A snapshot into what her future held...

A snapshot into what her future held...
Zhukovka, Russia

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Merriest of Christmas-es!

December 25, 2011 was Karis Yulia Kahrs' first Christmas... EVER. No joke. At 12-years-old, Karis learned that Christmas is Jesus' birthday. Her 5-year-old sister, Karrigan, was the first to tell her. Karis, also, had never been given a present, wrapped in paper, with a bow on top, until this year.

The photos posted, don't need captions...it's obvious the pure,
child-like joy this precious soul felt, for the very first time. She was thrilled with every gift she received, and we couldn't have been happier to help make her dreams come true. And at the end of the day... it wasn't even the gifts that mattered. She just wanted to climb into my lap and be held, to tell me what a great day she had with her new family.

(Click on the photos below to enlarge. Karis' expressions are priceless!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One year ago today!

Written December 6, 2011

It's hard to believe that one year ago, today, we met our daughter, Karis Yulia, for the very first time! I remember very clearly... we left our hotel in Bryansk, Russia and walked across a parking lot to the Ministry of Education where we were told why "Yulia" was in the orphanage. I remember tears falling, because although we hadn't met her yet, she was our daughter, and we couldn't bare the thought of anyone hurting her.

After leaving the ministry, we loaded our suitcases into a small, beat-up, smokey-smelling taxi. Our regional coordinator guided the driver to Zhukovka, 45 minutes away from Bryansk. The roads were literally sheets of ice, as Russia doesn't clear them during the winter months. None the less, the driver speeded down the road, as if it were a normal, dry day. Kevin and I clenched the seats infront of us, silently praying we'd make it to the orphanage alive, all the while, counting the make-shift graves along the side of the road. Others' fates hadn't been so lucky.

Kevin wiped frost from the window of the taxi as we entered a little village, all so he could begin taking video of Yulia's current "home". The village was like nothing we had ever seen before... small little houses everywhere with big, ornate fences, people pushing wheel barrels in the snow, horses and wagons in the street, and many, many fur hats! The music playing on the radio really awoke our cultural senses (or lack of)... a combination of polka and techno set the tone. And then... there it was. The orphanage we had imagined for nearly a year stood infront of us, eery and old. As we drove up, it appeared as an institution from the 1940s... pillows stuffed in the windows to keep the rooms warm.

We entered and walked up the first flight of stairs to the orphanage director's office, lugging our packed-full suitcases. Kevin entered the office first, and I heard him say in an almost disbelieving whisper, "Ah, there she is..." I looked up from the suitcase, and sure enough, the little girl whose picture we'd been staring at for 10 months was sitting right infront of our eyes! My first impression, she was so small! Her face was so sweet. She looked at me with the most priceless expression... it was a seeking, happy, nervous, relieved look, all in one! I can't imagine how she was feeling, because it was difficult to process all of the emotions I was feeling. Immediately, I went over to her, yet was hesitant, not wanting to scare her. I did what my instincts told me though, so I bent down to give her a hug, and to my surprise, she hugged me back and followed that hug with an incredibly sweet smile. Yes. Yes indeed... she was our daughter.

December 6, 2010 will always be... a beautiful day in our family's history.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving blessings

The Thanksgiving feast began, and delight was on Karis' face! It was the meal she had been waiting for and inquiring about for 7 straight days after learning about it and the Thanksgiving holiday, at school. When asked her favorite Thanksgiving food- she spoke with conviction... "The turkey!"

It was surreal watching her, as she sat at the dining room table, surrounded by our family... our daughter- a living, breathing soul who brings so much joy to our lives, daily. Last year at Thanksgiving, she was merely a dream... a photo on the refrigerator.

Also, last year, at Thanksgiving, my sweet sister announced she was pregnant. (Her first.) This past year, she and I enjoyed the ups and downs of pregnancies together- her's biologically and mine, pregnant through adoption. How blessed we both are now that our "harvests" are in, in the form of two new additions to the family... Vivienne Lucille and Karis Yulia. What can I say, except, we are blessed... our family is over-flowing with abundant blessings!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giving Back

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." ~Ephesians 2:10

Last year, at this time, Kevin and I were invited to Russia, to meet our daughter "Yulia" for the very first time. We began preparations including obtaining visas and packing, as if we were going on a missions trip. It's hard to believe it has been a whole year. And, that it took three trips to Russia before it was all said and done. And now, we reflect...

