Thursday, September 10, 2009


We made it home! It is wonderful settling in with Klaudia, and she is doing great! She has been her shy self with new people, but is starting to warm up. She has been tentative about her new environment, but has been exploring and figuring it all out. She has been eating pretty well, and sleeping pretty well, which is good!

Klaudia did surprisingly well on the plane. Perhaps my expectations were so low that it could have only been better. She took a 1.5 hour nap about an hour after take off, and then didn't sleep for the rest of the travels until 5 minutes before landing in Omaha. My recommendations are the same as anyone would give: dvds, many food options, a mirror, favorite books and non-noisy toys, changes of clothes, etc. It worked well to take the airplane books and toys out of her usual mix for the two days or so before the flight. Then there was a little re-discovery on the plane. The only tragedy on the plane was changing diapers on Lot (no changing tables). I don't know how people do it with infants, but Klaudia just stood and held on with all her might to a bar and cried until we were done.

Despite the fact that she was exhausted and cranky when landing, it worked out so well for acclimating to the time change. We had a great welcome at the airport by both of our families too - a warm welcome home.

Klaudia is still a mama's girl, but she is warming up more and more to dad and to other family. There are things to work on (speech, walking, a little trust that mama isn't leaving her forever when she leaves the room), but these will all happen in time. There is so much I could post - but, as naptimes go, I only have limited time! Here are some photos:

Happy girl on the plane - yay!!

Figuring out the seat belt

First night at home

Playing with cousin Keaton on the first full day home

Playing with friend BJ on the last full day in Warsaw - yes, that is the oven

Friday, September 4, 2009

All Done! Klaudia Is Coming to America!

The Embassy appointment went well today and Klaudia has her immigrant visa to travel to the United States. In other words, we are done and can travel and will make our flight on Saturday!! Here is Klaudia’s “all done” pose taken soon after we received her immigrant visa:

Klaudia will be a citizen upon entrance into the United States. That will be in Chicago on Saturday afternoon. After that, we fly home to Omaha and will be greeted by Ryan’s family and my parents – yay!! It will be so interesting to see how Klaudia reacts. She will be shy, no doubt. Who knows, she could be asleep and out of it. We’ll see! Either way, we are thrilled to go home to all of our comforts and begin settling in.

We now only have one more full day in Warsaw before our Saturday flight. I will say that, while I am thrilled to return home with my daughter, I can’t help but be sad that she won’t grow up Polish. We have taken her away from all she knows, including her country. Of course she will always be Polish and be a citizen. We will do our best to help her identify as Polish and embrace it as much as she wants. On the other hand, she will grow up in America. And there is certainly something to be said for that.

This is likely the last post from Poland. It is almost the end of the journey, and it is the beginning of our new one as parents. All the paperwork headaches, heartache, waiting and frustration are now starting to fade with every one of Klaudia’s smiles. We are blessed.

We’ll see you in America!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Polish Passport Received – Embassy Tomorrow – Home on Saturday!

We are on schedule to return home on Saturday! Today we picked up Klaudia’s passport (with the priceless mug shot). Tomorrow we have an appointment at the U.S. Embassy to obtain her immigrant visa. After we receive that (hopefully by Thursday afternoon), we are free to travel. Klaudia will be traveling as a Polish citizen and, upon arrival in the United States, will become a U.S. citizen. She will be a dual citizen – cool, huh?

The plane ride will be quite an adventure. Hopefully, for other passengers’ sake, the screaming will be at a minimum. It will be long and annoying for Klaudia, but home is on the other end. It will be interesting to see how she reacts to family upon arrival. Please no one take offense if she buries her face and gives mean looks! Magda, or facilitator and translator here, says that she gets mean looks from Klaudia all the time.

The last few days have been good. Klaudia has been a trooper on some long walks, a visit to the uprising museum, shopping adventures and cab rides. She seems to be doing well with us, and communication and trust are improving daily.

I will report back after the Embassy appointment to let you know that we are good to go!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Order is Final

As of Wednesday this past week, the adoption order is final and no longer appealable. Klaudia is officially, fully, finally and forever ours!

Because of the order's finality, we were able to obtain Klaudia's birth certificate with her new name and a Polish social security number. Yesterday we submitted the application for her Polish passport. This week we also completed Klaudia’s immigration-required medical examination by a doctor on the embassy’s approved list. At this point we just need to receive her Polish passport then we can go to the embassy for the final immigration “interview” to receive her immigrant visa, and then home it is! Cross your collective fingers that we receive her passport on Wednesday or Friday of next week. That should ensure our September 5 return.

We continue to enjoy our days in Warsaw. We met another family who has just adopted a little boy from a town a couple hours north of Warsaw. He is an active little three year old guy, and Klaudia was really motivated to try to keep up with him. We went to their apartment the other day and, although she was shy and clingy for about 10 minutes, she was off and crawling and laughing and following him and his 5 year old brother around the apartment. She wanted to walk so bad, but at least crawled a lot, wanted to be near them, throw their toys, and just laugh. It was like a little breakthrough for her. When we got back to our apartment, she wanted to walk (with help) so much. She would stand and grab my hands and just take off into each room and turn around and go to other rooms. Then she stood in front of a full length mirror and just admired her tall self. She has been wanting to walk more and more since then. So, thank you boys for the encouragement!

