Saturday, February 28, 2015

Elliana Birthday

This morning Elliana was playing house with the boys. She put them to bed and said in English "It is OK".  The boys even played their part and cried saying "nah Gula" (no sleep) It was cute. 

At lunch time we celebrated Elliana's birthday.  We put balloons up in the kitchen and put candles on her cake.  We also got ice cream.  I painted her finger nails and toe nails.  This was the first time the kids have eaten ice cream. Hunter stabbed it with a fork and tried to bit it.  Elliana was using a fork too.  So we showed them how to use a spoon and then it went well from there.  We had to take Spencer's plate away before he started to lick it.  The loved it! We had to change shirts and then we went into the family room to open presents.  She had three of them. That was a perfect amount.  Any more and it would have been too overwhelming for her.  She really loves the Barbie doll she got.  She was hugging it and giving everyone kisses with her new barbie doll. We did get the boys a small toy each. They are happy and playing with them. 

With the sugar high that the kids were having we had to leave the house and go to the park.  They ran around and I wanted to stop at the store to get paper for us to teach more English.  The store was only 30 feet from the park.  Riga is really safe but I was approached by a guy. He was talking to me and cornering me. He put his hand in his coat. Well I have no idea what he was about to do so I shoved him. Then told him No in Latvia and hurried away. I did get another learning English book that should really help.  We have lots of good work books at home, but due to weight I did not bring that many. The one I got here has a video CD with it as well. 

We came home and our 4 year old just was breaking down.  He would not stop screaming.  We called our translator and learned the word screaming.  It helped but not a lot.  He is just a stubborn 4 year old that is not fully attached to us.  Jeff and I tag in and out when needed to help each other.  We had more tagging today then ever before. I am also sick so that does not help at all.  

It is amazing how much latvian Jeff and I know.  We are communicating better with the kids but we have a long way to go.  Here are a few words we know, I am spelling it jut how it sounds. 
Mommy =Mombow
No = neh
Yes = Ja
Bedtime = Gula
Screaming = Narisis
Car = Machine (they use this for cars, truck, buses, trams )
I do not want = Nehge he  (we hear this over and over when we leave the park or have nap time or bed time)
Hot = Charss (everything warm can be hot to them) 

We recognize several others and that helps. Elliana in just the last day or two started to show us what everyone wants. That has been great.  Hunter said "up" to me today when we wanted to be carried.  Elliana said "hot" in the bath tub too!  I think that is pretty good for less then two weeks. We will keep up our English learning every day.

Jeff stopped and got us Circus tickets for next week!Tomorrow we have a puppet show we are going to.  There are a lot of things to do in Riga.  If you adopting from Latvia Facebook friend me and send me your email. I can email you a copy of the map I have that list all the things to do with kids. I even mark what level the place is at and some tram numbers. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Apartment Visit number 2

Well... Spencer packed this morning.  We were wondering if he did it due to how many "Time In's" we had yesterday.  So we did lots of love and hugs today.  Spencer is the one will take everything to heart.  We are trying to be very careful on how we approach him on things.  For example the Latvian night time story CD here was one where the people were having a argument and he got upset.  He covered his face with his hands. Then went face first in the bed rocking back and forth until they stopped.  Also the smallest of disappointments to him are a big deal for this little guy.  For example we are trying to finish up the last of some juice and mine was different. Due to me being sick I don't want them drinking or eating after me.  He wanted my drink and when I said No he accepted it but acted like I completely rejected him.  It is not the same as when I tell an average 5 year old no and they get upset.  It is a difficult thing to explain.  It will just take time for him to really trust again.

We had our second social worker apartment visit today. The case worker was sick so she did not want tea or really to come into contact with the kids.  I was thinking great, I bet I get what you have next.  My body is not used to these germs over here. She asked what we were doing everyday.  She asked about what they are eating. Have we taken them out to eat.  She asked if we went to the aqua park which we are not going to go. None of us have swimsuits. I can't find enough pants in Riga let alone 5 swimsuits that fit! She asked us if we were going to continue with the adoption Jeff and I both said "Absolutely". She gave us an overall great review.  

