Almost made it….

Friday morning, we sat at the passport office for 1 1/2 hours – waiting for the moment that Ian’s passport would arrive, to then whisk off for his medical exam and then to our 2:00 Visa appt. at the US Embassy, in great hopes that we would be able to come home this weekend.  Unfortuantly,  it didn’t come in time for us to make our medical and Visa appt., and so we have  a few more days here.  We did get the passport later in the day, but we will have to wait for Monday to finish things up and hope to fly out Tuesday.  It was a great dissappointment, especially for Olivia.  We’ve spent a lot of hours waiting at various offices for documents to be completed this week.  She has been very patient.  This  in-between, transition time is hard and we are more then ready to move on.  We’ve cried some tears in frustration this week  – there seems to be little issues that have continued to arise with documents and timing that have added days to our stay, put us into another “waiting” weekend here  and jeopardized our yearly family vacation to the beach which has been scheduled for more than 8 month.  We had originally thought that we would be home for a few weeks before our family vacation for Ian to get his feet underneath him a bit before we went, and then to have some good bonding time at the beach.  We debated long and hard and prayed about whether to cancel it, since it is now upon us,  in case  it would be too much for Ian so soon, but in the end we decided to keep it.   Our other children have longed for this vacation time more so than any other year since we spent most of the summer away from them.  They have stressed that mom would not make it, and we feel they need this time with us parents.  Ian does love the beach – and has asked for it.  I think he might be surprised to find out that the ocean is salty (compared to the beach he has been to at the Black Sea). And the heat and humidy might be a lot for him as well.  But, we will see how it goes and will remain very very flexible.  Hopefully we won’t be having huge regrets, but Olivia, Ian and I will fly directly to the beach to join up with the rest of the fishies for a few days before we go home.  Please pray that it will be an incredible time of bonding for all our children, for us as parents to re-connect with our children and have wonderful memories of our first family vacation together.

Everyday gets a little more comfortable with Ian as we get to know each other.  It really does amaze me how much we have been able to communicate!  He’s not shy at all and will talk to about anyone. He’s quite the ham and as our English roommate, Jenny, has put it, “quite cheeky at times”!   We’ve discoved that he loves to take baths!  Most likely he wasn’t able to take then at the home.  He has spent over an hour in the tub – just playing – even after the water gets cold!!  He takes one every night! It reminded me of the excitement my other children had when they were younger , just splish splashing away in an imaginary water world of their own.  So very precious! (pictures – I promise next week)!   It’s been so fun seeing Ian learn and experience the world around him.   When we were in a clothing store the other day, he was asking why there was a round plastic thing attached to an article of clothing, and the sales lady explained how it was a security device and how it worked.  When we walked past a parking meter, he asked how it worked and Jenny explained it to him.   He is amazed and fascinated by the world around him!

At the same time it’s been hard work being a single parent to a newly adopted child, with a language barrier – especially not being in  our own comfortable circumstances and not  having Mat to be my sounding board and comfort.  I’ve felt very unsure of my self at times,  and questioned my parenting abilities more than once.  I’m still trying to find the balance of allowing choices so that he still feels in control of his new crazy life and not compromising too much, so that there are consistant boundaries.  I’ve felt a little at a loss about what to do sometimes but God gave me a verse yesterday which reminded me that He is guiding me along…Isaiah 42:16 “i will lead the blind by ways they  have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them, I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do”.  What  comfort to know that I am not alone on this journey, that my steps are being guided and directed, and that I have my saviour and friend with me at all times.

Thanks to all who have been and continue to be prayer warriors for us!

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First Days with Ian

We’ve had lots of fun with Ian our first few days.  We went swimming – he loves to go swimming.   We did some other sight seeing around the city, a boat trip down the Dniepro, and the war museum (a BIG hit with Ian).  He’s not much of a walker, but there is lots of complaining, but when we get to our destination (or he know we’re going to McDonalds) he perks up.  We had lunch with another family here from BC that are waiting for their second SDA appt (, and Ian hit it off with their boys who are about the same age (complete with arm pit farts and all!) We also went to the International Church Assembly and Ian was very patient and good.  At various times I have prayed for Ian’s salvation, but God layed it on my heart to pray during the church service specifically for it.  I would imagine the church experience was very different from the Ukrainian Orthodox chruch experience he has had.

Today was the fifth day that Ian has been living with us!  It’s been amazing, but, at times, challenging.   The amazing part has been that it has been so easy to love on Ian – he is very affectionate, happy, excited to come to America.  He is VERY annimated, and he has us laughing a whole lot!  One of the best decisions ever was to bring Olivia with me back to Kiev.  Ian and Olivia have made an incredible connection and I think they will always have a special bond because of their time together.  She is also very helpful to me.  When Ian has been resistant to doing something (i.e. brushing his teeth) he will usually do it if he sees that Olivia has to do it too.  It’s also nice to have  an extra set of hands and eyes when traveling around the city.

