Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hello From Mila

Mila says sorry it's been so long since she's made an appearance. She and her sister have been keeping mama very busy these days!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Prayers for Maclayne

If you've been following this blog for a long time you might remember a little girl, then named Leeza, that I posted about while we were visiting Zoya in the orphanage. This girl grabbed my heart and held on tight. You can read my posts about her HERE. This little girl is certainly a fighter!! Thankfully her mama and daddy found her and brought her home :)

Today she is undergoing very very high risk open heart surgery. Due to her age and the severity of her heart condition, the procedure is considered extremely high risk. If you read this at any point today, or even in the next few days, please stop to pray for her and her family. She is expected to be in the hospital at least two weeks following the surgery today.

Thank you friends!

**I just found out that her surgery has been pushed back 6 months. The pre-op studies showed that it would be difficult for her to be under anesthesia for 8-hours.   They are hoping that the medication they put her on for the next 6 months will improve her bloodflow and that this will also give her more time to gain weight. That means we have 6 more months to pray!!!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Many of you have already heard LYLA'S story. If you haven't, you might need some tissues before you read about her. I had a special connection to Lyla, as I had prayed so hard for her to find a family when I saw her listed on Reece's Rainbow.  I didn't know why but she stood out to me among many other children listed (if I only knew then what I know now!!!!)  I emailed my friend Christina in Switzerland (we became friends through this blog!). I knew Christina would have a special interest in this little muffin because Lyla was born with a missing hand, similar to Christina's daughter.  Christina became Lyla's prayer warrior across the miles and prayed her heart out.  She got her own family involved, even printing Lyla's picture and keeping it in a special place in their home so they would remember to pray for her each day. The day Lyla's picture was posted on "My Family Found Me" I was so very excited!!! Christina and I literally jumped up and down together across all those miles, rejoicing that "our" girl finally had a family!

Never did I imagine that "that" family lived only an hour away from us! Lyla's soon to be mama, Summer, and I became fast friend through many emails about this sweet girl! Our adoption stories were even featured together in THIS ARTICLE. A few months after we brought Zoya home, we had the privilege of meeting The Spitz Family. They had followed our adoption of Zoya and at that point, were in the midst of their own adoption to bring Lyla home from Eastern Europe.  While they were waiting and working through the adoption process, they came to meet us for a cookout. You can read about that visit HERE.  We hit it off right from the start! Summer got out of the car crying (if you know Summer this will not surprise you hehe). And as we hugged I had tears in my eyes thinking how blessed Summer and Dave were about to become when they met their daughter-to-be, Lyla. We celebrated with a special cake:

This special meeting was almost 2 years ago...look how much smaller our families were then :)

We said our goodbyes and wished them good luck on their travels to meet their precious girl! And then we heard the most awful news ever. Lyla was taken from the orphanage to the hospital, where the Spitz's were told she was not going to make it. Summer and Dave contacted a million people trying to see if they could help arrange life saving surgery that she needed on her heart. They met obstacle after obstacle and ultimately had to come to terms with the fact that Lyla was going to die in that hospital and meet Jesus much sooner than they had hoped. They would not get to hold her or love on her or become her parents. To say they were devastated doesn't even begin to cover it.

Through the pain, Dave and Summer pressed on and were led to another precious daughter in Eastern Europe. They adopted their sweet Belle girl who was most certainly always meant to be their daughter. At that point they still had a tiny piece of hope in their hearts that maybe, just maybe Lyla would recover. They promised her, and themselves, that if that somehow happened, they'd go back for her in the spring. Spring came and went with no word about Lyla. So they felt led to bring a sweet little boy named Gavin home. They assumed Lyla was already dancing with Jesus, but they were wrong. As they were in the middle of the adoption process for Gavin, hearts 100% committed to their sweet boy, they learned that Lyla had SURVIVED! And was eligible for adoption. What were they supposed to do? They were only approved to adopt one child, and they had already committed to this sweet boy and could not let him down. Their hearts broke all over again. Summer promised herself that she would personally find a family for Lyla since it could not be them. Can you even believe that the child they chose, Gavin, just happened to be living in the same orphanage in Eastern Europe as Lyla was??? Do you KNOW how many orphanages there are there???? This was not coincidence! Between the Spitz's first and second trips to adopt Gavin, a family committed to adopt Lyla!!! One the second trip to bring Gavin home, Summer got up enough courage to hold Lyla and love on her and tell her that she had a mama and daddy of her very own coming for her! You can read about that tear jerking meeting HERE.

