Actually it's from Ohio to Ukraine, back to Ohio, then to China

Sunday, September 28, 2008

update - home for two weeks

It is hard to believe that we have been home for almost two weeks! Things are going well. Surprisingly the adjustment has not been difficult for us at all. He is sleeping in his own bed in his own room with no issues. The tube feedings are not as difficult as one might imagine. Soon I am going to write a blog post about how it is done and show pictures of the tube and supplies. (That is my way of getting you to check back!)
We feel like we've had Wesley forever. Crazy to think that we just met him a little over two months ago!! He has changed so much since we picked him up at the orphanage five weeks ago. He is talking/babbling A LOT more (almost constantly now), talking (and trying to run) all over the place, exploring, testing our patience, just generally being a typically 19 month-old! We used to be able to set him down on the floor to go to another room and he would be in the same place when you came back - those days are LONG gone!! We absolutely love being parents!! We should have done this a long time ago!!!
We've been going to the various doctors appointments at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center ( We meet with the surgeon on October 15th, so we should know more then. We are hoping that the doctors can stretch Wesley's tube enough to be able to get the two ends to meet.
Wesley has gained over 2 pounds since we have been in the US. Now that might not seem like a significant amount, but when you think about the fact that he now only weighs 20 pounds it is 10% of his body weight! If you look at the older pictures, you can tell that his cheeks are just a little bit fatter.
Please continue to pray for Wesley's health - the feedings, the doctors, the nurses, the upcoming surgery (or surgeries), continued weight gain. Please pray for us as we get back into working and for my mother as she will be watching him when we are gone. Damon and I will be making decisions soon regarding my work schedule and what is best for our family, so please pray for us. We want to do God's will for our family - even if it means tough times financially.
To anyone who is reading this and thinking about adoption - if you are being called by God to do it, then by all means - DO IT! I was the one who pushed Damon into considering adoption and I wondered many times whether we were doing the right thing, but now I have no doubt that we were meant to be Wesley's parents. If you are worried about funding, trust God to provide. He has provided for us in ways that we could never have imagined. It was not always an easy process, but I shutter to think that we might have missed out on an amazing adventure. If you are thinking about adoption, please feel free to email us with any questions
I'll leave you with pictures of our last few weeks...

all my boys!
waiting at the doctor's office

Wesley rubbing his head on Duke's head (I think it is his way of showing the dog affection since Duke will not let Wes hug him)

Wesley fell asleep after being fed and Duke joined him for a little nap

playing in the bathroom

trying on hats at Babies R' Us

Go Bengals!!

riding in the car seat (so much fun)
Wes was thinking about touching the soda can - can't you see it in his eyes? (I had to move it about 5 seconds later)
my 30th birthday dinner
Wesley and his daddy Wesley with his very proud Grandparents

getting ready for Christmas!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

one week home

It's hard to believe that we've been home one week! In some ways it feels like we've been home forever and in others it feels like we just arrived in the US. We have all adjusted well so far (we haven't gone back to work yet). I am planning on working a few days this week since Damon will be home. My mom is going to watch Wesley while we are at work, so I think we're going to have her watch him for a little bit this week to get him used to us leaving.

My girlfriends Amy and Jessica threw a shower for Wesley, and he received so many wonderful gifts!! Thank you so much to everyone who came to celebrate Wesley's adoption!! I've only given him a few of the toys and he loves them. (I cannot lie - he also really likes the boxes that the items came in)


We go to the gastrointestinal doctor tomorrow, so we should know more soon. I am anxious to hear what they have to say about the tube and the surgery. We are looking forward to having an American doctor change his tube and advise us on feeding. I'll update when we know something.
I'll leave you with a few pictures from our week.

filling the bathtub (in case water was turned off after wind storm) - not sure why he was so excited since he dislikes getting into the tub...
playing in the family room

baby shower cakes (wonderful cheesecake and a diaper cake)playing in the fountains at the Greene (a local shopping center) - Wesley absolutely LOVED getting wet! I thought he would hate it since he dislikes the bath so much, but we had to drag him out to go home!

since Mom forgot to bring extra clothes, he had to ride home in just his diaper

4 days until the season premiere of "The Office"

5 days until I (Staci) turn 30 years old!!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I wanted to update and let everyone know that we made it home safely and even a half hour early!! God performed a miracle in getting us home on time - it seemed like obstacles kept coming up in our path, but He was faithful in carrying us through. So many things ended up going our way, we just feel absolutely blessed!! We also had a lot of family and friends to greet us at the airport!!! It was so nice to see everyone, even if we could hardly keep our eyes open. Thank you - Mom, Dad, Mary (Damon's Mom), Missy, Zach, Donna, Dennis, Lu, Kelli, John, Garry, Jenn, and Rebecca.
Remember an earlier post where I was so concerned about Wesley and the airplane descent? Not a problem at all (another BIG answer to prayer)!!! He did so well on the planes , running through airports, grouchy, tired, stressed-out parents, feedings on the planes, everything. He slept only about 6 hours of the 24 hour travel (waking up to going to sleep), but he never once got cranky! I didn't even know a 19 month-old who had to be tired and could not be cranky!!
We went to sleep Saturday night/Sunday morning about 1:00am and ended up getting up at 8:00am. Wesley did take a nap at 2:30pm, that lasted until 6:00am this morning! I tried to wake him up a little around dinner time because I was worried he was getting his days and nights mixed up, but I think he's okay. Our power went out yesterday afternoon, so Damon and I ended up going to bed about 10:00pm. My parents had gone to the grocery for us in the afternoon (many thanks for that), so we were concerned about the food going bad. Our friend Mark came over with ice he found at a convenience store near his house for some of the stuff and the freezer items he took to his parent's house to put in on of their refrigerators. We even got a hot meal and salad! We hadn't eaten anything since lunch and were starved. (I'll put a little plug in here for Mark Peebles - he is a real estate agent in the Dayton, Ohio area and is an awesome guy!! He sold us our home and went above and beyond for us. He has become such a good friend to us that it's hard to believe we've only known him a few months. So if you are looking for a Christian realtor in the Dayton, area, give Mark a call - Irongate Realtors, cell #937-572-7111, office #937-428-3834,
Another concern of mine was how Wes would react to the dogs. He screamed when they got near him when we got home. The next day he warmed up a little, and today he loves them. He doesn't even flinch when Duke barks!! (If you've ever met Duke, you know how loud he can bark) The dogs pretty much avoid him though.
We're settling in quite well. He is still sleeping in our bed, but I figure we have time to work on that later. He sleeps through the nights, so for now I am not complaining!! I have more to say, but we're getting ready to run some errands, so I'll write tomorrow!
Here are a few pictures from the airplane ride and at home.
sleeping on the airplane

playing with the dog door

riding his new cart (thank you - John, Garry, Lu and Dan)

watching Daddy clean up the yard

still watching Daddy clean up the yard

(Can you tell that someone loves his Daddy??)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

we have the visa (and I do not mean the credit card even though we have one of those as well)

We were able to pick up Wesley's visa today, so we are ready to go home!! Our flight leaves on Saturday at 12:55p and we are schedule to arrive in Dayton at 11:14p (God-willing). Here is a picture from the other day - Wesley is dreaming of the day he will go home to America. (Really though he is people-watching the busy intersection by our apartment) The medical exam, paperwork drop-off at the consulate, and the visa appointment all went well. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was all pretty easy. We dropped off our paperwork about 9:15a and this took about 30 minutes. We then went to get the medical exam done at another office. This took about 45 minutes, but that was mostly spent waiting on the doctor, then waiting on the results. We went back for our visa appointment at the consulate at 2:00p. There were four other US families there, so we finished up about 3:30p. The other families we met were the Paynes (, Kim from Minnesota, another couple (I cannot remember their names) from Indiana, and another woman (I forget her name too - can you tell I am bad with names?) from Kentucky (I think). They are all leaving tomorrow, so we wish them safe travels home!


