Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My mom said I need to put a better picture of Joseph on here. Said there was too much shadow on his face on the last photo to show how cute he really is.

So here you go, Mom:
The little boy in the back is Charlie, he also has Down Syndrome like Joseph, and he recently had a family commit to him as well. Wouldn't it be nice if we traveled together and got to hang out with another 'crazy' family for a couple of weeks?

I had a dream about him the other night, and it was so real, so vivid. I absolutely cannot wait to be his mommy! And yes the kids are absolutely thrilled about the idea of having Joseph as a little brother. Hope is just 10 days older than him, and she is already planning her next birthday party to include him. :)

Jude is really excited about sharing a room with him, so I have been hunting around for bunk beds. (Can I just say how disappointed I am that we do not have an IKEA around here.)

We are having to re-do much of the paperwork, and today I am trying to get a big chunk out of the way. Excuse me while I scream.


Monday, February 22, 2010

A Light at the End of a Dark Tunnel

I posted on my facebook status the other day: MAKING PLANS, HOPING GOD ISN'T LAUGHING.

I wrote it trying to be funny, but I also wrote it because deep down my heart is broken, my dreams are shattered and I want to hear His voice and do His will. I am learning to trust Him, and I don't want to screw anything up.

A friend wrote these words in response that I believe were from God Himself because they ministered to me in such a big way. Tears began pouring down my face as I read them, it was just what my heart needed to hear.

I don't think He is laughing Charissa. I think He is delighted, much like any good Father who sees His children wishing and dreaming big. I think of the daddy who cheers on his little girl who dreams big and is convinced she can see those dreams come true. Any good daddy I know would be cheering her on, regardless of the outcome, simply delighted that she is dreaming and willing to walk towards those dreams.

Isn't that profound?

So what plans am I making you may ask?


This is Joseph. He is 5 years old. His country will allow me to either share his photo OR which country he resides in, but not both. So while I won't tell where he lives, I will tell you that he will soon be a part of the Urban family. We have to change a few things on our homestudy and update a few forms and approvals and we will be set.

Joseph has been waiting for a family for 5 years. He almost had his chance at one this last fall. A wonderful family, a mom, a dad and 3 older sibling came to rescue him from a sad fate of life in an institution. But a mistake found in his paperwork rendered him unadoptable at the last minute, and his family had to return home without him. They were able to adopt another little boy in his place, but I know their hearts were broken nonetheless. I'm sure Joseph felt the loss too.

I read the Harris' pleas for prayers that day in October, but I was too wrapped up in my own sadness and grief and confusion over our own failing adoption to really even pay attention at the time.  Little did I know how many people were praying for him and little did I know that 4 months later we would be the answer to those prayers. We would be his second chance and he would be ours.

Many people have prayed for Joseph, advocated for him, raised money for him. One family used their Christmas budget to raise money for his adoption grant. How selfless is that? We are so grateful.

When I went to take dinner the other night to my good friend Justine who recently adopted a boy from Hong Kong, I told her our news, and she said Joseph's picture hung on their family's Christmas tree as their Christmas Angel. How good is God that he would bring me out of my sadness and have such a beautiful gift waiting for me on the other side?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy birthday Ava!

Today is my daughter Ava's birthday. She is 6. Her birthday is always bittersweet for me. I'm so happy that she is mine, but I always think of the mommy somewhere in Ukraine who surely feels some kind of heartache and longing every February 20.

Happy birthday my sweet girl. I love you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Simeon

Dear Simeon,
Happy birthday! These last 12 years have been loads of fun. You are just as sweet and just as goofy now as you were then. Thanks for all the laughs and for teaching me to enjoy the little things in life. I love you.

A Hero Among Us

While you are standing at the grocery store checkout line this week, be sure to pick up a copy of People Magazine, skip past Alec Baldwin, Angelina Jolie and Elin Woods, and open it straight to page 86. One of my favorite people in the world is featured in the Heroes Among Us section. Andrea Roberts, whose son Reece has Down Syndrome, is truly our hero and an inspiration to many. Andrea has made it her mission in life to let the world know that EVERY child deserves a family. She is the reason Ava has gift of a family, and the reason we have the gift of our Ava.

It's a wonderful article, you should definitely read it.

(And guess who is quoted at the very end!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An update on my nephew....

Thanks for your prayers. I just copied this from my sister-in-law's facebook status:

The nurse who was on duty that very rough first night is back...she can't believe this is even the same kid!!! Thank you, LORD! What a testimony of God's incredible power! Now that Von is stable, his doctors are confessing how concerned they were for him that first night. Von himself told me 3 times that he felt like he was going to die. God has truly sustained him and healed him! He'll likely be released tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


If you could spare a prayer today, my 5 year old nephew Von, battling leukemia, is in the hospital today fighting high fevers as high as 105.4, lethargy and low oxygen. They are trying to find the right antibiotic to treat his infection. If you think of him today, please remember him in your prayers.

This is the reason why......

...I must continue to advocate for adoption reform, as long as I am an adoption advocate. This was on last night's news......

By the way, this agency is licensed, accredited, and still going strong in Ethiopia.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Sunday, February 14, 2010

MAKE THAT $420!!

An anonymous donor just added another $100 to Anya's adoption fund bringing her total to $420. How awesome is that! Thanks Anonymous Donor!

