Thursday, April 25, 2013

Where The Sheets Go- Griffin's View

Let me begin by saying that I desperately want to go back to my son's birth country.  This month is just filled with so many memories of our time spent there and I miss it.  I want to go back to his orphanage and see all of the others that we left behind.  All of those sweet little faces are burned into my memory forever.  How many of them will have families?  How many of them will succeed in life?  I pray that they all will...but reality tells me otherwise.  I'm so pleased to say that 2 of the little boys that I would have taken home in an instant have families on the way for them in the very near future!  They will make excellent sons...I'm sure of it!

Griffin's View of April 25, 2012-

The orphanage is different now.  All of the nannies are opening up the windows and taking the rugs outside.  The sheets have been taken from our beds and it smells fresher in our room. They keep saying something about spring being here.  They also took me from my giant play pen and said that "momma and papa" are here to see me.  I know that it's the lady who keeps wearing the black sweater and the man with the scruffy face.  I really like those people because they take me outside!  It's really nice out there.

The nanny didn't stuff me in all of those thick layers of clothes today.  I can move and breathe and I don't feel too hot!  Come on people, take me outside!

The nanny handed me off at the door and away we went.  I like that these people let me touch the wall as they take me outside.  I really like the way it feels.  The minute they stepped outside with me, they stood me up on the ground to let me walk around the orphanage.  They have to hold both of my hands to keep me from falling but I'm still in the lead.  I stick my belly out so that I can be faster than they are.  hahaha

I finally realized where all of the sheets from our beds are!  I can see them floating from strings in the trees!  That's kind of weird.  The "momma" noticed that I was looking at them and she said that the sheets are drying on the clothes line or something like that.  Then she said something like, "that's how we do it in the south, too."  I'm not really sure what a south is.  Maybe "the south" is why she sounds so weird!  hahaha

These people like to tickle me so much!  They also tell me that I have big squishy cheeks.  My hat that the nanny always puts on me makes my cheeks squish out even more because they tie it under my chin.  It aggravates me so much and I don't want it on my head.  I do like the tickles, though.  It causes me to make a happy noise and causes me to smile.  I notice that every time I smile, they smile... I like the way they look when they smile at me and I'm trying to make the same face as them.  It seems to make them happy.  I've never really made anyone happy before so I'm going to do my best!

On the way up the stairs, though, I knew that our time was over and it made me sad.  I made a huge pouty face and I think I scared the scruffy papa man.  He made the momma come over to me and look at my face. My lip was poking out really far and I made a loud moan.  I did a good job of choking back my tears.  The tears kind of surprised me, though, because I don't really let that happen anymore.  Tears don't really work here.  I stopped them up and the momma took me in her arms and told me that it would be ok and that they would come back to see me later that day.  That made me feel a little better but I still didn't want them to take me back to my room.  I really like them and I really like being outside.  They make me feel special.

They gave me a squeeze and told me they would be back later.

For Chris and Maria's view, click here!

Love and Hugs!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

They Came Back! Griffin's view

Griffin's View- First full day of visits.
April 20, 2012

I really like to sleep and the nanny knows that.  She will let me sleep as long as I can and will feed breakfast to me when I wake up.  However, this morning, she actually woke me up, which caught me off guard.  I quickly put my hands over my eyes so that I could disappear but then I realized that she was going to feed me.  So after a very fast meal, she started dressing me in my outdoor clothes!  Wow!  This is my lucky day!  I heard the door bell ring and the other nanny went to answer it.  I could faintly hear talking and I heard my name.  That made me scared again so I covered my face up with my hands and peeked through my fingers.  The nanny took me to the door and I relaxed a little bit when I noticed that she was smiling.  She said something about a mama again and then I saw them!  The people from yesterday...they were standing in the doorway with the biggest smiles on their faces.  They talked to my nanny a bit and then I was handed over.  The nanny showed them how they were suppose to help me walk, by holding both of my hands, but I'm not sure why because I don't really need to walk.

The lady looked really antsy to get me in her arms so I let her take me.  I was nervous but she seemed nice enough.  I have my hat and shoes on so I know that we are going outside and that's OK with me!  The nanny told us good-bye and said something like "20 minutes" and then we headed outside.  I was trying really hard not to laugh...I wanted to be very quiet so they wouldn't change their minds about taking me out.  The lady held me so that I was facing her and she put her mouth on my forehead.  Was she tasting me?  Like I did with that prickly man yesterday?  He's following us outside.  I wonder if he will let me play with his whiskers again?

We finally made it outside!  I was stretching backward so that I could stare up at the sky!  It's been so long since I've been outdoors because it's been very cold.  I didn't feel cold now because I have a lot of clothes on.  I wish I didn't have this hat on.  It's really bothering me.

