Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
OKAY- Have I clearly gone insane?? Is this too much color? Too wacky?
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
You know you are in the middle of an international adoption when..."
...you hand your driver an envelope full of cash and don't get a receipt.
...you set your alarm for 5 a.m. every morning so you can read the news out of Russia since Moscow is 9 hours ahead, hoping the two countries are still getting along.
...you worry about volcanoes erupting or fires burning, or wars breaking out or more cases of adopted Russian children being hurt and praying it doesn't affect your child and your court date.
...your emotional highs are so high, and the lows are oh so low
...you spend your nights reading about FAS, FAE and ADHD
...you believe everything you read on FRUA and it can make or break your day
...when you stare at your phone willing it to ring.
...eat ramen noodles for the 4th time this week because you are saving money.
...you get excited when you get mail from the Immigration office, even though you are a citizen
...the people at your local police department know you by name even though you've never committed a crime.
...you've had more medical exams in the months leading up to the adoption than you have in the last 5 years.
....you've never had HIV, TB, Hep, or Syph but have endured 3 or more tests for it just in case you caught it in the months between trip one and two! (maybe you caught it on the train in Siberia???)
...you actually WANT to travel more for business so you can earn some more Marriott points.
...when you can sign your name on official documents in a foreign language, in a foreign country, without understanding a word, and feel good about it.
...you know the definition of Apostille.
...the Fedex guy knows more about your day to day life than your Mother.
...You hyperventilate when you see a Fedex, Puroletter or UPS truck because now you are accustomed to NEEDING a document to arrive somewhere and FAST (and when they don't... see the one about highs and lows)
...you can recognize the regional / provincial IA office on caller I.D.
...when you have a new-found sense of patriotism and it's not for the USA.
...when you scan the google news reader for headlines with the word "Russia" or "Russian" in them.
...when you park in the "expectant mother" parking space at the mall and, while not pregnant, don't feel completely guilty!
...when you research flights to your region, just to get a feel for the trip that will take place only God-knows-when.
...you check your email every five minutes looking for an update.
...walking to the mail box gives you butterflies in your stomach, then when you don't find mail from anyone adoption related, you hop in the car and head out for some retail therapy.
...a blurry picture of a child in strange clothing becomes your most prized possession.
...you sew hidden pockets on an undershirt for you husband, so he can carry 15 grand in cash through 19 hours of flights and a 12 hour layover. (I know this one doesn't apply to most countries but it sure did us since wiring money to third world country is foolish at best)
...when you get left alone in the middle of Russia in a car with 10,000 dollars while your driver is taken away by the police. Then you are relieved to see he left the keys then realize you have no idea where you are. When your driver is returned about an hour later you could kiss him even though he is married.
...you know you are in the middle of an International Adoption in the Siberian wintertime when you can't figure out why there are people lined up on the side of the road in the middle of the night only to find out that it is 9:00 am and they are waiting to catch the bus for work!
...you exchange thousands of dollars with some random guy on the street and don't blink an eye.
...being in Siberia for 5 weeks becomes your new normal and it doesn't seem nearly as backwards or archaic until you walk through the automatic doors at the Mariott in Moscow and suddenly you've never wanted a Starbucks coffee so badly.
... savoring your Starbucks coffee after 5 weeks in Siberia, you feel more than a little guilty for being so lucky and so privileged knowing most of the world isn't as "well off" as you but you still can't believe you made it through
...you are so anxious to give someone you barely know your hard earned cash just because you don't want to carry it and risk losing it.
...you are in Siberia and you feel like you are the only person not drinking outside at 5pm on a Tuesday.
...you sign a contract that says you will do pretty much whatever someone tells you to do.
...you constantly check the time and then count backwards in your head to see what time it is where your child is.
...you are fingerprinted continuously....and have never committed a crime.
...people you have never met AND in some cases do not speak the same language know more about you then some of your family and friends.
Fingerprinting...I can't even talk about it!
...you are in a vehicle your husband refers to as the "terrorist van," holding (no car seat) your new baby while giving him milk (at least they said it was milk) from a glass bottle with a nipple stuck on the top, breathing in disgusting exhaust fumes while driving on terrible roads for 3 hours and thinking this is the best day of my life!
…when you go to your bank and ask for brand new $100 bills in sequential order and swear you are not doing anything illegal with them.
