Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Busy Life

Wow there surely is never a dull moment! With 8 children and 10 grandchildren there is always something going on. Artur is home as most of you all know, all the children and us adults all enjoyed getting together to welcome him to America. This past Sunday everyone came to our farm and we had a fishing rodeo for the kids. We stocked our pond with trout and the kids fished most of the afternoon.
Lena and Erik have started school and seem to be adjusting well. Tyrone Area School District has been great in meeting the kids needs. They have gone above and beyond to assist the kids in having a positive experience at school, I am very pleased so far. Lena got accepted into the Art Studio program and she loves it.The school has paired both Erik and Lena with some great kids to help assist them during times like lunch.
Saturday we are heading to Disney World for a week and then a stop in Georgia on the way home to visit some friends and to do some turkey hunting and fishing. I am looking forward to some warm sunny weather!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fun In America

It has been awhile since we have blogged and am not real sure if anyone will even read this blog. We wanted to give an update as to life after adoption.
Lena and Erik are adjusting to American life. This past week we have been visiting the beaches of Florida in Panama City. Ana, Lena and Erik all love the water and have never seen the ocean so they are really enjoying themselves. We are here as a family for Heather's spring break. All of the family except Russ and Cheri's family are here (they just arrived back from Ukraine with Vika and Anslee and were not up to another trip just yet). So 15 of us set out for Florida.
Swimming, enjoying the beach, Seafood (Erik and Lena LOVE crab legs), scooters, bungee bouncing, painting pottery, lots of good food, visiting friends in Alabama (great meal at Hunt's with Mike Goodson & Tim Reeves), and much more. The weather is not real warm for Florida, but great compared to PA and the kids are all tanned and enjoying swimming every chance they get in the condo's heated pool.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Strategies

No pictures today I am going to attempt to post a blog from my phone. We are on our way to Pittsburgh to catch a plane to Reno for the SCI trade show. This convention is vital to our family business but it was hard to leave with all that has been going on in our lives. I was going to stay home with the kids but Russ said that wasn't possible since Russie is in the Ukraine we will already short handed. It wasn't possible yo bring the kids as the days would belong and boring for them. Ashley was kind to offer to come to our home and stay with them. We tried a new strategy last night. We spent an hour at Lillians house having her translate as Russ and I shared our hearts with the three kids and explained our expectations. I didn't feel well as I had the flu but it worth sticking through as our talk went very well. I went to bed early once we got home since I was ill. Russ ask me this morning what happened they seemed like new kids they cleaned up the house since I was sick in bed, were very polite, went to bed without a hassle, got up when they were ask, brushed teeth, showered no hassles. They promised to help Ashley while we were gone. We felt bad leaving and the girls were all teared up when we said out good byes. Please pray for Ashley and the kids as we are gone this week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Am I Home?

