We have just finished court. We have been granted permission to adopt Kaylee! We were nervous at the end because they kept us waiting a long time, but they ruled in our favor at last. We are excited and relieved. We have to wait 10 days still, and there is a holiday, but should be able to move forward May 11.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Josh should be on an airplane right now. It is so hard to know he is traveling but not sure where he is and I don't have any way to communicate with him. He should be here sometime Thursday morning.
Friday afternoon is court. We are 8 hours ahead here, for those wanting to pray for us. Court is 2:30, which would be 6:30 in the morning in Alabama. Please be praying for us. Pray that it will finish that day. If all goes well, we could be coming home in about 3 weeks.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Meat, hamburgers, French fries, Mexican food, salsa, peanut butter, friendly people, smiles, being able to dry our clothes, clear water from the faucet, water that doesn't smell like the sewer, being able to flush the toilet paper, understanding people, not having to dress the kids like it's 20 degrees, cheese that melts, friends, family, fast food, being able to drive where I want to go, not having to go to the store everyday, watching tv that isn't dubbed over in Russian.
I'm sure one day I will miss something from here, well maybe. Anyway, I will be even more grateful for the things at home.
Today was a good day with Kaylee. She got so dirty today. I wouldn't care, but I'm afraid I will get in trouble, so instead of telling them, I am just going to take her clothes home to wash them and then sneak them back. She had a ton of fun though. She even took two steps on her own today, though I'm not sure yet if it was just a fluke or for real.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Last week at the orphanage, all the little girls were dressed up and they were headed somewhere, I'm guessing it had to do with Easter. I also saw someone carrying this tall little bread like thing with white frosting and sprinkles, the way they were carrying it, I knew it was something special. Then, the other day when we went to the store we saw those little bread things too, hundreds of them. So we bought one. It was like a raisin bread with a frosting on top. I figured out it was an Eastern European Easter bread called Paska. Ours was just white, but can be made with swirled white and yellow, the yellow represents the resurrected life of Jesus and the white represents the Holy Spirit. I think that I would like to start making them for Easter to continue on some of the Ukrainian heritage for Kaylee. They weren't bad tasting, but would definitely be better homemade. (the paska bread is in the picture)
Only a few more days until Josh comes back. We made a calendar so Malika can count down the days, but I kind of think it is more for me than her. The kids don't understand so much, it is hard. We talked to Josh on the phone last night and afterward Justus put his head on my shoulder and cried "daddy". Then when I was putting The kids to bed, Malika cried and said "I just want daddy". I'm so glad the separation will end soon, I don't know how families in the military do it.
Last week, I took just Malika to the orphanage with me one time to spend time with her. I was curious as to what she thought about being here. I asked her if she liked it here, she said yes. Then I asked if she wants to stay here, she said yes, but she really wants to go home too because Grammy and Poppy and Liberty (our cat) love her. She said this in kind of a frantic voice, maybe wondering if we were going to have to stay here.
Kaylee learned how to slide down a slide all by herself today.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Today while kids were playing outside, she looked at them and said "I just want to take the kids home, I want to take them all home". I love her heart, I hope she always has a that heart.
Why do we have to stay 3 more weeks?
As far as I know, this is the process. After court we have to wait 10 days, To allow family members to come forward and take her home if they choose to. During this time we cannot do anything. After the 10 days, we have to apply for a passport and visa, which could take up to 7 days, then we have to get a medical done for her to make sure she is healthy before traveling. Anyway, it all becomes clearer as we go through the process. I don't understand it all, so I am grateful Marina (our facilitator) handles most of it. After the 10 days, we will stay here about a week longer, then we are in Kiev for 2 days. Then we will make that wonderful trek by plane with 3 wonderfully behaved children :)
This morning was great, they allowed us to take Kaylee outside, and it was beautiful out.
I tried to take a picture of Justus and Kaylee on the swing, but they both looked silly in all of them.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I haven't taken Malika and Justus to the orphanage in a few days because of Kaylee being sick. And since we can't be outside, I don't want them to be around her and get sick also.
It is very difficult being there by myself, it makes the time drag by. I have a ball, a bag of wipes, a paci, a teether, and a baby for 2 hours, 2 times a day. She is pretty content with the wipes. It is funny that that is her favorite thing to play with. It is becoming more difficult to entertain her, especially since she is sick. She just wants to sleep, but I am not allowed to let her, so she cries. I feel so bad for her.
