February 23, 2012

Leaving tomorrow-difficult things to say

We are leaving tomorrow!!!  Everything went great with the US Embassy doctor and she mentioned how well behaved and smart the twins are! :-)  Despite K's fears the day before about the doctor...she did quite well!  I half expected that...if there is one thing I have learned about children is that you truly never know.  It is nearly impossible to predict good days and bad days and which child will have the harder time.

I have SO many things that I want and actually need to say but I never seem to have the time to do so.  I know that it will likely be harder once we get home and we begin the difficult process of adjusting.  Every family member that has ever been added whether it is through marriage, birth, or adoption...it is an adjustment. 

The difficult things I have to say may surprise you.  Because it is not about our twins.  I just feel an urgency to share with all of you something that is weighing heavily on me right now....

It started a couple of nights ago when I could not sleep and I noticed that someone on FB was advocating for a child that I had already seen on Reece's Rainbow a good while ago.  So, in my tired and groggy state, I headed over to the Reece's Rainbow website and truly expected to see the new children that were in dire need of a family.

What did I find???

So very many of the exact same children that were on the website from the time that we started our adoption of the twins a year ago!!!!  WHAT?!?  I quickly became wide awake with frustration and outrage!  I just couldn't understand it!!!  I hear about people every day (due to the various adoption lists that I am on) that are adopting....how could it be that children are still just waiting and waiting???  I had really gotten a false perception of how many families were adopting.....and how many children are waiting!

Then, moments later I visited a blog...if you all remember, it was the blog that helped us to fundraise at the last moment before travel.  She was highlighting children with special needs and the horrors that they face when they are not adopted.  And, then showed the before and after when someone wrapped their arms around them and brought them into their family. 

So, I *do* want you to go to these links but I want to put in the disclaimer.  The pictures are graphic and hard to see.  I don't think you will be the same person after you witness and learn about this yourself.....I know that I have been forever changed.

This quote will then apply to all of us!

 "Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act."

Here are the links....sit down, and imagine that you weren't born into a family with a mother to kiss you, and food whenever you were hungry, and most likely your entire existence was peering between the bars of a crib....alone.....

Read this link first:

And then, see what happens when we actually do something and care:
Prepare to be *amazed*....make sure that you not only look at the pictures but also read the descriptions of what the different children went through before and after:

February 21, 2012

Court approval granted!!!!!!

Today we headed to court *with* the twins in tow.....I will admit....I was worried.  I wasn't so worried about court although if I really paused and thought about it there was *everything* on the table today so I probably should have been.  But, being the mom that I am, I was worried about the fact that we were bringing the twins and how they would handle it.

For one thing, we had to get up early to be ready on time.  We tried to have just ourselves up early so that we were entirely ready when the twins got up and they could stay on their normal schedule.  Well, that failed miserably because I. heard us up and woke up about an hour early.  Then, because I wanted K. to be able to sleep, I closed the door a bit and only left it open a crack so that we would not disturb her.  A short time later, I was walking through the hallway and noticed that it looked like a light was on in the twin's room.  I quietly peeked inside and found K. kneeling with her head laying on the bed and quietly sobbing. :(  Poor baby!  So, she not only woke up too early but she also woke up feeling scared and alone.  Very bad start to the day.....

We got outside on time where the attorney's son was waiting to pick us up.  The twins seemed to be in overall good spirits but I could now tell between gestures and a few English words that K. wanted to know where we were going?  Hmmmm, how do you explain going to court to a four year old child even if you didn't have a language barrier?  I remembered that they knew and recognized the name of the social worker who had visited us as well as the translator.  So, I said that we were going to see them.....(another backfire as you will see....)

We arrived at the orphan court and right away,  I. exclaimed as though a lightbulb went off in his head (and pointed to the building and said K's name) ahhh, we are here for K., which meant to me that he thought we were at the doctors for her.  Well, that did not sit well with *her* at all!

