This video has Rimma and Lizzie in it, as well as a few of the kids from her orphanage. Every time you see a little green sign, it says "adopted". THANK YOU, mission Emmanuel, Alex Fedorchuk Agape and Orphans Promise, and Ukraine Orphan Outreach for doing what you do. You played a HUGE part in so many kids' lives. I love all of you and what you do. Through your hard work, families have been created and the enemy has been defeated!.
Today is Valentine's Day. However, since last year, this day will forever be remembered in a different, more special way. It was one year ago on this, Valentine's Day , that Lizzie walked out of the orphanage in Kherson forever. Today is her GOTCHA day!
After some quiet reflection, I realized that a lot of worry, hurt, anxiety and sadness suddenly disappeared on this day a year ago. I thought back to times full of fear that we would never get Lizzie registered, let alone adopted and home. They said it would never happen. They said that they would stand in the way. They told us that she was mentally ill and unstable. "They" were just a couple of orphanage workers and regional social workers. To add difficulty to the process, Lizzie's birth mom was in prison and you cannot terminate parental rights when a mother is in prison. Never mind that she was no longer in Lizzie's life and that Lizzie was a ward of the state. It seemed Lizzie would be lost forever and not adoptable at all. However, we would not give up, we kept praying, and we hired a terrific team in Kherson to get her registered and her one year international adoption clock started. We prayed, she prayed, and He heard! God made all of our dreams come true! Lizzie came home just that very next weekend! Home to her family, home forever!
A lot has happened in this past year. Lizzie is a sophomore in high school, a varsity cheerleader, a competition cheerleader, and she is making fabulous progress. Her ESL teacher feels she will no longer need her services after this year. Lizzie's grades are all in the 3.0 area and she was recently granted credit for her academics in Ukraine. this will enable her to skip the summer schools she would have attended over the next three years to graduate on time. Lizzie has determined that she wants to be a Lawyer and give back to those in need, perhaps even some work with orphans in Ukraine one day. She has had many firsts in the last year, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first family vacation (to the Bahamas, a place begged us to take her all these years).
Lizzie turned 16 last November and it was a special day as well, her first at home. She knew, also, that it was the day that she would no longer be adoptable. At 16, non-sibling tied orphans cannot be adopted by Americans. She got home with nine months to spare! Instead of the day being a sad, dreadful day for us all, it was the happiest birthday of her life!
Happy Valentines day to you all and to my family! Happy Gotcha day, Lizzie! We love you!
Four years ago, on this day, God put two people on a forever path with two sweet girls. We wanted children and He wanted loving parents for these two. There were many trials and tribulations and so much time went by, but none of us ever gave up hope that one day dreams would come true. In His timing that we agonized over, didn't understand at the time, and shed many tears over...our prayers were answered. Lots has happened over these past four years! But everyone is finally home and our adventures have only just begun...stay tuned!
Today is Elizabeth's birthday! Her first at home! Lizzie continues to have many firsts and I have to remember this fact often. I hear the phrase, "Oh, I've never done that before" every now and then. Just yesterday, I was explaining to her the American holiday of Thanksgiving and that it was not just a reason for a week off from school.
For Lizzie's friends, we had her birthday party this past Sunday. I put up a post from this blog from 2008 on our TV. It was her 13th birthday and I remembered (and she acknowledged) that it was her first "real" celebration ever of her birthday. This was her first birthday of many to come, in America and with her forever family.
It wasn't lost on me that this birthday was significant for another reason, especially after reading that post from November 2008. At the time, Lizzie (then named Zina) was not registered for adoption, her mother had never been relieved of her parental rights, lots of court work that still needed to take place stood before us, and an uncooperative orphanage staff was hindering the process. We had only three years to get all of that done at that momentin time, including the mandatory one year wait after registration, the adoption process itself, and numerous threats to stop international adoption by the Ukrainian government. At 16, Lizzie would not be adoptable according to US law.
