I love when I run across blogs that mention our story. I find it so heart-warming to see people sharing and reaching out to others and inviting them to help save Albina, Alina & Maks. It's inspiring to know that others have a desire to help and support our decision to adopt.
you remember the dream I had that lead me to have another baby (Micah)?
After having that dream (in July 2002), I wasn't sure that it was a message to
have another baby or just a simple dream. It took a few months to
determine that we should try to add to our family. James and I put a lot
of thought into this decision.
I certainly wasn't baby hungry.
At the time I had three daughters that had become fairly independent. As
a result, the thought of nighttime feedings, diaper changing and constantly
being needed from a baby was less desirable than it had been previously.
I was scared to go back into the baby stage...
You see, as a young mother, I really struggled. Being a mom to young
children was not anything like the fantasy I had created in my mind as a young
girl. I certainly loved my children! But it was HARD and I learned
that I was impatient, selfish and far more immature than I previously realized. (Isn't
it funny how parenting becomes all about how much WE need to improve instead
of all about creating perfect children?) Learning all this information
about myself felt like a really big pill to swallow. And I've never been
great at taking pills.
Needless to say, I wasn't anxious to add more reminders of how imperfect I was
into my life. And I was sure another baby would do just that!
However, then I experienced December 25, 2002.
There are many reasons why this Christmas has become so special to me. First of
all, my brother and sister-in-law were visiting for the holidays. My aunt
and uncle and their darling adopted daughter also joined us for a family
celebration. We enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner together. Then I
got a call from my brother Douglas. He was en route to St Louis and
wanted to know if he could stay at our place for the night. What a
wonderful surprise! For some reason, we hadn't done our traditional
nativity reenactment on Christmas Eve, so we took the opportunity to do it on
Christmas night. Everyone participated by playing a character in the
production and singing Christmas songs. Then we pulled out the bells and
had everyone play "Silent Night" together. It is an absolutely
beautiful memory. Especially now that Douglas has passed away.
Throughout all of these events, I kept having the distinct feeling that someone was
missing. It was so strong that I kept catching myself counting
everyone. I kept feeling the need to search through the house for the
missing person. But after counting everyone, I would realize that no one
But someone was missing. And he would join us the following Christmas.
Micah's first Christmas, 2003
This years Christmas had some of the same elements. It was surprisingly simple and relaxed
(I don't think I've ever said that about the holidays before!) We enjoyed
spending time together (except for a few heated moments during a Phase 10 game
on Christmas night). However, I kept feeling like we were missing family
members. Our home simply felt too empty! But after looking around
and counting my four children, I would realize that no one was missing.
But there were missing people. And they will join us next Christmas.
As a final side note, just as I had fears
adding another baby to our family, I have plenty of fears adding three more
children to our family at this point. I realize that adding these
children will certainly showcase all my weaknesses and imperfections as a
mother. It will be HARD.
But here is the good news:
As scared as I was to add another baby into our family 10 years ago... I did it
anyway. And you know what I discovered?
That as difficult as it is to take care of a baby, I had forgotten how much JOY
a baby can bring! And I truly enjoyed every moment with my baby... every
feeding, ever diaper change, every. single. moment.
And I'll do my best to find the same joy in each and every moment I have with
Albina, Alina and Maks.
Because after already missing out on so many moments, I mustn't take any moment
leave for Ukraine in 16 days! We still have $19,544.92 left to
raise. I can hardly believe how much success we've experienced in such a
short period of time! However, we still have a ways to go. Your
generosity and help in getting Albina, Alina & Maks home is hugely
Truax Family is busily attending to evening chores. The doorbell
rings. Micah runs to the door and opens it to discover about 15 people
standing on the porch holding gifts and jars of money. The remaining
Truax family members make their way to the door to see who has arrived.
We have some gifts for your new sisters and brother. We made them
each a blanket.
are handed to the Truax family.
We have also been collecting our coins for quite some time and we wanted
to bring those to you as well.
Four large jars of coins are handed to the Truax family.
yesterday I ran into a local thrift store to purchase some shoes for Alina and
Maks. When they leave the
orphanage they can’t take anything with them, so we have to provide clothing
for them. Unfortunately I’m not
sure of their exact shoe sizes, so I was just guessing. I decided that it was better to buy
them a bit bigger than I imagined they needed than get them too small. Now I’m just crossing my fingers that
what I selected will work until I can get them home and take them to select
shoes that fit their feet perfectly.
