Thursday, October 25, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Swimming at the water park

We have spent one to two evenings every week at the local water park this summer. It happens to be the biggest and best in the world. We are a lil spoiled. It's been hard on Momma but the boys love it.

This slide comes out of a beer stein (German park). It's great for development. They are learning to crawl up the stairs and go down the slide by themselves! A bonus that was not lost on Caius James is that inside the mug is a wonderful echo chamber. We couldn't hardly get him to go down the slide cuz he would run back into the stein and talk and sing and yell! Lotsa fun!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Actually it was a super surprise to us but we are very excited to welcome a baby girl in October!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Yes, Yes, Yes

I know I haven't blogged in forever!! I'm sorry. But here are some pics for ya'll. All the boys are doing great. Bohdan's birthday is today and Asher's was a month ago, both sweeties are 4 years old. A fact that Asher is continually reminding me of, except when he gets too excited about it the number become 4 days but who's counting?
Yuri is doing absolutley amazing and is even WALKING!! Michelle sent me a video the other day, I think I watched over 10 times, such a miracle. Not to mention, Yuri has turned into a chunky monkey.

Easter Sunday with my handsome boys!

 The boys FAVORITE thing! Riding their scooters, they are my little biker gang.

 Bohdan getting his reading in for the day. :o)

My beautiful Caius  playing with his bubbles. This boy is serious about his bubbles.

4th Birthday!! 

 Bohdi and his budda belly. Can you believe he has gotten SO big?

This pic was taken before I cut Caius' hair. He was playing with his shadow while throwing dirt in his hair. He loves to sit in the dirt and throw it on his head.  

  Big brother giving little brother a ride. It is usually Asher and Bohdan riding around together. They have developed the cutest friendship.

Ok I know you all think you have the best dog but I hate to tell you... we do. Look at this. Asher picked out which party hat she was supposed to wear and wear it she did!  

She does love her boys and they love her. I love Bohdi's face in this pic, he really enjoys the Ipad and he is so smart, he has figured out how to turn it on, unlock it and go in between his favorite games. No one taught him this, btw, he just picked it up. He is one smart cookie. 

Mr. Handsome.

I've got some big news for ya'll as soon as I can get my phone to dowload pics I will share. :o)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Beautiful Baby needs family NOW!

Isn't he gorgeous?

According to my friend, his baby house is being closed and he is being transferred to an institution. They usually don't get transfered until they are 4 years old. These institutions are no place for children much less an infant.

This doll would seemless mesh into a family since he is so young. Please help me spread the word to find his Momma and Daddy and keep him out of the institution!!

He is listed as Keegan. Click here for more information on this angel.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


That's how my God does it!

Remember Adeye who orginally posted about Yuri and Bohdan on her blog? Remember Pleven? the horrible orphanage I posted about a few days ago. WELL......

Adeye is adopting a 14 year old 14 pound angel from there. A few days ago she started a giveaway to rasie money for the adoption. Within 24 hours ALL the money was in. Over $26k! Bam!! We serve an awesome God.

If you don't know Him I would encourage you to seek Him out. He is SO amazing! He provides! He gives PEACE that is unfathomable!! He performs miracles!!!!

I think the giveaway is still going on. There is over $10k worth of prizes and any money that comes in now will go to other qualified families adopting children from Pleven. Check it out!!

Insurance Mandate

Many of you have asked about the State Mandate regarding therapies for children with Developmental Delays. What I did was searched for Texas State Insurance mandate children. It took me to the following page Texas Department of Insurance which stated:

Developmental Delays:
Citation: TIC Chapter 1367, Subchapter E

A health benefit plan that provides coverage for rehabilitative and habilitative therapies must offer coverage of certain therapies for children with developmental delays.
I then searched for that citation and it took me to the actual text of the Texas Insurance code, found here.

Texas Insurance Code Chapter 1367 Subchapter E

If you live in Texas and your child had the diagnosis of Developmental Delay and you are having trouble getting therapies you should be able to just call your insurance company and ask them to read the TIC chap. 1367 Subchap E and that should clear things up. If they still fight you you can get your agent involved and they can help sort through the details.

