Monday, August 6, 2007

Some of the Bunch ... I love their smiles
How come we have so many pics of these two?
Mya and Luke... the love of each others lives
Here they come ya better watch out
This Easter at Jenn's
Part of our homemade soccer
Our 5 little ones- Leah showed them how to make the rings out of dandilions . Isaac, Luke, Mya, Lily and Josiah

some favorite pics of our blessings

Paul and the boys visiting our daughter and her family Easter 2007

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Luke standing for the first time ever at age 5 yrs and 5 months

Ben and Joseph

Luke in his first fixator at almost the end and leg straight

Naty and Leah

10 months later and 5 from Ukraine

We took 10 months to continue our adoption journey and this time it would be in a new country Ukraine. We first heard of our Luke thru a friend at our agency. She said some people had met a child with many medical needs and they were raising money for his heart surgery. We saw his picture and we asked can we adopt him? At first they did not think the director of his orphanage would agree because we were such a large family. However, the Lord again had other plans... He said we could and we got together our dossier again in 1 month for our adoption of our Luke. Luke had a vsd ( hole in his ventricle in his heart and he needed his aortic valve replaced or repaired). This was urgent but the NAC ( director of adoptions for Ukraine) was very difficult to work with. We were paper ready in April 2004 but she did not allow us to travel until Sept.... Luke also was born with his right leg fully attached to his back. He has a spinal hernia and his l leg was webbed and had a severe clubfoot. He also had a severe cleft lip and basicallly no palate. He has had some cleft lip revisions and repairs to close his clefts. He had his heart surgery within weeks of being home and is doing well. In June 2006 we began his leg repairs. With an 18 hr surgery to straighten and loosen skin, ligaments and place an external fixator on his r leg. He wore that for 6 months and then it was removed and his l leg and foot was also done and placed in another fixator for 4 months. After lots of pt, and hard work on his part he walks... in full leg braces and is beginning to walk without them too. He has done this way earlier than expected just like Mya :) We also adopted Nataly. She was 11 yrs old and had a difficult beginning with her very abusive mother, who is now dead at the yg. age of 29 of alcohol poisoning. While at the orphanage she was in we met a boy who had a cleft lip/palate who was 15 yrs old. We had pretty much said we would not return to Ukraine because the NAC director was very difficult to deal with. So we were shocked in 7 months to hear that the director had contacted our coordinator because a surgeon who was going to repair Vadim's cleft lip had spoken to her and he heard that a family was interested in adopting him and he thought it better if that happened and the surgery was done here. This was so unusual that we knew the Lord was moving us towards this child and another trip to Ukraine.... funny how you say "never" and the Lord turns it into when. We again were paper ready quickly because Vadim had turned 15 and we would not be able to adopt him if he was 16. We traveled in Nov. 2005 and spent 5 long weeks there but we were blessed with Joseph- 15, Cate-13 and Leah-12. Joseph- Vadim had the cleft palate/ lip issues and terrrible speech. Cate had been in the orphanage all of her life. She was born to a 14 yr old mom. Leah's past was much like Naty's. We have had 2 surgeries for Joseph and he needs some more in the future to correct his cleft issues. He has speech and is transitioning to adulthood as a fine yg. man who gave his life to Jesus just this summer and feels a call to missions.... maybe back in his home country. Cate and Naty have also given their lives to Jesus. They have all transitioned well into our family and we feel so blessed to have them. They are working hard in school and are catching up to their grade levels.

The 6 from Russia

We heard of our son, Jacob thru a hosting program and friends who had adopted thru this agency. Jacob had been hosted 7 months earlier and was not adopted yet. He had severe scoliosis and was having trouble breathing. He had even been hospitalized because of it. We got our dossier together in record time and traveled to Vladikavkaz, Russia for him and 2 other children.... ( We heard of him in late June and traveled Sept. 5). This was to the Chechnya region very close to Georgia. We met our Isaac who was the age of 5 but the size of an 18 month old . We were told he never talked... never uttered a word the 5 yrs he was there. We had him for 2 days in Moscow and he was speaking Russian to his sister, Lily. ... Then just 6 weeks later he was totally english speaking. A few yrs later we asked him why did you not talk.... His response was priceless....," I did not have anything to say." He had major dental needs and when he came home he had to have 4 hrs of surgery in a hospital to repair and remove teeth, and gums . He lost most of his teeth (baby) but it did not affect his weight gain.... He would eat everything and was able to gain weight and some height... However, he is still short in stature. Lily was in the orphanage with Isaac. She was 2 yrs old and has esotropia (severe-crossing of her eyes, no depth perception and was in glasses and bifocals for farsightedness). She is also very small but full of life...

