Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Vitalik's received some presents from his grandparents and this airplane was one of them. What a great symbol of his new life and family.
Charles and I enjoying Christmas :)
Joshua 10th birthday
Lauren with her Piano teacher Laura Franks (my friend and prayer partner) along with some friends

This is the GT boys. They sang in our Christmas program at church. They were a big hit!
Joshua and Lauren being silly.
I think Vitalik liked the ping pong table.

Hello Everyone,

It was a lot of fun seeing Vitalik, Joshua and Lauren enjoy this Christmas. Vitalik really enjoyed getting the ping pong table and trampoline. He was so excited when he layed his eyes on the trampoline. He ran over to us and gave us a big hug. He helped put it together, it was a bit of a challenge for the boys, but they got the job done. They have a great time jumping and doing flips. Mom likes it to..... it's good exercise for me and them.

All of us have been ajusting to our new family. We have many laughs at the kitchen table. Vitalik loves making us laugh, he really gets Joshua and Lauren laughing. He's quit the entertainer. Of course, then Josh and Lauren start their comedy act. We have a house full on a regular basis. Vitalik had Yuri and Cole over this past weekend, if you don't know them, they are 2 boys that were adopted from the same internot in Odessa. They are Vitalik's age. He also, gets to spend time with his good friend Anastasia. She was adopted this past Spring. We have become friends with her parents Warren and Diana Nyffeler. They are really loving people.

We do have days where they are challenging. We have had to set limits on T.V. and video games. That hasn't been much fun, but very necessary. He really needs structure, as we all do, but more so I think for him. He is doing well in school. We is taking ESL at one of the local high

schools. He is learning how to study. He has never had to study like this. Every day studying his English. He complained at first, but now he knows what is expected of him. Vitalik is very smart and if he applies he himself will do real well. We see an improvement in his English on a weekly basis.
We are expecting God to do great things this year. We are excited in our spirits about what God is doing in us and through us. I will tell you more about this soon.

We send warm wishes to all our friends and family for a blessed 2008.


Leslie... if you see this, I lost your blog address and email. Please give it to me. If you have my email, send it to me that way.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Charles and Lauren taking a break from ice skating
Vitalik and Lauren having a little fun ice skating at Mohoney State park :)

Thanksgiving dinner with the family

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. We did, but it was very busy. My dad and brother
came down from Grand Rapids, Michigan for a week. Vitalik enjoyed his first turkey leg. He was
so funny, he ate every bit of meat on the bone. There was nothing left on that turkey leg. He
tryed many new American dishes. He liked cranberry sauce, fruit salad, but turkey the best.
We all enjoyed our family time together.

Joshua and Lauren are getting better aquinted with Vitalik and a little more comfortable. You
know their bonding when they start a wrestling match on the floor. They are acting more and
more like brothers and sister.

Vitalik started school on Monday. He started the language program at our local high school. He will go there for a semester. He is already doing real well. He can read and understand more
than I thought. His English is improving every day. The only issue I have right now is getting
him out of the bed in the mornings. We are working on that one!! He is also able to take weight
lifting class and choir. He is enjoying those classes. His teacher is a straight shooter and makes
the students do their best. she communicates with me almost daily. I think that is important, especially in the beginning. He is learning very good work ethics.

I am amazed how God is changing our lives. What a great adventure :)


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Our first family photo!
Vitalik, Joshua and Lauren having a fun day at the Omaha zoo.
Vitalik and Montie having some quality time.


I thought it was time to blog again. It has been a quick 2 weeks.

Vitalik and I have been back 2 weeks tomorrow. The first 5 days was the jet lag and enjoying charles, Joshua and Lauren. As far as Vitalik, He is adjusting pretty well. He plays basketball, football and rides his bike a lot. He is also enjoying the Xbox games and computer. He laughs and jokes around with us on a regular basis. Josh and Lauren have been amazed at how athletic he is. The first day, they all immediately went outside and played together.

He will start school on Monday. We went to the Doctor and Dentist this week. He is ready to go. He will be learning English the first semester, after that, he should be in regular classes.

As you can imagine, I am very happy to be home :) I am looking forward to a little rest. I haven't stopped!

I am posting a few pictures.


