Summer Rewind

It’s still hard to believe what an amazing summer we have had. It’s been filled with every emotion one can possibly have. Everyone keeps saying how lucky Graeme is to be in our family. We truly believe we are the lucky ones.

We have been extremely busy this past summer getting Graeme settled into family life. It really feels like he has been here the whole time.

Graeme is doing extremely well. We have made and continue to make our rounds with All the Doctors. We have been able to cross some doctors off of our list. And unfortunately Graeme has some more test that need to be scheduled.

Right now we are working with his physical therapist on getting Graeme mobile. He finally has his AFO’s(ankle braces). Since we are at the beginning stages we are still working on getting him a wheelchair to help bridge the gap.

I was able to stay with Graeme this summer. I absolutely loved every minute of it. Being able to watch him explore and figure things out and being able to teach him things was a blessing. I really felt like I had a purpose. Now don’t get me wrong or take that the wrong way. But sometimes it’s very easy to lose a piece of yourself when you get wrapped up in everyday life. I was able to find that missing piece this summer I had been looking for.

I constantly get asked how Morgan is doing with Graeme. I can confidently say she’s doing fantastic. She’s an awesome big sister that adores her baby brother. She’s been so helpful.

Morgan went on a dream vacation to Italy this past summer for 2 weeks with my parents. She’s one lucky kid! I would of loved to have gone to Italy.

This school year is pretty major for Morgan. She is now a junior in High School which everyone knows is the most stressful year. She’s going to be busy between school, soccer, SAT, ACT, and all the college nights. I am still not sure how any of this is possible. It literally feels like yesterday I was sending her off to Kindergarten and now we are talking college. So needless to say this is going to be an interesting year.

Oh and did I forget to mention I got the last minute Homecoming announcement again this year. So we have 2 weekends to find a homecoming dress. Ohh the joys…

Chris has been busy with work. He went back to work right after we got home from Ukraine. To have been able to watch the relationship and bond form between Chris and Graeme has been truly wonderful. To see how much Chris loves Graeme makes me love him more than I thought was possible.

We still have a few weeks of official summer so there will be plenty sunning and swimming left.

I will try blog more frequently and I will also do a better job posting to social media.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer🌞

XoXo

Tia

The Next Step

It’s hard to imagine that 2 months ago yesterday we walked out of the Orphanage with Graeme. It truly seems like he has been with us this whole time. I can not imagine our lives without this precious baby boy. He is absolutely perfect in everyway.

The past 2 months have flown by. From our stay in Ukraine. Which was extremely life changing. From our time back home getting Graeme and ourselves adjusted to the new norm. From the countless doctor visits. And especially from our  bonding time.

Graeme has adjusted very well with learning how to be in a family. We are still working on things with him. He lived in an Orphanage for 22 months that does not come without trauma. He is better then he was 2 months ago. We have bad days but mostly we have good days.

Graeme is learning extremely fast. I have said this many of times but this kid is smart. I absolutely love being able to spend my days with him teaching him new things. It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

Adopting Graeme has been a true blessing for our family. If you ever thought about adopting you need to just do it. Of course if you are like me do your research first. Reece’s Rainbow has so much helpful information on their website. Also Hand of Help in Adoption has a wonderful website with even greater staff.

I am not going to sit here and tell you how easy of a process it is to adopt. Because it is not easy at all. Adoption will test you, your spouse and family in everyway. You will run into hiccups and bumps in the road. You will run into set backs. You will end up a sobbing mess at some point. But it is all worth it. Saving a life is worth it. When Graeme gives me big hugs and little pats on my back, when he tells me he loves me. That was worth every fight, bump in the road and tear.

I have been struggling with the idea of closing this blog out since we are no longer in the adoption process. However I think I am going to leave it open and change gears into our journey with Spina Bifida.

It has truly amazed me on how much this blog has been read and it amazes me even more from the readers all over the world. I never in my wildest dreams thought this blog would be accessed world wide. I am truly honored and wanted to Thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read about our journey to Graeme aka Baby C.

XoXo,

Tia

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The Big 2

Well folks we have an official 2 year old. Today will be Graeme’s first Birthday home and birthday party complete with a Masha and the Bear Birthday cake.

