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!