Wednesday, August 28, 2013

5 months home

I can't believe how much Ruslana has grown--both physically and emotionally--in the five months that we've been home.  Check out these pictures to see for yourself!

February/March 2013:

...five months later in America: 

What a beautiful young lady she is becoming!  It's been a joy to see her flourish in our home. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just because...

My kids are cute!

She loves pizza
Love those chubby cheeks!
Playing on the playground
Future Dodger
So beautiful!
His eyelashes are already longer than most adults! 
Swings are one of her favorite things
He's getting so tall...make it stop!
My kiddos
I love his big blue eyes and smile!

Love my beautiful babies!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Saying Goodbye

On Sunday the host children from Ukraine returned home.  We went to the airport for Ruslana to see her friends and say goodbye.  One of her best friends, Alya, was in the area early so we were able to go out to breakfast with her and her host mom and sister.  It was such a sweet reunion. Alya yelled "Rus-ia!" the second she saw her and ran up and gave her a big hug.  She also gave her a friendship necklace which was the sweetest thing.  It was so much fun seeing the two of them laughing and having a wonderful time together.  Here are a few photos from breakfast:

After breakfast we headed to the airport to see the rest of the group and send them off.  At first it was a happy time of catching up and saying hello.  
Alya, Katya, Alyona, Ruslana, Andriy
Ruslana and Myroslav (her other best friend)
Alya, Katya, Andriy, Ruslana 

But then it became incredibly sad.  The children were crying because they didn't want to go back to Ukraine.  The families were crying because they didn't want them to go.  It was a helpless situation as the crying children went up the escalator and the host families were left waving behind the security checkpoint.  
Alya and Ruslana arm in arm
Ruslana and Myroslav
Ruslana started crying, and even I, the non-emotional one, got teary eyed.  I thought back to a few days prior when at school Ruslana was asked what worried her.  She said her friends having to go back to Ukraine.  Now was the moment that her worry was coming to fruition.  No child should have to experience the emotions that these kids do.  It's absolutely heartbreaking! :(

On a positive note, the hosting trip was a big success and the number of children being pursued for adoption looks promising.  A few of the children however, are currently unavailable for adoption.  Please pray for their status to change as their host families so badly want to adopt them. Pray for God to move mountains and change the improbable so that these children can experience the love of a family. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

1st day of school & 1 month old

Wednesday was Ruslana's first day of school.  She had a great day!  She was happy to see the friends that she made last year and fortunately she's in the same class as a couple of them.  When I came to pick her up they were hugging her goodbye.  I'm so thankful for these sweet girls!  Her teacher is also great.  Ruslana told me that she loves her teacher because she is "nice, beautiful, and a good teacher."

Here she is on her first day of fourth grade:

We are so proud of the beautiful girl she is, inside and out, and how quickly she is learning English.  We hope she has a wonderful school year!

Levi turned 1 month old today. Time has gone by so fast! Other than wanting to eat all of the time, he's a pretty chill baby!  He's incredibly strong for a newborn and is always moving his arms and legs.  In fact, his moving made capturing photos of him that weren't a total blur quite difficult! Right now I'm guessing he'll either be a baseball pitcher or a drummer.  We are so thankful for our active little guy, he is such a blessing! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ukrainian Beach Party & Our Newest Addition

A couple of weeks ago the host children from Ukraine (who were in Ruslana's groupa) came together and spent the day at the beach in Oceanside.  Since Levi was only four days old, Mark and I weren't in the position to go, but the grandmas came to the rescue and took our girl to see her friends.  We are so thankful that Ruslana has two wonderful grandmas who love her so much!

Ruslana had a blast digging in the sand, playing in the ocean (completely fearless), and seeing the children that she grew up with.

Amazingly, Ruslana has already begun to forget Ukrainian.  I had no idea this would come so quickly.  She has been here four months and her English is really coming along.  We were told that at the beach she would speak to her friends in English.  The poor kids must have been so confused!

Ruslana and Myroslav--one of her best friends
Maria (the orphanage director) and Ruslana
Our crazy girl
Katya, Denys, and Ruslana with Maria
Andriy & Ruslana with the DeHoog girls 
I hope these sweet children get adopted soon and have their very own family.  Every child deserves to have their own mama and papa to love them.

And because I just can't end the post without a mention of our other sweet baby, here's a few photos of our newbie, Levi:
Smiling cutie
Blue eyed babe
Sleepy stud
With his proud big sister
We are so blessed to have two wonderful children!