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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It is Done!

Sorry for the delay and not blogging while in country. We didn't even bring the computer since I had so much to carry and take care of Darya as well. In addition, we didn't have internet at the apartment and the connection at the cafĂ© wasn't that good.  
As most of you know, Darya is from Latvia, a very old country on the Baltic Sea that used to be a part of the USSR. I'll do a post about Darya's life in Latvia, where she has lived, and our times in country later.
But for now...this was the best trip yet! Darya and I went alone. She does NOT sleep on planes. She loves take off and landing. She laughs and laughs. Its so cute. The lack of sleep really sucked on the way there as it was throughout our regular nighttime. Plus her tummy was having issues (again). But she did great. After every plane ride on the way there, people commented on how well she did. She was so exhausted. She only slept for 30 minutes and that was while I was holding her. But I couldn't do it for long b/c I started having major back pains. We left our home around 8:30am and arrived in Latvia at what would have been 4am our time. We were both pooped! Darya passed out around 6pm and I followed about an hour later. We slept til 3am, at which time she wanted to eat. We hung out til 5am, then went back to sleep until 10:30am. It was great. While Darya was eating her 3am breakfast, she started signing "home." Broke my heart. I told her no but that we would go home soon.
Our apartment was great and in a great location in Riga. We had a full size gas stove! No hot plates! Our own washer. Close enough to Old Town Riga that we could walk (and did once) to it but the tram stop was a couple of blocks away and we were there in 2-3 stops, depending on where we wanted to go. Riga is beautiful!
After a wonderful day of rest, a play at the park, and picking up some groceries which was also just a few blocks away, we woke on Monday to get Darya's new passport and her medical for her Visa. The in-country agency contact was on their game. Darya's passport was already ordered by the attorney using one of Darya's old pictures (one I don't have by the way) and so all I had to do was sign some papers and we were done. At the medical, the doctor was very impressed with how much Darya had progressed and the discovery that her diagnosis was hearing impairment and celiac disease was incorrect. She asked permission to use Darya's information to develop a presentation for the doctors that oversee the orphanages about the importance of proper diagnosis on development (since they thought Darya was basically deaf, they didn't speak to her, for instance) and the potential of children with special needs, even the more severe needs. I, of course, said yes.
After the medical, we contacted the Embassy to see if we could do our exit interview on Monday since we had everything. Our appointment was scheduled for Tuesday. They said come one! So we did. Everything went well, despite the fact that our I94 had expired. We were granted the Visa and picked it up on Tuesday. So, I could have gone home on Wed. but it cost too much to change our tickets. So, instead we just hung out in Riga. We had a great, laid back time.
Eating Ramen noodles...not our fave.

Big girl eating at McDonald's. She even fed herself. Generally in public (esp. a loud place like McD's), Darya refuses to feed herself. But she ate 3 nuggets all by herself.

This balloon was the biggest hit. I took it from her to get her on the tram, and she fell into an immediate tantrum. It was kinda funny and kinda not since we needed to hurry. 


We ended up getting round trip tickets under Darya's Latvian name and I was nervous about how this would work since her passport and Visa were different names. But we had no problems with this and saved $900. By the time we got home, we had been traveling for 25 hours. It was nearly 10pm our time and 5am in Latvia. Darya had finally fallen asleep in the car (she only slept 1 hour on the plane and that was with Melatonin) but woke up when we got home. I put her to bed but she quickly got out and was so excited to be home. She kept walking from room to room and laughing and giggling. She tried out some of her toys, bounced on our couch, and then wanted to eat. I had brought instant grits to Latvia that was butter flavored but they were salty. Darya eats her's with butter and sugar (like she had at Kalkuni). When I pulled out the grits container, she had a look like "finally, mama, you got the right ones." She gobbled it up and then proceeded to laugh and giggle some more.
Too tired initially to even let mama change her into her PJ's, though she did let me change her diaper.
But quickly popped back up and was eager to explore her home again (and eat some grits)
She was so tired her eyes actually looked like this all the time. She couldn't hold them up for nothing but kept trying to stay awake.
I have some more pictures that I can't get to right now and I'm also sleepy.
More later...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Final Trip!!!!

Darya and I are leaving Friday for our final trip!
We will be gone about 9 days (God willing!).

Her adoption was February 25, 2013
The appeal period has ended and the court decree has been issued! 

I can't wait to leave and then return to truly start our lives together as mother and child! Some of me is nervous about taking her on the plane and back to her country b/c of not knowing how she will react or what she is going to think. The other part of me is glad to take her back to visit and hope she will associate her country with good feelings and appreciate its beauty. It is a beautiful country. However, I just checked the live cams and was disappointed to still see so much snow. In fact, its snowing there now. Guess I need to bring my snow boots and try to find her some before we lave.

We have been very busy lately. Darya had tubes put in her ears last week. We had Easter the weekend before. She got her glasses this past weekend. She has been doing really well for the most part. Recently she has started helping me to dress herself more. However, this immediately brought on a new self-play siutation. Darya routinely plays out being hit/kicked/bit/smacked/choked/etc and then will play like she's crying. Its been going on for about 3 weeks now. She does this all the time. Not for attention but when she's playing by herself. On the one hand, I'm glad to see she has progressed into more self-play. She generally will just lie around dangling her little dolls or walks around throwing stuff. She loves to lay in bed listening to music. Its just something we have to work through, I guess.

Darya is signing more and more and shows so much understanding in what is being said to her and in how she responds. She is able to let me know what songs she wants me to sing, she dances along with one of them. Its so cute. Its the 3 Little Ducks and when I say "widdle waddle" and do the little shimmy, she does it too! She lets me know she wants this song by quacking. Yes, she can quack! She has also started saying "da da." No "mama" yet but she is interested in what I'm saying when I do it and she moves her mouth like she's trying to copy me. But no sound yet. The worst part is she actually makes the sound all the time when she is dangling her lovies. She initiates signs to tell me things and shows some understanding of steps (like first we do this and then we do this-type stuff). She took my hand the other day and then pulled back and signed "cold" b/c my hand was really cold. Another time she heard the microwave and started signing "cook." She is understanding now that if she wants to "eat" we have to "cook" first. She's a smart cookie!

I have pictures from easter, World Down Syndrome Day, her surgery, and glasses. Unfortunately, I'm too busy to get them to post right now. I will soon. Darya was beautiful at Easter!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Daily Smiles: URGENT: Home Sweet Home Giveaway For"'Brigita"

Daily Smiles: URGENT: Home Sweet Home Giveaway For"'Brigita"

This is a fundraiser to help me and Darya finish up her adoption journey! I can't believe I haven't posted yet but things are been very very busy lately! Please stop by, take a look, and help us out on what is most likely our final fundraiser as we are traveling in about a week (YIKES!).