Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Zoya's First Masterpiece

Starting Bid at ONE MILLION DOLLARS because that is what it is worth to me!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Moment to Remember

Today I had one of those Momma moments that I will just cherish forever. From the beginning, Zoya bonded pretty quickly and easily to us, but I still worried about her understanding the fact that we are momma and daddy and nobody can take our place.  I worried that our bond would weaken when I returned back to work.  I wondered if our 5 months together would be enough for her to understand that I am here to stay. I worried she might replace me and not "need" me like she has needed me since coming home.  Today I was given the peace I've been praying for. Today my worries were dismissed.  Zoya's babysitter usually brings her to my school at the end of the day when she is picking up her own children.  Now remember, there are like a trillion kids and adults in the hallways and it's pretty chaotic...lots of people with lots going on.  They strolled past me and I saw Zoya look up at me and then look away, and then like lightening, she turned her head back toward me with a big smile and reached out for me!  Normally she would be so distracted by everything going on around her that even if I tried to get her attention she'd rather people-watch. To watch her find me in a crowd and chose me over everything and everyone else was so meaningful.  It took away any worry I had of her not needing me or of our bond changing in any way. For this little moment I am so thankful!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


So there has been this strange thought floating around my head lately. It just creeps up on me out of nowhere and it shocks me every time. It happens when I look at Zoya and realize my immense love for her and that I would do a n y t h i n g  for her. Out of nowhere comes this crazy thought that she never lived in an orphanage. That that didn't really happen. That it was another lifetime, that it was a dream, that it was all made up. It is so odd because in my head I know she lived in that orphanage for 22 months and I know we took two trips to Ukraine to adopt her and I know she didn't live with us since she was born, but that all seems so surreal to me. It seems like it was simply a dream (or a nightmare). I honestly cannot believe she wasn't always my daughter.  When this thought creeps up I tell myself that I'm crazy because I know what really happened...but no matter how I try to convince myself of that, I still have this overwhelming feeling that it really didn't all happen this way.  Looking back on our time in Ukraine is almost like an out of body experience. That wasn't us and that wasn't her. It was another family's crazy story. We have been here all along and Zoya has always been ours.  I look into her eyes and my heart just has a hard time believing her bogus story. Maybe it's God's healing. Maybe it's my mind trying to protect my heart. Who knows, but it is PEACE. 

And it is a step toward the rest of our lives together because now, Zoya's orphanage story is but a sentence in her life story and I love that! Her history no longer defines who she is. She has beat the odds. She has proven every life has worth. She has proven she is becoming the child God intended for her to become. She has proven that she is a normal two year old princess who is capable of anything she puts her mind to. She is Zoya Faith Basile who is happy, stubborn, sassy, full of life, and loved beyond measure. She has found her place in this world and is already leaving her mark!  I can't wait to see what else God has in store for her! I may never know why Zoya hard the start to life that she had, but I know it was but a blink in God's eye and now to us, but a blink in ours.

Many people don't think about how adopting from an orphanage can be a traumatic experience for the parents. I know I never thought about that before we adopted Zoya. Looking back on our first months home, although we couldn't have been happier with Zoya, I see those months covered by a cloudy haze. I mourned for all the children that were left behind. I felt depressed and helpless. I felt there would never be a way to make a difference for the rest of the children in the orphanage, and throughout the world.  It was hard not to focus on Zoya's sad past.  I viewed her as my daugher, but more I viewed her as a child someone else left behind. I viewed her as broken and needing to be fixed. I viewed my job as putting her pieces back together.  In many ways that was true, but in more ways she was simply the child God had given us. She was simply Zoya...nothing more and nothing less.  My job was simply to love her. Whether or not she had been an orphan, my job would be no different.  Her past doesn't define her. I can now see that it took time for me to view Zoya as simply Zoya. She is who she is regardless of how her story began. Once I realized this, the healing could begin. It is amazing to see how I have changed since meeting Zoya. From viewing her as a child someone else left behind to hardly being able to comprehend the fact that she was ever NOT my child. Every day I love this angel girl more and more and I can't imagine my heart having even more love the next day, but each day I wake up, sure enough my heart is filled with just a little more love than the day before.

I think it is important to add that I'm not denying where Zoya came from nor denying the fact that that may play into how we need to parent her or how she develops emotionally....just coming to accept Zoya for who she is while not focusing on her past but keeping it in mind as just a smaller part of her bigger story.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Zoya Went Pee Pee on the Potty!!!!

