"Adventures, I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull...But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually...I expect they had a lot of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten."

-Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pictures!

This is for Alexander... we WERE going 637mph, but apparently we slowed down. Look at the outside temp... -67! About an hour after I took this it read -71! No wonder everything in me luggage was frozen! (these little screens were on our headrests, for movies and this type of info, there was also a map that popped up with this info that showed where were were! very cool!)



The view looking down from our apartment (we are on the 15th floor)


This is why we ride in the 'shoebox on a chain' elevator.... this is the top of the stairs. The inside looks like this as well.


Looking straight out from our apartment.





As soon as we pulled up to the building for our appointment, this little kitty jumped up and laid down on the front of the car, for warmth! He was very cute, and came back as we were leaving.


Saint Andrew's church, right next door to where we had our appointment. We hope to see a few more of these old churches tomorrow! They are absolutely breathtaking. We drove past the others today but couldn't get pics, we were going too fast!





The building next to our apartment is being built, a large brick apartment building. This is the lot between the buildings


Buildings behind ours. Some are obviously empty


The bottom of our building, we walk down stairs from street level to get back here


and then walk through this tunnel, take a right. :)


The buildings all look old and scary from the outside, but the insides are gorgeous! Even our little apartment is spotless, very well kept and really nice.

We are going to be tourists tomorrow, so I hope to have more pics of the incredible arcitecture here!

Our appointment

Went very well. It was interesting and we learned more basics on our girl, and seen a super cute picture of her at 18mos old. She looks identical, same sweet smile, same tiny little nose.... she's so sweet. I love how they pronounce her name here too, its like 'HA-Leen-uh'.

Her medicals state that she has compensated hydrocephalus, CP of the lower limbs and right hand, and club foot. We have no idea until we get to the orphanage to speak with the doctor there if she has shunt placed for the hydrocephalus or if she's had surgery for the club foot, but she's standing in the other pic they had of her, by herself, with shoes on, and her foot is flat and straight, so? I guess we will know alot more when we speak to the orphanage doctor and director.

So now we have free time until tomorrow at 4pm, we go pick up her official referral packet and come back, grab our things and head to the train to go to her region. Please continue to pray that we get to meet her on Friday so we can get things going, but mostly so that we aren't a few blocks from her all weekend without meeting her. :)

There is more I want to share but I cannot right now share it publicly. When we are home I can post more about things that we learned today. But overall the appointment was very easy and everyone there is super nice, they love the kids and want nothing more than to get them home with their families.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We're there, man!

We left our house at 7:30am on Monday morning. We dropped our oldest off at our neighbors house to get on the bus and took off for the airport. Of course we got stuck in road construction and traffic, but we left early enough that it wasn't a problem. Got all checked in, no problem. The flight from Minneapolis to Chicago was uneventful, short and painless. :) We had a layover in Chicago, so we hung out, rested a bit, got something to eat and drink, and then boarded the largest plane ever to Germany. I was very nervous, I don't fly well and the takeoff was like being in a rocket instead of an airplane, it was so loud!

Lufthansa was our airline, and they are wonderful! So nice, and they serve real food, and it was just an all around wonderful flight. They should take that as a huge compliment from me!

We arrived and were picked up at the airport by our driver, holding a sign with our name on it! Just like in the movies! He's super nice, brought us to our apartment and then dropped us off at the grocery store and said 'look for the yellow sign to change some money over' and left! I was thanking God I learned basic language before we left! When it comes to single words and short phrases, I rock. ok not really, but I can get by. I'm hoping that by being totally immersed in the culture for a month will help me really pick it up.

How am I feeling? Well I'm glad you didn't ask. I'm tired. We both are. When we were flying from Germany here, the clouds finally let up so we could see the ground, and thats when it became really overwhelming for us. Landing and driving to our apartment was surreal, I was trying to soak it all in, and we are saving the goofiest things for our girl... coins, receipts, flyers, anything that is in her language. :) It may not seem important, but its something.

Tomorrow is our big appointment! And then prayerfully by Thursday night we will be on the train to her area!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Monday) morning at 11am we will step on the first airplane on our journey. We will fly from Mpls to Chicago, then to Germany and onto Kiev. Just so you know, thats about 3 flights too many for someone who dislikes flying. :) It will be a long day but I'm well prepared with snacks, Alina's blanket (hey, gotta keep warm too!) and Tylenol PM. Yep, need me some drugs to fly, especially on an overnight flight. We will be on the plane from Chicago to Germany for 7hrs. Oh my.

But its here... Alina has no idea how much her world is about to change, but maybe we don't either. We've been in hurry up and wait mode for so long, that actually being HERE, at THIS point, it still seems surreal.

Maybe if I'm lucky, the flights will all be a dream to me too.. hehe. We still very much appreciate your prayers!

Monday, September 20, 2010

ONE WEEK!

In one short week (actually less than a week... its 8pm!) we will be on a plane headed to EE! I do NOT fly well, so pray for me to not barf or pass out when getting on the plane. :) I'm sure my husband would appreciate that too.

I'm packing and repacking and making lists and buying last minute things, preparing for Anthony's birthday on Friday. My big boy is going to be 5yrs old already! I'm so glad we didn't miss his b-day, turning 5 is a big deal. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

That deep dark longing

Anyone who has been pregnant knows it. You feel a little flutter in your belly, and you feel it. You walk down the hallway and randomly wander into the nursery, you feel it. You purchase something new for your baby, you feel it. At every doctors appointment, every question about 'when are you due?', every brush to your growing belly.... you feel it. That deep dark longing to hold your baby. You daydream, you imagine, you long for that very moment you can hold that baby in your arms and feel that longing climb out of your heart into reality.

That same longing is there, waiting for an adopted child. I find myself in her room, arranging her things, packing her bag, trying to decide if she will be comfortable in the dresses and leggings I'm packing, or if I should forgo the tights for jeans, if I REALLY need to pack her a hair clip AND hat to match every outfit. :) Will she like the blanket I found for her? Should I pack her the doll I made her? What will bring her some comfort on our long journey together?

I try not to daydream too much, because I don't want to be disappointed. I know our girl will be scared, she will not fully understand what is happening. Who are these new people? Why are they smiling like fools at me and wringing their hands together resisting the urge to wrap me in their arms and never let go? They seem to love me, but I have no idea who they are.

Many of my worries through this process have been for the boys. I want them to know that no matter how far we travel, they are our priority and that we love them so very much. I know this will be hard for them. They've never been away from us for more than a day or two in their lives, so being away from both of us for two weeks, and from me for a month, will really be hard. My sister will be here with the boys for the first two weeks of our trip. I have no doubt she will do nothing but be the perfect caregiver for them, and they adore her.

Slowly I find myself shifting my worries to our girl. I guess I've tried to push it out of my mind, kind of a 'we will deal with it when we get there' type of thing. I can't do that any longer. I need to prepare myself, prepare both of us, for her being absolutely petrified of us. To have to move slowly, gain her trust, reassure her. The language barrier will be great, even though I'm learning her language. And not fully understanding her special needs until we get her home and properly evaluated will be stressful.

I can only pray that we can open our minds, and be what she needs us to be. That we can be strong for her, for us, and for our boys. Trust that God knows what he's doing, he has all along.

And allow myself to give in to that longing, even for a little while, because in two short weeks we will be there, bringing home our girl.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Growing up too

Look at this sweet face!



He too is growing up fast. That sweet face... don't be fooled! That sweet face houses quite the smart sarcastic mouth! He throws out jokes, laughs at everything, and somehow learned how to sound out and read words suddenly. He loves blankets and stuffed animals but is quick to tell you how much of a big boy he is. That big boy is starting preschool next week. He was in a smaller preschool program last year, this year he will be attending a school readiness program. He will have the same teacher Alexander had, and will go two mornings a week.

That means I will have exactly 4 mornings to myself before we leave to get Alina. I'm not quite sure WHAT I will do with myself! :)

So my little boy is getting big. I'm sure he will seem so much bigger when I get home from EE with his little sister. But one thing is for sure... this cheesy grin will be waiting for us!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Its the first day... of the 3rd grade!

Wow, 3rd grade! It seems so.... grown up! I love that my boy looks forward to and enjoys school so much. I will never forget when he started Kindergarten as a brand new 5yr old. That first morning we waited for the bus (he always insisted on riding the bus!) and when it came, he crossed the road and got on without looking back, without hesitating. It made me both happy and sad. Happy because I had done my job. I had raised him to be bold, confident, and independent. He stepped on that bus without a second thought, without any reservations as to if I would be waiting right there for him at the end of the day. He was secure. I could not have been prouder of him!

And sad because there he went, my big little boy, into the next stage of his life that required that much less of me in it. :)

He steps into everything the exact same way.... bold, confident, and with independence. He's oblivious to whats cool and in, and does his thing the way he knows how; full steam ahead and making it to the finish line no matter what.

So he's off to 3rd Grade, excited to learn and grow!

The obligatory stairs pic.


Starting school with almost all of his teeth this year! :) The last two years he's been missing either all of the bottom teeth (1st) or all of the top (2nd).


Waiting for the bus (I promise I took this and went in and didn't embarass him by waiting outside for the bus to come. :) Plus I was still in my jammies. Hehe.)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Going private

In the next few days (when I can figure out how) I will be making the blog private in prep for travel. If you would like an invite, please send me an email at justplainbeckyw@yahoo.com and tell me who you are and how I know you. I won't send invites to people I don't know. :)

I will make it public again when we get home, so if you are only a frequent reader you can catch up the end of October. :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We have a date!

Oh my gosh, I can't even begin to describe how this feels! We have a date! A date to be in EE to officially get her referral, and go meet her! There are no words!

We have to be in EE on Wednesday, September 29th, our appt is at 10am! Pray for everything to go smoothly these next three weeks, and for travel, for our boys, for us to finally make up our minds on if I'm staying for the month or coming home!

Oh, and this travel date means we won't miss our youngest sons 5th birthday! :)