Every 18 seconds, a child becomes an orphan. Lets not forget about them.

The children who are available for adoption in Ukraine are not allowed to be photographed and "published" for view due to current Ukrainian laws. This is meant to protect the children and eliminate the chances of unethical or illegal adoptions . That is why in my slide show you will not see any full view faces of the children from the desky dom.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

This marks the end of our adoption blog. I have enjoyed sharing our experiences with all of you, and hope that I was able to help or at least entertain a majority of you.

The original purpose of this blog was to keep the family in touch while we were in Ukraine. It turned into something much more than that, and I have all of you to thank. I honestly never would have thought my life would be interesting enough to attract so many people!! LOL!

The blog managed to transform into something more, which has been a blessing in disguise. I have made many new friends, I have helped a few other adoptive parents keep their faith in the system, and I know for a fact I inspired a few out there to actually consider adoption for their own families. This alone has made every last second of this blog worth it.

If you are currently in the process, be patient...it will be a long and grueling wait, but in the end none of it matters. And then for those of who have just stumbled across this blog, keep adoption in your heart. Domestic or international, who cares - just give a child a chance for a family. I have read and seen many stories and about couples who have struggled and suffered with infertility. You hear about the years and years of pain that has been bestowed upon them and my hearts breaks. It saddens me because I know that if they could just open their heart, they would see that it is not a barricade to becoming a parent, just a detour. God has created two paths for us to become parents, some are just too scared to try the path less traveled. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying this in a negative way, I just hope that our family and Olena have made, at least just one person, give that second road a chance, regardless of the reason. Adoption shouldn't just be a last resort....it should be another choice you have as a parent!

Most of you know that Olena was adopted by choice. At this time I am not considered infertile and Jason and I have not tried to conceive yet. The time will come that we will attempt it. If it happens, of course it is a blessing. If it doesn't....I have no shame -No shame as a woman, No shame as a wife - there are way too many orphans in this world to worry about such nonsense!

Also if you are reading this blog for the first time and if you have any adoption questions, please feel free to email me. I will do my best to help you in any way I can.

Thank you everyone and God Bless.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Final thoughts

Well this is it. This will be my last post. I honestly am having a really hard time trying to decide what to write so I figured short and sweet was the way to go.

This last year has been rewarding yet very tough. The adoption process was cake walk comparing to learning how to become a mother! This was by far one of the most difficult things that I have had to overcome in my life. The ability to understand, have patience for and really appreciate a child takes strong emotional and physical will. Yet all of the hard work is paid in full once you see that beautiful smile, or hear that sweet giggle. Being a parent is a miracle regardless of how it happens.

I have spent the last few weeks thinking about Ukraine and the other kids in the groupa. It brings so many feelings back. I am happy to say, that Jason and I have decided to return! It is nothing that is going to happen any time real soon, but within the next 3-4 years we will like to return and adopt a sibling set. Olena will be old enough to understand and much easier to travel with. Now some of you might be thinking that is a long "down time" between children, but our other goal is to have a baby too....before returning to Ukraine! Our 5 year timeline goal.

2009 get pregnant
2010 move
2011 start adoption process
2012 hopefully travel to Ukraine.

Ideal for me would be a sibling set with one being older than Olena and one being between Olena and the "baby", or even a set of twins would be awesome! but as well all know Ukraine is constantly changing, so who knows how it will work at that time! Only time will tell. But we have a reachable goal in mind and something to look forward to so I am pretty excited.

Again, I hope were all able to take something away from this blog, whether it be encouragement, hope or even just "entertainment". I have enjoyed having someone listen, and someone to vent to. Good luck and God Bless everyone in their journey of life!

20 Things you may not know...

Thought this might be fun, and maybe even helpful to some of you!!

1. I call Olena - Lana. Her name is pronounced OLANA so Lana seems so much easier :) I just don't like to write Lena because then it looks like LEna. Which I am not really too fond of!

2. Yes, my daughter does say the occasional swear word! Mommy and daddy sometimes have a potty mouth and our little angel has picked up a few naughty words. Hopefully she thinks an ASS is a donkey!

3. I have wanted to duck tape my daughter to the wall a few times, especially these past few weeks!

4. A bit too often, if Olena gets up before 730am, I have her sit on my bed and watch cartoons because I want to lay there under the covers for just a little bit longer.

5. Since becoming a mother, I don't think I have ever left this house without forgetting at least one thing!

6. I have been late to work at least 3 times a week since becoming a mother! Thankfully I have the best bosses in the world!

