Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Janna is facing eminent transfer

FACING EMINENT TRANSFER

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.


FACING EMINENT TRANSFER

Learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.
~Isaiah 1:17

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Has it really been a year?

Can you believe it?  Today we celebrate one year of freedom for the boys!  One year ago today we took the boys through the gates of the orphanage for the last time!  It has been crazy to look at the pictures of our time over there and see how much the boys have grown and matured!  They left skinny and scared little boys and have blossomed into mature young men!

To God be the Glory!!!!

Daniel then...


Leaving the orphanage forever...


And now...


Bohdan then...


Leaving the orphanage forever...


And now...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Some of Bohdan's friends are listed on Reece's Rainbow!!!!

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...

Troy









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!



Sammy


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.


Garrett


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!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Do you want to hear some wonderfully fantastic news?

Remember Stellan?


The precious boy I met in Daniel's room and blogged about here?


HE HAS A FAMILY!!!!!  I know, I know, exciting isn't it?!?!


It has been our constant prayer that Stellan, Janna, and Travis would be placed in families, not in mental institutions so you can imagine our joy!!!

After whispering in Stellan's ear that Jesus loves him and praying over him, it is a very blessed thing to see God send a family and to watch his family work to rescue him.

Also, this family lives just one state away from us, how amazing would that be to reunite Daniel and Stellan?!?!

So who are these amazing people adopting precious Stellan?  You can follow their blog here.



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What's that???

Oh that.....

That's just a young man who spent his first 6 years lying in a crib all day sedated and covered in urine in an orphanage...now TOTALLY ROCKING IT on his first try using the walker!!!!!

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Yes, we are still here

A few times every week I think to myself "I really need to update the blog"...and then the kids wake up...and life happens...

Even now I don't have a lot of time to write but I wanted to at least share some pictures and videos with you so you could see just how amazing the boys are doing!!!!  I'll take being a bad blogger over a being a bad mother...I am sure you all understand :-)









We have been doing so well!  It's crazy because we have had some of the hardest and darkest times of adjustments since I last wrote but we have also seen some of the biggest break-throughs too!

I think the videos of the boys speak for themselves:

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I mean can you stand all that cuteness?  And the progress...amazing, right?!?!

Thank you for your continued prayers and for being so patient waiting for updates :-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Long overdue update

I am taking advantage of a sick day to try to get a quick update finally done :-)  I wish I had a lot of time to write about everything that has been going on...but alas blog time is just not something I have a lot of.  I went back and read my last update "Life is never boring and God is always good" and much of our lives are still the same.  The doctor appointments have finally slowed down, allowing us to really get into homeschooling and working more with the boys at home (which honestly they respond to better anyway).

I won't lie, this has been a very rough few months for all of us, the honeymoon is certainly over, but like I said in my last update God is still so good.  Some days it is down right uuuugly, but we didn't expect it to be easy to undo years of neglect and trauma.  We didn't expect it to be easy on any of us.  It was a huge leap of faith to adopt all of our children and it's that faith and His promises that get us through the ugly of it all.  It was starting to get really bad and my mom suggested I read "1000 Gifts" and I am so grateful I did.  Counting the things I am grateful for has really helped change my attitude...and sadly, it needed some changin'.  I only mention all this because some days I felt like I was the only mom in the world that was struggling, going to bed crying because I felt so defeated, like such a failure, and so very exhausted.  Or that we were the only family having some serious adoption related issues and feeling lost all the time.  I just wonder if there is a mom reading this blog that feels alone too and needs to know that she is not alone and needs to hear that even though she feel lost in failure, she is a good mom.  We needed to get back to and remember why we adopted in the first place and it made a huge difference for us, so I write all this in case maybe you need to hear it too.

It has not all been a struggle, there has been a lot of good too.  Really even the struggles are good because they teach us the hard lessons and bring us closer together.  I wish I could go into detail about all the things we have done and all the growth we have seen in the boys, but I will have to keep it to short sentences.  But I hope you enjoy the pictures :-)


Before Daniel had surgery (which I mention below) he was really getting so much stronger.  I am so proud of Daniel that after months of working on it every day he was able to balance on his hands and knees without my support!