You can not imagine what it means to us that Graeme is home for his special day. This is something I hoped and prayed for during our process. I did not want him to have another birthday without a family and stuck in an orphanage.

In the short time Graeme has been home he has grown leaps and bounds. He is an extremely smart little boy. He observes everything! Chris and I are in big trouble.

Graeme is amazing us with all the words he has picked up in the short time he has been with us. Of course my favorite is momma and when he tries to say I love you.

He loves animals. Especially woof woofs(dogs)

His favorite food is bananas

He LOVES Masha and the Bear

He loves books

We cannot wait to see what this next year brings.

Happy Birthday precious boy🐳 We love you more than all the fish in the sea🐳

XoXo,

Tia

To be loved

We have been home for 3 busy weeks. I have been trying to find the time and the words for this post. The time has come but I am not sure I have the appropriate words.

I am still in awe of our little man. When we left Ukraine is when I was finally able to completely process what Chris and I had done.

We gave Graeme the everlasting love of a family. He was born to be a son, our son. He is worthy to live a fulfilling life. A happy and healthy life. We will make sure he gets the proper medical care he needs.

When we first met Graeme there was an instant connection. It’s like he knew who we were. It’s always been easy.

I am not exactly sure when it happened but I love him with every fiber in my body just like I love Morgan.

When I look back on that first encounter to today that big bright light in Graeme’s eyes has only grown bigger and brighter. Graeme is amazing. He has a very special soul that is truly hard to find these days.

I could never imagine our lives without him. Our family it truly blessed. We needed Graeme as much as he needed us.

This is not the end of our story. We have only just started…

XoXo,

Tia

Passport Arrived

Graeme’s passport arrived Monday evening. Which meant we could finish up with Graeme’s final Embassy appointment and go home.

Tuesday morning we went back to the US Embassy to get Graeme’s visa. After our appointment we went back to our hotel and finished packing. Our flight was booked and we were leaving Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning we got picked up at 4am and headed to the airport. We said our goodbyes to Vitaliy and to Ukraine. As we boarded our first flight it was a very humbling emotion. Chris and I were leaving with this little angel from Ukraine. Graeme did extremely well on the flight once we were moving.

We gate checked our stroller in Kiev expecting it to be waiting for us in Vienna. To our surprise we found out our stroller was checked to our final destination. This is not what you want trying to carry a squirming 2 year old and navigating through an airport.

As we boarded our flight from Vienna to Newark I was concerned how Graeme would do on this 9 hour flight. And I was also concerned with how we were going to manage getting through customs, collecting and rechecking luggage and going through security all while holding a baby and only 1 1/2 hour layover.

Our long flight went better then expected. Graeme slept and played. About 6 hours into the flight he got fussy. But really for his age I think that’s normal. Chris got up with Graeme and walked a little bit. I was blessed with having to learn how to change several diapers in that teeny tiny bathroom. That was a lot of fun to say the least. Graeme really did well Chris and I were both surprised.

Our flight to Newark was late arriving. Passport Control was crazy busy. Let’s talk about how much fun it was trying to hold Graeme waiting in line since we had no stroller. There was only 4 lines open so it took a while to get through the line. By this point Chris and I knew there was no possible way we would make our flight. Once we got through the line and collected our luggage we got booked on the next flight. By this point we were all overly tired and just wanted to be home. Our new flight was actually leaving the time we were supposed to of been home.

By the time we got on the plane Graeme was just over all of it. And honestly who can’t blame him. Poor thing had a huge meltdown before take off then passed out. Chris and I were not long behind. Our flight got in about 9:30 pm. Then we had an hour car ride to get to our house.

All of our luggage arrived but the stroller.

Chris and I had been gone for 23 days.

We waited for Graeme’s passport 17 days – 11 business day there was a holiday in there.

And Graeme had been with Chris and I for 17 days before getting to his forever home.

We are all extremely happy to be home as a family of 4.

XoXo

Tia

Weekend Happenings

Last Thursday night we arrived in Kiev by train. This was Graeme’s first train ride. We had our own cabin which was nice so Graeme could get crazy in. He literally went from 100 to zero in no time. He enjoyed looking out the window and watching the world go by. By the time we get to Kiev it was late so we went to our Apartment and straight to bed.

