Saturday, August 11, 2012

Max's Makings

I asked Max to build me a patio set.  A set of benches and then a picnic table.  Unfortunately, the week's weather has kept the table from being built quite yet.  But, we have materials now and it will be done by Monday at the latest.  Can't wait really.  Max does everything by eye. 

And this is where his inspiration all starts.  From a pile of wood.  

He builds it to last.  Look at those bolts!  Though Warren is a little miffed about Max using his concrete screws on the top of it.  

Bench is indeed level.  Yard is not.  

Max, after a hard day's work trying out his makings.  He wanted to make it high so that people can lean back on it.  We'll be staining it all w/ white cedar.

Nik and Summer.  My two youngest of the boys and the girls.

Gives you an idea of just how big the bench is.  We have 2 of these now.  6 to go on each side.
Reni and Summer on the bench.  They're ready to eat.  No, none of my kids have a future in the fashion industry.  That is blatantly obvious.  Reni is wearing pajama bottomsand a cover up.  Summer, sweatpants and a 4th of July shirt.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer swims!

Remember my terrified little girl a few months ago?  You know, the screamin' demon?  Too frightened to put her feet in the water.  I couldn't really bathe her in Sofia.  She couldn't handle it.  The rain stopped her dead on the soccer field  in the spring.  She couldn't handle it.  Emotionally, a frozen zombie with water.  How is that same child today??  Take a look:


Doesn't she look awesome?!  Ignore Alex screaming in the background.  It happens.  She was swimming to me to show me what she can do.  BTW, she can swim w/out a life jacket as well.  However, still too little and young for our pool to swim w/out one.  I just am really proud of her.  Typically, it is much harder for children w/ c-ACC to accomplish such tasks that have a right/ left connection.  Walking, running and now swimming have been mastered by our little Summer.  Isn't it just fantastic?!  I'm not sure this video will load the right way or not.  If it doesn't, come back later this evening and Warren will have fixed it for me.  

Now it should work folks.  

It was Saturday evening before I (Warren) was able to get the video to link in.

I now turn this blog back over to the intrepid and prolific poster, my wife, without whom I would have a life of dreary boredom,  the fabulous and lovely, Stephanie.

2 special situations

There are two special situations I've become aware of that need our help.  One is from a friend of mine.  I will simply copy and paste what she wrote on FB. 

The Brown family is being presented to a birthmom, and we are asking for you to prayerfully consider making ANY donation to them via paypal. This baby was born 10 weeks early, and has significant brain trauma. The family does not have the $8,000, but has commitments from two people that total $4,500. They can travel on mercy flights. However, I am trying to help them raise the additional $3,500 they desperately need to give this baby a HOME.

Their Paypal account can be found at:

ANY size donation will be a blessing to them!!
Please be aware that this family can indeed financially care for this child.  I will not disclose all details.  Just know this family is wonderful, has been through a tremendous amount and honestly just needs a helping hand to bring their child home.  This is a child that will need significant medical care yet will totally thrive with this family.  Please share and do what you can to help.  $5 adds up very quickly. 
Next situation is one that was distributed to a yahoo group.  I figured I'd just share the link and you can read about it.  All donations are also tax deductible.  This is NOT for an aodption but rather for a child to be able to live a normal life in China w/ hearing aids.  
This little boy only needs $4800 to get the hearing aids.  This is making a huge difference in the quality of life.  Without them, his future is bleak as he is already struggling.  I know what hearing aids did for my son.  It opens the world.  What is $5 or $10 going to mean to you?  For him, it means everything.  Please consider donating to anyone of these two causes or both even.  Together, we can accomplish a lot.  Our family donates to various things.  I am very "picky" I suppose as to what I post.  Majority of  the time, I really like to know the people personally.  Sometimes I don't know them and that's okay.  Take just a minute today and change a life...or two.  It can be done.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nik and Bojan's appointments and....

trouble w/ the leg.  Alright, I'll start with the other day.  On Wednesday, I took Bojan and Nik to the doc for check ups.  Yearly.  Nik needed one shot and Bojan needed 4.  Nik is in the 25th percentile for height and weight.  Bojan is in the over 90 percentile. Nik's family is small and we know this as a fact.  Bojan's father was tall and his mom is too.  So, all healthy, all good. 

