Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thanks mom

The moment both girls had been waiting for!!
Painting her own fingernails........my LD kids don't let anything stop them!!!
"The Make Over"
All girls love being pampered, no matter what country your from.

Rita's English is growing at an amazing speed. It's kind of sad because when she's around the other kids she'll say "Thanks Mom" instead of our Armenia days when she said "Thank you Mama". The language transition in our family has been interesting. The other kids have been saying a few of the phrases that I say to Rita (their Armenian is even more horrible than mine). Rita is repeating everything that all of the kids say......even Paul. Paul's speech is very delayed so it is kind of comical to listen to Rita try to repeat what Paul is saying. Rita can almost count to 20 now in English, which she couldn't even count to 20 in Armenian, so I think her accomplishment is great!! She is really getting into the flashcards and ABC videos that we bought for her. Today Natalie sat down with her to practice writing her ABC's and numbers. Natalie enjoyed being the teacher and Rita was a great student.

I had hoped to delay some of Rita's doctors' appointments, until her English got better, but I don't think that is going to happen. She has been having sporadic pain on the side of her little arm. She told us that she has this pain when she runs. Her the left side of her chest is deformed also so I am wondering if her organs are being compressed. Then there are her beautiful eyes. She has some major strabismus going on. I talked to our optometrist on Friday and he said they could do a complete exam with the language barrier so we've got her scheduled for next week. Plus....I can't wait to start updating her immunizations...we'll all know how much she LOVES needles!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Just a Minute"

Yes..... It's sad to say, Rita's first 3 word phrase is "just a minute" which I say at least 100 times a day. We have been home for almost 48 hours and things are going quite well. The trip home was long as expected. Rita threw 2 temper tantrums which we muddled through. The first and most ugly was when she found out the TVs were broke on our Yerevan to London flight. She starting bawling and head banging. I tried to ignore her but that's kind of hard to do on an airplane. Finally, I dragged her into the bathroom and in my broken Armenian said that we would go back out when she was done crying. The second tantrum was on the flight from London to Chicago. She got totally ticked off when I wouldn't let her get coffee when I did. (she's a 'want to be' coffee drinker, but as you can imagine even after she puts 3 creamers and 5 tsp. of sugar she still doesn't like it and dumps it out). I quickly dragged her to the bathroom this time and she got over her frustration much quicker. Nobody likes to be trapped in an airplane bathroom!!! After traveling for almost 24 hours we were only 2 miles from home and Rita's stomach decided to empty itself again (we had flashbacks from the day we took her from the orphanage). We definitely won't be making any long car trips in the near future. As expected Rita was sooooo excited to meet Natalie. She couldn't jump out of the van fast enough to give Natalie a big hug. It was a precious moment when she said "I love you Natalie!!" I thought our first night might be rough at home but Rita went to bed as soon as Natalie did and slept all night. The next day was the kids' last day of school. I knew it would be crazy at school but Natalie was dying to show her new sister off to her class. We stopped by Andrew's class real quick. Rita thought it was neat to meet cousin Emily real quick (Andrew and Emily has the same teacher this year). On the way to Natalie's class we met up with the principal. She was impressed when Rita said in English "how are you?" Mrs. Vaughn said that she was going to call me but was glad to speak with me in person. She said that the superintendent and herself had been discussing Rita's placement for this fall. As of now they are planning on placing her in 1st grade and possibly having her go down to a kindergarten class an hour or so a day to work on her foundations. They want to give Rita some time to adjust at home and then meet with her in the middle of the summer to see where she's at with her English and what they need to do to best meet her needs. I am so thankful to be in such a wonderful school district because I have heard plenty of horror stories from many of my Internet friends whose "older at time of adoption" kids school situations. Many of them talk about how they have to fight and fight the system to get help for their kids and here our school system is already wanting to do whatever Rita needs!! Last night Rita spoke with her new Armenian American friend for the first time. This man has so graciously agreed to help us out with Rita and our language barrier. When I got on the phone with him after he had talked to Rita I think his exact words were something like "boy, is she a ball of fire or what???" I am so thankful that the adoption agency has found Rita a friend to talk to. Well, I had been hiding in the computer room....but I've been found by 4 of the 5 kids so I better go. Enjoy the pictures. Ted and Rita's first picture together (before the kidnapping).
At the beautiful Cascade, where Rita rode the escalator for the first time...something I'll never forget.
Rita lighting her two candles...one for Mama (me) and G-Mama (her favorite nanny).
The best strawberry milkshake in the world!!!!!!!
My all time favorite picture......this man with only one leg, playing the accordion and singing a song about "Beautiful Rita." I'll post more pictures soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our Last Day

