Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haiti adoption

After watching all of the news stories, I thought it may be refreshing to read about an adoption. I am posting the link of a family who we follow each others blogs(If you are reading...Congrats again Cassel family). They have been in the Haiti adoption process for twins for a long time and due to the earthquake was recently able to have the twins come home to their new family. She blogs about it here....
go back to about Jan 17th post. God bless this family!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Well, the time has come to wrap up regular posting on our adoption blog. I will come and post again if I have something significant to post regarding adoption, but I have been thinking about it and have decided to take a (hopefully) short break from blogging and then probably will start a family blog and keep this one forever as the blog of our journey of adoption. I have been thinking about how thankful I am that I have this journal & pics of the last year and a half and so glad that I took the time to do it. I will definitely put our new blog address link on here and hope that those of you that follow along will continue to do so. We have met SOOOOO many wonderful people and adoptive families through the blog! We have been contacted by adoptive families while they are in Ukraine, friends/fam of adoptive families who were concerned for their friend/fam in Ukraine, adoptive families who share similar stories or who have adopted for our children's orphanages, adoptive families with special needs children, and those hoping to is hard to believe the friendships we have made through just blogging. I really want to make a point to say PLEASE continue to contact us at anytime...we love to know other adoptive families or help anyone we can, or just to be praying with you as we have been blessed with great support too!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU to those of you who followed along during our time in Ukraine and supported us, prayed for us, and send words of encouragement through the blog. I dont know what we would have done without being so far from home for so long. We feel that you are apart of this journey we have been on. Thank you to the friends we have made along the way...what a blessing!!!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Catch up from Christmas

It has been a while since I posted. I actually had a computer go out and am now typing from my new computer...still do not have email up if you have sent one lately. Hopefully, by tomorrow it will be running again.

We had a very blessed and peaceful Christmas!
This year we had a live nativity in our yard for one night of Christmas week. I have wanted to do this for several years and this year I mentioned it to a friend who loved the idea and also loves power tools, so she whipped up a little nativity set and I made a sign and then we dressed all our kids up and brought out the Kareoke machine for them to read Luke 2 and sing Christmas songs. They were all so cute and had a blast! We had an outside heater, hot chocolate, and cookies set out for people who stopped by. I expected people to drive by in cars, but had not thought of how many people might walk from around the neighborhood to come watch. Many elderly from around the neighborhood walked over and they made a point to come up to us and say "Thank you so much for doing this" and they would share how much it meant to them...some even with tears in their eyes. One neighbor actually stood on the sidewalk the entire time and just watched the kids and sang with was so sweet. It really made me realize how hungry people really are to see Christ publicly celebrated during Christmas. Grant and Inna asked if it can be a tradition for us and I hope so too! Vitali was a shepherd for about 5 minutes and then just wanted to hang out by the snacks the rest of the time.

I am working on the video of our adoption pictures (the one I had hoped to have by the time the kids were home for a year). Hopefully, I will have it done by next post.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall Fun

The kids got good use of their costumes this year at 3 different events...Inna was a ladybug, Grant was The Incredible Hulk, and Vitali was a fireman...

1st place we went was a party with our homeschool friends...the kids had a blast!!! God has placed some AMAZING friends in our path this year that we LOVE to be with and the best part is some of them live right in our neighborhood and homeschool too! We have been getting together for different things...we are all taking turns having parties at each others house this year (ours is going to be the end of the school year pool party) is our costume party at The Townes home...

They got to roast their own hotdogs...

Sack races:

friends: the new & improved way to bob for apple. This was challenging to Grant with no front teeth :)

Inna and Courtney:

Story time:

Hulk on the mega swing:

Then we went to the APAC Fall Festival at the Whyte's house and Katy(Nancy Drew)and Ella Grace(Dorothy) went with us:

Grant & Jeremy as football players:

The last place we went was the Fall Festival at church.

