Thursday, July 29, 2010

What a difference five weeks makes?!

Look at the smile on this beautiful girl! I can tell you that she is really comfortable with our family. She told Lauren tonight that she loves her American mom and dad. She hasn't called us mom and dad the entire time she has been here!
I asked her what she wanted to do on her last full day with us and she decided she wanted to go bowling again. I asked her what she wanted for dinner tonight and she said, "Pizza!" So, today was full of bowling, laundry, games, snuggles, pizza, and then shopping with just the American mama and Nastia this evening. She came over and sat next to me on the sofa and wanted to lean against me and hold my hand this afternoon. This is very uncharacteristic of her! She reached over several times today to scratch my back. I noticed her staring at me A LOT today! I think she just wants to remember me, so she was focusing extra hard today. The love of a mama has been so good for her!
Explanation of pictures: She has been asking for a teddy bear for the past two weeks. I wasn't sure if she was really serious about it, so I let it go. She saw a pink bear at Target last week, and loved it! So, tonight we went to Target and I asked her if she wanted to get a teddy bear and her answer was a resounding, "YES!!!" She knew exactly where it was and couldn't get there soon enough! While she was here we had the opportunity to have a sonogram (Nastia was with us), and we found out we are having a baby GIRL! So, she also got to pick out an outfit and teddy bear for our new baby girl, Bethany. Then, I let her choose something to buy for Lauren, so we got a hat and scarf that Lauren had been looking at recently. Lauren will treasure these things forever! Lauren and Nastia are very much "sisters." They love each other dearly...they will miss each other dearly.
And tomorrow...we will drop her off with the Lewis family and say our goodbyes. *tears*
Have I said recently how much I love this little girl???


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What about YOU?

What is your reason for not adopting?

~It costs too much.
~I'm too old.
~I want to raise my own family first.
~I don't know "what I'll be getting."
~These kids are "too messed up."
~I wouldn't know where to begin.
~I couldn't "love them as my own."
~It isn't my problem.
~I don't want to fill the pockets of a corrupt government.

I don't write this post with a sarcastic overtone, so I really do not want you to read it that way. I want it to be thought-provoking more than anything. I have heard every excuse I have listed, and some of them from Roger and me.
At what point does the excuse become disobedience? When we say "no" to God! He wants us to do just have to figure out what that something is for you! The timing may not be right now for Roger and I to adopt because of the election, an uncertain future in the next few months, and expecting a baby, but we can still raise awareness for those who need a family. And someday...I look forward to adding more children to our family through adoption!

Please pray about what God wants you to do. Is there a child on the other side of the world, or in another state, or in your own county that God wants to place in your arms? Is there a family that desperately wants to adopt, but cannot figure out a way to raise the money, and maybe you can help? I can't tell you the answer, but HE can! Ask! And then obey!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I don't feel like it

I don't feel like posting tonight. Sorry, but it's true. We went shopping today to buy a suitcase, and all of the things that need to go back with Nastia. I tried to make it fun, but deep really wasn't. I don't think it was for Nastia either. She was excited to buy gifts for her closest friends, but she didn't even want to look at me for a while after I bought her suitcase. She had fun working on her photo album tonight. I think it made her think about the fun things we have done, and helped her forget about leaving for a while.
I have been tearing up all day, and I broke down when I kissed her goodnight. I tried SO HARD not to, but I couldn't stop the tears. I didn't want to put her to bed feeling sad, and knowing how sad I am. And now...I'm going to go grab a box of tissues and cry myself to sleep. It's a "mother's love "shining through... She is definitely part of my heart.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Things Nastia wants to take back to Latvia

I have had a few people ask if there is anything they can buy for Nastia to take back to Latvia, so she and I sat down today and made a list. Please leave a comment if you are getting any of these items, so others will know what is already provided, and I will know what not to buy. We will be going shopping tomorrow or Thursday, so I need to know sometime today, or tomorrow morning.

Thread to make friendship bracelets (This is not sewing thread)
Colored Pencils
Pretty notebook
Nail polish (any colors, but quick dry is probably best)
Word search puzzles
Tape (the clear kind that we use to wrap presents)
Shampoo (Any kid kind with Conditioner mixed in)
Shower gel
Tooth paste
She seems to really like Skittles
Lolly Pops
AA Batteries

There you have it...the Nastia Wish List!

Pictures from last Friday

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our fun day

Today started with church. Nastia sang along with me during the church service. I loved every minute. Then, after church I was supposed to have a "date" with my little guy who turned 7 yesterday, and he decided he wanted Nastia to come, too, so we went to a Chinese Buffet, which was Franklin's choice. Nastia loved looking around at all of the food and she found many things that were familiar to her...shrimp, and a few desserts. She kept saying, "In Latvia!" She loved her lunch! She also said, "Yum, yum!" a lot! She was so full by the end that she was moaning! Too funny!
This evening we went to the beach with the Lewis family. This was Nastia's first time to see the ocean and to play at the beach. She grabbed me when we got to the beach and said, "Vow!!!" She really enjoyed collecting shells and asked if she could take them back to Latvia. She ran and screamed as the waves were rolling toward her. It was so funny! Finally, she grabbed onto my arm and hand, as I held Ian and we faced the waves together. All three of us were laughing!
She is such a joy!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Did I really get that far behind???

