YIPPPEEE!!! We have our appointment!

Our appointment is scheduled for January 29th!. Victoria called us last night and told us the good news. Alex (our facilitator) called her at 2:30am his time so that we could get the news as soon as possible. Thank you, very much, Victoria and Alex!!! We are thrilled to finally make plans to leave and can now breathe a sigh of relief that we won't miss Christmas with our children. We are looking into flights and trying to figure out what we still need to do.

I would like to take a small photo album to give to the officials at the SDA of successful additions to families. Anyone who would like to add their pictures please email me at siochane@comcast.net.

I had hoped that having an actual date would relieve the stress (it did, briefly) and then I thought of at least a hundred things that I need to do before we leave.

For now, however, I am dancing a happy dance and dreaming of a houseful of laughing, shreiking, running children.

BRRR! - November 29, 2007

It is freezing here! But at least its sunny and at least I can think of this as preparation for traveling to Eastern Europe. I am thinking about those lovely ladies who are also waiting to travel. They are in Oklahoma, Florida... I wonder if they will turn blue when they step off the plane? The shock to their systems could be brutal! I'm thinking it may seem like spring by the orphanage to us. I've been told they don't really get snow there. I will try to write more later, I've got to give up the computer to Michael (he's using the K12 curriculum and going to Virtual School).

Oh and for anyone who is thinking it looks miserably cold where they are: Keep this in mind. (And no, this is not Minnesota, its Switzerland, but I keep it in mind when I think its cold here)

An update of sorts - November 27, 2007

Well, today is Randy's birthday! I thought I would call and see if there was any news to give him about our appointment and while I did have a lovely conversation with Victoria, no appointment date yet. Victoria did tell me that she expects to hear within a week or so what our appointment date is. I really hope so.

I am very happy to hear of about all the wonderful families that are bringing their children home. The Homecoming page on Reeces Rainbow is a great place to go when you're wondering why you are messing with all of this bureaucaratic nonsense.

Ok - so math isn't my strong point...

Still no word on our appointment. I am trying to be patient but it is very hard. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. My cousin just had a beautiful baby girl. I remember changing HER diapers - how can she be married with a baby? If that time goes by so quickly, why does waiting to hear about an appointment take so much slower?


And more waiting...

We are still waiting to hear about our SDA appointment. I know the best thing is to wait until you hear and not think about it until then but its constantly on my mind. I don't stray far from either my email or my cellphone (just in case). I check them as soon as I get home. I have even calculated what day I expect to hear if all variables stay constant. Yes, I am a geek and my father would be proud of the logic I am trying to apply to this very illogical process.

The best part of waiting is that I know of three other ladies who are within a week or three of the date we submitted our dossier and I get the distinct impression that they are as impatiently waiting as I am. Misery loves company but I guess so does adoption anxiety. All of the ladies from the Reeces Rainbow group have been so supportive and they always have something positive to say, I'll never be able to thank them enough.

Oh and for anyone who is interested: I think we will hear about our SDA date on Wednesday. Now, I can only hope that my math skills have improved over the years.

Party Girl - November 17, 2007

A great time was had by all at the benefit for LeAnn and a lot of money was raised to help with the medical bills. Michael, Christopher and Matthew were all great helpers to the band. Randy tweaked his back bringing in equipment, so his team of roadies was much appreciated.

I wish I had remembered my camera. My daughter danced and danced. She slow danced with her daddy until he had to play guitar again and then she danced with her teddy bear. And in true party girl fashion, she swiped her dad's bottle of beer and tried to run with it. Once again (thanks to Randy's roadies) she was apprehended.

She is always in the center of things. The last party that she attended, it was pole dancing. Who knows what she will talk her new sisters into? These pictures are from this summer.

November 16, 2007

Today is the 20th business day since our dossier was deposited with the SDA. Ukrainian law says they have 20 business days to respond to us. But this is the Ukraine, so when we hear, we hear. At least when you wait for Christmas as a kid, they give you one of those countdown calendars with the treats inside. They should make one of those for adopting parents! Not candy, though, after this much waiting, I wouldn't be able to fit in the airline seats.

The Today Show this morning ran a piece on the institutions in Serbia. Unfortunately, these conditions are common in many countries in eastern Europe. It is not because the people are heartless, or cruel. They simply do not have the resources and the caretakers do not have the ability, time or authority to change the conditions these lost ones are forced to endure. It breaks my heart to think of the girls we are hoping to adopt in a place such as this.