Now, for the problem.  The surgery that was supposed to permanently correct Bojan's clubfoot has gone wrong.  Yes, he went for follow up and they told him the pain was normal and x-rays were a-okay.  He had surgery at Duke.  Bojan has been begging, yes begging, for his leg to be amputated for quite some time.  He's 13 yo.  He knows what it entails.  He's lived with pain for YEARS people.  I know that these docs try to save a foot when they can.  However, at this point, we are strongly feeling this is a lost cause.  Bojan has truly been in pain for years.  The foot does not flex.  He can't run.  Doesn't bend.  I could go on and on.  Now, we have a circulation issue I feel.  He's foot's turning purple.  URGHH!!!  He said it hurts to walk.  Asked the doc yesterday and she said go ahead and call Duke.  She said most likely though, they'll recommend you to a vascular surgeon.  Lovely.  Once again, he's had enough.  Mentally, this child is totally prepared and able to handle an amputation.  NO DOUBT in my mind whatsoever.  We're all ready.  We've been doing this for years.  He came home at 6yo w/ a non corrected clubfoot.  Though, he did have surgery on it in Serbia. 

I appreciate the docs trying to "fix" a clubfoot.  But at some point, we need to get real and think about the long term.  He hates gym and I can't blame him.  Really, is it necessary to make him complete laps for an extra few minutes when the rest of the class is done?  They all know he can't run.  It's just fact.  I will discuss this in the upcoming year w/ the school.  All these years he's been a good sport about it.  But I can tell, Bojan has had enough.  Hoping when we call Duke tomorrow that 1) they'll see him and 2) they'll reconsider ALL treatment options.  Time will tell.  Any thoughts...good and bad are welcomed here.  I know this is a tough one.  There are tons of things I left out.  Too much to write really.  But you all get the idea.  When bojan first came to America, he had surgery.  That is the same surgeon that messed up Alyona so badly.  He also did Bojan's surgery wrong and the docs at Duke have tried to fix that as well.  There is so much to this story.  Long story short, we all seem to think it may be in Bojan's best interest to get it amputated.  Seriously, at the last surgery we thought it was IT.  No more surgeries.  It would finally be corrected.  He'd be able to walk right for the first time in his life.  No.  He walks straight now which is awesome but walking in pain w/ every single step just is not right.  Much more to say but need to get some other things done.  More to come tomorrow.  I'll call Duke first thing.  wish me luck. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Redneck Waterslide

You know you're from the south when....  Anyone remember the Jeff Foxworthy jokes?  LOL.  My Kids bring the term redneck to life some times as you've seen w/ a few previous posts in the past.  Today, I'm posting about their waterslide they made. 

And this is how you make a redneck waterslide.  Take any regular slide.  Drag the hose across the yard and attempt to spray said slide.  

Next, find a raft.  Preferably one bigger than the slide itself.  Or, you can easily drag the filthy snow sleds out from under the house.

Then, go down in complete hysterics.  I know this one is blurry but they were having so much fun.

Logan in a cowboy pose on a sled, going down a slide.  Umm, yeh.  Only at our house.  Think I should send these in the PPR??

Reni and Nik for attempt #2.

And, at the bottom they fall.  In complete and utter laughter.  

Not sure if Summer was trying to get people out of her way or what.

Summer decided on a different board for going down.  

And this is what it looks like at the bottom of a redneck waterslide.  No crystal clear water in this amusement park!  

Who knew so many Eastern Europeans  could become rednecks so quickly.  Reni, after she landed.  She was covered in mud yesterday.

Logan and Nik.  For some reason Alex did not want to go down.  He was the "pusher."  I think he liked the idea of pushing someone w/out getting into trouble.

 Not a steep slide but has some umph!

BTW, this was the first time I found out the turtle pool could even go down the slide.  

Our girlie girl Alyona.  Getting ready to join in the laughter of the water slide.  In the dirt and mud.  Boy, we need a gardener.  LOL.  

And that is how my kids create a redneck water slide.  I avoided the back yard at all costs yesterday. 

What happens when my kids watch the Olympics?