Klaudia is no doubt getting a little bored with just Ryan and me. She needs kids around in a bad way. I know she spent her days, and nights for that matter, around other children, and to be mostly only with us, has to be a shock to her system in many ways. We try to get to parks daily, but it isn’t the same because she can’t really get up and run around and play with them like she could at that apartment with the other family. But at least she has some hours of at least observation and minimal interaction.

When we are home in a week (crossing fingers), she will have her cousins Keaton and Kaylee – yay!! We are thrilled for her to meet our families, and for our families to finally meet her. We have been showing her photographs of her cousins and grandparents – it probably isn’t sinking in, but maybe there will be at least a little familiarity there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ten Days Remaining

Just when it felt like we had moved to Poland, we are actually starting to envision the end of the trip. We now have (depending, of course, on multiple pieces of the puzzle falling into place) 10 days left in Poland. In the next 10 days we need to do the following:

1) Obtain the final adoption order from the court in Gliwice
2) Obtain Klaudia's revised birth certificate
3) Obtain Klaudia's Polish SS# with her new name
4) Get a US Embassy Approved doctor to do a routine medical exam
5) Get Polish passport and US visa photos
6) Apply for and receive Klaudia's Polish passport
7) Do the US Embassy intrview and obtain the immigrant visa

It is all pretty routine, except that Klaudia's Polish passport can take a few days, a week or more. In the last couple of months, the country "upgraded" the Passport processing technology which, as with any "upgrade" means at least a temporary lack of efficiency. Two months ago it was taking 2-3 weeks. One family that we know of last week got their passport in 1 week, and there was an intervening holiday. We are hoping for 1 week which will mean we will leave on Saturday September 5.

In the next 10 days we hope to continue to enjoy the city, buy a few mementos and explore a bit more. We are planning on doing the zoo one day, and possibly the Warsaw Uprising Museum, along with plenty more visits to parks, old town, and cooking kielbasa and pasta (yes, she eats both!) .

The city is truly amazing. Warsaw is cosmopolitan, a contrast to Krakow which has more older buildings and was relatively unharmed by WWII. Because Warsaw was so damaged, it has taken that opportunity to modernize and become quite an international city. The people take pride in being Polish, even though that has meant being under others' rule at various points in relatively recent history. I could write pages on the people, sights, sounds, smells, food and the hustle that is Warsaw. Perhaps I will do that in the next week or so as we begin to say do widzenia.

I will say that I have an entire new respect for my Grandfather's heritage. One that I wish I had when he was alive.

Here are a few recent photos:

"Sprinkler" still works


Klaudia doing a Blog post

Dad and Klaudia at the Chopin Monument

Klaudia watching mom and dad drink wonderful and beautiful lattes at Green Coffee

First playground activity beyond watching the other kids

Klaudia is doing great. She is crawling a lot, and walking with help quite a bit. She is drinking out of a sippy cup just fine and has mellowed out on a lot of her food issues. She knows who mom and dad are, and is trying to figure out if there are rules in this new environmnet. Despite wanting her to be happy and do whatever she wants whenever she wants, we do say "no" when she reaches for an electrical outlet, stove, etc., and we laugh at her petty whining over our taking things like pens away. Our biggest issue is sleep. We will get there, but right now, she despises the crib. We won't fret too much about establishing routine until we are home though.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

10 Things About Klaudia

1) Hates anything soft (blankets, stuffed animals, etc.)
2) Loves to people watch
3) Hates the sun and the wind, but loves the rain
4) Barks at dogs
5) Sleeps through loud thunderstorms
6) Throws right handed...and hard
7) Sings in the stroller
8) Makes you earn a smile from her
9) Hates to sleep because she will miss something
10) Has very happy parents :-)

Things have been good this past week. Last Thursday, we were fortunate to meet two other families who have recently adopted from Poland. One of the children, B.J. (parents James and Melanie), is only 3 days older than Klaudia! You can see a photo below of them meeting. B.J. is so friendly and outgoing, such a smile!! Klaudia was shy, but has managed a couple smiles for the family since the meeting. It was also great to meet the other family, Jeff, Debbie, Bartek and Kasia. The kids are so great - and so loved by their parents! With the small number of children adopted to the U.S. every year from Poland (somehere around 80), we were truly happy to have been in the position to meet these folks! We expored the Old Town a bit, had traditional Polish food, ice cream (it is mostly like very good Gelato here...yum!!), received some provisions from Jeff and Debbie and family who were leaving the next day, and shared our experiences as new parents.

Today we checked in at the US Embassy and got "into the system" to facilitate Klaudia's immigrant visa processing in two weeks or so. Right now the ETA in Omaha is September 5. Below are a couple of recent photos. Note Klaudia's use of a sippy cup (yay!).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Klaudia Eve Andrews

Her proud parents present to you...
Klaudia Eve Andrews!!!

As of August 11, 2009, according to the court in Gliwice, Poland, Klaudia is our daughter!! Needless to say, this family of three is ecstatic!

