A spectacle to the world

June 13th, 2013

“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”

“I should think so — in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”
~J. R. R. Tolkien




As anyone who has adopted a child internationally knows, pick-up week is all about doing whatever it takes to get through it and arriving home with everyone alive and as sane as possible.

Also known as survival, heh heh.

We were pretty sure Tommy’s pick-up week would be very different from Katie’s pick-up week, and we were right.

He’s eating well, will take his liquids thickened to a pudding consistency (eaten with a spoon), goes quietly to sleep without self-soothing behaviors, sleeps better than a baby all night long, wakes up cheerful, is very responsive to affection (thanks to a baba who had the common sense to give him what he needed rather than what he wanted), and is always ready to overflow with the joy of life!

We’ve spent most of the past two days introducing Tommy to the capital city of his native land, and have the sore feet, snapshots, and souvenirs to prove it.

But if I just posted photos from the last couple of days without unpacking their meaning for you, you might come to a more, uh, idyllic conclusion than the reality warrants.

Let me put it this way.

What we were really doing was introducing the capital city to Tommy.

Tommy really turns heads.

And not because he’s so cute!



Contemplate how happy pterodactyl shrieks would echo along this beautiful portico, helped along by a brisk and chilly wind~



Happy pterodactyl shrieks caught the attention of these guards of the presidential residence, who are supposed to stand perfectly still and look straight ahead.  (They didn’t when the shrieks accosted their ears.)




Watch the Changing of the Guard!  Hear the Happy Pterodactyl Shriek!


Imagine happy pterodactyl shrieks resounding off these ancient ruins and the imposing walls surrounding this courtyard…



…off ancient Roman ruins between bustling city streets…



…under the bustling city streets…



…and in small corner basement cafes.



There were happy pterodactyl shrieks accompanying us as we shopped for warm sleeping clothes in size five [Tommy’s grown since January].



Tommy’s shrill shrieks turned heads as we made our way across city streets…



…painstakingly over A Study in Non-Handicapped-Accessible Sidewalks…



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…and lots and lots of stairs.



Yes, my friends, happy pterodactyl shrieks were our constant companion as we took in many sights in the lovely capital city of Tommy’s fatherland.























[Beet juice, bought in ignorance]





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Little Benjamin is making the adventure interesting in his own way, which anyone who’s cared for a small infant while traveling could guess.  [Look who’s part of our family for a few days!]  




[We don’t look like American tourists, do we?  Oh no, not at all!]



If C. S. Lewis is right, adventures aren’t comfortable things unless you’re reading about them.



The next few days are full of a different kind of activity–clinic visit, exit interview with the vice-consul at the US Embassy [“Do you have any weapons?”  “Only a piercing scream!”], visits with friends–and then it will be time to re-pack for our flight home just after lunchtime this Saturday.



“We’re only going to run into trouble if we try to live a normal life. The reality is, Christians aren’t supposed to fit into the world.  Now, what we stand for is really simple.”














P.S.  If you pray for our flight home, please pray for everyone else on the plane with us who have no idea what they signed up for!

P.P.S.  I love this country.




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31 Responses to “A spectacle to the world”

  1. Becky K. says:

    Haha….I guess we at Sonrise will be enjoying those shrieks before long.  We will consider them praise.  For in his way Tommy is definitely showing his gratitude for his new life.  Can’t wait!!!!  Praying for grace on your flight home.  

  2. Nicole says:

    Bon retour!!
    Thank you for the visit ! ;)

  3. sabrina says:

    I don’t have words to express how much I love this post! I saw the Hobbit right before we left to pick up Ally and I thought of it the whole way. “I’m going on an Adeventure!” And thinking of how Bilbo said that no, he didn’belong…that’s how I felt so far from home, but my Adventure had a purpose and like you said, we’d survive and then be HOME!!
    Love the pictures of everyone. Beautiful! I’ll be praying for your trip home…the whole way HOME!

