About Me

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My husband and I, the Dynamic Duo, have been married since 2003. We've weathered the storm of chronic disease (diagnosis 2006), infertility (diagnosis 2007), turning 30 (2006/2007 respectively) a first adoption (2009) of a tender hearted, compassionate Ukrainian BIG boy (born 2006), who has told us he'd like a baby sister, baby brother, big brother, and REALLY big sister. We recently completed our second Ukrainian adoption journey, which brought us a daughter (born 2005). We'll see what else God brings our way!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 22...The Adventure Continues

Is it really April 22nd? I celebrated one month of being here on Monday, yet it doens't feel like April 22nd. Let's see...what to update you on.

Well, of course my mom and I have purchased a few new outfits for Eli. Now we have 4 whole outfits. He is going to be a handfull. Started hitting us again. We're going to make him sit down for a while when he hits us so he stops (hopefully). He's got a cold (thanks Papa!), so I've got bugar duty, which is fun. I almost feel like a mom. I even got to change his poopy diaper this morning. I know, strange thing to get excited about, right?

We got great news today...the passport is ready! We're going to pick it up tomorrow. One less thing to worry about for Friday.

But that's not the adventure...we have no hot water. I'm not talking about lukewarm or slightly less warm than normal water. I'm talking about turning the knob to the left (their hot water is left, not right on the faucet) and getting nothing, nadda, nilch. Apparently there's no hot water in our area because something broke. And guess when it should be fixed by? You got it! Friday, the day we hopefully leave. Go figure. We've been boiling water on the stove, filling up a bucket in the tub and cooling it down with the cold water from the tap. Then we bathe with this water. Not too easy, but something for the books. Washed like they did in the 1800s, check. Not a big deal. I can handle anything now that I'm a superhero...you know, a mom.

Seriously, I could handle just about anything at this point but a delay. I could even handle a delay once Eli is OK'd to leave the orphanage and be with me full time. I'm hanging in there because after 4 long difficult years, I'm the mom of a very bright and funny kid. And I love every minute of it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thanks to family, friends and coworkers for continued thoughts and prayers. What a blessing this whole experience has been. I am beside myself about my wife and new son, Eli Maxim, coming home to me. God is good! Enjoy the pictures, he's a real cutie (takes after his mother), Dave

April 19, 2009 Ukrainian Easter and Time Warps

Happy Easter again! This morning we woke up at 6:30am to go to the blessing of the Easter basket, orthodox style. It's much like the blessing the US Ukrainians have, only here the sprinkling is more like going through a water sprinkler! The priest blessed our basket, then POW we were sprinkled with a small paint brush type thing. As people left I thought about the ride at the water park, you know, the one where you stand on the bridge and get wet as the passengers ride down.

Alla baked all day yesterday. They make Easter bread, which is cyliderical because they bake the bread in cans kind of like the folgers cans back home. They also boil eggs and decorate them with the same bands we have back home, just decorated orthodoxically (I know, that's so not a word).

I also got some background info on my Eli, too. Apparently, Alla and another worker fell in love with Maxim as soon as he came in to the orphanage, which must have been at birth. She said he was so small and thin they didn't think he would live. So the two workers took shifts feeding him every hour to get him back to health. They doted on him and loved him very much, not letting anyone else care for him. When he was 2, he went in to the groupa he's in now. I owe them so much for saving my Maxim! He's adapting well to having a mom, which is credited to them. He'll still have some issues to iron out when we get back home, but all in all he's a well adjusted, very intelligent child. And that's partly due to the wonderful care Alla and the other worker gave him early in his life.

Alla is such an amazing woman! She made us borcht and a potato dish that were INCREDIBLE! And she also made enough bread for her daughter, my mom and I, and the kids in her groupa, PLUS a woman that can't get out. She truly has a wonderful heart and I'm so thankful God brought us together.

Other than that, I'm starting to get anxious to get home. This waiting period is probably the most difficult for me...I've been here a month tomorrow...can you believe it? The time has gone by so fast! There's still a lot to do, but I'm hoping to leave on May 1st...Please pray for that!

