Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blog From My Phone?

I have a new phone (sorta new ~ got it before we went for Liza) and supposedly I can blog from my phone using this cool little app. This is a test. Anyone seeing this? I hope it works! :)
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Music and Life: This Christmas

I love this song. It has been one of my favorite Christmas songs by a Christian artist since it was first released. the story of the little boy touches you and draws you in. It just makes you remember what Christmas is really supposed to be about.

But THIS Christmas it hits me so much harder. This Christmas everytime I hear this song I can't help but look at my daughter and ache for the Christmases that she was alone, but in the same moment rejoice that she is now no longer an orphan. That This Christmas she will celebrate with a family. She will belong.

But, still the tears come. My throat clogs up and I can't talk. Because This Christmas I remember the faces of the children who are still there. The ones who will be all alone This Christmas. I can't stand the thought. I'm crying as I type this. "My" sweet hearts - the ones I held and loved on. The ones I saw from across the room because I wasn't allowed to go in to them and they were never allowed to come out because they can't walk, or they can't see. These faces are haunting me This Christmas. I can't stand the thought that there are children who will pass Christmas day as if it were just another day. Now that I have seen them and held them it is so much more real to me. My heart is breaking.

This Christmas my prayer, my wish, the only thing I really want is for them to have families who want them. Who will move Heaven and Earth to bring them home. That truly is my hearts cry.

Please visit Reece's Rainbow. I beg you to especially take a look at Maxim or Evan or Kate or just any of the hundreds of kids listed who need families so desperately.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Snapshot: So, Where's Liza?

Well, she is AT HOME!! Finally :)
Gotta love her silly faces! LOL This is on the plane.
We actually have been home 10 days today, but this is the first chance I've had to update here. Hmm, wonder why? Not like I've been busy......

What? did I make a mess?
 Liza has been busy too. Wrapping everybody she meets around her little fingers.
Meeting her cousin Jayvion. They liked each other alot.

Playing Great Grandma's piano. I hope my Grandma was looking down on her and smiling.

She turned her high chair into a "machina".

Then she roped one of "The Brothers" (Noah) into playing Machina with her.
He loved it, I'm pretty sure.

She ate Spaghetti all by herself!

She made a mess with all her new toys.

And after all that she was worn out!

She has jumped right into our family just like she always knew she was supposed to be here. Her transition really has been so easy so far, I really believe that God answered our prayers to prepare her for us before we got to her. He is good and He is faithful!

Ni Hao Y'all

Monday, November 15, 2010

Music and Life: Can't Forget What I Saw

I've shared this song before but the video was slightly different. I have loved the song ever since the first time I heard it, I felt like she was singing my heart's cry. But, since I have been here and so many of those faces have become real, and not just pictures on my computer screen, this song has even more meaning.

I saw what I saw and I really can't forget it. People talk about how there is a hunger in the children's eyes and it makes you tear up, but it's not real until you've seen it yourself. Until you've held them in your arms and you know that when you leave you can't take them all with you. I laughed when they chased after us for snacks and attention, but I cried my last day there knowing I was leaving them behind.

Come on just imagine for a minute. Can you see what I've seen? The need is so great, but we have been called to meet it. All it takes is one step of faith. I promise He will meet you there. He is FAITHFUL and He has called.
Religion that God our Father accepts as
pure and faultless is this: to look after
orphans and widows
in their distress and to keep oneself
from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Please consider giving a donation to Reece's Rainbow today to give these children a home, a hope, and a future. You could donate to Evan, my Christmas Angel, or any of the other kids listed on Reece's Rainbow. The only thing that stands in the way of all of these kids having families is money. It's the honest truth, in the last few months I have seen at least 3 kids have families commit to them the MOMENT there grants were fully funded. Please give or go. Allow yourself to see what I, and so many others, have seen. It is SO worth how your heart may break!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My New Laundry Helper

I lost the kid and when I found her this is what she was doing.

Hello there! This is fascinating!

Ah-hem!! (Andrea? Sound familiar?) Did you just say my shoes are in here?! My pink Cons?!

Allo. Can't talk now gotta make sure this Mama woman hasn't killed my shoes! 

