Monday, March 24, 2008

One of those days...

Today was one of the days where there are lots of things to get done, and by the end of the day I'm ready to relax, let Mike take care of the kids, and go read a book. I'd even sit in the laundry closet and monitor loads while I read. And no one would find me :)

Unfortunately, it's also Monday, which means that Mike has already left for school and won't be home until 11pm. So no break for me! I am sitting here enjoying a great dinner of pulled pork, garlic bread, french fries, and macaroni and cheese, though. So I can't complain!

A great friend of mine, Chris, has set up for herself and others to bring us meals 2 or 3 times a week. That's been a HUGE blessing to us- especially on nights like tonight where although it's only ME eating... I'm not sure what I'd be eating if Dan and Debbie hadn't brought me food. Maybe some chicken nuggets which is what the kids had. But after a long day, this Sonny's dinner is wonderful!

Just this evening I've had 3 kids crying at once and the 4th vying for attention. None of this is actually because I cleaned today, since the kids came with me to each room and Kristopher even vacuumed next to me. They were all very much a part of it all. No, it's one of those things where the sun and moon line up and the planets part and everyone goes wild for about 5 minutes. Right when the phone rings.

Anyway, I've posted again and again at how easy the kids are and how great things are going, so I suppose it was time for a "this 3 hours was very difficult!" post from me! In the great scheme of things the kids all calmed down, they're playing together and I'm getting a full meal, so life is good once again!

Emma's Heart Schedule

Consult and intake with new cardiology group- Monday, April 7th 8:45am
-- we will try to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Tampa on Sunday night since it's a 3 hr drive. Not sure which kids are coming/staying home as of yet.

Tenative expectancy for heart cath procedure- Thursday, April 10th

Surgery will likely be scheduled quickly after the cath, we will know more Monday at the consult. It sounds like it's a possibility even for Friday or the following Monday, but likely within the same "trip" over there. Monday they should give us a more solid time frame.

PLEASE PRAY that Emma's heart is DIVINELY prepared for surgery and that this will be what she needs to grow and flourish as the child of God we know she is. As we walk in to this we still have the lingering cloud that the heart cath could show there is no way to fix her heart. We are praying against fear and doubt, but most of all that her little heart and lungs are functioning in a way that surgery is possible. Her pulmonary hypertension MUST BE ABLE TO BE REDUCED for them to do surgery, and the cath will determine if that is a possibility. Please pray!!

To do today

I'm not very far yet!

X -shower, dress, and make myself generally presentable
X -breakfast x4
X -baths x4
X -clean clothes x4
X -call cardiologists in St. Pete at 9am
X -Bria's OT 10am (at home)
X -call children's hospital to schedule bloodwork (Micah and Bria)
X -call local hospital to schedule x-rays (Emma and Micah)
X -put away china from Easter
X -clean up "Easter" which is all over my living room
X -resize dining room table
X -vacuum (once I find the floors)
X -change sheets x3 (one poopy mess yesterday means she doesn't need clean ones again yet! See? blessings in disguise!)
-do ADULT laundry
-pack away clothes that don't fit the kids
X -get the basics: soy formula, size 2 diapers, baby food, whole milk, drinks, instant breakfast powder, and the finishings for punch for tomorrow
X -get Easter pic's off the camera and at least on the computer, if not posted!
X -dishes, dishes, dishes... can't forget the dishes...
X -about 10 more diaper changes, 4 more sets of bottles, 2 more meals, 2 sets of medicine, and lots of straightening up
X -the most important part... PLAY :) Maybe some Playdough, stringing pasta, and playtime in the Florida room.
X -and the time I can actually get most of this stuff done? NAP TIME!

Updated at 6:00 :) I think we made it! Still 2 things but they're not top priority. Plus, there's still 6 hours left in the day (and yes, Micah intends to use ALL 6) Thanks Mom for the groceries!

Friday, March 21, 2008

March 21st... 3-21... Trisomy 21... Down syndrome

Today is World Down Syndrome Day! Get it? March 21st is written as 3-21 and Down syndrome is characterized by three of the 21st chromosome :) Trisomy 21 :)

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

We spent the day first at the doctor, then home for lunch and naps. Next was Target to help out the Easter bunny (just the two little ones and I- Mike kept the big kids at home!), to Publix for a bit of food and to order a cake for Tuesday, and finally home for dinner (Publix subs :) ) and bed. A busy day but it was a great one because today Mike was home as well.

Today is not just a day like all others, and in fact it feels a little weird to post a 'celebrate' post today. Today is Good Friday. The day that my Savior, Jesus Christ, took my sins on His shoulders and was crucified. The day that He died to overcome death, hell, and the grave. The day of darkness and mourning.

But then... the mourning doesn't last long, because this weekend is the celebration of LIFE and of the forgiveness of sins that Jesus provided for us all.

Many people have a difficult time with the idea of "worthiness". That's one of the best parts though. We don't have to be worthy. In fact, NONE of us are. No matter how many good things we do or how many bad things we've done, Jesus paid the price for us all. Did you know that He loves us each so much that He would have died on the cross if even just YOU would come to believe? If you were the only one, EVER, to accept His forgiveness He would have died. I know I'm not worthy. Far, far, from it. But I have humbled myself, prayed, and accepted the gift that is offerred. Forgiveness. Eternal life. A relationship with God. There's nothing like it!

I want to say this here, too. I don't know why, or for who, but I feel like I need to say it. I realize that our path in life is very different from many others. So different from some that we've had comments that "you must be angels" and "you've put in your good works!" and the list goes on. But what we are doing is simply listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and leaving our lives open for Him to work. We're not angels. FAR from it. Also, our life isn't about "doing good". It's not about what we can accomplish or what things we can do to earn points. Nothing we do here on Earth will earn our way in with the Father. It's simply whether we believe in the One who died on the cross- today- that He was raised from the dead and conquered death. He provided forgiveness for all who believe in Him.

Do you believe? There is no middle ground. Either Jesus was real and is who he says he is... or he's a fake. Completely nuts. That's the way it works when he claimed to be god. He either IS, or he's loony. And you've got to make that decision.

Micah's first pediatrician appointment

One more down! Micah saw Dr. Vargus today. She really is a nice woman and I'll stuck with her as the kids' primary physician. Micah was around 11-12 lbs when we first brought him home and :) :) He was 13lbs 3 oz today! YAY! That means that the soy is doing some good, that he's going to eventually not look emaciated, and that we're not immediately thinking any measures like a g-tube (although it's been discussed). We'll see how he does for a little while and if he doesn't keep gaining we'll have to look into that again. He really seems to have a healthy appetite and is eating between 4-6oz at a sitting, about every 3 hours (skips one feeding during the night) so about 35 oz/day. Not too bad for a little guy! (Emma's drinking 8-10 at a time but sleeps through the night so about 45 oz/day).

Micah got his first set of vaccines to catch him up. It sounds like they're going to finish up his vaccines and then do titers at the end to make sure he's had enough immunizations after they 'should be' complete. At least I think that's the plan :)

We have an order for bloodwork for him to do a CBC and thyroid screening. She went ahead and gave it to me for Arnold Palmer since I just got Brianna's re-ordered for there and that way we can just do them together. Plus she expects due to his size and malnourishment he'll likely be difficult to get a blood draw from as well.

