Thursday, May 31, 2012

Another Good Day

Here is our new apartment.   It is very nicely decorated.  This is how we spent our morning while it rained.
When it looked like the rain would not let up, we went out for groceries.  First thing we saw in the open market was an older man changing his pants.  We quickly turned our eyes and headed in the opposite direction.  We bought things like tomatoes, strawberries, bread, and eggs-- each from a different vendor.
Here is Rachel in the kitchen finishing up the dishes.
Around 3pm we headed out to the baby house.  Little did we know that we got on Bus 110 B when we should have gotten on 110 A.  We did not recognize the area where the bus was driving and had resolved to riding the bus back to our orginal stop when all of a sudden we recognized where we were.  We quickly got off and made it to the baby house only 20 minutes late.

Our Big Boy was happy to see us.
Here he is getting dressed.
Little One smiled when he saw us.  It was a wonderful feeling.
In just a few days we see him blossoming.  He is shaking rattles, turning over, trying to stand, and making all sorts of noises as if he is trying to communicate with us.
Our Big Boy likes candy aferall.  We put a few Skittles in this container and he asks us to open it so he can get them out.  He sucks on them for a long time. 
The visit went well.  It was hard to say goodbye. 
This is the bus stop we wait at near the baby house.  Yesterday a cute baby kitten was sleeping on the ground right where Rachel's feet are.

Tomorrow is Kid's Day.  We are told to expect some festivity at the baby house.  We are hoping to see more of the children and possibly a children's program.  We'll let you know.

P.S.  Another highlight of the day was John hearing from all the kids via email after writing all of them last night.  :)

Day 9 In The Country

Right outside the baby house gate.
This is the door we walk in to visit the children.  The first time we brought Sasha and our missionary friend, they let all of us visit the children.  The next time we brought Sasha they did not.  Only family.  I was sort of expecting this in the back of my mind so it wasn't a complete surprise.  In fact, I am impressed that they want to protect the children this much.  Nothing wrong with that.
Our Big Boy loves to play.  He was all smiles wearing these sun glasses. 
I forgot to mention that both boys were not in diapers yesterday.   I asked what size our Litle One wears and they told us a size 4!  Wow!  I bought size 3 for at home.  Please, whoever is reading back home, would you mind picking us up a size 4 package of diapers by the time we come home?
Here is Sasha in our old apartment drinking his first Coca-Cola float.  He enjoyed it very much.  But afterwards he got under the covers to warm up. :)
Yesterday we moved to a bigger apartment.  It is nicer in many ways, but the other apartment had its good characteristics too.  We gave up a better view and location, and much cleaner and nicer smelling stairwell in our old apartment, for a bigger, nicer apartment, with quicker internet, a comfier bed, and constant hot water.  The stairwell is awful though.  We joke by taking a deep breath before opening our front door and then running down before having to take another breath.  It is easy to do on the way out if you are not the one locking the door, but coming up I can't do it.  Sasha understands and laughs too.
Here is John and Sasha carrying groceries back to our apartment.  I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches served with potatoes and salad from the deli.  It was nice to cook at home and eat yet another sit down dinner with Sasha who has not experienced many family sit down dinners.

I have alot to share about Sasha, so stay tuned.

Thanks for your prayers and words of encouragement.  They bless us very much.  John's asthma is pretty bad here to the point that it makes me worry.  But then again, I tend to worry about everything.  Between the smoke, pollution, pollen, and humidity he is constantly wheezing.  Thankful for the inhaler he has and his ability to chill.  Don't worry, he will okay, but your prayers that we hear of a courtdate soon so that he can go home and breath easier are much appreciated.

We woke up to rain this morning and it has been thundering off and on so we skipped the morning visit.  We already did one trip in the pouring rain and it was no fun!  We will go a little early to our afternoon visit to make up.  Can't wait!  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Morning Visit

This morning we went to the open market in search of plastic flip flops.  I figured that they would be easier to find than plastic shoe covers so early in the morning. . .  and perhaps cheaper.  I was wrong about both, but we finally found them and were on a bus headed to the baby house.
Here is a picture of the baby house as we walk in the gate.  It is very well maintained compared to some of the other orphanages we have seen.  We changed into our new shoes before heading upstairs to get the boys.
It was great to see the boys again.  Our hearts yearn to be with them.
Our Little One fell asleep in John's lap after about 1/2 hour.  I was able to transfer him to my arms where he slept for another 45 minutes.  It was heaven.
Just as we walked in to get our Big Boy he was putting on his shoes.  He seemed thrilled to see us.  That changed as soon as he saw that we were going into the therapy room to play instead of outside.  Needless to say he was a bit rambunctious. 
He threw the game pieces down and had to help pick them up.  It was either that or sit in my lap.  It was nice to see what he chose. 
After we played in the ball pit for awhile, John took our Big Boy outside to play.  There is not anything he cannot do!  Some older boys who had not seen him before asked for our Big Boy to show them his hands.  He did proudly, they said cool, and proceeded to play with our Big Boy.  

