Monday, May 30, 2011

Just A Day In The Life

OMG!!! We woke up bright and early to go get Inna and the orphanage doctor to go into town to get the paperwork needed for court on her health. We drove in and the same few kids come out from God only knows where to greet us before we even get out of our car. Ken went in to meet with the director again and to let the doctor know we were here and ready to drive into town. Roc saw one older boy smoking and pointed it out to me and I thought out loud, I hope that wasn't Kens cigarette that he just threw. I hoped Ken would have put it out in the ashtray! So we see Ken coming out holding Inna and I asked him what he did with his cigarette. He said he stepped on it, why? I said good, I thought that the boys picked it up to smoke it. He started laughing and asked me where did I think the boys got their cigarettes from. I said I didn't know and he then told me that the doctor gave them his when he was done with them!!!!
There is one boy here around 12 or 13 and he had a green type lizard thingy?! He kept trying to stick a leaf in its mouth to eat. Then he started flicking his head to get him to open his mouth. He kept showing it to me and one time put it down on the sidewalk by me to see and hear me scream when the stupid thing would try running away. He thought that was the funniest thing. I wanted him to be more gentle with the poor thing but that was like trying to tell my kids to stop leaving socks outside by the trampoline, it just wasn't going to happen!!! Finally one of the boys who thinks he is "in charge" came and took it from him. This boy walks around like he is so rough and tough and cool.. The kids here have a pecking order with each other. It is a orphanage of about 70 special needs. Some more severe than the others but kids none the less that have no where to fit into society so this is just one place where they are placed. I see them talking to themselves, hitting each other for something to do, throwing rocks or branches at each other. It's sad because they have NOTHING else to do! Some boys and a few, I think 2, girls play soccer. I think they only have 1 ball. Roc has been playing with them on our visits, of course she has!!! The older, cooler, boys ignore her but the younger boys are very talkative with her. Finally when the "cool" boys see how much fun the others are having with her the chime in and give her the thumbs down when she blocks their shot. The dogs here are Unbelievable!!!! I cannot believe none of the kids have gotten bit the way they are handled. The kids are so rough with them! One dog started barking at us so a boy threw a rock at him and he cried. I got angry and said nyet! Inna was going to hit one of the dogs and I grabbed her hand and yelled at her. Showing her and the others that they have to be gentle with them! Inna has listened to me along with the others so far. At least when they see me around they know they better be nice to the dogs! I brought kid sunglasses along for whoever wanted them and they were putting them on the dog! Inna is infatuated with animals! The first day she wanted to show us the puppies. She brought us to a hole with a wood cover on it for shade. She counted three puppies and asked where the others were. She then brought us way out to the field to another hole with wood cover on top. No puppies there. The boy who was afraid to take candy from us the other day was there and explaining to our facilitator that the puppies were moved to where we had just come from. But Inna was demanding to know where the other two puppies where! It shows me a few things about Inna. 1. She knows her math. 2. She is resilient and determined to get what she wants. 3. She cares about animals......the girl is going to LOVE her new home!!!! Lots of four legged kids running around! I had a rough first week here, I am not going to lie. I knew Inna was transferred and I figured it would be to a special needs orphanage but it has been hard!! What happens to these kids?? How can I NOT remember these faces that are imbedded in my mind and heart? I know a lot of parents going through this say the EXACT same thing!! It weighs heavy on my heart. I wasn't prepared for the location we are at either. We are in the middle of nowhere it seems! We wanted something to do after our visit today so we drove to Moldova! Yup, leave it to us to come up with that one! We drove on these horrible, pot holed, down to crushed rock roads. Sometimes when the road would turn into just dirt it seemed to be smoother and wasn't bad, but then parts of the road would appear and we would be back to pot hole city! The roads would sometimes get really narrow too. We came up on the border crossing and asked it we could drive through. She didn't understand us so she called her supervisor. He spoke very little English but wanted to help us. He said he didn't think we could cross the border here but he kept calling on his phone to someone or someones. We kept telling him that it was okay and we could just turn around but he said wait, wait, wait, I'll find out. He saw Roc taking a photo and yelled and shook his finger at her! He repeated himself several times to Roc and we finally told her to put the camera away! He asked us to park until he could find the answer for us and as we were waiting a guy came pulling up with camouflage on. He spoke better English and asked why we wanted to go to Moldova? We/Ken said we just thought it would be kind of fun to step foot in another country as long as we are here. He looked at us funny and said you can visit Moldova, just not at this border. He was very nice to us as all the people here have been. Ken then asked if we could at least take a photo of the "welcome to Ukraine" sign!?! They said sure! haha! To funny! They must think we are nuts! Maybe we are, I don't know? Then about 15 miles outside of Balta a stranded car along with a cop and a few older women were in the street. We stopped and rolled down are window because the cop was kind of motioning us to pull over. He started speaking really fast in Russian and we said nyet, English. He said ENGLISH???? Then he kind of laughed to himself. He said Balta??? We said yes so he just got in our car?!?!?! Ken figured that he wanted a ride to work because his car broke down but Roc and I were like, what the heck is going on here???? After he got out he said "thank you very much" in perfect English!! I bet he practiced that all the way to Balta! The poor guy, what day he was having. His car breaks down on his way to work in the middle of nowhere and the only car for miles is full of Americans who don't speak Ukrainian or Russian!!!! And we thought we were having a rough day!!! hehehehehehe! Roc and I were doing scenes from dumb and dumber all day. Hey, here is a guy that looks like he needs a lift.......pick him up.......Mock Ing, Bird Ing. Okay, you have to watch the movie! Seriously, Roc and I were funny today! Hoping for court next week we shall see how it goes. God only knows!!!
The photos are from today in no particular order. I just downloaded them and they came out this way and at the top of the post. They are from the beautiful countryside and things we saw, the cop leaving are car and the few photos Roc did happen to get at the border!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 28