~By Emily
As Thanksgiving is amongst us, it's a great time to reflect on our blessings. After seeing Russia, three times, I am grateful... and thankful. I'm grateful Kevin and I saw what we saw. I'm thankful we have our daughter now and the adoption process is over. I'm grateful to live in a country where the air feels light, and smiles are abundant. I'm thankful that after spending several days in an orphanage, my heart is forever changed. I'm grateful that God pushed me to the point of shutting down both mentally and physically. I have a different outlook on life now and know first-hand that people CAN die from a broken heart. I'm thankful that as a result of being stuck in a very small village in Russia, where I had no translator, I managed to find food and feed my daughter and I. (And toward the end of my stay, the lady who ran the village market, finally felt comfortable with my presence and smiled at me. Mainly, because every couple of days, I blew through her stock of Coca Cola - my ONLY American comfort!) I'm grateful, that my daughter and I now share a very strong bond, as we witnessed each other in our weakest moments. I'm thankful that when we weren't able to get on our stand-by flight to come home to America, God helped us find (without an English translator) a hotel which we stayed in, in Moscow, for two nights. I'm grateful that I now understand... I am strong. And I'm thankful God will use that new-found strength to do more in His kingdom.

It took a few months. I didn't want to look at anything that had to do with Russia. I felt almost "traumatized" when we returned home. I thought I might need to speak with a professional. I couldn't, at all, appreciate the experience. I had nightmares the first couple of nights home. I was exhausted and confused about where I fit into my life, as if I didn't have an existance before the trip. On top of all of that, I had to put a smile on my face when our new daughter was around, as if nothing was wrong with me. There was A LOT wrong with me. I had to pretend though so that she could get adjusted to a whole new world. But in my world, how could I mesh into my former "American lifestyle" after seeing and living the pain, darkness, loneliness, and hopelessness a little village, in Russia, was built on. I was depressed, there's no doubt. So, why did God show me all of that? Well, I understand now. He showed it to me and allowed me to live it, to grow me in the area of... compassion. I already had compassion for orphans, but this was much deeper. He showed me despair to help me better understand and connect with the family who Kevin and I share a child with. In other words, I can't be angry with Yulia's birthparents or grandparents. I CAN be disappointed with their choices for how those choices hurt our little girl, but on some level, I can now understand why they made some of the choices they did. And without knowing Christ, there absolutely is NO HOPE of them ever digging out of their holes. Thankfully, God took mercy on the beautiful child who is now our "oldest" daughter, and we believe he has a very big plan for her life. Out of all of the sweet faces at Zhukovka, for some reason, HE chose our daughter's sweet face to appear to us on the internet, later resulting in her adoption. The pieces are now all starting to come together...

So, the next stage of the adoption... helping others. After 5 months of Karis Yulia being home, I can now appreciate the experience. It took that long for me to be able to look at photos of Russia again. I am healed mentally, and I know that God is nudging me again. He was gracious to give us the 5 months to adjust and ease into our new family roles. He was faithful to give us a child who is a very good girl and is bonding with us, eagerly. For His faithfulness, I will continue the work He has... touching those closest to Him- the orphan. All of us, as his children, were once orphans but received our "adoption papers", the moment we invited our Father, into our hearts.

It was a pleasure and a privledge to help coordinate a fundraiser for a local family adopting from Russia... the Burnsides. It was held last weekend, at a local church, and it was a huge success. One of the highlights was watching our daughter, Karis take part in it. The irony- a former orphan helps raise funds to bring another orphan home to a loving family. The fundraiser was also a great teaching opportunity for Karis. We want her to know a generous heart, just as we've tried to teach our other two. I believe she understands the concept, as she spent four hours, painting fingernails- her contribution to the fundraiser. It was truly heart-warming, and I know her Father in Heaven was looking down, smiling.