The uncomfortable and challenging part is parenting with a language barrier and trying to figure out what and how much to compromise on.  We are in a trust building phase of our relationship, but I still need to show that there are boundaries.  But, when I’m setting those boundaries, and saying “no”  how do I communicate why?   Today we had our first real meltdown.  We had been out and about doing some fun things, and we got to the street of our apartment on our way home, which happens to have a toy store.  Ian has been eyeing the toy store every day, and today, I gave in and we went in  (hindsight – mistake).  Ian wanted a toy gun, and I said “no”.  At which point, Ian starting asking for anything and everything in the store indiscrimately. I had already said “yes” to a few other things prior in the day (cola and chips, Mc Donalds, extra time at the war museum) My thought was, in America, we can purchase him a nurf gun , and I won’t have to worry about him shooting things in our host apartment and possibly breaking something (and transportation home).  I did effectively communicate that he could have one in America, but, of course, like any child (or adult) we want what we want NOW!  What pursued was a meltdown and by the time we got to our building, I was practically dragging him in.  I sent Olivia upstairs to the apratment and I sat on the step with Ian and again tried to explain myself and comfort him.  He cried the first tears that I’ve seen and it was hard.  Our  fellow flat  guest is a sweet English woman named  Jenny, who happens to be a play therapist and speaks Ukrainian (as well as our flat host, which has been  wonderful for transation), came down to help out.  It turns out, it was more about being tired and maybe a little overwhelmed than anything else.  I had to remind myself that in some ways I’m parenting a much younger child developmentally.  Maybe we’ve been doing too much, but at the same time, just hanging out in the apartment tends to allow too much gravitation toward the computer and electronics.

So, we will hang low today and maybe play some games  We are getting our tax ID number later today and then can apply for our passport.  It’s a very optimistic but possible with lots of prayers that we could be done by Friday afternoon and fly out Sat.  But, it may be more realistic that our paperwork will be done on Mon, and we would fly home on Tuesday.  The transition time is hard here and we are really feeling ready to get home.  I love to be home in my familiar surroundings and circumstances. During the trying times it’s hard to be away from my sounding board and soul mate (as well as my other fishies).  So, wait we will continue to do……

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My apologies – it was not intentional to make the last post password protected!  I am not the most computer savvy and I must have accidentally hit some button I shouldn’t have!  Please – read, rejoice and praise with me!!  Just so sorry I have no pictures yet.

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The “Real” Gotcha Day!

Finally – the day has come – Ian is ours legally!  I feel like I should keep pinching myself!  God is so good!  There have been shattered dreams in my life in regards to becoming a mother to another child, but yesterday,  a new dream realized.   Yesterday started out as a frustrating day, as we found out that getting Ian’s ID number was going to take longer than usual and that we would not be going home as soon as hoped.  But then, our incredible reunion with Ian.  We all shared tears as the staff, who have loved on my dear son the last few years, hugged, said sweet words and gave him very personal gifts.  The staff chipped in and bought him a beautiful cross necklace (so that “Christ would always protect him”), a microscope set, and a picture book of Ukraine, written both in Ukraine and English so that he could “always remember where he came from” along with a very personal inscription from the director.  I wish I could share pictures but you will have to wait – I haven’t figured it out yet and my better half has to help me.  The director, took me in her arms and told me that she didn’t know why, but she trusts me, and knows that we are the family for Ian…more tears….even now.  It still feels surreal.  Olivia, Ian and I celebrated by going to McDonalds and having icecream (Ian’s choice of course).  Ian was giddy.  He talks a lot more than anyone else in our family does! He sure likes his sweet treats too!   He adores Olivia and she adores him as well.    What a true gift that she can share in this experience and have this bonding time with Ian before the craziness begins once we are home. Ian syped with his new “pappa”, and talked on the phone with his new brother and sister and Oma.  He counted to 20 in English for them. The only real challenge during our first day was getting him to bed.  Of course, he didn’t want to go to sleep….

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Gotcha Day??….

I’m not  sure if “gotcha day” is when the court decree is finalized or if it is when we officially have custody of Ian.  My daughter and I arrived in Kiev yesterday  to find that Ian had moved to a new camp with his group several hours away and that he won’t arrive back into Kiev  until Wednesday, but our court decree became finalized  yesterday (Monday – also the day of my 18th year annivarsy!).  So, it’s a bit disheartening to FINALLY be Ian’s legal parent and not be able to be with him. least we know that Ian is an official Fisher (our 6th Fishie) and for that we are so thankful.  I think it won’t sink in until he is with us!   We were able to move forward with the legal process today.  We got his new official birth certificate today, and tomorrow morning will apply for his new tax ID number (which I think might be his future SS #).   It’s unclear to me how long we’ll have to wait for the tax ID number – possibly several days, and then we can apply for Ian’s passport!  I am praying that we can get home mid-August so that there is some time at home with all of us as a family before the other fishie kids go off to school.

