Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New yuri pics

And they are SO cute!! He has grown up so much.

Check out Michelle's blog for the latest dose of cuteness!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Connecting the Rainbow

4 years ago today this beautiful baby was born. He was born with something extra special, a third 21st chromosome. Learning your baby has Down's Syndrome is a crushing blow and I can't imagine with that information coming the recommendation to give that beautiful baby up. To hear how they are worthless, how they will never amount to anything and will only make your life, which is already difficult to say the least, harder. To hear that there is almost no choice in keeping the baby that you carried inside you for 9 months. I don't know what exactly happened when Bohdan was born but I can't imagine that it was easy for his parents to give him up.

We are so blessed in America so have the support systems that we have in place for those with special needs. There is so much we take for granted here like... handicap ramps and parking,  our support groups like the Down's Syndrome Associations, the readily available therapies such as Early Intervention not to mention how it is not a rare thing to see those with a special need out in public. Where Bohdan is from none of these things are true. There aren't ramps at the end of the sidewalks, and you never see anyone with a special need out in public. Not to mention the fact that life is very hard there. Many parents struggle to feed their children and give them to the orphanage just so they know their children will get fed. Can you imagine making that choice?

So why am I telling you this? One thing I LOVE about Reece's Rainbow is that they not only strive to find homes for children with special needs in these countries but they travel to Bohdan's country every year to educate and teach people about DS. The more information this country has the more easily they will be able to set up support systems which will allow more children with SN to stay with their families in their own country. How cool is that!!

By giving to Reece's Rainbow Voice of Hope fund you are helping to Connect the Rainbow. Please consider this this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hodge Podge

As I was going through my pics looking for the pics I had taken of Shawna and Lindsay in the orphanage I came across this pic of Bohdan. This was less than a year ago. Look at how small he was!! I digress.

I have GREAT news!! Remeber Lindsay and Shawna from the boy's orphanage? Well their Momma and Daddy are getting ready to head over there to meet them. Their SDA appoinment is the 14th of December. Here is their blog if you want to follow along. http://livingonhopeandprayers.blogspot.com/
Please pray for them.

I got to spend just a little bit of time with these girls and let me tell you, they are precious! Shawna is such a HAM!! She just kept posing for the pics and smiling and smiling!! I'm so excited to see these girls come home!

This is Valentin. He was transfered to the boy's room a few days before we busted the boys out. His family is on their way to go get him. Their SDA appointment is December 22. I'm so exctied to see another child get out of  THAT room. If you would liketo follow along as his family travels to him here is the blog. http://www.findingthea.blogspot.com/

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful! I hope you all had a great one as well. I didn't get any good pics though. We have had some new developments though...... Drum roll please!!!!
Caius is eating ALL his food by mouth!!! Thank you Jesus!
Bohdan is pulling up to stand on EVERYTHING!
Caius is also pulling up to stand but is still crawling like a frog.
Bohdan is doing better about quad crawling and is building up his muscles. Which is why his pulling up is such a BIG deal. He doesn't have trunk muscles to support himself but he is working on it!!
Now we are working on both of them drinking liquids! Bohdan refuses to hold his own cup.

Ok I know this is supposed to be a blog about the babies but... Look at this pic! Josh and I got away last minute for a weekend so we went to Wolf Creek, Colorado and it was amazing!! The conditions were fabulous and we even remembered how to board even though we hadn't been on our boards for 8 years!! It was such a blessing to spend a few days alone with the love of my life!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bohdan Bruce

This is a post all about Mr. Bohdan. He is doing fabulous! He weighs a whopping 22 pounds!! (13 pounds in January). He is drinking from a sippy cup (I have to hold it tho). He gets all his calories from a spoon. He can stand with his braces on. He is quad crawling a lot! He loves to play and snuggle. He gives bunch of kisses and if you are doing dishes he will come and hug your leg unexpectedly. He is so precious!!

