One Glimmer of Hope.

October 18th has become a very special day for our family. Today Lindsey and I celebrate our third wedding anniversary. I am thankful to our God for such an amazing wife and I love her so much! Yet today’s anniversary is shared with yet another exciting celebration as it was just one year ago today that we met for the first time our son, Jackson Scott Howell, on the other side of the world in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Though so much has changed since then, it is hard to believe only a year ago we were just a family of two.

I’ll never forget our first interaction with Jackson. He was excited, yet shaking from nervousness, as one of the nurses introduced us to him on that Fall morning in a small office of his orphanage. At the time he had no clue his entire world was about to be flipped upside down for the better. At the time, he was probably just excited to get out of music class or whatever activity was normally going on in his strict day to day schedule. He had a huge smile on his face when he met us and was happy to pose for pictures with us. (Something we can’t quite seem to get him to do today, as he’s much too busy now!).

That day changed our lives in a special way and showed us God’s amazing love and grace. I won’t go into the specifics in this post, but if you are a new reader to my blog and are interested you can read our entire Ukrainian experience at this link.

However, there was one story we chose not to share publicly on our blog last year.  Since that point in time most of our family, friends, and past church family in Ohio have had the opportunity to hear it. I’ve held back from mentioning it because my goal has always been to share it with a humble heart and in person if it was at all possible, as the story is a great testament of the intricacies and amazing wonderment that makes up God’s will. I want you to know that thanks to our experience in Ukraine last year I know without a doubt that God’s will is perfect. Everything he wills for your life, whether painful or in joy, means something and has a powerful purpose. Most of the time we as humans don’t always get to fully understand why things in life work out the way they do, but God revealed one example to us while in Ukraine that has forever changed my perspective and devotion to Him.

Last year we came in contact online with a family from North Carolina who traveled to Ukraine shortly before us to adopt as well. Craig is a pastor of a church in his hometown along with his wife Jenny and daughter Moriah. They unfortunately did not have success in finishing their adoption process, which sadly is more common than most most people know. International adoption is a complex and complicated endevevour. You are never guaranteed anything will work out and you sign several documents with your agency agreeing to this prior to your trip.

When adopting in Ukraine you are not given a referral usually until the day of your SDA appointment with the government. (This very well might have changed by now – the Ukraine adoption system is re-organizing this year). To give a little background on this family’s trip, they went through two referral processes. After meeting and then declining their first referral, they returned to the capital of Ukraine for a second chance referral appointment, where they were shown the same book of unhealthy children we also were shown prior to accepting our own referral to meet Jackson.

It takes a special type of person to adopt these kind of children who are prepared and willing to adopt children with special needs. But praise the Lord that these children are getting adopted by those who feel called. I have met these kind of people before and they are amazing.

After making the difficult decision to decline their first referral after meeting the child, they were presented with with no further healthy children that they felt they could handle as a family. This family unfortunately had to live through the pain that comes with returning home without a new child.  But through the pain they were reminded of God’s great miracle of life, that at least they would be returning home with their daughter of age 8 at the time.

Below is the sermon Pastor Craig gave to his congregation upon returning home.  His sermon explains the details of their trip more eloquently than I ever could. So I will leave it to you the reader to decide if you would like to  listen and hear for yourself one of the greatest stories of God’s will my family was able to be a part in. We never have met Craig and family in person, but as Craig had explained to me in an email we are ‘mended to your hearts as a reminder of how God does His miraculous work through our steps of faith.’

The sermon is 42 minutes long, but if you are a reader of this blog – Christian or not, I highly ask that you consider giving it a listen. If you’ve ever questioned God’s will in your life, know that God always gives one glimmer of hope.

[audio:|titles=One Glimmer of Hope – October 24 2010|artists=Fairview Church]
*Download here if you can’t see Flash Player.

Lord, Thank You for my incredible wife and my wonderful son Jackson.

Ending our Journey in Ukraine.

This afternoon marks our final post from Ukraine after living in this country for 37 days. Today we had lunch with Melissa deLlanos (adopting Timothy) and the Bachman’s (adopting Marina) which were two families we met when we first traveled to Ukraine. They are a few days behind us and won’t be leaving until Saturday. But, they are both back in Keiv today with their beautiful children like ours. Walking to lunch today was quite the hike, probably about 5 miles round trip with Lindsey and I taking turns carrying Jackson in our our baby backpack. However, it was nice to have one final walk around the city here in Kiev. This city is much more comparable to New York city than the smaller town of Kharkiv. To be honest our trip here in Ukraine can almost be summed up by walking. This entire trip we have done a lot of walking and just taking in everything around us. As much as we miss the conveniences the U.S. has to offer there is something special about this country and this side of the world. We will miss this place a lot and all of the experiences we have been able to have while being here.

