Monday, March 23, 2009
Friday we tried to settle in a bit and watch Bryce enjoy every aspect of our home. What an amazing little boy. He wants to know about everything and is so much fun to be with. We went to Julias soccer game Friday (yeah Socceroos) and came home and went to bed. Saturday we enjoyed having some close feiends that are like family to us and we enjoyed an amazing lasagna meal with them. Thanks Karen as lasagna never tasted so good! Bryce really warmed up to them and we took him outside on Julias little Barbie car that a kid can drive around and he loved it. We awoke sunday morning and we all went to church together and it was so wonderful to be in the house of the LORD!
Some amazing Bryce-isms:
1. When we pray Bryce has now joined us by holding hands and squeezing his eyes closed really hard then when i say amaen he shouts out...AMEN! Then a big smile.
2. Last night Bryce snuggled with Julia on the couch and they watched Barney together. for those of you that have multiple kids, this is such a memory to cherish. He was so close to Julia with his head on her belly.
3. He can now count to seven then he goes right to ten. He can also recite the ABC's. We hope that by the end of next week he will be speaking arabic fluently and reciting the book of Romans.
4. This makes papa really proud...He still loves to say Eagles and then he says Giants Yukky. Teach them young!!!
5. Last night was a wonderful night as Bryce wrnt to sleep with Cindy on the rocking chair right in her arms. I loved that mental picture...
6. He is fascinated by the microwave and whenever it goes off he yells that it has stopped. With all of the coffee Cindy heats up it is good for her...
Today Julia went back to school and Billy went back to work. When I walked into my office it was fully decorated with lots of stereamers, kids toys, stickers and some nice gifts for Bryce and Julia. The staff here at Habitat for Humanity is to kind. a BIG thanks...
We are working hard to bring Bryce up in the training of the LORD and it is HM that we want Bryce to know in a deep and intimate way. We are enjoying each day the Lord gives us with him.
Thank you for all of your support. It is hard to imagine that it is already over.
Billy for the Dunn family of Four
Friday, March 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
We arrive into Newark Liberty International Airport at 5:20pm via Lufthansa from Frankfurt and Bryce will then be a US citizen. What a test of endurance this has been and we are excited to start this new journey when we return home. It will be nice to have some space, show Bryce his new room, meet many new friends and do some wash. (We did the wash in the sink but nothing comapres to the machine) We spent last night in the Old Arbat section of the city and had dinner and enjoyed our time together. It was very nice. Please be in prayer for Bryce as this trip will be long (3.5 hours to Frankfurt and 9 hours to Newark) I hope he sleeps...
This is our last post from this side of the big ocean but we look forward to keep this updated for those that might want to see Bryce grow and for other families in the midst of the Amazing Race!
Billy for the 4 of us
Monday, March 16, 2009
When Bryce's feet hit the ground in Newark he will be an official US Citizen. We are excited about the reality that we leave for home in just 2.5 days. We have meet so many wonderful people and Bryce has been haivng some play dates here with a family that works for the Dutch Embassy but they are from Serbia. Very Cool.
We talked this AM with a family from Munich Germany about their adoption and we have plans to see Red Square with a family we were with in KRAs Tuesday and we have a birthday party for two girls Wednesday night at the Holiday Inn. Then its home...
How do we even begin to tell you how God has placed this love in our hearts for our little man and the part that each of you have played. We would not be here without you! From the financial help to the workds of encouragement to the rides to the airport to the countless prayers on our behalf. We are so grateful.
Billy for the four of us
Sunday, March 15, 2009
- Bryce is an Eagles fan. For all you Giants fans we gave him the chance to say EAGLES and Giants and he easily said EAGLES but would not say GIANTS. I hope that this puts to rest all of the questioning from a certain few giants fans.
- The young lady that is staying at our home is single and a college graduate as some of you have asked. Wonderful young lady.
We spent the day in Red Square and getting a tour of the area. It was a lot of fun. Last night we meet a family here at the hotel that are working for the Dutch Embassy. They are 1/2 Serbian and 1/2 Dutch and it was fun to spend some time with them. We are trying to give Bryce more down time in the morning and it seems to be working well.
