His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis

Faith

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Timothy and Emily are.....

getting their first foster baby tomorrow afternoon at 3:00.

She is a 5month old baby girl named "Shania". (long I sound)

We are so excited for them!

Pictures to follow. :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

After Walking Through The Door

You know, when you come up to a door of the "unknown", the first thing you have is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what will happen, fear of how life will be changed, or what might be missed. Then, you walk through the door and everything is so very new. It isn't quite like smelling the flowers blanketing the roadside, or even like the first time you went swimming. It is more of a feeling like Graduation. There is joy and there is fear, and there is looking at the future with trepidation, and then there is this "settled" feeling, "I Can Do This!" It is kind of like going from Parenting 101 to Graduation all in one week. You go from thinking about what the baby will wear home from the hospital to important things like, WHEN WILL he come home from the hospital. You go from those romantasized ideas of "ahhh, everything is going to be "picture perfect", to "wow, I'm tired, and we're headed back to the hospital for the 5th time in 8 weeks!
You learn to take that lump in your throat that wants to swell into a big loud ball of emotion, and swallow it so you can greet the Dr. whom you have to explain everything to AGAIN, with a smile. You fight back with all your might, so that your baby will feel your gentle touch and love, and not feel that you are scared for him. Moms do that, so their babies can rest. Then, you get to go home and collapse and try to catch up with laundry. NOT!

That is where Kelly and Jason are now. They are pressing forward and are committed Parents to Parker. Parker has the exact Mom and Dad that God chose for him. Ones that are strong, but not too strong. They know they need to be comforted and loved by family. Giving, but not too giving. (they still need time for themselves)
and the Perfect Gramma, Grampa and Great Gramma, because when they need time for themselves, there are those loving grandparents waiting in line for a turn to love on little Parker.

I got a note today from Robyn. She said, she wouldn't have Parker any other way. If she had to choose from a menu, she'd choose him as he is. She wouldn't choose an easier life for him, it is just right how it is. This life, will make him stronger. And she is right. It will. She said he has so much personality and she just loves him. His little pictures show it too.

Wanna see some? Here they are:



LATE BREAKING NEWS........

We have some AWESOME news around here. We have been working on standing without feet.
Well, today, Miss Erika surprised ALL of us. She got up, walked to the bathroom, got dressed, and came to the breakfast table ALL by HERSELF!!!!! Isn't that AMAZING!
ALL WITHOUT FEET! The kind of amputation she has makes this possible. Not all kids are able to do it, but she is one who has been working at it.
The Symes amputation takes the Heel from the foot and places at the bottom of the amputation with the idea, that the heel is meant to stand on. And, it worked! HORRAY!

This is huge not just for her, but for me too. This means, she doesn't have to wait on me to get her out of bed. This means if she needs to potty in the middle of the night, she doesn't need to call for help. This means FREEDOM for her in many areas.

Do I sound excited? YOU BET I AM! An amazing little miracle took place in our home today and it couldn't be a better Monday. :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Little Girl's Tea



Every year at our church we have a Mother Daughter "little girl's" Tea. It is for girls 5-11. There is a craft and a devotional, and special music and dance. The girls have looked forward to this each year. This was our 3rd year to attend all together.
We had a wonderful time and some thoughtful person actually makde Gluten Free Cookies! YUM.... oh, and the tea was served in real china cups with real china tea pots. The girls thought it was "Simply Marvelous Darling!"





Friday, April 25, 2008

New Bloggers in the Family!

Becca has a new blog called "Green Granola Mama." Isn't that great? :)
She has great ideas for being conscious of taking care of our natural resources.
Lots of links today.

AND.... very cute picture of Sam. :)


Cindy also started a new blog with great pictures of Emily playing soccer and visiting Silver Dollar City. Cindy also has links to her clothing store and on line bow shoppe.
(I need to check that out, didn't know there was a separate web site)

You can find both links------> on the side bar.
Becca's Blog and Cindy Minich's Blog site.

check them out~!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Picture Yourself.....

Being a nine year old girl, going into the coop to collect the days eggs, reaching up to get them and touching a SNAKE~! Then that snake uncurls from around the eggs and jumps down to the next shelf in front of you......



Are you breathing hard yet?

This is what happened to our Anna today. Just yesterday she was talking about how she would LOVE to have a pet snake. Somehow, a snake without a cage can cause absolute panic!

He was a bit of a big guy. Here he is with Mike! :)


Mike took him down the street and let him go in an ablidging field.

Thoughts About Disruption


(one of my favorite funny pictures of our little Petunia Sarah. She didn't like her dress)

When I first heard about "Adoption Disruption", I didn't know what it really was, and was shocked that it could happen.

Since that time, 3 years ago, I have come to understand it a little bit more. There are many reasons why different people adopt and many reasons why they disrupt. The big thing is, that no matter what, there is great loss and great gain.

If a disruption occurs, it is not a failure for the family who disrupted. It is to their credit, that they saw things were not working and WOULD NOT work. It takes a very strong person to disrupt an adoption. The disrupted family can feel scorned, rejected and even hated by those who do not understand.

The family who is the recipient of the child will have great work cut out for them in dealing with a very hurt child and respecting the family from where she came. In some cases, as in our case, the transition was pretty easy considering all our daughter had been through in her short life.
(abandoned at birth, contracted TB so placed in a TB hospital, loss of a leg, and fingers, TB sanitarium, finally an orphanage, 11 mos later adopted, moved to a new country, then 10 mos later, adoption disrupts and she comes to us)

As this has been on my heart the last 3 years, I have had many feelings about the whole subject. The conclusion I have come to is that God is in control. What Satan meant for harm, God turned into something good. It may not feel that way to the family who is dealing with the pain and loss of disruption. It may not seem that way when the child first comes. Natural thought would be, "It's a bloody awful mess and that is all there is to it!" But it ISN'T all there is to it.

There was much pain and hurt to work through for our Sarah, and we needed the Wisdom of Solomon to help her through it. It is a very difficult position to be in. We wanted to comfort her, but we also didn't want to make the other family look bad, or for them to be "all negative" in her mind. They did a wonderful thing to bring her here and we are forever grateful to them for that. Sarah has a healthy understanding, as much as a little girl can have, on what happened to her, and she too is thankful that she is here. She has been able to retain some positive memories of her life, both in the Orphanage and with the other family.

You know, We serve a multifaceted ALL KNOWING, heart healing, miracle working, life saving, God!

Mike and I would have NEVER thought about going to Ukraine to get Erika, because we wouldn't have even known about Erika.

Because of the disrupting family, we have Sarah AND Erika. We have been able to be part of a bigger ministry (in prayer mostly) for Dima and Hal. Our church, Community Bible Chapel has become involved, and Dima will be speaking at our church next month.

Children's lives are being changed and many more reached. Why? Because Sarah's FIRST family answered the call to go to Ukraine and get her. I know things did not turn out as they expected, and I know they will always have a hole in their hearts for her.
But I also know, that Sarah is where she is supposed to be, and I hope they can be comforted in that they had a HUGE part in the ministry that continues to unfold before us.
We can all rest in the comforting arms of our Heavenly Father, that HIS purposes are being fulfilled. We are but instruments in His hands.


(here she is 3 years later. Our blossoming little blue bonnet!)

Papa Dima is COMING and so is HAL!


We are so excited. Papa Dima, Galya, Olga and Irra are coming to town!
Olga is in Waco and will be graduating from College next month. Tomorrow morning, Papa Dima, Galya and Irra, will have their appts at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev. They are there to get Visas into the United States. Please pray for them tonight, that they will be granted favor and allowed to come.

Papa Dima was instrumental in helping us adopt Erika. He and Galya have a wonderful ministry to the Orphans in Ukraine. Their testimony is amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed being with them while we were in Ukraine.