They took me around to the back of the orphanage to where my groupa usually goes in the summertime.  I haven't been here in forever!  The lady, still wearing the black sweater, sat me on the bench and then kneeled down in front of me.  She very slowly took her hands off of me and when I sat there she smiled and said something to the man... Something like "he can sit on his own!"  I started to wobble a little bit because the bench was a little tilted so I saw the lady look at the orphanage and then she quickly sat me on the ground!  Oh no!  Please don't let my nanny see this!  But she didn't leave me there long...she smiled, cheered, and tasted my forehead again.  I'm good at sitting!

It wasn't too long before they started taking me inside.  I was pretty sad but I didn't make a peep because I didn't want them to get mad at me.  I thought they were going to take me back to my groupa but they passed my door and took me to a really big rug.  They took my shoes off and I didn't like that at all!  I picked my shoe up and tried to put it back on my foot but I just couldn't do it.  The lady seemed happy that I was trying, though.  Before long, my nanny came by and told them that they could remove my outer clothing.  What a relief!  I was finally able to move!  I turned over and started crawling and they got very excited!   I went as far as I could and then I had to take a break.  They pulled out a book full of colorful pictures that I wanted to taste...a balloon that kind of scared me a little bit, and a toy car that I really didn't know what to do with... so I banged the car on my head.  It didn't feel that good so why would they want me to play with that?  I don't understand.  Much too soon, I had to go back to my groupa but they said something about coming back later.  I'm not really sure what that means.

It was a good day!  It was fun going outside and doing different stuff.  I hope that I can see those people again so that they can take me outside.  I really liked that!

Time for Lunch!

For Chris and Maria's view, click here!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Met'cha Day-Griffin's View

Today marks the one year anniversary of meeting the most precious little boy in the world!

He has a story to tell...

Griffin's View-

There was so much going on this morning and I was on edge.  Every time things change, even slightly, I try to hide.  I will put my fingers in my mouth and cover up my eyes with my other hand so that I will disappear.  What was even scarier is that I kept hearing my name over and over again..."Nazar"... and I didn't know why they were talking about me.  I was being good!  It made me want to hide even more but I was in my crib and there was no place else to go.

I could see the nanny pulling out my usual outfit that I only wore if I needed to be warmer.  I was already wearing my usual red tights and a long sleeve shirt...Was she about to dress me to take me outside?!  I would love that!  She whisked me out of the crib and laid me down on the table to put my outfit on... wait... no shoes?  no coat?  no hat?  What's going on?  I peeked between my fingers to see the unfamiliar nanny quickly dressing me.  She seemed very rushed and I heard my favorite nanny across the room say something about a mama...

The nanny picked me up and turned me to where I was facing outward.  Her arms were firmly around my waist and I was able to see where we were going...down the stairs, with pictures of other little kids lining the walls.  I tried to reach out to touch the walls but the nanny wouldn't let me.  There were strange people walking around in white coats with scary doctor masks over their faces.  I only see these people once a year and it always puts the nannies on edge.  The nannies always clean a lot and rush around to make everything look nice.  It didn't seem like these people wanted to see me, though, because the nanny kept walking.  The smell of my lunch was surrounding me as we made our way down the hall... Was she taking me to the kitchen?!  I would love that!  Just as I thought we were about to go there, she took me into the office across the hall... I've never been in there before.  Ever.  There was a lady at the desk and she motioned for us to open the next door.  Without hesitation, the nanny took me right on in.

I didn't know what to think!  There were so many pictures on the shelves, so many people standing in the office, and there were two people who didn't look like nannies, and they were looking at me. A lady across the room said something like, "Maria, you can go to him" and she jumped up out of the chair and took me from the nanny's arms.  I didn't know what to think so I started laughing.  I couldn't tell if I was laughing because I was happy or if I was just nervous... or maybe both.  This lady had on a warm black sweater and she held me tightly to her, and it felt different than how the nannies carry me.  I looked up and saw that she was crying and I hope that I didn't hurt her feelings.  She kept squeezing me and telling me something that sounded like "I love you" and then she tried to say it in Russian... it came out like "ya tibya lu blue"...but I don't really know what that means, but I felt something inside me that I have never felt before.  Maybe those are magic words!  The lady in black passed me over to the man.  He had a scruffy face and I couldn't help but rub his cheek with my hand!  That wasn't enough, though, so I got really close to his face and licked his cheek!  He must have liked it because he started tickling me.  I was laughing so hard and I was having so much fun!  Then the doctor told the nanny to take me away.  I was kind of sad to go...but I knew it was lunch time and my tummy was talking...

