Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We are home...

Sorry, it has taken me so long to update the blog. We were able to get Olivia's passport on Thursday, May 7th. Herbert flew in to Kiev on Thursday, the 7th and the American Embassy allowed us to begin the visa paperwork so we could have her passport on Friday, the 8th. We told them how much we wanted to go home and they definitely understood and helped us out.
I faxed them the documents while I was in Vinnitsa(American spelling) so they could start processing the visa because it takes 2 days. Alla, Olivia and I left on Thursday on the train in route for Kiev. Olivia did great on her 1st train ride which was 3 1/2 hours. We arrived in Kiev and headed for the apartment to see Herbert. I was very happy that he had arrived. We spent the evening in Kiev walking around the city with Olivia. To our surprise she did great considering we had removed her from her small world. On Friday we went to the American Embassy to complete the documents for the visa and they informed us that the visa would be ready that afternoon. We then took Olivia for her exit medical exam that is required by the American Embassy. When finished with the exam we returned to the embassy to finalize the process. We had to wait for about 30 minutes and then we received her visa. Yes, I was so happy. We changed our plane tickets for the first available flight which was Saturday, May 9th at 10:50 a.m.

The flight home was a success. Olivia did great considering that her whole world was drastically changed. We had a few upset moments, but with reason due to being tired and exhausted.

We arrived home at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Drew, Gabrielle and Ethan were waiting outside when we arrived. They were happy to have us home, finally!! I was beyond happy to finally be back home!! It was a long process, but worth it in the end!

Olivia has joined right in with our family. She has already experienced her first swim in the pool and loves the water. She seems to be enjoying the freedom that she is now experiencing. We are looking forward to watching her as she grows in her new world.

Thanks to everyone who supported us during our journey. We appreciate all the prayers and thoughts from all our family and friends.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Today is Monday and we are still waiting for Olivia's passport. Friday and Saturday were national holidays in Ukraine, so most places were closed on Friday and today. I am continuing to spend quality time with Olivia while waiting patiently for the final process!! Herbert will be joining me in Ukraine on Thursday. It will be nice to have him here to have a conversation with someone. I have been staying in the home of a very nice family. However, when they don't speak English and I don't speak Ukrainian, not much conversation. Alisa and her husband have a 5 year old girl, Nastia. Nastia keeps me company, wanting me to play with her. It has been nice just to have activity around me instead of staying in an apartment alone. I have had lots of quality time alone. As a mom I usually treasure some alone time since I don't have it very often. But, being alone in a foreign country is not my first choice of quality time. I would much rather be at my home alone. This has been an experience that has been rewarding. I knew before this experience that I was blessed and I am even more sure of that today!

Talk to you all soon!

Friday, May 1, 2009

April 29th & 30th

On Wednesday the 29th we had to travel approximately 2 hours to receive Olivia's original birth certificate along with her new one. We then returned back to Vinnitsya with the new birth certificate to prepare to file for her passport. With all the business to take care of we were not able to visit with Olivia on Wednesday. Thursday we picked her up from the orphanage along with one of her teachers to go to the passport office for a new picture and documents for the passport. Unfortunately, this area does not have the advanced technology that we have, so processing anything takes forever!!!! Olivia did great. The ride in the car was less frightening to her this time and she seemed to enjoy the new experiences. After completing all business, the teacher, Olivia and I went to the toy store to purchase some needed items for her group at the orphanage. Another new experience for Olivia at the toy store. She was in awe of all the toys. She did not know where to look. The teacher chose some new toys and wooden puzzles that I was happy to purchase for such a worthy cause. This store was limited on items needed so we headed to another store. At this store we would purchase teaching material that would benefit the kids in learning. Unfortunately, the teachers are not provided with any material that can help them teach the children at preschool age. Children at the orphanages do not receive the same kind of teaching that we provide for our children at preschool age. They do not have the means to purchase any material. Children in general do not start learning their colors and abc's until they start kindergarten at age 5-6.

