Monday, August 15, 2011

The Journey Home

Still trying to write a couple of catch-up posts and then I'll start catching you up on how we are doing here at home! I want to make sure and get as much of our story written down as much as I can now and will hopefully have the blog printed into a book for the kids eventually.
So, picking up where we left off:

On Monday night, July 18th we took the overnight train  from the children's town to the capital city. We arrived in the capital city at 5:45 am! Charlie woke up around 5:20 when we got our wake-up call (the stewardess comes by to wake each compartment before you reach your destination).

He had slept all night at my feet, sleeping head-to-toe with me on our sleeper bed but once he was awake he was more than happy to be snuggled! Imagine waking up and for the first time in your life having someone immediately greet you with a smiling face and a warm snuggle.
 Our friend and driver Nico met us and took us to our apartment. We stayed in the 15th floor apartment again. We loved this apartment for the views of the city and the elevator too! We ran to the little grocery across the street and fed the babes some breakfast.
 This time around the little ones loved the apartment for the view... of the pigeons on the roof! Charlie adores pigeons and every time he saw one at the orphanage he would point at it and shriek with delight. And of course little sister just loves anything her brother loves and shares his excitement for feathered friends.
 Just look at those eyelashes... so long and thick. Aren't they incredible?

 That little tongue... it is one of her daddy's favorite things about her!

 We had an appointment with the US Embassy at 10 in the morning. Once we were finished there (we tried to take a photo at the embassy but were stopped by the guards!) we then went on to the children's medical exams. The US Embassy requires all immigrants to have a medical exam before they issue their Visas. The medical appointments went smoothly but we had to wait for a while for the paperwork to be complete.
While we were waiting our friend and driver, Eugene, took us into a small cafe that was inside the building that housed the medical offices. We had a very inexpensive and delicious lunch there in the tiny cafe; the babes had vegetable soup, I had a cucumber and tomato salad with lots of dill and then some dumplings- I can't remember what Megan had but it was all fresh and yummy! And the waitresses loved on our sweet babes while we were there too.
Soon it was time for another fun bath the water!
This is the face that he makes when making HUGE splashes in the water- I wish you could hear the chortle of a giggle that goes along with this face!
All tucked in for the night. Mama slept right in the middle of the two little loves.
Notice: they didn't remain quite so still throughout the night!
Good Morning! Imagine waking up to this sweet and smiling face! The little ones actually slept in until 8:45 when I decided that I was going to have to wake them up to take their medications! Thank goodness for good sleepers!

We tried to get a little laundry done before our flight on Thursday.
We had our final Embassy appointment earlier in the day where we picked up the children's visas and in the afternoon we met another Reece's Rainbow family at the park next to our apartment!

Can't take your eyes off of these two for a second!
"What's that on your head little man?" He loves anything that is his sisters- including her headbands!
Off to dreamland on Wednesday night... Thursday is going to be a BIG day because we are going HOME!

We had time for one last pigeon-watching session in the window before Nico picked us up for the airport.
Thanks so much to the family that bought the car seat for Nico's van!!! Nico said that there hasn't been a child yet that his ridden in it and not fallen asleep!
And this? Well.... this is just a taste of what the trip home was like. I won't go into too many details as I don't want to relive the horrors. But I think there are five words to best describe our journey home:
Shrieking, Screaming, Thrashing, Migraine and Grieving.

I may write more on this later but for now I'll just say that grieving is a normal and expected behavior in adopted children, certainly newly adopted toddlers. A toddler's grief is often displayed by pulling away and distancing himself from his parents, refusing to eat, receive comfort, or sleep.

Charlie's loss of everything he had ever known hit him head-on when we boarded our first flight home. Poor timing for me...but I think the airplane was just one more new thing to add to the list of "things unknown" and the added indignity of a seat belt (a.k.a. "tortuous toddler restraint") just pushed him over the edge. He cried, screamed, shrieked and thrashed. He refused to be comforted by me. He shrieked when I touched him. He whimpered and moaned when I spoke to him. He finally fell asleep with his head pressed into the arm of the seat opposite me- not because it was comfortable, but because it was as far away from me as he could get.

In between flights he would settle down, smile again, eat and play. Then each airplane seemed to bring it all back to mind and the grief would hit him all over again. There were breaks in his grief; moments where he let me in and would play, smile and sit with me. Through it all I just kept loving him knowing that we were working our way through to the other side: JOY.

 There aren't any photos of Betsy Kate from the trip home- little girl....her grief was different from his. I believe that more than anything she was scared. And so she screamed...
All I can say is that I am so glad that it is over.

Once we were home and the consistency of days settled in, the children's grief subsided more each day and we are finding more and more JOY each day! If you are in the process of adopting a toddler or have recently done so then I highly recommend this book (thanks J!)- we are so glad to have read it beforehand.


  1. Such beautiful children. I was loving the pictures and then read about the airplane flight home and felt so sorry for all of you. That is probably my biggest fears. I am so glad to hear that things are going better now.

    Carlene's soon to be momma :)

  2. I'm so happy your children are finally home. They are so beautiful and sweet. Can't wait to hear how they're settling in.

  3. Thank you for this post! I am so afraid of the trip back with my little guy and it's nice to know that even though it sounds like understandably the babies had a hard time you guys made it home and they are finally getting better. I can't even imagine what goes on in their minds since we can't fully explain to them what's going to happen and taking them away from everything they even know, even if we know it will be much better. I can't wait to hear more and I am ordering that book! ;-)

  4. Just have to say, you dress them so well! I especially love Betsy's dress she had on at the playground - too pretty!

    And there little cuddly's and blanket's- on the bed! Soo cute!

    You can definetly tell they are well cared for and though about! Keep up the good work! :o

  5. They are so adorable! I just love how you post so many pictures! How wonderful that hey have a forever family!

  6. Those eyelashes are PHENOMENAL. They are so precious and I am so glad to see them in your family!

  7. You take the most amazing photos! Eek - those plane rounds sound like torture. Happy you are all home and adjusting.

  8. They are so beautiful. Precious, precious. So happy you guys are finally home. Sveta wasnt a fan of the planes either. I can just say she screamed "et a da vie" for a large portion of the trip lol. Think that means want to get off this thing, or want to go..but to everyone around it sounded like "I WANT TO DIE!!!" oh my stuff.

  9. It must be tough for such little ones to go through such a big change when they can't fully understand all that is going on and lack the words to articulate their feelings.

    It's great you prepared for this and understand and empathize with them. They are both absolutely adorable and precious and are very lucky to have you both as parents.