Pennies Add Up

19 Aug

Did you notice the thermometer on the side of our blog?

It’s new.  :)

We were advised to put one on there, and at first I really didn’t want to.

But, it is an encouragement to me to see how the Lord has provided each step of the way.

I am so thankful for His provision.

Yesterday Joseph found two pennies at the store.  He said, “Aww Mom!  Should I just throw them?  It’s ONLY 2 cents.”   Of course, being the penny pincher that I am, I told him that if we all add our pennies together that it can add up to big things!!  We talked about saving and sharing what we have, even if it’s not much.   Joseph decided he’d keep the pennies and put them in Vienna’s jar.  :)

Sweet boy.

But it doesn’t end there.

Last night we came home from the store.   Darrel had already come home from work and of course I hadn’t told him about the two pennies.  It didn’t seem very noteworthy.  When we walked in the kitchen Darrel had a grin on his face and a heavy bag of CHANGE !  A lady he works with gave us her loose change—over $80!!

Isn’t God just awesome?!!  He cares about the little things.

Like a little boy’s heart and mind.

Teaching him more about real life ways God provides and loves him…and others.

Giving us the opportunity to teach our son about God’s awesome love and care.

He allowed Darrel’s coworker to be a much bigger part of our adoption journey than she can imagine.

He used this to encourage my tired heart and motivate me to get busy.  Just remembering how much God cares about the details of our lives makes me so happy!!  What a wonderful God we serve.

Adoption-wise things are moving along!

We are about halfway through the paperwork that we need to send to Vienna’s country.

We have appointments lined up to do our psychologist visits.  This is a requirement for our whole family.

 At the end of July we had to “readopt” Joseph in the state of Texas.   (I talked about this in my last post.)  We need to send an ORIGINAL birth certificate of Joseph’s (and all our kids) to Vienna’s country…but we cannot get another one from Ukraine, so this was the only solution.  So, $1325 and 10 hours of driving later he is now TWICE our son.  :)

I am working on setting up an online auction, and also sorting stuff for a big garage sale, which we’ll do after we get the kids settled into school.  (They start next week.  Joseph and Meredith will both being moving to different schools and Abbie starts college here in town.  Ellie and Andrew’s schools stay the same as last year.)

A kind Reece’s Rainbow friend is holding an online “party” selling cute kids clothes.  She has offered to give Vienna her commission!  Her company is called Peekaboo Beans.  http://www.peekaboobeans.com/parties/8021  Please go check them out!  I am so grateful for her generosity.  I pray that the Lord blesses her big for her giving heart.

I love seeing God’s hand in the entire adoption process.  How He works.  How he uses others to encourage and help us, even when we feel unworthy.  Sometimes I get stressed and get my eyes off of Him, but He is faithful to bring me back to His kindness.

As we sat at the dining room table last night sorting change we came to this conclusion:

Pennies Add Up!!

Summer

20 Jul

We had our first big fundraiser for Vienna at the beginning of July!

We combined visiting our family and friends in Indiana with making and selling COOKIE DOUGH!  Thank you so much to everyone that bought, sold and made cookie dough!!  Thank you too for the extra donations!

We made $1335 !!

We are in awe at God’s working!  We are so thankful.  It was a little more time consuming than we expected, but I kept telling myself, “This is still easier than a garage sale!  This is still easier than a garage sale!”  haha!  (I have a garage that is filling up with garage sale stuff…and I’m thrilled!  When I do the garage sale I’ll just have to tell myself, “This is less sticky than cookie dough!”)

We had so much fun in Indiana that I failed to take many pictures.  I still have a dinosaur phone, so taking pictures actually requires carrying a camera and using it.  :)  Here are a few that I did manage to take!

