Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye...for now

Today was the hardest day of our lives. We are so grateful we got an extra visit with our son, but saying goodbye at the end of it was brutal. We talked to the kids at home on skype this morning & then headed to breakfast. At this point we were so thrilled about the surprise extra visit that we weren't focusing on saying goodbye at the end. We got to the orphanage at 10 Am & went through our normal routine. They brought him to us a few minutes later & he came right to me. No crying, no shaking....he just buried his head in my chest & wrapped his little hands around my shoulders :) Of course we had Mr. Bear ready for him, too. We took a few minutes to let him get adjusted & then sat down to play. He was definitely feeling better & was much more active today. There were no interruptions today with official people coming in & out...just the 3 of us & our facilitator Y. She sat at the table doing our paperwork for court & took pictures for us when we asked, but she left us alone & even left the room for awhile. We tried to get some more good pictures of him (we need 10-12 happy pictures for court paperwork) & he even warmed up to daddy a few times. Andrew was very happy about that :) Halfway through our visit we realized time was ticking. We put the camera away & just tried to hold him as much as possible. He wanted me for most of the time & I rocked him to sleep again. That's 3 out of 4 times :) After he had been asleep for about 10 minutes, Y said it was time to go. She left to go get the caregiver & we just held onto him as tight as we could. I couldn't control the tears & they were dropping on him. Andrew prayed over him for protection while we are away from him & for God to get us back quickly to bring him home. The caregiver came in to take him & we both kissed him goodbye. When she took him it felt like someone punched me in the stomach & ripped my heart out. I cried the entire way back to the hotel & we only had about 45 minutes to pull our emotions together before going to sign some papers at the notary office. Y hugged me & in her Russian accent said, "Charity, you are natural woman & mama for being so upset. It be okay." In a country where NOBODY shows emotions, I felt some comfort in her words. I want to bring my baby home tomorrow & it's fine that I'm upset about it. There would be something wrong if I wasn't. She & our driver S (her husband) went to get some lunch so we could have some time alone before going to the notary. We went up to our room & just held each other. There's nothing like being in a foreign country for adopting your child to bring your marriage closer & stronger. In spite of all of the stress & emotions, this has been so good for Andrew & I. We've had nobody but each other, the few people helping us, & God to depend on. We managed to pull ourselves together & went to the notary to sign some documents. He is now officially being taken off of the available children registry in Kras & Moscow & attached to us :) After that we got a late lunch & picked up some cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon for breakfast tomorrow. We are being picked up at 5 AM before the hotel breakfast opens. Andrew gave our driver a CHP patch as a small thank you & he was THRILLED. He has some souvenirs from Fresno State & Tennessee hanging in his van from other families, but Andrew told him he will be bringing him a USC souvenir to replace those next time. S thought that was funny. He, our facilitator Y, & translator have taken very good care of us. They are all very knowledgable in their jobs & have made those parts of the trip easy. We are emotionally & mentally exhausted!! We are ready to get to our 3 kids at home tomorrow, but wish we could bring our new baby home with us. It's bittersweet...soon all 6 of us will be home together, but not soon enough! Trusting God in His perfect timing is not as easy as it sounds sometimes, but we know He will get us back here right when we are supposed to. Thank you again for all of the support & prayers!! It's been a huge blessing to see your encouraging comments while we are here! One trip almost down, one to go....Please pray our luggage makes it home with us! Andrew & Charity

