Monday, October 25, 2010

School pics and some bragging....

So, I am just amazed at the progress each of our boys has made with this life changing transition. I am getting to the point where I have a hard time remembering what life was like before this experience. I feel so proud of them every day, and I am touched by how much the boys have bonded and love being together. They stick up for each other, share and genuinely care about the other's feelings.

We have been back exactly 4 months today, and Ian and Andre can completely speak English. There is no problem communicating with them at all. The ESL at school has been a great help.

They beam big smiles when we see them in the morning, after school and even if I have just ran to the store and come home. They are always waiting with love and hugs, and I truly know that they are so grateful to have a Mommy and Daddy and family that loves and protects them.

As many of you know, we tend to be rather private people, and haven't shared a detailed account of our journey, but I want everyone to know that I would do it again in a heartbeat. We love our children and have no regrets. Our advice to other families would be to follow your true heart, don't ignore something that doesn't feel right, and be as informed as possible about Ukraine before going.

To all the families and people who helped us get through this nine month process, I want to say thank you so much for your support. It was key to surviving the more difficult moments.

To the families who are embarking on this journey and hosting this year: I think you are amazing and courageous! May you have a beautiful experience, and know that no matter what happens, you have already changed a child's life forever by opening your hearts.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Attention Wendy and Amy

Hi Guys!

We have been traveling most the summer and completely ignored the blog. I wanted to get your addresses or at least give you my email so you can contact me. I need to get some stuff to both of you. My email is Hope your summer has been great! Our boys are doing well and we have been having lots of fun :)


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Figured out how to post again

For the longest time my page was stuck on Russian, but now its not so I will try to update a bit.

We now have both of our boys. Court was on Mon the 31st, and it went fine. Very strange, but fine. I was shocked and apalled at the courthouse. It was a disgustingly rundown junkbox out in the middle of nowhere. We were all dressed up and walked to the front door only to be taken on by a pack of wild dogs who apparently didn't like us interupting their afternoon nappy.

We went in and I just had to breathe deep and tell myself it was going to be ok. There were several women clomping around in revealing sequined mini dresses and ultra high stilettos and the warped floor boards of the building were cracking and falling apart with nails sticking out. I swear there is just something I am not understanding here.

Anyway, we finished court. We had already had Ian staying with us for several days, so we went to get Andre. Now we are waiting the 10 day appeal period out and getting to know each other very well.

I love these boys SO MUCH. For all the torture little Andre has endured he is doing amazingly well. He just loves life and was abandoned at such a young age, that every little freedom is huge to him. Every day he just paces around in awe of the toys, video games, food, bathtub and family that he has suddenly acquired. He loves for me to hold him like a baby monkey and doesn't ever want to let go. He is very hyperactive and is challenging to deal with at times being locked up in an apartment, but when he is reprimanded he responds well. I love him and Thank God that he is ok. He needs constant attention but with each day gets a little better. He loves to fill the bathtub and just play in the water forever. He eats constantly and chews massive amounts of gum. Things will definitely change in America, but for the time being, we need to survive this and let a few things slide.

Ian is a Mama's boy and is eager to be the very best he can be. He has wanted this for a long time and has a plan. He must have talked someone at the orphanage into teaching him the English alphabet, and then taught himself how to read small words. I am so proud of him. He is a gentleman and he opens doors, carries my bag, takes out garbage, helps me clean, keeps his little brother in line, reminds me that I need to sit down and eat too, all without being asked. He truly has deep consideration and feelings for others. I feel like I have won the lottery. He is an angel. He loves to do schoolwork and show it to me with pride. He loves to collect certain things. He shows love, gives hugs and kisses and holds hands. It is good stuff.

