"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Anastasia's Big Day!

First Holy Communion! She is wearing the dress that "Great" (my Grandma) made for me a long, long time ago.

I am always obsessed about getting the perfect picture for every event in the hopes that someday I will be a passable photographer. It drives my family totally crazy. I took approximately 87,000,000,000 communion pictures of Anastasia when she was hungry, thirsty and tired. She was very patient, for a while.

Cake, my savior!!

Anastasia and a friend. Finally, a natural smile.

Notice my yellow dress, again!!!

A day to remember!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fancy Ride

Since we are going to be a family of eight soon, we need a vehicle that we can all squeeze into.

Today I found several we can afford.

I think we'll fit in with the neighbors just fine now!!

On a side note, little Catherine was talking about me going on an airplane tonight. Then she said, "I'm going to miss you. Do you know why? Because you are my darling. My darling Mommy. Am I your darling?"

Yes, Catherine, you absolutely are!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shoe Shopping

Anastasia is making her first communion this Saturday. I thought we would take a quick, little trip to Target and pick up a pair of fancy, white shoes. It sounded so simple in my mind. I should have scheduled a root canal instead; it would have been more fun.

Catherine was strapped into the cart, which always throws her into a tizzy. God forbid she actually be contained for a millisecond. I think even she got a headache from her whining.
Look at those eyes. Her teenage years are going to be so fun.

I started to apologize to all the Target employees and customers' eardrums, but everyone cleared out too fast.

Isabella was giddy with the array of high heels glittering in her midst. She tried on every pair of high heels that she could stick her foot in. She wasn't concerned if the stilettos were even close to fitting or if they were comfortable, just that they were fancy.

Up to this point though, I was still semi-sane. While I was distracted by the extreme decibels of Catherine's howling, Anastasia had been busy. She was busy rejecting every single pair of shoes she saw without even trying one on. Her reasons were legitimate; none of them had a butterfly on the heal of the shoe.

My head was starting to pound. I thought about bribery, but then I remembered something important. I AM the MOTHER.

"You'd better pick something because this is the only place we're going to. Otherwise, you can wear your flip-flops with your communion dress." I snorted.

Suddenly, Anastasia began to see some shoes she liked.

Don't even get me started on sock shopping. Who knew that there were so many different kinds of socks with ruffles!

At least one of them is not interested in fashion yet!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I just booked our flights to Eastern Europe. After all the paperwork and worrying, we are really going! Hang in there, Nastya and Moira!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We like to spice things up a little with egg dying at our house. I accidentally mixed up the raw and boiled eggs, so we just dyed them all! Discovering a raw, gooey egg in your hand really jump starts your morning!

Some of us like to dye more than just eggs.

This poor egg was wounded in battle.

Catherine only dyed her eggs blue. She dyed everything blue!

Don't we look fancy for church? I have got to get another dress. I wear this one for every occasion.

Some memories really do last a lifetime.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Monday Moanings

Well, I was all set to write a great Easter post, when KA-BAM, some kind of germ slammed me! I don't even want to count how many times I have thrown up today.

So, here are a few pictures.....

Another pink cat.

An exciting kickball/dodgeball game.

Elliot steals second.

I love how Anastasia is leaping in this picture. She is prepared to dodge, even though the ball is no where near her.

Well, gotta go. I have a date with my porcelain friend. I'll be back tomorrow, somehow......

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

I love this quote,

"You can always tell the character of a person by the way he treats those who can do nothing for him."

Here's hoping I can make a difference!

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The eyes of Walter

I have never seen eyes that reflect such pain and horror.

Emily Worrall is the founder of Ekisa Ministries International in Uganda. She is only 21. She moved to Uganda to help special needs children.

She writes about Walter:
"The child in the photo needed a home. I glanced at the photo expecting to see a child who maybe was crippled, or had hydrocephaly. Instead a boy with desperate eyes stared back at me, completely covered in chemical burns. I actually had to look away because I was overcome by the pain this little one must be in, the scars were healed but the sadness in his eyes told me the pain was far from over. Then I asked Paul the question I already was dreading the answer to: what happened to him?

Several years ago Walter had acid thrown on him. Yes, these burns and scars were intentional.
"After Walter’s mother died his father remarried. The evil stepmom cliché is VERY real here. So Walter’s stepmother one day went out and bought acid, came home and threw it on him. This has left Walter with half of his foot missing, his hand webbed together, and most of his face completely deformed. After the woman did this, she and Walter’s father ran away. For the next two years he stayed with his Auntie. Although Walter has only shared a little, it seems this situation was also abusive.

I have so much I want to say to Walter, but going through a translator just isn’t the same. Words get twisted, tone of voice is changed, and so much more. I want to tell him I love him, and it will be alright. That he never has to worry about anyone in our family saying mean things about his appearance, that we have accepted him for who he is...scars and all. (The kids have been doing a wonderful job with Walter! It was a little hard at first for some, but after just one day I am pretty sure they didn’t even notice the scars anymore!)

I so wish I knew what to say to help heal the emotional wounds that run as deep as his physical ones. I hate how almost all of our kids’ stories are completely filled with tragedy, abuse, and just plain ugliness. My heart breaks for them multiple times each day. "

There must be a reason why so many children must suffer. But why?

"I am only one, but I am one. I can not do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I should do, and with the help of God I will do."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


.....in the act!!
Guess I didn't really need that lipstick anyway!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Stranger

I had such a boring day; I should have known that something was destined to happen. I was finally having a moment of quiet time, without someone yelling "MMMOOOOOOOOOOMM" (you know how they drag out the word until you just want to knock your head against the wall, repeatedly).

Suddenly, I hear Isabella yelling, "MOOOOOMMMM, one of the cats is clawing the couch."

