Friday, September 30, 2011

Darren

I saw today's little face on another's adoption blog.  When I clicked on Darren's bio with Reece's Rainbow I saw that the 10 day wait is waived in this region!  What a blessing!


Just look at that sweet face!  He appears to be happy and full of life.  And you have got to love those little hands.  Here is what Reece's Rainbow has to say about sweet Darren:
"HOT DOG, new photos of Darren.  Finally we get a glimpse into the sunshine that he is.  Look how he has grown!  Darren is a sweet boy with bright blue eyes.  From his medical records:  Down Syndrome, bilateral pyelectasis, low muscle tone.  This region typically waives the 10 day waiting period for children with special needs.  Hope you will consider any one (or more!) of the children from orphanage 41!".
There is also $1,670.00 in Darren's grant with Reece's Rainbow.  That is a nice lump sum to get things going!  To learn more about Darren, please click here.  You will also see that he has a Christmas Warrior, someone who will help add to that grant through the end of December!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oksana & Suzanne

Another day, another child.  I'm kicking off Down Syndrome awareness month a few days early with some adorable faces!  The first little one is Oksana.


Oksana is an adorable little girl who is 5 (will turn 6 in January) and has $10,3888.90 in her grant.  Over TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!  That is a huge grant to start with and would help considerably with adoption expenses.  Here is what Reece's Rainbow has to say about her:
"Oksana is a beautiful carrot top with blue eyes!  She is healthy, with no heart condition.  She does have hard astigmstism in both eyes, so she will need corrective glasses.  But she is active and happy, described as affectionate and playful.  Won't you give Oksana a family of her own?  There is full medical info available for Oksana!"
This is an ideal situation for any family.  There is a considerable grant and full medical information available!  That is a win/win situation.  I know the picture is not the best quality, but if you would like to see another picture of her and learn more about adopting Oksana, please visit her bio page by clicking here.


The next little love that I would like to share with you is Suzanne.  She is 5 and has already been sent to live in an institution.  That just breaks my heart!  Does she look like she deserves to live in a mental institution for the rest of her life?

Reece's Rainbow has the following information on sweet Suzanne:
"HELP!  I HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED!  Sweet little love Suzanne has been sent to an institution.  She has flat feet, and a severe intellectual delay due to her Down Syndrome.  She could really use a family to allow her to bloom!  She is located in Russia."
For more information on sweet little Suzanne, please click here.  There is $25.20 available in her adoption grant.  Hey, $25.00 is $25.00, right?

Are you Oksana's mama?  Are you Suzanne's mama?  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Videos Such as These

It is videos like I am about to share with you that remind me why it was so important to make so many sacrifices to bring Dima home to be a part of our family.  I watch Dima in amazement when he completes a complicated puzzle or plays with his brothers and seems to understand everything that they are saying to him.  Sometimes I catch myself starring at him because it is almost unreal to me that he is even here in our home!  God is so good!

Many of you have seen our family videos and it is obvious to just about anyone who sees them that Dima is full of life, full of promise.  God has a plan for this child.  But if Eric and I had not been obedient, Dima's life would have been so different...so sad...so hopeless.

The first video I am going to share is of a boy with Down Syndrome in a Ukrainian mental institution.  You will hear a man say, "Privet" which is "Hello" in Russian.  The young boy beats his head on the wall rather than return the greeting...so very sad yet a very real situation for so many children with Down Syndrome.



This next video was made over a year ago.  At one point it features an adorable little girl from Reece's Rainbow, but I am pleased to share that she has since been adopted. It is the other footage in this video that I really want you to see.  I've seen this Today Show segment many, many times and it still makes me cry.



So as I sit here and share these horrible images, I have a little boy in the next room playing, living a happy and secure life because the of the generosity of so many people.  Otherwise, Dima could have very easily been one of these horrible statistics.  It is also through the help of Reece's Rainbow that we have our son and we are grateful to them, as well.

Would you please pray for the 147 million plus orphans that are in the world at this very moment?  Better yet, would you consider being the Mama or Papa that these children so desperately need?  If that is not possible, would you please consider making a financial contribution to a family that has stepped out in faith?

Some little lives may depend on it.

Kolya

While today may only be September 28th, I cannot wait to share the first little one who has been on my heart for sometime.  This is actually another little boy to whom we almost committed. We absolutely spotted Dima first, and we had inquired about Dima right away, but if he had not been available, this is the boy to whom we would have committed.  There was a period of about 2 weeks where we did not know if Dima was still available to be adopted so the logical side of me had a "back up" plan.  Ironically this young man's name is the same as Dima's best friend, Kolya.  This was not the child meant to be in our family, however, but he is certainly meant to be with one.  Is it YOUR family?



