Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who Are You?

Hi everyone!  Just wondering who is out there reading.  Where are you from?  When did you begin following our journey?  When we adopted Dennis?  Alex?  Nolan and Oliver?  Now is the time to delurk!  Since you know so much about us, I would love to learn a little more about you.  Thanks!

165 comments:

  1. I rarely come to your page, however I read everything on my reader. :) I have been around since shortly after Dennis came home.

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  2. I started reading just before you went to get Dennis. We live in Arizona. We are working on our 2nd adoption-kid #4 but #3 according to birth order.

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  3. I believe I started following from someones sidebar list shortly before you started the process or during the process for Anastasia and Paul. I think you know this, but my family has adopted from Dennis' orphanage, as well as Simferopel/Belegorsk. I just love your family though!!!

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  4. Hi,
    I'm 32yr old female from Australia and we're trying to conceive our first child. We've also talked about adopting either because we can't have children (we've been trying for 2 years) or to add to our family with any biological children we have.
    I came across your blog about 12 months ago and have followed your amazing story since.
    You have opened our eyes to lookin gat adopting from overseas and possibly a special needs child. Something we would not have considered if it wasn't for your blog (and a few others) we've been reading.
    Bel

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  5. I think I started reading your blog around the end of 2009, after Alex was home! We are in Wisconsin and found you guys through RR and just can't wait till it's our turn to adopt! So love your two newest additions!

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  6. I found your blog through a badge on someone else's blog (I don't even remember who). It was right after you had adopted Dennis and just before you adopted Alex. It's been so fun to watch your family grow! I am a fairly young reader, at 23 years old, and have a heart for people with special needs because my older sister has Down syndrome. Since I was about 14 I've been reading blogs about kids with special needs because I am so interested in the stories behind a label. I also like big families and hope to have one of my own someday. I'm just a few states north of you in Idaho. I'm a shy lurker and have very recently have thought about starting to post comments, though most of the time I don't end up doing it.

    By the way, my name is Julia. :-)

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  7. I am originally from Russia but I was adopted and now live in Florida. I'm only 18. I started following your blog when Rachel joined the family but went all the way back to catch up. You inspire me to do my best every day. You give so much and ask for nothing more than love in return. Because I've been following you and your wonderful family I would love to adopt when I am older and give my love to someone that really needs it.
    -With love and thoughts, Kristina

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  8. Hi there, I am Debrah from Tucson Az, from time to time commenter on your blog, follower of it actually since shortly after Rachael became a Reed. ^_^

    I find your blog and amazing family inspiring to us all, it shows that love is real in this world today. I am uplifted by your faith, through the trials as well as the good times. I find it encouraging how you handle the negative comments that sometimes hit your blog.

    As for me, no kids yet. But will adopt soon as I possibly can. You guys helped open my eyes to international adoption, and that there are kids everywhere needing homes, not just in one country. Thank you, for that.

    You are a beautiful family.

    Take care.

    --Debrah.

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  9. I started following your blog in mid-2010 when we were in process to adopt our boys because you had also adopted from the same orphanage. I'm so thankful we connected and you were willing to let me pick your brain with a million questions about the orphanage/region/country!!! Debbie

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  10. I live in central Washington (state).

    Been following your family since soon after you adopted Dennis.

    Since then, we have adopted our youngest child.

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  11. My name is Talia, I just turned 21 and have a 6week old. Though he is our first, my husband and I have a heart for wounded children and want to foster-to-adopt in the years to come. I found your blog on the sid bar of someone else's around the time you adopted Alex.

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  12. I started reading your blog when you were adopting Dennis. I read about your family on RR and have followed your journey since. I am the eldest of 8 kids and have 5 adopted siblings (3 have Downs). My family and I all live in British Columbia, Canada. I am waiting for the day that God calls me to adopt but for now I am walking through life as a 26 year old woman who just finished college:)

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  13. Hi,
    My name is Denise. I found your blog through my Aunt's blog-Christie Minich. I started lurking your blog a while before you brought Dennis home. I love to see what your family is up to and see how well everyone is doing.
    I am a Firefighter's wife and a stay at home Mom of a daughter (6) and a son (5).
    Denise

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  14. Hi, I'm Tiffany. I'm 24 living in Florida. I'm currently in college studying Elementary Education. I believe I may have commented once or twice.

    I began reading around the time Dennis was brought home. I found your blog via youtube when I came across your video "Ukraine Adoption-- Following our hearts". There was a link attached, I clicked on it and began to read and haven't stopped since.

    In middle school my best friend and her siblings were adopted from Russia (Alissa, Natasha, Dennis and Alex). Her story is what began my love for Russia and the people there.

    Fast forward to 3 years ago, I met a lady named Lena who has become one of my closest friends. She was born in Russia but later lived in Ukraine. She taught me Russian for 2 years, until our schedules didn't allow time for me to continue studying. I'm not fluent and have since forgotten some of it, but I hope to continue learning in the future.

    Your blog is always a joy to read. I always look forward to seeing your beautiful family grow both in personal relationships, and also your relationships with the Lord. It's a blessing to see your girls transform into young ladies, and your little boys transform into young men. The way your raise your children, and your relationship with a loving, supportive husband is an inspiration for me. To know it's possible to have a strong marriage and raise my children who love God, gives me hope. I would love to have the opportunity to adopt in the future. I want the child/children to feel as if they've always been with me. You're proof that it's possible with help from God. The trips, finances, and red tape may not be easy, but the end result of bringing home another member of the family is all worth it! Thank you for this blog, and sharing your smiles and trials with us. :)

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  15. Hi!

    I'm Maria, and I have no idea when I started reading. We completed our (first I hope) adoption about 9 months ago, and I just love to read other mom's experiences. It helps so much to add to my toolbox of how to handle issues.

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  16. Hi I am Beth. I live in Ohio I found your blog when I was reading a forum and people were talking about adoption blogs the liked. I started reading right about the time Galina joined your family. But I went back and read from the beginning. I have enjoyed your whole journey.

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  17. Hi -

    I live in the SF Bay Area. I've been reading since you adopted Rachel. I've always been interested in adopting older children but I'm only 26.

