Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Fun!

Her Christmas Dress...

Look out world! Here she comes. :)

She wanted to be comfy... we didn't
pose her for this one. ;)
So serious.
She looks like she's waiving... but... she's really
trying to get the hat off of her head. ;)
After a long day...
Alia got her grandpa a hat from her country and
thought he looked pretty funny in it. :)
Favorite thing...the paper. Of course. :)
She's just started smiling for the camera... too cute.
After a long day of presents and paper
and not much sleep... she's ready to go
home and go to bed.
This is my favorite smile... she's such a cheeser. :)
A new hat for Christmas.
Hope you enjoyed a few pictures of Alia's first Christmas! We had a wonderful Christmas and hope all of you did too! We'll talk to you next year!
Brad, Steph, and Alia

Monday, December 15, 2008

more fun...

Play time at the mall. :) Anyone have any germ-x?

What a smile!

Fun time with grandpa.

So, we've had Alia home with us for several weeks now... and can't tell you how much we enjoy her! She is so amazing!

It blows my mind to think that we went across the world to adopt a baby because we thought that we could offer a baby that otherwise wouldn't have much ... more. We had a calling from God and we answered it. We went through so much to "give a little baby hope and a chance at life" and we are the ones who ended up totally blessed! Of course... she needed (and needs) us, but what we didn't know is that we needed her.

In just a few weeks, she has learned and changed SO much. She is crawling all over, giving big wet kisses, and eating puffs (what a lifesaver...) all by herself (she's such a big girl). She even tries to take off walking (I'm SO not ready for that yet!). Everytime she comes at me with her mouth wide open to give me kisses... I melt. Everytime she smiles...I smile too! The other day she was in her jumper and going crazy jumping and laughing. She had Brad and I both laughing with her because her laugh is so funny, sweet, and cute.

We ask ourselves almost daily how we could be so blessed that she is ours.

I wonder if that is how God feels about us... Does He smile when we smile? Does He laugh when we laugh? Does He cry when we cry? All of us who are His children have been "adopted" into His family. I think about all of the work, money, travel, time, pain, heartache, etc... that we went through to bring Alia home, and think about how much more Jesus did for us by coming to earth to die for us. His death was the only way that He could give us life... there isn't even a comparison!

As we come to the season that we celebrate Jesus' birth, don't forget that the reason that He came was to die... for us. Remember John 3:16... God loved us so much... He gave His Son. When I rock Alia to sleep each night (no, she's not spoiled... well... maybe she is... but she deserves every minute!), I pray. I pray that God will take care of her, that she would grow up strong and healthy, that she will someday understand God's love for her and accept Him into her heart, that she will sleep well and calm, etc... but most of all, I pray that she will know how loved she is. As a baby... I don't think she has any idea what is going on. She doesn't know how she ended up in my arms...
I don't know how I ended up in God's arms...but I'm SO glad that I did. I didn't do anything to deserve His love for me, but ... I'm SO glad that He loves me. I pray that this Christmas you all will see how much God loves you. You are so loved!

My new favorite saying is... sometimes you have to go through Shymkent (the first region that we traveled to) to get to Karaganda (where we met Alia). No matter what you are going through in your life, God loves you. Bad things happen to all of us... what matters is how we respond. Do we give up when the going gets tough? Or, do we use each trial as a stepping stone and let it make us stronger? I can't imagine life without Alia now that we have her here, but believe me... there was a time after Shymkent that I wanted to quit. Look what I would have missed out on!

Merry Christmas from Brad, Stephanie, and Alia! We love you all!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Too fun

Alia's 1st Thanksgiving! She loves food!

Our first shopping trip! She loves
shopping... Brad was hoping for a
sports fan... but... I think she'll
choose shopping any day. ;) She
loves watching all of the people and
so many comment on her because she
is so smiley and happy.

Ok, not quite sure what to think of this guy...
but mommy is in the picture too... so she did

Too cute! She's just not sure what to think,
but she didn't cry!

She couldn't quite figure this out
either, but she loves her grandpa!
Her aunts and uncles decided that she needed
to ride in the pink jeep at the mall... she had
some fun with that one. Aunt Julie was trying
to figure it out while Alia was enjoying the
driver seat!
What an adorable look! She's not
too fond of her carseat. I don't blame
her, but she has to ride in it.
Everytime she eats... it's like she hasn't eaten
in days. She loves her food and then loves a
good nap!
So, it's been about a week and a half now. I can't tell you how much I love this little girl! She is so amazing! We've had so much fun bonding.
I can't believe how happy she is. She smiles all the time. Of course, there are some rough times... like in the middle of the night when we spend some quality time together. And... the diaper changes that come along with a complete change of food are not so great, but...
I wouldn't change a thing! Even today... our 1st doctor visit (sorry, no pictures of that one... not a day to remember)... it was not a happy time... but she did so good for all that she went through.
I've always had interesting thoughts on adoption... but now I have so many more! I don't have time right now, but I want to share them with you all. As soon as I get another second, I'll put my thoughts out here for all of you!
For now, I have to go... but I'll keep posting as I have time. :)
Love to all of you! We hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoy all this time leading up to Christmas! I love this time of year... and have to say that it's even better this year. ;)