I will never forget the first night we were together as an entire family, he helped me set the tiny kitchen table and we all sat down. He was smiling from ear to ear and waited patiently for everyone to join. He then looked at me and said, "Mommy, Daddy, Parker, Ian, Andre. This me family." I know this has been his dream since he could remember (his director told me). He is absolutely awesome. He refuses to answer to Ihar or Igur anymore, he reminds everyone, "Me Ian Frank Corbett." He is so mild tempered but able to flip into survival mode in no time at all. The kid in the yard area out back tried to steal his ball then picked up a 10" piece of plate glass and told Ian he was going to slit his wrists first, then his throat and kill him. Ian started laughing and knocked the glass out of his hand and shoved him to the ground in a matter of seconds. I didn't think it was funny and was yelling DOME! DOME! DOME! (home). Its like he has this tough side that he just hides so well and really doesn't want to have to use ever again. I am so happy to be their safe haven, they don't have to fight to survive anymore.

I hope they quit eating everything in the house because their little tummys are sick from pigging out so hard. This is something I've heard about, and I hope we get a handle on it soon after we get home.

I signed them both up for Firebirds Soccer in Sept. I can't wait to see them flourish in America. I know they will be happy and so will we.

Parker is adjusting well to having brothers. It is quite the change from being the only child to having two brothers immediately. He has had a couple scraps with them and a few arguements, but with each one we work through it and find a solution. I think I will take Parker to lunch just the two of us tomorrow when we have our driver back in town for some special alone time together so we can chat.

I wish I could have blogged everyday like Christy did. I really have some funny stories that I have forgotten now. This place is otherworldly to me. Mostly because I have never had to actually live in a place like this before. Sometimes when traveling, I have been through some crummy towns to get to the tourist spots, but have never actually become a resident of such an undesirable place. It has been something I do not regret however, because we as a family have become extremely grateful for what we have, and for each other. Wow are we lucky! To be born in such a wonderful country to parents who loved us. To have education available and dental and medical care. To have clean water and electricity and plumbing. To have money for food that we can buy whenever we want from a variety of choices. USSR was a sad and miserable existence for many people that I have talked to. I have become lifelong friends with a few and can not believe what people have lived through in this area really recently. This has been an eye-opening, humbling experience to say the least. To have to get up at 5am to wait in a bread line is something I have never done, and I should be very grateful for that. I have hope for this country but it is in its infancy of hopefully moving forward toward a democracy. In the meantime, I will be happy to get my boys and myself home to the good ol USA~

With Love,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Getting Internet hasn't been so easy...

I am rather bummed that A: I haven't had a good internet connection and B: Even if I had, I wouldn't have had time to blog. We have been running like crazy since we did the death jump from the train to the platform in Dniprodzerzhinsk. I have never pushed my physical limits like the first couple of days here. To make things even more fun, I got the 24hr. flu and Dean and I have both had severe stomach issues. I use to call it "Mexico stomach" but now I am re-naming it "Dnipro stomach".

Despite all of the fun mentioned above, our boys keep our hearts singing. Sweet Andre is getting better and better each day. We take him lunch and dinner every day and bribe the nurses to let us deliver it to his room (this way we can watch him eat it). It breaks my heart when I have to leave him in that horrific place, and I have no say at all about it. He told me that when we leave and he goes to bed, they come in and lift up his mattress, open his little cupboard, and rifle through EVERY single bag and even in his pillow case. They have stolen his money, popcorn, pizza and toys. I can't put words to what I feel toward these women. I am shocked and amazed that they would even fool themselves that this is a place of "healing".

We love Andre and are grateful that he is such a tough little guy. He needs to be to get through the next couple of weeks. We will continue to see him several times a day, but it is hard because the hospital is on one side of the river, and the orphanage is on the other.

Igor is equally as amazing and tough and awesome. He is shy but very loving. I can tell that there is a lot of peer pressure from the older boys to pay them off, so yesterday I had the translator tell them to lay off Igor and I would buy them some candy and gum and goodies. They are all in my heart. I feel so devastated when they swarm us and beg to come to America with us. I am always tearing up when our car leaves the orphanage. I can't wait to get the boys home to our apartment!!

