Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

phone issues

So we had quite a week last week and I wanted to upload pics to share but thanks to the earthquake, Verizon service has totally messed up my smartphone and I can't!

so quickly here's a run down.

Monday: Mariah had a horrible allergic reaction to a mosquito bite and her leg swelled so much that she couldn't wear her AFOs and couldn't go to school.

Tuesday: Wes and Wy were wrestling and when Wes grabbed Wyatt's shirt with his teeth, the bottom two came out when Wyatt ran off. They were mildly loose so I guess that's a good thing? Then after picking Mariah up from school at 11:30am and coming home for lunch, we were headed ipstairs for naps. We heard this huge roar and the whole house starting shaking. Things were falling off the walls and I thought our local Nuclear Power plant was blowing up.

It was SO loud that it didn't occur to me that it was an earthquake until several minutes afterwards. I was really scared for a little while cause phone service was immediately overloaded and I couldn't get ahold of anyone! Our local high school and one elementary school are beyond repair. Many people's home are damaged, thankfully only a few things in our house broke.

Thursday: freak severe storm knocked a huge tree over in our yard only feet from our transformer box.

Saturday we got hit by Irene. I managed to injur my toe pretty badly on a couch leg.

Monday: Phillip got sent to Norfolk/Williamsburg for a week to help storm crews clean up and restore power.

Tuesday: naughty kids, frustrated mama

Wed (today): finally got my little brother to watch my kids so I could go to the dr. For my foot. Got sent for xrays and a post op shoe...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lunch time!

Ah, eating with a smile.  It wasn't always this way, but thank God she actually likes to eat now and even tells me she's hungry :)

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We got it!!

Our tax refund was deposited today!  Six months from when we filed, after sending everything twice, and after involving our congressman we finally got our money.  Whooooohoooooo!!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Signs of progress

Mariah had no idea what to do with a marker when we met her.  As a result of never scrbbling or drawing, her fine motor skills are very delayed.  She really had no interest in using a marker once she got past the novelty of it at the orphanage. We've been working on using a pen, marker, paintbrush... whatever but she is soooo delayed in this area that I have to remind myself not to push her for "letters" or "numbers" or to actually color a picture in a coloring book. Just copying a line and scribbling are where she is at and she can't go farther developmentally until she "gets" that part in her brain. Normally a baby would be given a chance to start scribbling around a year to 18 months old. Mariah never got that so she couldn't be expected to know how to copy a line or make letters if she never got a chance to develop hand eye coordination from scribbling.

Today however, she sat down, took the markers out of the box, took the tops off and colored this picture with no prompting. 

I've been told that she will probably always be at the low end of the IQ scale (yes a dr. Told me that).  He was basing that on her lack of fine motor skills with blocks and writing instruments.

I really think some people don't get that there really are kids who are *that* delayed because they were not allowed to do things to develop skills.  

I also think that some people don't get that those same kids can make up those delays and get on par with peers fairly quickly. Its not a lack of ability!!

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First 2 days of school

Mariah was so excited to start school!  She had a great day and was happy to go back today.  She is in the special-ed class and I'm wondering already if she doesn't need to be there... we'll see how the teachers feel in a few weeks but she doesn't really have anyone to look up to and strive to be like in her class.  I had really hoped she could have that instead of being that.

We're still working on appropriate affection levels in a classroom settting.  She grabbed her teacher and clung to her neck today at pick up... not sure how to take that.  She was super happy to see me so I'll just send a note reminding the staff we are working on that.

Her walking has suddenly improved in the past two days.  She isn't jerking so much when she walks and is a lot more natural looking.  Not sure why the sudden change but I'll take it! 

Overall she is loving school and the half day is working well.  Hopefully, we'll get her evaluated for PT and OT soon...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hope and a Future

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

How blessed am I to see what that promise fulfilled looks like??  :) 
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I won't

I am amazed on a daily basis at how Christians just don't talk about or live out James 1:27.


If my heart breaks when I think of the few children we saw living their life with no one to show them that God loves them... what God's heart must feel like because He sees them all. All 147 million of them. And He sees the Christians whom He has commanded to care for these orphans, so busy living the American dream that they don't have time to worry about the least of these in this world.

I just wonder what God thinks when He sees those whom He has blessed with so much doing so little.

I mean I REALLY wonder what His heart feels like. I know what mine feels like.

How long will we remain blessed at all if we don't use what we have been given to help those with nothing?

So, I won't stop trying to convince people that orphans really are important. They are real. They have names. If God is a father to the fatherless then they are already children of God. God says feed my sheep. Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me.

So why do the majority of people do nothing? Why is it ok to put orphans at the bottom of a list of things we do IF we have "enough" money left over after we do everything else we want to?

What will we say when God asks us why we didn't do more? Do we not trust He will provide a way to care for His children?