Anyone who is interested in reading this article can go to the NY Times website or TIME website or the full report is available at


Please don't read the full report unless you have a strong stomache.

On a more postive note: Serbia is one of the most affordable places to adopt from, travel time isn't that bad and Andrea has some lovely little ones on Reeces Rainbow who are in need of a forever family! Check out Jovan from the Christmas Angels page - he is very bright and considered a joy to be around. And with a smile like that, how could you doubt it?

FAQS - November 15, 2007

Okay, so this is shamelessly lifted (with permission) from another blog, but it is one of the best explanations of the fate that awaits our girls if we don't move quickly to get them. The obvious answer to those asking why we rush is: Wouldn't you be in a hurry to get your babies home? The not so easy answer is that the orphanage system that they are apart of is taxed to the breaking point. The funds are given to the babyhouses and as an orphan gets older the conditions and the resources get worse. If you are a child with special needs, such as down syndrome, your conditions are frequently the last to receive funds for improvement. Having said this : here is the FAQS lifted from a friend's blog.

Q: Why did you decide to do an international adoption and not adopt one of the kids available here in the US?
A: This seems to be the 'doozy'. The one noone wants to answer and yet it's asked all the time. Here's my stab at making sense :) We originally weren't sure what we were going to do. We thought that international adoption was way out of our league financially, but I opened a conversation line with Andrea at Reece's Rainbow anyway. After looking at a few available kids world wide Mike and I had a conversation that revealed a few important things for us. 1) we definitely wanted to (and felt called to) pursue a child with special needs... Down syndrome if possible. 2) there aren't many kids with Ds in US foster care (interesting, isn't it?) 3) there are children around the world that need homes, but a LOT of kids with Ds in other countries that are available. 4)kids in the US even in foster care are always treated humanely (ok, ALMOST always... but the gov't at least says it's supposed to be humane). 5) kids overseas are often neglected and have no hope for a future, especially kids with disailities 6) children as young as 4 are put into mental institutions overseas and often die by age 10 because of the conditions of their care.

So we quickly realized that adopting a child with Ds from a counry where the child faces a VERY early death was what we wanted to look at. Not just looking for another child for our family- although that is a big part of it too- but looking for a child that would likely not survive if we didn't step in. And no, we didn't want a hero mission. We wanted a rescue. These kids are my heroes.

Now to add a few more questions and answers, specific to us:

Q:Are you crazy?
A: Somewhat, but not because we are hoping to adopt two girls with down syndrome. Every person that I have ever met with down syndrome - no matter what age - are the sweetest, friendliest and most innocently happy souls I have had the pleasure to meet. Raising a child with down syndrome has its challenges but raising any child has challenges. (I'll post ten reasons why you should adopt a child with special needs another day) We are familiar with health issues, developmental milestones and all of the other reasons that people invariably list as arguments for why we shouldn't want to adopt a special needs child, but all the things that they list are just apart of life to us. We wouldn't trade our children for anything in the world. What others see as work, I see as life with my kids.

Q: You do realise that you will have THREE 5 year olds?
A: Yes, we did the math and realise that we are multiplying our little tornado by 2 more and it will seem like there are 5 of them running in opposite directions, but somedays, I will have THREE little helpers. We have alot of support from our family and friends, we are familiar with community resources and we have tag team babysitters lined up.

I'm sure I will think of other things to add, but for now, that'll do.

If there is any questions that you want to ask, please feel free to email me at siochane@gmail.com. I would be happy to hear from you.

LeAnn - November 14, 2007

There is a benefit for LeAnn this weekend. Randy is going to play (with the rest of the band). She is a wonderful woman and I have always been inspired by her life and vitality. I could go into all the details but, if you'd like to read about this amazing woman, Colleen (my sister-in-law) has set up a website for her, that has her complete story. Colleen is a much better writer than I am. I added the link under Great Links on the sidebar. It's called LeAnn's Light.

Thomas - November 12, 2007

Thomas passed away last night. He was a great cat with tons of personality. He will be missed alot.

There are so many wonderful stories about Tommy. Even the way he became part of our family was unique...

