Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Funny Girl

True Story:

Tonight after Zoya was watching her usual signing times before bed, I was carrying her upstairs. I yelled to Shawn, "Hey can you put her milk in the fridge?" No response. So I stopped and said, "It's on the couch." Still nothing. So I loudly say, "HELLOOOO??" He answers "Yaahhh". And then my sweet girl signs, "PAY ATTENTION." LOL I love this girl!

(These pictures were taken a week I look out my window now the snow is coming down like crazy and it's frigid....and my friend Shelly in Texas tells me it will be 80 there tomorrow...I can't even remember what it feels like to be warm!).

P.S. Those of you who've following for a while will remember SASHA. He was one of the kids in Zoya's groupa who we just fell in love with. He had a family at the time and then lost his family. Well friends, right now his family is on the overnight train in Eastern Europe on their way to meet him in a few short hours. They are also adopting Ana who I talked about in THIS POST (at the time we thought she was a boy). God is good and I am so happy to see those two children so close to meeting their forever families!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Carrington's Challenge

Please hop over HERE and take Carrington's Challenge!! Repost on your blogs and facebook!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keepin' It Real

This is one of those weeks I'd like to file under "SHRED." Oiy! It's one of those weeks where so many things go wrong that it's hard to focus on any one good thing. It's been one of those weeks where I feel like a failure at work and at home. I don't know where to start with this vent other than to say having $2,200 stolen out of your checking account from someone in London to buy a Rolex watch, deciding to find a new church family, having a sick child who only wants to be held and if she's not she's crying and by crying i mean screaming like someone put spikes in her seat (as my hubby says), being sick myself, feeling spread thinner than a pancake between work and home, sitting next to a dog who hasn't had a bath in God knows how long, and having a migraine the size of Texas....wwwaaaaahhhhhh!

The stolen money thing...just makes me plain angry. We work hard for our money and some jerk just thinks it's totally fine to buy a luxurious item with someone else's money.

The new church family thing....well I'm not going to say much other than lots of hurt in that area.

Sick child....first antibiotic for a throat infection and trying to figure out what the heck is going on with her is just exhausting. Days like today remind me that my child spent her first almost two years in an orphanage alone and it will take time for her to develop emotionally. Every so often (almost always when she is sick, teething, or just had vaccines) Zoya picks something to be terrified of....something she has done a million times before with no issues.....once it was one of her previous favorite videos that she decided to be terrified of, once it was napping in her crib, once it was wearing her therapeutic listening headphones, and now it is sitting at the kitchen table to eat. I. HAVE. NO. IDEA! My theory is that she is NOT being manipulative, although I used to think that right up until an hour ago actually. All I can think is when she is sick she is reminded of being sick for so long with nobody to love her. I don't think she has actual flashbacks or memories of what happened, but I do think there is some chemical stress response in her body due to her lack of bonding with a parent for almost two years and it is triggered when she is sick because her brain learned to make that connection during her "alone years"...sick and alone equals terrified so sick (even though she isn't alone) is enough to trigger the same terrified emotions.  I know kids are not fun when they are sick, but with Zoya it is different. It is like she is terrified and needs to be held and reassured that she will not be left alone. It is so sad to see. She seriously looks scared to death. I'm trying to learn how to be a better parent to Zoya...finding the balance between love and discipline and figuring out how to help her without going overboard and spoiling her rotton because I feel so guilty about her first two years alone. It is NOT easy, I'm not gonna lie. In fact at one point tonight poor Shawn had to deal with both me AND Zoya crying. 98% of the time Zoya is the happiest kid on the planet, but when she goes through these phases it is just plain difficult. I start to question myself on every decision I make and wonder what I could/should be doing differently for her. I focus on just this and not all of the amazing things she has done in the past 10 months....her test scores alone jumped on average 21 months in development in 10 short months. But on days like today none of that is enough to make me feel like I'm not a huge failure.

The being sick myself thing is not a huge deal except on top of everything else it just makes me feel even poopier.

