Tuesday, June 28, 2011


We are here.  And we are very tired.  I will share more later on our sleep "issues" while away...funny stuff.

It is good to be home and wonderful to see our children, who I might add are definitely "transitioning" to Mommy and Daddy being back!:)

Lots of laundry, playing with our munchkins, email catch-up, going back to work, grocery store, doctor appointments, fundraising, dossier work...lots going on.  I may be absent for a few days.  But we will be back and refreshed soon:)

Love to all of you and keep the prayers coming!!!  Oh and I have contacted the winners of the bigger giveaway items and will let you know in the next couple of days if you won  a necklace...there were 6 winners and I will post them hopefullly tomorrow.  Thanks everyone!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

At The Airport...Flight On Time!

Yay!  We are here...safe and sound!

Our flight is on time to leave Mos*** at 12:55pm while most of you all sleep.

Thank you so much for your prayers.  It is so bittersweet to leave, but I am dreaming of the day that we board this plane with our little munchkin!!!  God is good and so gracious!

Our time here has been amazing.  Yet, we are so excited to see our children and to hear the English language...haha!

Hope to be back in good ole R****a in no more than 8 weeks!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

4am Here and We Need You To Pray!!!

Hey Everyone!

I am sitting in the hotel lobby and all I could think to do was ask you all to pray...

We have to drive to the Mos*** to catch our flight.  It is about a 6 hour drive.  We tried to check out at the hotel this morning and to our surprise, the banks CLOSE here at night (it's obviously the only thing that closes) and they couldn't run our card!!!  Thus we can't check out of the hotel until we pay. 

Derek just left with our driver to find an ATM and try to take out cash and I am here by myself in the lobby.  Please pray for our travel back home and that we get to the airport safely, that our driver would be alert, that Derek can get some cash out so we can leave, and that we can make our flight.  I will try to update before we leave!

Our Last Day With Ivan...We'll Be Back Soon!!!

We have lots of pictures today. I don't have many words though. 

Our time with Ivan was simply wonderful.  We really feel like even today that he was different with us, making the goodbye that much more difficult.  The last picture is one of Ivan's caregivers and it was a gift from the Lord that she was there with him today.  You can tell she really loves the children.  She has been there for 25 years. 

Here was our morning.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Please Pray for Us!

Well here we are...the eve of the night that we prepare our hearts to say goodbye, hopefully for a very short period of time.  It is such a strange feeling to be so excited to return home to our children yet so heavy hearted and burdened because we have no choice but to leave another of our children. 

Although, we will be here all day tomorrow, we will only get to see Ivan once in the morning.  The director and other staff are off because of the weekend and she has very graciously allowed us to come back one time without them being there.  We are grateful because I was not ready to say goodbye today.  Of course tomorrow won't be any easier. 

Please pray for us!  You could pray for the obvious, that we would be comforted. But, also please pray for our son!  We can really tell that even today he was responding very differently to us and we hate to leave.  We don't want there to be days where he is laying in a crib.  Also, please pray for his health, that he would remain well and strong until we return.  Finally pray that the remainder of the paperwork goes very quickly.  My goal is to have it sent back withink a week.  That means a lot of preparation and then a trip to the county clerk for county authentication and then to Nashville for Apostilles.  It will be a lot of work and time, all while getting back into the groove at home and loving on our babies, who we have missed immensely!!  The sooner we get home and get this stuff done, the sooner we come back for our son!  And finally pray for the remaining finances.  God will provide...He has been so faithful providing exactly what is needed at every turn!  Here is some of Day 4 with our son!:)

We could not be doing this without all of you!  Thank you for your support, your emails, prayers, donations, taking care of our children, your tears of joy...it has blessed us greatly and because of your sacrifice, we are closer to bringing Ivan home!

Great Videos to Share!

We will update more later, but we couldn't wait to share these precious videos today!  We got to greet Ivan first thing when we arrived this morning and got it on video!!  Then we got to see him play a bit in the HUGE crib that is in a play area.  He was showing off a bit:):)  THEN, we got to see him being fed.  It was actually not very easy to watch for this momma and daddy.  It was softened though by his caregiver who, you can tell, really loves him.  She was making him smile so big and we were able to laugh at that instead of being horrified at the rate at which the food was being shoveled into his little mouth.  Oh how I just can't wait to get this boy home into our family!  Pray hard friends!!!

Just Videos...

for your viewing pleasure!  I figured what better thing to wake up to right?:)  Enjoy our little monkey!  We are off to see him again right now...3pm our time:)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fun New Things With Our Peanut...Day 3

Today was a really fantastic day!  We started the day with stopping and getting some medicine for Ivan's Baby House.  The director also the doctor told our facilitator about medications they needed...very basic items.  We spent $130 and had a full bag of medicine.  They were so thankful when we gave it to them!
Our time spent with Ivan today was really wonderful.  We were able to spend time in his play area and see and talk to the other children in his groupa.  It was also really warm outside and so that time with him was really enjoyable as well.