She went limp in my arms and dropped her head on my shoulder.  I tried to explain to her....no, not doctor.....ummmmm, oh gosh!  What was the word for doctor!!!  By the time we got up to the third floor where court was to be held she was no longer seeming sad but was angry and wanted out of there! 

I saw the teenage girl that we know,  that is being adopted by another American family.  She sat in the hallway with this look of peace and happiness coupled with building excitement while she waited for her new parents to come out of the court room with the happy news.  I tried through a few English words and some gesturing to ask her to explain to K. what was happening but K. had closed down by this point.  She had tucked her head down into her thick winter's jacket like a turtle pulling his head into his shell.  And, she was *not* coming out!!!!

I kissed her and stroked her forehead and she did cuddle into my chest but the only words she would say was that she wanted to go home!  (I have actually learned that much of their language to understand...thank goodness!)  She didn't want to take off her very warm hat or coat or scarf until we went back "home" to our apartment despite the fact that she was completely sweating.

I walked her out in the hallway while we waited and out popped her head.  She talked to me a little bit and pointed that she wanted me to take her upstairs and get out of there!  But, again, as soon as we entered the corridor where court was to be held....she was back inside her shell.  The attorney, the translator, and the social worker all tried to talk to her and explain but she was not going to hear it...she wanted to leave and no one was going to change that!

So, here we were being called into the courtroom with a heavily bundled and hot little girl that was limp in my arms with an angry twisted face.  And, where was I.?  Well, he was actually the one I had been worried about before!  Lets face it, he is a boy and likes to run and play and get out his energy.  However, he sat perched on the attorney's lap with an angel's halo around his head.  Good as gold! (Do you remember that I said that they take turns! ;-)

K. tried getting angry eye contact with me again to say "let's GO!!!" and I tried to reassure her again with a kiss to her forehead and stroking her cheek.  At this point she gave up and her body which was still stuffed in her snow suit and heavy coat slid from my arms and she proceeded to lay on the floor......face down.  It looked like someone had gone playing in the snow and just threw down their winter clothing.  But, there was a child in there somewhere.....a frightened and angry little girl that I think maybe did want to disappear out of that moment!

I started to go and pick her up but the attorney gestured to me to just leave her....it was okay....and to please just answer the judge's questions. 

"How do your children feel about this adoption?"  Well, they are downright ecstatic about it but how was I to convey that?  So I said that they were very happy and excited...an answer that the judges seemed to hear all of the time and they seemed largely unimpressed.  But, any of you that know my children personally, know that it is the honest truth!  They are absolutely as excited (and sometimes more if that is possible!) than we are. 

"Can you care for all of the children's medical needs...." 
"Do you have a place for them....set up with their beds etc"
"Do you feel that you have bonded with them...and they to you?"

Yes.....yes........yes definitely!......all the while I am eyeing K. still laying face down and completely still,  in a crumpled heap on the floor.

Finally we were asked to step out and I could finally scoop her back up into my arms.  Still limp, and still upset...she closed her eyes to shut us all out.  We sat for a moment and the attorney tried to joke with her and with I. about a common saying here that if you are not acting well that maybe a bug bit you....I. nodded that yes, something did!  And they discussed how big it must have been!

The panel of judges asked us to come back in....and they asked a few more questions.  One of which was whether or not the children were adequately prepared for what was in store for them.  Ah, what a question!  I understood why they asked but, I seriously don't know what in the world you can say to a four year old to *really* prepare them for how upside down their world was soon going to be.

I. spoke right up and said confidently that he was going to America!!!  And, that he was going to fly in an airplane to home...but that he didn't know exactly where that was.  As much as these words seem that they should perhaps be a bit scary...he said them with confidence and an air of nonchalance.  No worries...it was all taken care of as far as he was concerned!

They asked him if he could speak English.  All of the above was spoken in his native language.  He responded that he certainly did and then slowly and carefully said the word "hhh-ooo-sss" (horse)  They asked him if his sister could speak English too?  He said that she could "a little" but that he spoke much better than she did!  The judges finally smiled and everyone else relaxed and chuckled a bit....well, all except K. who stayed still in my arms with closed eyes. 