Wow....where has the time went? I can't believe that we leave Armenia tomorrow. This will be just a quick post. Today we visited the Armenian Genocide Museum. It was too sad for words. It's unbelievable the horrible acts that humans are capable of. Later we went back to the Embassy to get Rita's visa. F had stepped into the restroom for a minute and they called our name. The guy at the window wanted the document to clarify our Italian citizenship....what??? Aren't we at the US Embassy???? No worries he just got his words mixed-up. Now we are just killing time until this evening when we will start packing. Rita is so excited to go to America. She talked to Natalie on the phone again and Natalie couldn't believe how much better her English was even just since Saturday. I do have some bad news.........Rita is not perfect (oh darn!!) This angel does sprout devil horns from time to time but we still love her like crazy. I am so thankful that the agency back in the US has set us up with an Armenian speaking family for us to contact once we're home. This will be a life saver for not only Rita but us too!!! Well, I'll update again by Thursday or Friday and even with PICTURES!!!!!! Please say lots of prayers for our long journey home. I can't wait to give Andrew, Natalie, Audrey and Paul great big hugs and kisses!!!!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lots of firsts today

Okay...first of all I'm pretty sure I'm going to develop some kind of cancer from visiting the internet cafe everyday. It's about 10:00pm and in the cafe is me and about 25 Armenian men chain smoking....ughhhh. I came in earlier tonight but Rita's behavior wasn't so great so I didn't get a chance to blog. Rita knew her behavior was bad so she actually let me leave her alone with Ted. It's kind of funny that it took me being the bad guy to get Rita to warm up to Ted.

Anyways we had a great day!!! B promised Rita that she would take her to the movies. It was raining so we decided today would be a good day for the movies. All B said was that the theater plays cartoons at 11:30 so we assumed we would be seeing so cheezy carton. Here it was Horton Hears a Who. I told Rita that Dave had taken me, Natalie, and Audrey to see this movie in America. (Dave is our friend who is helping us out with the kids back at home). Rita has talked to Dave on the phone a few times so she was so excited to learn that Dave had taken us to see the same movie. The funny thing was that Horton was in Russian. Not that it mattered to Ted and I if it was Armenian or Russian but poor B had to translate the whole movie to Rita. I respect anyone who is fluent in one language besides their own...BUT two....that is impressive. B had to translate back and forth from Russian to English whenever Rita wanted to tell us something. Rita loved the movie but asked B is the characters would come out of the screen. We all laughed...but hey if you have never been to a theater before how could you know. The cutest thing was at the end of the movie where the Who's are crying out to get the animals to hear them so they wouldn't think Horton was crazy......Rita tells B "if I was there I would call out too!!!" She was so serious. Next we went to eat and then to the Children's Railway. Then we came back into the city for coffee and ice cream. While we were waiting Rita's hair was getting in the way for the 100th time. I asked B if we could get her hair trimmed. I thought it would be best to have it done here with a translater verses trying to do at home and her being scared. Rita was so excited. Of course she had only had her hair cut at the O.

We went to the first salon that we came upon. B told them our request...just a trim....but Rita wanted her hair cut shorter like Natalie's. I said "No, no, Natalie is trying to grow her hair out like Rita's!!!" So Rita agreed to a trim. We had to wait a few minutes and then it was Rita's turn. She got the full treatment. We drew quite a crowd. B was talking with the owner and the other employees who came out of the woodwork. I heard one of the men say "Angelina Jolie" so I knew they were talking about me (I'm believing that they were referring to my stunning beauty but more than likely he was referring to adopting kids from all over the world). I told B to tell him that I was just like Anglelina Jolie just short a few million dollars. After Rita's cut the lady blew dry her hair straight at Rita's request. She looked sooooo beautiful. This whole time B was talking to the small crowd. Later she told me that the owner had once been a doctor and had seen many special needs kids given up at the hospital after birth and it always made him sad. He was so happy that Rita would go to a loving family where she would be treated as a "handicapped" person. When Rita hopped out of her chair the owner told B that the haircut was a gift to Rita and we didn't have to pay. I told B to Thank them and that they were all gracious. Another beautiful Armenian memory.