On another note, my daughter and I had a wonderful but short time visiting our relatives in Austria (except that our luggage got lost – one bag arrived and one is still MIA). Because we had a special type of humanitarian ticket, we could make the quick stop over for only $100 extra!) We stayed in the village where my mom grew up.  It is the first time that I was there without my mom  (and I was really forced to drum up my German).   I missed walking the streets and walking up to town castle without her and  hearing the stories about her childhood.  It was quite some time since I was there last and I realized how much I want my kids to know about their heritage.  I also want to keep alive Ian’s heritage for him as well.  It will be more of a challenge since there is not much of a Ukrainian culture where we live, but we will try to do what we can.  If any experienced adoptive parents have any suggestions on how to do this, please share.

So, off to bed.  We had to leave for the Vienna airport at 2 a.m. yessterday.

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Back in Kiev

This is Mat here and I wanted to update everyone on what is currently happening.  I know we owe everyone some details on our court appearance, and we will get to that soon.  However, I wanted to let you all know where we are in the process and what is currently going on.  Kristin left with Olivia (our eldest) last Wednesday to go back to Kiev with a stop off in Austria.  Kristin’s mom was born and raised in Austria and we have some very close family friends that she went to visit.  It was a short visit as Kristin and Olivia woke up at 2am today (Monday) to leave for the airport – a 2 hour drive.

Of course, only 1 of the 2 pieces of luggage ever made it to Austria.  Now that was crazy.  Neither piece made it to Vienna with them and at first they thought it was Kristin’s luggage that was found in DC and Olivia’s that was still AWOL.  However, after some shopping for Olivia, the luggage arrived and it was the blue luggage (Olivia’s) and not the red piece after all.  So we then got contacted today that they had found Kristin’s luggage and it was in Vienna.  Only one small problem, was that Kristin and Olivia where in Kiev at that point.  Now, this is when it gets good. Being the resourceful husband that I am, I located the address where Kristin is staying in Kiev from Karen’s FB and passed it along to Kristin’s dad, who got it to Austria Airlines.  Only one additional problem.  The address was an old address and I didn’t double check it with Karen, like Kristin asked me too, and didn’t realize that the street name on FB started with a different letter…  So, we do not know if the airline will be able to overcome this false trail, or my wife will be a week without any of her clothes. So, if could pray that Kristin’s luggage finds her, that would be great.

I only got to talk to Kristin for about 5 minutes today, but I have to be content with that as it was 4 more minutes then I have had since Wednesday.  I will say that going from spending 24×7 with Kristin to a regulation of 6 minutes in 4 days is no fun.  I miss my bride terribly, but I know that it is all worth it.  We found out that the court decree was finalized TODAY!  We thought it was going to be finalized on last Friday, but for whatever reason, it was today.  So, now we are officially the proud parents of 4 children!  That is what I call an awesome anniversary present.  Yes, today is our 19 year anniversary.  Praise God for the 5 gifts that He has given me on the 8th of August, the 3rd of May and the 11th of October.

So in memory of our 19 years as man and wife, I have included some old pics of us.  These bring back some great memories we have shared together and the chapters of life we have had.  I love you Kristin and cherish our memories and I am blessed to walk through life together with you my love and my best friend.

Annalise enjoying dinner time

Ayden enjoying some summer fun!

Olivia enjoying a walk

Ian enjoying his traditional Ukrainian outfit

Kristin and Mat enjoying the sunset

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Reprieve at home….all is well

So, so sorry to not have updated.  We thought we had done a quick update about how court went before we left Ukraine, but apparently we just thought it in our brains and didn’t actually type it.  In any case, court went great!  The very first question the judge asked Ian (can’t remember what it was), he responded with an English “yes” and everyone in the room ( all 9 of us in a little room, not a real courtroom as I had envisioned) laughed!  The judge seemed pleased with our answers and Ian told the judge that he will have a sister named “Olivia”, a sister named “Annalise”, a brother named “Ian”, and a dog named “Rexi”.  When the judge asked him about his friends, he cooly answered her that he will stay in touch with them via the computer.  We celebrated with icecream and a nice lunch!  Wahoo!  Thanks to all for your prayers.  Now, the waiting period, and both Mat and I decided to return home during that time to love on our kiddos at home a bit.  It was hard leaving Ian and we think of him everyday.  We are hoping to be able to skype with him tomorrow, but are having some trouble getting that arranged.  I’m glad I did come home, it has been a sweet time with my 3 fishies.  And I think it has helped prepare them and make them even more excited  for Ian’s homecoming!  They like hearing stories about him.  We are currently at my oldest daughter’s championship swim meet!  She has 3 top 15 finishes in our state and it has been such joy to watch her swim again!  We have been wondereing if maybe Ian will be a swimmer…..a soccor player….a biker…..a nature lover….what will be his bent?  What will be his God given talents and abilities?  We can’t wait to find out!  More later – back to the swim meet we go. Oh, and at the swim meet, I met a man and his son who immigrated from Ukraine 11 years ago.  We’ve had some interesting conversations – so cool!   I’ll be heading back to Ukraine next week with my oldest after a breif stop over in Austria to visit relatives.  Again, sorry for the delayed update and thanks for all your prayers and thougths!!

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