Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Out in the Big City

Picture 1: As we were walking, Lucy spotted the unmistakeable golden arches and just had to have some french fries and apple juice... Or... Dad just needed to have something to eat that was familiar, even though we never eat it at home. I am not sure which it was...

Picture 2: We continued on the way and spotted a gigantic tower with gold on it and what looked like an angel at the top. Lucy commented that it looked beautiful and that she wanted to climb to the top. I told her Dad was afraid of heights and Mom would have to come back with her sometime and do it.

Picture 3: When we both saw this statue, we looked at each and just shook our heads. We have no idea what this is, but below it was a pool of water and people were throwing each other in the water for some reason. We were not up for that, mostly cause the water smells like rotten eggs.

Picture 4: The first time she has likely ever seen a water fountain. She just stared at it for many minutes and then started laughing. I asked her why she was laughing and she said that the water mist that was hitting her face felt nice....

Picture 5: As we started to make our way back to our apt, Lucy looked up at me and said, "Dad, do you hear that music? It sounds like beat box music." I said that I did but could not see where it was coming from. We rounded a corner and there in front of us was the most unimpressive Break Dancing troop that I have ever seen. Lucy started to clap along to the music but then became bored with the guy who was trying to get money from us for watching. When he asked for money from her Lucy said, "I think you should be paying me for having to watch that attempt at popping and locking."

Picture 6: After seeing the awful attempt at breaking, she tried a few moves of her own... I thought about collecting money, but didn't want people thinking I was pimping my daughter out for her dance moves.

Picture 7: She spotted another fountain that was enchanting and liked the mist in her face again. I told her we can go see the one in downtown Chicago anytime she wants.

Picture 8: We moved along and heard a bunch of chanting and singing and a lot of crazy music being played. We looked across the street and saw some type of protest happening. Lucy once again looked at me and squealed, "Dad, lets go make a memory together by getting tossed in the back of the paddy wagon in a different country." I gave her a stern fatherly look that usually works on Ragen and she just giggled....

Picture 9: I knew that she was her mothers child when we passed by the Zara store and she saw these new pants that she just "Had To Have". I told her that we were on a budget and that she would have to earn her money to spend at the clothing stores. She put her hand on her hip, put out her big lower lip and sulked. I told her that face and lip thing only works for her mother....

Last Day

Well today was our last day in the big city. Lucy and I started off the day by waking up quite late, well, at least she did. I was up at 630 and she slept till 8am today! Guess all the new stuff is tiring her out.

We had some breakfast and then off to the Dr clinic where we needed her to be checked out to ensure the embassy would process our visa and we could be on our way. I was a bit anxious, although not much. There is another couple here now that is having some real challenges with the medical team and I must say that it did give me a few twirls in my stomach as we approached the clinic and went in to see the Dr.

But all was well with her and the Dr signed off on everything pretty quickly. He did an exam and found her to be generally healthy and fit for travel.

We headed back to the apt and had lunch and played for a bit and then went off to see the embassy again and pick up our visa for her. With Dr work up in hand and passport in my pocket, we went inside and ended up running into about 4 other families that were doing the same thing as us. Nice people and all leaving tomorrow as well. One couple from RR but two others not affiliated with RR. We all one by one made our trip up to the window to see the consular officer and one by one came back approved and just waiting the documents.

So we had that done and moved on back to the apt. We just played for a bit, and then laid down in the bed and just lounged for about an hour. She was tired, very tired, but I didn't want her to go to sleep and then not fall asleep till late tonight. We need to be up at 230am to get ready and then leave by 3am. So I want her down and sleeping for a good 6 hours at least.

Then we had a bit of a walk about this late afternoon and early evening. She looked at me when I was feeding her dinner and she just gave me those eyes like, "Dad, lets go check this city center out." I said, Cool. And away we went for a couple of hours. Just walking and letting her see the sites. I always seem to have to remind myself that all of this is so brand new to her and she is seeing just about everything for the first time. It is quite cool to see and can't wait to share more of it with Dena and Ragen when we get home.

My next post will have a few pictures and captions.

So we are leaving in the morning for a long day ahead. First to Frankfurt, then 4 hour layover and then off straight home to Chicago. Looking forward to seeing my gorgeous wife and my beautiful older little girl. I miss them so much.

So until we are home safe across the Atlantic and having Ovengrinders, I bid you farewell. It has been fun and an adventure that will always hold a special place in my heart. Just as the birth of Ragen did....



Well our adoption will be coming to an end finally tomorrow! And an new chapter will begin. I am looking forward to celebrating this homecoming with close friends and family. Please pray for Rob as he ventures on a very long trip by himself with our new daughter. Thank you! XO

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Day of the Tire

Picture 1: Afternoon nap today.
Picture 2: Waking up this morning, sprawled out on bed. Not much room for Dad.
Picture 3: Nico keeping a watchful eye on the tire being fixed.
Picture 4: Just 1/3 of the diapers that you all helped us deliver. There were two more huge stacks like this one. We can't thank all the people enough that chipped in. What a blessing it was to be the delivery boy!

Quite a day yesterday. It was our Gotcha Day as they call it, when we were able to take Lucy out of the orphanage for good. And what a day it was, for more than just that reason.

The day started out quite normal, got up and did my thing with Lucy in the morning. Nothing real new there. Just played, had a bite to eat with her and then took some pictures around the grounds to keep as memories. I also was able to persuade the caregivers and nannies to allow me to take a picture of them. This took some real persuasion, but I finally got them to do it. It was a good one too, glad they obliged.

Headed back to the hotel, by way of the grocery store where I wanted to pick up a few things. I wanted to pick up a few items of food for Lucy and then also wanted to grab some toys that I could bring with to the big city so she would have stuff to play with. Cab driver as always was great. One time this past week I wanted to go to a local store to by a few small blow up pools for the orphanage as it has been so so hot here. He not only took me there, but walked me upstairs to the shop and told them what I wanted. Really a great guy. Just goes to show that the other ignorant driver we had previous missed out on all the fares for the last many days because of his sideways view of the world.

I waited then at the hotel for about 4 hours as Nico was coming to get me at the hotel first and then we would go to the orphanage to get Lucy. He arrived about 430 and tells me that he had to get one of his tires fixed. Apparently he was with another family before leaving to come and get me and he hit the curb and busted open the tire. He and Joel Golden did a quick change to the spare and then he got the broken one fixed and put back on. So I loaded up, asked him to stop at the hotel so that we could pick up another round of diapers for the orphanage with the money that Dena has raised on the Chip In. That woman Dena and how God works through her and her friends on Facebook just lights my heart up. She is such an incredible wife and has changed my life in so many ways seeing her heed to Gods small whispers. She really is so special to me. Everyday I thank God that he gave me the opportunity to live life with her and make me a better man for being with her.

So we pick up $400 worth of diapers and load them in. Nico pulls out of the parking lot and misjudges the curb a bit and BOOM, there goes the tire again. The same one from earlier. So we both jump out and do our best NASCAR pit stop work and change the tire back to the spare he had, while parked on the main street of town. We did it pretty quick and were on our way, dirty and sweaty to pick up Lucy.

We got to the orphanage, signed some papers, brought up the diapers and then were off to see Lucy and take her away for good. The caregivers on duty were very nice and actually wanted to do a quick bath with her and put her new clothes I brought with on her. I was going to jump in and take care of it, but they insisted and I think it was there way of saying goodbye to her so I didn't get in the way. So they took her in, gave her a quick sponge bath and then put on her new little one piece jumper that was from a box of Ragen's old stuff. So it wasn't really new, but it was new to her. It fit perfect and we got some pictures and then hoped in the car. Away we went.

Nico wanted to try to stop and see if we could fix the tire again, just in case we blew out another tire. It would be bad to have a flat in the middle of no where and not have a spare. I whole heartedly agreed. So we stopped and 30 min later, we had the fixed tire back on the van and the spare in the back again.

We were humming along the road and it was quite bumpy. This road for some reason is just a mess. Imagine in the US when they are fixing a road and they strip off the top layer of asphalt and there is the really bumpy, hole filled under layer that is just a nightmare to drive on. Well, that is the first hour of this road from our small city to the big city. About 20 min in, we hit a big hole and BANG! Yep, you guessed it, again, the tire that we just fixed blew out. Thankfully that spare was still in great condition and so Nico and I manned our stations to get to work. It literally took us no more than 7-10 min to make it happen. Forget NASCAR, we are going FORMULA ONE baby! Back in the care we went and off to the big city.

We arrived about 9pm in the big city and got settled in to our apt quickly. Lucy was supposed to go down at 9pm, so I cleaned her up, gave her some juice and off to bed we went. I laid with her for a bit and she was very restless. Just like Ragen is. Finally I thought I caught a whiff of a smell that is all to familiar, yep, my first poop duty with Lucy. And of course it was no little simple one. This kid goes all out to spoil me on my first duty with a load that would make an adult proud!

Back to bed we went and about 45 min later she finally konked out. She slept great though all night long. Again, she is restless to some degree, but no different than Ragen is at night. I think getting her Tonsils and Adnoids out will really help her get much more restful sleep.

What a day. I saw it as a great adventure and was so thrilled that I was blessed to be a part of it. Would had it been easier and less sweaty and dirty to not have the interesting twists? Sure, but not nearly as memorable!