Wednesday, December 14, 2016

going on 12 years old

She is going to be 12 in January.  She is beautiful, silly, strong, and she is still the light of my life!  She is 5th grade public school and is doing amazing.
We just celebrated out 10 year gotcha day, and there is not a day that goes by that I am not reminded of what a true blessing she is.  

Enjoy some updated pics and comment if you stop in.  Always wondered if any of our long time friends still stop in and check up.  I do miss this blog and everyone that came with it, but life must move forward. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

11 years old!

We just celebrated Olena's 11th birthday in mid-January.  This girl is amazing!! She is stunning, silly, and I love her with every bit of my heart!

She is doing well, adjusting to public school as well as can be expected.  She does love going and at this point, that is what I care about most.

Thought I would share a few updated pics with everyone.  :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The end has come!

The time has finally come.
It is with a bit of sadness that I have chosen to end this blog.  I have documented our journey since 2005 and it has been a great 10 years with many ups and downs.  I have made many friends, found lots of support when needed, and I believe I may have even encouraged a few others out there in this big big world.

But things change, situations change and the stories change.

I want everyone to know that this wasn't an easy decision and one that comes for good reason.
Jason and I have decided that we are on different paths in life and we have chosen to separate.
During a time like this, it is important for both of us to focus on ourselves, Olena and moving forward in this next chapter of our life.  This blog was started as a reflection of the Warchol family, the adoption, what we endured to become a family and the struggles we have faced since.  The things we face now, our marriage, all of it... I feel are better handled on a private level and doesn't really seem to be the appropriate blogging topic, at least in my opinion.

Olena will be starting at a Montessori Academy in the fall.  She seems pretty excited about it and I have to admit I am too.  While I am huge supporter of home schooling and I do think that it was and is great for Olena, it is just not feasible for us anymore and I don't want her to suffer academically.  I spent time researching my options and we fell in love with this school, so we are praying for the best.  

I will periodically update with some new pictures of Olena as she grows into the amazing young lady I know she is going to be.  I know many of you have "grown up" with her over the last 9 years, and I don't want you to completely miss out.

I thank you all for your years of support and kindness, it has been a great pleasure sharing our story with all of you.  I wish you all the best and God Bless.

The Warchol Series
est. 2004
ended 2015

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas is practically here!

It is hard to believe this year is already coming to an end!  I guess when I really look back though, the first 7 months were a bit tough to say the least and once that over and we took some time to heal the fall was already coming to an end and now here we are, only 2 days away from Christmas.  

I have so many things to be grateful for this year, of course including this amazingly unique daughter of mine who will be 10 in one month.  I can't believe it! 10 YEARS OLD!  She makes me happy, drives me crazy, makes me wonder, and steals my heart all at once.   I can't wait to see what we have in store for us this year.  I don't have a lot of time to update but I wanted to say Merry Christmas to everyone and share a few pictures of little "believer".   

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall beauty

OH DEER!!! ;)  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October Updates

Sorry it has been awhile, we have been busy and to be truthfully lots of times I just forgot about the Blog.  Until my number 1 fan, my momma, complains at me for not updating. I always found that amusing considering she knows more about what is going on in my daily life than anyone else.   At this time I am feeling particularly unmotivated to accomplish anything else, and this seemed like a good here I am.

As you have already seen in the pictures above, somewhere over the last few months my baby girl has become a young lady! The day I took this photos I looked through the lens and almost fainted.  We have all been so focused on everything going on in our day to day lives we often stop to really see what is happening right under our noses.  I had a shoot scheduled for that afternoon, and I was so disappointed I never had a chance to have her wear this dress (that I bought I clearance and I know she will not fit into next year) so I grabbed it on the way out the door.  We got to the park a few minutes early, I had her change in the car and took 10-15 to take a few shots. While I was previewing them, I couldn't help but to tear up.  Not only do I think she is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen...she makes me so proud.  To think about everything she has overcome in her little life just amazes me so much. 

