Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dreaming of Homes for Children

I woke up this morning remembering a dream I had about a certain little girl in Milana's orphanage. Once I thought of her I started thinking about some of the other children who need homes as well. Like little Gage. Here he is with the curly hair in the blue shirt. This little boy is so full of life and truly needs a Mommy & Daddy...they ALL do. He is such a ray of sunshine and if I could have taken him home with us I would have. He is so bright and gets around so well. He can wheel himself around in his wheel chair. He is able to go up the stairs to the slide without assistance. He really gets around well! If you are interested in Gage please visit the Reece's Rainbow website and look for him in Other Angels (Boys). Here is little Mason (who is also sitting next to Gage in the above picture). He is all boy. His smile is so amazing. Both Gage and Mason were so interested in our cameras. They saw us taking pictures and they wanted to see how our cameras worked. Both boys were so excited to see the pictures on the digital camera after we took them. Oh they are such beautiful boys who really need loving homes. Mason can also be found on the Other Angels page. I believe he is listed right below Mason. This boy (Mason) can run all over the place and will really keep you busy.
And now for the little girl in my dreams...this is Sandra. I only saw Sandra once at the orphanage and unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture. When I saw her she was being pushed in a stroller by one of the caretakers. I never saw her out playing with the other kids in the groupa. Sandra is in desparate need of Physical Therapy. You can see how much she needs this therapy just by looking at her little legs. Please someone consider bringing Sandra home. She would make such a great little girl for someone.

In my dream she was just loving life - smiling and happy and had a Mommy and Daddy. Could it be you? Or someone you know?? Please visit the Reece's Rainbow website at to find more information regarding Sandra, Gage, or Mason. They are beautiful children in need of a loving home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Long Awaited Home Pictures...

As always my pictures have uploaded in a different order than I had wanted. One day I will figure this out :) For now we'll just go with it.

Finally a picture of all four of my girls together!! Aren't they all adorable?? Look at that cute college girl holding Milana and those cutie pie twins!!! I missed my girls so much while I was in Ukraine and was so happy to have them all together for a short time. Can't wait til Karissa is home from college for a visit again so my girls can all be home with me. Here is Milana with her bff Nadia. I guess Nadia was excited to meet her!
My welcoming party last week at the airport was Chris, Riley, and Peyton. It was so good to see them! Milana was so excited to see the girls. She just adores them.

Here we are on the final leg of our journey home. This was our 3rd flight. I can't tell you how excited I was to board this plane knowing Milana and I were just about 30-40 minutes away from home :)This fabulous threesome was my help from Kiev to Raleigh. Steven, Elijah, & Jenny were also heading home. What luck to have them with me. They are great friends and are now Uncle Steven and Aunt Jenny. The girls now have tons of cousins too! I can't wait for Jenny to come home with her 3 precious children so I can greet them at the airport!! Thanks guys! It was a pleasure traveling with you!

I'll work on updating more. It has been crazy trying to jump back in where I left off with a new addition. Right now we are working on getting pre-school services for Milana. Hopefully it won't be too long. I need to get back to work in the next few weeks and testing and placement can take up to 90 days. Yikes!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I Love You Tomorrow....'re only a day away!!!!

I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am for tomorrow to come. At about 5:00 am tomorrow morning (10:00 pm tonight for you at home) Milana and I will be boarding our first of 3 planes to begin our journey home. First we head to Frankfurt, Germany - also known as "the hotdog place." Then we have a layover and hop on yet another flight to Washington, D.C. before FINALLY getting on our last and final flight home :) I'm hoping she'll be this happy the entire time we are traveling. (One can hope....right?) Then once we are home we will get to these 3 girls. I can't wait to see them!!! It has been far too long since I have seen my girls at home. Karissa won't be there to welcome us off the plane, but she will get in about 4-5 hours later that night. I am so excited to see my oldest baby :)
I am also looking forward to getting home to this guy. He has been so amazing through all of this and I can not thank him enough for all of his love and support. I can't wait to see you!! I miss you so much!!! You are such an amazing husband and father and I love you :)

Now these two little ladies will be at the airport to greet us and I can not wait to HUG them both and give them lots of kisses!! They are going to be the best big sisters ever - of course their big sister is also one of the three best big sisters ever!!! I miss my girls (all 3) so much!! I know they are all so excited to finally get to meet Milana. I am so proud of these three girls. I truly am. Milana is going to just love you all so much!!! And she loves HUGS!!! I love you girls!! Mommy will see you soon!!!