I haven't posted since Wednesday! Yikes!
Thursday I took Nastia to the dentist to get a few minor things fixed. It all seemed very familiar to her. She did not need a shot to get things fixed, which relieved my mind greatly. The dentist said she has had a few small fillings before, and they are composite fillings, which are the good kind. That was another pleasant surprise. I babysat a 4 year old little boy Thursday afternoon, so it was even busier than usual. We went to Target after dinner to get a few things for our busy day on Friday. She tried on some very, very cute bling sandals and I could not resist not getting them for her. They were on clearance, too!
On Friday we left at 8:30 in the morning, drove to the mechanic, so I could finally get my sunglasses out of my broken down van, and then drove to the zoo in Viera. We met the Lewis family and had a great time! We enjoyed all of the animals, and then the kids got to enjoy the splash park. Nastia loved it! I think Deb (the mom of the Lewis') got a little more soaked than anticipated, but she enjoyed every moment of watching the joy in Nastia's face. I even watched Nastia walk over and sit next to Deb a few times. Keep in mind that Nastia has no idea that the Lewis' are trying to adopt her, and we cannot tell her their intentions.
After the zoo we grabbed a quick lunch through the drive-thru at McDonald's, and then drove to Melbourne Beach to meet up with the Florida coordinator from New Horizon's. She has been in Ukraine adopting a young girl she hosted, and just got back into town. It poured and poured, so we visited inside her RV, and then left and went to Sam's for some ice cream. After Sam's we said goodbye to the Lewis family, and me and my six kiddos drove to my friend, Jennifer's house to pick up my little guy, and enjoy some wonderful dinner. Jennifer is one of my very best friend's, and she drove to the zoo to pick up Ian and let him spend a cool day in her house with a good lunch and a good nap, too. At Jennifer's house, Nastia got to jump on a trampoline for the first time, pet a rabbit (she wasn't too crazy about that), watch the other kids catch lizards, and eat lots of fruit.
We didn't get home until 8:30, so it was time for a shower and off to bed.
Today we went shopping because it is Franklin's birthday. He is 7! Nastia let us know that they sing "Happy Birthday" in English. She helped us sing to Franklin! She has also learned the song for Elmo's World and joins us in singing it to Ian! Have I mentioned how much I adore this little girl??? When we went shopping she really enjoyed looking at the baby dolls and stuffed teddy bears.
We had a birthday party for Franklin tonight with a few friends. Nastia made Franklin's birthday cake and then I put the icing on and Franklin decorated it. She is a true, professional bowl-licker! She did not want to lick the bowl when she first got here, and now she can't wait to lick the bowl! She had a lot of chocolate on her hands...and on her face, too!
On Wednesday, our 12 year old cousin, Kiley, came over to teach Nastia how to make friendship bracelets, and she brought other crafts for her and Lauren to do, too. They had the best time! Nastia was so excited to see Kiley here for the party tonight!
Nastia and I had a very long conversation tonight on Google Translate. I learned a lot more about her. We both sat and cried as we talked about her going back home. I'm a little confused about some of the other things she said, and so I ask for prayer that we can find more answers soon. I cannot share any details, but we will be talking to a few people who may be able to get some answers for us. When it seemed that our conversation was over I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to tell me. She shook her head yes and typed, and then I put it into the translator and this is what I read, "I love you all." Awww....yes, more tears.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The BIG post!!!

I am pleased to introduce The Lewis Family!!! After a lot of prayer, Roger and I believe that God has provided the Lewis' to be Nastia's forever family. While she is a wonderful fit in our family and we believe she would be very happy with us, we believe even more that she is a perfect fit with the Lewis'! She will have two older siblings and three younger siblings and we think this is just what she needs!
The Lewis' have already spoken to an adoption agency and the process has already begun. We will be spending more time with this great family until Nastia leaves, but she is already very comfortable with them, and we are so pleased that she has taken to them so well. We are not allowed to communicate in any way that she will be adopted, so please do not say anything about this to her. This is for her own protection! Keep in mind that she is still here on a hosting program, and that is how it will remain over the next week and a half. At some point in the adoption process she will be told that the Lewis' are coming for her.
So, without further ado...
Meet Kevin and Deb and their children...Hannah (15), Joshua (13), Aaron (8), Sarah (6), and Bekah (4)

Please pray for them as they begin the adoption process. They have tons of paperwork, a few homestudy visits, and thousands of dollars to ask God to provide. I will give you more information about opportunities to help them cover the cost of their adoption soon!

If you would like to congratulate the Lewis family please leave a comment! They will read each and every one!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Nastia told me twice today that she does not want to go back to Latvia. That really breaks my heart. I have told her that she has to go back. It's good to know how she feels, but it makes me feel so sad, too. I feel so blessed to be a part of her life.

I have a BIG post coming tomorrow. I need some time to think about what to write, but I promise to add pictures, too!!!

