Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dariya is brilliant...

We got the great news today that Dariya passed all her tests with flying colors!  We had taken her to our pediatrician 2 days after we arrived home to run all blood work, labs and have new x rays taken to rule out TB that the doctors in Ukraine thought she might have. 

We are happy to report our girl is spot on healthy.  No parasites, no TB, no thyroid concerns, no celiac (Alayna doesn't have it either...doing an eat more bread happy dance over here), no health concerns at all!  She is a happy, healthy, chunky 30 pound bundle of love.

Yahoo Dariya we are so proud of your acing your tests without even studying.  You are a rock star girlfriend.  Next week is our preschool intake conference won't they be impressed?

Next tests, August 15th ophthalmology appointment (we are expecting to get glasses as she had glasses in Ukraine but they couldn't keep them on her tiny little bridge of her nose), August 24th cardiology consult just to verify her heart is perfect and then in September both girls go to the ds clinic for their annual check ups and spinal x rays to make sure they don't have Atlantoaxial Instability.

It truly does seems like Dariya has been with us forever.  Being in Ukraine seems so long ago even though it was only two weeks ago we were arriving home.  I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how intricate God's plan was to bless us with this little girl.  Each day I thank him for the gift of Dariya, she is amazing and I can't imagine our lives without her.

Life continues to go smoothly, minus the dead battery on my car last week (my own fault) and having strep throat this week.  Even after Jason went back to work. 

We were able to attend church this week for the first time since being back from Ukraine.  What a blessing to be in worship.  I was very glad that Dariya did not attempt to go to anyone, she walked around a little bit but, kept me in her sights the whole time.  Ahh that does a momma's heart good.

The girls are having a wonderful time playing together and learning from one another.  Alayna is quick to offer Dariya the sign and word for something when needed.  Alayna LOVES to pat Dariya on the back or have me pat her on the back, ever the little momma.  So now Dariya clearly says, "pat, pat, pat".  When I get Alayna up in the morning or after nap her first word is, "Dora" (Dariya) Oh boy, am I at the bottom of the totem pole now...trust me she has hugs and kisses for sister always, and some for mom well sometimes =)!

Dariya has turned into a fish in the bathtub.  In Kiev, she enjoyed the bath but, I couldn't get her to lay down or really play in it she just kept washing herself.  Well, 2 weeks later she is like a highly trained dolphin at Sea World nearly doing flips over Alayna to lay down in the bath and swim around.   It is truly comical.

Aidan is loving having two little sisters chase him around.  It is fun to watch the three of them interact with each other.  Dariya is a fantastic eater.  My kids are definitely not picky eaters and Dariya fits right in.  Aidan obliged her with passing off the rest of his cooked broccoli last night for dinner (he loves it raw but, not cooked).  Yep she ate it right up!   Now that is a loving brother isn't it?

Finally a special thanks to Sarah Marie, who continues to bless our family.  She made the girl's dresses they are wearing in the new header pic and Aidan's shirt which says,"Big brother x 2 with a heart!  Super cute!  We got tons of compliments on them at church on Sunday!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dariya's homecoming pictures

When Alayna was 3 months old she started therapies and classes at the LeeAnn Britain Center.  We were blessed with Shannon Lockwood as Alayna's teacher.  Shannon blessed us again with her great photography skills and surprising us at the airport to capture Dariya's homecoming. 
Thank you Shannon!



welcome home dariya from Shannon Lockwood on Vimeo.


Also, a big thanks to Jody Stump, from our church, for compiling the above video documenting Dariya's homecoming.  We are so blessed with all the pictures and videos and you guys putting them together for me to post...PRICELESS.

This day will be forever etched in my memory but, it is so nice to have it captured so we can watch it over and over. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nothing says summer like...

Two scantily clad toddlers running through the sprinkler.  I haven't been brave enough to take the girls to our community pool by myself so we are making due with our splash pool and sprinkler time with dad.  Nothing better.  Truly seems like Dariya has been with us forever.

