Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Little Slice of Heaven

This first week home with Nadia has been a dream come true.  She is delightful, curious, playful, cuddly, and already loved by her entire family! (OK, A.J. the dog is still checking her out but he's getting there). :)

She is starting to express her needs and her likes and dislikes.

She is sleeping great and wakes up happy and ready to join in whatever the family is doing.

In the last 2 days she has actually started reaching her arms up to Jim and I to hold her--especially if someone is visiting!  This is HUGE to us because in the beginning it seemed like she was pretty much comfortable with anyone.  To know that she's already distinguishing between strangers and us has been heartwarming to say the least!!!

Josi is taking her big sister role quite seriously and helps me with feeding, dressing, and playing with Nadia.

She is even enjoying having her teeth brushed which was a little bit of a challenge in the beginning.

We are so thankful with how well she is doing and I am still in awe that God allowed us to take part in such an amazing part of His Story for Nadia.  I am eternally grateful for this opportunity and humbled at the same time.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meeting Mommy's Family

While we were in PA, Nadia got to meet 2 of my sisters and 3 of her 4 Northern cousins.

Aunt Nicole shows Nadia all of the beautiful flowers Nonna has in her garden. Thank you, Nicole for helping make Josi's time in PA very special while we were gone.  I know Josi will have wonderful memories of her time with Nonna, Grandpop, and all of you from these past 3 weeks!

Michael is Nicole's oldest son and is only 3 days younger than our Michael.  He learned quickly how to make Nadia laugh!

Matthew, who is almost 8, did a great job holding Nadia and keeping her entertained in the pool.

Marin, who is almost 6yrs. old had such a fun time with Nadia that she told me that she wanted her own little girl with Down syndrome so she could play with her and dress her. :)

Aunt Shelley is showing Nadia how to "fist bump" (I think).  One of Shelley's friends from work gave Nadia a large bag of clothes that his adopted daughter has outgrown.  She's wearing one of those beautiful dresses in this picture.  (Thank you, Rich).

My Mom, or Nonna to all the grandchildren, was the one who introduced Nadia to one of the finer things in life--swimming pools!  Once she got acclimated there was no turning back!

See what I mean?  Horsing around with Grandpop--fun times for this little girl!

Nadia ate all of her meals in this high chair that my Dad sat in as a little boy. I think her expression is in response to just how old this high chair really is!!! (76....right Dad?)

All of the grandchildren get their fair share of love and snuggle time with Nonna.  It doesn't get much better than that now does it?

Stephanie,  my sister who lives down in NC only 15min. from my house, had to wait the longest to get her hands on her newest niece!  She and Jessica, her daughter, arrived an hour early to make sure our house was ready for the Princess' arrival.  Lots of kisses from Aunt Stephanie!

Jessica had a countdown on her dry erase board as to how many more days until Nadia arrived in NC! To say she was eager to see her is a bit of an understatement.

Nadia still has quite a few more relatives to meet , just on my side of the family (we're Italian, you know), not to mention Jim's family!  Our social worker told us early on to spend the first few weeks just letting Nadia get to know us and keep visitors to a minimum.  I didn't say anything to her at the time, but I knew that there was NO WAY I'd be able to keep my family away from its newest member.  So, if you know my social worker, don't pass this post along, ok?  Thanks!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We're Home!!!

Just a quick post to let you know that we're home and thrilled to be here!  After spending 3 wonderful days recuperating in PA with my parents, and travelling home yesterday, we finally slept in our own beds last night and it felt great!!!  Little Miss Sunshine slept from 8:00pm until 8:30am!  I have so many pictures to post but today is about getting our house back in order and visiting with some friends here in Raleigh, so this is all I have for now.

My niece, Jessica, made our homecoming special last night with signs and tons of balloons!

My wonderful husband got me my first Starbucks back in Raleigh! Ahhh! Nirvana!
(Could this girl be any happier?--And Nadia too!) tee hee.

Looks like I may have some competition over my favorite cup of java!  (After all, she is my Starbucks' Baby!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Care to take a Dip?

Who would have thought that the girl who hadn't been given a bath for the past 2 1/2yrs. and totally disliked her bath experiences this past week, would take to the pool like a fish???

She needed very little encouragement to jump right on in!

Let me go under Mommy! (Not yet--although she tried a few times and ended up drinking her fair share of pool water! )

This girl is always ready for some snuggle time!

She loves splashing but hasn't totally figured out why the water keeps hitting her in the face!

Everybody wants to get their hands on Nadia in the pool.

"May I have a tall glass of lemonade please?"

Just the girls (we miss you Jessica!)

Ah, yes...this is the life!

Jim remarked this morning that we've had Nadia as an official member of our family for one full week as of today!  What a difference a week makes.  She is starting to recognize us as her family and comes to us when she needs comfort or a hug.  She giggles when she sees Jim opening his arms to her, and when she cries, she always has someone to respond to her needs.  Having a family is a pretty good deal!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

United At Last

We're so glad to be back in the United States and to be united with our Josi and family in PA. 

We left Kiev Tuesday morning at 5:30am--here we are at the Kiev airport at around 3:15am checking our baggage. 

