Joshua's Homecoming Video

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1 Year 'Gotcha Day' Anniversary!!

It's been 1 whole year since 'Gotcha Day'!!!  That means it has been one year from the day we went and picked up Joshua from his orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia.  If you would like to read and see pictures from one year ago, click on the link below:

Here are some current pictures of our 'Orphan-No-More'!! We've been blessed!!  There are NO regrets just thankfulness that God chose him for our family.  Here is my beautiful son:


(4th of July)

(the whole tribe)
(today July 15th, 2012)

(today, July 15th 2012 - playing with water with is his favorite thing to do)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Getting to Know....Joshua

So I have really dropped the ball on this blog lately.  My excuse is not a good one:  just life and the busyness of 6 kids.  We say that Joshua is like 3 kids rolled into one.  Maybe it would sound better if I said that I had 8 kids and that was why I haven't written a blog post lately :):).  Kind of pathetic, especially since I know of moms with many more kids that blog faithfully.  I am just not that put together.

Today, I was supposed to be at a garage sale helping my sis-in-law, but my youngest woke up with a fever.  So I am home and decided to catch up on the blog a little bit.  May 1st, we had Joshua's IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting.  It was decided that next year he is going to be fully included in the regular Kindergarten class at our home school. I am soooo excited and thrilled about this outcome.  Basically, he gets to go to school where all of his siblings attend.  He will have a full time aide assisting him.  I was really nervous about this meeting but it just went so well.  Anyways, I made a little 'Getting to Know Joshua' sheet that I gave to everyone at the meeting and I thought I would share it with you. So here it is:

Getting to Know….
We adopted Joshua from Saint Petersburg, Russia. He had lived in a baby home with other children since he was 1 ½ months old. His mom never visited him there and no family ever expressed interest in adopting him. At the age of 5 children age out of the baby home and are then transferred to older child orphanages and eventually mental institutions.
We started the adoption process in September of 2010. Since the orphanage knew we were coming, they kept him there instead of transferring out. He received good care at his orphanage from his caretakers. In total we made three trips to Russia and were finally able to bring him home in July 2011.  
·         He is a great imitator. He learns by watching his older and younger siblings.
·         He is a great communicator. He has been learning sign language and wants you to understand what he is saying.
·         He understands a lot of English!
·         He has a sense of humor. He knows when he is being funny.
·         He likes to help - to have a purpose. If you don’t have a purpose he will create his own purpose to occupy himself. He is busy.
·         He is social. He enjoys being with other children.
·         He has a great imagination.
·         He has great problem solving skills. He is self motivated to get what he wants.
·         Speech is his greatest weakness. He has a significant speech delay, which is most likely due to apraxia of speech.
·         He typically has a short attention span.
·         If boundaries are not very clear, he will test you. Being consistent with him is very important.
·         He is easily distractible. He can trip or run into things because he isn’t watching where he is going.
·         He has fine and gross motor weaknesses.
·         He can be bossy and tell others what to do.
·         He will take advantage of people who do not know him very well and what he is capable of and can/will misbehave.
Likes / Dislikes:
·         He is interested in dogs / large animals. However, if they come towards him, he becomes frightened.
·         He loves water – swimming, playing in the sink, bathtub.
·         He likes imaginative play - play food, setting the table, cleaning.
·         He notices how the other children are treated and wants to be treated the same.

Our Hopes:
·         Joshua will grow up into a kind, competent and independent young man, who will fully participate in his family, church family, school and community to his highest potential.  We want Joshua to know that he HAS a hope and a future here and are thankful to everyone who helps him achieve his potential.    

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Year Ago

One year ago today we met Joshua for the first time! Such a sweet and wonderful memory and wow! what an adventure!!! Traveling across the world to St. Petersburg, Russia, it almost seems like a dream that we did it!! It was love at first sight!!!!

Here are the pictures from our first day of meeting him in the orphanage:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Three Amigos

So the three amigos were playing nicely together....
while this is not entirely unusual, it IS usually short-lived. 
(So I snapped some pictures while everyone was getting along:)
This picture below took 12 tries before I got one with all
of their eyes open and kind of smiling.

Most of them looked like this.............

Then they wanted to show how they can wink.....
well this one not so much but he looked cute anyways!

