Dec 28, 2011

Who are you missing out on?

“My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him."
-Derek Loux

We could of missed out on this.  It would of been so easy to say no.  To continue on with our lives.  But I'm so glad we didn't.  We would of missed out on Gergana.  We would of missed out on so much JOY.  We would of missed watching this miracle unfold.  Seeing this girl learn to love.  Seeing her learn about God.  Seeing her be redeemed. 

And Gergana?  She would still be in the orphanage.  Just one child among 60 others.  Living her whole life without a mom or a dad.  And when she graduated school?  She would be out on the streets with nothing and no one.  She wouldn't be able to get a job because of her special needs and her darker skin.

We could of missed out on so much.  We could of missed out on this child.

Outing from Joanna Rist on Vimeo.

Who are you missing out on? 

I look at these babes and I see Gergana.  They are real children.  Children with so much to offer, so much JOY.  They are waiting.  Just waiting.  Are you missing out on one of these children?


“My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him."
-Derek Loux

Dec 26, 2011

the simple Christmas

We had planned for this Christmas to be a crazy one.  After having Gergana home about a day we realized that that was just not an option.  The timing of everything worked out horribly and we had planned on having Gergana home much earlier. Thank you paperwork delays for ruining our wonderful plans! *rolls eyes*  So instead of the whole family heading out East to attend my big brother's wedding we stayed home.  Well, Gergana, Abby, Mom and me stayed home.  The rest of the family headed out early Christmas morning (like 3am early) and will be gone for another week.  Both me and my Mom are SO sad to missing the wedding.  *Sniff*  Gergana is worth it though, 100x over she is worth it.

Despite that this Christmas was still very special.  And very, very simple.  Honestly it didn't even feel like Christmas to me.  Not even a tiny bit.  But along with Christmas comes Christmas breaks at colleges.  Which means that older sister Joylynn and her fiance were able to come home for the week (before heading out East with the rest of the family!).  Gergana loved them.  

We spent the week hanging out.  Gergana is a nut and keeps us all laughing.  And despite the fact that she LOVES watching movies and looking at pictures of herself, she continues to hide from the camera.  
She is one confusing kid.

Our beloved rice box has been a big hit this last week.  It is the one thing that Gergana will actually sit down and play with.  She will literally play with it for hours.  The one day we actually had all 3 littles (ages 10, 9 and 5) playing in it at one time.

Baby niece was over a few times this week.  It has been cool seeing Gergana warm up to her.  I'm sure she has not been around babies that much since she her self was in the baby orphanage.  She will now walk up to Ava and rub her head.  Progress!

Joylynn and Josh are getting married in June!

L-R. Dad, Me, Julissa (14), Mom, Gergana (9), Abby(5), Joylynn, Joshua(10), Josh, Justin, Sunnie, Ava.

Missing oldest brother Jeremy (who is getting married this week!).  This picture is as good as it gets for us!

I'm starting to think these two looks a like!

Gergana got a sled for Christmas and has really enjoyed that.  She loves sledding.

I really can't wait for next Christmas when she understands more about what is happening! 

Dec 24, 2011


Abby. age 5

Gergana. age 9

We had to hold her down to get a picture of her in front of the tree.

My baby sisters could not be anymore different.

Dec 21, 2011

the cat.

We own a cat.  Her name is Kenya.  And she is well loved.
When we gained custody of Gergana two weeks ago she was very timid of animals, and her picture being taken.  Now she absolutely loves Kenya.  And the other day Gergana actually asked mom to take pictures of her holding Kenya.  She asked to have her picture taken!  Wow.

Kenya is hardly ever put down.  And Gergana is not the only one who loves her.

The problem is, a cat can only handle so much love...

Dec 20, 2011

Go Aiden!

Do you see?  Scroll down a bit on my sidebar.  Do you see Aiden's grant?
Aiden's grant is now sitting at $913!!!
Go Aiden, Go!

Praise God!

Dec 19, 2011


This girl is slowly coming alive.  It is amazing to see the change in her from when we first came home.  It's slow progress but we are seeing progress.  Breakdowns are few and far between.  We had another big breakdown a few days ago but we have had non since then.  She is obviously testing boundaries and has a few behaviors that will need to be re-trained (nothing major and that will come as her English increases.).

