Friday, November 16, 2012

Did I say barn burner???

Wow!  When I wrote a few posts back about this adoption going to be a barn burner, NEVER did I expect it to be like it has so far!!!  We have had lawyers, senators, media and USCIS officials involved in this one!!.............and we haven't even left the country!.........and they are all still following along with us to see what happens next!!  With all that is going on I started a new blog a few months ago that I will be sharing/making public once we return home.  Hope to be sharing some photos of a few more kiddos that have become part of our family in my next post!!!  As always, prayers and more prayers welcomed as we take this next step!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Story Behind The Face

The story of little man’s photo begins back in March.  We saw his picture on a friends FB page saying he needed a family.  A few emails later we began the process to bringing him home.  The time between that first March email and where we are today, one could say, has been interesting.  We were put in contact with a gentleman who lives in little man’s country.  He was the gentleman who would be able to give us the information needed to adopt.  Our facilitator told us not to worry that she has a way to still adopt little man.  During the next few months Mr. Gentleman continued to ask me questions on how the adoptions work in his country and really wanted us to use his lawyer friend.  I replied that a lawyer was not needed but thanks.  So now a few more months go by and I opened my email to find that the gentleman living in little man’s country sent me the info needed to adopt.  Then a few weeks ago I received a message from our FB friend asking if I had seen that little man was listed on a well-known ministry.   I immediately searched on my computer to see little man’s sweet face listed for adoption and not only that but in less than 24 hours of being listed as available he had already had a family committing to him!  What was I to do?  Knowing that the bottom line for ALL orphans is to find a family, were we, should we, back out (Like we did with 3 sisters in South America) and just let the new family continue working on bringing him home?  I mean after all, it would not be God that smashed their dreams.  It would not be the Devil that smashed their dreams.  It would be me, us, our family smashing their dreams. Or would it?  Some of you might be saying, well just contact the ministry advocating for little man and let them know you are in the middle of bringing him home.  Well, that is a little easier said than done because the ministries facilitation team does not think highly of us.  We adopted through this ministry in 2010 with much difficulty.  We went back in 2011 to adopt a little girl we met in the orphanage we were at.  She was listed on this ministries site.  We were NOT going to use this ministry but rather a totally independent facilitator.  Things got ugly in 2010 and again in 2011. So, was I was just supposed to email and say hey, it’s us, the family that questioned how you do things.  The family that your facilitators say HORIBLE things about.  Well we are in the process of stealing (ministries facilitator said “we were stealing HIS KIDS” when we went back in 2011) one of “your facilitators kids” again.  Yeah, we just wanted to let you know we are in the process of adopting little man.  Okay, I guess we could have done that.
A day after our FB friend wrote us about little man being listed; Mr. Gentleman wrote asking if we knew that a family was coming for little man.  He told us about the family that was coming for him and that it would be soon and does our facilitator know????  Okay.  I wrote Mr. Gentleman back asking how on earth he knew about the family as it had not been written publicly yet.  I let Mr. Gentleman know of what we thought of the ministry that little man’s info was in the hands of.  I asked Mr. Gentleman if we were now supposed to “race” this other family to little man and may the best family win??  Really?  Seriously?   I questioned Mr. Gentleman and apologized in my letter of what I was sure seemed angry.  I let Mr. Gentleman know that I was hurt.  I was angry.  I was confused.  How did this happen??? 
2 days after I wrote the letter to Mr. Gentleman, I received an email from the director of this ministry (1st shock).  It was a letter letting me know that when she first received the info on little man she did not know there was another family working on bringing him home because Mr. Gentleman did not tell her (2nd shock, did not know Mr. Gentleman was the source).  It was not until she listed him that Mr. Gentleman told her that there was another family working on bringing little man home.  I’m sure Mr. Gentleman shared our email that I wrote about our distrust with her ministry.  She wanted to know if we were indeed working on bringing him home and if yes, she would tell the other family to choose another child because she did not want 2 families working on the same child (3rd shock).  She also asked if we wanted to fundraise through her ministry (4th shock).  The reason I was shocked so many times is because of what we went through with these guys in the last few years.  It is because of the things I have heard and the things I have read from other families who have used them.  I admit, we seem to be having a trust issue here!  I wrote her back letting her know that yes, we were working on bringing him home and no we did not need to fund raise because we were fully funded thanks to adopting 3 kids last year and receiving our adoption tax credit.  I found it curious as to why she had so many questions for me like how far along were we, when did we file our USCIS, how did we file our USCIS.  Things I don’t know why she needed to know unless it really WAS a race between us and another family?  I politely told her that we just needed to update everything and hope to be there by his birthday and pray to have him home by his birthday but things happen with adoptions all the time that could delay the timeline.  I let her know that if we had any MAJOR delays we would let her know.  
So now that I filled you in on the story behind the photo, let me ask you guys.  Should I be worried?  Will little man be there when we get there?  I know there is ALWAYS the possibilities that the child gets adopted before you get there but I believe the possibility is now even larger.  I believe the other family is still working on bring little man home which they have every right to do.  I don’t like the fact that families do that to each other.  That is why we backed out in 2007 from adopting 3 sisters.  We are so far along with little man’s though that it is harder to back out.  I would love to know what you think!  I would love to hear from you.
I will be shutting my blog down right before we travel and not letting anyone know of our travel date for a number of reasons.  I will still be blogging but you will have to read about it once we return home.  We plan on being in out of country a bit longer than your normal adoption as we are working on some other things there as well.
Knowing how our adoptions go, I’m sure it will be a barn burner!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Here he is!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Best Kept Secrets Are Not Really Secrets

