Just in Case You Haven't Heard!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Please go check out my "new" blog for our big news!! Hint, hint - It's a BOY!
Time to turn out the lights and go . . .
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I tried to do this yesterday, but it has been hard for me to let go.

I guess it's time to close the door on Russian Adoption Dva and move on down the road.

This has been my home in adoptionland for 17 months and leaving it is tough, but it's time.

So follow me around the next curve in the road to my new home and new beginnings at Long And Winding Road to Home.

Lights out, let's go . . .
Thanks for all the responses
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I have been leaning toward going ahead with the new blog and now I really feel like I should. Knowing the right time to switch over is the hard part.

In the middle of the big heart pain, right after we found out about losing Vika, I set up a new blog. It seemed the right thing right then. But then as the time passed and the hurt has softened, I've been rethinking it. But I think the time is almost here when I'll switch over to the new blog.

In answer to those who asked in the post below, yes I will definitely keep Russian Adoption Dva alive. I think it will be good for people to read. Of course when you read stories like ours, you think, "It could never happen to us." But it can. I hate that it does, but it does happen.

I think of Vika every day, but the pain is lessening now. I know it will get better as time passes and I know it is a huge blessing that all this house stuff happened when it did. No matter how extremely stressful it was, it was a blessing. I know that being out of the house that held her room for nearly 18 months is helpful in that healing. I really haven't missed the old house much. This move has really taught me that home is where my family is. Whether it's in an old mobile home with spiders and ants, or in a fancy new house. We drive by the old house everday when I pick D up from school and they've already changed it so much (for the worse I might add!) We say, "hey old homey." and drive on out to the country.

By the way, I checked the databank for the first time in a week or so and Vika has finally been removed. It was updated on September 6. I know it may sound weird, but I'm glad to see her off there. It means she really has been adopted and now we can only hope and pray that the family is good.

So, yes, I'll be moving again soon - blog address this time instead of home address. But it may take me a while to let go here. Bear with me, ok? Thanks so much for all the support I get from you other PAPs (pre-adoptive parents).

With tears in my eyes, I close. When will the tears stop? Maybe never.
A New Blog???
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I have really been thinking things over lately trying to decide if I will continue blogging the next phase of our adoption here at Russian Adoption Dva (which means two in Russian). For one thing, this is no longer our second adoption. I think Viktoria deserves that title. In starting over, in my mind I consider this our third attempt. Because really, folks, we are starting over nearly from the beginning here! Did you see how far I fell on Debbie's list - it nearly makes me cry all over again :O(

So, let me know your thoughts. I know it's my ultimate decision - but do you think people will get "lost" trying to find me if I move??

I spoke on the phone yesterday with our casemanager and we're ready to start the new round of paperwork and updating the homestudy. So, I need to make a decision.
Gymboree Sale
I love Gymobree clothes for D. They are having an online sale September 14-16 at http://www.gymboree.com/

They always have $5.95 shipping for the total order, since they're all so far away from me I completely save that in gas money. Here is the promotion code to save 30% on your total order at checkout! Promo Code : GYMFRIEND
300th Post
Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Originally uploaded by oybay

Do you remember the show "Green Acres"? Well, that's my life now.

We have had so much adventure moving to the country from town.

We are completely in the double wide now. We're about 90% unpacked and pretty much settling into our life here.

As I've worked I keep returning to the part of the song where it says "you are my wife, goodbye city life." I am thankful, though, that we have a place to live and it's decent. It's not my first choice in life, but we'll be ever more thankful for our sparkling new house once it's built.

Our dog was "skunked" night before last! Saturday night was the first time hubby and I have ever seen a real, alive (not dead on the side of the road) skunk! It was out in the field and Sundae (our dog) was having lots of fun chasing it. It must have given a warning spray that night because Sundae shook her nose and huffed alot, but didn't stink. We got her to come in and she avoided being skunked on Saturday night, but on Sunday night Pepe Le'Peu got her bad! She had to sleep outside in her kennel. Then last night I gave her a bath in a solution of Hydrogen Peroxide/Baking Soda/Liquid dish soap. She still doesn't smell like a rose, but it's wayyy better.

I haven't been online hardly at all in the past 10 days or so. It has been such a huge job getting us moved and settled so quickly.

D started first grade last Monday right in the midst of all this chaos. She left for her first day of first grade from the Holiday Inn Express! I've got pictures to prove it, if I could find the chord to upload them, I would.

D is having a ball being a country girl, it's just that she is sooo sensitive to mosquitoes and ant bites that she looks terrible, she's just "eat up with them" as they say here in the boon-docks.

Well, our "month off" from adoption is over. We have decided we will continue on with Russian adoption and that Smolensk will be our region. We haven't yet begun the new round of paperwork, but we'll get to that soon. We will most likely raise our age parameters to 24 months or under and still request a girl.

We got our preliminary drawings from the architect and will have a meeting with the builder to get things moving. I hope that the work will begin in the next week or two on clearing the trees from the land and getting the dirt work started at least. It will be exciting to see the new house get started.

I'm going to go finish making some kitchen curtains. I've gotten the ones done for the back door (which is really the front door) and still need to get the ones finished on the window above the sink. When they parked this mobile home here, they parked the front facing the lake (which really looks more like a swamp to me) and so now you drive up and enter from the back so now it's the front. Did that make any sense??

Sorry I was gone so long. Life has been beyond crazy and now hopefully we'll get back to a bit more normalcy. It's almost like we're playing house. I stored so much stuff that we only have what we need to get by for 6-8 months (which is still A LOT of stuff!) And I'm not worrying about decorating to impress. It's easy to keep clean since we don't have as much stuff!

I'll try not to be so long in posting now.

Glad to be back!

News of the day
Friday, August 24, 2007
We still haven't closed. It may be this morning, but looks more like it will be Monday.

I've been at the mobile home every day painting. Remember, it wasn't supposed to be ready till mid-September so we offered to help paint it to speed things along. It's been C-R-A-Z-Y!

The plan is to move everything over tomorrow morning. So I'll go and clean it this afternoon.

Hubby and D are going to the Texas Rangers baseball game. Our church's choir is singing the National Anthem. So if you're watching the Rangers/Seattle game tonight see if you can hear them. They won't get home till 1 or 2 a.m.!! Of course hubby has to go since he is the director :O). It will help for D to be out of my hair. She has been wonderful through all this though. She's having an adventure of it.

There is still so much to do it is overwhelming!

We went to meet the teacher this morning. D got an awesome teacher for 1st grade and I am so excited. She had a wonderful teacher in Kindergarten and I so hoped to maintain that momentum. She is already reading on a second grade level, have I ever told that here?? She's a smart cookie!

School starts Monday. So I think we'll stay in a hotel tomorrow and Sunday night so we're not living in chaos for Sunday (big day in a Pastor's house) and the first day of school. Then we'll dive into the chaos and swim for our lives!

Ok, gotta run - but want to leave you with this hilarious Ebay advertisement!!

Have a great day!
Quick Update
Monday, August 20, 2007
No, we didn't close on Friday, praise God! We thought maybe it would be tomorrow, but the Title company is being slow which is still fine with us.

We spent 10 hours at the mobile home today painting, trying to help them get it ready for us. It is slow going. We go back tomorrow to paint some more. I'm exhausted and about to go to bed, yes at 8:30 p.m.

Things are just super crazy here. So I'm not online hardly at all. I'll try to check in every now and then.

Thanks for asking about us, I'll try and do better at keeping you posted!
Oh this just makes me so sad . . .
Thursday, August 16, 2007
This is an article on a day off from work in an effort of procreation. When I think of all the children in those orphanages!

But the clincher was when I read the REGION! Can you guess?? Here's the link to the article. I'm not copying the actual article into my blog - I just can't!!

Check this out . . .
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Check out Pickel's blog for her Signing Time give-away!
It's my party, I can cry if I want too . . .
But, believe it or not - I don't want too!

I guess it's a good thing to be knee deep in packing boxes on your fortieth birthday. Yep, that's right, today I turn the big 4-0. Can you believe it?? Me either!!

I've got so many blessings and certainly plenty of excitement to keep me busy. I thought this day would be harder than it's been, but so far, so good!

Hubby and D took me out to lunch in Shreveport at Monjuni's. Yum-O! It was a weird thought to think that 40 years ago, my Mama was in the hospital in that same city after giving birth to me. Oh what a hot day to give birth (currently 103*).

I'm awaiting the flower shop delivery person, then I'm off to the DMV to renew my driver's license. I wonder if I'll have to take a senior citizen eye test??
An update on us
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Yes, things have been extemely chaotic around here! We've been packing and making four different stacks. 1. Goes to the mobile home. 2. Goes to storage. 3. Goes in the garage sale pile. 4. Trash.

Everything is falling in line, and it is entirely possible that we may truly close this Friday! It's unbelievable.

The mobile home is nothing fancy. It will be like staying at a lake house for the most part. It is plenty big enough. Not as big as our current house, but we'll do just fine. Really the only parts that aren't as big are the bedrooms. It has stood empty for a few years, and the owners were fixing it up for their daughter to live in while her husband is stationed in Kuwait. But she decided to go ahead and build a house out on their "home place" so they stopped mid-way through since there was no urgency. BUT the wonderful thing is that she had already had Sattelite Internet and DishNetwork set up there and, so we'll have the use of that for 3-4 months until her new house is finished and then she'll transfer it over to the new house. Yay! I don't know if satellite internet is as fast as DSL, but it's got to be better than dial-up!

We rented a storage unit and it's about 1/3 full now. We've been taking loads over each evening. The storage place is just around the corner from where our new house will be built.

The architect got the first stage of blueprints drawn up and we've been going over them, placing electrical outlets; TV hook-ups and telephone outlets where we want them. It is so exciting to see those drawings of the house we've been dreaming of for a couple years at least.

I packed up Viktoria's room yesterday for the most part. It's all done except the clothes in the closet and the top shelf of her closet. This is truly a blessing that everything is happening so fast. I did really well, just a couple teary, melancholy moments. It is so good not to have to feel guilt for packing away her room. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to do it yet, if not for this move. But I must admit that it will be nice to not have an empty baby's room standing in wait. If things move fast and we get a child home before we get the house built, then we'll just get the baby stuff out of storage and set up the third bedroom at the mobile home then. We're storing the baby stuff and Christmas stuff right near the front of the storage unit so we can get to it easily.

I've got to run, the insurance lady is coming for a walk through in order to insure the new owners. It's a madhouse!
Friday on as the house sales . . .
Friday, August 10, 2007
Contract signed by both parties - check
Earnest money given to appropriate Title Company people - check
For Sell by Owner Sign pulled up out of the yard - check
Closing date next Friday? - Aaaagh!!
Yep, the buyers are closing on their current house next Friday and want us out of here by the 24th. I picked up 12 boxes at the supermarket last night, I wonder how long it will take me to fill those up??
Only problem is the double-wide isn't scheduled to be finished with its remodel till mid-September! Guess what else? We haven't even seen the double-wide yet! This may be a true adventure for us! We go tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. to see it.
We rented one of the only available storage units (10x16) in our small town, but it won't take long for us to fill that up! Oh well, this is a living by faith and the seat of our pants thing at this point!
After 18 months of living our lives in limbo, this living life in the moment thing is a little scary! Whoa!
Offer on the house!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Well, just when I thought we weren't going to have any viewings of the house today, the phone rang about 1 hour and half ago. An elderly man (80's) and his daughter (60's) came to look and made an offer. We accepted the offer and collected earnest money and the option fee!

Woo Hoo!

Double-wide palace, here comes your queen! Actually, Hubby and I were talking earlier, we're not exactly going to be slumming in the double wide. It's newly remodeled, all new appliances, new deck, on the lake and at least the same size as our current house if not bigger LOL.

We'll be in the country, though, so no DSL for a while eek!

Post Institutional Toilet Training
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Virginia has a great post on Toilet Training and our post-institutional kids. She also has listed some other great links on the topic.
Tuesday Stuff
Well, the lady from Sunday is back pedaling. Doesn't want to sign a contract, but wants us to "hold" the house for her. I don't think so! She's a bit strange. Not sure if I really want her in my house, you know?

We just got through showing it to another older couple (from Minnesota, Amy!) and I liked them. They really liked the house and yard alot. I would be happy with them living in my house LOL.

So, we'll see. It's just been for sale for 3 days afterall.

It would have been cool to sale it in 24 hours though :O)

**Don't worry, we won't simply " hold" the house for her. She called again this morning, and I made it absolutely clear that without a contract and earnest money, we won't hold it. I've got another showing already scheduled for tomorrow. I do wish the couple from this morning would go into contract, though because I really liked them. I think they would love my little house :o).

p.s. We've got a place to move now if it sells. It will be ready in about a month, around the time we would close if we sell the house in the next few days. I'll be the queen of a double-wide for about 6-8 months, but it will be an adventure :o). Actually, it's pretty nice for a mobile home (no offense intended if you live in one, I just never have - so it'll be new).

Sunday on - "As the House Sales . . ."
Sunday, August 05, 2007
We walked in the door after church this morning and the phone was ringing.

We've got our first offer.

Full asking price.

Oh my goodness, where will we live!

If her financing goes through we will have sold our house in 24 hours!
For Sale By Owner
Saturday, August 04, 2007
**Edited at 10:05 p.m.**

The sign is in the yard.

The realtor said she would advise us to try for sale by owner for a couple of weeks before listing it. She is a personal friend, so I'm sure that's the only reason she is willing to give up the 6% commission. That's a good friend, eh? Actually, she sold us this house 5 years ago. D was 19 months old when we moved in here.

Our realtor friend said if we sale it by owner, she'll guide us through the contract and closing business.

I've been scrubbing floors and baseboards yesterday afternoon and today. I'm talking hands and knees scrubbing. My triceps are screaming!

We met with the builder yesterday and talked with the architect. So this thing seems to be really happening! Eeek!

**Oh my goodness, what a day! We put the sign in the yard around 10:30 or 11 this morning. We had 6 calls today, 4 of which were VERY interested. 3 showings. 2 possible offers to come on Monday! We may be homeless soon!
Music on my blog . . .
Friday, August 03, 2007
I've had a couple questions lately in the comments about the music on my blog. It is coming from the Photo Show of Vika down below.

The name of the song is Kemp's Jig.

I thought it kind of went with the photo-show since it's kind of happy, kind of sad sounding. At least to me.

I personally am not the big fan of music on blogs. It gets annoying to me sometimes. I even turn the sound down every time I come on my blog to scroll through my blogs that I read everyday.

I will be taking the Photo-Show of Vika off the blog either today or tomorrow and replacing it with a more non-identifying photo. This is my own choice, no one has told me to do this. I just know that she is not ours anymore, she belongs to yet another mommy and daddy. But, I wanted to share her preciousness with all of you who have followed our journey. You can really see her personality in the photos, don't you think? From a PAP (pre-adoptive parent) point of view, and not just a person looking at a cute kid point of view, you can see many things in these photos that tell you why we knew in our hearts that she would be just fine. She had great eye-contact, relaxed into us when we held her, could concentrate and interact on a looking at a book, leary in the beginning (checking out D), and just all around a great girl with a goofy, fun personality. I'll always, always miss her. And love her. And pray for her. Always.
Good visit with the Realtor
Thursday, August 02, 2007
The Realtor stayed about an hour and a half this morning. She's gone back to the office to run the numbers but her estimate of what we can ask for our house pretty much "as is", is coming in at what we had hoped to get in our most hopeful scenario! If her numbers continue along the lines she is thinking, we will be able to ask 51% more than what we paid for our house right at 5 years ago!

Like I mentioned before, the Oil and Gas business is booming here and people are moving in left and right. Middle class/middle range homes are selling quickly. She actually thinks she may know a buyer already for us. This is what has been happening lately in our town, the sign doesn't even get stuck in the yard before they have a buyer for your house! I'm trying not to get my hopes up and it doesn't help that hubby had to run back to a meeting right after she left and we haven't had a chance to talk.

I just prayed that if it's meant to happen that it will happen quickly and obviously. So, I'll just keep praying along those lines.

She gave us the name of the builder who built their house and his cost per square foot is even lower than the other builder we were thinking of ($59 per square foot). When I watch HGTV, I can't believe the cost of housing in other parts of the country! Of course I'm sure the salaries have to be equally higher there too, but still!

To answer Chelley's question, it will be built just for us. Not a tract home. I guess it would be called a custom home? This is the plan we are looking at for now with a few changes. It will probably end up a little over 2,000 square feet after we add our changes. It's not a mansion, but it has a lot of what we're looking for in a house and we haven't been able to find already built. We figured out we could build brand new, just what we want for the same or less than an already built house the we don't love. So, it's exciting for us.
How D is doing --- Girls -vs- Boys --- New House
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Several of you have asked how D is doing with everything. She's doing wonderfully, resiliently well from what we can tell. It is always un-nerving for her to see Mommy cry, so once the first few days passed, and I wasn't crying as much, she seemed less "on edge."

She was just barely 5 when we met Viktoria in Russia and she really remembered her only as being a baby. When we got the new picture from the data-bank a couple months ago, she didn't even know who that girl was. It was hard for her to wrap her mind around the fact that it was Viktoria, growing up. 17 months is a long time to US, it must be an eternity to her. She just wants a sister.

I think Viktoria was more of a thought to her at this point than "real." We've kept the lines of communication open with her, telling her if she wants to talk about Viktoria it's completely ok. Or if she has ANY questions that it's ok to ask - any time. She has amazed me how well she is handling it.

On the topic of requesting a girl or boy referral. This is tough for me! I've ALWAYS pictured having two girls. From the time I was little. Of course that is probably because I am one of two girls and that's all I know.

I have three nephews that I love as dearly as if they were my own sons. I love them to pieces and always have. But for my own child/ren, I've always had a dream of girls. Two girls. Not three or six. Two.

Actually, my "two girls" dream has an alternate version. I've always thought, "I want two girls. Then if a third child happened to enter the equation, it can be a boy - no problem." But I want two girls! How do you change a lifelong desire?? Especially one that you never realized was so deeply ingrained?

Hubby and I talked this over today a great deal at lunch. He says he will truly be fine with another girl. But I will also keep praying and considering switching to being open to a girl OR boy.

I've thought too, like someone commented, that we can be open to a sibling group of a boy and girl. But our homestudy would have to be changed and our I-171H would have to be changed too.

New House? What's up with that? Well, the month after we got home from meeting Viktoria (April '06), we found out that a church member was wanting to sell some land. So - we had planned that once Viktoria got home we'd proceed with building a new house. We're kind of outgrowing our present house. Who knew little kids take up so much room! We were on hold with that not wanting to change everything up in the middle of Viktoria's adoption with a difficult region and all. Well, now that we'll be virtually "starting over" we are going to go ahead with our plans. The market in our area is hot right now and houses are selling like crazy at greatly appreciated prices. While new construction is still super reasonable (about $60-$65 per square foot!) So, even if our house sells in a week and we have to live in a mobile home for a few months, we'll be ok per our agency rep. So we are quite excited about this dream that has been on hold for over a year. We're meeting with our realtor friend in the morning to see what she thinks we can ask for our house and what updates she thinks we should make for the best profit.
The Meeting
We're still digesting things from the meeting yesterday. They talked alot with us about grieving the loss of V.

We discussed what options we have open to us, we didn't learn anything new on that front than what we already knew, but it was good to go over things. For us personally, it comes down to three options, really. 1. Continuing in Russia in a different region 2. Switching over to open-domestic where a birth mother chooses us out of a book 3. Quit.

After we left, hubby and I talked and he said, "ok - if we had to say right this minute what we would do - I'd say go to Russia in the new region, expand our age range and consider being open to a boy or girl" I said, "go to Russia in the new region, raise our age range a bit (not as far as hubby considered) and I'll keep trying to come to terms with switching to the boy or girl thing."

We decided in the meeting that for the month of August we are going to take a break from the pressure of deciding. Nothing can be done in Russia until our agency is re-accredited anyhow.

That's easier said than done, though. We've been "living" adoption for pretty much 7 years! D's adoption process started in 2000. After we got home with her, we concentrated on paying off her adoption so we could start the next. Now we've been in the process of this adoption for 2 1/2 years itself - and counting.

So, we'll see how we do on that. Day by day, one step at a time.
Meeting Today
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
We're on our way to Dallas to meet with the agency and discuss our options. The meeting is at 2 p.m. please keep us in your thoughts and prayers - as always.
Praise God for good news
Monday, July 30, 2007
Kay has a court date! Yay!!

After waiting nearly a year since their first trip to meet their D, they got good news this morning! Go and give her your congratulations and encouragement!
Something light hearted for a change - Free candle give away
A blog that I've discovered, called "I Should Be Folding Laundry" is hosting a free candle giveaway. These are the new Febreeze Candles. I had just seen these advertised and wanted to check them out. Free would be good, right??
Dasvidanya Vika - a Photo Show
Saturday, July 28, 2007

I have removed the photo show after having it up for a week. I think it is best to only show unidentifiable photos of her now. Thank you all for your sweet comments on the photo show.
A little better
Friday, July 27, 2007
Every day is getting a little easier. I am so grateful for all the sweet things you all have had to say and for being so understanding and supportive. We've been overwhelmed with the amount of love and prayers by so many in real life and online friends and fellow adoptive parents.

I wish so much that this would never happen to anyone. I agree with you all that it is the death of a dream.

It's just hard, because that room at the end of the hall has been Viktoria's room for nearly 18 months. What do we call it now? It's not even "the baby's" room because we're still not sure what direction we will go.

Is God trying to tell us we are meant to be a family of three, that D is meant to be an only child? We have been so blessed with her. She is as close to perfect as any child could be. We love and cherish her so much. I've just always thought that being an only child would be so lonely. I've been so ready for her to have a playmate too. One good thing about Viktoria being older is that she could have come home ready to play since she would be nearly 3.

I'm feeling more hopeful in starts and stops. But going out into the "real world" is still unnatural feeling to me. D and had to go to the library and grocery shopping today and I felt as if I were in a twilight zone.

We'll get there. It'll just take time.

I'm not sure what I'll do about the blog. If I'll keep going on this one, or if I'll stop and keep it just for Viktoria.

I just want to thank you all again for being so great. I know that you all are bearing a piece of this pain for us in many different states and countries around the world. I had so hoped that it would be a different sort of sharing - a sharing of indescribable joy when we would have received that long awaited court date. But I thank you from the bottom of my heart, nonetheless.

"You, Oh Lord, are a shield around me, my glory,
and the one who lifts up my head."
Psalm 3:3
Red threads every day
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tuesday morning, almost the first thing after opening my eyes, I found a red thread. At first I forgot, but then I quickly remembered. She's not mine anymore. But every time I see a red thread, I'll always remember her. I'll never forget her. She was not here with us physically, but in every other way she was our Viktoria.

My thoughts have been so jumbled and scattered the last few days. I still don't know if I can put words together to make a readable sentence.

It is nearly like a death. It is much worse than a miscarriage and I know how hard miscarriages are, I've had four of them.

Everyone has been so great to us, we've had flower deliveries every day, food brought, little gifts in memory of Viktoria. We are considering having a little goodbye ceremony for close friends and family in a few weeks. At first I didn't think I could bear it, but it is getting a little easier.

We still don't know what we'll do from here.

We have a meeting set up for next Tuesday with our agency staff, including the director. We'll discuss what options we have through the agency. We've paid all that is due to them and we've already paid for two trips to Russia for Viktoria, so we're running out of money. There are moments I'm ready to quit, moments I'm scared of Russia, thoughts of switching to domestic adoption are scary too. But I don't want D to be an only child. I still have a spot in my heart and I just don't feel like our family is complete at 3.

One of the hardest things for me the past few days has been seeing other people all around us living their lives like nothing has happened. Don't they know I lost my baby?! How can they laugh and joke? How can they shop and be interested in the news?

In so many ways it really is like a death, but even harder in a way because I know she is still out there. With another mommy. Not with me. I want her to be happy. I pray that she is happy. I hope they'll love her and cherish her like we would. I hope she will grow up and know God and love Him. I hope they are prepared to deal with her attachment adjustments. Are they feeding her well? Then I think of all the pictures that we have of her newborn from the old databank picture; 11 months from our referral pictures; 13 months from the first trip; 20 months from the second/visit trip. I wonder if I could send the pictures to them? She'll need to know what she looked like as a baby! And I have all these things with Viktoria monogrammed on them. Even in Russian! But did they change her name?

So many questions, no answers.
Goodbye Sweet Viktoria
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We received a call yesterday afternoon and learned that last week a Russian family chose Viktoria to become their child. Needless to say, we are devastated and we ask for your prayers as we seek God's will in knowing what our next step will be.

We are not alone . . .
Monday, July 23, 2007
After all these months of waiting I thought we HAD to be the only ones in the world (well not really) waiting this long. However, the Pease family has been waiting even longer than us!

Their little boy is 28 days younger than V. They met him in December of 2005 (3 months before we met V) and they are STILL waiting. He was 10 months old when they met him.

For all the waiting mommies and daddies, she has written a great post called "The Waiting Room". Whether you've been waiting for your court date for a month or nearly two years, you will certainly relate to this post!

They received the wonderful news last week, though, that their agency was finally reaccredited!

Please go over and give them some of the support that you've given me all these months.

"But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint
or become tired." Isaiah 40:31
Fun with Blog Friends.

Here is a picture of Debbie and me scrapbooking together last week! This is something we have wanted to do together for a long time! It was only a mini-session, but still fun.

This is D and Deb at Chilis after we went and saw Ratatouille a couple of weeks ago.

"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted."

Job 42:2

Happy half-a-birthday V!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Today my baby V turns 2 1/2. It is just unbelievable. 30 months old.

I was telling a friend today that I feel blessed because God knew all along that she wouldn't come home till she was nearly 3 but I also think he knew we were stubborn enough that he had to give us the referral then (at 12 months old) or we'd stupidly miss the blessing. If we received her referral at this age now (30 months), and at this tiny size and with her history and current diagnoses, we would probably have been scared to death and declined the referral.

I believe we've also been blessed because we have photos of her from that first databank picture when she was a tiny baby; photos of her at 11 months (our referral pictures); photos at 13 months on our first trip; photos at 20 months old on our visit trip; and blessedly the new databank photo that I found a couple months ago. We also feel like we have known her most of her life even though she hasn't been here with us.

So, V, although Mommy wants you to come home sooner than soon, I'm doing ok today, but missing you with all my heart!

"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! " Psalm 139:13-17
Interviewing a Pediatrician (repost from last July)
I know many who read my blog are awaiting the arrival of their first child. I wanted to share the list of questions I used when I interviewed our pediatrician before D came home.

We chose a female pediatrician because our post-institutionalized children are more familiar with women than men. Generally the only man they may have ever had contact with (before their Daddy arrived in their lives) would have been the male doctor at the orphanage. So, that was our basis on chosing a female pediatrician.

We made the appointment for our pediatrician interview after we made our first trip. We had much more medical information, photos and video to share with the doctor after our first trip than we did right after referral. So that is why I waited between the two trips to interview.

***Let me add now that I have no idea where I found the basis of this list of questions. It did not come from my own brain - if I could remember nearly 6 years back to where I got it I would acknowledge the original author. But I'm just re-copying it from the scribbles in my adoption journal from D's adoption.***

General Questions for Interviewing a Pediatrician:

  • Are you a board certified pediatrician w/at least 3 years specialized training?
  • Do you currently or have you ever had any other Internationally Adopted children as patients?
  • What is your availability in case of emergency?
  • How will you support us on feeding choices? (ie: reverting back to bottle)
  • Do you have a certain area of expertise in child care?
  • What are the office hours?
  • What do we do after hours?
  • How can I reach you by phone and when?
  • What do we do in case of an emergency if you are unavailable?
  • Can we talk to you on the phone with questions not requiring an office visit? Is there a charge for these consultations?
  • How long is the typical office visit? (you want it to be at least 15 minutes)
  • Do you have a copy of the physicians red-book to translate diagnoses from another country?
  • When we return home with our child will we be able to get an appointment ASAP (w/in 72 hours) even though our arrival date will be unknown?
  • How do you feel about us having our child concurrently being evaluted by an International Adoption specialist? We had planned to take D to Texas Children's Hospital IA Specialist when we came home, but the need was not great enough. We trusted our Pediatrician to deal with our issues.
  • How comfortable are you with guiding us through developmental issues and getting us connected with Early Childhood Intervention in our town/county.
  • Are you set up to test her eyes and ears in this office or will we need to see a specialist. If a specialist is needed, who would you recommend?
  • Are you familiar with Sensory Integration issues?
  • Will you supply us with the neccessary materials for bringing a sample of our child's stool to check for parasites at her first visit?
  • Will you recommend starting over with vaccinations or running Titers to verify the validity of the previous vaccinations.

How we did things:
We called the regular appointment number and explained that we wanted to have an interview with the doctor for our soon to arrive from Russia daughter-to-be. The appointment was first thing in the morning - before the sick children began arriving.

I took a friend with me who was a "seasoned" mother. She helped me come up with even more questions that I would have never even thought to ask.

The doctor gave me their office's own guide book for parents of newborns. It has been a lifeline for me, we still use it and D is 6 years old. Ask if there is something like this available for you. Make sure the doctor fully understands that although your child will come home as a toddler or older, you are still a newborn parent!

Ask about feeding advice. Such as formula, etc. Remind the doctor that your child will be coming home with compromised nutrition.

Take whatever medical information you have on your child including vaccination records. We started all over with vaccinations on D with zero complications.

If your child has had the TB vaccination make SURE the pediatrician is aware of this. I believe most children coming from Russia will have had this vaccination already by 9 or 10 months old.

Also, just FYI the Polio vaccine D had been given in Russia was oral.

Ask about medications to take with you on the second trip which your child may need. Ask about dosage amounts. A US 2-year-old and an18 pound post-institutional 2-year-old will need different dosages! ALWAYS - If in doubt go by the weight, not the age when giving your child medication.

I brought pictures of D taken during our first trip. I also brought a video and left it with her if she wanted to watch it at a later time. I don't know if she ever did or not.

D was her first Internationally adopted patient and became the star of the doctors office anytime we visited. They always have remarked, still to this day, how amazing her transformation has been since she came home. Now Dr. Hunter has several IA kids in her practice!

That is all I can think of right now. If you think of any further questions, feel free to put them in the comments section and I'll see if I can remember back a few years and answer your questions.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

Scrapbook for box tops
I know alot of you who read my blog are scrapbookers. I came across this site and thought I would share it with you.

I admit I am soooo bad at saving those box tops, but free scrapbook supplies might encourage me! How 'bout you??


"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
Snow Suit Swap
Monday, July 16, 2007
In case you haven't heard, Steve has begun a Yahoo group for swapping (not selling) snow suits. This way you won't have to buy a snow suit for wear only in Russia (or other EE countries) and then come home to a warm climate never to be worn again. Here is the link for the group:

"Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You." Psalm 33:20-22
Lisa needs our blog friend support.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Please visit Lisa and give her your support, encouragement and prayers - lots of prayers!
Great news for Jane!
Jane has received some awesome news. Go over and give her your congratz!!
More Good News
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Under the Heading "Next Round of Accreditation - Rumours" There were two seperate posts this afternoon on FRUA telling that EAC was notified that their accreditation certificates have been signed and one poster even states that they expect to receive the certificates tomorrow! Where there's one there definitely are more - come on accreditations!

By these first batches being processed through the line, our agency gets closer and closer to the front of the line! OOO I wish I knew what number the little paper tab has that our agency is holding and what number will be called next!!
A timely message
Virginia at Russian Adoption Blog had this post a few days ago and I wanted to link it here.

Are your Post Placement Reports due? Please for the sake of us who are waiting, do them and please, please, please don't be late.
Confessions of a Waiter
There is a recent thread on FRUA started by Sarah H. which is titled, "Adoption Excitement is Drooping After this Long Wait."

I know a thing or two about waiting a long time. It is not possible to keep the adrenaline filled excitement that comes in the early days. With D's adoption, we kept the excitiment pretty much the whole way through but it went relatively smoothly and quickly if you don't count the three weeks following 9/11 when we were afraid we would never be allowed to see her again!

If anyone would have told me going in that we would have this long wait AFTER meeting our daughter I would have unequivocally told them I could never withstand it. Never.

But we went forward with faith and we'll continue the race for our daughter until the end. Every day passes by and we're one day closer to her. The days themselves are sometimes slow, but when I look back over the last 16 months, they have really zoomed by. I wish they would have done their zooming with V at home, but that's not the way it has worked out. I could spend all my time asking God, "Why??" but it does me no good. So I just venture there every once in a while.

We have a little cluster of pictures of V on the refrigerator "gallery." One picture is of her at the first trip when she was 13 months old, one of our visit trip when she was 20 months old and the latest picture that I accidentally found on the databank site. In the middle of the cluster is a magnet that Debbie sent me that says, "Never, never, never give up." A quote by Winston Churchill. When I look at her little face in the latest picture it seems as if she's saying, "I'm ok Mommy, afterall I don't know any other home than this." Sometimes I just look at her and say, "Ya Ne Pa Ne My oo", I do not understand - but still she smiles on.

When I heard that the group of agencies had received their accreditations last week, I was happy for those families and the children who will be allowed to come home. I was happy to know that it was finally happening and that the term is non-expiring. But I didn't feel the super excitement, gooseflesh that I expected to feel. I have to admit that mixed in there were some major feelings of, "why not us!"

When I heard yesterday that a second batch is nearing completion I became a little more excited because we're getting closer and closer. We know our agency will not be in this second batch either. I am hoping, wishing, and praying that we'll hear good news by my birthday, August 15. Even if it is just a rumble of rumor that we're getting close!

The only things left to update our new dossier are certified copies of our Marriage Certificate and updated medicals. We can't do the medicals until we know it's "imminent" because they expire every 3 months. So hopefully I can make those appointments mid-August.

I saw a program on television that was talking about how 2007 is the year of completion and oh how I pray that it is right.

I've talked before about how I go through periods of numbness, periods of despair and periods of urgency throughout the wait. I think it is only natural to go through these phases. The best thing (and sometimes the worst) I've found is the blogger community who really understand where we're at. Our familes cannot fully understand and not even our casemanager can fully understand, but parents who are going through the same thing that we are CAN understand. As far as I know there are very few families JUST like us who have met their child and are waiting and waiting over a year to go back and bring them home. I thank God for that. It is not something I would wish on anyone. But through it all I hope that I've grown as a person, and spiritually. We may never understand God's plan in this or why He allowed this to happen, but in the end it will be a Glory Hallelujah Day when V is finally home.
A Fun and "Informative" Site about Russia
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Came across this website today and thought you all may enjoy giving it a look. I haven't looked at the whole entire thing, so read at your own risk. What I read was "G" rated, however.

It kind of reminds me of how some people view Texas . . .

I'll write more later, I need to run out in the backyard and get the Longhorn to stop scratching his back on our oil derrick!!
Long time no blog, huh?
Did you wonder if I had dropped off the face of the earth?

Hubby had a conference last week in the DFW metroplex and D and I went with him. We thought we were going to rest and relax and luxuriate in this princess hotel all week - NOT.

We were busy, busy! We did swim a few times but no shopping or any girly stuff like that.

D had her eye doctor check up on Tuesday morning and we were surprised at the news that she would have to have more eye surgery - on FRIDAY! The only dates open were July 6 or the end of August (when she would already be back in school). So while we were there . . .

On Tuesday night D and I met up with Debbie and went to the movie and saw Ratatoullie and it was super cute, only Debbie was scared by the little ghosty-chef guy ;oP After the movie we went to Chili's and had some late supper, D was up late that night. We had a good time visiting with Debbie!

On Wednesday, we woke up and made our cute little Fourth of July Flip-flops and painted D's toe-nails red/white/blue. Then we went to lunch at Hubby's best friend forever (literally) parent's house in Plano. Then we had to rush back to the hotel for hubby's next meeting at 2:45 and D and I hit the pool. Boy was it crowded! The first day the outdoor pool had been open. It didn't even register to me that it WAS a holiday afterall :O) I called Debbie that afternoon to learn about the accreditation news. We didn't get online because the business center was 50 cents per minute and a half mile away from our room. Yes, we are the only people in America with no laptop!

Thursday D and I went and visited my daddy and step-mom for several hours (they live only 18 miles from the hotel) we hadn't seen them in a couple of months. Then back to the hotel for D to swim. I had started coming down with a cold on Wednesday, so I didn't swim, just sat on the side while she played with some kids
D and I ordered Pizza Hut delivered and had a slumber party (till 9) in our hotel room, she thought that was way cool.

Friday we went to the Pediatric Surgery Center and D did so well with her surgery. She was a real trooper - again. This was a much cooler place than we went to for her last surgery, this was all for kids and they were wonderful. If you're in the DFW area and your child needs surgery, this is a wonderful place.

Saturday morning we headed home. I was feeling awful with this yucky summer cold. It has settled in my ears and chest and I've been a wimp with it.

I'm really excited, and yet a little jealous ( I must admit) for those whose agencies were re-accredited last week. I'm praying like crazy that ours comes soon.

I've gone through waves of numbness, waves of urgency and waves of despair in this 16 months that we've waited to go back for V. I'm in a wave of urgency right now! I hope I stay in this wave until she's home!!

OOOO this is fun!
Monday, July 02, 2007
If you're in the mood for suspense, go over to Elle's blog and check out what she's got going on. This is right up my alley!
Orphan Warmth
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Please check out Debbie's new site, Orphan Warmth. She makes beautiful blankets, I can verify this personally because we have one, waiting on V's bed, that she made!
What actually happens now with this Accreditation Stuff??
Steve (at A Dad's Journey Through International Adoption) has a great post which explains pretty much what happens now that the Four Ministries sign off and the MOE officially approves agencies for accreditation. I'm just going to link you to his post because he did such a great job in explaining things! He lists each step that is yet to come.

Kind of reminds me of that old School House Rock song, "I'm Just A Bill."

Again, for any family and friend readers thinking this directly effects US, the answer is no, not yet - but soon!
My Saturday
Saturday, June 30, 2007
I can't remember if I mentioned that a few weeks ago we were awakened in the night by a loud "bang" which happened to be the pipes underneath our kitchen sink erupting. We got the emergency faucet turner things turned off and the water damage wasn't too terrible, but it is amazing the amount of water that came out and engulfed my kitchen and sunroom before we could get those handles turned all the way off!

Anyhow, hubby bought two new flexible pipe things and fixed the erupted part but the emergency handles wouldn't turn back on without dripping leaking a good bit and nearly falling off. So after having the popcorn bowl under the sink for a few weeks, we called the plumber. Our faucet thing was also seeping a bit, so we went to Lowes and bought a new faucet - we were so surprised how expensive they are! I didn't get the pretty one that I really wanted (the old fashioned dippy kind) because the only ones like that were Price Pfister and our plumber said don't get Price Pfister :O(. So, anyhow, the plumber came this morning at 8 a.m. and stayed a couple of hours and now we have professionally installed new emergency faucet turner things and a new modernish faucet on top. It's a stainless steel one of those high arc ones, by Moen.

I spent most of this day in V's room with my scrapbooking stuff spread out everywhere. I had commented about this on Debbie's blog, and nearly wrote a whole post there, so I'll expound here on my own blog. On her comments, I had written:

"For some reason which is way too psychological for me to figure out, I've not scrapped and it is somehow connected to V not coming home yet. I haven't scrapped ANYTHING not just things related to V. Weird, huh? Now, I don't know if I've pushed past my psychological scrapping hang up or if the hope of accreditation has opened my scrapbooking doors but I'm doing it again."

I still don't understand myself. But I do know this - I am sooo behind in my scrapbooking. I also realized today that since I started blogging, I haven't had many pictures actually printed, I just share them online. I hardly have ANYTHING material for 2007 so I'm going to have to go online and order some prints!! Maybe that's the thing - maybe I've transferred my scrapbooking energies over to my blog. I won't bore you with the details, but 6 hours later, I have all my pictures categorized by year and month and they are in a little file box ready to be scrapped. I'm very proud of myself for that, but it was one big job let me tell you!! I have pictures going back to 2001 that still need to be scrapbooked!!
An evening with no rain
Friday, June 29, 2007
*edited to remove V's real name - oops! (thanks for catching that Esther) and to clarify that it wasn't OUR agency who received accreditation. It's still a couple months away for us it seems.

We had a great family time tonight.

Finally no rain here and we took advantage of it. Actually we've had two whole days with no rain - unbelievable!

After D's swimming lesson this afternoon, we came home and hubby started a fire in the outdoor firepit that we gave him for Christmas. D kept her swimming suit on from lessons and I went and put my suit on (with cover up - the neighbors just don't need to see that!) We roasted hot dogs over the flame and had a picnic on the patio with hotdogs, tortilla chips, homemade salsa from fresh homegrown tomatoes and a watermelon. We spit watermelon seeds in the yard (yes even we two Southern ladies spat!) We just had a wonderful night. After we got our fill of hotdogs and watermelon, we roasted marshmallows over the fire. D loves to just burn them to a crisp and then catapult them off the roaster tongs out into the yard - she doesn't eat them roasted, only raw. Yum, I love them just a little burny - just where you barely catch it on fire and have to blow it out. After roasting marshmallows we took a little swim in our little WalMart above ground pool.

Hubby had spread a huge double person sized beach towel over the patio table as a table cloth and so the watermelon juice wouldn't get everywhere. Right before we went out to roast the marshmallows, I looked down by my Dixie paper plate and saw a long red thread. I silently picked it up and stuck it on my shirt over my heart (which is what I always do when I find a red thread) and walked out to join my two loves at the firepit. That was *V enjoying the night with us if only in my heart.

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break."
Oh my goodness, It's starting to happen!!
There is news on FRUA that Cradle of Hope Agency has received notification that they are ACCREDITED and they should receive their official certificate on July 4!!

No, we're not with Cradle of Hope and our agency really expects that we will be about 2 months behind this first batch, but IT'S HAPPENING! HOORAY!
Magazine Cover Girl
Monday, June 25, 2007

A month or so ago I mentioned about D having a "photo shoot" for a magazine cover. We received our copy of the magazine and it's cute, thought I'd share . . .

Our vacation in bullets and pix
Friday, June 22, 2007

  • We left for San Antonio right after church Sunday morning.

  • After the 6 hour trip we checked into our hotel and then went to Texas Land and Cattle Steak House to celebrate Father's day.

  • Bright and early Monday morning we headed to Sea World. The first thing we did was feed dolphins, it was really exciting.

  • We spent the whole day at Sea World and were exhausted.
I don't know how clear this picture is because I was FAR AWAY when I took it! D is holding a giant snake - ICK! Don't eat my baby!!!

  • We went back to Sea World on Tuesday morning, not quite as bright and early and we hit the water park portion, called Lost Lagoon. We spent most of the day there and got sunburnt even though we applied the sun-scream liberally!

  • We went back to the hotel and showered and changed and scrambled to meet Kay at Starbucks.

  • We had to be back at Sea World by 5:45 for our Dinner with Shamu. It was really cool to be so close to the big whales!

  • Wednesday it came a downpour in San Antonio which is not really common this time of year from what we were told. We visited the Alamo in the pouring rain.

  • We headed to the Market Square and had lunch at Mi Tierra which D had seen on Postcards from Buster a few months ago so going there was a must! It was very yummy and the atmosphere was fun.

  • Back to the hotel we went and D and I konked out for a loooong nap - till 6:30! We had planned to visit the San Antonio River Walk, but we didn't go back that night.

  • Thursday we left San Antonio and headed toward home. We stopped at the Natural Bridge Caverns where we toured the caves and D panned for gems!

  • Then it was on toward home. The longest ride ever.

  • We were happy to get home and now we must recover from our vacation :O)
Home From Vacation

We got home about 9:30 last night from our week in San Antonio. Wow, we're wiped out - it was a very active vacation :O)

Yes, I got to meet Kay in real life if only for a short little time. We were so scheduled in our vacation that we had only a tiny amount of time to carve out for our meeting. On our way to our dining with Shamu experience we stopped by Starbucks and had an official blogger pal meeting. As usual, it felt as if we already knew each other (at least to me it did) and the actual meeting was strictly a formality.

Friday, June 15, 2007
This was posted this morning on FRUA!

Content of the Cradle of Hope Agency announcement - so don't know how many agencies this applies to: Finally, some good news to report! All four Ministries have signed off on our re-accrediation approval!! We are told that the last two approvals (Justice and Internal Affairs just signed this week) have already arrived at the Ministry of Education, so we are only waiting for the Min/Ed to issue our accreditation certificate. We expect these final steps to occur in the next few weeks, so we are very, very close. Once we receive the accreditation certificate, we will send out an email immediately to all of our Russia families. (we will probbably close our office a little early on that day for a small celebration for our staff.) We will expeditiously deliver the certificate to all of our regions for filing with each pending case, in hopes of getting some long overdue court dates and first trips scheduled quickly. We will also be hoping to get some new referrals soon. Families who have been waiting for re-accreditation to update their documets are urged to move forward with this process now. Please contact your CHAC adoption assistant if you ar not sure which documents are still needed. Please make sure your BCIS fingerprint clearances and I-171H are still valid and won't expire anytime soon.

Oh how I pray this is real! Thanks Debbie for calling me! I can't see how it wouldn't be real unless that POBES person on FRUA is evil or something and made it up! It seems they copied and pasted the info from their agency's newsflash! Please be real, please be real!!! I never imagined I'd use so many exclamation points for ANOTHER agency getting their accreditation!!
No news, no news, no news
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I've not been a very good blogger lately, but there really hasn't been a thing to blog about related to our adoption.

We've been super busy this summer already and are getting ready to go on vacation leaving this weekend. I'll tell you where we went when we get back. I have a fear some creepy person may read my blog and snatch D since I've posted her precious pix on the blog. So, I'll just tell you when we get back where we went. And No, it's not Russia this time :O)

We have been pretty low about the adoption lately. We're at nearly 16 months now, waiting for a court date that is no where in sight. V will turn 29 months on Monday. We don't look for anything to happen toward it till Fall. Nothing concrete to make us think that, but just the way things are going. Our 12 month-old referral will be 3 before she comes home.

We're just living our life and staying busy. But like I told Deb the other day, there is no busy that is busy enough to make you not think about it - especially when she's already a real child that we know and have held, smelled, touched and heard. I check the database every now and then just to make sure she's still there and her sweet little happy face smiles at me from the screen. The same face that is on my refrigerator door beside D's art work.

As I'm sure you can tell, when I get quiet on the blog, I'm not in the greatest of places adoption-wise. Hopefully I'll be "up" again soon.

Off to clean the house and start packing for our trip . . .

"be where your feet are" - that's what I'm doing
Pray as our two Presidents meet tomorrow!
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Tomorrow (or actually tonight as we sleep) Presidents Putin and Bush will meet together at the G8 summit.

Whether you agree with our President or not, he is our president and he needs our prayers.

The relationship between our two countries could definitely affect adoption. So please pray for God to be all over this meeting tomorrow!
Counting blessings and praying for a breeze
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I guess with the current heat wave spreading throughout Russia we should be glad not to be there????? Yeah, I'm grasping at straws on that one, aren't I??

I am praying that they'll open some windows so my poor little sweaty V won't melt! But then again, the killer mosquitoes may eat her up! The high in her city is to be 101* on Thursday!

She needs to come home to cool East Texas where our highs this week will only be in the upper 70's* that's a switch, isn't it!
Info on Infant Attachment
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Infant Attachment Checklist Copyright by Walter D. Buenning, Ph.D., 1999

Symptom Examples
Adoptive moms share examples from their children's daily lives. Just a few of these symptoms may indicate a problem. Please consult with an attachment therapist if you have concerns about your child.

*I have indicated (below in red) those areas where we had to work with D when she came home at age 11 months. It took about 2 months for her to become "normal" in most of these areas. She still has a rather high tolerance for pain. It took her probably 6-8 months before she would "hold on" in a normal fashion (#14 below) when we carried her. She would grasp our shirt at the shoulder instead of holding us back. This was probably the most painful transition for me emotionally, but I had to realize, she just didn't know how!

I wanted to share that these things CAN be and most times ARE worked through. The main thing is that you are prepared and educated beforehand and even though you can't help but take it personally and feel hurt and rejected REMEMBER the child doesn't KNOW how to love you back, they have to be taught and LOVE TEACHES LOVE.

Sometimes it takes more than love and your family may need attachment therapy and there is NO SHAME in that. Get your child whatever help they need. Again, prepare for the worst and hope for the best! We were prepared to deal with WAY MORE than what D presented to us and we were happily relieved.

On Dr. Buenning's website, you may download a pdf file and print this checklist as well as a separate symptom checklist designed for children ages 5 years & older.

Each symptom is on a continuum from 0-10. Individual symptoms may present from mild to severe.
  • 1. Cries; miserable all the time, chronically fussy
  • 2. Resists comforting or nurturance
  • 3. Resists or dislikes being held
  • 4. Poor eye contact or avoids eye contact
  • 5. Flat, lifeless affect (too quiet)
  • 6. Likes playpen or crib more than being held
  • 7. Rarely cries (overly good baby)
  • 8. Angry or rageful when cries
  • 9. Exceedingly demanding
  • 10. Looks sad or empty-eyed
  • 11. Wants to hold bottle as soon as possible
  • 12. Stiffens or becomes rigid when held
  • 13. Prefers being held with back toward mother
  • 14. Does not hold on when being held (no reciprocal holding)
  • 15. When held chest to chest, faces away
  • 16. Does not return or reciprocate hugs
  • 17. Generally unresponsive to parent
  • 18. Cries or rages when held beyond his wishes
  • 19. Overly independent play or makes no demands
  • 20. Reaches for others to hold him rather than parent
  • 21. Little or reduced verbal responsiveness
  • 22. Does not return smiles
  • 23. Shows very little imitative behavior
  • 24. Prefers Dad to Mom
  • 25. Gets in and out of parents lap frequently
  • 26. Physically restless when sleeping
  • 27. Does not react to pain (high pain tolerance)
A new change in Russian Adoption . . .
From the US Embassy - Moscow Website

As of Monday, June 18, 2007, the Embassy’s standard processing time for adoption visas will be two business days.

As we adapt our procedures to more effectively incorporate the security screening steps required under the laws of the United States, we see this change as a key improvement in providing consistent, timely service to our customers.

Application documents will continue to be accepted at the Embassy from 9:30 to 11:00 AM on regular business days. However, beginning on Monday, June 18, 2007, families will not be scheduled for interviews at 2:00 PM on the same day as documents are submitted. Instead, families will be scheduled for interview on the following business day at 2:00 PM. Ordinarily, families will be issued the visas and immigration documents following the interview. However, we cannot guarantee that visas will always be provided at the interview due to the occasional need for additional processing and/or screening. Therefore, the Embassy requests that you make flexible travel plans, which take such possible delays into account.
It's Been One Year
Thursday, May 17, 2007
It has been one year since our agency's along with a big percentage of the other US agencies' accreditation expired.

Maybe this is a magic time of year for getting things done in Russia? Maybe accreditation is on its way again? I sure hope the rumor is true that accreditation will be valid for more than one year at a time from here on out!

There are rumblings on FRUA Chat with activity beginning at many of the (un-named on FRUA) agencies. Some people who have had their dossiers held by their agency for months are seeing them being sent at this time for translation. I really think we'll hear one day soon that an agency has received their accreditation. Once we hear the first news, I think the others will come along soon - including ours!

