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 visits...no real reason why, but I went to the morning visit and Andrey was hilarious! He was happy and playing and snuggly...so 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 sleeping....as 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.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday-Day 4 with Coop

Well, obviously, EE makes you sleepy....because we slept right through the morning visiting hours. So, after we got up at 1 pm, we walked/hiked/slid/climbed through the snow to go to the store because our facilitator told us that the orphanage wanted us to bring diapers in today. The ground was like someone left the coke Icee machine on and it flooded the entire city with 6 inches of mush. It was awful, but we did get to get coffee/soup/coke/pizza on our way to get the diapers, so it was totally worth it.

There were no administrative people at the orphanage today, so we went in the back door and straight up to the groupa. I was just in time for snack. This was my first time seeing Andrey's room. He was already sitting at the table waiting for his snack, all of the other kids were doing potty time, except for one little girl in the gigantic crib. I was going to try to be nice to her, so I reached down to rub her hand and head and she went into a head banging fit and started biting herself. I was shocked and the worker just rolled her eyes. I felt horrible for disturbing her. Back to Andrey-I got to feed him his snack (I hope it was just a snack). It was "cake" in milk and I fed him with a huge spoon. He did much better with it than I thought he could. He lapped it right up, then they let me put his fresh size 3 pamper on (it was WAY too big) and dress him in a t-shirt, 2 sweaters (a pink and brown Minnie Mouse outfit), tights, thick pants and booties to go downstairs and play. And they gave me a blanket just in case he got cold. I fed him some Activia yogurt with a TUMS crushed up in it to see if that will help his gigantic belly any, so the entire visit he burped and tooted A LOT!!!!

He played a lot more today. He laughs a lot more. I finally found his tickle spot and he actually scooted over to me and picked his arms up for me to get him. He thinks Sean is pretty funny. He doesn't quite understand his hairy face.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blizzard Land!!!

Our beautiful teeth!

Not extremely impressed with this whole "Momma" thing...

Epic fail....forgot to pack Sean's socks. He is quite proud of these bad boys!

Hello, Pappa...where have you been all of my life?

Lean on me.............

Proof of blizzard!

Even though Ukrainians would laugh us out of here, we experienced what we like to call a "blizzard" today. After our morning visit with Andrey, we decided to walk a little bit. We still haven't found a store or any place to eat since we got in region. I finally called Yulia and asked her to call a driver to take us to the pizza place and praise God we found it! We ate a pizza with salami, corn, and cheese; a fruit cup; and cokes and coffee. It was devine! The pizza place is probably only about 3/4-1 mile away, but it was snowing so bad, we literally lost the sidewalk and Sean fell down! We also found a mini-mart that pretty much has everything we need, including Coke light (not to be confused with Diet Coke). Sean searched and searched for aluminum foil, which was hilarious. I tried to tell him that they would not have it, but he kept searching. He is a little afraid of our oven:)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2nd Visit!

OH MY!!! I owe Andrey a HUGE apology. I have thought it in my head and said it on several occasions..."he is lower functioning than Cole and Caden". Hahahahaha! He is smart as a tack. He played ball with me, he picked up his arms and scooted on his butt to my feet to tell me to pick him up, he smacked me for cleaning his eyes and nose (which he can get away with for now), he knows exactly what is going on around him. He can mimmick play...he is verbal. I have videos of him playing and he loves to play jokes! I will post them tonight. So Sorry, Andrey....I will never doubt you again!

Rewind...meeting the man!

We drove from the capital city to the region where our boy lives now...it was almost a 6 hour car ride. Yulia, our facilitator, and her husband, Yuri, drove us. I, of course, got car sick (happens all the time). So, I had not eaten breakfast and only ate some crackers and a granola bar all day with about 1/2 bottle of water. I was feeling like crap, but trying to not show it. We finally arrive and pick up the regional inspector (cannot remember her official title) and then we head to the orphanage. We met with the orphanage director, who was a larger woman with a tight silk nurse's outfit on...interesting. We were asked a couple of questions and then they asked if we wanted to meet Andrey. We, of course, said yes. We walked up some stairs and there he was, sitting on a rocking horse. I was expecting me to be little, but he is TINY!!!! Probably wears a 18 month-24 months old in clothes (he is 5 years old). The very first thing I noticed was how distended his stomach is...I am a nurse practitioner and I have seen a lot of distended tummies, but his is impressive. I was actually kind of afraid to touch him for fear of hurting him. Then the smell hit me...his mouth is filled with yellow/grey teeth and he kept burping and the smell almost made me throw up. I guess combined with my car sickness it was not a good thing. Anyway, he is just too precious (yes, a little stinky-but we can fix that). I was a little shell shocked after meeting him (which is perfectly normal). His eyes cross badly, his teeth are rotten, he cannot bear his own weight, he smelled horrible.....BUT he is PERFECT!!! He melted right into me, held my hand, grabbed my glasses and let me just hold and love on him. It hurts my heart to see how badly he has been neglected. He will need immediate medical care...like straight from the airport to the hospital. I hope his tummy is just full of gas, but I think it is something much more. Please pray for him that remains stable until we can get him home.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Like the outfit!