Since shoes are a pretty important clothing item, I knew that this
wasn’t an optional purchase. I’ve
been checking the weather in Mariupol lately… today it’s going to reach a
toasty 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yeah… walking around barefoot wouldn’t feel too swell! (Next needed item is a coat for
5 years ago I decided I wanted some gold shoes. I went to the store and was pleased to find some beautiful
gold wedges in the sale section. I
really liked them, but they weren’t quite the right size (they never seem to
have my size in the sale section!).
I tried them on and thought, “These should stretch out a bit and then
they’ll be just fine!” I purchased
them and wore them 2 or three times.
Each time I put them on I was miserable. As cute as they were, it just wasn’t worth the pain!
you made that mistake before?
so, I have a way for you to make a painful mistake into a beautiful gift!
Today I received a card in the mail from my mom that contained a 1 dollar bill. She works in retail and shared this story:
The other day at
work, a woman made a small donation to St. Judes. She said she was sorry
that it was a small donation. I told her about Micah and that he gets
equally excited about a large donation as he does a small donation.
reached in her wallet and pulled out a 1 dollar bill and said, “For your
I thought that was so
nice. I don't even know her name.
These kind gestures warm my heart and make me feel so blessed. If that lady ever reads this:
We have 24 days until we leave for Ukraine. DID YOU HEAR THAT! AHHHHHHH!!! (That's a happy scream).
That means we have 24 days until we need to have all our fundraising wrapped up and all our adoption money gathered and ready.
We finished up GOAL #4 yesterday which means we move on to GOAL #5.
Goal #5 covers our Ukrainian expenses. Here are some of the items that we need to be prepared to pay for while in Ukraine:
Train Rides between Kyiv and Mariupol (where the orphanage is)
Drivers (They don't have cabs there. Instead you hire a driver per day.)
Food for James and Shelly
Food for children
Medical exams for children
Visa for children
Travel for coordinator (the coordinator takes paperwork back and forth between Kyiv & Mariupol)
We have chosen to eliminate as much expense as possible by staying in Ukraine for the entire 48 days. We have been warned that it will be VERY long and VERY difficult to stay there for that duration. Many (if not most) people in our position, choose to come home during waiting periods and split their complete adoption process into 2 or 3 trips. However, it is difficult to justify that additional travel expense when we are currently counting our pennies in order to pay for this adoption.
It's a sacrifice we'll have to make. It's a sacrifice our family is willing to make. (It will be extremely difficult to be separated from our children for that long, and difficult for them to have us away for so long!)
So we're asking for your continued help. Can you help pay for 1 night of lodging? Perhaps you can purchase some gas for us? Or buy a meal for Albina? Maybe you would like to help pay for their medical exams or their Visa's?
We have been so grateful for the donations we've received. The outpouring of love and support have been so amazing! The generosity of so many has helped us get really close to reaching our goal! We are almost there.
I, along with the rest of the country, have been mourning
the loss of 26 beautiful, innocent people that tragically died last week in the
shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.There is, in my opinion, absolutely nothing so evil and atrocious as the
killing of an innocent child.It
makes my heart ache for the families that were left to deal with such
tragedy.It makes me physically
ill to think about something so violent taking place in an elementary school of
all places.It simply boggles my
mind to think that something so vile could take place in our country (or
anywhere in the world for that matter).
Thankfully, there are good people that see a tragedy such as
the Connecticut shooting and act.We step up to comfort, help, support,
pray for and love those left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life without
a loved one.We set up fundraising
to help the affected families pay for unexpected funeral costs, counseling,
scholarships, and other basic needs.Together we come together to mourn with those that mourn and comfort
those that stand in need of comfort.And together we try to heal broken hearts and wipe each other’s tears.
I’ve watched additional tragedies take place in the last few
months.There have been natural
disasters in our nation. It’s
amazing how quickly people rally together and make a huge difference.We put on yellow vests and clean up
debris.We shovel mud out of
people’s basements.We send
supplies to those that are left with nothing.It’s beautiful to see such selfless acts of service,
compassion and love.It’s nothing
less than awe-inspiring.
