Sunday, July 31, 2011

Adjusting to family life

We've been home just over a week now. I've got so much I'd like to post on here that this may get kind of unorganized, but I'll just blame it on lack of sleep ;)

First of all, we want to thank everyone who has done so much for us this first week home. And some right before we got home. Not only did a local church have a railing and gate put on our front porch for us, they had their youth do missions work at our house as well. They mowed, weed eated, and washed our house. They tried to pressure wash it but there just wasn't enough pressure from our spring box so they actually scrubbed it themselves!! What an amazing thing to do for people most of them have never met. Then just a couple days ago the pastor from that church and his wife stopped in to see if there was anything else we needed done! As we talked, we stated that what we could use mostly is just help with things around here, just extra hands. So two days later as I was rocking Jackson I got a knock on the door. It was the pastor saying that he had 3 teenage girls to come in and help me with some household chores if that was okay with me. Ummm, of course!!! :)  Their church was having a clothing drive and had more than enough young people show up to volunteer so he thought of us and our needs and brought them over!!! What an amazing blessing. So they helped me clean the kitchen and bathroom, they vacuumed and dusted the house, folded and took care of laundry, and played with the boys while I finally got to unpack the rest of our stuff!!! It was great!!

Our church family has also been bringing us meals every night which has also been a tremendous blessing. I never realized how much the jet lag and time change would affect me and my moods!! Throw in two little boys who don't understand what is happening or most of what you are saying to them, who are also dealing with jet lag and a time change, and wow!

So how are the boys settling in? Well, it's still a work in progress ;)  Quite honestly, I don't remember much at all of those first couple of days. And the next couple after that, well, they were hard. But we expected them to be. The boys world has been turned upside down, we are first time parents to children who have been through things we don't understand or even know about, and we are all figuring out this family thing. What I didn't really expect were some of my reactions. I'm not going to go into personal details, but I will just say that no matter how prepared you are for things to be hard, you can never know what it is like until you've been there. I will also say that I never once thought that we had made a mistake. I know this is the family God created us to be and I know that He is there with me every step of the way. I need only acknowledge Him and lean on Him.
We are just now finally settling into somewhat of a routine. And it has become clear to us that Jackson thrives on routine and doesn't do so well just now with chaos and commotion. So we have decided to limit the amount of visitors, especially children, for a while. This also means that we will be taking the advice of a dear man we met during this process, to keep his world small and to grow it gradually. Right now his world is our house (not even the whole thing), and our front porch. While he does better going out than having people in, it still disturbs him, especially if the attention is on him. What this means is, for now, pretty much staying home unless there are doctor appointments to go to. It also means no play dates for a while so please pray for me as I will, of course, be home bound with the boys. After being in Ukraine for 8 weeks it is very hard for me to not get out and see people that I have missed. We may try church next week to see how he handles that. It would be great if he could, but we are not going to rush it just for our own selfish reasons.
As far as being a big brother, though, Jackson is doing great!! Yes, he throws toys at his brother, often clocking him directly in the head (for not being able to see well, he sure has great aim from across the room!! lol), but he is truly just trying to play with him and give him toys to play with. If Josiah is crying, Jackson will bring him his favorite toy or just come talk to him. He is learning to tickle him and be gentle with him. He will even go up to him and play with him by doing things that I do to Jackson while we play, like pretending to eat his toes :) He also is not afraid to tell him no or to cut it out if he's doing something Jackson thinks he shouldn't be doing!
Jackson is also starting to use more English words. He says brother now, which sounds more like bubba but that's okay :)
We have discovered that:  Jackson loves dogs and cats....Josiah does not! Jackson likes baths...again, Josiah does not! Both boys are happy and smiley when the wake up. And parents don't get nearly enough sleep to keep up with a one year old and a three year old!! So thanks to the wonderful young ladies who helped clean my house, I was able to get a nap in this morning while the boys slept!!

I'm sure there is much more that I am missing, but it is now 9pm which is when my mind turns to mush and I can barely remember my name! LOL

I am posting this now, but soon after will be having Joel add pictures. I apologize for our lack of pictures of late, we've been a little busy ;)

 we even got Niko in one!

first time in the air...well, almost in the air!

car seat...what the heck is that?

This is a rare sleeping moment!

Poor Josiah, passed out!

Josiah with his favorite page of his favorite book!

First time ever feeding w/o a bottle

His bib lies, he does miss a thing!

Monday, July 25, 2011

"It is finished" John 19:30 (Daddy was wrong on this)

Wow, I have been comparing adoption to a Christian's adoption into God's family for quite awhile....why did I think it would get easy any time soon?  :)

As we awoke Friday morning, 2am....we wiped the 3 hours worth of sleep from our eyes, took a quick shower and finished packing for the 3am pick up from the apartment.  The boys were snatched up while they were sleeping and we were off to the airport with Niko (that man is just amazing, such a friend we have made...way more than just a he says "a universal soldier").  Once there Niko got us a luggage cart and wheeled it in for us bypassing the long lines and going right up to the ticket agent at the counter, he then said something to him in  Ukrainian and came back to tell us we were next in line.  I was actually a bit embarrassed, I hate line cutters and it felt like the other 300+ people on that flight were staring at us feeling like I would have.  But, we got our tickets and after a long good bye with Niko we headed for security.  Security was  a breeze, the agents were nice the kids were great and I was really wanting that first cup of coffee.  Then, as we were not expecting, the first of the problems started.

