Thursday, August 6, 2009

We Are in Kiev!

We made it to Kiev! What a relief. The train ride was exhausting. Alex literally running on empty because of not taking a nap that day and it being nearly two hours past his bedtime, I did the unthinkable and told him that he could not play with the light anymore because it was time for bed. Immediately he started crying-- and loud, but I knew we both needed some sleep. He was a mess--- crying louder than ever-- fingers in mouth--- snot running out of his nose--- yelling how he didn't love me and how he didn't want to sleep. Probably having my arm across his stomach to keep him from sitting up didn't help, but it sure tired him out even more. I eventually started singing in Russian the words, "I love you.... always...... truth." I kept whispering that in his ear and Praise the Lord, it worked and he fell asleep within five minutes.

I laid teetering on the edge of my mattress on the top bunk----- staring at my new son.

God, he is beautiful. I could smell his wet, sweaty hair....... and I could hear the cutest little sucking noise. Alex had two of his fingers in his mouth sucking them ever so sweetly while he rubbed together the corner of the blanket between his other thumb and index finger.

So my son sucks his fingers. Nice to know. I must have stared at him for an hour watching him sleep before I drifted off to sleep myself. Since the window was open all night, I nearly froze, but I didn't dare move to cover myself up with a blanket.

As soon as we got off the train, we headed to the Embassy and then over to get Alex's medical done. Is it alright to say here, "What a joke!"

For $110, I listened to a doctor recap what I already knew. The only new info she told me was that his medical mentioned him fracturing his hip bone when he was younger. That's it. She couldn't even tell me which side it was or at what age it happened.
All the while we were running around, I had to endure Alex calling every woman he saw Mama, reaching out to every stranger, and taking every chance to test me. I couldn't wait till we were done and could have a down day with just him, Julia, and I. That evening, we met with another adoptive couple who has a five year old with Spina Bifida and was in Ukraine adopting another child with SB. I weighed the risks of Alex acting out even more verses me getting alot of my questions answered by parents who knew first hand about SB, and I thought that talking to parents who have first hand knowledge about raising a child with SB was worth the risk of Alex acting out for a little longer. So, we walked to McDonald's.
Even after nearly polishing off a whole double cheeseburger, fries, and some of my coke, Alex was still acting hungry. I had to say enough is enough---- I knew that he was smart and would soon realize that food would continually come and that he didn't need to gorge himself.
After we all ate, we parted ways, and as we saw our apartment in sight, Alex started crying and acting up. At one point he was calling me, "Te Ca-ca!" Lovely-- my son has a potty mouth.
At this point I knew that I had to be very firm with him--- and I was. In my broken Russian, I explained to him simple rules--- and once we were back at the apartment he tested me to see if I truly expected him to follow those rules. Yup, I did.
That night, he went to bed better than he did the prior night on the train. And he woke up well-rested.
To pass the time, Julia and I made up anything and everything. I had bought a cheap little doctor kit that had tweezers, so I ripped up little pieces of paper and showed him how to pick them up with the tweezers. He thought that was alot of fun..... I thought, "Cool, my son is practicing his fine motor skills."
After we ate lunch and Alex rested for half an hour, we took him for a walk down by the river.

He was only a little upset that I wouldn't let him crawl by the water.

He loved looking out the window with Julia and yelling at the machinas!
Before bed, we gave him a cool shower in hopes that he would sleep better. In Kiev, our apartment did not have air conditioning-- and it was hot and humid.
Once Alex fell asleep, I took a picture of his adorable little feet that only a Mama could love.
The plane ride home went better than expected. The hardest part was our five hour layover in what I think is the dumbest laid out airport----Amsterdam. There was not enough seating at our terminal and we had to go through security after we had our boarding passes. But on the plane, Alex did great. In fact, he slept nearly 7 hours on the second stretch. It was wonderful.


jenna said...

You're doing such a good job Christine. Hang in there. And Julia, you've done terrific too. Having been home from our Ukrainian adoption for seven months now and knowing our son so much better, I recognize that much of what I saw during our days in Kiev and our flight home was just the fruits of a confused and scared little kid. What a blessing for Alex that there are two people traveling with him who can love him like crazy and also help ease the pressure on each other. I'll pray for peace peace peace on your way home.

Michelle said...

you know, they offerred us that medicine for Mary too and we got some just in case but for some reason my gut told me not to (please that is just our case). Mary was awake the entire trip but she was happy. Now us? We were exhausted! :) :)

Missy said...

Christine, we missed you!!! We arrived in Kiev on Tuesday afternoon to CRASH until Wednesday when we had our SDA appt. At that appt. we met with Lydia who said you were here, but we were gone on the train that evening!! WHOOSH! We got here to Kramatorsk this morning and met Sergei a little while ago! What a precious little soul!!! I will be updating my blog as soon as I can - I wanted to get caught up on the news first. So sorry you are struggling with Alex. I know that getting home will help tremendously. God bless Julia for being there to help!!

SO SORRY we missed each other. It was just one of those "bad timing" things. We really missed everybody except for Lydia... Oh, well...

Talk to you soon - I have so much to say!

Tina in CT said...

Good thing that you are a seasoned mom and know that it will only get better. Also very good that Julia is there to help and relieve you.

Visa in hand - yeah.

Hopefully you three can get a good night's sleep since you have to be up at 3:00 tomorrow for your FLIGHT HOME TO CA and the FAMILY.

Carol G said...

