Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my father’s birthday…Happy Birthday, Papa! Wish we could be there to share a huge slice of Lucille’s homemade chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! When we get home with Bella, you can be sure we will have a belated birthday party for you and for me!

Papa, you will just love little Bella and she will love you! Papa is can fix and build anything! In fact, he put Bella’s new little wooden toddler bed together in a few short minutes!

Thanks for everything, Papa! We miss you, love you, and are sending Birthday hugs and kisses over the ocean to you…..

Love, Paula, Elizabeth, & Bella (1/2 of the Burckhards)

Stuck on Bella…

We had fun with Bella today…stickers galore! She usually loves to put them in a coloring book (good for developing fine motor skills), but today Sissy put one on Bella’s nose–what a fun twist on the daily sticker session. She thought it was great to put the stickers on Mama’s and Sissy’s noses! Silly Bella…


Scoring Points with Bella

Today was the first time, since the day we met her, that we gave her some food and juice. In a stealth-like fashion, we offered her some little Gerber crackers–you know the ones that melt in your mouth. She loved them! Couldn’t chew them, but sucked away until they dissolved.

Then, we gave her a new sippy cup filled with grape juice–it took her a few tries to get the hang of it. But, once she did, she clutched that little cup so hard to her face that it left a big red mark on her nose. You could hear her loudly gulping away!

At the beginning of our time here at the Orphanage, they asked us not to feed her so that she would eat her meals. They said “The children here are very well-fed getting five meals a day.” We wonder what they consider a meal, because Bella is a scrawny little thing! Then, one day they allowed us to feed her a jar of baby food. Hmmmmmm, is that a meal for a four-year old? We will definitely have to get some feeding and OT therapy for her!

So we think we scored BIG points with Bella. We figured that now that she is officially a Burckhard, that we would be ok giving her a little snack. Truly, the way to our family’s heart is definitely through the tummy! Welcome to the family, Bella!

Bella’s OFFICIALLY Ours!


The 10 day wait is up and Bella Bogdana Burckhard has a family — Ours! We are thrilled! Now, we will pick up the court decree next Wednesday and start the paperwork on Thursday. Praise God!

After our morning Bella visit, we went to a really neat Cossacks Museum in Kiev. It was cool and rainy, but that didn’t stop us hardy North Dakotans!


We had a fun day at the museum, eating at an authentic Ukrainian restaurant, and shopping at a really nice mall. I even got Bella two very cute little dresses and two cotton nightgowns. Can’t wait to have her model one of the dresses for you all on her “gotcha day” which will hopefully be very, very soon!

Love, Paula BELLA’s MAMA

Our Adoption Process To Date…..

Well, just want to give a quick update on what we know about where we are in our adoption process.

Our 10 day wait is over this Friday, August 8th. Usually the court decree can picked up the following day, but, because the next day is a Saturday we have to wait until the following week. And, no, not Monday, but next Wednesday, August 12th because in Kiev you can only pick up court decrees on Wednesdays and Fridays.

We’ve had some bumps in the road the last two days. Please pray for our process to be smoothed out and that our spirits are lifted. Although this has been an extremely stressful time, I am treasuring the time I have with Elizabeth and Bella! Please also pray that I can hold it together for the both of them–all to the Glory of God.

In Him, Paula

Life goes on….





Hello Friends!

Elizabeth and I are getting into our own little routine here: orphanage, apartment, orphanage, apartment…

Bella is wonderful. It is so fun to see her connect with “Leeza” as the orphanage workers call her. All the other children now call Bogdana “Bella” and she is seeming to like her new name and respond to it.

I am so excited to report that another family from the States received a referral to a little girl at Bella’s orphanage. They are a wonderful family for a wonderful little girl! This little girl stole Kevin’s heart–every day we were here we would catch her longingly looking at us–around the corners, over ledges, behind trees–wanting a family for her own. Kevin is so thrilled! He said that she reminded him so much of what our Elizabeth looked like at that age, and it just broke his heart that she was alone. What a miracle and a blessing!

Love, Paula

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, HAPPY Anniversary. (Sung to my hubby & parents). I Love you Kevin! Even after 22 years!

AND a big HAPPY anniversary to my Mom & Dad — 50 years ago today! LOVE YOU!

Love, your wife & daughter