Legacy of an Adopted Child

"Once there were two women, who barely knew each other. One is in your heart forever, the other you'll call mother. Two different lives, shaped to make yours one. One became your guiding star, the other became your sun. The first gave you life, and the second taught you how to live it. The first gave you a need for love, and the second was there to give it. One gave you nationality, the other gave you a name. One gave you the seed of talent, the other gave you an aim. One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears. One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears. One gave you a family, it was what God intended for her to do. The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you. And now you ask me, through your tears, the age old question through the years. Heredity or environment....which are you a product of? Neither my darling...neither, just two different kinds of love". - Unknown

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2 months home

Hello everyone - we can not believe we have been home with Logan for two months now. Since our last post, we have continued to adjust to our new life as parents of a toddler. We had a great Thanksgiving with our families up in Northern Virginia. Logan finally got the chance to meet his Uncle Ben, play with the Gaskill twins and meet all of the horses out in Luray. Logan is finally walking and defintely keeping us on our toes. He began taking a few steps right before we left for Thanksgiving and then over the holiday weekend (with lots of practice and encouragement from us and Mimi). Now, he is walking all over the house and even climbing up the stairs. We're on a whole new level, people!!!!! Logan is also "testing his boundaries". When he knows he is doing something or touching something he shouldn't, he will do it and then look back at us and smile. He definitely knows what he wants and will not stop until he gets it! We are continuing to sleep through the nights and still wake up smiling and wanting to cuddle. We have another doctor's appointment on Friday, so it will be interesting to see how much he has grown and to discuss a few things with our new doctor/pediatrician. Today, Logan also turns 14 months and continutes to amaze us and make us laugh every day and teach us an unconditional love that is hard to explain - you just have to experience it for yourself. We are looking forward to a road trip up to New Jersey to visit Dennis' family this weekend. The following weekend we are excited to go to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens with the grandparents. And of course we are excited to celebrate Logan's first Christmas and our trip to Texas!! We hope you are all doing well and are enjoying the holiday season.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A long, overdue NOVEMBER update

It's hard to believe that the month of November is almost over! It seems as if ever since we've been home with Logan time is going WAY to fast. He is literally growing up and changing every day - almost too fast! But, we are all doing great and enjoying each and every moment that we have together. Since going back to work, we have all gotten used to our new schedules. Logan is a real trooper about getting woken up at 6:15 in the morning to go next door to the babysitters, waking up every morning with a smile. This month, Logan met Aunt Lauren - her and Mom came down to babysit, while we went to a wedding. Logan had a BLAST with Mimi and Aunt Lolo and it was nice to have them here to help out. We also survived the Nor'easter that hit our area pretty hard. We didn't have any damage to our home, but had some pretty bad flooding in our neighborhood (the water came up to the top of the first step of our porch, completely covered the yard and the streets were impassable). But, we survived and enjoyed having a day off of work to spend together as a family. We also enjoyed a trip up to NOVA for a wonderful shower that Ginny Murphy hosted for us. It was so fun to bring Logan over to meet everyone and we were touched by everyone who came to celebrate with us. This weekend we took Logan to his first football game (Nicole's school won the regional game) and he loved it. There was so much for him to look at, lots of people for him to wave to and plenty to keep him entertained. We are looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving and taking Logan out to Luray for the first time. He is continuing to learn new things all of the time - he loves to wave "hi" and "bye", he says "dada", "dog", "mama" (not to Nicole, but when he's eating), he copies sounds and motions, still loves tires (or anything that he can spin with his finger), gives "high 5s", took a couple of steps by himself the other day (still not walking, though), gives us kisses at least once a day, loves kisses from Maggie and so much more!
We were talking this weekend about how special this Thanksgiving will be for our family this year - we have SO much to be thankful for, we don't even know where to begin. It's hard to believe that this time, 2 years ago, we were just starting the process. We were overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork we were being asked to complete. We had no idea what our journey was going to be like. We were touched and blessed by all of your kind words, encouragement, support and continued love. We never would have thought that 2 years later, we would be blessed with such a perfect child to help us start our family. We knew all along that God would lead us to the child that was meant to be with us - but having Logan is truly amazing and we pray every day that we are the parents that he needs. Those of you who are reading this and have children, know exactly what I am talking about. My adoptive family friends who I have met along the way, I know can relate to the variety of feelings and emotions that we are experiencing on our first holiday together. My adoptive family friends who are still waiting for your child, stay strong and know that your time is coming. I can't wait to read about your first holiday with your child and how much they will change your life. So, thank you all for always being there for us and we couldn't ask for better family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving! We love you.

