Not my will, but your's be done.



Thursday, March 31, 2011

For your viewing pleasure....




I'm Mama!!

This morning was spent doing paperwork at the notary's office.  The notary is a lawyer that prepares legal documents.  There were several sets of documents prepared, so we were there a whopping 2 hours.  I can't remember what all the papers were, but I know that some were applications for the kids passports and some of it had to be approved  by the wonderful social worker from yesterday.  Remember, the one who loved us so much?  Moving on.  I'm not going to worry about her right now.

It was interesting trying to keep the baby entertained for 2 hours in a boring notary office, so Josh and I had to tag team it and take turns playing with him outside.  The difficult thing about that was that it isn't all that cold outside, but the people here expect children to be bundled up in snow suits, and they must, must, MUST have a hat on at all times(when outside).  Kellen isn't hot natured, but it is rather ridiculous how they expect him to dress.  But since we are here for an adoption and all, it is probably best that we comply with their standards of their culture.  Any way, we survived, and hopefully won't be having to do that again any time soon.

This is a photo of the outside of the notary's office.  Kinda looks like it says "hot topic", right?


Kellen played in this little area for over 2 hours this morning.  Besides being expected to bundle him up like it's negative 2 degrees outside, there are also other cultural expectations.  Like:  Don't let your kids sit on the cement.  And heaven forbid we let Kellen climb stairs by himself while we hold his hand.  Different culture.  I wouldn't be terribly concerned with what the norms are here if I weren't trying to adopt 3 children from their country.  I do NOT want to offend anyone by not abiding by their child care standards.

Since the whole morning was spent doing paperwork, we only had one visitation time today.  We had to pick which orphanage we were going to go to.  Since Parker wasn't feeling well yesterday, we thought we would give him an extra day to recover, so we chose to go see Daniel and Josslyn this afternoon.  I hated to have to choose, but what can you do?

When we got to the orphanage for our visitation time, Josh and Kellen went to the visitation room with all our stuff and I went to get Daniel and Josslyn.  I went to Josslyn's room first because it was closest.  They said that she was finishing her snack and they would bring her to me in one minute.  So I headed to Daniel's room to get him.  When I got there the nanny told him that his mama was there.  He came up to me and we walked out of the room hand in hand.  We had a couple of minutes visiting with him before Josslyn got there.  Yesterday the orphanage director told us that he loves music, so we brought a toy that plays music today.

He loved the little muscial computer.  He would press the buttons and dance around. 

Yep, he is in tights and pink shoes.  ALL the kids wear tights.  When they go outside they put many layers over those tights. 

Pressing the buttons.  He liked to yell back at the computer every time it said something. 
He is a little dynamo!!

After a few minutes they brought Josslyn in.  She didn't want to stay, but she obeyed the nanny.  She played with some toys and slowly started to warm up a little bit.

This is Josh showing her how to erase the magnadoodle. 

She liked it.



We QUICKLY learned the Daniel is a ham, a firecracker, and has endless amounts of energy.  I think that he could have run the entire two hours that we were there non-stop.

After a while I just couldn't stand it any longer, so I picked Josslyn up onto my lap. 
Much to my surprise she let me.

(Note Kellen in the background trying to play with that little cardboard figure.)

In the visitation house there is a little play house.  Kellen loved it!  In and out.  In and out.  In and out.
For two hours straight.
The playhouse was a big hit.

Josslyn slowly warmed up.  She got up and started playing quietly with toys around the room.(Daniel made sure that I had emptied the contents of the toy bag in the first 5 minutes we were there.)
When I brought out the cookies(which are really more like animal crackers), she came up to me and asked for one.  A little while later she walked over and plopped down in my lap.
It was over from there, folks!  She barely left my side after that.  I don't know what changed that little girl's mind, but I was suddenly "mama"!!

She loved looking at the pictures on the computer.
She likes to point out herself.  She also likes to point at pictures of Josh and I and say, "mama" and "papa".
It will just melt your heart.

By the end of the visit, that girl was stuck to me like glue!  She loves me.  She liked to play with my earrings.  She would take them out and then put them back in.  One time she dropped one on the ground and before I could grab it, Daniel had it and was off.  He ran over to the play house, tossed it in, shut the doors, and then blocked the entrance so that nobody could get in.  Like I said, he's a firecracker! 

(Kellen in the background playing with the cardboard thing again.  He ended up tearing it down.  Oops.)


I think this was his only relatively still moment of the day.  Still and quiet are not his modes of operation.  I'm guessing he was just talking a moment to contemplate his next move.
Cute little feller, isn't he?


