Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Please allow me to introduce. . . .




Several weeks ago we received word that the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria had officially placed "Jesse," "Sam," and "Bowden" on hold for our family!

"Jesse" and "Sam" are both 12 years old. They are best friends and have been together since they were very young. 

 Sam and Jesse in 2012

They have watched countless friends come and go over the years, wondering when it would finally be their turn. 

 Jesse and Sam with Alexis and Lily in 2010

A year ago, it was discovered that they had never been registered for adoption, that they had never even had a chance! Thanks to several amazing advocates, that problem was rectified and soon they will know that it is finally their turn to go home! 

"Bowden" is 5 years old and was our "wild card," the missing piece to our puzzle. As we moved forward with our commitment to Sam and Jesse, we still felt that someone was missing. We began to review the files of waiting children and when Richard saw Bowden, the final piece clicked into place. 

All three boys have special needs (limb differences, cerebral palsy, craniofacial abnormalities, hydrocephalus and sensorineural hearing loss) and we feel pretty confident that all three of them will fit right in with this big, crazy family!

We feel incredibly blessed to have been chosen to welcome these boys into our family and look forward to having them home!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And the winners are. . . .

I woke up this morning feeling disheartened that we had only raised $100 in a weeks time.

So I did what any mature adult would do.

I threw a tantrum on Facebook.

But instead of being sent to my room as I ought to have been, I sat back and watched an outpouring of love, generosity and support that left me feeling truly humbled.

And so it is with deep gratitude that I thank you for putting me in my place today!

And now, without further ado, I would like to announce the winners of the "Back to Bulgaria Giftcard Giveaway". . . . . . . .

 Kierra Burns - $50 Amazon Giftcard

 Suzanne Monnett- $50 Fandango Giftcard

 Rachelle Casbeer- $50 Stella & Dot Giftcard

Kim Davis- $50 TC Survival Bands Giftcard

The "Back to Bulgaria Giveaway" will officially come to an end on Friday. If we reach the $800 mark by then, we will draw a winner for the Vizio 32" Plasma TV so please continue to share! 

Again, we thank you all for your generosity, love, encouragement and support and invite you to stop by again tomorrow. . . . .we have three, incredibly handsome young men we are just dying to introduce!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Please join us. . . . .

. . . .for one LAST journey across the sea!

Yes, my friends, we are heading back to Bulgaria one last time.

This journey began over three years ago while we were in Bulgaria visiting Lily and Alexis. It was a beautiful summer day and, as Alexis and I were laughing and playing together in the courtyard, I noticed two little boys watching us longingly from the window. I asked Alexis if she knew who the little boys were. She responded that they were her best friends and with a big grin, waived to them enthusiastically.

I would later learn just how close these three children really were; that they were not simply the best of friends, but more like siblings without actually sharing genetics.

On several occasions during our visits with the girls, one of these boys would run to the front door of the orphanage to hold the door for us as we were leaving. With a smile, he would always wish us a good day and tell us to come again soon. He absolutely captured my heart.

After returning home with the girls, I would often find myself browsing the lists of waiting children in Bulgaria hoping for a glimpse of their sweet faces, or better yet, to learn that they had been adopted. But no such news ever came and more than two years later, I had never seen them listed anywhere.

Alexis spoke of these boys daily, sharing stories and memories and asking me often if they had found families. She missed her friends, her "brothers," dearly and I wished that I could reconnect them somehow.

In the summer of 2012, my good friend returned from Bulgaria with her daughter from the same orphanage. This little girl had also been good friends with Alexis and with these boys. It was through them that we learned that both of these boys had been transferred to the orphanage for older children in the same city and that both of them were still awaiting families. 

It was at this point that a quiet voice whispered to my heart, "These are YOUR children."

But the timing wasn't right.

We soon learned that neither of these boys had ever been registered for adoption. Fortunately, they had many loving, dedicated and passionate warriors fighting for them on both sides of the ocean; willing to climb any mountain and weather any storm to make adoption possible for them.

And that is what it took.

After a year of scaling impossible mountains and weathering some ugly storms, the boys were finally registered and available for international adoption.

And the timing was right!

This week our commitment paperwork was filed with the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria.

We are bringing these boys home!

