Monday, October 31, 2011

2 Happy Boys.

We made the 1-hour, uphill walk from the orphanage to our apartments today...

To justify this meal at the Golden Arches.

After stuffing ourselves, we thought we should have probably made another lap!  We are realizing how much our stomach's have shrunk since being over here, we were all belly up and ready for a nap after this lunch break.

We ordered a Happy Meal for Blake, since tomorrow is his birthday.  Jerad ate the meal (after already eating his Double Quarter Pounder meal with a McFlurry) and we saved the box and toy inside to give him with his other gifts tomorrow.  It was a win-win situation for both boys!

Blake was really happy today.  He was jabbering up a storm and even gave out a few kisses and hugs.  We are really starting to see him blossom.  We have been visiting him nearly 2 times a day for a week and a half now and this week seems to be a real turning point in our relationship with him.  I love seeing him come alive more and more each visit.  You will see that based on his facial expressions in these photos!

I'm going to knock this one over for sure!
Whoa! I told you so.
He was really telling us something serious here...if only I knew what he was trying to say.

Hide the ball..

Where's the ball?
I did it! (this is kind of the hand motions Jerad did toward our taxi driver when he mistakenly signed he loved him, instead of we are adopting a child)
He was already in his PJ's for our afternoon visit.

Question: 'when do I get my cookie?'

When are you going to bust me out of here?
So determined to walk.

This is the first night we really got him giggling, and of course, we left the video camera at our apartment.  Blake loved Jerad sneaking up and tickling him..he couldn't roll away fast enough to escape his daddy's tickles.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Big Week

This week marks a big one in many ways.

We experienced our first time-change for this month last night here.  We fell back an hour, so today has seemed like the longest day E.V.E.R.  Then next week we will gain another hour of sleep when we are back in the States...kind of crazy!

Blake turns 2, Tuesday, Nov. 1st and we get to be there to celebrate with him!  I think the biggest excitement behind the party will be that it should be his last birthday in an orphanage!!!  I bought balloons and party hats for the kids in his groupa (I'm sure the nanny's will be overjoyed to see us coming with that...note the sarcasm)  I can't wait to spend this day with him and for the many birthdays to come with all of us at home!

Second, Sarah and Shawn have court Wednesday to petition to be Mila's parents.  Be praying for favor from the judge and the court in this decision toward her adoption.  Pray that the Holy Spirit instill peace on both of them as they make this petition and as they make their way back to Pennsylvania for the 10-day wait.  I know this has been a hard decision for them to make because of Mila's fragile condition.  Please pray for the Holy Spirit's comfort and healing hand over Mila's little body while they are away.  God brought them to this little gal in an amazing way so I know He has big plans for baby Mila, so pray that His will be done and her life can be changed with love and care from the Basile family.

Third, we have court this Friday.  We will be petitioning the court to allow Jerad and I to be named Blake's parents.  We will most likely go through a questioning period where they will ask us why we want to adopt him, if we understand his diagnosis of Down Syndrome and if we can provide the healthcare needs he'll need during his life, if we can provide financially for him as well as for our other children, etc.  There may be more questions similar to this or there may be less, just not sure until we get in there.  We will also ask to change his name (which we will disclose after court), and for our name's to be put on his birth certificate.  So again, like the Basile's, pray for the Holy Spirit to instill a peace and clarity of thought upon us as we make our requests; pray for the people of this country to realize that children with special needs are created by God's hands and are 'just as precious in his sight," and for His presence to be felt by all involved in our adoption.  We want nothing more than to glorify God through this journey, like we have said from the beginning. 

Finally, Jerad and I will be flying back to Kansas Sunday to be home for 10-Days before I return to bring Blake home for good.  We are anxious to see our girl's and spend some time with them before our family expands by 2 busy, little feet! :)

We went outside for the first time today, but he was so bundled up he couldn't move!


His little hat kept creeping down over his eyes.
Only the 2nd day we have seen the sun, and part of a sunset.