My heart hurts for children with no one. It hurts more because most people do not seem to care, much less make them a priority.

So I won't stop trying to make people aware of what they could be doing until they all have homes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Record setting

Mariah set a record for the longest "time-out" ever in our house today.  She also set a record for the STUPIDEST thing ever to have a time-out for.  She refused to answer a question that she knows the answer to.  A question I ask her every day.  She refused to answer this question despite being given many chances over the course of 2 hours.   

Someone told me that around 6 months home when things start settling down and your new kid realizes you aren't gonna take them back or reject them; the horns come out.

I felt bad keeping her in time-out that long but after she finally decided to talk to mama nicely and answer the question, her behavior the rest of the day has been great.

I've been trying a new thing after someone suggested it on my post about puke.  When she starts acting naughty, instead of scolding her I say "Oh poor Mariah you must be SO TIRED if you can't (insert what she is supposed to be doing).  Poor baby is SO grumpy and needs a nap so she can feel better and (do what I asked her to do).  Then I scoop her up, carry her to her bed and tell her to have a nice nap so she can not be so grumpy and listen better. 

This works great. 


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

What does it mean?

When I find myself fantasizing about having a babysitter to watch the kids and I'm not dreaming about a romantic date night... no.  I am dreaming about how nice it would be if I could just organize those cabinets under the bathroom sinks and finally get my Walgreens haul put away.


I predict I'm gonna go wild in my 30s.  Only 4 more years to go!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A question for other adoptive parents

This post really is for other adoptive parents who have been there and done that.  I appreciate all advice, but if its not coming from someone who has a child from the same type of background, its really not helpful... thanks for understanding.   

Onto the fun question!!

If you have dealt with your child forcefully vomiting at mealtime not because they don't like their food or aren't able to properly swallow their food but because they are "testing" to see if they REALLY have to eat their food; what have you done? 

We had this issue with Mariah after we'd been home about a month.  It lasted several months, but for the most part, we don't have it anymore.  She knows it has no positive outcome for her and doesn't get her out of eating what she asked for, so she happily eats her food.  Most of the time.

But when someone comes over at mealtime or we go somewhere else and she thinks that person might "let" her get out of eating (for whatever reason) she will act like she doesn't want her food, say she is full and then will start to "gag" and eventually force herself to vomit if I continue to ask her to finish her meal.  The more someone caters to her acting like that, the worse it is.  She will sit and refuse to eat for no other reason than to test and see how far it goes.

She likes to eat.  She has favorite foods and asks for them at mealtimes and has no problem gobbling down oodles of pringles or fries even after she "struggles" to finish a meal.  So the refusing to eat is a control thing for her...  

So what do you do when a child forces themselves to vomit allllll over the place simply because you (the parent) told them they had to finish a meal and they decided to perform for the audience? 

I'm dealing with this my way and since she doesn't do this when its just us anymore (or even at a restaurant) I think what we're doing is working.  I'm just curious if anyone else dealt with this??  Ack!  Getting thrown up on by accident is nasty enough but having it done to you on purpose is just NOT my idea of fun.

The big problem I'm having is that WHEN this happens, the more I ask her to finish her food, the more defiant she is about not doing what I asked.  Most of the time I leave her at the table until she's eaten what I asked, and that works well.  Once we're not watching her, she eats it all down in a few minutes, but sometimes we have to go somewhere to be on time and these are the times she capitalizes on refusing to eat.  Argh. 

Please someone, leave me a comment so I know I'm not alone in scrubbing barf off the table, and rug, and staircase, and bathroom rugs.

Yes, I'm aware of the issues that lead to a child doing this.... I'm asking if you have been successful in making the behavior stop no matter where you go?  Being undermined, intentionally or not, is an awkward and frustrating situation and is ultimately probably the most confusing and frustrating to Mariah.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Opportunity to Help Orphans

Ever since Phillip and I came home from Ukraine with Mariah, we have had a burden for those little ones we left behind.  Looking into the eyes of a child who has no one, even for just a second, will change your life forever. 

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." Prov. 24:12

We kept saying that we wanted to do something to support the orphanage.  It was in obvious disrepair and the children wore worn out clothes that never matched, were often offseason items layered for warmth and always the wrong size.

We didn't realize how malnourished Mariah was until we actually got her out of the orphanage because the layers of clothing she was always wearing hid her skinny little frame.

She is now a cherished and loved member of our family who will always have enough to eat, clothes that fit, and a warm bed to sleep in.  But what about those children that don't?  Their little faces haunt my thoughts and dreams. 

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of You, oh God

I am excited to say that we have found a way to support Orphanage #2 in Kharkiv City.  We found out via our facilitator that they are trying to remodel their heat system.  Of course we wanted to help, but we had some things to work out.  How to raise the money?  How to get the money to Ukraine?  How to make sure its being spent like its supposed to? 