When it was time to take the boys back to their groupa, I learned that it was time for our Little One to eat.  I saw them put him in a chair at the table where they began to feed him a very good sized portion of kasha.  Even with me right there, they just shoveled it in.  That will change soon.  I gave him lots of kisses and said good bye.

Rachel and I met up with John and Big Boy just in time to see the groupa coming back in for lunch.  Big Boy was okay with us leaving today because he knew he would see us again.

We can't wait!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It Was An Awesome Day

Today we took the marshootka (bus) to the baby house. Our friend came with us to show us the right buses to get on there and back. My arms got quite the workout holding onto the upper bar while the bus crazily made turns. Just in case you are wondering, there is no maximum capacity on the bus. They just let people continue to squeeze in until your armpit is in someone elses face and vice versa.   "How do they say it?  Fooh!"

We got to the baby house and were given "baheely" which are shoe covers.  Our missionary friend already knew that they would do that so he brought a pair of house slippers to change into.

We went into the playroom to wait for them to bring our boys.

Immediately our big boy recognized us and couldn't wait to see what we brought in the bag to play with.
Since we were a little early, one of the caretakers brought in his snack for us to feed him.  It was warm milk and a sweet roll.  John had the pleasure of helping our big boy drink his warm milk.  Big Boy kept getting up to come over to us to see what we were doing.  John would take his roll out of his hand and set it back on the table as he told him to eat at the table.  Big Boy is very smart, and when he was nearly finished and had run away with his roll in his hand yet again and saw John coming to take him back to the table, Big Boy quickly shoved the rest of the roll in his mouth to show that he was done.
Little One is so content.  He allowed me to hold and snuggle him as long as I wanted.
He loved Rachel snuggling with him too.
Little One is precious.  At this time he has very little core strength but we can already see that he is trying to sit up more.  When I tried to get him to bear some weight on his legs he could not at first.  By the end of our visit today he was kicking and showing strength.   He is so sweet, loving, and cuddly that all we wanted to do was snuggle with him.  He was content doing this but also wanted to make eye contact and play with my necklace.  He drools a lot and loves to suck on his fingers.  If he sees a toy, he always reaches for it.  Note to self: Buy teething ring, pacifier, and rattle. :)
By the end of our visit today I actually heard Little One coo.  It was priceless.
Big Boy already adores his Daddy.
Safe in Mama's arms.
Big Boy giggles more than any boy on the planet.  Seriously, he is the happiest boy on earth!  Did I mention that he has a mischievous bone too?  He loves to be a little feisty in a playful way, but when our tone becomes serious he listens very well.
Rachel and Big Boy bonding.
Gosh, I love this boy.
He is very smart.  He took all these rings off and put them back on.  He did a pretty good job if you ask me.
In an attempt to calm our Big Boy down, John put him on his shoulders so he had nowhere to run.  Surprisingly, it worked.
Our Big Boy loved the walk on Daddy's shoulders back to his groupa. 
He melts my heart in this picture-- so proud looking.
When the caretaker went to take our Big Boy back, he began to cry.  It broke our hearts.  I am so thankful that they told him we would be back.  I kissed him and whispered into his ear that I love him.  He smiled as they got him to blow kisses to us as we left.
Dropping off our Little One was much easier as far as crying goes.  I was asked to take him over to the big playpen where 5 or 6 other very small children from his groupa were.  The playpen had a wood bottom with a blanket laid over the top.  It was so hard to leave our little boy there.
It was so hard seeing all the other babies there too.  We wanted to pick each of them up to give them a big hug, but instead I made a few of them cry with my big smile and American "hello".
I felt bad.  Maybe tomorrow might be better.

Since we hardly spent any money on breakfast or lunch today, we went back to the Chinese restaurant for dinner.  Once again, it was very good (and only $25 for drinks, dinner, and tip).
Tomorrow we are supposed to change apartments.   I hope so.
Our documents will be in Kiev tomorrow.  Please pray that things continue on the pace they are on.  As things stand right now, we could be having court mid next week.  That would be awesome!

Blessings to you all and hope you are having a great week!

He's Big

Little One is really not so little in size.  The diapers I bought ahead of time probably will not fit.  The clothes I set aside for him back are too small.  He is probably closer to 18 month than 9-12 month.  Who knew?  And what a wonderful problem to have so don't think I am complaining. I even joke that our big boy (N) is smaller than little one (O). 
We didn't get to see the boys a second time yesterday and we didn't know the bus number to go visit this morning.  And boy, have we missed them!  But we will be seeing them this afternoon!  I can't wait.

As for our visitor-- Sasha is here!  Other than a lower eylid injury from a rock flying up when he was bicycling, he looks great. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hearts Full!

It's like the city knew!  They shot off fireworks last night-- a bit early-- to celebrate us meeting the boys today!
After meeting with the medical director, we were taken to the playroom where they had our two boys waiting for us.  As soon as I laid my eyes on them, my heart soared.
They are perfect!  More than perfect!  Absolutely beautiful. . . handsome. . . adorable.

