Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bonding Time

We've been so fortunate to have alot of down time to just hang and bond with Hannah. Unlike our other adoptions where we were off traveling right after getting our babies, we have been able to spend some time getting to know one another!

The great news to report today is that she is taking her bottle! We called our coordinator last night after many failed attempts to get fluids into her, and she had someone go to the orphanage and get a bottle and nipple from them that she would be used to. We gave it to her this morning and she gobbled it down. I was so happy I thought I would cry!Thank you to all who were praying for this!

Secondly, after doing a few little exercises with her over the last few days she is sitting up on her own!!! She is so proud of herself and loves it! I am so grateful to see such progress in such a short amount of time! God is so good!

I brought a book called Blessing Your Spirit by Arthur Burk and have been reading and praying blessings over Hannah. This is the one I prayed over her today:

"I bless you, Hannah, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God invested an incredible amount of effort and concentration in designing you. You are unique, one of a kind. There is nobody else like you. God has thought extensively about you. Every detail of your body, every organ, and every cell is the result of God's thoughts. Every facet of your personality is the result of His kind intention. You are beautiful, and you are beloved. God has blessed you with His love. God smiled on the day He created you. He had been waiting for millennia for the particular point in time when you were conceived. He had great joy in His heart when His plans actually came together. He nurtures your spirit; He watches over you.

"Your world needs you. You bring something to your family that no other person has. They need the gifts you bring. Your family would not be complete without you. Others in your circle need the deposit that God has placed in your life.

"Hannah,your Father wrote your days in His book. Your life is not a random thing. He designed your spiritual heritage. Your generational blessings go back a thousand generations. There is a spiritual treasure chest of generational blessings with your name on it.

"God promises that because of His love, His power, and His blessing upon you, He will cause your pain and any negative thing in your life to be transformed into good things before the end of the story of your life. We don't know everything about who you are going to be or what you are going to do, but you are loved, you are a blessing to your family, and you are a life-giver in the world. You are special, and we celebrate God's miraculous design of who you are. I bless you in the name of Jesus..."

Gotcha Day!

After years of prayer, months of decisions and paperwork, weeks of preparations, and days of anticipation and 24 hours of intense travel, I am very happy to report that I have my very own baby girl to call my own!

Wendy and I arrived yesterday morning exhausted but so excited for what lay ahead. We were very relieved to get to our hotel, take a shower and crawl into our beds to sleep for a couple of hours before we were to be picked up to go to the orphanage. We were met in the lobby by our agency rep, and taken first to exchange money and buy cakes for the workers at the orphanage.

I have been rehearsing this day for weeks in my mind and it felt like a dream. After arriving and after meeting our translator and another couple adopting a baby boy we were finally ushered in to find Hannah sitting in a stroller as though she was all ready and waiting for me to arrive and wisk her away to her new life. Upon seeing me I did not see any recognition in her eyes but she came right to me and felt very at home in my arms. I was so relieved to find the quilt there that I had left with her and the workers told us that she slept with it every night in her crib, clutching it and not allowing anyone to take it from her.

I was also told later by the coordinator that after we had left from the first visit she took on a different demeanor than before. She said it was almost as though she knew she had a mommy now and that she was less eager to go to just anybody. I don't know if that's true but I'd like to believe it!

After talking to the care givers about her schedule and likes and dislikes I was permitted to change her into the clothes I brought. I took off the layers of well worn orphanage clothes and so enjoyed dressing her in the pink and floral little onesie and sweat suit I had brought. We took many pictures and were on our way out when I was asked if there was anything else I needed. I then took the opportunity to ask if I might be able to take one of the paper doves hanging from the ceiling in the main room for her to have a momento from her first home. They were very pleased to let me have one and I was thrilled!

On the drive back to the hotel I sat in the back seat with her on my lap (they don't use carseats). She snuggled right up to me and lay her head on my chest and I just melted. She reminds me of a little dolly. She's so tiny too. All of the clothes I brought her are really big on her.

She went right down for her nap and bedtime beautifully but she refused taking anything from the bottle. We tried formula, milk, water, juice and even a vanilla shake. She'd have nothing to do with it. We also tried a sippy cup and just a cup. I finally got fluids into her by using a dopper from some medicine I had brought. She also refused most of what I tried to feed her but finally took some yogurt and applesause. She's so terribly thin I am anxious to fatten her up. I would so appreciate your prayers for this.

Wendy has been such a huge blessing and Hannah adores her. She lightens up when she sees her and babbles at her in the cutest way. I think she is really enjoying all the attention we are giving her!

