Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our journey back to Ukraine! OMG!!!

Well, here i am again, posting about Ukraine. It has been almost 2 years since my last post, but it seems like just yesterday. For those of you who would like to read our story about how our family came together, go to http://journals.aol.com/jebnolte/thenolteclan Boy, has our family changed since then! I will just insert an e-mail I wrote to the GA Ukraine adoption yahoo group so I won't have to re-type it.......

For those of you who were not at the reunion, you may not know that Iam expecting. We are due to have our MIRACLE baby in March. Here'sthe very brief version of our story. I had 5 miscarriages from 2001-2003. I could not put myself or Chris through anymore losses, so we decided to adopt from Ukraine. We adopted our precious Alyssa in2004 and could not imagine having our family any other way. We had briefly discussed trying once more for our own, but I just knew thatGod was calling us to adopt from Ukraine again. Chris thought I wascrazy, but went along with it. That is when we found Abby & Brayden(Alyssa's bio siblings). After a long year and a half, we finallybrought them home October 2006. OK, here's the crazy part. After acouple of months home, I felt this HUGE burden on my heart......Iknew we were meant to go back to Ukaine and adopt again. I got upthe courage to tell Chris and he pretty much laughed at me andsaid "NO WAY". I was crushed, but knew it was a little crazy :)Well, after a few more months passed, I brought it up again and thistime he actually said "OK". I was blown away!!!! We decided wewould try to save up ALL of the money before hand before we started the process. We had figured up that it would be Fall of 2008 when we would start the process. In the mean time we decided to have Chris go to the Dr. to get "fixed" so we wouldn't have to worry about pregnancy. Well, just before we scheduled his appointment, I found out that I was pregnant. YIKES!!! We had used the same method we had used for the past 10 years and it NEVER failed us (sorry for TMI). I was in shock, and I wasn't happy at all. All I could think about was, OH NO! another miscarriage, we can't go through that again. Much less the kids to go through it. I was terrified for the whole first trimester (the furthest I had made it was 9 weeks). But then I started to realize that this was God's baby, not ours. We didn't plan this, He did. SoI finally had peace with it and here I am almost 8 months pregnant and little baby Wyatt is kicking me all over the place :) We are ontop of the world and can't wait to hold our little miracle boy. The kids are SOOOOOO excited (I am glad, I was really worried about that). SO, that is our LONG but briefly summed up story.I'll keep ya'll updated when we have him. He is due March 25th.Please keep us in your prayers.

Ok, well that was written back in January, and here it is August and e have a sweet, precious, little (well quite big actually), 5 month old boy who is laying right here beside me in my bed sound asleep :) Can you believe it?? I can't! I am still amazed by how all of this happened!!!! God is so good though! Yes, our life is pretty hectic now......pretty hectic......ha! ha! I mean so hectic that my head is always spinning and I don't know how we get through the day sometimes!!! YIKES!!! But ya know, it ALWAYS works out and the kids and us ALWAYS manage to fall asleep and wake up to a new day to start the crazyness all over again :) No really, it's not all that bad, we do manage to have fun in the midst of all of it though! Kids are great!


So, I bet you would like to know what the title is all about.....Ukraine......our second home?? I'll get to that, but first I'd like to let you know how our kiddos are doing since those of you who followed our blog last time haven't heard from me in almost 2 years!!!

Alyssa Alyssa was adopted from Simferopol, Ukraine in September 2004 at the age of 2 (almost 3). She transitioned into our family beautifully! Well, I have always said that she has got to be the sweetest girl that has ever been on this Earth! I think she really is! She has the kindest heart of anyone I have ever known. Now, as she is getting older, she is getting to be more, how do I say it.....um...normal?? She is doing the typical kid stuff on occasion, lying.....tattling......not following directions......the list goes on, but she is still my sweet little baby. She is doing great in school and loves animals. She really isn't into any sports or activities right now. She says that she just wants to play, and that is fine by me.....and my checkbook! :) She is getting along pretty good with her siblings and is glad that they are here. her gotcha day is coming up on September 8th. It will be 4 years since we adopted her!!! I can't believe it has been so long! I'll have to post a before and after picture of her soon. She has changed dramatically!!!

Abby

Abby was adopted in October 2006 from Kerch, Ukraine at 6 years old. She is Alyssa's bio sister that we found through a birthfamily search (you can read all about it at http://journals.aol.com/jebnolte/thenolteclan She is my little Ukrainian Princess. No, she really is......so she says anyway :) She is the complete opposite of Alyssa. While Alyssa is into the outdoors, nature, animals.....Abby is more into makeup, what her hair looks like and if her shoes have heels or not. She is SO Ukrainian, she walks in heels like she was born to do it (those of you who have been to Ukraine know what i am talking about) I don't let her wear heels out of course, but I do let her wear the little wedge sandals. She is in gymnastics and LOVES it! Nastyia Lyukin is her idol, she likes her becuse she is "really from Russia" she says :) Abby came in last night after Papa picked her up from gymnastics with her team leotard on. She was SO proud of it. She looked so cute in it :) Her first meet in in January and she is so excited!!!

Brayden

Brayden was adopted along with Abby in 2006 when he was 8 yrs. old. He is Abby & Alyssa's half brother (same mother). Brayden is such a sweet boy. He is always trying to please us and everyone around him. He is struggling in school a little, but I think that it is mainly the language barrier (still having trouble with reading) and the fact that he was diagnosed with ADD earlier this year. He is on medication now and seems to be doing much better. Soccer is Brayden's passion and he is pretty good at it too. He also likes to draw. I really need to put him in some sort of art classes.




And then there's little man, Wyatt! He is just the sweetest thing ever! The kids adore him, and we do to! I just can't get enough of his sweet little giggles, smiles and coo's :) As far as sports, well......I'm putting him in soccer as soon as he starts crawling.....ha! ha! He is a little kicker!

Ok, and now to the title of our blog..............

As you may or may not know, we have been to Ukraine 3 times. First trip (Alyssa's adoption) we were there August - September 2004 for 6 weeks. Second trip (to meet Abby and Brayden) March 2006 for 1.5 weeks. Third trip (Abby & Brayden's adoption) Sept -October 2006 for 5 weeks. Well......we are headed back again!! And NO, it is NOT for another adoption........I had you worried didn't I? Hee! Hee! :) We are going back to meet the kid's birthfamily. We did another birthfamily search last month and we found the kid's bio grandmother. Brayden knows her well since he lived with her for 6 years. Abby lived with her for 3 years. They miss her and she misses them. I don't blame her for wanting to see her grandchildren and to meet Alyssa, so we are going for a visit next year. We will also hopefully meet the bio mother as well. I am not going to go into what happened with he bio family and why they were put up for adoption, it is a very long story, but we feel very comfortable going back to let them see their bio family. We will have a translator that we trust to go with us so we can communicate. I also will be working on my Russian as well and I am trying to get the kids, especially Brayden, to brush up on his Russian (which he has forgotten most of).