Kolya was born in July of 2000.  Yes, he is 11 years old.  According to the bio from Reece's Rainbow, Kolya is, "A very delicate and sensitive child who catches every touch, every word or a smile.  He may long to sit next to a nice man and just hold hands, enjoying the warmth....  He will never be like other children, but this does not negate his ability to enjoy the outside world and bring joy to others.  Kolya is helpful, helps the nurse to collect clothes, toys, and clean the room.  He does not say much, but he certainly understands.  He has a good memory...."

This boy is 11 but I can only imagine the child-like nature he must have due to his surroundings.  He also has Down Syndrome.  Currently he is the oldest child listed on Reece's Rainbow with Down Syndrome.  The picture you see of him was taken recently and he does not look much older or bigger than our youngest son who is 5.  I suspect he may even be smaller.  Our Dima is 7 but smaller than our 5 year old.  The conditions that these little ones live in is harsh and does not lend to their growth and development; it instead steals from it.

If you are interested, curious, or want to know how you can help Kolya, pleas click here to go to his page with Reece's Rainbow.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This Little Light of Mine - Down Syndrome Awareness

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month!  Eric and I will be celebrating it with our little blessing, Dima!  As you all know we found Dima through Reece's Rainbow, a Down Syndrome adoption ministry.  This ministry has helped so many children find their forever families and has also saved many little lives.  Eric and I are so grateful for Reece's Rainbow and all that they do.  Over the next month I will be sharing more about the ministry and even feature some little ones that have been laid on my heart.  In the meantime enjoy the following video.  You might even see some familiar faces!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Humble Request

Good morning everyone!  It is the beginning of another week here in the Monier home and while I love the start of new weeks we are actually beginning this one with a bunch of sick boys.  They all have awful allergies, even Dima, and once they have been congested long enough it usually turns into an infection of some sort.  The have been sneezing, coughing, and hacking for several days now.  So while we are still doing school, they are all still in pajamas and this worn out momma is making some homemade chicken soup.  I see naps in our near future.

Anyway, I've been wanting to write this entry for a few days but not really sure how to word it without coming across as rude.  So please bear with me as I try to be transparent and make a humble request to you all.

Dima has only been home 2 weeks as of today.  While things are going relatively well, there are so many dimensions to an International adoption that some of you may not be aware of unless you have already walked this path.  What I am about to say it not in any way a complaint, just stating what should be the obvious:  the first several weeks home are not at all easy.  That does not mean we are unhappy, regretting our decision, that Dima is awful, etc...  It is just a HUGE adjustment for all of us and especially Dima.  That being said, I confess that I made my first mistake of getting Dima adjusted.  This past weekend we took Dima to a birthday party at a bowling ally for an adorable little friend of ours.  It went against everything I had been told and was feeling and boy did I ever pay for it.  Not only was it overwhelming for Dima, but there were people there (not in any way associated with the birthday party) that really overstepped some lines and boundaries and they were in no way polite or understanding about it.  Complete strangers!  It was beyond infuriating and by the time I got home from the party I was totally drained and just cried.  It was too much.  Period.  Almost every adoptive expert advises families to "cocoon" for the first several weeks.  It is not to be selfish or greedy with the new child, but it is for the adoptive child's best interest.  Things can be especially difficult for the adoptive child if they have a special need such as Down Syndrome.

Suffice to say that after the experience that we had this past weekend I will be following that advice as much as possible.  Please give our family some time to adjust.  Repeated invites to various social activities are just going to be a flat-out "no" until we are better adjusted to everything.  Oddly it seems that people are more respectful if a woman brings home a newborn baby and gives the new momma some space.  Well, please think of our newest addition as a newborn baby in terms of us needing space.  Dima may be 7 years of age, but there are so many other factors that make this a very unique situation.  Neither Eric or I are getting much sleep as our little man loves to wander around the house most of the night.  That is perfectly normal in an International adoption situation and we were expecting this; some of you were not (ha ha!).

Also, please do not be offended if Dima does not hug you, wave to you, or run up to you in shear delight.  The poor kid gets frightened easily since he basically spent the past 3 years of his life inside the same 4 walls and within the same gated yard.  He rarely ever saw a man so he has a fear of men.  Gracious, he can even be fearful of a woman since he had been neglected and mistreated by his birthmother, grandmother, AND great-grandmother.  Again, we totally expected this and are doing everything possible to help him overcome that fear.  Getting in Dima's face and insisting that he say hello to you is NOT acceptable in any way.