The green building is under construction, so they put up this mess covering that has drawings of what a building would look like if it were finished....very funny!

Park at the top of the never ending steps with a crucifix that someone is praying at..

Our living room...

Our "entertainment center"

Our kitchen...

This is hilarious! The "iddy biddy" cup is Dale Hogeland's expresso, the middle cup is my "Americano caffe" and the big cup is Kate Hogeland's big coffee....


So, I am sitting here in my apartment alone (Sean is asleep in the other room). I am thinking about meeting Mr. Andrey. There is no way to prepare for this meeting. He will have no idea that his life just changed, but I will know that our lives will never be the same. I feel like time is moving so slow here....I am just ready to go get him and actually see him with my own eyes. He has waited so long and he deserves to be chosen. I want him to know that we chose him, we love him and we will take care of his every need for the rest of our lives and we will make sure that he is taken care of for the rest of his life. I cannot wait to see all three of little guys with DS playing together. Andrey won't know what hit him....

To recap the last couple of days...

The flight from Knoxville to Chicago was uneventful. Left on time. Arrived on time. Then we get to Chicago. We met up with the Hogeland's and everything seemed fine. We boarded our plane on time, then we.just.sat.there. Three hours later, the captain announces "the part of engine three that was broken has been replaced. We have tested it a little bit and it SHOULD work." I felt my heart beat a little faster. For those of you that know me, you know that I HATE flying. It is funny that I have flown across the ocean many times because I really, really, really, dislike it a lot! We finally start to go and I thought I will not be able to rest the whole flight. Well, I took some dramimine (not the non-drowsy kind) and I literally slept the entire flight. I even slept through the meals. I felt like I had been hit by a truck~But anyway, because of our delay in Chicago, we missed our connecting flight in Frankfurt, Germany. So....we sat in Germany for a couple of hours. It was actually kind of cool. There was a lady who was escorting 15 orphans that had been hosted in the United States back to Ukraine. I really, really wanted to snatch a couple of them up, even some of the girls (I don't do girls....don't ask). So, we finally board the plane and it is like the oldest plane that is still operational today. It even had ashtrays. Then a fight almost happened on board over seating. Welcome to Ukraine!!! So we landed, got off the plane, walked straight in to the baggage claim, picked up our suitcases, walked toward customs, ushered through and walked through the door and there was a man with a big sign that said "Carmichael & Hogeland's". Praise the Lord! I was convinced no one would be there because of the delay. Nico was there to pick us up and we promptly went and exchanged money and bought minutes for our cell phones and we were out the door in less than 15 minutes after landing. We then headed to the grocery store, bought a few items and then landed in our apartment 30 hours after leaving home.....and I passed out for the next 10 hours!

Day 2-we went sight seeing around the city. Ate at a Ukrainian buffet (which I was a little afraid of), but it was fabulous! We both ate A LOT for $9...highly recommend it (right across the street from TGIFs). We met up with the Hogeland's and walked for most of the day. We saw the main park and the river and walked up 300-400 steps up the side of a hill. I possibly pulled a muscle in my leg and it let me know that it was not having all of the forced exercise. Three ibuprofen later, we made it back to our aparmtent and chilled out. We had ham and cheese sandwiches (at least it is ham to me), potatoe chips and popcorn for supper!

SDA appointment. Three RR families were at the SDA at the same time. We then got to meet our facilitator, Yulia. We met for like 3 seconds and then she said "Carmichael, you are first...let's go." No problem. Let's do it! We walk in, sit on the same couch, introduce ourselves to our SDA worker...she then starts the interview...."May I see your passports?"....."How did you find out about Andrey?"..........and then it was over. She called the orphanage and made sure he was still there and available. I held my breath the entire time she was on the phone. Then she smiled and said "Sign here to accept the referral". No biggie!

We will go to pick up our referral today and then board the overnight train to go to his region and meet Andrey tomorrow. I will do better updating, but jet lag has really kicked my butt this time!

Monday, January 16, 2012

SDA appointment!

We are here and we are doing fine. We had our SDA appointment today. It was very informal. I even wore jeans! They only asked us two questions....one was to see our passports and the other was how we knew about Andrey, then we were done. Took about 5 minutes.

Last time we adopted, we were pretty much here on our own. We met one family (the Nalle's) for one evening, but this time with so many of us here, we are really getting a lot of support from one another. It is awesome! I am actually babysitting the Hogeland's little man right now while they are at their SDA appointment. I hope and pray that they find the other little one that they want to adopt!

We walked about 4-5 miles yesterday (in the snow) and up and down these never ending stairs (probably about 300 or so steps) and my legs are letting me know how out of shape I am in! A lot of RR families are meeting this evening at TGIF's and I hope to socialize and relax before our train ride tomorrow! So far, so good. Will try to post pics of our apartment and such later.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I am leaving on a jet plane.....

I don't know when I will be back again (literally). We leave K-town at 1130 tomorrow and should land in Uk**ine Saturday at 1pm. It is snowing here and I hope that does not cause a delay! Wish us luck!