As we were walking back to the apartment we were looking for an inexpensive CD player because we had bought Rita 3 Armenian pop CD's. She loves music....especially pop. The cheapest CD player was $60+ . We will look more tomorrow because we thought it would be nice for her to listen to on the plane. Once back at the apartment we had made plans to meet a family from America who just arrived last night. Rita wanted to put on a clean shirt. She is so picky when she is getting dressed. B was still with us so I was telling Rita through here that I din't know how I would ever survive with 3 daughters. Andrew and Paul are happy with any T-shirt...but the girls, including Rita, are another story. When I said "3 daughters" that reminded Rita of one of the Armenian soap operas called "Three Sisters". She was so happy because the girl loves her Armenian soap operas ( F told us that he thinks the nannnies watch them at the O). Earlier in the day she had one of her soaps on and a man and a woman were kissing passionately so she wanted Ted and I to do the same (she was laughing the whole time). Of course I gave Ted a big and overly dramitic juicy kiss......Rita loved it!!!!!! She is so easy to entertain.

We visited with the other American family for a little bit. They brought their 7 year old son so that was fun for Rita. They are adopting the cutest 8 month old girl. We won't get to meet their daughter in person as they will take her from the orphanage on Wed, the same day that we leave.

I can't believe that we leave in less than 48 hours. This trip has been much like both of our China trips....very enjoyable...but sooooo ready for home.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I went to the bathroom by myself today!!!!

Yes, that is something to be excited about. I have not went to the bathroom by myself since Monday morning and it is Sunday. Rita is feeling more comfortable about letting me out of her sight. I even sneaked into the bathroom this morning and took half of my shower by myself. Rita's adoration is kind of nice....I do feel a little bit like a queen. She hand me my toilet paper, she puts on my deodorant, she opens my water, stirs my coffee, puts on my socks...I think you get the picture.

Today we went out with out a guide for the day (our choice). It's B birthday and we told F that we could stay busy on our own close to the apartment. We decided to go back to the flea market and finish our shopping for souvineers. We knew what we wanted this time so we went straight to the vendors that helped us yesterday. Today I really, really wish I had my USB cord because I have the most amazing pictures. There was a man with just one leg playing the accordian in the middle of the market. Rita started dancing to his song and he noticed. He asked what her name was and he sang a song about "beautiful Rita" (Rita seriun). He was smiling so big while she was swaying to his song. It is by far my favorite moment of being in Armenia. Of course when he was done Rita told her story (Guymri, mama and papa, America). The man turned to us and thanked us many times. Just an amazing moment that I will never forget as long as I live.

After the flea market we went to a pizza place that we haven't bee to yet. More good food!!! Rita took it easy at lunch so no vomit today;) We went back to the apartment for a rest and then we went to the park. Rita and I went to the swings and a group of 6 or 7 kids came close looking at Rita's arm. Rita seemed not to notice their curiosity but I wanted to stop their staring so I said a BIG hello!! They all greeted us "hello" and went about practicing their English on me. Rita was so excited that these kids spoke both Hyedan and Angledon. One, who was 10, was easy to talk with. I told her to tell her teacher tomorrow that she spoke to an American and that I said her English was very good. She was so happy and I could tell she was telling her friends about 'dprots' , school....so I'm assuming she was saying what I had said to her. There happened to be an Asian family there. They has 2 older boys and a little girl about 2. Ted and I had noticed that the were Asian but didn't say anything to Rita. Rita went up to the little girl and caming running back "and Audrey and Audrey!!!!!" We couldn't believe that she put 2 and 2 together and the little girl reminded her of Audrey. Oh.....while I'm thinking about it......Rita had talked to my niece Emily on the phone yesterday. When I was done doing my blog post I showed her my brother's blog so she could see Emily. As soon as she saw Rachel's (my brother and SIL adopted a 3 year old girl from China 5 months ago) pictures she got all excited "AUDREY, AUDREY, AUDREY"...it was too cute!!! I pointed to Emily and Taylor pictures and acted like they were Natalie and Rita and then to Rachel's photo and acted like she was Audrey.....I think Rita understands they are sisiters too even though they don't look alike. Also Rita was so excited when I told her that Emily was Emily Rose......Rita tells everyone that askes her name "Rita Rose." She will be really excited when she learns that she has 2 Homan cousins with that middle name also.

