Sunday, December 30, 2007

Our boys...

We are home for a brief holiday and the chance to prepare the home a little more specifically for our three new sons. Sons! That's right! December 26th made us the official parents of Max, Misha and Vitali, our little Ukrainian Angels. Once they were orphans; now they have joined our family! Praise God!

If you haven't been watching our adoption site then this is your first opportunity to meet our little guys! Let me give you a proper introduction to the newest Eimers':

Max, whose full name is Maximus Stephen Eimers, is eight years old. He is only about two weeks younger than our oldest girl, Hannah. He loves to draw and paint and play cars and kick around a soccer ball. I am sure he has many more interests too; we still have much to discover!

This picture was taken the day we had court. He was freshly "ours" but we couldn't tell him! As far as he knows, he's been ours right along anyway.

Misha. His full name is Mikhail James Eimers. Misha is 6 years old and quite a little ham. He loves to have his picture taken. He is also most likely to sit on our laps and color and is always very excited to see us and disappointed when we leave! He is happy, happy, happy and my bet is that he will make friends very quickly here in America.

He loved sledding and playing outdoors. I am glad that we have a big yard for all these boys! He also likes trains and cars--especially trains.
Vitali Luke Eimers. Ahhhh...Vitali! So much personality. He is a very busy little three-year-old who is constantly on the move. Consequently, I have taken many pictures of him but most are blurry or he isn't looking at the camera! He is very possessive of new toys and especially likes to have a bag to put them in. He loves things like purses for this reason. Ha ha! I surely hope he outgrows the purse thing! I am hoping we get to hold him more as we get settled as a family. For now, we have to be content with lifting him over our heads and catching him when he jumps. I am becoming well-acquainted with the Russian for "Pick me up to the ceiling!", "I'll do it myself!" and "I want to get down!"

I can't begin to tell you all the ways this whole experience has affected us. Beginning last November when we made the decision to pursue our plans to adopt till now when we are so overjoyed to have finally met the objects of our pursuit! The work of preparation, the waiting, the anxiety of financial pressures, the stress of the final decisions and the overwhelming joy when we saw the boys that first day and knew they would be ours. All this has been a package deal. Can't have the final prize without the work to attain it. And the story isn't over!

We praise God for His mighty hand all the way so far, and we pray that He will continue to make our paths straight. He has not only answered our prayers but also the unspoken prayers (we call them 'dreams') of three little boys on the other side of the ocean. And we will get the opportunity of introducing them to the One who has made their dreams come true. A blessing and an honor.

We will be leaving again for the final leg of this journey on January 7th. When we come home, amid the craziness of adjusting to family life, you can bet I'll be posting our new family picture!
Even if we aren't all smiling! Oh, boy, this is going to be an adventure!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Hi All! We have the wonderful privilege of spending an evening in Christian fellowship with a missionary family from Missouri all the way over here in Ukraine! English! Hooray! Thank you, Phil, for hooking us up!

We just have spent a little while sitting around thier table visiting about our adoption, their church planting efforts and general Ukrainian-specific topics. We may even be able to go to an English church service this Sunday!

How nice it is to nibble Christmas cookies with Wendy and Kieth and their children. They have a Christmas tree set up in their apartment and it is the first we've really seen except for the big ones in the squares of the cities. It is just too early for most to have trees since they don't celebrate Christmas until January here.

We spent the morning with the boys again. We had a great time taking Misha and Vitali out on the sleds. Misha especially loved this. He rode down the hill over and over again. A few times he asked Steve or me to ride with him. It has been a long time since I have done that! We got it on video, too!

We went next to see Max at his place. He is obviously proud to have the older kids "deliver" us to him. They are proud to be able to help. We played in a big room with him for quite a while and Steve asked him to show him where the bathroom was. Max jumped up and his tongue stuck out just a bit like it does when he is slyly pleased with something. He knew that to take Steve to the bathrooms would require parading him past his friends! Oh, how he must feel to have what every child in that place is dreaming of! I am so glad to be a part of his joy.

