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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pre-Trunk of Treats

Mariah wore her American Dream Girl costume to school & the boys were figuring out how to get warm clothes under their outfits before tonight.  Wes is wearing long underwear under his pirate suit.
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Win a Wii, Warm an Orphan

See this pumpkin guys? I'm holding him hostage and demanding a ransom. See, I have friends in Ukraine that I think about every day. They don't have mamas & papas. They don't have birthday parties. They don't have anything to call their own. So, I'd like to know this Christmas that my mama and daddy sent them something to remember me by. I'd like Natasha, Ola, Susanna, & Sasha to know that I haven't forgotten them and my mama and daddy haven't either. So, help us out by donating $5 to the heating fund.... or the pumpkin gets it!

-- Mariah --

P.S. Mama & Daddy are being way more diplomatic about it. They're offering a Wii up for grabs, so keep reading if that's more your thing.

Click the picture to read the full product description.

The system includes 1-Nintendo Wii game console (black), 1-Wii Remote Plus controller (black), 1-Nunchuk controller (black), the original Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, 1-wired sensor bar, 1-power cord, 1-standard composite cable, 1-console stand, 1-console manual.

This fundraiser is to benefit Kharkiv Orphanage #2 in Ukraine. This orphanage is home to 120 children ages 0-4. The fundraiser is being held to help fund the replacement of the heating system in the orphanage to make it more reliable and to actually put it back in working order in some rooms. Read my weather ticker for Kharkiv, UA next to this post. Its already getting really cold in Ukraine! We saw kids wearing tights with holes in them underneath shorts and layers of shirts in the middle of December.

Life2Orphans, Inc is a non-profit group that does support and repair work for Ukrainian orphanages, they will oversee the dispersment and use of the funds donated. Donations can be made in person or on-line. All donations made in person will receive their own ticket stub & online entries will receive an email confirmation from PayPal. Donations made directly to Life2Orphans are tax deductable. Donations to the ChipIn are not.

Entries are $5 each. That means if you donate $5, you will be entered once. $10 you are entered twice. $25 you have 5 entries, etc.

Help us raise money for these children and have a chance at a Wii just in time for Christmas! Who wouldn't love to win this? Even if you don't want it, someone will be thrilled with it as a gift!

The fundraiser will end December 9th ( which is the day we were officially declared Mariah's parents in a Ukrainian Court Room) and a winner will be chosen randomly via random.org and notified within 24 hours. The Wii will be shipped directly to the winner from amazon. com.

In addition to donating at least $5, sharing this giveway on your blog or facebook page will snag you 3 extra entries for EACH activity. Please leave me a comment letting me know you did so either on here or on my facebook page. You can only get the extra entries once :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

More cute kid pics!

Sorry for the lack of actual blogging.  Life went and got super busy on me!
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is that the same child?

Amazing to see what 10 months home looks like :)

This is why I don't listen to doctors who tell me she'll "never do this or that." Or she'll always be "like this." Ten months with a family and she is exceding her original prognosis of "stage 3 cp" How many others like her wait for a family to believe in them and help them reach their true potential?

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

PT homework.

Mariah's PT suggested she do this to practice un-assisted walking.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

And the winner is....

Lorri Crouse YOU won a Kindle!! Congrats girl!

I have never actually personally "met" Lorri, but I met her online through AVON forums a long time ago when I used to sell AVON and we have remained in touch all this time. Lorri, you are a sweetheart with a soft heart and I hope maybe someday I can actually meet you in person.

Thank you to everyone who donated to Kharkiv Baby House #2. Together you guys helped us raise $365 to send to the orphanage. This amount is more than the ChipIn because several people wrote checks to Life2Orphans and delivered them personally to us.

I said I had a "surprise" to annouce once this giveaway was over with and a winner had been chosen via random.org.

The surprise is that someone contacted us and wants to donate a Complete Wii System for another giveaway. So, stay tuned to the blog because I will be setting that up and posting it before too long. We are SO blessed that someone wanted to donate this for another fundraiser!

October 14th is the day our dossier was submitted to the SDA in Ukraine and I think its really fitting that today, one year later we were able to annouce that we raised money to send back to the orphanage we adopted Mariah from.

Thank you guys!

And remember... the Kindle giveaway is now over but you can continue to donate to the ChipIn :)

One year ago today...

On October 14, 2010 our dossier was successfully submitted to the SDA in Ukraine. We thought that meant the paperwork part of the process was over! Hahahahahaha!! Little did we know that would be nearly ALL we did while in Ukraine besides walking 4 miles daily for our 2 visits at the orphanage with Mariah.

Sometimes it seems like its been years since we did all of that and some days it seems like it was yesterday. We had a whirlwind of a time in Ukraine, but God was there providing a way for us the entire time. I have never felt faith like I had while we were adopting Mariah. I saw a quote by Steve Jobs that said, "You can't connect the dots looking forwards. You can only connect them looking back." That sums up Mariah's adoption. There were so many things that we asked "WHY? WHY? God?" along the way, but looking back it was all part of the dots that led us to her.

So that being said, today was the perfect day to end our Kindle giveaway. I will be annoucing a winner later today!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random news & pictures

We went to the Kluge Children's Rehab Center on Monday for a follow up with Mariah's Orthopedist.  She got 2 vials of botox injected intoo her hamstrings and calfs to help with spasticity.   She has outgrown her AFOs so she got casted for a new type.  Its called a Leaf Spring and has a lower profile than the ones she has now.  It has a spring in the back to help straighten her knees out when she walks and stands.  Not sure how...but that's what its supposed to do!  We should have them in about three weeks.

So that's our mini update.  School is going great for Mariah.  She really enjoys it and is working on learning new skills. 

Enjoy the pics!

And OH YEAH! The Kindle Giveaway ENDS TOMORROW. Today is the last day to donate to the fund for a heating system in the orphanage Mariah was adopted from and be entered to win a Kindle. Please consider donating. Just $10 gets you an entry. I can't wait to send someone a Kindle :) THANK YOU to those who have already donated. My God bless you many times over!

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Two 5 Year Olds

She ain't heavy; she's my sister!

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Changing the World

This song really says what has been heavy on my heart really since we arrived at Mariah's orphanage in Ukraine, but especially since we came home. Something IS wrong when there are children without homes and "The Church" is more concerned with being locally recognized and meeting a budget than living out James 1:27.

Surely God has called us to more.

Something here is wrong
There are children without homes
But we just move along to take care of our own
There's so much suffering just outside our door
A cry so deafening
We just can't ignore

To all the people who are fighting for the broken
All the people who keep holding on to love
All the people who are reaching for the lonely
Keep changing the world

Take a look around
Before the sun goes out
What's lost can still be found
It's not too late now
It only takes one spark to make the fire burn
So reach inside your heart and let this be the start

I know you see this suffering
How they gonna recover when
People just look over like,
Like they don't even notice it

Everyone who's focused in,
On ending all this hopelessness
You can change the world
By changing Who the world is focused on.

I see the sun coming up
It's a brighter day
Let's show the world that love is a better way
So lend a hand join the fight
'Cause time is ticking away
Keep changing the world

Friday, October 7, 2011

You can't keep this girl down (literally!)

Mariah saw people on these trampolines at the State Fair while we were walking around. She begged, "I wanna do dat! Pleeeease mama, I wanna do dat!" I was afraid they'd say "no" cause she's so small and couldn't really jump but with the harness it didn't matter. People walking by were saying things like "OMG look at her!" and "Is she laughing or crying?" She seriously had a small fan club watching her by the time she was done which wasn't for at least 10 minutes of high flying.

Wyatt and Wes had a turn jumping too but no one wanted to go as high as Mariah! All 3 kids want to go back today and jump REALLY HIGH again!

Video update of Mariah walking

We do stretching in the morning before she goes to school. This is when we have SO MUCH DRAMA. She hates to stretch and she was being pretty good about it, but now she's turned the drama back on. So... to help her warm her legs up so they can move better (ya know cause they must need to warm up if she can't help mama stretch at all) I've started getting her to walk around the house a few times. It does help her warm her legs up and get them going since she does take longer than a "typical" kid to get going after sleeping all night. We've also added a knee immobilizer that she wears on her tight leg with an AFO at night. Her right leg is nearly floppy except for some mild tightness in her ankle. Her right knee easily locks into place when she's laying down or standing up so we concentrate on the left leg which has a very tight hamstring and more muscle tightness.

Her CP kind of puzzles me as her left arm is unaffected but her right arm has some spasticity, however her right leg is nearly normal while her left leg has tightness in the ankle and hamstrings. Most people have it affecting one side more than the other but not Mariah. I plan on asking her Drs about this at her next appointment. It wasn't so evident how mild it is in the right leg when she came home.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Potty update

Mariah broke her little potty chair step combo we bought her.  So, I was going to get another one, but the next time she had to go (without telling me) she got on the potty by herself, went, wiped, got off, pulled her pants up, and washed her hands BY HERSELF.

Can I get a whoohoo?

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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