Friday, April 22, 2011


Wow, it's pretty crazy to think that a year ago at this very moment we were boarding the last flight of our journey home. I'm pretty sure at that point my body was running solely on adrenaline at that point of our exhausting journey.  I had been so stressed that we wouldn't make it home because of the stupid volcano. We were so lucky to be the first flight out of Ukraine in over a week. If it would have been cancelled we would have been in Ukraine at least another two weeks because that's how backed up flights were. I remember walking through the gates to our family and friends welcoming us home. I remember just breaking down and crying the ugly cry because the journey had finally come to and end! Little did I know the journey was just beginning :)

This past year has been the most life changing year I've lived yet. I've been looking back at the past a lot lately. I've viewed my 16-year old self, and my 18-year old self, and my crazy college self, and myself on my wedding day, and I kept picturing this me telling that me that I'd be adopting a child with Down Syndrome from Ukraine years later and she'd change my whole world. The 16-year old me just laughs at that thought, and even the 18 year old me. The college me would have said maybe but probably not me, and the married me would have said maybe some day in the far future after I achieve all my life goals. I guess my heart changed slowly over the years allowing me to happily accept and embrace and be ever so grateful for the future God chose for me. But the old "mes" would have never been able to picture this crazy beautiful life. It makes me excited to think about what the future holds because I sit here today comfortable with my life and wondering if/how my heart will change in the future to embrace God's plan, even though it may not be my plan right now. I've always wished we could be grated one time in life to see a glimpse of our future...because I'm a planner and I like to be in control and I prefer not to be surprised but where would the fun be in that?

A year ago today we landed in the United States with our precious cargo...our daughter we barely knew, but our daughter who God knew was ours long before she was ever born. I still can't fathom that. I still have a hard time understanding that God knew all along we would be Zoya's mama and daddy. We weren't Plan B.....he KNEW...we were always Plan A. Looking back to this day a year ago I am filled with emotions I can't quite explain.  Holding Zoya and walking through the gates to our family and friends and being able to physically see the support and love that surrounded us is my favorite life memory this far.  It was the moment I felt most connected to others and to God.  It was the one moment in life I could clearly feel God carrying me across the finish line.  It was the moment I experienced God's love in a way I'd never known.  It was the moment I would choose to relive over and over again if I could pick one moment.

This little girl has rocked my world in so many ways and I will never be the same. This past year has had me experience every emotion imaginable. Happiness, guilt, worry, excitement, joy, frustration, sadness, anger, wonder, and above all else, a love I never could have imagined existed. Every morning that I wake up I thank God for giving us Zoya. My love for Zoya stretches so far, so high, so deep, and so wide that it would cover the Earth over millions of times. In many ways it seems so wild and unreal that it has already been a year, but in the same breath, somehow God prepared me my whole life to be Zoya's mama and it feels like I was born with Zoya already in my heart.

I love you Buggy Bear, Happy ONE YEAR Home!!

We celebrated by having some gluten free pizza and getting lots of extra hugs and kisses today!

"Ummm oops, it wasn't supposed to end up all over my face like this?"

*The video at the top of the blog shows our adoption process through our "landing in the US" day. I'm working on another one for Zoya's first year home but I have a billion pictures and it's taking a while :)

Thank you to all of our friends and family who have given their unconditional love and support over the past year. Thanks to all of you blog readers for your comments and support, I have been so lucky to really get to know many of you through emails and some in real life :) It's been awesome to share our journey with so many others and I can't wait to continue sharing more with all of you!


  1. Thank you for the privilege of sharing in your journey as an observer. You have opened my eyes to the needs of children I really knew so little about. I will always be grateful to you for that and I feel so blessed to know you and Shawn and Zoya. My life is definitely richer for that.

  2. So wonderful! How exciting! I can't wait to see what God has in store for my husband and I relating to orphans. He has placed them on my heart so much! It is so encouraging reading stories of others who have adopted and been totally blessed by those adoptions. I understand also though that there are struggles as well. May God continue to bless your family!

  3. Sweet Zoya! Can't believe it's been a year! Can't believe I'll get to say that about my girl one day. And I'm so thankful for you and your inspiration!

    Brooke Annessa

  4. felicidades!! cant believe is already a year! i remember making the button for you! it feels like it was just a week ago ;)

    im thankfull for your life! for sharing it with us, and because through words, videos and photos we have been able to see how love can change a person. sweet Zoya has changed a lot ! is blossom in a beautiful family! :)

    hugs from your Mexican friends :D

  5. I so agree with Kathy. Thanks for allowing us to continue on this journey with you. You will always forever be a part of our family.

    woohoo! One year anniversary, so happy for you all.


  6. One whole year has gone by but a lifetime of changes has happened in this sweet girl's life thanks to a Mommy and a Daddy who love her. Congratulations to our friends with whom we share this special date only it is our gotcha date:)

  7. My partner and I really enjoyed reading this blog post, I was just itching to know do you trade featured posts? I am always trying to find someone to make trades with and merely thought I would ask.