Speaking of time, one of the titles of this post is Time Warp. I'm telling you, the Ukraine must be in some sort of time warp, and I'm not talking fashion. You see, time seems to be a bit reversed here. I'm at the internet and you would expect time to be flying by, right? WRONG! This is something I enjoy, and the time is slowly ticking away. And you would expect the time to drag on as I'm grocery shopping or doing chores, right? Totally not true. I'm doing laundry and POOF it's time to see Maxim. I'm not saying this time warp thing is bad...just unexpected. Hey, I'll take this anytime, it's just the reverse of what happens back home. Oh, another example. The court was behind because one of the assistants was stuck in traffic. Dave and I stood for an hour, AN HOUR, and it seemed to fly by. I looked at the clock and said "Hey, we've been here for an hour." Dave didn't believe me at first. Funny, huh?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16, 2009

No new pictures until Dave gets home. You should have seen my little monster today. He was so pouty! He really misses Dave and doesn't understand where he went. He was so down that he didn't even want to sing with us much! But he did sing his lalala's and made some of the workers laugh. What a cutie! I saw him next to a normal sized 3 year old yesterday, and Eli really is small. But I know we'll help him a lot once we get him home.

Not much to report for today. Mom and I went clothes shopping (for Eli, of course). We bought him a nice heavy jacket because even in 50 degree weather they bundle thier kids up tight. And a shirt, pants, shoes, and undies. So now we have two complete outfits for him, but we may get a few more things. We'll have him by ourselves for a whole week, ya know! I don't want to get him too much because we have so much waiting for him at home.

I almost forgot...the Tx couple bought him a formula one race car. He LOVES it! He didn't want to give it back to us when we took him back to his group. Daddy will be proud.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Aprl 15th

It's tax day back home. Happy Tax day! The Wed after Easter, too...what timing! The past couple of days have flown by. Have you noticed that when Igor is around, we fly around town a lot?

We haven't had much of a chance to celebrate yet. Monday after court we ran around to get something notorized, but were too late. So we ate at the McD's again, and headed home. But not before we got a picture outside the court house. Once home, we started packing Dave up for his trip to Kiev and then Detroit.

Monday night I was so excited to see my mom I couldn't sleep. Boy, the alarm clock at 5:40am sure did come fast! Igor and I went to get my mom from the train, and even helped her with her bags off the train. We had a quick few minutes to settle her in before Igor and I jumped back in the taxi and headed for Maxim's birth city to get his birth certificate updated with my name as moma, and Dave's as papa. It's about 120km from here and it was an interesting drive. It was mostly countryside and reminded me a lot of Nebraska, Kansas...you know, the flat agricultural states. We've been warned that the roads aren't all that great, but it wasn't that bad...kind of reminded me of certain roads in the Detroit area. We got there at about 8:15am, and the office was SUPPOSED to open at 8:30am. But this is an adoption story, and what fun would it be to read about everything being easy?

We found out that Kiev called and there was a meeting from 8:30am to 10am. So we waited. I wandered a little in to the city, but didn't see too much. I didn't want to wander too far and get lost. I started taking pictures, but only got three before my camera told me the internal memory was full...Oops! Somebody (cough*Dave*cough) didn't put the memory card back in the camera...Oh well. At 9:45am Igor had the paperwork to the appropriate person and was told to come in an hour. We came together in an hour to check on the paperwork. There was a couple registering their baby, and a wedding couple with parents in tow. We waited. Come back after lunch. Igor explained that Dave had a flight and we needed the paperwork today as soon as possible. 10 mins til noon. We're still waiting and someone was shooing people out because it was near lunch time. Nope, we're waiting on paperwork. So, we finally got the paperwork at about 12:30pm. Phew! Long morning. I was starving, but I didn't care. The ride back seemed much faster, and we even got to pass a few cop cars on the way trying to catch speeders.

Think that's the end of the day? You thought wrong! We got back, and my mom and Dave brought us food (mmmmm....) and flowers (thanks honey!). We went to a notary, back to the orphanage, back to some other place, then back to the orphanage to pick up Eli. Mom and Dave got out of the car, we got Eli and rushed to get his passport photo. It was so sweet to get to hold my baby on the ride there and back. I sat kind of in the middle so he could look straight out, and the care giver that went with us helped me distract him with things from her purse. She was really good with him. She even knew some English! Eli did good on the ride, although you could tell he was overwhelmed. He's going to need to be sheltered a little when he gets home because everything is new to him. This might have been his first trip out of the orphanage.

Days not over yet! We got to the orphanage, dropped Eli off, went back to the house, said our goodbyes and Dave and Igor left at 6:30pm for their overnight trip back to Kiev. My mom and I had a quick bite, watched a movie and crashed at 10pm. We slept soundly until 9am this morning!

Today has been much slower. We visited Maxim, who LOVES my mom, and bought shoes for all the children in his groupa. Then we went to lunch, took showers, and my mom met and chatted with Alla, who is as sweet as I thought she would be. It's nice to be able to have a conversation with her (through my mom). And...She's taking us to church with her on Sat!! My mom was really hoping to experience an orthodox Easter, but we weren't even sure where to look for a church. But Alla is going to take us on Sat, and maybe even Sun! We get to see the blessing of the Easter baskets by the priest. It's a major tradition for the orthodox people.

Now we're winding down for the night. It's been a fun day, and it's nice to have my mom here. Dave is on his way home, so please pray for his safety. He has a 12 hour lay over in Amsterdam and will stay in a hotel for a while (already booked it). Pray also that he signed everything that needed to be signed, and left the correct paperwork with Anna in Kiev. I'm not sure what I'll need that Igor doesn't have, but I printed off a bunch of stuff before we left (more financials, home study, etc) and gave it to Dave, but he took one folder with him on accident and I'm not sure which one yet. Does anyone know if I'll need that extra stuff?

Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13th-A day to remember

This weekend flew by! We went to lunch and shopping on Sat with a Tx couple adopting a boy from Maxim's groupa. It was a blast! We agreed it's best that we didn't adopt a little girl because they have the sweetest things for girls! And Sunday was Easter back home. Happy belated Easter! God is good, and we can do nothing but celebrate our Saviour's resurrection.

I haven't been able to post because the internet cafe was booked this weekend. We're at a bar right now milking my Fanta and Dave's beer while we use the wifi :) We woke this morning and were running a bit late. Maxim wasn't in the best of moods (which is normal for the morning), and so we tried to wear him out a bit by walking him around. He's my little sunshine, what can I say.

We got back to the flat to a cleaned apt, and waited for our facilitator. We were planning on taking him out to lunch, but instead got a shock. He came in at around noon and announced that our court was today at 2:30pm....what? We rushed to eat lunch and get ready for the court. We were really nervous. The judge was in a good mood. The couple from Tx had their apptmt just before us, so they must have warmed him up :) He was very kind and nice and even joked with us a bit. He loved our pictures, stopping at a picture of us with the Stanley cup. He asked Dave some hockey questions, mentioned that I must have Ukrainian blood because I'm pretty (not a sexual comment), and approved us to adopt Maxim! I'm not really sure if the 10 days was waived or not...can't really tell from our facilitator's responses to us. But who cares! Dave will be headed to Kiev tomorrow evening, sign some papers at the embassy on Wed, and leave Wed night. He's excited to be getting home. Tomorrow I'll go with Igor to the place where Maxim was born...I'm really looking forward to it. I'm going to take some pics just for my sweet little boy.

My mom got to Kiev successfully and her train leaves shortly. I'm not sure when she'll meet Eli, perhaps tomorrow evening. He's more social in the evening. My mind is whirling because so much has been going on! All I know is that Eli is my son, and that's all I care about :) The Ukrainian Orthodox Easter is this coming weekend and I'm glad I get to be here for that.

I have more thougths, but I have to get going. My husband is staring me down for the computer. We really shouldn't be out this late...it's really dark. But it seems pretty safe here.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9,2009

Ah, I feel much better today. I went to bed last night at 8:30pm and slept soundly until about 7am. I don't think I moved at all last night!

Yesterday was a whirlwind day. We visited Maxim for a few in the morning, then met Igor at the flat. We hopped in the taxi to visit the island (not sure what the name of it is.). We stopped at a huge statue of Lennon holding his arm up sort of saying (as Igor explained it) "Friends, come this way to the good life in communism." But we all know how that turned out. It's surprising to me that the major road in the city is stilled named after him. Just behind him is the Napir river, which runs from north of Kiev all the way to the black sea. They have a dam here, and much of the electricity for the region comes from this dam. They are also one of the biggest steel manufacturers in the world. Right from this tiny country! Z is also the 6th largest city in Ukraine.