Well it has been a few days but we finally have internet connection. What can I say about the lst couple of days that do not bring tears to my eyes and make my heart sad? Well I can say our facilitator is GREAT!!! This is such a different experience from last summer. Our flight in was fine and we stayed in Amsterdam the first night. Never actually walked in Amsterdam and looked around but this time around we did just that. It was fun and interesting. A unique group of people make up the Netherlands and it is really a beautiful place. Then the following morning we were in Kiev met promptly by our facilitator and driver. We are staying with friends of our facilitator. We pay a small amount compared to if we were on our own plus their is always a home cooked meal waiting for us morning, noon and night!!!! We even had accordion music to listen to one evening before Dinner. How cool was that! We took the subway, walked and then found our bus to bring us to the WWII Museum one day which was fun and took most of the day. We decided to rent a car since we did not have to go all the way to Odessa. It was a good thing we did because I have no clue how we would have gotten to the orphanage twice a day without having to buy the actually taxi!!!!!!!! No trollies or reliable buses here!! Our facilitator made a few phone calls and sure enough, she knows someone that knows someone that has a 5 room house and would LOVE for us to stay with them! So once again, home cooked food all day long. Except this time mama got to enjoy the homemade wine they make with every meal if she chooses!!!LOL. We went to the Social Services to talk to some people there first and then came back later in the day to pick one of them up to go to the orphanage with us. The woman who came with us previously worked at the orphanage for 5 years before getting her job at Social Service. She told us a lot about the orphanage since she knew so much about it from working there. It is home to around 70 special needs kids ages 6 to 18. Some of the children are orphans, some are not. The town we are in is called Balta but we still have to drive about 1/2 hour or more to reach the orphanage. There are 3 orphanages in Balta, 2 in town and ours which is out of town.
This post will probably be long because I am going to tell you about where our girl has lived for the past 9 months.
We drove for what seemed like 1 hour on these roads that were full of pot holes like I have never seen before. I'm from Minnesota so I've seen a mean looking pot hole before but seriously, this was ridicules!!!!! Swerving back and fourth from one lane to the other, it was more like an amusement ride of some kind. We saw MANY horse and buggy's as this and walking are the main way of transportation out here in the villages. Then we turned onto a small dirt road that lead to the orphanage. Kids were outside doing different things. Once they saw the lady we were with they remembered here from working there and some of the kids came up to give her a hug and talk with her. She was very kind and really cared about these kids. She talked with them and asked how they were doing. It was a very nice thing to see. Then we went into a big room and people just started coming in to "witness" the first meeting. Our facilitator explained to them that we had met our little girl last year and played with her almost everyday. The head lady at the welfare place did ask us if we knew how special needs she was and how would we be able to take care of her and the three special needs we adopted last year. We told her that even though it does take more time bringing them to doctor or therapy appointments they are just as much or little work as our other kids. No biggie! She seemed okay with that answer. She did have more things in her file that we were not aware of but by no way would that or did that change our minds about her!!! She was ours and we were hers!
The older boys at the orphanage latched onto Ken right away. All the kids who saw us were following us.
There is no fence around this building. All the baby houses seemed to have fences around them. Where the lost boys are has a fence around it. No fence here. I'm not sure why they would need one anyway, there is NO PLACE to go! On the ride there I kept thinking what she must have been thinking driving all this way from the only home she has ever known. Were any other kids with her from her baby house or was it just her on this long journey. I was crying the whole way there on and off. Trying to tell myself its not going to help anyone with me crying! But then I would think of her all by herself and it made me sad and a little guilty that we could not get to her sooner somehow to make this not have had to happen to her. I knew she was scheduled for transfer in September but we just couldn't make it happen until now. Would she remember us? Would she remember Dani, Josh and Artem? There were a total of 6 or 7 people in the room but once our Inna walked in it felt like only her and I