Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Part of the Family

Now that we are home and Patrick is part of the family, I will be posting all of his updates on the family blog along with the other kids. I hope all of you will continue to follow our family as we learn how to live as a family of 8. Thank you all for your love and supprt along the way. We could never have gotten him home without all of you and your prayers and support. THANK YOU!!

http://lyndishupp.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Child of the Month

Every month, Reeces Rainbow picks a "child of the month". This month it is Elizabeth. This one has a place in my heart. I am determined to find this sweet girl a home. Please, if you have a place in your heart for a child, consider Elizabeth, aka Liza. She is a sweet sweet child, and is at the age to be transferred to the institution soon. Will you be the one to save her from this fate??

Elizabeth
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Update:

I just talked to Kevin, and he is home safe and sound. He actually ended up getting home even later than I did.

Isn't it funny how so many of us had to travel half way across the world to finally meet, but now that we have, I hope we can stay friends on American soil as well. So many families were in Kiev together this time, and it was wonderful to be able to share this journey with them. It was amazing to be able to share in the most stressful, scary, exciting, rewarding time of our lives with so many others going throuigh the same thing.

Friday, July 31, 2009

30 hours...

I was picked up at the apartment at 3am Thurs. (this is 7pm Wed. at home). My flight was scheduled for 5:35, but didn't actually leave until 6:35. This is where the day started to show what was in store for us. The first flight was supposed to be from Kiev to Frankfurt. In Frankfurt, I was supposed to have a 1 hour layover. Well, for those of you doing that little bit of math, you just realized that the delay in Kiev made me miss my connecting flight in Germany. But wait, let me backtrack a bit...In Kiev, I met up with Kevin (an adopting dad I had met previously) I was so happy to see that we were travelling the same route all the way to Chicago. We get along well, and he was so wonderful and willing to help me with my luggage and Patrick. OK, so back to Germany. Kevin and I had missed our flight. The person at the counter told us to go down a hallway to concourse A65 and get our new ticket there. We had to go through passport control first. Kevin went through first, no problem. I was next, PROBLEM! I didn't have a boarding pass at this point, and since Patrick has a Ukrainian passport, I needed a boarding pass for him to get through passport control. They wouldn't let Kevin come back through, they acted like it was a HUGE deal to change his status, so I told him to go ahead, I would catch up with him after I checked in at the other counter. OOPS! I walked back with Patrick to the other counter, but was stopped in the hallway. The hallway was packed, and closed off. Why? Because someone had left a bag unattended, so they called in the whole frickin' bomb squad and sniffer dogs. I waited almost a full hour for access to the counter. By this time I just knew Kevin had gotten on that plane already and I was on my own. I got to the counter after waiting in line, to learn that I was still at the wrong counter. I had to go over to the other line. Yes, I am dead serious, another line. I, at this point, had been in Germany for about 1 1/2 hours! This line was slow, because of this bomb scare, many people needed to switch there flights. When I finally got up there, they informed me that they couldn't get me on a flight with there airline, they were sending me to another airline. NOT HAPPY, new airline SUCKS, but I want to go home...so, I take the tickets. Of course, in switching airlines, I now have to go down a different corridor, which means I can't check to see if Kevin is still in Germany or not. I was hoping he had left, but had no way of checking. I got stopped at the security checkpoint, had to show my adoption papers to them, they unpacked my bags, read my court decree, everything, by the time I got to the gate after all that mess, they had given away my seat, I was on stand-by. I almost started crying at this point. The plane was scheduled to leave in 10 minutes, and I was on stand-by. They had given away my seat, so I didn't see much hope in me getting 2 seats. By the grace of God, I made it on this flight. Instead of going to Chicago, I headed to Philadelphia. This flight also left late, so again I arrived late in Philly. I had a 1 1/2 layover in Philly, but the flight was 45 minutes late. Yes, I had 45 minutes to get through customs, immigration and get to the ticket counter to get my boarding pass and recheck my bags. Guess what, they too chose me to do a thorough security check. I missed this flight as well! My layover turned into a 3 hour layover in Philly. At this point I hadn't slept, had barely eaten and I was startin' to get a little grouchy. Patrick was doing great. I still had no way of talking to anyone. I had called from the payphone to let Bill know flight status, but hadn't talked to anyone, and still was worried about where Kevin had ended up. I was able to get hold of my mom while I waited in Philly, so at least I knew my messages were being received by Bill. Anyway, I got to Nashville at 10pm Thurs. night, and walked in my door a little before midnight.

30 hours of travel, and I am still exhausted, and Patrick is and has done great. This little guy was a trooper! As bad as my day was with airlines and airports, I was blessed that Patrick was as good as he was. I wanted to act up and he held it together. In fact, while we were strolling around the Philly airport (if I sat down, I was afraid of falling asleep and missing another flight, so I walked the whole time!) he just sang his little songs and made so many people smile. It was nice to be on the side of the world where he was getting smiles instead of stares. I was even able to share our adoption story with 3 families and an airport worker. 1 family, the mom was a special needs teacher, so she was wonderful to speak with. The airport worker had been looking into international adoptions, so when I talked to her, I told her about Reece's Rainbow and all the great kids on there. She was so sweet, got down on the floor and was talking to Patrick...I hope she looks at the RR site and falls in love with someone!!

We're Home

I'm really really tired, and not really up to actually typing a post right now, but I wanted to let you all know trhat we are home and he loves his new brothers and sisters, and they love him! I will post pictures and our eventful return info when I can actually see straight. This jet lag thing is crazy!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Time......YAY!!!

I am getting picked up in 5 hours to head to the airport. For those of you doing the math, that means I am getting picked up at 3am (Kiev time). It is an awesome feeling, knnowing I am taking my son home to meet his family. I am so excited. This journey has helped me learn a lot about myself. I think I have grown a lot during this time. I have never been "on my own". I was very scared to be in a foreign country without my family, especially Bill, but I made it, and I think I am leaving here a better person than I was when I arrived. I have a new appreciation for my family. I have always appreciated them, don't get me wrong, but I think being away from the people you love the most makes you more aware of how much they mean to you. I am aching to hold my children again, and I can't wait to be in my husband's arms!

Ukraine will always hold a piece of my heart though. This country gave me Patrick, and I will forever be greatful to Ukraine and even Patrick's birth parents for this opportunity.

I hope that as JoAnn and I walked down the street this past week with 3 Down Syndrome children that someone saw us and learned that these kids deserve a chance. I hope that in adopting Patrick I have helped other people see the need for orphans around the world that need a forever family.

Next post will be from home, and...."There's no place like home!"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Funny Old Lady

Patrick likes to chew/ suck on his fingers when he is tired/ bored. Earlier today we were standing on the sidewalk waiting for Joann, and this old lady was walking by. SHe was just as cute as could be, so I smiled at her (i can't help it, she was an itty bitty cute old lady). Well, apparantly that smile gave her an invite to come over and give me a talkin' to! She did NOT approve of him having his fingers in his mouth. She raised her voice at me, while motioning that he should take his fingers out. I just smiled and said "it's okay, he's allowed". Of course, she didn't understand me, so instead she walked over to Patrick, pulled his fingers from his mouth and slapped his hand. He just laughed at her which kind of pissed her off. I laughed too at that point, cause that just doesn't happen in America, lol. It was funny. No harm done, she didn't beat him or anything. And, after he and I both laughed at her, she walked away with a look of disapproval. Funny too, because all this time since I've had Patrick with me and getting stared at, I though they were staring because he was "different", which didn't bother me, but maybe they were staring because he was sucking his fingers. This must be a much worse offense, lol. I'm actually gonna miss being here a little. It is a lot of fun, and this culture is amazing. I love watching and seeing the similarities and the differences. But still, I love America, I love my home, and I miss and love my family.

See you all soon!! :)

Return Flight Booked!

Yes, we have seats! We are booked and ready to go, but not until Thursday. Tomorrow is medical and visa day. But, other than that, we are done, and we are outta here!!!!!!!!!!!!