The caretaker holding our baby set him on the rug on the floor motioning for me to come support him while he practiced sitting.  Instead I scooped him up!
What a chunk!  20 pounds of soft, chubby love to squeeze and hold and love on. He is so full of life too!
Here is John holding our little guy.
And here is our big boy!  Oh my is he a little munchkin.  He has the cutest voice ever and is very bright, inquisitive, and not afraid to be hands on with whatever you give him.  I wanted to eat him up!
Back to little chub-o-love, he has a smile that lights up the room.
We both couldn't get enough of the boys.
I could not believe how calm and patient little one is.  He would let us hold him however and he was content.  At 11 months he can't sit up on his own yet and has no teeth.  But he can eat, and smile, hold toys, and laugh!  Oh that laugh-- it makes me smile just thinking about it.
Our big guy enjoyed the little activity pack we brought.  It had stickers, markers, and a coloring book.
He didn't hesitate picking up a marker with his left hand and scribbling all over the coloring book.  He also loved playing with the lego blocks we brought.

Our big guy is very active and loves to play.  John and I can already tell that he is going to be great with Dennis since they are so much alike!
He knew right where the toys were.
Rachel is a great big sister.  Very helpful. :)

Our hearts are full.  We can't wait for these two precious boys to be Reeds!

P.S.  Guess who is coming tonight? :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Too Excited to Sleep

Today is the day.  In just a few hours we will be looking into the eyes of our two little boys.  Thank you sweet Jesus for blessing us with this day.

Last night I went to bed with a horrible headache.  Even Tylenol would not help it.   I decided to pray without ceasing until it stopped and it did as I drifted off to sleep.  I am so thankful.

We are emailing with the kids many times a day.  It makes our being away just a little bit easier.  Thanks to my Mom, my Aunt, and the friends we have made through church for being their for our kids.  I'm sure it is not always easy.  One bit of advice-- remember they are kids!  :)

I brought John's asthma medicine with us-- just in case.  He rarely needs it, but I didn't want to be caught without it.  Unfortunately when he bent over, it sprayed all out into his pocket.  With the bad air quality and higher humidity, he was in need of a puff.  Our friend Forrest took us to an azteka which is a pharmacy where John was able to buy a new inhaler for $2.  How cool is that?  Our co-pay alone is way more than that.

As I sit here thinking of things to share, I wonder what I should and should not leave out.

Here are a few more tidbits about our journey.

~ Our little boy we are meeting today has or had a clogged tear duct.  We thought it was funny that it was mentioned in his file.

~ Our sink literally burps and then gurgles every hour.  Nice.

~ We got the hot water figured out, sort off.  Thankfully we are moving to a bigger apartment today where I can hopefully start cooking.  Rachel is asking for homemade food. 

~ We will hopefully be meeting up with another missionary family while we are here.

~ Either the food keeps getting better and better here or I am not afraid to venture out and try new things as much as I used to be.  Thankfully we are doing a lot of walking.

Church in a Chinese Restaurant

Last night we met up with the Ferdons. They are a missionary family from America living right down the street from where we are staying.  Forrest, the Dad took us on a walking tour of the city center before we headed back to their apartment for coffee and sweets.  His wife Darcy and their three children were there.  All of them adopted from Ukraine.
They invited us to church in the morning.

At 9:30 in the morning we walked to Hotel Lugansk where the church meets on the 7th floor in a Chinese restaurant.
Here is Rachel waiting for church to begin.  It was wonderful to attend church for the first time in Ukraine.  The service was translated for us.  

Matthew 11:29-30

 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

 The message spoke to me today.  We could not do this without God, but with Him we are able because His burden is light.

The service lasted 2 hours which is customary here.  Afterwards, we stayed for lunch.
Here we are with the Ferdon family having Chines food in Ukraine.  It was not only affordable but very good too.  I think we will be back sometime during our stay. :)

After lunch I wanted to head out to the open market to buy a few basic necessities like dish soap, clothes soap, and a broom.  It was a scavenger hunt in the open market, but it was fun.  John also bought a pair of flip flops from a Paskistani gentleman who he struck up a conversation with. His other pair broke back in Kiev.  Anyway, the guy from Pakistan asked us what was the first thing we thought of when we hear Pakistan.  He was certain that we would think terrorist.  I thought middle east.  How do you answer such a statement?  I simply said that I know there are good and bad people from everywhere and so I don't automatically assume one whole country is bad.  I wondered why he was living here and selling shoes rather than living in his home country.  Turns out, he married a Ukrainian.
Here is John walking back to our apartment with Rachel following.
As soon as we got home, I swept the floor and it made all the difference.  I don't know about you,but I can't stand a dirty floor and this apartment has nothing as far as cleaning supplies, not even a sponge (which I brought from home) or dish soap.  After the floor was swept and the dishes were done by Rachel, the apartment felt more like home.  Right now, John took Rachel out to the park where American music is blasting.  When they come back in two hours, we will head out for our evening grocery trip.

Tomorrow is the big day!  We will get to meet our boys!  We are very excited to say the least.  We found out at our SDA appointment that they have both been in the baby house since birth.  God willing, that is about to change!

P.S.  If you have questions, please feel free to ask.