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! :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Sisters that poop together...stay together! cream high!
Beach Fun
The Beach Hut
Kiddie Pool
Splishing and Splashing
Beautiful Bella
Tatia the Tornado
Sweet and Determined Ana
Little Eli

Pretty Girl
Pretty in Purple
As I look back over the last week, I am in awe of just how amazing our God is. I am humbled that He chose our family to go on this journey. And what a journey it has been. I have never before been so acutely aware of my shortcomings. I am so weak and my heart is so small, but He is strong and His love is unconditional. This adoption has stretched me in ways I never could have imagined. Last week, as we began our first days together as a family, my husband and I were so sick. Sicker than I can remember being in a long time. Gianna was still recovering and so my nights were often filled with rocking a throwing up two year old to sleep. The rest of our days/nights were spent caring for three scared, overtired, overstimulated children. I can never adequately thank my mom for all the help and emotional support she so tirelessly gave. Tuesday was by far one of the hardest days as George and I woke up VERY sick. In fact, I was very concerned that he would dehydrate, as nothing would stay in. Unfortunately this was also a very critical day for finalizing the paperwork needed to get home. If we were going to make our Wednesday am flight, we HAD to get our kid's visas. Somehow, someway my mom and I managed to dress the three little ones and get them to their medicals. It took lots of Emitrol and nothing short of a miracle to keep me from throwing up, both in the car and at the doctor's office. Fortunately, we got the best doctor there and our concern over something in Eli's medical history did not delay us. After two hours, we left and headed straight for the Embassy where Yulia dropped us off. She then headed to pick up George and Gianna, because throw up or not he HAD to sign off on the visa paperwork or we would NOT be making our flight. By the time she dropped George and Gianna off, several more hours had passed. The kids were DONE, we were DONE, and we had several more hours in the Embassy in front of us. At 2 pm we were told they were trying to get our visa's done that day but that we should pray. Of course, we were already praying just not to throw up all over the lady! Thankfully we did get all three visa's for the kids and all the paperwork we needed to get through immigration. After leaving the Embassy and heading back to our apartment, we fed all the kids and tried to pack up. Uncle Nicco was going to pick us up at 3 am to take us to the airport. At this point my desire to get home was somewhat dampened by my desire to curl up in the fetal position and cry. Already exhausted and now running a pretty high fever, I finally had to leave all the packing to my mom and husband. Still sleep did not come and the thought of the trip in front of us was absolutely overwhelming. Three flights, one of them over 8 hours long, only 1 hour to go through security and change plans in Frankfurt, a 7 hour layover in Chicago, and 4 children is enough to make a well rested, healthy person sweat. I will never forget how I felt as I laid in that bed. I knew God had called our family to this adoption and I knew that He was the only one who was going to get us home. So we did what we have done this entire process....put one foot in front of the other and trust that He will meet us where we are. Literally the entire trip home, we did that...just focusing on one foot in front of the other. And we were NOT alone. Every step of the way, His goodness and mercy followed. He placed people in our path to encourage and help us and even held an entire plane until we boarded. It was by no stretch of the imagination an easy trip, but we made it home! Of course, we weren't entirely sure that we would make it home even after we made our last flight. My husband's parents were so sweet as to drive our minivan to the airport and have it waiting for us. But on the drive to the airport that minivan starting bucking like a bronco. Nothing like a blown transmission to welcome you home! I can't complain though, because that minivan did get us home (of course the very next day it was towed away)!
The first few days home were nothing short of hard. We knew going into this that adopting children, with or without special needs, brings with it a whole host of problems. Orphanage behaviors such as rocking, biting, stimming, unconsolable crying, throwing, etc. Changes in diet, time changes, changes in schedules, changes in environment, whether good or bad, are hard to handle. Emotions piled on top of exhaustion and left us feeling overwhelmed. We were mentally prepared for this, but it was still really hard to walk through. Saturday was the first day where we really felt like we could take a deep breath. As brutal as it was, everyone is now on the same schedule. At the orphanage the kids were used to taking a 3 and 1/2 hour nap but didn't go to bed until 9 at night. Now no one is napping but everyone is going to bed at 7 and sleeping 13 hours straight through. Life is settling into a routine that works for our family. We know we still have a long way to go and we are by no means where we want to be, but heading in the right direction. And we are even able to enjoy the journey!
So, we are not sure yet what will happen with the memories we are left with. I think they are the most disturbing. Pictures of children so desperate for love, so in need of a family won't leave our minds. Stripping the clothes off the children at the orphanage was heartbreaking in a whole new way. The dingy old undershirts, the ratty old underwear. My daughter's tiny frame just like the pictures of the concentration camp survivors. How does this happen? Where is the church? Isn't caring for these children more important than meeting in a brand new fancy building? This orphanage struggles to provide for the 65 children we left behind. Bananas are an expensive treat the children rarely receive. And yet we have so much. I'm left with so many thoughts, but really just one question....WHERE???? Where are all the Christians? Because this is what is important to Him...
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. James 1:27
So that being said, I am really struggling with what we left behind. Don't get me wrong, I've never been happier to be home. I guess my heart is just much different than when we left. And really, that was my prayer before we left. I wanted Him to show me His heart and He delivered, in a very powerful way. Be careful what you ask for I guess ;)
Well, here are some pics of the last few days with the kids. Overall they are doing well. Each and everyday we get to see a little more of their old lives peel away. It is desperately hard to see how foreign soft touch and love is to our babies. They just do not know what to do with it. We know in time they will open up and allow our love to soak into their hearts. It just isn't something that happens overnight. And we are in this for the long haul! Today we loaded everyone up in the rental minivan and headed out to Sanibel Island for some beach time and ice cream. Needless to say, everyone is sleeping soundly tonight!
Thanks again to all of you who prayed us through this! We could not have done it without those prayers! Also, thank you dad for all your work around our house and the yummy goodies you left for us! And mom and dad Simons, thank you for all you have done to make sure we got home safely! We are so grateful for all the love our family has shown us!

  © Web Design by Poppies Blooming 2010

Back to TOP