Well I have been trying to keep our next adventures under the radar so to speak.  But things got let out of the bag which I can explain in a future post.  But the big news is, we are adopting again!  I will update on the who's and where's when I have a little more time but for now I just wanted to let everyone know we are so close to making our family just a wee bit larger.  Please keep us in you thoughts and prayers as we try to finish up this journey we started in March.  Thanks everyone!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It has been a long time!

I really have been slacking when it comes to my poor blog! Not sure if anyone even still comes around much anymore. Okay, here goes. Update on the kids.
Lica - still working and playing her keyboard non stop! She has gone up to grandpas house for some short vacations. She loves visiting him. Its way up in the woods so it is sooooo quiet and peaceful. I always tease the kids and ask when will it be my turn for just me to go up there!?!?! She is a wonderful big sister to all her siblings unless of course they want to play her keyboard!!!
Roc - is studying all the time. It is getting closer for her to be picking out colleges. she has a few mission trips in the works that she wants me and Kaylee to go with. Roc is such a sweet sister to all her brothers and sisters and they all just LOVE her. She is searching for a part time job along with all the neighbors driveways that she shovels so she can save for all these trips she has planned.
Ingrid - can be a pain in the rear. Can you imagine? A 17 year old girl who just came out of an orphanage being a pain??? Well, imagine it because its true. She NEEDS the attention to be solely on her and her alone. She wants me to buy her 50 dollar jeans to wear to a dance. When I tell her no and she asks why I tell her because you don't wear jeans to a dance and if you want to wear jeans to a dance you have 5 pair at home!!! Then we get the silent treatment for days! Oh well. I guess I was not expecting I would be bringing home a princess!! LOL!
Joey - is a good kid! He loves Ingrid and would do anything for her. I feel bad for him sometimes as Ingrid knows how to play him and she does just that. He finds himself smack dab in the middle of some of situations that go on around here. He tries so hard to fit in with all of us and is having fun but when Ingrid sees this she puts a stop to it! If she is angry she needs Joey to be angry too. Joey is her unwilling partner in crime. He is stuck! He wants a mom and dad and family so bad so he takes up the slack for Ingrid also. I ask Ingrid what she put in her hair, was it a pony or clip or what is it that made it turn out so cute. She doesn't say a word so Joey runs down stairs to get what it was to show me. I tell him all the time he is a great kid and that he doesn't have to take care of Ingrid. It's been a tough adjustment with these two I can tell ya that much!
Inna - has many surgeries in her future. She started school and LOVES it!!! She is so proud of the things she brings home to show me. She is just now starting to feel what it is like to have a family. Everything about a family. She gets to stay living here forever. She has to follow the rules or there will be consequences. You shouldn't fight with your siblings because they will ALWAYS be your siblings. You shouldn't fight with your mom and dad because they will ALWAYS be your mom and dad. hehehe! She is getting it though!!!
Jerlin - has grown up so much this last year. She wants to help us make supper and then clean up. She wants to look nice for school where as before she could care less. She loves playing with Artem and teaching him signs. When we read her book at night she says some of the sweetest things to me!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this girl!
James - is another one that has grown. He has been a bit of the black sheep in the family. Never knowing where to fit in, getting in trouble at school. But he has changed quite a bit over the last 6 months. We got a handle on the homework thing, his chores, his attitude. He is turning into a different kid and we are ALL loving the change!
Charley - has picked up where James left off!!! hahahaha! Little turd!! I can't help it though. Even when he is being a poopy butt, I just love him!! It doesn't take much to get him on the right path again though. He is SO laid back it's unbelievable! Now if we could just get him to care if his pants are on inside out or not for school and his shirt is not on backwards we should be fine!
Kaylee - my sweet, full of attitude, beautiful Kaylee. She gets A's in school even though I have to hear EVERYDAY how she hates school. She absolutely ADORES Josh, Artem and Denis! She does not understand why everybody does not have a child with DS in their family! She loves her family and talks openly about her past and how blessed she is that we found her. I tell her WE are the blessed ones!!!! She hates getting up in the mornings and makes sure that everybody knows it. I can't even remember what my life was without her! How did I get through the day without one of her remarks (with attitude) that make me laugh and laugh!!! Yes, we definitely were the ones blessed!
Dani - has started her long list of surgery's. They took some skin off her chin but have many more procedures left. They put a balloon under her scalp and every week we go in so that they can fill it. Once they have stretched the tissue enough she goes in to have them pull it over the bald spot on her head. It's nasty and she loves to pull her bangs up and show us all just how nasty it looks. I will post pictures next time so you can see for yourself. Out of all my kids she definitely is the bravest. Never sheds a tear when any surgery or procedure is being done. She tells us that she wants to be pretty. We tell her she is already pretty though. She tells us she knows but she wants to be really pretty and not have these things on her face anymore. She is SOOO Sweet the way she talks in her little voice!
Joshy - loves school, the teachers, coming home, playing with the other kids, eating, tipping the chairs over, getting up early, early, early in the morning, getting his own snack after school, trying to make something to eat for supper if we are being to slow, playing the piano or keyboard (not Lica's!!!), watching sponge bob or wipeout on TV, irritating Artem, blowing his nose, taking a bath, brushing his get it. He LOVES everything!
Artem - is more reserved. He takes Josh's lead but only rarely starts anything himself. He does not like certain textures in his mouth and does not like to drink. He says and signs papa but will NOT say or sign mama! Little turkey. He comes over to me just to let me know papa is home. I say to him how about me, mama???? He just repeats papa again! Potty training is not going well for either of them but we just keep on keeping on! One day!
Denis - has arrived!!!! He is scooting around the floor getting into EVERYTHING! Opening and closing drawers, chasing the dogs and cats, pulling down dish towels, taking his shoes and socks off, singing in his crib till I fall asleep! He has gained close to 10 pounds since his heart surgery. I guess I was right when I kept telling the doctor that was giving him the growth hormones that it was his heart for the reason of him not growing. No, he is not on growth hormones anymore!!!
Ken and I are doing well, just a little tired!!!!!
So there ya have it! I have lots more to tell you but since I have the day off because I'm not feeling the greatest, I think I'll head on in and get a nap in before the whirlwind of kids start coming home from school!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Disability Rights International

