Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

Motivation for Moms

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

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Friday, July 31, 2009
In 2 1/2 days, Mark and I will be boarding a plane for Philadelphia. Then Frankfurt (or is it Munich?). Then Kiev. In 2 1/2 days! Can this really be happening?

Yes, I've had a to-do list a mile long that I've trudged through every day this week after my patients have been seen. Yes, I have loads of stuff to prepare, pack and take overseas. Yes, my mom is coming tomorrow night to (once AGAIN!) stay with the kids and dogs while I trudge overseas. But can this really be happening??

Can I be ready to travel 7 time zones away to a country that I've never been to, or even thought much about, before? Can I be ready to leave my kids and dogs and home to hang out at an orphanage full of kids that I won't be able to understand but will want to claim as my own? Can I be ready to fly back home after bonding with my new son and make the trip all the way back over there again to finish the process and bring him home? Can I be ready to be the mom of THREE BOYS (where are the daughters???), one of whom will be pre-pre-school level?

I think so.

I think that this trip will be an adventure! I think that I will love Ukraine and embrace it as much (or more) than Russia, and will make many wonderful memories. I think that Mark and I will have a very unique experience to remember together and to draw us closer together than ever. I think that I will enjoy my new son and embrace his "speciality". I think that this experience will not only enrich my life, but the life of everyone who touches my new son. I think that my son will surprise everyone by what a blessing he is to this world.

I'm ready. Let's go.
Monday, July 27, 2009
How about the name "Aaron"?? Mark still really likes Erich, but I'm not completely sold on it just yet. If I had my way totally, I would go with Gabriel ("Gabe"). I love it! But Mark hates it. But he says he likes "Franz" and I don't need to tell you how I feel about THAT name!! LOL

I think he looks like an Aaron or an Adam. We would probably agree on "Adam" if our dog's name wasn't Adam...!!!!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
So much to say!!

Today marks the "Ten Day Countdown" that is usually marked by recent tradition by the posting of a writing by a wonderful fellow Reece's Rainbow member, Chris Malone, who a few months ago (with his wife) adopted two little boys with Down Syndrome from Ukraine! Their blog is really great and their family sounds like an example for all of us. He gave his permission some time ago for other families to use his poem, and I am honored to copy it here, as it is so fitting:

10 Days Away...and I'm wondering...

I wonder...when it was 10 days before I met God and He adopted me, was HE this excited?

I wonder if His stomach did flips and He got tears in His eyes when He thought about holding me for the first time.

I wonder if His heart ached when He thought about my life without Him as my Daddy.

I wonder if it grieved Him to know that I was living as an orphan and had no hope of a future without Him.

I wonder if He was as okay with paying my ransom as I am with paying our boys'.

I wonder if, for Him, there was no cost too high, no sacrifice too great.

I wonder...

by Chris and Mary Malone

Kinda makes you sit and think, doesn't it? I've known about that poem since he wrote it in February, and I finally get to put it on my own blog! Thanks, Chris!!!

Christine wrote again, saying that she sees Simon almost every day and as soon as he sees her he comes right over to her. She did say, though, that the other kids in his "groupa" are lower level, and because of it, they don't get as much food as the other kids, and as a result, he and his "classmates" are all terribly underweight. Poor little fella!! I'm sure Mark and I will never be the same after this trip.

While he waits, though, life goes on, and I have new pictures to show you. I tried to make them into a movie (for easier viewing) but it was taking so long for me to figure it out that I sort of gave up for now (Who am I kidding? I definitely gave up! LOL). So here they are, in the regular, boring way:

A boy and his dog makes for a wonderful friendship. :o) I LOVE to watch Reese and Adam together!

A hot game of Scrabble! (Except that Mark ALWAYS wins...! You can see it is true: look at the expression on Mark's face and the perturbed look on the boys'!)

How this boy does love to play ball!! Here he is, playing softball. (Softball runs in the summertime here; Little League begins in January and is over already for the season.)

A coach in the making.

Keep your eye on the ball, Rus!

Step back, outfielders!!
(See the yellow ball in the upper left-hand corner?)

(Insert big GRUNT! here)

Okay, anyone who knows me knows that I HATE it when dogs' ears are turned up on themselves! Adam's rarely do it, but this day I looked over at him on the loveseat and BOTH ears were flipped up! UGH!!!! I can't stand it!!

You know, honestly, Daisy is the most cheerful little dog on the planet; but whenever I get the camera out, she gets this TICKED OFF look on her face and it's so hard to capture that delighted look that we so often see! Mark bought her this little "blouse" when she had her hip done, and she normally LOVES to wear clothes (she bounces around and kisses everybody), but not for this picture! You can see that she still will NOT put her leg down on the floor. Her muscles are SO atrophied at this point that we wonder if she'll ever use her back leg again. Poor thing. We do know that her pain is better, though, in that she is NOT acting as depressed and withdrawn as before: she's far more like her old cheery self, but still not using that leg and not wanting it messed with. Bless her little heart...!!

