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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My feelings on Love

Love isn't a fleeting, euphoric feeling. Love does paperwork all hours of the day and night for months just to be allowed to cross oceans to do more paperwork all hours of the day and night, only to wait many more days and nights, waiting, hoping and praying to bring a child home. Love is sitting in countless meetings, researching all hours, finding a voice to publicly disagree with a room full of people who have many years experience in education but are clueless about your child, writing dissenting opinions, requesting additional evals, arranging ways to have these evals paid for, filling out 40 pages worth of forms in one night for a child who will whine all day about being evaluated so you can repeat the whole meeting process over again with an advocate. Love is frustrating and hard, but love never gives up. Love gets angry at injustice and love resolves to right the wrong.
I think this sums it up.
And I have to do it three times in a row.
Love doesn't tell the child they should be grateful. Love tells everyone else that this child deserves their best because that is what love gives. 

Love does.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

An Update to the Horrible Realtor Situation

Wow- so thanks for all the response to my last post!  Its nice to know that people don't just read my blog, but really care.  I've gotten a lot of FB messages about this as well that have been very helpful.

So, first off we DID contact the broker right away.  We have an hour long phone conversation recorded with the broker and the realtor in which they berated us continually, bringing up our family, where my husband works, the listing info on the house we just purchased, how they felt like they lost out on getting to sell our other house, saying it was being taken personally, and telling us that we should have checked the paperwork more thoroughly.  The broker insisted that we were under contract with the firm, and the realtor kept saying, "That was MY paycheck!" among other very unprofessional things.

The whole thing sounded like two women angry over losing a boyfriend.  It was the most ridiculous and unprofessional phone call I've ever heard when dealing with a business transaction.  I've heard my share of horrible fights during a divorce and fights over custody.  THAT is what it sounded like.  A custody battle for MONEY.

We have the forms from DPOR to file complaints.  I already notified them of what was going on and we will be completing the complaint process for as many places as we can find so no one else EVER has to go through this.  We also called corporate (large real estate business ) and filed a complaint with them.  Fortunately that seemed to get some attention as yesterday we got a phone call that they will be sending us a letter apologizing for the things that were said and done.  The contract wasn't done correctly to start with, and we were under no obligation because of that even if it had been explained and we had been given a copy.  The actions of both the broker and the realtor were inappropriate and not in compliance with how their firm does business.  They should never have called us demanding money, they should have called the brokerage of the realtor that sold us this home and talked to them.

We are extremely relieved, but that was not a good feeling and we still can't believe that they would treat a family that way.  I walked around feeling ready to be sick for days and my husband wasn't sleeping.  You just don't do that to people.  We were ready to call a U.S. Attorney (knowing so many people through adoption is a wonderful resource!) and file a counter suit if they had come back after us after reviewing our complaint,  but thankfully it didn't come to that.

Can I just say this was so crazy!?  and…

WHO does this!?

I saw this verse several times over the past few days in my newsfeed and found it comforting.  We certainly are not perfect, but as I have said before we do not ever try to be dishonest or hurt anyone intentionally.

Proverbs 2:7
He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sometimes I wonder why it has to be so hard

I'm sorry I haven't updated my blog more.  The truth is that we have been going through a lot of hard things…

We moved so the kids could attend a better school after the nightmare we had last year.  Parts of that are still unfolding.  I didn't even realize the complete extent of neglect my kids experienced last year until I have requested to see things that were supposed to be done only to find out that they weren't!  Never mind what I requested to be done that I KNEW wasn't done.  These are things they agreed to and didn't do!  The Department of Education is involved and we have recently acquired an advocate.  The stress of this situation alone has been at times so much that I have been physically ill.

Because of last year, getting things set up this year at their new school has been probably more challenging than it should have been.  However, we are glad we moved because the kids new school definitely has been much better to work with and the kids have been happier!  I have tried to relax, but I still can't sleep well the night before and have a mini anxiety attack the day of every meeting.  That any parent could ever be made to feel this way by the system they pay taxes to is unacceptable.