Tomorrow at 1:00pm (6:00am PA time) we head to the US Embassy for the final stages of paperwork and payments. We will let you know how it all works out. We have leanred so much about patience, people, God, Evangelism, materialism, political systems etc and we as a family are so grateful that you have been with us on this journey.
B for the F
Friday, March 13, 2009
"No I do not want your boogy, but thank you"You know that having a two year old boy is not like a girl. Julia and I were laughing so hard when she responsed this way.
Classic. We have a son who has been in an orphanage for his entire life and it has lacked a lot of love and nurturing. He is fascinated by EVERYTHING. The list would be far to long to re-write today but every step is a new step in this journey.
- He touches everything that we walk past and his little fingers go into everything. Even his tongue gets to touch a few things as well. Every car he can touch when we walk him, every little hole we walked past, every groove in the woodwork etc.
- Bryce has already learned a lot of English in one week. He talks 50% in English and 50% in Russian. My guess is that two weeks in America and the Russian will be gone.
- He watches and mimicks EVERYTHING Julia does. It is one of the special parts of parenting as you watch your kids interact.
- Active is an understatement. I know that part of it is the 9 year lesson with Julia compared to the boy stage but the goodnews is that we have been very consistent with working with him and we are seeing good improvement.
- When we sing (especially Jesus love me or the I love you Barney song, he watches so intently)
Today is Friday here in Moscow and yestarday we started our day at 3:45am. We left the Hotel Krasnoyarsk and made the 45 minute trip to the airport. We checked in and waited the 90 minutes or our flight to take off and Bryce quickly fell asleep. He slept for the first 1.5 hours of the 5 hour flight back to Moscow and that was very nice. We was then busy for the reamiander of the flight but not nearly as bad as I might have thought it could be. One of the highlights of the trip for me was the last 90 minutes of the flight and Cindy and I look over and Julia and 2 teenage Russian girls are working at talking to each other using pictures, the dictionary that Julia wrote out and sign language. These girls are a part of the russia winter olympic porgram and they were coming back to Moscow from training. There is Julia enjoying the culture at 35,000 feet talking to these two girls. It brought me to tears.
We arrived in Moscow and made our way right away to the Medical Clinic here for Bryce. Another $120 and Bryce had his first visit with the doctor as our parents. He then went to have blood drwn and did not cry one little bit. He is tough and he had to grow that way in the orphanage to survive. We are working to eliminate that and he runs to each of us calling out our name (Papa, Momma of Julia) and gives us the biggest hug/kiss.
We then came to the hotel in Moscow and tryed to keep him awake until the last possible time we could to get him on the Moscow time. Krasnoyarsk is 4 hours ahead of Moscow.
We are slept from about 8:00pm to 5:00am. We had breakfats this AM and Bryce ate 3 hard bollied eggs and cereal. The food has not been terrible but it is a challenge each meal. He will eventually eat. He drinks a lot.
We have been told that with recent issues here in Russia with adoption that we will not be able to leave early. We are bummeed but it is what God has for us.
Some of you have asked about our flight home and wanting to come to the airport...
We arrive back to the US next Thursday (yeah, only 6 days) at 5:20pm into Newark Liberty International Airport. We are flying Lufthansa Airlines and we are coming from FRankfurt. Let me know if you need and specific details and we can give them to you.
Billy for the Family
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
We owe a debt of gratitude to Tim and Iris for their kindness today. Bryce was much more relaxed today then the day before and my guess is that it will be great days and not so great days. In the end, we have a little man that we pray will grow to love Christ in a way that will change his life. We could not be happier.
I know that some people who are adopting are reading our blog and I sure hope that we do not cause you to screw up with our stories and advice but we learned something today...
Not one person has written a book on international adoption that fits Bryce perfectly. We are reading him each day and learning more and more about how we can best serve him as his parents. It is not his job to love us as much as it is our job to love him and this comes down to knowing and understanding him. Reading him each day to understand his likes and dislikes his time to be alone and to be smothered with love, a time to sleep (please) and a time to play, a time to let go and a time to hold close. We have read books that have prepared us for this adventure but nothing compares to reading your child. The books we read have given us much insight but Bryce is giving us the story page by page.
