"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, October 28, 2011


Alina got a new walker to take to school. She uses it in gym and when the class goes outside. She walks without it all the time, but she's very unsteady outside, and can't run so in the gym it works great for her too.

It came with this GIGANTIC sheet of stickers to put her name on it, and it had a ton of flowers, hearts, and swirly things. The girl went nuts making it as gaudy as possible. :)

Oh, and she can also run her little legs tired in it. Pure joy!

Here she explains how to use her walker.

And here she demonstrates how she basically pulls it behind her while running. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gotcha day... 1 year later

One year ago I was standing in the doorway of her group at the orphanage one last time. But instead of asking for Alina to be brought out, I handed over her clothes. Her brand new clothes and shoes, the first things she could call her very own. She was mad when the nanny brought her to the back instead of out to me, but when she seen the clothing she seemed to understand what was happening, and was smiling nervously. Then she appeared before us all ready to go!

She was really excited to see so many people standing around looking at her. :)

She hadn't seen me all day because we were running around doing paperwork. I know she was wondering if I was coming back, and she got up into my arms and gripped the back of my jacket, not wanting to get down.

Look at those spikey pigtails!

Its hard to believe its been an entire year since I carried her out of those doors for the last time. She was nervous because it was dark out and I don't think she every got outside after dark.

The car ride to the train station was awful! Poor girly had a ton of something for dinner just shortly before we got there, and she let us know a few minutes into the car ride by throwing up. It was awful, she felt terrible, it was all over her, all over me, and all over our sweet facilitators car. But of course we all lived and got to the train after stopping to clean up a little bit. It was bittersweet getting on that train... we wanted to get home with our girl, but it was hard to leave the people and places we had come to know and love. It was very emotional for me leaving Nikolaev. I felt like our girl had been jipped out of seeing the beautiful area where she was born. But also knowing that she wouldn't have fully remembered it even if we took a few days to show her. We will go back when the kids are all a bit older, so they can understand and appreciate.

This is Alina today. :) Look at the difference in her pigtails! The dress is shorter, a little tighter on top, and the tights are now too small. And the pink dotty shoes don't fit at all!

Happy Gotcha Day, Alina! We love you and are amazed by you every day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

One whole year ago...

...we were standing in a cold Ukrainian courtroom asking to be Alina's parents. I remember walking into that room and feeling REFRESHED! Crazy, right? Let me explain. Ukrainians like it hot, and the baby house, our apartment, stores, the bus were all hot. And anyone that knows me knows I'm comfy at about 65 degrees. Anything above 80 and I'm ready to burst into flames.

Save for the cage on one wall (for bad guys, thankfully we didn't have to stand in it!) the courtroom was beautiful and the woodwork gorgeous. Eugene, Sasha (our facilitator) and I squeezed our butts onto one bench. She was in the middle because she was translating for us.

The entire experience was surreal. The Judge read through our paperwork and I gave our speech. We were asked a few questions and they looked at our photo album, and then we were asked to sit while they left the room. A few minutes later they came back and announced us Alina's mom and dad! It was such an emotional moment for us, and as the jurors walked out and warmly took our hands and wished us luck (or congratulations, I don't recall) we couldn't help but shed our tears and grin like fools telling them 'Spaseeba! Spaseeba!'

We had lunch and then headed to see Alina at the baby house. She had no idea what was going on or why we were still blubbering goofs during our visit.

Taken on our afternoon visit after court.

I can't believe its been a year.
Happy one year 'made ya ours day', Alina!

(and don't forget about Operation: Christmas in Nikolaev! See the button to the right. Any donation helps, be it a small toy for one of the boxes, an entire packed box, $2, $10, 20 packed boxes... every little bit helps bring Christmas to the little ones still waiting! Everything has to be packed and ready to ship by Oct 31st! Please visit the blog and donate!)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Did you know?

That anything purchased in my Etsy shop in the month of October will help fund Operation: Christmas in Nikolaev?

Thats right! All proceeds from sales in October will go directly to sending Christmas to the kiddo's at Alina's baby house! There are 115 cute little reasons to donate, purchase something in my Etsy shop, or build and send a box of your own.

We have about 24 days left to build and send enough boxes for all the children! So go to the blog and donate (www.operationchristmasinnikolaev.blogspot.com ), build a box (or 5!) and send, or purchase something in my Etsy shop, you can find it just to the right of this post.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Operation Christmas in Nikolaev

Have you ever been to Nikolaev, Ukraine? I have. I spent four weeks there. That is where Alina was born and where she spent her first 3.5yrs. Its a place we hold very dear to our hearts, and people we met and the children we fell in love with never be far from our hearts or minds.

A year ago we walked those halls for the first time. Nervous anticipation as we trotted behind our facilitator to meet our girl. This was it. We had waited so long for this moment and we had no idea what to expect. We burst through that door way and there she was! Wearing that pink dress. She was completely blindsided by these visitors who stood there smiling at her like big fools.

We remember the sights, the sounds, the smells..... and we remember those we had to leave behind. The little faces we fell in love with who are still waiting for their families to come. We are forever changed.

But we can do something. We can help give the kids at Alina's old baby house Christmas! Sometimes no matter how loud we shout and how many people we talk to it doesn't feel like we are making a difference, especially to the kids.

Please please visit this blog http://operationchristmasinnikolaev.blogspot.com/
and consider donating a box for a little one at the orphanage. Or donating $5 to build a box or to help with shipping. The information is all on that blog, and every single person who will be working very hard at this has adopted a child from the Nikolaev baby house. And we want nothing more than to bless our childrens 'first siblings' who are still waiting.

Imagine the excitement of a child who has never had a Christmas present or anything of their very own getting a little box of goodies for Christmas. It will make a difference!