Thursday, November 1, 2012

Adoption Awareness Month Begins!!


It begins the season I love so so much, even though I HATE being cold...somehow there is something just plain beautiful and inviting in a snow covered tree, and sipping hot chocolate by a fire.

This month also marks National Adoption Awareness Month.  So, my goal this month is to make you all more aware.  :)  Hope you are up for it!

I just received a brand new curriculum on adoption and God's heart behind it!  It seems pretty incredible, although I've not had a chance to dive in too deep, yet.  I am planning to hold a "conference" of sorts to walk through the curriculum with anyone interested in God's heart for orphans and/or adoption.  I am going to need HELP!  So, if this is something you are interested in, please let me know if and what you'd like to help with!

Here's your assignment for today/this weekend:  look up what God has to say about orphans in the Bible.  Seriously...look it up.  You'll find some amazing things about how He created provisions for the fatherless, how He calls His followers to care for the orphan more than once, and how He adopts each one of us into His family, so that we are no longer orphans.

Check out these videos on youtube...and ask yourself, "Why Wouldn't I?"  Why wouldn't I decide to be like Christ and open my home and heart to a child who needs a home, a family, and Jesus?  (And be honest with yourself about the answer...I'd love to chat about what you found out).  Trust me, I'm sure there's many reasons why you wouldn't:  finances, age, other children in the home, fear (that they won't be easy, of what others think, of your life changing), etc.)  

Then think about God.  What if He had decided NOT to give you a home, a family, and Salvation?  What if He would have just left us to our sinful nature, and not adopted us in? 

Adoption is a life choice.  It's a hard road.  But it's a blessed road.  And it's an incredible picture of the Gospel of Jesus's a picture to a child, to a family, and to many that watch your story unfold as a reflection and as a part of His Greater Story.

"Why Wouldn't I?" By Peder Eide
LoubaSing (Sveta in Russia)
Steve and Beth's Story (TISSUES needed)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

So much to report, and yet, I have little ability to find the words to say...I've hesitated to blog because I just don't feel the need to vent and update like I did while in the "waiting" stages.

5 topics for today:

1. New house
2. Family Time
3. Pampered Chef
4. Adoption
5. School

Here goes:
1. New house - It's official.  Our address has been changed, and mail should begin to arrive next week.  We still have a little work to do on getting things out of the garage at the old house, but the new house is shaping up just fine.

For those who do not know, we moved in to an "apartment" in my in-laws home.  They have been so so gracious to help us maintain our own "home" and have cleared out tons of space for us to store our things.  It truly is a blessing.  They're GREAT!  Sveta only has "escaped" into their side of the house a few times, and we're working on when that is appropriate, and when it's not!  Haha...she will get it eventually (maybe).

2. Family Time - I'm looking for ways to make our family time purposeful and that we are spending quality time together doing things that we enjoy and bring us rest...rather than just being near each other.  Any ideas are helpful!!  I'm excited about family and friend field trips I've got planned, and hopefully starting some holiday traditions with our little family.  This year will be the first that Barry and I have put a Christmas tree up together...and I LOVE Christmas it makes me happy.

I also have been trying to plan meals more effectively so that we have more time to be together without me laboring in the kitchen.  My new plan starts next week.  I've created 8 weeks of meals, grocery lists, and recipes, so I can grab a week and GO.  Hopefully this will work well.  I'll let you know (if I remember). 

3. Pampered Chef - I love working for this business, but I'm struggling with how much to throw myself into it.  I enjoy it immensely, but I don't want it to become a focus over my family.  I pray that I will be able to use it to serve and assist my family...and that it doesn't become an idol.

I'm pretty excited about a few new ideas I have for shows, and how I can use my products to make QUICK dinners for my family.  And, I want to use the business for His glory, not my own.  I'm learning a lot about how to use facebook, and how not to use it...and I've used it incorrectly to try to promote PC before.  So, I am sorry.  It will not happen again.

4. Adoption - There's still paperwork to be done that I keep avoiding.  I just want to spend time with Sveta and watch her grow.  But, she needs a social security number, a passport, and other things too.  Argh...Paperwork is not my friend.

On a different note, my friend Melissa finally has Hudson home!  Praise God!
My friend Jennifer, is going to get "sweet girl" sometime next month from an orphanage I've visited multiple times.
My dear friends, Mitch and Courtney, and praying about the next steps in their adoption process.
And, me, well, I'm praying about how to get our church/community educated about adoption: foster, domestic, and international.  Curious about how you can get involved?  Let me know, maybe we can work together on CCOGB and Greensburg!  I don't have time to create something on my own to educate, but I do have info on lots of resources.

5. School - OH MY GOODNESS!!  Sveta is doing so great in school...and I'm channeling my inner preschool teacher these days.  We've created a word wall for her sight words, a calendar, a little pocket chart, and a weather and seasons chart.  I'm going to cut out shapes to cut number of school days, and I'm hoping for a little white board or chalk board or writing tablet to practice different things on!  It's like our own little classroom in her new HUGE bedroom.  She even has 2 little old school desks from a nearby school that her Nana had.  So great.  I'll try to post a pic sometime!

Here's a list of some of the things she can do:
1. Name and name sounds of all letters (upper and lowercase)
2. Sound out consonant - vowel - consonant words (bat, hop, etc)
3. Recognize the words a, and, the, I, cat, day
4. Spell her first name
5. Write her first name
6. Write capital letters A - W
7. Write some lowercase letters
8. Count to 60
9. Recognize numbers 1-20
10. Recite at least 3 Bible Verses:  Phil. 2:14, John 3:16, Col. 2:10


P.S. - The cost of our adoption is on my to do list to figure out.  We've had several people ask where we are on the total cost, and on funding.  Our Boaz account has been emptied, but the only expenses left are the post-placement reports.  :)  Praise God.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Confessions of a Writer's Failure

I l.o.v.e. to write.  Not poetry, not fiction, but just write.  I love great pens (I'm kind of a sucker for a great pen) and I love to get a new journal.  I love the feel of cardstock when I write on a card.  I love even typing my thoughts as I think them, and writing out prayers or letters (some of which I never even give).  But, here's my much as I want to be really good at writing a handwritten note, putting it in an envelope, addressing it, making sure it has correct postage, and getting it in the mailbox, I'm not good at it at all.  I write notes all the time to find them months later without a stamp. 

Let me start by saying I'm sorry.  I'm sorry that you gave, and you did not receive a thank you note.  I even had Sveta color pictures to send as notes once.  They are no longer able to be found.  I really want to express my appreciation for each individual gift and gesture, but now have no memory able to keep track of it all.  Sadly, I have failed.  Failed at writing thank you notes diligently.  Failed at thank you each properly for all of the sacrifices you have made to bring Sveta home.

So, here's my attempt to say thank you for being part of our lives for the last 19 months (or more):

Thank you. 
Thank you,
for praying,
for encouraging,
for bringing meals,
for buying toys, clothes, food, etc.
for sharing in the cost of our adoption,
for donating items to help ofset the cost of the adoption,
for loving us,
for loving Sveta,
for loving Jesus,
and orphans.

There have been so many who have shared the financial burden of adoption with us, and we cannot thank you enough.  I've not got the complete total figured, but it was well over what we anticipated spending to begin with...and yet, GOD has provided so many to join with us and bring Sveta home.

There have been so many who've brought a meal over, given a gift card, or treated us to ice cream right when we needed it.

There are many who've sent encouraging notes, emails, comments, texts, etc...and without those we would have been so discouraged.

There are many who respected our need to protect Sveta when she first came home...and it's paid off.  She's bonding well, and has a place in our family and knows it.  She's amazing...and she's already learning about who Jesus is (thanks to many of you).

We are so grateful for all that you sacrificed to help Sveta come home.  She is a joy to us everyday and we are so thankful that you were willing to be part of Sveta's story.

Are you willing to be part of another orphan's story?  (No, we're not planning to adopt again...yet)
I am so thankful that many took part in bringing Sveta home, now I wonder how many other orphans could have a home if we were willing to sacrifice again.  Let me know if you'd be interested in helping Greensburg as a community to be more aware of the needs of the fatherless in our community and world.  Let me know if you'd be willing to give some of your time to educate some, advocate for some, or even adopt some.

Check these websites out, and stay tuned for ways to get involved::

Let me know what you believe you need to do in response to Micah 6:8 and James 1:27.  I would LOVE to hear!!

And, thanks again for taking this journey with us!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

6 months...

So, in my last post I talked about how Barry and I have felt that we need to live radically, and how both houses are now on the market (Greensburg and Greenwood/Indianapolis).  Well, we have an accepted offer on the Greensburg house and the "Sale Pending" sign is now in our yard.  Incredible.

The first two people that saw the house made offers.  The first was GREAT.  The second we rejected because it was way off from what we wanted to get out of it.  God is working in huge ways just on this.  Unreal.  And, yet, it is real.

This week I started preschool with Sveta.  So far, so good.  She and I are both enjoying it...and she's learning so quickly!!

Yesterday was our "6 months home" day!  We ate potato soup to celebrate.  :)

She's been home 6 months:  Things she knows/does/has said/eats, etc...

