Saturday, October 22, 2011

1st Week Results!!

Our first week has been nothing but wonderful! Sleeping, eating, playing, and SURVIVING! We could not have been blessed with a more perfect addition to our growing family. He is so much fun and such a loving little guy. He has proven to just go with the flow ALL the time! He is adjusting so well. After all the books we read to prepare for adoption we were ready for just about anything but honestly we haven't had to deal with anything YET! I'm hoping and praying it stays that way.

All week Reed and I have ran all over town with doctors visits, fecal samples, paperwork, and of course a little bit of fun! We received news Friday that all bloodwork looks GREAT and fecal samples are negative! YAY! Such good news. Daddy & I were so excited about our dentist appointment on Tuesday to have those NASTY teeth cleaned but Reed didn't enjoy the dentist at all! He refused to open his mouth so I guess we will have to continue to endure the RUDE comments people make about his teeth! We will try again in a few month until then Mommy will scrub & brush 10 times a day to clean them. He loves to have them brushed but he sure didn't love the idea of any fingers or tools visiting those teeth! Better luck next time. Least he left with a backpack full of goodies.. Right? They were so good to him. If you need a good dentist visit Dr.Roe & Dr. Tunipseed!


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

Beginnings

Life... 6:00am wake-up calls, long bubble baths, tripping on toys, many slobbery kisses, juice boxes, snack times, NO naps... etc




As you can only imagine our lives have changed 100%. Honestly I don't think they could get any better! We are so in love with this little 35lb bundle of love!


Arriving home didn't prove itself to be very easy but nonetheless we made it after 15-20 hours in the air and a missed flight, lost luggage, and long layovers! We could not have asked for a better passenger to join us for the return. Reed loved the "semalot" aka "airplane". He just might be a pilot one day. Today when we were getting in the car he asked me where the airplane was!? He has told everybody about the plane rides. He seriously only slept about 2 hours the entire trip home! Poor guy didn't want to miss a thing. After our missed flight to Birmingham we were re-routed to Montgomery. We were so sad we missed out on the welcome home for Reed in Birmingham. Thanks to all who were and did come out. CC, Buddercup, GG, and Darryl were there to greet us. There are no words to describe the feeling of walking through those plane doors and having our families arms to walk right into. Those are the happiest tears I have ever cried! Sweet Reed could hardly hold his eyes open but he was able to love on each one of them! He knew each one of them for their visits on Skype! He is so smart!




When we finally pulled into the driveway around 1am (we had all been up about 28 hours straight at this point) we explained to him this was his home... He starting yelling "hooray"! He couldn't wait to get inside. This precious boy had no clue what was waiting on the inside!


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!

The past 2 days have been more than perfect! Even with the early mornings and long days! Honestly, I get so excited to see him each time he wakes up. We feel so blessed to have such a wonderful son. We thank God every minute of every day for allowing us the privilage to call him our own. Sometimes it still doesn't seem real when he calls me "Mama".


Since we have been home we have managed to get a lot done. Most importantly, the rat tail is GONE! He did so good for his first haircut. It's amazing how much a good haircut will do for you! lol. They sure don't pride themselves in teeth brushing or hair styles! We have had many calls, visits, letters, texts, and e-mails from so many of you. We can't thank you enough for the support. It is such a wonderful thing to have from so many people. The outpouring of support since we have been home is amazing. I had "NOTHING" for the unknown child we would bring home before leaving and I came home to a home fully prepared for him. THANK YOU





"Never a dull moment!"


The next few days hold a lot of important appointments for this precious little man. Please pray that all goes smoothly and for Reed as he encounters a lot of new things. Thank you for your continued support.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sisters

Sisters…

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 Random Thoughts

Things we will remember about Ukraine...

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.

-Tyler

Monday, October 10, 2011

Region

We noticed this morning that the town we were in for 22 days... The town in which Reed lived is on the map above. It's on the Sea of Azol, Maruipol. Take a look at how far we were out!

Family

Throughout this entire journey we haven't had wifi which meant NO communication! Now looking back I feel it was a time God wanted us to reflect and grow together in our marriage as we quickly changed from husband and wife to "mommy & daddy". I can assure you we grew together.. Even when we were laying on the floor singing church songs for about 3 hours! I think this happened several times!

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!

Communication

All my life I have enjoyed writing... For the past month I have had no other way to communicate my thoughts and feelings which has been so hard but yet now seems to have given us a collection of memories of the most exciting time in our lives. I don't share very much personal information I tend to just write and stick in a drawer but once Ty saw these (remember I don't show anybody it just goes in a drawer but I didn't have drawers here...) he thought I should share a few. It seems my thoughts collected into poems throughout this wonderful journey.

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
We've wondered
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

It's today
We see you for the first time
Very soon my child
Our journey together begins

FKS 09-13-11

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

Then there were three...

Where to start...

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

Cars, Trains, & Planes

Cars, Trains, & Planes… What will bring my sweet little Reed home!

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.

As for Aunt Cassie… Well I have a bedroom to finish up! Between Pinterest, Pottery Barn, Target, and me the trunk is loaded. I have lots to do before the end of next week! So much fun!

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!)

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Ready to have you all home with us! Love, Aunt Cassie