After the park we went to visit our favorite store clerk (Rita promised her we would visit everyday until we went to America). Today I brought the photo album that I had made for Rita. She looked at our family picture and said "oh..you have adopted other children." I told her about bring Audrey and Paul home. She called the other clerks over and there were 5 people looking at our album. They were all smiling so big. Rita was in all of her glory showing off her new family. Well as usual I have more to tell but Rita is ready to go so until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Andrew, Natalie and Rita 'meet' for the first time

I was just reading a comment left on the blog from a friend about not having a quiet child yet. Yes it is true, it looks like Ted and I will never have a shy child. I was tellling F earlier in the week how with all of our adoptions we have kept hoping for a quiet or shy child. He just laughed and said that if we were hoping Rita would be shy, we should keep adopting!!! Rita is so silly and funny. She is so much like her siblings at home but just as they all have very unique personalities so does she. Today has been a fairly quiet day. We went to the flea market just a few blocks from our apartment with B. We found some great souviers. We then went to lunch and had traditional Armenian food....hmmmm. Rita does have a little problem with over eating and today it wasn't too pretty. Even though she came from a very nice O I believe this is post orphanage behavior. She has never eaten many of the foods that we have had at the resturant and everything taste so good to her.....so she eats and eats. There really isn't any child's meals so if is hard to limit her portions. Well while we were waiting for the bill I reconized the words "lav chem" that she spoke to B (I don't feel well). She then threw up a little bit in her clean plate. So she and I quickly went outside and then she threw up again. She said she felt fine so we continued on to the park as planned. Not to far from the resturuant she did it again. I said that we must go back to the apartment until her stomach had time to settle. Of course B translated this and she became upset with B thinking that it was her decision to not go to the park. As we walked back to the apartment she refused to talk to B. I had B tell her that I was the one who said we would not go to the park until later. By then she was too mad. As the mother of 4 other kids I wasn't too concerned about her being mad because she wasn't getting her way. B is very soft hearted and didn't like Rita being upset with her. As usual Rita came around fairly quickly so everyone was happy again. B's birthday is tomorrow so she won't be with us. Rita was sad because she loves B so much. I said that we would go shopping for a small gift for B tomorrow and give it to her on Monday. Rita was thrilled with that answer!!! (the girl loves to shop, even if it is just for snacks or even paper towels).

Before Rita got sick, she asked B if She would have surgery on her arm once she was in America. F had told us yesterday that people have asked this question in our presence but has not translated for us. Plus when we were eating buy ourselves yesterday without a guide I could tell that 2 waitresses were asking her if she would have surgery on her arm in America. I'm thinking that her arm has never really been discussed with her. So all of these questions have got her thinking. Anyways we told B to tell her that it was her choice if she wanted to have any work on her arm. She said that she could use her arm fine and she didn't want any surgery. I told her that we have decided the same for Paul...if he ever wants a prosthesis, it will be his choice. We told her that we think she is still beautiful with a small arm. She told B that she was worried that the doctor would cut off her entire arm and give her a new one. B asked why did she think this and she didn't have an answer. I told B that she didn't have to translate this but I said that we would take her to a specialist once she was speaking English fluently and not before. I told her I was mor concerned about her chest and back than her arm. Some how Rita caught on to what we were saying, probably from my motions. Rita told B that she has pains on her small side sometimes. I told B we would only do treatment without Rita's permission if it was a health issue. Rita seemed content with our conversation.

Rita got to speak with Andrew and Natalie for the first time (and cousin Emily too). Natalie was shy in talking with Rita but Andrew and Rita seemed to have found something to discuss ( I think they were just saying "hello" back and forth).

I almost forgot a touching moment that I experienced today. The cleaning lady was at the apartment today. She was talking to Rita and Rita was telling her the whole story...O in Guymri, mama and papa America, etc. The lady finished her job and was waiting for her ride. She spoke some English so I was showing her one of the photo albums that I had sent to Rita of our family. She took my hand and kissed it and very sincerely said "Thank You." It was a humbling experience for me. So, I'll leave you with this until tomorrow...........Alison

Friday, May 16, 2008

A few tears.....

