Monday, October 12, 2009

One Year Update

We are coming up on our one year update, so I decided to blog our adventure. We have had a very interesting year adjusting to one more family member, and just being thankful that our family is now complete. Nastiya has been working very hard on her English, and she speaks very well now. She is still struggling with reading and writing, but our wonderful school system continues to work hard with her and she is making progress! She has learned to love the sport of soccer, and now plays on a recreational team.

I will start with Christmas, which for us was a memorable year with all four girls sitting around the tree opening their presents. Brian and I just sat back and watched, it was an incredible time. We spent time with all of the extended family and everyone ran and played. We also did our traditional cookie making a few weeks before and it was a lot of fun teaching Nastiya to make cookies with her cousins. We also met up with Aimee and Matt and took Anya and Hayley ice skating at our local rink. It was pretty hilarious, as Nastiya spent more time on the ground, than on her feet. However, she was laughing the whole time and everyone had a great time.

After the New Year, we went to the Stock Show and Nastiya got to see her first rodeo. The girls had fun with the animals, and got to take a pony ride. They ate cotton candy, and funnel cakes and petted all of the baby animals. It was really nice to have her with us for our traditional January activity. She also has learned to snow sled, and really likes it when Brian hooks the sled up to the dogs, and they go flying around the cul-de-sac. We hope to add skiing in this year also.

Nastiya really fit in quickly with her school class, and she made friends easily. We had to teach her not to hit the kids with her hockey stick, at the beginning, but she only needed to be told once. She went on some sleepovers, and attended a few birthday parties. The spring went quickly and the school year was over before we could blink. Her teachers were really wonderful to her and she loved her school.

We took a trip to Yellowstone for a family reunion in June, and Nastiya was so excited. I think she was packed a week before we left! She got to meet a lot of new family members on the Fields/Comstock side and she ran with the kids, swam in the pool, and got to see a few geysers as well. She cried when we had to say goodbye, but we assured her that these family members would always be her family, and she would see them again. At the talent show on the last night, she got up and sang two Russian songs. I thought that was pretty brave!

The summer flew by, and school started again this fall. We moved Nastiya to our home school, as they now have an ELA program, and it was a little stressful for her to start a new school. She has been a champ, however, and has settled in quickly. She now has a friend, just a few houses up, and they play together in our cul-de-sac. She also has bonded with our neighbors, who have little children. She can't wait to be old enough to baby-sit, and takes good care of her little sister, and our neighbors daughter. She struggles with her Russian, and sometimes she just wants to forget it. I remind her that if she gives up her Russian, she will not be able to communicate with her Grandparents in Ukraine. She quickly get motivated to try harder.

We have had some behavioral struggles as we get closer to the one year anniversary, but Brian and I have discovered that if we rein everyone in, and keep everyone on a schedule, it seems to improve. Nastiya also really likes to act younger than she is, and really doesn't want to take responsibility for her own things. I have to work with her and hold her accountable for keeping track of her school work, shoes, coats, etc.. She also really would prefer that you do her work for her, and we have to be careful that we don't help too much! She is really very creative at finding ways to get around just doing the work.

All in all, we have really had a great year full of first's. We are all bonding as a family, Nastiya is learning how to work as a team, and if we could just get the sibling rivalry under control, all would be great!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Update on Nastiya

Here is our update on Nastiya's progress since coming to America. It has been three weeks, today, since she and Brian arrived at DIA with lots of friends and family to greet them. For the majority, she is doing better than I had anticipated in her adjustment to family life here with us. After recovering from her jet lag, she quickly settled into days of playing at home with me while the girls were at school. As much as I knew she was liking the time to herself, we couldn't put off school forever.

On her second week, we registered for school and set off to see her new stomping grounds. It just so happens that she will be attending a different school than Tate and Reaghan or Kenzie. Because of her English Second Language needs, we will now be shuttling between three schools for all of our girls. So far, we have worked out the logistics and pickup times. We met with her homeroom teacher that same day, and she got a little tour of the school. The next day, we set up an appointment with her ELA teacher, and she was extremely relieved when I told her nyet school today.

