Sunday, August 12, 2012

Things are going well!!

I have my laptop back and have a few minutes to sit and write about how things are going.  I know it has been a long time since I have updated the blog, for which I do apologize.  Life gets very busy around here and I lose track of how much time has gone by.

I know the question on every body's mind is "how is Misha doing?"  He is doing wonderful.  He is a great fit for our family and is adjusting to life here even better than I expected.  He just belongs here, and it feels like he has always been here.  I know it is hard for some of you to understand having never experienced adoption.  It is kind of like having a new baby.  Before the baby is born you can't imagine what life is going to really be like with the baby.  You don't know if the baby is going to be a screamer or quiet, sleep well or up all night, mild-tempered or easily agitated, or anything else.  But then, after you have the baby, you can't imagine life without him or her.  It is your new life and you wouldn't have it any other way.  That is how it is with adoption, even with teenagers.  You don't know what their personality is, what their issues are, what they will like or dislike about your home and family, or anything else.  But then, you get them home and you can't imagine life without them.  God supernaturally gives a mom and dad that parental love for an adopted child the same as he gives it to the biological mom and dad when their baby is born.  Just like our adoption into the heavenly kingdom.  God takes us from where we are when we accept him as our Lord and loves us with a love that is greater and deeper than we can ever comprehend.  I love my children so much it takes my breath away to think about trying to express how much.  But I know God loves them even more than I do.  What an amazing God!!

Now, back to Misha.  We have taken him for a few more doctor's appointments, which he hates.  Ukraine has a lot more Tuberculosis than we do here in America so we had a TB skin test for Misha before school, which tested positive.  After blood work and a chest x-ray they have decided that Misha does not have Tuberculosis but has been exposed to it and carries the "TB germ".  So, we are giving him a medication that will kill any dormant germ in his system just make sure he can't develop TB at some point in the future from a past exposure.  During the process of checking all of this out the doctor noticed that Misha has a pocket of air in his abdomen.  According to the doctor, he has more air in his abdomen than he has in his lungs.  He has built up this pocket of air slowly over a number of years.  If someone were to have this much air collect over a short time they would be laying on the floor screaming in pain.  But because Misha has built it up slowly over a number of years he does not feel pain, he is acclimated to having that air there.  He just doesn't know how much better he is going to feel when that air is gone!!  What this means is the surgery he had as an infant did not remove all of the defective part of his colon and he will have surgery to remove the remaining non-functioning part.  I am waiting for a call from the gastroenterologist he has been referred to so we can schedule an office visit and begin this process.  We were expecting to have food problems since Misha has a history of stomach discomfort but we really haven't had the problems we expected.  He eats pretty much anything I cook and has only told me his stomach hurt a couple of times.  He prefers Ukrainian bread over American bread, which is expected since the texture of their bread is so different than the texture of our bread.  He also misses the great soups he had in Ukraine, which I just can't seem to cook just right.  I have made Borscht, which I thought was good but it just wasn't as good as what they made at the center.

School has started.  Misha seems to have a great group of teachers.  They have all expressed an interest in making sure Misha is comfortable and able to learn in their class.  The homework is going pretty well.  I have only had to turn away one assignment so far, which is really great.  We will be doing homework again a little bit later today.  We have to write a letter so we will have to see how that goes.  Nobody enjoys homework, but Misha seems to understand that he must do the homework and doesn't fight me over it.  That makes things so much easier.

The language is coming along pretty well.  Misha has learned enough words now to start putting sentences together.  He can definitely make himself understood when he needs to, even if he has to look things up in his translation dictionary or on Google Translate.  Being in school will help his language skills progress even more quickly now than during the summer when he was home most of the time.  Josh helps with the translation on rare occasion when we really need something important translated and make sure he understands.  Otherwise, we communicate directly with Misha and work on his (and our) communication skills.

Soccer practices should be starting soon.  Misha is looking forward to playing soccer.  He is concerned about having enough time to play soccer and keep up with his homework.  Imagine that!!  I told him that they practice for only a couple of hours a week and only play games on Saturdays so it should not interfere too much.  I think it will be good for him to have a physical outlet to help keep his stress level down.  One can drop a lot of stress running around kicking a ball with a group of friends.

