Sunday, October 03, 2010

Our New Website is finished!!

Great to have our Heart For Orphans website finished. Much better!

Check it out! Updated pictures and if you really want to know what our organization is all about, view the video. I think it will touch your heart.


Gary & Beverly Bruce

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Heading Back to Ukraine

The Bruce family is heading back to Ukraine this Wednesday, 31 March. We will be going over with a missions team sponsored by the non-profit group organization that Gary and Beverly helped found, Heart for Orphans. Beverly, Gary, Erin and Abby will head to Washington Dulles on Wednesday to start the long flight over to Kiev via Germany and will come back home on 11 April.

While we are over there, we will be visiting the three orphan transitions homes that we have sponsored/established in Kearson and Berdyansk. We will meet with the teenagers and their house parents that have been living there for the past year. We'll be doing all sorts of work including painting and general repairs but will also enjoy time to get to know the kids.

While there, Erin will experience many different and sometimes difficult feelings as she returns for the first time in over 3 years. We ask for your thoughts and prayer for God's leading in her life and help in healing the many hurts she has had during her young life.

We will try to keep this blog up to date but you can also follow our journey via our organizationas blog site at:

Thank you.

Gary and Beverly

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Overdue Update 2009

(27 March 2009, Gary's Promotion Ceremony. L to R: Brittany, Zach, Abby, & Erin)

We haven't updated the blog in a long time so thought we'd provide a quick one.

Erin is 16 now and is growing into a beautiful young lady as it seems all our girls have. She is doing well in her first year of high school but is struggling a bit with spanish. Considering she already speaks 2 other languages we're not pressuring her. But she's such a perfectionist that any drop in grades makes her a pain in the rump around the house. Guess it's better then not caring. After 2.5 years with us she is still adjusting. She can be loving at one moment then be a bit uncaring at times but some of that is just 16. Usually surrounding not getting her way. Sometimes it seems that she doesn't fully understand that she can do nothing to lose our love. But we keep letting her know we love her. Anyway, that's about it for now.

Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers.

Gary & Beverly

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Successful First Year Complete!

Well, we have all made it in one piece. Erin has been in America for one year now as of 11 November 2007. It just so happened that it was the same day as we celebrated Gary's parent's 50th wedding anniversary down in Brooksville, Florida. Gary's sister, Stacy, did a lovely slide show for her parents which included great images of Gary's parents but also included a nice celebration of Erin's first year. We were very grateful that Stacy took the time to remember and recognize Erin's first year. It even brought some tears from Erin.

(L to R: Brittany, Abby, Zachary, Erin, Beverly & Gary)

Erin has been doing well and seems to be a normal American teenager for the most part. That doesn't mean that everything is easy as any parent of any teenager knows ;-) She is doing very well in school even making an "A" in Spanish. The fantastic thing is that her Spanish teacher speaks fluent Russian. What a wonderful blessing! Now if we can just get her science teach to speak Russian we'd be all set. Erin said, "Why do I have to take science, I don't want to be a scientist!" Gary's answer to her was "Because I did and I'm not a scientist either so you have to too." Not a very "scientific" answer but it seemed to work.

We still deal with Erin's feelings of not being good enough. Despite doing very well in just about everything she does it is still not good enough to her. She thinks that if she can be perfect she is deserving of being loved and accepted by us. But we keep explaining that our love is unconditional no matter what she does or doesn't do. We've tried to explain God's love for us despite our own many failings and that we can never be truly perfect, but God loves us anyway. Also, she's just a typical competitive Ukrainian kid. From getting in the front of the food or movie line to winning at every conversation, she can be stubborn to the core...But she fits right in to the stubborn Bruce family ;-)

Thank you all for your support and prayers over the last 2 years. From the initial meeting of Irina Lobanova (Erin) December 2005 to her arrival here last November 2006 it has been an amazing view of God's grace and power through people like you. As we watch as even more children arrive from Ukraine we marvel at God's vision for these children. We will continue to pray for those that are still pursuing adoption and pray that God may touch even more families to consider adding one of these children to their family. We in the United States are truly blessed and have so much to offer.

Also, adoption is not the only way people can help. If you're interested in other ways to help we have been working with families that have or are adopting from Ukraine to start a small non-profit group called "Heart For Orphans". Thanks to Mr. Tim Quiram, we now have a web site if you are interested in seeing some of the ways we are trying to help:

Anyway, may God Bless you all. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas

Gary & Beverly

Sunday, July 01, 2007

8 Month Update

Just a short update to let everyone know things are going fine. This picture was back in May when Beverly and I took Erin on her 7th grade chorus competition at King's Dominion. The chorus performed well winning their division and we had a great time with Erin at the park.

