Monday, December 30, 2013

My little man's birthday

Wow, time sure has gone by fast! We just celebrated Maxim's second birthday with us. Once again it was a joy to see the awe and wonder of him having a birthday with a family.  I don't think he quite believed us that he would celebrate a birthday again this year. It is so easy for me to take it for granted that I have been blessed my whole life with a loving family. Maxim is a good reminder that life is precious, family is a gift, and we should always be thankful for that blessing.

Maxim wanted all Russian foods again this year for his meals

One of his favorite salads, beet salad.

Russian market sweet rolls

Maxim has always admired his older brother's chain necklace, and
much to Maxim's joy he was given one just like Joshy's. 

He loves to play with Legos!

He wanted a Monsters Inc cake...It was a challenge, cake decorating is not my thing,
 but he was happy with the outcome :)

And to end his birthday party he wanted to play his new Risk game.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thankful for the gift of life!

I am so thankful God gave this little boy life 8 years ago today and that through God's perfect plan He brought Maxim into our family. 

My world has not been the same since he made an appearance into it, and I am truly thankful for that. He has brought so much joy and happiness!

Happy Birthday my sweet little brother! May you realize you are loved and wanted forever!
You have grown so much, and I am so proud of you. God is changing your little heart and it is a blessing to witness. 


Monday, December 9, 2013


Our two little Pilgrims from Thanksgiving. Nastya and Maxim were so excited to dress up for the day :)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Love

All three of these beautiful couples mean so much to me, my two wonderful brothers and their wives and my dear cousin and his bride. This past weekend they were all in the same state for the first time since their weddings this year and I wanted to take the opportunity to capture the newlyweds all together.

June                                    July                            October


Monday, November 4, 2013

No more orphans

When I hear of children who are going to be adopted or have been adopted it makes my heart leap for joy! Now a child has a home, now a child has someone to love them, now a child will know what it means to be a part of a family, now a child will have someone to tell them happy birthday, I'm proud of you, you are loved, I care about your pains and sorrows! My heart longs for there to be no more orphans; for each child to know they are loved, they are wanted! No child is worthless, no child asked to be an orphan.

I think sometimes we can think too much about how we feel or how much it will "upset" our lives and not enough about the orphan who needs a home, a family. How will this affect my life, what will I have to give up, is it worth it? Yes it's worth it! Is it easy? No it's not easy, it's hard. But so worth it!


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Father's Love

Dad worked for hours upon hours building this beautiful play fort for Nastya and Maxim.

Over the last few years we had started to get rid of all "little kid" stuff, as we thought there was not a need anymore for such items. Oh how wrong we were :) Swings are a much loved toy by Nastya and Maxim, so Poppy wanted to build them a fort they could enjoy and play on. They will now spend hours outdoors playing on the fort, they love it!

Maxim is our little monkey ;)

Their smiles make me smile!

Love those eyes!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

One Year!

Wow, how could one year have already passed since our world changed and we received the blessing of two new siblings?! Time sure does fly. As I reflect on this last year I am in awe of all God has done in our family and truly thankful for the change He has brought about in Nastya and Maxim, and our whole family. He has grown and stretched each one of us in ways I never thought possible, making us realize even more our great need of Him to sustain us each day. This quote is oh so true....

Yet with each trial that comes, God sees us through and He sustains and guides us. Each hurt the kiddos throw at us to push us away, so they are the ones hurting and not being hurt, makes me know they need love so badly and they just don't know a healthy way to show it.

Yes, rosy family is not how I would always describe us. I am sure sometimes people see us when we are out and wonder what is up with "that family" as children throw fits (not appropriate for their age- well not good for any age), yet you have to ignore the shocked looks and disgusted looks of people and push on and deal with the struggles and correct the behaviors. Others have no clue what these children have been through (all the pain and hurt).  They also have no idea of how far the children have already come.  I have learned much and God continues to humble me and I am thankful to Him for that. We don't always know what the stranger at the store, library, park or so on has been through and we need to show love and grace to them.