Weird thing he does is he fusses when we back into the driveway. I can back up and he just cries and cries, then I will pull forward and he stops, back up and he cries and cries. Then he will stop and put his arms up to get out of the car. (I dunno) Then the other wierd thing he does is he falls to pieces when a door shuts. Granted he goes through the house and shuts any door he wants but if anyone else does it is the end of the world. His bottom lip comes out, he burries his head in hands on the floor and sobs. We thought it was the noise but its not. The same thing happens if a door is quietly shut. We thought is was someone leaving but it's not. He can watch us walk to the door open it and shut it and he will fall to pieces. Only thing we can come up with is that he wants to GO!! He watches the doors and if they are cracked he makes a beeline for them, opens them and is gone. Through the back door he goes out to sit on the porch. Through the front door he goes out makes his way down the driveway then turns and heads down the side walk. He'll watch us watching him and it doesn't bother him as long as he is GOING! Too funny.

 Mr. Hollywood

 Blue Steel!!

 Kisses? Anyone?

 Is he not a gorgeous child? What a doll!!

 CHEESE!!!! Mr. Personality!!

 Green is a great color on him.

 When he first came home he couldn't sit up... now he is quad crawling, not army crawling, everywhere!! Now he is working on standing and building up his trunk muscles.

 He is SO handsome with his hair did.

 Helping with laundry.

 He LOVES watching the dryer at point blank range.

The twins fishing. Notice the fishing pole in Caius' hand. Bohdan was luring in the fish by throwing matchbox cars in the lake.

 This is huge. Bohdan had never gone out on the grass. If I set him in it, he lifted his feet and fussed at me. Lately he has been going out on the back porch to just sit and watch the backyard. Then all of a sudden he got brave and took off out through the yard. If you will notice he is bare foot with shorts!! This pic was taken on the side of the house furthest from the porch. I'm SO proud of him.

 And just in case you've forgot how far he has come..... This was less than a year ago. I remember I would have to prop him up on the couch because he didn't have the muscle to hold himself up. Thank you Lord Jesus for rescuing this angel!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Turn about is fair play

Thank you so much for your comments. They made me cry. I can't tell you how much all your warm wishes and encouragment has helped me. I treasure you all!

On another note, Michelle just shared with me the coolest thing and a need that I thought I would share with ya'll. Michelle and some other Momma's that had adopted children from the same baby house got together to bless the children left behind. They wanted to send a Christmas box to each child in the baby house. Well the response to this was overwhelming!!! They got more than twice as many boxes than they had requested, enough to give Christmas boxes to every child in 3 different orphanges!! Praise God!!

Now they face the issue of raising the funds to mail these boxes overseas. They are sending them by boat so they need to get these out by November 7th. I think they only need $800 more to get this done. If you think this might be something you could help with please visit operationchristmasinnikolaev.blogspot.com.

Cool thing is that these Momma's are super organized and they set it up where any gift of $25 or more is tax deductible.

Anywho I will leave you with Bohdan's new thing.....

He loves giving kisses! He think it solves everything too. If we get on to him for something he will look at us and then pucker up like "you can't be upset with this face, can you?".

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The story you have been waiting for.

Sorry about the placement of pics. I am having super trouble with my blog. Also, Dianne you will need a kleenex.

So if you are a Christian I'm sure you have heard the saying "following Christ is hard." I heard this growing  up my whole life. Having been raised in a legalistic church that saying always had to do with the choice between right and wrong. Now that I am a grown up (shhh, don't tell anyone) those words mean something completely different to me. Yes, sometimes following Christ is hard but for different reasons.

I feel like the Lord has taken us on a roller coaster journey these last couple of years. We didn't have to get on. We didn't have to say Yes but we did. Was it hard? ummm Yea! Was it heart breaking at times? Yea!! Did it hurt? Was I scared? Did I have doubts? YES, YES, YES... Can I see God's hand in all of this? Now....Yes. Is it rewarding? Absolutely. Would I do it again (say yes to a calling)? I certainly hope so.