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  18. I've been following your blog since before you brought Dennis home. I think you are amazing for all of the ways that you have said yes to God and allowed him to continue to grow your family.

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  19. I am reading your blog from Ausralia. I have been reading for about 2 years. I think you and your family are amazing. I have 3 teenage kids myself and I think your adoption journey if wonderful. Thanks for sharing your family with us. Joanne

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  20. Hi, I am Susan. I started reading your blog when you were just about on your way to get Nolan and Oliver. I am so inspired by your life. When I was younger I thought I would do something similar. But becasue of certain circumstances it isn't going to happen. But I love reading about your great life and what a great job you are doing. And you are beautiful! And I love the work you are doing saving children!

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  21. I'm Mellissa, I am from BC, Canada. I started reading your blog just after you adopted Dennis. I am in a large family and love reading about others in the same sort of situation :)

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  22. OK, this may seem weird, but I sometimes search for new blogs by browsing Blogger's lists of recently updated blogs, and just look for blog names that sounded interesting. That's how I found Smiles and Trials a few years ago, maybe around the time you adopted Dennis. And I've kept reading, even though I am not an adoptive parent or a special needs parent, or even a Christian! I have simply enjoyed watching your children bloom and grow.

    I'm just a crazy bug lady. Seriously. Bugs are my thing. You are welcome to read my profile and visit my blogs.

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  23. Kylie from Australia. I'm young and single with three adopted daughters aged 5, 7 and 9. I've also had over 100 foster kids come and go. Been reading your blog for about a year.

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  24. I'm an 18 year old girl from Orange County, CA and I believe I found your blog somehow in late 2010. Your blog exposed me to so many things relating to adoption and disabilities in Eastern Europe and now I'm definitely planning on adopting when I'm older if it's possible. Some of the stuff on your blog and other blogs you've linked to have actually inspired me in what I'm planning on studying in college and my future career plans. I've really enjoyed following your adoption journey and seeing how your family has grown, it's been very inspiring

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  25. Hi i am 22 years old my name is Mikaela, i live in New Zealand and i started folllowing your journey with the adoption of dennis. I do not have any children but i hope that one day i will be able to adopt a child or two.

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  26. Hi!
    I'm Hevel and i've been reading since the time you were helping that other family rehome theis son around the time Dennis was coming home? I can't remember what came first any more.

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  27. I am 21 years old from Washington State, but I'm originally from California :) I honestly can't remember how I found your blog but it was sometime shortly after you adopted Dennis! I have always had a love for special needs children and adoptions so your blog was like heaven to me! I plan to adopt when I'm a bit older so your blog really helps me out :)

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  28. I saw you post a few times afer your first adoption, I think it was two girls. Not sure how long after that you started blogging. My adoption was 2004, so Im pretty sure it was after that. I have a little girl who is almost nine from Russia.

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  29. Hi I' m Tiziana from Italy
    I'm reading you blog since you adopted Dennis, I love you large family. My children: martina, 7 years old, is with me since she was 6 month, matteo 2 years old, he too was 6 months at the adoption. both from vietnam

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  30. I think I found you when you were in the process of adopting Alex.

    I always enjoy keeping up with your beautiful family.


    Laurel
    mama of 12 (ages 10, 10, 12, 13, 15, 19, 21, 23, 23, 25, 26 28)

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  31. Hi, i'm Chiara from Milan - Italy. I started to read your blog short after you adopted Dennis. I was researching about adoption rights abroad and I found your blog. Unfortunately in Italy if you are a single parent you CANNOT adopt. It looks like you are totally unsuitable to rise a child. So in these years I worked hard to find a way to do something for children in need. I also spotted a moroccan lovely family with three little children that really miss an extra aunt. Now I'm sponsoring them as much as I can, Iman 11 yrs and Kamal 10 yrs old are just great at school and little Selma is stating school this September, I hope she will do as great as her siblings.
    I wish so much I could adopt, incredibly I never desired children of mine as much as I always wanted to help a child in need, I hope law will change soon!

    I love reading your blog, and I always had a soft spot for Sveta!

    kisses Chiara

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  32. Hi!
    I am Tina and I am the mom of special needs twins (now 6 1/2) all the way from Greece.
    I have been a recent addition, I have been reading for about 3 months now but don't remember how I came accross your blog. I am sure I saw a "Dennis" button on some other blog and followed it though :)

    I love reading your updates and following your journey!
    Give all the kids a kiss from sunny Greece.

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  33. Hi- I'm Joni, and have been following your blog since before you adopted Dennis. I'm from Minnesota, but am currently living with my Finnish husband and our seven kiddos in Finland. It's been a joy to follow the story of your family as it unfolds!!

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  34. Hi there! I am Stacy. We live in Leesburg, Virginia which is about 35 miles west of Washington, D. C.. I was born in Newport Beach, CA though! I started following you all just before you brought Dennis home and duringour wait. Our son, Aidan, is from Krasnoyarsk, Russia. He's the best kid ever!

    Aidan is a very well adjuted little boy and very activein sports. Nothing t all like what the IA doctor said he would be! I'm so glad I trusted my instincts about him and followed my heart.

    I just love your family and think you are are just awesome. You all have such great inspirational moments that actually help me along at times.

    God Bless!

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  35. Cait, 25, Atlanta... I found your blog through someone's blogroll (though I don't remember who, as I lurk on a lot of RR/special needs/adoption blogs.) I started reading shortly after Anastasia and Paul came home. Your big family is what initially attracted me as I just find big families really interesting. However, I'm also an SLP working in an elementary school, so that connection keeps me interested as well. One thing I love about your blog is how you don't seem to try to paint a perfect picture of your family like so many bloggers do.

    Well, I don't normally comment on blogs unless I feel like I have some really useful information to provide, so I will probably go back to lurking now. :)

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  36. Hi Christine
    Im from Australia, I have read your blog just on 3 years. Some weeks im away traveling with work so there are days i miss reading however i can assure you the first chance i get i sit and read what i have missed :) . It just amazes me the parents you both are, the sons and daughters you have, to love and except children from across the waters, to be able to give a new life to children in need.
    Love Robyn xxx

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  37. gee back before your adopted Dennis have enjoyed the ups and downs and am always amazed by your family....


    We are from Outback Australia

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  38. I started reading probably around 3.5 years ago, right before we added a sibling group of 4 to our already 3. We live in Michigan.

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  39. Hi, my name is Mira (Mirabela), I’m from Romania and soon I’ll be 27. I began reading your blog when you were adopting Dennis. I can’t remember how did I come across a picture of him on Google but after discovering your blog I started to think about adoption in a totally different way. In our country adoption is not that common as in western countries, especially because nobody wants a child with special needs. Everyone is looking for the perfect, beautiful, smart child in people’s eyes, not in God’s eyes. I’m not married but I really hope to be able to adopt in future, even if this could mean “war” in my family :) Your blog is such a blessing for me because I see everyday a living proof that strong marriages are not just a myth. May God bless you all and thank you for sharing your life with people from all over the world!
    Hugs from Romania!

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  40. Not sure when I started reading your blog, Dennis was already home. Just found you from a friends sidebar and adoption stories are very interesting to me. We are from Ohio. Thanks for sharing

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  41. Hi,
    I have been reading for about a year. I have three biological children, and two adopted. My adopted kids are both from Eastern Europe, and they were both previously adopted by other families. My kids have various special needs, and follow special diets to help alleviate their symptoms. We also homeschool.

    My blog is howtocooklikebrooke.blogspot.com if you'd like to know more about my family.

    I appreciate your blog and enjoy reading about your family.

    Brooke

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  42. I started reading sometime after you adopted Dennis but before Alex. I am a 36 year old pediatric physical therapist so I work with children with special needs all day :) (and love it, of course!) I am single and have thought for a long time that I would foster or adopt... and I am much closer to starting the foster process now!

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  43. I started following your blog just after Paul & Anastasia came home. I thoroughly enjoy reading about your family and how you love and teach your children. We are not an adoptive family, but I myself am an adoptee (domestic) from the 1970s.

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  44. I'm Beth and I live in Alabama. I started following you when you were bringing home Paul and Anastasia. My husband and I are currently in the process of adopting our son that is medically fragile.

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  45. My name is Rachel, I live in Australia. Been reading since just before you brought gorgeous Dennis home.

    I love reading how much you step out in faith - what an encouragement for many of us who read.

    I pray for your children every day that I read.
    I suppose I feel like I'm in partnership with you on your family's journey.

    I wish Australia's adoption laws were more relaxed so adoption abilities were an easier ride.

    I have 3 young kids of my own who are gifts from God. And a wonderful hubby who I adore.

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  46. I found your blog on the side of another. We have nine plus one waiting in China. I was grateful to find other crazy large families that came in all sizes, shapes, and colors to help me feel a little bit "normal".

    :)

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  47. Christine, I started following you when you were in the process to adopt Dennis. I am Suzanne and I am reading from Richmond VA.

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  48. Hi, I've been reading since Rachel joined the family, and now I've had the blessing of watching your family almost double in size! :) Its so great to be able to follow your journey!

    Annette

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  49. Hi,I am Aury , I'm from Dominican Republic and i'm 26 and I've been following your blog since you brought home Anastasia and Paul . I found your blog after i saw Sveta's adoption video on youtube. Then i became "addicted" to your blog and others that i found.


    It's amazing how blessed you, your husband and kids are, and it's amazing to watch your family grow in so many ways. And for me it's a joy to see Anastasia and Sveta growing in every aspect in their lives, i don't know why but they have me in the palm of their hand(Maybe because of their innocence )
    Thanks for sharing your journey, joy and experience with us. Love, Aury

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  50. Hi My name is Lilia. I started following around the time you adopted Dennis, however I went back and read the entire blog's history. I just got married and have no children. I found your blog when looking into reading about people adoption experiences. I've always thought that regardless if I was able to conceive on my own, I'd want to adopt a child and bring them into my home. I fell in love with the honestly in your posts. I even like that I don't always agree with what you say. It's refreshing to see that you don't put things on here to seem like the perfect parents of perfect children, but a real parent learning about her children each and every day. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  51. I am Sarah, a college student in NJ. I believe I startedreading your blog somewhere in between Dennis and Alex. I can't remember exactly, but I think it may have been your blog that led me to Reece's Rainbow! I blog about all things Jewish, as well as miscellaneous life events, at carriedinhishands.blogspot.com

    Sarah

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  52. I think I started reading between Dennis and Alex. Another blog I read was also nominated for that big family blog award, whenever that was. I Found your blog when I was voting for her.

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  53. Oh shoot, I forgot to say that I am a foster parent from the Midwest.

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  54. I've been around, I think, since the beginning...commenting now and then but mostly just enjoying watching as your family grows and changes. ;) I used to blog under Finding Maddie...but now blog at sixsunflowerseeds.blogspot.com. :) (The CrossRiver Media ID is for my business...I was too lazy to log out. ;)

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  55. I have been reading for a long time! Atleast since Dennis joined your family. I am from Alabama and teach 3rd grade. I love your family and how real your blog is! Thanks for sharing!

    Melanie

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  56. I've been reading since you brought Denis home. Living in England, have two adopted daughters with disabilities.

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  57. I joined you before Dennis' adoption. Not sure how much before.

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  58. I think I found your blog sometime in the last two years. We have three adult children and adopted three more kids in the past 6 years.
    Blessings,
    Barb

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  59. Hi there! Reading every day from Auburn, MI since before Johnny was in school - can't exactly remember how long now - 4-5 years I guess. We have 6 children adopted from the foster care system in MI. The oldest 2 adopted children "aged out" of our home in the past year - traumatic to say the least since we've had them since babies, but we always have hope. Now our clan of 10 children ranges in age from 8-26 and we do lots (and lots and lots - lol) of respite for other adoptive families in our area.

    Keep sharing!

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  60. Hey Christine!

    My name is Cindy and I am from Minnesota. I have four kids and one of them is adopted. I started reading your blog when you were in the process of adopting Dennis. I figure if you can be a Mom to all those kids I should be able to handle my four! ;) Haha!! Strength and Hugs sent your way!! :)

    Cindy

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  61. Hi,I am Aury , I'm from Dominican Republic and i'm 26 and I've been following your blog since you brought home Anastasia and Paul . I found your blog after i saw Sveta's adoption video on youtube. Then i became "addicted" to your blog and others that i found.


    It's amazing how blessed you, your husband and kids are, and it's amazing to watch your family grow in so many ways. And for me it's a joy to see Anastasia and Sveta growing in every aspect in their lives, i don't know why but they have me in the palm of their hand(Maybe because of their innocence )
    Thanks for sharing your journey, joy and experience with us. Love, Aury

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  62. Hi Christine,

    I actually started following soon after you adopted your first two, Anna and Sveta. I followed from a link on the FRUA chat board. I live in NY with my husband, 3 bio daughters (ages 19, 15, and 2), and my son, 11, who was adopted from Russia at age 3. I am always looking for inspiration and often find it here!

    Julie

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  63. I began following your blog around the time you adopted Dennis. I am passionate about adoption and the orphan. As a single woman, I adopted my daughter 34 years ago from Nicaragua. She is now 35, married and the mother of five children. I live in Charlotte, NC. I love following your blog, I feel like I know your kids. It is thrilling to see how happy Nolan and Oliver are, and how well they are adjusting to family life.

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  64. I am 28 years old. I live in Iowa and I have 4 step-kids, but none of my own yet. I started following your blog when you were adopting Dennis cause I wanted to see where his story went. I have followed almost once a day since. Love seeing "large" families.

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  65. Wow- Come to think of it I guess I started reading your blog- a few blog reincarnations ago- when you first got your girls. I adopted my little girl 8 years ago- I waited to get her 2 years and I had started reading adoption blogs a year or so before that. I guess pretty much from the start.

    Marianne in Baltimore MD

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  66. My name is Meghan, I'm 28, and I live in the Boston area. I started reading shortly after you began Galina's adoption process. I know it can't be easy to "keep it real" and blog about the trials and not just the smiles, but I love that you do! Please keep it up. Thank you so much for sharing everything!

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  67. Hi! I'm Jen. I live in South Texas and have 2 daughters, ages 3.5 and 1.5. I think you were just getting home with Dennis when I first started reading your blog.

    I love reading your blog seeing pictures and hearing how you handle various things. Thanks for sharing!

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  68. I found you when you had just adopted Dennis. I am sure your blog was passed on from a friend of mine because I don't go looking for blogs. I am glad she did!
    Kim

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  69. Hello Christine!
    My name is Silvia and I'm from Spain. I'm married and I have two children, an eighteen year old daughter and a thirteen year old son. I started reading your blog some years ago, just after you adopted Dennis. I like your blog so much and I enjoy reading about your beautiful family!
    Silvia.

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  70. I am from Maine. I have been reading since before Dennis came. My name is Emily. We were foster parents and had a sibling group of six. Now we are a therapeutic couple in a residential setting.

    Emily

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  71. Hi Christine!
    I am a single mom from Kansas and I have two children both of whom were adopted from Guatemala. I would love to adopt again, but unless God moves some mountains it's not likely to happen so I live vicariously through your adoptions :) I always wanted lots of children so I love reading about your family. I began following your blog awhile before Dennis came home. My 7 year old son loves to follow your blog with me. Congratulations on your newest family members, both are adorable and look full of personality!

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  72. My name is Monique and I follow you from Wsshington State. I found you via a sidebar on another blog I was reading and have not stopped checking in since. I believe you had just brought Dennis home not too long before I started reading. I really enjoy reading about your family and watching your children all grow. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family ups and downs with us,

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  73. I'm Julie, I live in Northern CA, started following your blog just before you adopted Dennis. I found your blog through a link on howsluke.com.

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  74. Hi, My name is Andrea and im from fresno Ca. I have been following your blog since a little before you adopted Galina. I love your blog. We have 7 children. And will be adding more in the future.

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  75. Hi Christine,
    My name is Lina, I live in Bucks County, PA, and I am originally from Ukraine :-). I've been reading your post since you adopted Rachel for a long time. I've always been interested in adopting. Unfortunately it is too late :-(. I've worked as a translator and volunteered for adoption agencies. Now I am working as a LAR for Go Au Pair and I am volunteering for adoption places with my Au Pairs. http://goaupairphiladelphia.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/au-pairs-share-their-smiles/

    Love your blog. Thank you for sharing.

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  76. Hi Christine, I found your blog in 2007 when I was Googling for information about where my cousin was adopted in Russia. My home is Atlanta, GA.
    Hugs,
    JEB

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  77. We found your blog when you were in country adopting Dennis. We had just arrived home with Oksana from Kaz and I was drawn to your love for kids and especially that you had previously adopted daughters the same general age as mine. :) I have always appreciated the emails we've sent back and forth regarding questions etc. :)I know it helps Oksana to "know" your family too...maybe one day we can actually meet in person.
    Catherine

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  78. I live in Riverside and have been following your blog since the Press Enterprise article about your family. I think the story was in the paper almost 3 years ago!

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  79. My name is Jefferson Hunt. I am from Indiana. I believe I started following your blog about the same time we adopted, 2009.

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  80. While I've commented a few times, I'm mostly a lurker. I've been reading here since before Rachel joined your family, but I don't remember exactly when I started reading!

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  81. Hi Christine, I started reading just before you began the adoption process with Dennis. I am from Chicago and I spent some time in Russia. One day while perusing the internet, I found your blog posts about Anna and Sveta and your journey to adopt them. Since then I have been back several times a week to see what is going on in all of your busy lives. It is a fun adventure to follow!

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  82. Addie from Mississippi... cant remember when I started reading, but it must have been between 2009 and 2010 b/c thats when we were going through the adoption process... I love reading about your family!

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  83. I'm Debbie, from Montana and I'm 46. I've been reading a LOONG time (almost as long as you've been blogging, I think). I can tell because when I read the kids' ages in the sidebar I always think things like, "No WAY can Rachel be 16! She's supposed to be like ... 12!"

    I think I found you from a YouTube video of Anna and Sveta's adoption. It was just before Analynn joined the family because one of the first posts I read was your video welcoming her (which was awesome, by the way).

    Thanks so much for blogging!