Forgot to add to my last post something that Bojan said.  He said "Remember mom when we used to ditch Logan?"  I said yes.  He said "well, we like him now."  That spoke volumes despite it not being put in the nicest way possible.  It showed that they were getting to know Logan for who he was.  They let him in and got to know him.  And all it took was tools and a project.  Shoot, I may keep them making stuff the rest of the summer. 

Onto this post.  My kids have been watching the Olympics on and off.  Been good for everyone really.  Logan and Reni decided they are no longer rooting for Bulgaria b/c they're "losing" too much.  LOL.  You do tend to look out for Bulgaria, Russia and Serbia once you adopt from there.  Kind of neat.  So today they were watching synchronized swimming.  What do you think happened?? 

Summer, just getting started on her event.  

She's really trying to straighten those legs.

 Max, giving his best impression and begging me not to take a picture.  So of course I have to take more. 

Believe it or not, this is an action shot of Max falling out of the chair.  Yeh, I'd say synchronized swimming is not his event.

Nik and Logan watching the Olympics in a normal fashion....for now.

Bonding brothers (what it takes)

When you adopt a new child, you never know how the family dynamics are going to change.  Will it be a good thing?  Will it be bad?  Will it be ugly?  Will it be all 3 of those things?  Our family has done something more than once that the adoption community (especially agencies) ooh and ahh about.  What is it?  Adopting out of birth order.  Yes, we've committed that horrible act that is deemed not so great by many adoption agencies.  Shoot, some won't even let you do it.  For us though, it felt right.  But, once again,  you never know how it will turn out.

See, Max and Bojan are extremely close.  They claim to be biological.  LOL.  Being this close is both good and bad.  They were so close, that they wanted no one else "in."  Can you see where this is going?  So, for months we've been dealing with our older teen boys not quite accepting their newest younger brother...Logan.  Though Logan was trying and trying.  This was hard as well b/c he was trying by being annoying.  Yes, he was.  He'd throw stuff at them.  He was trying to get their attention but it just made things worse.

Well, earlier this week, Max and Bojan were going to build me a patio set.  They complained  a lot about me making Logan help them.  "he'll get in the way mom."  "We don't want him to help."  " We can do it much faster by ourselves."  Yes, I heard it all but I stuck to my guns.

Notice, just these two to start out with? 

One of the benches.  It is extremely heavy.  No, it's not crooked.  It's the unlevel ground. 

Max wanted to make a very high back b/c he hates sitting in chairs, leaning back and your neck falls over the edge.  Good point he had.  Everyone can lean back in this one.  Look at the size of the bolts he put in that thing.

They came up with the saying for the picture taking.  Working buddies.  All still smiling after working together all afternoon.

They did it together.  All 3 of them.  NO fighting.  NO disagreements.  Cooperation all around.  Trust me, I was stunned. 

A closer view on some faces here.  Squinting b/c sun is bright as you can see.

Starting the second bench.  Here's where having a workshop would come in handy.  But, they make do and that's good too.

Logan holding the bolts for bojan.  It's treated Lumbar so they're working w/ gloves on in case you're wondering.  They're finishing the second bench today, Wednesday.  Tomorrow is building of the table.  It will all be sanded and stained this weekend.  proud of them for sticking to it.  Can't wait to see the finished product.  After this, Max is building Yana's bed.  It will be like a Murphy bed coming out and folding up to the wall.  Cool, huh?  Got to go.  Speech therapist is coming for Summer and Nik.  Then, we have Max cooking hot dogs on the grill for everyone.  I just got back from taking Nik and Bojan to the doc.  More on that later today.  Enjoy your day everyone.  More posts to come.  One day, as I always say, I'll be caught up.  one day. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pool fun yet again

Hey, it's summer so I must take pool pictures. 

Irina and Alyona spending some time together.  Best investment we ever made years ago was this pool.  Between this and the trampoline, I don't know what I'd do without them.  My kids have always been out door kiddos.  

Nik, trying to smile despite the bright sunshine.

They have really become buddies lately and Summer tries to sign to him.

Poor Irina was so tired after this.  Alyona and Nik kept doing this over and over again.  

These were the kiddos swimming in the pool this day.  

