At around 9:30pm on December 30, 2010, two very tired parents and one exhausted little girl arrived at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. They had been traveling for nearly 24 hours. After clearing customs, they were greeted by two sets of grandparents eager to see their new granddaughter. At approximately 1am, those weary parents (who hadn't seen their home in six weeks) walked through the front door of their home with their sleeping daughter. And life at the Hansen house hasn't been the same since. Oh, how much joy that sweet girl brings to our lives! So thankful for the past two years!!
I know...I've been away from blogging for a little while. Haven't even been keeping up with my favorite blogs which is out of character for me. But, time with family (and trying to get through the holidays) have taken a higher priority. Over the next couple of days, I'm going to attempt to get the blog updated and may be back dating some entries including Christmas so you may want to check and see if there are new posts that you haven't seen yet (if you are so inclined - lol).
The stomach flu hit me Christmas night. Fortunately, I was scheduled for vacation for the rest of the week so I didn't have to worry about missing work. Unfortunately, I was planning on using the time to study for my gerontological nurse practitioner certification exam.
When I graduated from school, I decided to take the adult NP exam right away because that made me more marketable. I planned to take the gerontological exam within a few months. But with Maia's adoption, it just never happened. Well... the organization that offers the examination is making changes to the process. And if I didn't take the GNP test by the end of this year, I would have to take a combination exam (adult AND gerontological) in order to get my GNP. When I found this out last month, I figured I better bite the bullet and get it done with now.
Never expected that I would be doing my studying while my stomach was fighting with me. Not the best way to retain information - lol! God heard my prayers and by this morning, I was feeling better. Took the test and am proud to report that I passed my GNP certification exam. Who knows? Maybe when the kids get older, I may even consider going back for that doctorate. Hmm... probably not likely, but I am no longer ruling it out.
Since I don't have addresses for all of you (and also because I didn't get cards sent to everyone I hoped to this year), here is our Christmas letter.
When I began to think about
this year’s Christmas letter, the first thought that came to mind was “thank
goodness 2012 is almost over. It’s a year that we will be glad to see end.” And
yet as I began to write, God reminded me of the many blessings that He provided
us with this year as well.
Maia’s shunt revision surgery in February started a journey that
culminated with a prolonged seizure two days after Mother’s Day. A six week
hospitalization followed because of a life-threatening infection in her brain
and spinal fluid. Literally, people all
over the world prayed for our warrior girl! It brings me to tears thinking
about it even now. We were humbled and touched by the outpouring of support
from our church, family, friends, and people we have never even met. While life
looks different for Maia (and our family) than it did before May 15, we praise
God for the progress she continues to make!
This year reinforced how thankful we are for family. During Maia’s
hospitalization, Matthew enjoyed time with both sets of grandparents. How
fortunate we were to have them love on our boy while Mark and I struggled to
balance hospital and home life. A highlight of Matthew’s year was a puppy named
Suki who lives at Grandmama and Grandpa Jerry’s! They have a wonderful time playing
together. Matthew wasn’t exempt from the hospital, either. He had outpatient
surgery the day after Maia got home so that I didn’t have to take any
additional time off from work. But, he was quickly on the go again, eager to
explore and have fun.
Matthew and Mark were able to help celebrate Mark’s grandma’s 101st
birthday in August. Grandma died later this fall so our memories of time spent
with her are even more precious. We miss her, but are so glad that she lived to
see the kiddos come home and be part of our family!
We had a short visit from
Melanie’s brother and sister-in-law, Jake and Krys, who live in Portland. This was their
first opportunity to meet Matthew and Maia. Matthew is eager for the time when
they visit again or we are able to travel to Oregon to see them. “Dyadya” and “tiotya”
(Russian for uncle and aunt) are some of his favorite people.
The kids both attend
pre-school: Maia in the mornings and Matthew in the afternoons. They have
wonderful teachers who are absolutely committed to them. The kids are showing
such progress as a result. No words can express how thankful I am for their
caring and dedication.
Mark and I are fine. He remains
at home with the kids and I continue to work as a nurse practitioner for Mayo.
Life is crazy and chaotic as Christmas approaches. We are waiting to hear if
our offer to buy a home on 2 acres of land will be accepted. It has a main
floor bedroom for Maia and space for Matthew to burn off some energy. We trust
that God knows where we will be next Christmas and that He has our best
interest at heart.
So as I look back over the past twelve months, 2012 looks nothing like
I anticipated when writing last year’s cards. And while it was a difficult year
on many levels, it is also a year that has taught us much about relying on our
heavenly Father and rethinking what is important in our lives. It is a year
that has showered us with many blessings and given us many reasons to give
thanks and praise. We have much to celebrate this Christmas and pray that you
do, too – most importantly, the greatest gift of all – the birth of the Christ
Would you please join me in praying for a little boy named Ethan who is fighting for his life right now? You can read about him in his mom's blog here. I remember all too well those moments of praying that God would provide that miracle and save my child. Storm the gates of heaven with me for this kiddo who has endured more in his three years than most of us will endure in our entire lives.
Just time for a very quick post tonight, it's way past my bedtime and morning comes too quickly these days. But, I am thankful this Thursday...
For my loving hubby who drove me to work because the roads were horrible and he knows how much I hate driving in winter storms.