When a tragedy occurs, we are quick to step up to the plate
and say, “How can I help?”We are deeply affected and want to support and lift those that have been
so senselessly affected.We feel a
desire and a need to do something, ANYTHING,
to lighten someone’s load.This is
one of the characteristics that I love most about human beings.They do, by nature, desire to bless and
help those around them.It’s
Let me tell you of
Once upon a time, there was a young girl that was 7 years old. One day she was innocently playing with
some matches in her home.Having
no understanding of the danger she held in her hands, she accidentally set the
curtains on fire and subsequently set the house on fire.Fortunately she, along with her sister,
brother and mother were able to escape unharmed.However, this was the only blessing that took place, because
they lost everything they owned.They were left homeless and completely destitute.The mother found herself completely
without hope.She had nowhere to
turn and couldn’t imagine how she could take care of three children without
anything left.Seeing absolutely
no other option, this mother took her 3 small children to the nearby orphanage
and dropped them off.Perhaps she
intended to come back eventually, but she didn’t.Instead, she disappeared and left three beautiful children
at the orphanage without a mother.She left these amazing children alone facing a difficult future.She abandoned these three incredible
No one heard of this tragedy and jumped in and helped innocent children. No one rushed to the scene to help them
rebuild their life. No one sent
money, food or supplies. No one
seemed to care that they faced their own tragedy.
After spending a few years in the orphanage, there was a miracle.God sent people to help Albina, Alina
and Maks.God made people aware of
the tragedy that had fallen on these beautiful and innocent children. God asked some people if they would
please rescue them from their personal tragedy… He knew they had suffered
longer than any child should suffer.They had suffered enough.
However, the people He sent to help them weren’t in a position to help
them entirely on their own.
wanted to save them. They wanted
to rescue them. But they needed
They needed others to
recognize the tragedy and to step up and help save these children.They were doing all they could on their
own.They begged and pleaded for
help.They worked hard, they
sacrificed and they committed to doing WHATEVER
IT TOOK to give these children a chance at a life with a family and a
future of opportunity.
This tragedy is calling you too. Will you step up to help?
This morning I woke up, looked at my phone, opened my email and gasped!
We finally have our invitation to Ukraine!
We will be meeting with the State Department on January 15, 2013 and continue the adoption process of Albina, Alina and Maks. While we had really hoped and prayed to get things taken care of sooner, we are so grateful that we aren't playing the waiting game anymore. It is such a relief to have some set timelines! (At least for this moment anyway... we realize that there are still waiting games and uncertain timelines ahead. But for now, we're just going to celebrate and focus on the good news of today! YAY!)
Now we move forward with our next set of tasks in preparation to go to Ukraine. I'm not exactly sure what those tasks will be (we will talk with our facilitator soon and he will fill us in on details). I do know that we need to get flights and finish our fundraising.
Our fundraising is making wonderful progress and we're getting closer to our goals each day.
Last night we were blessed to have a special guest come to our home for dinner. The girl that was assigned to translate for our family this summer was able to spend some time with us. We ate dinner, decorated sugar cookies and played games. It was lovely to see her again. In addition, she was able to look through the notebook that Alina sent to us and translate additional entries for us.
We love hearing about Alina's hopes and dreams. But we are also sad that we don't have more control to make certain dreams a reality. I wish I could just head to the airport right now, jump on a plane and run to get her and take her home. It's not so simple.
I especially want to give her dream number 5... and then give her all the additional dreams following that dreams fulfillment!
October 13, 2012
Hello notebook. Today I'm starting to write down my
dreams. I'm going to write them and read them. I'm also going to
talk to you and draw.
My 1st dream is that I would go from Ukraine to America in
Salt Lake City.
My 2nd dream is that in my American family there will be no
sadness, no offense, and no hatred.
My 3rd dream is that Albina, my sister, would treat me well
and that she would love me and come over almost every day and bring me
something. (Did you realize that Albina, Alina & Maks are separated
at the orphanage and don't see each other every day? They are in different
age groups and aren't able to spend a lot of time together.)
My 4th dream is that in my American family there will be
health, smiles, happiness, love, money (but not too much), happiness and care.
My 5th dream is that they will take me to America with Maksym and
Albina before New Year.
My 6th dream is that we would fly and would be at the airport
and in the plane and everything would be fine.
My 7th dream is that we would get to America fine and get home
and everything would be okay.
My 8th dream is that in our family there would always be
enough food, ice, a lot of smiles and a lot of everything that's all the best.
My 9th dream is that my family would love us and that we would
My 10th dream is that in the garden in America everything
would be pretty and blooming.
My 11th dream is that the monkey will say good-morning and
good-night to them. I love my family.
My 12th dream is that me, Albina, Maks and my American family
would be one family and will be happy very soon.