The apartment is as good as it gets here I think. No one has ever heard of a dryer, and the clothes are starting to get that oh so fresh hint of mold. I will be SO GLAD to get home. We really don't like it here. I feel weird saying that, as I try to be optimistic about all situations, but I just can't help always feeling like I want home, so much. Not one person has smiled at us (unless they work for us). I can just imagine a realtor selling our apartment, " And if you step out onto the crumbling balcony here, you will see your lovely view of the humongous statue of Vladimir Lenin." Just gives you the warm fuzzies doesn't it?

Anyway, we will survive this. Oksana is wonderful and all business is getting done as quickly as possible. We have a nice driver named Nicolai who is friendly and laughs at how many groceries we buy (which isn't that much!) Our beautiful son Parker is so sweet and never complains and is the best little boy in such a strange situation.

We are heading out to the hospital now to take Andre lunch. I will try to post some pics, but I think Christy posted some of the hospital which will terrify anyone. Take a look. Otherwise, Andre gets his cast off his broken arm today, Yay!

Much Love,
The Corbetts

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's getting better all the time...better, better, betterrrr..

So yesterday was actually a pleasant experience. We were desperate to leave the apartment (before we went crazy) and we REALLY needed some groceries, so we set out to find a market we had quickly seen the first day. When we went in it was a HUGE relief because it was a normal grocery store (things on shelves instead of behind a counter), and the woman actually smiled at us and helped us after she heard us speak English!!! First time ever! Of course she was trying very hard to sell us the entire store (expensive Russian caviar and all). haha But I stuck to my guns, got what we needed, and moved on. I felt empowered! I actually sang a little song and was really overreacting at such a small feat, but it was great to feel like we had found a "friendly" place.

We then took Parker to McDonald's like we had promised. That was amazing as well. The people really love to hang out there and it is the most happenin place in town. You really have to fight to sit down. We managed to get a seat and Dean got up to get ketchup, when one of the policemen who seemed to be a bit drunk, started harrassing some poor girl sitting alone. She looked scared out of her mind and spoke to him a bit then left as soon as she had the chance. He then proceeded to take a seat next to us. I told Parker not to speak and we got up and made a break for it! I just had a feeling he was up to no good and if he found out we were American, who know?

We then went to the underground mall. I like it very much because it seems kind of normal. There are security guards everywhere and we got to see three different people get manhandled out of the door just while having gelato at the coffee bar. Pretty entertaining!

I cooked for the first time last night. A little breakfast for dinner: fried eggs and toast, yogurt, fruit, and then some top ramen! Haha what a menu huh? Oh well, it was good.

This experience is turning out to be so great for our family. It is bringing us closer to each other. We are spending more time together because we absolutely must stick together at all times, and I enjoy it very much. My husband and son are the most kind, non-judgemental, loving and accepting guys on earth. I am so grateful to them for making this so easy. Their hearts are pure gold. They never complain and are so easy to travel with. I am blessed.

I absolutely CAN'T WAIT to see the boys. I am so happy to see the pictures that you have been posting Christy! Thank you for talking to them and letting them know more about us. I am very happy to hear that they are excited! They are adorable and I just need to give them hugs! I was confused, however, by your comment that you saw Andre in the hall with a sling on. Did they not put him back in re-hab? Is he still there in the orphanage? Please let me know, as this is different than what we were told.

So today we will be going on a walking (phew) tour of Kiev with Oxana the translator. She is new and works for Irina now. She will accompany us the entire time to Dnipro. I absolutely love her personality and her professionalism. She is also very sweet with Parker, and has worked extensively with children as a nanny. I think this is a good fit for her, but I am worried about her leaving her husband for a month. She seems to be excited about it so that is great. We will take lots of pictures of the Ukrainian baroque architecture and get some exercise. Should be good!

Much love,