What was that all about?  Why were those people so nice to me?  Why did the nanny take me to see them?

When I got back to my groupa, the nice nanny said something about a mama again and she looked very happy for me.  I still don't really know what she is talking about...But I hope it's good!

For Maria and Chris' view, click here!

Love and Hugs!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces

Chris's View-

It is funny how a child can fit so well into your family!

Everyone with children knows that moment when their new baby truly becomes part of the family.  It is different for every parent.  I know with Big G it was looking in the rearview mirror into the rear seat mirror and seeing her sleeping.  For some reason, I knew then I would lay down my life to save hers if ever the need arose.  For Little G, it was a little more traumatic.  When I saw my sweet baby in the hospital with a IV hanging out of her head, I knew I would do anything to take the pain away from her, it didn't matter what she was feeling.  For Griffin though, it was a little different.  I did not feel that "love" for him until I went back to get him.

I know, that sounds bad.  Let me explain.  I loved him as a child.  I loved him as a child of God.  I loved him as an orphan.  Even though we had been through court and he was technically our son, I did not love him as such.  That all changed when I got back to the orphanage and saw regression and some sores on his forehead from what looked like stemming.  I knew then I would take my son's place in whatever bad situation he may encounter.  I knew in my heart I would have stayed in that orphanage in his place had they allowed it.  I may never know when our kids truly accepted Griffin as their brother, maybe I can find out from Big G, but for Little G, she'll never be able to tell me (if she has even accepted him yet!  LOL!).

It is crazy the difference a year makes... I know, June is his year home with us, but for Maria & I, we have had our son for a year now.  Maria took a video of us on the way home from my Granny's birthday party this past weekend.  On a long straight stretch of road I was able to share a little part of my childhood with my kids.  I remember my Granny "stealing our stomachs" on some thrill hills in her old, tan, cast iron, beast of an automobile.  It was even better for us, I am sure, as there was no such thing as seatbelt laws back then!  I am sure we caught air in the back seat more than once!  Anyway, I took my kids across those rapid drop hills and they LOVED it!  Everyone of our kids were squealing and laughing.  It was this moment I hope Griffin felt he was a part of our family.

He was laughing and giggling and squealing right along with everyone else.  The funny thing is he was raising his hands like he was on a roller coaster!  He's going to be a thrill seeker we think.  At that point all of our children were acting as, sorry for going military here, a cohesive unit.  That split second reassured me that I, that we, were in God's will and that I would gladly trade my life if it could make my children as happy as they are in this video!

I leave ya'll with the evidence, with my proof of family if you will.  I'm guilty, and so glad!

See ya'll later!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

He Is Our Son

Well, it's that time... we have made it to the one year anniversary of traveling to get the most wonderful little boy in the world!  I can hardly believe that it's been a year.  Time flies when you are having fun!  OK, well, let's get real, it hasn't all been sunshine and roses.  Adding a child to your family by adoption or by stork isn't easy.  Period.  There is always an adjustment period in which you have to find your new normal.  Thankfully, though, Griffin has been a dream come true as far as his temperament goes.  We truly did hit the adoption jackpot.

This move has been awesome for our bonding experience.  Like I said before, my routines have kept Griffin in a little bubble while we were in Germany...rarely letting him step outside of the bubble to show me what he can actually do.  Also, he's never actually had to choose me before because I've always just been there for him.  Since there are so many other people around us, he can actually choose to be with me... or with his aunt, uncle, grandma, etc... and most of the time, he chooses to be with me!  He will visit with everyone but he always makes his way back to me, and that does my heart so good!

Before, I thought Griffin was kind of indifferent with me.  I kind of felt that he would go with anyone, anywhere, without looking back.  Now, I truly feel that he wants to be with me and that makes this mamma's heart feel so good!  I have learned that he also knows what I expect of him and will test others to see what he can get away with.  My mother and sister babysat them the other night so that Chris and I could go out to dinner.  Well, that little boy got into everything and absolutely would not sit on the potty for them.  He never touches those blinds when I'm around and he will sit on the potty until I allow him to get up.  He knows where the boundaries are in the house but he tries to get away with adventuring out and he's pretty sly about it.  He grabbed my sister-in-law by the hand and pulled her into the foyer, which is a no-no place, and since he had an adult with him, he thought he wouldn't get in trouble!  ha ha.  Well, he didn't get in trouble because that's the first time that he has willingly grabbed an adults hand and pulled anyone anywhere.