While on a visit to our agency to let them meet our new children we were shown a picture of a baby with hip dysplasia that no one wanted... there were those words again..... She was very small and paralyzed on her l leg. They wanted us to help find a family for her... We took one look at her picture and knew she was ours... She is our Mya. Thus we began the paperwork for her adoption. This was at the end of Oct. and we got a call on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving about her. We had to wait for the 12th family to decide to adopt her or not.... They said if we could get our paperwork in by the Monday following Thanksgiving we could go on our first trip in Dec.... For this to happen we had to get an updated homestudy, police clearance and USCIS approval.... all in a short few days with a holiday.... God saw us thru and the USCIS director even came in on the Sat to receive our pkg... so we could get the approval Monday.... So away we went to Russia again. When we got there we asked to see children that were hard to place. We met and fell in love with our Anna- she was 7 and still in the baby orphanage with Mya. It was obvious that Anna was a FAS child and she had a severe cleft lip/palate. We also met in another orphanage a 3 yr old boy with kidney problems- our Josiah. We returned in Jan. 2003 and were able to adopt the girls. We had to wait and return for Josiah in April. When Mya came home she was almost 13 months old and weighed only 11 lbs.. They said she would have died by the summer if we had not gotten her when we did. She was taken to several doctors and finally we found out what she had.... polio. She had serial casting, pt, and braces and walks now with no help... but with a diff. gait. She too is a tough little one full of lots of life and love for others. Anna has had several cleft surgeries and her eyes were drifting outwards and has had 2 surgeries to repair her eyes.... Anna's cleft and FAS issues are on going but she too has overcome much. Josiah's kidney problems turned out to be a very large kidney stone that he had to have surgically removed because it was so big ( the size of a marble). He is doing well and thriving . We were able to have surgeries done and therapies for the children and they all have made amazing progress. It has been almost 5 yrs ( Sept. ) that we began our adoption journey into Russia.

Our 12 adopted blessings

The Next 6 - From Russia

Abraham went to public school for the first yrs. home. At first thru a special education program and then the second half of his 4th grade we brought him home to be schooled by us. He has done well and his real strength and gift is music. He plays the piano or any instrument well. He has perfect pitch and a memory for long pieces of music. We feel blessed by his giftings and enjoy listening to his music.

We moved to VA and felt called to get involoved with the prolife movement locally. It started with a prayer request about a mother who was told her baby had a disease called toxoplasmosis which could cause blindness, hearing loss and mental disabilities. She had a routine blood test and it came back positive for this disease. She was being encouraged to abort her baby. At first the doctors for Abraham thought he may have had this disease but he didn't so we felt even closer to this prayer request. As I got off the phone the Lord spoke to my heart and asked....," Would you be willing to raise that baby if it had this disease?" Of course I was shaken at first with my thoughts but then realized that yes I would. I called back and asked if I could speak to the mom. I did and was able to share the name of a prolife ob and to share my faith and then I offered her the opportunity if her baby did have special needs and she did not want to keep this child my husband and I would take it and raise it as our own.... Now 12 yrs later we have been able to minister to 2 more women in this way... As it turned out she went to the new doctor and he repeated the tests and she ended up having a perfectly healthy baby. So did the other 2 women. We also got our training to be foster/adoptive parents and were able to have the opportunity to parent 22 children and we had 9 live with us for awhile.... However, none were we able to adopt. Our heart was forever changed by our time in VA. When we moved to WV we began the process to foster/adopt again. The Lord had diff. ideas for us.... and in just 8 months out of our obedience to his will we adopted our 6 children from Russia.

Abraham on the right with his brother Jacob

My Beginning and I Did It

My first post and my first picture and I did it all by myself. I have wanted to start a blog for years now. Actually I feel I want to write a book about our experiences and maybe this will be my beginning to that. Anyway I am not very comfortable with the computer and so for me it is a big accomplishment to get this much done. It has been only a few years that for my News Year resolution I decided to learn how to email... Usually I would hand write them out and ask one of my kids to type and send it..... So here we go, or should I say maybe we will take a look back . We have a framed saying as I mentioned in my profile that says , "All because 2 people feel in love", and that really is where the beginning of this blog will be.

I have a feeling that this will become very addictive for me... to be able to talk about my faith and my family and children. I was born into a family that there was lots of love and compasion. I had a very happy childhood and felt loved. I also knew the Lord very early in my life and felt his love for me . I also have always loved children even when I was a child I loved watching, pl;aying and creating things for us to do. So I feel the Lord was moving in my heart to fulfill his purpose for me to do something with children even when I was very young.

As I shared my husband Paul and I have been married for 30 plus yrs now and in my profile is our story of our first date and how Paul "passed" my test of loving children. We are childhood sweethearts and I have a soul mate, partner with the same God given purpose,friend, and lover of the Lord and children. We have 5 bio. children- Laura Jeane- 28, married with 2 of our "grand" sons... Jennifer-26 also married and she has 1 daughter and one son on the way...Molly -23 and she lives near by us,Mary Kate-20 she has a little "grand" baby girl born on her PawPaw's birthday and our last bio. is Ben-15. Our first adoption was 22 and a half yrs ago of our son, Abraham from Mexico. He is blind and suffered some brain damage from a severe beating....