Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A bunch of stuff that I need to write down before I forget it:

Here are a few very random things I want to be sure and write down but I keep forgetting to so I will type them here and that way, you'll all get to read my notes. Lucky you!

A couple of days ago Max got into the car and instructed Annette, "Buckle up!"

He also seems to really like green (favorite color?). He points it out often and loves to wear it.

He loves the cow at Chick-fil-A. I mean LOVES it.

His Spider man baseball cap is another thing he likes a lot. He wears it every day.

His shoes. I have to post a picture of these! He has completely worn out the backs of them doing what I think must be his favorite pass-time: riding the big-wheel down the driveway at break-neck speed!

Another favorite pass- time? Playing CDs.

He spent the past three days carrying around and American flag with him everywhere.

Misha is saying "I love Mama ee Papa" in English more and more. Up until now he mostly only said this in Russian.

He spits when he talks. A lot.

He rolls every 'R' very noticeably. Even in English words.

He drives us crazy by shaking his head while pronouncing, "Ya ni Boodoo." before tasting anything for the first time. I don't know exactly what that means but the gist of it seems to be "I will not be doing that!" Fortunately after he tastes it (and likes it) he is not too proud to admit that it tastes good.

Vitali
Loves his Papa. Almost to excess, if that is possible. He loves me too, but in a more normal way.

He says a bunch of his words in baby talk. In Russian he says "Zozeezonya!" instead of 'dos vidania'. He says "Kanna" instead of 'Hannah' because of the Russian phonetics; in fact, he uses a 'k' sound to replace every 'h' sound.

At night I say, "What song shall I sing?" He understands this perfectly and always says, "A-B-C-D-E-F-Zhee- Zhee" Meaning the one that goes, "A,B,C, D, E, F, G, Jesus died for you and me..."

He throws very few tantrums now. Only one every several days or so.

He bounces when he walks.

He sings to himself when he's happy.

He likes to go outside but to poke his head back in the door every 5 minutes and say, "Mama?... Allo!...Paka!" then waving, go back out again.

Vitali loves soup. He usually has two or three bowls and generally makes no mess when he eats it. Generally.

All the boys...

...Love to get their hair done and then go and show Papa.

...Like to wake up waaaay too early!

...Yell, "Pre-yekhelleeeee!" (we've arrived) every time we get home from anywhere. Vitali actually says, "Peeyekellee!"

...like to wear footie pajamas

...Love to play outside

.
..LOVE their Babushkas and Deodushkas (Grandmas and Grandpas)

...Love tal
king on the phone.

...whine. But they
are getting better about this. Thank goodness!

...like hotdogs. It is definitely their favorite food. Oh, yes and potatoes.

...Get excited over things we would think are mundane. Such as getting the mail of going to the grocery store or having hot dogs for dinner or going
ANYWHERE in the car.

...are as excited to ride in the car as an American-born boy might be to get a daily ride in a Bulldozer

...are fascinated to watch me cook. For some reason the saying my dad used to say comes to mind, "If you want to help, don't help!" But I usually just swallow my words and remind myself that they have probably never watched anyone cook before. Misha is especially funny about this. The other day he saw me making cookies. He looked in the bowl and saw the butter. He tasted it. "Ya ni boodoo."

Of course.


Melissa

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Link to video. Misha sings the ABC song!

The boys are doing so well at putting their best efforts towards learning to communicate! I am so proud of them!

I shot this video of Misha a couple of weeks ago at the lake. After only 10 days in America he had decided that he needed to master this ABC song! I think he has done quite well, Don't you?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

playing by the lake


We went down to the lake tonight and took a new family picture. After that, the kids had a good time throwing rocks into the lake for a bit as well as climbing on the rocks around the edge. I hope you will enjoy some pictures of the evening:

Hannah.

Misha and Steve. The boys love their Papa.

Annie Grace
I can't believe she's almost six!

Maximus. The boys have rosy cheeks from playing outside all day long!

The whole clan.