7. I sometimes doubt my ability to be good mother.

8. I think my baby is the cutest baby in the world :)

9. I have dreams of Olena being famous - she just fits the part so well!

10. I always forget she is adopted.

11. I never like washing her hair. She makes such a big fuss and I always end up getting wet and listening to her scream at me. It usually ends with me just dumping water over her head and both of us getting mad at each other.

12. I have picked up something off my floor and have fed it to her! OMG!!!

13. She has some nervous habits that drive me CRAZY!

14. I love this little girl, more than anything in this world.

15. I will always to thankful to Ukraine.

16. I always include Olga and Sergei (Lana's birth parents) and the groupa in my nightly prayers.

17. I wish I could locate Olena's brother - I have tried and have been unsuccessful.

18. One of the biggest accomplishments I have achieved this year is overcoming my fears and having the birth family search done.

19. Olena likes to eat dog biscuits and cat treats

20. Last but not least...I will miss this blog!!
Looking pretty for the Christmas party

Lana with her Dadu on his 50th birthday! Can you believe my dad is only 50! I tease him he's old but look at him...pretty handsome.

mommy being brave and giving Lana a RED sucker BEFORE the Christmas party!

Daddy and Lana playing b ball. Grampy got her the new hoop. She loves it.

Yelling at mommy while she tries to take a picture.

We were leaving cookies, milk, and reindeer food for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Baby it's cold outside....

It snowed the week before Christmas, I opened the door to let the dogs out and showed Olena the snow.

me: "Lana, do you want to go outside and play in the snow?"
O: (with a look of digust on her face) "bbrrr, baby its cold outside, NO!"

I laughed my butt off. Then I bundled her up and made her go outside anyway. And as you will see in the following pictures. She was not very happy with my decision, and after getting upset about me trying to get her to play in the knee high snow, she insisted that her and Mugsy sit in the hatch of my truck. Guess she is not much of a snow bunny!

Olena meets Santa

For our first Family Day celebration we decided to go and meet Santa! We waited 2.5 hours, which seems crazy, but it was well worth it. She LOVED Santa! She talked his ear off and of course won him over. He kept saying how precious she was. Jason and I really thought that she would have a screaming fit, but much to our surprise it was just the opposite, and once it was over all she talked about was Santa bringing her "BIG toys!" - her words exactly. Christmas this year was definitely a lot more fun and interesting. I couldn't have asked for a better Holiday.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A year ago today...

December 17th, 2007 at 8:30pm - we walked through the Customs doors at Detroit Metro Airport as a family of 3. It was one of the proudest and happiest moments of my life. The little girl we have grown to know and love was finally being introduced our life.... her new life. We came through those doors expecting to see only our parents and by surprise we were greeted by many many family and friends. It was so overwhelming and all I could do was cry. I was completely exhausted, we hadn't slept a wink in about 20 hours, we had just listened to our new darling angel cry and throw fits for the last 14 hours, we were all sick, and the emotions were beyond explanation.

Being home and in our house we so great. My bed NEVER felt so comfortable, my house never looked so clean (thanks to my momma, and Rickie), the house was decorated for Christmas, and the nursery was complete....everything was perfect!! It wasn't all sugar plums and candy canes though. The next 2-3 weeks were some of the hardest times this year. It was a huge adjustment for everyone. On top of that, we were all sick and being the week of Christmas, it was a whirlwind of chaos with family and friends visiting. She managed pretty good considering but there were many many sleepless nights, and many days of tears - for all of us.

None-the-less, I would never change a thing. This adoption was the best thing I have ever done and regardless of how rocky the road was to get here, it was worth every bit of pain. It's not much to ask, considering the little girl I was given in return.

Well this was suppose to be my last post, however, I am currently working on the "grand finale" and it is not complete yet. So I have decided to post a few more times throughout Christmas, and sometime before the New Year I will bring it to an end! I have decided to create a new blog that I will keep private for family and friends to view. I of course want to keep in touch and I know everyone enjoys reading the follow ups and see the new pictures so hopefully this will still enable you to do so without compromising my family's privacy.

Here are a few pictures from out Family Day!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Our skinny xmas tree!

Tea time with Teddy

Bundled up, helping daddy decorate the house with lights.

One of the few times she has looked precious this week.

This look more like what I have seen this week!!

