Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Friday, February 29, 2008

BIG BIG NEWS!!!!

We're going to Russia!!!!

We got the call this afternoon. . .Actually, I got the call from our Travel Agent that she had been told by Dr. D, the Russia Coordinator, that we have a court date. She gave me the information I need in order to order our Visa's and a tentative itenerary and then said I should call her on Monday about our travel arrangements. . .I then called Bethany, our agency, to check everything out! I can't beleive it! Here is what we know about our itenerary:

March 18th Leave the U. S.
March 19th Arrive in Moscow
March 21st Medical Exams for me and Pat
March 22 Leave for Krasnoyarsk at 9:00 pm on Aeroflot
March 23 and March 24 Visitation with Aidan
March 25 th COURT DATE!!!!
March 26- April 4th Waiting period (we'll hopefully see Aidan every day except weekends)
April 9th Return to Moscow Go to Embasy for Aidan's Visa application
April 11th Receive Aidan's Visa
April 14th Apply for Russian Registration for Aidan
April 15th Receive Aidan's Russian Registration
April 16th Leave for USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, it is crazy. What will we do between March 25th and April 4th??? God knows. . .But, I'm sure he'll give us a hint!

We're in the planning stages for Aidan's baptism. Stay tuned for day, time and place! It will be exciting.

More to come on this. Way more to say than I can say right now.

Blessings!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

An update. . .sort of

I just saw that Bethany updated the Russia site for the first time since early December. In this update, they note that the Krasnoyarsk region is looking at a 4 to 5 month wait in between trips. So, that being the case, we just hit the 3 month mark last weekend. That likely means at least 1 and possibly 2 more months . . . Well, that goes along with what I've been thinking that we would go sometime in April.

I didn't use to be very good at patience. I think I have surpassed my expectations and I am sure I have shown greater patience than most people who know me expected. A lesson from God, perhaps. Thanks be to God for the continued lessons!

Continue praying for a Court Date, please!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Weather in Krasnoyarsk

It's 39 degrees ABOVE zero today in Krasnoyarsk! Fahrenheit! Wow! It's actually warmer than it is here. . . .February thaw in Siberia?

I don't know if it's because it is in a very snowy and cold place or what but the Russians keep their buildings about 80 degrees. It is so hot inside that I found that if I wore a sweater I was over dressed. When we were there in November, we had taken so many of our extreme cold weather clothes and most were more than we needed. At night, I got so hot I was sleeping without the blankets. And I couldn't even open a window. It was awful! We keep our house 68 degrees, taking the position that if you are cold, put on a sweater. When we got to Moscow, we delightedly opened our hotel window a crack and relished in the cool air that came into our stifling room.

All of the rooms have raised threasolds at the doorways. Ostensibly this is to keep the arm air inside and each room can be heated seperately. However, not being used to this raised area of about two inches in the doorways, we made wonderful entrances each time we would enter a room! What a great impressions we made flying into the middle of the room and nearly landing on our faces!

Easter for us in the Western part of the world is very early this year. Some genius, a couple thousand years ago determined that Easter would be a moveable feast and would fall on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon following the Spring Equinox. Really. So, this year it falls on March 23rd. That is really early! So early, we'll likely have a fire in the fireplace that day. However, the Russian Orthodox Easter is on April 27th. Maybe we'll be there! How cool would that be to go to a Russian Orthodox Church for Easter services????

The Russians have a few other interesting holidays: On April 1st, they celebrate the Russian Day of Laughter. This is similar in concept to April Fool's Day. Then, of course, there is Labor Day, which is celebrated May 1st and runs though May 3rd. This is the one that we all grew up seeing with the parades in Red Square. . .and the one that made it so we no longer celebrate May Day. . .Then there is Victory Day, which falls on May 9th, but is celebrated through the 11th. Hopefully, our Court Date won't be delayed because of these holidays!

I don't think God gets tired of my same prayer everyday: Please God, please let us hear about our Court Date soon. Please pray this with me.

Blessings!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Grocery Shopping in Krasnoyarsk

Grocery shopping in a foreign country is really an experience. Especially so if you don't know the language! I have taken seven years of German and two years of Spanish and know a few words here and there of Gaelic, Russian and French. I am not fluent in any of them, but I don't think it would take much to be so in German, if I was there for say a month or so. However, the few words and phrases I know in Russian sound completely different when strung together into a sentence by a Russian. . .completely foreign! : )

So, while in Russia, we were taken to a grocery store a couple of times because, well, we were hungry and knew our driver and translator weren't going to be able to take us somewhere to eat for quite a while. We stocked up on bottled water, cheese and bread, beer and I found some pastries that looked yummy for breakfast. I was alone at the pastry counter and decided to try and ask for the pastries myself. Quite intelligently, I pointed at the ones I wanted and held up four fingers, and said "Spasiba (Russian for thank you)" thinking to myself, I'm so smart! I'm going to take care of this without the translator! Well, the lady behind the counter said, and I quote: " lkdjflajg;dfj;oaidsjf;sidjf;laadfjgaov." I stared at her and replied, "Un momento, por favor!" I then turned, burst into laughter at myself and went in search of our translator! So much for doing that on my own! Funny how the mind works in a situation like that. It will look for whatever phrase might work, no matter the language!