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Visit #3

Today was visit #3 with our little boy & supposed to be our last for this trip. Our visitation time wasn't until 2:00, so we had all day to think about it. We killed time this morning by taking a walk to the "mall" which is basically a big building with a bunch of shoe stores & a few other stores. I found a necklace & earrings as a souvenir & got some cute hair stuff for the girls. The lady selling it was very nice & didn't seem annoyed with our lack of speaking Russian :) We paid a whole $40 for all of it. There's a grocery store on the bottom floor & we strolled through there. Interesting...that's all I can say! Fresh fruit & vegetables are pretty scarce. There were whole fish vacuum sealed with their tails sticking out of the deep refrigerators. We bought some drinks & Russian chocolate then went on our way. have to pay for the plastic grocery bags here. Seriously! We got to the orphanage right on time & went through the routine we have come to know well. Hang up coats in coat room, put on blue plastic booties over our shoes, & walk up the dimly lit staircase to the "music room." We waited about 20 minutes for them to bring our baby to us. For the first time, Andrew took him from the caregiver instead of me. He was okay for a minute & we gave him his teddy bear of course, but then he reached out for me. I took him & he snuggled up to me with his bear. He sounded congested again & I could tell he didn't feel well. I let him take some time to get used to us & then we tried sitting on the floor to play. He really wasn't interested in toys or daddy. He just wanted to cuddle with his mama & that was TOTALLY fine with me :) We tried playing a few more times, but after a few minutes he would just crawl back into my lap & cling onto me. He let daddy hold him a couple of times, but only for a minute. Knowing this was our last visit with him & the fact that he needed me more today than the last 2 days just killed me. He was clinging on as if he knew we had to leave. An observer from the MOE came in for awhile to watch how things were going & take notes. We are really under a microscope during these visits, but we just go on like we're at home playing in our living room. Our facililitator introduced us to her & told us she would be in court to support us & give a favorable report of our visits with him. This is a GOOD thing :) During some alone time with him, we traced one of his feet on a piece of paper so we can figure out his shoe size. That ticked him off & we settled for one foot print instead of two. We also took off his socks, pants, & diaper to get a good look at him all over. Towards the end of our time, I got him to sleep again in my arms :) Then our facilitator told us we get to go back tomorrow morning for an extra visit before we go get some papers notarized!!!! YAY!!!! That's 2 more hours with him before we leave & that made us soooooo happy!! I prayed for that yesterday. We had been told it's a good idea to give yourself an extra day just in case of delays or issues, & I am so glad we did. When we got back to the hotel our facilitator Y asked if the hotel had given us our registration cards & we said no. When you come to Russia you must have passport, visa, & register when you get to your destination. The hotel had given us our passports back a few hours after we checked in, but never gave us the registration cards. If you don't have this when you leave the country you have to pay a fine. Y was not happy & she told off the 2 women at the front desk in Russian, of course. It was actually quite entertaining & we were grateful to have her looking out for us. She has been working with Russian adoptions for about 15 years & knows her stuff. We headed out for dinner after all of this & are now back in our room ready to crash...and it's only 8:15 PM. The emotional rollercoaster here is exhausting, but we are happy to be here. I still can't believe God trusts us with this & has given us the priviledge of being this little boy's parents. I'm still in awe that we are here experiencing this. I have to give a lot of credit to my AMAZING husband for teaching me that there are no limits to life & adventure should be a part of it. I couldn't imagine being here with anyone else & he is the MOST INCREDIBLE dad ever! One more day to go & then we'll be home....until we return to bring this baby home. Goodnight from Russia!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Second visit & other stuff

Today we had our second visit with our son at the orphanage. It went really well & there was definitely some bonding with Andrew!! This is huge!! We had 2 hours with him & it was more casual than yesterday. We were left alone with only our facilitator in the room, but she left us alone with him for about 45 minutes. It was so wonderful to be just the 3 of us!! All of the formal commotion really distracted him yesterday & we were happy to be in our own little world with him. He came right to me again & I had the teddy bear ready. He snuggled up against it & just let me hold him for awhile. He wrapped his little hands around my shoulders & grabbed on to me as if he didn't want me to let go. He had just had lunch & was a little sleepy at first. We gave him some time to get used to us again & then he started coming to life & playing with us. He LOVES music & really likes a musical book we brought. We would push the music button & move it away from him, then he would crawl right to it & grab it. He is very aware of what's going on around him & his motor skills seem to be age appropriate. He finally let daddy hold him for awhile & later on he even reached for him :) He has to have me in view when daddy has him, but there was definitely bonding between the two of them today! We played, & played, & played.....for 2 hours straight. It went so fast. He started getting sleepy about 15 minutes before our time was up & he was fighting sleep. I rocked him again, but he wanted to continue interacting with us. Then the caregiver came in to take him. I cried....I didn't want to let him go. Tomorrow is our last visit before we come home & it's going to be very emotional. On the positive side, we got a ton of good pictures with him today & some video of him playing. We woke up to snow this morning!! We were very excited to experience real Siberia weather (but not too much). The temps were in the 20's today & we went out exploring in a light snow shower this morning before our visit. We found the new train station which Andrew has been fascinated with in his research of Kras. The Trans-Siberian Railroad runs through there. On our way back we ate lunch at Subway....interesting. Meat here is very processed & let's just say I removed it from my sandwich & had cheese & bread :) Food has been an with diced hot dog on it is considered "sausage pizza." I ate some weird fish last night that I thought was chicken. They do make really good mashed potatoes in Russia :) Our hotel has a breakfast buffet included & they have good coffee, crepes, eggs, & pastries. They do eat some strange things for breakfast though....salad, pot roast, & mixed vegetables to name a few. There is a Cinnabon here (YAY!!) & we treated ourselves there last night. There are a lot of restaurants & stores that only accept cash if you don't spend a minimum amount, & we ran into that problem last night. Andrew just stared at Cinnabon girl & kept handing the credit card to her because we didn't have enough rubles. She was annoyed, but finally took it. we have learned 3 very important words: "Da" (yes), "Niete" (no), & "Spaceba" (thank you). We do a lot of pointing at stuff, too. Traffic here is INSANE!!!! It's driving Andrew crazy. If there are traffic laws, they're not enforced. People pretty much drive how they want. There are no crosswalks, so you just stand on the corner & get across the street as fast as you can when there's a break in traffic. Five lanes of cars trying to do u-turns around the bridge...YIKES! I close my eyes a lot when we're in the car. We talked to the kids on skype this morning & they were too busy having fun to say more than a few words. Thank you does not even express how grateful we are for our support system at home. Well, we are going to head out for the adventure of dinner & we'll get today's sightseeing pictures posted tonight. Thank you all for praying us through this! The next few days are going to be bittersweet...we don't want to say goodbye to him. Knowing that we will be back soon to bring him home gives us peace & comfort, but it's still going to be tough. Two days & a wake up to go....then we'll be home. Goodnight!

