Thursday, August 26, 2004


My mom, my sister and her twins, Brenna, Aubree and myself went out to eat and to the mall. Aubree did great in the restaurant which I knew she would because she is happiest when she is around food! I let my mom help with her drink for awhile. Most of you don't know this but it's best that no one else assist Aubree in eating, diapering, comforting, etc., other than Dave and me. She has to learn that Dave and I are her parents and that we are the ones who will care for her and take care of her needs and comfort her and all that jazz. So, for awhile we have to keep her from getting her needs taken care of by anyone but us. So, I hope no one will think we are being rude when we kind of distract her from going to other people. It is just what we need to do for awhile. For Dave and I, Aubree was immediately our daughter and we love her. But for Aubree we were just strangers who came into her life one day and it will take her time to learn who we are exactly and what our role is and so we don't want to confuse her. And we didn't come up with this ourselves!! We were told by professionals that this is the best way to settle her in.

Anyway, Aubree enjoyed herself at the mall. She just looked around and checked everything out. There is a little play area for kids in the mall and she went in with Brenna and the twins but she wouldn't play. She just stood in one spot and watched all the kids. But she didn't cry so at least she wasn't scared.

Brenna got her ears pierced today. She cried for few minutes but she loves her new decorated ears. And, of course, she got pink earrings!

So, everything is going good and I'm sure it will only get better.

Shannon and Dave

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Aubree did really great at the doctor's office. She only fussed a little bit through the whole exam. Her doctor said she looks very healthy and doesn't seem to be all that delayed for a child that has been in an orphanage for 16 months. She weighs 21 pounds (gained two pounds since we've had her) and is 30.5" tall.

The doctor decided it was best to do all her vaccinations over just to be sure. So, she got 4 shots of vaccinations today and we go back in 8 weeks for more. Basically, she has to make up for 16 months of vaccinations so she needs quite a few. Poor thing. Though she did handle the shots well. We have to take her to the hopsital to get blood drawn so she can be checked for various things. She has to have a chest X-Ray. And she needs to go to the Easter Seal Center to be evaluated. All of this is just to make sure she is fine and developing as she should be which we are pretty sure she is.

Here at home things are going good. She gets more and more comfortable every day. The only time we have a real problem is when we put her down for naps and at bed time. She gets really, really upset but only for about 5 minutes (at the most) and then she goes to sleep. But I know many kids do that!

We'll let you know how all her test results come out.

Shannon and Dave

Monday, August 23, 2004


I've posted some new pictures of Brenna and Aubree in the new "Our Girls" album at:


Shannon and Dave

Saturday, August 21, 2004


Aubree had a couple rough days after we returned home. She, basically, cried non-stop for two days. Her poor little eyes were swollen shut almost!! But she is doing much better now. She really seems to be enjoying herself. Just a little while ago she was chasing Brenna around the house!! Jeez, that was a site....our two girls playing and laughing together!! We love it!!

My dad's work had a company picnic today and we took the girls and Aubree was great! We were really nervous about how she would handle being around a bunch of people but she had fun so it was really a nice day.

After the picnic we took her to meet some family and she did pretty good there, too. She hadn't napped all day so it didn't go as good as the picnic but she let some the family hold her so that was nice.

So, things are going well. We will post some new pictures soon.

Shannon and Dave

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


We had the day from hell on Tuesday! We were seated on the plane by 10:00am. We were scheduled to leave at 10:40am. We ended up taking off an hour late at 11:40am because they had a temperature control problem on the plane. (I guess, they could have used the expertise of WMI/WSM!). So we, finally, get in the air and not too long after that they start calling for a medical doctor on board over the speaker. Uh-oh...not good! Then a little while later they start asking for a Midwife! Double uh-ho!! Finally, they tell us a woman has given birth on the plane to a baby girl. We have to make an emergency landing in Newfoundland!! The woman and baby girl are doing fine. Great, happy for them! That's good for them but bad for the rest of us on board! Especially when we haven't seen our daughter back home for over two weeks. So, we land in Newfoundland and they get the mother and baby (and she had four other kids on board with her!) off the plane within 10 min. but we sit there for another hour and half while they, supposedly, fuel up the plane. Finally, we are on our way again. We are 45 min. from landing when they tell us we can't land because there are thunderstorms in Chicago. I, seriously, almost freaked! Our poor little Brenna has been waiting for us since 12:15 and it is now 4:00pm! So, we start circling and circling and circling and finally we land at about 4:45pm. So, we ended up being on that plane for about 14 hours! The good news is that Aubree was amazing on the plane! She couldn't have been better.

