Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Monday, February 28, 2011

Picture of shower gifts

As you can see, Maia made out big at the church shower. I want to thank everyone for the fantastic gifts. This little girl will have everything she wants, and then some. Thanks again to all the ladys of our great little church.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

So blessed!

Today, our church had a shower for Maia. I cannot even begin to tell you what an amazing event this was!  Two adoptive moms shared their stories which was very special. Beautiful bible verses about children were read. Miss Maia loved the refreshments! She ate a whole vanilla cupcake with frosting and about 3/4 of my german chocolate cupcake with frosting - good stuff! :-)

Mark's mom and sister Betsy were able to attend as well as three of my very dear friends: Del, Nancy, and Kari. The ladies of our church blessed us beyond anything I could have possibly imagined! Our sweetie got so many beautiful outfits, fun nighties, her first swimsuit... she will be the best dressed girl around! And it didn't stop there - Maia got xylophones, Mr and Mrs.Potato Head, toys to play in the sand with, puzzles, blocks, paints (Erica - the art smock is PERFECT!!), the list goes on and on. Our family room was full of packages and it was just as much fun to go through things again tonight and show them to Mark.

The "things" are wonderful, but even more special are the prayers and wishes that accompanied these gifts. They mean more than anything - not only is our girl loved by her immediate family - she has a larger circle of people who think she's pretty special, too. Mark and I are so touched by this!

Speaking of that wonderful hubby of mine... since us girls were off doing "girl things," Mark had fun putting a new motor on his snowblower. He was able to try it out this afternoon since the snow kept coming. And Maia had fun watching daddy out the window.

I was lazy tonight so we enjoyed dinner out. Now, we're going to call it an early night. Maia fell asleep quickly and I think I will do the same. ;-)  I'll try to get pics from today uploaded soon.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Well I am not thankful for kids shampoo. As I was putting away clothes my nice daughter was sitting on the potty, and within reach of the shampoo (as I found out). When I went to get her she had put shampoo on her legs (thinking it was lotion like mommy uses) and also on the adult toilet seat and tried to rub it in. So miss Maia got her second bath for the day about 1/2 hour after the first. But I am thankful for a CLEAN little girl.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

bad news

this morning Melanie called me with some bad news. as most of you know Melanie was married once before.we are close to her former in laws. this morning we found out bonnie (Melanie's former mother in law) has a twin sister who was found dead in her house along with her husband. we  don't know anymore than that. we have gone out to dinner with them a few times and found them to be very nice people.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Maia update

I've been saying that I was going to do an "update" for a while now and since it's still quiet this morning, thought I would take a few minutes before getting ready for church to do that. So... how is Maia doing? I'll start with the physical stuff. I know we've posted bits and pieces as we've went along, but just to summarize. We've seen all the doctors at the Spina Bifida clinic, had lots of tests and met with therapists.
  • Neurology: Maia is doing great for a child who has spina bifida. Her MRI shows an Arnold-Chiari malformation which means that her cerebellum and brain stem are pushed downward. This affects her balance. At times, she is pretty unsteady. Her shunt is fine and seems to be working well. The EMG showed that she has a predisposition towards seizures so she will continue on anti-seizure medication as a preventive therapy. At this point, there is nothing she needs other than follow up with the neurologist every 6 months or so.
  • Urology: Maia has vesicoureteral reflux - basically, her bladder muscles are too stiff and urine flows backward into her kidneys. It also causes her to be incontinent. The reflux has the potential to damage her kidneys. Thankfully, her tests show healthy kidneys. The urologist started her on medication which will relax the bladder muscle as well as a prophylactic antibiotic. We are cathing her four times a day with the goal of keeping her dry between times. Not happening at night yet, but we are making progress during the day.
  • Cardiololgy: Absolutely no heart problems!
  • Ophthalmology: Maia has strabismus - crossed eyes. Her eyes work independently of each other, although the vision in each is good. Her right eye is slightly stronger than her left eye so we are patching the right eye for 4-6 hours/day to strengthen the left one. Maia will see the eye doctor in a few weeks and we expect that he will schedule surgery shortly after this to correct the strabismus. She may need to wear glasses for a period of time following - we're not sure.
  • Audiology: Perfect (but selective - lol) hearing.
  • Physical Medicine/Rehab: Evaluations by physical, occupational/speech therapists all say she is doing great. Yes, she is delayed for her age but with play and the stimulation/attention she is now getting, she will catch up. No braces or orthotics are needed. Maia's hip joints are loose so we need to encourage her to sit with her legs in front of her or crossed when she is on the floor.
So physically, all is as good or better than we expected knowing the medical issues she had when we adopted her. It would have been great if there were no bowel/bladder issues, but these affect nearly every child with SB so it was not unanticipated.

