--An Orphan No More--


Sunday, October 31, 2010


I had REALLY hoped we would be home by now so Miss Everlyn could trick-or-treat with her sister and brothers. Oh well - she will be SO ready next year!

Since we missed the festivities, Everlyn took it upon herself to "create" a costume out of the sheers in our apartment here. They are designed to separate the living area from the bedroom. She saw them and thought "Costume!"

Warning....the following pictures contain a scary amount of CUTE! You have been warned....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 28 - Are we there yet???

Yep...that's how I feel... "There" being HOME of course!

Today was pretty much like yesterday. My mom walked to McDonald's and got us lunch. I stayed at the apartment with a napping Princess. Again...glad someone is sleeping so well! :o)

Then we met up with other RR families at a German restaurant here in Kiev. The food was great and we had a private little room all to ourselves! Maybe they were being accommodating of our large group...or maybe they were trying to hide all of these rowdy Americans! LOL!

The street outside the restaurant was closed, there was live music and lots of LIGHTS. So, yes...I took pictures!

Tomorrow will be much the same. Groundhog Day....again. Monday we pick up her Visa and Tuesday is GO HOME DAY! We pretty excited that another family is on our first two flights with us. YAY!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 27 - A day of rest

Today we did NOTHING. Yep, nada. Ok, so yes we ate and played and napped. Well, Everlyn napped. With all of the excitement we've had, we figured she just needed a day to unwind. (Or maybe WE needed a day to unwind.)

We did walk to a nearby pizza place for lunch. As usual, ordering was fun. :o) They have an English menu, but don't speak English so lots of pointing and nodding...and praying when it arrives it is something close to what we wanted...and edible. It was perfect...AND GOOD.

We are hoping to maybe walk around a bit more tomorrow, depending on the weather. I would love to take Everlyn to a toy store several blocks from here. It is the one we went into when we were here in Kiev waiting to travel to her region to meet her. Oh the memories! LOL

Sorry - no new pics. (I know...total waste of a blog post, right?) I promise to give you a dose of adorable tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 26 - Embassy appt, medical exam and meeting with friends

Today we took Everlyn to her Embassy appointment and applied for her Visa! Then "Uncle Nico" took us for her medical exam (required to issue the visa). All went well and we should pick up her Visa at 2pm Monday and fly out at 645am Tuesday morning! WOOHOO!!!!!

Then we came back to our apartment and decided to walk a block to McDonalds. :o) This girl LOVES her some french fries. Then back to the apartment for a much needed nap. Poor girl was so tired she fell asleep in the floor while playing. (For the record, I did not get a much needed nap.....)

Then, we arranged to meet a few other Reece's Rainbow families at the now infamous TGIFridays for dinner. It was so awesome to be able to chat with other families and of course, meet all of the CUTIES!!!!!

So, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are just "free days"....too bad I couldn't spend those days AT HOME....but we are SO close. Finally! And now we know there are other awesome families here...that SPEAK ENGLISH! Bonus!

And I just want to say, I feel SOOOOOOO incredibly blessed by this little girl. She has been just amazing and I am grateful to be her mommy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 25 - It's GOTCHA DAY!!!!

And we've GOT HER! :o)

I posted pics on Facebook but do not have time to copy them here or to "officially" blog right now. We decided to skip the overnight train b/c our driver (bless his heart) offered to drive us there by car which will take half the time. Costs a bit more but the train is so.....train-like! UGH!

I promise once we get to Kiev around bedtime (and I get sleeping beauty to bed), I will give details and make a "proper" GOTCHA DAY post!

Just wanted to let you all know....we have our girl!!!!!!

OK - here's ONE pic....playing one last time in the playroom floor while mom gathers the last bit of important papers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 24 - Paperwork and a Passport

That's what we accomplished today. We completed all necessary paperwork and were able to get Everlyn a "red" (one-day) passport. YAY!

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY! That's right....it's GOTCHA DAY! I am so excited! :o) I will post pics as soon as I can - I promise!

We will be headed back to Kiev on the train tomorrow night. Then it's Embassy appointment and HOME...we could fly home Saturday, or it could be Tuesday, depending on what we can accomplish at the Embassy. But either way, it is SOON!

OK - for your viewing pleasure, here is the world's most adorable passport. No really....it does NOT get much cuter than this. I didn't even think we would get this today and was told not to worry about clothes for her today. But the opportunity arose to get this done so the baby home dressed her and a caregiver even went with us. Prepare yourself for insane cuteness....and yes, the passport number and birthdate have been blurred intentionally to protect her privacy....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 23 - THE WAIT IS OVER...sort of....

