Snack Time VIDEO!!!

Everyone, we introduce to you Roman on video during snack time! This is probably his favorite time of day – this includes any time, really, that consists of food and liquid consumption! We’ve been wanting to provide video viewing for a while now, but were having some technical problems and apologize for the long wait! We plan to post more video footage moving forward.

Although this is day 5 after we met him, we felt that this was an appropriate video to introduce you to Roman’s endearing personality.  We were able to catch a culmination of newly learned communication exchanges such as the “more” sign, “eat”, and here he’s just beginning to learn how to wave and say “hi.” He’s just about got that one mastered now!  Now, his snack time words are “wawa”/water,  “apo”/apple, “ju”/juice, “kakuh”/cracker, and “nana”/ banana. We’re saying, “skazshi” to him in the video which means “say.” Hope you enjoy it as much as we do everyday!!! Cuckoo everyone!




Hiney Ball

Hiney /hai*nI/– either of the two rounded prominences on the human torso that are posterior to the hips and formed by the gluteal muscles and underlying structures

Ball /bôl/ a solid or hollow sphere or ovoid, esp. one that is kicked, thrown, or hit in a game

Hiney Ball – a game derived at the House of Murphy in 2011 where a ball is specifically directed to or aimed at the hiney of your opponent. Points are earned only when the ball does indeed make contact with your opponent’s hiney.

This morning was so much fun! We did a number of things, but Hiney Ball was by far the highlight of the morning.  It’s somewhat of a rite of passage, so we introduced Roman to this family tradition a few days ago.  He was enthralled, standing there giggling as he took the silliness in. Now, he is an up and comer Hiney Ball pro.  He is now taunting us by poking his hiney out and then covering it before we can get to it. We’re also having to protect our own hind ends from him.  He loves it, and I think he could play it for hours.


Crawford also introduced us to his pet snakes which he had to pay the town tax collector (i.e., Dustin) a snake tax of 1 grivna per snake. So, we introduce to you Crawford’s snakes, Snakey Dwayne Murphy (big snake on his right) and Snakey Ray Murphy (small snake on his left).


Roman was Mr. Snuggly and Tickly today. He kept running into my and Dustin’s laps to get snuggles, kisses, and tickles. Pure heaven! Crawford trained us both very well to be good snugglers as he loves all of these things too!  Here are some more fun pictures from this morning.



Snuggles and kisses for daddy too!!


Hope you all are enjoying your week! We’ll report back soon with some more news on our latest Hiney Ball events!

Book tickets early! They go quickly!

Say Cheese!!

This morning we were in the middle of our morning visit and in walks our beautiful facilitator, Olga. She asked us if we would like to go get Roman’s passport picture done today. Dustin and I looked at each other and without much hesitation replied, “sure!” At first we thought we were going to put him in clothes we brought, but there was no time for this so the orphanage put him in some of theirs. Roman left with one of his babbas for a few moments and returned in this:



Ummmmm………I can’t think of anything more stinking adorable! We couldn’t stop giggling when we first saw him. They BUNDLE their children up here in Ukraine; and understandably so since they do a lot of walking to get where they need to go.

It was really fun getting to take him outside the orphanage, even if it was for a short outing. It was Crawford, Roman, Olga, and me all squished in the backseat while Dustin sat in the front since he’s the biggest. 🙂 Roman did great while he was at the photographer’s. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, he is not camera shy.


In the car on the way back he said, “maheehee.” I asked Olga if that meant anything and she informed me that it sounded like he was trying to say, “mashinki” (excuse the misspelling) which means small car. This would have been a very accurate comment as there were small cars all around us. This was exciting news. Later as we were walking back to his room he attempted to say his own simplified version of “zdravstvuite.” Wow! Try saying that word and you will appreciate his valiant effort to produce such a consonant concoction.

Today was our first day to see him get a little upset. One of his favorite babbas came in the room briefly and left.  He appeared to be heart-broken for a moment wanting to go with her, but he let me soothe him with some snuggle time and smooches.  After a few minutes, he was back to his spunky ol’ self. This is a positive observation in my eyes.  It proves to me that he has been loved while here, and he shows the capacity to attach.  I am nothing, but grateful for this and have his babbas to thank for providing a loving environment when they could have just fulfilled his basic needs. The babba you see in the picture has been so sweet and wonderful.  I only wish I could convey my deepest gratitude in better words!  Thankfully I have Olga to help this Arkansan out!

Thumbs Up!!

