Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Momment by momment

You know how there are those seasons of your life where you are sailing along in a way that affords you the luxury of rising above life a bit, looking forward, setting goals and having some vision? Those are good momments...we are not in one of those kind of momments. Right now some momments truly are as hard as we thought they might be, others bring some joy, but EVERY momment is intenesly demanding. That kind of demanding where you realized you just wiped the 6th backside in a span of 10 minutes (no exaggeration), or your staving at 10am and realized you never ate, or you fear your back is permanently out after the 10th round of "horsey" or "mommy cat" or whatever it is your on the floor playing, or your son elbows you every 3 seconds during his "story" at bedtime because you keep nodding off (at 8:30), or your personal space is so constantly invaded that your like Clovis on Apple Dumbling Gang, or the emotional needs of those little ones leaves you feeling at night like you didn't do anyone of them any justice. And yet in that "in the momment" kind of season, there is the still small voice (very quiet sometimes over the din roar) that reminds you that indeed what you do today (from the kissing of the owie to changing of the diaper) really does indeed last for eternity, and for a fraction of a second, you rise above it all and hear God chearing you on.

I love you Lord, thank you for helping me "rise above" this week and regain my perspective. How desperately I need you.

The "snow clothes" picture below is a good example of what I talked about above. It was an act of love (and a 20 minute workout) to get every dressed to go out and play in the snow today. I never would have guessed what fun all 4 (and myself) would have sledding. I love watching Asher and Faith getting to experience all their "firsts".

We still need your prayers. Thank you.

Truck races

A princess and a puppy

Don't let it fool you...they aggravate each other to know end:)

Snow clothes...sigh...

Seth and Faith



Friday, October 28, 2011


Here are some pictures finally!

The "tribe" out at the ranch

Asher's first ride with Daddy
Faith's first ride with Daddy
And the future rodeo princess who rides like a pro
Seth rides too but he prefers the puppies and kittens
Walmart. The lady who saw me coming in wondered if they were all mine:)

Friday, October 21, 2011


People are wondering how we are doing. Let's see...crazy...that's probably the best way to describe it. But we are doing well overall. There are the things that are a challenge like getting everyone's coats and shoes on and in their car seats. It took Paul and I about 45 minutes the first time we did it. By the time we sat our frazzled selfs down in our seats in the car about all we could do was look at each other and burst out laughing. Then there's the large spike in food consumption. Yikes!

Each kiddo is handling the adjustment differently and there are good momments and bad. They are all being troopers though. It has been a joy to watch the world open up to Asher and Faith. We are praising God for the beautiful weather that has allowed them sunshine and a chance to be outside exploring. They both started out very scared of the horses, barn cats and dogs. They love the kittens now and this morning (as if we aren't crazy enough), the six of us sat together and watched our dog give birth to 9 puppies. So cool.

Its early and we definately have lots of adjustment still ahead so we are so grateful for your continued prayers. In the meantime we are praising God for all the blessings like hearing Grace say yesterday, "Faith, I love you.", or the happy screams of all 4 kids playing "Get You Daddy!", or the now unbroken circle of hands at our dinner table because all the seats are filled and everyone can reach someone.

His mercies (including energy) are new each morning. Great is His faitfulness.

I'll try to post more pictures soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Home at Last

Thanks to all who prayed for our trip home. The first flight was a rough couple hours but the second flight, the 10 hour flight, went well. Faith screamed for about half an hour of it but Asher literally slept the entire flight except one hour and during that hour he was eating. I asked at the counter in Frankfurt if they could give us the seats with the baby beds that attach to the wall and they were able to change our boarding passes to those seats so Asher had his own little crib. Faith slept about 5 hours of the flight so even mom and I were able to get some sleep. We were so, so grateful. When we landed in Denver things went very smooth and quickly and I got teary when the lady in Secondary customs handed me my kids' passports back and said, "You're all set!" Which meant, its a done deal, Asher and Faith are now US citizens...Thank you Lord!!! The kids fell asleep on take off and slept all the way to Billings. We got home about midnight and they went back to bed just fine. All four kids woke up about the same time this morning and it was such a sweet thing to bring Seth and Grace in to our room and introduce them to their new brother and sister. It has been a wild and crazy first day and I am sure we have a long road of adjustment ahead but we are praising God for all His protection, His leading, His provision, His strength, His encouragement, His miracles in this journey...and for four beautiful children.

