"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." - Isaiah 43:5


We know, it’s been awhile since our last report and many of you have mentioned symptoms of Dayna withdrawal. We apologize for the length of time it’s taken to get a “monthly” update out, but here we are now, so here you go.

Labor Day weekend tested Dayna’s ability to “road trip,” a family value we hold dear. We set out on the five-hour drive to Marion, Iowa (just out of Cedar Rapids) to see our friends Tony, Rebecca and Sarah. We had a great weekend, including some shopping time (for the women) and eating time (for all) in the Amana Colonies, one of Alaina’s favorite places on earth. The Brick Haus is a family-style restaurant that offers so much food (including all-you-can-eat pork) that Dan is willing to spend some shopping time in exchange for breakfast. Dayna and Sarah spent hours playing together; we were happy to see these girls finally meet.

September brought further adjustment to school and daycare. Dayna continues to love going to Shelli’s house and has made a lot of friends. We hear a lot about “Ella” (which has become Dayna’s second word.) The kids are awfully sweet together.

We were able to spend a weekend in Norfolk with Dan’s parents and our grandmothers. It was wonderful for Dayna to see them again. This was only her second trip, but it took no time at all to find the basket of toys at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Grandpa Wilson also spent a lot of time helping Dayna learn how to navigate up and down stairs.

Dayna’s walking a bit more confidently now, but she still takes a bit of encouragement to get started. She continues to be happy, she sleeps wonderfully, and while she eats well, is finally showing signs of pickiness (no bananas or cantaloupe for her!) She enjoys her weekly sessions with the speech pathologist and happily experiments with new sounds while riding in the car. She’s also using quite a bit of sign language to help her communicate. We’re finding that as she’s learning to say new words, she stops using the sign; this is encouraging as we were a bit worried at first that she would rely on sign language instead of speech.

Joy of joys! Dayna is becoming a football fan! Some of her “unofficial” signs include "touchdown!" and “face mask”, although we’re valiantly working on “first down” and “personal foul.” We’re also working on “H” sounds in speech, so she’s learning about helmets, Huskers, Herbie, Hall of Fame and Heisman.

This past weekend was our family’s annual daytrip to Nebraska City,home of Arbor Day. Just a year ago, we stood on a wooden bridge and had our picture taken for our dossier (see “our story”). We sent this picture to Dayna so she could see who her parents would be. This year, we stood on the same bridge, now a family of three in the picture. What joy it was to take our little girl on a trip we’ve done alone for so long. Dayna was enamored with the leaves and thoroughly enjoyed her first piece of apple pie (does this make her more “American”?) She also enjoyed sampling some of her mom’s cherry cider.

Dayna has also enjoyed some play dates with friends. This past Friday, Jonathan and Abby came over for the morning. Jonathan is a sweet little boy from Volgograd, Russia, who came home 11 months ago. He is another one of “All God’s Children”, having been adopted through our same agency. We were privileged to be invited to his dedication yesterday and watch the kids play together. Of course, they are typical toddlers: Dayna doesn’t want to share her toys so Jonathan bonks her on the head.

This is the first of two updates in the next week or so, as Dayna will have her second surgery on Friday morning (Oct. 20). She will have her palate closed and we anticipate another overnight stay at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. If any of you are in the area and have a few minutes to stop by, we’d love to see you. We appreciate your prayers for Dayna during the next few weeks, which will undoubtedly test her patience.

Blessings to all,
Dan, Alaina & Dayna

Eating at the Brick Haus
In Marion
Practicing the stairs
Wanna play?
Yeah Huskers!
I'm blue!
Jonathan & Dayna
On the bridge in Nebraska City
Loving the leaves
A family of three

See Dayna's ticklish video (with sound) Ticklish Dayna


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