And just b/c I couldn't decide on what shot looked the best.  They had fun and Max, Bojan and Logan were working on the benches.  Alex was being tested by me inside.  Worked out very well that day.  More to come.  However, I swore I wouldn't stay up late this week.  Tomorrow, Yana has dance try outs.  Nik and Bojan have a doc appointment.  Speech therapist comes.  Other than that, we're pretty free and intend to get things accomplished tomorrow.  Okay, so that's the goal here at Chaos Manor. Time will tell.

Advocating for Angels

It is high time I focus some of my time for some of the children left behind.  See, once you go to an orphanage, it is VERY hard not to want to do something.  Anything.  I can be a voice for the voiceless.  The ones who need some help shouting their names from the roof tops to let them know someone does indeed care.  Someone knows they're there and wants to help.  Why do you think we ended up with ten kids so far?  You go and you just feel compelled to go back if you can and if your family dynamics allow it. 
Over the years, I've advocated for various kids.  Many, many have found homes.  I have gotten to know many people and met many more in person at various reunions and meetings.  Helps to know someone in person.  Anyhow, I've always said I'd help shout out for the kids.  I was never tied to any one agency or organization.  That being said, there are a few VERY urgent situations we must spread the word about.  I can not give pictures on here publicly.  Trust me though, handsome kiddos.  Time to get started on this awesome kids and really get the message out that they exist, they're waiting and some are even HERE!  Yes, here in NC to meet personally! 
1)  First up is a 12 boy.  He was originally adopted from Asia.  So yes, this would be a rehoming placement.  It would take place here in the states.  This wonderful guy is just needing a chance.  He is deaf and they are indeed requesting a fluent ASL family for this young man.  Someone who has understanding of past issues such as trauma would be very helpful.  As with a few of the children from institutions, their past can be tough.  His progress this year though has been phenomenal!  I read about the before and after and was just stunned at all this young man has accomplished.  He could only sign a few words to knowing hundreds.  He can read, etc.  Simply amazing progress and in the right forever family, will thrive.  Fees are minimal.  Time is of the essence as THIS MONTH, this child will be lost in the foster care system forever.  It is very difficult for older children in foster care to be adopted from what I've heard.  Here's a small excerpt about him:

Donny is relatively athletic and likes to swing, plays putt putt golf,basketball swim, ride a bike, skate board and enjoy activities outside. He is curious bright eyed determined to learn student has some trouble with math. He loves peanut butter sandwiches and would like them every day for lunch. He is a big Spiderman fan. He is independent in all his personal self-care and does not need to be reminded or prompted.
2)  There is a group here in the Raleigh, NC area that is currently being hosted.  All the kids but 4 have found a home.  I know you think that's fantastic but seriously, we can get ALL of them to find a home before they have to depart.  I'm sure of it!  See, I've hosted before.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  It gives you great insight to the children.  I know these kids are only here for a little longer but even visiting for a few hours would give you great insight.  Speak with their host families and learn about them.  Truly learn about them.  I have heard these are just awesome, awesome kids!  And, being here weeks at a time, the host families have a real grip if there might be issues.  There is one boy in particular that many have been touched by.  I have an excerpt on him and this comes from the host family's info they provided.
Vladic is an 8 year old boy with the cutest, sweet smile. His smile
lights up his face and you can’t help but smile back. He is an
engaging child, who is alert and aware of what is happening around
him. He joins in to activities easily and seems to catch on to them

Vladic came to the orphanage about a year ago from a shelter and no
one has ever come to visit him or contacted him. He is truly alone.
His teachers say that he may have some learning disabilities. However,
he tries very hard in school and in our lessons at camp.

Vladic seems like a well-rounded child. He likes to do physical
activity, but also will sit quietly and draw, color and read with good
focus. He has enjoyed picking out stacks of Russian and English books
at the library. He enjoys swimming, rock wall climbing, and
playgrounds. Vladic seems very athletic and well coordinated – when
rock climbing, he even did gymnastic flips and rolls onto the crash
mats that astounded everyone. When he was at the beach he and another
boy would flex their muscles and grit their teeth (with great big
smiles) as a wave approached. It didn’t seem to help much as they took
a tumble each time in the waves, but they came up laughing, ready to
try again. At home, one of his favorite activities is to jump and flip
into the overstuffed bean bags.