The giggles that come from the backyard are priceless.  We are so blessed.

Dariya is a water baby for sure.  Doesn't matter how cold the water is she is always ready for a dip.

Alayna on the other hand would like daddy to turn the water up about 40°

Who needs splash cove when we have daddy around?


You tell me who is having more fun, Jason or Dariya????

Monday, July 18, 2011

So how is it going?

I think this is the question we have received most so here is a brief update on us.

We have kept a low profile and remained at home except to take Dariya to the doctor.  We are very thankful to the families that surprised us with meals and treats over the past few days.  What a blessing.

I have gone to bed early every night to get back on US time and feel like I have finally kicked jet lag.

As Jason is going back to work tomorrow we ventured to take the kids to the pool for a little while and Dariya truly loved it.   We will see how well I do with 2 toddlers at the pool with just Aidan and I. 

All the kids seem to be doing very well and enjoying each other.  Aidan can make the girls laugh and giggle like no one.  They of course are entertained by following him around.  The girls have spent the past few days kissing, hugging and playing well together. 

Dariya has fit in nicely to our family.  She naps when Alayna naps in the afternoon and goes to bed when Aidan and Alayna go to bed and gets up about the same time.   She is eating well and sleeping well.  She is slowly losing the head "rocking/banging" that she did in the orphanage to go to sleep.  She had almost completely stopped it in Kiev but, we were all in one bed in our studio apt so now she is in a crib next to our bed she does it some but, not as much as she did the first night with us.  She enjoys bathtime with her siblings and then reading books in our bed before we rock and put her down.  She likes cuddle time, kissing and hugging - she in one affectionate little girl!

The day after we arrived home Alayna didn't like it when Dariya cried (she is a tender heart).  So if Dariya cried, Alayna cried.  Thankfully, they are small enough I can pick them both up at the same time.  But, it has gotten better as the days have gone by.

Dariya was very impatient when waiting to eat and would make noises before mealtimes, to show us she was irritated.  We have gotten her to stop the noises (for the most part) and fold her hands to pray with the family before meals!  Amen!

We weren't able to attend church this first week home due to Aidan having a bad tummy at 4am on Sunday.  He came into our room and forgot Dariya is sleeping in there and woke everyone up.  Unfortunately, Dariya and I were up for the day.  But, no worries Dariya kept me entertained with her fine motor skills...opening and shaking the spices all over the kitchen floor when I went to get Alayna up.  Should have taken a pic but I was still too tired to think about it.    Jason to the rescue new cabinet lock placed on the pantry within 30 minutes of spice clean up #2.

Dariya is continuing to pick up signs and words like crazy.  Alayna had a language explosion while we were in Ukraine too.  On Thursday morning after breakfast she said, "down, Dariya (which sounds like Dora), play.  How is that for an understandable 3 word sentence?  (I want down to go play with Dariya).  These two are going to learn so much from each other.

Dariya had her first check up with our pediatrician last Friday.  Our pediatrician LOVED her.  Dariya was too dehydrated to draw labs on so thankfully she was well hydrated and was an easy draw today.

We know there will be some hard days but, overall I would say it has been a very smooth transition for us so far.  Of course as Jason heads back to work tomorrow I could be changing my story...will keep you posted. 
Goldfish, only in America!


Enjoying a splash in the backyard

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bringing Dariya HOME!!!



After 24 hours of traveling we made it safely home on Wednesday evening around 7pm.  As we landed tears filled my eyes just knowing we were so close to the kids.  When we walked out of the gate we saw Aidan and Alayna through the glass.  As soon as Alayna saw us she started crying happy tears!  Oh how we missed them.   I couldn't help but cry when I held them for the first time in 5 weeks. 

We then saw the huge crowd of people that came to welcome us home.
What a blessing to be surrounded by such great friends and family to help us celebrate our girl's homecoming.  Thank you to everyone who made her day so special. 

