Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Update on Cooper!

 This is Cooper today at the DSAG picnic in the park celebrating World Down Sydrome Day-look how good and healthy he looks....beautiful! (and he just got a hair cut)

 This is him a couple of days after we got home from the hospital. His stomach is still a little bloated here. I wish that was flab...but it is gas/air. When he wakes up in the morning his stomach is completely flat, almost concave.
 Trying out our new adidas...He wasn't quite sure of it, but tolerates standing for small time increments.
Finally had a bath with NO tears. He hasn't quite got the "it's fun" attitude, but no shivering, shaking, screaming, so he is making progress in that area.

Cooper is doing tremendous. He is now so mobile that we have had to go to Home Depot and buy gates to gate everything off. He can navigate the entire upstairs with zero help. He knows when it is time to eat and scoots to his chair. He is hilarious. He is sleeping about 10 hours a night with a 2 hour nap during the day, so he is getting plenty of rest. He is still eating pureed foods with thickened liquids, but so far has not refused anything. He now weighs about 20 pounds, so he has gained 6 pounds since coming home. He is off all the tummy bug meds and we will have him rechecked to make sure that his belly is ok. He is now just on Synthroid for his low thyroid and he is changing He is quite vocal and his laugh is this rip roaring loud "HA-HA". It doesn't even sound real and it is hysterical. He doesn't yet play with the other boys, but he is much more interested in what they are doing. He likes to be near them, but not right with them. Caden is getting better with him, too. He no longer cries when we hold Cooper and he is back to feeding himself. He still doesn't quite like the idea of us holding/rocking him and he climbs up on your lap with him and you end up holding/rocking both, which is totally fine by me.

I never dreamed that adding one more (especially one that is so easy to care for) would be so exhausting, but it has literally kicked my butt. I have never been this tired in my life. I have to make myself bathe, brush my own teeth, etc. because by the time that I bathe/brush 3 sets of teeth, I am usually done and just want to fall in the bed. This past week seems a lot better. I have slept every night and I feel a lot better. I hope we are getting into more of a routine now that we have most of our medical stuff taken care of. Oh yeah, Cooper will have eye surgery sometime in May to realign the muscles in his eyes to help him be able to control his eye muscles better. Other than than, everything is going really well. He seems like he has been here forever. I am getting use to having a "baby". I have only forgot the diaper bag and extra set of clothes once and I learned my lesson the hard way and I can guarantee you that I won't forget that anytime soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Size comparison!

Cooper and Cole (in the middle in the red shirt) are 10 weeks apart in age. Cole is 50% on the DS growth chart for both height and weight....and Cooper is a wee bit behind!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cooper Update

Cooper has been home now for 2 full days (sorry for the lack of posts...been just a wee bit busy). He is doing well so far. He was admitted into the hospital with severe malnutrition with possible refeeding syndrome, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, bowel obstruction, h. pylori, giaridia and dehydration. Wow!! That is a lot of stuff for such a little guy. His bowels finally moved (without surgery-thank God) and he is now eating anything and everything that we will give him. He does not chew at all, so all of his foods must be mushy/pureed and his liquids must be thickened. He has gained 2 pounds since we arrived in the states. He will continue to be on antibiotics for 14 days for the infections in his gut. He started his thyroid medicine and we will keep an eye on that. His blood sugar has stabilized with consistent food intake. So, all in all....after all that, he is going very well.

Cole (5) and Caden (3) don't know quite what to make of him, but it has gotten better and better each day. Caden doesn't really allow personal time with Cooper, so I have them on different schedules right now so that when Caden is napping, Cooper is awake and I can hold/rock/love on him without someone crying holding on to my pants leg. I know it is hard on my little guy, but he is getting used to sharing the attention. Cole really doesn't care one way or another, unless Cooper touches one of his 3 favorite toys, then it is war!

I am EXHAUSTED!!!! I have always heard and thought that adding just one more would be no big deal! HAHAHAHA! Getting three fed, dressed, down the stairs, into the car and to the grocery store almost killed me! I was literally too tired to shop once I got there, but it will get easier (I hope). I go back to work tomorrow and it will be daddy's first day alone with all three littles. It will be interesting to see how that pans out!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Poor Coop!

Cooper is in the hospital. He was admitted with dehydration, acute renal failure, bowel obstruction and electrolyte imbalances. He is doing much better this morning. His bowels have moved after 3 enemas and he is perking up a little. Try to update soon!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We are outta here!

Look what we got today!

