Friday, November 15, 2013

Another great link about adoption

I haven't had a lot of time to put my own thoughts to blogging lately but I have run across many posts by others that say much of what I would say if I had the time and creative juices.  So for now I am cheating and posting another link to a post that is so very true and one that resonates with me in so many ways.

I feel like this lady has been a fly on my wall.

If you have adopted I am sure you can relate to much of this.  In some crazy way it feels good to know someone else understands.

If you are considering adopting, this is so true of so many families.
Please do not let it scare you away- but please read it and use it to know how to pray and allow God to prepare your heart for what is to come. 

I had read a lot and talked to so many about adoption but was still surprised at my own feelings through this process.  We are more often than not through the dark valley, but it often returns at times when life gets hard, when we do new things and sometimes when we are not expecting it. 

If you are a friend of a family that has adopted it is so helpful to understand what they may be experiencing.  Sometimes the mom needs to talk cause it is just plain hard.  We mom's get it, we understand the child's trauma and why they do what they do, but it is still hard to process, can be very painful and gets exhausting at times. Please do not give up on praying for that family once the child is home, because that is when the real hard stuff begins. 

When God calls you to it He WILL bring you through it and the blessings are real and He grows us in ways that are wonderful.  He will show His glory through the dark valley and on the other side you, your new child and the whole family will be blessed for it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Level Failed!

Confessions of a very bored and lonely momma- sitting here trying not to think about how many more long hours before we go home to the rest of the family.

I play candy Crush a lot!!!!!!
How many times have I read those words
"Level Failed- you did not clear all the jelly"

How many times in our lives do we feel this way?  How many opportunities missed, harsh words spoken, how many times do I put my feelings first?  

So many times I have failed, but each time God gives me more life- another chance.  

Sometimes a level takes days to pass through, sometimes I seek help from a friend or tricks from the web.  Sometimes I get mad and fuss at my phone.  Sometimes I whiz through a level with little thought- kinda like someone else did all the work. 

Oh, this is so much like my life.
I thank God for more lives! I thank God for friends and places to turn for help and encouragement!  And I thank God that sometimes He just takes over.  

Off to conquer the next lesson with His help. ( And maybe another level in Candy Crush). ;). 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Beautiful Feet

Last Sunday our pastor commissioned our VBS workers.  In his sermon he focused on the beautiful feet that take the Gospel to others and he shared about the armor of God and that the feet are "shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" Ephesians 6:15

As he was sharing my mind connected with our daughter Olya.
Her feet are crooked and bent.  She is not able to use her feet to go anywhere.

She is currently in casts to make her feet straight- to get them to be flat on the floor and it is our hope that soon she can wear shoes.

Her feet are not very useful to her.  Her feet are not what most would think of as beautiful.

I see her feet as a beautiful picture of her life.
She came to us with lots of hurts and scars.  Lots of things twisted and confused.  
But she came with determination and a desire for something more.
God has been molding and shaping her.  She has been bent and is getting stretched sometimes to the point of tears. 
Her heart like her muscles are loosening up and are more moldable.  

A couple weeks ago Olya went to a teen Bible camp.  God used the pastor to help her untangle some confusion.  God's spirit worked in her heart and she repented of her sin and asked Christ to be The Lord of her life.
God did surgery on her heart and now spiritually she has feet that can walk.  Now she can put on the shoes of readiness to take the Gospel of peace.  Soon she will have surgeries on her feet so physically she can walk.
It is our prayer that as God continues to mold her and as the doctors continue to reshape her feet that she would be prepared to take the gospel wherever God  leads.
"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 15

Monday, April 8, 2013

One Year Anniversary - Part 2

Olya and I went to a "Russian" Baptist church yesterday evening. Stacy and I try and take her whenever we can and it is a great church with the most wonderful and kind people that attend. Yesterday, they continued on with the Easter theme service and we had the priveledge of hearing the children's choir sing many Easter songs of course in Russian. Most of the time, when someone is available, the church is gracious enough to provide this English speaking human a translation through a delivered headset (much appreciated).

Part of the reason, I believe, that the church carried on the Easter service for two weeks is that yesterday was Easter for the Eastern Orthodox churches. So, yes, Ukraine celebrated Easter yesterday. I stand corrected on this one :) Easter for the Eastern Orthodox churches this year is May 5th and Lent began March 18th.   

Христос воскрес! (Khristos voskres!, Christ is risen!).  Khristos voskres! is something that I heard a lot yesterday! As I believe Olya put it, this is something that is said three times in a row in Ukraine. Sounds good to me. At any rate, I thoroughly enjoy going to the Slavic Church with Olya when I can. It is a rich blessing to see fellow believers freely and joyfully worship in their own tongue and culture. Right here in Spokane no less. 