Yes folks, today was Day 10 of our 10-day waiting period! WE MADE IT! Yippeee!

But our "wait" is not entirely over. Tomorrow is a day of chasing papers....court decree, new birth certificate (with OUR names listed as her parents...brings about odd emotions honestly), closing her bank accounts (yes orphans have accounts here that the government makes periodic deposits to - this is donated back to the orphanage), something about a tax ID number and trying to get her passport. Some regions do "red" passports which are done the same day...other regions do "blue" passports which can take 4-5 days. YUCK! I am not entirely clear which "color" our region falls into to be honest. Purple maybe? :o)

With all this paper-chasing, I was told WEDNESDAY would be Gotcha Day! While I am SO excited, I am a little disappointed that I have to wait ONE MORE DAY. OK, so I am a lot disappointed, but what can do???? We are planning to take gifts for the Director and staff, fresh flowers, cookies and bananas for the kiddos as well as a large gift bag full of clothes/shoes to donate. It will be like a party! :o) I hope to get lots of cute pictures to share! And yes, her outfit is all ready to go! I can't wait to say goodbye to "Orphan Couture's" fall line....

With this delay (yes, one day is a delay to this travel-weary momma), instead of flying home Friday as I had hoped, it will likely be Tuesday at the earliest due to Embassy holidays and the weekend. Darn it.

So - that's about all I have tonight. Visits today were fun. I will add a few pics which will look a lot like yesterday's since she is sporting the same coat and hat....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 22 - One More Day....but...

Today we are 90% done with our wait. Tomorrow (Monday) is Day 10 of the 10-day waiting period. HOORAY!

I know Tuesday will be a busy day gathering the paperwork we need and I assumed (foolishly perhaps) that it would also be GOTCHA DAY. When speaking with my facilitator today I mentioned wanting to be sure I had her outfit ready for when we took her from the baby home on Tuesday. She replied that "maybe Wednesday" would be the day that (finally) happened, but "not Tuesday" because there is so much left to do. I would be a big fat liar if I said I was not upset, frustrated, disappointed and sad. I mean....we went to court, we waited our 10 days, NOW can I please have my baby, thankyouverymuch? I guess it doesn't work that way. I told her we are "ready to go".... Still praying that by some miracle (which I think it may take at this point) we get everything done that needs to be done, can get Everlyn from the baby home, and hop on the overnight train to Kiev....all on Tuesday. Wish us luck!!!

Everlyn was a bundle of energy today. Our morning visit was outside, while we spent the afternoon visit indoors. I had my "real" camera for the morning visit so I got some cute pictures. I didn't bring it to the afternoon visit and wouldn't you know it...they had her dressed so cute this afternoon so I snapped a few pics with the crappy iPhone camera. I will include a couple of those too...because when it comes to pictures, I think blog followers prefer quantity over quality, right? :o)

Here are some pics from this morning:

Here are some pics from this afternoon (she was apparently out of smiles by then, at least for the camera):

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 21 - 3 weeks here and the wait is nearly over!

Yes folks...80% done! Two more days...4 more visits... I will spare you the hours/minutes countdown....

I have been over here for 3 weeks now. I would be lying if I said I wasn't BEYOND ready to leave this place. Sure - it is interesting and hope to tell Everlyn all about it one day, but it is NOT home. Not even close......

I have noticed something. My favorite little (former) orphan does not act like one. :o) I have watched the other children in her baby home, I have seen pictures and videos that other families have shared along their journeys. Yep - my little firecracker is not the norm. Most of the kids will sit on the blanket, purposefully stretched out on the floor in the playroom, content to play with one or two toys for what seems like hours. They are content to examine their hands as a form of amusement. They stare off into space as if there is something really intriguing there. Well, NOT Miss Everlyn! She is into everything: opening cabinets, digging in the wastebasket under the desk, climbing on the small table even though I have said "nyet" (no) 1800 times. She throws toys out of baskets and knocks them off shelves...just to laugh at the mess she has made. She runs around the room pulling a toy airplane by a tattered string, laughs at herself in the shiny reflection of a polished wooden cabinet and pouts when she doesn't get her way....a pout that turns to a devilish grin when she realizes you are staring at her with a big smile on your face. She will go sit in a chair across the room, just so she can charge at me with her arms stretched out, waiting for a big mommy hug. This game never gets old....not from where I am sitting, waiting for her to jump in my lap and hug my neck. And then she's off again......