We Need Your Help to Protect the Rights of Children with Disabilities Around the World

Dear DRI Supporters,

Several weeks ago, I visited a baby house in Eastern Europe. It houses about 130 infants and small children, a third of whom are children with disabilities. Most babies are eventually returned to their birth parents, put into foster care or are adopted. But not the babies with disabilities. They have nowhere to go. Among children with disabilities, almost 30% died last year.

I walked with trepidation into each dark room. In the middle of the day, not a sound. Not one child crying. They learn quickly that no one comes. One room after another, children with disabilities lay dying. Hydrocephalus and spina bifida are left untreated, despite the fact that the country has the means to care for these conditions. I was told that doctors will not perform surgery on children with disabilities who "have no future." And many die from lack of touch and love, despite adequate food and heat.

One six month old baby with hydrocephalus still haunts my dreams. The condition (caused by a buildup of spinal fluid in the head) can easily be corrected by the insertion of a shunt. But instead, this little boy had a "burst" -his head blew a hole from the pressure. He lay in his crib dying an agonizing death.

6 month old in Tblisi Baby House
6 month old boy whose head recently burst due to untreated hydrocephalus. Doctors expect the boy to die "anytime."

Millions of babies and children around the world are suffering the same fate-left to grow up in institutions without the hope of having a family. Many are denied medical care and left to die. We need to stop this. Segregation from society - or leaving children to die - is a fundamental violation of international human rights law and must not be tolerated in any society. That is why DRI is working towards the end of the institutionalization of children with disabilities worldwide.

This can change: doctors and societies need to understand the value and human rights of every human being's life; governments need to support families to keep their children with disabilities at home by providing financial support, inclusive education and respite care; and international donors, including the US government and the European Union, need to stop funding segregated services and more institutions to shut away children with disabilities. Children with disabilities have the right to grow up with a family and live as part of society - just like other children.

It's that simple.

DRI is training disability activists, educating international donors, getting the word out to the media, and holding governments accountable for human rights abuses worldwide. Please click here to make a contribution to support our work. We need your help. We really do.

Warmest regards and much love.

Laurie Ahern signature
Laurie Ahern,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera Kit GIVEAWAY!!!

Want a chance of winning a Nikon D3100? Well then this is the place to go to enter to win one. The best part is you will also be helping bring a sweet little 7 year old boy home to his forever family!!! A little boy who sits in a not so nice place waiting. He has waited 7 years! Please check out this fundraiser and give so that a little boy can be home for Christmas with his forever family. It really is a win win for everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Family Of 15!

