Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Monday, March 31, 2008

Day 9 in Siberia

Today we went back to the orphanage after having not been there all weekend. I was nervous about it thinking that Aidan would cry. At first, he did. In fact, he took one look at me and started to cry and said "nyet. . ." But then he came over and sat on me. I think he is very shy and gets nervous around people he isn't sure of. I think he feels okay with me, but there were a lot of people in the playroom today.

Today was the 2nd birthday of the little girl who is being adopted by the other couple here with us this time. So, we had a birthday party, with cookies and cake, played games and music and had a rather enjoyable time. Aidan, in between filling his mouth as full as he could with the cookies, really relaxed and started to really play with us. He was even opening up to Pat by the end of our time and letting him get closer than ever before. It was really a lot of fun. At the end of our time, instead of running out of the room for his lunch, he turned and waved, smiled a little and said "Paca" which is Russian for bye-bye. It was really cute. He really was a cutie today, ducking his head and giving us many little elusive smiles.

Tomorrow we will go back again, but not until the afternoon. I'm hoping he will be full from lunch and ready to really play like he did our first day. Today was good, though.

We're getting tired of things here, but we know that our time is getting shorter. We're scheduled to pick up Aidan on Firday evening and I think time will go faster after that. The food, though, sheesh! What I wouldn't give for a big juicy steak and what Pat wouldn't give for a big fat Cheeseburger! In our dreams only, for the time being.

We took an awesome tour around Krasnoyarsk that I wrote about. When we can actually get on Wi Fi again (I'm in the Business Center right now) I will upload what I wrote about that with the pictures we took. It was fun!

Until tomorrow, please keep us in your prayers that we don't go stark raving mad! Dreaming of you all, the good weather you're having, and feeling your prayers all the time.

Blessings,
Stacy and Pat

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Observations of Russia

Here are a few observations of our Russian experience. . .

There are a lot of doves hanging out. All of them seem to be very well fed.

There do not appear to be very many pregnant woman around. Yet, the orphanages are full! Go figure!

The folks here are very helpful if we try to use the language. We almost always figure it out between our halting sentences.

There are loud speakers moutned ont he light posts along the streets from which music pours all of the time. Why did they put those up and when? I have some thoughts on that. . .

All of the women wear vry tight jeans and stilleto heeled shoes/boots. Almost all are in boots, but the heels are always stilleto style. How do they walk in those?

Everyone smokes here. I will need to go through rehab to get my lungs cleared up again.

All of the people wear full coates, hats, mittens and scarfs regardless of the temperature outside.

There is a clock tower in the center of town that plays a tune every half hour and then adds the chimes for the hour on the hour. We have memorized the tune so well that we will probably hear it in our sleep for months to come.

It takes about two hours, at a minimum, to eat any meal, regardless of how many are in your party.

Food is served as it is ready rather than by the table.

There are no Mexican Restuarants here.

More as I think of it!

Stacy

Friday, March 28, 2008

A long two days of weekend ahead. . .

We went back to the orphanage today. We took Aidan some crayons and a coloring book. He hasn't quite gotten the concept of coloring, but we'll keep trying it out with him.

He liked playing the "take the hat off that Mama keeps putting on me" game. He kept giving us a half smile when we would put it on him and then he would take it back off. He's still afraid of men, though. It's hard to see him back away from the men in the room. Also, I don't think he has been held much. When he doesn't like something or feels nervous about the men being too close, he checks to see where I am, backs up to me and sits in my lap. It's very cute to me, but I can that it's a bit distressing to Pat. I'm sure it will all work out, though, once we are able to take him away from the orphanage.

We don't go to the orphanage at all this weekend so we will walk down to the Flea Market and look for a stroller. Serge, our driver, is working on taking us on a tour of Krasnoyarsk on Sunday. That would be nice. Then, on Monday, we'll go back to the orphanage again. I'm worried that Aidan will be afraid and cry when he sees us again. But, again, we'll work it out. Our wait will be over in one more week. . .then we'll begin counting down the days to go home!

