Monday, September 22, 2014

A little more to share....

      There's a few questions that we've been getting over and over, so I figured I would answer them here...and share just a bit more.  The first question has been about her's pronounced k-ear-a.  So funny that the name she chose turned out to be one with a somewhat confusing spelling....I think she's pretty used to it already, but she doesn't always respond to the variations we've heard : ) she doesn't speak English....she speaks Russian.  How do we communicate is always what we get next....valid questions!  We do a lot of charades (she's the best at this!), mixed with my broken Russian and her continually progressing English.  She has several words and picks up on things quickly, but overall we're pretty much at square one.  Caleb and Keira do pretty well communicating with each other too, playing for periods of time without any trouble at all.....though their conversation in the car the other day went something like this....

Caleb: Keira, can you do that again?
 Keira: ne ponimayu (I don't understand)
Caleb: Keira, can you do that again?
Keira: ne ponimayu 
       x 3
  followed by simultaneous: 
 Keira: ne ponimayu, ne ponimayu, ne ponimayu x 20
Caleb: aldkfja;ldskjfalskjdf;laksdjfasdjfkajdsfkjadskj

    Yes, we are homeschooling her as well.  Today was our first day, and I was really impressed with how well it went.  We're doing kindergarten with Caleb this year so I figured it was a good way to ease her into things and focus on learning the language to do the same with her...just for now.  She did amazing...repeating everything we were saying...reading the sight words as I pointed to them for Caleb to read them (!!!)....counting with us.....and when it was time for Caleb to read us a book, she wanted to read one too.  Umm....okay?!  I pulled out two books from our set and Caleb read first...Keira whispering the words on the other side of me as Caleb read.  And then she read hers....I mean she really read the book!  Sure she didn't know what the words meant for the most part, but she read the book with amazing accuracy. (and for those who haven't yet realized, the Russian language is made up of a completely different alphabet..with some letters looking the same as ours but having completely different sounds)  I was thinking I was pretty spoiled at that point!  

     The last question we get often is when can we meet her?!  So many of you have been so instrumental in this process....sooo many!  And we so want for you to meet our daughter just as much as you want to meet her.  You will love her....and she will love you because that's just who she is.  There's so much we've learned about adoption and the transition for these amazing kids.....some of it we've followed, some we haven't...I think it depends a whole lot on the child, but no matter what some of it always holds true.  They need time... time to adjust, to attach, to learn what it means to be a learn the daily routines and then the slight changes within those routines.  We've done a lot already....been out and about, but as a family, and making sure we don't stay out too long....making sure we're home to be able to work on maintaining consistency.  So that she can start to know what to expect, at least most of the time.  It's a process....and she's incredible....and adjusting wonderfully....but it's still hard.  Sunday Luke went back to work and things in our few days together as a family shifted slightly.....Luke wasn't there when the kids went to sleep.  Caleb and Levi loveee their daddy....but they know sometimes he works late...and they know he'll be there in the morning.  We still need time to build that trust with our sweet be show her that learning to be a family is a process and she doesn't have to have it all figured out right away.  So for a while we may have to say no to some really great opportunities....we may have to stay in a little more, have company a little less....I may take ten years to respond to your messages/texts/calls (which btw my phone hasn't been working properly - working on getting a new one so I'm so sorry if I haven't even received your call/text/message)......the house may have to be a mess for a while, and the papers everything may pile up....but we promise, you will meet her eventually....and you will love her! 

                                      Just a video I put together for her of some of our photos....

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Just A Glimpse....

           Not much has gone as planned these past few weeks.....or at least not as we planned....but really, not much of that matters now anyway.  Being altogether feels amazing...and so surreal.  I remember waking up each day when I'd just had Caleb, realizing I really had a baby boy sleeping in the next room, and feeling so incredibly excited all over again each time.  It was the same when Levi came home, and again now....we are so very blessed.

            Wednesday Caleb and I danced around excitedly, knowing we were finally going to be picking up daddy and Keira....we left earlier than necessary because we just didn't know what to do with ourselves.  Probably not the best idea when you're going to be waiting in an airport with two toddlers who are typically napping at that time and were already up early.  Oh well!

