Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quick Update About Luke

Just wanted to let everyone know that Luke made it through Surgery and is resting in his room at Hopkins tonight with Jeane.....He is doing well and expected to be home by Saturday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Updates about the new 5

Our new 5 have been home now almost 4 months

I have shared below each child's update and pics... they have done amazingly well with transitioning into our very large family... we love seeing how much they overcome and accomplish even in so little time. All 5 are speaking English- even using lots of sentences. They will even speak some among all the siblings and not just rely on Russian. Some can read a bit and all are enjoying life. I love the holidays with new kids... I am always brought to tears by watching the kids on Christmas or even Thanksgiving. We are celebrating Fall on Sat. nite with our usual family party... just us but we have a great time. Sometimes we square dance ( the only time we ever do), we play bingo with candy corn, do a candy clue hunt,carve pumpkins( that will be 22 this year) and this year we are adding some other things that were done in a book we just finished reading in our homeschool. The kids are excited . We are celebrating on Sat. because Luke is having another surgery Thurday am.- His second cleft palate surgery and hopefully last one on his palate to close a lg. fistual ( hole ). We will be at Johns Hopkins for a couple of days. Hoping to be home Sat... so we can do the party with the rest of the family---

Olivia-16 yrs

Olivia is much like Nataly was in the beginning.... very quiet and more reserved. I am sure she has had something in her past as we know Naty did . Also being the oldest of a dysfunctional family contributed some to this as well. She has however been coming out alot in the last few weeks. She talks very soft but will speak more and uses English lots now. She too is doing well in school and likes church but not as much as the others. She loves to be around us and is happiest playing with her family. She will do lots of things with the little ones and her smile is precious when Ava wants just her.... She is tenderhearted and very sweet. I would expect that sometime in a yr or so she will be more outgoing and able to be herself as she discovers a comfort level and love maybe she never had before. We saw it happen in Naty and she is a very diff. person than when she came home 4 yrs ago.

Rachel- now age 15 ( b-day in Aug.)

Rachel has been on the go from day one here. We were home on a Monday nite with the new kids and she went on Wed. nite to youth with our other teens. She is loving life here in the US. She has a strong personality and is very outgoing. She loves school and church. She will help out and also loves to ride bikes and roller blade... these kids are outside all the time moving ,jumping running and riding. She was positive for her tb ppd( the girl's grandfather and mom both died of tb) so their exposure was very high. None of them have any symptoms and on Monday they will be the first people in the state of WV to be tested for tb using a new blood test called Quantiferon Gold-tb. It will be able to differentiate some for us and we will know if we will be doing the 9 month INH therapy with them as we did with Leah. Should know by the end of next week.

Tia- 11 years

She is the one who has probably changed the most so far... While in Ukraine she acted very spoiled . She would jump all over Roma our translator or Ben. We would be playing cards and when she was done she wanted everyone else to be done... she would run around the room, put her hands in the fish tank, mess up the cards... a real pain. I did not like her manipulative part of her personality but we saw a spark of hope in her several times... and boy has she changed. She is no longer a demanding child and is patient and very caring. She loves Ava ( our baby grandaughter) and animals. We saw this tender part in her at the orphanage when she would bring us a puppy or once there was a hurt baby bird she tended to. She and Lily are very close. They love to wear similar outfits and hairdos. She is a good student also but more timid learning or speaking the English language. She loves church and even goes to our friends house to play... of course the mom is from Ukraine and speaks Russian which is fine because she is a dear friend of ours.

Jonas-age 13

Jonas came from a very hard family. He was or street kid. His dad killed his momand his brother killed his dad. Jonas also smoked from the age of 5. He has made some very positive changes to his manipulative behavoirs and has impressed many with his very sincere efforts to learn and overcome. He is the best one with the English language of the
5. He is a fast learner and is doing well in school. He has lots of compassion and has shown a real desire to change into all he can be . He too loves church and can be a great helper around the house. He will have his first eye surgery to create an eye socket for his left eye maybe in Dec. or early Jan... then he will be fitted for a prosthetic eye. It is a several month process but he is very anxious to have his eye and appearance change. He was more conscience at first than he is now of it which is a positive. He lost his eye due to cancer.