The day was quite a journey...only fitting, considering the journey the entire process has been. We woke up at 6 a.m. (Klaudia wakes up soon after the sun, no matter when she goes to bed), and were picked up at 9 a.m. Rain storms and insane toll booth lines lead to us being about an hour behind schedule. This meant we were not able to stop by the orphanage on the way to our 11:45 a.m. court hearing in Gliwice. We were supposed to stop by and pick up Klaudia’s medical information, and leave her there during the hearing because children are not permitted in court. Let’s just say, we were not disappointed that we were not able to leave her at the orphanage during the hearing. I can’t imagine what she would think about us leaving her there. Maybe she would have been fine, but it was still the last thing we wanted to do.

Instead, our driver, Tom, was going to watch her in the court hallways. However, when they called our hearing, our lawyer asked if Klaudia could come in, and the 3 judge panel agreed. Apparently this is pretty rare. I’m glad that Klaudia reciprocated with being very quiet and attentive. She fussed at little at some points, but hey, the rest of us would too, if we could.

The court hearing took about an hour. We understand this is on the relatively short side. The panel was three judges, all women. I was glad to see that at first, but despite that, I do not think we received one smile! I think they want to make sure the seriousness of the hearing is not compromised by emotion. The lead judge went through our whole file. They looked up our passport numbers in some database, read through all of the documents in the file, stated the evidence for the record, asked us questions individually, and asked the orphanage director (who has been listed as Klaudia’s guardian) a series of questions. It was serious enough, that it made me wonder if there was a chance they would find that it was not in Klaudia’s best interest to be placed with us. There was no fact that made me think that, just the reality of going through every detail of our application, our reasons for adopting, our reasons for adopting from Poland, etc. added a seriousness that I had not expected. Perhaps it was just making a good record.

The director of the orphanage was wonderful. She is thrilled to place children in homes, and despite the great care they give at the orphanage, she admits that the children thrive immediately on being placed in homes. Although there have been times that I felt mean for taking Klaudia from the place and people that she knows, the directors confidence in her placement in our home and all children placed in good homes, has helped us get through some of the more difficult moments. Her testimony at court was great. She explained Klaudia’s history at the orphanage, knowledge of her biological parents, and her thoughts on Klaudia’s placement with us. She and I do not speak the same language, but we exchanged several words and smiles that, at a minimum, said thank you. It was touching when she said goodbye to Klaudia and gave a blessing with the sign of the cross on her head. I do not speak Polish, but I understood every word she said then.

Also at court, there was a prosecutor present. She is in the position of scrutinizing adoption petitions to ensure the placements are in the best interests of the child. She asked us both one question related to the care of Klaudia when we return to work. We answered to her satisfaction, and she did not have anything further.

Following the hearing, we waited for the court to issue the decree/order. After about 20 minutes, they called us back in and read it to us for accuracy. It was all good in our book, so they said it would be issued that day, and considered final after 21 days. Then our lawyer stood up and talked, and the prosecutor responded. Magda turned to us and said, the prosecutor is fine with shortening the waiting period from 21 to 14 days! Apparently this is VERY rare in Silesia, but she agreed to it because our US Embassy expiration date is approaching in 2 weeks. We were amazed and grateful! This means we should be able to return home on September 5 instead of September 12, giving us one more week to settle in at home. 

Following the court hearing, we lugged all of our luggage to the train station and took a 3.5 hour train to Warsaw. The train was fine, and Klaudia (although getting tired, but not tired enough to nap) was a trooper. In the pouring rain, we got to our Warsaw apartment and are thrilled with it. It has a washing machine, bathtub, deck you can stand on without getting accosted by pigeons, a couch that you can get up from, internet access from one spot in the kitchen window, and a bed that creaks, but not every time you breath. Sigh . . . we can stay here for a few weeks just fine!! We had our first day of exploring today, and there is a lot to see here. It will be a fun few weeks. We even went out for thai food for dinner.

Klaudia is doing well. She loves the apartment, probably even more than we do. She has been crawling like crazing and pulling herself up on every doorway, chair, etc. She only crawled once at the Krakow apartment, and now she doesn’t even want us to hold her, she wants to explore! She even drank out of a sippy cup tonight for a few minutes (here is hoping it wasn’t a fluke). She despises naps unless she is in mama’s arms, but we will work on that one.

OK...enough for now. We will update more soon! Looks like we are meeting up with two other families in town tomorrow – yay!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Few More Days in Krakow

It is kind of crazy to think that now we only have a few more days in Krakow! Although we have been here for 10 days or so, I feel like we have barely scratched the surface.

We did venture to the Wieliczka Salt Mine yesterday. It is an incredible labyrinth of hundreds of kilometers of mining passageways. It had been worked for about 900 years until pretty recently when it was retired in favor of tours only. The sites are amazing, complete with sculptures, caverns, carvings, and recreations of some of the technology used over the years.

The tour was supposed to be 3.5 hours or so, and we perfectly timed it before lunch and naptime. However, 3.5 hours was Polish time, and that really meant 5.5 hours! One of the hours was spent waiting in line outside in the pouring rain. We just huddled under our little umbrella until our tour was called. It was slightly miserable, but eventually worth it.

Klaudia did great on the tour. She was (rightfully) a bit frightened by the mining elevators, the dark passageways, and the massive groups of people. Thank goodness for snacks and a baby carrier! All in all, we were glad we did it, but we need a day or two off before undertaking the next tour/adventure, which will likely be Auschwitz.