My 13th dream is that they will take me with them soon and
that they will come and everything will be fine with them. I really want
to go to America.
My 14th dream is that Albina will be funny, happy and will
We are so close to being able to claim the full amount of our matched donations! Only $286 and we get the FULL $1500!
This is awesome!
Last night I received a $30 donation from someone I've never met before. Included with their generous donation was this message:
year for Christmas our children buy small gifts for each other. This
year they've agreed to forgo those and help your family. Bless you and your
I'm not ashamed to admit that this sweet note caused my eyes to tear up a bit. It was very touching to hear that somewhere there are children sacrificing for the good of Albina, Alina and Maks. It is so humbling to be a part of this process and see the many acts of kindness and amazing sacrifices that so many are making and continue to make to help these orphans get home. And in spite of the evil and crazy violence in the world, I am blessed to be able to see lots and lots of goodness because of this journey I'm on. So...
THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU THAT HAVE OPENED YOUR HEARTS TO OUR CAUSE!!! YOU ARE SAVING CHILDREN, AND WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!!!
Unfortunately there is no other update yet. We are still waiting, and waiting, and waiting to hear from Ukraine. It's getting more and more difficult to stay positive. I'm not sleeping much at night since recently we learned that the invitation is likely to come to my email. I wake all through the night and check my email: hoping and praying that it has arrived! But nothing yet.
This morning I realized that if I'm still here for Christmas that I AM NOT READY AT ALL!
It's going to be a different Christmas for us this year. I'll have to come up with some creative ideas for celebration. Perhaps we'll spend the day volunteering somewhere? Or maybe we'll go and sing and perform for the beautiful men and women at a nearby Assisted Living Facility?
Regardless, I suppose I need to start thinking about how we're going to spend our Christmas day. In truth, these different ways of celebrating are quite exciting to me! However, I'm still saddened by the thought that I will have to wait to go to Ukraine. :-( (I had really hoped to be volunteering my time in a different way this Christmas).
Maybe it'll happen. I mean, there's always a chance for a miracle, right?
A few years ago I was introduced to this Christmas story, and it instantly became one of my favorites.
I wanted to share it with you today (hopefully you'll like it as much as I do). But first, just a couple of reminders:
1. We have completed the 12 Days of Christmas. James still has a full (but thinning) head of hair, but I want to THANK everyone that participated in giving the orphans daily gifts! I really can't wait until the day that I can show Albina, Alina & Maks (and they can understand) their story on this blog. I want them to see how many people love and care about them. How many people stepped forward and made a difference in their lives. I want them to recognize and know how important they are. I want them to feel completely loved! I am continually touched by the generosity of many that have become involved in the quest to save Albina, Alina & Maks. THANK YOU!
2. Don't forget that we will be finishing up BOGO II in the next 2 days. We still have up to $536 that we can collect in donations that will be matched. I would LOVE to get the full $1500, so if you've been considering a donation: now is the time to contribute!
Two Babies in a Manger
In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls, who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edge of their stools, trying to grasp every word.
Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel (cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia), were used for the baby's blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6-years-old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger.
Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately - until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Mary laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told Him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give Him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept Him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?' And Jesus told me, 'If you keep Me warm, that will be the best gift anybody every gave Me.' So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and He told me I could stay with Him - for always."
As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him - for always!
And the Americans? They had learned the lesson they had come there to teach - that it is not what you have in your life, but WHO you have in your life that really counts. We all should give thanks for the people that "keep us warm" in life; and for all of God's many blessings to us: freedom from want, life, love, togetherness, and for the enduring love of Jesus Christ, the one person who keeps us warm and safe for always.
Before the auction, I emailed everyone in my contact list (even people that I didn't really know or hadn't spoken to for a long time). I was really surprised to discover who responded to that email... in some cases the individuals weren't people that I would have specifically thought to contact. It was such a blessing that I gave everyone the opportunity to learn about our story and didn't try to simply pick and choose who I thought would be interested.
Take a chance. Share our story. See what happens.
PS If you have a lot of contacts, you may want to break the emails into smaller chunks so that you're not tagged as spam.
Update: We are up to $959 in our BOGO II. Just $541 more and we'll get the FULL AMOUNT of our matched donations! So exciting! (Don't forget, we only have until Saturday the 15th).
Additional Update: Fortune cookies aren't always right. No court date yet... but I'm really hoping for something by tomorrow! Keep your fingers crossed with me!
This is a topic that I think I may be trying to completely understand and learn about for the rest of my life.