Just had to throw this one in cause she's so dang gorgeous! Even when she's bossing me all around the apartment :)

Ni Hao Y'all

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ten Things I've Learned Living in Liza's Birth Country

  1. Potato Chips SHOULD NOT taste like mushrooms. Ever! (and I actually like mushrooms, but not on my chips, thankyaverymuch!)
  2. The Mullet is very much still in style! I had heard this, but didn't believe it till I saw it for myself. Hmm, doesn't Europe set the fashion pace? Just sayin'. Austin? Noah? They say it's business up front and party in the back... ;o)
  3. Spaghetti is in fact NOT one of the four main food groups and if you absolutely have to have it you better learn to make your own sauce before you come or bring some Ragu with ya! (I was very disappointed to learn this one - the hard way)
  4. Hot Dogs served from a hot dog stand that looks like it says Crapdosis can actually be pretty good, or so I've been told.
  5. It really is ok to wear stockings under your shorts, in fact it's considered quite fashionable. Now, why wouldn't my mom let me wear mine that way back when?... hmpphh
  6. Even when it's 80 degrees Faherenheit outside children can still get sick if not wrapped in at least 4 layers, plus a hat, plus a scarf tied around the collar of the coat, and don't forget the tights under it all, girl or boy.
  7. But don't worry Dads, your boys aren't wearing any girly tights. You can get tights with all types of designs - flowers, trucks, teddy bears, zig-zags, fishnet.... you name it they got it.
  8. When the Landlady says the cable will be on in a few hours what she really means is, a few hours after you move out it will be back on in the apartment you just moved out of.
  9. Time here is very flexible. If you say you need your driver to pick you up in an hour he may or may not be there in 15 minutes, or if your train is supposed to arrive at 11:30 it may or may not sit right outside the station from 11:30 - 12:30. Hey, you were still "there", right?
  10. If you stand up against the back inside wall of a bus and the driver goes super fast and hits all the bumps and potholes, you really can touch the ceiling with your head. Even if you're only 5' tall. Fun times!
In all honesty and seriousness, I really have learned a lot since being here. Some good and some not as good, but I am so grateful for this experience - even the extra time I have spent here just me and Liza. Yep, as of this posting we are still here. Hoping for good news about my prints, they were kicked back for "quality", early this coming week. I am SO looking forward to real American food: spaghetti (yeah, yeah it's Italian.. whatever), chili, cornbread, tacos (um, yeah Mexican ok ok), I could go on....., seeing my Boys, and my Hubby, and my Church family.

Soon, I will be home soon. Then I will probably miss some of the things here. I will definitely miss some of the people and the kids I've left behind. Never thought I would say that in the beginning, but I will.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orphan Sunday 2010

On this Orphan Sunday I am so happy to be able to say that my little Liza is an orphan no more. Praise Jesus! BUT..... there are so many others who still wait. I can't help everyday but to think of the little ones that we left behind when we took her from her Baby house. Some of them I don't even know if they are available for adoption - maybe they are and they just aren't listed with Reece's Rainbow cause they don't have any special needs. Two of them that chased us around a lot when they were outside while we had Liza (they knew we had snacks and they loved the attention) were Vika and Tonya. I fell in love with those little girls and wanted so badly to just put them in my pocket and take them with me.

I see them as a pair cause they were usually always together and they were usually always up to some type of mischief. Vika (I was never able to get a pic of her but there's one in the link)is so hyper - she just runs around all over the place on short little legs yelling something in Russian. She has such a reputation for being on the go at all times that the orphanage staff has nicknamed her Coca-Cola. I just thought that was so stinkin' funny, but it really does suit her. Bubbly, sweet, make you run in circles Coca-Cola. Oh, how I long to hear that she has been placed in a loving family!

Sweet little Tonya! Oh, she stole my heart with the first little smile she gave me! She has the cutest little round face with the biggest, brightest smile and beautiful brown eyes. She seems to be a little more follower to Vika's leader but it works out well for them - well, until they get themselves into some kinda scrape. And Tonya has that sweet innocent face that makes you fall for the "what did I do?".  I know you see what I mean.... Don't you wanna live with that face looking up at yours?

I really don't know if either of these two are even available for adoption but they represent just a couple that I held in my arms and loved on. To me this is exactly what the orphan looks and feels like. I can honestly say that I love these two little  girls and pray for the best for them, which in my mind is a family of their own.