So here is the story.....
Caius at 5 months, after 1st open heart surgery before G-tube
Caius was born Oct. 09. We were surprised to learn that he had Trisomy 21 and a MAJOR heart defect. We lived with congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension for 3 months. We spent most of those 3 months in different hospitals having to take 2 ambulance rides when things got really bad. It was during this time God planted the seed. A woman who I had never met came to visit us in the hospital from the local DS association. She shared with me that she had adopted a child with DS internationally through Reece's Rainbow. That was the first time I had heard about RR.

By chance, I started following Adeye's blog when she was bringing her girls home and also Lorraine's blog while Chrissie was in the hospital. I was just in awe of these two women, their faith and their strength. Josh and I had spoken about adopting but it was always in the future and never for sure.

Josh took me out on a date one night but since I was still pumping to give Caius breast milk and he was allergic to everything there was nothing I could eat (or drink for that matter) so we sat at the bar in the restaurant so we didn't take up a server's table (yes I was a waitress through college). Now God wouldn't talk to us while sitting at a bar, right? Oh let me tell you He can and He did. There were TVs everywhere and the largest screen had an expose on the orphan crisis in Haiti. Josh and I are reading the subtitles (the volume was off) and I'm balling my guts out. I look at Josh through my tears and say "God's funny huh?" Josh replied, "He sure is persistent." That was all that was said.

When Chrissie went to be with Jesus we attended her funeral. It was on the way there when I prayed a prayer that I remembered Lorraine saying she prayed. I prayed that my heart would break over what breaks God's heart. I feel this is an extreme prayer in today's society because we (me) are so desensitized to terrible, terrible things going on around us. I mean I would cry over Animal Planets Houston SPCA show but not over starving and dying children. hmm... Nothing miraculous happened after that, in fact the Lord didn't speak to me again about it until a few weeks later.
Adeye's pic of Yuri in orphanage

He did again through the famed "I left my heart there" post by Adeye. We were watching a show and I was surfing the web. I started crying as I read the post. I asked Josh to turn off the TV so I could read it to him. There we were balling our way through this post. We would stop and pray about what to do because the information was just too much to handle. I felt God tell me to ask Josh if we can adopt these boys. In my head I told God, "no, I'm not gonna ask cuz he will say no and then that is it, I won't be able to ask again. If I don't ask the possibility is still there."

Adeye's pic of Bohdan in orphanage

We read on. God told me to ask Josh again. I told God, no for the same reason. Two more times this happened and I finally gave in and asked. I wasn't completely obedient though. I asked Josh if we could fill out the paperwork to see if we were qualified to adopt. To my surprise he said "Yes."

The next day I called RR. I explained our situation about Caius and how he had another heart surgery coming up in a few months to completely repair his heart and how he was still on a feeding tube. To my dismay the lady at RR advised us to wait until after things settled down with Caius before we started the adoption process.

Adeye's pic of Yuri in orphanage

That next weekend was miserable. All we could think about were the boys in Adeye's post, Wade (Bohdan) and Yuri. I called RR back on Monday and explained that it might be smart to wait until after Caius' surgery but that we felt called to move forward anyway. So we did. We filled out the paperwork and were even approved for our home study even with everything going on. Yay!

So now the fundraising.... Where are the heck are we going $30,000!! Oh silly me. I had all these plans for fundraisers and I was getting them all ready. To start the beginning of our fundraising we sent out a letter advising of our intentions, introducing the boys and asking for help. Within 2 weeks of sending out these letters ALL the money had been given to us.  Let me repeat this.... WITHIN 2 WEEKS ALL $30,000 HAD BEEN GIVEN TO US. To this day we have no idea who gave the largest sum which totaled 80% of the total amount. It was given anonymously to the church we had attended previously.