Oh my goodness...this girl is animated! And you know what? I would not want her ANY other way! It is obvious that this little love bug has been well-cared for. Everyone at the baby home knows her by name and has to give her hugs, kisses and a little pat of affection when they see her. God has watched over her until her Mommy and Daddy come come for her and bring her home. For all of this, we are grateful.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 20 - 70 percent done with this wait...

Wow...70%! Now we're gettin' somewhere!

Today was much like every other day here. Imagine that.

We did hit the open air market today. I walked my mom all over this town. LOL! We bought some "souvenirs" for the kids at home, including the cousins (my sister has had my 4 kids plus her 3 during our trip). We walked to our favorite restaurant here, Zeppelin, and then walked backed towards the market. I got some medicine I needed (with the help of my facilitator..I called her on my cell phone and let her tell the pharmacist what I needed). Hey - whatever works, right?

Visits were fun - as always. She is mommy's little ray of sunshine on otherwise dreary, boring days. I forgot my camera today. D'oh! I will try to get some new pics of the pretty pretty Princess tomorrow!

I will show you a few pics we took from the balcony of our hotel.

This is a port city and I was able to get a shot of that area of town..although it is far away. It is the best I could do....

Here is a large apartment building nearby. Most people here live in tall apartment buildings, many without elevators, as opposed to single-family homes.

Here are a few pics of a nearby church that is currently undergoing some renovations.

Tomorrow is HOPEFULLY our last Saturday here.... Hooray for that!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 19 - We are 60 percent done waiting......

For some reason, 60% done sounded further along than 6 of 10 days done. I know - same thing, but it's all about perspective right now! :o) So, 60% done waiting it is.....

Two fun visits today. She had fun with the puffy Dora stickers my mom brought her...but she quickly moved onto playing with the large empty water bottles someone had thrown away and the dried pine cones left on someone's desk. Have I mentioned that this girl is BUSY?

We did learn more about her mystery rash - it seems to be something rather yucky and contagious so we are working to make sure it is treated properly. Poor sweet muffin - I feel so bad for her!

Nothing else to report...just chuggin' along during this wait. Sorry - no pics from today - except of her rash to send to my nurse friends...you don't really want to see those do you? I didn't think so.

We hope to hit the market tomorrow between visits for a few goodies!

Thanks for all of the comments and prayers!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 18 - Day 5 of 10-Day Wait...HALFWAY THERE!

WooHoo! Our wait is HALF over! Get excited!

Today was interesting.... We arrived at the baby home for our morning visit, only to be told Everlyn was going to the hospital for a "consultation." I asked if everything was OK and they assured me she was fine; it was just a check-up. They said just come back for the 4pm visit. So we had to call our facilitator and have her call our driver and tell him to come back and get us. As we were waiting for him to arrive to take us back to our hotel, two nurses walked out of the baby home, each carrying a small child. I recognized Everlyn right away and waved. She saw me and started to whine but was whisked away into a waiting car, headed for the hospital. I won't lie...it is REALLY hard to be that little girl's mommy and have ZERO control over what is happening to her. Ahhh.....5 more days of waiting.

So we come back to the hotel. It's 10:30am. What on Earth are we going to do until 4pm? So I played on the internet for a bit, took a short nap, etc. Then our facilitator called. She got a call from the baby home Director letting her know that Everlyn had "dermatitis" and it was contagious. The Director wanted to know if we had any skin issues. Nope. We're good - she didn't get "whatever she has" from us. She told me that if we developed any issues t let her know and she would be sure we got some "ointment" for it. Super. Here's my issue: "dermatitis" is NOT contagious. I am wondered if this is being translated loosely somewhere along the way. My first thought was "OMG - scabies!" Sadly, scabies is all too common in settings like orphanages. But it doesn't look like typical scabies. Problem is, it doesn't look like typical ANYTHING I have seen. Only time will tell I guess. ((sigh)) I hope they are slathering her up good with that "ointment." Again....it is so hard to have no control......

We went back for our 4pm visit and she was happy as can be. Boy oh boy...is she a BUSY one. And this girl is QUICK! You can't take your eyes off of her for a second; she is into everything! I tried so hard to take some pictures of her for Daddy and brothers/sister/cousins etc back home....she would NOT hold still for a second. She kept running towards me every time I pulled the camera out. She wanted to sit in my lap and see the pictures I took...I tried to explain to her than you have to let me take the pictures FIRST, and then we can sit down and look at them. She didn't understand a bit of that. :o) She was wanting all kinds of mommy snuggles today and I was happy to oblige! Of course, she also tried to escape from the playroom 3-4 times too...yep, she's a wild one!

So - for your viewing pleasure, this is the BEST I could do today. Photographing a moving target is no easy task!

Love the sprout, don't you?