We did manage to get the bats out of the house.  Praising Jesus for that!!  There are some animals we just aren't meant to share our home with.  I am happy know they are gone.

All in all, I just want to say that we are incredibly blessed.  God has melded us together so well it is as if the family has always been structured like this.  The attitudes within the family and from others with strong influence in the family are positive and encouraging.  I can't ask for things to go better.  God has been good to us!!  I am praying that Misha will make friends with godly boys and girls at school and at church.  I am also praying that God's healing touch will be on Misha as we work towards getting his intestinal issues resolved.  Please keep praying for us as we continue our journey that God has laid before us.  God bless you all. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Computer problems

In case you are wondering, I have not dropped off the face of the earth.  My laptop is in the shop.  One of my boys accidentally stepped on the charging cord while it was plugged in and pulled the charging port out of the laptop.  It will be a few days still before I will get it back.  I am borrowing m son's computer now to try to catch up on some things.

As for what's going on.... way too much!!! We are getting ready for school to start here soon, which involves trips to the doctors for eye exams, new glasses, updated vaccinations, registration for school, shopping for supplies and any other things needed before school starts. The first day of school here is August 7th so we don't have too much more time to prepare.  We still have dental appointments, medical exams, and a GI doctor appointment.

In addition to all of that going on we have discovered that bats are living over our carport so we are having them extracted this week.  We have to move Anthony out of his apartment by the 31st and bring his stuff home for about one week and then move it back up to get him set up in another apartment.  Alex has started Massage Therapy school and Mark will be starting Community College soon.  So, beginning in August we will have three kids in advanced education of some sort, one in high school and one in middle school.

Misha is learning English very well.  I have been teaching him some of the basic information he will need to know right away and he is picking it up very quickly.  I will begin tailoring his language learning to his homework schedule when school starts.  I have also been teaching a friend's daughter who is close to the same age as Misha, which has been fun.  The two of them compete with each other to see who can do best, which encourages them to study more.  At first I was not certain that the sense of competition would be good for them and started to make them stop.  I didn't want one of them to develop a lack of confidence with their skills if the other really took off well, but it really has proven to be beneficial.  They have a lot of fun with it and nobody has been offended or upset with any part of it yet that I know of.  They each do well at times and miss things at times so it evens out.

Misha is still getting along with the family very well. Vernon loves to tease and play around with Misha and he just eats it up.  He loves to tease people himself and dishes out just as much as he receives.  It is particularly amusing to watch him play around with Mark's girlfriend Deana. Josh and Misha get along pretty very well also.  They really seem to be coming along with the brotherly relationship building.  At church Misha has started attending his age-appropriate Sunday School class on Sunday mornings and the youth services on Wednesday night.  His initial opinion is that the American kids are crazy, but I think he will enjoy the more upbeat younger style of worship soon.  I am really praying he will make good friends who will encourage him and help him feel that he fits in.

I have been incredibly blessed with a very full life surrounded by people I love.  Even when things are so crazy I know that it is all blessings.  God is good!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Family Snapshot

For those of you who do not know our family personally, I thought I would also post this family photo with all of the children lined up in birth order.  Alex our daughter is the oldest at 22, Anthony is 20, Mark is 18, Josh is 17 and Misha is 15.  What blessings I have been given!!!

First weeks home

We have been home for almost 2 weeks now.  I know some of you may have been wondering if I was ever going to write again.  I have not been on the computer much at home so I haven't been keeping up with Facebook or the blog much.  Sorry about that!!

Things are going very well.  Misha seems to be very happy to be here.  He is getting along well with everybody at home and every where we go.  He and Josh are spending a lot of time together since everybody else works.  Josh is brushing up on his Russian since Misha doesn't speak much English and the two of them are home a lot by themselves.  Russian can be easily spoken at home during the day with no translation necessary.  Misha is eating well, sleeping well most nights and seems to be settling in very well all the way around.  He is learning to speak a few words here and there.  I left a long list of words on his desk last night for him to start working on today.  School starts here on the 7th of August, so he has about 1 month to learn as much as I can teach him to help him with communicating at school.  Misha has made friends with some of the other children we know who have been adopted from Ukraine.  He and Kristina seem to be getting along very well.  She will be at the same school he will be attending so it will be very good for both of them to have built a friendship before school starts.  Misha joined the boys in his class for Sunday school yesterday.  It was the first time I have left him with a group with whom he can't communicate.  He said he fell asleep because he couldn't understand anything and was just sitting there.  Hopefully he will start picking up the language soon enough that won't be a problem for long.  We signed him up for soccer over the weekend.  He will start practices on the 13th of August and games will start in September.  He seems to be excited about getting to play soccer on a team. 

