Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: On the downhill slide

Today is the 6th day of our 10 day wait (but, who is counting) we are excited that we can see the finish line start to appear in the distance.   We might be on mile 15 of the marathon but we will get there soon.  Gotcha day could be end of next week!  It seems like we have been here a long time but, then again it doesn't. 

The sun finally decided to come out today.  Still way to muddy and too many puddles to take Dariya outside.  Hoping it dries up by this afternoon and we can at least stroll her around and get her some vitamin D!

We played in the sports room again and are truly enjoying our time bonding with her. 

Thankful this Thursday for my parents who are taking care of Aidan and Alayna otherwise this trip would not have been possible.  Also, thankful to Courtney Heigele for gathering diapers and raising funds so we can donate to the orphanage.  A huge thanks to Wayne and Jennifer Johnson who are traveling back to this country July 3rd and are bringing the diaper mother load with them on the plane!  The bums of this baby house thank you so much.

She loves flying way up high and signs "more" over and over

I think this is my new favorite pic of her

Can you just put that camera down and give me some more snuggle time?

I told you I meant business, I want my 20 minutes of snuggle and you put me down 30 seconds early!

Will leave you with a little video that is one of our favorites:  Up until this week she hasn't had much interest in the books that we brought with us.  But, today she sat and read them with us, turned the pages (she didn't know how to do that 2 weeks ago) and then took this flip book and started reading all by herself.  Oh this mama's heart was SO happy (you know it's the teacher in me).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Tuesday

Her giggles when daddy chases her are priceless.

Bubble, bubble POP!

The tunnel of love!
Don't you love my creative post title?  Still soggy outside so Tamara let us play again in the sports room.  Dariya has figured out how to give kisses with the kissy sound added now. So cute.  Tamara said Dariya was anticipating us coming and was waiting for us. 

Even though Dariya's groupa caregivers are all very kind and nice to the kids they don't have the time to give each child the attention they need.  Dariya obviously has longed to be hugged and kissed because she spends the first 15 minutes of each visit hugging and kissing me.  If I try to put her down before she is ready she just asks to get right back up again and commences her mommy love fest.  Once she has given me enough love off she goes to play with daddy. 

Yesterday afternoon we were in the hallway playing and another groupa came by who we see outside daily (bummer no RR kids in that group) but, they stopped to play with Jason.
The more he high fived them and tickled them the more tears built up in my eyes.  It sunk in that while I am overjoyed that Dariya is ours and we will be bringing her home in a couple weeks 104 other kids are stranded here, no family, no bouncing on a trampoline or making smores in the backyard, no movie nights, no going to the pool, or long snuggles in mommy and daddy's bed reading books before bedtime. 

It is a very emotional experience for us both.  We are tired everyday not because of the grueling play schedule we have but rather because of the emotional draining of our hearts with these sweet faces that we will leave behind.

Yes, God moved our hearts to bring home Dariya and we wish everyone had that kind of experience and that every orphan worldwide had their own family but, we understand that not everyone is called to adopt.  However, God does call us all to take care of orphans.

James 1:27   Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

How do you take care of orphans?  (I know I am preaching to the choir because you have given of yourselves without holding back to bring us to Ukraine in search of our daugher and without your help we wouldn't be here!)

Pray and seek God's wisdom and discernment for where He is calling you to help!
  • Sponsor a waiting child on RR, or sign up to donate to the child of the month each month
  • Sponsor the angel tree project  - The biggest fundraiser of the year for RR
  • Check out the RR website for how you can become a prayer warrior for a child (it costs you nothing but, will save their life)  Do you know how many people prayed for Dariya to have a family before we heard God's whisper.  Prayer is HUGE!
  • Use your social networks like FB or twitter to get the word out there about RR and this awesome ministry and the waiting children. (costs you nothing, just a little time)
  • Sponsor a dress down for down syndrome day at work and donate the money to Reece's Rainbow. (again costs you nothing)
These are just a few ideas, there are many more.  Please leave us a comment and let us know what great ideas you have to help orphans.
There are 147 million sweet faces in the world with no family to call their own.   Won't you help one today?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Oktoberfest anyone?