So I had no intentions of trying to potty train Zoya until next summer. She's been through enough changes in the last four months and I don't think it'd be very smart to try and tackle potty training now. However, ever since Zoya came home she would pee as soon as we would open her diaper to change it. So we started "pre-potty training her" and we would say "pee pee" every time she peed while changing her diaper in hopes she would make the connection.  After some time Zoya didn't always pee right away when we opened her diaper and would pee half way through the change...like all over the place.  So to avoid this, we started saying "go pee pee" as soon as we would open her diaper. We would wait until she peed and then we would praise her for going pee pee.  We must have said the words pee pee a million times in this house. She definitely understands what it means and will go on command.  A few times I tried putting her on the potty and saying "go pee pee" just to see what she'd do but never had any luck. Tonight before her bath I though ahh what the heck. I put her on her little potty and said "go pee pee" and don't ya know...she went pee pee!!! Shawn and I jumped up and down and praised the heck out of her. Then we flushed her pee pee and said bye bye to it. She liked that part. So....it's a step toward potty training which I'm sure will still be a bear...but it's a step in the right direction. I think for now I'll just keep putting her on the potty before her bath and have her start making the connection! So proud of my little big girl:)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2nd Grade Funnies and Zoya's First Dentist Appointment

So at least God knew I needed some laughs today since I struggled so much yesterday and last night with the idea of returning to work. It was seriously such a busy fast day that I did not even think about Zoya every second...rather I only thought about her every 3 seconds! hehe.

As I was checking the kids in this morning I asked them one at a time, "How are you getting home today?" And they would tell me car rider or bus and what number. One of my students, when I asked this question looked at me funny like he didn't understand. I knew he was going to after school care at the school and I was just trying to get him to confirm that so I said, "What are you doing at the end of the school day today?" and he said with the biggest grin I've ever seen, "Going to McDonalds if I have a good day!" LOVE IT!

Another kid....very very sweet kid...walked right up to me and said, "Mrs. Bitch?" Yes you read that right! He had NO IDEA he said a bad word!! I didn't say anything because I thought there was no way I just heard that. Sure enough an hour later when he needed me again he said, "Ms. Bitch" and I assure you he had absolutely no idea what he was saying and I looked at him and said, "It's Mrs. Basile" and he said "Oh sorry" and went on with what he was trying to ask me!!

So.....thank you God for making me laugh during a tough day today!!

Zoya had a dentist appointment this morning and there was no other day or time we could schedule it unless we wanted to wait another 5 months so Shawn took her while I went off to work (sigh...). I was worried because it was a new place and Zoya's first time to the dentist and I didn't want her to be scared and not be able to comfort her. Shawn said she did fairly well and it helped that she was at a pediatric dentist's office who was wonderful with her! Shawn said everyone there LOVED Zoya and there were lots of workers coming into the room to check her out and say hi! She sat in the chair without crying (bonus! because sometimes that is where it all starts....Zoya and her newfound fear of chairs! LOL).  She cried a little but he was able to check out all her teeth and said there are no cavities! And her tooth development is only a little behind normal development. He did recommend brushing with flouride toothpaste instead of the toddler stuff we use, but she definitely doesn't know how to spit yet. So I'm afraid to use that toothpaste if she swallows it. He also wants us to floss...this picture makes me laugh....RIIIIIIGHT...that is going to happen!!! ;)

Zoya smiling at the dentist! Look at that cute stuffed animal! Shawn said they let Zoya brush its teeth before he looked at her teeth!


Waiting and Playing
Notice the blankie (in all the pictures so far...scroll back up and look)...you might remember it from Ukraine....see the picture below:
Look at that butterball.  Anyways...Shelly (who must be an angel I'm sure of this) and her daughter made this taggy blankie for Zoya and brought it to us in Ukraine while they were there adopting three new family members! Zoya liked this blankie while we were there but she couldn't have cared less if it wasn't with her. Just in the last week she has taken to this blankie and takes it with her everywhere. She loves this thing!! It's officially her special blankie that she can't be without:)

And Shawn sent me this picture today with a message that said, "playing with her new friend the reflection." So cute!
Now this momma is tired and has a million things to do before my head hits the bed...I wonder if my body will ever realize it will never get enough sleep again....the restful years are over....but then again we have plenty of time to rest when we're dead:)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This Working Mom Thing is for the Birds :(

