Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where to begin?

I have failed miserably at staying on top of blog posts. I assure you, we are alive and well.  Darya is alive and well and wonderful!  I suppose, just like everyone else, life is just plain ole busy.  With homeschooling, never-ending laundry, cleaning, doctor appointments, and everything else I've just put blog posts on the back burner.  I've hardly had time to brush my teeth before noon (so don't come knockin' at my door before that! lol)

Anyway, every day I am amazed at our little angel.  I often forget that just a few short months ago she was in an orphanage and not with our family! In that short amount of time, she's learned to walk (more than just a few steps - she's so close to walking exclusively!), sign a handful of words ("milk" being her favorite), eat solids (she loves goldfish crackers and can feed them to herself), and to just love and be loved. When we first went to the orphanage, she didn't even know how to be held on the hip or how to play with toys.  It just brings me so much joy to watch her blossom before our very eyes.  It makes me sad to think of how much she missed out in those first years of her life. But I thank God that she is with a family now and for the rest of her life!

A couple of days ago, we had the privilege of having the Hollis family over for lunch.  It was Lydia's Christmas wish to meet Darya!  How sweet is that?  It was wonderful to finally meet their beautiful family in person, and I just loved seeing Lydia with Darya!  They truly are a wonderful family and we are so grateful to them and everyone who helped us to bring Darya home with our family.  I have to brag on their kids for a moment - they were all super polite and sweet, and Hope and Charlie are absolutely adorable!  Hopey gave Joel and me the best bear hugs!  And the boys were excited they got to play a little football with Caleb :-)

Now for some pics and short videos (once again, pardon the poor photo quality - they're still a bit fuzzy from the pool incident :-/ ):

Our Christmas gift this year! Remember the name "Darya" is similar to the Greek word for "gift"?  That's our sweet little girl!

Lydia and Darya!

The Hollis and Fick kids - good lookin' bunch of kids, if I may say so!

Look what I'm wearing!

 Dancing to Christmas tunes

 "Playing" Legos with her brothers

"Leaf me alone Mom, I'm busy!"

Walkabout the house (she's a bit raspy sounding due to a slight cold) - look at her go!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

665 Thanks!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to Ben's fundraiser!!  I think he had hoped to raise about $20 for his ABC-shells, but he raised $665 ($165 from the Chip-in, and someone else sent in a $500 check)!!!  I am so proud of my son and his tender little heart, and so grateful to all of those who donated.  We're praying that sweet little Carlene, who turns five this month, will get a family quickly before she's transferred to the mental institution.  The orphanage director has been holding her at the orphanage longer than she should be, so we're praying that money will no longer stand in the way between Carlene and a family.  The Hollis family, who has been raising money for Carlene's grant, has raised quite a bit. So with all of the funds combined, she how has over $5,000 in her adoption grant (and I believe a couple thousand more is coming from the Hollis girls' fundraiser at school)!  Isn't she beautiful?

Okay, now to find out who the much anticipated winner is of Ben's ABC-shells and Nate's portrait of his brother.  Drumroll please  .........................................................................................................................................................................................................................GILBERT BACA!  Thank you and we'll get those out in the mail for all of you as soon as possible :-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ABC-Shells for Carlene

The other night, Ben, our 7 year old son came to me in tears.  His heart was broken for the orphans.  The reality of life for orphans, of children just like him, just hurt his tender heart.  He wanted to help, but didn't think he could do anything since he's only a 7 year old kid. He was feeling utterly inadequate and helpless.  I comforted him the best I could and reminded him of Darya's amazing story, how a year ago a kid like him (11 year old Lydia Hollis) raised almost $30,000 in under two weeks!  And not only was Darya able to come home with that grant, but also another child for another family!  Now a year later, Darya is with a loving family of her own.  Money is the only thing standing in the way of families for these children.  I reminded Ben that nothing is impossible for God.  Even if he only raised $1, it would be to God's glory, and that every dollar means a child is closer to a family.  That made him happy and he was encouraged :-)

That evening, he went to bed brainstorming ways he could raise money.  When I went to bed, I found a pile of shells on my nightstand with letters written on them.  He had secretly come up with his very own fundraising idea and apparently couldn't sleep until he was done (he's usually the first kid asleep).  He really wants to fundraise so another orphan, like Darya, can have the chance to have a family of their own.  We decided to fundraise for Carlene, in honor of Darya, and especially because she is the orphan that Lydia Hollis has chosen to fundraise again this year.  With everyone's help, we can make a difference in sweet little Carlene's life and give her a chance.  A family who is there now (in Russia), said she is so close to being transferred.  Please help save her precious life!!  She NEEDS a family!!  She did have a family who was coming, but because of some unusual life-circumstances have had to let her go.  Her days are truly numbered!

So, Ben wants to make this a give-away.  For every donation (no matter how small, even $1 helps!) you will have a chance to win "Ben's custom made ABC-Shells".  Oh, there is so much you can do with them, just use your imagination! :-)  As a bonus, you will also receive an original drawing by our 5-year old, Nate, of his brother holding the bag of seashells (his idea)!  Oh, boy!  If you donate $35 or more, you will get an ornament from Reece's Rainbow like the one in the picture in addition for a chance to win this one-of-a-kind collection ;-).  Just use the chip-in on the side and it will link you to Reece's Rainbow's paypal account. Your donation will go directly into Carlene's grant.  EVERY BIT HELPS!!

Here are the ABC-Shells that can be yours (ornament not included - but you can get one for a $35 donation to Reece's Rainbow!) 

Here is the bonus drawing by our talented 5 year old Nate!  Ben was camera shy, so Nate drew a picture of his big brother.  Notice the bag of shells in his hand?  Isn't the likeness of his brother uncanny? ;-)  

By the way, Darya is still doing great!!  Our hearts are overflowing with love for our precious little girl!  I will try to update soon, with pictures :-)