Dariya did very well on all 3 flights.  She fussed a little on the first flight because she was so tired and wanted to go back to sleep but, all the strange sounds kept her awake.  Oh and that poopy diaper probably didn't help.  You would think we were first time parents.  But, overall she was a trooper.

She slept on the long flight for 2 hours and fell asleep on the final flight to KC and was still sound asleep when we arrived at the gate.  I thought she would sleep through the homecoming but, she woke up just enough to see everyone (not to focus clearly on them though LOL).



As the crowd dispersed and we headed to our van it really hit me that we are finally home.  A family of 5 together! 

Thank you Father for guiding us, leading us and protecting us on this journey.  We strapped the girls in their car seats, Dariya wasn't too happy about it for a minute then settled in and wanted to sing some songs.  Alayna helped me sing and Dariya signed along.  Sweetness x 2!

Here is the link to the local news channel that covered our story.  Jason and I are going to have an interview with the reporter sometime soon.

http://www.kctv5.com/story/15082501/metro-family-welcomes-international-child-to-new-home


A huge thanks to all those that took pics and video for us.  Many more pictures and videos to come from our awesome photographers and videographers!

There is no place like home!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: It is finished...

Daddy & Dariya proudly show off her passport, visa and immigration papers.
The sheep was a gift to Dariya from a very nice couple that live down the hall from us in Kiev, Yuri & Gala
We had our visa appointment this afternoon and after a mere 45 minutes we were issued her visa to enter the United States.  This was the last document we needed to leave Ukraine and bring her home. 

Get your kicks on Route 66, Kiev....
Our work here in this country is complete, it is finished

These words, "it is finished" were the last words Jesus spoke from the cross.  This shows us that he faithfully fulfilled his mission to save mankind from sin.    For this I am so completely thankful.

As I laid awake last night those words kept swirling in my head.  We would have nothing without Christ.  We feel like we have been called on this mission by Christ to bring this sweet child home.  We aren't amazing or fantastic in what we are doing, we are sinners saved by the blood of Jesus.  We are just trying to be obediant to God's call for our family.   Through this journey we have continued to be blessed through our obediance to His call.

We are prayerful that other's lives have been changed and that more orphans will soon meet their forever families through our story.  Maybe God is calling you to pray, donate, or even adopt.  If you asked us in December if we would be in Ukraine hours away from flying home with our new daughter we would have said you are crazy.  Never say never.  Pray and seek His guidance.

A fabulous journey it has been.  We have enjoyed Ukraine and will miss our friends here dearly.  Jason wants to come back for the Euro 2012 games next summer, I told him to get our dossier ready and we can come back.  (Don't have a heart attack Grandma, it was a joke).

As we sign off from Kiev we will leave you with pics of Dariya having her celebratory pasta dinner and ice cream for dessert. 




  

I fit right in with the Cannon family. I LOVE ice cream!


Just a friendly reminder for those of you who are meeting us at the airport or those who will see us soon in the community or at church etc...Dariya probably will make attempts to come to you. 

We request that you help us help her to understand that she can't jump into everyone's arms by telling her no (at least for a little while until she gets settled well into our family).  Thank you!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Consulate appt and medical

We arrived at the consulate a little before 9am for our appointment.  They asked us if we had a copy of our appointment letter.  Um, no I just emailed and made the appointment last week and don't have a printer (guess I should have put one in my carryon LOL).  So they looked at the appointment docket and our names were not on it. 
No worries, the guard said come in and let me check a few things.  We went through the security checkpoint .  We had to be checked and rechecked because we brought in our backpack and they kept asking if we had anything electronic in our bag...no I don't think so.  Then we finally figured out Dariya's toy telephone was in the backpack. 
Once we cleared security we entered the main building.  Jason and I were both expecting to see other US citizens there.  Nope not a one.  There was a huge line outside of Ukrainians waiting to apply for a US visa.