I am so thankful for Julia during this time. God is using her so much. It's almost over! We're all praying for you. Just one more day! I can't wait to see a photo of Alex at his new home.

I have enjoyed reading this blog very much. The story of getting Alex is ending, and the story of raising Alex in America is on the horizon. I can't wait!!!!

Hevel said...

I was thinking that eventually as he gets out of the orphanage he might not need the meds, as his surroundings change. Of course in the long term you will see if he needs the meds or not as he adjusts to your family.

I am excited for you all and my kids and I pray for your family daily. Because of that my kids would like to know your dad's and John's dad's first name. (If you are willing to share and don't ant to post publicly, you can email me at hevel dot cohen at gmail dot com.)

Have a safe flight home!

Connie said...

Sounds like he is a clever boy, to be working on adjusting so quickly! It's a BIG thing for a little guy. Hang in there!! Lots of love to you all. You will all be home soon :)

Jill and Cliff said...

Your an amazing person and God has truly blessed your little one with a wonderful family.

hadassahrose said...

I hope that all continues to improve and that you have a safe trip home. :)

Carey and Norman said...

You are almost home. Will pray for encouragement and strength during these last days in Ukraine. What a blessing that you have Julia to help you. Safe travels!

Debbie said...

That is awesome that you can already see Alex realizing that you are Mama. I hope someday our girls can understand that Papa is the boss, then Mama, and that we are not internat caretakers. There are good moments, too; don't get me wrong. I guess there's a big difference between 14-year-olds and 4-year-olds...and so many similarities. :-)

I'm so glad for you that you're coming home so soon. Can't wait to see you all together. We're so bad...we haven't even taken a picture of the four of us at home!

Milena said...

It's great to hear your news, and wonderful that you already can see a change in Alex! I do hope you'll have an OK flight, all things considered!

The Monroe 6 said...

You are such a great story teller. Can not wait to hear more and see pictures!
Good luck on the trip home.
Not long and you'll be back in the good ole US of A!!!

Mountain Girl said...

I pray your trip home will be fantastic! (or at least decent!) You are almost home to the rest of your kids and hubby and support system. God Bless!

Sara P. said...

Hang in there Christine. You are absolutely right to discern that Alex can't be expected yet to understand that you are the Momma. Heck, he doesn't really know yet what a mother is, much less that you are now his forever.

I was once in Julia's position (traveling companion to a mother adopting from a foreign country) and I know how tough these days can be as your little one tries to adjust to all the scary changes in his life. You are so fortunate to have Julia there with you, and how lucky you and Alex are to have found each other!

Safe travels,

Sara P.

Queen B said...

I am so excited for your family right now. You're an amazing woman and Julia is an amazing daughter. I can't believe everything you've been through in such a short period of time. The finish line is in your sight now! I can't wait to read that you are home safe and sound introducing your new son to all of his siblings!

Martha said...

I once read that you, as the parent, should always be in charge. Never let them know you don't know how to handle the situation. If you don't know what to do, fake it. (I think it might actually work.)

DoveFamily said...

So glad you've made it back to Kyiv! Praying all goes well from here on out, and special prayers for traveling with your little guy!


Sally- That Girl! said...

You are almost home!! Can't wait to hear more of the story. I love how you are not fearful, but know that it all takes time. You are an inspiration to so many!!!

Kelly said...

Do you guys take the 101 or the 5 to get home from LAX? We are about 45 min North of LAX just off the 101. Would love to provide a pit stop and some goodies for the kiddos on your way back home. Let me know!!!

Tina in CT said...

It's 8:45 AM here in CT so it's 4:45 in Russia which means that you are probably about 5 hours into your flight back to the East Coast before you change plans to fly to LA. Hope it's going well and that the 3 of you get some sleep. The problem with flying West is that it's always daytime so your body is not ready to sleep and it's light out.

John and the family must be so excited getting ready to drive down to pick you up.

:)De said...

I keep checking back to see if you are home...I am jumping out of my skin with excitement. I know you are tired and need rest. I will wait with this cheesy grin on my face to hear that you guys made it home ok. So exciting!

MamaPoRuski said...

I know you are still enroute as I type this. Praying for a peaceful journey and rest when you are home. Praying for Alexy to understand the love of a family soon! God bless!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that both Julia and Rachel have posted that they're back! Can't wait for this story to unwind more.
Best always,
Atlanta, GA

Annie said...

I guess I've been pretty fortunate! My guess is that a lot of husbands (not John) would not be as "up" for this adventure as the combination of you and Julia - you are both "seasoned" so to speak. I know you are home now, but I refuse to read out of order.

Sorry. Can't do it.

Annie said...

I was moving around beds and just saw where someone (Ilya fresh from Russia, is my guess) scratched "Kaka" on the bed. Sheesh! Well, it is nice that that fear and anger and distress passes with time.

You didn't tell us what you heard interesting from the mom you talked with, though! Go back again! Write more!

kdliberty said...


You are such an awesome Mom. Alex is so lucky. Just an FYI. People with SB are at risk for hip dysplasia and that old hip fracture would put Alex more at risk. That old fracture even though it is healed should still show up on an xray. Hip dysplasia is pretty easy to fix and can cause leg weakness sometimes (if not corrected). It just means after surgery you can be stuck in a cast for what seems like forever.

Tina in CT said...

Since Alex is from the Ukraine, how come his native language is not Ukranian? It's sure handy that you know simple Russian so that you can communicate with each other?

What a smile Alex has!