One Day at A Time

A not-so-daily dose of the Blake family


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Sergey is doing very well!

 

I believe I owe pictures to those that have been following our story.  Sergey has had many first experiences and we are settling into family life.  I think you’ll get an idea of how well he is doing by these pictures!

Juicing!  He drank the whole glass of juice, too!

Juicing! He drank the whole glass of juice, too!

A beautiful poster made for our "Welcome Home" party.

A beautiful poster made for our “Welcome Home” party.

A Miracle League picture with the mascot Homer!

A Miracle League picture with the mascot Homer!

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Enjoying one of his many gifts from a “Welcome to America” party given by his mother’s co-workers.

 

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Miracle League baseball was rained out so we played basketball and had an Easter egg hunt inside.

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Look at him write his name. He is labeling his school supplies for his first day of school. He’ll get an idea of what school is like before letting out for the summer. He has a field trip to the science museum on Thursday.

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Four hours in the dentist’s chair and he did wonderful!! He’s been back since this picture was taken and he has a few more trips yet. The staff loves our boy and they were so good with him!

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Getting a short lesson from his dad on his uncle’s guitar.

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One of Sergey’s very favorite new hobbies.

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Sergey and his new cousin while decorating Easter eggs.

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Our new family!

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Loves legos!

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Cracking peanuts at the steak house.

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Sergey and his Papa.

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Miracle League baseball. He loves it. He plays for the Yankees. He is meeting many new friends!

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Sergey playing baseball with the Miracle League.


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In Country and Fully Funded!

Our visits with Simon have been excellent.  During this last visit we were able to spend time with a young lady who I believe was a physical therapist and she showed us some arm exercises he has been doing.  There were many people at the orphanage that day and Simon decided he wanted to go outside with us.  We walked around the roads of the orphanage, taking pictures of each other and attempting to communicate.  Simon found music on his Papa’s phone – only one song on it – a reggae type version of Joy to the World.  By the second or third time listening to the song, the three of us were singing it together.  Such a sweet moment!

All three of us should be home at the beginning of April.  We do have some obstacles to overcome before all is final and I cannot go into details here, but know we have an unspoken prayer request, and if you have been praying for our family, please continue to do so.  While our process has continued to go rather smoothly, there is a potential bump in the road and it could be a big one.  We believe with all our heart and soul that it will be fine, but we are having a lesson in what it means to rest and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our adoption is fully funded – that means $20,000 was raised to give Simon a family.  When my husband and I talk about this, we praise God and are immensely grateful for those who help adoptive families and their children.  The cost varies, depending on the location and type of adoption, but the cost is usually substantial.  Financial funding is a main hurdle in pursuing adoption.  We are capable of supporting our son, but the cost of getting him here…we couldn’t have done it without support.   We know many who read this blog are well aware of this; however, we are new to the adoption community and therefore some of our friends and family don’t quite understand the need to fundraise.

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A few days ago we had the incredible privilege of taking part in the loading and delivering of medical supplies to Simon’s orphanage.  The timing worked out perfectly for us to participate in this, but a team of people have been working toward this delivery for a year and a half.  We also passed out blankets to the bedridden children and to the boys in the Happy Home (where Simon currently lives) as well as to the adult men who live in a building on the campus.  As we were unloading the truck, I saw Simon from a distance.  He could see us from the window where he was – he had moved the curtain and was watching and waving.  I went to spend time with him and it was, once again, a sweet time with him.  He expressed that he was nervous about the adoption being finalized because of all the conflict happening in this country, and said to me, “Please don’t leave without me.” (through a translator).  He is a smart boy – always asking good questions.  I drew out a calendar for him that notes the days we will visit, our court date, and the day I will fly back to the US (I will more than likely return to the states before Wes and Simon but who really knows).  He got a kick out of me attempting to draw an airplane on the calendar.  Simon now crosses out the days, counting down.  I cannot express what an amazing boy he is and how much joy he is already bringing to our family.  What will it be like when we get him home?  We already laugh so much – this kid has personality!  How much will he grow with the unconditional love of parents, educational opportunities and regular therapy?  We simply cannot wait to get home and begin life together!