We listed our other house for sale within days of moving out.  We have scrubbed it and painted it in our "free" time.  We must sell it!

During the summer we actually were planning to move into a house that we'd put a contact on, but it turned out that the listing info was incorrect.  It was in the wrong school district and had an unusable septic.  After losing nearly $1K we walked away totally frustrated, and with our kids transferred to the district the house was listed in (but not physically in).  Talk about a mess.

I searched online in the school district the kids school was in and found a house that I wanted to look at..  I felt like I was in a pressure cooker with the kids being moved to a different district that we didn't live in, and the fact that we had kids packed into their bedrooms like sardines in a can.  Dressers were in the hallway, shoes were hanging off the backs of doors, and there was absolutely no personal space for anyone with 6 children sharing a tiny bathroom.  I know people make do with less, but with 5 boys and 1 girl we knew that the kids were going to really need more privacy.

Anyways, we went to look at this house I found with a different realtor.  We weren't thrilled with how we'd been represented on the other house so we didn't want to go that route again.  I mean who loves to lose money based on bad info, right?

Long story short, we loved the house and put a contract on it that day.  Then we moved into it right after closing.

Finally I thought.  FINALLY.  I worked pretty much without stopping from the time I put the kids on the bus to the time they came and then after I put them to bed.  I unpacked it all.  I organized it.  I wanted us to finally have a home we fit into after almost a year of having to stack dressers on top of themselves just to make it all fit.

We had our blissful thoughts for about a month.  Then we got a call from our previous realtor demanding commission on the house we just bought.  Apparently she put a buyer/broker agreement that lasted 9! months into our contract paperwork several months back on a house we made an offer on.  She never explained that there was anything in the paperwork other than the contract and she never gave us a copy of it.  It was all sent electronically so we had absolutely no idea about this until the phone call.

So here we sit with this realtor demanding $7600 from us.  We have a post placement visit coming up with our social worker.  V's first birthday in America is in less than two weeks.  Our first Gotchya Day is just around the corner.  Christmas is coming… we have two mortgages until we sell our other house.   I literally couldn't breathe and was just sitting on the couch crying.
Who purposefully does things like this to families?  We have never tried to wrong anyone, and yet here we are on the wrong end of a pissed off realtor demanding what she says is, "MY PAYCHECK!"

I can't really describe how this feels.  This realtor knew our situation all along and we thought she was trying to help us.  After losing $1K we were wary of using her again.  Apparently trying to quietly walk away and not cause an issue was the wrong thing to do because here we are being made out to be the "bad guys."  I've never asked for a pat on the back and I don't like being told I'm "special" for adopting 4 children.  I'm just as normal and imperfect as the next girl.  But I don't like being accused of something we didn't do.  That's not who we are.  I'm just sick and so upset over it all for many different reasons.

Please pray that this is resolved.  God knows we don't have $7600 to give anyone right now because if we had that kind of money we'd be hosting another orphan for Christmas.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


A year ago I met him.
The little boy with the most astonishingly beautiful eyes and a face full of sadness.
He was unexpectedly missing 3 teeth that had been punched out shortly before we got there.
I promised myself that no one would ever hurt this child again without answering to me.

It had been 9 months since we last saw V, the one who stole our hearts.
He was incredibly possessive of me "THAT'S MY MOM" and wouldn't even let his friends touch me.
He'd done his time.  He'd waited.  
I was finally here and I was HIS.
He carried my purse around the entire time, making sure EVERYONE knew.

D was quiet, withdrawn, and so in need of love and protection.
The child at the orphanage was not the child we took out and bought treats for.  
An orphan in one place, a son in another.  

This little boy's sadness melted away.  
He could hardly remember a time when he had a mama and never a papa.
He would look at us like we hung the moon and it would take our breathe away.