But we have already seen changes in her.  
-She no longer asks to call her orphanage director on the phone.
-She only asks to go back to Bulgaria when she is mad.
-She talks about her friends without getting upset.
-She found some pictures on the camera today from Bulgaria and instead of breaking down, proudly showed me the pictures.
-She is no longer terrified of the dog.  Praise God.
-She changes her clothes(!).  She wouldn't even take off her socks 2 weeks ago.

All of those things were major issues two weeks ago.  We still have a ways to go but it is cool to take the time and notice the small things.  We will make it.

She is such a good kid and just all around amazing.  Gergana is full of spirit.  I'm positive that that is how she has survived all these years in the orphanages (especially her last one where she held her own among all the boys.).  She stands her ground and is very feisty.   She also is so incredibly funny.  And dramatic.  She keeps all of us laughing.  5 minutes in the same room with her and you would agree with me on that.  Her favorite thing to do right now is follow you around copying what you say.  Typical 9 year old. ;)  makes it even funnier because she has no idea what we are saying and most of the words come out mumbled.  Girl is crazy.

She is gorgeous.  Her eyes are killer.  She hates pink and anything girly.  She went through her closet and got rid of anything frilly and pink.  Right down to the socks.  That's fine with us.

She still hates having her picture taken but doesn't break into tears anymore if she sees the camera.  I'm sure that soon she will be fine with it.  She has only been with us 2 weeks and has already come so far.

I love her to pieces.  I still can't believe she is here.  That I could go upstairs right now and kiss her on the cheek (even though she is sleeping.  Girlfriend sleeps like a rock!).  When I look at her I don't see 'Orphan', 'Older child', 'Special needs', '30k in adoption fees' or 'Roma heritage'.  I just see Gergana.  And I don't understand how there can be millions of children just like her in this world.  And we just sit back and enjoy our little lives. 

 Because, She isn't our problem, Right?

We live in a very broken but beautiful world.

So blessed to be Gergana's sister.  So heart broken for the ones left behind.

Dec 13, 2011

and there is also GOOD!

Along with the hard there is also moments of joy.  After my last post about the 'hard' of older child adoption, I feel like Gergana needs the chance to show her amazing side.  Because it isn't all bad!!

Today was a good day.  Almost no tears, no screaming.  My mom was able to connect with a few different people on the phone.  Having support in adoption is SO crucial.  Especially once you get home!!  So thankful.

Here is proof that today was a better one!

Yeah, I know.  My baby sisters are precious!

Thank you all for your kind words.  It will be a long road and we are as prepared as we will ever be for many ups and downs!  Eventually girly's heart will start to heal, and we will be able to move forward, TOGETHER!

Dec 12, 2011


Note:  This post is hard

 Today was hard.  It really was.  I knew this would be hard, I'm not naive about adoption.  But it is different once you are in it, experiencing it.  When it is your own family being turned upside down.  Gergana has been doing very well.  I am so proud of her.  But she has a lot of hurt to work through.  9 years of gunk to get ride of.  It will take her longer then 5 days to adjust to a family.  Many times when a family adopts a child they go through a 'Honeymoon' phase after getting home where things go smoothly.  Sometimes it is weeks, sometimes it's a month.  In our case it was a few days.  The last couple mornings have slowly been getting harder and harder and today was full blown madness.  

Gergana wanted to go back to her orphanage.  And we wouldn't let her.  Break my heart.  If I could take her pain away I would.  The rest of the morning was spent with G crying/rocking/taking her anger out on 'stuff' and screaming at us (in Bulgarian).  It was hard.  We know it is normal, and actually healthy for her to be going through the grieving step.  But how to you handle it?  Do you try to stop the rocking and hold her?  Do you try to distract her with fun stuff?  Do you just ignore her?  We don't know.  We ended up just letting her work it out.  Breakables and hard furniture was removed from the room.  The tv was unplugged and laptops and telephones were put out of sight.  And we ignored her behavior.  We did NOT ignore her.  But instead chose to ignore the fact that our living room was turned upside down.  When she would say something we would acknowledge her and occasionally we would ask her if she was done and wanted to play a game.  Usually the answer was a very loud no.  Thankfully the Christmas tree was spared any damage.  Phew.  She spent so much time rocking and banging her head.  Very hard to watch.  Right before lunch she calmed down and by lunch she was able to sit down with us at the table.  She made it through.