As the days go by, we’re beginning to recognize and sometimes even anticipate some of Roman’s behaviors and mannerisms.  Of all of the cute gestures, vocalizations, and giggles, there’s one behavior of his that is just too cute not to highlight in a post……. He gives a thumbs up if he likes something! Like his very own 4-year-old-boy stamp of approval. Every time I’m graced with one, I feel like I’ve been awarded the Pulitzer Prize or something. Our first time to witness this was after one of his visits when dropping him off, one of his babbas asked him something in Russian, and he gave a thumbs up.  It could have been a gazillion different questions, but my assumption was they either asked him if he had been a good boy or if he has been having a good time with his new padres. So, the sweet part of this whole story is I have started slowly sneaking in a couple of smooches to his cheeks the last day or two, and you can guess what I’ve been getting in response……….a thumbs up!! This, of course, is when he’s not wiping my kisses off and laughing mischievously afterwards.

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I wrangled both boys together, one on each leg! It was hysterical trying to get everyone to look at the camera at the same time, myself included. This was about as good as it got!

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Roman’s doing wonderfully communicating using the “more” sign. He’s also imitating several sounds and sound combinations. We have been working through his first word book daily and he is naming ball and “sh” for shoe. He is also saying “wawa” for water, nana for banana, kakuh for cracker, “eat” along with sign, and as of today “apa” for apple. We’re working on “all done” and this has also helped when we finish with snack time as he wants to devour anything edible. He’s a hungry, hungry hippo, but doesn’t quite understand the filling of full, so something to gently work on. He’s a little weak in the trunk and legs with a some “W” sitting goin’ on, so we’ll want to consult some PTs for some good tips for the next few weeks.

Everyday’s a treasure and we’re all soaking it up! Hope you all are having a wonderful ending to your weekend!



Brother Love

This morning was one of a developing brotherly love! Dustin and I sat ourselves aside a while to allow these two young bucks some time to develop their own relationship without the constant scaffolding effects of mom and dad.  Look what happened! 






In this one, Crawford asked if he could color with Roman. 🙂 Love it!  Happy Saturday everyone!

Murphy Movie Night and More

Today was a wonderful day! Olga has been hard at work finalizing paperwork and determining a date for our court hearing.  So far, it’s looking like February 11th or 12th will be the big day. It’s a little later than we were anticipating, but there are just some things that are out of our control. We’ve all adapted to this way of life, but remain hopeful things will continue going smoothly as we’re quite aware that several miraculous things have already occurred this week. We’re reticent to discuss details right now, however, because we’re at a fairly vulnerable stage in the process and don’t want to take any risks.  It’s nothing that can’t wait to be unveiled anyway. 🙂 We’ll keep everyone posted on the latest as far as adoption logistics go. Here is a sweet picture of Crawford showing our facilitator how to transform a transformer. He has been a favorite at the social worker and notary offices which earns him delicious Ukrainian chocolates and candies every time. He doesn’t seem to mind this one bit!


We have been having great fun at our visits with Roman! Every time we go to pick him up from his room, he makes a dead sprint to us! This morning, Crawford insisted on all going up together, and he jumped and clapped with glee when he saw Roman. It was quite a precious sight. I love seeing his heart grow with happiness more and more upon the sight of his little brother.

We went back to the gym and played much of the time, looked at a book, and then colored. While coloring, Roman and I would take turns scribbling. It was so sweet.  He would scribble for a few seconds, stop, turn to me, and vocalize. I gladly returned his “mmmms” and smiles. We had to end our first visit early and finish a few notarizations with Olga. Crawford was sad to go, but excited about the prospect of having a “movie night”. I, on the other hand, benefit from the quality snuggle time I tend to get, so I was equally excited for this part of the day.

We returned for our second visit with some Tom and Jerry episodes, orphanage classics that we knew Roman would probably be familiar with. We started with some ninja, Kung-fu play along with lots of tickles and destroying of towers! All the fun activities of destruction little boys find so appealing. Later, we tried to simulate our living room by lining up some chairs in front of the computer. I know, I know…… terrible we must be to encourage tv watching, but there’s something sweet about quietly snuggling with your family over some comical cartoons. And my wishes of snuggling were granted when Roman leaned back and nestled his head on my chest. It didn’t last but a few minutes, but was well worth the 14-month wait! Oh, and the kid loves the camera! I see male model in his future – lol!  It’s never easy taking Roman back to his room for the night, but it was especially difficult this evening. When we dropped him off at the door, he didn’t go into his room like he usually does, but instead just stood there and looked at us with eyes that said, “take me, it’s okay.” He IS love. I can’t describe him any other way. Here’s some more pics from the day. Enjoy!




Color Time!

We enjoyed a little color time and went over some first words in English! Roman repeated several animal sounds with me and loved going through the book together.  It’s Friday, and the Murphy family loves having Movie Night Fridays.  We’ll be posting soon with updates on our special cuddle time over some snacks and a movie!  See you soon!

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Day 1 and 2!

Wowee! What a last couple of days it’s been! I started writing yesterday and had to give in to the pillow and my need to process everything that’s transpired these last several hours. I tried to combine some highlights of the last two days, so hope it’s not too overwhelming for everyone! We’re having difficulty getting video footage up, but oh, do we have some goodies.  In the meantime, pictures will have to do. Here ya go!

We took the high speed train to Kramatorsk yesterday morning and made it there around 5:30 AM.  Crawford was so excited and had been looking forward to it!


Crawford slept great….the kid can sleep anywhere if you just give him a good blanket and pillow.  Dustin and I, on the other hand, did not sleep a wink.  We couldn’t shut off our excitement to finally get to meet Roman. Of course, by the time we checked into our semi-luxury suite here at Hotel Kramatorsk, our heads were desperately seeking pillows.  We were expecting to meet Olga around 9:30, but got a call to meet closer to 9:00; thus the rushing around began! I didn’t want to keep Olga waiting too long, but I also didn’t want to smell like I’d just stepped out of a garbage can for our first time meeting Roman.  With a little help from Colgate, Clif Bar, and Tresemme hairspray, we were ready in about 10 minutes!

Before going to the orphanage, we had to meet with the social worker and the director of social services. Then, once we got to the orphanage, we had additional meetings with the orphanage director’s wife and Roman’s doctor to go over his file. We got to learn more about his birth and developmental history which was very helpful. Most of the information was not new, but rather, more detailed.  The doctor left, and we expected that they would take us to him or take us to another room to meet him, but all of a sudden there he was walking through the doorway with his little flannel outfit and big brown eyes. I was in disbelief. Could it really be the boy we’ve been longing to see with our own eyes and touch with our own hands? “Yes, Lora this is happening dear. Snap out of it!” I say to myself. At first, he seemed slightly more interested in the stimuli in the room than hanging out with our stinky ol’ selves. He showed particular interest in the director’s desk (we were in his office). I hope the director has good job security because someone was trying to steal his position. Understandably, I don’t think he was real sure what to think of us at first, but once we all went to the orphanage gym and were able to roam freely, he began to warm up to us.  Here are some pictures of our very first meeting!



Everyday, we get to see Roman from 9:30-11:30 and 4:00-6:00. When we went to pick him up from his room for yesterday’s second visit, Roman raced to put his shoes on and said, “mama.” Then, he ran up to Dustin and said, “daddy.” I lost it right there. Tears of overwhelming joy struck this momma hard. I wasn’t expecting to hear those words so quickly from him, but will absolutely take it! After our visit last night, we were a hot, sweaty mess. There was jumping, tickling, wrestling, racing, and eating galore! We were all so pooped that Crawford fell asleep at the dinner table.  A good night’s rest worked wonders on us all, and we were ready for day 2! Roman is slowly becoming a Murphy boy! He loves being chased and tickled. He is already beginning to sign “more” and is imitating vowels, reduplicated syllables, and says mama, papa, dada, and ball so far. I’m sure he’s attempting some Russian words that we’re not understanding, but it will come.  He loves bananas, cookies, and juice.  For my speech path friends, I’m not seeing any feeding-swallowing issues as he stuffed an entire cookie in his mouth and chewed it up without delay.  For my OT and PT friends, he’s donning his shoes and loves these sticks in the gym (shaped like light sabers)that he’s been running around with double fisted. We are amazed with how much a child can change within one day! It’s been wonderful to watch.  Here are some pictures from today.



 We’re still adjusting to our new routine and how to utilize what time we have in between visits as we have Crawford to love on too. It is so important to us that his emotions and thoughts are tended to with vigilance throughout this process. It has been such a beautiful experience to watch the relationships within our family taking shape, remembering that not just a bond between two loving parents and a little boy is in the works, but one, just as important bond is developing between two brothers. With that comes a little tinge of pain knowing that our past life as three is no more as we journey into the world of four. So many parents that have made or are making that transition from one to two children can attest to this I’m sure. I had a few bittersweet moments as a mother yesterday watching Crawford struggle a bit with the realization that we will be a different family, which reaffirms that having him here was undoubtedly the best choice for all of us. He is such a sweet and resilient soul and has been more and more thrilled each time we go visit Roman. I can see a precious bond forming between the two of them and it’s so exciting to watch! We will post another of today’s second visit and hope to get you all some video soon too!  Hope everyone’s doing well! We love and miss you all!

We Met Him!!

Hello all! We made it to Kramatorsk safely and timely this morning. We also got the joy of meeting sweet Roman today! It was a wonderfully awaited moment! We are all sleep deprived and adjusting to our change in routine, however. So, we weren’t able to post today.  We hope to be rejuvenated first thing in the morning with some beautiful pictures and accounts to share! Much Love!

Kramatorsk Bound!!

We got our official referral this afternoon! We just finished eating and are gearing up for our overnight transit to Kramatorsk! We should arrive around 5:30 in the morning and hope to meet Roman for the very first time just a few short hours after we arrive!

Crawford is so excited to finally get to ride the train. He’s even been writing about it in his class journal. Hopefully, we will have some wonderful news and pictures to share when everyone wakes up tomorrow morning. Love you all and see you tomorrow!