Tuesday, December 15, 2015


We've had some super nice weather for December. We were able to go to the botanical gardens last week to see their Christmas trees from around the world. 

It was so nice we took a little stroll outside.

Everyone had a great time, but the little girls especially. Ally loves being the big sister. She loves that she can now walk and Sophie has to ride in the stroller. Sophie loves riding in the stroller and just loves getting out. At home she will always get excited when she sees her coat and shoes and knows we're going out.

What a blessing these girls are. It is such a joy to watch them recover from their hard beginnings. To learn to love and be loved.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

8 Months

I wasn't able to share a lot about Sophia before we finalized our adoption. She was home on a visitor visa and not officially ours, so we couldn't really share her.

Here is the first picture that we ever saw of her. Latvia sent it last year when we asked for the referral of the older girls.

Miracle after miracle occurred to make it possible for us to travel back to Latvia 6 weeks after we'd already spent 3 weeks there. We told God if He made it possible, we'd go.

In March, right before we left, we got these pictures of our little one. Such a sad, sweet face.

God cleared the way. We traveled to Latvia again. We met our sweet girl, waited for her to get out of the hospital, and then scooped her up and never had to leave her again. 

This picture was taken on Sophie's Gotcha Day.

Here she is today. She has been home 8 months and she's doing well. She's much more relaxed and starting to feel a sense of belonging. 

Her adjustment has been so different from Ally's, but she is her own person with her own history that we know very little about. She needs time and love and more time. It's OK, time and love we can do.

We love you, Sophie. We're so thankful to be your family and blessed to have a front row seat to see what God is going to do in your life.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

All Done

We traveled across the ocean one last time. We stayed in Riga, Latvia for 10 days. I have lived over 2 months out of 10 in Latvia this year. Crazy. It began to feel very familiar. Our apartment began to feel like another home.

We had our neighborhood grocery store and our usual items that we purchase there. We used public transportation to go to Old Town and enjoy the beautiful parks and buildings.  It was colder there this time of year than at home. We had several cold, grey days, but we had a couple of beautiful days. Only one of the beautiful days was free of adoption errands, so we were able to enjoy it outside. Sophie had a great time feeding the ducks.

We survived one last trip. The Lord performed a miracle in bringing Sophia into our family. He made a way and gave strength to keep going and see it all done.

Sophia is now officially a member of our family and officially a citizen of the USA.

We have a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Our Sophia

Jeff traveled to Latvia in August with two of our older sons. Only Jeff needed to show up for court. All went well and our adoption was approved. Sophia Elizabeth is the newest member of our family.

Sophie's adoption adjustment hasn't been as quick as Ally's was. She was fed better than Ally was, but spent a lot more time in a crib. When she came to us, she couldn't walk. She would spend a lot of time zoned out, staring at her hand.

She is doing better and better...slow but steady progress. She is a sweet little dumpling and we all love her so much. It breaks our hearts that she keeps so locked away, but the moments we see her real personality peek out are all the more special.

Rachel and I will travel back to Latvia with Sophia in a couple of weeks to finish things up and get her immigrant visa so that when she comes back home, she'll be an official American. Exciting stuff.

Like all stories of orphans becoming loved members of famlies, Sophias story is a miracle. Each day, I think of how easy it would be for her to still be sitting for hours and hours in a crib. Instead, she's here. She's walking and learning to play and learning to be loved. Amazing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Small Update

I have a lot of pictures to share once Sophia is officially ours and we can share her sweet face and share more about her.

We're having a good summer and hopefully will get news on when we travel back to Eastern Europe to have court and then one last time to finish up Sophia's adoption.

Sophia is settling in well. She wasn't walking when we brought her home and she's walking really well now. She is making slow, but steady, progress in many areas. 

She had her birthday a couple weeks ago. She had presents and cake and had a very great day.

When we brought Sophia home she would not show interest in toys or play at all. She really liked her new doll. She showed a lot of interest in her face and hands and feet. Her big sister, Rachel, also got her a huge balloon that she loved. 

It was so hard to leave Ally in between trips, and it seems like a miracle to have had Sophia here with us during this time, but we will be happy to complete all the steps and have her adoption complete.

I'll update more soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sophia and Ally Update

We've had Sophia for about a month now and we've been home with her for 2 weeks. The time is going by so quickly.

Everyone loves Sophia and she fits in really well. Just like Ally did, she has to learn what it means to be in a family. She is a pretty easy little one though. She eats and sleeps well.

Because her adoption is not complete...we cannot show identifying pictures of her cute face. You'll just have to trust me how super adorable she is.

Sophie doesn't really know how to play with toys or interact with other children. She puts everything in her mouth and that is about the extent of her playing with toys at this point. She loves all the big kids who can hold her and carry her around. She loves hugs and attention.

She is also learning to walk. She walks around furniture and takes several steps alone if she can walk back and forth between two people. That's one of the few things that makes her smile and laugh.