The best part about this is just holding her and loving on her. She just soaks it all up and is such a snuggler. I have loved having her lay on my chest and listen to me sing to her and pray for her. Oh what a joy to love this little treasure!

Well, I am fading fast from jet lag so I am off to rest a bit before she gets up from her nap! Many thanks to all who are praying! We really feel covered and blessed and know we have many dear friends lifting us up in prayer!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Off to Kyrgyzstan!!!!

Well tomorrow's the big day! Wendy and I take off from LAX at 3:30 and will arrive on Saturday morning in Bishkek.

I am so blessed to have this dear wonderful friend travel with me to get Hannah. Wendy and I go back over 20 years when we were friends in college and then roomates post college and pre marriage. We have gone through many seasons of life together and she is truly a faithful cherished life long sister in the Lord. We are going to have such an amazing adventure together!

The tentative schedule will be:

Arrive at 4:10 a.m. in Bishkek on Saturday, July 28th.

Get to the hotel and sleep a bit before being picked up at 10:00 a.m. to go get gifts and cake for the orphanage.

Go to the orphanage and get our baby girl!!!!


Sunday, July 19th, hang out with Hannah and tour the city a bit.

Monday and Tuesday do paperwork with the embassy in Bishkek and get Hannah's passport.

Wednesday, August 1, travel to Almaty Kazakhstan in the wee hours of the morning (ie. 3:00 a.m.) For some reason the border between Kyrg and Kaz is only open at night between 10:00 p.m and 7:00 a.m.

On arrival we will go directly to a medical clinic where Hannah will have her medical exam. We will then take the results to the US Embassy and make an appointment for the following day.

Thursday, August 2, US Embassy

Friday, August 3, fly to London and spend the night. My longtime dear friend Sue is flying over form Fance to meet us and spend the night with us!!!! Sue and I were roomates in college and I lived with her family for a couple of years while I was getting my teaching credential. Her parents are so dear to my heart. Anyway, it means so much to me that she will be joining us.

Saturday, August 4, fly home! We will arrive at 1:10 at LAX!!! I cannot wait for this homecoming!

Bob is gearing up to play Mr. Mom for the next ten days. Thankfully I have a few friends who are helping ot watch the boys during the day so Bob can work. I also hear there are some dear folks making dinners for them while I am gone and some who will bring us meals upon my return! Thank you so much to all of you who are helping us! We are so blessed by such an amazing community!

So, I'm off to put the boys to bed and give them a bit of extra much needed attention! I ask you to please cover me in prayer on this trip. Please pray for sleep...for Hannah and for me and Wendy. Pray none of us get sick and that all goes according to plan.

The picture above is from last night celebrating Bob's 46th birthday. Our last bit of time as a family of four!

Our First Trip~Meeting Hannah!

We traveled to Kyrgyzstan to meet Hannah and to accept the referral in person on June 7th. It was an amazing trip. It took 24 hours to get there and we spent two days with Hannah and flew home. Below is an excerpt from an email sent on June 11th:

"I cannot express how grateful Bob and I are for all your prayers. They were powerful. Everything went amazingly well except we did lose our luggage...which unfortunately had all of Hannah's formula, vitamins and supplements we were bringing to her and all our clothes and gifts. We had to wear the same clothes for five days!

"The highlights of the trip were: one, having that precious baby placed in my arms for the first time. Oh what a joy. She was very peaceful and came tome fine. She was fascinated by Bob. Watching his every move. We were so blessed that they allowed us to take her out, after they bundled her up in layers of clothers, and we strolled around the orphanage to find this little gazeebo/play area where we settled and got a chance to just be with her alone. Thank you to all of you who were praying for this first visit especially. We really felt them! The experience felt like a dream!

"The first morning spent with Hannah we got to pray over her in a very powerful way. She just soaked it all in and we felt like the Lord did a sweet work in and through that time. The second day we prayed over her again, laying her on a quilt I had made her with scripture written all over it, that I had many friends pray over before we left.

"Her little spitit is amazing. I flet such a connection to her and I know it is due to all the prayer. This little lamb has been through a lot but the Lord has hidden her in the secret place and I believe He has such a sweet plan for her little life."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Hannah will have two very special big brothers who are going to fall in love with her. They don't know this yet. Joey, who will be 9 in August is worried she will spit up on her and Daniel, 7, is concerned she will take all of my attention. Both may be true but they have no idea what a huge blessing having a little sister will be like. This is going to be quite an adjustment for them though and I am very aware that it may be a bit rocky at first. As my friend Alice, who has six children, has told me, I tell them, "There is always enough mommy love to go around." I sure hope that I get enough sleep so that will be the case!