were in the room!!! I went down on my knees to make it easier for her and just kept saying her name over and over as I was hugging her. She looked out of sorts kind of, not the little girl I remembered with so much life and zest in her. She didn't remember us but was happy to see someone who obviously knew her. I pulled out the photo book I had from last summer with her playing with us and the kids and you could see in her eyes that it started clicking. She didn't want any other toys at that moment and just wanted to look at the photos. It then hit her, she said, through our facilitator, that she had thought where we were where did we go last year?!?! She really remembered Joshy and one of the caretakers that was in one of the photos from childrens day last year. She then got it. She pointed to me in the photo book and then touched my shoulder and said mama. She did the same for Ken then, pointed him out in the photo book and then touched his shoulder and said papa!!!! She remembered!!!! She doesn't get that she is coming home with us. She askes everyday if we will be back tomorrow. There is no one there that keeps the other kids away while we are visiting with Inna which is really okay with me. All these kids need attention and some loving! Once in a while Inna will get jealous and grab us and sit on our laps to show we are there for her, but that's her right now, its her turn to do that. She has waited far to long for a family and it's her turn now.
The kids are older, like I said, and most have issues. What exactly they are I'm not sure. I think a lot of people would just say its a place where a bunch of misfits live. But it is not that. It is so far from being that. These kids that live here don't see a lot of people. So we are something rare and special that has come through. They follow from a distance and watch. I offered one little boy candy who had been following us with Inna all day. He kept saying nyet every time. He saw the other kids take me up on my offer, but every time I asked he would shy away and said nyet. Finally after about 2 hours there I gave the last box of candy to a boy who took the box quickly to stand by a tree by himself hoping no one else would see he had the candy. They did and they all started going towards him to get some. The boy who would not take candy from me grabbed a few pieces from the boy walk away and started eating them. As he was eating and opening more to eat, he looked at me and said spasibo! If that alone does not change a person forever, I don't know what in life will! A lot of the older kids want so much to be next to us but are scared of us. The littler kids swarms us. One little boy was begging Ken that we should be his mama and papa! How can that one not change you???? Then there was the 12 year old girl who was being picked on another older girl. They both had special needs which were obvious. The way one would repeat things over and over and over and then talk to herself while the other one just laughed and laughed at her and also was talking to herself. It was just sad. So then I grabbed my hand lotion and big body spray out and had ALL the kids that were around come over to get some.....including the one girl who was being picked on. I showed them how good it smells and to rub the lotions all over. They loved it!!!
I needed a little breather so I asked Ken to try to keep their attention while I just walked to the end of the property and back. Well it was like a scene from Monty Python!!!! I would walk and knew they were following because I could here footsteps behind me. So I would stop and turn around and there was a group of about 6, 7 kids all behind a tree. So I would walk some more, stop, turn around and they would stop behind another tree!!! That was the only humor Ken and I got for the day. It was just so obvious I was not going to have any kind of breather/break!!!! So back I went to play and take pictures of the kids so they could see themselves on TV(camera) hehehehe! They loved it.
On the ride back to home I just broke down thinking what will happen to these kids? Why were they here? What would become of the kids that seemed mentally okay but maybe not physically? So many questions, so many thoughts, so many decisions. I just decided to let go and let God! I learned that long ago and now more than ever this is what I needed to do to get through this adoption. Once I get home I will do something to make a difference for these kids left behind! I am trying to connect with the people I need to connect with to make a difference.
After all the adoptions we have done I now know that I need to be doing something that will help all the kids left behind. I can no longer tell myself that I'm to busy or I have done my part. So I have started. Meeting people that will hopefully be able to help me help the kids. We are here for awhile longer and I will definitely be networking finding even more people to help me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waiting - May 25