Today we have a few more things left to do. We have our final trip to the U.S. Embassy to finish up paperwork and get Milana's visa so she can come home. We also hope to meet up with some more Reece's Rainbow families. We got to meet up with The Parkers last night at Fridays. Today we are hoping to catch up with Sid & Wendy, Jenny & Steven, and also the Westbrooks. Hope we get to see everyone before heading out tomorrow.
I am so excited we are going home tomorrow. I can't wait to be with my family who I have missed these last 5 weeks. It really has been such a long, long time. I love you guys!!! See you soon!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Leaving Lugansk

Tonight was our last night here in Lugansk. Milana and I had a lovely day. This afternoon we did some shopping and went to lunch with Cass. Then tonight we went out to dinner with Kim and Phil, Cass, and one of the french couples we met. Roger and Oishin were out with Henry :)

We had a great time at dinner. Milana was very well behaved. We didn't have to get her out of the stroller and walk her around once. (This was a bonus)!

I am so excited that we are winding down and starting our journey back home. In some ways it is bittersweet. I am beyond thrilled to be heading home to my girls and Chris and even the dogs. Just getting back to my normal life will be such a relief.

But I will miss the amazing friends we have met along the way. I can not stress enough how nice it has been to have so many amazing people on this journey with us. I will miss them all a great deal and hope we all stay in touch. We have even joked about meeting back here in a few years for a reunion.

Which that is funny in and of itself because anyone here who can speak English would stop us on the street and ask us WHY we are here?? I guess this isn't exactly a tourist destination.

I do have pics from tonight, but everything is all packed up. We have to head out at 5:30 am to catch our flight back to Kiev. We hav our appt tomorrow at the US Embassy! Hooray!!! We are getting closer and closer to home.

So for my friends I am leaving behind....good luck! I will miss you! I will be following your journeys - email me!!! Cass & Rog we'll see you in 2 years :)

Love you guys!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Is It Naptime Yet??

I tried to get little Miss Milana to take her nap today and after listening to her cry for awhile assumed that was not going to happen. So instead we played. Later when she was having her snack she was literally putting cheerios in her mouth and nodding off. She would then snap awake and continue to eat the cheerios. The next thing I know she is face down on the blanket with her leg in the cheerios. It didn't last long. The moment I tried to move the bowl she popped back up and finished up the cheerios. Oh well. I tried! Here she is tasting the tiny mirror she enjoys looking at herself in. How she can actually see herself in it I do not know, but she likes it so we'll just go with it for now.
Aaaahhhh!!! You have to find humor in this. Milana and I were happily playing until she went over to the plug and tried to stick her finger in the socket. I told her no and she had a complete of many :) She would then stop crying and look at me and throw her arms around my neck and begin all over again. Let the good times roll....

This was actually a minute or so BEFORE the meltdown. She was laughing like crazy. And let me tell you this girl laughs like you would not believe. If you hear her laugh you have to join in. It is that contagious :)
Don't you just LOVE the hair??? This little bow came with the little pony I bought for her at the market. She will pull it out of her hair and then try to get it back in. This of course does not work and she gets upet. Please refer to the picture of her in tears to see what happens when she can NOT get the bow back in her hair. I have more if you need additional references :)

Tonight we went out for dinner with The Clarke's and The Dean's. She did great - especially since you wait FOREVER to order, to get your food, to get the bill, etc. It was so nice to have some adult conversation - and the extra hands to help out with Milana. It was also nice to be able to go to the bathroom by myself :)
It is almost time for Milana and I to be heading out of here. We are off to Kiev early Monday morning to finish up there and head home. I have really enjoyed my time with my new friends here and will miss our time together, but I am thrilled beyond belief to head home to my girls (and Chris too)! We are getting closer to the end of this journey!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gotcha - Milana Alexandra

The last couple of days have been very busy. Yesterday was the end of our 10 day waiting period. I was picked up and taken to the court house for 10am. I did not need to go in so I waited outside with another couple that I have gotten to know throughout this process. They adopted a little boy in Milana's orphanage and were also waiting for the decision of the court.

After about an hour we got the paper we needed and we headed off to the city Milana was born. We needed to go there to get the new birth certificate and the certificate of adoption. At first when we got there they told us to come back tomorrow. Violetta was great and eventually the woman told us to come back in 3 hours. It was too far to drive back and fourth so we (Sasha, Violetta, and I) hung out in a Cafe to kill time.

When we went back to pick up our forms they weren't ready. Then they only gave us one form and said we did not need the other. Which I did need and without it I would not be allowed to leave the country. Eventually we got both forms!! This was a huge success.