So two days into being a working momma (and the students don't even come until tomorrow) and I can feel my shoulders and neck tightened into a ball of stress. I feel I have to fight the urge to cry at random times. I feel guilty for leaving my girl whom I've spent practically every waking moment with since returning home from Ukraine. I feel stressed wondering how I'm going to balance all of my momma duties with all of my work duties.  I keep forgetting to eat or pee or do ANYTHING that my body requires to stay happy and healthy.  I feel run down already and can't keep up with everything I'm trying to get done.  I left for work this morning and the dog put her tail between her legs and gave me a sad look.  Even she is mad at me.  So many emotions over the past two days and I have a feeling next week will be even harder....once the adrenaline has worn off from the first back to school week.

I am smart enough to know that Zoya is taken care of and loved when I'm not here, whether it be by Shawn or by her wonderful babysitter.  BUT giving up the control is hard. Harder than anything I've ever done before. I am a self-admitted control freak.  Since I have been back to work and Shawn has been with Zoya most days, I find myself texting him things like, "Did she poop yet? Was it solid? Did she eat? Is she happy? How long did she nap for? Does she have a fever?" Yes this is true...poor Shawn. He has done well by sending me pictures and updates throughout the days. But I still feel like nobody can do my job as good as me because they aren't supposed to be able to...after all I am her Momma! How do I give up some control and stop stressing over every little thing? How do I stop feeling guilty for leaving Zoya? Zoya had some therapies today and of course I wasn't here.  She wasn't on her best behavior.  Of course I think that's because I wasn't here and I have been the one to be at all of her therapies since we brought her home.  She knows how to push people and push her limits...she will take every single inch she can get! She needs structure. She needs discipline. She needs strict boundaries and if even one time I let her get away with something she knows she isn't allowed to, she will try it a million more times just to see if I keep saying no. I am very strict with Zoya because I know that is what she craves and needs (even though she cries her eyes out when she goes to time out).  So since I've been working, I find Zoya trying things when I'm home that she clearly KNOWS she isn't allowed to do.  As consistent as we try to be, it is impossible to be exactly the same. So then my mind starts wandering and worrying about when she goes to school and will the teachers know enough to give her the limits she needs....because she could easily come unraveled very quickly if not given the structure and boundaries she needs. Then my mind wanders to all her little quirky Zoya things that nobody else understands. Will they think she is trying to hurt the kids when she tackles them with a love hug? Because clearly she is not...but I suppose it could appear that way. Anyways...I'm getting ahead of myself here by at least a year!

Sooo tonight I'm struggling....A LOT with returning to work, although I know it is what I need to do for our family at this time. And I keep reminding myself when she is school age she will attend the school I work at which will be wonderful! BUT that doesn't make this any easier. I knew it would be hard but I didn't think it would be this hard. Giving up control is hard for me....maybe impossible. I can do this (repeat 100 times through the tears)!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zoya's Readoption

Although Zoya has been legally ours for some time now, on August 19th, we readopted her in the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania DOES recognize international adoptions, but not all states do, so if we ever moved to one of those states that doesn't recognize readoption, we'd be in trouble if we didn't "readopt" in the U.S. The main reason we decided to readopt Zoya was to get a US birth certificate (which is a little different than a regular birth certificate...I belive its a birth registration but similar to a birth certificate). Having this document will make life easier.  Prior to Zoya's readoption, I was telling a friend that we have Zoya's "court date" soon. Her young son looked at me and said "Court date?" and I said all nonchalant-like, "Yah she was arrested so we have to go to court." He definitely thought I was serious and looked at me like a deer in headlights!! Hehe.

Anywyays....our attorney, who is a momma to an adopted child herself, was amazing and so helpful during this process. She was so excited to be doing this for us! Can I just say that it was NIGHT AND DAY comparing this court process to Ukraine's court process?! First of all we only had to sign a couple papers. Second, when we walked into the court house the lights were on! Imagine that. AND...ready for this? They SPOKE ENGLISH!  Also, there was no "criminal cage with lock" in the court room.  Okay being sarcastic now. But seriously, everyone inside the court room was similing at Zoya and us the entire time and everyone was so excited for us! This was a huge contrast to the stark looks we got in the Ukrainian court room, not to metion the very very serious faces of all 10 people in the court room. I still remember my heart pounding and sweat dripping down my back (I never sweat!). I remember feeling like I was going to lose my lunch or pass out at any moment.

