Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GOTCHA DAY - Video and Updates

So what we have been up to...well, not much ;-). Seriously, we have been amazing busy as you can imagine! For that reason, and that we have not had power for a good bit of the time, I am going to post some unedited videos of our "Gotcha Day" with hopes of a more formal, compiled video to follow. Oh, if you are unfamiliar with the term "Gotcha Day," it is a term used in the adoption community to refer to the day that a child is saved out of the orphanage system.

So what was Gotcha Day like? We were SO excited to be leaving Cherkassy and yet Isaac and I both know that we will miss it on many ways. So as we BARELY fit everything into the cargo area of the car we loaded up and went to the orphanage. Would the children be excited? Ivanna is always excited to get the attention...loving most her bottle feedings that momma got her hooked on and the lotion that I would rub on her hands that get so dry from her habitually putting them in her mouth - institution behavior. She often on our visits would sit in my lap and when I would take out the lotion, she would pull up her sleeves and hold her hands out. Sweet Girl!

When we arrived to the orphanage, after signing a lot of paperwork, it was off to Max's Groupa. How did Max react to our arrival...

As I had posted previously, the real tears came in Max's groupa the night before as we spent a wonderful evening with the groupa workers that we became very close too. I cannot over emphasize what a blessing it was to have this relationship in place. Not only was it a blessing to have the communication (well as much as you can communicate over an Iphone application), but out of a heart that loved Max so much. They gave me information about Max's specific care that was, and has been a huge help. We have the address of one of the groupa workers and will be corresponding with her continually! The care givers that were working on Gotcha Day morning, were also very kind, we just did not have the opportunity to communicate much with them for whatever reason. My heart goes out to ALL of these ladies. They work very hard caring for these children, in this groupa and in this orphanage, quite well, only to see the children that are not adopted being transferred to a mental institution where they know that the care is much different. Because of people who gave to help in this adoption we where able to give them some helps before we left. They all appreciated, so much the Microwave that we bought for them and now have in the groupa so that can heat up foods for the children. They also appreciated the money we gave to the care givers so that they would be able to by Christmas decorations and toys for the children.


I know that for them to see the children adopted rather than transferred was a joy! Both groupas asked if we would take more children...heart breaking.

So we scooped up the children and out the door I took them...FOREVER!!

We then went on a long drive to the capital city where we would have an appointment with the US Embassy the next day. The drive was WONDERFUL. The highlight for me was having Max on my lap asleep while Ivanna laid up next to her papa sleeping as well. That was pretty close to WONDERFUL for me. Of course they cuddled and played much with their fantastic older brother Isaac as well.

Catching Up: The US Embassy and Doctors Appointment the next day, well honestly, was a tough day. Max and Ivanna are very much used to a strict schedule and add to that the fact they were being carted all over the city without a nap or regular eating schedule, in addition to everything changing in their new world, there was much wailing and nashing of teeth. They were NOT HAPPY!

I, however, got all of the paperwork filled out at the Embassy while holding a very tired and unhappy Ivanna, who was not afraid to let everyone know that she was NOT happy. Let's just say my penmanship was less than stellar. Isaac tried to keep a frustrated Max from making to big of a scene. Isaac did a great job, and at times, so did Max.

We then went to the doctor's appointment, at which time it began to snow heavily. Max loved it. Ivanna, not so much! We went into a VERY CROWDED hallway where Niko, our driver and translator, took over. Isaac and I tried to keep the children calm, as they had not had lunch or a nap and it was an hour passed their normal nap time. Here it is very different than in the US. In the United States, when you have a child with disabilities, often you are greated with a smile or a she/he is precious. In this country, people look at you like you have something exposed or have some strange appendage. We were on the front stage in this very crowded hallway, but we did the best we could in trying to keep the children as content as possible and greated the onlookers with a smile!

When we met with the doctor she looked at me deeply and sternly and said, "Why are you adopting children with Down syndrome?" It was said in a way that spoke of a, they are too much trouble attitude. She went on to talk about all of these PROBLEMS that the children have and in the same stern voice kept asking, "and you know about this?" "Yes. I have a child with Down syndrome. They are a blessing. I believe that all children are made perfectly by the Father." She changed gears a bit, and said, "As a women, it would be a burden too great to bare to continually worry about such sick children." This is where I smiled, thanked the Lord for my wife, and said, "my wife is very excited about having the children come home and is able to stay home with the children to care for them." When the doctor left the room, Isaac and I looked at each other and were grieved for the doctor that she was so off the mark in her assessment based on some physical malady.

