Thursday, August 22, 2013

A busy, busy Summer

Several things have happened in the past six weeks that we just never imagined. We were finally able to meet the family that adopted our girls' best friends from the same orphanage. We hadn't seen these girls since we left Ukraine four years ago, except for an occasional Skype call. When we left these two sisters, we had no idea if they would ever have a family. Would they age out and just live on the streets? Well, the answer is no!! They now have a wonderful, loving, Christian family. It was great spending a few days with them and their family. The fifth girl, in one of the pictures, was our host child for six weeks. We didn't know that we would host her until a few days before she came to stay with us. It's amazing how these kids can steal your heart.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Five years already?

I was looking at my blog today to see the exact date that we arrived home in 2008. I'm sure I didn't post on that day because it was 10pm at night when we arrived at the airport. We had been traveling for close to 24 hours. I was exhausted! On this day, in 2008, we picked up the passport with the VISA and had flights to go home. We were leaving our friends and their two new children behind in Kiev. It was nice to be coming home, but we were sad for them that they would have to stay another two weeks. We are still very good friends even though we live an hour or so away from each other and try to get together a few times a year. The post for today in 2008, mentioned needing to figure something out. Tomorrow is the actual day we arrived home. So more on the actual arrival home tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I knew that it had been a long time since I last posted, but didn't realize it's been almost two years. Much has changed. K has been with us for four years and T has been here for three. We now have two granddaughters, almost three and one month on the 16th. Life is much different than it was two years ago. T still has spells, but has improved way more than we ever anticipated. Not without a lot of hard work on our part, though. It is difficult to deal with all the neglect, emotional and physical abuse that was dealt to T. Her FASD and RAD have been difficult to deal with as well, but in spite of herself, her behavior has improved. She is still physically and emotionally like a very small child even though she will soon be seventeen. She is about the physical size of a ten year old, but not as emotionally or academically mature. K has surpassed her in leaps and bounds where T has stayed the same. The hard part for T is that she knows this. We thought that there would be a day when the gaps between them would widen. It will still get wider. K still has some small issues, but is very close to other girls her age, academically and emotionally. She has been a blessing to our family. Sometimes we struggle with what T will become. How she will fit into society, but we have to believe that her future is much brighter than if she had stayed in Ukraine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

God is still in the Miracle Business

I have posted very sporadically since leaving Ukraine close to fifteen months ago. Things are just very busy. We have two boys in college, our daughter and grandbaby are in and out staying with us sometimes and her in-laws sometimes because her husband is in Iraq. Then there are our two Ukrainians who keep us very busy;)

Our heart is always in Ukraine and the adoptions that occur there. Occasionally I try to follow blogs to see what's going on. In the past few weeks I have been in touch with three families in various stages of the adoption process. One family lives close to us and is leaving on Friday. One family is in Ukraine waiting for court to be scheduled. This family is adopting one of our daughters' friends. How we found out could only be orchestrated by God.

I am on a Yahoo group for families who have adopted older Ukrainian children. A woman posted that she was going to Ukraine soon and listed her blog. I was curious and looked at it. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a girl that was one of our girls' friends! I immediately emailed the woman and told her. This started a friendship between two families who have only met by email. This girl is 15 and will age out after the school year ends. What's even greater is that she has a brother, so two children will have a home!

When we left Ukraine we took down names and birthdays of several of our girls' friends in case anyone just came out and asked us if we knew any girls in Ukraine. Now, we knew one that would have a family. Through this family, we met another family that hosted another of our daughters' friends and plans to adopt. Two down!:)

This is the biggest miracle -- Our friends that are there now were contacted by another couple who has been in the same region for six weeks. They are in their ten day wait period. They told their new friends to contact us. We were thrilled to learn that two sisters who have been very good friends with our daughters now have a home. Four down:)

We spent about four months total time in about a year and a half in Ukraine adopting two girls we met through a host program. Our resources were depleted after completing our second adoption. Our second daughter has some severe issues and takes a lot of our time. We still remembered all the children we left behind, but the girls who we knew would age out and more than likely live on the streets were the one who tugged at our hearts the most. We knew that there was no way we could go back for any of them. We needed a bigger house among other things plus our 'troubled' daughter would just cause more problems if we brought any new children into our home. All we knew to do was to pray. We prayed that these girls would find homes even though we knew their chances were slim to none. I am so thankful that God knew different! He was working in the hearts of other people all along. Not only did he work in their hearts, but He allowed us to know about it!:) I am so grateful that we can keep in touch with these girls even after they come home to America. We left Ukraine thinking we would never see them again.

There is still one left waiting on her family to arrive. Please pray that the timing is perfect since she will age out in just a few months.

Please pray for the family who lives close to us and leaves Friday. They are adopting a 15yo boy, but are leaving the choice of two sisters in God's hands.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Yes, T has improved. If I look back on it, I'd have to say drastically. It hasn't been without a whole lot of work, though. K, our first one took some work to help her get to where she is after two and a half years, but that work was nothing compared to what we've had to do with T. She turned our house upside down for a while. We realized that she was just living out of that survival part of her brain. Apparently, her home life was chaotic, to say the least and she was trying to make our house the same way. When you have a child with severe issues, you can't treat them like a child who has grown up with a loving parent to care for them. I'm pretty sure that T has never had anyone care for her in her home. She's talked of her grandfather putting her out in the snow in only her underwear when she was very small and how she and her mother ate out of the garbage can. She was telling us just the other night that she said she didn't want to live with her mother and that's why they put her in the orphanage. In other words, it was her fault. We know that's not true and told her so. She was put in the orphanage because her mother was neglectful. It doesn't take much for the authorities to find out that a child is being neglected.