Vladic has not been a picky eater during his visit and has enjoyed
foods such as beef & pork dumplings, spicy Italian and four cheese
tortellini, kielbasa, cupcakes, peroghies, dill pickles, strawberries,
green grapes, watermelon, bananas, peaches, cherries, multi grain
Cheerios, pancakes, water, milk and Sunny D.

He enjoys the computer and likes motor sport games, but not excessively.
He will play for awhile and then move on to something else without
prompting, like
playing with cars, legos and some of his other toys. He enjoys playing
with other
children and plays well with them, whether with a board game or on the
He has really taken a liking to his host family’s dog and two cats and
treats them
well and with affection. Likewise, they have taken a liking to him –
the dog often
follows him around and the more friendly of our two cats is often with
Vladic when
he is playing cars on the floor or building Lego or reading books in his room.

He is polite, kind, helpful and has a great sense of humor with a
contagious laugh.
He is also seems to be very gentle.

It should be noted that we do not receive any medical history on the
children who come to the United States for a hosting program, as this
information is confidential.
The commentary in this profile is based solely on opinions of their
host family and
others who have interacted with them during their visit. All children from hard
places may have trauma, family history, or medical issues that could have a
lifelong impact.
3)  Natasha is a spunky 10 year old little girl and her 8 year old brother Kolya is all boy!  They are very close and have always been together. In a lot of ways they are quite different, but they do share the same adorable dimples.  Though Natasha is small, she has a BIG personality. She loves music and regularly
performs in dances at the orphanage. Her teachers see her as hard working and calm. She also particularly enjoys embroidery and other crafts. Natasha is absolutely beautiful and is looking forward to her hair going back out after it was cut at the orphanage. Natasha wants to be a painter or a vet when she grows up. It’s clear as she has completely fallen in love with her host family’s dog, Penny. She even enjoys reading big picture books about dogs.

Kolya loves playing sports, especially soccer. He also really enjoys playing with little cars, legos, and figurines. He has a lot of energy which his host family has found can be well directed to fun and productive activities like connect the dots, double digit math problems, 3-D puzzles, and activity books. He will do well in a family with structure, discipline, and consistency to help him direct his energy to help him achieve all he is capable of. He will also need a family that understands a need for a low sugar diet. In such an environment, his host family has seen Kolya play independently, enjoy a peaceful day at home, and show his really sweet and precious side. Kolya wants to be a fireman when he grows up.  The kids have been learning some English during their visit. They say “thank you” and “you’re welcome” in English for their host family and are so proud of it. 
They have also played very well with the two sons in their host family, including a fun water fights together to cool off on a hot day. Natasha absolutely loves barbecue chicken on the grill and she dips it in ketchup. The leftovers have been a before bed snack for her. They both liked broccoli with ranch sauce. Natasha
initially gave a thumbs down to pork before she had it but we asked her to try
it and she ended up liking it. Kolya wanted a Big Mac from McDonald's and he ate the whole thing plus some of Natasha’s fries. Kolya cannot get enough yogurt and Natasha cannot get enough gum.  Each night, Natasha and Kolya’s host family gets all the kids together before bedtime to read from the Bible and pray.  Their son likes to read out loud and Kolya has listened a couple times and given him the thumbs up. Then they pray together.  Recently, Kolya even read from his Russian Bible during this special family time. His host family then asked him if he would pray. He shook his head yes and looked at his host mother, thinking she was going to pray. She said ‘no, you pray’ and he looked surprised. It was so sweet, he sheepishly smiled and bowed his head and prayed out loud.
It should be noted that we do not receive any medical history on the children who come to the United States for a hosting program, as this information is confidential. The commentary in this profile is based solely on opinions of their host family and others who have interacted with them during their visit. All children from hard places may have trauma, family history, or medical issues that could have a lifelong impact.
Please contact me if you'd like more information on any of the children.  Time truly is of the essence here.  Can you imagine going back w/ the group from the orphanage and all were being adopted but you?  I can't fathom that and don't want to.  These are really great kids.  Smiles are infectious type of kiddos.  I know what it's like to adopt kids these ages.  Trust me, they have a TON left to give!  A ton.  Firsts that they remember.  Tons of them.  Everything is so new.  Shoot, just today we told Reni, "it's up in the air."  She had no idea what that meant.  Their first soccer game you remember.  First time to the movies and the look at the big tv as my Russian kiddos used to call it.  First time eating certain foods.  First words in English.  The list goes on and on.  So please, if you're thinking 8 and 10yo's are not kids any more, you are so very wrong.  These are children waiting to enjoy a missed childhood and ready to be tucked in at night.  
If you are in the Raleigh area or would like to drive here, please don't hesitate.  Host families are willing to get together with folks to discuss the children further.  I know we did this too years ago when we hosted Yana and Alex.  Contact me for information on any of the kids above.  Valdic is 8yo and leaves in a few days.  'Donny' is 12 yo and is trying to be adopted before ending up in foster care.  He is deaf and I know this will limit his ability to find a family.  Yet, I know there are many, many signing families out there.  Natsha and Kolya are siblings are ready for a family in their life.  Please feel free to share information.  The only child above that is stateside & will be adopted in the US is 'Donny.'  The other 3 must return to EE after their hosting program is over next week.  Please share and spread the word about these awesome kids.  My email is  I do have further details that I can share but not publicly.  Privacy to me is still of the utmost importance when it comes to advocating for kids.   