When we ended the exam, the doctor, really enjoying her time with Isaac while she was examining Ivanna, I was getting chest xrays for Max, had changed her tune a whole lot and said, "Bless you for taking these children, I wish the best for you." Bless us? We are doing nothing great. We are the ones receiving the benefit of having an opportunity to have these wonderful children be a part of our family! We have the opportunity to see the Lord work in an amazing way. We ARE BLESSED!

The doctor did confirm that Ivanna has a severe heart murmur. We will have that checked upon getting home and poor Max is the king finger sucker. So much that the skin on two of his little fingers have sores on them. We will work on this habit more as he gets established.

We went grocery shopping returned to the apartment. Shortly after we got to the apartment, the power went out. Not fun when it is 16 degrees out with a projected high the next day of 10 degrees. What did we do? All four of us got in bed under a couple of covers and snuggled to sleep. A couple of hours later, the power came back on, praise the Lord (and thank you to those who prayed).

Today it is an interview at the US Embassy and then we should get the necessary Visas. Tomorrow morning at 5:30am, we fly home to enjoy a family thanksgiving dinner on Friday, I hope! Pray that nothing gets delayed. I met another Reeces Rainbow family at the embassy and he stated that someone told him that Visas are being delayed for some reason. I am hopeful ours will not be. Our tickets are purchased and I know that our Lord will come through as He continually does. I appreciate those that pray on our behalf.

14 comments:

Kelly said...

I am smiling through tears as I read/watch this post. The relationship that has bloomed between you all is palpable. I am so humbled to witness the growth of your family. Phillip, I love your acknowledgment of how incredible your wife is. She's the cream of the crop. I feel that way about your whole family. What great men you guys are raising too. I have commented on more than one occasion about the quality of the character of your kids. It makes me hopeful that my girls will one day meet men raised like your sons. Max and Ivanna are adorable...and at times I wanted to reach into my computer screen and squeeze them both. Love to you all! I look forward to hearing about your reunion at the end of this journey! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Sara Beamish said...

The best thing that I have seen and red today!!!! LOVE the videos:) So happy that you have the little ones with you and that you will be on your way home soon.

HAVE to say what a wonderful young man Issac is. You both must be so very proud of him. Like the post above, I too hope that my girls meet young men like him when their time comes around.

Blessing to all of you :-)

Walking With Christ said...

They are both SO adorable!! I am SO excited for you guys! They are YOURS! :D :D :D Praying for you guys! :) God bless

-Daniel-

Faith for Hope said...

Just when I don't think my heart can handle another "joy" the Lord pours on yet another! He is too good to us. Looking forward to seeing the ones we've prayed for for so long. = ) praying for their visas and your flights to go well. Love you guys and miss you MUCH! ~ Grace

Grandma~rella said...

Such a truly amazing miracle! I've been following your blog and checking daily for updates, praying as I read each day. This journey is truly so beautiful in every way~Congratulations! May you continue to be blessed forever more!

Looking Up said...

I've been wasiting to see a video of Matthew's "gotcha day" ever since his I saw his picture on RR's website...so many months ago. God bless you & those beautiful kids!

Amy said...

it is so amazing to see how these 2 beautiful children have come out of their shells since they have been wrpped in Love.

Tom and April said...

I agree your wife is a pretty incredible lady. Yet again, my heart is full and aches to jump through the computer to hold those babies. I wish I could join in celebrating them home and the dinner, but more the stopping in to encourage Chrissy with a coffee or help. You guys have the most precious new additions to your family and I cannot wait to meet them soon. Love you all-April.

Amanda said...

God is so good! There are tears of joy in our home!

Mcarthur Mile said...

Those videos were amazing to watch! I love little Max and how excited he was to see daddy!!! All I can think of is proverbs 13:12 I can't wait to see you guys again.
Mary

Lacey said...

So fantastic, and seeing that orphanage again is so surreal! I still can't believe I was there. I was looking at a map and can't believe I was ever in Ukraine! It seems like a dream, but I too in a way miss it. It was something not many people get to do, and I look at Arina's beautiful face and can't believe how great she is doing today!

Mel said...

I have read this twice! My cup runneth over! Tears of joy,tears of pain! I will continue to lift you all up in prayer and the rest of the families and the Orphans.

Garth and Becky said...

God is good and we are so excited to watch Him using you all in this way. HAPPY GOTCHA DAY (a little late, I know)! So looking forward to meeting Max and Ivanna!!

Luba said...

So happy for all of you! And now you are home! YAY!!! Praise the Lord! I don't have FB so I am itching to see the pictures here! But I understand your overjoyness (new word?) and being a bit busy loving on your family, so we'll be patient... Hope to see you in person soon! Very excited with you! With love, the Bowdens.

 




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