Finally, we are not accepting visitors at this time.  Having people come into our home makes Dima uneasy and it can be a very stressful situation for all parties involved.  It is not that we are being rude, unkind, or antisocial, this is just the way things are for a little bit until Dima feels secure in his own home.  Trust me, I so very much wish that it was not at all like this as I missed everyone so much.  But this is what is best for Dima and our family at this time.  In a few months things will be better and we will not have to be so secluded.

If you have any questions, I welcome you to Google bonding with an Internationally adopted child.  You will find that Eric and I have done our homework.  Also, if you have a concern, please address Eric or I directly rather than someone not in our family.  We inevitably hear about it and would be happy to answer your question or concern directly.

Again, I hate to sound rude, but I personally find that direct communication is necessary sometimes.  If you want to be helpful please continue to pray for our family as we adjust and bond.  Know that overall things are going so very well and Dima is a happy boy.  But he had such a sad and rough beginning that it takes time to trust and heal from that.  We fully trust that the Lord will bring about that healing in His timing.

Thanks for taking the time to read this entry.  I appreciate it as does Eric, Dima, Jeremiah, Elijah, and Sammy.    

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Videos!

Just a little update for those of you that are not friends with me on Facebook.  I recently added several more videos to our Youtube Channel.  Please click here to check it out.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Most Unique Adoption Fundraiser: CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!

While Eric, Carol, and I were in the Ukraine we had the honor of meeting the Maddox Family.  They were there to adopt an adorable little boy, Danila, and by all accounts it seemed as though everything was going to go super smooth for them.  We all arrived in Kiev on the same day, August 4th.  Bryan and Laurie Maddox are STILL THERE!  Out of respect for their process I am not going to go into detail but suffice to say that things did not go as planned for them.  They have been stuck in their son's country now for well over one month.  I can only imagine what that must be like.  Their process has been grueling and draining in every way.

Another issue that they have run into is that their funds are low.  They had been fully funded but due to the unforeseen circumstances it has cost way more than they had planned.  As a result they are having one of the most unique fundraisers (and honestly the BEST) ever and I am asking that you prayerfully consider helping this family out.  Click HERE to learn more and visit one of their blogs.  They are offering an opportunity to win Eastern European chocolate!  That may not sound exciting to you, but trust me when I say that the chocolate I ate there was A W E S O M E and I miss it.  My favorite was the Roshen chocolate and their factory was located in Dima's town, Kremenchuk.

Please prayerfully consider helping this family.  Danila's birth family would also appreciate it as they were the ones who pushed to have Danila listed on Reece's Rainbow.

Thank you!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Our New Normal/Fatherless Friday

This past week I focused on trying to figure out our new normal.  The only thing I concluded is that it can not be figured out in a week!  So it will take a few weeks to really figure things out in terms of schedules and routines.

What I am learning is that Dima fits well into our family.  He seems to be adjusting very well and is very happy to be here.  The only problems or bumps have been his leaving the house and he and Sammy fussing at each other.  Thankfully, however, it seems as though both issues are getting resolved and I am surprised at how quickly Dima adjusts.

Dima is also having to re-bond with Eric.  While many could see this as a bump in the road, I see this as perfectly normal for Dima.  Think about it.  He only spent one week with Eric and only 4 hours a day when we would visit the orphanage.  He really does not know Eric.  Dima was also rarely ever around men.  When he was with his "birth mother" he also lived with his grandmother and great grandmother, all of whom neglected him.  At the orphanage it was all women, too, so grown men are alien to him.  But if any man could handle this delicate process, Eric is the man for the job.  He is patient and tender towards Dima which helps Dima trust him.  But when Dima wants to wrestle, Eric steps up to the plate!  I look forward to watching those two become close and I marvel and fall in love with Eric each time I watch those two interact.

So how are the other boys doing?  Very well.  I am especially proud of Jeremiah who is extremely kind and patient with Dima.  Jeremiah was the uncertain one as we went through the adoption process and now he is the most enthused.  Elijah is also doing very well but I am not all that surprised.  He has such a tender heart and a huge capacity to show compassion.  Elijah will, however, tell us when he needs to just not be near Dima and that is very healthy and mature of Elijah.  Sammy?  Well, poor Sammy is learning how to be a "big" brother.  Sammy has been the baby for 5 years and now here comes this kid who likes to have his way.  Dima and Sammy will bicker and fuss at each other to the point I've put them in time out.  But yesterday seemed to be a turning point for them.  Eric and I had a chat with Sammy and talked with him about being patient and kind.  Amazingly that seemed to help.  Dima and Sammy are getting along once again and I will remain hopeful.  To help we also changed sleeping arrangements.  Dima and Sammy were sharing a room and we realized that was maybe not a good idea.  So now Jeremiah and Sammy are in Sammy's room and Elijah and Dima are in what was Jeremiah and Elijah's room.  Hopefully this will be temporary for Jeremiah and Elijah's sake, but I am grateful how willing they were to help out in this manner.

