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

Monday, June 7, 2010

What an amazing day

Today we became parents. That fact still amazes me. We had a long day, we were waiting for most of it to have our meeting at the DEPARTMENT (that is what I am calling it now). When we got there, our representative kept telling us not to be nervious...but I could see she was nervious herself (not helping).

I believe we were one of the first (if not the first) families to come to adopt here in Tyumen (after that stupid lady...) so we were told they are very strict and will ask lots of questions. The first lady we encountered was actually nice, she asked us about Muskegon and our home.

The "head" lady was very stern looking and I am not sure she liked us at all! It is very hard to read the people here, they don't smile much (especially if they are an offical something). We we both so nervious and I am afraid our answers got lost in translation some times. She asked about our finances, our ability to provide for a child, or experiance with children, our home, our families.

Then she asked about discipline....we told her we did not believe in "hitting" a child but that if he were to stick his hand in a light socket...his hand would get a smack. Again, I think this was lost in translation....she looked confused and maybe not happy....maybe I am just thinking thats what she looked like? And last but not least we had to share out feelings about "that woman"...this was awkward.

I am still not sure what she thinks of us, she will speak at our court hearing when we get the ok to adopt Landen (next trip), so I hope we did OK. She gave us the paperwork to go and see him, so we didn't totally stink. She did say we were lucky they liked Americans after we talked about "that woman". She also told us many Russian families looked at him, but did not take him....I really have no idea why this is. I am glad because I believe he was ment to be our Son.

Glad that the meeting was over, I was nervious because we were told they would look to see that he liked us too...for some reason I was worried about this. No need though! He was cautious at first, he let me hold him but you could tell he wasn't sure about who I was. After about 10 min. of playing he leaned into me and snuggled right into my shoulder! I have to say that is a feeling like non I have ever had. When he hugged me.... my whole world fell into place. He took to Tim in the same fashion, the doctor told me she was suprised by this because he has not had much, if any contact with men (only women work at orphanage).

We were able to hold him and play alot. I was able to hold him and hug him while we talked to the head doctor of the orphanage (the head doctor in Tyumen too). She was very nice, talked to us like people and was very complete with all the medical info she had. There wasn't much more then the paperwork we recieved so we didn't have alot of questions. His iron is good now, that was really the only change. Learned a little more about how he came to the orphanage, he was left at the hopital by his birth mom. She gave no reason and they searched for her. She has 3 other children, it is assumed they are with her. He was in the baby hospital for 1 month, then he was moved to the orphanage. We got to see a video of him at 6 months, we are going to get a copy made :)

We then went outside to play in the little area they have. They bunndled the kid up like it was the middle of winter...yikes. He had me sweating! We were able to hold his hands and he walks with help. It was awsome, first steps with Mom and Dad. The rep. said he will be happy because she thinks he looks like me :) (some wives tale here). He has Brown hair, with maybe a hint of very dirty blond and very big, very brown eyes!

We get to go back tomorrow and spend alot of the day with him :) We will have people from the DEPARTMENT watching us to see how we interact with him and him with us. Even so, it will be a great day! We should even get to go for a walk to the big park in the middle of town.

So Thank you all once again for your love and prayers...we have felt them!

(sorry if anything is spelled very wrong...the spell check thinks it should all be in help!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

getting a move on....

Well just a quick update....

We are taking off from the GR airport around 11:40 AM Friday, we will land in Moscow around 11 AM (their time) Saturday. We are staying in Moscow for the night, then heading to Tyumen on Sunday.

Monday morning we have to meet with the DOE people to get permission to visit the orphanage. Then we get to travel to meet our Son! I have no idea how far the orphanage is from where we are staying. We will get to visit Tuesday and Wednesday too.

Wednesday night we hop back on a plane to go back to Moscow, where we will stay until our flight the AM of the 11th. We will be back in town very late on Friday night.

I think I will be more excited once we are on the plane. With so much to do and remember it all seems a little surreal right now. We are almost packed (hard to fit all the toys and such in with my clothes). Holly is awesome and is going to take care of the house and Dogs for the week. So I am hoping Friday gets here fast :)

Hopefully I can get some Internet while in Moscow and give updates!

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers!

Friday, May 21, 2010

so much to little time

Well, I figured we would travel in June, I was hoping any way. I got my wish, we are leaving June 4th. two weeks!
They originally wanted us to leave on May 31st, but we have finger printing for immigration on June 2nd and can't really afford to miss that. Besides I have no idea how I am going to get everything done in two week, I certainly wouldn't have in just over 1 week.

We are very excited and very busy...well, I am, Tim's just busy complaining about all the stuff to be done. He is dreading the plain ride so he has been a little pissy. He will get over it I am sure.

We sent in our Visa paperwork today, had to do the 3 day turn around service because of the short time frame (no big deal right, what's an extra $240)! I just hope I got the darn paperwork right, I must have been on the phone with them like 20 times yesterday.

Just to make things fun, Alla is out of the office today and Monday and the e-mail address to the Russian office (who I am supposed to be in contact with) won't go through our e-mail!

We have to pick flights but we do not have an itinerary yet....and they don't get any cheaper.

Enough complaining though. I got to print out pictures to put in two little photo albums for Landen. It was a little overwhelming because I put names on the photos (like Holly, Lieut, Holstein, etc.) When it came time to label photos of Tim and I.....I have to admit I was a little taken aback. For the first time I had to put down Mom and Dad! I know....Right!

Holly helped me pick out a couple more toys and I think we are all set there. It's just figuring out how to get it all packed in as few suitcases as possible!

Well time to get back to work..... I will keep everyone updated on any changes!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

now were talking

We got the medical info on Sergei today and we were told that at this time he is the only boy under 4 years old in good health available in the Tyumen region. So, we will come home with just one Son, but I am beginning to think that is a great thing. am going to have to get used to that!

The medical paperwork is very professional and complete. There are alot of big words but nothing that throws up any hugh red flags. We have decided that we will have a medical doctor look at the paperwork but because there are no guarantees in life we are taking a leap of faith and we are going to take the trip to Tyumen based on what we have. We want to make our decision based on our findings as well as what the doctors say, not just the paperwork.

Major highlights are :
He is able to crawl and can stand/walk with help. He baby talks and can use syllables. He is sociable and motivated with both adults and children.
He is stated as being capricious :) Which defined means-determined by chance or impulse or whim! Oh and he is what your saying is he is a 16 month old boy? :)

Anyway, we will find out soon about the who, what, when, where, and how of travel....I will keep everyone posted.

Monday, May 17, 2010

maybe...just maybe....

So...I have spent the last two days up to my elbows in dirt and landscaping blocks because Tim is "nesting". He hates it when I say that but it's true. Because as if I didn't have enough going right now, the other day he decides after living in this house for almost 7 years...we need to landscape the lawn! God bless him, it did need to be done, and he says that I wanted something to keep me busy...but man, that's hard work!

In his defense, it looks great and he put in more work than I did!

We got an e-mail from Alla today saying that the Russia DOE (Dept. of Education-they deal with the adoptions and orphanages in the country) has the letter with the medical info we have been waiting for and it is on the desk of the "head honcho" awaiting his signature so that it can be released to us.

I asked Alla if it was just the info for Sergei or if they had found another boy....she said she did not know the content of the letter. So we should be getting the info soon. What's soon?...I have no idea, but after a week with no news...this was nice to hear.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers....I will never be able to say THANK YOU enough.

:) Thanks Holly for dealing with my insane crabbiness with a lot of love and a great sense of humor!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

waiting on updates

Note: Just in case anyone wanted to know, I posted a little clock on the blog that tells you what time it is in Tyumen, Russia.
This is where we will be traveling and where Sergei is now.

We are almost through our supporting documents (for now) and are waiting to hear from Russia. Alla says that our paperwork is there and has been translated. We are waiting to hear about adopting a second child from this region, she says this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days....

If there is not another boy under the age of 4 in good health available, I am assuming they will just send the requested info on Sergei back to us so we can make our decision on him.

I am hoping to know what the heck is going on by the end of this week.