I am so thankful our family is being used and isn't staying stagnant. I'm glad we can see the BIG picture in a corrupt world. I'm glad that our efforts are bringing new friendships into our lives. And, I'm glad it's Thanksgiving, because we have sooo much... to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New book- MUST HAVE!


I'm very much looking forward to the release of this book, as Kevin and I are friends with the author and his family. They have been instrumental, helping us with our own adoption journey, and we have deep respect for them not only as people but adoptive parents.

Please take a look, and pass the word on. Each church needs a copy of this for it's library, and each adoptive family or prospective adoptive family would benefit from a copy.

What's exceptionally special about this book is that the proceeds go toward a grant program to help families adopting. Many of us know how tremendous that financial burden is.

Ordering instructions are on the website. Please contact me if you have any questions.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween! From a scary witch, a daredevil motorcross man, and a precious pumpkin!

I think this was one of the best Halloweens EVER! Seeing our THREE children enjoying their Trick-or-Treating adventures... it was just awesome!

This was Karis' first time Trick-or-Treating, so each house offered much excitement in the candy and treats it presented! Evan's experience was unique this year, as he is now 9-years-old and becoming more independent. He chose to scooter around the neighborhood with his buddy and neighbor, Nathan. Mom wasn't quite sure and comfortable about this, but I know that he needs to spread his wings, and I need to give him room to do that. As for Karrigan, she was the typical.. little sis... tagging along with the big girls (who joined Karis) and enjoying the added attention they gave her. Karis' friends are simply precious and took Karrigan under their wing! Kevin stayed home to pass out candy and build a fire in the backyard, for the kids' party, while I walked behind the girls, with my mom and her two loveable Scotties who were dressed as pumpkins!

Halloween marks the start of the holiday season, and we are excited and ready for the next festivities and all the memories they will bring.

Isaiah 1:17

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jack-O-Lantern Carving!

Tomorrow, Karis is having a Halloween party! We wanted to have one for her, because she has been talking about the holiday since June! So... TEN, pre-teen girls (from school) are coming over to dress up together and trick or treat! The house is now clean, the decorations are up, and the excitement is building! Even brother and sister are excited! Karis will be dressing up as a witch, Evan a motorcross guy, and Karrigan a pumpkin!

In preparation for tomorrow, the kiddos got their jack-o-lanterns carved! It was such a beautiful fall day, to be outside. We're trying to enjoy as many days outside as possible, before the COLD hits. Even then, there are still many things to look forward to... life is good!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Volleyball and Victory!

Saturday was Karis' first-ever volleyball game, and this mom and dad are so proud of her! She played well, but more than anything, her courage is what impressed us most. She went out onto unfamiliar territory (away game), not always knowing the rules of the game nor what all of the volleyball terminology meant. Regardless, she tried, and she succeeded... huge milestone!

Karis has an inner "drive" that is inspiring, even to me, her 37-year-old mother. When people tell us what a blessing we are to Karis for adopting her (an older child), I have to laugh- they have no idea how she blesses us. Karis is a... joy, and I cannot imagine life without her now. That's the funny thing about life, we become comfortable with the "norm"... which is the normal we create for ourselves. Then, throw in an adoption curve ball, whoa, your life, and your family's life acquires a... "new norm". That's what we spent the summer working through... adjusting (fairly easily) to the "new norm". Now, however, it feels as if Karis has been in our family forever. It's all very normal. Not only is Karis reaching milestones, now that she's in a functioning family, but her mom and dad are, too! We now understand that curve balls, a "new norm", and adaptability are all actually very good things... all designed for our personal growth.

Just as Karis was courageous getting out on the volleyball court Saturday, I'm so very thankful God allowed Kevin and I to be courageous growing our family. I look forward to many more milestones... amongst us all.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Stability releases Ability

I just heard Joyce Meyer say this on TV... STABILITY RELEASES ABILITY. With a cup of coffee, each morning, I faithfully watch Joyce after getting the kids on the bus. She has an amazing ministry and annointing.

