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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Saturday, January 30, 2010
I had to work yesterday afternoon. True, I got to drop Erik off at school in the morning and he seemed perfectly happy to be there (which was the true test - how he reacted when he had to go back!). He did show FAR more interest in my leaving however, than he did the previous day (having no clue that he would be left there all day) but he didn't get upset. I was pleased actually, that he was interested in my leaving as it shows a bit of attachment. :o)

Anyway, Mark was on "duty" in the afternoon when the bus came. I left strict instructions to get pictures of him getting off the bus, etc.

"You want me to get pictures?"
"Of what?"
"Of him getting off the bus and stuff. I wish I could be there!"
Groan. Muttering to himself, "You and your pictures..." (Mark's NOT a picture guy.)

So after I knew that Erik would be home and everything and dying to know how his day was, I called.

"How's Erik??"
"He's fine."
"He's fine?"
"Yes, honey, he's fine."
"How was his day?"
"I don't know."
"Did you ask the bus driver how he did on the bus?"
"No. I didn't know you wanted me to."
"Oh. Well, did they say anything??"
"No. I didn't know I had to do all of these things."
"Well, it's his first bus ride and I was wondering if he was scared or anything."
"He's fine, honey, he's really tired, though. I DID get a picture for you like you wanted."
"Oh, good!! Is it a good one??"
"It's of him getting off the bus."
"Yay!!" (Big visions of him sitting in his bus seat, or coming down the steps being held by his bus aide come to mind.)

True enough, Erik was fine when I got home. No note from his teacher, though, to my disappointment. I eagerly dove into the picture file on my camera to look at what he took. Here is Erik on his very first day riding the bus:

I have it in good faith that that IS Erik in the picture and that IS our garbage can in the front, so I am quite sure of the authenticity of this photo.

...it's better than nothing.

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Well, my little baby's all grown up and institutionalized in America, now! He started school today!! It took quite some time for him to start because of the surgery for his tubes, getting assessments done, etc. but he finally started!! He was ready emotionally and really needed more stimulation than we were able to give him at home, which was very little, I'm afraid...

Anyway, with every kid on their first day of school, I get their picture by whatever car we have at the time. Erik was very fussy this morning because he didn't get his usual big breakfast (because I knew they'd feed him breakfast at school) and he was mad! He got a big banana but to Erik, that is nothing. So here he is, still ticked that he didn't get stuffed at breakfast!!

He did much better once the car ride began (he'll start the bus tomorrow afternoon) and perked right up with this new adventure (what happened to vegetating in front of Sesame Street most of the morning...??). We got to the school but I parked in the furthest-most place from his room that I could. When we found it finally, they were at breakfast so we went to the office so I could turn in his paperwork:

By this time, he'd walked further than I think he's ever walked in one stretch in his life and he was getting tired! An office person helped me carry him (I was loaded down already with stuff) to the cafeteria where we found out the class had already gone back to the classroom and FINALLY found them!! (What a wild goose chase we'd had!)

He met his teachers (teacher and aide) and let him look around before the teacher and I headed back to the cafeteria so he could get some food for breakfast.

(meeting his teacher, Mrs. Flonnery)

(The aide helped him find the stuffed animals, which are second in line to food in order of priority for him!)

(Eating his grits - FINALLY!! FOOOOOOD!!)
Time for Mom to let the teachers be teachers now and to get out of the way!! Off to work I went!

Could it have been 10 full minutes after he got home that he konked out?? Bless his heart!! According to his teachers he had a GREAT day!!!
Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Monday, January 25, 2010

This is just too hilarious!!!

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Sheer BLISS!! :o)

And Nik even enjoyed watching!

There were SO MANY white ibises in the little pond there - they are so pretty! (Click on the picture to see the detail of these beautiful birds.)

I was outlawed from showing pictures of Reese at the park, because he's (FINALLY) getting his newest set of legs and the test sockets he's wearing now he's embarrassed of (brother! - not sure what's to be embarrassed of, they are just plain gray and black!) so I was strictly cautioned against posting the one shot I got of him today. Kids!!

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Yes, we have DisneyWorld and Universal nearby, SeaWorld too, and countless other fun things, but most of those places belong to Orlando. WE "own" Kennedy Space Center, and I'd like to see Orlando try and top THAT!

This evening was the most GORGEOUS evening we've had in quite some time, and after I got home from work, I grabbed Erik and we went to a park that I'd never explored before, in Titusville. The mainland of FL is separated by a river (though to me, it's not really a river) from the island where the Space Center is housed, so when you stand on the shore, you look across the river, and there stands the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building, where the Space Shuttle lives and is worked on). It normally looks beautiful over there, but this afternoon it looked gorgeous!! The water was still, and looked like glass as I had fun getting some pictures.

Sorry, couldn't resist!!

