Friday, September 30, 2011

Holding Strong

*Sorry for the lack of updates. I have been out of town since Monday morning visiting with a friend. I was actually able to get a little sleep/shopping done knowing everything was on track. Now I am just ready to have them home...

I think they are feeling about the same way. Felecia is documenting days there on her iPad. She emails me these when she has internet connection. I laugh, I cry...I am so thankful for the relationship I share with my sister. I am so thankful that she can share all these feelings with me. I know many of these long days she will post for all when she returns. I think they are her thoughts to share. She did text very early one morning wanting me to fly there. She assured me she could get me to where she is...very soon little sis you will be back here. I miss you tremendously.

Tyler and Felecia are holding strong...

Felecia said Reed is going to be a Mommies boy. She said he wants her all the time. If he only knew how much we all want him. Soon he will! However, I hear Reed loves to dance, and Tyler is getting pretty good with making rap music so he can dance! I believe this is documented on video! A must to share! I am guessing they are running a tight favorites race lol.

I know these 10 days are dragging for them. She text yesterday and said it was freezing (where it has been warm). As she was texting, she said a shepherd and his goats walked by the window of their apartment. Her exact words after this "Can I please come home?". All I can say is "NOT WITHOUT REED". She does not realize she is now back-burner to him!! Only kidding or am I???

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Sleep well tonight my sweet Reed!

Love, Aunt Cassie

Monday, September 26, 2011

No More Blowing Kisses in the Wind!

Announcing....Alexander "Reed" Simmons

Court went great. They are still working through paperwork as we speak.

These sweet "5 year old" hands will be able to blow as many bubbles as he wishes when Aunt Cassie gets a hold of him!!

And you ask...When will that be?? They have to wait the 10-days to pick him up. That means next Friday they will celebrate at the orphanage, and Reed will then leave for his FOREVER HOME (or he says his big building).

They will have to stay in Kiev for a few days. We are looking at the first of that following week as their return home. I will update later with more details.

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute you did not grow under my heart -but in it. -Unknown

We love you Reed! See you soon, very soon! Aunt Cassie

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Love makes a FAMILY!

Love makes a FAMILY!

Many of your friends and family are putting in special time with the man upstairs. Hope you feel us all the way in Ukraine! We hope to hear from you soon!

Dear Lord; Thank you for placing this special child into the hands of two most deserving people I know. Please be with Felecia and Tyler on Monday as we know this is meant to be. I know what it is like to raise a child placed into your life by God. Sending love to Felecia, Tyler and little one...In Jesus name...I love all of you!! -Aunt Amanda

We want to wish you the best through your journey. We can't wait to meet this wonderful angel!! Love you all!! -Maghan, Patrick, Aubrey, & Millie Merry

We can’t wait for you to get home and get a big Ukrainian bear hug! We are getting his room ready and cannot wait for him to get here to fill the house with joy. The puppies are patiently waiting to meet our new addition. I hope we will be hearing some news today of travel plans. Most of all, I cannot wait till you are back in Kiev where there is at least wifi and we can talk some and maybe some pictures. Special prayers are being said for all 3 of you and for the judge that he/she may honor your request to make him your own. It’s hard to believe how this little boy that we have never met has already won our hearts over. Lots of Love & Lots of Kisses to all three! -GiGi (Felecia’s Mom)

This little guy has NO idea just how lucky he is! Y'all will be amazing parents and God has truly blessed this little guy by putting him in your lives! I am praying daily for God's plan for your new family to unfold in the most perfect way imaginable! Love all three of you! -Brittany Taylor

Felecia & Tyler, I have been keeping up with your story and it has been amazing watching it unfold. I have been praying for a long time and include you all in my prayers each and every day. I know the two of you will make great parents and any child will be lucky to call you mom and dad. I hope everything works out and look forward to meeting your new family.-Sincerely, Shela Green

Tyler and Felecia, prayers are being sent up for you, in this new adventure of God's Love! I pray for God's love and guidance to you and your new "son"! May His blessings and love embrace you always! Blessings to you all!!:) -Judy Wright

This is Nana sending love and prayers for smooth transition. Hoping court has gone as smooth as possible and you are finally moving forward. May God give you the right words to say and a judge with a heart deep and wide. Many preparations are being made here. Grandma has asked many questions, and Uncle Austin wants to know if 5 years old is too young for a BB gun!!!!!!! I told him it was mandatory for him to learn English first. I will work the tractor end here. That is easy here in the country. We are Polaris ranger shopping. Poppa Beetle has plans to load up grandchildren to go fishing! Everyone is jumping on board praise God. -Nana (Tyler’s Mom)

Please tell them that we will be praying for them and their son. We know what it is like to want a child to fill our empty arms, but we also know that our God can bless is exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Right now, our miracle is sleeping. We know that God hears prayers and answers. Our verse for our son is 1 Samuel 1:27. We prayed for this child as I know they have prayed for that child. And we serve a God who is faithfully blessing praying people. God bless the Simmons family. -Prayers and love from the Wilson Family (Beth, Shane, & KP)

I am praying for you all. I love and miss you. -Dad

The love of family is life’s greatest blessing!!! No matter how parenthood finds you, it is a miracle!! This precious little one will be part of such a wonderful family!! We will be thinking of you all and praying!!! -Love, Whitney, Dustin & Jack Holcomb

Felecia & Tyler, We just found out about your wonderful journey today. What a blessing from God that you have been united with your special angel and the same for him! I pray for Gods strength and presence to surround you more than ever now. Congratulations and many more blessing to come. -William, Bridget, & Luls Adams

Praying that everything goes smoothly and that y'all get to bring your little boy home to Alabama soon. -Jessica Moman

We wish you all the best! No other two people are more perfect for giving this precious little one a home more than you guys. Praying for good news, safe travels, and a lifetime of memories to be made with your little boy. Can't wait to meet him, as I'm sure everyone is. Sending lots of prayers, hugs, and kisses from Charleston, WV. Love you guys!!! -The Wilsons (Buddy, Michelle, Meagan, and Maddie)

Hey Felicia and Tyler, Rob and I are praying for you. We are so excited and happy for both of you! We cannot wait to meet him. We love you! Cameron and Andrew said to tell you that they love you and to be safe when you do get to come home. We are sending a lot of hugs and kisses your way. -Amy Sandlin

Praying for y’all tomorrow… So happy for y’all… -Love, Kacy Junkin

Hey guys! We are so excited for the three of you to return and can not WAIT to meet that sweet little boy. We know that God has wonderful things in store for your family. We have all seen God working throughout this process and are excited to see him continue to work. We are praying that God will give you a peace tomorrow throughout your court date, and that all will go well. We pray that this transition time in both your lives and the life of your son will be smooth and that God will continue to give both you and your sweet boy patience, peace and understanding as your family grows together. We pray for strength when there are bumps in the road and that he will quickly know and accept the love that I know you all will pour out on him We know that you are following what God has called you to do and He will continue to bless you in more ways than you can imagine. We love you and are so thankful for the example you are to us. Can't wait to see you!!! Psalm 29:11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. -Candace & Bradley Holliday

We love and miss you both! We are praying for a safe trip and a close bond to form quickly between you and your son. We look forward to having your whole family back in the US! We love y’all!!!-Josiah & Maggie Kemp

Thinking about you and praying for your court appointment tomorrow! I don't know what it's like there, but in Ethiopia the court waiting room was small and hot. I had hardly eaten and was nervous so I nearly fainted as we were waiting to go in. My advice - take water and a granola bar. Those 2 things saved me! Can't wait for you guys to get home! -Jenny Dixon

Dear Felecia & Tyler, Our family, including my parents, continue to think of you and pray for you but will certainly focus our energies tomorrow during the time you are in court. If you read this after your court hearing, I hope that all went well and that it was not too stressful for you. This is such an exciting time for you and just the beginning of your time as a family. You know my parents and I are very emotionally invested in your journey. It has been wonderful to follow your every step. Best wishes for a speedy court hearing, and an uneventful return home. -With lots of love to all, Lori

We hope everything goes great tomorrow in court!! We are so excited for you guys and you have been in our prayers constantly! We wish you all the best and can't wait to meet your new addition! -Love, Kyle and Meagan Robertson

Hey guys! We are lifting you up as you appear before the judge today. We are so thankful that God has brought you this far and that you have your sweet son in your arms today. We're praying for power in the name of Jesus that your adoption would be granted the first time and that you can come home together as soon as possible. He is the Father to the fatherless and He has gone before you into that courtroom! Praise His Name for what He's already done on your behalf! Can't wait to meet your little man! Love you guys!-Logan and Lindsey Thrasher