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  84. Hi Christine,
    My name is Rachel and I'm from England (London).
    Trying to work out how long I've been silently lurking for and it's a long time - I think I first came to your site when you were adopting Alex.
    I cannot remember how I got here but I am so glad I did - this is now the first bookmark I click to when I switch my computer on. I love reading about your family: there always seems to be something going on, and the love in your family is just so tangible. For someone who grew up in foster care and sometimes feels very alone despite being surrounded by people (but sometimes that is worse, as it reminds you how alone you are) it is lovely to know that there are such welcoming and caring families out there.
    All the best to you and the family, I will keep praying for you.

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  85. Hi Im Nicky from New Zealand. My friend adopted three kids from Lithuania and I was reading up on adoption blogs when I came across your blog. Love your blog.

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  86. Hi,

    I don't remember when I started reading, but it must have been a bit before you brought Dennis home. I found your blog by accident while I was in college and was hooked. Both of my parents are adopted, so I was interested in reading about your family.

    I live in the Portland, Oregon area and am a linguist, working mostly with children who are on the autism spectrum.

    I like reading your blog because your family seems so cozy and loving. My own family wasn't that way, and I find if refreshing to read about "ordinary" family life (does having 17 children count as "ordinary?" :) ).

    Also, would you mind posting your fried chicken recipe? I just moved into my first apartment and am excited to get to cook what I call "real dinner." Like William, I am a KFC fan, so I'm eager to try your recipe. I might scale it down a little bit, though. :D

    M.
    Portland, Oregon

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  87. Oh wow...I have no idea how long I've been reading!! Sometime before Dennis for sure, but not sure how long before that. I do know when I first read here, I went back and read the whole blog from the beginning. :)

    I'm from Iowa by the way. :)

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  88. Hi! I'm Elizabeth and I just found your blog about a week ago. I live in northern MN.

    I'm a stay-at-home mother of 8 with one on the way.

    I haven't had a chance to look through your blog that much but I'm looking forward to learning more about you and your wonderful family!

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  89. Hi! I'm a bio mom (to 1), adoptive mom (to 1), step-mom (to 3) and foster mom to many (2 at a time) from Maine. I am also a special education teacher for grades 5-8 at our local pre k-grade 8 school. I have followed your blog since you were traveling to adopt Dennis. I have enjoyed watching your children and your family grow over the past several years. I have used many of your recipes and your household and child rearing tips too! :)

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  90. Hi Christine,I am from Northeast Georgia. I am 71 years old. I have followed your blog since shortly after you brought Dennis home. I found it by way of another blog, but don't remember which one. I have your website bookmarked and check it every. You rarely disappoint so I appreciate your regular updates. I have donated a couple of times and have commented a few times. I've prayed for requests you have made to us. It's the least I can do toward building families & building children's lives. May God continue to bless you & John, the children, and your extended family!~ Tharen

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  91. My name is Bri. I am 16 years old. I have been following your blog for almost a year. I love watching you and your go through life's ups and downs. I was so excite when I heard you were adopting Nolan and Oliver! Someday I hope to adopt as well. It's always been a dream of mine to help less fortunate children. So I hope to be a social worker that can connect those children overseas with their forever families.

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  92. I live in Delaware and I'm not sure how long I have been reading. I know Dennis has always been there but I have gone back and read so many archived posts I'm not sure about anyone else. I was tickled to see a commenter from Romania. I adopted my daughter in Romania 20 years ago.

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  93. Hello, my name is Tricia. I have been following since you adopted Dennis. I was on FRUA a lot. I adopted a daughter from Stavropol Russia about the same time.

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  94. My name is Samantha and I am from California but live in Az. I have a 5 yr old son and 2 1/2 yr old daughter. I found your blog through another adoption blog I think a year ago. You were done adopting all but your newest angels. I was just getting caught up when you started the process for Nolan and Oliver so I have been following that story from day one! I think your family is so special and I am so inspired by them! Thanks for sharing all your stories! I hope one day to adopt but until that day I will advocate for these orphans!

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  95. I'm Stephanie from NC. I started following when you went to adopt Dennis. Been great reading and getting ideas too. We have 10 kids so nice hearing from others who have a few kids as well. Thanks for sharing so much over the years.

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  96. My name is Christian and I followed a Dennis button to your blog a long time ago. I think he had just recently joined your family. I truly enjoy "the madness" that comes along with a giant family considering my entire immediate family consists of 9 people and that includes a great grandma!

    I use your blog becausehefirstadoptedus every day to follow your blog roll ;)

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  97. My name's Kim. I'm from Alaska and I have been reading your blog since some time in 2010.

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  98. Hi, I'm from Argentina and I started following your blog when you were bringing Alex home. I don't remember well, but I think I found you at Reece's Rainbow.

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  99. I have been following since November 2008 when Dennis first came home. I just looked back at the archives to be sure and was so taken aback by how much your kids have grown since I have been following. We adopted our boys in July of 2009 and they completed our family of 6 kids. I love reading about your family, both the ups and the sideways times. You are an inspiration!

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  100. I am Leah, mom to Cameron. I adopted him from Iowa in 2007. He was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He had 5 open heart surgeries/6 heart caths/tracheostomy/ brain surgery/ GI surgery/thoracotomy and months and months in the hospital, yet was a VERY happy little boy. He passed away at 3 due to a brain injury related to his heart defect. I starting following around the same time you went to get Alex and Deniis.

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  101. Hello - I have been reading since after Dennis was adopted but before anyone else who came later - we live in MO and I have 4 bio daughters and we have adopted 9 - 6 boys and 3 girls - my tagline should read momto13 but I got tired of changing it lol

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  102. I'm Jill and I started reading when you were adopting Dennis. I cam't remember where I found your blog, but I ready almost every day. I have one daughter from Guatemala.

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  103. Hi, Im Nicole or Mom2kmjx2. I have 2 boys age 13 and 9. I live in Indiana. I have a craft blog and I have been reading your Awesome family since you adopted Dennis.

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  104. Hi, I'm Kate from Michigan. I don't remember how I found your page, but have enjoyed it ever since I did. I started reading just after you brought Dennis home.

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  105. I've been following you since you adopted Dennis. I'm from Michigan, I've been married for 6 years and we have a 5 year old son Conner and a 3 year old daughter Annabelle. I absolutely love your blog and it gives me hope that I can raise children who are nice and helpful and really love there family. You've also helped me to see that adoption is something that I would love to do. You are really an inspiration to me!

