Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Asherah Poles"!

Anya has made SOME progress in age appropriate behavior, not a lot. It is a daily battle/discussion to get her to recognize this and be able to incorporate it into her growth patterns. We played a Monopoly game 2 nights ago and her behavior was nothing short of that of a toddler, within hours she was 16 again. I think that, according to her needs (albeit, selfish) at the time, she acts a certain age to advance her agenda. It's a good thing I never do/did that!! It is especially highlighted when you have your own kids around acting, for the most part, age appropriate or, at times, more mature than some stupid adult in the house. I'm in the process of reading through the Bible in a year. This will be the 2nd or 3rd time. Currently I'm about 5 weeks behind ("I just couldn't find the time, blah, blah, blah, wah, wah, wah..!!!), the OT is dripping with references to "Idol Worship" and all the forms that takes. Everything from actual wooden, iron, metal or stone objects or conditions of the heart and attitudes towards the Lord. All throughout I& II Kings and repeated throughout I & II Chronicles there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of references to "Asherah Poles", etc...For years I have struggled with seeing this in other people as well as myself and am being increasingly alarmed at what form our own personal idols take. It's nothing short of discouraging and embarrassing, especially from a personal stand-point. I have a lot to say about this, but right now, 1st day of school and I'm riding my bike to work so I can further destroy my already cartilage free knees. One more thing: I'm going to go under 190lbs. for the 1st time in a year, since Ukraine. I came home from there weighing about 225lbs-way too much "Verinky" and chocolate. That's all I did in that stupid place; walk to eat, eat to walk...also, customers are NOT always right (whoever came up with that is just ignorant to human nature), customers ARE always SELFISH, and I've just about had it with them. They see my uniform as a free pass to complain and subordinate! "Shut up and sign, already!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


As mentioned earlier; I've thought about starting a new blog just to say it how it REALLY is! I think I'm going to call it, "HAR DON: The Male Perspective". Although, after getting a water bottle thrown at me a little over an hour a ago after making what, at the time, was the obvious "male" thing to say, I'm not sure Aimee would agree. But I'm right-I'm the King! I have the official Ukrainian Scepter from Kiev to prove it; thanks to our exchange student, Sofiya. Scepter=King............right...............that's right. Maybe some day I'll blog about all the various food items I've had on my head at one point or another. Anya and I had a real, "heart-to-heart" tonight about acting 16 and not 5. She really struggles with that. Orphanage rearing really doesn't allow a child to mature as they should. She's paranoid to make a decision-that'll change. Oh, and Felix: the $969.oo/month award my "ex" received is also, not enough. The family courts are an absolute joke. Judges and Magistrates have almost no ability to exercise common sense, justice, fairness or any other sound judgement, especially in the family courts, and this stems from the same government that wants to run our health care-YIKES! If you really want to feel the "pain" of government involvement, take the frustration and annoyance you experience at the local DMV or other government run entity or program and transfer that to waiting in a doctor's office when you feel like hell or need care right now-some things are so obvious I cannot tolerate people who hide stupid, irrational, self-serving positions or opinions under a glaze of whats best for those less fortunate, like people who won't work because they're too busy making love to their "X-BOX" all day long, etc...I've actually seen my "ex" scare away fire breathing dragons. Anya made the "C" volleyball team at her school. Totally cool. The last time she really played volleyball I think the ball exploded on the concrete play ground at the orphanage in Mariupol, next thing we knew, Russia invaded Georgia and S. Ossettia! :) Could Bill Maher be any more of an idiot? He's exactly the "...mocker.." described throughout Proverbs. By the way; that's a book in the Bible. For those Christians who don't really have a clue that God meant it when He said we should read it every day but, "Ohhhh, I just can't find the time..." (shut the hell up!!!), it's near the middle of the Bible, not far from I & II Opinions and I, II & III Excuses. I deliver packages for "THEE" largest delivery company in the world: for those of you too lazy to use your signal-KNOCK IT OFF! Put the phone down, get the XXXLarge Slurpee out of your face and the stupid dog off your lap and drive like yours or someone else's life depended on it, because it does. And is it just me or should mini-vans come with a life-time supply of Prozac? Later...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Starting back up.

