Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Christmas baby!
more presents :)

fairy princess
so happy
big bites!
the Christmas Eve wave
mommy and daddy
Our big little 4 year old!
our 4 blessings :)

Some things are simply easier said than done, but it's a new year and time for me to face my blog. I hate to admit it, but I haven't even been able to look at it in the last few months. It's silence however, has been screaming at me for quite some time. Truthfully, it has always been my desire to be very honest about our journey together as a family. So many times in this life people hide the difficult stuff, trying to pretend everything is okay, either so people won't judge or condemn them, or maybe just because nobody likes to admit failure. I don't really know. But I do know that in some of the most difficult and darkest moments of my life, God has done some of His best work. And His work is something I definitely don't want to hide, it's something I want to display. It is in this spirit that I openly share my heart.

When I wrote my last post, I had absolutely no idea what would soon be staring me in the face. I knew August would bring with it a big move and changes, but I had no clue just how many other changes there would be in my life. Details aren't important, and many of you already know them, but my marriage hit a crisis. Actually crisis is putting it rather mildly. In just one week, my life crumbled in front of me in so many ways. I have never felt so alone, abandoned and betrayed. I was faced with some very difficult decisions that would in many ways define my family. I had so many questions and so few answers. With only One place to turn, I ran to the Creator of this family. You see, you can't possibly go through all the paperwork and travel halfway around the world to adopt three children with special needs, come home and NOT see the hand of God move. He moved so MANY, MANY mountains to get our children home. He revealed His heart to us time and time again during our trip. Truly if you think you haven't heard from or seen God move in a tangible way in your life, I urge you to travel the road of adoption. I guarantee you will see nothing short of miracles. So with the knowledge that God hand picked these children for our family, I also knew that God hand picked my husband to be their father, and my husband. Even though I couldn't see it, I knew I just had to cling to His promises, knowing that His love for me is far greater than anything I face. And I can say that once I took my stand before my Father, again I got to see His hand move in a very dramatic way. He is bigger than the betrayal, stronger than the hurt in my heart. In my sorrow, He gives me strength. I am never, nor have I ever been alone. Thankfully, my God is in the business of restoration AND resurrection. I am seeing it in the lives of my children and now in my own marriage. Since restoration takes places in the heart, it truly is a process, and not always an easy one. This is by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and I'm sure my husband would say the same thing. It's not a road we travel down alone, and we trust that the One who is leading us knows what He's doing.

Now on to the exciting stuff:
Tati, Ana and Eli are doing amazing! I love watching them change and grow. I just can't believe these three are the same kids we brought home! Tati has started speaking more. She now says mama, daddy (didi), and bye. Of course she is really starting to pick up the first sounds of certain words, so I'm sure there will be plenty more from our chatty cathy soon. She also loves to give hugs and kisses.
Ana just turned four on Christmas Day! She went from not moving at all at the orphanage, to climbing, standing, scooting, crawling, cruising and now walking with a walker or holding someone's hand. We are really working on her confidence right now because I know she CAN walk on her own, she just won't. She also said her very first words yesterday....mama and ba (bye) while waving! Beyond that, she no longer rips her hair out (an awful orphanage behavior), and has become a much more GENTLE child. Oh, and I almost forgot, she can now feed herself! Her poor little face is rosy red and chapped from all the teething she is doing...4 teeth all at once keeps her fingers in her mouth constantly. We still have a long way to go with her chewing, but we are so very proud of how far she has come in the last seven months!
Now little Eli, he is also doing really well. He makes eye contact much more with us and really seems to know we are "his" people. He is CRAWLING, which is amazing considering the fact that he would randomly fall over from a sitting position at the orphanage because he lacked the strength. He does have a SERIOUS temper, but we are working on that one! ;) Eli has also made great improvement in the area of eating. He will chew and bite off food and with help can feed himself. So proud of my little man!
Of course, I can't forget to mention my little Bella baby, who is just getting so big! She is such a GOOD "big" sister. I just love how she loves her brother and sisters. We do of course have many, many moments, but generally speaking we are just so blessed. Our kids are awesome. And speaking of kids, God has seen fit to give us a "surprise" blessing. I am beginning my second trimester, so this summer we will welcome another brother or sister to the family. I know poor Eli is really pulling for a boy with all these girls in the house! Honestly, I am just constantly amazed at how good and how gracious our God is. He always gives us so much more than we deserve and He is always more than enough.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Love Story