Once inside we were sent directly to the international visa/adoption area.  We were served immediately by a very friendly lady.  She helped me complete the necessary documents.  Dariya's birth name had to be written in Ukrainian, I have gotten good at some Russian language while here but haven't mastered the writing.  (Victoria we should have had you do this for us). 

It was almost a catastrophe as Jason set our plastic file folder containing all our paperwork on the top of the stove this morning.  When I looked at the embassy paperwork some of them had singe marks on the bottom, I thought he had spilled his coffee on them (thankfully they were the extras I had printed and not the completed ones.)

I was sent to the cashier to pay our $404 for Dariya's visa and brought the receipt back to the person who was helping us.  She gave us our copies of the documents, told us our appointment for our interview is at 2pm on Tuesday and sent us off to our medical. 

As we were walking out I looked at my watch and it was 9:10.  YAHOO the day was going well.

We made it to the medical by 9:40 and saw the nurse immediately and the doctor shortly afterwards.  Dariya had to show off her singing and signing with a round of Oh Mr Sun and Itsy Bitsy Spider.  The doctor loved it.   She checked Dariya out and suggested we get some saline drops for her nose as she is a little stopped up, especially before traveling. 
She then said she would complete the paperwork and give it to us in about 20 minutes.  We went to the cafeteria so Nico and Jason could get a coffee. 
We were counting our blessings thinking we were only going to be at the hospital about an hour. 

Then the doctor came and met us and said that she wanted to have chest xrays done on Dariya because she had one negative TB screen at the orphanage then had another one with numbers a little elevated. 

We went down the hall and were immediately ushered into the xray room.  Jason opted to stay outside (chicken).  They had Dariya lay flat on her back and me hold her down.  Oh my imagine trying to hold down a really greased pig.  Dariya was having none of the xrays and moved around too much during the first 3 xrays so they did a fourth.  I had Jason come in to hold her legs while I held her arms.  I am sure the people in the hallway thought we were killing her.  She was screaming for all she was worth.  But, as soon as it was over and I picked her up she was fine again. 

We stood in the hallway and prayed that her xrays showed clear.  We were informed the next step was to go to a nicer facility and they would have to sedate Dariya and do a complete scan on her.  This would take several more days here in Kiev.

Thankfully God again heard and answered our prayers.  The doctor called us in again and said she was ok to sign all the paperwork to allow Dariya to get her visa.  We will have to follow up with our home pediatrician in a month on the TB screening.

Overall, Dariya is doing very well.  Being in a studio apartment we can't get away from her when we put her down to bed.  Last night she decided to stay awake until we gave up and went to bed with her at 10:30.  As soon as I layed her down when we arrived home today she rolled over and went straight to sleep.  Good girl!

Final step, interview tomorrow at 2pm and sign all the documents we filed today.  Then we will be issued her visa about an hour later!

Please continue to pray for our journey home.  Dariya and I have bulkhead seating on the long flight but Jason is a few rows behind us. Please pray that someone will change seats with us so we can all be together, that Dariya sleeps and is great on the flight home.  Also, we ask prayers for the transition for all of us.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Lazy Sunday

As we had no where to go or no place to be today we decided just to enjoy the day and have a lazy Sunday.  Of course, Dariya decided to wake up around 6:20 but she is a quiet snuggler in the morning so she stayed in bed until 7:30 with me.

We got ready and met Joel & Rachel Golden for lunch at the Ukrainian buffet.  The Golden's are a sweet couple that are adopting their first children via RR, Jackson and Josiah.
A couple from our building who speak good English introduced themselves and Jason shared what we were doing in Ukraine.  They thought Dariya was wonderful and were so glad to meet us and know our story.  They were just heading into town and asked us if we would like a ride to the restaurant.  Very kind (wish they would have picked us up, the restaurant is about a mile from the apartment but it is all up hill). LOL


A building across from the president's office

Us with the Golden's in front of the President of Ukraine's office
Dariya is napping well in the afternoon.  It took her quite a long time to go to sleep last night so we are hoping that she gets into a good sleep routine once we get home.  Praying she sleeps on the plane too, otherwise the people next to us will be asking for new seats I am afraid.