Helpful hint for those preparing for Trip 2: Make sure your go ahead and purchase your plane tickets ahead of time, while still in the US, for the baby's return home with you. If you wait until you are in Russia, you will have to wait for the passport--case in point: us. We can't even purchase his ticket to Moscow until we get his passport because his name will not be changed on his papers until that time. Had we purchased it in the US, the ticketing agent would not have asked for the passport to check that he is okay to travel. Very frustrating! Especially becuase we had asked for the tickets to be purchased!!! Now they will cost us more, too.

I may not post anything over the weekend since we won't be going to see our boy, so if not, talk to you all on Monday!

Blessings,

Stacy and Pat

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Buff Arms in Time for Summer!

My arms are so soar from carrying our big boy around! But, I just don't want to put him down. . .At least my arms will look really good for sleeveless weather this summer! : )
Well we got to go see Aidan again today. He is just precious! He cried when we first got there. But, I had told myself and Pat that I would not go and just pick him up today. I wanted him to come to me this time. I knelt down and over he came and sat on my lap and then leaned back into my chest! He knows I will comfort him and that I am a complete sucker for him!

We spent our two hours playing some, but I don’t think he goes to the playroom that we are being taken very often. So, I think he gets bored doing the same things over and over. Tomorrow I will take some crayons and a coloring book to see how he does with that. It will be different, I know, once we are home with all of his toys that are there.

Today I took two sippy cups for him. One had Honey Nut Cherrios in it and the other had just water. He’s not too sure about how to drink out of the sippy cup, but I think it will come with time and practice. He looooovvvvveed the Honey Nut Cherrios, though. He would have kept eating them if I had let him. The funny part was when he picked up the sippy cup with the Cherrios in it and pulled the top off. He didn’t unscrew it, he pulled it off! Then he looked at me, grinned and then plunged his hand into the cup for more Cherrios! I’m not sure what to do about that, but it was definitely funny!

He is super ticklish on his feet. At one point I took off his shoes and tickled and kissed his feet. He got the biggest smile and did that cute kind of belly laugh. I can’t wait to find other ways to get him to do that again!

We’ll be going back to see him again tomorrow and then we won’t over the weekend. I imagine Monday will be difficult for him and he’ll cry. But, we’ll get through it all. Once he is with us full time, I know he will adjust without a problem. Although he doesn’t want Pat to pick him up yet, he will let Pat touch him and kiss him and that is huge. Most of these kids don’t allow that until after they are out of the orphanage!

It’s snowy today and we’re pretty tired after the events of this week. So, we’re going to hang out in our room, veg and maybe watch a movie. Knowing this is one of the final quiet “just Pat and Stacy” nights for a very long time, makes it all the more special!


Also, here is a picture of us in front of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Court House after our approval by the judge:




Thanks for continuing the prayers. We feel them working miracles with and for us all the time!

Blessings,

Stacy and Pat

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Da Da Da

We're parents!

Whew! What a day! Let me start at the beginning:

We left the hotel this morning at 8:00 am to go to the orphanage to see Aidan. He's teething, two teeth are coming in the lower set, and he has a cold. I think he has a sore throat, too. So, needless to say, he was tired, cranky, and not very happy. But, he let me hold him and comfort him and he almost fell asleep for a while on my shoulder. And, he let Pat get close, touch him and even give him a kiss. He'll be alright with us once he is away from the orphanage and we can concentrate on just him.

Once we got back, we were tired, but very hungry so we went for lunch--I actually ate Pizza! It had the required dill on it that is on all Russian food. But, I was very hungry so ate it. After we got back to the room, we knew we could be called at any moment to go back to court so we decided to just relax and wait. 5 minutes later, Yelena knocked on the door and asked how long until we could be ready. 5 minutes after that, we were headed downstairs and off to court!

I was so emotional! The paperwork was in indicating that the mother and any family members no longer living at the registered address and that her whereabouts are unknown. The paper wasn't the one the judge wanted but she said she would accept it this time and it would be the last time she accepts it. Thanks be to God! After everyone had agreed that we would be good parents to Aidan (Stepan), we were sent out of the room. When we were called back in, the judge gave us her yes!

So, we're still on the same schedule to return. Tomorrow we will go back to the orphanage again and we will see Aidan every day except Saturday and Sunday.

Thank you for the prayers! They are so helpful! Two weeks until we are back in Moscow. . .

