Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wild Kingdom of a Future

Three Weeks. She has been in our family, and our care for three weeks.

Tonight as we were all trailing down to the pool, with Sveta in tow,  dancing and singing in her Dora the Explorer swimsuit, Peyton looks at us and says "it seems like she has been with us forever..."

Yes, Peyton it does.

We can't imagine life without this little girl.

Three weeks ago we took her out of her home, an orphanage - a "baby house" in Nicolaev, Ukraine. That was a long, long night. Sveta was overwhelmed and cried for an hour or more as I tried to calm her. She eventually calmed and fell asleep, completely drained, in my arms.

We wondered how we would make it through the rest of our life with Sveta. She seemed to want to go back to her "groupa"....how would we make her a part of our family..something we desperately wanted for her..and for us? 

The first weeks have been hard, challenging, adjustments on every level. I have fallen asleep at night wondering what God has asked of us. Will we adjust Lord?


A resounding, overwhelming, with trumpets blaring YES!!!!

But adjustments will come little by little and with more patience than we can muster sometimes. I personally call on the Lord daily for energy ( I am OLD!), wisdom, and for the Lord to continue to use us. Somehow..this happens through our children. Our Peyton, wise beyond his years helps us with adjustments, wisdom and even patience. Ever wonder how siblings will adjust?

Peyton willingly helps out in any way with his little sister. He is helping her to learn to trust her family.

We love this little girl...a love God has placed in our hearts.

She is the sweetest blessing.

I am so thankful for all my children.

Children. It's a wild kingdom around here...but blessings abound.


Her COLOR is better, her SKIN feels different, her HAIR is growing, she is GAINING weight, she SMELLS different...

She is OURS.

She is home.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Adjustment is for life. It's good, bad, and in between. Tonight we had to call security to unlock a door in the condo...why? Sveta had locked it and despite all attempts we couldn't break into the room. What did she do when security arrived?

Grinned her million dollar smile and shrugged her shoulders.

Adoption has changed our lives. It's not for every family...but if you feel the tug...and answer the call...it's a journey of blessings and trial beyond measure. Worth it?


It's a Wild Kingdom of a future....Follow Us There!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yes, Sveta..One mama, One daddy..

Life has been a blur but it is getting easier as we are working on  routine. Sveta thrives on a schedule and she is learning more english - it's funny the first sentence she will say now without prompting is "I love you!" She will say Peyton and Paige's name in her little four year old voice. She says "dada" now for Daddy and sometimes calls me mommy instead of mama.

She is trying new foods and is no longer living on potatoes and bananas. She even tried popcorn last night! We are celebrating every little accomplishment and working on how to handle the times Sveta gets overwhelmed. I can now see it coming and try to avoid being around too many people. We are mostly just staying around the house but Peyton and Paige have gymnastics/crossfit twice a week and Sveta has to go. Usually it's okay but Tuesday there was a clinic at the gym and LOTS of people. I have learned one way Sveta "checks out" and handles overstimulation is by going to the potty every 1.5 seconds. So, we did that alot and I tried to keep her on my lap and quiet. I could see at the end of the hour she was beginning to melt down.....meltdowns for Sveta dont involve tantrums but wildly erratic behavior like running around in circles screaming (not crying) just squealing. Not listening to anyone and running away from me when I tell her no. I could see it coming and tried getting the kids together and out of there before Sveta meltdown occurred.

Sveta is a sweet, affectionate little girl and people observing her will say "oh she is adjusting so well" but I promise you we are very aware of the coping skills Sveta is working on with our help. She is doing the very best she can and IS doing amazing considering what all she is trying to process - her life has been turned upside down.

No child can come through being institutionalized for any length of time unscathed.

There are things Sveta was trying to tell me last night which broke my heart. Without going into detail I will just say I told her she was safe and never had to go back there again. She kissed my face over and over and said " I love you, I love you. one mama, one dada."

Yes, Sveta - ONE mama, ONE daddy.

And we will never let you go.

So...if you know us and see us out understand she has learned to fight for survival, to put on a "happy" face out of necessity for life in an orphanage and that God is continuing to work in our hearts to understand all Sveta is facing. If you have emailed, called, texted or sent message by carrier pigeon know I am just swamped and promise I am not ignoring you. Thank you to the wonderful ladies who have brought us meals! You can't imagine what a blessing this has been as that is the most difficult time of day. My brain is usually fried and I actually accidentally locked the exterminator IN our house today. Yep.

Fun times.

We head to the beach for a while next week and pray our time together with just the five of us will help to create even more bonding. Sveta loves all the attention and loves the water so it should be fun...and busy.

Sweet baby girl...fast asleep...I love her so much. I find myself thanking her birthmother for giving her up. I will never know the circumstances which led Sveta to be left in the hospital but thank God He placed her in our family.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dance Baby Dance

                    My God He lives. My God He Loves!!!

                           My God He's Always There for Me.

Every day we crank up the music...and its all about praising the Lord!!