Praying our embassy appoinments tomorrow go well and quickly.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: HOMECOMING INFORMATION

We are so grateful to everyone who has prayed for, donated, and helped us bring Dariya home.  We know we are loved and are happy to have you on this journey with us.

(The following excerpt is from an adjustment and attachment post by Tesney Davis, Kirill's mommy  it is so well written that I asked her if we could borrow some of it, to read the whole post click on the link)

We know some people are planning to meet us at the airport when we arrive home. That will be wonderful and touching for us to see familiar and supportive faces when we arrive.  We want you all to know that Aidan, Alayna and Dariya are our first priority when we arrive home. 

In Dariya's best interest we will not pass her around for anyone to hold at the airport and we will have to be mindful of overloading her with new things and people. We know you will want to hug, kiss, and help spoil Dariya, and trust us we want you to.   But, it is recommended that we be the only ones to do that at first to improve her chances of attaching strongly to us.  We know that it may feel disappointing to some of you because you have shared in our excitement of meeting Dariya.

As strange as it may seem, adopted children who act very outgoing and affectionate with strangers is not a healthy thing. It is called “indiscriminate affection” and can mean that they haven’t really attached to anyone. It would not be a good sign that Dariya is attached to us if during her first months home she will let just anyone take her and hold her without searching for us.   For example, when she walked up to a stranger on the streets of Kiev last night and grabbed his hand (not so good).

She will be adapting to a lot of new things…new parents (instead of many caregivers), new brother and sister, new home, new foods, new time zone.  Although we cannot predict how long it will take Dariya to adjust to our home, we feel confident that by implementing some specific parenting approaches it will happen more quickly than if we did not implement those approaches.


We appreciate your time and understanding in reading this.  Thank you again for your continued prayers, love, and encouragement.

We will be arriving Wednesday, July 13th at 6:20 pm on United flight 3670 and would love for you to welcome us home.  I know Sarah Marie is taking pictures for us, anyone else who would like we would love more pictures.  Also, if anyone is coming has a digital video camera we would love to have video of her homecoming.  Please email me and let me know if you are available to do this. Thanks!  See you Wednesday.

Breakfast of champions - Daddy's oatmeal to start the day!

How better to celebrate independence than dancing in the fountains of Independence Square, downtown Kiev



Saint Michaels church

She LOVES the sling Grandma, actually fell asleep in it on our walk back home

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: GOTCHA DAY!!!

We were picked up a little before 9am so we could be at the passport office at 9 when it opened.  We waited about 10 minutes and were issued Dariya's passport.  We then drove around the corner to the orphanage to celebrate and get our little girl.

We were greeted by Tamara and Oksana, our two favorite caregivers.  We were thankful they were working today.  They allowed us to take pictures of the whole groupa area and of all the kids.  One little sweetie you will see me holding in the video will be listed on RR shortly. 
We took bubbles, candy, fruit and cookies for the kids and chocolates, tea and champagne for the caregivers. 

Our sweet friend, Victoria translated a thank you card for the caregivers and for Sasha (Dariya's birth father).
We stayed and played with the kids and visited with Sasha for an hour then we gave our final hugs, kisses and tearful goodbyes and made the drive to Kiev.

Dariya did really well in the car for the first 1 1/2 hours then as it was getting close to nap time she just wanted to lay down but she couldn't.  She fussed a little then would be fine.  We made it to Kiev around 2:30.  We are in the same apartement we had when we first arrived.  We then tried to get her down for a nap.  Haha, she was too excited and had caught her second wind.  So we opted to head out and walk around. 

