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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Who said it was easy?

We had Vladan's medical appointment this morning for his Visa. It was the most basic doctor's visit I have ever seen. The doc listened to his heart, listened to his lungs and felt his belly. She didn't look at his eyes, his ears, his throat....nothing. She didn't even weigh or measure him. I was a bit bummed about that because I would have loved an official weight and height for him. We did get a copy of his vaccination records though which will be beneficial later.

At 2pm, we had our Visa appointment. There weren't many people at the embassy that day....actually there weren't any there on Friday when we went the first time either. We got in pretty quicky and the interview was very basic. Why did you adopt? Why from Serbia? Are you prepared for his special needs? (This was the first time anyone asked us these questions...which we found strange) Then the guy said, "That is all for today. You can come back tomorrow to pick up the Visa." Um, what?? We were told that we could get the Visa the same day. We changed our plane tickets to leave Wednesday at 6:45am. The guy that we dealt with on Friday was also there, and he said, "We can get it today." Whew! So, back out into the waiting room. We wait, and wait, and wait. Then he comes back out and says that they are waiting on some authorization from Washington, DC. So we wait some more. He comes back out and says they are still waiting....if they get it by 4:45, we can have it today, if not...."We are sorry." It was 4:15 at that point. I had been praying the whole time...begging God to make the authorization come through. But 4:45 came and still nothing. We left and I was completely broken. We walked back to the apartment from the embassy (probably 3/4 mile or so) in the snow. Vladan is a trooper and trudged through without a single complaint.

We made it back to the apartment and Honey sent out an email to Eldon to change our plane tickets...again. I sent a text to our facilitator about what to do about the apartment....we were only paid up and "reserved" to stay through tonight. Eldon got back to Honey relatively quickly and there were seats available on Thursday. And our facilitator worked it out for us to stay another night at the apartment and she told us that ours was the first problem any adopting family has EVER had. EVERYONE has always gotten the Visa the same day. Somehow, that didn't help me feel better about the situation. :(

I didn't even want to think about dinner....I was frustrated and homesick and frustrated. (Did I say that already?) There was a chicken place right down the street from our apartment. I walked down (by myself...I needed a break and Honey was happy to stay in the warm apartment) Thank the Lord, there was a guy there who spoke English. I'm not sure I was up for charades at this point. I went back to the apartment and boiled up some carrots and potatoes (for a taste of home) and dinner was pretty good! It's funny though...we were told that Vladan doesn't like chicken. He must have been hungry, because he devoured chicken tonight.

So, we wait, again. I know God had a reason for saying, "Not yet!" when I prayed today. And I'm a spoiled brat for being upset about it. :(

Sunday, November 28, 2010

No want

**I wrote this post when we were in Serbia and I felt so down. That's why I didn't post for a while. I was just in a funk and didn't want to share my negativity! But, I think it might be important for others to read about someone who didn't find the whole experience to be Heavenly.


This is what Vladan says several times a day...of course it is in Serbia. Everyone at the foster home and his social worker thought it was hilarious when he would say it. I DO NOT! Because he will say it when I tell him to move away from the TV (it's a large screen TV in the apartment and he tries to get about 6 inches from it). He says it when I tell him to eat his food and not try to get ours. He says it when I ask him to play legos with me. And the list goes on and on.....he only wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. I guess that's typical 6 year old behavior, but I am tired and am not dealing well with it.

Tonight, I went searching for a blog that expressed what I am feeling right now. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining.....I am just, well, I'm not sure what I am. I don't feel like myself and that is confusing. I don't want to tell anyone this for fear of them judging me. I don't want my family to worry. I just wish someone else felt like I do.....or would write it down so I don't feel so alone. I know it takes time to get to know each other. I know that he is just testing us right now because he has never been made to mind. I know that we have only had him for 9 days and he has 6 years of bad habits to unlearn. I know all of this...with my HEAD. It's my heart that can't comprehend. I should love this child to the end of the earth. He is what I longed for for so long. I should be willing to overlook some of his bad behaviors and....all the "I shoulds" that are out there. But right now, all I want to do is come home. I don't feel like I've made a mistake coming here. I am just....well, Mama no want to feel this way anymore!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A day of nothing....but waiting

Today is Saturday which means nothing gets done. We were going to explore the city, maybe see St. Sava's Cathedral, but it's pretty cold. We decided that we would all go stir crazy if we stayed in the apartment all day, so we bundled up (well, we bundled up Vladan....Honey and I had looked at the weather in Serbia before we left, and it seemed pretty warm. Um, we didn't bring coats) We decided it was a good McDonalds day (although everyday there seemed like a good McDonalds day) I remembered my camera and got some shots of Vladan's first Happy Meal. He didn't realize it came with a toy....which was a good thing because the "toy" was a juice cup. We kept the bag from his first Happy Meal to go in his memory box. He will probably think his parents are goofy for saving something like that. :)