I really wasn't too intrigued by this tidbit, so I continued with my zoning out.

Until, there was a loud bang.

"MOOOOOOOMM, I don't think this is our cat."

Well, that got my attention.

I think I may have eluded to the fact that we have a couple of cats. We have several black cats that no one can really tell apart, so, I figured it was just a case of mistaken identity.

Nope. It really wasn't our cat. We had some strange cat standing in our living room, and he looked pretty ticked off. He was doing this weird panting thing and his tongue was hanging out.

Everyone was awake now and galloped downstairs to meet the crazed feline.

Anastasia, who has a soft spot for every stray animal around, immediately wanted to keep him forever.

"We can't just put him out in the cold." she cried.

It was 75 degrees here today.

I gently ushered the nutty furball out the door, where he trotted off, my children following him to make sure he was "safe."

Several annoyed neighbors later, we finally found out where Mr. Fluffy-nutter belongs.

My husband gave a huge sigh of relief.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wanted: Mom and Dad

Here are just a few children of the children who have touched my heart. Pass them along, you never know where they will find their family....

Sweet Genesis has already been transferred to a mental institution, only because she is blind and she is four! She has so much potential!
Born December 21, 2006

Girl, Born June 2009
Anastasia is a sweet girl who was born with arthrogryposis. She is a darling girl who tries her best to get around, but she needs surgery and she needs physical therapy badly. She has a happy disposition and will truly blossom in a loving family of her own. She will remain bedridden for life if she is not adopted.

Girl. Date of Birth: August 10, 2005
Ali's mother passed away. Her sister is under the guardianship of their grandmother who has no intention of taking Ali as well. There is no father. Diagnosis: HIV+, functional heart murmur, astigmatism, squint, successfully repaired cleft lip. The children at this orphanage are said to be developmentally delayed due to being in an institutional setting. They receive excellent medical therapy and have had their innoculations.
Ali is one of the most favorite children in the orphanage. She is a very well natured little girl and is described as being very tender, very kind, very musical with good intellect. She has the largest and most beautiful eyes. When you first see her you do not even notice her repaired lip because her eyes attract and keep your attention.

Girl, Born February 1, 2010
Poor Mandy was not in a very good mood when the photographer was there! She was born with multiple skeletal anomalies, including fused/webbed hands.
This region typically waives the 10 day waiting period for children with special needs. Please consider one (or more!) of these beautiful angels from orphanage 41.

I feel so badly for little Mandy!! She doesn't know it, but an awful photo can mean no family!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Specials

The day started with Garfield getting a new hair-do. I really think he enjoyed it.

Catherine learned how to ride her tricycle!!! This is quite an event because she tends to be quite fearful of anything new. I have been trying for months to get her to try. This was actually my trike when I was little.

Anastasia was very proud to finish her "Charlie Bone" book, which was 400 pages.

Just a cute picture of Elliot, who usually runs when he sees me with my camera.

"Great" came over for dinner.

This is what happens when my husband gets my camera! Ok, everyone be truthful!!! How badly do I need to go to the gym?

We had a lot of fun just hanging around together!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Good Times

We had to take Anastasia to a birthday party yesterday in a very pretty, quiet neighborhood. I have to mention that my husband hates to have any attention drawn to him. He doesn't like to make a fuss or get noticed in any way. This puts him at a big disadvantage in our family since someone is usually having a PDC (public display of craziness).

So, we're driving through this serene neighborhood when I spotted an atrocity. A cat was attacking a baby bunny. I slammed on the brakes and screamed, "Save the bunny!!!!"

My husband paused for a quick look around to access the level of humiliation he was about to encounter. He then slid quietly out of the car and surreptitiously shooed the cat away a few inches. He thought that would be enough.

"Well, we tried." he sighed, knowing this was not the end.

As the cat continued to pursue it's fluffy prey, I leaped from the car and streaked after the bunny, zig-zagging through manicured lawns and flowers and people. Yes, the neighbors were starting to come out of their houses to see the crazy woman chasing a cat. A dog started to chase me, and my husband was following after me in the car. Kids were cheering. It was a real parade.

I finally got the bunny cornered. That's when my husband was really heroic. Despite all the people around, he got out of the car and picked up the bunny.

The cat hung his head in shame.

I like to think we gave the neighbors something to talk about.

My hero.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sinking In......

I am almost starting to believe that in four weeks we are really leaving. Almost. Having adopted before, I am scared to get too excited. There is a lot of talk about the country closing for a while, so that is always on my mind. What if we don't get accepted by the courts? What if something happens to one of the girls before we get there? I guess I am just afraid to get my heart broken. And, what if the plane crashes!

Anastasia is already starting to worry about me leaving. I have never left them even for a weekend before! Why couldn't I have chosen an easier country? I can't really talk about my fears, because people say, "Well, you chose to do this!". They are right. Why not just take the easier or at least, slightly easier path? I just couldn't leave Nastya and Moira behind.

I met someone on-line whose family is from the city we are going to. He told me the kids in the orphanages there NEVER, EVER get adopted. The people view special needs kids as "a burden to someone else", not their problem! Orphans get put out on the street by the time they are 16, with no homes and no food. Statistically, only 27% of orphans will find work. 10% will commit suicide by their 18th birthday. 20% will commit suicide by their 23rd birthday. 75% of the girls turn to prostitution and 60% of the boys turn to a life of crime. Only 20% will be adopted after the age of 5.

So, I guess I have to remember, it really isn't about me or my fears.
It's about them. I can't help but wonder, what if this child had been born in another country, or adopted. He could have had a life.

This little guys hands just break my heart. Why are his hands are so red and swollen? Because he has nothing else to do, so for stimulation, he sucks and sucks on them.

So, if worrying is my biggest problem, then I've got it pretty good!

Time for me to toughen up.