And so this next chapter begins.....

When people ask "how are things" my canned answer is "good, some ups and downs", and on most days this is very true. Some days I am drowning. Let's focus on the good days and the many accomplishments. Nina smiles a lot!!!! I really think this is the best accomplishment! Her smile dances like diamonds. The girls are learning so many things and exceeding my every expectation. We knew Nina had some intellectual issues, but we were not sure of the extent. With the help of our public high school we have a great idea of where she is at. She is in a program at school that will teach her life skills like shopping, making choices, basic hygiene things like that.  She goes off campus with her class every week to either go to a store or a restaurant. She has a friend in her class that she talks about often. I am excited to say she now can do her laundry with a tiny bit of guidance with the washer. Usually I just need to stand there an…
So much more!!!

So I fell off the grid when I left for Ukraine. I was updating a private Facebook page with my most personal thoughts and events that were happening there. There is so much I
 want to share and I don't know if I should do a series of small posts or one HUGE one. I want to keep updating you and encouraging you to step out in faith. God does not disappoint!!!

Our adoption is complete! We are home since January 26, 2019. We are officially a family of 5. Nina and Katya now have their Forever Family.  The words Forever Family have such a different meaning to me now then when this began. I slightly understood what "Forever Family" meant when this journey began in August of 2017, but now I know I had no idea. So let me explain my meaning of "Forever Family".....

A "Forever Family doesn't just affect the immediate family, It affects or ripples down and up. Here is picture taken on March 10, 2019. It includes Our immediate family, Richard, Terri,…

Now We Wait

Now we wait. 
What do I mean by that?
Well for a little over a year this adoption process has been a series of  us filling out paperwork, taking classes, home study appointments, document collecting, trips to Chicago for special stamps, basically busy work, for months, and months. Well now our documents have passed through our agency on to our translator, and then to Ukraine to our facilitator (who I hear is the BOMB), and now they are with Ministry of Social Policy (MSP) in Ukraine. They will decide if we adopt Nina and Katya. At this point we have done all we can. Now We Wait and we Pray.  We pray for the judge looking at the paperwork to find no errors. We pray that our approval date would come quickly. We pray we would get our first MSP appointment fast!! Very Fast!! We pray we can raise, save or borrow the remainder of the funds we need.  We pray for a quick wait between MSP and Court. Court is when Us, the judge, our facilitator, our translator and Nina and Katya get together in t…


So I am applying for a grant from Lifesong for Orphans.  This is one of the questions...

The question is, “How has God led you to adopt?” 
This question scares me. What if I don’t give the right answer. What if I don’t come close to having an understandable answer. Let me tell you- I can talk better than I can write, but it’s not about me. It is about God and what He has done. So here it goes. In June of 2017 our family of 3, Richard, Terri, and Erynne were just an “average family” with no thought of adopting anyone. At the end of June a friend of ours from church, Michele, was blessed to host two cute girls from Ukraine. The church family was asked to donate clothes or anything to the girls as they had come with only the clothes on their backs. I love kids and I love shopping so I went out and purchased a few items for each of the girls.  I gave my donations to Michele and thought that was it. Boy was I wrong!  Later that same evening during youth group at our church, my husband an…


The miracles continue to appear- day after day.  This blog post is a chronicle of their journey, and I am blessed to have a front row seat. Terri, I pray for you to continue to be bold and brave. God has made you strong for such a season as this. Rich, may God bless you financially for your willingness to add two to your family and raise them to adult hood; may you see grandchildren that always tell of the Papa who provided for them. Erynne, may your gentle spirit know how to minister to your new sisters. For all, may our faith increase as we review the Gardner's journey of miracles: 
God continues to write a miraculous story in the lives of the Gardner family. Rich, Terri, and Erynne Gardner have been experiencing an increase in their faith over the last ten months as God brings miracle after miracle. This journey involves events and people that God orchestrates as only He can.
The Gardners have seen unprecedented events unfold before their eyes as God intricately planned this a…

Psalm 127:1

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. . .” Psalm 127:1 God has been building a new home for our growing family, and he has been doing it with one brick of blessing after another.  Brick #1:  God found a home for us in Plainfield, Illinois that will fit our family of five. He actually provided a home that is like a dream come true for us! When I think of Joseph from the Old Testament, he exemplifies that God is in the business of making dreams come true; sometimes He makes tangible dreams come true - like a house or car or vacation. But, other dreams are not so measurable. How about the dream of an orphan to have a room of her own and a family that loves her?  Every plan for this house has been provided for by God, and I marvel at His servants who have donated their time, talents, and money.  Brick #2:  God continues to provide the necessary money for this adoption. God  builds one brick at a time, and he recently provided a $10,000 anonymous gift toward…

Trouble Comes, but Miracles Occur

This is the true story of what happened this week - told in very short sentences:
Terri plans to sell her inherited estate. Closing date is December 20th.  Buyer’s lender is terrible, and is fired. New lender “Newbie” is hired.  Closing date is December 29th.  Newbie does not answer calls or emails.  Terri’s attorney gets nervous.  Closing date is now January 5th.  Newbie still does not respond.  In fact, Newbie engages in breach of contract and tries to change the title company on the sneak.  This information is discovered on January 3rd.  Terri’s attorney flies into action: she withdraws so close can occur, new paperwork gets to Terri at 4 pm, it must be overnighted, Terri signs.  Rich gets home early.  Notarized at 5:20. Off to UPS that said they were open until 7:00.