Monday, November 7, 2011
Since we have been home... Sorry I haven't posted lately. Honestly I had planned on kind of letting the blog disappear now that this segment of our journey has ended. I have been surprised by how many people have randomly commented or emailed asking for updates! So I'll give you a few~
Reed, Mommy, and Daddy are doing great! We couldn't have asked for an easier transition into our new lives. We have teased that we are waiting on him to get over the "honeymoon" period! We know hard times are going to come our way but as of now we are crusing nicely through each day.
We have stayed busy with so many things the first 2 weeks... Finally life has settled down and we have been hiding out up for some family time. We are so thankful for the visits and meals so many of you have shared with us. They have meant so much to us. Mostly, THANK YOU for the many prayers you all sent up to JC throughout this entire journey. We couldn't have done it without His guidance.
A few questions that have been asked by readers of the blog (sounds so crazy!) have been:
- How is Reed adjusting? GREAT! I would say the only issue that we have faced is eating. He doesn't really want to eat anything but BANANAS & VEGGIES! You might say well that great! No, I would prefer for him to broaden that menu! He is doing much better at trying new things. Someone pointed out to me that we didn't eat anything while we were in Ukraine either so maybe it's quite normal! GREAT POINT!
- How is English going? I would say wonderful... He is saying his ABC's, counting to 10, writing his name, and several other beginning educational things. We communicate quite well around the house. He has learned several one word phrases. Honestly there are so many I can't name them all. Communication is much easier than one might think. Let's say he is picking up much quicker than we did in Ukraine!
- What is the plan for him now? Reed and I will stay home until December. In January, Reed will start kindergarten. He has already met his classmates and wonderful teacher! He already talks about going to school so let's hope that adjustment goes smoothly. I'm thinking it's going to be much harder on Mommy than him.
- What are his favorite things to do? He loves to be outside. Daddy has him playing all sports! We went and watched our neighbor play basketball one night and he loved it! He talked about it for days. When he sees football or baseball on tv he makes Daddy stop and watch it. We have found it odd he doesn't really want to play with any of his toys. He would much rather be doing whatever Mommy and Daddy are doing. Yes, even if that is cleaning! He loves to do laundy, dishes, sweep, vacuum, etc
- Would you adopt again? NO DOUBT! We would love to adopt again. The journey is long and hard but it is more than worth it. I wouldn't change any step of our journey good or bad. It is all there for a reason. In the end you will look back and see how God planned each and every step of the way. In our case we look back and laugh at how funny He really can be!
The sole reason we did this blog from the beginning was to allow others who might want to do the same thing information and facts about an Adoption from Ukriane. So PLEASE if you are thinking of adopting and have any question email us. I learned so much from reading other peoples blogs. We would have been quite unprepared for several things if Tesney hadn't shared her packing list with me! We have already talked with several families we don't even know. They found our blog and thought they'd e-mail! GREAT! That's what we are here for. We want nothing more than to help you on your journey, encourage you, and show you it's all worth it!
I listened to this video after seeing it posted on a friend's Facebook page. It's by far the best song I have heard! Hope you enjoy.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Thursday CC, Buddercup, and I took him to the Pumpkin Patch in Clayton. Daddy was said he had to miss out. I'm so blessed to be able to stay home with him for the rest of the year. Going back to work is going to be super hard but at least he gets to go with me. I hear he already has a cubby, seat, and lots of stuff with his name on it! He can't wait for some Mrs. Marchant love! If I have to leave him I couldn't ask for a better kindergarten hall to love and take care of him. ANYWAYS, if you haven't been you might want to make a visit! It was huge and very nice. They had the coolest pumpkins ever! He loved the petting zoo.. Odd since he is scared of animals! He got to ride the tractor to pick out his very own pumpkin from the patch! It was so cool. He kept kicking and rolling them... Not the thing to do with pumpkins! Buddercup took tons of pictures so we will post some soon.
