Today's a kind of special day. Why? It's my son, Justin's 15th birthday.

That's my fay-voh-rite picture of my son, Justin. It's the first picture I took of him.

Cathy and I had tried for years to start a family. Then she was diagnosed with The Big C, and our option was narrowed down to adoption. She's been cancer-free and healthy for awhile now. It was nearly as long a wait to adopt as it was trying to have kids on our own. We nearly gave up waiting.

And then I posted a New Year's Resolution on Facebook.

"I want to be a Dad in 2011." A simple prayer. Like a message in a bottle.

A friend saw that, and sent me a message. "There's this boy..."

I first met my son on Monday, January 3rd, 2011. I was introduced to him as "Papa Dave." I'm not sure who was more nervous or scared, Justin or me. He was here for a three week hosting visit. Unfortunately, the family that had originally wanted him, couldn't adopt him. There was a medical emergency with one of their other children. Justin was with us for one week. It didn't take long for us to know that he was our son. It wasn't easy for us to let him head back to the orphanage in Novisilky, Ukraine on January 9th. He kept telling us not to cry - in Ukrainian - before he got on the plane with the other kids. Cathy and I found a table in the food court at the airport and balled out eyes out.

It took nine months to bring him home. October 23rd, 2011.

His Golden Birthday - he turned 10 on August 10th, 2011 was a month and a day before we flew out to bring him home. We painted his room. Putting together his furniture, including his bunk bed, was the first time Cathy and put anything together without fussin' at one another.

The first birthday present we got him was a bicycle. Here's the video of his first ride.

Justin was our "Miracle Boy". Our first. He introduced us to his brother Ethan. Ethan introduced us to their sister, our daughter, Bella.

Party of Five