About Our Family

 Hi!  Welcome to our family blog!  I am Melissa, the “voice” you get when you visit…the writer (if you can really call me that) in our family.

I’ve been blogging since 2006 (!!) and you may or may not wonder if there’s anything here that you might enjoy reading.  To be honest, I began this blog to keep out-of-town family and friends updated on our life and it has morphed into different things at different times during the past several years.  Here is our family in a nutshell.

 

I have been married to Nathan since December 1998.  We live in the Deep South of the US and our life together has been very full…and incredibly blessed.  And in 2006, after a long, painful struggle with infertility, we made the decision that we were tired of waiting on nature to take its course and make us parents…so with lots of prayer and guidance, we chose to pursue the path of adopting a child from Russia.

We met our son, Iliya in March 2007,  became his parents in July 2007, and our life together has been one fun ride… crazy, busy, (occasionally frustrating), and absolutely, better-than-I-ever-would’ve-imagined-possible.  In 2010, we decided to embark on yet another journey…the journey to adopt another child.  Initially, we had planned to adopt domestically (from the U.S.)….but then, we made the switch and decided to go back to Russia for #2!

When we changed our plans to go to Russia again, we had a referral (Baby M), who we lost to a Russian family, just a few days before we were set to travel to meet him in November 2010. We ended up receiving another referral, just before our Russian visas expired, so we traveled to Russia to meet him. As we sat in the room, waiting to meet him, we learned that there was a problem with his paperwork, and that we actually would not be meeting him. And after a couple of truly heartbreaking days, we finally met the little boy that would become our second son.  We went to court in May 2011 and became the parents to little Maxim…otherwise known as Max.

In early 2014, we embarked on our third adoption process, this time, domestically.  In June 2014, we received the call that we had been selected to be the forever family for a precious baby girl (yes, a girl!!).  We finalized her adoption in October 2014 and loved being a family of 5.  Iliya and Max were thrilled to be big brothers – and have enjoyed getting to see their baby sister grow and develop into a real person. :)  She simply thinks they hung the moon and it’s so precious to watch them all together.

In April 2015, we learned that Ruthie’s biological brother had been born, and that the desire was to place him in our family.  So…surprise!  Twins run in my family, but since biological twins haven’t come to us, we now have a set of “Irish” twins. :)  We finalized William’s adoption in October 2015.  

2015 is also the year that Nathan got a new job in a new state…we moved, made new friends, lived in a rental for 9 months, and finally bought a house we thought we’d be in forever.  Three weeks after we got settled, he deployed…and once he got back home, in 2017, he was offered a(nother) new job back where we had lived before. So….we turned around and sold our new house (we’d had for 9 months), moved (again) and once we got settled in our newest home, he deployed (again)!  Is your head spinning?  I think it’s easy to say that 2015 – 2017 reside as a complete blur in my mind. 

Also during those years, I started using Instagram to journal our family’s experiences.  It was quick and easy – and let me tell you, I needed quick and easy at the time! So there’s some “dark” time on this blog, but if you “know” me on Instagram, then you have kept up anyway.  

If so, then you also know that in October 2019, we got an absolute surprise when we received a call telling us that Ruthie and William had had a biological sister born and that the desire was to place her in our family.  I had just gotten everyone sleeping through the night, potty trained, and got a chance to start completely over again.  Emily is a precious and completely sweet baby.  We finalized her adoption in February 2020.  That was truly the brightest highlight of 2020. 

Why start blogging again?   In the past year, as I’ve become increasingly frustrated with social media, I’ve also become increasingly drawn back to my blogging roots.  I had broken my blog with neglect but have recently gotten some good help getting back online again.  So here we are!

Life is crazy and I don’t have as much time to blog as I did years and years ago.  But that’s okay.  My mom and mother-in-law still read and that’s enough for me to post every now & again. :)  

As I mentioned, I’ve been at this for a long time, now, and our entire story (minus 2016 – 2020) is in this one blog.  So, if you’re joining us on our journey through life…sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

 

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kanita Williams Medlen

Hi, I grauated with Nathan from New Hope and I am so excited for you guy. I will be following you and just so you know you will be in my prayers.

Kathy Guthery Hamilton

Hi Melissa and Nathan. Me and my family used to worship at OXR with Nathan’s family. I think I taught you, Nathan, in Bible class. I am friends with Kristy on FB and saw this. It is wonderful that you have chosen this route. I pray God will bless you all. Maybe, in addition to these children you have chosen to love, God will bless you with a child or children of your union. Whatever your life turns out to be, I know the children will be blessed.
Your sister in Christ, Kathy Guthery Hamilton

Ashley Avery Quattlebaum

Melissa Cunningham! I just stumbled upon your blog! It is wonderful. I love reading about your family!