Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Heading home

Our original tickets were for July 3rd.  Monday we were told we could leave as soon as this Friday, June 29, but the travel agent could only find two tickets for that date and over the weekend.  We didn't really want to just give the kids 20 bucks and send them ahead of us, so we agreed to travel on July 3rd.  Yesterday we went all over town taking care of business--the visa office, the doctor's office, the American embassy.  Elona, the representative from the Family Law Centre, who has taken very good care of us this entire time, said we should get all the paperwork back from the embassy today, so maybe we could ask about leaving on June 28th?  We didn't have much faith with such short notice, but Golden Rule Travel came through for us.  So around 7 pm last night we found out that today would be our last day in country, as we leave at 6 am Thursday.

We are really excited to be getting home, where we can say things like "Take the ball outside to play!"  I love being in Lithuania, and this apartment has a really nice location, near a grocery store and two playgrounds.  But we are so focused on the kids, and establishing a connection while establishing boundaries, that we aren't able to take in much of the country.  Also, it will make more sense for us to set up routines and patterns in our own home. 

I'm not sure if it was because we spent such a big chunk of the day out and about or what, but yesterday was probably the most peaceful day we've had with the kids.  They were generally pretty cooperative, and I generally handled it when they weren't, so it didn't escalate.  We played a lot of Go Fish, they took baths, they experiemented with freezing ice cream and with making tea...

Now Inesa is awake and wants to play, so let's let her choose some pictures.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Midnight Post

We just had our first ever non-tantruming bedtime.  Either last night's was so unpleasant that they didn't want to repeat it either, or it helped that this morning I drew pictures of each stage of getting ready for bed and then we talked about it a few times during the day.  Baths--snacks--tooth brushing--books--bed.  Possibly to keep our karma balanced, we also had our first bedwetting about an hour later, and I'm afraid in my sleepy efforts to get wet sheets removed and a dry sheet on, I may have lost the 2 litas that the tooth fairy left Sasha.  But if my choices are damp sheets or miserable bedtime, I'll sleep in the wet spot.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Good News!

Sasha is experimenting with the TV, cable box, and dvd system to try to get it all to work.  This has provided mom and dad 20 minutes to update our blog.   Today we heard the judges decision on our adoption.  The judge approved our adoption of Inesa and Aleksandr and has waived the 40 day appeal period.  This means that we can come home to Portland earlier than expected.  We still have to tie up some loose ends with medical and immigration appointments.

The kids, especially Sasha, really enjoy playing in the local park.  There are playsets, a slide, merry-go-round, and swings.  Sasha spends a lot of time swinging high on the swingset, and Inesa enjoys the slide.  Inesa runs over to mommy for a hug about once every ten minutes.

 Both kids are also good at sharing.  Today we shared tic-tacs and carrots (morku) with the other kids in the playground.  In the morning, Inesa fed dad her last french fry from the previous nights dinner.  Both Inesa and Sasha help younger kids with the play equipment, but are more mischievous with older kids.

Dad, Inesa, and Sasha played tag on the playground.  Dad was "it" most of the time, and couldn't quite catch up to Inesa or Sasha.  I ran more than I have in months.  Unfortunately, this led to me injuring my calf muscle and so I'm now icing it in bed.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's See How Long I Can Type

before my attention is urgently required. 

Today's game is "Let's pile all the furniture in the room in front of the doorway, challenge Mama and Papa to get in, then unpile it all and straighten up the room, and invite them in to admire how neat it is."  I can think of worse games to play.

It hasn't been all sunshine and roses*, but the occasional tantrums and world-class pouting sessions have been followed up by a return to cheerfulness and attempts to make amends in their own way.  I just took the two of them out on my own (scary!) to try to get their visa photos taken.  Either the photo shop has moved, or I am a foreign idiot who can't recognize a photo shop.  Both seem equally likely.  Anyway, they held my hand the whole time (which they kind of love and kind of hate), and the looked at all the souvenires for sale without whining for them, even when the crafty sales guy handed them a kaleidescope to try.  I bought them each a postcard, and they were perfectly happy with that. 

Jon is worried that the steady diet of sausage, sweetened yogurt, and cheese will give them heart attacks by the age of twelve, but at least they are eating.  Actually, they eat a LOT.  Not sure if they are truly hungry, or if the novelty of being able to demand and receive food at all hours is the motivation.  Neither have eaten themselves sick, so that's good too. 

Bedtime is a difficult transition.  They don't want to sleep alone, but if we put them down together, they want to play.  Then they get naughty and rude if we try to stop them, and then we escalate to the meltdown stage.  When I say "we"--I try not to visibly tantrum, but I sure don't enjoy myself.  So them we separate them, one kid per adult, until we've reached calm again, and then they usually are all clingy and huggy and we all wind up going to bed together at the same time in the same bed.  So, not much time on our own.