Our translator helped explain to the kids about our "Time In's".  She also told them not to flick the light on and off or they will be in "Time In." Also no touching the stove.  We forgot to bring up screaming so that will want until next time.  The kids have been very good about the stove and lights when she left just not the screaming part. Our translator also explained to Elliana that tomorrow she turns 7 and we will have a cake with candles, presents, and special plates to eat off of.  Elliana did not understand. Our translator said she has not celebrated a birthday before so she don't not know what I was talking about. It is hard to think that any 6 year old does not know what a cake or presents are on their birthday.  She told us to maybe get a toy for the boys so they don't feel second rated.  So Jeff and I picked up two small toys today.  This store also had the biggest selection of shoes I have found yet in Riga. The store was called Bembi.  We got to measure Elliana foot and it was a 24 long. However we were up to size 28 / 30 to get the height of her foot in. By this point her toes were almost an inch from the front and I can't afford to give her another reason to fall.  So we tired on about 30 shoes and not a single one worked.  I am starting to wonder what an X-Ray would look like of her foot.   

Not sure if I blogged before about Elliana self soothing processes. She has this toy phone and when we are not with her she talking on it. We hear Mommy and Daddy but we don't know what she is saying. She also talks herself to sleep.  One time I told her to be quiet but I don't think she even knows she is doing it.  Hunter also will talk before he falls asleep.  You would think they are talking to each other but they are not.  We are guessing that when they were alone before either in the orphanage or foster care this is how they calmed themselves to sleep.

Tomorrow will be great or tomorrow will be another cranky day. We will see. Either way it will be awesome to have her first birthday!! 

PS Jeff just came in the room after trying to get the boys to sleep.  Elliana called him back with her arms open wanting him to give her a hug.  Jeff is doing a silly dance now.  It is so cute!! Just don't tell him I got hugs and a few kisses from her before bed. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cranky Day

Today our little one did not wake up on the right side of the bed.  This was the first day we really struggled with communication.  When a 4 year old is upset and saying the same thing over and over again you want to say yes or no.  Well we have no idea what he wanted. Only the fact that he needed sleep. 

We went to the grocery store like we do every other day.  I decided to see if the kids were Americans or not.  I found a fish head in the store and picked it up. I acted like it was the greatest thing and asked if they wanted it for dinner.  Elliana looked at me like I had three heads.  Hunter stuck his tongue out. Daniels said NO! NO! NO!  I started to laugh.  I guess we have three Americans! Jeff just said Mommy is mean and shook his head. We also let them pick out their own pastry to have later, had to make up for the fish head.  Size to them does not matter on sweets.  We had them in the afternoon and they had no idea what was inside. I wonder what made them choose that one.  Spencer did have the largest one so he shared with the other two.  The way they take care of each other is very touching.  They share their favorite foods with each other so they all can have a bit. They even share with Mommy and Daddy.  I have a good feeling that is how they survived by taken care of each other.

We took them all to the park again today.  Elliana was tired and wanted to be carried at the park.  Daddy said if she gives him a kiss on the check he will carry her.  She did not want to, or did not understand at first so Mommy kissed Daddy's check. Then she gave him his first kiss!  It was cute.  Jeff was on cloud nine.  She was just giggling because Daddy was being so silly about it.  I think Daddy carried her for about 20 minuets this time.  :) The boys were getting kinda tired of the park so they ran around.  I did not notice before but Spencer has to hold his pants up with one hand while he runs.  Jeff and I are going shopping to get him new pants.  We did find Hunter another pair of pants.  Latvia has washing machines but no dryer.  With the temperature in our apartment it takes about  2 days to dry.  So when you only have 2 pairs of pants you run into trouble.  Hunter had to wear Spencer's other pair of pants and he was not happy about that at all. Jeff and I had to hold him down to put them on.  He was fine after that.

We have a routine of watching the videos we take here at night before story book time. We popped some popcorn that I brought with us.  The kids thought it was so much fun hearing the popping noises.  It was a hit.  Only if we could get Hunter to stop eating all the dropped pieces.  When we get home the dogs will beat him to that!

Tomorrow we have the Orphan Court check in appointment.  Our translator will be here too. I am planning on taking Elliana to the cake shop to pick out her Birthday cake. This way the translator can explain what her Birthday is. We had our translator talk to her before about it but maybe with a cake in hand it will make more since. Two more days and she turns 7 and two more days til the end of February, time if flying by!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Passport Pictures

Breaking news!!  Spencer did not pack this morning.  He has been packing his bag as if ready to leave at any moment. He would pack his stuffed dinosaur, cars, and the photo book we mailed to them before we came.  It made me feel like he is understanding more what is going on.  We have been doing lots of bonding games. If you are adopting FB me and I can tell you what we tried and what worked for us. It may not work for everyone but it is working for us.  

