Friday, December 16, 2011

PLEASE go read this and then PRAY!

My heart is bursting....
PLEASE join me in spreading the word.... we have to find this child's family!  

PLEASE click here and join me in praying for him...   

Friday, November 11, 2011

OVERWHELMING Thankfulness...

I just received a phone call from Faith and Grace's Pre-K teacher.   She was almost in tears.   She quickly tells me that she had to call and share!     They were doing a Thanksgiving project and she pulled the kids aside to ask them what they are MOST thankful for...    Faith (without any hesitation) responds, "My Mama for getting me from the orphanage!"   

As I'm sitting at my desk here at work... bawling my eyes out and thanking God for his AMAZING blessings on our family -  my phone beeps!   I receive a text from her and Grace's answer is just as emotional for me - - Grace answered, "My Mama - cause she holds me!" 

I can't even express the emotion when I hear things like this.  

There was a time when I was SO tired.  I was tired of fundraising.  I was tired of redoing paperwork.  I was tired of answering questions with NO new news to report.   I was tired of the looks and the whispers behind my back.  I was tired of people asking if it was EVER going to 'really' happen.  I was tired of questioning it all myself.    I was tired of waiting.    (If you've not followed our story... just check out the L O N G timeline on the right side!)

I am can't even encourage you enough that if you are also TIRED.... if you are tired of waiting... DON'T. GIVE. UP!!!  No matter what you are facing or 'waiting' on.  

There were SO. MANY. TIMES that I felt I was fundraising and standing alone...  I wondered where in the world my God was.    I was EXHAUSTED from the emotions... I was EXHAUSTED from the struggles.   

However....   When I receive a call like this one... I remember that my God was and is so so so FAITHFUL.  

I am so incredibly humbled and thankful today that I was chosen by my God 4 times....  I was chosen and entrusted to be 4 precious girl's Mama!!!    I am honored.... and to say that I'm thankful today... well, that's putting it mildly! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

A miracle.... It's been ONE year!

It was one year ago today that we met Faith and Grace in that cold orphanage in Pavlodar, Kazkahstan.
One Year ago today that our God performed an amazing miracle…

We met them and knew they were our daughters, but had to rely on God to show up in a HUGE way…. I could retype the story out, but I’ve already written it in last year’s posts: 1) Update - Can you PLEASE help us?, 2)God is SO awesome!  , and 3) This is the UPDATE of a lifetime!!!!   PLEASE go back and read those… Join us in praising our God for miracle after miracle after miracle!

I know that so many of you moved in lightening speech to spread the word on this very day one year ago…. And you bombarded facebook, email, and contacted anyone who you knew that might help… I have a HUGE favor… Will you PLEASE forward this email/post on to those same people again…PLEASE! Will you help me show and spread the word about how awesome it truly is when we obey Christ.

I wish there was some way I could get in contact with EVERYONE who played a part in the miracle… but, I have NO way to contact most of them…. I need your help! I want everyone to know how truly thankful we are! Thank you SO SO SO much! We pray that God blesses you one thousand times over for your giving and kind hearts!

The miracle that occurred on Nov. 4, 2010 is PROOF that God is alive and well and will move through us when we allow him to.

God is so so so awesome!

Faith and Grace have been home 7 ½ months and the transformation is staggering. Yes, there are most definitely days that are overwhelming and sometimes the stress level is HIGH… but, they have made such progress is it really unbelievable if you think back to one year ago tonight! Wow… God had his hand on them… and it’s absolutely a miracle in SO many ways that they are asleep in our home tonight!

God, it’s ALL for you and YOUR glory!

Be encouraged tonight… and remember that often God is working the most on your behalf when you feel him the least! Remember that your miracle could be about to happen…. DON’T give up on the BRINK of your miracle!

Thank you again for your continued love and support of our family! We are so so so blessed to have had such love and support!

Here we are on Nov. 5, 2010.  This was the day we said YES!  :)

Here we are TODAY!  
Here's our first picture of Faith and Grace.... then known as Stella and Violetta (S and V)!

AND... Here are our precious adorable babies TODAY!   These 2 angels are truly amazing... and as you can see in this picture... their personalities come shining through!   We are in AWE of our God and the miracles we see EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!

Our 4 girls all together in ONE big hug... all looking at the camera and smiling...  THAT is truly a miracle in itself, and that my dear friends makes this Mama's heart soar BIG!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On the brink....

(Before I really start this post I want to explain about the new 'look'... ummm... well, I realized that the background was not showing up at all.. meaning it was hard to see lots of things... so I found this generic template where at least EVERYTHING is showing up. THIS IS NOT how I want the blog to look... and SOON (hopefully) I will update it - Goodness it needs some serious updating... it's in the works - It really is!)

Now... on to the REAL reason I am writing...

Well... I have felt this compelling need to come here to the blog and write about this very thing for DAYS… so, here I am!

It's a post of encouragement to ANY of you who might be about to 'throw in the towel' so to speak. I know that lots of you are facing things in your lives that you wish would END already. Some of you have honestly been trusting God for a miracle for a LONG time... and are wondering if he even cares or realizes that you are hurting....

Well... let me take you back - 1 year ago TODAY!

I was stranded in Kazakhstan... I remember those last few days before we met Faith and Grace SO vividly... Lots of people told me I'd forget and it would all be a blur. Some of it is... but, honestly, my stomach is rolling right now as I think back and reflect on that very time.... those 2 1/2 weeks when we were in country 'waiting' to meet our 'son'.... :) Now - if you don't know our story, and what we went through in country, then I suggest you go back and read through the blog from about Oct. 23 - Nov. 2nd, 2010. That will give you a good idea (sort of) of what we were going through.

However, at that time we didn't know who might be hacking into the blog, reading what we were writing, thinking, saying...etc.. and so I was somewhat reserved.

To be completely honest, I wasn't completely honest

It was BRUTAL! We talked about giving up... we asked ourselves if we had missed God. We didn't understand why we were there and NOT meeting our child. We were running out of money. We were both off from our jobs with NO pay. We hadn't even started the process of bonding and court, etc... and it had been weeks. We were desperate for God to show up and show up big.

I just read back through a few of those posts from one year ago today.... and on the day that I went on a walk alone... it was a BAD day. I didn't understand what was happening. I threw a HUGE fit... I walked around those streets in that city (not a very safe thing to do... but, I didn't care) and cried out to God.... I sat in a park bench in the city park... 1/2 of a world away from our family and just about threw in the towel. It was tough... it was hard and it felt like God had forsaken us...

As I look back and think back to that time now... I am just so thankful that we held on. We clung to each other and our God and the promises he had given us. We quoted the scriptures and the promises that he has given us and you better believe it I reminded him of what he had told me.

Even in the midst of "knowing" he did have a plan it was SO tempting to give up and walk away. I had followed other families for years and they walked over and came home in one month - court completed - families intact.. WHY US?! WHY God... WHY??!!!