And that is not counting our four legged kids!! Now who would have thought adding 2 teenagers to a house that already had 2 teenagers living in it would be anything but pure bliss????? I would have to say without a doubt that this has been the most challenging adoption adjustment period for all of us. As if adding a 16 year old girl who has lived in an orphanage for the past 9 years isn't enough for one to handle, we then bring along her 14 year brother who has lived in an orphanage since he was 5. It's been interesting to say the least.
It's the little things that I wasn't prepared for. The way neither of them want to wear warm cloths because they don't like them. I'm sure it's because they are not used to them coming from Colombia South America where it is summer all year long!!! They wont eat because they don't like the food. While in Colombia I told them that food was going to be a big adjustment for them because it really is different. Oh, just try bringing a 14 year old boy shopping for some cloths. I couldn't figure it out until I asked him if he EVER got to pick out cloths before?? Of course he hadnt, he lived in an orphanage where they just give you the cloths! I was just used to buying our newly adopted kids their cloths and putting food on the table and they ate it. Then to top it off I have Kaylee asking why she didnt just get to go pick out whatever she wanted to wear when she first came here! Really Kaylee??? You were 11! They are 14 and 16. Can't really dress them in Garanimals now can I! Oh, and by the way my dear Kaylee, I did bring you shopping and let YOU pick out what you liked!!! Ah, teenagers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Language, food, cloths, self esteem, rules, school, family, all of it is so much different when adopting an older child.
Other than all that I think things are going pretty well. If getting on the wrong bus after school, boys asking for phone numbers, thinking you don't have to do chores now that you have a mom, thinking one can play video games for hours on end and is the "American" thing to do, getting talked to by the assistant principle for not eating lunch and then when he is trying to explain to you why food is important you ignore him and he flips out, run in the bathroom crying because tata or mom try to explain rules, and sleeping on top of you covers so you don't have to make your bed in the morning are all considered things going well, then yes, things are going very well!!!!
All in all, they are home and this is where they want to be and where we want them to be. They are good kids and family is such a foreign thing to them. So sad. I just hope and pray that in the short time we have to raise them it will be enough. That they will "get" what a family is. That they will feel what a family is. That they will forever know that this family, their family, our family will be here for them always.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sometimes You Have To Let Go and Let God

Okay, I admit it. I like to be in complete control of my life. That is probably why I don't like to fly, actually HATE to fly. I can't stand driving with anyone. Kind of a perfectionist. Worry about anything and everything and I am not a optimist. Thank God that Ken on is extremely optimistic, very laid back and is a takes it as it comes kind of guy.
The last month has been a learning lesson for me. A lesson from God. A lesson I'm having a hard time learning. It started with my Kurbis losing her eye sight. Completely blind with a condition called SARDS.

She used to chase squirrels and watch them jump from tree to tree. Horse around with my other 2 four legged kids and she loved to watch TV! So to say I was feeling bad and sorry for her is an understatement. I had no control over it. I couldn't fix it for her and it made me feel horrible that I couldn't.
Then after getting a 2nd opinion for Denis and planning his heart surgery we postponed our trip to South America to pick up our kids.

We were supposed to leave the end of July. We had a date. But I had no control. Denis needed his surgery after one more heart scan and then a heart cath. It was a no brainer, but still I had to call 2 kids in South America and tell them they had to wait just a little bit longer.
About three weeks ago I called my dad to see how things were. My dad is EVERYTHING to me. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. he has been there for me when no one else has! I love, love, LOVE him. He told me he wasn't feeling well and for the next 2 weeks that was the answer he gave me when I asked. I went up there one weekend with Kaylee and Roc to clean, do laundry and try to get him to eat or drink. Why not go to the doctor you ask? Because he does not like doctors. I know, I know, who does. But he seriously does not like them. In all my years I never saw him go to a doctor. When he went to the dentist he never had Novocain for any work he was having done. Root canals, teeth pulled, cavities, nothing. Once he was side swiped by another car. He was brought to the hospital and left, with broken ribs and bruised all over. So Ken and Roc went up there last weekend making a stop at the hospital first. Ken asked what could be wrong by giving them the symptoms. They helped answer some questions and said he really should come in but if he was of sound mind there was nothing we could do. THREE hours is what it took Ken and Roxana to convince him to go in. He had not eaten or drank for 2 weeks. He was dehydrated, blood sugar was high which was making the kidneys work WAY to hard! UTI, High blood pressure and not a good looking gallbladder. After 5 days in the hospital Ken drove him back to our house so I could make sure he takes his medication. And NO, he does not make a good patient. Once again, no control. I didn't want my dad to be going through this and would change places with him in a second!!!
We have our appointment in South America next week so what better way to teach me that I have NO control than to have Denis go in for his heart cath and have problems with it. His first heart cath was cancelled and rescheduled for the following week. We brought him in and brought him home the same night. The next day he was feeling great. It was the next day after that though that things went down hill. He stopped eating and drinking, could not keep his eyes open and was running a small temp. Brought him in on Wednesday and Thursday the decision was made to do his heart surgery that day.