There are so many awesome people that God has placed in this world to help those in need. Two of the most giving people I have ever met, are Dima and Galya. They serve selflessly and outside of "pubic view". What others think, does not sway them. They have taught Sunday School in the cold when they could not go into the orphanage. They have seen hearts change, they have been to places most people will not step foot in, including the TB Hospital and Sanitarium. That is where they found our Sarah. They have seen miracles take place in the hearts of those in authority and in the children.
They have had their hearts broken and felt the triumph of seeing a changed life. The biggest thing I see in their ministry is their commitment to prayer. They are on their knees without hesitation.

We are so honored and do not deserve to have them in our home; but they are coming and we are sooooo excited to see them.

Someday, we hope to see them in UKRAINE. But for now, we will settle on Wylie Texas.


(when in TeXas buy BREAKFAST!)

Hal is coming too! Hal was also instrumental in helping us with our girls. I will never forget calling him and asking about why Sarah was having a specific nightmare about being cold. He was able to give me helpful information about conditions in the TB Sanitarium and orphanage. We understood much more, when we experienced Ukraine for ourselves, but for Sarah, we didn't go to Ukraine. We just drove to Hillsboro. :)

The first time Hal called us, I saw the caller ID. It said, "The Pentagon"! I was thinking, who in the WORLD would be calling us from the Pentagon. We had no idea what a special little girl we were adopting and how many delightful people's hearts she had touched in her short little life. Hal talked for a long time about the ministry that was unfolding and about his dear friend Dima whom he had met in Ukraine.

What a blessing to have these people in our lives.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary Dear One

Our final trip started on the 19th, and ended early on the 20th of April.
We were EXHAUSTED from the travel.
The highlights of travel were that the food on Air France is EXCELLENT. They were very nice to us. But the plane ride was LONG!!!!!


At the airport in Paris, we had to change planes, which meant we had to go through customs once again. This time, they wanted Erika to take her braces off for inspection.
I refused. So they put us in a room where a security officer could check her for bombs or explosives. She was terrified, but she was more terrified of having her braces removed.
In the orphanage, they didn't take them off much, and the first time we took them off, she wept.
I was mad at the airport security for asking. It was like saying, "Please remove your legs for inspection."
We got through, and then onto the plane of Atlanta.

When we arrived in Atlanta, there had been a security breach that day that shut the airport down, so there were MANY stranded passengers.

We had our own personal helper. He was a saint. I just know he was. He took us straight to customs (erika in a wheelchair) and then to the people we had to give the envelope to. Then, he took us to get our flight changed, and then to our gate.
It was AMAZING!
While we were in the airport, this is what we looked like: EXHAUSTED and DELIRIOUS!



When we arrived in Dallas, we were surprised by several friends. The little girlies were there and we were so happy to be reunited!
They wasted no time with starting to play!


Sarah was so happy to see Erika and surprised at how big she was!





The girlies just kept checking each other out, holding hands, and just being giddy with joy!




Our dear friends, the Verkler's drove us home that night. The girls sang "Jesus Loves Me" until they all fell asleep.
In the A.M. Gramma Dabba from Iowa had these special Bunnies for them to hold!


And life continued and began and was never, ever, ever, ever, the same.

What is Intermission For?



We watched "The 10 Commandments" over the last few days. The part that has "Intermission" came on, and Sarah asked what it was.

Anna said,
"It means they need to take a break so all those actors and actresses can go to the bathroom!" :)

The BlueBonnets are Here!

Anybody who lives in Texas knows that it is now BlueBonnet Season. That means you will see crazy people, cameras in hand on the sides of busy roads hauling their kids into the pollen to take a picture.

Here are some we took today. :)



href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_jZg5aKtUgvk/SAo8Y-O85YI/AAAAAAAAAVs/RqDCjjZAugQ/s1600-h/DSCF5622.JPG">


Leaving Ukraine for America!




Two years ago today, we left Ukraine. It was so amazing. We were full of adrenalin and soooo ready to go.