Feeling spread thin between work and home will be a never ending working mom battle I will always have to deal with as long as I'm working. It's just not an easy thing. The guilt of feeling like I'm doing a half-as*ed job at everything is incredible.

And my dog smells bad but that is the least of my worries LOL!

The migraine will eventually go away even if it's not until summer vacation....but still.....

So this is me keeping it real so you don't all look at my incredibly adorable happy pictures and think life is always easy and happy....nope...not by a long shot....days like today have a purpose of helping me to be more thankful for all the good days. And now I'm going to suck it up and stop whining and wait for your encouraging comments :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!! 3-21-2011

from a chic with designer genes.....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Visit with Belle!

On Saturday we got to meet SWEET BELLE!!! What a precious little love bug. This girl can give some serious snuggles! She is certainly making up for lost time. I've never met a child who likes to cuddle as much as Belle. She wraps her arms around your neck and hugs with all 19 pounds of her little self! What a precious little girl! And what a lucky family to get all those snuggles every day!

Summer and her family had visited us this past summer when Zoya was newly home. At that time her daughter Sara (who is a month younger than Zoya) was bigger than Zoya is bigger than hard to believe!

We had a girls day visit this time (until Shawn came home from work at the very end) and we had so much fun! Summer and I cracked up when the pizza guy showed up with my 20 oz. diet coke along with the pizza. I guess I clicked the wrong button online and ordered us a 20 oz. coke to share instead of a 2 liter. OH well!  We were so busy I totally forgot about the cake I made that was in the refrigerator! At one point I think all three girls were crying and Zoya and Sara were in a crying match to see who could cry louder. But overall they had a blast:) Zoya did get a little jealous when I was holding Belle and then later when Daddy was holding was cute to see her jealous haha. It was awesome to share some time with Summer. It is great when you meet someone you feel so comfortable around and share so many thoughts with. It feels like we've known each other forever and our hearts for adoption are identical!

Now onto the was difficult to say the least! But here ya go!

(ummmmm I don't even know? I think they were arguing over the wipes HA, don't worry Zoya didn't follow through with that arm!)

(yuum what kind of shampoo do you use Zoya? the puppy dog kisses!)

Belle saved all her flirty smiles for Shawn! She just loved him! Can't blame her:)

(What's personal space mom?)

And I'm hoping Summer's picture of all of us turned out better than mine! Then I can snag it and add it to this post! What a blast!

Carrington's BLOG

I started a new blog for Carrington's updates. You can go to and I will be putting her updates there as I talk with Shelly. The Burmans are so very thankful for all the prayers and support!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Carrington Update NEW

Thank you to all of you who are praying so hard for Carrington! This little angel is stirring hearts big time! God has big plans for this child.  Some of you have been asking for updates and the only update I have is that Shelly has been able to sneak home for the first time as her and Brian traded off between home and hospital. After not being able to keep down 10 ccs/hour, the doctors tried to take Carrington's feeds down to 5 ccs/hour and it was not successful. Poor Carrington was just not able to keep even that small amount down. Her body just has no idea what to do with the foreign substance :( The doctors are going to move the NG tube directly into her intestines and bi-pass the stomach in hopes that her body will be able to absorb some of the nutrition and not continue throwing it all right back up. Shelly really feels Carrington is in great hands at the hospital they are at.  I'm hoping to get a room number from Shelly so you can send a card or note of encouragement if you'd like.

What Can I Do? (And the post of CAPITAL LETTERS)

I'd like to address a question that was asked under comments on the last post.  It is a great question and I hope I can point you in the right direction.

Q: "If we are unable to adopt at this time, what can we do? I ask this honestly, wanting to know what someone who can't adopt might be able to do to help this situation."

A: I understand not everyone is called to adopt. I totally do. Although I do think many people are called but come up with every excuse not to answer the call (I can say this because I did it myself....I thought of every good reason we could not/should not to adopt....but in the end God won...and thanks to his persistence, so did we). Obviously it's not up to me to decide who is or is not called to adopt and I don't want to come off sounding like I think everyone should adopt, because I certainly don't. I do think more Christians who ARE able AND called should step up. With that being said, if you do not feel called to adopt or are not in a position to adopt or have gotten a "wait" answer from God, there are CERTAINLY things you can do to help the orphan crisis.