And then.....a lot of reading of rights and standard wording that when all would be translated meant that.....we were approved as the twin's guardians to allow them to come to the U.S. with us to be hosted until the adoption would be finalized....HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!! 

It was not until we reached our apartment that I got a clue about what might have really been the problem in K.'s mind....she seemed so *relieved* to be back in our apartment and started dancing around and saying, YAY!!!!!  She and I. had both done this the very first time we left the apartment and came back.  As though both of them thought originally that we were bringing them back and that their time with "mommy and daddy" was over.  They seemed so relieved and happy to be back at that time.... just as she seemed today.

I know that this is so hard on them!  After all, they had a wonderful new life that had just started late last year when a wonderful foster mom stepped forward to take them out of the orphanage.  And, though they were told that we were coming and were very well prepared by their foster mother....it was still a loss for them.  There is no way around it.  She was wonderful and loving and offered them a life that was unlike anything they had ever known.  So, why would this situation be any different?  Why would "mommy and daddy" be any different than any other caregiver or foster parent? 

We hope that with time and a lot of love, they will know........

PS  I was nearly ready to publish this but I just had to add a tiny little bit more.  I will briefly say that K. makes it super easy to bond because she loves to play baby and is very easily affectionate......and her behavior is generally easy to deal with.  I. has been a bit more challenging but still beyond adorable and still very loveable but I give you a tiny bit of background only to make what I am about to say even more meaningful.

Tonight he was rocking himself to sleep (a common thing for children in orphanages who have had to self soothe because they have no mother to rock and cuddle them as babies) Anyway, he was well on his way to putting himself to sleep and I was laying at the bottom of the bed as I do every night until they fall asleep.  All of a sudden, he sat straight up....and crawled to the end of the bed and gave me a kiss and said "I love you"....I could barely get out the words "I love you too" and then he was back to his pillow and heading back to sleep.  Ahhh, the moments that are so precious right now.............

February 20, 2012

American Eskimo dreams....

Last night's dream was another interesting one....and yes, I have been dreaming a lot lately!  I think it is more that I am remembering them because I am not sleeping as well being away from my own bed at home.  So, I dreamt that we finally made it home and I was so excited to be back! 

I knew that I had brought something very important back from Eastern Europe and reached into the car and pulled out two.........

American Eskimo dogs!!!

This is truly one of my favorite breeds of dogs.  But, once I was showing the dogs to the children...I got really confused and I became very aware that it wasn't the dogs that were important or what I was supposed to bring home.  I felt like something was truly missing and wrong.....

I then looked back into the car and there were our precious twins!!!!  I was sooooo happy and excited that we had them and was completely relieved!

Now, I'm going to blame this dream on my brother in law.  I think I have mentioned before that a love for animals runs through the family and my sister, mother, and myself have all rescued many a cat or dog and had them spayed or neutered and then found other homes for them... or they just settled right in to our house before we could say otherwise!  So, when we were talking about international adoption, my brother in law good naturedly joked that if they were to try to adopt internationally, that they would come home with cats!  He jested that they would say....well, we had many hardships and traveled many miles but we were able to find a wonderful cat!  Ha ha! 

It is likely also because I. reminds me sooo much of my brother in law.  And, it is really helpful, because he is a very good father and wonderful husband to my sister and just an all around funny and good guy.  So, it is quite endearing for me to look upon I. and "see" my brother in law in his looks and personality.  It has helped with the bonding despite our behavior challenges. 

So, thanks goes out to my brother in law today for an odd dream and a chance to laugh at ourselves!

Anyone else have a different interpretation?

This week will finally be very busy and we are on a serious countdown for home!!!  Court is tomorrow where we hope to be given temporary custody in order to "host" them at home.  Then, the next day, it is on to the US embassy doctor and then on to the US embassy for visas the next day and then we head out for London...and the next day HOME!!!!  So about four more days....so excited! :-)

February 18, 2012

Compy is my new favorite word!

