Mina is a precious little girl recently rescued from an orphanage in Eastern Europe who is now finally home with her forever family! She had been without a mother or father to love her & care for her each day. No one to rock her, kiss her gently or tell her she's loved. She is blessed with an extra chromosome known as Down syndrome, which for her that meant a life of being viewed as worthless in the country she was born into & a life without hope. Because of this her parents gave her up at the age of 6 months when they found out the diagnosis & from there her life progressivly went down hill. We are the Gower family residing in OKC who recently adopted this little angel. She was extremely malnourished and unable to do just about anything when we first met her. She will be 2 in January & is the size of a 3-6 month old weighing 14lbs. She continues to amaze us at how quickly she is progressing with love and nutrition. She has learned to sit up, roll over, feed herself finger foods, hold her own bottle and loves to interact with toys and other children. Her life has changed so much in such a short period of time and will forever be changed! Thank you Lord for putting a burden on our hearts to rescue this little blessing and making her apart of our family!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Our trip home!

What a long long day yesterday was but so joyous! We left our apartment at 4am and arrived at the airport in Kiev. The airport does things quite a lot differently then back home. We had to wait until the airlines put up the check in counter # on the flight info boards to know where to go check in at. That of course made me nervous because we stood around and waited for about 30 minutes and there was only an hour and a half left before the plane left by the time they started check in. So once the # shows up on the screen it is like a crazy mad dash where everyone is rushing to get to that check in counter. We get there and there is about 30 people with luggage all lined up waiting to check in. I thought oh my goodness how are we ever going to make it through all this in time. We went to the back of the line and then an older man told us we were supposed to go up to the front of the line since we have small children and sure enough once we got up there a couple let us in front of them to check in. Oh what a blessing that was! Then you get to another part of the airport where there is security checkpoint and oh my those lines were extremely long. A man that worked for the airlines told us to go over here where there was no line and I guess it was the crew security area cause we were the only people that went through there other than crew members. It was so easy to get through security there. They didn’t check through our liquids, I didn’t have to throw away my bottle of water, they didn’t even make us take Myla out of the stroller they just pushed her through and it set the alarm of but they didn’t act the least bit concerned. Ok… so then there was the passport control after that. More more lines. Grrr… This time I guess we didn’t pick a very good line. It moved the slowest of all then weg et to the counter and the guy was rude as can be. After we handed him our passports (3 US and 1 Ukraine) he said I see two children did you adopt the other one also. I thought seriously there is 1 Ukraine passport obviously not. Then he proceeds to ask us for all of our adoption documents, court decree, birth certificate, etc. We were told by the facilitator team that they very rarely ever check for any of that stuff since you have the passport and Visa but we got the drill sergeant there for the day. He sat back in his chair and read ever paper and let me tell you he took his time. We stood there for about 15minutes. Mina and Myla were both crying by then and there wasn’t much keeping them happy. After that he stands up and says he will be back and takes all our paperwork with us. About another 15 min later he comes back with an attitude, stamps our passports and practically tosses them through the window with our paperwork. Let me tell you the people behind us weren’t the least bit happy like it was our fault and everyone kept staring at us cause our girls were crying. Finally at last we made it in. No more lines praise the Lord. And we got to our gate with about 10 minutes till boarding began. So note to other families examine the passport control lines and look for the person that looks the nicest and take your best guess and better luck to you. That was quite a nerve wracking experience.

Munich was a really nice airport. We got a bite to eat and then went through passport control and security to get to our gate. This security was very thorough. Pretty much everything had to be taken out and every carry on item was searched. They even did some sort of test on our pillows and blankets and we got a full body rub down… and I mean rub down. Talk about feeling violated when someone is patting all over your body. I guess the wand and going through the metal detector wasn’t good enough. And that my friends is US security letting you fly into the United States. Ha ha… Much safer I might add. We had to go to a ticket counter for them to register our passports or something of that nature to get our boarding tickets signed and they had some sort of problem with Mina’s passport that took the guy about 20 minutes but he kept reassuring me that everything was fine. That plane ride was about 9hours and then we arrived in the good ole USA.

Once you get to the USA you have a massive amount of hallways to walk down before you can get to the area to go through passport control and get your luggage. First when you think the hallways will never end and you feel like you are about to fall over you will make it to the passport control and wait in the line to have your passports checked. We picked an awesome line this time around. The guy was absolutely wonderful and very sweet. He took our US immigration adoption packet we received from the Embassy for Mina and looked through it real quickly to make sure it had everything we need. He stamped our passports and welcomed us all home. You then come to an area where you pick up your luggage and go through another line to recheck your baggage. That wasn’t as bad as I thought cause it was basically just grabbing your bags, waiting in line and dropping them off with a worker that put them on a conveyer belt and then we proceeded to security checkpoint. Yes we went through a ton of security checkpoints yesterday : ) LOL They went through all food items in our bag and surprisingly said nutella didn’t pass there inspection test even though it was not yet open and we sell it in the USA. I wonder if they just wanted to keep it and eat it for themselves. Ha ha. The funny thing is a loaf of bread from Ukraine was no problem (which was our bread for our nutella we no longer had) and Mina’s jars of fruit baby food wasn’t at all a problem as well as other chocolate candies from there. Anyways we didn’t argue we just said okay and let them keep it because it would’ve been to much of a hassle to get it put in our check bag and we can always just buy some here. The whole process actually went pretty quick and we made it to our gate with time to spare. We fought staying awake at this point and were so anxious to board our last flight home.

The girls did awesome on all the flights. No major melt downs or tears. We are so proud of our girls. Once arriving home we were so excited to go out and see our family. We gave hugs and kisses and they held Mina then we went down to baggage claim to grab our bags to head out. We then went as a big family to eat Chinese (a food I craved the whole time we were gone) and then we went home where Mimi (my grandma) was waiting to meet her precious great grandbaby. I ended up passing out very quickly once we made it home and my mom and grandma ended up putting Mina to bed. I was so exhausted and nauseated feeling from the lack of sleep.

It feels so good to be home. We are so excited to be here in our own comfort zone where everyone speaks English and we can see our family and get settled in. The girls slept great through the night except Myla got up at 4am to use the bathroom and of course by the time I took care of her I couldn’t fall back to sleep cause my mind began thinking of all the things to do so I decided to just get out of bed extremely early to work on things. It’s amazing how much junk mail you get in a months time : ) LOL

Praise the Lord for our safe travels, beautiful sky and weather, no delays and that we made it to every flight and arrived home on time! We are so grateful to be back home! It was wonderful to show Mina around her new home and she absolutely loved her bed because she slept without waking up till about 8:30 this morning! Yay!

Thank you all for your prayers and for following along. More pictures of our precious girl home with us to come!!

Check out the little infant seatbelt they gave us to put on Mina. It straps to your lapbelt and then around the child for take off and landings.  Pretty cool~ haven't seen this before.  They also gave Mina this precious little crinkle picture book.

Doing an awesome job at eating some little peices of finger foods and oh so happy!

Munich, Germany
And here we go being lazy American's now that the opportunity has arised :) 
Thank you Lord for these moving walkways that walk for us.  LOL

Sisters sitting together watching a movie

Finally in the USA Washington DC.  Mina is holding herself up with her arms and her tummy muscles.  I was so proud of her because she sat that way and didn't lean back in the seat at all.  Great work out for her

And then she was a sleepy girl :)

And still sleepy on the flight home to OKC. Probably cause it was bedtime back in Ukraine. Both the girls were exhausted by this point.

Beautiful blue skies the whole way home!!

At last we've arrived!! Welcome home our precious angel! We are so excited to show you a whole new world!

Mina with grandma seeing Aunt Misty and cousin Keely

Aunt Christy & Uncle Tye letting Tytus hug his new cousin

Oma and Myla

Our familygreeting us home!

Grandma with Mina

Papaw letting cousins see her

Papa Bo at the Chinese Restaraunt holding his newest grandbaby

Oma loving on our angel

Mimi waited at our house till about 10pm when we made it home to spend a some time loving on this baby!


Sarah said...

Praise the LORD! 147 MILLION minus ONE!!!

Crystal said...

I am so glad you finally arrived home. It brought tears to my eyes seeing all your family loving on Mina. She is going to be so loved.

Rhonda Sloup said...

I'm so glad the trip was smooth and you're home. Thanks for letting me tag along on your journey to Mina. Congratulations!!!!

Tracey Sharp said...

Oh Melissa!!! I am so beyond excited that you guys are HOME!!!! There is one less orphan in the world!!!! Praise God!!

kiwicpk said...

Happy Happy home coming you guys!!!

Jamie said...

Praise God! Welcome home Gower Family!

Kelsey said...

Makes me so happy! I have tears in my eyes. That must have been awesome to have all your family there to greet you once home. I love the picture of Mina and her Mimi. Mina will love it someday when you tell her how much her Mimi prayed for her and supported you. Glad you're back!

The Gross Family said...

I'm so glad to see you made it home safely. She looks good! I can't wait to see what she will look like with some weight on her. May God bless you and your husband for welcoming her in your hearts and home.