DAP Appointment

Today was our DAP appointment!  We were able to see Juri’s file and we go back tomorrow to pick up his referral!  After we get that we will pack up all our things and take the overnight train to the city where his orphanage is.  We are super excited!  We learned a little new information about our guy, but nothing surprising and it was quite brief.  We will get a much more detailed report of medical and social information at his orphanage.

We also finally found something to transfer our pictures!  So here are a few you can enjoy from the trip so far…

A quick family photo before our first flight to Chicago.


She looks like a pro traveller already!  With her nook books and her juice.  Yes, I was watching that like a hawk…


Stephen’s preferred way to pass the time.


This was on our cross-Atlantic flight where we had the free TVs!  He is learning how to enjoy the joy of sound through headphones.



This is the playground we took advantage of for our stir crazy kids in between flights.



Our very first apartment building! :)


The view from our apartment window.  You can see the Victory Monument on the left-hand side.



And this is how the kids spent their morning after partying through the night.  I call it, the jet lag hangover.



Evangeline sitting on the steps outside the church near the DAP office as we waited for our appointment.




The Matryoshka doll key chain one of the friendly street vendors gave each of the kids.IMG_0125

And so it begins!

We are in Frankfurt on our layover!  There is a little mini playground here and we are incredibly exhausted but still in good spirits.  We have a four hour stop before moving on for our final flight.  Here’s a little taste of our journey so far!

We ended up with much more carry-on luggage than I was hoping for, because we wanted our checked luggage to make weight.  So that was interesting traversing the airports with two children and four bags plus sweaters and the baby carrier!  Our first flight was pretty uneventful.  When we checked in with security, Jake was talking with the TSA official about our passports and Evie piped up “And we also need a plane,” like we were ordering food at a restaurant.  It gave us a good chuckle.

She did stickers and nook books on the first flight.  I tried reading her a “real” book, but it was a tiny airplane and so loud that she could barely hear me talking right next to her.  Stephen slept the majority of the way, which helped everyone’s mood for the duration of the afternoon.  They both really enjoyed watching take-off and landing and being “in the clouds”.

The Chicago airport was way bigger than the first, it’s like a little city unto itself!  I had never flown through Chicago before and I just didn’t know what I was in for.  I am pretty sure we walked about half a mile to get to our connecting gate.  That was quite the adventure.  Jake carried all the bags (my hero!) so I took the kids to the first bathroom we spotted.  I had Stephen in the Toddler Tula carrier and held Evangeline’s hand.  There was a line in the bathroom and several gracious ladies skipped us ahead upon hearing the little one’s plea that she needed to go!

So we squeezed into the first open stall rather than waiting for a handicap to open up and when we came out a very surprised woman asked “How did all of you fit in there?!”  I just laughed.  Not sure how to answer that question?  Haha…

I then opened up my laptop to post some pictures from our first airplane ride only to realize that we didn’t have the right cable to upload pictures from my camera.  Oops… one of the airport staff directed me back to the previous terminal to an electronics store, so I took the kids and we started making the five-ish minute trek back when Jake calls and said they were starting passport checks.

We should have turned around, but we started running!  (Which the children quite enjoyed, I might add.)  We got to the store, were told that no one in the airport had such things, and ran back to our gate.  I am really, really hoping our facilitators can direct us to one once we get to Kiev.  I will be EXTREMELY disappointed if I have to wait to share all of our pictures!

Once we rushed back to the desk at our gate, Jake was waiting while they seemingly did nothing with our passports in no sort of hurry while the lines piled up to board.  They told me I could go so I took Stephen to go get our bags (all of them) and just made the decision to get in line.  All Stephen wanted to do was ride the flat escalator walking thing that was right next to us and run in front of every “truck” that drove by.  When that didn’t work he started trying to ride the suitcases.

I, on the other hand, only had one hand to wrangle him and that arm was weighed down by two bags.  It ended with lots of screaming and pitiful looks from everyone in the airport.  A sweet German lady standing next to us gave him a few stickers which cheered him up just long enough for Daddy to finally get back with our boarding passes after standing at the desk for Stephen’s boarding pass.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it though.  After having spent ten minutes at the desk trying to get Stephen’s ticket accurate in the system, we were about to get on the plane when they told Jake that his boarding pass was now not right.  I was determined to get overhead compartment space so I went ahead and boarded with Stephen (and all the bags… again….)

