Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Yay for Walgreens and Google!

Thanks to Walgreens online photocenter and google translate, I was able to make a photo flip book of our family and Katya to send to Katya's bio family in Ukraine. I tried this before with snapfish and it wouldn't let me copy/paste the Russian translation into the captions. I was super happy to find that Walgreens photocenter lets you paste!

I started with a few pictures of us flying out of Dulles and kept going with landing in Kiyv, our apartment, the SDA, Kharkiv, the orphanage, Katya at the orphanage with us, Katya at the airport in Frankfurt, and all of us meeting Daddy and Katya back at Dulles. The rest of the pictures are of her home with us and playing with her brothers. I'm waiting till it arrives in the mail then sending it along with a box of gifts to her family in Ukraine.

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but we had originally looked at adopting from Russia but quickly scratched it because adopting from Russia is SO expensive. We found out through our PI that Katya's bio mother is actually Russian and is originally from Moscow. So, Katya is our little UkieRussCan (Ukrainian, Russian, American)

Sweet Valentine

So how do you celebrate Valentine's Day with 3 kids? WITH 3 kids. Yep.

We grilled Ribeyes, jalepeno poppers, sweet peppers, and I made a roasted garlic Brie bread bowl. Phillip brought me home my most favorite things in the entire world: Marinated Artichokes and Garlic Stuffed Olives. I was in heeeeaven :) Oh and some chocolate covered strawberries and a boquet of flowers was a nice touch as well.

We ate steak with all the fixings, and choclate covered strawberries; and fed the kids cheese pizza and chocolate ice cream cones with pink sprinkles. They were pretty thrilled.

Katya had never had an ice cream cone and kept intently studying the boys to see how they were eating it. She started biting the bottom and sides of the cone before the ice cream was gone lol

Her Daddy brought her home her first Valentine rose. She smelled it, then tried to bite it before figuing out that it was only to look at!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Something on my mind

Meet Valentin.

I guess that sometimes there is a child that just grabs your heart. I've kept an eye on this little guy for a while, hoping he'd be moved off the waiting children list and onto the new committments page on the Reeces Rainbow site. Today is his 6th birthday. Poor little man probably doesn't even know that, but it breaks my heart because he deserves a party.

Wouldn't it be great it a few people could make a donation in his name in honor of his birthday? Kids with grant money (even just a little!) get chosen for adoption faster and it would be so wonderful if next year, he had a family to celebrate with!

He is positive for Hep. C, but I've been reading up on it and found out a few things. Hep C can actually be cured in about 60-80% of the cases and even if its not, it cannot be transfered in normal day to day activites like eating, drinking, hand holding, or nose blowing. There is a lot of research being done on Hep C here in the U.S. and I suspect that there will soon be a cure for 100% of people with it.

Happy birthday, Valentin. I hope next year you have a family to celebrate with.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Help Find A Home for Vera


This sweet little girl recently lost the family that committed to her and two other little boys on Reeces Rainbow. She is nearly 6 and was kept at the Baby House because this family was coming for her. Now she will soon be transferred to an institution.

She has CP like Katya does only hers actually seems (to me) milder because she is able to walk up stairs and while pushing a stroller or holding someone's hand and her hands are not affected.

Please consider her for your family or help spread the word that she needs to be adopted via your blog, facebook, or twitter. Visit the link to her blog to view more information about her and to visit the links to the boys that she was supposed to be adopted with on Reeces Rainbow.

She has over $3000 in her grant fund on Reeces Rainbow to help towards adoption expenses!

I know firsthand that children with mild/moderate CP are not something to be scared of. After you get to know them, its like they don't even have a disability. In Eastern Europe, the therapy and medical attention is just not available to help children with disabilities live their lives to their full potential. Vera deserves a family so lets spread the word and help her find her family!

Well Hey There!

Its been a while since I posted an update. The main reason for that is that we have been SICK. Thankfully the kids are over it and I seem to be left with just some sort of sinus mess. I tend to get a sinus infection after a cold because of my horrible allergies I guess. Allergies + cold = double the recovery time.

Anyways! We've had a lot happen. Katya got her certificate of citizenship on January 29th. We went out to eat to celebrate it, and thank goodness no one threw up this time!

She also received her SS card today!

We registered her with the Ukrainian Consulate right away, and since they didn't call me to complain about her passport (since I washed it - oops) I assume all is well there.

Katya is a U.S. citizen, she has been registered with the consulate, and she has a social security number. Paperwork - DONE!

We took Katya to UVA Kluge Childrens Center International Adoption Clinic and met some really great people.
She had a hearing test done. Perfect hearing, but we knew that. The child would alert us to dinner being made in the kitchen at the orphanage downstairs when we were playing all the way upstairs.

Katya has gained 1.7lbs in 4 weeks. She now weighs 27.7lbs which puts her at 5% for her age in weight. She is also at 5% in her age for height so her proportional size is good because everything is small together. I'm just happy she is gaining weight and is on the charts!

Just to give you an idea of how small she is for her age... Wyatt is 2 1/2 and weighs 29lbs. Katya is 4. Wyatt wears a size 7 shoe. Katya wears a 6. Wyatt wears 2-3T. Katya's 2T leggings have to be held up with tights. Wesley is 4 (nearly 5) and weighs 50lbs, wears a size 13 shoe and is in the 95% for height. He and Katya are only 7 months apart but she comes up to his chest. I think he will be her body guard for life :-D

She does look SO much better now than 6 weeks ago though. You could count every single rib on her chest and on her back. The 1.7lbs has gone a long way on a tiny body.

