Monday, November 30, 2009

We Met Her!!

Wow, what a day! We started the day out by meeting with the adoption ministry for about and hour. There were 10 other people in the room besides Jon and I. I was nervous but everyone was so so nice and it all went smoothly. We were prepared that they would ask us questions as to why we would adopt a child with Down syndrome but we didn't end up getting asked anything. We found out a lot about Nadja's birth family and I started to tear up. A very sad situation for her family. They love her so very much and this has been a heart breaking decision for them. Grace has 2 older sisters ages 12 and 13 who are also having a hard time with this. Grace also has a 1 year old baby sister. You will notice that sometimes I use Nadja and sometimes I use Grace. We are torn as to whether or not we will change her name at this time. Nadja's parents named her and we really like it but realize no one will pronounce it correctly back home. As for right now, we are calling her Nadja as that's what she knows. Ok, so back to our day. After our appointment, we went to the orphanage. We donned some lovely gowns and they brought Nadja to us. SHE IS SO PRECIOUS!!! Truely an angel! She is much bigger AND heavier than we thought and hope our 18 months clothes we brought will fit. According to her psychologist, developmentally she's around 12 months which is better than we expected. She is so ready to crawl and would bear a little weight on her legs. She's babbling and very observant. I tried to show her how to sign "daddy" and she came so close, THE FIRST TIME!!! So she put her hand by her mouth instead of forehead but I was impressed as she is already imitating! We got that on camera :) We spent a few minutes with her and then took off to go have her passport photos taken. She is such a good little girl and never fussed. Her hair is so long and she has the biggest brown eyes I've ever seen. Once we got back, Jon and I spent a couple more hours with her and observed her eating a bottle. That was interesting. The hole in the nipple is HUGE and she wore a lot of it but overall, I was impressed how she manipulated the nipple in her mouth. Kids with Down syndrome naturally may have feeding issues because of the tongue thrust and on top of that, she has a cleft palate. Amazing how kids can adapt. She does have a cold right now and quite a bit of nasal drainage and quite a bit of her bottle came out her nose too. We'll have to get a surgery date soon for her once we're home. That may help with her frequent upper respiratory infections as well......we hope. I would love to share all about her birth family but for their privacy I will not on here. Plus it's Grace's story and she may share one day if she chooses. I will tell you though that Grace's social worker told us that both Jon and I look a lot like her birth parents. Crazy huh? So tomorrow is Grace's 2nd birthday and we have a few treats lined up. They didn't want us buying a cake for the kids so we brought natural fruit snacks and balloons. There are 40 kids in Grace's unit alone so it should be fun. Well, it's 12:10am and we go back at 9:30 so we're headed to bed. Check out our montage from today!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

We Made It!

Ok so here is quite a long update of our whole trip so far.

We had a slight delay leaving Minneapolis on friday. Turned out to be pretty cool though as we met a great woman and her son. The son over heard me talking to my mom on the phone and turns out to be from Garmish, Germany. We had a nice chat about Germany and of course he had lots of questions about our adoption. So did his mom. We talked for quite awhile and when he asked why "special needs" kids, all I could tell him was that it was God!! He nodded his head and gave us the thumbs up and was all smiles. He then asked for our names so he could add us to his prayer list. How amazing is that???? Just another sign for us that God is orchastrating this whole adoption. He did however, fail to mention how expensive Germany is :) Anyway, we boarded our plane and his mom asked if she could see my jewelry catalog. Of course I said sure! When we got off the plan(they sat quite a ways away from us) they were waiting til we got off. I got my catalog back along with compliments of the jewelry and then they said: "we have a gift for your new child". Behind his back, was a little pooh stuffed animal that he had gotten for him mom. This was so thoughtful and such a kind offering that I almost started crying. I also got their names and email and plan to send them a picture of Grace and her pooh bear!! Thank you so much again if you're reading this!!!

Ok, back to Germany. Once I accepted that we would just have to spend a bit more than planned, we had a much better time. We went to the Christmas market and saw some neat things. I tried real saurkraut, a bratwurst and gluhwein which is hot wine. I wasn't that impressed with the saurkraut or brat but the gluhwein was tastier than I expected as I'm not much of a wine drinker. I did get us a couple neat souveniers though but spent a little more than we budgeted for. We'll have to buy less where we are now.

We made it to Grace's city around 4:30 pm and our adoption facilitator met us at the airport. She's great and I already love her!! Her and her nephew drove us to our apartment where we met Vlado. He's in charge of our apartment arrangements. He's great too and took us on a little tour of the area. It was dark though so I'm not sure how much we'll remember in daylight. Vlado took us to the police station to register the address we are staying at. This is part of the paperwork process and we are following ALL rules and no shortcuts here. We then did a drive by of the orphanage and measured the distance as about 1 mile from our apartment. Not far to walk but there's a lot of traffic so we may take a taxi the first few times until we get brave. I know other families have walked and I want the exercise so we shall see. The weather is great so far, unseasonably warm for this time of year. YEAH!!! Vlado took us to a 7-11 type store to pick up a few groceries and then dropped us back off. There is a McDonald's less than 2 blocks from here so that's where we had dinner. Funny that since my gastric bypass in March, I can't stand McDonald's. Before my surgery, I could have eaten it every day. EWWWWWW!!!! Once we get a few more groceries, we'll be able to cook in our apartment but being Sunday evening, not much was open. Our apartment is really nice and even has a washing machine. I'm even using wireless internet right now.

