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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

4 Months on Preemie Growth Project Supplement

This is a video of M in Ukraine at her orphanage.  This was the extent of her movement unless she was crawling, just so you can get a full grasp on how far she has come.  She could not stand alone and if she held onto something, her knees were together and she was waaaay up on her toes. (Yes that's my coat she is wearing)

Here's what it looked like about 6 months later after she had gotten AFOs and we had been stretching regularly.

And this is her with her gait trainer in June 2011.

Getting better by September 2011, but still up on those toes and unable to stop and stand still without falling over, which is why she would head to walls or large objects.

November 2011.  Almost a year home.

M got botox and this got her off her toes quite a bit.  Here she is in March 2012, walking in her braces.

In October 2012, we heard about The Preemie Growth Project and decided to start M on collodial mineral supplements and see if they helped her muscle spasticity as the project claimed they could do.  We were skeptical, but the video speaks for itself.  Here she is wearing her AFOs in November 2012.

After 3 more months (4 total) on PDCM 72+ mineral supplement.  Walking around the house in only tennis shoes.  No braces.  January 2013.

Can we say, WOW?!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"I wanted something to live and die for..."

“I wanted something to live and die for.  I wanted something to breathe and to bleed for.  I’m not interested in trying to figure out ways to make my life safe and preserve my comfort.  I mean I find myself doing that because that’s the sinful tendency of the human heart but I’m fighting against that.  That’s one reason why we adopt kind of in a radical way.  I just on purpose set myself up to where I got so much pressure I gotta run after Jesus.  …I just figure if I can outsmart my flesh, and plan ahead to where I’m in crisis and I need God to show up, then I’ll make it—plan it out so that it’s too hard to backslide.  I’m just trying to outsmart the old man that lives inside of me.  Which is wisdom.  It’s making no provision for the flesh ahead of time.”

Derek Loux

"Plan ahead to where I'm in crisis and I need God to show up."

Wow does that ever describe what we're doing!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Got Doubt?

I belong to a few Ukrainian adoption groups on Facebook.  A few days before we made our final decision to adopt our boys we were really struggling with how impossible it all seems, but we were really struggling with what NOT adopting them would mean.

I mean in 4-6 years the oldest will be turned out into the street.  Two years later his younger brother would also graduate the orphanage and be on the streets certain to turn to a life of crime because no one hires orphans.  These sweet boys have much to work through now, but they are still innocent children.  In a few more years, they will lose that innocence.  How could we let that happen?  What price tag can you stick on the life of a child that makes them not worth it?

We truly believe that God didn't allow us to host our boy last summer by accident.  Too many things happened.  He was the FOURTH child we chose for hosting.  He was the one we "ended up" with when all of our other plans fell through.  We certainly did not seek out a sibling group of four boys.  My goodness that was NOT in our plans!

But God...

And once again I am reminded that its not about us.  It was never about us.  It is about THEM.

God promises he is a father to the fatherless.
He sets the lonely in families.
He will not leave them as orphans.  He WILL COME to them.

Finances are a human obstacle and we serve an almighty God.  Who are we to doubt He will provide for what He has asked us to do?

So, knowing all of these things, we still wrestled with just how crazy it seemed.  I opened by laptop to turn my brain off (haha) and saw a notification on fb that someone had posted in the Ukrainian adoption group.  I went to see what it was because its rarely posted in at all.

This was the post.

When we started this adoption process, we knew it was an unmistakable call to obedience. It was sparked by our strong belief that life is sacred and that adoption was choosing life for a child. In June that child was brought to us. Not as an infant, but as 15 and 16 year old Ukrainian girls.

With the decision to adopt our girls, we knew we were taking on a huge task. A race against time because of their age, bringing two teenage girls into our home, and raising the needed $25,000. As we began to share our story and need with others, we heard many people say that they would like to adopt but just couldn’t afford it. We would smile and say, neither can we!

At times I would get overwhelmed with the task of raising the $ and I remember sitting in church, stressed and close to tears going over how much money we had and how much we needed. I remember thinking what it would be like to sit in front of a rich man, telling him our story and all that we were doing to raise the $ with the scarves, events, and quilt. He listened and then told me to continue on with the same zest and commitment and that whatever I didn’t raise, he would take care of the rest. Wow. I felt the weight of it all leave my shoulders and a huge wave of calm come over me. I sat with my eyes closed just thinking of what that would be like and I heard God tell me, “I am that Man. I own it all.” Of course instant tears and I knew that if I was going to say we were trusting God for every penny, it meant giving up the worry, and really trusting him to provide.

