Sofia was an orphan with Down syndrome in Eastern Europe and now has a forever family.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Week in Ukraine

Today we have been here exactly one week and although we have accomplished SO much in that one week there is still so much more to do.

We have not heard back from Marina about our court date. We did hear from Serge in Kiev that our Interpol clearance has not arrived at the SDA yet and we will need this form before we can have court. We sent in our Interpol with our dossier back in March but apparently these are done without any sort of schedule so they just appear when they appear. Trying to remain calm as I write this.

So we patiently as we can. I've read one book and I'm working on two more. I've napped more than I have in 8 years...think I'm almost caught up on my lack of sleep since having my first child in 2003!!!

Today was more of the's almost beginning to feel like Groundhog's Day but we're trying to mix it up as much as we can. Sofia, our little butterball, is still as sweet as they come. We have never heard her cry although she must have the other day. When we saw her yesterday she had a bruise and a blood spot on the top of her head. We were almost afraid to ask what had happened but I had to know. Apparently, they drew blood from a vein on her head (we gathered this from the creative sign language we use with the staff)...they couldn't find any on her chubby arms or legs. It looks like they tried on the top of one of her hands because there is a puncture mark there too but the one on her head is definitely bruised and the blood spot is about the size of a pea. Poor sweet baby.

We are continuing to bond with Sofia and I do think she knows us now as evidenced by her quick smile. She is REALLY fond of Hector. She doesn't feel like "our baby" yet. It's especially strange to have to hand her back in to the staff after each of our visits. So surreal. It felt good to provide for her the past few days by buying diapers and some medicine, to be able to give to her in that way was important. We're also quite proud carrying her around the orphanage. She's such a cherub and the staff and visitors just love to give her some attention.

It's also getting more and more difficult to be away from home. I almost try not to think about the boys because it's too painful. Mateo is sick today with a stomach bug and Diego has a pink eye that's being closely monitored. Joaquin is doing great it seems so that is a comfort but we also received news about his eye sight (he had a check up with an eye specialist late last week) and it seems his left eye is almost blind so he is doing some patch therapy to try and regain the sight he lost. Again, thank goodness for my parents taking good care of them and holding down the fort. It's just even more difficult to be away from your kids when they aren't feeling well.

Hector's corner:
Today was a hard day, the routine is starting to get to me and I felt a little bit trapped. We enjoy our time with Sofia and look forward to seeing her more and more every day but it is getting harder to find a way to keep ourselves entertained when we aren't at the orphanage. We read books and work on the computer and take turns cooking. Our only break of the routine is getting news from Marina and today was the first day that things went into a stand still. We assume she was not able to speak with the head judge and hearing from Serge about our Interpol clearance was a blow to our spirits as well. Yesterday we were hoping for a Friday court date, it would've been a miracle. And today we are certain that won't happen and we are looking at another week here at least. This is going to be a test to our patience and sanity for sure. Time is starting to slow down, just praying it doesn't go backwards!


  1. This waiting stuff is so tough to hear about! Wish it was so much easier! Well, use this time for YOU and Hector! Reconnecting with your true love...I think my husband and I wouldn't know what to do stuck in a foreign country with not much to do but be with each other...but there is a reason for this waiting period...She is just a treasure to look at in each can tell she is mesmerized by everything you have shown her! And her chunkiness reminds me of my it!
    I will be praying that your boys feel better soon...XOXOXO

  2. I just love seeing all that naked chub!! She definitely looks healthy enough. Hang in there guys....she is worth it all!! Praying that you get that interpol clearance and court date ASAP.

  3. Hang in there! You are both right where you need to be and are already having an obvious influence on that sweet little soul.

    It was interesting to read the "superficial" comments from the post from Germany. In so many ways the American way of life and perspective can be seen as superficial and a bit American-centric I guess. The right clothes, cars, neighborhoods, colleges, sports, jobs and the list goes on as it pertains to what has become the American rat race. You did a nice job with your response and perspective. What you and Hector are doing is perhaps the most selfless things any human can do, from any part of the world, and far from "superficial". You seem very open and interested in the culture and appreciate the people caring for Sophia.

    I hope your journey inspires another family to open their lives and adopt.

  4. Ok, spice it up when you're not with miss chubby pants! Set a goal each day to try ONE new thing, or ONE new place. Maybe a park or something. Or google historical sites in the city and go see one. Learn about the country you're in. The more you know, the more you can take back for your girl. Try a new food, or venture into a shop you've been curious about. GET OUT! WALK! SEE the culture, the TRUE culture of the country. I always thought of things I wanted to blog about, that were curious to me because of the cultural difference. Like the stiletto boots women wear! I walked around with my camera hanging down like I wasn't using it, but I was walking behind people taking pictures of the boots! LOL Or act like you're taking pictures of each other, but really getting the person BEHIND them. LOL The only cure for boredom and monotony is to not let it happen in the first place. Sometimes it's inevitable, but you CAN break it up by setting one goal to try something new each day.