Loving a visit from Aunt Lauren

Playing at the park with Mom

The beginning of the effects of the Nor'easter - this wasn't event he worst of it

Logan's first football game - GO WOODSIDE!!!

"Can you believe that play, Mom?"

Logan playing INSIDE the toybox

Hanging out with Uncle Ryan

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One month already?!?!

Well, it's been awhile since our last post, but we've been busy chasing around a now, 13 month old! That's right, today Logan is 13 months old and as of tomorrow we will have been home with him for 1 month - TIME IS FLYING!!!! Since our last post, we enjoyed the rest of October, hanging out together each day, visiting with Logan's grandparents and other family members and of course, celebrating Logan's first Halloween (which as you can see from the picture, he was lion and didn't quite understand the concept of giving the candy away to other people!!!). We have also successfully made it through our first week of Mom and Dad going back to work and Logan staying with our wonderful neighbors! He has done so good and it has been SO hard to leave him every day, wondering what new thing he is going to do or learn that we have to hear about instead of see for ourselves. But, he is in excellent hands and is so loved by our neighbors. The favorite part of my day is when I come and pick him up and he sees me through the door and this ENORMOUS smile comes across his face and he starts crawling toward the door. I LOVE THAT MOMENT!!! But, he's doing really well - he is definitely growing, he is getting more hair, he is teething again, he is going to start walking on his own very soon, we have noticed that his "thumbsucking" has stopped, he is sleeping better through the night, and he just keeps us busy - always on the go! Anyways, we hope you are all doing well. In case you didn't know, we have another website strictly for pictures of Logan and the website is http://adaywithlogan.shutterfly.com. We will still keep the blog for updates and some pictures, but have the other one as well.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Settling in at Home

Hi everyone. I know it's been awhile, but it's hard to believe that we've already been home for 1 week. And what a week it's been! Filled with firsts for Logan and lots of memories. I'll try to summarize it for you:

You may be wondering how the 10 hour flight went. Well, for the most part it was fine. Logan was great for the majority of the flight, but didn't sleep much (a total of 2 hours). Everyone around us fell in love with him and during our walks around the plane he made sure to stop and smile at each person. It was a good thing that he charmed everyone in the beginning because he basically cried for the last 2 hours of the flight. We later found out when we went to the pediatrician, that he still has an ear infection (which the doctor in Russia told us was gone) and that probably attributed to the pain he was feeling. We finally landed, made it through customs, gathered our luggage and went to our last stop when we were told that they didn't process our paperwork at the first customs, so we had to go to a separate line and wait for our name to be called. Finally about 2 hours after we landed we walked through the doors to the smiling faces and cheers from many of our family and friends - the signs and balloons were so neat to see. It was great to finally be back home and with the people we have loved and missed so much. After many hugs, tears and oohing and ahhing over Logan, we made it back to Nicole's Mom's for a small birthday party for Logan. We really appreciate everyone who came and made our homecoming so special - The King's, Merz's, Colon's, Burton's, Burke's, Gaskill's and especially Aunt Mary who came all the way from Texas - we love you all!

We then spent the rest of the weekend with our family and let me tell you how neat it is to see our parents as GRANDPARENTS - the love you see in their eyes is something everyone needs to experience. It was a quick visit before we were ready to head home - just the 3 of us and start our life together. So, we headed to Hampton on Sunday for Logan's first night at home. We took him from room to room in the house and walked outside so he could see the house. The feeling that overcame us to finally have him home is indescribable.

Our first week together was pretty good. Monday we met with the International Adoption Pediatrician. She gave us some tips, watched him play and said he was on track developmentally. Logan then had to get some blood work done, so we had to hold him down as they took about 8 vials of blood - that was SO hard to do as he is looking up at your SCREAMING!!!! But, we all made it through!

