Sunday, December 30, 2012

Counting to 13

Well we look forward to the year 2013 and what it holds.  We now have 13 in our family.  Miss Marina Joy is lucky number 13!   We got her home on Friday the 21st in time for Christmas!  We were broke because of the trips and extra expenses incurred but wouldn't you know it, God came through again!  He is faithful, doesn't know how to be anything but faithful.
Our friend, Jeff Guill, took it upon himself to raise money for us this Christmas and we were so blessed!  We had 13 online donors who gave a total of  $967.05!  Thirteen for the number of children we've been priviledged to call our own.  Isn't God good?  Thank you Jeff for being a "burden bearer".  Isn't that what we're called to do in the body of Christ?  Bear one another's burdens.  What grace we have experienced.
Our grown son Bill came home with his girlfriend Erin and we opened our presents on Christmas eve day, something we've never done before but they had to leave so....  We enjoyed our gift exchange with them.  They are great shoppers, Erin even wrapped Anya and Emily's presents with Justin Bieber wrapping paper!  What fun!
 What a fun time we had with Bill and Erin and our oldest son Mike.  Ben got the sword he asks for every single Christmas and we were so glad he was healthy and able to celebrate with us.  Marina took her time with every single present.  She had to throw each piece of wrapping paper away as she unwrapped a present.  It was a LONG day!  We were sorry to see Bill and Erin go.
The next visitor to arrive was of course Santa, aka, Liz  and Bryce.  They sneak in every Christmas Eve to eat Santa's cookies, which they couldn't find this year (someone forgot) and put MORE presents under the tree.  I ran into Liz in the hall at 3:30 as Marina was up for some reason.  Must have been the excitement.  We just had to go see the tree.  We never put the presents under the tree till the kids are asleep. 

Don't you just love a Christmas tree?  We sure do.  We went to the lot we normally go to and all the kids had a blast looking at all the trees.  We picked out a nice one and the folks there gave it to us for free!  What a great gift!   Here's a picture of our other gift this Christmas in her first nightgown.
So many firsts for her.  She's signing "I love you" which her dad taught her the first day.  We do sign but she knows so many english words already.  One of the things we love is to hear her sing which she does a lot!  Her orphanage had an accordion player who was introduced to us as "the most important man there" by the director.  He would always get the kids together and teach them songs which they always sang with gusto.  I've been to many of  their "concerts" and I get a kick out of hearing marina sing those songs to herself.
Back to Christmas!  Finally the day arrived and the kids were thrilled with all the presents.  They are allowed to get into their stockings but nothing else before breakfast.  A cruel tradition I know.  We always have a big breakfast and then go into the living room to open presents.  We skyped Bill and Erin so they could be in on the festivities with us.  It was a great morning for all.  Mike gave the kids a 47" TV which made the day!  Emily got a CD player and she spends lots of time in her room now listening to her Justin Bieber music.  She and her sister Anya got lots of nail polish and even a dryer for their nails!  What teenagers!
We got another family picture with Liz in it this time.  It is always a challenge to get so many people to look at the camera at the same time.  Bryce did a wonderful job getting everyone's attention.

So from our house to yours we wish you a very Happy 2013!  May it be filled with the blessings of the Lord! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

It ain't over yet!!!