Dear God, thank you for placing this child on Tyler and Felecia's heart. You have formed this family together before their journey every began. I pray that you Give Tyler and Felecia strength, patience, peace, and wisdom for what is ahead and I pray that you give their new child joy and comfort. You are wonderful God and we thank you for your Will and for using us to please You and help others. This child will soon have a home. Amen.-Staci Hardwick

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6) -April Hollingsworth

Please send our love and prayers along to Tyler and Felecia. We are a part of the Giving Hope Homes group at church and have had them in our thoughts and prayers this entire trip. We eagerly read the blog for updates and can't wait to meet their precious boy when they finally get him home (after the #1 aunt of course). We're praying for an easy court date and a smooth trip home! -Stewart, Treva, Miranda and Seth Dean

We're standing with you guys in prayer! Be safe and we will be here when you get home to continue on your journey with you! -Lots of hugs and prayers, The Davises

XOXO! See all 3 of you soon! Aunt Cassie

BIG DAY! Let's all take part!

I have to make a correction on court date time. I am not sure if I got it wrong the first time or if it changed??? The court date is still tomorrow September 26th, but it is at 10am (Ukraine time) and 2am (Central time). Yep, one Aunt is not sleeping tonight. (Maghan, you might be driving to the ATL tomorrow!)

From what I have read, it could be a few hours that they are questioned. I will update as soon as I can!!! She should have internet access tomorrow after court since she will be in the city. She may be able to do the update?

I say let's make a blog with prayers and well wishes. They check the blog every time they get internet access. Here is how it will go...facebook/email/text me ( or 205-412-0985) what you want to say & DO NOT forget name(s). I will wait until 10:30pm tonight and compile the blog post. Start sending now...even if only a few words! Even if you do not personally know them and just follow their story! Help me get as many as we can!!!

I am going to put some finishing touches on his room. She said he loves cars, trucks, tractors, etc... If anyone has any old stop sign, street lights (yes, we had one in college), or road signs (shame on you!), but let me know. I would love to have a couple for his room. Where is Simmons Road??? HaHa, Just Kidding. Open to any cute ideas! If you follow me on Pinterest you know I've already started!

XOXO, Cassie

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Another Blessed Day

I did not miss them by a second. I knew they were going into town at 1:00pm Ukraine time. I set my clock to go off every 15min from 5am this morning, and I had my computer on the night stand waiting for the Skype "ping". I am soooo not a morning person, but this morning I could not have been more excited to be half-way awake.

They were at a restaurant and only had 30 min to eat and talk, so our time was limited. She said she is going crazy not having internet, but you all can tell her I am ruling the blog! She said they walk to the orphanage each day, come home, and sit around the apartment playing cards. They are staying at the apartment of their driver's daughter. The apartment is nice and the area is safe. I will post pics at the end.

He calls them mama and papa, but she said this is common in Ukraine. They call all adults mama and papa. Their communication is minimal (which is to be expected). He has learned the word cookie. I am guessing he has Aunt Cassie's appetite. Oreos here we come. She said they look through the family picture book everyday. He knows Bella (one of their puppies) and GiGi (our mom). I am sure I am next on the list, right? Probably should have left Braxton out of my picture. HAHA. We all know he will know MacMac and HoHo first anyways...

She said he is small, but very healthy. A friend of Felecia's sent some pants with her, so she pulled out her "GiGi Skills" and hemmed them last night for him to wear home. She said thanks, Lori! She said she did not have anything cute to bring him home in...I told her not to worry Tyler's mom stocked him up! He will be the cutest kid ever no matter what he wears!

She said there is a grocery store near, but the workers are rude. They will not let you bring your bag in, so Tyler stands at front of the store and Felecia shops. This makes the workers mad. One will follow Felecia around and one will stand by him. She said she does not know what anything is...
She said she is counting down the days with nutritional bars. I hope she is able to leave lots of these there!!

I also received an email today from another couple in Ukraine wanting to meet up with Felecia and Tyler. I thought this was really neat, and I hope they are able to get together. Their court date was this week, and they are going home with two precious little girls! As you are praying for Felecia and Tyler, add in this new family of four! They have chosen to share their journey just as Felecia & Tyler through a blog I have already been reading, and it is another heart-touching story! Thanks for sharing Huitts!

I am going to post pics of the new digs...

Monday can not come soon enough! I will blog as soon as I hear something (& calm down)! I know their is a crowd on their knees waiting to hear. Thanks again for all of your support. I can't wait to share more details!!

Since I am going to get the best Auntie Award, I better start beefing up my skills. I will by start talking to my Aunt Amanda about this...she sure ruled my world.