Also, Grants team had a great football season and won all games. We have to recognize the faithful friends & fam fans that came out on the last game and stood in the rain to watch him play. Thank you meant a lot to him! Here is a pic of those faithful fans(It didnt come out real clear, but it is going on the blog :)...
Vitali, Gracie, Silas, Grant, Inna Beth, Charlotte, Dan,
Tiff, Adam, Papaw, Jason

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

From Grant

Grant wanted to post this time, so this is what he has to say:
Saturday, I am going to an Alabama game...sorry about this if you are an Auburn fan! I think Alabama is at least going to win by 60 points. It is going good at our house, but WILD...but, I still LOVE it! We are doing good in school. Inna and I are doing homeschool and Vitali is in Kindergarten. Life isnt hard, but it aint easy either! Oops, gotta go! Bye and Happy Thanksgiving and most of all ROLL TIDE!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Our typical school week with lots of pics

We have been full force in school. I will start with Vitali...

Um...well...he can't quite say he likes Kindergarten yet. Matter of fact, he normally still tells me that he doesnt like his school when I turn the corner and it is in view. I am not sure if he still really feels that way or if it has become part of his morning routine to say that :) He seems to be enjoying himself when I pick him up though. His teachers have been so patient and great! There have been many challenges at school with him being in Kindergarten this year, but his special ed teacher felt that it would be best if he stay in Kindergarten and learn the routines for this year(which he is doing well...even started walking himself to class this week without special ed teacher) and he hopefully will be more comfortable by next year instead of starting over again. We are all taking it day by day.
Oh, and remember little Vitali that couldnt walk without falling every 2nd step a little over a year ago? Well, as of last week...he is riding his bike WITHOUT training wheels. We are trying to teach him how to stop, but his favorite way is after he has gotten some speed to turn the handle bars and slide the bike like he is sliding into home plate (Those of you who know Vitali...I am sure you can imagine this to be true) He even did a carwheel off the bike while it was moving to get off of it one time. SOOOOO, I am thinking not only do we need to use a helmet with our little stunt man, but also wrap him in bubble wrap before he rides a bike, ha!

Homeschool is going great. Grant and Inna seem to really love it and are so motivated and I am enjoying it also! God has really blessed our homeschool time this year more than I ever imagined! Not that there hasnt been any challenges, but even then, I have not regretted doing homeschool for one second. It seems to be exactly what Inna needed with the one on one teaching...I can already see a difference in her self esteem having school work that is on her level and Grant is thriving in being able to move along at his level. We start our work after breakfast at 8:30 and normally get done around 1:00, sometimes a little later...
So, here is some activities from our typical week...

Monday- homeschool-daytime / Grant football practice- evening

Grant & Inna at homeschool:

Ok, just kidding...this is our real classroom:

Football practice- Daddy is the offensive line coach

Tuesday- homeschool- daytime/ Grant football practive- evening

Inna picks me a bunch of wild flowers and makes an arrangement at almost every football practice :)
Wednesday homeschool- day/ 1:00 Grant electric guitar lesson with Jordan/ 3:30 Inna art class/ 6:15 Church

Grant takes guitar lessons from my nephew (Grant's cousin) the very talented...Jordan(we all meet up at Papaw's church)

While Jordan and Grant have lessons, Inna and Patsy(another cousin)meet up in another room and get to spend time together(usually drawing):
Then off to pick up Vitali and then Inna's art class that she gets to take with one of her sweet friends, Alea Bostic:

While Inna and Alea are at art, we usually hang out with the rest of the Bostic family at our house or the park:
Emme, Olivea, & Grant:
Vitali & Trey:
the momma's: me and Andrea

Thursday- homeschool- day/ 1:00 P.E. with friends riding bikes/scooters at YMCA track/ Grant football practice evening

Football practice- bear crawl:

Friday- We have made Friday field trip day and this has been lots of fun. So far, we have been to The State Capitol, Archives and History Building, Old Alabama Town, etc... Inna especially loved Old Alabama Town because her most favorite show is Little House on The Prarie and it reminded her of that. In the capital, I have a friend that works for the govenor who surprised us by letting us go inside the Govenor's office...she even took a pic of us sitting behind his desk on my cell phone...Grant thought this was cool!