On the way back to the apartment, we stopped at the grocery store to get a few things to snack on at the apartment. And we found....a frozen pizza! The grocery stores here are tiny like our mini marts at home. So, navigating them with a touchy 6 year old is challenging, to say the least. So, Papa took him outside for a couple minutes so Mama could focus on shopping. Coke Zero has saved me here (since I couldn't get my Diet Dr Pepper) and Honey has discovered a liking for Fanta. So, sodas, a loaf of bread, the pizza and toilet paper...plus a few other small things, and I was out the door. When we got back to the apartment, Honey put the groceries away...good man, huh? A few minutes later, he poured himself a glass of fanta...and that was when we discovered that there are 2 different flavors of Fanta that are colored orange. Hmmm, if I was able to read the language, I would have known that I chose exotic flavored (thank you Google Translate) instead of orange. I can't really put my finger on the taste....it was kind of pineapple, pina colada, tangerine.....or a mix of all those. Vladan got really lucky because he got to finish that one. :) We are lucky with the fact that this boy eats/drinks everything we give him.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Prayers

The Bible says the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man AVAILETH much. In the last few days, I can say that even the fervent prayer of this non-righteous woman availeth much also! Yesterday, we applied for Vladan's passport. There are a couple things that are difficult to get a tired 6 year old to do. Step one: we had to get him to roll his finger (for a fingerprint) across the fingerprint machine. He didn't totally understand what they were doing and the machine was warm so it scared him. Papa was holding him in his lap and I was behind praying my butt off (probably not the right way to say it). I just kept begging God to calm Vladan's spirit and let him know that it was ok. They had to get both index fingers. Finally, after 10 minutes, they somehow managed to get the prints!! Prayers availeth much! Step two: He had to sit still in a little booth to get his picture. Mama sat on the floor of the booth so he wouldn't be scared, but he refused to sit still. More prayers! Finally, Papa managed to get behind the lady taking the picture and made faces at Vladan. He watched Papa very carefully and was still enough for the picture. I don't think his face was a very good one, but it's a picture. More availing (is that a word?) Now to today.

Honey and I managed to find our way to the US embassy today. I called the embassy this morning to find out what we needed to do and the guy told us to come down this afternoon. I told him that we had our son with us and we didn't have his passport yet. Thankfully, he said this was not a problem! (Anyone see God working?) We left about an hour earlier than our appointment. We walked toward the cathedral that isn't far from our apartment. With as popular as this place is, we thought for sure there would be taxis. Nope! So, once again, prayers started going up. Honey was about to give up and just wait until Monday, and I had an idea. I had him wait with Vladan on the sidewalk and I went to the street. I pulled off a "New York cab hail wave" like I had been doing it my whole life and I GOT ONE. (In reality, I have never hailed a cab in my entire life) The guy even spoke a little English! (Score, God!) We got to the embassy about 20 minutes early (everyone was on break) and they let us in the waiting room. At 2pm, we met with the guy I spoke with this morning. He was super nice (I was worried about that) and gave us the paperwork we needed. As we were leaving, we asked about McDonalds. The guy gave us great directions and we had the best Big Macs I remember in forever! I hadn't brought my camera so I don't have pics of what I think might have been Vladan's first McDonalds cheeseburger. After that, we tried to get a cab back to the cathedral, but couldn't find anyone who spoke English or was even willing to try to figure out what I wanted. So, we started walking (and I started praying) After just a couple blocks, we recognized where we were. It wasn't too far from where we hailed the cab before and we knew how to get back to our apartment from there! (Isn't God good? I mean, there were 4 different ways to go when we got out of McDonalds, and God sent me the right way!) We even found a nice little grocery store where we got spaghetti and some Barilla sauce (I hope it's spaghetti sauce) for dinner! Honey said that I had a very good day because I got us where we needed to go and back. I have to say that it wasn't me......it was ALL GOD!

Unprepared

*A little long - sorry

I truly thought I was prepared for this adoption thing. You would think, after reading adoption blogs for 10 years that I would know the process in and out, right? Unfortunately, wrong. I'm not sure how I overlooked this. Yesterday, our facilitator told us that we needed to go to the embassy (by ourselves) and pick up visa paperwork to fill out. Uh, what? I was completely confused. I pulled out my adoption handbook and it said that sometime during the daily visits, we would go to the embassy to do preliminary paperwork and set up our visa appointment. Well, our daily visits were an hour away and we have yet to see the embassy. Hmmmmm. Luckily, I have wonderful online friends who have talked me down from a panic attack more than once since we left almost 2 weeks ago. They knew exactly what I needed to do. I just need to get the I-600 and fill it out. If I would have realized this, I would have printed it out at home and had it filled out already. What I don't get is, HOW DID I MISS THIS??? There is one little issue though. Since we don't yet have Vladan's passport, he can't go into the embassy. So, I guess one of us could go to the embassy and the other could stay here with Vladan. If we could find an internet cafe with a printer, we could print out the paperwork (if we could find someone in the cafe that spoke English) Our facilitator said that it might be possible to print it out at the lawyer's office on Monday. Oh, how I wish I would have realized I needed this. Somehow, I thought that when we did the I-600a, we were all set. I also have to call the embassy to see if there is anything other than the I-600 that they need from us and to set up a visa appointment. We are thinking it would be best to schedule it on Tuesday afternoon because we can't get his passport until Monday. And we have to fit the medical appointment in somewhere in between. I am nervous though because sometimes they can't issue the visa the same day. We really want to fly out on Wednesday, but what if the visa doesn't get done on Tuesday? We haven't changed our plane tickets yet because we're afraid. Oh, how I ramble!

