Family Pic Nov 2015

Family Pic Nov 2015

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yesterday and Ninth Visit Today

Good afternoon everyone!  Here are some pictures of our walk around the city yesterday.  We went walking to look for Coffee Life coffee house where they have wi-fi.  We have internet in our apartment with our modem, but it still takes too long to upload pictures.  We found it and had some wonderful desserts and hot chocolate. 

This picture was taken on our walk back.  We cross over this river and the building ahead is our apartment.
Across the street from our apartment is a playground. 
Evan enjoyed playing here for quite some time, even though his hands got very cold.
 Evan in the stroller we bought here.  It is much easier to walk around the city now!

Today was our ninth visit to the orphanage.  It was a very relaxed and enjoyable visit today.  Julia is very comfortable and used to us now.  And Aaron has calmed down a lot.  We have also learned what triggers some of his misbehavior and hyperactivity and avoid these triggers.
Even though he still seems to want to play by himself, not with us, he is learning to come to us for help with the toys.  He asked me to tie this tape measurer to the ball.  He is a smart little boy.  The tape measurer has a little metal tab at the end.  He figured out by himself that he could attach this metal piece to the magnetic connectors on the Thomas trains and pull them.  It was very neat!  I brought this tape measurer to measure the kids so I would have a better idea what size clothing they are in.  I had no idea it would provide over an hour of fun for Aaron.  He is very imaginative and likes to make his cars, trains and toys talk to each other.  We only wish we knew what he was saying.
Julia was having a great time today rolling around and playing with the balls.  She still prefers the two balls that she can grab onto, bang around and drop.  The other toys that she has a harder time grasping only keep her attention for a very short time.  They brought out a carpet for the kids to play on.  This was very nice!
Aaron still playing with the tape measurer!

Julia on her tummy!  We are not sure if she has been able to do this before today.  Up to this point, we have not seen her roll to her tummy.  While playing on the floor she kept getting way over on her side like she wanted to get all the way over, but just couldn't quite get there.  So we helped her over a couple of times and helped her pull her arm out from under her.  Then we watched her do it all by herself a little bit later.  She didn't stay in this position for too long though.  She had no problems rolling back over to her back.
Aaron playing with the trains and talking to them the whole time : )
Julia's hands were very cold today and they looked a slight purplish color.  They always have her in this sleeper with these socks over the sleeper feet.  I wanted to feel if her feet were as cold as her hands and they sure were.  Poor thing.  I thought maybe it would help if the socks were directly on her feet inside the sleeper, so I switched them around.

At the beginning of our visit today, we had Julia laughing.  This was the first time Steve got to hear her laugh.  It is such sweet giggle.  She would laugh everytime I laughed... it was contagious!  We tried to get the camera out fast to video it, but I think we missed the best of her laughing.  We did get some of it.  I tried to upload the video today, but it didn't work.  I will try to get it up as soon as I can. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Catching up.....

We have had some more internet problems.....but we think again that they have been resolved.   Uploading pictures takes much longer, so we may not be putting up as many.  We visited Julia and Aaron on Thursday and Friday.  On Friday they took us down to a room to visit that has rabbits, parakeets, a turtle, and some other animals that I can't remember.  There are a few toys in this room as well.  It smells kinda funky, but it was a change of scenery. 

Aaron loved playing with a toy cell phone that records your voice and plays it back.  It has a prerecorded voice that says, "I love you!"  He gets a big kick out of this since this is one of the few English phrases he recognizes. 

 There is carpet in this room so we could put Julia down and let her have some more freedom to move around.  She is very good at grasping toys that are near her and moving herself to better positions to get to the toys. 

Yesterday, Tatiana and Valentin took us to a children's market to get a stroller.  It is getting difficult to lug Evan everywhere we need to walk here in the city.  We also need a stroller to help get Aaron home.  We will leave it here for when I come back on the second trip..

After we got the stroller we went out to lunch with Tatiana and Valentin.  The food was very good and it was nice spending some time with them.  They are so nice.  It was also much easier to talk with Valentin, with Tatiana there to help translate. 

We also learned a little bit more about Aaron's backround.  We had been told by the doctor at the orphanage that he has been here since he was four years old and that he was at a different orphanage before this, probably since he was a baby.  But Tatiana told us that paperwork she has gathered says that he was put in an orphanage at around 2 or 3 years old when his mother died.  This was sad to hear, but it also means that it is more likely that he did form an emotional attachment and was socially and physically nurtured during most of his formative years as a baby. 

 Julia focused on her toy

 Aaron displaying one of his favorite "misbehaviors."

 This is the view from our apartment window.

 This is our apartment building from the outside (street side).

