Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Do you know......."

Mary says....

We had a good visit with Alina this morning. She climbed, walked and was swung thru the air (Dad had an aspirin shortly after the swinging part :).  And of course, she was tickled. Sorry, can't help it. Have you seen her laughing face? It's just adorable, so therefore she must be tickled. 
We have some tickling to catch up on when we get home. Look out Ethan, Phoebe, Leanore, Sophie, Holly and Trudy. ;} When you least suspect it. Or maybe we'll have to chase you. Either way, we're gonna get you all. Muahahah!
Look out Alina, here come the tickle fingers!

Oh yes, got her again! There's the laughing face I told you about.

When we got to the hospital to visit Vitaly, he was sleeping. The nanny and I played charades to get across when he was supposed to wake up. The answer was in a couple hours, so Tom and I decided to hang out in the "waiting room" until he woke up.
During our wait, we played soccer with a couple of boys who had their arms in casts, read and made lists. Yes, the boys were in casts. No, it wasn't real soccer where they had to run. It was kicking our little blue ball around for something to do. 

After we were told not to play soccer (oops!) and the boys were told to go back to their rooms, Tolly's doctor came out to visit us. We met him a couple days ago. The conversation then went something like this:
Dr. "something something something in another language."
Us "English."
Dr. "Oh, you speak English (in English). What are you doing here?"
Us "We are waiting to see our son, he's sleeping."
Dr. "Ok"
That was it. 

So, today he walks up to me and says the following:
Dr. "What is your relation to the boy?"
Me "What is our relation?" Please keep in mind that he is speaking in broken English.
Dr. "Do you know that they baby (Tolly) is very ill?"
Me "No, I didn't. What's wrong with him?"
Dr "He has something wrong with his hands." and points to his hands.
Me "Oh, yes we know about that. Is he doing ok?" I thought he was saying that Tolly was sick with a fever or infection or something.
Dr "And his head. Something wrong with his head."
Me "Oh, yes, we know that too."
Dr. "You know this? Why do you want this baby?"
Me "Because we love him."
Dr "You love him. Is that it? Anything else?"
Me "Um, no, we just love him. And we can help him."
Dr "What can you do for him?"
Tom joins the conversation at this point. Thank you Tom!
Tom "We homeschool so we will teach him."
Dr "You homeschool? Individualized teaching? Cause he won't be able to go to a classroom with normal kids."
Me "Yes he will."
Dr "Why don't you get a healthy child?"
Tom "Because every child deserves to be loved and have a home."
Dr "Does you government help you with this child? Do they give you money? I have seen many Americans come here for these children."
Tom "No, they don't. We have medical insurance through my job."
We then showed the doctor pictures of the rest of our kids. (Now people from around the world have seen our kids!)
He asked all of their ages, then came to Alina's. He frowned and said "Oh no, Down Syndrome. That is difficult."
Tom then tried to explain that we originally came for Alina and then found Tolly too. He misunderstood and thought that we came for Alina and decided not get her but Vitaly instead.
Tom then told him "No, we want both of them."
Dr "You want both of them? Down Syndrome is very difficult."
Tom then told him that our children's doctor back home has an adult daughter with Down Syndrome, and that she has offered to be of any assistance to us. (Not to mention that we also have the Johns Hopkins Down Syndrome clinic close too) He was surprised to hear about our doctor.
He then went on to ask us more questions from what do you do for a living to what religion we are. A few nurses came out, it looked like to get him and he would say something to them and they would disappear back down the hall. He also said that he sees many Americans come here
After we had answered a few more questions, he thanked us and was gone. Our conversation with the doctor made us sad. If the doctors here don't feel children like Alina and Vitaly are worth anything, then that is what they convey to birth parents after delivering their babies in the hospital. That is why there are so many special needs children here in orphanages and mental institutions. Because they are not seen as worthy of the extra attention, love, and care that these kids need. Because they are seen as a burden because of their special need. Because those in charge believe that they would be better suited in an institution than a loving family. They believe that society is better served by these precious treasures being hidden away.

These beliefs need to change. These are children made in God's image. Every one of them knitted in their mothers womb. For whatever reasons, God has allowed them to enter the world with an extra chromosome or other challenge. Maybe it was to teach the rest of us to love unconditionally, to practice patience, to take joy in little accomplishments, to see the value of life. His ways are higher than ours.

Up until 30 - 40 yrs ago, our country did the same thing with these children. Up until recently, we didn't feel capable of having one of these treasures. We didn't feel that we had the time to take care of them. We didn't want to give up our retirement, our money, our free time, the possibility of an empty nest one day. It took God to change our hearts and perspective. If we truly believe that all human life is precious, how could we pretend not to know the road these little ones would travel.

We don't know what the future holds, but we will face it together, as a family as the Lord directs.