I can't believe I am taking time to blog, maybe I just need to write my thoughts down to help me deal with my day.
I was so anxious to get home from Ukraine, but feel I am not really home in a sense. My old life is gone and I am scrambling to keep my footing daily. I know blogs are suppose to always cover only the positive side of everything and to be an encouragement to all those who follow, but I feel it would be an injustice to not be honest.
I realize now how very easy Ana adjusted to life in our family. I always said we didn't really have any big issues with her. She has been great through this whole new phase, thank you Jesus. When Erik and Lena first arrived she had a few days of a big attitude and showing off for Erik, but all it took was a talk to explain I was disappointed in her behavior and I explained what needed to change. She has always been very respectful to me, and when we talked she said, "I try Mama." And she has, she has been great. I am not sure what I would do if she were giving me problems also.
Erik has been a major challenge. He has frequent shut downs, he lies, he is disrespectful 90% of the time. The other 10% he is sweet and helpful. I need to figure out how to increase that 10%. Lena is just the opposite she is sweet, helpful, loving and kind 90% and only 10% of the time in shut down or uncooperative. Neither are excited about learning English. Lillian has struggles getting them to cooperate at times and yesterday I spent 3 hours getting about 20 minutes worth of English homework done. When I taught school I never had students so unmotivated, it is a challenge. Ana learned English quickly because she was submersed in the language with no one to speak to. The difference now: Erik, Lena and Ana speak together in Russian (new rule as of yesterday, Ana is no longer going to speak to them in Russian, she will speak to them in English also) Second they are on the computer 3/4 of their waking day talking on Ukrainian facebook and Skyping people in Ukraine (I STRONGLY suggest not allowing this in your home) it is a problem that is now a struggle to correct. Everyone is mad that time is being limited on the computer. If they had their choice they would stay up all night on the computer and sleep until late afternoon everyday. We have allowed a problem to be created, we thought keeping in touch would help the transition, it has not. Instaed they are more submersed in Ukraine than America. DON'T MAKE THE MISTAKE I MADE... DON'T ALLOW IT TO START IN THE BEGINNING. Ana NEVER once contacted anyone from Ukraine or had any contact with anyone until the hosting program and her adjustment was much smoother.
I am not going to continue to complain instead I will sum up by saying days are challenging and I feel ten years older. I have not cried so much since I was a teen ager and melt downs for me are to frequent. (Thus far they have been hidden from the kids). Right now I am avoiding any additional responsibility or issues my plate is overfull.
On a more positive note.... I have been blessed to be reunited with my children and grandchildren. We are all spending much time together and they get me through the days without me falling into depression (not kidding on that one). Russie and Cheri's kids are staying with us while they are in the Ukraine- (they are 3 to 8 and easier to take care of than Erik, sorry I slipped again). The pictures I posted are for Russ and Cheri, your kids are doing great and even though it is hectic here they seem to be having a good time and haven't talked about missing you. Last night Laynie and Madie and I did posters for parent week at school, "All About Me". Madie was so cute when she was selecting her pictures. When she would see pictures of her mama and papa she would giggle and touch your faces and say cute things. She said her daddy was precious and her mommy was Cheri Walk and beautiful. then she would tell me how much she loves them. Bubbs and I are doing his Habitat this morning for parent week since we have a two hour delay, he wants to create a 3D forest. He has lots of good ideas for it and is anxious to get started.
So with that thought in mind my time to blog is at an end.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Today my son, Russ, and his wife Cheri left for their adoption journey to Ukraine. I must admit I worry more about their journey than I did my own. It is much harder to send your child than to go yourself. We will be watching their 4 children until we leave for the SCI Convention next week. I cherish the time with the grandkids they are so excited for their big sisters to come home. Russ said to night, "We will be busy with 9 kids" LOL should be fun.
All is well with Lena and Ana, but we still have not figured out Erik. He seems to be a Little Jeckle and Hyde. I really need to pray about what to do, it is hard dealing with his shut downs since their is a language barrier. He zones out and ignores us for long periods of time over simple requests like waking up, getting dressed, bathing etc. It has been trying. There seem to be some emotional issues that we need to understand to be able to help him. He can be nice at times (about 10% of the time) and inconsiderate at other times (about 90%). It causes a strain on our family, especially Russ and I as I feel he needs more structure and clearer expectations. Russ feels time will win him over.
Tomorrow Heather is taking Lena skiing after church, she is so excited she has never had an opportunity to learn how to ski. Erik is going to Lillian's house for a fun day with Dema. Ana is excited to have Grace here for the week and is happy spending time with her.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