Then there's Maxim (click the link to read his profile and donate). Are you tired of seeing his face? Well that's just too dang bad! Cause I am going to keep talking about him until his Mom and Dad find him. So, if you'd like me to shut up about him you could help me find his parents! Sounds like a good plan to me :)

I just don't see how anyone can resist this face! He is precious :)

I'm a Christmas Warrior for EVAN
 Isn't Evan just adorable? Evan is my Christmas Angel, that means that I have promised to pray for him to find a family and for his grant to grow. It also means that I have promised to advocate and raise money for him during this season. Click on the link above to see the entire Angel Tree and other kids that you can donate for - click on Evan to donate for him. Every $35 gift receives a Christmas tree ornament. These are great gifts for those who you don't know what to buy for but would appreciate knowing a donation was made in their name. And, who wouldn't love to spruce up their tree with a picture or two or three of Evan and some of his buddies?
These are just a few of the faces that move me to act. To continue to advocate. There are so many children in need of families. they desperately long for someone to call their own - I've seen them and I know what they are looking for. There is no one who can tell me that being adopted isn't in the best interests of these children. If you think differently then I DARE you to go to an orphanage, spend time loving on the children there, ask them what they long for the most, and then let's talk about what is best for the orphans of this world.
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18 NIV Are you ready to BE the Hands and Feet of Jesus?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We're Still Here

And yes, by here I do mean K... er the City That Must Not be Named. Liza and I are still here due to mine and Rick's USCIS fingerprints expiring on October 15th. I thought they were good for 18 months but it seems I was wrong, they are only good for 15 months. It's the I171H that is good for 18 months. Aye yi yi..... how are we supposed to keep track of all this paperwork and what expires when?! Ugh....

So anyway, Sweet Liza and I are here until the results of the prints come back from the US. I don't know where they are going cause they went to DC according to DHL's tracking that the Embassy so graciously gave me but I was told they needed to go to New Hampshire. Ok then! Oh well, at least they are in the US and the results will be electronically sent back here to the CTMNBN. The young lady that took our prints on a paper card said they were not permitted to take them electronically but they could get the results electronically. Don't ask me, I have given up trying to understand why they do things the way they do - that goes for the US Gov't and the folks here in the CTMNBN.

Now to lighten the mood around here. Here's proof that our little Princess really is enjoying her time outside of the Baby house.

On one of our first days back in the City we went to a couple Historic sites. This one was part of a memorial to those who died in a famine in the early 1930's.

A beautiful OLD church at a place called The Lavres. I love how they have history that stretches back to the Thousands of years.

"Papa" and Liza strollin' along. It's a little blurry but see how she's got her hand up to her ear? He had been on the phone right before this and she was copying him. So cute!

Isn't she beautiful? Just enjoying some freedom on the City Square.

There was a fountain here, and she loved watching the water. I love watching her take in all these new sights!

Playing in the street with Daddy. There was a musician playing and she wanted to go right up to him so she could listen. They close down this one street on Saturdays and it's the only time it's actually safe to be a pedestrian in the road.. LOL

Watching football with Dad on Sunday afternoon.
For the most part we are doing ok. I do really want to go home, but I think the time for her and I to bond one on one will be good for us in the long run. Growing up in an orphanage she saw many women come and go from her life so it was so much easier for her to attach to Rick and just see me as another caregiver. We have come a long way since leaving her Baby house, but I know she still needs to realize that she truly can trust me to be there for her FOREVER. Progress is being made and I love her like mad. She is the sweetest little thing on this earth, at least in my eyes :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gotcha Day!!

The day that we have been waiting for for almost 2 years has finally come (and gone.... hehe) We took Liza out of the orphanage FOREVER on October 27, exactly a month after we arrived in her country. We are so happy to have her with us and she acts like she has known this moment was coming and she's been anticipating it just as much.

All decked out in her going away outfit. Didn't I tell you? Sweet and Sassy!

About to run out of those orphanage gates FOREVER!
Almost there!
Paka Paka Baby House!
I will be forever grateful to Andrea G for taking these pics for us! We ran so hard those last two days in region that Rick and Greg Summers weren't even at the orphanage when we walked out with the girls - they were over at our apartments getting cars packed so we could rush to a bigger city and get passports and then literally RUN to a train to get back to K... the City That Shall Remain Nameless.

Someone really liked going in the machina (car) to the City of the Passports and Train. Check out these faces! She is so darn cute!

"Hmm? Something good is happening!"