When it came time to bring the kids back to their rooms, we brought Daniel first.  I think he was ready to get back to his familar surroundings and his friends.  When we got back to his room he ran right back over to his friends.  A couple of the kids yelled out, "papa!", "mama!"  Daniel turned around and waved at us and yelled, "Paka, Papa!!"(Bye Daddy, in Russian)  It was precious.

Then we brought Josslyn back to her room.  When we got to her room I started to open the door.  She wrapped her legs around me as tight as she could, clung to my neck with one arm and tried to push the door shut with the other arm.  She was yelling, "NO! NO!", and shaking her head.  She did not want to go back to her group.  She wanted to stay with us.  That made me feel good and bad at the same time.  I felt bad that we had to leave her, but I was glad that she wanted to be with us.  I am completely shocked at how that girl has suddenly taken to me.  It is unbelievable!!  I have been grinning from ear to ear ever since this afternoon.

Tomorrow we should be able to see all of the kids.  We are going to see Daniel and Josslyn in the morning, and Parker in the afternoon.  I will post more pictures tomorrow!  I also have some video that I will post, if I can figure out how to download it. 

Dos vi danya!! (See you later!) 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WE MET THEM!!!!!!!!!!!

Go ahead.  Scroll down and look at all the pictures, and then come back and read my blog post, because I know the pictures are what you are here for any way. *wink*

So, this has pretty much been the most amazing day ever.  No kidding.  First off, the train ride was a breeze.  You guys must have been praying, because Kellen slept for four and a half of the 6 hours we were on the train!!! FOUR AND A HALF HOURS, PEOPLE!!! That is unheard of for him!  Below is a picture of us on the train.  We had our own private compartment.  It was perfect!


I am so happy that it our travel to our region worked out the way it did.  I loved riding the train during the day because we were able to see the country side while we traveled.  Lots of farms.  Lots of hills.  Lots of trees that I have never seen before.  It was awesome.

When our train arrived, Marina, our in region facilitator was there waiting for us with a driver.  I have only know her for half a day so far, but let me just say, she is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  She works SOOOOO hard it is unbelievable.  She moves at a break neck pace too, so you better just keep up!  I love her!

After they picked us up, we had a death defying drive to our apartment to drop off our stuff.  Every time we are in the car I am amazed that at least 3 pedestrians and 5 other vehicles aren't hit.  Every 30 seconds there is a near miss.  And you better not try to put on a seat belt, least you offend you driver.

We dropped our stuff off at our apartment.  Is is SUPER nice.  For about 5 seconds I forgot I was there for an adoption and thought I had been dropped into a luxury vacation.  I was NOT expecting accomodations like that.  I'll post some pics about that later.  Who cares about that now, you want to know about the kids, right?!  When she picked us up at the train station she had excellent news for us, that we would be able to meet all three kids today!!!!  We were shocked and thrilled!!  We were not expecting to have time to see them all in one day.  Like I said, Marina rocks!

From the apartment we went to see the social worker.  I wasn't nervous at all about this appointment.  It turns out that NOT being nervous is actually a bad side.  She did not seem to like us.  She questioned over and over WHY, WHY, WHY would a young could who has healthy biological children CHOOSE to adopt children with special needs.  She was also very adamant that six children is too many.  Marina said that here, families ONLY adopt is they are unable to have biological kids.  And if they HAVE to adopt they ONLY want healthy children.  She also said that one child is the norm here.  If you have two then you are considered a big family.  She said that the social worker cannot wrap her head around us wanting to adopt "unhealthy" children, when we already have 3 biological children.  She kept saying, "Too many! Too many!"  Kellen started fussing at this point, so needless to say, I started freaking out a little bit.  The last thing the social worker said was, "We will see."

And then the meeting was over.

Marina said that the social worker needed to think about it.  We walked out and I was completely freaking out!  Marina said not to worry though.  She is going to take our picture album to her tomorrow and she thinks that will help.(I was a total idiot and forgot to bring it to the meeting with us. AGH!!)  I trust Marina and all, but I'm still worried.  A social worker from that office will testify at our adoption hearing.  You can be praying about that one. 

Waiting for our appointment with the social worker.
I would seriously be putting my life at risk if I were to dare take the hat off of Kellen.
The ladies around here will seriously freak out.

When we left our meeting with the head social worker, we headed to Parker's facility.  We brought another social worker with us.  She took notes during our meetings at each orphanage.  We met with the orphange director and doctor at Parker's facility.  We found out that he was transferred a month ago.  So that means he was transferred RIGHT BEFORE our dossier was submitted.  God must really have a purpose for us that has something to do with this facility.  There are children older than Parker at the baby house that haven't been transferred yet, so I really feel that this is a God thing somehow and that God has a purpose for us that has to do with this facility. 

