Sunday, January 31, 2010

Home for a month!

2 What are your thoughts?
Nina and I have been home for a month, a month! The time has gone by so quickly, in many ways I feel like we just got home (and so does anyone that has stopped by our house and gets to see the piles of laundry or unpacked bags)

Nina is doing fantastic. Her English keeps getting better and better, and she is able to communicate basic needs. She can now communicate better than Nichole, so in one month we have seen this little girl blossom right before our eyes. She is now starting to put three word sentences and it amazes me still when she looks at me and says something like, "Mommy, Nina eat crackers...please?" Or one of my favorites, "Oh! Nichole, Nichole! No sweetie!" Not because she is so sweet to Nichole, but because she probably hears me say that to Nichole multiple times a day.

Ellie is her best friend. Ever since Nina hugged Ellie, their relationship took off and they love being together. As wonderful as it is, I try to encourage Ellie to play with Nichole too, because I do not ever want Nichole to feel left out by her sisters.

Nina can now get down from couches on her own, get on a small chair on her own, and climb up and down the stairs on her own. Amazing what being in a home, with full freedom of movement and exploration can do to muscle tone!

As it turns out today, after a month, we had some firsts. The first time that Nina went to the nursery without me (Nichole was there, so Nina was happy to stay.) The first time that Nina enjoyed crawling around at church with her sisters and friends after the service when most people were gone (she loved it!) and the first time she went to the naughty corner, and let me tell you, she is not a big fan of the naughty corner!

Tomorrow we take her to the doctor and a neurologist. Then we start on the full swing of life with therapy and more doctors and specialists. And who knows, this little girl might get her very own walker soon and get around on her feet!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The meaning of a hug: becoming sisters

13 What are your thoughts?

Every day Ellie greets Nina in the morning with a smile and a sweet, "Hi Nina!" She goes to her and tries to give her a hug. Every day Nina pushes Ellie away and says, "No."

Ellie's little heart has been broken every day. She is rejected by her new sister, the sister that she so desperately wants to love. One that she dreams will be her best friend but instead pushes her away. It happens a few times a day, and rejection sends her into sad tears. "Why won't Nina love me?" And all we can do is hug Ellie, kiss her, and assure her that someday, Nina will hug her too, that someday, they really will be great friends.

Wednesday night church activities were cancelled due to weather. It was great having Andy home that evening and for all of us to be together, playing, laughing, being a family.

Nina looked at Ellie, she smiled. Then it happened, Nina threw her arms around Ellie and pulled her close. Ellie wrapped her arms around Nina and looked at Andy and me. It started to come, slowly. From deep inside her they burst, the giggles, the excitement. She held Nina close and giggled and laughed, giggled and laughed, it was pure bliss!

Andy and I looked at each other, we started to giggle too. What was happening before us was so meaningful, so deep. This is what Ellie had been waiting for, this was a wonderful step towards their friendships, towards becoming sisters.

They hugged for a long time.

Then Nina hugged Andy, and she hugged me. She looked at all of us with a smile (Nichole does not want Nina to hug her quite yet.)

Maybe Nina is finally getting it, maybe she realizes that what she has now is full of love and a promise of forever.

We are becoming a family, Ellie and Nina are becoming sisters. It is a beautiful dance to watch and be a part of.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It has been a month

9 What are your thoughts?

I have had Nina with me for a month (yesterday). Time went by so quickly, yet, our time in Ukraine is still tainted with raw feelings of the emotional hardships. It feels like our life together really started when we got home. We have had 2 wonderful weeks as a family!

Please understand, my time with Nina when it was just the 2 of us was great, but the emotional journey that the rest of our family took during that time was very hard. Being in an unfamiliar place where people spoke Nina's language which made her reject me at times made it hard too. It is good to be home!

Nina is doing fantastic. She is picking up on English quickly and she is showing us more and more of who she is. She has many words and is even starting to put 2 word sentences together with the words that she knows. Things like "Nina eat" "sit here" "follow me" "no touch" "I try" etc.

Two days ago she really got interested in using her walker and she is doing fantastic with it. She finds great joy in her accomplishment and thrives in Andy and I encouraging her and delighting in her. Even while Nichole follows her around trying to take the walker while saying, "Mine!"

Being delighted in. What a wonderful feeling for Nina, there are people in her life that delight in her. She is loved, she is wanted, she is celebrated. Just like her sisters.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Becoming a Family

5 What are your thoughts?

It has been a little over a week since we have been home and the excitement of being here has not wore off yet. It is a good thing as everyone was sick last week. We have had a doctor's visit and Nina and Nichole are on antibiotics. Then Andy got really sick and he too is taking meds. Ellie and I are a little healthier, and are okay with over the counter remedies.

Adding a new family member has certainly been an adjustment. It has been great in some areas as we have to become more disciplined but we are learning about it and it can be a little frustrating. For example, I was never a mom to give my kids snacks at the table. I was okay with them eating on the floor while they played, but not anymore! For my sanity and messes sake, snacks are now at the kitchen table. Not Ellie and Nichole's favorite transition. Nichole is now used to it better, Ellie still likes to tell me what she thinks about it, but she is doing great.

The interactions between the three girls can be pretty hard at times. Nina cannot handle being loved on by Ellie, and if you know my Ellie, you know it breaks her heart and there are many tears. Unfortunately, Nina can be very aggressive towards Ellie and I need to intervene often. Nichole on the other hand can do whatever she wants to Nina and she might get a push or a "No touch!" from Nina, that is all. Of course Nichole has not tried to hug or kiss Nina, she just likes to brush Nina's hair or wipe her nose (constantly!) and Nina can take it for a while. Nichole however, is not so sure about this new girl and is sad that Ellie is not giving her as much attention (or mommy and daddy) so there are definitely some jealousy issues.

but this is all part of the journey, and while life would be a lot easier without adoption, then what would life had been like for Nina? An institution in 4 months hardly seems like any future at all. And even though we are adjusting and we are finding behavior along the way, those can be worked through, and we have a strong support system and many people praying for us. What better place to be? And every day, we fall more in love with Nina, all of us.

Also, click HERE and read the adoption blog post.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I am around

1 What are your thoughts?
We have been home for a week now, and it has been so wonderful to be home. I will update later tonight with some pictures and to share about life as a family of five, and life with Nina.
It was been wonderful, hard, stretching, and great! Yes, all of those!
I know I have not done a good job at posting lately, but there has been enough to keep up with and my on-line time has not been a priority.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Journey Home

1 What are your thoughts?
Make sure to stop by our adoption blog to read about our journey back home and enjoy some of our homecoming pictures!

Friday, January 1, 2010

We are home!

9 What are your thoughts?
We are home! I will update later on the adoption blog, but we are finally home!
What a wonderful start to the year!



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