Monday, December 27, 2010

Who's Counting?

Us in 26 days!

We interrupt the Christmas letter to remind everyone that we will soon be heading to Ukraine to start Lizzie's adoption process. We leave in 26 days...but who's counting? "We" includes Heidi, Jordan and me, Felix.

We are starting to dust off luggage, make lists, reserve the Bible House in Kherson, plan where the kids will stay at friend's homes and buying tickets. I expect that we will purchase the flights this week or next, they are already reserved through Golden Rule.

Only a moratorium vote in Ukraine would put a halt to the process now. We learned that it wasn't voted on in the Rada session that adjourned last week for the Ukrainian holiday season. I pray it never makes it's way back on the agenda. Keep those prayers coming for Lizzie. She wants to home so badly. It is evident in every conversation.

~ Felix ~

Friday, December 24, 2010

Roge Christmas Letter - Part 3


Today we are celebrating Rimma's first Christmas home with our family! We owe our thanks to God for bringing her home.

In case you don't have a free week or two to read our blog from start to finish, here's the Cliff Notes version of our story of how Rimma joined our family. We met Rimma during the first UOO camp in December 2007. She, four other children and one 100% non-English speaking caretaker stayed in our house for one life changing week. Felix and I were enchanted with Rimma by the time we arrived home from the airport that first night.

When we inquired about Rimma, her chaperons told us that she was not registered and was not available for adoption. They told us, "Choose another child - there are so many." Really? It it was too late - we were goners. I called our stateside adoption helper for advice. She told me, "Don't do it. It will take a very long time, cost a lot of money, and it will break your heart." Well, we didn't listen to her, either.

Fast forward 2.5 years. Rimma Richelle Roge came home forever on March 3rd this year. She turned 14 in September and attends 8th grade with Nadia.

Rimma's personality is exactly what we observed during that short time together in 2007. She is spunky and incredibly full of life. She either likes it or she doesn't, and there is absolutely no hiding her emotion. You always know what she's thinking. And her smile and laugh are contagious. Rimma is persuasive and openly affectionate, and this combination makes it very difficult to tell her no.

At home Rimma is affectionately known as "Hollywood." It took several months for her to accept her nickname, but it stuck. Rimma brought fashion, style, makeup, jewelry, hair drying and straightening to a new level in the Roge household. This has it's pros and cons. On one hand we have had to have more than a few discussions about beauty on the inside. The good news is that Rimma shares a room with Julia and she's done a great job helping Julia with self-awareness, grooming and cleanliness.

At school Rimma has proven herself as a great student with a tendency toward over-achieving. Being immersed in English for the first few months of school exhausted her. Each day I came home from work to find her napping in bed! Then, during the fall semester, she asked to be excused from the dinner table to get back to her homework...almost every day. Rimma's progress with English and her other core classes is incredibly strong. Her determination is so strong that we've encouraged her to back off and not take it all too seriously.

One thing that Rimma has taught me is to slow down and be present (and to sometimes be flexible on quiet time rules). Despite being fourteen years old, she missed out on being in a family for half of her young life. She needs nurturing and a lot of time with mom and dad because she's only been home for nine months. I feel overwhelming love and very privileged when I spend this time with Rimma.

We have been incredibly blessed to have Rimma as our daughter. She is a true joy in our lives.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Roge Christmas Letter - Part 2


Julia came home forever on December 24th, 2008. Christmas Eve is a very sentimental holiday for us! In Ukraine she was called "Yulia", but it's spelled with Cyrillic characters that we don't have in our alphabet. So we compromised on her American's spelled with a "J" but we call her Yulia at home. She introduces herself as Julia because it's just easier. Confusing? Maybe. But she's Yulia to me.

Julia has undergone the biggest transformation of all of our children. After we arrived home, we quickly learned that she had some sensory issues and needed extra help. Sadly she didn't get the help she needed in Ukraine. Our theory is that she was sent to the sanitarium often because the orphanage staff didn't know how to deal with her behavior. This is incredibly sad because sensory challenges are 100% treatable with the proper therapy. And have you seen the photos of that sanitarium? Scary place.