Thanks to Wendy and Keith for the loan of their high-speed internet! And thank you all for so many well-wishes and prayers! We get so excited to log on and see your messages!

Things are progressing smoothly with the adoption. All is well at this point. Tomorrow we should have more of an idea about court.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

In Kiev

A little bit blurry but here we are in Kiev! Click here and read about our adventures at our other site! We are going to call home to the girls now and then probably go to bed. We are doing great so far! Our appointment is Tuesday; pray for us!
Oh, and here is an exclusive--I didn't post it on the other site: Dima, who took us around town today said that I blend in somewhat but that Steve definitely looks American. We aren't sure why. :-) I jsut thought that was funny.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Time to go...

Okay....Forget Christmas Steve...I give up! I am out of time!

We leave tomorrow morning. Steve's brother and then his friend are coming to take turns sitting for the house and Mom and Dad Falk are sitting the kiddies.

I have to put the last things into the bags and get the bags to the car. Tidy up my bedroom a bit. Mom is going to bring the girls over and do any housework I can't get to. I wanted to leave it perfect, but...well, you know. Thankfully it's Mom to the rescue!

Reminds me of the night before my wedding. I had everything planned an perfect until that last little thing. In that case, I left Steve's apartment key at the church-which was locked-and when he stopped by the house at midnight to get it, I went downstairs to my mom and started bawling. She got out of bed with my Dad's church key and found it where I had left it, on the front pew.

I was so grateful. Imagine how bad I felt, letting down my almost-husband the night before the wedding! Tonight, we were taking the girls for their dress rehearsal for their Christmas concert that I am going to be missing. And, almost there, Mom says, "Umm...where are the Angel costumes?" Yup, at home. She and my dad went back for them while the kids and I were at the church. Fortunately, They didn't need them until well after she got there. Thanks, Mom...and Dad! Oh, and I forgot to mention that she had already rescued me by hemming the darn things!

The practice went FOREVER! So we weren't home until it was after 9:30 and we had left at 5:00! The girls were so cute in there parts. I'm glad I at least got to see them do the dress rehearsal.

Tomorrow is Steve's birthday so we are having a little birthday brunch at my mom and dad's house before we leave. The girls have opted to go to the airport with us. That is going to be one hard goodbye.

Pray for us. I am sure I will be tear-streaked for my flights. Thankfully, I am not anxious about the girls' care or safety or anything...I'm just going to miss them like crazy!

Tomorrow!! Or maybe today for you since I am typing this late in the evening. I'll try and post when we get there!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Sippy Cup Runs Over...

I promised that I would post pictures of ChristmasSteve ( our invented Holiday to have a little Christmas with the girls before we leave. Hannah came up with the name). I am several days late posting but I have a good excuse. At least, I think I do...I lost that particular list of good excuses.

Anyway, better late than never, right?!! But first, for those of you who haven't been on the other blog, I have good news!! We have, through God's blessings, more than met our goal of funds-needed for our adoption!! An not a moment too soon. We are leaving the day after tomorrow! Even that elusive kitchen table is being provided! For all the details go to our adoption website and read this post.

I have been working on teaching Ivy the 23rd Psalm. (That isn't her on the video on the link above to our adoptions site but that little girl surely is darling, isn't she?) She is getting it but still likes to "embellish" a bit. My favorite embellishment I was fortunate enough to catch on video. I want to figure out how to put video onto the computer so maybe I will get it posted here sometime. But for now, you'll have to take my word for it. There is the part that says: "..My cup runs over..." Ivy starts to say that but then stops and puts her own twist on it:
"...My cup, my sippy cup, runs over!"

