5 Years After Adoption


It’s official. We’ve been home…here in the U.S…for five years! In spite of the craziness of our week, my heart has been full of praise. God is so good.
The first year was very rough. Everyone recognized that my first year of living with Jake, in Ukraine but with him outside of the orphanage, was difficult. Family and friends may not have realized it, but our first year home was incredibly hard.

Jake, Jacob, Sasha, de Blecourt

Our son, Jake

Our son came from a hard place. He had never been able to do many things, such as operate a light switch, turn on and off a faucet, or flush a toilet. You can imagine  what he wanted to do…to the extreme. God was there with only the grace he can bestow.

Our First Family Photo – July, 2009

He didn’t recognize grass. We had lived in the village where there was dirt or weeds, or in the city, where there was a great deal of concrete. Few houses enjoyed a grassy lawn in the Odessa Oblast of Ukraine. God was there with only the encouragement he can give.

Jake in his Ukrainian Outfit

Then, there was being part of a family. The rules part he seemed to understand. Understanding the freedom of a loving family and respecting the other members of the family…that was going to take time and maturity. God was there with only the inexhaustible love he inspires.

Our Family October, 2010

Our second year home brought pre-school / day care. The first year being concentrated on learning English and family, the second year focused on catching up on what all four & five-year olds should know, and getting along with others outside of the family. God provided The Little Peoples Place in Holland, Michigan, as part of that solution. Jake missed living with many children. The Little Peoples Place not only provided loving guidance, they provided supervised play.

Jake on his first bike

Our third year was another giant step — Jake’s enrollment into a private Christian school which was already a big part of our lives — Calvary Schools of Holland (CSH). Everyone who enters CSH at the beginning knows the value of a great kindergarten teacher and Mrs. Looman. Mrs. Bonnie Looman is a saint and often the favorite of many a CSH student. Her love and compassion for our family made a huge impact on both of our children, but especially our son, Jake. God provided Calvary Schools of Holland and Mrs. Looman. Praise God for our teachers.

Jake and school friends at zoo

Our fourth year brought its challenges. School all day, every day was not a hit with our son. It was such an issue, in fact, I home-schooled him for the first two months. It was his loneliness for other children that encouraged him to “give first grade in a classroom” a try. I praise God I was able to ease his pain with home-schooling. I also praise God for his attending an actual classroom. God provided, once again.

Jake on the Honor Roll

Our fifth year has been filled with even more joy than the previous years. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that Jake has been here in our home longer than the orphanage now, or if it is simply the settling down and operating as a family…finally. Either way, I see God’s fingerprints all over our family, and especially in myself. I’m not the same, but I’m happy again. A new normal has taken root.

Jake and Jahn Clowning Around

Adoptive families often struggle when returning home. They want to tell others their struggles but fear a lack of understanding. Others give off a sense of “well, your home now, so life just returns to normal” kinda feel. That couldn’t be farther from the truth of the situation for most, however. If you know of a family in the “silent struggle” of an adoption or foster care, don’t ask what they need — simply provide. Gift cards are great idea, as well as providing a frozen meal. God showed up in the loving kindness of our family, friends and church, and showed up big time. Here at five years later, we still have friends dropping off clothing and providing occasional meals. If only every adopting or foster care family enjoyed the same love.

Jake visits his Rep. Bill Huizenga

We need to support our adoptive and foster families with the assumption that they need help, instead of the assumption everything is fine.

Jake in First Grade

We still ask for your prayers. Every year brings new challenges. When you think of us, a quick shout out to our heavenly Father is appreciated.

Jake and his buddies

We all hope you enjoyed the photos we selected to share and the video embedded in the top photo. We look back with joy. We look forward with excitement. God showed up! He continues to show up in little and big ways.

Jake’s Questions Answered About His Adoption

Join us in celebrating our fifth year of being home. Join us in praising God for his love and care. He has been with us every step of the way!


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