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  106. My name is Kathleen. I'm a single mom to a sweet almost 4 year old. I started reading your blog shortly before you added Paul and Anastasia to your wonderful family. I love reading for inspiration!

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  107. My name is Lauren. I have been reading for at least the last 4 years. Since before Dennis. I have 3 kids - and have followed your family at least weekly.I've prayed for you and for your family often.
    Take care.

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  108. My name is Sarah and I have been following since Dennis came home. I have four children, three are still living. Three are adopted from Russia. Jack would be 8, Sasha is 5 and Gracie is three. We have one bio son who is now 7 TJ. We are from CT but live in London, England right now. The kids are at a great International school and my little Russians love being a part of an international community and taking Russian with the other Russian kids.

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  109. Hi! My name is Victoria, I am 18 and I come from Australia. I have been stalking/lurking for about 4 years. Reading your blog and seeing how your kids are adjusting and coping with their various disabilities has helped me accept my own hearing loss and inspired me to adopt kids with special needs. I was wondering if you thought that having your biological children first helped you to be a better mother for your adopted children?
    I love reading your blog and hope you continue to write and adopt for a long time!

    victoriabryant93@hotmail.com

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  110. Hi Christine,

    I'm June from western NY. Can't remember when I first started, but it was before Dennis. I have only six children (small family compared with your blessed bunch). One step dtr., two bio children and three adopted, the youngest two with Down Syndrome. I'm disabled d/t Lupus and was a nurse before I got to stay home with my youngest three. We would love to keep adopting, but d/t our ages and my health, it is not possible, so I live vicariously through the blogs of people who are still adopting, and help pray the little ones home. I enjoy your honesty and of course your wonderful family. God bless you and yours,

    June

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  111. Hi Christine,

    I have been following your adventures through your blog for quite some time now. I think it may have been just after you adopted Dennis. You have an awesome family!

    I live in Oklahoma and have two sons adopted from Russia when they were 14 and 15.5 months old. They are now almost 7 now and we are homeschoolers also. We are half way through 1st grade:).

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  112. My name is Deanna, I live in Arizona. I started reading just after Dennis came home. I look forward to reading your posts everyday. You and your family have opened my eyes and helped confirm what I felt in my heart about adoption. There are so many children out there without families. My husband and I just began working towards our first adoption!

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  113. Hello! I'm Jessica from East Texas. I've been a reader for around a year. I've got 4 kids 7, 11, 22 and 23. My two oldest are adopted and have special needs. I love hearing about your family and your beautiful kiddos!

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  114. My name is Molly, I started reading your blog about the time you got Denis. I live in Seattle. I am pregnant with my 8th and homeschool. My husband and I are in awe of how God is using you through adoption. Maybe someday we will get to adopt as well. Thank you for sharing your lives!

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  115. Hi Christine. Been following since Dennis. And we talked about other stuff. Still In the Albany NY area and have you seen I got a new daughter!

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  116. Hi I'm Susan we lived in Ohio, but now South Carolina. I have been following your blog since we adopted a little girl from Ukraine in 2005. Anya is now 14. I love hearing about your family and have taken alot of wonderful advice from your posts!

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  117. i'm a twenty-three year old from ontario, canada, and i've been following your blog since just before dennis' adoption.

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  118. I've been a stalker for awhile before you decided to adopt Nolan and Oliver. I "saw" your blog through a friend's post and was hooked because your family is an inspiration to me. I have seven children, six living at home from the ages of 3-20, some with special needs. The youngest five were adopted from overseas (Russia, China, and Ethiopia) during the years inbetween 2008-2011. We homeschool some of them (I homeschooled my 23 and 20 year olds as well). You give me some really good ideas to implement in our own family to make things run smoother :) It's been really neat "watching" you bring your last two babies home!!

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  119. Hi, Christine!

    I am a google reader lurker, and look forward to reading your blog every day!
    I find your family to be an inspiration and appreciate your open and honest approach to spreading the word of adoption!
    Best of luck to you and your beautiful family!

    Lisa from PA :)

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  120. My name is Jenny. I live in Florida.I am the parent of 17 kids. I have been reading your blog since you adopted Dennis. I LOVE reading about your family!

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  121. I started reading your blog when the contest was going on for bloggers with big families. I've been following Baker's Dozen for quite awhile and started reading yours from her links. Stay-at-home mom of 3, soon to be 4. Currently living in Atlanta, but we have spent time in LA, too.

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  122. From Hemet, Ca. I read about you in our paper and have been following your amazing family ever since!

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  123. Hi, I am Sigita (age-

    38) from another part of the world- Lithuania-former soviet union country- now-east europe. I am divorced and have two biological and two adopted children. I foud your blog by watching Sveta and Ana adoption video on youtube. I am folloving your inspiring blog since Denis came home. I love to read your blog,and to learn from your experience. As well I really understand that your expereince in Ukraine,especialy on the "river of joy"". Becouse my (protestant) church (by the way I am pastor)also makes camps for orphans, and runs a "children house" in my own town. Nice to meet you Christine! Somtimes looks like I know you and your familly really well, even folloving blog from another part of the world! May God bless you all!

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  124. I'm Elizabeth from Texas. I've commented a few times before. I've been reading since the late summer/fall of 2008. I'm in my early thirties and have 5 children aged 5 & under and am currently pregnant. Our third born has epilepsy. We do desire to adopt one day, perhaps when the Lord closes my womb and almost certainly a child with special needs. I think one of the biggest things holding my husband back is the fear that we would "wind up with 30". He knows I would want them all!

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  125. ann from Cambodia. I found your blog through a recommendation from my sister at mozieesme and started following your smiles and trials since soon after Dennis was adopted. since i used to work in countries from the former Soviet Union, i really enjoy the Ukrainian connections. i really appreciate how your faith shines through all you do.

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  126. Well.....you know me and when I started reading - WAAAAY back. You are my blog inspiration, and I'm just sorry that my "big family" adventure turned out to be a little darker than yours. Still...I'd never do anything different. I LOVE being a mom, even when it is hard.

