Monday, June 30, 2008

block party and family picture day

we were at the Lititz church block party last evening. There was a great turn out and a number of activities especially for children.

Today was a good day for the boys. They were in Sunday School without either of us in a group of 10 children and did well! They also were with grandma throughout the church service so we could be free to help serve communion.

And they participated well for family pictures in the evening :) And I can't help share the best smiling we've captured on film in a while. They really do laugh and smile a lot, but it is not so easy to capture it when you sit them down for pictures.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


we thought it was time for the boys to have just a little taste of climbing- for real. Pennsylvania has mountains which Lithuania does not. This was hardly what most here call mountain climbing. But a good beginners slope. :)

Anyway, since Erik did not quite comprehend what I was trying to tell him in advance about climbing up high, he was disappointed when there was no slide at the top!

We also were going to Hershey's chocolate world afterward and there is a ride there- so I think he thought he was going on a roller coaster. But we will save that for Dutch Wonderland in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fun and not so fun

This week we went to the local doctor for the boys post-immigration shots. We were required to sign a statement saying we would get the required shots according to the American schedule before the US embassy gave the prior approval in Warsaw for us to bring the boys to the USA.

So that meant 2 shots for David and 3 for Erik. They did relatively well with the incentives we promoted ahead of time. They earned the toy tractors from Papa.

And we had also learned from other doctors that both boys needed the wax from their ears removed. In a bathroom trip shortly afterward, David banged the door shut and almost jumped from the sound. And then he also noticed the sound of the toilet much more too. We hope we will get attention a little quicker when we call them too.

Today we played at another family's house who has a 4 year old boy adn a 2 year old girl. It took a bit to warm up but it went well enough to stay for lunch and that went well too. Erik asked this evening when we will go see Adam again, also a good sign!

Monday, June 23, 2008


Today we began with Sunday School at 9am. The youngest age class included up to age 4, so both boys were together. The other children were probably all younger than them, but the boys fit in quite well.

They got to play with playdough for a bit and then pulled chairs in a little circle for a flannel graph story of Jesus and his disciples in the boat- and how Jesus calmed the storm. They had enough of the idea of the story that they sat attentively throughout.

Then they made little door hangers (signs) on foam shapes with a boat and they added foam fish stickers to it. Erik is eager to take his to Klaipeda. And they had some papers for coloring but that was something all the children carried out, but did not have any particular interest in.

Then they could play again with wooden puzzles which Erk and David enjoyed.- oh and there was a snack too. Erik spilled his water. One of them usually spills at least once a day so we got that out of the way!

Then for the church service, Gregg and I presented our ministry through adoption and our work at LCC and Gregg gave a short message. The boys stayed to watch the first part which had pictures of them starting from earlier visits at the baby house. Then later after Tetis was talking and did not have many pictures, they went out with gammau to play in the nursery. All in all a very successful Sunday.

After naps today, tetis was sitting with fresh roasted peanuts my mother had brought us this week and the "guys" finished them off. They really like peanuts now- and peanut butter.
And supper was soon to follow- the ice cream cones at the end were just the motivator they needed to eat their sandwiches and pea soup!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kodel? Why?

We are being faced with the why questions about just about everything- and the answers also get the why question from Erik. Now David has started asking why about specific things too.

There are plenty of new things for them of course, but it strikes us as new in the last few weeks for them to ask why.

Erik is also asking- why don't we go back to Klaipeda. He is starting to understand that we are staying with family members and this is temporary. He misses some of his large trucks and tractors to push around outside.

But that does pale to being able to see the real thing which they did twice today.
And they sat on two horses, petted calves, saw large chicken house and picked up kittens. They are also very friendly with maggie the dog which visits and stays overnight here often.

The boys are becoming more comfortable with family members and we are starting to be able to be away from them for a few hours. It is a welcome break. Due to the language issues it has been rare to be away from them. But now family members here are starting to decipher the English mixed in and know the most critical Lithuanian requests as well.

We are very grateful for all of the friends and family members who have been sharing clothes and toys. We have not needed to go out and buy things for the boys and that allows us to have more resources to travel and show them things.

The gas prices in the USA are alarming for most people. In our area the price is around 4 dollars a gallon. But that is still not the 5.50 a gallon which was listed at the pumps in Lithuania when we left. (In our case we got a converter to natural gas for our van in Lithuania and pay less than that for fuel)

A few more pictures here-
Building a sand box, and visit with family with boys.
And yes- you saw it here- Erik carrying a cat!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

more memories

These pictures include the boys first time at a chinese restaurant buffet- nice way to try out some foods for only 3$ each! And a fun place with the inside fish pond.

The boys also had some great fun hiding with daddy under the blanket on Father's day.


We are back from the short visit in Delaware and settling back to a routine in Manheim, PA, Gregg's parents' place. We have some meetings this week including time with our precious missionary support team!

And on Sunday we will share in the Lititz church service.

We have gotten both US passports the social security card for Erik and are awaiting the one for David. This process moved faster than expected. We need to find out for sure this week what process we need to use now to apply for residence permits for the boys for Lithuania. Now that they are US citizens they can no longer be Lithuanian citizens. We just hope it does not take the full 6 months that these things sometimes take.