I'm actually glad it happened this way so I wouldn't have been worrying the weeks prior to him having to go in. He is doing wonderful! He is pink, not blue any longer! His eyes are bright white and he is warm to the touch. He always was cold and out of breath. He amazes me every time I look at him! He takes it all with no worry! A lesson I am still learning.
Kurbis is learning to live without seeing with help from my other 4 legged kids and all of us. Dad has a follow up doctor appointment next week. Denis may need a pacemaker. We will know more later in the week but he can live a long, long life with one. In fact his surgeon has one! And through all this I am learning to Let Go and Let GOD! If you think of us through out your day, please send a prayer up to the Big Guy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Long Overdue

Sorry, sorry, sorry! Every time I try to get a update of the kids post in, something comes up!!
We were supposed to be in Colombia on July 26. I think I emailed some of you that it was June 26 but that just goes to show you how busy we have been, I cant even get date right any longer!!! Anyway, it was July 26 but Denis needs his surgery done so we postponed getting the kids until September 26. That was not a phone call I wanted to make telling Ingrid we would be a little longer! She has already waited over 2 years for us and I was not sure how I was going to tell her or how she was going to take it. I should have known better! She told us that yes, she was upset but that her "brother" needed to have his surgery so that he could start growing and be healthy. I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am of her! Her only request is that we call her more. We already call once a week but we can certainly call more to let her know that we are for sure coming for her and her brother!
We brought Inna in for her first doctor appointment and after the first meeting the doctors seem to think she has Spina Bifida. Hmmm....I think a Ms. Leah told me thats what it sounded like!!! Obviously lots more doctor appointments are set up along with therapy for getting some of that muscle back in the lower part of her body. Between Denis and Inna I think I should maybe just rent a room at the hospital!! LOL!!
Nothing is going to stop that girl though, and I mean NOTHING! I cannot believe how she keeps right up with her siblings! Be it running up and down the stairs or playing outside on the trampoline or at the park on the jungle gym! I tell ya, the girl has got spunk!! Her favorite thing still are the animals! She love, love, LOVES them! She has been home 6 weeks and she knows all of our names, and when I say all I mean the animals too of course!!! Learning her ABC's and counting. Knows how to spell her name and say all body parts like nose, ear, arm, get it. She is still getting used to some of the foods and hates milk. She will drink it though when she is trying to wash down something she doesnt like to eat!! hahahaha! She loves tacos, any kind of pasta, chicken, baked beans fresh fruit and ice cream. Not big on any kind of beef or pork except hot dogs and really doesnt like bread. So all in all not bad! Her favorite thing to say for the last two weeks have been "come on mom"?!?! You know, can I have some more ice cream mom? No, thats enough. Come On Mom! Can I lay on the floor for another hour with the dogs instead of going to bed? No, time for bed. Come On Mom! Do I really have to go to the bathroom instead of playing? Yes Inna, go potty. Come On Mom! Silly girl! Oh how I love her!! She seems to be bonding with us but the U of M adoption clinic thinks it is a good idea that she not start school right away in fear she may bond with the teachers. Because she has spent so much time in the orphanage we thought we would keep her home a few more months before heading off to school all day. We are teaching her what she needs to learn and it also gives us more time to show her that this is home and we are her family forever! it may be a little hard for her to understand why all the other kids are heading out the door with backpacks and not her, but she will eventually get it. Here are some pictures of her with Jerlin who is 7 and Dani who is a small 5 year old. You can see how tiny Inna is at 9!! She will get there though. With the love of a family to help her along the way there will be no stopping her!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One Year

It has been busy around here the last couple of months. I went back to work so not a lot of time for blogging. But this post is our "home one year" post so I wanted to share how far the kids have grown and learned in a year. It has gone by fast and sometimes we think we haven't taught them enough but after looking at the before and after photos we can't get over just how far they have come.
Joshy - Still not potty trained but working on it. He really could care less unfortunately but that is how Josh is. He would rather be playing army with the boys or jumping on the trampoline, swinging, listen to music, playing the keyboard, watching sponge bob or wipeout, chewing on ANYTHING or eating! You get it. He really has no time for trying to learn to go potty!!! UGH!!! The boy has no fear and LOVES causing trouble for his teachers at school. Josh and Artem are in the same class room and Josh is BY FAR the instigator!! Artem follows Josh's lead in whatever he is up to. Not always a good thing either! He is healthy and had all his dental work done so he has a bunch of silver(stainless steel)in his mouth! The kids say he should be on a James Bond movie. But the most important thing is he is Happy! When he first saw Inna come through the door the two were inseparable! They remembered each other and it was obvious. They were in the same group at the baby house and I knew they played together all the time there but wasn't sure if they would remember. We were happy to see that they did and how well they play together today.

Dani - Dani is the boss of all the she thinks! hahaha! She eats very slow unless she LOVES the food, which is far and few between. She starts school this fall and that should be interesting. She absolutly LOVES Charley!!! I brought her and some of the other kids up to grandpas and after a day of being there I asked her if she wanted to call home and talk to the other kids. She did and talked with them and then Charley got on the phone. She started to talk to him and then started crying and telling him how much she missed him and if he missed her. Very sweet to see the bond between them. All we hear everyday is Charley this and Charley that, Charley, Charley, Charley! She is a very messy little girl and HATES keeping her room clean! In fact her favorite thing to do is change cloths 20 times a day and make a mess out of her room. She shares her room with Jerlin and Inna who are not all that happy with her fashion changes! More surgery for Dani is scheduled once we get home from South America. She wants her chin fixed up only because Charley pointed out to her that the doctors can and should fix it! I swear, if Charley told her she were 15 and was going into the 10th grade in the fall, she would believe it!! Now if we could just get Charles to start telling her some legitimate things we would be set!