As I have said before when you adopting you must be flexible.  Well that was true today.  We were to meet up with our translator a 11:30  we get a call at 10 to be ready in 20 minuets.  Well when you have 3 kids 20 minuets is not a lot of time.  So we rushed and ran out the door no melt downs kids were champs.  

We went to get our pictures taken for the US Embassy doctors first. When we got done our translator received a call that our orphan court lady was stuck in court session and is running late.  So we had to kill some time.  Our translator had another appointment so we ended up staying at a park.  It had some kid stuff but for 3 and under.  Our kids were bored rather quickly.  Elliana and I went for a walk and found two cats.  Stray cats in Latvia are always very friendly. People feed them.  So Elliana and I got to pet the cats.  Daddy had the two boy. Luckily they had park clean up day so there were large trucks in the park which made the boys happy.  While we were at the park a "chain gang" showed up.  These were completely different then what us Americans know as a "chain gang".  They were all kids ages around 2-3 years old. They are all tided together and wear yellow safety vest.  I wish I had a camera on me just to show you. There was about 12 of them all lined up on a walk with a rope they all hung on to.  If I catch one later I will email a picture.

Our translator returned and let us know we missed our passport appointment.  This was for the Latvian passport/ID's as our kids currently do not have ID's.  I started to worry. She then told me we can go we just have to wait in a line.  Well it was now 12:30 and the kids were hungry.  So we went to a coffee shop to eat. This coffee shop reminded me of a Denny's.  I had our translator ask Spencer how he is feeling about this adoption.  He said Mommy and Daddy are good and he feels he gets more hugs and warm touches.  We were so happy to hear this!   We were eating and then received a call that we need to be at the passport place now.  So we got out of there and drove over to the passport place.  The kids did very well while we waited.  I got to talk to their case worker some more too. I did find out that there is another American family adopting 6 kids!! Our agency has a family adopting 5 kids. Between our three families that is 14 orphans that now have a place to call home.  

When we got done we walked about 1.5 miles back to the apartment. Of course our favorite (well the kids favorite) park was on the way back so we stopped to rest there for about 20 minutes.  It was about 4pm when we finally made it back to the apartment. We skipped nap time which lead to lots of "time in" time for our two boys.  We made the mistake of having a nap time too late in the day and the two boys were up til 11:30 pm we're not making that mistake again.  We carried Elliana alot so it would not bother her legs.  Our translator told me that she is shocked she is not in special shoes already.  We will get her to our doctor in Columbus and see what he thinks would benefit Elliana the best. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rainy Day

This morning the kids woke up and jumped in our bed. It was a great slow way to wake up.  We just tickle them and they will play with our hands by clapping them together.  The kid for the first time just played with each other and did not need us to entertain them.  We just sat in the room with them drinking our tea.  It was relaxing for about an hour.

Jeff found a rock store that he wanted to check out. So it was our morning walk. That and we were running out of food. The rock store did not have what he wanted but told us to go to Old Riga.  We are staying in Riga not Old Riga.  If you are planning on coming to Latvia Riga is more where the common people go. So food and clothing is cheaper.  Old Riga is very touristy and about 20-30% more expensive.

We came home and ate grilled cheese sandwiches.  I was worried they would get tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They really liked the sandwiches.  Just the two boys and me took a nap today while Jeff and Elliana worked on ABC's and writing Elliana's name.  I woke up coughing and with a itchy throat this morning.  Hunter has been coughing ever since we picked him up.  I think I just got what he had. I have it worse then he does but that is most likely due to the fact it is a bug my body is not used to. We picked up some throat medication and so far it is working.

In the afternoon we jumped on the train again, which the boys loved. We rode it the opposite direction of the zoo and went to Old Riga.  We found three pictures that we will keep for the kids until they are old enough to have them.  It is like a piece of something from where they came from.  We wanted to get something of amber for them as well. We did not find anything but tourist traps.  We did eat a Lulu's a pizza place.  Elliana said pizza before but I'm not sure if they have ever had it.  The pizza here is different then what us American's eat. I will most likely not eat pizza here again if I had a choice. These kids would agree too as each only ate one piece and indicated they were done.