I am glad to be back in the apartment in Belgrade! There is a washing machine here and although there isn't a dryer, I am happy! On the hotel's website (the one we stayed at in Pozarevac) it said they had laundry service. It turns out that the cost was 1 euro.....per piece of laundry. So, we just had them wash our jeans and sweatshirts and a few other things (10 pieces total). The rest of the laundry, I hand washed and hung to dry. Oh, how much of a pain that was. The first thing I did when we got here yesterday was put a load of laundry in the washer! I am so thankful that the apartment has a very cool drying rack. I will post pics of it and the apartment a little later....oh yeah, I haven't posted pics of the hotel, have I? I hung them up last night at about 9pm and they were dry this morning...all except the jeans but they were about 90% dry. :) I am so excited to get back home to my dryer. I thought I would be able to post video here....but this internet seems too slow too. So, you have to wait for the cute videos until we get home. I guess I should end this post and fold laundry.




It's a little hard to see, but these are 2 twin beds...with 2 blankets. It made it really hard sleeping with Vladan between us. He tended to settle into the crack between the beds. LOL!












This is the bathroom from the hotel. Can you see how small the shower is? Actually, the picture doesn't do it justice. Being a larger person in this part of the world makes life a bit more difficult.

















Our closet and Vladan (of course). If you notice the above pic and this one....you see his hand. He ALWAYS has to be touching something. We were so thankful that the TV was on the wall. It was too high for him to touch.















I found it interesting that even the hotel used clothes lines to dry the towels and sheets. I'm sure the cleaning ladies here would LOVE dryers. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving dinner

We made it back to the apartment in Belgrade at about 7pm. When we were done with our late lunch with our facilitator, lawyer and driver, they had all the leftover bread, salad (cheese, red bell peppers, cabbage, cream cheese) and the rest of our dinners wrapped up for us to take. Tonight at about 8, we were a little hungry. So, being the make shift cook that I am, I made dinner using the leftovers. The traditional bread that they have is kind of flat....think of a Boboli pizza crust, only about twice as thick. That gave me an idea!! I took the leftover "loaf" of bread and put a little spaghetti sauce on it. I broke up Vladan's leftover burger and sliced up some of the peppers. Then I broke up the cheese on the top....pizza!! Then I put it in the oven. This is where I had a little problem. Only, I didn't realize it was a problem until I smelled burning pizza. The oven was in celcius and I guess I didn't remember how to calculate it as well as I thought. The pizza was still edible, just a little toasted. Vladan scarfed it, so I guess it wasn't too bad. I would have taken a picture, but I didn't want to be embarassed by the blackened crust. :(

But still, it was a pretty good Thanksgiving feast! :)

One less orphan - officially!

Today November 25, 2010 at 12:30pm, we were declared parents. Our boy was born August 14, 2004 in Pozarevac, Serbia and is now our forever son! We are pleased to announce for the first time.....Vladan Breen. (Serbia does not allow the addition of a middle name, and we are not sure what his middle name will be...so for now, it is just Vladan Breen)






This picture was taken at lunch/dinner. You can see the proud Papa behind. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Praise the Lord!!

We have our signature! We found just a few minutes ago that the minister finally signed the final report and we should have our adoption ceremony tomorrow! Our facilitator said the ministry office here in this town closed at 2:30 and the minister signed after that. So she has been making phone calls trying to get it arranged to have the ceremony in the morning. I guess I will have to be up REALLY early checking emails to know when we need to go! If we get done really early, we can get the other paperwork done here and then we can head back to the capital city. We might even get to have pizza or McDonalds for dinner...dare we hope? I really don't want my blog to be a downer, but we are so terribly homesick. This smaller place doesn't have many people who speak English (outside of the hotel) so, I don't know, we feel so out of place. But hopefully tomorrow we will get back to a little more normal!





The second day that we were with Little Man (still at the foster home), he brought him some legos. He didn't seem to know what to do with them. He thought it was better to just put them back in the bag. Now, he is building all by himself.











He was picking up his tower to show us his creation. He was so excited! His new favorite word is, "WOW!!" That's what Honey and I said when we saw how big his tower was. ;)










Doesn't he look proud?? So adorable watching him learn new things...especially how to play! (This is actually the 2nd tower. The first one crashed as he was trying to get it to us. We were surprised he didn't get mad...just sat down and did it again! That is a big step...he likes to give up when something doesn't go his way.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our happy boy

This little guy is so happy. I am not saying it has all been easy and sunshiny. We are experiencing probably 4-5 temper tantrums a day because he has quite the stubborn side. Since we don't have any other children, we are playing a guessing game most of the time. I have a question for you experienced parents....how do you know when you are doing it right? I don't want to question my parenting ability, but it is happening anyway. I love to see him smile, but I'm afraid I'm doing something wrong when he throws one of his fits. I don't want to give him everything he wants because that will bite us all later, but I hate to see him so upset. UGH! I finally got him to smile for pictures today. Isn't it gorgeous?!