Today was a great day.  We went to a huge water park for the second time with the twins.  They *love* going swimming and got dressed today in lightening speed.  You see, we are beginning to communicate better and they understood where we were going!

We had a lot of fun, expended a lot of energy, and got in a lot of holding and bonding time.

I've been struggling so much lately with wanting to blog, wanting to keep the memories, and yet really knowing that what we are all going through is so hard that some of the memories will be hard to look back on.

I want to be honest.....I want to be fair to the children....and I want to encourage adoption and not discourage.  So, perhaps, you can see the dilemma!

So, for now, I will say that it has been hard.  It has been hard to leave behind my children at home and be gone for so long.  It has been hard to live in a different country and feel like a fish out of water.  It has been seriously hard to deal with behaviors that challenge and test your emotional and mental skills like never before.

Having said that.....it is much harder to be four years old and have to move once again....especially after you have just found a very loving foster mother.  It is hard to be four years old and have things that you want so much to talk about but not to be understood fully by your new parents.  It is hard to be four years old and have so many new things and experiences happening all at once.

It is truly hard......

But, it makes it all the more beautiful when the hard times give way to the beautiful and loving times.  It makes the moments of eye contact and understanding of one another create stand still times that you wish would last and last.

Tonight I had yet another one of those moments.  I had just gotten I. out of the bath and I was helping him to get dressed for bed.  His favorite pajama top was dirty so I put a different soft cotton shirt out with his other clothes.  Do you think he noticed?

Of course! 

He said to me..."pajama...no?"  I said, "It's okay...it is comfy...you can wear it"  (I wasn't thinking that he didn't even know the word comfortable yet, much less the short slang word of  "comfy")

Well, he LOVED the word!  He smiled and said "compy!?!"  I said, "Yeah, it's comfy! :-)  It is a very comfy shirt and you can wear it to bed!"

He pointed at the pajama pants and said "compy?" and I nodded and said that his pajama pants were indeed comfy too.  I pointed back to his shirt and said "comfy shirt!"  and he locked eyes with me and said with a huge smile, "Compy shirt!!!  Compy...."

I have no idea what he thinks "comfy" means but he loves the sound of the word and I hope he eventually finds life with us to be comfy......what better way is there to describe life with a loving family!

Stay tuned for tomorrow...I get to go to the orphanage where they spent nearly half of their lives.  I'm excited and nervous all at the same time since I have never been in an orphanage before.  I just know that I often felt that foster parents would understand their children more if they had been able to see what life was like in their biological family's home.  Since I had worked as a social worker for CPS, I had seen what life was like for our two adopted daughters and I know that it helped me to have more compassion and understanding.  So, I feel that this is an opportunity for me to get to know the twins better by seeing what daily life was like for them.  Til tomorrow....

February 16, 2012

What I have learned about twins!

I have decided that if I am going to keep track at all of our early time together that I will have to just start blogging at least a little bit every day if possible.  I'm going to try more of a brief outline format today to make my brain believe that I can do it! :-)

I will start with what I have learned about twins:
1.  They have an invisible magnet....if you have one twin, the other will follow
2.  They take turns in being challenging...usually when one is angry or upset, the other one is smiling and peaceful like a golden angel!
3.  They have boundless energy that can be shared or borrowed from one to the other...often resulting in both magically turning into animals such as dogs, cats, or horses
4.  They are eachother's best friend and favorite playmate and they share with eachother as though they are the same person
5.  They show each other altruistic love that you often only see between mom and baby
6.  If one is running away....secure the twin closest to you first, and then send the other parent running.  If only one parent is available, cheerily pick up one twin and run together...if the other twin hears laughter, they will probably stop and come to see what they are missing!
7.  They are adorably cute and very loveable!

Here are some wonderful end of our evening pics of the day.  We had some challenges getting them into their snow gear as we left the apartment of another adoptive family who had us over for dinner.  So, I dreaded the walk home and was worried that it might be a better idea to call a taxi.  But, we started out since it was a relatively short walk and it was wonderful!