I'm doing this mostly for me! I have a "saved" post from Super Bowl Sunday that I started and never finished, mostly because once I get going it's hard for me to stop and I get exhausted from typing. But WAAAAYYY too much has happened and continues to happen to not "Blog" about it anymore-not that anyone will read this because as stated: it's mostly for me to put down in writing all the non-sense that goes on in the adoption process and even more that happens when you get home. Our lives really are nothing short of chaos, and with all the relational, political, religious and manipulative horseshi_ that goes on, I can't keep it in any more; it's therapy! Among the adoption of Anya, we've had two foreign exchange students: a 16 year old girl from Germany, Laura who was great and presently, a wonderful 16 year old girl from western Ukraine who Anya is thoroughly enjoying, Sofiya. We've had Eriko, a 16 year old girl from Japan for three weeks and Pauline, a 16 year old girl from France for a month! As stated: CHAOS!!!! Some, like myself, may call it an addiction of hospitality that my lovely wife, Aimee, has. Did I mention Aimee is HOT, HOT, HOT!!! It's like living with a centerfold-I love it! If any one is reading this for the first time, you may be offended or will be in shock that I will write and say some of the things I do. I believe it is the only way to express myself: everyone, especially men, think these thoughts but find, maybe a more delicate way of expressing them. I believe in the, "Truth In Advertising" principal. It may become prudent of me to start my own "Blog" page, so as not to taint the adoption process or publicly humiliate my wife. This will probably happen as I have so many "real" thoughts on marriage, adoption, parenting, manhood (especially manhood and being a christian). The last intense conversation I had with a confrontational non-believer ended with, "'re f___ing with the wrong christian..."! I rarely, if ever default to that sort of banter, but at the moment it may have been the only discourse this moron understood. One thing about me: I have raging testoserone and love the Lord, sometimes the two blend in a less than desirable outcome. Adoption, whether locally or globally, I believe it is THEE single most relationally exhausting and rewarding activity a christian can become involved in. Nothing is closer to the heart of God because it is exactly what he does for us and has woven his plan through history (which, by the way, is NOT billions, millions or even tens of thousands of years in the making-it is closer to 9-11 thousand, the other numbers are pure scientific crap, laying the foundation for numerous inaccurate, unsupported scientific and philosophical positions). Anya just rammed through the front door after her 1st day of volleyball tryouts. I believe she is trying to make it appear as though she just walked across Siberia, barefoot in the winter-give me a break! People: you want "drama" in your life? Give birth to a teen-age female from Ukraine. Oh, and the wife just started doing day care again. There are two 11 month olds downstairs in high chairs throwing some sort of ravioli all over the place; mostly their hair. Good thing Anya, Sofiya and our 13 year old, Haley are downstairs to clean up. Oh, and there is a 16 year old girl from Germany in our other 16 year old girls bedroom who is going home to Germany after 2 weeks because she hates it here-she leaves later this week, in the meantime, she gets to stay with us because the always lovely Aimee is also a coordinator for exchange students-she placed this one. They have to stay with the coordinator until their flight home. Wow!! There is so much to write about. I told Aimee yesterday that I appreciated her providing me with a constant source of material to poke fun at. Did I mention she's HOT?!!! Did you know that when you do "spell check" on foul language it not only doesn't recognize it, it won't allow you to "add" it to your dictionary-that is really irritating!! Later...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Snuggle" !$#%$^%&

Felix-"SILENCE!!! I Keel you!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's about time!!!

At the airport getting Laura
Girls on Christmas morning
I've received numerous requests and "jabs" to post again. It's hard to get started doing this because I have so much to say that once I get started, I really start "ranting and raving" about a myriad of things, like: oh, I don't know, like maybe if I see the always lovely Anya "Storm Troopering" around the house, almost putting her feet through floor, yelling and dramatizing beyond belief, that maybe I'll just have to take a Ukrainian Voodoo doll and completely and totally bludgeon it beyond recognition!! She looked so nice in that going-away party dress back in Mariupol...what a magical moment, now, not so much. Oh, and did I mention that teen-age Ukrainian girls know everything about everything even more than American teen-age girls!!! and there's four of them running around the house. It gets better: we have a lovely 16 year old female German foreign exchange student with us for the next five months, so now, we have potentially, a re-enactment of WWII when it comes to shower time or use of the ONE bathroom for all four of them. This blows...more later. Did I mention that I totally hate the words; "cuddle" and "snuggle"? I almost fell down the stairs tonight from over-load when I was being yelled at in Russian while listening to Laura speaking German on Skype and another one singing opera on the main level. I could literally feel my vertigo failing me, it was only my cat-like reflexes that prevented me from immanent doom. By the way, I have the best friends in the world with the Roge's, Barrett's, Houghtons, Volfs, Stoez's, Weston's, Carlson's, etc. (and others I'm totally offending by not mentioning) right here in town. Last thing: if you've been to Ukraine, rent the movie, "Everything Is Illuminated", it takes place in Ukraine, it's a bit strange, but you'll get a kick out of it. Really, the last thing: my wife is STUNNING-thank you, Lord!! :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another update ....