School hasn't been as great this year.  I have unfortunately been very disappointed in the program we have been using and not to mention is it very time consuming for us and her.  So while it doesn't seem ideal, Jason and I are highly considering changing everything up for the new semester in January.  It will be a big change for us to go back to a traditional homeschooling format but in the long run we know it will something we are much more comfortable with and it should be better for her. 
Right now she is a virtual student through Oxford Virtual Academy.  It is "public school" on the internet.  It worked well for the K-2 program but then at 3 everything changes up, it focuses on a LOT of writing, the word load doubles, and they focus on MEAP material.  Not to mention all of the new rules and regulations they have put into place to "qualify" for the program. 

A few things that have been keeping her and us busy.... We have been volunteering a lot.  She has been a huge supporter and volunteer with the local Dog Rescue, her American Heritage Girls troop work, and helping take care of local feral cat community!  She helps me with my photography sessions which is also a big score for me because I love having an extra hand for taking pictures especially when it comes to the dogs and small kids.  I also started working with M.A.R.E taking pictures of Michigan's available Foster children.   They hope that good photographs in their profiles will help increase their chances of finding a family.  It has been so rewarding and something I couldn't be happier being a part of. 

Emotionally...we have all been doing pretty good.  I would be lying if I said I never have "a moment" because I do.   My emotions do vary too...sometimes I am hit with guilt - other times sadness - but most often panic.  I can sometimes do something and the over whelming memories of the bad times floods me and I start to panic at the idea I could still be living in that world.  It wasn't that long ago...not even 3 months yet, but it almost seems surreal.  I have also found myself wondering about another child, particularly when working with MARE, but honestly...I don't feel it is right.  We have pulled so tightly together as a family of three after this all happened I really don't even see where another child would fit anymore.  :(  perhaps with time, that will heal but my days of dreaming of a big family have certainly come to an end.

We also had  to say good bye to our oldest 4 legged kid, Luther.  He was the first dog Jason and I got together and he was by far Momma's favorite.  But he was 14 years old and his time had come.   We called our amazing "vet" Dr. Fish, he came to our home and we all got to say our goodbyes while he took his last breaths right in his own bed.  He will forever be in my heart and I miss him every day, he was the "man" of the house.  Our family has been through 8 other dogs in addition to him over the last 14 years and he has always been a great teacher to the others.  And he always knew when I needed his love.

In his absence we were able to make room to help one in need.  So here is our newest Foster pup Aries.  She is a 2 year old Fox Terrier mix.  She is sweet as pie and a very beautiful girl. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Falling into Fall...

I can't believe that Fall is already here.  I know we had an exceptionally long winter here, but these last few months have flown by.  Olena told me in the car last night that July and August are really short months!  I reminded her that they have just as many days as the rest and she said "well it sure didn't seem like it, it went by fast"....tell me about it kid!

So what have we have been up too?....
A few exciting things have happened.  Olena is a huge fan of the reality show "Fast and Loud" a series based on a car garage in Dallas named Gas Monkey Garage, they restore cool cars.  She is in love with the star of the show, Richard Rawlings.  We made the attempt to meet him when in Dallas over the winter but sadly he was out of town that weekend.  Well, here in Detroit, we have a huge car cruise called the Woodward Cruise, and Mr. Richard Rawlings was in town to make an appearance for the new Dodge Hellcat.  So  these 2 parents did everything they could to ensure that this time...she got her wish.  I sent him FB messages, I made a tee shirt that said Gas Monkey Fan on the back and I "heart" Richard on the front, so she would stand out, Jason took the day off work, and they went to Woodward and stalked the place until they found him!! He loved the shirt, He was totally cool with her, and even let her sit in his car.  This was a day she will NEVER forget.  She was so happy and it totally won me over to see her so excited. 

We had our first camping trip...just a weekend about 1 hour north.  It was simple but gave us the time away and together that we needed.

