Friday, August 31, 2012

Great Visit-day 7

This mornings visit was awesome! The groupa was outside and when we came around the corner she literally came running for me.  She gave me a big hug and then turned around and sat in my lap. She was more comfortable facing away from me for sure.  But she was so happy to see us! 

They have a trampoline that is a death trap, and, of course, that is what she wanted to play on.  We played on it for a good 30 minutes.  I tried to make eye contact, but she was actively looking away.  Though she was smiling and interacting. Then the other kids climbed up and it was chaos.  

Finally we talked her into going to look at her photo book. She really looked this time.  She repeated a few of the other kids names.  I love showing her her family.  We fed her a banana while we looked at the book and used a game with the banana to work on eye contact. She really enjoyed it.

Then we went around the side of a building and smashed walnuts open for an hour. She thought this was great fun. So did I.  She relaxed a lot.  She started making eye contact more.  She is such a cuddlebug which is wonderful, because so am I!!  I mean, she just leans into me and always has her head on me or her hand in mine.  The eye contact is hard for her, but the touch is not. One step at a time. 

After that we went back to the death trap trampoline and jumped some more.  This time she held our hands as she jumped. And, best of all she made a good bit of eye contact.  I would make a sound and then she would make it back.  And then we would laugh and laugh.  so much fun.

After that she wanted to look at the photos again.  But when we got to the table a woman was doing an art class with 2 children at a time. So, we sat at one end and did art with V while the woman sat at the other. I love that the kids get art, music, gym, field trips.  An orphanage is certainly not a family.  But, as far as orphanages go, our girls are definitely in one of the best ones here. And the workers care.  The art teacher kept thanking us and telling us she is happy we are here again. 

When it was time to go she wanted me to walk her to her door.  Then she hugged me and said bye. I told her we would see her tomorrow. I am so looking forward to it. 

We got news on our complication that seems good. It should be resolved favorably on Monday. It will, of course, cause a delay of a day or two and cost a few hundred dollars.  BUT, once it is done we can proceed forward.  I will not be totally relieved until it is done, but our facilitator is very confident. When they are giving you confident answers over here, you tend to listen.  They don't often talk to you in absolutes. So, I am hopeful.

Dale and I walked around a bit again today.  But, all of this is just wearing on me harder this time.  And I miss my kids at home something awful.  So, I opened my window, layed in bed, and read a lot today.  We will cook some dinner in a few minutes and then have an early bedtime. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

She Wants a Mama-day 6

Todays visit was so much better. That first official visit is just so overwhelming and weird.  She was almost the V we knew from before, but not quite.  But, again, that is good.  I am glad she is feeling us out and going slowly.

As soon as we walked in a nanny saw us and said she was glad we were there.  She said V had been asking all morning if we would come again to see her! I can not tell you how happy I was to hear she was asking for us!.

THen we went in the office with the translator to hear her history.  That was rough. I cried...a lot.  It is what you would expect. We didn't know any of it with Eva Marina since her birth mother abandoned her, so this was our first experience hearing in explicit detail the painful past of our child.  Some part of me holds on to hope that EM's birth mother loved her dearly, cared for her wonderfully, and left her because she had no choice. I know that the reality is probably quite different, but I don't know.  Well, this time we know. And it is awful.

It is what you would mostly expect.  V was removed.  No food in the home.  No clothes.  Filthy.  Birth mother drinking.  Had V out on the street begging for money. She was removed when she was 2.5 years old. Her birth mother has since had a son that she has kept.  She brought him with her to court to have her rights terminated for V. She didn't fight the termination.  She didn't visit V even though the courthouse is 5 minutes from the orphanage. Awful.  I am so glad she can feel how loved and wanted she is. How precious we think she is.  How hard we have worked to get to her! 

Then we moved to medical.  We got to hear about her birth which was cool. We also didn't get to learn any of that with EM. Health wise she is great.  Other than HIV she seems in perfect health.  EMs list of "issues" was super duper long.  V's was all "normal" test results and good news.  Yay!

We were getting nervous because the time for our visit was going by when V walked in the room with a nanny. The nanny said on the way by in the hall she heard us and insisted on going in to see us!  She grabbed my hand and we went outside.

As soon as we sat down she melted into me.  I gave her a banana which she clearly loves as much as her sister does!  It was so nice having the translator there today.  Immediately V said, "I want to go home.  I want to get on an airplane". Little girls is ready!  I know the wait over the next couple of weeks is going to be hard for all of us.  I am glad to know she is excited though.

The interpreter also said she thinks she does remember us, but I don't know that we will ever know for sure.  

She said she was not scared.  That she is happy.  That she wants a mama and a papa.  My heart was so glad to hear this. But, she is doing a little bit of big talking.  She is clearly nervous, of course.  Who wouldn't be? I would be terrified and I am 33!!

She went and sat by Dale and they looked at photos on his phone.  She loved that.  I was wondering how she would be with Dale. She was great with him. Definitely not scared of him.