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 We have fallen in love with the other boys who live with Simon.  I haven’t shared much about them, but I hope soon to have a post dedicated to them.  Many of the boys have families coming for them, but some do not.


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We’ve Met Simon…

…and all is moving along smoothly.  Our family has hit it off well.  He is an incredibly friendly boy and we have very much enjoyed our time together.  He is looking forward to moving to America!  We are doing well in Ukraine.  We were nervous on our trip here and during our first night overseas, but we have settled in and have been surrounded by wonderful, helpful people.  We have been keeping a close watch on the news in Crimea.  We have met other American families who also recently arrived here in order to complete the adoption process.


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Prayer for our new family

We bought our plane tickets today…

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We are thrilled to be so close to meeting him and bringing him home.  Our prayer is for him during this time of transition, as he leaves all that he knows, that he would have courage, be comforted, begin to feel at ease with his new family, and while difficult, it would be a time of great joy and excitement. I pray for God’s hand to be all over our first moments together as a family – that He would help us communicate and He would remove anxiety.  I pray that we could bring smiles and some level of comfort to the orphans that live with him, and that others will soon be on the way to adopt those precious children.   I pray that the airport and plane ride offers much to learn as we are quite sure he has never experienced that – I also pray that he would not be too overwhelmed with it, but engrossed in the experience of it.  All of us will soon look down upon a great ocean for a very long period of time!  I pray that God would deliver us safely to U and back, with our son.  Lord, give us wisdom as brand new parents to help our son in his new life with us, in all the ways that he will need us.  Lord, thank you for bringing his story to our ears and thank you for giving us peace in the decision and the willingness to say yes, we will go.


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Our Date is March 3rd

March 3rd at noon to be exact!  That is when our meeting is scheduled and we will need to be in Ukraine a day or two before then.  We will probably leave on the 28th.  There are plenty of details to be ironed out.  This is the first time overseas for both of us…we are excited to get stamps on our shiny new passports.

The rest of the week here in North Carolina will be SNOW DAYS at school so there is “extra” time at home to prepare for our departure.  Our plan is that I’ll leave Ukraine after about two weeks and Wes will stay until it is finalized.  I guess there is always a chance that he will come home and need to make a second trip. We shall soon see how this all will play out!  We continue to do some mad last minute fundraising for our adoption.  We have two fundraisers:

1) NORWEX – My friend Erika is holding an online Norwex party where ALL PROCEEDS go towards our adoption.  So, if you want to help us out and get some great environmentally safe cleaning products at the same time, please consider purchasing.

http://www.norwex.biz/pws/erikarogers/tabs/home.aspx

Shop for Norwex products using the above link and at check out, put Karen Blake as the hostess.  All proceeds go to our adoption!

2) Essential Oils – We’ll be holding an online auction for a basket of Essential Oil goodies!  Details to come.  A close friend, in fact the friend who first told us about Sergey, is donating a basket products.  Looking forward to seeing what she puts together!

The Boys at the Happy Home in Kalinovka orphanage.

The Boys at the Happy Home in Kalinovka orphanage.

You can always give at our Reece’s Rainbow profile: http://reecesrainbow.org/60507/sponsorblake

We will be fully funded when that account reads $9995.

I really wish I would have been more comfortable fundraising over the months.  We live and we learn.  We are praying, praying, praying for financial provision and friends, family, and wonderful complete strangers are coming to the rescue.

This experience is changing us and we pray that these changes would remain.  We are meeting many new people and learning how to support other adoptions and advocate for orphans.  We pray that Sergey will join us in working for orphans, whether they are here in America or around the world.  We are so grateful to those we’ve met in person and online who are helping us understand what it looks like to serve lost children.

Expect more posting now that we are on our way to get him!

Matthew 25: 35-40  For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.  Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?  The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

 


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So Very Close

Crunch time is truly here.  We find out on Wednesday our exact travel dates!  We understand that our meeting will take place within the month…probably the last week of February.   Family and friends are staying at our home while we are away, taking care of our house and our pets…friends are also helping us do some last minute fundraising!

Wesley and I are trying to sort all the “to do” lists out, searching out plane ticket costs, figuring out how and what to pack, and remembering to take one step at a time.  We are excited and speechless and overwhelmed.  Simon will be our first child.  We look at each other with deer-in-headlight stares now and then.  Silently saying to each other: Are we really traveling the world to bring a teenager home to live with us?  What in the world!  Of course we are!  This is the beginning of such an adventure.