Swimming at Uncle Wil's pool

Joseph had a great time playing with his cousins and swimming.  When we came back to Texas and he swam with his physical therapist, he was able to show his therapist some of his new tricks.  (AND, in therapy he decided to take off his arm floaties and swim on his own!!!)  Last year, when his legs were still bent he had such a hard time in the water, although he loved it.  This year, because he is now in a different position, he is able to put his legs out behind and float without tipping backward or forward!

Joseph spent a large part of his time playing Nerf guns with his cousins.  It was fun to watch him get to know his cousins better.  He fit right in.  :)  Wish I’d taken pictures of the hours that they spent in my Mom’s yard playing!

J, A and E 6 Flags

A bunch of our family went to Six Flags in Chicago one day.  Everyone had a good time!  Honestly, it was pretty eye opening to us, as Joseph’s parents.  We are so used to “normal life” with Joseph, and what he’s capable/incapable of doing that we don’t even really remember that there are things he CAN’T do!  It’s just part of our lives.  It’s when we go somewhere like an amusement park we are reminded that some things just aren’t made for nonwalkers/limited arm movement.  At first we were sad, but then once we “got in the groove” and figured out what he COULD do, it was fun!  That kid is way too BRAVE!

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After a good time with family and not enough time to do everything we wanted, we came home and got back down to business.  (We actually took our vacation at a good time.  Several people who are helping us with our adoption were out of their offices over the 4th of July holidays.)

We ran into a glitch and have had to hire an attorney to help us with Joseph’s birth certificate.  After a lot of trying to figure things out, and feeling like we were wasting time, we finally found an attorney that will help us get a certificate that is an official recognition of his adoption from the state of Texas.  It is an unexpected big chunk of extra money, but we feel we made the right decision.  Joseph’s birth city/state in Ukraine has been taken over by Russia, so if we were to ever lose his one original birth certificate that we were given at his adoption, we would be in trouble.  There would be no way to get a new one.  So, by getting this official recognition, we should be covered.  Plus, we will now have an official document to send to Vienna’s country.  (That’s what started this whole deal!!)  We will go before a judge in Dallas next week to petition for the certificate.  (We originally thought it would be this week, but that was changed.)

We are finished with our part of the home study and are waiting for the final draft.  (She is actually holding off in completing it so we can get Joseph’s birth certificate back first.)  I have started working on our dossier a little, but I can’t do much because everything is dated, and nothing can be more than a few months old when we send it to Vienna’s country.  I’m getting a little antsy.  :)

Thursday, Joseph and I head back to Philadelphia for a check up.  We are excited to show everyone all he has learned to do since April.  He can’t wait to ask the doctor if he can move his braces a few notches straighter, since his legs have stretched out more!!  I will try to remember to post his improvements when we come home.  From the numbers his therapist gave us last month, his leg contractures have lessened by quite a lot!!  (That’s a good thing!!)

As always, we really appreciate your prayers.  We are encouraged in many ways.  God is faithful.  He has faithfully reminded us almost daily WHY we have decided to adopt again.  Even when things aren’t easy it’s worth it.

He brings people into our lives out of the blue. (We’ve had random conversations with other adopting parents…like Darrel’s dentist who we saw at Hamburger Depot one day.)

He reminds us to read His Word and be encouraged by His promises.  He reminds us to keep our focus on HIM and the ETERNAL.

He encourages us with books and movies.

(If you have not seen the movie “The Drop Box” I totally recommend watching it.)

We are encouraged because Vienna is our daughter.  God loves her.  We love her.  It is the right thing to do.  We WANT to adopt her and we know God wants us to.

Oh, and guess what!  I’ve now been married to this man for half of my life.  Hard to believe!

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Swimming, Graduating, Bikes and Mustaches

5 Jun

So much has happened in the past couple weeks!

Where to begin!  There have been many challenges and many exciting things happen.