The finals days

Not only have things been unbelievably busy in this house hold, our darling daughter has decided to make a complete fool out of me the last week and a half. Remember my last post when I was bragging about my perfect little obedient angel?? Well she is now a thing of the past! One day last week she woke up from her nap on the wrong side of the bed and has not been right since. NO is practically every other word out of her mouth, she is a total sass!, she is back to the screaming fits and jumping up and down when she doesn't get her way the second she wants it, it is a fight to get her to eat anything, and bed time has become a 30 minute fiasco! Drama Queen about sums it up! and it is driving me bonkers. Why now? why right at the Holidays when we have things to do and people to see?? though it doesn't seem like it, I am managing to turn things around slowly but surely. We had a really good day yesterday and today, things were great too...until nap. Which she refused to take even though she was exhausted.
I was able to get her down and asleep by 8:30 tonight, so now I pray! Jason wasn't here to tuck her in and that is something she has trouble cooping with, so it didn't go so smoothly. But I called him and had him say goodnight on the speaker phone and it made her feel a little better. She is definitely a daddy's girl at times :)
One positive note is that we are making great progress with potty training. This will be her second week and she has done really well. She still won't go on her own, we have to tell her to go, but she will actually hold it now. Whereas before she would just free flow regardless of where she was and what she was doing! If we don't catch the pee pee wiggle though, she will end up having an accident. I am happy and as long as we are moving forward I am satisfied.
She is extremely excited about Christmas. She understands everything that is going on. She is well aware of who Santa is and what his job is...to bring "BIG toys" as she would say. When we are out and about she greets everyone and says "ho ho ho mirrory ismas" and her new tune of choice is Jingle Bells. We are going to have a lot of fun this year and I am so excited about seeing her face Christmas morning!
Well looking back to last year at this time, we were in Kiev. We left Mykolayiv with Olena on the night of December 12. I still remember that night like it was yesterday and I still get that feeling of sadness in the pit of my stomach when I think about it. Believe it or not, I felt so bad leaving there and taking her with me. I was so happy to finally leave with her in my arms, but it just didn't seem fair. My heart stills aches just thinking about the rest of them who are still there. I will sometimes try to imagine what some of the others might be like if there were in Olena's shoes, and sadly I have looked at it from the other side too. What would Olena be like if she was still there?? The baby house was awesome and they did the best with what they had and these girls were well taken care of. Yet, it just isn't enough. Looking at the changes that she has made over this past year is remarkable. Today I looked at her while she was laughing...it is hard to explain, but when she laughs, you can't help but to be in awe because her laughter is filled with so much pure joy. You just know that this little girl, at this exact moment couldn't be any happier and that makes me feel so good.
Anyhow, we left for Kiev on the night of December 12 around 9:30 at night. We took pictures, said our goodbyes and tucked each one in for the night, kissing them on the forehead. We decided to drive by car which was a great idea. It took us about 6 hours. We were in a very comfortable car, and Olena did sleep a majority of the way. The "rest stops" were interesting enough and made the whole trip worth it. Along the highway people set up "market booths" and they would sell things like coffee, pop, water, snacks, warm food sometimes, and then back behind the booth they would have a bucket for those who had to go to the bathroom! I don't know way it amused me so much but I thought that was so cool. Well, except the bathrooms. I did opt for another option, but stopping at a hotel and using there "hole in the ground". It was actually a very very nice bathroom. It was all teal ceramic with gold fixings, and yes it was a "hole" but not in the ground. It was a real ceramic hole toilet, complete with grips for where you put your feet so you don't slip and it flush and rinsed with water. I didn't take my camera and I was bummed, but I wasn't about to ask the guys if I could go back in to take pictures, they would have thought I was crazy!!
We got to Kiev about 3 am in the morning. We stayed in a huge apartment right down town. The first night was pretty rough. Jason and I did not sleep much at all during the drive, and once we were in the apartment Olena was pretty nervous and had a lot of trouble sleeping. We managed to get a few hours then it was off to finalize the paper work at the embassy and to get her medical physical done. The day went pretty smooth. We got to see Tonya and Lyra for a few minutes, they were leaving later that day to head home.
It took us 2 days to get everything done, and we were scheduled to fly out 3 days later on the 17th. We said our good byes to Gene, and cried at the idea of leaving our new friend. And we finished off our time just getting to know each other as a family. We walked around the city, went shopping at the market for gifts for the family, went out to eat, and we even met up with Pam, Brian, and Angelina and had a celebration dinner. We found this very nice Italian restaurant right near the SDA, we had very very SLOW service, but the food was fabulous. We had ordered the girls both a bowl of mashed potatoes and they were the last to get their food, which came over 45 minutes after we ordered it. They were noisy, and screamed quite a bit, fluffing the nerves of a few guests, but all in all it was a good moment and now a great memory. Oh and Jason and I finally got that steak we were dying for. There was a Potato House across the street from our apartment and we both got a Tbone steak and it was the best steak I ever had! If you are in Kiev this restaurant is awesome! and not just for the steak. We ate there 3 times and everything we had was excellent.
Sitting here remembering everything brings a smile to my face. Those last 5 days - or should I say those FIRST 5 days as a family, together, was great. Waking up to that smiling face, bathing her myself, brushing her hair, and tucking her in at night. We experienced alot of our "first moments" those 5 days and they are some of the most previous memories of Ukriane that I have.


back when my baby would polish off a meal!