And we hope that, by this time next year, they will be reunited with their "sister" and friend FOREVER!

We are also blessed to be bringing a third little boy home.

That's right friends! Our adoption journey will end with THREE wonderful additions to our family, bringing us to lucky number 13!

We look forward to sharing this journey with you and hope to share more information about our boys once our commitment paperwork has been officially accepted and approved by the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria.

In the meantime, we hope that you will celebrate this incredible blessing with us. . . . because it really is INCREDIBLE!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Discovering Ohio: Bicycle Museum of America

As many of you know, we homeschool. Rather than keeping to an August/September-May/June school schedule, we have chosen to do school year-round (with a long break in December and shorter breaks throughout the year to accommodate our frequent trips to Philadelphia for medical care).

In addition to our regular schoolwork, I recently purchased a book entitled, "Kids Love Ohio," with the intent to spend much of our summer visiting different historical, natural and educational sites within our state.

Today we traveled to our first destination:  The Bicycle Museum of America!

It was an overcast and rainy day here in Ohio so the museum was a perfect place to visit. Lukas helped me chart our course and, when given the option to take the highway or the back roads, he chose the scenic route. The drive was beautiful and we made note of several other places that we would like to visit along the way.

The Bicycle Museum of America was FANTASTIC! Located in a small town in western Ohio, there were very few visitors at the museum while we were there, which meant we didn't have to fight crowds (because, let's face it, we are a crowd all on our own)!

We started our tour by watching a video demonstration of several vintage bicycles.

The kids were mesmerized.

Our guide then took us through the museum and showed us bicycles from the very first bikes all the way through the present day.

(First bicycle- powered by foot)

Learning about bicycle snow tires

The "Triple" and "Quintette" 

The kids were able to sit on a high wheeler and even "drive" a pedal-powered car.

The "high wheeler" (the phrase, "taking a header" originated with this bike)

 Pedal-powered car

At the end of our tour, each of the kids chose a postcard to send to friends and family (so if you are participating in our letter-writing campaign keep a lookout. . . .you might just be one of the lucky ones to receive a postcard sporting a very neat bicycle).


Although the museum was relatively small, we spent several hours there and had such a great time that the kids were still talking about it as we tucked them into bed tonight!

"Walking Legs"


Needless to say, the book was well worth the $15 spent for a summer of priceless family adventures!

Back in Action

I know, I know.

It has been 10 months.


Now that you have recovered from the shock, you can pick yourselves up off the floor and close your gaping mouths. This blogging hiatus is officially over and I am back in action.

Why the disappearing act? Honestly, there just comes a point when you need to disconnect in order to reconnect with what is truly important and I desperately needed to "pull some weeds" so that I could truly focus on and enjoy my beautiful "garden."

The past 10 months have been filled with countless ups, downs and in betweens, accented by many joys, triumphs, struggles, adventures and major medical dramas along the way. I will do my best to fill in the gaps as I work to slowly update the blog. For now, I am happy to report that we are happy, healthy and incredibly blessed.

For those who are wondering how Benjamin and Thomas are doing and how they have transitioned into the family, let me illustrate with a conversation I had with my 8 year-old son Lukas yesterday.

As I was preparing everyone for an afternoon in the pool, Lukas ran up and threw his arms around me. With a wide smile on his face, he looked up at me and declared, "Mom, you are my fifth favorite person!"


I could easily guess who had beaten me out for first and second place. Jacob (his triplet brother and best friend) came solidly in first place. No surprise there. Daddy had come in for a close second. But who could have beaten Mommy out for third AND fourth place? Lukas smiled again and announced that Thomas and Benjamin held those positions in his heart! And, at hearing those words, this mama happily accepted her position of fifth place!

These "babies" are a gift, a blessing, and a treasure to our family. They are loved, cherished and spoiled rotten by every last one of us. In short, they have the entire family wrapped around their crooked, little fingers!

Thank you for your patience with me over the past 10 months. Thank you to those who left comments or sent messages with words of encouragement and concern. Though the process will be slow, I promise to do my best to fill in the gaps and to keep you updated on the ups, downs and in betweens of life and in so doing, I hope to offer encouragement, support and inspiration in the process!

Stay tuned. . . . .