Friday morning we got up and went directly to the US Embassy. People were lined up outside the Embassy to get in. I am not really sure what I thought the Embassy would be like. The only time I have ever seen the US Embassy in another country is what I have seen on tv or in movies. The doors to the Embassy are extremely thick steel and extremely heavy. You have to go through security then head to another part that reminded me of the DMV. You take your number and they call you. We were lucky number 815. They actually called our number pretty fast. It helped that we were prepared and I already had all the necessary forms filled out. So our 1st Embassy appointment was pretty fast.

After our Embassy appointment we went to Graeme’s Medical appointment. The medical appointment is nothing but a physical. Graeme got weighed and measured. Then the doctor did his exam. Our almost 2 year old only weighs 22lbs. He is a tiny little one which is okay me. Just means I can baby him longer. Once the medical exam was completed we ate lunch at a lovely restaurant with Vitaliy then went shopping.

Saturday we decided to go explore a little. We went to a mall then had an early dinner at an Authentic Ukrainian Restaurant.

Sunday was fun we went to the Park of Eternal Glory and met up with another family. Graeme and his new buddy Asher were both listed on Reeces Rainbow. They are only a few weeks in age apart. Asher walked up to Graeme and Graeme just wanted to hold his hand. It was adorable. The boys had a lot of fun playing on the playground together. This was the first time Chris and I have been able to watch Graeme play with a child his age. Graeme wants to walk and play with the other kids so bad. He kept pulling himself up. As a parent it makes you sad to see your child can’t do what others are doing however I will tell you this little boy is determined. You can see his determination by just watching him. This precious boy will walk! If there’s a will there’s a way. He is now with a family who will never tell him he can’t.

Graeme facts:

Graeme is incredibly smart. Chris and I are in trouble. He is saying a few words already like Dadda, Mamma, sissy. He trying to say his name and that only comes out as Gee. He also try’s to say Bella and Eddie (our dogs names). He has been trying to say I love you. Which is so stinking cute to hear. And he says Masha for his favorite cartoon Masha and the Bear.

He really seemed to understand us a lot.

He loves to give kisses now. And I think Chris is paying him because Graeme actually likes to pull our arms or push our heads so chris and I will kiss each other. Graeme will just look at us and smile.

Graeme loves to blow kisses.

He loves animals and also music.

He can crawl all over the place.

He is saying Ear, nose and eyes and will point to all of those.

We have only found 1 food so far he doesn’t like which is cauliflower.

Everyday he does something new. It is amazing and a true blessings to watch this beautiful baby boy.

XoXo

Tia

Still no Passport

This past week we have been waiting in Graeme’s region for his passport. We have fallen into a routine for the most part. It gets daylight here around 4:30am. So this early bird always wakes up thinking it’s a lot later than it really is.

The past few days have been difficult waiting. Chris and I felt like it was time for us to go to the Capital and wait. We need to get home not only for Graeme but also for Morgan. She has been having some medical issues that need to be addressed.

If the passport doesn’t arrive today then we are stuck here till next week. And honestly we don’t want that. My poor mom has been staying at our house while we have been gone. We are so thankful for her helping us during this time. I know she wants to get back to her house and her life. Also the sooner we get home the sooner Graeme gets the medical care he needs.

XoXo

Tia

The past few days

The past few days have been going extremely well. Tuesday was Graeme’s first full day out. I woke up that morning with a touch of a stomach bug. Many of the families seem to get this bug when they travel over here. With it being Graeme’s first day out and my stomach bug we decided to stay in. So we played all day and everyone was perfectly happy.

Wednesday I woke up feeling so much better. We decided to be adventurous and walked to Gorky Park. Graeme loved every minute of it. He’s so happy about just being pushed in the stroller people were actually waving at him when we walked by.

Gorky Park is absolutely beautiful! Graeme wanted to touch all the statues. I took him on his first carousel ride. He was not to sure about it at first but then of course loved it. We ate lunch at the park and of course he was good. After lunch we headed back to the apartment and Graeme was sleeping like a rock by the time we got back.