So, we get through passport control, Immigration, luggage claim and customs and we run to the exits and there is our Brennie girl with Nik and my mom. What a beautiful site they were. We were all crying and laughing and hugging. Gosh, it was so good to see family again! Brenna immediately loved Aubree and couldn't stop hugging and kissing her and Aubree handled it pretty good!

Once we arrived home Aubree was pretty overwhelmed with the dogs and the house and just being somewhere different. She has been pretty much crying off and on but it's going to take time. We will let everyone know how she is doing!

It's GREAT to be home. We can't wait to see everyone! Thanks again to everyone for their support!

Shannon, Dave, Brenna and Aubree!

Monday, August 16, 2004


We made it to Amsterdam! Aubree was pretty good on the flight. When it's time to go to sleep she cries herself to sleep for about 3-5 mintues so we got some stares for that but that's okay. When she is upset or crying she is not at the point yet where she will let us hold her and comfort her. If we try to help she really throws a fit and we just make it worse so we just have to let her cry which is hard but she will come around eventually. But other than that the flight was uneventful. When she was awake she just went back and forth between Dave and me and played. Hopefully, the long flight home tomorrow will go good.

Oh my God, we can't believe we will be home tomorrow! I am never going away again!!

We think it's a good idea not to overwhelm Aubree with a bunch people meeting us at the airport. So, my sister and my mom are the lucky ones coming to get us because they have Brenna and we, definitely, want her at the airport the greet us and her new sister. But when we have Aubree settled in we will start introducing her to everyone!



Sunday, August 15, 2004


Finally, tomorrow we will start heading home. I can't put into words how happy we are to be going home to Brenna! I just have to thank my sister, Nikki, and Jeremy, her husband, once again for taking care of Brenna while we were gone. They have ten and half month old twin boys so they are busy enough as it is! So, we appreciate so much that were willing to care for her and keep her happy and busy while we were gone. You guys did a great job! I know she misses us but I can tell she has had a great time with you while we have been away.

Brenna was so cute when I spoke with her this morning. She said, "Only two more nights to go to sleep before you'll be home!....but I wish it was just one night of sleeping." She is so adorable!

Aubree enjoyed her second bath tonight. At first she cried but then she started enjoying herself. After she got out I started working on her's still a learning process!! I love her curly hair I just have to figure out how to manage it! But I'm sure I'll get the hang of it after much trial and error.

Well, keep your fingers crossed for us that Aubree will manage okay on the plane to Amsterdam. I think we will have internet access in our hotel room in Amsterdam so we'll update the site tomorrow night!


Shannon and Dave

Friday, August 13, 2004


Aubree did not enjoy her first bath tub experience (I assume this was her first real time spent in a tub)! She freaked out crying and stood up grabbing the side of the tub the whole time. But we got the job done as fast as we could and got her dressed and she was just fine. Maybe when she sees her big sister, Brenna, playing in the bath tub she will join her. She had a long 4 hour nap today and didn't pee once while she slept! She woke up and got right on the potty and went pee. Amazing! She is tired again already because she has been walking all over the apartment non stop checking everything out. The light switches are really low here so she spends lots of time turning the lights on and off.

Our little one sure can eat. We can't cut up chicken fast enough! And she loves bananas. Hopefully, she'll keep up this good appetite.

We posted a couple new pictures of her in the "Introducing Aubree" album at:

Dave and I got a pizza tonight for dinner. It just didn't cut competition for the pizza in America! But the dessert was great!!

