Saturday, May 30, 2015

We Are Home!!

OWe made it!! The Clark family is officially a family of 5!  So tired! Goodnight!
I wonder if she'll ever not flash the peace sign :)

Get me off of this plane!!!! 
Will this flight ever end!?!?!

"I love to fly, I love to fly, I love to fly!"
A flight attendant helped Gerry pass the time (during DeAnna's meltdown)

Friday, May 29, 2015

We're Coming Home!!!

Made it to the Embassy just in time! Tickets booked. USA bound. Arriving Saturday at 12:55 - woo hoo!!!!  Goodbye U! Maybe we'll see you again someday :)

Ok, Now We May Pass Out Cigars!!!

Just got a call from the Embassy!!  Visas are printing!!!!
Hoping and praying we can still get a flight!!

Close But No Cigar

We are in the capital now; we arrived on Monday morning via overnight train (aka hell on a track). Gerry did great :) but DeAnna had heat exhaustion before we even left the station :(. We finally got her cooled down with ice bottles and cool towels, and settled down for the night - ha ha ha! DeAnna slept a whole hour!
We arrived at 5:45 am and hung out at McDonald's until the medical clinic opened and spent the rest of the day at the clinic. Then Embasdy next day. Then clinic. Then Embassy! Phew! What a week!
I received the girls' U passports yesterday and finished up at the U.S. Embassy - except there was an issue with printing the visas for the girls :(. And now I'm finding out that it is a worldwide issue :(. We had the perfect flights lined up for Saturday morning, arriving at the same time Grant will be arriving from a trip.  But if we don't get visas in the next 2 1/2 hours, the earliest we could get them is next Tuesday (Monday is a holiday), and then maybe fly on Wednesday.  I know it's only 4 days but it means more room/board time in country and higher flight prices x 5 - boo hoo hoo. Plus, we are SO READY to come home! This has been a tough week in lots of ways. The girls leaving everything they've known; mom, Gerry and I have been away from home for 2 months; and lots of behaviors emerging - to put it nicely. Let's just say that I've been kicked, hit, pinched, spit at, spit on, cursed at (in a foreign language), bruised, given the stink-eye, and yelled at. At least there's no poop and pee involved - yet! I'm kinda just done at the moment and was so looking forward to going home. 
There are a of couple other adoptive families here in the city, and last night we were able to meet up and go to dinner :) And one of the adoptive moms and her teen daughter are within walking distance :). She is actually the person who walked us through all of our paperwork and adoption process, and her daughter is from the same orphanage as Dasha!  It is such a blessing and comfort to have them here!!
Hopefully we'll hear good news soon!!
Don't complain about public bathrooms ever again (the train!)

Gerry street dancing :)  they gave him his own stage time :)
At a restaurant between appointments - boy, DeAnna can eat!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pizza For Dinner!!

Pizza for dinner!! There is a very nice pizza restaurant 2 bus stops down. We should have been going there to eat about 4 times a week!! Dasha's first time eating pizza at a restaurant :). Little Miss DeAnna ate 3 pieces of pizza, drank a giant glass of juice, and ate a huge bowl of ice cream!! (I was more than a little nervous when she spun and spun and spun on the merry go round at the playground when we got back to the apartment!!) 3 pizzas, 5 drinks and 5 fancy desserts = $15. Can you say shell shock if we ever go out to eat again when we get back to the U.S. 😳  Today was a better day than yesterday :) -  not sure what I'll do when I get home and Mom isn't there to help - yikes!  DeAnna needs to be supervised every second!  And she is very tall!  We keep putting things up on higher and higher shelves, but then I can't see where things ended up!  
I started packing today for our trip to the capital on Sunday.  It's like a mind bender to figure out what we can leave here, what we should take with us to the capital and then leave, what needs to come back to the U.S., what we need easy access to on the train, which clothes we'll need for the next two days and which we should wash (remember, everything has to line dry and the washing machine is about 1/5 size of those in the U.S.). Oh and let's not forget about the myriad of toys we've collected over the last two months :). Will Gerry really remember saying, "yes, mom, I know that we won't have room in the suitcase to take this toy back home with us. If you buy it, I will leave it here for the next family." Hmmmmm???? 😉
Yesterday just Dasha and I took a quick trip to the grocery store.  I got a text from Mom: please call me with your US phone, DeAnna is very upset (the ONE time I forgot to bring my local phone along 😞). The day before, DeAnna stayed with Mom with no problems. Well, the next day was a different story.  She was distraught that I had left her but did finally calm down after I talked to her (with Dasha's help!).  The people on the bus probably thought I was pretty weird as I made kissy noises over the phone for her like 20 times :). When we were walking back to the apartment, she was looking out of the window and I heard "MAMA, MAMA, MAMA", laughter and saw her jumping up and down like crazy. I guess she does realize that I am her mother. I was thinking that she perceived me as just another caregiver (that she'd call mama) for this moment in time.  Was I wrong, or what?!
Our evening ended with music from Kutless (contemporary Christian group) filtering in through our windows; they were performing down the street from our apartment!! Wish we would have known ahead of time :). 
Well, I better get to sleep - tomorrow is another busy day :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Have The Girls :)

Two girls in two days - phew!!!! We are all wiped out but doing pretty well.  Tuesday was a 12.5 hour day of waiting, driving, waiting, driving, pick-up, waiting and driving :). Then I brought DeAnna to the apartment. Wednesday was about 7 hours of the same - then Dasha was home! I know we (all of us!) will have lots of adjusting and learning to do in the coming months, so please pray for us. 
We travel back to the capital on Sunday evening by overnight train (I am worried about the heat for Gerry 😞). We have our first Embassy and medical appointment on Tuesday, and hopefully the girls' passports will be ready by Thursday so we can have our final Embassy appointment on Thursday or Friday.  We can't make any flight arrangements until we have those passports in our hands!  But maybe, just maybe, we will be home before June 1!!
VISA picture day:

It was a long, hot day on Wednesday, but we made it:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Guess Whose Family Found Him?!?!

YES, he has a forever family!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our Little Monkey

I had a chance to spend 2 hours with DeAnna today! As soon as I got there, she jumped up into my arms and hung on like a little monkey.  Even though she is very tall for her age, she is sooo thin and it was like carrying a feather. While I was there, she changed into a clean outfit and I could see how small she is without the t-shirt, turtleneck, sweater, fuzzy tights, pants, and slipper socks on (and yes it's been in the 70s!). 
I brought bananas, tea biscuits and candy for her groupa, and she was very excited to pass these out to her friends :). Those bananas were gone in the blink of an eye! And the children were quiet for a whole 10 minutes! I had a chance to see one of the short lessons in her class, and ask a few questions about her likes/dislikes, activites and schedule.  She loves milk and does not like mashed potatoes at all!  And she loves to color and play dolls :). Her speech therapist kept telling me, "just love her, just love her." I am so thankful that she is at this orphanage and not the other one we thought she had been transferred to.
One of her little friends that seems to always be at her side started a wrestling match. Before I knew it, DeAnna was on top of a table, jumping down to tackle her friend!  Then they were just running and giggling - oh boy, we are gonna have our hands full!
DeAnna kept asking why she had to wait to go with me; she is ready to go now. Soon, soon . . . I'll be back for her on Tuesday, May 19th!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Waiting . . .

Counting down till I can spring the girls - hopefully in a week :). I get to visit Dasha everyday, and I'll get to visit DeAnna again tomorrow! 
Thank goodness I brought the suitcase of meds (and you think I'm joking!!).  Gerry ended up with an infected finger. But looking much better already after antibiotics!  The amazing thing is, he has had NO sinus issues while here!  I only do maintenance sinus rinses every couple days vs. 3-4 times per day at home. 

Gerry is always finding interesting things on the playground (dead bird😕)
Out to dinner at the fancy French restaurant down the road, on the river (Filet mignon = $6!). I had the perch - I think it was $3.
After an afternoon of shopping.  Dasha found the "boyfriend jeans" she's been wanting, and a cute top. We were worn out after 2 hours at the market!!

Dasha and her brother:
Hopefully I will have lots more photos of DeAnna soon. 😍😍

Saturday, May 9, 2015

This Boy . . . .