I am amazed at how many people don't know about this. I have actually made copies of it and sent it to our pediatrician, therapy company and therapist. Not to mention every time I call into my insurance I have to inform them all over again and ask them to read notes from previous calls. Pain? yes but definitely worth it.

If you don't live in Texas and wonder if your state has something similar just search as I did with your state instead of Texas. I REALLY hope this helps!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Miraculous Changes!

I reposted this from my friend Shelley's blog. What amazes me is that they only need $175 a month to hire a nurse. Wow! That is do-able! Please consider helping!

Pleven: The next steps to help!

Wonderful things are happening in Bulgaria in regards to the situation at the orphanage in Pleven! The new Minister of Health in charge of the baby orphanages made a surprise visit to the orphanage in Pleven on Friday. She found evidence of every single thing that was reported in the document provided to the Bulgarian government that I referenced here . She saw it all. She has promised a full scale investigation.
Here is a translation of a portion of a news article that was
published in Bulgaria this weekend: If you want to read more click here.

“Babies and young children are being left hungry for days, lie in urine without having their diapers changed for 24 hours, due to which most of them are severely ill. Only for a year and a half, 18 children have died, as evidenced by a Report of the CPA. This provoked an inspection by the Minister of Health Dessislava Atanassova. Yesterday she commented that she left there crying. At the moment, 154 children live in the institution. After the inspection, Ms.Atanssova found out that, obviously, the personnel had known for her visit, as the children were all dressed up nicely, the sheets were changed and the toys were new. The stench of urine, however, made a huge impression. “While I walked through the rooms and watched the children, I cried. After that, I got mad and was greatly upset that they were doing wrong things”, the health minister said. She made a hint that probably serious financial misuses had been done in the institution, as any accountability was lacking.”

One Heart Bulgaria has already begun to take action to assist with providing food, diapers and staff members at the orphanage through donations that have been made. Two nurses are being hired immediately to work with the children on the 6th floor. Once they are hired, they will be instructed on the specific needs of the children and their only responsibility will be to feed and care for the children on the 6th floor, which are the kids with the most significant needs.

Our goal is to hire TEN nurses through One Heart Bulgaria to work in the orphanage to ensure that the children are being properly fed, that all their medical needs are addressed and that any follow up care that is needed after they are treated at Tokuda is done. Special formula is being donated from all over the country and the first shipments of it will arrive in Pleven later this month. If you are interested in donating specialized formula, please leave a comment on this post with your contact information. Diaper and food donations are still needed as well. Donations for food and diapers can be made by clicking here and noting “for Pleven baby orphanage” in the notes section on Paypal. Diapers can be purchased cheaper in Bulgaria through One Heart Bulgaria.

To meet the need of having qualified nurses in the orphanage, we’re starting a specific fundraising drive to pay the salary of ten nurses for six months. The amount needed to pay one nurse for one month is $175, which is $1,050 for 6 months. In order to fund 10 nurses, we need to raise $10,500. Since this is an online fundraiser, Paypal will take out 3% of each donation. So, we’ve increased the goal to account for the Paypal fees. All donations are tax deductible and all money donated through this chip in is going directly to One Heart Bulgaria.

To date, the medical fund for surgeries and treatment has reached a total of over $33,000! This is so much more than we ever dreamed possible! We now want to ensure that the children continue to receive quality care once they are returned to the orphanage. Your tax deductible donations and help in sharing this need will help us to meet this goal for the children in Pleven.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Awesome God!

I am just speechless! Thank you all for your prayers regarding the boys therapies. I won't go into all the gritty details but after many many prayers and prayer requests and work, research, counseling with experts God came through in a way I could not have imagined. I mean I thought I would write the appeals, rally the troops and then God would take over the rest from there. Oh silly me!

Praise the Lord for his sovereign mercy and that his ways are SO SO much higher than mine. Needless to say I didn't do anything. He worked it out that the boys have unlimited therapy visits for speech, occupational and physical therapy. OUR GOD IS NOT DEAD HE'S SURELY ALIVE!!!!

In fact if you live in the state of TEXAS it is a State mandate that if your child has developmental delays that they qualify for unlimited therapy visits through your insurance. My soul rejoices in my God and the peace that He supplies. I can't imagine raising these babies with out His divine providence. 