  4. Mandy says:

    I am looking forward to going back some day…loved it as well! Tommy and Benjamin look like such blessings. I can imagine the looks the shrieks are bringing, they also bring attention to the joy in his face and that is contagious. Praying for your trip home!

  5. sabrina says:

    I have to comment again…
    I forgot to say that I love what you wrote about his Baba giving him what he needed and not just what he wanted. Before we adopted, I never would have understood that, but oh how true and important it is once you understand and have a neglected child that needs to love and be loved.

  6. Jill B says:

    I’m so glad to hear Tommy is doing so well and adapting to his new family so well.  The “sidewalks” and stairs look just the ones in Ukraine.  I had my adopted boys in the Ergo, but really felt for other moms w/ strollers.  A real workout for sure.  Praying for you all and hope Tommy sleeps on the way home. :-)  Loved the photo a few days ago of Benjamin on the plane. Bulkhead seating rocks! :-)  Thanks so much for sharing all the beautiful photos! But thanks for keeping it real too. I always appreciate that about you.

  7. Hannah says:

    So beautiful. I love Tommys ‘happy sound’, my little bro has one of those too. Joseph has such a beautiful gentleness with his newest brother and he has obviously learned through time with his other siblings some of those wonderful skills to encourage and direct a childs activities. (I’m sure you know this already and should be rightly proud).

  8. What a wonderful post!  i so enjoyed seeing Tommy out and about.  Also all the beautiful pictures.  I will be praying for your flight home.  God has this.  His hand has been all over this from beginning to end.  Blessings!

  9. Deanna says:

    Oh my!  Pterodactyl shrieks of joy!  We will pray!

  10. Kate says:

    Oh my goodness — thank you for sharing all those beautiful photos!  Praying for you all…including all the other folks on the plane, as you wrote in your P.S.  That made me laugh out loud!  What an amazing journey, in every sense of the word.  What a blessing Tommy is.  Kate

  11. Missy says:

    I’m so glad that this trip was in warm weather and that you had healthy ankles! Makes a difference doesn’t it? I’m so glad that you said you loved that country. That was good.

  12. Melissa says:

    Those pictures are fantastic! I love the photo of the circular paving stones…I see the stone in the center as Tommy and all the stones beyond it, those who he touches. :)
    What is the window in the street? Do I want to know? LOL
    The photos of Joseph and Tommy are just priceless. It looks like Tommy’s been part of the family forever!  I LOVE the way Joseph calmly (and with a very slick move) takes Tommy’s hands from the curtains. I’m sure living with Katie has prepped you all for keeping small wandering hands from trouble!
    You all are awesome. And you got to see Sasha! I think baby Ben likes her :)
    Praying for travel mercies home! And if anyone asks you, those pterodactyl shrieks are the joy of a rescued boy!! :)

  13. Melissa says:

    I just realized–Ben’s been to B. twice! Hee hee :)

  14. Jeane says:

    We have Tommy’s brother- our Andrew :) I am not sure what dinosaur sound Andrew makes. We will be praying for your travels home. Love seeing your pick up journey in pictures.

  15. Cindy says:

    Thank you sooo much for sharing your trip with us.  Will be praying for an uneventful trip home.

  16. Jennifer says:

    What a cutie patootie!! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Jenny O (from momys) says:

    Cherish the ‘happy’ loud shrieks! :-) :-). They do a different number on a mom’s heart than the unhappy shrieks.  I pray my Autumn will one day, be as happy as Tommy :-).  He is an incredibly adorable boy.  You are soooo blessed :-)

  18. Grace says:

    He fits right in, doesn’t he? :) Love those happy shrieks. Maybe you could pick up some earplugs for your neighbors on the plane, just in case they don’t find Tommy’s sounds as endearing as we do. Thank you for sharing, Susanna. I am loving the pictures and videos. I imagine my Tony having a similarly happy demeanor. We will most definitely need to meet some day. …Sam and Katie and Tommy and Tony would be quite the play group :)

  19. Kara says:

    Love it! So much!!!