Anyway, Joey will be going into the third grade this year and plans not to play flag football as usual but to play Fall baseball. Bob may coach again so we are looking at a busy start of the school year. Third grade really steps it up academically so I think we are facing a huge adjustment with that as well.

Joey is my social one who makes friends at the drop of a hat. His favorite things to do are to play sports, baseball, basketball and football, play Xbox and to hang out with his friends on the block.

We will be taking Hannah to alot of games this Fall as Daniel too will be busy with his own sport, soccer. I remember last year watching a gal who's son was on Daniel's team chase her toddler all over the place during the practices and games. I pittied the poor gal. Now that's going to be me!

Daniel is my sweet sensitive spirit who would like nothing better than to just be with me or Bob wherever we are or whatever we are busy doing in the house. He loves everything special we do for and with him and is a great cheerleader for all the new and creative things I try to have our family do (like playing little games at the dinner table, planning for holidays, etc.) He loves our dog Molly and gives her plenty of attention that I hope will now translate over to Hannah. He's going to love being a big brother!

As I plan to leave to go get Hannah this week I am mindful of how much the boys need alot of special attention right now. We've been trying to give alot of holding time and lovers. Oh please pray we all adjust to this big change smoothly!

Monday, July 23, 2007


The Lord keeps sending us doves to remind us that He is with us throughout this whole process. This was the case with our prior adoptions as well. Before we adopted Joey back in 1999 we had a couple of white doves visit us at very key times. Both were when we were at our lowest and needed to hear from the Lord. The first one came to Bob when he was going out to his car and there was a white dove just sitting on his mirror looking at him. He went and got me and we just stood there and all looked at each other for quite some time. He just stared at us. It was dream-like. The other significant time came after we were praying as to whether we should adopt or not in our den and a white dove came and looked at us through our french doors. We felt the Lord saying, "Everything will be alright."

For the past few months a couple of doves have been cooing over our home daily and bringing such a comfort to my heart to hear their sweet peaceful sound. They are cooing in the morning when we wake up and they are cooing out front when we go to leave in our cars. They are out on our telephone wires on a regular basis. Bob had an amazing experience on the 101 freeway on the way to his office the day we received Hannah's medical information. We were due to have a conference call with the doctor to go over everything in the next ten minutes and Bob called to tell me he was running late because the traffic had just stopped. Suddenly he said, "Oh my gosh!" A white dove had just flown by his car window on the freeway! After that traffic suddenly opened up and he continued on to work.

When we went on our first trip to meet Hannah we encountered more doves. First of all there were billboards all over the city with the same advertisement on them. It seemed that everywhere we saw them. I think they were selling cell phones or something but it was a picture of a group of people letting go of doves into a blue sky. I wouldn't have thought anything about it but the ads were everywhere!

Secondly, and most unbelievable, is that the room in the orphanage where all the babies play and eat has these paper white doves someone made hanging from the ceiling! There were also paper doves taped all over the gazeebo where we spent the bulk of our time with Hannah! See pictures above.

Anyway, Bob and I are just in awe of the many miracles involved with this whole experience. It is so clear to us that God has hand chosen this precious child for us!

The Quilt

Once we made the decision to adopt Hannah on May 21st, we got our travel date for the first trip. Kyrygyzstan requires that we take two trips to adopt, the first to see the baby and to accept the referral in person and the second, six weeks later, to get her. We were scheduled to travel on June 7th so everything began to happen so fast.

I really wanted something that I could take with me to bless her and to leave with her. I knew I had so many faithful friends praying for her and I thought it would be special if I could take a bit of the spirit of their prayers to her in some way.

I rushed to the fabric store and had the huge joy of picking out fabric, all pink!!!!! It was so exciting. Sewing her a quilt made everything seem so real all of a sudden. She was no longer just a dream!

Making a quilt is alot of cutting, ironing, measuring, sewing...alot of time to think and pray. It was the perfect way to prepare to go see her. I had a number of scriptures that I had been praying for her and got the idea to write them all over the quilt.

It turned out that we had a few gatherings that week with some dear friends, our life-group, my small group and my parent ed class, so I brought the quilt and asked them all to lay hands on it and pray the scriptures for Hannah. It was so meaningful.

