Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to apologize to all the adoptive moms out there who blog. When you came home with your precious children, I waited anxiously for you to update your blog. When you finally did, it wasn't nearly often or in depth enough for my liking. I am sorry I put those expectations on you. I now understand how unfair it was of me. I am way to busy (also read: tired) to blog well.

Forever Dad and I are doing well. Our kids are adjusting and starting to really enjoy being home. We are loving every one of them and the precious treasures that they are.

Today our family (minus Papaw who had to work) came to our house for lunch. We had a great time.




Happy Thanksgiving from our Forever Family, Grandmas, Aunts and Uncles and Keller.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

American Soil

Yesterday, we were technically in America. We went to the U.S. Embassy twice. We went early in the morning because they only accept payment for Visas before noon. Then we left, walked to the passport office to get our kids' Polish passports, went to KFC to bum some WIFI so we could complete our DS-260s on each kid, then walked back to the Embassy.

I'd never been in an Embassy before, but it was all very official. The people were nice. The boys were upset that they didn't get to do their finger prints. Nathan did all the fingerprinting because the kids are all minors. 

We left and went to the Copernicus Science Center where we met up with another American adoptive family. They are from Jackson, Mississippi and are adopting 2 little boys. They are 3 weeks from traveling home.

Today, we have visas in hand. Here is the to do list:

1. Appeal Period ends
2. Get Official Adoption Decree from the court in Gorzow.
3. Get new birth certificates from the kids birth city.
4. Get new cards for the kids with their new names on it (Polish equivalent to the social security card.)
5. Get Polish passports for the kids
6. Get medical exam for the kids.
7. Fill out new visa paperwork for the kids (The form changed while we were in country, so we have to do it all again).
8. Go to the US Embassy to get visas

9. Travel home!


As you can see... we are on step 9.

We leave tomorrow. 
We fly out of Warsaw at 6:55 PM and then travel to Frankfurt, then Houston, then Birmingham. We will then drive from Birmingham to Huntsville. 

I am only 1 sleep from my kids being American citizens, seeing my family, friends and dog. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Appeal Period Ends Today

If no one appeals our adoption by the close of business today, our adoption will be final. 

Final.

Finally.

Finally a Forever Family.

Here is a picture of the door to the courtroom where we became parents!



This has been the end/beginning of a long, tedious and wonderful journey. The days here are treasured but long. 

Last night, we sat in the floor with the two big boys and showed off our stupid human tricks. They can both roll their tongues and they have very flexible fingers. #1 can put his foot behind his head.

Today, we are going to the doctor for our U.S. Visa medical exam. The boys are a little nervous about it. The doctor has to draw blood on all the kids above the age of 5. Luckily little girl doesn't have to get blood drawn. Unfortunately, #2 passes out when he sees needles. This morning he asked if he could take ketchup to put in the vials instead of drawing blood. After a good laugh, we explained that the doctors would think he is a tomato and the United States would not let us adopt tomatoes.

Speaking of food, we have encountered some interesting foods here. Pizza is almost always served with ketchup, even at the restaurants. They eat ketchup on french toast and thought we were crazy when we asked for syrup. They found some jam for us. Peanut butter is hard to find, but Nutella is everywhere. My kids would be happy eating Nutella for every meal. They also eat about 10-15 bananas a day. I hope kids can't get potassium poisoning from too many bananas. 12/4 is only 3 bananas per kid but I have a sneaky suspicion that #2 eats most of them. I buy bananas daily.

Our apartment is on the top/5th floor of a building. The building is on top of a store, so we only have to run down several flights of stairs to get easy things like juice, bread and bananas. If we need to do a big run, we drive to the Tesco. That is one of my biggest stresses of the week because 4 kids in a grocery store is stressful enough, but when you have to use google translate on every item, it adds to the stress. On top of all that, I have kids asking for random things or just putting things in the cart. All of this is normal for parents, but being in a foreign country is just hard. 

The cute thing is when they want something, the kids say, "Mommy, yes money-money?"

We like to swim, but at the local pool, you have to wear a swim cap. Also, Daddy got in trouble for wearing western style swim trunks. The kind of swim trunks every man/boy in America wears. The lifeguard said his trunks were unsafe and the next time we come, he will have to wear a speedo!


This old building is in the middle of Warsaw and houses several things... 2 museums, a theatre and elevators to the top. The boys wanted to go to the top, but it was very expensive. We may go do that on our last day in Warsaw.  I have a feeling they will not like it, but they really want to go.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

We are ready for America

Our kids realize we are just killing time here in Warsaw. They are so ready to go to America. They joke a lot about it. Every time they see an airplane, they say, "Going to America"? Or when they are planning the day, they often put "Go to America" somewhere between lunch and dinner.

Our daily schedule:

6:15: #3 wakes up.
7:00: #2 wakes up.
7-9: #1 and Little girl wake up.
9-11: Eat breakfast and prepare for the day. 
Mid morning-Mid afternoon: travel to the adventure place for the day. This often includes swimming, the park, Kolorado (a fabulous indoor play place), or somewhere downtown. We really loved the zoo and the boys were excited to see the stadium.
Snack and lunch are in there somewhere. Lunch is our big meal of the day.
Dinner and shower time are always an adventure.
8:00: Bedtime for the littles
9:00: Bedtime for the bigs and the parents

As you can tell, there is lots of downtime and the kids get bored. When they get bored, they start to aggravate each other.  We try to stay busy and limit the damage.

One of our favorite places is this crazy awesome park close by. It would not be allowed in America. There are too many hazards. Our kids love it. There is this tall rope contraption that you can climb up, lots of spinny things, a sand box, swings and even ping pong. We often spend 2-3 hours here.


That is our oldest at the top of the rope thing. He likes to race dad to the top.
This is a really fun picture of the kids at the airport waiting for grandpa to leave to go to America. We miss him. After Dad came back to Poland and Grandpa went to America, the kids asked if Mom was going to America and Babcia (Grandma) was coming to Poland. 
I think that is good logic, but alas, Babcia (pronounced: bob-cha) is staying in America and mom is staying in Poland.

Our appeal period ends on Wednesday, then our facilitator will pick our adoption decree on Thursday along with our new birth certificates. 

We are tentatively thinking we will be home at the end of next week... perhaps the 23rd, 24th, or 25th. 


Here is the checklist of things that need to be finished before we can travel:

1. Appeal Period ends
2. Get Official Adoption Decree from the court in Gorzow.
3. Get new birth certificates from the kids birth city.
4. Get new cards for the kids with their new names on it (Polish equivalent to the social security card.)
5. Get Polish passports for the kids
6. Get medical exam for the kids.
7. Fill out new visa paperwork for the kids (The form changed while we were in country, so we have to do it all again).
8. Go to the US Embassy to get visas
9. Travel home!

We are hoping we can get all that done in 7-9 days. We are limited by the business days, but luckily, there aren't any holidays during these few weeks.


We met an American family yesterday. They are also using Lifeline Adoption Agency and they are adopting 3 children. Their 3 new kids are being added to their original 4 biological kids. We played at their house and had a grand time. It was really wonderful to speak with some native English speakers and our kids could talk to their kids. Did I mention they are also from North Alabama? We can be friends in the states too! It felt like home when we walked in to see all the kids decked out in their Auburn gear. I guess game day is still game day no matter where you are.

We are off to another day. Maybe Old Town to see some historical sites... Maybe the park... Maybe a museum... Maybe swimming.

Say some prayers, I'm feeling a little under the weather and I'm rocking a fever blister with NO ABREVA! Who travels to another country, into the most stressful situation of their life with no Abreva? This girl.
Our awesome facilitator brought me some medicine for it... It is all written in Ukranian. This is trust.

Sending love from Warsaw.