The Van Dyke kiddos!

Opening "surprises" from Russia



Friday, October 14, 2011

Final day...

Yesterday we went to the US Embassy for our kids' American visas interview. There were 5 other adoptive families there and it was fun to visit with them and see their kiddos too. We did a bit of sight seeing but the kids were tired and hungry and aren't up for long excursions. Today we went out again and did a bit of shopping. I had Starbucks and mom and the kids had Cinnabon...that made us all happy.

Honestly, we really need your prayers this next 48 hours as we make the long trip home. We are VERY tired physically, emotionally and spiritually. I forgot how the spiritual oppression here can weight so heavily on a person. The battle is not just against lack of sleep and fussy kids.

When we arrive in Denver tomorrow night we will have to go to Secondary after we go through passport control to clear our kids' visas (at that point they will be US citizens:)). This can take a long time however, especially if there are a lot of people in line in front of us. Please pray that we get through very quickly and that all the paperwork is cleared with no complications and that we make our connection in good time. Again, prayer for much much smoother flights than our last one would be appreciated. We have a 3 hour flight from Moscow to Frankfurt, a 10 hr flight from Frankfurt to Denver and then the flight from Denver to Billings.

"It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm and the light of your face, for you loved them." Psalm 44:3. Thank you Father that you love us and that in You alone is our victory. May the light of your face shine bright upon us and all those praying for us.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Today we spent our first full day in Moscow. We arrived very late last night after a horrible plane ride from Krasnoyarsk. If they could have, the people around us would have thrown us out without parachutes. As I feared it would be, navigating the Russian airports with two exhausted, sickly, scared and overwhelmed children was anything but fun...miserable best describes it and probably one of the most stressful parts of the whole process. My biggest fear however was that somehow at the airport in Krasnoyarsk, they would say there was a mistake and that we all had to stay... so I was relieved when that airplane lifted off the ground. The next five hours were spent with the two kids tag teaming whose turn it was to scream. I had been telling myself that however miserable it was, it was only a few hours of my life...that leg is over now...praise God and we are one step closer to home.

Today Asher woke up feeling miraculously better. He has his spunk and energy back and at his doctors appointment (a whole other story for a different time), the doctor said he looked good. Both the kids have rickets from lack of sunshine and exercise, something we are happy to fix when we get home:). The kids did great this afternoon and evening. They adjusted much quicker this time to a new place and both are bonding well with mommy....they like Babuska (grandma) too. We are still managing to get around with my limited Russian vocabulary and my steller charades skills. Thanks to Google translator (and Anna and my sister) I am managing to communicate fairly well with Faith too. She's a sharp little lady...I'm sure she wants to roll her eyes at her mommy's mis-pronunciations but she doesn't seem to mind. What a sweetie.

Tomorrow we head to the US embassy for Visas, then we may have some time for sight seeing if its not raining (the forcast is not looking good though). Friday we do consulate registration and Saturday morning we head for home...sigh...

I know I thank you every time but truly I feel your prayers encouraging me and keeping me sane (I'm sure my mom and Paul would say the same). Thank you for being so faithful to pray for our family. Thanking God for being our ultimate source of strength, peace and light on this journey...and thanking Him for you.

Monday, October 10, 2011


We are hanging in there. Sitting around with not much to do but wait for paperwork is a killer when you want to be home so bad. One more day here in Krasnoyarsk after today and then at least we get to head in the direction of home. We will fly to Moscow tomorrow night and spend wed-fri getting the kids visas and having their doctor's appointment to clear them for the trip. So please, please pray that Asher gets better and passes the doctors appointment ok. He was up half the night last night with what we think is now an ear infection and he has a rash on his face too (probably excema from food, or meds, or air outside or new linens and clothes washed in new soaps). Poor baby, he is having a hard time with the "real world" too. He gets so very scared and overwhelmed every time we go outside and he is terrified of the elevator (that we have to use, no stairs that we've found and we are on the 10th floor). That and a possible ear infection could make the travel very hard. Please pray for us all and that he would get better quickly.

We went out on a walk today, thought we would try to make it to the footbridge. We made it but had to turn right around. Faith kept telling me something that I was afraid might mean she needed to go potty and Asher was getting upset. We had to make an emergency stop off at a KFC on the way back for chicken and fries so they weren't both screaming in the stroller the rest of the way. The doors into KFC looked like elevator doors and Asher was so terrified of the place that I had to wait outside with him while mom and Faith got food. As they always seem too, french fries made it all better and we made it home in one piece.

Your comments and posts are very encouraging to me, thank you all so much for your prayers for us and please keep them up. Here are some pictures!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gotcha Day!!!

Changing them out of their orphanage clothes into their clothes

Poor sick baby

Gettin' out for good!

Goodbye orphanage

In our apartment
Gotcha day! We left around 10am to get their birth certificates. That was cool, to hold their Russian birth certificates in my hand with their new names and Paul and I as their mother and father:). Then we headed out for the drive to the orphanage. We really hadn't gotten out of Krasnoyasrk when the orphanage called to say that Asher was running a high fever and the doctor was not wanting to let him leave the orphanage with us due to his illness. We assured them that we wanted to take him today even if he was sick and that my mom was a pediatric nurse. They would not commit to letting us take him on the phone but told us to come and see. We prayed like crazy the whole way...I even prayed that you all would just pray even though you didn't know if any of you were woke in the middle of night with the urgency to pray for us, thats way. We arrived at the orphanage and met with the director (also a Dr.) and again reassured her that we wanted to take him today. They drafted up a paper that they wanted me to sign saying I assumed full responsibility for his medical needs and care and didn't hold the orphanage liable. It cracked me up...he's MY son for crying out loud...yes, I will assume responsibility...

We were so happy though that we could take him and that we wouldn't have to go back there again on Monday. So I changed them out of their orphanage clothes into their clothes, bundled them up in true Russian style and off we went! They did great on the three hour drive back. Poor Asher's fever had spiked again and he was pretty puny the whole time but Faith kept us all laughing and giggling with her little antics. She spend a 1/2hr trying to figure out the water bottle nipple we bought her. She has such determination. Bless her little heart, she is potty trained and drank her whole bottle of water on the trip home. We all asked her if she needed to go potty and she said she had gone in her diaper. She was in tears though by the time we got to the apartment because she had to go so bad and come to find out she hadn't gone at all in her diaper, she had been holding it the whole time. Poor precious girl.

They explored the apartment and we got Asher some medicine. They both seemed fairly calm, a few tears here and there but overall, they did great. I rocked Asher to sleep and he went down fine. I laid down with Faith who was much more teary, scared and unsure until she heard Asher fuss and realized he was in the room with us. Then when Grammy came in for bed too she was even more calm. She is just so used to the sound of lots of bodies around her while she sleeps. Asher woke up a few times with the fever and sore throat but overall they slept well considering the circumstances. Faith fussed once or twice but when I would remind her that we were there she would go right back to sleep.

God has been so good. There are two less orphans tonight....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Trip three

We (my mom and I) arrived safely back in Krasnoyarsk again this morning. I think my body is in some sort of state of utter confusion about whether it should be awake, asleep, hungery, etc. We had a delay in Frankfurt and then sat on the runway for an hour before we could take off but we still were able to make our connection in Moscow. When we arrived here so did all our luggage and the two "lost" suitcases from the last trip (which were said to have arrived last Saturday) actually showed up just yesterday...with everything in them:). We picked them up with no problems too. The best news of all however is that we found out after arriving that it looks like we will get to get the kids out of the orphanage tomorrow instead of on Monday!!! I am so excited! Tomorrow is our Gotcha Day!

Prayer Requests:
Please pray that the kids would not be traumatized by the sudden changes on every level that they are about to experience, that God would give mom and I the energy we are currently lacking to do all we will need to do this next week to get us all home, that all final paperwork for the kids would come through on time with no glitches (birth cert, passports, visas), that God would hold the rest of my family (Paul, Seth, Grace) at home safe and sound and that He would prepare each of our hearts for the transitions ahead.

Your prayers have made a huge difference for us all in this process. There are times when I wonder why I am so calm, or why I have the energy I shouldn't have at that momment and God is faithful to remind me of all of you who are so faithful to pray for us. Thank you!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Home again!

Court day...with a few borrowed clothes and a few new ones. Thanks Loomans!

The Looman family...amazing people

The intense football game Paul and Tim had with the boys

The munchies

Counting down the days until we are home with them for good...17

We made it home safe and sound this morning at about 2:30am. Another 8 airplane/10airport trip without any hiccups, just sore, tired bodies. Thanks again to God for His grace.We are so happy to see Seth and Grace but now more than ever feeling like part of the family is missing. I will be climbing back on the airplane with my mom this time on Wednesday to return for the trip to bring them home for good:). Our last visit with them was the best yet. They both recognized us from the first trip and their little faces and personalities came more alive with each visit.

Our luggage still has not arrived where is should be...last reported in Uzbekistan...but we survived in the same pair of clothes all week and God made sure everything we absolutely had to have was with us in our carry on bags so it all worked out. Thanks again for all your prayers and please keep them coming for all of us. Seth was very sad tonight when he realized I had to go again next week....we are all ready to be done...

One final comment...I love America....
if we only remembered the blessing we live under...

Monday, September 26, 2011


Faith Elaine Van Dyke!!!
Asher Paul Van Dyke!!!

Court went great...actually enjoyable....and we passed with
flying colors. Thank you all for your prayers, we felt them and needed them. They may have kept me from losing my breakfast in front of the judge. We are headed home in the morning. I am sorry for the bad pictures with the heads cut off but this was the best I could do without my computer and without a camera to get you some pictures of their cute little faces. Can't wait to be home with them!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Well...we are here anyway

Things havn't turned out quite like we hoped today but we are here...minus our luggage. Sounds like it would be a miracle for it to show up before we leave next if you would please pray for that miracle, we would appreciate it...tomorrow would be a nice day for it to arrive. We have the clothes on our back right this minute. God is still faithful and we have all the important documents and paperwork we need for court and the computer which wasn't working until a bit ago. Still having some issues (and the camera is in the luggage) so not sure how the posts will be this time but we will do our best. We know this will all be funny soon:). Thank you all for your prayers for our family. We get to see those cute little faces in the morning...can't wait...they won't care if were in the same clothes all week;)!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting Ready!

 We head out for the second trip a week from today! We have spent this time between trips preparing for the arrival of Asher and Faith. Learning a bit more Russian (I've got "I love you" down now, thanks Anna), putting cribs up, getting extra dressers, digging out the smaller clothes, getting the rooms ready. This part seems to have helped make it all much more real for Seth and Grace. They spent literal hours this week playing, "Going to Russia' with Paul and I's suitcases. They would pass by me with an enthusiastic wave and a, "Bye Mom! We are going to Russia to get Asher and Faith!".

We fly out on Sep. 21st. Our court date is on Tuesday, September 27th. While you all are sleeping on Monday night (Sept 26th), we will be in court. So if the Lord wakes any of you from your sleep that night, pray for us! Please pray that all paperwork is acceptable and that God grants us favor with the judge and we pass court with flying colors. We would also appreciate your prayers for all 4 kids again for comfort and peace during all the seperations and transition. Also, that the many plane rides and travel would all go smooth. Thank you!

Monday, September 12, 2011


We were on our way back from visiting our kids at the orphanage. If I remember right it was our last visit. Of course after each visit there was 3 very silent hours of driving back to ponder, pray, think, worry, pray some more, and praise. The mixed company didn't allow for any real open discussion between Paul and I on the drive...that had to wait until we were back to the hotel. This particular day we were sharing the ipod headphones (one in his ear, one in mine) listening to the new Matthew West cd my friend let me borrow before we left. The weight of the whole situation seemed especially intense to me on the trip home that day. I was dieing to know what my husband was thinking too. My mind began to play through the "what if" scenarios of the journey..."what if it really is as hard as I know it could be?"...