The lines for passport control were packed for Ukrainian citizens, but the line for foriegners was pretty small.  We stood there for a bit and realized the windows were not even open.....we waited another bit...then a bit more.  I went back to security and was told to wait for someone...the other agents didn't speak foreign languages.  So, we waited and another person in line went to ask (it had been close to an hour already).  They came back and informed us we all need to get into the Ukrainian Citizens line.  Well, it got interesting trying to explain the adoption and the two kids with the Ukrainian passports and visas but the packet of papers we handed to him seem to do the trick (just a note for those going after me, don't....I repeat don't reach under the glass to try to organize things after you think the passport control guy is done with them...i could tell by the look, he was ready to take me to the back for a beating), speaking of beatings, some guy a couple lines over set the mood by going off on a passport control guy and was taken away by security...that was nice!  After all was said and done, we got to the gate just in time to board....not taking the extra minute needed to change Josiah's diaper which later started Rachel's pee-on story!

Once seated, the boys were doing great and Jackson pretty much just passed out.  The landing provided the only "excitement" as I look over at Rachel and she is mouthing..."He pee'd on me"...I couldn't hear or understand what she meant or was trying to say so I really wasn't that supportive to her needs (oops on that one) then the whole trying to change a baby when trying to run to the next gate with a wet baby and wife thing...but we found the joy of "baby rooms" in the airport....a place to change a diaper and for parents to cry, wondering what have they done".  We had about an hour from getting to our gate to boarding, so Jackson and I went for a small walk and got a couple bottles of water.  We then boarded, Rachel with the baby at the bulkhead (she got a bassenette...bonus) and Jackson and I a few rows back and to the side of her.  Takeoff went well, but then the chaos began.  I quickly found out that I have little patience for squirmy little boys who can't communicate what they need or want...and for some reason this little Jackson had a lot of energy he needed to get out.  He actually did very good and the total time of acting like a 3 year old (something I have to remind myself of....often) was only  about an hour of the 8.5 hour flight.  Rachel and I kept trading off as Jackson could stretch his little legs out when cuddling with momma and I could hold Josiah without fear of the guys in front of me be hit with whatever Jackson could use as a drum stick on their heads.  The last 30 minutes was the roughest.  I was told Jackson needed to be buckled in for the descent and landing but he was throwing a fit....all out tantrum but he was muffling his own crying.  This brave little fella was trying not cry and disrupt everyone but, as we later found out, his poor little tummy hurt and the seat belt was making it worse.  As we were landing the kid a half a row back and two seats over blew chunks!  Over and over and over....louder than I have ever heard,, the smell!  I was already a bit queezy from something I ate or just the whole process, and that almost did me in....but then I smelled something else!  Jackson's stomach couldn't cope and he blew out his diaper!  If you have read my posts, you know I had yet to be able to change a messy diaper....but this was far beyond rookie diaper changing abilities but momma came to the rescue and did it right in the plane's restroom as everyone exited.  It was BAD!  Momma also encountered another pee through with Josiah so all their extra clothing was pretty much shot!

DC gave the most enjoyable immigration process I have seen, and the lines were almost non existent.  Then to the problems there either and with very few going through, Rachel got to share a bit of the adoption story with 3 or 4 agents as they double checked my carry-on.  We were done, we only had to take no less than 6 elevators one train and two potty breaks before arriving at what we thought was our gate.  We actually had a few hours so after getting Jackson's boarding pass, at the correct gate, we decided on a couple bacon double cheeseburgers from 5 Guys and some fries to share with Jackson...blanket out, picnic style right in the terminal!  Our very first family picnic, and it was in Washington DC, on a nasty carpeted floor of an airline terminal...but it's not what you have it's what you make of it and who you are with!  What an enjoyable time as a family.  The little two hour flight from DC to Nashville was great, the boys interacted with several people before we took off.  Josiah was fast asleep before we taxied out and after a bit of fussing during take off, Jackson was soon off to lala land too.  There was only one "freak out" moment for Jackson, so I just unbuckled him and he was fine in daddy's arms (this was at the same time Rachel was trying to get me to  look out the window at the cumulonimbus storm clouds...the Same Rachel who hates the thought of flying/scared to death of airplanes!)