So yes this year has had many trials and tears, but also SO MUCH JOY!
Seeing the love Nastya and Maxim do show makes my heart full with so much happiness and joy! The first time "I love you" is said is such a huge moment of thankfulness! I really can't describe how it feels, after months of loving a child, and then to hear them say "I love you".... the feeling is like nothing I have ever felt. To see how far they have come in their knowlege of Christ is so encouraging.  I am still praying that God will draw them to Himself. How I long for them to be saved and to know the true joy of unconditional love.

First night they were here, one year ago today :)

They both have blossomed so much and changed, growing up fast...
Maxim tends to scrunch his eyes when I ask for a picture :)

There are two fewer orphans this year, yet there are SO many more still needing homes.... Pray, ponder.. what is God calling you to do to help the millions of orphans?!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

School is in session!

Another school year has started for the kiddos, well and for me too I guess, I am going back to the first grade :).

I'll be doing Maxim's teaching this year. I am very excited at the opportunity and blessed to be able to work with my little cutie. I could not have asked for a better first day back to doing school. Maxim was SO excited for school! Now if only the excitement lasts the whole year... :)

Maxim wanted to get dressed nice for his first day back to school :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hurting heart...

As I was left in charge of the kiddos tonight so the parents could attend bible study I was reminded that Maxim is still very much hurting inside. He struggles daily, but today was just a little more than "normal" (whatever that word may mean, ha). His guard is up and he hurts you before you can hurt him...that's his mindset. I pray for the day when he realizes we have no desire to hurt him, only to love him. I am hurting emotionally and physically as anyone with adoptive siblings or children can imagine. Having Maxim come into my life has sure grown and stretched me in ways I could not have imagined. Perhaps making me ready to adopt someday myself?!? I know I am just his older sister, but he is also my baby, my love for him is beyond words. When he lashes out in violence, my heart just loves him more, not because of his sin in being disobedient, but because of the little boy who is hurting so badly and does not know how to handle it. . . because all the pain and hurt he has been through has left a deep scar. Makes me want to go and adopt a bunch more precious children who need someone to love them! In the meantime, I will pray that if it is God's will He will open the door for us to adopt again, the more kiddos the better :).

When Maxim does let his guard down he is one of the sweetest boys you will meet. He can be so silly, always making us laugh and bringing so much joy. I thought this picture captured some of his sweetness :) That smile melts my heart!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Adoption complete!

This post is a little late in coming, but I wanted to say, Yahoo we have two new offical members to our family! No more "when will the judge call" or "will he let me stay here", or "when is my adoption date going to be". The adoption is final! Nastya and Maxim are officially and forever in our family. July 24th will always be a special day, a day that Nastya finally let herself relax and realize this is her home and we would not ever give her away. She could breath a little more easily knowing the papers were signed and she was in a family, one that loved her dearly, not on the condition of her actions. The years of pain to get to this point are far more than any of us will ever endure in our lives.
Oh the joy in her face the morning of the adoption was priceless, a true delight to behold and be a part of.

On the way to the court house. You could not take the smile off her beautiful face :)

Our boy of many faces ;) Maxim was excited but held it back most the day.
He does not like to need people or for people to know how much he really cares.
The pain he has gone through has left a large scar.
Oh how I wish to wipe all the pain away......
For me the moment I saw my precious siblings in our driveway they were family, no matter what a piece of paper said, this just made it official! I am truly thankful to God for bringing them into our lives! I would have never imagined a year ago that I would have two more wonderful siblings.

An extremely happy girl hugging daddy after the papers were signed

Thankful for all the family and friends who came to court and celebrated in the joy of adoption with us!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Pickin

Berry picking with these two was so much fun. Whenever I see true joy and happiness on their faces it makes this big sister's heart oh so happy. It amazes me after all their pain, how much they can still have joy. God is truly the healer of hearts!



Monday, July 1, 2013

Cooking with my little man :)

Cooking with Maxim = lots of laughter, smiles, and a mess to clean up :). This morning Maxim wanted very much for me to show him how to make blini. He said they are his best meal and he needed to know how to make them on his own :). So we set off making his favorite meal.

I think we had more eggshell in the bowl than egg :)

Flour was everywhere..

Proud of his finished work! :)