Sharon had a CT scan of sinuses done today and will await results for any further treatment. But the good news is that over the last 2 weeks the symptoms she had in her throat have finally disappeared.

We are also excited with David as he loves to stand at the toilet now when he needs it. Still a ways to go to be completely trained but he has regained at least what he had in the beginning of April.

More pictures in the next post.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

a few shore highlights

This week was time for the Brubaker family to be with us at Wildwood. Some of the things we did are in these pictures and a few more will come later. We also headed to Delaware this afternoon via the Cape May Lewes ferry, so the next pictures will be from that too.

Friday, June 13, 2008

CHOP evaluations

We were at Children's hospital of Philadelphia international adoptions clinic yesterday. The clinic is a doctor and a psychologist and an occupational therapist who evaluate from available medical records and the presence of the parents to interview. They also directly relate to the child/ren.

We were not sure the best way to go about it. Gregg wanted to be involved, not just the babysitter of the one not being evaluated. And it was possible that they would do better together than apart.

We had more than 3 hours, plus another half hour afterward with the doctor explaining things. We were overwhelmed. The boys were more than overwhelmed and did not have adequate space and activity for their usual behavior.

So the therapists got to see the various regressions they do under stressful or unpleasant circumstances. And they did not get to see what they could really accomplaish. This was upsetting to mama.

The therapists understood we were there for a limited time and were trying to get as much info from us and given to us as possible. (They may do more followup visits over the first years with other families) Fortunately, they will also send reports to us as there was too much to absorb in that visit.

Once we get that and digest it we may share a bit more. The most immediately helpful should be various behavior management tools and ways of understanding the complex history that has produced the challenges. Some of this we have been aware of already. Generally we have been heading the right direction it seems, but there is more to learn.

One comment I made to the therapists is that I sometimes feel I am working with the age range of 6 months old to 4 years old within the same child at different times. They responded- you are exactly right. Their emotional and psychological developments are at different levels and need response that is appropriate to that level. Hopefully there will be more help in understanding how to identify and respond to those things!

It makes some sense that the boys are experiencing so many things for the first time. First one-one interactions consistently, first adult to try to completely bond to. First times to sleep without others in the room, First times to wait for food to be made such as in restaurants. First time to ride long distances. And oh so many more things we take for granted from the first 2 years of life.

And on the lighter side, it is great fun to keep exploring other age appropriate things too, playgrounds, huge bubble wands, riding bike, ice cream cones, jumping waves and so on.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

more pictures

Monday, June 9, 2008


Today seems that there is a stronger connection for pictures- we'll let them do the talking

Friday, June 6, 2008

1000 words

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words. That is about the level that our internet connection chokes this week. So here is another try to give you a window into our world.

We have members of Sharon's family with us now in Wildwood too. We started with a visit to Cape May county zoo. It is larger than the one we visited last week.

The boys are having great fun with the water in the ocean though it is really too cold for swimming yet. we took short videos (our camera limits to 30 seconds at a time for a reasonable quality) that show them walking into the water and running out quickly as the waves come in.

They enjoy playing in the condo here- sending mama or tetis to bed and keeping watch to make sure we don't get up to play (like we do when it is their time to sleep). Gregg likes to wiggle a foot or lift an arm in the air and they have great fun getting him to lie still.

Gregg's work this week has been preparing for a presentation/sermon at Norma church this Sunday. We'll drive an hour and 20 min. and spend some additional time with Sharon's mother before returning.

The picture upload is having trouble again, so it may be a while till we get many pictures here.

Monday, June 2, 2008


We have relocated to Wildwood, NJ for the next 2 weeks or so. We did not expect to have wireless internet access, but once again found that there is a connection here!

The boys were excited to explore the new place when we arrived last night. We will have some of Sharon's family members here this week and then Gregg's family next week.

We will also be making the trip to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia during this time for the International adoptions clinic. Possible referrals to other services or testing will be made if needed. We have noticed a few lingering challenges for the boys that we will discuss with them.

In many ways the boys seem more "normal" all the time. On Sunday we noticed that Erik no longer says "taip" for yes, but consistently says, yeah, or yes. He was "hanging out" with his 5 year old cousin a lot for the last week and does look up to him. It is the closest that we have seen to a friendship (other than with his brother) since the boys have lived with us. If anything, Erik seems more calm about life in general, as if he feels that he fits and has a full family now. He is still resistant to trying new things/playing with new people, but less categorically so.

The boys had opportunity to be with children at another Sunday school/awana club as Gregg spoke in the morning service at Emmanuel Baptist church.

We are dissappointed that David seems to have lost the toileting skills he had before we came and we hope with 2 weeks in the same place and a lot of initial adjustments past that it will go better.

Regarding Sharon's health, the specialist here confirmed that no tonsillectomy is in order, but ordered a CT scan of the sinuses to check what is the source of ongoing symptoms. We should have the results by the end of the month. (That is one thing that I don't like as well about the American system- you don't find out the results of your test right away) Overall Sharon's symptoms are better than they were anytime in Lithuania the last 6 months, but there are some lingering nose/throat symptoms.

Now we (mostly Gregg) have preparations for the upcoming Sunday service at Norma (Sharon's family's church). And lots of things to explore in Wildwood with the boys!