I also spent a weekend with my BFF "touring" around Michigan and Indiana.  We stayed in a few different cities over 4 days, did some site seeing, shopping, antiquing, Amish shopping, and gambling.   Had a great time, and Olena and Jason had some fun times of their own.  When mom is gone, they have the tendency to  to "party" like rock stars.  LOL.

School is going to be starting right after labor day.  I sadly put off many of important chores over the last 2 months so I ended up making a to do list last weekend :(  and I gave myself until August 30th to complete it all.  SIGH!!!  but I need to be sure we are ready for school and everything else that will be loaded onto our plate this fall.  13 things and over the last 4 days I have accomplished at least 1 task a day.  yesterday, 2!  today was scraping wall paper off of the old bedroom walls. 

I had been dreading and avoiding this for a very long time now!....but today we finally did it.  This will finally be the last of the "clean up" from Ira being here with us.  This room was the room that Olena shared with Ira while here.  During the end, when her tantrums were at there worst, she managed to destroy the room.  Tearing big chunks of wall paper off the walls.  When she left we decided to move Olena into the room that was our office and redecorated for her.  This bigger room will now be the office/school room but being in here is a still a haunting reminder of what we endured.   It makes me sad to think that just 8 months ago me and my mother were busting our butts painting and making this room beautiful for her arrival.  But we are moving on.  Healing, one day at a time. 

We have had some fun fostering a few pups over the last couple of months.  A litter of 6....YES 6! 2 litter mates, and right now a single little guy.    They are so fun to have around.  Everyone thinks it would be so hard to give them, they are a lot of work.  Nice to have for a few days but after that, I am perfectly fine with seeing them go :)  they are off to good lives and lots of love so it isn't as bad as most people think.  I am so thankful that my 4 big guys are so welcoming and even protective of our little visitors.



I have had some good business doing photography on the side.  I still have lots to learn and wish I had lots more equipment but I have some very gracious friends who love my work, give me tons of referrals, and I have been very lucky  to have had so much opportunity this summer.  I have done family pictures, 1 year pictures, weddings, Seniors and of course my favorite, the dogs.... it has been great! I would love nothing more than to be able to do it as my primary source of income so I could leave my current position but I think I need to practice a lot more and wait for the right time.  

Sorry the post is pretty stale and so basic but I am tired, I have been distracted, and called away from this computer at least 30 times since I started it over 3 hours ago, and I still have a long night ahead of me.  
I will check in again soon and this time hopefully with some more interesting reading material.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Things are finally starting to settle down and we are doing our best to get back onto a good schedule and have started the "retraining" process on Olena.  She has fallen off of the wagon so to speak, which is understandable, but no more excuses time to get her butt back into obedience mode.  She has taken on a sassy mouth and a bit of laziness, so we have been on her like white on rice this past week.  She hasn't been to happy about it, but she will straighten out quickly again.  An obedient child is a happy child :)

She recently moved into another bedroom and we made it a bit more "grown" up for her.  She was really excited and I have to say she did a great job and picking everything out.  She wanted red walls, but I was not too excited about that idea so we compromised and we painted one wall red and the others a light grey.  We went to look for red bedding but she insisted on something with black, so she ended up picking a white comforter with black scrolling which actually ended up looking really nice in the room. and we used the flat sheet to make valances for over the blinds.   We picked out a few pieces of wall art, inspirational saying with dogs on them, and we found the perfect "hutch" at Big Lot with a dog on it which is what she uses to store her thousands of Hot Wheels.  I will get some pictures in a few days and post them.  Too dark out right now, not to mention it is a mess. 