Planning her next move....

And this one is my favorite from today. I tried to explain to her (in English...there's problem number one. LOL!) that I cannot take her picture if she is IN my lap. She wouldn't budge so I held the camera up, showing her how it wouldn't focus to let me take a pic from so close. Wouldn't you know it? The darn camera focused and took a picture. She totally proved me wrong. I have a feeling this little girl is going to prove a LOT of people wrong.....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 17 - Today is Day 4 of this God-forsaken wait

Yes, I hate this wait. Betcha couldn't tell.....

Today was another COLD, rainy, dreary day in Ukraine. But, we got to visit little Miss Sunshine and she is enough to brighten anyone's day! This girl is something..... LOL!

Since it was so yucky outside we got to stay inside and play. I came armed with foam, sparkly shape stickers! She LOVED them. And Mommy had fun too!

Mom and I also ordered food for dinner from an Irish pub here that delivers to our hotel. Their chicken is good, but man oh man...I LOVE their fried potatoes! There goes any hope I had of losing a little weight on this trip.

Tomorrow is another day of the same ol' thing. But every day brings us that much closer to HOME! Hooray for that!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 16 - Day 3 of the LONGEST 10 days of my life

:o) No, really..........

My mom made it to Kherson today so she got to go to both visits. My little gal showed "GiGi" her spunky side.....this girl has so much personality! She is strong-willed, busy and bright! (Yes, she has Ds, but I am telling you right now NOTHING gets by her.....) And she gives GREAT snuggles when she holds still long enough. And during the afternoon visit, they brought her to us rockin' not one....not two....but FOUR pigtails! It was hilarious! I have a pic on my phone and will upload it at some point... (Who am I kidding....I will never get around to it. Just trust me.....it was cute!)

Then I took Mom to our favorite restaurant, Zeppelin. Eric and I ate there every night while he was here. We walk in, they show us to our table and break out the English menus...automatically. LOL!

Eric is flying out BRIGHT & EARLY in the am. Pray for his safe travels from Kiev to St. Louis. I think he is on the same flight out of Kiev as the Falvo family...their blog is linked on the left - "I Love Ya More than Cookies."

More visits tomorrow...yep, Ground Hog Day...... But I keep thinking that ONE WEEK from tomorrow we should be able to pick up our court decree, her passport, her new birth certificate and oh yeah.....BUST HER OUTTA THAT BABY HOME FOR GOOD!!!! :o)

Oh - and speaking of Gotcha Day, I think I have FINALLY decided on her outfit for her very special day. It was down to two choices, but I decided that one of them may need to be exchanged for a different size. I cannot wait to see her all dressed up in HER clothes....clothes that MATCH...right down to the hair bows and shoes!!! :o)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 15 - It's Day 2 of the waiting game

EIGHT MORE DAYS........no, not 'til we come home (I WISH), but 8 more days to wait before we can finalize things here in her region, head back Kiev for our Embassy appt and then FLY HOME. I am so so so ready. Well, I am NOT so ready to entertain a VERY busy and rather independent toddler on an international flight (3 flights really)...or on the 12.5 hour train ride back to Kiev for that matter. But each step brings us that much closer to HOME! Hooray!

We moved into a new place here. Our first place was an apartment - what we might consider a duplex really - but it was being torn down to make way for a multi-story apartment building. Eric and I joke that it was actually being condemned. OK, so it wasn't THAT bad....well, anyways. We shopped around for a place to move into and decided on Hotel Imperial. It has a large living area with a leather sofa, dining room table, TV, fireplace etc and a nice large comfortable bedroom with a REAL MATTRESS. We have been sleeping on "futon-like" mattresses or pull-outs up to this point. But my favorite part of this place is the bathroom! It has a sink (our last place did not!), HOT water (our last place did not!) and heated tile floors (do I need to say that the last place did not? LOL) Yes, it is costing us a bit more, but we had budgeted for about $50-60 USD per night for lodging and the first place here was only $35.....so we can justify spending a little more now to balance it all out, right? Plus, it is nice to be COMFORTABLE while we wait. Oh - and they will do your laundry for you too (for a fee). And they wash AND dry! After more than 2 weeks in the same few sets of clothes, this is PRICELESS!

Here are some pics of the new digs:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 14 - It's Day 1 of our 10 Day Waiting Period

Ahhhhh........I hate waiting!!! Only 9 more days and we can begin the final paper-chasing (pick up court decree, get her new birth certificate, her passport, etc) and finally bring this little girl home where she belongs!!!

We had great visits today. It was cool and damp this morning and Everlyn wasn't overly thrilled to be outside, but this afternoon she had a blast running around....and of course, wearing mommy's sunglasses.

