March 15, 2012

Prayer request for our family-and another slideshow :-)

This post has been my most internally debated with a strong desire to avoid altogether....and I'm still not sure I want to write the words.  However, I can't blog at all if I don't.... it is a central issue for our family right now.

Thankfully, the issue is not the twins at all....we are all bonding together extremely well and they are settling in as very loved and appreciated members of the family.  I have so many fun stories to tell but feel that I must discuss the adversity first, because we really need the prayers.

I have mentioned but have not focused on the fact that my husband had just started the police academy when we began the adoption.  I am embarrassed to say that this was not a prayerful or spiritual decision but rather it seemed to make sense and was something he had truly wanted to do.  We had the savings and I could continue our business at least part time in his absence.  Keep in mind that this was just *prior* to our beginning the adoption.

He pre-tested with one of the highest scores of the class and I saw him dedicate himself in a way I had never seen before.  They started with a group of around 80-90, but as they were told to expect....he only graduated with about 25.  It took extreme amounts of hard work, a two hour daily commute which typically started and ended in the dark, extreme physical training, studying until late at night, and the near daily stress that he could be cut with any fail of a test or scenario at any time. 

I was so relieved, happy, and proud that he made it through and I was looking forward to getting back on more solid ground financially as I just assumed that certainly by July or August he would have a job.

You probably know where I am going with this....

The horrendous economy coupled with the extremely loooooong hiring process for law enfocement means that after Robert putting out over 60 applications all over California and a few in Washington...... there is no job. 

I haven't mentioned it much because I've been trying to stay positive and continue to have hope.  And, it sounded *really* good that he would have a job lined up by the time we returned after our month to go get the twins.  He had passed the physical agility and written exam, the oral board interview, the polygraph, and the psych eval.  But, when we got home, he was told that a smaller group went through the new hire academy and he was not selected (possibly because we were out of country, but we will never know).....but he could possibly go through in August.

August isn't that far away.....except when you are paying such high rates for medical insurance that it is like trying to carry two mortgages. 

So, here we are.....we MUST have health insurance, and currently ours is an extended COBRA and very expensive but also very good.  We absolutely cannot go on anything state subsidized and still have our adoption go through.  And, it is NOT an option to go without, especially now that we have the twins. 

We also have the expenses of two more trips (flight and hotel and court costs) to the twin's country including more fees for an updated home visit from the social worker for the next court date as well as fees for apostilling the documents and more money for filing for the children's immigration. 

We are really facing a scary nightmare. 

And, an ending to Robert's dream of law enforcement....for now.  He is now looking for any job in any field that would provide benefits.  And, jobs that are *anywhere* which means that we may be moving.  The job market is extremely tough right now and we are being realistic that it may mean some serious sacrifices.

So life is hard right now....down right discouraging. 

And, many people might say.....(I often imagine someone with their hands on their hips) "well, they should never have adopted...that was a bad decision".  And, if you looked at it from purely a financial point of view.....I suppose they would be right.  We invested our savings, 401K, and every spare cent into the the point of depleting all of our food storage to eliminate grocery bills.

But, I am firmly resolute that I have absolutely no regrets and that these two are our children and they are HOME!  Money doesn't mean anything to me if it isn't being used for things that actually matter. 

And, all of you that have been reading our blog for awhile will know that our family started an online walkathon and walked nearly every day to attempt to help bring them home. 

Can you even imagine the feelings and tears that welled up when we took this picture.....with the twins actually and *finally* here!

I decided after writing this blog that I just had to do another slide show.....just to help me to cope and provide the inspiration.....we all *love* the two of them so much and I have been hugged and kissed and had someone on my lap more in the past few weeks than ever before. 

Bring on the prayers and encouragement.....I just know that Heavenly Father is with us......and the twins are home, Hallelujah!!!!!!  (as always, the fuzzy quality with some of the pics/video is intentional until the adoption is final in order to comply with the court)

March 7, 2012

Part 2 of our homecoming-traveling with the amazing Wonder Twins!