She started her first day of school on that Thursday, and it was an extremely stressful day for her as well as myself. I knew how scared she was, and after we arrived at her classroom and she sat down in her chair, the tears started. I cried a little with her and they got me a chair to sit beside her. A little later, the Russian liason arrived and we went to the library to chat. Nastiya was a little shy, but happy to have someone she could speak to. The interpretor wrote out her schedule in Russian for her and took her around and showed her how to use the bathrooms, and the cafeteria. She was great and reminded me a little of Nadiya. Nastiya had two more bouts with tears, and around 1000 I decided she was stressed enough for one day, and we went home.

By the next day of school, she was good to go and has been doing really well with staying all day. Next week will be her first full week, however, and it will be interesting to see how she handles the long days for a full week. Her interpretor told the ELA teacher, who is great also, that Nastiya will do fine, and that she has the gumption to get through this.

I now understand a little better how hard it is to give all four girls the attention that they are wanting and still be able to accomplish anything. The main fight we seem to have is for the attention of their parents, and Nastiya has no problem using whatever method she needs to put the other three out of the picture. We have seen some violence against the other girls, and I have had to make it very clear that this behavior is unacceptable. She especially likes to pick on Reaghan, who loves her to death and doesn't understand that Nastiya needs a little space occasionally.

All in all, it is really going better than I expected and we will just continue to deal with the issues as they arrive and settle into our new life.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Anastasiya Taylor Fields (Nastiya) and Papa (Brian) arrived at DIA yesterday morning to the most amazing welcoming party!!! All that Nastiya and I could see as we came off the escalator were Countless smiling faces from Friends and Family waving flags; home-made welcome home banners; and flowers!!! Before we exited the escalator, Nastiya turned to me with the most largest grin and said, "America!". After lots of hugs, smiles and some tears, we left the terminal and headed home to more celebrating!

For the last two-days I had to continually explain to Nastiya that yes we were on our way home but it would take a long while before we arrived in Colorado-immediately, a frown appeared on her face directly following with a huge smile! Nastiya was a nervous reck at each terminal fearful that we would miss the flight (even though we had two hours before boarding in Kiev, we had to stand right next to the gate to Frankfurt).

We landed in Washington D.C. and after three hours of going through passport control; inspection; adoption packet review we finally thought we were free to catch our shuttle to the hotel. Not so fast as my arrival documents were somehow marked that we were an "agricultural risk". I questioned as to why and pleaded that although we were coming from the bread basket of the world, I by no way partook in the plowwing of the fields or birthing cows or some other form of livestock---finally, a smile from the Homeland security officer who quickly sent us through to the top of the "agricultural check-point". Finally, out of the terminal to the shuttle. This, of course, landed a further Russian-English exchange between Nastiya and I as Nastiya was most certain that we needed to go to the next gate and await our final flight to Colorado. After struggling through my most useful Russian-English translation book gratioulsy received by the Garrett's over a month ago while in Mariupol, the understanding of our night lay-over was finally understood accompanied by great disappointment. The disappointment was short lived! As soon as we opened out hotel room, Nastiya shreeked with delight as she through off the eight plus pillows from her bed, began jumping on the bed (yes, she is a Fields now!) and immediately turned on the large flat screened t.v. and began flipping through the channels! I allowed this ritual to continue for a few moments then began the discussion of the need to go to sleep NOW as we're up in five hours to catch our final flight HOME! She agreed and I only had to remind her once to turn the T.V. OFF!

At the D.C. terminal Nastiya immediately began pacing again sure that her Papa was going to make her miss her flight. Once on the plane, the United monitor began showing photos America. As soon as the Rocky Mountains came across the screen, Nastiya turned to me with another big grin on her face and said, "Colorado?". "Da", was my response. Translation, "Da" in Russian is "Yes" in English-I truly wasn't making fun of her!

Those who were around us on that final flight home quickly understood what was going on and began asking lots of questions and providing words of encouragement. As we exited into the terminal, a few of our fellow travelers smiled as they passed by the welcoming party with a few coming up to congratulate us!

As our "Ukrainian Adventure" comes to an end, and the "American Adventure" begins, the entire Fields Family wants to extend our most gratious THANKS to all of our wonderful family and friends, and our new life-long friends that we've met along this Journey who have supported us through our entire process!