Exiting the plane, Rachel took the munchkin and I kept Jackson waiting with me for the "carry-on" baggage that couldn't fit on the "Metro with wings".  We freshened up a bit, changed shirts and went to meet a couple close friends!  We didn't know if we should have people meet us there or not, the whole bonding issue and drastic change of life for the boys, but we decided on a few people and we were very pleased.  Just enough to know people remember us, and enough hands for the kiddos and to help with luggage/chocolate bar transportation (although...I don't think they realized the chocolate thing :)  )  Hugs all around, locked and loaded in a minivan, we headed home on the 1 1/2 hour drive...only interrupted by Rachel needing to stop for munchies and having her first Non-Ukrainian purchase, was funny and She didn't understand the cashier.  Rachel said that she was just preparing to tell the cashier that she didn't need to purchase a bag, Thankfully Heather was there to "translate" for her!  Home we were, an hour or so and we were all out cold and actually slept for about 8 I miss that now!  :)  sleep that is!

Oh, back to the "It is finished" thing.  See, Jesus wasn't talking about all of His work...just His work down here in human form.  We are finished paying the initial price for these little guys, but there is still much to do....this is where the hard stuff starts to happen.  This too was the point where God's hard work started.  The tough love, leading us in ways that only our Father can know is best for us...seeing us struggle through hard transitions when he knows the finished product he is working us towards.  We rebel and fuss against some of the pain in our lives, the places where God places us and trials we go through....but He knows what is best and isn't afraid to make the hard decisions we need to be more like Christ.  So Christians, REJOICE in your pain and hard times!  God knows what is best for you and He will, lovingly, guide us through those changes....What an amazing Lord we serve

Saturday, July 23, 2011


We are home!!! We made it home around 8pm and were all asleep by 9:30!! The boys slept all night :) We all got up around 5 or so, had something to eat and then it was back to sleep for the boys. Mom and dad stayed up for a bit enjoying the quiet, but momma didn't last too long before she was back to sleep too!! 

The boys did great considering we just uprooted them from the only home/schedule they've ever known. We got them up at 3am (Ukraine time) to head to the airport for our first flight. LOVE Niko!!!! That man is wonderful and I don't know what we would've done without him. He not only got us to the airport, but got us checked in and on our way! The first flight was only a couple hours and we were all seated together. Joel and I took turns holding Josiah and Jackson slept in his seat the whole time. Josiah did great! Even kept looking out the window! Never had any problems with his ears during take-off or landing either. He did happen to pee completely through his diaper as we were landing. You know, when you have your belts on and can't get up and move. Yeah, mom got to sit there soaked in pee along with him just waiting to be able clean everybody up. So before the next flight I got both boys in fresh diapers and a clean outfit for Josiah. This was the long flight and unfortunately we were not sitting together :( I was with Josiah a couple rows up and one row over from Joel and Jackson. By the time we were in the air mom and Josiah were again drenched in his pee, Jackson was a mess, and Joel and I were ready to be done with that flight. And we had another 8 hours to go!!! So yes, the second flight was hard on all of us. It not really something I would like to experience again. But again, I say the boys did great. That may sound contradicting to you, but put yourself in their shoes. I would have been more than fussy! So, yes it was a hard, horrible day of travel. But not because they threw fits or screamed or anything like that. Just because it is hard to travel for 24+ hours straight, be off your sleep/eat schedule, sit still for that long (especially a 3 year old and a 1 year old! not to mention mom and dad!), or be held for that long when you are not used to being held much. So I say it again, the traveling was hard, but the boys did great considering. The last flight was more of the same for Jackson, but Josiah had finally had enough and slept the entire hour and a half. Joel and I did better on the last flight because we had about 2 and a half hours to just relax while in DC waiting for our last flight. So we spread out a blanket on the floor for Josiah, got Jackson out of the stroller and let him play for a bit, got something to eat and had a family picnic right there on the floor in the airport :) 

We were very blessed to be met at the airport by my best friend and the Lane family. I got a much needed hug from my best friend (after she hugged the boys of course!) and got to meet the wonderful Lane family! I got some much needed hugs from them as well :) I will work on getting pictures from them both and getting them posted on here. 

Thank you all for your prayers and encouraging comments! They are very much appreciated, and needed!! I know they will get us through the next few days which are going to be rough due to the fact that we all have jet lag!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Praise the Lord!! Gotcha day has finally arrived! As I am typing this our two sons are here, sleeping in this room. Even as I look at them I am still in disbelief. Months of paperwork, frustrations, tears, fundraising, hurtful things being said/typed to and about us, staring at pictures wondering if the day will ever come that we get to hear what the laugh sounds like that goes with the smile...all gone in the blink of an eye as I sit here and watch my sons sleep.  I still cannot believe that God has blessed me so. Me, worthless, doubting, sinning me. I know I will not be a perfect mother, I will make mistakes, some big and some little, but God has granted me the blessing of being their mother. I have no special powers or abilities, all I need to raise these special boys I get from God. I thank you all for your prayers that started at the beginning of this process many months ago.

I especially thank you for the prayers for Jackson. He did fabulous in the car today...he slept the whole time!!!! And thank you to Rob Sader for the gift of the car seat to Niko. Jackson got to use that car seat today and it was such a blessing. Please continue to pray for him as we have more car rides tomorrow and then of course the 3 flights home.