It came!

Yes, you read it right, the passport came! We are going home!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Frustrated

His passport did NOT come today. I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up, but I really want to go home! I miss my family, a LOT!

I bought Patrick an Mp3 player the other day. He really likes music, and I thought this would be nice for him on the long flight home. I downloaded some American children's songs, that was easy! I uploaded 2 cds that I brought with me that he seems to enjoy, that also was easy. Then I thought it would be nice to have some Russian children's songs on there too, not so easy. Oh, I found them, that wasn't hard, Amazon has several downloadable Russian tunes for kids. The problem is, you have to be in the US to download them. How dumb is that? I have to be in American to download a Russian song? I mean, it is actually in Russian, I heard samples....understood NOTHING! Why can't I get that while I'm actually here? My next step is to go and buy a Russian cd and upload it for him. I will just have to trust the sales clerk to point me in the right direction.

Please please pray that his passport comes tomorrow. I need to see my other children and my husband, I miss them soooooo much!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Opening back up to the public

Now that I am nearing the end and will hopefully return home soon, I am taking my blog off of the private setting. Once I am home I will then close down this blog and only use the family blog. Afterall, Patrick is now offically a part of our family and should be on the same page. Plus, who has time for two blogs? I hardly have time to to read my e-mail these days! Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me and supported me through this journey. I am still shocked and amazed that I am here and that Patrick is mine. I am honored that I am allowed to raise this child along side my homegrown children. I can't wait to get them all together and watch my family learn and grow together.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Truth

Here is a post adoption truth. I want to keep it real without scaring anyone away from wanting to adopt. Some things aren't going to be easy though. Here is what life has been like these first few days:

It's like having a baby around. You know when they first learn to crawl, and they are exploring. They are too young to really understand the dangers but they are everywhere all the time. They are across the room and into something at the blink of an eye, and nothing you say can distract them because they just don't understand. That's Patrick, only able to walk and run at full speed. Same mind set though, same goal. He wants to explore and learn, he just doens't know how to do that safely, and it's scary.

He doesn't understand and know not to touch, not to take his clothes off, not to do certain things that our homegrown children learn just from watching us. Some things I never had to teach my kids, they just learned by example. Patrick has never had an example to learn from. It is hard to discipline or correct him, he just laughs. He doesn't even understand simple discipline. I've had to stop cooking in the apartment, because it just isn't safe. The stove top here is very low and he can reach the back burner, and he wants to touch it when there is a pot there. No matter how many times I say no, no matter how harshly I say it, no matter how many times I try and redirect...he only wants the hot pot on the stove. So, we eat out. He actually does amazing eating out (thank God for that!).

But, it's hard. Truthfully, it's very hard. It's physically and emotionally draining to keep up with Patrick. Is it worth it, YES! Would I do it again tomorrow if I knew it would be this hard, YES! Sad, YES! But, I love him, and he is worth this little bit of hardship for me. To know that he will never see the inside of an institution and to know that he will go to sleep every night knowing he has a mommy and a daddy who forever will love him, it's worth it. I wouldn't change a thing about our decision to bring him into our family.

So, that's my truth for the day, and now, this tired momma is going to join my sleeping angel and go to sleep!

My apartment smells like s#%^

Why? Because Patrick has picked up a lovely new habit. He strips all his clothes off, refuses to sit on the potty (I think he may be used to a smaller kid sized potty chair)and proceeds to pee and poop on the floor. Well, not always on the floor. At one point today, while I was on skype trying to help another family, he climbed into his stroller and used it as his restroom. I got him all cleaned up, cleaned the stroller..all is good. We went out for dinner, came home, gave him a bath. While I left him standing with his towel, I went to get his pajamas, and he peed and pooped in MY SHOE! I'm starting to hate (strong word, I know) the orphange people for allowing these children to run around naked and pee and poop in the yard whenever they had the need instead of taking them in to use the toilet. I have to untrain him and then retrain him. It honestly would have been easier for him to not be trained at all. It's hard to unteach something. We'll get it done though, and in the mean time, I get new shoes tomorrow!!!

And, by the way, even with all the pee and poop everywhere, I LOVE THIS KID!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First night and first full day together...

Last night was loooong. He was very hyper and really wasn't sure about this whole sleeping thing. He is definately used to sleeping in his bed in the room full of many other beds. Once I got him to stay in bed, I layed next to him and just gently rubbed his head and back until he fell asleep. However, that is not where the night ended. He woke up several times during the night, and I mean several! He was a very squirmy sleeper, but when he awoke, he would sit up and rock himself. This broke my heart. He didn't know that I was there for him, so now I have to teach him that even at night, he is not alone, I am there for him. Everytime I felt him rocking, I would lay him down, talk to him in a whisper and rub his head again (that seems to relax him). I'm thrilled that he let me comfort him even when he is half asleep, I think that in itself is a very good thing, but I hope to get to where he knows he can ask for me and not have to even begin to soothe himself. It was just so hard to see that.

Today we walked to the market to get some t.p. and other supplies, and on the way back got a phone call that our code thingy was in and we were going to apply for his passport today. So, we thten had to rush home, unload te groceries, repack the diaper bag and get to where we were getting picked up (all in less than 30 minutes). We were picked up at 11am and didn't get home until 3:30pm. It was a long day at the passport office, but one well spent. Thankfully tey had a playground outside, so while we were doing all this waiting, at least we had something fun to do. Poor guy was just worn out after so much adventure. In fact, it is 5pm now and he is still asleep, I am about to wake him up so we can go eat dinner.

Maybe he will sleep better tonight after such an active day?!

Anyway, all things considered, I think he is doing great! Have I mentioned just how much I love this guy??!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gotcha Day!!!

I have been waiting for this day since the middle of January. Some families wait longer, some shorter, but all wait, and wait, and wait. Today, I was able to walk out of the orphanage gates for the first time with Patrick...the best part, it was also the last time I will walk through those gates with Patrick! I hardly slept last night. My mind was racing, "do I have this, do I have that", "what if...", "can I do this", "what if he hates the real world". All night I prayed for God to clear my head and give me the confidence I needed for today, to give me the strength to make it through today, and to give me the knowledge to raise Patrick the way he deserves to be raised. I finally fell asleep around 5:30 this morning, and woke up around 7. I got up, got ready, sat and waited. I couldn't eat, my nerves were in knots.

My driver picked me up at 9:30 and we headed to Vorzel. The ride took longer this morning that usual, not really, but it sure did seam like we were never going to get there!

I got to the orphanage, my facilitator was in the office finishing up on paperwork, so I went on in and played with Patrick for a little bit while I waited. My phone rang and I was told to head to the office to sign some documents. So, I gave Patrick back to his caregivers and went to the office. Here I signed several pages of something, and then waited some more. I was standing outside his gates for a little over an hour, just waiting. I still don't really know what I was waiting for, but when they said to go in, I did. His caregivers had dressed him in the clothes I had brought for him, the ones his daddy had picked out. He looked so handsome! It was a little sad taking him away from his caregivers, my favorite one was there today, she has known and loved him since he was 2. She was very attached to him and him to her, but she is happy for him and my family, she knows I love him too and that I will take good care of him.

I carried him down the pathway, through the gates, and that is when it hit me. No tears until I literally walked through the gates. That's when I knew this was real. I have never been allowed to walk through the gates with him before and today I did, and it was AWESOME! My friend Gillian was standing right outside the gate and she was crying with me. I am so glad I was able to share that moment with someone.

We piled into the car and drove to the photo place for passport pictures. Patrick LOVED the car. His eyes were so wide while taking in all the new sites. He walked nicely into the picute place, holding my hand and stood nicely and smiled for his picture (thankfully Nadia was there to direct him in Russian for this). He listens so nicely, if he understands what you are telling him!