Is it just my German heritage or do you think Dariya looks like a little German boy in her lederhosen?  The real crack up is we donated the 12 month overalls and shirt (not to be worn together mind you, I am NOT at all fashionable but, I do know that they don't go together!)  We think they put tights on her due to the fact that we let her take off her socks and shoes the other day.  =)

Playing round and round the garden with daddy
Our sweet friend, Victoria let us borrow her extra umbrella (we love you Victoria!) as the weather here is supposed to rain for a few more days.  But, what do you know as left the apartment it was raining a little bit and a few minutes later it stopped and didn't rain the whole time we visited Dariya.  I think we should take our lucky umbrella everywhere. 

Note we did NOT cause the mark under her eye.  She ran into something before we arrived.

Signing "me" with daddy
Signing "play" (My favorite sign she does, it is so cute!)
Tamara wasn't working today so we had to play in the hallway again.  Fun to spend time with our girl but, truly not much happening in the hallway.

Had some questions about why we have to wait another 5 (hopefully shorter) days after the 10 day wait to take her out of the orphanage. 

On the 10th day the court decree becomes final, then we can apply for her passport.  Until we receive her passport we can't take her away from the orphanage due to their concern for her medical needs. If we took her out we would have no access to medical care either here or in the US because we couldn't travel out of the country without her passport.  So for Dariya's protection we must wait...

If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a message or email us.  I will try my best to answer or find the answer for you.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Rainy Day play

Rain, rain and more rain for our area of the country.  Too bad I didn't bring my travel umbrella that I always take to England with us.  Thankfully, Tamara had pity on us today (I am sure it was because I looked like a drowned rat when we arrived).  We were able to play in their "sports room". 

We had loads of fun and enjoyed our 2 hours tremendously (much better than the walk home in the downpour!)  I look as though I just stepped out of the shower! LOL  Oh well our girl is worth it!

Dariya played hard and was so tired she was laying on the floor ready for a nap when it was time for us to go.  We get to play in this same room this afternoon too!  YAHOO!  Much better than the hallway!

Sports room - each groupa has a 30 minute block of time in here daily

Tickle time in the ballpit...nothing better!

Outta my way daddy!

Played so hard she needed an apple snack.

She has striking blue eyes just like Aidan & Alayna (even has the pretty brushfield spots too)
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Where is that Mr. Sun

It began raining here yesterday afternoon while we were visiting Dariya.  Thankfully, it slowed up enough for us to walk home without getting drentched.  However, we nearly had to swim out of the orphanage.  The front gate was completely flooded.  The sidewalk right outside Dariya's groupa collapsed with all the rain, it looked like a giant sink hole.

This is just one small puddle we had to cross

Dariya was thrilled with daddy's antic of pushing her through the puddles and running around to join her.
It didn't rain this morning but, we know our girl so well that if we let her down to walk outside she would be dreadfully covered in mud and water when we returned her.  So we opted to take a stroller today and wandered around and around and around the grounds for and hour and a half then we couldn't take the circle anymore. 

Dariya is requesting her fingerplay songs (Mr. Sun and All the fish are her favs) so we walked and sang and walked and sang.

Jason said he felt like a Nascar driver who couldn't get off the course.  We have taken to entertaining ourselves by watching cars pass by the orphanage gates, or seeing how many people we can get to smile and say hello to us.  I told you it is groundhog day.

Daddy starting early to train her to be crazy about chips like him
Daddy stepped outside the gate and walked 50 yards to the water, juice, snack stand and boy did we hear BIG cries and real tears come from Dariya, her face even turned red.  She thought daddy was really leaving her.  (*Daddy was pretty chuffed about the tears, she does love him!)  She was very happy to see the juice that daddy had bought her and to try chips!

We went inside and played in the hallway for our last 30 minutes.  When we took her back, Tamara (the caregiver that speaks some English and has been there 33 years, also has been with Dariya since she came to the orphanage at 2 months) asked us what we named her at court yesterday.  We told her Dariya Joelle and she was pleased.  She told one of the other workers too. 

Then she let us know that we had a 10 day wait and about a 5 day paperwork process before we can take her out of there (haha, she knows the process better than us!)  She had a sad look on her face when she said "so about 2 weeks".  Jason asked her if she will miss Dariya and she frowned and said "yes".  Jason asked if she had a computer so we could email her pictures and she was overjoyed!  So thankful for this sweet lady that obviously loves our girl so much.
MMM, she is hooked.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Court and Introducing...