Two weeks ago we found ourselves $6,000 short of our goal. I remember thinking, I don’t know if I can sell $6000 more scarves I was out of ideas and unsure what to do next. Yesterday I got a an unexpected settlement check for $5,900 from a very minor car wreck that the kids and I were in back in October 2011! He does own it all! God’s faithfulness is always going to be on the side of his children. Whether it is a single mom wondering how she will provide and if she will choose life for her unborn child or 2 orphan teenagers from Ukraine, he is the Father of the fatherless. His heart cries out for them, and that we get to be an instrument of His provision is humbling to say the least.
Thank you for partnering with Him financially as many of you have given so generously. As we start this new year, I just want to encourage you to step out and do big things because He is bigger than our worries and He will provide. May our story be a testimony to His faithfulness.

I literally cried my way through it and then saved the entire thing to my desktop because its one of those things I will need to read again when doubt and fear start to creep back in.  I so get what she's saying.  How many times have I sat in church and counted heads, then done the math, imagining in my head that if just 80 people gave $500 we'd be totally funded?  How many times have I sang "Nothing is Impossible" while nearly crying?

This post reminded me that God is still in the miracle working business, but its not OUR miracle; its theirs because He is the father to the fatherless and He will provide.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Summer Vacation Plans

There comes a time in your life when you go back and forth with God.  You try to tell Him all the reasons you cannot, but in your heart you know that if He really wants you to do this; He will take care of those things so your argument is pointless.

Then you try to talk yourself INTO it...  and you realize somewhere in the middle of it that what has really happened to you is that your heart's desire has changed; it has aligned with God wanted you to do all along, and there is no way you could even talk yourself OUT.

So you tell God, "Ok, I'm in, but there are TWO of us that have to agree if this is going to work and I am NOT going to beg him for this."

Then your husband looks at you and says, "I really don't know how we are going to do it, but I don't know how we can't."

Your kids look at you and ask, "WHEN are you going to start working on those papers so you can go get them so they can stay forever?"

And that my friends, is how a person ends up making a slideshow to put on you.tube to announce that they are not just "exercising" their faith muscle; they signed it up for P90X.

Our adoption of Mariah, her medical expenses upon arriving home, and then hosting our boys two times has beyond wiped out our finances, so every.single.penny. of this will have to come directly from God.

I find peace in that somehow because it means that we canNOT do this on our own.  
Not even a little bit.  

God is going to have to show Himself in a big way.

We will need a larger house, and a larger vehicle to accommodate 4 more children.

Oh and we will need a lot of money...
thousands and thousands.

My one condition in this was to tell God that at 27 years old I am too young to drive a 12 passenger van.  I just cannot drive something that hideous in my 20s, God.
Seven children?  Ok.
But please give me something cute or really beast to haul them around in?  Ok?
You are the God of heaven and earth and I know on top of everything else, you've got this too.

Will it be hard?  Yes.
I have no starry eyed fantasies this time.  I KNOW what we are in for.

Will it be worth it?  Absolutely. 

So, bring on the appliances breaking.

I need a new dishwasher anyways.  

This is once again an ADOPTION blog.

Times FOUR.

Cause that whole James 1:27 thing... we took it seriously.

Click here  to go to our fundraising account.  Even if you cannot donate, you can share it on Facebook to help us spread the word!!

Thank you!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

He was mine...on loan

We had a wonderful 3 1/2 weeks with our host boys.  
They got to experience Christmas and receive presents probably for the first time in their lives.  

But it was the little things that got me.  
Like little bro showing his big brother how to operate the trashcan by stepping on the pedal.
Over. and over. and over. and over. and over.  because it was sooo funny.
The light in the fridge that fascinated them endlessly.
So they tried it out every 5 minutes.

How Big Brother hated us *making* him take a bath every day, but after a week we couldn't get him out of the tub.

The way that Big Bro would go all limp like a big noodle when I tried to hug him, but never hugged me back...until he was boarding the plane.

How each boy would beg me every night for a "sookret" (cough drop) despite not actually needing it.

The way little brother would literally kiss me senseless every night at bedtime.  
I had to teach the child that it wasn't about quantity, it really was about quality.

Big brother may not have hugged me or returned affection, but he drew many pictures of a happy family that included him.  Even his clouds were smiling. 

After every meal, I got a "Tank you, mom." as they took their dishes to the kitchen.

Five minutes later they would have an apple begging, "Mam, yablakah please?"
They ate probably 5lbs of fruit each day, and no I am not exaggerating.

Little brother learned how to say "Please" and bat his eyes.  The trick caught on quickly.  
Mom is a sucker for cute boys.

The yelling in Ukrainian at the Wii and each other when they were playing games.
Seriously funny.

The time went too fast. 

Weren't we just here picking them up?  

Oh how I wish I could turn back time and do it all over again.  