We also met with an occupational therapist who brought in her friend, a physical therapist and together the two of them are requesting that Katya's April appointment with the CP clinic be moved up to as soon as possible. I was so thankful that they wanted to help her ASAP. The Dr. we met with wrote us a prescription for AFOs and we were so fortunate that one of the nurse assistants told us that we could probably walk right into the Orthopedic Dept. which happened to be on the same floor, and ask if they could cast her legs for the AFOs THAT day instead of having to come back. We were able to get Katya's legs cast and pick out the colors for her AFOs yesterday, so that is done! Whoohoo. She'll go back in about 3 weeks to get them fitted and then she'll be all ready to wear them.

Katya also had to give 6 vials of blood because they wanted to run all kinds of tests to see if her immunizations were current, and test for everything under the sun. We figured it was worth it just to make sure that everything is perfectly fine. This was the worst part of the day because the nurse couldn't hit a vein (probably because Katya started screaming as soon as we laid her on the table) so she poked one arm 3 times then went to get another nurse who tried the other arm and got it the first time. Thank goodness!! I get sick and pass out when I give blood so holding Katya down and watching them poke her over and over nearly did me in.

We are also supposed to take Katya to an opthamologist to have her eyes checked. One eye was severely crossed when she was a baby, but it has mostly straightened out now and just has a delay. I wanted her to be able to understand what someone was saying to her so she could tell them if she could see the chart or not, but unfortunately, the Russian translator we were supposed to have at the Adoption Clinic was MIA. Honestly I think someone dropped the ball and never asked one, but true to my nature, I waited till we got back home and sent a very nice email to the lady who was supposed to have arranged it and asked what happened. I mean seriously. It would have been so great to have someone tell her what was going on in her own language so she wouldn't have been so scared.

So sometime in the near future Katya will go back to Kluges Children Center for her new AFOs and she will also get an appointment with a physical therapist. Hopefully before April! They told me April was the soonest they could see her and I just couldn't believe it so I'm glad we "happened" to meet a physical therapist who put in a request to see her sooner. Awesome :)

To follow up with what we were told at the SDA about her medical problems and what she actually has.

CP - She has spastic cerebral pasly that affects her legs and right now her right arm is involved with some tone because of the tightness in her legs, but her prognosis for walking on her own is very good and actually her flexability in most areas was better than expected, however it is possible she may need some surgery for tendon or muscle releases to improve her posture once she starts walking. The therapist also thinks that with therapy, her arm will loose its tightness because its carryover from her legs being so tight and not really an arm issue. Yay!

Hole in her heart - 3 Drs. have confirmed that they do not hear a problem with her heart and there is no reason to suspect otherwise as she is nice and pink and can get quite rowdy!

Stage 2 brain bleed at birth - We really don't know if this is a stage 2 as described in the U.S. or not. There really aren't any issues from this if she had it.

Hernia - We weren't told about this but noticed her belly button stuck WAY out and was squishy when touched. The Dr. said it was common in premies and was nearly fully resolved already. It actually looks a ton better than it did just 6 weeks ago.

Premature birth: We were told Katya was born at 29 weeks gestation. However, the bio mom had no prenatal care so I don't know how they determined that. She was a premie though... just not sure how much.

Crossed eyes - The SDA photo of her had one eye crossed in all the way to her nose. Her eyes really aren't noticeable now, and she can see things on the TV enough to comment about them and she loves to look at books. We are making an eye appointment to see if there is still an issue here or not, but for the most part her eyes "look" normal we haven't noticed vision problems.

I was concerned a bit about her facial and head shape. Our pediatrician seemed to think it may be related to poor nutrition or premature birth. Her forhead is kind of oddly sloped. However, once we got pictures of her birth parents and siblings, we realized that its all genetics. Some people just have a little bit different shaped head!

Tomorrow Katya will have been home for 6 weeks. We've seen a lot of improvement in her strength, coordination, and interaction with us and the boys. She is still hanging onto the Russian and not saying a lot of English.

She understands what we say about 90% of the time and will repeat anything back. If she doesn't understand what you are asking her, she just nods says "Da." Phillip thinks this is great and asks her things like "Is Papa the most manly man in the whole world?" "Da."

Well that's about it. I can't wait to post pictures of her in her AFOs. I wanted to take pictures of her getting the casts but she was so upset from being stuck 4 times that she thought they were gonna stick her again and cried pretty much the whole time. Not really a great picture moment but I bet next time will be :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Yep we're sick. Wes got sick last Saturday and passed it to Wyatt... who then passed it to Katya. I thought I had avoided getting really sick by taking Sambucol and Vitamin C but nope. I woke up this morning feeling like a truck ran me over then backed up and did it again. Even Phillip seems to have gotten in on the fun too.

The good news is that the kids do seem to be feeling better. I wish I'd just gotten sick with them instead of after them because THEY feel better. I do not! All 3 of them still have a cough and I have to keep wiping noses (including mine now). We've missed church 2 weeks in a row now after finally going back for the first time since we came home from Ukraine.

Oh well... I figured we were due to be sick at some point. I though it would be from something that Phillip and Katya got from the flight home but here we are a month later. Sick.

I'll post more of our exciting life once we quit keeping Mucinex in business.

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson