Monday, February 28, 2011

Lest we forget

This slide show is from an organization called Bible Orphan Ministry in Ukraine that ministers to children in several orphanages in Ukraine.  Please take the time to look at these beautiful children. They represent just a few of the faces of orphans around the world.  My heart is really heavy this week for the two girls I posted about a couple of days ago.  I don't want them to end up a statistic! Each and every child needs a family. Most of all, they need to know the love of Christ!  It's so easy to look away - out of sight and out of mind.  But if we don't advocate for them, who will?  We need to pray, pray, pray!! We need to be their voice!  We need to help families bring them home.  Please continue to pray for them all, lest they be forgotten.  We need to be their voice.:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy 6th birthday, my sweet Nate-Nate!

Six years ago my third child was born.  Nathanael Joseph Fick.  Or you can just call him Nate-Nate :-)  He was our "pleasant surprise" and God knew we needed him in our lives.  I cannot imagine life without him! Those twinkling blue eyes, that freckled nose, and that mischievous smile make this mama's heart melt.  He is  our dramatic one, and I like to think it was due to the fact that he was born in Hollywood on Sunset Avenue, just down the road from where the Oscars were taking place.  The Hollywood drama just lingered in the air and stuck to my newborn son :-) He has brought us so much joy and we love him so much.  Happy birthday to my sweet baby-who's-not-a-baby-anymore!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Left Behind

I'm not talking about that book series on the rapture, I'm talking about the children in Darya's orphanage.  When we saw all those precious children who knew no other home outside the orphanage gates, it was hard not to be broken hearted for them.  It is hard to forget them. To leave them behind.  Many of them seemed to be happy children, unaware that in a short while, their lives were going to change. They were going to leave the orphanage, the only home they knew.  They would be sorted like sheep.  The more "disabled" ones would go to the mental institution, while the more "abled" ones, would get sent to an older children's orphanage (though at 16 years old they will be sent out of the orphanage and statistically likely to end up involved with drugs and/or prostitution).  Either way, it meant their chances of finding a family were getting slimmer and slimmer.

We are so thrilled and blessed that Darya will live a life the way God intended - in a family.  She will have brothers to play with her, a mama to kiss her, a daddy to tuck her in at night and pray for her;  she will go on fun family vacations to the beach, be part of a church family, blow bubbles at the park.  She will probably never remember the orphanage. But what about the others?  Are families coming for them?  Who will show them Christ's love and embrace them as their own? Who will step out and mirror God's act of redemption and adoption of us as His children by taking in one of the "least of these"?  There are so many orphans that it can be overwhelming at times. But there are also lots of families willing to open their homes for which I am so grateful.  Every day my boys continually pray that the orphans will find loving Christian families.  May God continue to answer their prayers!  Adoption is not easy, in fact it's one of the hardest things I've ever done - but so worth it!!  Darya has changed my life for the better.

When will a mama or papa come for them?

When will they be able to go beyond the blue gate?

A couple of the children really left an impression on me.  First and foremost, please meet Bethany.  My, oh, my is this girl delightful!  She was such a happy little girl, always smiling!  We saw her outside quite often with her groupa.   She would give us the biggest grins and wave at us.  I just know she would make a wonderful daughter. (We honestly didn't know she was a girl because of her short hair and the way she was dressed, until she was posted on Reece's Rainbow.)   She is close to aging out of the orphanage.  I would love to see her get a family before then!  She will be 5 next month.  But because of her label -  "HIV clinical staging 3, delay of psychomotor and physical development, tuberculous primary complex" her chances of finding a family are slim.  Because of the 1980s stigma of HIV she will be shunned for life in her society.  HIV today isn't what it used to be. It is very manageable and there are no records of HIV ever being transmitted in a normal family atmosphere.  In fact, with today's medicine, sometimes the virus is undetectable (though not cured)!  That's something I recently learned :-)

And please meet little miss Francine.  Despite her CP she was walking around and playing with the kids in her group.  Her pictures don't do her justice - she is a gorgeous little girl! She has such a sweet and gentle spirit about her.  She has dark hair and beautiful light blue eyes.  One of her caretakers who spoke English spoke highly of Francine and said she is so smart!  She really wants her to find a family!  She, too, will be 5 soon (in May).  Wouldn't a family be the best birthday gift ever?  Here are what her medical records indicate: "cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia, delay of psychospeech development".  Those labels shouldn't define who this little ray of sunshine is.  She, too, would make a wonderful daughter!

Here's one I took (those bars are symbolic, don't you think?):

Both of these girls, through no fault of their own, will get the short end of the stick in life unless they get adopted.  Please help me pray for and advocate for them! The biggest thing standing in the way of them getting families is the money.  I know from our own experience, that was the main obstacle. But God is bigger than that!  He paved the way for us in a way we could never imagine.  I just know He can raise funds and families for these precious girls.  Please, if you are able can you donate just a little something to their adoption grants? Go here and scroll down.  It's super easy, you can even use Paypal!  But most of all, please pray for them. They weigh heavy on my heart.