Thursday we decided to stay in. We think it will be best to limit activities to maybe every other day for right now. Graeme is extremely smart. He picks things up very fast. We are trying to teach him now that we are his mamma and daddy. And we get him to FaceTime with Morgan and we show him pictures of her all the time. It’s important for him to learn we are his people.

We are hoping to get Graeme’s passports soon. We need to get home and get Graeme to the doctor. He has some issues with his feet that need to be addressed as soon as possible. On top of that Morgan really is having a hard time with us being gone which kills me. And I am having a hard time being away from her. This is the longest we have ever been apart. And yesterday I officially became home sick. Chris and I are those people who love to be home. Our vacations are usually 4 days. So this is very major being gone like this but it is worth it. We are all making sacrifices in order to bring Graeme home.

XoXo

Tia

Gotcha Day

Monday May 21 2018 Graeme got busted out of the Orphanage!

Monday morning I woke up early. I couldn’t sleep I wanted to make sure the apartment was clean and I had everything packed to take to the orphanage. Like a baby is going to know if the apartment is clean? Crazy the thoughts that run through your head at these moments in your life. Our lives changed the moment we saw Graeme’s picture for the first time. Which happened to be this past July while Chris, Morgan and myself were on vacation in Key West. But today our lives were going to physically change.

We got picked up from our apartment by our Facilitator which happens to be awesome. She really fought for Graeme to get out of the orphanage. And she went above and beyond for our family.

When we got to the orphanage Chris and I were lead to Graeme’s groupa. This is where we handed out the Nannies gifts and we got to get Graeme ready to go. After we got him ready and he said his goodbyes in that area we went to the Doctors office. They gave use 2 pairs of special shoes for Graeme that help push his feet out and the Nannies also made him a book filled with a few pictures and personal information. We had a lot of visitors come into that office to say their farewells to our little man. Walking Graeme through the hallway was extremely emotional knowing he will never have to know that life again. It seemed to take forever to get to the car everyone was coming out for him. The doctors did tell use he was the favorite and he’s a very special boy.

When we finally got in the car it was very hard to see one of the Nannies sobbing as we drove away. We did promise to email updates and pictures.

Graeme’s first night went extremely well. He slept for about 9.5 hours. Graeme’s personality lights up the room. He is a true blessing. He’s genuinely excited about everything and it brings joy to your heart just watching him.

We are currently still in country waiting for our little mans passport. Hopefully we will be coming home next week.

XoXo,

Tia

Court

Sorry for the long delay in post. Since court we have been on the go. We went to court May 17th. So let’s rewind a bit.

Chris and I arrived to Eastern Europe later then expected. After delayed flights, having to change airports to another town and changing airlines we finally arrived. While we were collecting our luggage we realized 1 suitcase was missing. Can you guess which one was missing? That’s right it was mine. I had no clothes! Baby C had all his toys in my bag and half his clothes. After traveling for 24+ hours that’s the last thing you want to happen. I was trying my best to fight back tears and communicate with the baggage claim representative to file my claim.

Since I had no clothes for court after we left the airport we went shopping. Which I love shopping! However when you are exhausted to the max and upset plus in a foreign country it’s not fun. The shopping experience was very overwhelming for me. I like to do my own thing and I don’t do well with people constantly coming at me. But I managed to get through it.

The next day Chris and I took the fast train to where Baby C is. We got to have an afternoon visit with him. It was so wonderful to be able to be back with him.

Court Day I woke up so nervous. What if we went and the judge decided we were not good enough for Baby C? I had a million things flying around in my head.

As we got to the courthouse the whole seen is completely different from what we are used to in the States. While in the courtroom Chris and myself were asked a series of questions. We had 2 ladies who were jurors. One of them was smiling the whole time which put me at ease. The court session lasted about 20 mins. The Judge came back into the courtroom and announced we had been granted the rights and read Baby C’s new full name. At that moment Chris and I were brought to tears.

After court we were able to have our afternoon visit. That visit seemed different from the rest. Baby C knew from the start who we were and wanted to stay with us when it was time to go back.

Welcome to our family Graeme Christopher.

XoXo

Tia