Sunday, May 11, 2014

I love being a Mother...

Nate - my oldest son with his son - Noah - age 5

Lydia - my second child - with her child Jaxon - age 1 week

Jacob - age 7

Julia - age 6

Hannes - age 3

I am so grateful this Mother's Day... 

Five beautiful children 
two amazing grandchildren. 

 I am grateful to God that He has blessed me so abundantly. 

A big hug to Dianna and Jason 
for loving my two oldest children. 

 And my everlasting thankfulness 
to the two women 
who gave my two youngest children life. 

 I do not underestimate the pain you carry
it is a privilege beyond measure 
for them to know me as mom.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Year Ago Today...

We arrived home with Hannes...

It was the beginning of the rest of his life...

In the year since we have been 
home with Hannes

he has had his congenital birth defects

he is healthy now!


In his orphanage he was isolated in the infirmary
due to his heart defect

he spent most of his time in a crib...

this was for his benefit, so that he wouldn't get sick
by being around the other children...

So he has spent this year
catching up

learning to laugh

learning to play

learning to eat

living his life...


 one of the boys...



out and about in the real world...

or busy at home...

being a brother...

exploring this world...

gaining skills...

water... swimming... LOVE...

playgrounds!  sliding is fun!

Christmas with your sister
is fun!

It has been a wonderful year

We are so grateful you are in our lives...

Happy One Year home Hannes!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday Hannes!

Happy Birthday Mr. Hannes!

You are 3 today...

Our little Ukrainian Leprechaun!!

Born on St. Patrick's Day

 You have come a long way in the last year...

You didn't use to like touching anything remotely "icky"

and tonight you made a BIG mess with the 
cake and frosting...

still wouldn't eat it,
but we are thinking maybe next year!

Last year Daddy was with you, 
 Mommy had gone home but was traveling back to you

This year we were all together
your first birthday at home!

 We have LOVED this year with you Hannes
and we look forward to many, many more!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday Julia!!

 It's hard to believe
that our princess is

You are our
full of life
little girl
and we are so glad
to have you
in our 

And for a special birthday surprise...

Captain America came to visit!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy Adoption Day Hannes Ruslan!!

A year ago on March 6
a judge declared
that Hannes
was our son.

So much we have been through
this year -

Hannes has had open heart surgery
to repair his congenital heart defect
which turned out to be 
just a bit more than we had anticipated...

Hannes has had many months of 
Physical Therapy
Occupational Therapy
Feeding Therapy
Speech Therapy
Pediatric Cardiology appointments
Pediatric Urology appointments
Pediatric Dentist appointment...
Urological surgery to correct a 
congenital defect
which turned out to be 
just a bit more than we had anticipated...

But through it all
he has grown -
5 inches
5 pounds -
and he has
advanced a year in his 
cognitive functions
and he is slowly learning
what a family is
what love is
what security is
what fun is
exploring his world
exploring relationships
figuring out how to love...
a year ago
he was an orphan
but this year
he is loved and cherished
a son
a brother
a nephew
a grandson
he has a place in the world
he belongs
and we love him so!

Happy Adoption Day Hannes Ruslan!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Happy Adoption Day Julia Babes!!

Two Years!!

Two years ago today we adopted Julia!

Those two years have gone by fast!

Julia has grown!
She wore a 2T when she came home
she is now in size girls size 6x!

She was a bit shy and wasn't sure what it meant to be in a family
today she is filled with joy and sass and loves being in a family
she is an older sister, a younger sister, and an aunt!

She is confident and learning
gaining control over her emotions 
and her wiggles
long enough to color and learn
numbers and letters and sounds and all
she loves to have books read to her 
as she grows she understands more and more
about the beginning of her life
and has questions 
and tears
and anger
and sorrow
and longing
It isn't easy
this redeeming a life
but God is with us
giving us what we need
when we need it
and we are filled with Joy!
Happy Adoption Day
We love you!!
The judge who granted our adoption holding Julia - February 28, 2012

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eleven Months!

Hannes has been home for 11 months now...

Last year at this time we were still waiting for our court date.  

We had met him on February 13
and we visited him 
every day, 
twice a day...
We were getting to know him
it was amazing 
and fun
and hard,
very hard. 
We weren't his parents yet
but we were going to be his parents
and that in-between was 
fun and difficult.

And now, nearly a year has gone by...

He is blooming!

He seems to have exploded in his learning this last month.

He is playing much more purposefully with his toys

He recently began sitting still for a time
(we actually finished a meal at a restaurant!!)

He has learned that cuddles are nice and will come to get cuddles now

He gives hugs and kisses - in response to a request and a few times he has initiated it!

He will come when we call him (so he knows his name)

He will stop what he's doing if we say no
(well, he is 2, so most times he will listen)
He is beginning to prefer us to others

He interacts with his brother and sister - entering into their play

He has learned slowly, but steadily over the past 11 months
and we are so in love with him...

 Like Father, Like Son...        
In one month, he will have been home for a year!  

What a year it has been...