We came home and played around the apartment.  Hunter kept saying "Five minuet, time in".  Do you think that means he gets put into "time in" a lot?  I think they actually like the punishment for bad behavior. They have to sit in another room with Mommy or Daddy with a kitchen timer. They can't have any toys just sit with us.  It calms them down.  They are slowly catching on and the amount of light flicking and turning on the gas to the stove and touching Daddy's computer has diminished greatly.  Spencer sometimes just smiles at me while we are in time in together.

Here are some of our latest pictures will might pull out for their high school graduation party.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Science Place

Today Spencer did not want to wake up again. Well neither did Daddy. So I put them in bed together. Hunter saw that and jumped in bed. Elliana with some encouragement joined in. It was so much fun.  I will hold the memory of this morning with me. We all laughed and snuggled together. Or how we say it snoogled together.

We all finally got out of bed and had our usual oatmeal with fruit breakfast.  We headed off to the science place which was located on the 5th floor or a mall. That could mean only one thing... escalators!! Spencer has it all figured out. Hunter was trying to press the emergency stop button everytime. Elliana sometimes got it and other times she hit the end.  Well we finally made it to the 5th floor and found that they did not open for another hour!  So how do you kill time in a mall with three kids. You guessed it escalators! We also found a toy shop where Daddy had to get Elliana one more birthday present.  She helped picked it out but left the store not realizing we got it for her. None of the kids asked for anything. They pointed to stuff that they though someone else would like not themselves. I held up a few Barbies and she picked one. She did not say anything when I put it back on the shelve.  It made me sad. They all left the store and never gave it another thought. They are not used to having anything so the want is not there...yet

We went to the science place which was really small.  The kids had a blast. They had this one static electricity station where you cranked the wheel and cups flew off the top.  The boys were all over it.  We finally got Elliana to crank the wheel.  She also thought it was fun. They had another station where you put ear phones on and put a stick to a spot on the world and you listened to their kind of music. That was Elliana favorite thing.  She even liked the three dots in the US!  They had a room with bikes in it. They were three wheelers but they were bikes.  Spencer figured it out pretty quickly.  It took Hunter several crashes into the walls before he figured out how to steer.  We put Elliana on it as well.  She had trouble keeping her foot on the petal and doing the circles. We will have to work on it back in the states.  We got some great videos of them all riding.

The kids were tired and it was way past their nap time.  They all went down without a single complaint. Hunter did not want to wake up at all. We had to wake him up and he just cried.   We figured he was tired but after an hour or so he kept on crying.  We finally called our translator to see what was wrong. Our translator said he wanted a brown book that we had in the apartment.  We showed him every book we had.  I believe he was missing his book and his foster place. It was all he knew. We walked over a mile just coming and going and then they ran around for hours at the science place.  He is only 4 years old so he was just tired and missing the only place he knows.  I keep forgetting he is only 4 years old. He dresses himself, showers himself, potty trained, eats with normal silverware and plates. He also figures things out beyond his age. We are doing something things for him that he can do on his own just to show him we are here and can take care of him.


Sunday, February 22, 2015


Today Spencer did not want to get out of bed at all. So we let him sleep in a bit.  He was also acting a bit shy so we hugged him and let him watch what was going on from a distance. He warmed up when we decided to go outside. That is his favorite thing to do.  We went for a walk in a different direction.  The kids love to look around and see everything but today we could tell they were getting a bit bored with it.

We tried to find Elliana some shoes and gloves, her mittens are a bit too big.  We were not successful.  The kids however got to ride their first escalator!  They wanted to go on it.  Hunter stepped on and Daddy could not get him to not stand on the split between two steps. So he found out what happens when you do that really quick. None of them understood that you need to pick up your feet to get off.  So they all were lifted up to get off.  It is fun to see these kids experience all these new things.  They were not successful on the second time either but maybe we will go back just to ride the escalator.

We took the kids to the park in the afternoon.  We were very proud of Elliana today. She normally will only go on the swing or the see saw.   Well there were a lot of people at the park today and both were taken.  So we picked her up to go on the slide.  She kept pointing to the swings but we told her we will have to do something else.  Well we kept picking her up and I was getting tired so Jeff took over. I watched the boys but since Elliana is not quite comfortable with Daddy, she tried some things new.  Jeff called me over and with some encouragement from both of us we got her to cross the wooden bridge. This was huge. She does not like to walk on anything that is not solid. She did great. Then she walked on the criss-cross rope bridge. We gave her high fives and told her she did great! She also was willing to climb up the cargo net rope ladder all by herself.  She got big hugs and kisses for that.  She was proud of herself too.  We are going to go back to get videos of all of it.