We have just recently found out how God was working with my family during this time. There are some people in my family that have the means to help us substantially but NONE of the funds came from them. They have recently told me that as they were praying about what to do that God told them to 'Be still' not only financially but also with their counsel. My Aunt in particular really wanted to help but didn't exactly agree with us bringing 2 special needs boys into our home at a time when we were already dealing with so much. She tells me that she really wanted to counsel us on the craziness that we were getting ourselves into and yet God wouldn't let her talk to us. She says there is no doubt in her mind that we were doing exactly what God wanted because of how He wouldn't let her try to talk sense into us. :o)

first time we met the boys December 2010

December 2010
December 2010
We traveled in December and were gone through all the holidays. The condition of the children were rough and we wanted to get them out of there fast but fast was not in the cards. We were there 3 weeks. Visiting the orphanage was hard, it was exhausting mentally. I couldn't wait to get my boys home. I just knew everything would be better once we got home.

December 2010

My sister-in-law went back with me to get the boys after the 10 day wait period. We had 2 weeks in country and then a 43 hour trip home. It was misery. Then we get home and everyone goes on with their lives and their work and it is just me and the 4 boys. Two of which have just come from another country and are in shock, one of those having far more medical issues than we expected. Needless to say the next 6 months were the hardest of my life. I literally thought I wasn't going to make it. After seeing numerous specialist we finally found out what was going on with Yuri. But that didn't help us get him help.

March 2011

I spent most of my time trying to get him services, in school, therapies, a walker, Medicaid, anything that would help him and give me a break. But it was like there was a brick wall there and there was nothing I could do to get him help. On top of this, Yuri was aggressive towards the babies, Caius and Bohdan, mostly Bohdan. He would hit them or head butt their faces so they would cry and then he would lay on them to listen to them.  

 Asher stopped spending time with the family and spent the days by himself staying as far away from the new boys as possible. Rarely, he would interact with Bohdan and even try to pick Bohdan up if he went farther than Asher thought he should go but he wouldn't be around Yuri at all. Yuri destroyed the house. With his limited sight and lack of comprehension of toys, everything became a projectile, generally at one of the other children. With two kids not moblile yet it made things very hard. We rearranged the house, all of it, just to accommodate his needs. Not to mention, He threw up many times a day. Please understand that when I say threw up I mean it, not just spit up, projectile. I covered most of the rugs and things with multiple sheets to help with clean up.

April 2011

June 2011

This was not what I had envisioned for our family. Why wouldn't anything give? Why couldn't I get help for Yuri? Why wasn't the family meshing? Surely this isn't what God planned when He called us to these children. I was at a loss and I was defeated. My little human pea brain couldn't grasp anything other than I was a failure. I had failed God, I failed RR, I failed my family, and I failed my children. It was a terrible place to be.

It was so hard to contact RR about adoption disruption. I had contacted them previously a couple times asking for advice but this time it was different. I was contacting them specifically about disruption. Someone started using the word rehoming and that made me feel better. RR got me in contact with Rachel. A dear friend of mine whom I owe a lot. She talked and counseled with me for hours. She got me in touch with Michelle.

Michelle and her husband, Noah, had adopted three special needs children last year and now felt their calling was respite. Just to help families breath and sort out their feeling after an international adoption. This sounded good to me. I didn't want to give Yuri to a family forever. I just needed help and that is what she was offering.  She was going to keep him for a month, help him get a walker and get on medicaid. This would give us time to breathe and regroup so when he came home we would be ready and hopefully he would have the services I was struggling to get him.

It was a good fit for us because Michelle and Noah DID NOT want to adopt again, so we didn't feel threatened that they might try to keep Yuri and if rehoming did seem to be the route we would take, then they could help us find a home suitable for him. Oh us funny humans!!! Keep in mind we were advised not to mention anything on the blog about this because believe it or not there are people out there who prey on families going through a hard time after an international adoption.

It was hard handing Yuri over but we felt at peace with them and both Josh and I seemed to 'click' Michelle and Noah. They are super great people so that made it easier.