Finally, we got some excellent news from the pediatrician yesterday afternoon.  Dima is parasite and cootie free!  What a HUGE relief as I was beginning to go crazy with sterilizing the toilet and tub after each time Dima used them.  We were flying through bleach and Lysol!  We are now patiently (er, not so much) waiting for Dima's insurance card to arrive so we can begin getting his body all fixed up.  He needs his hernia surgery and a trip to the genetics team up at Shands.  This will also be how we find out wether or not Dima has Mosaic Down Syndrome or not.

It is hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago I was in the Ukraine.....it all seems like a dream now...

Today I am thinking of those I had to leave behind....the fatherless.  Dima is thinking of his buddy, Kolya.  Will you please pray for Kolya today?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mourning

One aspect of adopting from overseas that I have yet to share is the mourning period.  It is that time after you get home and you cannot stop thinking about all of the other little ones you left behind.  I've been home with Dima just over a week and up until yesterday morning it had not hit me yet.  At one point before yesterday morning I figured that I had escaped that mourning period and was relieved that I did not have to experience those strong emotions.  I've read about it.  I've seen others go through it.  I didn't want to deal with it.

Nope.  No such luck.

Yesterday morning as I was driving the boys to Co-Op I was listening to the Joy FM, our local Christian music radio station.  One of the morning show hosts just returned from a mission trip to Honduras to minister to orphans.  Her name is Carmen (see her blog here).  She was not there to adopt but I get the feeling that if she could have walked out of one of those orphanages with a little one (whose name is also Carmen!) she would have!  Anyway, I was catching the segment where she was describing her feelings and emotions about visiting those babies day after day and then having to leave them.  Then it hit.  As I was driving down SR 200 in morning traffic I began to sob and wail like a baby.  All I could think about were Dima's little friends that I saw day in and day out every day for a month.  I held each of those little ones and prayed over them.  I told them that Jesus was with them and loved them dearly, yet there in Kremenchuk they remain.  Their lives are the same today as they were a month ago.  Sure, Dima has a great life now.  But did you know that he asks for his friend, Kolya, EVERY DAY?  His best friend was left behind.  Sweet and precious Masha (the little girl that Eric fell in love with) is still there living the same hopeless life.

So as Carmen shared her thoughts and feelings I understood 110% what she was feeling  and I wept for her, for the orphans she left behind, the orphans I had to leave behind, and the orphans that many of my friends have had to leave behind.  I wept for the few orphans that I would have happily brought home with Dima:  Kolya, Masha, Vladdy, Natasha, Volva, and Vera.  And honestly, it matters not how many people tell me that I have done all that I could.  I think the Lord allows our hearts to break so we do not forget the least of these and never stop doing all that we can to minister to them.  So please do not waste your time telling me I have done all that I could because it is not true.  There is more work to be done for orphans.  Maybe if you have been watching from the sidelines it is time for you to prayerfully consider getting in the game.  Donate to someone's adoption, sponsor a child, become a guardian ad litem, become a foster family, or better yet, ADOPT.  There are over 147 million orphans in this world and if you call yourself a Christian there is much work to be done.  We are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ and He needs us to do something.

In the meantime I pray that Carmen never stops having a broken heart for those precious little ones and I am grateful for the time that she took to share her experience yesterday morning.

I leave you with a video made for Reece's Rainbow with a song by Sara Groves.  This shares my heart...




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Have a Houdini

Dima loves to escape from the house.  Eric and I anticipated this so we had alarms installed on every one of our doors to the outside.  Alarms or no alarms, he still just walks out the door.  This is common in children with Down Syndrome and common to children that have lived in an orphanage.  Can you imagine the freedom Dima must feel living here in our home?  He can play when he wants, eat when he wants, sleep when he wants, he can take a bath, he can play outside, etc...  All of those with permission, of course, but even still, this is SO much better than living in an orphanage with 20 toddlers.

I digress.

Yesterday Dima escaped 4 times, today just one.  He has escaped other times before yesterday, but yesterday seemed to be the day he suddenly felt comfortable enough to really push the limits in our home.  He even escaped with Papa at home and that is being bold right there!  Dima loves Eric, no doubt, but he is not exactly certain what to make of having a Papa.  He has been raised by women his whole life.  Gracious, we do not even know who his birthfather is!  So when Dima decided to up and leave after Jeremiah and I went to Wal-Mart, and on Eric's watch, well, we knew we had a little bit of an issue on our hands.  We will be installing more locks on our doors that are completely out of his reach, even with a chair.  We may implement something on his bedroom door, but he shares a room with Sammy and we cannot make it too tough for Sammy.  And we are even prayerfully considering a service dog.  We know that a dog would not take the place of our direct supervision, but should Dima actually make it out the door in the middle of the night his dog would be right with him.  Eric and I are light sleepers, but I confess that I am totally paranoid about Dima actually making it outside at night and neither of us hearing him leave (though the alarms are VERY loud!).  This too, shall pass.

