I'm sorry it has been nearly 11 months since our last post. Much has happened in our family - mostly for the good. There have been a few bumps in the road, but overall, things are great. The reason for the lack of posts has been an issue of privacy. Believe me, in this day and age, I firmly believe in the big picture, there's no such thing as privacy. While my name, address, phone number and other info are readily available if you look for it, facts about the day to day life of my children are not so easily obtained and I have realized I need to protect them. I kept the blog open in the event there was a family in the middle of a Russian adoption that wanted to learn more about the process and our experiences. With the recent legislation changes in Russia, this is no longer an issue. Our family is transitioning into a new life of serving the Lord. As such, on January 15, 2013 we will make the blog private and provide regular updates. If you wish to keep up with us on this blog, drop me an e-mail! God Bless - Tony B.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Alexander has speech therapy every Wednesday nearby at a clinic about 60 miles from home. He is doing well and slowly progressing. The therapist is actually very excited about his progress. Fortunately, he is happy to go and does not get upset. Attached is a video of him when they first cut the unit ON and started to run through the test (a series of tones). He is doing well and when he gets tired, he will take the unit off and hand it to us. Click on the video below to see his reaction.
Jeremy is back at school and doing well. He came home last weekend from school and is very excited about his school projects and classes. I am very proud of the young man he has turned into. Sarah has reached out to him on occasion just to talk and he has been sweet to take time and talk to her.
Christina went for her annual check-up and is doing well. He gave her some medicine to help her rest at night. She seems to appreciate this. I laughed at her because in the morning, she is groggy instead of her normal self. after about 30 minutes or so, it wears off. She is still volunteering weekly at the local animal shelter. We took one of her horses, Kando, to a trainer for a month. She is looking forward to seeing him tomorrow on a visit.
Sarah is going to ballet twice weekly and doing well. She is excited about "Ballet Magnificot" (I probably misspelled that) coming in March. She has been wanting to see them for a while now and we had thjought we would try and catch them last year while they were on tour - but it didn't work out. For their (she and Polina)spring recital, I get to dance with them for one song. Should be interesting. When they asked, there was absolutely no way I would say no.
Polina is growing and doing well also. I am amazed at how tall she has gotten in the past 18 months. Our social butterfly enjoys ballet and her violin practices. When she is not dancing, she is reading. This is great because I think it has helped with her language comprehension.
Nastya & Dima are doing well. Nastya takes ballet and loves playing with her dolls. I need to work and find some things for Dima. I am hoping that as it warms up, the two of us can go fishing and maybe camping. These two are like a small storm at times. When they start to play they get loud - very loud. Giggling, screaming and carrying on.
Alexander had his cochlear implant surgery after Christmas and had his processor turned on about two weeks later. He is a bit of a ham and loves pretending to be a super hero. You name it - Batman, Spiderman or Buzz Lightyear.
That's about it I reckon. Work is work in the new year. I have different cities I must travel which is going to be a challenge.
Please keep us in your prayers . . .
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Alexander's surgery went well. It was a bit frustrating because it seems it is impossible for the medical community to tell you something and then follow through with what they said. When the anesthesiologist came by, he explained that Alexander would be given a mild sedative to make him groggy, then they would wheel him back to the operating room and then they would give him gas that would make him sleep. He never got the sedative and was terrified when they came to take him to the operating room. Due to the long wait he had already gotten scared because he did not understand what was going on. I truly believe he thought we were abandoning him. Those of you that have adopted know the routine of when you pick your child up from the orphanage - you strip all the clothes off them and then you put your clothes on them. Well, at the hospital, we had to strip him down and put the hospital gown on him. When they called us back to the recovery room after the surgery, we waited for him to open his eyes. When he saw we were there, he laid his head back down and rested a little more.
He returns for a post-op check up next week and then about two weeks later, we start therapy with the implant. Thanks for your prayers!
- Tony B.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Here in the US, it is Christmas Eve and most of us, particularly in the south, are enjoying some warm weather. While you are running around today getting those final presents or food for your Christmas meal, say a prayer for the fatherless in Russia. Right now, with a wind chill, it is -20 degrees Fahrenheit in SE Siberia - and that is in the warmer city areas on the southern coast. In the higher elevations, it is much colder. Pray that these children will stay warm no matter where they lay their head to sleep.
It is almost 6AM in Vladivostok right now, the time when most of us start to think of breakfast. For some in SE Siberia, breakfast is a luxury. As you pray, pray the Father will provide for them today and give them something warm to drink and nourishing to their body.
It is not my intention to bring you down on such a joyful day of celebration, I just ask that as you celebrate, pray for the most vulnerable - the fatherless.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Below are some photos from my October trip to Primorsky Krai. For the teens in the detention center, I did not post any photos that showed many faces:
Went to Hope for Life Home #1. It started snowing as soon as we pulled off the main road. House parents are great and our home assistant is very sweet. She helps with the kids and the cooking. They prepared lunch for us which included a salad with beets, berries and other items finely chopped. A little sweet, but very good! In addition to the salad, we had crackers, cheese and sausage. After lunch, I helped the house dad disconnect the outside water lines to prevent them from freezing.
Went to bed hearing Mig jets scream across the sky...