All of the family was able to get together for one evening.  We had a friend of ours meet us at the lake near our house and take a quick snapshot of the entire family after work.  Hopefully we will be able to get some really nice pictures made some time in the not too distant future, but for now the quick snapshot will have to suffice.

When I look at this snapshot I see some wonderful loving children.  I have been so blessed with a great family!!!  We are not perfect and have our rough days on occasion, but we fit together as God has put us together.  God has been so good to all of us. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We are home

We finally arrived home last night.  We were so happy to see everybody who came to the airport.  This photo is with four of my children and Mark's girlfriend Deana.  The trip was long and the day was exhausting.  Misha was sick to his stomach by the time we were half way to Houston, so he wasn't eating or drinking anything from that point on.  He was feeling better today though.  I think Misha really liked his room and was excited about everything at the house (especially the X-Box he played with Josh a lot today).  He said he slept well in his bed last night.  

We were very sleepy when we arrived at the airport and are both still very tired today.  It is 7:00 pm here right now and Misha has just gone to bed.  I can't go to bed because I have to go pick Vernon up at the airport at 11:30 pm tonight.  He will get to meet Misha tomorrow morning.  Anthony will come home for a couple of days on Monday after he takes his final exam.  Maybe one day soon we will be able to get the entire family together for a family photo.

Thanks for following along with us on this journey.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Going Home!!

Misha and I will be flying home tomorrow.  We are both so excited!!!  Misha is very unhappy at having to get out of bed at 2:45 am in the morning.  I am not particularly fond of getting up at that hour either, but it is worth it to go home.  So, at 5:45 pm tonight central time we will be getting up to begin our journey to travel home.  Our expected travel time is about 23 hours, plus we have to be at the airport a while before our flight.  We will definitely be ready to be home when we get there.

It is absolutely amazing how God has shown His Glory through this process.  Those of you local to me will get to hear more of the story than has been posted on the blog, more details about how the hand of God was so visible throughout the entire process of being here and adopting Misha into our family.  God loves orphans and He loves families.  It is God's will that families welcome orphans into their home and provide them with a loving environment and a stronger future than they have in an orphan system.  Not everybody can or should adopt, but everybody can help children in need.  You don't even have to go to another country if God is calling you to help children in your own local area.  There are orphans in every country on this planet who need loving families to provide for them and teach them all the things that parents normally teach their children.  They need the love of Jesus to help them learn to be a Godly man or woman, and to help them deal with their past hurts that still cause them to suffer each day.  I am so blessed to be chosen by God to serve him by opening my heart and my home to a child with no parents.  If you have any questions about this process that I can answer for you I will be more than happy to do so.  

Thank you for the support and encouragement you have given me through this entire process.  See you soon!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We have a VISA!!!!

The documents we needed arrived this afternoon.  Vanya picked them up and brought them to me then we went to the embassy.  The consular was very happy to see that we had gotten all of the documents today, but not nearly as happy as I was to hear her say that we had everything we needed for the Visa.  It only took a few minutes for me to sign in a couple of places and then we waited for the Visa to be printed.  It is a great feeling to finally have it all done.

My travel agent was able to schedule us some reasonable tickets for Tuesday.  The weekend tickets were simply too expensive.  The increase in price to switch to the weekend would have been between $3,000 and $5,000.  I just can't justify adding that much expense to the tickets just to come home on the weekend instead of Tuesday.  

Misha was very excited to have the Visa in his passport today.  I was so excited that everything was in order that I almost cried tears of joy so Misha thought I was upset because we weren't getting the Visa.  I had to explain to him that yes, we were getting the Visa today and we will be going home on Tuesday.  He was very relieved.

Thank you for all of your prayers.  I know that your prayers were heard and were answered.  Even in the delays God comforts and blesses those who turn to him.   He has blessed me more than I could ever deserve.  I will be looking forward to seeing the blessings he gave me in friends and family when I get home Tuesday night.  See you soon.