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!


  1. Wow,what a story! It took a lot of strength to get through that...but look at what the triumph brings....what beautiful babies you have, each one!

  2. I'm so happy your all home now~all in one piece and getting to know each other now that your all feeling better. God sometimes has to go to exteame measure to open our eyes to what is in front of us all, but not seen. Our good fourtune here in the States is a blessing so taken for granted. I believe God is setting your hearts up to respond now to what your eyes have seen. I know He did in ours. There's so much to do, such a need! I'm praying with you sister..Your family is extreamly beautiful & you all will be so blessed by each other. Praying for peace to abound, discernment in handleing situations that may arise and direction in what to do next with what God has broken your heart with. ((hugs)) ♥

  3. I am loving seeing those three little ones home with you!! They are is Bella. You have got to be so busy...and tired. We came home with only 1 child--and were not sick before or on the trip--and we are still exhausted :). (All six of our kids have been sick since we have been home...three with strep and the others with some other virus).

    I am excited to follow your story. Please keep writing and posting pictures of your adorable family!

  4. I find myself all the time at Reese's Rainbows website. I have a nephew with Downs Syndrome and I totally love that child. I live in Estero Fl, not sure where you live. Not sure if it's on your wesite or not, but I see you mentioned going to Sanabel Island. If you'd like to reach me by eamil, feel free. I have my 9 year old nephew each summer for 2 weeks from SC. When I moved to Fl it nearly broke my heart to leave him, so her family comes down for a week and leaves him with me for 2 weeks. You can email me if you'd like to at I'd love to meet you even if it's only via email. God bless you and your family.



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