But this time, it was all happy feelings! It was still a formal process and pretty neat to see since it was the first time I was ever in a US court room! We approached the bench and our attorney asked us some questions about our intentions and ability to care for Zoya (duh...like I said it's a formality at this point). I had some cheerios in my hand to feed her and keep her quiet. However, she decided to try to feed me the cheerios while I was trying to focus and listen to Shawn answer his questions. She started cracking up, which in turn made me laugh, which in turn made her laugh even harder. Every time she tried to feed me a cheerio, whether or not I ate it, she would just giggle! It became one of those times....where you can't stop laughing no matter how hard you try. You know what I'm talking about...remember being a kid and being in trouble with your parents and glancing over at your sibling and you both just bust out laughing at the same time, then you get in trouble for laughing and so you try to stop, but instead you start laughing even harder? Yah it was like that.  I tried to keep it quiet and think I did a pretty good job! She sure is something else! So once our process was over (maybe 5-10 minutest total), the amazing judge let us come up to her seat and sit in her seat and let Zoya hold the gavel. She let us take some pictures with her and she gave a book to Zoya which she signed inside for Zoya's special day! I only have a couple pics from my camera but our attorney took a whole bunch and I will post those when she gives them to me:)

Zoya feeding me cheerios during the very serious proceedings LOL.

Listening to the judge make her ruling :)

Playing judge

Posing with Grandpa who Zoya is calling "Bampa" too cute

Funny photo shoot...she cracks us up!

Zoya's book from the judge

The courthouse

And just for fun and to thank our lucky stars remember the contrast...here is the courthouse in Ukraine!

It was a great day to celebrate and we were reminded just how lucky we are to be Zoya's momma and daddy and to be Americans!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

4 Months Home and Free As a Bird!!

**OOPS, edited since we've been home four months not five.
Today marks FOUR months that Zoya has been home! That is almost half of a year and when I say it like that it sounds so long! Things finally seem to be settling into a nice routine just in time for me to return to work full time! Go figure.  We will find our new routine though and I'm sure there will be some tears (on my part of course) with leaving my precious angel but she is in awesome hands in her own home environment which will be just wonderful for her!

4 months home and Zoya is now starting to have some separation anxiety which is normal and makes me happy because that means she realizes we are her momma and daddy (which she has realized for some time) but I think she is finally understanding exactly what that means. She has started to get confused with transitions of one or both of us leaving or visitors leaving. She is always happy to hug visitors goodbye but does it very quickly then pushes away and reaches out for me with eyes saying "you're staying right?" When she gets upset she seeks out our comfort on a more consistent basis now and just recently she hurt herself and started bawling. How it hurt my heart to see but also made my heart so happy because that is a big deal for a kid who learned to suck up her pain and not cry because she learned nobody would come to comfort her anyways.  Little victories such as this remind me that every day is one day further away from that terrible life she knew for far too long.

4 months home and to me it finally feels like she has ALWAYS been my daughter. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God planned for us to be her parents before she was ever conceived. For some reason, I question--but with increasing peace, is why she had to spend those 22 months without us. Maybe we just weren't ready for each other yet. I will never know, but I will rest in the fact that God knows and this was His perfect plan for our family even if I don't get it. I have a peace that through those 22 months she was NOT alone. Yes in many ways she was alone and never had anyone to physically hold her and touch her and show love to her, but I also have a peace that God was there with her and sent people to her that could take care of her until we got there.  And although it wasn't the ideal situation, she had her basic needs mostly met while she rested in the palm of God's hand waiting for us to get there. Feeling all of this with such peace in my heart makes my WAITING FOR THE EGG TO HATCH dream make even more sense!

So 4 months home, I thought we would mark the day by this special shirt I found for Zoya at old navy:

More to come all about Zoya's readoption ceremony and also how she met her "end of the summer goal" we had set!! I also plan on doing a question and answer post soon as I have a few questions from readers that I've been sitting on for a while! So if there is something you're wondering....ask away!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thank You!

Thank you to my bloggy friends who left amazing uplifting and very supportive comments on the last post....they were just what the doctor ordered.  In fact, some of your comments and emails had me laughing pretty hard! I so love the fact that you all "get it"....this blog and the meaning behind it that is.  I got so many wonderful comments and even several emails from people who've been touched by the blog...people I had no idea were even reading. Thank you for sharing your supportive thoughts with me and taking time to introduce yourself and share a piece of your life with me.  I love hearing from you!  At times when I face criticism on this blog, I wonder why I take the time to blog and sometimes have to feel like I am defending myself and my decisions as a mother and as a person. Originally it was to document our journey to Zoya for ourselves and to share with Zoya when she is older.  I decided to continue blogging after we returned home because I always got annoyed when other bloggers shared their wonderful adoption journey and then dropped off the face of the planet after returning home...I always wondered what it was like and how things were going after they returned home. 