She finished her school year with a BANG! I was so proud of her and everything she accomplished, even despite all of the changes and stress from the last 6 months.  She went into 2nd grade last September scoring right at that grade level in pretty much every subject, except reading of course, which she was a 4th grade level.  Just in early June she was retested and  after reviewing it I had to call the admin to make sure I was reading it correctly.  Her math scores improved in all areas.  Lowest was grade 3.5 and highest was grade 5.  This is amazing for her, she has always struggled in math.  And in September she averaging at grade 1.7. 
Of course, as expected in reading she went from grade 4 to grade 6 and in word recognition she scored at a grade 11.7   That made me sigh relief.  Using the virtual school was a new thing to us so I was hesitant in what it would do for her, but apparently it is working great so we enrolled for next fall and she will move onto 3rd grade and it should be pretty easy for her. 

We have also had some fun with hair coloring again this summer.  Early May we colored it blue but for some reason it washed out much quicker than last years purple.  So over the weekend I gave in and decided to let her do it red as she originally wanted.  I was worried the red would look awful but of course, Miss pretty pants can pull off any color and it ended up looking very cute.  This time, finally after 3 times, I managed to do it with minimal mess and my bath tub was not stained again.  And my hands were only red for 1 day verses the 3 days it took me to get off  the purple and blue.  It makes me smile to see her so excited and happy after we do it.  And she always gets tons of compliments and strangers always stop to talk to her which, because she is social butterfly, LOVES!

Here is flashback from last summer...

Monday, June 23, 2014

with saddness and heavy hearts.

This post is very hard to write, just as it will be very hard for some of you to read.  Most of you will judge, some of you will cry, and some of you will think "job well done".  But regardless of what you think,while you read this and when your done, remember one thing, this is MY life.  OUR life. 
We struggled with our choices, we prayed and in the end we did what we felt our Faith and hearts were telling us to do. 

Exactly 5 months after walking through our door as a family of 4, I watched my father's van drive away with the screaming and crying little girl I was once willing and hoping to call my daughter.   And once again, we were a family of 3. 

I cried.  I cried for her, I cried for the family she was returning to, I cried for the "promises" I broke, I cried for my family...who was lost and breaking.  It was the hardest decision of my life and though I was stricken with guilt, fear, and heartbreak, once the decision was final, I knew right away it was the right choice.  I was not meant to be her mother.  She was not meant to stay in my family.  I was meant to plant a seed for someone else to water and grow. 

There were many reasons for this choice.  She was not able to function within our family.  She had a blinding jealously for Olena, as she had in the previous families with small children.  She could not handle change well at all.  As a family on the go and a family who is spontaneous, she had a very difficult time.  During the school week she was good, but to sway off course one bit, you were asking for trouble.  Our weekends were consumed with constant raging tantrums, she would constantly seek our attention in negative ways, and her symptoms of RAD were very extreme.  We tried various approaches, I read everything I could get my hands on, we started therapy and counseling...everything I knew she needed.  I never expected results right away, but as the days went on her behavior and emotions progressively got worse our lives 24/7 were consumed with dealing with her, it was OVERWHELMING to say the least and every day I could see us spiraling out of control. It was some of the most atrocious behavior I have ever experienced.  Our dogs were constantly stressed, our families tried helping but no matter how much effort they put in Ira would just fight harder and longer.  We talked about stopping the adoption and changed our mind again a few times over the course of the last month.  Our hearts were filled with love for a child but we knew in the back of our minds, we were not what she needed to flourish.  Then we had Olena to worry about.  She practically lived her own life for 5 months, We watched her unravel at the seams right in front of us.  She pulled herself into her shell where she was safe and just lived on the "outside" of our crazy world watching in horror as everything played out in front of her. I couldn't believe I was allowing this to happen to her. 

Then we had one of our worst weekends ever, that is when the final choice was made.  We didn't even need to speak it from our mouths.  Jason and I just knew by looking into each others eyes that is was over.  We were defeated.  My heart shattered into a million pieces right there.  The next day we made all of the necessary calls and and started to make a plan.  Then on the 5th day at 3am in the morning, I walked her out my door one last time and put her into the car, hugged her with all my love and said goodbye.  