Since coming home from Philadelphia in April Joseph’s been getting some heavy duty therapy.  His favorite therapy days are swim days!  He’s getting brave…and wild!   One month of stretching and therapy has decreased Joseph’s leg contractures by about 10 degrees! (That’s a good thing!  His legs are not as bent as they were after his last sugery!)  His hips are more flexible too!  He is seeing results and that inspires him to  work hard.  One of his favorite things to say in therapy is, “I’ve got this!”  (A close second favorite saying is, “Be careful of the little fellows!” -talking about his feet/toes which are still suffering from messed up nerves. Today he said, “Be careful Horse-Feathers.”  Silly kid likes to entertain!)

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Abbie graduated from High School last Friday night.  My mom and two of my sisters were able to come and stay for a week! It was so much fun having them here.  My sisters enjoyed their first “Rodeo Graduation” with all the hollering and noise you’d expect in a rodeo arena.  (My mom knew what to expect, she and my dad were at Andrew’s graduation two years ago!)

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Meredith graduated from Jr. High and turned another year older last week.  It was a happy/sad graduation.  She went to a charter school here in our town and her small class all became very close.  Meredith and her friends will be going to different high schools next year.  I’m so thankful for the positive three years Meredith had at Vista.

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On the last day of school Joseph had a big surprise!  A group called Longview Ambucs gave Joseph a new bike that has hand pedals!  He has been on it every day, several times a day, since then.  Today after therapy we went to a park that has a walking trail.  He rode his bike for over a mile!  SAM_0557

(Joseph with the couple who delivered his bike to our house!)

Also, Joseph was promoted to 4th grade.

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They grow up so quickly!  ;)

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Yesterday we all went to another town and everyone except Joseph was fingerprinted for our homestudy. I love being able to check things off of our list!!  Next week we all go to the doctor’s for physicals. Then the week after that our social worker will come to our house for the house inspection and personal interviews.  It is awesome to see how God is providing as we need to pay for things!  I am so thankful.

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I have often heard from those adopting that things start to break and other “trials” come up when they commit to adopt.  We experienced that when we adopted Joseph, and we are experiencing it this time, too.  We are trusting God and know that just because something is hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it!  We appreciate your prayers.  –On the positive side, we will be getting a new air conditioner next week, our van has a new something-or-other, Ellie will soon be wisdom toothless, and Darrel will have 2 fixed (or pulled!) teeth…and God is good no matter what!  I am resting in that truth!!!

Back to School Three Weeks Before School’s Out

12 May

There was a time when I made this crazy statement:

I’d NEVER homeschool Joseph!

Guess what we’ve been doing for more than half of this school year!  :)  YEP.  Doing school from home/the hospital/Ronald McDonald House.  And, it’s not been too bad.

Last June Joseph had an evaluation done at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.  It was actually a “second opinion” after we had been told several times that there was nothing that we could do to straighten Joseph’s legs…and FOR SURE walking was out of the question.  We were told that he was fairly independent and mobile in the position he was in, so we should just wait and see if his scoliosis worsened then we could look into getting him a back brace or surgery.  That just didn’t seem good enough.  Darrel and I were just not ready to say, “Ok, let’s just do nothing.”  Joseph wasn’t either.

Before we went to Philadelphia we were told by several parents, and saw on many blogs, that there was a doctor that could do amazing things for kids with Arthrogryposis.   In June we met him and his team.  When he saw Joseph he was a little taken back.  Later on down the road I overheard this doctor tell another medical person that Joseph had the most extreme combined contractures in all of his lower joints that he has ever seen!  (Not particularly something any parent would want to hear!)  That was the first time he saw Joseph.

The last time he saw Joseph, after months of casting his legs, and several surgeries (some little ones and one big one) he told us, “When I first met Joseph I didn’t know where to start!  Now when I look at him I know what needs to be done next!”  (This IS something that any parent would want to hear!)

All that to say, Joseph and I have done a LOT of school work together this year.  We were in Philadelphia almost as much as we were home.  I watched him memorize the multiplication facts 1 – 12.  –He’s a rock star!  Seriously, he’s GOOD.  We did a BUNCH of reading.  We did a few more “projects” than either of us would have preferred.  And we both learned a little more patience.  I think.