Emotionally/adjustment wise, Maia is also doing well. She is slowly becoming more affectionate, occasionally giving kisses when prompted. Still doesn't like to be held or cuddled, but will come up and lay her head on our knee sometimes. She does love her grandparents VERY much! Maia is making more eye contact with us and has started to notice when Mark or I leave her - good signs of attachment. Her lungs are fully developed - lol! There is a lot of testing and screaming that goes on in our house when she does not get her way. It's hard for a girl who has to learn what's acceptable behavior in her new family. Although I don't like the temper tantrums, I recognize them as a sign that she trusts us enough to let that behavior show. And hopefully, they will decrease over time as we are consistent in our expectations. Most of them have to do with food and toileting. Verbally, she has about 25 words of English which is awesome! Her Russian vocabulary was only about 10 words so the fact that she has more than double that in less than 2 months of being home is wonderful! And her comprehension is excellent - she is understanding many simple instructions such as putting her silverware in the dishwasher after meals, throwing napkins in the garbage. Need to work on her ability to dress/undress herself, but it will come in time.

Some days aren't easy, but that's parenthood. I am thankful that God gives us enough good days that they sustain when those challenging ones come. We love our girl and it is fun to see her grow and blossom!

Ok... gotta run, I'm cutting it close in getting ready for church.

Dancing Girl
 Sweet pea!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Today is Saturday Melanie's friend Dolores asked if we would talk to her church about our adoption. Melanie made a very nice power point presentation and we used their projection screen for the talk. It lasted about 40 minutes. We (by we I mean Melanie) talked about how we started out to look domestically for our little girl (well it turned out to be our little girl) . Then how we went to international adoption and finally found the little girl we were looking for.
Then it was my turn to talk and I thanked everyone that helped us along the way (all that I remembered at the time) I'm sure I forgot one or two people (there are so many of them). So to everyone who helped in any way thank you very much.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I know... I've really been a slacker lately. It's not for lack of things to blog about, it's for lack of time. Perhaps this weekend, I'll be able to post a few pics of our girl and summarize where we are at. But for now... I'll just share a couple things I am thankful for.

- This Saturday, we will be sharing the story of our adoption journey at my friend Del's church (Anyone can attend - if you want more info, just email me). Planning for this talk required me to go back over our blog looking at time lines and remembering details. Although I "know," I sometimes forget how evident God's hand was each step of the way. He is faithful!!
- My mom had dinner with us tonight. It was nice to spend a little time with her and visit. My sweet hubby took care of Maia after we ate so that mom and I could chat.
- Maia continues to do well. We've counted about 25 words that she says now. Given that her Russian speech was limited to about 10 words, she has made great progress!!
- Now, I'm thankful that I have a few minutes to go spend with the my wonderful guy - he is really the best!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just a pic

I was going to post tonight, but it's getting late and I'm wiped out. So I will just share this blurry, too cute picture of our girl. She's doing well, starting to feel comfortable enough to explore a little bit now. Today, she figured out how to put a big thick pillow on the floor in front of my night stand to turn on my radio. After she showed me, we had fun dancing to the music! I've got to upload those pics so they will have to wait for another day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Teacher born with Down syndrome breaks through stereotypes... Inspirational!

More proof that God knew what He was doing when he created kids with that special extra chromosome!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It's been a little while since I have posted a Thankful Thursday. Today, a couple of important things come to mind.

- God answers prayers!! On Feb. 19, Mark and I are speaking about our adoption journey at my friend Del's church. This morning, I was looking back at our blog to get some specific references to include in our talk. I came across this post which truly speaks to how faithful our God is. At that time, I was pretty sure that if we adopted an "older child," it would be a boy. I will have to get a picture of Maia in the tutu very soon!