    I do feel a little left out, though, now you have so many followers, I feel you don't notice whether I'm here or not, or even if I comment, so I don't always comment. Usually read, though.

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  127. I'm not really sure how long I've been following your blog, but I think since Dennis came home? maybe... and I don't comment very often, but I do read every post and always have to tell my sis and dad what are you up to :) - all big fans here :)
    I'm from Slovakia ...soon I'll be 23...still studying at Veterinary university... and that's it :D

    Jarka

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  128. Hello! Been following you since you were in the process of welcoming Dennis! We are in PA and have welcomed 4 kiddos through the blessing of adoption! Thanks for sharing your life...just adore watching as your family grows!

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  129. Hi Christine, I have been reading for about 5 years. I am a stay at home mom to a 20 month old son with another on the way. I hope to expand our family through adoption from eastern europe someday as well!

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  130. Hi I am Kara and i started reading your blog when you were adopting Dennis. I check to see if you have posted anything pretty much everyday. I found your blog through RR.

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  131. Hi there! I've been following your blog when you were in between adopting Alex and Nolan and Oliver. I love reading about your family and the typical every day adventures you have. :) We are in MN and have adopted 1 from foster care so far, and are open and willing to adopt more! We always have said, "...we want at least 4 children, but no more than 13...". We'll see--so far we only have 2.

    Mrs Kish

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  132. Alicia from TN. I began following with Dennis' adoption journey (I think). You have opened my heart to adoption.....

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  133. Wow! How nice it is to read a little about all of you. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Have a great weekend!

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  134. Hi my name is Ruby and I'm from Western Australia. Can't remember when I started reading your blog - probably from someone else's sidebar. But I think your journey is a testament to love and family. I am a Granny to 6, and have been a foster carer for over 23 years. We currently care for a nearly 10 year old with special needs.

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  135. Hi from Phoenix! I think I started reading your blog about the time you were adopting Alex. Blessings, Marcie

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  136. I've followed you Christine for the last 3 or 4 years--you only had 10 kids back then!
    Love,
    Sarah

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  137. I'm Genesis, originally from Canada, but I live in Guatemala now. I have 3 wonderful little boys and I've been reading since you started your blog about going to get Dennis, then followed you back over here. :)

    I love reading your blog. Though I doubt we will have a large family of our own, I love learning about yours!

    My older sons (5 and 6) are familiar with your kids and I think you've inspired my eldest since he keeps telling me he wants ten more siblings and asking when we're going to have another. :) My husband also learns about you guys since I translate a lot of the posts.

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  138. Hi Christine,
    I have been reading your blog for over a year now, adoption and special needs children are something I have been truely passionate about for as long as I can remember, If I had the chance I would adopt in a heartbeat. But unfortunately being a single mum in Australia it is not an option :'(.
    You inspire me and I LOVE reading about your amazing family :).

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  139. I live in the town that you lived in before you moved where you do now. I found your blog through another RR family's blog about two weeks before you announced your move.

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  140. I don't remember when i started following you or how i found you (probably through another adoption blog, you're all connected somehow!)

    name is kelly.

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  141. Hi Christine,
    I'm Cristiana, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I started reading your blog when you were adopting Dennis but went back and read from the begining. I have 3 bio teenagers and 4 adopted kids, the last two with special needs and your family has been an inspiration!

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  142. I started reading your blog(s) YEARS ago... before Dennis :) I love reading about all your adventures and trials with the large family!!

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  143. Hi Christine,

    I generally read from Google Reader. I started following your blog I think shortly after you brought Dennis home. I'm a college student, but I love learning about your family!

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  144. I have been reading your blog for about 2 years. I am a special education teacher and have been very interested in special needs adoption for several years. Your family has been a blessing to read about.

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  145. I have been here since Alex came home. Found you through the RR website then. I try to stay caught up. I am not so patiently waiting to be able to adopt! :)

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  146. I have been following your blog since you started the process to adopt Dennis. I had been praying for Dennis from the first time I saw him on RR, and was so happy when I learned he had a family. Since then I have followed your family blog, and I pray for you and your family often. What an amazing and wonderful family you have. thank you for sharing both the ups and the downs of parenting, adoption, and family life.

    I have two little guys, both adopted and both with special needs, and I am amazed at how well you handle your large family, as I sometimes struggle greatly with my small family. Thank you for being open and sharing your faith and your family.

    Blessings, Heather

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  147. I found your blog on a large family blog list and started reading right before your adoption of Nolan and Oliver. I'm in Utah and the mom to 9 kids, all of whom joined our family via adoption.

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  148. I have been reading your blog for a little over a year, I don't even remember how I found it. However I've read all the way back to when you adopted Anna and Sveta and love it:-). I have four blogs, my main blog is private however. I'm an almost-14-year-old girl from the southern USA:-) I'm homeschooled and a Christian!!!!

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  149. I started following your blog before Alex was adopted. Not sure of the exact time. I don't have time to read regularly, but I check in from time to time. We have children who were born to us and who came to us through international adoption.

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  150. Hi, I'm Sally and I'm married to Tim and we have 5 children aged 1 to 11. We're missionaries living in Santiago, Chile, where my husband teaches at a bible college. We've been here for over 8 years. I started reading your blog when you adopted Dennis and wow, you've taught me so much about real love in the years since then. I appreciate your writing and your photos so much and have had my mind transformed on so many occasions through them. Thanks for taking the time to minister to us through sharing your family's story.

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  151. I'm a long time reader, since your journey began to bring Dennis home. Your blog is so inspiring... I'm 17, but I have high hopes to adopt one day because of reading about your family! I live in Upstate, New York. I read every post, but don't always comment for lack of new thoughts to share and a general feeling of getting lost in the muddle of commenters anyway ;). I love that your blog and family is unique in that you're out-of-the-ordinary, but so honest with the reality of everything.... and I often marvel that you aren't 'world famous'!

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  152. Hey! I started reading your blog back in 2008, I guess. I discovered it when I was looking for some info on adoption. I'm from Vilnius, Lithuania. I visit your blog from once in several months to once a day.:) All the best!

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  153. Hi, I'm Crystal. I'm from central MN. I've been following your blog since Dennis. We adopted bio brothers from Antoshka in 2006/07. I have decided to adopt again but have not started to process yet.