Tomorrow is another day of visits and then my mom ("GiGi") will be here Monday morning to "wait" with me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 13 - It's LUCKY 13 for us....

It's OFFICIAL!!!!!! We are the very proud parents to FIVE children!

There is ONE LESS orphan in the world today! By order of a Ukrainian court, our little girl is an orphan no more!!!!

From this day forward, she is Everlyn Grace Smith...a daughter, grand-daughter, sister, niece, cousin and of course...American / Ukrainian Princess!!!!

We are SOOOOOO excited! We were NOT expecting court until early next week, but somehow we managed to have court TODAY...and good thing since the judge was leaving town for a week! LOL! More blog posts with more details (and yes, PICS) to come...but we are EXHAUSTED!

Thanks for your continued prayers!

Everlyn Grace, Born 1.26.08 - Adopted 10.15.10

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 12 - Guess what we have???

INTERPOL CLEARANCE!!!!!!!! Woot Woot!!!

It has to be processed through the SDA in Kiev and an original sent to our region by train. We should have court Monday or Tuesday of next week....we hope!

Pray for a quick court date! We are ready to wrap this thing up! Stick a bow on her....we'll take her! :o)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 11 - Ground Hog Day

Yes, I am aware of the date today.....but our days are starting to seem VERY similar to the movie Ground Hog Day.

We get up at the same time very day. Go to our morning visit. Come back to the apartment. Figure out what/where we are going to eat lunch. Upload any new pictures. Rest. Go to our afternoon visit. Figure out what/where we are going to eat dinner. Watch TV. Hang out online. Go to bed. Wake up and do it ALL OVER AGAIN. ((sigh))

The tough part is we can't even start the countdown yet. At least once we have court, we know (within a day or two) how many days we have left. Right now it is a guessing game...and a waiting game. UGH.

Interpol clearances....WHERE ARE YOU???????

Our visits today were fun! Miss Everlyn was as adorable as ever, even rockin' the "vegetable soup" hat. This hat is "orphan couture" at its finest! We played outside both visits and she had fun walking around, picking flowers, blowing bubbles, sliding down the slide...over and over.

And we get to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again...only this time, can we get some INTERPOL thrown in there? :o)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 10 - Happy Birthday...and Interpol

Today is my birthday! What a great way to spend my special day...with my girl!

Our court papers were filed without issue. The judge said we can have court....just as soon as we get our pesky Interpol clearance. (This is kind of like an International FBI clearance.) We can't set a court date without this. But once we have it, we can schedule court for the very next day.

So, all I want for my birthday...or the day after....is for our Interpol clearances to come through!!! :o)

Our visits were great today - Everlyn was as sweet (and busy) as ever!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 9 - Getting things done...

Today was a very busy day!

Our driver and facilitator picked us up at 9am. We usually go to the orphanage at 10:30am but today we needed to speak to the Director again. Tatianna, our facilitator, told us to tell the Director we loved Everlyn and wished to adopt her. We were also to tell her that we would appreciate it if she would prepare the necessary documents. Sounds easy enough... By the way, the Director has to file a document with the Court that states they feel it is in the child's best interest to be adopted by the hopeful adoptive parents.

So, we walk into the orphanage and head upstairs. As we are coming down the hall, Everlyn's groupa is leaving the music room going back to their room. One of the caregivers recognized us and said "(Her birth name)! Your mama! Your papa!" Everlyn looked up at us and grinned....and then ran down the hall giggling. It was pretty cute.

We go into the Director's office and sit down. She asks how the "bonding" was going, etc? We tell her what we had planned....that we loved this little girl and would like to adopt her. She seemed much more serious today (a case of the Mondays?) and began to speak. What we got in translation was this.... She has to be 100% sure that the child is comfortable with us, it isn't just about us loving the child, she has to love us back, we need 10 days to bond with her before she makes her decision, she needs to check with the caregivers to see what they have observed about our interactions, etc. ((head almost explodes)) 10 days BEFORE she makes her decision to give us the document we need? Eric's jaw tightens... Migraine sets in.... How can I prove to her this child "loves us back"....she has known us 3 days, we are virtual strangers to her. She has spent all but one month of her 2.5 years in this orphanage. She has NEVER seen a man for crying out loud! Trying not to panic....

so, we tell her we understand and thank her and leave her office and head to the playroom for our morning visit. Usually the workers are in and out during our visit. Nope, not today. 3 or 4 of them are huddled over at the desk talking, pretending to work I think. Yep....we are being watched. This is our audition for adoptive parenthood. Here goes.....