If I'm holding Griffin or sitting closely to him, he will pull my head down to his and give me a kiss.  It's the most precious thing in the world!  He is learning to initiate affection and wants it in return.  If I scold him for doing something wrong, he reaches out for my hand and makes me rub his head.  Of course, I have to scoop him up and give him a ton of kisses.  He knows how to get to me.

On this day, one year ago, we were boarding a plane to head to our son's country... I remember as we were making our approach to land, looking out of the window, seeing the night sky with the beautiful city lights, and thinking that our son was so close to us...that we were finally in the same country.  He had no idea that we were coming for him and we had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into...but we stepped out on faith, knowing that God had prepared us for this journey and was leading us to our son.  It would have been so easy to turn away and run back to the safety and comfort of what was known to us but we kept our eyes focused forward and on the path that God had set for us.

And I wouldn't change that for the world!

God doesn't make mistakes...

He is our son.

-More tomorrow!

Monday, April 15, 2013

First Day at the New School

Big G and Griffin are adjusting very well to the new school.  Big G is fitting right in and having a good time...making new friends and having fun.  I'm so proud of her for being so open to change and embracing it.  She was a little nervous but once she saw the beaming smile on her new teacher's face, she relaxed.  We walked her to her class on the first day and her teacher was actually standing in the hall waiting on her.  She was warmly welcomed and we took a brief tour of the class and discussed how things flow.  Another student took Gracie by the hand and helped her start on her class work for the day.  It was so sweet!  I left feeling very relieved.

Things have been somewhat hectic for Griffin.  All of the teachers are working on next year's IEPs for the other students so it's hard for them to find the time to get everything done for Griff's enrollment.  We decided to let him start on his existing IEP and will work in the meeting for ST, OT, and PT later this month, as they have the time to meet with  us.  Honestly, I just want him in the atmosphere.  He craves school and needs to be there.  We decided to let him ride the bus to school because he loves it so much!  However, that means that the bus will pick him up at 0620 in the morning!  I would take him but the joy I see on his face when the bus pulls up keeps me from doing that.  I have been giving him an appetizer for breakfast and then the teacher will feed him a pack of oatmeal at school for us.

His teacher is awesome...very kind and loves children.  I haven't gotten a progress report on his first 2 days of school and I'm so antsy!  I'm dying to know how he is interacting in class.

I was on the fence with letting him ride the bus on the first day of school.  We decided to go ahead and let him do it, even though it felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest.  haha.  He was so excited!  Griffin and I had just started heading down the very long driveway to the bus stop when I realized that the gate was still locked at the end of the drive.  I didn't have my keys so I told Griffin to keep walking and I ran back to the house to get them.  He was obedient and kept walking on the paved drive, very slowly, within my sight, and did exactly what I asked him to do.  He may have made it about 5 feet in the time it took for me to run back to the house.  I praised him for doing as I asked and he had the biggest smile on his face.  He loves that I am starting to let him be more and more independent.  I let him walk all the way down the driveway, but he had to stop a few times to dance with me.  So sweet!  By the time we made it to the end of the driveway (around 10 minutes later), my sister had starting walking down, Gracie came running down the hill, and my mom was close behind.   As the bus pulled up, my mom fought tears as I loaded him on.  He sat on the first seat and was incredibly happy, signing 'bus' over and over again.  And away he went...

Needless to say, we were standing at the bus stop way too early to get him off the bus that day.  He came to me with a smile on his face and looked so incredibly content and proud.  My baby boy is trying to grow up way too fast and he needs to slow down!

Today is his 3rd day of school and I sent breakfast money with him this time.  I love that he can eat at school because it's great therapy for him.  I have a tendency to fall into very strict routines, so having fresh eyes and hands will make him step outside of his little box.

Tonight is our first ARC buddy party, pageant style!  We bought him a 4 piece suit and some awesome shoes to match.  No worries, pictures will be posted!

More to come on how our bonding experience is going!   I'm very pleased.

Love and Hugs!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

We Are Here!

Hi!  Remember me?

First things first.

Are you ready for this?

Just now, I told Griffin that I loved him and he signed it back to me!


We sign it differently, in a way that I feel is easier for him.  We cross our hands over our heart and sway back and forth.

So what if he was sitting on the potty when he did it?  haha.

So....where do I even begin?

The night before we flew out, Big G and I were both in the ER.  Big G had been running a high fever for days and actually missed her last few days of school.  I had relapsed into one of the worst colds of my life.  Pretty sure I had the flu but they didn't test me for it.  But anyway, they gave us meds to help us make it on the plane ride home.

As we made our way through the Frankfurt airport, guess who set off the metal detector and had to be patted down?  Little G, of course.  The workers wouldn't let me help them capture her so I had to stand back and watch the show...and laugh.  She ran circles around all of them, laughed hysterically every time they managed to start the pat down, rolled around on the floor, and repeat.  Come to find out, it was her Twinkle toe shoes that set the alarm off.  Once they were done, we were on our way!

The children did very well on the flight...better than I expected, actually.  Want to know the trick?  I wore headphones that canceled out most of Little G's noise, turned on one good movie after another, and I was good to go!  What worked for Little G?  Those Crayola invisible markers that only write on certain paper...and her favorite fish puzzle.  What worked on Griffin?  He was content to play with Giraffe Meat and snuggle.  He was awesome.  Big G had a nice relaxing time by kicking back and watching movies.  Don't get the wrong idea, though, it was an exhausting trip.  Little G had to be catered to for the entire flight, needing constant entertainment.  By the time we landed in MS, we were almost too exhausted to get off of the plane.


The welcome that we received at the airport was amazing!  We landed in a small airport and our family and friends were actually able to stand just inside the door that led to the runway.  We had to walk on the runway to get inside of the airport, so they got to see us exit the plane with the little ones.  It was great!  (No worries, our cousin, who is a photographer, captured the moment and we will get the pictures this weekend! I will post them for you.)

I had a wonderful surprise at the airport.  My BFF, Shana, and her family, made the trip from TN to greet us at the airport!  It had been a year since I got to hug her neck and it was so awesome to see her there!  I got to meet her precious little son that she adopted from Russia, only a month or so after we adopted Griffin, who also has Down syndrome.  He was just too precious!

After we said our hellos at the airport, my family took us to the community center and had a dinner for everyone who wanted to see us.  We had over 40 people to join us and it was so enjoyable!  It seemed that we all got our second wind and made it through the evening just fine.

Life has been crazy busy since we landed.  We enrolled Big G in school and she had her first day on Tuesday after making it to MS on Easter Sunday.   Griffin's process was a bit more difficult.  He actually had his first day today!  And yep, he rode the bus!  Big G is loving school and Griffin seemed very pleased with himself when he got off the bus today.  I can't wait to talk to his teacher to see how he did!  I will do a separate blog on Griffin's first day back to school.  It's just too precious.

So what are these kids up to around here?

Well, let me back up a bit and say that Little G finally decided to use the potty chair in our temporary housing after months of trying to get her to do it.  I was so proud of her!  However, we had to leave that potty chair behind because we didn't have the space to pack it.  We immediately bought a new one and she refuses to go near it looks like we are back to square one.  Griffin uses this potty chair just fine, so I think I will take Little G to the store and let her pick out her own potty.  Maybe that will help.  Who knows.

I have been noticing that Little G says "gosh" all of the time.  I finally realized that she got it from Mickey Mouse!  We have been trying to break her of saying it by saying, "don't say that", every time she lets it slip.  Well, this has become a game to her.  So what does she say now?  "gosh, no say dat!"  <sigh>  Can't help but laugh though.  She always keeps us rolling around here and there's never a dull moment.

Griffin is the Houdini of removing his diaper so magically beneath any article of clothing.  We have reintroduced nap time to him since he's sleeping through the night, and if he wakes up, you better be quick to get him out of there.  He will find mischief.  We thought that having him in a onesie would keep his diaper on, but he's figured out how to remove it without dirupting his onesie.  He must be in footed pjs every time he goes to sleep, complete with a safety pin at the top.  Once, we found him trying to untangle his giraffe from the blinds in his bedroom, so we had to move his crib.  He's such a stinker!

Griffin has received his first 4wheeler ride and his first tractor ride.  Little G didn't want to participate in those but Griffin loved it!  The littles also enjoyed their first stroll on our family land to the pond.  Little G kept calling it, "da jungle."  They have been playing outside for hours every day and it's so refreshing!  I love having to wash the dirt off of them every single night.  This is the life that they need and I pray that we can have a big back yard for them, wherever we have to move.

Big G experienced her first tornado warning at school today, complete with hunkering down beneath her table and also in the hallway.  She had a lot to talk about when she got home from school!  Where was I when the tornado hit?  Target, buying more footed PJs for the little Houdini.

Chris has attended two job fairs, one in Houston, TX, the other on the coast.  He's sent out a ton of resumes so we are praying that God lines a perfect job up for him soon.  I have to admit, it has been awesome having him here with me 24/7.  I love that man!  He thinks he's going to grow out a full Duck Dynasty beard, but I have to say, he's sadly mistaken.  <wink>

Well, I think I will wrap this up for now.  Little G keeps messing with my mother's china cabinet and it's past her bedtime.  I promise I will blog more frequently now that we are getting somewhat settled!

Love and Hugs!