Caleb-age 9

Caleb was allowed to roam freely
at the orphange. He'd be gone one day swimming at the river,
or walking thru town another... he was influenced by Jonas alot
at first but since we have seperated them by diff. rooms he is
becoming his own person. He is quite a charmer and absolutely
loves being here.... he has never showed any sense of missing
Ukraine. He loves sports a whole lot and is extremely gifted
with balls... baseballs, soccer balls and footballs. He is doing well
in school and we hear more English. He understands lots of the
English language and will request things and just talk using
English. He also enjoys our church- they go to Sunday school for 2 hrs,
sing in a kid's choir, and participate on Wed. nite in an Awanas program.
They love doing all these activites. We have many people at our church
who can speak Russian as well as lots of siblings...

Friday, October 24, 2008

I have a prayer request at the least and a need for an adoptive home

While at Luke's cardiology appt. this am, Dr. Ringel shared to me about a yg. man who needs to be adopted. He is a patient at Hopkins. He is 16 from a West African country called Burkinofaso (sp). It is the 3d poorest nation in the world. This yg. man was brought over and at first was treated for his heart condition at Univ. of Md.. then transferred to Hopkins. He needs a heart transplant but because he is not a US citizen the transplant teams here will not allow him to have one. He will die if not given this option. Dr. Ringel said that all the doctors working with him have pretty much resigned themselves to this fact that he will not be able to get a transplant but they would like to at the least try to find a family who would adopt him and then his medical costs (mostly monthly required medicine could be paid for thru insurance.) John Hopkins has done several procedures on him and he is having a defribulator put in that will allow him to walk around the hospital but he can not leave . They have tried contacting the embassy and they will not help... He asked us about him. Of course my heart is to at the least pray for this yg man and our family at the very least will reach out to him by visiting him at Hopkins ( I will be there with Luke for 3 days next week) and other times as well. I asked if he can go out during the holidays and Dr. Ringel said no that don't allow that now. His status would change and he would not be able to come back in to the hospital. He is described as a very nice,polite yg man. Unfortunately he will die with no family in a hospital far away from all he has every known. The cost of one months medicines for him will cost about 5,000 dollars... just his mantience type meds...

I have just learned of this boy... I will be spending time with the Lord about what we are called to do...I challenge all of you who read my blog to do the same. You know we get information like this given to us many times... about a child who needs a home...I love this verse from Proverbs 24:12 Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and he holds us responsible to act.

Luke's cardiology 6 month check up

Luke had his 6 month check up and he is doing great. The ace inhibitor medicine he is on or just the fact that his heart did it on its own we are praising about this afternoon. We do not have to come back for a year now... and his palate surgery was given the ok. He is having hopefully his last palate surgery next week on Thursday, Oct. 30. We should be at Hopkins 3 days and then he gets a break for awhile.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another update

Luke did fine the rest of the nite. He woke up and was hungry. I am sure he was. Thirsty too. Gradually he is coming around. Thursday he spent most of the day on the couch and would not walk or weight bear on his knee. He uses his walker (old) and that helps. Today he has gotten himself off the couch , to the bathroom, and even in the playroom... I do not have to give him pain meds every 4 hrs.. more like every 6 . He is sleeping in the playroom with the younger ones ( his choice) to celebrate Lily's 9th b-day. We just ate Dirt Dessert and they are finishing a movie. The older ones are watching their movie in the sunroom... it has been so nice to have this extra room to spread out...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A quick update about Luke

Luke did well while at the hospital but has been vomiting at home. This is not something he usually has done post op. He has not been able to keep his pain meds. ( roxicet) down and so has been in more pain. Not too sure why he can not keep stuff down because this was a "minor" surgery compared to his others... I called and we got some anti nausea med. but 30 minutes after he had it he thru it up... Finally I gave him some of his valium with tylenol and he fell asleep during the debates and seems to be resting well. He has drank very little and not gone to the bathroom much either... so I will keep an eye on him and hope he turns this around by the am...Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Please pray for Luke

Our little "Lukster" is having another
leg surgery Wed. am early. He is having a metal plate placed
inside his r knee to align his growth plate so the leg will grow straight.
He is such a dear and wonderful patient but of course he has had lots of time to learn how to be a great patient... this one will be his 10th one in 4 yrs. Everyone at the hospital loves him... he takes his medicines great,lets them draw blood or do his IV even without us holding him or shedding a tear... everyone one of his recovery room experiences when he is just waking up to us he always has this precious smile....So please pray that it goes well tomorrow for him.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Do not trust in uncertain riches... but in the living God- I Timothy 6:17

I shared this on a frua (families of russian and ukraine adoption- thousands of members) thread this afternoon. I had been following along some threads that asked about things like,"Are you worried? or How to survive an economic depression one that asked should we even continue to adopt with the economic times like they are?" It is partly from my own writings and partly from a page in our church bulletin this am... questions like this are interesting to me to read because all most all the responses are "worldly". I know frua is made up of people of all faiths and walks so I am praying the Lord will use my sharing to encourage someone.... to seek the Lord. I also expect many flames. Let me know what you think....