We made imaginary snow and he loved when Jerad would drop it down over his face.

We played this for a long time...and he kept raising his hands up for more!

First experience with crayons.

Tasted them.

He took the crayons out and put them back in the crayon box over and over again.  Great OT skill practice! :)

Then he was fascinated by the texture and taste of a rug strand from his playroom.

Took a ride on the Princess bicycle, he wasn't quite sure what to think about it.  His sister's will be jealous of this bicycle for sure!  Jerad wasn't thrilled that this was the only option for him to ride. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 15

 We have decided to visit Blake only once today and once tomorrow.  We feel like he is getting worn down from all this one-on-one attention and is woken up from his naps when we arrive each visit, so we want to make sure he gets rested up and stays healthy.  He just hasn't seemed himself the past few days and I know he is exhausted.  We are learning each visit more about his little personality.  We forget he receives very limited physical touch so for us to smother him in kisses and squeezes and tickles is a little overwhelming.  I think he is getting overstimulated by us so we decided to back off at last night's visit and just let him play and dictate when he wanted touch.  I think it helped.  He entertained himself very well, obviously.  And he would scoot on his little bottom over to one of us when he wanted assistance or wanted to sit on our laps.  So we took that approach again at this morning's visit and he seemed to be in a better mood and not so irritated.  I think the next few months are going to be a lot of trial and error on our part in learning about his tendencies, anxiety, fears, abilities, and understanding.  I ask for prayer in that area as it may be a trying time for all of us as he builds trust in Jerad and I as his parents. 

He is really taking to his daddy, he wanted him to carry him back to his groupa today, instead of me!  He loves to be lifted up in the air more now, the first day he hated it.  He likes for Jerad to play hide and seek with him.  He loves to throw the ball so his daddy has to get fetch it.  He loves rubbing his palm on Jerad's whiskers...he will hold his hand up to his face whenever Jerad gets near him.  It's pretty sweet to watch their relationship grow. 

Here are some videos I took last night of Blake playing.  We had UNO night at Sarah and Shawn's after our afternoon visit, so I didn't get them uploaded in time to post yesterday.  And in case you are wondering I lost at UNO... :)

We got out some paper and a pen to trace his foot so we can better guess a shoe size...and he LOVED pretending to write with it.  Looks like we'll be picking up some crayons and paper today at the market.

I love this picture.  He scoots on his behind everywhere he goes.
We set up an obstacle course for him to go through and this was his favorite part, rolling on the cylinder. 

He was climbing all over this big blue bunny today for some reason.  Never cared about it before.

Trains...need I say more?

He can get to anything...looks like I may have to move things up one shelf higher before he comes home.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Matthew 10

I have been drawn to the book of Matthew since arriving here in this country, especially Chapter 10.  I will explain more about that reason later on, but today as I was reading through it my attention was brought to some different passages.  And then my reading was further reinforced after reading a chapter out of the book, "Radical", by David Platz. 

Specifically, chapters 6-8...Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.  As you go, preach this message: "The kingdom of Heaven is near."  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons...freely you have received, freely give. 

     Jesus' disciples were given this order.  This passage doesn't describe anything anyone in their right mind would want to seek out and do.  It sounds dirty, risky, dangerous, unhealthy, inconvenient, unsafe, scary...It doesn't describe any type of immediately rewarding service.  What spoke to me in this passage is that I feel very much like this adoption and where we are at right now and what we are doing is what I would call 'less than glorious.'  It is easy to get caught up in all the smiling pictures of Blake, the emotions of us 'saving him', the idea that we are doing something good--a euphoric sense.

Which that is great and all.  But, there is so much more.  And we all know that.  Which would explain why there are so many orphans...right?  We would much rather, myself included, be called to work that is convenient, less risky, close to home, less taxing, less time consuming, less sacrificing, less involved.  But what I see here is that God doesn't call us to that, nor does He promise it will be any of these things.  But He does promise that the reward is great to those that seek a life of following Christ, which may involve mingling with lepers, providing medical care to those with HIV, adopting children in foreign countries with many health and behavioral issues, serving meals at homeless shelters, moving to an inner city to do up our American dream comforts.   