Jeff saw a doughnut shop on the way up and said the kids deserve a treat on the way back. I think Jeff just misses Dunkin' Donuts. The kids loved it.  We tried a local Latvian cafeteria style restaurant tonight called Lidos. This was the first day we have eaten out. Food here is not cheap.  Even when you shop at the grocery store.  The kids did really well at the restaurant.  Jeff got some weird looks from people since our kids were speaking Latvian and Jeff and I were speaking English. Jeff told them our kids were adopted and we received some praise from them.  They were from Finland. I tried some food I liked and some food I could do without.  The kids were able to pick their own since it was cafeteria style. They pointed and we got it. I had this pumpkin with coconut milk soup.  I really liked that. Jeff liked his chicken coated with scrambled eggs with tomato slices on top.  Elliana picked out her own drink and choose tomato juice....yea Jeff ended up trading his cherry juice with her after she realized her mistake...

Tomorrow we are going to the science museum.  Can't wait to see what new things we can show these kids.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


We woke up in the middle of the night to a screaming Spencer.  Hunter moves a lot when he sleeps so Spencer is always smashed on one side or the other. Well last night he Spencer fell out of bed. He hit his eye on the corner of the nightstand.  It is swollen and has a cut today. We are hoping he does not end up with a black eye. We did keep waking him up to put ice on him. When he was laying down his eyes were closed but when you sat him up they opened. Almost like the toy dolls.  We kept sitting him up checking for a concussion. We called our lawyer as soon as we woke up to report the accident. She laughed at us pretty hard especially after Jeff told her "I'm sure that will look really good for the social worker to see."  She said if there is any sign of it on our next case worker visit she will let them know we reported it.  I told Jeff "we were worried about not surviving this adoption but now I am worried the kids will not survive." We have had Elliana bad fall, Hunter locked in a bathroom (twice with the lights off), and now Spencer swollen eye.  We are only on day 5. Yikes

Well things did get a lot better as the day went on. We were trying to leave today and we had all the kids go to the bathroom.  Well Spencer decided it was bath time. Jeff was helping Hunter and was about to put Spencer into the bathroom and turned to see him completely naked wanting a bath.  Jeff said no so what is a boy to do. He decided to run around our apartment naked saying bath, bath, bath.  Jeff and I could not stop laughing.

Well we all went to the bathroom and finally got our clothes on.  We got to ride the tram. The two boys really wanted to ride the "Machine" (tram).  When we called our lawyer this morning she told the kids what we were doing. They were really excited about the tram ride. We don't think they knew what a zoo was.

We get to the zoo and at first they would stand off a bit thinking the animals would come closer and get them.  This thought did not last too long at all.  After the third animal they were all climbing and getting right up to the glass. It was a hit! There was one horse that you could reach and we let the kids touch him. The zoo even had a squirrel exhibit, which I found very funny.  Not all the animals were out since it was very cold still. We almost left but the sun came out and the kids were still going right through nap time (we found this to be a mistake later).  The zoo was close to a lake and several people were out there ice fishing.  Elliana made it most of the day walking but we carried her in the end.  I was carrying her when were watching the seal and she gave me 3 kisses and a big hug.  I just about melted.  Jeff tried to get a kiss but she said "no daddy."

We got back around 3:30 and let the kids have a bath to warm up.  They keep finding fun new things to do in a bathtub. This time they would try to talk underwater. They also put the bowls we gave them on their heads. Super cute.

We did not give them naps which might have been a mistake. The boys were overly exhausted and running round. They were being goofy one moment and causing trouble the next moment.  The kids really liked tonight dinner which was some kind of pork rolled in pasta.  It was good. It reminded me of ravioli. Everyone ate their peas too!  We gave them chocolate milk. They have never had it before.  Today was their 3rd time trying it.  They get really excited and want to drink it with a spoon.  It takes them 30 min to drink a glass with a spoon.  They also want to share it with each other, even when they each have their own.  It is cute. Sometimes they are willing to share with Jeff and I.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Eye Contact

Jeff and I think we are getting this parenting thing down.  We've implemented a schedule and it is still working. Except we did put them to bed tonight and forgot to have them use the bathroom and brush their teeth. They woke up and asked to use the bathroom, so at least they remembered. HA  We did not remember about the teeth until after they went to bed for the second time. No one reminded us of that one.

