Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Family of Four - Finally!

I'm not quite sure what to write anymore ... We arrived home Saturday afternoon around 4:00 p.m. with our son, Tyler.  We left Moscow at 11:30 a.m. Moscow time and arrived in Toronto at 1:30 p.m. Toronto time and made our way through customs and immigration without any real difficulties.  Tyler slept for an hour and a bit at the start of the flight and almost two hours at the end of the flight.  The rest of the time he was playing and talking and looking all around.  By the time we arrived home, he was absolutely exhausted because it was almost midnight Moscow/Volgograd time. 

We were greeted by Megan, Grandpa and Bernice, Aunt Sherry, Uncle Robbie, Riley, Tanner, and Kaden.  It was so nice to be home and to have everyone awaiting his/our arrival.  Tyler was up for a few photos but then the time change/excitement got the better of him.  After everyone left, we put Tyler to bed.  He slept from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. without making a peep. 

We spent Sunday morning hanging out as a family of four!  Tyler's eyes were as big as saucers and all he wanted to do was explore everything around him.  Meg was so excited to have her baby brother home and all she wanted to do was hold him and carry him around.  Tyler didn't quite go for that!  Aunt Joanne, Uncle Kevin, and Alyssa came to visit Sunday afternoon.  Everyone went to watch Meg play hockey and then we took in our first Santa Claus parade.  In typical Shep fashion, we have to do as many things as possible as soon as possible!

Tyler seems to be fitting in just fine!  It still brings tears to my eyes thinking that in such a short period of time he has been a part of our lives that we have changed his life so much.  There is a whole new world for him to explore and a ton of opportunities available to him.  We are so lucky to have him.

There are so many pictures to choose from but here are some of them ...

a) Here is the view from our apartment.  It was so nice to stay here as opposed to a hotel.  There was lots of room, a full kitchen, and a washing machine!

b) Because it was so hot in the summer, we saved all of our sightseeing for this trip.  The first picture is of Mother Russia and the second picture is of the memorial/eternal flame that recognizes the thousands/millions of Russians that were killed in the war.  It was breathtaking.

 c) This is Tyler's Gotcha Day - Tuesday, November 23, 2010.  He was sitting waiting for us to arrive.

d) There were so many tears this day... Although he is officially our son, it was sad to think that we were taking him from the only place he ever knew and the people that cared for him.  The caregivers are really wonderful.  The first picture is of us that we took in the summer and gave to the caregivers.  They place all kinds of family photos on a wall in the room.  The next two pictures are of Tyler's bedroom.  He slept in crib #5.  The final picture is of us and the caregivers.  Everyone was crying ...

e) Leaving the orphanage for the last time ... It was such a balmy day but Tyler was still bundled up!

f) The caregivers had left Tyler's hair long so that we could get it cut and styled the way we wanted it to look.  Well, within 24 hours of leaving the orphanage we took Tyler for a haircut!

g) Spending time in Volgograd with our son ...

The Market - we had to walk through here each day to get to the subway

King of the Stroller

Our Last Day in Volgograd

Our Last Day in Volgograd

What a Job! - 10 rubles to use the john!
h) Saying goodbye to Marianna, our translator

i) Hanging out in Moscow - Thank goodness we left Moscow when we did because it is freezing cold there now.  When we left it was 3 degrees Celsisus and now it is -15 degrees Celsisus!

St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square

j) We are only a couple of hours away now!

k) YYZ - Pearson International Airport

l) Heading for home - remember, Tyler has never been in a carseat before!

m) Home Sweet Home

We sure did miss Meg!

Daddy and his kiddies!

Big Sister and Little Brother with Ovie - Tyler's new build-a-bear!

Our first family of four shot!
We began this journey in July of 2009, received our proposal on July 9, 2010, made our first trip to Russia on August 9, 2010, had our court hearing on November 10, 2010, got our son on November 23, 2010 and arrived home on November 27, 2010.  Although it seemed to take forever, we wouldn't change it for the world.

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