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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Getting Back in the Swing

How long can you go without writing on your blog... That was a test. A long time I think. The longer you stay away from it the harder it is to begin writing again. We have been overwhelmed with love and support in this short time Artem has been home. And Artem has already grown and changed so much, mostly for the better. We have been home seven weeks today from Ukraine. This time has been a crazy time of getting to know each other, doctor's appointments, play groups, development assessments, more paperwork, ohh and then just learning how to be parents. Artem has been quite the trooper through it all and continues to amaze us everyday. We have all gone back to work, so life has gotten a little busy, but Artem is doing great in his Mother's Day Out class and with his Grammy and Papaw, who he loves.
Last night he got a tissue out of the tissue box and started blowing his nose and laughing. He really is amazing and catches on to everything so quickly. The First Steps coordinator came to our house this week to do Artem's assessment, and he just amazed us one developmental toy after another. He may only be eligible for speech...
Today we made our first trip to the playground for a picnic and some sliding. Artem has no fear. He wants to go down all the slides, even the huge ones and he will do it himself.

We had some family pictures taken, which was fun. That was the first time we had done that with a 2 year old. But they turned out great. Its really hard for Artem to not look cute, so I knew they would.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Home for Andrey S. (14)

Artem and I are going to try to find Andrey's family. We know they are out there somewhere...
This blog is also advocating for him, check it out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

We finally made it home! I know everyone may have been thinking that we were lost somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, but we made it. Artem is the best plane partner. He sat on the plane and giggled for hour after hour. It was amazing. The stewardess thought he was amazing. He is doing great. He eats everything, he is drinking juice and water great, and sleeping like a champ. Its like he has always been here. He went to church on Sunday, sat through the service with us and did great.
He has conquered the bathtub with the help of his cousin Brayden who was here over the weekend. Brayden got in and started playing and that was all it took. Now Artem is crazy about the bath. He wants in it all the time. We have to keep the bathroom door closed or he will try to turn the water on.
He made his first visit to Down Syndrome of Louisville today for a toddler play group. He did really well. I was a proud Mommy.
We haven't started doctors appointments yet, but hope to next week. We started making appointments yesterday. I don't think it is going to be his favorite part of his journey, but we will do our best.
He doesn't love a car seat, but we are getting there.
These pictures are in backward order. with the first ones taken most recently:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 31: Settled In

Our journey is coming to a close. Which we are very excited about, but it is also bittersweet. We have had such an exciting time here, and learned so much. The last month has most definitely been a gift from God. Our apartment in Kiev is very nice. The best one we have been in so far. Artem might think we are going to be staying here, because he is getting very comfortable here. He knows what is in every drawer, and behind every door that he wants to drag out. He know how to work all the light switches and to use the remote. So he is quite at home here. And he is the sweetest baby. He has definitely turned into quite the cuddlier.
We have only been out with him a couple of times to eat and to the grocery. Every time we put his coat and hat on he is asleep before we are out the door. Its hilarious. He does well at restaurants. Partly because he loves to watch people, but mostly because he loves to eat. When he woke up this afternoon and we were in a restaurant he started smiling and laughing.
So the plan from here is to go to the US Embassy for the next 2 days. Then we are hoping to fly out early Wednesday morning. Wow, finally.
And the most important part, pictures and videos.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A long day for us, an even longer day for Artem.

GOTCHA DAY has come and gone. YAY! It was along day for all us. We had to make some changes to our plans, which made it even longer. Our original plan included lunch with Artem at the orphanage, then getting him ready to go, a car ride 2 hours away to the passport office, and finally the express train back to the capital city. But Tuesday night we learned that the passport office would be closing their computer system down at 1pm, which meant we needed to rework the schedule. On top of that, our facilitator had to head back to the capitol, so we would be on our own.
So, we got up early, finished cleaning the apartment, got in touch with our fabulous landlord, and headed to the orphanage early. Our trusty driver was taking care of some paperwork for us, while we worked on getting Artem ready to go, and we all met to begin the journey at 10am.
The car ride went well. He was terrified at first and did alittle crying but before we are even out of the parking lot he was asleep. We made it to the passport office with enough time to take care of everything, praise the Lord. He totally charmed everyone there, from the people in the waiting room to the ladies that took his picture, they were all loving him.
Then the train station.... Whoa. First of all, we have WAY to much stuff. And I thought we packed lite. I am really starting to hate all of our junk. I feel like we packed more than the average Ukrainian owns. I think Paris Hilton would have brought less. So poor Brandon has been dealing with our luggage everywhere we go, while I wrestle with Artem. And due to the changes in the day, our train didn't leave until 5pm, which ment we waited in the train station for 4 hours, way too long for Artem. So our wonderful driver and facilitator for the day Igor said goodbye and good luck. Ohh man was I afraid to let him go. And I think he was very afraid to leave us as well.
People kept trying to help us, and talk to us, until they realized we spoke English, then they would give up. Citizens here are very opinionated at times. They think they can tell you what to do, like put more clothes on your child, get your kid off the floor, or let him... So everyone had an opinion.
He was really tired too, as he was late for his nap time. So Brandon wrestled him to sleep, not without someone's lip being bloodied. He only slept for like 45 minutes, and then there was more wrestling. We finally made it to the train at 5pm. We were not in a sleepier this time because it was the express train. We were in a car with individual rooms of 6 seats. 3 facing 3. Brandon worked magic hiding all of our luggage, again. And off we go. The journey started with one young girl, who didn't seem to mind all the noise Artem was making. She got off, and then a young guy, who was a lawyer, got on. He handled it really well, especially since Artem decided they should be best friends. He thinks everyone needs to play with him.
He did really well considering his situation. I was very proud of him. He did fight off sleeping until after 9:30 and eventually just laid down on the floor of the train and fell asleep. It wasn't until we had to wake him up at 11pm that he really got mad. He was not happy to be awake, and back in his coat.
But I have never been happier to see someone as Niko our driver who meet us when I stepped off the train. I am sure Brandon was happy too, because he helped with the bags. Artem continued to scream until we got in the car, and the minute I sat down in the car, he was out again, dead to the world. He was out the whole rest of the journey.
So we made it to our apartment. Niko helped us with where to get food and how to work everything. He is excellent help. And Artem woke up a very happy kid this morning and has been eating everything in site ever since. He doesn't love bath time, but he really enjoys the Aveeno lotion massage and cuddling that follows. And now he is fast asleep. Beautiful.

This is Artem and Papa at the passport office.

Napping at the train station.

This is Artem fighting his sleepiness. He just wouldn't let it go.

And he finally sleeps, the end of a long day.