Sunday, December 22, 2013

Visiting with my sister.

These past few days we have been in Grace's city (and surrounding cities), with the main part of our day being our visit with Grace.
We visit for a couple hours each morning the "soft room", a therapy type room missionaries have set up and use to visit the kids. There are a couple German volunteers in who also visit and love on kids in there, but the time we've spent with the other kids is for a different post.
Grace is: cute, hilarious, sassy, smart, adorable, clever, lovable, and sweet.
I've so enjoyed the time I've been able to spent with her (that ^ is my new favorite picture by the way!), and can't wait to bust her out of that stinky orphanage forever in a few hours!
After we bust her free today, we will be driving up to Kyiv tonight, and tomorrow we will do her medical and work on getting her visa. Lord willing, we will get her visa Tuesday, and fly home Wednesday, arriving home ON CHRISTMAS DAY!

On Tuesday we took Grace to get her passport picture taken. My mom blogged about how it went HERE.
But just for my blog readers, because you're special, here is a video!

Gotta go finish packing and getting ready for the big day! Stay tuned for pictures and videos!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My new hat.

Oh yes I did.
Part of my Christmas present.

But you know what's super funny? Being made fun of in a language you barely understand.

We were walking home from the market today and I was wearing my new hat. As we were passing them, a couple school girls (younger than me by a couple years) said something and burst into giggles. They said "hello little girl", and I also heard the word hat after we passed them. 

I was quite amused, but am still proud of and loving my new hat! :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

That thing called Lyme.. and this trip.

So the number one thing people said to me before I left, after everyone found out I was coming, was: "So you're feeling better?"

And my answer was a resound YES, but I want to expand more on that.

So very sick:
The last time I really did a big update on how I was doing with my chronic Lyme disease was months ago on this blog when I first shared my Lyme story. Since then, it's just been a few random facebook updates and when people reached out to ask me.

I have gotten very sick, and have had several really good weeks. Like a roller coaster, always up and down. I have been through many natural treatments, have had MANY chiropractic appts,many other appts, and have completely changed my diet.

I dealt with symptoms ranging from brain fog, tics, twitching, dizziness, vision problems, never ending headaches, to extreme joint pain, extreme fatigue, chest pain, heart palpitations, nauseousness, abdominal pain, and a slew of other stuff.

I ended up with a bad UTI, several colds, and some other things that made me go down hill fast. My immune system is already shot, so I usually catch everything anyone else has which makes the symptoms I already have flare. And full moons are very bad too.

Starting to feel better: 
During this entire adoption process, we had talked about me going with mom for the second trip if my health improved. But as the time came closer and closer to traveling, I wasn't getting better. We got our travel date and mom said I wasn't going to come with for the second trip unless there was a miracle with my heath. And I fully agreed with her. I knew I wasn't doing well.

A week or so before they left I started a new treatment at a new doctor. And a day or two before they left I started to feel better. I had several very good days in a row which I was super happy about, but the good days didn't stop. I had a couple set backs, like a panic attack the night they left, which was likely from the stress, but otherwise was doing good.

The difference was night and day. Previously I would have been able to be on my feet and up and about for a couple hours on a good day. And then I would be exhausted for several days trying to recoup. In the days before my parents left and even after I had like 4 days in a row I was on my feet doing stuff all day long. Lots of time in the kitchen, lots of helping to get things ready for them to leave, etc. It was amazing.

I continued to do good with my energy levels. And other things improved, like neurological symptoms and nauseousness.

We decided I was well enough to go.

I am still praising God for starting to heal me, and continuing to do so! Yes, I think part of it was the new treatment, but most of it can be attributed to God and the prayers of His people on my behalf. I am so thankful!!!

Dealing with it here:
Despite being awake 52+ hours with 4 hours of plane "sleep" before I feel asleep my first night here, I didn't get sick, and just bounced back. Amazing. All the walking hasn't bothered me at all, nor have I gotten sick from the full moon.