I am assuming that most everyone who is reading this knows about our miracle, and what God did on Nov. 4, 2010! Wow…. And to think that when we were SO low and about to give up… we were 48-72 hours away from a miraculous breakthrough… WOW!

I came here because I know that someone who will read this in the next few days is facing some sort of struggle in their life and they are considering just giving up.

Maybe you are facing a 'wait' for your adoption and you don't think you can stand to wait another day/hour/second….HOLD ON!

Maybe you are struggling in the area of finances and things look so hopeless that you are about to just give up.... HOLD ON!!!

Maybe you are in a marriage and you've been trusting God for a miracle for years and you are about to give up... HOLD ON!!!!

Maybe you are unemployed and need work and wonder if God sees your babies are hungry and need clothes... HOLD ON!

Maybe you are reading this and considering taking your own life... because things are just not right in your world... and you've begged God to show up... HOLD ON!

Maybe you are waiting on a healing in your body or that on a loved one... and they are getting sicker and sicker... HOLD ON!

The list could go on and on and on!

You see NO MATTER what you are facing.... PLEASE don't give up.... don't throw in the towel... You never know when YOUR MIRACLE might be 5 minutes from happening!

One year ago tonight.... I almost gave up. I was on the brink of the most miraculous thing I've ever seen or experienced in my life. IF we had given up.... we would have missed that!

Now, don’t think that we weren’t trusting God because we were… but, sometimes the stresses get overwhelming and everyone considers (or at least I think we all do) just giving up. That appears to be the easier way out… but, let me encourage you tonight that you don’t want to!

PLEASE don’t give up…. Keep trusting God because you could be ‘on the brink’ or YOUR miracle!!!!!

Be encouraged in the Lord tonight and know that …”His love for you is NEVER ending!”

DON’T GIVE UP… Your miracle is on the way!!!! :)
… and cling to his promises! He says it perfectly in John 11:40, “ Did I not tell you that if you believed – You would see the Glory of God?”

Believe and you will see his Glory! What an amazing God!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

SPD - A post to my fellow AP's!

Well… I am back! :) I know that all my faithful blog readers have missed me as much as I’ve missed you… and honestly I have missed writing here. I have plans to kick this blog back up a notch, but never seem to find the energy to actually sit down and come here and write… but, tonight is your lucky night!

I was just putting dishes in the dishwasher and about to tackle the load of clothes that just came out of the dryer (that are now resting on the kitchen table)…. BUT, while I was doing those tasks my mind was thinking… and I decided that some of you might need to hear this tonight… SO, here I sit!

This post is dedicated to my fellow adoptive families and anyone who is interested… but, mainly to those who are and have and will be struggling with the same things we face daily in our little home!

It’s called Sensory Integration Disorder! Faith and Grace have not been officially diagnosed with SPD, but I could push for it and get that diagnosis. Grace really struggles the most with sensory stuff, but both have the classic institutional sensory struggles.

I am tempted to go into the struggles of how hard it is to really know if it’s truly sensory integration issues… or if it’s a result of environment (institutionalized life) prior to coming home, but you have to treat it as it is… and our girls struggle with sensory issues, regardless of the cause!

Ok…. So, we are in the process of some paperwork at the school (yes, the SCARY IEP)! My friend (the SLP at the elementary – I’m at the Intermediate grades) has done some speech/language testing . The PT has evaluated them… and my friend who is an OT is going to evaluate them tomorrow. I was talking with my friend who is the OT tonight on the phone… and she prompted this blog post.

She was a FAITHFUL supporter of our adoption and followed our journey and supported us in ways that make my heart smile. She’s an incredible resource to know and have in my corner.

Again, Thank you Jesus!

SO… tonight I was telling her of some of the things we see and struggle with. I was telling her how well Faith and Grace are doing in school… and how poorly they sometimes then do at the daycare and at home. She shared with me that in her experience she has seen this be true a lot of times. She said that kiddos who have sensory issues NEVER really get rid of those (which we all know). These kiddos just learn to adapt and adjust and self regulate to keep things at an even balance.

She then explained how that she feels with lots of kids they are attempting to keep things in ‘check’ so to speak all day in that structured environment (school). However, when they get home they tend to them be VERY impulsive and often parents will see a far more severe sensory deprived or overloaded child than the teachers or caregivers ever see.

I have NO idea if this is what is going on with Faith and Grace… but, I can tell you that it made me feel better! :)

This made me think about the similarities with some of the children I have on my caseload who stutter. I have had parents repeatedly tell me time and time again at IEP meetings that their child is severely dysfuent at home… and we’ll be telling them about how awesome they are doing with their speech in therapy as well as the classroom. I quickly explain to parents that I think often times kids who have to change the way they speak all day (attempt to be as fluent as possible) often relax when they finally get home. They KNOW that their parents are going to love them regardless of their stuttering or weaknesses and therefore stop attempting to monitor their speech.

I then encourage my parents to take that as a compliment that their kids feel well loved and secure!

I think this could be similar to our SPD kiddos. They are attempting all day to maintain their little bodies to an acceptable and appropriate level, and when they get home they just relax!

SO… if you are seeing your little one have GREAT days at school and a different child comes home… breathe a sigh of relief tonight and maybe… just maybe your baby feels secure and relaxed and therefore needs a break from the stresses of holding it all together!

YOU are doing a wonderful job… keep on parenting with love and kindness and remember that YOU were hand picked to be that child’s Mommy and Daddy!

I can’t even imagine walking this road of life without my Jesus… wow!

I hope and pray this was a bit of encouragement to someone… or someone else enjoyed this bit of information!

Oh… and one more thing… at this point 1 year ago – we were in our apartment in Kazakhstan waiting to meet available children… wondering if God had yet again forgotten about us… BUT, choosing to trust him, because he said to go!

TRUST HIM… He means what he says!

I have so many blog posts rolling in my head.. once I ever sit down to write you will have lots of stuff from me!

A dear friend today sent me an email and said to ‘sleep whenever you can… if you have to pick between sleep and something else – choose sleep’… I think that was really good advice for me! I am pretty exhausted… However, blessed beyond my wildest dreams!

Have a wonderful night!

1 Thes 5:24

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A precious moment in time... Faith puts things in perspective once again! :)

Where do I even start?   I have had SO SO SO SO many posts and chapters and things rolling in my brain for the past few days/weeks/months.... that I couldn't help but come here tonight and write about this one...  

One of the things that I've been going to post about (once I get caught up... ha ha ha) was how blessed we are to have Faith and Grace...  sort of my 'rescue' post...

Some of my long-term readers will remember a post years ago.. when I made the statement that we still had babies to 'rescue and save'... and I had some people RIP me a new one online with messages and comments about how "wrong" that wording was.... and how I needed to educate myself about adoption that using those terms would be detrimental to my future children, etc....

