The New Playhouse!

July 14, 2008

A new playhouse arrived on June 25th compliments of the Merrifield Garden Center staff. The kids saw it & ran right to it. I thought it would be fun for everyone to see how excited the kids were to play in it, so I finally got a video uploaded & posted for all to see.

Enjoy!

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So, how are we doing??

July 14, 2008

It’s been 3 weeks since we’ve been back home.  What a whirlwind! I think the kids transition has been good and pretty typical from what we have read about.  Nick has differing opinions in some areas than me, but I do believe that they are happy and healthy and doing great.  Now OUR transition from a quiet house and total freedom to do what we want when we want to a very loud and messy house and not being able to do what we want is another issue. It’s HARD.  If I focus on me, its a  lousy day. If I focus on them, its a good day. I’m learning. The hardest part we have had is getting the boys to go to sleep at night. It takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.  We have gone from all 3 sleeping in the same room and the boys in pack-n-plays to moving Anna out and both boys in their own twin bed.  That may sound like great news, and maybe it is- but I’ll  just say it hasn’t been fun.

We joined the neighborhood pool and the kids LOVE it.  Anna keeps asking “Mama waditchka(water)?” We’re teaching her the word ‘pool’. Just a few more days and she’ll have it.  She is doing great with her english.  I am catching her accent here and there. It’s cute. It’s kinda sad too to think she will be forgetting her russian real soon.  It’s so much fun to see her expressions when she hears or sees something new.  When she pulled the plug on the bath water and heard the noise of the water draining, she looked up really quickly, her eyes really big with a look of ‘what was that?’  She LOVES shoes and pretty clothes. She is doing well in her room by herself.  She only woke up crying about 4 or 5 times the first 2 weeks.

All three sleep really well, thru the night–once they are asleep.  Warren has made big strides this week- as I see it.  Last week he started talking to me more than just one word at a time(in Russian). This past week he wanted me to hold him a number of times.  He gives me kisses kinda/sorta (has been for a while- maybe 2 weeks).  When we go on walks he says “mama’ until he gets my attention then points out something he sees (either a dog or a car). Both boys are now saying ‘truck’ instead of machina for a truck, but still insists on calling cars machinas. They will say ‘more please’ and ‘yes mama’.  Warren has the cutest ‘yes’.  Sounds almost like a hillbilly ‘yeayes’

Corey seems to be the clown of the bunch. At bedtime too. Always doing something funny or laughing about something.  He always looks up to me with a big smile. 2 weeks ago he would hug my legs. Last week he stopped that & would put his arms up for me to hold him. He puts his head on my shoulder (something new) and I taught him how to give me a kiss. He will put his hands on my face and pucker up! So cute. 

Can you tell I love affection?  They all love affection too.  Anna says ‘skuweesh’  and I’ll squeeze her and she me.  This past week they have been fighting over who gets to sit in my lap. I noticed that they much rather have me swing them than the guest that has come to visit.   Warren is shy, but he will give people hugs if they put their arms out. The other 2 will not. They don’t talk much to other people yet either. I am trying to teach them to say hello or hey, thank you and bye. They are not very good at it yet.  Today Warren did something that he as never done before –he asked me “what’s this?”  when we were looking at picture cards. I thought that was really big.

That’s it for now. Hope everyone is doing well.

 Here’s a few pictures. this one is taken when we arrived at the airport.

Corey 

Warren  

The new playhouse built by my dear friends at Merrifield Garden Center. I hope to get a video to download and post asap.

Anna

Home at last!

June 24, 2008

Though the day we returned home was long and grueling, we were very excited to finally be home. It already seems like it was a long time ago that we were in the Ukraine.  The kids are such a joy — and a challenge.  The kids were so good on the return flight…I know it was God’s grace.  I was so worried about that but I really couldn’t have asked for more well behaved kids.

There was a contigent of friends with flowers, balloons and american flags that greeted us at the airport as soon as we passed through customs..What an incredible blessing! The kids loved it! So did we.

The day was filled with so many INCREDIBLE blessings.. like the one I just mentioned.  But I will mention a couple more.  The Elliotts let us swap cars with them because my car cannot fit 3 car seats in the back seat(what a bummer!!). John drove it to the airport complete with car seats that friends had bought for us as an early shower gift. My womens group and other friends did so much in making our transition smooth. They cleaned the house and bought food, set up the kids room and stocked it with clothes, diapers, etc — everything we needed. When we got home, there were signs in the windows and on the front door. My neighbor, Nellie, was home and greeted us with her daughters that were so excited to meet the kids.  Nellie said something like ‘there is something in your back yard too.’  OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt like someone who was on the ‘Extreme Makeover’ show-the surprises kept coming! We were so shocked to see a big wooden play set complete with swings, slide, climbing wall, glider and rope! It was all set up and ready for the kids to use! Thank you to my friends at Merrifield Garden Center who all chipped in to get it. We are overwhelmed at your generosity!!! It is beautiful and so perfect!!  The kids absolutely love it! When they see it through the window, they ask to go out and play!

We hope to post more pictures before the weeks’ end of the kids in their new home. Stay tuned!

Thank you to all of you who kept up with our progress, prayed for us, encouraged us and spent so much time serving us. We are truly grateful.

 Polly (and Nick)

Passports and Visas In Hand!!!!

June 19, 2008

Hello Everyone! We arrived back in Kiev the evening before last. We haven’t had an internet connection for a few days now, so there’s alot to catch up on. Well, I thought the miracles were over; however, they keep on coming. First, we got the kid’s passports in less than 24 hours (yesterday), which is absolutely unheard of. Two couples we know here waited at least 10 days for theirs. This is the one hurdle that’s been on my mind off and on the entire trip! But we have them!!! Thank you God!

Second, today we received the children’s visas in 4 hours. The Ukrainian adoption agency that is partnering with ours in the U.S. was shocked that I was able to get them so quickly. Usually, one has to come the next day after applying to pick up the Visas. It was really funny to see the puzzled look on our adoption facilitator’s face. “Connections” are important here in Ukraine if you want to get things done quickly and smoothly (or at all, for that matter). I could see by the look on her face and the questions she was asking me that she was trying to figure out what sort of “connection” I had with the consulate to get the visas so quickly. Of course, we all know what that connection is!!!

As a side note, I was alone this afternoon while picking up the Visas at the U.S. consulate. While I was waiting in the waiting area for the visas, I realized I was sitting next to a large American flag on a post in the room. I was so grateful to see it, that I………….. hugged it!!!! There was no one in the waiting area, thank God, but I’m sure the security cameras caught it. The guards probably got quite a laugh out of it. But, I couldn’t help it – I miss home something terrible!!!!

With everything in hand late this afternoon, we briefly entertained thoughts of returning home tomorrow (Friday) instead of Saturday; however, we have alot of stuff to pack, and besides, I’m just plain exhausted with all the running around, not to mention chasing around 3 little kids who don’t speak English <sigh>.

So, we will return Saturday afternoon as planned. It’ll be nice also to more casually say goodbye tomorrow to a land that’s been our home for 6 weeks (and for the kids, their entire lives of course). See you all soon!

Running on fumes,

Nick

Okay my turn– Sorry those of you that have emailed me– for some reason, I have not been able to respond – the reply emails are not being sent according to a message that has come up after I hit ‘send.’ I don’t have the time to check into it now. One more day & we’ll be back home!

The kids are great! I think they think they are on a vacation of all fun & freedom…we are working really hard at getting them to take us seriously(esp. because of the language issue). I guess we made it too fun during our visits. But they are catching on and I think we are making headway.

TO  MY WG:  If you didn’t get my itinerary, please email Susan Holovaty. She can get a message to us thru Orest.  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING!!

I better go outside to see how Nick is doing with the kids.

Polly

More Pictures

June 14, 2008

I realized yesterday after looking over the blog posts, that we really haven’t posted many pictures post children…So here’s more!

This is the view of the ‘beach’ from our apartment. Not bad, huh? Then there is the view of the apartment building from the beach, and a close up of the building. We really wanted you to get a really good look at it. This is the typical looking apartment building in Cherkassay and Kiev. Some look better than others, but most are just like this- built in the Soviet era.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Woo! Papa’s got chocolate! Don’t worry, Nonnie- it’s nutrition bites!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a blanket laid out by the fence of the orphanage. The boys were practically glued to the fence as they watched people and ‘machineas’ go by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna & Warren playing in the tub of water with floating plastic fish. Warren splashed so much, the “Mama’ of their group took off their shirts and socks & shoes. That just left their ill-fitting underwear (Nick rolled his eyes when he saw that).  Me & the kids sit to watch the puppet show.

 

Friday June 13 Update

June 13, 2008

All is well here in the Ukraine.  We’ve had a good week visiting with the children, going to the beach, and getting to know Cherkassay better.  This morning, we joined our children’s orphanage group on an “excursion” to a local park near the Neper River.  The park was really interesting in that it appeared to be an old amusement park with ancient looking ferris wheels and other similar rides.  These were rusted and overgrown with brush.  Today, the park has hiking trails and open fields that appear to be used for a variety of activities.  There is also a horse track, and there just happened to be a young rider on his horse using the track while we there on our visit.  All of the kids loved it.  It was also fun imagining what the amusement park was like there in the 60’s or 70’s when the rides were likely last in operation. 

Well, our latest milestone is that we reached the end of the 10-day waiting period today.  On Tuesday morning, bright and early, we go to the kid’s hometown of Smila, Ukraine (about 30 km away from here) to pick up their birth certificates and any other pertinent documents.  Unfortunately, we can’t do this on Monday, because this Monday was declared a federal holiday here this past week which means that all government offices will be closed.  Tuesday afternoon, we will then return to the orphanage to pick up the kids and then head north to Kiev.  From there, the kids are required to have a medical exam from an American clinic in Kiev, and visas from the U.S. embassy.  We then head home as a family (at last) to the good ole USA!

Our scheduled flight out of Kiev is Saturday, June 21 at 5:35 a.m. (ouch!  It’s a long story, but that’s the best we can get using the adoption package from the airline).  We have one layover in Frankfurt, Germany for 3.5 hours (ouch again!) and then arrive at Dulles airport at around 2 p.m.  We will probably take a couple of hours to get out of the airport (customs, baggage retrieval, etc.) before heading home.

Well, that is all for now! 

We promise to post more pictures tomorrow.  God bless you all!!

Blessed

June 11, 2008

We ARE so blessed to have such wonderful friends! Thank you everyone, and Dan & Melanie for your latest encouraging words. It was a warm day today. The children were in their undershirts and under wear (with shoes, socks and hats, of course!.) I got some video of them playing with the other kids in the sandbox. Sorry, I will not be broadcasting that on the blog.

The children are more & more comfortable with us. Today Anna said “Momma please” w/o me prompting her, when she wanted something. Warren’s favorite phrase is “uh oh.”  What a blessing it was today when they all see that we have come to visit- Anna says loudly ‘Mamma!’ and they all come running to give me hugs…Poor Nick I have to tell them to hug him–except for Anna. Nick & Anna are forming a wonderful relationship already. It will come with the boys, I’m positive of that. All the children are just used to women around, not men.

Today we had a big blessing when both of us were longing for home…I said kiddingly ‘Nick, why don’t we just have Thai delivered tonight.”  He wasn’t happy about that remark, knowing there is nothing here like that. We tried a restaurant called ‘Western’ and it was delicious! I’ve been longing for broccoli and it was on the menu! (I have not seen that in the grocery stores or the market). We both had grilled pork with bacon, too. That was the closest thing to american food we’ve had here. We’ll go again!

LOL

Polly

 

Short Update

June 9, 2008

Got a call from our Facilitator. We will not be able to get the remaining paperwork that has to be done in Cherkassay(birth certificates & passports) until Monday, not Saturday as hoped. The Dept of vital statistics is closed. So hopefully Monday will work out(oh please God!). We will find out for sure some time on Thursday.  We are disappointed in the news. Don’t think we can handle any more 2 and 3 day delays -even a 1 day delay is too long!

We are soooooooooooooo ready to come home–eventhough it is blazing hot in DC! We’ve enjoyed perfect weather. Cool breezes, highs in the upper 70s, low 80s.

LOL

Polly & Nick

More Pictures and the VIDEO!

June 7, 2008

I’m so excited I finally got the video uploaded on youtube!! It took about 1 hour (after many hours of trying over the past week.)  Hope you enjoy it! Watch Warren- it’s hilarious what he does. I laugh everytime I watch it.

We bought the kids some sunglasses. They loved them, and in less than 2 days had them all broken. Actually one of them ripped the arms off the last unbroken pair– and it wasn’t the youngest! At least we got some cute pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 We took a ride on the local bus (there are many of them) just to see where it would take us. We were assuming that it would make a big circle because the number of this bus we have seen in the places we have been. Boy were we wrong! We just kept going farther and farther out of the city… then we were told (I think) ‘This is the end of the line, get off!’ So we walked across the street to catch a bus going back in the direction we came from. It worked out. We were lucky. 

 LOL

Polly & Nick

Officially Parents and Miracles Galore!

June 3, 2008
Good news to report – We are officially parents of Anna, Warren, and Corey!  The court proceeding went very smoothly.  Praise God!!!!!
Okay, I’m done dancing in the coffee house.  This is a miracle in and of itself, but three more miracles also occurred today.  First, the prosecuter didn’t show up to the court proceeding, because “she was too busy doing other things.” Do you believe it??  This is significant, because even with the CIS approval, we were told today that the prosecuter may have given us trouble because they wouldn’t have had the official document from the embassy other than our advocate’s word that the embassy received the cable.  God took care of that one.  Second, the judge appointed only a 10-day waiting period instead of a 30-day waiting period.  This means that we will have the kids on June 14 (a week from this Saturday).  Third, our advocate here worked out a deal whereby we will receive the kids Ukranian passports (they will travel back to the U.S. with us using Ukrainian passports and U.S. visas) on the same day that the kids are released to us (June 14).  The local social worker who is friends with our advocate from the adoption agency was absolutely shocked that our advocate was able to work that out.  The social worker told me that nobody adopting kids here in the past year was able to get a passport that quickly, let alone the same day as the end of the 10-day waiting period.  Normally it takes at least a week after the end of the waiting period or longer.  In fact, one couple we know that are adopting a child here had to return back to the U.S. last Saturday because they were told a passport wouldn’t be available for an additional 10 days!
 
The next steps will be to wait out the 10-day waiting period, then pick up the kids birth certificates in their native town about 30 km to the south of here, then return to Kiev for American medical center exams and U.S. visas for the kids.  Our projected return date is sometime between Wednesday June 18 and Saturday June 21.  Please pray for Wednesday, the 18th.  The earlier date is dependent on our getting the birth certificates in the kid’s home town on Saturday, June 14.  If they won’t open for us on that day, then we will have to wait until Tuesday, June 17.  So again, pray for on or about the 18th.  I’ve got to get out of here before I lose my mind!
Is there any doubt that God our Father is working here and now in the world and is hearing our prayers?  If there is, read through this blog again and see that He is plainly evident!  Amen!!!!!!