And in the meantime, we have also had...
a lemonade stand
Many nights of Inna playing beauty shop on momma's hair:
Grant's 4 teeth pulled:

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Do you know Him?

I felt that I could not end the regular posting on our adoption blog in the coming posts ahead without sharing first in this post the most important thing of all! Many friends who have previously adopted had told me before we left for Ukraine that the opportunity to adopt is an opportunity to know the heart of our heavenly Father. In the midst of all the challenges, it does not outway the benefits of growing closer to Jesus and understanding him better! We were able to see his hand move in 7 specific ways while in Ukraine (ways where we had specific prayers that seemed a miracle would have to take place for them to be done and all 7 times, he did the impossible in the situation). We also have had the opportunity to learn about unconditional love. We have had people ask us so many questions since adopting and one of the big ones they like to ask is, "Do you feel love at first sight when you first meet the children?" The more I was asked this question, the more I realized that I believe the real question they mean to ask is "Do you feel a bond with this child when you first meet them?" As for the bonding....of course it was not at first sight (I am sure if you asked the kids they would say the same thing)...a true bond takes time, takes building trust, takes getting to know the person, etc... On the other hand, love at the first sight...YES.... UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS A CHOICE...just like in a marriage or any other situation...the choice was made before we even met them that we would purpose to love them unconditionally NO MATTER WHAT and the only way to be able to love others unconditionally is to tap into the unconditional love that our Heavenly Father gives us. So, the bonding has been a process that is happening along the journey, but the love has been there from the beginning!
I have also learned even more about how we are human and are limited in how much we can help someone else. In adopting older children with severe neglect, abuse, and trauma in their past, you learn that there is only so much that being a loving parent can do to bring them out of their past and the strongholds that comes with it. As humans we ARE limited and there will be a need for healing in areas that human ability cannot do. I am so thankful we have been able to lead our children to know the One who can help them at these times....Jesus! We have personally seen with our own eyes over and over, Inna crying out to God for help in specific areas and him bring healing in that area. We have even had a councelor tell us that she has come out of a couple of specific behaviors that in her past situation would have been expected to be struggling with into the adult years (which we already knew that it was God who had brought healing in that area).

I do not know all of the ones who check our blog and I didnt want to take the chance of not sharing this with you in case you do not know Jesus as your Savior. It is such a unbelievable Blessing to be able to live for Jesus and after all we have seen in the past year, there is no way on Earth, I would want anyone to have to live without the peace and blessing of knowing Him! If you do not, I just plead with you to ask him to reveal himself to you or if you want more information about how to become a Christian, you can look up this link for more info
or feel free to email us (email address is on the side of the blog)

Please listen to this below if you get a chance...I have been meaning to put it on the blog for a while (mainly because he mentions Inna and Vitali in his message and I wanted it to be on our blog for our family to always have), but I promise you will be touched if you listen to it...It is the message from the day we were at Grace Fellowship and Pastor Carlton Weathers gave this message on adoption. If you do not have the chance to listen to the whole thing, I would encourage you to forward ahead to the 40 minute mark and at least listen to his story of adopting his daughter from China. We so related to everything he said!! Don't forget to turn off the volume of song at the bottom of page.

Here is the link:

P.S. Since some let me know at a retreat Sat that they have been looking for an update on the blog about homeschooling and how it is going...Well, I went into it with no expectations, except that we would give it a try and all I can truly say that it is going awesome, better than I ever expected! We wake up at 7:00, take Vitali to school, eat breakfast, and get started and the kids are so motivated and are working so hard in all subjects and seem to be loving it! It is exactly what we needed for this year to meet the needs of each child and I couldnt be more thrilled!

From comments: Stephanie Merkel- Believe me (I am not just saying this), just meeting you would make anyone want to are an amazing teenager!! Hope the India adoption process for the newest child is moving along smoothly! If you get a chance, shoot me an email and let me know how it is going...havent been updated on that in a while :)