Monkey

Happy Chinese New Year! Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Monkey. Our sweet D (11) was born in the Year of the Monkey. It is appropriate that we are preparing for our court date tomorrow to adopt his little sister, who could be a female carbon copy of him at this age (minus his blue eyes). 

We ate supper at Smętek Pub below our apartment. Chinese New Year, Polish Style, with Spinach/Ricotta and Meat Pierogis.  Sure wish we had some chopsticks. 

   
 

History

Yesterday starting early, early yesterday morning.  It was past midnight and I was reading one of my favorite authors, Lee Child.  Jack Reacher was kicking butt and taking names.  Did I need to go to bed, you betcha.  Did I?  Nope.  I wish I had.  Around 12:30, Lil’ Miss woke up.  Trying to be the helpful one and feeling that we made a good connection over nap time yesterday, I, SuperDad, was determined to take care of it.  Well I was wrong.  Ever been wrong before. I was at 1:00 in the morning, and then at 2, and on to 3.  She could not get comfortable any way she tried to lay down.  I’d pat the behind enough to settle her and then slowly stop 3-4 minutes later.  She would then immediately wake up again.  This happened over and over for the next several hours.  When my arms/wrist/hand grew tired, I resorted to the rub her back method.  Every time I would slow down and eventually stop, she’d wake up.  At 3:45, Dr. Moody came in and saved me.  After a few thank you’s, we all got in the bed.  I knocked off within 5 minutes only to be wakened with the explanation that I was snoring badly. (side effect for me of being really tired) I moved to the sofa and attempted to get back to sleep.  I got there.

I awoke later that morning desiring coffee and leftover donuts from National Donut Day.  I survived.  Your question now is, “Bill, what that got to do with history?” Answer: Very little unless you look from my point of view that I was happy that the night/morning was over.  But Seriously, we did see some serious history of Poland and I, for one, was extremely happy that I was able to see some of it yesterday.  “Hat tip” to my wonderful neice-in-law, Sarai.  On her Facebook Group, “Families with Children Adopted from Poland” She sent out suggested places to see while in Warsaw and we took her advice. One of her suggestions was a museum called Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego or “Warsaw Rising” and it was well worth it.

With most history that we learn in the States, it usually told from the USA perspective and why wouldn’t it be.  Makes sense to be told from that perspective.  However, yesterday was a real experience for me.  This museum details the rise of the Polish people when Warsaw was under siege by the Germans during WWII.  There was minimal help that came from the Allies and Russia refused to come to Poland’s aid.  From what I discovered today, Warsaw in 1939 had 1,400,000 people.  By 1944, it had only 900,000 people. In 1944 having had enough, the citizens in Warsaw decided liberation was reachable. For 63 days there was a battle for Warsaw to drive out the Germans.  A Resistance formed that armed themselves to fight in the street, the cellars and sewers of the city.  Humanity was not at its best.  Many defenseless people were killed during that occupation by the Germans.  Stalin called the “Rising” of the Varsovian people (Citizens of Warsaw) as criminal and didn’t want to help.  Western Allies did help, but minimally.  In short, it was the heart and soul of the Polish people that took their city back.  This is a history that has been lost or purposely forgotten.  Think long and hard about it, a huge city was razed during a dark part of the world’s overall history.  Some would say this is where Cold War started.  I don’t know about you but this was never told to me.  No text book, college course that I recall ever mentioned the events that I learned about yesterday.  It was sobering.  This kinda stuff gets lost unless we purposely try to remember it.  If you can imagine, I felt honored to be able to see this history.

Now most of you are saying, “Bill, this is some heavy stuff. What about Lil’ Miss?”  My point has just arrived… that was bad time in history.  New history is being written and it is good.  Victoria is that new history, at least for us, and it is a wonderful thing.  This beautiful girl has a history that started here, but now will be able to create new memories, a new chapter of history for her.  Its an exciting time for her and us.  New experiences, new home, new family, new “brats” (polish for brothers – seriously).  A new chapter in her personal history book.  I like being a part of great history.

Bill

P.S. yes we did do other fun things yesterday.  Little lady got her own cell phone … Fisher Price Brand.  Plays music, makes picture taking sound, etc.

