Sunday, August 3, 2014

Adam Update.

And the whole family did a happy dance.
He was in the 2nd percentile for weight at our last check-up.
Yes, that is small...but who cares!?
ON the chart is a BIG deal!

Adam is learning by leaps and bounds.
He can sign...please, thank you, food, more, and cracker.
He babbles but doesn't speak quite yet.

I think he has a ridiculous sense of humor.
He will babble "mamamamamamamamaaaaa."
And I, being insanely excited, will smile encouragingly. Saying, "Yes! Mama!"
And he, being a bull-headed Amerikrainian (that I know is torturing me on purpose) 
will giggle and say "Dadadadadada!"
Every. Single. Time.

Adam hates cake.
I was so excited to make his first birthday cake.
And here is what happened....

Me: Adam, try your birthday cake! Want a bite? It is sooo yummy! You will love it! 
Adam: AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! (wiping mouth furiously, crying, and dry-heaving)

Adam likes me to carry him around.
Every second of every day.
I have been putting him in the baby carrier on my back.
But he doesn't like that either.
He much prefers to ride around attached to my front.
On the occasion that I do have to put him on my back...
He sweetly, kindly, (screechingly)  lets me know that he does not approve by leaning waaaaay over and hollering at the absolute top of his lungs...
just in case I wasn't sure how he felt about his mode of transportation. 

Why not just put him on the ground? 
Well, when I do that he attaches himself like a barnacle to my leg and cries big, sad tears. 
It is pitiful.
And so far, I just cannot stand it.

And in the land of adoption-bonding, Adam actually liking me (even in a loud sort of way) is a good thing. 

Adam is settling right into family life.
He knows which ones of us are suckers (me, Joseph, TC) 
and which ones of us aren't (everyone else).
He seems to recognize that we are his family. 
And he belongs.
And that is all adoption is...
A place to belong.

Please leave any questions in the comment section 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Asher update.

He has gone from a Ukrainian hospital....

To a Ukrainian orphanage...

With no family.

No Mama.
No Daddy.
No brothers or sisters...

Unwilling to make eye contact.
Unsure of how to play.
Unaware of people around him...
Living in an orphanage.
Destined to a life in an asylum because he has an extra chromosome.

And now...

This teeny boy has a best friend in our house.
TC and Asher are buddies.
Asher likes to click his teeth on TC's head.
Right now, it is Asher's favorite activity besides eating.

Sweet boy.

He has been home for almost 3 months...I think.
I can hardly keep track with all of the activity.

We have been to 18 doctor's visits (so far.)
I have cleaned approximately 673 poops out of the bath tub.
I have kissed him a million times.
I have rocked him to sleep twice, he still hates it.
He has had two hair cuts (which he hates). 14 nail clippings (hates these too)...

I have asked myself and been asked by countless people...
Why international adoption this time? Why not a child here? 
I think the best explanation is that I just do not agree that adoption should be restricted by my geographical location. Why should I be circumscribed to only American orphans? Is an orphan abroad less valuable than an orphan in my own locale? I think no.

I know my big kids would agree.
I like to think Asher would too.

Curious about adoption?  
Please email:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I met Adam in the doctor's office at the orphanage in Kharkov, Ukraine.
He was our "plus one."
Our last minute addition.

I have had lots of questions about how the "Hey Nigel, I think I'll bring home two boys" conversation went. How do you ask your husband at the last minute if two boys are acceptable? I really don't remember how it went...I just know he agreed. I am pretty sure he said "I figured."
He knows me so well.

Adam and Asher were in the same orphanage, but different rooms.
When I saw him for the first time...
he smiled and drooled.
So cute.

He also had a suh-weet mullet.
Mullets are all the rage in Ukraine.

In the orphanage, he was giggly and smiley for about 15 to 30 minutes
and then he would promptly fall asleep.
He preferred to spend our visits napping.
I am not sure why. Maybe I was just a little overwhelming for him.

We got to take Adam outside twice.
He hates snow suits.
A lot.

Adam can make some awesome faces.
When he is happy, he is adorable.
When he is mad...adorable.
Making faces?...adorable...
There is no instance in which this boy is anything but adorable.
(Please refer to the following pictures for proof!)

Adam just turned two.
He likes apple sauce and crackers.
He likes mud.
A lot.

Honestly, when we found out we could get Adam's referral I got nervous. 
Two more boys!? That makes six boys. 
That is a lot of boys.
A lot of bodily functions.
Lots of silly.
Lots of fun.

And now that Adam is here, I cannot imagine him NOT being here. 

This, to me, is the beauty of adoption.
God took these little souls and graciously gave them to us.
I will never understand why we have been so blessed.

Adam, our little "plus one," 
our funny, little surprise...
Happy Birthday. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Well, friends...
My bathroom smells perpetually of poop. One of our teeny boys (ahem, Asher)  uses bath time to evacuate his intestines. I use post-bath-time trying to convince Nigel that I am too dainty to clean poop from a tub...
it works. Some of the time.

Sweet Asher.

Our first face-to-face meeting was February 8th.
I knew very little about him. 
I knew the majority of his life was spent in an orphanage in Kharkov, Ukraine.
I was very concerned that he would hate my guts.
He did. 

He is a tiny guy. He weighs 20 pounds. Up 2 pounds from when we left the orphanage...up 4 pounds from when he was discharged from the hospital. His 9-12-month-size clothing hangs on his body.

I was so surprised to see this little almost-4-year-old waddle into the orphanage director's office. I think I was expecting a 4-year-old sized child, even though I had been told he was small. I was not prepared for a skinny one-year-old.

Even though he was nothing like what I was expecting, I fell in love.

Asher has been home for a month. I am still getting to know him. He doesn't say Mama. He doesn't seem to recognize me. Many days he seems to only tolerate my presence, much like he did in the orphanage. He still prefers his crib. He bangs his head on the floor when he cries.

There is a part of me that grieves for my boy.
For what he has missed...
birthdays and new-chicken-day at the farm.
spend-the-night-parties and family dinners.
Saturday evening walks and trips to the zoo.
Hugs when he is hurt and food when he is hungry.

I grieve even more, because right now, he doesn't even want these things...
He doesn't know that what could be is something that is desirable.
He doesn't understand that self-preservation is no longer necessary.

This level of grief I don't remember from the other adoptions.
Maybe I labor pains...
I really don't know.

So, for now...I will do all I know to do.
I will hold him. Feed him. Take him to the zoo.
Make play dates with friends. Keep him in dry diapers.
Clean his poop out of the tub and give him another bath.

I will clean his face when it is messy.
Get hair cuts when his bangs hang in his eyes.
Change his crib sheets. Wash his laundry.
Take him to the doctor.
I will correct him when he is wrong.
I will snuggle him and tell him he is wonderful.
Because he is.

I will do all of these things because I want to.
Because I love this boy.
Because I am his Mom.

May 13th is kind of like any other day...
Asher will poop in the tub. My other children will laugh hysterically when they hear me squeal from the bathroom after Asher poops in the tub...and then laugh some more while I squeal whilst cleaning poop out of the tub. Again.
But, today, after bath time...I will get Asher ready for his first birthday party on his 4th birthday.
He will get his first birthday presents.
His first birthday balloons.
His first birthday candles.

Happy Birthday, teeny boy.
We love you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

What happened...

Well, my friends...we are home.
My sister and I survived.

I am doing the "nutshell" version of our trip.
...stay with me....

We left the USA...on a plane.
I turned into a wackadoo before we even took off.
Apparently, when given situations of high stress (like leaving kids for long periods of time and adding new kids) I just lose my ever lovin' mind.

We flew to Munich and then into Kyiv. 
And the revolution. 
Which sounds crazy, but it really wasn't too bad most of the time. 

This was our first glimpse of the barricades. 

We had to get a referral from DAP and permission to visit Asher. (listed as "Kain" on Reece's Rainbow)
Then we took the train to Kharkov, in Eastern Ukraine. 
And met this teeny boy...

The first time I held Asher.

Asher tolerated me...a little.

He started to like me a little more...sometimes.

After visiting with Asher for a couple of weeks, we found out that sweet Adam was also available...He had some paperwork hang-ups the first time we were in Kyiv. So, Samie and I headed back to Kyiv to get the referral for another boy. 

The day or so before we went back to Kyiv was when all the fighting took place. Maybe it was against my better judgement, but I wanted to see Maidan. I wanted to set eyes on the places where history was being made...where citizens rose up against a tyrannical government and fought for something different and hopefully better.

So, we walked around to Maidan. 
It was about a block from our apartment.
Samie agreed to go with me. 
She makes me behave.
She has a good sense of what is safe and what is not...
Sometimes, I lack that quality. Maybe.

After a couple of days in Kyiv, and a referral for sweet Adam...we went back to Kharkov by train and met the smiley-est boy with an awesome mullet. 

We also found out that Asher had been hospitalized. 
The hospital refused to release him, and since he was legally an orphan the hospital held all the power to choose whether to keep him or let him out. This hospital was no place for an orphan. 

Asher lost a significant amount of weight while he was there. He was weak and couldn't walk. We were told he was hospitalized because he had a fever. Then we were told he was fine and would be released any day..that went on for a month. 

We saw Asher twice in that month. Neither visit did a lot to instill much confidence that he was receiving adequate care. After we visited our wonderful adoption facilitator, Tatyana,  spoke with the orphanage director and had a nanny go stay with him in the hospital. We sent food, water, tea, medication...I cannot tell you what a blessing that was! We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Tatyana who cheerfully went above and beyond what she had to do for sweet Asher. 

She also got Asher released from the hospital the second our adoption was final. 

So Adam and Asher didn't even meet until the adoption was legal! 

The first meeting...

Asher (almost 4-years-old), Adam (almost 2-years-old) 

After the adoption was final we did tons of paperwork and running around to two different regions in Kharkov (the boys were born in different regions). 

Then the day finally came...


After leaving the orphanage, we went to Kyiv to do medicals for the boys. And then two embassy appointments. We got passports delivered. Got visas. 

And then we headed home.
The flight home was long.
There was screaming and crying.
And very little sleeping! 
But we made it home. 

And everyone got to meet one another....

And like any adoption...the journey has only begun.
It hasn't been easy or what I expected. 
Just like every adoption.

During this adoption I learned I can handle more adventure than I thought I could. 
And that my big kids at home are much more capable than I thought they were. 

I found that my biggest blessings are my precious friends and family. You drove my children to appointments and activities, fed them, disciplined them, and did birthdays while I was away. I came home to a cleaner house than I expected, more food in the refrigerator than I expected, and way less laundry than I expected. (only 9 loads!) 

While waiting for our boys in Ukraine, I would read and reread all of your sweet comments. They bolstered my spirit when my patience was thin and my heart was just broken with all of the needs of the orphans that remain. 

Simply saying thank you to all of you seems so very inadequate. 
But thank you just the same.

Blessings to you all,