It was peaceful and actually fairly warm compared to the bitter cold we have experienced.  Robert and I. were ahead of myself and K.  She was singing and then practicing her English by joking around with me and saying "STOP!"  There was a quiet lull for a moment and as we walked on, I enjoyed the slushy sound of our footsteps.  Then I noticed a soft fluttering sound next to us.  I should have been startled but it was such a gentle sound that I merely turned my head to see.....DUCKS!!!!  K. and I both laughed to see several ducks flying up on the snow filled banks and then waddling a step or two and then sitting.  Then they would walk and sit again.  I called to Robert and I. and then realized that a huge flock was flying and landing right next to them!  Thankfully we had taken some cheerios with us just in case a snack was needed and so we stood....in the quiet stillness of a warmer winter evening feeding ducks in the darkness and snow.  They would waddle and sit...waddle and sit.  Robert thought that they were warming their little feet.  They happily quacked and gobbled the cheerios and the twins beamed from ear to ear.  I. helped Robert to feed but K. only wanted to smile and watch and make quacking sounds with me. 

I adore these simple peaceful moments......

February 11, 2012

Catching up...and an embarrassing/funny story

(this post has taken a few days to write so forgive my references to "yesterday" as they will not be accurate)

So, I love writing....I really do.  And, overall I enjoy blogging, but right now it is really and truly difficult.  Our days are so long and exhausting both physically and mentally that I am really struggling with getting all of the memories down.  I just know that I will regret it if I don't but please keep in mind if I'm not making much sense or you see misspelled words, please forgive me!  Many of you may not have adopted before but many more of you have had biological children and know what the postpartum time period is like.  Consider an international adoption to be amplified by about 10 times!!!  It's rough....

In fact, today, I just decided that I am flat out tired.  Complete exhaustion!  We took a taxi to our favorite restaurant here to meet with the other wonderful adoptive family in town...I looked at the beautiful lit up bridges and I looked at the sparkling lights in the trees that cause a reflection in the sparkling snow.  And, I thought....this is *beautiful* and....I want to go home!   I reflected on that for awhile (we were stuck in traffic, lol!)  And, I realized that our children will most likely go through that same feeling.  The feeling of, "this is all lovely and nice but it just doesn't feel like home...I still feel like a fish out of water".   And, I will work hard to remember that it is nothing personal.  After all, I feel no dislike towards the people of this wonderful country but it isn't my home.  I could make it my home if all of my family were here...but it would still take awhile to finally feel like I was in my own pond and comfy again. 

Well, maybe telling this next story will cheer me up because it was certainly funny!  So several days ago we went to the zoo with the children.  Yes, an outdoor zoo in negative degree weather!  My husband joked that he figured that all we would see is frozen feet poking up through the snow at each exhibit.  But, as you can see...there are animals who deal with the cold just fine...or at least they can live through it as I can't vouch for how happy they are!  Here is my new camel friend...if you watch the video carefully you will catch a precursor to my later embarrassing moment...okay, no more clues!

Notice that there is virtually no fence but merely a small thin and low wire which is what my husband was so kindly pointing out, as the camel got closer!

It was sooooo cold!  There were a few indoor exhibits and I wanted to stay in them as loooong as possible!

The first we went into was the flamingos and some other random birds (sorry, I admit I wasn't paying particular attention...my brain was frozen! :-)

The next indoor exhibit was the giraffes....they were rocking out in the warmth to 80's American music!

I couldn't help but think of the movie "Madagascar" and imagined how the giraffes might be smiling and dancing around in front of the windows while the other animals shivered in the snow.

My husband tried to point out a few more outdoor (and icy) exhibits while I muttered a few "uh huhs" and plodded a straight forward line towards the tropical house....another heated and indoor exhibit.

It was very warm....but had a very strong odor that nearly made me run back out into the cold.  But, I didn't...my body won and my nose lost! 