Tune in for some uplifting news tomorrow!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Off the top of my head

~Nastia has been with us 3 weeks! How could it possibly be only 3 weeks?!
~Nastia has gained 6 pounds in the last 3 weeks.
~Nastia loves playing with dolls and is very motherly.
~Nastia wants to get Ian out of bed every morning.
~Nastia is a girly girl! She loves pink and lots of bling!
~Nastia is still not fond of big pools, but loves playing in water...small pools and splash parks.
~Nastia teaches Lauren Russian every night when they go to bed.
~Nastia gave me a hug a few days ago. Okay, so it was a little forced because I made her put her hands around my waist, but then...she squeezed!!! Woohoooo!!!
~Nastia LOVES her new sunglasses!!! She was wearing them in the house yesterday!
~Nastia likes chocolate milk. We make it with Ovaltine.
~Nastia does NOT like root beer!

Do you have any questions about Nastia? Leave a comment and I'll answer what I know!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Another Thank You...well deserved

Tonight I want to give A HUGE THANK YOU TO DR. KENNETH BOYLE!!! Dr. Boyle is an Optometrist in Viera, Florida. My friend, Jennifer, was in his office last week and asked if he would be interested in testing Nastia's vision. He quickly jumped at the chance. And then he even went a step forward...He not only wanted to check her vision...he wanted to check the entire health of her no cost to us!
I would be remiss if I didn't include his entire staff in the thank you! So, THANK YOU TO THE ENTIRE STAFF OF BREVARD VISION CARE!!! They were all so kind and gentle with Nastia. I highly recommend this doctor and his office!
If you need a great and very caring eye doctor please consider going to Dr. Boyle. The phone number for his office is 321-752-0100.
We have found that there are very few doctors who will donate their services to those who are truly in need. I want to give my business to those kinds of doctors!

As for Nastia's eyes and vision...They are perfect!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

one more thing...

Nastia is a little chatterbox tonight! She is saying a lot of words in English. I think she is catching on and getting more comfortable trying to speak English. This is the most she has spoken the entire time she has been here! I love it!

Baking, Babies, and Bicycles

We had lots of baking going on this morning. Franklin made cinnamon muffins, Lauren made blueberry muffins, and Nastia made banana bread, which she ended up not liking too much. They all had fun baking together, though, so it made it all worth it.
Nastia had the most fun playing with her baby dolls today. She set up this little shopping cart we have like a stroller with pillows and blankets and toys attached. The shopping cart is for a 2-3 year old, so she is quite tall for it, but she had such a great time. She acts a little embarrassed when I watch her play with the dolls, but I just smile and tell her what a great job she is doing.
Roger's Aunt Millie and Uncle Reuben gave us a Nastia-sized bike today and Nastia was thrilled! I moved the seat up to the correct height and off she!
Tomorrow I will take Nastia to the eye doctor. We talked about it a little last night and she seemed to understand. I tried to call her chaperon today, so we could talk about what to expect tomorrow, but we haven't been able to get in touch with her. Hopefully we will be able to talk to her tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What a great...and really difficult day?!

So, do you want the good news, or the bad news first? Let's start with the good!
Nastia is amazing as always! My voice is still in and out, so I decided not to teach school today. Lauren and Nastia went outside with a large dry-erase board and decided to do school on their own. It was so cute! Nastia would write math problems for Lauren and then in the blue squares to the right of each problem she would put a check mark if they were correct, or an X if they were wrong. They sat out there for a long time!
This afternoon Lauren got out her dolls and I was surprised to see Nastia playing with them. She has been right at her age level for maturity, which we were not expecting, and know that most 12 year olds would not play with dolls, but I was happy to see her enjoy it. And she didn't really play with them the way Lauren did. It was almost as though she just wanted to do it because she had never had the chance before. It was really special to see her live out a period of life as a little girl that perhaps she missed.
Tonight she had a lot of fun playing outside, but the fun had to end because everyone was dirty and sweaty and needed baths! Roger's mom came over as I was getting the little boys in bed, so she did my dishes for me (Isn't that wonderful?!), and then all of us girls sat at the table and played Uno. It was a lot of fun.
When it was time for the girls to go to bed I sent Lauren to brush her teeth and walked Nastia into her room for goodnight kisses. Lauren and Nastia switched beds last night, so Nastia climbed up to the top bunk, snuggled in, swept her bangs off her forehead and waited for her kiss. So sweet! I went to get Lauren, so she could get to bed and she took off running into the room, and up the ladder to the top bunkbed as fast as she could and right on top of Nastia. She was stunned, and shocked, and wondering what in the world was going on until she realized that was Nastia beneath her. We all laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face. It was hilarious to see Lauren's and Nastia's expressions of shock!
And then the bad...It has nothing to do with Nastia! Aren't you happy to hear that? Our van has been having problems the past few weeks and has been in the shop twice. If you read my last post you may remember that we barely made it home last night. So, the van went to a different shop today...and then it was bad...the engine is burned up. The van is 12 years old, so it is not worth it to replace the engine. We need a new van. We were not expecting this right now, but God knows our need, and we trust that He will direct us to the perfect van for our family. Still, I'm a little bummed. And then, this afternoon I noticed that hot air was coming from the vents in our house. may have guessed it...something was wrong with our air conditioner...again. We just got something fixed on it last month, so this was very frustrating to have something else go wrong. I had a good cry and a little "woe is me pity party" this afternoon, but I got over it, the air conditioner is fixed...almost $400 later...we will find a new van...and life will go on. It is what it is.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A very