One thing I did not really think through before Gergana came home was how this would affect the other littles in the family.  I didn't realize it would be this hard on them.  Abby is not herself.  She is winy, clingy to mom, and flat out defiant.  You tell her to do something and she does the opposite.  That is not like her.  Today she also spent a bunch of time copying Gergana.  Yelling 'no' in Bulgarian.  She has been awesome about expressing her feelings.  So proud of this girl.  We keep telling her that yes it is hard, but it will get better.  

This morning when we saw that things were going downhill with Gergana I took her on a 'Babar' date.  Thankfully my room is in the very farthest corner of the the basement.  So it is perfect to get away from overwhelming new sisters.  While Gergana was working through some of her grief this morning Abby was safely tucked away watching Babar on the internet and playing with stickers.  I don't think she realized what was going on.  Thank goodness.

This afternoon was much better.  She had a brief break down once but it only lasted 15 minutes.  Besides that she was her amazing self.  I love her SO much and my heart just breaks for what she has gone through-and is going through.  I keep thinking about what could of happened if only we had gotten her a few years sooner!  Oh if only.  I just keep seeing her as a baby laying alone in her crib crying..and I start to cry.  Goodness.  

By supper time we were all happy enough to eat an amazing meal.  Serious.  My 10 year old brother made us chicken...stuffed with spinach and cheese.  And baked potatoes.  He saw it made on a cooking show and then made it himself.  And it tasted amazing.  So good.

Gergana made the biscuits.  Have I mentioned before how much she hates the camera?  I haven't taken any pictures since we got home.  But girly is going to have to get used to pictures.  So I will be easing her in with my point and shoot camera.  Welcome to your new life chicka!!
(as a side note, we think she may need glasses.  She is constantly squinting!)

My poor puppy.  Gergana was so scared of him when she got her, add on top of that him running at her barking?  And he is banished to the garage.  She is getting used to him.  He will be back in the house in no time I'm sure.  He is my little bit of sanity in this new life we are on.

The night ended with a little bedtime battle.  She was exhausted and it didn't last long.  But it is a sign that things have moved to the next level (disobedience) which is exhausting just to think about. I'm excited to see how things go tomorrow!  Gergana is going to do great things with her life!

Already Home

Our Reece's Rainbow page has been updated!


Dec 9, 2011


My heart is heavy.  
Heavy for my babies that are still not home this Christmas.  
It doesn't seem right.  It isn't right..

Aiden.  {waiting.}

Shannon.  {waiting.}

Please keep my remaining 2 babes in your prayers.  
I am hopeful that this is their last Christmas in the institutions!

First day of the rest of her life

Gergana's first day in Canada was a little rough.  She was tired and woke up super early crying and rocking.  Life here is just so different from what she has grown up with.  This is the first time in her whole life she has been in a home, with a family.  We understand completely.  The rest of the morning was pretty rough.  She sat at the table with her head down crying and not wanting to do anything.  Everyone tried everything to get her to engage, but she was just not having it.  Older brother, sister-in-law and baby niece came over before lunch.  And I think it was very good.  There were more people around and some of the attention shifted off of Gergana and onto the baby (which G eyed the whole time).  We sat down for lunch and eventually she quietly started eating her pasta.  And then our girl came back to us again.  Oh my word.  The change in her from the morning to the afternoon was amazing.  She was her silly sassy self again.  She also was feeling much more comfortable in the house, exploring and playing with different things.

We introduced her to the Wii.  She loved it and would of played more.  We knew she would!


It took us a while but we finally convinced her to come outside with us.  Turns out she just didn't want to go through the garage because the dog was in there!  She had so much fun but got cold quickly.  at least now she knows that if she wears her snow pants she won't get as cold/wet.

Her and Abigail (5) are so different.  Abby is our little cautious princess.  Gergana is all tom-boy daredevil.
So fun.


By 7pm she was ready for bed.  Her eyes could hardly stay open.  Poor baby.  So after a quick movie she was off!  The rest of us were not that far behind her.  This journey is exhausting!

Day one: complete.  
Powered by Blogger.
Designed By Boutique-Website-Design