruled favorably for our adoption of Dimitri!

Dear Friends,

Yesterday the judge ruled favorably for us to adopt Dimitri!

During the 45 minute court session, we were each asked many questions by the judge. The director of the orphanage and the social worker each testified very favorably on our behalf to be Dimitri's parents. After a 20 minute break, we met in the judge's office where she ruled favorably for us to be Dimitri's
parents, pending a 15 day "appeal process" which is actually just a waiting time since the judge's decision is almost never appealed.

After the official declaration, more paperwork will be completed in Kazakhstan by our translator/representative who will act on our behalf. After all is complete, Marsha and I will fly to Kazakhstan to pick up Dimitri and obtain a U.S. Visa for his Kazakhstan passport. Once he arrives in the U.S. he will have dual citizenship and we will apply for him to have a U.S. passport as well.

We have interacted with a family in Minnesota who adopted Dimitri's close friend from the orphanage a year ago. Their 6-year old son is doing great and is speaking English fluently. We have hired a tutor for Dimitri to learn English (30 minutes per day, 4 days a week for the next 4 weeks). This will give him a jump start prior to his journey and arrival to the U.S.

We should be home in Tampa on Monday evening, and we will probably travel back to Kazakhstan at the beginning of July for about 1 week to transport Dimitri to his new home at the Woolley residence!

With love,

Doug & Marsha

News on our Adoption (June 29, 2006)
Web Site Update - Officially became parents

Dear Friends,

On June 26, we officially became parents to 6-year old Dimitri Joseph Woolley. The two week appeal process ended on the 26th. Our "power of attorney" was able to fill out paperwork in Kazakhstan to obtain his new birth certificate with our names on it. This was obtained today, June 29th, along with an adoption certificate. He will also obtain a Kazakhstan passport. Once the paperwork is complete in about 2 weeks, we will return to Almaty, Kazakhstan and meet Dimitri. There we will have an American doctor give Dimitri a physical exam which is then needed for an IR-3 immigrant Visa to the U.S., which would be obtained the following day. Hopefully, we can leave for America the day after getting the visa!

Doug & Marsha

News on our Adoption (July 12, 2006)
Adoption Update: Flying to Kazakhstan to bring back Dimitri

Dear Friends,

Today, right now, I am leaving for the airport to travel back to Kazakhstan to pick up Dimitri. Please pray that all goes well. If so, then, I arrive in Almaty on July 14th, Friday, at 5:15 AM, then travel to Kostanai and then to Rudny to pick up Dimitri and stay for 2 nights in Kostanai. On
Sunday morning, we fly to Almaty.
Monday, July 17th - medical exam
Tuesday, July 18th - Visa interview and obtain immigration Visa (IR-3)
Wednesday, July 19th - fly out of Almaty with Dimitri back to Tampa, FL, USA!

Marsha has been getting his room ready for his arrival. Since only 1 of us is required to return to Kazakhstan to finalize the adoption and bring Dimitri back, Marsha will be staying home. (It also saves us $2400 and it is a tough trip).

Thanks again for your prayers,
Doug & Marsha Woolley

P.S. To see our adoption journey, pictures, etc., see our web site at (see Adoption in Kazakhstan or Our Vacations-Kazakhstan)

News on our Adoption (July 21, 2006)
Kazakhstan Adoption is complete! Dimitri is home as planned

Dear Friends,

Everything went as planned (from the schedule given in our previous e-mail), and our adoption of 6-year old Dimitri Joseph Woolley is complete. He arrived home on Wednesday evening, July 19th. The household members greeted Dimitri and I at the Tampa Airport along with my mother, Sigrid. Everyone in our family and extended family is very pleased with Dimitri. He is excited about life and about being in our family. He charms almost everyone with his friendly personality and his enthusiastic exploration of his new world.

Marsha did a great job arranging Dimitri's room while I was gone for one week. We missed each other very much but kept in touch via phone. What an experience it was for me to be with a new child (who only speaks Russian), 24-hours a day, for 6 days! While it was good, it is very good to be at home now with the support of others!

I thank you for your prayers. I thank God for his help and guidance. I thank the authors of the two books I read on parenting and setting boundaries for kids, since it greatly prepared me (and consoled me) for some unexpected things. I thank the orphanage workers (in the city of Rudny) for their  excellent care of Dimitri over the past 2 years, after the death of his mother (and father is unknown - and no family in Kazakhstan).  I also thank the Adoption Ark staff and their in-country workers for their help in all the logistics of the adoption.

I have attached seven pictures of our trip home (from the moment of arriving in Kazakhstan to the moment of arriving in Tampa, Florida). I will be updating the web site with more information in the days to come at

Doug (& Marsha) Woolley

NATURALIZATION: Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which became effective on February 27, 2001, orphans adopted by U.S. citizens automatically become U.S. citizens themselves when all of the following requirements have been met:

  • at least one parent is a U.S. citizen;
  • the child is under 18 years of age;
  • there is a full and final adoption of the child; and,
  • the child is admitted to the United States as an immigrant.

A foreign-born orphan who enters the United States on an Immediate Relative (IR) -3 visa automatically becomes a U.S. citizen upon admission.

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Last Updated on July 03, 2021

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