Love you Aunt Amanda for being the best Aunt
Love you little man for allowing me the honor to be your Aunt!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Court Date 9/26/2011 YAY!

Got to text with Felecia around 5am this morning.

She seems to be in great spirits! They are still loving every minute of their daily visits to the orphanage. She says he is always in a good mood and wants to play.

They plan to have their driver take them in to town on Thursday. Hopefully, she will be able to get internet access and add minutes to the phone. I know 2 mom's (aka grandmothers) that would love to see/talk to them. I can say, I also will be pretty bummed if it does not work out. I am used to seeing Felecia fairly often and talking to her almost daily. I have picked up my phone several times to attempt to call her... SOOO ready for them to be home!!

She says they want an American feast when they get back...specifically mashed potatoes (Braxton you make her favorite), turkey 'n' dressing, cranberry sauce, and green beans. Sounds like they have not acclimated to Ukrainian food and we have a feast to plan! I hate to cook, but this is one meal I will be happy to prepare!

Their court date is set for this coming Monday, September 26th at 1:00pm (Ukraine time) 5:00am (Central time).

Again, we appreciate all the thoughts, prayers, email, calls, etc...

I will be sure to update as soon as I hear more from them!

xoxo Aunt Cassie

Friday, September 16, 2011

Update #2 (creative title, right?)

So... I am having breakfast with a friend this morning, and I see a crazy number on my phone. Yep, heart to feet...Ahhh, to hear her voice. I was counting on a couple of weeks! I was only able to talk to her for about a minute. All she kept telling me is pay my bills. Hmmmm....That is not what I want to talk about?? LOL. I kept asking questions, and she continues to tell me how to log-in her account to pay the bills.

First, I know she wants her bills paid, but I want to know about my nephew.

Second, did she really think I was listening about the bills? I still want to know about my nephew.

Third, yep you guessed it, because I did not listen I now can not get into her account to PAY HER BILLS.

Hopefully, Braxton can resolve that issue. No one tell Felecia, ok? Ha. If you know Felecia well at know she is 10 days early for everything. Not to worry...I will take care of this.

The good news is....
They have a pre-paid phone.
The bad news is....
They only have 20min. You are probably thinking "Why did they only get 20 min?" Well, I am thinking the same thing. Their translator has left & he is the only one who can add min.
The best news is....
We know how to reach them. We know they are safe.

You did not think this is all I have to say, right?
You want to know more, right?

I passed the number along (which is 12 digits by the way) to Sherry, Tyler's mom, so she could call them. Well, it would not go through. Drama...Me kicking myself thinking I should have let her give me number and not counted on my phone to show correct number. After a little researching, we realized you must dial 011 first (just FYI if you ever need to call Ukraine). That makes it a 15 digit number. This worked...YAY!

She was able to talk to them about 7 min.

This is what we know about my new nephew...
1. He is precious!
2. He has blond hair & blue eyes.
3. He has a rat tail . . . Tyler says a hair cut is in order :-)
4. He is smart.
5. He is very small. I have his measurements in inches. Now, I must decipher to sizes. Help?? Anyone??
6. He loves to sing and dance.
7. He loves Tyler. When they visited the orphanage for a 2nd (maybe 3rd time), he came running to Tyler with his hands in the air to be picked up! Bless his precious heart.
8. He wants Tyler and Felecia to be his mommy and daddy. When the translator asked him could Tyler and Felecia be his mommy and daddy, he responded, "Yes".

This is what we know about the process...
1. Their court date is tentatively September 26th. They have to stay in Ukraine 10 days after the final court date.
2. They get to see him everyday from 10-12.

Tyler and Felecia are very emotional right now. I can only imagine the roller coaster they have been on the past week. They are very excited and ready to be home as a family of three (six if you count the pups).

Please continue to pray for strength during their wait, pray for this precious little boy, pray for a speedy process of paperwork, pray for a compassionate judge, pray for the family here at home worried about a granddaughter, grandson, great-grandchild, daughter, son, grandchild, sister, brother, nephew, and so on...

If you have any questions feel free to email me at I am not sure how to respond to the comments on here for her. Sorry! Hopefully, i just answered lots of questions.

XOXO, Aunt Cassie

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I just got a phone message from Felecia & Tyler. It was very brief, but we were thrilled to hear all is well...They do not have internet access. She said it would be a couple of weeks (I am guess this is how long it will be before we hear anything). Continue the thoughts and prayers for a smooth process.