It was a VERY hard time for me... and the negative reaction of those readers REALLY bothered me a lot...  I attempted to rebuttal my comments and explain what I 'really' meant... but, I don't know that I was ever really understood.... and honestly it doesn't matter.  

I knew back when I wrote that post that we were also being 'rescued' by our adopted children... :)    I had already began to see the transformation that God was doing in our lives/family as a result of the adoption.    We were growing closer to him...  We were trusting him for a miracle that with our natural eyes LOOKED impossible.    We were seeking him together and in ways that we'd never sought or been at before.   WE experienced God bigger than we've ever seen through all this.   I know that there are some of you that have also been touched by this incredible miraculous story that is our family.   
I can't even tell you how humbled it makes me to think that others have been touched, saved and even possibly rescued as well...

You see it is SO SO SO true when I say that Faith and Grace rescued US.     There have been so so so many times and examples that I could give you... but, tonight (obviously) is the most prevalent example in my mind. 

We started back to school today... F and G started pre-k, Bay started 5th grade and Brook started 1st!   Faith and Grace also started daycare in the afternoons for the first time...  You see today was a day that we've talked about for months... I vividly remember our bedroom in our apartment in Kazakhstan... I was sitting in the floor, Phil across the bed and we were just talking about the August that the girls would start school.  Would we start them in Pre-K, hold them out, could I stay home, how much would they have picked up in 4 months, how much progress would they have made... would they be ready?      We talked about this day in DETAIL numerous times... and anticipated it all summer.    Honestly, I've dreaded it...  I've wished time to slow down and been sad as I've seen it getting closer and closer on the calendar.. :(  

It's truly amazing to me that on this day... August 11, 2011... the day we've dreaded.... our little Faith put things in perspective once again. 

You see there have been some things happening at my work that are overwhelming...  and there are some things that have been happening that I can't write or share about...  but, they are disheartening and overwhelming to Phil and I.  

Tonight as I am saying our normal night time prayers with Faith and Grace... our little Faith was praying first.  She was rattling on about all the things she is thankful for.. with one eye open part of the time to see what else she can see in her room to name. ;)    I have my eyes closed (she thinks), but LOVE to watch them look for new things to thank Jesus for... and them saying their little prayers is one of my favorite times to watch them!  :)   SO precious.... so she's praying along and it was going something like this... "Thank you Jesus my toys, our house, thank you Jesus Mama and Papa and Bay Bay and Brookie and Nana... Thank you Jesus my bed and sheets and um...  covers and clothes and shoes and babies and..."  HUGE pause as she touches her little tummy and her expression changes completely... "thank you Jesus me's full tummy.... (another pause)... "no more hungry"...    She then looks at me to see if I'm looking at her and the expression on her face was absolutely precious.  

Thank You Jesus once again for using these babies to speak to us...    Am I the only one who needed that wake up call?      You see these 2 girls time and time again... have rescued us... from lives of living selfishly and not truly seeing Christ as we are supposed to...

So... If you are reading this... I think it's for a reason.   I think you were supposed to read this and be reminded as I was tonight by my little Faith... of what is TRULY important! 

Live life differently...  CHOOSE to be the one who says.. you know what... I am going to make a difference...  I am going to be kind to my co-worker...  I'm going give some food to a family who I know is struggling... I'm going to pay for that families electric bill this month.   I'm going to give a co-worker a card just because I want to brighten there day...

One of my favorite quotes of all times comes to mind.. and it is: 
"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.
WE have to be HIM shining to this world... we as Christians are to SHINE for him...
My prayer for all of you tonight is that you would make up your mind that you will SHINE for him...  Do something this weekend, tomorrow....  BLESS someone... maybe it's just an extra smile a hug...   JUST make up YOUR mind that YOU are going to focus on the 'real' reasons we are alive and in this world.... those reasons are to live for Jesus and show the world that he loves them!

Anyone else moved and inspired by my babies tonight?    Probably not.. lol!  I bet this was ALL for me... but, at least now I have it all written down to tell them about one day when they are 25 and have families of their own!  :) 

Be blessed and will you join me in trying to focus on what is REALLY important in life?     Let's not let the stuff that really doesn't matter zap all our energy...  :)  
Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Catch up post - Part 1

Hello!  I am so sorry that I have not made it here to post and write in months.   There are several reasons why... but, mainly I wasn't sure how much of our 'real' life I wanted to share.   I have been torn between what I should tell and shouldn't...  and quite honestly it's been a hard decision to make.   I will talk more about this soon... :) 

I have wanted to update the blog... make it girly (hee hee.. the choice of backgrounds was because I wanted something that would be ok for the girls and our new son(s)!) Isn't that funny?!?!?  :)      
I wanted to update it  and put new pictures up, etc... before I updated about the twins.. however,  I have decided that I just need to post and then update the actual backgrounds when or if I can find the time. 

I just want to start out by telling you that I have been to the blog only 3 times in the past few months... and when I opened it up tonight to attempt this post... I was OVERWHELMED with emotions!  Wow... I read back through several posts and had to make myself stop... or I'd be here reading them all night!   I am in COMPLETE awe of MY GOD!  Isn't he amazingly wonderful?!?     There are 2 babies who are sleeping in our house tonight... in their clean (wonderful smelling) beds... who God had an amazing plan for!   Wow... We are honored that we were chosen as their family.   Honestly, sometimes I am so humbled by that very thought that I just feel so inadequate that God picked us.... wow!    

SO... back to my pondering about what and how much to post.   I have given this much though and prayer and realize some things.   
It is when we are transparent before each other and God that others are able to be helped, ministered to and blessed by our lives the most.    THAT is the complete purpose of why I am alive... TO glorify God and live for him.     If my life, our life, my little families obedience and struggles and victories can minister to someone else... then I need to share those EXACT moments with people.    I guess my real hesitation with sharing is that we've had LOTS of medical issues with the twins since coming home... and lots of things/behaviors/problems that are completely a result of being in an institution or maybe they aren't... some things we still don't know that answer. 
I just know that one day  I want Faith and Grace to be able (if they would like) to read all this blog... and not think.. "Gosh, Mama... why did you tell the world that about us.. that's embarrassing!" 
    However, after much prayer and consideration... I feel I need to be open and honest.. and hopefully something I share or write will resonate with someone who is reading it and bless them....  in turn our family/life = glorify HIM in all things!   I think if we as Christians as a whole would be more transparent with each other, it would be amazing the encouragement that we'd find and have... and in turn our relationships with Christ would grow and flourish! 
That however, is Lanetta's two cents!  ha! 

I have no idea who many parts this catch up post will be... but, I'm going to just start telling the story of our last 4 months.   Today is August 2, 2011.   Faith and Grace came home FOREVER on March 15th... so it's been 4 1/2 months! 
LOTS has happened and there is LOTS to tell!  

Where do I even start?
The last 4 months have been VERY busy... we tried SO hard to simplify and not be on the go.... but, there were so many Dr's apts and things to do it was amazing.    
There were so many firsts that there is NO way I can list them all...

