Monday, June 24, 2013

In a courtroom in Ukraine

Two years ago today Jason and I stood in a hot courtroom in Ukraine and petitioned to be named Dariya's parents.

Thankfully God was with us and gracefully brought us through court and surrounded us while we were in Ukraine for those 5 weeks.
This little girl who amazed us with her loving and sweet attitude back then continues to amaze us with her kind heart, love and the seamless way she fits into our family.

We are so blessed to be given this child.

We don't take this gift lightly.

Her birth parents loved her dearly and wanted what was best for her.  Unlike many orphaned children, Dariya's parents didn't walk away from her when they learned of her down syndrome diagnosis.  Instead they loved her and wanted her but, in their culture there was no place for her.

There was no early intervention.

There was no parents as teachers that comes to your home and helps you teach your child.

There was nothing besides doctors who told them the best place for Dariya was in an institutionalized setting.    Her parents didn't walk away but instead they visited daily.  Dariya's paternal grandparents visited.  They all came on her birthdays and brought treats for her groupa and celebrated her life.

They loved her.  They still do.

When they learned of Reece's Rainbow they sought out the help of the Ukrainian team to find out if Dariya could be adopted by someone in the United States and be given a chance at better opportunities to reach her potential.  As it turns out the timing of them signing Dariya over for international adoption and God laying adoption on Jason's heart were nearly simultaneous.

I love how God is in all the tiniest of details.

Her birth father, Sasha came to meet us and visited with us a few times before we left to fly back to the United States.  For this we are very grateful.  He continues to have contact with us, has provided us pictures, video and information around Dariya's birth and early years that we never would have had.

We are humbled that God chose us and that He continues to bind our family together.

If truth be told I can hardly remember a time without Dariya and I am sure her sister would say the same thing.  They are definitely inseparable.

She has grown so much over the past two years.  The toddler look has gone away and she is a big girl now. She has learned so many things and continues to be a shining star.
Special thanks to Sarah for the adorable dresses she made the girls!
She is a blessing...

There are many other children who are sitting in orphanages in Ukraine (and other parts of the world).  Please pray with us for these children to find their forever families.

If you feel so led please donate in honor of Dariya to one of our friends who are all going back again to rescue another orphan!

Always thankful for the journey we are on.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Surgery update

Pre surgery - playing with some little pet shop animals

Alayna did really well with surgery today.  The nurses were all smitten with her.
We were at the hospital about 5 hours total of which surgery lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  She had an uneventful recovery and was discharged about an hour and a half post op.

Her eyes aren't as red as I thought they would be.  Hoping that doesn't get worse!

Once home she had a little lunch then took a nap.  She was in pretty good spirits and not in much pain until the Motrin wore off.  We could tell pretty quickly that her eyes were hurting as she kept covering them and trying to rub them.  Once she had another dose of Motrin she was ok again.   She had the usual clingy kid syndrome you get with a child that doesn't feel her best which is to be expected, otherwise we count today a huge success.

We have a follow up Monday to check that there is no infection.

We won't know for a couple weeks if the surgery was a success as it will take her brain a little while to process the new placement of her eyes.  For now we don't have to patch (and I am praying we never have to again!) #sodonewithpatches

Thank you for the prayers, we appreciate everyone of them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pre surgery physical, check

Today Alayna had her pre-surgery physical with her pediatrician.
It kind of seemed like a waste of time.  It was mostly information the doctor could check off and verify without seeing Alayna in person.  But, there were a few questions about her current health etc, the fact that we are rule followers and there will be NO eye muscle surgery if we didn't have this physical so off we went.

Of course, Alayna wooed our pediatrician by reading a book to her, telling her our phone number and address, and her birth date and age.

She was declared healthy and we got our golden ticket to have surgery next Friday!

We celebrated by having a swim party in the backyard.

Yes, we know how to party!  Who says you can't have fun in 3 inches of water?

We would love prayers for a great surgery and recovery for Alayna!  thanks!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I can hear, I can cry...

I take the girls to the ENT every 6 months to keep current on their hearing tests and to check their tube placement.  Mondayy was the lucky day where we had to be out of the house at 8 for the doctor.  Still questioning why I make appointments so doggone early when I can hardly drag myself out of bed these days...

Alayna was first up as she is always the easier of the two when it comes to anyone touching or checking them out.  Alayna did the sound booth test and her hearing was declared perfect.  Her tubes are working their way out and the doctor didn't think either one was working at this point so with a perfect hearing test we were pretty excited.  We won't schedule more tubes unless she starts having issues.

Then it came to my sweet Dariya.  This girl has come a LONG way in being tolerant of doctors and such but, she still hates to have those things put in her ears.  She allowed the tech to look in her ears.  One tube is working it's way out.  She played the little where is your nose, eyes, feet etc game with the tech.

Then for the sound booth test and even with me kneeling in front of her she began to cry.  She wasn't crying hard or too loud but, it was loud enough that she couldn't hear the tech tell her the directions (where is your eyes).  Dariya pointed to her nose correctly once and just sat and wept for a little while and the tech ruled it yet another non passable test.  UGH.  I swear Dariya will be 20 when we finally get an accurate hearing test on her.  I know Dariya can hear at a whisper so I am not too concerned about her hearing at this point.

Although I do have to remember how far she has come.  She doesn't mind trying on shoes, going to the pediatrician or even fuss too much for shots or blood draws anymore.

We will follow up in 4 months this time as the doctor was pretty sure their tubes would be out by then.  Maybe then I will take backup (daddy) and we can get a good hearing test.

Wish us luck.
The girls dance troop performed at our town's weekend celebration.  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dance recital video and pics

Friday night the girls performed in their first dance recital.  Above the Barre dance studio has blessed Access Dance this year by including our performers in everything.

We arrived early to take pictures and get prepared.  Both girls were doing well until the recital started.  I was a little worried as the recital didn't start until 7pm and they were the 22nd dance number to go on stage.

Alayna absolutely loved all the dancers and was dancing at her seat the whole recital.  Dariya did not want to be in the auditorium after the first dance number.  She and I sat in the atrium until it was time for them to perform about an hour into the show.  I didn't think she would go on stage.  But, as always she surprised me and went and sat with her class.

Once on stage they had the wrong music cued so she immediately had to be picked up by one of the helpers.  BUT, as soon as she heard the correct music start she jumped down and joined right in.  She amazed us and did a great job.  Alayna "the entertainer" tried to make a couple escapes and dove on the stage but, overall both girls were fabulous.  In the video you can see Dariya tap the floor telling Alayna to get back in her spot. LOL!

After they were finished Alayna immediately said, "more please!" That girl likes to be the center of attention that is for sure.

I had tears watching them both and seeing how far Dariya has come in such a short time.  A long way from an orphanage in Ukraine....

We love our little dancers and are so thankful to Mackenzie and the Access Dance team for working with our girls this year!

Alayna is 2nd from the right and Dariya is next to her 3rd from the right

Here is the video to enjoy.  Alayna is 2nd from the right and Dariya is 3rd from the right.  At times Mackenzie is standing in front of Alayna so you can't always see her.