For the commenters regarding our Kyiv Physician experience...I can't locate the medical update for her name but the description is: Female, dark -shorter hair, glasses, age in her 50's most likely, shorter and very abrupt. She informed me, in the midst of our arguing that she is in fact a "cardiologist". Another describing factor but she told me this in an attempt for me to believe that she knows everything about everything. I wanted to ask her if she had received her license in one of those on-line courses but I had caused her blood pressure to rise already that I didn't want her to have a cardiac arrest or the like. I know for a fact (after the fact, unfortunately) that my facilitator had tried to have Nastiya seen by the other Physician (younger, tall, blonde hair, female) but was unavailble. Now I wished we would have waited until she was available as Nastiya cried during our days following the "doctor appointment" when I attempted to encourage her to read the book she picked our prior to our arrival in Kyiv. For those who want more info, I will be contacting our facilitator to identify this "physician's" name and will provide you with it when I receive it. No child should have to experience this abuse by a person in a position of authority.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Coming Home!!

Good morning to everyone!! Brian called me this morning and all of the paperwork is now complete. They will still be coming home on Saturday morning, however, as it was too uncertain if they could get their flights changed together. Nastiya's flight was through Luthansa, and Brian's is booked through Expedia. So they will hang out for one more day and leave Friday morning. The arrival time is 0738 AM Saturday morning, flight number 389. The girls and I can't wait to see them. It has gotten pretty cold over there, for those of you getting ready to travel. While Brian was on the phone, Nastiya was telling him that she was freezing! They were up at the SDA and wanted to walk down Souvenir Lane before heading back to their flat. I don't know if that happened or not.

To the commentors who wanted to know who the doctor was, I really don't know. I know that she was with the medical clinic that is used for adoption purposes, and Nadya had said there was a good doctor and a bad one. If Brian has a name, I will get that out to you, but I spoke to him early this morning, before I got into the blog. My comfort is exactly that Nastiya got to see how far her Papa would go to defend her. Also, we have all the time in the world to reverse any ideas that have been planted in her mind about American's, and our love for her.

This has been an excellent adventure, and overall we have really had a great experience!! I want to again thank the Garrett's for all of their support, and they are now family as Anya has adopted Brian as her new brother! I am not sure that they realized they would be adopting a 35 year old overgrown boy along with their 15 year old teenager, but life sometimes works that way!! I will update the blog again if anything changes, otherwise I will just let everyone know how Nastiya is going after we have all settled in and life gets somewhat back to normal??????? Whatever that is!!

Thank you so much for all of the prayers, support, and love of family and friends, and even some strangers who could also be great friends! If any families who are planning to travel need anything, we are very happy to help any of these children find families. We have become very attached to the children from Ukraine!! We would also like to thank God through whom all things are possible!! Without HIM, we would not be picking up Nastiya and Brian at the airport this weekend!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Medical Exam Gone Wrong

I talked to Brian this morning and he and Nastiya had just arrived at their flat in Kiev for the evening. He was just getting ready for his first shower since he left here on Saturday, so he is bound to be doing better after that.

The group arrived in Kiev this morning and were off to Nastiya's medical exam. Through our entire trip we have really had very pleasant experiences, and people have been kind to us. Apparently today, this was a different story. The doctor did her exam and was speaking to Nastiya in Russian. No one knows what she said to her, but Brian said that her eyes got really wide, and she was visibly upset. Nadya, unfortunately, wasn't in the room at the time, she had gone out to pay for the visit. The doctor then turned to Brian and began speaking English to him, and proceeded to tell him that Nastiya does not read well. She asked him what he knew of her parents, and when he told her very little, she told him that they were most likely stupid, and stupid parents create stupid children. Obviously, that didn't go over very well with Brian. She then proceeded to rake him over the coals for American parenting skills. She yelled at him that we let our children run the streets and we allow too much freedom. She is definitely of the Communist belief system. Well, those of you who know Brian well can just imagine what happened then. A shouting match occurred with Brian telling the doctor that at least we have a lower number of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome children etc..

Valentin and Nadya couldn't get Nastiya to tell them what exactly the doctor had said to her, and she was very subdued and upset for the better part of the day. Valentin was afraid that the doctor had told her that we do painful things to her in America and he told Brian he did the right thing yelling at the doctor. Either way, the damage is done, and we will have to try to reverse any ideas that have been put into her head. They got to the flat and she has discovered the TV and Brian says she is happy. She also told them that she misses her Mama, which makes me happy.