Happy Easter!! He has showed us again that He is alive, well and working in our lives. Praise the LORD!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Urgent Prayer Request

Our insurance denied a request from our pediatrician to increase the boy's therapy visits for the year. They have only approved each child for 60 visits per calender year which Bohdan has already used and Caius only has a few weeks left.

I don't understand how they can say that Caius and Bohdan don't need extensive therapy. The worst part is that since the request has been denied they have sent us over to the Grievance and Appeals department for which there is no phone number or customer service help.

Please pray I can get my boys therapies. I have tried to get the boys Medicaid but in the great state of Texas you have to show medical necessity and they don't qualify.

I'm asking our pediatrician to write another letter as well as each of the boy's therapists, I will include these with my appeal letter to the insurance company. Any prayers, help or advice you can offer would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dirty cars

Today I was laying down while the lils were napping because I'm sick. Asher brings me a tiny micro car and says "dirty. Wash?" I say "that's fine you can wash it" thinking it's just one tiny car.

I hear him in the kitchen getting his stool and "washing" his car. He loves playing in the sink so I didn't give it another thought. When I got up on my way to get the lils I notice the first pic. When I emptied the sink I found over 50 cars! I guess he had a lot of dirty cars.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yuri update day 2

Yuri is home now, thank goodness. He is in some pain but Michelle says there's NO snot!! And if you know Yuri you know the lil guy can produce an amazing amount of snot.

I can't wait to see how good he is gonna do and feel once he recovers. I can't tell you how happy I am that Michelle found doctors that were able to diagnose and help Yuri. Praise the Lord!! Great thing He continues to do.

Latest from Michelle: "Oh my goodness...yuri is walking all over the place. His ears were so full of junk that it messed up his balance...but he is walking...i cant believe it"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yuri Update

Here is the update I got from Michelle. Praise be to God!!

"Yuri is doing great. The ent said in all his years he has never seen such bad sinus. His tonsils and adnoids were so swollen that they were completely blocking his throat. That is why he had so much snot in his nose bc it had no where else to drain. His ears were full of crud and when he got out of surgery he no longer held toys to his ears. He could actually hear the music while the toy was laying on the bed. He is hurting...but he has to feel so much better. He is in icu and hopefully will be discharged tomorrow",

Prayers for Yuri

Little man is having his adenoids and tonsils taken out today. This him in the hospital. Doesn't he look great!!

Michelle is just awesome!! And he is thriving. I got to talk to him on the phone the other day and he blew me kisses! Awww!

God is so good! Please pray for a successful and uneventful surgery. I will keep you posted as Michelle keeps me updated.

Thanks for ALL your prayers!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Praise the Lord!!

We got it!! I actually felt like I was witnessing a miracle. Thank you Jesus!!
Thank you for all your prayers!! It is such a weight that has been lifted. Now we wait for the results :-)

I'm sorry I haven't updated until now, it is has been an absolutely CRAZY day.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bohdan Prayer Request

 I know this may seem trivial but we are desperate. We have been trying to draw blood from Bohdan for a very important test since October, yes you read that correctly October. We have been to 4 different lab companies and 6 different phlebotomists.

We are scheduled to try again Monday morning at 7:30am. Please pray that he (Walker, the phlebotomist) is able to get all the blood they need for the test. And that we will process the blood correctly and not have to redo any part of the test later.

Thank you all for your prayers!! It is a good feeling to have such a large body of Christ to help support us in prayer. Blesings to you all.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Family update

Just a quick update about what is going on around here. We have been dealing with the crud that has been going around. Of course we don't all have it at once we have been taking turns and sharing. Big news is that the boys have all started swim classes and they are enjoying them for the most part. :o) Caius and Bohdan are in the Mommy and me classes, on separate days obviously since there is only one Momma. Asher is in a preschool class and is learning to be comfortable in the water. It has only been a few weeks and all the boys are already showing much improvement. Now onto the pictures....

I got a new litter box cover for the cat. Josh put it together and not a moment later we couldn't find Bohdan. Hmmmmmm?

