Thursday, May 24, 2012


So sorry for the lack of posting but life with 6 is busy to say the least! Olivia is adjusting beautifully. Lee and I both agree it's as if she's been with us forever. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the amazing blessings in our lives. Our family is complete! I promise to write more very soon but for now here's a few pictures of our first weeks with our beautiful Ukrainian princess!

Our trip home! Lets just say this was one of our more peaceful moments:). Olivia was not fond of flying!

Taken by one of our favorite flight attendants!

We had a 17 hour layover in Atlanta so we took advantage and spent the evening with Grandma and Grandpa Sweeney, my sister Kathy and her beautiful girls. Much to our surprise Olivia had her first welcome home party where she met many new friends that have been praying for her since our journey started!

Miss Charlene!!!

Olivia was so excited to meet one of her biggest fans, Kristina!

One of my new headbands that Kristina made especially for me!! I have one for almost every outfit!!

The party was absolutely wonderful and the perfect "Welcome" to Olivia's new life as one of the most cherished United States citizen ever!

The flight from Atlanta to Sacramento was a dream! Miss Olivia Mae slept 3 and a half hours and woke up just in time for lunch and our decent into Sacramento international airport:)

The perfect ending to the perfect fairytale!!
We have TONS of pictures and video of our homecoming and I promise to get them posted soon! We even made the Sunday night news!!!
A few more shots of "home"!

The "twins" after a Morning walk in their new stroller!

Oh the hair......

Chloe loves her new baby sister... Until she sits in her chair!

Beautiful girl!

Jack is the best big brother there is. He loves Olivia so much already and he is so good about still giving Chloe special "Jack time"!

Big sister Abby just can't get enough of her new baby sister and Olivia is obviously so in love with her too!

Protecting Olivia's outtie from Chloe pretty much takes all my energy. She is pulling it every chance she gets. When she gets in trouble for touching it for the 50th time in a 2 minute period she pretends that she is just tickling her:)

Almost believable Chloe! Especially since Olivia thinks she is the funniest thing in the world!
By for now! Airport welcome coming soon.... Promise!
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Settling In.

Olivia has been in our arms for just a little over 36 hours now. I'm almost positive her longing for her previous home is rapidly diminishing:). She has slipped perfectly into the "baby of the family" role. I promised myself that this time I would do things right and give Olivia the opportunity to put herself to sleep. After all, this was something she was already used to doing so this was going to be a piece of cake! Well.... I failed this assignment within 3 hours of being home. Olivia has rocked herself (literally) to sleep alone in her bed for the last 16 months, it's about time her Mommy takes over:) Does she look like she misses her old way of life?

Olivia is incredible and she truly completes our family! She is a little chatter box and she is finally learning that crying gets her our undivided attention! Sadly for the first day or so she would cry but there were only heartbreaking,silent tears. Her tears were never met with comfort for the first 16 months of her life so she just learned various ways to sooth herself quietly:( Let me be the first to tell you, she's got LUNGS that now accompany those tears and she very clearly lets her needs be known!

Olivia hasn't missed a beat. She's eating and drinking like a champ and rolls herself all over this apartment to get where she wants to go. We're all getting to know each other yet it feels like she's been with us forever! Living proof of Gods perfect planning!

I have had a couple of people ask specifics of our Gotcha Day. So here you go:

The day started at 7:30 when Nico (our driver) picked up us for our last journey to the orphanage. As we drove through the gate the tears started! This was the actual moment that Lee and I have been dreaming about for an entire year. We walked through the doors to Olivia's group and there she was in the arms of my favorite Nanny!

This was the first time we had been given permission to go into her groupa. For 5 weeks we could only go as far as a knock on the door. What was beyond that door was a mystery... Until now! It was beautiful! I know it's not a home, but it was Olivia's home and she was loved. I asked the director if it was okay that I take pictures and he said "absolutely!"

The door we knocked on everyday for the last 5 weeks! It says: Groupa #4

The changing area!

Olivia's cubby. All of her clothes and all those fancy hats she would come out in everyday!

The playroom!

Her bed! They are not put into a crib until they learn to sit up.

Each child has their own bed with their names. This is (WAS) Olya's!

The cribs.

More of the sleeping room.

The kitchen. It was immaculate!!

Mary and Jesus watching over Olivia and all her little friends!

This was above the doorway to the sleeping room. I Wasn't able to get the exact translation but I believe the nanny told us that this was to protect the children from evil.