Soon-to-offically-be... Aunt Cassie

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Our appointment went well today. It's amazing to read your encouraging words each time we get to check our email. We got several messages for you all saying people woke up during the middle of the night to pray for us during our appointment since it was 3 am there. That meant the world to us. I can say those prayers where answered without a doubt. The meeting was tough but as soon as we saw HIM we knew HE was ours. We honestly reached for the picture at the same time as they were shutting the binder! We need your prayers for the rest of the journey. We know that we have many more steps to go before HE is ours. We are only beginning the process by selecting HIM. We pick up the paperwork to meet HIM tomorrow at 5 pm. Then we leave on a train that leaves around 7pm to go to Donetsk region. It is along the Russian border. It's a 12 hour train ride. We will ride all night. When we get there on Thursday morning they will take us to the orphange to meet HIM.

Many more details to come as we are allowed to share. They ask that things stay private until things are legal and he is ours. Please pray that day comes soon...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Simmons in Ukraine!

This is Cassie (Felecia's Sister).
I am not a blogger, so hang in there with me...

Today is Felecia and Tyler's Anniversary...what a celebration!! They were celebrating at a Pub by their apartment. The translator suggested it would be a good place, so this was going to be their first outing alone.

I was able to Skype Message with her this morning. We could not get Skype to work, it kept freezing-up on us.

Here are a few tid-bits she shared...
-It took 35 hours to finally make it to Ukraine...she said they were falling asleep standing up!
-The bottled water is horrible.
-Weather is awesome.
-Kiev is beautiful!
-She likes the bacon chips (I believe she said Frito Lay)
-Money Exchange $300USD = $2,394 Hryvnia
-Two meals at McDonalds totaled $50 Hryvnia (about $6 USD...WOW Cheap!)
-She said the food at McDonalds tasted the same to her. She is not a picky eater either though!!

Their appointment is tomorrow at 11am Ukraine Time (3am Central Time). Hopefully, I will be able to chat with her after the appointment tomorrow...

Here are the pictures she sent...


Apartment Front

Elevator to Apartment

Hallway to Apartment






Safe arrival

After about 35 hours we're settled in and finally got a little sleep! It was a great trip over. We are loving everything so far. Our translator is great! Our apartment has hot water, power, and a washer! Too bad we only stay in Kiev for a couple of days! Maybe our region will be just as nice. We are right in the middle of independence circle. We have a beautiful view of the city. I can't wait to post pictures of the beautiful buildings all around us. Thanks to all for prayers and thoughts durin our travels.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We have been in airports going on 24 hours straight! We only have 1 more stop to go before reaching Ukraine. We have about 8 more hours. Once we reach Ukraine our translator will meet us at the airport. He is going to help us exchange money, get food, and finally take us to our apartment for the next couple of days. Thankfully Ukraine $ isn't worth as much as US. We just bought 2 coffees at the McDonalds in London and it was 8 US bucks! I sure hope teachers make more money here! :)

On the flight over to London we were able to see a piece of God's creation plan.... Looking out the window we could see how night and day really work. We watched the sun set on the US as it rose on Europe... It was the most beautiful picture of how amazing God really is! I love the way He planned every small detail.

Many more posts to come.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ukraine Here We Come!

We are 4 days from flying out! Honestly, the past couple of weeks have gone so quickly! I thought they would drag because we are so excited but we have had so much stuff to do that it didn't! It has been amazing to see how much so many of you care... We have been beyond blessed by so many. God has worked in our lives in so many different ways along this journey.

Our church group threw us a "Baby Shower" this past Sunday! I am so used to going to other peoples showers and taking gifts but when I walked into this one it was a little odd! I guess I never imagined it being me having the "Baby" or "Kid" in our case! We are so ready for what God has in store for us.

We fly out this Saturday! YAY! Mom is going to take us to the airport to fly out at 1. We won't arrive in Ukraine until 6 on Sunday. Yes, we get to be in the air on September 11th.. On the better end we get to celebrate our anniversary on the 12th in Ukraine!

Our bags are packed and ready to roll out. Thanks to all of you who donated supplies for the orphanages. We have one entire bag of supplies to pass along while in Ukraine. I'll try to remember to post a picture of our luggage. It's pretty impressive to pack for this long of a trip and only take 3 pair of pants and 5 shirts! I know they will be so thankful for all of it.

We will be staying in touch via Blog & Email. Please continue to pray for our travels and our child (or children if you are talking to my sister :).