November 28, 2012

Laura loses her first tooth

Happy Thanksbirthday!

What do you call it when your birthday actually falls on Thanksgiving? Well, Happy Thanksbirthday of course!

Laura, As you celebrate turning 6, we have soooooo much to be thankful for! We love you and are so thankful for you!

Happy 6th Birthday!

Here is our sweet little "gift". Yup, we've got ourselves a real goof ball!

How did my Eric get sooooo tall?!

Laura with her Grandparents, Grandpa and Memere.
This was our third Thanksgiving in a row that my parents came up fom GA.
Laura loved all the special attention she got. : )

W set up a bouncy in the front yard and all the niegborhood kids came over and jumped and jumped!

Playing with Alex on the bouncy slide.

Here she is just 1 1/2 years ago. Laura has always loved sliding! : )

Ok, back to Thanksgiving, I mean, Thanksbirthday. We celebrated Laura's birthday with cupcakes around noon and then a big Turkey dinner at 4:00. Thankfully, turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy is one of Laura's favorites.

November 12, 2012

Leg # 4 - "Mermaid Leg"

Actually, it's just the socket that is new. We re-used everything else.


Introducing "Mermaid Leg"!

The brown haired mermaid is Laura, the redhead is Katie, one of the blonde's is Beth and the other is Riley! Yup, she named them all. 

Riding a Bike


With a little help from training wheels and some rope,
 Look who learned how to ride a bike this weekend! 

November 10, 2012

I'm a Super Hero!

Patrick made the mistake of calling Laura a Princess. "I'm NOT a Princess, I am a Super Hero!" She said.

A playground for the orphans in Ust-Kamenogorsk

Ust-Kamenogorsk. What? I can hardly say that.
What and where is that?

Ust-Kamenogorsk is in Kazakhstan. This is where
our daughter, Laura, is from! Two hearts for hope
is a Non-profit organization who are building a
playground for the orphans in Ust this coming summer!

Two hearts for hope has already replaced all the windows
in this orphanage and painted the building. What a blessing!

So, today, on the morning of Nov 10th, on this our Marine Corps
Birthday, I have started my Christmas shopping. I started it
right here, by going to; Two hearts for hope and sending in
a donation for all the current children and future children,
waiting for a family to come get them from Ust-Kamenogorsk.
I have sent in my donaton in honor of our little gal from Kaz!
Please consider the gift of children playing and laughing in
a new playground while they wait for a Mommy.


We are excited to begin our next big project in Kazakhstan! Our goal is to raise $20,000 for a new playground at Baby Home orphanage in Ust-Kamenogorsk. The orphanage has approximately 125 children between the ages of 0-4. The children have little to no room to run around and exercise their bodies and brain.
A new playground would get the children moving and having fun at the same time. The children will have climbing structures to exercise their legs, bars exercise arms and shoulders and all together the equipment encourages children to run, giving them a healthy does of cardiovascular exercise.
Playground equipment has also been proven to help develop toddlers' brain, as they learn about the world through motor activities and sensory experiences. Brain development in the first six years of life is especially important, and the more the children exercise both their sensory and motor skills, the more brain connections are created.
Playgrounds not only have physical benefits but social and self-confidence benefits as well. Children learn how to take turns and exercise self-control through group interaction. Children also gain self-confidence as they master the playground structure which leads to an increase in self-esteem.
We feel it is essential for the orphans to have a playground that will aid in their physical, mental, and social well-being.

Playground to be built in May 2013. Please consider helping the children of Ust!

                       What the old windows looked like


October 29, 2012

The BIG question all adopted kids ask

So, after celebrating Gotcha day, as I was tucking Laura in, it happened, the BIG question. The question that is asked probably more than once by every child that has ever been put up for adoption.

"Why didn't my other Mom, the Mom who grew me in her belly, keep me?" Laura asked, not meeting my eyes, as if afraid of the answer or afraid to hurt my feelings, or both. There have only been a couple moments so far, like this between us. The question really shouldn't have come as a big surprise, I just had to take a second, pull her close to me, and speak the truth. I told her, her Birth Mom wanted the best for her and just couldn't give it. I told her that her Birth Mom wanted her to be able to have everything she needed and wanted her to be able to have surgeries and to be able to walk and have a better life. Laura then hugged me and told me she loved me to the Moon and back. Then we did our play fight of who loved the other more. I think I won with, "I loved you first!"

I hope I did Ok. This is difficult stuff. I know she'll ask me more questions. I have so few answers.
What I do know is this; we love our daughter all the way to the Moon and back!


Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother

Two different lives shaped to make you one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun

The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it

One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you a talent, the other gave you aim

One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried you tears

One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.

Now, which of these two women, Are you the product of?
Both, my darling, Both, Just two different types of love.
---- Unknown

A little girl with a BIG personality- Then and now

Yesterday, we celebrated our 2nd Gotcha day. Laura's been with us 2 whole years, 1/3 of her life now.
We looked at pictures and video's and told stories about how our family came to be. Laura especially enjoyed watching her Gotcha video.

We watched the Gotcha video before church. When we got back, she asked to watch the video again from when she was "born". Lol! Everything that happened before we got her, she refers to herself as a baby. Compared to now, she did seem like a baby. What a busy 2 yrs we've had and what a long way she's come! Praise God!!

Honestly, she looks so grown up now. What has remained the same is her BIG personality! She has a lot of attitude and a strong desire to have fun. It was funny going through the old pictures and recognizing her traits and seeing her personality. We know our Lil Pumpkin so well now.

We now know this is the look of, "I get car sick"

This is the "I'm sneaky and mischievous". Look.

 I'm wild and in charge!

 I'm going to get into EVERYTHING!!
I love to have fun!
I'm curious.
and always hungry!

Today, she is still full of energy and all of these descriptions!!
Taken today after her hair cut.

Happy Second Gotcha Day!

October 28, 2012
It's been 2 years since Gotcha day!
We met Laura in July of 2010 and spent 3 weeks bonding wth her. We had to wait 12 weeks for her passport to be ready. 12 long weeks! We flew back the end of October to finally bring home our gal.
Here is our Gotcha video from Oct. 28, 2010

We dressed Laura and her doll Katya.

 After she was all dressed, we went downstairs and signed the book. Just like that, after so many months of waiting, she was ours!

Then we said our goodbyes....

I thank God, for the Ladies God sent to nurture our girl, those 47 months she lived at the Baby House.
The lady on the right spoke to me in Russian for what seemed abut 10 minutes. I have no idea what she said, but I heard every word she spoke, in my heart. With tears streaming down my face, I promised to love Laura and gve her everything she needed. Although we didn't understand each other's language, we knew what was spoken. I am so thankful for all the Ladies we called Mama's.

And so our journey with Laura began.
Yup, the journey began!

 This picture, of Laura escaping, is for all my fellow adoptive parents out there! : )
 Oh, the fun we had with our perfect little Angel!