He was so proud of himself. 

He is always imitating.  It's perfect.

I love this face.  He thought he was being quite hilarious. 

Colt was making 'animal houses'. I loved how
Joshua watched him and then made some of his own.

The box = so. much. fun!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

6 Month Update

I cannot believe that over 6 months have passed already since we brought Joshua home from St. Petersburg, Russia.  It has been a crazy wonderful whirlwind.  I think the most amazing thing for me is how natural it has felt for Joshua to be my son.  No one can predict how easily or difficult this transition is going to be.  For us, it has gone smoothly.  Joshua never has really had a period of grief or sadness, that I can see.  He has embraced our family fully.  And I can tell no difference of how I feel towards Joshua than how I feel toward my bio children.  Honestly, I don't think this happens right away for some people who adopt.  I think for lots of people this comes over a long period of time which I think is good and natural too.  Bonding happens differently for each unique situation.  But I must say, we just love him so much and don't know what we would do with out him.   He's funny, clever, loving and helpful.  He's also ornery, opinionated, strong-willed and excitable.  I think the biggest adjustment for Todd and myself has been just how busy we are.  There is not a lot of down time and my house is pretty consistently messy.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.  

In fact, I absolutely love it.   

Here they are in all their cuteness:
The Terrific Threesome

While Colt and Joshua are really 3 1/2 years apart,
they are really the closest in height, weight and development.
They could pass as twins, I think.

My first cousin, McKenzie, comes several times a week to watch the kids and help me out with laundry or dishes,etc.  That has been such a tremendous help.  It gives me a break just to think or sometimes I run errands.  Lots of times, I am taking Joshua to therapy (speech or OT or PT).  It really works out well.  I have even squeezed in some photography classes so that I can actually use my camera that I bought to use in Russia. (Note to self:  next time take the classes BEFORE you go on the big trip(s) you plan to use it on)

I love to see how he is bonding with our bio kids.  I often say that I know that he is part of the family because he gets 'loved on' and 'told on' equally - just the same as the rest of the kids.  It's pretty awesome.

Joshua's adjustment has been amazing.  He has never looked back.  He loves life and loves our family.  He loves church and he loves school.  (Note: He probably loves the bus ride to and from school more passionately than anything else.)  He is most certainly opinionated.  And He is most certainly not a pushover ( you should see him wrestle).  He is quite clever and knows how to manipulate other adults and kids as good as any of my other typically developing children.  He is happiest if he is doing something with purpose.  Even if it doesn't always seem logical to me, if he is doing something productive he is loving it.  I hope to give some more specific updates on his speech, heart, and other areas in the future.

Love you, Joshua!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bald Eagle

I was so thrilled to get some pictures of a juvenile and adult bald eagle today along the riverfront!!  Oh for a telephoto lens.........oh well! 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Joshua!!

Today is Joshua's 6th birthday.  This video is his first ever birthday party since we adopted from Russia. Probably his first birthday party in his WHOLE life. He was so excited that he couldn't wait until the end of the song to blow out the candles. PRICELESS!!  What a precious gift we have!!  We are so thankful to have him in our family.  
In this video we are with my family and he is sitting on his uncle's lap - they share January birthdays.  Todd and I are taking pictures and video:)   

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Please Pray

Please pray for Todd's cousin Derek, who received some hard news today at Mayo's. Their blog is

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day of Discovery - Earphones

I bought these earphones for Joshua so that on the plane trip home from Russia he could hear music/movies. He wouldn't have anything to do with them. He could not tolerate them on his head. Last night before bed, I thought I would give them a try again! So cute!! I could tell he was trying to explain to me that he could hear music!!

 This first picture cracks me up.  The realization that
sound is coming through those funny looking ear things.

Sheer Delight!!

 Mom.  This thing makes music!!!

See!!  Right Here!!

The rest of the pictures speak for themselves...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

One of 196!

This is really neat!!!  Joshua is one of 196 children who found their forever families through Reece's Rainbow in 2011. 
Can you find him?????

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hidden Angels

The day after Christmas a Reece's Rainbow family was featured on ABC World New Tonight! Check this out!  If you have never been on Reece's Rainbow's website, click on this link. 
This is where we found Joshua and our lives will
never be the same!!!  What a blessing!!