Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Look Back: One Year Ago, Alina Comes Home

One year ago today, Chris and I brought Alina HOME.

Here's a look back, from the day we left the town where she was born through the day she came home to her forever family for good:

Leaving Zaporozhye

On the train with Mama's iPod
and the picture book

Self portraits while waiting in the cab in Kiev
for Daddy and Niko to finish grocery shopping

Still waiting in the cab, the first big smiles we got to see
(We'd known Alina 1 week)

Laughing while Mama tosses a hat in the air

Our short time in Kiev on the back end of our trip (with a busy toddler) was a bit different than our longer, and more free flowing stay there in the days surrounding our SDA appointment ;).  

In addition to Alina's final required medical appointment and finishing up our Embassy paperwork, we spent our few days there getting to know Alina and trying to keep her occupied in a very small city apartment.  We were also trying to figure out how we were going to get home since our flight out was cancelled due to the volcano.  

If you are interested in reading a few details of our short time in Kiev before coming home, go here.  

After much work, Chris found a way for us to get home by traveling KLM Royal Dutch Airlines through Amsterdam--staying overnight, and then re-boarding for Detroit the next morning.  There's a long story about getting a temporary visa for Alina (still a citizen of Ukraine) so we could stay in a hotel just outside the airport doors.  We eventually did get an overnight clearance to leave the airport terminal, and had a wonderful night's rest in a lovely and very comfortable room at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel.

Welcome to Holland :)!

In Amsterdam, on the trip home
getting settled for the night

Alina was a total trooper for us on the long trip home.  We were all exhausted, but so happy to be coming home to reunite our whole family, finally together under one roof...  


Meeting Emmy and Sara

Meeting the Siblings

Sweet, little feet

Baby Dolls & Crackers

From the adoption blog:
Alina seemed very happy to meet her siblings. She was full of smiles and was very relaxed, even though she must have been a little overwhelmed--she was surrounded by all the kids on the kitchen floor. Alina figured out that the kids think she is cute and funny--and she was enjoying all the attention.  Bridget and Alina seemed to recognize one another. They are adorable together! They're about the same height and weight, although Alina is almost 9 months younger than Bridget.  Their hands and feet look almost identical, except Alina's are a bit more chubby :). There was one point last night when I had them both on my lap, which was overwhelming in itself--it is a moment I will never forget. I keep thinking about the two of them together. They are a unit now. My almost-twins, born apart but raised together. 
When we were in Ukraine, someone asked us why we think God gave us four healthy children and then Bridget, a child with Down syndrome. Chris and I have a long answer to that question that we may write about here someday. The short answer, though, may be that Bridget arrived in our lives so that we would save Alina.

One year later and the experience still leaves me breathless and searching for words.  We were so privileged to be able to make that journey, and to bring our little girl home.  

Thank you so much for taking the trip along with us, for loving us and for loving Alina.  We are grateful for all of it....


  1. Just as God adopted us into the Kingdom of we do with these precious little ones who need a family. SO happy you are all home together this Easter...and excited for the many more journey's with your newet sweet girl that God has in store!

    Happy Easter!

    Brooke Annessa

  2. Thank you, Brooke! You too:)!

  3. Janet Caswell (FB Friend!)Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Lisa: Thank you for allowing us to follow your family's journey. It is so amazing to look back on the past year and see all of the amazing things that Alina has been exposed to. Life has changed forever.


  4. I remember your homecoming post from last year. So happy for God's perfect plan to give you Bridget and open your hearts to Alina.

    Happy Easter, I look forward to seeing where God leads your family next.

  5. Lisa,
    Reading this brings nothing but happy tears... Do you know that my son Paris and Paisley will be almost twins? Paisley is 6 months older than him. I can't wait to have them both in my lap, I can't wait...

    Love wins,
    Renee Tam

  6. tears of joy lisa...thank you so much for sharing with us :) alina is truly blessed to be a part of your family, and i know you feel equally as blessed to have found her....