After a 7hr. layover in Frankfurt, Germany, we finally boarded the plane for Philadelphia at 1:55pm Germany time.  I decided not to try to keep track of all the time changes and whether we should try to stay awake or sleep.  How nice it was to just go with the flow which I believe God truly honored because we all seem to be doing well so far with the time change.

Nadia decided a nap was a good thing to have so I enjoyed watching her sleep in her big girl airplane seat.

After spending an hour in the "Secondary Inspection-Border Control" area in Philadelphia, we finally got to see Josi and my parents on the other side of customs. We arrived at 4:15pm East Coast time but didn't get to see our family until 6pm. That was the worst part of the trip.  Otherwise our travel was smooth and uneventful.
  This girl was happy to be able to get down and walk around--can you tell?

The sisters get to meet at last!

Josi couldn't wait to hold Nadia and Nadia was happy to oblige--could this child be any easier?

Nonna finally gets her hands on her newest grandchild.  Lots of hugs and kisses!!

Grandpop's turn to get acquainted with yet another granddaughter.

First picture of the Four Fergusons Kiddos.  How fun!

We have been so blessed by the evidence of your prayers.  I told Allen and Michael on the flight home that we have truly been carried on wings of eagles throughout this entire 17 days in Ukraine.

My sister, Nicole, sent me an e-mail while we were in Ukraine with the beginning of a list of answers to prayers she had already observed on our journey.  Here is what she wrote:

The health of the 4 of you travellers(after exposure to Jessica, no one threw up or had fever)PRAISE

Nadia is the kuddly koala you had hoped she'd be PRAISE

You all have bonded w/her and the love is evident PRAISE

The boys are having a wonderful experience PRAISE

Josi is enjoying herself and feeling the love from her family here in PA PRAISE

You are meeting wonderful people and are creating amazing memories PRAISE

I'd like to add a just a few more of the many, many answered prayers!

Our body adjustments to the time changes have gone AMAZINGLY well.  Nadia slept from 9:00pm until 5:30am today without waking up during the night.  She went down at normal nap time today (1:00pm)!! HUGE PRAISE

My missing luggage when we got to Kiev made all the difference in our getting through customs with the large amount of cash we were carrying.  The girl who helped us process our lost luggage filled out the declaration form for us in such a way that no questions would be asked!

Nadia has bonded with Jim like he's always been her father.  I'm telling you...I don't stand a chance with either of my girls when it comes to their being Daddy's girls!!!

Thank you again for your prayers!!!  Going through this journey with ALL of you has made it that much  more amazing and special. 

Can't wait to post "Nadia in the pool" pictures.  After 3 traumatic bath experiences I was totally surprised that this girl LOVES the pool in my parents' backyard.  Guess we just need to get a bigger bathtub. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day to the Father of Our Children!

Happy Father's Day to the man who thought he didn't want to even be a father.

To the man who remembers his eldest son's affinity for cooking and buys him a special cookbook for his birthday.

To the man who is the apple of his older daughter's eye, who still, at age 12, runs to the door to greet him at the end of every workday.

To the man who takes his youngest son on adventures.

To the man who captured his youngest daughter's heart from the first day.

To the man who is teaching his sons how to interact with their children someday.

To the man who is raising his sons to be Modern Day Knights in their respect for God, Family, and Country.

But most importantly, on this Father's Day, I want to say thank you to the man who was willing to travel halfway around the world...

...to become a father to a little girl he had never met.

If you haven't read Jim's post entitled  "A Father's Love", please take a moment to read it.  I almost just used that for a Father's Day post because I knew I couldn't do justice after he wrote that one. You can read it here: http://seeingtheupsideofdown.blogspot.com/2010/06/fathers-love-february-11-1998.html

This will most likely be my last post until we're back in the states because of our limited internet access. (Yes, we're back at TGIF again!)  So, here's our schedule for the next few days.  Tomorrow we have our embassy appointment at 2pm, then hopefully they'll be able to process Nadia's visa before closing time because we plan on being on a 5:30am flight, Tuesday to Philadelphia by way of Frankfurt, Germany.  We should arrive in Philadelphia at 4:45pm Tuesday.  We will then spend the rest of the week with my parents and 2 of my sisters' families before heading back home to NC on Saturday, June 26th!!! 

Happy Father's Day Everyone!  Especially to my Dad who is helping take care of our sweet Josi! We'll see you soon!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Life On The Outside

Hello out there.  No internet once again in Kiev so we're at TGIF trying to get caught up.  Here are a few pictures of Nadia's first 24hrs. on the outside.  She's discovering quite a few new things like...

...air conditioning!

...being allowed to lay down on the floor!

...eating one small spoonful at a time instead of gulping down large quantities.

...taking her first bath.  OK, she didn't like the bath nearly as much as snuggling in the towel afterwards.

...having her hair brushed lovingly by her new Mom.  This girl LOVES to have her hair brushed!!!

...taking a nap on her own schedule and in a cool, comfortable room.
                                                    Life on the outside is pretty good so far.

We have our embassy appointment on Monday at 2pm and then we will need to be at the airport for a 5:30am flight early Tuesday.  We appreciate your continued prayers as we finish the home stretch of bringing Nadia home!  She is such a joy and she has seemed to adjust to life with us quite effortlessly!!!