Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas decorating, Ice Skating and Christmas Parties!

Decorating the house for Christmas with MANY Lights

Moose in his Christmas snoooze

Ice Skating at The Nelson Center

Working on some gifts

Uncle Beto and Samuel playing as usual

Hockey Skates for Samuel

Our GBS Christmas Party! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Enjoying Christmas

Our puppy Moose who is now 100 Lbs and drives us all a little nuts!
   Our family has been enjoying a Christmas together full of home made Holiday food, lots of traveling to see new friends, game nights and little to no shopping. Samuel, Marcos and I have been making our presents this year  in hopes our family will enjoy them as much as we did creating them!  Samuel is incredibly creative and fun to work with! He even vacumns up glitter !

   Our sweet son rang the bell for three hours tonight at walmart for the Salvation Army! We did offer to relieve him and do family shifts but that was not an option and he was insistant upon ringing the whole time! We fetched tea and surprised him at the door every few minutes where he stood. We couldnt help giggling at the people attempting to talk to our kiddo in the hussle and bussle. Our Samuel has a deep accent like his new Brazillian papa and the midwestern folks here are always a bit thrown off by it.

   We have also been enjoying the strangly warmer than usual weather. Despite the Floridian Mama and Brazilian Papa Samuel has, we will ride bikes in 4o degrees.  We will ride for an hour, expect hot chocolate upon arrival home and enjoy watching Samuel go on and on about how cool it was that we could ride in DECEMBER! Please pray for snow soon so we can end this madness! Im just kidding..kinda!

   To close this update we would like to say thank you! Your prayers produce the moments we so greatly treasure! God has truly shown us how to learn to forge a strong family through forgiveness, admitting you can learn from each other and laughing when you have no clue what the other person is saying!

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are a tri-lingual experience! Marcos and I are learning so much everyday and enjoying being parents of our young son. We still have so very much to learn! God is so generous to teach all three of us how to be a family daily. To encourage those of you newly home, its a daily process and God will give you the Grace you need. If your on the edge of adoption...we are now the voice of very little experience telling is still awesome! Our son is still a Blessing and we are still leaning on God and He is still providing!

Merry Christmas and may God Bless you this very moment!

More photos soon!


Friday, December 9, 2011


Photo Credit D R
We just wanted to post a sweet picture taken by a dear friend of ours. We love this picture of our relaxed and content kiddo while we were spending time with friends in Minnesota!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Last Christmas

Lots of laughs by the tree!

   Last year at this time Marcos and I gathered our adoption papers and with heavy hearts put them aside until late February. With hopes we would be in Russia by Christmas our hearts dropped at the news that our case would be set aside until well after the Russian New Year. We would spend our third Christmas without our son.

   BUT....this Christmas we marvel at the goodness of God and His great Faithfullness to bring our sweet son home! What a fabulous and generous Christmas Gift! May our hearts be so faithful to our incredible saviour!

Serious decorating!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A new mom's moments of Prayer and Praise with her new son!

The ability to Trust us...

The creativity .....

A joy to talk to...

God's healing in a family...

Silly moments are plenty....

Sharing a life full of God's abundance...

Praying for strength and courage....

Wisdom to know the best God has to offer...

Peace in the midst of so much change...

Friends that will encourage and build him in the Lord...

A Warm Kiss

Samuel and I

Mrs. Barros:

  I took a walk yesterday after Samuel and I wrapped up a day of school. It was chilly outside but the sun was shining bright enough and I had enough energy to keep up with the puppy! Samuel was content to decorate for Christmas while Marcos napped. As I walked I was filled with gratitude for all God has done thus far in our lives together as a family. How incredibly tender God has been to Marcos and I as new parents. How precious and tender our new sons heart is towards us. The walk continued for an hour and I arrived home realizing I had forgotten my key. I gently knocked on the door as Dima raced down the stairs on his tip toes to open it for me. I apologized for forgetting my key and thanked him for hearing my knock and opening the door so quickly. I released the hound and said, " Samuel, it is so windy out, I think my cheeks are frozen!" Samuel smiled, pulled my face close to his with his warm hands and planted a warm kiss on my cheek.

  This is adoption. 
This is God's love through a fallen world. For those of you waiting for your kiddos to come home and on the edge of deciding to adopt please remember..God is for you and not against you. Go for it! Obey God's command to look after orphans and watch Him explode Blessings and love into your family and life!!