So, after the twins gave the thumbs up and activated their super powers (read the last post, lol!) we made it to the airport nearly four hours early.  It is good to be early in terms of getting on the airplane but all of you that have small children will recognize that this is also an additional challenge. 

How do you keep active four year old twins from being:
A. Overstimulated from the airport environment which leads to difficult behaviors
B.  Understimulated and bored which leads to difficult behaviors

Well, we decided to eat (remember my last post about our favorite restaurant?)  They had a smaller version of the best restaurant in Eastern Europe inside the airport.  So, I slowly savored my last bites of chicken shish kebabs and barley mashed potatoes with fresh squeezed carrot juice.  The twins were really too excited to eat much but we managed to get them to eat a little and then decided we had better wait in the long line to get our baggage checked.

Sounds horrible, right?

Nope!  The twins were fascinated with the belts that carried the luggage:

Next was the security check point....oh man, did I dread that!  It is hectic and people behind you want you to hurry up and we had several carry on bags and two lap tops and coats to remove, *and* twins!  I had envisioned them running around or tantruming while I was trying to throw miscellaneous items in grey bins with my hair standing straight up! 

However, there were no issues whatsoever.  Once again, they were fascinated by it all!  We even had airport security that demanded to search K. (I had forgotten that her coat was still on and had a metal zipper....and you know she looks like a seriously scary terrorist!)  I opened my mouth to protest but she was already standing with her arms out and looking like a cheerleader with a huge smile while the metal detector scanned over her tiny little frame. 

Next was Wizz Air......okay, I mentioned on a previous post that this is a very "no frill" airline.  It makes Southwest airlines look like first class.  My husband likes to point out how appropriate their name is as his feet were sticking to the floor when he attempted to use the bathroom. 

However, once again, the flight went without a problem!  I. was fascinated on this leg of the trip with the safety features handout. 

He kept pointing to the mask pictures and pointing up at the ceiling over our heads and looking quizzical.  I tried to explain the best I could and used the words "it's okay" a lot in order to help reassure him.  But, he seemed fine with it and just curious more than anything. 

Oh!  I neglected to mention that this was the first time they had *ever* flown in their lives.  And, they merely smiled during take off and then played and looked through magazines the rest of the time.  Can you tell that it was just a bit cold?

They fell asleep approx five minutes before the plane landed in London.

We had two groggy babies when we arrived and we had a fair walk ahead of us to get to our taxi that would shuttle us to Heathrow airport.  I carried K. most of the way and she kept asking to go "home" in her language.  It was so hard to hear those words and know that even when we made it home that it wouldn't yet be home to her. 

As soon as we got into the taxi, I. immediately pointed at the steering wheel in the taxi with a look of surprise and confusion. 

He had noticed that the steering wheel is on the opposite side!  Very observant, especially for a sleepy four year old!  He then shrugged his shoulders and smiled at me as though to say "Whatever! What silly people!"

We arrived at Heathrow a short time later and stumbled through the brightly lit airport to a very unusual but highly appreciated hotel that is located inside the airport.

It is called "Yotel" and reminded me of a room in a train but with a space age twist. 
Robert wasn't too keen at first with the idea of a hotel that charges by the hour!  But, truly, every airport should have this as an option!

This was almost like our room except that we had bunk beds that would sleep two per each bunk....very cozily.  K. was super excited about the idea of sleeping on a bunk bed but not so happy when she learned she needed to share with her brother.  Either way, we had a place to sleep for a few hours before getting up at 5am to head for our 10.5 hour flight on Virgin Atlantic.

Sounds horrible, right?  Well, believe it or not, the twins were so happy with having their own tv and choice of recent animated movies that I was able to watch a Shakespearean type movie called "Anonymous" twice....with virtually no interruptions! 

They kept the food coming during the entire trip....and even offered kids meals!  It was wonderful!  We had two bigger meals and several snacks where they would just randomly bring by ice cream bars or dark chocolate mousse!  We even had scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Yum!