Artem - What can I say about our Artem, the boy who I wasn't sure of. I LOVE him so much but honestly he is a stubborn one. He is almost potty trained and is very smart. He is just the little boy who HAS to have things HIS way in his OWN time! Frustrating! He is teaching ALL of us patience! He is very healthy which we are thankful for. He loves school and is a good boy there when he is away from Joshy!!! LOL!! He loves to dangle things and playing with Denis. He doesnt like to play army with the boys but has learned to love getting wet on the trampoline. He HATES brushing his teeth and drinking unless he comes in from a hot day of playing, then he comes in and drinks about four glasses of water. But he only drinks when he wants to drink and we are trying new and different ways of letting him know he needs to drink throughout the day. He is picky with food mostly because of the texture. But once we get it to where he will eat it look out! The boy will eat and eat and eat! He uses signs correctly unlike his brother Mr. Josh! I often wonder where Artem would be if we had not brought him home. How he would have survived. Josh is the one who if he is hungry will take Artems food and Artem just lets him. I would have thought it would have been the other way around when first meeting them. Artem is very laid back and knows he is home with his family. And for that I am SO SO happy!

Denis - The boy who started us even thinking of adopting a child with Down syndrome. I remember the day when I first saw his sweet face and talking with Ken about bringing him home. Then another family committed to him and I felt a hole in my heart. Then when he became available again I knew he was meant to be our son. If it were not for Denis, Josh and Artem would not be here. He has come so far in 1 year and I can NOT even think of where he would be today if he had not come home with us. Doctor after doctor have told us that we literally saved this little boys life. When you hear something like that it tends to go in one ear and out the other, at least for me it did. Then when I look at photos of him last year I think that maybe we really did save his life?! When we first met Denis he could not even hold his head up. He was always congested and I remember the caretakers telling us he hardly ever has a dirty diaper. It took us time when visiting him to get him to focus on us and things around him and that did not always work. I remember on a few visits how scared I was that he would never make it home. Today Denis LOVES to laugh in his crib around 10:30pm every night. This has been known to go on until the wee hours of the morning!! He is the happiest little boy I have ever met. Denis loves life! When we first started teaching Josh and Artem signs we never thought of showing Denis. Then one day when we were making supper Denis was signing "hungry"! After his first bowl of food he then signed "more"! Okay, the boy is a genius what else can I say!?!?!!!

Our lives have changed raising these kids and we wouldn't have it any other way. To be able to give them the love of a family and see the bond between all the kids is a feeling I cannot explain. How lucky are we???

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


How does one explain the emotions of leaving an orphan behind after returning home with your new son or daughter? It SUCKS! Their faces remain embedded in your thoughts constantly! You think about them, wonder what they are doing, what will become of them. Why you couldn't bring just one more home, or maybe even two. And if you did bring one or two home, what about the third or fourth. How do these children live out the rest of their lives? It goes on and on like that for me. I think to myself, what could I do once I get home that could change things for these kids, these motherless and fatherless kids. Kids who have nothing. Kids who are mentally or physically impaired. Once the kids leave the baby house, they live a life with no hope of a family to love them. These orphans live life that some of you cannot even imagine. I have seen it, other families have seen it.
When you live with these faces and questions running through your mind it almost becomes a mission for you to find a answer of how I, you, could help.
I am happy to say that I have found a answer. It is NOT the only answer but a GREAT start to my mission of finding a way to help the helpless.
Project TLC.
Project TLC is helping the children left behind. The children no one "picked". They have partnered with His Kids Too, an experienced, Christian charity recognized in the USA and Ukraine. When you donate to TLC it will be administered by His Kids Too! and are deductible as allowed by law. They occasionally work in concert with other Christian aid groups working in Crimea and are not officially connected to any other aid group or ministry.
It's easy. You can go here or here to learn more and GIVE! It doesn't have to be a lot, or it could be, but PLEASE give something! It is such a great cause.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh What A Day!