Blessings,
Stacy and Pat and now Aidan!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Court Postponement

So, we aren’t finished with Court yet. We have been postponed until tomorrow. We completed all of our questioning and presented all of our documents. I presented for the two of us and was questioned by the Judge and Prosecutor. Pat was asked a few follow up questions after agreeing to everything I said. After that was complete, Galina, the Director of the orphanage, presented that she felt we were a good fit for Aidan. She indicated that Aidan appeared to recognize me when he entered the playroom (he really did!). He did cry some, but it was more of a sympathy cry because the other child was crying a great deal. He allowed me to pick him up and we played for the entire two hours. At the end, Aidan didn’t want to leave me and cried. He was holding on to me so tight, I wasn’t sure he would let go. It was truly amazing. Galina testified to this.

But, the issue was with the Ministry of Education. Apparently, they did not go to the former address of Aidan’s mother to make sure no family lived there anymore or that they wanted him. Aidan’s mother signed the paper work to put him up for adoption two days after his birth and then never came to see him at the orphanage. Not even once. When the Ministry of Education checked on her whereabouts, she was not at the address she had indicated. There was no further checking. The judge has asked that the Ministry of Education check back at the address to see if there is anyone living there that is a relative.

We have been told this is a formality and that it will not change our schedule any. I pray that it won’t! We’re hoping that this is being resolved right now as I type and that we will be back in court tomorrow morning to finalize this part of the process. I won’t say it’s not disappointing, but I have to pray that nothing further will delay things. And, at least we won’t have to go through the rest of the hearing again! We were at the completion of the hearing and what we will have to go back for is just a formality. Please pray with us that this will be fixed today!

I’ll tell you more about the court process some other time. My mind is really tired from it at this point.

But, here is some information for anyone preparing to come over that we didn’t know: Make sure you bring your entire Dossier with you including your financials and poverty guidelines. Your financials are gone over during court and they may ask about your poverty level. Fortunately for us, our financial information is pretty simple and was also detailed in the Home Study, which we do have with us. Also, bring a photo album of pictures from the first trip and include pictures that are not with those submitted to the court. Fortunately for us, we had our digital camera with us and were able to go to a One Hour Photo shop last night to have more pictures printed. We also bought a picture album there so we were able to set that up before court today. And, make sure you know the medical history of the child. Thankfully, we have gone over that and over that and know his history like the backs of our hands!

So, we’re hoping to give you more news tomorrow. I’m hoping we will also get to see Aidan again tomorrow. He’s grown so much! Please keep us in your prayers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cramming for Court!!!

Just back from seeing Aidan and getting tutored on what court will be like. We will spend the evening cramming and then court is tomorrow morning! I'm very nervous.

We'll update the blog tomorrow night with the Court details: what we needed to know and what we needed to have.

Aidan is adorable and he is Mama's loving chunkamonk! He loves being tickled and really liked being held by me. He loves animals and their sounds, too. Can't wait to have him with us!

Please keep us in your prayers. Our Court appointment is at 9:30 tomorrow morning.

Talk to you then!

Stacy and Pat

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!



Xristos vo skres! Va yestinu vo skres. That is Russian for: Christ has risen! Indeed, he has risen! Happy Easter you all! We have made it to Krasnoyarsk. We are exhausted. We have lost another 4 hours of time and our present time is now 11 hours later than at home in Virginia. Next weekend, the clocks will fall back and we will lose another hour, putting us 12 hours later than Virginia.

We didn’t get bumped from the Hotel Krasnoyarsk—thank you for your prayers! This hotel is a little smaller for the room, although we will be put in a larger room once we get Aidan, but there are a lot of things that are close by for us. This afternoon we will eat at the Subway and there is even a Baskin Robbins down the street. That will be fun to take Aidan there in a couple of weeks.

There are so many folks here from America. . .it’s really interesting. In Moscow, there ended up being about eight couples, some coming for the second trip and some heading home with their children. It was so fun to meet everyone, especially since I have been following so many of their blogs. I found that most were with the same agency and have had contact with each other, although they live in different states, throughout their process. In addition to having a weekly blog from the agency, they also have an ongoing chat room that they each log into and share ideas. Pretty cool! They have all found a very easy Russian language book and CD that I will be copying and ordering.