Did we mention that he LOVES to pull the wheeled backpack around?
After a serious walk-about, a boy needs hydration.


I'm on top of the wold Ma!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Video time...

Here is some video of the kids in motion....


Keep'em running.....

Our visits went well today. Alina went down the slide, rode the teeter totter, swung on the swing and was generally cuddly! 
Tolly was happy to see us (good thing) and loved the toy truck we brought for him. He also sat in my lap and cuddled with me (Mama). Loved it!
That was after he took the backpack for a few laps around the ward again. And he went potty twice for us! Score! Okay, no more potty talk. :)

Look at that split! (And Dad doing the Egyptian thing)

Girls from the group and a good nanny! (The sweetie in red would LOVE a family and soon) 

Metal play structure, everytime the swing moves, it rattles the whole thing. Tom is holding the roof still to stop the rattling. Oh, for some WD40!!
Tolly with the toy truck (the blur in the corner). :)                                    

Monday, June 27, 2011

Picture Day

Today was a long day so it'll be mostly pictures:

Visiting on a dreary wet day

Our friends Max & Lena
Ray teaching Alina to Bongo

Tickle Dad Strikes
Noone's safe, run or giggle....

Taking the Trolley Tram to Vitaly
And this is the magic door

Starting the day with a little homeschooling

Showing Tolly the rest of the family
Shortbread cookies; best with numbers & colors

I am Tolly hear me roar, or giggle, or whatever...
Practicing for the Airport...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Day in the Life...

June 20   

Ethan Says:

    A typical day at our aunt and uncle's house. The Girls get up around 7:30 am. The guys get up around 8:30 am. Whoever wants breakfast gets it them selves ( Phoebe and Leanore help the little’s get breakfast ). About 9:00 am everyone starts school work. 11:30 am, either Russell or I, would start lunch. Almost everyday Uncle Jim comes homes from work to have lunch with everyone. By 1:00 pm all the girls are usually done with there home work. Sometimes Phoebe and Leanore don’t get done till’ 2 or 3 because they were helping the Little’s with their school work. When they are done with their work the girls watch movies, play games, play with the dogs, ect…  John, Russell and I play Xbox, run, play computer, watch movies, ect… Aunt Mary and I take turns cooking dinner. LOL! The one time John helped make spaghetti he left the burner on to long and burnt half the noodles to the pot!

Good thing he's so tall, plenty o' room for more siblings!

    We do get out of the house. Two weekends ago John and I went on canoeing trip with his scout troop Saturday and Sunday for a total of fourteen miles. It was my first time sleeping under the stars on a campout. It was amazing! That Saturday our Aunt took the girls to a big water park. They had a blast.

This week the middles ( Leanore, Sophie and Holly ) are going to VBS everyday.  They all didn’t think it was going to be fun because they don’t know anybody there and they might not be able to make any friends. The girls were wrong! When they came home Monday they just could not stop talking about how fun it was. Especially Holly. Ugh! She never seems to run out of words. Since the church is only two blocks away, I walk the girls there; so as we’re walking back they can say everything they learned (very loudly) and not interrupt Aunt Mary grooming her customers dogs. (so the dogs don’t freak out while she's working on them.)

Sunday night Russell, John and I went to an all night party of Black Ops on Xbox. (there were no girls there for those who were wondering. [mom and dad!]) 

    Right now I’m helping put up Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic in my Aunt’s dog grooming building. My Uncle says that we will get done today with the F.R.P and be able to start working on the ceiling. His hope is before my parents get back to be done with the ceiling and floor.

June 21

    We’re done with the gluing and ¼ done with the ceiling. For payment, John, Russel and I got Sonic!!!!! The big white tank also died today. Russel and I tried jumping it with the car, then the minivan. They both failed to charge the tank. Then we used a charger that they use to jump their riding lawn mower and it worked.

The hard-working Boys in question!
See no school work, talk no schoolwork, who's doing schoolwork?

Endnote: Mom and Dad are very appreciative of Ethan's helping Aunt Mary with the girls and the construction.  Thanks Big Guy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Meeting Vitaly!!

Mary says...

This morning we visited with Alina and played with some of the kids from her group. It's nice to play with them, they love the attention and kind words and hugs from grown ups.
Our friend Ray with his little boy and two girls from the group.

Alina swinging high and loving it!

Two little sweeties in Alina's group.

Then we rode the buses, had lunch and went to our interview (this was the same interview we wrote about two weeks ago where you have to get a positive result before going to court, they wanted to ask us why we want Vitaly), was handed our positive result paper, handed it over to people that will get it to the right office, and then set off for the hospital. 

