Above are a couple of videos from today. Click HERE to view all of the videos from today.
There’s been lots of beautiful snow here in Kremenchuk over the last few days. Big, soft flakes without it being too unbearably cold. Well, looks like the beautiful weather is going to get a bit nippy within a few days (see forecast photo above). That’s a Fahrenheit forecast, too. Yikes!
We had two good visits with the boys today. They're progressing so much in such a short amount of time, it's absolutley amazing. Only Jesus. Oh, and we’ve added baby powder to our arsenal of odor maskers, along with a can of ladies’ spray perfume that is kept in the playroom at the orphanage, so the two of those, along with brushing teeth at the beginning of each visit, is really helping us to not gag when we play with the boys due to their orphanage stench.
We know it is NOT their fault that they smell so atrociously. We do not want their scent to make them feel like we don’t love them, so we persevere through it, and when we gag, we pray we don’t vomit. But today was different, with the help of the perfume and powder. MUCH better. SOOOOOO much better, to the point where I didn't have to change my clothes when I got back to our apartment. We’ve discovered it’s very common for special needs children in Ukraine to smell badly. It’s also very common for them to have a ton of gas. Burps, belches, reflux, vomit, and, yes, it all comes out the other end, too.
Speaking of, Conner pooped during our morning visit, and the smell was too much for Matt and I. We returned him to his groupa to have the ladies change him. He must have parasites, as it reminds me of how Kiefer’s stools stunk so badly (and he had Giardia). Since we didn’t have plastic gloves, we felt we shouldn’t touch Conner’s poop, seeing as how I just got rid of E Coli and have no more antibiotics. Anyway, the caregivers were kind and changed his diaper after Matt returned Conner with poop, but in the communication breakdown, Matt thought they told him to leave. He thought they were bringing Conner back to us. After about 15 minutes of no Conner, a caregiver came into the playroom and asked us a question in Russian, which, of course, we couldn't understand. So, I followed her back to the boys' room, where Conner was sitting in the big play crib. :-( They saw me, then told me they wanted to wipe his face. They took him into a back room for a while. He came out in new clothing and smelled delightful, so I grabbed him and headed back to the playroom to finish our morning play time.
Oh, I’ve added disposable gloves to my packing list for trip 2 (the trip where we’ll get to take the boys home).
It probably sounds really sad that I’m talking so plainly about the smell of the boys, but those who have adopted special needs children from Eastern European countries completely understand what I’m talking about. I’m not saying it to be mean, we absolutely know it’s not the boys’ fault, and we know they don’t want to smell that way. It’s just a fact, and I’m journaling our time spent with the boys, so I’d like to document that today we finally found a trick that is helping us cope with a smell we’re simply not used to, nor do we want to get used to. It’s a smell no one should ever have to smell, and we cannot WAIT to get these boys home where we can begin daily hygiene in all areas, from body to oral to laundry.
I’m just delighted that today’s visits excluded our gagging! I am constantly reminded at how putrid I must smell to our Father, with all of the sin in my life. I am grateful beyond measure that my Father has never turned His nose up at me. Ever. Thank you, Jesus.
We discovered today that Cooper LOVES to watch the Baby Einstein videos I have on my iPhone. I had downloaded those for Selah such a long time ago, then discovered them again today. Cooper will sit for as long as we’ll allow, staring at the screen. Conner could care less.
This made us think that Cooper might need glasses, which is common for people with Down syndrome. Cooper prefers to have his eyes about 5 inches from the screen. Of course that might just be because he’s never seen videos, but we’ll be getting both boys’ vision checked shortly after we get home.
Speaking of “iAnything” apps, if any of you reading this have young children with Down syndrome, what are your child’s favorite iPad apps? I’m starting to think about preparation for getting our boys home. I think it’s going to be quite a challenge to travel for 20+ hours with these two boys, so I’d LOVE to hear some pointers. Cooper is VERY vocal when transitioning. It sounds like we’re hurting him when we travel through the hallway at the orphanage. They say he’s non-verbal, but he is VERY vocal. Since he LOVED the Baby Einstein videos, I thought maybe he’d enjoy things on the iPad. Not sure though that I could get him to not turn the iPad off if it required him to touch the screen to interact with early learning apps, etc. Just not sure what he can handle yet, but I’d love to hear recommendations.
I've also been thinking about sleeping arrangements for trip 2. Our facilitator told us that in Kremenchuk, the 10-day waiting period is never waived, so, as of now, we are planning to return to Texas after court and be with our children during the mandatory 10-day waiting period following court in Kremenchuk. Then, Matt and I will return to Kremenchuk to finish the adoption process. That will most likely take about 10-12 days, and the boys will be with us for probably most of that time. Both boys are used to sleeping in cribs, and our apartment is a one bedroom with a full-sized bed. I was thinking about trying to get lightweight “pop-up” portable beds for the boys so that we don’t end up with miserable, sleepless nights. I saw THESE on Amazon, but wondered if anyone has ever used these or if anyone has any recommendations of a lightweight, easy to pack travel bed/crib.
I’m also thinking we’ll want to take a double umbrella stroller for airport use mainly. I doubt Matt and I will be able to carry the boys (even in a Moby carrier), along with all of our luggage. Any recommendations on inexpensive double umbrella strollers?
Also, for those who have adopted special needs kiddos internationally, if your kids were on a “mush” diet, what did you feed them while you were still in country and what about while traveling the 20+ hours back home? I’m considering trying to take those baby food pouches with us, thinking those would be perfect for the boys, but maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe I should just find food locally while in country to try to keep their diet the same?!?!
I’m going to have a lot to gather and prepare for once I’m home, but I’ll also have 9 kiddos to love on and be available for during my 10 days in Texas, so the more I can prepare for in advance, the better.
Any other tips, advice, recommendations from you veterans? I’d LOVE to hear them!!!
Oh, an update regarding court: We’re waiting on the head minister of social policy to sign our paperwork. After he signs, the SDA will be able to give our paperwork back to our facilitator, and then we can have court. The SDA only returns this type of paperwork on M/W/F. So, we’ll find out tomorrow (Wednesday) if our paperwork is ready. If it is, we can have court either Thursday or Friday of this week here in Kremenchuk. If the paperwork isn’t ready tomorrow, we’ll have to see if it arrives Friday, which would make court the following week.
Please join us in praying the paperwork will be ready Wednesday. We’re eager to get home to our lovies who’ve been without Mommy and Daddy for 16 days. Too long!