The soil here is unbelievable. Basically you plant something and it grows. During the Soviet rule, there was a great famine in this area. The soviets believed it was unfair to the rest of the country that this area should be able to have so much food. So they banned the region from keeping any of its food to even things out. In the mean time, thousands died from hunger.

We went to a museum of Ukrainain history. It was small, but very informative. We found wooden eggs with beautiful decorations on them. We also went to a WWII car museum. This guy owns many original trucks from WWII. He also has some bullets, guns, and missile type things (not really sure what they were). We were told most of them have original parts and all of them are in working order...WOW! I thought about how much my grandfather would have LOVED this display. And my brother, Mike, who's in the Air Force, would have loved the Air Force Jeep he had. Don't worry, Mike. We took some pics. This man also told us that when they make movies from the WWII era, they call him to rent his trucks. He also has an original nazi soldier hat.

I've been told, but haven't seen it yet, that they have a plane museum around the airport. When we go back to Kiev, I'd really like to see the WWII museum they have there, although that might be difficult with a wild 3 year old running around.

We didn't see Maxim last night because we were so worn out. But we gave him his Ooff (dog) to hang on to. This morning he was very happy to see us, and we had a lot of fun. He's starting to really come out of his shell. And throw tantrums when we don't do what he wants. He thinks it's hilarious when Dave pretends the stroller has run over his foot. We know when Eli Maxim wants him to do this cause he'll point at the wheel and say "Da". We try to distract him, but it doesn't work. I love these tantrums because it means that he feels safe and comfy with us. At least I hope that's what it means! He LOVES to be outside, and today discovered how to climb on the jungle gym to get to the slide (with help, of course). He can even slide down by himself! I still love his little laugh...it's infectious.

We got word last night that we MIGHT have our court date on Monday, but most likely it will be on Tuesday. That's perfect timing because my mom will be here on Tuesday morning. It will be great to see her. We're just going to sit tight and enjoy our son until then. Anything is possible at this point. We're waiting on paperwork that should be done by Friday, so it could be done earlier, it could be done later. The end is in sight, so we are just praying things go smoothly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April 7, 2009

Yesterday I walked in to our apt and our flat owner was cleaning. She laughed at me because I washed the sheets. She said that's her job. And then she noticed I was sniffling, so she shut all the windows in the house (because that's what causes a cold...the drafts), and told me I needed to be wearing slippers and a sweater. Because I didn't have any slippers, she gave me a pair of hers, and then showed me what I needed to get at the pharmacie. She is so endearing! I just adore her. Her name is Alla.

We did end up finding the nose spray...not sure what's being dropped into my nose, but it seems to be working!

Eli Maxim is doing great. Igor went by the orphanage today for some paperwork. He said the caregivers have noticed a change in Eli Maxim. He's starting to talk to the other kids and play with them, and his walking has improved. How encouraging! In just a short week, he has changed so much! I can't wait to post some videos we have of him "lalala" ing, just singing his heart out. Today he was telling us where we needed to be and how we should play with him. And he's much bolder exploring, which is a good sign.

We took Igor out to lunch today to a restaurant that had grilled chicken skewers and fried potatoes (french fries). Mmmm, it was yummy. Afterward we looked for a stroller. They're expensive here! For a $15 umbrella stroller, it's 320 grivna, or about $50! It's not an immediate need so we're going to keep our eyes open to other possibilities.

Igor is too much! We've been talking about racing and our histories and such. He found out that Dave had never been to the race track in Indianapolis and he said his heart was broken. He felt even worse when he found out it's only a few hours from where my parents live. Oh, it was a riot. He told us that he wants an email as soon as Dave goes, and his heart will feel better. Never a dull moment with that one :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

April 6, 2009

Ah, the birds are singing, the sun is out and the band is playing...er, what? That's right, folks. There's building that has a shared brick retaining wall with the orphanage. And this morning as we were playing with Eli Maxim, a band started playing in the parking lot of that building. We can't take Eli Maxim out of the orphanage just yet, so when we took him back to his groupa, we investigated. Yep, we saw a tuba, flutes, the whole 9 yards. Just sitting on chairs playing music for everyone in the surrounding area. It was really nice.