Yesterday afternoon when I got back from the Internet cafe Rita was sad. B said that Rita had become upset while I was gone and cried for a little while. A few months ago I had bought the book "Sisters" which relates to our family very much. It is about Melissa and Kika. Melissa is the birth child and Kika is the adopted child who doesn't speak English. They are both around the same age....maybe 8 or 9 (Kika's country or age is not told in the story). The day before when B was reading this story to Rita she really enjoyed it. But yesterday it made her sad as there is a page where Kika is home with her new family but she is sad because she is missing her life in the orphanage. Rita was missing her G and started to cry. Once I got to the apartment she was okay. B told me everything. Rita promised B that she would not cry anymore. I told her (through B) that is was okay to miss her friends and G. That she had known them her whole life and they were very important to her and that she should miss them. Rita didn't want B to leave so we walked her to the corner. Rita shed a few tears again as we were walking back to the apartment. I just gave her lots of hugs and kisses. She was happy the rest of the evening. We worked on counting 1-10 with flashcards. This morning she woke up happy again but an hour or so later I was getting ready for the day and she was in her room looking at her pictures from the orphanage. I came in and started looking at them with her. She became very upset and started calling out for her nanny..G, G,G,G,. I could not console her, she didn't want me to touch her. I didn't know what to do for a moment so I just started to do my makeup.......not ignoring her, but staying in the same room with her so I would be there for her when she was ready. Not 5 minutes later she came to me with a hug and kiss. She really is a strong and sweet child. I still can't say enough how blessed we are to have Rita in our lives. Later on B called on the phone. Rita always answers the phone.....I could tell that she was telling B that she had cried that morning but that she was happy now. It was too funny to hear her talking to be because it seemed like she was mocking herself a bit. She was saying in a dramatic voice G..G..G...gora, gora, gora, gora (cry) and smiling all along while she was telling the story.

As far as official business goes we had to go back to the hospital to check Rita's TB site. She ran in and gave the doctor a big hug and showed her that her arm looked good. When the doctor told her that she looked good, Rita jumped up and down saying "YEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!!" I have never seen anyone so excited about a negative TB result. Then we went to the US Embassy for our visa interview. All went smooth. Rita flirted with another boy about her age terrribly!! F said that the American boys should watch for this girl. Ted, Rita and I went in for the interview by ourselves. The intervier was very nice and Rita asked him a 100 questions (he was American but also spoke Armenian) I finally told him that Rita could keep him busy all day if he let her so he could feel free to talk over her. Rita told him that she was going to America!!!!!!

F received a call from the director of the O. She was in Yerevan visiting her son and wanted to say good-bye to Rita. Of course I wanted to do this but was worried of how Rita would feel. She did become very serious but still happy. We stopped to buy her flowers and to buy G a box of chocolate for the director to take back with her. When we arrived at their apartment Rita ran right up to the director and gave her a big hug. We visit in the apartment for about 15 minutes. It was a very nice visit and I'm so glad we went. Rita told her that she was happy with her mama and papa and that she would go to America. (everytime she says that she is going to America it warms my heart because back in April she was pretty insisted that she would not come to America). Rita bragged to the director that she was teaching me Armenian. I bragged that she was learning English very quickly (close to 30 words already....not including being able to count to 10 with very little assistance). The director told us that she was a very clever girl, we agreed!! After the visit B took us to a Mexican resturant.....oh my word, Ted is worried that he will have to buy an extra plane ticket for me and Rita with as much as we have been eating. I am not kiding the best strawberry milkshakes in the entire world are served at this place. Rita is still keeping Ted at arms length but the enjoy blaming poofs (passing gas) on each other.....they both think that they are hilarious.

Missing Andrew, Natalie, Audrey and Paul....Alison

Thursday, May 15, 2008

She's just like the other kids

This are still going super here in Armenia!! I have quickly learned that even though Rita has never met her siblings, she acts very much like them. When I say "no" to the kids at home they just ignore me. I have to say no, nicely 3 or 4 times before I give up and say "NO!!!" Then they usually listen. Rita is the same way. I'm not saying she has bad behavior but she doesn't always listen to mama....and it has nothing to do with speaking different languages. Just like crossing the street she wants to go right out into traffic. I say "che`" nicely and she doesn't listen....I say che`, che`, che` on deaf ears....but as soon as I say CHE` she listens!!!!! Even in the store we argue back and forth in either English or Armenian about her wanting to buy everything. Mama: "no, no, no", Rita: "yes, yes, yes". Mama: "che, che, che" Rita: "ha, ha, ha." So I am glad to tell all of you she is a very normal little girl!!

A funny story from yesterday. Rita asked both F and B who would translate for her when she goes to Armerica. F said you will have to learn English very quickly. Rita decided she would buy B and both of her parents plane tickets to America with all of her money (Ted gives her the change when we buy something, so Rita thinks she is rich....she has at least $3.00). F tried not to be offended that Rita was not going to buy him a ticket also. Rita has a love/ hate relationship with F......but she is totally in love with B. B is a beautiful young girl who is still single and living with her parents. During our sightseeing on the 2nd day Rita was so concerned that B would be punished by her parents for spending so much time with us. We think that Rita sees B as a child. She is always asking B if this or that would be okay with her parents. Too cute. Today B said that she would really miss Rita when we leave.

Today we went to the zoo and a children's art muesem with B. PETA would go CRAZY if they saw the condition that these animals live in. Ted thinks the zoo is self supporting because in the beginning we saw a large amount of goats. Really way too many goats to get excited about seeing. Well, once we got to the lions' cages their lunch resembled goats heads..yummy!! Rita even got tired off the smell. She was most impressed with the birds flying around on the zoo grounds. Then had another delicious lunch. Rita had been dying to have pasta. We ate pizza yesterday and saw pictures of pasta at this resturant so she told B that she wanted to come back tomorrow and have pasta. She ate every last bite. She has an amazing apetite. After lunch we went to the children's art museum. It has art work done by children from 120 different countries. We bought a book, poster and some post cards. Rita was talking to B and the man working there recognized Rita's Guymri dialect. Rita said "yes, I am from Guymri orphanage and this is my mama and papa and I am going to America." It warms my heart everytime to hear her brag on us. We also visited a church built in the 13th century. When we entered Rita insisted on saying a prayer that she knew from memory. I don't know what she said but it was beautiful. Afterwards B bought candles for us to light. The adults all had one and Rita had 2. She lit her candles for her new mama and G (her nanny). I told her that once again G would be so proud of her. I told Rita (of course through B) that when I lit my candle I thanked God for my beautiful Armenian daughter, Rita. Rita jumped up and down and said many things. B said they were all words of affection.

Ted and F picked up Rita's passport today. Rita was sooooo excited "Mama and Papa and Rita...PASSPORT.....AMERICA!!!!" Rita's English is progressing at an amazing speed. She now refuses to say thank you in Armenian it is always in English...even when we do business with someone who only speaks Armenian I try to get her to say "thank you" to them in Armenian. She always says "no.....Thank you." This is coming from a girl who said she would never learn English and that her mama must learn Armenian. B is impressed with all of the English words she uses. The bad thing is that she is learning to talk like me. I say "okay and whoops" way too much, so of course Rita is always saying "okay and whoops"....at least she uses them at the correct time.

So life in Armenia is going great. I talked to Audrey and Paul on the phone last night. Of course I miss all of my kids! I hope Natalie is ready to have a shadow because Rita talks about Natalie all of the time!!!! I tried to get Rita to talk to Audrey last night but she was insisting on talking to Natalie. I told her in my limited Aremenian that Natalie was in school (dprots..). Well, I should go, I left Rita, Ted and B to fend for themselves at the apartment. B will go home after I get back and I think later Rita, Ted and myself will go out for Chinese. There is a Chinese resturant close to our hotel. F told us that other American families have told him that this resturant is better than ones at home. I had told Audrey that we would be eating Chinese food in Armenia and she was so excited!!!! Audrey is very proud of being Chinese!! Until tomorrow......Alison

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One Happy Girl

Rita is one amzing, resilient child. She has not shed one tear since the traumatic drive to Yerevan. This morning one of the first things she told F was that she wanted him to call G to let her know that she was not crying anymore and she is very happy with her mama and papa. Before F came to our apartment Rita, Ted and myself ventured out on our own to do a little shopping (we got lost ......but that's another story). Anyways we went to the same store we were at yesterday. The same clerk was working...she just adores Rita. She speaks very good English and told me that yesterday that Rita told her that we were her mam and papa and that we took her from the orphanage and she will go to America and she is very happy. The clerk told Ted and I that she thinks we are such wonderful people to adopt Rita and that she was happy that Rita would have a family that loves her. Rita has a special "way" with everyone who meets her. A lady at the passport office had tears in her eyes yesterday just talking with Rita. F told me that Rita is very proud of her mama and she tells everyone.

A few stories from yesterday. Unfortunatley Rita had to had current bloodwork done. She told F that she was fine and that she didn't need new bloodwork. F tried to explain that, yes, she still had to have it done. She then told F that she would tell the nurses that she had bloodwork in Guymri and didn't need it done today and they would understand. We went to the clinic and sure enough she tried to convince the nurses that she didn't need her blood drawn. I went back with her to room. They said she could set one my lap. She was fine on my lap until the needle came out. She hit the road running!!!!!!! Ted had to block the door to the outside. F and the nurses tried to reason with her but it was useless. She HAD to have this done so F restrained her in his lap and I held her legs down. Two nuses held her arm down to drawn the blood. Thankfully since she was screaming so loud her veins were popping!!! The nurse got the blood on the first try. Rita whimpered and once the nurse was down she looked up at all 3 nurses and said "snorlackalution" (thank you!!). We all laughed!!!! Even if she is a bad patient she still is a polite patient!!! I was crying and I said look Rita you made mama gora (cry) . She consoled me!! She is such an amazing child!!!

