"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Monday, May 30, 2011

For Your Viewing Pleasure . . . From Today

And . . . in answer to the prayers of God's people that were going up  . . .the ralcitrant official "did his duty" (per a inside family joke) and signed our paperwork . . . No court date yet, but at least our case is being processed again. Praise God!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Updating . . . .

Today was our 4th visit with Katya. She was quickly responsive to both of us, but made it clear she wasn't comfortable (at first) with Papa walking around with her without Mama. By the end of the visit, she was a lot more comfy with him again. She also came up to him when it was time to walk back with her group and when he asked her if he was supposed to carry her again she was ready to go right into his arms. She fussed a tiny little bit when she had to go in to the building but it was pretty subdued so it seems we have hit on a transition plan for her where she realizes she will have to part from us but it's not a shock to her system so she copes with it better.

So far we know that she can make a very angry noise, a startled noise, and a giggle for when she's happy. Those are the only three sounds we have heard her make, but we are glad for those three! She imitates us VERY quickly and we have started having her do the ASL sign for "more" when she wants another bite of the snacks we are bringing in. She obediently imitates us. I don't know if she knows really what it means, but she does imitate, and hopefully with time she will get it.

She will need massive help to get her body straightened back out I think, and it would appear that she also needs some dental help . . . she seems to be in some pain with her teeth or jaw .  . and on Day 3 her one side of the lower jaw was swollen.

Since we gave her the juice and snack early on today, hoping that she would have time to get it out of her system enough to be ready to enjoy lunch, I think I also saw her "I need to go to the bathroom" signals today shortly before the play time was done, as well  . . . that consisted of pulling up her dress and clutching . . . so I'm thinking we'll have to work on teaching Katya some new signals! But at least she has something that I can interpret for starters! (I'm thinking that the capri leggings for under her dresses we were talking about sound more and more like a good idea too. ;-) )

Getting to learn to know our daughter-to-be (God willing) in the "comfort" of her orphanage routine and life is interesting to say the least. When we adopted Kristina, we only had a total of four hours with her, and ALL of those were separated from her playmates in a room she normally did not go in. By now, we have spent way more time with Katya than we had with Kristina when she was moved in with us immediately after court! While this process is hard because it requires so much time in country, I'm also glad for the chance for Katya to get to learn to know us much more gradually . . . I think it's healthier for her in so many ways. Yes, I want to scoop her out NOW and get her the help she needs NOW but that would be too traumatic for her. She seems really fragile in her body AND spirit  . . . and I know a gentle, slow approach all the way around for every thing right now is what she needs.

Now, I know you are dying for pictures  . . . at least, some of you are . .  So . . .

The interesting front of a store we walk by each day on our way to "our" little market

 A little further down the street is a bath store . . . this toliet gives new meaning to the phrase, "sitting on the throne", doesn't it?! Also check out the corner of the SINK with a world map on it on the lower right hand side.

Front lobby area of the orphanage

Katya seems to very much enjoy her juice and snack time. Today about 45 min. after we gave it to her, she finally seemed to have some energy and got up and began running around and playing a bit on the play equpment instead of just being fairly listless.

Here she is hopping around in the small play area they are allowed to be in. (Large play area is divided into sections, and they are to stay in their section.)

She likes to keep something in her hands . . .

Today she spent a lot of time making eye contact and searching Daddy's face .. . also she held his finger for awhile similar to what a new born baby would do. We rejoice in each sign of her wanting to connect with us!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pictures from Trip 2

A photo of the metro station on the way to Katya

Katya was eager to look at the books and photo album we had brought the day before again.

The angle I was sitting at, plus the fact that at that point I was having to physically block my purse and our backpack from digging little hands made it hard to get a good photo, but Daddy's strong warm hands are cradling Katya's face, and she LOVED it. After that, she began showing a lot more interest in this Papa-guy.

And if I look like I was crying here it was because I was.  Just check out the peaceful look that came to Katya's face after Papa's hands cradled her.

Paul'[s first few seconds holding Katya.

Before we left, he had her all snuggled up in his arms, rocking and singing to her. She obviously loved this, and when the caregiver came and told her it was time to put her toys away and come, that was when the anger and "keening" started.