After that, Oleg was taking us all to our apartments. On the way to Gillian's, Patrick started stinkin'. Thankfully he had a diaper on. But, I underestmiated what that diaper could hold. Before I knew it, my legs were covered in diaper overflow! Oleg's car will never smell the same again! We were stuck in traffic at this point, so I proceeded to line Oleg's seats with plastic bags to change Patrick's diaper. Welcome to motherhood, right? (no seatbelt or carseat laws here, so this was totally legal too). Oh, what a mess!!! I ended up, because of the limited number of bags I had (some lining the seat and now gross, and some used to hold all the grossness) having to throw away his gotcha day outfit. It's ok, I still have my boy!

We got home, nice and clean now, I fed him some yogurt and crackers, gave him some milk. We played, and played and played and explored. He wore me out! I gave him a bath, fed him dinner, we played some more and now he is sleeping soundly in my bed. What a great day! I wouldn't have changed a thing. Not even the blow-out, I mean, what a great story, right??

Here are the pictures from today...all 4 outfits. He starts out in his "orphan" clothes, on to his gotcha day clothes, to his back up clothes (good thing I packed those this morning) then to his lounge/ sleep wear. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings with my little dude!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today's the day

Today is "gotcha day" the day when I will take Patrick out of te only home he has ever known and start a new life with him. It's scary to think that everything we see and do from here on out is going to be new to my 5 1/2 year old. Yet, it's exciting for me to be able to share so amny new adventures with him as well. I was upset that yesterday wasn't gotcha day, but today I am glad that it is today. Today is also my brother's birthday, so now this day will forever have double meaning!! Please pray for Patrick to not be afraid. Pray that we have a good life together and that we will be able to join the rest of our family soon.

Pictures later...wish me luck!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ok, another one

In this video you will notice a little pair of hands that keeps popping into the shot. These hands belong to a certain little girl mentioned in the earlier post. She noticed she could watch the video in the screen and wanted to show her hand motions as well. I turned the video off and took pictures of her and showed them to her, she loves posing for the camera! You will also notice in both videos, that Patrick was scratching...this is not his chicken pox, these were little bugs flying around biting us. His chicken pox are 100% crusted over and the only remaining marks are on his belly and back.

Here it is

Today was a very good visit

I got to the orphanage this morning, and the children were in the yard playing. Usually they are on the porch when I get there, which is walled in with a gate, so Patrick has to wait for me to get to him. Well, today I got to experience him running with his arms out to me! Wow, that does a momma's heart good. He ran right into my arms with the biggest smile and an even bigger hug for me. Man I love that little dude! We played with his groupa today instead of on our own. This was nice, cause I get to see how he is with the other kids and he enjoys showing off for me. His caregiver today (who just happens to be my favorite one!) sat them all down on a blanket and started singing children's songs with finger plays. It was so sweet. I have seen her do this with him before, because she was showing me how smart he was, but today I got to see her do about 30 minutes of songs and he did the motions for all of them and even "sang along". I have no clue what the songs were or even what most of them were about, but he did, and he LOVED it. I got video of him, he was all smiles. Another little girl got in my lap and was showing me how to do the motions, he thought that was great that momma was playing along too. He's okay with this one little girl sitting in my lap, but when she got down and another child tried to get in my lap, he jumped up and pushed them away and said "momma" and glared at them. I have to admit, I chuckled. He didn't want to share me, but he will let me hold this one little girl. I would bring her home in a heart beat. Her and Kylie would get along so well, but she is not adoptable.

So, after my visit, I met up with JoAnn for lunch at our buffet (we've claimed it as ours since we eat there so often...it's filling and cheap!). We then decided we should get some groceries since we are both getting our kis on Monday. Yes, you heard me, I am brining Patrick to the apartment on Monday!! I am so excited. To be honest, the only I am nervous about is cooking for him. Those of you that know me understand this better than those of you who only cyber-know me. JoAnn is going to help me make a chicken soup/ stew that i am hoping lasts a couple of days. I also bought him oatmeal and fruit and snacks. Sunday I will go back for yogurt, milk, bread and cookies. I haven't bought a huge thing of water yet, but there is a market right next door I will go to for that. It would have been to hard to carry too much with me up the street to my apartment. As it was, I ended up taking a taxi 3 blocks to my home. This was good, because as I got out of the cab, my bag broke. That would have been so much worse if I would have had to walk a long distance with a broken bag. From where he dropped me off, I just had to walk up the steps to my building with a broken bag, that could have been much worse.

For those of you coming to Kiev, here is a helpful bit of info. They charge for bags here. It's not much, but it is an extra cost. So, you have to know how many bags you will need (and you will bag your groceries yourself) before the transaction is complete. You can bring your own bags most places...ladies just keep them in your purse until check out time.

I think that's all I have for now. I am going to take a nap for now, it is over 95 degrees here, so I am not going anywhere for a while. Watch for some happy pictures later!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On a happy note...

I was able to get Patrick's birth certificate today! He is offically on record as Patrick Thomas Shupp. Isn't that one of the sweetest names ever?!?!

I haven't posted many pictues lately. Without Bill there, it's just me visiting, so the camera doesn't come out as much, so I dug through and put a montage together of some of my favorites.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Control

One thing I have learned about myself during this adoption process is that I don't like it when I don't have control of a situation. I never knew this about myself before. I thought I was a laid back kind of person. Never did I realize how upsetting it could be to not know what the day has in store or when things are going to happen. To have to put your trust in another person or people that you don't really know is scary. When completing an international adoption, you have to trust the people you are paired up with in country to be honest and to do the right thing. You have to do this while not really knowing what's going on. It's hard! It's scary! And, you do this without the support of the people at home that make you feel stronger (yes, they support you/ me, but they aren't HERE) than you probably really are. I say this not to scare anyone away from adopting internationally, but to prepare you. You HAVE to learn to hand it over to God, and learn it well! I'm still learning this little trick, and I know this whole process would be much easier if I could hand it to Him and leave it with Him....problem is, I keep taking it back. So, the truth is, I shouldn't be putting my trust or faith in these paople I barely know, but I should be placing it with God. I should be trusting Him to pair me with people who are trust worthy. I think He did. I like to think everything is on schedule and going as planned, but I just don't know. But, I am trying really really hard to have faith and trust in God that things are on schedule. I have to let go and be okay with the lack of control. That's really hard for a mom, I'm used to controlling the day...what happens, when it happens, and who it happens with. Not here, not now, I have no control!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I got nothin'

I hate to keep neglecting the blog, but there still isn't anything to report. I went and saw Patrick yesterday, and his chicken pox look much better. He is scabbing up nicely. i couldn't go today and I've been told I can't go tomorrow, but I'm not sure why. Nothing was done today, at least not by me and I've been told to stay in my apt. and wait tomorrow. I was told that I can for sure go see him on Wed. That's great, but I can't go Wed., because I have to switch apartments on Wed. My original lease has expired and they told me I could extend it but failed to mention that that meant moving. So, Wed. is moving day. So, hopefully I will be out of here by next Tues., or I have to move again. I'm ready to get Patrick and go home. I miss my husband and I miss my kids. I am tired!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Two choices

This e-mail was sent to me today, and I couldn't stop the tears as I read it. I had read it before, but now that I have Patrick in my life, it means even more than it did before. I pray Patrick has a community that will accept him the way these boys did Shay. I pray that this world accepts him and others like him with arms wide open and the purest of love in there hearts. The world would be a better place if we all acted as these children did for this one child:

What would you do?....you make the choice.

My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.Where is the natural order of things in my son?'The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact...The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher...The game would now be over.The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game...Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!Run to first!'Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third!Shay, run to third!'As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

No news is, well, nothing!