Today he got to ride the mower for the first time. He loved it! He is all about helping around the house. He brought me all the dirty clothes eariler and wanted to wash them! Let's pray he stays this way. :)
We have his first set of pictures scheduled for next weekend. All know I have no clue how to dress cute myself might as well dress him for pictures... Thank goodness for people who enjoy that! Heather has it all until control! She has picked out the cutest outfits for him! He is going to look so cute. I can't wait to see how they turn out! THANKS Heather for saving him from Mommy dressing him!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
CC had his room all set up ready to go! You will notice her skills above. She made the truck picture! It's my favorite! Reed's favorite would be the pile of toys she left him! He wanted to open each one of them at 2am that morning... So what did we do?? We open them! He slept with most of them!
"Never a dull moment!"
Thursday, October 13, 2011
A bond that is indescribable. Love. Tears. Fights. Trust.
So I have received several emails, call, comments, etc. of how lucky Felecia is to have a sister to support her through this journey. With that said, I think you should also know this story from another perspective…Mine.
A little background…
Felecia is a very passionate, dedicated person. She jumps in with two feet and never looks back. She will stand by her word and stand strong. As a child, she was defiant, strong-willed, and I would guess my parents would say she is the cause of their gray hair!
On the other hand, I am more emotional, cautious, perfectionist, and probably worry too much about what other think (sad, but true). Most decisions I make are thoroughly thought through. I remember many times as Felecia was getting spanked, (for no telling what) as a child, I would sit and cry because she was hurting. I think I have always been (sometimes unintentionally) protective of her.
We are very different and alike in many ways.
On with the story… Remember when reading this, I am not judging others on their decisions, but only sharing an adoption story (that I need to get off my chest) from the point of view of a protective sister. I think sometimes we are harder on those we love. I have always thought adoption was a blessing, and I feel that way now more than ever!
When Felecia & Tyler broke the news in summer 2010 that they were planning to adopt, I was shocked. I knew Felecia had always wanted children, but this soon? They just got married? Why not enjoy marriage for a couple years? Why not try to have your own? All these questions, I really just bottled up and went on with life.
I talked to her almost daily, but I really never asked about the adoption. I did not take any part in the planning. I rarely read the blog. I told basically no one. I attended nothing. When people asked, I shrugged it off. Not such a great sister now, huh?
Did you see all the I’s in that paragraph? I am truly embarrassed. For this, I am sorry! I am sorry to Felecia & Tyler. I am sorry to Reed. It was not until they had a travel date, that my heart-strings started tugging. Who am I to judge? What am I doing to make a change in this life? They are saving a life! Who cares about a made-up of timeline of how things should happen in life! Sometimes we miss out on the greatest opportunities in life by being a planner, and I hope I have learned my lesson!
I have still never talked to her about this. I just decided to change my attitude. This is not about me. She is my sister and best friend. I am now an aunt. It’s my time to drop the “I’s”!
I started researching Ukraine, reading blogs about adoption, and realizing I am going to be an AUNT!
As soon as she sent me the first picture, I realized, at that point, if he had 3 heads, and five arms I did not care! Are you perfect? I am sure not! He is a child. He needs love. He has feelings. My heart has ached for him to be here since then. I just want to hold him, hug him, and love him.
Now, more than ever I realize how much I look up to my little sister. She is going to be the best earthly mom Reed could ever have. They are both so lucky to have each other. I am so lucky to have them.
I think about a song that most of us have known and sang, but do we really listen to the words??
Red, Yellow, Black, or White They’re ALL precious in his sight Jesus loves the little children of the world.
From now on, I promise to hear each word. Thank you Reed for making me listen instead of think!
In just a few hours, we will hold, hug, and love the most precious blessing we have ever had in our family! WELCOME HOME REED (and Felecia & Tyler, of course)!
I will love you FOREVER, CC
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tyler's casual observations:
We thank you all so much for supporting us. I hope you enjoy my random casual observations of the great country of Ukraine!
- two people knowingly cut in front of me at McDonald's; one did on the train ride. They knew I didn't speak Russian so I had to smile and let them enjoy their place in line
- these people enjoy their carbs (a runner's dream). One such restaurant had a meal that included fries, rice, and mashed potatoes (no meat). It was difficult to buy potatoes at stores because most places only offered a years supply
- Our tv in the region has 30 channels... 29 are in Russian. The only English channel is one which teaches people the English language. It has become my favorite channel.