Other than Dima's escape attempts things are going well.  Today was Dima's first day at our CHEA (Christian Home Educators Association) Co-Op.  He only somewhat participated, but when he joined in, he had a blast.  He seemingly feels very comfortable in large groups of children so I felt comfortable bringing him along.  Thankfully tomorrow is a quiet day at home and only an hour of church in the evening.  Dima does tend to get over stimulated and needs quiet time.

Our wrestling mat also arrived this afternoon which is going to be a HUGE blessing to our family.  Dima is a very physical little boy and loves to wrestle.  But since he is so strong he could hurt his brothers by wrestling on the hard floors that we have in our home.  Also, Dima needs to bond to Eric and he had done so at the orphanage by wrestling with him.  While Dima does love his Papa he needs to get reacquainted with him after being apart from him for a whole month.  So far the wrestling mat is already proving to be a good purchase as Dima went right to Papa and began to wrestle him as soon as Eric sat on the mat.  I have some video of that so be sure to check out our Youtube Channel to see.

On that note it is time for one final round of wrestling!  Not something I want to miss.


Monday, September 19, 2011

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

Today's entry will not be about Dima or his awesomeness or even about my other boys and their awesomeness.  Today I want to introduce you to another blog.

In the same theme of caring for the least of these I would like to introduce you to my friend, Liz.  I have not known her very long, but I can say that I honestly appreciate her friendship and everything about her.  You see she is the wife of our church's Senior Minister, Anthony (Eric is the Associate Minister).  She is bold, strong, smart, funny, caring, and loves to help others.  Her full-time job, aside from being a wife, mother, and minister's wife is that of a counselor.  I will not go into too much detail about that since I am not sure how much she wants me to share, but let me just say that she really helps people that are in desperate need of it!

This coming November Liz has an amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip to Rawanda.  This is not your ordinary mission trip, either.  She is going to train the native people how to counsel those that have been traumatized by all of the unrest that is going on in Rawanda.  I am in awe of her desire to go there and pray that this trip not only blesses the people to whom she will minister, but I pray that she is blessed in return (I know she will be blessed!!!).

Liz is in the process of raising money to head over there and at last check she was about $950 shy of being fully funded.  I would not be a good friend if I did not plug her mission and share it with you all who read my blog so faithfully.  If you would like to "meet" Liz and learn more about her trip in November, please visit her blog, Monday Morning in Rawanda.  Please prayerfully consider donating to her mission!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dima Met His Church Family

Today was Dima's first Sunday here at home which meant that he was able to meet the church family.  Overall he was so happy to be there but did have some fear of some men (normal for him since he was raised by all women).  He loved meeting the other kids, having a snack, singing hymns, and playing on the playground outside.  I personally was so touched by how kind everyone was to Dima.  So I want to take a moment to publicly thank my church family for being so amazing.  Your love, kindness, and enthusiasm for Dima brought tears to my eyes.  My dear little boy left a country that had no use for him and was welcomed into a church family that was eager to love him.  THANK YOU, dear church family.  I pray that you are blessed by Dima, too, and enjoy watching him grow over the years.  I pray that he brings joy to you all and makes you smile and laugh.  Thank you.

I was also overwhelmed with God's faithfulness this morning.  As I sat in church singing praises to God I thought back to the past 9 months of working to bring Dima home.  Even when things would get held up or look bleak, God's hand was on the entire process.  He provided.  He guided.  He led.  Eric and I obeyed.  God kept Dima safe, healthy, and happy.  God put people in Dima's life to bring the Gospel to him, to minister to him, to care for him.  Wow...

And yet I think back to all of the little ones I left behind.  Sadness grips my heart as I think about how they would greet Eric, Carol, and I: "Mama!  Papa!  Babooshka!"...oh break my heart!  Dima misses one little boy in particular and asks me about him almost every day.  His name is Kolya.  Sometimes I wonder if Dima wonders why we did not bring Kolya with us.  Or maybe he wonders if Kolya will ever get a family of his own.  All I know is that I share Dima's sadness when it comes to his little friends.  They are precious, every last one of them.

But there is hope.