1. Can count to 30 (except most days she skips 15 and 22)
2. Can count back from 10 to 1.
3.  Knows all of her letters.
4.  Knows all letter sounds (except she sometimes only remembers one of the sounds G and I make).
5. She knows the following shapes:  circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, star, heart.
6. She knows her colors:  white, black, gray, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink
7. She knows lots of direction words and gets right and left correct most of the time.
8. She will eat/drink burgers, pork, chicken, turkey, fish (salmon and tilapia), noodles, rice, cheese, milk, smoothies, green beans, carrots, potatoes, peppers (if you force her), tomatoes, fruit of all kinds (but she's not a big berry fan).
9. She uses full sentences and repeats whole stories.  She will have you read a book until she's got it memorized...and then she "reads" it.  She wants you to read at least 10 books a day. LOVE it.
10. She answers my cell phone if it rings even though she knows she isn't supposed to.
11. She still likes to pretend to be a baby and to be held and rocked (which I'm happy about).
12. She asks for moloko instead of milk to drink.  Simply because she can't really say milk and she is sick of me asking her to repeat it.  I like that she uses the Russian.  She also uses the word for "don't" and "and."
13.  She's super imaginative!!  She always has a different imaginative game to play: the newest is that we are sisters. 
14. She loves to play with her friends, but she's pretty bossy.  I guess being the oldest at the orphanage is partially to blame.
15. She constantly wants to go somewhere.  Anywhere.  She doesn't even care if it's just to the store.  She doesn't like to just be at home.
16. New phrases:  "check this out," "I got an idea," "how 'bout," "are you sure?" "are you kiddin' me?"
17. She loves to pray.  She sometimes just opens her eyes and thanks God for the fork, spoon, plate, and cup...but sometimes, like last night she said, "Thank you for God and for Jesus, and for everybody, and for life." 
18. She likes to use the churchy answers.  Jesus, and God are common answers when they don't make sense as the answer at all!

That's all I can think of for now.  LOVE LOVE LOVE this girl.  So blessed that God has put her in our lives!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

3 blogs in one??

Sometimes I feel like I have tons and tons and tons of stuff that I want to share, and then life happens and I don't get to do it.  So, today, while Sveta is resting I'm going to try to share three thoughts:

1. Radical living:  It's really messing with me, this thought of living for Jesus.  When you become a beliver, people wrongfully give you the idea that it's all roses after that.  No one tells you that carrying your cross is difficult...I just thought it meant wearing it on my neck.  Jesus says you will be persecuted, He says that your reward will be in Heaven...which means we don't get it here.  But, He says it will be worth it...and I believe Him.  I'm looking at Jesus, and He's calling me...and our live for Him in everyway: to sacrifice what we want to grow His Kingdom.  It's all that matters anyway. To live radically our family has decided that God is asking us to get out of debt.  So, here's our RADICAL plan:  sell our house in Indianapolis, sell our house in Greensburg, move in with Barry's parents, and spend WAY less and pay off our debts as fast as we can.  People think we are crazy, they don't understand, they think we're somehow "off."  I'm ok with that...because I don't want to be like the majority of American Christians who live no differently than the rest of America.  I don't want to go with the cultural norm, I want to go with the Biblical Command.  I'm shaken by the fact that we are more wealthy than 99% of ALL people.  ALL.  Me. Wealthy.  I don't see myself as that...and that's wrong.  So, we're trying to follow Jesus and live as He calls.

2. God is faithful.  All the time.  We listed our houses this week after painting, cleaning, and moving clutter around.  I'm thankful it's done.  Now just to keep it clean.  WOW. Hard.  But so so good.

3. I am not eating Dairy Queen.  Why?  Well, Barry and I had a brilliant plan to help us lose a little bit of weight.  Except I did eat OrangeLeaf earlier this week.  And, today after Sveta's 1st soccer game we went to Dairy Queen:  I ordered a water.  A water.  I was successful today.  Thank goodness!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Frustration Ends in Love

Sunday evening was not good.  I was someplace between, "I just going to drive my parent's truck through the sunroom" and "I'm going to hire someone to finish what I've started and cannot finish".  My frustration was primarily with the sunroom.  A room I began to remodel years ago and have stalled on finishing ... partly because of time, partly because of finances, and, perhaps mostly, because of a lack of knowledge in how to finish the project. 

Nonetheless, I have moved toward finishing the project.  Paneling is up and it's time to trim around the windows.  I am clueless.  Instead of slopping wood on there, I call a few friends for advice and instruction only after I completely frustrate myself.  I cannot remember the last time I was so frustrated. 

Jessi was a little stressed and frustrated, too.  She says it wasn't me she was frustrated with, but I can assure you all that I did nothing to take any stress away from her. 

At perhaps the peak of our frustration we are all (three of us) riding along in my parent's truck.  No, we are not cruising toward the sunroom.  Yes, I realize I alluded to doing that earlier.  The wife and child would not have been in on that showdown.  This is strictly between me and my creation (the sunroom).

While cruising along Jessi and I are not smiling.  Sveta sits in her seat between us just as cute as a button.  I decide to engage her in conversation.  "Sveta," I say in a rather serious tone, "there is no smiling, no laughing, and no having fun tonight."  (Yes, she has caught on to my sarcasm after only 5 months with us)  "Noooowha", comes her response.  Then a cute, brief 4-year-old-giggle.  Followed with, "I have to smile, daddy."  "Why do you have to smile?" 

Her response puts a smile on Jessi's face and mine. 

Her response puts many things into perspective. 

Her response is the thing which many long to hear ... even to the point of killing themselves to hear.  Literally.

Her response is what gives life to hope and brings death to despair.

Her response has been learned in 5 months and will be unpacked for all eternity.

Her response:  "Because Jesus loves me"

Frustration finds its end in love.

I have learned many things since this little girl entered my life.  I have learned how many times I can ask someone to do something before I need to leave the room in frustration.  I have learned that I can love my wife FULLY and FULLY love a child at the same time.  I have learned what it feels like to have a little girl scream "daddy!" and ran at you with open arms. I have learned the helpless feeling of holding a child in pain (physical or emotional) and know there is nothing you can do but cry together.  I have learned that the white 'play shoes' are what she wants to wear everyday.  I have learned that I simply cannot make a pony-tail look good ... on anyone including myself. 

Many things in my life have changed.  I eat differently.  I sleep lighter.  I shut doors.  I move knives away from the end of counter tops.  I read kids books ... over and over.  I pretend to be many things in many places. 

One thing that hasn't changed is the love of God.  And it's amazing the way this little girl can remind me of it every day. 

A 4 year old can be a picture of ultimate selfishness.  She's simply not learned to hide it the way I have.  We don't grow out of this 4 year old state of selfishness.  Instead, I am convinced we manipulate it and mask it and hide it ... but it's still there.  She, just like me, deserves hell.  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).  Reason to smile.  

I am amazed at the immeasurable amount of patience God extends toward me in my countless selfish endeavors.  I am amazed at the way He loves me, despite me.  

The brokenness that surrounded us in that truck ...
... a child once an orphan, three selfish persons, a young man who so deeply wants to be proven by the work of his own hands, a beautiful young lady who longs for a restored community ...
... that brokenness that surrounded us in that truck is overwhelmed in the face of a matchless love which is unrivaled by all the hell and brokenness that may surround any one person or the entire population of the globe.  

There is nothing greater than the love of God.  

I experience it each day when I hug my wife and my daughter.
I experience it each time a friend comes and helps with my house.

I will never know the depth of God's love, but I will enjoy swimming deeper and deeper into it. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Confessions of a sinner...who desires for MORE.

I should be cleaning, or preparing my house to look perfect for when some new friends come over for dinner tonight...but I'm not.  Because the more I think about it, the more I don't want a "perfect" house.  I would trade the "need" to have a perfect house for almost anything.  Because, here's a little secret my friends...I don't actually NEED a perfect house, nor a clean one.  Most of the world has neither and doesn't even think twice. 

I'm learning a lot about the American Dream and a lot about the dream of living the Gospel...and how actually...they don't mesh very well.  See, here's how I've learned to live...and, things that I've thought recently. 

1. My house must be clean, nicely decorated, and I must have a great meal prepared along with matching china before I can invite friends over for dinner.

2. I must have 2 cars.  They must be in working order, and have lots of bells and whistles:: push a button your window goes down, plug in your ipod, turn on the a/c, etc, etc, etc.  And if I have one child, I should probably own a mini-van or some other large vehicle. 

3. I just got birthday should I spend it on myself?  Maybe I should use the money along with money I make off of selling my ipod and Kindle to buy myself an ipad.

4. I have one pair of shorts that fit, and one pair of jeans.  I should go buy new ones.

5. There are really cute Merrell's in my size for "super cheap."  I could get some more shoes.

6. I don't want to get messy and try to serve Jesus here.  I'd rather pack for a week somewhere and love on orphans than love on the children and families of Decatur county.  Why?  Because the orphans didn't do anything to deserve their plight.  The people here should know how to live "better." 

7. I really want to do well with selling Pampered Chef...then maybe my name would be on the "top sellers" list that all consultants see...and that'd be AWESOME.

8. Maybe instead of cooking tonight, I'll just have my family go out to eat.  $35 isn't that much.

9. This coffee is the least expensive.  And it has a fun flavor.  Got to have it. 

10. Church.  I think I can do this thing.  I can create an event where people want to come and fall in love with Jesus there.  It'll be great.  We'll have a great speaker, nice decorations, yummy food...and great coffee!

So, here I sit, in my sin.  Thinking these things.  Judging others.  Putting myself on a pedestal and thinking that my glory and my power is greater than God's.  Humbled...that's what I am.  I'm not greater than He...and in His grace He's teaching me to invest and live in His Kingdom with His glory and purposes in mind. Here's what His upside-down Kingdom tells me in opposition to my own human-ness:  (I'm not trying to claim that this is Absolute Truth...simply that in my walk to be like Christ...this is what He's teaching me)

1. Invite people into your home.  Share a meal.  Break bread. Talk about Me.  And, don't invite people over who can pay you back.  Invite the poor, the broken, the needy, the foreigner, the orphan.