Then at some point my purpose for blogging turned from that to feeling a need to share our journey with others in an effort to encourage others to help orphans with special needs...almost to try to show the rest of the world how amazing and special these kids are when they are given a chance and some love. When we returned home I felt so completely helpless for the other orphans left behind. Such a suffocating feeling to know we were walking away from so many sad faces in such desperate need of love.  God gave me His eyes for just a moment, just as I had begged Him to do...and I feel He allowed me this peak into what must be a daily burden on His heart so that I could share this with others.  God opened my eyes and has asked me to be a witness to others and so my purpose for blogging now has turned to sharing our special angel and showing the world what love and acceptance can do, and to be that witness that God has asked me to be.  I just LOVE when I get an email from a family looking into adoption of a child with down syndrome who has been reading our blog.  I love sharing with and encouraging others who think God is calling them to adopt.  I will never have any idea just how many people our blog has touched, but I sure hope that God continues to use it as a way to speak to hearts of people who are on the fence about adopting.  I'm not pushy and I know adoption isn't for everyone, but I hope that the words written here give people courage and peace to know that this path is a really amazingly beautiful path to choose.  I also believe through this blog eyes will be opened to the pure gift that people with Down Syndrome are to this world. I wish everyone could have an opportunity to know and love a person with down syndrome because this is the best gift we've ever been given.  People with down syndrome, orphans or not, contribute an amazing amount to our world, but if people aren't open to receiving their gift and viewing them as valuable then they sadly miss the opportunity to see the world through the most pure and content eyes in this world.

One of you commented, "A blog that demonstrates that love has no boundaries, no limitations, no restrictions just pure love......" and this made my heart full because this is exactly what I'm trying to convey to explain our love for Zoya, but moreso her love for us, but I have never had these exact and perfect words to describe it. Another comment that really touched me was, "Jesus certainly stepped on many toes and was quite unpopular with some of His decisions" and this was a reminder that I definitely needed tonight.  Sometimes I just try too darn hard to make others happy and avoid conflict....but today I am reminded that even if I step on toes, I need to continue on with my decision, knowing it is right.  And one of my favorite comments was a story about how someone's 5 year old daughter was too scared to get her ears pierced but after reading about how Zoya was so brave, she went and got hers pierced the next day! Love it! So my friends, I will continue to blog trying always to keep my purpose in mind, being honest--sharing the good and the bad--and trying not to let negative Nellys rain on this parade, because it's a damn good parade...and if it rains we will put up our umbrellas shielding ourselves from that rain and continue watching and appreciating the beauty that surrounds us.

Every Blog Has Them

Negative comments that is.  I have been saddened recently by comments left on this blog.  I have also read many negative comments on other blogs and feel saddened that "freedom of speech" can be so hurtful to others.  I understand by making this blog public that I open myself up to what other people think and feel about my life and my decisions.  However, I still can't believe some people feel so free to criticize when they haven't even taken the time to introduce themselves to me publically, in real life, or even just in an email.  Some of those comments I've simply chosen not to publish because I feel they don't deserve my time or energy. I have often thought of making this blog private again, but then God reminds me how many families have stopped by and read this blog and continued on their own journey to adopting a child with special needs.  He reminds me that my words are words that others need to hear, so I refrain from making this blog private in hopes that others will see our beautiful journey and decide to help orphans with special needs in some way. I will however, be more careful about exactly which experiences I share on this blog.

One comment I'd like to comment on, and I have to do so publically since you "Annonymous Becky" didn't leave your email for me to write back is about Zoya getting her ears pierced. Basically the comment said I am contradicting myself by saying all I want is for Zoya to be happy and then I go and inflict pain on her by piercing her ears.  I'm glad I didn't share the post about the recent tattoo I allowed Zoya to get (sarcasm noted). Why does a two year old need pierced ears you ask? Well they don't. It's a personal decision and if it's not your decision thats fine because she is not your daughter (thank goodness). And apparently it didn't bother her that much because as you read she didn't flinch. Not that I have to justify my parenting decisions to someone I don't even know.  But I have a feeling you are a perfect parent, just by your comment I can tell.  The point of this post is not to start a debate on who thinks little kids should get their ears pierced.  And to respond to your comment, "It is HER body you have changed" yes you are correct, I have taken a medically diagnosed malnurished child from a frail weak unhealthy state to a healthy, thriving, HAPPY AS CAN BE little girl. So my advice to you is to go read another blog, because you're obviously missing the point of this one!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Therapy with Groceries!