The orphanage director there is awesome!  She really loves the kids and it shows.  I was very impressed.  She seemed to really like Josh and I, which was good since I was still bummed about the head social worker.  She will also be one of the ones testifying in court, so it feels good to have her on our side.

This is what we learned about Parker:  His mother was a drug addict and abandoned him at the hospital.  This was her 3rd pregnancy, but only her second delivery.  They didn't say if the other pregnancy ended in abortion or miscarriage, they might not know.  He was born premature, at 35 weeks.  He was a tiny baby(I'll haven't converted the kilos and centimeters to pounds and inches yet, but Marina said that he was little.)  She had HIV and Hepatitis, and she is one year older than Josh and I.  They didn't have any information on the father, or who the other sibling is.  He is on ARV(anti-retrovirals) for his HIV and right now it is undetectable!!  I find that totally amazing news!  He had pneumonia before he was a year old and has bronchitius several times.  Sound like he is prone to respiratory infections.  The orphanage director loves him and said over and over, "He is a good hearted boy."

We got some badish news, that Parker has a fever and wasn't feeling well today.  They said that we could still meet him, but NO KISSING and the visitation will be brief. 

After getting all his info, they went to go get him.  Kellen decided that was a good time to take a dump in his diaper.  I would have ignored it, but boy did it stink!  And what kind of message is that sending to the orphanage to just let my kid sit in a poopy diaper?  Josh started to walk out to door to change him, and in walked Parker.



They had woken him from a nap, and he wasn't feeling well, so I think the whole thing was a little much for him.  He didn't want to make eye contact with Josh or I and he was being very shy.  The only one he looked at was Kellen.  He even reached out and touched him a couple of times.  Right when he walked in, Marina looked at him and said to me,"He looks like YOU!  How can that be?!"  She was baffled and I thought it was funny!

The poor baby was very overwhelmed.  They said that he has a good awareness of what is going on and that he is just scared.  I don't blame him a bit.  He did let me hold his hand, even though he wouldn't look at me in the face.  I was rubbing his hand with my thumb and he rubbed me back with his thumb a few times.  Like a complete idiot, I forgot to grab the toys we brought for him out of our suitcase.  Marina asked him if he would like us to bring him a truck tomorrow and he said yes.  They said he likes to paint and draw, so we will be bringing him colors and a coloring book tomorrow too.  After 10 minutes or so he got overwhelmed and started crying.  I felt terrible for him.  The orphange director was hugging him and he stopped and said something.  She told us he said, "Come back tomorrow.  I'll talk to you tomorrow."

After he said that I was over the moon!!  He is just precious!!  I really hope he is feeling better tomorrow.  I CANNOT  wait to see him again.

We left Parker's orphanage and went to Daniel and Josslyn's.  We met with the orphanage director, and the first thing she said was, "You are adopting two famous children."  Apparantly, Daniel is one of her absolute favorite children.  She has an 8x10 picture in her office of her and him together.  She went on and on and on about how smart he is and how is loves music and is a musical boy.  She absolutely adores him.  She told us over and over to keep teaching him because he can learn anything.  Marina told us that she has been asking about us for months.  It was Daniel's time to be transferred to an adult mental institution and she has been doing everything in her power to keep him in the baby house.  Marina said that every time she sees the orphanage director she aks when Daniel's parents are coming for him.  I think she is definitely on our side.  I don't know if it is because she really liked us, or if she just really wants Daniel to be adopted so that he isn't transferred.  Either way, I think she will speak in our favor at our hearing.  Good news.

Josslyn is "famous" because she is on a billboard down town.  We haven't seen it yet, but the director told Marina where it was so that she can show us.  Pretty neat!

What we learned about Daniel:
He was born at the maternity hospital, but was abandoned shortly after at the children's hospital.  He parent's are married and they have a 12 year old daughter that lives with them.  They signed papers when they abandonded him that said they were fine with him being adopted. 

Josslyn:
She was abandoned at birth.  Her mom was a drug addict also, and she had HIV and Hepatitis.  When Josslyn was born the mother said that she wanted to sign paper to give her up, but she fled the hospital before she ever signed anything.  The police wrote up a report saying that she was abandonded by the mother.  No information on the father and there are no other siblings on record.

While we were getting the last bit of information from the kid's files they brought in Daniel.