Unforunately it took all day to get those forms and I was not able to get Milana yesterday. Violetta called and she was able to get some of the paperwork done without me. Then came to get me and we headed to the orphanage to bust Milana out - after signing many forms of course.

Here she is in the changing area of her groupa. Her last time to stand in that room. (Poor thing they had to wake her from her nap). Sorry sweetie!!! Leaving the orphanage was more tearful for me than for Milana it seemed. I passed out some gifts to some of the caretakers that were there and thanked them through tears for taking care of my little girl. I am so grateful to them for taking such good care of her and for treating her so well!!! The caretakers looked a little sad as well. I really think they will miss her :)

Before getting to come back to the apartment we had to go get Milana's passport photos. This was not an easy task, but we did it. We attempted some other paperwork, but ran out of time. Violetta had to get to court for another family and so we will continue to work on getting what we need tomorrow.

Milana enjoyed checking out the apartment. She LOVED seeing her reflection in the mirror, on the washing machine, the stove, etc. (This girl loves herself)!!

We ventured out and did some shopping and while I cooked Milana ate cheerios. Actually she did share them. She enjoyed feeding them to me as much as she enjoyed eating them.

I am so excited to finally have Milana with me. We are getting closer and closer to heading home. I can't wait to get back to my girls at home. I know they are so excited to meet Milana and Milana will be thrilled to meet her big sisters!!!
I can't believe Gotcha Day has finally arrived!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Milana & Missing My Girls

I was extremely fortunate today to get two visits with Milana. Usually we are brought in the morning for about 1 1/2-2 hours. However, I was in the right place at the right time and got to go this afternoon as well. (This was all thanks to Kim and Phil who had me over for lunch today - thanks guys)!!!

Unfortunately Milana was sleeping this afternoon when I got there and they woke her up. I felt a little guilty about that and even tried to tell them to let her sleep, but they woke her anyway. So I got her dressed and out we went. Look at this face! I guess waking her up was totally worth it!!! Milana really enjoyed my shades today. She looks quite stylish doesn't she??
It is so hard to get a good picture of this busy little thing, but I think I did fairly well today. I need to invest in one of those cameras that just clicks away and gets all those really good action shots. Usually I get a few dozen of her looking down or in any direction other than the camera.

I have to admit that as much as I am enjoying every second here with Milana my heart is breaking from missing my girls at home. These last couple days have been especially hard as I have not been able to chat with them. It doesn't sound like much but even just a few minutes to find out how their day went means so much. I can't wait to talk with them tomorrow. I love you girls and I miss you so much!!! I can't wait to come home so we can all be together :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not Quite Herself Today

Milana was not quite herself today. She is usually VERY loud and VERY busy. Today she was much calmer and extremely snuggly. She looked like she was tired. I thought perhaps she wasn't feeling well, but she did pep up a little here and there. I don't know. Maybe she is just missing her Daddy and is ready to go home (like her Mommy). She did seem to have fun for a time playing with this ball. We would roll it back and fourth. When it didn't get to me she would get up and go get it instead of looking at it and shouting and then looking at me like "Would you get that ball already."
This girl loves her sok (juice). We had to get her this sippy cup because she wore more of the juice than she actually drank. Although when it was empty she was determined to find more in there. No sweetie. It really is empty.

It is so difficult to get good pictures of this one. Everytime she would smile I'd be too late by the time I got the camera out of my pocket and snapped a picture. It was more difficult trying to bend down and push Milana in this truck and run and take a picture at the same time. So this was really the best I could do.
After our visit today I went to see Karate Kid with the Clarke's. It was all in Russian (no subtitles either). Fortunately having seen the original movie it was pretty easy to figure out what was going on. It was a cute movie.
Later The Clarke's and I met up with the Dean's and we all had dinner. It was nice, but as always the service was slow. We sat there for a good two hours or so which is the norm around here. There was a bit of confusion with our orders. First the entire menu is in Russian so we needed some help figuring out what was what. The waitress placed too many meals in our order. So when the food came out - very slowly and one meal at a time - Roger after finishing his first meal (which was not what he ordered) ended up with another meal. We sent it back and then the waitress came and was very upset with us about this. YIKES!!! We finished up and got the bill and quickly booked it out of there. Maybe we should avoid that place for awhile!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Bad hair day? These two are up to no good!
Hmmm....what can I do with this???
Hey - she's trying to take the bubble wand and it's not her turn yet!
Please, can I have the bubble wand back?? I'll stop licking the bubbles. I promise ;)