  20. Kirstin says:

    Susanna – an idea for your flight home. If you can find them, grab a couple of boxes of earplugs to have on hand on the plane with you. Then, if Tommy is as excited as I think he might be (!), you can help alleviate the frustration of surrounding passengers by being able to offer them earplugs. Perhaps you can speak to your flight attendants who can let people know they are available if his vocalizations become too much for some sensitive ears :)

  21. Kim says:

    I love Tommy but my heart is really taken with Joseph.  What a wonderful young man!
    I think Tommy is a very lucky boy.  Safe travels!  Prayers to St. Christopher for you! :)
    Much love,

  22. Cindy says:

    I love this post! What a joy to see Tommy happy and celebrating with his family!
    But I must also say that your son Joseph has totally melted my heart. To see his interactions with his brothers, to read his quote… what an amazing young man you have raised. What a wonderful light to the world he must be.

  23. Sharon Robbins says:

    Oh Susanna! He really has the look of a boy who will walk someday! So exciting!

  24. Britney says:

    Yay ~ Oh, what JOY!  Thanks for the glimpses into this wonderful week for you all!

  25. molly b says:

    I love this post!!!  You need to make it into a children’s book.  Seriously.  It has great potential!  Tommy is just a delight!!  Shrieks and all. :) I’m sure it was rather stressful for you….trying not to stand out too much….and drawing such attention.  But Tommy’s uninhibited excitement for the city of his birth is endearing.  It’s sad his attitude wasn’t likely reciprocated with his fellow countrymen, but maybe he touched someone, through the thick wall of cultural ignorance, in a way they’ve never been touched before….in a positive way.  I’d like to think so. :)  Surely his joy was felt by someone. :)    Certainly heard! ;) 
    Praying for your trip home….and those on the plane.  The earplug idea is a great one!

  26. Cathie T says:

    Love this post!   Tommy is an absolute doll.   May you have safe travels home.

  27. Anne Petitt says:

    Whoa time sure does fly when change come..  I thought I the last posted sounded like you might be expecting and now I see your beautiful baby and new Tommy. He looks actually really good and full of smiles.  How exciting.  So glad your husband got to go with your and looks like one of your sons.  That is awesome.  Chance is home and has been since Feb 2,2013 He is forsure a miracle.  I cant wait to go back and see all the back pictures of Katie bug.  THings have been really busy not alot of time to search blogs and ect. But life seems to become a new sort of normalcy now.  So thrilled for you and very glad things seem so be going well in every direction for you.  Praise the Lord.  So excited for you. Blessings AnneP

  28. Tami Swaim says:

    Ah, yes, the beet juice!  I used to drink that in Poland to bring my iron levels up!  I loved the changing of guards video.  That was not something I’ve sen in Poland.  I remember growing up one of our biggest challenges as a family was taking my older brother with severe autism out in public because he would be so loud.  I am so glad that there is much more public awareness now, yet, still not easy. 

  29. I hope your flight home was uneventful and that all is going well as you all adjust to your new normal.  Praying for you all and thanks for sharing the pictures.  Tommy looks so happy!! 

  30. Katie says:

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful country!  I can’t wait to go there someday!  And what a beautiful little boy :) I love his happy pterodactyl shrieks, although I’m sure they’re deafening in person.  It beats crying!  I think it’s awesome that you got to take him to see the sights in the country, and that the people of the country got to see HIM.  If we hope to integrate people with special needs into society rather than locking them away in institutions, we need people who are brave enough to introduce the public to people with special needs… to deal with the stares and answer the probing questions.  Maybe seeing you guys out with Tommy gave somebody something to think about.  And what amazing memories Tommy will have already!  Praying for all of you now that you’re home, and wishing I could’ve gone with you!  I loved that country before, but after seeing all your pictures I love it even more!  One of these days, I will be there!

  31. Shannon says:

    Love!! I loved reading every part of this and reliving everything through all of the pictures. (Thank you for taking the time to put all of the pictures in there!) I especially loved that you took a picture of the sign that tells you not to take pictures. *grin* Praying for you all in this tender time.

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