Do not trust in uncertain riches... but in the living God, I Timothy 6:17. Some of what I am going to share will most likely cause most of you to cringe or at least desire to strongly flame.. but that is ok. I feel a great desire to share my perspective on this and another thread about "Are you worried..." Let me start with a "snapshot": Poverty vs. Wealth Many of the people around the world live in desperate conditions. The chasm between the rich and the poor continues to grow to staggering proportions. Read these statisitics slowly and deliberately: Twenty percent of the world live on one dollar a day. Another 20 percent live on two dollars a day. Twenty percent of us live on more than seventy dollars a day. The remaining 40 percent are somewhere in between.The combined income of the 447 wealthiest people in the world is more money than the combined income of 50 percent of the world's population. 447 people have more money than the combined assests of 3.25 billion people in the world. From a character in Richard Dooling's riveting novel White Man's Grave is an Americian who moved to Sierra Leone where he has become fully immersed as a local. After 5 yrs away from the US, Sisay describes the sickening experience he had going back for a brief visit to the US:
I resolved to sit on my mother's front porch and soak up some American life to remind myself of what I have left behind. It was Saturday. My mom's next door neighbor, a well groomed, weight-gifted, vertically challenged accountant named Dave, brought out a leaf blower, a lawn mower, a leaf grinder, a mulcher, an edger and a weed trimmer. He worked all day making a terrific racket, chopping,trimming, and spraying toxins on a small patch of ground, which produced absolutely no food, only grass. The rest of the world spent the day standing in swamp water trying to grow a few mouthfuls of rice,while Dave sat on his porch with a cold beer admiring his chemical lawn. Sickening? It was time for him to go back to Africa.
Americans make up 5 percent of the world, but we consume 50 percent of the world's resources. We consume half of the world's resources. The problem of hunger in the world is not the earth's ability to produce food for 6.5 billion people:it's the inequitable distrubution of food.
There is a 7 yr old boy in Delhi who is among the 95 percent of the world who are not Americans. Ravi works ten to twelve hrs a day, seven days a week shining shoes on the streets of Delhi. Ravi faces four yrs of bonded labor in order to pay back a thirty-five dollar loan his parents took out for his sister's wedding. Ravi will spend the next 4 yrs paying off a debt that is less than what we spend on a dinner out.
More than 2 billion children live in our world- half in poverty. One of every 4 children in the world has to work instead of going to school. Eight percent of the people of the world own a car.
PERSPECTIVE. Perspective on"need". Perspective on "hunger". Perspective on "money". Do you feel as if you are living paycheck to paycheck?You may be, and my point is not to diminsh the financial challenges facing us today.But it is all about perspective.It's about "serving" with eyes wide open.It is about living with a peace that surpasses all understanding and worldly knowledge. It is putting my trust in a "living" God.... not one you just read about or hear of. It is experiencing a life giving breathe of air in this very stale and stagnate world of ours that may be dealing with an economic crisis like we never have before... it is mostly knowing in my deepest "knower" that I am loved and cared for and forgiven and will be provided for... even if we loose "everything".

Friday, October 10, 2008

Shadow pictures

Can you find them all ? Well at least 18 of them?

They are coming at you !

How many kids can we fit in a soccer goal ? 18 and thats not even all of them :)

Just hanging around

Mya was going for a feather in the pond water

Our yard- the fenced in area is our vegetable garden, fire ring where we have "fire camps"- that's what the little ones call it :)

What we drive

Our 15 passenger van does not hold all of us anymore.
Usually we drive the 15 passenger van and 8 passenger Honda Odyssey
van. Then there is our old brown van- Paul has at work
and the blue Yukon which is the kids car- yes Ben
drives now- Which we are loving.

new addition pics- dorm room, laundry room,new garage and the "cave" room

some other pics- MK's room, hallway upstairs,sunroom and school room

Hair cut day for the boys... Molly was over and she cuts
the boys hair for us. Abraham was the first cut. Mya and Rachel are playing
Guess Who at the island.
Dining area off the kitchen... have to use 2 tables. One with 8 and the other we put 14 and the high chair is for Ava.
This is the front left side of our home. The smaller part is the addition MK and Ava are in. My peace garden is the whole front of our house where the kids are.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A friend has asked,"How big is your home?"