At 2:00pm June 10 standing in a real court room with a real judge and real judges chairs we became the parents of Inna Jean Fritz. This was the first time that the room we had court in was a real live court room. It had very old benches and chairs and stands. It was really cool! The judge sat in the middle on the tallest chair and two jurors sat on each side of her in the same exact but shorter chairs. The court lasted about 1 hour and then 1/2 later we stood as the judge reentered the room with her decision. After the judge was done reading her decision, she put her papers in a pile and started talking to us. She said how happy she was that Inna had a family and how wonderful we were for taking Inna and helping her. She said that she wished there were more people in the world like us. Then she started to cry along with the two jurors and she said she loved us. WOW! The hardest but also best part for me to hear was when the director was talking. First what she said, that broke my heart, was how she tried to convince the SDA and our facilitator for us not to come visit Inna. When the SDA called the director to make sure that this was where Inna was transferred to, the director told the SDA that we will not want this child that she has to much wrong with her. That we should not even come see her because it will be a wasted trip. The child is not a child to be adopted. It was then explained to the director that we already met the child last year and that we wanted to come. After she heard that she welcomed us to come. But the BEST part came when the director said this in court........When they arrived and were sitting in the room waiting for Inna to come in, I thought why are they here if they have met the child already and know what she is like. Why would they come for such a child. Then Inna walked in, Nance fell to her knees to grab and hug and kiss Inna. Nance pulled out a photo album of their family and Inna remembered the family as she saw the book of family photos from last year. I could not believe she would remember and I had tears in my eyes at the love I saw Inna get. I just could not understand it but it did not matter that I could not understand it because I knew right then that Inna's family had found her.
Her heart had been changed! She saw that we didn't look at Inna as a child with a HOST of problems but only as our daughter! Inna cannot write so she was in the court room to be asked if she wanted us as her mama and papa. Da was her answer. They asked her how old she was and when was her birthday but that was pretty much all. Inna started getting squirrely which I don't blame her, it was getting long for us too! After court we went and had a celebratory drink with our facilitator and went over a few things that will happen on our trip back after the waiting period. The three of us came home on June 11 and Ken and Roc will return on June 19/20 to bring our girl home.
Once Ken and Roc get home from Ukraine, Ken and I will travel to Chicago to get our visas for Colombia. You have to get visas when adopting from Colombia and you have to get them in person now!!!! Ugh!!!!!! We are hoping to leave around the 11th of July to go get our kids from South America.
And now, FINALLY, after 1 year of not being able to post our daughters photo, here she is.......


Inna in 2010

Inna 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Can You Imagine?

I'm sure all you adopting families out there know the thrill of choosing a child and then having the photo of your child linked to you. Linked to your blog so you can write about all the highs and lows of the months of paper chasing and all the emotions you are going through. Asking for prayers and getting feedback on all you are living. Even though there are no guarantees that your child will be available once you get to the country he or she is in, you still have peace of mind that nobody from the website can also "pick" your child.
Now lets pretend you chose a child and that was all the further it went. No link to show you are trying to adopt this particular child. No blog to share the journey with. In fact the child that you chose is still being advocated for to have a family come for them. Still on the list of available children that need a home.
Two things can happen with this scenario. First, the family who is working so hard on making the adoption a reality also has the added stress of wondering if another family in Canada or the US will chose "your" child to become part of their family. Second, if there is a "second" family working hard on making this child part of their family, someone, either family 1 or family 2 is going to be hurt and disappointed when the dream becomes just that, a dream. It's sad to think that this can happen especially when the people who are in "control" of the photos of the children KNOW. They know there is a family working hard and yet the child's photo remains where it has been for years......PLEASE ADOPT ME, I NEED A HOME AND I AM RUNNING OUT OT TIME. Yes, its sad that this can happen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do

We interrupt this blog site to let you know how and why we are blogging with old dates.
During this adoption our hands were tied. Tied in the fact that we could not be open about where we were, how far in the process we were, what city we were in, stuff like that. The reason will start unfolding in the next few posts as the rope around our wrists are loosened and we feel comfortable in sharing more. I wrote these blogs on the date it says, I just never posted them until now.
And I am writing this post today on Monday, June 27!
This post will always be on the top because of the date it was written, June 27th. So to continue reading about our journey to Inna you will need to read the post below this one.
Sorry for the inconvenience but it is what it is.
Now back to are previously read blog.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


A few weeks ago our translator helped us get a months worth of internet for about 12 bucks. So I am sitting here in the car on our way to Balta to visit our little sweetie! Yesterday while visiting Inna and the rest of the kids I was full of all kinds of emotion. I cant wait to see her face and pick her up to love her up but I also have a terrible time not doing that to all the kids. So what do I do? I do it to all the kids. Inna has us for the rest of her life, they don't.
This trip has been so different in many ways compared to last years venture. First its not a baby house but a orphanage for the "special" orphans. As children get older in any country the possibility for adoption for these kids fades. They really start to fade in this particular orphanage. They are older kids with special needs. Who wants them?
I have nothing but thoughts running through my head as we take these long drives back and forth from Balta to Kiev. We got a call yesterday telling us there was good news and bad news. Good news is interpol came, bad news is the SDA wanted one more paper that the mother had written stating she did not want Inna and that it was okay for her to be adopted. Well her mother had died a few years ago and our facilitator did not remember seeing that paper in her file. After some phone calls the paper was found but now it had to get to Kiev sooner rather than later so we could keep our court date for this Friday. So the orphanage director gave us the paper and we drove it to Kiev to give to our facilitator so she could give it to the SDA. If that's that kind of problems we have to deal with this time around....not a problem at all!!!
It's sad that we cant be more open about our journey but we cant, not yet.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hello Saturday

