"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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Six months ago (part 2)

Six months ago today, we stepped off the airplane in Minneapolis after a very exhausting night.
(snoozing away in the apartment on our last night in Ukraine)


The final flight was only an hour... from Chicago to Minneapolis, but it seemed to take forever! After traveling since 3am EE time, we were all exhausted. Alina was great on the flights, sleeping for a couple hours on the long flight from Germany to Chicago and cheerfully charming everyone the rest of the flights. :)

(so excited to be a US citizen... in Chicago waiting for our final flight!)


Daddy had said he couldn't make it to the airport because he couldn't get off work. But really he was surprising us. And our prince did come!


And we were all reunited after 5 long weeks!

I've never felt more blissful than I did that moment in the airport. I was home, I had my entire family around me. I had great friends who loved us and came out to support us.

I'm amazed at how far our girl has come in the last 6 months. We met a little girl who was very lost, had no language, and was physically very delayed. We brought home a baby. Now only 6 months later she's almost caught up to her peers. She's not quite walking on her own yet, but she talks up a storm and she gets things. She's active, alert, doesn't miss anything. And its only been *6 months!*

Here is the Alina we brought home. Little, shy, chopped off hair....
(taken the Sunday after we got home, before her first Church service) she had to put her hands down to help support herself while sitting like this. The only way she could sit up was to do a 'W' sit.


And this is our Alina today. Bright, talkative, active, funny and full of attitude! She is almost walking on her own (as you can see from the video's below), and she makes her presence known wherever we are. God has big things in store for this little girl!







Please, no more pictures. :)

Alexander thought up this cool game for Alina, he put the cones down and she had to walk to them and pick them up. He'll be a good physical therapist some day. She loved it because it was a big brother helping her. :)










video


video

Monday, April 25, 2011

Six months ago (part 1)

Six months ago Alina was stripped of her old life, the orphanage clothes, everything she'd ever known. She was dressed from head to toe in her own brand new things, and led by the hands to a new life. She had no idea what was happening, she was just thrilled to be the center of attention, in a fancy dress and pretty shoes.


Scooped up by mommy, who had loved her for months and months before she ever knew we existed.


And dressed in her koortka she was so proud of and to this day is her favorite.


Her eyes were wide and she was beaming, but she had no idea what was happening. She left everything behind... clothing, friends, her familiar bed and caregivers. Our facilitator gently explained to her what was happening, and she just kept smiling. All she knew was that mommy was there and everyone was making a fuss over her. She smiled happily and waved while saying 'Paka! Paka!' to the people who had loved her for 3.5yrs.
Then we stepped out the door, into the dark night that she had probably never seen before.

She was leaving. Going home.


We left the baby house and went straight to the train station back to the big city. Alina didn't fare the car ride very well, as her dinner made its way onto the floor and myself about 10 minutes into the ride. When we made it onto the train we cleaned everything up as best we could with wet wipes and got everyone changed and tucked into bed after a snack and some snuggles.
(this picture cracks me up because she was exhausted and had no idea what the heck was going on. I had been in a foreign country for 5wks and look it! Yikes! And we were in a 4x8 train compartment that was 900 degrees. To this day I thank God my sister was there to keep me sane!)


The next day, in the big city that she'd never been to before, all fresh and clean after her first bath, we ventured out to our first Embassy appointment. She was not the same child we took from the orphanage. She was quiet, watchful, and wanted to be close to one of us at all times. She wasn't scared or mourning, just keeping her eye on everything, soaking it all in.

Two quick days in the big city and we were heading home...... (part 2 coming on FRIDAY) :)
Happy 6 months gotcha day Alina!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bullies

My son is being picked on at school. Petty things that only immature little kids can think up to pick on a kid about, but enough to where its affecting him. And the worst part is its coming from some kids I'd never expect it out of. Kids we've known since they were very small. A couple of these kids ride his bus and are in his class. And at least one of the kids' parents read this blog and apparently let their kids read it too, as I had to remove a video and some pictures because he was being made fun of for it. Ooookay.

Its sad when a kid like Al (or any kid really) gets picked on. Al is the most easy going kid you'd ever meet. Even when I tried to give him ammo to fire back at these little buttheads, he wouldn't do it. He doesn't want to hurt their feelings even though they hurt his multiple times a day. So he's an easy target. And it frustrates me, he doesn't deserve this. I would never say my kid is perfect because no person is, but I know that he's kind hearted and wouldn't hurt anyone.

He loves school. He loves the bus. I hate to see it all go down the drain because some kids are jerks. But I don't know how to help because what *I* would do is not what he would do... I don't want to make it worse. I sent him to school today with some words and ways to get it to stop, telling him if he doesn't stand up for himself it will never end, and probably get worse. I guess next is to get in contact with the kids' parents. These kids should know they live in a small town, everyone knows everyone's parents.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Walking!

Just a few short video's of Alina's emerging walking skills! If she slows down and keeps her balance, she does very well and can walk quite a good distance! Its when she starts running and leaning forward to get to where she is going faster that she falls.


video


video


video

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Third Day- Adopted

I love the Christian band Third Day. My iPod is loaded with their songs, I have their station on Pandora, the kids know the words to many of their songs and can pick out the tune in the first few notes. So imagine how much more I love Third Day after I seen this video...



Third Day is asking families who have adopted to send pictures of their family, children or adopted child with a sign that simply reads 'Adopted'. They will edit these pictures into a video to play behind them on stage while they sing this song! How cool is that. So here is the picture I sent in of our trio, Alina of course holding the sign. (without the watermark, of course)


Adoptive families, CLICK HERE to visit Third Day's official website for more information, watch the music video and find out how to email them your own picture!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Just pictures

Spring has finally sprung and the kids are enjoying their time outdoors getting as dirty as possible. Only in Minnesota can you play outside in a t-shirt next to a snowbank in April. :) But around here, 55 is practically shorts weather. The sun feels so warm after a cold Winter!

Below are some pictures for faraway friends. :)

Pink toes in the sand for the first time ever!


Missing teeth, so cute!


Its hard work getting dirty!


Big Al!






She's fascinated by the rocks








If only this tractor did some real work!


Boy and his dog <3


<3

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Its a slow ride...

but she's doing it! Excellent way to work on her balance, weight shifting from leg to leg, and just working those little legs!


video



video


*I deleted the video of Al and Alina because apparently a kid on his bus seen the video and was making fun of him for being silly with his sister.*

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Its a party!

Alina celebrated her first American Birthday on Saturday, April 2nd. She would say 'thats my party!' or 'My birthday!' when she seen her presents waiting in our closet or her birthday stuff, but she had no idea what that meant. When everyone sang to her, she danced and smiled. Opening gifts was fun too, she had so many fun and new things to discover!

Happy 4th Birthday Alina!

She loves Hello Kitty


A little pre-party snack


Alexander took all the gift opening pics!


Anthony was a big help. :)




Pillowpet from Anthony








Maybe she'll stop trying to ride the boys' scooters now. :)


I think she had a great day, and is a happy girl! <3