This is how excited she got whenever our driver would get back in the car after stopping. She knew he made the car go and she loved it when the car would go! It was so precious and funny :)

Possibly getting a little sleepy, but NO sleep was happeing during that machina ride!
Worn out after the most exciting day in her life! Yes, her eyes are open. Yes it's kinda creepy.. in a cute kinda way.. LOL

We are beyond excited to finally have her with us! I keep looking at her and kissing and hugging her and trying to believe that this is the little girl from my dream. The one whose picture has been in my kitchen for a year and a half. I know it's her - but it's just so surreal to actually have her in my armss and know she is going home with us. She is so precious, spunky, funny, tough, and just so many other wonderful things wrapped into one sweet, beautiful little girl. We already love her so much. I can't stop thanking God for bringing us through every hurdle to the realization of holding His Promised Victory in my arms.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Girls And Shoes

You know girls just love their shoes, right? Well, Miss Liza is no exception to that rule. Here's proof.

We brought these little pink converse, that I got at a yardsale for .25 cents, for her to wear with her less dressy outfits. We actually brought a cute pair of Maryjanes for her Gotcha day outfit, but they were too small. There's a story about those I'll share at the end.

She sure is interested in what is going on her feet isn't she? :)

 Now, she's helping. Guess I wasn't doing it right... LOL Love that look on her face!

 Totally enthralled by the coolest pair of pink tennis shoes to ever appear inside  this baby house! 

 She is totally amazed at my skills! I don't think she had ever worn shoes that had to be tied before this.

 All Done! After I got them on her she just gazed at them a little longer then she hopped down off the chair and strutted her stuff a bit around the room. She was not a happy camper when we had to put the other shoes back on. I can't wait to post pics of her wearing these with the rest of her Gotcha day outfit. I have decided that it will suit her personality just fine. Pretty dress, hair bows, tights, and Chucks... Sweet and Sassy. And boy, is she ever that!
Now about those cute lil Maryjanes: I took them up when I took her back to Groupa that evening I realized they didn't fit and tried to tell the ladies that they were a donation to the groupa. WELLLLLLL... seems like they thought I was saying that they were Liza's shoes and for the next day and a half after that she came to us wearing the shoes. And I'm thinking, "great.. now they think I'm telling them how to dress my child. This can't be good" 

So the next time Andrea and her translator, Lienna, were there I was planning to ask if Lienna could clear it up for us, but before we could get that out of the way Andrea came to find us and ask Rick if he had brought Liza's shoes back the night before (same shoes). He said he had but he had put them on the cubbies because the time before he got in trouble for not taking them off before she came in the room. 

Apparently, the shoes had gone missing and they thought we had either taken them back or a parent whose child is in the rehab part of the orphanage had taken them (???). Finally the shoes were found and Lienna was able to clear up the misunderstanding. Then we were able to have Liza brought down for our visit. Bet you'll never guess what shoes she was wearingg!!! ;o) 

This part of our adventure Rick and I will ever after affectionately call "The Great Shoe Theft"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recognize This Face?


How about now?

Ringing Any bells yet??

Come on... you know who it is.

Here's a little clue.

That's right! The little boy in all of these photos is my little buddy Maxim.
You're probably wondering where I go these new photos of him so let me share the story with you.

As we were going through the process to adopt Liza I was blessed to make contact with a couple of Missionaries who work in her area and even at her Baby House. One of them, Andrea, does some work with some of the kids at the institution where Maxim is and asked if we would like to go with her one day. Of course, I jumped at the chance!

I don't know if I can openly share how the whole encounter went so I will just say that we were able to go and while we were there I was able to see Maxim. To hold him and love on him. To laugh as he passed gas and laughed about it. That was one of the best parts of the visit, how he thought "tooting" (is it called that when boys do it?) was just the funniest thing - just like any other 6 year old little boy would. He was so sweet and so alert and attentive to those who had come to visit with him. Here's a little rundown of his abilities that I witnessed first hand:
  • He can pull up to stand and walk with assistance.
  • He knows his name and responds to it.
  • he has a sweet nature, personality, and sense of humor
  • he copies hand motions (I believe he could learn to sign)
  • He can crawl
  • he likes cars! :) They said he crawls tro the window to look out when the car comes to their building.
In the one pic above where  you see his hands, he kept touching his thumbs together and so I put his pointers togehter to make a heart and after that he kept trying to do it himself. His worker was a really sweet lady who obviously believes that people with DS are capable. She hopes to see change in her country someday. That really touched my heart to know that he is being cared for by someone who believes that he can be something if given a chance. AND HE CAN!