I have been wanting to braid Elliana's hair.  She always is braiding Barbie's hair but never lets me do her hair.  Today I tried and she went into tear saying "No Mommy no." So we did not touch her hair. We wonder if someone may have been rough with her hair.  Later in the day I let her play with my hair. She was very happy with doing that.

We took the kids to the park again this morning. Elliana did not walk nearly as much as she did yesterday. We think she is not used to the amount of walking we are doing. So Mommy and Daddy are very sore tonight. We also tried several more clothing stores. I find this so odd but again the stores that sold kids clothes had one or none in her size.  Out of 5 stores I only got 2 pants!  I did not care what they looked like only that they fit her and were not too long.  She is ok if the waist is too big but not too long. It really bothers her about the length. I think it is because if you roll the pants it bunches in her knee high boots. We tried on as many smaller boots as we could find but honestly they were still too high, too small or too big.  Her feet are also special so she needs almost a special type of shoe.  We also had some good positives today with her.  She shared a piece of cheese with Daddy, normally only me and her brothers. But she want out of the family room and into the kitchen to share with Daddy.  Afterwards she came to me and said "Daddy said Thank you", all in English. We were so proud of her. Her first full English sentence. 

Today we really tired hard on getting eye contact from the kids. Spencer will give you a split second and then cover his eyes with his hands.  We also noticed that after we give him positive reinforcement he will go into doing something bad immediately following.  We think he is trying to mentally process good attention. He may have only known bad behavior gets attention, so maybe that is why he thinks he needs to act out. We are doing time in not time out. That means Jeff or I sit in a chair with him. No toys just sitting and watching a clock. We want him to know we love him and we don't want to send him away just because his behavior was bad. He is not bad just his action.  He did cry today which he has not done before. However when I went to comfort him he pushed us away and went into the bedroom.  He finally let me just rub his back and wipe his tears. He only gave me a split second of eye contact while I did this.

Hunter being the youngest tries to do everything Spencer is doing. However, being 4 years old, he is not as coordinated. He falls often. He will cry for a short bit and he will let me hold him. I am working with eye contact with him as well.  He will just keep looking away.  We think he is getting more comfortable with us. We are starting to see more of his personality.  He does have the biggest smile that light up his whole face when he wants to share it.  We do need to get him to a dentist.  We were told that when he was taken into the orphanage he was only given a bottle and was 2 years old. His front 4 teeth are super small and dark gray. The foster Mom said the teeth point in his mouth. We will get him checked out when we get back to the states.

Tomorrow we are going to the zoo! We can't wait.   

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A good day

Jeff and I have been having a hard time adjusting to the change in time.  We keep waking up at night.  Jeff got up at 3:30am and just stayed away.  I was lucky enough to fall back asleep and watch up to three little kids trying to talk quietly.  What a beautiful noise.

We started off the day more structured then yesterday. It was great! I decided to go through our clothes that we brought for them.  Elliana is turning 7 years old in two weeks, she does not fit into any of her size 6 pants.  Her shirts seem to fit, but almost too small.  I tried to put them on her and she got really upset. So I pulled out the only dress I brought and put it on her. She actually hugged the dress when I pulled it out.  It was cute.  We had a red dress with a blue undershirt and purple leggings that she came home in.  We are high in fashion here. Hunter is size 4-5 and Spencer is a solid 5.

We went for our morning walk and Elliana and I stopped into a second hand clothing store.  I got her a pair of pants.  They only had one in her size.  I wish I could have found shoes. The only shoes we have for her are the typical Latvian knee high stiff boots.  She has a foot issue and this causes her to have pain in this type of shoe.  So I am going to try to find her a better pair of shoes.  Jeff and I do carry her after a few blocks of walking. She never asks to be carried but we can see her rubbing her legs.

We decided to take a nap.  It was a short one because we had our case worker coming for their first visit. The nap was too short. The kids were all quiet when she arrived.  She asked us a few questions and our translator translated the whole thing.  She also had to interview each kid.  Well the entire time Spencer would not come into the room with these ladies. He has not show us that he is shy at all. He talks to people on the walks, so we did not understand. They asked Elliana who she is bonding with, she said Mommy.  We are trying to get her to go to Jeff more but she seems very hesitant.  Hunter was also in the room and he right away said Daddy. Then after a moment said Mommy too.  I went to get Spencer since they had to talk to him. He was just standing in the bathroom.  He would not move so I picked him up. He started to grab at the molding to stay there.  I let him calm down and brought him out. I set him down and he ran to our bedroom.  He was sitting facing a corner and again grabbed at everything not to leave the room.  We asked the translator to see if she can ask him what is wrong.  He did not answer. So chocolate and toys were brought out. He at least was playing with something. They asked him who are you bonding with.  He said no one. Our translator asked why and he said they do not love me. She asked why and he said no one has ever loved me. My heart just broke into a million pieces.  Spencer give us time and we can show you love.