2. Materials will pass away...and only He will remain.  Stop trusting in a hunk of metal to take care of you and get you where you need to go.  Half the places you go, you don't need to go anyway.

3. That money was given to you as a blessing.  Use it to bless.  Don't hoard it on yourself.  It's not really yours anyway.  Further MY Kingdom, not your own.

4. Stop eating the stuff you don't need, and take care of the body I gave you.  Then your clothes would fit and you wouldn't feel the need to waste money on clothes you don't actually need.

5. Really, do you need 21 pairs of shoes?  Your brothers and sisters around the world...they've never even owned a pair of shoes...and they are in pain because of having to walk so far to fetch water without shoes on their feet.

6. You are the worst of them all.  You think you are perfect and holy, when you have so far to go.  (and I am).  I'm not better than any...and I shouldn't judge those that have less than I.  Whether they are in Decatur County, or Russia, or Kenya, they are children of God.  End of story.

7.  Even if people that get that email think you are great...I will know the truth.  You did it for your glory...and not for Mine.

8. $35.  Actually allows a Kenyan orphan to go to school, have food, and supplies for a MONTH.

9. This coffee might be cheap...but it is costing a great deal to the farmers who are enslaved by the company that makes it.  Is your flavored coffee really worth continuing to support companies who literally are enslaving thousands daily?

10. You can do nothing without My power.  So, go ahead, throw yourself into this event...or pray.  Ask me to show you who to invite in, who to love on, and watch as many come to know me.

American Dream?  Gospel centered dream?

My dream is to live differently for Jesus.  To love Him with abandon and to stop caring what this world says.  This world, it's not my home.  His Kingdom is all that matters, and I want my life to mimic His hopes, dreams, and goals...and for all the glory to go to Him.

What is your dream??

Friday, June 22, 2012

Help another orphan...

Incredible organization::  Project Hopeful.  Check them out::

They need you.  Go to and vote for them, once a day for the next 8 days.  They're in the running for a gift from the company for 50,000.  AMAZING.  Please take 3 minutes and vote.


Friday, June 8, 2012


I'm going to use my handy dandy ipod for a review of the last almost month (sad, but true)::

Friday, May 18::  Sveta and I got our haircut, and our family had a yard sale.
Saturday, May 19::  Yard sale, and I'm pretty sure we went to DQ.  My girl LOVES her chocolate ice cream.
Sunday, May 20:: Church
Monday, May 21:: Sveta got to play at Nana and Pops and I went off to a meeting at church.  Where we discussed distributing meals to a local apartment complex for the summer (kids 18 and under).  AMAZING.  Then we too Griffen to the vet.  Sveta asked if she could ride a horse there.  No understanding of what the vet was until we got there.  She didn't like him, she wanted to find the other animals.
Tuesday, May 22:: Calendar is blank...I have NO idea.
Wednesday, May 23::  I went to Newport with two of my best friends for Katie's birthday.  We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, and plan to be together more (but thus far, we've not succeeded (how do you spell that word?).  My favorite was getting home and Sveta had had a rough time going to bed with me out.  But I walked in her room and kissed her.  She said something like...I look and you not anywhere.  I promised I'd always come home and she said she loved me and was so happy I was home.  MELT-MY-HEART.
Thursday, May 24::  Aunt Jill's birthday.
Friday, May 25::  ? And sadly, I think we did something really fun.  I just have NO idea what it was.
Saturday, May 26:: Sveta and I went to my mom's for a Pampered Chef and others extravaganza.  Sveta got to swim with her "Goppa" in the pool...for a really long time!  She LOVED it.  And apparently kept asking for more toys....even though they were all in the pool.
Sunday, May 27:: Barry declared this day one of his absolute favorites!!  We went to church, then it was time for a little resting for Sveta before we went to our friends' James and Jada's wedding.  Barry was an usher in the wedding (although he was trying to convince people that he WAS Usher).  So Sveta and I sat and watched the ceremony.  She did GREAT.  Then it was back home to wait for Papa.  We took a few pictures, and then we were off to the dinner.  YUM.  Got to sit with friends Brad and Vannah and their little one, and a new friend.  Then we went outside for the reception.  It was HOT.  And that's an UNDERSTATEMENT.  Like 93 degrees and humid.  Well, we got to visit with the other Sefton's and Sveta found the dance floor.  It was like she came to life.  She loved it.  She was out there with all the other kids, and even got Barry and Pastor Jon to dance with her.  FUN Fun Fun.  Then she hit a wall, started screaming, and we made our exit!  But, it was such a blessing to be part of an event that was centered around Jesus.  There is NO doubt that James and Jada love our God, and that they will seek to love Him and then each other more and more each day.  (Thanks for blessing us, by allowing to witness such an incredible covenant!)
Monday, May 28::  Barry was off work.  We hung out and did stuff.  I remember it being great.  I don't however know what it was we did.  (I posted this, and was reminded of what I did...thanks sis).  So, we went to my dad's house.  He hadn't met Sveta she got to meet him, his wife (Chrissie) and the dogs.  She liked riding the four wheeler, and playing with her cousin, Grace in the pool.  It was great to catch up.  My little neice isn't so little anymore...she's getting so big...and more cute by the day!  :)
Tuesday, May 29::  Sadly, the long weekend came to an end.  We rested.
Wednesday, May 30::  We drove to Indianapolis for out first of 4 post-placement reports.  We met with the social worker, and she'll write everything up.  1 down, 3 to go. YAY!
Thursday, May 31::  Sveta and I spent the day with my grandparents, uncle Tim, cousin Jen and her girls Stella and Olive.  Then we had dinner with more of the women in the family.  Barry went to my parents house to have a pre-Father's Day dinner with an incredible guest of honor.  Ask him about the Doolittle raid sometime. 
Friday, June 1:: ZOO day.  Lots of animals, snacks, fun, and a little zebra face paint and our day was complete.  We enjoyed KFC for dinner with family that couldn't make it...and we loved it all.  Sveta especially loved the Zebra.  It was so so fun to watch her see the animals and take it all in. 
Saturday, June 2::  Oil change and car wash at the church.  94 (I think) vehicles in Decatur county with oil changes that day...cost to the owners of the cars??? Nothing.  Great to go and visit the men and women serving. Then it was off to Michael's (my brother's) graduation party at my parents' house.  It was TOO cold to swim, so we hung out inside and visited.  Lots of fun was had...and I'm SUPER proud of my not so little brother!!
Sunday, June 3::  I left the church with Sveta screaming in my arms.  I mean SCREAMING.  Yeah, you think we overdid it and she was beat?  I think so.  I can't blame her for screaming.  We napped, and were back at church for the evening service.  Sveta was much better after her nap, but still had recovering to do!
Monday, June 4:: Recovery.
Tuesday, June 5::  Sveta went to Nana and Pop's to play.  I went, with Barry & some others, to serve lunch at the aparments behind the church.  20 meals served.  34 volunteers to serve and love on kids.  SO glad to be part of serving in Jesus' name!  I think this was the day we watched Bekah play softball!!
Wednesday, June 6::  I'm pretty sure this was the day my Chaco flip flops bit the dust.  I may have shed a tear (ok...not really, but I thought about it).  We drove to find new flip flops.  No luck.  We also made a bucket list of fun things to do this summer, and we made Monkey Muffins.
Thursday, June 7::  Play time at the Elementary School playground with Sveta's friends and their mom's (my friends) really works out great!!  Sveta played in a large bucket full of water, and when Barry got home he took off his shoes and got in with her.  Jeans, and socks, and all.  Then somehow before I knew it we were ALL soaked from head to toe.  So we came in, changed clothes, went to Maddux auction and came back for Burgers, potatoes and pineapple.  Yum.
TODAY::  Finally...never waiting that long again.  (Although somewhere in there we went to DQ with the Porter family and had a great time). 

We had family pictures taken today (Thanks Angela Jackson for the donation to our fundraiser last April...and thanks Mom and Mick for bidding on it to give to us as a gift!!)  Then we had lunch and DQ.  Then we were off to Picker's Paradise where I found a little ladder I'm going to use to frame pictures on the wall.  10 bucks.  Pretty excited.  Then Barry surprised us and took us to see Madagascar 3.  We love these movies (thanks Noah and Berea for buying the first one in Russian and letting us borrow it so Sveta had a Russian movie she could understand).  We ran into Katie and her two kids and sat with them.  Popcorn was had.  Then Sveta and Barry went to deliver wood for a guys night camping/fishing/shooting guns event.  And I went with Katie and the kids to the farmer's market.  I bought green beans and a lime basil plant (that I hope NOT to kill).  It's got a lime scent to it and I plan on using it in fresh salsa.  That is if I can keep it alive long enough!  Then we came home, Sveta and Barry played in buckets of water again, and we had Chili's for supper.  One episode of Frog and Toad, 4 books, and a little rocking and Sveta's been out for a while.  Barry left to go be with the guys...and I'm writing to you.

I want to write about what I'm learning from the Lord.
And about how God is so BIG and small at the same time.
How my new friend Jessica leaves in just a few days to see her daughter for the first time, at an orphanage I've been to many times.  Her daughter is being loved on this week by a Boaz team...

But, I will leave with this:  Check it out.  Get involved.  Support.  They will always be near to my heart!  Their founders are amazing.  They've walked with me through so so many things...and if it weren't for them:  I wouldn't know Jesus like I do.  I wouldn't have a view of being the family of God like I do.  I would have my husband, or my daughter.  Thank you Jim and April, and Noah and Berea.  For loving me like your own, for fighting for me when I didn't want to fight anymore, and for introducing me to the two most incredible people in my life.  I love you, and am praying for you this week as you love on the orphans you taught me to love! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Consulate. Post Placement. Etc.

