Sunday, November 14, 2010

So you think you can handle a 2 year old...

I haven't sat down to write anything on here for a that I think about it I haven't sat down in a while...

Things around here are good. Different, but good. We have spent the last couple of months getting use to being parents, kid proofing the house, not sleeping much, dreading eating time, and learning something new everyday.

Landen is so smart (a little too smart for his own good sometimes). He loves his Dad (because he has him wrapped around both his little fingers). He loves his Aunt Holly (because..well, because she's Aunt Holly). He loves to throw his toys everywhere and drive his Dad nuts. He loves the attention he gets from all his family members and friends. He watches Hockey with Mom. He can say shoes, ball, dog well....and we are working on alot more words.

After a rough start with the Dogs, he is doing great. Lieut avoids him as best she can, Angel really couldn't care less, and Holstein is his best friend. They are so cute together.

Eating is still a fuss, we have a feeding therapist coming once a week to the house. She is helping but he makes life hard when it comes to eating. He is not really gaining any weight but he isn't waisting away

Other wise we are trying not to get o n each others nerves and looking forward to the Holidays and Landen's 2nd Birthday.

Thank you once again for you prayers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

last night...long journey

Well, this is our last night in Russia.

We spent as much time in Tyumen as we could possibly stand. It is nice enough but you can only walk to the same places so many times. The week was good to us. We started to figure out how to care for Landen and he figured out how to get his way. He has been eating better and better, he is very picky. We have found that he really like fruit, apple, banana, if you feed him some fruit then you sneak in some veg./meat/pasta baby food concoction. It works...for the most part. Our rep. Zinaida is a very to the point person, we got Landen's passport in 1 working day. She is amazing if you want something done. Z, as we have taken to calling her, was also the person who talked the director of the orphanage into letting us take Landen the day after court...this does not happen. Usually you have to visit your child at the orphanage (when they will let you) during the 10 day waiting period. It was a blessing beyond words to have him during our 10 days. We had a 2 1/2 hour flight from Tyumen to Moscow. Landen did well, he only cried on the way up and on the way back down. Otherwise he flirted with the nice lady in the seat across from us.

We arrived in Moscow on Aug. 4th, later in the evening. When we landed we learned that Moscow was covered with a very thick layer of fog. This smoke was due to wild fires south of Moscow. We were 10 ft off the ground before we figured out we were landing! The air was thick with smoke...almost like standing by the engine during a house fire.

The next day (the 5th), was an ok day, the smoke had cleared and it was a very hot (102), but a good day. We were woke up at 5:30 am by the doctor from the U.S. Embassy. He had to come and look at Landen and make sure he was healthy enough to travel to the U.S.
He was a big guy, very nice. Said other than a "failure to thrive" issue, Landen is very healthy. Now let me explain, after talking to the doctor, he considered Landen's light weight and general small(ness) a failure to thrive. He is very the chart for his age, but he is healthy and will get bigger everyday. We then went back to bed. Alex came at 9:30 am and took all our paperwork to the embassy for us. On the 6th we went to the U.S. Embassy at 2pm. We met 5 other families there for the same reason we were, to get our US entry visa and needed paperwork. It was very nice to sit and talk (in English) with people that had been through something similar to what we had. Apparently we had it very easy. Some of the story's from the other families made me thankful for all that had gone right in our case. The U.S. Embassy guy we delt with was great too.

We met a family, the Gariepy's. Marc, Susannah, and Isaac (Zac). They have another adopted son (from Russia) Noah, he was at home. Susannah was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. She graduated from Dixie Hollands High School and rival of the high school I was great to met someone from where I grew up....especially thousands of miles away from home!

We spent 3 days stuck in our apartment because it was so bad outside we couldn't go out. The CO levels were up to 7 times the normal limit here. Needless to say we were going a little crazy!
We met up with the Gariepy's at the Hard Rock cafe' on Monday the 9th. The company was much better than the food (just not home). We then walked Old Arbat st. It is a pedestrian street full of street vendors and gift shops. It was nice to have people to talk to and they showed us where to find the good gifts for less money. We picked up some very nice keep sakes. It was so nice to get out and walk and chat with our new friends. We walked the street one more time on Tuesday, and they left for home on Wednesday.

So today we walked to the Kremlin, had to get some photo's with Landen. We are packing things up and hanging out in the apartment for the night. I can not say I am looking forward to the 10 hour flight or the 24 hour day with a 19 month old...but after a month away from home, there is no doubt I am looking forward to home!

We can not wait for Landen to meet all his new family and friends. Blessings to each and every one of you...we will see you soon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

new life

I know...I'm the one that started this blog...I'm the one that told everyone I would post updates....and I'm the one who's slacking off.

So here's the run down on our trip to get our son.

We spent our first few days going to the orphanage a couple of times a day. He wasn't sure about us for about 2 minutes... then you would have thought we never left. It made us very happy to know he wasn't going to hold leaving against us.

On Monday the 19th we spent the whole day driving from doctor to doctor..seems like everything else in this place...God forbid we put the doctors in one or two places. Anyway, some were much easier than others to deal with, there were a few that refused to think Tim was healthy....when he is actually healthier then half the people we seen.

Tuesday was our big meeting with the judge. Now when you say "meeting to get to know you" you think maybe a meeting room, you sit and chat about family, work, friends, home....etc.
Um...NO. For being an "informal" meeting...this was the most FORMAL meeting I have ever been to. Which caught us off guard and unprepared. We studdered our way through the questions she asked us. We answered, but apperently we were supposed to say more????

So Alla called us on Tuesday Night and gave us some pointers. I guess you have to look at it from their point of view. She says that giving a child to a foreign family (not just U.S.) is a shameful process and they want to make sure you are fit for being a parent, as well as, that they have tried to find a Russian family to take him. It's make some sense when you look at it that way. (some...not alot).

Wednesday we hung out and studied all the possible questions then could they possibly ask us and all the possible answers...we were going to knock them out of the park.

We got all dressed up and headed out on Thursday. We walk everywhere here (not a bad thing), but we also left way to early and had to sit a while. We had the Judge, the Proscutor, and a secretary, 5 witnesses, the director of the orphanage, 2 different DOE reps, plus us and Ziniada and Julie (our translator).

We got up and answered the questions asked, most of which came from the proscutor. She was a heavy set, nurse Ratchet looking women, but she was nice enough. The "witnesses" were actually people who were given the chance to adopt Landen and refused. The judge wanted to know why and asked a couple of other questions.

The first family said they were given many children to choose from and just knew that the child they picked was"their child". So that is why they didn't take Landen. The women even told us "good luck" as she left the court (with a smile)...I know...right!

The second couple were of a more Indian or Middle Eastern decent and they wanted a child that looked more like them.

The last "witness" was a single female and I am not sure why she decided not to take him.

The DOE lady who picked him out for us was also a large lady, very nice. She told of why she chose us and why they think we are a good match. The second DOE lady was very nice, skinny and all smiles. She is the lady that visited us at the orphanage when we were on our first trip and seen us play and bond with him. She was full of nice things to say about us.

The last to speak for us was the director of the orphanage, she is also the head doctor. She is a wonderful woman name Natiala. She has been doing this for MANY years. She talked about all his medical stuff and how he has developed. She also had many good words to say about us.

We then had to break...court ran from 10 am to Noon. Then we went back to the apartment until 3 pm. I have to say I felt much better about our chances when we were done. The "Court" was easier than our "meeting"!

We returned at 3pm..this time it was just Us (with the translator and Z), the sec. and the Judge.

She came out..said a few words and went back into her office for like a half hour. She then came out and told us she has granted our request to adopt Landen!!!!!!
But we have to stay the 10 day waiting period.

So we are stuck here until about the 6th of Aug. because we have to apply for his passport and wait for it. We are probably leaving for Moscow on the 7th (Saturday) and we will be in Moscow until the 12th. We have to take a couple of trips to the US embassy for a visa and to get his immigration stuff done.

The nice part...we were able to take over care for Landen on Friday. He has adjusted well enough. He fusses every now and then because he is stuck with us (just kidding).
Eating has been an adventure, but I hate the I don't really blame him. He is atleast drinking fluid well and he sleeps well. He loves bath time.

We are very thankful to everyone who has shared this adventure with us....and to think it is only really begining!

I will try to be better at updateing this if anything new happens, just know that for now we are stuck here but because we are able to bond with our is not such a bad thing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

few days in

Well after a few days into this part of our adventure I am ready to get my son and get going home!

The trip to Moscow was long but uneventful. We even got to watch Harry Potter (6) on the plane ride, which was a little ironic being as it was my Birthday and that is exactly what we did for my birthday last year...minus the plane ride to Moscow.

The apartment in Moscow was nice, clean. We decided to try our hand at making our own dinner....frozen pizza and ice cream!

The trip to Tyumen was long, the airport we used to fly out of Moscow is a is dirty and packed with very unhappy people. We were late taking off, so we were late getting to Tyumen. By the time we got into Tyumen...we were very tired. We had to wait for luggage, then when we got to the hotel we had to move to another room because of no AC. Then we were taken to see an apartment to see if we would like to switch to that the next day. It is a little cheaper.

Then after all that, we were told that we have our medical evals on Monday morning and they are not sure if the doctor will take our blood work because the paperwork does not look like an original????? WHAT? I am a little miffed by this and think that it is just another way to get money out of us. So needless to say I was in a bad mood last night.

Today was better. We moved to the apartment this morning, no Julia (our intrpretor) all day, so comunication was interesting. We then headed to the orphanage at about 11:30. Got to see our little man. He was tired or just waking up (not sure). It took him a few minutes to figure out who we were, then it was like we never left. Lots of hugs!

We were able to (over dress) him and take him for a walk around the city center park. He loves being outside, I am not sure he gets to do that very often. He had a great time just kicking his feet in the stroller. The park is like a year round carnival, so we took his first ride on a carousel. He wasn't too sure about it at first, but didn't want to get off when we were done. Lots of great pictures....he was very happy and probably very tired when we got back to the orphanage.

We are going to visit again tomorrow and then medicals on Monday. We meet with the judge on Tuesday (our original court date) and then Court hearing on Thursday. Please pray for a good court hearing and that they wave the 10 day waiting would be so nice to be home soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Almost there

Hello all...

We landed safe and sound a little after 11 am (Moscow time) yesterday. It will go down as one of my most unique birthdays ever. We fell asleep almost right after settling into the apartment. There is a store around the corner so we decided to try our hand at finding our own food to cook.
Found some frozen pizza and put it in a pan to crisp the crust then into the micro. too cook it. You wasn't that bad. Ice cream for snack (and again for breakfast). Not too bad if I do say so myself.

We are heading out in about 3 hours to go to the airport to head to Tyumen. I have no idea what they have planed for us today, we are hoping to be able to atleast stop into the orphanage to see Landen today...but don't know. I will post updates when we have them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Long month paid off

So it's been a very long and busy month.....that has seemed so short when I look back on it, that makes no sense at all!

Anyway, we are heading out tomorrow morning for Moscow. We are going to be in country for about a month (hopefully less). Our court date is July 22nd (moved from 7/20) to give us enough time to get all the paperwork translated. I am going to try very hard to keep everyone posted.

Huge THANK YOU to Congressman Pete Hoekstra and staff for all their help with our USCIS and FBI paperwork. With out their help, we would be waiting until Sept. to go back.

Also, to our friends and family...we are so very blessed! Between the calls, clothes, money, baby shower, prayers, advise, etc. We are truly humbled by your love for us.

I ask that you please pray for a safe trip, good court hearing and a safe and quick return. We will never be able to thank you enough!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I am positive I am going crazy....

I know it has been too long between posts....but I do have an excuse. Maybe not a good one, but one all the same...

We have been going like crazy since we returned from Russia. I want to note that leaving Landen in Tyumen was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life....hands down.

We are dealing by staying busy (not like we have a choice), but there is a huge hole in our lives now and until we get him home where he belongs...that hole is gigantic.

We found out on that last day of visiting that the court wanted to pencil in a date of July 20th for us to come back and have our day (or days) in court. This is awesome news!

Problem...we got a letter from immigration the day after we arrived home saying they needed some more info from our home study (one I'm not kidding). So we had to wait for our social worker to get back from vacation and then for her to actually make the changes....I was only able to get the paperwork just today (won't get to immigration till tomorrow), and I got charged to fix the problem. I am still trying to figure out why it took them 3 months to figure out they needed more info. Also we have not heard a thing from the FBI about our finger prints.

We need both of these forms before we can go to court. We have about 2 weeks to get these forms back from the government and get them apostilled and sent (or take with us) to Russia. Plus, that means we won't know until the last minute if we are traveling or not. Can't wait to see the price on those tickets!

So much to get much I have absolutely no control over! GGGGRRRRR!

On a brighter note, we received new pictures and an update from our rep. in Tyumen, this was a wonderful thing! I spent the day getting paperwork together and sent out, calling Congressman Hoekstra and asking for help in getting our paperwork pushed through, and painting Landens room with Holly and Lisa. All in alot done today.

We are praying for the paperwork to go through...and that we can travel to get our boy in July...otherwise we would have to wait until September. I know it's only really a month and a half difference....but we have already missed so much, we really just want to bring him home!
FYI: For those who do not have facebook, you can get to some pics here
Password is: landen