Besides bragging on the cleverness of my adorable two-year-old, I mentioned that verse because that is truly so descriptive of how we have been blessed. Our cups are overflowing. God has blessed us with more than we asked. Several people who have known our budget is met, have still brought us gifts (one last night, for instance, of $500) and said we should use them for whatever we need; be it for the trip expenses, or settling the kids, or whatever might come up. We will probably use some of that for a really nice Christmas party for the kids at the orphanage. Maybe some for root canals on the kids when we get home...who knows?...Well, God does! He knew from the dawn of time what we would need and has supplied it. We are so grateful. To Him and to those who have been His hands and feet by doing whatever they could to help us. Praise be to Him!

All right, the next post will be ChristmasSteve...I need to go and get my camera.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving and ChristmasSteve

We went to my mom and dad's house for Thanksgiving this year. They live just down the road in a sense so, unless we travel somewhere, that is THE place to be! That's fine with us!

This year Thanksgiving was also a Family Reunion for my side of the family. There were 21 of us in all ( I think) and next year there should be at least six more! That's right! The Falk family tree has been watered with Miracle Gro or something! Three of the girls are expecting, and us--well, we're bringing along three new ones of our own!

Here are some pictures of the weekend in random order:

Lynn, the "most pregnant" (If it's possible to be more pregnant or less pregnant or sort of pregnant or half-pregnant) of the girls needed a little snack before dinner. She is eating for two!
Nobody bought my line about "eating for four".

I took some family pictures of my brother Nathan and his family. The dog was pretty tired, it would seem, and kept trying to lie down. "Sit up, Gunter!"

Ethan played this little Don't-take-my-picture game with me. I caught him from the side here, though. Gotcha, Ethan!

Simon decided to scoot down the hill during the family photo session. Isn't he a cutie?

Hannah and Ethan (back) share an enjoyment of taking pictures. Hannah liked showing off her shots to him. Ivy and Annette just had fun wherever they were.

Ivy just LOVES Uncle "Ebban". Who wouldn't enjoy an Uncle who carries you around in a cardboard box?!

For those of you who visit Kari and Dan's blog and are wondering what Owen looks like now...
Here he is listening to the Falk Grandchildren's (well, the littlest ones) favorite book, Duck is Dirty.

Where are the pictures of the Turkey? I took those on my Dad's camera! I should sneak over to one of my siblings' websites and swipe one! It was surely a beauty. Mom outdid herself!

Oh, yes, and someone left this sock and Mom sent it home with me. I like it, but it's not mine. If it's yours, please send me the other one.
Hope you had a nice holiday!

Tomorrow, I'll tell you all about "ChristmasSteve"!

But for now, Goodbye and a Merry ChristmasSteve to you all!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


We just finished the two-day, huge task of moving Hannah's (aka, the Pack Rat) room from her small room upstairs down to the basement in anticipation of bringing home our little ones!!

Doesn't she look comfy?!!

One week to go!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Three Beauties...I know; I'm unashamedly biased!

Two weeks till we leave for Ukraine!!
It will make getting these kind of pictures even harder!!

I am so thankful for so many things! These three are right on top of my list...
And even though we don't have them yet, we are thankful for the opportunity to be growing our family!

What are you most thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Cut-out Cookies!

Who doesn't love sugar cookies?!!
The girls and I decorated some cut out cookies for Thanksgiving. Leaves, turkeys, acorns and pumpkins. I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe. You can find it here.

(We are taking them with us to my parents' home where my brothers and my sister, their spouses and children and us will all gather to eat ourselves silly and play games and debate theology or politics and maybe play a little tennis and whatever else comes to mind... over 20 of us in all!)

The girls did a lot of licking. I am wondering about the wisdom of posting this before we set them out at Thanksgiving since my family may read this! I guess it will help me sort out who is reading the blog and who doesn't love me...Sob! Sniff!

Ivy took a bite out of a couple of her cookies. I guess she wanted to make sure they were good! Can you see one of hers in this picture of our finished products?