On Easter Weekend, we found out that we would be in Ukraine an extra day, so we had to change our plane tickets. We called the number for the airline, but it was out of order. So, we asked our translator, and weren't getting too much help. She said, "we'll take care of it tomorrow!" TOMORROW! That would be the weekend of Easter and we wanted to make sure we got home.

We were feeling a little down and I didn't want to cook dinner that night. Probably because when I tried to buy pepper the lady at the store kicked me out of line 3 times because I couldn't say the word pepper! I could say salt, but not pepper. Made me feel compassion for those who come here and people treat them badly because they cannot speak english. You never know, nor should assume that somebody has been here for a long time. Maybe they just arrived! A little compassion can go a long way.

Anyway, I wanted to go over somewhere and Mike agreed. So we set out to find a place.
We found a menu that was in ENGLISH! It said, come on in, cozy environment... etc.

So we went in. We were seated, but unfortunately, we unknowingly picked a "pick up joint" to eat at. We tried to ignore the cuddling couples but the blaring giant screen with Russian MTV was just too much. The last straw was they said they had no borscht!
You have no borscht? That is like going to china and them telling you they have no rice!
So we left. The lady was walking to us saying, "We make borscht!" "We make borscht!"
We said, no, since you don't have any, we'll eat somewhere else.

So here we are wandering around Kiev, with a need of new tickets, no IDEA how to get them, hungry, cold, and feeling very overwhelmed. We were praying that the Lord would help us and show us what to do.

Mike said, let's just go back to the apartment. I couldn't. I said, "can we please just go to that TGI Fridays! I need tortilla chips!" He chuckled and we went. When we got there it was a little late. Around 8:30, and it was TOTALLY crowded. No seating. Now in America, you wait. In Ukraine, apparently you leave. We said we'd wait. The hostess didn't know what to do! She said, YOU WAIT? DA, we wait! I had this mantra of "tortilla chips, tortilla chips, tortilla chips, going off in my head!

Just then, a fellow sitting fairly close to the door, by himself, at a table for 4 piped up and said, "I'll move over there, (a place for 2) and they can have my table!"
The thing is, he said it in perfect english!!!!

My husband said, "Why don't you just stay where you are and we'll join you!" He smiled and said, "Ok, great!" So we joined this very sweet man.
He asked us what we were doing in Ukraine. We introduced him to Erika who spoke no English at this point, but was trying very hard; we said "cheese" and smiled at her and she started singing "Jesus Loves Me"; we told him about how the Lord miraculously brought us to Ukraine, how each and every miracle took place while we were there and he said, "Wow, how many needles can be threaded at one time!

Then Mike said," Well, we need one more! Our tickets have to be changed and we cannot get ahold of the airline to change them, and we aren't getting much help from our translator. He asked, "What airline?" Mike said, "Delta". This man got a huge smile on his face as he told us,"I'm the new Director for Delta Airlines".

We both burst into laughter. God had answered our prayers of desperately needed help!
The tickets we had were for Delta Airlines and Air France. He just simply said, "Oh, come by Monday morning, we'll fix you right up, the ladies in the office are great and
be sure to ask for me. I'd like to see you again. So we had a wonderful dinner and fellowship with a guy who had only been in Ukraine for 5 weeks. Even he was blown away with the many needles being threaded on our journey of a life time.

So, now we are back to airport day.....

Here is a picture of Erika all ready to go:



We arrived at the airport, took a few pictures and were ready for our next adventure.
I was desperate to keep as little with us as possible because of Erika not being able to walk very well. I decided the lighter we can carry on the plane, the better.
So I packed everything except the envelope for the Custom's officials in America.

When we got to the second checkpoint, after check in with Air France, the man, who didn't smile, asked for Erika's ORIGINAL adoption certificate. We had her passport and a "Copy" of the original, but the original was packed and already checked on the plane! There was no budging from this guy. "No original document, no leave country!"