I once again, made this child experience loss.  For that I will  never forgive myself.  At the end of the day though, I know I did what I was supposed to do.  I saved my family.  I tried my best.  Yes I made mistakes, a lot of them in my opinion, but there was obviously a lesson to be learned for many of us involved. 

Now we work on healing, getting Olena back on track and making the most of the lives and the opportunities we were given.   Will I forget her and move on? NEVER.  She will forever hold a piece of my heart and she for the rest of my life will have a place in my prayers.  She is just a girl, who has lived a life very very few of us could ever imagine.  I have to trust He has his hand on her and will keep her safe and get her to her forever family soon. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Well if you haven't noticed, I have updated the Title of my blog.   And it is an expression of exactly how my life feels right now.   I have sat here staring at a blank posting page several times over the last week.  Thinking about what exactly do I say?  How do I even explain what we are going through?   I decided I would be honest.  I would bare the internal soul of this house for everyone to read. 
I decided this for several reasons.  1. I think it is only fair to other potential adoptive parents for me to keep it real.  Share how damaged these kids REALLY are and how not to take on more than what you believe you are capable of  2. hopefully I can inspire others.  Granted this hard and I will tell you things that will make your jaw drop, but it is not impossible.  I have faith and hope, though very slim at the moment.   I also know what me and my husband are capable of and I refuse to let an 11 year old break us.  3. I have noticed a change in myself, in the way I communicate with my family and friends and I do carry a lot of weight on my shoulders.  Sadly sometimes those people can feel hurt by my neglect and lack of "friendship".  I want these friends/families to see what I face every day and why my total commitment at this point in time lays within these walls.  and lastly #4.  I want to come back and read this in the future, and let her read this once we get to the top of the mountain we are scaling together as a family so we can see first hand just how much we have overcome. 

A day in the life of Ira....
She lives day to day with one thing on the brain.  To satisfy herself.   That meaning, she is constantly focusing on wanting something and obtaining it.  ALWAYS!  From the moment she wakes up, until she goes to bed at night she is on a mission, to "get something". 

She suffers from food obsession.  If she is not actively engaging in something, her focus is on eating.     If I fed her every time she asked to eat she would constantly have food in her hand.  She eats 4 meals a day and has a snack between each meal.  Yet at least 3 times a days she has a break down that she is starving!  We give her adult size helpings and she usually gets a second helping if there is anything left over. 

 She argues everything we ask of her.  She thrives off of arguing and chaos.  She will argue and complain about the simplest things, just because she wants to and craves the attention.  If you ignore her, she will be sure to follow you and keep pecking and pecking and pecking.  It makes me nuts! LOL!

Of course, like most of these kids do, she angers very easily especially when being told no.  Not getting what Ira wants always results in a melt down and a tantrum.  Sometimes they are minor and only last 5-15 minutes, but we have spent 2-3 weeks in a row where she would carry on for hours.  All the while destroying everything around her.  We have had to resort in restraining her in bear hugs to avoid her hurting herself or anyone else.  And it is necessary to keep her away from others when mad because she will lash out at anyone around her.  Olena has fell victim to being pinched, wacked and tripped.  And one of our dogs did end up being shoved down the stairs.  She has no clue how to deal with or express her emotions. 

She also struggles a lot with daily living skills.  She can dress herself but will often put her clothes on backwards or inside out.  She has no concept or care to match her clothing.  If not instructed to and supervised she will not ready herself in the morning either.  It takes constant reminding and arguing to get her into the bathroom to brush her hair, teeth and wash her face.  and if you do not watch, none it will not be done correctly, not even close.  She will use a dry rag to dust off her face, brush the side of her hair and suck the toothpaste off of the toothbrush.  That is her idea of daily hygiene. 

She cannot feed herself properly.  She constantly refuses to hold the utensils correctly.  She makes a huge mess on the table and floor around her and she is guaranteed to have a face covered in food when she is done. She has very minimal table manners and has the constant need to get up, walk around, touch other peoples food, and always tries to eat with her fingers verses her fork/spoon.