So, we will be picked up tomorrow to be taken to the orphanage about 2:00 in the afternoon. We can’t wait to see Aidan! Then on Tuesday, Court Date!

I’m back. We slept for about three hours and then went out for a walk around Krasnoyarsk. We ate lunch at Subway and I got a picture of Pat.


Then we walked down and found a store that carries children’s items: we think we might need an inexpensive stroller for walking around with Aidan after he is with us. And they sell children’s shoes, too.

The weather is quite warm, probably in the upper fifties. We came back to the room for a while to leave our coats behind. Too warm for the cold weather gear! Although I can’t be sorry we brought it as it was definitely needed while we were in Moscow. It warmed up once we got to Siberia! Pat is thinking of working on a tan. . . Here he is with the other guys with us in Kras:



One couple with us here was also with us in Moscow on this trip. They seem to know everybody and where to go. It’s really helpful!

The buildings in Krasnoyarsk are very Soviet looking. The city itself is several centuries old, but it appears most of the buildings were from the 60’s and 70’s. The people are nice but have been looking at us funny because we were walking around today without our coats and hats! Too warm. . .

The cost of phone calls is astronomical! We purchased International phone cards at home but it was an additional 32 rubles per minute in Moscow and 40 rubles per minute here in Kras (local call fee attached to our phone card fee). We bought some megabytes to send email and update the blog and will try to sign up for Skype (free phone service over the computer). Hopefully that will work. If not, we’ll just have to bite the bullet and pay the fee in order to call home a couple of times. In the meantime, we spent 300 rubles to buy 30 megabytes of time for Wi Fi.

And talk about being astronomical! The cost of our hotel stay in Moscow was outrageous! We apparently hit a black out day so the normal $365. a night (that’s the adoption rate??) went up to $750. a night for one of the nights. With a couple of our meals and the Wi Fi we bought there, the three nights wound up being only $200 less than what we will pay for 13 nights in Kras! Crazy. . .Fortunately, one of the folks with us found out there are no black out dates on our return trip through Moscow. Thanks be to God!

We’re missing everyone and the US. Thank you so much for keeping us in your prayers. We still have a little over three weeks left here in Russia and are hoping it goes by quickly so that we can come home with our little Aidan. We can’t wait to see him tomorrow!

Love and Blessings to everyone. Paca! (That’s the informal Russian good-bye)

Stacy and Pat

Friday, March 21, 2008

Post Medical Post

Hi there!

Well, we can check another thing off the list: we had our medical exams today. We were picked up this afternoon by Phillip and Vladimir and taken, with another American couple adopting from the same orphanage, to the American Medical Clinic. We saw an Oncologist, Narcologist, Neurologist, TBologist (? Yes, we thought that was interesting, too), a Cardiologist, Infectious Disease Specialist and a Psychologist. We were with each specialist for about 5 minutes and were asked a series of questions. We were seen as a couple by each except the Oncologist. We thought were to see eight, but think the eighth was perhaps done at the same time as one of the others. 2 ½ hours and $36,800 rubles later, we were pronounced healthy, sane, and not carriers any deadly or infectious diseases! We are very happy to have that step done.

Tonight we are meeting up with the other couple plus one on their way to another region and two additional couples who have just returned from Krasnoyarsk with their children. We’re going to have a small celebration of sorts and to wish everyone Godspeed as we each travel on to our next stage of the process.

Tomorrow, we will check out of the Marriott Tverskaya at about 3:00 in the afternoon and will be picked up about 5:20 to head back to the airport where we will catch our Aeroflot flight to Krasnoyarsk. Please pray for us that we won’t be bumped from the Hotel Krasnoyarsk!

I should also mention that yesterday we spent the day with Anna, Phillip’s wife. She picked us up at the hotel and then we walked the approximate 1 ½ miles down to Red Square. Anna took us on one of the most awesome tours of the inside of St. Basil’s. It was originally built as nine separate chapels and then later a common roof was added. Fascinating place that is really beautiful with original paint work and frescos on the inside. There isn’t any central heat, but with all of the stairs and walking, who needs it! Not to mention I had my stair climber workout at the same time.