While we are with Ivan each day, there is not a place to put him down and let him play.  Outside doesn't provide that opportunity and there is a room where we can take him to play but the floor is not very clean and he never goes outside, so we have tried to take advantage and not stay in that room.  Today when it was time to leave, we took him to his caregivers and they put him in his crib where they play.  We got pics and video.  But much to our surprise, he sat up!!!  And then he got on his hands and knees and started rocking!  We couldn't believe it!  It was the sweetest surprise!  We had tried to sit him up on a couch a couple of days ago, but he was unable.  I guess that in his environment where he was able to move around, he is more comfortable.  Regardless, we were thrilled to see him do that.  The child in the crib with him is Sasha.  Sweet little guy is much smaller than Ivan and not even 2 months younger.  He stayed on his back the whole time.   Our Ivan sort of tackled Sasha...he is going to fit right in with our crew:) 

We also got to meet some of the other children.  One little boy that has been listed with RR is another Ivan.  He has Apert Syndrome and I was so happy to see him in person.  His caregivers say he is so smart and we witnessed that.  The video will speak to that as you can see him trying to pick up both cars we gave him.  We know that he is available for adoption and I would love to see his family come for him.  And I have waited to share this amazing news.  Do you all remember Nikita!  We have been advocating for him with RR.  We haven't met him BECAUSE HE HAS A FAMILY!!!!  He was adopted months back by a couple in Spain and they say he is doing so well.  He is even riding a bike!  Potential!  They all have it...no matter what that means, it is there.  I am going to try and see if they money raised for Nikita since we became his "Warrior" can be transferred to the other Ivan.

The reality sinks in a little more every day.  While the baby house is about as good as it could get there, substandard obviously by American standards, Ivan's groupa doesn't go outside and there are only 2 caregivers, if that, for many children, all with special needs.  And the bigger reality is that once these precious children are 4 or 5, sometimes 3 years old, they are transferred to institutions, not orphanages like the other "healthy" children.  The institutions are nothing like the baby house.  Can you even imagine what that would be like for one of these children?  I told Derek today that if they aren't walking and feeding themselves by the time they are transferred, what will happen to them?  Confined to a crib indefinitely. Honestly, the truth of that existence for these children that are now very real to me, haunts me.  They are no longer photos on a computer screen.  They are people with little souls that laugh and smile and cry.  God created each one of them in His image and what will become of them is very real if no one comes for them.  It would be Ivan's reality if we had not said yes to God, no matter the cost.  I pray that the people of God will respond.  What in this life is more important than this?  That is the question Derek and I had to ask ourselves last December.  The answer for us was simple, nothing.  There is nothing that could be more important, no excuse or reason that would allow us to stand before the throne of our almighty Father and say, "Yes Lord, we knew and we did not respond."  Nothing.  These children are worthy.  They have potential and they need a chance. 

Here is our day with our precious little peanut.  Every day, he responds more and more to us.  I tell you that any fear or apprehension of what the future looks like with Ivan in our family is daily replaced with an indescribeable love and connection.  He is our son...meant to be a Kramer from the beginning of time.  I am so grateful that God gave us the courage to say yes to Him.  What we would have missed out on is something I don't want to imagine.  See for yourself...:):)

Thank you all for all of your support!  It means so much!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time with our Snugglebug...Day 2

Our little pumpkin is one sweet little snuggler.  We enjoyed being outside with him for a bit today.  The other children in the other groupa (the small group that the children live and play with) were out playing and they sure did find a friend in Derek...no surprise there.  They also actually let us in to see where Ivan's groupa plays and sleeps.  We were really surprised by that! The other children in his groupa all have special needs.  We are holding off on posting pics like that just yet.  I also would love to post the precious photos of Derek playing with the other children.  But I think we will have to wait on that one too.  We are just trying to use wise discretion.

We found out today how we can be a blessing to the children at Ivan's baby house that may not be adopted.  The orphanage told us some things that they really need. It is ridiculous how expensive stuff is here considering people's wages.  We bought a box of 105 diapers today...OVER $50!!!  Yes I am not even kidding...ridiculous!  Do you know how many they use in a day?  As soon as we get home, I am going to start gathering for our next trip.  I am really hoping that we can take a huge amount of stuff back for all of these amazing children...most of whom will never find homes...especially those in Ivan's groupa.  What that does to me is hard to write.  Again, more on that later...processing a lot.