This boy is a
n AMAZING kid! We've been able to spend a lot of time with him over this past month. In fact, he searches for us every day now when we visit Dasha. Why? Because HE IS ASKING FOR A FAMILY!! HE NEEDS A FAMILY! HE WILL DO SO WELL IN A FAMILY! AND I WILL NOT REST UNTIL HE HAS A FOREVER FAMILY! 
Seriously, if we had approval to adopt another child, we would bring him home with us right now, this instant.  He is smart, he is funny, he is super cute, he is so good with Gerry (our 6 year old). He would be an awesome big brother. He would be an awesome son.
He is eager to learn, and he catches on so quickly!  He is a whiz at using my camera - I just showed him all of the buttons one time and he got it.  He has a natural sense for taking photographs - a couple days ago he said "Mom (see, I told you he wants a family so badly), come."  And he took me by the hand so he could use the bushes for a backdrop and get better lighting while taking my photo.
He loves using Google Translate on my phone, and is so proud that he is learning to say and understand some English words.
My heart aches for him. It just doesn't make sense that he is still here. The only reason that he is still here is that you (you know who you are - thinking but just haven't made the leap yet!) have not met him yet. But once you meet him, I promise you that you will be so glad that he is your son. He truly is a gem. 
The other boys treat him as an outcast because he admits that he wants a family and because he visits with us :(  Yet he knows that this is his chance at life, his chance to be loved.
This is also a great region for adoption. It is inexpensive to live here and the facilitator is amazing! She will literally be with you every step of the way.  We wanted to be adventurous, so we take the bus many times now when we visit Dasha, but you wouldn't even have to take the bus one time!  She's taken us grocery shopping, she takes us to the orphanage, she takes us to all of our appointments - whatever we need, she is there for us.  For example, when Grant and I were in the capital, the battery came out of my mom's local cell phone and Sasha offered to drive over that night and fix it (we had another so it wasn't necessary). Sasha also has been the main reason (along with prayer and a little luck) that we were able to arrange one court hearing and get all of the paperwork needed for two adoptions.
Please, please, please SEE THIS BOY.  He does not belong here. He belongs in a family.  All I can do right now is hug him tight and shout for him.  For this boy deserves a family; he deserves life. Can you tell that I just love him to pieces?!?

His profile can be found here: http://reecesrainbow.org/63528/raul

I will surely try to answer any questions that I can. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Proud Parents!

We are now the proud parents of Dasha EvaLynne Clark and DeAnna Aleksandra Clark!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day for us - court! D is sooo excited to wear a new outfit that I brought from home for her.  It is way too big, but mom was able to tack the skirt so that it looks presentable and doesn't slide right off :). I tried for months before we travelled to figure out her size, and then ended up exchanging everything for larger sizes right before we left because she told our facilitator that she is a large/extra large.  No way!! She's not a skinnyminny but more like a medium. That's what happens when you are told all the time that you are fat :(. Don't even get me started with the "you're stupid" comments that's she's heard for the past several years (from teachers!) because she has a hard time with math. And this is the girl who gets the best marks in her class for literature. Grrrr!!  She'll have a long road ahead of her, but I know she will do well.  I just learned today of some really tough instances where she stood up for herself even though some very influential people were giving her a very, very hard time. I can't go into the details at this time, but imagine a 15 year old girl in a room full of men with the power to make your life a living hell, and she would not let them sway her opinion, no matter what mind games they tried. I am so proud of her!!
We're getting the hang of traveling around town via bus (think gutted vans with seats - though the buses in this town are way bigger than the ones we used 4 years ago).  Taking the bus opens up a whole new world for us, but I still can't get used to the idea of not having seatbelts, especially for Gerry.  Do you remember when you were little (when kids could sit in the front seat without seat belts!) and your mom or dad would stop fast, how their arm would shoot out in front of you?  That's what I do for 15-20 minutes straight when we take the bus!
On Sunday we had a fun time celebrating one of D's best friend's birthday, a girl with whom D shares a bedroom.  They share everything actually; they are just like sisters. She is such a cute, smart and nice kid. (Several of the girls have grown up here together with D.  Yes, she is gaining a forever family, but must leave behind this family whom she has known since she was little). Even though there was a little drama (from my own dear daughter - girls will be girls!), overall it was a very nice party, and the pizza, juice and cake were a big hit.  We were even allowed to have our own little private "party room" (an extra bedroom) for the occasion.  Later as I reflected on the day, my satisfaction with how the party turned out turned into sadness. A party celebrating a 15 year-old's birthday means only one more year until this child loses the chance to have a family. I truly want this next year to go as slowly as possible. 

Gerry had lots of fun this week, too. One evening, our facilitator's husband stopped by to pick something up.  Gerry loves Viktor and was so excited to see him. As I was talking to Viktor for a few seconds, Gerry ran into the other room.  As Viktor was walking out to his car, Gerry came running out to show him his impersonation skills that he had mastered that day - Peppa Pig's mother. And yes, that was my good lipstick he used!

Today when I returned from visiting D (on some days, Gerry and Grandma stay at the apartment and rest since visiting hours are smack dab in the middle of nap time), Gerry was so excited to show me his new skit and costume.  He and Grandma had spent the afternoon playing "Christmas" - complete with Santa and wrapped "presents." And yes, that beard is exactly what it looks like :)
Time to go work on my summary of our family life story to present to the judge tomorrow. Hoping to share good news soon!!


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