Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pictures of the kids!

We have met our children and are very excited!

Irina was COMPLETELY different in looks and health than we had been shown and told while in Kiev. The picture they showed us portrayed Irina like a child out of the Holocaust. Seriously. It was a terrible picture and they wouldn't even let us take a picture of it to keep even though we committed to adopting her. So I went to visit her not knowing what to expect - but nothing could prepare me for meeting little Irina. I had been praying continually that I would be able to know if she was our daughter. I wanted to know for myself and I prayed that God would bless me with that knowledge. Irina was in an orphanage in Donets'k, but was moved to Mariopol (spelling?) a few weeks before we arrived. When we went into the orphanage we met with the director, a social worker, and Irina's doctor. They told us about her history and health concerns. They said that she suffers from a problem with her central nervous system which was caused prenatally. I have no clue what this means, but that's what they said. They said that she is mentally delayed and doesn't talk much.

After all the information was given to us that they had, the door opened and in walked a very spunky little girl in a BRIGHT orange dress. She walked right up to me and looked me in the eyes and smiled. Then she asked if she could sing a song. She sang two songs and talked a LOT. She answered questions and knows her full name. She has brown eyes and short light brown/blonde hair. She is quite thin - they said she is malnourished. I'm eager to get her home and start cooking for her! Her eyes also have some problems - they are slightly crossed, but I am told that it is completely correctable and very common in orphans in Ukraine. We have committed to adopt little Irina (we are planning to change her name, but haven't completely decided upon it yet) Without further ado...picture time!

This is the picture in Irina's file at her current location. It is MUCH different from the picture they have at the SDA.
Irina LOVED the ball that we brought and she played with it almost non-stop. When it was time to go, she said: "Mama, I want the ball." :o)
She latched onto both of us very quickly and even called us by "Papa" and "Mama" during our visit.

Isn't she a doll? I love that smile! As for me, well, I was saying something...lovely, I know.
Tyler threw her up in the air - which seemed to concern the social worker - but Irina LOVED it and laughed over & over when he did it. Her Papa has the magic touch!

This picture says it all! Isn't she adorable?

I am going to see if I can buy this dress from the orphanage or replace it with another one - it's too cute! She loves glasses and kept saying that she wants some glasses for herself. I am concerned by her immediate attachment to us - which can be a sign of attachment disorder. It is something that I will keep in mind in the future - as for now, I am enjoying her fun personality!

After a very short visit with Irina in Mariopol, we drove 3 hours to Artemovsk where our sweet Nikita is and that is where we are now. When we arrived, Nikita was napping - but they woke him up to come see us. Poor thing was disoriented, but warmed up some to the car that we brought. He has a captivating smile:

Nikita (we will be calling him Keith - but only when we have returned home and are more accustomed, until then - we are calling him by his name, Nikita) has Cerebral Palsy. It appears that his legs are most affected by this, as he uses his hands and arms quite normally. He is walking with assistance and we have been told that he can sit up - but we have not seen him do it on his own yet. He is much more shy than Irina - but enjoys snuggles. I want to give him kisses all the time - but he isn't comfortable with that which makes me a little sad, I am assuming it is because he hasn't had someone kissing on him during his short life. :o( Of course, this will change very quickly, as I am an affectionate Mama!

Tyler feeding Nikita some dinner! He can eat with a spoon (he can't hold the spoon yet) and the caretakers said that he is a good eater. They also say that he is their favorite and hope that we are "good people". :o)
Tyler & I outside Nikita's orphanage. Our facilitator says it is the worst condition that she has seen in any orphanage. :o(
Nikita LOVES to be tickled - especially on his neck and under his chin. His laugh is so addicting that almost the whole visiting time is spent tickling him! :o) Nikita is more hesitant than Irina in getting to know us, but I've been assured that this is very promising that he will not have any attachment problems. After two days, he seems to be warming up to us and even resisted leaving his Papa's arms when going back to the caretaker. :o) Today we were able to give supplies (diaper rash cream, etc) to his orphanage - it felt so good to give help to these kind women who serve and love these children so much. We are SO happy to finally be with our little boy. He is so precious! Below are two videos that we have taken of Nikita. The first one is from yesterday and the second one is from today. Enjoy:

Tyler thinks it's funny - but I want to remember the different foods we have eaten here in Ukraine.

Tyler ate this last night - sauteed onions and mushrooms inside mashed potatoes that have been breaded and fried with mayonnaise and parsley on top. He said it was tasty! I was not brave enough to try it...
I am grateful that potatoes are a common food here - these potato wedges are found at almost all restaurants and are quite tasty!

This was our breakfast at a hotel in Donets'k. It consists of hot porridge (salty - not sweet - but VERY good!), chicken, juice, peach yogurt, and bread. They always put butter and cheese on their bread = YUM!

Thank you all for your prayers on my behalf. I'm not sure why my tummy is so upset - I haven't tried anything crazy here and I don't drink the don't know why I feel nauseated. It's a small price to pay to be here - but I wish it would go AWAY! There are also times that I feel light headed and that is a bit disconcerting - but again, I can handle that. I hope. I haven't fallen down (yet) so that is good. I know that this post is already long, but there are some general things about Ukraine that I want to blog about so I won't forget them:

The Ukrainian women are afraid of being short: everyone under 60 years old is wearing HIGH heels. Everyone but me, of course. Why increase the chance of falling down?

The wallpaper here is foam. I think that little children should "wallpaper" their rooms with thick foam. It seems like a smart idea to me.

If you're planning to adopt, try to communicate to your facilitator that you are NOT rich because you're an American. We've been taken to nice restaurants and hotels because the facilitator assumes we are rich because we can afford to adopt. I don't know about you - but we had to take out a loan to do this adoption and money is already tight for us, so we're doing this with faith that God will somehow help us through. We finally figured out that this was why our facilitator was taking us to more expensive restaurants than we wanted to go to. Of course, if you are rich - then you won't have any problems.

Crisp banknotes. What a nightmare! We ordered our money from the bank a week before we wanted to pick it up. Tyler called them 2 days later to confirm that order. He goes in to the bank and asks for the money. They claim that we didn't place an order - so they gave us the money that they had - which wasn't brand new. Unfortunately for us - Ukraine is EXTREMELY picky when it comes to American money. If the bills are not CRISP, they don't accept them. This has been a HUGE frustration during our trip because some places have not accepted our money and it's all that we have. Very frustrating. Don't make this mistake! Order your money IN ADVANCE and MAKE SURE that the bills are free from any and all stains, markings, creases.

Our second major problem this trip has been the converter/adapter problems. We brought an adapter and it blew shortly after arriving. We have a laptop - but cannot use it. We have been searching for an adapter - but to no avail. Thank goodness most places have an internet cafe where we can use the computers and pay hardly anything at all. However, we brought movies to watch and cannot see them because we cannot plug in our laptop - that has been frustrating for us.

I highly recommend bringing traveler's checks with you and credit cards for any unexpected purchases. We ended up having to fly from Kiev to Donets'k - it's a good thing they accept credit cards!

I think that everyone smokes in Ukraine. Seriously.

Traffic lanes. One car per lane - this is optional in Ukraine. Usually there are two cars squeezed into one lane. I find it best to close my eyes and not watch the road, it keeps my blood pressure down.

Everyone seems to be very friendly here. In the evenings people are outside talking and I've been greeted by some nice people while in Ukraine. Some people even know some English, which has been nice. We've met 3 other adopting families here - 2 from US and 1 from Italy.

People (especially women) talk at the same time. Our facilitator and translator would talk at the same time. I'm not sure if either one was's bizarre to witness.

People believe in no privacy. All the curtains I've seen in our hotels have been SHEER. One would think that others wouldn't want to see everyone in all their glory, but again, this is Ukraine after all, and modesty is a thing of the past for those who live here.

There are many signs with English on them, as well as music that is played. I've heard Toni Braxton, Britney Spears, and Dido since being here.

The stairs here in Ukraine aren't even. It's wild - you would think that they would make all the stairs even and the same height - but each is different.

Ukraine is not built to accomodate special needs or those in wheelchairs. The ground is uneven, there are many hills and the sidewalks all have holes or cracks in them.

That's all for now...any questions?

Dear Anna - did you see the pictures of your brother and sister? We have shown them pictures of you and they are excited to meet their big sister! We love you and pray for you everyday! We love our sweet Anna girl!

Love, Mama & Daddy


traceylynndel said...

ohhh! They are beautiful. Congratulations again. I can't wait to see them blossom in your care.


MamaPoRuski said...

She is precious (Nick too!) I love the orange sweater!

Melisa said...

Your kids are adorable! Can't wait to meet them!

Diana said...

I am so thrilled for you!! You will be amazed at how quickly they will change after they come home.

DO get copies of both their original medical records from their orphanages if you can...not just the one page summary, but the actual records. Even if the stuff in them is way off base, there are some things that will make a LOT more sense in them after you get home. Even if they're completely in Russian or Ukrainian, get them anyway. You can always have them translated. They can also help as you try to piece together some of their past.

June Berger said...

Horray!! I'm so glad that you have seen your children! They are absolutely darling! I know you can't wait to get them home! Praying for speed and ease in the process.

Sarah C said...