Got up early and we drove to Spassk to meet with the parents and kids in Hope for Life Home #2. Beautiful drive in the country! We stopped in Usseryisk to visit the orphanage where Polina, Dima and Nastya stayed. In the lobby I found new postings on the wall with some pictures that included my kids! I looked at one photo and said, "That's my Polina." She was in a dance costume, but I knew it was her. I then looked at another photo and noticed Natsya and Dima. We arrived in Spassk and I met the house parents of Home #2. I learned Misha had just arrived at home following a two week stay in the local hospital due to a heart attack. He and his wife were incredibly sweet and genuinely loving. We have been working for several months to purchase a new home for them, but the process has been very difficult. We went to church that evening and I was asked to speak. We took some clothes for the kids and one of the children was so happy she tried on about 8 outfuits and modeled for us. I got pretty nervous, but the Lord got me through it! I met a 19 year old orphan named Christina that was very sweet. She has had a difficult life and appears to still suffer some attachment issues. She is currently enrolled at the technical training center and is living in a dormitory. We spent the night at a local hotel. TINY bed that was hard as a rock. No heat because the government has decided it isn't cold enough yet. It was below 32...
We drove to Pokrovka and I met with Polina, Dima and Nastya's Aunt Tatiana and cousin Vladik. We had a great visit that I truly enjoyed and I wish we could have spent more time with them. I hugged Vladik and told him I was his fat uncle from the United States. He laughed. Had lunch with them. Tatiana had prepared borscht and it was the best I had ever had! We left and drove for a few hours to a detention center and orphanage. Spent some time with the children - young and old alike. We left some toiletries and gifts for the kids.
Visited another detention center in Vladivostok. So sad to see the kids here. The guards were pleasant, but did not leave the room. I really do not think the kids were dangerous. We worked a craft with them and gave them some toiletries, gloves and small gifts.
Drove to a small village and met with a young woman (21) that used to live on the streets in Vladivostok. Nice young girl - mother of two little boys. She works delivering mail in her village. She accompanied us to an orphanage we planned to visit. Unfortunately, the kids were under quarantine due to chicken pox.
Went to church that night to attend the youth meeting in Vladivostok. The church facilities are so small that the adults and teens can not attend at the same time. There were 35-40 teens there and it was great. Their energy for worship and their true sincerity impressed me. And they were dressed to the hilt!
Returned to Home #1 for church. Spent some time with the kids playing with them. Helped the parents unload have a metric ton of potatoes for the winter. Ate lunch with them and it was delicious - pelmini, tomato and cucumber salad and crab salad.
Drove back to the small village referenced in Day #5 to the home of the young mother I spoke about. We took her a used refrigerator (she did not have one)and she was so excited (we take so much for granted)! We worked in her kitchen for many hours trying to install paneling. Unfortunately, we did not finish. For tools I had a broken hack, a home made knife and another saw blade. Try cutting a hole for an outlet with those tools! A worker was going to be hired to finish the job for us. As we were leaving,she reached over to shake my hand. I laughed and hugged her and she smiled.
I wish I could have spent more time there. So much work to do...
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Can't believe it has been two months since the last post, but things have been busy. The kids are all engaged in school and extracurricular activities and I just returned from SE Siberia. So below is an update on everyone:
Jeremy is plugging away at college and is having a much better semester and seems to be having a great time. Last semester he joined the university's IEEE chapter, but he was a bit disappointed because they really did not engage him. All the projects were taken over and no one seem to need his help. This semester he is working with a a different group and I am not sure of their name. Anyway, they are building a cube satellite and he is working on the transceivers. He is one of three amateur radio operators in the group and so this right up his alley. They were supposed to test some of the electronics using a weather balloon last weekend, but the weather spoiled that opportunity. We all miss him and may have to make a trip there if he does not come home soon!
Christina is busy with home school and starting her own web business. She is a fantastic photographer and artist. In addition to caring for her horses, she volunteers one day per week at the local animal shelter. She takes photographs of the cats/kittens for posting on a web site for people searching for pets. She created a 2012 Calendar for the local shelter to sell to raise money. She is managing her illness very well and has good days and bad days. At least three days per week, she treats us to a meal she has cooked which is awesome! Below is a link to her web site:
Sarah is doing great but still hates math . . . and science. She is progressing well and is very busy with dance right now. She loves dancing and acting and had the opportunity to participate in two plays this past summer. I love to watch her dance and act. She has turned into a graceful young woman. To many she is shy and so they are very surprised when they see her acting and playing very vocal parts. She is great helping around the house and with her younger siblings.
Polina, like her older sister, loves dancing and acting. She is often seen twirling around the house. She has grown a bushel in the last twelve months getting much taller. she loves to help feed the horses and is our social butterfly. She enjoys visiting with her friends prior to dance practice and church.
Dima & Nastya:
These two are the source of a lot of noise in the home - cackling, yelling, and such. Nastya is taking dance like her sisters and enjoys singing in the church children's choir. Dima is big brother to Alexander and enjoys roughhousing with him. They are great kids and are often side by side in anything going on. Dima and Nastya have improved so much in their school work. Both are very good in math and are progressing with their reading skills.
Alexander has been home almost 8 months now and is doing well. He still does not like bed time and will fuss when told to go to bed. Some nights are better than others and that makes it hard when we are exhausted. He has been to more doctors appointments than I can count on two hands. To sum it up, he can hear certain frequencies and noise levels. He is currently wearing hearing aids and gets excited when he hears something new. The doctors are still leaning heavily toward a cochlear implant. He goes to speech therapy every Wednesday in a nearby town about 60 miles away.
Well, that's about it. I just returned from Russia where I had the opportunity to visit many, many orphans from a couple months old to teenagers. Some of their stories would rip your heart out, but their smiles are infectious! I'll try to post more about that later.
God Bless -