The good news is that by 2:00 pm tomorrow they will be completely finished and ready to head back to the US. However, we booked the flight home for Friday morning, which gives them an extra day to hang around Kiev. They are in a flat that is not near the downtown area, as the flats we stayed in previously are occupied. There is a subway near this flat, so Brian may try to venture out tomorrow and see if he can get back to the Independence Square area. We also discussed seeing what it would cost to catch a flight on Thursday morning instead of Friday. As soon as Brian knows anything, I will let everyone know. He is really just done and wants to come home. Nastiya seems to be of the same mindset, she keeps asking when they will get on an airplane.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kiev Bound

Brian called me at 0700 this morning to give the latest update. Nastiya's party was on Friday, which is sad as Brian would have liked to have been there. However, that just made the process go quickly today in Mariupol. First of all Brian had to ride on the train sharing the compartment with a man who wanted Brian to feel the Ukranian Hospitality! This meant that he talked Brian's ear off when he was so jet lagged and just wanted to sleep. It also meant that he wanted to share his alcohol and Brian couldn't get out without at least one drink Sunday night, and another one this morning. Nothing like picking you child up from the Orphanage smelling like alcohol.

Nadya had been in Mariupol on Friday to get Nastiya's birth certificate ahead of time, and she was leaving the Orphanage by cab. Apparently, as they were driving off, the driver told her that a child was running down the road behind the car. Yes, it was Nastiya wanting to know if her Mama and Papa were back yet. That breaks my heart! When Brian arrived at the Orphanage on Monday, the Grandparents were both there and they had a nice visit and got to say goodbye. They were emotional, and Brian said that Nastiya clung to him most of the time. We gave the Grandparents a gift of money, which they did not want to accept. However, Brian asked them to let us make their life a little easier for a little while. The Grandmother asked for a copy of the group picture that we took when we met the first time. We will definitely be sending care packages, pictures, and letters to them.

Also, Nastiya had a bank account with $5000 US dollars in it, so Brian had to agree to sign it over to the Orphanage as a donation. If you know my husband, he just couldn't do this without messing with them a little. He asked Nadya if all of our paperwork was complete, and made sure they couldn't stop us from taking her. Then he acted like he didn't want to sign it over, tried to make the office staff come out and ask him for it directly, and finally agreed to sign it if the Grandparents were to be given half of it. Of course, that will never happen, but it made him feel a little better!! When I spoke to him this morning all of the paperwork in Mariupol and Donetsk was complete and they were waiting for the train ride back to Kiev. I got to talk to Nastiya on the phone and she spoke quite a bit of English and did great with the conversation. I told her how much I missed and loved her, and Brian said she did a little dance when she got off the phone. She keeps asking Nadya when they are going to get on the airplane. She is ready to come home!! Thank God it is all going well and they will probably be ready to leave by Wednesday afternoon. However, we allowed a little cush time with the airlines, so they will have Thursday to sight see or whatever before boarding the plane on Friday.

Brian and Nastiya will arrive on Saturday morning at around 0730, so I will totally understand if any of you can't be there to greet them that early. I will give flight numbers and exact times when I am sure that they are on the flight for anyone who wants to brave the early hour.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Safe Arrival

Brian flew out yesterday morning around 10:30 AM to complete the final week of our adoption process. He called me from Miami and he was appreciating the beach scene for a few hours until his next flight. This morning he called and he was sitting at the train station in Kiev. Valentin had already picked up tickets for tonight, and also for Monday night's return to Kiev. He was exhausted and couldn't wait to get on the train and sleep for the night, but he had arrived safely without any problems!!

It is really hard to be here and not sitting at the train station with him. He said the same thing, it feels strange to be there alone. However, the kids would not have stood for us both to be gone again. I really wish I could clone myself and be at both places at once!! Nadya already has Nastiya's birth certificate, so tomorrow should go well and they will back in Kiev on Tuesday to complete the medical exam and the Embassy. Brian will not get to shower until they arrive at their flat on Tuesday, so he should be feeling like a Ukranian by then.

I'll let everyone know when I have anything new from Brian. Thank you so much again for all of the prayers and good wishes. We can't wait until Saturday morning when they will be home for good!