After St. Basil’s, we walked over to Arbot Street and did a little souvenir shopping, saw the Starbuck’s, McDonalds and Hard Rock CafĂ©. Oh, and we saw the Dosteyevsky Library and the Pushin Museum. I would love to spend more time at both of those places!

We’re looking forward to seeing Aidan again and hope you all are doing well, too. Thank you so much for continuing to pray for us! We’ll try to post again tomorrow before we head out. Hopefully I'll be able to find the cords in order to download some pictures for you by then!

Blessings!
Stacy and Pat

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We're Here! Welcome to Mockba. . .

Well, we arrived safe and sound in Moscow. We haven't been to bed yet and have basically been on the go since about 7:00 am our time on the 18th. It is now 2:30 pm Moscow time, which makes it about 7:30 am back home in Virginia.

It was snowing when the plane landed and I had a moment of thinking, well, we're back to winter! At least it will be nice and warm when we get home.

We went to a grocery store and stocked up on some water, sodas and pastries for breakfast and then we walked over to a Sbarro for lunch. We're beat! But, we're going to try and make it to stay up until 5:00 or 6:00 so that we don't wake up in the middle of the night.

Tomorrow is a free day and we'll go on a tour of a museum or two and St. Basil's. That will be fun. Then on Friday we have our Medical exam.

And, if you're wondering, yes there was clapping when we landed here in Moscow. Pat and I had to laugh. It was too funny!

So, let us know how the Patriots do against Notre Dame!

We'll try and post again after the medical on Friday and will hopefully have some pictures to add of the sights we see tomorrow.

Blessings,
Stacy and Pat

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We're Off!

Well, we're off! In a few hours we'll be getting on the plane and heading back to Russia. We're packed and ready to go, Maggie has been dropped off (I missed my Maggie last night!) and Mosby will be dropped off today on the way to the airport. Reality is sinking in fast: we'll be gone from the US for 30 days!

Yesterday, while packing, I had HBO on and the first part of the John Adams series came on. . .I'm such an American! I felt homesick while packing! So, I pulled one of Aidan's pictures out and kept my focus on him. It helped a lot to remind my heart why we'll be gone so long.

I'm looking forward now to being in Moscow. I haven't been sleeping very well. I keep waking up thinking of things that need to be done. Once in Moscow, I'll be able to relax. The hotel there is very comfy and I'll be able to sleep, perchance to dream. . .

The weather isn't too bad either, all things considered! Moscow weather for the next few days is expected to be in the mid thirties and the Krasnoyarsk forecast for the next ten days is to be the low to mid thirties. Yes, that is positive, too! Okay, so our weather here in Virginia will be in the fifties and sixties and the trees are about to bust out in leaf, but at least we're not heading into the negative degree territory!

So, next post. . .Moscow!

Paca!
Stacy

Monday, March 17, 2008

La Fheile Padraig

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

So, today is packing day. I didn't sleep well last night because I kept waking up thinking about all of the things I needed to be sure to pack. Pat will give the dogs baths and while he is doing that, I will pack for the dogs and then for Aidan and then I will begin the process of packing myself and Pat. I'm feeling overwhlemed by this chore for some reason. It's one of those instances that I wish I was Elizabeth Montgomery as the Bewitched witch--wiggle my nose and it is all done!

A very generous blogger shared a typical Russian menu the other day that has been translated into English--can't forget to pack that! I have a feeling that will be one of those things that is used three times a day for all four weeks!

It sounds like Pat is up, so I better get moving. I'll try and post once more before we leave.

Blessings!
Stacy

Sunday, March 16, 2008

48 hours to take off!

48 hours from now we'll be leaving here; a week from now, we'll be in Krasnoyarsk! And, five weeks from now, we'll be back home and getting adjusted! I can't wait. . .





Meanwhile, we have checked nearly everything off the To Do list. The only things remaining are the "Stacy wants to do" items. So, if they don't get done, no big deal. They were really bonus items anyway! But, one "Stacy wants to do" item got finished yesterday: I stenciled the Growth Chart that my mom designed in the new Laundry/Utility room that Pat built me in the basement. Here's a close up picture:



All it needs are the hash marks showing the feet and inches, but that can be done later. If the background wall color doesn't show up, it's a sunny yellow. I'm so glad we were able to get that up so that we can measure Aidan on it as soon as we get home.