We've gotta believe, what else can we do??
Good News Wednesday
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
  • My step-mother has been in the hospital for over three weeks following back surgery. They had found a mass on her pelvic bone but the doctor came in this morning and it is NOT MALIGNANT!

  • I finally broke 20 pounds lost! I've officially lost all the weight I've gained since coming home from our meeting V trip March, 06. I had gained 20.5 pounds since we returned.

  • There is a "soft rumor" bit of news on FRUA that some regions are starting to give referrals and court dates based on the impending accreditations. This has to be good news.

  • Our dossier has been received in Austin via Fed-Ex - all 2 pounds of it. So, I guess it'll weigh 4 pounds when it comes back??

  • My gardenia bush is flowering for the first time ever. It's been out there for 3 years!

  • I'm sure I'm forgetting something. . .
Letter to Secretary of the State of Texas
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
A personal letter to Secretary of State Roger Williams and staff

May 15, 2007

Dear Mr. Williams and staff,

I am sure it is not often you are able to see the face of the child you are helping to come home by providing these seemingly never-ending apostilles. So I wanted to share with you a picture of our sweet V who is living in an orphanage in ____, Russia and to thank you for your part in helping us bring our daughter and new sister home where she can enjoy the benefits of a loving family.

We have been waiting on our courtdate in Russia to adopt V for over 15 months now and we are on our third dossier. I have lost count of the number of apostilles we have had to request for this adoption. I want to thank you for always being timely in producing and returning the apostilles to us. Each time we are asked for updated paperwork, we feel an urgency to get it done as quickly as possible.

We also want to express our gratitude for the $100 maximum that is required per adoption. If not for this cap, we would have spent thousands of dollars on apostilles for V’s adoption. We very much appreciate this gesture by the state of Texas and your office.

The Y family


To my blog readers,

My Mama always taught me that you can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. I'm sure the people at the SOS sometimes feel overburdened by the number of adoption apostilles they must produce each day. Sometimes it helps (not just oneself, but those coming after) to take a moment and share a kind thought. I know most families do not have a picture to submit with their apostille requests, so hopefully V's sweet face will help keep the Texas SOS motivated especially as accreditations come soon and their jobs will no doubt become more stressful as the number of requests come pouring in.

So, I thought I'd share with you the letter I have sent to the SOS with our latest request for 56 apostilles!! Sorry you don't get to see the picture of V's sweet face! Maybe soon!

I survived
Mother's day and our 12th wedding anniversary fell on the same day this year. It was hard for me to remember and grasp that it was also our anniversary. I'm glad the two don't fall on the same day very often, I don't like it.

The hardest thing on Sunday for me was the baby dedication time. Every year on mother's day at our church, the babies who have come during the year since the last mother's day are all dedicated to God. In our denomination, we do not baptise babies, but we do a little ceremony where they are dedicated to being raised in a Godly home.

Anyhow, it was hard for me to see all these babies who have been conceived, and born during the amount of time that we've been waiting for V. This is the second mother's day I've missed since meeting her and waiting for her.

But, for the good stuff:

D made me a little poster and rolled it up like a scroll and hid it under my bed. First thing Sunday morning she ran in and got it and gave it to me. I hung it in my "gallery" which is the walls of the laundry room. I got a big baby powder scented candle to keep in V's room. For my anniversary I got flowers (delivered on Friday) and we went out to dinner Sunday night at Red Lobster to celebrate both mother's day and as D told her grandmother on the phone "our" anniversary - too cute.

Oh how I hope we hear some good news this week that SOME agency has been granted their accreditation! Just knowing that someone has got it will be encouraging.
Mother's Day is Hard
Friday, May 11, 2007
When I was 13 years old my mother passed away as a result of battling cancer. She was about 35 years old when it first appeared and she fought it for nearly 8 years.

So from 1980 until 2001 Mother's day was horrible for me. That's 21 years.

I hated to go to church on Mother's day. It was just a huge reminder to me that I didn't have one.

In 1980 people didn't have cam-corders. So I have no video of my mother. We had one little cassette tape with her voice recorded, she said about 1/2 sentence and then laughed. The last time I heard it was at my sister's house around 1993, I have no idea where it is now.

I can't remember her voice. Some nights I go to sleep begging God to let me dream of her, just so I can hear her voice. In my dreams I can remember.

My Mama was beautiful and stylish and very fun. Of course she was young! Younger than I am now when she first discovered she had cancer, can you imagine!?

From 1980 to 1995 I hated Mother's day. Of course, my dear close Aunt Joyce who was my "other mother" got my mother's day attention and cards and such. Aunt Joyce passed away last August.

But in 1995, Mother's day wasn't as sad. It fell the day after my wedding that year - May 14. So of course thinking of Mother's day was FAR from my mind on that day.

November, 1995 started 6 more years of dreading Mother's day. Six years of double whammy on Mother's day. Missing my mother and wanting more than anything to become a mother myself. All I have ever wanted to be from the time I was a little girl, madly devoted to my baby dolls, was to be a mother.

As a minister's wife, I am pretty much expected (by many) to be in church every time the door opens. But I didn't do Mother's day and my husband completely understood.

Mother's day 2002 was a bittersweet day. I had believed that since I was finally D's mother, that the day would be ok. It is worlds better than it has ever been since 1980, but there hasn't been a Mother's day without tears for me in 27 years.

A girl never outgrows needing her mother - never. When I was sick last week, I would have given anything to have my mother come and take care of me. When I endured 4 miscarriages, I needed her so much. When Daria became my daughter on October 12, 2001 I so wish I could have called my mother. Sometimes I pray to God and ask Him to please tell her.

This year on Mother's day, I thank God that I am D's mother. I feel in my heart that I am already V's mother, too. I am constantly begging God to allow V to come home so I can begin a lifetime of taking care of both the girls until my last breath. This year on Mother's day, mine and hubby's 12th wedding anniversary falls on the same day. I'm finding it hard to seperate the two and find joy for both. Mother's day is overshadowing my anniversary this year and I kind of regret that the two fall on the same day.

I try to find enough joy in Mother's day to put on a good face for Daria. I AM so thankful to be her mother, but in my way of thinking, I feel October 12 is more Mother's day for ME, the day the judge said "Da." And I so look forward to finding out what my second Mother's day date will be. I sure hope it's soon.

Mother's day is hard.
Sock Drive Update:

As of yesterday Alek's grand total so far is 1030 pairs of socks.

He has more than doubled his original goal of 500 pairs. He will be collecting through the end of May so keep them coming. He loves getting all the mail, and has received socks from 16 different states so far.

** edited to add - if you click on the title of this blog-post, it will take you to the original Sock Drive post with the mailing instructions :O)
Lily Pad Cookies and Cover Girl Photo Shoot
Wednesday, May 09, 2007

D's kindergarten class has been studying frogs and toads this week. So, for the field trip tomorrow, we made Lily Pad Cookies to share with her friends.

Our church has a quarterly magazine that is published for our members and the community and today, D and our Youth Pastor's son ,I, had their pictures made for the cover of the magazine. They were so cute. This is in the backyard of one of our church member's home - isn't it gorgeous? I shot a few pix in between the photographer's.

Full Circle for D
In this post on Tami's blog she displays a photo and talks about how moving it was for her to see her son, adopted as a young toddler, walking once again on Russian soil.

I know exactly how she felt taking that picture. I can vividly remember how I felt so moved when I took these pictures of D and her daddy walking in the Russian snow when we went to meet V. A comforting feeling knowing that you've brought them back to revisit their homeland, and that the child is so proud to be Russian and American. But at the same time knowing that they are fully and completely your child.

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