Us. Melissa and Steve. Steve always looks concerned about something in his pictures.
If I remind him not to scowl, his eyebrows shoot up and he just ends up looking extremely surprised. :-) Even so, I like how this picture turned out.

Misha.

Ivy was sick yesterday. This evening she is better but still extra cuddly.
Nice for a mommy.

This one was almost as big as his head. The angle disguises that fact.
Vitali heaved this missile with all his might!
It landed about a foot and a half away from him.

What did you do today?

Friday, February 15, 2008

pictures

I'm kind of cheap. (ok, I can hear you snickering out there!) Anyway, last year we just could not make time for our usual Valentine's Day celebration. So, we celebrated the 15th instead. Know what? The kids really cleaned up! Everything was 75% off and so we were able to get some things that we normally would never have baought and only spent about $10!


This year we let Hannah decide, would it be ok to make Valentine's for us on the 15th again? She considered it carefully and opted in favor of extra candy.


Last night, on the 14th , we made Valentine's 'Whatevers'. I call them 'whatevers' because they were just whatever the kids decided to create! Vitali enjoyed smearing red glitter glue and paint on this construction paper heart for a long time. Then he held up his hands like this and asked for a napkin!
Today, we have beautiful weather. I am not sure what the temperature is because out thermometer blew away in a storm the other day but it is quite pleasant. (Not quite as pleasant as Hannah's shorts and short-sleeved shirt would suggest, however!) The kids have all enjoyed playing outside today and I hate to call anyone in for a nap, but then, I'd hate not to, too!


I like this picture of Max. It shows his sweet little spattering of freckles. I like freckles on boys. Steve has almost the same pattern across his nose.
Vitali has his mouth full (and I do mean full!) of bread. He is also wearing a baseball cap. He likes to look like his Papa.
There's Papa, getting ready to leave for a while. I thought he looked a little eager...
Hannah kept saying, "Mom, take a picture! Hurry up, Mom! Mom?!!" I didn't tell her that I already had...
The kids (except Annette, who isn't feeling well today) lined up like this and asked me to take a picture of them. No, they are not going swimming, that is armor. Oh yeah, now you see it, don't you?

Misha posed for this picture. He usually is known for liking to goof off for the camera but today he just wanted his picture to look nice, I guess. It does, doesn't it?

This picture really reminds me of my brother Warren when he was little.
Misha wanted me to take this one too, next to the 'machina' (car).

Riding in the car to them is as much of an adventure as an American kid riding on a bulldozer. They absolutely LOVE to go anywhere! They are actually a little awestruck that that is our car. OURS. wow. I guess it is pretty cool.

BTW, keep scrolling down, I have posted a surge of new stuff today!

Counting blessings

Our friend Ginger brought us a delightful gift the other day! I would have mentioned this earlier but for some reason my pictures wouldn't load correctly and I wanted to make sure and show them too!

She brought us bag after bag of groceries that she had picked out herself. The boys all helped to carry the bags in and exclaimed over the contents of each of their bags as they did so. They were so thrilled! It is really a treat how they get excited about every gift that has been given in their honor--even groceries!
Misha wanted to be sure I got this picture with him in it:
She also brought 6 tubs of Legos, sorted by color. One for each child, their names written on the lids. They all really have enjoyed these Legos, especially Max!

Big, huge thanks to Ginger and her husband Richard--again! We seem to owe them a lot of thanks. We have been so blessed by so many caring and thoughtful friends.

I am making it a point to take mental notes. Although I always thought I enjoyed giving to others, I can see that I have much to learn! Wow.

A whole sentence, sort of.

And just a minute ago...

Max came up the stairs, "Mom! Misha computer touch!"

Yep, Misha did touch the computer. Check out comment number 6 on this post.

They are all giving it their best effort! I am so proud of them! Except for touching the computer, that is...

m.

Richard called it..

Richard,

just thought I'd let you know that this morning Vitali and Ivy were fighting over a tub toy:

"It's mine!"