The fact that all this did happen, that Lizzie has been with us since February 2011, was nothing less than a miracle from God. I tell Lizzie all the time that she still had God's work to do there, even though she didn't know it and none of us understood why it was taking so long. God's perfect timing. Lizzie continues to do God's work here even though she doesn't realize it. Her friend Julia (another adopted Ukrainian girl) needs her and Lizzie ministers to her as only she can. Another example of God's perfect timing, as Julia arrived right after Lizzie got home.
I wrote at the end of that post that Lizzie made a wish and kept it secret, knowing that wishes made secret come true. I posed the question, "What do you think she wished for?" I got a lot of responses. She did the same at the birthday party on Sunday. I bet she said "Thank you"! I know I have a million times, every time I hug or hold her close. "Thank you dear Lord for setting this child free and giving her to us and us to her."
I often tell Lizzie that she is our "Miracle Baby". Happy Birthday, sweetie!
We are now eight in the House of Rogé! Jessica fluttered her wings and moved into her own apartment across town. She will be transferring to Colorado State University this winter. Jess has done great for herself, having secured a near-full time job and a car. She's come a long way since nearly two years ago when she asked for help to get her life straightened out and back on course.
Next, Jordan will be moving into a dorm room in the Fall of 2012 once she selects a university. This is her Senior year and she is ecstatic!
So, two will have left the nest the next year. But, are we done adding to our family...?
Does anyone know a good book publisher? Do you think our story would make a great book? How does one go about getting something like that started? Perhaps all that is needed is to tweak the pages of this blog, somehow. Hey, after all, I have seven potential college degrees and weddings to pay for!
Follow-up clarification: Can anyone tell me how to get someone to either co-author or edit my work. Also, how do folks get those book deals where they pay to have you published and marketed. My point is, I don't have money to write it, publish and print a ton of books to sell only to friends and family. That dad who wrote his son's story "Heaven is for real" comes to mind when I think how I would like this to go down. Thoughts?
Hello, hello (squelch)! Is anybody still out there? Wow, time flies, huh! I thought I would take a little break and enjoy having all the kids home finally. A few days turned into a few weeks and then...well, it looks like we took a few months off! I'm still not convinced that anyone is interested in our daily family life and the break sure was nice, so let's see where this takes us. I may write from time to time and I won't be so long next time. One day, we'll stop for sure. Perhaps when we make this a book or a movie, hee-hee!
The Easter lineup!
The first few weeks around here were strange when Lizzie came home. We didn't know what to do with ourselves, having (what seemed like forever) pinning over her uncertainty and the government of Ukraine's idiosyncrasies. No longer would we have to save $ for another adoption, no longer would we worry about her away from us, no longer would we have to do mountains of paperwork and documents! Seems like we we were Scott-free, right? Well, little did I know that one more child in the house would equate to double, even triple the parental workload. Things have settled now, but those couple of months required everyone to be patient while the new family dynamics worked themselves out.
So here's what everyone has been up to...
Jessica -Now 22, Jess moved back home last year and has been working part time and going to school part time. She has made remarkable progress and is a pleasure to have around. She leads a small group and is a vital member of our church's adoption support ministry. She has found her calling and wants to be a social worker and help people when they need home studies completed for adoption. She will be transferring to CSU this winter to work on her bachelor degree in Social Work.
Jordan - Now 17, Jordan completed her Junior year here at Skyline in Longmont. She completed another grueling year of honors and AP classes with a 4.0 + GPA again! Honestly, I don't know how they grade Honors and AP classes, but she has over a 4.0. So proud of her! She went with us to Ukraine on our adoption trip to bring home Lizzie and she learned a lot! After our family vacation in July, Jordan will journey with our church's mission trip to Madeira, Mexico for two weeks. She starts her Senior year in August and will be using her newly acquired driver's license to take her brother and sisters to school for us.
Elizabeth - Still 15, Lizzie has been welcomed into the family fold and she has found her rightful place among us. Lizzie was supposed to be the first one home three years ago, but she had no documentation and was not available for adoption for those three long years. Veterans of this blog know the story and realize just what a blessing God's hand in this was! Having an outstanding English language acquisition already, Lizzie wasted no time jumping right into American teenager life. Having her home last year rapidly developed her language skills! Despite only having three months of school left, she quickly adapted and scored very well in high school. Lizzie will be a sophomore next year. She and Rimma both made the Varsity and Competition Cheerleader squad. Not bad for a new American! Lizzie continues to have many firsts. I have to continually remind myself that our "first child" is still new to home.
