Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's been a MONTH!

Pictures: Palm Sunday--All of us wore our Ukraine shirts to church; My kids on Easter Sunday morning in our dining room; Caleb with Vaseline application; Caleb with baby powder in hair to try to absorb said Vaseline; Caleb in the midst of the puzzles
Exactly one month ago today, Caleb and I flew home from Ukraine. Wow! That is so hard to believe. We just love this little guy so much. He is usually cheery and curious and a copycat and we get a kick out of him answering every question with 'neh.' Right now he has dusty grayish-blonde hair and smells really good. Why, you ask? Well, you'll have to read to the end to find out!

It's been a busy month with my niece's wedding, several church potlucks, week of Spring Break, friend's baby shower, pinewood derby cars, Easter. My kids didn't even get to color Easter eggs until last night--two days AFTER Easter. In spite of previous adoptions and quite a bit of reading regarding adoptions I never expected to feel so disoriented when I got home. Part of it I'm guessing was jet lag and culture shock but some I think was that some of my main organizers weren't there anymore. Like I explained it to myself 'my life isn't where I left it.' For example, the big calendar that I keep all appointments and events on was nowhere to be found. I knew I'd written myself notes on that calendar to remind me of scheduling after my return. I also didn't have one central place to write new appointments. Sounds silly, I know, but very disconcerting. Another thing was the purse I'd used prior to Ukraine was in shambles so a sweet and funny lady in my church had given me like ten purses and bags of various colors and sizes. I'd taken a very proper black one to Ukraine so I'd look properly dignified for court and so I'd blend in with all the rest of the black. Then after I got Caleb I'd moved my wallet into his diaper bag. So when I got home I had part of myself in my old purse, some in my black purse and yet more in the bottomless diaper bag. Again this sounds so silly but it was terrible. Finally I gave up on finding my original calendar and started in on another one and I moved all MY stuff into another of my purse choices and left Caleb's stuff in his bag. I also moved the contents of my cupboards back to where they belonged. I still feel not quite totally knowledgeable of all the stuff in all the piles on my breakfast bar but I'm working on it. (It's not that I don't stack things on the breakfast bar, too, it's just that I didn't make these stacks:)

Another thing I've been working on is more paperwork. Today I have two envelopes going to 2 different UPS Benefits Service Centers. One is the necessary documents for adding Caleb as a dependent on Kevin's insurance. The other is a check to cover the benefits that would have usually been subtracted from Kevin's paychecks which he obviously didn't recieve while he was in Ukraine for 3 weeks. A fat envelope is heading to our adoption agency with our court decree enclosed in both Ukrainian and English. Another one has our signed promissory note and a couple pictures for our Oxford adoption loan. The fattest of all is going to the Consulate General of Ukraine in San Francisco with Ukraine adoption decree, Ukraine passport, SASE. I have to wait on our next credit card bill to send in the packet for reimbursement from UPS for some adoption expenses.

Before I sign off, I simply must tell you about some of Mr. Caleb's antics and escapades. With a bit of fear and trembling I took him and myself to get haircuts. Please be aware we were both dressed in heavy fleecy sweatshirts and we opted to let Caleb sit on my lap for his first haircut. Both the stylist and I felt it was too risky to attempt a scissor cut so she let him feel the buzzing razor--no problem-- and he even tolerated the first

sweep or two on his head but after that it was definitely catch as catch can. His head was swinging every direction possible. His haircut really didn't look too bad afterwards considering but both of our shirts were absolutely coated with hair. Of course, he's done the usual things like dumping out all the board puzzles in a big pile on the floor, unloading the cassette stand and video drawers, shredding papers and crayons, and hunting like a vacuum cleaner for any candy within reach after Easter. One of the worst things was when I found him in the bathroom with a toothbrush full of kitty litter in his mouth. But so far his biggest mess was this last Monday. Kevin wasn't working that day and before I jumped in the shower I came out into the living room to check on Caleb. He was doing just fine but decided to follow me back as far as our bedroom. When I came out of the bathroom several minutes later, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a huge spot of Vaseline on our hunter green king-sized comforter, and a very shiny little boy who had applied a large enough dose of said Vaseline to his hair and face to keep them moist and youthful until he is 99--not to mention his shirt and pants. I rubbed-in the part on his face but of course 2 rounds of baby shampoo didn't even phase his hair. He looked horrible but I couldn't use anything stronger. So yesterday I got brave enough to start adding baby powder to the recipe. I dumped in lots with more added today. I must say it is absorbing the grease but it sure has made him prematurely gray!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sorry to worry everyone--We are fine

