Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Enjoying the sunshine today!

Went out and bought paint this morning - I hope it's "pink" enough for our girly girl.  She requested pink, and I bought one titled "Tinted Rosewood".  I think it will be lovely.  Our inspiration:

Writing thank you notes today.  Nothing like thank you notes to give you a sense of awe.  I'm just amazed at all the wonderful, supportive people that are joining us in this journey!  Thank you all, even if you didn't get a thank you card - we appreciate your prayers and support!
^Totally sums up how I feel today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

TRAVEL - back home for a bit!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh the joys of jet lag.  Zack got up at 4:30am and couldn't go back to sleep... so he went to work!  Not kidding.  I woke up about 5am all aflutter with the new "in between trip" to do list on my mind.  So I spent a good 2 hours before the boys woke up with minor papery things and starting to unpack.  The boys adjusted back to the home environment pretty good today.  I had to do a little more reviewing of the discipline strategies we had employed previously. :)  They had a blast at Grandma and Grandpas' houses and big thanks to them and Pat and Emily for helping with them while we were gone.  And our orange tree was expertly watered thanks to Patrick and Christine, and our mail held thanks to the USPS.  I'll keep you updated with how we are preparing to go back to get our little girl, and hopefully early the next trip I will be able to post pics on social media sites - including this one!!!!  Oh happy day.  If you're in the area and would like to see pics - just stop on by, I can show you a whole bunch.

I wonder what she's thinking about today?  I wonder if she's looking at the little book we made for her?  Stay strong little one!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

TRAVEL - Odessa and court date

We got a court date!  We figured we would be waiting a week, but our amazing facilitator/translator team is just really good at what they do. :)  I'm kidding, I don't know how much they had to do with it (I suspect at least some) but when they told us we have a court date yesterday already I was like, "You guys rock!"  So our court date is May 14.  We will be coming home on Monday the 27th and going back by middle of May.  We toured Odessa today and, my, what a beautiful city!  I say!  It put me in an old-timey phrase kind of mood.  Dear me, that opera house was grandiose!  Heavens to Betsy did you see those grey army ships?  Well my stars, they were just the bee's knees!  I feel old amongst all these trendy, hip 14 yr olds and rhinestone-studded flats-wearing affluent youths.  Well, I better hit the hay.  My knees are done wore out from all that walking.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

TRAVEL - back in region

We are back in the Odessa region.  We signed the book so that the paperwork could be transported to Kiev to be submitted to the SDA.  This is how we get our court date, which will probably be told to us next week.  Our next trip will probably be middle of May.  Then we will travel to do the tasks that get our little one adopted!  We will be visiting her tomorrow and the next day for a few hours.  Hopefully this endears us to her again. She was not happy to leave us today.  She got upset when we arrived at the orphanage.  Even though it was translated to her that we will be coming back for her, I could tell that she did not feel this was true.  Hopefully visiting her will be helpful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Test number two done successfully.  We played on the playground equipment and learned a lot about what she can and can't tolerate.  She has trouble with a lot of things other kids do with ease.  Her run exists but is awkward, she got sick after only a few minutes on the swings, and the slides were terrifying to her at first.  Our brave little bit learned that it's ok to try scary things with parents to help her and hold her hand.  Her favorite activity is "jumping" off of things into our arms.  It's not really jumping, it's more like a thrilling high hug.  She will be standing on a bench or something, and doesn't move until we are like an inch away, and then leans into our arms.  Hilarious.  She giggles like she just rode a ride at Cedar Point.  She's also very sensitive to tactile surprises.  If we tickle her leg and she doesn't expect it she yells like we hurt her.  Even just patting her back, she "ouches" at first like it scares her.  We bought her a little necklace and bracelet set today at the mall, and she was almost incapacitated with the choices.  She just looked at us like, "Um, what am I supposed to do here?"  The caretaker was telling her to pick one, and showing her some of them.  She just did not know what to do, until we picked four for her to look at and then she picked one of the four.  She has had such high structure for the last few years, that choices and independence overwhelms her.  She's a super trooper and we love her to pieces.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TRAVEL - Kiev again

Yesterday was quite a whirlwind!  We were here and there and everywhere!  But the best news is that the orphanage director allowed the adoption process to begin and we were able to take Yuliya (who wishes to change her name, but until court she is still Yuliya) to Kiev to get the required medical testing for country exit.  The ride was hard going and the roads gave Sergei's car a busted wheel.  5 hrs with Yuliya and her caregiver, however, was priceless to learn how she acts in different situations.  What she likes to eat, I learned about her medications, and listened to her interact with her caregiver.  She is a resilient little one.  The car ride made her sick a couple times, but she's a trooper and she got through it.  We arrived in Kiev a little before 3am.  6am we were up to get her to the medical center for the test.  She did well and we went to get breakfast.  I learned what she eats in the orphanage and got to practice saying no when she wanted cakes instead of porridge.  She took it well, we are still strangers to her.  :)  Then we got groceries for the next few days and I helped to give her a bath (also very informative), seriously, this is like gold being able to learn what she's used to the last few years.  Now we will rest and catch up on Z's.  Pray for us please as this test takes 3 days.  Pray that the next few days go well!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