We ate lunch and the kids were introduced to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  They loved them! They were scared at first but I put some peanut butter on their finger and that sealed the deal. We went to a park a few blocks away. They all loved it. We are going again.  After dinner we had the door bell ring again. Jeff's sister Sue had some balloons and chocolates delivered. The kids loved it!!  When we called her to thank her every kid was able to say Thank you in English.  I am sure we are going to play a lot with these balloons... until one of the boys breaks them.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 1 as a Family

The kids slept all night. We started to hear them talking around 7am.  Jeff and I really did not have a game plan for the day and that proved to not be a good idea.  We are still learning this parenting thing.  Well our trouble maker realized it right away. He also happens to be very smart too.  Not the greatest of combinations to have. Before breakfast was on the table he figured out how to open both front doors of our apartment. I caught up to him as he was about to run out. That was actually impressive if you saw how they lock the outside door. I have never seen anything like it before.

We played with the kids all morning and Jeff and I decided to take them on a walk and come up with a game plan.  We come back and sang two lines of "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes".  We did not know more then that but the kids took it really well.  Jeff continued to play with the kids and I started lunch.

I was cooking when Elliana comes up to me and is talking very fast. The only word I pick up was Daniels. I thought Oh No what is he up to.  I round the corner and heard Hunter crying. Daniels has been playing with the locks and locked the bathroom door from the inside and Hunter went to the bathroom and was locked in!  Daniels then turned off the light so Hunter was locked in and in the dark.  That is scary for any 4 year old.  So Jeff and I did what any new parent would do, we panic! We are trying to tell Hunter how to turn the knob so it will open.  That was useless since he does not speak English. I took Elliana over to another door and try to explain to her what she needs to tell her brother. She looked at me like I was crazy.  Jeff grab his shoes and start to take off to the front desk. I was signing "Jesus loves me" to try to calm him down.  I also start shaking the handle hoping he will start to shake it back. He did and it came unlocked!  I open the door and pick him up.  He stopped crying almost right away.  Daniel then had a "time in" with me.

Jeff and I became structured after that.  We took a 2 hour nap. All of them calmed down after the nap. I wondered if they were just overly tired with everything going on.  We played Candy Land. Elliana and Spencer (Daniels) picked it up right away.  We played with the beach ball and the small soccer ball too. I believe both boys will want to be in soccer.  The boys are very active and love to do anything physical.  Tomorrow we are getting a game plan together of activities. Elliana wants to watch first and then she will join in.  Jeff had her dancing with him and she had the biggest smile on her face. It was priceless. 

We were told that the kids have had a bath before but it seemed pretty new to them. The boys went first and they played for over an hour together. Jeff was just as soaked as they were. They were laughing so hard.  When we took them out of the bathtub. They ran around the apartment naked.  Elliana just kept shaking her head at them. Jeff and I could not stop laughing. Elliana had her bath next.  After her bath she kept smelling her hair and having us smell it too.  She loved it. At dinner Jeff had her eat two bites of vegitables. She became very upset with Jeff. It lasted for a few hours.  We also believe that she is very sad and missing her foster home.

These kids were in foster care but only on the weekends. They all went to boarding school.  They also have been in a orphanage for a few years before going into foster care. We will have some things that need to be worked through.  One thing we think is that the kids have not really been held much.  When you pick them up they are limp or don't know how to hold on to you.  They don't understand what is going on.  Hunter is starting to catch on.  He will now put his arms around your neck.  But they have their legs hang. We know over time that will change. 

Thank you again for all the comments we've received.  We love the support. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gotcha Day

Today finally arrived. I am a proud mother of three adorable kids! Elliana Estere (sounds like Esta) 6yrs, Spencer Daniels 5yrs, and Hunter Tailers (sounds like Tyler) 4yrs. 