I was taking my husband to work one morning and we heard a meow. Michael was small, still in a carseat, and a little in love with cats and sometimes acted like a cat, so we told him that was very good and finished our commute to downtown. I heard him meow a few more times on the way back home but didn't really think much about it until I got home and realized that Michael was not meowing. I searched the inside of the caravan before coming to the scary conclusion that there was not a cat IN my car but UNDER it. I crawled under and plucked a 5 week old kitten from the plate above the muffler. His nose was burnt and so were his paws and as soon as I got him loose, he sank his claws into my chest and began to meow in earnest. The vet told us that he had probably damaged his hearing but he would live. And it was determined that anything that was that determined to come home with us, just had to stay with us.

He was really Michael's cat. He adored Michael, and tolerated anything any child dished out with such good nature. He was never cross, he purred so very loudly and I don't believe I heard him ever hiss. He was truly one of a kind.

November 9, 2007

Not much new on the adoption front for us personally, but wonderful news from the Ukraine in general. The 1st adoption ever took place at the special needs orphanage in Torez! This is wonderful news. Here is the blog address for those of you who would like to read more about this monumental event.


We are still waiting for our appointment date. I am hoping for something this year but everything moves at a different pace in the Ukraine.

In the mean time, we have put in a privacy fence in our backyard (Thank you, Gary!) Caelia had begun to scale her way over the chain link fence that was there. It is the hardest part of having a child like Caelia - she wanders, doesn't recognize dangers and is very determined to see the rest of the world. We have to figure out a new lock for the back gate - she figured it out. This is always tough, because it has to be accessible for other people but not for Caelia. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Caelia has also taken to playing hide and seek. Sometimes, its really hard to find her - she can fit in the most unlikely places. So I ordered this thing called a "gigglebug". Its a cute pin that looks like a ladybug that you attach to the back of her clothes and a key fob that you keep and if you want to find her, you push the button and it chirps. Kind of like the find handset on the cordless phone. It might be cheating for hide and seek but it will certainly make life a little easier.


Randy was very surprised by the work and by the fact that we kept it a surprise. Even Michael managed to keep the secret. Maybe we can finish the basement before we travel. No word from the SDA yet, however.

Tonight is Halloween! The house is ready and Michael and Caelia are dressed for the occasion. I couldn't get a decent picture of them both smiling but they still looked awfully cute.

This is the house tonight. It is intimidating to some but we get about 300 kids every year. Some of the kids are bigger than me. I like watching them pluck up the courage to come up on our porch. Sometimes I have to walk down the stairs to give the little ones their treat - most of them quit looking scared when they see the glow necklace and a (reasonably) normal looking person.

October 30,2007

It has been a long couple of days without Randy. He gets back tonight and I will be so happy to see him.

First of all, I need to thank everyone that helped with the beam. My neighbors showed up, my inlaws showed up, my dad even arrived to help (Brandon had to work late and Ryan just wussed out). 17 and 1/2 feet of beam went into the house perfectly. The last 6 inches required jacks, 2x4s and a dodge dakota. However, the operation was a success and the patient (and all of the team survived). I wish we had gotten this on film.

October 28th, 2007

Okay - he's gone. I took him to the airport and headed for the hardware stores. We have 2 poles that stand in the middle of our unfinished basement - yuck! While Randy is gone, with the outstanding help of friends and family, we are removing the poles, putting in a laminated 18 foot beam and starting the drywall. My brother Brandon picked up the supplies and between us and my baby brother Ryan (six foot and 200lbs and still the baby) we wrangled 20 sheets of drywall downstairs. Randy's Dad showed up and started the laminating of the beam. They will all be back on Tuesday to slide it into place and in the mean time, I will be insulating and starting the drywall. I hope Randy likes the surprise. I know he hates home improvement projects - unless its a lighting project. He loves to add lights!

Dossier Accepted! - October 22, 2007

Our dossier was accepted at the SDA. Now we wait. We spend alot of time waiting it seems. It reminds me of the end of my pregnancies when it seemed like I had done nothing but wait. The SDA is the agency in the Ukraine that sets appointments to go view the children that meet the criteria that you outline in your request for an appointment. I wonder if the person who reads our letter requesting 2 children with down syndrome will think we have lost our minds?

Randy is leaving on a business trip this October 28th and returns on October 30th, so we are not going to have our annual party. We probably need the break anyway. I have big plans for him while he's gone. I plan to journal but not publish until he gets back - so it really is a big surprise.