Sveta has caught on, and she is so cute! And she knows already to hold hands, bow heads and say blessing for every meal! Actually..she is quite bossy and yells at us in Russian to say the blessing before she will even put a bite in her mouth! LOL!!

Lord...continue to work in her little heart and help us to teach her to LOVE YOU!!!!

Whoo...We are getting this baby to a haircut ASAP.

Lot of Crazy.. Lot of Love.

She said 'I lub you mama' to me tonight.

Why, Why, Why don't MORE GO?

Go for babies like Sveta????

Say YES.

And...MONEY ?


It doesn't matter what the COST is...

Little Lives like Sveta's are worth so much more that WORRYING




It's NEVER our MONEY anyway.

We as a WHOLE need to SAY YES.




Like Alyona.


Say Yes to Dima. Who has


LORD we pray more will say YES.


Thank you Lord for opening our eyes and taking us on the wild, journey to our Sveta. It took loving past blinders, leaving so many we thought understood behind, it tood TRUST in YOU alone. It took learning YOU know what the plan is.
And teaching SHE deserves a better LIFE.

Say NO to this? 

 To HER??










Because it's THAT important to our GOD.

What matters to YOU?

Why are you saying NO?

What matters to Him?

Can you take your expectations and desires out of the picture?

It's hard.

We did.

And it's not easy.

Sveta is our baby and SHE is a product of His plan.

She was meant to be held. Loved. Cherished.

Why are there so many left behind like Sveta???

Who will say yes?

We will GO?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

what if..

 We have had many questions asked to us...many what if's.

What if there is something wrong with her?

What will your "real" kids think? What will this do to them?

What if she can't speak English? (umm...she CAN'T but she is LEARNING!)

What if, what if, what if..?


God knows EXACTLY what He is doing.

And HE knew SHE was our CHILD.

It is not a question. He knows EXACTLY what the plan is.

What IF...?

He has ordained it ALL through His mercy.

And HE knows exactly what the outcome will be.

Siblings hugging nonstop.


What If?

What if...you are exhausted. Your expectations are completely different from reality? You wonder what in the world God is asking of you.

Oh. It will happen - you will be tired. Overwhelmed. Frustrated even.


What if...

You continue to TRUST that He knows the plan and will show you the way. No matter how that plan looks.

What if...

His plan is greater than anything you could have orchestrated?

Friends, we are tired! But He is GOOD. And every morning we wake knowing it is a new day to enjoy our sweet family - expanded through the blessing of


It is LOUD here, full of LOVE, HUGS, non stop "I LOVE YOU's" and PEACE.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


Psalm 92

It is GOOD to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night,
On an instrument of ten strings,
On the lute,
And on the harp,
With harmonious sound.
For You, Lord, have made me glad through
Your work.
I will 
in the works of Your hands!

We are celebrating His work.

His Lovingkindness for ALL his children.


Adoption is always His plan.

He is Faithful.

Yes, it is hard work.
And the real journey is just now beginning.

But His work makes us

And Her life is worth everything to us.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Across the Atlantic to Alabama!

It's been well....busy. Exhausting. Crazy and overwhelming.

Tuesday we woke up thinking we would spend all day running around with our facilitator to get the court decree and all necessary paperwork to get Sveta from the baby house. But our facilitator did most all the paperchasing for us and we basically sat in the hotel all day getting updates about every 30 minutes! The birth certificate took FOREVER and was the one thing we waited on all day. Finally, at 5pm we got her birth certificate and headed to the passport office. We were out within an hour with her passport and then went to the orphanage. We met with the medical director and then headed to Sveta's groupa.
We walked through these doors, the same ones we have been walking through for three weeks to get to her groupa.

She was still with her groupa getting ready so I took pictures of the room where we would pick her up every day.

Her locker  - number 6

Sigh. It was bittersweet. She was so very excited and the nannies had spent alot of time making her hair perfect in about a 1,000 hair bows. She was so proud of her hair!

The nannies got her all dressed for the last time.
I don't think any of them had a dry eye. One was literally sobbing - it was so sad! But Sveta has been at the baby house since she was 5 or 6 months old. Everyone there has known her for a very long time. They call her "princessa"!

Her groupa and three of the nannies. We didn't get to say goodbye to some of her favorite nannies because they weren't there that day.
Sveta gave her friends hugs.

Oh my soul it was sweet and sad.
One little girl - the one I talked about in one of my last posts - she was crying. I wanted to scoop her up and take her too.

I am lying.
I wanted to take all of them.
I was on the edge of bawling.
Knowing that recent laws passed in Ukraine will prevent most of these children from being adopted until they are five.

I can't tell you how much of an ache in my soul there is walking away from here with this knowledge.

But we have Sveta.

We have our girl.

We will continue to advocate for all the others left behind.

Sveta's been sprung. She is a Houser! An orphan no more!

We had a long night after we left the orphanage. I will write about many things later. Thats for a whole other post! This one is all about celebrating the beginning of a new life for Sveta and our family!