    I have always loved following your blog and how real you keep it. You have helped me to see that we are not alone in some of our struggles or thoughts. Your blog is a great inspiration to me. Thank you greatly.

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  155. I am another who reads everything you post, but rarely comment. I'm just not chatty, I guess. :) I'm in Washington state, and I blog at http://laugh-love-cook.blogspot.com/ ....when I think about it, anyway. LOL!

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  156. Hi Christine,

    I found your blog while following Behind the Child. I am not sure how long I've been reading it - I think since right after you brought Dennis home.

    I am a sixty year old woman living in Virginia. My husband and I have just one son, now 22.

    Although I've browsed many, many blogs, yours is one that I check every day (and more often than that, when you were entering the contest and posting more frequently!). I have such admiration for you and John, and I love being able to "peek in" on the activities of your happy, busy family. I have laughed and been proud, I have worried and prayed, and I have watched with wonder as you raise truly beautiful children to be amazing adults.

    Thank you for sharing the smiles and trials of your journey with me (with us). I consider it a privilege to be allowed to follow along.

    Ann

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  157. Dear Christine,
    I have been reading your blog off and on since Alex and Dennis were first home. I came to your blog from some other adoption blog, I think. I have 9 children, all bio., from 20 down to 3, and live in Seattle. Thanks for blogging!
    May the Lord continue to bless you as you love His children.
    Diana L.

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  158. Love reading about your amazing family. Trying to figure out how you can afford to feed your crew-lol. I am really struggling feeding my little family of 8 now that the olders are getting into the teen years. You inspire me!

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  159. Hi, I'm Lori from Fresno, and today is my very first day reading your blog! I found it by suggestion of your oldest daughter who is currently serving my family at FH. God, in His extraordinary way, knew exactly what this adoptive mommy needed and is using your dear one and her beautiful servant heart to bless our family and point us to Himself. I am humbled and thankful for the equipping and shepherding you have done in her life. It is clear that she has been blessed to be a blessing of whic, for this week at least, I am the grateful recipient. I look forward to reading more and getting to know your very special family.

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  160. I started reading your blog after Denis and Alex were already home I was hooked with the first post I read it was about giving your daughters a chance to be free of holding the past, to start fresh and thrive. It was a long time ago and my memory isn't the best, but the message was amazing. It was positive, loving and truthful. It spoke to me, to the parts of me who needed to hear the light through anything. I have a life threatening health 'opportunity', I spend a lot of time 'resting'; so, I've been lucky enough to have the time to read through much of your blog. I live in so-cal, doing my best at sustainability, now my very modest urban house has been turned huge garden with chickens for eggs! So currently my little lot now provides almost all the food to feed me and two other small (compared to yours!) families.
    (Our lives can sometimes be a world apart I'll admit I'm not even Christian but the beliefs in good and the world are more common then a religion could separate. - I only mention it because when reading adopting blogs when it comes
    up that it's a Christian duty to adopt and I always find myself shaking my head saying no its everyone's! I completely respect your beliefs and hope saying this is in no way offensive.)
    I check in often to see because not only do you share the wonderful smiles but also the trails with constant strength. I love seeing how you beautiful family. Thank you for opening up your lives!

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  161. Hi Christine!

    I have been following your family`s blog for quite a while now(I think around the time Dennis came home) but have never commented before until now.

    My name is Sharon and I am a 41 year old working mother of 4 children(two boys and two girls) ages 19, 16, 14 & 12. Although I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada I now live in a mid-size town just 45 mins north of Toronto.

    I thoroughly enjoy reading about your family`s adventures and I think your two new sons Nolan and Oliver are just precious. I marvel at the progress that Dennis and Alex have made since coming home. I have often thought how fun it would be for TLC to do a reality show about your family and how inspiring it would be, not to mention fun for all of your blog followers and people who knew you when... :) Or maybe to schedule a meet and greet if you have not already done so.

    I will say that after following many blogs over the years, that yours is the only one I continue to follow. Why you might ask? Well, aside from your engaging posts, you continue to connect with your followers and allow them to follow your children`s progress years after they come home. I have become annoyed with several other adoption-bound bloggers that request financial help towards their adoption costs, blog for weeks/months about their childs impending homecoming, etc only to disappear after they bring their child home or post once every six months and mention very little about the child that so many people generously donated money and prayed for. Very disconcerting. You are a rare gem and I thank you for your blog about your wonderful family.

    Every best wish and blessing for all of you!

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  162. Hi there. My name is Kelli and I started following your family not long ago, right at the end of your adoption of Nolan and Oliver. I've recently become addicted to Reece's Rainbow and would love to adopt one day. I love seeing families who have already walked that path.

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  163. I'm Leah and live in Australia. I probably only visit your blog once every few weeks or months - I don't read blogs as much as I used to - and I think I started following you shortly before you adopted Alex. I think! I got to your blog via the blog of a real-life friend of mine who also follows your blog.

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  164. Actually having read comments above, I think it might have been around Dennis's adoption that I found your blog. I was thinking that you'd brought Alex home first - but I remember the adoptions of Alex, Dennis, and now Nolan and Oliver. I'm really not sure and I read back in your blog much further too!!

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  165. Who I am. I'm a "thirty-something" year old woman from germany. I don't really remeber since when I do follow. Maybe since around two months? I stumbled over Reece's Rainbow as I was surfing the internet. I don't even remember how I found that page. First I was a bit astonished about a page with a list of children to adopt. I thought wtf? Until I did read more. I think it is a very good thing.

    I've bookmarked around 20 blogs which I do follow now. Because it is amazing. And because it is a good distraction.

    I myself am one of these weird people called having agoraphobia. And ocd too. Well. At the moment it is worse, so I need distraction. And it is a very nice, lovely distraction to read these blogs.

    I feel getting better. And, just to mention, I used to live more normal, less agoraphobic. And I know it will become better. It's just an up and down since my adulthood.

    It's also an disability. And I've to find new circumstances to live in. If I'm in good circumstances I'm better. I still struggle with to accept it.

    And. It just feel amazed to see what some people can do. Like you and your husband with your family. It is nice to see/read!!!

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I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.