"Eta moi!"

"It's mine!"

"Eta moi!"

"It's mine!"

"Eta MINE!!!"

m.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Learning English

Vitali, to one of the other kids today:
"Nyet! Don't touch that!"
Hmmm....I wonder how he learned that English phrase so well???

Melissa

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The "Other Kids?"

I have gotten this response several times recently from Melissa and cant help but wonder what it means?

The "other kids" are taking a nap.

The "other kids" had eggs for breakfast.

The "other kids" are headed out to the car.

Anybody who doesn't know me knows I don't act like a child!

For those of you who do know me just shut up!

Melissa say she is referring to "the kids" and has only accidentally inserted the "other."


Anyways, Max is having "a day" today. The struggle just now was over toys at naptime. He was supposed to be going to bed and had several of Hannah's my little ponies. He kept saying in Russian that they were his and did not want to give them to me. It is very hard to keep a straight face with an eight year old boy who is carrying on about his ponies.

Steve

Friday, February 08, 2008

Some Thoughts

When I put together our original video and uploaded it to YouTube this video popped up right after the one I did. I know Google has great algorithms and search techniques but the video is of Misha when he was 4-years old and is one out of millions of videos and it popped up right after mine.



The video was from a couple who had adopted a little girl from the boy's orphanage and they had become friends with Misha. Christie has a very funny story about how Misha would come in the room with his puppy dog eyes and beg off a cookie. Before anybody knew it Misha had eaten all the cookies. Typical Misha! Through this video we were able to make contact with the couple who did the video. They along with others around the world had been praying for our Misha and his brothers before we knew them.

After finding this video we were able to make contact with another friend of the boys "Papa Dima." Papa Dima is a Ukrainian man who teaches a Sunday school at the orphanage. Papa Dima met us at the train station as we left for Kiev. He gave us dozens of pictures of the boys from the last few years. This may not seem like much but we know almost nothing about our boys history and to find even the smallest pieces is so encouraging. We have discovered several people who knew our boys and were praying for them from a General in the US Army, Papa Dima in Ukraine, a woman in Scotland, people in Ireland, and others throughout the USA. It means a lot to us to know people were sharing the love of Jesus with our boys before we could.

Christie sent me this picture of Misha just yesterday. I find it to be highly symbolic of the struggle we all face with our reconciliation with God. Misha has a smile on his face and is standing amidst some beautiful colors. The reality though was that Misha was behind bars and no matter how they are painted his position was precarious. Our Misha was facing a system where those who graduate from it at 16 face about a 10% chance of SUICIDE before their 18th birthday. If he avoided those odds there was about a 70% chance he would end up in a life of petty crime. Misha also was just about to turn 5 years old which would make him even less desirable for adoption because he was too old! I find it amazing the parallelism between adoption and the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is an adoption story.



I was working on some writings the other day on how adoption was used throughout the scriptures. Starting at the beginning, Moses, the adopted son of the Queen of Egypt wrote the Pentateuch and led the Exodus. God revealed Himself as "I AM" to Moses. It was to Moses that God gave the ten commandments. There were any number of ways Moses life could have been spared but it was through the divine intervention of adoption.

Later when the wicked Haman was plotting to destroy the Jewish people and the Messianic line a courageous woman, queen Esther, the adopted daughter of her uncle Mordechai had the courage to risk her life and went to the King. Mordechai raised Esther as his own daughter and at "such a time as this" Queen Esther was in position to appeal to King Xerxes. Through the intervention of Queen Esther the Messianic line was preserved.

During the inter-biblical period a young man whose father was assassinated was adopted by a woman named Ada. This man, Alexander the Great, gave the world a cohesive language, Greek. It was the Greek Septuagint, the LXX that Jesus quoted so often. God used the Greek language to help spread Christianity during the first century. It was an adopted man of war who made it easier for the gospel of the adopted Man of Peace to be shared.