We were blessed to be able to have an early dinner with Jill and Jonathan tonight.   We got home and Skyped with Alayna and Grandma (Aidan was playing with a friend).  The girls were throwing each other kisses SO CUTE! 

As we guessed Dariya LOVES the water so bath time was a blast then she was OUT for the night! 

We are very thankful for the continued prayers on our journey.  Please pray for our smooth ending at the embassy on Monday and Tuesday and for our safe travels (and good napping for Dariya) on the flight home.

NOW here is what you came for so enjoy!  One less orphan in the world tonight.....

video




Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: UPDATE Gotcha day

YAHOO, can you hear us hollaring from here?  Dariya's passport is in and will be ready for us to pick up around 9:30 tomorrow morning.  We will pick up the passport and go back to the orphanage to break her out. 
Her birth father is going to come and say goodbye, hoping her birth mother shows up too.

We will be in the capital city just after noon.  We are making arrangements for our flights.  Please pray there is a great flight into KC on Wednesday at a decent time so the kids can meet us at the airport.

We won't be able to blog until tomorrow night our time, afternoon in the U.S. (sorry Renee you will have to enjoy your coffee and read someone else's blog for the morning LOL)

Thank you for all the prayers, comments and support while we have been here it truly makes all the difference.

As we were dropping Dariya off (for the last time) one little 3 year old in her groupa broke down crying and was saying in Russian, "I want a Mama and Papa".  You know I left there crying.  Unfortunately, his mother is very ill but hasn't released him to be adopted so he is stuck there.  Also, the little 18 month old boy that took such a liking to Jason when we first arrived now greets us with hugs and kisses and gives us more before we leave for the day. 

How can I be so joyous and so sad all at once?  Please pray for these children with me.

Bringing Dariya home: Pre Gotcha day visit

Dariya was very snuggly today, wanting to spend most of the first hour in my lap.  She has not wanted to go back to the groupa lately and has cried saying, "mama", tomorrow sweet girl, tomorrow we pray!

As it wasn't raining we took her outside for the rest of our time.   We were able to see a couple other RR cuties but couldn't get pictures.

We are 99% sure that Dariya's passport will be back on Friday afternoon.  The plan is for us to have our regular 10am - noon visit Friday morning then be picked up by Nico around 2pm Friday afternoon and go get her passport then go to the orphanage and break our girl out of there after her nap!!

After 4 weeks of being in country we are ready to break our girl out of there and bring her home.

We will go directly to Kiev for the weekend, have our embassy appointments Monday and Tuesday (already have the appointments booked) and fly out Wednesday morning (still haven't bought the tickets yet so not sure what time we will be home.)  We are looking for someone to take pictures and video at the airport for us, if you are interested please email me.

I will post a little post after our morning visit tomorrow to let you know for sure if it is Gotcha day, then you will have to be patient and wait a bit on the Gotcha day video.


Dariya and Sasha, her birth father

Chasing bubbles...

Patty cake

Giggles with daddy, of course

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Where's Dariya?

Woke up this morning and checked email to find another sweet blessing from Sarah Marie.  She not only has raised money for us, donated to our silent auction, has made the girls matching dresses and Aidan a big brother top, now she has digitally scrapbooked our trip here in Ukraine. 
What a joy you are Sarah, thank you!



I forgot to blog yesterday about Dariya's caregivers comments to us via our facilitator.  They are very happy for Dariya, pleased to see the bond we have made with her, for her to be joining our family and wished us well on our trip home.  They even shared with Luda all about the songs that Dariya was doing sign language to!  

These women will definitely miss this little one...
So much cuteness!  ♥ this girl!!!!

Daddy and Dariya take turns rolling the rings down the slide each day then Dariya has her turn.

Now that the wait is over and the paperwork is done we are more than ready to head home.  We truly have enjoyed this country and will miss our friends that we have made dearly but, there is no place like home.

