"To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Isaiah 61:3

The Burckhard Family

The Burckhard Family

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Please Help Miriam! RR Angel Tree Starting....

There is a little girl in Eastern Europe who is four years old and lives in an orphanage. Her name is Miriam....we are praying fervently for her forever family to find her.

Each year from November 1st through December 31st, Reece's Rainbow holds its Angel Tree Fundraiser with the ONE purpose: to fund grant awards for waiting children with Down Syndrome from all over the world.

For just a $35 donation, you will receive a beautiful Angel Tree ornament with one of those precious children's photo on it. Just click on the side button with Miriam's picture on it and it will take you directly to the page where you can donate to Miriam's fund. Be sure to say it's for Miriam, please!

Won't you help me raise $1,000 for Miriam? She already has a good-sized grant award, so by adding this to it, it will be even more likely that a family will commit to her. Let's face it, many families would love to adopt one of these angels, but the costs just get in the way.

Your donation will help Miriam to find the best Christmas present of all-- A FAMILY!

Thank you and God bless, Paula & Family

Friday, October 30, 2009

Poll: To Bee or not To Bee?

Ok, it's one day before Halloween and a very important decision needs to be made. Yesterday, I noted in my blog post that we have two bumblebee costumes, when the truth of the matter is that we have THREE! One for Bella, one (from last year) for Grace, AND a new one for Daddy.

What do you think? Should I return it to Target or should I let Kevin continue to torment the older kids by not only keeping it, but wearing it?

We want your feedback! Here's your chance to have a voice... Keep it or return it?....You decide!

To Bee or not To Bee?
Please Specify:
ugg boots

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Fun...

Bella got to go to her first Halloween Party tonight with big sister Grace. The party was hosted by the Magic City Campus Key Club for our DreamCatchers Baseball Team.

First off, we had to get them dressed in their costumes. We had two bumblebee costumes, but Grace insisted on being a princess. So we thought, "OK, a Queen and a Queen Bee!" LOL Elizabeth did Grace's hair and makeup--Grace just loved the pampering from her big sis. When we told her she looked gorgeous, she just smiled at herself in the mirror and said slowly, "Yeaaaaah...."

Here are the Queens:

Close-up of my queen:

Close-up of my queen bee:

Grace admiring herself at the party (her 'gorgeous' makeup covered up with face paint):

They had a wonderful time with the high school students eating pizza, painting pumpkins, singing, playing games, and face painting.

With each new experience for Bella we wonder the same thing--Oh, that we could know what she is thinking! But we praise God that we can watch her awe and wonder as she experiences things for the first time! What an honor and a privilege!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Bella" Dancing....

While I was making supper tonight, Bella started dancing...and didn't stop for 10 minutes or so. It was hilarious watching her slap her fat little Fred Flintstone feet on the floor and slap her knees & tummy! Elizabeth captured the last of her moves right here. Kevin said, "We might not be in Hawaii, but we have our own little "Bella" dancer!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sad Little Viking....

Guess who lost today?

Friday, October 23, 2009

My "Miss" Matches....

I don't know if it's part of the DS makeup or what! But, both Grace and Bella have the uncanny knack to put together some of the wildest, mismatched outfits.

Here we see Grace is modeling her every day look--her "orange shirt, blue pants"! Also, please note the smear of ketchup on her chin, an ever-present beauty mark on her! This outfit has to be clean every day because as soon as she gets off the bus and gets in the door, off go her school clothes and on goes this wonderful ensemble!

Looks like Bella is following in her footsteps-- notice her pink and black sweatshirt with flowered brown pants. Wow, watch out fashion world, we have a couple trendsetters here!

Secretly, I wish all of us could be as confident in ourselves as these two--whether they are wearing any clothes or not! LOL

The Way of the Hand and the Foot....

"Grace, what is Tae Kwon Do?" the judge asked. Grace shyly replied, "The way of the hand and the foot."

Grace passed her first round of testing in Tae Kwon Do! I was so proud of her...she really loves going to her "Do" classes as she calls them. I love it because it is good exercise and emphasizes building character traits such as listening, respect, and following directions. The classes are very good for children like Grace who need structure and are visual learners.

Her caregiver Jen takes her to classes and told us that she is impressed with how Grace is not only picking up the movements, but also that she is a great encourager to the others in the class. That's what makes me most proud--when one of my children are kind or encouraging to others!

Here is my little Tae Kwon Do girl with her instructor Kelly (who is also an excellent occupational therapist in "real" life):

Way to go big sister Grace! Love, Mama

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bella & Jake..BFF's?

The first time Bella met Jake, she shrieked in fear! Every time the cat would even walk by her, she would literally shake and scream in panic. We were a little worried what would happen if they couldn't co-exist. However, after just a few days at home, she would just casually glance over at him and look as if she were thinking "I wonder why that big black and white thing is in the house?" (Kevin still wonders that! :)

Then, one day she reached out and tentatively petted him! Now, she calls Jake to come sit on a blanket on her lap. It's quite humorous to see a 21 lb cat sitting on a 27 lb little girl! I think they secretly really like each other.

We are pretty sure she never saw a cat before Jake. But now, she notices kitties all over the place..in books, on TV, toys, you name it. She says "Ki-ee, Ki-ee, Ki-ee" "mow, mow, mow"....

I am not sure Bella realizes it, but Jake was also very instrumental in her adoption. I think I told of how the Orphanage Director was so taken aback when he saw our picture of Jake in our family album we were showing him at our first visit. He said he had a cat just like Jake. The next day, back in his office, the family album was open--to the photo of Jake! He told us that he went home that previous night and told his cat "Mushka" that he had a twin brother in America. How did this happen?" Hey, who would have thought Jake would play a role in bringing Bella home!

All in all, I'd say she (& he) adapted pretty well. After all--he's adopted too! :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Extra Photos to Share.....

Just today, I went to our Buddy Walk site and looked through their Buddy Walk 2009 album and found a few photos of our family. We were the host family this year which was a huge honor for us. Kevin spoke to the group of about 1,000 people about our adoption journey and the beauty of Down syndrome. Then, our family led off the walk....

Here are a couple of "professional" shots taken of our day:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Veggin' Out"

It's Sunday morning, and we are at home. We weren't able to join our church family today because I, the Mama, am sick. :( So Grace and Bella watched Veggie Tales together...

Don't you think this is the true definition of "Veggin' out?"

PS - I am feeling a little better now! :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Reece's Rainbow Montage - Please View!

Reece's Rainbow Founder and Director Andrea Roberts created this wonderful montage to promote the adoption of orphans with Down syndrome from around the world. Get out your tissues....

View this montage created at One True Media
Reece's Rainbow

Prayerfully consider how you can help! Love in Him, Paula

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Three Sizes Too Big....

Before we started pursuing this adoption, I asked a dear friend of mine who adopted from China if you could really love an adopted child like a biological child. She emphatically replied "Yes!

I sort of believed her then. But now, I can fully relate and understand what she was saying. My heart has grown by leaps and bounds just like Dr. Seuss' Grinch:

"And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day."

That's how my heart feels when I look at all FOUR of my children. There is no difference in the love I have for them, but my heart has grown not one but three sizes bigger!

To be able to experience this miracle of adoption is all of God's doing. We are so blessed and my heart is so full! Thank you, Lord!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reprise: Cabbage Patch Bella!

We finally accomplished a long-awaited photo for our little Bella. Now she is a full-fledged, card-carrying member of Grandma's Cabbage Patch Grandbabies!

You may remember way back on April 10, 2009, I posted each grandbaby's picture with Grandma's Cabbage Patch dolls. If not, here's the link if you'd like to see them: http://beautifulgiftfromgod.blogspot.com/2009/04/grandmas-cabbage-patch-babies.html

Now, here's our Bella Bogdana -- not at 4 months, but at 4 years -- in her own Cabbage Patch photo:

Welcome to the Cabbage Patch, Bella!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Family Fun......

We have been having such a good time visiting with Aunt Karla. She is such a good sport to play all of Grace's silly made up games. She says they are actually her kind of games!

Bella was very shy at first--snuggling into me and coyly sneaking looks at them in sideways glances. But last night--after all of us going out to dinner--she came alive! She made Grandpa so happy by asking him to read her some books; she even sat on his lap!






We've had so much fun just hanging out. I think Bella is understanding the concept of family--togetherness & fun-filled love!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bella FINALLY Meets Her Texas Aunt!!!

Bella finally got to meet Aunt Karla (my little sis) today. Because our adoption process took longer than expected, she did not get to meet Bella when she was here this past July. So, Karla used her airline miles to come for a long weekend.

Uncle Dave picked out the Beanie Baby Unicorn for Aunt Karla to give to Bella (We named it 'Dave'):

And then this evening, we had Sam's family birthday party complete with a Coldstone Creamery Cake compliments of Grandma:

And, Texas Cousins, guess what? Your mom got to experience a ND October night with snow! We'll post pictures tomorrow!

Love, Paula

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ukrainian Fashionista....

Well, as you can see I succumbed and bought a few pieces of the Baby Gap clothing I mentioned awhile back. Here she is, my Ukrainian fashionista:

She is definitely going to be my clothes hound! Watch out, America's Next Top Model!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bella's "Sam" has a Birthday.....

Sam turned TWELVE today! I love this little man more than he will ever know! He is sensitive, funny, and so helpful. He just loves Bella and is so tender with her. After opening his gifts tonight, he told us all "The best birthday present was my early birthday present -- BELLA!"

Bella loved helping me get the presents ready in the gift bags and was quite perplexed over our bad rendition of the "Happy Birthday" song.

We praise and thank God for Sam - our very special 12 year old!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bella's "Good" Deed.....

I walked into the laundry room to find this:

I guess Bella didn't want to be the only Fat Cat in her new home!

The sad thing is that it is "diet" cat food. Poor Jake! That would be like someone dumping a huge helping of carrots out for me instead of chocolate....

Sigh....life is not fair, huh Jake?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sisters, Part II....

Each day Grace and Bella get along a little bit better. :) When Grace heads out for school on the bus, Bella is so sad. She says "Lee, Bum (translation: Grace, Bus?)?" Bella asks for her "Lee" all day long. Then, when it is time for the bus to bring Grace home, Bella is so excited she cannot contain herself, flapping her little arms, saying "Lee, Bum!" over and over again.

After Grace arrives home from school, she asks Bella "How was your sleep? Bella you are so goofy!" as she tickles her little sister under her chin.

Just a few days ago, I caught Grace reading to Bella in the 'leaf' chair--just the spot we have read to Grace over the years.

Then, today Sam and I took Bella to Kmart where she picked out a winter hat and mittens. As soon as Grace saw her wearing them, she insisted I find her purple ones as well....

This is what we are praying and hoping for...that they will become sisters and best friends!

We praise God that for His continued blessing on this journey...Love, Paula