Merry Christmas!

It is nice to be home. I managed to go upstairs last night and see the dogs. Lots of licking on my face… I never let them do that, but Nina was just so excited to see me. I was pretty excited to see her too… she is a special dog, very intuitive of how I am feeling. Silly when I need a laugh and calm and cuddly when I am upset or sick. It might sound funny if you aren’t a dog person yourself, but she and I have a bond.

One of the first things we did today was introduce the kids to the dogs. We brought Cache down first. He is a very good dog around kids, will let them pull his ears and jump all over him. He just laid on the couch and let us do what we wanted with him. Both kids were very scared. Aaron and I touched him and showed how calm he was. I put my mouth near his muzzle and made kissing sounds. The kids thought that was so funny and seemed to relax a bit when they realized he would not bite me. They petted him a bit, but they are still very scared. We let both dogs out a bit later. Nina, who has no kid experience to my knowledge, was a natural too. She often acts like a huge puppy, so that surprised me. Both dogs are good about keeping a little distance between themselves and the kids, but it is going to take more time. One minute they are petting them or reaching a hand out to be licked and the next their screaming in fear. Of course, this is normal, but I am ready to be past this and have dogs and humans peacefully co-existing.

We tried to go to Wal-Mart today. We wanted to pick some stuff up, like wipes, which we are totally out of. But, Wal-Mart was closed. Seriously Wal-Mart? I had much lower expectations for you. So, I was a little happy that Wal-Mart closes on Christmas and a little frustrated because we needed a few things. Target opens at 7am tomorrow and I am ready!

The rest of our day was just hanging out at home. We skyped with my family for awhile. We had our second annual gag gift exchange this year. I wanted to see the people who received our gifts open them. It was a lot of fun to see them open their gifts. Then, Ilya and Lena opened the gifts my parents sent them. Books which they just LOVED. Ilya got very excited because one of his books is all about trucks. We skyped for awhile longer, just talking while the kids played. It is great to see all 10 of them. I miss them a lot.

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The Christmas tree is absolutely beautiful. My mom sent us my ornaments from when I was a kid. So, I gave Ilya and Lena those ornaments to add to the bottom of the tree. They LOVED that. My mom also got them their own bells, engraved with their names. It is a tradition in our family, a bell with your name engraved on your first Christmas. These bells are beautiful.

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I am so grateful for all of these people we have in our lives. I know I’ve said it before, but it comes as a surprise to me constantly, how wonderful everyone is. Our friends and families have blowed us away with support. We still have our loan with family, but the rest of our adoption expenses are taken care of. Any money which we did not need, we are planning to put into the grant of a waiting child, specifically one of the boys at Ilya and Lena’s orphanage. We are not sure which yet, but we hope to soon be sponsoring one of these boys through Project Hopeful‘s Family in the Gap Program. I am grateful to have an opportunity to put something back into the adoption process.

Life here is so different from Ukraine. I want to share more about that later, but my American friends, we have it good. Really, really good. We are blessed. Blessed with things like clean water and building codes and vegetables free from giardia. I just wanted to share that with you.

Merry Christmas!

15 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!”

  1. Congratulations, you four! I've been checking in on your blog occasionally for several months, and your beautiful babies by that tree definitely made me tear up just now. What a wonderful Christmas present for you all. 🙂

  2. You need to step back and realize what a major change your two children have just experienced.Their entire world has literally changed. Food, smells, sights, language and routine.You had difficulties adjusting to ukraine. And you are an adult. Not only are these two children thrown into a new world…they are now experiencing dogs…animals that they have only known as ones wadering the streets.It's only been a day for these children. You need to realize that it could take weeks for them to accept the dogs.To expect..and want change in only a few hours is unrealistic!!Please, remember those days when you were struggling in ukraine. When no one understood you, when you were lost in place, when the food was nothing you knew….and then look at it from a childs eyes.It is going to take time for your children to adjust. You should not, and simply cannot, expect laughter and peace and ease the moment they step past your door.They need time.

  3. Dear "Ellen",Relax. Really, you need to step back and relax. We do not expect the kids to adjust overnight. We are surprised that they are doing as well as they are with everything. We know how they have been totally uprooted from their world. I do not think you can even begin to compare our experience in Ukraine, as adults cognizant of our situation, to that of our children in their new home, completely disoriented and uncertain of what is going on. Also, please note, if you are here to discourage us, you are not welcome. Merry Christmas and Take Care!

  4. I am so glad to see you are home for Christmas! Although things are overwhelming right now,soon you will all be used to your new "normal"! Last spring while my dh was in ET picking up our boys I got a call from my dd who was there with them saying the boys had tried to jump out of the second story windows and were so wild she didn't know how we were going to make it with them at home! Once home it only took about one month for them and us to all adjust though and now I can't imagine life without them. And although at the time I told myself there is no way I could make it through another "adjustment" period again, tonight I find myself wishing I just returned with a few cuties from the orphanage your kids are from!The other overwhelming part of adoption, the whole part of our eyes being opened to the desperate need of others hopefully will never go back to the old "normal", and considering you are now wanting to become a FIG it sounds like it probably won't 🙂 My Christmas present today was my dh agreeing that we would become the FIG for "Peyton" so I am excited that another boy from the same orphange will be blessed with a FIG also! I pray that God will give you and your husband patience and endurance, give your new children peace, and I praise Him for the moments of joy you sureley are experiencing during this time.

  5. Merry christmas! The children look so adorable and their smiles are infectious. It sounds like they´re doing really well and although it´ll definitely take time to adjust to the new "normal" I feel certain that you´ll do it with gusto 🙂 And it´s a very clever idea of yours to use sign language with the kids, it must be such a relief for them to be able to communicate their needs to you without trouble. And children have amazing resilience and can adapt very easily so that´ll definitely be an advantage for you 🙂

  6. Merry Christmas and welcome home! I can't imagine what a relief it must be to finally be home with your babies. I'm glad to hear that Cache and Nina did so well with the kids and I'm sure Josie will be great too. Before long they'll be best buds and causing all kinds of trouble. 🙂

  7. It sounds like the kids are doing great. I was wondering about how the introduction to the dogs would go and I'm not surprised that Cache & Nina understood the situation and were so good with the kids. I agree that soon they'll be best buds and causing all kinds of mischief. And I know Josie will be eager to be part of that mischief too!I totally understand you being eager for the day when the kids & dogs coexist peacefully. It doesn't mean that you expect that to happen overnight, it simply means that your heart is eager for that day because you love both your dogs and your kids.

  8. Welcome home! I'm so glad you guys made it home and had so many great surprises from family and friends! i LOVE the pictures, they are just toooo cute!!!

  9. Congrats on getting home safely and glad to hear the human kids met the dog kids! No doubt they'll all be causing trouble in no time. I'm always so excited to see pictures Ilya and Lena – those smiles say it ALL! Incredible. I have such respect for you both, and for the kids. Merry Christmas!-Kristen (SirSilver on WA)

  10. So glad you are home!Oh the days of adjusting…. did I ever tell you I cried every day for weeks? 🙂 Well I did. Sounds like you are doing far better than me my friend. Your babies are so beautiful. And wow you must be exhausted. Make sure you take good care of yourself…. those first few weeks are tiresome. And remember I am here if you ever want to talk…. I know all about it… including the dogs and children getting along. Love you. You guys rock.

  11. Love the photos. I can't get over how teeny, tiny Lena looks! They are so adorable. I love the photo of them decorating the tree. I know I don't know you outside of the blog world, but I'm so thrilled for you guys!

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