I haven't posted in several days. Sorry about that. The truth is, there is just nothing to post about right now. I visited Patrick on Tues. and he has the chicken pox. I couldn't go Wed or Thurs because my driver had to put his car in the shop. I went today, and he has more chicken pox than before, but the ones that were there have already started to blister and crust. This is good. I think I start the post-adoption paperwork on Monday. Other than that, there is nothing to tell you. Sorry for the lack of excitement. But, now ya know!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Monday

I was super lazy today. I knew I wasn't going to the orphange today, so I didn't set my alarm. I slept until 11:30! (guess i was tired...I haven't slept much since Bill went home) Anyway, I got up, read a little, did some laundry (stop laughing Patti, yes, I did WORK!!!) and took my shower to start my day. About 3:00 I finally left to get some lunch. After lunch I decided to do some shopping. walked through another mall and of course, after eating lunch and an ice-cream, I needed to visit te ladies room. They charge for this...2 grivna. So, I paid my way, started to go in, and the lady stopped me and accused me of not paying. I tried to explain that she took my money and didn't give me my ticket, but I guess she thought I was lying. So, I paid her again....she still didn't give me a ticket and charaded that I needed to pay her more. This was crazy! I was not going to continue this, I was only a few blocks from my apt. So, I gave her my evil eye (yeah right), turned around and headed for home. On the way, I decided to stop at another store (okay, I didn't have to go that bad!) and look at these really cute jeans... one of the stores in town had a pair of really cute jeans that I really really want, and they were on sale for only 100 grivna (like $23). I went in to try them on and they didn't have my size....European sizes are much different, and after trying on a size 40 and them not going much past my knees, I knew this was not good on my self-esteem! The other pair I bought were sized s, m and l...much easier that way! So, I gave up on the cute jeans. Gillian called at this point and I headed to her place, stopping at my apt. to "freshen up".

Gillian met me at her metro stop and we went to her MIL house. I really enjoyed my visit over there. Her MIL and BIL were very kind and Elaina put on several entertaining shows for us. We had pizza for dinner (good pizza!) Evie started getting sleepy, so Gillian's BIL walked me back to the metro stop. It was a fun night and I really needed the company today.

Now, I am back in the apartment and am about to put in the first episode of Everwood (I think that's what it's called)...we'll see if it's any good. Heck, even if it's not, I'll probably watch it, I don't have any English channels, lol!

Tomorrow, I see Patrick!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Guy on the street

Earlier, I was helping another RR family find some souvenir shops to buy things for there kids back home (this particular family is/ was only in Kiev for a few days before going on to another region, so they didn't have much time for exploring!), we had originally planned on doing some siteseeing with another RR family, but decided to stay a bit closer to home. All 5 of us were standing, looking at a map, and this "kid" walks up to us and asks if he can help us find where we are going. We were trying to figure out where this one museum was so that the one family could go there and I could go shopping with the other family. However, the map didn't show this one museum. The kid had never heard of it, and went off to find someone who knew where it was. He spoke near perfect English and was so excited to be able to help, it was kinda cute. Well, the 2 groups went our seperate ways, but then we bumped into this kid again and he started talking about European football (soccer), hockey and some other sports stuff. He talked forEVER, he was so proud that we understood him. Come to find out he had taught himself english, he had never been to an "english class" or even university. He was completely self taught. I think he was watching American ESPN and picked it up, because he was really only comfortable talking sports, lol. It was just too cute not to share. I hope this kid gets a job where he will be able to grow his english skills and have a good life, he had a good heart!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Todays visit

Patrick was sweet and cuddly when I got there today. They took him in for his morning snack and he returned as "crazy kid". Heehee! He was really testing me today to see if I would be able to control him without papa around. I did, it wore me out, but he knows mama is just as tough as papa now. It's hard to set boundaries when you are always being watched, and you really have no clue what these people think of you or what they are saying half the time. We play outside, the weather has been nice and hot, and inside has no air, so outside is better! However, they have this belief that if you sit on the ground you will get sick. Have you ever tried playing with a 5 year old and only sitting on a bench? I sit on the floor at home, outside, at the airport, you name it, I sit on the ground everywhere! This is really hard for me, because they don't want me on the ground either! I tried sitting on the ground and letting him sit on my lap, and they come running with there hands flying like I have done the unforgiveable. It's kinda funny actually, but also so annoying! I'm still enjoying my time with Patrick and getting to know him and all his quirks. He is quite the little character and I think he and the other kids will get along just fine!

I will post more pictures later, I know I am behin dwith pics of both Patrick and Kiev, but the upload time takes forever and I never have that much time! Maybe tomorrow?

Anyway, all is well here, as well as it can be anyways...will update more tomorrow. I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'm not so tough after all...

Bill left this morning at 2:30 (Ukraine time) and I hardly went back to sleep. Today, I haven't left the apt. and am feeling a bit down. It's very hard knowing your ENTIRE family is on the other side of the world. I thought this would be no big deal, and here he's not even on US soil and I'm already feeling mopey. There are plenty of RR families here so I know I will be okay, but it's just not the same as having my hubby or kids here with me. I pray this time goes quickly and Patrick and I can go join the rest of the family. Today I couldn't even visit him, maybe tomorrow I can.....guess we'll see!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We are now a family of 8!


It's official. We met in the judges chambers this morning and after some questions, she congratulated us on our new son. Hearing Russian never sounded so good!! It only took about 20 minutes and that was it. Oleg then took us to the orphanage so Bill could see Patrick once more before leaving and it gave us a chance to get our first official famil photo. I can't wait to get one with everyone, but for now this will do. YAY, I'm a mommy again!!!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A day of exploring

(written on Monday but couldn't get it posted, so now it's Tuesday)

Today we couldn't go see Patrick, so Bill and I decided to be brave and see what we could find on our own. Today is our last day together, as tomorrow is court and he leaves Wed, so we took advantage of some alone time. We had fun. We took the metro somewhere, road the fenicular to the top of a hill, walked down to the river, took a river cruise and then hit some souvenire shops. We have now finished shopping for the kids at home, but there are a few more things we are looking for. Anyway, we got some great picstures today, which I will upload later, but for now leave you with this...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hard day...

Today was hard. There was a caregiver there that I hadn't seen before and she didn't seem to care for us too much! It's been raining for a couple of days, so the yards are wet, and they don't want him dirty. They don't want him to even sit on the concrete. It is very hard to try and get him to sit on our lap and play with a few toys for 2 hours, but it seems that is all he was allowed to do today. We didn't stay the whole time, it was just too hard on Patrick and us to have to sit like that when we have gotten used to some extra freedoms from the other caregivers. Tomorrow we will not go, becuase it is a holiday here. Constitution Day, and from the looks of the streets, they are going to party hardy around here! Tuesday is court, we are hoping we will be able to see him for at least a few minutes on Tuesday, since Bill leaves on Wed morning...EARLY!

It is also starting to get harder that I am away from my kids at home for so long. Every day I miss them more and more, and seeing all these kids withough a family makes me miss them even more. I have gotten to talk to them several times and they are all doing well, but that doesn't keep me from wanting to hold them!

We did some site seeing today with some other RR families. I will post pics later. Right now, I am sticky with sweat and can't wait for my shower.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

Friday, June 26, 2009

We have a date!

Today we went to the embassy to sign some papers, went to the notary to sign some more papers and went shopping. Girls here DO wear jeans!!! So, I splurged and bought a pair. I am a jean wearing momma at home and was starting to miss my denim. I'm happy now :) We also bought some groceries so we could relax and eat in tonight!

We didn't see Patrick today, but we have good news...court is Tuesday!!! YIPPEEE!!! We will be at the court house that morning and then Bill will be on his way home on Wednesday. I will stay here until Patrick can come with me.

We're almost done, hurray!!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today and Yesterday (Wed and Thurs)

This is the hand-kissing game that we play...


Yesterday we were not allowed to go to the orphanage for the first time. The city doctors were there doing checkups of some sort, so no visitors. So, we decided to go site seeing. The weather had other plans. It poured rain in the morning, leaving it hot and muggy the rest of the day. After the rain stopped, we headed out to see the botanical gardens. I'm thinking they may be more botanical in the spring or fall, not so much in the summer, lol. It was relaxing though and Bill and I were able to spend a quiet day together, so that was nice! We met up with several RR families for dinner at a mexican restraunt in town. It was super yummy! We actually took a taxi there and the metro back, so those were 2 new experiences. The guy that drives us to the orphanage is actually a very good driver, the rest of the city drives crazy and the taxi's are INSANE!!!! (mom, you would have a heart attack here with the driving...patti, your muscles would be tight and sore, you would be so tense from the ride!) Anyway, we enjoyed a lovely dinner and were able to meet up with the new RR family in the area. It was tons of fun.