This is the backdoor entrance to our apartment.

He is so cute!

Julia has very good hand-eye coordination

Outside the restaurant where we had lunch with Tatiana and Valentin

Friday, March 25, 2011

Court Date

Well, we seem to be back in service with internet!  Yay!!  We have a court date....Monday, April 4.  After this we will head back to the embassy to take care of some things since Steve will not be coming back on the second trip.  And our flight home is Thursday, April 7.

We have gone to visit Julia and Aaron over the last two days.  Yesterday, I asked about seeing Sonya and Dusty, the children that our friends John and Amy Hinz are adopting.  We were not able to see Dusty, but they did bring Sonya out for us to visit with her for about 5 minutes.  We got some great pictures and even a video.  We are posting the video here for everyone to see because it is too large to send via email.

Julia is such a sweetheart and loves playing with toys.  She is always happy to see us and spend time with us.  We just can't wait to get her home, so she can be loved on so much more by our kids, family and friends at home!  Aaron always has a big smile on his face as they bring him to us everyday.  All we can do is show him pictures of our house and of his new brothers and sisters.  We are really starting to feel like we cannot wait to get them home.  There is only so much we can do at the orphanage everyday.  There is so much more we want them both to experience and we can't wait for them to be home and really incorporate them into our lives.  It is so hard to believe that there is still so much more to do and so much more time has to go by before we can get them home.    We must pray for patience : )

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Internet issues

Everything has been going fine.  We have not heard about a court date yet.  Our new apartment is nicer and cleaner, but the internet is terrible.  We are working on trying to find somewhere to go where we can upload the pictures faster and have the time to update in more detail.  Sorry to make everyone wait, we are very frustrated too.

Julia is wonderful and continues to love our attention and affection.  Today, Aaron was a bit calmer....we left the tennis ball at home brought some blocks instead.  He loves playing with matchbox cars.  I got a hug from him today.....a hug that he totally initiated himself!  It made my day : )   Hopefully we will get to post some more pics tomorrow.  Stay tuned......

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fourth visit....some videos to watch!!

Today we had both kids at the same time again.  We go to Julia's building and they bring her out to us and then someone brings Aaron over from his building about 15 minutes later.  Julia was again visibly happy to see us.  She was receptive to us gently stroking her cheeks, jaw line and neck as she arched backwards.  Her eyes still flinch/flutter whenever our hands move towards her, but she relaxes quickly as she enjoys the sensations.  It is so heartwarming to watch her learn to enjoy gentle contact with us.  We did some more snuggling and nuzzling  today and continued to get smiles.  She loves the toys we bring her.  She has a distinct preference to the toys she can grab ahold of.  She likes to drop the balls to the floor.  Today I watched her eyes track the ball to the floor and I tried to hold her over the toy to see if she would grab it back, but she didn't.  She was holding onto my arm and I think she felt like she would fall to the floor if she let go.

During our first few visits with Aaron, I have tried to give him a hug when they first bring him to us.  He always pushes me away.  Steve's mom picked up on this too when she visited with me.  He is otherwise receptive to any other form of demostrative affection.  He lets me kiss him on the cheek and even mimicked the word "kiss."  It dawned on me as I was laying in bed last night that it is not necessarily because he doesn't want the hug, but that he doesn't know what one is.  I get the feeling that he just thinks I am trying to hold and confine him.  He will learn in time, when he is home with us.....what hugs are all about!  We were doing high-fives today and he understood this.  Eveytime he blew bubbles and popped them all, we did high-fives.  He says a word when he plays with the toys that we have to figure out what he means.  In English it sounds like "maladoy."  We thought it meant toys or cars, but looked those words up and they're not it.  Steve thinks maybe it means "mine."  Anybody know???  We also got to see some more "misbehavior" out of Aaron.  Today we experienced pinching, screaming, spitting and attempting to bite me.  He exhibited these behaviors when he had the tennis ball taken away from him.   One time he accidentally threw the tennis ball at my head (while I was holding Julia) and thought my startled reaction was funny.  I am sure it was!  But then he kept trying to throw it at my head.  When we took the ball away, he tried to pinch our hands.  When this got him no where, he started spitting.  He already knows from a previous visit that we shook our heads in disapproval at his spitting, so he thought he could get our attention this way. 
Then when this got him no where he started screaming.  He finally went onto getting another toy when this failed at getting him what he wanted.  A little later on we gave him the ball back and we motioned for him not to throw it at our heads, so he started throwing the ball at the windows and a mirror.  At first he wasn't throwing it too hard, but as soon as we made it clear that he shouldn't continue throwing it at these two places, he started throwing it harder at the mirror.  So the ball went away again and the screaming commenced.  We pretty simply ignored this behavior and he quit.  He definitely knows how to listen because we notice that whenever a nanny would walk through and say something to him, he became immediately attentive and submissive.  He is just trying to learn where our boundaries are.  All in good time : )  It's just hard when we are only going to have about an hour a day with him for a few weeks.  Much of this learning won't come until he is at our home and relearns appropriate social behavior.....and we know this may take years.   Kacey, Ethan and Regan are hopefully going to be huge assets in this area.....and they will need our guidance in patience, understanding, and definite boundaries!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Third Visit