I'm looking into getting the program for Rosetta Stone to learn a little more Russian before we go again!

The pastries were terrible, by the way, but the beer was wonderful that evening with the cheese and bread!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Ice Storm! I'm home with the puppies today as my office is closed because of the ice. Not much to do except work on Aidan's quilt. I have one more square to cross stitch and then I'll be ready to piece it together. I already bought the back piece and will just need to cut out squares for the top. I'll post pictures of it when it's pieced together.

I called a friend from church yesterday and was able to set up our Day Care. Dawn is awesome. She heads up the Nursery at our church and has three boys of her own. Her home is located just outside of Leesburg on a road that also ends near my office in Waterford (after going through Purcellville and Hamilton). The location is perfectly situated between where I work, where Pat works and where we live. Dawn says her home is on 5 acres and is a boys haven. Aidan is going to love it there! Eventually, when we all think he is ready, I'd like Aidan to go to the Preschool at our Church and Dawn has indicated she would be willing to take him for us. I couldn't be happier about this situation. Since I have to leave him to go to work, this will be the perfect situation for our little guy!

I had our Social Worker jumping through some hoops over the last couple of days. . .I had read in a blog of some folks who were on the first trip with us about an account that they had to pay money into in order to pay their second trip fees. I had completely forgotten that we already paid these fees so I was confused and had her check, and double check, about it to see if we had more to pay. She is so sweet! Never complaining, she did as I asked and of course we don't owe anything more, except our travel fees, which will be paid as we go once back in Russia. Of course I remembered that we had already paid these fees as soon as she had told me, for the second time, that we didn't owe anything more! I'm such a goof! But, I am grateful that our Social Worker is soooo kind and patient with me and my goofiness. . .

We're hoping to get a better timeline soon of when we might possibly go. Hopefully it won't be too much longer.

We bought the kid mobile last weekend from a friend of ours. It's a 2005 Chevy Tahoe. It has all of the bells and whistles without the high price We couldn't have gotten luckier on that. We'll be picking it up tomorrow, maybe. Unfortunately, the tags I wanted 4Aidan or Aidans are both already taken! (How dare they! : ) ) But, I'm sure I'll find something. I like the Virginia Kids First tags, though. They have little hand prints in primary colors on them with red lettering. I'll think of something fun to do on the tags.

The blog of the folks in Russia I have been following indicated that this couple has been able to see their two boys every day this week. They won't go to see them over the weekend, and I'm not sure about next week, but what great bonding time! I'll look forward to being able to do that with Aidan when we go.

Until next time!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Some random thoughts

So, most of you know that Pat and I have been married now for 21 years. Essentially, that means that we are now working on our third decade of marriage. Kind of strange sounding when it is put that way! Anyway, we were talking the other day and realized how interesting and different our three decades are thus far. . .The first decade we were so focused on having a family that all we really did was look at calendars and measure shots I had to take. We had fun, but when I think of it now, it's all a blur. That decade ended with our final IVF attempt (not really sure how many of those we did!)

Our second decade was all about us. We had fun, we upgraded our home, I finished school, we were focused on church work. Throughout the entire time I really wasn't interested in discussing having a family. Why? We were fine. I was interested in being able to do what I wanted when I wanted! That decade ended with the surprise of a lifetime: at the inspiration of a dear family friend, we decided to adopt!

Our third decade started with the paperwork and quickly escalated to our current building excitement. I can't wait to see how the rest of this decade goes! I just know it will end with soccer/hockey/football carpools! I can't wait!

The blog I have been following with the couple in Russia right now was updated this morning. They had their court hearing this morning and they received a "Da" from the judge! Does anyone receive a "Nyet?" Please God, don't let it be us! The couple was given a study guide yesterday after they saw their boys in order to prepare for meeting with the judge. Apparantly, they asked some questions like "How many teeth does your child have?" Good lord, poor Aidan. His mama is going to see him and immediately pry his mouth open so I can count his teeth! Hopefully he'll forgive me. . .