I’ve learned that sometimes those things that I just really think I can’t do…or don’t want to do…are actually not so impossible after all.  God can even make them enjoyable, if we let Him.  Joseph’s verse he would repeat over and over when he was getting his legs stretched and recasted  was:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

Joseph strong man

As we start to wade through adoption paperwork for Vienna I am reminded of this verse quite often.  Seriously, when I had to find the ADDRESSES and DATES for everywhere Darrel and I have lived since we were eighteen years old I was crying out to the Lord.  Even those little “summer stays” between all of our training for missions.  CrAzY!!!   Darrel has moved 24 times and I have moved 20!!!  But, it is SOOO worth the work and I would do it all day if I had to, to get Vienna home!  (Oh wait, I DID do it all day!)  :)

I am thankful that God “lets” us do things we don’t think we want to do.  Like homeschooling.  I am also thankful that Joseph was able to go back to school this week, three weeks before the end of the school year to be with his friends and teachers before summer break.  :)

*Disclaimer:  During our time at Shriners Joseph had a tutor who helped us 2 hours each week and while we’ve been home but not able to go to school he has had a tutor who comes 4 hours a week…so I was getting some direction!  I am thankful that our school worked so nicely with us by giving me the work we needed to do!!

We Are Adopting Again!!!

7 May

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We’re super excited that we have been approved to

begin the process of adopting “Vienna”!

Please be in prayer as we do all of the necessary

paperwork and begin raising money to bring her home as quickly as possible!!

I am hoping to have the chance to give you more details soon.

I debated whether to wait to share her picture when I have more time, but I just couldn’t go to bed until I posted her picture!!

Isn’t she just adorable?

We Are Here! We Are Here!

5 May

Remember this picture?

(No, probably not because I didn’t either until I got on here!)

 It’s the last picture I posted before I took an unintentional “little” break from posting on this blog almost 2 years ago.

Joseph was so little and compact with his feet permanently wrapped around him.

A cuddly little ball of wiggly boy.

And lastly, SCHOOL!  Joseph and I have been doing school each weekday since about March.  He is starting to READ and is really good at Math.  Ok, honestly, he USUALLY does school at the table, but last Thursday we were having a big tree cut down in our yard, so he did school work and watched the guys work.

A lot has happened in almost two years.

 THIS is just one of the exciting things that Joseph has been working hard to do!

First pair of shoes See those legs?!!  Notice what position they’re in?!

See those awesome SHOES?  (Joseph’s first pair of shoes ever!!)

After about 4 months of serial castings, 1st surgery

(getting his casts changed two times a week for months, each time stretching his muscles!)

and 8 different tendon releases,

and really painful “bilateral femoral osteotomy” surgery on both legs,

and a CRAAZY cast for 6 more weeks

cow casts

plus weeks and weeks away from home,

I am happy to say, Joseph is on his way to having straighter legs

and like he told his new physical therapist today,

 his goal is to one day WALK!

Not only has Joseph been changing physically,

but he is changing and growing in every other way possible!

What a journey the past 2 1/2 years have been.

 What a privilege it is to see God heal the heart and body of our son.

SUMMER

3 Aug

Joseph has been home for almost 6 months now!  Half a YEAR!

In some ways it seems like it’s gone fast, but when I think back to the first month or two after we were home, it seems like almost a lifetime ago.   So many changes for Joseph, his brother and sisters and for us as parents.  To be honest, I do not think we were as prepared as we THOUGHT we were to bring home our “bouncing ‘baby’ boy”!!  We have been on a wild ride that seems to be slowing down a little each week.  Joseph has learned so much since he’s been home.  He is picking up English incredibly fast.  Each day he comes up with some word that I KNOW he didn’t know the day before…actually, probably LOTS of words each day.  He is learning that he can do things that he didn’t think he could do.   He is learning to trust his Pappa and Momma.  He loves to snuggle with his sisters and tease his big brother.

