Saturday, April 26, 2014

We're home!

Seeing as we've been home over a week, maybe it's time to share some coming home pictures? Yes I thought so. Exhausted isn't quite the word for how jet lag is still hitting us (it's a killer!). I will say it's been 100% incredible to have Tavin home. It's just crazy to see him and know it's us!! Still totally surreal. 

After a month in ukraine away from our two older sons it was so incredible to walk into the airport and see them, and touch their faces and feel their arms around our necks. I hadn't let myself be very home sick while we were gone and didn't realize how home sick I was till we were headed back. 

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our arrival. 

It meant so much to look around and see our friends who had traveled to the airport. They have each been incredibly supportive and encouraging as have so many others who were there in spirit but couldn't make our arrival. We had hoped to fly directly into our home town, but booking the night before it wasn't an option. 

Tucker and Maddox are doing so well with their little brother. They are so sweet to him...They both stop all the time to hug and kiss him, or rub his head when they walk by, bring him toys, etc. All our fears about them adjusting have proved to be unfounded. Tavin has been doing great. Our days are not without challenges but it's really going so much better than we anticipated! True attachment and bonding will take months for him, but I have to say he feels 100% ours already. 

We've been spending a lot of time outside. Here are some pics since we are home. I'll try to post more soon!

Brother hugs...
Playing with water..he can so this for hours!
Experiencing bubbles..
Doing new tricks...
Being adorable...

Getting ice cream...
Being silly...

First Easter..

What a blessing he is to us!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Last night we got to bust out Tavin from the orphanage and it was a beautiful thing!

His nannies were so sweet, tearing up as they said goodbye and telling us many things we couldn't understand. 

Getting him dressed in the clothes we brought for him:

Some of his little room mates saying goodbye...they are each so sweet. I pray a family finds them soon. 

Then after giving the nannies chocolate and flowers and the permission slip to take him out..

we said final goodbyes as they kissed his cheeks, and wished us well. Yes I did cry. One last pic in front of his orphanage....

and we walked out the gate for the last time, holding our son. I can't explain the emotions at that point! 

He was wide eyed for the ride to the hotel...

Isn't he so handsome??

Then we got to give his a bath and he loved it! Unfortunately the tub didn't want to hold water so it was a short one. He's gonna love splashing at home!

We had a little time to snuggle before going to the train station. Those little moments are the sweetest. 

He did great on the train and fell asleep after about at hour. (Our train left at 10:00pm). He slept through the night, despite the swaying, grinding and screeching of the wheels, and the fact that he and I shared opposite ends of a bench/bed. 

Today we had our first embassy appt and clinical, tomorrow we should be able to wrap them up and be ready to head home mid week!

It's just an amazing thing to look over and see him WITH us! We couldn't have done it without you all. Thank you!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our last visit at the orphanage

Because he's so cute and I can't help myself here are a few pics to enjoy of our newest little guy. 

Those were from our LAST visit in the orphanage this morning!!! The next time we walk through that door tonight we will walk out with Tavin forever!

Today we showed his nanny a photo book we had brought with pictures of our home, vacation, the boys, etc. She teared up and sniffled and made motion over her heart of her heart pumping, asked if we were taking him today, kissed Tavin and sighed and talked to him. It must be very bittersweet for them to say goodbye but they are obviously so happy for him to have a family. The nannies here are very kind to the answer to many prayers! Definitely not the norm at many orphanages here in Eastern Europe. She's on the left here:

Then I asked if I could take pictures of his crib. I had been hoping all along to get to see his crib but wasn't sure how they would feel about it. She took me in and plopped him in his crib adding a pillow and toys. 

He wasn't excited about it and immediately started shaking his head, I imagine he's had too much time in there. I hadn't meant for them to put him in but with the language barrier I was just glad they let me take pics in the groupa. And it was lunch time so I knew they would take him right back out to feed him. 

Then they wanted to show how he pulls up and stands in his crib. 

There are 7 cribs in his room with 6 other sweet little ones spending too much time in there. 

Then we said goodbye and walked out the gates for the last time by ourselves.

4 hours from now he will join us forever. We can't wait!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A longer update from court day

Since my post Wednesday was so short, I wanted to share more about court day.

We arrived at court at 9:45 and were prepped by Marina, our regional facilitator team member. Always look at the judge when answering anyone's questions, don't cross your legs when sitting, and such. She wasn't sure if he would be in a good mood because of some new law in Kiev the day before that may jeopardize all the head judges positions. 

The court house

My hands were clammy, back was sweaty and mouth was dry waiting for the judge, two witnesses, prosecutor, social worker and two court reporters/transcribers (what do you call those people??). They filed in and I plastered on a smile. Steve was, of course, cool as a cucumber. The judge turned out to be pleasant and smiled throughout the proceedings. He looked every bit a judge though. He read various documents and statements, and asked us each questions, although not nearly as many as we were prepared to answer. Next thing we knew the prosecutor and social worker were both recommending a favorable ruling, which they felt was in the best interests of the child, and the judge asked us to stand again and started to read the favorable ruling. It was all I could do to hold back the tears! When he declared Steve "father" and I "mother" the judge took the time to look at each of us as he said it. Then it was done! We were in and out in 30 minutes, and he was finally ours!

Unfortunately we didn't ask soon enough for a picture with the judge and missed our chance. Here we are outside the courthouse. Proud new parents!

Then we were off running for the rest of the day. First stop was his birth city which lucky for us was only about a 40 minute drive, for a new birth certificate. On the way we were pulled over by a cop who looked under the hood to make sure our drivers vehicle wasn't stolen...??? Apparently because it was old?? Wow that would never fly at home!

The hall for Vital Records-so lovely!

We had a little time to walk around while we waited for the new certificate. It had the feel of a small town/large village, with a wide Main Street that had a lovely walking path down the center. School kids were getting out and playing in the parking lots and play grounds. 

Strange to think Tavin could have grown up here. The surrounding village had a quaint, though dirty, feel to it, with brightly painted fences and gates leading to tiny yards, and gardens with chickens stretching for food. White and pink flowering fruit trees dotted the landscape and tall narrow birch trees stood like tall sentinels. Too bad I couldn't get better pictures from the window.

The rest of the afternoon was spent running around getting things notarized, copied, etc. then we took Tavin out of the orphanage to get his passport picture taken. Ironic that the nannies bundled him every single day we had taken him outside in multiple layers, including a snowsuit, scarf and hat, regardless of whether it was 40 degrees or 70, but the one day we were taking him off the grounds, they handed him to us without any outerwear. It was very warm, so I didn't mind, but still funny. We had to make a stop at the bank on the way and I was approached by an old babushka who scolded me soundly in Russian, obviously for under dressing my son. I picked up the word "hooludno" over and over which is "cold". Marina said she was telling me there was a cold wind. Hilarious seeing as it was every bit of 65 and he had been sweating in the car with the window open!! 

This was his expression the whole time-wide eyes and mouth. Taking it all in. 

The whole time we had him out for the passport picture he didn't make a sound. Not even a tiny peep. He also didn't stop twisting and turning every which way. It seems when he is overwhelmed he goes silent. 

We went to the train station last and got tickets for Sunday night to head back to the capital and wrap up the last few days in country. 

We said goodbye to Marina. She was fantastic in every way, and I know everything went so smoothly because of her hard work, planning and prep. We couldn't be happier with our entire facilitation team!

That's the train station behind us where we will be headed tonight with Tavin! It's another overnight train-please say a prayer that we all get some sleep on it! The next few days will be very busy and then we can head home! We can't wait to have our whole family of 5 together!