Monday, September 28, 2009

Final Trip Dates

We found out that our travel dates for our final trip to Russia will be Oct 25 - 30. That means our little girl will be home October 30th! My kids reaction, "Man, you better get going on our Halloween costumes, Mom". Priorities, priorities.

I'm a little bummed because our Embassy appointment could be as early as October 19th, but there's some hold-up in Vladimir. So, we have to wait until the next week. Although it does work out nicely for Rob's schedule. He has the week off already. And, if we went earlier I would have to miss a field trip to the visit the capital in Topeka with Blake's 4th grade class. So, it will be fine. I am just ready to get her home!

About the Embassy appointment. I am going to try to find out more information about that. I don't really know exactly what that's all about. I think it's the US Embassy. Can any of my fellow adoptive moms help me out here? It's all a little cloudy from here. I know I have the info in all of my paperwork, but I haven't got that far yet. And, I won't be doing that any time soon. I have some Halloween costumes to sew.

I'm making a clown suit for Will (if you know him that is just so typical), a pink kitty for Audrey(her 4th year being a pink animal of some sort), Blake's going to be Darth Vader so I only need to adjust his mask. And Audrey has chosen fluffy purple fabric for her new little sister's costume. She wants her to be a purple cat - so they match. I have tried to explain to my children that it all might be just a BIT confusing to be in a house full of dressed up children her FIRST full day in the US. Plus, she could be totally freaked out by other scary kids. Tonight Will and I talked about it again. He said, "I think it's a good idea for her to stay home with you and not go trick-or-treating. You guys can just pass out the candy and if a scary kid comes, just don't let her look." Ummm, yeah, maybe that might work?? Besides the fact that "sharing" and "candy" might not be exactly in her vocabulary at this point. Anyway, we'll just see how it goes!

Picking Apples

We spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon picking apples at an orchard near us. I love the sweet smell of slightly rotting discarded apples laying underneath apple trees.It just reminds me of my childhood. Anyone else relate?

We ended up with three overflowing baskets of apples. My job today... making a ton-load of applesauce.

Will trying to get the highest apple on the tree. Those are the best ones, you know!

One of the hardest things a kid has to learn in life. Just because a kitten is free doesn't mean we can take it home. And, just because we cannot take it home doesn't mean your parents don't love you. Audrey cried a pathetic, quite sob the entire 20 minute drive home.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Trip to Russia

Okay, so trip #3. This is to register her passport. I am not looking forward to traveling again - not one bit. I'm still tired. I'll get to see our little girl for about an hour, so that definitely helps. I have my flights scheduled. I leave next Sunday, October 4th and get home Wednesday, Oct 7th. Another really quick trip. After this one, it will be 10 business days then we'll bring her home. We don't know the exact dates yet. But, man, I am ready!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Teaser

A friend requested a "teaser picture" of our little girl. I thought this was the perfect shot. A view of the hair-do and her cute little hands! We'll be able to post the real thing in 9 more days!

We only got to visit with her for 30 minutes right before court. They brought her into the room like last time we were there. She was darling of course! They had her all fancied up for us. Her hair resembled Cindy-lou-Hoo. Gotta love it! I stood up when she came in and went over with my arms out and very happily, and softly said hi to her(in Russian). Her reaction - she turned her lip down and clung to her care-takers neck. She didn't want anything to do with us. But, hey, she only saw us for 3 hours a month ago. Who can blame her? Blake, Will and Audrey would have done the same thing at 3 1/2. Plus, the orphanage workers told me they had explained to her that "Mama and Papa" were coming to visit and she'd be going away with us soon. No wonder she was a bit freaked out. And, in every adoption book I've read it says it is a wonderful sign if your child cries for their caretakers. It means she cares about them and she has the ability to bond. I'm praying that bonding will be a smooth transfer to us. Only time will tell.

Well, of course she ended up having fun with us. I dug in my backpack and told her to come help me look. We shuffled through it together and found - the ultimate - bubbles! Lots of smiles, lots of blowing (a little spit mixed in) and lots of stomping bubbles! She's too cute. Her laugh is so adorable. It makes you laugh just to hear it. She has a deep, good-ol' belly laugh.

Just like last time, when we left she completely did not care. She just wanted to keep the bubble wand with Dora on the end of it. She walked off down the hall with a big smile and a little nod to us over her shoulder. Cute baby girl!


We're home! We got in from our long flight from Russia last night. What a crazy weekend! We didn't sleep much while we were there. So, I slept like a brick last night! I feel halfway refreshed today, besides a headache.

Court went wonderfully! It lasted about 50 minutes. The judge was a woman. She was fair didn't question us to death. She even cracked a tiny smile twice. ;) Rob did most of the talking. He did awesome! When our interpreter prepared us for court she started the conversation by saying, "When you stand to give your speech to the judge make sure to address her as your Honor..." What the heck! Our speech! Now, talking is one of my finest specialities, but not as a speech. I'm more the conversationalist, you know, "Hey Judge, I like your black and white smock..." And, Rob just said to me under his breath, "Oh man, this is not good for me." But, God gave Rob "elegance of speech". That's what I have prayed for. And He did.

This is our only "court" picture. We forgot our camera in the car at the courthouse. But, at least we took this self portrait in our hotel room. Note the two double beds. Not too much snugglin' going on at the "Russian Village"!

I already got the info on my next trip. This time it will just be me - alone. I have to apply for her passport in person in Vladimir. We found out that the mayor of Vladimir is highly against international adoption, and that might be the reason for the extra hassle with the passport. Our interpreter said it's kind of like, "You said you really wanted this child and you had the means to support her. So, prove it and jump through another hoop for us." What else can we do? I will leave for Russia again Oct 3rd.

A picture of God's artwork out our plane window. I always feel like I could dance on the puffy clouds.

Half way done! We're almost there...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Leaving for Court Tomorrow

Well, we leave tomorrow (Sat, Sept 19th) at 7:30am for Vladimir, Russia! Trip #2. We will be home by 6:30pm on Tues, Sept 22nd. So so quick. I am so stinkin' dreading that flight again. To pass the time I have a ton load of yard and crochet hooks in my carry-on bag. I'm planning to crochet my first blanket. Of course it will be for our new little chickie-poo. If I can finish it without any major holes or errors, it will be a miracle!

Oh, I can't remember if I've mentioned this before. You know we lost all our luggage the first trip. Well, I had put a "reem" of yarn and a crochet hook in my backpack planning to make a scarf. Just practicing for my blanket, ya know. Well, I had a gift for the orphanage director in our lost luggage. I really wanted to give her something. So, on the drive from Moscow to Vladimir I crocheted her a pink scarf. It was my third attempt to make a scarf. It was absolutely not perfect! But, the color was really cool, so that helped camouflage the holes, etc. It ended up being a really sweet gift. The orphanage director was very appreciative. I just kind of acted like it was the plan all along. A labor of love. ;)

Okay, lots to do. My kids have a half day of school today, so I have three hours to do my final packing, etc. Please pray for us. I'll post soon...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Our Big 10 Year Old

Our big boy Blake turned 10 years old this week. I get a lump in my throat every time I think about it. That's just too big. Every age and stage has wonderful things. I love 10year old boys! The pre-teen humor starts, and I actually think it's pretty funny!

Our tough football player at his first tackle football game.

10 years ago...
Rob was a Resident at St. Luke's Hospital, I quit my job and became a full-time mommy, we lived in our cute little house in Raytown, we both drove small cars, we only had one baby to play with, I started singing bedtime songs, I was in a constant state of tired-ness. We pinched every penny: didn't have cable TV, Internet, new furniture, name brand clothes or cell phones.
10 years ago, my heart grew a little deeper in love with my sweet baby boy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Day At The Pond

We had a great Labor Day at my parents house. Lots of fishing in the pond and yummy food to eat. Nothing better than getting dirty and having fun!

Grandpa Mike taking care of the grandkids at his pond

Reeling in a big one!

One of TWO catfish I caught that day!

Rob is not so proud of his bass (after my big catfish). Not very fun to reel in, but very yummy to eat.

Audrey caught a perfect little perch. Grammy helped her get it off the hook. And, yes, that is the way Audrey always dresses - even going fishing! A very girly girl.

Will inspecting the catfish that Blake caught

Daddy frying the catfish and bass the next day.

And finally...eating our catches!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall 2005

I don't know if I have ever mentioned this on our blog. If you look at our timeline on the right you can see that we first started talking about adoption in the fall of 2005. Well, by no coincidence...our new little girl's birthday is in November of 2005! Just another sweet confirmation that we are following God's ultimate plan for our family. Thank you, Lord, for making all things work together as we follow Your call on our life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Camera Lens

Here are a couple of my first pictures trying out my new lens for my Canon. I'm having fun! I just need my "subjects" to humor me a bit more! This is our sweet Will. Isn't he a cutie pie?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Why 4 Trips?

The first day of school! Blake 4th, Will 3rd, Audrey 2nd Just too big...

Starting another school year is always so sad. I miss my babies while they're gone all day. Blake told me, "It's going to be hard to remember to follow all the rules and sit still. All summer we didn't have to obey at all." I asked him if I should be more strict next summer. He gave me a little smirk and said, "I don't think so, Mom"

I have been getting a lot of questions about our number of trips to Vladimir. So, I thought I should explain it a little better.

Our little girly is in the city of Vladimir. Since it is just a couple hour car drive from Moscow, we are going with the option to just fly back and forth from Moscow to US instead of staying in Russia for four weeks. The four week stay is typically what people are doing with the second trip.

With a Russian adoption, nothing is easy. It used to be one trip to Russia, meet your child, go to court and come home. But, not anymore. The typical routine is as follows...
First you wait for Russia to call with your referral (child). Trip One usually takes about seven days. You travel to the region in Russia to meet the child and get the court documents started. Then you come back to the US and wait for Russia to schedule your court date. There is typically 4 - 8 weeks between your first visit and court. Trip Two takes about four weeks. You go to court when you get there, but the adoption is not finalized until after a 10 day waiting period. Then you have to get your child's Passport and Visa from the US Embassy (we have not done this part so I don't know for sure what all happens with that).

BUT - for us, we have decided to NOT stay in Russia for four weeks (sometimes more). We are just coming home between things that need to be done in Russia. We do not want to be away from our kids at home for a month. Plus, we wouldn't get to see our girly in Russia everyday anyway. Another thing about Vladimir is you apply for the passport in person and that happens after the 10 day waiting period.

So, what we have chosen to do is this:
~1st Trip - August 16th-22nd~
We met our little girl in Vladimir, Russia - yeah!
~2nd Trip - set for Sept 19th-22nd~
Go to court in Vladimir Monday, 21st
~3rd Trip - probably around Oct. 1st
Apply for her passport in Russia
~4th Trip - probably around Oct 15th
Bring her home!

That's the plan. Hopefully that makes more since. You see, the problem with explaining everything is - I really don't know what I'm doing either! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I-171 H Form Renewal is Here!!!

Yeah! Only you adoptive moms can understand this...our I-171H form expires October 3, 2009. I sent away for the "one-time-no-fee" renewal a few weeks ago. Since I am the complete opposite of a procrastinator, I've been anxious to get the renewal back. Just to be sure.

Well, I just got it in the mail! Praise the Lord! We can breath easier now.

For those who don't know - this is the form from Homeland Security that says I can bring an orphan into the US. Without it, no little girl. It takes weeks (months) to be approved. US Citizenship and Immigration Services sends a copy to Moscow. It's a BIG deal!

Getting It All Together for Court

Well, I've mailed off our visa applications for our 2nd trip. Almost all of our court docs are together. I'm feeling pretty good.

This time around we are planning to not check any luggage! If we could get by the first time with things we didn't really need, we can get by this time, too. I'll just make sure to have the essentials with me!

I got a new digital camera and nicer lens for my big Canon camera. Since these are "once in a lifetime" shots of the orphanage, I thought it would be best to have some good quality pictures. This trip we will only get to visit her once. I am so stinkin' ready to get her home! It will be here soon, I know. Couldn't be soon enough for me! I'm anxious to know which challenges we're going to have to go through. I feel like a race horse waiting in the starting block - scraping my hoof in the dirt, ready to get it going!