Nadia - Now 15, Nadia continues to grow and is now taller than me. She had an excellent school year with a B average. In fact, she had no final grade lower than a B with mostly A's! Nadia is doing quite well and I'm very proud of her, she has come a long way. Still known as the bossiest person in the house, she has made great strides in that area, but it has come at the expense of a lot of parenting. It's exhausting sometimes. Nadia's strong passion is for volleyball, something that pleases Heidi tremendously! She has played well on Rec leagues during her middle school years and is now trying out for high school volleyball. She goes to two weight-lifting gym sessions at Skyline HS just for volleyball players and she attends two open-gym practice sessions a week at Skyline. She's extremely strong and it is all I can do anymore to wrestle her to the ground. She's gonna be our sports superstar! Nadia will be a Freshman next year.
Rimma - Still 14, Rimma had an great school year. Despite having a couple of challenges at school, she finished the academic year strong and at one point, made the A honor roll. She finished on the B honor roll for the year. Rimma's problem that gets her into trouble is "self-perfection". She would spend hours doing homework and rewriting everything so it was pristine. This caused her to constantly be a little behind and all worked up over grades. I finally had to order her to lighten up after a little academic integrity issue at school. Mom says she spends too much time in front of the mirror, also. We are struggling to teach inner beauty vs. vanity! Like Lizzie, she too made the Varsity and Competition Cheerleader squad. Due to her athleticism, she is also a "flier". Don't worry, I had to ask, too. A flier is the one they toss through the air and that person is usually spinning or tumbling. When she announced to me that she was selected to be a flier, I jokingly asked to see her pilots license as I took mine out of my wallet. Rimma will be a Freshman as well next year.
Julia - Now 14, Julia is still our little "monkey". Of all our kids, I worry about Julia the most. Her gentle nature, trusting behavior and lack of focus can get her into trouble...now and in the future. She has these "Julia-isms" that can be adorable and/or drive you nuts. She is very smart and intelligent and can fool you sometimes. Julia is experiencing the same growth spurt that Nadia went through upon coming home. I tell Heidi all the time that she is growing in all the wrong places. She did very well this year and is moving on to 8th grade. She's super excited to be at the top-of-the-heap in middle school! Her grades were mostly A's & B's with a few C's. Great progress for a sweet girl that everyone had given up on at the orphanage. Julia's passion is animals. She loves small dogs and is always bugging me to get one. I constantly remind her of the fiasco the last one was and she reminds me that he was big. Most every Saturday morning, you will find Julia riding horses at the Welzig's ranch in Mead, CO. She is part of a horse ministry and she is a talented rider. She has a rodeo she will perform in this Saturday!
Kole - Now 12, Kole just celebrated another birthday, his third since being home. Always a pleaser and willing to do whatever you ask, he has lately been forgetting his tasks. Call it typical kid stuff or "on summer vacation", I've had to remind him on several occasions the past month to get things done. I hope this isn't a trend for things to come. Kole and I attended a father-son purity class this past quarter. This has helped him learn how to treat girls and respect women as he moves into puberty. Kole also did very well in school with mostly A's & B's, making the honor roll, too. He will move into 7th grade next year. Kole's passion is those darn video games, something I ration accordingly. He participated in Rec league volleyball this past Spring and he has tried several sports, including basketball. Not having a top choice, Kole is still trying to figure out which sport he likes and does best. Soccer went away quickly and although he was very good at it, he confessed that he didn't like it very much. Time will tell where he will fit in. I've told him more than once that video games aren't a sport.
Well, that's all for now. I hope that by reading this post you will see that we aren't the "perfect" family and it is hard work to raise a family, especially one this size. Each child presents their unique challenges. Some days I pull my hair out. Most days, I can't wait to get home to them. Hearing "Daddy" being yelled when I enter makes it all worthwhile! So...I'll be sure to post sooner next time than I did this time. Perhaps I'll tell ya about our vacation plans in July to the Bahamas. Talk to ya then...