Other than the tour, we have been on many more walks and to more parks. The city isn't the most kid-oriented, but wherever there is a fountain, usually some families follow.

We had our visit with the social worker on Wednesday, August 5. It was about an hour long and Klaudia was great! She was reserved at first, and quiet and clingy, but opened up a bit and stacked her stacking cups, threw them, clapped, and talked a bit. The social worker talked about Klaudia's improvements and attachment to us, and her sleep and food habits. She seemed impressed with her progress. Since the social worker saw us and Klaudia in April, she could see the difference herself. Magda said it all went well, and she will be in touch to discuss next Tuesday's court hearing when we will be official!! Then the plan is to be in Warsaw for about one month before coming home.

P.S. Klaudia is doing better with Daddy - As I type, she is sitting in his lap eating her favorite chocolate hazelnut yogurt.
P.P.S. She still hates bottles and sippy cups. We are still doing the straw thing, but are headed back to the mall tomorrow to buy every other sippy cup option that we haven't tried yet!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Yesterday morning we received our first Klaudia smiles! Since then, we have had 100 more smiles and all kinds of giggles and doubled-over laughs!! She is a totally different girl when she smiles. Her face just lights up...amazing!

The first smiles came because of sprinklers (thus the Blog title). We were walking around the grounds of Wawel Castle, and there were sprinklers watering the lawn. She seemed interested so I pointed and said "sprinkler"! She cracked a huge smile! I couldn't believe it (because we only got a half smile in April, and hadn't seen one since), so I called Ryan over. Sure enough, every time we said "sprinkler," she smiled and sometimes laughed! I wonder if there is a word in Polish that is similar that would have made her laugh? Or, maybe she was just ready?!

We also went to a real sit down restaurant for lunch yesterday. She did so well and tried a bit of our food. She was a typical toddler - grabbing for anything within sight on the table and trying to throw things on the ground. We were able to complete the meal without getting too many dirty looks, a success indeed!

We have done a bit of sightseeing around town. Krakow is incredible. It is beatiful, tragic, rich, artistic, deeply religious, and cosmopolitan. The events of Schindler's List took place here (and much of the movie). Auschwitz is not far, and we are planning a visit later this week. It is just unfathomable to imagine all of the events that occurred here during the occupation. We saw a Jewish cemetary yesterday that the Jews covered in trash to convince the Nazis that it was a dump, and not a coveted place. We also saw a synagogue that survived the occupation, only because the Nazis coverted it to a stable. Seriously...did this really happen? Right down the street? It is all difficult to believe. But the city seems to take pride in their perseverence and finds strength in the history.

We have the visit with the social worker today - wish us good thoughts that it is routine! Then...countdown to final court next Tuesday! After final court, we are headed to Warsaw. We were originally headed back to Krakow, but have changed our plans and will be in Warsaw beginning on the end of August 11.

Here are recent smiles and sleepy time...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Report from Krakow

Hi All!

Well, we are settled into our apartment in Krakow with Klaudia. (That is, if you can call no laundry, pigeons roosting above our back door, no air conditioning, no bathtub, a horrible 5 inch mattress of a bed, a hot water heater that you have to periodically turn on, and constant construction, including jackhammering, outside our window throughout the day, settling in).

Other than that...we are doing well. Klaudia is the sweetest, and has gone through a lot this week. She is confused, but is doing well. She is eating fine and sleeping pretty well (despite the crazy dreams or anxiety she has that make her toss in her sleep). Favorite foods include bananas, McDonald's hamburger bun, fruit juices, this Polish cheesy fruit thing, yogurt, and cereal. She also eats this milk/formula stuff, but I don't think she likes it all that well.

She refuses to drink out of the bottle we brought, even though it is very similar (glass) to the orphanage's bottles. She also refuses to drink out of the sippy cup we brought. I take total blame for that one, because I was the one who decided to bring the neon green and hot pink one. The interim resolution is feeding her juice and milk with a metal spoon. She takes it just fine then, it just takes 30 minutes to drink a bottle!

Despite my already apparent shortcomings in the motherhood department, Klaudia has completely (at least for now) attached to me. She wants me to hold her all the time...and I mean ALL the time. We can hardly put her down on a blanket, crib, stroller, to Ryan, etc. without a bit of hysteria (complete with arching the back, shrill screaming, etc.) As soon as I pick her up, she is calmed immediately. This is a great problem to have right now though. She is feeling attached, and we can work on detachment another year.

It is just a bit frustrating in the past day or two that she hardly lets Ryan hold her. That will change, no doubt, just hopefully sooner than later. She is very interested in everything he does though. She barely lets him hold her, but when he leaves the room she watches the door until he comes back.

Our last few days have been busy trying to help her feel comforted and trying to best meet her needs. Our next days are more of the same, and that is alright with us. We are very fortunate to become her parents!

Speaking of becoming her parents, that is scheduled to happen on August 11, at our final court hearing. Prior to that, on August 5, we have a visit from a social worker to see how things are going. She will report back to the judge and recommend her placement with us.

Three photos are attached. The one of Klaudia on Ryan's lap is Klaudia viewing the Wiggles (and a dvd for that matter) for the first time. She is wide-eyed to say the least.