We'll probably spend the weekend walking around Kiev and doing some shopping. Brenna has asked us to buy her a Barbie doll so we will have to go searching for that. Hopefully, we can find a toy store near our apartment.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Shannon and Dave


Aubree Diana is our daughter! And she is wonderful! Court was a piece of only lasted about a half an hour. After that we had to run all over Donetsk to four different places having paper work signed and notarized. Then we rushed to the orphanage to pick up Aubree and left on the 7:15pm train to Kiev. Aubree was amazing on the train ride. She played for a couple hours happy as can be and then she went to sleep for the night. We woke her up at about 6:45am for a little breakfast. We arrived in Kiev at 7:05 am and went to the original apartment we had when we arrived in Kiev. We are so happy to be back in this apartment. It is so nice!! At 9am we took Aubree in for her medical check up and they said she is very healthy! Then we were able to go obtain her VISA which was very good news because we didn't think we were going to be able to do that until Monday. So, we have her VISA and can, technically, leave for home at any time. But we weren't able to get an available flight out tomorrow or Sun. but we did find an available flight for Mon. So we will be home on Tues.!!! Ya hoo!!! We will spend this weekend getting know Aubree better but I have to tell you it is like she has always been with us! She is having so much fun just walking around and touching everything. You should have seen her when she saw the TV for the first time. She stood about two inches from it and just stared at it. She eats so good! She has already taken one of her naps for today. And she is, indeed, potty 16 months!! Can't beat that!! We will post some more pictures soon.


Shannon and Dave

Thursday, August 12, 2004


We have court in about an hour. We just found out it's the judge's birthday today so hopefully she'll be in a great mood and will have no problem waiving the 30 day wait so Aubree can come home with us. We are almost positive she will waive it. I can't believe in a couples hours she will officially be ours!!

We had a great morning visit with Aubree today. She was in a great mood and her cold seems to be going away! She was laughing and walking around all over. And get ready for this you criers out there...Aubree went up to Dave, touched his face and said, "DaDa!". It was wonderful. She is so adorable!

Well, the next time we post The D'Amico Family will officially be a family of four! We are so excited to have our two girls now and to have our family complete. What a great feeling!

We will be in touch soon. We hope all is well with our friends and family back home.

Shannon and Dave

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


and we have court tomorrow at 1pm and that will make Aubree Diana offically ours!! We feel very lucky that things have gone so smooth so far. I think our only other obstacle will be finding available seats for the plane rides home. Our tickets are for flying out Aug. 21 but, of course, we want to leave earlier than that so, hopefully, they will have some seats available. We'll just have to see.

So, anyway, things are going really good. We will see Aubree in the morning before court so, hopefully, she will be feeling better. It will be interesting to see how she does on the thirteen and half hour train ride. We'll let you know.

We probably won't have time to post tomorrow so we will try to do it on Fri.


Shannon and Dave


We were able to see Aubree this morning for about an hour. She is still sick so we kept her inside. She still has bad congestion in her chest, is coughing and has a runny nose. She was really tugging on her ear so I think she may have an ear ache, too. We told her caregivers so, hopefully, they will have the doctor look at it. She was grouchy and tired but that was expected. We won't be able to see her in the afternoon.

We are hoping our paper work in Kiev will be signed tonight (our translator is confident it will be). If it is, we will have court tomorrow at 1pm and then we have to go to two different records offices, the passport office and the notary. And then we can go to the orphanage and pick up Aubree for good. We will then catch the 8:30pm train back to Kiev and will arrive there at 10:20am Friday morning. Then the beginning of next week Aubree will have a medical check up and then we will get her Visa and then we can come home. We are hoping to leave next Thursday for home. Please keep your fingers crossed for us that everything goes as planned!

Let's see...Dave and I spent the day walking around Donetsk yesterday. The actual downtown of Donetsk is very nice. We found an English Pub and Restaurant with English menus (Yea!). The food was good and Dave enjoyed a couple beers. Then we went shopping because we wanted to buy Aubree some toys (and for you, too, Brenna!!) and some headbands for Aubree. Well, we found some head bands... after trying, forever, to explain to 5 different women what we wanted. They brought out a bunch of head bands and we picked three. And we, also, picked out a couple jars of food for Aubree. Well, we didn't check the price on the head bands because we much can they be?? The bill came to $350 gryvna!! We were like what?? but paid it because they couldn't speak English. So, we go out and look at the bill and the jars of food were very cheap but the head bands in US dollars were about $20 each!!! For cheap looking little streachy head bands!! So, we get back to the apartment and show our translator, Sergei, the head bands and he starts laughing at us. Turns out the head bands are a very expensive brand from France!! Those women took advantage of us silly Americans! We should have known when they had to go downtstairs in the basement to get the head bands out! That's the last time we go shopping without Sergei!