Annette's were the ones we all chose when we were done and we each got to eat one before I packed them away for Thanksgiving. Why? Well, see for yourself! You couldn't even tell what the original cookie shape was because they were so loaded with icing that it was pouring over the sides. Also, we had to eat them outside because she used so many sprinkles that they kept spilling off!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Warm and Fuzzy

(Me in the new Coat and the fur hat I got at the
Goodwill last year for Steve to wear in Moldova. )

The "baby sister" of an old friend of mine from high school (aka, my brother Daniel's high school girlfriend. the link to his website is at the right) saw that I was looking for a warm and toasty winter coat for wearing in Ukraine. Look what arrived in the mail on Saturday!

Thank you, Mandie!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gus the mouse

I was reflecting on the state of my basement today. I got the storage room all organized over the weekend but now the excess is all over the basement! Well, I did manage to keep the new bedroom clutter free but it is kind of a small accomplishment in the grander scheme of things. And I do now have a place for everything and I can get at it! A major accomplishment, let me tell you!

Remember the Disney movie, Cinderella? There is the one little mouse, Gus, who tries to gather too many corn kernels for himself and it ends up that when he puts the last one on the stack that the whole pile is spilled so he picks them all up only to have the same problem. That one last kernel never seems to fit!

That is my theory on housework. You can only store so much stuff. You can only spend all day working in one area of the house if you don't mind other parts going to pot in the process!! I'm not complaining...just observing. Although if I thought complaining would help anything, I'd be complaining! LOL! As it is I find it not worth getting too excited about.

After all, someday the kids and all their stuff will be gone. (in theory anyway) I can have every space in my home perfect at the same time then... but for now, That extra "kernel" is worth it. I can overlook the fact that there will probably always be at least one room that could really use a good sorting!

Annette and I worked together to clean up the kitchen this afternoon. She didn't exactly complain about helping but she was eager to be done with the work. So, me? I like to finish a room and sit back and enjoy its neatness. Annette? To her, it looked like a good place to dump out the baby doll clothes and play with Ivy!

That's the way it is! Why fight it?!! :-)

Friday, November 9, 2007


I have plans...

My mom decided that she'd like to take the girls overnight every Friday from now until we leave so that they can get used to spending the night there and so that I can have some time to get a few errands done at grow-up speed at least one day a week!

I have a coupon for 15% off at Kohl's so I am planning on going over there and doing some clothes-for-the-trip browsing (and hopefully finding). I think I will also stop by the Goodwill and look for a super fluffy warm winter coat too. I figure my odds of finding one are about 50/50 since we live in a sort-of mild climate and people here don't buy those kind of coats much but at the same time, people who do, realize that those kind of coats are unnecessary here and end up taking them to the Goodwill, where they stay till I get there...Hopefully!

I think I may do some grocery shopping too. Then my big plans for the house are to tackle the storage room. If I don't post for several days you'll know the closet won...

Sounds like fun, right?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

29 Days to go.

Enjoying the nice fall weather and making rustling leaf piles.

Ivy said to me later in the day, " I fwim in da weeves!" ( I swim in the leaves!)

I'm hiding from responsibility...

I have so much to do that I am down here on the computer pretending like I don't have
only 29 days till I leave the country!

I need to make a list. Or dig up one of the thousand lists that I have already made!
29 days, Y'all, 29 days... Is it possible?

Yesterday, my gums felt like they were aching so I thought it was because of a cavity that I had recently noticed in one of my back teeth that had formed under and old filling. So, I looked. Nope, worse... My tooth right behind that one was crumbling away right at the gum line, badly! How did that happen!!?? So Steve and I called around to a bunch of dentists ( We were in the car when I noticed and we have a miniature yellow pages in there) Everyone is booked forever!

So Steve remembered a dentist that he does some work for and we swung into their office. They were just closing down for the day. She listened sympathetically to our tale of woe and our reason for some urgency--since we were less than a month from leaving the country.
We visited a bit. She was very kind and wanted to help but they were booked through February. She took my phone number in case she had a cancellation in the hopes of fitting me in. Steve left one of our prayer cards with her and we said our goodbyes.