About that time one of Matthew West's songs came on.... ...I hadn't heard it before, but God used it to snap me out of my self-focused fear and anxiety and alter my perspective. Again for the millionth time, "Could I trust Him?", "Did I remember that it isn't about me?", "Hadn't He already shown Himself to have a plan bigger than I could have imagined?", "Did I remember what great lengths he went to to redeem me?", "Couldn't He do that with these two precious little lives as well?" As I listened to the words of the song and the Lord began to speak, Paul turned his head to look at me...we held each other's gaze just long enough to share a million unspoken thoughts...and with just a look, I knew God was speaking to him too.
And so... our prayer is that "two broken hearts in the world tonight" would be healed...not because they join our family, but because they come to know the healing power of a relationship with Jesus Christ who indeed has gone to great lengths to redeem us.

Waiting desperately to get my arms back around those precious babies...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Home again...

Yes, we did make it home. Sorry to all who worried about us with the terrible weather on the East coast. We connected in DC about 14 hrs ahead of the storm, again God's grace in action. Total trip: 10 planes and 8 connections with not a delay or missed connections...thank you thank you thank LORD! Its so good to be home, so good to hold Seth and Grace again, I think we were missed....but the work is not done and two Van Dykes are still in Russia. So please continue your prayers that God would hold them close, keep them safe and help all paperwork, court stuff and travel to go smooth. Have I said yet that we appreciate your prayers? We can feel them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


We headed back to Kansk this morning for our last visit this trip. Some of you must definately be praying for me not to get car sick because that fact that I havn't is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you (Sarah, I know you have). We had a great time again with the kids. When we got there today, Asher came at me at a dead run and threw himself into my arms...that melts a mommy's heart. We got out playdough today. Faith was not impressed with how it felt and Asher of course wanted to eat it:). We also got to take them outside. Asher immediately wanted in a stroller and as soon as the buggy started to rock him, he stuck his thumb in his mouth. I think both my boys are going to be thumb suckers:). They both LOVE to swing! We did find out this morning that our court date is Sept 27th!!! That means we will be heading back here by Sept 21st...less than 4 weeks! So grateful God has worked out those details. The judge is already asking for a couple more documents so please pray those get completed quickly and that all goes well and smooth with court. We fly home tomorrow morning. One of our connections is Washington DC and it sounds like that could be tricky with the earthquake and hurricane. Please pray all goes smooth and that we make all our connections. We appreciate you all!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Exploring Krasnoyarsk

Since we didn't get to see the kids today, we tried to enjoy the chance to explore Krasnoyarsk. We did have to spend quite a bit of time at the notary getting our final papers done before our paperwork was submitted to court this afternoon. It was more time consuming than expected but its done now and we should know by tomorrow morning when we get to come back for court and to bring them home! We spent the morning walking around downtown. We found a grocery store and the large market and to Paul's delight, a coffee place that had "to go" paper cups (something VERY rare in Krasnoyarsk). You do not see everyone walking around with their latte' like you do in the States. After the notary this afternoon, we rented bicylces and rode across the footbridge of the river to a large island that is for walking/biking only. It was beautiful! The week has flown by so quickly. Tomorrow will be our last day with the kids before we return home early Friday morning. Please pray that God would hold them close and keep them safe while we are away and that our travels home will be safe and smooth. We are definatley anticipating the other two cute faces waiting on the other end too. Thank you everyone for all your prayers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day Two...

Pictures of the orphanage
 We left early this morning for our second visit to the orphanage. We had a bit more time with them today which was good. Asher is a wild man! Lots of energy and personality. Faith has a beautiful smile and is very bright. By the end of the visit. She was pointing to each of us in the picture album I had made her and was saying, Mama, Papa, Seth and Grace (and sistra which is sister in Russian) to the appropriate person. She also started saying "ball" and spent lots of time throwing a red ball with Paul. We are getting to submit our court papers tomorrow and so by Thursday morning we should know when we will be returning to bring them home. We don't get to go see them tomorrow which we are bummed about...we have paperwork here in Krasnoyarsk that we have to do. We will probably have some time to go to the market and do some shopping and more sightseeing. Please continue to lift up Seth and Grace as we are away and all are missing each other much. Thank you again for all your prayers!