The Straka Family

(left to right) Kelci, Noelle, Chris, Andy, Bonnie, Aimee, Lily


Andy and Bonnie February 2009

-Beijing  (New Day Foster Home, Love Without Boundaries Heartbridge)

-Jiangxi province (Luke's home province for adoption)

-Guangzhou (American Consulate)

February 18, Red Couch Picture White Swan Hotel, Luke, Mommy, and Daddy Preparing To Return Home!

February 18, Red Couch Picture White Swan Hotel, Luke, Mommy, and Daddy Preparing To Return Home!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We’re home!                           
We arrived home with Luke late at night on February 19 after traveling for over 30 hours.  It sure did feel good to sleep in our own beds again!  Luke was immediately pampered and loved by his 4 older sisters.  He mostly took all of the big changes in stride, but did NOT like our 2 dogs (cockapoos Ginger and Mowgli).  This was one of the hardest things during our first few weeks home, as our doggies are very much part of our family, and they were confused and sad about being shut away from us whenever Luke was around.  Over time, thankfully, Luke started to accept the doggies; first Ginger, who is older and more gentle, and more recently, Mowgli.  So we’re (mostly) one big happy family again.  Whew.
I call Luke “my little man” as he sometimes reminds me of a miniature version of a little man, shuffling around purposefully, heading somewhere that is terribly important to him, at least at that moment, backpack typically on his back and filled with his treasures of the day….he loves books (which is good because we are all readers and have books everywhere!), chocolate (another Straka passion) and being outdoors (except when it is too cold and he starts shivering).  He loves to count and still measures big and small objects by labeling them “mama and baby”, much to his great delight.  And if there are 3 different sized objects, then “daddy” joins the group.  This family cluster is very meaningful to him.
At other times I am so struck by how physically tiny Luke is.  He will be 4 on May 1st, but fits best in size 18-24 months clothes.  When he is sad or scared his little pitiful cry sounds like a tiny baby, and when I scoop him up into my arms to hold and rock him I feel as if I am holding a newborn rather than a little boy.  He is funny and spunky and adventurous much of the time, but little things can trigger times of anxiety and panic and then he is just a tiny little guy who needs to be held and reassured. 
We brought Luke to the cardiologist when we were first home and after an Echocardiogram, EKG, physical exam and review of Chinese medical records it was determined that Luke’s Tetralogy of Fallot was “in good balance” and his shunt repair was still viable, meaning that he didn’t need emergent surgery but could wait a few months until he had been able to attach and bond a little more with our family.  There are still a few unknowns about his situation, and so he will have a cardiac catheterization by Dr. Scott Lim at the University of Virginia Medical Center on April 10 (Good Friday) to give us more information before his surgery. 
We will meet with Luke’s surgeon, Dr. Ben Peeler, also at UVA, on Thursday April 16 to go over the results of the Cath and also the specifics of his surgery and information about his post-operative course.  Luke’s open heart surgery will be Friday, May 15, most likely first thing in the morning.  Please join us in praying for a successful surgery, for healing for Luke’s little heart, and for strength for us, his family, as we walk through this time ahead. 


  1. Welcome home! I thproughly enjoyed folllowing your journey to Luke. It sounds like everyone is transitioning well (except maybe for the poor doggies feeling left out). I hope you continue your blog now that you are home. I love to follow other Leping cuties and the families.

    Beach Mama to a Leping Princess

  2. Hi Bonnie & Andy,
    You must have made that tight connection in Tokyo! Glad you are all getting settled in with Luke - Paul is adjusting well here too. We will be praying for Luke's surgery in May - so glad to hear that you can delay it a bit. God is good!
    Carla & Ryan