I have been meaning to write a blogpost for weeks now. I just could not seem to find the time. Sadly a lot of what I could have written is already fading from my memory, but I will do my best. I am sure I will ramble. Sorry.
Our adoption experience was overall very good. We did miss our children back home a lot, but overall it went well. We had some heartbreak with the first set of girls saying no, and I still pray for them and miss them, but the Lord led us to our daughters and I am very grateful for that.
The weather while we were in Ukraine was much better than I had expected. In fact, I had been expecting to be freezing almost the whole time we were there but the temperatures were nice enough that I could have walked around without a jacket on most days (partly because we were walking a lot, and fast most of the time). A few days before we left we did see some snow flakes out the window of our 15th floor apartment, but they did not reach the ground. We did not see really any snow until the morning we left, and at that it was very little and seemed to be concentrated around the area of the airport.
The flights were long but went very well. For having never been on an airplane before, both girls did extremely well. There was some lack of patience by the time we landed in Denver, and some crankyness as we were descending into Fresno, but overall I was pleasantly surprised out how well it all went. No luggage was lost. No flights were missed. We were blessed.
I must add that landing in Denver was a blessing. Going through immigration there did not take much time at all. Everyone was very helpful and friendly, and there were only a few people in the "secondary" area with us. One person who was being interviewed gave us some entertainment. The officer was questioning him on his recent trips to the US and such and asked where he worked. The man said something that was interpreted as "aeronautical engineer" so the officer stated what he thought the man said by saying something like "so you build Mig jets" to which the man replied "no." After some going back and forth the issue was cleared up. The officer stated something like "so you don't build fighter jets, you design machinery for a dairy operation." Just a bit different there, don't you think?
To back track a little, there are several things that we found out after the fact that showed God's hand in the adoption process.
We were concerned that during court we would be asked about the home are living in and about homeschooling. We are sort of renting the home we are in right now and were told right before the day of court that renting in frowned on in Ukraine and that the judge may decide against us adopting because of it. The thought is, as I understand it, that renting is one step above being homeless. Homeschooling is also looked down upon as we were told and that it could sway the judges decision against us. We prayed and the Lord protected. No questions on either count were ever asked during court.
We found that there were some minor errors in the court decree that could have stopped us from getting birth certificates, but it ended up not being a problem. I am glad our facilitator did not tell us about the problem until after we had the documents done. Rather than just being a bit bored while waiting for the certificates, we would have been stressed. I would rather be bored :)
We are all adjusting to being a family. Things are going very well and Sheri and I are so very blessed by our children. We are tired for sure and sometimes run out of ideas on how to handle this thing we call parenting, but we are blessed.
One of our girls is having a harder time adjusting to having parents who tell her what to do. I believe a lot can be attributed to expectations and thinking she is on a peer level with us. I am sure she had dreamed what her family would be like, probably with some unrealistic expectations and since we are not meeting those, we have seen some behavioral problems. Nothing extremely bad, but enough to make a person very tired at the end of the day. We continue to seek the Lord's wisdom on parenting and know that we will never be the perfect parents, but we will not keep trying.
Christmas went very well. I was able to take the whole week off between Christmas and New Years which was fortunate because I spent a good deal of time troubleshooting problems with our van. It seems to be running fine now and we pray it will continue to do so.
I found myself almost disgusted with how much stuff we have. After truly seeing how people in other countries live and how little they have, I am feeling very spoiled. I feel the need to get rid of a lot of things. I am sure there will be some serious clearing out sometime soon. I miss Ukraine already. It grew on me quite a bit in the 8 weeks we were there. Perhaps someday we will go back.
I have finally stopped trying to unlock and lock doors with three turns of the key. I think every door we had a key to in Ukraine required three turns to fully lock and unlock the door.
Our boys grew so much while we were gone, especially our oldest two. I am not kidding when I say that they each grew 3 inches (or more)!
We have continued to connect with the friends we met in Ukraine either in person or through the adoption community. Our girls have been able to Skype with friends that were adopted a few years ago and now live in Texas. It has been great for them to reconnect and we even have the benefit of some translation (thank you!)
I am sure that there is more to say, but I cannot think of it right now. I will post more if something comes to mind.
Before I push "publish" on this, I want to give praise and thanks to our Lord for His leading, provision, grace and mercy in not only this adoption, but in every thing. Thank you Jesus.