Once the Spitz's were home with their newest addition, they discovered that the family who committed to adopt her (who loved her so very much) would be unable to proceed with their adoption. Could this really be happening? Their hearts shattered a third time. It seemed impossible that those broken pieces would ever be able to be picked up again. Summer posted on her blog pleading, begging, for Lyla's forever family to come forward. They were certainly not in a position to finance another adoption after having adopted two children in the past two years. Well guess what? God is bigger than all that because he said "mountain move" as he cast each mountain that stood between the Spitz's and Lyla into the sea!!! God is making a way for The Spitz Family to return to Eastern Europe and FINALLY bring their beloved Lyla HOME!!!!! God certainly must have big plans for this little girl because Satan has been working overtime for TWO YEARS keeping this girl from being held and loved on by her family. This story is about to come full circle. The Spitz family is hoping to travel very very soon and could use your prayers and support! One form of support you can give is by participating in THIS GIVEAWAY! Please, if you feel led, make a tax-deductible donation to this amazing little girl!!!

Please pray Lyla home with The Spitz Family! She is still very sick and will require heart surgery upon her arrival into the US. If this story doesn't show you how amazing and mighty our God is, you must be comatose!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I wanted to say welcome to any new readers!! Make sure you click follow so I know you're following us! A while back I added a "subscribe by email" link on the right hand side of the page. Also, I'm now responding to your comments in the comments section so if you haven't subscribed to comments, please check back if you've asked a question in the comments section!

Also, I'm excited to announce that I've joined Reece's Rainbow's Leadership team as the "New Family Liaison" I am excited to be able to serve such an amazing ministry and speak with new and interested families inquiring about adopting a child listed on Reece's Rainbow!

Thanks, as always, for the kind and uplifting comments :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

4 Months Home for Mila!

It finally seems that we have a semi-routine after 4 months home! Had we not had all the surgeries and hospital stays perhaps it wouldn't have taken this long? Either way, it feels so nice to finally feel like I have some sort of schedule with our beautiful chaos!

At 4 months home, Mila weighed in today at her doctor appointment at:
18 pounds, 3 ounces!! and 27.5 inches!
That means she's up to the 10th percentile on the typical growth charts!!! In the past month she has gained 1.5 pounds and 1 inch!! Since we met her 5 months ago, she has gained 10.5 pounds and 6.5 inches!! (that's half a foot!!!)

Mila is able to prop herself up to sit (still unsteadily), roll both ways, push up on her arms, she's beginning to tuck her knees under her belly (trying her hardest to move), and she is starting to kneel with support. She has gotten so very strong over this past month! She is receiving physical and occupational therapy each once per week (but she's really working on those skills every day!). She is a pretty content baby most of the time unless she's tired or hurt...and every now and again we're starting to see her spunk and opinion as she cries when she doesn't get her way! Since we've started taking her out and about a little more, she gets bored at home a lot quicker than she used to! She is smiling so much more and even having full belly giggles a lot more frequently. Her favorite song is "Pat-a-cake" and laughs every time we get to the "pat it" part. She also likes to hear "Jesus Loves Me" before bed. Every time we go into her room to get her up from a nap or from her night sleep she makes her happy noise and has a huge smile waiting for us!  She is almost done transitioning from formula to a goat's milk mix recipe I am using with her. She drinks 4 six ounce bottles a day and eats three meals. She is eating any foods that can be mashed and beginning to eat small pieces of foods like bananas, pears, and veggie sticks! Our girl has a huge appetite! She loves any toys that play music and light up, and of course one of her favorite toys is still her left hand! She is sleeping about 11 hours through the night most nights (with occassional fussing but has shown us she can put herself back to sleep!) and her 2 naps per day have recently started to get longer and more consistent! She is starting to make new sounds (still not really babbling)...but my favorite new sound is when she makes her lips into the "o" shape and cute! She still has no teeth but has been chewing on her hands like hopefully soon they'll work their way out! Her hair is really starting to grow! The back and right side were almost completely bald when we met her and those sides are finally starting to grow hair..yippee! Our transition to this point was not easy AT ALL, but we are so in love with our sweet girl and thankful she is doing so well!!!! We love her to pieces!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy 2nd Metcha Day Zoya!

March 17, 2010 changed our world.....

Zoya on the day we first met her

It all seems so long ago, but if I close my eyes and remember, it seems like just yesterday.  We tried to catch some sleep as we rode an overnight train through Ukraine from Kiev to Dnepropetrovsk where our soon to be daughter was living in an orphanage. Just as the loud bumpy train would seem to settle into some sort of lullaby pattern, we'd wake from our semi-sleeping state being all but jerked off our seats as the train screeched to a halt at one of the many stops. There was no sense in even trying to sleep. Between the loud, bumpy train and the nervous/excited ball of emotions I was, there was really no way sleep was going to happen. So many thoughts ran through my mind on that train ride. For so long, it seemed we were months away from meeting our daughter and that this moment might never come....and then suddenly we were hours....then minutes away from meeting this child we would call "daughter." How would she react? Would she be calm and peaceful and accept us immediately as we had prayed? Would she be scared? Would her tiny little heart be prepared to meet her mommy and daddy?  How big or little would she be? Would we feel excited or scared or peaceful or worried when we met her? The moments on that train, leading up to the moment we would meet our daughter, were so full of anticipation and excitement, unlike anything else I had ever experienced up until that point in my life.