Pictures: top two: Caleb waiting in Kiev airport; middle two: new American citizen as we touched US soil in Minneapolis, Minnesota; bottom: finally home-all of our kids together at the Boise airport

Tuesday, Feb 26 was the big day for flying home. Again God just kept doing amazing things to help us. The first problem was that though I had emailed the landlady for the apt where we were staying, she had not yet responded and I didn't know where to leave the key. Here it's not such a big deal because you can usually just leave the key on a table or counter and lock the door behind you. There in Ukraine, however, we actually had to have the key to lock the door! I had phone numbers but couldn't seem to make them work--just kept getting a recording saying who knows what. And who should call but Dima asking me if I'd been able to contact the landlady. I told him my dilemna and he told me how to dial the number. Though the phone number started with 38, it seems you just dial the 8, wait for a dial tone and then dial the remainder of the number. So I tried that only to get a message that I needed to call back later. Dima called back to see if I'd been successful so I gave him the numbers and he got the same result. He told me to just leave the key with the driver and they'd take care of it for me.

Our main driver, something like 'Svla', drove us out to the airport, carried in my heavy bags, and got us to the area where you wait until your flight comes up on the screen. We were there in such good time that we had about 55 minutes to wait but I was about 2nd in line at the counter for flights to Amsterdam. Problem: I had confirmation number but no ticket number. The lady nicely showed we where the KLM ticket counter was but my heart sank when I saw the sign in the dark window saying hours were from 1300 to 1800. My flight was to leave at 1255. I had no way to reach Dima, driver, Kevin. So I'm standing there wondering what I should do and praying in my heart when a lady enters the ticket office, opens the window, moves the sign and helps me out. For some reason, the ticket hadn't yet been charged out and thankfully I actually knew where my credit card was. So several dollars later I was happy to walk back up to the Amsterdam desk (the long line of people had disappeared by now) and hand the agent the proper paperwork.

I had been handed a sealed envelope at the embassy and given strict orders to deliver it unopened to the immigration desk in the US so once on the flight I put it safely in the seat pocket in front of me. I had a nice flight to Amsterdam--the fine Christian lady and gentlemen on the aisle seats were returning to the US for their 10-day wait after court. And the couple and their daughter that I'd met in the embassy were just a few seats ahead. But again my heart sank when I got to the end of the flight and discovered that my sealed envelope had ripped about 3/4 of the way across the bottom. I was horrified and wondered what would happen in such a case, whether the immigration folks would believe that it was accidental, etc. But I was starting to get the clue that God was directing our steps and He had helped me out with so many details already that surely He had this one under control as well. Sure enough when we finally got to the US many, many, many hours later the lady at the immigration desk didn't give me any hassle at all. And young Mr. Caleb became a US citizen when we touched US soil. So cool!

I found out something really awe-inspiring when I was at Bible study Wednesday night. Somebody had told my Mom prior to our travel they had seen a woman and child surrounded by angels and believed it was Caleb and Joy. With all the potential problems we'd run into and all the problems solved the way they were, I would have to definitely agree.

We had quite a layover at Minneapolis but finally got on the plane for Boise. I had to kind of laugh because as everyone who has traveled recently knows, you go through security over and over down to taking off your boots and passport pouch. Liquids have to be travel size and in clear zip-lock bags. But on that last flight there was no more security, several of us were very openly carrying water bottles and one even had a Coke cup and no one cared. We got into Boise about 11:20 pm and meeting my husband and children there was one of the sweetest, happiest, huggingest moments of my life. We got home about 3 am (about 29 1/2 hours since I'd awakened in Kiev) excited, tired and safe. Thanks more than I can express for all your care and prayers during this adoption journey.