Monday, August 6, 2012

FASD...Speak out and speak up!!!!

Hey Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Advocates,

Want to tip over a boat together? See, we have a problem. You already know what it is: women are hearing some very confusing messages in the media about drinking during pregnancy. Instead of wasting any more time complaining about it, think about what could happen if this TEAM of ours moved fast to the same side of the boat. In May, we did a survey to identify our first collective target and the lucky winner is: Dr Oz! (A great choice, y’all -- when he recommends Chia Seeds, the Chia Seed People run out of stock!)

Our Vision:

Between August 5th – 15th, Dr Oz’s production staff will receive 5,000 emails requesting that he dedicate a segment of his show to this public health issue. (Do you think they’ve ever gotten 5,000 emails about a single topic in ten days before???)

We are not going to argue the science of small amounts of alcohol on the brain. Instead we want Dr Oz to be gripped by our concern that messages about “safe” drinking are being misunderstood, twisted and passed around among women – and therefore, No Alcohol is the only no-risk public health message. We will be compelling, passionate and informative in our short emails. We will give it our best shot and feel satisfied knowing that we did SOMETHING.

I’ve attached three different examples of short message you can send to the show. If you can, please personalize it with your particular brand of passion for this issue. If you don’t have time to add a sentence of your own, PLEASE still send one of these templates.

Here’s the link to the website – I tried it out and it took about 90 seconds to follow the link, type in my info and copy / paste one of these templates. (In the drop-box Subject line, choose “I HAVE AN IDEA FOR A SHOW”)

 You can tip over the boat for babies and their mamas in THREE TINY STEPS:

1)    Contact the show yourself. Seriously, it takes 90 seconds – and every email matters.

2)    Pass this email on to all of your contacts, with your endorsement.

3)    Click on our survey – it only has one question: Where Are You From?

We want to credit every member of our FASD Team. We’ll post the State-By-State results on our website for FASD Day – and we’ll figure out something snazzy to do for the winning state. (Let me warn you – Kentucky is gonna be hard to beat!)

Little things add up to big things. Thank you for being a part of this.

With joy and gratitude,

Laura in KY

Please visit Kentucky's Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders website at

and find us on facebook: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Kentucky

Manic Monday

Going to be a little bit of a busy week but not too terrible.  Here goes:

  • Bojan and Nik go for checkups
  • Bojan needs to get a new socket
  • Don't think Bojan's surgery took well. Looking at circulation issues I feel.  Bojan wants it amputated.  Got to call Duke and discuss options soon.
  • Nik really needs an ipad or Kindle Fire.  Both do special needs apps.  
  • Calling organization tomorrow about getting a tablet
  • Warren's car needs ALOT of work on it.  
  • Max is going to build me a patio set
  • Looking at Plan C options for house
  • Would love a money tree at this point.  LOL.
  • Finishing the dining room painting this week
  • Soccer starts this week
  • Speech therapist comes 3 days this week
  • Vet comes today to cut dogs' nails
  • 3 dogs need a bath
  • Summer can swim
  • Summer can swim w/out a life jacket!
  • Stunned at the price of clothing lately.  Thankful for hand me downs when we receive them.
  • Not in the mood to homeschool
  • Having a baking session at home on Thursday to stockpile cookies, cupcakes and the like for upcoming seasons
  • Yana's trying out for dance team
  • Max is mad about school and it hasn't even started yet
  • Next 3 months are booked
  • Looking forward to a mini vacation at the end of this month
  • Need to buy zoo pass
  • Considering doing a sibling search
  • Waiting still to hear of Reni & Logan's sib left behind
  • Kids are enjoying sherbet downstairs
  • 3 dogs getting a bath this week
  • Pool is crystal clear blue
  • Warren is coming up w/ all sorts of plans to do what we need to do w/ the house.  And, save money in the process.  Umm, anything that involves chicken wire I feel I should be concerned.  LOL.
  • Garden is still growing
  • Need to make many photo albums
  • Trying to plan Christmas (don't ask)
  • Looking for someone to watch the kids in Nov. or Dec. sometime so Warren & I can actually have a real anniversary get away.  It will be our 15th.
  • Lots more happening around here.  No time to write though.
  • Going to be advocating today for some very special kiddos.  Stay tuned! 
Been a few busy days but good busy.  I will never take the boys shopping again and will write a little more about that and selfish orphans.  Yes, they do exist!  URGHH!!!  Anyhow, many more details on that later.  I must first finish a post I promised to do.  I am finally, finally down to about 16 emails to answer.  I am getting there.  Slowly.  More pictures to come.  But first, advocating for angels is next.  Great, great kiddos ready to find their forever families.

Old Orphanage pictures

We are a family that is still fortunate enough to stay connected to people from our childrens' old orphanages.  I highly suggest this to future adoptive parents.  Caregivers, directors, whoever to connect w/ your child's birth country and culture.  Once conversation over the years becomes more open, you find out all sorts of things.  In addition, you gain pictures.  We've gained several over the years.  Many of Bojan and of Yana.  It's a been a gift.  Truly, it has.  Going through some old ones & found one of a much younger Yana.  Smack dab in the middle of the picture.  Can you find her:

Wish it wasn't sideways but when I try to switch it to the correct position, it seems to readjust the size to even smaller. 

This is what it is like to say goodbye to your entire life.  Their faces say it all.  Many came out to say goodbye to Reni and Logan.  Was touching to say the least.  Glad I was there or I would have been mush.  

Yana's group of girls.  Notice how some try to look older than they are?  These were her "sisters" before we took her out.  They form a bond in their group, don't think that they don't.  When older kids get home, they genuinely have to grieve that loss.

Yana's referral picture.  Their hair is always cut short in orphanages.  All my kids' referral pictures it was hard to know who was a girl and who was a boy.

The only picture we have of Yana's biological sister.  The orphanage director said she was bad and refused to let us inquire about her and wrote her off.  That hurts when you know they exist and can't do a thing about it.  This region was highly corrupt.  Even Russians from this region that we met here in the states say the same exact thing.  You wonder for years how can they do that.  One day, hoping to afford a sibling search.  

This is Alyona's Russian Database photo.  Tiny little thing.  Typical giant bow on the head to distinguish that she's a girl.  

This pick up was literally a snatch and grab.  These were the only pictures we had as we weren't supposed to be in the orphanage.  Let's just say it's a very long story and involves corruption and someone wanting more money from us.  I'll tell you all more of that story one point in the future since it happened so, so many years ago.  Yes, that type of thing does go on.  We experienced it firsthand.

Alex is the second from the right.  Blue shirt, red shorts.  The 

We first came in, they were all just touching us.  Wanting to get a smile, just some sort of acknowledgement from us.  It was sad.  Just wanting human touch.  Those are the things all these years you remember.  This was a huge turning point in Alex's life.  He had lived in the orphanage about a year.  Trust me, you wouldn't want to know his story before then.  It was a made for tv movie yet unfortunately was real life.  There is a story behind each and every one of these kids.  Please, if anything else, never forget that.  Never forget what they've been through.  Must do something.  If you can't adopt, advocate, donate, pray.  Anything to help the orphans left behind.