I believe that Joseph has found his cozy little spot in our family.

This summer has been filled with “firsts”.

New foods like CORN ON THE COB and WATERMELON!

New foods like CORN ON THE COB and WATERMELON!

Lots of walks around the neighborhood.

Lots of walks around the neighborhood.

Fishing!

Fishing!

First haircut at home.  (This picture was taken after a few "swipes"!)

First haircut at home. (This picture was taken after a few “swipes”!)  He was so nervous he was shaking!  I never realized how much trust it takes to let someone cut your hair!

Having his very own money for the first time ever!

Having his very own money for the first time ever!

AND buying his favorite candy with his own money!

AND buying his favorite candy with his own money!

Many trips to the ZOO!

Many trips to the ZOO!

Playing in his pool for the first time!

Playing in his pool for the first time!

Visiting a museum about South East Texas.

Visiting a museum about South East Texas.

Joseph's longest car ride ever.  Just ask him, it took TWENTY HOURS!  --On our way to Indiana!

Joseph’s longest car ride ever. Just ask him, it took TWENTY HOURS! –On our way to Indiana!

Joseph met and played with ALL of his Indiana cousins while we were there.  He remembered everyone's names right off.

Joseph met and played with ALL of his “Holland” cousins while we were there. He remembered everyone’s names right off.

Graduated to a BIG pool.   Joseph had lots of fun at Uncle Wil's pool.  (Notice all his flotation devices!  I didn't make him, that's how he felt safe!)  He was BRAVE getting in for the first time ever!

Graduated to a BIG pool. Joseph had lots of fun at Uncle Wil’s pool. (Notice all his flotation devices! I didn’t make him, that’s how he felt safe!) He was BRAVE getting in for the first time ever!

Watching 4th of July FiReWoRkS!!

Watching 4th of July FiReWoRkS!!

He waved his flag off and on all day!  At one point he was singing "Joseph, you are American!" to the tune of America!  :)

He waved his flag off and on all day! At one point he was singing “Joseph, you are American!” to the tune of America! :)

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY JOSEPH (and happy graduation to Andrew!) PARTY!!

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY JOSEPH (and happy graduation to Andrew!) PARTY!!

Joseph's special "welcome home" cake!  (He really wanted candles!)

Joseph’s special “welcome home” cake! (He really wanted candles!)  I just love his smile in this picture!  It took 8 years, but he finally got those candles!!!

Riding his new, perfect for him, plasma car.  (Or "bike" as he calls it.)  And being able to get WET...just for fun!!

Riding his new, perfect for him, plasma car. (Or “bike” as he calls it.) And being able to get WET…just for fun!!  (“Just for fun” is one of the new phrases he likes to say lately. — I like that phrase too, unless it’s the answer to, “WHY did you DO that?!!!!!” 

And lastly, SCHOOL!  Joseph and I have been doing school each weekday since about March.  He is starting to READ and is really good at Math.  Ok, honestly, he USUALLY does school at the table, but last Thursday we were having a big tree cut down in our yard, so he did school work and watched the guys work.

And then there’s SCHOOL!   Joseph and I have been doing school each weekday since about March. He is starting to READ and is really good at Math. Ok, honestly, he USUALLY does school at the table, but last Thursday we were having a big tree cut down in our yard, so he did school work while he watched the guys work.

Another BIG first that I didn’t get any pictures of was the DENTAL WORK that Joseph has had done!   It took many dentist and doctor visits before he was ok-ed for oral surgery.  (And almost just as many screaming fits.)  To make a long story short, he finally had surgery and all of his teeth fixed!  YAY!  He’s sporting some crowns and extra holes that will soon be seeing permanent teeth!   No more tooth pain!  Double YAY!!