So, I thought I'd be done chasing paperwork and dealing with adoption stuff for a while since we're home.  I was wrong.

Things that have been on the to do list for approximately 3 months:

1. Sveta's US Passport
2. Sveta's Social Security Number
3. Figure out this whole pension fund thing.  Wish involves waiting on hold for FOREVER before getting hung up on.  Way to go Consulate.  Strange.
4. Call to schedule Post placement appointment.  Which, apparently is due to our placing agency in 2 weeks.  Someone please help me with the math.  Our 6 month post placement?  It's been just over 3...right??

So, some great things I've accomplished since being home:

1. Sveta's had 3 meals a day.
2. She's always had clean-ish clothes to wear.
3. She's always had a Mama and Papa tuck her in at night (or on 3 occasions in 3 months...just one of us).
4. She's had play dates with friends, stayed in a hotel in Louisville with Aunt Jill, visited grandparents, attended an NHS induction (at sat quietly), gone fishing, watched a movie in a movie theatre, visited farm animals, gone swimming, attended a minor league baseball game, visited an aquarium, attended her first Walk for Orphans (The Boaz Project), etc.

I think we're doing pretty good around here.  Even if we don't have it all figured out just yet.

This weekend she'll help us with a yard sale.  Next weekend she'll get to enjoy swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's pool (hopefully), and attend her first wedding.  The following week will be zoo time and meeting some cousins that look like they could be her sisters.  Then a summer full of play dates with other children adopted from Russia, a mini-vacation (potentially), and a week of CAMP with the youth.  She doesn't know that part yet, but I guarantee she'll be thrilled.

Random thoughts and info:
1. I was always frustrated when my favorite blog family got their child and then stopped updating.  I'm sorry.  I'm now that family.
2. Sveta didn't want to sleep in her room for rest time earlier this week...when I asked why she said, "because Jesus says no."
3. At night she says, "Mama, I scared uh...."  And pauses for a long period of time before she says "shadows."  But she plays with her shadows during the day.
4. She's been asking us to feed her more recently.  Not sure what that's about.
5. We're starting a job chart.  Her chores: make bed (well, kinda), brush teeth (2x a day), help set table, and clean up toys.
6.  She loves to play soccer, help in the kitchen, dance, sing, be silly...and yesterday as we were watching Barry mow the grass (and painting our fingernails) she said, "I like my daddy."  Amazing.

She's growing and learning and is beautiful.  We can't imagine life without her...and we look back on the frustrations of paperwork as times that seem so long ago.  She's ours.  We're hers.  And we couldn't be more thankful to our Creator who knit us all together.  Nor could we be more thankful to those that supported our journey, and continue to do so. 

All of our adoption costs thus far are taken care of...the only thing left to pay is $1,000 total for our post-placement reports.  $250 on May 30.  $250 at 12 months, 24 months, and 36 months.  Then, maybe we'll be done.  Or maybe we will be filing more paperwork.  Who knows.

Only God.  He's good.  And we'll continue to follow Him.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Romans 12:1-2

Sveta's growing like crazy...I'll just list crazy things she's said or done recently to show you how much she's learning!!

1. I got off the phone after apologizing to the lady on the other end for forgetting to do something.  Sveta said, "Who's that?"  I answered. "What she says?" I again answered. "Mama forgot?" Yes, yes, I forgot.  "It's ok, mama, I'll help you."

2. Today, she took her own shoes off in the house, after I asked her to leave them on.  Now, she didn't really understand that we were leaving really soon again...but she WANTED to be barefoot.  This from the girl who says the grass hurts her feet to walk on it.

3. We went to a National Day of Prayer service today on the square downtown, and all of these pastors were praying for different things allowed (including her Papa).  We got almost to the end and she whispered to me, "Sveta's turn. I pray now." 

4. She reads her little "a" book to us each night...and LOVES to point out letters.  She still is convinced that "STAPLES" says "SVETA", but whatever. :)

5. She's adjusting really well to having people over, going different places, and not needing a nap everyday.  She's a joy and it's so so exciting to see her grow and learn.  I'd post more pictures, but the computer I have doesn't really work well, and Barry's won't use our internet card anymore.  We're working on it.

On a different note:  Romans 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will."

I have been thinking about how I conform to the pattern of the world.  I want the American dream some days...and I'm not convinced that's what I need to be living for.  Why do I strive to make more money, to have a bigger house, with prettier things, to have 2.5 kids and a dog, to drive the nicest cars (ok, this one isn't big for me...I drive a honda that currently has a muffler that's hanging on my a thread), to go on big vacations, to be comfortable?

I am so consumed with myself, my wants, my desires, my's truly revolting.  So I care about the orphans in I really care about my Jesus and what HE is about?  Do I care that many of the products I buy come to me because lives are being exploited and people are working in inhumane factories to create what I desire. 

Is my need for a latte really more important than a person's life and dignity? 
It's not.  Even when sometimes I behave as if my latte is more important, it isn't...and I PRAY that I begin to live out that conviction.  Found some websites today I'm going to check out about major corporations that operate sweatshops in other countries.  And, I know, I'm back to other countries...I'm just of the belief that a human life is a life created by matter what country that human life is in.  So, yes, I will fight for God's children in Russia, India, Cambodia, China, and...right here in my backyard.  No one should go one should be treated inhumanely. Jesus knows all about being treated inhumanely...he was put to death on a cross, and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  I need to stop worrying so much about my own dignity, and start thinking about the dignity of others.

Oh, Lord, how far I am from where I'd like to be.  Teach me, show me, grow me, use me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Top 10 Reasons I'm not an accountant

1. I HATE reconciling spending, or whatever you call it.
2. I don't like numbers, nor do they like me.
3. Money stresses me out.  Always.  Even if I have some...or none.  STRESSFUL.
4. I loose receipts and don't really like them at all.
5. My eyes hurt from looking at the computer for so long.
6. If you just miss one little number on your calculator, it screws it all up and you have to start over.
7. If I add 20 numbers up 3 different times, I will without a doubt get 3 different answers (even if I use a calculator, write them down, and check them off as I go.
8. It's even harder when you spent some money as dollars and some as rubles and you are trying to figure out the conversion rate and when you spent dollars and etc.
9. Rubles are even bigger numbers, which makes my margin of error even bigger!
10. It's not easy when your computer  doesn't actually let you use says you only have a trial version, and therefore you can only look at your wonderful husband's expense spreadsheet from when you were in however cannot change or add to it.

Anyone want to be me for the rest of the day?  Or buy me a new computer? 

:)  I'm actually going to stop now, I've done all I can without the help of excel, and Barry's brain.  His system really was a great one, except once we got just became a pile of receipts and a blur - so I'm not sure how to figure all of that out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Week in Review

Since I last posted, here's a day by day play by play (sort of):

W:: Sveta and I joined Barry at church (with ton of other people) for dinner.  Sveta's Baba (April) came to speak to the we stayed for the first time.  Sveta went to her preschool class with her buddies, and I went to listen to April.  She did GREAT!  Until we left, and then she was sad because Barry wasn't coming with us.  Understandable...I was a little sad too.

Th:: We went to have the tires on the Honda rotated for free (thanks to the fundraiser last April).  While we waited, Sveta and I went to school.  We walked over to Good Shepherd to say hi to my friends that I miss dearly.  Sveta got to play with the 1st graders (my first Pre-K group) and she really thought she was going to school.  Then she ate some pretzels while the teachers talked (since it was lunch/recess time).  FUN.  Then once Barry got home we ate and went for a walk (at least I think that's when it was).  We stopped at a friends house up the street and got to chat with them (and new friends) for a bit!  Lots of fun.

F:: I met with Rachel to talk about the Bible Study Interrupted that we are working through.  We're going slow, because there is just SOO much to digest.  It's AWESOME.  Then I dropped the Saturn off to get the tires rotated (again, free). Barry and Sveta went out for a bit, so I walked to a doctor's appointment behind the hospital.  I was on time...too bad the appointment was supposed to be in Batesville.  I walked home. Barry and Sveta napped in the afternoon and I went to the eye doctor (for free...blessed).  My eyes actually are better, and I didn't need such a strong prescription.  LOVING the new contacts that are much just to order more (anyone know how I can get more: free??)  Saturn came back home with 2 new tires...because they were so bad they couldn't be rotated.  (Not free). In the evening we were blessed to have dinner and time with the elders, pastors, and their families from church.  Good time.

Sa:: I honestly don't remember what we did Saturday...and I think it is because it wasn't an event.  We just hung out.  I think. Sveta and Barry ran to the church while I was baking/cooking/doing dishes...and I got a phone call that they had a flat on the Honda.  So, Barry and Sveta changed the tire (yes, she helped...her hands were dirty too when they came home). 

Su:: Barry leaves for church early, so as Sveta and I were getting in the car at 8:40 I realized that the spare tire looked flat.  I cautiously drove down the driveway and it was clunky.  I don't know if that's really the word I should use...but I don't know what else to call it.  Thankfully, my wonderful in-laws hadn't completely left the house (although one was in the garage, ready to leave).  They swung by and picked us up.  Sveta and I stayed in Greensburg for Worship and Education (also something we hadn't tried before) and then went home for lunch.  Barry came home shortly after and we enjoyed our afternoon together.  Barry went to Batesville in the evening for youth...and Sveta and I went grocery shopping.  (PS - the Honda got a new tire because it was shot too after it went flat...also, not free)

M:: Sveta spent a few hours at Nana and Pop's "School."  She seemed to enjoy herself quite a bit, and her mama enjoyed getting a few things done, including extended Bible Study time and getting my mind around the rest of my week.  After "school" we went to Troyer' is an amish store right on Highway 3.  I LOVE this place...and wish I would have gone before.  Evaporated sugar, real sugar...real salt, candy necklaces, the best pretzels I've ever put in my mouth, and cheese that is half the price it is at walmart.  Can't wait to go again.  Sveta didn't nap at all, she just had a quiet time.  Laid down, but never fell asleep.  Oh, and we learned to Play Candy Land and went to the library. (Oh, and adoption related things I found out:: 1. There is a family who is adopting a little girl named Stacia from VCH in Vladimir.  YAY! 2. There is a family adopting two children who live in Martinsville, VA...I have family from there, and no one has heard of I was excited. 3. There is a packet you get when you come back to the states with your adopted child that you can't open or ELSE that apparently you can apply to get back.  Pretty stoked about seeing what was in it that was so confidential!!

Tu:: Yesterday morning Sveta and I read tons of books!  Then she practiced writing A and B.  She is awesome.  I also made bread.  Like, homemade from scratch bread.  Well, I made the dough.  I haven't actually baked it yet (mostly because I was successful with the dough and am afraid the bread being baked won't be so successful...and if you don't try, you won't fail...right??).  I plan on doing so this evening (hopefully).  Barry came home for lunch, and won a game of Candy Land (beginner's luck).  Sveta did nap, and we enjoyed a great evening last night.  I didn't want to cook so we went to Chili's for dinner (thanks Jill!) and then went out to a friend's barn to see the animals. Sveta LOVES animals...and isn't afraid at all. 

W:: Today was our field trip day...and we went to the Begg's for a play date.  SO much fun...for Sveta and for myself.  It was a much needed time for me to talk to other mom's about what God is doing in their lives, and in my own.  It was confirming to me that other people see the need for Christian's to take action and do something to help the hurting world around them.  And it made me thankful that I have friends with which to do such things.  And it made me want to make my own yogurt, buy a dairy cow, own some chickens, and dive into taking care of my physical health more than I terms of how I eat, my activities, and what products I'm using.  It challenged me to be a better mom, wife, follower of Jesus, friend, church member, and steward.  And guess was FREE too.

So glad God created us to be in fellowship...and to be the fellowship.  I don't know what that means exactly, but I'm chewing on it.  If you could DO anything to serve Jesus, what would you do?  What are you passionate about?  What makes your blood boil when you hear about it?  What makes you so excited you'd drop anything to be part of it?  What makes you tick?  Seriously...I'd LOVE to know, and help you get connected with others that might have that same passion (in Greensburg, Batesville, and to the ends of the earth).

Love you friends and family.  Thanks for taking the time to read and care.  and share.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


We started the letter A this week...

sadly, the apple orchard was not open when we stopped by today. 

Sveta knows what sound a makes, and is doing well with the new plan.  I'm going to try to think of a fun "field trip" each week for the letter of the week.  If you have any examples let me know.

Monday, April 9, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things...(some are products, some are intangible)

1. Chobani Pineapple Greek Yogurt:  Sveta can't get enough of it...and it's got TONS of protein.  Thanks to Baba for introducing her to it. Now, if she would only eat other flavors.

2. has a Walmart Price Matcher Tool.  Amazing.  You type in what you need to buy and it tells you the prices of that item at competing stores. Then you go to Walmart, buy that item, and tell them it's cheaper at wherever and they match the price.  Seriously...Don't pay $3 for milk.  Pay $1.49, that's how much it costs at Aldi.  Tell the cashier at Walmart...I guarantee it'll work.  It's their policy.

3. Reese cups.  I can't stop eating the ones I bought for Sveta for Easter.  Neither can Barry.  Peanut butter and chocolate = best thing ever created.  (Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration)

4. My Kindle (thanks mom).  I can flip from my Bible to my book, to the dictionary without having to lug all of that around.  Plus, I can highlight things without having to remember where I placed the pen I just had. 

5. Quiet Time baskets:  Just grab a basket, your "supplies" (Bible, journal, etc), and a quiet and fun activity for each of your kids (that's reusable).  Place it all in the basket.  Then, when you go to have your time with Jesus...they can have quiet time too (if they are old enough, store the quiet time stuff the church gives you, or their Bible, etc here).  Sveta has a little pad of paper, stickers, and some flash cards...all in a nifty little 31 organizer thing.  The only time she can play with these items is during the "quiet time."  LOVE this idea.  Has worked well for me for about 2 days...haven't been doing it long.  :)  (Thanks Kelly for telling Barry about this)

6. Giving my stuff away.  I know it sounds strange, but as I go through the house trying to get ready for our garage sale (last weekend of April...come buy it all!!) I have little conversations with myself.  They typically go something like this, "I don't need all of this.  Oh, but I love that little _______.  So and so gave it to me."  Or, "It's ok that I have 87 blankets...they were all homemade, or given to us at our wedding...or what if the heat goes out and we need them. Wait. There are people who live without heat, and without blankets.  Why do I need this many?"  (It's not really 87, but it might as well be). 

The best part about my internal dialogue:  It makes me truly look at my heart.  Am I trusting and loving things more than I care about the poor, the needy, the broken, the abused and abandoned?  Wow.  Most of the time, yes.  I want to keep my homemade hats, and my nice things...more than I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Ouch.  It hurts, but at the same time, realizing my own selfishness makes me fight against it and place something else in the ever increasing pile of stuff to sell.  And, it makes me realize that I must fight my natural tendencies.  It keeps them in my face, instead of buried deep down. 

And it confirms my desire to not be like Sodom::  "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom:  She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."  Ezekiel 16:49.

Oh, how I am Sodom so many days.  Going through my stuff reminds me that I no longer wish to live like that.

Lord, forgive me for being arrogant (judging others), overfed (both with food and stuff), and unconcerned (living in my own little bubble...not knowing anyone labeled poor or needy). 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lions, Wolves, and Snakes

So, I was ready to blog yesterday, but something happened to a tower or something nearby...NO one had cell service, which also means when you use a Verizon card for your internet, that it's down too.  So, that's my excuse for not blogging yesterday.

Miscellaneous thoughts::
1. Sveta has developed a new "feeling."  It's fear.  She is afraid of shadows mostly, but today she decided she was absolutely terrified of a lion.  We had just gotten home and I was carrying her in the house when I noticed she was being really clinging.  I asked if she was ok, and she said "lion scared me."  Except "scared" sounds like "sceered."  It's adorable.  I asked her where the lion was, and she just kept repeating "lion scared me."  So, after attempting to distract her to no avail, I asked again where she saw a lion.  "Outside" was the reply.  She told me to go catch it.  I told her I'd call Papa. So, I pretended to call Barry on the phone and asked him to catch the lion and take it to the zoo.  After a few minutes, I pretended to call back to make sure the task was accomplished.  I assured Sveta that Papa had taken the lion to the zoo, and she immediately stopped crying.  Barry came home for lunch and he talked with Sveta about his experience (he'd be warned via text).  Then after lunch, Sveta told me we needed to call Papa at work and have him catch the snake and the wolf that were outside too.  They needed to go to the zoo also, because she was "sceered."  So, I pretended again, and she was happy.
2. I'm heartbroken.  Go here to see why: Then pray.
3. Check out the video of Sveta on Facebook that Berea Jurgensen put up.  It's Sveta talking on the phone to Noah (who was in the front seat), but Sveta thought she was talking to her Poppy. Awesome.
4. Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  I love the meaning most of all...a time to remember the biggest gift I've ever received.  I love that there's family gatherings, and coloring Easter Eggs (not sure why I love this so much, but I do), and finding Easter goodies.  Barry and I have decided that even though the Easter Bunny won't come to our house necessarily...Sveta should still have fun traditions to enjoy for Easter.  So, we're going to help her make "nests" around the house and when she wakes there will be Easter goodies in them.  This is something that Barry grew up doing.  We always had to find our Easter basket...and mine was almost always in the oven.  Apparently my Easter Bunny couldn't remember where he'd hidden it last year...and seemed to think the oven was a great idea year after year.  :)  We may do this on Friday night instead of Saturday...because Sunday morning Barry wouldn't be here when Sveta woke up.
5. I have a friend who is blogging about her "favorite things" and I LOVE the idea.  I think I'll be doing that soon.  Stay tuned.  As a sneak peek:  I love my coffee maker.  I can preset it so that it makes my coffee and it's ready without me having to do a thing.  It's my life saver...because even though my 4-year-old sleeps through the night, and takes naps...I'm ridiculously tired most of the time.  Thankfully, coffee, and a healthy amount of creamer keep me going in the mornings.
6. I am so so grateful to be living life with Barry. I trust him completely, tell him everything, and enjoy spending time with him so so much.  Today when I texted about the lion, his response was something about it having sharp teeth.  Made me smile.  He makes me laugh when I need a good laugh, knows when I need to just talk, shares what's going on with him so I get to hear his heart, let's me cry (and doesn't think I'm crazy), only makes fun of me a little for going to bed early, doesn't ever look at the dinner menu...but is thankful I make one so he gets dinner, only cares about the BIG things, and doesn't worry over details.  He's fabulous is what I'm saying.  He's so good for me, and he's so good for Sveta.  She lights up when she sees him coming.  We can hear when he gets home and she gets this excited look on her face.  She giggles with him, hugs and kisses him, wants him to give her a bath instead of me, and truly LOVES him.  It's amazing to watch.  And, he's smitten.  He loves her more than life...and there's nothing better than knowing my husband loves his girls. (Except knowing that he loves his God even more...and his God loves his girls even more than he does).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sadly, I don't even know where to begin.  I don't know what to write about...or how to be transparent today.  I feel like I'm in a cloud...and one that's full of rain and ready to just let it all fall.  Ever feel like that?

Griffen (Sveta) is beside me watching a VeggieTales before she naps. This morning she's crawled everywhere, and corrected me everytime I've called her Sveta.  She isn't Sveta.  Sveta is outside chained up in her dog house...and with me inside is Griffen.  Griffen constantly informs me of what I'm supposed to say or do (in reference to himself):  sit, lay down, wash, treat, food, water, out of the kitchen, etc. 
Mama does NOT like this game.  I've tried to explain that Griffen actually gets ignored alot, he sleeps most of the day, and he doesn't get to tell Mama what to do.  Sveta however LOVES this game and attempts to play it at every free moment. 

Don't get me wrong, I like that she's pretending.  I just want her to pretend to be a butterfly, or princess, or anything but Griffen.  I'm sick of two whiny dogs.

But, I will keep kind of playing, because she needs be to be engaged with her.  She never was able to choose what to play with, or what to play.  Never had the opportunity to be creative.

7 weeks.  7 weeks, and I've forgotten already.  I've forgotten where she's been...what she's been through...and I've begun to expect her to be adjusted and fabulous all the time.  Sometimes I have to stop and marvel at all we've come through.  Marvel at what God has done.  Marvel at what He's doing.  And marvel at the fact that He's not done yet...He'll keep working.

Do you ever feel like you just have too many things that are pulling you in too many directions?  How do you decide which of the good things are the things that you do?  Really, answer that!  Someone. I can't figure it out.  There are so many good things that I am/could be a part of, and yet some of the things that I really desire to be part of or to start never have the time to get done.  Why is that?

That's all you get on this Wednesday.  This Wednesday just happens to have my brain full of all sorts of thoughts that I can't put on paper yet.  Trust me, I've tried.  It's not working.

Monday, March 26, 2012


That's my goal. To be unashamed. Is that even a word? It is now. I want to be the opposite of ashamed...which I guess is unashamed.

My heart is deceitful above all else. (So is yours, my friend). The Bible states that pretty clearly.

And...we are asked to proclaim that "Jesus is LORD." Well, my deceitful heart thought that I was proclaiming that HE is LORD. Yesterday (thank you, Barry) I was convicted through my husband's sermon (hearing it twice) that I say with my lips that He is Lord, but I don't show it with my actions.

Guess what that makes me? A hypocrite.

Oh, how I hate hypocrites. I didn't think I was one anymore...I was at least working on it and getting better, because::

I was dealing with my hypocracy and was getting rid of the excess in my life...
I followed Jesus and did what I shout about: adopted...
I honestly blog about my flaws and how God is teaching me...

I can't be a hypocrite.

Oh, but I am.

I live in some areas of my life making my own decisions...completely. And yet I pray to be a light. Then when presented with the opportunity I actually revel in my darkness and justify it.

Horrific. Shameful. SINful.

So, here goes friends: I'm sinful. And I'm the lord of the room in my life called "family." I want to protect my heart. I want to avoid situations that make me feel akward and unknown. I want to live in my darkness and pretend that the "Decker" side of my genes came from space and their aren't really people attached to it. Stupid, I know.

But, yesterday, I told Jesus He could be the Lord in this area, too (even though I don't really like this idea). He's asked me to be obedient. And here I go. I should have done this a LONG time ago. Because, my father's side of the family knows that I believe in Jesus. But they've only watched me live my life as the lord of it.

Family, forgive me. Forgive me for being a hypocrite. For not living what I believe, and for ignoring you and treating you unkindly. Forgive me for putting myself first and not allowing my God to heal, change, and restore me...or my relationships with you.

I'm unashamed. Unashamed to live my life off the throne. Jesus is on it. And there's not room for me there.

P.S. - Sveta's prayer tonight: "Thank you God. Thank you Mama. Thank you Papa. Thank you Griffen.Thank you church. Thank you bolshoi Walmart.  etc... I love you, Amen"

Oh...and, Barry quizzed her on her capital letters in the bathtub. She's up to 23.  Yeah, that's right. She's a genius.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The American Dream...and Pampered Chef stuff

Life around here is better simply because of all the sunshine.  I know it puts me in a GREAT mood...or at least a better one than I'd be in without it.  It's been neat to watch Sveta wear shorts for the first time, and refuse to wear shoes/sandals without socks.  Seriously have to work on that.  :) 

We've been busy going to the different parks to "swing slide" around town, and I've been on a clean it out and purge all the stuff we don't need!  Barry and I are planning on having a yard sale the weekend after Easter to get rid of some of our excess.  As I was praying and journaling Friday morning, I kept trying to figure out what to do and how to make a difference.  All of my ideas were long term and nothing I could really start on at the moment.  Then it hit me - God was asking me to move now, and He'd provided a way to do so.  Use the stuff we have to make a difference in someone else's life.  We had planned on doing a yard sale and giving the proceeds away at some point...but I started Friday morning with the purging. 

204 items of clothing (not including under clothing) in my possession as of Friday morning.
108 items of clothing currently in the give/sell pile. 
96 items left.  That's still a LOT.  And, I wish I would have taken pictures...but I didn't.

Then it was on to the books, Sveta's clothes, and my kitchen stuff.  I'm still not done with the kitchen, but I'm paring down for sure.  I don't really NEED all of this.  At ALL.

My desire for Sveta is not the "American Dream." It's actually far from it.  It isn't specific, but it includes serving Jesus wholeheartedly and without reserve...RADICALLY.  But, guess what, if I'm not serving Him radically...she won't learn to.  So, I'm away half of my clothes and shoes and SCARVES (the hardest to part with) is a start.  So that hopefully Sveta will learn that it is important to give as much (if not more) away as we keep. 

And is she learning.  Today, Barry is traveling to town close by to help with tornado clean up.  He explained to Sveta before he left that he was going to help people that wanted and needed it.  She kept saying, "Sveta help people."  So, after nap...we are going to go down and let her see what it looks like for her Papa to help people.  People he hasn't met until today...but people who God made, and who have need.  He's attempting to meet a tangible need.  And He's doing it because God says to.

I'm praying for my eyes to be opened to needs around me.  And for my faith to be active in meeting those needs. 

Love you all.
P.S. - If you have ideas of an organization, or group, or how we could use the funds from our garage sale...I'd love to hear about NEEDS.  We haven't decided what to do with it yet, and plan on deciding soon.
P.S.S. - Sveta can recognize 14 capital letters.  Pretty sure she's a genius...and yet, no one in her home country gave her the time of day.  Something wrong with this picture? 

I wonder how many geniuses we have in our country that we don't give the time of day?  Maybe the guy on the corner holding a cardboard sign?  Maybe the lady covered in tattoos walking through the groceries store that we shy away from?  Maybe the child who picks on others, and has switched foster homes 15 times because he can't seem to be nice? 

Who have you overlooked today?  They have needs.  Will you meet one?

Oh, yeah...and here's what I'm getting rid of from Pampered Chef.  Let me know if you want to buy it before it goes at the yard sale::

USED:: 50% off or so...
Mandolin $30
29 Minutes to Dinner Volume 2 $7
Manual Food Processor $25
Petite Bamboo Spoons (2) $2.25
Nylon masher $3
Bamboo spoon $2
Medium Square Bamboo Bowl $10
Petite bamboo bowls (3) $10
Bamboo Cracker Tray $8
Crinkle cutter $5
Ridged Baker (stoneware) $15
Small Micro-Cooker $4

NEW:: 25% off or so...
Bar Tongs $4
Pie Crust Shield $5.50
Easy Accent Decorator $17
Easy Read Measuring Cups $17
Small Batter Bowl $8
Muffin Pan (stoneware) $27
Trifle Bowl $29.50

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I'm going to try to post a blog at least every Wednesday during nap time.

Yesterday = 1st fail.

Well, it's Thursday, and I'll write today.

Sveta is doing extremely well!!! Last week was crazy: strep throat, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, Papa was away at a retreat on Friday night, 3 hour doctors appointment at Riley, having her blodd drawn, etc. Sveta struggled a few times at nap night and other times last week because of not feeling well and just missing Papa. We made it through though. She's learning English so so so so so quickly and she's doing great. Things she's said:
1. brownies or candy. which one? (while holding up 2 fingers like I normally do...this was when I asked her what she wanted for lunch)
2. no thank you, maybe zaftra (tomorrow)
3. Let's go.
4. Go get 'um.
5. Animals and their sounds:LOTS...not going to try to name them.
6. She prayed over lunch this week all by herself. Priceless.
7. When you ask her why mama and papa love her she responds, "God."
8. booteeful = beautiful
9. She recognizes the following letters: a, e, F, H, I, O, o, S, s, T, t, v, V, W, w. And she spells her name when asked...or sometimes just randomly.
10. She says, "I love you" or "I lu ew" to almost everyone. Including pharmacists at Walgreens (thankfully we know them).

She's responding great to both Barry and I...and will spontaneously hug or call out for both of us. It's amazing. She's ours and we are hers. We love her dearly.

Let me go back to something I mentioned earlier:Riley Hospital. Sveta is under the care of an International Adoption Doctor and we are having several tests done to see what vaccines and such she will need.

