Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our Donation Thank You

First let us apologize for how long it has taken us to get this message out. Thank you to those of you that helped us raise a little over $1500. We worked with the director of Boston’s orphanage to determine what their greatest needs were. They actually needed a new copier desperately. At first we were hesitant because we were clear that our donation was to be specifically for the children. But it didn’t take long for us to be convinced that the copier was in fact for the children. The staff has to prepare sooooo many documents for the children to be adopted, and we know that is a fact from firsthand experience! So to help the adoption process of many children we agreed to take them shopping for a copier that would meet their needs. We encouraged them to get everything they needed. They ended up with a copier/printer/fax machine, extra toner, a digital camera, and a new phone for the office. All of that totalled about $500. So we had $1000 remaining. After much thought and consideration, we donated the money to a program called the Grandma Mentoring Program.
You can use this link to read more about that program.

As a result of learning about the Grandma Mentoring Program and the fact that we will always feel a connection with the orphans in Vladivostok, we are now helping to develop an organization called Orphans at Play. Orphans at Play believes in the art of play and loving interaction with children in order to strengthen the development in each child. There are a lot of fundraising efforts and such going on right now to help us reach our first goal. That goal is to get two ‘grandmas/grandpas’ (mentors) into four orphanages for the next year. If you would like to learn more about what we are trying to do or help out in any way, please check out our website at .

Just to show you what a little love and interaction can do, I have attached a couple of pictures of Boston for you. In less than 6 months he has grown 2 inches, gained 3 pounds, and has managed to wrap this entire family around his little finger!

Thank you again for your support. It means a lot to us!
~Justin and Heather

Before: One of Boston's referral photos.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Exciting News: Orphans at Play Store is Now Open!

Check out the new custom designed necklaces. These are perfect for showing your Russian adoption pride, bringing awareness to children in Russia and supporting Orphans at Play's Grandma Mentoring Program. Proceeds will directly be given to our Grandma program and helping the children of Vladivostok who are waiting for families.

Interact in play. Support Through Love. Increase growth and development.         

Simply put: Play. Love. Grow.          

New products will be released throughout the next few weeks. Need a special birthday gift? Thinking about the perfect present for a family coming home from Russia? Or a baby shower gift? A wonderful teacher? These special designs come with a ribbon tie necklace and a special note to say thank you for helping us give back.

We will be releasing the rest of the designs in the brochure throughout the week!

Orphans At Play Store

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spreading the Word

My hope is that someday in the very near future I can actually get back to blogging.  I really do miss it.  In the meantime here is information I wanted to help get out there to people....

Have an ol' piece of luggage laying around? Donate it to Orphans at Play Winter Jackets n' Hats Drive and give those traveling with donations a good opportunity for an easy delivery to children in need. If you happen to be traveling soon, why not fill an ol' piece of luggage with jackets n hats for a baby home, baby hospital or orphanage. The winter months are ahead and brrr... with cool, often snowy months on average 7f -14c degrees in Vladivostok, a warm hat or cozy jacket becomes a necessity.

Children in Vladivostok have incredibly warm hearts and the sweetest smiles. We want to do everything we can to comfort them while they wait for loving families to take them home. Please help us give back as so many of us have clothes too small for our children laying around in a closet. Or if you have the talent to knit, think of all of the children who will smile as they are given a handmade hat made just for them.

We have reached out across the country and the following people have volunteered their time and efforts for collection. If you are near by one of these areas, contact the person below.

The following contacts are available for area drop off locations:
Jody in Greenville, Ohio

Autumn in Denair, California

Lilian in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Meredith in Cleveland, Ohio

Melissa in Alabama

Christen in Elmhurst, Illinois

Sabrina in Florida

HunterAnn in Seattle, Washington

If you prefer to send the items, please contact Jody .

Family or friends - if this is something you would like to participate in I too can collect items and see that they get to the appropriate people.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Have I given up?

I have been asked if I have given up on this blog?


I have developed a love/hate relationship with the blog. First of all I would love to blog all of the time – put my thoughts down – be helpful to others – etc. The reality of it is that I just can’t find the time or seem to make it a priority. So therefore I hate that it hangs over my head as one more thing that needs (or I want) to get done and it doesn’t happen. I think of posts all of the time that I intend to publish but they all stay in my cluttered mind and never make it to the computer screen. Amy Casey encouraged us to do a ‘we are not the Cleavers” post and it was all planned out in my mind as I was working around the house but now the time has passed and so have many of my thoughts.