So, the good news is, she fit me! Not even 24 hours later and they had a cancellation!
I have never been so glad to go to the dentist! ( I don't think I have ever been glad to go to the dentist.) Haha!

From there I have to go to church to help teach our girls' Wednesday night class. Only a couple of classes to go. And word is, next week is a pizza party!

OK, time to get to work, now... where's that list?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Planting flowers

The girls and I packed our shovels, rakes, hand-spades , two buckets full of iris bulbs that I had dug up when we changed the landscaping, and a bunch of baggies and packets of seeds that I had but didn't know where to plant and headed down to the end of our street which is a dead end and turn-around. That may be a run on sentence, but if you read it a few times it may begin to make sense....

Annette donned her overalls for the job. Ivy grabbed her pink poodle. I am not sure what the poodle was for.
The winky-eyed smile again.

Planting. I don't know how much will actually grow. I kept thinking of the parable of the seeds and the rocky ground. I hope we have a rainy spring!

Heading home again. Ivy wanted to pull the wagon.

Annette picked me flowers that she found from way back in the weeds.
She rode her little tricycle.

I like this close-up. It shows her pretty eyes and toothless gap.

I like this one too.
Maybe next spring or summer, I'll be showing you pictures of all 6 of the kids picking flowers we planted today!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We got the news on Saturday evening that Steve's Grandmother had passed away. The girls took it pretty well, considering. Annette had done most of her crying when we told them earlier in the week that the end was near. Hannah was sad and teary but thoughtful and just nestled into Steve's arm for a while. Before the girls headed to their beds, we asked Hannah what she was thinking. She said, "Well, I am half sad and half kind of happy for Grandma--so, it's kind of weird..." She said this with her face telling us that she truly was grieving but the absence of actual crying telling us that she did not have the feelings of despair that we were expecting. She is maturing in so many ways and this response really brings home to me how fast she is becoming responsible and thoughtful and a young lady.

Steve and I feel the same way as she did. Steve's Aunt Denise said she found herself "torn between sad for me and happy for Mom" (or Grandma, to us) It was no secret that Grandma was eager to get to Heaven and that her body was tired of this world. She had quite a grasp of the reality that death of the body for a Christian is to be ushered into the presence of God as those who have gone before us.

Steve has a sister, Laurie, who works as a flight attendant for United. He was able to get a couple of "buddy passes" from her at a discounted rate (cheaper than driving) and he and Hannah left this afternoon for NY. Hannah was on cloud nine! Not only that, but they are stopping in DC on the way and staying overnight with Laurie and another sister, Mary. This means they can all fly up to NY together tomorrow but even better is that Hannah is right now getting a whirlwind tour of DC! She even got to ride the subway!

The funeral is on Thursday. As exciting as this all is for her, I expect that to be rough for her. If you think of it, say a little prayer for her, okay?

Finished landscaping...for now.

(...I never can seem to get a true "before" picture)

We worked hard to re-do our landscaping around the front of the house recently. It took us a while. I did most of the stuff in front of the house myself. Not because Steve wouldn't help. He certainly would have and did, some. But because I liked the work and the freedom to work at my own pace. The girls helped a bunch too. Well...Hannah did. The other two tried a bit but spent a lot more time playing in the dirt. :-)

Not that Steve didn't work hard. Just that I did the parts by the house. We had a lot of rock-work we wanted to do....cheaply! So we made a few trips to an area in the mountain/boonies where we could haul a bunch out of the creek there for free! It was a lot of fun and we would be sore going to bed at night but it was worth it. (I mentioned Julian the craw fish a while back; that is where we got him. We had company for dinner one night and were going to show them Julian who lived in a plastic shoe box on the kitchen counter. Thing is, he wasn't home. This was unusual for Julian who never left home, on account of the fact that he couldn't, up until someone- me- had the absence of forethought to put a little rooting plant in the corner of the box. Turns out, craw fish are pretty good climbers...)