God chose to use Joseph of Nazareth as the adoptive father of His own Son. It was Joseph who took Mary to Bethlehem and the humble stable that fulfilled the prophecy of Micah. It was Joseph that acted quickly and took the young Christ child to Egypt sparing His life. It was Joseph who brought the child "up out of Egypt." The means God chose for providing a father for His own Son was adoption.

Lastly, the gospel of Jesus Christ is an adoption story. We are not the natural sons of God. We are only reconciled to Jehovah God through adoption. We are joint heirs but only because of adoption. It is only through adoption that our own precarious state is mended.

The sounds, sights and smells of the orphanage still haunt me. There was Denis one of the most annoying children you would ever want to meet. A child that had a face only a mother could love. A child who had no social graces. A child who just wanted to be held. A child who just wanted to be loved. A child who wanted to belong. A child created in the image of God!

I can't forget Christina. A little blond haired girl who had clear signs of fetal alcohol syndrome. A child that because of her FAS will almost surely never be adopted. A child who was just one of two girls in a group of 13 boys. A girl whose face lit up when she realized that while all the boys got cars she was getting a baby doll. A little girl who would hang on my arm and smile up and call me "papa."

There was little David. David has the sweetest little face and a little sister. David is trapped in a system that is broken. David is being disenfranchised by the very system meant to protect him. David is sitting in an orphanage without any of the paperwork necessary to allow him to be adopted getting done.

Vladik is a young boy with just the smallest nubs for legs. He is smart but faces a terrible future if not adopted. Vladik would interrupt our daily visits with a loud "PRYVIYET PAPA, PRYVIYET MAMA" (hello) that almost always led to him being disciplined by a house mother. There is a couple working to adopt this boy and we would ask you to pray for him.

There are so many faces and this was just one of 700 orphanages in Ukraine. There are tens of thousands of orphanages worldwide overflowing with close to 150,000,000 children. The outcomes these and other children will face are not pretty.

If you would like to help the orphans of Green Forest I would suggest Life2Orphans. They are a US based secular NGO that has actively engaged the orphanage and internat. If you would like to help Papa Dima with his Sunday School program in the Kharkov area orphanages you can find out more here..

To learn about adoption in Ukraine visit Ukrainian Angels.

To help orphans in Africa, Eastern Europe, South East Asia, or Latin America visit Children's Emergency Relief International.

To find out more about children available for adoption domestically visit the North American Council on Adoptable Children and to see children available for adoption visit AdoptUSKids.org

Lastly, here in Knoxville I would recommend checking out the Monday's Child program featured on WBIR.

Steve Eimers

Sunday, February 03, 2008

New video: The Broken Road

I put this video slide show together that shares a bit on the providence of God through our adoption.

Sunday best.

We want to say a big thank you to a friend of Steve's brother and sister-in-law, Jen B.!!! She sent us a package in the mail with three very nice Sunday outfits for the boys. Now, I know it isn't very "macho" but these boys love to get new clothes! Vitali asked to wear his clothes out to play the next morning!

Don't they look handsome?
Jen also sent the girls some play purses and hair clips and play high heels. What fun for all the kids to look forward to: opening gifts after supper! Squeals of delight from the girls and a lot of, "Mama, smotree!" (Mama, look!) from the boys made for an exciting time. Vitali and Ivy each clomped around in the dress-up shoes the rest of the evening!

The boys were so excited to wear the new clothes this morning for church and eagerly got dressed. They had Steve gel their hair and proudly showed me the finished product. So cute!
And here are all six, lined up and looking sharp!

And, aside:

Steve and the two oldest boys went to Sunday school with Annette and I took Vitali and Ivy. For now we are staying in the classrooms with them.
We actually lasted about 20 minutes through the main service today! A little better each time--last week was only about ten minutes!

And, if you are the people who sat in front of us today, we apologize profusely for the constant rustling and occasional pew-kicking or "Eta, Moy!" (it's mine!) exclamations from behind you this morning! We are working on it. Be glad you didn't sit in front of us last week...