We love his little voice!

He has the sweetest voice. He tries so hard to say words, but he can't make certain sounds. We are anxious to get him with a speech therapist to see how quickly he will start talking our ears off. :) He knows how to say "Bravo" and LOVES when we say it to him!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blessed pizza

Honey and I are really missing home right about now. I used to think it was silly when adoptive parents spoke of being so homesick (unless they had little kids at home....I get that one) But we are REALLY missing everything about home. It smells different here (lots of smog), it sounds different here (lots of dogs barking and of course the language), it looks different here (so many things there), it tastes different (and that one I didn't think I would have a problem with). But we are truly missing spaghetti, cheeseburgers, tacos, chinese food, mac and cheese, pizza (I could truly go on for an entire post)

I went out last night looking for a burger. Honey stayed here at the hotel with Little Man because it was dark. (Don't worry....this city is safe and I only went about 2 blocks). There is gyro shop right down the street and I noticed a sign hanging that looked like a burger. I went in and said, "English?" The poor lady looked like I asked if I could cut off her arm. So, I just pointed to the burger looking thing and held up 2 fingers. Believe it or not, I actually got what I asked for minus the lettuce, tomato and pickles. She probably tried to ask me about that, but of course I had no idea what she was saying. I brought my prize back to the hotel and Honey, Little Man and I had dinner. They were pretty good although we're not exactly sure what it was....it definitely wasn't hamburger. Our driver said he thought it might be pork...we have had a lot of pork since we got here.

Our facilitator took us to the capital city today to see another fort and a couple more churches. After we were done walking (literally hours of walking) we said we needed to get Little Man something to eat. We brought some chips so he wasn't starving but I was beginning to get very hungry! She asked if we liked pizza and of course we answered, "YES!" She took us to a very nice pizzeria and I tell you, the pizza was heavenly! It was rather simple with just sauce, cheese and ham, but it tasted like home! Now to just find a real cheeseburger! :)



Too bad our facilitator didn't know how to zoom in. This is a very good picture of the three of us. Of course, Little Man looks rotten in it. :)

Fighting Sleep 101

This information is courtesy of the 6 year old resident of Hotel Konak room 5.

Fighting sleep sure is an art, but it can be learned. One easy way to ensure you will not fall asleep is to suck your fingers so hard that you make a slurping sound. Next, make sure you don't keep your legs still. Wiggle them back and forth or kick your feet...not enough to make Mama mad, but enough to keep you from sleeping. Humming to yourself works very well also. It is an extra blessing when you get help from other people....like when someone from the room next door decides to start hammering something around 9:30. That saves you having to use up your own resources. And you can count on the many dogs that roam the city to band together and cause a raucous every half hour or so.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out how to stay awake indefinitely. But I know how to keep Mama and Papa from sleeping. :) I just flail my arms all over. (I might have given Papa a couple bruises on his head last night)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Great night sleep - for Little Man

LONG POST!!
He slept great last night!! We were a little worried about him sleeping in the regular bed since he is used to the crib, so I slept on the side of bed with him closer to the middle (or should I say the other side that is right by the other bed) Let me start at the beginning of last evening. Our hotel room doesn't have a bathtub, and the shower is barely big enough to turn around in. He was a little scared at first because he didn't really understand what was going on. I finally got his clothes off and got him in the shower. Thankfully the shower is a hand held one so I was able to get it close to him, but it still was scary. I did the fastest shower in history. I got him wet and then totally soaped him up (thankfully I found Johnson's baby shampoo in the grocery store) then rinsed him off. Then we got him dried off....he enjoyed "helping" me do that part. He absolutely LOVED his pajamas! He kept patting his chest with a big grin on his face!! Then it was time for bed. I pulled back the cover and he jumped right in. Honey wasn't ready for bed yet so we turned the main light off (left the bathroom light on) and left the TV on. He laid in bed for about 20 minutes watching TV and sucking his fingers. Then he was out! He slept all night except for about 30 seconds at around midnight. He woke up and sort of screamed, but I rubbed his back and he went back to sleep. We're not sure if he had a bad dream or woke up and didn't know where he was....but it was good that he comforted quickly. This morning was fun. We cuddled and played with him kind of climbing on top of us....it really felt like bonding taking place.

Our facilitator took us to another town today to visit a fort and church. Little Man did so well at the church while the priest told us about it (in English). The fort was HUGE! And they had a really cool playground that we had fun at after we walked the fort. We were out longer than normal and Little Man didn't eat on time....he was hungry! So, we stopped and got him a little bag of "Chipsy" chips. They were ketchup flavored and believe it or not..they were really good. This child will eat anything, so far anyway. He loves soup and does pretty well feeding himself. He is learning that Mama dips her bread in everything and is starting to do it too. :)

On another note, he is so curious about the potty. Whenever he wets his diaper...he pats the front of his pants and then goes toward the bathroom. I take him in there and he stands by the potty (like Papa) and tries, but of course we haven't gotten it yet because he just went in his diaper. Hopefully he will figure it out and we will make it in time. I think if he does it once, he will start getting it. We had a very good first whole day together. Oh, by the way.....the size 5's clothes that I brought for him are too big. I am guessing maybe he wears a size 4.