On a whim, I contacted LIFE TO ORPHANS, an organization that already has a connection with many orphanages in Ukraine; but most importantly, the one we adopted Mariah from, Kharkiv Orphanage #2.  They have happily agreed to accept whatever money we raise for the orphanage and direct it to where its supposed to go as well as provide oversight and see that its being used properly. 

 So, if You say move
It's time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
Show them who You are

We are so excited!  This is an opportunity not to be missed!  We will actually be able to help those sweet little ones that we had to leave behind.  We can love on them and show them that God hasn't forgotten about them even if only from afar.    

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

I have set up a Chipin widget at the top right of my blog.  Any donations received will be sent directly to Life To Orphans and will then be directed to Kharkiv Orphanage #2.

Please consider donating today.  No amount is too small :)  The orphanage needs roughly $12,000 to complete this project.  We are not trying to raise that amount but I'm just putting it out there cause I don't want to box God in or anything like that! 

This is a work in progress so I'll keep the blog updated as we go.

Please click the links in the text above to view pictures of Mariah's orphanage and to read more about what Life To Orphans does in Ukraine.    

Matthew 25:45 “He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."

Monday, August 1, 2011

The ones we left behind

Sometimes I -
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone's al lright
When I know they're not.

We knew when we went to Ukraine back in November that it would be hard to see other kids and not bring them home.  What we didn't know was that those little faces would be burned into our memory forever.  When we left Baby House #2 in Kharkiv City, we knew that we had to find a way to do something for the rest of those children.  We had to find something that we could do because doing nothing was no longer acceptable to us. 

This world needs God
But it's easier to stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on
Like nothing's wrong

Once you look into the face of a child who is living in an orphanage, you are changed.  You don't care what people think when you advocate for orphans because you have seen them and it has broken your heart.  You find a voice that you didn't know you had and you use it.  

But I refuse
'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

We were blissfully unaware of the needs of the children in Baby House #2.  We didn't know the names of the children in grouppa #4; the children that Mariah considered her brothers and sisters.  We didn't know until we went there and saw them.  We saw children wearing clothes 3 sizes too big.  We saw little boys wearing tights with holes in them underneath shorts, and sandles that were too small.  We saw these beautiful children who have been abandoned and forgotten by their society. 

 To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

We walked a mile to the orphanage twice every day in freezing temperatures and we saw the poverty all around us.  

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of You, oh God

Going to Ukraine gave us considerable culture shock, but coming back home to the U.S. gave us a spiritual shock.  HOW can this be?  HOW can God allow children to live like that when we live like this?  Forgotten by everyone.  Cherished by none.  The numbers are staggering... if only 7% of Christians adopted one child, there would be no more orphans.  My mind just can't wrap around that.  Why?  How?  What God must think when he looks down and sees children with no parents waiting in an orphanage and Christians the world over worrying over back to school sales, which restaurant to eat at, or what home improvement to make without giving a thought to those who would give anything just to have a mama and papa.

So, if You say move
It's time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
Show them who You are

We felt like one might feel when he sees a group of people drowning in a river.  He jumps in and uses all of his strength to save one person.  He drags that person up on the shore, but watches the rest of the group continue to flounder.  When he sees that a crowd has gathered and people are cheering him for rescuing this one person from the river, he yells, SOMEONE GO SAVE THE REST!  But no one does... people tell him what a great thing he did and how lucky that person is who's life he just saved, yet he is trying to convince someone, anyone to go get the rest of the people out of the river.  They will die if no one else goes.  Doesn't anyone else realize they will die? 

Yes, THAT is how it feels to come back to America after you've been in an orphanage.  The children will die.  Maybe not right away.  Maybe they'll age out at 15 and end up on the street for a few years before a life of crime or prostitution takes its toll.   

This is something we've struggled with since coming home.  Things we once thought necessary seem frivolous compared to children living alone.  Things we once didn't give a second thought to now make us angry because the focus of Christians seems to be in the wrong place.  Where is the urgency!?  There should be urgency to help these children!  Replacing carpet or improving the parking lot is no longer our definition of urgent.  

But what to do?  Just because we adopted one child doesn't mean we're off the hook.  Our eyes were opened.  God holds us responsible to continue to act.    

So, onto the reason behind this post...

We have recently become aware of a need at the orphanage Mariah was adopted from.  They are trying to remodel the heating system and need a large amount of money.  They have about 30% of what they need.  We aren't trying to raise all of what they need, but we do want to do what we can to help.  We wouldn't ask people to donate if we hadn't done so already ourselves.   

We have hoped to find a way to do something for those children left behind.  This is our something! 

"We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing, but even that is a decision." Gary Collins

I have created a Chipin Widget and added it permanently to the top right of my blog.   

Please consider donating. 


We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson