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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Birthday

Vitaliy's birthday was this week.  My emotions are kind of a mess.

If he was here, I would have taken him to pick out a cake last week.
I would have been cleaning my house and buying party food.
I would have invited family and friends.
I would have bought presents, probably "Kapitahn Amerikah" paraphernalia, legos, and hotwheel cars.

But he's not here.

He is in Ukraine.

He did not even know how old he was when we hosted him.  I asked him once, and he told me 6.  I guess at some point, someone told him that's how old he was and that was the last time anyone told him so he thought he still was.

I sent him a box of gifts that arrived about two weeks ago.  I just wish that for one minute I could tell him (today) that I loved him, tell him that I'm glad he was born, and I wish that I could sing Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday little man.  You are worth so much more than being forgotten on your birthday.

I promise, I didn't forget.

Would you consider donating to his host fund in honor of his birthday that is most likely going completely unnoticed and uncelebrated today? 


Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm, Premie Growth Project, and CP Clinic!

Today I braved the beginnings of Frankenstorm and drove Mariah an hour to her appointment at the CP clinic. Her Dr. looked her over, watched her walk, and then stood there scratching his head. See, her right side is more affected. The last time we were there 4 months ago, his words to me were, "Her long term issue is going to be that tight right ankle." So, he wrote a script for her to get an articulated AFO to help her get her heel down when walking and to provide more support on that foot.

Today though, her right foot did.not.have.clonus. Try as he might, he could not get her muscles to react and spasm. He scratched his head (literally) and asked if we had done anything different. Why yes. We had! Remember The Premie Growth Project I posted about a few weeks ago? That's ALL we've done different.

 I explained it and he seemed quite intrigued. He thought *maybe* she had something going on with her hips that might explain the difference in her feet so he sent us to get an x-ray, but it came back immediately as perfect. He was standing there with the Premie Growth Project info he had just printed off under his arm.

We went to talk about PERCS surgery, but it turns out I wasn't just dreaming. The collodial mineral supplement IS WORKING. She is getting better! Even her Dr. said there is just no explanation for it. He really did scratch his head a lot while we were there! The words "It doesn't make sense." kept being uttered. "That's not typical."

 Her left medial hamstring is still tight and that is causing her trouble with walking, but since her right leg is so much better, we're going to wait 4 more months and see what happens. If its still an issue, we'll probably really look into PERCS for her because the girl wants to go places and do things!

 We got a script for an articulated AFO (up from an SMO) just like the one on her right foot because it has helped her SO darn MUCH with stability and a more even gait. She is almost running now. Her orthotist commented that he couldn't believe how fast she had gotten!

I couldn't believe that a Dr. took a supplement seriously, but then again, how could he not? He saw this child 4 months ago and had all of her measurements written down. Today was NOT the same child.

 Here she is with Mr. Dwayne getting casted for her new left side articulated AFO.
Stumbo Family Story

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Perfect Storm

Have you watched the weather channel lately?  Sandy is now being forecast to potentially hit us head on.

Its already being called, "The Perfect Storm" and "Snor'easter" because it is actually supposed to SNOW during part of this thing.   


My husband works for the power company so of course he has already been told he'll probably be held over the weekend and then work indefinitely until everyone has their power back on.

Remember the derecho?

That thing struck just a few weeks before Vitaliy arrived for summer hosting.  The overtime worked from that storm covered a big chunk of his hosting fees.

Funny that it seems to take an act of God for us to get enough money to bring one little boy across the ocean!

**disclaimer: no I don't really think that this storm has been drummed up just for our benefit.  I am wondering what the chances are of a Derecho AND a late October hurricane in the same year are though...**

Thursday, October 25, 2012

14 Russian phrases for sanity

Given that we are coming up on Christmas hosting, I thought I'd post this list I copied from a chat room.  I have to say, that these phrases are very helpful!  The person posting it, titled it.  I thought it was fitting :)

Hold My hand Dai mne ruku!

Be Careful O'stor'ozhno

This is not a toy E'ta ne igru'shka

Come here Idi' syda'

Don't run Ne be'gai

Stop! Sto'i

Don't touch Ne trogai'

Be quiet Ti'she!

I need to go to the bathroom Ya hachu' tuale't

Do you need to go to the bathroom? Ty ho'chensh v tuale't

I'm Hungry Ya hachu' Ku'shat'

are you hungry? Ty ho'chesh v ku'shat?

I'm thirsty Ya hachu' pit'

are you thirsty? Ty ho'chesh v pit'?

I've had 3 people donate to our host fund.  THANK YOU!!  It means the world to us!  We love Vitaliy sooooo much and cannot wait to have him back for Christmas. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This moment.

John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

I am asking for this moment.

A Birthday Package

I found out today that Vitaliy got his package that we sent him for his birthday.  His birthday isn't for a few more days, but it takes so long to ship to Ukraine that we sent it early to make sure it wasn't late!

A friend of mine spoke to him and found out that since the box had things in it for another child and him that they both waited to take the stuff out of the box until they spoke to someone who could tell them who the things were for.  Ummm.... princess and pink vs camo and Captain America... obvious?

I guess not so much!

They have got to be the sweetest kids ever to wait for several days to have someone explain each item in the package :)

Vitaliy is gonna be 8 in a few days.

I am really sad that he won't have a party.

Or a cake.

Or someone to sing "Happy Birthday" to him.

But he has his presents now and he knows we love him and we have not forgotten about him!

Please considering helping us re-host him for Christmas.

Then he'll have someone to give him an ornament with his name on it.

A stocking on the mantle.

Presents under the tree.

The love of a family.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall fun!

We went to a Fall Festival today.  The kids loved painting pumpkins!
Favorite colors were applied...
Hayride time!! 

Because I miss Vitalik so much, here's the most recent photo I have of him.  Every time we go do something fun, I find myself thinking, "Oh Vitalik would LOVE this!"  My facebook newsfeed is full of families going on hayrides and picking pumpkins.  Don't forget about the kids who don't have a family to do those things with.  www.heartforhosting.org  We're still fundraising to bring Vitalik back for Christmas.  Every dollar helps!   

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Waiting Child

The Waiting Child by Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today.
You kissed your baby joyfully
And as you walked away with her,

I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby,
yet inside I'm aching miserably.
I want to plead as you go by,
"Does no-one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
In love with her before you met
And as I watched you take her out
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I'd seen your face before!
But you came for a second babe.
Does no-one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today
But this time there was something new.
A nurse came in and took MY hand
And then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!
And there are infants here you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
The child you chose this time was ME.

Mariah's latest therapy

I love our PT.  She is willing to try all kinds of things to help Mariah.  This is a device that uses a 9 volt battery to electronically stimulate Mariah's weak muscles and help strengthen them.  She has very weak muscles in her right leg and particularly in her feet.  She can sit and watch TV for 20 minutes and work her foot out.  This sends the signal to her muscle to contract, and with this on, Mariah can lift her toes off the floor and hold it.  Each time she feels the electronic signal starting to raise her toes, she works with it and lifts on her own as well.   

Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On this day 2 years ago...

If you look on my sidebar, you will see what this day meant to us two years ago.  Our facilitator was able to submit our dossier to the SDA in Ukraine and request an appointment date.  He emailed us with this news and we realized this was the point of no turning back.  Our documents were in the system and all we had to do was wait for an invitation to travel.   

This morning I received word of a different kind from Ukraine.  Vitaliy was asked by someone I know if he wanted to tell his mama in America anything?  He said to tell me to come to Ukraine if I can.  Break.my.heart.  "If I can."  What a sweet boy.  He deserves so much better. 

I can't go to Ukraine now but we CAN host him for Christmas.  We are still so short on the money we need.  We wanted to host Vitaliy and one of his brothers because the 3 of them are very close.  He missed them a lot while he was here for the summer.  The truth is though that there is no way we can host two unless God drops a sizable chunk of change in our bank account.

I was feeling really depressed about it while praying last night, and I asked God very specifically for confirmation that we are doing the right thing here.  Its hard to step out in faith, ask for money, and baring a few good friends who I am SO thankful for, the support just isn't there in the way I think it should be.  

Its ok.
We'll do what God asks regardless because its not about US.  It was never about us.
I know His plan is perfect and so much better than how I think things should go.  I just needed to be re-assured that this IS what God is asking us to do.   

I got my answer this morning via a fb message.

"If you can." 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fun beach photos!

Look what Mariah lost at the beach!
Waiting for dinner one night.
Fishing off the boat on a Marsh Tour
SAND BUGGIE!  She made a sand bug nursery on the beach to take care of them.  Hilarious.
A few weeks after the fact, but oh well...  I'm a busy mama!

Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Premie Growth Project

I recently found an interesting research project.  Its called The Premie Growth Project.

The idea is that premature babies miss out on a lot of nutrition given in a very specific micronutrient form via their umbilical.  It sort of poses the question of what really causes brain damage?  Premature birth or lack of nutrition given in a very specific way for a baby's brain to finish developing.  (I'm paraphrasing.  This is how I read and processed the info.)  Of course some people know that their baby has a very specific type of brain damage or a brain defect, so this isn't claiming to be a "miracle" cure.  BUT there is evidence of children who have CP making vast improvements after several weeks or months on a specific micronutrient supplement.

I did a little research and decided that while it may not do anything, it really couldn't hurt anything to try it either.  We know Mariah's birth mother very likely didn't have good nutrition or prenatal care while she was pregnant.  We also know that Mariah did not receive good nutrition while in Ukraine.  She was VERY malnourished when we came home with her.  Her hair was crunchy, her toenails and fingernails were paper thin and peeling. After being here only 4 months, hair started to grow in places all over her scalp that there hadn't been hair before!  I even wondered to myself if her extremely tight muscles and low energy weren't all a result of CP and were partly because of her poor diet.  I did my best to fatten her up with the most nutritional high calorie things I could find.

She went from 24lbs (4 yrs old) to 34lbs (5 yrs old) in about a year.  Then she just didn't gain anymore even though she ate well.  We found out, via my INSISTING this was NOT normal even for a child with CP, that she still had Girdia, an intestinal parasite (this is also common for children adopted from Eastern Europe).  Ack!  Once again, my poor girl wasn't getting enough nutrition because the parasites were stealing it all!  Once treated, she begin to gain weight again and her appetite improved even more.

Mariah has made vast improvements since we brought her home.  She was not walking or even weight bearing much at all in Ukraine.  A Dr. who saw her here after she'd been home 4 months told me that she'd probably NEVER walk unassisted.  That was when she was getting fitted for her first pair of AFOs and a gait trainer.  Six months later, she was walking unassisted on flat surfaces inside.  Now, at 21 months home she can walk all over the place outside, go up and down stairs, get into and out of a bathtub, climb up on a stool, and ride a tricycle.

Is it all PT and the love of a family or could it also be that nutrition plays a role?

Well, that's the question isn't it?

We started the supplements 6 days ago.  On day 2 Mariah's tutor said she used her right hand all day to cut with scissors and write letters.  She has spasticty in that arm and I asked her when she got home why she used it?  She said, "It feels looser."

On day 4, during our nightly PT routine, I couldn't get Mariah's right foot to react with clonus no matter what I did.  Her right side is the most affected and that right foot ALWAYS has clonus.  My husband tried as well.  Mariah just laughed.  She said, "Its not really that tight and its not shaking!"


She still has plenty of spasticty elsewhere in her body and her ankles are still spastic, but what would cause the clonus to NOT be present?  Ever?  Even for an evening?

Today is day 6.

We shall see what this week brings!

I am a HUGE skeptic.  I do not believe that a supplement is going to cure all kids with CP, but there is research that supports the idea of micronutrient supplementation helping premature babies.

Go check them out if you're interested!  We submit bi-weekly reports.  They want it all.  The good, the bad, the nothing at all!  Best of all, they mail the supplement to you.  For free.

Premie Growth Project   

Oh and please take a look at our hosting fund on the sidebar.  Yes.  Its at $0.  Please considering donating even if its just a tiny amount.  Every.single.little.bit. helps!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Want to help us host?

I had a few people tell me that the paypal link our host agency set up wasn't working for them.  
So I set up a ChipIn widget that deposits funds directly into MY paypal account.

We need to raise $2470 to host Vitaliy.  A friend donated $30 today so we're on our way!

A photo of Vitaliy I received from a couple who are at his orphanage right now adopting another child.  Isn't he cute?!

This is a video made by our hosting agency about WHY hosting is important.  Please take the time to watch it!

James 1:27
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.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rambling Thoughts

I didn't post much last month because I've had a lot on my mind. 

Two things I've definitely felt God whispering to me over the past few weeks are:

1) Nothing is Impossible with God

2) Don't choose not to do anything for one because you cannot do something for them all.

We have definitely felt the call to adopt again. 

What we aren't sure about is who or when.

Special needs again?  More than one?  Older kids?  Older boys?  A baby?

We don't know.

But what we do know is that Vitaliy and his brothers are without parents in Ukraine.  Right now they aren't available for adoption, but they can be hosted.

So, we committed to re-host Vitaliy and we're waiting to see where God leads.  If we can possibly get enough donations to cover hosting fees for Vitalik, we want to host one of his brothers as well. 

I'll leave you with the flyer we sent out to our friends and family about hosting.  More than anything, I'd love it if someone else was led to host or adopt a child themselves by following our story.

"Adoption is not just about a family getting a child, its about a child getting a family."

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