After we got the boys from the orphanage we found out that the passports wouldn't be ready for a few hours so wonderful Niko drove us back to the apartment and just hung out somewhere near by. When the time came, he only took Joel and let me stay back with the boys. It was super hot out today so we are very thankful for his thoughtfulness :)  The boys and I did pretty good while Joel was gone. Jackson is even learning to be gentle and nice with his brother!!! He even "tickled" him at one point tonight! So cute!! And he has started bringing Josiah his favorite toys when he is playing on the floor. As far as Josiah, well, he is pretty quiet and calm. As the nanny told us (via Niko) "he likes food and dreams"! LOL The kid likes to eat and sleep :) He actually just plays by himself on the floor a lot quite nicely. Good thing right now because his brother is requiring a 24/7 watch!!

Jackson not only loves music, he loves to dance!!! Several times he indicated he wanted to listen to music and would immediately start dancing. He danced by himself, with daddy, and even with momma! So even though I've said the word "no" more times today than ever before in my lifetime, we really had a great afternoon.

By the end of the day, though, poor Josiah was done :(  Being off schedule for feedings and naps, plus everything being new and different, really threw the little guy off. Then I had to throw in a bath and some lotion! whoa!! Not something I look forward to repeating. Joel got to give Jackson his bath and guess what? Yep, the kid LOVED it!!! He was just a laughing and splashing away! LOL  I think I picked the wrong son to bathe.....

Some of the highlights of the day: Jackson's first nosebleed (which made both momma and daddy cry, but he is okay), watching Jackson bite into a grape (apparently a sour one), and watching Joel almost puke on Jackson as he changed a poopy diaper (I was laughing so hard I was crying! while I was trying to feed Josiah his bottle :) we ended up trading)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quick update

We did not get the passports today. We find out in the morning when we should get them and what our new schedule will be. But one thing hasn't changed....GOTCHA DAY!!!  Yep, this is the last night our boys will be spending in the orphanage! Tomorrow morning, no matter what else is going on, we bust out our boys!! So excited!! How are we celebrating you ask, why, filling out paperwork of course!! LOL!!

Please pray for us and for our little guys the next few days. They love having a mom and dad to love on them and play with them, but it is still going to be traumatic for them to leave the only home they've ever known. And I am not sure how Jackson is going to feel getting back in the car again after last time :(  So please pray for calmness for him and a peace that can only be given by God. Please pray that medicals go well and that no problems are found or x-rays to be taken. If we get the passports in the morning there is still a chance we could do medicals tomorrow, otherwise it will be Wednesday morning. Pray that all goes smoothly with the paperwork for their visas, which we should get in the afternoon on the day the medicals are done. Pray for Joel and I as we step into the parenting role 24/7, which is new to us.

Please PRAISE GOD with us that these two boys will be orphans no more!!!! Praise Him for leading us here to our sons, and for the lessons we've learned along the way, and for bringing us closer to Him through this process. PRAISE HIM!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

4 days till gotcha day! (it was..but now it's about 24 hours)

Ok, wrote this saturday...published today/monday morning..little odd to read but enjoy and pray!

Well, just a short post to let you know what's going on!  It is saturday, the day after yesterday (well it would have been if I had published it then :) )!  We have decided to stay here at the apartment and get it ready since...well, it needs some help.  First up was dishes (an art form that I am trying to help with), now to blog a second, then to fix the vacuum that is here so we can get one month worth of stuff off the floors (less for both boys to try to eat...I promise we will still feed them)....then to clean everything....(I was a cleaning fool...should have seen it)

We ask for prayer for Jackson over the next few days.  Yesterday revealed that he might not just have been car sick, maybe just sick.  Rachel had a nasty bug or something that we pray Jackson or Josiah does not get.  If they do/did, we are praying they are healed by the time we visit the clinic for their medicals.  As we have seen with the Warners (, there is one clinic used for the Embassy...and they don't like do-overs or second opinions.  They are actually going back in today and we ask all of you to pray for we have seen a miricle take place with the hospital that they were refered to question why he was even pneumonia for the Warners little guy!

Lots of running today and Tuesday morning Gotcha Day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Car sick :(

So today we took the boys to get their passport pictures taken. We were not in the car that long, but within a couple minutes, Jackson decided he wanted in my lap instead of on the seat between Joel and I. Then he is holding his head back and making an odd sound. Oh boy!! He was actually throwing up, but leaned back instead of forward. So I tilted his head forward and caught the "stuff" in the blanket the wonderful nanny sent with us for just this purpose. As he proceeded to fill that, then overfill it, he is getting more upset and I am trying to calm him while trying to keep the "stuff" from leaking onto the seat of Yulia's car. Joel, wonder-dad, managed to get us some wipes out of the bag while holding on to Josiah (who can't sit up by himself yet). So we get all cleaned up (still managing to not get any on the car, yeah momma!) and settle in to sleep it off when round three starts :( Poor little guy was so miserable. At this point there is nothing left in his stomach so he is having dry heaves, but he doesn't understand what is happening so he is crying and just wants to lay down, which of course he can't because we are riding in the car.