…when you know how to pronounce the words dossier and apostille
…when you notice every time the word adopt is used (adopt a road; adopt an animal; adopt a new law
...when - you have hundreds of people who don't even know you follow every tweet, peep and update you post about your situation! :)
...you've worn the same three outfits for twenty-two days in a row and have to do the laundry in the bathtub.
...it takes everything you have to NOT climb over the Marriott check-in desk to give the English speaking receptionist a hug.
...your flight from JFK to Moscow is cancelled, so you somehow end up flying to Rome, Italy with no promise of getting on a flight to Russia. You'll figure it out once you get to Italy. And you do.
...you stop counting at the $42,000 mark because you can't stand the thought of how much this is costing.
...you know what it's like to give your heart away to a child they just brought in the room 30 seconds prior.
...you walk by a picture on the refrigerator each day and stroke a little cheek and whisper, I'll be back soon and pray they aren't missing you as bad as you miss them.
...when you hold your breath as you hoist your suitcase packed for 5 weeks for the two of you and pray to the suitcase Gods "Please let this be under the limit - I promise not to ever over pack again if you could just let this one be under... just this once"
...When you find yourself in an airport on Christmas eve without your passport, not knowing what is wrong but holding your breath and holding back tears because "there's no crying in Russia" and clinging to strangers as they help patch together your life and trip all without knowing a little boy is waiting across their HUGE country.
... when it's all over, finally exhaling and reflecting on how much endurance, strength and courage it took just to make it through... and knowing you'd do it all agian if it meant you got to have your child sleeping in the next room.
...when you never stop caring about the people still waiting for their children or the children waiting for their families. When your heart breaks for a stranger because there are jut more and more delays but you are so thankful it wasn't you
...when the eyes and smiles of that one special little one from your child's groupa haunt you from home and you hope that they find their family because you couldn't just shove them in your suitcase to bring them along too.
When the journey finally ends and life begins... you know you've adopted from Russia.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
January is a month of new beginnings. This is what I wrote on January 22:
Mother's Day is May 9th. I hope I remember to do something nice for my mother. A special person that raised 6 kids, at least two handfuls of neighbor kids and a boatload of grandchildren. Mother's Day. Maybe 2011 it will mean something completely different for me. Maybe.
On the weekend of May 9th I had a great weekend with my mom (and other moms too!). We had breakfast together and then drove to Tallahassee down 90 on a beautifully sunny spring day. The road was lined with yellow, pink and purple flowers. We listened to the radio and talked and when we arrived in Tallahassee we had a quick lunch and checked into our hotel.
I went to baby shower for some wonderful friends who I had not seen for awhile, and then had a very very nice dinner with mom. After dinner we hung out at the hotel and had a good nights sleep. The next morning I gave my mom a card that I had made for her before having breakfast and taking a long drive down the canopy roads in the country before heading back home.
It was a perfect weekend. I love my mom. She really is the best.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Cute baby video below! Check it out.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is our understanding that there has been no change in the status of on-going inter-country adoptions originating from Russia. Many thousands of Russian children, who were not adopted by Russian families, have found loving, safe and permanent homes in the United States through inter-country adoption. We are pleased to be discussing with the Russian government a future approach to ensure intercountry adoptions continue.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
(AP) – 6 hours ago
MOSCOW — A senior Russian official says Russia and the United States have reached agreement on all key issues for a bilateral agreement on adoptions.
Children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said Wednesday that the draft agreement is expected to be approved on Friday and is likely to be signed within two months.
Russia has been urging the United States to sign an agreement on adoptions following the case of an 8-year-old Russian boy sent back to Moscow alone last month by his adoptive American mother.
Russian officials say they want more control over U.S. adoptions and the living conditions of Russian children in the United States.
Some 1,800 Russian children were adopted in the United States last year, according to the Russian Education and Science Ministry.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
There has been no official suspension in adoptions of Russian orphans by American parents. However, in some parts of Russia, we are aware that adoptions are being slowed down or delayed. The United States and Russia held their first round of talks on adoption issues in Moscow on April 29. The discussions focused on the U.S. and Russian concerns regarding protecting the welfare and rights of children being adopted internationally. The talks were productive and an expert-level working group will travel to Moscow for further discussions on an adoption agreement on May 12, 2010.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
April 20, 2010
We have received no official notification that adoptions of Russian orphans by Americans have been suspended, but it is clear the recent controversy has slowed down adoptions in some parts of the country.