Dariya Joelle Cannon

Court went well, very smoothly.  The prayers were heard and answered and we are praising God for this continued blessing on our journey. 
We began court at noon and by 12:30pm the judge was reading her judgement in favor of the adoption with no break or anything.  As the judge began reading that she was delcaring her Dariya Joelle Cannon I of course started tearing up.  Next thing I know 2 of the people in the courtroom had tears and we were all in search of tissues.   Thankfully we always have our kleenex stash in case of emergency toilet paper need. 

It was very fast, our facilitator was even shocked by how fast it went.  We were expecting to be there at least an hour.  They asked us about Jason's job, our family, our support in raising Dariya (we were able to share about KP and the DSG) ability to care for and provide medical and financial stability to another child.  Then the orphanage inspector asked me how I will handle two little ones with special needs based on my small stature.  LOL I had to explain that my job as a high school principal included breaking up fights and managing teenagers so I said these two little ones are going to be easy.

We missed our morning visit with her so can't wait to get over and squish the newest Cannon.  Oh and we were also blessed with her baby pictures immediately after court.

What's in a name?
Dariya was her given birth name.  We all loved the name and obviously she knows it well so we decided to keep it. 

As Liam's middle name is Jason's middle name, Aidan's middle name was my grandfathers name, and Alayna is the female version of Allan (my father) we wanted Dariya to not only keep some of her cultural background but wanted her to be named after someone in our family too. 

The "Jo" is from Jason's mother's middle name Joyce and the "elle" is from the end of my name, thus Joelle.

We liked the sound of it then looked up the meaning and found that it means God is willing and we knew this was the name for our newest family member.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Oh Mr. Sun!

Today when we arrived for our morning visit we were welcomed with hugs, kisses and a request for the Mr. Sun song.  It is by far her favorite.  This is the first time she has requested any of the songs we have been singing with her.  Here is a little video clip (ignore the strange lady singing along).

Dariya's groupa was playing in their sandbox today and she wanted to join them.  However, it cut our visit short by about 45 minutes because the caregiver took them in early to rinse all the sand off.  We stripped her down to her diaper then the caregiver poured water on her.  She LOVED it and was giggling the whole time. This one is going to be a fish...

Dariya asked for a drink of water from the caregiver (they serve them in china cups) and when she was finished she told her thank you and covered the cups and teapot up with the towel.

We still haven't heard about our interpol clearances yet today, praying that we hear good news this evening.  If we get the clearance and court goes tomorrow as planned this is a loose schedule of what the rest of our trip will look like. 
Unfortunatley, right after court we don't get to go grab our girl, there is a 10 day wait until the court decree becomes final.   A couple regions waive the 10 day wait but, ours has not for any of the other 3 RR families who have been here this year so we expect to wait.

Once the court decree is final our process will look like this:
June 24 - Court at noon, followed by a 10 day wait
July 5- Court decree is final, apply for Dariya's passport (could take 3-10 days), get her new birth certificate and close her bank account out here (donate to the orphanage)
July 11 - Praying that passport is back in 5 days or less 
July 12  - Gotcha Day - take her out of the orphanage forever, travel back to the capital city
July 13 & 14th  - Embassy appointments, Dariya's visa and medical
July 15th (our 10th anniversary) fly home - How about that for an anniversary gift? Although I would take the passport coming in much sooner and us being home before our anniversary too.  LOL 

Prayer requests:
  • Please pray for our interpol clearances to come in today (Thursday).  Not only would it be great not to worry about it but it will save us money in transportation costs getting our facilitator down to our city from the capital city.  If she has the clearance today she can take a bus but if she has to wait until tomorrow morning for the clearance she will have to use a car and driver costing us a lot more.
  • Pray for our words as we go in front of this judge.  Give us the words to speak that will overwhelmingly have this judge say yes without question to this adoption.
  • That all we are doing here is bringing Glory to our Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We have a court date!!!!

We were walking to the orphanage for our afternoon visit with Luda called us with the AWESOME NEWS...we have a court date!!!   Friday the 24th at noon (4am Kansas city time). 

Our interpol clearances are not in yet so keep praying on those as we must have them to have court. 

