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.

~mama

PHOTOS REMOVED FOR PRIVACY

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 garbage...so 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.

~mama

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.

~mama

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 poops...one 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.

~mama

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). :)

~mama

Added

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

~mama

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A FEW TIPS for NEWBIES

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

~mama

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.

~mama

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.

~mama

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

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 2

I finally fell asleep and got some good rest. I think we woke up around 9:00. The Mister was already awake and may have been awake for awhile. I'm not sure. The sky outside is very grey and the snow is just now starting to melt leaving things a bit muddy. It doesn't feel very cold unless you are hit by a gust of wind. We walked over to the mall (Trade Center) next door and had some lunch at the cafe. I had a pot of tea and we shared some hashbrowns and a pizza. We then walked around looking in some very expensive shoe stores. We bought some Russian toys and some gloves for our girl. We also bought some water and snacks (meaning cookies and candy). We are now back at the hotel waiting in the lobby until 5:00 when our driver arrives to take us to the train station. It is now 2:25 so we have a bit of a wait. It's hard to imagine that tomorrow night we will be together as a family :)

~mama

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sleepless in Moscow

Hi! It is 1:37 a.m. and I am wide awake. It feels good to be back in Russia. I really do love it here and I know I will miss it. The people that we have met are wonderful. The temperature is in the 30s and even though there is light snow it is MUCH warmer than last month. It is wonderful knowing that we will be with our girl soon! I do hope that we will be able to bring her back here one day. We had dinner at the Italian place here and we had the same waiter as before. Tomorrow we will do a little shopping and then catch the train. This trip will be a whirlwind. Forgive me if we don't have lots of time to post. I will do my best to keep you updated...but I may not have as much time or the internet access I had before.

~mama

Good morning to you...good night to us!

After a long journey and some food we are now in Moscow and ready for some sleep. Tomorrow night we take the train to see our girl!

~mama

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chilly February 12

This is out the window in Moscow. It was maybe -13 or so at this time...but the next morning when we left for the airport it was -26!!!
video

Monday, March 5, 2012

My First...

My mom said a few weeks ago "You know, she will be home for Easter. When you were little Easter was your favorite holiday." It's true. I loved the Easter bunny, dying eggs, hunting eggs and hiding eggs. I loved the food, the candy and the family all being together. We also had a family tradition (after rummaging through our baskets of candy) of looking for bunny tracks. We each had a big stick and if we found bunny tracks we'd draw a circle around them with the stick. Great memories. My mom got me excited about my FIRST EASTER AS A MOMMY. I want E to have all the joys that I did. This weekend I went shopping for all the Easter goodies and decorations since we may be cocooning with E until Easter...and I don't want to leave her to shop. I had the best time and spent WAY too much. I love all of the bunnies and pastels and chicks and EVERYTHING! We're going to have a great Easter. I really can't wait. I am a mama.

~mama

*on a more difficult note, some of you may know that my mom has been sick for a few weeks now. Please keep her in your warm thoughts so that she gets better soon. Thank you.