Another photo is leaving the orphanage. I debated whether to put this one in, but is a major part of the journey. That was probably the hardest part. I felt so mean to pull her away from all of her comforts, and everything she has. They even asked us to bring clothes for her to change into so that they could keep the clothes for the other children. They gave us some old pjs for a familiar scent. Other than that, she left with nothing but her new parents whom she barely knew.

The orphanage has more children there than beds...they need to place the children in homes and know it is the right thing, but that doesn't mean that the sisters there don't get attached. It was difficult for Klaudia's main caretaker to say goodbye...she even ran to the front of the orphanage as we drove away and was waving with a huge image I will never forget.

The last photo was taken a block away from our apartment. Krakow is covered in graffiti. It is a stark contrast to the architecture. But we had to capture this one example.

Jen, Ryan & Klaudia

Monday, July 27, 2009

We've Arrived and Have Visited with Klaudia!

We arrived in Gliwice, Poland! We got in yesterday and are now pretty much acclimated. We explored Gliwice this morning and just now got back from spending the afternoon visiting Klaudia! A few photos are attached.

Klaudia cried immediately upon seeing us, but that faded after 10-15 minutes. After that she was very tentative for an hour or two, and then began warming up to us. By the end of the afternoon, she cried when she went to the nun who took her away and she reached back for us! Our hearts melted.

She has changed a little bit since we saw her three months ago. The first thing Ryan noticed was a mouthful of teeth! She just generally looks a bit bigger and stronger. Also, her hair looks a little longer and a bit darker.

Klaudia is sitting up really well on her own, and standing comfortably. She wants to take a step or is coming any day. Personality-wise, she is very tentative, in general. She is very scared by the orphanage dog's barking, and it takes awhile to get her attention focused on something to the point of her being ok with being engaged. It literally took an hour to get her to touch a toy. Once she was playing with some plastic shapes, she was picking all kinds of shapes up and chewing on each one and moving on to the next ones.

We learned a lot about her food and sleep schedule today. We have it all written down, along with a list of foods she is eating (milk, juices, baby foods, mashed potatoes, bananas, this fruit cream cheese baby food thing, yogurt, cereal softened in milk, anything soft, etc.), and the size diapers to get. We fed her a couple of spoonfuls of that fruit-cheesy baby food thing - one of the highlights of my day. :-)

It looks like we will be visiting her again tomorrow all day, and then picking her up on Wednesday morning to go to Krakow to an apartment. The plan is 2 weeks of court-ordered bonding period, and then court on August 11.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Last post from the USA

The car seat is installed, the bags are just about packed, the itinerary is printed out and our ride to the airport is arranged. We leave on Saturday and this is my last Blog post before our voyage. We will arrive in Krakow on Sunday and we hopefully will be with Klaudia on Monday.

We are absolutely amazed that the time is finally here. After an incredibly long journey of deciding how to create our family, researching, paperworking, waiting, hoping, praying, waiting, loving, hurting, laughing, crying, getting matched, falling in love, waiting and traveling, our day has finally come. The preparation phase is done, and our time as a family is beginning. After this, I feel like Ryan and I can accomplish anything together. The three of us will be a great team.

On a sad note, Ryan's great uncle Dick passed away this week. We hope for comfort and peace for the family. We saw him a week or so ago and he smiled as he asked us about Klaudia. We showed him pictures and he commented on a photograph of Ryan and Klaudia and said Ryan looked like he was under a spell. Dick said he wanted to meet her. We are sorry we could not make that happen. But she will know about Dick and the strong, bright, and warm person that he was.

We will keep you posted. Next stop . . . Poland!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Just a quick update - we are finalizing our packing list, finishing up Klaudia's room and doing things around the house (to prepare it for a little change). It has been fun going through her clothes and pulling out ones to bring. (It will be much less fun to pack our own clothes). It is tough to know what will fit her exactly - but we'll see! I'm trying to bring a combo of 18 mos to 2T clothes. We also got her a cute dress to wear for our court date when we will be "official"!

Hope everyone had a nice 4th!

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Photos of Klaudia!

We are busy packing, finishing Klaudia's room and preparing to travel. Thanks to friends and family, Klaudia has received SO many clothes. We spent a little time yesterday organizing them all. Our packing list is pretty much done and we are just finalizing a couple of items.

I figure since we have a date now, I will post a few more photos:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We need to be in Poland on July 27th!! It isn't as soon as we would like...but it is the date and it is on the court's calendar! YAY!!!

The judge has scheduled us for a hearing on August 11, and we will have 2 weeks of bonding period before that. We will do this all in one trip. So....we are scheduled and it is official (finally!).

We had sparkling wine to celebrate tonight and will have some time to finalize our packing list and get ready. These days will go slow, I already know that. But once we have her, I know we will just have no idea how we ever lived without her.

Thank you for all the prayers, good thoughts and support. It worked!

Klaudia - we're coming soon!

Come on Judge!

According to our facilitator and lawyer in Poland, we have a pretty non-responsive judge. But our lawyer there says to give her three more days and she will do her best to get our date. She is still optimistic that everything will be able to be finalized without our having to renew our I600A (which means updating the home study). We hope that is true! But more than anything, we just want Klaudia in our arms ASAP.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hopeful that we will have news this week

We are hopeful that we will have a travel date this week. We haven't heard anything new, but I base this on our agency having been told that we should be able to travel by the end of the month. We pretty much need to have a travel date this week in order to do that. So...say a prayer, think good thoughts, cross your fingers, and it will happen soon!

We are thinking lots about other families adopting from Poland. Another family is waiting for their dates, one family is in Poland now with their two kids, another has just been matched, and we know several waiting families. It is all so exciting! All our best to everyone in the process.

Note the new counter on the right side of the page - you can see how old our little girl is. :) Also - for obvious reasons, I had to change the blog color to the "rose" template.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thank You!

We have been completely showered by everyone's generosity, encouragement, support and...presents!

Our close friends threw us a wonderful party this past weekend. It was a great time to celebrate our soon arrival. They even had Klaudia's pictures in a slideshow on the TV. What shower can you go to that has pictures already?!

Before that, we had two other wonderful showers. One with family, and one with my friends and work peeps.

Klaudia's room is all ready for her now, and so are we! She has more stuff than she will ever know what to do with. We will introduce these things to her a bit slowly. But we are set for great educational toys, books, clothes, and other cute things.

So many have expressed their excitement. It means a lot to us. It has been a difficult road, and the time for happiness and excitement is finally here. It also helps get us through these last weeks while we wait for a final travel date.

Speaking of time...we do not yet have our date to travel back to Poland to get Klaudia. We are hopeful that it will be sometime this month. If not, we will have to get an extension on our immigration form. It wouldn't be the most horrible thing to do, but we would need an updated homestudy and to redo a couple forms. At this point I don't mind the paperwork. I just don't want to wait any longer to get her!

Since this Blog title is "Thank You" - I need to give our biggest thanks to our parents. Throughout our entire adoption journey our parents have been supportive, interested, available and excited. How fortunate are we? And how wonderful for Klaudia to come to a family with such great grandparents. :)

Stay tuned for a travel date.

Friday, May 22, 2009

No Date Yet

Well, we are still waiting for a court date, but we should have one any day now. All of our documents and the petition for adoption have been filed with the court, and we need the judge to focus on our case and assign a hearing date. When we get that date, we can book our tickets and finish packing!

The date that the court will be setting is the beginning of the bonding process. Basically at that first hearing the judge will tell us that we need to spend X amount of days with Klaudia as a bonding period before a final placement hearing takes place. During the bonding period, we should be able to have Kladuia with us day and night. We will likely be in Krakow and rent an apartment there for the bonding period time. From what I understand, that is usually around 2-3 weeks.

At the end of the bonding period we will return to court and at that hearing the judge should order adoption placement with us. At that point we can leave Krakow if we want, but we won't be able to leave Poland until the order is considered final. An order in Poland is usually considered final (not appealable) after 21 days. The judge, in his or her discretion, can shorten this to 14 days. So, we will then have 2-3 weeks and may split the time between Krakow and Warsaw.

Once the order is final, then we can get the paperwork done (get her birth certificate with her new last name, passport, etc.) and embassy work done (issuance of visa) and then head home! It is quite a process!

Once we travel, we will plan to put a checklist on the Blog. Also, I will post pictures then. I have been hesitant to do that until we have appeared in court and have her with us. Bare with us are coming!

For now we wait for the court date. If the judge is taking his or her time about scheduling it, then our contact in Poland generally starts to inquire and encourage the judge to schedule the date. I have heard that sometimes she even has the orphanage director call and encourage the judge to schedule court dates. I would love the Director at Klaudia's orphanage to do that...she is a pretty senior (in experience and rank, not age) sister there and she could inflict some Catholic guilt on the judge!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend all! We will be grillin', chillin', sleeping in (while we can), doing some things around the house and in Klaudia's room. I will be doing my best to avoid work for three days. Should be fun!

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Miami Couple Adopted a 4 and 7 Year Old from Poland

Here is a link to an article about a Miami family who adopted two children from Poland. Since there are so few adoptions to the United States from Poland, it is always interesting to learn of others' experiences. It is also wonderful to hear an adoption story on Mother's Day this year!

A Choice of the Heart

Have a good week all!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Home Without Klaudia

We are home . . . back to work, back to life, and we left a big piece of our hearts in Poland. Oh how painful it was to leave without her!

We had a fantastic trip and time with her though. I figure I should at least memorialize a brief summary of the whole event:

Saturday: Left Omaha - through Chicago - knew our bags wouldn't make the connection because we were 2 hours late.

Sunday: Arrived in Warsaw - sure enough, the bags didn't arrive. We were met at the airport by our facilitator in Poland and a driver (yes, it was Tom :-)) and we drove south for 3-4 hours to a town near Katowice. Our facilitator completely impressed us with the airline and baggage and our suitcases arrived at our hotel an hour after we did (after they connected through Krakow). We stayed near Katowice for one night. I had a cold, we were jet lagged, and we were thrilled, excited, curious, anxious, scared, eager, happy, relieved, etc. Needless to say it was a long night before meeting our little girl!

Monday: Monday, April 20, 2009 was the day we met Klaudia. Before we met her, we had a meeting with Central Adoption Authority officials. That seemed to go fine and be pretty routine. Well, it wasn't routine for us, but it seemed to be pretty standard for them. One of the employees/officials then came with us in the car, and we were off to meet Klaudia.