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Monday, January 18, 2010
Erik will sit at the piano for up to half hour and "play". He doesn't bang, he plays!! Once, we heard him "la la" in time to the notes he was playing, just like he was singing along! He is the most precious little boy...

Thursday, January 14, 2010
This afternoon, I took Erik to a park for the first time! It was a GORGEOUS afternoon, and perfect for being outside!

Erik wasn't so sure about the swing, though. He cried, then he laughed, then he cried, then he just plain yelled!! Maybe he just needed practice...

"What is this thing, anyway, and how does it work...?"

"Turn it off!! Turn it off!!!"

"HEY!!! I'm FLYIN'!!!!!"

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Monday, January 11, 2010
You know?? The more little girls I look at (I SO want a daughter!) the more I see little BOYS that I like!! This boy, in particular, has caught my eye and if I can't adopt him (...Mark??), then I would certainly like to advocate for him to find a family! Some basic info about him is below, but I've also learned some other things about him that tell him to be a fantastic kid who would adjust beautifully to a house full of boys (OURS!). I know, I know, I want a daughter, but maybe I'm just really scared of girls... After all, my one and only experience with daughters was pretty bad...

Erik is a very handsome boy who is DEAF. He is extremely caring and compassionate with the other children, has many friends, he is a sensitive boy, and a well behaved child. He DESPERATELY wants to be adopted and often comments to the orphanage director that he wishes a family would show up for him. It is not known if he could hear with implants or the cause of his deafness.
He does very well at school, has no delays and is social, active, and an all around great kid. A missionary that knows him well from supporting the orphanage for the last 7 years says he is a wonderful child and would do very well in any family, regardless of their knowledge of deafness. He functions well functioning in his community and enjoys field trips, school, shopping, art and crafts, swimming, and socializing. He is extremely good with children of all ages, especially younger children. He could be adopted quickly, his fees have been reduced in half to find him a family fast. I have several pictures taken just a few weeks ago. Best one is attached showing his art skills and recent awards. He has brown hair, brown eyes, extremely handsome and otherwise physically healthy.

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Next time, we'll have to get better close ups of Erik during his "after-bath" routine - he does this EVERY time!! LOL Hope you get as much of a kick out of it as I do!!

Yesterday, I dragged everyone to the portrait studio, like it or not. ;op When we picked Reese up for school, he slid in some mud and wiped out pretty hard, hurting his "little" arm. Poor kid! It was swollen at the bicep area, and his elbow was also swollen and skinned a bit. He's a tough kid, though, and said he was okay. He was covered in mud, but the photographer did a good job hiding the muddy areas on him. Mark was having some significant MS pain that afternoon too, so we were quite a group! Reese said that he and Mark weren't smiling in these pictures - they were grimacing. lol

(BTW, Reese's arm is much better today.)

At any rate, they were forced to go (by me!) and this is what we got!!

A much-needed updated family picture or two:

And one of the two of us (Mark says this was one of his grimaces):
And the three boys:

(We said that Erik (above) looks like he's in a haunted house or something! I really wanted to buy this picture, but his expression just looks too creepy with the harsh lighting. Too bad, cause it's great otherwise!)

Simple ones of Nik, Reese and Erik:

(a grimace)

(and our little sweetheart!)

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Monday, January 4, 2010
Erik has been home 4 months now and I thought it would be nice to put an update on his progress since being home!! His developmental changes have been much different than the other three kids, but they were all cognitively "okay", and of course, Erik has Down's. Still, he has shown a lot of improvement and I see a lot more improvement in the short months to come!

