Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sweet Tatiana

We got some wonderful news yesterday. We have been sponsoring two children through Life2Orphans for a few years now. The boy and girl that we sponsor are both teenagers now and they live at an orphanage/boarding school called Mykolaivka Internat in Ukraine. The orphanage where they live is the only home they know, they rarely ever even leave the orphanage grounds and the other orphans, teachers, and caretakers are the only family they have.

Over the past few years Tatiana (now 13 years old) and I have become pretty close. We send her school supplies, toiletries, clothes, and toys a few times a year and write many letters back and forth. We exchange pictures as well. Tatiana is a very sweet girl and I often worried about her for what her future would bring. When orphans age out of the adoption system (sometime between ages 16 and 18) they generally have to place to go and often times with a poor education and no adult support they end up in lives of drugs, prostitution, and a large percentage of them even choose to end their lives. Through our communication and support we hoped and prayed that we would be able to give Mihailo (the boy) and Tatiana the encouragement they would need to face the tough road ahead of them.

Tatiana, or Tonya, as she liked to be called is a very special kid. She and about 15 others were chosen from her orphanage of about 200 hundred kids to go on a special trip last year as a special privilege. We got to pay $40 for her and she was able to go to Kiev and sightsee, go to the zoo, ride on a train, eat in a real restaurant, and go to McDonald's! We were so excited for her. She had a great time. She was also recently baptized and we were so proud of her as we were both baptized at about the same age that she is.

Well yesterday I received a letter from Tatiana that said that she had been adopted and that her new parents were going to be taking her home to Greece where she will live with her new family! This is such a blessing and a huge answer to prayer. I think the statistics are really poor, probably less than 1% of teenage orphans in Ukraine get adopted. Tatiana now has parents who will love her! I just know that she will thrive in a family. Of course I cried for an hour because I am so happy for her but it will be bittersweet for me as I am not sure we will be able to stay in touch. But Tatiana has a future now! She told me that she is already starting to learn some Greek and that it is very hard! She can't wait to see the sea for the first time and swim in it. She said that where she is moving it is even warm in the winter. Of course she thanked us for all we have done for her and said her goodbyes to us. We are hoping that we can still write to her, but even if we never hear from her again we are so happy for her. She has been a blessing to us and we will never forget our little sweetie. My favorite Tatiana memory is when I wrote her a letter and said something like, "Hi Sweetie!" She wrote back and I guess it didn't translate exactly because she said that no one had ever called her "their candy sweetheart" before and that now everyone at the orpahange was calling her that. She loved it. How cute is that?

So goodbye sweet Tatiana! I hope that you have a wonderful life in Greece. Every child deserves to live in family who loves them and takes care of them!

I would encourage anyone who wants to be part of an awesome charity to look into Life2Orphans. We have been so lucky to be part of these two special lives because of them.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Noah!

Happy birthday to my big brother! In honor of your birthday I am posting my favorite circle graph ever:

Also, one week from today we should have our dossier submitted to the SDA in Kiev! Prayers and good thoughts are welcome. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Henry!

My adorable little nephew is turning two! I don't have any recent pictures of him on my computer because he lives so far away and the most recent picture I have is a print, but here is the evolution of cuteness that started two years ago.

I don't think
my brother and sister-in-law currently read my blog, but I wanted to give sweet Henry a virtual shout out for his 2nd birthday anyway!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you a Valentine's Day full of love. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Two and a Half Weeks

In about two and a half weeks our dossier should be turned in to the SDA. That seems like a big step to me so I am starting to get cautiously optimistic about everything. No real news, just the countdown.

Also tomorrow is my sister's birthday and since it is shared with Valentine's Day I thought I would post today to give her a special post since she is one of the few people who I know that read this blog. I won't say how old she is because that isn't very nice but you may be able to figure it out when I post these pictures. I am sure
she is going to kill me for this but what are sisters for? :D Also, one of the benefits of living 2500 miles away from each other. ;) One of the only benefits though. :(

February 14, 19??

19?? (Okay this one may be a little easier to figure out.)

On her wedding day a few years ago.

In my defense, I only have a few old scanned pictures on my computer to choose from.

Also, these are the wonderful gifts headed your way that I mailed earlier this week so that should make all forgiven, right?

Happy 3?th birthday, Sis E. Pants! I love you. What? At least I didn't post the one of you and Ian Ziering. ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

No News is Good News

Well this is the time in the adoption process when we sit and wait. (It is one of the many times actually.) There is nothing to blog about adoption wise but I wanted everyone (all four of you who read this blog ;) ) to know that all is well. We did have a really fun Super Bowl Party on Sunday and our friend Joe (who is a chef) made us an awesome spread of food!

This is my first post from our new laptop. The good news about getting the laptop is that we will be able to take it to Ukraine with us so we can update our blog, email, send pictures, etc. And we will be able to watch DVDs and play with it in the downtime. The funny/ironic thing is that our other computer died within a day or two of bringing the laptop home. We have been joking that it took one look at the competition and gave up. Actually it isn't that old. It's an iMac G5 and it is just over 3 years old. So we have to take it in to get fixed because we still plan on using it. The guys came today to install our wireless connection for the new computer and I must say that it is kind of fun to be able to get online from anywhere in the house. I also have to say that I am currently sitting where the old computer is, so I guess it isn't that fun! :D

The family in our neighborhood who adopted three kids from Ukraine two years ago emailed me to say that their is another couple somewhere in the neighborhood who is just starting the process of adopting from Ukraine. I can't wait to meet them! I think we will try to have everyone over for dinner sometime soon to share stories and get to know each other.

That's all for now. I leave you with a picture of Keaton the Wonder Dog, taken with Photo Booth. That is s fun toy, I must say.