The twins had no issue and ran up the wooden bridge that takes you up over four crocodiles!  We all ooohed and aaahed for awhile at all of the different frogs and snakes and bugs.  Then, we entered the "dark and scary area"  Okay, I named it that!  I have no idea what they call it since the signs aren't in English.  But,
it is an area with nocturnal animals with black lights and it is very dark.

I. charged right in but K. definitely held back and wasn't so sure that she wanted to go.  I encouraged her and then offered to carry her which she took me up on right away.  She has been playing "baby" a lot which is great and perfect for bonding! :-)

So, we headed down the winding corridor into darkness.  The exhibits often had more than one kind of animal, so we would be looking at a larger animal and then there would be these fast darting shadows of rats and mice running around.  Super creepy!

We got near the end and there were the cutest little monkeys with white faces that kind of glowed in the dark.  As we got closer and our eyes could adjust and focus, I saw that one was curiously inching his way down the log towards us behind the glass.  Both of the twins were a bit hesitant but I saw the little monkey coming and I said, "Oh, look he's coming to see us!  How cute!  Come over and to the glass and see him!"  So, I put K. down next to the glass and bent down and said "Come here little monk......AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

My entire body literally self propelled backwards in absolute instinctual movement as the "cute" little monkey launched himself off the log and towards the glass and my face!!!!!

My camera went sliding across the floor as my body slammed against the brick wall behind me.  My legs then buckled and my feet slid out from under me and I ended up crumpled on the floor.  The twins went running out of the "dark and scary area" screaming for "DADDY!!!!!"

My husband said that I. looked just like the scene in "Home Alone" where he runs out with his arms up in the air. (I. does look a lot like a young McCauley Culkin! :-)

I began to gather my things and my camera while hysterically laughing and *wishing* that we had gotten that on camera so that we could win on "America's funniest Home Videos"  I limped back up the hallway to be sure that the twins were okay and had found their dad.

The twins were both completely laughing and weren't traumatized at all...they both wanted to show Daddy the scary monkey.  So, we wandered back while I examined my purple bruised finger that I couldn't remember injuring in my fall. 

As we approached, I looked up and there was that stinking monkey peering around the corner with his little white face just taunting me to try to come over there one more time.  LOL!  I shreiked again much to the delight of the twins and to my wonderful husband.  I told him that there was no way that I could go over there again! 

Here is my other new "friend" the Douroucouli or night monkey!
I had to go by them with my back towards the cage to get out....when I told my husband that I wished we had gotten my embarrassing moment on video, he said that maybe the zoo kept a camera on that exhibit for that exact purpose! Ha ha!  Well, it might just be the second time I make it on tv here in the twin's country.  We were interviewed at the mall when we first arrived by a news team that was asking people how they felt about the cold.  They thought it was very funny when I told them we were from California! :-)

Well, this post has taken way too long and I need to head for bed so that we can have a better day tomorrow.  I will post about it once I am able to regroup and get some rest so that I can see things more positively.  Thanks everyone for your continued support and prayers....and laughter at my expense!

February 7, 2012

Hot off the presses!!! The twins first slide show!

Celebrating our first week together!  Here is our slide show that I've been promising.  I hope I was successful at not showing any full identity face pics but at the same time helping to reach out and encourage others to consider adoption as well as sending out a thank you to all of you who have donated time, funds, and said prayers on our behalf.  We are so appreciative and send our love from the freezing cold of Eastern Europe!  Enjoy!!!

February 6, 2012

Living a month in a day....

Wondering if anyone relates to this?  The important moments in your life have sooo much living packed into them...it is both challenging and rewarding all at the same time.  You are also keenly aware that you are laying a foundation of memories that you will  never ever forget. 