For my precious kiddos who are here with us and sleeping in their own beds tonight. I meant to do a longer post, but was looking at some old flash drive files of our adoption journey. How far they have come since their time at the detsky dom. Oh, I love my children!
For families who are working hard to bring their own kiddos home from orphanages and institutions around the world.
For a heavenly Father who blesses me with far more than I deserve!
Ok friends, surprise me - what are you thankful for today?
This morning, I got an early Christmas present! I was getting ready for work and playing with Matthew at the same time. I had heard Maia awake downstairs and called to see if she would come to the steps, but she didn't. So Matthew and I continued to play while I was in the bathroom. All of a sudden I heard a rattle at the child gate in the living room, came out to check, and found Miss Maia at the top of the steps! Did you hear me yelling "YAY, MAIA!!"? That was about the best Christmas present I could have received! You go, sweet girl - I am so proud of you!!
Two years ago today, your daddy and I stood in a court room in Sevastopol, Ukraine asking a judge to approve our request to become your parents. God blessed us beyond measure when she said "yes!" It is hard to believe that 720 days have passed since you joined our family. In some ways, it seems like a short time and other ways, it feels as if you have been with us since birth.
The past twenty four months have been a journey like none other. There have been moments of great joy and moments of immense sorrow. Through it all, you have shown such a strong spirit. You have amazed us and charmed us with your giggles, your hugs, your sweet personality.
You are infinitely precious, sweet girl and we are so thankful that God chose you to be our daughter!
Happy adoption day, Maia Anastacia Hansen!!
WE LOVE YOU!!
Yep, that's cake and ice cream all over her face! Gotta have a little fun as we celebrate!
We've had a couple of nice days. Yesterday was my day off and I took Matthew to speech therapy in the morning. Mark and I decided a few weeks ago that we were going to try letting him work with Miss Becky while we waited in the lobby. So far, it seems to be going well. He was doing all right when one of us went in with him, but about 20 minutes in to the appointment, Matthew would decide that he wanted to get out of his chair and come over to where I (or Mark) was sitting. It was very difficult to keep him on task. I think we may have been more distraction than support.
After Matthew got out of school, we dropped some Christmas cookies off at several friends' houses and headed to town to get hair cuts for the guys. Enjoyed pizza and then drove out to look at an amazing Christmas light display. I have to admit, I was feeling a little emotional. On my cell phone, I have video from our trip last year. Looking at it last night, I could hear Maia talking in the background. How I miss her sweet voice. I glanced at the date of the video - it was a year ago to the day.
I took vacation time today and we headed to Minneapolis to check out a European market that I had heard about. They have mainly Russian items (appropriate since Sevastopol is pretty Russian in it's culture). It's a small little store, but wandering through the aisles brought back so many memories! The kind woman who was working was so interested in hearing about our kiddos. She had tears in her eyes when we left and asked us to come back for a visit even if we didn't come to shop. Burgers for lunch and then stopped to see one of Mark's friends on our way home. All in all, just good, low key family time.
Here's our goodies from the market. The kids are going to take some Russian treats to school to share with their classmates and we'll enjoy a few things as well. I was hoping to find the yummy ramen noodles we had while we were in Ukraine, but no luck. Oh, well.
How quickly days pass! The computer has been low on my priority list over the past couple weeks. I've checked in on blogs here and there, but that's really about it. I meant to get a thankful Thursday post done this past week, but it just didn't happen. I really thought the holiday season wouldn't be so crazy this year... I know, silly me!
So, what have we been up to since my last post? Let's see how my foggy memory does. Last weekend was our annual cookie bake. I think this was the 9th or 10th year (sorry mom, I can't remember). My mom and I invite friends for a day of holiday baking. We had such a nice time! Usually, the weather is rotten - this year, it was in the upper 40's and sunny, what a treat!
Mark's mom decorating cookies
My friend Jo distributing the goodies
Maia was under the weather with a cold, but starting to improve last week. Then, Mark came down with the stomach flu. He was miserable. So thankful for my in-laws who came over to watch the kids while I was at work on Wednesday! They also helped clean out our lower level family room because we had carpet installers coming at 8:30am Thursday. Mark started feeling better and next, Matthew picked up Maia's cold. He felt pretty rotten on Thursday and Friday.
Yesterday, we had breakfast with Santa. Matthew was excited to tell him exactly what he wanted for Christmas this year (a Buzz Lightyear toy that talks and has other sound effects or a Spiderman mask and hands that actually shoot spiderwebs).
By the end of day, Maia was on round 2 of the rotten cold. She and I stayed home from church this morning so she could rest, although the stinker was having NONE of that - lol! Can tell that Matthew still isn't quite back to himself either, both kids are a bit more cranky than usual. The germs just keep circulating... so far, I've avoided the worst of the crud. But given how many times I was sneezed on and had my face coughed on today, I'm not optimistic that I'll hold out for long.
Oh, I almost forgot the other potentially big news. We may have a move in our future. We've put in an offer on a house not too far from here with 2 acres of land and are waiting to hear if it will be accepted. It's a short sale, so has to go through the bank and the investor for approval. The house has a main floor bedroom for Maia which would be nice and space for Matthew to burn off some energy. Not sure when we will hear, but even if it is God's plan for us to stay in our present home, that's fine. So, that's what's happening around here for anyone who is still out there. :-)