Thursday, September 24, 2009

WELCOME HOME PICTURES

Mike and Laurel's cheering section
Here they Are!!!

Noah kissing his little sister Hello


OUR FIRST FAMILY PHOTO
So here are some of the welcome home pictures from Saturday night. Mike and Laurel had a wonderful cheering section. Laurel was so wide-eyed over the whole ordeal but held up pretty well (until we had to strap her in the carseat!).
Laurel has been doing so well at her new home. She is really picking up signing which will hopefully cut down on some of her frustration meltdowns. Breakthru today was Laurel actually enjoyed her bath. Usually she just stands in the bath and cries. Today I made her sit down and she actually played, and played and played. Then she screamed when she had to get out- Oh well. Also, she and Noah actually hugged each other. The first few days Laurel saw Noah as a threat and didn't want him to come near me. But last night she initiated the hug and Noah was thrilled!! He said "Oh Mama, she likes me!!"
Laurel had her first check up with our Pediatrician on Tuesday. It was a very general check-up just making sure she didn't have an active ear infection or pneumonia. The Dr. said she looked remarkably well. She only weighs 5lbs less than Noah and he's a year older!! She also measured her head which had concerned us a bit b/c she does have a significant noggin. Believe it or not she is within normal limits in that too! She will go back hopefully next week to get all her tests and titers to determine where she is in her vaccine schedule. Our homework was to perform a lovely parasite test. Funny story about that for another day. :) Laurel is set up to see the CDSA to get evaluated in 2 weeks so we'll know what services she'll be eligible for. She also goes in October to an eye specialist to determine what to do about her strabismus.
All in all we are doing wonderful and so glad she is home with us. It just seems right. She is truly ours and a gift from God. We are so lucky to have this little girl in our lives.




Sunday, September 20, 2009

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!!

Laurel meeting the Chickens
Noah and Laurel in the playhouse

Sliding all by herself--- And the sliding board
ISN'T made of wood like she was used too!



Eating breakfast- Yummy banananas and oatmeal


Noah and Daddy leaving the orphanage!!



AT HOME FINALLY!!! It doesn't seem real that this journey really has ended...... but the adventure of finding out just who this little girl is and her potential is beginning!!
Mike and Laurel made it home Saturday night after a LONG ride home on 3 airplanes.
God was so good to them and his mercies never ceased. We prayed specifically that he would have understanding "neighbors" next to him on the planes that wouldn't mind her screaming and wiggling. God answered those prayers. We also prayed he'd have no problems through customs and he did great!!
We had lots of friends and family that met he & Laurel at the airport with posters, yells, and American flags!! Thank you all for being their and your support. I can't believe that little Laurel Anastasia is actually asleep in the room next to me. The first night she slept great and even napped later. We are enjoying learning her although breaking her routine can prove challenging. She loves to be outside so I know she'll flourish here.
Thank you ALL again for your prayers and support through this. Please continue to remember us as we begin the arduous medical tests that she'll have go through in order to get her healthy and hopefully help her hear.
Now that we are home, I will be taking this blog off private. I will hopefully get a few more pics of the homecoming which are on other people's cameras. I was too busy tackling my husband and new little girl to get pics. :)





Friday, September 18, 2009

QUICK UPDATE

HI EVERYONE. I JUST SPOKE WITH MIKE AND HE GOT THE VISA AND MEDICAL CHECK. HE WILL BE COMING HOME TOMORROW!! (SCREAMING HERE)!:) HOWEVER, THEY ARE EXHAUSTED B/C LAUREL HARDLY SLEPT ON THE TRAIN SO IN TURN MIKE DIDN'T SLEEP EITHER. TODAY WAS PRETTY DIFFICULT FOR MIKE B/C LAUREL WAS A TYPICAL BUSY TODDLER ENJOYING HER NEW WORLD AND NEW FOUND FREEDOM. HE IS VERY NERVOUS ABOUT THE PLANE RIDE HOME AND KEEPING HER SEATED AND NOT SCREAMING!!! THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND CONCERNS. HOPEFULLY THE NEXT POST WILL BE OF PICS FROM HIS HOMECOMING!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PLEASE PRAY

Hi! Everyone out there in blogger land. I am asking you all to pray for Mike and Laurel over the next 3 days. Tomorrow (Thursday) Mike has to go get Laurel's passport (which is hopefully in Kharkov!) Then he picks up our daughter from the orphanage. There is a small kink in things in that our driver cannot get MIke to the orphanage until almost 5pm which is too late to get her. So, Mike is trying to work something out elsewhere. Anyway, once he has her, they will be getting on the nighttrain at 11pm to Kiev. They will arrive in Kiev at 7am on Friday. They will then have a whirlwind of day getting her medical check and getting her Visa. HOPEFULLY we will be able to get her visa the same day and Mike will be able to fly out of Kiev EARLY Sat. morning. If so, he'll be here at 7pm!! I can't wait!! So please pray all goes well and Laurel is in a decent mood and her ears don't hurt her too badly. The journey is almost over (hopefully).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

VIDEO!

video

So I finally found a way to get my videos downloaded!!