When we visited Shawn's family at camping Zoya loved playing with all the boxes/cans/bags of food in two rubbermaid containers they had brought. When I saw her doing this I thought what good work for her finger strength and leg and core strength by bending and squating and good problem solving practice. She liked taking the items from one bin and putting them in the other and back and forth. So a week after camping I set up some bins with groceries and BAM and hour of fun and therapy without Zoya even knowing! Zoya is the kind of kid who, if she thinks it is work you might as well forget it! You have to trick her into working for therapy! Here are some pics of our fun grocery therapy!

Two bins filled with groceries of various weights and sizes

Trying to half kneel stand...look at that determined look!

Working on leg and core strength by bending to pick up Mya's toy to throw in the bucket

Taking an inventory....(ps the egg carton is EMPTY)

Moving away from the couch to throw items in

More bending to work on leg strength

Using two hands to pick up items squatting and standing and throwing...love the look on her face!

Picking up one item in each hand!

Not really a good therapy position but I think she is practicing for shotput in summer olympics 2026

Stacking and problem solving

More stacking

Standing from middle of the floor using only ONE HAND to push up!!

So if you're looking for a cheap and fun idea to incorporate OT and PT...working on hand/eye coordination, finger strength, core and leg muscle strength, problem solving, and just good old fun...this is a great idea to try!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pretty Pretty Big Girl Princess...Some Thoughts on My Baby Girl

5 months ago today, on St. Patrick's Day, I could have never imagined what Zoya would be like 5 months later. I could have never imagined she would have learned as much as she has. I could have never imagined her starting to look like a big girl.  When I look back on our "Metcha Day" I just remember a helpless sad little soul who still had some fight left in her.  She couldn't be further from that memory today.  Each day I am starting to see that helpless little baby from March 17th turn into a big girl. Her pudge is leaving her cheeks and her belly a little at a time. She does big kid things like try to snap her fingers and dance with her body to the beat of the music. She is feeding herself. She wants to be so independent and is working so hard to walk as her primary means of movement. She wants to brush her own teeth now (of course I only let her after I've already brushed them good). She is starting to express her opinions on things which has been oh so fun (most of the time the opinion expressed is "I'd rather not be doing what you want me to do right now" but it is an opinion none the less and I treasure that).

In so many ways I can't believe that Zoya is growing up right before my eyes...I expected her progress to be much slower I have to admit. I expected to have more time with her being a "baby." I expected that she would blossom, but not this fast. I can only thank God for all the changes we have seen in such a short period of time. It is beyond amazing to watch her come to life. We had two main goals for Zoya when we adopted her and that was for her to use her God-given talents in this life whatever they may be, and secondly to JUST. BE. HAPPY. She is happy without a doubt. Her God-given talents are beginning to unfold and it is so fun to watch. Like I've said before, when I grow up, I want to be just like her. She gets it...LIFE that is. She knows what is important. She loves with an open heart. She doesn't hold a grudge. She shows her affection a million times a day. Of all these things, I realized today, while we were at the mall, the thing I love the most about Zoya is how she doesn't care what other people think of her. As we were strolling through the mall in and out of stores, different songs would be playing in each store. As we went into every store she would throw her hand up, start trying to snap her fingers, and shake her hips and shoulders with all her might, without a care in the world who was watching. Dance like nobody is watching....check.  Love like you've never been hurt.....check.  You see, one thing I have trouble with in this life is expressing my emotions (gratitude, excitment, thankfulness, sorrow, and so on) in front of others...face to face....or in a place where other people can see me having those emotions.  I would so love to be able to walk into the Gap or Wegmans and just start bustin' a move.  But I can't do that.  But maybe one day, with Zoya by my side, I just might have to do that!

Zoya is content in each moment of the day while the rest of us spend our time waiting for life to begin. We spend time waiting for one chapter to be over and another to begin. Zoya spends her time cherishing and admiring each letter of each word on the page. Wherever she is and whatever she is doing, she is there doing it with all her heart and focused completely on that one moment. What an amazing way to live. I look up to my little girl.