I also asked for the AAI screening to be done for Emma and she agreed that it's a good idea to do now. She gave me those orders as she wrote up the orders for Micah's x-rays... He has an unusual curviture of the spine. When he's sitting up you can tell his lower back vertebrae are sticking out really far but I just thought it was because he's all skin and bones. Dr. Vargus took a second look. I laid him on his tummy on the table and sure enough, his lower back still bends 'up' instead of down when he's laying down. Curviture is normal, but it should be going the other direction. A little weird :) So we'll do a spinal x-ray on him and take a look at his neck just because he'll already be there. I think he's WAY too small to be able to tell anything, but... Dr. Vargus wants a look so we'll do it.

We also got referrals to a slew of specialists for him. Orthotist for his back, urologist because he is uncircumcised and will need to be, GI doctor because of his size and prior digestion issues, ENT for regular 'maintenance' of his ears, opthalmologist because he has eye issues on his chart. I can't think of anything else.

All in all we ended up with 3 vaccine shots, 2 blood draw orders (M and B), 2 x-ray orders (E and M), and a follow up for Micah for his next set of vaccines on 4/15- which is a double appointment as well because Brianna's set to go back that same time as well for her thyroid results and weight check. Also a nice little note will be sent to Early Steps to let them know that he does, indeed, have Down syndrome :). At least we're getting multiple things done at once!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Isn't it great

When you realize that the trip you DIDN'T make wasn't actually necessary anyway? I didn't go get Brianna's blood draw orders yesterday, but then I got home from dropping K and Bria off at the church this morning and I have an answering machine message reminding me about Micah's appointment tomorrow. DUH! I don't have to drive 20 min down to the doctor's office today... I'll be there tomorrow anyway!

Now we're off to Merritt Island to bring Mike's car to the shop. Transmission needs to be rebuilt. Just what we needed, right? Luckily my parents have an extra car and offered to loan it to him to get back and forth to work for the next few days while his car is out of commission. That way I still have the van to make it to the kids' appointments and church drop-off and pick up.

Micah's been a little fussier today but seems nice and calm now that I turned the fan on. Mesmerizing! He's been eating well and not spitting up much at all! I'm hopeful that he will start packing on the pounds soon now that he has a steady diet that he can keep down.

A question for those that had 'skinny kids' on soy... I use Pediasure for Emma's milk to up the calories. Anything like that I can add to Micah's? The pediasure is a milk-based product (hmm... I think, maybe I should look again?). Anyway, I was curious about soy based or non-milk-based drinks to fatten my little man up :) We are already doing rice cereal and stage 2 baby food in his milk.

Emma... oh Emma. She is happily swinging in the doorway of my laundry room right now! She's pretty much happy no matter what except when she's frustrated about food. The wrong taste, the wrong time, or the wrong temperature and she gets really upset. Honestly it's not that often because I've figured her out pretty well by now :) The swing she's in is really neat though! It fits in the doorway and holds up to 175lbs! Yep, REALLY! Of course the actual swing I put in it is for toddlers, but there are others and the door jamb thingy holds that weight. She LOVES swinging and K and Bria have enjoyed it too :) My mom's friend brought it over to us. She has a child with disabilities that has outgrown it so she passed it along to us. We Love it, THANK YOU!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just in case you were woondering

No, I didn't pick up the prescription OR the blood draw orders today. Didn't walk out my front door even. In fact, I didn't even get the mail. Maybe I WILL do that :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Have I mentioned how much I hate blood draws?

Today I attempted to take both the girls for bloodwork. Mike kept Micah, K was at the church still, my mom came with me. It should be pretty easy: hold child, stick arm, draw blood, scream, kiss it, go home.

But not in my family. No, especially not with two "Cardiac kids" as they so lovingly are called by the workers. Cardiac kids are a hard stick. So hard, in fact, that after two attempts (once digging until Momma put a stop to that!) they still didn't get a single drop from Brianna. No go there. Then on Emma they got it started but only got enough for about 3 of the 8 tests she needs done. Not that she HAD to have them all done at once, but they all need to be done! We opted for the Tetanus Titer (to find out if she's got the antibodies or not) and the CBC. That will at least give us something to go on. I hope the rest of hers can wait until preop for her surgery. The Tetanus was the biggest one we needed so she can be immunized before surgery if she's not already.

I have no idea what we're going to do for Brianna. I called the office and asked if we could get orders for the local children's hospital where they have a cardiac ward. No word back. Looks like I'll call them again tomorrow. In the mean time both my girls have awful bruises- Emma especially- and they still need more tests :(

Brianna's up-to

Brianna's been growing and changing so quickly lately! We had her Early Steps annual evaluation today and the amount of things we could say "yes" to was amazing! She is pulling to a stand like a pro and beginning to walk holding on with just one hand. She is getting really good at climbing up on things too!

An example? Today at the church there was a little slide with two steps leading up to it. She got right up! Then when she got to the top of course she didn't want to get down :) And... according to the code of the baby... she refused to do it again when her PT arrived about 5 minutes later!

Brianna is also signing up a storm! She had a good 25 signs before I left but I've seen so many new ones since coming home! She's got to have at least 35 if not more now. YAY BRIA!

Today in the car Brianna had a little Elmo doll and Emma had a baby doll. Some how (gee, I don't know how it happened...) Brianna ended up with both toys when we hadn't even left our street yet. After my attempts at coaxing her to give one of them to Emma she brushed her hand across the back of her head (top to bottom) then put her hand in front of her mouth (palm out) and did something that looks like someone blabbing. I thought "that's weird" but when I told her again to give one to Emma she did it again! Three times! Is she really telling me off in sign language?? I guess I need to get on the ball and start learning her signs! LOL


When asked about his new family:
"I have two sisters and a brother. One sister scoots and one lays"

Telling his teachers something about his new siblings:
"Micah's the cute one" ("yes, and what about Emma?") "she's just pretty"

When introducing the kids to someone new (one of his favorite things to do, by the way!):
"This one's Emma Hope Cornish and that one's Micah Daniel Cornish. Except he doesn't look like Micah any more because he had a bath."

After being reminded that the doll house isn't his and he can't tell Brianna to go away:
"but she's sharing with me and she's bothering me at the same time!"

His response when being told he was staying with grandparents instead of going to the doctor's office:
"That's ok, I'll play with them when we get back and grandma can just give me cookies while you're gone"

When told it is bedtime:
"But Mom, I didn't get to play with Emma yet and I'm really going to miss her!"

I love this little man. He is such a big helper and he always keeps me laughing. Not only that, but he has a heart of gold.

This girl gets around!

Tonight as we sat down for dinner I laid Emma on the floor with this piano thingy that she's taken to playing with. I'm actually impressed because within about 5 minutes she figured out that she needed to push the buttons to make it play the next piece of the song :) Considering the kid never had a toy until a few days ago, this is a great stride already!