We left the house at 9:00 this morning (15 minutes late!), went to Roger's parents house to pick up Ari and Franklin, and drop off Ian and Miles, and switch out vans. Our van has been overheating after being taken to the shop twice, so I didn't feel comfortable driving it 45 minutes! We met our new friends and had a great time walking around and seeing the animals. We decided to take a break and go to our vans to grab our picnic lunch and had a nice lunch in the wonderful shade. The kids couldn't wait to play in the splash park, so we applied a second coat of sunscreen and headed to the water. They loved it! Nastia really enjoys the water and isn't afraid of it getting in her face at all. She came over periodically just to "check in," I would ask her if she was done and she would shake her head no, and head back to the water. After a long time at the splash park everyone got fairly dry and we went to ride the train. All of the kids were really excited about it! Nastia stood up on the train a few times to look back at me with a huge smile on her face.
On the way back to grandma's to pick up the little guys we stopped for an ICEE, which is always a hit. Cherry is Nastia's favorite! We picked up the little guys, switched out vans again and headed home. I had to pull off of the highway because the van was overheating and making this jerking action. Not good! I finally decided to take off again, but had a hard time keeping the van started. Nastia was watching all of this, but didn't seem to care. We had to pull off the road a second time and then I began praying and begging God to just get us home. Roger was at least 45 minutes away and we were still too far away to walk home. I was getting really nervous. The van was not running well at all and I was so afraid it was going to die and not restart. Then, the rpm's would not go up. Let me just say that I have never been so thankful to get HOME!!! The van is back to the shop tomorrow!
After we got home Nastia helped me get everything out of the van. I'm not sure how many times I can say what a great helper she is!!! It was time to fix dinner, but I was still hot, and not feeling great and not feeling too excited about cooking. I decided to fix grilled cheese, and Nastia never left my side. I let her butter the bread and then she cut the sandwiches as they came off the griddle. She served everyone their plates, but Franklin came home from the zoo with a fever and earache, so he decided not to eat. She had no problem eating his sandwich, too! She really liked the grilled cheese! Of course, we had fruit and juice and I was shocked as she grabbed the orange slices to help herself tonight. That was great!
She just got out of her bubble bath. She got to take a bubble bath last night, too and really enjoyed it. When I asked her tonight if she wanted a bubble bath she said, "YES!" with a sparkle in her eye!
Nastia just let me know that she needs to cut her toenails! She and Lauren want to repaint toenails and fingernails before they go to bed, so I am off to help the girls!
Thank you to our new friends for joining us today!!! We had a great time and look forward to seeing you again very soon!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Very short post

I am a bit under the weather, so I am going to keep this really short.

Please pray for us tomorrow as we go meet with a prospective family for Nastia. Keep in mind that this is still a hosting program, so she still has to go back to Latvia, and they will have to go through the entire adoption process of compiling a dossier, but you have to start somewhere, so...tomorrow we meet! Nastia has no idea, nor can we give her any idea, but I definitely want this family to be familiar to her if they are able to go to Latvia to add her to their family!

And a quick note about Nastia...I didn't realize how much I did around the house until she came! She is such a big help!!! She LOVES to help! If I start cleaning she is quick to get up and start helping. It's the same with fixing meals. She wants to help, and she wants to serve all of the plates. She is an amazing girl!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I never thought...

*tissue alert* I cried as I typed this, so I'm giving fair warning!

Just being honest...
Roger and I have talked about adoption for the past two years. We have stepped forward a few times, but the door has always shut. We have always considered adopting a child with special needs. We have viewed the children's pictures on numerous times. I have never considered adopting an older child for many reasons. I didn't think we should adopt out of birth order. Older children have already been through so much. I wasn't sure we could deal with all of the issues...especially if we have younger children.

I was really excited to bring Nastia here, but I never thought that I would fall in love with her so hard. I never thought that she would fit in so perfectly with our family. I never thought Lauren could adjust so easily to having an "older" sister. I never thought I could love a complete stranger so quickly, and so completely. I never thought that I would think of her as my daughter. My children are quick to love others, but I thought she would get on their nerves at some point and they would ask when she was leaving. I guess I thought that she would get on my nerves at some point and it wouldn't be so hard to see her go as long as I knew someone could adopt her and she wouldn't end up alone. I never thought that she would be so "normal" and that we wouldn't deal with a lot of issues in the five weeks she is with us. I never thought I would feel this empty spot in my heart when I think about her leaving. I never thought I would dread the empty spot at our table when she is gone. I never thought I would feel this pit in my stomach as I think about waving goodbye to her at the airport. I never thought it would be so hard to let her go.

Do we want to adopt her? Absolutely! How could we not want to adopt her? Are we the family God has for her? We're not so sure. There are so many obstacles in the way. We are expecting a baby in December. The election for State House is August 24, and if Roger wins it will be next to impossible to go to Latvia for 2 weeks, and then make two more trips back to complete the adoption. Do we have the money? Absolutely not! We have nothing extra right now. I know that nothing is impossible with God, but maybe this is another closed door. Maybe God was using us to bring awareness to the 143,000,000 million orphans in the world...and one specific little girl who is so easy to love. Maybe God used us to bring others to a desire to host, or even adopt. Maybe God is using us to introduce Nastia to her forever family.