I am back at home and so happy to be after 26 days in country!!  It was so hard to stay and complete the adoption with our Ben so sick at home.  Most of the time my stomach was in knots wondering about Ben and the latest health scare.  Our daughter Liz came to the rescue again for us and was the best advocate for Ben that he could've had.  Thank God, Ben is home now and getting healthier everyday.  He is on oxygen still and I have to monitor his weight, blood sugar, pulse rate, O2 sats daily and am pleased to be here now to do it.  Ben is on a chopped food diet and his choices are limited, all his beverages have to be thickened.  He's lost 34 pounds in a month!  A needed change but a tough way to lose weight. He is wearing his CPAP machine at night now and is awake all day!  Great changes for Ben!  We appreciate all the prayers that were offered for our family in all this time.   They were heard by our loving God.
We found out last tuesday that Marina's passport would not be ready for our deadline of Dec 14th so we went to the embassy and I signed the papers I needed to for Dave to be able to fly back and pick up Marina by himself.  We were able to rest for a day and drive to Winchester to see our amazing daughter Liz graduate with a Masters in Occupational Therapy from Shenandoah U.  She has worked long and hard for this and we wouldn't have missed it for the world.  Liz was the class representative and gave a great speech.  She also won an award for Outstanding Graduate!  We are so proud of her!!
Dave had to leave early the next day for New York to catch a flight back to Ukraine to pick up our girl.  I am exhausted so I am the lucky one to get to stay home with these kiddos.  He is there now getting ready to pick up our girl and do the embassy and the exit medical.  He tells me it's 12 below!  He'll be home with our new addition by Friday in time for Christmas! Marina has never had a Christmas before with a family.  She's never owned a toy or a piece of clothing or been given good food to eat.  So many firsts for her and for us.  We are looking forward to watching her blossom in her new family.  The extra money we had to spend on another flight is tough at this time of year.  You can donate to our paypal if you feel led to do so.  We appreciate all the prayers and support we have received throughout this journey.  Your prayers were answered, our thanksgivng is your thanksgiving.  God bless you and Merry Christmas!  He is the reason for the season!! 
She's so ready to leave!  Thanks for helping us give her a real family!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


This is a test......

Hangin On!

We have been in this country for 16 days now, 13 days in this area. I know that doesn't seem long to some but it is for us. Our facilitators are doing their very best to speed things through but speed is not something this country seems to understand. We were entertained yesterday with a puppet show! The kids loved it! It was very good though I didn't understand a word of it!  They are getting ready for Christmas here in the orphanage. They have three trees in the main gathering area and someone just brought in a real tree which they just put in a bucket of sand. It only reminds me of how much I need to do at home to get ready for Christmas. The last time we Skyped the kids at home they were all signing "tree". Last year Jack was moving the living room furniture on November 28th to make room for the Christmas tree! We always get a live tree so we don't normally put it up until two weeks before Christmas. We look forward to doing it this year as soon as we get home. Well, after Liz's graduation that is! We have spent a lot of time here at the orphanage with the children and it will be hard to say goodbye even though our hearts are longing for home. This is a special needs orphanage for kids 5 to ? Some of the kids are the size of two year olds. I was asking about one little one I thought was maybe five, she's 14. Oh it hurts my heart! While we are heartened by the many who come over for these special children it is sad that the older ones are being passed by. One boy looks and acts so much like our Ben it's amazing! This will be the third adoption from the place and we pray there will be many, many more!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1st!!!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....well, not here but it is cold! We look forward to Christmas at home with Marina Joy who will be celebrating her first Christmas with us. What a day that will be!! We got to Skype today to our friend Alexandra who was adopted from here and she got to say "previat" to her friends. One of the girls here was in tears at the end. They are a family here and miss one another. The workers were all very happy to see Alexandra in her new home with her family. Her parents are doing such a wonderful job with her! Want to post a few pictures of Marina here. In a few of them she is trying on her new clothes. Thank you Charity!!! They fit beautifully. She is good in a size 6 even though here I see she's wearing a 5. Well, the other day a boy named Vanya, like our boy, was wearing pink patent leather shoes so it's whatever fits I guess. We are enjoying our time with one another and with the kids here. Please continue to pray for a speedy process! It keeps me up nights just thinking about it! All in all we are fine. Ben is going home today perhaps and we are so thrilled about that. Thanks for your prayers and love.
Goodnight to all!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Internet at last!