We traveled for 45 minutes or so to Gliwice to the orphanage. It is run by sisters and is a pretty nice, cared for and clean environment. We first met with the orphanage director along with our lawyer and interpreter. The director told us mostly information that we had already learned about her history, but it was good to hear again and as read straight from her file there.

Then...they brought her in to us. Oh my! What a moment. This beautiful little girl came in the door held by one of the sisters. She had a little bonnet hat covering her head, and was dressed all in pink. Everyone in the room was commenting (in Polish) as to how adorable she is and then they handed her to me. She looked a little confused and had a slight timid expression on her face, but she didn't cry. She did very well and let me hold her for quite some time. Then Ryan held her, and despite probably never being held by a grown man, she did great with him.

Our first meeting was such a success. We played with her a bit, we talked to her, she muttered a little bit now and then, and we got to know just a very little bit about her. We then met with a pshychologist and doctor and learned a bit more about her and areas of improvement and development over the previous months. We also discussed areas to work on over the coming months.

We then left and let her have a nap, and returned a couple of hours later. We had an afternoon visit of 2 hours or so, and it wasn't quite as picture perfect as the first meeting. She got a little fussy and cried a bit, probably due to teething, being hungry and because we were in her face engaging her attention for such a long period of time. We also threw so many toys at her, I have no doubt we were over stimulating her. We had some great moments in the afternoon though and I also got to feed her a bottle. So sweet!

Tuesday-Wednesday: We had two meetings each day. One was in the morning for 2-3 hours and one in the afternoon for 2-3 hours. She seemed to respond the most to blocks and toys with music. Once she heard children singing a song or chant outside and she started trying to sing along. Another neat moment we had was when she took a nap in my lap. I was so glad she felt comfortable enough to do that. She slept for an hour and looked sweet.

We said goodbye to her on Wednesday evening. It was sad, but we know we will be back soon.

We had a nice moment with the sisters after we said goodby to Klaudia. They were happy that we love her and are giving her a home. We thanked them for the great care they give Klaudia and for their warm reception of us.

Thursday: We left to come home, and 24 hours later we were in our own bed.

So, it was an amazing trip. We hope to be back to get her really soon. We are waiting on the lawyer to file our petition and the court to schedule a hearing. Hopefully we will have a date within the next couple of weeks! Supposedly we have the benefit of being under the "old" regulations (pre-Hague), and that involves a little less paperwork. I like to hear that!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


We met Klaudia and she is wonderful. How will we ever leave her here! We have been able to see her 2 times a day for the last two days - each visit for 2-3 hours or so. One more day tomorrow. She is sweet and tentative. It will take her a while to warm up. But it is probably a good thing that she isn't jumping into strangers' arms entirely willingly. But, it didn't take us any time at all to fall in love!

I will have many more details later. Wish I could do a longer note, but our power converter is broken and we have no charge left on the computer. Will write more soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In Poland

Hi all! Just a quick update...

We made it to Katowice today. We haven't really slept since Friday night, with the exception of an hour or two on the plane. That's the plan for tonight though. Big day tomorrow!

It is nice here. Spring is springing. The countryside was very interesting on the drive south of Warsaw. We have not seen much of Warsaw, and we likely won't on this trip. But there will be time for that one on the next trip.

The drive down to Katowice was an adventure with a motorcade of motorcyclists that makes Strugis look like an amateur parade. We also had pierogi and sausage at a very popular restaurant about halfway to Katowice.

On this trip we are being well taken care of and just have to show up and be brought to where we need to be at the appropriate time. The facilitator we are working with here took charge of our baggage situation (let's just say it didn't make the flight that we made and we were planning on having to shop for entire outfits for a 10 a.m. meeting tomorrow) and it was delivered to our hotel this evening.

Assuming we have an internet connection tomorrow (we are staying near our a.m. meeting but are moving hotels tomorrow to be closer to the orphanage), we will post some pictures.

So, you ask, what is going through our minds tonight? I mean, it is the night before we meet our daughter! Well, I think we are a bit nervous and are feeling some guilt for the impending change that we will be inflicting on her. Traveling this entire journey made me realize what an entirely different world she lives in. And she may really have only experienced one small corner of this side of the world. There will be a lot of firsts for Klaudia in the coming months. I only hope that we can introduce them to her as gradually as possible and earn her trust.

We will try to report tomorrow with details about our first meeting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What to Pack?

OK - the countdown is on. We leave in 10 days! Packing for this trip won't be quite the process as the next trip. But we want to make sure we're covered. So, in addition to our normal clothes, toiletries, camera, etc., we are bringing:

-A stuffed animal to leave there
-Plush photo album to leave there
-Set of 4 soft/interactive blocks
-Plush apple with caterpillar and animal toys to put inside

I think our visits will be relatively short (1 or 2 hours) and will just be at the orphanage, so we do not need changes of clothes, stroller, diapers, etc. We pretty much just need some activity items so when we are with K there is something to do other than just look at each other the whole time. (Which, incidentally, would be just fine with me). I think we have picked a couple of good ones, and depending upon space, I may bring one or two more.