Volcanic ash prevented the U.S. delegation from traveling to Moscow over the April 17th weekend.The talks in Moscow between U.S. and Russian officials are now rescheduled for April 29 and 30. The United States plans to emphasize the importance of this issue, and will discuss our mutual concerns about how to better protect the welfare and rights of children and all parties involved in intercountry adoptions. Many thousands of Russian children have found loving, safe and permanent homes in the United States through intercountry adoption. Families in the United States have adopted more than 50,000 children from Russia.
UPDATE: Okay, so it is currently 3:20 a.m. on the 29th in Moscow. Are we settled?
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I don't know what you had for breakfast.
I don't know if you laughed
or if you cried.
I don't know what you're wearing.
Or if you smiled.
I don't know how you smell,
or how soft your skin is
I don't know what color your hair is
or your eyes
Or if you've felt the rain
or sun on your face
Do you like the sound of soft music?
Are your feet and hands oh so soft?
I don't know who you are...
but I do know that I love you.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Keeping our thoughts with those already planning trips who have met their referral.
Hoping for the best.
Knowing things will work out just fine.
(CNN) -- Top officials from the U.S. State Department plan to travel to Moscow this week to push Russia to allow adoptions by U.S. families to continue.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Meanwhile, we can't do anymore paperwork until I get the prints. We have everything ready to go, ready to be notorized and apostilled...BUT we don't want the dates on these documents to expire...so we wait...wait wait wait.
8 weeks is a long time when your heart is anxious.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Does a child really need so many giant plastic toys? I really am overwhelmed by the yards full of plastic toys that I drive by...sitting covered in pollen and mildew neglected in the Florida heat. The houses I visit with piles and piles of plastic untouched toys in the corner. The parent who says "she never plays with those, she'd rather play with the cardboard or in the the dirt." I dearly hope that I don't fall into that consumerist mode. There's more to parenting than shopping. My nieces would rather I push them on the tire swing or play a game where I hide toys in the yard for them to find. I've bought plastic doll houses at yard sales for them and they sit in the yard today. They played with them for a few minutes (literally) and then never touched them again.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sometimes it is easy to forget where you are going if you don't stop and smell the roses along the way.
My best friend (Mr. N) and I went to Miami for a few days for business, but we did get to spend some quiet time together and we also enjoyed some great meals and good friends. He and I walked through the Fairchild Gardens and took time to laugh and love. We talked about our future and how wonderful it will be to have our little burunduk to share all of this with.
He really is amazing. I know that he will be the best dad ever.
The only thing that can make the roses along the path smell sweeter is having a tiny hand to hold while we're doing it (and a tiny nose to share it with).
We love you...wherever you are.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
In addition to getting the registration documents done last night I also called the agency to review the dossier. It looks pretty easy and at least half of it was done with the home study! I haven't looked at some of the forms, but it's nothing we can't tackle. I also started the I-600 form. Today I made sure that we could use the home photos and passports that we already did and we can! Whew! I also went to the courthouse and got certified copies of our deeds. Moving right along. We can't move too fast though because we need to save $$$. If we move fast and finish this year we might get the tax credit...but we don't have the upfront cash at the moment....soooooooooo. Kind of a double edge sword. I know it will all work itself out and I shouldn't get too stressed out. I should work at a pace that I am happy with...and that is what I plan to do. :)
This weekend our good friends J and A are getting married and we are very excited. It will be a happy occasion for so many. I am glad that tomorrow is Friday.
I am thankful that I get to have this experience with the most wonderful man in the world. I really am lucky! I have a wonderful life with a great husband, wonderful family, fantastic friends and cute furry children.
Monday, March 8, 2010
My birthday was last week and Mr. N. and I had a special day together the day before. We went for a drive and had a delicious lunch. The whole day was perfect and the sun was out...not too hot. Gotta love Florida springs!
Sorry I have been slow to post about our progress but really nothing has been going on. We have been working on the registration paperwork which was pretty easy but it took us a few weeks to complete. I think we needed a little rest after the home study. We sent notarized copies of the passports to the department of state for the apostille today. Whew! accomplishment! The rest of the paperwork for the registration is complete so once the passports are back we can send in the whole packet. Of course we are still waiting on my FBI background checks (the re-do) to finalize the home study (and that could still be 2 months). This week (and yes I know I've said it before) I am going to start the dossier. I will call the coordinator this week to review all of the needed documents. Hopefully Wednesday...Tuesday is out because LOST is on and we can't miss that. We are excited about starting the dossier! I just want to get all this paperwork DONE! I found a t-shirt online yesterday that says "so far no morning sickness...but the paper cuts are terrible!" That about sums it up for us.