Thanks so much for following along with us.   Joseph is a FUN and FUNNY kid.  I’m thankful that he is a part of our family!

Some upcoming things:  In the next few weeks, Joseph will be assessed to see where he fits into elementary school and will most likely begin going to the public school at the end of August.

August 15th we go to Shriners in Houston for Joseph to be fitted for a wheelchair.  He is super excited to be getting a chair he can “run” in.  :)

In the near-ish future we will be contacting the doctor at Shriners in Philadelphia to see what he says about Joseph’s Hall’s Contractures.  (New name for Arthrogryposis!  :) )   If the doctor is willing to see Joseph we may be making a trip there.   When we took Joseph to Houston, back in March, he was very traumatized and uncooperative so they were unable to get a good diagnosis/look at him.  At that time we were told there was nothing that can be done for his arms or legs.  (We are stretching his wrists at home.)  We would like to get a second opinion– for sure.   We are waiting until we feel that Joseph is ready for a long day of being “messed with” before we try that experience again!  Joseph HAS been telling us that he wants to walk, now, so we would really like to see if that is even a possibility.  (Until we were in Indiana and Joseph was around a lot of cousins, he had never mentioned walking.)  Now that he talks about it a lot and has bonded more with us, we feel the time is approaching.

Many more new “firsts” to come!

We appreciate your prayers!!

We Are Still Here

10 May

Do you ever procrastinate….and the longer you put it off the harder it is to do?!

I don’t.

Ok, well maybe sometimes.

Sorry I have not kept up with blogging.  If you are interested, I am on Facebook and have a page specifically for Joseph.  I find it a lot easier to quickly send little messages on there, right now.  Please let me know if you’d like to be added.

Some Highlights

We made a trip to Shriners Children’s Hospital in Houston in March and found out that Joseph has a very real and controlling fear of doctors/dentists.  It was a hard visit and looking back we wish we’d just waited until he was more bonded with us.  As far as what the doctors determined– NOT MUCH.  Joseph was very uncooperative, so even though it was an all day adventure, they were unable to tell us much at the end of the day.   What we DID hear was not easy to take.  We were basically told that there’s nothing that can be done with his legs/feet/hips and very little with his arms/hands.  Right now, his “therapy” is us stretching his wrists once or twice a day.  We will be getting a second opinion at a later time.

After Shriners Joseph started mentioning tooth pain.  So began our “Tooth Adventure”.  He went to two dentists and found out he will need a LOT of work done on his teeth.  Due to his extreme anxiety he will need to be sedated for the dentist to be able to work on him.  (And hopefully get it all done at one time.)  Next he needed to go to  his pediatrician to get released to be sedated.  The pediatrician will not ok him for sedation until he has his heart checked out….which has been unsuccessful so far, once again due to being uncooperative.  We will be going to a Pediatric Cardiologist in Dallas for another attempt at getting his heart checked out next Friday.   Of course, prayers would be appreciated.   We have one scared and wild little boy when we go to medical appointments, who knows that when he is biting/hitting/yelling that all stops and he can go home.   We need wisdom.

As far as home life goes….it’s going.  :)

Joseph is speaking SO much English and understands a lot of what we talk about.   Recently he has started talking a lot about what his life was like in “O-Kraine”.

Which reminds me, we found out a few days ago that the second little boy that we attempted to adopt has been adopted!!! He is now in a Ukrainian family!  I do not have any other details, but I am thankful that God provided him with a family…and that he was willing to be adopted.  God’s ways are best and I am thankful that He’s got it all under control!!

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Joseph is living a life of “firsts”.  It is fun to see him do new things.  Getting WET is always at the top of the list of fun things!  He also likes to help make cakes, play Memory (he’s good!!), tease his sisters, play the Wii and go for walks.   Each day Joseph and I do school together.   When he first came home he did NOT like us to read to him, but since I read to him during school each day he has come to enjoy it….although if HE gets to choose he picks the shortest books he can find!  (He’s no dummy!)  He  is starting to do Math facts by himself and knows most of the letters in the alphabet.  Joseph does not have much confidence yet and does not think he will ever be able to read, but I have no doubt he will be…and soon!  :)

Thanks for sticking with us!   We appreciate prayers.  :)

HOME SWEET HOME

27 Feb

WE ARE HOME!!

and boy does it feel good!

