Thursday, June 28, 2007

The fed ex guy is my best friend...

....along with the State Senators and their staff members that made this happen. I have the 171-H in my hot little hands! The judge has requested an additional document from us, but it is an easy one, so hopefully I will be headed to Austin again for apostilles on Monday. I took our medicals and some other forms down there last week to be apostilled - all 32 documents. IT TOOK SIX MINUTES!!! So worth the 6 hour drive, though. I had them to DHL and on the way to Russia that same day! You gotta love when something is easy in this process!

Thanks everyone for all the comments and prayers! They are working!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We're approved - form is in the mail!

We got the greatest news this afternoon. Our form has been approved and we should have it by the end of the week! Hopefully this means that we can still get a July court date!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Need your prayers today...

Our congressman is working today to get our I-171H expedited. Please pray for this process that this can be done quickly!!! We need this form this week in order to get a July courtdate.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pinecones and paperwork

On our trip, T loved to play with the pine cones that were strewn on the playground. He had quite the collection by the third day and was content to collect, add to the bucket, pour out, and start again! We've already worn out the videos watching and showing off T to friends and family. Each time we see something different or catch a different word that he said. It is still dreamlike to think that this little one will be our son!

Currently, we are against the clock trying to get about 20 documents correctly filled out, signed, notorized, apostilled, translated and to the judge before the end of the month. That will allow him time to review and set a court date for sometime in July. It is becoming a full time job, but hopefully we will be through with this part by the middle of next week.
Thank so much for all the great comments, emails and the prayers. Please continue to pray for his nutrition and care while we are waiting.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Back in Moscow

We are back in Moscow after spending three wonderful days with our boy. We arrived by train to Smolensk on Monday morning and checked into the Tsentralnaya hotel. All in all the conditions are good. It is a clean room with a large bed and a refrigerator for snacks. The lady on our floor is very pleasant and the hotel is quiet. Probably only complaint would be that it stays light very late - past 11 pm and the curtains don't block out the light. But, Ambien takes care of that worry as well!

On to the good stuff. We saw our son for about 7 or 8 hours over three days. The first visit of the first day he was shy and downcast. He would play with the toys and respond to the translator, but was very shy. Sean got the first laugh out of him playing on the slide. He also learned to understand his first english - Do you want to do it again? We were lucky to have good weather and be able to play with him on the playground for over an hour.

On the second visit of the first day, he warmed up much more quickly. He liked the goldfish and played with the sippy cup - lid on take a drink, lid off take a drink. He loves the See and Say and we had a lot of fun with that. We had labeled the animals in Russian, so that we could interact with him. This worked out well. His groupa came to the playground during part of our visit. They all were interested in us and wanted attention. T wasn't too fond of that and would walk off and pout! We took him to another area of the playground to read books and play.

He loves machinas, and is very interested in any cars coming and going. He oohs and aahs a lot. He has a great vocabulary and became talkative to us and to the translator. When it was time to go to dinner, he shook his finger at the translator and said LATER! (in russian of course).

On the second day, he warmed up quickly and the caregivers shared some stories about him. He is "the best" and "very intelligent" and "very handsome". They care so much about these kids and do the best with what they have. We played with a shape sorter, machinas and balls. He is good at making up games and very engaging. He picked up very quickly on the shape sorter. Even testing Sean and the translator on it.

We made him a book of picture of us, the kids, grandparents, his room and our home. He could identify most people and loved the pictures. He liked that the book has a handle - and he calls it a book instead of kneega. The translators laughed that even his Russian now has a Texas accent.

The last day we only got one visit because we had to spend the morning doing the official paperwork to petition to adopt him. We also went to the market to get chocolates for the caregivers and fruit and juice for the kids. The most heartbreaking moment of the whole trip was feeding T a banana. He would take such big bites, and just couldn't get enough fast enough. We promised him all the bananas he could ever eat someday. Other than that, we had another wonderful day. He began to pack up the backpack to move when he saw his groupa coming, he even shook his fist at them and said my mama! He allowed Sean to rock him like a baby, playing peek a boo. It was such a neat sight to watch my husband and son bonding. We gave him a small blanket that has a monkey head and tail on it and he LOVED it. He was very caring to it, putting it to bed, swinging it. He definitely has a good range of emotion and empathy for others.

We were so lucky on this trip. The staff let us keep him for a long time each day, and we had full run of the playground. He really opened up to us by the last day and was so funny. We loved watching him interact with the translator, very verbal and antimated when he talks. As we walked him to dinner for the last time, he ran to the caregiver with the monkey and the picture book and said "look what my mama presented to me!".

We hope to be back here in July. It won't be soon enough, but we are so happy to know that he is in a place with people who care and will care for him the best that they can until we can get back to him.

today we are resting - this has been such an emotional journey that we are worn out. I am so glas that we did our touring of Moscow on the front end of the journey. I don't think we would have been up for it otherwise. So, we will relax tonight and head back to the states tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for the emails, comments, thoughts and prayers!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Shopping and Sightseeing in Moscow

Thanks for all the comments. We are having a great time here. We've found a great little cafe for breakfast each morning - the Shakaladista. Good coffee, blinis, and english menus!

We did a lot of sightseeing yesterday. Had fun browsing and negotiating at the Ismailovy market - met some really funny vendors there that had quite good english! One babushka even sung Oh Susanna to us to show off her linguistic skills! Bought too much stuff, but will probably seem like so little once we are home. Checked out gorky park. It is a large amusement park. It was neat to see the day to day of Moscow. We've had the company of a lovely translator and driver that have made it very enjoyable.

For dinner we ate at a restaurant called One Red Square. It is in the Museum. It was nice as well. Indulged in some caviar and beef stroganoff. (Rick, if you are reading this, your caviar was better!)

Today we are off to Lenin's tomb, St. Basils, etc.

Another rumor to dispel - you don't have to wear anything different here than at home. Almost everyone we see is in jeans, tshirts and tennis shoes or sandals. Yes, there are plenty of women in high heels, but that is not the norm! I've had plenty of people mistake me for Russian in restaurants and shops, offering me Russian menus and giving Sean the english! And I'm walking around in jeans, tennis shoes and a nice tshirt! Packing is one less worry that I will have on trip two.

We are off to pack, sightsee, and then catch the midnight train to Smolensk. We will check in from Smolenk if possible. If not, we will be back online Wednesday to update on our boy!

kids - love you guys - hope you are enjoying your first days of summer! Talk to you soon!

Friday, June 01, 2007

a bit more about today

Moscow traffic is the craziest thing I have ever experienced. The lanes truly are just guidelines and the amount of cars is amazing. We probably spent 3-4 hours in the car today and didn't go more than 15 miles roundtrip. We had to sign some more paperwork declaring unequivocably our independent status. That is done - and sewn together in fine Russian fashion. Much cooler than our silly little apostille stamps.

As of now we have been up for 30 hours. The plane ride is bearable, but that is about it. But, hopefully by tomorrow we will be well rested in the luxorious Marriott Grande and ready to hit the streets of Moscow for some serious sight seeing and souvenir purchasing. We spend the weekend here, and then take a midnight train to Smolensk on Sunday. We arrive bright and early Monday morning and head to the Tsentralnaya hotel to freshen up and then to the Regional MOE to present our request to meet with T. All a formality. We hope to spend 3 days with him - Mon, Tues and Wed. Then back on the midnight train to Moscow for one more night.

Couple of rumors to dispel - wear anything you want here. You see jeans, capris, tennis shoes, spiked heels. Doesn't matter, if you have it, they probably wear it here. Secondly, the airport was a piece of cake. Signs were in english as well as cyrillic, so no problems at all.

So far, other than the jet lag, all is fantastic. Just counting down the days to hold our little guy!

thanks for the good wishes and notes, we will check in again tomorrow.

We made it!

After a loooong flight, we are here! It is a cloudy, pleasant day in Moscow. The airport was easy - we were through customs and baggage claim in about 30 minutes. Our driver was waiting for us, and after an exciting ride through the Moscow traffic, we made it to the Grande. What a beautiful hotel. We've had time to get freshened up and are now off to sign more documents and then hopefully do some sightseeing before we crash. We slept a bit on the plane, but not much, so we will just have to see how long we last!

Kids - we love you and will talk to you soon!