And to leave things on a brighter note, a bit of cuteness for you all:

The Great Pudding Debacle

It all started off as "therapy", but ended up in a chocolaty mess!  Darya's speech therapist suggested giving Darya something like pudding to help her learn how to self-feed. It's soft, but firm enough to stay on a spoon without dripping off.  That is, if she decided to actually use her spoon!  So, last night after dinner I gave her some chocolate pudding.  I fed her a couple of spoonfuls to whet her appetite for it, and boy did it work!  She wanted more.  A lot more!  I let her have at it.  At first, she used the spoon successfully. Then she found using her hand was much easier AND more fun!  It was fun to eat. Fun to squish. Fun to rub.  Fun to splash.  We had quite the show last night as you can see:

"Who needs a spoon?"

"This is more like it!"


"Mom, I'm liking this therapy stuff!"

Now to see it in all its glorious action: 

You have to check out the pictures on Joel's blog.  He got the best ones:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Daddy's kiss

Yes, Darya loves her mama and she adores her brothers, but she is DEFINITELY a daddy's girl.  She always gives Joel the "kiss me" face! Here are a couple of sweet pictures of them together, one from the orphanage and one at the beach in California. Aren't they sweet together?

Check out this sweet video of them from Joel's blog. Darya loves to sing and do the hand motions!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My, how she's grown!

I was scrolling through the pictures on my phone and saw this one taken just a few days after we got home in October:

And here's one from today (notice her hair is getting longer):

Isn't she beautiful?  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Is it really almost spring?

I certainly get no blogger of the year awards for my lack up updating on here, do I? :-)  But oh my, time has flown these past four months that Darya's been home with us!  She is just blossoming and thriving and living life, and keeping us on our toes!

Here are a few random tidbits about her:

* She's put on over 6 pounds
* She loves lasagna!
* She hates bananas (unless they're mushed up in her oatmeal)
* She signs about a dozen or so words
* She has the most contagious laugh...but she knows how to put on a seriously cute pout, arms crossed and all when she's not happy
* She's super ticklish
* She has three certain little boys wrapped around her chubby fingers

Darya has finally started therapy. The therapists all seem to be pretty surprised at how far she's come in the short time she's been with us, especially transitioning from Russian to English. We are focusing mostly on speech therapy because who likes a frustrated toddler who can't fully communicate?  Darya did actually say "book" the other day during therapy!  We are hoping to continue teaching her signs and work on verbalizing new sounds.

I don't think I posted about our California trip, did I? Well, we had a wonderful time seeing family and friends!! It was a very packed 2 weeks seeing everyone and Darya did amazing on her West Coast Debut.  I think everyone unanimously loves her :-)  She met 4 grandparents, 2 great grandparents, loads of aunts and uncles and cousins (some from Sweden!), and lots of friends!!  We even got a day at Disneyland in there (thanks Jillian!!!).

When we arrived, we were first with Joel's family.  His sister and her family came all the way from Sweden so it was very special seeing them.  We saw our friends, the Naves, who just had their fourth boy (our boys loved being at their house). Then we saw the Franciscos - remember Andrew who was our inspiration for Darya?  As usual, we had a great time with them! Then we saw my family for a few days.  That was a lot of fun.  Darya is the first girl cousin/granddaughter in my family!  She has three brothers and 5 boy cousins on my side.  We're trying to balance that :-)

Unfortunately, I only took a few pictures on my phone. Hopefully we can get more pictures from other people (and I think Joel has some on his phone):

 We were delayed at Jacksonville for almost 7 hours before we could take off!  Thankfully the boys were pretty well entertained when Joel read to them, and Darya loved the moving walkway.

Ben and his awesome toothless smile at Disneyland (he has since also lost his other top middle tooth)

 Darya in the hot tub with Dad, brothers, and cousins

 Oceanside pier, CA

Darya, big brother Sam, and bigger cousin Peter

Well, I think I'll call it a night.  I really do hope to post on here more frequently.  I want to keep updating on life with Darya as well as share my heart about orphans, adoption, and Down syndrome.  So many times things will pop into my head or I'll see something that I want to blog about, so hopefully I'll do that more frequently.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Darya playing Bach....or Ray Charles.....

....I'm not quite sure, but I do know that she looooves the piano!  Sam was trying to practice piano this morning, when his little sister wanted her turn.  Being the sweet big brother that he is, he happily obliged the little princess.  (Pardon the video quality, it was on my cell phone).  Enjoy!

P.S. I know it's been over a month since I updated, but I will soon!  We had a wonderful time in California and I'll try to post some pictures and share some updates soon.