Yeah! I am soooo excited for you. They are both beautiful. I can't wait to see them. Best wishes.

Tami said...

YEA!!! I'm so glad the first meetings went so well with Irina and Nikita. They are so precious!

Kathy C. said...

Exciting stuff.

It's good that you recognize that N. is more likely to form true attachments than I. We didn't know that when we first adopted and the child has never truely attached.

Kathey said...

Wonderful! I'm glad things are going so well.

Love, Kathey

Kerry Shealy said...

Congratulations!!! They are both so sweet! I prayed that God would clearly show you who your daughter should be, so I am praising Him now for this answer to prayer!
Kerry RR

DoveFamily said...

Wonderful news - the children are beautiful! Our William is from Mariupol so we know that city very well. He was at the orphanage that accomodates children of all ages (Centre Opiky). I'm guessing Irina is probalby at the young children's orphanage.

Praying all continues to go well.


Lou said...

They are beautiful!!!!!!

nicole said...

Oh Jill, they're soooo darling!! You can tell from the video that your little guy has already warmed up to you! It brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy for you guys!!!

Valerie said...

Oops! That last line should say, "can really do a number on the BODY!" I need to go to bed :-)

Valerie said...

Oh, Jill!!! This just made my day! Irina is BEAUTIFUL!

Watching those videos and seeing those pictures of Nikita brought tears to my eyes! I have never seen him so happy! What a different and wonderful life he will have with the love of your family!

I am so happy to see that he likes his trucks! Were you able to give the pictures of Evan to his care takers?

I hope you are feeling better soon. I experienced the same thing on both of our adoption trips. The combination of new foods (even if they are not completely foreign, everything is prepared differently), sleep deprivation and stress can really do a number on the both. You are in our prayers!

Lively Luckinbills said...

I am so glad that you found your children. They look like brother and sister already. I can only imagine how excited Anna will be to have siblings! I am happy things worked out after all. Hopefully in time, your body will adjust and the nausea will go away...that is the worst!! Keith and Irina are so lucky to be in your family.

Carrie said...

Jill and Tyler...I am so excited for you both. Your 2 little ones are sooo adorable!! I hope things continue to go well. I loved watching the videos. Keith seems so different in the video than from the picture that has been on your blog. I can tell that he has a sweet little spirit. He is such a handsome little guy. Irina is also adorable. I loved the orange dress she was in. I am so excited for you guys! I bet Anna is dying to meet her new brother and sister!

Queen Mother said...

OH Jill..I'm just in tears...what sweet stories, what sweet children! I am SO happy for you guys!!

Sheila said...

Both your children are beautiful! I am glad it appears to be going smoothly.

As for your laptop... I am assuming you have a plug to put over your plug to make it fit into the outlet, yes? The laptop should not need a converter --- look on big square part of the plug (not the part that goes into the wall but the retangular box in the middle between the plug and the laptop) it should say something like "input 100v-240v". If it says this you don't need a power converter just the adapter plug. Same for cell phones, a lot of razors --- NOT Nintendo DS.

If you really need to find a converter - bring the plug with you in the Taxi and the show it to him - chances are good that he can find you one.

Kelly said...

Jill and Tyler, I am so happy to know that you've received both referrals! And of course, because I have known him for years, I am THRILLED THAT NIKITA WILL BE GOING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It made me sad that your facilitator said it was the worst conditions of any orphanage - but it is true. Can you imagine how it was BEFORE we started to do aid work there, to send clothes, toys, do repairs? It looks 500% better now than before, if you can imagine that. But there is always so much more to do. I am sure they were thrilled with the diaper cream, etc!! Best of luck, and please tell Inna Kelly said hello and hugs her! :-) Praying for you to have a smooth process all the way through!


Sarah C said...

I just looked at this post again. The videos of Keith are so cute. I love it when he is walking and he looks up at Tyler. I also think it is really cute when you are tickling him and he is laughing. I can tell that you really love him. I am sure he will warm up to the kisses. :) Irina is so beautiful. She is perfect for you. She wears orange and likes to sing. Awesome. I am so glad everything is going great for you. We are praying for you. I talked to Anna today. She is doing well. She was really happy today.

Carina said...

Aww...those pictures and videos brought tears to my eyes! I am so grateful that you found your children! I will continue to keep all of you in my prayers and hope that things keep going smoothly as you go through the whole process and bring those children home!

Ticklemedana said...

hmmm...that nausea is intriguing...i hope it goes away...but if it doesn' it possible that it could STAY for another, oh, 3 months?

Arizona mom to eight said...

We are very happy for your family, both children are gorgeous, I am so happy you found your daughter.

You descriptions made me miss Ukraine! Esp the food I got used to eating and some folks I grew fond of there.