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

Friday, January 31, 2014

A little E update

E has gone to ST twice now at our therapy center.  He has some chewing/eating issues along with the speech problems.  Fortunately he LOVES to talk and eat so its not hard to get him to practice either.

He now has a new chewy tube and a fun vibrating chewy toy as well.  His ST asked if he has an aide at school.  I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.  Its obvious he needs that level of help right now and he isn't getting it.

I'm working on it, but its such a process.

He just qualified for ST at school as well, so I'm hoping that's a start.  Its always a long process to figure out WHAT newly home kids need, and then go about getting it.  He's a smart kid, but so so new to a modern school environment and well, new to the fact that adults care about him.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

EuroMaidan - An SOS to the West


I have been going nuts on my Facebook page trying to make people aware of what is going on in Ukraine right now.  Things took a bad turn about a week after we arrived home with our boys.

My four adopted children are dual citizens.  They remain citizens of Ukraine.  This is their homeland.  I was born in the U.S. and love it like no other, but Ukraine is the country of my heart.  The people of Ukraine need us and I am not content to sit and be quiet any longer.

A quote today from one of their FB pages, begging for help,

"They are killing our people. Please. Help. Now. Call. Write. Demand sanctions!"


I want to post what will do the most good and not overwhelm people with info, so here are just a few links.

Here is a link to live updates of the protests going on in Kyiv right now.

Here is another link explaining a bit more.

Please go like the EuroMaidan in English Face.book page for more updates.

Photos of the violence.  We walked these streets just 10 weeks ago.

And now, this is probably what will potentially do the most good:

Please sign this petition to ask our President to impose sanctions on the government (not the people) of Ukraine.


and THIS

Please.  It will only take you 60 seconds.

Whether or not you have personal ties to Ukraine, JUSTICE matters to EVERY ONE of you. The Ukrainian people are PLEADING for the west to get involved. They are NOT asking for troops or money –they are asking for our government to impose sanctions and stand with them. A few visas have been revoked, but MUCH more needs to be done. 

I am URGING all of my friends to take a stand on behalf of the Ukrainian people who are literally FIGHTING FOR THEIR FREEDOM. Below, you will find a script that you can copy and paste to write your reps on behalf of the Ukrainian people. Send it to your House Reps and Senators, to the White House, and to the State Department. Just a few minutes. YOUR VOICE MATTERS!!!!

Send a letter to President Obama and VP Biden here

Senator Kerry and the State Dept. here  (try again if it doesn't work the first time)

Contact your Senator and Representatives here

Dear Senator __ or Representative __

Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych recently signed a series of laws that curb freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to legal due process and freedom of association; severely curtailing civil liberties and political rights in Ukraine. 

The laws implemented are intended to shut down the Euromaidan protests, which have underscored the determination of the Ukrainian people to live in a free, just and democratic society. Rather than engaging in constructive dialogue with its citizens, the government is silencing these protests through repression, censorship, and intimidation.

The signing of the so-called "Dictatorship Laws" have transformed the country overnight into a police state that many experts have compared to Russia, Belarus and North Korea. Equally concern is the fact that on the same day the "dictatorship laws" were signed by the President, he fired the Commander of the Armed Forces, the Head of the Presidential Administration, and appointed over 70 new judges throughout Ukraine in an effort to consolidate control over the military and judiciary in addition to the legislative branch and the executive. 

I call on the government of the United States and its allies to impose SEVERE and IMMEDIATE sanctions against those who seek to strip the Ukrainian people of their freedom. I ask you to freeze the financial assets of those responsible for perpetuating the violations of human rights and freedoms in Ukraine. I ask that you warn Russia and its agents against any acts of interference in the events occurring in Ukraine. 

Please stand with me in complete solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their peaceful struggle to build a free and democratic nation. 


Slava Ukraiini!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Speech Therapy

We already do OT and PT with M.  Now we can add ST to the list.  I took E for a speech eval with a therapist at M's therapy center and he will now be seeing her once a week.  His speech is very garbled with multi syllable words and he tends to leave the ending sounds off.  Sometimes he can't get out the beginning sounds either.  "Frog" sounds like "sloh."  It just depends if the words have sounds he has trouble with.

His therapist sent him home with a chewy tube to gnaw on.  Its supposed to help strengthen his mouth muscles the same way lifting weights would for your arms.  He wasn't so sure about it at first and then decided he loved it.  He has spent hours chewing on it.  I think its fulfilling some sort of input for him right now.  He even took it to bed and laid there chewing.  I was all for it because he chews his fingers and fingernails when he's not engaged in something.  They were infected from it in Ukraine.  Now they are healed and he does it much less, but he still nail bites.  Hopefully this will help with his mouth AND his nail biting.  I was so thankful to be able to get him a time slot at the same time M does PT so I won't have to make an extra trip to the therapy center each week.  Its an hour drive one way for me so this is a huge blessing!  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

An ENT update

V and E had their ENT appointment last week.  After thinking that E must certainly have significant hearing loss because of his speech we took him to an International Adoption clinic after being home one week.  I was told at the IA clinic that they could SEE damage to his ears from untreated infections AND that he had enormous tonsils and probably needed them removed.