On to what I really wanted to mention today: Church. We have been attending our church's Batesville campus for the past several weeks and are grateful to have had the time together there. We will most likely be attending in Greensburg in the coming weeks depending on how Sveta is doing. If you see us in church (or even at Walmart) PLEASE use the following as a guideline:

1. WAVE. Sveta is still learning the difference between friend and fo, and a simple wave is a kind gesture.
2. Don't approach us if we look overwhelmed, are talking to 82 other people, or if Sveta seems to be curled up trying to avoid looking at people. It's not that we don't want to see's that Sveta gets overwhelmed easily, and honestly, so does her mama right now. She was used to 3-4 rooms and a handful of caregivers...she was not used to large buildings, riding in cars, meeting new people, screens with words and pictures moving, or lots of people in one place. Please respect all of the changes she gone through.
3. PLEASE DO NOT touch her. Again, we are trying to teach her that she doesn't have to dole out affection to adults to keep them around. She is loved by us no matter what...and she doesn't have to hug and kiss and try to impress people at all. When she is ready, she will come to you. Maybe.
4. If she doesn't say hi to you, or even look at you...don't be hurt. Sometimes she doesn't look at me, or want to talk to me.
5. If I'm hiding in the corner of the church, or a dark's for a good reason:Sveta needs a break from people. And, yes, that means you. Whoever you are. Unless you are Barry Morton.

I know I've said these things before, but this is just a reminder. I don't want to sound harsh at all...but I'm learning a great deal about living for the Lord instead of to please people. I want you all to know and see Sveta, and I want her to have the joy of knowing you all like I do...but mostly - I want Sveta to understand that Barry and I aren't going anywhere...and that we can love her because of our God. I want her to know HIM.

THANKS to all of you who've provided meals for our family. It has blessed us TREMENDOUSLY!!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quick update::

I'm still being rocked by Jet Hatmaker's book.  And of course, the One who gave her those words and thoughts to write.

We have two sickies in the house:  Sveta and I both have strep...well, Sveta does for sure...and I'm pretty sure that's what I'm battling.

Sveta highlights:

At church on Sunday during Worship, she was singing along...some words were unable to be figured out...but she was repeating "Jesus" and "power" (we sang "There is Power in the Blood"). Adorable.

She also said her own little prayer the other day...repeating what I said at lunch or dinner or some meal.

She's getting even better at her ABCs and says TONS of English words.  Yesterday at dinner she started singing "clean up" which I've only used I think once with her.

This week is REALLY busy for us...tonight I was supposed to go to a Pregnancy Care Center Banquet, but am not going to make it because of the sickness.  Sad. Tomorrow is church, and this weekend is the Jr. High 30 Hour Famine.

I'll write more when I have some energy.
Love you all.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Path Home Continues...

So, the blog is about to change gears...I'm warning you.  This blog is no longer about Sveta's path home.  It's now about the Mortons path home (our eternal home): heaven.  Before you get all worried that we're going to die soon or something...let's be honest.  We are all on a path: life leads eventually to death.  And, we, as a family, live life for our God and not ourselves.

Insert cute Sveta story:: when we pray before meals, Sveta likes to pray twice.  Barry says "amen," so does Sveta, and then at some point she says, "adeen mozhna" which means "one more" and holds her little hands out to pray.

On this path of life, God has really been messing me up lately.  It started by finding and reading Jen Hatmaker's book 7 and now has continued as I've been reading My Utmost for His Highest as a devotional and Interrupted (also by Jen).  My thoughts aren't fully formed, but God's Spirit is stirring in me to live different.  To live changed.  To live as His completely sold out follower.

Here's my confession.  I've loved Jesus for a long time, but I like my comfort.  I like being an American Christian who isn't under threat of persecution or martyrdom.  I like having it "easy."  But, I can tell that God is calling me to something greater.  Something BIG.  He's asking me if I really love Him.

I feel like Peter who was asked 3 times if he loved Jesus.  Each time he answered "yes" and Jesus told him to "feed His lambs."  I'm trying to learn what it means to "feed His lambs."

I'm pretty sure it means to continue to fight for and share about adoption.  Sveta needs His food.  But, I'm also pretty positive it means feed the lambs that I don't want to feed too...the ones I'm not comfortable with...the ones that desperately need to know who Jesus is, and how much He loves them.

Maybe this doesn't make sense to any of you...maybe it does.  But, all I know is, this path isn't over.  A Path Home continues, but it's focus isn't adoption.  It's Jesus.  It always should have been Jesus.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fish Bowls, Field Trips, and Full bags of trash

I must start by explaining something:  I live in what I call a "fish bowl."  I do my best to be real, honest, and sincere...but sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut.  Sometimes I want to put blinds up in my fish bowl or hide under a rock (thanks for the metaphors, friend).  Sometimes living in my fish bowl is just difficult.  Now, hear me, I would NOT change it for the world.  I love my life, and more importantly I love MY GOD who gave me the bowl where I live.

All of that to say, I'm sorry if I was offensive in my last post about being overwhelmed.  I simply was trying to live open and honest.  Thanks for understanding.

Now, on to the real stories:

Last weekend was Love Shack (a Senior High retreat at church where we talk about love, sex, dating, and marriage - not in that order).  Thanks to my incredible in-laws (Nana and Pop) I was able to go for a while Friday evening to be with everyone...then I was able to lead the girls in a little discussion on Saturday morning.  I love these girls.  It was great to be with them. 

After enjoying them, Sveta and I drove to Greenwood.  We were able to hang out with Berea, Noah, and Jess...and our Russian friends.  Sveta and Andrusha played great together.  It was interesting to see her use some English and Russian with a little boy that is a Russian speaker.  He would give her something and she would say, "thank you."  CUTE.  We got to see Poppy (Jim) for a few minutes...long enough to ask him for candy...and then we stopped to see Baba (April) and Granny (Jo).  I think we brightened their difficult I'm thankful for that.  Plus, I enjoyed seeing them!

Sunday was a day full of church.  Sveta and I went to Batesville, where she enjoyed the preschool class and singing songs.  Then it was time to just be at home for a bit before church in the evening.  Barry let me listen to the sermon, and he took Sveta to play with the other kids (for a bit).  Dinner was fabulous with the Porter family...Sveta really likes Pastor Jon.  She has him wrapped around her little finger too...he's kind of a sucker for little girls (he's got 3 you know). And, I have decided that Kate should come over this summer to just play with Sveta and let me get things done.  She's GREAT with her!

Yesterday was fabulous:  Sveta and I took Griffen for a walk in the morning, and when we got the mail upon our return, we received Sveta's certificate of citizenship.  I thought it would take a LOT longer.  YAY!!! Barry took the afternoon off, so we had a little bit to just be together while Sveta was asleep.  Then we all went and flew a kite and played at the playground.  We came home and Sveta and I made a casserole together.  She was a good helper.  TOO cute. 

Today is library day, and tomorrow is the day where I take Sveta to do something fun, or just out of the norm.  It's what I'm calling our "field trip day."  I need some ideas on where to go, or what to do.  Leave comments, give me ideas, help me out here!!  :)

One more thought::  If you make $35,000 in a year, you are in the top 4% of the world's WEALTHIEST people.  If you make $50,000 in a year, you are in the top 1% of the world's WEALTHIEST people.

So, when you are about to think that you don't have enough, or it isn't fair that you didn't __________.  Think about the 96%.  And, if you don't make that much, you probably make pretty close to don't think you are poor either.  Cause, guess what, if you are reading this, it pretty much means you aren't poor.  At least in regard to the rest of the world. 

I've been pondering this a LOT, and after reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker, I have been struggling with the excess I have in my life.  And, trust me, there's a TON! Yesterday, was garbage day, and we had 3 trash bags.  What?  We used to only have 1.  How do we have so much trash all of a sudden?? EXCESS. 

So, if you think of it, be praying for us as we figure out how to tackle excess, AND, pray that God would show you how to handle yours.

Love to all.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ok, so it's been almost a week.  Sorry.

Saturday Sveta turned 4.  She got to play with some new friends.

Sunday we had a little party...complete with chocolate cake and too many presents.

She's begun sleeping on the couch at nap time, without screaming.  Today she let me rock her first.  That was good, because she's been on an "I want to do it myself" kick. 

Tuesday we went to the library.  She only yelled once.  She got excited about an animal poster.

Wednesday we went to church in the evening.  CRAZINESS.  She did well...I did not.  Overwhelmed to say the least.  I will be staying home for a while. Late bath, different routine.  Not fun.

This morning I was able to watch my friend's little girl, Ally for the morning.  The girls played well, but wore me out.  Sveta didn't do well with lunch today at all.  It was later than normal, Barry wasn't able to come home, and she didn't like that I didn't have potato soup for her to eat (sorry, but you can't live on it child).

She's asleep now...and I'm about to be.  This week has been Barry's first full week back at work, and this weekend there is a retreat for the Senior Highers.  Which means: I need to nap now before I don't have the chance again. 

Night night.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Barry and Sveta are out for their Friday morning Papa and Daughter date...and I'm at home.  It's quiet, and peaceful, and no one is yelling "mama, come." 

I'm happy.  I L.O.V.E. hearing, "mama, come."  But, I also, enjoy a bit of time to myself.  I might even shower without hearing Sveta ask Barry where I am.  Cute.

Sveta is doing extremely well.  I'm going to try and just give a list of random things she says, or does that I think are adorable (sorry if you don't find them quite as endearing as I do).

1. English words: She can count to 10 (most of the time), say her abc's although it's not clear, says to Griffen: come, lay down, good boy, sit; animals: lion, sheep, dog, cat, owl, bird, fish, horse, pig; random words: girl, doll, please, thank you, you're welcome, stand, bath (loves them still), chocolate, candy, o's (cheerios), tree, blue, green, red, light, kite, knuckles, give me five, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, shoes, lemon, book, ball, baby, cup, fork, knife, spoon, water, apple, duck, leaf, bear, tongue, laugh, happy, sad, socks, clock, tv, computer, telephone, hot, basement, pizza, pasta, cheese, frog, ambulance, cow, chick, zebra, sun...she's only been with us for 2 and a half weeks.  Incredible.