A true miracle happened today. We not only received Cooper's passport, which was flown from his region to us, but completed the medical appointment and received his Visa, too. We were not expecting that, but it is wonderful to have had that nice little surprise after the week we have had. We are now packing, cleaning and prepping to leave. Our plane leaves at 535 am and we arrive home tomorrow night at 845 pm in Knoxville. Thank God for all that he has done to protect us and keep us safe. Thank you all for your prayers and happy thoughts!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Random Stuff!

Good morning, everyone!

My new Mommy is hilarious!

This is my "concentration" face

I have a really cool ride!

Even put my workout clothes on for this!

My mom says that she had a "carb fest"....she says that you are not suppose to eat potatoes, pasta, and bread at the same time....but she didn't care!

Yep, we are still here. Hopefully we will find out something about the passport today. I still don't know what happened. Somehow there was an "error". I think it may have been how our passport application was submitted. Our facilitator was sick on court day and she sent someone else who wasn't as familiar with the system as she was and that person insisted on completing the passport application and apparently, it had an error on it. So, now we wait! If we get the passport tonight, then we will do our 2nd appointment at the Embassy tomorrow, along with Cooper's medical appointment and then we are out of here on Friday!!!

Cooper is smart, smart, smart! He has surprised me beyond belief. He is totally time/potty trained. He hasn't peed/pooped in his diaper in 3 days. He uses the bathroom every time you sit him on the potty. He is eating well, drinking well, sleeping well and overall just a happy baby/little boy. He is playing with the toys so much better instead of just throwing them. He can sign "more" when we are eating, says "Momma" (which he thinks means eat) and "hi" when we are skyping someone. He scoots to you constantly and holds his arms up to be held. One thing he does that is not so cute is smack you and if you correct him and tell him "no/nyet", he will not stop at least touching you with one finger so that he gets the last word in. While I secretly think it is funny, I can't let him know that. So, we did have our first come to Jesus meeting last night and he was less than thrilled. I will update you all when I have passport in hand! Please continue to pray that the rest of this journey will go smoothly!

Monday, February 27, 2012


There was an error in Cooper's passport application and we did not get his passport today. We may not get it tomorrow, either. Supposedly, we should have it by Wednesday and then have our 2nd Embassy appoint. on Thursday, which puts us home on Friday. Please pray that they will let us get the passport tomorrow from Kiev instead of sending it all the way back to Cooper's region and then back to Kiev (which is the rule-CRAZY)!!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Scabies Saturday!

Scabies treatment in UA if you ever need it (hope you don't)

Yesterday when I woke up I was more than a little itchy. I have thought that Cooper may have scabies, but he is so small that I didn't want to give him anything for it until I had him checked out, but yesterday he had bloody claw marks all over him from scratching all night. Scabies usually takes 2-4 weeks to show up, so I guess my time was up:( So, I called our facilitator, Yulia, and asked if they had meds here readily available for this. She told me to go to the pharmacy (anteka) and she would ask. So, I went out, found an anteka...gave the lady behind the counter the phone....she gave me the meds. It is an aeresol spray and very greasy. I put the name in google translate....then read the entire package insert....and then treated myself, my mother, and Cooper. I then proceeded to wash everything in the apartment. We washed the sheets, blanket, all of his clothes, our jackets, all of our clothes and all the towels/wash clothes. It came out to be eight loads on Saturday and two today (had to rewash the sheets from last night while the meds were on us). Good fun times!

Coop is doing great. His stomach still swells after eating. He then proceeds to burp and poot for about an hour or so, then his belly slowly starts going back down. He is now much more alert and tracks you everywhere you go. If you get his food, or any food for that matter, he scoots to you, pulls himself up and holds his arms in the air for you to pick him up. That is quite impressive for someone that did NOTHING a week ago. He is much smarter than everyone, myself included, gave him credit for.

Look at this could you not love it?

Loves to joke and laugh

For all you coffee lovers out there, this is by far the best instant coffee in the is expensive...$11/jar (makes about 15 cups-cheaper than buying at a cafe)....but much worth it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Time is Standing Still

Well, time is going by so SLOWLY...we are staying in today and just relaxing. I got a taxi cab yesterday and went to the big grocery store and shopped for food to last for the next 5 days. So we did what any normal American would do....we fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ate til we were sick!

Andrey/Cooper is doing SO good. You can sit him in the floor and he will scoot across the room, get to the couch, pull himself up and then hold his hands up for you to pick him up and then CRACK up. That is some serious progress in just a few days. He literally did not do anything when we got him from the orphanage. He loves to play, laugh, eat, sleep, and he just enjoys life, in general.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My poor babe's huge belly....with his skeleton body.

Not so sure about the whole "taking a bath" situation...

But he was very forgiving!

He is the sweetest BABY in the entire universe. He may be five years old, but he is very much a having a 6 month old. He has to have a diaper bag, extra clothes, diapers, diaper wipes, his own cup, his own bowl, his own food, his own toys, a stroller....not exactly what I signed up for, but loving it. He is TINY....I don't know if you can tell by the pictures, but tiny, tiny, tiny. The size 24 months clothes I brought him are huge on him, but we can manage.

Hopefully, we will get our passport Monday, have our first embassy appointment Monday, then visa pick up on Tuesday and hopefully come home Wednesday. Please pray for the passport to come and for the man to stay healthy. I have been feeding him bread soaked in milk, yogurt, baby food meats, baby food fruits and thickened water with a packet of pedialyte in it and so far, so good. I feed him 4 small meals a day. His gut is working. He has had two dirty diapers and he is peeing good, not too much, not too little....I am hoping to keep him healthy until I can get him home and then start feeding him some real food once we have access to medical care.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Having dinner with friends who are also adopting...and of course, the stud picked up a chick!

I PROMISE to upload some pics tomorrow...but to update you all....we got Cooper yesterday (2-21-12) at around 3 pm and then we drove 2 hours to the train and then 9 hours on the train back to the capital city. He has been fabulous. Not one tear. Not one fit. Nothing...but pure happiness and bliss. He has slept well, ate well, and played like crazy. He is now done for the night and hopefully will get caught up on sleep. He is pure joy! We hope to get his passport either Friday or Monday, then we can finish up at the US Embassy and get out of here. Please pray that he stays healthy. His stomach is still quite distended and will need pretty urgent care to see what is going on in there. I really can't express how sweet he is.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pick up Trip

My mother and I are leaving Sunday to go pick up Andrey/Cooper. We will arrive in his country on Monday, go straight from the airport to the train station, and hopefully, will arrive in his region on Tuesday to start the great "paperjam". We should be doing paperwork on Tuesday and Wednesday and hopefully going back to the capital city on Wednesday night to wait for his passport and for our medical appointment and Visa. If all goes well, we should be home on Wednesday or Thursday (March 1st or 2nd). Please pray for safe travels. My mother has never done any extensive traveling, especially in a place that do not sometimes have conveniences that we are used to. Promise to update from UA!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Yes, I am the worst blogger in the world!!!

Hello, all!

Yes, we had court!

Yes, we PASSED!

Yes, we are HOME!

No, we don't have Andrey yet!

Yes, we have to go back!

I am sorry for the lack of posts, but it has literally been run, run, run for the last week. We had court on Friday, Feb. 3rd. It was much more intense than I was expecting. We were questioned quite extensively on our motives for adopting. But, praise God, we did it. We then left court, waited on the night train, rode 9 hours to the capital city, went straight to the airport, hopped a plane to Zurich, ran across the airport and missed our flight.....but the plane was still there and I cried and cried and begged to get on that flight and to just open the gate back up and we would run to the plane.....AND THEY we made our flight to Chicago...and we only had a 3 hour layover until our flight to Knoxville. Our flight got delayed due to a "minor mechanical problem" and then about 30 minutes later.....our flight got canceled. We were so close, yet so far away. We ended up getting a hotel and staying the night in Chicago and catching a early morning flight out to Knoxville. We could not wait to get home to our kids!!! We did NOTHING but lay around and play and hug and kiss all day Sunday, then Monday we hit the ground running. We went back to work and the kids were in school and we have not had a day off yet! I am exhausted!!!! I am working on a long post about the actual court proceedings and I will post as soon as I am finished. Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Random Info

Working on giving a kiss without slipping you the tongue....the very BIG tongue!

Yep...I have on three shirts, a sweater, a hoodie and a jacket....with two pair of stockings and some velvet purple pants...don't hate!

"Mommmm...why do you keep taking my picture?"

Sorry that I haven't posted much....there just really isn't that much to post about. It is too cold (-15 degrees) to go anywhere, so we sit in the apartment and watch Lifetime (which is killing Sean slowly). We go visit Andrey just once a day because there is not much heat in the playroom and it is freezing in there so they put so many clothes on him that the poor little guy cannot even move. We have court tomorrow at 11 am. I am a little nervous because our facilitator is sick and will not be joining us. She is sending a person named Ira (who I have never heard of) to go to court with us. After court, we will visit with Andrey one last time and then we will get on the overnight train to the capital city and then we will go straight to the airport to start our journey home. I cannot wait to get out of here. It is unbelievably cold here, more so than normal. I read today that about 75 people had died already from hypothermia. It is mostly homeless people and the elderly. So very sad. They haven't figured out a way to help the homeless here and they are indifferent to them, at best.

Andrey did not feel very good today. No laughs. No snuggles. No kisses. He just sat and stared. I don't know what happened or if he was just really tired, but something definitely was different. Please pray for him to stay strong and healthy for our journey home. I won't be back to pick him up for at least 14 days.

I have a friend that wrote a blog post today that took my breath away. I want to share it here with some of you all. Please visit her blog and read about the ones left behind......her blog is

Solitary Confinement

Before I share elements of the true stories that motivated the title of this post, I want to throw some food for thought out there for you.

We, as Americans, hate Adolf Hitler. Even his name brings forth anger for many. Any good contributions of art or science that he produced are far overshadowed by the atrocities he inflicted on the disabled, the poor, those of Jewish descent or other racial minorities. In his quest for a pure, perfect race, he extinguished the lives of those he deemed, by his standards, to be flawed and therefore useless. And America raged against the genocide- rightfully so, sending in troops to stop the maniacal reign of terror he inflicted on Europe.

Yet everyday, in Eastern Europe, in the shadows of the concrete buildings erected during a Soviet empire, this genocide continues to occur. If you walk the streets, you do not see the disabled, the cognitively impaired, the unique. You see a people striving for outer perfection- for beauty, for an elite quality of superiority in fashion and breeding. Those born with disabilities are shuttled away to institutions, living out their lives in restricted fashion, limited to the world the government deems appropriate. Deprived of the basic rights that we Americans value as essential to humanity- the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the right to practice our faith, the right to an education, to be treated with respect and dignity.

It is a slower genocide than what Hitler inflicted. His was brutally quick- the victims were forcibly evacuated from their homes and businesses, herded onto trains like cattle, transported to a future of incarceration or incineration, or both. They were treated like animals- used for manual labor until their cost of upkeep superceded their value in work, then put down like lame horses or rabid dogs.

The children and adults with disabilities in EE face a similar future. A government body determines their value as humans in terms of their potential costs of upkeep compared to value of work production- if the scales weigh in the wrong balance, they are sent to remote mental institutions, where they face a slow torturous death from malnutrition, isolation, deprivation of medical care, and maltreatment.

It's still genocide.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yes, I am a slacker!

Yes, I am a slacker. We are BORED out of our minds here. It is WAY too cold to go outside and do anything. We walked to the store last night (which is about 2 miles) in -10 degree weather and I thought I had frostbite on my legs. There is a story on MSN about people dying here in Ukraine from hypothermia because it is colder than normal. I thought I was being wimpy, but I guess everybody is freezing!

Andrey is still doing good. His belly looks better everyday. He is coming alive, but he gets very tired very easily. He loves to watch other kids play. He sits very contently in our laps and laughs when other kids are in the playroom. He would rather watch them than do anything else. It is sad:(

I finally got him to try to bite into a banana today. He will not attempt to hold or feed himself at all. He doesn't chew at all, but literally just swallows whatever you put in his mouth. He gets very angry if this is not done just right. He will take the banana (after I break off a small piece) and pull it very delicately with his tongue but won't actually bite off of it. He still will not take a drink of anything at all. I will bring back some thickner and spoon feed him liquids on our pick up trip.

Yesterday he kissed me. I have tried to ask/show him how to kiss since I have been visiting him and he has never tried until yesterday (he almost slipped me the tongue-lol), but he intentionally put his lips to mine and moved his mouth. It was so sweet.

Hopefully, we will have court on Friday. Maybe even Thursday, but more likely Friday, then we will come home on Saturday. Please pray for an uneventful court proceeding and pray that we can get tickets out of here and get home for a while.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday visits...

Momma, you crack me up!

Sneaky look

Love bug!

Friday we split the real reason why, but I went to the morning visit and Andrey was hilarious! He was happy and playing and cute.
Sean went to the afternoon visit and actually had toys to play with. He pushed Andrey around on a car (no pics) and there were other kids playing in the playroom and he said that Andrey laughed at them the whole time they were in there.

Still waiting to see if we have court next week. Please pray that we do.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 8 with Andrey!

Good morning Poppa!

Day 8 and finally a new outfit!!!

Take this silly hat off me....we are NOT outside!

Our first family photo!