Later today, after church, I'll start packing: first the dogs, then for Aidan, then for us. Tomorrow I can weed through what we're taking in case we're over our weight limit.

These last two weeks have gone so fast! I can't believe we're actually leaving in two days! I pray the next few weeks go as fast. . .

Thank you for the prayers you have sent up in our name so far. Please keep us in your prayers.

Blessings!

Stacy


Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm So Happy!!

We received a message from the couple we traveled with on our first trip that they have a Court Date! Yeah! I'm so happy for them! They will be in Krasnoyarsk for a few days at the same time as us so we'll be able to hook up again. I'm so glad we'll be seeing them again!

Please keep Tamara and Bill in your prayers as they prepare for their trip and their April 8th Court Date.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ten Things

The ten things I will miss while in Russia are:

1. Pat's mom and dad. They are awesome, generous, kind and always listen to whatever we have to say.

2. The puppies! Maggie and Mosby are so cute-don't you think? I will miss their constant and unrestrained love and devotion!

3. My pillow. There is nothing like one's own pillow.

4. Spring and the Cherry Blossoms! The best seasons in the Washignton, D. C. area are Spring and Fall. And Cherry Blossoms will be blooming while we're gone! We might get to see the last dregs, as our tree blooms about a week after the ones in D. C., but we'll see! Also, it seems a bit unfair--the weather here next Wednesday is forecast to be about 61 degrees; in Moscow, 32 degrees; and in Krasnoyarsk it will be 21 degrees. Well, at least it will be on the positive side!

5. Cafe du Monde coffee. . .sigh.

6. Big juicy steaks. . .another sigh.

7. GMU's latest run at an ACC title--Go Pats!

8. Hearing English spoken.

9. The History and Sci-Fi channels.

10. Talking daily with my sister Amy

But, then on the flip side, here are ten things I'll love about being in Russia!:

1. Seeing Aidan again.

2. Being with and getting to know Aidan.

3. Getting custody (please, God, let it be so!) of Aidan.

4. Snuggling with Aidan.

5. Reading to Aidan.

6. Learning more about Krasnoyarsk.

7. The chance to read, guilt free (no "list of things to do" looming)!

8. Hearing from you all via Email!

9. Taking walks.

10. And, of course, spending quality time with Pat!

5 days to go until we leave! Wow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One Week To Go!

I'm feeling a little antsy now. . .Our time to go is coming so fast! There's a lot to do, but it is getting done, Thanks be to God!

Today, Pat will pick up our Chest x-ray films and the medical reports from our lab work. We hand carry that to our appointment at the American Medical Clinic. I have our tax records copied with our W-2's, our latest paystubs copied, and I think (although I need to look at the list of things needed again!) all I need to do is make copies of our passports. I'll do that when they come back with our visa's--hopefully today!

Last night, Pat and one of our neighbors, a Capital Police Officer, installed the new car seat into the new Mommy Mobile. I am now offically driving a Mommy Mobile! It's pretty cool. . .but the funny thing was watching two grown men try to wrangle that seat into place properly and to get it tightened down. It doesn't budge at all, so I am pretty sure they did it right. But, I'll have it checked anyway at the Fire Department, no offense to these two wonderful guys!

Tonight we're redoing Aidan's closet to add more shelves and to give him more access to his own clothes. Not that we will expect him to be able to do that right away, but when he is ready to dress himself, he will be able to reach his own things!

I have started a pile of things to take on the trip. I'm beginning to be a little alarmed at how much we have set aside to take. . .I may have to pair it down some! : ) I've never been very good at packing light. . .

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately and noticed that there seem to be a lot of American's travelling to Russia these days. That's a wonderful sign that things are really moving along nicely again. Yeah for everyone!

That's it for now. Please keep us in your prayers as we finalize things, and as we take off on our trip--especially pray that we don't get bumped in Krasnoyarsk to a different hotel. . .