TRAVEL - big fat belated update

So I was so focused on getting Facebook updates out there, and skyping with our families, and emailing people, that this blog went sadly unnoticed!  Well nevermore, little blog!  Here's a rundown of our travel so far:
  Fri April 10: went to airport, said goodbye to kids (sniff!), and hopped a couple planes.
  Sat April 11: arrived in Oslo afternoon Scandinavian time.  Got a train to Oslo city center and found our hotel with ease.  Got some groceries, ate, slept.
  Sun April 12:  our "Oslo day".  Slammin' huge, awesome, complimentary breakfast buffet extreme (extravaganza of delight); folk museum with tons of old style farm buildings, Viking ship museum (a real Viking ship!  It's like the stuff of my dreams!), castle tour (very quick, ran out of time); Oslo fjord tour on the S.S. Johanna.  Supper at a little restaurant/cafe.  I ate reindeer and trollkrem.  One of the most interesting meals I've ever eaten.  VERY EXPENSIVE but worth it.
  Mon April 13: somehow managed to make some mistakes and still have plenty of time to board our flights for Kiev.  Met our facilitator who was immediately warm and friendly and took us to buy groceries and to our apartment.  Evening meal in our little apartment kitchen.  Stomach starts to turn in knots in expectation of the next couple days.
  Tues April 14: "getting acquainted day".  Morning to relax and watch New Girl on Netflix, walked around Kiev in the freezing cold, got to know another family who is here to adopt.  A fun day.  Feeling a lot more peace about the SDA appointment.
  Wed April 15: SDA appointment day.  Got up super early and got ready and waited around.  Finally the time came.  The appointment went so well it was unbelievable.  Got referral for little 7 year old.  Sparkling eyes despite a difficult life.  Walked around Kiev a little more, the city's really growing on me.
  Thurs April 16: Met our translator in the morning (Elena, very sweet and go-get-um, just the kind I like!), got official referral/ permission to go meet our little critter, walked around some more.  Caught overnight train with Elena.
  Fri April 17: Hopped off train and straight into driver's car.  Many stops on way to orphanage to get the right permissions, papers, and people.  Suddenly sitting in orphanage director's office and we hear "Here she is!"  Little angel walks into the room.  A little arrow flew down from heaven and went -zing- straight into our hearts.  She gets so excited about the doll we brought, looks with interest at our little family book, and we learn more about her story and medical information.  Suddenly we have to go.  We say goodbye and go to our apartment here in the region.  Staying in something like a hostel above a doctor's office.  Suits our needs perfectly.  That night go to see her again.  She runs out of the line of little kids and holds her hands up to be held.  Be still my heart.  She recognized me!  Bring a tiny book of our family and we tell her it's hers.  "Forever?", is her translated question.  Ack!  So cute!
  Sat April 18:  Visit to the orphanage in the morning and afternoon.  Morning we talked to her caregiver and met her best friend.  Priceless.  Saw her bedroom and cubby, etc.  Played with play-doh and on the playground equipment.  By afternoon visit she was telling her friends that she has parents and was proudly displaying the button necklace we made together.  Though she was not told that we are hoping to adopt her (we are still considered her "visitors" or "guests"), she calls us mama and papa.  No doubt she's seen this done before and knows how it rolls.  She's glowing.  Going to visit the dolphins with the orphanage tomorrow, but tells the translator that she would rather go with us to our house instead.  Soon enough, my darling.
  Sun April 19: Saw the Black Sea, ate out, walked around.  Rested, relaxed.  Wondered if our little girl is enjoying the dolphins.
  Tomorrow we see what the orphanage decision is, and then whisk her away to Kiev for medical testing if the answer is a good one. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

TRAVEL - tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow we leave for Oslo.  We will be leaving for the airport mid-morning, then it's off on a jet plane for the ride of our lives!!!  Today I'm finishing a few things up, including this welcome book with picture of our house and family.  Cleaning, laundry, packing - also included of course!!!  I'm trying to squeeze in extra cuddles with the little dudes today, but just so happens they are wiggly and not receptive today.  I'll just keep trying. :)

Practicing the Ukrainian alphabet while filling out this book.  I wonder about some of these letters... I bet our new child(ren) will laugh at me.  At least it's good for a chuckle. :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

TRAVEL - the countdown is on!

it is now 7 days until we hop a jet plane for our new child(ren)!  We have been very busy with prep - making list after list.  We experienced the first of a set of acute money hemorrhages.  It was painful - but this week we had several blessings in that way, too.  Our church had some extra money in their adoption fund that we weren't aware of, we received word that we got a grant that we applied for, and a friend gave us a chunk of money that we weren't expecting, and we counted $100 more change from our change jar.  God just comes through!  It's amazing!  We've also been working on a few other little projects.  Yesterday my friend and I worked all day on filling our freezer with meals to fatten our orphanage kid(s) up!
See that one shelf?  That's a portion of the 31 meals we cooked up!

Also, I've been making a mini welcome book that someone can keep and look at, show to friends maybe?

It was a little set that I found at Save and Serve for .50.  I was pretty happy with the result.  There's several other pages - Mom, Dad, Grandparents made it in, and our house.