This morning when I got her she had a bite mark on her arm. I pointed to it and they said this little boy did it. It seems hard to believe, because he just seems so sweet. I wonder why he bit her, especially since they aren't even in the same crib. I wish I knew what happened when I wasn't there.
Things are so difficult here, I am trying to stay positive, but it is much easier said than done. The hardest part is the language barrier.
Josh will be here in 7 days and we have court in 8 days. I asked about waiving the 10 days, but was told by Marina that they won't do it in this region, so it looks like it will be another 3 weeks after court.
I wish I could post pictures from my camera, they are so much cuter.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Yesterday, I went to the orphanage on my own in the morning. After about an hour, Kaylee fell asleep, one of the nannies (she is the only one who has never smiled at me and she always glares at me in the hall. I think she either hates me or Kaylee), anyway, she saw Kaylee asleep and stared at me for a bit, then talked to two other nannies. Then she came over and started yelling at me, for about 5 minutes. And she was so rough with Kaylee. I didn't understand the words she was saying, but I got the message. After she yelled about letting her sleep, she got angry and said something about not taking her outside (I was standing next to the door, just looking out), I had no intention of taking her out. Anyway, when I managed to wake Kaylee up, she just cried. I took her back to her class and one of the other nannies yelled at me again. Seriously, I think they think that since I don't understand them that I am stupid. When I left, I cried. I really tried not to, but it was just so hard. I called and talked to Marina about skipping the evening time, she said that was fine, so we took the kids to the park and to get ice cream instead. It was nice to just spend the evening with Malika and Justus, but I felt bad about leaving Kaylee with the mean nanny.
So that scripture really helped me this morning. I didn't want to go to the orphanage again, but I know that I am fighting something bigger than mean people, I am fighting the powers of darkness and there is nothing to fear in people, afterall, if God is for me who can be against me.
Today was sunny and warm (for Ukraine), we played outside all morning and most of the afternoon time. Kaylee did so well outside and all the kids had so much fun.
I can tell Kaylee knows who we are now and likes us, in the beginning she did not like going outside and she screamed often. Now she is so happy to be anywhere with us, and rarely screams anymore. The screaming was unnerving because I didn't understand it and I wasn't sure if it was a DS thing or an orphanage thing. She would do it at the same time as throwing herself backwards. She still does that some, but less. I kind of think she just likes the way it feels.
I have completely fallen in love with this little girl, I just think she is so beautiful, I love her almond eyes and the way they close when she smiles and laughs. I love her little chubby cheeks and her short and stubby fingers.
In all honesty, the love was not immediate and it worried me. I thought I would love her the moment I saw her, but she was nothing like I imagined, that little girl never existed. I had stared at her picture for so long that I fabricated a little girl in my mind, but that was the only place she existed. The real little girl didn't love me, she smelled bad, and had strange behaviors. I really had a hard time with whether we were doing the right thing, because it didn't feel right. I didn't think I would ever love her. I wanted to write the truth about it on my blog, because I thought others going into this needed to know the truth, but I was afraid to, thinking people would always wonder if I loved her or wonder if I thought of her as my own child. But now that I can say I truly love her, I can also say the truth. This is hard, it isn't sunshine and roses and it doesn't always look pretty, and definitely doesn't smell pretty, but that is ok. We may have hard times to come and hurdles to get over, but she is my child, just as if I gave birth to her, she will be no less in my eyes. And well worth it.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Is our nanny still with us?
Yes, she is staying with us until we come home. I couldn't be here with the kids without her. I have taken pictures of her, but they are on the camera, so I am unable to post them.
About our Internet.
We have very limited access to the Internet, I am only able to check email and look briefly on my blog. I send the blog posts by email, that is why I can't put captions with the pictures or put them where I want. Our Internet is really slow and I never know when I will have it, it is really spotty. So, I am unable to look at anything else on the Internet. I am grateful for what we do have.
Can we buy toys for the orphanage or at least for the kids to play with while there?