So, in honor of Easter in Ukraine, here are some pictures taken last year of the Eastern Orthodoxy Monasteries in Kiev Ukraine.

To start, here are some pictures of the St. Michaels Golden Domed Monastery. Taken in the post-adoption days with Olya!

Here lies the St. Andrews Cathedral. This is the cathedral that is right across from the SDA office in Kiev. 

Our good friend and driver told us all about the history of this church and it's surroundings but I don't remember a thing about it.

Here he is telling me all about it :)

He was a very thorough tour guide. Thanks Eugene, you are the best!

When we finally made it inside (no picture taking allowed), Stacy recalls that all she wanted to do was leave because she felt that she was the only woman without a head covering.

До свидания (Do svidaniya  Good bye)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

To Ukraine! One Year ago Today.

It is utterly amazing to me that it already has been one year since the day Stacy and I flew off to Ukraine. Stacy and I of course are planning on posting a "gotcha day" post for Olya. We are still trying to decide which day we want to celebrate. We shall see what Olya thinks. But for now, there is something that I have been wanting to do for about a year now, and that is to share more of our trip(s) to Украина (Ukraina, Ukraine). I fell in love with the country, the history, the culture and the people as we began pursuing the adoption for Olya two years ago from this coming July. So here goes, mostly pics to share and this will hopefully come in waves of a few posts. I was going to go linear but since tomorrow is Easter (He is Risen Indeed!), here is the first day of our second trip. A down day upon arrival in Киев (Kyiv, Kiev), Stacy and I took to the streets and here is what we found...

Yes, lots and lots of eggs hanging from trees..

..and trees..

..and trees..

..and many other things..

The locals liked to have their picture taken.

What are they you ask? Well, they are called писанка (Pysanka) Ukrainian Easter eggs.
Being in Ukraine during Easter was truly a wonderful and enriching experience. We were in Ukraine for both the Prodestant/Catholic observed Easter day as well as the Eastern Orthodox observed Easter day. It was fascinating to be an onlooker of different traditions and it was a great reminder that our Lord Jesus is the Lord of all to whom he calls from every corner. Thank you Lord Jesus for what you have done for me and my life and the lives of so many others. That your resurrection is celebrated by many around the world and across cultures. So that every tongue and every tribe may bless your name.

Well, to close out our tour of the day.. we ventured on..

The hub of Kiev.

Downtown Kiev truly is amazing..

Happy Easter all!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Gavin's Big Surgery

Thank You Lord for amazing Technology!

Thank You Lord for Daddies!

Thank You Lord for Little Stuffed Friends!
Thank You Lord for an Amazing Hospital and wonderful Doctors, Nurses, etc. etc. etc. !

Thank You Lord for visitors ~ aunts, uncles, cousins, and g'mas and g'pas!

Thank You Lord for Family!

Thank You Lord for Brothers!

Thank You Lord for silly times!

For Silly Sisters

And Silly Brothers!

Thank You Lord for Wii!
Thank You Lord for peace before the storm.

Thank You Lord for Smiles!

Gavin gets his red Cast off on Monday!  Thank you Lord.
It has been a long month with little sleep and we are thankful this is almost behind us, but we are thankful for the opportunities we have to help Gavin achieve more than we ever thought possible. 
Our little man that once was an orphan with Arthrogryposis
is now a little man with a hope and a future.
Thank You Lord!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Girls

These girls have so much fun together.  This photo was from their all day photo shoot the three of them did.  Taking turns with the camera, going all over the house and yard and changing clothes 20 times. 

This fall Kali started pursuing her new passion- Rhythmic Gymnastics
She has always done some sort of dance and or gymnastics, but this is a combination of both.  She LOVES it and finds every spare second she can get to do her training homework.  She can do the over splits, with one foot on like 10 books.  She is mastering the hoop and the ball and is preparing for her first competitions this spring. She is so focused and determined and is a natural.  She has a chance to win an IPod or a Rhythmic Gymnastics Rope by doing push ups, sit ups and some other muscle burning exercises and she is so excited.  She dreams of winning the .... you guessed it :)...... The Rope.  Yep, all that sweat for a rope.  I told you she was determined. 

Ayla started back to dance and though she loves dance, I think she mostly loves having another reason to hang out with her friends.  She did her first performance this Christmas and made mom cry.  She is so beautiful and has worked so hard to learn the dances in a very short amount of time.  She too has done gym and dance off and on her whole life and loves it.  It is so funny because it was Ayla who originally wanted to quit ballet to do gymnastics.  Within the year Kali followed her and now Ayla is back to dance.  She likes the ballet but she loves the Jazz.  Anything with a little kick and color.
Ayla is also one of our kiddos going off to school.  I am sure I have said it before, she is our social butterfly.  I think she got that from her dad. :)  he he  She works so hard on her homework and is so responsible.  Sometimes though I think she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders because she cares about her friends so much.  We are praying about the future of her education.  Trying to find a way to give her the social atmosphere she loves with out so much weight of trying to help her hurting friends.  It is a lot for an 11 year old. 
pic by Kali or Ayla ?