1. The biggest way to help is to PRAY. Choose an orphan and pray every day for the safety and health of that child and that he/she would find a family SOON. If you don't know where to start, look HERE
2. ADVOCATE. Use your blog or facebook or email or word of mouth to let others know of children in need and of the orphan crisis in general. Share stories you've read on blogs. Share Carrington's story with others. You never know when you're planting a seed that will grow inside someone else. Every conversation you have has the ability to plant a seed in others and maybe through your word of mouth you will be the reason another family decides to adopt.

3. SUPPORT other families who CAN and ARE adopting. You can do this through prayer and through financial donations. You can SPONSOR ANY FAMILY IN THE PROCESS OF ADOPTING or you can CHOOSE TO DONATE TO A CHILD WHO IS STILL IN NEED OF A FAMILY. These donations are tax deductible. It can be any amount, every penny counts.

My goal of the last post, in addition to asking for prayers for the Burmans, was to get others fired up...yes for orphans, but also to find their passion, for ANYTHING. There are so many good causes in this world. Orphans happen to be my passion. I understand not everyone shares that passion or feels as convicted as I do to help orphans. But find your passion, your CAUSE, your WAY TO HELP others who need it in this world.....and do something to make a difference. When I said, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? My hope was to empower you and feel moved to look outside the comfort of your own life and move your heart from the safe and comfortable life many of us live to a life of complete surrender and service. I still need to take my own advice on this one many days.

Carrington Update

Thank you to everyone for all the prayers that are going up for Carrington. Many have asked if the family has a blog and no they do not have a public blog and are not even able to update their private blog at this point. Carrington is fighting a tough battle as you can imagine. The doctors here said her body was preparing to die and has been slowly dying. Her low heart rate is proof of that. The fact that she can't even keep 10 cc's/hour down through a tube in her nose because her body has no idea what to do with food is proof of that. The doctors have told the family that Carrington is only alive by the grace of God. They cannot believe she held on this long...that poor sweet angel. Carrington obviously needs your prayers, but so does the entire Burman family. Shelly went straight to the hospital with Carrington immediately after their flight got in and will be taking a quick trip home today for the first time.  The Burmans have 6 other children at home, including their other newly adopted daughter.  Shelly is exhausted and seeking strength from the Lord as you can imagine. I can't even begin to fathom seeing my own child in the condition her sweet Carrington is in. Many of you are wondering how you can help and at this point Shelly is asking for prayers, and lots of them. Here are some specific prayer requests after talking with Shelly:

1. That the medical team working with Carrington will make all the right decisions regarding a plan of action.
2. That Carrington's body will learn how to accept food and slowly gain the much needed weight so she can undergo surgeries for gastrointestinal issues in the future.
3. That God would heal Carrington's malnutrition and the effects it has caused on her body.
4. That Carrington would feel a sense of peace that surpasses all understanding during this extremely scary time for her.
5. That the Burmans would continue having the strength they need to balance living between the hospital with Carrington and home with their other 6 children during this time.
6. That the Lord would use Carrington's story to bring glory to His name and allow others to witness God's amazing grace and powers of redemption.
7. That God would begin at this moment to heal the Burmans' hearts from all that they experienced and all that they are trying to process.

Praise God that the Burman's listened to the call to action on behalf of Carrington's life.  They almost didn't. BUT THEY DID. They had no idea how fragile this little girl was.  They had no idea just how much she needed them at this exact moment in time.  But God knew.

Sometimes it seems we just can't understand why things like this happen. There is no good reason. This was never a part of God's master plan. We are living in a fallen world and sometimes the heartache we see as a result of that is more than we as humans can even fathom. We want to respond with anger and frustration and sadness. My prayer is that Carrington's story will lead others to stand up and make a difference.We can't continue to sit back in our comfortable lives and pretend we don't know what is happening. There are children who are living in their very own hell on earth right now. There are children slowly dying in orphanages and institutions across the world as you sit here reading this right now. As easy as it is to sit here and feel defeated after hearing about Carrington's condition, don't let it defeat you....let it speak to you until your world is rocked and until your heart is broken and until you have tears streaming down your face and until you are moved to take action. Let Carrington's suffering not be in vein.