Little Man sleeping. I was a little afraid the flash would wake him up, but I chanced it anyway. Don't all new mamas take pictures of their child sleeping? :)










Papa sleeping next to his son. (Well, we're not official yet since we haven't had the adoption ceremony yet, but it sure feels official!)











Me and Little Man at the fort. Papa hates getting his picture taken, but I swear I will get some pics of them together sooner or later. *It is nearly impossible to get a picture of him smiling. This is because he wants the camera and is pouting because he can't have it. We took his glasses strap off today because it makes his glasses too tight. But then his glasses slip down and he hasn't figured out yet when to push them up.





This is us at the cool playground. He wasn't too sure about this slide at first. The slide here at the hotel is small. Honey said his face looked like he was scared at first. Then he went to try it again. Eventually, he was practically running to the steps to go again!








This shirt is a size 5...see how big it is on him? The little girl behind him is Sophia. She is 2 1/2 and when we went there, she asked our facilitator if she wanted something to eat. LOL! She was also using soda caps under the slide set "making coffee" for people.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Interesting day

This morning was one of the most emotional of my life! We went to the foster home at about 11 this morning. After spending about an hour playing, we were called into the other room for the foster mom to tell us some things about Little Man. She told us what he likes to eat and that if he gets upset, that a snack will usually calm him down. She told us how to hold him close if he has a bit of a meltdown (which she says doesn't happen often, but it will happen). Then our translator said that she could take me upstairs to get some of his clothes. I could feel a change. As I walked upstairs, tears started welling up in my eyes. We went into his room and she started pulling clothes out to put in his backpack. Every few seconds she could exhale audibly and I could literally feel her heart breaking. I couldn't help it, tears started flowing. When she was done, she turned to hand me his backpack. I put my arm around her and she put hers around me and sobbed into my shoulder. I truly felt like I was taking her child away. She held on to me for a couple minutes. I told her I was sorry and she said it was ok. (She doesn't speak English, but somehow I think she understood) We went downstairs and I think the officials were concerned, but I couldn't help it.

I don't think Little Man felt anything different although she washed his face one last time and kissed him all over his face. It was truly heartbreaking to see. But now that job is mine....washing faces, kissing boo boos, giving baths and putting to bed. He is with us now in the hotel. It is almost bath time and then we will put to bed.....that will probably be a challenge, but I am up for it. The officials came to the hotel room about 7 tonight after him being with us all day. They both stood by the door with mouths open staring at this happy engaging child. He was trying to speak. He was copying things that Honey drew on the magnadoodle. He was smiling like he was the happiest child on earth. That is what did my heart good! Hopefully they will be able to write the final report tomorrow and it will be forwarded to the ministry. We hope the Ministry Official will be in the office and sign the document quickly....then we will have the adoption ceremony. Once that happens, he is ours! And we will begin the end of the process with embassy stuff and passport and visa and all that stuff. Then we will come home. That is the Readers Digest version of what we have left. :) Ok, off to give the first bath.

I will try to post a couple pics in a little bit.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Honey

Today is my Honey's birthday. Last year we were on a cruise on his birthday. I told him he shouldn't get used to being away from every birthday. :) Today was a tiring day. Little Man was very energetic (and overwhelmed again by people) and he wore me out! So instead of a regular post tonight, I am making lists.

Things that I LOVE here:
1. A certain little boy's giggle that seems to come from his toes.
2. Seeing Babas (old women) walking in town with scarves on their heads and they always seem to be carrying a basket.
3. Seeing love in the eyes of Little Man's older foster sister (although it is sad too)
4. Watching Little Man learn new things and explore.
5. How so many people here try to speak a little English
6. Seeing miles and miles of overturned fields. (I know it's weird, but it is beautiful)
7. The way that Little Man raises his eyebrows so his eyes are as big as they can be and then smiles a huge smile....right before he does something he knows he's not supposed to do.
8. Having internet in the hotel room....it's not always great, but I know we are lucky to have it.
9. The fact that Coke Zero tastes the same here...and I can find it almost everywhere
10. The feel of a little hand on my leg while riding in the car. :)

Things that I am TRYING to get used to:
1. Ordering something off the English menu and it not being what I thought I ordered. (examples....ordering sausage at breakfast and being served hot dogs, ordering a cheeseburger and getting a meat loaf with cheese in the middle, ordering a steak and getting a pork loin)
2. Driving here is NUTS!! We are so glad that we decided to hire a driver instead of renting a car.
3. People around us talking in another language and it not being translated. (Even when they are talking about us and our process)
4. My friends not being online when I am because of the time difference.
5. Not being able to have Diet Dr Pepper
6. A shower that is barely big enough to turn around in
7. Cars parked on the sidewalks.
8. Only having a couple outfits to choose from.
9. Washing said outfits in the sink
10. Our hotel having 2 twin beds...even pushed together there is a gap between them. We are used to cuddling when we sleep so one of us is always in the gap and it is not a comfortable place to be. :(

I was going to make a list of things that I hate, but I might get myself in trouble with that. LOL!