Olya started another Art class.  Three at school is just not enough.  She loves art and loves to create new things.  She is knitting me a scarf, screen printed a T- shirt for Jeromy's Christmas present, and is always coming up with some creative artistic thing to try.  The last few days she has put her artistic skills to work making a dessert of frosting, which she made herself, peanuts, chocolate chips, crushed ginger bread and whip cream.  YUM!  She has also takin' a liking to being a photographer. Her English is AMAZING and a Russian woman told me the other night that Olya already speaks Russian with an accent.  :)
Art by Olya

Photo by Olya

Oh, that reminds me of a great story.  :)

We have been taking Olya to a few different Russian Churches about an hour away.  We found one we really like and through the service last Sunday I was feeling so much like this is a good place for us to visit.  It had a great service, great messages and a lot of youth.  After the service a woman came over to me and said, " I know your family".  I said in amazement, "how?"  She said, uh, "I don't know".
She natively speaks  Russian, I speak only English, so it was hard for her to explain how she knew us.
But we figured it out:  A friend of ours from church bought a piano from her family while we were in the process of adopting Olya.  While he was picking up the piano he noticed they were speaking something other that English. ;)  Somehow he found out they spoke Russian.  At some point he felt he should tell them about our family and shared our blog with them.  Well she read our blog while we were in Ukraine!

I have to say, I feel God used this night to minister to my heart. The church was awesome, this woman as sweet as can be and God laid on Jeromy and I's hearts the same message, (even though it was not the topic of the night) we need to PRAY.

I will not go into details but adopting can be hard.  The journey to get her home was hard and the journey to help her heal is hard.  We "knew" it all before, but the living it every day caught me off guard.  I am selfish, I am not very patient, I am not as understanding as I thought I would be.  I thought I could do it.  Well, truth is I can't.  God can!!!!  He got her home even though it was impossible.  He is doing a great work in her, but in reality I think He is doing a great work in me.

I am learning. I am seeing some of the things I have always done to Jeromy that now that I see it in her I realize isn't so nice to be on the other side.  I am seeing more and more how I treat God and how much He loves me in-spite of it.  I am human and I fail and sometimes I feel like a failure as a mom, but sometimes I am so happy to see what God is doing and so proud of who Olya is and is becoming. Adoption can be hard but it is beautiful because it is God's heart.  His heart is to comfort and love the orphan and his heart is to make ours more like his.  I pray I do not stand in the way of Him accomplishing both.

Once upon a time....

Once upon a time there was a blogger.  She loved to blog and brag on her family.  She loved to share her thoughts and feel connected to the world.

* Then she got all mixed up with trying to use an IPad which she doesn't like for blogging, her computer stinks and her daughters computer which does great with photos is having internet issues. 
*She also now has 5 kids all of which love to have her attention, 2 of them especially.  So when mom looks bored looking at a computer screen, they feel it is a great to make sure she has something to do.  :)
*Then there is the I just really have enjoyed being a family and though I love all of my bloggy friends near and far, it has been nice just existing and not feeling like I need to journal our life events.

blah blah blah-  so all that to say- I am back  - maybe for one post maybe for a million. I guess we will see.

so catching up since the fall-part one of ?

Oct 2012-  We survived the beginning of school.

We have 3 going to public school and one homeschooling.
Honestly I feel like I put in equal amounts of time into all of their education.  Between I.E.P meetings, parent teacher conferences, forms to fill out, homework, lunches, school programs etc.  I feel like I do as much work and preparation as I do with Kali's homeschool, and no, I do not think she is getting short changed.  She is very independent and self motivated and I am thoroughly enjoying doing school with her.  I am learning a lot this year.  :) And I am spoiled to have so much one on one time with her.

The wheelchair bus picks up Olya and Gavin.  It is wonderful! The bus driver is awesome and we think he is actually related to Gavin.  :)  He loves our kids and they get off the bus laughing almost everyday.

We are blessed with great teams for our kids. I do have to say though that I think Gavin has celeb-braty status at school.  He loves it, but this momma is keeping an eye on things, cause nobody likes a brat.  So far everyone loves him (especially the girls)and I am hoping to keep it that way.

All in all, our school arrangement is working great for us this year.  We may see some changes next year but that wouldn't surprise anyone. :)