The hardest part for me is to let go of the expectations that a child will love you if you love and care for them. It doesn't work that way with a broken and/or disturbed child. They have never had anyone put them first and care for their needs, so they decide the only person they can trust is themselves. If they let someone be in charge of them, then they're doomed. They think that they will die. The problem is that a child can't really take care of themselves. They NEED someone to take care of them.

I've had to let go of the hurt that T has inflicted on me because of her behavior. She has tried to hurt everyone in our house. If she knows she can say something to hurt you or make you mad, then she will do it. If she can get someone to react, then she feels 'in control'. It seems her life is all about playing games. A strange way to live your life.

I think that we finally have gotten through to her some. What we have to do is NOT react to her. This reaction leaves her not knowing what to do.

This change did not happen overnight. We went through some terribly stormy days. Days that should have been happy, were extremely sad. I wish I knew why children want to keep turmoil in their lives when that's all they've known and in their new home, things don't have to be that way.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that things felt hopeless a few months ago. I felt like I was in survival mode. My whole family was being traumatized by this child that I willingly brought into our home. Now that we are past the worst, I can see some progress. There is some hope.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I have not checked my wife's blog in months. T has improved. She has improved dramatically. Months ago when we were in the middle of a wrestling match, I felt there was little hope for this child and she would have been better off left where she was. WRONG. We have learned that force, spanking or yelling is not an option. All I had to do in the past was give my kids the "look" and they would behave. I have treated my 14, soon to be 15, year old daughter as a four year old since then. When she gets no response from us, she will stop her bad behavior. Now that we can understand each other, I have been able to talk her out of having a full blown spell.
When I say spell, I mean this dialogue. "I hate you- I want to go back to the orphanage." And my all time favorite. "Fine, You want spankey T, Fine, Want spankey.
Her English is still very broken and she is forgetting Russian.

She responds to the promise of us always loving her and always being her Mama and Papa. It's now Mom and Dad. Even in those troubled months, she still called me Dad. I knew little Miss T would be a problem long before we adopted her. She surprised me with just how much a problem she could be, and she surprises me on how much progress she has made.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The picture is of our 8 month old granddaughter with her daddy, who is overseas right now.

It's been a very long time since I've posted. These have been very difficult days. Our newest daughter, T, has been very trying. She drains most of my energy some days. T has FASD and RAD and maybe even some other things. To look at her, you'd think she's the sweetest, happiest, most loving child. We've been told that. She's a happy girl, many have told us. BUT, they don't have to live with her! Yes, she's little and has an infectious smile, but it's all fake. She's not happy. She's a miserable soul. She HATES being told what to do. That is classic RAD. As a child, she apparently was never taken care of. How a baby can be in a house and not be held or fed regularly, I'll never know. After being neglected, a child just gives up. I've heard that baby orphanages overseas are eerily quiet.

We have an 8 month old granddaughter who is anything but quiet. In fact, her mother thinks she is very demanding. I tell her over and over, she's normal. Our granddaughter knows she is loved. She thinks everyone loves her! LOL She is such a joy to have around. She brightens my day. She instantly knew that I would help her if she needed anything. I don't know if she remembers when I was around her first four days of life or just has that sense of who cares. I've always thought babies had that extra sense. Our oldest daughter has told me that she remembers the lullaby I used to hum to her as a baby. Our middle son says it's his 'default' song. lol

Comparing my biological children and my granddaughter to my two adopted ones, helps me to see how much the adopted children have missed. K has said many times that she wished we had adopted her as a very young child. Sometimes, she makes up her own memories of when she was younger and I was her mother. She wants to erase her past.

T on the other hand, denies her past. She longs for the orphanage and Ukraine. Everyone loved her and she loved them. I know that she did not really love her mother or vice versa because of how rude she is to me. RAD children treat their adoptive parents like their own parents treated them, which isn't fair at all. Whenever T shows any kind of affection, she is just mimicking what she thinks she should do or what she has seen others do. She hugs me very hard. So hard, it almost hurts, which is an oxymoron. A hug that hurts. There should not be such a thing.

It has been very difficult for me to come to a place where I acknowledge that her affection and words are not truly sincere. We've realized that she lies and sneaks. She gets extremely upset if you tell her she's doing her math wrong. She HATES to be told she's wrong. She doesn't take personal responsibility for the things she does, but on the other hand blames herself for being taken to the orphanage. As a five year old, she was somewhere she shouldn't have been. So that's her fault, not her drunken mother who sent her out at 2 or 3 in the morning to buy vodka for her.

She doesn't tell us much about her past since she wants to deny that it was bad, but she did tell us she had a dream about someone molesting her. She did say that her dad and I were looking for her, wondering where she was. I think it was a dream about a memory. At least she has a sense that we do want to keep her safe, though that realization and knowing it for sure may be another few years down the road.

Children like T are very difficult to deal with. They don't understand cause and effect, reward and punishment/discipline. If we take anything away, we are just being mean to her. She does not acknowledge a punishment as an incentive to act better. On top of everything, she tries to manipulate everyone, especially K. I'm trying to get K to understand and I think she does to some extent. K is very bright. We just have to get beyond her past, too.

I do have a book I'm reading called 'Help for the Hopeless Child'. A friend loaned it to me. So far, we have already been doing many of the things it suggests, so hopefully we are on the right track.