But he was a trooper. For all of that, he still managed to smile (as soon as the car stopped, lol) and have a little fun. Especially while we were trying to get him to sit still for the picture! Boy was he ever acting his age! lol A 3 year old is very curious, wanting to touch everything and see if it makes noise when he hits it! But he slept some more and was not sick again on the car ride back. So thankful for that!! But please pray as we do have more car rides in our near future!

Josiah was a champ! You'd have thought he does this every day. But please pray for him as well as. His whole world is about to change as well, and he does have an older brother who throws every toy he ever meets :) He barely missed being clocked with a rattle today. What was I thinking?! lol

Later in the day we were waiting at the orphanage with the director to go close out the boys accounts. We got a call from Yulia saying that because of something that came up with another family she was unable to pick us up and a taxi was waiting for us. Her husband would meet us to be a translator. Well, off we go with the director leading the way! Good thing he knew where to go and what to do! LOL  We were already half way done by the time Yulia's husband got there :)  Then it was back to the orphanage, where I got puked on again. Yep, poor Jackson was still not feeling quite so good. Poor guy just had a rough day all around.  

So Monday we have our first embassy appointment and pick up the boys passports!! Yay! Then Tuesday is gotcha day! Woohoo!! We'll have the rest of our embassy appointments that day and be done!!! We fly home on Friday!! It's hard to believe right now that one week from now we will be home. (well, a couple hours from home)
While I am glad to get the boys out of the orphanage, I will miss it. While I am there I remember to pray for the nannies and the kids there. I also get a chance to give out some loving every now and then to kids who don't have parents visiting them every day just waiting to take them home. There are so many things I will miss from here, including one very cute little blonde headed girl ;)  But that is for a different post.

I have no pictures to leave you with today. Too busy cleaning up vomit to get the camera out :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another blog post gone off my subject (but that's ok)

Again, I find myself tired, ready for bed with a big day ahead of us tomorrow...passport pictures!  FINALLY! LOL   With that brings questions of how the boys will do in the car, how the boys will do together, and how long the boys can hold it...cause I don't know if we have time to stop and get diapers ....just kidding....kinda :)

I want to start off with a realization of the situation at hand in orphanages around the world.  As a child enters an orphage, they loose something.  A child enters an institution and goes from a loved individual to a part of a job for a few caretakers.  They loose their individuality, they are not loved (although some caretakers give some children better care or even love them....but not as a mother or father), they loose a sense of purpose as they have only to survive the day, they become just one of special!  I noticed how dark the orphanage was the other day, I had been there many times before, but it just hit me.  Then, as Rachel and I discussed it,  she reminded me of how cold it feels, how uninviting it is as you look down the hallway to doors that seem to hold secrets.  Nothing bad, just...uninviting.  As I was wrestling with Jackson, Rachel noticed how the other boys seemed to stop and look.  They noticed the special attention Jackson was getting, and since the nannies don't looked different and fun.  But we also noticed how the older children seemed to long for that special attention as well, and they know what's going on, they've heard about the rolls of moms and dads.  It breaks our heart, really, that we can only take two home!  Every couple here can tell you of the ones that stick out to them, the ones that catch your heart....and break it, because you don't know if they will ever get chosen.  My heart is broken for a special little blond headed girl that simply attacks us for attention every time we take Jackson back to his groupa (yep, I said it....a girl, never thought that would happen)....but it is not to be, not this time anyway!

I was praying tonight and God was putting the numbers through my head again, 143 million orphans who have lost at least one parent, 40-50 million no parent orphans (that's the same as the entire population of California)....then the research popped into my head with 2 billion people claiming to be Christians!  How can this be if one in every 50 Christians adopted one child..there would be no more orphans.  "But Joel, come on!  I can't afford a child, or another child".  Then how about being one of the people supporting someone who is adopting?  But it goes further than that.  We somehow have to cultivate the adoption culture back into modern church culture.  True, there are more and more churches starting to understand the early church's role in adoption.  The early church had strong ministries of adoption, orphanages, taking care of the elderly, hospitals.... in general, they took care of people who couldn't take care of themselves!  Why, because it was modeled by Christ!  If we are truly living a life that is guided by the Spirit of God, then why are the most needy being left by the wayside?  The answer is simple, many are not being led by God, or they are not listing to God, or they simply really don't know God.  When Christ said to take care of the widows and orphans, it was not a suggestion.

I thank God for changing my heart toward adoption, especially special needs (as they are the most needy of any group, needing extra care and grace), and for changing my heart from excluding foreign lands as we have really come to love the culture and people in this distant place.  Now, my prayer is for cultivation.  Cultivation of our dear brothers and sisters in knowing about adoption, cultivation of the church as a whole to re-investigate its role in protecting orphaned children (and widows, and anyone else who really can't fend for themselves).  And for those who really can't adopt, to cultivate within them a desire to help those who are willing to bring an orphaned child of God into their family.