We heard a knock on our cabin door and we knew we were close to our stop. We gathered up all of our things (we had way over packed by Ukrainian standards!). We hobbled off the train and met our facilitator and literally hit the ground running. We had two stops to make before the orphanage. We dropped off our luggage and then we had to get permission from the social worker to proceed with the adoption. After that we arrived at the orphanage. It was a cold dreary day (like many days in Ukraine). We were taken to the director's office. She had kind eyes and wanted to speak with us about our motive to adopt. She clearly wanted to ensure that we would take care of this child. We shared photos with her and spoke from our hearts. Each time the door opened my heart jumped into my throat and I couldn't focus. We accidentally got a really quick peek of Zoya and then the director shooed the caregiver away as it was apparently not time to meet her yet. We did not think the child we saw was Zoya, as she looked nothing like we pictured. We continued on, trying our best to focus on the background information that was given to us about Zoya. I scribbled down notes in writing that I could barely read later.

And then THE MOMENT, possibly the most anticipated moment in the adoption world, Zoya was carried in by a caregiver with a soft smile. I was a little shocked by her orphanage haircut (remember this was before the blog world was popular with adopting families through RR). The rest is history and you can read about it HERE if you want to take a walk down memory lane with me :) You can also read my first metcha day post HERE. Time is just flying by!

Zoya two years after the first day we met her!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Swimming with Daddy!

Daddy and his girls!

Mila was so intrigued by the swimmers in the pool!
One of my all-time favorite pictures!

See how much she trusts her Daddy!!

Sweet girl and Sweet Daddy!

Love all her chub!

Zoya's turn!

Love her beautiful face!

Listening very intensely to the teacher!

My baby hippo!

This picture makes me laugh!

This girl LOVES swimming!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Zoya's Surgery Update

Zoya and Mila playing with the iPad while waiting for Zoya's procedure to start

This morning Zoya had a quick surgery to check out what was going on with her ears. At our last visit she had so much wax deep down in them the doctor had a hard time seeing what was going on with her tubes. He could tell for sure the right tube had just fallen out and he thought the left was out as well but wasn't sure. After he cleaned out the ton of wax in there, he could see in the right ear that the tube was out, still laying there, but the hole was still open (so it recently fell out which we figured) so he just popped a new one in. The left tube was about 80% out so he took it out and easily popped a new one in as well. He said it was good news the the holes were still open and that is often seen with kids with severe eustachian tube dysfunction. He said it's the body's way of naturally draining the fluid...which is the purpose of the tubes...but since they had so recently fallen out it was just as easy to put new tubes in and not worry extra fluid building up if the holes did in fact close with time. She'll likely have tubes for quite some time and require new sets each time they fall out. When she is a little older we will talk about permanant "t-tubes" if she still requires them. The doctor said it was likely that Zoya wasn't hearing great with all that wax! This doctor is FABULOUS! So nice when you find one who really loves what they do and cares about their patients so much!

We prayed she would be happier coming out of anesthesia this time. And she was! (until we got home). She hasn't had a procedure done in over a year, but with all of her prior surgeries, she was just miserable and very upset for an hour afterwards. It was awful because nothing we did helped. This time they gave her some medicine to relax her before hand...they've always done this but this time was different because the doctor was ON TIME! And they took her back right when the medicine was kicking in. She was so funny to see so loopy like that! I kissed her and told her if she was a good girl she could have some m&m's when she woke up. Don't you know as soon as they took us back (she was happy and loopy still) she said in her best drunken sailor voice, "m&m's" over and over and over again! We just cracked up. That girl does NOT forget a thing (well except the rules every now and again and how to listen sometimes, and the fact that she is not allowed to poke her baby sister in the eyes....but the "important" things...she never forgets ;)). So of course we were in the car on the way home when the fun medicine started wearing off...she was quite a handful for about 45 minutes. She insisted on getting down and walking by herself, but she could barely hold her head up, let alone walk! She was still very wobbly and had jello legs but in her head couldn't figure out why she couldn't walk. That was pretty fun....but after about an hour she was back to her happy self again!

The best news is that she doesn't even have to miss a week of swimming...she will be happy to know that! Thanks for your prayers for our Zoya girl!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mila's FIRST Birthday!!!

We are so blessed that Mila got to spend her very first birthday with us, her family! This is something that, unfortunately, most former orphans do not have the pleasure of doing. Many spend their first (and many more) birthdays in an orphanage without a family. Our sweet jelly bean (or should I start calling her 'meatball''ll see what I mean in the pictures) will never have to celebrate a birthday outside of her family! We love any reason to party, but celebrating birthdays with our sweet girls? There's just nothing better!

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!"