"first nap" with mommy and daddy

"woowho" life outside the desky dom is sweet!

Daddy and Olena checking things out!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Court was over, and we had about 2 weeks left. We didn't really have much to do but just hang out so we decided to do some site seeing. We couldn't take Olena out of the orphange, so we just filled our days with visiting her, going to the zoo, shopping, and just enjoying our last days. We had a good time - here are few pictures from 12/2 and 12/3/2006.

Jason and I showed up to visit Olena and Brian and Pam were not there yet, we thought Angelina was so cute with her milk mustash and little spike we took a picture for them to see we so that they wouldn't miss it.

Jason and Gene had just gotten there haircut...how handsome!

My chucky monkey!

This was taken on 12/1 but theses chunky little cheeks just melts my heart! They are all so darn cute.

Entertainment anyone? How about going to the Disco/strip club/bowling alley! Dang why didn't we know about this when we all went bowling??

What do you think?? she said it was "too itchy"

Her buddy, Mugsy!

My little book worm. She constantly has her nose in a book.

so much fun taking ornaments off of mommy's tree.

Gotcha Day....a fews days late!

Sorry for the tardiness of my post. As many of you know, we just celebrated the 1 year anniversary since become the legal parents of Olena. A day we call "Adoption Day". Granted it is a day that we will NEVER forget, it is not the day we felt like we were her parents. Perhaps the legal end of it didn't really matter much to me. I knew I was her momma from the second I laid eyes on her. I just look at court like another hoop to jump in the legal process monotony.

My true moment of happiness and total relief was December 17 - the day I walked through those immigration doors at the Detroit airport. That is the day that I knew we were going to be ok. We were safe, and we were home! We were finally going to start living like a family.

Anyhow, we did not celebrate in any way. Just a normal ole' day with the exception that daddy stayed home from work and spent the day with Olena. We have been doing to winter cleaning around the house, which has been great. I have been able to get my pack rat of a husband to actually get rid of some things, and I must say it is looking good. We have a lot of storage space in our basement and we seem to have taken advantage of that and have managed to collect way too much junk. I was also able to reorganize many of the boxes I had. The Christmas stuff was all a mess. I guess last year in January I was pretty tired, because I just crammed everything into a bunch of boxes and bags. It was pretty scary, but I went through it all and was able to condense everything into 2 big totes. (When I pulled it out, there were the 2 big totes, 2 regular size totes, and 4 cardboard boxes and a garbage bag full of garland.) and I did not get rid of anything!! I feel very accomplished.

To bring you up to date with Olena, she is doing remarkable!! You all know I praise Tonya for all of her wise wisdom and because of that we have been enjoying a marvelous, happy toddler around here lately. No fits, the whining has improved greatly, she comes on the first call, she goes to bed without issue, she says please and thank you regularly, "may I" is standard practice, and she is just all around silly and happy! I couldn't be happier myself. Don't get me wrong, I still have to be on the ball every day. I am constantly reminding her to pick up her toys, be nice to the dogs and cats, don't swing from mommy's ceiling fan...lol! no, but honestly, every day we are still teaching her, but she listens and acts without complaint (98% of the time), and that is what I love! She is content with doing as I say and she takes pride in herself and the stuff that she does. Jason and I went through our home videos today and get ready for the holidays and I watched one tape with Olena throwing one of her infamous fits. I laughed because I had forgotten about those, believe it or not. She would throw herself on the floor, scream her head off, and scoot herself across the floor with her feet - just plain ridiculous! I cannot believe how bad she was. I laugh now, because I know she would NEVER consider doing that again! Her behavior and emotional state of mind is definitely something that has made a huge improvement since bringing her home.

Jason and I have been very blessed this past year and we are going into the Holiday season with a new love and warmth in our hearts. We have a lot to be thankful for, and I hope you all do as well.

Enjoy some new picture from this week.

Olena and her peeps! We all had to decorate the xmas tree!
look at her eyes in this pic. I am still amazed to this day just how big and beautiful they are!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My baby, 1 year ago.

I don't have much time to post, but I went through my albums and these pictures were taken last year on the 25th and 26th of November. 1 year ago today! During this time, not too much was happening. We got through some major issues we encounter with our Judge and a few other road blocks but at this point we were just waiting for a court date so that we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We were into the trip 2 weeks and still had 3 to go. O was on her best behavior as you can see from the picture above (haha) and mommy and daddy were loosing thier minds! ahh the memories!