Friday, December 28, 2012


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Russian Adoption Today

Best estimates say that there are nearly 300,000 Russian children in orphanages, about two-thirds of whom have parents who can't or won't support them.

In the past two decades, 60,000 Russian orphans have been adopted by American families. Russia has provided incentives for Russians to adopt, and adoptions have increased over the past few years to approximately 7,000 per year, but there is a stigma with adoption in Russia, and unless the child is deemed “perfect” they are considered “unadoptable.” Many of these “imperfections” are minor correctable needs, or medical conditions that are not easy to correct in Russia, but common in the US.

These children are part of the 60,000 I mentioned above. In 15 years, our adoption agency has completed 7500+ adoptions from Russia.

In the past 15 years, 19 Russian adopted children have been killed or abused in America. For this we are greatly saddened, embarrassed, sickened. During the same time frame 1200+ children have died living with adoptive families in Russia. I haven’t seen the statistics regarding the death of children in orphanages and mental institutions and I am not sure they exist.

I am writing this to beg the Russian government to PLEASE forget about politics and think of the children! Please THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

In 2012, we adopted our beautiful girl. She is surviving and thriving and growing in so many amazing ways. As with all children adopted from Russia, she was seen and rejected by Russian families. If we didn’t adopted her, where would she be now? Every child, every human deserves the love of family. That’s what makes us human.

Please, today put aside your differences and take a look at the huge number of children living in America that have the love of a family. Please.

Thank you,

~a lucky mama of a Russian girl

I used Google Translate for this...I hope it came out okay...

Лучшие оценки сказать, что есть почти 300.000 русских детей в детских домах, примерно две трети из которых имеют родителей, которые не могут или не будут их поддерживать.
В последние два десятилетия, 60000 русских сирот были приняты американскими семьями. Россия предоставила стимулы для россиян принять, и усыновлений возросло за последние несколько лет около 7000 в год, но есть клеймо с принятием в России, и если ребенок не считается "идеальным" они считаются "unadoptable". Многие из этих "недостатков" незначительные потребности исправлены, или заболеваний, которые не так легко исправить в России, но распространена в США.
Эти дети являются частью 60000 я упоминал выше. В 15 лет, наши агентства по усыновлению завершила 7500 + усыновления из России.
В течение последних 15 лет, 19 русских усыновленных детей были убиты или жестокому обращению в Америке. За это мы очень опечален, смущение, отвращение. За тот же срок 1200 детей + умерли, живущих с приемными семьями в России. Я не видел статистику относительно гибели детей в детских домах и психиатрических учреждениях, и я не уверен, что они существуют.
Я пишу это, чтобы просить правительство России пожалуйста, забудьте о политике и думать о детях! Пожалуйста, подумайте о детях.
В 2012 году мы приняли нашу красивую девушку. Она выживает и процветает и растет так много удивительных способов. Как и все дети, усыновленные из России, она была замечена и отвергнут русских семей. Если бы мы не приняли ее, где бы она сейчас? Каждый ребенок, каждый человек заслуживает любви к семье. Это то, что делает человека человеком.
Пожалуйста, сегодня отложить в сторону свои разногласия и взглянуть на огромное число детей, живущих в Америке, что есть любовь к семье. Пожалуйста.


~ счастливая мама русской девушки, 0,3690767. историю

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


For those of you lurkers who are wondering...YES! I am still advocating for Sylvie. We have 12 days to raise $253.00 to meet our goal of $1000. Some of this comes from auctions and sales I have done, but MOST has come from the love and generosity of friends and people that care about children like Sylvie. FRIENDS LIKE YOU!!! Will you please share the word on your blog or facebook page and ask your friends and family to help fill in the gap? WE ARE SO SO CLOSE!!!

Here she is...



Friday, December 14, 2012

Pinterest and Others

Hi! Lil' Bee has been home for 9 months as of yesterday! Time REALLY flies! She's not even the same kid she was a few months ago. She on the fast track for learning and growing. It really is amazing. She is a really special girl. She has a great imagination, she's funny, smart, beautiful, creative...and so much more. Just thought you'd like a quick update.

As for the Pinterest challenge. I have not totally given up, I'm just lazy when it comes to downloading the camera and posting these days. Here are two recent challenges...

1) Southwest Chili Mac.
This version is made with Chicken. As a vegetarian we switched it up. I used vegetable broth and Boca Burger crumbles. Also, I used mini bow tie pasta (the Bee calls them butterflies) because I couldn't find pinwheels. I didn't get a photo because we ate it...but here is the website and here is a photo.

2) I made a Christmas jar. This is the one I pinned. They used some fancy vintage jars:

This one is mine. The photo doesn't do it justice. Maybe I will shoot it again. I made with both with the jar upright and upside down. Papa liked it best upside down so that's what we did! I bought the tree and sparkly snow at Walmart and the little deer a few months ago at Michaels.

That's all!


Thursday, November 15, 2012


I think E might be a teenager disguised as a 33 month old. This morning we went in to wake her up and tell her good morning (like we do every day). Today she said "Stay here" and "Close it!!" while curled up in bed and pointing at the door...ugh. We will have our work cut out for us!


Thursday, November 1, 2012


Today marks day one  of my push to raise adoption funds for little Sylvie! You can read more in a post down below. She's so cute I can hardly stand it!! Won't you help a family adopt this little cutie pants? Some ways to help are listed below OR you can do the following!

Donate DIRECTLY to Reece's Rainbow for Sylvie. Paypal or credit card will work! ANY AMOUNT WILL HELP! It couldn't be easier:

or you can buy something at my online Tastefully Simple party...also easy and has a delicious twist! These items will be great for the holidays for meals, parties or gifts. The beautiful thing is that 20% will go to Sylvie's fund. WIN WIN...Sylvie has funds towards her adoption and you have a full belly! :)

Please shop now and show the love!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One Year Really?

There was a time when meeting our daughter or son was just a short story or maybe an amazing dream. I envisioned it so many times and it just wasn't happening. It didn't seem real. So many failed fingerprint attempts and little setbacks...things that, at the time left me crying and in despair...things that I now know set us on the path that we were meant to follow. An incredible E.

One year ago today we stepped off a train and into the snowy darkness. We were met by two beautiful ladies and were whisked away for a quick breakfast and a short meeting before taking what we thought would be the long drive to meet the girl that we hoped would be our daughter. To our surprise...the long journey was really just around the corner (only 5 minutes from the hotel).

One year ago today, a door opened and a tiny girl in a pink shirt and jeans was standing right at the entrance looking up as us (I still remember her with a halo)

One year ago today our hearts became three. We loved you right away. We needed you and you needed us.

One year ago today I could put scent, a touch, a physical feeling...something more tangible to the dream. You sang, you toddled around with unsure footing, you were scared...we were too.

I held you
I caressed you
I loved you

The dream was real. I'm still pinching myself.

Time has gone by so quickly. It really has. I can't believe that it has been a year since the day we met you.

I hope that you are as happy we are your mommy and papa as we are that you are our daughter. I hope that I am living up to the promises that I made you.

Dear daughter, I love you more that words can say.

Happy one year metchaversary!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'm A Christmas Warrior!!

Won't you help me reach my goal? Starting November 1st I will be raising money for the Warm Shelter AND for this little honey, Sylvie. She's three months younger that Lil' E and has Down's Syndrome. Isn't she beautiful? My goal is $1000 for Sylvie. The funds raised will go towards helping a family adopt her!! How can you help? Christmas is coming and it's time to clean out those closets!! How about cleaning out the closets and garage and having a garage sale with the proceeds going to Sylvie!!!??? Here are a few more ideas or ways to share the cause:


  • Blogs- Put Sylvie on your blog!
  • FaceBook- Ask your friends to support her
  • Twitter- Again, share this lil' angel with your friends
  • Traditional e-mails to family and friends
  • Local Down Syndrome Associations
  • Use a Christmas Card Challenge!
  • Christmas/ New Year Giving Parties
  • Spaghetti Dinners
  • High school or college civic group donations
  • Coordinate a 5K run or other group activity through our “One Step Closer to Home” program
  • Reach out to local businesses for support
  • Have a bake sale
  • Are you a teacher? Have your class be a warrior for a child!
  • Have a video game tournament!
  • Give the $1000 yourself!
  • The list goes on and on!

If anyone wants to work with me on any of these projects let me know!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

Ugh...I forgot to post my last Pinterest projects. Little bees for the Little Bee! It was our turn to provide the snacks for snack day! The ones I have on Pinterest are butterflies...but our Bee needed bees so here they are!!

I also made the OTHER oatmeal chocolate chip cookies...and THEY ARE GOOD! I added a dash of cinnamon to mine. These were made as part of the auction and shipped to some lovely and generous ladies!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Things I Must Do Better Now

There are a lot of things that I thought I was capable of doing before E came into my life. She disagrees. Here's a list of things that she feels I cannot do without assistance from her. I'm not sure how I ever made it this far in life.

1) Closing doors
2) Locking my car doors
3) Putting clothes in the dryer
4) Starting the microwave
5) Pooping
6) Feeding the animals
7) Sweeping the floor
8) Eating any food on my plate
9) Flushing the toilet
10) Turning off a light
11) Turning on a light
12) Brushing my teeth
13) Carrying anything cumbersome and/or over 50lbs.
14) Taking a shower

The list will continue...


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Yum Yum for a Cause!

Hi Everyone! My friend Amy who has been a blessing to fundraising efforts for the Warm Shelter and is just a genuinely good person and mama has started hosting Tastefully Simply parties and giving the funds raised to good causes. Party number one is for little Willow a sweet little girl who needs some sponsorship funds.  Not only is this for a good cause, but I've heard DELICIOUS comments about the products from Tastefully Simple so I don't think you'll be disappointed. Please put AMY LIVINGSTON in as your host

Here is the link to the Facebook event:

Not on Facebook?

Here's the link:

Remember to make Amy Livingston your host!!


Thanks friends!! Enjoy your treats (I've ordered some beer bread mix!)


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


March 18th was the first day we woke up in our home as a family of three.'s only been six months? Seems like she's been a part of us forever.
~One lucky mama

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fear and Grieving

I'm not sure that I ever talked about my emotions on Gotcha Day. I was so excited to pick up the Little Bee. I couldn't wait to get to the orphanage and bust her out. I had thought about it for so long...and then there we were. Sitting in the room with all the little children who WEREN'T coming home to a new mama and papa and a family that loved them and wanted to make everyday special for them. Children that weren't #1 to anyone. Children that the Little Bee played with every day, went to bed with every day, dined with every day, woke up with every day...the only home she had ever known and suddenly...

I had a fear of taking her from the only home she had ever known.

I grieved for the children we were leaving behind. 

For the little frozen boy that stood there terrified because he was just dropped off. For little D who only wanted me to cuddle him on my shoulder (forever) when he bumped his head on the floor...for the others. The tiny faces that were part of my dreams since we first set foot in the orphanage 5 months earlier.

I too was frozen.

J kept asking me if I was ready to dress E and leave. I shook my head no.

I stalled.

It took me awhile to work up the nerve to dress her and to say goodbye to the children that I would never see again. That she would never see again.

She cried. I cried.

These emotions were unexpected. I thought it would only be joy and delight, and I had that...but I also had fear and I also had grieving.

Sometimes I still cry for those little faces.

Then I think of E and the laughter and the giggles. Our #1. I am happy to make every day special for you my sweet Bee.

I love you.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Auction Update

Here's a little update (thanks Amy):

The first purchase with our auction money has been made!! Warm winter clothing was purchased with the first $200 transferred over- the rest will be transferred when our coordinator returns from vacation. Here's the letter from our facilitator:

"Yesterday I went on the market and bought warm things there (in the market of a thing usually cheaper, than in shops). It is overallses and jackets for autumn and winter and some small things for the rest of money. When I told to the hostess of things that I buy it for a orphanage, she gave me one more overalls free of charge. Today I was in the Warm shelter and gave all things. [The nurse] was very glad and surprised that all things new and beautiful. She told that inhabitants of Pskov often bring absolutely old things. The personnel doesn't want to offend people, and thanks them. But then they doesn't know what to do with these things - after all for small children important to observe hygiene. Your things certainly were pleasant to all. At first we considered it with the personnel . Then just children woke up and all started to try on clothes with pleasure. (Though then children were a little afflicted, as they hoped, they are going to conduct for walk). Laura, excuse that I not always do everything quickly. I haven't enough days off, but I want to make everything whenever possible better. For example, if I bought things in shop near to my house, they would be more expensive almost twice. One overalls there cost nearly 3 thousand rubles, and I could buy thus only two and several trifles. And in the market I bought four sets (moreover the fifth get as a gift), hats, a little knitted trousers. I am very happy with result and it was pleasant to me to see pleasure and gratitude of children and the personnel. [The nurse] wrote the small letter. There it is written approximately so: From office the Warm shelter: By us it is received from [our facilitator] warm clothes for children. With huge gratitude to all philanthropists - now we can walk with children in a cold season. Thanks for your kindness and understanding! 09.05.2012. And once again I thank you - you and all donors is such good fellows!"
Such good news! I am very excited to send the next installment (once our US facilitator returns from vacation) and will soon work on a plan for another benefit. Please stayed tuned...and as always I will take cash for them anytime. Just let me know!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pinterest Updates

The Pinterest Challenge is really hard with a two year old. I may not be doing one a week...but I have done a few.

I have made this before, but I was reminded of how wonderful they are via Pinterest and made a giant batch. I don't have a photo of the ones I made as they went to friends...or in our tummies. This is just the Pinterest photo. These cookies are in the style of Neiman Marcus. Pretty yummy.

I also LOVE Halloween and I've started putting E in "Halloween Boot Camp"...practicing saying "trick or treat,"singing songs, and making decorations...also learning the critical things, like what a jack-o-lantern is. I found a cute hand print spider and also a cute finger paint project that involves writing with masking tape and painting over it. I helped her embellish a little bit of web and the spider details but the rest is all E! I combined the two Pinterest pins and made this...I think this should be two points for the challenge (since it involves TWO pins)! She is very proud...and so am I. She's definitely an artist!

This is the inspiration for the hand print:

This is the inspiration for the lettering:

I also found this silhouette of a witch that I loved...

And decided to  make my own..."witch" I actually like better!!

I was looking for a cool oval frame at yard sales (and also eyeballing trash piles while driving), but I never found anything. I then saw this frame at Ross and it was already black! $7.00 for the frame, some black paper, a grocery bag and some ribbon and we are in Halloween business!

I am still working on details for the little store. I want to make a little awning but I haven't found the perfect fabric yet.

Happy pining!!


Thursday, August 23, 2012


Hi! A little over 5 months home so I figured I'd give a few E updates

  • She's chewing! This is a huge deal. We are now trying to get her to try new foods and textures.
  • She's talking A LOT and putting words together like "big red truck" "pink ball"
  • She started day care three days a week and is doing great. She says "Fun!"
  • She loves Santa and likes watching videos of Santa and carrying around an ugly yard sale Santa (and making me kiss it)
  • She calls me MOMMY now!
  • She loves to make us laugh
  • She had a speech therapy assessment and is on par with a 2 year old!

Overall she is doing great and I thank my lucky stars and I hope it continues going this well. She is a blessing to us and our family.

Thanks for following! I will have more posts on the auction soon, as well as an official amount that we will be able to send to the Warm Shelter.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bee Girl

One year ago today we got six little photos in my IN BOX that changed our lives forever. A sweet little 18 month old girl in a yellow dress. What a wonderful world indeed.





Friday, August 10, 2012

Warm Shelter Update


To all that have donated or participated in the auction…and those that want to participate or donate in the future. The orphanage has regularly placed a plea for assistance in the media and has had the community give them some second hand clothing, strollers and toys. People from the community have also volunteered to spend time with the children and take them for walks. This is wonderful! The sad news is that the staff has been cut significantly. The biggest problem they are facing right now is the lack of medicine. Our plan right now is to send some of the money from the auction and from generous friends by transfer with the Congress of Russian Americans. At this point we will only send a small amount to make sure that it goes smoothly. I hope to accomplish this goal before August 20th. If it works well we will send more money. In addition, the family that brought our donations last time will be traveling soon on trip two, and they will bring money and buy more medicine and winter clothing when she arrives. Sergey, the loving director/doctor of the orphanage sends a warm hello and a big thank you to all that have supported our efforts! THANK YOU!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012



Monday, August 6, 2012

Auction is Closed Dear Friends

The donations and bids from friends and family to support the orphanage in Pskov is POWERFUL. Thanks so much for the love for these children. You donations will make a nice dent in the needs of the orphanage and for this I cannot thank you enough. In the past two weeks we have made $1290. That surpasses our goal and makes me very happy. I would also like to thank the Pskov mamas that worked so hard on this, particularly Amy who really did all the work! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! Also, a huge thanks to Whitney who will make the exchange happen (after buying all of the donations with your dollars)! Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! Sending you all my love...


Sunday, August 5, 2012


Hi all,

The auction is going great but your bids are still important to help the children at the Warm Shelter in Pskov. If you haven't bid already please take a look at the great things available to you until TONIGHT (August 5) AT 10:00! There are many great things to bid on- some of them with super low bids! If you HAVE bid already please check and make sure no one is swarming in to outbid you at the last second!

This auction is very important to our family, but it is even MORE IMPORTANT to these children in need! REMINDER: The orphanage has lost their funding and they are struggling for even the most basic things such as diapers and medicine!!

Here is the link to the auction:
that ends TONIGHT at 10:00!!

If you want to donate cash I will take that too! Please email me at!

Thank you!


Sunday, July 22, 2012


Hi everyone! The auction to save the Little Bee's orphanage has officially BEGUN!! Please bid and please share the link with your friends (and ask them to share it with their friends!). There's tons of cool stuff...including original artwork by The Bee herself! Thank you thank you thank you!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sneak Peek...

Hi everyone! The online auction starts tomorrow at 1:00 EASTERN time and will run until Sunday, August 5th 10:00 PM EASTERN time. Please note that this is just a sneak preview. If you bid before the auction starts your bid will be deleted so please wait until 1:00 EASTERN time. Thank you for bidding and for helping the Little Bees first family.  :)


Hearts on Strings...

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Before you start thinking that I have abandoned the Pinterest challenge because I am busy looking for stuff and making jewelry for the auction STARTING SUNDAY, let me just tell you what I've been up to...

1) Pinterest cleaning challenge. The idea was that I could put a few caps full of vinegar in 2 cups water and microwave for 5 minutes and then my microwave would wipe clean. After microwaving for 20 minutes it still wouldn't wipe clean. Granted I had spaghetti sauce blow up in it, but clearly it wouldn't clean in 5 minutes no matter what. Here's the pin that failed me. That's pretty what my microwave looked like before(on the top) and also after. I opted for the good old Meyer's Clean Day to finish the job. Mrs Meyer's never fails me and the basil scent makes me almosy like cleaning. Vinegar, the microwave is not your specialty.

2) Working on woodland party items. Sure, Little Bee's birthday party isn't until February but I want to make a lot of the decorations. I saw some little bird houses that were round on Pinterest. I know I saw some painted red with white polks dots but I can't find the pin (they were on a table somewhere). This pin has unpainted bird houses but I am painting mine. I found my bird houses on the dollar rack at Joanns. Stay tuned for the final project.

3) I have wanted to make the Bee a little store ever since I bought her shopping cart (before she was home). I was looking for a base for the store at the right price...that price being under $10. Look what mama found on the side of the road!! Yay! A folding book case! I have now put the base paint on and added a few details. I will post a photo when it's done. This is my big project and with a 2 year old and a full time job I can only work on it on the weekends. I am posting a picture of the book case after I found it...and also a photo of my inspiration from Pinterest. Enjoy and stay tuned for the final store photo in the upcoming weeks!


P.S. I knew I would like being a mama but I LOVE being a mama!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Auction...Coming Up!

Hi yall! The Facebook auction for Warm Shelter is coming up in the next week. We are just tidying up the page and waiting for a few last minute donors who want to share their objects. We have a nice variety of children's clothes, art, crafts, jewelry, baked good and MORE! Please stay tuned for a link to the page AND if you have something you want to donate and ship let me know!


Thursday, June 28, 2012


The Little Bee was in a fantastic orphanage the first two years of her life. I am lucky that our girl knows how to love and be loved. This is one way to see how much care she had in the orphanage. We are lucky. They had a doctor, a psychologist, a tutor and a nice staff to take care of the children. This doesn't happen often. So why am I writing? BECAUSE- WARM SHELTER NUMBER TWO HAS LOST THEIR FUNDING AND THEY ARE IN DANGER OF CLOSING. For now, they are surviving. They may have to lose staff...but then they may have to close.The children will be moved to bigger orphanages with less care.

Dr. with donations and photos of the families who helped.

A group of Pskov families recently pulled together our resources on short notice and donated supplies to the orphanage (see picture!). A kind family that was going to another orphanage on their first trip kindly brought the supplies and met with our facilitator. The supplies were delivered this week and the staff were so happy to get them. It's great that we can provide them with these clothes, medicines, soaps, etc...but this is short term and all of these supplies will be gone very fast.


A group of us are going to do a "giveaway" fundraiser to help raise more money so we can purchase the much needed medicines and supplies when our family going to Pskov goes on trip two (last time she brought a HEAVY box- not easy). If you have any items you'd like to donate- hand crafted items, new electronics, gift cards in any amount for our fundraiser- it would be greatly appreciated. Of course we will also take cash. Please contact me if you have any items you think would make appropriate and exciting prizes. Thank you again for supporting the children of Little E's orphanage!

Once the giveaway is up and running we will post it on facebook and on our blogs so the giveaway can begin and prizes can be won! 

Now is the time for you to stop thinking about making a difference and start making one! 


~mama, papa and Little E

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Tree Grows in Russia...but Thrives with Family

It's a Russian tradition to plant a tree when a new baby is born. I had every intention of getting papa a tree as soon as we came home with E, but ended up waiting for Father's Day. E and I picked out a pale pink crepe myrtle. I told her that it's her special tree- just for her and papa. It's so sweet seeing them water it together.


Pinterest Again

I made these but with Nutella and dark chocolate chips...Yum!!!
So easy! Just get come crescent roll dough, heat the oven to 375, spread on the Nutella (or peanut butter) and the chips, roll up from the flat end and bake for 12 minutes. So easy and SO good! Could also add some nuts or cinnamon or candy bars pieces...limitless(ish).


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pinterest Challenge 2

Today I made the second craft project for my Pinterest challenge. A wall holder for my charging cell phone. I was sick of the cord hanging out all over the counter. Also, I had the plastic bottle, Mod Podge and perfect project! The orange one is from Pinterest and the blue one is mine!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pin Goals

I wouldn't say that I am a Pinterest junkie but I do enjoy the mindless pinning of things. I love sorting the things I love into organized folders. I find that I do a lot more pinning than I do making. This is why I want to challenge myself to do some of the projects on Pinterest. Last week I covered a wipes box so that the box in my living room looks a bit more classy. The website said that you should cover the box with another fabric first so you can't see the design on the box, but I'm lazy so as you can see the design below shows. Next time I might spray paint before I put the fabric on it. I haven't decided what I will do this weekend but I will let you know!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 2011-June 2012

I was snuggled down in bed last night thinking about where we were last year at this time. June 2011-I was filling the hole in my heart with trips to garage sales buying tiny clothes that I could wash and smell and fold and carefully put away. Mostly boys clothes sizes 12 month- 2 years. I didn't know where I was going. I just knew and hoped that one day soon we would have a child, and I knew that child would most likely be a boy. I jumped when the phone rang waiting for "the call." I convinced myself to NOT jump when the phone rang...and wondered if we would ever get "the call." It was hard to imagine that these dreams would ever be real for us. It just seemed so sadly far out of reach.


June- 2012. Up at 6:00 snuggling on the couch with our girl. Poor thing has a cold. We had breakfast, went shopping, took a walk and after her nap and did some secret stuff for Papa's special day tomorrow. His first Father's Day. I am giddy with excitement. This is the life.

Just a few short months ago I could never have imagined how much our lives would change. Now I can't imagine life without her.

Happy Father's Day to my amazing love and perfect Papa to Little E...Mister, we love you!!!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


We've made it three months! Happy THREE MONTH Gotchaversary to us!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

For Granted...

For parents with bio babies there are some things that happen "naturally" that may be taken for granted. As adoptive parents we realize that these "natural" behaviors are indeed learned behaviors. We have been very lucky with Little E and she is attaching nicely, but even after almost three months home I am still sometimes uncomfortable with her ease in going to people she doesn't know, and her rush to say "bye bye" to try to leave and go with whatever guest is leaving our house after a short visit.

We are learning so much about parenting an adopted child and are learning more and more each day. I will post these happy challenges as they arise to hopefully help PAPs when they finally get their little one(s) home.

Here are a few things that you may not expect when coming home with your child:

Babies start to chew food between 6-8 months. By two years of age they have little issues with most solid foods. Little E never had "solid" food in the orphanage. The children ate fast, there was no time to chew. Also, the children in the room were probably between 10 months and 2 years and sometimes, when busy, younger children were brought in. These children all had different abilities regarding eating. I am sure that foods like oatmeal and mushy potato soup were the easiest and safest food for them to give the children. Once I saw her with a small piece of wheat bread but she sucked on it until it was soft and just swallowed it. Some OPs often tell PAPs to bring goldfish crackers and cheerios for the children. Sometimes they give them to the children without the knowledge of the caretakers. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS we didn't try this. Once we got home we realized that she can't eat solid food. Her mouth hasn't been stimulated with solid foods and she doesn't know texture in her mouth. Because of this we take her to occupational therapy once a week. She has since learned to eat things like graham crackers that are in small pieces, bananas, and spaghetti...but she still hasn't grasped chewing. She knows what chewing means but we are trying to teach her to put the food on top of her teeth. We work on this with daily food training.

Most toddlers wake up and call for mama and papa. A child like E who has been in an orphanage does not do this. Why would she? For two years she woke up and waited who knows how long for someone to get her. Calling out for someone would do no good. She would stay in bed awake forever if we didn't go in her room. I recently started telling her to call mama or papa when her nap is over. Finally, a few days ago she yelled out "PAPA!" at the end of her nap. I thought I would cry. She has since tried this a few times more (but alas it has been way before the nap is over so I have to tell her to go back to sleep).

Lately we have started teaching her about "checking in." Checking In is when you are in a room with other people and your child is playing across the room and they periodically make eye contact with mama and or papa just to make sure they are there and they are safe. Bio children do this naturally. Not having a parent or sole caregiver keeps this from happening. First they have to become attached to someone, then they have to learn to "check in." I recently started going over to E when she is playing and giving her a squeeze and saying "mama is just checking in to make sure you are okay." Or when I am in the kitchen and she is in the dining room I will call her name and say "mama is just checking in." I also said that she can "check in with mama too." We just started this exercise so we'll see how it goes.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To the Waiting Mamas

I spent two Mother's Days waiting for our child. I know today you are thinking of the child that will one day be yours. I'm sure that it seems like an impossibility, like a lifetime away...but it's not...and if for some reason it takes a long time, please know that is your destiny and that your child will one day (soon) be in your arms forever. Don't give up hope.

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.~ Chinese theory

Without You...There Would be no me...

I am so happy that I am having my first Mother's Day! I have looked forward to this day for so very long. I am a mother. I am a mother. I have been a mother in my heart for years...but now my little heart runs around my house with her arms up saying "mom" "mama." This day is special for me in so many ways.

First, I am thankful for my mother and I am so glad that she is fighting her battles and still with us on this special day. I am grateful to the doctors who were paying attention, and realizing that something just wasn't right, otherwise this may have been a very different kind of Mother's Day. My mother is a wonderful mother and I hope that I can be as loving to Little E as she has always been to me.

Second, I am thankful...more than thankful (there is no word to describe this kind of gratitude) to O, The Little Bee's birth mother who chose to give Little Bee up. I know in my heart that this was not easy for her. Thank you for staying healthy enough to give birth to a full term baby in good health. This baby that I have promised with all my heart to love, respect and teach forever and ever. O, you have no idea how much your decision has blessed my life. Your sorrow is my joy and sometimes that is hard to think about. To you, I wish you a happy Mother's Day. I will be thinking of you and honoring you today. Without you, I would not be a mother.


Oh, and today is out two month Gotchaversary...I've said it before and I'll say it again...we were meant to be a family!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tip for Newbies

WORKOUT!! My muscles ALL OVER are really sore from carrying and lifting an almost 30 pound girl. She wants to be held a lot and I LOVE this but I ache in a big way. PAPs...get out your weights and start working those arms now!

What's in a Name?

For weeks we were the universal "papa."  Then I was still "papa" and occasionally "mam." I'm still "papa" sometimes, but more importantly today from the back seat I heard "MOMMY." My hearts swells.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Old Post #2 and more

I'm not going to lie. I am excited beyond belief about my first Mother's Day. I have been waiting for this for 2 long years. Mother's are so very very important and mine held my hand all the way through the adoption process...well, until I left for court and she became very ill. About a month ago my mom was diagnosed with a disease called Wegener's they just call it Vasculitis, which in my opinion kind of softens the severity and urgency of treatment for those who are lucky enough to get diagnosed.  The disease usually shows up with insignificant symptoms and doctors aren't looking for it. There are fewer than 10 cases of this per million each year. Undiagnosed the survival rate is 5 months and until a few years ago it was never diagnosed before it was too late (I mean it's so rare that they don't know about it or think about it). Thank goodness my mom's team of doctors were ON THE BALL. I could kiss them all. She has been getting treatment for over a month (was admitted to the hospital the day after we left for Russia and stayed a month) and she is doing well. She's a strong lady with a positive attitude. She currently has to go to dialysis for kidney damage three days a week and is doing chemotherapy as well to fight the disease. She's going to kick this thing into remission. She's having trouble walking and needs a walker or wheelchair...but she insists on cooking, doing laundry and now grocery shopping. Little E likes to ride in her lap. My mom is an amazing woman. I know she will pull through (but some warm thoughts for her are always welcome). I call this Old Post #2 because I wanted to re-live some posts I wrote about my mom...

Old Post #1

I was just looking back at my old posts seeing where I was awhile ago and I came across this one from January 2010. Did I mention that our girl is in a yellow dress in our referral photos?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Definition of Awesome

When a little girl who has never had a mommy comes up to you voluntarily with lips puckered wanting a kiss.

Monday, April 9, 2012

One Month Gotchaversary

Can you believe it has been a month since we walked into the orphanage and walked out with our little bundle of sugar? Sometimes it feels like yesterday and other times it seems like she has been with us forever. I love it when she runs up to me with arms up saying "papa!" with the biggest smile on her face. Yes, she calls both of us "papa." To her it just means parental unit. We're still working on the Papa and Mommy thing. Some days I think of myself as "papa" and it cracks me up. Like when I took her out of the crib for a cuddle (when I went to the crib she had her arms up and said "papa!") and I thought to myself "papa loves you...wait, I'm mama."

She has changed so much. She has gained over a pound. She smiles and laughs all the time. She eats a lot. She ASKS for baths "splash, splash" and runs around the house tearing the place up from 6 am to 8 pm every night. WE ARE SO IN LOVE.

She was hanging out with me while I was typing earlier (she was under the table) and papa said "can you believe that she is here sitting under OUR table?" It's hard to believe. I just keep touching her soft skin and staring at her. Yes. WE ARE SO IN LOVE.

Happy one month Gotchaversary to us!!


Monday, April 2, 2012

E in a Nutshell

Howdy! My name has officially changed from MAMA to MOMMY...she just couldn't differentiate between MAMA and PAPA so we decided to try to make the words sound different. She still doesn't know Mommy either but we're working on it. For now we are both PAPA in E's world.

She is so beautiful. I just can't believe that she is really here. She amazes us with her growth and knowledge every day. She is so smart. She doesn't say many English words but she knows A LOT of what we are saying to her and she is constantly asking us what things are. One of her favorite things is the hot water heater. When we open the door to the laundry room she takes off running to look at it and hit it asking us to say "yes, hot water heater." This is usually followed by the dryer and then the washing machine. Maybe she just loves appliances because we do this with the stove and the dishwasher too...oh wait we also do it with doors, windows, lamps, lights, fans, screen doors, trees (pine, palm, dogwood, crepe myrtle, etc.), leaves, cars (which she says with a Boston accent), sticks, stroller and so many more things. REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT. I love her so much! She also loves her belly button which she calls "bubbom." I could go on and on.

Bath time is great now. She loves it so it's no problem.

She's eating A LOT. Maybe too much (checking with the doctor tomorrow) and she is trying all foods. She still doesn't chew so we have to give them in tiny pieces.

We JUST started trying to ween her off of co-sleeping. She's had a few crib naps that went well but the night time isn't so easy. It might be because papa does naps and mama does night time and mama is a pushover and gives in to playing. She did sleep in the crib last night but woke up early around 5:15 a.m. (see I'm not a total pushover). Tonight papa is putting her to sleep in the crib and I will sleep on the floor next to the crib.

Anyway, that's what is happening in a nutshell! We are tired but we are SO SO SO in love.

~Mommy...I think I'll stick with Mama as my blog name if that's okay.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Before and After...dreams do come true.

Our Little Bee is growing and changing so much every day. Today she said even more words and slept alone in her crib...and the day isn't over. Oh and she also ate scrambled eggs and a whole bowl of applesauce. She peeled a banana yesterday and tasted it and actually ate some! We had given up on bananas. (hahaha she just stopped eating her snack to show papa her belly button). Anyway, I know I said I wasn't going to post pictures and I will delete them when the blog is public (I guess I should do that soon) but I wanted to share a before and after. The photo in the orphanage is one of the six photos we were sent before we met her. She was 18 months old. The photo of her outside is from last week at 25 months.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yummy Yummy Yummy

I am listening to E sing "Yummy Yummy Yummy I got love in my tummy" with papa while she eats her yogurt. She still has a limited amount of food she's eating, but boy is she eating a lot of what she likes. When her bowl runs out and we get up to get more she gets mad. Even funnier, her high chair has its back to the kitchen and she strains to look over her shoulder to see what we are doing and if we are getting more food. She has a look on her face that says "This wait staff is terrible. I want to see a manager!!! I demand faster service!!" It cracks us up.

Her doctor is arranging for us to see a feeding specialist that also provides occupational therapy. I hope that will help with her eating solid food. She is using a soft baby spoon now. Much better than feeding with our fingers! She wanted pizza today so I let her lick it and fed her tiny tiny tiny bits. Last night she tried a tiny piece of falafel but alas it made her gag and throw up which freaked her out so she cried. Poor thing.

I can't even describe how great she is doing. She isn't talking much but she's awesome at identifying all kinds of things and pointing them out. She also learned about we can finally have someone else clean up our trash. She loves taking things to the garbage. This is good because we are going through a lot of paper towels and wipes these days (of course I don't give her the pee pee poo poo wipes, what kind of parent do you think I am!)

Night before last she woke up in the wee hours and I tried to make her go back to bed while she was screaming. It was a few hours of sweat and tears. Last night when she woke up I tried a different technique. I let her sit up and play with a toy. I kept asking her if she wanted to rock in the chair with mama. She kept saying no. Then I sat in the rocker and asked and she said no. Finally she climbed up in my lap. Then she started singing so I sang her to sleep. She finally fell asleep on my head on the floor. I didn't care if I could breathe or not I was just happy she was happy. Don't get me wrong. This probably took an hour and a half, but we were talking and kissing and laughing and I was blowing on her belly so it was better than crying. Yeah, mama isn't sleeping much.

Giving bath number two a try tonight. Looking for my ear plugs to block the screams.

sweet dreams everyone.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two Week Gotcha-versary!!!

We've been with E for two weeks now! She's not even the same kid. She loves to make mama and papa laugh...and we love it too.


Monday, March 26, 2012

YUM YUM and an Awfully Good Day

We added squished up navy beans to the diet today. So now she eats the following: blueberry yogurt, mashed potatoes, squished navy beans and apple juice. The list of foods we tried would fill this blog. She also ate a little sweet potatoes yesterday. She didn't like them a lot but we will try again.

We let her sleep a little longer today. I think we were getting her up before she was ready all week. We couldn't help it. We wanted to play! Anyway, we didn't get her up until she sat up and she was in a great mood today. She and mama swept the house. She had her little broom and got in the low spots behind the high chair and what not. She had sticker time with papa. She played with Aunt J in the playhouse (thank you Aunt J for the shoes! I'm still wearing them!). She took a wagon ride in the backyard, she slept on papa at nap time...and had two which was a green giant blowout (TMI). She spent most of the day in her little gnome skirt that her friend Valeriya made. She's so cute. So sweet. So smart. We still can't believe she is here. We still can't believe how lucky we are to have her as our daughter. I can speak for myself when I say I have to pinch myself a lot to make sure this isn't a beautiful dream.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

One Week Home-aversary

Today E ate tons of yogurt and potatoes and she tried a few other things but mostly fed those things to papa and the dogs. She's also drinking her apple juice again. We are making great progress. Her energy level is definitely up. She also had her first bath in the tub. She stood and cried and cried and broke our hearts when she started waving and saying "paka paka." She wanted OUT. It was cute and sad. Once we were out she forgot it even happened. I think she had a really good day. :)

We love this little girl who smells like lavender (and maybe a little like mashed potatoes). :)



She ate mashed potatoes (still on the finger) last night!!!


Saturday, March 24, 2012


I will add to this list as I think of things. These are random recommendations for adoption. They will be all over the we go...

1. Bring home some Russia children's music. Our girl has found the music very comforting
2. See what types of things your drivers and facilitators need on trip one. I had an idea on trip three that our driver may have liked getting one of those things that hold your cell phone on the dashboard so you can see who is calling. Maybe pay attention to what phone they are using (and they will be using it in the rain, snow whatever).
3. Bring 2-3 outfits to the orphanage as ask them if you can keep the outfit he/she is wearing
4. Bring plenty of small toys, especially nesting stacking toys and pace giving them out. We probably brought 10 toys and one word book and it worked out well. Some toys we brought (a soft doll that giggles, stacking cups, links, little bugs that snap together, large Little People, a bear, a word book, a tiny Magnadoodle). One thing she loved was a TENNIS BALL. The tennis ball was something my physical therapist suggested for my back, but she loved it. She also had crayons and stickers.
5. Buy Russian children picture books and lots of souvenirs.

More later!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finger Food

She'll eat yogurt off papa's finger and also drink Pedialyte and water. It's progress and we rejoiced!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Warm Rock

I'm not sure if I had any expectations of what our first few weeks together would be like. I knew they'd be hard. I did. It never occurred to us that our little girl that ate enough food at the orphanage and in the Russian hotels for two adults would go on a hunger strike. It's hard. It's a terrible feeling not having any control. She won't eat. She hardly drinks. It's not that she doesn't like the food, it's that she likes having the control of not eating. She's grieving. It's normal for her to grieve. She's lost everything and everyone she knows. She's in a strange place with strange people that don't speak her language. She's hurting. We're hurting because she's hurting. She's listless. She sleeps. She wants to be held. She's wants to be rocked. She's turning in on herself. It's hard. I can't wait for this part to be over. I just want her to be happy.


P.S. We have been in communication with her doctor. If she doesn't eat or drink soon we will have to take her in for an IV. This can't help with bonding. Please think warm thoughts for E.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Here's Where the Story Ends

The journey is over. We are home. E is playing on the screened porch with papa doing puzzles. Life is good. A new journey is beginning. I rocked her while she slept in my arms for hours. I looked around her dimmed room and at her books and toys scattered across the floor. All I could think is "this is what I wanted all along. And this is all she needed. To be held and rocked by someone who loves her for hours." I love you E. More than words can say. I'm not even sure a word has been created yet to describe how I feel having you as my daughter.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Last Tango in Moscow

We were picked up at 11:00 for our 11:30 appointment at the Embassy. Naturally E screamed herself silly for the most part (at least until I discovered there were toys). There were six other families waiting that adopted children. It was hot in the waiting room. They came in and gave a little talk about what we were doing and we had to swear that we would do post-placement and that we were truthful in our paperwork. We then waited for our name to be called. We talked more at a window (not much of an interview) and then we waited for E's visa to be made. When they called us back they congratulated us. All of the families were congratulating each other. Everyone was excited that this was our final step of the process in the RU. I thought it was very nice and a little emotional. They gave us our packets of paperwork for INS and sent us on our way. Our little crier fell asleep as soon as we got in the car. Seriously, I mean maybe two blocks from the Embassy. When we got back I put E back to sleep and John met with EAC Inna to prepare consulate stuff and give her E's passport so she could take it to the Russian consulate. Did I tell you how cute her passport picture is???? OMG. So cute. She brought the passport back at around 3:30.

We pretty much spent the afternoon hanging out in the room and sending papa out to hunt and gather. He brought me lunch and we had a romantic dining experience. I sat on the bed and he sat on the desk chair. He prepared his nachos in the bathroom so he wouldn't wake E. Gross, I know, but what are you gonna do?

E loves her boots and love stomping around the room in them. She was running around in them today in a white onesie. Maybe the cutest thing ever. She also likes to take our folding travel alarm clock and hold it to her head like it's a cell phone. She then pretends like she has a pocket for it (for all of you that don't know, onesies don't have pockets). I guess I know how the caregivers spend there time. She also likes shoving things under the bed and the dresser. She mostly grunts and points and doesn't talk a whole lot, but she does understand a few words in English. She likes us to say things in the room so she can point and make us walk her over so she can touch them. Lamp (there are 4 in the room and she has to touch ALL of them), desk, table, chair. REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT.

You're probably wondering about the bath last night? Yeah, didn't work. I pretty much got the backside and a little of the nether regions and called it a night.

Well, tomorrow we once again throw her out of her comfort zone with three planes rides to get home. Please wish us luck and think good thoughts for the long day home.

Until we are on US soil and our girl is officially American,

~mama, papa and EC

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Windy and Chilly - Day One in Moscow

Hello from Moscow!! Surprisingly the train ride went really smoothly. E was asleep pretty quickly (probably around 9:00-9:30) and slept in daddy’s lap for a long time before mama put her in the bed. We then took turns napping (mama slept way more than papa) and watching her to make sure she didn’t fall off the bed…and to make sure she was breathing and not waking up at all the train stops and departures. She slept until about 4:30 a.m. which was pretty good as we needed to be up and moving by 6:00 for our 6:30 arrival. D.C. Dmitry (there are so many people with the same name) helped us with our bags from the train and drove us to the hotel. We were to meet with doctor at 7:00 and we arrived right at 7:00. The front desk said that we would have to wait an hour for a room (so much for requesting early check in). As we were standing at the desk the doctor walked up. We told him that we would have to wait. He then talked to the front desk and suddenly we had a room! He said he had to be at the hospital in an hour so we needed to hurry. He looked at E for all of 5 minutes htyt667788669outr55y778 (E’s blog contribution) before saying she was tall and very healthy. Uhhh…anyway, it’s basically just another hurdle. Papa took a nap and mama played with E. After an hour or so the phone rang and someone named Inna said she was here with the Embassy paperwork for us to fill out. Luckily, we were here because no one told us about this appointment. Papa went down and filled out papers while mama stayed with E. It took about 45 minutes or so. After that we ate muffins and E had yogurt (the only food she will eat) and juice. We then took a LONG family nap for a few hours. It was much needed and we were all piled on the bed as a family. It was awesome. After our nap papa ran some errands and determined it was too cold to take E outside. There is a light snow and it is quite windy. We then went downstairs for lunch and came back to our room where we are now playing with toys.
E has been a very very good girl. At times she gets sad and mama and papa tell her it’s okay to be sad and we know she misses her friends. We cuddle her and rock her and let her cry. She often won’t let us put her down and she freaks out when people leave or strangers come in. She also hates change and of course right now as soon as we get her comfortable we pack up and leave to go somewhere else. She cries for a while in every new place. She loves her toys and she loves to be tickled. She has the best laugh ever. She has a book of words that includes a chair, table and lamp and when we read it she points out the chair, table and lamps in the room.
Tomorrow morning we go to the Embassy for our interviews and to get E’s passport. She’s not going to like leaving the hotel, the car or the Embassy. I will be so happy when we settled into our home.
It is now 7:38 and I still haven’t showered. I’m off to get clean.
Two more days until the big travel.
Love always,
~Mama, Papa, and E
P.S. Thank you for your kind comments and advice. Keep em' coming!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Snow Storm was Amazing...but there are more AMAZING things...

Last night I was laying in bed rocking my baby in my arms until she fell asleep on my shoulder. I was trying to cry quietly so I didn't wake her. My hair and pillow were wet with the tears of happiness. :)
I am now quickly writing this entry while daddy reads a book to E while she is humming a little song. He is now singing the ABCs. Life is golden.
We spent the morning after our arrival going to several different government offices (the court, the registry, one other office and the immigration office). At 2:00 we took a long walk through the slushy roads with Inna and Dima and bought diapers and a sweater for E and two cakes as gifts for the orphanage. At 4:00 we took a taxi to the orphanage to see our girl. We stayed and played for a little while. I hugged her little friends. At 5:00 I fed her some dinner. We asked the caregivers if we could keep her outfit as a keepsake, and although they looked at us like we were crazy and asked us why we wanted old clothes, they agreed and we traded three new outfits and two pairs of shoes. We then added pants to what she was wearing and a sweater, hat, scarf and gloves and left the orphanage. On our way out we stopped in the lobby to wait for the taxi. E was scared and started to whimper. Mama held her tight in her arms (mama was crying more than E). On the way to the hotel in the Taxi E was looking at cars and playing with Inna. She was very quiet and scared. When we got to the hotel we spent hours playing with E. She said her first English word...CHAIR! She has since said BEE and DOG.
At 9:00 we turned down the lights and I rocked her in my arms while laying down until she fell asleep on top of me. She woke up crying at 1:00 and Daddy stayed up with her for a few hours. We then put her back in bed where she cried for about 2 minutes before falling asleep on mama. This morning we went down to breakfast. She doesn't want to eat just yet but she finally drank some juice (and lots of it). We then came back to our room and played. After awhile Daddy took a nap while mama played with E. At one point she came running and jumped in my arms and laid arcoss my lap. I rubbed her back and then...surprise I realized she was asleep. Daddy picked her up after he woke up a few minutes later. Mama's feet were asleep. Eand I got in bed and she slept for 2 hours on my chest. She usually takes a three hour nap so I am hoping this means that she will sleep on the train. I am also hoping she will eat soon. I want my baby to eat! She doesn't want her oatmeal and thinks all the snacks are toys...daddy is trying to get her to eat some cheddar bunnies, oatmeal or apple snacks...but she is having no part of it. At least she is drinking juice.
Today we leave at 4:15 to get E's passport and catch the overnight train to Moscow. Wish us luck. It is now about 2:00.
Sending love across the sea...
~Mama, Papa and E
P.S. while Papa was asleep mama and E watched an amazing snow storm