I was told that V also had REALLY big tonsils and they might even be the reason he seems small.  It turned out that after plotting his height and weight on the growth chart that he's not small.  He's perfectly average.  Its his "little" brother that is big and my bio son who is two years younger, but two inches taller that are big.  V is 50% for everything.  But they still left me with the impression that V would need his tonsils and adenoids out as well.

Soooo I've been giving them both lots of high quality vitamins and supplements as well as Thieves oil to try to boost their immune system.  Their blood work came back with most things ok, but showed that they clearly had a poor diet and were lacking protein.

When I took them to the ENT last week I thought that we'd be scheduling surgery.  Imagine my surprise when the doctor took one look at V and said, well he possibly has some allergies, but that's a fine looking boy.  Ummm....   evidently is tonsils are a "little larger than average" but its nothing to be concerned over.

E does have big tonsils, but not big enough to do anything about either.  They sent him for a hearing test but it came back most normal.  He has "very mild" hearing loss in one ear and they think that could be related to some fluid behind that ear drum.  We go back in 5 months to see if its improved but its is NOTHING that would affect his speech.

Monday we have a ST eval to see if they can pin point what's going on.  Its likely a low tone issue since we know its not his ears!  ST is new to me.  M does PT and OT, but we've never needed a ST.  This is new territory for me!  School is also going to be doing a ST eval with E at the end of the month to see what they can do to help him.  Hopefully we'll get our little man all figured out soon.

Friday, January 10, 2014

ENT update

Not being one to be happy to wait for months while my kids need medical attention, I called around.  Instead of an April appointment, my boys can be seen next week at a different office.


Thursday, January 9, 2014


This is what after school snack looks like these days.
5 get off the bus starving to death.


Finally got E and V scheduled with a pediatric ENT.  We suspect E has partial hearing loss coupled with huge tonsils and low tone.  His speech is horrible.

So we'll go have a hearing test and a full exam by an ENT in April.  V is also coming along because he has huge tonsils and is always harumphing and coughing and clearing his throat.  We were told they probably both need their tonsils and adenoids out as it could be causing them obstructive sleep apnea.

 I'm really curious to see if E has hearing loss because he passed the screening at school.  Its obvious he CAN hear some, but some sounds like "k" and "t" and "r" that he is not even attempting.  There is a word "po-ko-ran-ee" in Ukrainian that he says "po-hah-hany."  "See you tomorrow" sounds like "seeya malaya."  He can say "mama" and "papa" but "good night" sounds like "goo-ny."  "Doh-po-bach-in-ya" sounds like "po-po-bah-nah."

I wish we could get in before April, but oh well...      

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I told the boys goodnight like I always do. Do you know that I will NEVER EVER EVER get tired of kissing stuffed animals goodnight & hearing little accented voiced *finally* say "I love you too." D used to roll over and face the wall to go to sleep.  No expectation or desire for anyone to tell him goodnight. Now he fusses if I take too long with another child saying, "My turn say goodnight!"  E wants to hold me for like.ever. in a big hug then kisses my cheek.  M tells me I'm the best mom ever.  Despite the fact that she is delusional, I never get tired of hearing it.  W insists that I kiss his herd of stuffed animals every single night.  I can't leave one out because I will hurt its feelings.  

Ya know what?  I love it.  

Doing something right

My 11 year old has taken to helping set the table, helping prep dinner, helping clean up, and then he thanks for me for dinner. Its not easy, but there are moments that make me think we're doing something right :)

I found this on Pinterest today and found it oh.so.very.fitting.

I think I might make it my profile picture on FB.

Or go on Cafe Press and make it into a t-shirt that I can wear to meetings at school.

And for those readers who sometimes take me just a bit too seriously,  I just added, "I type in fluent sarcasm as my own personal comic relief." to my blogger profile because I think some readers truly didn't know that I am a certified smart @$$ with great appreciation for figures of speech.

If you aren't sure what a "Figure of speech" is,  please refer to this Figure of speech definitions.  I'm particularly fond of 8,9,10,11, 14,15 & 20.  After just reading the list I am excited all over again about figures of speech and how much more fun it is to write than talk out loud.       

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Braces!

M graduated to SMOs!

Here's her old braces, worn slam out.

Look at the stress marks on those things!  
Even the grommet that attaches the hinge was worn out.
Dirty, smelly, too small, and worn to within an inch of their life.
Brand new pink SMO!
And brand new shoes to go with the "special shoes."
Her favorite part of new braces is the new shoes we always have to get.

Back to school!

The kids went back to school today after Christmas break.
They did great!  Right back into the routine!
All was great till the bus arrived and I realized...

M's IEP is not being followed.again.  This particular thing is not a *huge* deal, but its so frustrating for me because its a safety and accessibility issue for her that leaves me feeling that if *this* isn't being complied with, what else isn't?  Its not a good feeling.

With 5 kids in the same school, I interact with the same staff a lot and it was my hope to have a good relationship with ALL of them.   I absolutely LOVE my boys' 2nd grade teacher.  LOVE her. She has my two most "difficult" kids and they are thriving.  I hope my younger two get her for the next two years I will have second graders.

E got a new teacher this week.  I'm so happy about that.  His new teacher seems nice and quite honestly I was elated to hear the news.  E has had a rough life.  He needs an understanding teacher and a few months to realize that no one here thinks he's stupid.  He needs a little extra help, but he's 7 and his entire world just got rocked.  He finally realized he can give me a hug whenever he wants.  I just know he is going to do awesome once we finally get him the help he needs :)  

Now I'm also having issues with D not being able to do 4th grade math (which I knew) and the school (that I told) continuing to give him 4th grade math worksheets (that he can't do) and send home reminders about quizzes (that he is obviously going to fail.)  This has been so much fun to try to explain.  

W is also struggling.  I'm trying to get him evaluated at M's therapy center because I think he has some form of dyspraxia.  Something is impacting his every day life and his academics.  He is still struggling despite his wonderful teacher.

V is surprisingly doing well in school!  Of course his teacher is awesome, but he is really adjusting well and I couldn't ask for him to be doing any better right now.  His penmanship freaking rocks.  Its better than mine!

Wy is at home with me for K this year.  He's such a smart little dude, but still so much a baby.  I'm glad I can keep him at home with me where he can sleep in the morning and have a relaxed day with mama.

I'm really hoping with this new year we can get everyone taken care of and doing well!
I'm feeling the stress...



Sunday, January 5, 2014


Our pastor preached a great sermon today at church about spiritual warfare.  Its important to label it for what it is.  We had always heard about it, but never experienced it in such a real way until we started our adoption journeys.  

There have been times during our adoption process that I could feel that there was so much more going on behind the scenes than what met the eye.  Its gotten so bad that when yet another thing broke or we were faced with yet another unexpected disappointment we would joke that something good must be getting ready to happen so Satan was preemptively blasting away.

There were times we could almost hear hell mocking us.  "You think you can do this??"  Its a joke in the adoption community that everything in your house will break as soon as you sign the papers to start the process.  I can attest to that from the washing machine and dishwasher breaking to my broom snapping in half.


Because finances are a HUGE hurdle and the thing that most adoptive families worry about the most, and the first thing to get attacked are things that cost even more money.  I've stood gritting my teeth in dismay at how we could possibly make something work out and announce out loud that we weren't quitting.  Phillip & I are hardheaded like that.  Tell us we can't do something, make us angry; you just got assurance it.will.be.done.

We called the battle confirmation for a long time.  We had it labeled.  We thought we were done... and then we came home with 3 more kids and were met with "shock and awe" that has left us so very weary.

I even said, "I thought this would be over once we came home!"  NO.  Its been 10 times worse.  We've been hit with a concentrated rapid fire stream of fiery darts at all the things that hurt the most.  Maybe it was our assumption that things would calm down once we were "done" that caught us so off-guard.  We expect crazy comments, wacky insurance screw-ups, medical scares, and appliance breakdowns during the process.  Now that we've come home though we've really been in the thick of it.

We are at a bit of a crossroads in our life right now.  We still desperately need to sell our house.  There are some things up in the air with our job situation.  School has been crazy with 3 of the 5 enrolled kids needing child studies, one unexpected and I've yet to have the meeting for it.  I've felt overwhelmed and inadequate, but the truth is we are only 7 weeks home and have accomplished a lot.  M has some medical things that we are trying to make decisions about.  She may need surgery and the stress of trying to do what's best for her is always pressing on me.  She so much wants to be able to do what other kids do and she just physically cannot get her body to do it.  I see the stares she gets just walking at Wal-Mart and it breaks my heart for the day she'll see them too.  E and V need to see an ENT and both probably need surgery for the same thing, but I've yet to schedule the appointment because we've been busy trying to get the cavities filled, blood drawn, and other more pressing things done (like Thanksgiving & Christmas lol!)  I'm fighting the battle of trying to keep up with cooking, cleaning, and giving attention to all of the kids when they need it.  My fear is that someone will feel left out and I want so badly to do the right thing by each child and give them what they need.  This adjustment period is overwhelming for a mom!  I'm looking forward to having everyone all up to date on everything and being able to relax a bit without feeling like I should be up doing something!   

Today was a great reminder that we are equipped to do this battle and we don't need to hide under the covers.  We have been given armor AND weapons.  We can not only "do this" but we can "win this."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Seven Weeks

We've been home SEVEN weeks today.  This is the longest amount of time we've ever had with any of the boys.  Over the course of hosting 3 times, we always had to send them back.  Well, we don't have to send them back anymore!!

This fact hasn't seemed to quite set in with V.  He keeps asking, "Nee mah Ukryina?"  Nope buddy.  You get to stay forever!  He also asks about his friends who are here now for hosting.  He wants them to stay forever too.  I can see how its confusing for a 9 year old.  He got to come and had to go back twice.  He watched his brother leave and come back once.  I think he just really can't believe that he gets to stay now :)

I was worried about having a rough adjustment after the initial honeymoon, but honestly the worst time we had with them was in Ukraine!  I think we all just wanted so desperately to go home.

Despite having quite a potty mouth, little E has melted into our family like he's always been here.  I'm not sure why he swears so much more than the other two.  Maybe they just figured out faster that I knew enough Ukrainian to know what they were saying.  D yelled at him tonight, "Dats not ok!" when he said a particularly not nice word so it will just take some time.  They all know we don't allow it.  Other than E's swearing though, he is a really sweet kid.  He is kind, happy to help, took to his chores like a fish in water, and tells me all the time that I make wonderful food.  He likes to give me kisses at night when I tuck him in.  Seriously a sweetheart that should have had a mama who loved him a long time ago.

V of course bonded so well the first time we hosted him that he's felt like mine for what seems like forever.  He's taken to blowing me air kisses every time he walks by.  He's adjusting well to school and likes his teacher.  He is the one I was most worried about (behavioral) in school, but his teacher is just really awesome and he works very hard to bring home things to show me.  I really couldn't ask for him to be trying any harder.  He so wants to please me.  He's still the wild one and always up in someone else's business, but he always feels so badly that he made me upset when he does something bad that I really can't stay mad at him long.  "I'm sawdy mammy" is something I hear a lot of from him.  "I lahhhave you!" is another.

D is definitely feeling more comfortable at home.  He's the oldest of his siblings and he's the oldest out of all of our kids so that didn't get disrupted.  He seems to have a bit of an ego about being oldest and bossing the younger ones around, but that is really the only "issue" we've had.  He also doesn't take really well to having to do chores or not always getting to watch what he wants to watch on TV, but a few words from Papa usually fixes that.  He is also being much more open with us.  Laughing, smiling, hugging, asking for "his turn" to tell me goodnight when I tuck the boys in.  "Mammy vatch dis!" is what I hear the most out of him.  Always trying to impress me :)

With all of the boys we've had a HUGE struggle with "THIS IS MINE MINE MINE MINE!  You no touch MINE MINE MINE MINE!"  and then they go grab something that is not theirs.  Um. No.

I had this happen today and was like, "Oh ok.  You told them to stay out of YOUR bed but you are now sitting in THEIR bed so guess what everyone gets to do in your bed?"  Oh that went over like a ton of bricks.

"Oh you want to play with M's beanbag?  Ok, she can play with your legos."  No no no me no vant dis!  Ummmhmmm... but you want to share, right?  You are playing with hers?  No no no me no play dis one.  

We also had a little issue with the chores.  I assigned each child a room or area of the house to keep clean.  They are also responsible for sorting their laundry and putting it away.  Well everyone was all about the chore list check-off sheet.  Ooooh yessss meeee!
Until this morning when I asked them to do it again because ya know chores have to be done more than once.  A certain oldest child said, "ME ALL DONE!" and I had to explain that he was ALL DONE yesterday, but it had to be done again today.  He threw his chore list on the floor and pouted.  So I did what any good mama would do.  I gave him extra.  When he finished I told him he did a good job and thanked him, then explained he'd have to do it again tomorrow *--*

The other 5 did a GREAT job helping clean up though and some of them even asked for extra because they just love me so much and are at the age where vacuuming and wiping things down with paper towels is fun.  Who am I to stop them?

So, that's a brief summary of our 7 week anniversary.  We're still over the moon happy we are finally home with all of them.  Some days it just doesn't feel real :)  Our lives are crazy.  At the end of the day I feel henpecked from all the "Maaaammmmaaa!! mamamamamamamamam!!" but its ok.  I know its only for a season.  Overall we're doing well.

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