Besides playing base/softball, Reese loves to BOWL!! We used to spend a LOT of time at the bowling alley, but haven't been there much lately. Last weekend we decided it was time to go again, and we even talked Mark into going with us!

Here's Nik, on the approach.

Here he goes!!


Mark's turn!!
(The best part about being cameraman/webmaster is that no one can see pictures of me unless I allow it!)

A rare shot of the boys sitting together without scowling at each other! We should go bowling more often!

And look who's smiling in a picture!!

Simey, we haven't forgotten about you, honey!! The suitcase is out and will be stuffed full all week! We're coming! We love you!! Ten more days!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"They're finally coming!!"
Monday, July 20, 2009
As I sit and wait for our facilitator to give us a date when we can come, I think about my earrings. I have earrings that weren't meant to be special, but they have become so. You can see them in this picture:
They are simple little heart earrings that are either black or navy blue, I've never really checked to see which. But I've worn them on these special days:

My high school graduation
My college graduation
Meeting my daughter for the first time
Meeting Reese for the first time
Meeting Nikolai for the first time
Getting married (inside my gown - lol).

I was looking at them in my jewelry thing in the bathroom and imagining wearing them on the day that I first meet Simon. Sometimes I think that day might not ever come, but I know it will. They probably cost under $10 way back when I was in high school, but they still look great and are really important to me, having been with me on all of my most special days.

It's not important, and probably not anything worth blogging about, but I was missing Simon and thought I'd put those thoughts down. Makes me feel a tiny bit closer to him.
God bless her, my friend Christine sent another update on our little guy!! These updates are like water in the desert, and I am sooooo grateful to her!

Today as we walked into the orphanage grounds to visit Alexsey, I saw Simon with his group. As soon as I walked up to him and called out his name, he was responsive--- and immediately came over to me. He is a doll, and wanted to hold my hands and play a little game with me, I call "Ballam, ballam, booksie" This is where I say the words and then we tap our foreheads together lightly. He got the game right away and was moving his head toward mine at the appropriate time. When I moved over to play with one of the other boys, he followed me-- telling me he is craving attention and probably bored in his group of mostly invalids. He is pretty steady on his feet while holding onto the rail---- and his laugh is cheery sounding. However, his teeth look like they are in pretty bad shape--- poor little guy. I will continue to visit when ever I can--- I am positive that the interaction with and him and all the other boys is making a difference if only for the moment.

I've gotta get over there before I have a stroke from waiting...
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Hmmm... After a somewhat spirited discussion in the car after church today, and reading everyone's comments, it seems like "Erich" is at that top of the list! It's not my favorite (maybe closer to #4), but I do like it. Hmmm... Erich Sergei Taborn. Erich Mark Sergei Taborn. Erich Mark Taborn.

I like Gabriel best, but Mark hates it. He likes Peter, and I do too, but I'm afraid he'd end up "Stinky Pete"!!

Ugh! This is hard!!

...Hope to get word about an appointment date tomorrow!!!!!!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Okay, now that we've got a new picture of Simon, maybe y'all can help us come up with a name!!! His name is Sergei, but we think we want to give him an American name, and probably keep Sergei as his middle name. We need suggestions!!

Our favorites are:

Eric (spelled Erich - Mark's idea)
Mark Jr.

I also like Gabriel (Gabe) but Mark hates it!

We both like Adam, but our dog's name is Adam!!

I also like Aaron, but Mark's nephew is Aaron.

Please, help with suggestions! Now that we have a really good picture of him, it should come easier. Thanks!!
Friday, July 17, 2009
I got the greatest e-mail this morning! My friend Christine Reed from Reece's Rainbow (where we found Simon) is adopting their son right now. (We were hoping to travel together, but...) She got to meet Simon and sent a "report" on him and new pictures!! This totally makes my day!! I've been feeling somewhat low lately, getting tired of waiting for travel dates, my favorite great-aunt passed away a couple of days ago, continued issues with this-and-that, etc. and I really, really needed a pick-me-up! This did it. Here is what she wrote:

