Sunday, September 10, 2017


After two months in Ukraine we are finally home- and as a family of 3!! Our trip home went remarkably well.  Sveta did very well on our two flights and our long layover in Frankfurt.  It felt SO good to walk off that plane in Portland all together! And Sveta got to meet her Grandma and Grandpa for the first time. Our first night home was a bit rough, but considering how much change Sveta has been through the last few weeks, along with the time change, we expected it.  She fell asleep very quickly on our drive home and then woke up once we got off the freeway.  It had gotten dark by that point and she panicked a bit and wanted out of her car seat.  She screamed the rest of our way home.  She was still a bit upset as we walked into our house together where our two cats greeted us.  She was not a big fan of them at that moment so some more screaming ensued.  We showed her around the house and eventually she began to calm down.  We taught her how to pet the cats and play with them and she started to really enjoy that, as well as explore some of her new toys.  We tried to go to bed since we were all exhausted but she wasn't having any of that until about 12:30 when she was finally willing to climb in her new bed with mama.  Bedtime continues to be our biggest challenge but we know for her that is probably the scariest time of the day.  She has never slept alone (which we still don't expect her to do) and we are still new to her.  As attached and bonded as she is with us, she likely still thinks we will be gone some day.  

Our first full day at home as a family was wonderful though! We were all so much happier being in a bigger space (compared to the small apartments we had in Ukraine) and Sveta had so much more she could do.  We went to the park and she was doing so well with that we even decided to try going to the store and she was great there too.  We know this adjustment won't be easy, though I'm not sure either of us had envisioned just how hard it would be, and appreciate your prayers as we transition.  Pray that Sveta will feel safe here and begin to understand that this is home for the three of us.  Pray that our bedtime routine will get easier and less stressful.  And pray for her separation anxiety to lessen.  Eric will be returning to work in a week and Sveta will be starting kindergarten in a few weeks.  Right now mama can barely be out of sight at home for more than a couple minutes, let alone go anywhere without her.  We are thankful she has attached and bonded to us so well but aren't exactly sure how to handle her separation anxiety yet.  Our journey is far from over and we are beyond grateful for everyone's support to get us this far.  We can't wait to see what comes next for our family!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Coming Home!!

We are so excited to say that yesterday we got ALL paperwork needed to travel home with our daughter!! It has been an exciting couple days- on Monday we heard from our facilitator that her passport had not only been printed, it was already back in Odessa and our driver was putting it on the train back to Kiev that night! Our facilitator picked it up Tuesday morning, we then all went to the medical office so we could pick up her medical paperwork, and then went to the US embassy because we were able to get an appointment immediately! It only took about 20 minutes for us to drop off the rest of our paperwork and receive her passport back with her immigrant visa!  By noon on Tuesday we were good to go! On Monday afternoon we had booked our tickets home for Friday.  We were blessed to be able to get the exact flights we wanted (only one layover and straight from Europe to Portland so she will officially become a US citizen in Portland).  This also gave us a couple extra days just in case something wouldn't have gone smoothly. We are so, so excited!! It so amazing to see how faithful God continues to be in this journey. From the very beginning we had prayed we could be home at the 2 month mark and sure enough we are done before that and leaving exactly 2 months and 1 day after we got here.

Please pray for smooth, delay-free travel on Friday. And especially for Sveta- that she will do very well on the plane and feel completely comfortable knowing that mom and dad are with her. The other day she told our facilitator in Russian that when she goes to America she is going to live and sleep at school (this is what she knows happens when kids are moved from a baby house orphanage to a boarding school orphanage). We all explained to her that she will live and sleep at home with mama and papa, but it's hard to know exactly what is going through her little head with so many unknowns and new things in such a short amount of time. Please also pray for our adjustment once we are home. It feels so good to say the 3 of us are finally going HOME!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Bonding Time

We have had an amazing time bonding as a family of 3 here in Kiev.  Sveta has continued to do so great considering all she has been through in less than two weeks.  We have been seeing more frequent toddler-like behavior (including a couple epic tantrums) but not only is that completely normal, it also means she feels comfortable enough with us to revert back to those stages.  Her institutional life did not allow her to be a typical baby and toddler so now that she can be, she is sometimes.  We are quickly learning to pick our battles and know that these stages won't last.  She has also had severe separation anxiety, particularly with mama. Usually mama can't even be in another room for more than 30 seconds before Sveta has to follow.  We have tried having mama leave for a few minutes to show her that mama always comes back, but we don't seem to be getting anywhere, so for now will let her take the lead on that and just continue to show her she is safe and with people who will always be there for her.  She did have a successful trip to the park with only papa today though!  Our bedtime routine has gone much better the last couple of nights so that is progress too.  Of course we will start all over once we get home though!

This week we took care of mandatory medical appointments and our first embassy appointment.  We also filed a petition/complaint to the immigration office requesting they process her passport immediately.  We were told the petition had been filed and the passport would be printed ASAP.  We will soon find out what that actually means by Ukraine standards!  We are desperately praying that we are home next weekend!!  We were also blessed this week to find a few other adoptive families who are in the same stage of the process as we are. It has been such a blessing to have other parents (more experienced than us!) to talk with while our kids play together at the park. We are all looking for ways to pass the time while we anxiously wait to go home, and keep our kids busy, so we look forward to our afternoons with them.

Please pray that Sveta's passport will be in our hands early next week and that we can be home by next weekend!!!