If you can't adopt, please pray!  Find someone who is, give up a little something that you may spoil yourself with, and give it to that family.  Pray for that family, reach out to that family, help them with goes a lot further than just the monetary problems for those who are going through the process.  And I ask, if you have a chance to go on a missions trip to an orphanage.....go!  The workers need help, the kids need special one on one attention and you will be blessed.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Okay, so Niko said that he would be picking up the court decree this afternoon. Unfortunately not soon enough for us to get any other running around done, but that's kind of what we were planning on anyways :) This just means that we've gotten to visit the boys the last couple of days instead of spending the day in the car with Niko. The plan right now is for us to start our running around with Niko tomorrow (Thursday). When we finish up and head home depends upon how much we get done tomorrow.  So please pray for smooth processes. Pray we have no trouble getting the new birth certificates or the passports.

As far as the visits the last couple days, well the boy are just wonderful :) Okay, so one is a toddler and whines and grunts when he doesn't get his way and the other one, well, he's a baby who is teething, but to me they are wonderful!
Yesterday Joel tried taking Jackson back to his group while I stayed behind to pack up "our" hut and pull out some snacks for Joel and I while we wait for our time to visit Josiah. Well, they got maybe 20 feet away before Jackson started getting really frustrated and demanded to be put down. But he didn't want to walk, he wanted to head back to the hut we'd been playing in. Then, we walked straight to me :) He let me pick him up and carry him back, no problem. That little sweetheart just didn't want to leave his momma!!! So when we picked him up today from his group, he of course wanted only me to hold him, but he would also push daddy away if he tried to get close to him at all!!! He did not want to share momma! It took him awhile, but he did eventually decide that daddy was okay today. He has also been giving me kisses, like really puckering up (okay, his own version of puckering) and leaning in for a kiss! And today he decided daddy worthy of a kiss too!! Love it!
Josiah has been giving me kisses as well :) One of his favorite things during our visits is momma kisses!! He has been smiling and giggling so much lately, it just overjoys this momma's heart. Me giving him kisses is a sure way to get a smile and more often now a giggle (as long as he doesn't see daddy pulling out the camera that is, because as soon as he sees that thing he takes those smiles and giggles and hides them!) His giggle now is sounding like a real giggle, not just a congested noise. It's amazing how just a few hours a day can open up a child's personality! I am so excited to get these wonderful boys out of the orphanage and here with me 24/7. But please pray for them during this transition as it will be an incredible change for them. Please also pray specifically for Jackson, that he will be okay with sharing momma with a little brother. We've only had them together for a visit a couple of times due to their differing nap schedules. Basically, as long as daddy has Josiah and momma is playing with Jackson all is right with the world (according to Jackson!). But when momma holds Josiah, well, all is NOT right with the world according to Jackson! So along with all the other changes, he's going to have to share the momma that he's going to be clinging too as everything else in his world will be different. So please pray for this little man.

We've been so busy playing lately that we haven't gotten a lot of pictures, especially of Jackson, but here are a few :) Enjoy!

This is Josiah's favorite book, and his favorite page in that book. He likes the sound/feel of the lion's rough paws :)

 Going in to give momma a big ole kiss!! Momma kisses is a favorite game of his :) LOVE IT!!!
 Smiling because he's getting Momma kisses :) Love this little man! Even with his silly bonnets. LOL

 Gotta love the hair!! I've been dying to do this to his hair for a while!! He's just got peach fuzz on the sides and the top is VERY long. Who could resist :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Joel's post.....something not expected

I'm sitting here, knowing I need to post something but not knowing what.  I keep writing and erasing because it just isn't what is supposed to be here, I guess.  But I need to let you know what I am learning over here from our boys!  Yep, I'm a 36 year old man who is learning so much from two little boys that are seen as almost a waste of life here (I don't mean to be harsh, but some still see them as a curse or contagious, or as a waste of food and resourses....but I think things are starting to change).  And everything goes back to God!  Absolutely everything!!!

I look at Jackson and I see a little boy who I now love so much, there is nothing I wouldn't do for him....nothing now.  Others might see a crosseyed little boy who can't walk straight, who stumbles through life wandering off the path, a slobbering mess who drools too much, or a selfish monster who holds on so tight to everything he is given never wanting to share, a little boy who thinks everything should be for him, a little boy who would do whatever he could to get what he wants..  A little boy who had a huge price to be paid on his behalf, so that he could be free and loved as a little boy should.

As I type this, I am reminded of a love for me, by my heavenly Father...who did give everything for me!  I look back on my life, stumbling off the path I should be going.  A staggering man, drooling too often at the things of this world, desprately hanging onto everything that ever came into my posession....I too thought everything should revolve around me and my wants/desires!  I needed a savior too!  Someone to model for me the path to walk, to open my eyes to see where and what I should be doing...placing in me a desire to please my Heavenly Father!  What a love!  I still stumble, but I am forgiven!  I still have times that I know I let Him down, but I know my price has been paid...I am forgiven, and I am loved in a way that I thought never possible.  For God to forgive me of my past, every action, every thought that was not pleasing to Him...How could that ever be?  For this amazing God to somehow still forgive me when I wander, even now!  My friends, we are all orphans until we really know our heavenly Father....until we know the price paid, we can not know His love.  That price was the most prized possession of the Father, Jesus...the highest ransom ever paid!