She has been to the doctor and he said she seems pretty healthy. Priorities for her health right now are getting some blood work done and getting her eyes checked. Poor little one doesn't see well and that can affect all areas of her development, so we want to get that checked out right away.

Ally doesn't interact with Sophia too much yet. She is sympathetic and concerned if she cries or needs anything. She will pick up something if she drops it, or bring her cup to her if she needs it.

Unlike, Sophia, toys are very important to Ally so she doesn't always like to share. She collects toys to keep out of Sophie's reach. Today she was on the deck with Sophie, and Ally built a little fort all by herself to sit inside with some things she wanted to keep safe. So smart and so cute!

Ally hiding in the fort she built

Ally seems really big to us all of sudden. Her skills and signing have made big improvement recently. It's been good for us to see her as the big girl that she is. Ally is enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

Going down the biggest slide at the park by herself!

Pretty Ally in her George shirt that Big Sister bought her.

It is amazing to see Ally's progress. It encourages us to look forward to all the progress Sophia will make as she settles in and as she learns to love and be loved.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


We are here in Eastern Europe once again. Unlike last time, things are going great. Much better than we could have hoped.

Our new little one is staying with us. She is such a nice little girl. It is obvious that she's been better cared for than Ally was. She's been well fed and at least loved a little. Still, she's spent 3 1/2 years in an orphanage and that is never without consequences.

Everyone we have met on this trip has been kind and positive and supportive. We have one more orphan court and then hopefully we will get to bring her home on a visitor visa.

We are going to name our new little one Sophia Elizabeth.

I won't be able to share her sweet face publicly until our adoption is complete....and that will not be for another 6 months. Unlike having to leave Ally in Bulgaira, which was terrible, this country allows children to travel home with their families while the adoption is completed. That is worth a lot to us...we can wait to share identifying pictures.

Here are a few pictures from her orphanage and our first days together.

We can't wait for the rest of the family to meet her. We feel so blessed to be part of this. It will be amazing to watch her settle in and get comfortable and open up and show us more of her sweet little personality. We're looking forward to watching her grow and learn.

We appreciate prayers as we finish up and wait to travel home.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Trusting Him

We leave in a few days to travel across the ocean once more. We know where we're going this time. We were there several weeks ago...feeling discouraged and defeated...feeling sad and homesick.

Where we are now seems so surreal. Going back. Another chance. What we thought was the end of the story wasn't the end. One thing has been made so clear. We're not the ones writing the story. The Bible says that our hearts plan our ways, but God directs our steps.

When we got home we prayed and told the Lord that we really needed things to be clear before we could step out again. He answered our prayers. We have seen the path open up before us. We have seen miracles happen and things fall into place that didn't seem possible.

So, we are going back. Going to meet a little girl who we hope God has planned from the beginning to be our daughter.

A couple months ago, when everything seemed to be falling apart, He whispered to my heart "Do you still trust Me?".

We do still trust Him. We're learning to follow even when things don't seem to make sense, because little by little it will become clear and we will see the whole story. It's an amazing story beyond what we could have imagined. It is a beautiful story, even the sad parts, because He is writing it and He is caring for each one of us.

I can't wait to see what happens next.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Going Back Again

When we got back from Latvia, we were asked by our agency if we would consider going back to adopt another child. Back in November the ministry had sent the photo and information for a 3 year old girl with Down syndrome and a heart defect. At that time, we said that we were committed to traveling to meet the older girls.
After our trip, not only were we worn out and discouraged, but we thought it would not be possible because of time and money to go back. However, God began speaking to our hearts and within just a few weeks, every single obstacle was removed and resolved. It was nothing short of miraculous to watch the impossible become possible.
Yesterday, we received a new referral from Latvia and were told by our agency to let them know when we wanted to plan our trip. So, yes...we're going back!
We feel confident that this will be a good fit for everyone. All of this little girl's special needs are things we have experience with and she's just a little older than Ally when we brought her home.
We are still sad about how the first part of our adoption worked out. We are not adopting this little one instead of the older girls. We're adopting this little one instead of adopting no one. We came face to face with what we could not do and we had to decide if we were going to let that keep us from doing what we can do. With God's help, we want to keep going.
We're looking forward to sharing the rest of the story.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sad news

Our current adoption story does not have a happy ending.

We will not be adopting either one of the girls we set out to adopt. Adopting older children is very complex and filled with so many unknowns. So many things that we didn't know...we know now.

Had the choices all been ours, had we had the power to make the outcome what we would not be ending this way.

I will not be going into all of the details here on my blog. It's one thing to be open about struggles you have with your own children, but these are not our children. They deserve to not have their personal issues discussed publicly.

I do understand that there are families considering adopting older children who could benefit from knowing some of the potential issues so they can make prepared decisions. I would be happy to share through e-mail if it could help someone.  My e-mail is

We know that many will not understand this...we don't understand it either. We appreciate the ongoing support and prayers of many of our friends and family. God has held us up these difficult weeks.