Monday, June 27, 2011

Home


How sweet it is to be home! Lets see, in my failure to keep this blog updated I have several days to catch everyone up on. Our flights for home began on Wed. June 22 at the early hour of 3:30 am. The flight from Kiev to Munich was uneventful. We did not have seats on our flight from Munich to Chicago so once landing there we set about to getting seats. Luckily we were able to get 3 seats together. However, they were the middle 3 of the center row of 5. 9 1/2 hrs. stuck in the middle. I can't complain one bit about Ember as a traveler. She had her moments of fits and tantrums but gosh, I don't blame her one bit! Customs was a breeze in Chicago but as we were getting our luggage ready for the last leg to MI we were informed we wouldn't make our flight and the earliest they could get us out would be the next morning! That didn't go over so well! I asked if we could try and she said go for it but that our luggage surely wouldn't make it. We took off running. Then we had to wait to get through security again, then more running. As we got to the gate the door was still open so we were able to get on! Phew. It was so wonderful to see everyone at the airport waiting for us.
Since being home we have seen great changed in Ember. On Thurs. she went right to the dr. because she has a terrible cough and ear infection. She sleeps fine at night but she will only eat oatmeal yet for us. Any chunky texture comes right out - or more likely she won't even try it. The first few days she cried all the time when awake. Now she is a delight. She wakes up happy and goes to bed happy. She loves being out in the stroller. LOVES IT! Funny story - so I have a new side by side double stroller for the girls. We took the kids to the store and were browsing the isles when we heard Ember fussing a bit. We glanced down and noticed that Sienna had taken Ember's leg - the one missing the foot - and was happily sucking on poor Ember's little stub of a foot! Oh gosh it gave us such a laugh. Sienna was relentless though and despite our efforts kept at it so we had to switch sides so Sienna can't reach that leg.
It is hard work having Ember here. I am tired. It is worth it. She is a gem and we are only starting to see what she is about.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh my!

I am embarrassed to see that I haven't posted in so many days! Yikes. Lets see, so we took the train to Kiev on Sat. night and got here Sun. morning. The train ride was a rough one for Ember and she cried much of the way. That was sort of the beginning of her coming to terms with her new reality. Since then she won't eat except maybe a spoonful or 2 of oatmeal. I've not given her any American food so I think she's just to sad and scared. She will drink at least. She also has run a fever for a couple days and today (Tues.) is the first day fever free. When we are in the apartment she shuts down completely. She will fuss or cry until she lays down and she'll shut her eyes and shut out the world. I think she would lay there all day trying to sleep her time away if I let her. If we go out then she is fine and she jabbers and smiles. The minute we're back here, its avoidance-ville.
The last 2 days have been busy with Embassy appts. and medical visits. All formality. It is basically long spans of time waiting and a few minutes of paperwork. Today Ember was issued her Visa to enter the US.
Tomorrow is our big day. We are being picked up for the airport at 4:00 am and we should arrive HOME around 6:50 pm. I'm nervous about keeping her happy for such long flights. Since she won't eat I can't bribe her with food, since she can't move her arms she can't play with toys...poor girl.
I can't wait to be home!

Notice how she carries her left leg! Straight up in the air!

Friday, June 17, 2011

A new Senti

We got up this morning and headed straight to the orphanage to get my new daughter! They were waiting for us and asked me for the clothes I had brought. I even needed to provide a diaper for her! Ember wanted to come to me right away! Once I had her in my arms all her caregivers were asking her for kisses. She wasn't much interested though so we said goodbyes and headed out. Once outside I gave my mom my camera so she could video us leaving through the gates. She also took a couple pictures and we were on our way. We caught the bus back to the apartment and Ember was doing great. Until I tried to put her down in the apartment. She had herself a good long cry. Then we cleaned up and left for a bit of shopping - a new suitcase to help bring home extra goods :) We got back here for lunch and Ember ate a big lunch for me and is now currently napping. I decided to check out the video my mom took this morning of us leaving the orphanage for good to discover that she didn't hit the record button! Seriously! The once in a lifetime event has been missed. I hope her pictures turn out on her camera cause its all we have.
Ember is a funny little character with a lot of personality. I can't wait to get her home! Tomorrow we catch the long train to Kiev. On Monday and Tues. we have Embassy appointments and then we hope to fly home Wed!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Big long day, poor scared baby!

Today was an long long day. We were picked up by our facilitator around 7:45 am and headed straight to the orhpanage. We were to pick up Ember and take her to the passport photo place. We were waiting in the common area when they brought her to me. She instantly knew something was up. She started to wimper and cry softly. We took her to the car and that did nothing to reassure her! The entire drive the poor girl tried to be brave. She fought crying for everything she had. She mostly wimpered and needed to be help closely. After the picture taking we brought her back to the orphanage. Then the marathon truly began. We go back and pick up the pictures, then head to the local passport agency. Wait an hour or 2 in the HOT sun, sign papers, then take them to regional passport agency. Drop off papers and head to bank. Sit inside bank for 2 hrs. while they close the account in Ember's name. Drive back to regional office and pick up passport! Oh yes, and the best news - we were able to get Ember's new social security number in just 1 day. Yes, we had been told there was no way to to get it quicker than next Tues. Our facilitator walked in to the office and walked out a short while later with the best news - she was able to get it right then and there! She said that never happens. By about 4:00 pm we were done with business and Ember is ours! We decided to let her have a last night at the orphanage and come in the morning and pick her up.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Series of unfortunate events

Well we are here. Finally. Our flight from Chicago to Munich ended up being delayed nearly 3 1/2 hrs. so we missed the only flight from Munich to Kiev. So, we ended up flying to Munich, then on to Frankfurt, and finally Kiev. Oh it was a long couple of days. While there we had no internet which was torture! My mom and I did have a nice couple days touring around though.
Monday night we caught the 15 hr. train to Ember's region. We were picked right up at the station and brought to the orphanage to start paperwork. We were able to see Ember for a short time until our we needed to leave for Ember's birth city where we needed to conduct some business. Once there we were told "not today". Not only that but we were told "not Wed. either". We cannot proceed with the next step until that is finished.
This evening our facilitator called and told us that we are going to go again in the morning and try. BUT that the earliest we can hope to be completed here is Thurs. but more likely Fri. or Monday. Then we still have a couple days worth of work in Kiev. No short trip for us I guess.
I don't have pictures today but will add some tomorrow. Today is the first time we've been able to have access to the "net" and it feels good!

Friday, June 10, 2011

On the road again...

Today my mom and I head back to Eastern Europe. I woke up this morning with just a terrible headache. I am really struggling with my emotions the last couple days. I think I'm tired. I want this to be over. I want Ember to be home and my family to be all together.
I am so glad that my mom and I are taking an extra day at the start to see some of what Ember's country has to offer. There are some beautiful and historic sites and I am grateful we will get to experience some of that. Monday night we will catch our train and Tuesday we'll be in Ember's region. I can not wait to hold her. I can not wait to take her out of the orphanage forever. She is a precious jewel that is worth this effort.
Please pray that we have smooth travels - we only have a 35 min. layover when we arrive in Munich to catch our next flight. It isn't likely we'll make it but I have learned time and again that anything is possible!
Next post will be from the other side of the world! Ember, here I come.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Home sweet home - for 2 days anyway!

We made it home on Tues. night. I love my home, I love my country, and I LOVE my kids. Oh, it is just so nice to see them again. Tonight I am so grateful that we were able to make it back for our son's 8th grade graduation. It meant so much to me. I'm trying to soak it all up because well on Friday my mom and I head back to Kiev. Yep, I will have been home only 2 full days. I just can't wait to go get Ember and bring her home.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hi all,
Well, we had court yesterday. It was both everything I expected, and nothing I expected. We were nervous but everything went smoothly. There were no surprises and the court granted us parents of Elizaveta - now Ember Grace.
We had our last visit with Ember this morning and it went great. She is officially ours and officially Ember Grace Senti.
We plunked her down today and she sat on her own just fine and started swinging her arms back and forth by twisting her torso. It was pretty dang funny to watch. She has triceps, but the jury is out on biceps, so she can pull her arms one way and uses her torso to flop them the other way.
We set up a few plastic toys about chest high in front of her and she would whack them down with a quick twist of her torso to get her arm swinging. Pretty dang inventive little creature. I kept moving the obstacle farther away and she can really get that arm swinging around to whack stuff. She had this little grin. Seemed to me she hadnt had the chance to do much like that so she was pretty gassed.
When we came in to her room this morning she was on the floor and was on her stomach. She cant use her arms so she has learned to arch her back. Poor kid must face plant an aweful lot. Funny and pathetic all at once. She flopped around on her back though lickity split. She is very motivated and I think will take very well to therapy.
The girls will be fabulous for eachother. I can see Ember bossing Sienna around to get her things, and I can see Sienna learning to get things and manipulate objects and puzzles because her sister cant. Perfect!

We are just packing up and getting ready for the 15 hr. train to the capital. On Monday Thad has his appt. at the embassy and we fly HOME on Tues! Yippity Do Dah!

Love to you all.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Terrible blogger, I know

I admit I am not good at keeping up with the blog. I am sorry for that. I have so many pictures I would love to upload but they are on my camera and I don't have a way to get them on to my husbands computer so I have to rely on the pictures he takes with his cell phone. The whole process is more than my mind can handle right now!
Ember is doing good. She no longer cries when we come get her and she doesn't bat an eye when Thad takes her. Sometimes she retreats inside herself still but most of our visits are pleasant and we can get smiles and even a few laughs from her. Today we actually got to feed her both breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was some oatmeal type of food and lunch was both a chicken soup and also some ground beef mixed with either applesauce or potato gruel. Couldn't tell. She ate fairly well for me - with encouragement from her caretakers. When she refused more from me they grabbed the spoon and she ate more for them.
The orphanage is quite nice. The grounds are quite lovely and they have plenty of toys.
Our days are pretty much like this: get up and take long walk to catch the bus to the orphanage to get there by 9:00. Visit until around 11:00 and catch bus back to our stop and walk the long walk (uphill) back. Get lunch. Rest. Around 4:00 we repeat the process and try and visit from around 5:00 until 6:00 or a little after. Then dinner and bed. It is very tiring.
I have a specific prayer request. We have a court appt. for Friday afternoon. Our facilitators are waiting on paperwork to arrive from Kiev that are needed by court. If they arrive, we can have court, catch a weekend train to Kiev, go to the embassy Mon. morning and fly home Tues. This would mean so much because we could be home for our son's 8th grade graduation on Wed. If the paperwork doesn't come before Friday, we have to reschedule court and we will not be home Wed. Please pray for court on Friday.
Enjoy the pictures. Each visit Ember is dressed in different clothes so we see her in a variety of outfits each day. The others are of the orphanage and grounds.