Dennis went back to work on Tuesday, so it was just Mommy and Logan. Trying to get him back on schedule with the time change and just overall life change was kind of difficult at the beginning of the week - ok, Nicole has had a couple of meltdowns, but is much better now! For the most part, Logan will sleep through the night, getting up a couple of times, but will go right back to sleep. He was first waking up around 6 or 6:30, but is now sleeping mostly through the night and waking up around 7 or 7:30. We have discovered that Logan LOVES Baby Einstein, taking walks outside to visit the ducks, bath time & lotion rubdowns afterwards, jumping in his monkey bouncer, being barefoot, food and many other things. We have also discovered that Logan does not like grass on his feet, wearing socks, the car seat (but we have made MUCH improvement), pears and afternoon naps. Logan has also been lucky to have visits from both of his grandmothers who just couldn't stay away - we loved having them down here and can't wait for many more visits.

I guess we've gone on enough about our first week. I will post pictures later, as it is not working right now. Some people have asked if I am going to keep up with the blog and the answer is YES - we will keep people updated on how Logan is doing and all of the fun things he is learning along the way. The updates may not be as frequent as they used to be, but we will definitely update :) We hope you are all doing well and again thank you for your continued prayers and support. Our prayers are a little different these days - we pray in thanksgiving for this angel God has given us, for safe travels on our journey to pick him up and for our health and life. We pray every night to be better parents each day and to be the parents that Logan needs us to be (not necessarily who we think we need to be). And lastly, we thank God for all of you!! We can't wait for you each to meet Logan - we know you will fall in love just like we have :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 11 - Logan's First Birthday

Well, we started off the morning early at 545am... Logan was ready to celebrate his birthday with us so he could not wait. We hung out today and started getting ready for our journey home to meet all of our family and friends. Dennis went to the monastery to pick up a relic of Logan's patron Saint (St. Igor). Dennis got back and we had a birthday lunch for Logan which included a cake. After lunch Logan only took a 45 min nap, due to the numerous amounts of sugar in his body from the cake. We made it through the day and now are ready to come home to the GOOD OLD USA.... We hope to see alot of you tomorrow at the Airport at 3pm.

Love you all....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 10 - Play Day

We had another nice day together as a family. The weather was BEAUTIFUL today so we actually went out and walked around and into a couple of the malls. Logan fell asleep about 15 minutes into the walk, so that replaced his afternoon nap. We got a chance to spend some time with the other family who arrived last night and Logan and their son, Aleks, played together this afternoon - and shared their toys very nicely! We are counting down the hours before we board the plane home - tomorrow we will celebrate Logan's 1st birthday. We are going to go to a monastery in the morning and pick up a souvenier of his baptismal saint (he was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church) and then hang out and pack the rest of the afternoon. We hope to see many of you when we come home Friday afternoon. WE CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 9

Today was a restful day - didn't do much. We are definitely getting homesick and counting down the days knowing that we will be home soon. Logan has been a little more cranky than usual, but I think it is because a new tooth is coming through. Or maybe he knows he's leaving his birthplace and going to a strange new land - who knows! German has been gone the past 2 days with another family who just picked up their son from Kaluga also. They just got in tonight and we are excited for Logan to have a playmate for the next couple of days! Maybe they knew each other from the baby home! Anyways, we're signing off for the night and will talk to you all tomorrow. Love and miss you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 8 - US Embassy

Today was our trip to the US Embassy. We began our day with laughs and giggles from a happy baby. Then we cuddled and played in bed together - that's how we have begun every morning since we've been together - IT'S SO FUN!!! We left at noon for the Embassy for our 2:00 appointment. There wasn't any traffic today so we actually got there about 1 hour early and waited in the car with Marina. When you go to the Embassy and you are an adoptive family, that is an immediate pass to the front of every line - it doesn't matter how long. We got through security, followed the signs for Adoptions, paid Logan's Visa fee and walked into a waiting room with 3 other American families who had just adopted their children - they were all girls around 2 and 3 years old. It was neat to talk with the other families (and Americans) and share our experiences. Then a lady came out and told us what was going to happen today and called each family up to the window for the "exit interview". They gave us some instructions, had us look over Logan's information and make sure it was correct and then we had to wait for Logan's passport/visa. The interview took maybe 3-5 minutes and then we had to wait for about 20 minutes. Then we were handed the "sealed envelope" and Logan's passport and we were out of there by 3pm and headed back home. Logan was off of his schedule today and missed his afternoon nap so we had a pretty cranky baby for the rest of the evening! But, he is sleeping peacefully now - hopefully for the night! Here are some pictures from the past couple of days. Love to all!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 7 - SHOPPING :)