We had a very fun filled day at the pumpkin patch!







We took Daniel and Bohdan on their first camping trip.  They absolutely loved it!  It was such a nice little get away for all of us.



I think Daniel liked the roasted marshmallows most of all.












And you have never seen a kid more excited then Bohdan collecting pine cones.  








Kai and Ethan caught their first fish.  It was only bites for Emma, Bohdan, and Daniel but they had a great time.





The Balloon Fiesta is always fun.  Waking up early, bundling up and heading to the balloon park, eating breakfast burritos as the sun comes up, and watching hundreds of balloons go up.  The nice thing is that we can get right next to the balloons as they inflate.  Daniel thought the loud burners were hilarious.  He would wait for them to go off and then crack up.  Bohdan was fascinated by the balloons.  He still talks about how fun it was.
We celebrated Ethan's birthday at Peter Piper Pizza.  


Daniel had his surgery to lengthen the tendons in his inner thighs.  They cut the tendons and the hope is that as the tendons heal and grow back they will grow back longer as we keep his legs apart in a brace.  He has been in the brace since his surgery.  We have not had an x-ray yet so we are not sure it has helped keep his hips from dislocating.  But we have noticed a big difference.  Anytime Daniel gets excited or tries to do something with his legs his muscle instantly tighten, causing his legs to 'scissor' or cross.  This makes everything very difficult for him and as you can imagine makes changing his diapers very hard.  Now after surgery, his legs scissor only rarely.  For the most part they are parallel and when he is relaxed he can keep them apart.

The procedure itself was quick and he had very little pain.  We are praying the procedure will have been enough to re-align his hips so they do not have to go back in and break the bone and reshape it.  We are also praying that when he is able to bear weight on his legs he will be able to take steps easier without his legs crossing.  We are very grateful for the surgery, the only down side has been that all the strength he built before is pretty much gone.  Because he has been in the brace and healing, he has not been able to do much more than lay or sit.  We have a follow up early next month so hopefully he will be released to bear weight on his legs again.

Bohdan continues to amaze us with his English.  We are seeing slow but steady growth in development.  We are seeing more of the effects of the neglect, trauma, and institutionalization his past has caused.  It's heartbreaking...terribly heartbreaking.  He even told us he never wants to go back to Ukraine.  He is amazingly resilient though.  New concepts are hard for him to learn and it takes a lot of one on one time to homeschool him but he tries very hard.  Because learning does not come easily or naturally for him it is always so exciting when he masters a new concept!  The beautiful thing is that he loves hearing about and singing about God.  He struggles with a lot of things but every week he nails his scripture memory verse.  Coincidence????








We missed Bohdan losing his first tooth, but he lost his first tooth since being with us.














There have been more trips to the zoo...







And the Aquarium...









And Bohdan and Daniel saw their first movie in the theater.










I wonder if Daniel likes homeschool????
We are using My Father's World Kindergarten Curriculum.  I was worried that it would be too advanced for Ethan and Kai since they are only 4 but it's a good fit for them.  Because it is unit based, learning one letter a week really helps Bohdan learn English.  Some of the concepts are too advanced for Emma and Daniel but I have them sit in and participate in what they can.  For Daniel we have made some "toys" for him to help teach things like colors, sorting, shape, size, staking, etc...


Last week we learned I for Insect and we watched ants build tunnels everyday in our live ant hill.  Some days I wonder who has more fun, me or the kids?


Daniel got some AFOs.
And finally, we went down to the lake to see family for Thanksgiving.  As we reflected on and gave thanks for God's great blessings in our lives it was extra sweet to watch Daniel and Bohdan celebrate their first Thanksgiving.






We are especially thankful that we get to watch their lives change and grow.  To most of you who supported their adoption in any way, I wish you could see the changes in them 'in real life', it's truly amazing.  I am sorry you have to settle for watching it in pictures and blogs, but I hope you enjoy knowing that you played a big part in their lives!  And I apologize for taking so long to post.  I pray all of you are enjoying this Christmas season!



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