"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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sissy's 17th Birthday.....

Sissy turned 17 on January 29th!

She requested going to Big Apple Bagels for a birthday breakfast....

Here is Sissy with her gifts....can you spot Bella too? :)
After doing stats for the ORCS Boys Basketall team, she had her buds over to watch ice-skating and eat birthday pie. Here she is with her best buds....
Hope you had a great day, Sissy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sissy is a Character!

Character Counts, that is! Last night at the Character Counts banquet, Elizabeth received a 2011 American Youth Character Award from the Character Counts Program. She and five other students were recognized for demonstrating the six pillars of Character.

Here are the six winners:

They were selected from a large pool of students nominated by their teachers and administrators. The students also had to answer questions regarding how they demonstrate strong character. Elizabeth's name will also be submitted with the other five winners to the National Character Count's archives. What an honor!

In addition, two other students from Our Redeemer's, Gabbi & Alyssa, were recognized as honorable mentions:

Here are the three Our Redeemer Students with Mr. Strand, Principal, and Mrs. Carlson, Development Director:

It was a wonderful night! Elizabeth's choir, "coincidentally", was this year's musical group. They did a great job singing a "Joseph" medley and "the Rhythm of Life":

What a moving event! These students were so awe-inspiring and humble. How refreshing to see these students recognized for showing depth of character and remaining that way--even when no one is watching! Congratulations, Sissy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Our Local Newspaper.....

Our local newspaper the Minot Daily News featured our family's adoption journey today:


I think the writer, James Falcon, did a wonderful job writing the article. And, did you notice he used "people first" language? I was so excited that he did that!

Oh, and if you don't get the Minot Daily, this article is on the top of the FRONT PAGE right above an article about the State of the Union address. Talk about humbling......

Kevin and I want to say that we couldn't have done either adoption without the love and support of our friends, family, and community! So thank you to all of you!

Monday, January 24, 2011


We got our approval "golden ticket" or the I-171H today! This is the official document we need to adopt internationally.

Now, I must say that this came in record time. The actual document says it was filed on December 22, 2010 and that the completion date was January 20, 2010. We just had our fingerprints on January 18, 2010! This is amazing!

So we are praising God for this miracle! We are also so thankful for the prayers of many....our Pastor Andy, our Elders, and our friends.

We ask that you continue to pray for us--especially for a smooth journey to bring home our newest family member!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We're Coming, Nathan......

We are so excited that we received a travel date from Nathan's country.....February 17th (which happens to be Bella's 6th birthday).

Kevin was able to talk with immigration services today and was told that our fingerprints came back clear (whew!) and that they would try and get our approval done as quickly as possible. We need to get that I-171H by at least February 11th so we can get it notarized and sent it off to Bismarck for an apostille.

Then, we are ready to go...... Yay!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fun & Fingerprinting.....

Fun & Fingerprinting in Fargo!

We had our biometric fingerprinting appointment today for the adoption. Because it had to be done in Fargo, we made a "Family Fun" trip out of it and left on Sunday--stayed two nights in a hotel.

We usually stay at the Holiday Inn (you know, the one with the "ship") but they were full, so they gave us a room at the Holiday Inn Express with a hot tub.

Grace & Bella LOVED it! Oops.....I didn't know that you weren't supposed to add bubbles to it! Too fun!

We had such a good time as a family of SIX and look forward to the next "Family Fun" trip to Fargo as a family of SEVEN!!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Adoption Update....

We are getting closer to Nathan with each baby step! We have our biometric fingerprinting appointment this coming Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. AND THEN, after that, we wait for the "golden ticket" aka I-171H approval from the US government that says we can adopt internationally. We are hopeful to get this approval soon so that we can travel mid-February to bring Nathan home!

Every now and then, we get additional tidbits about Nathan from the facilitator in his country, such as........

He eats very well

adores sweets.

He does not like toy cars,

likes soft toys.

He does not like noise,

and is afraid of

the toys with high volumes.

Doesn't he sound so cute and smooshy? AND, He will fit in just fine with the Burckhard clan if he adores sweets!

Here's another shot of this precious child:

We can't wait to travel! We are trusting God that He will provide the funds necessary to bring him home. We have been humbled and are so grateful to those of you who have given to Nathan's fund. We have been moved to tears! We estimate that we still need to save about $10,000 to fully fund the adoption. We know that God will pave the way....one way or another.

Love, Paula

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bella's Barbies & Boots....

Bella loves Barbies....but they're even better in a dump truck!

She also loves Boots.....but they're even better worn with a nightgown!

Is there a better definition of dichotomy? I think not!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Go Team or Justin "Chipmunk"???

Grace and Bella are future MSU Beaver Cheerleaders!

They love their new cheerleading outfits...their Christmas presents from us.

Funny note....Grace thinks the MSU mascot is the 'Chipmunk', so we keep reminding her that it's really the 'Beaver'. So, we had a good laugh when we overheard her say that she likes "Justin Chipmunk" aka Justin Bieber!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Is Ketchup a Veggie?

Grace thinks so....Or is it a fruit? Hmmmmmm?????
Whatever it is, Grace thinks it makes everything taste so much better!

Monday, January 3, 2011

What A Trip!

Last Wednesday, five girls and four moms boarded Amtrak to take a special Mother/Daughter trip to the Mall of America to shop for formal dresses for their Junior/Senior banquet at the school.

This is Elizabeth and her friend Jessica as we departed for our overnight train ride:
Here are the girls right after taking a bus and the light rail to the Mall of America. We had been traveling for about 12 hours right here:

After a long day of trying on dresses and traipsing around the mall, the girls and moms had a rejuvenating dinner at the Rainforest Cafe....ending with the "VOLCANOOOOO...."

Elizabeth's very favorite restaurant is none other than IHOP and since we don't have one in our town, she got her wish for a special brunch the next morning.....New York Cheesecake Pancakes!....

The five girls on New Year's Eve before heading to the train station....
Natalie and Elizabeth at the train station on New Year's Eve right before boarding.....

Now I must digress and say that our train was only 1/2 hour late....not bad considering Amtrak. So we celebrated our New Years on the train and then tried to sleep on the way home.

Then, around 8:30 a.m., after traveling all night, the conductor came over the intercom and stated that our train had to turn around and go back to Minneapolis because of the blizzard. WHAT!!!! Our hearts just dropped! We were just outside of Fargo and were told that we could not deboard from the train as there were no hotels and no travel allowed.

But Kevin came to the rescue and arranged for hotel rooms and a shuttle to the hotel. Because we had this arranged, the conductor finally approved us to get off in Fargo. We were told that our rescheduled train isn't scheduled to return until tomorrow night! I guess, they have started rerouting some passengers on Greyhound.

Our plan was to have our husbands drive two vehicles to come and rescue us from Fargo. However, all the roads around Fargo were CLOSED, so we had to wait a bit longer. Finally, the roads opened yesterday, our white knights arrived, and we were safely driven the 4 1/2 hours home.

The girls wanted a memorable trip, and they got one! They had a blast and made memories to last a lifetime.

Here we all are right before heading home yesterday.....

Good times, Good times!