After being here in this village for six days we finally have internet in our room!!! We did find a very nice internet cafe but this is so much more convenient for us. We are thrilled to be in touch. Let me say it has been an adventure all the way. First of all our Ben got sick upon our departure. He presented with an infection again and was readmitted to the hospital. The next thing we knew our Liz wrote that Ben was in congestive heart failure! That hasn't happened since he was a baby. Oh my the tears we've shed! Knowing that Liz is there and that God is able to deliver we have found peace in the midst of this trial. Ben is getting better as I write this and the doctor, who finally called, seems to have the mystery of Ben well in hand. We are in the process which in this country can take a long time. We hope the papers will be approved in few days and we can have court by the middle of next week. That would be a miracle and we need one. After court we have to go to get a new birth certificate in the city of our girl's birth. It is about three hours from where we are. Everything hangs on court so we ask all to pray for a speedy process. We must be home before December 15th so we can attend Liz's graduation that she has worked so hard for. Please pray for all the family!! Thank you!!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I will try and post this note after I finish but the prompts are in Russian so.... We are here in the land of Borsch wishing for turkey on this Thanksgiving day but we are still thankful. God is so very faithful and has gone before us every step of the way. Our trip was smooth even though the jog through the airport was challenging for this mama. We have a nice flat and even have hot water for the second day in a row! Yesterday the electricity was shut off for a couple of hours. We were told the landlady hadn't paid her bill in a year. We chose to stay and hope rather than repack. We did get power back before sunset. Praise God! We went to our friends flat for dinner and a bible study. I am once again impressed at the sincerity and humbleness of these young people I meet who serve the Lord. They are lights in a very dark place. Today we have our second appointment to get our referral to go to the orphanage where our girl awaits us. We wonder if she understands that we are coming for her. We have another referral for a young girl with DS. She has a lot of needs we have been told. We shall see what the Lord would have us do. It is hard to leave any behind but we want to only do what we are called to do. That is what we've been given strength for. It is very easy to overextend. It's a beautiful day here and hope it is where you are too. Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Amazing Love

I am blown away by what has transpired in the last few days! We have been holding our breath as we've stepped out in faith and bought our airline tickets just knowing that God would provide for our needs to complete our adoption. We were a good $10,000 short but we were told the RR family would come thru for us. SO we put our feet in the water and waited for the Lord to part it. We began with a mere $69 in our account. The next day we saw it jump to $1733! That was amazing enough to us and we just hoped it would keep growing. Our good friend and adoptive mom, Cara Suttles, wrote a post about us in her blog and challenged others to share it even donating a couple of dollars for every share! I saw many people share that blog and watched as the donations grew to $3378. Then we decided because it was a weekend with a holiday tacked on we wouldn't see any change. We sat down as a family last night to watch one of the Chrismas movies our son Jack got for his birthday. Jack is enthralled with anything Christmas. It was that Christmas Shoes movie and I cried my eyes out even though I've seen it before. After we got everyone to bed I decided to check online before we retired for the night. I got on FB and had a message from Cara asking me if I'd checked the FSP. I quickly went to my blog and the donation box window was gone. Being a novice at all this I thought that it had somehow expired and needed to be fixed. Then I went back to FB and saw Andrea's post that we were FULLY FUNDED!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to all of you who gave so generously and made this trip to get our girl possible. Thank you Lord for using these people to change lives. Amazing love, amazing grace!!!!!
This is a picture of me giving a little teddy bear to our girl on our last trip. I told her we would be back for her. Thanks for helping us keep our promise!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Leap of Faith

We have been persuaded to keep our adoption appointment on November 21st. We bought our airline tickets last night. We were able to get such a sweet deal!! So, we are leaving on November 19th, just 9 short days away!! International adoption is surely not for the faint of heart. It is a faith walk all the way. I know this is how the Lord wants us to live but it is just hard. Last night I got to sleep at 4 am. My mind will not shut off. All I do is make lists and more lists of things to do, things I absolutely cannot forget about. It's exciting to think of traveling so soon to complete an adoption we've been working on for a year but it's overwhelming at the same time. Today we had a picnic for the kids special olympic team. It was a perfect day for a picnic. The kids spent their afternoon eating and playing. It is our Jack's birthday today. He is sixteen! We got him from his orphanage just days before his fourth birthday. He is still just as sweet as he was then. My husband was on a humanitarian aid missions trip and took a video of Jack in his orphanage. When I saw that video and Jack looked up and smiled that smile I knew he belonged with us. We traveled to Ukraine to do our first international adoption to get Jack. Because of a paperwork error he was not ready but we adopted our Anya instead and told Jack we'd be back. We kept our promise. Nine months later he got to walk out of that orphange, his life forever changed. We are glad we were here today to celebrate Jack's sixteenth birthday with him. My dad shares this birthday with our Jack. Dad died years ago and never met Jack but I'm sure he would've loved to share his day with this sweet young man. Happy Birthday to my dad and to my Jack! You've both changed my life. I will never be the same.
This is Jack's old home.
And now he has a new home and a new family. Happy Birthday Jack!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What a Day!