The town we are in( if that is what you want to call it) is very small. We are actually about 30 minutes outside of the city. We do have a small grocery store and inside it does have a small toy store. We have bought a few things, but the toys here are expensive, so we haven't bought too much. As for buying toys for the orphanage, I would not, only because the children there would probably not get to play with them. It is sad, but we have seen two large rooms full of toys, none being played with. And in Kaylee's room, there is a large cabinet full of toys, but once again they remain in the cabinet. I do not understand it. Even when you see the children outside, they are not allowed to play on the swings, slides, teeter-totters, etc., instead they are put in big cages/crib like thing. They look more like something for animals, they do not have a door though, the kids just know to stay in it. I'm not sure how else to explain them. I am posting a picture of Justus standing in one
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Thank you so much Sarah for the game idea. We will definitely do it. We made a tent this morning and they had fun with it, but played more on top of it than under it. If anyone else has fun ideas for toddlers please pass them on.
The Hagler's had court today and it went extremely well. They were only asked a few questions. They are now officially parents to Sasha and Ana. They left this afternoon to go home during their 10 day wait. I am so happy for them, but still a little sad, because we will still be here when they come back and we will still be here when they leave for home for good. Everyone who had their SDA appt the same week as us has either already had court or will tomorrow.
I should be happy that court went good for the Hagler's, because that means it should go good for us, since we have the same judge. But I'm not even going to just expect that, nothing else has gone as I had expected. So, please keep praying.
Kaylee is doing good, and I AM glad for the time to spend with her. Yesterday wasn't a very good day with her. I'm not sure what was wrong, she cried a lot and just wasn't herself, I thought maybe she was getting sick. Yesterday was the first sunny day in a week and a half, it has rained everyday since we got here, except the first day. It is back to rainy today. Anyway, since it was nice we took advantage of it and played outside yesterday. The kids played in the sand box, Kaylee absolutely loved it for about 5 minutes, then she cried the rest of our visit, unless I was holding her.
This morning I went to the orphanage by myself, hoping some time alone with her would help. She was back to normal again. This afternoon the kids came and they played with Kaylee. It was really cute, I took pictures, but I can't post them, only pictures I take with the iPhone can be posted and even then I can't decide where to put them or put captions.
Anyway today was a good day. It was so cute, Kaylee was walking around holding my fingers and following Justus everywhere. And then when I took her back to her class she wanted to stay with me. This is the first time this has happened, usually she is so happy to go back. Please pray that this is a start to her bonding with me.
Malika and Justus are doing ok. I think they are starting to get bored, because there isn't much for them to do. We don't have many toys, and even at the orphanage there isn't anything to play with, unless we go outside, but that has been hit and miss since it has been so rainy. I'm still glad they are here, I just hope they will be able to make it another 5 weeks or so. They watched the few movies we have on the iPad over and over, they can now repeat most of them. It is sad they are so addicted to tv now, but I just feel so bad I let them. We will have a no tv rule for like month when we get home :).
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
It is very difficult going to the orphanage for 4 hours a day with not much to entertain your child. Some people have these amazing pictures on their blog of play rooms with toys. Can you believe it! They a actually have toys or even a room to play with their child in, but not here. We have the main hallway to play in. And they have so many rules here. The most ridiculous rule, is not being able to sit on the floor. It makes it really hard to bond with your child when you can't just sit down and play with them. Then, yesterday, one of the nannies tried to get us to take some shoes for Kaylee, we had already tried on the 2 pair they gave us for her, one was too big and the other too small, so then they told us we can't let her feet touch the ground with just slippers on. Luckily, I remembered the shoes I brought for her. So, then today, I got in trouble twice for letting the kids do things they shouldn't. The first was letting Kaylee touch the curtains, I thought it would be good for her to experience different textures, but some lady yelled at me for it. Then a few minutes later another lady yelled at Justus for standing on the couch. I already felt on guard with being watched, now I will have to be extra careful. I look forward to going home and just sitting on the floor. I still don't even know if Kaylee can crawl.
When we first got here, there was this little kid in Kaylee's class that I was sure was Quinton, it turns out, she is a girl ( sorry Carol, still haven't seen him, he must be in a different group). Anyway, she is so adorable. I think she must be older than Kaylee, but even more delayed, because as far as I can tell, she can't even sit up. She and Kaylee share the same play crib. I asked her name, they said Sonya. I was planning on asking Marina more about her and why she is not listed on Reece's Rainbow. I have been thinking the last few days, that if I can convince Josh :), I want to come back for her ( as much as I never want to come back, I will). Anyway, today when we took Kaylee back to her class, this lady came in, the nannies gave Sonya to her. She was crying so hard, I couldn't help but cry as well. I asked if she was the mom, they said yes. This just breaks my heart, because you can clearly tell she loves her child, greatly. But, it is just not accepted here to raise a child with DS. The saddest thing, no matter how much she loves her child, or how much she visits her, she will still have to live her life in an institution. I am still going to ask about her.
