Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Now It Is Yasmine's Turn

Yesterday we celebrated Dima's 8th Birthday.  It was a wonderfully magical day for him and we all went to bed with full and grateful hearts.  While it is easy to rejoice for Dima and move on with life, my life has been drastically changed since being in the Ukraine.  I've seen little faces that haunt me each and every day.  I can still hear sweet little voices call out to me, "Mama!  Mama!".  Yet there was nothing I could do other than love on them for that brief moment and pray over them, that they, too, would know the love and security of a family.

Dima, Nathan & Elijah

Dima is so happy!

He has a family and is loved!

Dima, Jeremiah, Elijah & Nathan
Dima's Birthday Gifts

As you can see Dima was very blessed on his first birthday home with us.  His grandparents, great grandmother, aunt and uncle sent him gifts because he is to be celebrated.  He has 3 brothers who made their new brother feel extra special yesterday just as ALL little ones deserve on their birthday.  Dima has a mommy and daddy to love him unconditionally!

But what about the others?  What about the ones left behind?  There is one little love in particular that has been weighing on my heart and that of some other mommas who have adopted from Dima's orphanage.  Her name is Yasmine.

Yasmine Age 7

Girl, Born June 19, 2004
Yasmine is walking sunshine!  What a glorious smile and a personality to match!  Yasmine was born with CP.  She has congeinital hydrocephaly as well.  Her feet/ankles are turned in, but she is able to pull to a stand and tries so hard to get around!  Surgery and therapy can make a world of difference for this darling little girl.
She is already 7 and facing the institution soon.  She is blessed to still be at the baby house.

I have never had the honor of meeting this little one, but I know someone who has.  He name is Dima.  Apparently at one point they were in the same group and were friends.  He was even able to tell me what her real name is and that she likes to play with baby dolls. 

Do not let CP or hydrocephaly scare you.  With God all things are possible; Dima and so many others are proof of that!  Are you her mother or father?  Brother or sister?  Aunt or Uncle?  Grandmother or Grandfather?  This beautiful little girl deserves a life like Dima, to have a family and know unconditional love.  If you cannot adopt, can you at the very least donate to her grant with Reece's Rainbow so a family can commit to her with less of a financial burden?  To make a donation please click here.  In the meantime please pray for this beautiful little girl.  Pray for her health, safety, and for a family to be able to adopt her and soon!  It is my hope that by her birthday next year someone is sharing pictures of her celebrating with her as a part of their family just as Dima was able to do with us this year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Dima!

Today is a very special day in our home - it is Dima's 8th Birthday!!!  I can recall how last year all I could think about on this date was how much I wanted Dima home with us.  I wondered all day if anyone at the orphanage had celebrated Dima's special day with him or made him feel special in some small way.  If his nanny, Vika, was working, I would like to think that she wished him a Happy Birthday and gave him an extra hug.  She loved Dima and it showed.

This morning a very alert little boy woke up and came running out of his room to find some balloons tied to his breakfast chair and a sleepy rendition of "Happy Birthday" came from his half asleep mama and papa.  He desired to have a bowl of Cheerios, a banana, some keifer (he calls it "Ukrania milk") and a cup of Pediasure to start the day.  He is excited since we are all making a fuss over him and has been talking non-stop since he bounced into our room this morning.  We love seeing him so happy.

My mind also wanders to his birthmother.  While Dima was actually removed from her care I cannot help but hope that somewhere deep within she cares for her son.  She was not a fit mother, no doubt, but I pity her.  She neglected 2 out of 3 of her boys and attempted to end her life.  She must be so sad and desperate to have done that.  I wish I could share the love of Jesus with her and let her know that there is a hope and a future for all.  Not a day passes that I also hope that somehow she knows that Dima is safe, loved, and thriving.  Wouldn't any mother want to know that her child is O.K.?

I then think about how we missed out on almost 7 years of that precious boy's life.  Don't get me wrong, Eric and I are beyond grateful to have him now and rejoice in knowing we get him from here on out, but as his mother I wish I could have been the one to carry him in my womb, to rock him to sleep as a little baby, feed him, bathe him, and give him a safe and stable start to life.  I bet he was a super cute baby with squinchy baby cheeks and an infectious smile.  The earliest picture we have ever seen of him was from when he was about 4 or 5 and he sure was a cutie pie!