A snack before meeting up with everyone.

Photo taken by big bro

Hosting group.

Hosting group.

Hosting group.  

V with a friend.

I kissed my heart goodbye and put it on that plane.

People say, "Oh I don't know how you do it.
I wouldn't want to send them back."  
Well I didn't want to either.

I tiptoed into your room one night. 
I watched you sleeping there.
Your tiny body looked so snug
Wrapped in peaceful slumber's care.

I thought of how you came to be
The child we'd longed to know.
I wondered at the sight of you:
"How could she let you go?"

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I
Felt the pain she must have known.
For I will have to let you go
Some day when you are grown.

A mother I might never meet
Had given me her son.
Yet, surely as you've filled my heart,
A piece of hers you'd won.

"How could she let you go?"
The question kept returning.
And in the depths of my own heart.
A question kept on burning.

"How can I ever let you go
When years have come and gone?"
I stood there by your crib until 
The nighttime turned to dawn.

And as the sun peeked through the shades,
The voice of God broke through.
"I trusted her to give him life
And now I'm trusting to you.

"To show him what is right and wrong,
to love him and to be
The one who teaches him the way
To come back home to me.

"He wasn't hers to give, you know.
And he's not yours to own.
I've placed him in your life to love
But he is mine … on loan."
Valerie Kay Gwin

Friday, January 11, 2013

Blog Hiccup

Sorry about that court post...  we do not have court today!  I guess my blog got a mind of its own and took a draft post and published it as a current post.  Whoops.

Not that I would mind having court tomorrow...  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Little Miss

So you see this sweet girl always done up in pink.

 You think she looks like a sweet princess... and well she IS but this cute girl can be wild!

 Today at the playground there were some other girls there playing. They kept running around playing chase and Mariah really wanted to play too. Well its hard to keep up with other kids when you have cerebral palsy, but she tried. Finally after about 10 minutes of unsuccessfully catching either of these girls, Mariah snuck up behind one who had stopped to rest under the slide.


like a wild animal

and the poor little girl screamed and fell over she was so startled.

 Said Mariah, "You aren't too fast for me now! I got you!" And that my friends is pretty much how Mariah takes on life. She might have to do things a little differently, BUT she WILL do them.

Miss roars a lot at the park today

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Here's a Bridge. Now Get Over it.

This video is going around on facebook.  Its called First World Problems.  We've had a pretty emotional day here today with little ones who were handed the short stick in life.  I needed this laugh today.  Comment and let me know if you think they missed any "First World Problems" that you routinely hear!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fun at Physical Therapy!

Mariah loves going to PT and we love her therapist!

She's come such a long ways!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mariah has an announcement!

She put her AFO on all by herself this morning for the first time ever!
Leave a comment to tell her what a great job she did!  She'll love to hear them :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

D at the Dentist

Today I took D to the dentist.  He needs extensive work on all four quadrants of his mouth so they decided to do two today and two tomorrow.  After 50 minutes of drilling and filling on maaaany teeth, they extracted 2 molars, stitched his gum, packed him with gauze and told him "Good job."

Really, he did GREAT.  He was nervous and didn't really want to come, and didn't really want to have teeth pulled because I mean really WHO THE HECK does!?  But he sat right in the chair and did everything they asked him to.

I brought V with us because my husband's mom was watching the other 3 kids.  I wanted V to be able to tell D that it would be ok since he had all of his work done this summer (and because he cannot behave himself with anyone who doesn't rule with an iron fist).  Remember my little V had 4 teeth pulled all in one day?  He kept telling D that it wouldn't hurt then like a good brother got engrossed in the tv during most of the visit.

Thank you so much to everyone who donated to help us get this little guy's teeth fixed.  I received $465 in paypal donations that went directly to today's visit!  I came home and found 4 checks in my mailbox so they will be covering the work he has done tomorrow!  

D is doing just fine.  He seemed really worried that his face was numb for some time, but after it wore off he did what V did this summer.  He sat down at the table and ate the biggest meal he's had the entire time he's been here.  Proof that a stitched up gum doesn't even compare to the pain from rotten teeth.

I had to laugh that while I wasn't looking, V took my phone and snapped about 15 photos of the dentist, the tech, random things in the room, and his brother with things sticking out of his mouth.  I looked at my gallery and had some really funny awkward photos of the dentist being photographed.  Denis took my phone before they started working on him and took pictures of the sink, the light, the dentist tools, the chair, and many other random things in the room.  They are such silly boys.  They think I need to buy them a phone too.  

NO, I will not look at you because I really do not want to be here!
Dude, they took my teeth!  Where are they?
You can count on your brother to take mom's phone and snap a photo of you with things screwed to your teeth.

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