Hi Missy,
This morning I got to visit with Simon (Serosha) while he was outside. Honestly, my first impression is this little boy is so tiny and seems so sad--- but he very quickly warmed up to me--- and touched my heart. He is one precious boy, and he will quickly win your heart like he did mine-- if he hasn't already. He is very tiny-- much smaller than Dennis-- I would guess around 17 pounds. He has very fair skin with almost white eyelashes. He did have a runny nose, but the caretakers said he rarely gets sick. He let me pick him up, and kept mumbling something like "buh, buh, buh, buh," continually. When I tried to tickle his tummy to get him to smile he trembled slightly, like he was afraid. After I continually held him and rubbed his back and talked sweetly to him, he stopped the trembling when I went to tickle him again and he showed me the biggest smile! It is a gorgeous smile----- and soon after he was leaning his head against my head--- and before long I had that little turkey laughing! The caretakers showed me that he could walk holding just one of our hands--- it is just too cute. I took some pictures of him--- and even got a video (although I am not sure we can download it until we are back home.) He is one month shy of being five--- so hopefully you will be here to celebrate his birthday. I'll pray for that. Attached is a picture of him-- I will probably email you one more. He does have a skin tag by his right ear-- but I think it is cute. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nuts!! A few minutes ago, I heard the roar in the bedroom and Mark said, "We just missed the launch." UGH! It had been delayed so many times I forgot all about it. I was going to go down to the river and watch and try to get some pictures with my new camera, but just plumb forgot. Too much on my mind, I guess... Oh, well. Next time!
Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tomorrow, July 13, is a pretty big day! My daughter Natasha leaves for Parris Island, SC for Marine Corps boot camp (Go, Natasha!!) and our LAST corrected document FINALLY gets submitted to the officials in Ukraine!!! Hopefully at that time, we will get an appointment date of when we can go over there! We are sick to death of waiting. It has been 8 months since we first committed to adopting Simon and that is too long. Our little fella needs us!

So, tomorrow is a rather big day for two of my kids: one who officially grows up, and one who takes an important step towards finding a life. It'll be a good day, I think.
(It looks like he's nervously saying, "Please, please please...!")

(This was one of the last pictures I have of Natasha when she was still home with us, so I treasure it. We had a great day that day!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I wonder what Simon's doing now? I wonder if he is sleeping, is he dreaming anything? I wonder if he had a good day? I wonder if he's been sick lately? I wonder who his friends are, if any, and what kinds of toys he likes to play with? I wonder if he's any of the caregivers' favorite kid in the room? I wonder if he ever gets bored, or if he's just used to doing nothing? I wonder if he ever gets to use any of the therapy equipment that has been donated to his orphanage? I wonder if he'll be scared of us? I wonder what he'll think of his new dad's goatee?? I wonder if he'll smile when he recognizes us on subsequent visits? I wonder if he'll miss us when we come home to wait out the 10 days?

I wonder if he smiled today...?
Sunday, July 5, 2009
For the first time since Reese was in 3rd grade (he's now going into 8th), we haven't done our own fireworks! Nikolai never has. So, now that they are 14 and 15 y.o., I decided it was TIME to let them have their fun. We bought silly things that spark on the ground, smoke bombs, lots of bottle rockets, and a dozen Roman Candles. We had a blast! Unfortunately, Mark felt horrible all day, so we hardly saw anything of him, so he didn't get to play with us. Poor guy!!!!! He said he heard the action from inside, though. (Bless his heart!)

Here are some pictures. I am really impressed with how they turned out! My new camera is GREAT and I didn't have ONE dud!!! I used my tripod for stability, and set the camera on all auto for night scenes and it really did its thing! I LOVE my new camera!!
Lighting the smoke bomb.

Cool - purple smoke!

Not sure why he was so close to the "tank" flamey sparkly shoot up thingie.

Lighting a Roman Candle (You'll notice that Reese did all of the lighting - Nikolai is a bit of a pyromaniac, so he wasn't allowed near the lighter!)

A neighbor kid demonstrated that it was safe enough to hold the RC by hand (I was horrified until I saw him do it!) so, after much internal debate, I allowed it, and it was sooooo much fun! The kids did great following all of my safety rules, and we got some great shots!

This is one of my favorite shots of the night.

Reese's turn!

This is Reese's favorite one.

For all of the grandmothers out there, don't worry! We were VERY safety conscious and the boys didn't do anything without me doing it first. Our neighbors across the street (college age guys) had HUGE rockets and they shot theirs kind of "wherever and however" and made us look like a bunch of preschoolers! LOL But we had fun and we really were very safe. The boys did great (though of course, Reese was wishing he were with the guys across the street...!).

Hope you had a Happy Fourth as well!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Two years ago today, I married the man of my dreams. What a beautiful gift you are to me, Markie! I love you so much!
I've had a few days now to come to terms with losing "all of my options" in that certain situation (see post below). Time has helped, prayer has helped, and the love of my family has helped. I have also had a new crisis with my 18 y.o. daughter, and that has distracted me some.

Today is our anniversary (#2) and we plan to have fun tonight shooting up fireworks! Reese and I bought some the other day and got some nice, big ones. The boys haven't done any shooting since Reese was in 3rd grade (I don't believe Nikolai ever has!) so we are all looking forward to it. Bottle rockets, Roman candles, etc. Reese was VERY specific to ask that I NOT buy any "sprinklers" (sparklers!)!! LOL When he found out that we were getting "real" fireworks, he was thrilled! A rite of passage.

Our last corrected document just left Paris last night, so we hope that it will arrive in plenty of time to be resubmitted July 13. This is taking so long...

Today we will clean and de-clutter (I can't stand the clutter anymore!!!!!!), and tonight celebrate the birth of our beautiful wonderful country. God bless America!!

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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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