Snow

Today we had a lazy day. Naps all around. It snowed off and on this afternoon. While I was napping, V and Bill bonded some more. She forgot to look for me. For a little while. 

Today is Fat Thursday. Otherwise known as Doughnut Day. Bill and V brought these beauties home this morning. 

  
I am not a big fan of filled doughnuts, even though that is traditional on Doughnut Day in Poland. Sweet Bill went to 3 different places to find non-filled doughnuts. Nope, still filled. 

  

I may be converted, because their filling tastes more like real jelly. I think V liked them. 

   
   
We ended our day like this. 

  
Oh my heart. 

Music

It has been a week and a half since we have arrived in Poland. We had a meeting today with our lawyer and a representative from the Polish government who is responsible for preparing documents for the judge. 

We Facetimed D’s class at school. After that, I had a little meltdown. Then, sweet V battled us on several issues and cried for me a lot. We are trying to teach her that she is not in charge, and that she can trust her daddy. 

Needless to say the day left us frustrated and tired. We turned on Air1. V started dancing and playing music with her daddy. Thankful. 

  

Mini

  

There is a channel here called Minimini+. Lots of PBS-type programming. At 9 pm, this little ryba (fish) comes on. He sleeps all night, making happy sleeping sounds. We love him. And melatonin. 

  
We went to the Arcadia mall with our lawyer tonight, just to get out. Bill bought some measuring cups, so he can make cookies. Chocolate chip, since A’s chocolate chips that were supposed to go to the school came to Poland with us. It is amusing watching/listening to engineer try to convert everything to the metric system.

  

Christmas

Now I know your saying to yourself, “Bill, Christmas has already happened.”  You are correct, except for the fact that the decorations are still up.  In Poland, the trees are decorated on Christmas Eve and they and other decorations stay up until the first week in February.  We had been saying that we wanted to bring Victoria home by Christmas.  Well, over here it still kinda is.  Neat, huh?

Saturday night we visited Old Town Warsaw.  It was beautiful.  We saw the Royal Castle, Presidential Palace, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and many beautiful sights.  See below.

Victoria, the spitfire, is warming up to me, slowly but surely.  She is one determined little girl.  She desires that we stand and hold her any chance she can.  Or she’s ready to go outside no matter the time or temperature.  She will bring us her gloves, coat, boots to let us know that she is ready to go.  She’ll stand by the stroller and cry until we are ready to go.  We usually have to fold it up so she realizes that we are in for the night.

In Warsaw, we have decided that the people here seem to be like those in New York.  They only buy what they need for a day or two and that’s it.  In the south (meaning the U.S.), we stock up for what we hope will last us a week.  Heck the fridge here is half size, we pretty much don’t have a choice.  I would like a microwave, cooking here is either stove or oven.  Tomorrow we are going to try making cookies.  We will see how it goes.

Our lawyer will be will us tomorrow to help us do a couple of things and maybe show us around a little.  Should be fun!!

 

 

Adjusting

Our lawyer messaged us earlier to ask how we were doing. One word answer: adapting. V is trying to figure us out. We are trying to figure her out. We are all figuring out our surroundings. I think we have been to every grocery store in a 2 mile radius from our apartment. Slowly we are learning helpful words and phrases in Polish. 

We met a couple of nice young fellows who speak fabulous English. As a plus, they run a company that sells coffee and coffee makers. They offered us an espresso when we stopped by. Considering the big thing here is instant coffee, we like them. 

Successes: She has had a bath. We cooked a homemade meal in the oven. V is not eating very much, but she did eat french fries and tea crackers. We washed some clothes. 

Here are some pictures from our jaunt to Simply Market today. 

   
Frozen fish in bulk

 Instant coffee
 

Upside down picture of frozen fruits and vegetables in bulk. 

  People put stuff back in the wrong place even in Poland.  
  
A whole dairy aisle. Yes, V’s face is strategically covered. 

Bonding

As I write this, it is 2:30 in the morning.  Time difference is a real irritation, but we are plowing through it all. Now back to our post.

Today was a very special day. We met her today.  Our sweet Victoria came bounding into the room all loud making woof woof sounds mimicking the dog outside the foster care family’s home.  She saw us and got real quiet.  Imagine for yourself. You are 18 months old, seeing some people that you don’t recognize who are speaking a different language.  Amusingly enough, the lady you’ve just met (Lori) looks a little like you.  You are given a little blanket and owl from these new people.  The bearded one (Bill) is making faces at you.

This was our first interaction with her in Kolinowo, a small village outside Ełk.  She was curious about us.  It reminded me of our first interaction with Alexander in China at the hotel.  Lots of looks, sizing up the “competition” so to speak.  The foster care family is wonderful and has showed her lots of love.

We talked a length about her likes and dislikes, routines, sleep habits and everything in between.  She’s used to lots of noise (five other foster kids with her), we got that covered at the Moody household.  She also likes to eat meat – she’ll fit right in.

Foster care mother then also asked several questions of us. Age, vocation, our parents, siblings.  After those were answered, we were asked if still wanted to move forward with the adoption.  We, of course, said yes.

Tomorrow will be a very big day for her.  Those reading this can help by bathing this little girl in prayer.  Tomorrow, we will be taking her back to Warsaw.  She will leaving all she’s ever known and going into a new unknown.  Imagine her thoughts, her initial sadness, and her new discoveries.  Will it be traumatic? Yes.  Lots of soothing, toys, and goldfish crackers will be in her future today.

How will her new Mommy and Daddy handle it?  Prayer also and maybe some goldfish too.

Bill

 

p.s.: I know that picture are what everyone wants to see.  When we get the go sign, you will be overwhelmed with pictures of this sweet thing.  So prepare yourself.

Arrival

Well, we made it.  As Lori eluded to earlier some flight delays occurred for both of us for the first legs of our perspective journeys.  Mine was about and hour and half.  Lori’s delay would make her miss the Atlanta to Amsterdam flight.  As the Good Lord is in this, there happened to be an earlier flight that was not full.  Ticket counter lady said that she could put her on that flight if she wanted.  She did and it all worked out well.  No more additional delays for the entire day.  Whooohoooo!

Transfers at the international airports are interesting.  At the Amsterdam airport, you have to wait line with you passport before you can go from the intercontinental gates to the continental gates.  The nice woman with Border Control/Customer, asked a couple of questions.

BC – “What will be your final destination?”

Me – “Warsaw, Poland”

BC – “How look will you be staying?”

Me – “45 days.”

BC – “What will be the purpose of your visit?”

Me – “Adopting a little girl.”

Her expression changed in a instant.  One moment, rigid by the books and the next moment a tender smile with congratulations.

I arrived in Poland at about 12:30 and thanks to our lawyer, a gentlemen met me at the airport to take me to the apartment.  Once there, I put away a few things. Waited some more and then we went back to the airport to wait for Lori.  She got in about 4:20.

A this point we are both tired.  However, 7 hours ahead of our normal time is messing with our heads.  Great difficulty getting the sleep. It all finally caught up with us.  We slept to noon the next day.  Regardless of our attempt to catch up with sleep, anticipation is building of finally seeing her.

Took a quick pic outside our apartment.  Our pastor and my mom will appreciate the fact that the Christmas trees are still up throughout the country.

Bill

Off

And we are off!!! Wow what a crazy 3 weeks it has been. Packing, planning, organizing, praying. We finally come to the day, and what happens? Grand snow storm, that’s what.

We started our day with breakfast at the airport. Bill’s flight was delayed, but he was not in danger of missing his connecting flight. Once Bill was settled, the rest of us went back home to get me ready. My flight was also delayed. However, once in Atlanta I would have 30 minutes to meet my connecting flight. I went to the airport early anyway, hoping for a miracle.

A miracle happened. The sweet young lady checking me in says, “I don’t mean to hurry you ma’am, but a flight is leaving Jackson in 30 minutes for Atlanta. You can make it on that flight and not miss your connection.” I could have kissed her. Really.

Which brings me here:

IMG_4001

Blogging in Atlanta, leisurely awaiting my flight to Amsterdam. Eating healthy.

Love to you all, next blog-Poland (or maybe Amsterdam).

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