I ran down to Air France ticket counter and explained our dilemma. They were so kind.
They pulled our luggage off the plane so I could get the document out. I ran back up, the guy looked at it and handed it back to me, with that dull lifeless expression of "I'm bored with you". AHHH!
I could feel myself burning inside. I so much wanted to take off on that plane!

So, we made it through with about 15 minutes more to go before boarding the plane.

Erika and I had the most awful bathroom experience. She had to use the "toilet". I carried her to the bathroom. The first door, which was the handicapped bathroom was locked. I went to the next door, exhausted and nearly delirious from all that running around and panic... swung that door open and Erika and I burst into one loud "scream"!
AHHHHHHH!!!!! I thought that door would never shut. It was the men's room. There were rows of them! All staring at the crazy lady who invaded their privacy. Sorry.
So Sorry! We found our way to the next door and the right place.
When we got back to the waiting area, Erika had a great story to loudly rattle off to daddy with hand motions and expressions and the famous, "AHHHHH!" Of course everybody else in Ukraine was laughing at mommy, but daddy had to ask me for translation.
I embarrassingly told him what happened and then it was time to board the plane thank goodness!



(you can view Erika's takeoff, by going to the side bar under YouTube Videos)

We weren't on the plane for long and, itt started moving. Erika was so excited, and scared, and I'm so glad we caught that fuzzy little moment on Video. She burst out with "Bye Bye UKRAINE"! I couldn't help but have tears. It was so precious. People around us were chuckling at her excitement.

A new life awaited her and she was going to be re-united with her dearest friend, and meet her family for the first time.... 26 hours later.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh My!

Imgaine a little girl in a fancy hat, coming in the house....

In a perfect "English accent" she walks by, nose in the air, "Oh MY! That man is SOoooo disgusting!"

I was puzzled....
What man?

"My Husband! I just saw mouse brains all over the place!"

"You're married to the Cat?"

"NO MAMA!"

"I'm married to ANNA! and she wanted to see the cat eat a mouse!" "It is just Sooooo disgusting!"
"That man!"

LOL!
These are what the hats look like:


I can't speak for the mouse. :)

Last Full Day In Ukraine

Today was the last full day we had in Ukraine 2 years ago. We were living in a beautiful apartment overlooking DownTown Kiev. I remember the Easter Weekend Church bells ringing as we stood out on our balcony.

I was trying to take in every moment and savor it. Kiev is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Living in Texas, we don't see many "Old" things. We walked in Churches that were Centuries OLD! Our building was OLD; probably older than any building in Wylie. Here are some pictures from our Apartment. Made me nervous standing on that balcony!



Our last day, after going to the Embassy to finish paperwork and pick up the visa, we spent our time walking around, playing in the apartment with Erika, and mostly "waiting!" We were soooo ready to get on that plane and go home.

We missed our other girlies so very much and couldn't wait to see their sweet faces.

We finished the food we had left that night instead of going out. We had simple eggs and bread and milk. Erika was happy with anything.

That night, after putting Erika to sleep; Mike and I just stared at each other in wonder and awe at all the Lord had done for us, even up to the very last minute. We thought getting the visa was the very last minute, but it wasn't. (that I'll mention tomorrow)


Here is one more picture, but this is from Kharkiv. I was so disappointed that when we flew into Paris, my hopes of seeing the Eifel Tower were dashed because of fog and rain.... I was so pleased to find my own Eifel Tower in Kharkiv~!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Our Newest Neighbor


He was born yesterday...
The girls PROUDLY announced they could tell he was a boy because of "That thing!" ;)

You know You Live In The Country When....


You know you live in the Country when your daughter sees the price of a new skirt and says,"Gee mom! You could buy a goat for that!" :)

The 2 Year Countdown!!!!!

Today is April the 16. Two years ago today, at this time, Mike and I were sitting with Erika at the American Medical Center to get a physical for Erika. Tomorrow, we would have gone to the Embassy to file for her Visa, pick it up that afternoon, and then Fly home on the 19.