Most important obviously is uniting with our son Jackson. We came to this place not knowing all of what to expect,  but only had ideas from other blogs about how things would work out. God however has been very gracious to us by letting Jackson be in our lives and giving us this incredible opportunity to bring him into our family. We realize how fortunate we are to have this boy with us, and are grateful to God for making every single step of the way work out so smoothly. During our stay however there has been many struggles for families that we have spoke to and have connected with. And for other families traveling to Ukraine now, they are nervous for a vote that just passed a few weeks ago to halt international adoptions in Ukraine. Regardless of the situation we are certain God has worked through families we have met who haven’t been successful with their adoptions, and through the families who are traveling soon who must put their full faith in God that He will guide their journey here just as He has guided ours.

Thanks to this experience we have grown closer to Jesus and have finally witnessed first hand how miraculous He is. We have seen through Jackson and the people that we have met, that by following God’s will, He will reward you abundantly in the end. We have spent more money than I ever thought was possible, and have sacrificed a lot of our time and pleasures to make this trip work, but we have gained something worth incredibly more. Praise God!

We can’t wait to explain in more detail to our family, friends, LifeGroup, and church family how much God really has worked in our lives here. We have been blessed in a multitude of ways, and yet we are still not worthy of God’s grace that he gives.

So with that, we thank you for being a part of this journey with us on this blog. The support back home has been incredible. We can not wait to unite with all of you and introduce our son. You are more than welcome to meet Jackson at the airport tomorrow evening (Thursday) at 6:58 PM if you can make it. Details are on Facebook.

So from Kiev, Dosvedanya! – Scott, Lindsey & Jackson

Embassy Day Two

Jackson is starting to get into a routine with us and today was no exception.  Little does he know we are about to rock his little world in two days and throw him into a totally different time zone!  We woke up this morning and played.  Jackson is struggling with seeing Scott and I as the authority figures in his life.  I think he still thinks he might be taken back to the orphanage at any time and that the nurses are still in charge.  He just sees us as his playmates.  An example of this was at breakfast when he grabbed a spoon and banged it on the table.  I told him nyet (no).  Then he grabbed it with the other hand, and I told him nyet.  Then he stared at it for a while and very softly touched it with his pointer finger!  He’s testing us!

After all of the testing and because of our afternoon plans, it was determined that Jackson would take his afternoon nap a little bit early.  When he woke up, we ate lunch and took a taxi back to the US Embassy for Part II of our appointment.  We went in and signed the paperwork that we filled out yesterday and then swore that we had filled out the paperwork to the best of our ability.  Then we waited for them to print Jackson’s visa on his passport.

The US Embassy in Kiev is awesome, and they have a waiting room with toys.  We waited in there for about an hour.  Everyone at the Embassy was so friendly and at one point a guy came out to see how we were doing.  He shook our hands, and Jackson imitated us and shook the man’s hand, and he said that Jackson was very well behaved.  Of course we liked hearing that, haha!  We got the visa and we are finally able to leave the country, woohoo!  Can’t wait for the flight on Thursday!

We got back to the apartment and the testing continued with Scott.   We have observed that when we are out in public, Jackson is very well behaved and does not want to leave our laps, even when there are other children playing around him.  We think that he is being possessive and wants everyone to know that he is with us and that we are already taken as parents.  Add that into the fact that everything he is seeing is new.  When he is in our apartment he feels comfortable and is trying to figure out his boundaries.  Oh, the journey of adoption!

Dinnertime was interesting.  Someone told us about a cafeteria style restaurant across the street from our apartment.  We really like the one that we went to when we first arrived in Kiev a month ago, and it was easy to get over the language barrier because we just pointed at the food we wanted.  However, when we walked into the restaurant, it was clearly not what we thought it was, and it was not going to work for us to eat at a sit down restaurant with Jackson, so we left.  Then we had no idea where to eat.  We looked at a couple of restaurants and ruled them out for various reasons.

