Our Family Story

Welcome to Mostly There!  My blog title tells a little bit about my life, which is mostly there as in usually in Russia as opposed to America and mostly there as in sometimes I'm not quite all there.  And here is the condensed version of my family's story:

Thomas and I met in graduate school. Thomas had recently returned from a mission's trip to Siberia (yes, the really cold part of Russia; though it's actually quite warm in the summer time). He thought surely the greatest pick up line in the world was: "Hey, come with me to Siberia!" (just imagine this being said quite sarcastically)

We married December 27, 2003. Yes, my parents were thrilled with our marriage, even though it meant I, their only child, would eventually be living in Siberia. I do however, think that my mother would have preferred a different date, but the wedding was beautiful!

One year later

We visited Siberia together in February 2005, and we still believed God to be calling us to minister in Russia after our 3-week adventure.

At this point we both really wanted to have a baby, and in the summer of 2005 I found out I was indeed pregnant--great rejoicing! Other than being incredibly sick for a really long time, the pregnancy was fairly normal, I guess, until we discovered that Isaiah would be named Isaiah and not some girly name. On that day, which I recall being warm and sunny and maybe sometime in October, we also learned that Isaiah has spina bifida. There are many degrees of this birth defect, so for those of you medical buffs, his defect is between L2 and L3. His type is spina bifida manifesto, myelomeningocele in conjunction with hydrocephalus. And if you want more details, you can read here.

As you can imagine, our lives were a little uncertain at that point...NOT uncertain as to whether or not Isaiah should be born, that WAS NEVER a question! We believed then and still do now that Isaiah is our gift from God, and that God created him exactly the way that he should be. The way that our lives changed involved our calling to missions.  We weren't sure if we would be able to move to Siberia, since our child might have a disability.

Isaiah decided that he didn't want to wait for the day he was "supposed" to be born. He made his quite dramatic entrance on February 6, 2006. I won't go into all the details, but the day was difficult in many ways. After several hours I was finally able to see my precious boy, and loved him even more than I thought possible! After only 23 days in the hospital and 3 surgeries, we got to take him home.

Our first family photo

God did make it possible for us to move to Russia, though not Siberia. Isaiah has a shunt in his head to drain fluid that builds up. Should this shunt malfunction for any reason, he would need almost immediate attention to prevent any long-term damage. Unfortunately, such care is not available in Siberia, at least not that we have discovered at this point. So we are living in St. Petersburg. For more about our ministry, please visit our website.

Our first Easter in Russia, April 2008
In the spring of 2009 God brought more opportunities of growth for our family. I had a miscarriage in March and again in May. We were of course devastated, but still believed that God would have us add to our family. I was able to have tests run to determine the possible causes of the miscarriages and now take medicine to help prevent any further harm to future children.

And, I suppose that I want to explain some of the pictures that you might see on this blog. Isaiah is a happy, wonderful, loving little man; but he does have some medical needs that most kids his age don't have. Isaiah cannot walk. He does an amazing "army crawl" all around the house (and in the sandbox when it's warm), that I could never manage. His defect effects his bladder and bowel; we are not sure how much feeling he has in these areas. We help him "potty" 4 times a day with a catheter.  Three days a week we use his ACE to help him poop. During our most recent stay in the States, Isaiah progressed amazingly in his physical, occupational and speech therapies.  We thank God for his dedicated therapists, and we praise God for this progress!

May 24, 2010 our fourth child Nadezhda (Nadia) Grace was born in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Like her brother she wanted a memorable entrance, so she came 4 weeks early.  If you would like to read her birth story, it's in three parts:  Part I, Part II, Part III.  Nadia's lungs needed a bit of help at first, so she was on a ventilator for 48 hours or so and received some artificial surfactant.  She has been catching up quickly though on all those important developmental milestones and is lots of fun!

Nadia 5 days old

She hit the one year mark upon our return to Russia this summer.  She's a spunky, loving, happy, spirited, determined little girl who delights us every day!

On a family vacation in Oregon, March 2011

So those are the bare facts. If you would like to know more, please feel free to ask, anything. I'm used to explaining this all in Russian, now, so talking about it in English is a breeze!

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to know who you are and visit your blog, too, if you have one. Please leave me a comment!

Isaiah 5 years, Nadia 13 months