Today Bryce wore his Brian Westbrook jersey and he looked great. He should fit right into the Dunn home but seriously God has been so amazing to us and drawn us sooooo close to Himself and each other and it is so neat to see.
A short note about Julia...We have come to realize that Julia as I have mentioned before is such a blessing to us and she is getting to be the big sister that she has been praying about for several years. He love and compassion is amazing toward him even when she must now hide important toys and deal with some of her stuff getting broken by Bryce.
A short note about Cindy...Not that this would surprise many of you but Cindy is so strong from the inside out. I have come to appreciate the Godly women she is in ways that blow me away. She has patience like I have never seen and she is so good with the challenge of this routine in a tough country in sub zero degree temps.
We believe that the success of the trip is directly connecting to so many of you praying. We cant ever thank you enough for this treasure!
Billy for the family
Sunday, March 8, 2009
To put you in Bryce's shoes...You spent the first 2 years of your life in one place that is clearly an institution. The orphanage Bryce came from is good and cared for him yet it is not parents and the full nurturing a child needs. He does not speak out language, we smell differnet than what he is used to, we have him running around doing all of the visits and paperwork needed, we feed him food that is different from what he is used to and we give him more individual attention than what he has recived in 2 years. We touch his hair, watch him go potty (wow the smell) feed him etc. and it has rocked his world. EVERYTHING is DIFFERENT!
And yet we serve a God that has brought us to a place of full surrender in Him. Bryce eats very well, can already say each of our names and 10-20 other words, is fun to play with, goes to sleep and wakes up exactly when the schedule said he would except for night one (we have to walk him, push him in the stroller and hold him, he gives each of us lots of kisses and hugs, goes potty most of the time, loves his big sister and is a wonderful little man yet this is all new. We are reading him and the words of experst each day to fully understand each change that comes with him but we would not change it for the world.
Today we thought that the 3 hour Womens Day service would be a bit long for Bryce so we had the morning here and went on a walk. We spent 1. hours at the Subway where they have a play area and watched Bryce gradually get more confidence with each minute that passed. When we left he did not complain at all...The food at Subway is different in terms of texture of meat but the same style. We took the AbtoBus (Bus) back to the hotel and Bryce went down for his nap of 1.5 hours. He plays so hard and it always ready to sleep.
We then went to the Ice Sculptors and slides and had a good time with him and then the he went through a 2 hour time of generally struggling with over stimulation. We wnet to dinner and he ate two meals and so Cindy and I were able to take him on a walk and a family waiting for Friday and their 10 days wait to end played games with Julia (Big thanks to Pete and Mary Ellen) while we spent soem specific time with Bryce and it was like medicine. We went into de-stimulatiom mode. We prepared his evening snack and he fell asleep promptly at 8:59pm and wanted to fall asleep in Billy's arms.
Things that amaze me here...
1. I am amazed at the number of families that come to Krasnoyarsk and spent the entire time in the hotel. This is a city filled with adventure and we have tried to get as much as we could to fully understand Bryce and his place of birth.
2. The way families help each other here. Last week we had to chance to be with families at the start of this journey and this week we have some families that have been a huge help to us.
3. Julia has been amazing on this trip. I never could have imagined her courage and strength and dependence on the Lord at the age of 9.
4. Being here for close to three weeks make us appreciate all of our friends serving as missionaries and cultural adjustment they go through.
5. How God gives you this desire of your heart and yet He does it in a way where you must fully surrender to him. We are literally placing every step of this journey before Him and I am so grateful for all of the Scripture I was encouraged to memorize as it is paying off. Now its time to put this into practice with the same vigor at home.
6. That my spelling with this Blog is terrible. At times I am literally falling asleep as I type. Two ahl of mine Englist techers I am sorrrrrrry.
7. The pizza here is really good. Go figure.
8. That Bryce is really adjusting to us well. We are not talking about record attachment but her is so kind 95% of the time. We struggle with trying to control his behavior and no just does not seem to work. If you have a chance God can change the attitudes of the heart. It is not as much and issue of defienace (although some of it is simply being 2) but it is also the adjustment he is making. In the orphanage they start with the things we love with our little children so early to make the independent.
We are still working on coming home several days early.
Billy for the Family
Friday, March 6, 2009
We arrived back to the hotel and our lives have been changed forever. What a cute and cuddly little guy but he is also the busiest little man I have ever meet. Its a combination of the World Wrestling Federation meet Superman meets Mr. Rogers all wrapped in one. We played for awhile in the room and in 60 minutes toys were everywhere. FUN!
We went to dinner at a place called the Mixed Patio. It is a cafeteria stlye place with lots of choices that you can actullay see and Bryce ate like a champ. Cindy was excellent with him at dinner. We then went to slide on the ice and came back and talked to 2 other american families and Bryce started to fall asleep. We thought it might be good to give him his warm milkthat he is used to before bed and that kept him up an extra 2 hours. Bryce and Billy walked the halls about 20 times and he finally laid in Billy's arm and fell asleep. He slept frm 10:30pm to 7:00am and we were up all the time amazed at how much he moves. The big prayer request for us will be his ability to sleep. He does everything very well.
He has gone on the big potty 5 times and seems to enjoy every apect of life at this point. We got up Saturday morning and played for a while then went and took a walk and had lunch...You gueesed it Mixed Patio! It is a good place the is inexpensive and we can actulaly see what the food is for Bryce...AND US!!!
We were able to get him to fall asleep in his stroller and he is sleeping for his afternoon nap as I type. PTL!!!
For those of you that have adopted before you know that amazing feeling of taking this little life and welcoming him to your family with open arms. It has given us an idea of the unconditional love that God has for us. He loves us in spite of who we are and where we have been. We are so thankful for this journey and I must say that I am personally blessed with two amazing girls in my life.
The funniest part about Bryce is his learning of words. Last night as he was crying and we were trying to get him to sleep he kept saying to us in his little two year old voice...I love you or as he says I luf you. Talk about bringing to dead in your tracks before the LORD! He says I love you a lot and is showing great signs of attachment to all three of us.
Tomorrow we will go to church and then to Subway followed by Womens Day here on Monday. I have some fun plans for Cindy and Julia. If you are reading this and can rememebr a time when you felt complety surrendered to the Lord and emotionally boken, this is us. We are thrilled as Mary was in our hearts at all God has done. Our 5 year adoption journey is complete. As one parent said here in Russia...
We are not sharing our heart with Bryce it is no three times bigger than before.
We luf you!
Billy, Cindy, Julia and Bryce!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
This is our last night before we get our litte guy. We have been in the adoption process for 5 years and it is hard to imagine that it is coming to a close. At 10:00am Friday (10:00pm Thursday night in PA) we will get the call that tells us when we will travel to the orphanage to pick Bryce up.
Today was a busy day as we went to the orphanage and spent time with Bryce then took him 5 minutes down the road to get his passport photo. He was wonderful. This is only his second time out of the orphanage and he held to our hands for the first few minutes then was great. He was like a sponge soaking in everything he sees. We are tired from all of the things today and we will send a post as soon as Bryce is with us! If you find the time, please pray that this time would be a smooth transition.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
We went back to the Siberian wilderness for some more hiking then to the orphanage for our afternoon visit with Bryce. He loves to be with us and we had the chance to meet with the orphanage director and find out a bit more about Bryce's past and personality. They asked him who we were and he told them we were his mother and father and we were coming to get him. He then looked at Julia and said she is my sister and she is a girl. He seemd a bit suprised that she is his sister and she is a girl. It was a funny moment. We got some baby pictures and a photo of his mother and some have said to us that it is a shame that she gave him up but we have come to realize that for her it was the greatest gift she could give as she is not able to care for him.
I know that all of you that have boys will laugh when I say this but he is one active little guy and so strong and into everything. Our world is going to be VERY different for a while. Bryce is a lot of fun to be with and we are beyond humbled that God has given us this precious gift. Bryce knows our names and seems to enjoy time with each one of us.