Please continue to pray that Dariya's passport comes before Friday!  Thank you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Birth certificate, Passport and birth dad

After 7 hours of paper chasing by Luda, our facilitator, (we only had to be in the chase for 3 hours of it) we have Dariya's new birth certificate with our names, we closed her bank account out and donated the $2800 to the orphanage, and took Dariya out in her first car ride to get her passport applied for.

When we got in the car with her she didn't know what to do and got a little anxious, she didn't cry but wouldn't be still for about 30 seconds and was arching her back then she wrapped her arms around my neck and was fine.  They don't use car seats over here so she had to sit on my lap.  I think I was more stressed about it than she was, oh and the driver swerving to miss every bump in the road AHHH!

We arrived back at the orphanage around 4:30 and took Dariya back to her groupa so we could sign the final paperwork in order for us to take her out for good.  

We are praying to have her passport back on Friday.  If her passport comes back as planned on Friday.  We will have gotcha day and head to the capital for the weekend. On Monday and Tuesday we would have our embassy appointments which would mean flying home on Wednesday July 13th.  Nope we haven't booked the tickets yet we will know Thursday night if her passport will be ready for Friday so then we will book.

Once we were finished with the paperwork we went back and got Dariya to play in the sports room for a while.  About 5:45 Luda phoned us and said that the birth dad (Sasha, nickname for Alexander) had arrived at the orphanage to meet us.   He had talked to the director to find out when he could meet us and when someone would be there to translate.  He understands some English but doesn't speak it. 

We were able to visit with him for about 20-25 minutes.  He was very kind, quiet and soft hearted (sound just like Jason? YEP!)  We were able to tell him that we will raise Dariya to know that he loves her.  He gave us his email address so we can email him pictures of Dariya as she grows up.  He was so kind he said maybe just around her birthday each year.  He didn't want to ask for more than we were willing to give.   Dariya got her beautiful blue eyes from her birthdad, they look exactly like his. 

We didn't take our camera with us today as we didn't know we would be visiting Dariya (trust me it wasn't my idea) but, thankfully Luda allowed us to use her camera and take pictures of Sasha and Dariya.  He is going to come visit again on Friday so I will get many pictures then.  Luda is on the bus now back to the capital so we will have to post pictures later. 

We visited a bit longer with Luda after Sasha had to go back to work and learned that she was taking updated pictures of RR kids and new kids to be listed on RR.  One little boy is 2 years old with FAS from Dariya's groupa!  Please start praying for his forever family, he isn't walking and needs a family asap!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Our FINAL day (Independence day)

Of the 10 day wait that is (sorry to get your hopes up Grandma!) 

Tuesday morning will entail more paperwork chasing so we will miss our normal morning visit with our girl.  We will pick up the court decree (just get teary eyed thinking about it), get Dariya's new birth certificate, apply for her passport, and close her bank account out (the country provides a small stipend monthly for child maintenence like they do in England) we will donate all that money back to the orphanage. 

Also, our sweet friend Courtney Heigele shipped 80 pounds worth of cloth diapering supplies to us via, Wayne & Jennifer Johnson who are arriving back in this country today.  We are so thankful to be able to present the orphanage with this donation.   Courtney is also working with wholesale diapering companies to use the chip in money to send cloth diapers directly to the orphanage.  A HUGE thank you to Courtney and ALL of you for this outpouring of love to Dariya's orphanage! 

We will miss the family cookout and fireworks display at my brothers house today for July 4th. 

As I think of independence I can't help but to think of all the kids here who have no independence.  They remain in these baby houses or institutions because of money.  Adoption is expensive but, when God calls you he always provides.  We have been blessed beyond measure with the the body of Christ surrounding us and donating to bring us here to rescue our daughter.  She will have independence in a few days but, what about the rest of the RR kids at this orphanage (and this is just at THIS orphanage)....

Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.