Later on in the day Rita took her first taxi ride. She was so giddy with excitement. When the drive stopped and we all got out she popped her head back in the window and again said "Thank you" (in Armenian of course). The driver smiled and B proclaimed that Rita is the most polite little girl in Armenia!! I told B to tell her that G would be so proud of her good manners. Rita also used escalaters for the first time. Her first attempt at entering the escalator reminded Ted and I of the move Elf where he gets on the escalator-bascially doing the splits. Even after she learned the correct way to ride she still tried to be funny by doing the splits or tripping on purpose when we would get off.

Today she had to have her medical exam for her US visa. She was very nervous and we assured her there would be no needles. F didn't realize that the requirements had changed and now all children must have a TB test. Their TB test is different than what I am used to. Of course they use a needle to inject the serum. Rita freaked out a little bit but quickly calmed down. She had a basic vision test and the doctor said that she will definetly need to visit an opthamalogist for her strabism (Rita had told F that she can see just fine even with her strabism.....she likes to reason about everything).

Rita is still shy around Ted. She doesn't like for him to be too close to her but she always makes sure that he is included. Right now F and Ted are at the embassy and Rita was worried once she realized that papa was missing. She loves when Ted falls asleep on the couch and she likes to take his pictures and joke around in front of his face while he eyes are closed.

Aunt Pam...I was on the phone talking to the friend that is helping with the kids. She wanted to know if it was "marakuse" (aunt). I said no...and she remembered your thank you conversation and kept repeating it. "Thank you....NO, thank you...NO thank you and on and on."

I have many more stories but Rita and B are back so I must go. I miss the other kids....Rita has already bought Natalie a gift in her favorite color...lime green. More tomorrow. Forgive me spell check is too slow and Rita is ready to go!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What resembled a kidnapping end up as a beautiful day

We made it and now have Rita!!! First of all our travel was much smoother this time around than last time. We didn't miss any flights, didn't loose any luggage and our guide was at the airport in \yerevan on time!!! I did try to board the wrong plan in Chicago but thankfully the machine spit out tickets out and the agent sent us to the correct terminal.

Just to save time typing and to respect the privacy of those involved I'm going to share some abbreviations.
F- our agency facilitator
O- orphanage
G- Rita's main and beloved nanny
B- our beautiful young translator and city guide

So F, Ted and I left Yerevan very early to head to Guymri. First we had to go to the court house and to the registrars office. Then to the O. I had thought that G was going to be in Russia for the month of May but she was with Rita when we arrived at the O. As soon as Rita saw us she gave us a respectful hug and kiss but quickly clutched onto G. She was saying over and over that she would come to America in 2 days but NOT today. G kept trying to reassure her but it was quickly becoming evident that this was not going to be an easy transition. G and Rita took Ted and me back to Rita's room. It was heart breaking to see all of Rita's friends again. Two children went right up to Ted and reached their arms out to him. He knelt on the floor and they both attached to him very quickly. G helped Rita change her clothes and pack her back pack. All along Rita would not let go of G. G told Rita that she would come to America too (while winking at Ted). G has to be a very strong women because I was crying and she held her composure but I'm sure that she was torn up on the inside. We left the room and G told Rita to say good-bye to the cooks. I looked at Ted and said that I didn't think I was going to make it. I took a deep breath as we headed outside knowing that this was not going to be easy. Rita was quickly becoming hysterical just standing by the car. G kept trying to calm her down but it wasn't working. Ted and I had to go back up stairs to sign some papers. The windows were open and we could hear Rita howling. It was the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced. Ted and I went back to the car. F said that Rita was not going to get into the car so "we must just take her and go." Ted started to help with forcing Rita into the car but I told him to let the others do it. Ted got in the front and I got in the back and it took 3 adults to put her in the back with me. It was soooooooo horrible. Once the door was closed she was kicking and screaming G---, G---G-- F drove away and really, truly felt like we were kidnapping her but I understood there was no other way. While we were still in Guymri she got the door open and was half of the way out while the car was still moving. F locked the doors and the kicking and pounding continued. She would get quiet for awhile and then start all over. I tried rubbing her back but she didn't want anything to do with me. It is a 2 hour drive back to Yerevan and it was fairly miserable. We had given her chewable tablets for motion sickness. She reached the 24 hour allowance before we got into Yerevan so I tried to give her pepto but she didn't like it. She had settled down for the most part and just as we entered the city limits she started barfing!!! I had stolen a barf bag from the airplane anticipating this. She got most of the barf in the bag but still got some on her clothes, me and F's car seat. Once there was nothing left in her stomach she told F to tell me that she will be a good girl and learn English very quickly. I didn't know which was most heart breaking the kidnapping incident or the why that she wanted to please me. Honestly after this she didn't cry the rest of the day. F told her all about our beautiful apartment and the nice clothes that we had brought her and that we would go to a restaurant tonight. She stated that she much put clean clothes on before going to the restaurant.