Before our final stop we went to a small cafe for lunch. Once again, a first for Olivia. She was very quite and well mannered while she waited for her food. In all her new experiences so far she has done exceptionally well. Let's hope the plane ride home will be the same!!

At the 2nd store, the teacher was able to find lots of material that will be so good for the children. She was uncomfortable with this process but Alla told her that I said we were happy to be able to help in such a small way. The cost of goods is much less in Ukraine to our US dollar.

We returned to the orphanage, it was time for Olivia's afternoon nap. She had had a very busy morning. The teachers of her group were very happy for our help and were in tears, hugging and kissing me on the cheeks. Great feeling to help Olivia's group and the people that have been taking care of her.

Well, now for the next few days I will visit with Olivia and spend as much time as possible while we wait for her passport. We hope to receive her passport by Wednesday of next week. We will then leave for Kiev for our appointment at the American Embassy. There they we will get her visa and final medical exam. Then we will finally be headed home. At that time I will be sooo.... happy!! Like I said earlier, it is not easy being here away from my family. I miss them sooo... much. I love and miss Herbert and Ethan, Drew & Gabrielle very,very... much!!!!

Off to the orphanage...talk with you all later.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Alla and I spent the entire morning at the courthouse retrieving and correcting the court hearing documents. Then in between preparing documents, we went to the orphanage at lunch time to see Olivia. Anxious to see her reaction when she saw me... it had been 2 weeks..so we all wondered... When we arrived she was eating lunch with her group, she saw me at the door, smiled and all the children said, "MaMa". Olivia was happy, but she really wanted to be able to finish eating her food. So, I waited and then she ate quickly and then ran over smiling and gave be a big hug. All the teachers said she would talk about us while we were away. They would see her watching the door each day.

After saying our hello, we informed the teacher that we needed to take her to have her passport photo done. So, they took her and changed her into what they call " party clothes." These are the nicer clothes that the children wear only for special occasions. She was so happy, especially when they allowed her to wear some pretty new shoes.

Well, this was Olivia first ride in a car. The teachers said she would probably get very upset and cry. However, she did great. She was frightened at first, but as long as I held on to her she was okay. She actually enjoyed being able to see so many new things. We returned her back to the orphanage, because we still had lots of business to take care of.

It was a happy and rewarding reunion.

Back to Ukraine

Sunday, April 26th I left for Ukraine with a mix of emotions. I was happy that I would get to see Olivia again, but very sad to be leaving all the family at home. This time I was traveling alone, so it was going to be different. Gabrielle was very sad that I was leaving. She wanted Olivia to come home, but not for me to leave her. So, I arrived in Kiev, Monday at 8:30 a.m. Needless to say, I was very tired. I was not able to sleep on the flight and I did not get much sleep before leaving. As soon as my driver took me to the apartment, I crawled in bed and slept for about 5 hours. Later I ventured out to McDonald's which was at the end of my street and had a safe American cheeseburger for dinner. I spent the rest of the evening in the apartment with a television that I could not get any channels to work, so I just read for a while and then decided to go to bed. I had to wake early, Alla and I were taking the 6:40 a.m. train to Vinnitsya. More documents and paperwork to do!! Herbert is going to miss all this fun!!....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Here's Olivia..

This is Olivia and Drew playing outside at the orphanage. She is much smaller than she looks in the picture. At the orphanage they layer the children in clothing when they go outside. She has on 2 shirts, a thick sweater, the dress, tights, leggings and the outer sweater. They want to make sure that the children do not get cold. We took her knit cap off while we were taking pictures. Each day during our visits we would spend time outside at the orphanage's playground.

Court Hearing ... A Success!!

We are happy to report that the court hearing was a success! We have officially adopted our new little girl, Olivia Diann Perry. We have returned home during the 10 day wait period. We are happy to be back in Florida, however we only wish Olivia were with us. I, (Sheila), will be leaving for Ukraine on Sunday, April 26th and will arrive on Monday, the 27th. Herbert will join me after he coaches his high school baseball team in their district tournament. We are looking forward to bringing our new addition to our family, home!

Once again, thanks to everyone for your thoughts, prayers and support.