All of these things she can do correctly and perfectly.   She is fully capable!! but she has to be supervised and constantly "nagged" to do it.  We are very consistant and we, daily, remind and correct her of these things, but yet she does what she wants.  Even though she is fully aware of what is expected of her. 
If you ask her, why? why did you only suck the toothpaste off when you know you need to actually brush? Her response, because I wanted to!
"Please hold your fork the way I showed you."  She will fix it, take two bites and then go back to holding it like a shovel. 
What do you use when you wash the dishes? a sponge and soap! why didn't you do that ?(as the dish strainer is filled with dirty rinsed dishes)  because I didn't want to!
She knocks on the door and said she needed to use the bathroom.  I was going so of course I asked her to wait.  I finish, come out and she had decided I was being rude so she sat on the edge of her bed and peed. She knew it was wrong.  After she smirked and told me "Its your fault mom because you were being rude" she then started to cry and beg me not to take anything away for punishment. 

So as you can see, Ira has some challenges to face and overcome.  She is smart though.  She has a spark in her, she just uses that drive and spark for all the wrong reasons.  Its all about trying to reprogram her to redirect that energy, that anger, the emotions....she has a long road to recovery and a lot to learn about life.  We are no where near the finish line, shit to be honest, I am not even sure if we have started the marathon yet.  But we start every day fresh and hope for the best.   I am fully aware of why she is like this.  She has all of the classic signs of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), she has the usual Sensory Processing Disorder, as well as ADHD and most likely depression.  Realistically though...anyone who has gone through what she has, would be suffering all the same "issues" if they were even lucky enough to survive.  Most "older children" orphans never get an opportunity for 1 adoptive family...this girl has been with 3.   That is nothing short of a miracle.  I am not sure what she is destine to do, but my heart tells me it is something big.  She will shine! it will just take some time.  

Therapy and counseling starts in a few weeks.  We will start with occupational therapy and therapeutic listening.   As well as behavioral/mental health counseling/therapy.   I am hoping that this will get things going in the right direction.  I have access to the help she needs and thankfully with everything I did for Olena I am familiar with the process and where we need to start. 

I sometimes lose hope.  I won't lie.  At least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.  :)  It is hard to be so consistent and diligent in something and not see any fruits of your labor.  This is one of the most overwhelming and exhausting things I have ever faced in my life. Our life, every day is lived by the seat of our pants.  It is not day by day in the Warchol home, it is minute by minute. 

I do feel the love and support everyday around us, so thank you to all of you who read, think about us, and pray for us.  If it wasn't for all of you there is NO WAY we would be surviving this.  She needs the prayers the most, we know how to parent her but we need to chip away at the institutionalized shell that encases her beautiful soul.  But your loving words, messages and prayers are inspiring and reminds us that what we are good! It's about building this family and teaching her how to become part of it. 
One minute at a time!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The introduction of Iryna Ida Warchol

The time has come.  Though our adoption is not final we are comfortable sharing a bit more information and sharing a few details of what types of days we have been facing.

Iryna  (pronounced Ear-ina) is 11 years old from Ukraine, the Donestk region.  She likes to go by the nick name of Ira. (ear-a).   She was sadly placed in an orphanage for the mentally impaired at a young age, however, you can clearly tell that was not where she belonged. 
In my own opinion her story is divine, amazing and nothing short of a miracle.  To be in the "older child" category, in a home for the handicap, and just about to age out of that current home in a matter of days.   Hope for finding a family at this point is usually slim to none.

But by God's amazing grace a family from the US was willing to call her their daughter.  For a girl with such tragety in her short life, most would imagine that this story went on and ulitmately had a happy ending.  Her and her new "forever family", were finally together.  They brought her home with the hopes and dreams of blending her with their family, their community, their lives.  They had the daughter that they had been praying for and she had the family that was far beyond what her little mind could ever imagine.

