Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Welcome Home, James Ivan!

We left Moscow the morning of August 6th, knowing we had over 18 hours before our day would end in Knoxville.  We were most concerned for little James, since he was so used to a regimented schedule at his orphanage (he slept over 15 hours a day!) and this trip would be far from anything he ever experienced!  I know many, many friends and family members were praying for us!  He did so well!  However, he didn't sleep much at all.  During the 11 hour flight, he only slept a little over an hour.

Even though he didn't sleep much, he did so well!  He loved looking through magazines and Amelia and I kept him entertained with games of peek-a-boo and lots of cheerios. 

 When we completed customs at Washington Dulles, the officer stamped James' passport and said, "he is now officially an American citizen."  I felt a wave of emotion and a huge lump in my throat.  I honestly thought I was going to start weeping right there! He then told us we would probably miss our connecting flight, so I didn't have time to nurse those emotions! We literally ran through the Dulles airport and got on our plane with only 2 minutes to spare.  Whew!

I am SO glad we didn't miss that flight!  Look what was waiting on us in Knoxville!

The moment we saw everyone is one of the best moments of our lives!

James was sleep deprived, but perked up when he saw the balloons!

The airport is a 30 minute drive from our home, and all three children fell asleep on the way. 

We were greeted by an amazing surprise when we got home.  One friend had left a wonderful home-cooked meal waiting for us.  Another friend had cleaned!  And our church family had signed this picture for us! 

They also brought us groceries! 

James sees his new bedroom for the first time!

He immediately crawled in his bed.  He was SO tired!

He had to eat something and needed a bath before bedtime, but when I finally tucked him in, he went straight to sleep.

James slept well, but Glenn and I woke up at 3:30am and couldn't get back to sleep.  Jet lag and the time change really messed us up!  We met all our family for lunch since they were traveling back to Georgia and we wanted to see them one more time.  James did so well!  He interacted with everyone and was so adorable!   My sister Lydia played a game of peek-a-boo with him and I think these pics are so cute:

Glenn went back to work Monday morning, and it was a big adjustment for all of us!  After spending 24 hours a day together for 3 1/2 weeks, it was really hard.

On top of that, James started feeling poorly on Monday afternoon.  He stopped eating and drinking and cried pitifully.  One of the sad aspects of adopting a child who has spent his whole life in an orphanage is that he really doesn't like to be held and cuddled.  We know this will change in time, but it was VERY hard for us to watch him be miserable and not be able to comfort him.  He preferred just laying and crying.  It was a long night.  I took him to the doctor in the morning, and he really didn't have much wrong...just some congestion and drainage.  He also has some fluid in his ears.  One friend reminded us that East Tennessee is one of the worst places in the country for allergies, and it may take some time for his little respiratory system to acclimate.  Other than that, we really think the big issue is sleep deprivation.  He wouldn't sleep Monday night or nap on Tuesday.  That alone can make a person miserable (umm...yeah...I can attest to that). 

He did SO well at his doctor visit.  He was cute and charming and the doctor really had fun with him.  He is still very under weight for his age, but he has gained over two pounds since leaving the orphanage last Wednesday!  Whoa!  It won't take him any time to catch up! 

We covet your prayers as we all adjust to a new normal.  There is much joy and happiness, but there is also a lot of exhaustion and new responsibilities.  James is an active toddler who is enjoying his new freedoms.  His world has been very small until now, and he is ready to push some boundaries!  We love that about him, by the way.  He is up for anything, and I think that will serve him well as he adjusts to so many changes.  He is also very affectionate and responds well to positive reinforcement and praise.  BUT, he is also a child who has had literally no training and we can't leave him unattended for even a minute.  You can imagine the challenges that presents as I try to unpack, do laundry, etc.  We are all learning as we go! 

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Psalm 28: 7-8


  1. Thanks so much for posting the photos, Vashti! We are so excited for your family and it's so good that you have family and church family to help out in this transitional time! Praying for you!


  2. Oh Vashti, James is so precious! I love all of the pictures. Welcome home, my friend!:)

  3. Vashti, What a great homecoming James had! I am sure he will make the adjustment without many problems. I will say some prayers for you all. Welcome home James!

  4. I can't tell you how lovely it is that you have adopted such a sweet boy with Ds. He is just darling!

    Annie (Cindy Bridge's friend from Ghana, my son has Ds too and is almost 4) My blog is I haven't posted for ages, but you can see some pics and read part of our story. Take care! XOXO

  5. Hi, just found your blog through Reece's Rainbow. I live in Knoxville and have adopted two boys with DS through RR. We go to Oak Ridge three times a week for therapy! Congratulations and would love to meet up with you all.

    Stephanie Carmichael

  6. This is so special! I hope you know how blessed that boy is to have you and how blessed you are to have Dillon. Praise the Lord for ORBC and all the other families ...I've heard so much and I just have tears of joy for you all! GOD BLESS!

  7. He is beautiful. Congratulations on your new addition.

  8. Congratulations to all of you! Precious, precious son.