So...the plan is to meet Jasmina outside our apartment at 10:45am tomorrow morning. We are 7 hours ahead of CST in MN in case anyone was wondering the time difference. We will then head to the adoption ministry for our appointment and official referral of Gracie. After that, it is my understanding that we'll finally get to meet our princess. I don't know what time that will be but I'm assuming it will be after their lunch and naps. I just pray she isn't afraid of us. This adoption is so different from our other 4 in that we will just get to visit her 2x/day until the adoption is final in about 2 weeks. The other kids were handed right over and we have them in our hotel for bonding the whole time. Needless to say, we'll have a lot of down time so I brought lots of books to read and we'll get to do some sight seeing. This city is gorgeous and I hope to get some great photos!!

So here are a few from our side trip to Germany. More to follow......

Shop after shop of just meats like this. Was making me ill actually!

I LOVE these. Jon's uncle Keith brought some tabletop size things like this. You use real candles and the heat turns the fan blades. So cool and what I wanted to buy for my souvenier from Germany. I got one and for a good price!!!

Our hotel that cost like a zillion dollars!

The ice skating rink at the airport Christmas market. I wanted to try it just to have my picture taken on the ice but I feared I would fall and then my pants would be wet and I'd be cranky so here I am "by" the ice :)

Oooooo Awwwww Gluhwein!!! Pretty tasty and warm!

My first bite of real German saurkraut. Yeah, wasn't that impressed. My mom's is much better(love you mom!)

P.S. everyone, Jon really is here with me and he got to taste the treats too. I promise to take some pictures of him too, lol!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Well, the title says it all. I had this brilliant idea a week ago to spend a day in Munich, Germany on our way to pick up Gracie. Since I'm 100% German, I thought it may be my only chance to visit the country. I"m beginning to think it was a bad decision on my part. First of all, I can say like 5 words in German and a couple are not nice. It too us 2 hours to figure out how to get to our hotel which is a Best Western. It is 70 Euros/night(multiply that times 1.5 for US dollars) and our room is to tiny you can barely turn around in it. There is no free shuttle to the airport. That will be another 16 Euros on top of the 26 Euros spent already to get to our hotel by train and then taxi. I certainly don't think of myself as a spoiled American and don't mind that it took us forever to get to our hotel. I don't mind that our room is teenie tiny and the power outlet already blew up our surge proctector. I don't mind that we may only be able to see the Christmas market. I don't mind that it's chillier than I thought it would be here. I don't mind anything that has seemed like an inconvenience right now BUT I do mind that the US dollar stinks!!! The bank is closed cuz it's saturday and the only place to exchange money is back at the airport!! It will cost us $1.69 for 1 stinkin' Euro. We did not plan for this as the excange rate on the internet is 1.49. Sure that doesn't seem like much but when we're looking at $8000 US dollars, that .20 makes a HUGE difference. Jon said there is an ATM outside that we may try in hopes of getting a better rate and possibly avoiding going back to the airport before heading to the Christmas Market. Bring on the Gluvein!!!(very strong wine from what I've been told). None of this will matter on monday when we meet Gracie anyway right? RIGHT???? I just keep telling myself that and now I need to make the most of my 24 hours in Germany and go have a beer and a brat :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Getting Ready

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We are getting ready to leave for the airport in about 24 hours. We have not even gotten the suitcases out to start packing yet. Good thing I'm not cooking my usual feast today and we are just making a cheesy corn casserole to take to our neighbor's for dinner! We just got new pics of Gracie today and my has she grown since the last set. Her hair has also gotten so long and I can't wait to put pretties in it. I'll get to hold her in my arms in just like 4 days. Grace is our 5th child that we're adopting and the wait does NOT get any easier with each one. Anyway, here are a couple pictures for you viewing pleasure. We are so very blessed and have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good News and Another Giveaway!

We got word today that we need to be in EE on Nov 30th. We are leaving on Nov 27th which is only 10 days away! We are so so excited but scared and nervous too. We'll be leaving our 4 small children with a nanny for about 2 weeks and then Jon can return home and I will follow a week later. We are also sadly about $1500 short at this point and are praying God shows off again and provides the needed funds for us. We are going to try another giveaway in hopes of raising a little more money. We are giving away a great set of educational books and a DVD. These are all brand new. The list includes:

Discovery: Pathways to Better Speech for Children with Down Syndrome
Starring: Ph.D., CCC-SLP; Professor Sue Buckley; Sally Shott; Siegrfied Pueschel Libby Kumin Director: Will Schermerhorn Format: DVD

Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives (Paperback)
~ Kathryn Lynard Soper (Edited by), Martha Sears (Foreword)

Adventures In The Mainstream: Coming Of Age With Down Syndrome (Paperback)
~ Greg Palmer (Author)

Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome: A Guide to Emotional and Behavioral Strengths and Challenges (Paperback)
~ Dennis McGuire (Author), Brian Chicoine (Author)

Gross Motor Skills in Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals (Topics in Down Syndrome) (Paperback)
~ Patricia C. Winders (Author)

Fine Motor Skills for Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents And Professionals (Topics in Down Syndrome) (Paperback)
~ Maryanne Bruni (Author)

Early Communication Skills for Children With Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals (Paperback)
~ Libby Kumin (Author)

Each $10 donation will get your name entered 1 time. If you donate $25, you'll get 3 entries. Please use the chip-in button if interested. If you could also please say a prayer that we get what we need, we would greatly appreciate it.