No pics today...I didn't get them loaded onto the computer and it is time for bed...sorry!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Amazingly wonderful day!

Yesterday was a very rough day. I didn't post because to be honest, I was beginning to think that it was possible for this adoption to not work. There are details that I want to remember, but do not feel comfortable sharing.....actually, yesterday probably should just be forgotten.

Today, however, was great! We were able to go to the foster home at 11am (an hour later than the last couple days and the extra sleep did us so much good!) The officials that observe the visits didn't come to the home until about 1 or 1:30. We think that we have discovered that when Little Man is anxious, it comes out as being super hyper! And he gets overstimulated or overwhelmed or both when a lot of people are watching him. So, we were able to cuddle and play with him without the pressure of people watching us and it totally changed how we interacted. Once the officials got there, he was so comfortable with us that he didn't seem to mind them showing up. :)

After they had been there for a little while, they said that we were going to travel to the city Honey and I are staying in and have lunch. Then we were supposed to bring him to our hotel room. He was really good in the restaurant. He waited pretty patiently for the food to come, and once it did, he ate so well! Honey fed him (which he didn't need to do since Little Man can feed himself). But I thought it was a good bonding activity! Anyway, during lunch, Honey asked Little Man if he wanted more juice. Little Man responded with "yes" not "da" like in his language. He is a smart little boy!

Another funny thing that I want to remember...the youngest foster sister speaks German. I noticed on Monday that the cartoons that were on the TV were in German and I found that strange. Then today, I actually listened to the little girl speaking. (Listening to so many people speak another language....you begin to not even hear because you can't understand. Or maybe that's just me) She said something in German. I took German in high school and remember a little. So, I asked her a question in German and she responded! It was very strange that I came here and can communicate with a child in another language(and it's not even the language of this country). WEIRD!! But so very cool at the same time. She got upset when I told her no (in German) today because she knew I could understand. Honey laughed because I told her she was being rough. She said "nein" (no in German) and I said "ja" (yes in German). We went back and forth a couple times before she stopped. LOL! She was so jealous of our time with Little Man today! She wanted the attention we were giving him. :)

This is our first family picture. It's not the greatest because Little Man is trying to get loose so he can go get the camera. He would rather be taking the pictures than be in them. :)










Honey got a pretty good picture of us.













He LOVES his magnadoddle (did I spell that right?) Being in the hotel room alone makes all of us relax. Can't ya tell? :)

p.s. It takes about 10 minutes for each picture to load. That's why I haven't posted very many.

Monday, November 15, 2010

We met our boy!!!

Now that you have scrolled down to see the pics, you can read my update. :)

We were so terribly nervous about today. When we got here yesterday, we were given a little more medical info about Little Man and it was so scary. I will share some more at some point, probably after he is officially ours.

He is a sweetheart! He was a little standoffish when we first got there. He was curious about all the grownups around. There was me, Honey, our facilitator, 2 social workers and the 2 drivers. He LOVES to be the center of attention, so he was a happy little guy to go around shaking hands. He warmed up to us relatively quickly. The driver for the social workers picked him and put him in Honey's lap. He squirmed at first but then settled down for a few minutes. He got down and went into the next room while the adults talked. A few minutes later, he came back in and raised his arms for Honey to pick him up and kissed Honey on the cheek. :) Don't worry, I got my share of love too! We gave him a stuffed animal that he carried all over. Until, that is, I brought out my camera. I got a few pics of him (they aren't super clear because this child doesn't stay still for long) and then he took the camera. He LOVES pushing buttons and had a blast with my camera for over an hour carrying it all over the house. I got a ton of pictures of his hands, fingers and shoes. One adorable thing he does is back up to my legs and sort of lean into me. He lets me snuggle him although I have tried to not overwhelm him. My thoughts are so muddled right now. Maybe I will post more details later once I can sort our my thoughts. But I wanted to thank everyone who prayed for us! We could feel them and the Lord made the day wonderful!

This is the first picture of me with my Little Man! He was squirming trying to get the camera so it's not great, but I LOVE it!











The foster mom has him sleep in a crib....he is 6. Although he is small, I'm not sure how he is comfortable.











Isn't his smile something?! He just melts my heart. They just buzzed his hair off recently because he has a skin infection on his scalp. I can't wait to get that cleared up so he can have his beautiful hair again. And he is such a cutie in glasses....no, I am not biased. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We made it

Honey and I finally have made it to Little Man's country. We only had one possible crisis...but God. Honey went online Friday night to check on our flights and found out that the first one had been cancelled and we had been rebooked for FRIDAY at 2pm. Thankfully, Honey was able to call the airline and get another flight and we didn't have to change the other flights. The total God part....there were only 2 seats left on that flight. If Honey had waited to check the flights until the morning, those seats probably would have been gone.