- they get into their politics here! Riots... it is crazy. Check my Oct 12 FB post for more details.
- Britney Spears is currently here on her European tour. Ukrainians are dedicated people to be willing to listen to her sing in English. I am not sure I even enjoy listening to her in English...
- to get a buggy at the supermarket, one has to place a coin, in the handle, to unlock it from the other buggies. The customer gets the coin back when he puts the buggy back. Wal-mart...there's an idea!
- the roads here resemble those in Alabama...lots of potholes
- factories, factories, some pollution...and more factories
- the largest soft drink one can buy is about 1.5 liters. One can forget about purchasing a 3 liter. However one can find a "family size" beer of their choice which is double the size of the coke.
- I am not sure what the white particles were in the middle of our bologna....
- this country borders Russia (who's space station sent a man to the moon!) but I can't figure out why they design their brooms no longer than 2 feet long. I am still thinking on this one. It just seems like it makes for a tough sweep.
- the feeling of being a father and meeting our child for the first time - PRICELESS
It has been a fun ride. There are aspects about the way of life here which can teach us a lot in the US. However I am now ready for some sweet tea & a good ole Alabama meal. We most importantly thank God for letting us be a part of his story.
Monday, October 10, 2011
I think God knew we weren't going to make it with Reed if we couldn't share him with his family back home! Needless to say Skype is our best friend now! We get to talk with everybody each day. Each day at the orphanage we would show him the family book and he would say names of people and animals... It was so cool to see him meet them for the first time online because he knew exactly who they were. He would jump up and down yelling something in Russian and go get the family book to show them a picture of themselves! He knew exactly who they were. He loves to dance, sing, talk, or whatever else Tyler has taught him to do every day for every person! He is so smart he figured out that CeCe (Aunt Cassie) says "dah" (which means yes) to everything so he always asks her for cookies & juice and when she says "dah" he runs to the refrigerator and points... He has it all figured out! Today he even called her all on his own! He must have wanted a cookie!
Yesterday he got to meet his dogs for the first time.. He was so excited! If only we could understand Russian! We did manage to understand he likes the little dogs better than the big one!
Gigi showed him his room and he was so excited... He started cheering "bravo" when she showed him a toy!
Today when I bought him an outfit I learned just how much this sweet boy has missed out on... I tore the tags off and went to throw them away and he about started crying. He kept saying no and I had no idea why. Come to find out he wanted the tags as toys. He has kept them all day. He won't let them out of his sight. To think there are so many sweet babies just like him who have had nothing just breaks my heart. Why? Each day at the orphanage humbled me. To see these children who want nothing but a smile and hug hurts. I wanted to load them up and bring them all home! Thank goodness for logical Tyler! This precious boy has already taught me so much. He has changed my life in so many ways. I hope and pray I do the same for him.
Tonight we got to spend time with another American family who are adopting two precious girls. They were actually in the same region as us. It was so awesome to be able to eat and talk with other people! What's so cool is their youngest and Reed already knew each other from a summer camp! They talked the entire time. How cool will it be to let them continue this friendship!?! We had a translator explain some of the things they were talking about... They were telling each other how cool Kiev is.. They were explaining to each other they were moving to the US but they wouldn't be in the same city.. They were also saying they had different mamas and papas because remember they have always called everybody mama and papa. It's so neat to see how much they understand.
Only a Visa to go... We booked our flight for Thursday so let's pray we get it within 2 days or we are in big trouble! We should arrive around 6:08 Thursday night!
As you can imagine I couldn't sleep a bit the night before our appointment at the SDA to see pictures of available children... So what did I do... Wrote to my future child..
Our Journey to You
It seems just yesterday
Daddy & I began our journey
Our journey to you
We filled many papers
We answered many questions
We waited many months
All part of our journey to you
It's been over a year
If you have felt us loving you
Throughout our journey to you
We got news not long ago
We could come to you
It was our turn
Our turn to journey to you
We see you for the first time
Very soon my child
Our journey together begins
I read this now and it feels so long ago that I had these thoughts. I feel like Reed has been in my life forever. I can't imagine not having him..