Talk to the kids last night. Actually I stayed up all night searching for info on where we will be traveling to and the orphanage our little one was transferred to. The more I read the harder it was to get to sleep! So needless to say I was awake all night. It is definitely harder this time around because there are so many more kids at home telling me they miss me and when am I coming home and showing me notes and cards they made for me. Ugh, its not even been a week!!! Then I found out that when Lica was mowing she left the gate open. We have a big fenced back yard. Well there are five dogs, my 3 and the 2 brother puppies we bought grandpa from the shelter (another post). So they thought one of the puppies ran away but he was under the deck the whole time. I reminded Lica she has to check the gate so nobody gets out. We will be leaving around 3:00 to head for the region and hopefully get to give our big girl a huge HUG. I will get to wrap my arms around our little somebody that I haven't been able to do for 1 year!!! Cant wait! It wont be so hard saying good bye to the family we are staying with because I'm betting we will be back staying with them while doing embassy stuff!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

2ND DAY & APPT DAY - MAY 23, 2011

Our appointment with the SDA took only about 10 minuites! Nothing like the 2 hour appointment date we had last year. One of the head ladies that works at the SDA was walking in the hall as we were walking into the room to have a seat. She was very excited to see us again as she remembered Roc right away. Remember back in 2008, Ken and Roxana came here to try to hand in our dossier without a facilitator! This women has seen us almost every year for the last four years! She must think we are nuts or something but she gets a huge kick when she sees us again!
We are staying with a family that are good friends of our facilitator and I cannot tell you how kind they have been to us. They have three grown boys and a daughter who is 14 so Roc is in heaven. Their daughter speaks a little English but otherwise the two girls communicate by Google translate. They have been watching movies and funny videos on you-tube.
We found a few things out about our little one that we didn't know but we were not overly surprised by any of the new details. She has been transferred from where we saw her last so it will be interesting to say the least! Roc is out running around with our facilitator who is picking up homework from her daughter that is being sent by bus. We had lunch at TGIF after our appointment and then waited outside for the taxi driver that drove us to the SDA. Why were we waiting for THAT driver?........Roc left the camera in the car. So our facilitator made a call, not promising anything, to see if she could get the camera back. They found the camera but it would take a few hours because he had clients in his cab.
So that was our day today. So far so good. Kids are doing well at home as well. James wanted to know if we were done and coming home tomorrow!! He had a tough time last year with us gone so long. We promised him not this time, not that long!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Well the time has finally come. Three kids from two different countries are waiting for us to come bring them home! I said I wanted them all home by the end of June and it looks like that is just what is going to happen. Please pray for my kids staying behind. Family and friends holding down the fort while we are gone. And also all my four legged kids who will wonder where I am. It definitely gets harder to travel when we are leaving so many more kids at home! But SO worth it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

iPad Giveaway

Two of the cutest little twins I have ever met live in Eastern Europe, in an orphanage, waiting.
The great news is that they won't have to wait much longer!!! In just 3 weeks and 2 days they will be able to wrap those tiny little arms of theirs around there mama and papa for the first time!
As we all know, the cost of bringing these little ones home is crazy. So for the next 13 days Alex and Ray will be trying to raise some more funds to bring Max and Lena home. Please go check out their blog and read about this sweet family! They are so close and we can all help them with a donation, small or big, to show our support by clicking here. It will be two less orphans in the world and that is what this is all about!

MAX & LENA for the Darrow family–Hutto, TX

Ramon (Ray)and Amber (Alex) have been married 7 years. They are blessed with 3 biological kids. Their oldest Ian is almost 6. He is sensitive, intense and passionate about everything, and loves to take things apart and figure out how they work. Chava is almost 4. She loves gymnastics and taking careful care of her dolls, including regular diaper changes. Micah is almost 2. He loves whatever his older siblings are doing, but most of all he loves trains and helping mommy and daddy in the kitchen by stirring and tasting. Ray works in IT at Dell, Inc. Alex takes good care of the kids at home full time, and also is starting to homeschool Ian.

Ray and Alex were completely surprised when the pieces starting very quickly falling in to place to adopt. Alex had shown Ray a waiting child on RR that had caught her eye, when he surprisingly responded that they could consider adopting. After a week or two of much discussing and dreaming they formally started down the path to grow their family. They have felt a particular affinity to HIV+ kids, and look forward to bringing Max and Lena home where proper nutrition and medical care can make a world of difference in their prognosis.

5/4/11—APPT IS MAY 30

Follow the Darrow family's adoption journey on their blog at

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Like to WIN a DRR 300 ATV????

Well.....Remember Irina? This is her with her mama back in February.

You might remember this photo of her!
Anywho, the Allen's are bringing home another beauty. Her name is Addison. A lot of divine intervention has been happening for the Allen's to be able to bring little Addison home!
They have a awesome give away going on right now to help raise the remaining funds needed to bring their newest daughter home. Just click here to read about it.
Even if you can't give anything, please leave an encouraging comment and let them know your prayers are with them.

Something Fun

Casey Wiegand is a freelance artist. She sells the majority of her work through local galleries and her website. She loves doing commissions and loves to share her life through her blog. If you stop by you can expect pieces of her perspective on life, faith, kids, marriage...with touches of art, creative inspiration, projects and things she loves along the way.
Now meet her artwork:
Her paintings are AMAZING...
and you can find TONS of items to fit your style at her shop HERE.
Guess what! Today you will be entering to win a
$25 shop credit for one of her paintings!!!
{What a perfect Mother's Day gift for mama!}
To Enter:

1.Follow Casey Wiegand's INSPIRING blog HERE
2. Like Casey Wiegand's FB page HERE
3. Repost via twitter/blog/or facebook!
4. Follow The Shine Project
4 possible entries!

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.