What are you going to do?

Friday, March 18, 2011

URGENT, Please Pray for Carrington!

Meet Carrington
My friend Shelly just returned to the US with her two newly adopted daughters last night. Her daughter Carrington is 3 years old and ELEVEN POUNDS and in absolutely awful shape. I am crying thinking about this precious angel right now. The sight of her condition was enough to bring grown men (hospital staff) to their knees in tears.  If this doesn't make you want to jump up and scream and shout and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE ORPHAN CRISIS, then nothing will. You can imagine Shelly's pure horror when she took her daughter out of the orphanage and saw her without all the layers of clothing for the first time. This is what she saw:

OH MY DEAR LORD why? How? How is this allowed to happen today?  This poor child, neglected and dying for so long.  Can you imagine the horrific pain, loneliness and suffering this poor soul has endured?  I can't even begin to imagine.  Thank God he led the Burmans to this sweet girl.  Thank God she is now getting the medical assistance she so desperately needs.  She literally would have died if she had spent another day in that orphanage. She is very malnourished and struggling right now. It is a miracle this angel even survived the flight home.  Please pray for this sweet girl and her family and the long road to recovery.  Shelly asks for specific prayers for her health situation and that her frail, weak body will be responsive to the medical interventions she is receiving.  How many more children are in this same exact condition at this moment? I'm afraid the answer is more than I can handle. My heart breaks tonight for Carrington and for so many other BABIES.....these children are BABIES people! Praise God for rescuing Carrington and pray that he will bring others to rescue more children so they do not have to suffer in this way.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy First Metcha Day!

Dear Sweet Zoya,

I cannot believe it has been 365 days since the day we first held you, touched you, rocked you, loved on you, and fell silent at the sight of your beautiful blue eyes. To me, this day is like your birthday. The day you were placed in my arms as my daughter is easily the most life-changing moment I've ever experienced. I remember looking into your gentle eyes. You were so meek and mild and cautious, yet full of curiosity and hope. You stared at our faces, just studying us and knowing in your heart you were finally in the arms of your mommy and daddy, safe forever. I know God prepared your heart for us. It was a magical meeting with the sun beaming through the windows and dancing across our shoulders. We had waited so long to feel your soft skin and see your chubby little fingers. We dreamed of you so many nights.  Your Daddy and I were so full of nervous excitement, peace, relief, love beyond all love, and amazement. A year later I am still in awe when I look at your angelic face. You have blossomed from a meek and mild, reserved and fragile baby to a sassy little firecracker who can melt even the most frozen hearts.  You have a gift of working your charming little self into the hearts and souls of all those whose paths you cross. You are teaching so many how to love and live, accept, and forgive. You and I have a bond that is unbreakable. I would go to the ends of the earth for you. You gave me the greatest gift of becoming a mommy....and not just any mommy, but your mommy. You are such a blessing my sweet Zoya-girl! Here's to many more Metcha Days. I can hardly imagine you a year from now, but then again a year ago I would have fallen over in disbelief if I could have seen the child you would be at this moment in time. Love, love, love!


You can read about our first meeting HERE.

To bathe in the pure joy that wind is through your hair

Guiding us on this journey of life

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Zoya's Hats

I don't know if wearing a hat is ingrained in Zoya from being raised by Ukrainian babushka's her first couple years of life or what! But this girl LOVES her hats!!! And it is most certainly perfectly fine with Zoya to wear two hats (seriously in Ukraine they did this!) and at home Zoya puts two hats on her head! It is also pretty cool to wear no pants when you're wearing a hat :)

(She was too busy watching Signing Time here to look at me! And she sat like this for a while...with both hats that she put on her head!)

I can't believe it was 364 days since we met this angel! Still trying to put my blubbering thoughts into a coherent post for our one year METCHA-VERSARY tomorrow!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Year Ago Today We Landed in Ukraine!

