Friday, October 29, 2010

Gotcha Day!!

The day that we have been waiting for for almost 2 years has finally come (and gone.... hehe) We took Liza out of the orphanage FOREVER on October 27, exactly a month after we arrived in her country. We are so happy to have her with us and she acts like she has known this moment was coming and she's been anticipating it just as much.

All decked out in her going away outfit. Didn't I tell you? Sweet and Sassy!

About to run out of those orphanage gates FOREVER!
Almost there!
Paka Paka Baby House!
I will be forever grateful to Andrea G for taking these pics for us! We ran so hard those last two days in region that Rick and Greg Summers weren't even at the orphanage when we walked out with the girls - they were over at our apartments getting cars packed so we could rush to a bigger city and get passports and then literally RUN to a train to get back to K... the City That Shall Remain Nameless.

Someone really liked going in the machina (car) to the City of the Passports and Train. Check out these faces! She is so darn cute!

"Hmm? Something good is happening!"

This is how excited she got whenever our driver would get back in the car after stopping. She knew he made the car go and she loved it when the car would go! It was so precious and funny :)

Possibly getting a little sleepy, but NO sleep was happeing during that machina ride!
Worn out after the most exciting day in her life! Yes, her eyes are open. Yes it's kinda creepy.. in a cute kinda way.. LOL

We are beyond excited to finally have her with us! I keep looking at her and kissing and hugging her and trying to believe that this is the little girl from my dream. The one whose picture has been in my kitchen for a year and a half. I know it's her - but it's just so surreal to actually have her in my armss and know she is going home with us. She is so precious, spunky, funny, tough, and just so many other wonderful things wrapped into one sweet, beautiful little girl. We already love her so much. I can't stop thanking God for bringing us through every hurdle to the realization of holding His Promised Victory in my arms.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Girls And Shoes

You know girls just love their shoes, right? Well, Miss Liza is no exception to that rule. Here's proof.

We brought these little pink converse, that I got at a yardsale for .25 cents, for her to wear with her less dressy outfits. We actually brought a cute pair of Maryjanes for her Gotcha day outfit, but they were too small. There's a story about those I'll share at the end.

She sure is interested in what is going on her feet isn't she? :)

 Now, she's helping. Guess I wasn't doing it right... LOL Love that look on her face!

 Totally enthralled by the coolest pair of pink tennis shoes to ever appear inside  this baby house! 

 She is totally amazed at my skills! I don't think she had ever worn shoes that had to be tied before this.

 All Done! After I got them on her she just gazed at them a little longer then she hopped down off the chair and strutted her stuff a bit around the room. She was not a happy camper when we had to put the other shoes back on. I can't wait to post pics of her wearing these with the rest of her Gotcha day outfit. I have decided that it will suit her personality just fine. Pretty dress, hair bows, tights, and Chucks... Sweet and Sassy. And boy, is she ever that!
Now about those cute lil Maryjanes: I took them up when I took her back to Groupa that evening I realized they didn't fit and tried to tell the ladies that they were a donation to the groupa. WELLLLLLL... seems like they thought I was saying that they were Liza's shoes and for the next day and a half after that she came to us wearing the shoes. And I'm thinking, "great.. now they think I'm telling them how to dress my child. This can't be good" 

So the next time Andrea and her translator, Lienna, were there I was planning to ask if Lienna could clear it up for us, but before we could get that out of the way Andrea came to find us and ask Rick if he had brought Liza's shoes back the night before (same shoes). He said he had but he had put them on the cubbies because the time before he got in trouble for not taking them off before she came in the room. 

Apparently, the shoes had gone missing and they thought we had either taken them back or a parent whose child is in the rehab part of the orphanage had taken them (???). Finally the shoes were found and Lienna was able to clear up the misunderstanding. Then we were able to have Liza brought down for our visit. Bet you'll never guess what shoes she was wearingg!!! ;o) 

This part of our adventure Rick and I will ever after affectionately call "The Great Shoe Theft"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recognize This Face?


How about now?

Ringing Any bells yet??

Come on... you know who it is.

Here's a little clue.

That's right! The little boy in all of these photos is my little buddy Maxim.
You're probably wondering where I go these new photos of him so let me share the story with you.

As we were going through the process to adopt Liza I was blessed to make contact with a couple of Missionaries who work in her area and even at her Baby House. One of them, Andrea, does some work with some of the kids at the institution where Maxim is and asked if we would like to go with her one day. Of course, I jumped at the chance!