Lately, however, I've been listening, but my spirit has been critical. My faith has been shaken. My emotions have been heightened. Why? I have to believe God is working a BIG plan in our family, and satan is doing everything in his power to deture, distract, and divide. Yesterday, I worked in the morning, so I couldn't meet up with my prayer gals, but they went ahead and met and prayed for our family. The result... last night, I opened the Bible and began reading. I haven't done this in quite awhile, because I always feel that others can teach me better than I can learn through reading. NOT TRUE. By reading the Bible, an instant peace is felt, and God speaks directly to us. Why wouldn't we (me) want to listen to God? I suppose satan has been distracting me from it. Anyhow, I went to bed pondering what I had read, and God gave me awesome dreams, as a result. I woke up with energy, re-newed love for my family, and peace.

I have to be honest, after a wonderful summer of adjusting to our new daughter in the family, the start of fall has been more challenging. It isn't because of her, she is amazing! It has definitely been me. I have this thing some of you can relate to called... "Mom Guilt". I find myself asking, "Am I doing enough for Karis?" "Am I doing enough to meet Evan and Karrigan's needs?" "Am I doing enough in my career to plan financially for the future?" "Am I being a good friend?" I go through all of this in my head daily, and it simply needs to STOP. There is nothing wrong with asking the questions, but dwelling on them is not what God wants or intends. I've been a dweller.

God told me this morning that I AM doing enough, and he used Joyce as the vehicle. Her statement spoke to my spirit and actually woke it up! Kevin and I are doing what He asked of us... we adopted an orphan child, and we are giving her STABILITY. This is something she didn't have a lot of in Russia; therefore, by us giving her stability, it is releasing her ABILITY. Boy oh boy does this child have ability! She is good at pretty much everything she tries! Her English is coming along wonderfully, she is playing volleyball for the school, and classmates are asking her to hang-out! God has a big plan for Karis, and stability is the start of her success. It's the simple things God uses that grow this child that we don't even think about... things such as Karis watching her dad get up EVERY morning and go to work. Also, Karis is watching me get her and her brother and sister up each morning for school, complete with packing lunches for everyone and making breakfast. Here I feel sometimes as if I'm not doing enough, yet it's the general day-to-day "stuff" that she needs and enjoys observing. Why oh why satan, have I been letting you steal my peace?!!!

I love my life, I am very blessed, and I AM doing enough. Watching my healthy, happy kids grow, thrive in school, thrive in sports and friendships... all because God has blessed us with... stability.

John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Isaiah 33:6
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fun with our girl!

In just a few weeks, Karis will be home! Things have been so busy, that I haven't had time to blog. So... here are some photos from the last trip!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Adoption Day!

This was taken right after we left the court room! A happy... happy day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

KARIS YULIYA is ours!!!

We are home, slightly jet-lagged, thrilled to be back with our kids, and waiting... waiting out the mandatory 10-day period before we can go back and pick up Karis.

Court was LONG -and thorough- but not bad.

Quick highlights of the trip...

1. Attending church with Karis on Easter... a 3-hour Russian Orthodox service in which all are required to stand. It was a beautiful experience. We'll never forget it.

2. Seeing the orphans' faces light up when we passed out Mrs. Shook's classes' (and my video classes') Easter goody bags. Thanks to Mrs. Shook and her students for coordinating this missions effort. We were thrilled to be the deliverers! And, who would have ever guessed... the children, in Russia, had never seen plastic Easter eggs!

3. Finally meeting Catherine who adopted her daughter (same orphanage) the same day we did! Looking forward to traveling with you again, friend!

4. Having Karis show up at our door, at 7 am, in her PJs to greet us! She waited up all night for us to arrive!

5. Coloring Easter Eggs with Karis and her friend, Masha.

6. Learning how to play "Lapta" (Russian baseball) in Karis' "physical training" class which happens to be her favorite class!