I am going to start out with some pictures... (It's amazing how much these don't even look like them)... Wow!  They've changed SO much!
The first night home we quickly realized that the bunk beds were NOT going to work... :(    Grace jumped from the top bunk (I caught her).. but, we quickly realized that they did not even have the muscle tone to climb the ladder and NO idea how to get up or down.  The bunk beds were QUICKLY deemed NOT safe for their room.    SO... their first full day home consisted of a complete room OVERHAUL... lol!   Nothing like throwing them into one of my projects right off the bat... LOL!  Anyone who knows me KNOWS that this is SO me!  :)   Get used to it girls... this is your Mama!   ;)


Here the twins are helping Papa and Uncle Keith assemble their NEW toddler beds!  They loved helping and thought they were doing something BIG! :) 

Here's the NEW room... :)  It works out SO much better... gives them LOTS more floor space.  They will be able to sleep in these beds for a LONG time!  They have plenty of room! 


Goodness... Bay and Brook sure were happy on the morning of March 16th!  :)  Phil, Bay and Brook quickly broke out the Christmas presents for F and G that we saved for them!  It was DEFINITELY a Christmas in March morning at our house! 
 I didn't wait long until we had their haircut.   My good friend Kim has a salon in her home... so we were able to visit them and get a cute trim fairly easily.  They did pretty good... :) 


Finished... aren't they precious?!  

If you look back through pictures of them... you will see that their teeth were in BAD shape.  Their bottom front teeth were DARK brown and appeared to be decaying.   I visited with our dentist at great length about their teeth when we were home in February and we already had appointments scheduled for the first week home.   Call me superficial... but, I really REALLY hated to hear that most likely there was little they could do for them.  Our dentist said that most likely they were decayed and we'd have to make decisions about what to do... but, it didn't sound very promising!   We went to our first apt. to have them just look at their teeth, etc.. and the dentist was fairly certain that all the discoloration was EXCESSIVE plaque and with some special tool and high pressure she 'thought' she could remove most of it.   We went back in 3 days and it was UNBELIEVABLE!   The plaque came off in HUGE hunks and their teeth were completely cavity free!   I am still in shock about this...  :)    The girls did fairly well and tolerated the procedures!   They now have beautiful white and gorgeous teeth!  :)   
I have to tell you that my mom and my brother have both been such a blessing to us these first few months home.   One of them went with me to appointments in the beginning.  Phil wasn't able to take off more time from work... so it was a wonderful blessing for either my brother or mom to be able to go with me.   We love you Nana and Uncle Keith! :)  
We also had every test you can imagine completed at the pediatricians office.   All blood work came back normal... however, Faith had a very aggressive and YUCKY parasite.  We took meds for that for one week...  and then got an all clear.      Grace and none of the rest of us had the parasite, but all had the FUN testing!  :) 
I expressed concern with Grace's vision.. and our pediatrician referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist.   He diagnosed Grace with Septo-Optic Dysplasia - Mild/Mod Optic Nerve Hypoplasia.   This means that her optic nerves are VERY small.    He asked why he wasn't seeing Faith for an appointment and requested that we work her in that day as well.  He diagnosed Faith with the same.     Grace also has stigmatisms and is very badly near sighted, thus needs glasses.    The Optic nerve diagnosis are not correctable and basically means they have slowed/delayed processing of their vision.   This made PERFECT sense to me... I told Phil from Nov. that we had some sensory integration issues with Grace... and some with Faith.  This was NOT surprising.    
He then went on to say that it's a miracle that Grace especially wasn't born blind.    He said that with this severe of a dysplasia (small optic nerve) there is a HUGE percentage of chance (HIGH 90's) that the optic nerve was NOT the only portion of their brains affected.   He was VERY kind when explaining all this to me.. and honestly, he painted a GRIM picture.   I don't think he realized the degree that I understood what he was saying... but, he basically said they could both very easily be VERY handicapped mentally.   I knew EXACTLY what he was saying...    I don't really know how to explain how I felt in that office that day.   Honestly the girls were AWFUL.  My mom was with me and we were both basket cases trying to keep them calmed down and controlled.  They were VERY overstimulated and LOUD and well... it was chaos.. that's the BEST way to describe it.   My mom wasn't in the room with me when I received all the news... she was in the waiting room.  We had thought maybe separating them, etc would make them calmer.  HA!

As we walked out of that office... one with a kid in tow - I couldn't help but laugh!  Remember my post from March 9th - airplane ride from Pavlodar to Almaty?!   When I'm overstimulated I laugh and cry both... well, that's what I started doing...
I then start telling my mom about the diagnoses... and how that even in the midst of hearing him caution me of the road we 'might' have ahead of us... I KNEW that it was all ok! 

It's giving me chills now as I type this out...   God prepared me.   I already knew in the deepest recesses of my heart that we would receive a BAD report from medical doctors regarding the twins.   I don't know how I knew it... did God speak to me audibly?  No... did I dream it.. NO!  It's in those still small voices that he often speaks the most to me.. it was there and I just knew.   THIS very thing... these medical issues... ALL OF IT... are for HIS glory!   I knew and know that at some point one day.. Faith and Grace will share their story.. their journey... their life.. and they will have an even GREATER story to tell and share!  Not only did God rescue (yes... I used that word!) them from a life without knowing HIM... but, he also healed their bodies and minds and they will be WALKING proof in more than 200  ways that God is alive and well today!  
Whew.... give me chills!!!!! 

I have a whole entire other post about 'resuce'...  I will write it one day... I promise!   :) 
...and more about all the medial stuff later too!

At about 2 weeks home.. we took pictures to make an INVITE for our celebration/ welcome home party!  This is the picture we used:

I will share more in a few minutes about Bay and Brook... but, just know that at this point.. when the twins had been home 2 weeks... Bay and Brook were BEGGING to not go to school!  They wanted to stay home with us and carry them and play and baby them every single second.   They were absolutely SO SO SO proud of them and both attempted to Mother them!  :)  

ok... back on track... so Grace got some ADORABLE glasses:
Aren't Grace's glasses cute?  :)   Here they are still in their pj's... under a HUGE tent we built in our living room! :)   They were SO excited and LOVED it! 

Another pic in tent!   They had been home about 3 weeks here... notice their WHITE sparkling teeth!  :)
 We stayed home and away from anyone except immediate family that first 4 weeks...   on the 5th week.. we had a shower at my work... and a huge town-wide welcome home party at the community building. 
Both were incredible events... we were showered with love and gave God all the glory for Faith and Grace coming home.   
I had to share one of the gifts in this post for my fellow adoptive parents... aren't these the CUTEST shirts?!  A gift from another adoptive mom that I work with!   These were my fav. gift!  :)     The text under the 2 hearts says, "... because that's where I was!"   AWE.... isn't that precious!?  :) 

I know I should post pics from the showers and parties.. but, I won't today!  
That pretty much brings us up to date through them being home for 5 weeks. 
Their English was coming along @ 5 weeks home...   I was at this point surprised that it wasn't progressing faster than it seemed to be...   They pretty much spoke Russian to each other until about the one month home mark...  I think that's really interesting too...

This is a summary of the first 5 weeks home:
  • Family:  EVERYONE is THRILLED...  :)  Bay and Brook are incredible... they LOVE them and seem to love every second with them.  The girls LOVE my mom - Nana and are also bonding well with my nephew - Cody, brother and sister-in-law.
  •  Medical:  Optic Nerve Dysplasia -   we have upcoming dr's apt's with Endocrinologist and Neurologist
  • Communication:  A combination of English/Russian and gestures! :)  There were honestly only 3 times that they tried to communicate that I never knew what they were saying...  it really wasn't hard to communicate with them.  We figured out a way!  :) 
  •  Sleep -  a HUGE problem... they don't sleep through the night... wake up a lot.. and there are LOTS of issues.   :(      We rocked them from the time we got home until around 4-5 weeks home... then we attempted to transition to patting their backs in their beds.     There were so many times that it was overwhelming that there are 2 of them.    I have to admit that it was TOUGH!  There were nights that I sat in their room attempting to shuffle between them rock and pat... and I just cried.    Phil traveled and was gone a lot the first few weeks home... since he had missed so much work.    My mom helped me SO much... I have NO idea how I would have survived those first few weeks without her.
  • Toileting:  Attempted panties - however, went back to pull-ups full-time due to excessive numbers of accidents.   Faith is doing better than Grace.   At one month home both were completely in pull-ups.
  • Bonding and Attachment:    At 4 weeks home we were making progress, but still had a long ways to go... however, they were doing good.    I felt that it would have been going better, but with 2.. it was so hard to rock, cuddle, give eye to eye contact, etc.... without leaving one out...  :)      
(on a side note... just writing all this out is making me really realize the amount of progress they have really made! wow...  it really is incredible where they are today (at 4 months home verses 1 month, etc..)..

During that first 5 weeks home there were so many firsts it's UNREAL..
here are a few of the ones I really remember and some of my favorite memories:
  • They were in awe of our outside cat... only at about 3 months home has the excitement worn off.  They would scream and jump and yell EVERY SINGLE morning!  :) 
  • The first time they put their feet in the grass barefoot.... :(     They didn't know what to do.
  • They couldn't climb up the ladder for the slide... they had NO idea about how to put one foot up then your hand and pull, etc...  
  • They LOVE to swing! 
  • They LOVE their big sisters... their FAVORITE time of the day is watching for the bus to come down the road!  :)
  • They LOVE to run out in the yard and meet Bay and Brook when they get off the bus!
  • At about 3 weeks home:  I will never forget when Uncle Keith kept them in the van while Brook had some dental work done... (had to have a tooth pulled)... I get a text from him saying... EMERGENCY... come outside! :)  They wouldn't stop spitting at him and in the van!   HEE HEE HEE!  ;) 
  • The first time Grace called me "Mom" instead of "Mama"... and she shortened "Papa" to "Pop"
  • Grace's face when she realized how much she could see with her new glasses...
  • I will never forget the FIT Faith threw cause she wanted glasses!!!
  • Their begging for ear rings...  they looked at everyone's and asked about them... :) 
  • The first time I held them in church and sang - "Amazing Grace - My chains are Gone" and "How Great is our God!"
  • When I realized that Grace (at 2 weeks home) could sing Jesus Loves me!  I had been singing it to them as we cuddled and rocked.   She knew EVERY word!
  • The first time I took them anywhere ALONE... :)   It was to the dentist... had to stop 4 times during 30 minute drive home!   whew.... :)
Goodness.. the emotions of this are overwhelming.... :) 

I think I will call it quits for this post!  My goal is to post an update a night until I get caught up!  :)   

Please just know that YOUR continued prayers and the wonderful GRACE and MERCY of our Jesus have continued to carry us these past few months.  
It is still incredible to us when we really think of the miraclous things God has done... these girls are miracles!   It doesn't take long to think about it... and remember that God has a plan and be so thankful for his awesome provisions and blessings!  

More soon... check back tomorrow!  :)  
Have a wonderfully blessed night! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011


This is the post I've been waiting over 3 years to write... and it's taken me 3 weeks to write it.. LOL!
We've been home for 3 weeks and I'm just now getting this posted. 

I am going to back up and post the travel pics.. :) 
Here we are in the middle of the night in the Almaty airport.. waiting to board the plane!   They girls did really good. I pushed them around in the stroller LOTS and we walked a LOT, but we made it fine!

Faith and I... We are about to take off for Frankfurt!   We are HEADING home forever!  Yeah!

Phil and Grace!
 The girls did GREAT on the flight.  They slept for about 3-4 hours of the flight and we survived.  Honestly it wasn't NEARLY as bad as we expected.  
Killing some time in Frankfurt Airport!  We had a 4 hour layover, but it was only about 2 hours of wait time.   We walked and rode in the stroller and ate snacks!   They got REALLY fussy towards the end, but we again survived!   Just a tip to fellow travelers... if you see someone with a child in an airport throwing a HUGE tantrum... DON'T be quick to judge.   You never know that child MIGHT be NEWLY adopted and totally overwhelmed with what all is going on!   ;)

Welcome to America Faith and Grace.. The newest American Citizens!  Our plane had just touched down in Chicago!!!  The man across the aisle was nice and offered to take our picture!    We look a little rough, huh?!  ;) 
They slept for 5 hours of this flight... AMAZING, huh?!   Thank you Jesus!   Again, we survived!
The flight from Chicago to OKC was amazingly emotional for me.    :)   Phil and Faith slept.   Grace and I did not!  I was extremely overwhelmed with emotions and anticipation.   Grace... well, she didn't want to sit still long enough to sleep.   :)  
When I think about the flight now.... 3 weeks later, I still get emotional.   The thought of what was about to happen was unexplainable to me.  
For over 3 years... I TRUSTED God.  I KNEW I had heard from him.   I questioned it a zillion times and cried out to him in my despair, but I KNEW that he had spoken to me.     The closer we got to Oklahoma the more nervous and excited and emotional I got.   As we landed Phil is asking me if I'm ok... and just keeps grinning.  I told him to NOT look at me or I would break down and into a million pieces.   I felt like I was only holding it together with a thin thread.   The feelings even now make my stomach churn as I rethink about those moments.    I wish I could explain them better.    I don't feel that I am conveying how it really felt. 
Just know that it was INCREDIBLE for me.   My hands were sweating and my insides rolling.   My girls were all about to meet for the FIRST time EVER!  This was the result of TRUSTING God when it looks bleak... when everything appeared to be falling apart... when inside I was BAWLING and  no one even knew. 
  That has to be one of the best moments of my life... honestly I can only think of 3 other times that EVEN come close to comparing!  June 29, 1996 :)   Feb. 13, 2001  and May 9, 2005!     

As we got off the plane we then races to the nearest bathroom to change the girls clothes and get them ready! ;)   I hurried as fast as I could... but, there are 2 of them and they were SO tired.  
We were FINALLY ready to head that way....     we finally made it to the turn... and I see Bay and Brook...    I will let the video tell the rest of the story:
Click here to watch video of airport celebration! (Click on videos on the left hand side of the screen.. then you'll see it's the first Video!) 

More coming soon.... PLEASE check back!

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14th - Update! WE ARE COMING HOME!!!!

Last night the girls didn't sleep as well.  They woke up at 2:30 and were up until almost 5 am.     We then attempted an earlier nap due to such little sleep last night and the girls had a very hard time ever going to sleep.      They were then sleeping SO well and we had to wake them to get to the Consulate Appointment.   (isn't that about right?)    They were happy to wake up and are such sweet babies!  BIG smiles.. and give us lots of love.. like.. wow, you're still here!  :) 
(While I was attempting to get them to sleep.. Grace puts both hands on my cheeks and kisses me on the mouth and says very sweetly... "I love you!"   awe.. precious!)

We headed to consulate appointment.   I just had this dread that something would not be correct....  I know everyone has said the appointment is a breeze, but other things have been a breeze for others and NOT for us.. ;)    I was bracing myself for a delay.. yet, HOPING so much that things were all ok! 
The lady at window #3 was so kind.   She processed  all our info... took the last of our money.  ;)  and said that we are good to go.. at this point I just looked at her!   SERIOUSLY?!?  We have the girls.. we are wrestling with them while signing the papers... we are really out of here.. for real?!  I started crying!   Phil just smiles at me...  the girls are tired of waiting!   wow!!!    Amazing!  I have to say for Phil and I that this appointment today was much more emotional and exciting than court even..  Wow... we are REALLY coming home!!!
Here is a picture of the building that consulte is in.... 
... and here we are in front of the building!  The consulate is on the 16th floor! 

Penny and her driver then picked us up and we headed up into the mountains to look around!   The mountains here are absolulty beautiful!   We had a wonderful time exploring and seeing the mountains!  It was a great outing and a wonderful way to end our journey here!  :) 
We are forever thankful for Penny and Richard!  (Richard had to go to Astana on business today... so we didn't get a picture with him!) 
Here are some of our pictures:

The outdoor ice skating rink..  it's absolutly beautiful!
I have no idea why Grace would think to grab a snowball and throw it at Papa!   ;)  hee hee!   However, the snowball veered off and hit the red brick wall.  Papa didn't even know we were trying to hit him!  :)
The snow was melting and running off everything.  I showed the girls that they could touch the water dripping.   They were so excited!   They were in shock that it was ok to touch it!
FUN TIMES!!!    ... and yes, they got a little wet.. but, you know what?  They dried! :)
Aren't they precious?   I don't know how it's even possible, but I love them more and more every single day!  :)   My heart is bursting!  :)

Here the girls and I are with Penny!   She is truly a wonderful woman!  We will forever be in contact with them!  :)  Thank you Jesus for leading us to them!  :)   Faith and Grace just LOVE her and are going to wonder where in the world she is!  She's been such a vital part of our lives these last 5 days!  We miss her already! 
An attempt at a family picture in the mountains!  :)   The girls REALLY wanted to run around... NOT take pictures!
I love this one!  :)
... and how perfect that I end this post with that picture!   We are headed out of here soon! 

We leave here for the airport @ 2am!   (in 4 short hours!)...

For anyone who lives local and has asked... we will arrive in OKC airport on Tuesday, March 15th @ 7:34 PM.    If you want to be there... you are welcome!
I received info. from a friend that a local news channel will be there filming.... and that they are covering our story on the news that night.... WOWZIERS!!!! 
Please... pray for Faith and Grace and that they are not completly overwhelmed.    We don't want to miss an opportunity to speak positivily about adoption and the Lord... but, also want to ensure that F and G are ok!

I know all of you are...but, please pray for our travels! :)      I have us pretty much packed up... Phil and the girls are asleep.  

I am seriously in shock that we are heading home WITH THEM soon!  wow!!!!!! 
God is so so so very FAITHFUL! 

ok... one more thing.. this will most likely be the last post I make before we are home forever!!!    SO STINKING EXCITING!!!

So.. I want to share about this.
I know that so many people have followed our journey of Faith and Grace to Faith and Grace! :)  We are so so so thankful for everything that anyone has done... from donations to help to prayers!  We are forever changed and moved by this entire process....   

Please know that we want all of you to meet F and G... we really do!    However, after the grand airport celebration we plan to keep things VERY low key for about 4 weeks.    We are asking that we have very little to no company... please know that this is only for the best interest of our family and the twins.   We need some time to adjust and bond and Phil and I both feel this is VERY necessary.   We have several Dr's appointments already scheduled and things going on... so we will be out and about some.. but, we really feel we need to keep things as simple as we possibly can for at least a few weeks.    Please understand and know that there will be a time when you can love on them too!

Speaking of that... I've been told that there is a HUGE celebration planned in April 10th from 1-3 @ the Perkins community Building in the new Territorial Plaza!   Just an FYI.. Faith and Grace will be there!  :)   Please come and meet them that day... we'd love to have YOU help us celebrate them being home forever!!!     I will share more details about this as I know them!  :) 

We will be home in a few hours... I hope I don't pass out at the airport!   I can not even imaigne the awesome presence of God that is going to fill that airport!  OKC watch out...   ;)    

ok. I could go on and on.. but, I will stop here and try to get a couple hours rest!  I bet I will need it, huh?!  ;) 
I will post from Germany and Chicago if I can... but, you just never know if that will be possible!
Pray for good seats, peaceful sleep  and wonderful flights!  

I will post as soon as I can when we get home!  
Love and prayers... and THANK YOU for loving our little family!  
Paka from Kazakhstan for the last time... (this trip!)  ;)  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March 10-12, 2011 - Update from Almaty!

It's Sunday afternoon and my precious babies are sleeping so I'm going to try to catch everyone up to date on the last few days.   Honestly, sitting here thinking about all of it the days all run together!  :)  Let me attempt to tell you about our fun adventures!

The girls slept from about 2:30 am until about 8 am on Thursday morning (3-10).  The staff in Pavlodar told us our appointment for the SOS clinic was @ 10:30 am and that we'd be picked up around 10 am.    We got up and around and headed downstairs to eat some breakfast.   Penny (our friends we are staying with) greeted us with HUGS and she had porridge already made for the girls.  :) 
I don't feel like I can write more without sharing more about them and how we met.  