Hang in there sweets...mama and daddy will be there soon!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
We just finished the home study and we are starting the dossier.
What month do you predict for a referral?
What month do you predict for trip one?
There's no money involved here...just a little harmless fortune telling :)
Mr. N. and I have our votes...but we won't be telling what they were until the time comes.
Your vote? Please leave a comment. Don't be shy. Share your predictions!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
A little bit closer to getting our little chipmunk home! Today we mailed off the home study packet and the first of many big checks. Very exciting. We have however been slightly foiled by Uncle Sam...who did not like my FBI fingerprints so now I have to have them redone. Could be another 10 weeks. We have plenty of paperwork to do between now and then so it's no big deal, but the fingerprinting bit wasn't much fun. You think they use the nice electronic fingerprinting? No, it's all caveman style with ink and paper. The police officer was not happy that he had to do this...he said he didn't like getting ink on his hands...and getting out the other stone-age equipment was a pain. I so look forward to his face when I come in a second time. Mr. N.'s fingerprints on the other hand came back perfect. No problem. Oh well, just another hurdle among many more to come I am sure.
For my birthday (which is in a few weeks) my sister-in-law and her family gave me a bunch of adorable clothes for our Burunduk! She also had some beautiful cloth blocks made...and an adorable gnome named Gabe. I will post pictures of them soon! If you go to Two Stray Cats on Etsy you will see them. They are the green ones with the mushrooms.
Here is the Etsy store!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I live in Florida so catching snowflakes is virtually out of the question. I said virtually since on occasion we do have snow (on a very very very RARE occasion that is). When we do have snow, the flakes usually melt when they touch the ground...but you can catch them on your tongue. Tiny little fragments from the sky that can be so rewarding to someone that never sees snow.
Only a few more flakes of home study paperwork to catch and we can write this part of the process off of the list! Today is February 9th, 2010. By Friday the 12th (Jordan's birthday!) we will be done with our home study paperwork. We just got the LAST certificate from our parenting classes. Mr. N will get his medical form tomorrow. CPR on Thursday. That's it. Saturday make copies and mail it in!
So what's next?
Home study visit
NOPE! Surprise, we did that last Sunday and it was SO easy. I was freaking out for nothing. I kept the visit on the down low to keep me from being antsy. The social worker was very very nice. He spent about an hour and a half with us asking some general questions all of which we had discussed before. We were pretty well informed thanks to all the reading and the APs that I have become friends with (thanks to you all). The listservs are also helpful. I recommend reading and knowing as much as possible...but the questions are mostly about how you were brought up, your beliefs about parenting, what you will do with the child while you are at work, etc. The walk through the house was probably less than 5 minutes so don't worry about the dirt! Just clean up the clutter. The only question he asked that threw us off was "describe your personality." Yikes, we didn't brush up on this. We nailed the visit. He said he'd have the report written and sent in before Friday.
This is a set of paperwork much like the home study but not as detailed. It's for the agency. Compared to the home study it should be easy. In fact there is some cross-over so I can just make extra copies from the home study. I ordered extra marriage certificates and birth certificates so that isn't a problem. The hard part will be the technical part. They made drop down PDFs for some of the documents but they don't seem to work right. UGH.
Once the registration paperwork is done we will start working closely with the agency on the dossier. This part is more complicated. I'll get into this later in the process. Right now it seems far away and a bit daunting...but then again a month ago the home study paperwork was frightening and far away and miraculously we are here now.
That's the update! I hope that one day other PAPs will be reading our blog and learning from it like I have learned from the blogs of so many before me. I hear about their children and see the pictures and it's hard to put myself in that place right now. It seems like a dream. I wonder if they look back at how they felt when they were at this stage, or if they have moved so far away from it they they have forgotten?
Good night all...and thank you for reading and supporting us!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Well...not quite heartless. I have made dozens and dozens of paper hearts, but I have to confess that I haven't kept up with making one every day. I have some catching up to do. I'm not a bad person...I'm a busy person. I do feel a little guilty though for not making them EVERY day. I'm still counting the days until we have him (or her) in our arms. Every day we get past brings them a little closer to us.
Today is my mom's birthday! I had planned on taking her to Cedar Key for a boat ride, but the forecast said it would be in the high 50s here...meaning that it would be pretty cold on the water. It think it's probably in the 60s here...still too cold on the water so we postponed the day (she's 70 today!) for a few weeks when the weather will be awesome. My sister and I have a surprised party planned for her tonight. The whole family and a spaghetti dinner at my sisters. Hopefully no one has spoiled the surprise. Well see 2 more hours!