In walks Everlyn...looking as cute as ever with that HUGE purple bow. Lucky for us, this little girl was in an awesome mood this morning. We played, sang, walked, played some more, colored pictures, snuggled and laughed. After about an hour, our facilitator came back in and said "I think it is time for her to eat." so we picked up her toys and gave her a few more hugs and kisses and sent her back to her groupa. Eric asked "So, how'd we do?" LOL! Tatiannas's response was "Director will have the document ready by noon.' YIPPEE! Eric kept teasing me about my "performance" but hey...I got the job done. We really did have a great time with her...it was just so awkward to be "judged" on our visit. I understand why they do this....and they ADORE this little girl and want only the best for her which I can appreciate.

We head to the notary to sign 3-4 documents. This is NOT like notaries in the US. notaries here are higher-ranking officials. They have to go to university, law school and work under a notary for 3 years. There was a young girl running all over to prepare the documents, check our passports and then once they were ready, we went into this FANCY room (think molding out the ying-yang with gold scrolly accents everywhere). There was a woman sitting at a large desk with a table in front of it. We sat down at the table, signed where we were told to sign, Tatianna paid the notary (who never really looked up at us), and the notary stamped the papers and that was that.

Then we headed back to the Regional Inspector's office. We also need their approval to file our court documents. They also must say it is in her best interest that we adopt her. Since we didn't meet the Inspector on Friday, we needed to speak with her today. She asked us how the visits were going. We told her how the visits were going well, how sweet and adorable she is, etc. Then she got a very serious look on her face and asked if we were aware of her diagnosis. (I think they are afraid to say Down syndrome here. LOL) We said yes, that it did not matter to us one bit and that we still very much wanted to adopt this precious little girl. She looked at another women in the room, and the two kind of rolled their eyes, shrugged their shoulders and both smiled and nodded. They genuinely DO NOT understand why anyone would want a child with Ds, much less adopt one. Their culture is NOT accepting of "diseases" such as Ds...yes, to them these children are "sick". I think they think we are insane.... I don't care. We love her...Ds and all! :o) We showed them our family photo albums and they liked them. We thanked them, got the document we needed and left.

We had a bit of time before the Director was to have our document ready so we went to a great pizza place for a quick lunch. We tried a "chicken crepe" which was like a very thin pancake with chicken, cheese and mushrooms in it.

Back to the orphanage we went. We picked up the document we needed. The caregivers were standing around and were MUCH friendlier than they had been that morning. I guess we passed the test! They even mentioned how it is my birthday tomorrow...not sure how they knew. :o)

So, back to the notary we went to get our last document notarized. It is our "petition" to the court stating (once again) that we are aware of her diagnosis (all of them), her social history and that we (still) would like to be considered as adoptive parents. Same thing.....we sign where told to, notary gets paid, stamps the paper and never says a word to us. I wonder what she is thinking...

Back to the apartment for a quick rest and then back to the orphanage for our afternoon visit. I am not sure if I was just worn out from all of the running around we did, but BOY OH BOY was this girl busy this afternoon!!!!! She was ALL OVER that toy room! She did sit down for a few rounds of Patty-Cake with Mommy and even sat on Daddy's lap to color Princess pictures with her Color Wonder markers....but most of the time she was on the move! Watch out world! She's a busy one! :o) When our time was up, we gave her back to a caregiver and went downstairs to where our driver was waiting. We saw her groupa playing outside. We felt SO bad that she missed the chance to go outside! Maybe we will get to take her outside tomorrow.

We had our driver drop us off at our favorite restaurant here, Zeppelin. We LOVE this place. They have a menu in English and amazing food that is reasonably priced...and COKE. :o) We ate and then walked the 4-5 blocks back to our apartment.

Here's Zeppelin:

We are TIRED tonight.....

Our facilitator is meeting with the judge at 9am to file our paperwork. She said that we should have a better idea of a court date after tomorrow. PRAYING it is early next week....although we are available this week too. LOL!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 8 - One week, one day....

That's how long we have been here...or on our way here....

I cannot get pictures to upload to Blogger. Our connection isn't awesome but it is what it is. I have lots of pics posted on FB though. Once I have a better internet connection (which may be once we get HOME), I will go back and add the pics to these posts. Not ideal, but not much else I can do.

Today we had a great morning visit. Everlyn came to us ready to play. She's really warming up to us. She seems very smart and has obviously been well cared for. She imitates everything we do and many things we say. She has such a fun, silly personality. I showed her another pair of shoes I wanted to try on her and her face lit up...she immediately plopped herself down in my lap and started pulling off her shoes so we could try the new ones on. They fit and she loved them ....they are 18-24 month Pedipeds. She's a little thing at 2.5.

After our visit we went back to our apartment and dropped off some things and headed to our new favorite restaurant here. They may get sick of us! They have an English menu and serve coke in little glass bottles. Love this place! The food is AMAZING! We were stuffed when we left and our bill was less than $20 and that included 2 entrees, an seafood appetizer (for Eric), my Coke and his HUGE beer. :o) Then we walked through the open air market...so interesting. A pair of older women (babushkas) had two little playpens set up and they were selling kittens! Oh my....those things were FULL of kittens. They were cute but since I am REALLY allergic, we just smiled and walked on past. Eric did buy a watch in a little clock/watch store.
It is really nice and HUGE....$25 USD. What a deal!

We then headed back to our apartment to wait for our driver for our afternoon visit. He didn't show up so we were worried and called Tatianna our facilitator. Apparently he had been in an accident so a new driver came. Our driver is fine....no worries, but let me just tell you...these people drive like MANIACS. You can't imagine it unless you have seen it. We arrived about 20 minutes late for our visit so I was bummed since we only get 1.5 hours per visit. As we went to her groupa to let them know we were there, the nurse came out with her and pointed down the stairs. At first I thought she was telling is to leave. She scurried off with Everlyn and emerged with her all bundled up in a coat, hat and boots. Ahhhh....she was telling us we could take her outside. Thank goodness for the game of "charades!"

The nurse didn't want me to carry Everlyn down the steep stairs...she indicated to me that she could do it...and she did! I am SO happy they have encouraged her motor development. That girl is a pro on the stairs. We went outside and tried to make the most of it. It has been raining here for a couple of days so the playground was a muddy mess so we settled on the swing. She LOVED it. Then we tried the merry-go-round....and it started to rain. For fear we would be scolded for keeping her outside while it was sprinkling, we picked her up and headed back inside. Everlyn was NOT happy. Honestly, I haven't really heard her cry but she can whine and whimper with the best of them. I am however quite confident she can throw a big ol fit when she wants to. LOL!

We went back inside to the "play room" and played with HER toys. We put glittery foam shape stickers on a balloon...she LOVED our pretty blingin' balloon. And I broke out the bubbles. Those were a hit as well. She was just SO happy this afternoon and such a little snuggle bug, letting us get lots of hugs, kisses and "fives".

We are supposed to meet with Tatianna bright and early to initiate all of our court paperwork. Should be FUN....not! But this little girl is worth the mountain of paperwork....TWO mountains of paperwork!

Thanks for all of the sweet comments on FB and we appreciate your continued prayers!

Ashli and Eric

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Days 5, 6 & 7 - Catching up.....


Whew! What a few days we have had.

Thursday, October 7, 2010
We left Kiev on Thursday evening at about 9:45pm after picking up Everlyn's official referral paperwork from the SDA. We traveled about 12.5 hours by train to Everlyn's region arriving at 10:15 Friday morning. The train ride was uneventful. We bought first class tickets so we were in a 2 person cabin by ourselves. There were two little "bed/sofas" so we each had one and got a bit of sleep. I will be honest...I was WAY too excited to sleep!

Friday, October 8, 2010
We arrived in Everlyn's region and were met at the train station by Tatianna, one of our facilitators. She took us straight to the Regional Inspector's office. We have to get her permission to go visit the baby home. Well, the inspector was in a meeting all morning so another representative from that office went with us so we could go ahead and go over to the orphanage. YAY!

We arrive at the orphanage and I could hardly contain my excitement. It looked how I imagined. It is an older building but neat and clean. There is a playground outside for the kids as well.

We were taken into the Baby Home Director's office and spoke with her for a bit. Tatianna translated. The first thing the Director asked was how many children we had. I said 4. She said something and Tatianna laughed and said "She says you look much too young to have 4 children." I love this Director already! She then asked us about our family, and why we wanted to adopt a child. I guess we answered these questions to her satisfaction because she smiled and went on to tell us about Everlyn's history...her parents, her birth, her medical history, etc. Those details will remain private for the most part....they belong to Everlyn.

As they were telling us these things (and I am trying to remember all of the details since I had nothing to write with!), Eric's face lights up and he says "I saw her." WHAT? My back was to the door and I guess a caregiver bought her in but was "shoo'ed" away since we weren't ready. Ahhh!!! I could barely stand it! He got to see her! NO FAIR!

