Did ya'll give up on ever seeing an update? I am so sorry! So many of you invested so much time and money into bringing the boys home, I should not have taken so long to post an update.
To be honest, it's been a rough year and I really did not know what to write. The years of abandonment/trauma/neglect/etc started to show in Bohdan's behavior and it has been the hardest and darkest year we have ever faced. It's been a struggle...that is putting it very lightly...but it's too hard to even write about. A thousand times I thought about updating but what do you say when you feel like you are so close to losing hope that things will ever be okay?
Books, therapies, strategies, modifications, social workers, doctors, and psychiatrists later we are FINALLY starting to see some progress. We are trying desperately to keep our family together and attached. Bohdan's neuropsychological evaluation placed Bohdan's cognitive, social, developmental, and emotional level at that of a 2-3 year old (he is 9 years old). His IQ is also extremely low. That has shed a lot of light on his behavior (besides his very traumatic past).
On to happier stuff...
There have been moments of joy and I am happy to share them with you.
Daniel started school. As a homeschool family, it was very humbling to realize that school (with all it's services) was the best place for Daniel. It was so hard to watch him leave on the bus (and some days still is) but he LOVES it. We wondered if it was a good decision and looking back now, it was. Developmentally, Daniel continues to make slow but steady progress. He says a few more words and he is CRAWLING! He continues to practice walking everyday and we have every confidence that eventually he will be able to walk with a walker for short distances.
I wish I could get some video of him to post but our computer just will not handle video anymore, but he is such a character. Honestly, meeting him today, you would never know the horrible past he came from! Praise God!
We continued to homeschool Bohdan, Ethan, Kai, and Emma. It was going well but Bohdan's behavior because so intense that on a call to our social worker she insisted we put him in school, mainly just for respite. It was such a deflating thing to hear and I fought it for a long time. Finally I gave in and we put him in school. Best decision ever! I think it gave us all just enough respite to try to repair all the brokeness in all of us because of Bohdan's past. Bohdan really does not like school (mainly because he does not like being challenged to learn or work) but it has allowed us to just focus on loving him and not teaching and that has helped in our mission to heal Bohdan. We continue to homeschool the 'littles' and love every minute of it!
The rest is mostly just pictures. I wish I had more to share but like I said it has been such a hard year, we have spent most of out time just trying to keep our family together and stable. In everything though, we praise God. It certainly has been a year of trials, but also of great well-learned lessons. We trust Him that through this we will be a more united and stronger family. We cling to the fact that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. And boy, do we love Him!
We know that there are many people that still pray for our family. We cannot thank you enough! Hope you enjoy the pictures :-)
One of our many camping trips.
The Zoo and Aquarium are always our favorite
WE WENT TO DISNEY WORLD AND SEA WORLD...truly the trip of a lifetime!!!!
Those are words that should never be written about a child. Especially one as frail, tender, and lovely as Janna.
Janna is living on borrowed time at the orphanage. She is 8 years old, which is years beyond when most kids get transferred to mental institutions.
I have never personally seen a mental institution in Eastern Europe, but the first hand accounts I have read about are horrendous. And those of you who have read about our Daniel know that a "laying room" is already horrible enough, if you wonder how it could get worse for a child you can read this post and this post or watch this documentary.
This is quite possibly Janna's last chance to have any life outside the bars of a crib. And I have no idea if she would even survive the inside of a mental institution. I wish I were exaggerating, sadly I don't think I am.
FACING EMINENT TRANSFER
I will never forget reaching slowly in her crib to touch her and watching her whole body flinch as if I were going to hit her. Could it be that she was so afraid of human contact? Once she accepted my touch it was as if I could feel her relief. I still, even a year later, struggle to find the words to articulate how she reacted to gentle touch. It was like her whole body melted in relief and appreciation. I still cry thinking of it. How could a child be so starved for affection?
You can read more about my time with Janna here but there is one thing I firmly believe, she would be a beautiful addition to someones family. I know it can be confusing and scary considering adopting a child with a more 'severe' special need. The last thing I want to do in this post is make it sound easy, it is not. But as I sit here and watch Daniel build a tower with blocks, I can say it is a journey worth taking. For any family considering adoption Janna (and please Father, may there be families) I want to tell you that despite her melancholy look in her pictures, I did see some spunk in her. She was eager to smile. She was eager for touch and attention. I never once saw her get upset. She had such a sweet and gentle disposition. When she was given a chance to move around she loved looking at herself in the mirror and found delight in it. She looks so frail, but she is stronger then she appears.