But here we are.  Today.  Today is truly all we really have.  So today we will celebrate Dima and rejoice that he is here now.  We will also give thanks for his birth mother and pray a special prayer for her today. Our family and friends are so blessed, however, to be the ones who get to enjoy this super blessing from the Lord.


I also wanted to take a brief moment to update you all on Dima's various medical appointments.  On the 12th of this month Dima has officially been home with us for 8 months!  It seems like another lifetime ago that we were in the Ukraine visiting him at an orphanage.  The after effects of orphanage life and his years with his birth family, however, are just now really catching up to him.  At his genetics appointment we received a referral to see a behavioralist to help Dima work through some things that must be bothering him.  The poor guy has been lashing out a little and we suspect he is working through his past as well as still adjusting to his new life.  Overall Dima is a happy boy, but he struggles a little bit and we just need to know why and how we can better help him.  The geneticist also suspects that Dima may have Mosaic Down Syndrome.  I will not get into all of the specifics here, but you can easily "Google" it to find out what exactly that is.  We should know for sure this week or next.  Also, the geneticist insisted that Dima get checked out by a cardiologist.  None of the doctors that we have seen has ever suspected that he has a heart condition, but since heart problems are common in people that have Down Syndrome, we want to make certain that everything is indeed fine with Dima's heart.  So in July we will see the cardiologist.

Finally, Dima had his sleep study.  Eric was a trooper and took Dima and they both survived (ha ha!).  We do not yet have the results of the study, but we are eager to find out what the ENT learned from it so we can move forward with Dima's surgery.  The ENT did not want to operate until he knew how bad Dima's sleep apnea is for Dima's own safety during surgery.  Eric and I are also hoping that once Dima has his surgery he will feel better and that will help him not act out as much. We suspect part of the reason Dima lashes out is due to his not feeling well most of the time.  Those tonsils are HUGE and he even has trouble eating solid food at this point.  The Magic Bullet has become my best friend in the kitchen when it comes to feeding Dima.

I will say it again:  adopting a child with special needs is not easy, but it is doable.  God never calls us to easy, and adopting Dima is certainly one of the most difficult things Eric and I have ever done in our lives.  But the rewards far outweigh the hardships.  Seeing Dima thrive, be happy, and enjoy the simple things in life reassure us that we are on the right path.  We just need to continue to follow our Father's lead and love Dima regardless of his past.  And today we especially rejoice in our new son and celebrate who he is TODAY!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dima's Birthday Wish

In 5 days our Dima will turn 8 - his first birthday to be celebrated as part of our family!  He is excited though I am not certain just how much he understands about birthdays.  Regardless we are building it up to be something special for him.

Dima has one wish.  He is so happy to be in our family, to be loved, secure, and cherished, that he wishes the very same for one of his friends that he has left behind.  She has been mentioned before, but I will not stop advocating for her until she has a family.  Her name is Yasmine (click on name to see listing with Reece's Rainbow).  She is listed as being at Dima's orphanage, but in all of our time there we never saw her.  The sofa on which she is sitting in in the very room where Dima's picture was taken so I know that at one point they were in the same group.  Dima even remembers her and gets excited when he sees her picture.  I think they were good friends.  The following information is from Reece's Rainbow's listing for her:

Girl, Born June 19, 2004

Yasmine is walking sunshine!  What a glorious smile and a personality to match!  Yasmine was born with CP.  She has congeinital hydrocephaly as well.   Her feet/ankles are turned in, but she is able to pull to a stand and tries so hard to get around!   Surgery and therapy can make a world of difference for this darling little girl.

She is already 6 and facing the institution soon.    She is blessed to still be at the baby house.

Let's find a family for her FAST!!!

More photos available, please inquire.

Yasmine currently has $182.61 available towards the cost of her adoption.  For Dima's birthday would you prayerfully consider making a modest donation to her grant?  Dima's ultimate birthday wish is to see his sweet friend be scooped up into a loving family.  Could that family be yours?