There is hope that more people will see Dima's story and feel compelled to rescue a deserving child.  Just one child.  We cannot save them all, but we can certainly make a difference in just one little child's life.  Just ask Dima.  If you ask him if he is happy here he will say a vehement, "DA!  YEESSSS!".

If you have followed Dima's story and even feel just a tug at your heart to inquire about adoption, please do not ignore that tug.  A little child's prayer depends on that tug.  You just might be that miracle that child needs.

Until tomorrow....

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dima Has His First Check Up

This morning I took Dima to his new pediatrician for his first check up.  Elijah came with me to assist in keeping Dima calm and I have to say that overall everything went really quite well.  Dima was understandably a little scared of everything but he never once pitched a major fit or screamed or cried too much.  He was fairly cooperative and the pediatrician was amazing with him.

Bottom line Dima is pretty healthy all things considered and he has no major health issues.  He DOES have 2 hernias, one in his abdomen and one in his groin.  Those will be operated on hopefully by the end of next month.  His tonsils and adenoids are also in dire need of removal but the hernias are more important.  We will most likely wait until after Christmas to have the tonsils and adenoids removed.  His ears looked good, his heart sounded fine, and he might need glasses.  We will also have to take a lovely stool sample to make sure that he does not have parasites or another "cootie", but more than likely he is fine (according to the pediatrician).  He is about the size of a healthy 4 year old but is 7.  For now!  The pediatrician really thinks that Dima is going to do really well and she even thinks that he has Mosaic Down Syndrome.  He will see a genetics specialist in a few weeks to have a battery of tests done.

I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted by the time we walked out of the office.  I really was not sure what to expect or what we would find out today.  In the grand scheme of things I will take these minor issues and praise the Lord that Dima is as healthy as he is.  He was so neglected for 4 years of his life and in an orphanage for 3, that things really could have been much worse.

God has been so good and so faithful to Dima!

More later....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Life With Four

O.K., so we are only halfway into the second day of having Dima home but I honestly feel as though he has been with us forever.  In a way he has been with us for longer than two days due to all of the time and effort we put forth as a family to get him here.  But he truly blends in with us and seems like a homegrown Monier Boy.

Yesterday was a day of first for our newest little man.  He learned what it was like to wake up to a family, have breakfast where he could eat as slowly as he wanted, he got kisses on his boos boos, he learned to love the dog, he learned the joy of Papa coming home from work and how exciting that is, he leaned how to play out in the backyard with his brothers, and was able to experience a tender and Godly bedtime routine with Papa leading the boys in their devotions and prayers.  Is it 100% easy?  No, not at all.  There are bumps and adjustments for all. All 3 of my homegrown little misters told me personally that they are so happy to have Dima.  Jeremiah, in fact, wants a sister ASAP.  No worries, we are going to give it time before we make a final decision on that but we never say never.

Today has been more of a "routine" day as Grammy has left us and it was all Mama today.  All 3 of my "homegrowns" did their school and Dima played with his Thomas trains.  The boys also ventured outside to water their garden and then, of course, they showed Dima how to make Florida mud.  So fun for them all!  They had lunch and snack, more school, and now we are attempting naps/quiet time.  Not so much success there but I am trying.

I also uploaded more videos onto our Youtube channel with some leftover videos from our time in Kremenchuk and then, of course, Dima's homecoming.  I will not stop with videos now that Dima is home- I want to show the world that Dima IS worthy and that other families can successfully adopt a special needs child.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Place Like Home

SO very!  We are home after a very grueling 20 hours of travel and being awake for over 24 hours.

Flying with Dima was challenging (I am not going to lie here) and the first flight he was airsick and was having some of his famous diarrhea- at the same time.  So imagine being in an airplane WC with a sick kid on a bouncy flight.  And that was only in the first 10 min. of being on the plane!  Then making our connection in Amsterdam was also rather traumatic and we almost missed our flight to Detroit.  Thankfully we made it to US soil in one piece but by the time we landed in Orlando we had had enough of traveling.  It will be awhile until I get on a plane again!

But Dima's homecoming was sweet and intimate.  Just family greeted us and I was actually relieved for Dima's sake.  Dima knew his brothers and Pa (Eric's dad) immediately and held Sammy's hand tight!  They  have become instant best friends and I am so pleased.  Sammy is so grateful to finally have the brother home that he cried for so many nights though last night Sammy could have cried because Dima was not letting him sleep!  The first thing that Dima wanted to do was take a bath (me, too!) so we obliged and he was in heaven.