7. Finding a cafe in Bryansk that served PIZZA!

8. Meeting FOUR men named Sergey in one day! Three of the Sergeys were our drivers, and one of them shared our train cabin.

9. Receiving wonderfully long, informative emails from my mom about how our kids were doing. She made sure to include their activities and funny things they said... it helped us cope with missing them. (Thanks, Mom!) Also, receiving Bible verses from the Bergeron family that helped lift us up when we would become worried.

10. THE JUDGE GRANTING THE ADOPTION!!! And seeing Karis' BIG smile, as a result!

There's no doubt, God is good... and faithful. Thanks to ALL for your prayers during this trip!

~Kevin and Emily

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Planting Seeds

Just as the farmers, in the fields, are planting their seeds right now... I have been surrounded by other "plantings" going on.

Last week, we had the amazing opportunity to host two boys, members of the Children of the World choir, brought by World Help and Kids Against Hunger www.achildshopeintl.org , to our church. Dan, 10-years-old, is from Uganda, and Ash, 9-years-old, is from Nepal. My prayer for the hosting was that we, as a family, could love, encourage, and provide a sense of "hope" for the boys. Not only that, I prayed that God would use the boys to "plant seeds" in my children to want to help orphans one day.

The Children of the World concert, alone, had my chilren in AWE! To see the sweet orphans on stage singing, dancing, and praising God was purely joyful. It touched both the kids and I very deeply. Those children have seen and experienced so much pain, in their short little lives, already. They have been on tour for nearly a year and will go back to their native countries in June. One of our little boys confided that he will return to a children's home (an orphanage). Although I praise God there is food and clean water at the home, I can't bare the thought of the young boy not having a family. It breaks my heart. Perhaps God was planting seeds in me, as well. (Smile.) We will never forget Dan and Ash. We will pray for them nightly. They are already mighty children of God, and we will continue to pray that they will grow up to be mighty men of God.

Last night before bed, my little warrior man, Evan, prayed and then told me that someday when he grows up, be wants to be a Marines missionary! He said that his two favorite things are spreading the word about Jesus and battling! Is he all boy or what?! As for Miss Karrigan, I knew she had listened closely at the concert, because she asked God for all of the children to be able, to have clean water. It really bothered her seeing photos of sick children and hearing that 30,000 children die every single day from contaminated water. I can't get over that statistic... I vow that I will never dismiss it or let it go in one ear and out the other - 30,000. We can do better as human beings to not let this happen. For all of the struggles we have in our country, we are so blessed. Through World Help, we can all assist by paying -pennies- TRULY... just pennies is all it takes to help struggling countries build a well for fresh, clean drinking water. That could drastically help the mortality rate of children in countries like Nepal and Uganda.

New topic...

Other seeds being planted:

Oh my goodness, I am just Over the Moon about this one! As most of you know, I am the video teacher at our school. God has allowed me to be surrounded by so many amazing people including Mrs. Shook, the Life Skills teacher. Mrs. Shook is such a kind lady whose heart for children is very apparent as she teaches her classes. She approached me about her classes participating in a project to help the orphanage where Yuliya is! Since the class is about to start a financial unit, one of the sections is about tithing. Helping the orphanage will be a perfect compliment to the course work. So... I had the amazing opportunity to speak to both Life Skills classes and share our testimony about adoption, including how God has adopted all of us as his sons and daughters in Christ. The kids became really excited about helping, and many hands went up in the air with ideas! I believe the details of the project are being worked out, but I did hear that each and every one of the 300 children at the orphanage will be receiving a personal card and a goody bag! I've said from the get-go, this adoption is not about us and our family... we are simply just a vessel -doing- and allowing others to do, His amazing work.

As I look out my window and see the pretty spring daffodils popped out of an empty flower garden, I'm reminded, it was their season to bloom. Other flowers are coming in their season. For my family, it's our season to both plant and receive a harvest, which I'm not sure we've ever done at the same time. -At least not knowingly.- That's the beauty of adoption, there's so much more going on within the workings of God, that we don't ever really get to see. In about one month, our garden will be full, blooming, and over-flowing with "flowers": Yuliya will be home with her forever family, orphans will be feeling love and hope (class project), and God will be perfoming even more beautiful, blooming miracles in his eternal garden, of the kingdom.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We are expecting to travel for court in late-April. We just got word yesterday that our pre-court date is April 11th. We aren't required to be present for the pre-court, only the actual court date.

