Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Transformation....some before & afters

Many have asked why we do what we do. How can we not? It is no different than when a family decides to have 4, 5 or 6 biological kids. Deciding how many children to have in your family is life altering no matter who you are. Even more so as an adoptive family as the children have to go through adjustments when first home. Both the children at home and the children coming home. But once that adjustment period is over, you connect as if you'd known each other all your life. It's that family bond that each of us knows.

I know many get a great joy of seeing their infant grow the first year of life. As adoptive parents, we feel the exact same way about the transformations our children do that same first year of life. That first year of life w/ a family. Irina grew 12 inches the first year we had her! Nik went from being developmentally an 18 month old when we got him to the 5 year old he was supposed to be. They learn english w/in a few months. They learn what love is, how to be loved and how to give love. The countless transformations we get to watch are nothing short of miraculous. The blank orphanage stare leaves their eyes and life & joy enter. I could go on for days regarding the awesome transformations that take place. Bojan at 6yo could not feed himself, dress himself, or use the restroom himself when first home. That by the way all ended very quickly. Shoot, he couldn't walk even 3 steps w/out falling down. I look at it in awe each and every time about how far my kids have transformed. They have done so many things that professionals and other people told us they'd never be able to do. It is an honor to see it all take place in my own family. I get to see firsthand the changes from scared, lithless, helpless orphans to strong, bright, full of life children. I am going to post a few pictures of the before and afters that we've seen on the outside. The more important changes have taken place on the inside. I am beyond proud of what my kids have accomplished despite what some have called disabilities or limitations. Here are a few pictures to share of our last child that came home.

The above are pictures of Alyona during our first trip to the orphanage.  When we first went in & they brought the kids to us, we were so afraid to hug Alyona. Literally, afraid we'd break her somehow.  She was bones.  Only weighed in the 20's and was so sickly looking.  Very pale.  Take your first finger & your thumb to form an o.  I could take that and run it all the way up her thigh.  That is how little she was from some malnourishment.  Now, here is Alyona a few years later:

A much healthier and happier child for sure!  A long time since those days of long ago when we were told to consider internationally life flighting her home.  Can you imagine?!  What a difference the love of a family makes.  Alyona does have a list of diagnosis probably 2 lines long at least.  However, we have never defined our children by their diagnosis or special needs.  We define them by their abilities and who they are.  Alyona is just pure sweetness.  Yet has that mischievious side to her no doubt.  She is our little girl through and through.  She has bonds with everyone in the family.  Alyona is the best at giving hugs and means it.  She is our little princess.  Anything pink and frilly, she wants it.  I can dress her up in pretty dresses and she adores them.  Alyona is a kind, gentle soul.  She is loving, motivated, and will go far in life I just know it.  She is trying SO hard to read despite her really only having one eye to read out of.  And that eye is not the best.  For Alyona to see, it is as if she is looking through grains of sand we are told.  She has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia as one of her many diagnosis.  This is not stopping this little one.  And despite her probable form of dwarfism, she can keep up w/ the big kids like no other.  She is slower than molasses though when it comes to eating.  Alyona has come so far already giving the odds stacked against her when younger and at the orphanage.  This child has her own unique style and has a zest for life.  So proud to call her my daughter for sure.  I hope you have seen the transformation in her as we have.  Simply amazing.  I will continue over the next week to do a transformation a day so you can see for yourselves just how much potential orphanage children have.  Till tomorrow!!!


  1. Alyona looks great! So different from when she was in the orphanage. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to meeting the rest of the family in later posts.

  2. Her transformation is amazing. I remember how frail and tiny she was when we were there, but I also remember her spunk, you could see that fighting spirit in her!!