 All the kids are loving this new 'toy'. {sigh} Asher will cram one of the lils in there with all his cars or blocks and they all just giggle.

 Bohdan has a new nickname "Gargoyle". You never know where he will be perched. He can now climb and he get on the train table, the play table, the fireplace and all the couches. He is doing so good. He needs a little stool to get on the couch and the other day the stool was in the middle of the floor so he went and got it. Pushed it to the couch and climbed on. The lil stinker has also figured out the remote to the TV and will turn on another show if his current show turns off. I did not teach him this, he is amazingly smart!!

  The question is "If Caius gets a hold of a marker, can he get the lid off?" The answer "YES!!" Oi!
 After we washed the green marker off.

 They were holding hands a watching a show when I saw them. Of course a camera means 'stop everything cute you were doing.' its still a cute pic though.

 Absolutely gorgeous!!

 This was later that afternoon. He was SO tired he fell asleep on the couch. Poor baby!

And I will leave you will Ash on chocolate cake!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kori's Story

I'm sharing this from a friend's blog. The question is often asked "Why adopt from overseas when you can adopt a child with special needs here?" Well here is  a reason or two....


Kori's Story

Sometimes adoption breaks a Mama's heart so badly that the words cannot come for a very long time. Sometimes what is seen and experienced is so gut-wrenching that it takes time and distance to begin to heal the pain. Sometimes.

A little over a year ago a Mama and Papa crossed the ocean to get a little Reece's Rainbow angel. They knew she had been transferred. They knew. But knowing and seeing are two very different things. Last year they discovered what transfer meant for their precious treasure. It was unbearably hard. While there their eyes were opened to the plight of special needs children in that place. We followed their journey closely as we had just come home with Aaron and understood on many levels the agony they were experiencing. We prayed for them, encouraged them, did whatever we could from afar to support them. Unlike our experience, they were not in a completely closed facility and were able to walk the halls of the mental institute and touch the other children. They learned their names and fell in love with them bit by bit, day by day. In doing so their hearts were broken over and over and over again.

Sometimes adoption breaks a Mama's heart so badly that the words cannot come for a very long time. Sometimes what is seen and experienced is so gut-wrenching that it takes time and distance to begin to heal the pain. Sometimes.

But when the time is right... then the story needs to be told. And it is time for Kori Maria's story to be told.

I feel privileged indeed that Kori's Mama, Anna, has allowed me to share here on this blog some of the words that took so long to come. I am honored to call her friend. I am grateful for the ties that have knit our hearts together as we grieve for all the hidden children left behind.

This is Kori's story...

The doors open. We are treated to tea and cookies and treats in the director’s office. Afterwards they walk us to meet the person we had been waiting so long to see. Doors swing open left and right. Joshua, barely able to keep from vomiting. Something about the unusual smells and triggers he is unprepared to face. People of all ages and levels of disability stand. And watch. And one after the other speaks the word: “Amerikanskis”.

The word multiplies and follows us like the roar of a huge wave. No one believes that these Americans have come to their mental institution. Could it be true? Are they coming to adopt a child from HERE??
Plastic slippers. Flickering TV screens. Oriental rugs. Old drafty windows. People with Down Syndrome. Cerebral Palsy. Cleft Palate. Deformities. Mental illness. Hidden from society, where only the perfect are welcome. Discarded. Unwanted. Alone. Day after day here, never leaving this building.
She sits in a ball pit with colorful toys surrounding her. The six month old baby with the sweet little hat that makes her look like a little old lady. Her eyes crossing. Cute. Now where is Masha?
But wait. This is an Eastern European mental institution. They only take ages 4 and up. A second look. There is no freaking way.
There is no way in heaven or hell that this can be…..she is almost eight……
I drop to my knees, grab the tiniest baby hands and stare into the eyes of the eight year old trapped in a body no larger than that of a small six month old infant. What in the name of God….
“Masha. It is Mama. Mama is here”.

I manage to say these words while the room suddenly fills with caregivers. People in white coats. Women weeping. So many crying women. I ask permission to lift her out of the ball pit and she immediately rests her weary head against my shoulder as if to say : "You have finally come. I assume this is what kids like me do with ladies like you.”
I tell her : "Hi beautiful princess” and a caregiver behind me bursts into tears. “Princessa Masha!” she exclaims, now crying so hard that I am worried for her for a moment.

