Reunited! by Kevin

Wow, what a day. It is almost 11pm local time in Sophia. Off to bed soon.

Here are a few highlights from the day:

•Left the hotel this morning about 8:40 only to make it a ¼ of a mile down the street and the car starts smoking out of the hood and then shuts down completely. I really thought it was on fire. I grab my backpack, empty car seat, and two gift bags for the orphanage workers out of the car and stand off to the side of the road. By the way, it was raining. After we realize that the car is not going to start, we need to push it off to the side of the road and my driver/translator tells me “wait here” and that he will be back in a few minutes because he needs to go get his other car. I should have walked back to the hotel with my backpack, empty car seat and two gift bags, but no, I find a nearby canopy to stand under for 15 minutes while I wait for him to come back. And I thought I was getting strange looks at the airport!

•The people at the orphanage were very nice and I had a nice conversation with the orphanage director, though our translator, and showed her pictures of our girls. She was excited that we were adding a boy to the mix. It was great to see him again come through that door. I could not get off the couch quick enough to grab him out of the workers arms.

•Made a stop at the clinic for a blood draw and medical check. He was not a big fan of the blood draw, but got over it rather quickly.

•Made it back to the hotel and fed him lunch, gave him a bath, and after all that, we were both so exhausted that we took a nap. Mine was about 30 min and his was about 3 hours.

•After he woke up, we were able to Facetime for the first time with the girls. That was great. He seemed really interested in seeing all the girls on the screen.

•All in all, it was a great day, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.

IMG_2781           Gotcha Day

It is Time!

So, here we are, June 1.  I am at home with the girls and Kevin is in Bulgaria. He actually leaves the hotel in 3 hours to head to the orphanage to pick up Levi. Kevin posted some thoughts on facebook. It doesn’t happen often, but I gave a firm request that he post more than he would normally post so I would have some record of everything going on for Levi’s pick up trip.  (For the next several posts, I am going to just copy and paste Kevin’s account of the trip.)

This is what Kevin had to say:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

Many times throughout this process I have questioned if God knew exactly what he was doing when he called Heather and I to adopt. I like the lyrics to the song Oceans by Hillsong United, because I feel like God is taking our family deeper than we would have ever wandered on our own. I mean, I could barely even find this place on a map 12 months ago. As I sit here in my room with just over 10 hours till I get to pick Levi up, I know that God knew exactly what he was doing. I am not naive enough to think that there will not be some rough times still ahead, but when I think about all the people that we have met through this process, the people that are praying for our journey, the people that have helped with fundraising and donated their time and money, I know that God’s plans are perfect.

I know for most, adopting from an eastern European country, may not be what God is calling you to do, but I encourage you to listen to what God is calling you to do, and as the Matthew West song says, Do Something.

Here is a picture of the view from my room. About 10 miles off in the distance towards those mountains, Levi is spending his last night in the orphanage.

Hotel view

Travel Dates!!!

 Monday, May 12, we received word that we had travel dates! Our travel dates are May 31-June 7. I read the email at 6:30 in the morning. My first response was “thank you, Jesus!” My next response was, “Oh no!” The girls’ play is May 31st and their dance recital is June 7. We had already decided that if our travel dates fell between the play to the dance recital that Kevin would travel to Bulgaria alone. We discussed it, but I NEVER thought it would really fall that week.

 I was actually on my way out the door for a run when we received the email regarding our travel dates. Kevin and I chatted briefly and then I went on my run. While on my run, I think I cried for the first mile. I actually thought I was going to hyperventilate from crying while running. For the next three miles, however, I prayed. As I was praying, I felt a peace that only God can give. I knew without a doubt that sending Kevin alone was the way God had it planned from the start. God knew that our girls needed me at home.

Regardless of how it all works out, Levi will be home for good on June 7!!!  

Adoption Update

I know I didn’t do a very good job of posting adoption updates here. The last 2 months have sort of been a whirlwind with birthdays, finishing school, adoption news, play practice, dance class, etc.

The last time I posted about the adoption we were in the middle of an extended wait. We received word on April 11 that our court date was April 22. We were told the judge did not request any additional information, which was good.

April 22 our adoption was granted. Levi officially became a Swinigan.

Introducing Levi Ergin Swinigan

Introducing Levi Ergin Swinigan

We are so thankful that the adoption was granted without any problems! Now, we wait. Again. This time for travel dates.

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

I am exactly a month late – but, better late than never, right?

IMG_2664

Lucy turned 8 on May 1 this year.  As we do on all the girls’ birthdays, we reflected back on Lucy’s birth.  She came into this world giving us quite a scare.  With much gratefulness and humility, we rejoice in the fact that God chose to breathe life into Lucy when it seemed she may not.

Lucy is full of life – highs and lows!  She is full of so much love and passion for not only her family and friends, but also anyone she meets.  She hears of someone is need, and she wants to give all she has to help them.   A couple of weeks ago, Norah and Lucy took the 5 Love Languages quiz.  We were not surprised to see that Lucy’s top love language is physical touch.  Lucy is always hugging us, sitting on our laps, hanging on us, etc.  Every question on the quiz that asked about a hug, Lucy would respond with, “I LOVE HUGS!”

This was a huge year of school for Lucy.  She matured a lot and it was very noticeable in every subject.  We spent much of her school year encouraging her to read and read and read.  She claimed all year that she didn’t like to read or that it was too hard for her.  However, as I listened to her read, I knew she was a great reader who simply lacked the confidence to do it alone.  Finally, after our last day of school this year, Lucy picked up a chapter book on her own (without encouragement from me) and started reading.  She didn’t put the book down until she finished it.  From that moment on, she has been reading like crazy!  All of the sudden it clicked!

Lucy just finished her 2nd year of Lifelight Creative Drama.  As I watched her perform in Songs & Scenes from Beauty and the Beast, I thought back to 3 years ago when she REFUSED to go to drama class.  She cried and cried and cried.  I finally decided just to take her out of the class (she never actually went to a single class – but we were there every week for Norah).  Last year, she was ready to try it and now 2 years later, she LOVES it!  She was so cute and animated on stage last night as she performed as a narrator and villager.  It was really fun to see her do something that she LOVES!

We had a great day celebrating Lucy this year.  We took the girls on a trolley tour of St. Louis.  The girls loved it!  It was extra fun this year because of the 250th Anniversary of St. Louis.  The girls were able to spot quite a few cakes from Cakeway to the West.  We ended the day with Lucy’s choice – Steak ‘n Shake.

Here is a photo dump of the last year:

 

Beauty and the Beast - Mrs. Potts and Narrator 2.

Beauty and the Beast – Mrs. Potts and Narrator 2.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Riding the trolley in downtown St. Louis

Riding the trolley in downtown St. Louis

 

Lucy loves piano!

Lucy loves piano!

Lucy's first official run!  St. Patrick's Day run in Cottleville.

Lucy’s first official run! St. Patrick’s Day run in Cottleville.

our little basketball star

our little basketball star

Heading to Disney!

Heading to Disney!

Look alikes :)

Look alikes 🙂