Danny Oertli is a good friend that has experienced adoption first hand (and he is a gifted worship leader) and he wrote a song that became our adoption song over these past years and its called Dancing With Orphans. We are excited that we only have to dance with Bryce in our mind for two more nights and then he is all ours. You can check it out at http://www.danyoertli.com/. Thanks Danny!
The song says "they come as they are" and in less than two days we will pick up Bryce and he will take nothing with him. He has no belongings, no special toy, no pictures of the first birthday party, no pictures by the Christmas tree...And God has given us this amazing blessing. Towards the end it says "No longer alone you prepared them a place and you are the Father they've never seen." I know that in the coming weeks and months an years Bryce will see the Father through many of you!
So the GREAT news is our schedule the next 48 hours. Tomorrow will be the final visit to the orphanage and we will give the care givers gifts (BIG thanks to Sam from Habitat for the gifts) and take all of the final photos with Bryce. We will wait for a call Friday afternoon between 5:00pm and 7:00pm and go and bring Bryce home. Needless to say we are so grateful for this time of closure with the adoption.
I think that I speak for all of us in that we are ready to come home. We have heard that it might be possible to come home 1-2 days early. YEAH...
Thanks for follwoing our journey to Krasnoyarsk.
Dunn Family of Four
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Today is Monday March 2nd and we are anxiously awaiting our GOTCHA DAY. This is the day when we have Bryce 24/7. He is technically our child but their is a 10 day wait here in Russia that allows us to only see him for 2.5 hours a day. We go to the orphanage each morning and this past weekend we were not able to see him at all...
On Saturday we took the bus across the Yensi River and went to the Krasnoyarsk Zoo. It has a Russian feel but you can get very clsoe to the animals. That was simply amazing. Saturday night we went to dinner with two families that were able to get their children as they are a week in front of us schedule wise. The one family adopted brothers 6 and 9 years old and the other family adopted a 10 year old girl. Julia and Nastia have become best friends in one day and they hold hands together and play together and this is just what Julia was praying for Saturday morning.
Sunday morning we awoke and then went to church here in Russia. It was an outstanding servide and we enjoyed taking communion with our fellow believers here in Russia. The message was on Genesis 5 and what a great job the pastor did. I dare you to read Genesis 5 and see if you are able to put together a sermon from Genesis 5. Church went 2 hours and 30 minutes then we went to eat at Subway. Subway is one of several places that are familiar to many of us...In the Subway they have a large play area like the one at McDonalds and the funny thing is you pay to play. We had two familes with their newly adopted Russian children, us waiting and a missionary family with two little boys. It was a BLAST!
After Subway we went to a sledding hill that has a toe rope to the top. It was so much fun and the story of this entire post might jest be that Cindy went Cross County Skiing. I watched her all the way home and she did excellent! I do not know why but winter seems so much more enjoyable here. Last night we ate dinner in the room and spent time with one of the families and their 10 year old daugther that was just adopted on Saturday. As I mentioned Julia and her are quickly becoming close friends. Both families commented on the patience and compassion and kindness Julia has with the three newly adopted kids. None of them speak English and somehow they love to play together and the language barrier is not an issue. This got me thinking about how Racism develops regardless of who it is directed at and how it is not of the Lord! When we look at Bryce we embrace his culture and Russian heritage but what we see at the core is a Kak Kra Vista. (Beautiful boy)
Today we went to the orphanage and the video above is of Bryce today coming through some of the soft play areas. When Bryce came into the room he came right to Billy and was as happy as can be. We played with him and it was so much fun! He is already picking up lots of words and knows each of our names and Grandma as well. Bryce's personality is very fun and he loves to put toys back in the same place he found them but he is also very fiesty and strong. I might be out of practice but he is so quick. You must watch him all of the time. He loves to feed us and snuggle in our arms and he gives multiple kisses to us each day. He is our little man and we love him dearly.
We are now doing school work and I will be spending the rest of the day working on some Habitat for Humanity projects. A BIG hello to all of you that have been praying for us as we make this amazing journey. God is so good...We are thinking of all the people that are still waiting to come and start their families.
Please enjoy the video and keep praying. It feels like Saturday cannot come fast enough. Feel free to post a comment.
We love you.
Billy, Cindy, Julia and Bryce