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!