This trip will be a quick one. We'll fly into Moscow, do our medicals there, then hop a train down to Bryansk. It's about a 7 hour train ride, but it seemed to go fast during our December trip. I think it's, because we were in and out of sleep. We arranged for sleeping quarters on the train so we could stretch out and rest which is much needed with an 8 hour time difference. The train was actually pretty nice... warm and clean.

So, onto family happenings... Evan is doing well and eating us out of house and home!!! (growth spurt), Karrigan has started soccer and is enjoying it despite practices being cancelled due to spring rain, Kevin is about to start the Reds season, and I just completed my last show (publicist work) until the fall... Monster Jam up in Toledo. All and all, life is good.

Two prayer requests...
1. That we receive the grant we just applied for (Much, much needed)
2. That God will supernaturally provide the funds needed to complete the adoption

People, even Christians, get a little funny when money is talked about. I've even been guilty of getting a little cynical about it when it's brought up in church. I heard something really inspiring today while watching Joyce Meyer. She said... "Even God gives... For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only... you know the rest.". Yes, God is a giver. I'm seeking to be more of a giver, also.

If any of you have any quick turn-around fundraising ideas, to help us complete the adoption (we're in the home stretch!) please let me know! One friend loves my cakes, so she suggested I bake and sell Easter cakes or Spring cakes! Any thoughts, y'all? ANY ideas are welcome.

As always, THANK YOU for your love and support.

My devotional verse for today... (no joke!)

I John 3:17-18
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.



Ps. A new friend, also adopting from the same orphanage as Yuliya, was kind enough to take a package to Yuliya. As you can see from the photo, the Easter bunny came a little early to visit our girl! Chances are, we'll get to take her another chocolate bunny next month! Can't wait! xoxo

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Feeling the Love!

Wow... last night, we felt the love. Truly.

Our dear friends, Tara and Cody, held a fundraiser, at their beautiful home, to help bring our Karis home. It was such a lovely evening! Truly... lovely. To be surrounded by many of our closest friends... nothing compares. (We did miss those friends who couldn't be with us! We know you were with us in spirit!)

Our friend, Christi, is doing something SO generous, I don't know how we could ever possibly re-pay her! Please see the link attached... especially if you are a parent or grand-parent. Amazing. http://www.snickerdoodlesphoto.com/blog/kahrs-family/

As always... THANK YOU for your love and support.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One year knowing Julia!

February 21st marked our one year anniversary of finding our sweet girl! In many ways, it's hard to believe it has been a whole year... then, I think back to last summer which DRAGGED. I think about ALL of the emotional ups and downs... finding out we couldn't travel last August due to the Ministry of Education, in Russia, taking the month off for vacation! Then, we were told shortly after, we can't even pursue the adoption of our child for at least a year, because her father was found! Imagine that bomb and what it did to us... only to find out a couple of months later that, that information was for ANOTHER child... NOT OUR CHILD! Then... scramble... get paperwork together... we're going to Russia in November... no, no... December! AND THEN...................
......... WE WENT!!! We actually WENT the first week in December and met our daughter! The little girl we'd been dreaming about for 10 months! Was the wait, the emotional stress, the sleepless nights, the tears shed, the many talks with family and friends, the money, the paperwork... was it all worth it??? ABSOLUTELY.

And now... a year into the process... we do believe we're in the home stretch! We've had to re-do some paperwork that started expiring (didn't think the adoption would take this long)... BUT the end of the journey is now in sight.

What have we learned??? Faith. Trust. Patience. What else??? We live in the greatest country in the world... we are blessed... God uses children to bring us closer to Him.

Although we can't wait for the adoption to be finalized (and hope to never look at another piece of adoption-related paperwork) we hope the journey will go on for a very long time. It has bettered us... grown us... and brought us closer to Jesus. How honored we are that He chose us to grow... and parent this little girl.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our 3 Artistic Children!