It is unbelievable to think that it was an AN ENTIRE YEAR AGO TODAY that we landed in Ukraine for the first time! I remember that first night so well because I have never been so terrified in my life! I remember thinking "What the hell are we doing here? What have we done? This is all a huge mistake. How did we ever think this was a good idea? When does the next flight back to the US leave?" It was the first and only time during the entire adoption process that I thought maybe we had made a big mistake. I asked Shawn if he too wondered what the heck we were doing in Ukraine about to meet a child who was supposed to be our daughter whom we knew nothing about.  I don't know if it made me feel better or worse when he told me he was feeling the same way. We were in a foreign land, not knowing anyone, not knowing the language, 5,000 miles from family and friends, exhausted from a 23 hour journey, and facing a long road ahead of us. Satan was having a field day. So I remember emailing a few friends from home just asking them to pray for us and for our hearts and for God to bring us an overwhelming feeling of peace. I had never prayed so hard in my entire life.....and then....I had never had such a feeling of complete peace in my life! It was a terrifying hour followed by the most real visit from God.  It was the beginning of the biggest roller coaster ride we've ever taken. I wish I could have told my terrified self how exactly a year later I'd be spending the day with that child we knew nothing about...that child who has become my entire existance...I wish I could have shown myself a glimpse into this beautiful life, but because I was unable, God gave me a peace that surpassed all human understanding. We are blessed!

More Things I Love About Zoya

1. How she loves "lipstick." She loves putting chapstick all over her lips and chin and cheeks! She uses crayons or nail polish bottles and pretends they are lipstick!

2. The tight hugs she has been giving out of nowhere for no reason other than to say I love you.

3. How she hides things and signs "where" with a big smile.

4. Her loud giggle when she tastes something new and delicious.

5. She gets way too excited when her new favorite show "Sid The Science Kid" (which happens to be her first favorite cartoon show) comes on....and how she asks to watch Sid by saying "ssssssss."

6. How she loves bopping around the house in underwear and a hat.

7. The only place Zoya will poop is in her crib and then she signs "stinky" when she is done.

8. How much she loves her doggy Mya.

9. The way her entire body tenses up with excitement and glee when the wind blows across her face...every single time!

10. How she creates her own signs for people she loves.

11. Her special smile she gives only to me and nobody else.

12. Every single time I'm on the phone Zoya HAS to be in my arms NO MATTER WHAT!

13. When she puts herself in time out for no reason and fake cries.

14. When she peers out the window with excitement watching the snowplows do their thing.

15. How she insists on clearing the table after dinner, putting all the dishes in the sink, trash in the garbage can, and the food back in the refrigerator.

16. The pride she takes in scooping Mya's food into her dish and then placing Mya's dish on her mat.

17. She insists on putting things "away" in the right place, laundry in the hamper, dishes in the sink (and sometimes clothes end up there too oops), and her dishes in her drawer (even if there is still food in them).

18. How I always have to tell her only to flush the toilet ONCE, or else she'd stand there all day.

19. The fact that everything has to be closed....doors, cupboards, curtains, straw cups, containers with lids...

20. The squeal she lets out when the 5 o'clock news chimes play on the TV.

21. The silly sound she makes every time we go into a public restroom because she can hear her voice echo!

These are the things I want to remember in 50 years :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I just LOVE when I meet people who share the same heart for adoption! ERICA is a mama to two adorable children through the miracle of adoption. We initially met at church briefly and then found one another on the wonderful blogosphere! Her heart is beautiful and her desire to be an advocate for adoption is admirable. She recently hosted a series of posts on her blog called "Awakening" about women in the process or who have already adopted. She asked me to share our story as part of this series and I was more than excited about the opportunity.

