Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The End

Well, it's not really the end.  But since Darya's been home for 2.5 years now, I feel it's time to end this blog.  I will try to update it once in a while (but you see how bad my record has been).

As I reflect on the past three years, from the time we committed to adopting her to today, I am humbled, amazed, overjoyed, grateful, and a plethora of other emotions of how God has brought Darya into our family.  Was it all easy?  Heck, no!  Was it worth it? Absolutely!  I have absolutely no regrets of adopting Darya.  She brings us so much joy and yes, a lot of headaches, too! That's what having kids - adopted or biological, typical or special needs - does to parents.  I like think think she has no memories of life in the orphanage.  Our youngest son, Nate, will often say he can't remember a time that Darya wasn't a part of our family.  Of course he remembers her adoption journey, but I think what he's trying to convey is that it feels as if she's always been meant to be a part of our family.  She belongs with us, and I couldn't agree more.  I will sometimes think of her biological family, and my heart aches for them. I wish they knew what a treasure she is.  Whatever their reasons for giving her up, I am thankful that God saw it fit to lead us to her.  Her story didn't end with her being lost in the Ukrainian orphanage system, eventually ending her days in a mental institution.  But her new life is with a family who loves and treasures her.

My prayer is that our adoption journey, and that Darya, will bring glory to God.  For our adoption story is just a small reflection of our adoption as God's children.   Earthly adoption is a beautiful picture of the gospel story of Christ!  Darya's adoption has preached to our hearts, and our children's hearts, on our own redemption and adoption.  When we had to make the decision whether or not to pursue Darya's adoption, Joel was reading through Ephesians 1 and it confirmed in his heart to say yes.  We recently, as a church, memorized that passage and was reminded of the beginning of our journey.  Here is the part of the passage that we memorized (ESV), bold faced my doing:

"4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory."

Well, I don't want to make this a super lengthy post (so kudos if you've stuck with me this far!). But as I bring our adoption story to somewhat of an end (or better yet, the beginning of another chapter), a new adoption story begins.  Our long time, very good friends, whose son Andrew inspired us to adopt a child with Down syndrome are now starting the adoption process themselves!  The Franciscos are hoping to adopt a little boy with Down syndrome.  You can find their family profile here:

I'll end with a few cute and random recent photos of our Ukrainian treasure:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Two Year Gotchaversary!

I'm seriously delinquent in blogging.  I'll catch up....some day.  But, I wanted to say "Happy Gotcha-versary" to Darya! It was two years ago today that she walked out of that orphanage forever.  I seriously cannot believe how much she has grown and changed in that time!  This morning as I was sitting in her IEP meeting (a meeting with school staff to discuss her individualized education plan) it occurred to me that today is the anniversary. Her teachers were saying how much she has learned in the past year in school (and, of course, what goals they have for her in the upcoming year).  I was reflecting on her tremendous growth in such a short amount of time. For those of you that know me personally, I'm not one to cry easily but I started tearing up reflecting on our sweet girl.  To God be the glory!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

California Part 1

Okay, so it's been quite a while since I blogged and will just have to pass on blogging about end of spring happenings.  I'll just give a quick summary:

Darya finished her first year of pre-k.  It went really well!  She really likes school and I honestly am surprised at how much she has learned and grown this year.  She is learning more and more words (though usually still signs and fusses to communicate), but there are a few verbal words she uses frequently, "no"being the most common of them. That's our girl! Ha!  She also turned 4 years old on June 9. She is growing up so fast!

The boys finished another year homeschooling and were eager to take a summer break.  They had their very first piano recital and got to show off perform for some church friends.  Our oldest son, who is going into 6th grade, got to go to his very first youth camp.  It was bittersweet for me!  To say he had fun would be an understatement.

Moving on.  We went to California for a few weeks to visit family and friends.  I'll start with the first part of my trip and I have good intentions to blog about the others.  Darya and I flew out a week before Joel and the boys so we could go to northern CA to visit my family.  We stayed with "Aunt Joannie" (my twin sister) and her sweet son, Joey.  We mostly bummed around her house or my mom's, but we also went to Columbia one day which is an old mining town. Here are a few pics from my week there:

I forgot to mention how incredibly well this girl travelled!  We had three flights with a couple of long layovers, and she was GREAT the entire time! 

Darya and cousin Joey walking to Grandma's house

Sitting on the steps of the old schoolhouse in Columbia

Yeah, we were supposed to share that cone

 Panning for gold

My Aunt Les (mom's best friend) and her beautiful daughter, Claire (she was the flower girl in our wedding and an inspiration for adoption)

Cousin Simon

Grandpa Chucky (my dad) 

4th of July with Uncle Steve (my brother) and Grandma Charlene (my mom)....they'd probably hate that I posted this pic of them, but alas I don't think they even read this blog since they're both computer illiterate :-)

That's it for now!  Stay tuned for more pics from our trip!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

4 Years Ago Today

Four years ago today, a young Ukrainian couple gave birth to their second child, this time a girl. I can only imagine their excitement and anticipation of her birth. I imagine their son was excited to be a big brother. But when they found out their precious daughter had something "wrong" with her, Down syndrome, they made the extremely difficult decision to let her go. At only a month old, just a little peanut, she was admitted to the orphanage. At a year of age, they released her to be available for international adoption because they were told she would have a chance of a foreign family might want her. I believe that was the last they saw of her. More than a year went by without anyone visiting her, until we arrived in the fall of 2010. I still can't believe it's been almost two years since we adopted her. Yet I feel like she's always been part of our family. I am so thankful that I get to be her mother now and that she is part of our family. Happy 4th birthday to my beautiful sweet princess! I would cross the ocean for you again in a heartbeat!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Springtime is busy time

Wow, this is post 200!  It was 2 years ago that we were in the whirlwind of adoption paperwork.  Now here we are living life as usual, with the addition of our beautiful little girl.  I must say that spring is always busy in our house!  Or rather I should say out of our house as it's when baseball season and good weather are upon us. Two of our boys are playing spring ball, which means lots of practices and games, many out of town.  The weather is just beautiful this time of year, too, and we've been enjoying lots more time outside.  We had such a wimpy winter this year, that our pool has warmed up early enough this year for the boys to enjoy (Joel, Darya, and I prefer to wait until its at least 85 degrees!).  I'm sure I've got lots more to say, and hopefully update again soon, but for now I'll just post a couple of photos (unfortunately my laptop died recently, which means I lost A LOT of photos, but what can I do?)

Ben's action shot:

Joel and the boys by Lake Alice (University of Florida campus):

Darya and my turn for a photo op.....see the small alligator on the left?

Darya now prefers to eat at the bar like her big brothers. Here she is enjoying a snack after a nap (as evidenced by her wacky hair):

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday to my Benny!

I'm a bit late on this (one week to be exact), but happy 9th birthday to my second son, Ben!  9 years....that marks halfway to 18. Such a bittersweet age.  It also marks his entrance into tween-hood (goodness, I technically have two "tweens"!  The teen years are just around the corner).  Ben is awesome. I love that kid!!  He is such a sweet, kind, funny, and thoughtful boy.  Happy birthday to my Benny D.!