We soon found ourselves at the deli part of the supermarket.  The culture of Ukrainians is very cold and people keep to themselves and don’t smile.  This carries over into lines at stores.  We waited for a while to get our chicken and rice and people kept coming in front of us and shouting out their orders.  Finally this guy stepped in front of Scott and shouted his order, and then said something to Scott.  Scott just shrugged his shoulders and said “English”.  Then the guy responded in broken english and asked what we wanted.  Then he proceeded to tell the employee in Russian what we wanted and we got our dinner.  It was the strangest act of kindness from a stranger in a country where people just don’t do that type of thing.  It made us feel really good.

That pretty much sums up our day!  I’ve been trying to go over in mind what we need to get done tomorrow, since it is our last day in Ukraine.  Niko is going to pick us up for the airport at 3:30 am Thursday morning.  Can’t wait to get home!

Embassy Day One

Today Jackson woke up before the sun did, so we had to enforce the “no getting out of bed until the sun is up” rule again.  We put him in our bed and he proceeded to poke Scott’s face for the next hour until our alarm went off.  Haha!  It cracks me up thinking about it.

We had our embassy appointment at 10 am.  It was interesting going to an American embassy in a foreign country!  There is a huge iron gate around the building and a security building that you have to walk through before you go into the actual embassy building.  When we arrived there were about 40 people waiting in line outside, but Niko told us just to tell the security guard that we had an appointment for adoption.  As soon as we said these words, we were whisked away in front of everyone and taken exactly to the window we needed to go to.

At the window, an English speaking man helped us fill out the stack of paperwork that we needed in order to bring Jackson into the United States.  Jackson was just hanging out in the baby backpack on me while I filled out the paperwork and he was very quiet and calm.  However, at one point he reached out and ripped one of the papers… oops!  Scott took him to this waiting room that had toys and I finished the paperwork.  It took about 30 minutes and we were done!  We had to pay for Jackson’s visa and come back tomorrow at 2:00 pm for an interview.  Then we’ll be done!

After the embassy appointment, Niko took us to the Immigrant Doctor’s office for Jackson’s medical exam, which is required for him to enter the United States.  He did very well at the appointment and did everything that the doctor told him to do in Russian.  The doctor was so nice and calm with Jackson and us.  We also received Jackson’s immunization record, which he is up to date on.  It’s awesome that the orphanage kept him up to date on the shots and didn’t let any of them slip away.

After Jackson’s nap, we ventured out into the city again.  We finally went to the mall across the street.  There are lots of fun shops!  Then we walked to an Italian restaurant that we found.  When we went in and told the waitress that we spoke English, she was able to say a few words to us, but then she brought us English menus!  It was so crazy to be able to sit and read a menu!  We are so used to just pointing at a picture, or randomly picking something on the menu, even though we couldn’t read it.  We had an awesome BBQ pizza and focaccia bread.  Jackson was good during the meal, but he got restless towards the end.  We left a large tip (to make up for all the crumbs on the table and floor) and headed to the grocery for some essentials.

It was a good Monday.  Here are some pictures from Jackson playing on the playground by our house, sleeping, and a picture of our little Cookie Monster!

Lions and tigers and alligators… Jackson goes to the circus!

Today was a fun day with our son!  We learned the hard way that Jackson is no longer scared when he wakes up in the morning and he feels comfortable getting out of his suitcase and exploring the apartment by himself!  Oh my, haha!  We also had to institute the rule that if the sun isn’t up, then neither is Jackson!  Jackson ate more than I did for breakfast.  He’s a growing boy!

We were having trouble getting Jackson to go #2.  He hadn’t gone since sometime before we got him on Friday.  We have him in a diaper all the time, but he’s never dirtied one.  He’s really good at holding it!  We tried a variety of food and tried sitting him on the potty (on which he’ll go #1), but he would just cry and cry and cry.  I think its because he hasn’t used a toilet before and Scott and I are in his face trying to hold him up so that he doesn’t completely fall in.  Just not the best pooping environment.  Finally this afternoon we just sat with him in the bathroom and waited it out with him.  He cried for a while and tried to distract himself with other things in the bathroom, but after a while he gave up.  He took a look at the thing we were trying to get him to go in and then looked back at me and sat down and did his business!  We were so proud of him!

After that, it was about 4:45.  There’s a circus literally across the street from our apartment, but we didn’t know what time it started.  We heard 5 pm, possibly, but we couldn’t verify. on the internet or anything.  We ventured outside to see lots of cars parked all around the building, so we went inside to the ticket window.  It’s really funny that we end up in the places that we do because we have no idea what is being spoken around and to us because of the language barrier.  Somehow we bought tickets and somehow we figured out where our seats were.  We were in the third row!  And it was a sell out crowd, so I’m not even sure how we ended up getting tickets.