This is the second time we met Laurel. We were allowed

about 2 hrs to play with her. I can't wait to see her!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Getting Close

So here are the latest happening to Mike in Ukraine. Thursday Laurel was officially ours!! (Insert screaming here!!) No one appealed her adoption Praise God and she is officially Laurel Anastasia Evans. Friday Mike had to go with one of the facilitators to first go get the court decree, then take that decree to the place to get the birth certificate officially changed and Mike and I put on as her new parents! Then they had to take the birth certificate to the Passport Office to apply for her passport. That is where things got a little hairy. The translator had accidentely put that we were from Italy, had my name wrong and Laurel's name spelled wrong. Arghhh! Anyway, the facilitator got busy making them fix it. They had to go pick Laurel up from the orphanage to get her passport photo. Mike said Laurel was an absolute doll! She laid on his lap and sucked her thumb. He said it was the first day she actually felt like his daughter!! After running across Kharkov about 3 different times, they got the paperwork in with 5 minutes to spare!! The paperwork is on its way to Kiev and then hopefully it will be back in Kharkov by Wed or THurs. When MIke returned to the orphanage the director pulled out a silver cross necklace and gave it to Mike for Laurel. Apparently the church here gives every child who ages out or gets adopted a cross necklace. I love that she'll have this when she gets older. Also, after speaking with about 5 different people here, Mike has decided to let Laurel stay at the orphanage until he see picks her up on Wed. He didn't want to do this at first but apparently Laurel is having a lot of trouble with infection in her ears and they are worried about the infection. Yulia our facilitator informed us it would be difficult to get her medical attention if she got sick and many parents who are over here on their own opt for this. It is very evident that Laurel loves her caregivers and that they are good to her so we decided this was best to help her have as few transitions as possible.Mike is booked on a train out of there on Thursday and will arrive in Kiev on Friday. HOPEFULLY they will get Laurel's medical and Visa done the same day so they can fly out on Saturday. So..... please pray all goes well. Mike will have been in country over 6 weeks!! We miss him so much and can't wait to see Baby Laurel. I'll update soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NEW UPDATE FROM MIKE

Hey everyone, just wanted to send out an update as to what is going on in Ukraine. Tomorrow will make it official that Laurel is a member of the Evans family. We are very excited that we are finally “on the one yard line and going in for the score” to use a football phrase. I will be going to apply for Laurel’s birth certificate change which basically gives her her new name which will be Laurel Anastassya Evans. I may have spelled the middle name wrong but you get the idea. We are leaving her birthplace and birth date the same (that is an option we can change) as we want her to have a connection to her home country. I will have her on my own for 7-10 days so please pray that she and I adjust to all these changes that will occur so suddenly for her. Laurel seems to have a genuine love for her caregivers and they seem to love her too. She has an older woman a “babushka” that is very grandmotherly and I know that she is a dear sweet woman and that Laurel’s life was better because of her. I am glad that we are finally getting Laurel but I know that she will be sad for a few days, so again just pray that she transitions well. The babushka says that Laurel is a very calm and quiet child and I trust her assesement, some women just know kids and I think that she is definitely one of them. Today I shopped for some things to get the apt. ready for her. Tomorrow Iam going to grocery shop for fresh food for Laurel and hopefully that will add some shine to those red locks of hers.
I have been to church twice this week and even went to a leadership team meeting tonight for the “Destiny House” staff. They are getting ready to staff the house full-time so that thelocal teenage orphans have a place to go and do laundry, learn cooking, sewing, and computer skills. These people really love the orphans and are doing everything to be a surrogate family to the teenagers, many of whom are approaching the age where adoption is off the table as an option for them. I gave a gift of $100 dollars in the name of our church to help “Destiny House” pay for laundry soap, food, etc. I hope that we can do more in the future. Martha and I have been looking for ways that everyone could become involved in helping orphans through adopting a child, sponsoring orphans for the 8 day Bible camp in the summer, or financial assistance to “Destiny House”. Even though some one might not feel comfortable adopting a child, helping the ministries is a good way to “look after orphans in their time of need”.
I would like to share briefly what God has done for me through this: First, and I hate to admit this, but I have often struggled with having a complete faith in what the Lord can do. I know what the Bible says about it and I know that God is worthy to be trusted with all things, but the human imagination often as well as the Deciever leads our hearts to places where faith cannot exist. Those are places are fear and doubt, anxiety, sadness and depression. Our imagination tells us what if? What if we fail? What if the plane crashes? What if we don’t have the money? IF, those two little otherwise insignificant letters cause great amounts of the aforementioned thoughts to grow into an uncontrolable storm of dispair. There are two words that can quell this storm “But God”…There were times that Martha and I worried if we would have the money to do this..but God provided. Times I wondered if this was right for us..but God confirmed it and gave us peace. Times I felt lonely here…but God provided, an identical church family to minister to me while away from my own.
At the end of Psalm 23 David makes the statement “that I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” Like most phrases at the end of songs and poems or stories we race through them and loose the significance of the closing in our haste and in this instance we don’t stop to ask what this means. Now I could go through every line in the 23 Psalm and draw a parallel to how the Lord has done the same for me in this circumstance and I have briefly done so already. I think that the reason for David saying this is that because the Lord God is so good to us why would we want to live anywhere else? David clearly tells us how the Good Shepherd makes provision for our every need and David is proclaiming that he is choosing to dwell in God’s house forever. This decision, I feel, comes from experiencing God’s goodness and eating from the green pastures and drinking from the still waters that “restore our souls”. Why would we want to do anything else? My challenge to you is to CHOOSE to dwell in Gods house and abide with Him. Have a relationship that consists of thoughtful, sincere prayer, search Him out and discover who He is by reading his Word, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, fellowship with other believers. This is how we come to dwell in God’s House.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support. I miss you all dearly and cannot wait to see you all soon.
Love,
Mike