We travelled to Kiev Wednesday and have our final embassy appointment later on today. We leave at 5:30am in the morning to head back across the atlantic to Alabama! It's going to be a long trip but worth it. Peyton and Paige can't wait to meet Sveta - she got to talk to them on the phone last night and it was so funny. They kept asking what she was saying! She was going on and on about something. I think she liked hearing kids voices.

Sorry this one is so short - this is the first time I have been able to get to my blog - miss Sveta is attached to me like glue usually but has actually fallen asleep for a nap right now!

Pray for us as we travel home tomorrow. We have to be at the airport at 3:30 am. OUCH. Then we have a five hour layover in Germany! OUCH again! We should be home by 6pm though!

And guess what the first food we want when we land in Huntsville?

Mexican food.

Praise God He is Good!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th America!!

Make an on-line slideshow at www.OneTrueMedia.com

We Miss All Our Friends And Family!!!
Have a wonderful blessed 4th of July!
We can't wait to make the journey HOME to the U.S.A.!!!

Tomorrow is a BIG day for us here!!

We pray all the paperwork can be done and that tonight will be Sveta's last night in the orphanage.

Yesterday we found "kinder surprise" eggs  - chocolate with a treat in the middle. Oh my goodness she shoved the whole thing in her mouth. I think she was worried either a) she would be spied by a nanny and be told she couldn't have it or b) afraid another little kid would take it away!
None the less...she loved it!

Today was an exciting day for us and Sveta...when we got to the orphanage she was all dolled up in these frilly poofy cotton ball looking bows. She was so cute!
The silly camera blurred the first picture I took of her then these had a little too much light behind them.
You can see her huge boo boo in between her eyes. Ms. Daredevil lept off a chair sometime last week while she was with her groupa!
Sveta got to see her good friend Danil again today - he was at the baby house with her until last fall and he was just adopted by a wonderful family we have had the honor of getting to know!
Danil and his mom were at the baby house saying goodbye to everyone and Sveta got to see him again!
Then...we got to take Sveta to have her passport photo done.
Oh. My. Goodness.
She was beyond amazed at all the sights.
She kept chattering on and on about "machinas" (cars) and a million other things.
It was precious.
The lady at the photo place kindly blurred out her huge boo boo in between her eyes and we ended up with a cutie patootie in poofy bows for her first passport.
We all went back to the orphanage but it was time for lunch so we had to say goodbye to her.
She looked so confused!
I almost started bawling.
But tomorrow evening we pray we can get her out of the baby house.

I have to say the timing is not lost on us...our daughter Emma's birthday here on earth was July 6th. She would have turned 10 years old, had she lived.

Honestly I am just speechless that God has orchestrated the timing like this. The first full day we have Sveta in our care will be Emma's birthday.

In Awe.

Never, ever doubt HE knows exactly the path He has you on.

Let go and trust.

So many times along this journey I have tried to be in control and through friends and the word I have been reminded its all in the Lord's perfect timing.

Sitting here 4,000 something miles from home, it couldn't be more clear to me.

Blessings from far away!

Eat hot dogs, hamburgers and watch fireworks for us!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Cutie Patootie From Baby House 19

Another cutie patootie in a purple sweater. She is such a doll baby and we have fallen in love with her too. Oh my soul...she needs her own mama and papa. Spunk and fire and sweet rolled into one little girl - we pray laws will either change or a family will come for her when she turns five. It's so hard seeing her everyday and getting to know her..knowing we will soon leave her.

Sveta in Summer 2011's Orphanage Couture.

Sveta with one of the volunteers who visit the orphanage. These people are amazing, loving, giving and LOVE the children. We are so thankful God has placed them in our path.

Sveta with Oksana and friend. Beautiful Oksana.
She has become so very special to us. She and a group of friends volunteer in Sveta's orphanage.
The Lord has overwhelmed us with meeting so many believers here in Ukraine.




Our time here has been so much more than our adoption of Sveta Josie.

It's been all about Him.

The one who brought us here. Caused our paths to cross so many others.

It's a wonder we dont walk around sobbing all the time!

He has orchestrated it all.

For those of you who are behind us...keep on going. It's worth it. One minute, one hour, one day at a time. God has weaved this path for YOU and YOUR child and knows exactly the steps and timing.

Remain Steadfast.

You are not making a mistake or venturing out on some crazy self righetous adventure.

Your path is to your child.

Okay...More pictures anyone??

Hmmm...if I could just get this cell phone to call someone...

oh man am I tired of you people...got any new toys??

 No. I am not pregnant even though it looks like I am sporting a maternity shirt. No Sveta is not a cone head. Too funny.

Hellooooooo...any more fruit snacks in there?

She is our cutie patootie from baby house 19. Our little girl. Spunk and Fire.
Tearing playdough open with her teeth.
Yep. That's her.

Sveta Josie

Little One. Spitfire. Alley Cat. Chipmunk.





We are not special. We are not stronger. We are not more patient.

We were not "called"

Please do not separate yourself from the profile of an adoptive family simply because you dont think you are equipped, called or special.

We thank God he showed us it's not about US. We are NONE of the things you would think you need to be to adopt a child.

What we are is followers.

Yep. Followers. Not leaders.


Of One Great God.