About the food. When I mentioned above that I changed my diet, that means I went off all grains, all processed sugar, most processed foods, and a lot of dairy. I also have food sensitivities to a lot of foods including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, peanuts, most other nuts except almond flour, oranges, celery, apples, and carrots. (I'm only allergic per the allergist to ragweed and grass, but I still have sensitivities.)

So that takes out a lot of what there is to eat! I have been eating near Paleo diet, but with more eliminated. It's hard, but worth it for the difference it makes in how I feel. I've been trying to eat the same here, but have cheated a few times. It's easier when there is nothing in the apartment that I can't have (except Milka!), as mom is eating the same way with me. At Celentanos I always get Borsch and a chicken cheese veggie thing. lol

The other big thing that was a huge factor in if I was well enough to go was my sensitivity to smells, particularity cigarette smoke. A couple months ago I walked into the gas station, and there was someone standing outside the door smoking. I started coughing and gagging, which ended in respiratory problems, and took several minutes to recover from. And in Ukraine, everyone smokes everywhere. But like with everything else, that has gotten better too. I am still super sensitive to it, and the first to smell any trace of it, but it doesn't bother me or make me cough unless it's right in my face.

So I'm doing really well health wise! :) Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me!!!

Our MAF (most awesome facilitator) says that I got these nasty bugs in Ukraine last time, so I need to leave them here when I go home. I'm all for that! :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm in Ukraine and have a new sister!

I'm a worse blogger than my mother! :P But I'm back, and have so much to share!

First things first and this deserves a post of it's own!

Short Version: I'm in Ukraine and have a new sister!
Long Version: On Nov 11th, my parents left for Ukraine. They got their referral to adopt Grace, and spent about 3 weeks visiting her while they waiting for their court paperwork to process. Then Dad came home for Thanksgiving week, and went back to be with mom the next week for court!
On Dec 5th, Grace Olena Birschbach became an orphan no longer, and became my sister!
Mom and Dad then came home for a week during the 10 day waiting period after court. On Saturday, my mom and I left to come back to finish up the paperwork, and bring Grace home!


Our flights were long of course, but okay. We were delayed 2 hours on our first flight, but we made the one out of Chicago because that one was an 1 hr late. We made up time in the air and made it to our gate in Germany with literally a few minutes to spare. Then on to Ukraine! Our MAF (most awesome facilitator) met us at the airport and we stayed with his and his beautiful wife last night (it's Monday morning here).

This morning, we have to go get papers to prove I don't have TB and can visit the orphanage, and then this afternoon, we drive down to region. Tomorrow we start the paper chase and I meet Grace!!! We'll continue visiting her this week while we wait for the passport. And gotcha day will sometime later this week, over the weekend, or Monday. That's when we will bust her out of that stinky orphanage forever and ever!

Then we head back up to Kiev, to do the embassy and medical appts for her. And then we will go home right after Christmas.


When we were landing here, seeing the fields and Ukrainian looking city, the Russian on the signs and just seeing Ukrainian land again... the feeling was indescribable. At that moment it sunk in finally that I was back in Ukraine. In Ukraine.

When I left Ukraine 3.5 yrs ago, I assumed I would be back the next summer. I wanted to come back before I left. I had fallen in love with this country. Had I known it would be that long of longing to come back, I would have had to be dragged onto the plane.

When we landed, I was fighting back tears. That amazing feeling, can be summed up as my heart was finally home. There was a similar feeling when I went back to KS and NY the second time, but nothing like this. An overwhelming emotion. Home.

As I sit here drinking Ukrainian juice, I love it. The simplicity of everything, the soviet looking building and streets, the crazy driving, the juice, the borscht, the apartment building, not bring able to brush my teeth with the faucet water, hearing Russian everywhere. I love it all, I'm home.


Also, I landed on the 15th. Dec 15th. You know how I love the 15th of every month. Last Dec I was in Kansas, the year before on the 15th I found out Logan wasn't available. This year, I'm back in Ukraine!