If I am being honest with myself, I will probably let this blog ‘go’ or just use it to update very randomly and with very little photos. I will attempt to be more diligent about getting things on our private blog. The intention of that one is to be an electronic scrapbook of sorts for the kids when they get older. I don’t mind if people want to have access to it (just leave a comment or send me an email your email address). But we choose to have it private now that Brady is 10 and going into the 5th grade as it is not necessarily comfortable for children to have their friends seeing things about them. Remember that around that age or shortly after EVERYTHING is so embarrassing!

I love being a support to other adopting families, but for me I will mentor/encourage/support families through personal emails or phone calls rather than through this blog. Honestly it comes down to a time factor. I really did not think it would be that big of an adjustment going from 3 kids to 4 kids. Wow was I wrong! Things are going very well and we really are very happy and are grateful – but - I don’t know if it is that we have one additional person to care for or if it is more that that new addition is still a toddler and not as independent as the other three. Whatever the reason, many days I am in survival mode.

And now this post could go on and on because I would like to share about Boston’s progress and how everyone in the family is adjusting to their sibling and tons of other details but I am being beckoned by the little ones to join them outside….

So who knows when my next post will be? I still want to share about our orphanage donation as well as some exciting news about an organization called Orphans at Play. I also want share about making choices to serve in Christ’s name and what that means to me and on and on and on…..

And the love/hate relationship continues between me and blogging…..

Monday, June 6, 2011


Before we left for Russia we received the cutest frame that has the word 'Brothers' etched on it. I thought on Sunday before church I could just snap the perfect picture of the boys and finally get the frame filled. Here is are a few of my frustrating attempts. Big B had a headache and was a complainer. Little B would make funny faces or squint his eyes. Baby B thought it was funny to purposely not look at the camera.  The second one of just Blake and Boston is kinda cute, but I really would like a decent one with Brady in the picture too! I have no idea how we are going to get a cute family photo taken especially when we add our drama queen plus Justin and me. I was frustrated and gave up after just a few attempts. I think photographers that shoot children's pictures must be blessed with a little extra dose of patience!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baby of the Family

So we haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth as some people have suggested. We are just a little busy with everyone’s schedules and end of the school year activities. I am enjoying my time at home so much. I am very disappointed that on Tuesday I have to return to work for a few weeks to finish out my contract. It seems as though all of the new routines we have established will all be undone in this short period of time. I am trying my best to just focus on the positive and remember how lucky I am to be able stay at home after I finish this last little stretch of work. It is a little surprising to me how well being a stay-at-home mom suits me (although there is very little staying at home).

Boston is changing so fast. He rarely throws fits anymore. He is a quick learner and it didn’t take him long to figure out that throwing a fit was not in his best interest. He is learning so many new words and phrases. He is even showing his sense of humor! Justin and I were commenting just the other day that now we realize how there becomes ‘the baby of the family’. We agree that because we know that this is the last time we be going through the toddler stage we are cherishing it so much. We are ‘those parents’ that find every new thing that Boston does just as cute as can be. Instead of people telling us to enjoy every moment because it goes fast we know from firsthand experience that it goes wayyyy to fast. So we are really enjoying having the baby of the family to help us remember to slow down any chance we can to enjoy each of our four children in the stage that they are currently in – even with the challenges each stage brings.

I still want to do a post about our donation to orphanage and share some information about the Orphans at Play organization that is being started up by another family that has been blessed with a little boy from the Vladivostok region of Russia. After that I will just post on our family blog.

Thanks to everyone who has checked in on us. We really are doing well and giving God the glory for taking us on an amazing journey that challenges us every day!

Here are a few pictures from tonight.  We went to Madison's circus performance!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Photo Update

Things are really going well here now that we have some routines established.  Boston has been dealing with croup and that is no fun though.

On Mother's Day we quickly snapped a few pictures before heading out to Brady and Maddie's piano recital.  Boy it is hard to get a good one of all 4 kiddos at the same time.  Here are my babies!!
Boston got his first tractor ride.  It was good for about 10 minutes and then he was ready to go do something else.

Baby B loves to put on things he finds laying around.  He especially likes glasses!

Shoes and hats are fun too!

Just about anything in the house can become a toy. The laundry basket can become a car on most days!