Well, the election is almost over and I'm glad. I can't remember ever being this nervous about an election before. I must remember that God is still on the throne no matter who wins. He is the one who puts them there. Still I'm nervous.... The approval for our adoption from our host country has finally come through. We could leave in as few as 13 days but our little one is still waiting on paperwork. We would love to get both girls home by Christmas but if we go now we leave one behind. That is not acceptable to us. It looks like all we can do is wait until after the holidays when both are ready. So much to do still. So we have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, no matter who wins this election. I will still be grateful to live in this country that is so full of promise and hope. Please remember us in your holiday giving as we prepare to adopt once more. I do mean once more!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Daulton Gang

It occurs to me that I've never posted a picture of our whole family on this blog. This is us a couple of years ago taken by my soon to be son-in-law outside of a restaurant in Harrisonburg, Va. We got together for lunch and I insisted we get a picture of everyone since it's seldom we're all in the same place at the same time. Our bio says we have twelve children but only ten are in the picture. Two of our boys now make heaven their home. Brian, our 2nd birthchild, died at the tender age of four. It was a sudden death and a terrible loss for all of us. For a long time my days were gray, all my hope had gone away. When joy crept back into my life it was a great surprise. God is in the business of making good come out of bad. He's so good at that. Thirteen years later, our son Daniel passed away at the age of two and a half. Daniel had blue eyes and blonde hair like our Brian. He was our 3rd adoption. He had Down Syndrome but that was the least of his problems. Daniel had a trach, a gtube and a colostomy. As you can imagine he had many battles but he faced them all with a smile. We never heard his voice but he spoke volumes to us. After Daniel's death we were quite sure we'd never adopt again. After all, hadn't we been through enough? Hadn't everyone been through enough? But life didn't work that way. We found a baby who needed a home just a year later. Her "Gotcha Day" is coming right up. We got Lani on Halloween, she was our treat. We celebrate every child that has been given to us for they are all gifts. Some we've had to give back and it was so hard. We still say "Thank You." We're so glad you came.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What a group!!!

Last March our dear friends Pastor Sasha Skripak and his lovely wife Olya come to visit us from Ukraine.  We have been working with orphans in Ukraine since 1999 but our paths never crossed with Sasha until about three years ago. We were introduced to Sasha by our friend Sandie Flannery.  She was looking for an orphan ministry to connect with as I recall.  Our friend Karen Feathers who runs UkraineSpecialNeedsOrphansFund told Sandie about us. The Feathers adopted with us when we adopted in Ukraine back in 2001.  It really is a small world!
Sasha is a lot like my husband, a dreamer.   He thinks big!  He expects big things from God.  Olya and I just hold on for the ride!  We share the same vision for the orphans of Ukraine and are expanding our ministry with each other.  They are coming to visit us again in one week!  We are going to see the Torres family who are dispersed throughout the picture.  We love Jo Ann and Ruben and their family.  They have 11 children, 6 by birth and 5 adopted.  It's nice to meet someone as crazy as we are!  We went to our favorite mexican restaurant with the Torres family and others and took up the two biggest tables in the place.  We also hope to see Sherry White again and her son Keegan when Sasha and Olya visit this time too.  She is the cute blonde standing next to Pastor Nicholae from Almaz church in Ukraine.  He and Pastor Sasha cofounded that church together.  Keegan White is on the stairs holding some sweet baby while our daughter Emily is standing as close to him as she can.  She liked that guy a lot!  Sherry and Keegan came from Pa. to visit them as did the Torres clan. Two other families were here as well but left the day before the picture.  Whew!
Our good friend Cindy Normandia must have been taking the picture but her mom is there holding baby Teresa, the youngest of the Skipak family.  I am not in the picture for some reason.  All the children seem to be.  Anya is in the middle of the picture with her arms out like she's saying, "we're here.  You can take the picture now"  Or maybe she's giving us her blessing!  She is the director that's for sure!
Our ministry is growing by leaps and bounds and we're so excited to see what God is doing.  We have done two formal conferences now in Ukraine on the needs of children with disabilities.  They have been a great source of hope for those in Ukraine who parent these special kids and have shed a light on just who these kids are and what they can do to those who work with them or want to work with them.  We were so priviledged to work with many young adults from Almaz church at the last conference who came and volunteered their time and labor to make it all come together.
We are busy as well with fundraising for our international adoption as we have two girls waiting for us!  They are 10 and 11 and look to be about 4 and 5. They both have Down Syndrome and they shine!  If you would like to help us adopt these lovely children you can make your checks out to Father's Heart at 3808 Poplar Hill Rd., Suite D; Chesapeake, Va.  23321.  Thank you!!!
What a group! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gifts, Gifts and More Gifts