The Daring Duo
Papa and Bella Baby
Can you hear my mommy crying?!?
She can't believe her baby is big enough to ride this!
Chef Ana
Little Drummer Girl
Feed Me Mom, I'm Cute
Disney Dream PJs (thanks Gramp!)
Little Big Sis feeding Big Lil Sis
Ana's masterpiece
giggly girl
as soon as you look away mommy, I'm gonna try to eat this crayon
ohhhh Nana and Gramp - thanks for the ball pit!
livin the life
pucker up
Playing in the kitchen
Yes, we are alive and kicking!!! Posting has definitely had to take a back seat. For this mommy, juggling is something I'm still trying to get the hang of...splitting my time between four children is something I struggle with - mommy guilt is such a crazy, but real thing! It definitely isn't easy, but it is sooo worth it. Looking through these pictures of the kids, I was flooded with just how much love God has for these sweeties, and for each one of us. I know when I look at them that His love is unfathomable. He moved so many mountains to bring us to them and them to us. Our adoption story is truly a love story...a story of His love. I can't begin to describe how many times I questioned His plan. The night before our "gotcha day", I was filled with doubts. Seeing the needs of our kids and the affects of years of life in an institutional setting. How in the world would we become one family unit? How in the world would everyones needs get met? How? How? How? I'm still not sure of how He is doing it, but somehow it all fits. Each child fits. Somehow they belong, we belong - one family unit. Now that's not to say it's all roses, because it's SO NOT. But we have children who feel comfortable enough around us to whine and holler and throw temper tantrums, which is HUGE! Slowly they are learning to trust. We still have screaming and pinching and hair pulling. But we also have giggles, dancing, and LOTS of silliness! We also are fortunate enough to see a little girl, who just 2 months ago spent her entire life in a crib, who at the age of 3 and a 1/2 couldn't even crawl, now STANDING and CRUISING around the coffee table, and CLIMBING in and out of our ball pit. She also has used her first sign! Our Ana amazes us each and every day. I have no doubts she will be walking soon! And Elijah, our boy who at 2 and 1/2 was locked away in his own world, barely able to hold himself in a sitting position (we used to prop him up during our orphanage visits because he would just randomly fall over), or make eye contact for long, having to make sounds and pull/scratch at his ears till they bled just to cope...this little boy is starting to come out! Eli's core has strengthened and he can sit now without falling over! He can do sit ups and bear weight on his legs!!! He knows what the more sign means and is starting to do better with eating at the table (he has really struggled with the idea of sitting as a family and eating - he used to just scream and scream). He reaches for us and smiles at us when we pick him up and he makes eye contact so much more! And Tatiana is more and more a typical 2 year old with definite likes, dislikes and lots of attitude! She's my crazy toe breaking (yes, she broke my toe but it was an accident!), music loving, silly, stubborn girl who just happens to love food and bathrooms (oh the fun you can have with a roll of toilet paper and a potty full of water - ewwwwwwww). This mommy is tired but overwhelming blessed! :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Long Overdue