But I want to make something really clear.  We feel that Ivan is extremely fortunate.  I know that sounds crazy but his baby house has toys, a playground, food.  And we met his cargivers and you can tell they genuinely love and care for these children.  The director also seems to want the best for all of these children as well.  Culturally and socially, there is just no place for a child like Ivan.  It is very different here.  It is encouraged upon birth by the doctors to orphan these children because their potential is not understood.  It would be really easy to think people here are cruel and not just.  And I know in many places the conditions are NOT like Ivan's and there is much cruelty and neglect and abuse.  I can honestly say that is not the case for our son!  True, he has no family and true, he has so much unreached potential, but again we really feel that he has been cared for at the best level possible for where he was born.

And I will also reitereate...Ivan is in the BABY HOUSE!!!  Everything above that I stated is the exact opposite of what he would experience if he made it to 4 or 5 and no one came for him.  That is the very sad reality for many of the children in his groupa.  If no one comes, they WILL be institutionalized.  The children that cannot take care of themselves are already at a huge disadvantage and in an institution, there is no hope.  Those places are VERY different from where they are in the baby house!  The children without any special needs will go to orphanges, different from the institution.  All of the children need families, but children like Ivan have very little hope after transfer. 

I am so thankful that God has opened our eyes and pricked our hearts for these children!  I am so thankful that God lead us to Ivan, our son. I cannot imagine his sweet little soul in an institution.  I can't even fathom what will become of the children that we have to leave behind.  It is just too much...

I will leave you with some pics from our day.  Thank you for all of the comments.  We read them out loud to each other.  If has been the sweetest encouragement to our hearts.  God has used all of you greatly and we certainly feel every bit of that!!!  Here is more of our little love...

Looking into his Daddy's eyes...there is a lot of love there!
The green dots are something that they put on mosquito/bug bites.  I love Ivan's face here!
Looks like he must be saying, "what are you staring at?":)
Ivan LOVES this toy!  Our children helped pick it out for him.  I think it must feel good on his hands.  And btw...Derek is helping him sit up.  He cannot do that...yet:)
I am telling you....Ivan loves to cuddle.  He is so sweet.
We got some laughs today!
and LOTS of smiles!
Derek rubbed his skin and he loved it...especially his head being gently scrtached!
This is one of my very favorite pictures...tear up almost every time I see it. A beautiful picture of what it looks like to be protected by a father.  Ivan has really begun bonding with Derek and it is hard to put into words how sweet this has been!
And another favorite...signing the official papers stating that we have met Ivan and agree to his adoption.  The Director of Education was still asking our facilitator if we were absolutely sure, even after the papers were notarized.  YES...WE ARE SURE!!!!  HE IS OUR SON!!!  Pure joy to say that...can't wait until it is legal and final!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


There are no words to explain what happened today.  We met our son.  God, in His infinite grace and wisdom, chose us as a family for the most precious little boy and after holding this perfect gift in our arms, we are humbled beyond words.

Today we are so grateful that we listened to the sweet voice of our Lord and stepped out in faith and obedience.  Today, we have absolutely fallen in love.  Today, the language was no barrier.  Today, Down Syndrome was the furthest concern from our mind.  Today, we met Ivan..."Vanya"

We think he is pretty adorable! 
 It seemed surreal to take this photo!
 What a handsome boy!
 I have 2 favorites of the afternoon and this is one of them...he was giving Derek a kiss!
 My other favorite...just no words!
 Blowing raspberries:)
 He is just so very sweet...
and quite a cuddlebug!

We are still processing a lot.  I will say that he is so sweet and we are just in love with him as if he has always been ours.  I have no doubt that he is going to be loved by so many.  He has just stolen our hearts.  We cannot wait for his sisters and brother to meet him!

We also got to ask lots of questions and got a lot of information today...still trying to absorb all of that and will maybe share more later.  We know that his heart will need to be checked when we bring him home. We also know that he seems fairly healthy.  He does not eat from a bottle.  His caregivers said he is very calm and loves to eat.  We were told he has received some therapy as well.  I cannot express how grateful we were to see him not extremely malnourished.  His birthday is Sep. 28...he will turn 2 and right now he is around 20 lbs...about the same size as Stella.  He cannot sit up yet and tomorrow we hope to be able to play more on the floor.  He loved playing with my hair and as you can see from the pics, he loved kissing his daddy:)

I will leave you with this video...I will tell you it is long but so very worth every second:)  There are some really sweet moments around the 5 and 7 minute marks.  We will leave our hotel at 9:30 in the morning to go and spend a couple of hours with him. 

Thank you for your prayers!!!  We can't even begin to tell you how God has heard them and answered!  Seriously you all...so many things that people were praying have been answered.  More on all of that later.  For now, we hope you enjoy "meeting" Ivan or "Vanya" as he has been called by his caregivers...