Jeri and Charles

Friday, November 9, 2007

4:30 PM Friday

Jeri just informed me that she is back in the US (Minneapolis) and waiting to go through customs! They will be back in Omaha tonight arriving @ 7:50 on Northwest. Finally!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

One Day Delay ;-(

Jeri got to the airport this morning and when checking in found out the travel agent had booked her return flight for Friday, not Thursday. After spending a few hours there seeing if there was any way to get on today's flights she could not, they were booked solid. She confirmed she is on tomorrow's flight, same time, so she and Vitaliy will be home Friday night instead of tonight. We are thankful that it is only a one day delay. Thanks for all your prayers and support!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007



Sorry there have been no posts to the blog for over a week. Jeri was moving from place to place, the internet service where she was staying was not working, then she had passport issues and scheduling flights to Kiev, etc........ I just spoke to her this morning (Wednesday, 5 pm in Kiev). She arrived in Kiev Monday night after getting Vitaliy's passport late Monday afternoon. Apparently many of Vitaliy's friends from the orphanage all came to the airport to spend time with him before he flew to Kiev. Their flight was delayed so Jeri said they talked for almost two hours with them before they had to leave, I'm sure that was tough but Vitaliy must have felt very supported to know how much he means to his friends @ #4.

Yesterday she visited the embassy and then went to the doctor's to get the medical clearance. She went back to the embassy this afternoon and as of about 20 minutes ago got the visa she needs to return home tomorrow!!! She will be leaving Kiev first thing in the morning Thursday and flying back via Amsterdam to Minneapolis to Omaha on Northwest, I think she said her flight # is 6884 and arrive Omaha @ 7:52 PM. I know she is looking forward to being home with the kids, it will have been 7 weeks she has been away from them on Friday.

When we started this journey I had a lot of misconceptions about the adoption process in Ukraine. It is longer, more difficult, more expensive, more everything. It will test your faith beyond anything you can imagine. Be prepared!!! Having a good support system will mean more to you than you will ever know. Friends in Omaha made this possible for our family, without all of them (and the list is so long it says much about the people in this community) we could not have done this. A special thanks to Laura and Terry F. and their family, they blessed our kids with their guidance and support while we were gone. In Odessa we had help from many, including Michelle M. and Tanya and Paul B., to name a few. Everyone has been just teriffically supportive, and back here I know of many, many families and friends who kept us in their prayers - they really worked and were answered!

So, tomorrow we will end one journey and begin another as Vitaliy joins our family. I know Jeri will want to post when she gets back, so look for it in a couple of days. Also, I want to let other family's know that the support we got from our facilitator (Oleg's team) Natasha/Natalia was incredibly professional and supportive. We were truly blessed to have her as our advocate in Ukraine throughout all the challenges we faced. She is an amazing person.

Finally, Thanks God! You saw us through this like you said you would.


Saturday, October 27, 2007


All is well here in Odessa.It is 11:30pm here and this is the first chance I've had for 3 days to post. I have been busy with Vitalik, The Becker family and just living. The internet has been down quit a bit lately.

I had vitalik's party for his class on Friday. For those of you who don't know, when a child is adopted most parents give the child a going away party. It consists of mostly food and drinks. Vitalik seem to enjoy himself. All the attention was on him. The supervisors (these are the women that take care of them during the day) gave him presents and said very nice things to him, they also gave him some advice. It was nice. I will try to post pictures soon.

The Becker's had the 10th grade class over today for lunch and a movie. Later on, Vitalik and I went to the beach. I don't remember the name of it. It was nice, there is a lot of development going on
near or on the beach. They are building large high rises. I let him play some video games and bought him a sandwich. We walked on the beach and the pier for awhile.

We are going to church tomorrow. Vitalik and some of the other boys are coming as well. It's a contemporary service. Please pray for their salvation, I don't think any of them know the Lord. They really need youth services here, they are bored in the main service.

Please pray this week, this is very important to when we get to return. Pray for no delays, pray that we get to leave Odessa by Next Sunday, October 4th. If we leave here on the 4th, We should be home on the 7th. That would be Great! Also pray for Vitalik, he is having a hard time communicating with me. Making conversation. Pray that the God would help him.

I hope everyone is doing well, I am thinking and praying for my family and friends. I am in good hands here. God has been so faithful, he has put some incredible people in my life. I am seeing the hand of God all of the place.

Please forgive me if I haven't returned your email. I havent had much time to do anything personal, and when I do, the internet keeps messing me up. so, I love you and miss you all.

Message for Joshua and Lauren: I am very proud of you both :) you are doing so great! thanks for helping dad. That means a lot to mom.
You both are very strong and courageous. I will see you soon. Pray that we come home quickly. LOVE YOU!!!!!!!