2. She now sleeps with the pencil she got from Dr. Hodson's office on Wednesday, and a magnet that says "BIG SKY."  (It's from a ski resort in Montana, where Barry's sister Jill lives). 

3. She LOVES to ride in the car.

4. When Barry is at church she tells me that "Papa sad" because he's at church without us.

5. Thankfully, we borrowed some new movies from Jack and Ally McNealy (and their parents) and we didn't have to watch Strawberry Shortcake again!!  YAY!

6. Sveta asks for candy after every meal...even after she ate a donut for breakfast (Thanks Jon for the donuts). 

7. Whenever she sees kids she gets really really excited.

8. She still LOVES Griffen.  Last night while watching Aladdin she was leaning on him completely and he just laid there.

9. She's still coughing a bit, but the fever is GONE!!

10. Today is her last day as a 3-year-old.  Tomorrow, my baby girl is already 4.  Oh, and if you call her baby girl, she tells you she's not a baby.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The last few days have been interesting:

Sveta went to her pediatrician for the first time on Monday.  She did GREAT.  And, we LOVE her pediatrician.  We have an appointment with the International Adoption Clinic at Riley in a few weeks...this will help us determine which vaccines to give, etc.

Tuesday afternoon Sveta said her head hurt, and after feeling her head, I knew she had a temp.  Mama was right...tylenol here we come.  Except I bought the chewable kind to take on the plane.  She wouldn't take it.  Nor would she take it when I smashed it up and put it in juice.  She also told April on the phone (who was helping us so that Sveta would understand why she had to take the meds) that she was not sick.  She's a bit stubborn.  So, Papa, being the amazing man that he is, ran to the store for liquid tylenol.  And she slurped it right up. 

She slept through the night, but because she started coughing, and the fever was still sticking around...we took trip 2 to her pediatrician (she's in Greenwood...about an hour away).  She had a strep was negative.  Turns out it is viral, and that's why her throat hurts.  Tylenol seems to be keeping the fever down, but she's a bit more whiny today than usual (rightfully so). 

On a completely different note...Barry and I are incredibly grateful that we are home with Sveta.  We've heard some news about adoptions potentially being suspended in Russia soon.  The bill just has to pass in the Duma.  We are praying that it doesn't pass.  If adoptions are suspended, it will cause more and more families to have issues who are already in the process of adopting, and it will cause others not to even try.  What is so sad, is that so many children who could benefit, won't because of the suspension.

I know there isn't much I can do to help those who are in process and are praying that they can get their child home before adoptions are suspended...but I can:

1. Raise awareness and ask people to pray.  So, here's what we need: PRAYER.  People to get on their knees for these families, for the government officials (Russian and American) who are making these decisions, and for the precious children of Russia to be protected by our Lord and Savior as He is in control of this.
2. Financially help these families so that they can travel back and forth as needed to finish their process as quickly as possible.  Here's how I'm going to do this (since I do not have money growing on trees):

I sell Pampered Chef.  I'm going to do a fundraiser show and donate the proceeds to a specific family that has stolen my heart.  Their story is incredible. ( If you want to be part of this...please visit to write down what you'd like to purchase.  I will be closing the party on Friday, February 24th.  Just send me a message here on the blog, on facebook, or call, email, or text me to let me know what you would like to purchase. 

Oh, and if you purchase something...I'll be doing a drawing for a few free prizes from those that decide to buy/give!!  The prices will include::
1. Classic Batter Bowl
2. Easy Read Measuring Cups
3. A tasty dessert sauce of choice
4. A Surprise or 2

Also, I'll be giving my host benefits to one of you!  :)  Let me know what you need, and you'll be helping bring another former orphan into his family.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Don't have a ton of time...Strawberry Shortcake will be over soon and it will be bed time for all three of us!  :)  Yes, I realize it is only 8:18, but today started at 5:45am with Sveta saying "Mama."  After I said, "da" she said in plain English, "cheese."  Apparently she woke up hungry. 

So we fed her cheese, and then she wanted potatoes, which was really a soup with broccoli and carrots.  She ate that around 7am. 

She's doing really well overall.  Really well.  She has a doctor's appointment on Monday, so that'll be a long day.  And Mama and Papa are just tired, and busy chasing and taking pictures of her.  She loves when Papa plays the guitar, and she enjoyed him a lot today! 

She also LOVES bath time and still asks for one multiple times a day.  We are trying hard to stick to somewhat of a schedule.  I think she's getting used to things.  We love her...a TON.

Hope to post pics soon, but I can't figure out Barry's incredibly organized filing system.  I don't know how to use it yet!  :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"I'm Leavin' on a Jet Plane...don't know when I'll be back again."

The last few nights have been wonderful!  Sveta slept for 11 hours straight last night…and it was WONDERFUL!  We are grateful that she is getting rest.  She needs it.

Our adoption paperwork is now completed and we are preparing to travel home.  We aren’t going to post a specific time, or day for that matter, but just a simple…we are soon headed that way and will be home by the end of the week.

Our reasoning, honestly, for not posting flight information, etc, is because we don’t really want everyone who has access to this blog (everyone in the WORLD) to welcome us home.  We want it to be quiet around our house for a while…not only for our own sanity (there will be lots of laundry and catch up to do), but also for Sveta.  She needs to continue to bond with us, and only us for a while. 

We desire so much for everyone to meet her, but it has to be the right time.  She’s so friendly, and we want her to know that we are Mama and Papa and we aren’t leaving her.  Then we can introduce her to you. 

We’re going to leave you with a newly created list of things “to do” and what “NOT to do.”   We hope that it is helpful and not upsetting to you.  Please remember that we are so grateful for your support as we brought Sveta home, and we still need your love and support as we make sure that bonding, attachment, and transitioning goes well.  This is just one more way we are asking for your love and support.  Soon, she will be running around, and it will seem as though she’s always been here!  (again, we’ve adapted this from Jen Hatmaker (if you’ve not read her new book 7: An Experimental Munity Against Excess, do it)

Things you could do:
1.     Bring us a meal. Talk with Katie McNealy or drop a gift card off in the mailbox so we can just run and pick something up!  To avoid the stress of Sveta having to meet lots of people, we have asked that meals be taken to the church for Barry to bring home with him.  The meal would be HUGELY appreciated, and the recipe with it would be awesome too (I can’t wait to cook again!). 
2.     Offer to help.  Call or text to see if we need something from the store while you are there.  Take our laundry home to do so we can spend more time together.  Come over and wash our dishes, clean our toilets, sweep our floors, etc. Offer to go to the church to run copies for Barry.  There are many things that will take our time away from Sveta, and anything that you can do to allow us to be her primary caregivers would be AWESOME.
3.     Spend time with us.  Ask if we can chat after Sveta is asleep, or see if Barry or I could come out to lunch, dinner, breakfast, tea, etc for an hour.  We will need our family and friends, and their companionship.  We have missed you terribly, and will want to spend time with you even if it isn’t as much as it used to be! 
4.     Tell us how our adoption story has affected you.  Maybe you have a pull to adopt, or a desire to help others do so.  Maybe you want to volunteer at the Pregnancy Care Center to help mothers who are struggling with how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.  Etc.  We would be so blessed to hear how our story is crossing into yours.  One of our biggest blessings in this process has been sharing stories with an adoptive family who lives down the street…and how our stories overlap is a constant reminder of our BIG God.

Please DO NOT do/say these things:
1.     Ask “when are you finally going to let me/us meet Sveta?”  We want you to meet her.  We want her to meet you.  We just don’t want to overwhelm her with that amount of love.  She’s already overwhelmed enough, and needs to know us, and her extended family before she’s introduced all over the place.

2.     Stop by our house without an invitation. We know you might just want to pop in to drop off a gift, or dinner, but we are going to be trying to establish a routine and a comfortable place for Sveta to call home.  She’s had revolving caregivers, and if our door revolves with people in and out, she will likely not realize that this set up is permanent.  That her Mama and Papa are constants, and that we aren’t going anywhere.

3.     Do not hug, kiss, touch, hold, or use physical affection with Sveta…for a while.  Maybe even the next few months.  We know how much you love her.  You’ve cried, prayed, hoped, wished, etc for her as well.  You are a gift to her and to our family.  We are grateful.  But, again, she needs to bond with us first and foremost before having confusing messages about whom she should show affection to.  We don’t know what was required of her before, and we want to erase the need to show affection to all adults (I’m sure you can imagine why).  Now, if you have children, and our little Sveta decides to hold their hands and hug on them…that’s a different story.  Don’t prevent your children from doing so, but also don’t force them to try and hug her.  J

4.     Don’t assume that now that we are home (almost) that everything is PERFECT. Yes, the journey to bring Sveta home is complete (soon)…but this redemption story isn’t over.  God still has a lot to accomplish with this story, and it’s not going to just be easy.  I guarantee your life isn’t just easy either.  That doesn’t mean we want to return to a different life, or that we’d change it for anything.  We are following Jesus, and most times, that path isn’t paved or comfortable.

5.     Don’t forget we exist.  We know that this process has been great to watch…but it isn’t over.  We still need you!

“…we hope you see that we serve a faithful God who heals and actually sets the lonely in families, just like He said He would. And even through the tears and tantrums (ours), we look at our children and marvel that God counted us worthy to raise them. We are humbled. We’ve been gifted with a very holy task, and when you help us rise to the occasion, you have an inheritance in their story; your name will be counted in their legacy.

Thank you for being the village. You are so important.”   - Jen Hatmaker (she said it better than we could have!)