And this is his sweet sweet smile....

Today, we were able to go back and see Patrick. I think the quarantine must be over, cause we were allowed on the playgound today! We were able to stay out for the whole visit even when the other group came out. Patrick was very good today and made his first phone call to his Babushka (grandma), which we spent a fortune on, but he seems to like my cell phone, so we allowed one 3am phone call to the states (sorry mom, but I'm sure it was worth hearing his "HALLO" to wake up at such an hour!) We ate lunch with Gillian and her daughter. We really enjoy them, they are very down to earth, fun people. We met up with other families from RR for dinner, which was again a lot of fun. We didn't eat dinner, just appetizers, cause we were still full from lunch, but it's always nice to be with other couples, and everyone here is so nice and fun to be around. We feel very blessed to be able to share this experince with so many others.

Teresa...


Paula and Joy...



Paula, Kevin and Natasha (there translator aka Ukrainian speed walker!!)



Teresa, Joy, Gillian, Alaina, Bill and me




Amy, Adam, Reuben and JoAnn






Bill, me, Joy, Amy, Adam, JoAnn, Reuben


Natasha, Paula, Kevin, Bill, me, Amy, Adam, Teresa, Joy




Kevin and Bill

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Here's a little somethin' to start your day!- updated



The video on my end is a little rough, hopefully if you are watching it is better quality. You can see one of his "excited outbursts", you will also hear us calling him Vladislov and Vladick. This is what he is called right now, we have been introducing "Patrick" to him each visit and will slowly switch over to his new name. Luckily "Vladick" and "Patrick" kinda sorta rhyme, so it should be an easy transition!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our time in Kiev

We have been very lucky to have been able to spend every day so far with Patrick. His caregivers are wonderful with him. He listens to them when they correst him and you can tell they all care about one another. Every visit, he calms down a little more, he is beginning to realize that we are there for him and when we leave, we come back. His caregivers have been working with him on learning the members of the family. Yesterday when I showed him the photo-album of us all (brothers, sisters, Bill and I) he said Jessie after me. He hasn't caught on to the other names yet, but he will! He does know that Bill is PaPa and I am MaMa, which will take some getting used to for Bill...he is used to dad or daddy, lol. Papa is the word right now that has meaning for Patrick, so it is what we will use until he hears the other kids, he'll catch on pretty quick I think.

All about him:
Things he likes to do:
color
build with the big blocks (like what you give a 2 or 3 year old)
play with balls
play with cars and trucks (chunkier ones will be easier)
music, singing, insruments, he loves music!

What size he wears:
He will be a comfortable 4T. We have seen him in 3T most often, but those are snug on his belly, so 4T is best. Elastic waist is also best!! He IS potty trained :) We are buying him shoes here, and I don't know that size yet, but I can tell you his foot is big and fat!!!!

He likes to play and cuddle. He loves to sit on my lap and me sing to him (those of you that have been priveledged to hear me sing before realize that this isn't something that is requested often by others!). He loves it when I kiss his hands, he just giggles so sweetly whenever I do it. I will kiss him on the cheek and he will grin and hand me his hands to kiss then. It's a game that I like to play too!! With daddy (papa) he likes to be wild. He wants Bill to tickle him and blow rasberries on his neck or belly. Those 2 are crazy together!

We have noticed something with his legs now that we have been able to watch him more. I'm not sure how to explain it either, and it may just be low muscle tone (which I doubt, cause this child is strong!), but his ankles turn in when he runs and he doesn't bend his knees to pick stuff up off the floor. A little therapy will help whatever it is. Either way, he walks and runs with no problem at all, but I think this is what the lady at the SDA was talking about.

------------------------------

So, every day, we wake up, shower, eat breakfast and walk to meet our driver. It is about a 20 minute walk to where he picks us up, and it saves about an hour and a half in the car because of traffic, so we walk! We drive to Vorzel (the city where the orphanage is), which takes about 45 minutes or so (depending on traffic). We play with Patrick and all the other kids in the group (we have only had one visit with just him, usually we are with all the kids) until lunch time and then they take him in and we leave. We drive back to Kiev, have lunch, go back to the apartment to drop off our bags that we take to Vorzel with us and relax a little. Usually I read and Bill watches a movie at this time as all of you in the states aren't up yet and our day is half over, lol. We then either go shopping or do some site seeing. We still have to buy shoes, socks, and underwear for Patrick. other than that, I already found a few outfits for him. He has 3 outfits now (it is enough for our time here, we can get more at home). We usually go to our little market downstairs on the way home (you can only buy as many groceries as you can carry and they charge you for bags, so we just get one bag full at a time and reuse the same bag (yep, i am that cheap!, but isn't that being eco-friendly too, hahahaha). We either cook in the apartment (this is challenging because of archaic utensils and lack of space) or eat out with RR friends. I have been really bad about not taking pics of us with the families we are with. I need to better with that!

For now, here are some pics of Mr. Patrick, I will upload pics of Kiev later today. I think I like it here!!!



Here are some of his friends. Elizabeta (Liza) is beside me (she needs a family, NOW!!!!), and Masha is beside her (her family is here with me!)

Here, I was giving him a juive box (bad idea, he has never had a straw before and the sugar in the juice made him HYPER!) and he kept biting the straw, he though it was funny when he bit it and it popped out of the box to spray me!


Patrick had just walked in the room and went straight to Bill! (Aren't they sweet?!)


Daddy and Patrick playing bubbles!

This is the sign to Vorzel, the second word says "Vorzel", have no clue about the first!!

Internet Troubles and I'm a Stupid American

Our internet went out yesterday. Very frustrating when this is your only contact home. It costs about $4 a minute to call home with the phone and I can skype for free. So, we went yesterday and today with no internet. At home, when our internet goes down, I reset the router. DO NOT DO THIS IN UKRAINE!!! It erases the router instead of resetting it, therefore it won't work ever again, lol. Once our super smart technology guy came and reprogrammed our router we are good to go. And guess what?! We now have WiFi too, lol. We actually had it the whole time and didn't know. They had told us it was broadband, so i was plugging us up...well, our connection is much faster unplugged! It is now 10:30 at night here and I haven't talked to the kiddos yet. I will update with visits with Patrick, pictures of Kiev and more fun stuff later. For now, we are well and alive in Kiev!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Goofy, wild and smart...he'll fit right in!

Today when we got to the orphanage to see Patrick, he was VERY excited to see us! In fact, he was so excited, that he was unsure how to express this emotion and was being a bit wild. He kept screaming and laughing and throwing himself at us. He took to Bill very quickly and loved being held by him. I kissed his chubby little hand, and he kept putting his hand back up to my mouth to be kissed again and again. It was so sweet. When Bill held him, he nuzzled right into him...he knew who we were! He is a quick learner too. We were rolling a ball back and forth and I kept saying "ball". He, after a few times, said "ball". He also said "up" to Bill to be picked up, and said "shoe" to me after repeatedly removing his shoe and needing it put back on. His caregiver said that he is very talkative, repeats stories when read to and knows his friends names. He needed redirected a few times today, but he was just to excited to know how to handle himself. I imagine the next few visits will be just as crazy as today, until he knows we are forever coming back and taking him home. We will be back to visit tomorrow, so stay tuned for more!