Tomorrow we see her again, God willing! ;-)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 2 Wherein Katya Begins to Learn to Like Daddy

Yesterday morning we left our flat at 7:50 a.m., heading out towards Katya. We had an adventure filled trip getting there, and did not arrive until around 10:15--45 min. past when visiting time started. We were seriously bummed, but grateful to be there.

Navigating public transportation in a strange language is an adventure at best . . . we walked, rode two different metro lines, a bus, AND a taxi to arrive at Katya's orphange. It cost us a total of about $7.00 USD to get there. We were dropped off at the wrong stop in spite of my protests--it was for the OTHER Detsky Dom in Katya's town. And while she's not in a huge city, it's a LONG, LONG walk between the two. That's where the taxi-driver came to our rescue--once we were able to make some phone calls and obtain an address for him finally from a facilitator.

When we arrived, the Director's Secretary who knows a bit of English was just heading up stairs and I was able to get her attention and ask about Katya. She showed us where to go to get to her in the outdoor play area again.

Again, she was swinging, holding toys in her hands as she had been the day before. I was grateful to see that it was a different set of toys. Those of us who have lived with a child on the autism spectrum will know without further explanation WHY I was relieved and grateful to see that it was a different set. ;-)

Katya was shy for a few minutes, but warmed up quickly and without much to-do. I soon had her out of the swing and in my arms, and almost immediately she let out this little sigh again as if tension was fading from her--before I even had rubbed her back!

We went to sit in the same gazebo we'd sat in the previous day. Soon a caretaker came and with gestures showed us we should leave and go to another gazebo as she wanted to play there with the littler group of children.

When I got up and began walking away with Katya holding my hand towards the other gazebo, she began whining and "keening". No tears--just this noise of obvious unhappiness. A caregiver came bustling up and took her hand to lead her, thinking she was unhappy about me like she had been the day before when they first tried to leave Katya alone with me. But  Katya began REALLY fussing! The caregiver shrugged, and let go of her hand, and Katya zipped right over back to me and grabbed MY hand again. WOW! Once she realized that I was staying with her in the new gazebo, she shut right up. ;-)

It was very challenging because we were mobbed by the other children . . . the things we saw and heard today would just break your heart. The other kids are so hungry for the love they see Katya getting . . . and some of them become obviously ANGRY when they can't get us to agree that we are their Mama and Papa too. I know better than to plant false hopes in their hearts . . .  Yes, I told Katya in '09 that I was her Mama and loved her, but I *knew* in my heart God was calling her to our family. I can't allow these precious children to think I'm their Mama . . . and so I gently tell them, "Nyet--Katya's Mama." They protest . . . and one little girl, after nothing persuaded us to tell her that we were HER Mama, gave us the ugliest come back she could think of--"POOP! POOP!" she proclaimed in her language. (I don't know how to spell the word in their tongue correctly.) The raw hunger in these childrens eyes as they see Katya being rocked in our arms is heart-breaking. The anger as they realize its not for them is even worse.

Having experienced all that we did even at this good orphanage left us emotionally drained and praying for God to raise up more families who will heed God's call to orphans. I am so thankful that Sunday we are invited to share our testimony with a local church of believers about God's call on our family for adoptions. PLEASE PRAY WITH US CHURCH THAT GOD WILL TAKE OUR SIMPLE WORDS AND USE THEM TO STIR CONVICTION IN THIS CONGREGATION. The Pastor and his wife have shared with us that the old-school of thoughts about orphans and adoption is still very prevalent in their church, and they would like to see that change. Please pray that God is able to plant a seed here . . . We will be speaking in English, with the pastor interpreting to the congregation, so pray for us. The service is about a 2 hour service, all in the local language. Should be interesting. ;-)

Now, back to Miss Katya . . .  Paul and I had determined that while I would take the lead in working on bonding with Katya, we would try to ease her into a relationship with him. We had no time frame, no set ideas of how or when this would happen. We just planned to take it a step at a time.

Well, when we were talking about how painful Katya acts like her mouth/jaw is, I touched my hand to her cheek, and she immedately just dropped her head into my hand.
Her face became so peaceful and happy, and I began crying tears of joy as I saw the looks she was giving us.