Erin has successfully passed 7th grade with the help of some fantastic teachers within the York County school district. She received all A's and B's and one C on her report card. Erin has grown about 3 inches and is starting to become a young lady (much to my fear as a Father). Aah, but with 3 daughters my shotgun is still warm fending off those boys ;-)

No big issues to discuss other then Erin is a typical 14 year old girl. She's smart, likes food, does incredible cross-stitch work, likes pink anything, and wants to be occupied every minute of the day and will let you know if you are not helping her achieve her perceived "busyness" level. She loves animals (sometimes much more the humans). She is a very hard worker when she puts her mind to it. Always the first to help wash the dishes...or the dog for that matter. And she likes the idea of earning a few bucks when doing extra work outside normal daily Bruce kid requirements.

School is out for the summer and we are heading down to Florida to see relatives this August while getting Zachary into the University of Central Florida. So maybe we can take the kids to Disney or Universal while we are in Orlando.

Erin plans on a good school schedule next year and is signed up to take Spanish. Good grief!! As if 3 languages isn't already enough! But she wants to take it so she can be like her big brother and sister.

Anyway, that's it for now. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. They sure work!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fun in Scotland

We are enjoying a nice vacation break with the Quiram's in Aviemore Scotland. We arrived on Saturday, 20 April and we head home tomorrow 27 April. It has been just beautiful.
The castle is Castle Killdrummy. Neil Bruce brother of Robert the Bruce (King of Scotland) hide there with Robert's other family members to protect them when King Edward was after them. They were captured there too. Neil was hanged but because he was Robert's brother they gave him the honor of hanging him higher then the others...How nice.
Anyway, a lot of history here.
To our kids,
We miss you and hope you are doing well. Well be home tomorrow. Brittany, Don't forget to pick us up at the airport Friday night.
See you all soon.
Gary & Bev

Sunday, February 25, 2007

3.5 Months and Blossoming!

As you can see from this February 14th picture, Erin is growing into a young lady already. She went with Gary and Abby (on left) to a Father/Daughter Valentine's Day Dinner and they had a fabulous time sitting with Steve Hathaway and his 3 beautiful young ladies from the same orphanage as Erin.

Erin's English improves every day. I think the switch has been flipped where she thinks more in English then Russian. She received 3 A's, 3 B's and a C on here report card. We think that is wonderful considering. But secretly we feel we got good grades too since we work so hard with her every night.

So what have we learned so far:

First, she has grown up in a world where she was the only one looking out for her best interests. So she is very independant. She knows how she wants things and it's a little hard for her to trust. We constantly have to ask her if she trust us and reassure her that we love her. Steve Hathaway told me a while back that they went through that with their girls. He had to reassure them that there is nothing they can do to lose our love. He was absolutely right. Thanks Steve.

(Picture: At Valentine's Dinner with Steve's girls and our Executive Pastor, Jay, and his girls)

Second. From the time we met her we have always told her that she can do nothing to lose our love (like Steve told his girls) but at times she seems to think we don't love her anymore. Partly a 14 year old wanting her way when we say no but partly a real feeling that she's not a "biological" part of the family. We have to be very careful to ensure we speak of her exactly what she is, our daughter. We are just proud of her heritage and we brag on it to other people in front of her sometimes. But in her mind it keeps her separate from our other kids. Sounds like a simple thing that we should know and we haven't done it often but it's something we are working to do better. So now we try to discuss her origins with people in other ways.

Third. Just tonight Gary had a discussion with her that came down to this...She feels guilty. Sometimes because she has left her friends to have a good life with a family. Sometimes that she hasn't felt more thankful for what she now has. But the real guilt is that, from what we can tell, she wasn't good enough to be wanted by her real mother. Ahhh, it just breaks your heart. So we have a lot of tearful talks. We just keep telling her that God has big plans for her and put a big age diference between Zach (18) and Abby (12) because she had already been born in Ukraine to fill the middle.

We guess what it really comes down to is patience, patience, patience. She is beautiful, talented, and very smart but she needs constant reassurance and attention. Sometimes we get tired but when she gives you that big bear hug and a kiss and tell you she loves you, it's all worth it.

So for those just starting your experience, hang in there. We all knew it wouldn't be easy but with God's help it has been a wonderful trip so far. Erin has been another piece of treasure that God has given us to add to our already chest full of treasures in Brittany, Zachary, and Abby. We are so very blessed.

And for all our friends who have gone before us, especially the Hathaway's and Henry's, thank you for all of your prayers, advice, and council. You have been our angels.