I love walking into our kitchen! It's a kitchen that certainly doesn't compare to those in designer magazines... but yet, it is ARTFUL. I love the quote by Oscar Wilde:

A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament.

All three of our kids have unique temperaments. Now granted, there are still many things about Karis we do not know, and interestingly, there are many things about herself that even she does not know... yet. Simply stated, children in orphanages do not have a lot of life experiences. They eat the same meals everyday... they wear the same clothes everyday, for a week. Children in orphanages have only one outlet... the television. That's how they "experience" life... that and through their art, should they be gifted. We are able to see that Karis is a perfectionist. We watched as her hand was very steady, her face very stern, as she drew people and animals. Also, the way she would organize her room at the orphanage and the sewing projects she showed us made it clear, detail is very important to her. Evan's temperament... he is focused, confident, and mellow. Stress does not touch Evan. Karrigan's temperament is one of... passion! She is passionate about everything she does. She is a good communicator, humorous, and always planning ahead!

It's neat to watch kids as they grow older... and you start to see who they will become. We love watching our two at home and can't wait until our third is here so that we can know her better. For now though... we turn to the art. Three very unique children we have... and three "styles" of art, that I love to admire each day, as I walk into my kitchen.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spring be near!

It seems there is little time to relax these days. Our lives are full but blessed. Nightly, we have homework with the kids (both kids now that Karrigan is reading), Evan's basketball practices, Cub Scouts, and any other meetings that pop up. We are now having to re-do some adoption paperwork in preparation for a possible March court date. Our regional coordinator, in Russia, is hopeful she can have us ready to go then, and we'd likely get to bring Karis home in April.

Some new friends of ours, in a nearby town, just had their court date (same region in Russia) and will bring their little one home very soon! It's so good to talk with people going through the same process, who have been to the same places, and know some of the same people! It's also comforting to see that in the end, the process works! So far, I know of three families who have had success... and all from the same region.

We mailed a care package to Karis a week ago, hoping she would have it by Valentine's Day. I wish I would have remembered to take a photo of it, there were a lot of pink and red items inside, including a heart-shaped box of chocolates. I hope our sweet girl knows how much we love her and are trying our hardest to keep the process moving so that she can finally come home to a family!

I'm praying that the winter storms will die down by March, and travel will be easier than it was in December. March will not only be welcomed for warmer temperatures and sunshine, but it will certainly help alleviate the gloom we've been feeling missing our girl! Spring is known for bringing about new life and new beginnings... this family is ready to bloom!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sweet Dreams

For the last two weeks, I have dreamed about Karis. I'm not sure if this is normal during the adoption process, but I'm not alone. Kevin, too, has dreamed about her often. Spiritually, I wonder if God is talking to me. The dreams are very sweet, and I feel very peaceful when I wake up. I learn about our girl through the dreams. The dreams also make me think about situations we will experience when she comes home.

I, also, wonder if I'm somehow "channeling" Karis when I'm sleeping. After all, she is well into her day, since where she is, is 8 hours ahead of EST. Perhaps she is thinking about us, exactly when we are dreaming about her! Hmmm...

We miss her, there's no doubt. A lot has to happen however before March. We somehow need to find the funds to complete the adoption. That is the only concern right now. Somehow though, although the number is staggering, I feel total peace. I feel that God has more to teach me before the adoption is complete, so I really just need to seek Him. He has brought Kevin and I so far in our faith, I know he won't turn his back on us now!

That's all for tonight... I just needed a few minutes of writing therapy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Grandfather Frost is coming!

Thinking of our sweet Karis Yuliya tonight, as it is almost Christmas in Russia. Russians celebrate on January 7th. We mailed her a package, which I pray arrives safe and sound. I'm also hoping that the orphanage was able to gather some special treats for the children. We can't wait until Christmas this next year!

Bryansk Home

Bryansk Home
My two favorite colors together seem to be common in Bryansk homes.