How we spend most of our visit (and yes, the nannies about have a heart attack that I am lying on the floor with my shoes on)

So, for some unknown reason, Andrey's belly is much smaller yesterday and today it was almost normal size. He is still burping and tooting like crazy but his belly is a lot better. Thank God for that. Yesterday when we showed up for our visit, there was some type of priests there singing to the children. I got to see the little girl that climbed me like a tree and I can honestly say...I am in love with her. I would take her home in a minute. The look of desperation in search for anyone that will be her momma and poppa is heartbreaking. She went to each person there yesterday and asked them if they would be her momma or poppa. Kills me....

Andrey is doing so good. He plays and laughs and he lets us know when we wants a break. Then he scoots back over after a few minutes and puts his arms up for me to get him again. He is laughing more and I am so thankful that his belly is looking better. I don't know if its the yogurt I have been giving him or if it was just a big fluke. I will still keep an eye out for something going on. He is definitely severely malnourished. He only gets about 2 ounces of milk with "cake" in it 2-3 times a day, probably less than 500 calories and very little protein. We will have to be very careful about refeeding syndrome. It is going to be hard on me to not immediately feed him, but I will keep him on milk, cake, and yogurt until I get him home and fatten him up. I will take him straight to the hospital from the airport and he will probably have to stay for a week or so to get his body used to taking in food again. All of the other kids (besides the bedbound girl) look healthy and well nourished. I guess he doesn't get meat and stuff because he does not chew AT all. He eats like a lizard...sticks his big tongue out and grabs it and pulls it in his mouth. It is going to be a challenge to get him to chew. I have cleaned his teeth pretty good. I have the bottom ones almost white. I almost puke everytime I clean them. I should take a picture of what comes off. I hope I get them somewhat clean by the time we go home. Dentist is definitely on the top of our list of people to see when we make it home.

We went to McDonald's today and went grocery shopping at the big store at the mall. I have found a candy bar with chocolate, strawberries and cream in it...I AM IN LOVE. It is heaven!!! Will update tomorrow~(or maybe the next day)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday Visits and More

We showed up to visit Andrey Monday morning and he was so happy. He laughed and laughed and laughed. He laughed so hard his whole body was shaking. He was so excited to see us and we had a ball with him. He came out of the gate so strong and then he just completely tuckered out. He scoots over to me (which is a lot of work and done with great effort) and picks his little stick arms up in the air for me to pick him up. He is definitely a momma's boy. He looks pretty good in the pictures, but he is just skin and bones. He has absolutely no body fat whatsoever (expect maybe a little on his cheecks). His shoulders are so thin and frail that you have to be very careful picking him up. His stomach is still HUGE...very bloated and very, very distended. He has distention all the way through his abdomen, even to his sides. I fed him some rice, cheese, and butter yesterday and he LOVED it. I was trying to get a little bit of fat and protein in his body...preparing him to get the heck out of here. He is so much smarter than I gave him credit for. When someone opens the door to the play room, he stops what he is doing and watches them until they leave. He especially has his eye on the lady's with the big pots of food. I still haven't gotten one solitary drink of fluid in his body. He eats great, but won't drink a thing. I have only tried the honey bear cup. I think I will bring a regular cup today and see if he will let me give him a drink.

The computer assigned our judge yesterday...It was someone that our team does not know and has never dealt with. I am very nervous about that. Our facilitator is in region today and is hoping to see the judge and go through our paperwork with him and see if we can get a court date assigned. I am not so sure about this...I don't have a good feeling at all.

We had dinner with the Kimble's and their precious little Mila last night. I love that girl. I had actually approached Sean about adopting her before they committed to her and it was so neat to see her with her new mommy and daddy. Mila is sick and not eating/drinking well. I would appreciate any/all prayers and good thoughts for her. I hope she will make it home safely.

We didn't get to visit on Tuesday morning because the orphanage was having "inspection". Our facilitator called and told us that they did not want us to come to the room anymore, to just tell the secretary and someone would bring him to us. I suspect that is because two of the kids in Andrey's groupa went CRAZY yesterday when I went to pick him up. This one little girl, about 3 or 4 years old, climbed me like a tree and missed me and said "mama, mama, mama". She then promplty turned to the nannies and waived "paka paka" and took my hand and tried to leave with me, which was just fine by me, but not so much from the nannies. The whole room was chaos for a few minutes. I am probably not the nannies favorite person :)

Me and Andrey relaxing after we played so hard!

Attempting to get him into crawl position....he declined!

He really likes to snuggle


View from our window

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Really likes dancing!

We are having a lot of trouble you can see, something very important is missing!

Really missing these four monkeys (yes, even you Danielle). Trying to remember the story about the one lost sheep...

So there are a couple of pics to represent what is going through my mind..... Gotta go...Andreyshka is awaiting our arrival.