We said our goodbye's and out we walked! Olivia knew something was different this time! If you have the opportunity watch our Gotcha Day video again and notice how happy she looks when we were walking down the ramp to the car!

I love how she looks up! There was a light shining down on her and she knew what it meant!! God had been preparing her for this moment just as he prepared us... Again, his perfect plan all coming together!

Once in the car Olivia was quiet. She sat so still on my lap ( that's right, no car seats here) and just looked out the window at a world, I'm sure she saw only in her dreams. First stop was the medical checkup for her Visa, which she breezed right through. Next stop, the US Embassy.

At the Embassy we were sworn in by a United States consular officer, asked several questions regarding our adoption and issued Olivia's Visa!! This my friends, completes our adoption process here in Ukraine!!!!! Olivia was a superstar the entire day! We came back to the apartment, fed her some lunch and put her down for her afternoon nap.

She was a dream baby the rest of the day. She went to bed around 9 and slept until 6!

Lee and I feel so amazingly blessed and cannot wait to share our beautiful daughter with all of you! Thank you for sharing this journey and praying with us every step of the way.. We head out on a 6:20am flight on Tuesday morning and arrive home on Wednesday! I will be sure to post as soon as I get back into my crazy life with 6 kids!!!

Jackie!!! How'd I do with the "deets"?

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Operation Olivia............Mission Complete!

Quite possibly the most memorable day of my life... Start to finish it was amazing! Words just couldn't do it justice:

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Passport day with Laura Ingalls!

Such a great day today! We had our first outing with Olivia and she was a dream baby. Let's hope she's this easy on our 2000 hour flight home! We headed to the orphanage with Nico, our awesome driver/tour guide/comedian/HUGE Queen fan!!
Olivia's nannies had her all ready to go and she looked darling! So sweet that they dressed her all up for me to take her out. When the nanny handed her to me she also gave me a bottle, a change of clothes, a burp rag and a diaper. I was so appreciative of the thoughtfulness that went into the planning of our first outing! So NOT how I had heard things were going to be... A pleasant surprise for sure:)
As soon as we saw Olivia today, both Lee and I said she looked like Laura Ingalls.. Remember? Or did I just totally age myself? (hint: Little house On The Prairie) See for yourselves:

How cute is little Laura Ingalls Wilder?
Olivia's passport will be ready on Thursday which means we could fly out as early as Saturday.........however, there are no flights available so were sticking to our Tuesday the 15th departure plans through Atlanta. We will most likely have Gotcha Day on this Friday and we couldn't be more excited to walk out of that orphanage for the last time! I can honestly tell you that Lee and I and most definitely Olivia, will leave her temporary home behind us with nothing but fond memories. She was loved and that is the greatest blessing!
Okay Mom, here are some pictures of a few sights that you have been patiently waiting for!

The Catholic Church right up the street from our apartment.

St Andrew Cathedral. It is so beautiful. This picture doesn't do it justice! This city is full of the most incredible cathedrals each one more magnificent than the last!

St Michaels!!! Doesn't look real does it?

Another view of St Michaels with the bell tower.

Independence Square in center Kiev. A 2 minute walk from our apartment!

More Independence Square.

Beer garden in Independence Square.

The hill we walk up from Independence Square several times a day to our apartment.

The outside of our apartment.

Our balcony and kitchen window 3rd one up!
Okay, that's all the Kiev sights I can handle. I'm the baby photographer! Lee will do a true sight seeing post soon!
7 days and counting:)
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

We see toes:)

Today I did the unthinkable..... I decided it was high time we saw what is under the 45 layers of clothing! I stripped her down to her nappies!!!! What a pleasant surprise to actually see a little bit of chunk:)

She absolutely loved it! She kept touching her legs and looking down at her feet! She honestly has never seen them before!

She totally came to life!

Beautiful sight right??

We call this her Super Model pose!

Look at those toesies!!! Just waiting for a pedicure from her sisters! This is most likely the last time these toes will be without polish:)

It was my favorite visit so far!!!

Busy week! Monday will be another paper chasing day but this time we get to bring Olivia with us!!!! Should be interesting to say the least. She's never been outside the orphanage before and can only tolerate being held in short increments so say a prayer or two for us! Tuesday is a free day. Wednesday is Victory day ( holiday here). Thursday and Friday are embassy days with "Gotcha Day" being on Friday!!!!!!! I'll keep you all posted:)

Exciting times ahead......