A New Normal

Kole has been home with us for a week today. He acts like he has known us all forever and it feels like our family is where he has always belonged. Earlier today Lane and Kole were chasing each other around the house pretending to be monsters and tickling each other. They were both laughing and smiling, I had to stop right then and thank God for bringing Kole to us. Earlier today Kole grabbed a toy from Lane and Lane pushed Kole then Kole hit Lane. I had to stop right then and ask God to make the moments of laughter and fun more common than the ones of pushing and fighting. They really do act like brothers.

I looked at the faces of my three boys today and I just feel so blessed. People keep telling us how lucky Kole is to have Drew and I adopt him, but we can't but feel like the lucky ones. Kole is so sweet and loving. He is learning new things quickly and he is so observant. We weren't sure what to expect; we knew that there was the possibility that he could be agressive, but he's not. He is so sweet with Hudson. He loves to help. If he sees me clearing the table, he clears it with me; if Lane is picking up toys, Kole voluntarily helps.

Today, I met with some of the teachers and staff at Kole's elementary school. They asked me how Drew and I came to adopt Kole. I love telling that story, because it's such a God story. Less than 6 months after we first heard of Reece's Rainbow, Kole is home with us. Only God could do that.

Drew and I had initially thought that we would wait to start Kole in Kindergarten til he had been home a month or so, but he is adjusting so quickly, and he is so eager to learn new things that he will start on Monday. I was worried that he would not want to be dropped off at school, but after seeing him with his teachers today, I think he may not want to come home. He was hugging all the teachers and even the principal.

So far our biggest "problem" we've had is trying to get Kole to slow down when he is eating. I am still amazed at how quickly he can polish off a plate of food. The other day Kole finished all his spaghetti, Lane got up from the table and Kole slid down the bench and finished off the little bit Lane had left in his bowl. He also, in less than a minute ate an entire apple, leaving only the very top and the stem. He is so cute when he eats, because he stuff his cheeks til he can't even close his lips together and then smiles from ear to ear, like he is so happy to have so much food. And he has yet to turn food down except for a chocolate chip cookie.

I've had a few moments of feeling overwhelmed and wondering if I will ever have a night of sleep where all 3 boys sleep through the night and none of them wind up crawling into our bed. But, it's amazing how quickly having three little boys just feels normal. It's our new normal and I am so thankful that all our boys are home, together.

The Day I Will Never Forget

After nearly 30 hrs of traveling with very little sleep, we arrived in Belgorod Ukraine. We being myself and my friend Camaryn who came along with me on this, my second trip to Ukraine. We finally made it to Belgorod at about 11pm, Monday, August 2. Tuesday morning Alex and his wife Yulia drove us to the orphanage to pick up Kole. When we first arrived I just couldn't help but smile. I was so happy that this day was finally here. I had to go to the orphanage office first, sign some papers, then head to the bank to close out an account in Kole's name (we gave the money to orphanage). I just wanted to run to Kole's room and pick him up.

Finally, they said I could go get Kole; I practically ran down the hallway I was so excited. When I got to Kole's room he and all the kids in his group were sitting on a little bench. They had just come in from playing outside. I called for Kole and when he saw me he got up and came running over to me. He had a huge smile on his face; I picked him and hugged him so tight. All the other children were yelling "Kole Mommy!" I carried him into the next room. We were both just so happy. We quickly dressed him and then went up stairs to the Director's Office to sign some more papers.

Finally, it was time to leave. I held Kole's hand as we walked down the stairs. He smiled and waved goodbye to the orphanage workers as he looked back up the stairs. When we got to Alex's car I picked Kole up to help him in and he started crying and yelling. He's never been in a car before and I think he was also scared because I was taking him away from the orphanage, the only "home" he has ever known. The roads were so bumpy; Kole put his hand over his mouth and cried for nearly an hour as I held him on my lap and tried to comfort him. Eventually he fell asleep. He looked like such a sweet little angel lying there on my lap sound asleep. I could hardly believe that this day had finally come and Kole was beginning his new life.

We drove to Odessa; the city were Kole was born, and where his birth parents still live. In Odessa we picked up copies of Kole's original birth certificate, had a new birth certificate made that says "Kole Isaiah Miles", and his parents are now listed as "Andrew Lane Miles III" and "Kamarie Amato Miles." We also had Kole's passport picture made and applied for his passport. Alex and his wife, Yulia had to do some more running around and picking up documents, so they dropped us off at McDonalds for an hour. Kole had his first McDonalds experience and he was just in awe of all the people and children everywhere. He wouldn't touch the chicken nuggets, but he shoved french fries into his mouth til he could barely close his lips. He was so cute; I just couldn't stop looking at him. While at McDonalds, I got a phone call from Alex saying that Kole's birth mother called and was coming to McDonald's to say goodbye to Kole. We got up to take Kole outside where it was less crowded, and as we walked out the door there was Kole's birth mom, standing there with her sister. We walked around to Alex's car and she hugged Kole. She was crying as she hugged him goodbye. It was a pretty quick goodbye and Kole seemed unphased by seeing her and saying goodbye to her. We were back in the car and on our way to Kiev.

Kole wasn't scared this time when we got back in the car. He loved looking out the window and pointing at all the trucks that drove by. When we were about half way to Kiev, we pulled off to the side of the road. Kole's paternal grandmother was standing there, waiting to say to goodbye to Kole. She hugged him and cried; then she asked if I would take a picture of Kole and her so that Kole would have it to remember his history.

When we reached the outskirts of Kiev we stopped to meet with Kole's birth father. Kole's birth father is a truck driver and he was en route from Kiev back to Odessa. He pulled his truck over to the side of the road and came walking over to our car. I really had such mixed feelings about this. I wished I knew what Kole was thinking too. Kole's birth father hugged him tight and started to cry; he cried more than Kole's brith mother or grandmother. I was so tired and emotionally overwhelmed at that point, and I too started to cry. I just do not understand how an entire family can seem so heart broken over this precious little boy, but not enough to have kept him.

We arrived to our apartment in Kiev after midnight. We walked up a small flight of dark stairs and into a tiny, very dark elevator. Kole was scared of the elevator and I couldn't blame him; I was a little freaked out too. Our apartment however is so clean and bright. We gave Kole a bath and he absolutely loved it. He played and played in the water and he didn't want to get out of the tub. After bath we called Drew on the webcam. Kole talked with his Daddy and brothers and said goodnight.

As I tucked Kole into bed that night, I rubbed his back and sang him to sleep, and I could hardly believe this day had finally come. There I was with my son, finally away from the orphanage. One huge step closer to bringing him home.