Monday, May 7, 2012

5 Years Old May 5th

Wow, Alyssa is 5!!!  Where is the time going?  We just celebrated Alyssa's 5th birthday on
Saturday May 5th.  She is growing up so fast!!  It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated her first birthday in our family.  She had a pink John Deere tractor birthday.  It was farm themed since she is still in love with farms, horses and cows.

She has been attending preschool this school year which is just about to wrap up on May 16th. We signed her up for kindergarten last Friday also.  Kindergarten...?   Are you serious.  Our little girl in kindergarten?   She really loves school and is already starting to read!!
Alyssa is growing up to be such an amazing little person!!!  She loves playing with her school friends, and she loves playing with her John Deere tractor that Santa had brought her for Christmas.  She has such a caring personality, and a fierce determination in everything that she does.  Life in our house is always interesting to say the least.
This past November 21st we celebrated our 3 year Gotcha Day.  We cannot believe that it had been 3 years!!! That also meant that we did our final post placement visit for Russia.  When you adopt from Russia you have certain criteria that the court requires of your family.  We had to turn reports in to them up to the 36 month anniversary of our adoption.  It is very interesting to go back and read the reports that were done by our social worker.  You can really tell how much things with Alyssa have changed.  You do not really think about it much, because you get so busy in the everyday things going on.  When we brought her home her weight and height were not even on the growth chart for American children.  Now she in the middle of the chart for the weight and height!!!  She is doing outstanding in every aspect of growth and learning according to her doctor.   We have also been told that she is very gifted in many areas of learning and memory.

We are so very humbled and grateful to the Lord for bringing this child into our family.  She is makes us so proud to be her parents!!!  We are looking forward to our first family trip to Walt Disney World this summer!!  I will post pictures after we are back!!! 
Once again I am sorry for not posting as often as I should.  I know that there are people
that still check on our blog to see how we are doing. 

Thanks for stopping by....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Smiles, Hugs and Kisses.....

When you fall in love with a child, Smiles, Hugs and Kisses mean so much more!!!! We cannot believe that we have passed the 3 year mark since we first met our precious daughter Alyssa. We traveled the first week of June in 2008. We fell in love with her before we even traveled on the first trip. The referral photo's took our breath away. And when we finally met her, the Lord had "knocked our socks off" with this amazing little child. She did not know what smiles, hugs and kisses meant. She was so scared, and she did not understand that her world was changing forever, and so was ours!!!!
To see Alyssa today her smile makes us laugh and sometimes cry. She has this amazing little laugh and she is so full of life. Her hugs are so tight that sometimes we think that she will not let go. Sometimes she says "Mommy, hug me really really tight"!!!! I squeeze and squeeze until she starts laughing and smiling saying "That's enough Mommy"!!!! She loves little kisses on the lips and the chin, and she also loves to have Butterfly Kisses!!! When I take off my glasses to give her a Butterfly kiss, she tells me "Mommy you are so beautiful"!!! To look so closely in the eyes of this amazing child I am so overwhelmed at the love that she has for us. She makes every day so much fun, and we are very humbled that the Lord chose us to be her forever family.
She is growing up so fast!!! She turned 4 years old on May 5th. We had a Cowgirl birthday party at the park. We had a pinata, sack races and stick horse races. Alyssa is so in love with cows, horses and farm animals. She keeps saying that someday she is going to be a farmer. She used to say that she wanted to be a veterarian, but now it is a farmer. We believe that she will be involved with the care of animals in some aspect.
Wade and I have most recently completed a playhouse for her, which she calls her barn. We bought a used playhouse, and transformed it into a wonderful playhouse. It has farm print curtains, wood flooring, a door bell and it will also have a kitchen that Wade is building.
We are starting to enjoy our summer, and looking forward to the Fall. Alyssa will be starting PreK at Russellville this Fall also. She was in a program that is like PreK at First Baptist this past school year. She really loves to go to "school".
We are also looking forward to our last post placement visit in October for Russia. We have most recently been looking at the pictures of Russia from both trips. We really wish that we could return to Russia to bring home another child, but at this time it is just not possible. We are still in prayer and thought about another child. The Lord provided everything needed for our first adoption and we are anxious to see the next path that He leads us on.
We are glad that some of you are still asking about the blog. We were not sure that anyone was still watching. We are so very busy enjoying our family that we just do not post enough. I will try to post again in the near future.
Thanks so much for stopping by. And remember to say a prayer tonight for all of the children in this world that do not have a family. We pray that the Lord will watch over these children until maybe someday soon that they will also know what it is like to have Smiles, Hugs and Kisses....