Our translator took us to the hospital where we showed our pass, from the orphanage director-YAY, to visit Vitaly. There is a nanny from the orphanage that stays with him, so we met her first. We recognized her immediately and she was surprised to see us. She asked how Alina was doing. Our fabulous translator "A" explained that we are going to be Vitaly's parents too. Then we walked into his room where he was in his greenish metal crib. He started laughing and was surprised to see us too. Tom picked him up and "A" told him that we are his Mama and Papa. He flung himself backward and was being silly for about ten minutes. The nanny said he was excited. Then he calmed down and even called us Mama and Papa and gave us many smiles. I think he likes us. :) 

We only stayed for about 20 minutes. We will start going back every day for two hours tomorrow. He didn't like it when it was time for us to go. He started crying for Mama and Papa and didn't want to go back into the crib. I don't blame him. It's not like a children's hospital ward back home. Not that hospital wards are all that nice, but I've seen some that are kid friendly. His room is not. It has his crib and five twin size metal beds lining the walls. There is no air conditioning, but the windows open.  Okay, enough talking. I get it.

We have court on 4 July! Alina and Vitaly will become the children of Americans (and orphans no more) on Independence Day! How cool is that!
Without further ado....Vitaly

Vitaly's hospital bed.
Happy Papa and Tolly!

"Papa, Mama? Great, when do we leave?"

Papa, Mama & Tolly

"Let me get my things and I'm ready to leave." :)

Hospital hair, what are you gonna do.
Look Ethan, another member of the boys club!

He likes to be thrown up in the air too, who knew. He kept asking for more. :)

"I have how many sisters AND a big brother? Alright!!"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Update on Vitaly....

Here's the latest...

We found out this evening that Vitaly is going to be in the hospital for 10 more days. So, tomorrow the orphanage director is going to write us a pass to go and visit him at the hospital. Please join us in praying that she does that since she didn't want us to visit him before.

We were told by our facilitation team that him being in the hospital should not hold up the adoption process. The paperwork is being turned in and hopefully soon we will have court.

Thank you everyone for your prayers. We hope to report soon that we have met and told Vitaly of his new family. 
Until then....
"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." Proverbs 3:5
 Thanks Lee for making that for us. It's a very good reminder. :)

Alina - "Can we move on now?"

Mary says,

We had good visits with Alina today. She seems to be ready to blow this popsicle stand and go home. How can we tell this since she doesn't speak (yet), by her behavior. She is very clingy anymore and doesn't want to walk often, but wants to be carried and not let go of us (especially Daddy). During the first week of visits, she walked, climbed, swung, rode the rocking horse, and more. The second week she wanted to do less of those activities. The third week we were gone for several days at the Capital, so she was clingy when we returned. That was ok as it showed that she missed us.

The way we figured it, the first week she was excited to be able to do things that she is not normally allowed to do. We have noticed that most of the time when she is outside with her group, she is sitting down. Just sitting. A lot of the time with a nanny, still just sitting. She is not encouraged to do things or to play, but to sit. Now there are certain nannies that don't make her just sit (we like them).
Even then, she usually does what she's been trained to do. Sit.
A good nanny, she plays with the kids and is always kind to them. Thank you!
So she did her exploring, now she's ready to go home with Mama and Papa and meet all these wonderful siblings that she's been hearing about.  Soon Princess, soon.  Till then, we're gonna make you walk a little, and play a little, and climb a little. :) Cause we love you.

she loves being in motion?
Did we mention that

Couple girls going for a walk.
Alina not happy because Papa wouldn't let her sit just right. :)

She's very strong, here she's holding on all by herself!

Tom, really, the slide is for the kids.
Give me smooches!!!

Waterpark Fun

Phoebe and Zin

Leanore with Pookey.
 Hey! It’s me, Phoebe! And I want to tell you all about our day at the water park. We were invited to my Aunt Mary’s boss’s son’s birthday. We had such a good time! They had this really cool kiddie’s pool where Sophie, Holly, Trudy and our Aunt Mary spent most of the time.
Trudy sporting her Diego floaties!

Holly in red, riding the waves!
They also went on a tube river called the “Lazy River”. Lee and I also went on it. It wasn’t that much fun to us, but the littles liked it. Lee and I also went on a ton of slides. Most of them you had to use a tube. One slide was big and four people could ride down it at the same time! It was a TON of fun! We also went to this huge pool that went down to eight feet. And every now and then, there would be waves. The deeper you got, the bigger the waves! Although it was fun, it wasn’t our favorite part. I asked my sisters what was their favorite part, and if they liked the park or not. This is what they said,
Trudy said: I really liked the water park, and my favorite part was the “Lazy River”.
Holly said: I loved the water park, and my favorite part was the “Lazy River” too.
Sophie said: I loved the water park, and my favorite part was the “lazy River” also.
Lee said: I loved the water park, and my favorite part was the four person water slide.
And I really liked the water park, and my favorite part was, well, everything! I just couldn’t decide! Well, I got to go. I’ll blog you later! Bye!

Sophie in blue playing in the pool!

Trudy with a mouthful of pizza. Yum Yum!