It's hard to believe that we are ready to go home! Tomorrow we are going to do a little shopping and packing to head home!! I just can't stop saying that we're going home!! What a great feeling and a relief!!
Love - Staci and Damon
who doesn't love a picture of a boy and his mom's pocketbook??

he's excited about the washing machine, so I hope to one day get help with all the laundry he generates!!

I'll leave you with this picture of the "innocent look" (he was trying to get in Damon's backpack)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

picking up passport

Damon is picking up Wesley's passport in Kharkiv as I type this!! We are going tomorrow morning to get the physical done and drop off the paperwork at the Embassy. If possible we would like to get his immigrant visa tomorrow to make sure we can make our flights on Saturday . If not though, we shouldn't have any trouble getting it on Friday (at least I hope).
We are so excited to get home (for good)!! We miss our family, friends and dogs so much!! I know everyone at home is excited to meet Wesley, and we cannot wait for everyone to meet him, too! I do wonder how he is going to react to the dogs...I am sure he will be scared of them at first (especially Duke who tends to get overexcited and Katie is just nosy), but we'll all learn to live together in harmony.
Please continue to pray that things go smoothly and we are able to keep our flights home! Please also pray for me and Damon handling Wes on the flight home and for Wesley handling the flight well (or at least tolerating it). Bonding is going well at this point, but I am a little concerned about how he is going to handle the doctors in the US (he hates those white coats here).
Love - Staci and Damon

Sunday, September 7, 2008

not much to report (day 53)

We're just hanging out here in Kiev doing "normal" stuff like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and going to the grocery. Since we're all here in this little one bedroom apartment, we have been getting to know Wesley quite well. Thus far we have been unsuccessful at getting him to go to sleep without one of us lying there until he's out. You can't sit on the bed either, you have to pretend you're asleep or he'll try to play with you (mess with my hair, touch my eyes and nose, and put his fingers in my mouth - don't ask). He does go to sleep pretty easily and wakes up in a good mood, so we're thankful for that! He sleeps through the night and wakes up around 6:30a to be fed. Then he goes back to sleep for another 2-2.5 hours. He is only taking one nap in the afternoons versus the three or more naps at the orphanage! He seems to be doing fine with the change, and since it fits into our schedule better, we're going with it.
We have tried what are called "mock feedings" with limited success. Anything he takes in by mouth comes out a little hole in his neck called a spit fistula. All the pictures of him have that wrap around his neck to catch the drool, otherwise he's a wet mess! We (me and Damon) ate spaghetti for lunch yesterday, so I put some tomato sauce on my finger and put it in his mouth (He doesn't let you put anything in his mouth very easily). He seemed to like it so I kept giving him more, which of course stained the cloth around his neck pink/red. I was encouraged that he liked it/didn't hate it, so I thought I would try giving him a sucker like everyone suggested for the airplane ride home. No luck...he absolutely HATED it! When I let him hold it (which meant he held the sticky part in his hands) he quit squirming around, but he would not put it near his mouth. (I cannot post pictures right now because our internet is too slow, but I will soon!)
Unfazed by the dislike of the sucker, I tried vanilla ice cream. Again - he did not like that either! A little raspberry juice on my finger - NOPE! Pureed baby peaches - NOPE! Chocolate ice cream - NOPE! Diet Coke - NOPE! So maybe he just isn't into things that are that even possible?? I cannot imagine not loving sweets, but anyway...I am not sure that I am going to find any tomato-flavored suckers over here (or anywhere in the world), so I'll just have to try popping his ears with my fingers.
Wesley's passport isn't ready today, but we are still hopeful about tomorrow!! I will update as soon as we know anything!
Love - Staci and Damon

Saturday, September 6, 2008

what a difference five weeks can make

The picture on the left is the first picture ever taken of Wesley when we went to meet him at the orphanage in July. The picture on the right was just two days ago. His skin looks better, his hair looks better, his clothes are not pink - imagine how much better he'll look in a few months and a year!

Friday, September 5, 2008

things are looking up

As you may be able to discern from the title of this posting, good news has come our way. We were able to get everything taken care of with Wesley's tax ID number (and by "we," I mean our translator). After receiving this half sheet of paper, we rushed over to the passport office to get his picture taken. When it was his turn, I took him into the little office where the pictures are taken. The woman set a box on the chair and I set him in it. I was afraid that as soon as I put him down he would start crying, but he didn't. He did cry though as soon as the flash went off. I only saw the picture for a second, but he was looking very serious (as usual).
We went outside to wait for our translator. After about 10 minutes she told us to head back to the apartment, and she would meet us there. As soon as we got to the apartment, we had to move everything out (it was already packed - at least mostly). We waited outside the building, and our translator arrived. I (Staci) was too afraid to even ask when we could expect the passport because I was afraid of being disappointed. Damon asked though and she said that they hoped to get it to us on Tuesday, but should definitely get it by Wednesday. I know I may be setting myself up to be disappointed, but I am hopeful again!
We flew back to Kiev to wait. I was afraid of how Wes would do on the airplane. Any guesses? He was perfectly fine the whole flight - until we began our descent. Then he SCREAMED!! (He also kept tugging on his ears, so I know they were hurting him) We are not talking a little cry, we are talking everyone on the plane knew there was a small child on board. I thought I would be embarrassed, but I wasn't (well, maybe a little). I think Damon was a little bit, but it's not like we could make him stop. We tried to distract him, to get him to suck his thumb, toys, etc. But it didn't work, so what could we do? Any "seasoned" parents out there with suggestions? It's difficult because he won't take a pacifier and cannot eat or drink anything. I am a little worried as our flights home are on three separate flights. Please give me some ideas...
We are in Kiev now, so we'll be just hanging out here around Independence Square. I must say - we're disappointed that we don't have Vicki and Rodney to go to TGI Fridays with :)
Please continue to pray that we receive the passport on Tuesday (or even Wednesday) and that we have time to get thigns done for the US government. Please pray for our bonding to Wes as well.
Love - Staci and Damon

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

today is not our day

So I guess you can tell by the title that this post is not going to include any good news. Kiev has now given the okay for Wesley's last name, but not his first or middle. Our translator found out that in Kiev they have agreed to give the okay, but they want to see the original documents (which are here in Kharkiv). So our translator just left to head to Kiev and will return Friday morning (hopefully with word that our tax ID has been approved).


The passport office has been closed due to changing offices or something like that, so technically we aren't any more behind than we could have been. I believe though that those who have applied before us during the shutdown will be processed first, thus realistically putting us behind. They might be opening today or tomorrow. We know of two Ukrainian Angels families who have received their child's tax ID numbers and completed the application for the passport, but are still waiting for the actual passport.

So we continue to wait...and we ask you to continue to pray for receipt of the tax ID, passport, and visa, continued health (physical and mental), strength, and perseverance.
Love - Staci and Damon

still waiting on tax id

We are still waiting on Wesley's tax ID number. We found out late Monday night that the woman entering the information here in Kharkov entered his birthdate incorrectly, so the office in Kiev rejected it. It was corrected and resubmitted Monday. We found out today (Wednesday) that the office that was processing our paperwork is not even supposed to do that because we are foreign citizens!! So in an hour we head to the right office, and we are praying it gets taken care of this afternoon. Our translator has been in contact with someone who can make this all come together, so we are hopeful. Keep praying and I'll update later with more pictures!
Love - Staci and Damon
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