Saturday, November 13, 2010

What have we been doing?

I haven't blogged for a while and feel really bad about it. I always think I need to write a story about how we are doing. So until I have a few extra minutes to blog....I am going to post a few pictures and just say that we are doing wonderful!

We relax with Tata in the backyard!
We go to gymnastics every Saturday and love it
We have been playing in the backyard! Swinging swinging and more swinging!
We hiked with Scooter through the woods!
We visited Lina so she could meet the little blessing she helped us bring home!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First day home

Once again I am still behind....trying to get caught up! I wanted to share some photos of their first day home!
We arrived in Charlotte at 9:30 local time. Vito was waiting at the airport with a rose for each of us. They were a little sleepy but pepped right up when they saw tata and then they were wide awake when we got to the car to meet Scooter for the first time. He was hugged and kissed over and over and told "I love you" about 20 times. When we got home they thanked us for Scooter about 30 times. Even though it was 3am their time they ran around the house looking at everything thanking us over and over again. They finally feel asleep around 11:30pm local time. The next day was filled with exploring the house more. Putting on the princess dresses we had bought for them, riding their bikes and scooters and playing with the neighborhood kids. Oma (Vito's mom) came over to meet the girls. Of course she got a warm greeting from them, they are such warm and loving girls. They played with oma, she sang to them, we had lunch together and just spent some time getting to know one another. After she left we went practiced quiet time. The girls had to either look at books or do puzzles in their princess tent. It was suppose to be 30 minutes....but was more like 10. I guess we have to start somewhere. Then it was time to put on the princess dresses on for Halloween and let me tell you that was the most exciting thing ever. We went to a neighbors house for pizza and then off to trick or treat. The girls had such a great time. Thanks Caroline and Everett for being such good friends and teaching them how to say trick or treat! A couple of time I walked up to the door with the girls and when they they were asked who they were dressed as...they would just tell them their names. It was priceless.

Patrycja giving Scooter his first big hug!

Had to try on the dresses before bed the first night!

Scooter coming to say good night :)

Finally we don't have to play outside without the girls anymore!
Trick or treating with Caroline and Everett.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On our way home

I know that we have been home for over a week now....however I wanted to share some of the precious pictures I took on our way home. Considering the circumstances.....10 hour flight, 3 hour layover and another 1 1/2 hour flight to Charlotte.....the girls did great and we made it home safe and sound.

Getting ready for our first flight.....10 hours from Warsaw to Chicago!

Running off the plane! First time in America!

Us with our bags....the girls were the best helpers ever!

Passports are stamped.....girls are officially citizens!

Looking at our plane in Chicago!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Second family visit

Girls sang happy birthday to me in was priceless!

We were blessed again to have more family come to meet the girls last week. My parents made the long trek from Idaho to Warsaw to meet their new little grand daughters! The girls warmed right up to them and have been playing non-stop. My mother has been such a great help. She brought learning activities for them, craft projects (yesterday they decorated the apartment in Halloween) and she even made them each a little princess dress and brought them little pink dress up shoes (of which they love.) We have visited Old Town, played at the park and had a great time just hanging out! It has been great to have them here! Since we are leaving earlier that expected they will travel to Krakow after we leave and then on to Italy for a week! I am happy they will get to see more of Europe!
We are on still scheduled to leave Saturday. We picked up their passports on Wednesday...and boy were they excited! Patrycja did have a little melt down when she noticed that my picture was in color and hers was not (Poland used biometric photos) she ran to get her coloring pencils to makes hers like mine. She cried when I told her under no circumstances can she write on her passport! Could you imagine getting to customs in the U.S. with a marked up passport! Yesterday Magda took us, along with Jim and Dominik to the US Embassy for our exit interview. It was very uneventful and everything was perfect with our paperwork. We returned to the Embassy at 3pm to pick up their Visa's! We are now officially official and we are free to leave Poland...what a wonderful feeling!
We have truly had a wonderful time here in is something that will always be special to us and the day we will return so we can relive some of these priceless memories!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

First family visit!