Anyway, we sit down to eat and Emma's on the floor, Micah's in the swing on HIGH because he's cranky, and we have the two "big kids" at the table. Then I hear the swing sound like it 'studdered'. It didn't rock in sequence. I turn around in my chair to discover that litte Miss Emma has turned around 180 and scooted herself- on her BACK- over to the swing. About 10 feet! She then grabbed Micah's toes for a minute and was trying hard to get ahold of them again.

Way to go Emma! Maybe going after Micah's feet isn't the best idea (he cried, of course!) but... I'm still glad you're getting around so well!

Monday, March 17, 2008


I'm quickly earning a great respect for all of you MOMs out there! Although I have great respect for all moms, I especially mean those that get the title as an acronym: Mom Of Multiples.

None of my "triplets" are biologically related. They span 3 1/2 years. They're from 2 different countries. They have very different ability levels. None walk. All are in diapers. Two are on bottles. Two are nonverbal. One uses sign language. Three are adorable. Three have sweet smiles. Three like to giggle. And I wouldn't change any of them for the world.

Any advice from my MOM friends? Any tricks you found that may seem simple that make the day go smoother? I'm slowly figuring things out, but that's just it... try and try again!

Not orphans any more :)

The kids got haircuts today! Although I think they were ADORABLE before their cuts, I have to say that they don't look like orphans any more :)

Micah's first haircut before and after:

Emma's first haircut before and after:

Kristopher and Brianna's new do's:

Talking with angels

Yes, I realize that there's no image on this video, but that's because it's pitch black in the room. And Emma is talking with angels... why else would she be giggling so hard??

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Welcome to the Family

I realize many (if not most) of you are not local to our area, but for those who are near by we invite you to join us in celebrating all four of our children and welcoming Emma and Micah to our family.

We'd love to meet those who have walked this journey with us- whether we've known you before now or not! And especially those who have covered us in prayer during our Ukrainian experience!

Stop by, Tuesday, March 25th 5-8pm at our home. (pending Emma's open heart surgery date- hopefully soon to come but likely to be scheduled for April)

Questions, e-mail me:

We will have cake and beverages and look forward to visiting with friends new and old :)

Micah's first grocery trip

Today was trip #2 to Wal-Mart since I got home. Not too bad considering I've been home for 10 days now! We have been so blessed by church family bringing us dinners every few days and by those that brought us diapers, formula, and clothes for the kids. Not having to shop every 3 days has been a HUGE blessing for us (not to mention not having to think of and cook dinners!)

Mike decided to be brave and keep the 3 older kids while I went to the grocery store. Granted Micah's the "high maintenance" one so it was a good one to be separated from the others. He sat in his carseat for the entire trip and didn't let out a peep! I thought I'd end up having to carry him, feed him, etc. during this quick outing but he was a little angel!

Micah liked looking at all the people and even got a glance at the Easter Bunny that was visiting the store (we didn't go get a picture and risk an unhappy ending to our nice trip!).

I think one of the benefits to having 4 kids is that with 2 or even 3 when I was watching a friend's child my husband assumed it's no big deal to grocery shop. But with 4, for some reason, he realizes it would be hard. I'm not sure what the defining factor is but I'm not complaining! Grocery shopping with just one was a breeze!!

I have a question for you all as well-- if you have a child that is too big for an infant carrier and yet not sitting up (or anywhere close to sitting up yet- ie:not holding their head up well), what do you put them in to grocery shop? Micah's in an infant seat. Brianna can sit in the shopping cart. But if I bring Emma to the store, what can I do with her? I guess maybe she'll just have to be carried in the sling. Or I'll have to make some sort of contraption to lay her in the 'seat' area. For now she doesn't need to go with me and be exposed to any more germs while we wait for her OHS. Just a thought for the future although I'm hoping she'll get strong quickly and be sitting soon after her open heart :)

Maybe Mike realizes all that and he's actually taking care of Emma?? Or would that be giving him too much credit? I bet I'll find out now whether my DH really reads my blog or not :0)

One Happy Kid

Today at 'rest time' Mike took Kristopher and went to watch the air show. The flight path is right over our house so yesterday we sat outside and watched a little but Kristopher is really into planes right now and we knew he'd really enjoy getting to go to the actual show. So those two took off for some Daddy/Son time. Brianna asked to get down from lunch to sleep, so no complaints there, off she went. Emma doesn't complain about much of anything and willingly laid in her crib although she's only slept a few days during rest. She usually quietly plays with the doll in her crib. That's fine though, it's a little quiet time (which I know she likes the time to herself a little) and good for me to have some down-time too. Micah slept for the first few minutes of rest time but then was awake and wanting to eat. No problem, he sat with me and ate.

Ok, so which one was the "one happy kid"? It sounds like they're all pretty easy going, doesn't it? Well, out of the blue I started hearing a little quiet giggle when the rest of the house was silent. Then another one. And another. Someone was having the time of their life! And then the giggles got louder and Louder and LOUDER until I decided that although this little one was nice and happy, she was going to wake her sister!

Emma thought that the foot of her fabric doll (one that's the same size as she is!) bopping her in the forehead (of course she was doing it herself...) was hilarious! She would bop herself then just let out a peal of laughter, then do it again!

I know I'm a happy momma, and the kids all seem happy about their new sibling/family situation, but listening to the giggles from her crib made me realize today that Emma knows her life has changed. She's one happy kid!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our puppy

Today we had to make a difficult decision and give up one of our dogs. We brought her home from the shelter in Melbourne on Kristopher's 3rd birthday and today brought her back a little over a year later. She had integrated into our family well for the first 10 months then became aggressive toward our other dog. We do not want to risk this happening when any of our children are nearby and decided that she could not stay any longer. We will miss her! She was a very playful and energetic dog and was also great company with Buttermilk (our other dog) until they began to fight. This has been a time in coming and we've worked with her trying to get them to a peaceful truce, but about once a month the past 3 months they have gone at it with Chance instigating. And it happened at least once while I was gone and twice since we're home.

Our newest arrivals did not meet Chance. She has only been outdoors since we arrived home just in case.

We are sad to have to give her up because she was a fun dog, but at the same time I am relieved to not have to wonder anymore. I understand that she will be adopted out again but will be marked as 'animal aggressive' so that she doesn't go to a family with other pets.

And not to move on too quickly, but I'm looking forward to filling in all her holes in the yard and taking the kids out to play on the swingset. I hope she finds another family soon.


Ok, yes, I'm a teacher and I realize the math doesn't add up quite right, but I promise you, in this case, it's true. 2 kids plus another 2 kids, really isn't all that much more difficult than 2 kids! I realize this sounds crazy, but each of the "big kids" (K and Bria) pick a baby and love to sit and entertain, pat, and get toys for the other kids. So they pair off that way for some of the day, then K and Bria go play together and Emma and Micah will play together (aka stare at each other, hold hands, and look at what the other is doing). It's a built-in playmate system. With twice as many diapers (ok, three times...) and bottles/cups. And carseats. And people who need to be carried. And snuggled. But other than that it's pretty easy :) Really, I promise!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Emma's first ped appt

We had Emma's first ped appointment today and although I like the new doctor, I still miss Dr. Acevedo!! Dr. Vargus is a very nice woman who seems to be very soft spoken but also very thorough. I kindof feel like I intimidated her since I knew everything I wanted her to check and had a few requests on top of that :) Not to mention that my mom was with me and I had Micah there too. 4 against 1. We won :)

Kidding, of course. She is very gentle, kind, and seems to know her stuff so I am pleased to be going back to her next week with Micah.

As for the actual appointment, Emma weighed in at 18lbs, 10.25oz. No, she isn't losing weight. On Monday her cardiologist said she was 18lbs, 2oz. Our bathroom scale is not nearly as precise as the doc's scales are. Not only that, one scale to another may weigh several ounces differently. Anyway, she is 32.5" long which is the same as they measured Monday so I'm fairly certain that's accurate.

No real 'news' about her. I actually told the doctor more about Emma than she did me. I guess that's just how it is for the first trip in though.

We received referrals for a slew of specialists: opthalmologist, orthopedist, developmental pediatrician, ENT, and of course cardiology to continue as we've already set up.

We also got orders for blood tests for her. We considered waiting until pre-op in a few weeks and doing it all at once but when I brought up testing to see if her immunizations are up to date she said she wants to check on the tetanus before surgery is too close. So we'll go ahead and do the whole slew now. Thyroid, CBC, immunization checks, and maybe something else. I don't remember :). Bria's due for her thyroid screening too so both girls will get to visit the lab next week sometime.

The only thing I forgot to really get an answer about (although I did bring it up, just never got an answer :0) is whether Emma needs AAI screening done before surgery. I guess I'll either call back on Monday and ask them or if it'll wait until Friday I'll be back down there with Micah anyway. For those that are following and aren't familiar with AAI it is basically an instability of the upper vertebrae that is not a common thing in kids w/ Ds, but it is something that all of our kids are screened for. It is a very dangerous thing if left untreated as the instability could cause damage to the spinal cord. The solution is fusing the skull and C1 vertebrae and the C1 and C2 vertebrae together. The reason that I want it checked before surgery is because they fully extend the neck and head for intubation and this could cause damage if there is in fact AAI. Chances are pretty good that the actual doctors will have the same concerns and take care of it. The screening is a simple x-ray followed by an MRI or CT scan if there is anything questionable.

Anyone have any knowledge about whether AAI needs to be checked before surgery? I know most kids are screened at 3 so it's usually not an unknown issue at 5 yrs old. Hmm...

Doctors, doctors, doctors

Monday was the cardiologist for Micah and Emma.
Wednesday I took out Bria's Mic-key button but thankfully didn't have to see the doc.
Thursday was the ENT (ear nose throat) for Brianna.
Friday- today- is Emma's pediatrician appointment.

We'll get a better idea of her overall health- in spite of the heart condition. I want to know things like whether her ears have fluid and to set a 'base weight' with the ped so we can chart her progress.

My mom is coming to go with Emma, Micah, and I to the ped and Mike's mom is coming to watch K and Bria.

But for now the 3 little ones are sleeping and K is having some crackers. Life is good :)

Private for a time- please read about linking

I have received over 80 e-mails in the past 24 hours asking about my blog, so I apologize for the bulk response that you all received.

Thank you to those that shared with me testimonies of your own adoption beginnings and leaps of faith that you are taking. I'm glad that you find God's work through our family a source of strength. It is surely HIS grace and goodness that are played out in our lives.

As for the "rest of the story", well, there's not much to it. My blog photos were linked to by a commenter on a news story. I called the news and asked the link to be removed. It was. And in the mean time I removed all reference to the page it linked to. Story over.

I do want to ask that if you share links to my blog- or really anyone's blog- that you kindly ask the blog author first. I know it is not a copywritten page and it is publicly accessable, but it is also my family. As much as I enjoy the 'ministry' this blog has become on its own, my family is first and foremost my priority and keeping them safe and sheltered is important. Please realize that I mean this especially for links that are made on widely viewed public boards such as news article comments and the like. A link from one family blog to another is seen as friendly, but it is still kind and appropriate to first ask permission.

Thanks for letting me sit on my soap box a minute :) Now back to Family Life :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mic-key is out :)

Not the mouse (although he is close by) but the button.

Brianna has had a Mic-key button since she was 5 1/2 months old and at 26 months we have waved "goodbye"! This button is for tube feeding and after having her open heart surgery at 5 months old she continued to lose weight and wasn't feeding well. We had hoped that the heart surgery would up her strength and in turn her ability to stay awake to eat, but she still didn't thrive. Two weeks after her open heart a g-tube was placed which was replaced by the Mic-key button a few months later.

Bria went to the GI doctor while I was in Ukraine and he said we could take it out after we got home. He didn't want to remove it while we were gone and find that she had any feeding issues from the major changes that were about to occur at home. He said I could take it out on my own (it's just a water balloon holding it in which I deflated) when we were home. Well, after taking a good look at it and realizing how irritated it was I decided sooner was better than later.

Here's hoping that it closes up nicely and we don't have to make a trip to the GI doc for stitches this week :D

Sleep, sweet sleep

Since March 3rd Micah has been up at least every 3 hours, if not all night, for food and to fuss for a while. The swing has become his "3am bed" and the couch the resting place of Mike or I once he's up for a while.

Not only that, but I have been sick and a very sore throat set in with it yesterday. Exhaustion kicked in and my body's ability to fight this off weakened. I'm pretty sure it's the same thing I had in Ukraine. I don't think I ever fought it off all the way.

But the good news is that last night at 8pm little Micah went to sleep and now it is 7:15am and although two little girls were singing sleepy songs to each other in their room, the boys' room is still quiet with only the soft sounds of breathing. Micah slept ALL NIGHT.

I hope this means his stomach is settling, his time-clock is changing, and our routine is setting in. We switched him over to soy formula about 3 days ago and it has made a huge difference with his level of fussiness during the day.

Sleep... I have missed you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Big sister loves Micah

Brianna does this with Emma too but I caught it when she was with Micah. She loves these two and it's amazing how good she is with them. I really think I owe a lot of it to having done childcare for little AB from Aug-Dec. AB even came with her parents to the house while we were gone since her mom and my sister (the one that was watching my kids) are good friends. Brianna loves AB and now loves her new brother and sister too!

First baths

Micah's first bath: (3/3) He wasn't too sure and screamed through most of it :)

Emma's first bath: (3/3) She LOVED the water and laughed through it!

Emma giggling getting lotion: (3/3) There's nothing like a VERY ticklish little girl

More pictures

From 3/3, our "gotcha day"
Nurses in infirmary/SN area, director wife and lawyer, first plane ride, first car ride, first bottle for Micah, first bath, and some scrawny little kids!

Random pic's from home
Micah's smiles, Visit with Great Gram, and a quilt made by Kristopher's church class!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cardiologist report and "stuff"

Well, all in all we had a good visit today. Emma was a trooper although she did scream through everything. A bit of a GOOD sign to me since she wanted Mike and I and not the doctors! Dr. Nadkarni confirmed that she does have an AV Canal defect and needs immediate surgery. The good news there is that she believes surgery is indeed an option! The doctor that is the 'best in the area' that does heart catheterizations is on vacation for a week so we were told to expect a call to schedule something in about 2 weeks. The surgery and cath will be scheduled back to back in hopes that the cath has positive results.