So since she is getting to be such a big girl, at the last minute of our mall trip, I changed direction and took Zoya to get her ears pierced. I was sweating and my heart was pounding because I felt like an awful mother because I knew she'd cry. In fact I was so sure that she would cry and scream that (because I do care what people think of me unfortunately) I paid ahead of time and was ready to bust outta there, run to the parking lot, get her out of the stroller and hold her and apologize while she cried. She. didn't. flinch! She was more upset with the girl trying to put a dot on her ears! Ears pierced, lollipop and a nice calm walk to the car with no tears. In so many ways I see glimpses of Zoya as a big girl....but for now and probably always, I will still think of her as my baby. She indulges me by letting me snuggle with her on the couch, or asking me to rub her belly, or insisting that I pick her up and hold her all day long some days! I am so blessed with my pretty pretty-wanna be big girl-but will still always be my baby-princess!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tear Duct Surgery Part II

Zoya is home and napping after her tear duct surgery this morning.  It went well for the most part. The doctor was 40 minutes late getting back to take her and so by that point the nice "happy juice" they gave her started to wear off.  The surgery took about 25 minutes and then they came back to get us. I could hear Zoya crying as soon as we walked in the door. For about 30 minutes or so she was unconsolable which they say is a common reaction in children when coming out of the anesthesia. She wasn't just sad, she was MAD. She wanted the IV out and she wanted it out like yesterday. When I tried to put her shirt back on she hit me! Little stinker...she has NEVER done that before! I guess we will keep all this in mind when she turns 21 if she would ever like to consume "happy juice" LOL. Anyways...here are some pictures to show you our cute little patient (although I did not take any after the surgery...she was too upset and so was I). Man I don't know how some of you mommas do this when it comes to big surgeries!!

On our way...I had to wake Zoya up and she didn't want to get up! Then she was wide awake and dancing, then she got sleepy again!

Just reading the paper while she waits!

Playing in her too big hospital gown.

She started eating up all the attention and laid down and rubbed her belly (this is what she does when she wants ME to rub her belly either when she is sad or sleepy).

New fashion trend?

About 10 minutes after the "happy juice."
Thanks for your prayers...glad it is over and hoping she is back to her normal happy self very soon!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tear Duct Surgery Tomorrow

Please say a quick prayer that Zoya does well for her tear duct blockage procedure tomorrow! It is a quick procedure but I am one nervous momma....this will be her first time undergoing anesthesia since her heart surgery! It is tomorrow morning at 8am. Thanks!

An Awesome Visit

Yesterday Lyla's Family came to meet our family! This is the family that was in the article that I posted HERE. We were so excited for an opportunity to meet this beautiful family and share our hearts with them. It is so nice to spend time with another family who has similar hearts and passions for orphans. The Spitz family is amazing! They work together so well and are one of the most kind and happy families I have ever met! I hope we can raise Zoya to be as compassionate and caring as the "big kids" in the Spitz family. I know their blog name is "Lucky to Love Lyla" and really they are so lucky, and I'm so excited for the blessing they are soon to receive, but even more I am so thrilled to think that Lyla will be joining such an amazing family! I have a feeling that she will experience love she never could have imagined! Lyla's momma is so excited just to meet her and hold her and pour all of her love into her! I have no doubt Lyla will never look back!

Zoya really liked Dave and went straight to him when he got out of the van like she had known him forever! (If you check out their blog that I linked above you can see a picture of that). I figured Zoya would go right for the boys since she likes boys so much, but to my surpise she attack hugged Sara! (about 15 times). Sweet Sara just smiled and hugged back while trying not to fall over because Zoya was hugging her so hard. This is why we call Zoya "everyone's not so favorite great-aunt" because she attacks with hugs and kisses and doesn't moderate her strength of hugs or kisses based on the other person's size!! Zoya also really enjoyed Sara's pigtails and might have pulled them once or twice...oops. The kids played outside and splashed around in the water table. Zoya had fun splashing like a maniac and watching Sara run away. Zoya kept signing "more." LOL. And Owen, what a blessing! He melted our hearts...I especially loved the fact that he kept calling our dog Mya "Sandy" because he thought she was the dog from the movie Annie!! One time, he said to Mya, "c'mere honey." Too sweet! And the older three Spitz kids....just amazing! Summer and Dave should be so proud because those kids have such big hearts and I so can't wait to see how they pour their love into Lyla too!