Samuel and Alexander in the midst of a ball game
Marcos and Samuel

Monday, November 14, 2011

Silly Dog

Here is a quick post to make you smile! God Bless you all today and Thank You for your continued prayers for our family!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Orphan Sunday November 6th

Samuel ..adopted August 2011 14 years young

We didnt post on November 6th which is a special day to many of us who have a heart for those without families. It is Orphan Sunday.
Our son is no longer an orphan.
 Its not because we are good or have spare cash lying around and a desire to be "noticed" that we adopted Samuel. Its so much more than all of those things. I will say that the end result of adopting in glorifying my first love Christ is a hope and a dream on our part and the sole aim of opening up our lives on this blog. Even now Marcos and I feel God's tug on our hearts to encourage more, risk more and expect more to Gorify God even more! Adoption is indeed a leap of Faith and even on our first Family vacation we could see evidence of how God really works miracles in adoption! We want to encourage you to begin and pray about adoptiong a child, even an older child.
My heart bursts with joy when I think about how Blessed you would be if you only took this leap of Faith and trusted God with your next or first son or daughter!
Maybe my words mean nothing and are like dry bones today but I will let the following pictures, God's Holy word and the Holy Spirit sink in to the heart that has already drawn you into this blog. Go ahead and click on them..they get big enough to see the twinkle and tangible joy in our sweet son's smile! Praise be to the Father who adopted us ALL!

Psalms 68:5
Father of Orphans,champion of widows, is God in His Holy house.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Lifetime to remember

Check out the cool envelope!


 Our son really touched our hearts today.  Samuel has tagged along and even volunteered at Lifetime Pregnancy Help Center in Springfield Il on days I volunteer. However, I wasnt really aware of the impact it has been making on his heart. Like the child we have known for almost four months, Samuel put his compassion to work. God so inspired him that even with his limited language skills he picked up the Lifetime PHC's  Walk for Life pledge sheet and began to ask people,"Please, can you help?"

   To know that Samuel was once an orphan and could have been aborted in 1997 really moves me to thank God for the grace he has bestowed upon us in Samuels life.  What a gift! The compassion that has followed is a reminder that prayers can change a child's world. Many of you prayed for Samuel! Despite his past his heart remains compassionate for the unborn, post abortion sufferers and the families that do not have resources in the midst of their crisis pregnancy.  He understands abortion and has come to his own decision that it is wrong to take a life. 

 He collected fourteen pledges from generous friends and new friends at Gracie Barra. The grand total is $354.00 He was bold to ask and I hope that boldness rubs off on the rest of his! 

God Bless you and thank you for helping!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sharp Contrasts

   Im writing this post a little later than I should and hoping God will restore the words I once so desperately wished to share with you. Im writing this post to encourage those of you reading to adopt so if your on the edge and waiting for the push you better have soft carpet! Here it comes!

   Let me start with  a little flash back to our final days in Russia. I was alone with Samuel and going through the final steps needed to obtain his exit Visa. It was a difficult day for me as I missed my homeland despite International travel as a missionary for eleven years and I missed my beloved Marcos. I asked God to send me a gift. I knew it was selfish but I even asked for a specific gift. I asked for white Butterflies. Guess what? As I approached the American Embassey in Moscow  I was surrounded by three, then four, then atleast five or six and they danced around my skirt while I flashed my ID to the stoic officer at the sidewalk entrance into the building!

   At this point you probably think im a bit crazy but let me reassure you, I am. I am crazy in love with Jesus who gives us the Holy Spirit and often surprises me with several answered prayers!

  So, let me reassure you if you are thinking about adoption that you should know God is for you and not against you. Last evening was very chilly with rain and cold winds. As we learn to love the differences in our very Russian son and overlook eachothers weaknesses as a family I often need some time alone on my back porch steps. Its just my secret place to talk to God and breathe. I kept asking how we could ever learn all we needed to help Samuel understand this new culture and if our differences would ever help us and not hinder us and then.....right before I could utter another word...I saw before me a beautiful contrast of RED and WHITE....