Alla told me to get a couple of small photo albums and some toys together, so she must think we are going to travel soon.
I got Sergei his first stuffed puppy today, seems silly but it made me smile!

Anyway, hope to have more info soon, as always THANK YOU!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Tim keeps telling me to slow down and relax....I keep telling him that he either needs to get on this train or get run over by it!

It has been a crazy, emotional, great week. I went to visit Alla on Thursday and drop off our letter of request for more information on Sergei. We had a great talk, she was assured that unless there was any major red flag on Sergei's medical info...we want him! She is great and the talk was very honest, but still helped calm some of my fears.

So now we have to wait to get the info we requested back, this may take up to two weeks, but we are hoping for that to go quick. We sent a request in at the end of our letter asking if this region has a boy under 4 years old also, to please consider sending that along with Sergei's info. as we had originally wanted two boys. This was Tim's idea. I am a little unsure of that route now, to be honest, but he wanted to ask. More than likely we will not get an additional boy because if they would have had another boy at the time of the referral for Sergei, they would have sent it then. Alla said it wasn't going to mess anything up, so it is best to ask.

So when we find anything out, we will let everyone know.

Just an additional note...The City of Wyoming's Public Safety millage vote startes in 48 hours.... please keep us all in your prayers!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Just read the title...that says it all, and really I have said that alot today.

I got a call about 11:30 today from Alla asking if both me and Tim could meet with her today, she had great news for us.

Tim was not home, so I preceded to attack poor Holly with my overly excited rambling and jumping up and down!

Tim finally got home (me and Holly washed all 3 dogs to keep me from blowing up!) and we took off to GR. Alla first told us that a region had accepted our paperwork. She then began to tell us about the area and we talked about getting a referral. At this point I was thinking we just met to share this news (which was good, but not what I had been hoping.) The town is named Tyumen if you want to google it! It is also where Alla grew up, so that was really cool.

She then said (after about 45min) lets take a break and talk about something else more exciting....She then showed us that we had indeed gotten a referral!

His name is Sergei, he is 15 months old and looks to be in very good health. His hair is dark blond (I know it doesn't look like it in the picture)

The only draw back was that we received only the one referral and we had been asking for 2 boys, but we are sending a letter to ask for more info on Sergei (medical and otherwise) and we have asked if there are any other boys under 4 years old available at this time.

We have decided that (unless something major comes up in the medical) that even if they can't find us another boy, we are going to take Sergei and go with just one for now :)

God has given us a great opportunity here, these events are unheard of...We got our paperwork done in 4 months and had a referral in less the 5 months after starting the process!

I really have no words for all the emotions I have gone through today, I will keep everyone up to date on any news and Thank you all so very much for your continued support and prayers!

Monday, April 12, 2010

just FYI

Not alot to write.
Just wanted everyone to know we got an e-mail from Alla today stating they are going to keep moving forward as usual with all the current Russian adoption hopefuls.
There is still some concern that there may be issues but as of now they are not changing anything.
I will let everyone know if any thing changes.
Please keep us and everyone else waiting in your prayers. Also keep the poor child who was sent back to Russia in your prayers as well.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

rainy days

So............ you think you've got it all done...right?
Well, You never really do I guess......

I had to spend most of my day today trying to get 2 (yes, just 2)apostilled marriage certificates from the state of Florida. You have to have them apostilled in the state in which they were applied for.

The web site(with phone #)....not too hard to find.

The person I talked to the first call....nice but talked way too fast concidering she was giving me all the info over the phone and I had to try to write it all down.

The second call..... just as nice and I found out that I was in need of ordering two new certificates and having the apostilled at the same time (because the 10 cert. I ordered a month ago are not good enough?).

The third and I am happy to point out, the final call... I found out I needed to send the Florida sec. of state $20 instead of $10. Plus the $39 for the apostilled cert. and that brings us to $59 for 2 pieces of paper folks!

Then I had to type a quick letter stating what I wanted done, who it was going to, where it was going and how many were needed....signed with name, address, and phone #'s. Plus a copy of my drivers licence (because someone else might want to pay the $59 to get this done for me???) and send it off.

Good news...... it's done, sent out this afternoon.
Better news.... it's not really needed until after our first trip to Russia, but you know me (done now is much better!)

We should be getting our immigration paperwork out next week, then we really have very little we can do until we get our greatest news yet!

Just an FYI, Alla e-mailed us and said our paperwork was sent out Friday of last week.....should be in Russia this week..... the count down begins!

Monday, March 29, 2010

new kind of waiting...

Short and sweet...
We got a call about 2:30pm today from AAI...our home study is done!

I picked it up around 3:30pm, talked to Alla for a bit. We are going to meet up with her in a few weeks for a little one on one time to ask questions and set up a game plan.

At about 4:15pm I headed out to the Sec. of State, which by the way is all the way on the other side of 28th St (at the Centerpoint Mall) that closed at 5pm.

I got there at 4:50pm and (get this!) they were very nice to me, considering I had 32 pages to be apostilled and I had to count them when I got there to make sure. So $32 later...I was good to go!

I am going to drop off all the paperwork to Alla on Wednesday........(big smile) :)

Now we wait some I have said before we do not have a time line for our referral, we are hoping for the Russian gov. to kick it in gear!

the trouble with patience is...

For those of you who know me well...for that matter know me at all...know I am not the most patient of people on this planet.

We are still waiting to hear from the agency about our home study being done and ready to be picked up. I did get an e-mail today (good thing too) saying that our consultant talked to our social worker and the home study is done on her end and being proof read and revised at this point, how long this is going to take I have no idea....

After we pick up or home study we have to take it and about 50 other sheets of paper (all notarized) to get the apostilled. For those who have no idea what apostilled means... think of it as the gold star of paperwork. Most international "official" paperwork has to be both notarized and apostilled.
(Thank you Robin from Twp. Hall...she has been a peach!)

After that is done we turn in our initial packet of paperwork (the meat and potatoes) back to the agency to be reviewed then sent to Russia. Once this is done we can send in our immigration paperwork (and a $1000 check!)in to the US government. After that it's sit and wait time again. The agency in Russia will get the paperwork, review it (again), translate it, and turn it in to the government. While we wait for government approval the agency looks for our kids. Once they have found two boys that match close enough to our wishes (we weren't too picky) they then send us a referral (info on the boys). If we accept the referral we then put in for visa's and start planing for our first trip.
I really don't have a timeline for this as it can take several months for the Russian Government to review the paperwork, we were told that they should not have too much trouble matching us with children as we were flexible and we wanted boys and not girls.

I will do my best to keep everyone posted, as always THANK YOU for your prayers and well wishes!

p.s. The vote for Wyoming Public Safety is May 4....please pray for us!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

good advice...

Not alot to report, hoping to hear from the agency this week about our home study being done.
I want to have our paperwork turned in and being sent to Russia by the 1st of April.

We attend a class called Attachment Disorder with Kurt Ellis last night. Kurt specializes in counseling adopted children and there parents and he is the one who did our psych eval.

Anyway, the class was very helpful. It gave us alot of good ideas as well as a different prospective. We have decided to have him look over our referral when we get it and have him do a home visit shortly after the boys arrive home (with in 2 months).

We were the only "parents" in the class without kids already and some of the other parents had been having trouble for some time now, so I am hopeful that being armed with this knowledge ahead of time will help us.

As always thanks for the prayers and support... I will let everyone know ASAP when we get our paperwork turned in!

Monday, March 1, 2010

another one bites the dust!

Home study is done! Yippie!

We had our last home study visit today...get home :)

It went well, our social worker talked to Holly and asked some general questions, then finished with asking us parenting, finance, and home questions. Then she took the nickel tour of the house and (drum roll) we were done.
She gave us some good pointers (things the Russian gov. likes) and I am sure it won't be the last time we see or talk to her, but I am glad to have that done.

When she got here at 10 am we offered her Cinnamon rolls and a drink. You know what she told us? That we are only the second family in 7 years of doing this, that have offered her food. Most people don't even offer her a water or anything else for that matter.... where are every one's manners!

Also we called AAI (adoption associates) and said we had some questions about our dossier but we had not been given a new consultant, I left a message for the woman we were hoping to get.
Who I am sure everyone wants because she is in Jenison and is the director of the Russian program. Her name is Alla. She called me back just a bit ago and...we got her! This is good because the other option was Farmington Hills and because she is the head honcho.
Anyway, got my questions answered and we should be able to get our initial packet (Dossier) completed and hopefully sent in, in 4-5 weeks.

Then it's just waiting for a referral from Russia, which can take some time but we have been told that our wait should not be too bad because we want two boys....fingers crossed!

As far as any new news from work....everything is up in the air. All that matters right this second is getting our Millage passed in May, then we can worry about what the city has planned for the FD. No job by July....plan and simple.

Thanks for the continued support and prayers!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Everything happens for a reason....right?
I know this is true but it doesn't make me any happier when I am faced with something I don't like.

We are at a stand still because our social worker called this morning and said the roads were too bad to come all the way to Muskegon. I am sure that she has a valid point and I don't want to see anyone get hurt...
But may I point out that we not only made it to both our appointments in Jenison but made our first one after wiping out the Jeep. So now after cramming all the paperwork and cleaning into last week we now have to sit on our hands till next Monday.

We are also in the process of waiting to find out who our new Russian consultant is because ours just up and quit last week. All my hard work is going to the crapper!

Just to top it off, I got an e-mail last week Thursday (from union prez) saying that if our millage fails I will be out of a job by July and even if it does pass it looks like PSO for us and that may not include FD people. Who must be hard to talk to the city when there heads are so far up there butts.

Well enough sharing of the good news .... hope everyone else is having a good week.

Monday, February 15, 2010

die dust bunnies die!

So my mother-in-law calls it nesting.... I call it getting-rid-of -the-crap-we-don't-need!

We are having our last homestudy meeting on Monday Febuary 22nd and I want to be ready with all the paperwork needed and the house atleast presentable. To most people there are varying degrees of presentable, mine just requires we get rid of all the extra stuff that we haven't used in years.

So now, I am off again to finish hanging pictures in the hallway and taking the required photos...


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In one piece even!

First off, we made it. Yes, Tim drove there.... quit your giggling! I drove home and we made it there fine too :)

Our meeting was good. Our social worker, Mary Beth is a very easy to talk to person, she is also going through the adoption process at the same time (just domestic). She asked general family dynamic questions and about your personality, ect. I think mine went so much longer because I eventually had to break out a flow chart to explain my family!

We then had a trans racial/trans culteral class in the evening. It was a good class, opened our eye's to some of the things we might be dealing with in the future. We also met two other couples who are adopting from Russia. They both stated they just finished there 2nd meeting with Mary Beth too, I then started asking if they had there psyco. eval., passports, and educational stuff done......... (deer in the headlights)...... I guess I am just a little more OCD about the whole thing. It seems we are a little ahead of schedule. I am sure that somewhere along the lines a goof up will make up for all our hard work...but for now we are doing good.

We are scheduled to get the medical evals done for all of us and are waiting for conformation of our next meeting. We will try to keep everyone posted.

A BIG Thank you to our Friends who got stuck with a reference letter, we know they are sometimes difficult and time consuming.... so thank you for your efforts.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


We are scheduled for our next meeting with the social worker. Next Monday (the 8th) we will each meet with her for an hour (separately). I guess we had better get our answers straight.

We then are taking one of the required classes for the home study. I am so proud of Tim, we have been busting out the on-line courses like nobodies business. We only have 1 more to go... that 12 hours of class requirement wasn't as bad as I thought.

Now we are just waiting on our passports and trying to get ahold of our doctors to get our "home study" medical eval done. Then I think we can get this part of the party started!
I am just hoping to make it back to Jenison with out incident this time!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Knew we had it in us

We got our psychological evaluation reviews in the mail today. Guess what???
We passed.... were recommended even!
I know, we really fooled that guy, ah?
So, another check mark on our ever growing list.

I also was able to seperate all the paperwork into it's own little folder (color coded, of course) and fill out what I could. Broke out the sticky notes and had a field day with the high lighter.
I got us signed up for all the on-line classes that we need to take, now it's just a matter of getting them done.

Got our marriage liscence and Holly's birth cert. in the mail, now just waiting on our passports.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Black Ice and Red Hearts

Today was a test....

It started off normal enough (early, but normal). We were on our way to our first meeting with our social worker in Jenison when we hit a patch if black ice on Wilson (ding about 45mph) and trying to avoid a head on, we ended up in a snow pile by a tree with both drivers side tires blown.

Then just as I was about to have a mental melt down.... a wonderful officer (yes-I said it!) came to take a report and wait for a tow truck. We then decided we both wouldn't be able to ride back to Muskegon with the jeep so we asked the officer to try to get us a cab so we could at least salvage some of our day and make it to our meeting. After loading up the Jeep, the officer came to us and said to get into the cop car and he would talk us to our meeting.... Awesome!

The meeting went very well, once they all got over us showing up in a cop car!
We have a great social worker and we got some info cleared up. We did get MORE paper work as well, but I felt better by the time we left.

Then after getting back, checking on my poor Jeep, and getting some folders for all the paperwork... we stopped by my grandmothers to help her with something and found my cousin on the bathroom floor suffering from really bad back pain. I had to get an ambulance to take her to the hospital. I then and only then, had to head to my in laws to get a car to go to work tomorrow....yippie.

I am so happy that our meeting went well, it's the only saving grace for the day.
We will be having our next meeting soon...I'll keep everyone posted.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cautious Optimism

We finally talked to our social worker and our first "home study" meeting is on Thursday...get this, not at our home!

Anyway, we both meet with her this time, then we each go by ourselves for a visit, then she comes to the house and meets the "other" kids and Holly.

We have to take some classes too, the first of those starting on Feb. 8th.

As far as work goes... here is the latest. The city council decided to go for a 1.25 (m) millage in May, if that passes, my job should be good for 5 years. If not....well that's still up in the air, but the new mayor stopped by the station and told us he would like to use some of the "rainy day fund" up before laying anyone off. What does that mean???? I have no idea. I don't care as long as I can keep my job until this process is over.

So if you know anyone who lives in Wyoming...put in a good word for us!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


We made it... Not sure if we passed or failed but we made it. Can you pass/fail a psych eval?

It was pretty plain and simple and like anything else I could have answered all the questions about 20 different ways. I the shrink was a nice guy, who mostly deals with post adoption issues and does these pre-evals when needed.

I told Tim not to send in any more money until we find out if were "good to go". :)
We are waiting to hear back from our social worker about our first visit with her (Start of the home study.)

I will try to keep everyone posted.

Lots of prayers please... the city council is supposed to be coming up with a plan for the City of Wyoming.... I hope it includes us Firefighters!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

paper cuts

Help me! I am drowning in a sea of paper work!
Just finished the paper work to get copies of Holly's birth cert. and of our marriage lisence. Tried it on-line first.... who would have thought it would be cheeper and easier to do it via snail mail.
And we aren't even into the meat and potatoes folks!

We got our first call from our social worker today and we are going to start our home study next week. I am just glad it "looks like" were getting some where.

Tomorrow we go for our psyco eval.... wish us luck.

Thank you for all the love and support!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Well everyone....lots of prayer!
We are going for our psychological evals Wednesday of next week. Also, does anyone know where we can find an extra $45,000... if you do let me know ASAP ! :)
We are currently looking into options for funds.
Other then that we should be starting our home study soon after this eval is completed.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Early on....

My step mom turned me onto a friend of hers that blog'd her adventure through adoption and I have decided this is the best way to keep everyone informed of our going's on.

For those who need to catch up, me and Tim have started the process of adopting two boys from Russia. We are asking for boys under the age of 40 months. We are very early on in the process and are all ready up to our eye balls in paper work and check writing.

Today was both good and bad for me. We went to the post office and the nice lady there (yes, she was very nice) helped us get our passport stuff sent out... so check that off my list. But then we printed out more paperwork (most of which I understand little of) and now I am just plain frustrated.

I know this isn't going to be easy (if it's worth it, it never is) but we would really appreciate any and all the spare prayers.

I will write if I feel the need or something new happens, so check in from time to time.