She does not want to repeat English words with us like EM did.  In fact, she isn't talking much at all.  She is still very quiet.  More eye contact today, but not much.  Twice as many smiles, which means about 10. All this is where you would expect to be on visit 2.  Was very impressed with the progress we have made in just 2 visits actually.

I did get a great look at her teeth today. Though her front teeth are in horrible shape, I actually think hers are in better shape than EMs were.  More good news.

After only 30 minutes we had to take her back to her groupa. She let me help her with her shoes and clothes and she let me hug her goodbye. We also got the photobook back. So, tomorrow we can go over the names of her new brothers and sisters! She loves to look at EMs picture and smiles. So glad she has someone waiting for her at home that she knows already!

Our facilitator also seemed more hopeful today about our complication, which is good.  But, we are certainly not out of the woods so continued thoughts and prayers would be awesome.

After the visit Dale and I went to lunch and walked around.  We loved it here in the snow, but in this gorgeous weather it is just unreal.  We are in an amazing city!!

We are about to get out and walk around some more.  Soak up as much of this as we can. We have not been alone for about 8 years so it is strange to have no children around!

I am hoping I can post some good news tomorrow.  Will for sure update after our visit anyway!

Hope for Sharon and Mayah day 6

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Finally it is Her Turn!!-day 5

Let me start by saying this will probably be the worst blog post ever. I. am. drained.  Today was such a mix of emotions.

We got here and went to the social worker.  This time that was a much more fun experience.  The same social worker, but she remembered us and was happy to see us.  She just looked at our pictures of Eva Marina and put some on the wall of her office! Then we were off to the orphanage.

We went in and saw the director, who is super nice.  She also loved seeing our pictures.  And she was genuinely choked up at the sight of EM.  Without any notice a woman came in with V and told her we were her mama and papa.  She looked terrified.  She walked up and just leaned in to hug me, but she was clearly very nervous.  I don't think she had even looked at our faces yet.

Hope for Sharon and Mayah day 5

 Then they told us to go out to the yard with her. She took my hand, but would not look up and was very shy.  This was so different than the little girl who came running up to me last time, grabbing at my hand, clinging to me, and calling me "mama".

She immediately grabbed the photobook when I showed it to her.  She walked right up to her nanny and the nanny remembered us. She asked if there were pictures of Marina.  Then we all looked at it together.  The groupa crowded around.  The groupa is part of why today was so tough.  But, I will come back to that.  The other kids were climbing us and clinging to us.  I think that when they see another child getting a mama and papa they want it so badly. But when it is a reality, the fear of the unknown, the change, hits them.  I know how much V wants a mama and a papa but I think now that it is really happening she is a bit shell shocked.
Remember when it was EM's turn, EM was a bit stand offish and V was climbing me.

But this is actually a good, normal reaction.  I was a bit worried that V would be indiscriminately clingy to anyone that came in.  That she would have attachment issues. Not that she for sure won't, but I am glad she had a hesitant reaction to us.  That is a healthy reaction.

We just mostly walked around with her.  She was a ball of nervous energy.  She clung to that photobook for dear life and would not give it back.  I hope it isn't gone because she took it with her.  It was amazing to finally be here with her.  To be accepting the referral for her.  To hear the director tell her that her mama and papa were here for her.

I don't know for sure if she remembered us. Our translator couldn't be with us today, but she is coming tomorrow and will ask.  We also didn't  get her medical or family history because of that. I am looking forward to tomorrow.

So, seeing her was amazing and wonderful, and we were over the moon about being with her!

But we had two other really strong emotions today.  One is worry and one is sorrow.

First, the worry.  That complication I talked about could be a mountain or it could be a mole hill.  We don't know yet. I want this behind us so badly.  Any thoughts, prayers, and nudity for this hurdle to be moved would be appreciated.  It is hard to let go and enjoy with this looming.

And, now the sorrow. When we came here 6 months ago the groupa was about 15 children.  Today I saw 6 total.  That includes V.  The other little girl that was so close to EM and V was not here anymore.  She could not be adopted so that means she aged out of her baby house.  Another little girl that pulled at my heart-gone.  Most of these children were not available for international adoption.  These kids were in the oldest groupa in the orphanage. Most of these children have been transferred.  Whether they went to the institution or the internat depends on how severe their needs.  But either place will not be what they are used to. It will also not be a family.  And their chances of being adopted as they age gets smaller.

I looked into these children's eyes. I held their hands.  I talked to them.  For them to be gone, most likely transferred, is heartbreaking. I am hoping that some of the parents came for them. I am hoping some of them were adopted.  But I will never know.

And how awful for V and the other little ones that have been left behind. Can you imagine losing most of your friends in 6 months?  One after another.  Being left behind.  Can you imagine what that would do to your heart? How that would harden you over time?

I hope our girl was just nervous today. But I also imagine it has been a rough 6 months.  I am so glad we are here for her. That she won't be left behind to age out and face the internat alone.  But so many more have been and will be.  It is overwhelming.  They are all deserving.  Where are the parents for these other precious children?