Here's the scoop there. We know Emma has pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) from too much blood being pumped into the lungs due to her major hole in the center of the heart which affects the upper and lower chambers as well as both valves. What we don't know is how high the pressure is and whether it is 'reactive'. A reactive pressure will change when given medication and will be able to be lowered for surgery. A fixed or nonreactive pressure is permanent and not able to be altered. Dr. Nadkarni says based on her age and a few other things she believes that Emma's is reactive and that surgery is possible.

We were sent home with the same medications that we had from Ukraine- Cantopril and Digoxin- but this time I'm sure they'll be LIQUID medications (I'll post about the lovely illicit drugs I was doing on the airplane later LOL) and appropriate medication doses for her current condition.

And Micah- YAY! He has NO DEFECT but does have a thick muscle tissue which could be the result of his mother having diabetes (the usual reason, but we have no idea if she did or not!). He will go back in 8 months to see if it's lessened and make sure it's not thickening. He is doing great though! He required sedation for the echo but came out of it fine and ate SIX ounces in the car on the way home! YAY!! We switched him to soy yesterday and he's had a much happier belly. No other meds like probiotics and such yet because we want to give him a little while to see if his little body will self-regulate.

So we are looking at surgery in 4-6 weeks in St. Petersburg at All Children's Hospital after a heart cath. The cath will be done by Dr. Suh and the surgery by Dr. Quintessenza. Dr. Q also did Brianna OHS (open heart surgery).

Also, we were able to find a tub and a highchair for Emma. Both were here local and cheap- the best part :) I was able to use gift cards from my friends at ROA (Down syndrome online group) to purchase them so that was even better. THANKS GIRLS!!!!



Sunday, March 09, 2008

Say a little prayer

Tomorrow morning we'll leave bright and early to go to Maitland and visit Dr. Nadkarni. She is the cardiologist that dealt with Brianna pre and post surgery and she'll be seeing both Emma and Micah. We hope to get a better understanding of Emma's heart condition and to find out whether Micah does indeed have an ASD or VSD at all.

Although it's always a bit nerve wracking to have to take the kids to a specialist, this one is especially hard because we should get a 'better guess' on whether Emma's heart is able to be repaired or not. We are praying that she has more time with us aand that her heart can be operated on and fixed up well. The reality is that we just don't know if that's possible.

Please keep our family covered in prayer tomorrow as we find our footing and learn the options for Emma.

Some more pic's at home

Catching up

I posted blogs with the rest of our days in Ukraine and our travel home according to their dates. Scroll down (there are 4 new ones dated 3/3-3/6 or you can click on the links below.

3/3 Kramatorsk/Kiev
3/4 Kiev
3/5 Kiev
3/6 Kiev/Home

Don't miss the pictures down below either! I've been busy posting :)

Backing up- FAR- and explaining

I'm not usually a person for secrets, but as far as public information goes there's a place I usually draw the line in telling everything and I have to say, there's been more going on behind the scenes in our adoption especially early on and up to our SDA appt than I have shared publicly. I wanted to take a quick minute and share with you the pieces of our journey that haven't yet been made public.

First off, throughout this process although we made only the adoption of Aleksa public knowledge initially, we were planning from early November to request a second referral once in Ukraine and to see what happens when we get there as far as whether we adopt two children or just Aleksa. Our reasoning for this was a combination of factors, the biggest being that it was such an uncertain thing and we didn't want to'announce' 2 children and face the questions if we came home with one. But in reality there was another reason as well and that is the mixed response to our adoption. The people we know both in person and on the WWW have had strong responses to our adoption both positively and negatively and the well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) comments pushed us to keep it private as well. With just one child it was enough- the reality is that those that would support us still would with two and those who opposed our decisions would do so even more. So why add fuel to the fire, especially when things were so unsure?

I'm sharing this with you now because I've had many comments of "wow, you went for one, came back with two!" Well, this isn't all true but I realize it really did seem that way. Micah is our extra little gift from God that we didn't know was there, but we are so blessed to have him!

Also, in early December you might remember this post which has a picture of little Daria (now Emma) and Brianna. Right after that came this post requesting prayer for decisions we had to make. Well, both of those posts referred to Mike's and my attempt to find out if it would be possible to adopt both Aleksa and Daria at the same time. We had already decided to attempt two adoptions but this would be much more difficult since they are on opposite sides of the country. In the end we were told that our entire dossier would have to be duplicated (with originals) and we knew we didn't have the time for that since we were hoping to travel in 4-6 weeks. We left it in God's hands but did not attempt both adoptions.

Someone asked me why we hadn't committed to Daria in the first place if we wanted her before we left. That in and of itself is a long story but the short version is that another family hoped to adopt her and did not. So she was not available when Mike and I were 'choosing' our child and she became available again later on in our process.

Once we were ready to go to Ukraine Andrea (director of Reece's Rainbow) sent me Daria's information at my request because if for some reason the SDA didn't allow us the referral for Aleksa we were going to request Daria. Our appointment went off fine and another family was 'waiting' for us to say that yes, we'd gotten Aleksa's referral and they immediately committed to Daria. Unfortunately they wouldn't be able to travel for several months and it was very unsure whether Daria would still be alive at that point since her transfer to Torez was imminent.

Of course the turn of events that next week wasn't anything we could have expected and we went back to the SDA with the blessing of the other family that has just committed to Daria to pursue her adoption. They knew as well as we did that she had very little time and they knew our love for her as well.

So the end result is that yes, we knew Daria before. Yes, we wanted her as soon as we saw her. No, she wasn't the second choice, but we wouldn't change our adoption plans mid-process and desert the child we were coming for. No, we didn't "give up" early on Aleksa knowing that we'd get Daria instead. Yes, we are glad that God worked all this how He did. And yes, I grieve Aleksa deeply.

Another little twist in all of this is that while pursuing Aleksa's adoption we did have another referral. We left the SDA with the intent to also adopt a 4 yr old little boy at a different orphanage. After getting his paperwork from the SDA we found out that the child that was unknown to us was not a new child after all though. It was the little boy that another family was coming to get in just a few months. This made for another difficult decision and we contacted the family through Andrea and asked their opinion on our adopting little Misha. With sadness but also great joy they told us to continue. We met Misha the morning that we were told that we would not be able to continue Aleksa's adoption. We took pictures, video, and all the while we weren't sure if he'd be ours or not.

By afternoon we had decided that God had a plan in our meeting Misha and that it was to give the information and photos to his new family and to walk away knowing that someone was coming for him. We closed out not one but two adoptions that day and returned to Kiev to wait an appointment at the SDA with heavy hearts but a joy that God had used us to give Misha's family more information about him and to begin a process in Aleksa's orphanage that might not otherwise have been started that might allow for MANY future adoptions from that institution.

Our journey hasn't been without bumps, bruises and a few complete nose dives, and it surely hasn't ended how we would have forseen it to be. But God is either in control or He's not, and I believe with all my heart that He has orchestrated all things to the glory of His Kingdom and that we are right where we are supposed to be right now.

Please pray for the angels still waiting for their families. For Sasha (Aleksa) and for Misha and all the other little ones that soon face the fate of institutionalization.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Day 1 was great :)

I hate to keep up the tiny blogs, but a quick update on our first day is all I have the energy for. I will do some catch-up posts later on to fill in about this past week!!

After getting in at 12:30am to Orlando airport we collected our luggage, found my sweet husband (man I've missed him!) and headed out to the car. We had to re-size the carseats for the kids although Emma and Brianna are very similar in shoulder height so that made it a little easier. I have Alpha-Omega carseats and they adjust without having to rethread everything and it's a lifesaver!! Micah slept on the way home and Emma watched the world go by. She doesn't like having socks on and promptly removed those but otherwise just sat and looked out the window.

We got home about 2:30am this morning to a welcoming party of both grandma's here with the kids (sleeping of course). We sat around and let the grandmas admire their new little grands then went about getting clean diapers, bottles, and off to bed. I went to bed but Mike ended up staying up with the kids most of the night. Micah was fussy and awake and K kept getting up too. At 7 (I went to bed around 4) I was up and little Bria was sitting on the bed looking at me from Mike's arms. She looked like she was about to ask who I was and what I was doing in her Daddy's bed, but eventually she came to me and snuggled. By evening she was glad to have me around again and less unsure of why I was there.

After I got up Mike got to go to bed for about 2 hours and I stayed up with K and B. Micah started fussing soon after we got up and I set Brianna down to go get Micah. I was prepared for a jealous little girl that finally got Mom back and now has a baby around, but instead she was EXCITED and started signing 'baby'. She came right over and started rubbing his hair and wanted to pat his back. I know she wasn't super excited to see me initially but she was clinging to me when I put her down to get her so I was surprised (happily!) to see her so happy about him! Kristopher was glad too and all day has been talking about how cute Micah is. It's funny to hear him saying 'cute' because it sounds like such a grown-up thing for him to say yet he's been repeating it all day.

A little bit later I checked on Emma and found her doing the "orphan dance" as I like to call it AKA thrashing her head around 'rocking' herself back to sleep. I picked her up and brought her out to join the other three and they were just as happy to see her as they were Micah. Kristopher has been referring to the family as having "two sisters, one that scoots, one that lays" and has been saying that Emma is pretty when he goes on about icah being cute. He's not so sure Emma's cute, but I suppose since she's older than him even that pretty will do.

I took some quick video and in my spare time (laughing, yes) would love to compress it and upload it but we'll have to see what happens. I do have more photos that I'll share shortly of our homecoming with the grands and our visit with grandpa today since he missed the homecoming.

Around noon after we'd accomplished 2 meals, getting all 4 dressed, and installing all the carseats in the car (yes, my Venture will hold 3 backward facing carseats and one forward-facing, but it's not exactly an easy fit or very easy to get the kids in!) we went out for a quick trip to the church to visit the few staff members that are in on Friday. I needed to get out and about or I was going to fall asleep and I figured this low-key meeting would be better than waiting until early next week with a ton of people there. Sorry if you missed us, but we'll be back, don't worry! :)

After our visit at the church which the kids were surprisingly happy and calm for, I headed home with all 4 in tow and put them all down to nap. Today my mom came and watched the kids during rest time so I could lay down too. Kristopher slept and Brianna eventually fell asleep, and Emma and Micah slept until they had to be woken up about an hour later. I slept for about an hour and a half and boy did that feel good!

Chris Harm brought us over a delicious dinner and saved me having to cook on our first day home which was MUCH appreciated. She even stayed and cuddled fussy Micah while we ate.

After dinner Mike's parents came over and his dad met the kids for the first time. They went for a quick drive in the Taurus to try to diagnose it's issues and think that it's a transmission issue. Uh oh. Not exactly what we needed today.

Now the kids are all in bed although K has been up several times already and Micah once too. Emma needs another dose of meds before we can retire and I just hope she doesn't wake up (or wake Bria up) in the process.

I'm ready for bed myself- past ready, really. My body is saying it's almost 5am and I should have been asleep for a while now. I hope this jet lag doesn't last long!

A few people have asked what we need prayer for right now:
1. Emma's health- Cardiologist appt (for both kids) is Monday morning
2. Micah's stomach issues to work out and the constant fussiness to subside
3. My health- the chest cold I had while away never went all the way away and has been pretty bad again today. I can't afford to be sick!
4. All of our adjustment to the new family dynamic, especially K since he understands the changes the most.
5. Our car issues to be easily dealt-with
6. SLEEP for everyone!

We are Home!

More later, I promise, but here is a picture of the 4 Cornish kids at their first meeting this morning :)


Thursday, March 06, 2008

03-06-2008 (written on 3-9) Kiev- HOME

The never ending night calmed down for me at 7am when I went to find Dad and realized he’d just woken himself. He took a very fussy Micah and I went to sleep. Our driver would be there at 10am and I could go to sleep for an hour. I did get that one hour in and was glad I did! I talked to Mike around 8 then got a quick shower and got the kids up, dressed, fed, and ready to go. We were still working on finishing up cleaning and packing when 10am swung around.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare and both kids had a bottle while we stood in the lobby waiting for our flight to say it had begun check-in. Customs was a piece of cake since we didn’t declare anything. Then it was on to check-in and for some reason this was a very difficult process. I have no idea why still. But regardless we were there for about 20 minutes. Next was passport control where they took the other half of the tiny slip of paper that you fill out when you arrive. 7 weeks and I managed to hold onto it! The only catch there was the wanted something about my adoption and I didn’t know what it was. I finally just started handing him papers (I’m so glad I left everything accessible!!) and he found what he wanted. Then he sent us to another place and gave our passports to another guy and told us to wait. Another 10 min or so (a total of probably 20 min for this stop) and we were on our way. Keep in mind that no one speaks English so we couldn’t ask what was going on!

We waited around a little while, used the restroom, then finally I decided to change diapers. I guess Micah liked that idea because as I got him from Dad he pooped. ALL over. I’m so glad we’d taken him out of his snowsuit! Now I had a poopy child in messy clothes and poop on my sleeve and front of my shirt even. And our flights hadn’t begun! I did still have one outfit that he hadn’t pooped through the night before and I changed him in the bathroom and then Emma and we boarded the plane with no more spare outfits.

The first flight was only a few hours and we were all seated together with Dad and Emma on one side of the aisle and me and Micah on the other side. The seat next to me was empty which was wonderful since I could use that tray table and not have to worry about bumping anyone as we adjusted- and readjusted- and readjusted. I had one crabby boy. I wish I’d had Mylicon with me!!

Emma was a perfect little thing this entire time, by the way, and did great with everything. She took a bottle as we took off and sat a played with Dad the entire time.

Next stop was Frankfurt after our 3 hour tour. Frankfurt airport parks the planes a ways away and takes you to the terminal by bus but everyone was helpful in getting us our stroller and getting us room (in the doorway!) of the first bus going back. We quickly found our way to the next flight and were surprised to find it had an actual gate. When we checked in we knew our seats were all spread out so we requested the be moved together and made sure we were in a place where we could get a ‘bassinet’ for Micah. Boarding had started 10 minutes before we got there but it worked out. Once on the plane a lady was kind (but complained none the less) enough to move and let us all sit together. We again had Dad and Emma on one side and Micah and I on the other. Before we even got seated I noticed a now-familiar smell of Micah’s erupting diaper. Another outfit gone. I was out of options for him but Emma was wearing an undershirt an a shirt so her white fuzzy shirt became Micah’s outfit. That and a blanket. Poor kid became a US citizen in his diaper.