 So Paul reached over to try it, and she just laid her head right into his hand. So he put his other hand on her other cheek, and you could just see her melt. She started releasing those little "tension is going out" sighs and was obviously relaxing with Paul. He eventually reached out to take her to his lap, and she went without any problems to him--unlike the day before when she really wanted nothing to do with this strange man calling himself Papa.

Our visit ended with Katya snuggled down in Papa's arms and him rocking and singing to her. She obviously enjoyed this . . . and was very peaceful and content.

When the care givers came and told her it was time to go, she did go put her toys back in the box but as reality hit her, she began "keening" again, walked up to one of the little boys who had stood around so hungily watching us, gave him a huge shove that sent him flying backwards, and marched off keening and obviously upset.

I walked up and took her hand and she calmed waaay down, and I kept telling her, "Mama loves Katya. Bye, bye." She still was upset, but was calmer and quieter, and by the time we got to the door, she went inside without too much noise. It seemed to me like maybe she shut down though  . . . not sure. I don't know her good enough yet. It was definitely obvious that she LIKED being with us, felt protective of her "rights" (because when the other kids would encroach too much she would shove at them--although once she realized we wouldn't allow them to pull away her things or ruin her attention from us, she became much less aggressive and allowed us to handle it more and more.)

So, Visit 2 was definitely a success . . . Sadly, we won't see her again until Monday . . . and I imagine she's going to be ticked off again and I'll have to work to get her happy again. We'll see.

I regret the lack of photos, but blogger will not allow me to add any today.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Katya Meets Mama Again, and Papa for the First

Little Miss Katya seemed to remember Mama and was initially a bit ticked at her it seemed, but that started melting away. By the end of the visit, she was sitting fairly relaxed on my lap for about 30 min. just looking and looking at the photo album of her new family and another simple picture book I had brought along. She was very shy with Papa and only at the end when I asked (after looking at and naming who was who in the photo album) "Where's Papa?" she gave him a fast sideways look and then whipped her head the other way, and giggled fit to beat the band. Needless to say, since her new Papa is a tease, that one got him square in the heart. ;-) After spending the 1.5 hour we were allowed with her observing her and her interactions/reactions Papa has declared that he's just as sure as I am that she's "in there" and just doesn't know how to let it out.
One thing that was very poignant . . . as I gave her little back a deep pressure massage, she began to let out these little breaths of tension releasing . . . and even afterwards now and then as she relaxed against me . . . you could hear one escape . . .
So even though her body needs so much help and attention, and I'm sure we will absorb new things today in that regards, there is much reason for hope . . . . much reason to believe Healing Will Come. After fighting for this girlies life for so long, it was surreal to hold my daughter of the heart in my arms again . . .  I can see how God used that trip in 09 in SO many ways though . . . to open the doors NOW. I will have to blog more another time . . . time to get ready to see our girl again! Keep prayng. Prayers are much, much needed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Finally Moving

We started our day at 4:30 a.m. this morning . . . (and I'd been awake since 3:15). Made it safely to the airport, got on our flight . . . . and actually had LEG ROOM in in the Emergency Exit row . . . AND our plane took off and we actually made it to Atlanta on schedule! YAY!!! We leave around 3:00 p.m. to Paris, France. After all our joking about how we were going to GERMANY, NOT Paris, France . . . we end up going to Paris, France! Paul had to laugh . . . and of course, so did I! ;-) I'd been teasing him all along . . . "we COULD go to Paris, France, Paul!" and he'd smile and say, "We're going to Germany." So it became a running joke . . .

I'm so thankful that before everything went crazy yesterday God had given me this verse as I sat on the plane reading my Bible on the IPAD (LOVE LOVE that I can do that . . . ) "Behold, I have given you authority ad power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm  you." Luke 10:19 in the Amplified Version  Right after I read that, and highlighted it (love that feature too!) the Stewardess announced we should stow our electronics.

(I did tell you all that the speech therapist recommended we obtain an IPAD to start trying to use picture communication with Katya, right?! Anyway, with the help of a friend, we were able to get a like-new IPAD that was used for a reasonable price, and I honestly like it so much that if Katya does well with it and uses it for her primary method of communication I will be forced to save my pennies up for awhile to get another one for me! I am loving being able to take two versions of the Bible with me easily, loving the calendar feature, being able to have books and music at my fingertips etc. Also, due to my poor vision, the ability to increase point size, alter the brightness/background etc. to make things easier to read is very helpful for me. Yup--loving my IPad . . .)