Yesterday morning I wasn't feeling well, so I didn't go with Dave to visit our boy. I wondered how he would take it. I was feeling fine in the evening, so I went to see him. He was way beyond excited to see me and gave me two of the biggest hugs a 3 year old has ever given me. It was so sweet. Then he proceeded to hit me. Child, don't you know there's nothing you can do to change the way I feel about you? Baring it! He's actually settled down with the hitting. It's nice.

Last night we went to a restaurant with a wonderful couple from Virginia. It was a cool place, and we were sooooo excited to eat real food. We each had a salad, and I had chicken stuffed with apples, garnished with peaches and a plum sauce for dipping. Mmmmm, it was so good!

There's a couple from Texas adopting a boy from Eli Maxim's groupa. We're excited so many Americans are here! (OK, so maybe I'm a tab bit more excited than Dave)

What else, what else...not much else is going on. I'm tired. Igor is back. We ran around today signing and gathering paperwork. Some of it goes to Kiev on a train tonight, and some of it stays here. Some of it comes back from Kiev, and some of it stays there. Very confusing for me. Glad to know Igor knows what he's doing! I'm not sure that we'll have a court date this week...it's looking more and more like next week is more likely.

Oh, and one of the papers we got showed that Eli Maxim's siblings are not available for adoption. They are living with family, although I don't know the details.

Guess that's it for now. I'm hitting the hay soon Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 4, 2009

Sorry everyone! It's taken me a while to tell you where I am! We're in Zaporozhie on the south eastern part of the Ukraine. It's the auto capital of the Ukraine, and we've enjoyed seeing all the cars.

We've made a play date with the American couple we met not too long ago. It's so nice to talk to someone in English who is going through exactly what we're going through. Even at the same time! I think they'll probably get their court date first, since we have the added complication with Maxim's siblings. But that means they can give us advice :) We've also been told that the 10 day waiting period is rarely waived (which we were told even before we came here), and it really depends on the judge. No worries. Either way is fine with me, although I'm excited about the possibility of getting home earlier.

Not much else to report for today...Maxim is a little monster! He's hitting us and we're staying very strong against it without being offensive to the orphanage workers. I'm not really sure what's OK and what's not. Obviously we don't hit him back in any way. I know that wouldn't be OK with them (or at least I think). I can tell he's going to throw lots and lots of tantrums...Bring it, son! This is what I've been waititng for...a battle of the minds and I think I'll beat him in being strong willed (insert Rocky theme here). (Can you tell I'm getting a little dilerious?)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2, 2009

The days are starting blend together because I'm not bound by any particular schedule. All I need to know is the time so I can see my Maxim from 10-11am and 4:30-5:30pm. Yesterday was a really fun day. We got to the orphanage at 4:30 to learn that they were celebrating Maxim's birthday...how fun! They were finishing up a lesson, all the kids in a U, sitting pretty still and quiet, although we were quite a distraction. They had Maxim sit in a chair while they held hands and walked around him, then he danced with a doll while they danced around him, then he danced with two girls (which he wasn't too sure about). We've learned that he's quite shy when so much attention is lavished upon him. He's quite content to be in a crowd. It was adorable! He also got to pass around chocolates to all the kids, and finish the 3 pieces that were left over. I can't wait til Igor gets back so I can ask all sorts of questions, like is there any way I can help them. I wonder, though, if I will be more of a distraction than a help.

This morning we took him outside to walk around a bit. At first he was fine, but then he stopped acting like himself. He kept grabbing at his pants while trying to play, and he got this pouty look on his face. His lips frowned all the way down and he stuck out his lower lip with this "I'm not happy" look on his face. I told my husband that it's going to be hard to discipline him without laughing. He ended up pooping his diaper, so we took him back inside to get changed.

The ladies have been so wonderful to me...I can't wait to tell them how much I appreciate them!

We had a bit of exciting news last night. Because of Maxim's walking diagnoses, we may qualify for reduced rate by our adoption agency...how nice! But the best news of all is that we also may qualify for waiving the 10 day waiting period. We didn't ask, nor do we assume this will actually happen, but we are sooo thrilled that it's even a possibility. I thank God for how much he loves such a simple person as me, that He would be involved at any level. He has been so gracious to us since we've been there, providing for our every need. What an awesome God we serve!