Let’s just say that must have been an incredibly comical sight.  One passenger asked if she could help, and I said “Sure!” but Stephen was running in front of me and I couldn’t stop to ask her what she’d like to carry so I kept moving and she never got up.  Lol… A flight attendant eventually helped me get everything together after asking incredulously if all those bags were just for me and the baby and me pathetically explaining that we were travelling with my husband and daughter who they wouldn’t let on the plane.  Haha… yeah…

Stephen and I were finally situated, but then there was still the issue of my husband not being able to board the flight.  I called his cell phone trying to make a game plan in my head for getting our travel agent on the phone with the airline and telling myself that I could NOT cry because that would not be helpful, when who appeared behind me but my dear husband.  I was so incredibly relieved in that moment!

He said that they finally let him board.  He didn’t know if they actually got it fixed or if they were just tired of messing with the computer.  Either way it didn’t matter, we were on our way (all four of us!) to Germany!  We also had some added bonuses on the plane: free movies, TV and games for the kids on the seats, realizing it was only an 8 hour flight and not a 13 hour flight, and another sweet mama who shared her kids’ snacks with our little ones.

So yes, we are certainly having an adventure, and we’re not even there yet!

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane!

Don’t worry, we will be back again!

The first leg of our trip is complete!  We made the two hour drive to our hotel and we will take the shuttle to the airport in the morning.  Our first flight leaves at 10:20am to Chicago where we’ll have a two hour layover.  Then from there we have a connecting flight to Frankfurt, Germany.  That will be about thirteen hours long, getting us in Germany in the wee hours of their morning on May 27th.

Once there we will have a four and a half hour layover before boarding the flight to our final destination and arriving in Juri and Janna’s country at 1:15pm their time (aka 6:15am CST).  That will be just under a full 24 hours of travelling for our crew, which I am sure is what fond family memories are made of.  😉

We beg your prayers for our safe travels during all this time, for peace and good sleep on the flights, for no lost luggage and that God would grant us grace and patience as we traverse the airports during our long journey.

This will be my last blog post stateside until our sweet children are home!  I might make a quick Facebook update or two, so be sure to check our family’s adoption page as well.  Many blessings to all of you who are following our journey back home and praying us through!!

If this is a dream…

I don’t want to wake up!!  We finally received our travel dates on Monday.  HOORAY!!!!!!  I would have posted sooner, but life has been a whirlwind since then!  We leave in less than two weeks, on Memorial Day!  We are so incredibly excited and busy and nervous and happy!  I can’t believe that the day is finally arriving, after waiting so very long.  This isn’t a dream, but last night I did have a memorable one!  I dreamed we saw our sweet son.

We went to his orphanage to go pick him up and he was so excited to meet us.  He loved everyone, including his new little brother and sister.  It was just lovely!  We were talking a perfect mix of Russian and English.  Apparently, he knew exactly all the phrases in English that I didn’t know in Russian, so we were able to communicate flawlessly!  I know this is (quite literally) all a dream… but it was lovely nonetheless.

And then our fairy tale meeting was abruptly interrupted by some kind of war going on (hmm… I wonder where my mind got that idea from).  I bring it up, though, because it leads to a really cool part.  So in all the chaos, eventually Jake and our other two kiddos where taken onto a submarine and I was knocked unconscious.  When I woke up they were gone and Juri was being held by a girl whose father was from the opposing army.  She looked about 12 or 13 and she was saying terrible things to him about how she was his mother now and how we would never love him.

I went right over there and took him out of her arms and told him over and over “Я твоя́ ма́ма.”  He relaxed into my arms, feeling completely safe, and there he stayed the rest of the dream as we went off to find the rest of the family :)  It was all so nice, and it made me even more anxious to hold my son.  I miss him so much and I haven’t even met him yet!  There are lots of things to be done before we go, so I will try to update a little before take-off, but hopefully not too many posts from now we will be across the Atlantic!

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