We arrived home on April the 20th, 2006 at around Midnight or so. We were delirious from flight, and staying awake for endless hours, but so excited to see the girls again.

My heart swells when I think about that moment. That moment our lives were forever changed once again. That moment when Erika stepped onto American soil and became an AMERICAN CITIZEN! I remember thinking, "She is so little and has NO IDEA what an important step that was off of the plane. She has no idea how the Lord moved on her behalf through incredible circumstances and fervent prayers to bring just one little girl to her new home. She has no idea what awaits her!"

She looked so small, so frail.. so scared, and yet there was a braveness in her that showed she was strong. She walked into the "unknown" world, never to look back.

I remember on the way to the airport she asked the translator "How long will it take me to learn English?"
"When will I see a doctor?" With that question, her eyes were filled with fear. :(

Just a little over 4 weeks before, she met us for the first time. She had been waiting; according to her, 50 years! She knew we were coming, but didn't know when.
She had become sad and depressed, as it took so long. One family on one side of the world, and one little girl on the other side, both longing to be together. Had it been up to us, it would have happened much sooner, but it wasn't up to us. Even though it seemed to take forever, mountains were moved to get her here.

Just 1 week before we boarded the plane, we were able to pick her up from the orphanage and take her with us forever.
She could barely walk, but she nearly RAN out of that orphanage. She was so excited.
We taught her to say, "Let's Blow this Joint!" She bellowed it with gusto! :)

So, she was thrust into a world she had never known. She had never seen the cathedrals in Ukraine, the beauty, the monuments. She had never seen an airplane or a train. She had never tasted spices on food. She had her first tortilla chip in Kiev at TGI Fridays. She ate EVERY jalepeno on the plate! (a girl after my own heart!)

TGI Friday's Picture


She had never heard of McDonalds and when we took her there, she wasn't amuzed. She told the translator we ate at a cafeteria.

Erika's first french fry! :)



Here we are on the train.


After 1 week of being FREE from that orphanage, she was in America.

Oh my the interesting things! Toilets that flush on their own, water that comes on by putting your hand under it, never ending paper towels that just "show up" after you get one. And that was all at the Atlanta Airport!!!!

Upon coming home, besides all the excitement of sisters and brothers, there was the dishwasher, the washing machine, dryer, our own car?????!!!!!!, DVD player, locks on doors, refrigerator! "A MAMA CAN COOK???" WOW!
The newness was endless.

I waited 2 weeks before taking her to the store. I didn't want to overwhelm her. She asked for "chips", so I figured it was time to show her SUPER WALMART....
We walked in and inside I was laughing because I KNEW those eyes were going to have that funny look of surprise and awe!

(Can you really have surprise and awe at Walmart? If you are a Ukrainian orphan you can)

I walked this awe struck child to the "Chip aisle". That isle where there is every type of chip in the world. :) Mind you, she had asked for Chips in Ukraine and they had limited kinds; mushroom flavor, tomato flavor or nothing. :) She actually ate mushroom flavored chips!
There went that look of awe and surprise at the chips and this little girl burst into quiet giggles of glee. She couldn't believe what she was seeing.

Many people think when adopting an older child that you miss out on all those firsts.
To that I say, the firsts are different. I really don't mind missing potty training, but there is no first like a kid who has never seen anything remotely modern and is suddenly thrust into the modern world.
It is both sad and hilarious. Can those go in the same sentence? Only in the world of International adoption.

So, our remembrance begins. The remembrance of a sad little girl who was all alone in this world. The remembrance of a GOD, who looked down and had compassion for and loved that little girl with an everlasting love. The remembrance of God's providence in our lives. The remembrance of "leaving the old and cleaving to the new".
The observance of "adoption" and the REAL AWARENESS AND DEEP UNDERSTANDING that we are ALL adopted. We are ALL rescued, we are dead to our old life and alive in Christ and we walk in that Newness of Life.

And we are cherished and loved.

Here are a few pics from Ukraine:


You Are Still Holy

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