There is a family who is very interested in adopting her. Although we do not know them personally, we do know that they are very similar to our family, and very excited at the idea of possibly adding Nastia to their family. We know they would love her dearly...forever! I can't give any specifics yet, but please pray that God opens and closes the correct doors, and that everyone involved would heed to His will. As much as I want to be Nastia's forever mom, I know that the most important thing is that she be with the forever family God intends for her. And we are very excited for this prospective family!

Too busy to blog last night

Sorry for no post last night. It was a late night!
We just hung out for the morning, and then after lunch Roger got out the blow-up pool again. This is always a hit! Nastia splashes and jumps around and runs and jumps in the pool. We need to get her back to a bigger pool to see how she reacts now. I think she will be much more comfortable.
After swimming everyone needed a shower, clean clothes, and hair fixed so we could go to Roger's campaign fundraiser. He played Bluegrass last night and Nastia seemed to enjoy it. She stood there with a smile on her face the whole time. I can tell that she is much more comfortable with us because she is more comfortable in public now.
We didn't get home until about 8:30, so I had to get all six kids ready for bed before our babysitter arrived at 9:00. Roger and I went to his class reunion from about 9:30-11:00. I was okay with leaving Nastia with a babysitter because I knew she would be sleeping! So, I gave goodnight kisses, and left the girls to drift off into sweet dreams!
Meals: I think she ate four bowls of cereal for breakfast! We had our regular sandwiches, fruit and chips for lunch, and then she wanted nothing to do with the BBQ, mac-n-cheese, or baked beans for dinner, so she ate bread, and then had a snack before bed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The end of week 2...already???

Isn't this a great picture!? Nastia is going to be a wonderful mother someday! She can't wait until I get Ian out of bed each morning, she wants to get him out of his car seat if we go somewhere, she wants to push him in the stroller, and then today she wanted to get him out of the stroller, so we watched her carefully as she got him out and carried him gently into the house. She is amazing! Then tonight he sat at her feet begging for her yogurt, so I put him in his high chair, got him some yogurt, but came back to find Nastia sitting in my chair so SHE could feed him. She did a great job! "Babies" seemed a little strange to her when she first got here, but I think she has found a new love in life! I've always had that love, too!
It cracks me up that I can say, "Nastia..." and she will say, "What?" She was cracking up at me last night because I said, "Holy cow!" She thought that was SO funny and repeated me while laughing. I don't think I have ever mentioned how cute her accent is!
She wanted to sit on my lap again today. No problem there! She also walked around the house for a little while without shoes on. That is certainly new for her! She wiped her bangs away from her forehead again tonight, so I could kiss her goodnight. She is loving it here!!! She follows me around the house a lot, and always wants to help. She is such a good girl!
We had to do our weekly update for New Horizons again. Let me tell you...this girl can eat!!! She gained two pounds in the past week! Yes, she has had a little bit of candy, and popsicles, but mostly she just eats a lot! My fruit supply from earlier in the week is already gone! She always eats a good dinner, but always wants something to eat before she goes to bed. I know it is unusual for her to be able to eat as much as she wants, and to have snacks, so I am happy she has the opportunity. We have had absolutely no problems with gorging or hoarding food. That is a blessing!
I had decided when I started this blog that I would mostly share the good, but would be willing to share just a little of the bad, so anyone considering adopting her would be informed. And now, I have to admit that there just hasn't been anything bad. I haven't sugar-coated anything! What you read each day is exactly the way it is! It really is that good! At this point, she really is that good!
I want to report that an eye doctor has willingly (and with joy!) offered to not only check Nastia's vision, but to do a very full and thorough exam of the health of her eyes, too. I will have a post about this later, but I want to thank everyone who tried to help us find an eye doctor for her. There were a lot of people who really stepped up and wanted to help! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting some more cuddles

We homeschool our children, so we have added Nastia into the routine. We do not take the Summer off because our children are very young and we have found that taking a long break isn't so good for our routine, and the kids tend to forget a lot, too. And, if we do year-round school then we can take breaks all throughout the year.
This morning Nastia joined right in. She sang the ABC's with us, counted to 20, said the days of the week, and all of the months. I think she really enjoys it. I love having her be a part of it!

Food: She ate THREE bowls of cereal this morning. I will be weighing her tomorrow for our weekly update for New Horizons and would be shocked if she hadn't gained any weight! For lunch she ate a turkey sandwich, a lot of fruit, and a lot of chips. For dinner she ate mostly fruit, and then she had yogurt, swiss rolls and a cereal bar before she went to bed. I am certainly not complaining! I'm so glad she is eating!

She got to play outside this afternoon. She and Lauren decided to go play Uno in the backyard. It was HOT! She came inside with red cheeks. I was on the computer and she just stood next to me watching me type. Finally, I looked over at her and she just stared at me. So, I grabbed her waist, spun her around, and plopped her down on my lap. I expected her to be stiff and to only stay for a few minutes, but instead she leaned back into me. Let me tell you....that melted this mama's heart! Then Lauren decided she wanted in on the fun, so she came and sat on Nastia's lap. Franklin took the picture of all three of us together. When I showed Nastia the picture she said, "Awwww..." I finally had to make her get up because my legs were going to sleep!