When we landed in San Francisco it was 1pm California time and 11pm from the time zone we had just left.  K. did not sleep at all on the plane and I. only slept for about 15 min.  So when my dad came to pick us up they were almost immediately asleep and missed their first look at California. 

I was astounded by how *green* and bright everything was!!!  It was almost difficult for my eyes to take it all in.....I had anticipated loving the warmth but completely forgot about the color green! LOL!

We had a quiet and relaxing two hour drive and the twins literally woke up minutes before we arrived home.

Can you believe how wonderful and easy that trip was....okay, it was long and had a few moments of discomfort here and there but overall it was smooth and pleasant. :-)   I am so thankful for all of the prayers said on our behalf and thankful to our loving Heavenly Father who helped us every step of the way.  AHHHHHH, we were finally HOME!!!!!!!

To be continued.....I'll try to write about our arrival and reunion with the whole family tomorrow!

March 5, 2012

Wonder twins power-ACTIVATE!!!

I know that this post title is going to show my age!  But, you will see how important it is in just a moment! ;-)

I first want to apologize for leaving everyone hanging but I truly could not keep up with trying to get my house back together after a month of neglect, on top of jet lag, and provide a constant and stable presence for the twins as well as my other children who needed me too after missing their mom for a month.  It has been a busy week!

I decided that I will start at the beginning just before we left the twin's country so that I can capture the memories..... before they are gone.  So, I will slowly but surely get us all caught up.....

The day we left was actually bitter sweet.  After all of my whining about wanting to be home with the rest of our children and back where we had warmth and budding fruit trees, I realized that this time that we had with the children was nearly over.  And, I realized that as hard as it was, there were also many good memories.

  It was time to say goodbye to our first home together.....this is the outside of our apartment bldg.

And, to say a final goodbye to the huge boat that we greeted and waved goodbye to outside our window every morning and every evening.

It was time to say goodbye to our winter wonderland full of crunchy snow and our absolute favorite place to go out to eat and play!

Where Tom and Jerry episodes mixed with shish kebabs and chocolate strawberry cake made for absolute heaven on the earth!

So, in the end, I did indeed feel sentimental about this first home of ours together.  And, I was more than a bit worried about how hard this upcoming trip was going to be for the twins. 

We took our final ride to the airport in the taxi and just prior to leaving I told the children using their word for airplane that we were *finally* going to go!  Their foster mother did a great job in preparing them so they knew that it was coming.  But, seriously.....nothing could have prepared me for what they did next........and I promise that I am not adding or dramatizing to make a better story.

We sat in the back of the taxi and I explained once again that we were going to the plane....both of them paused and stared forward as though they were deeply processing what I was saying.  Then the lightbulb went off! 

They looked at me and both almost simultaneously asked "airplane?" in their language....with the tone suggesting that they were asking....really and truly, right NOW????

I nodded with a sufficient look of excitement that they got it...we were leaving for America....this was it!!!!!!

And, now the unexpected behavior.......

K. locked eyes with I. and gave him the thumbs up!

I. looked at her with a huge smile of agreement and put his thumb up next to hers!

I absolutely couldn't help but to flash back when I was a a cartoon that I hadn't thought of in years.....if you remember this, you are old too! hee hee

This was it!!!  Their time had come and they acted as though they knew all along that this was the next chapter for them and what they needed to do.   

Then, they started kissing and hugging each other with an intensity I had never seen sheer bliss and excitement!  They spoke to each other in short exclamations that seemed like "Yay, America!  Yay, airplane!  Yay, family!  FINALLY!!!!"  (my interpretation may be off a bit! ;-)

Then, they would start hugging and kissing each other again and pressing themselves to the window of the taxi. 

Where in the world do you find four year olds that would not only understand the enormous meaning of this moment but that would express it with excitement *and* with the idea that they were ready and were bravely facing it together....I hope I am describing the moment with the right clarity because I hope to never forget it.....and the rest of our trip is based on this theme......

"Wonder twins power.....ACTIVATE!!!!!"

Stay tuned as I will try to tell a part of our story every day until I am caught up.....tommorrow on to our plane ride and staying the night in a space pod! ;-)