We had an extra long Valentine’s Day this year since we were traveling…

32 hours to be exact!  What a special gift we brought home with us!

I guess I will start from where I left off last time.  ;)

I believe  last time I wrote we were waiting for the 10 day wait to be over.   Wow, that feels like a lifetime ago!!  Well, believe it or not, it DID eventually end…we were doubtful it ever would!  haha!  During that wait we did a lot of “not much”!  It was super cold and snowy, with some warmer days mixed in, so we only ventured out with Joseph about once a day.  (Darrel would go out more often foraging for food, etc.)  Almost everyday Joseph would wake up and say, “Momma, (or Poppa) neyt outside.”  –He was very nervous and scared when we would venture outside of our little cocoon.

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Another reason we didn’t go out very many times a day was the struggle it was just getting outside!

Leaving our apartment

Leaving our apartment

At the elevator

At the elevator

In the elevator (too narrow for a wheel chair)

In the elevator (too narrow for a wheel chair)

Down some stairs (too narrow for wheel chair)

Down some stairs (too narrow for wheel chair)

Finally outside!

Finally outside!

Joseph’s favorite thing to do when we DID go out was take pictures.  We have a camera FULL of “machinas” (cars) and the Dnepro River!  When we were in the apartment his favorite thing was playing on the iPad or tablet.  He would not even want to take potty breaks or eat.    Since we have come home he has a time limit on his computer playing and has discovered so many things.  Each day Joseph has been with us we have seen him grow.  He was a VERY brave boy to come with us (that is another story I will tell another day) but EVERYthing we did was new to him.  So there was the fear of the unknown.  Stores were scary.  People staring at him made him uncomfortable. (I agree!)  Going from office to office was boring, yet unknown, so scary.  Food was strange.  (Even though we tried to feed him what the facilitators said he would like.)  And the list goes on.

playing in Ukraine

playing in Ukraine

We were finally able to continue on “finishing up” the adoption on February 1st.  On February 2nd we spent 17 hours getting Joseph’s new birth certificate in his home city, Donetsk.  That involved taking a 4 hour train ride there, driving around and going to some offices, touring the city for hours, going to a mall to wait for the train, and then the 4 hour train ride back to our original city.  It was a very long day! :)

In Joseph's birth city.

In Joseph’s birth city.

Monday, Feb. 4th Darrel and our facilitator went back to Donetsk to finish paperwork there.  Joseph and I stayed at the apartment and had the best day we had together up to that point.  :)   At the beginning of our time together Joseph could only relate with one person at a time.  So, when a Russian speaker was around that person was “it”.  Joseph would not only ignore Darrel and me, he would be mean, too.  When it was just the three of us then Darrel was next in line.  I was on the bottom rung!  Honestly, it was not much fun, but I tried to be the adult and realize that it was most likely because of how he had lived in his orphanage and the institution.   Each day got better and by the time we were on our way home he realized that I was not so bad after all.  Now that we are home things are going much, much better.  I think he is realizing that I love him and am not going to hurt him.   I think it has also helped that we are now in a family setting.  The world no longer solely revolves around what he wants.  :)

Tuesday, Feb. 5th we did more adoption related stuff and visited the orphanage for the last time.  It was pretty anti-climatic.  From January 18th when Joseph started living with us until Feb. 5th we had to go back to the orphanage three or four times.  Each time Joseph would get quiet and nervous, but never asked to go back or acted sad to leave.  The last time we went Joseph was aware that it would be his last time, but he did fine.  All of the school age kids were in school, but there were a few older boys around.  Joseph asked one of them to give Vlad a message for him.  (We don’t know what he said.)