He walked right over by me and let me hold his hand!!  He kept pointing at Kellen and saying baby in Russian.  It was so cute!! Josh got out the camera and he immediately started posing!  That boy likes to have his picture taken!  He speaks well(in Russian, of course), and understands everything that is said to him(in Russian, of course).  They told him that I was his mama, and he said, "Da"(Yes, in Russian), like he already knew!  Then they said that Josh was his papa and he nodded his head and said, "Da" again.  We were beaming from ear to ear!! 

Posing for a picture.


Daniel, with his new mama and papa!!

Somebody's cell phone stated ringing and it was music.  Daniel immediately perked up.  The orphanage director said, "See, he is a musical boy!"

He left and they brought in Josslyn!
She is precious and very shy.  She did let Josh get close enough to take a picture though.  Isn't it cute?!

And she let me hold her hand a little bit.

She liked Kellen, of course.  He might be my ticket in with all three of the kids.

She didn't want us to touch her much and she clung to the nanny most of the time.  But she warmed up when Josh showed her the picture of her on the digital camera.  He showed are all kinds of pictures and she liked it.  I finally saw that girl smile!!!  Josh showed her the picture of the two of them together and she really liked that one.  She looked at it and kept leaning closer and closer until her face was almost touching the camera screen.  The nanny told her that I was her mama and she nodded her head and said, "Da."  Then she said that Josh was her papa, and Josslyn just looked at him and didn't say anything.  I showed her the picture of her and Josh again and she pointed to Josh and said, "papa."  It was priceless!

We are on cloud 9 and cannot wait to go back and see them tomorrow!!  Wonderful day!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pictures and Prayer Requests

Since this is our last night in the capital city, and the anticipation of tomorrow is keeping me from sleeping, I thought that I'd post a few pictures.

This is the baby eating bread.  His favorite food here, by far. 

And this is his favorite seat in the apartment.  Behind him is a door that goes in to a small enclosed patio type thing.  You have to step over that little step thing he is sitting on.  He loves to get a piece of bread and go sit on the little step.

That is the heater.  Inspite of the fact that it is real cold outside, the heaters keep it warm in here.  There is no central air or heat, so I have no clue how those heaters keep the whole apartment so warm.  It is a mystery to me.  They are really warm to the touch(like the warm pipe in the bathroom), but not so hot that they would burn you.

The next 3 pictures are the view of the courtyard behind our apartment at night.  It isn't anything fancy or special, I just like how it looks at night.
I'm going to try to get some sleep now.  We have to get up in 5 hours!  Next time I post we should have met Daniel and Josslyn!  I can't believe it is finally here!

A few prayer requests for tomorrow:
1. That Kellen will sleep good on the train, so he won't be tired and grouchy the rest of the day.
2.  That Kellen is cooperative when we meet with the social worker, orphanage director and doctor.  We will hopefully be getting a lot of information, so I am going to need to be taking fast and furious notes.  That will be super difficult if Kellen is crying or being uncooperative.
3.  Pray for Luke and my sister.  I got word that Luke is sick.  This is very unexpected because Luke never gets sick.  I don't know if it is strep throat or what, but pray he has a quick recovery and pray that my sister can handle her four kids, Raylen, and a sick Luke all at the same time....while trying to homeschool.
4.Pray we have good internet connection at our new apartment.  I will be dying to post pictures from us meeting the kids, and I'll be super disappointed if we don't have internet.  Plus I will be worried if I can't check and have updates about Luke.

That's all for tonight! 

Happy Birthday, Josslyn-And We Got Our Referrals!

I want to start off by saying, HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY, JOSSLYN!!!  This will be the last birthday of your's that goes uncelebrated in an orphanage!  Next year, when you turn 4, you can have the biggest princess party a girl could want!  It will be big enough to make up for all the parties you missed the first 3 years you were in the orphanage.  No more uncelebrated birthdays for you, little missy!  Mama and Daddy can't wait to meet you for the first time tomorrow!!!


Today:
Since we had nothing to do, adoption wise, until 4:00pm today, we were able to see some of the sights in the city.  This city is VERY old.  Many of the building are hundreds of years old.  Apparently, this city was were Russia began, MANY years ago.  At least that is what we were told by our driver/tour guide, Eugene.  But then again he later told us that the history books have all been re-written to say that the kings wanted them to say, so I'm not sure how accurate all of our information was.  Especially since he later told us that the Ukrainians were really the ones who discovered America, back before Columbus and the explorers.  Eugene DEFINITELY knows a ton about history.  That man is a walking history book, no lie.  But I am wondering if the part about the Ukrainians discovering America was part of the history that had been re-written.  Who knows.  Regardless, the city is super old and very historical.  I learned alot today, but there is not way I could remember everything he said.  He was spouting off historical information non-stop all day.  Very interesting.  I don't know how he knows all that he knows.