This morning was fun as Dima was the first to wake up and he woke us all up (except for Jeremiah).  We had toast for breakfast and then we saw Papa off to work and Elijah off to Co-Op.  Jeremiah majorly overslept and we wanted to keep Sammy home for Dima's sake as he trusts Sammy completely.  We also worked on getting over Dima's fear of our dog, Jax.  Poor Dima would scream and cry every time Jax came near but as the morning progressed we had Dima playing fetch with Jax- I think they will be great friends.  Dima also got a buzz cut and LOVED it!  I fully expected him to freak out, but he actully enjoyed it and loves his short hair.  It is so hot here in FL that I keep my boys' hair short.  That and Dima has a lovely case of cradle cap that I need to deal with and it is easier with his hair short.

I do have some prayer requests, however.

*We had our luggage lost in Amsterdam!  Pleas pray that it is found and that we get it back soon.
*Dima's Tummy.  It seems that he may have something going on like H Pylori or a parasite and I need to get him into the doctor ASAP to get it treated.  I think I am also dealing with a similar issue as I've hardly been able to eat and my tummy has been super icky for awhile now.  Please pray that we would be able to get Dima seen and taken care of this week (Mama, too!).

Well, I would love to write more but I am super brain dead and have had a migraine for 3 days now.  I need to rest while the boys are resting!  Thanks again for all of your prayers, well wishes, and encouragement.  Please know that I appreciate it all and am grateful for the continued prayers.  We have some work ahead of us in getting Dima integrated into our family, but I think so far it is showing such potential.  He seems to fit right in and is loved by us all.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Last Day In Kiev & Personal Request

In less than 24 hours Carol, Dima, and I will be boarding a plane to head home.  Home.  For Carol and I it is a familiar place with familiar smells, nosies, faces, and comforts.  For Dima it is just beginning of his new life.  Sure, he has been out of the orphanage for almost 2 weeks but he is still in a relatively familiar environment.  He can watch television in a language he understands, eat foods that are not totally odd, and the climate is familiar.  Home is now an unfamiliar place for Dima.  He doesn't really know his brothers, the sounds, the foods, the climate (VASTLY different!), etc...  it will all be strange to him.  So while I rejoice that we head home tomorrow I mourn for Dima who will be leaving behind an environment in which he is comfortable.

Will you please pray for Dima as he arrives home tomorrow and begins his new life?  I am not blind to the adjustments that will take place for our family over the next few months.  That being said I would also like to take a moment and just share a few personal requests that Eric and I have once we return home.

First, we are so grateful for all of the prayers, love, and support we have received over the past 9 months.  Without all of you I would not be sitting here in Kiev right now with Dima.  It has been amazing to see God work through so many of you to save the life of just one little boy.  Please know that the first few months will be a huge time of adjustment for our family and we will still covet your prayers and encouragement.  This time of adjustment may also mean that our family may not make it to every social function, church function (Eric will since he it is his job!), or answer the phone every time it rings.  Eric and I will also be unable to babysit anyone else's children for awhile.  Please be patient with us as we learn our new normal.

Second, I am grateful to those that want to help.  There are practical ways that you can offer your help such as offering to give our boys rides to or from various CHEA or Classical Conversation events, meals, a note of encouragement, etc...  Something that does not help?  Unsolicited advice.  I know many of you love to give well-meaning advice but if you personally have not adopted Internationally I would prefer that you just tell me how cute Dima is.  I do not mean to sound rude, but the unsolicited advice only adds stress to an already stressful situation.  Thank you anyway.

Third,  I am well aware of some negative words from friends about our adoption.  My humble request to you?  Please give Dima a chance.  Treat him with respect and the dignity that he so deserves, especially if you call yourself a Christian.  Love Dima as Christ loves Dima.  I promise you will not be disappointed and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Finally, please do not use the "retarded" to describe my son.  It is an ugly and hateful word.  It would be just as hateful for me to call someone "fat", "bald", "stinky", etc...  You get my point, no?

On a positive note, I would like to welcome anyone who wants to greet Dima at the airport for his homecoming.  We will be landing at 6:28 p.m. in ORLANDO (not Tampa!!!!!!) tomorrow, Monday, September 12th.  If you have further questions about that please feel free to contact Eric.

We look forward to continuing to share our journey with you all as I will be maintaing this blog as well as our Youtube Channel.  It is my prayer that more little ones will find their families through showing what a blessing it is to adopt a child with special needs.  In the meantime I hope to see many of you soon!  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reflections

Well, it is a cold and rainy day here in Kiev and all of our warmer clothes are wet and will hopefully soon be dry.  Dima is having tummy issues again so we really cannot go anywhere.  Honestly?  That is O.K. with me since I am drained.

So while Dima is quietly looking at books I thought I would take a moment to share some thoughts about this amazing adventure.