This morning started of with a bang or should I say bells.  We woke up to our alarm which we thought was 6:45am.  We woke up checked our emails. We are sad to say Jeff's Aunt Elaine passed away.  Our thought and prayers are with his family. Jeff was sending out emails and I jumped in the shower.  All of a sudden this apartment was ringing. I believe every room has some bell system. Jeff went to the door and the taxi guy was there to get our rental car.  Jeff's phone was one hour behind, it updated when we landed for our layover in Germany but never updated when we arrived in Latvia.  I have never seen a phone have this issue before.  So Jeff changes (2 minutes) and grabs our rental car. I get ready, and check over the kids stuff.

We head out to pick up the kids in a 9 passenger van.  Jeff had lots of fun driving in Latvia (sarcastically speaking) .  Once we were outside the city limits there was not much around. It appears that people manly live in apartments.  If you do own a free standing home they always have a fence of some kind.  The houses are always square, no mater the size.

We pull up to the place and open the door. I was in first and Hunter come running to me and gave me the biggest hug!  The other two kids were right behind him.  The foster Mom did a good job preparing the kids for this adoption. The kids wanted to show us where they slept and their toys.  We played with them for a bit and then had to have our meeting with the foster mom.  She gave us some good information.  No allergies but she notice that the kids from the orphanage, have an issue with white breads. So we just need to watch that part.  The kids were so sweet and loving.  They played in another room while all the adults talked.

We found out that our Orphan Count was today.  It was just a conference type table. They did not ask us to many questions. They wanted to know what we were going to do with the kids while we are in Latvia. They asked us how we felt. They had us wait outside until they made a decision.  We passed, so that means the kids can live with us.  We have our first social worker visit Thursday and another court hearing soon.

So the backpacks were a hit, they did not want to take them off at all and it seems that the boys found the flashlights very close second favorite just being edged out by the match box cars. Elliana Ester loved her doll, we think she is going to go crazy when she sees the doll house in our basement.        

Monday, February 16, 2015

Landed / Court

We made it! Nothing major to report with the travel. If you ever decide to fly across the pond Luftansia was pretty cool, lots of room, decent food and large selection of movies to choose from. Jeff nor I got any sleep due to the turbulence. That just means we will fall asleep tonight right on our new Latvian schedule.  We landed just a few hours before court.

We went to our apartment to check in. I always forget how other countries drive compared to us.  With the taxi driver I just kept in the crash position at all time, glad I was in the back too.  That way I did not get to see all the cars we nearly missed only heard the tires screeching.   Nothing like having a college student be your first driver in a strange city.  We are on floor number 3 1/2.  Yes they do 1 1/2, 2, 2 1/2 and so on.  Numbers do not have to be in order either.  We are next to 10, 11, 3A, 3B, 12, and 13. We are number 13.  We took the elevator one time and decided the stairs were a lot safer way.  We had enough time to shower and change and jump in our translator car. 

Court was not the court hearing I thought we were going to.  This ended up being a full detail history on the three little ones.  So what we knew before was still true but the kids life's were actually not nearly as rosy as we thought. I was really trying hard to hold back my anger at the birth parents.  In the middle of it all, I changed my focus to these kids. I had to try really hard not to cry then.  We decided the kids past is their own.  One day we will tell them most of what we heard. 

So we are off to finally get some sleep.   

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cancelled Flights

Houston we don't have lift off. Jeff and I went to the airports all signs said "On Time".  Well it came time to board and all of us were wondering "where is the plane". Cleveland was hit very hard with snow.  Our plane was redirected away from Cleveland. They were cancelling any flight that needed an inbound aircraft. We waited a few hour and ended up calling United customer services while we waited in the customer service line.  Where there is a will their ways a way.  We ended up getting bumped and entire day. Luckily Friday our court was moved back to 4:30 Monday.  We will land with just enough time to get to court. We will change on the plane and run like crazy to get to court. Not ideal but it will work.
We have not given up through this entire adoption process and we are not giving up now.  These kids need us and we need them. There are a ton of songs that talk about the journey or the climb.  They all say it was worth it.  Jeff and I can't wait to say that when we get the kids.  We are just praying and hoping this is our last delay getting there. Not sure what happens if we miss court.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Count Down

We are so close.  Just a few days and we will be a family of 5!  We are as ready now as we will ever be. We did hear from our Latvian lawyer today as well. Our court hearing for Monday is moved to the afternoon. That is no big deal.  We are leaving to get the kids around 10:30 on Tuesday!!  She said to bring some toys and she is picking up a cake.  We thought that was awesome. What kid does not like cake.
I keep looking at their pictures, in a few days I will be holding them.