We had a cook out and enjoyed eachother's company and some good food! Summer and I both meant to take a million pictures, but we were so busy with the kids and talking with eachother that we only got a few. Good thing the few we got are GREAT!

We celebrated with an ice cream cake!! Can't wait to meet Lyla!
(P.S. Here is the conversation at Dairy Queen:
DQ worker: "What color writing would you like?"
 ME: "How about purple?"
They hand me this cake and I say, "Looks great!" LOL)

At one point Summer and I were chatting and Shawn walks out of the house and says, "Sarah do you see your daughter?" I started cracking up when I saw this:
Yes, we've been working on eating with a fork instead of our hands and Zoya is such a well behaved girl that when she finished eating the pieces I had cut up, she went straight for the other half of the burger....the half that wasn't cut up....and yes she used her fork to pick it up. Too bad it was too big to fit in her mouth. She eventually figured it out and took bites off of it like a caveman!

And can I just say, we had a blast trying to get this picture!! Dave figured out how to use the timer on my camera and we got all set up, Shawn hit the button and ran over to join the picture. I laughed when I saw it and I think it looks like a family reunion picture or something!! It is precious!

It was a breath of fresh air to spend time with this great family! It reminds me that there are many others fighting to make a difference for a child who much of society has written off as damaged and broken and worthless.  There are families who cherish and value orphans in distress!  There are families who sacrifice to follow God's calling no matter the cost! There are families that put others before themselves and work as a team to make a difference! The Spitz family is one of these families!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Busy Weekend

Friday Shawn and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. My brother came into town to babysit so we could go out to dinner and a movie! Thanks Bub! While at dinner we talked about how small little choices or happenings in life can sometimes take our lives on a turn we didn't imagine. The night Shawn and I met we were at a concert. I didn't want to go out that night but my roommate insisted and bugged me until I caved and finally gave up and went along with her. What if I never would have gone? Would Shawn and I have met in some other place and some other time? What ifs can go on forever....the obvious what if was what if we never met...surely we would not have Zoya? When we get to thinking about all the what ifs we are reminded that God is in control of the bigger picture and he is driving the bus....not us! He knows whats best even when we can't wrap our minds around why things happen the way they do.  He puts us in specific places at specific times....some of those small places and times turn into life changing events!

So thankful for this man, my husband!

On Saturday we visited Shawn's family who was camping for the weekend. Zoya's first camping day was filled with lots of fun, dirt, eating rocks, visiting grandparents, aunts and uncles, and getting to know her cousin Mattea up close and personal!

Zoya found some time to do some PT!

Loving the long grass

Zoya loves her cousin Mattea. She was wanting to give her famous "great aunt" hugs and kisses but we had to show her how to be gentle with a baby!

Chillin' with her new hat from Grandma and Grandpa

Finding Grandpa's nose....lately Zoya has to touch everyone's noses! Oh and she always steals his hat.

Inside her ladybug tent with Grandpa

Grandma is very popular with the girls!

Trying to get a picture of the 2 grandkids at Grandma's request...this proved pretty funny!

Family Photo Attempt?

My lovey girl couldn't stop hugging to pose for the picture...that's okay I like this one better!

Are you seeing a theme here with requested posed photos? :) Grandma and Grandpa with the two grandkids....Take 1

Take 2...

A break for a kiss....

Take 4?

Take 5. This might be the winner!

Lookin' cool in her shades with Daddy

And when we got home Saturday night Zoya was pretty tuckered out. She even snuggled with Uncle Bub while watching signing times.  She does NOT just snuggle with anyone! She loves her Bub and so do we!

Zoya is still wiped out from the busy weekend!! She has been sleeping longer and took over a 3 hour nap yesterday and was still ready to go to bed earlier than usual last night. As I type this she is laying on the couch next to me watching Clifford (not something we usually see from Zoya!) Every time we have a busy couple of days Zoya takes about 3-5 days to recover! I have to remember that she has only been home less than 4 months and she is still getting used to being on the go after spending many of her days laying in a bed!  I try to compare it to how I would feel if I were laid up in a hospital for a year or two....every day would be exhausting. Sheesh I remember how I used to feel going back to work after lounging around all summer....completely exhausted! This year will be different, I'll still be completely exhausted but not because I lounged around all summer.  Anyways....we're hoping for some restful days for August but that doesn't look likely! The business continues!