Justus giving Kaylee a hug.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The kids are doing better. Malika is starting to talk to Kaylee and play with her a little bit. She still asks everyday if we are bringing her home, I try to explain, but she doesn't understand time. Justus cam say Kaylee now, and yesterday he gave her a hug before we left the orphanage.
I'm having a really hard time with being here so long. I'm very ready to come back home and live life normally again.
Friday, April 8, 2011
We really need prayer right now. This is one of the most difficult regions to adopt from, I don't think I knew just how difficult until now. It is all very confusing to us.
Yesterday, our friends the Haglers told us they were given their court date, it is next Thursday. At first, the judge they were assigned to would not hear their case until July! But Marina (our facilitator) begged for a new judge, it was granted and court was rescheduled for next week. Sounds great, except this judge has only heard one other adoption case and it was not for a child with special needs. This judge thinks that people only adopt children with special needs to harvest their organs. I have heard of this and it sounds like a joke, but it is not. They have to have proof that they are a good family and really will take care of the children and that that will be good in their family. this is all too much to do without the Lord and without your prayers. Please pray for them and their children that are at home.
We need your prayers too. Soon after the Haglers told us their court date was assigned, Marina called us as well and said we were given the same judge they were originally given and that our case wouldn't be heard until July as well, but once again she begged for a new judge. We were assigned the same judge they will have, but our court date is not until April 29th. This is 3 weeks away and a lot longer than we had anticipated. Marina is doing all she can do to get it sooner, but if it doesn't happen, Josh will have to go home until court because he can't take that much time off from work. This really scares me, it is already difficult here, it will be even harder to be here without him and to be here for this long.
I am trying to be positive, but it is hard to think that we will get to the end of this and still not be able to bring Kaylee home. I do see God's hand in some of this, like the fact that we brought our children with us.
So please be praying, tell everyone you know to be praying, we need all we can get. Pray for the judge and pray that he will act in our favor. Pray for an earlier court date, but also pray that we will be able to endure if that isn't what happens.
We did have a good visit with Kaylee today, though she fell asleep for a little bit.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
We met our sweet little girl yesterday, she is so perfect. We first met with the social worker, I was so nervous, I had to pee like 5 times :), it wasn't as bad as I expected though, she asked us several questions, like why we decided to adopt a child with special needs and how will I be able to take care of a child with so many needs when I have two little ones. It was hard to answer them, just cause I didn't have time to think about them. After, we went to the orphanage and met with the director, the social worker also came to observe. The director asked us the same questions plus a few extra. One that took me by surprise was "Don't you think this will be a bad influence to your children", I said "no, exactly the opposite, they will learn to love people of all kinds for who they are and what they are." Then she told me not to be offended by her question, but she has to ask it, because others will ask her. People are very different here in what they think of children with special needs, they don't understand why we even bother. The director was very nice and seems to understand.
After this they bring Irina in. I jumped up to go get her, but they told me to sit for a while. So she was sitting on a nanny's lap for about 5 minutes while we had to sit across the room. I was very emotional and cried several times, I just couldn't believe we were finally here and this is really happening. She was so beautiful and so happy.
Finally she let us get her, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. she was so happy and smiled and laughed the whole time. We only got to see her for about 15 minutes or so, then they asked us if we wanted to move forward with the adoption. Of course we did. Then we took her back to her class and had to go to the notary's office to make the documents to go forward with our adoption. We were there FOREVER. The notary is more like a lawyer here. They had to create the documents and they don't use computers because they are afraid they will lose everything.
We get to visit Irina 2 times a day for two hours each time. This morning we didn't have long to visit, because we had to go back to the notary. So we stayed inside about 15 minutes with her then had to leave. After the notary we still had about an hour left of visiting time, so we went back. But they wouldn't let us see her, we were sad, but we were able to play with some other children outside. They called us mama and dada, they were so cute.
This afternoon we took the kids with us for the first time. Malika couldn't stop smiling, she was in love. She wanted to hold her, but they stuffed her in a snowsuit, it was hard to hold her or interact with her when she can't move. It's not even that cold here, it is cold but not cold enough for that many heavy layers. Justus had a really hard time, I really didn't expect it. Please pray for him, I'm hoping he will adjust soon.