Saturday, October 8, 2011
As I type our dancing, singing hand- picked angel is fast asleep (not without a battle :) of course)in the arms of a daddy who loves him to pieces. As I look at them I wonder how in the world I deserve any of this.
Its amazing how a single juice box and 3 animal crackers can make a precious 5 year olds day! Each day we would take 3 cookies to him during our visit and he would get so excited each time! He would go straight for the backpack! The last week I decided to take a juice box! Talk about excited! You would have thought he just won the lottery! There was a drop left in the box or the straw after his "breath- taking" juice box was gone. I think Aunt C has him a Costco crate of juice boxes!
Today we were able to video Skype with our families... They got to hear his voice and see this little guy in action! He has talking to them non- stop (they had no clue what he was saying) but they had no issues keeping the conversation going! Aunt C even managed to give him a cookie and juice through Skype!? You may think how that's possible! She said "dah" (YES) to everything he said and he so smart he said cookie and juice and she said... You got it "dah"! He was off to the kitchen waiting on his cookie and juice! We thank each and every one of our priceless family members. You have each played such a vital part in this journey. We love you all more than words can say.
I sit and read the blog over and over and cry almost every time (fyi- I'm thinking the blog should change to an aunts perspective... She totally rocked the blog)! We would go into town very little but when we did we would try to search for wifi everywhere! Trust me that was a hard search... McDonalds didn't even have it! If we were able to find it we would take pictures of the blog posts.. It kind of felt like a connection we had with you all back home. The day of court when we logged on and saw the prayer blog I lost it. You all have no idea what strength that gave us each and every day thereafter. We seriously read those words daily and cannot thank you each enough for taking the time to write such and words and send them to God. Once again I sit and wonder how I deserve this.
Honestly, I could sit and talk ALL day... Please know how much you all have meant to us throughout this journey... We love you all and can't wait to be home!
Friday, October 7, 2011
Sorry for the lack of updates. There has really been little that I could share until today. I have talked to Felecia regularly this week. I guess since I was talking to her on the phone (& I did not need to talk through the blog to her), I neglected you all...my apologies. I have used the blog to share emotions through the eyes of family. I am sure you look forward to Felecia & Tyler sharing the other side later, and they will.
Well, I know you are tired of me running my trap... which I am good at just ask Uncle B.
So here goes...They are on the train to Kiev, as I write, with sweet Reed. Ummm, YAY! They left the apartment in Donetsk at 5 a.m. (Ukraine Time) this morning. Headed to Reed’s hometown to finish paperwork and then to orphanage. They celebrated at the orphanage with doughnuts, and they were off to catch the train. I talked to them on the car ride to the train, and Reed was already asking when they were getting out of the car. He has no idea of the travel time in front of him! The train left at 7:30pm (Ukraine Time). It is a 13 hour ride back, so they will arrive in Kiev at 8:30am Saturday (Ukraine Time) or right after midnight our time. She says she is finally able to fully enjoy the moment! She said he was being a little quiet, but kept staring out the window. Remember, this precious blessing has had very little (if any?) contact outside of the orphanage. We are prepared (as well as can be) for a culture SHOCK! I think he will adjust just fine. They said he is very loving, and we know there is more than enough of that to go around in the U.S. We all know Love IS what makes the world go round.
So the plan from here is…
Saturday 10/08/11- Arrive in Kiev, Rest, eat McDonalds haha
Sunday 10/09/11- Family Time & Shopping!
Monday 10/10/11- The Embassy is closed for Columbus Day
Tuesday 10/11/11- 10 a.m. appointment at Embassy
Wednesday 10/12/11- Interview at Embassy
They will return one of the following days depending on how flights work out. I will update when final plans are made.
Again, I want to thank you for all the calls, thoughts, and prayers for this journey! The Simmons’ are truly one blessed family!
I have been given FULL AUTHORITY to post pictures of THEIR CHILD!! So here goes & enjoy!
Already acting like Daddy! Sagging pants and flexing his muscles..LOL
Video: I am thinking Ty should consider another profession! (Cousin Maggie should enjoy these videos!)
