The Journey of a Lifetime

Ryan and I have decided to pursue our forth adoption and add another beautiful baby to our family. We couldn't be happier and are thrilled! Join us in our journey in adopting baby Schlenner!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Gotch'a Day Gabriella

You're come a long way baby!!!!! Look at these amazing pictures.................8 years ago today this was our tiny, itty biddy Gabriella in Orenburg, Russia. Ryan and I flew twice to Russia to complete the necessary paperwork and to finally adopt little Gabriella. Can you believe this baby was a failure to thrive baby, malnourished beyond anyone's imagination, and labled mild to moderate brain damage, with under lying potential of but not limited to; liver and kidney damage, possible cystic fibrosis, and rickets. We fell in love with her instantly by looking at her picture and we say "yes" instantly.

This was the very first time we laid eyes on Gabriella, who was already named Yulia. She definately had orphanage delays at 9 months of ago. Were we scared----YES. Did we ever think what the heck are we doing---NO! We had faith on our side and everything felt---PERECT!! Gabriella spent her first 11 months in the worst orphanage I will ever see in my life! I will never forget the screaming, the secretiveness, the horrible rancid smells that I still don't really know what it was, the limited electricity, the coldness. It was a very lonely place no child should ever see. Orenburg is on the way southern city that actually borders Mongolia. This bridge was a walking bridge to Mongolia. Ryan and I tried walking to Monglia but were stopped by some not -so-nice looking soldiers carrying 2 machine guns. So we can't actually say we've been to Mongolia...but about 22 feet away!

This was the hotel we stayed in the first time we traveled. At night Ryan and I pushed the beds together to keep warm. And also because I was scared of the scratching noises we heard at night. There was no question the old old old hotel had rodents of some kind living in the walls.

On our second trip to Orenburg, we traveled with Ryan's aunt Becky and uncle Dale to accompany us and help us. Partly because we were scared traveling, thought it wise to travel with another couple and partly because we wanted company for the long 3 week journey. This picture is Ryan and I standing outside the Orenburg court and the judge has just approved us to be Gabriella Yulia Hope's parents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gabriella was still at the orphanage. We left the court building and rushed to get her!!!

Once we left Orenburg and flew to Moscow we felt better and safer. Here we are having a celebration dinner in Moscow. What a celebration it was.

You can already tell that Gabriella looks healthier in the 2 weeks we had her in Russia. It's amazing what a little nutrition and medicine can do to a baby! She already is looking so much better!!!!!!!! Here's her first smile.

Happy Gotch'a Day my beautiful girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My world is a much better place with you in it!!!!!!!!!!! We love you to pieces and are so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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