That's about all. We will post later tonight to let everyone know if our paper work in Kiev was signed. We should know by 7pm our time (11am your time). Take care everyone and as always...thanks for all your support!

Oh, Dave now has a cough on top of his cold so, hopefully, he will feel better soon.

Shannon and Dave

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


We went in for our visit with Aubree this morning and they said we wouldn't be able to see her today. She has a bad cold and they think she should rest for the day. We were very disappointed but until our court day they are in charge. So, Dave adnd I had our translator drop us off downtown and we are just spending the day walking around and shopping. And we ducked into this internet cafe to check on some e-mails and update our site.

Let's see...I don't think we have talked about the orphanage too much. It is a very nice orphanage and very clean. We have seen about 25 other babies ranging in ages 6 months to 2 years old. All of the children we have seen look very healthy! And they are almost all blue eyes and blond hair...except for our beautiful Aubree, of course. And I was hoping to find a child with dark hair and eyes because that's what I have so it worked out perfectly!! Anyway, the caregivers seem to take very good care of the children and it is obvious they love them very much. The children are not allowed to sit on the ground or play in the grass. So, we let Aubree go in the grass and touch it yesterday and she loved it. At first she looked at us like, 'I'm not suppose to be here', but then she enjoyed herself. The children seemed to be well fed and they seem to have a lot of activities like music class, exercise class and they spend alot of time outside playing. There are doctors to check on the children and see how they are doing and they seem to get the medicine they need if they are sick. We were told that Aubree even had an ultrasound recently and that all her internal organs look good. If anyone has any questions feel free to post them in the comment section or you can e-mail us at:

Oh, to my sister, Nikki....thank you, thank you, thank you for getting the doctor's letter we needed. You are the best. I knew we could count on you!!!

We'll post again soon!


Shannon and Dave

Monday, August 09, 2004


This was the best visit with Aubree so far. She was really having fun with us. She was, finally, walking around and really playing with us. And, again, she seemed happy to see us when we came to pick her up. She was even doing alot of "talking" and making lots of sounds. She let us hold her hand when we were walking with her... before she would pull her hand away if we tried to hold it. We were trying to teach her to give kisses and she was puckering up...very cute. Each day gets better and better. You can see new four new pictures of her in the "Introducing Aubree" album at:

Enjoy the pictures!

Shannon and Dave


with Aubree was good. She seemed to be happy to see us. She has a cold (on top of the chicken pox) and Dave has caught her cold so they are both sniffling and have runny noses. Aubree's chicken pox look better today, hopefully, she is getting over it now. We brought her bubbles today and she didn't know what to think of them...she just stared at them the whole time Dave was blowing them for her. She ended up falling asleep in Dave's arms so he loved that. We look forward to the afternoon visits because we get two hours to visit (in the morning we only get an hour).

Not much else going on. There is alot of down time to fill so we get homesick with having so much time to sit around and think of Brennie but we still get to talk to her, my sister and my parents every day so that helps. And Brenna sounds like she is doing really good. Everyone keeps her very busy and we know she is having loads of fun.

Again, thanks to all of you...Nik, Julie and others who, continously, e-mail us to offer support and to just chat so we have something to take our minds off things!

Please keep your fingers crossed for us that our paper work arrives from Kiev soon so we can have our court date by Thurs. at the latest!!

We will post some new pictures tonight after our afternoon visit with Aubree.


Saturday, August 07, 2004


But only one of Aubree which you can see in the "Family Photos" album. And then in the "Donetsk" album is a few pictures of the orphanage and the city we are in.