When Erik first came home, he:
  • Made poor eye contact, and when he did make eye contact it was never for more than a second or so.
  • Got angry very easily and would grab, pinch, bite and scream! This usually was related to food - he had NO patience when it came to food - he wanted it and wanted it NOW.
  • Refused to walk or stand without a FIRM grasp on both of our hands, and he hated it!!
  • Ignored toys, but loved to look at stuffed animals - he wouldn't touch them, though.
  • Had a few "words", which were mainly, "la la la", "va va va" and "dih dih dih".
  • Would not do ANYTHING for himself, which included trying to feed himself, push his arms through the sleeves of his shirts when getting dressed, or holding toys. He DID like to splash in water in the bathtub, and would drink from a bottle without help, though.
  • Smiled and got excited at things like food, bath, and having lotion rubbed on him, but not much else.
  • Did not like TV at all and wouldn't really look at it much. If he did, it was only for a moment.
As of TODAY, he:
  • Makes really good eye contact, and will even look at you when you are talking to him or trying to get something across to him.
  • Responds to discipline!!! If corrected for something, like if he is playing with pictures on the wall, he will instantly stop without a fight, then later, if he does it again, he pauses and looks to see if you are watching! LOL If you are, he stops!! If not, well... he's not perfect!
  • Hardly ever shows anger anymore. He has learned that when he makes his version of the sign for "more" or "please", he gets more! He doesn't have to grab and scream to get more. Once about 2 weeks ago, he bit me on the back of the shoulder so hard it brought tears to my eyes, but it was not in anger, only in wild excitement over something, and that was the only time that he's really gotten me.
  • Fake cries. This is HILARIOUS! He did this at the beginning some, but he's perfecting his skills these days. If he reaches for something he shouldn't, I'll give him a gentle "no". He stops reaching for it (such a good boy!) and deliberately scoots WAY away from me, and will take a second to work up a good WAIL!! It's the funniest thing you've seen, and very ineffective!! LOL
  • walks!! He still hates to do it, and much prefers scooting, but he can walk up to 8 feet without ANY support at all! His hands go WAY up in the sky, he puts his feet far apart and waddles like a duck, but he's doing it!! Yesterday in the church nursery I witnessed another "first": he was standing at one table, and he took 2 steps and "transferred" to another table all on his own!! I was so shocked!! I LOVE these "first"'s!!! I was so proud. :o)
  • Holds toys and has begun to PLAY with them. His favorites are still stuffed animals, but while before he'd just sit and look at them and talk to them, now he picks them up and holds them (while talking to them), and even shakes them on his own! If he has too many of them in his crib, he now actually picks them up and throws them out! (This is a purposeful movement that is new!) He plays with toys with buttons, as long as they light up and make music or talk. He really enjoys those!! It's SO much fun to watch him learn to PLAY!!
  • His "vocabulary" hasn't changed much, but he is adding new "words" and now says, "unya unya unya" and "gee gee" (hard "g"), and "ma ma ma" (my favorite!). We love to "speak 'Erik'" and will often go around the house saying "Va va va va" to ourselves - and believe it or not, Reese started this!! LOL
  • He is starting to DO stuff for himself! He's still pretty rough using a spoon, but at least he's trying!! And he will help push his arms through his sleeves about 75% of the time now (still keeps his legs dead and limp though and won't help at ALL with pants). He loves to get his arms out of the straps of his carseat when it's time to get out and likes to be dramatic about it, too! (He's SO CUTE!) He takes his shoes and socks off (so that he can suck on his socks) and throws anything that he sees as rubbish (like his glasses, an empty bottle of water, a lemon at a restaurant, a toy that doesn't meet his expectations anymore, etc.).
  • He will now transport himself! Believe me, this is a big thing: he can now sit on one couch, slide off at will, scoot across the floor (remember, he hates walking), and sit on another couch! He also will slide off of one couch and scoot over to an object that he wants and gets it! Honestly, these things sound so trivial, but trust me when I say they are a big deal!!
  • He likes Sesame Street and will watch for almost the whole episode, enjoying only those parts with puppets (he doesn't like cartoons, computer animation or real people).
  • He knows what the potty seat is for!! He'll actually "go" on it about 70% of the time, but he has no clue that that's what he is SUPPOSED to do; he just thinks that he will go as long as he's there. But it'll come!!
  • And my favorite: he INTERACTS with us, now!! He loves to sit on the floor and will actually PLAY with you! He hands toys to you, plays "back and forth" games, and last week he did my very favorite thing of all: He was sitting on the floor in front of me, and he purposefully stood up (pulling on my arm), looked right at me, smiled, and leaned in and hugged me. I thought I was going to faint from happiness. :o)
Things that we are hoping to work on this year are:
  • Getting some WORDS on him! I'd love for him to be able to say our names and basic things like "eat", "bath", etc.
  • Potty training. He'll start school in a couple of weeks, and it sure would be nice if he'd be potty trained.
  • Doing more independent walking and less scooting.
  • Helping get dressed, even doing things independently, like putting on socks and shoes.
  • Eat neater (but Reese is still working on that himself, and he's 15, so...!)
  • Enjoy more types of toys. Do more imaginative playing, like pretending to talk on the phone, etc.
Honestly, we are just so happy and in love with our little guy, that if he never does the above things, it will be okay!! He's such a lovebug and so happy and funny! We are all in love with him, and I think he and Reese are going to have a special relationship - Reese is smitten with him (much to my surprise, to be honest!) and Erik adores him!! I'm so glad that they are going to be close. :o)

Thanks for reading my VERY long update! It's as much for me as it is for you, as in 4 months time I hope to do another and will use this as a reference!

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers
Friday, January 1, 2010
Yes, he did it AGAIN. But not only THAT - he did it again IN THE VERY SAME OUTFIT and it was worse than ever!!!

I'm beginning to think it's the outfit's problem... Think Cracker Barrel'd take it back...??

I'm humbled, now, God!!!!!

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

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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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