We are asked if we will accept the referral of this child. We accept.

And as we spend a month daily visiting her in the only home that has cared for this beautiful small girl after she aged out of the baby orphanage, we learn about the reality of the imperfect people in this country. Beautiful people. Tucked away as far from society as possible. Out of sight. Out of mind.
We walked among angels. The souls that live out their lives under these conditions have left their indelible mark on mine. Their faces. I see their eyes. I still see their eyes.

I saw the children in their "bedridden" room in their beds alone, begging for some attention and love. The small guy with his hands tied in a cloth. I saw the old building that needs so much work. I saw the older children with CP scooting on all fours down the hall, too old for adoption and no hope of a life outside of that institution.

I sat on those couches with some of the teenage girls who brushed my hair...and held my hands...and got hugs and kisses... I called them Princess V., and Princess I. (and all the other beautiful names of all those sweet kids) I went on this adoption trip with some rings and necklaces, and the girls wore them proudly. They learned some English....but I hope that most of all they learned what love is. My heart broke leaving them.. Every day when I got Kori from her room, I blew kisses at the children there and I said my "pryvet" to each and every one of them there. The smiles were priceless.


When we got to the institution after court, the director's assistant ( who was in court with us to represent the institution) was very happy and told the director that we had passed court.

We went upstairs and they brought Kori to us. While playing, we noticed that a number of children were being walked down the hall in nice outfits. Maybe it was a holiday?

One by one the children were being photographed. We stood, we watched. We were amazed. Kori's adoption had made them realize that people DO want these kids and permission was granted to list them. Every single one that was legally available. They were being photographed for their adoption listing. I wish I could have gotten video of this. The excitement. The joy. It was contagious. As the pictures were being snapped, we stood there and clapped and yelled: "Horosho!" (good) along with the caregivers. Random caregivers stopped by and showed us their little ones and asked us to bring them home too. Doors were being opened and the joy on the faces of the caregivers was wonderful beyond words.


Within 24 hours of Kori leaving the mental institute she had a seizure. It is common for European mental institutes to sedate some of the residents, and although no one could say for sure, it was suspected that Kori's seizure was related to sudden withdrawal of sedative medication. After a day or two without the drugs, while still in country, her tiny nearly eight year old body could not handle the sudden change and she began to seize. An ambulance was called. The EMT's called hospital after hospital, trying to find one that would agree to take Kori and treat her.

They were turned down at four hospitals. She was not wanted. Finally, after negotiations, the last hospital relented and decided to admit Kori.

Sometimes adoption breaks a Mama's heart so badly that the words cannot come for a very long time. Sometimes what is seen and experienced is so gut-wrenching that it takes time and distance to begin to heal the pain. Sometimes.


Time stood still. Seconds seemed like minutes, minutes seemed like hours. We had adopted her and had only had her in our custody for about 24 hours. Her little body shook violently in my arms. She gasped for air over and over. Her eyes rolled back in her head. Our daughter was having a massive seizure. I feared that this was it. That she was going to die before she would ever meet her brothers. She would quite possibly never experience more than just a 12 hour train ride, cradled in the arms of her daddy.

It would be twenty minutes before the ambulance would get there.When the ambulance finally arrived the seizure was over. Kori was lethargic and weak. The EMT ladies placed her on the bed and undressed her. Apparently her temperature was extremely low. They gave her several injections and then the yelling began. One of the women argued loudly with our facilitator. I could tell it was about Kori’s condition. I am sure this was a shock to them.

A seven year old child with Down Syndrome who weighed 16 pounds and looked exactly like a 7 month old infant. Her eyes infected. Her teeth so rotten that the smell was noticeable even from a distance. Her legs limp and stick like.