If anyone reading this feels even the tiniest desire or stirring in their soul to help this beautiful child, please pray about adopting her. Here is her profile on Reece's Rainbow and right now she has a $6,078.81 grant to help a family adopt her. I would be happy to talk more with anyone about her, just comment below. I have to approve comments so I will not make public any one's comment looking for more info on her.
Someone considering adopting her is, I believe, literally considering saving her life.
What sweet mansions and streets of gold this precious girl has waiting for her in heaven ~ "So the last will be first, and the first last" (Matthew 20:16) ~ but what an extra special blessing it would be for one of us to show her the Father's love here on earth.
Just as Daniel's roommates are listed on Reece's Rainbow... I am happy to share that some of Bohdan's roommates from his boarding school are now listed on Reece's Rainbow. When I talked to Bohdan about these boys he was so excited to see his friends and he wants them to get adopted and come to the U.S. too. So let me introduce you to...
You can read a little more about Troy on his Reece's Rainbow profile, but here is what I remember about him:
His profile says he is non-verbal and that is true, he did not talk at all while I was there. However he was extremely gentle, kind, and had a very sweet demeanor. I took bubbles one day and all the kids mobbed me wanting to play, Troy just stood there patiently smiling at me and waiting his turn. I don't think I ever saw him without a smile on his face. He would sit next to me at the table and would stare very sweetly at me and when I would make eye contact he would put his arms out to give me a hug. I do not know about his cognitive ability because I just did not get to spend enough time with him but he did understand the instructions he was given by his teacher and care taker at the boarding school with no problems, obeying them and following all their instructions (with a smile on his face). Physically he had no problems. I do not know if his lack of speech is due to trauma or an actual inability to form words. I will absolutely never forget how gentle and loving he was, he lives to be hugged and he loved what little one-on-one attention I was able to give him. He was so patient and kind to the other kids. A family would be blessed to have this precious boy as their son!
You can read a little more about Sammy on his Reece's Rainbow profile, but here is what I remember about him:
Sammy was one of the sweetest kids I had ever met. Always ready with a smile and a hug! I brought things for all the kids in his group and he waited so patiently for his turn and gave me a big hug after. He was very kind and gentle with all the other kids, especially the one girl in the group. He and the other boys in his group (Troy and Garrett) are very well loved by one of their care-takers and it shows. It is obvious that they have been taught manners and cooperation and they are very kind to one another. They are taught at least several days a week so do not let the diagnosis deceive you, they are fairly smart boys. They all have obvious delays but never had any problems following instructions and they understood everything they were told and all seemed to love to be helpful. When I show our son (who was adopted from this group) their pictures he remembers their names and tells me they were his friends. He told me he wants them to be adopted and to come to the U.S. How I pray that happens for Sammy and the other boys! Sammy is so sweet and innocent, I hate to see what will happen to him if he ages out of the orphanage.
You can read a little more about Garrett on his Reece's Rainbow profile, but here is what I remember about him:
I will always remember how sweet Garrett was. He was usually the first one to greet me with a hug when I visited. He was always so excited to show off for me. When the care-taker announced that they were all going outside he promptly put his shoes on and helped some of the other kids with their shoes as well. He and the other boys in his group (Troy and Sammy) are very well loved by one of their care-takers and it shows. It is obvious that they have been taught manners and cooperation and they are very kind to one another. They are taught at least several days a week so do not let the diagnosis deceive you, they are fairly smart boys. They all have obvious delays but never had any problems following instructions and they understood everything they were told and all seemed to love to be helpful. When I show our son (who was adopted from this group) their pictures he remembers their names and tells me they were his friends. He told me he wants them to be adopted and to come to the U.S. How I pray that happens for Garrett and the other boys! Garrett is so sweet and innocent, I hate to see what will happen to him if he ages out of the orphanage.
From left to right: boy, Garrett, boy, Troy, Sammy, and Bohdan
I would love to tell Bohdan that God has answered his prayers to send families for his friends. Let's bring these boys home!!!