Blessings to your family...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Big Girls Do That...."

Hi everyone!!! It has been quite awhile since we have updated on Alyssa's blog, but yes, we are all still alive and kicking!! Alyssa is growing up before our eyes. She is such an amazing little girl. She is constantly talking and running around. Where she finds all of that energy, we will never know. We made it through the Spring and are looking forward to the Summer. In April we traveled to Michigan to see friends and family. It was so great to spend time with the Smith family who live just outside of Detroit. They had adopted a little boy from Russia the same time that we adopted Alyssa. We had spent the first and second trips together, so we became very close to them. They are like family and always will be part of our adoption journey. To see the children play together was simply amazing. They seemed to remember each other from when we brought them home in December 2008. Besides our trip to Michigan we have been gearing up for Summer by planting a garden and doing work outside on the house. On May 5th Alyssa turned 3!!! We cannot believe that she is already 3 years old!!! We had her "Dog and Cat" birthday party the Saturday before her birthday. We all had a really good time!!! We had many family and friends at the party. Alyssa had a really great time!!!
Alyssa is learning everything so very fast. She is starting to potty train and she is always so eager to try to do everything her self. She has a very independent soul, and can be very stubborn also. As adoptive parents we know that this is not always a good thing, because we want the child to be very dependant on us. It helps with the bonding process. But as far as bonding goes, we don't seem to have a problem with that. This child is so much a part of us, and us of her, that it seems like we have had her forever. She is definitely a "talker". She loves to talk all of the time, and it is so funny that you can hold a regular conversation with her. She has all kinds of phrases that makes us laugh and also brings us to tears. One of the newest and funniest is "Big Girls Do That"!!! We sometimes tell her when she is doing certain things that she is not a baby anymore and that she can do it, or she can help. She has come up with that phrase. It is so funny!!!
We are trying to decide where we will go to the beach this summer. We had planned to go to Navarre Beach in Florida along the Gulf coast, but with the oil spill we are not sure if that will be an option in August. We are also having yard sales this summer as a fundraiser to raise money for our next adoption. Hopefully by the end of the year the LORD will show us where HE wants us to go next. Our dream for Alyssa is to have a little sister from Russia. But who knows, we will see what HE plans for us next. Our journey as a family that began when Wade and I married in December of 1995 has been such an amazing journey. Our family has been very blessed along the way, and it makes we smile and wonder what will be next in our journey. For all of you that have kept up with our family, we are very grateful. We are grateful for the well wishes and prayers, and we look forward to sharing Alyssa's journey in her "Forever Family".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter 2009