   It took over an hour after they'd gotten off the plane for them to finally come through the doors....but suddenly there was our girl running towards us, and Caleb running to her........ (unfortunately I had the old crappy camera and Luke was using the nice one to video so the pictures are a bit fuzzy)

        So many priceless, precious much to be thankful for.  Caleb wanted to move his car seat in the back with Keira so we re-arranged the seats and made our way home.  There was insane traffic at that point but despite dealing with the motion sickness, Keira was all smiles, and we heard giggling all the way so sweet.

                               We finally made it home.....not much is more exciting than this!

      It was already pretty late so it was basically a blur of running around trying to show her the house, Caleb pulling her in a million directions to show her everything, and finally sitting down to dinner as a family.  No one ate was a race to finish so we could play!

          Meme and Pops came over for a quick visit, which Keira was ecstatic about, and then it was time for bed.  Caleb begged for a sleepover....and I think we were all too tired to argue...or really mind at all....

       We thought we would all have the greatest nights sleep of our lives.....but that didn't happen.  Just as we drifted off to sleep, Caleb woke with a bad dream which woke Keira who was in a panic not knowing what on earth was wrong (I know, right after my post about his "magic" remedy....which this distracted mom has not been remembering to give consistently).  I picked him up and took him out of the room, brought him downstairs and.....the doorbell rang.  It was after naturally I started to panic.  I ran up, Caleb still crying in my arms, and woke Luke who had finally gotten to sleep after over 24 hours of travel.  The doorbell then rang again...and again.  It turned out that no one was there, of course, the doorbell just randomly decided to malfunction.  So Luke pulled apart the wires, I got Caleb and Keira back to sleep and we crashed again.  Until 5 something in the morning when Caleb and Keira were reading books and doing shadow puppets on the wall because they just "couldn't sleep."  Whose idea was a sleepover on the first night home?!!!  We thought we took care of it....and all went back to sleep...but really we didn't apparently.  I woke up at 8 to find two children in the playroom, and Caleb informed me they were up at 6.  They had toys set up everywhere and were having a blast......

       Suddenly Keira kept asking me if Levi was going to school and I was trying to explain that he only goes twice a week.  She was pretty insistent and pointed outside where his bus was sitting.  Um..what?!  Now I'm second guessing what day it is, fumbling to get my shoes on.....apparently no one ever told the bus driver/aid that he only goes two days a yeah they must have been coming every day.  And such has been the chaos of the past few days.....but good chaos really!

                                         *                                   *                            *

      Can I just say, for the first time out of probably thousands to come, that if you ever feel inclined to believe the lie about having to maintain birth order.....just don't!  I think the hardest part is the ache in your heart for all of the lost years....the ones that they missed, and you missed......for all of the ways they suffered and faced things they should never have had to face.  But otherwise.....just much joy and happiness....excitement and blessing after blessing.

       After cleaning up from breakfast, I walked into the playroom and did a double take.  Just a short time before, it seemed every toy had been taken out and now it was....almost clean?  Keira was running around putting things in their place like a mad woman.  Caleb was in the other room and Levi was making his escape at that moment.  I called them in to help, but at that point most of it was done.  The next game was Keira pushing Caleb and Levi around on their ride on toy.  She made sure to give fair, evenly timed turns to each of them....loving their squeals of joy, and laughing at their requests for "more more more."  Every time we get in or out of the car, she races to buckle and un-buckle the boys and carry Levi around.  I thought having three kids was supposed to be more work! 

       Since the weather was a bit warmer and fall seems to be in a rush around here, we went for a quick swim and meme and pops.  I think we had a conversation the first day we met her about Meme and Pops having a pool and she pretty much asked every day since when she could go in it.  She jumped right in as the rest of us shivered just thinking about much fun to watch her enjoying herself!   

            We've gone for a few bike rides already....she's a pro...and super excited about her bike, helmet, bell and water bottle.....she may just tell you about it when she meets you :)

      Building with Levi at the library.....I think she was skeptical when we went for a walk to the library......"book, book, book, book..?"  We tried to explain there was a children's room, but it was best to just wait and let her see......