many people have requested that we blog to let everyone know how things are going now that we are home.
First of all we arrived home New Years Day. It has been so great to be home we missed everyone so very much and it is so GREAT to be back in America. You don't realize how much you appreciate America until you spend alot of time somewhere else. There are so very many things we take for grantide.
As far as how things are going????? Well it has been a huge transition especially for me. It has been emotional, frustrating, time consuming and discouraging at times. Other times fulfilling, heartwarming and full of love. An emotional roller coaster. I often feel inadequate for the task.
Ana has had some set backs with introducing new children into the family. She has piped her attitude up by a large margin. She seems to think it is appealing to "show off" for Erik. Her English skills are regressing, since she is now speaking Russian more with Lena and Erik she is forgetting some of the English she has learned. We have had some problems with her being rude and nasty to family members. We have had some good heart to heart talks and she is trying to do better. She has always been very respectfull of me, but struggles to show respect to many other people. We are working on this. Yesterday she thought she was going to beat up her big brother Isaac (who is 6 ft 3 Inches) she can be fisty. She was giving it all she had. Tonight she was snuggled up beside him loving him up.
Erik has a sweet side that we need to work on bringing out more. He goes into shut down mode over the smallest things such as being asked to brush his teeth, shower, wake up ect. It is frustrating the amount of time that needs to be exerted to get a simple task accomplished. He doesn't understand the concept of respect yet. We are trying to take things one step at a time. One moment I think I will never break through, the next he is trying to help me with something or tonight I got a big hug and an "I love you Mom". Wow! I thought where did that come from.
He is excited to go squirrel hunting with Russ (Pop as he calls him) in the morning. He shot his first squirrel a few days ago and boy was he excited. He shows the tail to everyone and the skinned body he has displayed in a glass jar of salt water on the top shelf of the refrigerator. He says tomorrow he is getting an even bigger one.
Lena is a gem. she is super and we couldn't ask for a sweeter more loving girl. She is a big help and doesn't appreciate Erik and Ana's attitudes and disrespect. I am trying hard to not allow the other children's need for so much attention take the time away from her that she deserves. She enjoys doing her art work, helping, using the computer. skyping friends from the Ukraine etc. She has maintained contact with her art teacher, older sister, and friends at the orphanage. She is kind and loving to everyone in the family and is especially good with all the grandchildren.
There is never a dull moment at our home with 8 children, 3 daughter in laws, 8 grandchildren and a fiancee. In the midst of all the transitioning we are planning our daughters wedding. She got engaged at Christmas and is plnning to get married end of May.
At this point we are not sure when Lena and Erik will start school. We are taking one day at a time and working on transitions at home before pushing school. They will both start English tutoring lessons on Skype with Lillian tomorrow and will have them every week day. It will be harder for them to learn English since they can communicate in Russian with each other the need isn't as great to learn.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Today was the day we collected the final paperwork needed to travel to America with the kids. The children's visas were given to us at the US Embassy along with all the paperwork needed at the border to enter the USA. Hoorah!!!!! I CANNOT WAIT TO GET HOME!!!!!

Tina and Dusty just walked over, but Russ walked to the market and Lena, Eric and I cannot get the doors unlocked. If there was ever a fire here we would burn up, because we can't get out. They are going to walk toward the market to see if they can find Russ.

When we were getting our medical exams for the kids and applying for the visas we met some very special people. I wish I would have gotten their blog information. First we met a couple who the is in the US Army and currently stationed in Italy. They have a six year old son and have not been able to have any more children. They shared with us that they came to the realization that the way God had planned for them to grow their family was through adoption. They had been waiting for a year and a half for a child younger than 5 to adopt from the Ukraine when God spoke to them about children with special needs, specifically down syndrome. They contacted Rainbow Adoption Agency who deals with special needs children and within 5 months were now in the Ukraine adopting two babies with down syndrome (an 11 month old baby girl and 14 month old baby boy) and they are planning to come back for more. They shared that they had met six other American couples while here who also were adopting special needs children. Another lady we met was adopting a three year old boy with down syndrome. She has 5 biological children ranging in age 14 months to 12 years. When I ask her what made her decide to adopt she said, "Adoption was never even a thought of mine until my husband and 12 year old daughter did a missions trip in some of the orphanages in Ukraine." She said that as soon as she saw the picture of the little boy they just adopted, God spoke to her telling her, "This child is to be your son." She said she fought against it at first , but God reaffirmed it for her and here she is. What amazing testimonies these people are remarkable. God calls us to care for the fatherless and here they are not only caring for the fatherless, but the castaways of this society. Russ and I were so humbled by these people and their faithful hearts. They are truly an example of unconditional love for God's children. There were surely be a special place in heaven for them.
Since we did not take any pictures today I will post some of the children from the orphanage that we have not yet had opportunity to post. Enjoy.