Snow.....??? We live in Tennessee.... Did someone say snow??? Yes, it did snow and it has finally melted. We made it through it without too many problems. Schools were out for 3 days, but they are now back. Alyssa really loves the snow!!! She tries to catch the snow flakes in her mouth, and she loves to try to make snow balls. We did not have snow at Christmas, but we had the most amazing Christmas!!!
Alyssa asked Santa for a car..... Yes, you heard me right, a car!!! And he filled her wish.... A red Ford Mustang convertible!!!! She must have been a really good girl because she did rather well on Christmas morning. It was really fun for Wade and I to watch her face as she opened the gifts. This child is the light of our lives. Everyday is a new adventure. She is really starting to talk, and you can actually hold a conversation with her!!! One of the funniest things that we have heard her say was at Christmas. We were teaching her about the real meaning of Christmas, and birth of baby Jesus. To hear her say baby Jesus is so funny!!!!
She pronounces baby Jesus as "baby Jeee" and Joseph as "Joanie". It sounds like she is talking about a rap group or something..."baby Jeee and Joanie". She makes us laugh everyday. Yes, having a 2 year old in the house is fun, exhausting, and trying, and yet these are the best days of our lives!!!
To bring you up to speed also on the future plans for our family.... We have decided that we are going to pursue another adoption!!!! What I can tell you now is that we are contacting America World Adoptions again about starting the process again. Depending on the answers we get from them on a couple of questions, we intend on starting the process again this year. We are in the process right now of trying to come up with some ways to raise money!!! One thing that we are going to do is start to ask for people's donations for our adoption on our blog. There is a donation button on the right that you can donate through Paypal!!! We have also decided that we are going to have an all out fundraising campaign starting in the Spring through Fall. We are going to have a yard sale every other Saturday starting in March!!! We are going to put an add in the newspaper asking for donations for our sale. You can either call us and we will pick up the items, or you can drop them off at our house. We will have the sale twice per month until the Fall. We know that other adoptive families have had a really good outcome with their fundraising efforts doing yard sales. We will not be pricing anything at the sales. We will only be taking reasonable donations for the items that you would like to buy!!!! At every yard sale we will have newly collected items, and we intend also to be selling baked goods!!! I am also coming up with a couple of other ideas about making some Russian items to sell. It seems like that when I would try to find some little things for our Russian adoption, they were hard to come by. I can find all kinds of things for adoptive families that are adopting from China. So I will let you all know soon what our plans will be with that!!!! We also still have a few cookbooks left for sale from our first adoption. Please let me know if you would like to purchase those as well!!!
Well, I guess I will go for now. Keeping up with this blog is sometimes extremely hard, but I do know that we still have many, many followers, so I will try my best to keep you all informed of our next adoption journey!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


We can hardly believe that the day has already come..... Our first "Gotcha Day" as a forever family. It has been exactly one year today that we picked up Alyssa at the baby home in Sosnovoborsk, Krasnoyarsk Russia. We had left for the orphanage at about 4:30 in the afternoon on November 21, 2008. We were so excited and nervous all rolled up into one. The 45 minute drive seemed to take forever. We tried to soak up everything that we could on that last journey to the orphanage. We took a video for most of the trip so that we would not forget the ride. When we arrived, they had Alyssa in the room ready for us to change her into the clothes that we had brought with us. She had this "lost" look in her eyes. She had no idea what was happening. For all of you adoptive parents out there, you know what I am talking about. We took a few pictures before we left and then out into the sub zero temperatures we went. It was dark and cold when we left. The streets were a solid sheet of ice. When we started out on our drive, we found out quite quickly that Alyssa did not like the lights of the oncoming traffic. She screamed and cried. The only thing that I could think of to do was to sing to her. Me, not being a very good singer, I sung very low so as not to drive our driver Sergei crazy. I sang Jingle Bells for the full 45 minutes back to the hotel. It worked!!! She fell asleep for most of the trip, so I guess she enjoyed my singing.... HA HA HA !!!!
That day changed our lives forever. To see this child today you would have never guessed that she has been through such trauma.
Today as we look back at our amazing journey, we decided that we would spend the whole day together doing "fun" things. One thing that we did was attend an adoption celebration at a local church that was celebrating National Adoption Day. It is pretty cool to think that this day fell on our "Gotcha Day". We went there and visited with other families that had brought their children home from Russia this past year or two. We exchanged names and phone numbers so that our children could have a connection from their homeland of Russia. We also learned what we will need to do to readopt Alyssa in Tennessee next November!!! We really look forward to that day also!!!! Later in the afternoon we headed to Pigeon Forge to go to Dollywood. They are all decorated for Christmas and Alyssa really loved all of the lights. She also really loved the light parade which had Santa included in it. She rode her favorite rides, the ducks, the bees, the pigs and the train. She had hot chocolate for the very first time also. It was a HIT!!! This girl loves chocolate!!! We had a very fun and exhausting day, but it was such a wonderful day. The LORD has so blessed our family. We thank HIM every day for bringing this child into our hearts and our family. She makes every day a joy, and we are very humbled by the fact that the LORD chose Wade and I to be her parents. For those of you out there who are considering adoption, your life will never be the same. There are not enough words to express all of the emotions that you will experience in the journey of adoption. The highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. But what you may think of as the end of our journey, we feel that our journey has just begun. The journey of "forever"!!! We love this child with all that we are, and we feel such gratitude for the whole journey........
Thanks for stopping by.....
Love, Julie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One Year Ago Today.....The Start of Forever!!!!!