The Haglers spent the day with us  on our own little personal tour.  We started the day with going to the train station to pick up tickets.  We leave at 6:58am to head to our region!!  That is 11:00pm ya'll's time, so if you are awake then, say a little prayer that the baby will do well on the train and take a gooooood nap.  Once we arrive in region the next several hours will be a whirlwind, so we really need him to be rested up and on his best behavior.  We will be meeting with a social worker, orphanage director, the orphanage's doctor, and most importantly  DANIL AND JOSSLYN!!!  I don't think we will be able to meet Parker until Thursday morning because we won't get there in time.  Regardless, this time tomorrow I will have met at least two of my new kiddos!!  So exciting!!


This picture is inside the train station.

Josh, Eugene, Greg and Lindsay Hagler-waiting for tickets

Another picture of inside the train station

After the train station we went to a resturant the serves the food of the country.  It was quite interesting and different.  Overall, I like it.  Kellen really liked the potato soup.
This picture is in the restaurant.  It was very cool. 
Furr and the seats on the whole nine yards. 
 A very cultural experience.


While waiting to pick up our referrals we went back to the little coffee shop we went to yesterday after our SDA appointment.  The coffee here is different, but I have to admit, it is growing on me. 
 Double expresso with milk.  Good stuff.
By our table there was a big window sill.  Kellen sat there and played a little while.
Then, folks started noticing him.

The lady in the picture just LOVES Kellen!  She has a little souvenier shop right outside the coffee shop.  She made over Kellen yesterday, big time.  She even got on to me for not having his ears covered and made me put his hood on.  She told me his ears and nose looked cold.
All of this transpired in Russian, but I'm pretty sure that is what she was griping at me about.
The longer Kellen sat in the window the more of a crowd gathered.  He had folks laughing and taking his picture.  I have no idea what makes people so drawn to him, but that boy has serious rock star status here!  He is going to be disappointed when he gets back to the states.




This is a famous church.  I can't remember what it's called though.  Anyway, we went inside and it was gorgeous!  After a few minutes of looking around, Lindsay pointed out that we were supposed to have our head covered and she and I were the only two women that didn't.  She proceeded to put on her hoodie hood and I wrapped my scarf around my head.  We surely didn't want to offend anyone.

No pictures are allowed inside, so that's why I don't have any.  Take my word for it though, it was beautiful.  There were these candle stands everywhere that had burning candles in them.  It was beautiful.  There was also some kind of holy water that people would drink after praying.

After we left this church we went in to a litle cathedral type thing next door.  They also had the beautiful candles burning, so we asked Eugene what they were for.  He said that people come and burn them in memory of loved ones who have passed away.  I thought that was lovely, so we burned one for Treyson.

Finally, it was 4:00 and we could pick up our referrals!  We walked over to the SDA building to wait the with other couple there to pick up their referrals.  There were atleast two other American couples(besides us and the Haglers), 3 or 4 Italian couples, and a few more that I am not sure where they are from.

(This is us in front of the SDA building.)
When the lady came down the stairs with everyone's papers she said that Josh and I could go first, even though there were 3 couples ahead of us.  She said it was because of Kellen.  There he goes again, being a rock star.  I felt bad though, cutting in line like that, but I was NOT going to agrue with her.  She was quiet, but nice.  We even tried out some of our newly learned Russian on her.  That seemed to amuse her more than anything.  Guess we still have some work to do. 

Now we have to pack and get some rest, because Eugene will be here at 6:00am to take us to the train station! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

More pictures from our day

This outiside of our apartment building.


This is a small playground in front of our building.
Two slides and a climbing thing.

Note that the cars park ON the side walks.
The cars pretty much drive where ever they want when ever they want.
I'm pretty sure that traffic laws either, don't exist, or no one pay attention to them.
It has been interesting, to say the least.

We went walking this afternoon and ended up eating at a little pizza place near our apartment.
It was awesome!  Instead of plates you eat your pizza off these little wooden cutting board type things.
Kellen loves pizza, in general, but he especially love the crust on this pizza.
He adores the bread here.  He could walk around eating the bread all day.  Our apartment has crumbs all over it.  I am definitely going to have to vaccum before we head to our region.

Josh got a coke at lunch.  See the writing below Coca-Cola?
Gotta love the Russian!