The Children's Hospital occupational therapists were amazing with Julia. They new just what she needed and how to help her. As a result, Julia's physical strength and motor skills have improved dramatically. This summer she took a "princess class" and made huge strides in learning age appropriate social skills.

Julia's language skills have also improved dramatically. Through testing last year we learned that Julia's ability to express herself in English was only with in the first percentile, based on the amount of time she's spent speaking primarily English. With the help of an individual education plan, Julia is getting the help she needs at school. Now her vocabulary is improving every week and she can write complete sentences, paragraphs and even short stories! Next week Julia will be evaluated by a speech/language specialist so we can figure out how to further help her communication skills.

Watching Julia's personality unfold has been incredibly heartwarming and satisfying. For many months her answer to everything was, "I don't know." It took a long time for us to understand that she just didn't know how to express herself. Well now she definitely has an opinion...on everything! Julia is kind, compassionate and very giving. She has a great sense of humor, just like Kolya, and she keeps us in stitches at the dinner table. Speaking of the dinner table, we haven't found a food that Julia doesn't like! She's in the middle of a huge growth spurt and will probably pass me up in height by the time I wake up tomorrow morning.

One of Julia's favorite pastimes is horseback riding. Or should we call it horseback standing? Yes, she can ride a horse standing up on it's saddle! At home it's all about artwork! Julia is very creative and loves to draw, paint, mold just about anything.

I'm so thankful that Julia is our daughter and I cannot imagine life without her!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 Christmas Letter - Part 1


This coming Friday (Christmas Eve) will mark the two year anniversary of the day that Kole first arrived home! For those of you who are new to our family story, Kole's given name is Nikolai Daniel Roge. Kolya is the Ukrainian nickname for Nikolai, and now we use "Kole" as a shorter nickname for Kolya.

Kole turned 11 years old in June. Despite the fact that he's gained a full 20 pounds since coming home, he is still the smallest kid in middle school. We tell his sisters to watch out, though. Once he grows bigger then the girls, they are in BIG trouble. He has a lot of making up to do!

Everyone who knows Kole knows that he is a true gem. Kole is smart, kind, funny, entertaining, compassionate, helpful, compliant and thoughtful. The combination of being in middle school and having 6 sisters helps him slide into the role of the annoying little brother. But one-on-one or in smaller groups, he is always a joy to be around.

Kole played soccer in the spring and basketball in the fall. He enjoyed those team sports, but he especially loves skateboarding and riding his ripstick at the local skateboard park. At home Kole loves to throw the football in the back yard with mom or dad.

Kole is definitely exceding our expectations in school. Because he started learning English at age 9, his reading level is double that of all three of his sisters. He also had the advantage of starting school here in 4th grade, so he is definitely caught up to his peers and is earning his good grades without special accomodations.

I enjoy Kole's company...ALL the time. We have been enormously blessed to become his parents.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Letter Blues

Well I just couldn't get a Christmas letter together this year. The cards are headed out in the mail without the news and tidbits about our family. But I must not be the only one...because so far we've only received Christmas cards from our accountant and newspaper deliverer. I can't wait until the annual pictures of all our friends' kids come pouring into the mailbox! It's one of my favorite parts of Christmas each year.

So instead of writing a Christmas letter this year, I'll try to post a little update on each of our kids, one at a time.

Stay tuned! And remember the Reason for the Season!

~ Heidi ~

Sunday, December 5, 2010

3 years ago today...

December 2007

Three years ago today, we first met Rimma and Lizzie! It was a special day for me and Heidi. I still like to go back and read our blog on that day. At the time, the girls didn't know that they had stolen our hearts! They do now! Rimma beamed all day. She was so happy and wanted to share it with everyone, so she went on Facebook and posted about it. We all agree, it changed our lives forever...and for the better!

If I did my math correctly, it's only 7 more weeks until we go to adopt Lizzie!

~ Felix ~

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Date for Lizzie

We just opened an e-mail from our facilitator. Our SDA appointment is January 25, 2011! Here we go, time to start planning! Stay with us as we continue the journey to bring Lizzie home!

Prayers are still needed about the adoption vote. A mid-December vote is still scheduled even though the Legal Department rejected it. Join us as the power of prayer defeats this!

~ Santa Felix ~

About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.