Anyway, now that you know all that extra stuff, Here are some pictures of the girls working with me on the yard:

Hannah was a big help. She was actually able to fill the wheelbarrow alone several times. She was a very eager worker. She's growing so fast!

In this picture they are all working.
This is misleading as the next two pictures will illustrate...

Ivy likes to supervise.

Annette took many breaks.
She used this time to remind us how hard she had been working.

The finished product on the left-hand side. This whole bed wasn't there before.

The walkway. This was just a smooth slope but we decided that we would like to terrace it with stacked stone walls. I am very happy with the finished product! I wish I had closed the garage door for this photo...
We need to plant some flowers. Actually, I do have some that I put in there. A couple of hydrangeas over here and a couple of peonies on the other side, but they aren't much to look at yet.

Tomorrow I'll show you some other planting we did this week!

The Fall Festival

Our church does one of those "Halloween alternatives" each year and we call it the Fall Fesitval. This is one of the highlights of the year of church events for the girls. We do our best costumes for this event and have so much fun!
This year, Hannah wanted to be a black cat. She already had the ears, I was fortunate to find the long "velvet" leotard at a yard sale for $2 this summer and she wore black socks and black shoes. Pretty easy costume...well , except that the makeup took a little time but it was fun! Oh, and her tail was a pair of black tights that we tied around her waist and stuffed with socks.
Annette, who is 5 1/2, recently lost her two bottom front teeth and she chose to be the Tooth Fairy this year. She picked the color scheme. She wanted blue hair to look reminiscent of mouthwash. :-) Her face paint was fun to do as well. Especially the swirls on the side of her face. They don't show up as well as I wish in this picture but they may if you click on it to see it larger.

Ivy and Annette found this slide during the final forty minutes of the F.F. I tought Ivy would be too chicken to try it but they did it over and over until it was time to leave. It was really high!

Okay, now Dad, if you read this, you will be bothered by the fact that this next picture actually comes chronologically before the one above.... Sorry! ;-)

Last year Ivy was too scared to ride the ponies. This year, we took the video camera and I told Steve to get a video of her chickening out. She didn't! She loved it!
Same thing with the train but no video this time. She was scared to death of the train last year and this year she and Uncle Evan rode it twice! She smiled like this the whole time! I think Evan only smiled for the benefit of my camera.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dinner, Ukrainian Style

Get comfy....

Well, I mentioned that we had the privilege of being invited for dinner at the home of a Ukrainian family here in Knoxville this past Monday night. It's Thursday now and so I suppose if I am going to tell you about it, now is the time!

We really had a great time. I mean it. They were so friendly and Vera, the lady of the house, speaks quite good English. Her husband, Alex, has improved greatly in his ability to communicate in English since Steve first met him! They have five kids who were hidden somewhere in the house for most of the time but appeared sometime later in the evening. Beautiful kids. And our kids were so well behaved, well...except that despite our 'talk' in the car on the way over, Annette refused to try the Borscht! She missed out, though!

Vera served us a veritable feast and kept insisting that we eat more! We had Borscht, mashed potatoes, pork, Palmanyee (that's as close as I can get to spelling it in English) which is a kind of meat filled dumpling. There was also a pretty three-tiered serving tray with a tomato and cucumber salad on the lowest level, fruits and something else I can't remember in the middle and chocolates and Baklava on the top. Oh, slices of white bread with the fruit.

Now, normally, Steve avoids anything with potatoes (except fried), cucumbers, cabbage or tomatoes. So I was wondering how he'd enjoy the meal. We have been joking among ourselves about how we will be in Ukraine all this time and those are some of the main staples there!! But I'll tell you what-- We both raved about it all the way home! It was so good!!!

Steve ate all his soup, and had seconds and was pressured into thirds--not because he didn't like it but because we were both getting full! He really loved the dumplings and I think he even ate some mashed potatoes but I'm not sure. Of course, except for the tomatoes which were easy to avoid, I love all those foods and assume that is what I will eat in Heaven!