We were so blessed to have Vito's sister, her husband and their 4 kids come to visit us in Warsaw. They currently live in Germany so after a couple of train rides and a plane ride they made it to Warsaw. It was an amazing 4 days watching the girls with their new aunt and uncle and 4 new cousins! Needless to say the girls were in heaven. They made necklaces with the girls, painted their fingernails, and taught them "if your happy and you know it clap your hands" only our girls sing "clap your feet"...I know it will come soon. We walked the streets of Warsaw together, fed the birds in the square, went out for ice cream and played in the park. The girls were strong when we had to say good-bye...even though I saw little tears in Karolina's eyes. We explained that we will see them again and again because they are family! It was truly a wonderful 4 days! Thank you again Schosek family for blessing us with your visit!

As for the details of coming home! Friday we went with Magda (always a treat for the girls to see Madga...they get so excited) and applied for the girls Polish social security numbers, took their pictures for their passports and visa's and visited the Embassy Dr.
Monday we applied for their passports and today we hope they are making the passports. Vito also left early Monday morning...the girls had tears in their eyes when they woke up and found out he had already left. Once I reminded them that he was going to see Scooter they smiled and felt better. Still praying to leave on Saturday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How time flies!

Wow! I can't believe our time in Warsaw is slowly coming to an end. We had originally been told we could possibly be here until Nov 18th but since our appeal period was shortened and we can get our paperwork done before 2 of their holidays we could be home as soon as Oct. 30! I have already thought about what the girls could be for Halloween.
So we will land at 10pm, meet Scooter for the first time, see their new bedroom and toys, wake up play on the playset outside, have Oma(grandma) over to meet them, and later dress up in costumes and walk the neighborhood asking for candy-Welcome Home!
The girls are doing great.....they have the cutest personalities ever. Karolina is so sweet and kind. Always concerned about others can count to ten in English and is learning the ABC song---we hear it about 100 times per day! Patrycja is so animated and loves to talk with her hands. She love attention and is always singing and dancing. She is adventurous, loves to play with the big kids and loves to show you her cartwheel.
Until about 1 week ago Patrycja would tell everyone she is 5 (she is 4) Karolina is 5. So after about an hour of her crying I finally showed her all of the official documents (which of course she can't read) that states she is 4. She has finally come to terms that she is 4 and is now ok with it. We explained birthdays and that she will have hers when we get to the US and that is when she will be 5. The adoption books didn't prepare us for that one.
We are having so much fun learning more about their culture and seeing their beautiful country. We have seen so much of the city thanks to Vito learning the transportation system. We either walk, take the trolly cars or the subway. The girls still love the trains.....we are going to have to find them some trains to ride on when we get home! We had a great day at the Warsaw Zoo. I think we have been to the Zoo 5 times since we got to Poland-more times than either Vito or I have been in the past 10 years. But the girls love it and it gives us a chance to be outside running around with them.

Karolina flying down the slide at the Warsaw Zoo
Patrycja collecting leaves to feed the ponies
A first for Karolina to feed the animals!
Watching the gorillas!
Wondering whether they should run from the peacock!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A day in Warsaw

Below are some pictures from our trip to old town. It was a beautiful day to be outside (very fortunate so far to have pretty good weather.) Each day is a new adventure as we find something to do. We are saving some of the tourist things for when family gets here so for now it is a lot of playing at the park.
A trip to old town......playing in the water!

A very nice man gave us some bird seed to put in our hands so the bird would land on us. Not sure I would like it....but it really wasn't that bad and Patrycja loved it!
Karolina and I in front of a restaurant with beautiful flowers!

Running through Lazienki Park on a beautiful day! We even had our first family picnic!
Karolina and Patrycja in front of the palace on the water.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Greetings from Warsaw

I decided that since we didn't post any pictures until our court date...I would post some from the past. I posted them in the three previous posts (limited size on blogger).
Obviously everything at court went very well or we would not be in Warsaw. The judge approved our request for a 2 week appeal period (instead of 3) which means we will be home earlier than planned! Since we already had one court date this one focused mostly on the bonding period. The foster father gave a very long testimony and very positive on our behalf. He told the judge how he saw an immediate relationship form between us and the girls when we first met. He told how we Skyped every week and how much the girls looked forward to it. He told them about the pictures we had sent of their room, the playset and the clothes and toys we had bought for them. He told the judge how the girls just wanted parents and would tell the foster mother she needed to leave the house and look for some parents for them. Once again we are thankful for the loving home the girls had. After court we said good-bye to him one last time. We promised we would meet again in the U.S. someday. One way we thought to say thank you was to name the girls after their daughters. Thus the girls middle names are Ania after their oldest daughter and Kasia after their younger daughter. We will wait to share this with Patrycja and Karolina.

Tom (our driver) watched the girls while we went to court -same babysitter Julie had when she went to court. Tom then drove us to Warsaw to our new apartment. It is very nice, just different than our last place-much more urban. We are very close to a mall and the train station. The other day we were walking to a park and happened to walk by the U.S. Embassy (so we know where that is now). While at the park Madga called us and told us she was dropping off another family in Warsaw who is adopting with their 4 new children. We had sent a lot of emails back and fourth in the U.S. so it was really great to meet them. The kids are beautiful. We hope to get together again this week. We are also staying in the same complex as Julie and Jim so the girls and Dominik had a play date the other night! It was fun to see the kids play together.
The girls doing great. They seem to feel more safe and comfortable each day. They are always talking about Scooter and when they get to see him. They never mention going to the U.S. anymore but rather when they are going to see Scooter. It will be an interesting reunion as yesterday Karolina hid behind tata when we came upon a chihuahua . We explained that Scooter is duzy (big) but very dobry (nice).
Each day everything becomes more natural and we all feel more and more like a family. Last night at dinner Patrycja made a toast to the Macioce rodzina (family) it was very cute and she even included Scooter.
They love to watch Hannah Montana and Scooby Doo (comes on in Polish). They can both count to ten and love to show off to the other kids at the park their new English. They are such loving sweet girls and we are so thankful everyday for them.

and even some more pictures

Our visit to Krakow....the girls and I on the main square

Lody! One of our favorite things in Poland (all 4 of us)
They had trampolines at the park in Katowice. Above Karolina does a flip!
Patrycja flying high! The girls loved flying high and flipping forwards and backwards!
The girls and I in the rose garden at the park. I can only imagine how beautiful it is during the summer months!

Friday, October 8, 2010

and some more pictures

In the same park in Katowice has a whole section dedicated to the history of Silesia. It had different structures representing each region.
Patrycja feeding one of the ponies.....a highlight of the day!
Tata and girls pose with the local camel!
The leaves were turing while we were made for a cute fall picture of the girls!
Mama and girls enjoyed all of the flowers!

Finally some pictures

Since we didn't post any pictures until it was official, I decided to share some of our adventure so far.
At the zoo in Katowice they had this great kids rope course called Zoolandia....the girls loved it. The best part was the zipline at the end....even better when the attendant wasn't there and they had to do it alone.....a few close ones.
The park right down the street from us is the largest park in Europe. It is known as the "the peoples park" The closest thing we can relate it to is Central Park in NY but their is actually more to do here. We spent a lot of time there visiting the zoo, eating lunch, visiting the historical park, walking around the rose garden and riding the train. In hind sight we are so thankful for this park. It was a lifesaver to get all of that energy out!
This is park right outside of our apartment. You can see the apartments in the background. It was so nice to have a park so close. The girls never tired of it and even met some friends to play with.
Patrycja playing on the monkey bars. Let me tell you these girls are on the go!
This was the first picture we saw of the girls. It was emailed to us on March 1st! 7 months later and here we are!

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