Another great visit today with both kids!  Julia definitely seems to know who I am.  There was no "warming up" period today with her.  When they first brought her to me, she seemed groggy like they had just woken her up.  When she looked up to me, her face lit up almost immediately.  We had smiles in no time.  She lifted her chin up and I tried to caress her face and neck and SHE LIKED IT : )  She seemed to want me to keep doing it.  I even got a small giggle.  It was wonderful.  She has learned so fast that I am not someone to be fearful of.  Then we progressed onto snuggling and nuzzling her with my face and she laughed and laughed!!!  It was a great time.  I was in tears again.   Poor Steve was so jealous that he missed her laughing......but there will be more, I'm sure!

Shortly after they brought Julia to us, they brought Aaron over from his building.  This was the first time we have had both of them at the same time.  Since Steve's mom (Grandma) came today, he initially looked very concerned.  As the nanny was taking his coat off, he was asking, "Papa, papa, papa?"  We told him Grandma was here today and he repeated "Grandma."  He hardly took any notice of Julia.  I pointed to her and said "Julia" and he repeated "ju-ju."  He was more interested in getting the toys out of my backpack again.  We brought some Thomas trains and enough tracks to make a circle.  He connected all the tracks and hooked all the trains together.  After this he thought he was finished.  So I reached down and pulled the trains around in the circle. He squealed in delight!  He was still mostly interested in the bubbles.  So we spent a lot of time taking turns blowing the bubbles and popping them.  We left him with a book of pictures of our family to take back to his building.  I was teaching him the names of all our kids.  He does very well at repeating words I teach him.  We are not going to the orphanage on Sunday so there will be no new pictures of the kids tomorrow. 

 Grandma's words, "I'm in love!"

 Julia's building

Aaron's building

Friday, March 18, 2011

Our second visit....

Today's visit with the kids was fun and more relaxed.  Julia seemed much better.  We didn't push the touching much, just played with her.  She loved this.  She even snuggled into me a bit.  I loved this!  When they brought her to us, they handed us a small spit cloth.  We can tell she has a head cold and she was drooling more today.  The first time my hand reached toward her face to wipe her mouth, she flinched big time and arched away from me.  The second time she was a little bit better.  By the third and fourth time, she was okay.  She already learned that I was going to be gentle with her.  Sweet doesn't even begin to describe how precious she is!  Oh how we love her....and will be loved by so many more at home : )

 She was very intentionally banging this ball to her other hand, very much enjoying the noise it made.  She then learned the game of throwing it to the floor and making us retrieve it for her.  She would smile as the ball came closer when she reached out to take it.

I love this sweet : )

You could tell Aaron couldn't wait to come and play with us.  We brought a back pack full of small toys that he quickly rummaged through.  We had tennis balls, bubbles, play dough, coloring book with crayons, a toy car, and a picture book filled with pictures of our house and his siblings.  He liked looking at the picture of his bedroom and bunk bed he will be sleeping on.  Tatiana's son Edward drove us to orphanage today.  He was great at translating our conversations with Aaron.  Aaron was asking if he could sleep on the top bunk.  We told him maybe when he's older.  He also wanted Edward to clarify that Steve and I would be living there with him.  He wanted to know when he would be going to live at this new home.  He now understands....."wait, wait, wait, and then you will go."  He knows he will go on an airplane to get home.  He is very excited about this!  We showed him the picture of our pool in the backyard.  He mentioned that he only wanted to go swimming if there was a little bit of water in it.  We told him that we would hold him in the water.  He was okay with this idea.  When he had to leave to go have lunch, he wanted to bring all the toys back to his "groupa."  We let him take one play dough, one bubbles container, a small puzzle, and his toy car we brought for him.  Oh, one more thing.....he is going to learn English sooooo fast.  He was already using several English words we taught him today without repeated prompting.  The word "open" is most definitely in his vocabulary now.  He also said, "I love you" when we said goodbye! 

Tomorrow we are going back again.  Steve's mom and I are going so Grandma can meet her new grandchildren....can't wait!