This pipe is in the bathroom of our apartment.  Apparently is has hot water running through it because it is very warm all the time.  The towels are all nice and warm when you take them off of it. 
Right now I have some clothes hang drying on the pipe.  Our apartment has a washer, but no dryer.  I don't think anybody really has dryers here.  I washed a load of clothes this afternoon, but heavens knows if I did it correctly.  The washer are NOT like our washer, and even though the setting were symbols and numbers instead of words, I still had a really hard time figuring out what setting to put it on.  Whatever I did seemed to get the clothes clean, so I guess I guessed right!


This evening Kellen was playing and fell asleep right there on the floor! 
That is not typical at all for him.
Guess he is worn out!
We brought this little pop up tent for Kellen to sleep in.  He WILL sleep with us, but he sleeps better on his own(and I do too!). 
 So instead of just putting him on a pallet on the floor, I got this awesome idea of making a pallet for him in a tent from my friend.  She is so smart!  We bought this little pop up tent from Academy(her idea, too),
it is really compact when it is folded up.  Didn't take up much space at all in the suitcase.
He didn't sleep in it last night, because last night was kind of a crazy night with our schedules being messed up and all.  I think I'll try to put him in there tonight though.  He obviously CAN sleep in there since he is still sound asleep at the moment.


Last but not least,
my FAVORITE picture of today.....

A PICTURE OF PARKER AND JOSSLYN FROM THEIR FILES TODAY!!!!
Aren't they just precious?!!  Yes, that is a picture of two pictures, but it was the best I could do with no scanner.  These are the pictures we traded for today!!  They didn't tell me when these pictures where taken, so  I don't know how old they are in them.  I would guess that the picture of Josslyn was from when she was about a year old, but I don't know.  She looks just like Luke and Kellen did at a year....NO HAIR!! And isn't Parker just a doll!!  Up until today we had only seen that one picture of him, his Reece's Rainbow picture.  It is sooooo good to see another picture!  He is smiling in this picture too, and that makes me happy.  It really looks like a genuine smile.  Now I haven't seen a picture of Josslyn smiling yet, and this one from today makes the 5th picture I've seen of her(not counting the infant picture we saw today).  I don't know if she is unhappy, doesn't like cameras, is just super shy, or what.  Either way, I am ready to see her smile!

We are going to our region on Wednesday morning, by express train.  The Haglers and us will both pick up our referral paperwork at the SDA building tomorrow at the same time.  We are both adopting from the same region(and the same CITY), but from different orphanages.  They are taking the overnight train tomorrow night, and we are taking the express train on Wednesday morning.  If we took the same train and arrived at the same time, the facilitators and drivers wouldn't be able to take us both where we need to go at the same time(since we are adopting from two different baby houses), so our in region facilitator thought it best if we come separate.  I think it worked out best all the way around.  I think the Haglers really wanted the overnight train, and I think that the express train is probably best for us.  The express train is a 5 and 1/2 trip and the overnight train is an 8 hour trip.  So we will be able to sleep all night and then take the morning train and arrive in our region around 1pm.  I think(and REALLY hope) that we will meet the kids that afternoon.  We should at least meet Daniel and Josslyn, but might not have enough time to meet Parker too.  I am anxious to meet them!! I am also anxious to find out what is the hang up with one of the kid's paperwork and how long it is going to delay us.

That is all the pictures from today!  We are home for the evening, so if I get board I just might blog again.  That would be some kind of a record for me! 

Pics from our SDA Appointment


This is a church that is right across from the SDA building.
It is beautiful!



Waiting for our appointment. 
The other lady in the picture is Lindsay. 
Kellen is just chillin'.  He has been so good!
Josh is listening to Eugene talk about the city's history.


(from left to right)
Eugene, me, Yulia, Serge, and Josh
Our facilitators and drivers have been AWESOME so far.



Kellen on the floor in the coffee shop.
He was pretty tired by this point.

Kellen has been getting quite alot of attention where ever he goes.  I didn't really expect this.  I would have expected it from a hispanic culture, because of his fair hair and blue eyes, but not from here.  You see alot of blond haired blue eyed people around here.  The only reason I can think of is just because he is a child in public.  I haven't seen many children at all since we got here.  I don't know if it is a cultural thing, or if it is just the part of the city we are in.  Either way, he gets alot of attention.  I love hearing the ladies talk to him in Russian.  I have no idea what they are saying, but it sounds sweet and Kellen loves it.

I want to say THANK YOU to the Haglers for sending us these pictures!  I accidentally forgot our camera(even after Josh reminded me) when we were leaving for our SDA appointment this morning.  Luckily, the Haglers(the other family who had their appointment this morning) had their camera, so they emailed us these pictures.  I am so glad they did, or else Josh would have never let me live it down!  I'll post more pictures from our day in a little while.



SDA Appointment

We had our SDA appointment this morning.  It went great!  Before Parker was transferred we had been told that we most likely would not get all 3 of the kid's referrals at one appointment, but that the facilitators would do their best.  The SDA only likes to give out up to 2 referrals at the same time, but that since all 3 of our children were at the same orphanage that there was a slight chance that we would be able to get all 3 at once.  When our dossier was submitted, we found out that Parker had been transferred to an internat close by the baby house that Daniel and Josslyn are still in.  Since Parker was in a different facility we were told that there was no chance that we could get all 3 referrals at the same time now.  We would have our SDA appointment and get 2 referrals(Daniel and Josslyn's).  AFTER that, Serge(one of our facilitators), would request a second SDA appointment to get Parker's referral.  While we were waiting for our second appointment, we would travel by train to our region, meet Daniel and Josslyn, and confirm that we still wanted to adopt them. Then, when we were given an appointment to receive Parker's referral, we would travel back to do that, then go back to our region, meet him and confirm that we still wanted to adopt him.  Once we had done all that, our facilitator in region would request for us to be given a court date.  WHEW!  Lots of traveling back and fourth, but we were more than willing to do it.  We were just thrilled that we were able to adopt all 3.

Before we knew that Parker had been transferred, I had been praying ALOT that we would be able to get all 3 referrals at the same SDA appointment.  Even though it wasn't highly likely, there was still a chance so I was praying my heart out.  Then we found out that Parker had been transferred and we for sure wouldn't be able to get all 3 referrals at once because of this.  I was a little disappointed about that, but I was so relieved that Parker was still available to be adopted, that it over shadowed any disappointment about our trip being prolonged.  It isn't ideal, but this is international adoption, so nothing ever goes completely as planned.  The bigger picutre is that we are able to get all 3, and in the long run that is the most important thing. 

Once I learned that the possibility of getting all 3 referrals at once had gone from slim to none, I stopped praying about it.  God has moved many mighty mountains on our children's behalf, so I was ok with some disappointment thrown in here and there.  He had answered my biggest prayer, which was that all 3 of them would be clear for adoption, so why get in a tizzy because everything wasn't exactly like I hoped it would be? Lately, I have seen several families lose the children they were trying to adopt, for different reasons.  That gave me some perspective on the disappointment of Parker being transferred and, therefore, us having to have 2 different SDA appointments.  It seemed so trivial, in light of the fact that there were families who had their dossier's submitted, only to learn that the child they were trying to adopt wasn't able to be adopted for whatever reason.

Then, Thursday night was I was praying, it just hit me.  Why not ask God to make it so that we can get all three referrals at once?  He can do anything, right?  Once we were told that it wasn't a possibility, I had stopped asking the Lord to do it.  Thursady night if just occurred to me, why not just ask?  The worst that can happen is that God will say, "No, that's not my plan."  Then we would just be right back were we expected to be.  No biggie.  So I started praying.  I didn't even tell Josh that I was asking God to work this miracle, until Saturday while we were traveling.  He was of the same mind.  Can't hurt to ask because the worst he can say is, "no".

This morning our driver picked us up to head to our appointment.  Another couple, who is adopting through Reece's Rainbow also, road with us.  Their appointment was right before ours and I had arrange with them ahead of time for them to watch Kellen for us while we had our appointment, since we would be up there at the same time.  They were so nice and more than willing to help us out with Kellen.  I had been minorly stressing about having Kellen at the appointment with us.  I had heard that appointments didn't take long, but I was worried after traveling all the previous day and having jet lag, that he would be really fussy.  I didn't think that it would be in our best interest to bring a fussy unmanageable baby in to an appointment where we are requesting to adopt 3 children with special needs!  It was such a relief to know that we had some awesome folks to babysit for us, so that I didn't have to worry about how Kellen was going to act.  Big stress relief!

So we got the SDA building, and the other couple had their appointment first.  When they came out they said, "No big deal. Ya'll can do it!"  Immediately Serge said it was our turn.  I stated to hand the baby off to our pre-arrange baby sitters, but Serge said to bring him.  Um, ok.  Serge knows his stuff, so I trusted that he knew best.

Our appointment took about 25 minutes or so(I didn't look at my watch, but that is what I would guess), and it really was no big deal.  We walked in to a room and it was just us, Serge, and another lady who brough in the files.  She laid the files on the table, and the first thing I noticed was that it was all three kids.  Their "file", if you want to call it that, consisted of a clear pocket page with about 2 pieces of paper in each of them.  We were able to see a newborn picture of Josslyn and Parker, and a picture of Daniel when he was a few months old.  Each file also had another picture attached to the papers and I was able to exchange current pictures for an older picture of Josslyn and Parker.  The more recent picture of Daniel was just printed on paper and it wasn't a good picture.  Serge never asked if we wanted to trade pictures for that, so we didn't request it.

The appointment consisted of confirming that those were the three children we were wanting to adopt.  Then we were asked to tell about ourselves.  We were brief.  Then we were questioned about the kids special needs and if we felt adaquate to deal with them.  We explained that we were very comfortable with the needs that the kids have and we explained a little about why we were.  It was at this point that we got out the picture album and showed a few pictures of my uncle, Mike, who has Down Syndrome.  They seemed to really like that.  Another lady came in and looked and everyone was smilling and pointing.  They asked some questions about Mike, and I showed them a picutre of my grandparents( since they are Mike's parents).  One of the pictures of Mike is when he won a gold medal at the International Special Olympics and Arnold Schwartnegger put the medal around his neck.  Serge REEAALLLY liked that picture.  He took the album and left the room and went around showing other people the picture.  Apparantly, Serge was a body builder, back in the day, and he has met Arnold at a competition.

The appointment went well, as best I could tell.  It is hard to tell when they are speaking Russian so we have no clue what they are saying.  The lady with the files and asking the questions seemed nice, but I had no clue what she was saying to Serge about us.  I was also confused the whole time because Parker's file was out and we were given infomation about him.  I wasn't expecting that, so I was confused.  Serge also kept getting on the phone and calling someone(I think it was, Marina, our in region facilitator), and talking to her about what was in the kid's files.  It's very confusing when it is all in Russian.  At the end of the meeting Serge said that we would come back the next day between 4:00 and 5:00 pm to pick of the paperwork to bring when we travel to our region.  At this point I was still confused about WHICH kids we had just gotten the referrals for.  The last thing we did was sign a book.  The best I could tell, all 3 kids names were written beside ours, but once again, there is the whole issue with me not being able to read Russian.

We left the building and went to get coffee while our driver, Eugene, was copying some paperwork.  I finally asked Serge WHO we had just gotten the referal for, since I was utterly confused at this point.  I had not expected to see or hear anything about Parker at this appointment, so I wasn't really sure why we had seen his file.  It seemed like we had just been given all three referrals, but since we had been told ahead of time that it wasn't going to happen like that I was trying to not get my hopes up.  Much to my surprise, Serge said that we had just been given the referral to

ALL

THREE

OF

THEM!!!!!!!!

PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!!

Up until 4 days ago, it hadn't even crossed my mind to ask God to give us a miracle like this!!  Oh me of little faith!!  How awesome is that?!  That means we do NOT have to travel back here for a second referral appointment!  Once we get to our region we get to stay there for the rest of the time, until it is time to come home!  It also means that we get to meet Parker right of the bat, instead of having to wait until after we had a second appointment.  It also means that this will not take away from visiting Daniel and Josslyn.  We would have missed several days of visitation if we would have had to travel back here for a second appointment.  Great news all the way around!!  The only negative news we got was that there is a problem with one of the kid's paperwork(I don't know which one yet), and Serge said that it will delay our time in region.  But he didn't act like it would cause a problem with being able to actually to adopt them.  At this point we don't know what the problem is or how long we can expect it to delay us.  We will be cutting several days off our trip by being able to get Parker's referral today, so I'm hoping that we just break even with this delay(whatever it is).

The kids files did not have much info about them(as expected).  Parker was abandoned at the hospital, so anything about his parents or if he has other siblings is unknown.  We were not told how Josslyn and Daniel ended up as orphans, but Serge said we will find out more when we get to the orphanage.  I assume that Josslyn was abandoned at birth also, since in the picture in her file she looks only day or 2 old, which is what Parker's picutre looks like too.  Daniel's baby picture is about 6 months old or so, so I guess it is possible that his parents took him home from the hospital, and then brought him to the orphanage when they realized that he had Down Syndrome.  That is just a guess on my part though.  Hopefully we will learn more when we get to the orphanage.

I have to run now.  Kellen fell asleep in the car on the way back to the apartment and he just woke up. Praise th Lord for answering a prayer that I almost didn't even think to pray!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pictures

On our first flight, from Houston to Chicago. 
The baby ended up sleeping most of the way.

Waiting to get on that plane in Chicago.

On the plane to Germany.  Eating pretzles and watching cartoons.

He slept about 4 of the 8 hours of this flight.

The courtyard of our apartment.  Picture taken from our window.

The kitchen



Our bedroom/livingroom



That's all I got for now!