I could go on and on, the details of what we consider so of the world vs: gifts that are truly precious, or the food of the world that we continue to try to eat being like the gruel/porridge that leaves such a stench for weeks even after being out of the orphanage, or the ones in our little group who would just as much walk all over us if they could, or a great many other similarities between our lives as sinners and that of an unwanted orphan...but I'll save that for later.  For now, I am rejoicing at the amazing steps taking place in the life of our new little ones, amazed by what a couple hours of love a day can do for little soul.  As for Jackson, I don't mind the drool (look at the pics on rachel's post), he is learning to trust momma and daddy, with trust there is a letting go of selfish needs as he learns that momma and daddy will always provide him with what he needs, and yes he will be able to see much better soon....but until then, this little guy walks strong and straight when holding daddy's hand!  I love this little boy, my beloved son!

I really don't know who this is supposed to be for, but if you need to talk...I'm more than willing or can point you to someone who can.  It all begins with knowing how bad we really are, and what an amazing Lord we have direct access to!

Love ya,


Saturday, July 9, 2011


Okay, so before the pictures, just a bit about our visits today :)  I am so excited that Josiah has not only started giving kisses but he has also started reaching for momma!! And today, whenever someone would hand him to me he would smile as he reached for me! One happy momma here :) :) :) He even reached for me a couple times when no one was handing him to me, just wanted his momma!
And Jackson today was being so cute! He did really good with signing and trying to say the words. He very much loves to wrestle with daddy and play soccer :) These might just be his two favorite things!!

Alright, alright, on to the pictures ;)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 7 of the 10 day wait

This day was filled with lots of smiles, giggles, laughs, snacks, hugs, and kisses! And that was all before 1pm!!! :) We again had wonderful visits with the boys. Jackson is starting to go to Daddy for hugs and loving now too, which is great! He also knows that Daddy's are for wrestling with! Imagine that, no one needed to show him how to leap on top of Daddy ;)  He is also showing a bit of a stubborn streak more and more. Just a little longer buddy before you no longer have so many mama's! We are learning more every day how to calm him when he gets frustrated and how to redirect him when he is over focused on something (like snack). We thank God every day for the growth in both Jackson and ourselves as we work our way through this new stuff together. He's never had a mom and dad and we've never had a son :)

Our visit with Josiah was GREAT!!! He is smiling and laughing more and more every day! Used to be that whenever you'd tickle him he would just look at you with no expression. Now he is not only smiling, but LAUGHING! Oh, and he has started tickling back! Today he was just smiling and laughing because he was sitting on my lap and I was smiling at him. CUTE! And then he just reached up and tickled my neck and laughed really hard when I started laughing. God sure has blessed us with some very cute and smart boys!

And as obsessive as Jackson can get about his snack, he gave us a surprise yesterday! I was giving him some pretzels (which were a little stale and really not all that great, but all we had) and so Joel asked for one (not because he wanted one, but to help teach Jackson sign language). So when I handed Joel the nasty pretzel he said thank you, and kind of tossed it aside making Jackson think he ate it. Well our boy is smarter than that! He heard it drop, and not knowing what it was or where it landed for sure, he starts looking all over the floor. Well, he found something, but it was a speck of dirt or something, and he proceeded to hand it directly over to Daddy!! He didn't try to eat the whatever it was that fell, he just wanted to find it for Daddy! So sweet! That was yesterday. So today Joel tried the same thing, with a yummy Cheerio. Well, this kid is so much smarter than we give him credit for. He picked up the Cheerio and without even a sideways glance at Daddy, popped it into his own mouth!! Sorry, Dad, but he doesn't share the good stuff! lol

After our visits we came home for a short rest then off to dinner with 4 other families! 3 of which have already had gotcha day...which means we got to meet the orphans no more!! Yay!! Well, one of them I already knew :) Micah Ray! Love that little sweetie! And because I didn't have mine with me to be jealous, I got to love on him quite a bit :) It was a great evening. I love that we are in the capital city the whole time because of all the people we get to meet coming and going. And because we've been here a while, we can show them some good places to try :)

Okay, so we now only have 3 days left of our 10 day wait. Not sure yet what our schedule will look like after that, probably won't know until next week. Please pray that all goes smoothly for the rest of the waiting period, and then with all the paperwork that follows. Our flights are not scheduled until the 22nd so we are in no rush for things to happen quickly, but smoothly would be nice :)

**************This was not published until now, day 10 because of blogger issues :(  But the great news is, today is day 10 of our 10 day wait!!!! Tomorrow it is official! We won't be springing the boys right away though. First we need to get the court decree (which here in the capital can take a few days), get the new birth certificates,  and get passports.