Friday, September 30, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
These sweet "5 year old" hands will be able to blow as many bubbles as he wishes when Aunt Cassie gets a hold of him!!
And you ask...When will that be?? They have to wait the 10-days to pick him up. That means next Friday they will celebrate at the orphanage, and Reed will then leave for his FOREVER HOME (or he says his big building).
They will have to stay in Kiev for a few days. We are looking at the first of that following week as their return home. I will update later with more details.
Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute you did not grow under my heart -but in it. -Unknown
We love you Reed! See you soon, very soon! Aunt Cassie
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Love makes a FAMILY!
Many of your friends and family are putting in special time with the man upstairs. Hope you feel us all the way in Ukraine! We hope to hear from you soon!
Dear Lord; Thank you for placing this special child into the hands of two most deserving people I know. Please be with Felecia and Tyler on Monday as we know this is meant to be. I know what it is like to raise a child placed into your life by God. Sending love to Felecia, Tyler and little one...In Jesus name...I love all of you!! -Aunt Amanda
We want to wish you the best through your journey. We can't wait to meet this wonderful angel!! Love you all!! -Maghan, Patrick, Aubrey, & Millie Merry
We can’t wait for you to get home and get a big Ukrainian bear hug! We are getting his room ready and cannot wait for him to get here to fill the house with joy. The puppies are patiently waiting to meet our new addition. I hope we will be hearing some news today of travel plans. Most of all, I cannot wait till you are back in Kiev where there is at least wifi and we can talk some and maybe some pictures. Special prayers are being said for all 3 of you and for the judge that he/she may honor your request to make him your own. It’s hard to believe how this little boy that we have never met has already won our hearts over. Lots of Love & Lots of Kisses to all three! -GiGi (Felecia’s Mom)
This little guy has NO idea just how lucky he is! Y'all will be amazing parents and God has truly blessed this little guy by putting him in your lives! I am praying daily for God's plan for your new family to unfold in the most perfect way imaginable! Love all three of you! -Brittany Taylor
Felecia & Tyler, I have been keeping up with your story and it has been amazing watching it unfold. I have been praying for a long time and include you all in my prayers each and every day. I know the two of you will make great parents and any child will be lucky to call you mom and dad. I hope everything works out and look forward to meeting your new family.-Sincerely, Shela Green
Tyler and Felecia, prayers are being sent up for you, in this new adventure of God's Love! I pray for God's love and guidance to you and your new "son"! May His blessings and love embrace you always! Blessings to you all!!:) -Judy Wright
This is Nana sending love and prayers for smooth transition. Hoping court has gone as smooth as possible and you are finally moving forward. May God give you the right words to say and a judge with a heart deep and wide. Many preparations are being made here. Grandma has asked many questions, and Uncle Austin wants to know if 5 years old is too young for a BB gun!!!!!!! I told him it was mandatory for him to learn English first. I will work the tractor end here. That is easy here in the country. We are Polaris ranger shopping. Poppa Beetle has plans to load up grandchildren to go fishing! Everyone is jumping on board praise God. -Nana (Tyler’s Mom)
Please tell them that we will be praying for them and their son. We know what it is like to want a child to fill our empty arms, but we also know that our God can bless is exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Right now, our miracle is sleeping. We know that God hears prayers and answers. Our verse for our son is 1 Samuel 1:27. We prayed for this child as I know they have prayed for that child. And we serve a God who is faithfully blessing praying people. God bless the Simmons family. -Prayers and love from the Wilson Family (Beth, Shane, & KP)
I am praying for you all. I love and miss you. -Dad
The love of family is life’s greatest blessing!!! No matter how parenthood finds you, it is a miracle!! This precious little one will be part of such a wonderful family!! We will be thinking of you all and praying!!! -Love, Whitney, Dustin & Jack Holcomb
Felecia & Tyler, We just found out about your wonderful journey today. What a blessing from God that you have been united with your special angel and the same for him! I pray for Gods strength and presence to surround you more than ever now. Congratulations and many more blessing to come. -William, Bridget, & Luls Adams
Praying that everything goes smoothly and that y'all get to bring your little boy home to Alabama soon. -Jessica Moman