Now I am trying to figure out what to wear. I know, it sounds silly. But this is a special occasion. It isn't a dressy dress special occasion, but to date, it will have been the most memorable and important moment in my life. I am thinking nice-casual, something I can be happy when I look back at pictures and something I can crawl on the floor in. Perhaps a shopping trip is in store for the weekend. I think after the first meeting it will be jeans and sweaters.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Yay! Since our fingerprints expire in May, we sent in a request to get new ones. That was in mid-February. We just got notice from our local Department of Homeland Security office that we have been scheduled for our re-fingerprinting. They scheduled us for April 17, which is fortunate because we leave on April 18th to go meet K!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Travel Dates - Kind Of!

We got a call today and are scheduled to meet our little girl! Turns out we have to do a first initial trip to meet her and then will have a second trip later to bring her home. So, while we will be traveling soon, it won't be the forever trip just yet.

We are to be in Warsaw on April 19th. Then, we will meet K on April 20th!

I cannot even begin to express how excited we are. We will finally meet her and hold her in less than a month! We are a bit bummed that we have to do this in separate trips, but whatever it takes to bring her home is what we will do.

Then, we understand, that the second trip may be about 2 months after this trip. Here is hoping that it comes sooner than later!

So now we will be busy getting her room together and figuring out what we need to pack, buy, have, etc. We registered at Target and my work is having a shower this Friday! I love that we are doing it now because it will give us some stuff to really get the room underway and some things to bring with us for the first trip. It will also help us figure out what we don't have and what we need.

Thank you for following our journey and for your support and encouragement. Boy, hasn't it been a long and tenuous one? It isn't over yet, but this is the light at the end of the tunnel...and the whole goal of the process. Finally, after all of these years, we will meet our daughter in April 2009.

Monday, March 16, 2009

We Got Some More Info on K and Are Still Waiting for Travel Info

As far as we understand, we can get more information about potential travel dates tomorrow, next month or any time in between. In the past, I think adopting parents got travel dates relatively quickly. I think now with some new international laws (thank you Hague Convention), there are additional steps in place that make this take longer. I know that Poland has instituted some new regulations to be Hague compliant, and that this has extended much of the process at all stages of international adoption. Most of these regulations have the purpose of preventing potential human rights' violations, black market issues, baby stealing, birth mother contracts, and other historically troublesome issues that have plagued international adoptions. I do understand that the regulations are for the protection of the children, and I appreciate that. However, isn't it in the children's interest to be placed in their homes? And, isn't it in the countries' interest to have the children placed in homes and no longer under the care of the state? Ah well.

So, long story short, we are waiting for Central Adoption Authority approval and I think also for a petition to be filed in K's region. Once that happens, we should be getting much closer to travel dates.

OK, other than waiting, we got some new information on K! When we received her initial information and referral last month, we asked some further questions about birth family, medical info and we requested updated physical statistics. We received all of that and it appears she is growing well!

Getting her information was encouraging and it was exciting to learn a bit more about her. Hearing more about her makes it more difficult to wait, but at least we know someone who is taking care of her was writing up answers to send to us! I guess it is some sort of proof that the process is moving in one way or another.

Note on the Blog. I am now leaning towards not making it private. I am thinking I will keep this pretty public, but not put too many personal identifiers and I will create an email list to distribute some pictures and more personal info. Those of you who have sent me your email address or indicated a desire to have access, I will put you on the email distribution list.

Hope all is well with everyone and that you enjoy Spring/March Madness/St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Next Steps

First of all...we are definately going forward with adopting the girl about which we got the call!! We are so excited and wish we could buy plane tickets immediately!

Now, and before I post more details, I am considering whether to make this Blog private. You would all, of course, be welcome to read it. I am just considering making it password protected so that I feel more comfortable about posting pictures, her name, details about the process and our trip, etc. I guess I feel like I will be putting a lot of personal identifying information out there, so I don't want that to be abused or the procedure to be compromised in any way.

That is why I have been hesistent to post too much on here lately. But, the purpose of the Blog is to keep everyone up to date and informed and journal a lot of the experience. Especially when we travel, we want to be able to post pictures and notes frequently. I know I have loved experiencing other families' blogs especially through the travel. The best part of this all is when the family is finally together!

In the meantime, here is our quick update. We said YES to our little girl (her name starts with a K). Now we wait for some final approval and wait for approximate travel dates. We also have to get our fingerprints done again because they are expiring soon. We sent in a request for re-fingerprinting to Homeland Security last week and hope to get a new appointment very soon!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Call!

We got a call on Valentine's Day! Our agency informed us of a referral of a 13 month old girl. We received some photographs, background and medical information. We have been reviewing this all and considering as much as we can in making a decision.

Once we are done talking with our families and close friends, I will post more. So...stay tuned!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Szczesliwego Nowego Roku!

Happy New Year All!

I hope everyone had memorable and enjoyable holidays. Ours were fantastic. We went to some fantastic holiday parties, spent Christmas Eve with Ryan's family, and headed off to Paris and London on Christmas night and returned yesterday. The trip was wonderful, and when I get the pictures loaded in I will upload a couple to the blog.

There was no news related to our adoption over the holidays. That is not surprising because I imagine no one has been working over the past couple of weeks in Poland. Goodness knows I have not been working much!

We are hopeful about the next couple of months though. Stay tuned!