Saturday, April 24, 2010


Precious Angel

Big brother showing Laurel how to pick.
Daddy painting the Princesses' nails

We had a great day today. We took Laurel strawberry picking. She wasn't sure what to do at first but Noah quickly showed her what to do. She ended up eating more than she actually put in the bucket. It was a surreal time for Mike and I because last year when we went strawberry picking we were wondering if Laurel would ever actually be here and get to do this with us. We had just committed to bringing Laurel home and were so excited! Pretty neat to see how God worked in just a year.
After the strawberries, we went home and planted our own garden. Laurel loved playing in the dirt. Tonight we made strawberry shortcake and then had a makeup party!! Yes, we ALL got makeovers. Laurel loves makeup and we had a great time getting painted up. Da Dat showed us all that even he can paint toenails!
On another note, this will be my last post on this blog. Laurel has been here 6 months and I feel it's time to continue her journey on our family blog
To sum up this past year I'll say a few things. GOD IS SO GOOD..... ALL THE TIME! Without him this would not have been possible and such a positive experience.
Ukraine is a wonderful country with very generous people. God bless them and thank you to the ones who see the need to help these precious angels find forever homes.
Laurel is a gift from God. She was meant to be with our family.... problems and all. Has it all been easy?? NOPE! Has it all been worth it?? ABSOLUTELY!
Thank you all who have followed this journey to our daughter. We'd love you to continue to follow our progress at our family blog. God Bless!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


We LOVE to fish!

My sister's wedding is over so life may begin again. It was perfect, beautiful and lots of fun. We loved seeing long lost friends and relatives and catching up a bit. It took us a few days to recover though. Laurel's weeks are still very full with therapies every day except one. She is making progress everyday with her language and even today making a new "g" sounds. When I drop her off at her preschool developmental therapy she now cries for me not to leave her. A great sign that she actually cares who she stays with now but it hurts my heart to leave her. The teacher says she stops crying within a few minutes-and I only leave her for an hour! When I picked her up Tuesday the therapist told me she "had trouble with adult authority!" I had to laugh. You think?? She 2 years old and has all this new found freedom and HATES to be told No. We decided it would be best to have me leave her at her Thursday Therapy for 1 hr so she could take orders from someone other than me. She did great there today! So, we are just working on some tantrums still. On a really positive note, she and Noah have really started to play WITH each other instead of around each other. They are actually getting the communication thing and talking to each other which isn't easy with a hearing impaired child with no language and a 3 yr. old boy who doesn't stop moving! Something I've tried to work on a lot.
So everyone, enjoy the beautiful weather and get out and have an ice cream cone!We sure are.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Little Miss Priss

I have the ultimate prissy girl. I swore I'd never have a prissy girl yet I do..... and strangely, I LOVE it. She is so much fun to dress up and I love to watch her get excited about pretty things. Now don't be fooled. She can roll in the mud with the best of them but she does like to dress up.
What's going on in Laurel's life you say?? Well, I'll fill you in.
Monday we had our spinal MRI to check on her Chiare Malformation. She showed no problems with her spine. He brain MRI does show a Chiare 1 Malformation but no other problems exist in the brain or spine. We are going to do a repeat MRI in 6 months just to be sure, otherwise she should be good to go unless she starts getting severe headaches. The Neurosurgeon really thinks this was just an incidental finding and nothing will come of it. Praise God!
We have made the decision to stop signing to her in order to see what she really understands. THis is so we can make an informed decision about Cochlear Implants. Since we've done this her verbal language has really picked up. It's not real clear yet but she talks now more than gesturing and can says tons more words than she could when we were signing. We start her speech therapy Wed.
As to behaviour, well let's just say the orphanage behaviour is gone. By that I mean the compliant, whatever you say goes little girl that was afraid we'd send her back if she disobeyed. Not anymore! :) She's definately an Americanized 2 year old with fits and a will and all. Which, even though it's tough, I'm glad to see this "normal" behaviour from her. She can throw a right good fit to get her point across. So, we are working through the "terrible twoes" and strangely happy to see them.
Anyway, that's the update from here. More updates after my sisters wedding this weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Little Ponderer---- NOAH


