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!


  1. You are an amazing mother and a true inspiration to me! HUG!

  2. Look what you've done! Those are not the same two boys you brought home. There is light and hope in their eyes! Your sacrifice saved them and I can not imagine how difficult those hard days must be, but thank you for making a difference in my life through your example.

  3. So happy to see them growing and blossoming.Thanks for the updates. You should never worry about being honest.Your right it's not all easy and people should know the road can be hard but in the end the rewards are so worth it.Hope you all have a wonderful and blessed christmas!~Amy

  4. the boys look awesome!! you are an amazeing family..well done!!

  5. Thank you for taking the time to update! Praise God for changed lives! I loved all the pictures as well. You have a beautiful family!

  6. I was just wondering about you all the other day! I LOVED the video! So great to see Daniel doing SO well & I love hearing Bohdan talk! :)

    Merry Christmas to you & your beautiful family!!

  7. So HAPPY to see an update!
    Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful family!
    I LOVE the the last photo of you and Daniel, he is such a handsome boy!

  8. Thanks for sharing - I was just wondering how the boys were doing last week. That last picture of Daniel looks like a different boy: the beautiful, flourishing face of redemption! Blessings on your family!

  9. Thank you for the update! Love seeing the pictures and hearing about the boys' progress :D

  10. Hi There!

    Is that the same boy you adopted just a few months ago! He looks so happy with you! Way to go!


  11. So Jeff just texted me from afar to tell me to read your blog. I just read it out loud to the kids:).

    I'll be praying for you, Daniel, that your legs get better. God is helping you. -Luke
    I liked you singing Christmas is here. I hope you feel better, Daniel. -Grace

    I really hope to meet all your new family soon. You are not alone in those feelings...God is good. Love you guys.

  12. I check on your blog almost every day. I say a prayer and hope that all is well. I think you should blog whenever you need to. Sometimes it helps to share the hard times but if it doesn't feel right for you then that's okay. Bohdan's talking is terrific. I am really impressed with that. Daniel looks great and I love seeing in a place where exploration and learning are encouraged. Your family is doing a great job together!

  13. Thank you so much for making my night!! You have an amazing family ~ God Bless You!

  14. Words fail me to express how amazing that video was! I know it's so hard right now. Just know that it will get easier and when you look back on this time you will have no regrets. Keep us updated when you can...These boys have stolen our hearts.

  15. I was so thrilled to see a new blog post on your family, and on the boys, too. I love your candor and the balance you bring in the midst of very hard things. I cannot imagine how hard it must be. Yet, the fruit of that laying down your lives is amazing. I am flabbergasted! Just look at Daniel and how far he has come! And Bohdan speaking so clearly in English! The happiness in all of the children! I am giving thanks to God right now for His amazing grace in bringing these little boys into your lives and blessing you and them...and us who get to share it with you. ~ Tharen

  16. You are such an amazing woman. I am in total awe that you would take all your children camping :) I like to think about how fun that would be but never do it. It is nice to read about your struggles. For someone who greatly admires people who adopt special needs kids, it is nice for me to hear that you are human and that it is a struggling, however a rewarding one. I wish you and your family a very joyful and blessed Christmas. And thanks for the update about your beautiful family.

  17. The boys do look so happy. You guys are doing great. Thanks for sharing with us. I so love reading about your family.

  18. God bless you all. The boys look so incredibly bright-eyed and happy. I cannot imagine what it takes just to get through each 'normal' day, let alone those days that have especially difficult trials, but God is clearly pouring out His graces upon you. Thank you for blessing us by sharing your life. What a wild and wonderful Christmas it will be!

    Judee in Iowa

  19. all simply shared with us miracles. What a blessing. Your family is amazing. I can't imagine how hard it all is for you and your husband but seeing your children all so happy is beautiful. The life and happiness in all of their eyes is overwhelming. God bless you all. Merry Christmas.

    Steph from Los Angeles

  20. Loved this update!! I just love your family in general. You don't know me, I've been silently following and praying since you committed to Daniel. I just wanted to comment though, because I have CP and had the same surgery (plus a few others-- including complete derotation osteotomies of both hips, not fun!) I remember my Mom's stories about having to wedge my legs open when changing me before surgery, sounds similar to Daniel. I'm excited for the improvment the surgery will hopefully give him-- it did for me! I'll be praying. You are a wonderful mother and speaking from experience, my mother is my hero for everything she for me even when it got really rough. Your children are blessed to have you.

  21. Dear Jamie,
    Thank you for the wonderful posting! You are so hard on yourself (I am, too!). If you were listening to a friend telling you about what she was going through, and it was exactly what your life is, I am sure that you would be much kinder to her than you are to yourself! Such is the case with us! We cut everyone else plenty of slack but are incredibly harsh on ourselves.
    By the way, a woman named Pam has featured Stellan, Travis, and Janna on her blog. She writes so tenderly, likening orphans to violets. Her kind words are such a contrast to the harsh speech all about us today. Here is a link to her posting:
    Stacy in Indiana

  22. You are doing so well. It is so hard to see the progress when you are so close and in the thick of it. I have kept my blog going for the last 5 years just so I can remind MYSELF how far we have come! Hugs and blessings this Christmas!

  23. I'm glad to see Daniel continuing to blossom and grow. The picture of him with marshmallows on his lips is priceless. And Bohdan's pinecones. What treasures! What a joy for him to be able to collect treasures!

    I will always be grateful for your courage and commitment to go and make Daniel your own.

  24. Hi again...I have just posted on my long-neglected blog, mentioning Daniel and advocating for another little boy with CP. Hoping the miracle will come to him too...and not only him...

    And wishing all of you a wonderful new year. Can't wait to see what it will bring for all of us.

  25. Hi. Please check out a blog about Selah, adopted child of Yvonne. She had a near drowning accident. They are having her on FISH OIL STUDY. And on fish oil she started to progress and recover. There where 6 other children in this study and all of them are better.
    Please check it out for Your precious children and Daniel especially.
    Just read about it please.

    And another link to a CNN story:

    And the link to the Brain Health Institute:

    Thank You :)

  26. Missing your periodic updates and praying for your family, the Joy of the Lord, His strength, His wisdom, and His courage.

  27. looking forward to some updates!

  28. Praying for you and your family. Hoping for an update when possible. God Bless. Steph in Los Angeles

  29. hope life is going well for you all - really miss updates and pictures of your darling boys! please update as soon as you can! prayers for daniel and bohdan and the rest of your family!!!! :-)

  30. How are all you dear folks? Just want you to know I'm thinking about you and my dear "Valentin."

  31. i wonder if you haven't posted because you tend to do such beautifully detailed posts that it takes such time...when truly, we would be happy just to even read a tiny update, it doesn't have to be thorough and full of amazing photos and videos everytime...regardless, i hold your family in good thoughts