None of the airports we were in had internet (free internet) so we weren't able to post before now. The apartment we are in for now is beautiful. Our facilitator took us to an open air market which was overwhelming....seeing the old ladies selling their wares. We have our meeting with the adoption officials tomorrow and then will travel to Little Man's region to meet him. PLEASE pray for us tomorrow (Monday). I can't go into details right now, but we really need your prayers. I will share more when I can. Now, I've gotta get some sleep. I've been awake for about 29 hours and I am exhausted!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day before

Ok, I'm posting now because I have a gazillion things to accomplish today and I'm sure I will be working on those things until the wee hours of the morning. We will be dropping the dog off about 22 hours from now. 24 hours from right now, we will be checking in at the airport. I laid in bed this morning and thought about that...and I wasn't freaked out. I'm not sure how I felt because it wasn't really excitement either. I guess I feel kind of numb....probably due to the gazillion things I have to do. So, if you think about it today, pray that I somehow find a couple extra hours today so that I can do everything I need to do. The next post will probably be from the airport. I'm sure my computer will be in one of our carryons tomorrow morning. We got our Euro last week....I am supposed to be able to pick up our new US money today. We ordered it almost 2 weeks ago, so it BETTER BE THERE!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blessings

I have so much to be thankful for! Today, I was at the mall and there was an Air Force guy in the food court. (What do you call a person in the Air Force? I mean, you call people in the Marines and Army soldiers and sailors for the Navy. So what about the Air Force?) Anyway, I went up to the guy and thanked him for his service in our military. He responded with, "Thank you for the opportunity to serve." Isn't that the greatest response?!?

We are leaving in about 40 hours to begin the last leg of our adoption journey. We are so happy to bring this little boy into our lives! I hate it when people say that we are saving him. We are the lucky ones! We get to be a Mommy and Daddy to a very special little one.

Our facilitator was able to get us a reservation at a beautiful hotel near where Little Man lives! It is a quaint little place (only 19 rooms) and it had everything we hoped for (internet, tv, breakfast included) She is amazing and I can't wait to meet her in person!

I just can't believe we are at this point. I still have the feeling I am going to wake up and it will have all been a dream. How cool is it when life feels like a good dream! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

62 hours

That's all I have to say about that! I don't have brain power to say anymore.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Last document

For some reason, I waited to get our USCIS approval apostilled until today. It felt really good to get that last piece of paperwork ready for our trip. We leave in about 88 hours (give or take) and I still have quite a few things I need to do. We are taking my car to get my winter tires put on tomorrow and then Thursday I have to work. At least the work is just helping out with an inventory which is zero stress. I just have to verify counts on stuff. I still have to paint Little Man's book shelves. I am horrible at painting, or maybe I just don't like it. But like it or not, I have to do it. I am rambling....I guess I should go. I really can't wait to get over to Little Man's country so my posts can have some excitement. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Folding little boy clothes

Today I finally washed all the clothes I bought for Little Man. Let me tell you, it was so fun for me to fold those little clothes. I can't wait to pack those little clothes in our suitcase along with our clothes. I also went to Walmart today and bought little boy boots. :) They sure would have been needed today. There is an ice storm going on outside. We have at least 1/2 inch of ice on everything. You can hear trees snapping all over. We are hoping to have electricity through the night. It will be shocking if we do.

We leave in 5 days!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pity party time

I do my best to not be a "woe is me" person. People who are like that drive me crazy! But right now, I kind of feel that way. We leave for Little Man's country in 6 days. I want someone to be as excited as I am! But I feel like when I talk...people do one of two things. They mentally roll their eyes (most have enough tact to not actually do the eye roll) or just shut me off. I realize that most people I am around don't have a heart for adoption like I do. But still...people who have known me for 5 minutes realize that I have desired to adopt for as long as I can remember. Do you ever feel like you're talking to yourself? Do you feel like people think, "Oh, here she comes again" whenever you enter a room? Do you ever just want to shut yourself away from people so that they can't hurt you by their lack of caring? Why is it that people who are expecting a baby the old fashioned way are entitled to attention being lavished and adoptive parents aren't? Someone asked me the other day if we were having a shower for Little Man. I realized that I don't have friends here that would do that for me. Throwing my own shower just seems sad. OK, pity party over....I'm meeting my son in a week. (I can say that since it is already Monday in Little Man's country!)

