Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Russian Adoption: A Birthday She'll Never Forget

Yesterday Amy turned eleven.

We're certain she always remember this particular birthday because she spent the day in California. Her dad and brother had a week-long business trip so we decided at the last minute to  make it a family trip.

First thing in the morning, we gathered and walked to a renowned breakfast restaurant in the area.

Even thought we got there before the crowd did, our wait was still fairly long. You get used to this when you travel as an extra-large group.

Super-hungry Oksana kept checking to see if the restaurant was ready for us.

The rest of us us fellowshipped.

I was even able to sneak in a photo of our first Russian trio whom God placed in our family through adoption almost 12 years ago: Mark (17), Jaynie (almost 20) and Sarah (18).

The breakfast was outstanding--worth every minute of the wait. However, on the walk back from the restaurant, we indulged in sweatshirts for our youngest little girlies. Their goose bumps were enough to evoke our sympathy.

As a photographer, I quickly discovered the two girls looked mighty fine together in these colors. This worked out great since the duo are best friends.

Here Amy wrastled with a pink-flowered water snake...and eventually won!

Next we were off to beach...about a block away.

The birthday girl and her best buddy tentatively made their way to the water's edge. While the others had forged on ahead of them to begin wave hopping.

Later, older sisters, Jaynie (left) and Daria (right) help the birthday girl work up the courage to do a bit of wave hopping.

Mostly, though, Amy was content to play in the sand. These are her legs after some of that sand play. We weren't sure we'd ever get her clean!

After the hours of beach play, the kids were quite hungry. When we reached the restaurant, we told the birthday girl she could order anything she wanted (first time off the kids' menu!). She immediately set her heart on the "Danger Burger", a hamburger large enough to scare anyone but Amy.

We finished the day by a stroll down the Santa Monica Pier--a happening place at night. Our birthday girl was tired and happy after her first-ever birthday in such an exotic locale.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Russian Adoption: Broken Hearts

Yesterday the U.S. State Department met with Russian government officials. Today the 1,000 or so families that were caught in the process when the Russian legislature, the Duma, enacted a ban nearly four months ago on American adoption were informed of the Russian government's official position on the issue.

Our State Department was told that the ban is a law with no room for negotiation. No orphans will be allowed out. No allowances will be made for special needs children or those who are hard to place because they are older or parts of sibling groups.

Our hearts are so heavy. Since December, we've held out hope the orphans who had already been matched with families, like the three brothers and sister we were hoping to make part of our family, would still be placed. Today our hope crumbled. We've held the four kids we planned on naming Timothy, David, Luke and Katherine so close to our hearts for a whole year now. The pain is deep.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Powerful Blog: True Love

If you haven't already been exposed to the blog, Pray for Ian, I highly recommend you check out Ian and Larrisa.'s candid sharing of their lives together following a traumatic brain injury Ian experienced in an auto accident.

The most recent post includes a link to a recently published magazine article about their union, which is marked by suffering but made beautiful by God's grace and their commitment to one another in sickness and in health.

The video below captures the young couple's beautiful wedding.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Eric and Lissie: A Few Pictures of the Engaged Couple

Mrs. Beaver:

Back in January, Eric, who was courting Lissie, stayed with us for two weeks. Before he returned to Boston and she departed for Central Asia, they allowed me to take some photos of the two of them outside the nearby Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor.

Now they only have two months left until they get to see one another and five months until their wedding. Their blossoming relationship is inspiring many of us to remember just how pure and beautiful a love story can be when that story is written by God.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Russian Adoption: Tremendous Progress in our Princess

Oksana ~ adopted November 2010
Mrs. Beaver:

Sometimes it's good to look back.

When living from day-to-day following the adoption of an older child, it can be easy to miss just how far that child has come. This evening I stumbled upon a post (My Little Beauty) from just over a year ago. It's too late tonight to do a true update. Suffice it to say that Oksana, who will be nine this month, has come so far since I penned those words. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of her progress is her joy in learning. Oh my, how I love this little girl!

I thank the Lord that he placed this precious orphan with a learning disability in a family where she can get the attention she needs to reach her full potential. Her orphanage was truly an amazing place, but Oksana's intellectual needs could have been so easily missed in the crowd.

Thank you, Lord, for interceding in the life of this fatherless child by placing her in our home.