Friday, October 21, 2011

happy birthday, sweet girl.

dearest nika.
today you are five.

you are still my baby in so many ways.
and yet... you are becoming such a big girl.
some of my favorite times are when it is just you and me.
like today at the pumpkin patch.
that is when your personality really shines.

your resilience amazes me.
you are so smart. you love to learn.
you get so excited to take the bus to school.
you thrive on attention.
you love to cuddle.
next time that stranger does not need a hug, mmkay?

you are an outgoing little girl. but only if you initiate the contact.
once someone turns the attention on you... shy girl appears.
you love music. and you really love to dance.
and i am pretty sure you are the only home girl in this family that has moves.

you love your brother so much. you really look up to him.
and you love your sister so much too.
except for when she bosses you around.
i refer to you as the mini-payton.
you mimic everything she does. 

you love food. any food. even food that you find on the ground.
you are so easygoing. yet... the drama rears its head.
you are so happy. and you usually have a smile to share.
you get your feelings hurt easily... especially if you fear you are being left out.

you crack me up with the things you say.
nika, who's the russian?
i love that. makes me grin every time.
we are so proud of you and your heritage. we will cherish that forever.

happy birthday, sweet girl.
we are just shy of three years together... and we have a lifetime to come.
i love you.
and your daddy does too.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

5 years old.

tomorrow my baby turns five.
5 years old.


each year nika's birthday brings with it a lot of emotion. it is a time of reflection of where we have been... and where we are now. sometimes it is easy to forget the journey we endured to bring her home. it seems as though she has always been here... yet it hurts my heart that there is so much about her past that i do not know.

i cannot tell her the story of her birth. but i can tell her that she was born in st. petersburg, russia, weighing 4 pounds 3 ounces. and that she was 18 inches long. and that even though her birth parents felt they could not care for her because of her extra chromosome... there was another family half way around the world that could.

and that one day we would meet.

cannot tell her what time of day she was born. but i can tell her that she was born on october 21, 2006... which was sweetest day in the usa. ironically... kyle proposed to me on sweetest day in 1998. although unbeknownst to many... that hallmark holiday has always maintained a special place in my heart. 

of course nika was born on sweetest day.

i cannot tell her much about her birth family. but i can tell her all about our family. and how much we love her. and all about our adventures to bring her home from russia.

i often wonder why her extended birth family never visited her in the two years she sat in a baby home. i often wonder why her mom refused to give us a picture of herself when we asked. i often wonder if her older birth sister knows about her. 

there is so much that i wish i knew.

i wish i knew how to show nika's birth family that she is thriving and loving life... extra chromosome and all. 


her birthday wish?
that you would help another orphan that sits and waits.


charlotte is in an eastern european country.
she has less than three months left in her baby home.
after that... she will be transferred.

the family wanting to adopt charlotte is hosting a huge fundraiser.
they are desperate to bring her home.

for a small tax-deductible donation... you will be entered into a drawing to win a slew of prizes.
dslr camera.
kindle fire.
gift cards.
and so much more.

1 entry = $10
5 entries = $25
20 entries = $50

please help.
go now.
$10 will go so much further than you think.
and you could win an awesome prize.

thank you.

strut your stuff.


Once a year, our friends and family come together to honor our girls. It is a day of love and acceptance. A day of understanding and respect. If there were such a thing as Down syndrome Island... this would be it. A place where people just get it... they get our love for these two chicks above. Extra chromosomes and all.


As I pulled around the bend to bring the Buddy Walk site into full view... I burst into tears. This day is so important to me and it always brings so much emotion to the surface. Having so many people come together to promote awareness for Down syndrome... I cannot even put into words how this makes me feel. Me lurves it.


Happiness. Pure joy. Love.

That is all I see when I look back at these pictures from our walk.



Ain't no wet ground and mud gonna stop us.






Rachel Coleman from Signing Time was there... we love us some Rachel! Her videos are a huge hit among kids... and it is because of her that so many of our kids with Down syndrome can easily learn sign language.

And she totally could live on Down syndrome Island... she would fit right in!




We are so blessed to have always received tremendous support from friends that we met in Russia while adopting Nika. Their son... Sasha... grew up with Nika in the same groupa in their baby home... and they live 15 minutes from us.


I have a special attachment to Sasha... he and Nika were adopted on the same day. I will never forget the look on his face when he came running in the room showing off his new clothes just before he and Nika were sprung from the baby home. Oh my gosh... his happiness over just an outfit was freakin adorable... if that does not put things into perspective for you, I am not sure what does.


Our families traveled to Moscow together to complete our adoptions. Nika was so young and oblivious to what was going on... but Sasha was not. We were able to experience not only the adoption of a younger child, but also an older child that was very aware of what was happening. The good times and the bad times... it really helped us gain perspective as to the true emotion a child goes through in an international adoption.

Nika and Sasha are thriving today... and I feel so blessed to have this connection.


Dora! Oh, how we love our Dora.


Oh, Elmo and Spiderman... we love you too!


Mostly... I just love these three so much.