I loved seeing how the culture was different from ours. There was Babooshka in the kitchen cooking and taking care of Deodooshka (Grandfather). Vera and Alex called him Otyets (Father) and so I don't know his real name but he was my favorite! He wandered through where we were every once in a while and said stuff we couldn't understand and grinned, gold tooth gleaming. I think he was trying to show off some English but he was timid and mumbled and I couldn't understand a thing! Seriously, I wanted to hug him!

The funny, or at least different to us, thing was that the table was set for just us. There were 6, maybe 7 seats at the table and Vera sat off to the side and Alex sat at a place setting and ate some but he had already eaten. It was nice to visit during dinner but I admit, at first I was a little nervous that the plan was for them to stand around and watch us eat! Vera did keep a close eye on things and every time our dishes neared empty she was asking if we wanted more. Saying things like "Why you don't eat more? Alex always eats three bowls of borscht when he is eating". And, "Have some more palmaynee, don't you like them?" I did and had said so, but three helpings and two bowls of soup, a helping of mashed potatoes and some pork, not to mention the salad and bread were making me a little on the stuffed side!! Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining! It was all absolutely wonderful!

Before we left, I went to the kitchen door and waited while Vera packaged me up some borscht and dumplings and insisted that I must take some home. Babushka was there washing dishes and I wanted to help but got the impression that that wasn't something to offer. I did tell her the the food was "Ochin Khurasho!" (very good) and she smiled and nodded, pleased but unable to reply. I guess she suspected (correctly) that those were the few words I knew!

And I have to tell you that after the meal we went in the Living room and watched a few clips of DVDs that they have of some of the work Vera has done with an organization that ministers to the orphanages there. Very touching stuff. One that I that I can't help but mention was of a project to reunite siblings who were adopted apart. They had several groups of children but the children did not know what was happening. They were told to sit at a dinner table and when they did, they found that across the table would be their missing brother/sister. The one that was so precious was a girl, probably about 8, who looked up from her plate and saw her brother across the table and she just started sobbing with joy. She reminded me of Hannah. That is just what she might do. So precious. What these children have been through in their short little lives is unfathomable.

Really. My life is such a cakewalk. I have never been beaten or purposely burned, raped by a relative in my own home, or ripped from my family and sent to live in an institution. I have never been so poor that we could only afford my father's liquor or had to go to bed hungry, again.

You know, this is one of the reasons we are adopting. Because, in the grand scheme of things, any reasons not to are so shallow. Not enough room, not enough time, where would we keep that much more stuff?, they aren't biologically ours, money, etc... Do you see? They are all reasons that challenge our comfort, the bubble of "perfect-ness" that we have created for ouselves. Us, OURselves, Me, My.... If I have the capability to be a forever home for these children, how can I say that my "quality of life" is more important? God has sacrificed so much for us. Jesus certainly paid a price for my adoption into His family. How can I do any less? And you know what? What greater joy is there than to do the will of God?

This whole thing is ups and downs, joy and elation, but throughout every step we have joy. From deep within. From Him. And I am filled with Love for these children whom I don't even know yet. They're a gift. Not an obligation. Not a charity but a labor of love. It won't be a cakewalk, but it is a very worthy endeavor, for now and especially for eternity.

Monday, October 22, 2007

This and that

(Annette kissing our snowman from this past January)

Steve bought some snow boots on Friday. Yep, snow boots! Why? Well, because even though we moved all the way to Tennessee to get away from the NY winters, we are going to be freezing our wimpy little hineys off way over in Ukraine this December and January! Well, maybe the hotels will be cheaper...

I am quickly joining you fellow almost-travelers in becoming obsessed about packing! What to take? What not to take? What to buy there? Everyone says to travel light so I plan on doing my best! This is so unbelievable to be this close to leaving the country for over a month!!!! Yikes!!

Only 46 days until we leave.
Steve did the math. 46 days! Yikes again!!