  5. I really enjoy your posts and comments. I especially enjoy the pictures. I look at the pictures today, and I looked at the first pictures you posted, I can see a huge difference in Sofia. She is so much more animated, and the smiles are getting bigger and bigger. Keep up the good work, I'll keep up the praying

  6. I'm sure the wait must be very difficult. We experienced something similar when our little D. (with DS) was in the NICU for 16 weeks. She was born 10 weeks early, and because of my illness, was low-birth-weight for her gestational age at 2lbs 7oz. Each day I would go visit, and each evening I had to hand her over to the nurses and kiss her good-bye. It is hard to feel like a child is yours when you have to play by someone else's rules and hand her over each evening.
    Soon enough she will be yours forever and for always. Her big brothers will dote on her and shower her with kisses, and the whole family will agree she was well worth the long wait.
    Thank goodness your parents could be there for your boys during this time. Hang in there! Can you take some more pictures of the town?? Your photography is beautiful, and it would be neat to share what the area and the architecture looks like with Sofia some day... and I'm curious to see it too :o)

  7. Jen and Hector,
    I remember when Joaquin was born and diagnosed with DS, telling your mom how blessed he was to have such wonderful parents. God chose you! He chose you again to be the blessed parents to a little(chubby)girl from the Ukraine. She is absolutely beautiful and the pictures leave us wanting to snuggle and eat her up. Pink is definitely her color. Don't worry about your boys, you know they are in good hands with the doting Nana and Grandpa. We are praying for you and hope that you will bring Sofia home soon. Don't forget that Grandma is watching over you. Just believe and trust in the angels. They are in the corner of every room.
    Love you,
    Aunt Elice

  8. It must be so hard to be away from your boys - but, they certainly are in the best of hands being cared for by your parents with help from your many friends. And what a change to go from your VERY busy lives at home to suddenly having an abundance of free time. I am thinking of you so much and hoping that things move along as quickly as possible. Your Sofia is a beauty and is going to be so happy when she's home with both of you and her brothers!

  9. Hang in there guys! We are all praying for you. It will be over before you know it.

    Mark & Hansina

  10. She's yummy. Won't you have fun kissing that belly and squeezing those thighs from now on!?

  11. Wow! What you guys are doing is so wonderful! In fact, the article about you in Kidaround inspired us to adopt through Reese's Rainbow. We are just beginning the homestudy and are rushing around to get all the paperwork done. Do you guys have any tips on fundraising in Sacramento or general info. on what slowed down your process the most?
    Thank you for being such a wonderful example of a loving family and inspiring us to make our family complete. I will be praying that you guys and Sofia make it home safe SOON! :)

  12. Sofia is so precious! :)

    How disappointing to have the Interpol clearance paperwork holding things up. We're so sorry for the delay. :( Feeling sorry for you and the boys, too, since you have to be apart while they're not feeling well. Praying that God provides the strength and encouragement you need today and in the coming days.


  13. sorry to hear things are starting to feel like "groundhog's day" - i really hope you have a court date ASAP!!! i love the pictures of sofia and especially the one of the three of you :) you are getting good with the "timer" for the pictures w/ all three of you! sorry to hear you have pink eye & the stomach bug going on at home and that joaquin's eye dr. appt did not go so well... i hope the patch therapy will help!!!
    thinking of you guys!!!

  14. Oh my goodness, she is so beautiful! Esta como para comerse a besos!

    I know too well how you are feeling. Hang in there, try to enjoy the time that you have together as a couple without your kids. I know it is easier said than done...
    Puzzles are pretty cheap in Ukraine, maybe that could be a fun thing to do (if you like puzzles)

    Wish I could offer more advice, but I was only in Kiev (for way too long!) so I am not familiar with your region.

    Hugs, and love the pictures, keep them coming!

  15. what a beautiful little cherub :) so very happy for you !!

  16. Hang in there guys, sounds like you are coming up to the home straight :) Enjoy the sleep while you can! Hoping you are on a plane home as soon as possible.

  17. I love your honesty. I'm praying for you guys... I know it's so hard to be away from home, knowing your boys could use their parents. But I hope you know they're all in good hands and you're saving a life. No small task. {{HUGS}}

  18. Sofia is such a doll!!! Every time I look at her pictures, I think "rosebud." Her lips remind me of a rosebud... she had the sweetest little lips! Oh what a sweet baby!! Wishing you all the best on your journey, praying for your little ones back home, and of course for you and Sofia. Love following your story. God Bless...

  19. Sofia is & always has been such a beautiful baby. I'm so glad she's getting so much love from you. Prayers from here,

  20. Sophia is precious, beautiful and perfect. So thankful that she is loved and has a Mommy, Daddy and three big brothers. I see that we both are followers of Nella's blog. Praying for things to go smoothly so you will all soon be home together. My niece introduced me to Reece's Rainbow. So grateful your love has reached around the world. What a blessing for all.


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