*I do have a praise!! Between the money I made from the craft fair and money I had in a savings account (from recycling bottles and cans - thank you very much!) we were getting close to covering the dog's boarding. Honey came out of his office today carrying an envelope. Inside was $300 in traveler's checks that somehow just got stuffed in his desk after we got back from our cruise last year. God provided...not in the way I thought, but HE DID IT!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Craft fair

Today was the real life craft fair I have talked about. I crocheted A LOT yesterday but still didn't feel like I was prepared. (I never tend to feel prepared. I could have thousands of pieces and still feel I need more) Anyway...I ended up not being able to sleep last night. So, I got back up and crocheted some more....and didn't end up going back to bed until about 2am. I needed to be up at 6am. UGH! But I did it...knowing me, that was a miracle. Anyway, when I got to the fair, I was disappointed to realize that my area was in the middle of the middle of the school gym. This particular fair literally jams crafters in. There was maybe 9 inches between booths. I ended up selling $106 worth of crafts. My wine cork train ornaments were the biggest seller. Sadly, I didn't sell a single puppet or afghan (those are normally my biggest sellers). So, since the trains only cost $3 each...it wasn't really lucrative. I had made some scrabble tile pendants and sold a few of those. I am relatively new to that craft, so I was happy with selling what I did. I guess I should be content with not selling my puppets today...it will be less that I have to make for my online fair because they are selling ok there. Ok, I've got to get some sleep! We leave in 6 days and 12 hours.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New info!!

We got an email from out facilitator today that had updated info on Little Man. Woohoo!! He is 42 inches tall and weighs 38lbs. He wears a size 11 1/2 shoe! I am so excited to have this info. He is measuring small...about the size of a 5 year old, but we expected that. At least I know that the clothes that I bought should be just about right. I can't wait to see him in his outfits. :) We leave in 8 days. The craft fair is tomorrow and I REALLY need to get off here and crochet. I am no where near ready!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You know you're adopting when...

One of the ladies on Reece's Rainbow's message board posted this the other day. The responses she had were kinda funny....until today. I guess it is just a little thing. A friend of ours had volunteered to take care of our dog while we were gone. Because of unforeseen circumstances, he isn't going to be able to. It wouldn't be a big deal except that we don't have anyone else who can keep her...except the kennel. The kennel we normally take her to is the only decent one around. They have heated floors on the inside part of the kennels and little doors so the dog can go in and out. Being in New England, that is a good thing....some kennels around here leave the dogs outside most of the day and it is COLD! They also walk the dogs at least once a day. The bad thing....it is going to cost around $500 for the three weeks we are gone to keep her at the kennel. That is $500 we weren't planning on. And being 9 days from travel, well let's just say it's gonna be tight. I was going to use all the money from my craft fair this weekend to put in Nellie's fund. Sadly, I might have to use it ourselves to help pay for the dog. That makes me feel so guilty! This would be an amazing time to have our family profile change from $0 to anything else.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My heart

Adoption has been a part of my thought processes for most of my life. Let me explain...when I was a little girl, my imaginary friend was a little homeless girl named Jessie that I wanted my parents to adopt. (Strange, I know) When I was 8 years old, my best friend's name was Ray and he was a foster child along with his twin brother. We spent hours talking about his "situation" and although adoption was not in his long term plan, he was the first kid that I knew who made me understand how good I had it with the family that I had. He also made me want to care for foster kids when I got older. (I was a foster parent with my ex-husband....would love to do it again!) When I was 10 or 12, a relative became pregnant and did not feel that she could care for the child and asked my parents to adopt the child. I was thrilled!! Sadly, though, there were circumstances that led my parents to refuse to adopt her child. The same thing happened about 3 years later, and again they had to refuse. :( When I married my ex-husband, we tried right away to get pregnant, to no avail. During this time, I found Ukrainian Angels and felt that our child/ren were there. He said he was not interested in international adoption. So, we checked into foster/adopt through the state. About half way through the classes, we were matched with a 14 year old boy. OH BOY! Being a first time parent and having that child be a teenager was an interesting experience. He was a good boy, but he had MANY issues. He had been in dozens of homes since he was removed when he was 6. He had no trust of women and if I happened to touch him, he FREAKED!

When Honey and I first got together (8 years ago) he knew I wanted to adopt. At that time, Ukraine allowed singles to adopt, so I thought that I would be a single mom. I was totally OK with that! But money was an issue. I saved and saved, but it never seemed to be enough...then Ukraine changed its laws and singles were no longer allowed. I wasn't sure that Honey would ever want to get married (long story) so I figured international adoption wasn't in my future. When Honey "popped the question" at the Alamo in 2009, I started thinking that maybe my dreams could come true. And here we are. If you are curious about how we found our Little Man, read this and this.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Guess what!

Guess what came in the mail today?? It's for a special Little Man when he comes home...to be safe! I am so excited to see stuff that indicates he is on his way! I have never had a booster seat in my car before, so it will be exciting to see it installed in the car just waiting for a little body to occupy it. :)


Monday, November 1, 2010

Adoption Awareness month

Since we are adopting, you can imagine how strongly I feel about raising awareness about the wonder that is adoption. There are literally millions of children out in the world who have no one. I am not one who says that children in other countries need adoption more than kids here in the US. I was a foster parent at one point. I know that kids in foster care need forever families too. I also know that kids in orphanages in other countries need families. Are you doing something to help a child...an orphan? If you can't adopt, you can give something....money, time, prayer. These children need someone to think they are someone. If not...they lose hope. I can't imagine being a child and having no hope!

Hope is Fading – Orphan Sunday from Allan Rosenow on Vimeo.