And that is what it is like to be over here doing this. Full of joy, love,  devastation, heartbreak, fear, sorrow, happiness, elation, worry, anger, frustration, hope.  It is so emotional.  so hard.  so draining.  And yet I am, of course, so grateful to be here.  Not only for my family and my daughter.  But for myself. That my eyes have been opened.  Better to see even when it hurts than to look away ignore the painful reality. These kids are real. These kids are there. waiting.  wanting. needing whether we want to look at them or not.  As hard as it is for us, imagine how hard it is for them. If we open our eyes and see, we can do something.

So many of you helped do something.  And we are grateful.  Thank you for looking with us.  Thank you for acting.  I hope so much none of us looks away again.  Even when it would be easier. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


 We are in her region!!!  I LOVE it here.  The train was awesome again!!!  Dale and I just love that ride. I swear, I physically feel better just being here.

We are at our apartment.  Got a shower, a bite to eat, and unloaded our stuff.  We are in the same room we were last time, which is awesome.  Feels like home.

At 9:00 we are meeting our facilitator in the lobby and the day begins.  We will go to the social worker's office where she will ask us why we want to adopt another child, if we can care for a child, etc. Then we will load up and drive to the orphanage to see V!!! When we accept the referral, the whole process of waiting for court gets started.  But, we still have that complication to deal with.  Don't know what the process is like for that. Really nervous and hoping it goes quickly and smoothly.  Will update tonight after we get back!!!


Referral!! day 4

We have the referral for V in our hands!!!  This is an awesome step to have done. This means that we are now matched to her. Of course, she is not our child until the judge says "yes", but this means no one else will get a referral for her! HUGE relief.  I mean, look how precious she is. How could you not want to get on a plane and scoop her up??

This was such an amazing feeling after the pain of not seeing her face last time.  I can not express how surreal and yet so right it is to be here.  To have our referral for her and to be on our way to get her!

Dale and I didn't get out today much more than going to pick up the referral.  We are having Serious stomach issues this trip for some reason. PAIN!!!  We layed in bed close to the bathroom a lot. Luckily we are over here with a chiropractor and his wife so they had some stuff to help.  Hoping we are feeling better soon.

Really hoping we are feeling better before we get on our 8 hour train ride!!  I love the train, but really don't want to be having stomach issues on it!

I got to skype with the kids yesterday, which is bittersweet. It was soooo nice to see their faces.  But it was clearly hard on Seamus and Aine.  Hoping I can skype with them again soon. It gets a bit easier on them. At least it did last time.

We will arrive early in V's region and then about 9 am here we will go meet the social worker.  She will ride with us to the orphanage to meet V and accept the referral.  I wish we could skip this step since we know we accept the referral.  But we are so close now!!!!

I am giddy!  I wonder if she will remember us. I can't wait to see her face when she realizes it is HER turn.  Her mommy and daddy are here to bring her HOME!!!!   It is going to be a long night!!!

Eva Marina's adoption day 4

ps-I will be taking my blog private tomorrow for a couple of weeks.  So, check back if you can't get in!

Monday, August 27, 2012

DAP-day 3

We had our DAP appointment where we are given the referral for our child.  We did come here with the hope of adopting a specific child, but children are not placed on hold in this country.  So, at any time someone else could have adopted her.  Imagine the relief and joy we felt when a photo of our "V" was handed to us at our appointment!!

We had the same woman working that we had last time and I got to try out my new Russian phrase "It is nice to see you again!".  The appointment was pretty quick.

Of course, with us, nothing can be too easy.  There is a complication.  It might cause a delay of a day or two.  It *could* cause bigger issues than that, but we are very hopeful that it won't.  We will not know for at least several days what the situation will be.  We did have a few delays last time that we should not have this time.  So even if there is a little delay we should fall in the same timeline. I hope so anyway.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us that this goes smoothly.

After DAP we did some sight seeing and had a great afternoon with some other families that are over here.  We got to do even more than we did last time because of the weather difference. It rained this morning, but stopped early.  It gave the day a nice,cool,.fall like feel.  We ate a delicious dinner at the ******** buffet.  Man, I missed this food!!

Tomorrow we are going to the US Embassy so Dale can sign some forms since he won't be coming back on the second trip.  We will also pick up our referral and then board a train to our girl's region.  I will try to update before we get on the train.  

I am missing my other kids so badly already. I am worried I am going to have a come apart before it is all said and done.I talked to them on Skype yesterday, but I have not seen them yet. They have not been near our home computer with the camera when I have called. I need to lay eyes on them soon.  I am also getting really antsy to be in region with V.  So close to that, at least.

OK enough of me whining. Dale and I really are enjoying ourselves.  It is just hard to be away from our children. I have never been away from Seamus or Eva Marina before either. I know we have at least 2.5 more weeks before we can come home for a few days, which just seems like eternity right now.

But it will be worth it.  And once we are home-we are ALL home.  One day at a time.

Ending on an upnote-check out the awesome pictures of our day!

Check out Eva's Marina's Adoption Day 3