Jasmine, Aimee, Anya, Luda, Clair & Haley Ice Skating I have not been updating very often. I really figured not very many were interested but I guess I was wrong as I have had several requests for updates. For instance we have some new friends at church Roger and Carol who are still considering adoption from Ukraine and they really want to know what life is like once the kids get home and real life sets in. I know there are also some who want Matt to update, because he is so much more entertaining in his writing than I am, I have put in the request to him, so maybe he will also write soon UPS Christmas season is almost over, Yeah! and he should have more time soon. So for those of you that have asked and want to know here goes: In five days it will be two months since we came home. We are still trying to figure out how to parent a child who has no idea how to be parented in a normal sense of the term. This is not an easy task, most days I am completely worn out by the end of the day. It is not easy for Anya either, one of her favorite phrases is "I'm Tired" this means she is not physically tired, but tired of just trying to live and keep up with her emotions. Her past experience with parents has been so highly dysfunctional that she really has no clue what normal looks like. Everyday normal relationships are just odd to her, she often reacts like a fish out of water and has no idea what to do with herself. She fully expects me to be angry at her for everything and hit her when I am angry. Of course this is not what happens, and it actually makes her uncomfortable for it not to happen. So at times she tries really hard to make me angry, and insists that I am angry and hate her despite repeated reassurances that I am Not angry and do not hate her and indeed do Love her! But "we are making progress", and thanks to this being one of the favorite phrases of our wonderful therapist, Anya now has learned this phrase also. She can at time recognize when she has done something well, and different and she will tell me : "That's Progress". I love it when ever anything positive comes out of her mouth, we are working on changing her general negative attitude to a more positive outlook on life. This is hard for her, she has very low self image and has very little confidence in herself or this concept of family. Saturday we spent the day with her friend Luda who has been so wonderful in helping Anya with this adjustment period and reassuring her that yes, these strange things these strange parents are doing for you is "Normal". Luda is 16 and has been home for over 2 and a half years now, she was adopted from Ukraine also when she was 14. So Anya trusts Luda more than she does Matt or I, because she knows that Luda has been in her shoes and has been successful in learning to live in an American family. So Saturday we picked up Luda and she came along with Anya, Matt, Myself, Jasmine, Haley and Haley's Friend Clair and we spent the day shopping at Flat Irons Mall and Ice Skating at the Promenade in Westminster. Matt did not skate for fear of injuring the ankle again, so he took the photo above from behind the glass, sorry it is kind hard to see from the glare. Anyway Anya has only skated twice, first time was with Luda just before Thanksgiving. Despite the fact that Anya can barely skate, she insists that she can jump in the air and do a little twist, She can NOT! Anya spent more time falling than she did skating. She is determined I will give her that, but not too smart, if you fall and it hurts, Stop doing it! Anyway it was fun and we had a lot of laughs. Anya is full of bruises on the knees, elbows, arms, back. She hit the ice with every part of her body except, Thank God, the head. Anya loves Chinese food, most of all Panda Express Orange Chicken. So we had to eat there when we were at the mall Saturday. I had a funny conversation with Anya on another day when we had gone to Panda Express to get some food. She made this observation, that reminded me of how immature she really is, and again made me so thankful that we did adopt her before she aged out of the system, at times we think she is about 10 years old emotionally. Anyhow it was very busy this night and she says to me" Lots of people like Chinese Food" I replied "yes, it is popular here". Anya replies "Lots of people need work here". "Yes they do", is my response. Anya then tells me "Mom I will work at Panda when I am adult". I had to laugh out loud. And then of course follow this up with the whole conversation about going to high school, going to college, having many more choices in life, bla, bla, bla. She has no idea that working at a fast food chain is not the first choice for people here in America. Anya has so much to learn and so many skills to acquire before she is ready to be able to take care of herself, thank God she is not having to do this and God gave her a family to help her, she would be so vulnerable in the real world. Back to Saturday with Luda. At the end of the evening as we are driving Luda home, there is a very serious and intense conversation taking place in the back seat, in Russian of course. As to which I only understand a few choice phrases, I hear Anya saying over and over " I don't want to" When we arrive at Luda's she asks to speak to me for a minute to tell me something for Anya. Turns out the I don't want to was in response to Luda