So, how loyal are dogs to us humans anyway? We have our two mangy mutts that pass for Golden Retrievers. . .we love them to pieces and they are spoiled rotten. Mosby, Pat's two year old dog, dotes on Pat and worships the air around Pat along with the ground he walks on. Maggie, my 8 month old dog, worships me as well, however, I have noticed that when there are children around, I become nothing more than a speck. She does run up to me and say: "Look! Look! Look! There are kids in the house!" She gets very excited by it. Last month, she was this way with my niece and nephew. And then, this weekend, we had a friend come to stay the night with his son. At bedtime, Mosby followed us up, like the loyal dog he is. Maggie, not so much. She wanted to sleep with our friends son! We were specks! I have a feeling her loyalty will pass to Aidan immediately upon our return from Russia. Ah well, the loyalty of dogs.! She is a good puppy and very loving. Aidan will be lucky to have her. Maybe I will get to pet her and walk her and feed her and pay her vet bills occassionally. . .

So, I've also noticed that I seem to carry the same stigma as a 9 month pregnant woman. . .I keep hearing these comments, " You're still here?" Pretty funny!

Krasnoyarsk weather for Wednesday: High of 3 degrees Fahrenheit and low of -14 degrees Fahrenheit. But. . .Friday will be up to 28 degrees with the low being 21 degrees! Ah, but then it goes back down again. . .Surely April will be warmer!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Why start a blog now????



So, you might be asking, Why are they starting a blog now? As most of you know, I have kept you informed on a monthly basis of the progress of our adoption process. I have kept it private, in part because I didn't know it was so easy to start a blog and in part because I wasn't sure how much information about this I wanted out there. But, I had always thought I would go ahead and do this blog once we were in Russia in order to keep everyone informed on a daily basis of what is going on and how we are doing while there.






All of that changed yesterday. I have been reading a couple of blogs over the last few months of other folks adopting from Russia. Admittedly, theier experiences are slightly different as they began earlier than we did and thus had to endure the entire time of the shut down without anything to do. We, on the other hand, finished our Home Study and paper work right about the same time things reopened, so we were busy during the shut down.






Yesterday, I decided to read some of the archives of one blog I have been following. This couple has been in the process for one full year longer than Pat and I. That in itself would make anyone crazy. However, I read a comment yesterday that brought me up short. The comment was, in a sense, admonishing anyone thinking of adopting from Russia to think long and hard about it and to possibly reconsider that decision. Honestly! Immediately my mind went to the 184 children ages 4 and under ho reside in Aidan's orphanage. I also thought about how there are a total of 5 such Baby Houses in Krasnoyarsk Krai alone! That doesn't count all of the orphanages for the older children. If even one person read that comment and decided to not go there, that is at least one child who might possibly not have a new home! How terrible! It makes me cry just thinking about it.






Recently, I also read an article in which the director of Aidan's orphanage is quoted as saying that orphanage is full and that there is actually a waiting list for children who need a place to come to. Apparantly, the mothers leave the babies at the hospital! I understand that the are where Krasnoyarsk is has a very high alcoholism rate, and I am sure that other regions within Russia are similar. Further, these orphanages are funded for salaries only. Food, clothing, furniture and toys are all donated, mostly by the families adopting. This is astonishing to say the least. This situation has prompted Pat and I to decide to send all of the clothes and toys Aidan outgrows to his orphanage after we bring him home.






So, I decided it was time to figure out how to do a blog so I can share our experience with others. This is not a bad process. It has actually be smooth and realtively easy. The wait isn't fun, but who ever likes to wait???? Our Social Worker at Bethany is amazing. I just lover her. She is a sweet thing who is always very sensitive to us and our process. In any case, I would recommend this to anyone. It is such a wonderful thing to do and the idea of creating a family from such a need is so from God!






Okay, I'll come down off of the soap box.






So, here are a few other funny things I have noticed about the Russian adoption process:






Apparantly, everyone has the same driver and translators in Krasnoyarsk. Marina and Ylena are the translators and Serge is the driver. They are awesome and a lot of fun. Serge makes you appreciate the skills of a good driver in that there are no discernible rules or lanes or speed limits anywhere in Krasnoyarsk or Sosnovoborsk! I became very grateful for my seatbelt. . .Also, there is a restaurant called California Pizza where everyone goes on the first day for lunch. I didn't much care for it, not really being an afficianado of Pizza, but Pat loved it and wanted to go back. . .especially after the beef tongue incident on Thanksgiving. . . : )






In Moscow, the driver is Vladimir and everyone stays at the Marriott Tverskaya. It is very nice, but very expensive. It's about $400 per night and the breakfast buffet is $40. per person. Yes, that would be $80. US per couple just for breakfast! But, it is beautiful and the staff speaks English and they have a public computer. Also, this is the picture seen in every blog:

Well, that ended up at the top, somehow. But, anyway, the point is, the picture is the same. Just change the faces! pretty funny.

Until next time!
Blessings,
Stacy

Starting a Blog!

Amazingly, I set this blog up! I didn't think I could do it on my own and yet here I am! So, the purpose of this blog is to keep everyone informed about bringing Aidan home. As we hear things, we will post it here. And, while we are in Russia, we'll be able to update this blog on a daily basis. Talk to you soon!