Blessings to you all.
Stacy

Monday, March 10, 2008

Odd Landing Behavior

One of the many oddities about traveling to and within Russia is the strange behavior by passengers. On our first trip to Russia, several of the passengers clapped when we landed in Moscow. Thinking it odd, we promptly forgot about it in the hustle to get our bags, get through customs and to find our ride.

But, it happened again when we landed in Krasnoyarsk and again when we landed back in Moscow. We never had the nerve to ask anyone why that was the case, in part because we didn't really want to know if it was something to truly celebrate. We were in a large plane, afterall!

We returned to "normal" landing behavior upon our arrival in the U. S. No clapping.

Maybe on our pending return trip we'll ask someone about the clapping, if it happens again!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Preparing to get ready

Well, 9 days to go! The time is flying. . .we have so much to do! But, we have our cash now and I've started pulling things together to pack. It's hard to decide what to take and what not to take. How do you pack for 30 days not knowing about laundry facilities?

I've been shopping to buy up a few needed items in order to survivie: mega number of books, clothing that can be worn more than once, vacuum pack bags to reduce the air(and weight!), gifts for our translators/drivers/Director of Orphanage/and our tour guide. I did take my sisters advice and bought a small bottle of liquid detergent so that I can do laundry in the tub, if need be. That was a great suggestion! And, I did purchase a jar of instant coffee (I'm not going to be like last time!) and a small jar of Tobasco--one of life's great necessities! My only concern now is about the weight of the bags. . .I guess I'll find out where we stand and then I'll need to decide if something should come out or not. . .

So, back to the gifts I purchased for the folks who take care of us: For our tour guide, Anna, she took wonderful care of us on the first trip and took us to several Orthodox churches. I'm hoping she'll be able to take us to St. Basil's and to go inside this time. So, I bought her an ornament from the Washington National Cathedral--one of the replica's of the Moon Stained Glass Window. That seems appropriate!

For Marina, I bought some books about Leesburg, and about Virginia. She teaches History to a group of students who are learning English. I thought she would like to read about the place where Aidan will be coming to live. She asked, the last time we were there, if I would come and talk to her students one day. I'd love to! We'll see if that still happens.

So, that leaves Yelena, Serge, and Vladimir and Galina. I'd like to get Serge a Washington Capitals shirt. If I can find one, I will. I think Galina would like an ornament from Leesburg showing the Court House--again, it will be about where Aidan is coming to live. I'll need to think further about Yelena and Vladimir. Maybe something Williamsburg for Yelena! I don't know. I'll think about it.

It's hard to believe that 5 weeks from now we'll be getting ready to come home! I get homesick thinking about being away, but I know it will pass as it is supposed to. I just hope our puppies are happy when we return with Aidan!

Thank you for so many prayers and well wishes. I'm going to ask you pray with us some more: Father, please help us to accept the daily wait that will be our life over the coming 5 weeks and to not let impatience take over. Please keep Aidan healthy, our travels smooth, and the judge in a favorable mood toward us. Amen.

Blessings!
Stacy

Friday, March 7, 2008

To Be or To Do

I am busy, busy, busy!!! I don't know about you, but that line always conjurs up the Magician from Frosty the Snowman. . .

I have checked off several of the big ticket items from the list of things "To Do" (Plane Tickets, hotel reservations, Visa's, cash needed, paperwork needed, medical report needed. . .). However, I have added several more items to the list! It's sort of making me crazy. . .(big breath) All will be well and all will get done.

So, now that I am able to breathe a little more, I've started reflecting on the difference between "To Do" and "To Be." "To Do" implies there is a list of items needing to be done and then checked off. A "To Be" list implies something completely different. For instance:
1. To be a good wife
2. To be a good mom
3. To be a good daughter/daughter-in-law/sister/sister-in-law
And most importantly,
4. To be open to God, His Word, His Love so I can
5. To be a spreader of His Love, joy, kindness, faithfulness
I'm thinking the "To Be" list is actually better and will leave me a lot more fulfilled!

So, while we are gone, we won't be hearing any news, not US news and probably not much else, either! While in Moscow, we'll be able to see CNN, which is broadcast in English, but in Krasnoyarsk, nothing is in English. So, we'll be depending on you all to let us know what is happening in Leesburg, Virginia, USA, and other US locales! Please email us or post comments on happenings so we won't feel so cut off from our breathren. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Checking things off the list!!