Day 8 of our wait just happened to be Josiah's first birthday!!! We had planned on getting a cup of ice cream from McDonald's and taking it to him but some things got lost in translation :)  I ordered a regular coke and ice cream in a cup, to go. It took a minute for the ice cream part to register, but then he understood (or so I thought)! So imagine my surprise as I watch him put the cup of Coke into a bag with the straw and napkin and hand me an ice cream cone! LOL I got my ice cream and my Coke "to-go"!!!!  Joel had went upstairs to use the restroom while I ordered. The Coke was for him. If only you could've seen the look on his face when he looked at what I had in my hands and then asked where is Coke was! Of course I said, "in the bag". At the look he then gave me I just had to laugh and say something got lost in translation. :) LOL LOL So Josiah didn't get any ice cream for his birthday, but we did take him a couple new books, which he loved, and some new clothes to try on! As we did, we got to see his bare little feet for the first time. So tiny. And he loves being barefoot, just like Jackson. Almost the whole time we had him out of his orphanage clothes he was playing with his foot :)

Well, we did end up taking him some ice cream today....and he LOVES it!!!

Yesterday, day 9, Joel went to visit the boys by himself. Good bonding time with dad :) Jackson played and played with him, even getting Joel to sit on the swing so he could give him a push! And when Joel asked him to sign daddy he did. But then he signed momma while looking around for me!! How sweet! And then he got to play with Josiah. Until Josiah puked all over him!! LOL It was as he was tossing him in the air, well, on the way down from a toss in the air :)

I have to say, one of my favorite parts of our visits is when we go get Jackson. He just comes at me with his arms up, knowing I'll pick him up. And as soon as I do, he just gets this peaceful, joyful smile on his face. It's the only time I see that specific smile. I love it! He doesn't want daddy right away either, has to be momma. He'll just be content in my arms for the first few minutes of every visit. I sure love that little guy! And his little brother is melting my heart too!!! He is laughing and smiling so much now! He likes being tickled and has even started tickling you back. He also likes to be tossed in the air, both boys do! And kisses, he loves kisses. Today he even leaned in, puckered up, and gave me a kiss! It was so sweet!!!!

I sure do love my little men! I can't wait until I get to be a momma to them. Right now I just get to play with them for a couple hours a day. Poor things have no idea that their worlds are about to be turned upside down. Please pray for them as we continue to get closer to springing them from the orphanage and starting our lives together as a family.

Since I'm still having some issues with blogger, there are no pictures on this post :(  But I promise to try to post a bunch later!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 5...but who's counting

I am!!! Today is day 5 of the 10 day wait. This next week may be one of the longest I've experienced yet :)

So what did we do on this 5th day of the wait? Visited the boys of course!! Jackson was especially cute today, and boy does he like m&m's!! He and daddy have really gotten this play thing down. They started on the merry-go-round which produced lots of adorable giggles. Then they went to the play house where Jackson thought it way too much effort to actually open the half door to go in, much easier to climb over it. Once inside, daddy would knock on the closed window and Jackson would open it with a huge grin! Then he would climb out the window, because that's what it's there for right. LOL  There was lots of playing around the play house, with daddy hiding behind a corner and Jackson "finding" him. Many giggles were produced because of a big piece of yellow and red plastic today. Okay, maybe because of the big guy playing with him ;)
He has also learned to ride on daddy's shoulders without pulling out hair, pulling on ears, or clobbering daddy in the head. Daddy is excited about all of this! So of course, much time was spent on daddy's shoulders dancing, taking little steps then big ones, jogging, and anything that would tire daddy out :) Yet again, many giggles were produced. Have I mentioned that I LOVE that giggle!!! I could listen to it all day long. But, alas, the time came to hand him back over. Soon I will no longer have to do this, and I am longing for that day.

So after some shopping and lunch, we headed back for our visit with Josiah. What a cutie!! For right now, his personality is kind of dry. So we spend much time doing whatever it takes trying to get a smile out of him. Thankfully these are becoming much more frequent. Now to get him giggling more!! Of course, the one thing that will surely supply smiles and most likely a giggle is being "tossed" up in the air and getting a kiss or two to the cheek on the way back down to momma's lap. Well, today this produced the smile I was looking for, but it was brief and not followed by another one. So we gave up on that. Good thing, because shortly after he threw up on momma's arm. Poor baby! Thankfully it got mostly on my arm and not on him or his clothes. Joel's reaction to it was kind of funny, poor daddy. He just sat there watching as if bewildered at what he just saw. So I ask him for a wipe, and he gets it and holds it out for me, while keeping a little distance :) As I look at him expectantly I realize he doesn't know what to do. So I inform him that I am unable to hold the baby with my left arm (he cannot sit up himself or hold himself up at all), and wipe up the vomit that is all over my pants and right arm at the same time. As he continues to look at me questioningly, I realize that he's trying to decide what to do. So I take pity and just let him know he needs to take the baby and wipe up the little bit that got on him, while I clean up myself and the blanket we were sitting on. So some firsts today. First time Josiah puked on me and first time daddy had to deal with baby puke!! lol

And here are pictures of the last few days! Enjoy!!