          We showed her the baby bunnies that were born in our yard via skype, so she's been so excited to see them in person......

        Futbol!!!!!!!!!  Soccer is her she was very happy to see this at the playground....

                      Trip to the this point I felt like Luke and I really weren't needed.... : )

         We've tried to soak in this time together as a family, before Luke heads back to work and reality tonight......and it's been amazing.  It's flown by and I know it will probably continue to.  I had some time to take her out to pick up a few things she needed as well, which was so sweet.  Mother/daughter crazy that I'm getting to experience this blessing!!   The whole time she just kept saying I love you mama, over and over.  She'd say "family" and hold her hands to her heart......I would agree, and tell her how happy I am to have a daughter.  Really, incredibly, happy....and again in awe of all that God has done to bring us to this place.........

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A New Opportunity To Make A Difference

         When Caleb was a few months old he started "waking up" screaming.  Sometimes his eyes would be open, sometimes closed, but despite the fact that we picked him up and did everything to comfort him, it was as if he would not wake up.  Our doctor at the time suggested we talk to another doctor who worked out of the same building (long story) and uses holistic strategies for treatment etc.  We explained the situation, which he considered a type of night terror, and he put together a little concoction...okay remedy....and told us to put a few drops in his mouth each day.  Umm okay?!  I was skeptical, but willing to try anything, and something natural seemed like a good place to start for such a little one.  I really never expected it to work.....or if it did, to work so well.  Within a short time, it stopped happening.  For good.  And once the bottle ran out, we just sort of forgot about it all.  Amazing....and the best part was that it couldn't have just been in my head because it wasn't something I was taking!

         Okay, fast forward to maybe a year ago.....our sweet three year old starts waking up from his nap almost every day in a panic.  Making no sense, petrified, crying, screaming, inconsolable.  It would take at least 20-30 minutes for him to snap out of it....and that's exactly what would happen, just all of a sudden he would be himself again.  He'd have occasional nightmares during the night too, but the brunt of it was mid-day.....when we'd have to run out the door after nap time to be somewhere...or when I needed to get dinner started.  So I finally made the call to the doctor who had helped us years prior.  He asks a lot of questions...good questions....and in the end made us another concoction remedy.  Different than the previous one, but the same few drops each day.  He said it may or may not work, there were other options we could try if it didn't, and told me that if it did work we would start to see it slowly fizzle out.  Not all at once, over a period of a few weeks.  I guess I was still a little skeptical of these natural remedies, but sure enough to my surprise they did just that.  Within a week, he'd wake up and have a mild "episode" for maybe 5-10 minutes.  And within a couple of weeks...nothing.  What?!  I will say that he has had the occasional night time nightmare, but it's not the same in any way......just a regular bad dream.  We finished the bottle and within a few weeks it started happening again.  So we got our refill and now we're good!  All enjoying nap time happily : )

       Phew....long-winded today (ha).  There's really a point, I promise.  All of that to say, I'm now much less skeptical about natural, maybe not so typical, remedies.  So with the recent essential oils craze, though I had my reservations, I was curious.  I did some research, talked to some people, and then it got put on the back burner as we went on another adoption journey and life got crazy.  I also felt like there was so much information out there, so many different companies, and no way to really know which was best etc.  It was a bit overwhelming.  But one particular company kept coming up....with people I trust, people who I know do their homework and don't just follow the current trend on a whim.  I wanted to try it out, but couldn't justify spending the money while trying to save every penny for the adoption.  So when I recently had the opportunity to jump on board of a potential way to raise money for adoption, while trying out essential oils, it was almost too good to be true.  For quite a while, I've been trying to find a way (besides consigning) to raise money for other families adopting, long term.  God has put this burden on my heart in a huge way, and though we may be done adopting (for now or forever I don't know the answer to that), we still want to help children come home.  This seemed like the perfect answer to several things I'm interested in.....adoption, helping families with the overwhelming cost, learning more about essential oils, testing them out, more alternative and safer remedies for my family.......