BUT lets remember one thing, she is institutionalized.  A child who grew up with nothing, had nothing to herself, knew nothing of the real world, didn't even have the concept of what a family is.  She was a feral child who was raised within block walls, fed, clothed and kept from the elements.  That was it! Now after nine years, after everything she was raised to know and "understand" was being pulled out from underneath her.  Of course, she was being saved though right? She was about to have everything she ever wanted or could ever dream of.  And as wonderful...loving...and perfect all of that sounds, it's not.  She lost herself.  She lost her "mind".  The sites, the sounds, the overwhelming number of material things, the unlimited food, the sense of entitlement built more and more by the day, the strong feeling of desire enables her ability to control herself, her urges, her wants.  She is finally "unleashed" and she has no idea how to control that.

From what I can tell.  They gave it every effort they could.  But this is a not everyone's cup of tea.  Frankly, I don't believe it is anybody's cup of tea.  No parent in their right mind wants to live with a child like this.  It is exhausting, mind numbing, and emotional.  You do things you never thought you would do, you say things and think things you judged others for.  In order to keep her safe, them safe and their family intact they chose to disrupt her adoption after about a year.

She moved on.  Another mother, ready to call her a daughter.  Welcomed her home with a big happy heart.  Just as the first family had, she had Faith.  Faith that God knew exactly what he was doing and she worked her tail off trying to help this beautiful and vibrant child understand the world and how to be part of a family.  Some battles she won, but many she lost.  Day after day, as her mother, you wake and trudge forward all awhile reminding yourself that God has his path, he will help mend this child and fix her mind, all you have to do is keep waking up and be willing to try.  And that she did.  Sadly, again, after a year and a half, they had to make the choice that was best for everyone.  They were being pulled out of the ground by their roots and they realized they had done what they could to help her.  If they wanted to save their family, they had to be willing to move forward without her. 

And that is finally where we come in.  We heard about her in November, spent a few months thinking and praying and decided we would accept her into our family.  We had wanted another child for years, she was exactly what we prayed for, but did come with a bit of extra behavioral baggage.  We went into this with full intentions of never looking back.  Never throwing in the towel.  We tell ourselves every day, this is her final stop.  But as I sit and think as I often do at night,  don't you think the other families welcomed her with that same heart? that same vision?... what makes us different?

In four months, I have seen first hand what both of these families have experienced.   It is only by the Grace of God that they lasted as long as they did before choosing to disrupt so there is NO DOUBT in my mind that both of these families wanted what was best for her, wanted to give her the life she deserves, the love she never had....all of it.  But she just doesn't know how to let that happen.  Her behavior is some of the most atrocious behavior I have ever seen my life from a child.  However, I have looked into her big blue eyes.  I have seen that little lost girl, wandering,  She is trying to find the right way but she is still way to overwhelmed, confused and misguided.   I can't change His path, her past has proven that to me.  All I do know, is that I belong in life right now and hopefully forever.  I am going to wake up every morning, call myself her mother and raise her the best I can. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


I took this picture of Olena about a month ago.  I edited it and was sitting here looking at it when I glanced up at my cork board where I have the picture on the left hanging of her bio-brother....WOW!  I couldn't believe the likeness in this picture.  He is much younger here, I believe he is 4, but it was too striking to ignore. 

Award Night

American Heritage girls had award night.  She received 4 badges that she earned from her projects and she also won the "Highest Achiever Badge" for selling the most candles for the fundraiser in all troops combined!
Thanks to her Dadu for helping her sell so many. 

SiSi is ONE!!

It seems like just yesterday I was helping his momma bring his beautiful little soul into this world.   He has won my heart with those big blue eyes and I see my best friend in his little face every time I look at him.  I couldn't love him any more than as if he were my own.  
I was lucky enough to get the chance to take his 1 year photos and we had a lot of fun with the cake smashing shoot! :)  Happy birthday little man.  Silas William.