Get ready.. this is another one of those AMAZING God stories!  :)  I indicated a few posts ago about meeting Penny when we were delayed due to snow @ Christmas time.   We were in the Almaty airport attempting to leave yet again after a 14 hour cancellation/delay of our flight going to Frankfurt.   Phil brought a bright orange OSU hat that he wore while traveling, but quickly put away upon our first arrival in Pavlodar and realizing this made us stand out even more.   LOL!   He had not touched this hat for MONTHS.. but, pulled it out of the suitcase in the Almaty airport minutes before.   We are about to check in through the international flights area... and we hear a very sweet excited voice say.. "Are you from America?   Is that an OSU cap?"  to which we both BLINK (keep in mind we've been in Kazakhstan for 2 months at this point!    Phil and I gulp and think... surely we are imagaing that someone is speaking to us in English... much less realizes and recognizes that this is an OSU hat... seriously OSU - Stillwater, OK!  NO WAY!   We stammer and stutter and get out a Yes... it is...    do you speak English?   DUH!?  hee hee!!    We start talking and quickly discover that Penny is from Altus, OK..    We had been talking about 5 minutes when they announce that we can check in for our flight.    Penny was on the same flight for Frankfurt... she was coming home to the US for Christmas.    Richard was catching a flight later in the week.. so we met and said Bye to him in a matter of minutes.       As you can imagine we talked with Penny for hours while waiting on our flights... and then in Frankfurt (during that MASSIVE snow storm) we were all delayed again together.   Richard works here in Almaty and they live here.    We showed Penny pictures of the twins and told her all about the adoption and we immediatly became wondeful friends.   It wasn't long until we knew they were Christians too and she was saying that when we come back through Almaty we will just stay with them!   We were blown away!   :) 

Penny and Richard..  you will never know how much you've shown us Jesus!   We are truly blown away by your kindness and giving hearts to virtually strangers. 
The best way to describe our stay here with them is like this:    When I had my biological daughters, my mom came and stayed with me for the first week... she took care of all of us!     She cleaned, cooked and did our laundry.  She made sure that I could rest and spend all the time and energy I wanted with my new babies.   Penny is that person now!   She has cooked meals for us.. shopped at the store, found things the girls will like.  She has made sure Phil and I are ok.    She has literally waited on us hand and foot!   I am about to bawl writing this.. but, it's so true!   God has truly and completly taken care of us and my little family once again.   WOW!    God, I just continue to be so touched by YOU and how you keep showing us your love, compassion and grace!   INCREDIBLE!

Ok.. back to the morning of the 10th...  Penny quickly starts asking about going to the SOS clinic and we tell her it's just who the staff uses.   She has some friends (christians) who run a clinic here in Almaty called the IMC (International Medical Center).   She asks is we'd be willing to take the girls to them if they can do the embassey exit visa exams.   We say sure and she starts checking.    We quickly find out that only them (IMC) and the SOS clinic can preform these exams.   Penny contacts our staff, cancels our appointment as SOS and we now have an appointment with their friends @ 2:30 pm.    

We have some lunch...  the girls take a nap and we head off to the IMC with Penny and their driver.   Their driver is such a KIND and sweet man.   He speaks English and Russian and the twins instantly love him.  He's so so so kind and great with them.  Another amazing blessing!  

We arrive at the IMC and meet the incredible staff... wow... we are SO blown away!     They radiate JESUS!!!!    They want to hear all about our story.. which we share!!    There are tears and praises as we share how God has provided and miracously shown up!    They exam the girls and are SO sweet with them. They speak Russian and English.. so the girls love that and it's just a special time for all of us.    Again.. .so incredible!    They asked if they could pray with us and over us before we left... YES you read that correctly!  WOW!
I of course asked for a picture:

Dr. Alexander (Sasha) Shinkarenko (who completed medical residency in Tulsa, OK - YES! Incredible)  and Dr. Vitaliy Krylov.

This is their office manger, Julia playing with the girls.   Julia was so kind and precious.   We felt Christ radiate from them!
 We found out at the exam with Dr Vitaliy that both girls need 2 immunizations.   :(   We then head across town with Penny and their driver for the shots.   That was NOT fun.. but, with Penny's help and a small box of Cherrio's.... we survived!  :)   Poor babies! 
Oh.. and one more thing..  our appointment at the IMC clinic was paid for!   WOW!    We are so humbled by all this.. I can't even tell you how we just continue to be blown away.    I know that we know that God said he would provide and take care if and when we trust and believe...  God, WE ARE SO THANKFUL... and LOVE YOU.. we give YOU all the Glory!  

We also found out that we needed passports size pictures of the girls as well, and had planned to take those after the shots, but decided it would be best to just come back to Penny and Richard's and take the pictures the next morning first thing!

A real update on the girls.   Overall, they are doing GREAT.... honestly, they are.    I will be honest here ( as you all know that I am) about some things, but some things I will not share.   I am sorry.. but, I want my girls to read this one day and not say.. Mama, why did you tell the world that? :)  
Just know that there are LOTS of sad behaviors and things they do that are a direct result of institualized life.. it's sad and heartbreaking and flat out WRONG!
These babies have lived in that orphange from the time they were TINY babies @ age 3 months.  They do not know any life outside of there.    
They will be 4 years old in May and they weigh (@ the IMC clinic) 26 and 27 lbs.   They are tiny. 

They eat every single bite of anything put in front of them... they eat fast and cram their mouths FULL of food.  They have ate what they could get to survive.     They are already learning so quickly.   We've shown them how to chew slower, take smaller bites and go slower.... they are learning that they can have food and water already.   :)   We have lots of healthy things (fruits and veggies) that we are giving them every few hours.  It's SO hard to know when to make them stop... but, I feel that we are doing fairly good with it all.   We are being VERY aware of what they are eating... NO sugar and trying so hard to help them to transition easier.   PLEASE keep praying that Phil and I will continue to have wisdom and make decisions that are best for them. 

The babyhouse claimed they were potty trained, but we came armed with pull-ups and immediatly put pull-ups on them.. knowing they would regress in this area most likely... if they were really trained at all.   Going to the bathroom and showing Papa and Mama that the pull-up is dry is their FAVORITE game right now!  :)    We are doing good and working hard!!     Yes, there are some accidents, but we are getting there!  :)    Plus, they are drinking LOTS of water! :)

I am so excited about the progress we are already making with bonding!  I have read all the books and trying to just follow my heart and gut with what to do.   They are truly loving being with us.   (most of the time!)  ha ha!!!    and vise versa.. ;)     They become more attached every day and it's just so incredible to see the changes in them coming back. 

I have so many things I could share.. but, think I better not... just know that we are seeing first hand that an orphange (regardless of how nice or awesome it appears) is NOT a life for ANY child.    We are seeing it first hand...   it's so so so sad.   I can't even tell you the magnitude of the sadness that we feel seeing some of these things.    It just makes me KNOW that we all have to do more.   There are SO SO SO many babies who are still living that life... the are not Grace and Faith, but Violetta and Stella who are laying in a bed ALONE rocking themselves to sleep night after night..
What can we do?   What can you do?   PLEASE pray for those babies all over the world tonight who have NO ONE!   They need US! 