I can say all this, because that was me not too long ago.  That was me.

Each day that we step foot into Blake's orphanage I pray that God will continue to change me.  Here I am Lord, use me.

In the door we go, and I am met by joyful, happy, curious children asking "Mama?"  "Papa?"  Their hopeful eyes and pleas just rip down into my soul.  They squeeze my legs, pull on my hands all in an effort to get my attention like they are pleading their case, at a tryout, vying for my affection in any way they can--in hopes to be chosen.  I give as many hugs, kisses, squeezes, and smiles as I can in an attempt to be their mommy for a brief moment, for fear that may be their only glimpse of that relationship.

I ask, "How can this be, Lord? Why?"

I do know we live in a fallen, sinful world and this is part of the repercussions.  But what I also know is that many of us are not "going to the lost sheep."  We are not answering the call.  We would prefer to live comfortably, without faith, like there is no God.  We wouldn't proclaim it loudly from the streets because we would look crazy...but the way we live our lives screams it. 

You may say, "I will never be called to do something like Jesus' disciples, something so dangerous, so risky...I couldn't do that. I can't give up all these comforts and conveniences, that is just not for me."

Be careful. These are the people Christ calls...

You might just find yourself in another country, surrounded by lost people, living in dire conditions, with few amenities, having your heart broken by the cries of the orphans.

**Quick update: We have court Friday, Nov. 4th at 11:30 am. Pray that everyone shows up and the judge is favorable toward our adoption of Blake. This is a week later than we were originally told so we will be in this country a week longer than planned, but we are confident this is God's will and timing for us.  After court Jerad and I both will be returning home for the 10-day wait so Jerad can return to work ASAP and I can squeeze and love on the girls.  I will return to Blake's country the following week for our Gotcha Trip!! 


Daddy is so funny!
I'm going to get you!!
Let's play a game of "hit mommy with the rings!"
Starting to like this trick now!
Another picture?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Morning run in Eastern Europe

  • Jerad and I went for our first morning run since being here.  He went 5 minutes and I made it about 30 minutes.  It felt so GOOD to be out to stretch my lungs and legs.  Plus everything frosted over last night so the leaves were falling off the trees and the sun was glistening off of the was quite heavenly.  
  • We talked to Leah last night and told her we would go shopping today for some souvenirs for Autum and her.  We asked if she had any ideas/suggestions...she said she wanted some of those 'blue shoe coverings' we wear in all our pictures at the orphanage!!  Haha, Jerad said we could do that for sure! :)
  • We have eaten chicken in some type of form for the past 7 days.  Jerad is afraid he's going to start sprouting feathers!
  • I am beginning to realize why we had kids.  Jerad needs someone to pester and I realized the girl's take that attention off of me.  Now that they aren't here, I'm receiving the brunt end of his need to irritate people.  If he comes up behind me and sticks his fingers in my ribs one more time...I've already threatened that he and Shawn are going to start bunking together if he continues on... :)
  •  We finally found a type of cheese that we like...and have almost eaten the whole chunk.
  • We are realizing that a radiator is fantastic at drying clothes.  We could probably go without drying our clothes all the time at home, I'm actually starting to get used to hanging them to dry. 
  • I discovered the best chocolate and coconut candy bar.  It is crunchy deliciousness!
  • We are one day closer to finding out when all of our court dates are. 
  • We were followed all around the grocery store/market by the security guard.  They are everywhere in these stores.

So the girls will get blue shoe covers and their very own Matroyshka dolls.

Here are some snapshots of our morning visit!
He is starting to throw fits now when we don't give him anymore's his little sad face
Then a quick redirecting and he's happy again!
This is how he sits 'comfortably' to play! Ha!

Where's the ball??