We've been busy. . .we've gotten quite a few big items checked off our things to do list. Yesterday I mailed off our Visa applications with our passports and we should have those back, barring any complications, by the end of the week; I bought our tickets, round trip, for both to and from Moscow and from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk and back. . .yikes!!! but then, it's actually a little less than our first trip. . .I arranged for our final medicals to get our lab work and chest x-rays, which will be done this afternoon; care for our two dogs, Maggie and Mosby. and the cat, Cleo,and Sam the Japanese Fighting Fish has been arranged; and we have put in for our time off from work! Now I can concentrate on getting the cash we need together, paperwork we have to hand carry together and arrange to have our bills paid while we are gone and have our mail held! I think we are doing well! And we still have two weeks until we leave! Hopefully, the rest will go so smoothly. . .

Oh! and we set Aidan's baptism for May 18th at Pat's parents church! It will be wonderful!

I talked to our agency yesterday to try and figure out what we need in the way of money for this final phase. It's still a lot left to pay: mostly for the hotels, though. And I was told that we will hopefully be in the Hotel Krasnoyarsk, but there is no guarentee we won't get bumped like we did last time. I really hope we don't get bumped! We were in a communication black out there!

So, here's a timeline: we leave two weeks from today; our court date is three weeks from today; we will hopefully have custody of Aidan four weeks from thursday; we'll be on our way home six weeks from tomorrow!

Please pray with us that we can make it through the next six weeks without any major problems or difficulties, and that we don't get bumped from the Hotel Krasnoyarsk!

Blessing!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Time difference and Time change

So next Sunday our time spring forward into Daylight Savings time. Although I love Spring, the newness and the promise of it all, I don't love the loss of the hour of sleep! I get up early in order to run, so that first week is a killer!

This year we'll get to experience that a hundred fold! We'll just be getting used to that hour and then we'll fly off to Russia. Fortunately, they don't spring forward until the last Sunday in March. That means that our time difference when we get to Moscow will only be 7 hours different from Eastern Time and then when we get to Krasnoyarsk it will only be 11 hours ahead of Eastern time! Small favors!

But, then we'll spring forward with the Russians on March 30th and have to deal with that all over again! Actually, looking at the positive of this factor, it will make our 10 day waiting period one hour shorter! Pretty cool! Okay! We're already an hour closer to getting Aidan and coming home!

God is so good for bringing those thoughts to the forefront!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Just a little venting. . .

And only a little so that it won't take over. . .

I'm just more than a little dissapointed in our church. . .we've been on this journey of adoption for a year and a half and now that we have a court date, travel plans and I know when I will return to work following our return home, I was hoping to plan our son's baptism. Unfortunately, for us that is, there are only two dates that really work with everyone's schedules. One of them the parish will be on retreat at our Diocesan retreat center and the other is a Bishop visit. I was actually told that it was decided to not have an infant baptisms on the Bishop visitation Sunday so as to not take away from the Confirmations. Truly. I was told that! I guess I always thought that, as Christians, we wanted to create more Christians, and this happens primarily through Baptism regardless of age! And, having taught Baptism classes in the past, at my church even!, I always thought that Baptism, of any age person, complimented Confirmation. I mean, Confirmation is the next step in the process of becoming a Christian, right? That's when you take those vows that were taken for you on for yourself.

Anyway. . . I will make arrangements elsewhere later this week and ut will all be well. It's about the fact of and not the where of baptism occurring.

Done!! No more mention of that!

List Making Time!

So much to do! I just finished making a To Do list of things we have to do and of things I like us to do before we leave. Not much time to get it all done, and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, but we'll give it a go!

First things first, though. We need to get our Visa's ordered, which I will do on Monday; Arrange our travel, again to be done on Monday; and set up our Medical exams for the chest x-rays and blood work, again to be arranged on Monday. Meanwhile, I will get the set of paperwork we need to hand carry together this weekend and then, hopefully, a week from now we'll be ready to start making a list of things to pack.

How do you pack for a month??? And, how do you pack for a third person whom won't be with us until the beginning of April??? I'm sure it will all work out somehow!

More later. . .

Blessings!