For the rest of my life I think that no matter where I am, Fall will forever be the time we spent in Ukraine.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I'm finding myself in a weird place.  I have so much that I want to say, but I can't write anything.  This time last year we were in Ukraine.  I'm experiencing a fierce nostalgia, remembering all we did a year ago.  The weather here matches what it was in Ukraine.  The leaves are turning.  My emotions are high, I find myself tearing up just thinking about it all.  The plans I had.  How much I missed my kids at home.  I remember how difficult it was to be at the orphanage surrounded by children who had nothing and wanted only a family.  It absolutely broke my heart to see their eyes and hear their voices asking for a family.

My boys have come so far in a year.  I look at them now and look at pictures of a year ago and I see such a change.  I think back over what we've done since coming home and it makes me tired!  Wow... what a year we've had.  There is still so much going on.  Having 5 kids in school, ALL of them with varying levels of needs and therapies really makes life interesting IF everything goes smoothly.  The struggles with school... we're still having some.  I relish the day when we don't.  I realize that we are not the typical family.  No matter what we do, we are not the norm.  I remember the time when I used to never want to stand out or be noticed.  I was happy to be a wallflower and never wanted to ever rock the boat.  Yah God has gotten a good laugh out of that one.  I stand out and get noticed now, and that boat I didn't want to rock... well I have flipped the freaking thing over and beaten it with a paddle.  

This time of year is making me sit back and wonder what our next year will be like.  What are my goals?  What do I want to accomplish?  I know that we will probably host again.  If we don't do that we will be involved in orphan care in some other way.  Educating and advocating is something that I could do.  

Its hard to tell what another year will bring.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Year Ago!

First off, sorry for the long delay in posting anything but we've been moving!  Yes, we finally finally finally found a house large enough for all of us.  The house currently has no internet and very limited cell phone coverage so I have been in serious internet withdrawals.  I MUST have my information at hand or I start bugging out.  I flushed my cell phone down the toilet (yes seriously) in the grocery store and it has steadily quit functioning.  I got a new one yesterday, but couldn't get email set up on it because I had a DROID and now have an iPhone.  Yes, welcome to 2014!  I'm learning how to use Apple!


This time last year we were in Ukraine.  On October 3rd we took the 6 hour fast train to Khmelnytstky from Kyiv.

On October 4th we sat in the orphanage director's office and officially met our boys.  We had hosted D and V twice, but we had never met E.  Oh my goodness... the boys had made us "Welcome to Ukraine Mama & Papa" signs and I was nearly in tears.  These precious boys had waited and waited for us.  E took my hand and lead me out to see his bed.  He passed a lady in the hallways and told her, "Look.  This is my mama and she's pretty!"  E was love at first sight.  He was so easy to love.

What a year we've had since we met them in Ukraine.  These children have been fought for.  Once we fought the mountain of paperwork, fundraising, and travel.  This past year we've fought the battle for appropriate education in school.  I something think people don't understand the depth of our commitment to them.  We didn't travel halfway around the world to make them ours only to give them anything less than the best opportunities.  They've had a crappy life.  A year ago, they didn't belong to anyone.  No one advocated for them.  No one took them to therapy.  No one taught them manners.  No one cared if they didn't bathe and had dirty clothes.  No one cared if they were failing in school or why.

Now they are mine.  The magnitude of that privilege and the depth of that responsibility have never been lost on me.

I may be admired, hated, or feared for advocating for my children.  One thing is for sure though, I will be known for advocating.  

Last year at this time I had no idea what it really meant to be an advocate.  Now I do.  I think this is why some people say that their children teach them more about life than they could ever teach their children.  I've learned more about the true character of people through how they treat my children than I ever thought possible.  I think an opportunity for people to reveal their true character comes about when they come in contact with a child that is a little more difficult to understand than others.

I've grown this past year.  My children have made me stretch out of my comfort zone in so many ways that I do not even know what my comfort zone is anymore.  I have had to do things that were very hard for me to do, but I did them gladly for my children.


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