Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just wanted to mention....

 really wanted to leave the last post up awhile but God is telling me to mention to you another family that is fundraising right now.... Jon and Angela are working towards adopting Jack and can read about them on their blog HERE.  Jon and Angela are having a Major giveaway with some really cool prizes like an Ipad and a Nexus 7 tablet. Please go check out the fundraiser all it takes is 10 dollars to be entered for a chance at one of the prizes.

Many years ago, at different times and in different cities, two incredibly special baby boys were born into the world. Both were precious and beautiful children from the moment they came into being and the world is, without a doubt, better for having them in it. “Jensen” was born first. He is said to be a quiet yet friendly child who is calm and loves people, animals, nature and crafts. While he lives with Cerebral Palsy, his condition does not define him. There is so much more to this amazing young man and his waiting family longs to bring him opportunities that he cannot get without a family. It has been relayed to his waiting family that Jensen is worried that a family will never come for him and he is afraid of reaching his next birthday without a family (which would mean that he would forever lose his chance at being adopted). While his family does not know when he will be told that they are coming for him, they pray his heart can be shielded from this stress and pain during this unnerving time. Born next was precious “Jack”. This little angel was born with an incredibly rare genetic condition called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) and, unfortunately, with the demands of this life-threatening illness, his needs are exceptionally difficult to manage in his country of origin. When this baby boy came into alternative care, it quickly became clear that, in an orphanage setting, it would be an uphill battle to provide him with what he needs to avoid the many dangers that are faced by children living with XP- most importantly cancer and a very premature death. While this boy has been loved by orphanage staff and missions teams who have visited him, he has waited for just under a decade for someone to claim him as their son and provide him with what all children need and deserve- love, family, stability, dedication, proper medical care and hope. While he does not yet know about his waiting family either, he should be getting to meet them soon as there are attempts being made to expedite the adoption process as much as possible because of his extreme medical needs. Jack is a spunky little fighter and his best chance at survival is coming home to his loving family.
The family that has stepped forward for both wonderful boys has said “Yes! We will absolutely do everything in our power to bring our sons-to-be home as quickly as possible and we will move heaven and earth to provide them with everything they need and deserve.” This family does not wish to be thought of as heroic or saintly though. While they realize that these children will now be given lives that they could not get in an orphanage or foster facility setting, they truly feel as if they are the blessed ones in this situation. They will now get to love on these sweet, compassionate and amazing young boys who both have very special spirits and very special places in the hearts of their family-members-to-be. No matter what battles they may face with the care of their new sons, this family knows that they will do all that is necessary for their care and well-being and that they will enjoy and make the most of however long it is that they have together. While Jack’s condition is life-threatening and comes, most typically, with a significantly reduced life span (especially in the case of those living untreated for prolonged periods of time as has Jack), the hope is that once this little guy gets home to his new country, new state, new family and new medical team, his health will be able to be properly assessed by professionals with expertise in his rare condition and that he will be put on a path that will allow him a long, healthy and happy life. Surely that is what we all hope for this child. While his condition cannot be cured, it can be managed better here in the states than it can be in an orphanage setting in his country of origin. While the waiting family originally committed to Jack alone, they knew that they wanted to welcome Jensen into the family as well as soon as they learned of him and they could not allow this sweet young man to age out never knowing the love and security of a family. People say that there are no guarantees in life but this family guarantees that they will love their new children to no end and that they will make sure they have what they need to be put in the best position possible.
While this family can provide for all of Jack’s and Jensen’s needs once they get home, they could very much use assistance in getting to the point where the boys actually can come home. Please search your heart and determine whether or not you can help them with the financial aspect of the adoption process. You will enjoy getting to know this family virtually and you will surely be pleased by reading more about their precious sons-and brothers-to-be. Hopefully you will agree to step alongside not only these beautiful young boys, but also their soon-to-be-dad (a wonderfully devoted husband, father and active duty military member), mom (a fiercely dedicated wife and mother as well as a skilled secondary school teacher), big brothers and baby sister (all of whom are thrilled to be welcoming new siblings into the family). Whether you keep this family and, most importantly, these children in your thoughts and prayers or you sow into the family’s adoption fund, you will be an immensely positive force in all of their lives. You will forever have this family’s heart and gratitude for helping them along in the adoption process and for caring about their new children. Blessings, peace and love to all of you!

This is the link to their FSP.   Please donate a little something to their account.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Attachment and Bonding

Bonding and Attachment and stuff
Now that we are home I wanted to mention a few things...

Attachment and bonding are a huge concern in adoption--especially with older children.  It's hard to believe that Vika and Lena are considered  "older" children but they are.  The first two years of development are crucial.  After that time, adoptions can encounter some additional challenges.

I have no idea how this change is going to affect them.  As far as I know and can tell, they have been well cared for. they have not suffered the neglect and/or abuse that a lot of kids in Eastern Europe have.  Based on what I saw, it seems that she has staff that care for them and interacted with them.  Even with those "advantages," they have not experienced a family or a mother. They know what that looks like or what her role in a family is.

They are going to have to learn what it is to be in a family.  They need to learn that their wants and needs will be provided for by their parents.  They have had multiple caregivers in their short lives.  They probably change with the shift, with vacations, with new employees, with transfers.  They have learned that they can get her needs met by any number of adults or by their own means.  Neither of these theories are healthy. They will have to learn that not all adults are equal in their lives.  They need to learn to trust their parents to meet their physical, emotional, medical, social, and spiritual needs.

In short, we need to bond.  We need time to learn to be a family together.  After all, I will be learning what it means right along with her.

There are a lot of people that will tell you that you need to "cocoon" your family for a long time upon returning to the US.  Like months!  In all honesty, I can't imagine doing that completely.  First, I will have to go back to work at the beginning of April so that just isn't possible.  Secondly, I think I'm going to really need all of you when I get back!

At this point, I am planning to do a modified version of cocooning and we'll see how it goes.  Here are some general guidelines that I'm planning to follow after researching and talking to other APs.  (I reserve the right to change the rules at any time depending on the girls' adjustment.)

*Please call, text, message, facebook us.  Ask how we are doing.  Invite us to play or eat.  I may say no depending on their mood or ours.  Don't be offended.  It will mean the world that you asked.

*Bring your children over to play.  They will be more comfortable here than at your house.  It will be less overwhelming for them.  I want them around other children.  That's what they're used to!  (And they need to learn some English.)

*Speak to them in English.

*Don't be surprised if we don't take you up on your offers to spend the night right away.  For a while, if they can't go, we won't be going.  I don't know how often we'll be at church or anything in the beginning.  Her adjustment is paramount.

*Please don't pick them up, feed them or ask to hug them. We know that sounds harsh but it's important.  we've never been a huge fan of forcing kids to hug people.  We think it unintentionally erodes important personal boundaries.  If they need to be picked up and comforted, we will do that.  If they choose to hug you, that's different.  It's very possible that they will have food issues related to orphanage life.  Please do get down on the floor and talk to them and play with them.  If they need something, please direct them to us so they learn that their parents meets their needs.

I know that some of you probably think I've completely lost my mind and I'm turning into one of those parents.  I'm really not.  If you want some research and blogs, I can point you in the right direction.  These things might seem either little to you or very extreme but I assure you, they are important.  They have undergone a HUGE life change and we want it to be as healthy and smooth for them as possible.

Please, if you have questions, leave me a comment or send me a message.  I hope I'm explaining myself well but I'd love to clarify things if I'm not.  Also, fellow adoptive parents, let me know what things I'm missing on my list!

Oh, and please don't think this means you can't welcome us back to the US.   Just know that we will be the only ones holding and hugging them.  You will all just have to settle for hugging us instead.  Also we wanted to mention that Vika has some severe delays...she is just perfect and we love her but we wanted you to be aware of some of her issues ahead of time.  When she gets mad she had not been taught to use her words and instead, tries to hit herself. This can be scary to see if you aren't expecting it. We are starting to restrain her from hitting herself and others but she is just now learning that it is not ok.  Also since she has never been encouraged to think or speak for herself she doesn't always talk. And she still plays with "baby" toys. While she is 7 years old she is really at a varying degree between 15 months to 5 years old.
she has already learned so much. WE appreciate your understanding if she starts to scream and hit her self and scream bloody murder she is ok we are working with her to help her understand` that it is ok to talk it out.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Snowy Kiev

So we are getting record snows here in Kiev. I was ready to get home. I miss Abby and Daylea and all the other 5th graders at school and I just wanted to sleep in my own bed. But all you spring breakers in the states prevented that and so we wont be able to fly out until Tuesday. But in the mean time Kiev is receiving record snowfalls and now we are wondering if we will fly out at all. Ukraine's prime minister  Nikolay Azarov has declared a state of Emergency.  But we know all about that in Missouri don't we??

Friday, March 22, 2013

First Days with the girls

The nannies got the girls ready. It was just before the train that we picked them up which was unfortunate since we didn't get to say goodnight to any of their groupa friends or see their beds that they slept in until now. We also were supposed to say goodbye to the director but as usual we were rushed out by our team.  So I didn't get a goodbye picture of them or with the nannies.  They assume that because they are blind that photos arent important to them....but they are cause photos tell their story to others.  The nannies said they looked cute and their were tears shed...  

Then we got on the train. The sound of the train scared Lena. But other than that they were great train riders!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

So....the cut off may not be 16 years old

So while hanging with a Ukrainian friend he informed me that the cutoff to adopt is not 16.....but instead 23.  Now this guy I was talking to said that after 16 you are not adopting said child but are instead a guardian to that child.  Makes me go hmmm could I be a  mom to a 17, 18, 19 year old.....I don't know....probably if the right one came along I could.   Definitely something to think about.  

So on another note, this is a church that was next to one of the many passport offices I was in this week
It had pretty golden spires but I could not fully capture them cause we were too close to the church.
However I was able to take pictures of the awesome fence with cross finials.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Busy days here in Krivoy Rog

Since I came back I have been running and running but not really going anywhere. I havent seen the girls for the last 2 days though we have been at the orphanage at least 10 times for documents. Today we got help from the orphanage lawyer to get paperwork from the passport office which is technically closed today.  It was a friend of a friend kind of thing! My friend Kim had to go home so in order to raise more money for the expenses that have come about from that we are having a pampered chef party online

As a Bonus!! Anyone who chooses to host their own Facebook or Cooking show with the consultant Desiree, she will donate a portion of your show back to this family as well! So many ways to help! Thank you for choosing to support this worthy cause!

How to order---
1- Visit
2- Click Shop Online Enter Amanda as the host