We can't see Aubree on Sundays so we probably won't post until Mon. Have a great weekend everyone!!

Shannon and Dave


Shannon and I had a good day with our little Aubree. We got her to smile and laugh, I think-(and hope!) she's warming up to us. We're finding out that she is very smart, from trying to whistle to blowing us her kisses. I don't know if we mentioned yet but Aubree is 19.5 pounds and 29 inches tall. She is also very curious and alert with everything. Brenna is going to love teaching her little sister new things. We still have to bribe her with little goodies when she starts getting ansty. Oh, she also has eight teeth, four and top and four on bottom. This orphange is wonderful. They really take great care of their children. We'll post more pictures soon with our great 28 kbps internet!!!!!!(VERY SLOW)



Friday, August 06, 2004


Here's our girl! In the last picture you'll notice a boo boo by her eye...she took a fall yesterday not on our watch! :) and banged up her eye pretty good.


We're so sorry it's taken so long to post. It has been crazy here with running around and all. And we can't get internet in our apartment and we have not been able to call home...we're going nuts with no contact! Anyway...

Aubree Diana will soon, officially, be a part of the family. We just knew she would be the one. As we were walking into the building I started daughter is in there and she doesn't even know who I am. Scary thought. When we walked in the music room, Aubree Diana, was standing with her back to us. She is a tiny little thing with a mass of curly, curly dark brown hair. Dave and I talked about it later and we had both decided before she even turned around that she was the kidding. When she turned around we were greeted with big, big black eyes. And she has the most adorable big lips and great big round cheeks! She is beautiful! She is 16 months old. She can walk and is potty trained. She seems to be very smart. She is very cautious. We weren't able to get many smiles out of her the first day. We started whistling to her and she loved that. She would just look back and forth between us and get the tiniest little smile on her face. And then she started trying to whistle herself. Too cute!! We gave her some cherry juice and she just about attacked the cup she liked it so much. She had that coffee cup (that's what they drink out of) and she had it plastered to her face because she couldn't get enough. Seriously, we could not pry it away from her face!! Finally, she was able to learn to drink through the straw right out of the juice box. And we gave her some snacks, too, which she, also, enjoyed. She seems to be very healthy. She is just getting over the chicken pox. They cover all the scabs with some green liquid stuff so if you notice it in pictures that's what it is. Speaking of pictures, we have taken many but don't know when we will be able to post. We're so SORRY about that!! We're going to try to get the internet working in the apartment tonight and then we will post some pictures. We are hoping to have our court date next Wed. or Thurs. and then we will head back to Kiev to get her medical check up and Visa and then will be able to fly home. We are hoping to be ready to come home Aug. 18th or 19th but we'll see. In the mean time, we get to see Aubree two times a day...9am-10am and 1pm-3pm. Not much but, hopefully, enough that she will be a little more comfortable with us by the time we are ready to head home. We'll post again when we can.

Hi Brennie girl!! We miss you more than you know and can't wait to get home and give you a million kisses and a million hugs!!! Aubree can't wait to meet you. We showed her your picture and she smiled! She loves you already! We'll call you soon, baby. We love you!!

Shannon and Dave

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


We leave tonight at 7:30pm (11:30am Wednesday your time) for Donetsk where the orphanage is located. We think it will be about a 13 hour train ride. Ugg! We could have flown but I am not crazy about flying (especially on smaller planes) so we are taking the train. We are hoping we will be able to head to the orphanage sometime Thurs. to meet Diana.

Dave keeps finding little bits and pieces of Brenna all over. He found her pink Barbie watch in one of the pockets on his cargo shorts. In another pocket he found one of her little pink rubber bands. And in yet another pocket he found a bunch of shells that Brenna picked up when we were at the beach. He got a little teary-eyed with each discovery. Jeez, when is the last time I washed those shorts!!??!!

Not much else new. We went to the Tiko Market again to get some snacks and water for the long train ride. (And we bought you a little present Brenna!!!) And, yes, Ken we got some more Mini Twix because they DO cover all the major food groups....we think so anyway!

Well, that's all for now. We will post again after we meet little Diana in Donetsk! We hope she's the one!

Shannon and Dave

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


We posted more pictures on our site:

We didn't do much today after the appointment. We walked around and went to the mall and then stopped by a street vendor to get some food. We aren't sure what we ate but it seemed like a pork tenderloin sandwich, a small pizza bread and a meat perogie. It was all pretty good. On our way back to the apartment we got caught in a down pour so we got good and wet and the streets were like flowing rivers! It is so hot here it felt good to feel the cold rain.

We haven't been to any restaurants yet. We just went to the Tikko Market and bought some groceries....salami, cheese, crackers, buns, turkey, mini twix bars and stuff like that so we could eat in the apartment. I guess, we are just more comfortable staying in.

We'll post again soon.

Again, thank you for the comments! We love reading them!

Shannon and Dave


Her name is Diana (pronounced DE-ON-NA). She was born April 8, 2003. She weighed about 7 pounds and was about 20 inches long at birth. In her picture (which was taken at about 1 month old) she had blue eyes and dark hair. When they called the orphanage to inquire about her they said she still has dark hair and blue eyes and is darker complected. She looks gorgeous in her baby picture. She has motor and speech delays which is normal, of course. Her file, also, says she has light stage anemia and she has a hernia. She is in Donetsk and we will travel there by train. We will leave Wednesday night to go there and, hopefully, meet her on Thurs. We were told this is a very nice orphanage. We are very excited to meet her!

The NAC appointment went very quick. Everyone was very kind.

We will let you know how our meeting with Diana (hopefully soon to be Aubree) goes.

Now Dave and I are going to head out and try to find some food!

Shannon and Dave

Monday, August 02, 2004


We are having a hard time sleeping. I guess, we are anxious about our appointment. And if Dave is having a hard time sleeping you know something is up!

I just wanted to remind everyone that if you leave a comment on this blog put your name at the end or we may have a hard time knowing who it is from because it doesn't leave an e-mail address. Thanks.

Thank you to everyone for the great comments and e-mails. Julie and Bob, thank you for thinking of Brenna and sending her a gift...I know she will be so excited when she gets it. You guys are great.

We talked to Brenna on the phone earlier but she got upset and started crying a little so I don't know how often we will talk to her from now on. My sister says she has been pretty good as far as missing us so talking to her may make it harder for her. We miss her so much...I didn't know it was going to be so hard and we've only been gone for a few days!

We'll post again after our appointment at the NAC.

Shannon and Dave


Our appointment is at 10:30am Tues. so we are very excited and nervous but just so happy to be getting in there.

Also, we got our laptop working thanks to Dave's boss (thank you, Ken, you're the best!!) who was very quick about e-mailing us some drivers for the modem that we needed. And now we can get on the internet in our apartment.

We just posted some pictures of the apartment at:

Our interpreter, Nastya, is picking us up at 8:40am Tues. so we can head to the NAC and, hopefully, get in a little early. We will let you know how the appt. goes. Please, keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Shannon and Dave

WE MADE IT!!!....

We're here. The 7 hour flight to Amsterdam was actually nice and comfortable if you can believe it. We flew Northwest/KLM and the service, food, movie, etc. was great. The flight from Amsterdam to Kiev was not so great. Smaller plane, smaller seats, hot...but it was only 2 and a half hours long so it was bearable. We used the VIP service at the Kiev airport and it is so worth it!! We were out of the airport in 15 minutes but would have been out of there in 5 minutes if we hadn't had to wait for our luggage to get off the plane. The lines were long but because we use the VIP we were able to get right past all the lines. I would use it again in a heart beat!! The apartment is about 30 minutes from the airport and is right in the middle of everything and right by the NAC. The apartment is very nice and very clean.

Now some bad news...our appt. at the NAC was canceled today (Mon.) and so we aren't happy about that as we have our daughter home back in the States and, obviously, want as few delays as possible so we're not off to a great start. But I know we have to expect the unexpected but it's hard when our 3 year old is at home waiting for us. We don't know when our appt. will be but are hoping it will be Tues.

We will post some pictures as soon as we can and, also, let you know when we have our appointment.

Take care,
Shannon and Dave