Let me tell you about our house first with Yuri gone. Bohdan came out of his shell. There was a mischievous, darling, mouthy, curious child in there. I guess without his big brother there to stop him he had the courage to explore all life had to offer. Asher took a bit longer to recover. It took him about 2 weeks but then he was back to his normal self and spending time with the family. Josh and I felt relief. It was like a different house. There was such a peace in our home. Many people commented that the boys were different and the house was more calm. Imagine that calm with 3 small boys, ha!! Anyway, it was then we knew that Yuri wasn't supposed to be ours. But whose?

Now I will tell you about Yuri, he did throw up twice on Michelle's head as they were driving back home after picking him up (Sorry Michelle) but since then he hasn't thrown up. ?? He actually fell asleep on the car ride to their house. ?? He NEVER did that with us, in fact he generally yelled the whole time we were in cars. Within the week, she had him on medicaid and had him walking in a walker. By the end of 3 weeks he was eating his meals by mouth. ??? He was not doing this for us at all. I asked about him being aggressive towards her other children. She said he was twice to two different kids but it didn't work out so good since he is the smallest so now he doesn't even try. hmm... When he left us he was on a strict diet of no dairy!! To help keep down on the puking. But now at the end of the month he was eating dairy. ??? He was a different child and he was thriving!

 Did his chemistry really change? Did his development really improve in such a short period of time? Did he really get all of the help in a month that I had failed to get him in 6 months? Really?? No, this was just God.

I shared with Michelle that we felt it would be best for our family to rehome Yuri. She then shared with us that they had fallen in love with Yuri and wanted to adopt him. So I guess the question would be... Did God really just do this?

Yuri, content. His eyes say so much
In my human pea brain, I put limits on God. Surely if he calls you to adopt a child then you get to raise that child, right? Surely, He wouldn't call you all the way across the world to a child that wasn't yours. Surely? Then Michelle said something to me that made it all come together. She told me that they had said they would NEVER go over there to adopt again, NEVER. She then told me 'thank you' for bringing her her son.

PEACE!! Now it all makes sense. Yuri is home with his real Momma and loving every minute. I went to visit a few weeks ago and Yuri was happy to see me but he preferred his Momma. It did my heart good to see him doing SO well. He had even gained about 5 lbs. He is a super chunk!!

Yuri and his Momma
Thank you all for your prayers and your patience for this post. I can't explain how heart wrenching it was to go through this ordeal and in the end to give up Yuri. I have just now gotten to the point of talking about it without balling the entire time. Now it is just a little balling.  But I am SO happy that Yuri found his forever family. Thank you Lord!!!!

And yes, I will update about Mr. Bohdan shortly. He is doing great!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Buddy Walk!

Well the summer is officially over. We have been running around like wild people and finally are at home for a bit. Not that that means we aren't doing anything, of course. We are prepping for a garage sale this weekend and last weekend we did our first ever Buddy Walk. It was so much fun!! Here are some pics.

Josh and Nick manning the table.
 They were just posing. I promise they were much more approachable than they look here.

 Our new friend, Jessica.
She fell in love with Bohdan and cannnot wait to get her hands on her little one.

Asher showing off his new shirt. He wasn't excited about his back pack though.

 The twins! I've decided it is an absolute impossibilty to get them both looking at the camera at the same time.
 Bohdan and Jessica.
 Our booth and the team!! (minus Josh and the boys)

  An Angel tribute I put together. Do you notice whose pic is in the middle ornament? Sweet Sonya! she looks nothing like that now she home. She's been home 4 months now and is doing amazing!!

 Daddy and Caius with his curls.
Daddy and Asher!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

pics pics pics

 Wind plus swinging equals a great picture!

 Asher playing with his Great Granma Pat!



 Love Swinging!!!

 Double Trouble Bath Time!!

 Look who can stand!!!!

 Bohdan getting therapy, err I mean playing!!! He loves the bucket!

 Oh boy and his dog...

 A beautiful thing!

 Lollipop kid! (from the lollipop guild)

 Whisks are the best toy. Bohdan loves it!

Mr. Gorgeous!

 Who me?

This was last month before Bohdan's haircut.
Crazy that Bohdan is 6 months older than Asher.