Thank you to all of you who have been leaving comments and praying for us. We enjoy reading the comments and appreciate ALL the prayers very much!!! I would esp. appreciate prayers for my right eye as I woke up with it feeling tender and like I'd bruised it . . . I have no clue what I could have done that would have done that, but the pain has grown worse since I'm up, and every blink is a twinge of pain. No clue what is wrong, so I def. need God's healing hand as we prepare to head out over the ocean.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Travel Updates

This is Amy here posting. I'm the webmaster in case you didn't know.
The Duecks' arrived at the airport and after a thirty minute delay, discovered that their plane was grounded due to mechanical failures which had no expected repair time.
So they are now packing up luggage and taking a shuttle to a hotel and tomorrow morning they have a new flight out. It doesn't have a layover in Germany like they were hoping for but it's better than nothing, they will still get there.
Prayers are still appreciated.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We Have a Pad!

We are leaving on Saturday for Katya's country, so it's very good that we finally were able to confirm our "pad" for at least the first 2.5 weeks of our stay. We are only reserving for that long and will add on days as needed--but that COULD potentially mean a move for us. (Hopefully not.)

I present you our lodging for the next while . . . get a an eyeful.

I laughed so hard when I first saw photos of the bedspread! "When life throws you lemons" and all that . . .  I bet I laugh every single time I walk into that room!

Miniscule kitchen, but it will work for two of us.

Clean and neat.

While I would LOVE to blather on about what all is going on . . . I do NOT have time . . . so I will end this with two very important requests:

#1. Please pray for this trip. Pray for safety for us and our family--for wisdom and patience for those who will be caring for our brood. Pray for our children as none of them have ever been so long without their parents as this first trip sounds like it will be. It's esp. hard for all of them that we currently have no definite return date. Pray for Kaya's heart to be prepared for our entrance into her life . . . for bonding, and for wisdom for us as we attempt to open doors of communication with her. Also pray for us to be filled with God's love for those will be interacting with . . . that God's Spirit will be shinning from us cleanly.

#2.  Please pray about funding for our second trip. While our first is fully funded (Oh thank you, Dear God, and all His people who helped!) we still need approximately $8 thousand dollars for the second trip. The cost of airfare is rapidly rising, and so that is just a rough estimate--it may end up being closer to $9,500 we need.

Even though we have no real fundraisers going on at the moment you can still purchase items from MomAwake's Estsy shop (on the right hand side bar of this blog--scroll down to it) where she sells lovely clothing items for 18 inch dolls. A portion of each purchase goes to help Katya come home. Also, there are still the donation buttons on the side bar. The Reece's Rainbow button for our FSP is TAX DEDUCTIBLE for you. The PayPal button that comes to us is not tax-deductible, but funds are still appreciated.

Again . . . please be in prayer for both of those requests. Thank you . . . and cotinue to follow along as we BRING KATYA HOME!!! We  beg, plead and grovel  welcome comments and (respectful) questions! Knowing others are praying or interested truly does help! And since Paul and I are both pretty social people we enjoy contact with others and will find it helpful while we are in-country and missing our kiddoes!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This week, we leave for Katya's country!!!

My list of things to do grows by the day . . . YIKES! It's hard not to feel panicky . . . but I know it's going to be OK some how.

Now on top of every thing else, Charity is vomiting. I hope she's the only one who gets hit with that bug because we do NOT have time to lose ANY time with illness . . .

Really earnestly covet your prayers . . . there were some significant changes made to how court dates are assigned in Katya's country, and it has the potential to impact our adoption procses in a lot of ways--negatively.

Regardless of all of this . . . I know God is on the throne! He is in control! I want to choose to keep trusting Him and His timing and purposes . . .

Please pray for our children. It tears my Mommy heart up to be going so far away from them and not know when we even get to come back and be re-united. The changes could potentially mean now that we need to come home before court due to increased wait time . . please pray that God will direct us in all of our steps, and help us to stay calm and focused on Him.