We are BEYOND excited and thanking God for this blessing.  YAHOO!!!!!

Bringing Dariya home: She said it!

Totally by accident but, I will take it.   Dariya said, "Mommy, beep beep" today.  Go ahead write down the date for her baby book!

We were walking close to the front gate and a car was going by.  She stumbled, fell over and skinned her knees up .  No blood this time but, by her cries you would have thought a bone was sticking out.  She was crying so hard and muttering "mmmm" and then she saw the car and forgot all about her knees and that is when the magical phrase just popped out.  Plain as day!  Oh how I wish we caught that on video.

They had her in one of Alayna's 12 month dresses again, it was my neices before Alayna so now 4 girls have worn it.  LOL
Oh and we are doing nothing to dispel the myth that all kids with ds are happy all the time.  This girl is pretty happy go lucky!  LOL

Enjoying our time with her, but wishing we could take her home and be playing with all 3 kids at the same time. 
This is how she greets us daily. Arms open wide, smiles, giggles and hugs on contact!  Pure joy!!!

We ventured to one of the sandboxes today.  She enjoyed playing in it and only tried to taste it a few times.
Praying that tonight (afternoon in the US) we hear good news from our facilitator about court being this week!  We will update as soon as we hear.  Thank you SO much for all the prayers!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Court update and praise!

We are so thankful for your prayers!  We are thankful to the head judge that allowed us to be reassigned to a new judge (our original judge was not willing to schedule us for court in the next 2 weeks!)  We are praying that we can have court this Friday and that our interpol clearances will be in by then.  We should learn when our court date is tomorrow. 

Please continue to pray this specific request for us.

We are so blessed.  This journey is amazing. 

We had dinner tonight with our friend, Victoria and I shared with her that we know God placed her in our lives just to help us on this journey she is so kind and willing to help us whenever we need anything.

Bringing Dariya home: Swingtime fun

Monday afternoon was 75°, the rain had stopped and the sun had come out (beautiful to us) however, Dariya was dressed in a skirt, top and FLEECE jacket!!  She just wanted me to hold her, as she was so hot and not happy at all.  We took it off for a while but don't want to press our luck with the caregivers, they already don't send us out with hats most of the time because they have learned that she doesn't keep them on long.
Today is another beautiful day.  When we headed to the orphanage it was 60° we full well expected her to be in a snowsuit.  LOL but, to our surprise she was in a cute little dress with no jacket.  YAHOO!  She was much happier too and played lots with daddy. 
Another groupa had left their swings out so we took advantage of them, she LOVED it.
Signing "more"
A couple of updates
Diapers for Dariya donations on the chip in are up to $500 and many diapers have been sent to Courtney.  Thank you everyone who has donated to this cause. 

We learned last night that we have been assigned a judge who is not adoption friendly (meaning she could delay our court date for as long as she wants), so are asking for prayers that tonight's call from our facilitator brings good news that the judge has given us a court date (this week) and that our interpol clearances have come in.  Our process in the past 4 months has gone so smoothly that it was a bit of a shock for us to think that we might be facing a judge who might say no to this adoption.  So please pray for this judge's heart to be open when she hears our case and to grant us this girl who we love.

Will leave you with some Daddy and Dariya fun...Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Here comes the sun...

UPDATE 8pm our time, please be in prayer for our judge, we have been assigned one who is not "adoption friendly" meaning she could delay our court date also our interpol clearances have not come in yet.  We are hoping for good news on Tuesday night (either a court date or a new judge.)

Dariya is in groupa #7 (entry door on the left)
It is much cooler today (thankfully) in the 70's.  But, just as we were heading out it started raining not a lot but, just a steady mist.  As I am writing the sun has come out and my crazy Englishman went to the market and was outside singing, "Here comes the sun..." I am sure our neighbors think we are nuts.

Father's Day - enjoying her first frozen yogurt.  She knows the MORE sign well! 
We had to exchange some money today so headed to our bank across the street from our apartment.  Well, what do you know, they don't exchange money??? What? 

We had to jump on the trolley to downtown and exchange there.  But, while we were there we were able to grab a nice coffee in one of the coffee shops.  The folgers singles leave a little to be desired. 