I am looking into the trip now. I spent a lot of time yesterday online looking up airfare, apartment rentals, etc. to get an estimation on the cost. The best (but most miserable) time to go is in the winter. Airfare is less than half the price of that in the summer. I found flights that were only $3,800 for all 5 of us (we are leaving Wyatt at home) on Lufthansa if we travel February 09. Summer would be ideal........kids out of school, nice weather..........but the airfare is around $10,000 and we just cannot do that. So, we'll get the kid's work ahead of time and tough out the winter there so we can go for cheaper. We will probably go for 2-3 weeks so it will be worth our time. Once you fly all the way out there, you might as well plan on staying a few weeks or you will just have to rush everything and wouldn't get to enjoy your time in each place. I am thinking that we wil fly into Kyiv (on Lufthnsa, it takes 2 days to get there), stay two nights in Kyiv, take the overnight train to Simferopol, and drive to Kerch. Abby and Brayden want to go back to their orphanage to see their friends and caregivers. Stay in Kerch a couple of nights, drive to Sudak and spend maybe a week there, getting to know the bio family and letting kids see the town they were raised in the first part of their lives. Then drive to Simferopol, spend a couple of nights there, so to Alyssa's orphanage to visit, and possibly meet Brayden's bio father who lives there. Take the overnight train back to Kyiv, and spend the rest of our time there, showing the kids the city. It is beautiful and so much fun there and with our last trip, Abby and Brayden didn't get to see much of it since we were in such a hurry on our way out of the country. They had always wanted to see Kyiv while living in Kerch and Sudak, but never got to. So, that is our tentative plans.





So, I feel like Ukraine has become our second home (hence the title). This will be our 4th trip, and I know it won't be our last. Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare, plan, and save for this awesome journey the we will embark on next year. Pray that we can form a loving and lasting bond with the bio family, especially the grandmother, who cares for the children deeply. I thing that giving this to our children is PRICELESS.





I will update this blog with info about our family and info about our travel plans.





Till next time,


Julie



7 comments:

DoveFamily said...

What exciting news!! I'm happy that you guys are able to work on this connection with the kids' bio family. Based on the title, I was starting to wonder if you were either adopting again, or moving :)

We are hoping to take a trip back sometime next year, but it will probably be later in the year. We want to spend some time with our missionary friends in Berdyansk, see William's city without the stress of the adoption over our heads, and take some more time to explore Kyiv - what a beautiful place it is!

We need to get together soon & catch up. Give me a call or send me an email and we'll get something going :)

Thanks for sharing your blog - I'll be sure to put it on my bloglines page so I can keep up with you guys.

rita from georgia said...

You have a beautiful family!!
Congratulations of all four of the kids. Wyatt is a doll baby. Have a safe and fun trip. The kids are so lucky that you are willing to share their lives with us and their bio family. Rita Wages

Amy said...

Hi Julie!
I still have your "old" adoption story in my favorites - I was so glad to see some updated pictures of your beautiful kiddos! Congrats on the miracle baby too!

Sounds like a fun journey going back... not my favorite time of year in Ukraine - but you're not going for the weather - hehe!

Best wishes!
Amy

Mishalove said...

i hear ya julie. we are going back in january to visit our girls family. i'm so glad gene was able to get info for you.

Kevin and Krista said...

Hi. I remember following your original blog and apparently I was on your email updates list because I got an email this week saying that you posted. Congratulations on a couple successful years home and your adorable son too! We just returned home from Ukraine 6 weeks ago. We brought home 4(!) siblings, similar in age to your Ukrainian cuties. It is pure joy. Well, pure joy and exhaustion! ;)

I am actually posting just to say that you should try talking to Eldo at Golden Rule travel. He was able to get us some much better deals than we could find online and we traveled at peak summer times. My husband even came home for the 10 days and we paid about 500 per ticket for the kids one way home on Lufthansa. That was pretty last minute too. Maybe he can find you a deal if you have a future date. What a cool story. I am getting ready to get in touch with our children's grandmother as well, for the same reasons. If you have a minute (ha, ha) let me know how you were able to contact her initially.

God bless!
Krista

Michelle said...

Thanks for linking my blog! Wow, loved reading your story! It is a blessing to hear about people adopting Ukrainian children and seeing photos of them doing so well! God bless your family!

Lori said...

I have two children that were born in Kerch, but we adopted them from Yalta. Their bio brother was in a different orphanage. We were trying to go after him, but just found out he was adopted last month by another family. The people in Ukraine will give us NO information. Do you have any sugggestions as to how we might find out where he went? Also, you have a great story!! What a great family.