The first half of the flight was a little difficult with Micah being fussy. It was hard to eat with him squawking, and I didn’t want to just let him cry on the plane. He did eventually calm down though and went to sleep in the bassinet (which looks like a piece of soft vinyl 60’s luggage!) and slept for the remainder of the flight just about.

When we landed in DC we had several stops to make before our next gate and only 90 min to make them in-about 70 by the time we got off the plane, got our stroller (which was now broken, ugh) and got going. And our seats were all spread out on the plane. First was customs which was rather quick (10 min total maybe). Then immigration which took about 30 minutes. At this point we were sure that we’d miss our connection because we had only 30 min left. We went to the secondary immigration and the guy was SO NICE and took our packet, checked two things and said he’s process it later and let us go on our way! We had to pick up our luggage next then go back through security and recheck our luggage. Take the shoes off, baby out of the stroller, etc.

Luckily through ALL of the checkpoints they allowed me to keep my baby food and even a water bottle with me for the kids! (though I wouldn’t count on it since I’ve had even a bottle confiscated before!)

We made it to our gate after boarding had started again and quickly arranged our seats to at least be nearby each other. Mine was behind Dad and Emma. The guy next to me was very nice though and has 4 kids and his wife traveling with him to go to Disney. He even held Micah for me a minute so I could dig through the bag and find Emma’s medication, mix it (it’s a powder) and give it to my Dad to give her. Emma had slept through about 2 hours of the international flight and then slept through this entire flight. I tried to too!

We landed in Florida about 30 minutes late at 12:25 and found Mike waiting on the other side of the tram. What a sight! I was so glad to be home!! We picked up our bags and headed home. YAY! I called my friend Liz from the car at 1:30 to wish her a belated Happy Birthday since we had landed on her birthday. She was still up :). Happy Birthday Liz!!

We got home close to 2:30am and were welcomed in by both Mike’s and my mom. They got a few minutes to snuggle their new grand babies then it was off to bed for ALL of us. Except Micah of course. That would be too easy! Mike stayed up with him and I went to sleep for a few hours. I slept probably 4-7 then Mike got to sleep until 9. A crazy night as our first night home, but I am so glad to be home!

I peeked in on the kids but didn’t wake them to say hello. I will see them in the morning. Thank God .

In Flight

I know it has been a long time since we last posted. Sorry about leaving you all on the edge of your seats for the last week. Here is a quick synopsis of the last 5 days.

Monday: Meredith picked up Emma and Micah from the orphanage for good. From there they traveled to another town to pick up Emma's birth certificate and then to Donetsk (not sure it I spelled that right) to get the passports. That night Meredith arrived back in Kiev with her two new children, their birth certificates, and their passports.

Tuesday: Tuesday morning Meredith and the kids went to the doctors to have the medical papers signed. Although all went well at the doctors they didn't make it to the embassy in time to apply for the travel visas. In the afternoon Meredith's father, Bruce arrived and has since been a HUGE help.

Wednesday: Today Meredith went back to the embassy and was able to get the visas applied for and picked up the same day. During the time between visits they went back to Irina's to visit and pick up a few items that were left for them to pick up on their way through.

Thursday: Today is all about flying and hopefully (I haven't heard one way or the other) as I am typing this they are landing in Washington and getting ready to board their last flight home. If all goes as expected, the Cornish family will be reunited a little after midnight.

Throughout the week the kids have been great. Both are now eating very regularly and filling their share of diapers in the meantime. The change in diet and lack of "dietary medication" has left Micah with a sour tummy that has kept Meredith up at night. When I talked to her this morning she had just woken up from her only hour of sleep last night. She was hoping that this meant Micah would sleep a lot on the plane.

Please continue to pray for us as we begin the process of finding new routines around the house and our international travelers overcome their jetlag.

I'm sure Meredith will have a substantial post for you all soon.

In Christ,
Mike Cornish

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

03-05-2008 (written on 3/9/08) Kiev

Another eventful day with little sleep to start it off! This morning at 8am a driver arrived and Dad, the kids, and I piled in and drove to the US Embassy again. We went in to an amazingly smooth process and filed the paperwork, paid the fees, and headed back out. Both the kids were angelic and sat with my Dad through everything. Not only that, but Emma’s visa was already ready to be printed when we were leaving and Micah’s would likely be done within two hours. Yay! We could come back at 2:30 or later to pick up our completed visas and our flights for tomorrow don’t have to be changed!!

From there we went home and regrouped a little. We gathered our things again and set out for a little adventure in Kiev. First we walked to the Funicular (cable car) that brings us down to the bottom of a huge hill that otherwise is a very long and steep walk. It costs a whole 50 kopets (10 cents) to ride and was well worth it! At the bottom was a site I was longing to see… McDonald’s! I know, it’s sad, but 7 weeks in a foreign country and 4 of them in a rural area make McDonald’s look like real golden arches!

Yes, I dragged my dad to McDonald’s in Ukraine and I’m sure he’ll have to face the ridicule for it later. But boy did it taste good! They have potato wedges in their McD’s that we don’t have here and they’re pretty tasty too.

After McD’s we went to a pharmacy to get nose drops just in case for the kids for the flights. Both were a little congested and I didn’t want them to have sinus issues in flight. Then we exchanged some cash for Hrivna and walked on down to Irina’s house. That’s the family I stayed with our second trip through Kiev and Mike stayed with them on his way home too. I wanted to introduce them to our new children as well as pick up some things at their house.

We had a nice visit although it was short because I’d set up for the driver to pick me up just before 4 at the apartment and we still needed to go to the supermarket and walk home. I enjoyed our visit very much though and hope to one day see them again.

Then it was off for the essentials- diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, water, chocolate, and Coke . Back to the Funicular and to the apartment with about 30 minutes to spare!

My brave father kept both kids and I went to the embassy and picked up their passports and the ‘secret envelopes’ with all the paperwork needed for immigration at the airport.

We ended the day by walking to the underground food court for some Ukrainian pizza and a walk around the underground mall. Then back to the apartment to pack and get the kids bathed and down for bed. Unfortunately this wasn’t such a simple process and although the kids were down around 10 it was probably 1 am before Dad or I went to bed.

Luckily Dad slept well although he said the bed (couch) was a little less comfortable on night #2. I wasn’t so lucky as to even notice if the bed was comfortable because I didn’t spend any time in it. Micah was up with diarrhea all night long. He went through 2 outfits and must have filled 6 diapers in a short night. He also drank and drank which I was fine with because I didn’t want him dehydrated. I spent half the night in a chair in the kitchen and the other half laying in bed rocking Micah in the stroller. Not a great start to our day filled with flights home!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

03-04-3008 (written on 3/9/08) Kiev

Today began EARLY (about 5am) but it went well. We got up and prepared for another day out of the apartment. At 9 my facilitator was supposed to be there for us to go to the medical center for the kids’ exams. She let me know a little after 9 that she was running late and in traffic and she arrived around 10:30. The medicals went well and were pretty straight forward. The doctor spoke English and was surprised I came to Ukraine with the intention of adopting children with Down syndrome. She commented on Emma’s very weak heart and the murmur on all parts. But then she commented on Micah’s heart that she didn’t hear a murmur at all! YAY!

Because we got there so late we didn’t get the paperwork completed until about 12:10 and the embassy closed at 12:30 so instead of going straight there as planned (we wouldn’t have made it in time) we all went to the airport to get my dad. He flew in overnight and arrived with very little difficulty which I was SO grateful for! He immediately took a sleeping Micah and we headed back to Kiev to the embassy.

Surprised again, we went into the Embassy only to find that visa application paperwork was only accepted before 12:30 in the morning. So after talking to the lady for a while she said that we had no choice but to come back in the morning to submit paperwork and that we likely wouldn’t make our flights on Thursday because it takes a full 24 hours plus to process and you apply one morning before 12:30 and receive the visas the next day after 2:00. Our flight would be leaving.

Disappointed, exhausted, and ready to just fall apart, we headed back to the apartment. I was glad to have my last box of Mac n Cheese and my dad and I spent the afternoon in the apartment letting the kids roll and play on the bed, watching a movie (Evan Almighty- cute  ), and then when they went to sleep we had some dinner. My first meal of the day. No wonder I was so cranky!

The evening was pleasant and I was glad to have the company of my Dad there! The night, though, was not without hitch as Micah was up a good portion of the night again. Emma did sleep well and I woke her with a bottle each time Micah wanted one. She was happy to comply then quickly went back to sleep. Dad slept fitfully because of all the stuff going on and came in to help me on and off during the night. Then he took both kids for a little bit so I could dress and get ready for the next day.

Also, today was my mom's birthday as well as Chris Harm's and I did get to talk with Mom briefly. I was hoping to be home to celebrate with you but I hope to see you soon!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

03-03-2008 (written on 3/7) Kramatorsk/Kiev

FINALLY our Gotcha Day! We weren’t able to get the kids out on Friday because Emma’s medication had not yet been prepared. At 8am we were at the orphanage and met with the director briefly. The lawyer also came in and thanked me profusely for the donations we made from the children’s accounts. In total it ended up being over $5,500! Mike and I had discussed how we might be able to help out the orphanage, but having just spent 7 weeks in a foreign country and completed two adoptions we didn’t have much financially to part with. Also we’re now doing an open heart surgery when we get home, so financial donations from our side just wasn’t an option. God answered that when He provided this money that we could donate without it impacting our home situation. Isn’t He good?

Ok, so we met with the director, turned in paperwork, I was given a small pin with a little triangular flag on it and brought into a small room off the side of his office. There he asked me to mark my home town on this huge world map. Titusville was actually on the map! Anatoly has been the director at Antoshka for 10 years and has a pin in the map for each American adoption. It was neat to see the marks all over the US of kids that have come home to forever families! Another neat thing is that the newspaper article that was written about our family was published that morning. Unfortunately there wasn’t a copy at the orphanage and we weren’t able to get a hold of one the remainder of the day, but I now know that it was written nicely at the very least. Even the lawyer, whom we’ve had some differences of opinion with in the past, commented on how happy everyone was and how the article was so nicely written about our family. Anatoly also showed me his file of all the articles written about Antoshka since he arrived and said that this one will join his file as well. How neat!

After an hour at the orphanage we went to the bank to her stro to finish the second account closure. Then back to the orphanage to find my two kids dressed up in their COMING HOME outfits complete with snowsuits! It was great to see them in ‘real’ clothes vs. the tie-up pants that they wear at the orphanage. Emma took to the stroller quickly and was all smiles! I took some pictures with the nursing staff in their area, one with the director, his wife, and the lawyer, and one with the director and Natalia (facilitator). Then we hit the road from what I didn’t realize was about to be a LONG day!

We were in the car for about 6 hours straight- literally. Natalia even brought my lunch to the car (complete with ceramic plate) from the restaurant and came back out to get it a while later. I mixed bottles, changed diapers, and fed (or attempted to feed anyway) the kids in the back seat of the car by myself. Considering neither of the kids can sit up but they both roll (and can’t be laid down on the seat) this was quite a feat. In addition to the sheer craziness of being in the car and on my own for such a long period of time (Natalia was out of the car for a lot of it and the taxi driver was very kind to dump the bottles when I rinsed them but that was about it!) Micah also decided that he wasn’t sure he was happy with the new arrangement and he refused to eat. ALL DAY. He had eaten at the orphanage around 9:30am (I think) and it wasn’t until 10pm and a ‘new trick’ that I got him to eat more than a swallow that was poured into his mouth.

So, just a little stress! After leaving the orphanage we went to the courthouse to get the last document, the notary to pay someone for translating my POA and then headed to Donetsk to do passports. After getting the legislation started we went to park somewhere for a few hours while it was done. It was past lunch time so we stopped at a small diner type place and Natalia offered to get me a ‘hot dog’. I was cautious about this idea because I had been warned about Ukrainian hot dogs and that that food was single handedly the thing to avoid . But when that’s all that’s available you do what you’ve got to!

A few minutes later Natalia reemerged with a ceramic plate containing two slices of bread each with tomato sauce, a slice of what looked like maybe thick bologna, a nice thick layer of mayonnaise (EW!) and shredded cheese. Hot. It was… interesting… I ate what I could and Natalia reemerged to get the plate and bring it back in. Luckily I’d brought a coke with me and plenty of water for bottles.

Another hour or two later with passports in hand we headed to the airport to catch our flight to Kiev. Those of you that donated to Daria’s Reece’s Rainbow grant, YOU made this part possible! I’m not sure what I would have done if I had to take the train with basically 2 infants for 13 hours. It would have been worse than being in the back seat of the car for 4 hours, that’s for sure! The flight was quick and uneventful and Emma sat in her seat while Micah slept the entire time. Natalia was a great help on the plane and helped carry Emma, get bags, and get the stroller folded and unfolded.

After the airport we headed to a translator’s home before going to my apartment (still kicking myself for agreeing to that one!) and when we landed at 6:30 it was after 8:30 by the time we made it to my apartment. A LONG day!

Micah was asleep when we arrived and he slept from 8:30-10pm. In that time I made up bottles, changed Emma and gave her a bath. She LOVED it! Then I got her settled and Micah woke up and finally attempted a bottle! The trick was the added baby food and he ate like a trooper. Then it was off to the tub for Micah for his first bath as well and he didn’t like it quite so much (or… basically… at ALL!). Emma had fallen asleep right around 10 but unfortunately hadn’t had the last dose of her meds yet and I had to wake her for that. By 11pm both kids were asleep and I laid down to a very UNRESTFUL night of trying to make sure neither kid woke the other, fell off the bed, or fussed without answer. I went to bed around 12:30 after washing the bibs and hanging them on the radiator to dry, washing the bottles since I only had 4 for both kids together, and getting myself ready for bed. Then I was up at 2am, 3am, 5am, and there was no sleeping after that. The day had begun .