I experienced first hand the disgusted look the EMS people gave my little girl. The way they left her barely clothed on the bed. The way they spoke the words: "Down Syndrome'', spitting them out with anger and repeating over and over. We were unfit parents and she should have remained in her institution. Five hospitals refused her medical care. My facilitator held her hand out for 200 hrivna bills more times than I can count at the hospital that finally admitted her. That money was paid to the doctor, to the nurses, as "incentive money". One nurse was especially horrible to Kori and caused her pain on purpose. My facilitator met her in the hallway and handed her a 200 hrivna bill in exchange for humane treatment for my daughter.


I used to say I could never go back. After she had a seizure in the city, and we witnessed first hand exactly how poorly people with Down Syndrome are treated, I thought I could never ever set foot in that country again.

On days like today though, all I want is to go back. To sit on that couch in the hallway. I long to hold the children I came to love while I was there. I want to tell them they matter. Oh, how they matter. I want to simply walk the halls and make eye contact with the forgotten. I see you. And you. And you. And you. Who will see? How can I make people SEE?? See these amazing spirits, these survivors, these quietly fading people?

The baby "princessa" has been home a year.

Yet, my heart is still somewhere in that mental institution. It wanders the halls, looking for a way to reach, to comfort. And that is fine.

Because I don’t seem to really need a heart here. It seems that money and material goods are considered enough around these parts, here in this country we call home. We stuff ourselves and we indulge, while people right under our very noses are in need of our help. Our love. Hope. I want to walk those halls, one more time. If it only shows one person that they matter, that they have infinite value, then it is worth it.

Kori Maria. You are very much worth it.

So very much worth it.

P.S. Please do not remove any of these pictures from this blogpost. You may link and share but do not remove the pictures. Thank you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Since I have had many a request for Bohdan to sport a Mohawk.... This is what he looked like for church today. Yay!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oh me...

...of little faith. I got a comment on the HELP! post that said they were happy to see Valentin on the 'My Family Found Me' page. At first I thought, oh they must be confused since it probably hasn't been all sorted out on-line.. Oh me! Then I had to check for myself just to make sure and would you believe it!!!

We serve a mighty mighty GOD!! Valentin is on the "My Family Found Me" page. He is! Check it out!!  I'm so excited I'm gonna pee my pants, but I won't since I clean up enough of that ALL day long :-)

Anyway, meet the Ashtons !! Thank you to everyone who gave to Valentin's grant and I encourage you to consider giving to the Ashton's Family Sponsorship Page, even if it is just $10 every little bit helps to raise the ransom to save this little boy. I'm going there now!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The sweetest thing

Ok let me preface the is by saying that Bohdan is stinkin' smart. He plays the app "First Words" on the Ipad with intent and little to no mistakes. He also picks up on things quickly and waves and blows kisses when we ask. But......

This morning I got him out of his crib and we cuddled and laughed a bit then I put him on the changing table to get ready. He had the biggest grin on his face and then he blew me a kiss. Totally his own idea. What a sweetie!!

BTW, in regards to the epic Santa Claus picture. That Santa was awesome. He didn't even flinch when Caius was screaming and Bohdan was pulling on his beard!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Christmas 2011 in pics

Asher got a couple large John Deer trucks from his great grandparents and they are a hit.
Thank you Granma and Papa!!

So Bohdan has learned give kisses and Man is he good at it!!
He especially loves kissing his great Papa!

"Santa" brought Asher a basketball hoop and boy did the big guys love it. I mean Ash did too but he didn't really get to play with it much. It got set up in the kitchen and the men played many a round of 'horse'. It was/is a lot of fun!!

I don't think I shared this with you all yet. This is our boys Santa pic 2011. Classic right?

Caius' face says it all!

Bohdan got a Red Flyer swivel rider. Thank you Granny and Grumpy!!

He loves it!!

He was so proud of it!

Bohdan opening another gift. Notice he is still on his Red Flyer.

I just love this pic of Caius. So serious!

I was asleep when this happened. Promise. Asher wanted to go out in the snow SO bad. So he put on Daddy's boots and headed out. My brother saw him going and threw my sweatshirt on him. I love the pic.

 This was later when we went out in the snow. He wore Granny's gloves. They were just a bit too big. Just a bit.

Uncle Andy and the twins.

Aunt Kat helping Bohdan open a gift. I'm not sure Bohdan understood at this point but he was excited none the less.