However, we are also trying to prepare our hearts to visit an orphanage where so many children still need a mommy and daddy to come get them.  We will be thrilled to leave with our boy, but we are expecting to have a heavy heart as we leave others behind.

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We are $8,791 dollars away from being “fully funded”.  If we are fully funded, it helps us from going into too much debt during our adoption process.  While almost $9000 seems like quite a bit of money, we are at peace with this.  We are praying for a little bit of help from a whole lot of people!  We also plan to work hard, with Wes working odd jobs, earning extra money wherever we can, to pay off any remaining debt once he is here.

http://reecesrainbow.org/60507/sponsorblake

This is the link to a site where a donation can be made if you feel so lead to help us bring Simon home.  Please share!

I’m not writing a whole lot as I am not completely comfortable with blogging,  People have encouraged me to do so as there are so many people who love our boy and would want to help bring him home, so I’m going out of my comfort zone, and putting it out there.  We would appreciate any last minute help to us get closer to that $8,000 mark.

We are thankful for this experience.  For having the opportunity to work towards our chosen child.  We have learned so much about the adoption process, and while it was not easy (nor is it quite over!), it has not been nearly as overwhelming as I had led myself to believe.  Part of the reason we didn’t adopt sooner is that we couldn’t get a firm grasp on what the process actually looked like.   It intimidated us.  Everything we read confused us more!  You really just have to start. Just say yes and begin working to give a child a home, trusting God to work out the details, and get done what needs to be done.  We have no regrets and once we are settled with Simon, we plan to begin again!  Whether international or domestic, no matter – there are children out there who need homes!

~Karen


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This IS Happening.

So…fun story. Today, my husband had to meet me in the parking lot of one of the schools where I work, basically to bring me, strange enough, a cake that I had forgotten.  He looked a little distraught.  He said that he had been in the car, praying (as he waited for his running-late wife) and said to me that even though we had our last contractor come out to the house for an estimate (just yesterday), we were going to hold off on hiring someone.  He said we need to wait.  He wanted to pray for help with this, that financial provision specifically for the ramp would come.  About four hours later, I was approached by a co-worker who had been speaking with other co-workers, and answer to prayer…financial assistance is coming.  Specifically, the ramp!  My jaw hit the floor.  I was like…I just…the parking lot…he handed me the cake…praying for help…amazing.  We laughed.  It is hard to show how truly thankful you are in situations like this.  Seeing answer to prayer and God working through those around you.  Other co-workers even mentioned throwing a teenager shower instead of the typical baby shower.  I’m racking my brain trying to think of things we will need with a teenage boy in the house.  Food, I’m sure!

These past weeks have been very happy ones.  My husband was rattled and a bit on edge as he drove a total of over 600 miles in 4 days gathering our finalized (re-done) paperwork from all over the state, but S. knows we are coming for him now, and this is really taking shape.  I try to imagine what kind of impact this is going to have on our life, and I can’t even begin!  How about the impact on his!  

We have had all sorts of reactions as people have learned about our adoption during the last six months.  Right now, as our main part of this comes to a close (outside of putting him on a plane and bringing him home!), we are so excited to see all this support from our friends, and this is shaping up to be a very joyous time!  Until recent, much of this has felt like paperwork.  It is hard to keep, and focus on, the purpose behind it all when the child you are working toward is so far away and you are surrounded by confusing paperwork and deadlines.

I believe I mentioned this before, all our documents have been mailed.  I just checked the tracking number and they are there…waayyy over there…though they haven’t quite reached the home of our facilitator yet.  Tomorrow I hope!  She has been wonderful, and so has Gretchen, our fantastic “stateside helper” who has completely donated her valuable time for us,  The last communication we had with our facilitator was that she would stay up nights if needed to get everything translated and ready for this adoption.  How loved our boy is!

Thank you, all who read this blog, for your continued prayers.  Your support, prayers, and words of encouragement have been amazing and have come at varying times of need!  I look forward to posting acceptance and travel dates!  Pray this paperwork goes through quickly and accurately!

 

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