encouraging her to tell me this herself, but Anya did agree to let Luda speak on her behalf to me. Anya has been crying herself to sleep at night. This I knew, but as to why she never could or would tell. Luda explains that Anya is convinced that she is a difficult child, and that we will not be able to keep her and that she will be placed into a "home" for these difficult children very soon. She has heard of these "homes" from other orphans, and she just knows that is what will happen. You see with all her past losses and abandonment she just has no concept of parents, and family life and love. It is so sad. I of course again assure Anya that this is Not going to happen, and we hug. She cries for a brief moment, then pushes away and tells me, "I fine" "No Mom" "I fine". Time is the only thing that can heal this I am afraid, time and being consistent in our reactions to her. She has to test this, and she does, and it has become the new phase to me over the past few days. "You hate me, I difficult, maybe you mistake in adopting me, I go to home" I have read it takes about two years for kids who have had multiple placements and losses to really adjust. Luda is a shining light of hope for me. She is doing so well, motivated and setting and reaching all of her goals. I am so thankful that Anya has her to turn to someone who not only speaks her language and has similar experiences, but is a teenager herself who shares the same normal teenage girl drama and fears that make up part of Anya's issues. Anya is very immature and when she gets over stimulated and excited, she gets very silly and obnoxious, and at times down right annoying in her mannerisms. Luda is very patient, loving and clam with her. Even in public places like the Mall, she never acts too cool to be Anya's Friend. I really appreciate that, because it is rare for teenagers to be this way. Thank you Barbara for sharing her with us, you have done a great job with her. I am trying to think of what else has happened since I last wrote. There has been so much. I guess English classes at School and Soccer. Anya has been, up until this week attending ESL English and Literature classes at her high school for a few hours a day. She is doing so great. Anya just adores her teacher Mrs. Moody. She loves going to school, and tells me all the kids are very nice to her. She has made a few friends in the English class. She emails with these girls and showed me their pictures on her camera which she took to school with her one day. Most of the kids in her class are from Mexico, and there are two from Cambodia. But Mrs. Moody made her feel very welcomed, she got a Ukrainian flag for the class room, Russian /English dictionaries, and made a poster all about life in Ukraine to display on the wall. We had a meeting with Mrs. Moody and the head of ESL dept Linda last week to get Anya's schedule for January and she showed Anya all around the school where all her new classes will be. Mrs Moody really gets Anya and told her if she ever feels scared or lost during her day that she can come and find her. She also gave Anya a valuable tool, a little notebook to carry with her to the other classes. It has sections labeled Thoughts ,Questions and new words . She explained to Anya that if she is in class and has things she thinks about or is confused or scared about or does not understand to write them in her notebook in Russian or English then to ask her or me for help later. She told her also if she has things to say, but can not say them because the teacher is talking or kids are working and it is time to be quiet, then she also can write them in her notebook. I am so thankful that this teacher is so in touch with her students, and goes out of her way to meet their special needs. Anya does about 90% of her homework by herself, then comes to me when she needs help with the rest of it. I am very proud of her English and how much she is learning already from these classes. Before the break Anya had a test in the English class, and got an 84% after just two weeks of classes. Matt and I told her that was wonderful and that we were very proud of her. Anya choose to focus on the questions that she did wrong, and called herself stupid. Again it is going to take time for her to be OK with herself. We enrolled Anya in Soccer. It is a spring sport at her school, so she will not officially start the practices for the school team until February. For now she goes once per week on Wednesday evenings for two hours to practice/scrimmage games at the school. This is a off season thing that is co-ed and taught by the girls soccer coach. The first night was rough, she told me she hated it and would never go back. But she did go back and many of the girls remembered her name and were very nice to welcome her, this made Anya happy. And the coaches were very encouraging and made it very clear to Anya it is just for fun and not to be afraid to make mistakes. Anya is now over the intimidation of playing with boys and so many new faces. Last week she very proudly showed me her bruised knee and told me she pushed the boy down and got the ball! I knew she had it in her! I am looking forward to January when she starts school full time and February when she will also start daily soccer practices. The more "normal" kids stuff she can do the better. It is hard for Anya to have free time, and to have to figure out what to