Sunday, September 23, 2007

Home Sweet Home

It is 7:15 and Vos is reluctantly watching baby Einstein beside me on the couch. We started with sports center at 5:45 this morning and that grew old fast as well. He keeps saying Elmo, Elmo. I can only handle so much Elmo but am about to give in.

Vos is adjusting perfectly. He seems to be smiling all the time and really likes his new room, bathroom, and all of his toys here. Still with all his stuffed animals, noisy gadgets, and action games he’d still prefer to be in the cupboard rattling the pots and pans. The only tough adjustment for Vos has been overcoming his mortal fear of Sabacas (dogs). For those of you who haven’t met our dog Bessel, she is the most loving and kind dog. Vos started off thinking she was a fire breathing, child eating werewolf. Over the course of the last 3 days and an entire bag of dog cookies Vos has come close to overcoming his fear. Yesterday in the park he was even hugging Bessel and pulling her tail. The only problem now is to get Bessel adjusted to Vos!

Our trip home was exhausting to say the least. When all was said and done the trip was 24 hrs. Added to that we still had to make it home and get settled there. Vos was absolutely great during the entire trip. We got him to bed at 7 the night before and all got up at 3. From there we made it to the airport at 5. Ever since Cindy and I missed our flights back home from Florida last summer I become very nervous that we’ll miss our plane. This time was definitely no exception. We made it to the ticket counter just before the big influx of passengers and received our boarding passes without any problems. From there we went through Ukrainian customs. The officer did not speak English and was very confrontational. We figured out what he wanted after a few minutes, which was the adoption paperwork. After storming off and returning he waived us through. After 2 months of dealing with unhelpful people this was actually an amusing situation as opposed to being stressful. On our way into Ukraine we paid for a VIP service, which was comforting since we had no idea what to expect. This service fast tracked us through customs without any questions. After advice from previous travelers the $130 for VIP was money well saved on the way out?

After sitting for 1.5 hours waiting for our departure we boarded our plane. Vos was excited and enjoyed his window seat. He wasn’t frightened by takeoff or anything else for that matter. We were worried that he would have trouble with his ears and gave him a sippy cup for takeoff and landing but that too was not an issue. We also debated whether or not to give him something to help sleep but decided against it, which turned out to be an excellent decision. After landing in Amsterdam we noticed a big problem. Vos didn’t want to leave the plane. This was the first time he made any noise.

The Amsterdam airport is one of the best we have been in. They have dedicated playrooms for kids, which we sat in for a while. They also have nap room for babies with private couches and cribs. All this for free. Vos was having trouble being in the airport for 4 hours and needed a timeout. Understandable. Part of our waiting included lunch – McDonalds fries for him and a brie sandwich for us. As soon as we boarded the 8 hour flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis and Vos sat in the middle seat he got an idea of the boredom he was in for and started his protest. It was a row of 4 seats and the guy on the end wasn’t happy. He must’ve done someone wrong because right behind us was a mother with 4 KIDS under 5 years of age by herself! It is funny because a year ago I would’ve given the mother a piece of my mind when her 4 yr old daughter kicked my seat for 8 hours straight. Instead I gave the girl some play dough. We did our best to keep Vos entertained. He needed a timeout or 2 but managed his best by requesting bathroom trips every half hour for the 8 hours. We all managed some sleep on this flight although not too much. The meal was good, baked chicken with salad for me and cannelloni for Cindy and Vos. Cindy was much more patient when we needed to be with Vos. She is doing great and Vos really responds to her well.

We headed to customs when landing in Minneapolis. Vos was in the stroller here so this was helpful. There was a dedicated line for new “immigrants” and it also happened to be the same line as the flight personnel. The customs officer was not concerned about our short window to catch our next flight and made sure to handle all 20 or so attendants and pilots before he called us up. We were visibly agitated, tired and concerned. It was nice to see he empathized with us when he asked “is there a problem here?”. As Cindy was half way into saying “YES, we are about to miss a flight and you ………” I interrupted and said “No problem sir”. I am certain we were one step towards secondary but he decided to wave us on. Unfortunately one of our bags didn’t make it to the carousel(it was delivered home yesterday) and we had to rush onto catch our 4 hour flight to San Diego.

Vos and Cindy slept most of the flight. He was fidgety again but nothing unmanageable. Again he had the window seat and enjoyed watching the other planes and the views from the air when awake. Elmo also kept him entertained for 20 minutes. We arrived in San Diego on time and were greeted by Andy, Raegan, and little chuck who brought our car to the airport furnished with a car seat (Vos loves it). We were also surprise greeted by Melodie and Allen who brought balloons for Vos. In the parking lot Andy locked his keys in the car. Lucky Raegan knew to call onstar to unlock the car. Cindy’s mom Ardith was at our house to welcome us home with an ice cold beverage. Vos liked the welcome home posters, the toys, especially the tickle me Elmo from Cliff and Alissa that is now a fixture with him when he sleeps.

It is now 9:00 and I am trying to finish this up. Cindy just woke up and Vos is no longer requiring all my every minute of attention. He made it half way through Elmo. He is back to pretending he is terrified of Bessel although he keeps walking right up to her when she isn’t looking. Vos has really been amazing through this whole thing and is now really turned a corner. He didn’t need one timeout yesterday, which is one of the first days this has happened.

We now have to get all the logistics worked out to try and adopt Vos’s brother from the same orphanage. We have been told that everything should workout just fine and there shouldn’t be any hiccups. I will be sending an email out to ensure we have all our bases covered.

Now football is about to start. I have been looking forward to watching football for month now so it’s pretty exciting.

Lastly, I know how many questions and misconceptions we had before our trip to Ukraine. If you are considering adopting from Ukraine or will be traveling soon please send us an email and we’d like to share with you everything we feel would be helpful. I really wish there was someone share with us all the nuances.

Zenon, Cindy, and Vos


Greg said...

Welcome Home Issels.

Joanne said...

welcome back to our world.
So good to hear the trip was mainly uneventful and that Vos did it with great aplomb.
Now you are finally settled in your own home, and he will settle in really quickly.
He will grow to love your dog, I'm sure, and you will be surprised what great friends they will become. Can't wait to see you all and meet my new nephew.
Love you all, Joanne.