I worked last night on a new template for moving our Loved Already site to a Blogger page. It will be much easier to maintain. We wanted a regular site to display all our different pages but we are getting to the point where it will mostly be just blogging from here on out. I'm glad because I like designing my own look and also I don't really like the Yahoo Web Hosting Blog format. It is rather a pain in the neck!

We are going for dinner tonight at the home of some people we know from the Ukrainian Slavic Full-Gospel church here in Knoxville! Vera is cooking up some Borscht and I don't know what else. I think I will bake some bread this afternoon to take along. I'm not sure what is expected according to Ukrainian culture when one goes visiting. Maybe Nataliya can give me a hint!!??

Check out this post on my sister-in-law's family blog! It is so funny!

Please remember our family, particularly the girls, in prayer. I mentioned a while back that Steve's Grandmother was failing. We are surprised that she is still with us but it is becoming clear that she won't hold out much longer. Annette is taking the thought of this very hard and Hannah will have a very difficult time too but she doesn't show it as much. Ivy, at two, doesn't really know much but was falling all over our little weeping Annette with hugs last night after Annette burst into tears on the phone with Great-Grandma.

We take great comfort in knowing that Grandma has been aching to go to Heaven for 10 years to be with her husband since he passed on. We'll see her again. We wish that our adopted kids could have met her.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Drum Roll, Please.....

And the correct answer is.....

So, I guess the winner of the prestigious "Pat Yourself on the Back" award is Rachel!! Now, Rachel, are you the Rachel I know?...redhead, three kids, daughter of Dawn (Oooo! "Daughter of Dawn", that sounds kind of cool!) or are you a new one?

At any rate, Pat yourself on the back and say these words...
"Wow! Awesome guess! What a great way to start the day!"

Thanks for playing, Y'all!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Yard Sale Goodies

The Haul
My mom's subdivision had it's annual yard sale day on Saturday. At our first stop we found a bunch of stuff. I found the table in this picture, something I really have needed. My living room has been practically devoid of places for guests to set their cups for quite some time! I also got a plastic grocery bag full of beads and craft items as well as that netted belt there. In all I found this entire list of items:
  • Four pairs name brands pants for Hannah
  • Four shirts, no stains. One is a pink tie dye shirt that says "Daddy's Girl" in rhinestones on the front. I was going to give it to Hannah but we decided to save it in case one of our adopted kids was a girl who might fit it. Hannah already has a "Daddy's Girl" shirt.
  • Plastic grocery bag of beads
  • two pairs of church shoes for Ivy in great condition; one white, one navy.
  • end table
  • Netted belt
  • flannel night gown for Hannah
  • Children's place skirt.
  • Window scarf (probably ten to twelve feet long)-blue with iridescent purple tones
  • really cute stuffed dog toy. ( I have NEVER bought a stuffed animal EVER ANYWHERE before but he was so cute, I couldn't resist!)
  • One Golden Book-Cookie monster and the Cookie Tree. Do any of you remember this book? I'm not a big fan of Sesame Street stuff as a general rule but I remember having this book as a kid and really loving the idea of a cookie tree!
Anyway, Mary at her blog which she calls Owlhaven has a couple of times held a contest to see who could guess the closest as to how much the stuff cost. I thought it would be fun to do here, too!

So, What's your best guess???? This would be a great time for any of you "lurkers" to join in!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


December 11!!!!!

We have a date!!!!!
More on LovedAlready.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ivy Mae

I took some pictures of Ivy the other day when we were visiting my Grandpa.
It was dusk and the lighting was so pretty, I took a whole bunch!

Here are a few of my favorites:

(Or, in the south, some people say "Peety-pie" or something like that.
It means the same a peekaboo but I don't know why they say it that way.)
The Winky-Eyed Smile

The picture above and this one here make me smile because Ivy has this thing she does sometimes when she smiles: She winks one eye shut! We first noticed it when she was not quite one-year-old. The more she smiled, the more she winked and the more she winked, the more we laughed and the more we laughed, the more she smiled....
So funny. ;-)