Jackson did so well at the circus.  I’m not sure if he really understood what was going on since everything is so new to him.  He just kind of stared at the center of the circle and laughed when everyone else laughed.  Sometimes he would point at things going on and he definitely got his groove on with the music that they played.  We usually put him in the baby backpack whenever we go out.  He likes to face forward in the front and hang there.  I kept in on when we sat down and he never wanted to get out of it.  It was a lifesaver for keeping him in my lap for the entire 3 hour show!

Oh, also, we must have really over simulated him today because he put up no fight to go to bed.  The past couple of nap times and night times he would cry and cry, but tonight he went into the bedroom and laid down in his suitcase with his blanket and book.  Scott was walking out of the room and Jackson blew him a kiss and waved bye!  What a little cutie!

Tomorrow morning at 10 A.M. we are off to the U.S. Embassy. It’s pretty routine we think, so we’re not too worried about it. Off to bed for the night.

Back in Kiev, Ukraine.

After a long night before of packing and trying to adjust to being “parents”, we got on the train early this morning at 7 A.M. and started the six hour journey back to Ukraine’s capital city. We spent a lot of time in Jackson’s home city and we will miss that place, even if there really wasn’t much to do outside of the orphanage visits. We will even miss the long walks to McDonalds and our favorite pizza place, and even the trips to the grocery store where we had to lug waters jugs clear across town. I know for at least the two of us, we will miss our walks alone through the city. As well, all of our rides to the orphanage with Valentino and our friends Shai and Carmit will now just be memories, but were full of fun conversations we will remember and laugh about later in life for years to come. We’ll miss you Kharkiv!

It was almost emotional getting on the train this morning and saying goodbye to Tatyana and Valentino. They both gave us really big hugs and wished us well. Jackson behaved pretty well, but Lindsey and I took turns not feeling so well. With so much going on and having little sleep, a bumpy train rain wasn’t the best. But we made it, and good old Uncle Niko was there to meet us and after getting some photos taken of Jackson for the Embassy, he dropped us off at our new apartment for the next four nights. It’s actually right down the road from our old apartment here and is facing the same mall across the street. Once we get settled in we put Jackson down for a nap (and ourselves). After that we went to our old grocery store we used to visit. Jackson liked riding in the cart! After we got back we had dinner, played some more and soon we’ll be off to bed.

We’re trying to think of activities to do while we are here. We might go to the circus later in the week, so that could be a lot of fun. For now though, we rest and hope to get Jackson on some sort of routine if that’s even possible. But, our little guy really is doing so well! Here’s some more pictures from today.

Gotcha Day!

What an incredible day the Lord has given! After over a long year of prayers and putting our full faith into our Almighty God, the moment came at last! Today we took our beautiful son, Jackson Scott, out of the orphanage to be with us for the rest of our lives! Praise God!

You can imagine how tired we must be after a day like today. Even though this post will be short, know that this doesn’t mean this day isn’t significant for us. We are just overjoyed to finally be a family of three! The day started out like normal with our drive with Valentino and our friends Shai and Camit who are also adopting. Unfortunately we really didn’t have much of a going away party. Our facilitator was late, and they just took the cake and said thank you! Not really what we wanted and we tried to communicate we wanted to have cake, but it never happened.

However we just decided at one point to walk around and find his nurses because we really wanted them to have a chance to say goodbye to Jackson. As well we had gifts for them. So once we found them, they all they all kissed and hugged our little man goodbye, and left lipstick all over him! It was funny!

After we finally left we stopped by the a government building and picked up his Ukraine passport, and then finally headed home. He was long over due for his nap, so we tried to see if we could get him to go to the bathroom. We have diapers on him, but he’s yet to go in one around us. First we tried to hold him over the toilet and that didn’t work, so we got a bucket out of the kitchen and kept saying “Pizet!” which means to pee 🙂 And pizet he did! A whole bunch! Next we started the process of trying to get him to bed. It took about an hour but we finally got him to fall asleep after a lot of “fake crying”. He sleeps in our suitcase with a comforter. It’s really cute.

After his nap, we actually ventured out to our favorite pizza place one last time. He had a really great time and was well behaved. He’s almost asleep now for the night but he woke up, so Lindsey is with him again. So really, it’s been a great day and we are blessed for it. We found out today that we are actually leaving for Kiev in the morning on Saturday instead of Sunday! We have a 7 A.M. train ride for six hours. Should be a fun! 🙂 We can’t wait to come home to Ohio on Thursday. We’re not sure of our living situations or internet availability after tonight, so we’ll try to keep in touch as soon as we can.

Well, this turned out to be a long post. And.. for the record… Jackson is sleeping! Enjoy the pictures from today.

‘Twas the Night Before..

Tomorrow is the big day!  Scott and I officially become parents and we take Jackson out of the orphanage for good.  We are so excited, but it seems bittersweet at the same time.  He has been in this place for two years and the nurses have cared for him for two years.  We have a cake and balloons and juice to celebrate his going away with the other kids and nurses.  We also have to remember to pack the little gifts that I made for the nurses, and also a change of clothes for him.  They need to keep the clothes that they have at the orphanage for the other children.  No more blue painter bear shirt for Jackson!

We are off to bed.  I’m sure we’ll need the rest for tomorrow! Also, we booked our flights for next Thursday! We will be arriving in Columbus at 7 PM on the 18th if all goes as planned! We are extending an open invitation to anyone available to meet us at the airport to meet our son and newest American citizen!

An Emotional Day!

First – check out the post from yesterday about our official Adoption Day. I just posted it tonight, as we were tired and I didn’t have time to post.

So, today was another unexpected day outside of our routine. This morning we woke up pretty late because we were up late last night taking time to sink in all of the reality of what has been going on. When we got up, we knew we had to try to schedule our United States Embassy appointment. As were having breakfast and trying to get ready for our routine visit to the orphanage with Jackson, we received a call from Tatyana. The news she shared with Lindsey was shocking. First she asked Lindsey if we had a picture of our house. We didn’t, but I remembered that I took a video of the exterior of our apartment a few days before we left for Ukraine because I was testing out the video camera on my iPod Touch. Then she told Lindsey, “Good –Bohgdan’s family is meeting you at the orphanage and would like to see pictures of your home. They are supportive of the adoption, but would like to meet you.”

Woah! Surprise! Lindsey’s eyes got really big as Tatyana told us this. In less than a half hour we were going to be meeting Jackson’s biological family and this was the only warning we had. When we arrived at the orphanage we walked with our driver Valentino to the music room where we usually play with Jackson. The room was dark, but an older man, probably in his seventies walked out, who was dressed very nicely, wearing a jacket. I didn’t suspect anything as we thought maybe we would be meeting Bohgdan’s grandmother who we had heard had custody before giving it up. At first we ignored this man and starting walking up the steps to Jackson’s room to get him. Then Valentino realized this man was Bohgdan’s grandfather and Valentino shouted my name, so I turned around. He tried to explain to me in Russian the best he could that this was Bohdgan’s grandfather. When the two of us made this realization, I shook his hand and held on to it, and he started to cry and we hugged and he kissed me on the forehead. Yes, there was a language barrier, but his actions spoke a lot and it was a very special moment for us, one that I will never forget!

Then, to our surprise Boghdan’s older sister walked out of the room. We knew from Jackson’s original medical information that she was 20 years old. She was a pretty young lady, with long blonde hair and dressed well, and wearing makeup. We all kind of nodded our heads and said hello, and then she walked back into the room. As I walked away to go find Jackson, I noticed that I could hear that she had started crying. It broke out hearts.

Finally we brought Jackson in and we all kind of sat around in a circle of chairs. At this moment the orphanage director came in and by her side was another nurse who knew a bit of English. Jackson behaved very well and sat in his grandfather’s lap. They had brought some bananas, cookies, and a juice box to drink. At this point the nurse translated to us that the grandfather apologized that he appeared troubled, and explained to us he was very happy that his grandson would be able to live in America and that he was happy with knowing this.

With this said, you have to remember nobody knows where Jackson’s biological mother is or her whereabouts. This man and his wife (who we did not meet) raised Jackson’s sisters but felt that at their age they could not take care of him as well. It was translated to us that he was okay with putting him in the orphanage in hopes that Jackson would be adopted, but was troubled at the thought that he might never see a picture again. I know it’s such a touchy subject and you are put on the spot, but we agreed we would share photos with his family. We were given their physical address, so we will try to send them some things. We gave them an email address to contact us and our address, so if they are able to translate it into Ukraine and initiate any contact themselves it would be easier to send pictures form time to time.

We spent the rest of the visit letting Jackson play with his family and showing them video of our home. They were very happy to see it! Sadly, a couple of times during the visit the sister would get upset and leave the room. Finally at one point she told us  she was sorry but that she felt she needed to leave and she said good bye and that was the last we saw of her. I pray that one day she will have complete peace and understand Jackson is in good hands. When it was time to go, the grandfather said his goodbyes and Jackson gave him a kiss. It was really sweet. Then he hugged both of us real tight, got teary eyed again and told us “Thank You, Thank You”. Whew, what an experience!

We praise God in the end that we were given this opportunity today. We also are thankful that the family understands this is best for Jackson and did not contest any point of our process. We are relieved that they waited until after the ten day waiting period to say their good byes. This will be a day we will treasure.

As for our schedule. We did end up getting our appointment scheduled at the U.S. Embassy for next Monday! It is a two day affair, so we should have everything wrapped up and have Jackson’s U.S. Visa/Passport by the end of the day next Tuesday. This means folks – We should be home by the end of next week! If all goes smoothly we could leave as early as next Wednesday! We do have two tickets for Thursday that we already booked before we came, but we are seeing if it is possible to get a third seat for Jackson. We are doing well, and can absolutely not wait to come home and be united with all of you again, and with our new son!

An orphan no more! Official Adoption Day.

Well, this day went NOTHING like I imagined it would!  Tatyana said that she would pick us up this morning at 9:15 to sign some papers.  I had no idea that we were going to sign ALL the paperwork today to make Jackson ours!  It was a full day and we didn’t get back to the apartment until dinnertime.  Here’s how the day went down in photos:

This is the courthouse.  Tatyana ran inside and picked up our packet of paperwork from the court.


Next we needed to get the court papers notarized and we went to three different notaries before we found one open.

This is the building that we got Jackson’s new birth certificate at.  The new certificate lists Scott and I as the parents.  What’s interesting is that it says Scott and Lindsey Howell, although that wasn’t really my name on July 28, 2008… oh well!


Then we went to this building to get the birth certificate legalized for the US Embassy.


Then we drove to this building to sign a paper saying we wanted to expedite Jackson’s passport.


Then we stopped at this building for lunch. 🙂


After lunch we went on a joyride.  When I say joyride, I mean that the driver literally drove on the sidewalks of a park to get to where we were going.  I’m not talking about a small park, we drove for about 3 minutes through this park while people scurried out of the way.  Tatyana’s comment was “We have no time to drive by road”.

Then we went to this building to apply for Jackson’s tax identification number.  This is like the Ukrainian version of America’s social security number.  There were a lot of people in this little office filling out forms.  The lady asked to see one of our passports, so I gave mine to Tatyana.  I saw her slip a bill into the passport and she kind of smirked and went along.  Interestingly we got out of that office before the other people waiting before us.  Hmmm…


Next we drove to this office, which is the citizenship office.  We just waited in the car for a long time.


Then we went to our favorite spot in Kharkiv- the orphanage!  We needed to pick up Jackson so that he could get his photo for the passport.  We were very weary about how the car ride would go and if he would get motion sickness.  They brought him out and a nurse actually got in the car with us.  So, imagine there’s three adults and a baby riding in the back of this car.  It was kind of ironic since we went through all of the training and safety inspections back in the States, only to have a kid sitting on our laps!

Jackson really enjoyed the car ride!  He looked really stunned when the car started driving and we pulled away from the orphanage.  So many new things!  We pointed at all the trees and machinas (cars).IMG_1237

We went back to the citizenship office and waited in the car for Tatyana… for a long time.  It’s kinda hard to keep a toddler entertained while being cramped in the back of a car with three adults.  And it was about 90 degrees in the car and we all had our winter jackets on.

The last place we went was the passport office.  It looked like a regular government building on the inside with wooden floors and a big chandelier. Jackson waited patiently for about 20 minutes.  The nurse was there with us and she had crackers for him and also let him play with her keys.  We were finally called into the back and he sat on a stool and they took his picture.  It was good on the first try!  Good job Jackson!

We took Jackson back to the orphanage and he did the funniest thing in the car.  The sun had set when we were in the passport office, so it was dark on the way home.  He sat in the middle on Scott’s lap and as soon as the car started, he yelled “Maaaaaaaaama!”  We all snickered!  We took him back to the orphanage and our day was over!

So now we can officially announce that Jackson is ours!  We are so happy to officially be parents and can’t wait to take him out of the orphanage on Friday!