And now I am needed to play...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Super delayed update

So, hopefully the last few points on the previous list explain why we've been radio silence since.  It's been jam packed with doing kid stuff, which in this case means since they won't settle down and go to sleep unless we lay down with them, we have not had any time to ourselves.  Well, that's not quite true.  We both have used the bathroom several times now, and I think there was a shower in there somewhere.  They are starting to warm up to Papa (accent on the second syllable) and he is making them their fifth meal of the day, a pre-bedtime snack of cheese and salami on bread, which they microwave for frightening amounts of time.  Cool Dad just says, "Okay, if you're going to eat it like that."  So I had a chance to sneak off and write this.  They are super intruiged by the computer, which is the other reason we haven't been on it. 

The main point of today is we went to court, and will get the judge's decision on both the adoption and waiving the 40 day waiting period on Thursday.  We had a very nice lawyer and a very nice translater, and on the other side of the very official table were the directress of the children's orphanage and representatives from the municipal  and national child welfare offices.  The judge and his secretary sat up front, he above the rest of us and a bit intimidating in his black robes and serious face.  I had to stand at a podium facing him and give a brief speech about why we want to adopt, why from Lithuania, why these children, and why waive the waiting period.  He asked several questions, like were we prepared to settle down and not travel for awhile, and what was my plan for future work, etc.  We were told it is unusual to have a judge get into so many details, but that he is new to adoption cases, and is known overall for being detail oriented.  Jon was asked to give a shorter speech supporting what I'd said.  The representatives spoke very strongly in favor of both the adoption and the speed.  The directress told him that we had dropped the children back at the orphanage that morning, as we were told to, and that after we left, at lunch time, they both started crying and asking for mama and papa.  The judge had the children brought to the courthouse, which the lawyer had thought was not necessary, and in a closed room, talked to them.  When we re-entered, he said the children spoke very strongly about their wish to join our family.  Yes, it was all very emotional, but I managed to neither faint, throw up, or burst into tears. 

The children have started leaping off the windsill onto pillows, and their bath is ready, so I need to go.  We'll try to check in a bit better from here--they do seem to be less needy of constant dual attention today after being returned to us at the end of the court session.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Ten Main Points

1.  We're here.
2.  We actually got fed twice on our trip; a dinner and a light breakfast on the overseas flight.  No free booze, however.
3.  We're in a refurbished apartment in an older building on a main street in the old town.  We're in the back of a courtyard, so it's quiet enough.  There are windows on both sides of the apartment, and a kitchen plus two main rooms, one which is divided into a living room and bedroom.
4.  We just did our grocery shopping a block away. 
5.  We will meet the kids tomorrow morning.
6.  They will come back to the apartment with us until Monday.
7.  We've been instructed to do fun things with them over the weekend so they'll say they want to come home with us.
8.  They don't come to court with us after all.  So now they both have a fancy outfit and nowhere to wear it.
9.  Did I mention, we get the kids tomorrow?
10.  Oh, and also we get the kids starting tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

3 Hours until Wheels Up

Got a whopping 2 1/2 hours of "sleep."  One of those nights where you swear you don't sleep, yet are surprised that the alarm wakes you up anyway.  Our bags are packed--each big suitcase has a small wheeled suitcase inside for the kids to use on our return.  We think it's all going to make the airline guidelines for size and weight.  The luggage is all on loan from other sources, so it better all make it.

Yesterday was full of last minute errands, including another trip to the hardware store, another trip to the photocopy store, and another trip to Fred Meyers to get them to remove the anti-shoplifting tag from our girl's Court Dress.  I did not shoplift the dress, by the way.  Then ANOTHER trip to Fred Meyers by me, this time mostly to kill time after dinner, but I wound up getting some children's meds and a bathmat. And a toothbrush holder.  And some jelly beans, because we realized that the airlines will only be feeding us once on this whole trip there and back.  Crazy--not even on the overseas flight coming home. 

The house is reasonably clean, the things that didn't get done will wait.  The front porch light is on, and we're ready for our ride.  It takes some serious heroism to volunteer to get up early enough to pick up travelers at 4 am.  As with so many steps along the way, we have a lot to thank our friends and family for. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Words to ponder

Here's a nice blog post I stumbled across today...because, you know, I had so much free time today.


We are trying to convince ourselves to go to bed, because David is picking us up in five hours.  But it's hard to sleep.  We get into Vilnius Thursday afternoon, and will be picked up and taken to the apartment we'll be staying in, which is in the Old Town area.  I suspect we won't get to meet the kids until Friday, but the way the timeline has gone on everything, maybe they'll take us straight there. 

This is really happening.

How to Elicit a Weird Look from a Shoe Salesman

Two unaccompanied adults walk into the shoe store and say, "Where's the children's section?"

Jon and Wendy's adoption news

Wendy and I are keeping this blog to update friends and family on our family building journey.  We hope that you will follow us along the way.