I hear stories all the time of people that go to the Lord with complete unwavering faith, and ask for specific things. And the Lord fulfills their request. (The scriptures are full of such stories.)
The scriptures say, "Whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee." St John 11:22
He also warns us that whatever we ask for should be right if we are to receive it: "God... doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive." Mosiah 4:21
I try to think through things pretty carefully before I pray for them.
I figure out what I believe to be the best outcome and then very specifically tell the Lord what I need/want/desire.
Then I turn it over to Him.
And I trust.
But frequently I realize that perhaps my faith isn't strong enough.
And certainly my understanding isn't vast enough.
Sometimes I feel I need to reevaluate my desires to make sure they are truly righteous.
And when my prayers aren't answered in the way or the timeline that I desire,
I try to understand more fully what the Lord has in mind for me.
But I still wish I knew how people can ask God for specific things and get exactly what they want.
I still try to understand exactly what the scriptures mean.
And I still try to figure out how my desires and requests can be directly in line with the Lord's so that I can go to Him in complete confidence and KNOW that He will answer my prayers perfectly.
This is a cycle that I've been in for as long as I can remember.
And I hope one day to have a greater understanding.
But in the meantime, and at the very least, I still have strong HOPE in FAITH.
Because let's face it, life would be pretty awful without HOPE!
Lately we have been praying for many things.
Our prayers aren't producing the specific results that we have asked for.
And certainly not in the way we were hoping.
Perhaps there is still a really big miracle around the corner:
But it's hard to maintain faith in something that seems so impossible. (Please understand that I know everything will work out and we WILL have our kids home at some point, I just can't help but wonder at times why the timeline is so different than we've been praying for.)
But I keep trying.
This morning I ran across a video.
And I was amazed at the faith of one little girl.
I was inspired by her story.
I related to her Christmas request.
Because I only want(ed) one thing for Christmas as well:
To have my orphans home.
And I wonder again:
Do miracles really happen?
Can I expect the Lord to answer our prayers even when things seem impossible?
And regardless of what anyone else tells me or believes,
In spite of what the outcome will ultimately be,
I must continue to answer:
I don't know about you, but every Christmas I think to myself:
"This year I am going to simplify!"
And every Christmas morning I wake up, watch my children open their presents and think:
"Ugh. I didn't simplify quite enough again!"
I have a Christmas system:
From Santa, our kids get three gifts each (symbolizing the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh). They always get a clothing item, a book, and a toy (or now that they are older something else that they have been wanting).
Stockings are always filled with practical things that they will need throughout the year anyway (deodorant, shavers, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc).
Dad and Mom always give the kids pajamas.
The siblings give smaller gifts to one another or go in together on something a little more expensive.
On Christmas morning, Santa sends the kids on a treasure hunt. Throughout the treasure hunt Santa tells them the Christmas story and has them do a short activity before opening each gift (sing a Christmas carol, watch a movie of Christ's birth etc.)
However, even with my "system" it still seems like we end up with a lot of gifts once Christmas morning comes around. I don't know how it happens, but it does.
This year we have no choice. We absolutely MUST simplify!
Fortunately, there is one common gift that each of my kids have asked for:
For Albina, Alina & Maks to join our family.
And that is the gift that we will be focusing on. Which means that we are aiming to give each other more service gifts this year instead of gifts that cost a lot of money. It means that each of my kids must sacrifice a little more than they are accustomed.
YAY for awesome kids that are willing to give up stuff so that other children might have a better future. This is bound to be one of the best Christmases EVER!
So, what is the gift to our orphans today?
On the eleventh day of Christmas, our orphans need from you:
1 RETURNED PRESENT
You've heard stories of people sacrificing one of their gifts (just ONE) so that someone else can have something for Christmas. That's what we're asking you to consider doing today. Is there something you can either return or scratch off your list of items to purchase? Then you can donate the money for that gift to our adoption fund and contribute to Albina, Alina and Maks' Christmas wish: to join a forever family!
Just think about it. You won't have to wake up Christmas morning realizing you didn't simplify yet again. Instead, you can wake up and realize that you have enough, AND you've helped a less fortunate child have a memorable Christmas as well!
PS Don't forget that donating the equivalent of 1 GIFT right now is actually like donating 2 GIFTS. Thanks to our BOGO II, your contribution is doubled! So far we've collected $859, and we can get up to $1500 doubled by December 15. Go, go, go BOGO!!!