We wish you all the best! No other two people are more perfect for giving this precious little one a home more than you guys. Praying for good news, safe travels, and a lifetime of memories to be made with your little boy. Can't wait to meet him, as I'm sure everyone is. Sending lots of prayers, hugs, and kisses from Charleston, WV. Love you guys!!! -The Wilsons (Buddy, Michelle, Meagan, and Maddie)
Hey Felicia and Tyler, Rob and I are praying for you. We are so excited and happy for both of you! We cannot wait to meet him. We love you! Cameron and Andrew said to tell you that they love you and to be safe when you do get to come home. We are sending a lot of hugs and kisses your way. -Amy Sandlin
Praying for y’all tomorrow… So happy for y’all… -Love, Kacy Junkin
Hey guys! We are so excited for the three of you to return and can not WAIT to meet that sweet little boy. We know that God has wonderful things in store for your family. We have all seen God working throughout this process and are excited to see him continue to work. We are praying that God will give you a peace tomorrow throughout your court date, and that all will go well. We pray that this transition time in both your lives and the life of your son will be smooth and that God will continue to give both you and your sweet boy patience, peace and understanding as your family grows together. We pray for strength when there are bumps in the road and that he will quickly know and accept the love that I know you all will pour out on him We know that you are following what God has called you to do and He will continue to bless you in more ways than you can imagine. We love you and are so thankful for the example you are to us. Can't wait to see you!!! Psalm 29:11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. -Candace & Bradley Holliday
We love and miss you both! We are praying for a safe trip and a close bond to form quickly between you and your son. We look forward to having your whole family back in the US! We love y’all!!!-Josiah & Maggie KempThinking about you and praying for your court appointment tomorrow! I don't know what it's like there, but in Ethiopia the court waiting room was small and hot. I had hardly eaten and was nervous so I nearly fainted as we were waiting to go in. My advice - take water and a granola bar. Those 2 things saved me! Can't wait for you guys to get home! -Jenny Dixon
Dear Felecia & Tyler, Our family, including my parents, continue to think of you and pray for you but will certainly focus our energies tomorrow during the time you are in court. If you read this after your court hearing, I hope that all went well and that it was not too stressful for you. This is such an exciting time for you and just the beginning of your time as a family. You know my parents and I are very emotionally invested in your journey. It has been wonderful to follow your every step. Best wishes for a speedy court hearing, and an uneventful return home. -With lots of love to all, Lori
We hope everything goes great tomorrow in court!! We are so excited for you guys and you have been in our prayers constantly! We wish you all the best and can't wait to meet your new addition! -Love, Kyle and Meagan Robertson
Hey guys! We are lifting you up as you appear before the judge today. We are so thankful that God has brought you this far and that you have your sweet son in your arms today. We're praying for power in the name of Jesus that your adoption would be granted the first time and that you can come home together as soon as possible. He is the Father to the fatherless and He has gone before you into that courtroom! Praise His Name for what He's already done on your behalf! Can't wait to meet your little man! Love you guys!-Logan and Lindsey Thrasher
Dear God, thank you for placing this child on Tyler and Felecia's heart. You have formed this family together before their journey every began. I pray that you Give Tyler and Felecia strength, patience, peace, and wisdom for what is ahead and I pray that you give their new child joy and comfort. You are wonderful God and we thank you for your Will and for using us to please You and help others. This child will soon have a home. Amen.-Staci Hardwick
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6) -April Hollingsworth
Please send our love and prayers along to Tyler and Felecia. We are a part of the Giving Hope Homes group at church and have had them in our thoughts and prayers this entire trip. We eagerly read the blog for updates and can't wait to meet their precious boy when they finally get him home (after the #1 aunt of course). We're praying for an easy court date and a smooth trip home! -Stewart, Treva, Miranda and Seth Dean
We're standing with you guys in prayer! Be safe and we will be here when you get home to continue on your journey with you! -Lots of hugs and prayers, The Davises
XOXO! See all 3 of you soon! Aunt Cassie