Finally as we were wrapping up, Eric again smiled and I turned to see the smallest, most adorable little thing I have ever seen. There she was! She was PERFECT! She had on a little pink turtleneck, pink fleece jumper dress, tights and the most GINORMOUS purple hairbow. Her hair wa smuch darker than I imagined but is perfect with her dark brown eyes. We were taken to a large room which seems to be where parents come and visit with their children. There are chairs, a piano, a desk and some toys. We had a backpack full of toys for her so the bribery began to help her warm up to us! LOL! "Wanna see your new doll? Wanna draw on this Magnadoodle? Wanna play with this ball? Wanna see the blanket GiGi made for you?" She loved everything and tried to hold ALL of it at once! Finally....toys of her very own!!! She was so proud!

We stayed about an hour and it was time for her to eat and nap. We came back later in the afternoon for another visit. She seemed happy to see us....or at least our bag of toys! We did get some good snuggles though!

We then went to our apartment to rest for the night. I do NOT sleep well here. I think jetlag is getting the best of me. Eric sleeps like a rock! LOL!

Saturday, October 9, 2010
We got up today and got ready for our morning visit. She came in the "play room" in the same clothes she had on the day before....but a new hairbow! LOL! This girl loves her bows! She immediately sat down and started playing with HER toys. She laughed and was so so happy. We took lots of pictures and even a video. Our internet connection isn't awesome so we can't upload the video just yet.

In between visits, our neighbor Viktor took us to the "cell phone place" and we bought a 3G modem card to plug in the USB so we could have internet in our apartment. I would DIE if I had to stay here a month with no internet. LOL! We also bought a flash drive (we forgot to bring one) because the orphanage has offered to copy all of her baby photos onto it for us....soooooo very thankful for this as many adoptive parents have few if any baby pictures of their child. We also visited a toy store across from where we are staying...on the 2nd floor of this place was the best STROLLERS ever! I know some of you can't relate but Eric and I were freaking out! Quinny strollers for about $350USD! And so many other European brands.....Eric loves stroller more than I do...he was like a kid in a candy store! :o) We may be coming home with a stroller....LOL! And honestly, she will need one for a while. She's so tiny - those little legs won't be able to keep up for long.

We then went to our afternoon visit. It took a while for them to bring her to us. We were told she was asleep and they had to get her up and dressed. I felt so bad we cut her nap short. She had on different clothes this time and her hair was all down! We were so busy playing this visit that we took NO pictures. Ooops! She has a LOT of hair and while it isn't how I would have cut it, it isn't the worst "orphanage 'do" I have ever seen either. I am pretty crafty with the hair accessories so we'll make it work while we grow out her bangs and get it all evened out. She's such a doll baby! She loves to give kisses and gives GREAT hugs....like squeeze-tight-around-your-neck hugs!

After our visit, we had our driver stop at a local pizza place so we could get a pizza to take back to the apartment with us. We had to call Tatianna on the phone and have her order for us. LOL! We wanted pepperoni, onion, peppers, and mushrooms. We got it home and it looked GREAT....except "pepperoni" must translate to "hot dog" here....but let me tell you, hot dog pizza is GOOD STUFF! :o)

We are settled in for the night and can't wait to see our girl in the morning! Gosh I miss her!

Our court papers should be filed on Monday. I am praying for a Friday court date but odds are it will be Monday of next week. Pray for us....it would be great if it was smooth sailing from here on out!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finally! A few pictures....

OK - I thought I would post some long overdue pictures while my internet seems to be working here at the apartment. Warning - picture overload!

A few of the groceries we picked up. I can endure ANYTHING if I have Coke!

Our apartment here in Kiev

The world's smallest (and most TERRIFYING) elevator - but a necessity since we are on the 8th floor. It shorts out and the lights go out and it doesn't move. FREAKS.ME.OUT. I am claustrophobic and HATE elevators, especially this one. What I wouldn't go through for this little girl!

The little flashcards I picked up. I thought the kids at home would enjoy seeing "common" words in Everlyn's language. Once I opened them, I realized it is actually a "matching game". I plan to let the kids use the 1st set as flashcards and put the duplicate set away in her memory box.

This is a gorgeous building under construction across from our apartment.

The Kiev Opera House

A Statue of Volinsky (I think)

And the AMAZING churches we saw today. We didn't have a chance to go inside, but snapped some pics from the car on the way to the SDA. They don't build them quite like this in the US, huh?

And last but certainly NOT least.....we asked permission to take a picture of her SDA file photo to keep for her since we have very very few photos of her has a baby (read....2). Isn't she so sweet? Love her!

Tomorrow we will pick up our referral and catch the evening train to her region. We would appreciate continued prayers!

Ashli and Eric