The differences in color made the image burst with beauty! The differences in texture revealed special details in each and every way! The relationship between the two was harmonious and peaceful. Once again God was reminding me that every moment is taken captive by who He is as our creator. Our differences are what make us beautiful and the sin we find in trying to change anything God has created for a purpose can make us miss the beauty of that very contrast!

   Dont be afraid to adopt. Yes, its not the same way everyone forms a family, yes there will be challenges, yes you will need to depend on God and look for His Wisdom but it is all worth it and it is more beautiful than you can imagine!


Our Bike ride together!

   Samuel, Marcos and I went shopping the other day at Walmart. It didnt seem like an eventful evening until we meandered into the baby section on our way to bike gear. Samuel spent some time pushing the swings and asking questions about many of the items. He always finds more questions than answers at any store we find ourselves in.  Samuel looked at me and asked, " Did you have when you were a baby?" I was lost for words but answered as honestly as I could and he seemed satisfied.

   The question itself was eventful because it was the first time our kiddo asked any one of us about our beginnings and that evening it opened the door to many pleasent discussions about how priceless Samuel is to us! Amidst all the precious invitations and announcements for new babies I get almost monthly from friends, Marcos and I find each other deeply in love with our priceless new son! We couldnt imagine life without him and we are more grateful to God daily for His gift of our son!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The rising cost of rescuing the fatherless

Preparing for court Marcos and Samuel are caught in a beautiful moment

     I spoke with a dear friend of mine yesterday afternoon who works daily to tug at hearts and open the minds of many to adoption from Russia. She spends her days on the phone and her weeks flying back and forth to Russia in hopes the hosting families will find their sons or daughters and follow through with bringing them into their home forever. I admire her courage and thank God that she didnt tell Marcos and I that the journey to adopt was impossible. She knew we earned much less in one year as a married couple to afford the required fees for adoption to bring our son home. She never gave up on us and encouraged us to pursue and follow through even when we felt our mixed citizenship was causing many precious people to shuffle through papers and come up with new ways to introduce us to the authorites as "eligible."

     If your reading this and have seen the fees involved and are wondering how we did it I have four words for you ,"With God  all things are possible." It really isnt just a bumper sticker. After I spoke with my friend yesterday I wanted to cry. The monetary cost has risen incredibly since we began our journey more than two years ago. Then I had to stop myself and remember that it really is just paper. Our king of kings owns cattle on a thousand hills. I dont need to worry about the families that are raising money or the children hoping someone will adopt them. God has it all under His control and He will provide. Please dont let the monetary cost of rescuing and giving  these kids a future stop you from adopting. There is nothing God cannot help you with. 

   Believe us, the reward to being a parent to one of these precious kids is incredible! My kiddo is sitting with me as I type this and I know its because we simply didnt have the money but we did have God's resources and they are endless!

A Blessing beyond measure

Papa Marcos and Samuel

Two jumping Monkeys!


Our son is joy and we are so thankful to his family and God for him!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It is good to be wrong!

On Wednesday September 21st Samuel officially took the oath and he is holding in his hands a certificate of Citizenship (one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman) ! The coolest thing about this photo is the window in the back ground. Marcos and I left in great despair last year after speaking with immigration services regarding our adoption.  The amount of obstacles God has over come for our family to be one is tremendous. Truly there are miracles he loves to perform in our lives and looking back to that very day, makes me smile and worship Him all the more! It is a wonderful feeling to be wrong in this case! I remember the words of the official being something like, " There is really nothing we can do. I dont think you will be able to complete this adoption in the time alloted." I remember doubting that we ever would get through the wait times and deadlines required. I remember thinking we would let our son down.  It is so good to have been wrong. It is so good to have God interceeding on our behalf even when our Faith really is...the size of a mustard seed as it was that very day!

Chicago just isnt Chicago without Uncle Beto and a photo on the Bull!

Samuels Mentor and friend Matt the Fireman..has also Blessed us!

Even before he became official, he found a new flag my Mom had bought and took the iniative to display it! You think that is should see his room!

Not many new Moms get a piggy back ride a month into Mother hood!

Thanks to Dr. Woodruff our brave kiddo has had some much needed work done.

We have been fishing...alot!

Moose is learning that having a boy means more trips to the Park!

A dedicated BJJ Practitioner earns his first stripe!!!

This was the big one that did not get away!!

Look hands! Just kidding he was strapped in!