So, hop on over to The Zerkles Blog and check out my post along with all of Erica's posts about her beautiful family!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Preschool Visit

Oh my! Since I'm off work until Monday the early intervention coordinator thought it would be good to try to schedule Zoya's visit when I'm not working so we could take our with 2 days notice we scheduled a visit for today. I'm glad I only had 2 days to get worked up about it!!! I woke up around 6:30 and then fell back to sleep and had a dream about her visit.  In my dream, I dropped her off but I was watching through the windows. She was so much smaller than all the other a quarter of their size and they were all running so fast and one girl was pulling her along.  She seemed to like it ok, so I left for a little bit and then came back and nobody could find her.  I panicked before finding her folded up in a folding auditorium chair and nobody even noticed!!!!!  Think I was nervous about today's visit and the whole preschool thing? UHHH I'd say so!

Zoya squealed with joy when we pulled into the school parking lot (she likes it there because that's where I work and she has fun visiting me there at the end of the day).  She walked down the hall like she had been doing it for years and turned into the area where my classroom is. She realized we weren't going to my classroom and whined a little but eventually walked into the preschool classroom.  Zoya did very well and even sat on the carpet with the kids for a short time before moving her seat next to this one little boy she really liked! Then she decided to lay down on the floor and kiss his feet.... LOL!!! but ummm she's not even 3 yet and most of those kids are 4 and 5 by this time in the year! (It is a 3, 4, and 5 year old mixed age class). The director and special ed. coordinator thought she was doing great for her first visit.  She was very curious and seemed to like being there but I think she was confused as to why we were there. She found a green crayon and pretended it was lipstick (her new favorite thing to do).  She had a little juice with the kids and wanted to put her chair next to her new little boy friend for snack time. The kids were very kind to her and giggled at her antics! It was nice to see her parallel playing with some of the kids. I really think this is a good place for her and she will learn lots! All of the "people in charge" seem really caring and flexible and want what is best for Zoya.  I am enjoying this while it lasts because I know once she is school age things will likely not work so pleasantly!  The special ed. coordinator asked if we believed her birth date was when Ukraine told us because she thought she seemed taller and older than she is LOL. She definitely is tall and is in the 90th percentile for height (on the DS charts) but we are very certain that her age is accurate! And she was only a little smaller than the other kids....not a quarter their size like in my dream! LOL. She will go two days a month over the summer to get acquainted and to get her therapies and then at the end of August she will start MWF from 9-12. It is so nice that they are preparing for her so far in advance! So nice because I know a lot of thought will be put into her IEP and because it will give me time to process that my baby will be going to preschool!!! Oh man I can't even imagine kindergarten!!! I admit before I was a mom, I used to think, paaahhhh-leeeezzze people, cut the cord already and stop worrying so much.....ahhh those were the easy days!

Zoya has singed "school" about 10 times since we got home from the visit! I think she liked it :) But of course if you ask Zoya if she liked school she says "no" (no is the phrase of the moment with Zoya) then signs "school" a minute later! LOL. Oh is my baby really three months away from turning 3???? She has overcome so much already and has such a bright future ahead! Now if I can just step back and worry less we will both be ready for preschool :)

Monday, March 7, 2011


Since I'm recovering from hand surgery, I've been off work. It is nice to spend some extra time with Zoya even if it does take me ten minutes to do things with my left hand like open a can of olives for her! We've been doing fun things like learning colors and potty training! I learned that Zoya loves The Price is Right....this is what she thought when this contestant won $25,000! Ha, love this girl!

Thanks to Uncle Bub who came up this weekend and took care of us while Daddy worked! He makes a pretty great turkey meatloaf!  Zoya is so funny with Bub lately...every time he comes she acts SHY! This girl is NOT shy! She acts like she has a crush on him...way too funny!

Daddy also cooked last week and Zoya helped by cleaning up :) This girl loves to put things away!

Cleaning the counters :)

Friday, March 4, 2011


I've been MIA as I'm recovering from right hand surgery...using only my left hand to type takes a LONG time!! But I thought I'd share these cute videos with you! Zoya's new favorite game is to hide and have us find her or for us to hide and she tries to find us! She could do this all day long! I love how she calls her Dada over and over and gets so excited with this game!!! You can see Zoya's love for her Dada! Every time I hear her say Dada I am reminded how good God is to have given these two each other!