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!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Update

We have now been home with Luke for a little over 7 weeks. We are starting to achieve a new family equilibrium and Luke is settling in, carving out his own niche. We celebrated Easter today as a family of eight, with Chris home from Duke for the weekend. Luke loved the trail of chocolate eggs that the bunny left, and marveled over the stash of goodies that awaited him in the basement! Our very clever Easter bunny even color-coded the eggs for each child, and once Luke realized that he was supposed to collect all the chocolates that were wrapped in green, he was off and running, chirping "GaWeen! GaWeen for Luke! Oh my goodness! GaWeen!". His unbridled enthusiasm is such a joy to see. His excitement over finding an old pair of plastic purple sunglasses in the car was so great that he almost couldn't even put them on for the sheer joy of holding them in his hands. His backpack is still his almost-constant companion. Only the contents change a bit from time to time. He loves to bake with me, explore outside almost anywhere and everywhere, to read, color, "twiggle" and play. He loves his clothes and has already declared a few favorites: his brown belt, his robot T-shirt, and his bathrobe. He is such a little man.

Luke had his cardiac catheterization 2 days ago, on Good Friday. Andy and I spent the day with him at UVA Hospital. Results showed that there is a significant narrowing of his Pulmonary Artery on one side, and that will need to be corrected surgically on May 15 when he has his open heart surgery. Thankfully, it seems that his Pulmonary Valve is OK, and so the surgery will focus on closing the shunt that was placed in China almost 2 years ago, correcting the VSD (hole between the 2 ventricles), and removing some overgrown heart tissue in the area of the VSD. We will be meeting with Luke's surgeon on Thursday and should know more about the specifics after that.

As Luke sat on my lap at one point during our Easter church service this morning I marveled at how this little guy has handled so many big changes with such a resilient and cheerful spirit. He seems so much a part of our family now; it is hard to imagine life without him. As I pondered the holiness and mystery and glory of the Resurrection, I couldn't help thinking about how adding Luke to our family has also been a holy and mysterious and glorious thing. As I held him in my arms after his cath, snuggling him hour after hour as he recovered from the anesthesia and the trauma of the procedure, I had time to think and to just be. To be a mom, holding and rocking her little one. And I realized how much I love this little guy. This tiny little guy, who was born in a foreign land and entered our family with a fully formed personality and a past that didn't include us. This little guy, connected to wires and IV's and monitors, who lay plastered against my chest, curled up in my lap, who has attached himself to us, trustingly, lovingly, courageously. This little person who calls me "mommy" and who blows me kisses and announces "Wo Ai Nee Mommy. I love you!" Holy. Mysterious. Glorious. Truly, I am blessed.

To God be the glory.



  1. We will keep little Luke in our prayers in the coming days. It was such a delight to follow your family to China and back. May God bless and comfort sweet Luke during his surgery and beyond!
    Warm Regards!

  2. Oh, it is so great to read an update! He seems to be doing so well... settling into your family just perfectly.

  3. An amazing blessing to me today, truly, Bonnie - seeing Luke with your family and reading how wonderful he is doing. Sitting here with tears in my eyes - I am praising God as I remember that tiny guy that scooted over to me on his little bottom when I walked onto the "baby floor" at New Day and raised up his arms to be held. Indeed, he is amazing and resilient and perfect. Bless you all. I will be praying for his surgery on May 15th and for all of you.
    Love always,
    Lori Cohen

  4. As a fellow GWCA parent, and mom to a child with CHD as well, our prayers are with your family as Luke has his surgery on May 15th. We traveled shortly after you brought Luke home, and your journal was in inspiration to our family. All our love and best wishes,
    Dan and Alison Schmitz

  5. What a great picture! Noelle and Aimee look so much alike I can hardly tell them apart...other than that unmistakable, extra big, dimply smile. :D

  6. I'm so glad you left me a comment on my blog so I could find yours! What a beautiful family you have! Welcome home with your newest son. Thank you for sharing that sweet moment with him at church...brought tears to my eyes!