Overall I have to say that this has been one of the BEST things I have ever done in my life.  Not only did Eric and I get to adopt a wonderful little boy, but hopefully we have been able to open some of your eyes to the blessing of adoption.  Was it simple and easy?  No way!  It was absolutely some of the most difficult 9 months of my life.  The paper work, the ups and downs of the country closing, and just preparing and learning all that I could about having a child with Down Syndrome.  It was draining!  But then I think about the sacrifice that Christ made for you and I.  I doubt that was easy for Him.  To be beaten, mocked, and nailed to a cross is by far more unbearable.  But He did it.  He did it because of His love for us.  Eric and I did what we did because of the love we have for our Lord's children and for the love that He has for us.  Anything different would have been disobedience on our part.

Now that I have Dima in my custody is it easier?  Nope.  He is an amazing little boy and I love him dearly, with all my heart.  But I will say one thing for sure.  He is a stubborn little man who will test his Mama like it is his full-time job!  Totally to be expected.  He also has fears, fears of things that we take for granted every day.  Currently we are staying on the 9th floor of an apartment building and getting in or out of the building has been a battle as Dima is petrified of elevators.  Dima is not keen on chaos (who is, really?).  He will just sit down and zone out as tears roll down his sweet little cheeks.  Dima is physically a very strong little boy and can hurt you without intending to do so.  What I intend to be a nice little hug turns into a wrestling match; or used to.  Mama had to teach Dima that he can only wrestle with Papa.

What is easy?  Teaching new English words and ASL to Dima.  He has been picking both up with ease and I am so proud of him.  He counts, says the alphabet, plays pretend with cars and action figures, he loves to watch cooking shows on television, and he can breakdance like no one else!  He happily greets everyone he meets with a hearty, "Privet!" and says his farewells with a grin on his face.  He knows when he has been disobedient as he then gives himself a spanking (I kid you not!), but can then stick his little tongue out and tell us, "No no no!" as if WE had been the offending party.  Then he smiles again and life resumes at a happy pace.

Without a doubt anyone who meets Dima will be blessed.  If not there is something wrong but not with Dima.  Just sayin'.

Not sure exactly where I going with this, but it is safe to say that I do not, for a moment, regret our decision to adopt this little bundle of energy.  And my time is now up as Dima has come over to me and said, "Privet Mama!".  I think someone wants his Mama.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Have FOUR Boys!

It has been far too long since my last post, but I've been busy caring for my new son; my fourth son!  I would like to officially share (for those of you not my friend on Facebook) that our newest son is Dimitry Daniel, or Dima!  Everything became official early last week, but there was so much driving around the Urkraine that I could not post even if I had wanted to.  That and our Internet connection in Kremenchuk was awful.

So what now?

Well, Carol, Dima, and I are now in Kiev awaiting our departure back to the States which will happen on Monday morning.  We will land in Tampa at 10:30 p.m. on Monday, and it cannot happen soon enough!  We have been here for 5 weeks (I think) and I miss my friends and family.  I am, however, enjoying my time with Dima.

Dima is an amazing little boy.  He is smart, sweet, funny, stubborn, naughty, and perfect- all of those in one little boy.  I learned that when Dima had been taken to the orphanage he could not speak and would not interact with people.  Many of you have seen the videos and he is anything but non-verbal and withdrawn!  He is so fully of life and energy (LOTS of energy!).  Dima is clever and very smart.  Yes, I used the word smart to describe my child with Down Syndrome because it is TRUE!  Dima's life has so much potential and for anyone to say otherwise is ignorant.  Sorry, but that is true.  I cannot wait to see where God leads Dima and the plans that God has for Dima's life.

Our time here in the Ukraine has also been more than just an adoption.  There was mission work that took place.  Eric helped some missionaries work on their "new" church building, I went into one of the villages and met with a family, and Dima also ministered to people by interacting with them.  The most significant meeting that took place was with the embassy doctor who examined Dima.  At first she was very short and almost rude to us.  Yet as she interacted with Dima she softened and then when she saw Dima interact with his Mama she had tears streaming down her face.  She had not spoken one word to me but out of nowhere, in broken English said, "Thank you...just....thank you.  He will have good life in America.  So much he can do.  Here Dima would be locked away.  Like monster."  Like a monster?!  Dima is anything but a monster!  She knew this and was moved.  I thanked her in return and gave the glory to God.

I could write a novel about my time here and my journey to Dima, but instead I will share the link to our Youtube Channel.  There you can pretty much see everything (well....almost everything).  Regardless, you will be able to SEE Dima and see him experience the world for the first time in 3 years.  To do so, click HERE.

Ooops!  Well A certain little man is in need of my attention.  More later!

P.S.  Please excuse misspellings- I am on Ukrainian Blogger and every word has been underlined in red.