 We headed back towards home and walked to the orphanage for our morning visit, knowing we would have to stay inside in the hallway to play we took the laptop with us to see if we could entertain Dariya with a little signing time.
Hmm, what is this signing time?
She was interested for about 5 minutes then off to play.  Daddy entertained her with chasing her down the hall and hiding behind the big plants.  One worker walked by and said, "Mama" and patted me, Dariya then said "Papa" which is what they say for daddy over here (the word for uncle is dya dya which sounds like daddy).  The worker laughed and said, "ahh".  Don't let this fool you, she is ALL a mama's girl (but don't tell daddy).

We were also told off, kindly though, for opening the hallway windows to allow a nice cool breeze in.  Of course, I translated her words to mean, "if it isn't 300 degrees in here Dariya will get sick so close the window you silly American".  LOL

When we arrived home from our morning visit the cleaning lady had come and wow was our apartment sparkling clean (even nicer than when we arrived).

Hopefully we will have good news tonight from Luda about our court date, judge and interpol clearances.  Please keep praying for these specifics. 

We thank you SO much for all the messages and comments left, with nothing much to do while we wait for our visits and in the evenings we read and reread all of them.

She is very ticklish..

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Happy Father's Day

Father's Day???  Nobody told me it was Father's day, I didn't get daddy a gift!
Happy Father's Day to you Pop Pop and to Jason!

Oh hugs, that is gift enough?  Love you daddy
We woke up to no internet service today. We realize without our outside connection to the world and especially Aidan & Alayna it gets lonely. We also missed our morning praise music and US news reports via K LOVE or Calvary 88.5 online.  We didn't get service back on until a few minutes before we were to leave for our afternoon visit.

We had been asked yesterday if we would buy a couple rugs for the groupa’s common play area. They take the kids outside until September 1st then they stay inside for their morning and afternoon play times (the times we are visiting) until spring.

We had about a 45 minute visit with Dariya and the older kids from her groupa. We played with bubbles and none of the kids knew exactly what to do with them (we brought some for each child on gotcha day, hope they learn to enjoy them LOL), we asked if we could give the boys peanut butter crackers, wow did they inhale them. Bless them they were so jealous of Dairya’s personal bottle of water. One little boy has taken a liking to Jason and was holding Jason’s hand to go up and down the steps.
Playroom with old carpet

After our playtime we left with two of the caregivers, Tamara (who speaks some English) and Oksana, to go to the market to purchase the rugs.

About 30-45 minutes later we were back at the orphanage, rugs in hand, playroom put together and were able to enjoy another short visit with Dariya before lunch. The groupa workers were so pleased with the rugs and thanked us tremendously for providing this to them. We already had given a $500 donation to the orphanage in with our facilitation fees so we were not required to do this but, we wanted to do something nice for the kids that will be left behind in this groupa and this is what they said they needed the most.

Tamara, Jason and Oksana happy with the new carpet
We are really enjoying our visits with Dariya.  We feel like she is already part of the family.  Since we didn't have internet this afternoon we worked on our speech for court (praying that happens this week).

I took Jason out to his favorite pizza restaurant to celebrate Father's Day, for a large pizza, salads, drinks and ice cream for $10.50 you can't beat it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bringing Dariya home: Water fun on Saturday

Playing peek a boo with daddy

Daddy was making her crack up today!
As if we weren't in enough trouble with letting Dariya splash in the mud puddles the other it is in the high 80's here we couldn't resist allowing her to play in water with some rubber ducks, turtles and boats.  Oh my the girl had FUN!  

At first she daintly put her hands in and pushed the toys around, she took out the turtle and I signed and said turtle and she signed turtle right back.   It didn't take too long for her to start washing her arms, then her hair, then a little splash well you know how it went after that.... we decided it best that we strip her down to her diaper and let her go for it.  Bless her heart she was trying to crawl in the tub!  I think this girl is gonna love the bath and swimming! 

They might request that we have court tomorrow just to get us out of here LOL!  She is a dirty, sweaty mess when we take her in everyday.
LOVIN' the water
Dad, I think we are busted!
We took the last few things that we had brought for Dariya to wear on our journey home.  As we guessed they were too small so we donated them to the orphanage as well.  So after our visit we headed home for lunch and then jumped on the trolley bus downtown to the city center to go to the market.  We found her a dress and some jammies and 3 pairs of shoes (some for Alayna too).