Thank goodness for good weather! Not a drop of rain and the sun was out ALL DAY!! But, it was a little chilly and VERY windy. That didn't keep us from our trip to the souvenier market, though! We took Logan on his first shopping trip. We picked up a couple of Russian toys and cartoon DVDs for him to have as he grows up. We figured that he is definitely used to hearing the Russian language and even though we won't be able to tell him what they are saying, it may be comforting for him to hear the sound of the language (and it's a cartoon, so you can basically figure out what is happening, right?!?!). Dennis bought himself one of those furry Russian hats (I'm not sure what they are called but he's been DYING to buy one and finally did). I also picked up a rabbit fur scarf - it is SOOOOOOO soft and warm! Michelle - if you are reading this we got Carson his White Sox stacking doll!!! We will mail it to you when we get home :)
We had a bit of a rough night sleeping last night. I must have spoke too soon when I said Logan sleeps through the night. The first night he did. Other nights he has gotten up and gone back to sleep within 5 minutes of us soothing him. Well, not last night. He woke up around 3 am WIDE AWAKE!! We tried EVERYTHING to get him back to sleep and nothing worked - he was fighting us the entire time. Finally at 430am we broke down and gave him 1/4 tsp of Benadryl (prescribed by our IA pediatrician to help with sleeping) and within 30 minutes he was OUT. We got a few more hours of sleep and then he was up laughing at 7:45 am. His giggles is the best way to start your day no matter how rough the night was.
Tomorrow we head to our appointment at the US Embassy, where we will receive our official documents. This will take up most of our afternoon, but it's one more day closer to coming home.
A lot of people have asked about when they can meet Logan. If you would like to be there at his "debut", we arrive at Washington Dulles Airport on Fri Oct 9th at 3:30pm (we usually arrive before then, so if you are coming check the status of the flight online). We will be in NOVA for the weekend hanging out with our families and then head back to Hampton on Sunday. We don't mind seeing people and sharing our bundle of joy with you. All we ask is that you help us continue our bonding with him by allowing us to be the only ones who hold him and care for him. We are not sure if he knows us as his primary caregivers yet and it is important that we continue to be the ones who provide all of his needs right now.
Hugs and kisses to all and we will talk to you tomorrow (and upload some more pictures)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 6 - Red Square

Hello Everyone - We had a great day today that started off with laughter at 650am and then off to breakfast. After breakfast we played with Logan while German and Marina went to run some errands. When they returned we got ready and headed off to Red Square to get some pictures with Logan so that when he gets older we can show him a little bit about his country. It was off to downtown Moscow with a few short stops for German so that he could get his Indy 500 race car serviced. Then we arrived at the Red Square and it was beautiful - all of the old time architecture it is just amazing. Then we walked around and took numerous pictures with the Little Man and got a once in a life time opportunity to see the Changing of the Guards in Red Square (same as what they do in DC at the Tomb of the Unknown). Then we hurried back to the car because the temperture start to drop a little and it started to sprinkle. We left Red Square at mock speed and stopped by a mall/grocery store so that Marina could get our dinner for this evening (delicious trout) and then back to German and Marina's to feed little man and get him to bed. After Nicole put him down we went and had another great dinner and got to watch a Russian Comedy on TV. Then we were asked if we wanted some Russian Ice Cream which being Irish and from the United States couldn't turn that down. It was really good it came out of a tube instead of a container. Then we departed back to the room to check the VT score and update the blog for day 6. Stay tune for tomorrow when we take Logan to his first incounter at the souvenior market. Cant wait to see you all on Friday Afternoon. Miss you lots and love you all.

Dennis, Nikki, and Logan