(sorry about that... I just have an even deeper passion now!) 

ok.. so back to our days here.  We came back home.. Penny made a WONDERFUL dinner and we all had a GREAT evening!  

The girls had some troubles going to sleep.. but, finally got there!   Mama is not sleeping well.  I feel like I did when I had newborn babies.   You know how you never allow yourself to go into a deep sleep.. for fear they will need you and you will not know it? lol!?   Well... that's me.. but, this time it's times 2 and they really need me to be there instantly if they wake up scared.   Guess what..  by night 3 when they wake up they say, "mama, Papa? "    :)   YEAH!!!  They are already calling out to us.. or making sure we are STILL here!!  

Friday, March 12

We are up about 7:30...  take another bath (they LOVE water) and get ready for the day!   We then head downstairs after a lotion massage from Mama and have some breakfast!  :) 
We head out to pictures with Penny and the driver @ about 9 am.

The girls did great.. and LOVED sitting up on the blocks for the actual pictures.  They smiled and Penny and I thought it would be GREAT to get one of them together... so we asked the man and he of course said SURE!  :) 
Here it is:
Aren't they precious?   :)  Faith on Left.  Grace on right!
After getting the pictures taken the girls were getting VERY tired and overwhelmed so Penny suggested we bring them back home and one of us stay with them here and one go and finish the things we had to get done.  I just have to share here more about Penny.. when the girls begin to get stressed in the vechicle or overwhelmed.. she just quietly begins to pray for them.   :)   SUCH AN AMAZING BLESSING!
 Penny had an appointment so the driver dropped her off and brought Phil and the girls back home.    I went with the driver to take the pictures to the IMC clinic and meet Oleg - our Almaty coordinator.    Oleg came to the IMC and met me there and he was then headed straight to the Embassy to deliver our paperwork.    Our visa exit interview is on Monday @ 2:30 pm! 
The Dr's were all so kind when I took the pics back to the clinic and I was able to share so much of our story with them.   They were so sweet and supportive and I just can't tell you how blessed we feel to have met them.    We exchanged info and they want to follow the girls for years!  :)

The girls then napped and had more fruit and healthy snacks!  :)   We then decided to venture to Lori's house (Penny's friend).    Lori has an indoor swimming pool in her home and given how much the girls LOVE the water and swimming... we thought this would be a great bonding as well as a good way to spend a couple afternoon hours.  
Their home is BEAUTIFUL and the pool area was so so nice.   However, the pool water temperature was colder than the twins or Mama liked.. :(  Papa did do the polar bear plunge.. hoping that the girls might as well, but after sticking our feet in the edge they kept saying, NYET - to cold! (Penny's driver came in with us and translated!  :) ) 
Here are some pics though:
This one is out of order..but, here we are brushing our teeth before our pictures1  :)
Kicking water on Papa!
Warming up in the Sauna!
The girls slept much better on Friday night...   Mama not so much!  :)   We are having quite a bit of trouble going to sleep.

We have been here for Sat and Sun with no plans and nothing to do for 2 whole days.  Again, THANK you Jesus for Penny and Richard's house!  The highlight of the past 2 days has most definitly been our 9 am appointment to skype with the girls and our family at home!  Faith and Grace have loved it as much as they have.  It's been so much fun watching them all and seeing them meet on the computer! :)   
Saturday was a lazy day.. we did venture out after naptime because the days are LONG for Phil and I.  However, again we are SO SO SO thankful we are not doing this in a tiny HOTEL room with NO kitchen.   To those of you AP's who have already been here and lived this part out in a hotel... I am so so so sorry!  :)  I wish I would have prayed harder for you!  :)  

Penny had told us about a rest. with an indoor playground inside it that was not far from their house.  We couldn't find it.   We found out today that we were only a few feet away.. lol!  oh well..  We wanted to get something to eat and get out of Penny and Richards hair and kitchen.  They were having a dinner party.. and we didn't want to intrude.  They insisted we were not.. but, we were trying to be respectful.   We looked and looked for the rest... and couldn't find it.. finally we see a sign that says, Sandwich shop in English!  :)  I go in and check it out.. they have an English menu.   It's small and the choices are not great.. but, it ends up being good food.   :)
Phil and I had a sandwich and we ordered some pasta for the twins.. however, Grace didn't like it (the first thing either have NOT eaten!) 
Here we are on our outing yesterday:
Here they are in their new stoller for the first time!  This is on the steps of Penny and Richard's house!
Headed out and down the gate to the street.  That is Penny and Richard's home in the background!
Phil took this picture of us in the sandwich shop while waiting on our food.  I just had to include this one.. ha ha!   Don't you love my "fake" looking smile?  Grace is saying, "seriously tell me that these people don't expect me to sit still in this boring place!"   and then there's Faith... just smiling (don't be fooled by that adorable smile....  DO. NOT. BE. FOOLED!  ;)

So, we survived our first eating out experience!  :) 

On Saturday night the girls slept for 10 straight hours.   I went to bed when they did and also slept for 10 hours.. only waking up 3 times!  :)  yeah!    Not nearly as worn out feeling today!  
It's now 10 pm here on Sunday and I'm finishing up this post..
Today was another good day.  The girls are learning so much every single day!   I am so so so proud of them! 
They are so precious and loving to us!  
We just hung our around the house today and played.  We did venture out to a nearby park and walked around some.  Penny went with us and showed us some sights.   The girls played in the snow and we threw snowballs at Papa!  That was fun.. they were in shock when I threw the first one!  It was obvious that they were NOT allowed to touch or throw the snow at the bh... but, after some encouragement Grace was a PRO!  Faith didn't really like to get her hands wet or cold!   LOL!   They are polar opposites!   It's amazing!

We have our embassy apt. tomorrow afternoon and we're going to drive up into the mountains to sight see tomorrow with Penny and her driver.   Hopefully the girls will enjoy the car ride!   Phil and I really want to see the mountains!  :) 
Pray all goes well at the embassy!   This is the FINAL step...  Our flight is scheduled to leave Almaty @ 4 am on Tuesday monring... so about 30 hours from now!  Wahoo!!!  

We are so excited to think that we are almost heading home!  However, we DREAD the travel!
PLEASE keep praying for the girls!

We love all of you! 
Remember that if the Lord asks you to do something... He is planning on paving the way!   JUST take a step and TRUST him! 
Today I just continued to think of the scripture....  "Did I not tell you that if you believed  you would see the GLORY of God?"   Wow!  Yes, Lord you did... I am so sorry I doubted you for a second!    We give all the praise and glory to YOU!   Thank you Jesus for these two babies who are sleeping feet away from me!    THANK YOU JESUS... THANK YOU for trusting us with them!   We are honored!
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me!” Matt 18:5

Visit our website...

Click here to visit our website to read about how our journey to international adoption began... and how God spoke to our hearts to open our lives and family to a child who otherwise might not ever know him.
God bless!

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