Maxim's Mom and Dad? Where are you? I've seen him. I've held him and kissed his sweet face. He is waiting patiently for you to come for him. I KNOW, I just KNOW, that he will be the biggest blessing to his family. Please hear the call - for Maxim.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hello, My Name is Mama.....

....cause that's what my lil Girl told me!

That's right! Someone called me Mama today! You should have been there. She was in the stroller and wanted to get out so she looks up at me with her arms raised and says, "ma ma ma ma ma". I, just about flipped out. I grabbed her up out of that stroller and said, "did you just call me mama?" and she just smiled at me as I kissed her all over her little face, hugged her tight, told her how wonderful she is.

She is the sweetest, most precious little thing on the face of this Earth :) (I wish I had a pic to put here but we are back to not being able to post photos, oh well )

Friday, October 15, 2010

When 10 Days is Too Freakin' Stinkin' Long!

  • When you've already been living the movie "Groundhog Day" for over a week and 10 days means you have to do it for.... 10 MORE days!
  • When every day it feels like you are leaving your little girl at a 24/7 daycare.
  • When you miss your other children like mad and feel like a bad Mom cause you've been away from them for 2 1/2 weeks, but you know you still have 10 more days, at least...
  • When you've been legally declared your little girl's parents but you have no say over how she's treated, when she eats, sleeps, or potties, or how long she can play outside.
  • When this little face:

  • turns to this one:

  •  and then she cries, cause she knows Mama/Papa are leaving without her... again
Thank God the 10 days is almost over. It actually ends next Saturday the 23rd, but we won't be able to do anything until Monday. I can't wait until we can take her out of the orphanage! Tonight I took her back and I thought she was goingt o just go and be ok but then she realized I wasn't staying and she cried and tried to come after me. It broke my heart to go down those stiars and leave her there :(
Darn those freakin' stinkin' 10 days!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meeting a Dream

Our first pic together as a family. Taken 10/12/10 after court.
 On Tuesday of last week we finally rolled into Liza's region via overnight train. Of course, knowing we would be meeting her the next day I didn't really sleep at all on that LONG overnight train ride, somehow our facilitator, Yulia, and Rick did not share my insomnia. Thank God for an MP3 player with lots of pics to organize and songs to listen to. When we got to her city.... hmm, let's call it KR, we were picked up by our driver, Igor and drove to our apartment to wait until offices were opened. Man, it was hard knowing we were so close but had to go through all these formalities first!

Once it was time for business to be done we drove to the Children's Ministry office where we met a nice lady who asked us lots of questions. Once that was done some more paperwork was done and then we rode with her, our facilitator, and of course Igor - our trusty driver- to the orphanage. We had to meet with the Orphanage director before we were allowed to meet Liza. She told us her story (which broke my heart and I plan to share sometime but will wait until things are more official), shared her medicals with us, and asked us pretty much all the questions the Children's Ministry lady asked us. THEN we were finally allowed to meet Liza!

Talk about a dream coming true. I had all these plans to videtape her as she was brought in to us and to take pics of our faces as we laid eyes on her. Well, it just doesn't happen like that. In fact, we were taken to her in a small room where she was playing with toys. And let me tell you, when I saw her actually sitting there in front of me thoughts of pictures or vidoes were the furthest thing from my mind. First of all, she was fine with us saying hello and playing with toys also, but forget trying to get a hug or anything else. That was ok though, just being in the same room with her was enough.

After a while we were allowed to take her down to the visitation room and spend some one-on-one time getting to know her and her getting to know us. We did finally get pics that day and maybe even some video but couldn't get them loaded onto the computer we're using in the apartment we're in. So all the photos in this post are from this past Saturday up till today. Someday I'll have to do a whole other post with pics of our first day together.

Look at this beautiful, big girl. She can wipe her own face. Isn't she lovely? :)

Oh yeah, the Uncooperative Dog....

This is what happened when Dog didn't cooperate....

Yep, feet in the air, whiny noises, not-happy face.... You all know what that means, right? :)

In the end, fingers in the mouth. Is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen?!
Yes, I took pics of her having a fit. I couldn't help it!  She was just so darn cute and funny. I'm sure one day I won't find her fits funny or cute. And we have already started telling her "No/Nyet" when she does something that she shouldn't do - like hitting Mama/Papa or kicking at other kids.

 For now, I'm just glad to be able to say that we are here and we have met God's amazing Promise. He has Victory planned for her and, I think, for many whose lives she will touch. Watch out World, Elizaveta Collette is coming for you!