do with that time on her own. I know I have read over and over in the adoption books about the importance of structure, and believe me it is so true! I really take for granted with my kids being old enough to entertain them selves, and I forget at times Anya has no clue how to do this. I figured out that I literally had to write her a list of things that she can do when she is bored, so she has a reference to consult when she finds herself with time to fill. It is kind of like parenting a toddler again, having to give them ideas and choices or else they are all over the place and into everything they should not be into. So one day I sat down and wrote this list with very basic things such as read a book, ride your bike, Play a video game, practice soccer. It went on and I ended up with about 40 simple things that are normal for girls her age to do when they are bored. and she uses this list often, it may sound very silly to you that have not been in this situation, but she really needed it. It keeps her from pouting, and whining, and wallowing in self pity and attempting to irritate me or her papa to the point where we have to make her stop, so this would give her a reason to be angry. This had become one of her favorite things to do when she would get bored, so she could storm off to her room and be mad, I think because she did not know what else to do. So now when I sense this starting to happen and her going down this path, I can say Anya you seem bored, go look at the list and choose something to do. 8 out of 10 times this works, and she ends up doing something she enjoys rather than making up reasons to argue with me and be mad. All the girls have been very excited about Christmas. Jasmine who's one of hers love language is gift giving, showed Anya the ropes. They have spent lots of time shopping for everyone, and Anya is so excited to give the gifts. Matt and I both have already had a few pre-Christmas gifts because she just could not wait anymore. They made gingerbread men the other night, and this was a first for Anya. She loved it. It was just like watching a small child, all goofy and silly, and messy frosting and sprinkles everywhere. This is what Matt & I refer to as "happy Bubbles" all of our girls have a way of expressing the "happy bubbles" those moments when they forget that they are teenagers, and too cool to have fun doing kids things, and they let the guard down and the "happy bubbles" flow. Taylor's are my favorite, she busts out in a sort of yodeling/opera voice and sings silly tunes while skipping thru the kitchen. Her "happy Bubbles moments are rare lately, because she has gotten way too cool, and at the moments is so cool that she won't even come to visit. We hope that one day she will let go of all her anger and need to grow up so fast and just be a kid before she not a kid anymore, but that is a whole other blog. Trusting God will work it out. As for Anya's "happy Bubbles" We now refer to hers as "Ukrainian Happy Bubbles" because they often do include some Ukrainian words, mixed with English words, and lots of over the top loud laughing at herself. These are the times that we strive for, when Anya feels secure enough to let her guard down allow her self to have fun and be a kid . I can only imagine how little of these times she had when she was really a small child. We are working hard to build up happy memories for her. Anya has not had many good memories from her childhood, in one of our "Anya therapy conversations" ( these are not in therapy, but at home, in front of the computer, with the help of the google translator when needed, when Anya opens up and shares with me parts of her past and who she is for real, these normally include tears from both her and I and a few times of Anya exiting the room to go slam her bedroom, then returning to hug me, and they last for one or two hours, and we both are exhausted afterward) she shared with me that the only happy memory she has of her mother was once when she was 6 mom made her a birthday cake. Other than that she remembers, mom working, sleeping, drinking until she slept, or mom yelling at her, hitting her, or throwing something at her. My goal is to help her in the next few years have more fun, and have stories of fun things she did as a child to share with her own children one day. I think I have rambled on long enough. I am sure we will have many stories to share after the first Christmas with her. I hope all of you have a great time with your families celebrating our saviours birth. One of us will update again after that.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Anya's Christmas wish list

Sisters: Taylor, Haley, Anya & Jasmine
Anya has been home 1 month as of yesterday. She has grown a lot in the past two weeks. Life with her sisters is one of her favorite things. She get pretty sad for a day or two when it is time for them to leave for their week at their other parents home. We have been very blessed that they all like each other so much, this can often be rare with teenage girls. The picture above was from Jasmine's 15th birthday last Friday. We had dinner at Red Robin, then Matt and I dropped them all off at the movies, along with Jasmine's friend Lauren to see Jasmine's favorite book series that is now a movie, Twilight. This was another first for Anya her first movie and experience away from Mom and Dad. She did great.