As soon as we got back to the apartment she was so excited to go through her backpack of clothes. She loved everything and everything was so beautiful. She choose a shirt and pair of pants with butterflies on it. By this point F had turned us over to B. B is a sweet girl and Rita really likes her. B took us shopping and to dinner. B was so entertained by Rita's silly comments at the restaurant. B had asked her if she had ever been to a restaurant. Rita said ,yes, once when I was much younger....too funny, like she is so old know. B brought us back to the apartment and stayed for awhile. Rita brought out her photo album of her friends from the O. Rita showed B pictures of G and said, without tear, "this is G, she was my nanny and she took very good care of me." I had B discuss a few things with Rita before she left like bath time, pajamas and bedtime. I was worried that Rita would become upset at bed time but she never did. She did move me into to her room (even my clothes) Papa now has his own room and Rita and I are like college roommates with her side and my side. I tucked her in and she was giggling because I was being silly. She woke up this morning all smiles. I can honestly say that when we were leaving the O I really questioned my sanity but now I know that this girl is our daughter without a doubt. She is a bit shy around Ted but is coming around quickly.

Guess what...the intenet in the cafes is very fast BUT I forgot my UBS cord so you'll have to wait until we get home for pictures.....sorry!!! There is much more to tell but Ted, Rita and B are back from their walk so I must go. Keep us in your prayers. Alison

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oh.....so much easier!!

Alright, most of you know that I've been keeping a private blog for the adoption of our newest daughter. That darn blog has been nothing but trouble. I'm not going to bore you with details but trust me it has just become to complicated for a non-computer person. Plus, many friends and family have had a hard time gaining access to the private blog and I don't want them to miss out on our latest adventure.

Let me get any new readers up to speed: Ted and I leave on Saturday to adopt our 5th child. You can read our story if you want all of the details http://homan1.blogspot.com/ . I should be packing but I work best under pressure so I'll save most of the packing for Saturday morning. I so have Rita's bag and a suitcase full of orphanage donations packed. I need to get the 4 kids at home packed up before I can even think about Ted and myself. It has been crazy trying to find places for all four kids to stay while we're gone. My mom is helping out a majority of the time but she only has so much vacation time.......plus, I don't want her to go totally crazy while we're gone. Lots of other people are chipping in to help out...so here's a BIG thanks to you wonderful people - Dave, Kathy, Patty, my brother and SIL, Ted's parents, Rose, Donna and my dad. I told my mom that I never want to adopt again just for the stress of figuring out what to do with the kids left at home.

Like I said Ted and I leave Saturday evening out of Ft. Wayne. We fly to Chicago, then onto London ( I HATE Heathrow airport with a passion!!!!). We arrive in Yerevan shortly after midnight on Sunday/Monday AM. I believe we will drive to Gyumri first thing Monday morning, complete some more paperwork and then go to meet Rita again. Ted has the heart necklace and heart ring already to give to Rita for their first meeting (Rita's request.....the girl know what she wants). That same day we should head back to Yerevan to stay at a furnished apartment for the rest of the trip. Tuesday our facilitator will start our paperwork with the US Embassy to attain a visa for Rita to enter the USA and become a US citizen. For all of my China friends this part of the trip is similar to when you head to Guangzhou to get their visas. In between appointments we hope to make it to the Genocide museum http://www.armenocide.am/ , maybe the circus and make a visit to a dentist office (yes....I want to take a tour of a dentist office in Armenia). I'm sure we do other things too but these are a few things on my list. We plan to be back home on May 21st. Hopefully I'll have better internet access than we did on our first trip to Armenia. Our facilitator said that our apartment will be close to internet cafes....we'll see. I'll leave you with the picture that started it all. I came across this picture on a "waiting children website" and my breath was taken away. She is such a beautiful girl....on the inside and out. It was a year ago yesterday that we officially started the paperchase to bring Rita home. My next post will be from Armenia :o)