We hope we don't confuse all of you, but we have decided to change Irina's name to Kaylee Irina. We will call her both names for a while until Malika is used to it, then we will drop Irina. I will explain later why we chose that name.
Kaylee is so tiny, but yet a little chubby. She weighs about 17 lbs, but is about 6 inches shorter than Justus. She can sit up really well, and can pull up to standing. She tries to walk a little bit, if I hold her up, but tires very easily.
I will try to write more later and post some pictures. Sorry for the book, again :), it is so hard to write everything, there is so much I left out.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
We will be leaving here in about two hours to get on a train to dnepropetrovsk. I'm very ready to meet our little girl, but still so nervous about it. I hope she likes us and that we bond easily. I am really hoping she gets along well and loves the kids, Malika would be heart broken if that weren't the case, like us, she already loves her. She has been a daily part of her conversation for so long.
The kids are doing so well. They have adjusted to the time difference. The last three nights they have slept all night long. Justus has stopped his screaming fits, not sure if is because he learned that he would get spanked when he did that or if he just did it because he was so tired, and now he is not. I know he was doing it because he was tired, but he was so mad and would scream this really shrill scream, it was awful. I am amazed at how well children adapt to wherever they are, way better than us adults.I am really glad the kids are with us, I couldn't do it without them. Yesterday I was in such a bad mood, I had to pray all day that God would change my attitude, I am really starting to miss home and realize we have a long ways to go.
We will be staying with our friends, the Haglers. Instead of it being $30 a night, it will be $50, which is still doable. It will be nice to have other Americans here going through the same thing. The language barrier is the hardest thing to deal with. We really do like it here so far, but it would be so much easier if we could communicate easier.
The culture is so different here, it would be nice if we knew all their rules. When we first got here when I was talking to Serge on the phone, he made it sound like it was unacceptable for our kids to sleep on the floor, it didn't make sense. Then, yesterday we were out walking and got some ice cream, we sat on the ground to eat it, so many people were staring at us, then I looked around and saw that amidst the hundreds of people, no one else was sitting on the ground. Lindsay Hagler said the kids are absolutely not supposed to sit on the ground. It must be some sort of taboo here.
Things to pray for:
That we would get along very well with the Haglers
That Irina would love us and bond with us easily
That the kids would not become bored but enjoy it
That our court date would come quickly
That I will have some sort of Internet connection, so if Josh has to go home it will be easier
That everything from here on out will be smooth
Oh, and for those of you wondering, our friend Justine has been great to have along. I am so so glad she came with us, she is perfect. The kids love her, and she is so much fun, plus it's nice to just have her to talk to.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Sorry to have sad news for all of you, but I don't think we will have Internet access :(. The Haglers, who are also at the same orphanage spent a long time at the Internet store today trying to get Internet, but are unable to. So, I can't promise anything. I'm very sad about this, because I love to blog, and I think all of you are just as eager to see pictures and would want to know how we are and what she is like. it will be difficult to not have outside contact, especially since we will be here for like 8 years :), just kidding.
So, please keep us in your prayers the whole time, especially for court, that everything will go smoothly with that. And that our time will go quickly, so that we can all stay together the whole time. Also, please be praying for our safety and health.
I am still planning on journaling all of this and may put it on a separate page on my blog for when we get back.
Maybe we will have access though, so please pray we will.
We still don't know where we are staying, but I'm just not really worried anymore. It will be a fun surprise :)
We had a great day today, we did a ton of walking. We were trying to save money, so walked instead of getting a driver. There aren't any overweight people here, part of the reason is that everyone walks and the other is probably because their food portions are about half the size. Today we stopped at a tiny sandwich/wrap shop. We ordered chicken wraps, because that is what we could order. They were, oh so good! It was a wrap filled with chicken, potato, cabbage, a pickle spear, and who knows what else. On the top was mayo, we were skeptical at first, but tried it, it was garlic mayo. I think we all agreed it was the best part of the wrap. And it all costs about $10 to feed 5 people.
Later we went to exchange money and I went to talk to someone. Now, I try to speak in Russian, but I'm not that good. Instead of saying hello, I said thank you. They both start with s. I immediately knew I made a mistake and was so embarrassed. They probably laughed at us when we left. Oh well, at least I tried.