Sweet "Lorie" who is already 6, she will be institutionalized this year.  Why because she has Cerebral Palsy..



Or what about "Angela" who is cute as a bug and also sports an extra chromosome like Alayna & Dariya.  She is stuck here because of that chromosome.



Or "Jewell", again stranded here because of parental abuse and Cerebral Palsy and don't forget "Noah" he is here too and stuck because of his CP diagnosis.  They have no independence. 



Click HERE to make a donation to any of these sweet children and give them a chance at independence.  If you aren't able to make a donation today please pray for these children, share about Reece's Rainbow and how they are literally saving the lives of children (it costs you nothing but, will save the life of a child). 

When these kids age out of the baby house they will not survive in an institution.  They will be left to lay in cribs all day with no love, no stimulation and no future.

Now that you have stayed with me through my soap box, I will reward you with our sweet girl.


Each day a new style.  She loves to play beauty shop and jabbers the whole time she is "making me beautiful"




Have a safe and happy 4th of July

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: A visit from the birth parents?

When we arrived at the orphanage on Saturday afternoon we were informed by the groupa caregivers that Dariya's birth father (Sasha) had come by to see her just 30 minutes before we arrived.  The caregivers showed him our photo album that we had left for Dariya and told him we were leaving with her soon.  He was very happy that Dariya will have a sister with ds to grow up with. 

We learned that this couple was very young when they had Dariya (only 21 or 22 years old).  The birth mother (sorry don't know her name) has been to visit also but, we couldn't understand how recently (you know our Russian isn't that good!)

Sasha said that he wanted to shake our hands and say thank you.  Tamara (our ever protector) told Sasha that she didn't see the reason for him to come meet us.  She was surprised when we told her that we very much wanted to meet Dariya's family.  The caregivers are going to try to get ahold of him to come and meet us before we leave here.  We would love to be able to get pictures of Dariya's birth parents (even though they are now divorced) and share our email and blog address so they can see her pictures. 

We are so thankful for the blessing of Dariya and for God allowing us to be her parents.  We are very thankful that our first information about her parents abandoning her at the hospital was untrue.   This girl is part of our family, I couldn't love her more if I had given birth to her myself.

We truly are again humbled by this journey.

Sunday morning brought out the kissy monster in Dariya.  Everytime she would walk past us she would lean over and kiss us.
Love you daddy

Thank you God for all the blessings. 

Her favorite game

When we dropped Dariya off in her groupa at the end of our Sunday morning visit we were excited to see all the kids sitting in little chairs in a semi circle around their teacher, Luda.  She was teaching them something about chickens, she had a toy chicken and a book that she was reading to them.  This groupa tries their best with the kids.  But, it in no way is the same as having a family.

Monday July 4th is our last day of our 10 day wait!!!  Tuesday morning our facilitator will come down from the capital city and take us to get Dariya's new birth certificate (with our names listed as the parents) and apply for her passport! 

Please pray that her passport comes back this week, as soon as we have her passport we can pick her up and head back to the capitl for our 2 day embassy appointments then fly home. 
We are enjoying this country but are so ready to be home as a family.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Sunshine Saturday, day in pictures

Beautiful day here, sunny and 75°.  We played a litte inside to avoid the mud then went outside for the rest of our visit and enjoyed the sunshine.
Yogurt snack and giggles with daddy. Does it get much better?


Hello, Aidan we will be home soon!


Vroom, vroom outta my way!



Tamara LOVES Dariya. She comes in even on her days off to see her. 
Here are some things Dariya is doing:  Amazing to see her transform in just 2 weeks with us.
Smothering me in kisses daily, Requesting songs and signing Mister sun, Itsy Bitsy Spider and All the fish without us signing with her.  Saying vroom, vroom for cars and making the car sign instead of beep, beep.  Signing: stop, more, please, eat, ball, bubbles, me, play, tree, children, apple.  Saying: mama, dada, said Alayna "layna" twice.