Happy Valentine's Day, to Anya

Together we were able to raise $320 for Anya's Valentine adoption grant! Woo hoo!! Thank you to everyone who donated. Let's pray this brings her one step closer to finding her forever family! I have to say, I truly enjoyed looking at her beautiful picture on my blog for the past several weeks. I hope you did too! Maybe you know of someone who would like to spend the rest of their life looking at her beautiful face. If you do, please direct them to her profile on Reece's Rainbow.
(Scroll down about halfway down the page).

And the winner of the $100 Target gift card is.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Amy Monroe!!!!!!!!! (Woo-hoo! Congratulations Amy!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tomorrow is the drawing for the $100 gift certificate. If you haven't donated already to Anya's adoption grant, this is your last chance before the drawing!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Only 3 more days to donate towards Anya's Valentine's grant! Let's help that little girl find her family!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Only 7 more days left.....

I wanted to clear up some potential confusion. I was asked if we are adopting Anya pictured at the top of my blog and the answer is no we are not! We wanted to do a Valentine's Day fundraiser for one special child on Reece's Rainbow, and I randomly picked one of the dozens that were suggested. Anya was the one that was picked.

Anya is two years old, lives in Eastern Europe, and she desperately needs a family to love her. She has a lot of potential. All she needs is a family to say yes!! Could it be you??

Ten people have donated for a total $270 so far but still quite a bit short from the $1,000 I hoped to raise for her. Only seven more days to donate and then I will be drawing a name out of the hat for the winner of the $100 Target gift card.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life celebrations

This weekend we celebrated Ava being home with us two years!

While Liesel had riding lessons today,
Ava waited patiently for her turn....
She waved to the horsie every time he passed by, and cracked up when he cantered and made Liesel bounce
Then while Hope rode
Ava continued to wait patiently for her turn....
She does this funny thing with her legs when she's excited. She gets all stiff and she shakes her legs really fast, and then she laughs an evil sounding laugh that sounds something like 'mwa-ha-ha'.

That's what she did when it was finally her turn to ride.

Here she is, kissing Pepper goodbye (We're still working on the tongue).

This is Ms. Barbara. Our family has been visiting Ms. Barbara at a nursing home for about three years now. Since we don't have any grandparents living in town, we have adopted Ms. Barbara as our own!!  Today was her birthday and she came over for fajitas and birthday cake. Happy Birthday Ms. Barbara!!
Hope had the idea of playing a funny trick on Ms. Barbara......
Can you guess what was in the gift bag??????

Friday, February 5, 2010

TWO years....

Ava has had a growing week! She is getting around on her feet like you wouldn't believe! I'll have to post another video here soon. Two nights ago she fell on a chair and busted her two bottom front teeth, one ended up coming all the way out and the other is barely hanging by a thread. What cute and interesting combination of characteristics she has: loose teeth, learning to walk, no hair. She is growing up right before our eyes. Normally the kids losing their first teeth always makes me feel a little sad and nostalgic, I guess it confirms that they are losing their babyness and growing into adultness. (I'm sure neither babyness or adultness are actual words). I'm glad to have a child with Down Syndrome in our family, because that technically means I will never have to suffer empty nest syndrome.

Can you believe it's been TWO YEARS since she joined our family??

She had a rare fever last weekend, and I have to say, I was impressed by the fact that she kept asking for 'mama' and crawling up on my lap for comfort. There was a day that I didn't think that would ever happen. When she came to us, I remember thinking she was more like a zombie than a child, totally oblivious to her surroundings, hypersensitive to touch, and certainly not in tune to her family members' attempts at loving her.

And now, if you could just see how she snuggles and how she beams when her daddy walks in the door. I want to tell you that she looks at books and picture albums, and she points and she names the names she knows. "Cow", "Swing", "School", "Dad", and when she sees a picture of her she points to herself and grins so big. What a joy she has been to us!! Ok, the tears are starting to come. Truly, truly, I am so glad we said yes to that little mangy puppy of a little girl we met two years ago.


I've been getting some really weird spam comments on here. Does anybody know how to fix that? It's irritating me!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The way she eats

 Say the blessing.....

Decide whether or not the food looks appetizing

Yep, that works......Dig in.

Barbecue sauce makes everything more delicious (even chinese food)....

Who needs utensils?


Dump food on the table. Throw the bowl on the floor.

Who needs a bowl anyway?

Pick out the green peppers.

That's better......


Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow days

I've never been real fond of the cold and snow but we had a wonderful time being snowed in over the weekend. One of the advantages, or disadvantages depending on how you look at it, of living in the country, is that there is nobody to clear your road for you, thus sometimes rendering us housebound. Here's some pictures I took over the weekend.

I love this dog in so many ways, I should probably devote an entire post just for her. Any dog who can withstand sleet and snow and subfreezing temperatures without scratching on my front door is always welcome around here. God gave her an extra thick wooly coat which makes her very content to stay outside and makes me very content to keep her here. (especially since she still reeks like the skunk who sprayed her two weeks ago).
The boys had fun sledding and building igloos....
While the girls enjoyed making Valentines for the grandmothers....:)
Liesel has decided she wants to be a writer instead of a vet when she grows up after realizing animals stink and are a lot of work.
And of course, whatever Liesel wants to do----Hope wants to do. 

John and Liesel have become quite the farm buddies. I love watching them walk to the barn and back together  to feed and water all the creatures and collect eggs from the hens.

She and Jude helped their dad build a little pen for Romeo, complete with heating lamps and rabbits for company. How cute and cozy does this look? The animals are all adjusting very well and seem to be very happy in their new home. And I just want to add: John got up twice in the night to go check on the little goat to make sure he wasn't too cold. And that is one of the many reasons why I love him so much.