Sunday, December 27, 2009


I really needed this Christmas.

These last few days both with our church and with family have been like a thick layer of balm on our chapped lives.

Things were already looking up when Polina surprised us all by bouncing back from her indirect by-pass brain surgery for Moyamoya like a champ, basically strutting down the hallway and out the hospital door last Sunday morning. She came home happy to see her sisters and asking for pizza. Her recovery from this huge surgery amazes me. And the peace God gave Sergei and I encourages me. I dare say we're ready for round two (her next surgery is scheduled for January 21).

We had a beautiful service on Christmas Eve and had a few friends over afterwards to toast Jesus. On Christmas morning Elaina and Zoya woke the rest of us at 7am. Downstairs the girls were instantly buzzed by mounds of wrapped shinny gifts holding magical mysteries, Sergei brewed a quick pot of coffee and we gathered around the tree for a little bit of reading and prayer.

Presents were opened and we spent the rest of the day at home tinkering with new toys and gadgets, snacking on cinnamon rolls and playing Wii tennis.

I couldn't help but watch my children intently all. day. long.

My presents were appreciated; a candle from Zoya, bubble bath from Elaina, comfy jammies, a yoga mat and a crock pot cook book from Sergei. But my real gifts were unwrapped in my mind throughout the day; health and happiness. This weekend I decided to stop and look around and breathe.

OK, so we are in the midst of brain surgeries and pending tonsillectomies. Elaina is tired all the time and Zoya's eczema is bizerk lately.

Evangeline has yet to see all the specialists required; she really needs to get in to see a pediatric dentist and most of the time her eyes still look sad. She spits and pulls hair and bites. I can't read her cues and at night when I lay down to sleep I worry that I'm not doing enough.

Last year I sheepishly hung a stocking for the little girl we hoped to bring home from Ukraine. This year Evie is here, suspicious of the antics of her sisters and less than interested in her toys... but here. She seems more present too, passing out (albeit sparingly) hugs and cuddles, smiling here and there.

And tonight she let me rock her to sleep for the first time.

This weekend we had health and happiness. Sergei cooked a wonderful Christmas dinner, Zoya is turning out to be quite the little athlete. Elaina includes her little sisters in her games, is thrilled with her new outfit and text messaging gadget. I made high score on the Bop It (100, if you care to know). Polly loves her new caillou doll and her incision is healing nicely. Evie decided she likes animal crackers and has moved into a booster seat at the main table.

Health and happiness. One day at a time.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Thanks for sharing your heart, Gillian! We are continuing to pray for little Polly! May God bless you in the upcoming New Year....

    Love in Him, Paula

  2. I'm so glad Polly is recovering well from the surgery. What a Christmas blessing to have all of your family together and healthy! I pray time will heal all of you and make you a stronger family.

    Aidan got a bop It for Christmas and a 100 score is awesome! LOL The highest in our house is 78, held by my sister.

  3. Gillian~

    I did not know Darya meant "Gift"....Thank you for sharing! Her new name will be Darya Amy-Joy Hollis. We will call her Amy after my cousin, Amy. She has had a difficult life. Her dad, my uncle, left her when she was 15 (for a co-worker) and has had nothing else to do with her. She is now 22. Amy has poured her life into Hope and Charlie and loves them completely. We want to honor her by calling Darya....Amy-Joy!

    So happy Polly is doing well. With all of the prayers that have gone up for the little thing, I am not surprised. I have prayed for her often---feeling like she has become part of our family. I am hoping to meet you all some day.

    Much love to you, friend. I will continue to check the blog for Polly updates.

    Blessings Galore,

  4. Beautifully written. Continued prayers for your little one. It's so neat to hear how quickly she recovered from this surgery.

  5. I know you know probably this already, but your post brought to mind a friend's adoption from Romania. They adopted this boy who they found over the internet who looked just like their family. The part that took a while was him adjusting from being ignored in the orphanage to being part of a thriving family - being paid attention to, and paying attention to others. I don't think they had any secret sauce except time and patience that helped him adjust. Much love to you guys as you minister to your beautiful family!

  6. So glad you found some peace in all your chaos. God bless you all.

  7. I had 3 in a row (Anna,DS, in the middle) and Tim was deployed a lot. Boy, reading your schedule brings back memories!
    You are amazing, you are strong! God bless.

  8. Love your post. I know I would gladly read it all again in the book you publish some day. :)

  9. I am so happy to read about your blessed Christmas!! God is so good! Although my daughter (w/Down syndrome) is biological and not adopted, she went through a long stage of spitting and hitting, pulling hair etc. Little Evie has gone through so much and I am sure with the love that she is now surrounded with, she will eventually come out of those behaviors too. My dauther is 10 and she still goes through stages of slapping on occasion!! Hang in there and keep the faith!


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