Good bye orphanage!!

Good bye orphanage!!

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Our Embassy and medical appointments were scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of the next week.  We went Monday and all went fine.  It was nice to see the American flag waving at the Embassy!!  Tuesday we got ready to go to the medical appointment and were called with the news that the office was closed for the day, which meant we would need to go back on Wednesday instead.  We were pretty disappointed and felt sick that we had already gotten flights home for Wednesday morning.  We were able to move things around and get our flights changed to Thursday…for a price!

Our flights went from Kiev to Munich, then Munich to Houston.  We left our apartment around 3:30 am and arrived in Houston about 18 hours later–2 pm the same day!  It was nice to have only one layover and change planes once.  Joseph liked the little computers (of course) and played around with his and watched movies most of the longer flight.  He FINALLY decided to take a nap about a half hour before we landed!  During the entire trip he would ask every so often, “America?!”   It was a little anti-climatic landing and getting off the plane with him sleeping!  :)

Darrel’s parents and our kids all met us in the airport.  We had a WONDERFUL time on the ride home with our four other kids that we had missed so much!  Joseph played around for a few minutes, meowed and promptly fell asleep.  (The kids thought that was funny!)

So, now we are home and ready to rumble!  Joseph is learning so much and everything is an adventure.

Playing at the park after the kids got out of school.

Playing at the park after the kids got out of school.

Our littlest two.  They love playing together!

Our littlest two. They love playing together!

Helping Andrew blow some leaves!  (Trying to wind up the extension cord just like Andrew!)

Helping Andrew blow some leaves! (Trying to wind up the extension cord just like Andrew!)

Watching tv between two sisters, it doesn't get nicer than that!

Watching tv between two sisters, it doesn’t get nicer than that!

ORPHAN NO MORE!!!

27 Jan

ORPHAN NO MORE!!!

Here is what has been going on with us!
Our blog is not cooperating, so I am attempting to update a different way than I’ve tried before, so please be patient! :)

January 14 – left Texas

January 15 – arrived in Igor’s city after over 30 hours of travel

January 16 – had boys with us most of the day

January 17 – went to court. Complications. Rescheduled court for following Monday. The boys spent the rest of the day with us.

January 18 – picked up Igor after lunch and tried to pick up our other little one, but he would not come with us.

January 18-21 Igor stayed 24 hrs. a day with us until court.

January 21 – ADOPTED IGOR!!!!!! Stressful, emotion filled time
At court we were finally able to adopt Igor!!!!!! We will not give lots of details until he is home safe and sound with us. No way do we want anything jeopardized!! We were not allowed to adopt the other little boy we were hoping to adopt. I will tell you about it when we get home. We are very sad for his future. We have to trust that The Lord knows best.

Jan 21 – now. We are waiting for the 10 day wait to be over. (This ten day wait is mandated by court, and is a normal occurrence for all civil cases not just adoptions.) The wait ends on a Friday so we have been told that we will probably have to actually wait until the next Monday, Feb. 4th to begin doing paperwork to bring Igor home. We will do paperwork and other necessary things here in the city his orphanage is in, in his birth town, and also the capital of the country. All of that can take around ten days. SO, we should be home sometime around Feb. 15…if everything goes smoothly. Like I have said before, God has been preparing us to rely on Him and be patient. So, we will wait and see how it goes.

We are so thankful that God has allowed us to adopt Igor. We are also thankful that the orphanage has allowed us to keep him with us before the adoption, and during the wait. I am pretty sure this does not happen often. We are thankful that we are getting to know this sweet little boy now while we wait to go home. There is much to be thankful for!

I am looking forward to blogging openly about what we are experiencing here once we are home. Until then, thank you for your prayers. Our hope and trust is in God. Please pray that we would continue to depend on Him and not on ourselves.

Sent from my iPad

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