Most people get excited about their birthdays.  I did until I was 34.  On that birthday our son Brian died an unexpected death at the age of four.  The doctors kept him on life support until the next day so we could "have time to get used to it".  As if you ever get used to something like that.
It took many, many years before I could anticipate my birthday with anything but dread.  My husband and children did their best to make me happy and I pretended as best I could but my heart wasn't in any celebration.  All that changed dramatically in 2005 when the Lord healed my grieving heart during an intense time of Bible study.  I got really free for the first time since 1985!  Birthdays were once again a cause for celebrating.
This year I told my husband I wanted a rocker so I could rock our little one when she comes home.  I'm sure with 1 caregiver to every 16 kids she has never been rocked!  All our kids from the orphanage have come home doing the "orphanage rock" which continues for quite awhile.  For those  of you who aren't familiar with this it is when they rock themselves in bed to go to sleep.  It's the saddest thing. 
Anyway, when it came to the big day I was told to go to my room and stay there until called!  When I came out there was a beautiful rocking chair with a footstool.  What a beautiful gift!  As I was sitting in it my husband told me there was a pocket on the side of the rocker.  Knowing how much he loves surprises I immediately checked the pocket and there was an envelope.  I opened it up and found our approval letter from Immigration!!!  What a gift!
We decided to go to Richmond with all our documents the very next morning.  When we got there Dave took all 37 documents to be apostilled so we can send them overseas.  We decided to meet our good friend Sharon for lunch.  We adopted with Sharon and her husband 11 years ago and we find ourselves both adopting again internationally.  We commiserated with each other about the Joys of Fundraising during lunch.  Often it is a lonely road we walk in faith hoping for God to show up and give us direction and encouragement.
When we got back out to the car I had a text message from a friend.  When I opened it up I read, "We would like to contribute 5k to your adoption.  The money will be coming asap".  What a gift!!!
The Lord showed us He was there all along and we are not alone.  He gave us not only much needed funds but also confirmation that we are on the right track.  He is good.  He is kind.  He is faithful. I know Him as sweet. 
Monday was the anniversary of Brian's death and God gave me a hug from heaven.  I can count on Him to touch me on hard days and let me know I don't walk alone.  What a gift!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

     Although we've been having a lot of rain lately and games have been cancelled on account of the weather, the sun came out yesterday and dried up the land for a perfect game!!  The sun was shining and the field was ready for the men's softball teams of New Life Providence to play their first ever fundraising game.
     We gathered on the field for a prayer before the game and the game was off to a good start.  Our Ben hit the first ball while our Phil ran the bases.  They were both so thrilled!!  We brought some snacks and drinks to sell and our new friend Kristen brought cupcakes and cookies for us to sell to raise money.  One of them sold for $20 and she assures me that is the most she's ever sold a cupcake for.  Thanks to all of you who purchased goodies from us!
     The men's softball team sold almost $700 in tickets to help us bring our little one home!  A big thanks goes out to Jeff Guill who heads up the softball team and dreamed up this fundraiser.  He presented trophies to the men who sold the most tickets on each team and even a restaurant gift certificate to the top seller overall. 
     Our hats are off to you Jeff for stepping up to the plate and batting a homerun for us!  Your outreach to us is so very encouraging.  Our burden is lighter because it has been shared....thank you! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Here we are again at this adoption thing!  Never thought I'd be saying we're adopting again.  Ten years ago we got Vanya and thought we were done for sure.  Of course we've thought and said that after all 7 adoptions.  Gotta learn to stop saying  "We're done."
We are hoping to return to Eastern Europe again to get the little girl God has placed on our hearts.  She is ten years old, 35 lbs. and has Down Syndrome.  She is the sweetheart of the institution and the director is so hoping that this one will get  a home.  We are hoping to get over there soon so we can have her home for the holidays. 
If you would like to help with us with the cost of this international adoption you can mail your checks to Father's Heart and mail it to 3808 Poplar Rd., Suite D; Chesapeake, Va.  23321.