- Following God's calling. I will be honest... when I first got the email about Maia and shared her information with Mark, I was not sure she was our child. I prayed and prayed, asked friends/family to pray, prayed some more, but still wasn't sure. Mark was and I decided that I had to trust in his decision. So we started the journey and I continued to pray, asking God that if there was any reason we weren't supposed to adopt Anastasia (Maia), that He would just stop the process. But, that we would continue as if she were ours until He told us she wasn't. I look at this precious face and think about how much we would be missing out on if we hadn't listened to God's whispers calling us to be Maia's parents. I thank God that He cleared out path every step of the way to bring our beautiful daughter home!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Redeeming Love

One of my favorite "bloggy friends" is Adeye. She has a beautiful family and I have linked to her blog before. She inspires me with her faith and I can see her heart for God and the orphan. Although all of her children are precious, her daughter Harper has absolutely touched my heart. God had a special plan in mind for this little girl and you can read about some of that plan here. I am always in awe of how God works behind the scenes as His perfect plan unfolds. For those who read my blog and wonder if there really is a God out there, I encourage you to let this story speak to you.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Feb.8

I went in to donate blood today, this was number 90 for me. While we were there Maia had the second phase of shots taken care of. She is adding a few new words, purple and car are the new ones for now. We went to Menards and got some sledding equipment for her.

We are not blogging as much as we use to. That is a good thing, it means things are slowing down for her (and us), but keep coming back we update a few times a week.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Please help - you may win something for yourself as well!

Check out this amazing giveaway and consider donating to Peter's grant! My heart is heavy thinking about this little boy who needs a family. If nothing else, PRAY!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Today we went to see Marge. That is Melanie's cousin who lives in Albert Lea MN. This is the first time they have met.Maia got some toys from her and then  we went out to eat at the Pizza Ranch. We tried story time again today but it was not a hit. We also went to pick up our pig Petunia, She was raised by Melanie's mom and dad. Now she is ham and bacon for us. I'm sorry that I don't blog as well as Melanie, but this is me.


Friday, February 4, 2011

It's been a good day

I have to admit that I wasn't sure it was going to be when I got up this morning. I was full of self-doubt. Satan was working overtime telling me that I'm a rotten mother and wife, that I will never be good enough to care for Maia in the way that she deserves, that Mark deserves someone much better than me - oh, it was ugly thoughts in my head. All self-directed and all self-loathing.

I got to work and started my day. A couple people came in and asked how Maia was doing. One of them asked how I was doing. And I don't quite remember how the conversation ended up on this topic, but she said something that changed my whole outlook. I won't get it exactly right, but she basically reminded me that no mother is ever perfect and that I don't have to be. But, there are a lot of things that I can do to be a good mom. God doesn't expect me to be a perfect mother to Maia. He knows that I'm human and that I am full shortcomings. He DOES expect me to an imperfect momma to Maia, though. Since the beginning of time, He has known that I would be Maia's momma and He chose me for that great blessing! I'm doing an awful job of explaining the reassurance that I received during that conversation, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. So thank you S for your words of wisdom!

The day went well, I was able to accomplish everything I needed in time to leave for Maia's neurology appointment this afternoon. She had an MRI of the brain and spine this morning to obtain baseline information about her hydrocephaly, shunt, and spina bifida. Mark took her to that and I met them at the clinic in time to meet with Dr. Patterson. Although he only had preliminary results, there was nothing unexpected. Maia's spinal cord is tethered which basically means it never separated from her lower back during development. She may or may not require surgery to untether the spinal cord. At this point, it isn't necessary and would be only if she had difficulties. The doctor said that he is very impressed with how well she is doing and in his words, "She really is amazing!" Yes... we think so, too! Anyway... the neurosurgeon will also review the MRI and contact us if there is anything concerning.

Otherwise from a spina bifida/hydrocephaly standpoint, Maia is doing very well and this was the last of the tests. We will start every 6 month routine check-ups now. Only ongoing issue is the eyes. Maia will see the ophthalmologist in March and we anticipate that she will be scheduled for surgery at that time. She's doing wonderfully with the patching - really tolerates it without difficulty.

Got home early enough that I was able to have some precious time to play and just enjoy being mamma to this sweet girl of mine - how blessed I am to be able to call her my daughter!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011