Where do I begin.....As tears are flowing from my eyes, I am remembering this day exactly one year ago today. We had gotten up early after a rather sleepless night. We were very excited and nervous because our court day had finally come. We had arrived at the court house with our translator and facilitator and waited for our turn to go in to see the judge. After going through about an hour with the judge, she returned to the court room with the answer we had waited for 2-1/2 years to hear.... DAH !!!!!
The judge said YES, that our adoption of Alyssa was approved!!! Our world was forever changed. All of the years waiting for a child was finally over. There are just not enough words to describe the feeling of becoming a mom after such a long wait. When we first met Alyssa in June 2008 we knew that it would be forever. All of our hopes and dreams for a forever family had come true. All of the paperwork and waiting was soooo worth it!!! To remember back on this whole journey is just completely overwhelming.
We cannot believe that it has already been 1 year!!! Alyssa has changed so much in such a little amount of time. She has grown about 4" and has gained 8 pounds. She has gone from a look of being so scared, to a look of complete joy and happiness. There is not a day that goes by that we don't just beam with joy about her being in our family. She is like a little ball of light. She has an amazing little spirit, and an amazing way that she loves the people and things closest to her.
We look back with such gratitude to our LORD, for giving us this great joy of being parents. We thank all of you for your love and prayers on our journey to our daughter. We could not have done this without all of you!!!
In a few days we will be celebrating "Gotcha Day"!!! On this day we will celebrate Alyssa and we will rejoice in our "Forever Family"!!!!!
Every year we will reserve this day to be together as a family, and to tell Alyssa just how special she is in our lives.
Thanks for stopping by.....

Monday, September 21, 2009


Did someone say that it is almost Fall??? Tomorrow is the official start of Fall.
How can it be here so fast??? It is also hard to believe that we are getting ready to do our 1 year post placement visit and report for Russia!!!! We got the call in October of last year about our court date and also our second trip to bring Alyssa home. The LORD has blessed our family sooooooo much!!! Alyssa still brings tears to my eyes almost daily, and we cannot even remember our life without her now. She is doing amazingly well. She is really starting to speak alot of new words on a weekly basis. She is learning her letters and numbers also!!! She can recongnize about 6 letters of the alphabet using her magnetic letters on the refrigerator. She loves to count to ten and she loves to sing the alphabet song!!! A very interesting fact that we find simply amazing is that she still recognizes Russian words and phrases when you say them to her, and she tries to say them back. Also, some of the pictures that we have showed her from Russia she recognizes also!!! I have started working on her Life Book also, which is an album that she will always have just for herself that tells her the story of her adoption. We are going to instill in her that she should be proud of her heritage, and that mommy and daddy are proud to have such an amazing little princess in our family and our lives. If anyone out there that reads this blog is thinking about adoption, I just want to tell you that it was worth every worry, every document, every tear, every sleepness night, every low, every high and everything in between. The LORD brought us to adoption, and HE continues to show us amazing blessings for our family. I often ask myself how I can be so lucky to have been given this child to love and to raise??? She is everything that I could have asked for and sooooo much more!!! When she smiles her little face just radiates such joy, and as a mother, I wish no more for her than complete happiness. Adoption is so much more that bringing a child into your family, it is
LOVE......The LOVE of the LORD......The LOVE of being called MOMMY..... The LOVE of everything great in this lifetime!!!!! I continue to learn about myself, learn about Alyssa and grow closer to the LORD just because of this adoption!!!!
We know that we will adopt again, hopefully within the next year or so!!!! We just know that Adoption is just toooooo important!!!! These children need homes, and we feel absolutely honored and humbled by the love of this precious child. Thanks so much for stopping by. Please enjoy a few pictures of our little Alyssa...