So, why the long time between updates?? Well, I'll tell you just a little........ Laurel now has therapy 4 times a week, Rach is getting married in less than three weeks, everyday stuff and we as well as half of our church has the lovely NoraVirus which makes you wish you were dead. Awful, Awful stuff but hopefully we are on the mend!
As I start the journey of raising two children I am still amazed at how different personalities can be. While Laurel is impulsive, wide open ALL THE TIME.... and why wouldn't she be?, Noah is usually the opposite. He is more reflective and loves to ponder. He's a very happy child but really enjoys his down time. Ughhum..... a lot like his Da Dat! Sometimes it gets too quiet around and I go find him just watching birds quietly. Strange? Maybe but I love it. I love the fact that he sees beauty in everything. He can identify many birds just by their whistles. He wants to know why the sun and moon come up. He gets excited when he finds a beautiful flower to pick for me. So if pondering helps him put this big world into perspective then so be it.
Funny Noahism of the week: Noah was rambling around in the refrigerator.
Me: "Noah what are you looking for"
Noah: "I want some Chocolate"
Me: "Do you want me to make you some hot chocolate?"
Noah: "No Mommy, I want some REAL chocolate"

Monday, March 15, 2010

This is how Laurel sleeps (hands over her eyes)
First time petting a donkey

Her Elton John glasses at the Museum
Digging for Dinosaur Fossils

Taking the train
Exploring the Museum

Laurel had her first visit to one of our local Museums. Check out my other blog to see what all we did. She had a great time and did really good. Only a few minor meltdowns due to missing her nap. She loved seeing the animals and would sign or say all the ones she knew. I love letting her experience new things. She is soaking things up like a sponge. Her therapists are really pleased with her progress. She has her deaf/hard of hearing therapy on Mondays. Tuesdays now we go to a local preschool and her Developmental therapist helps her learn to interact with her peers and vice versa. We also are adding group speech therapy to her schedule on Thurs. to help her with this further. So it's Pretty Crazy around here right now. I know it will all slow down soon. Also, Tuesday she will get her first real Speech Evaluation so we'll hopefully have a direction to go with that soon.
Thanks for checking up on us and hopefully it won't be so long between updates again!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Going to be a Busy Week....

Ok..... I know this isn't the most flattering picture of Laurel but you have to admit it is hilarious! Noah has this sneaky look on his face like he's going to try and rock her off the horse (which he would when left to his own devices!)

We have a busy week this week. Several therapies, I get to do a little presentation on Reeces Rainbow and adoption (something I could go on forever about) and we have another hearing test at UNC. I'm actually looking forward to that because Laurel is doing so well with her hearing aids. Anyway, have a wonderful week everyone if I don't get to update for a few days!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

5 Month Progress Report


Sister & Brother being silly

She LOVES to kiss!!

Today it just hit me. Laurel has now been with us for 5 months. NO WAY it has been that long. The first picture I posted is of the first time we ever met her. Wow was that an exciting time but also terrifying. I will admit, after sitting and hearing her LONG list of medical "issues" that I wasn't sure if I was ready to meet her. How thankful I am that God gave me the courage to keep moving forward. Most of the "issues" they said she had she doesn't. Anyway, I just wanted to give a little 5 month progress report on how Miss Priss is doing.
1. She went from walking like a baby to running like a 2 yr. old
2. She went from hearing nothing to hearing with her hearing aids and understanding a large amount of what we say.
3. She went from SCREAMING all the time, not mad just communicating, to having about 150 either words or signs of meaningful communication.
4. She went from not understanding what a puzzle was or how to match anything to mastering 4 puzzles.
5. She went from eating till she was overfull and spitting up to actually goofing off at the table and leaving some on her plate.
6. She went from completely being diapered to now telling me when she has to potty.
7. She went from not understanding what a hug and kiss is to kissing you all the time.
8. She went from institutional rocking when she got upset and to put herself to sleep to allowing us to rock her to sleep.
9. She went from never hearing about God to signing and singing "Away in a Manger" and God is love Bible verse.
These are just a few of the major milestones that this brave girl has accomplished in the 5 short months she's been here. And they say she is special needs...... Hah. Someone forgot to tell her! :)
I want to publicly praise God for bringing our Ukrainian princess into our lives. Yes, I won't lie to you. Some days it's hard, really hard, but it has been so rewarding to watch this little soul grow and blossom. We have really had minimal transitional issues with Laurel and I know that isn't typical of adoptions but I am thankful to God for this. Noah & Laurel have also seemed to find a happy medium and are really doing great as brother and sister.
Are we there yet? Absolutely not. It is a constant work in progress (as raising kids always is) and we have some really big decisions to make coming up in the next few months about Cochlear Implants and her Chiarre Malformation, which we would really appreciate your prayers for. But..... we are getting there.Thanks for indulging me. I just had to brag on my baby girl.