Thursday, April 28, 2016

Enjoying Life

I am not really planning to keep blogging. I may again, but for now we are just enjoying life. I cannot express how wonderful it is to not be adopting and just be enjoying life at home with our family.

The girls are doing well. They have both come so far and they keep moving forward, learning and growing and overcoming. Ally and Sophie are becoming real sisters. They play and they fight and they are so good for each other. I am so thankful for these two littlest girls of our big family.

The thought of all the children still living the lives that my girls lived, the thought of the girl we personally left behind, it all becomes too much for words. I choke on the words if I try, so for now the words will just be prayers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Still There

Last year when we traveled to meet Sophie, our first stop right from the airport was her orphanage. Upon arriving, we learned that she was not there, but was in the hospital. While we waited for a meeting with the director and doctor, we were invited to tour a group of children.

We walked through a hallway lined with strollers and ended up in a room lined with cribs and playpens. There was a little boy with a tracheotomy who had a lot of personality and was full of smiles. As we walked we came to a playpen where a little girl sat alone. She had blonde hair, and upon bending down to see her face, I could see she had Down syndrome. Sweet little girl. She smiled and seemed to enjoy the brief bit of attention.

Within the week we picked Sophie up from the hospital and although we visited the orphanage many times before leaving the country, we never saw the little girl again. I have thought of her many times over this year though.

Getting to know Sophie, we can guess that she spent a good share of her time, sitting like that little one, alone in a playpen. So as Sophie has learned to be loved, has learned to walk, is learning to play and to communicate...I've thought many times of that little girl. Still there.

I've thought many times of her still sitting there. Alone. Not walking. Not playing. Not being loved. It breaks my heart.

There was recently a little girl with DS listed on Reece's Rainbow who could be the little girl we met. She may not be the same, but either way, she is a little girl just like the one we met...a little girl just like our Sophie before she became our daughter.

The country does not allow pictures and just like Sophie, her description doesn't sound very positive. Sophie is nothing like the description we read about her.

Go HERE to read about the little girl listed as Clara. I'm praying for a family for her.

UPDATE: Friends who adopted from the same country have shared a photo of sweet Clara. She is the same girl we met! The picture can be share privately if anyone is interested in seeing it. In the photos, Clara is sitting up and looks bright eyed and rosy-cheeked.. She does not look anything like her description sounds.

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.