Tonight as I was reading a story to my two oldest before they went to bed she sat right next to me, leaning into my arm, and listened to the entire story. At one point she put her arm up on the back of the sofa. It was like she wanted to put her arm around me, but wasn't sure quite what to do.

When I put her and Lauren in bed tonight she moved her bangs (which I trimmed this evening, along with 4 little boy's haircuts, too...Phew!), so I could kiss her on the forehead and she told me goodnight. I blew each of the girls a kiss as I walked out of the room, and without missing a beat she blew one right back to me. I never expected it to be this good.

Helping those who need help

I just have to say that if a doctor is not willing to donate his services to help an orphan then that is a doctor I will never go to, and have no problem telling others (if asked) not to go to that doctor either. There are two groups of eye doctors who have already said they will not donate their services to Nastia. This infuriates me! This is a child...who has nothing...not even a family...and they are not willing to give 15 minutes of their time. I'll let God deal with them!
I'm still waiting to hear from a third doctor. We'll see what she says...

If anyone in our area knows of a kind eye doctor who may be willing to donate their services please talk to them and then let me know.

And let me just give kudos again to Dr. Brian Baker for being a wonderful servant, and not only cleaning, and taking x-rays, and examining, but for also being willing to fix any problems she may have!!! Please consider giving your business to him!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wild times and boo boo's and progress

Roger was able to be home tonight (Yeah for us!!!), so he got out the blow up pool for the kids. Miles and Ian have fevers, so I took them out for a little ride. If you read about Nastia and her fear of water a few posts back you understand my concern about getting out even a little pool. Well, when I pulled out her bathing suit she got so excited! Giddy even! I know she was expecting to go back to Aunt Becky's pool, but she was just fine with our little pool. When I got home she was running through the yard like a little wild child and jumping into the pool. She was the last one out of the pool. A future swimmer, indeed!

Lauren and Nastia were playing a card game tonight when Lauren came out to tell me Nastia's leg was bleeding. I came in to check on her and she had a little boo boo on her leg. I came in to get some medicine and a bandaid, she followed me, and then followed me again back to the bedroom so I could be Dr. Mom. Whatever medicine they put on her in Latvia must burn because she said, "Ouch!" when I put the medicine on, but then realized that it didn't hurt. After we got the cheetah bandaid on she began looking all over her legs for more boo boo's. Too funny! She pointed at a little bitty spot on her knee and said, "Ouch!" I could see she really liked the gentle attention she was getting. So, she chose a zebra bandaid and we put medicine on, and the bandaid while she looked for more boo boo's, but just couldn't find any.

She got to talk to her chaperon again today. We were told that she really likes it here, and she thinks we are really nice, and she is really happy. That makes me really happy!
I sat down on the sofa next to Nastia today and held up the camera to take a picture of us together. She leaned right over to me and put her head against mine! Yes, you read that correctly! And then she just stayed there...leaned up next to my arm. Awwwww... She actually hugged Lauren back a little today and take a look at the picture of Nastia and Miles where they are holding hands. She didn't pull away! She is getting used to a little bit of cuddles!
And then...when I went in to tell her goodnight...get ready for a few tears...she pushed her bangs away in preparation for her goodnight kiss on the forehead. I could tell she was ready! What an awesome little girl! When I told her goodnight she smiled as brightly as ever and looked straight in my eyes and said, "Goodnight." How could anyone not love this little girl?!

I wonder... long Nastia has lived in an orphanage.
...why she does not live with her parents.
...if any of her caregivers ever hug and kiss her.
...who taught her to brush her teeth or how to fix her hair. she could be so great despite her lot in life.
...if she wants a family...not all orphans want to be adopted.
...what her school is like.
...if her mom, or dad ever miss her.
...if anyone has ever told her "I love you."
...if anyone has ever tucked her into bed at night.
...if anyone has ever told her how proud they are of her.
...if anyone has ever told her she is beautiful.

I sat in church at our VBS program a few weeks ago and looked around at all of the beaming parents, and realized how proud I was of my own children, and then became overwhelmed with sadness for Nastia. Has she ever smiled back at the face of a beaming parent in the crowd? Has she ever felt truly loved by someone she loves? It burdens me even more for the 143,000,000 million orphans who need the love of a mom and dad. I will ask once again... What can you do? Something to pray about...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Still lovin' on our girl