I began to get a little nervous about my plan to leave this quilt with her in the orphanage. It was becoming so valuable after all this prayer! So I decided to make a mini quilt that I wrote Psalm 91 on and that one I left with her. I asked the orphanage workers to leave it in her crib with her.

The most memorable time about our visit with Hannah was when we got to wrap her up in the quilt and pray for her. It was a very powerful experience and we felt like all the intercession for her over the months prior opened the heavens above us and allowed for such a sweet healing presence to flood her. The bond with her was so tangible and we really know it was the work of the Spirit.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Our Referral

Bob and I continue to be in such awe of this whole experience. An international adoption to happen so quickly and so smoothly is truly miraculous. We assumed that by changing to Kyrgyzstan from China that we would have another number of months to wait for a referral. As luck would have it, or I should say as providence would have it, when we met with our agency there happened to be a substantial waiting list but all of the people were requesting boys. We were automatically put on the top of the waiting list for girls.

The day we received our referral was like a dream. It's weird but I just knew it was going to happen. I boldly sent out an email saying that we would soon be adopting a baby girl from Kyrgyzstan...which I would've never done with our prior adoptions because the timing is always so uncertain...but I just knew.

It came on Monday, April 23rd. On Saturday the 21st I was praying and I felt the Lord speaking to me. He was giving me the impression of what a sweet little spirit she had and I felt her being birthed in my heart. I couldn't believe this amazing spiritual experience. I said, "Lord, are you speaking to me?" and suddenly a flash of light hit my eyes. I opened them to find that the sun was shining right on me through the leaves on our fig tree outside my window. I wept with such gratitude that God would be so kind to me and reveal Himself to me in such an amazing way.

On the 23rd I came home to an email from my agency. It read, "Hi Bob and Sloan, Well, the time has come. Here is some information on a little girl from Kyrygyzstan. We should have her medical soon, but need to be prepared to act quickly. Let us know your thoughts."

I looked at her picture and I knew she was my daughter. I just knew. I said, "You really did speak to me God! You really did!!!"

The rest is history. It took us about a month to get her complete medicals and the huge blessing was having a gal from my yahoo chat group who is adopting a baby boy from the same orphanage email me after visiting and meeting Hannah. She just told us what a little sweetheart she was and sent us some pictures and we were smitten.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Our Story

This is the story of our dear precious Hannah Paulina and the miraculous adventure of her journey to our hearts and to our home.

Little did we know a year ago in the middle of fighting breast cancer that this dream would become a reality so quickly and so miraculously. After all we have gone through we are so incredibly grateful for this amazing blessing.

Having had such a wonderful experience adopting our two sons from Russia, Joey in 1999 and Daniel in 2001, we had dreampt about the possibility of going back for a third, this time a girl. In 2005 we began the lengthy paperwork and realized in the midst of it that it was looking more and more challenging to adopt from Russia again. After much prayer I sensed the Lord leading us to pursue an Asian country and settled on China. We quickly got all of our paperwork changed, approved and sent over when one week later, at a routine mammogram, a suspicious lump turned out to be cancer. We were in shock.

Throughout the surgery and treatments we began to question whether adopting again would even be an option for us. Throughout chemotherapy we really grieved the loss of a third child in our home and began to settle on enjoying the sweet family God had so blessed us with already.

But something kept us from completely closing that door and we continued to seek the Lord for His leading. In January, well after all treatments were over and fully recovering with an excellent prognosis, I attended a prayer conference where I received prayer on this topic. A pastor from the church who did not know me or my circumstances approached me and told me that the Lord had told her that we would have a child in three months.

Needless to say, we fervently began to seek the Lord in prayer and fasting for clear direction. In the midst of a three day fast in February we sensed that we were to change from China and pursue Russia again but were shortly deterred from that after hearing that Russia was soon to close down all adoptions for a period of time.

In the midst of searching for clear direction as to what to do, our social worker began to talk to us about Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country formerly a part of the Soviet Union. In March we met with our agency and soon began changing all of our paperwork again. It felt so providential being a former Russian country but also an Asian Country. It lined up with all that we had felt the Lord speaking to us about.

Bob and I continue to be in such awe of God's glory in the midst of this experience. What happened next is almost unheard of in international adoptions today. One month later, exactly three months after the prophetic word, we received a referral of a precious baby girl in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. It happened so fast our heads were spinning.

God's miraculous hand had reached down and brought together this sweet little orphan girl with a family who longed for a daughter to love, a sister to take care of, a baby to hold and our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude!

More of this story later...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007