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So It's been a While but we have a good excuse....

Dear friends who still check this blog! I'm so sorry it's been a while since we updated but I promise we have a good excuse. Or how about several good excuses. You may remember that when I came home last Wed. am Noah had been running a fever for a few days. Well, he was worse by Saturday so I took him to Urgent Care and thank goodness I did! He tested positive for the Swine Flu, an ear infection and Pneumonia!! They tanked him up on some great antibiotics for the infections (not so much the flu b/c it's viral). They told us that he would be contagious until all of his symptoms are gone. Today (Tuesday) seems to be the first day that he really feels better. Also, on Friday I got some sort of stomach bug (or flu) and have been sick with it. I too feel better today. Praise God.

So what's going on in Ukraine you say??? Same ole Same Ole. Poor Mike is still stuck there by himself. He has been down and lonely the last several days I've spoken with him but today he went to a small group meeting a missionary couple we met there had at their home and had a wonderful time!! He will be going to a mission tomorrow with them that ministers to teen orphans. God is so good. He knows exactly what we need when we need it.

Laurel feels A LOT better from her ear infection and is back to her happy self. The 10 day waiting period is officially up on Friday the 11th but because of paperwork restricitions Mike probably won't get custody of her until Monday. Then he waits for the Passport 4-5 days and when he gets that he can go back to Kiev for about 2 days for the Visa and Medical check. Then hopefully HOME!! Please pray all will go smoothly!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blessed beyond Belief

Have you ever felt blessed beyond belief? Yes, I am home and Mike is still over there waiting out the 10 days and all the rest of the details to bring Laurel home. She has yet another ear infection and hasn't been easy to deal with the last few days. Please pray that this will heal before the plane ride!!

Anyway, back to the Blessed beyond Belief. Monday night I boarded a night train in a foreign country and rode all night by myself. That morning my transportation to KIev met me exactly where he said he was going to. Praise the Lord.
I then navigated my way through a horrible airport, not speaking a word of the language and managed to get through customs, find my flight and get on the right flight. I did this with 3 connecting flights and made my way home!!! Home back to the BEST country ever!!! Praise the Lord.

After arriving home here is what I found..........
1. A beautiful, dream come true built in t/v cabinet which hides all of our junk so little fingers can't break anything, made by a wonderful friend.
2. Nice freshly cut yard
3. A full refrigerator!
4. An adorable bed for Laurel and all the bedding
5. Someone had fixed a leak in my roof
6. A powerwashed porch
7. Someone had fixed, rewired, put salt in, and cleaned out my pumphouse!!!!
8. A sparkling clean house
9. And I'm sure a whole host of other things done by wonderful people that I will never know about.

BLESSED BEYOND ALL BELIEF.
You all have blessed us and enriched our lives. Each and everyone of you are a part of this journey and we are forever grateful!