Enjoy the pictures and mini-movie!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My first visit

Today, after waiting severfal hours for one stubborn persons signature, I got to go meet Patrick. This was not an "official" visit, and I was not allowed to take pictures today, in fact, Bill was not even with me. This is what happened...we met at the SDA this morning with 2 other families. One family just needing to get some things notarized and go visit there daughter, and the other family, like us, waiting for the referral letter to be signed. All 6 of us had the final destination in commone and so we were needing to take 2 cars wherever we were headed. Anyways, only one member from each family needed to stay the SDA and sign this paper, so the wives took off in the seperate car to the orphanage thinking the men weren't too far behind us. We were wrong, the men never caught up! However, with a little help from our facilitator (we love Oleg!) we were able to get a sneak preview of our children. Patrick is wonderful! He was sitting at the table playing tea party and shared his "tea" and "biscuits" with me. We read a book together, and I was able to hear his beautiful laugh! He got hot at one point and removed one of his shirts, he folded it neatly and placed it on the edge of the table. He also picked up his dishes when he was done playing tea party and put those away as well. His teacher commented that he was very well behaved and listened and followed directions better than most kids. She then asked if I liked him and would accept him in our family. I said yes, i love him and I want to take him home. She got teary eyed when she started telling me that she had prayed for a family for him for so long and she was so happy that one finally came along. I told her we had been praying for him as well, and we shared a joyful/ teary hug. Tomorrow Bill will get to go with me, so we are very excited. The paper is now ready, so maybe tomorrow we will have pictures. And if not, just know that he is absolutely as beautiful in person as he is in the pictures I have of him already! And for the foot thing that was mentioned yesterday, I didn't notice anything. We're gonna go grab dinner now, more later!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More waiting and a run in!

We got to the SDA to get our paper and received a phone call while we waited outside that our paper was not ready yet and we would have to come back in the morning. The next phone call was from an RR family wanting to meet up for dinner. So, on our way to dinner, we crossed under the road and were walking through the mall down there when I saw another RR friend that I hadn't had the chance to meet yet (I love that I could recognize her from an internet picture, isn't technology grand!). It was really great running into her, she is also adopting from the same orphanage, so there are 3 families here right now for our orphanage. Anyway, she speaks Ukrainian, so she was able to help us find socks for Bill. Which, I forgot to mention this story....while we were packing, we were trying to fit into as few bags as possible. To do this, we kept consolidating bags. In the process, Bill didn't transfer his socks from one of the other bags, so I have been hand washing his socks every night and blow drying them with a hand dryer every morning. No big deal, just annoying! So, now he has socks. It is so wonderful to have so many RR famillies here at the same time, and more are coming! We look forward to getting to know these other families as well as Patrick over the coming weeks. More tomorrow!

SDA Part 1

This morning we went to the SDA for our appointment. I think it went well. We go back this afternoon at 4:30 to get the offical referral in writing (at least that's my understanding). . We got to see a precious picture of Patrick, he was a newborn in the picture and had the fattest cheeks I have ever seen! I do believe he has always been a bit of a chunker, lol! We asked if we could take a picture of the photo and were told that if we bring a new picture, we can have the old picture. I want that baby picture, so I will be taking a newer one to trade. We learned that he was left in the maternity house and his parents left no contact information, so they consider him to have no known parents. They don't even think the names that were left on the birth certificate were real. To there knowlwedge he has no brothers or sisters. We were told his birthdate (which we already knew) and also that he has Down Syndrome (which we already knew!). What we didn't know and still are not clear on is that he has a deformed foot or leg. Nadia was unsure about how to translatevwhat it is, but it isn't club foot. They know he is able to walk on it as we have seen in pictures, so this is not something I am worried about, but will have the doctor look at it just the same!

We went to a restraunt after our appointment. We thought we were stopping in for coffee, but it ended up being a full service restraunt with an english menu! I had a chef salad. It was good, but not a dressing I would choose again. It also had sprigs of fresh dill on it, I could have done without that, but I ate it and am very full now. Bill had cheese crepes and was very happy with his selection. One of the servers spoke english, but not ours. We did well enough and I am very proud that we got the food we ordered and needed no assistance! Unfortunately, it was a bit pricey, so I doubt we will return very often. That one meal was our food budget for the day, but we have breakfast and dinner already here at the apartment from what we got at the grocery last night.

We are looking forward to going back for more pizza, a whole pizza for under $3 is much more affordable then todays'a meal! Again, we are learning as we go, and I am very proud at what we have learned already. In fact, today Bill was very impressed with my sense of direction. He is still a bit lost, I am normally the lost one. I still get lost at home, but for some reason (survival mode perhaps?) I am finding it very easy to get around Kiev. Perhaps because he tends to rely on signs at home and I follow landmarks. Here I am 100% looking at landmarks at all times to learn where to go and he cannot read the signs. It's good though, I am glad we are able to get around where we need to.

I will update again later once we go back for our referral paper, and hopefully I remember to get the traditional SDA sign picture while we are there this time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Today, we explored (with pics)

Nadia (our fabulous translator) picked us up this morning around 9:20 to bring us our cell phone. (Communication on the go is great in a strange land!) She took us to exchange our money, we stopped and had coffee, and did some site seeing. We met up with Oleg at the SDA for a little while (we needed to know how to walk there for our appointment tomorrow, our friends appointment is before ours and so Oleg and Nadia will be unavailable to pick us up; it is close, so no worries!) We visited 2 beautiful churches, St. Andrews and St. Michaels. I wish I could have gotten pictures of the insides, because the art and architecture were breath taking. They are both traditional orthodox churches, but did not require head coverings, so we were good to go! Behind St. Michaels is a wishing fountain, not like we have at home, but very cool. You take a coin, dip it in the water to make it damp, hold it to the end piece and make a wish; if your coin stays, your wish comes true; if your coin does not stay,keep trying until it does, LOL! We then had lunch with Nadia, and then she left to pick up our RR friends from the airport. At this point she had spent almost 4 hours with us showing us around the city and making us feel much more comfortable here. We returned to the apartment after walking around a bit more and sat down to relax and fell asleep, we did not wake up for almost 4 hours! (I think that is what they call jet-lag, lol!) After naptime, I was able to speak to several RR families that are in country on the phone and was even able to meet up with 2 families for our adventurous dinner. That was an experience! We went to a cafeteria style place (you can just point to what you want and go with it). They also had a pizza place within it, where you could order your pizza (no pointing though, just straight ordering!). One of the other families called her translator and ordered through her and then gave her phone to the pizza guy for the official order. This system worked great and Bill was able to make his order this way as well. It was worth feeling lost to see the look on pizza boy's face when he realized why he was being handed the phone, I'm sure they will be talking about us for days!!! We had an enjoyable meal (I'm not sure what I ate, but it had meat...vegetarianism is going on hold until I am back in the states!), and enjoyed being with other families as well. I didn't get a picture of us all, although one of them did. Hopefully there will be many more opportunities for group photos real soon! After dinner we found a grocery store and picked up some things for the apartment. Our appointment is in the morning at 11. It is now 10pm here and we are going to get some much needed sleep. I think tomorrow will be a long day.

I will post again later with pics, I do not have a highspeed connection, so the upload is taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R!!!!


Monday, June 15, 2009

First Impression of Kiev

The city is BUSY! There are people everywhere. The girls are very pretty, although dressed a little revealing for what I am used to! I do believe that everyone in this city smokes; and from what I can tell, nowhere is off limits (the guard inside the airport was even smoking!). Public drinking is allowed. I'm not sure what the point of the traffic cop is, I think they just stand around; noone enforces any traffic rules (I don't even think there are any rules). Parking spots are just for decoration, sidewalks are much more accessible for parking (at least that's where everyone thinks they should park). To cross major roads by foot, you go under them, kinda freaky and cool all at the same time. Having paper and pen handy at all times is good for when your apartment lady changes te code 5 minutes after you leave and she speaks no english and well, I speak no Russian! Lines mean nothing; if you are not standing against the person in front of you, that means there is room for someone to be there, and they WILL be there. Overall the city seems great. I am looking forward to learning more tomorrow when I am awake!

We made it!

We arrived in Ukraine in one piece! We had no problem with our layovers and breezed through customs. We are now going to get some rest!

Our SDA appointment is Wed at 11am (3am at home!)and Patrick has officially been told about us and we are told that he is very excited!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This is it!

We leave in about 18 hours. My bags are packed, Bill's are not! But, everything is ready to go. We are about to drop the kids off and come back home for some detailed cleaning that we don't do when Jessie is around! If I can get connected I will post from the airports, but if not, my next post will be from Ukraine! Please pray for safe travels and a fast and easy process while we are in country. We're on our way to get our boy! Praise God!!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

In less than 48 hours

I will be sitting in Chicago airport waiting for our flight to Germany. In Germany's airport, we will meet up with another adopting family and ride into Ukraine together. I am looking forward to connecting with this family and many others while we are there! I have been sick with nerves the last few days, the feeling of finally going to get my boy and the fear and sadness of leaving my kids at home are a bit overwhelming. But, I know that it is all worth it. I can't tell you how anxious I am to wrap my arms around Patrick. In less than a week I will be able to hold him, look into his eyes and tell him I am his mommy! How cool is that?! We have been SUPER busy this week. Spending time with the kiddos (fitting summer into a week is exhausting!), cleaning house (no one wants to come home to dust and grime!), and lots of packing. Tomorrow we will be tying up all the loose ends around here and dropping kids off (boys with there dad and girls with grandma). My mom and step-dad are going to stay here with us on Sat night and take us to the airport early on Sunday! So, by Monday afternoon I will be in Ukraine!!! We have a day of rest planned for Tuesday and our appointment is Wednesday. I'm not sure if we will meet Patrick on Wed or Thurs, but we will meet him this next week!! Please pray for safe travels and for my mind and heart to be at ease about travelling and leaving my babies. Thank you all for your ongoing support!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It hit me today, it hit me hard!

I'm leaving! I am leaving my 5 children at home for at least a month! It hadn't hit me yet, until I started packing the girls things today. As I packed I realized why I was packing. It wasn't for a weekend visit with grandma or an overnight trip to there aunt's or cousin's house, it is because I am leaving them for a really long time. WOW, the tears started flowing. I knew it would be hard to leave them, but today I got my first dose of just how hard it will be to not hold each of my kids each day. Regrets, NO...I have NO REGRETS, and NO SECOND THOUGHTS. I know I am doing the right thing, and nothing can change my mind. Patrick belongs home with us, period!! My kids WILL survive without me and vice-verse, although it will be hard and even painful. Thank God for Skype, at least I can see and hear them! We leave them in 3 days! Wow, I can't believe it is time to go already, time has just flown by since I first saw that precious face! We're coming baby, mommy and daddy are coming!

Zoo day

We did make it to the drive-in Tues night. The kids thought it was great...and I actually enjoyed the movies. Yes, movies , it was a double feature. You really can't beat that. We paid $18 ($5 of which we paid to bring in a cooler of our own food!) and got to see 2 movies, 5 people! Yesterday, we went to the zoo (we are members and we pack our lunch, so this is a free day!)with my SIL and nephew. It was a fun day! Today we are staying home and I am packing. Tomorrow we are going to Dave and Busters so we can have some fun with the older kids. Friday is another day of packing and cleaning. Saturday we will spend time together in the morning and then we will drop all the kids off with the people that will be keeping them. It will be very busy the next few days. We are trying to spend as much fun and quality time with all the kids as we can before we leave. Here are some pics of our day at the zoo yesterday!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Family Fun, in pictures

We had a great time with our family yesterday. There was a TON of food, volleyball, badminton, kites, bubbles and, of course, family! It was so nice to see everyone before we leave. The hardest part about this adoption isn't the paperwork or the amount of money, it's not seeing my kids and family for so long. So, it was really nice to spend the day with them yesterday. Of course, we lost track of time and missed the movie, so I think we are going to try to do that tonight....please don't rain!!!!!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Family Time

I have a very close family. We talk daily on the phone and see each other several times a month (they all live a little over an hour away!). So, since I am leaving for an extended period, today we are having a get together. We are all headed over to to my mom's house for games, food, and time together. It will be a great afternoon/ evening.

Tonight, Bill and I are taking the kids to a drive-in movie. They are showing "Up". it's a great deal and the only way to see a movie with a budget and a large family. Our drive-in only charges $12 a car. That breaks down to less than $2 a piece!! Not only that, but if everyone wants to, it's a double feature! The second movie is "Earth". It's very tempting to stay out really late tonight to catch both of those, but we'll see. We will be packing a cooler and taking that with us to avoid going to the concession stand.

OK, well, I'm off to get ready, it's gonna be a looooong day!

Friday, June 5, 2009

More shopping...

Yesterday we finally bought Patrick's mattress. I don't know why we waited so long to do this, but we did. That was such a big stress point to me, that we didn't have it yet, so I'm glad that is now checked off the list.

I also did some clothing shopping for myself. I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl usually, and since I stay home, I don't keep a "large" wardrobe. We went bargain shopping, I bought 4 pairs of casual/ dress pants, 9 shirts and a sundress, all for under $150. All of my clothes will travel well and are easy to pack lightly with.

We haven't really bought anything for Patrick, we are planning on buying him clothes once we know his size and toys once we know what he likes and where he is developmentally.

WE LEAVE IN 9 DAYS!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The 10 day post

This was written by Chris and Mary, and originally posted 10 days before they left for Ukraine. Since they posted it, it has become a bit of a tradition to post this 10 days out, it is a beautiful poem. Thank you Chris and Mary for letting us "borrow" this from you!


10 days away...

and I'm wondering...

I wonder...when it was 10 days before I met God and He adopted me, was HE this excited?

I wonder if His stomach did flips and He got tears in His eyes when He thought about holding me for the first time.

I wonder if His heart ached when He thought about my life without Him as my Daddy.

I wonder if it grieved Him to know that I was living as an orphan and had no hope of a future without Him.

I wonder if He was as okay with paying my ransom as I am with paying our boys'.

I wonder if, for Him, there was no cost too high, no sacrifice too great.

I wonder...by Chris and Mary Malone



So, now for those of you that didn't know before, we are going to Ukraine. This is one of the details we couldn't share on a public blog. Specifically, we are going to the region of Kiev. We are blessed to be traveling with several other families, 2 of which are going to be at the same orphanage as us. I think this will help when it comes time for Bill to leave. I will have friends over there, and we will be able to be together and enjoy each others company in the absence of our husbands and children.

I am still feeling anxious about leaving my kids for that long, but I know they will be safe and loved while I am gone. My biggest fear is how much Jessie will change in the month and a half that I am gone. She is learning so much every day right now, and I am afraid of leaving a baby at home and coming home to a big girl. Even though I have these fears, I am still at peace, I KNOW this is what God wants for us, and I KNOW Patrick is going to bless our family in so many ways. I am so excited to meet him and hold him and show him love!

Monday, June 1, 2009

"An Orphan's Prayer"

I got this from Christy's blog...

"An Orphan's Prayer"

I am waiting..... somewhere far...far...away on the other side of the world.
I may not know who you are or what you look like,
But some how deep in my heart I know you are out there.
That one day you will come and find me.
It's a long journey, and it takes a lot of time...
I wish it could be easier.
But I know that the ones who come for me will not count the cost.
They will only see the joy of finding me.
For now I abide in the fields of the fatherless.
Day by day wondering why I was born here and not somewhere else?
Asking...why my life couldn't have been different?
It is so lonely...
Even though I am surrounded by hundreds of other children,
I know that something is missing...I know in my heart I need a place to call home.
My arms long to be wrapped in a father's embrace...I long to be saved by a mother's love...
Gazing out the orphanage window, I offer a prayer of hope,
"Oh God please help them come quickly."
Even as I lay in the darkness each night somehow I feel assured,
That no matter how lost I appear I am not alone.
Holy hands guard my steps; sacred fingers wipe my tears, touching my lonely heart.
The one who made me,
The God that knew me before I was born,
Hears me every time I call.
He whispers His promises in my ear.
I listen with hope to His voice.
But what I worry about most is that no one wants to look for me.
The fields are vast and there are so many scattered all over the earth.
I wonder how one little child, so lost, can be found?
Yet He calms my heart and assures me that He will find you.
That He will make sure that you hear His voice clearly.
He has promised me that He will make a way through the fields,
That He will personally cut a path, and lead you right to my orphanage door.
My prayer is...
When He speaks...Please don't forget to listen...
When He calls don't be to afraid to go
For I am waiting...somewhere, far...far...away
On the other side of the world
To come Home.

~Author Unknown


Thank you, Jesus, for finding me and leading me to Patrick. I am so thankful that You made Yourself so loud that I could NOT drown out the sound of Your voice, leading me to him. Please bring Patrick comfort in the coming weeks, let him know that we are coming.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

WOW- it's time to go private!

Since I got that e-mail yesterday, things have been really busy. I had to book a flight, rent an apartment, finalize dates with people watching the girls, make sure the boys' dad knew when I would be gone, and continue on with everyday life in the midst of it. That's enough to make a girl go crazy! Now that I have all that taken care of, I am at the point of my journey where my blog will be going private. So, if you want an invite, please leave me a comment with your e-mail address (I will NOT publish them, no worries!). I will say, if you request a comment, I will only invite you if I know who you are, so please include your name and how I know you in the comment! Family- you will automatically be on my list, so don't worry about leaving a comment at this time! Going private will allow me to be more open about dates and locations and what we are doing while we are over there. Going private will also allow me to post pictures more openly. This will happen some time next week, as soon as I figure out how to get it done and invitations sent out.

If you are looking for more lists, I don't have a clue what to tell you. I am done with those lists, I crossed them off and am on to new ones. Everything I am doing now can be found in "the handbook". Other than what I listed below, we did summer/ spring cleaning, reorganizing, painting, and other home repairs and maintenance's that are left for the summer months. Hopefully I got the most important stuff onto the already posted lists, but now, I need to focus on making sure I am ready to go and my kids are ready for me to go.

Friday, May 29, 2009

We have a date!!

WE HAVE AN APPOINTMENT ON JUNE 17TH!!!! MORE DETAIL LATER!!!!

List 3

Are you tired of my lists yet? I am!! Here is list 3...

1) make a list of everyone medications. Who takes what, how often, and how much. Make sure you and your children have enough medicines for the length of time you will be away (if insurance is a problem, call them and explain about the travel, and they SHOULD work with you and cover the extra meds up front, if not, see if your pharmacy will work with you).
2) Ask your doctor for antibiotics for you and your husband, you never know what you may get when you travel
3) update your tetanus shot!
4) if you are a female that reacts in an uncomfortable way to antibiotics, make sure you have meds for that too!
5) check with your facilitator about how to bring your money, mine said American dollars was best, but other regions may say otherwise, so check first. No matter what kind of money you bring, make sure it is "new" money that is not wrinkled and torn. They seem to frown on this! So, let you bank know a couple weeks in advance how much money you will be needing, smaller banks may take some time to get this to you!
6) make sure you turn off your water supply before you leave the house, unless someone is staying at your house of course, LOL. You don't want to come home to a flood!
7)get travel adapters for the plugs, our stuff won't fir over there (Target has these in the luggage isle along with other travel necessities, i.e. money belt, travel sized shampoos, etc.)

OK, so that list is a bit random, but like I said, I am not normally a "list person", so I'm not good at it. I'm sure some lists even repeat themselves. Stay tuned for more....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

List 2

Ok, so on to the next list. Here is a list that is a little more specific to us, but here it is!

1. Make a letter discribing your children's basic routines you wish to be followed.
2. Include in that list any quirks or personality traits that the people watchng your kids may not be aware of (for example, my 3 year old will not use a toilet with an automatic flusher on it, it scares her horribly, I must cover the sensor for her to use it....most people don't know that about her!)
3. Make sure your doctor is aware that your children may be brought in by someone else, make sure they know you are out of country.
4. Make sure your bank knows you are out of country, this will help them from locking your account thinking it is fraudulant (same for credit cards).
5. Put your mail on hold, so it is not stacking up in the mailbox (newspapers too).
6. Pay ahead on your bills.
7. Have your neighbor or someone you trust come to your house and switch which lights are on to give the appearance of someone being home.
8. Have someone move the cars every now and then

Ok, that's it for the second list. I will post another tomorrow. You will start seeing there is no rhyme or reason to why things are listed together. They are just listed by what I thought of that day, lol. So, hang with me :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

List 1

Last night during my adoption group "chat", the concept of lists was brought up. Now, if you ask anyone who really knows me, you will know I am NOT a list maker by nature. However, the adoption process can change anyone. I now have so many lists, that I have a list to keep up with my list, and no, I am NOT kidding! So, since some of my adoption group friends were having trouble getting there lists started, I volunteered to "blog" my lists. I will post them until I am through them all; just keep in mind, everyone will have different things they feel they need to accomplish, but at least this will give you a place to start.

This first list is important for EVERYONE traveling without children, EVERYONE!!!!
1. Notarized POA to all caregivers of your children to access medical care in your absence.
2. Copy of insurance cards attached to before mentioned POA
3. Allergy and medical information for each child, also attached to the POA
4. Primary care physician phone number and address,also attached to POA
5. Mom, dad and all children's full name, social security number and DOB (for medical insurance purposes), also attached to POA
6. Write out and get notarized (if you don't have a will in place) who will be in charge of raising your children should something happen to you. It should be worded to cover an unforeseen length of stay of sudden loss of life of both parents. (I know these are things we don't want to think about, but you don't want your kids in the foster care system because of poor planning either!)This paper should be kept in a safe deposit box, a file in your home and a copy given to the person who would gain custody. No one else needs to see it or even know it is written, no need to hurt feelings!

OK, that covers list 1, this is the "BIG" list to me, because it is the only one that really matters. The others I will post, but this is the one I wanted people to see!

Monday, May 25, 2009

YIPPEE!!!

I just got an e-mail from our facilitator, our dossier was accepted! (Insert sigh of relief here). Next step, waiting on a travel date, then we are outta here!! Keep the prayers coming, they are powerful indeed!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tomorrow's the day

Tomorrow our dossier will be submitted to Patrick's country. So, I SHOULD hear if they accepted or denied my request (a denial usually just means a paper needs redone). Please pray with me that they accept our request and extend us an invitation to travel. When it is accepted, we should hear our travel date in about 1 week.

I want to take this time, again, to thank everyone who has prayed for us, supported us, those that gave of themselves and there belongings, and those that donated money. We appreciate you ALL more than we can ever express. We are still amazed by the outpouring of love we have received since beginning this process. We have made friends and became closer to those we already had. My family has come and stood beside me more than I ever thought possible. We are blessed beyond belief and so thankful to everyone!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Deliveries!

This week has brought the Fed Ex man and UPS man to my house, although, they were both women, lol! So, the first delivery was the carrier, and I love it! I tried it on with Kami (I've been told Patrick wears about a size 4, and Kami wears a 5, so I'm thinking weight wise, maybe similar), she loved it. In fact, she got mad when I took her out of it. I think it will be nice to carry him and have face time with him, although, I can't guarantee my back won't hurt, but at least my arms will be free and he will be safe and secure with his momma!


The second delivery was the car seat , I am so excited to have the extended harness for him. That way, he can learn to ride in a car safely before we put him into a booster seat. Since he's never ridden in a car, this will be a learning experience all it's own!

Today I finally started painting his room. He will be sharing with Steven. That room used to be the girls' room, and it was pink and purple. Right now it is grey (we got tinted primer), but by tomorrow will be blue. I think we are going with a space theme. Steven wants to get planets and stars in there, he already has a moon night light that shows all the phases of the lunar cycle.

I will post pictures of everything very soon, but until I get that done please pray for our submission on this coming Monday, and also pray that we find a twin mattress that is inexpensive but not cheaply made for Patrick's bed!

That's it for now, and I promise, pictures soon!!