Anya had her first sleep over away from home this last week too. She spent the entire day with Luda they went Ice skating and then Anya slept over, it was on Wednesday. So Thursday morning (Thanksgiving) Luda and Anya spent a few hours making us some traditional Ukrainian salads to contribute to our Thanksgiving meal. She was very proud of her cooking when she brought it home Thursday morning she gave it to me and told me "she can cook" with a big smile. I love to hear her say "I can" do anything! It is one of the things we have been working hard on, no more "I can't" but rather "I can" or "I'll try".
Matt and I also made home made verinky, and borscht for Thanksgiving. It was nice to have our traditional American foods, and also to add some Ukrainian dishes to the feast this year. Anya did very well on Thanksgiving meeting lots of new family and trying new foods. I was worried it might be a little overwhelming for her.
Anya has been responding very well to her therapy sessions and is making lots of progress. She is mostly happier, and when she is not she is making use of our "feelings chart" that has different faces and names of the feelings in Russian and English. This hangs in our kitchen and is one of our tools for therapy to help Anya identify her feelings and talk about them before they result in negative actions.
I asked our girls for a Christmas wish list and Anya worked very hard on hers. She had her sisters help make sure that the Google translator was accurate enough that Matt and I would be able to understand her letter to us. I am going to type in her letter below, as it is the biggest proof we have had so far that she is adjusting and a great reassurance and reminder of why we went to such pain staking lengths, invested so much time, and traveled so far from home for so long to complete her adoption. I share this for any of you that are about to embark on this journey, those of you who are in the middle of it, or for those of you that may be just considering the adoption of an older child. I hope this will persuade you, encourage you, and remind you that YES it is WORTH IT!! Anya's letter:
My Favorite parents,
I wanted to inform you of a piece of bad news. I hope you are not angry, but happy.
I am sorry but I have nothing that I want for Christmas. Why?
Because everything that I wanted, I already have and I have you and dad to thank for it. I have no wish for Christmas because my gift for my whole life is you guys, my family.
Three months ago the only thing I wanted was to see you at the orphanage.
And now I can not believe the fact that this Christmas I will be with you!
It's like a fairy tale with a happy end. And 1 year ago you wrote me that we will be together....and now I am with you!
This is the very best Christmas present from the Lord!
And I thank him for that! At this time I am with you and I do not
need all the things from stores or in my room, because I have a family
that loves me and is ready at anytime to come to my rescue. Once I
told my self I would never have parents!
But it seems that I was wrong and that
is good! Because I am happy with you!
so this is my destiny to be with you! I took
the fear when I flew over here because I did not imagine my life here.
And when I was here I learned that i was afraid of something.
Today I have been here for 1 month I think it was a good choice and I am happy.
I had a lot of bad and good thoughts at the same time. but now I realize that was only a thought not reality. The real reality is where we are all together.
You, Dad, Haley, Taylor and Jasmine. A lot of times I wanted to share with you my problems but as soon as I was going to
do that, inside I couldn't. I once talked with my mother, maybe because if this I seriously talked about something to someone about my former life. I don't know why I am not
able to talk to my former mother and so now I seriously disclose my soul to you and dad. Well, that is all!!!
Your Daughter, Anya
I know some of her letter is a bit confusing and lost in translation issues, but the point is she is thankful for her family more than anything else in her whole world. And she is trying to communicate about all her conflicting feelings of loss and change and deep inside she wants to be a real daughter to us, and we are so thankful for that. Adoption of older, unwanted children who feel unworthy of parents and love is the single most important, life changing decision you will ever make. And it is hard, very very hard at times, but Yes it is worth it!
I am posting some more pictures of her last few weeks here, including some from her welcome home party. I regret that I was not able to get a photo of every one of our guest that showed up to welcome Anya, because there were so many of you, over 100. THANK YOU ALL so much for making this such a memorable day for Anya. She truly felt special and loved.