     So I jumped in.  I don't know for sure where it will lead, but I'm excited about it.  I received my first products and I'm testing them out.  I'll let you know what I it works for us....and maybe, if you want to come along for the ride, you'll want to try it out too.  Or, let us be the guinea pigs (weird phrase) and then make up your mind.  But if you're interested, I've set up a store here.  (ALL profits will go towards adopting families expenses).  I've done some "courses" so feel free to ask me questions and I'll do my best to answer them!  I'm still learning...but I think the real test is just if they make a difference in our lives.  And if they do, how amazing will that be......a way to better our lives, our health, our family, while making a difference in the lives of families adopting and children finding their way home!  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

's been a whirlwind today.  Our excitement over our family being reunited tomorrow turned to despair when the US embassy went back on their word and are now making them wait until next week to return.  They claim their employees don't make mistakes....that they are thorough and not wrong...ever.  I wish they could have looked at our daughter sobbing as they said that.  I wish we could give them the bill for changing tickets yet again.  I wish so many things and feel so helpless....frustrated at how unnecessary this unfair.  But....deep down....I do know, and I do trust that God is in control.  That He knew this would happen.  That there is a bigger picture that we just can't see...may not ever see....and that we just have to wait...and rest in Him.  My feelings are all over the place... but I'm thankful for what I know to be true....for His promises, and for the overwhelming number of those praying for us, and sending words of wisdom that I so needed to hear today.

         I kept telling myself it's one week and we have the rest of our lives together....I know it could be almost silly to be so distraught over when you think of those really suffering....but that little girl's face that bore her heartbreak just brings me back to all those feelings all over again.  I worried at first about the boys...more time away from their daddy...they've started to be a little more sensitive...not quite themselves.  I feared how Caleb would respond after all of our excitement about tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow!!!  His response?  Well....even though we can't see them for a few more days, we can still see them on skype!  So after my four year old responded better than me, I was a bit humbled.  We skyped half the day, showing Keira every nook and cranny of the house and hearing all that daddy has been teaching her.  So precious.

    And I'm reminded again of what I've been trying to remember all the time....that everything is a gift..... and so I'll focus on the things that I have to be thankful for.....

           a husband willing to spend the time to teach his daughter
                  a daughter who is diligent and eager to learn
                            the quality time and bonding they're experiencing
                                skype and the many laughs and silly moments we have together
                                     two sweet boys to keep me super busy
                                          Luke's work being so incredibly supportive and understanding
                                               more time to get projects done so we have more time together
                                                    siblings who are already enjoying each other's company
                                                         opportunities to teach our children how to react in difficult situations

                                               .....and still keep praying for a miracle.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Break Our Hearts For What Breaks Yours....Everything We Are For Your Kingdom's Cause"

    I've so been wanting to post an update of how things are going in U.....of Gotcha Day and all that has happened!  But not being there...and not knowing many of the details has deterred me.  Skype is amazing and it's been wonderful to get to talk as a family, but with kids screaming and jumping with excitement, it's hard to get much of a word in : )  This morning I woke to a post from my husband...with some of his perspective on his time there....and so here is his blog debut:

                                        *                              *                               * 

     I don't blog but I guess I can do a really long post. It is our first day where we get to just relax and hang out because all offices are closed on the weekend and we couldn't get anything done if we wanted to. It has been a very busy time since the minute we got here. A lot of running around the country from region to region and office to office getting everything in order. The other day we were in a restaurant and the waiter dropped a glass, it crashed loudly to the floor and shattered everywhere. My daughter turned to me with a concerned look on her face and in Russian said "It's not my fault". This country is changing but has long been a culture of blame, mostly placed on those that cannot stand up for themselves. There are those that want to change things and dream of a day when they can be a society like America, that strives for truth and justice for all or so they think. Even those few are becoming discouraged though as the west stands by and let's the Neo-Hitler destroy lives, homes and countryside for the sake of displaying dominance and power. I try to avoid political discussions on facebook because it mostly ends up in stupid comments but I can't help but voice my concern for the many beautiful children just like my daughter stuck in eastern Ukraine, living in fear with no chance of ever having a family or anything remotely like what so many in the US take for granted. I haven't really had a moment to process this whole thing and as I type my tear soaked eyes can't focus on the screen. Every time we would visit the orphanage where she lived kids familiar with my translator would come up and ask him "Did you find a family that wants me yet." He would have to say SORRY and NO. I don't know the right answers, I don't even know half of the right questions but I do know that we as a people need to do more for orphans, it's between you and God whether it's in your hometown or across the world. I recently looked at my life and didn't see much Christlike actions, I thought "Man I really suck at being a Christian". I don't feed the hungry, I don't give water to the thirsty, I don't share my home with the homeless, I don't clothe the naked, I don't care for the sick and I definitely don't visit those in prison. So I prayed long and hard and instead of God showing me how I could do those things in my life, which is what I was asking, he showed me that I am.... through adoption. Although I can't do one of those things for everyone, I can do everyone one of those things for one everyday. I try to say this in the most humble way possible, I am not sure if it comes out that way but I assure you of my intentions. If you want to know what God wants of you, the list is above. Stop asking and remember that there are many ways to accomplish it, adoption is certainly one of them. I love every one of you reading this, and I really do mean it. I love all people, I might not ever visit your fb page, like something, or write you a message but I care for each and everyone of you and thank you for your support and prayers through the growth of our family. From Ukraine With Love - or Russia....still to be decided. Too soon!?!?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ready or Not!

         We started school on Monday....well, sort of.  We're doing a shortened version for the first week, to ease everyone back in (and give me time to prepare since that has yet to where did the summer go...that time I was supposed to have to plan out half the year in advance?!).  Turns out it was a good decision.  Levi screamed through pretty much the entire day one.  Day two was considerably better, and day three wasn't at home....yup, my little big boy went to his school for the first time today.  He had no idea what was happening this morning, but I was making a big deal out of it, so he was cheering!

And looovvinnngg his giraffe backpack.  His favorite animal. 

                                  I had to act excited each time he pointed at cute.

                                  Loving the tag with his name on it with trucks, his second love.

Then things went downhill.  I put the bag on his back and...well...he started to fall backwards.  Poor kid.  He's come so far and he's got the walking, and even running down.  But holding bags on his back that weigh just about as much as him is a little much.  

He was mad and threw it on the floor.  End of backpack obsession. 

*      *     *

So I dropped him off for his first day, with my little camera in hand....the woman saw it and asked if it was his first day.  She let me pull around to park so I could take him in which was sweet.  The teacher took his bag and commented on the weight....I wanted to explain that I only packed what they told us to send, but just kept quiet.  I took a couple of terrible pictures of his back as he looked around and wouldn't stop moving and said goodbye.  He didn't even look back....there were kids everywhere and so much to see, of course not!

Then we drove away....and I cried.  I was seriously not expecting that.  It's two mornings, for just a few hours.  Caleb and I went to do the grocery shopping, and it was just weird.  So I guess I'm still not a fan of change.  But it sure made me more grateful for all of the time we do have together.....and seeing him on the bus as it pulled up in front of the house was so much fun.  He.Loved.It.  He was so excited to show it to me.  He pointed at it and made me watch as it drove away.   

Caleb kept saying "I hope Levi's having fun at school" as we did our shopping.  I hope so too.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fall Consignment Sale!

           It always seems like we've just done this, but here we are at another Fall Consignment Sale!  This year is a little different.....while the kids sale is still going on, adult clothing will be brought in for Saturday and Sunday!  So this is not just a kids sale anymore!  We are participating again this fall to cover some additional adoption expenses that we still have, however the above consignor flyers are NOT for us.  Another local family is on the journey of adopting from U, and are consigning in an effort to raise funds for their adoption.  These flyers have their consignor number on them.....if you plan to go and happen to buy something, this is the easiest way for you to support their adoption at no cost or effort on your part.  Simply turn in one of these flyers and each one will serve as an entry for this family to win 100% of their sales!  At our first sale, an overwhelming number of you turned these in and we won the 100% so we know it's possible!  Thank you so so much for your help as always : )