This morning was busy with phone calls for me, so the kids got to play (ie make a mess) around the house and play outside. We did make a quick trip out for donuts this morning, which is an extra special treat for our kids, and for Nastia, too. She loved her donut! Donuts were a snack, but for breakfast we had yogurt and cereal bars. Nastia loves this!
For lunch we had some leftovers, but Nastia mostly ate fruit and apple bread. We still aren't pushing her if she doesn't like something. I was convinced that she wasn't going to like dinner, but she ate it all and said she liked it. It was a Hamburger Helper Cheesy Enchilada dish with rice in it. And, of course, we had fruit, too!
This afternoon the kids took their crayons and colored pencils and notebooks outside to color for a while. After a while they got too hot, so they were back inside. Lauren and Nastia got to play a few games on the computer. They had so much fun doing this together.
After dinner we went to, Lauren, Franklin, and Nastia. She was so excited to go that she went out to the van before I was even ready to go! She got to pick out a bead kit to make bracelets. I'm going to ask her to make bracelets for her friends at home. She was excited to look at all of the groceries, and kept trying to read my list to me. ;-) She is so super cute!!! She helped me put all of the groceries up on the belt, and then loaded up her arms to bring the bags in when we got home. She is very helpful and takes great pride in helping me!
She is starting to voice her opinion a little. She told Lauren "no" today when Lauren started to do something on the computer that she didn't want to do. She told Franklin "no" tonight when he tried to help her push the cart. She was nice about it, and I was happy to hear her voice her opinion.
We bought Kerplunk at Walmart and that was a big hit with all of the kids.
Nastia was sitting on the sofa working on a word search puzzle, so I went over to sit by her and work with her on the puzzle. Their wasn't much room right next to her, so I expected her to scoot over...but she didn't! This is HUGE! Nastia does not care for physical touch. I don't know if this is a cultural thing, or if it is a Nastia thing, or if she just hasn't been taught, but the kids will hug her and she will not hug back. I try to pat her leg, or back, or arm, or give her a side hug here and there each day, but it is never reciprocated. So...the fact that she sat right next to me and didn't move was a giant step for her.
And now it is time for goodnight kisses! I never thought I would love this little girl this much! She is truly special and I feel so blessed that God has given us the opportunity to bring her into our home, and hopefully into her forever home in the future. God is good!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A funny thought...

Speaking louder...and more Nastia will not make her understand you any better. So many people have done this when I have told them she does not speak English and it cracks me up.

She speaks Russian. It does not matter how loud, or how slowly you speak...she still will not understand you.

I've even caught myself doing this a few times! Oops! I think it's funny!

Two-day update

Yes, that is blue in her hair! We did blue streaks of hair spray for the kids for the 4th of July!

Sorry for no post yesterday. Here is the reason why:
1) church and then lunch at church
2) home, Roger played outside with the non-napping kids...I took a nap!
3) swimming at Aunt Becky's house (more on that later)
4) dinner at Grandma and Granddaddy's
5) Fireworks...that eventually got cancelled...and then all 6 kids in bed after 10...and one tired mom.
So, as for yesterday:
She ate two pancakes, wouldn't touch the bbq sandwiches or hot dogs at church, but really enjoyed *chips* (need I say her favorite again???) and desserts, tried a chicken leg for dinner, but didn't care for it, but loved all of the fruit, dill pickles and boiled eggs. I nudged her to try rice krispie treats even though she didn't want to...and she LOVED them!
Once again, church was not a typical service because of the 4th, so she probably thinks our church services are very weird. Maybe next week will be "normal."
Swimming--She told me on the plane with the help of her Russian to English translation book that she was afraid of water, did not want to go swimming, and was afraid she would drown. We were sensitive to this when we took her to the pool. We have no idea why she is fearful of water. Maybe she saw someone drown? Maybe she came close to drowning? Maybe it is just an unknown to her? She wanted nothing to do with it when we got to the pool, but I asked her to come sit on the side and put her feet on the first step. She complied. A few minutes later I talked her into standing on the next step, which was about knee deep. She complied...with reservations. And then I talked her into coming down to the next step that was about waist deep. Again...reservations...holding my hands tightly...but she did it!!! She stood there for a few minutes and then got out. A few minutes later she was working herself back down the steps and I was able to convince her that she could stand on the bottom without her head going under. And by the end...she stayed where her feet could touch the bottom, which is what I prefer, but she kicked around with a noodle, blew bubbles in the water, and had a great time! We had to make her and Lauren get out of the pool, so we could go eat dinner! I am so proud of her!!!
Today I took her to the dentist! I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU TO DR. BRIAN BAKER IN TITUSVILLE, FL!!!!! Dr. Baker is donating his services to Nastia! Her teeth are far better than I imagined. We thought she may need a lot of work, and Dr. Baker was willing to do all of it at no expense to us, but instead she only has a few minor things that need to be taken care of, which, once again, he will donate his services to her. If anyone in this area is looking for a dentist please consider going to Dr. Baker.
We had sandwiches at grandma's for lunch. Nastia ate her sandwich and lots of fruit. For dinner we had leftover pizza and fruit. She stood at my side as I fixed dinner and then served everyone their plates and drinks. I could tell that she really wanted to help. She loves to play with the kids, but she always comes looking for me to see where I am. I love the bonding we have found, and I love the fact that she feels somewhat close to me...maybe it's comfort more than closeness.
After dinner it was time to go play outside. She did the usual...rode Lauren's bike, rode the scooter, pushed Ian in his stroller, and loved being outside.
Lauren and Nastia were playing Uno, but Nastia has asked for something to eat, which she has never asked for before, so I will gladly comply! Soon it will be time for bright eyes, a face that lights up, a kiss on the forehead, and an "I love you." It's one of my favorite parts of the day because I can see how special it is to her.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The ZOO...finally!

We have had sick little ones this past week, so it has been difficult to get out to do anything fun. I think we were all tired of sitting in the house, so we decided to get out for a little while this morning...even though I still have one little one who still isn't feeling well.