I don't know if I can openly share how the whole encounter went so I will just say that we were able to go and while we were there I was able to see Maxim. To hold him and love on him. To laugh as he passed gas and laughed about it. That was one of the best parts of the visit, how he thought "tooting" (is it called that when boys do it?) was just the funniest thing - just like any other 6 year old little boy would. He was so sweet and so alert and attentive to those who had come to visit with him. Here's a little rundown of his abilities that I witnessed first hand:
  • He can pull up to stand and walk with assistance.
  • He knows his name and responds to it.
  • he has a sweet nature, personality, and sense of humor
  • he copies hand motions (I believe he could learn to sign)
  • He can crawl
  • he likes cars! :) They said he crawls tro the window to look out when the car comes to their building.
In the one pic above where  you see his hands, he kept touching his thumbs together and so I put his pointers togehter to make a heart and after that he kept trying to do it himself. His worker was a really sweet lady who obviously believes that people with DS are capable. She hopes to see change in her country someday. That really touched my heart to know that he is being cared for by someone who believes that he can be something if given a chance. AND HE CAN!

Maxim's Mom and Dad? Where are you? I've seen him. I've held him and kissed his sweet face. He is waiting patiently for you to come for him. I KNOW, I just KNOW, that he will be the biggest blessing to his family. Please hear the call - for Maxim.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hello, My Name is Mama.....

....cause that's what my lil Girl told me!

That's right! Someone called me Mama today! You should have been there. She was in the stroller and wanted to get out so she looks up at me with her arms raised and says, "ma ma ma ma ma". I, just about flipped out. I grabbed her up out of that stroller and said, "did you just call me mama?" and she just smiled at me as I kissed her all over her little face, hugged her tight, told her how wonderful she is.

She is the sweetest, most precious little thing on the face of this Earth :) (I wish I had a pic to put here but we are back to not being able to post photos, oh well )

Friday, October 15, 2010

When 10 Days is Too Freakin' Stinkin' Long!

  • When you've already been living the movie "Groundhog Day" for over a week and 10 days means you have to do it for.... 10 MORE days!
  • When every day it feels like you are leaving your little girl at a 24/7 daycare.
  • When you miss your other children like mad and feel like a bad Mom cause you've been away from them for 2 1/2 weeks, but you know you still have 10 more days, at least...
  • When you've been legally declared your little girl's parents but you have no say over how she's treated, when she eats, sleeps, or potties, or how long she can play outside.
  • When this little face:

  • turns to this one:

  •  and then she cries, cause she knows Mama/Papa are leaving without her... again
Thank God the 10 days is almost over. It actually ends next Saturday the 23rd, but we won't be able to do anything until Monday. I can't wait until we can take her out of the orphanage! Tonight I took her back and I thought she was goingt o just go and be ok but then she realized I wasn't staying and she cried and tried to come after me. It broke my heart to go down those stiars and leave her there :(
Darn those freakin' stinkin' 10 days!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meeting a Dream

Our first pic together as a family. Taken 10/12/10 after court.
 On Tuesday of last week we finally rolled into Liza's region via overnight train. Of course, knowing we would be meeting her the next day I didn't really sleep at all on that LONG overnight train ride, somehow our facilitator, Yulia, and Rick did not share my insomnia. Thank God for an MP3 player with lots of pics to organize and songs to listen to. When we got to her city.... hmm, let's call it KR, we were picked up by our driver, Igor and drove to our apartment to wait until offices were opened. Man, it was hard knowing we were so close but had to go through all these formalities first!

Once it was time for business to be done we drove to the Children's Ministry office where we met a nice lady who asked us lots of questions. Once that was done some more paperwork was done and then we rode with her, our facilitator, and of course Igor - our trusty driver- to the orphanage. We had to meet with the Orphanage director before we were allowed to meet Liza. She told us her story (which broke my heart and I plan to share sometime but will wait until things are more official), shared her medicals with us, and asked us pretty much all the questions the Children's Ministry lady asked us. THEN we were finally allowed to meet Liza!

Talk about a dream coming true. I had all these plans to videtape her as she was brought in to us and to take pics of our faces as we laid eyes on her. Well, it just doesn't happen like that. In fact, we were taken to her in a small room where she was playing with toys. And let me tell you, when I saw her actually sitting there in front of me thoughts of pictures or vidoes were the furthest thing from my mind. First of all, she was fine with us saying hello and playing with toys also, but forget trying to get a hug or anything else. That was ok though, just being in the same room with her was enough.

After a while we were allowed to take her down to the visitation room and spend some one-on-one time getting to know her and her getting to know us. We did finally get pics that day and maybe even some video but couldn't get them loaded onto the computer we're using in the apartment we're in. So all the photos in this post are from this past Saturday up till today. Someday I'll have to do a whole other post with pics of our first day together.

Look at this beautiful, big girl. She can wipe her own face. Isn't she lovely? :)

Oh yeah, the Uncooperative Dog....

This is what happened when Dog didn't cooperate....

Yep, feet in the air, whiny noises, not-happy face.... You all know what that means, right? :)

In the end, fingers in the mouth. Is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen?!
Yes, I took pics of her having a fit. I couldn't help it!  She was just so darn cute and funny. I'm sure one day I won't find her fits funny or cute. And we have already started telling her "No/Nyet" when she does something that she shouldn't do - like hitting Mama/Papa or kicking at other kids.

 For now, I'm just glad to be able to say that we are here and we have met God's amazing Promise. He has Victory planned for her and, I think, for many whose lives she will touch. Watch out World, Elizaveta Collette is coming for you!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

More Reece's Rainbow Cuties

I have been thinking a lot about all the kiddos that we will be leaving behind once we bring Liza home with us in a few weeks. I really wish we could adopt more than one! Before we left I signed up to be a Christmas Warrior, just like last year and was assigned Evan. By the way, the little one I prayed for last year, Claire, has a family committed to her now! Yay! Praying I can say the same for Evan soon.
Isn't he CUTE?!
Here's the info RR has on him: 
Boy, Born June 5, 2008

Evan recently transferred to this baby house. He was born with a heart defect, but was blessed to already have surgery and is doing great now! He is so young, and all three of these little boys could be adopted together!
From one of our adoptive families who visited with him in May 2010: " Evan would give us a big smile when we would touch his hand. He loved for us to just hold him and would cry if we put him down. He sits by himself and is trying to crawl. He can scoot to get to where he wants to go" .

He has $1090 in his fund right now, and I would love to see that go up during this Angel Tree season. I know how a grant can help these kids find a family I've seen in happen over and over. There ARE families out there who would love to parent these children and only need the funds to make this desire a reality. Even if you can't adopt you can know that you're gift would help to place a child in a family. Then you are living out James 1:27 and making Psalm 68:6 a reality, and I don't know about you, but I am in awe that God would allow us to be a part of doing that kind of work. He is a good God!

Then there's Tori.
Some friends of mine really love her and desire to see her saved from the life she's living now. And YES, I say saved because if you knew what it was really like for her you would understand that her being adopted would be saving her life. Go and read what Stephanie has to say about her and about life in an institution. Then join in the fundraiser that she is running to raise money for Tori's grant. She is giving away an Ipod to one lucky person who donates. But, the biggest reward here would be knowing that you helped to place Tori in a family.

There's also Miss Alina:
How cute is she?! Poor sweet baby. She needs a Mama who will adore her. I know there has to be someone out there who has been looking for Alina, just like she's been waiting for her Mama and Papa to come. She only has $370 in her grant. Please help Alina to be placed in a family.

And of course I could not leave out my buddy Maxim.

I really need someone to adopt him who I can go and visit cause I just love this little guy! But, even if you live on the West coast and you love Maxim too, please take a chance on him. He deserves it! Besides, I am NOT afraid to get on a plane or drive across the country to see him, and you of course ;o)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Trip Update 1

I know - pitiful title but I just couldn't come up with a catchy title so that will have to do, and I probably stole it from someone else's blog. I'm blaming it on stress and jetlag - so there!

We have had quite a few eventful days and I really don't wanna share everything just yet, but I will in a few days. We are still going to get Liza, but we haven't gotten to meet her yet or even go to her region but we will be going there on Monday if nothing else changes. What can I say except, "This is ________", oh yeah I can't even say that yet. HA! HA! Those of you who have been here and done this know what I mean.

Pics? Anybody up for some of those? That I can do.

This is the door to our apartment building. (sorry can't flip it) 

The view of the building right across from us from outside the kitchen window. I just think it's so romantic looking. The architecture on some of the buildings is so beautiful.
A little glimpse of our little bathroom.

Our tiny little kitchen. It's cute. I am still trying to figure out why the stove has a sticker on it that says something about an airbag though.

 Yes, they really do drive and park on the sidewalks here. This is just under our kitchen window. I've noticed that they actually have marks painted on the sidewalk in some places as if those spots are parking spaces, and it seems you can even buy or rent  some of the spaces. They have these little metal bars that go up and down with locks on them. There are also some places where there are guys whose sole job it seems is to watch the cars that are parked there or direct the flow of the sidewalk automobile traffic and show people where it's ok to park.

Mr. Rick in the City that Shall Remain Nameless

Self portrait in City that Shall Remain Nameless... for now.

  I don't remember what this is called. It's really pretty, huh?

The beautiful church right behind the SDA office. It's called St. Andrushka (or St. Andrew's) When we were there today we saw about 5 or 6 couples going in and out. WE thought they were all doing weddings but Nikolay told us that many of them come just to have their pictures taken in and outside the church. I certainly can see why, it's absolutely beautiful!
 This was our attempt at getting pepperoni pizza from a pizza place we had heard good things about called Celentano's. Umm, not quite what we had in mind, but still pretty good! LOL

Just kind of random, I know but that's what I've got for now. We kinda like this city. It's fun to walk around and look at everything. some things are so much like home and some things are pretty different. Some of the people are very friendly and helpful and some of them just laugh at us, just like at home... haha