We had nothing but free time on our hands today. We are in Kiev because we have to be at the embassy on Monday for me to sign the I600 because I wont be coming back after court. Then we will head back down to Balta right after our appointment. So today we went to a few outdoor markets and bought a children's book for Inna to have when she gets older and a bunch of veggies for dinner tonight. We found a Domino's pizza and had lunch there along with 3 guys from Egypt! Then on the drive home we stopped and had the car washed. It was pretty dirty after all the driving we did and not all of the roads were paved so the poor car needed a bath. As soon as we walked in Ginea asked if we wanted to eat. They sure do like feeding us here!!! I miss Inna and the kids where she lives but I struggle with all the feelings I have after we drive away. The kids there are so sweet and precious and I worry and wonder about them. I cant even go there right now or I will be bawling again so lets talk about something else.
Our interpol hasn't cleared yet so we are hoping by Monday, Tuesday at the latest they have some news for us.Our facilitator also knows someone on the other end of the interpol once it leaves the SDA so we are working both sides to find it and speed it along to make sure we can have court on Friday. Oh, we got stopped by the police again!!! This time for driving on the white line when pulling out of the gas station. Our facilitator J was in the back seat pretending to be American. The cop wanted Ken to walk back to his car, J kept telling Ken no, stay in the car and tell them that the embassy told you to always stay with your car! The cop was just trying to get money off of us and did not want to do it in the open in front of all of us. Then V started pleading with him to let us go, in English of course, and that we had an appointment in Kiev. The poor cop was getting pretty frustrated with the whole situation and finally let us go. V told us what he was saying to his partner once we started to drive away and she just kept laughing. At one point there were two policemen there saying to each other, what English do you remember from school, try to remember something. To funny! We have been seeing lots of Ukraine that is for sure! It has been a journey of a life time!
The pictures are from Dominos and the deliver bikes, on the way to the orphanage and the kids dressing the dog with sunglasses. The social service building in Balta, A birds eye view of Kiev and Roc and Paul playing the accordion.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Anything but GROUNDHOGS DAY!

We have been busy! We rented a car to make things go faster and smoother and they have. It has also given us the opportunity to have the flexibility to do more things and go more places. We have seen LOTS of Ukraine and it has been fun! Roc had our facilitator watch the movie Dumb & Dumber with her. If you have not seen it beware, its dumb!!! This whole trip we have now been using excerpts from the movie to explain our journey. Like when Roman from childrens services needed a ride. Our facilitator told us that it was on the way back to Kiev so we gave him a ride. 11 hours later after getting to Kiev I showed our facilitator a map and asked her since when is here (where we drove Roman to) on the way to here (Kiev)?????? Dumb & Dumber line: Hey this guy looks like he needs a ride.......PICK HIM UP!! Needless to say we are having a lot of fun. We Skype the kids every chance we get and things are going well at home, thank God!
I wish I could be posting publicly/live but as some of you know that would be taking a risk of having Inna not come home with us. We want to be flying under the radar screen as much as possible. The team of facilitators that we used last year, one particular, does not care for us and he could, would, make life pretty unbearable for us if we let him! He has already warned our facilitator and its just better this way for Inna. I would be able to go on with life with my 10 soon to be 12 kids at home in America if that is how things turned out. But if I started blogging today then Inna's chance at a family would be jeopardized. So we are blogging this way for our Inna to be able to come home with us. Wow, and he says he does it for the children?! Really??? So for now we will continue doing our posts this way and once we are home you can read all about our journey. It has been so fun meeting new people, new friends that live here. We also have met friends of our new friends from other countries that are staying and visiting with this family. What an experience for us and I am glad Roxana is getting to do all of this with us. It will be special memories for her! Okay, I'm off to check my email to see if the embassy has gotten back to us. Pakah!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Same Thing Different Day

We are back in Kiev today, drove in last night around 11. Looked all over for a place to eat but everything closes up around 10. So we just came "home" and luckily had cheese and sandwich meat ready for us as we came through the door. Found out some sad news from home from one of my friends. Her little boy was in a lawn mower accident and is going through quite a lot of surgery's. Poor guy, his name is Blake and is 3 years old. If you could I'm sure they would appreciate some prayers sent their way. We are thinking court will be in a week and then we will come home during the 10 day waiting period. Found out that Inna has 5 older siblings, one who is 10, a brother, that is in foster care here. We don't think that will cause any kind of problem though but one never knows in Ukraine. I found out Jonah has a family coming for him!!! YEAH!!!! I took out my black bag that I carry to the orphanage. I was going to clean it out and bring just enough cloths for our one day trip back to Balta. When I took it out it smelled like the orphanage. It's such a different kind of smell. I don't like it at all!!! We are going to eat and then off on our 4 hour drive back to Balta. We will have a passenger joining us back to Kiev tomorrow (yes we are turning right around once we reach Balta to get some papers to be delivered back in Kiev). It's one of the workers from childrens welfare that needs a lift to somewhere, not sure where yet but he will let us know.

About Me

I married my high school sweetheart 26 years ago. Ken and I and have ten of the greatest kids from different parts of the world. We are hoping to bring a few more kiddos home! Throughout the years in our adoption journeys it has made us want to bring some kind of hope to these kids. This blog will hopefully allow us the opportunity to advocate for some of the orphans in the world. Join us in our journeys and the day to day happenings in raising 10 kids.....and counting.