This morning we drove out to the nature preserve and walked around on the boardwalk nature trail. The kids loved it! It was cloudy, so it wasn't too hot. We didn't see many birds, or other animals, but everyone had fun pointing out every spider web and spider they could see...including Nastia. Halfway through, Nastia decided she wanted to push Ian in his stroller. This worked out very well because I ended up carrying my sick three year old.
After the nature preserve we drove back by the river. Large bodies of water must be a "first" for Nastia. She was amazed at the river.
We made a quick stop at 7-11 for Icee's and then went to the produce market. We had fruit for lunch and Nastia ate three plates completely full of fruit, and three pieces of apple bread. This girl can eat!!! I love it! She never asks for more food, or takes anything, so I always make sure to continue offering until she says she is done.
We have to give weekly reports to New Horizons, so this morning I had to weigh and measure Nastia. She is 72 pounds and 4'7". She seemed to think it was perfectly normal for me to weigh and measure her, so maybe this is something she is accustomed to.
She spent more time playing outside this afternoon, we ate a quick dinner of more fruit and corn dogs, which she did not like at all, and then we added some chips. I can't remember if I have posted about chips before but...Nastia LOVES chips!!! Really! She really, really LOVES chips! Plain ol' potato chips are her favorite.
Starting this weekend the Brevard Zoo is offering free Saturday evening admission from 5-9pm. With the cloud cover I knew it wouldn't be terribly hot, and Roger was already in the area, so I asked him to meet me at the zoo to take home the two little guys since Miles wasn't feeling well, and Ian would need to get to bed at a decent time. We all walked around together for a little while, but Miles was really not feeling well, so he needed to get home. I stayed with Nastia, Lauren, Franklin, and Ari. We had so much fun! I think the Zoo is another "first" for Nastia. There were so many Oh's and Ahhhh's and Wow's and Wook! (Look!) and complete excitement. She isn't giddy, mind you, but she can show excitement easily.
And now, everyone is in bed. I hear Nastia and Lauren giggling, so I think they need some mama attention! We've already done our goodnight kisses, so it is time for sleep!

Friday, July 2, 2010

One week ago...

...I picked up Nastia at the Atlanta airport. I was nervous, and exhausted, and so excited to start this journey. She was a champ! She was shy, but sweet.
And now...she already feels like part of our family. She loves to play with our children, and help me cook and clean off the table. She LOVES to play outside and ride Lauren's bike, and push Ian in the stroller, and ride a scooter. She laughs and plays and seems so happy! She says, "Yes, please, " and "Thank you," and she knows us all by name. She understands English a little more. The language barrier doesn't seem to bother her too much.
She still isn't fond of hugging, so there are times when I have to tell my kids to give her a break, but I still make it a point to go up and pat her on the back, or give her a quick side-hug here and there. She still loves going to bed at night and getting a kiss on the forehead and an "I love you." She always has the biggest smile on her face when I leave her room.
She can be a big eater at times. This morning she ate a bowl of oatmeal, a banana, and two cereal bars, then yogurt for a snack a few hours later. We had a picnic at the park with pizza and breadsticks. She ate two pieces of pizza, and a few breadsticks. For dinner she ate Raman noodles, several pieces of homemade cheesy bread that she helped me make, and then homemade cinnamon bread for dessert. And then, of course, she was back outside to play.
She and Lauren were elated tonight when we allowed them to share a room. Nastia was so excited that she literally jumped up and down. I had no idea what this would mean to her!
Overall, I think she had a really fun day!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another great day

Nastia enjoyed her word search puzzles this morning, and we decided to paint this afternoon. She works so diligently on her paint-by-numbers. It wasn't terribly hot today, so everyone got to play outside a lot. She was cracking me up this afternoon. The kids were playing in the backyard and I went out to check on them and I heard her squealing about every 30 seconds. The kids were collecting frogs, and every time she would find one she would squeal. Lauren and Franklin followed the squeals to find the frogs! Nastia does not care for frogs! Neither do I!
We got on Google Translate this afternoon, so I could ask her some questions. I asked her if she liked Florida and she lit up and said yes. I'm so glad she is happy here. I told her I wished we could talk more and she agreed, but when I asked her if it was hard to not be able to talk to us she said "no" very confidently. Maybe it's more difficult for me than it is for her. (?)
We taught her how to play UNO this afternoon. That was a hit! She loved it, so she and I played after the kids went to bed, and then Roger joined us for a game when he got home.
Nastia is a really good helper. She is always quick to help me with whatever I am doing. She cleaned off the table before lunch today...and I didn't even ask. She will pick up toys off the floor without being asked. She even helped me load the dishwasher tonight. I am constantly impressed by her.
She wanted to push Ian in his stroller again this evening. She would stop every now and then and get in his face and smile. He would babble and she would nod her head just like we do. After I changed him and put him to bed tonight she was standing by his crib making him giggle while I got everyone else ready for bed. She didn't pay much attention to him when she first got here, but now I think she really likes him. He, obviously, likes her, too!
After I told her it was time for bed she went in to brush her teeth and then she crawled into bed. I went in to tell her goodnight and as I walked in the door she giggled. I think she was excited about her goodnight kiss on the forehead, eye-to-eye contact, and love. Today was a very good day!


I know I should check on flights to get Nastia back to Atlanta so she can fly home August first but...

I really don't want to! I hate thinking about her going back and not being here. She has to go back. It is what it is...I don't have to like it, though.