The twins are truly beautiful children both inside and out....and I *really* mean that.  They have done the most amazingly kind things that you just would never imagine from four year old children!  They love and care for each other with such tenderness and true altruistic love.  I. always makes sure that K. has exactly as much treats as he has.  He makes sure that she is okay and taken care of and even praised her (he has learned to say "good job!") and smoothed her hair over her forehead.  And, K. makes it a point to go over and give him a hug and kiss before bed.  They are also both very affectionate which is going to really help with bonding. :-)

We had about a day of the true honeymoon period and then it quickly ended.  I think that it has several sources but one of the most difficult hurdles we have had is the *weather*.  It is extremely cold here and is getting into the -20 degree range.  When you go outside, the inside of your nose freezes and your face feels as if it has been slapped around.  As much as we love our apartment, it does not provide enough space or opportunity for recreation for active four year old twins.  And, once I started seeing their behavior turn on us, I thought that what we needed to do more was offer more of a routine and nap time etc. which actually required more time inside.  That backfired on us in a big way and was leading to them kicking and hitting over simple tasks like getting dressed.  And, of course, there was definitely no napping that day. :(

So, we switched gears and decided to get out more and just try to find pleasant activities and ways to play and have fun.  So, that evening, we went to a very touristy restaurant that has all sorts of different activities.  If it were warmer, there would even be carnival rides available.  Believe it or not there were people that were using the ice skating rink.   BRRRRRR!!!!  I cannot even imagine it, frankly.  Five minutes outside and I am done!  If you all are thinking how much of a wimp I am....admittedly, we are used to the weather in California....but just come and try it first before you judge! LOL!

Anyway, we had a *wonderful* dinner!  It was like a Hometown Buffet type place but it had much better food and so many more options.  We tried many new foods that were extremely good.  They had pork shishkabobs that reminded me of my childhood days when we would go to festivals at the Greek Orthadox church nearby.  Sooooo good!!!  The children ate like there was no tomorrow and we had to play the "chew, chew, chew" game so that they didn't choke.  They had their cheeks stuffed like little chipmunks.

Then, we found a little children's play area that had the ball play area like at a McDonalds and all sorts of other fun things to do.  They are set up for parents to leave their children which was somewhat unfortunate because I would have rather stayed to play with them but, I will admit it was a nice chance to let them enjoy themselves while Robert and I talked and rested a bit over some hot chocolate. 

After about a half hour, a live band started to play and we thought the twins would enjoy it so Robert went to get them.  They loved it!  Without hesitation, they gave us their balloons, and took each other's hands and headed to the dance floor!  I'm working on a slideshow (trying to play the game of maintaining the required confidentiality while still showing their cuteness...hard but I think it will be possible) that depicts our first days here and will include a video clip of them dancing.  It was adorable!

On Saturday, we went to an indoor water park that was the best I have ever been to!  We had a fabulous time!  We were able to link up with another adoptive family that is here.  They are the nicest and kindest people and it really hit me how wonderful adoption can be.  It is hard....sometimes really, really hard for both the children and for the adoptive parents and yet it is also so beautiful to bring children that are so in need of family and love to find the open arms of such loving people to take them in.

Our day at the water park went perfectly....I. was able to expend a ton of energy with all sorts of new things to do....and he LOVES water!  I thought I already had kids that loved water but they still would hesitate at the age of four to get their whole face in the water or to have it poured directly over their face and head!  He does not care at all and has absolutely no fear of the water.  He and my husband spent the day together in the deep water of the wave pool and running around the pirate ship shooting each other with water cannons and celebrating fast trips down the slides!

K. on the other hand is much more careful and watchful and wants to be sure that things are safe before she just jumps in.  So, we spent a lot of time at the shore of the wave pool or in shallow and calmer areas.  It was a wonderful way to bond...lots and lots of holding and hugs....and her wanting to be, and feeling safe in my arms.  One of my favorite memories is when she was playing around a pirate ship and there is a big bucket of water that dumps out when it is full and it scared her.  Guess what she did?  Well, let me first say that she didn't automatically run to her brother this time...she immediately looked up (which means it was split second and instinctual) and yelled with fear in her voice,  "Mommy!!!" while reaching out for me.  I have never been happier to scoop a child up into my arms! :-)

I need to end this and just get used to blogging a little every day again.  I promise that I am working on a slideshow so that you can get at least a peek at what amazing cuties they are!  Keep the prayers coming.....we still really need and appreciate them.