elmo in the front carrier
tati the tornado
ahhhhh :)
sweet baby cakes
soooo excited!
eli's close encounter with a frog
smiley boy (before his hair cut)
hi five ana
i loooovvve to eat!!!
just hanging out in the playroom
circling eli with the bells
Wow! I cannot believe it has been so long since I posted last. Time just seems to have flown by since we got home. And yet, at the same time, it almost feels as if our time in the Ukraine was all some very strange dream. It almost feels as if it didn't happen. But of course, we have three very loud bouncing bundles of joy to remind us that it did!
Life has been crazy hectic since we got home. It seems just as we recovered from our "Ukrainian" stomach bug (although my stomach still just doesn't feel the same), a much nastier bug took hold of our home. One that the kids managed to get through, but left me with a nasty bout of pneumonia. Yes, yes, I did say pneumonia...the stuff old people get. One shot in the rear end, some lovely steriods, another antibiotic, and I am beginning to feel like a human being again. We are praying that the month of sickness at our house is officially OVER!!! I'm certain I didn't win any mommy of the year awards recently...the tv was on more than I care to admit, but I would just like to know how in the world you mommies of many do it?!? I always thought it was hard being sick with one child...ha ha ha. Now with four kids, I have totally rethought that! :) It has been a "stretching" experience to say the least!
Beyond that we are also still minivan-less. Our minivan is in the shop...still...don't ask. It's an incredibly involved story. But the basic gist is our crew is homebound, because we only all fit together in a minivan now. So except for an excursion or two, one or two at a time, we have been home. Thankfully we have a pool, which has been a lifeline for our movers and shakers.
So, the kids seem to be adjusting really well. We definitely have our moments, but overall I think our angels are beginning to find their place, and their peace, in our home. It will definitely take time, but we seem to be working through so many issues, together. I hope to be able to share more in the coming days and weeks, our triumphs and our struggles. Such personalities in our house! But for now, I will just share some pictures of the kids...I think they speak volumes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Two Weeks and Four Pounds - warning LOTS of pics!

destruction of a playroom in 5 seconds
brotherly/sisterly love
look at me mom!
happy ana
i love watching her face change everyday
beautiful bella
ready to take on the world
tired from lots of swimming

jammies on and in the little house
ohhh...i love the water!
studly little man
is mom going to throw me up and catch me again?
i can kick like a big girl!
daddy and ana love
watch out daddy! i love to splash!
gianna the fish
tatiana the fish
swimming girls
i'm talking to you mom in russian...don't you understand me?
silly girl
i'm ready for gym class
now this is a REAL tatiana smile

woah! I've had gummy bears!!
ana on the move in her walker
okay, so ana loves the play knife in the kid's play kitchen set...scary?!? thankfully she also like the egg beater, so we think she's just a budding chef!
pretty girl
surprising but these two just LOVE each other...who'd have thought???
our little man eli
love eli's smiles and we get to see them sooo much more!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Each and every day I have the great privilege and honor of seeing this verse in action. You see, the only way to truly view exactly what Jesus did for us, is to participate in adoption. Watching the transformation of something the world viewed as useless into something so beautiful is absolutely, hands down, beyond words. Loving someone, making that commitment, not for anything they will ever be able to do for you, not even knowing really who they are or what you might end up dealing with, to the world is foolish. But this is exactly what Jesus did. He loved me and even died for me, even though I had absolutely nothing to offer him. It just plain doesn't make any sense according to the world's standards. And neither does adoption. I have to be really honest here and say that many times, throughout this adoption, I myself questioned our sanity. Adoption is scary. At times the fear seems overwhelming. But really, saving lives is scary business. And it boils down to this, yes it is hard and scary, there are just SO MANY unknowns, but YES they are worth it! Our children are worth it...every child is...every life is.
Each morning I get to see a little more of our kids former life peel away. I know it will take years to truly deal with the layers of neglect these sweet souls have experienced in their short lives. I fully realize that change, even positive change, is hard and painful. There have already been so many tears and I'm sure there will be many more. But I know that love is powerful. Not my weak, human, feeble love...the kind of love that loves for what it can get back...but the true love of a Father for His children. The love that doesn't come from my heart, but that flows from a heart that knows no limitations. A heart that beats in mine and uses my arms to cradle His beloved. So when fear overtakes my mind, and it does more than I care to admit, I rest in the knowledge that this is His plan. And I am overcome with gratitude that He would think so much of me, as to place such amazing blessings in my life and in my arms.

*** YEA!!! Anastasia and Elijah have each gained FOUR pounds since coming home!!! They both weighed in at a feeble 15 lbs, but NO MORE!!! Anastasia is crawling all over our house, trying to lift herself up on stuff, and uses a walker to explore! Elijah is kicking some in the pool and starting to wiggle around on the floor. We think once therapy starts, these guys will give Gianna and Tatia a run for their money! :)


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