Sunday, January 31, 2010
The weekend has been great, and things are progressing for us in a big way. We're almost done with the home study paperwork. The actual home study is very soon. I need to train my dogs to behave better. :)
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I have some really neat seashells in my bathroom window, one of which is some kind of purple sea urchin shell. I found it when we were at Long Boat Key with our friends J and A. The trip was awesome and SO relaxing. Looking at the shells I imagined what it will be like to take our little guy or girl there with us some time. It will be so much fun. Mr. N. and I have been so many places and experienced so much joy in our lives that I can't help but become giddy when I think of all the things that we'll be able to share with our little one. When we drove to Daytona for our seminar we passed some parks and hiking trails along the way and Mr. N. said "think of all of the wonderful places we will be able to take our baby." He's right...and I'm ready.
* The pictures to the right are all from our trip to Longboat Key. You can see the sea urchin shell on the left (just the edge of it). I don't know the little boy but he was awfully cute.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
It made me think of our baby- the baby that MIGHT be crying on the other side of the world. I wondered if anyone was picking him up, holding him, settling him down. This is the part that hurts me the most. So many children, so few caregivers...no one to pick them up when they cry.
Baby, if you are here on this earth today...and you cry...I hope (with a hope beyond compare) that someone picks up you and caresses you.
hugs, kisses, and the sweetest of dreams~
mama and daddy
Friday, January 22, 2010
I hope I remember to do something nice for my mother. A special person that raised 6 kids, at least two handfuls of neighbor kids and a boatload of grandchildren.
Maybe 2011 it will mean something completely different for me. Maybe.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Several people have asked me all kinds of questions about Russia (make sure you read these Jordan)! Here are some links for you guys!
Friday, January 15, 2010
My husband is wonderful! Not for anything in particular that he did for me today...but just for being who he is everyday. I know that I am lucky, and for this I am grateful.
I just got back from a business trip. While I was away I had a wonderful dream. I was on a farm and I came around the corner of a barn and Mr. N. was standing next to a hand-hewn wood fence petting a horse and holding a beautiful baby girl in a yellow dress. The sun was shining down and they had a glow around them that was unbelievable. He looked up and smiled. I smiled back and felt a deep sense of happiness. It all felt so real.
I want to wake up each day feeling like that.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
I really don't have much to post. Not much is going on. It has been cold here for the past week in the 20s-40s. We are waiting for our FBI fingerprints to clear and Mr. N. has to have a physical (our doctor is on vacation) so we wait. Meanwhile we have signed up for our parenting classes and our CPR class. We have been working a little on the child's room. It keeps me focused and settled and happy. Sometimes we just open the door and stare inside. I like going in there. It is a happy place full of so much joy and hope.
Aunt K and Uncle J are bringing us a glider rocking chair! We are really excited. They are supposed to bring it tomorrow and come see the room too.
Well, like I said...not much going on. I am posting two pictures of the room.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
We finished a few more paperwork items (thanks Aunt J and Grandma!) and took pictures of the house this weekend. I think the HS packet will be ready to send in soon. Maybe this week (fingers crossed). Having days off this week really allowed us to accomplish a lot towards our goal! Way to go Mr. N. and Mama (patting us on the back).
Vacation over. Back to the real world tomorrow. Over and Out.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Dearest little baby,
Today is January 1, 2010. I don't know this...but my guess is that you are probably born by now. You are soft and sweet and in your crib. The time in Moscow right now is 4:48 a.m. It is January 2nd for you! As always you are on my mind tonight. When I look into the sky and see the moon I know that we are sharing the same moon (I hope you get to see it some times...but if not I will make sure that you will see it often in the warm arms of mama and daddy). When I wake up and look outside and see the sun I know that we are sharing the same sun (I hope you get to see it some times...but if not I will make sure that you will see it often in the warm arms of mama and daddy too). Please know that we love you. Please know that we wish you were here with us...instead of where you are now. You belong here. Please know that we are working as fast as we can so that the three of us can share many many moons and suns...and stars. We love you. Happy New Year sweet baby.
loving you forever,
mama and daddy
*The image tonight is a work by Kana Handel called "Prayer for Someone Crying." Her work is amazing. and I recommend checking out her site http://kanasarts.com/MainFrameSet.html. Thank you Kana for the beautiful things you do!