Well I was hoping to share some pictures of our home and will... but I will answer this question first and post pics maybe tomorrow.... We have lived here now for 9 yrs in WV. We have done 3 seperate additions.... Our main house when we bought it was new and had only 4 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths. We preoccuppied our home at first when the first addition was built and then settled 2 months later even though we had been in our home already. We added a huge sunroom- with a full basement and made our loft our 5th bedroom. We have a lg. eat in kitchen with an island and a seperate dining room area that is open... off to the side is our original dining room that I never use like that which is our school room and old playroom . It was our first living room until we added the sunroom. Then when Mary Kate had Ava we built for them an addition on the left of our home that is over 500 sq ft... it includes a walk in closet and room that is ready to made into a full bath but she uses it as Ava's bedroom. You go into it by a door from the school room. When she gets married we will have a nice master bedroom on the main floor if we like. Then we have been working on our other additions since April... Our old 2 car garage is now another 400 sq ft. playroom, guest room with the storage space turned into another bedroom.We then have added a 3 car garage... included in that is a lg. laundry room and full bath... kids can enter it from the garage and back yard.... upstairs is a huge dorm room and full bath-it is 900 sq ft.. All total we have over 4700 sq ft of finished space and another 1,000 unfinished space. We will have 7 bedrooms and the lg. dorm room with 5 and a half baths and at least 4 playroom areas and did I say... WE ARE LOVING ALL THIS EXTRA ROOM. It is wonderful to be able to spread out... as you can imagine.... 22 plus living here. Winter will be fine this year :) We are almost done just in time for my birthday... next week :) My next post will have pictures and some daily ways we do things.. like a picture of our chore chart...

Funny thing our son, Ben had his gfriend over tonite for dinner for the first time... one of the things he wanted to show her was our chore chart... I thought that was cute.

I was tagged twice recently... and so I will answer both

I am not to with it when it comes to my blog so here is my very feeble attempt to answer the tag issue. THE RULES::* Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.* Share 7 little known facts about yourself on your blog.* Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.* Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Well here goes:

1. I am not a picky eater at all. I especially love fruits and veggies. My favorite food would be a pasta with some shrimp in it with lots of veggies.

2. I love to eat out... does not matter where either. McDonalds to Red Lobster or someone's home. It all tastes better when someone else cooks :)

3. I love gift cards... my family hates to give them but I think they are wonderful. They want to buy "something" instead of a gift card. Seems to easy and my brother thinks it shows a lack of caring or something but I think they are the best. We use a Discover Card for purchasing everything... food, gas, clothes because we get rewards... gift cards. I have a seperate wallet in my purse to hold all of our reward gift cards.... 25, 50 dollars at lots of wonderful places. This is one way Paul and I go out for our date nites by using these extra rewards.

4. Gardening is my favorite "down" time activity. We grow a large garden in the summer of vegatables mostly for fun... meaning we do not depend on it for food but it does help. Nothing like fresh tomatoes and cukes. I have a peace garden in the front yard, and lots of flowers all over our 2 acres. We live on 2 beautiful acres that was an old orchard... great soil.

5. I also love nature.. I am an avid bird watcher and feeder. Paul's degree was in natural resource management- He was a park naturalist. So we both share in this love of God's creation.

6.My favorite family vacation spot is the beach- the Outer Banks of North Carolina... all of us love this place. We usually go once a year and have fond memories of it. We have been going there now for 19 yrs.

7. Now my favorite place to go to and has been for many years is to an orphanage. We spent our anniversary once in Russia for our first adoption trip when we adopted Anna and Mya. When Paul called me to share that we had gotten travel dates for our first trip ( when Russia required 2 trips) he said,"How would you like to celebrate in Moscow?" I was so thrilled... you would think after having so many children it would get old but nope that is not the case. We love playing with all the kids... yes it is sad but we feel we have shared some rays of hope and light to the ones we have been in.

Now I am suppose to tag 6 other blogs but I am not. Mostly because all the blogs I could have either just did this or will be thru one of my daughters or friend's blog... so sorry about that part. Maybe one of my readers or all could just consider by reading mine that they are tagged... It is wonderful to get to know some of these things so come on......

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Peace Garden and my helper Josiah

This is our old garage- but a new playroom

We are just about done with our addition... this is just a small part but one we have already loved. We got the carpet in a week ago... Last nite the 9 youngest spent the nite in there. It still needs some touches like the framing in the windows and of course furniture... but it has been wonderful to have this extra space now. Winter will be ok . This is only 1 of our new rooms too.

Daddy Keith and his little girl...