Monday, March 28, 2011

First Visit!

Today was an AMAZING day!!! We finally met our son & holding him for the first time was just like holding our 3 biological kids for the first time. He is definitely ours & we are in LOVE:) When we first got to the orphanage, we met with the director. She asked us some questions about why we wanted another child when we all ready have 3 & don't have involuntary infertility problems. We weren't expecting that & were a little nervous, but we answered everything honestly & that seemed to be fine. Our facilitator & translator were there pulling for us & got our answers across very well. The language barrier is so frustrating, but we're getting used to it! We brought a HUGE suitcase full of donations for the orphanage which she seemed to be pleased with. It was totally voluntary on our part & were able to do this thanks to some friends who donated all of it to us. After that, we went upstairs & met with the orphanage doctor. She went over his medical file & was VERY thorough. That was so great & we only had a few questions for her. Right after she left another caregiver brought our son into the room. She brought him straight to us & he came right to me. The poor guy was shaking & I was in tears. Andrew got the whole thing on video & we got some great pictures which we cannot post at this point. We are strangers to him & were in an unfamiliar room to him. Adoptive families get to have visitation in the music room for the older children. He was very clean & had just had lunch. Anyway, he was okay with me for a few minutes & then I handed him to daddy. He was okay for a minute & then the crying started. We COMPLETELY expected that. They are not used to men around there, he is teething, & getting over a cold. So, I took him back & got him to calm down. We had brought some toys & a teddy bear for him to play with on our visits. He LOVED the bear, but unfortunately we can't leave it there with him because they don't allow stuffed animals (germs). He cried on & off for the first half hour we were with him, & then we figured out he likes to have his feet tickled :) That got him laughing & he let daddy hold him again. We played for awhile longer & then we could tell he was getting sleepy. I rocked him to sleep in my arms & then about 10 minutes later they came in & took him from me for naptime. That KILLED me. We had bonded a little bit in that short time. I am his mom & I wanted to hold him longer while he slept...but they are still in charge & our time was up for today. We get to go back tomorrow afternoon & Wednesday for 2 hour visits. We are hoping he is a little more comfortable with us tomorrow. After we left the orphanage we went to the Ministry of Education office for our appointment. We were supposed to go there first to sign papers & get permission to go to the orphange, but the director had an unexpected meeting that afternoon with an important person & let us go the orphanage first :) She was really nice & friendly. She really seemed to like us & thanked us several times for adopting from there. We could tell she really wants to help these children find families. This meeting was much more casual than our meeting at the orphanage & we were more comfortable at this point with the questions we have to answer. So, that was what happened today & we are happy to be moving forward :) Thank you all for praying & for your support!! We would not be at this point without you!! We've been able to talk to the kids on skype two times since we've been here & are sooooo grateful they are in good hands. The MOE lady was VERY impressed that we have such a great support system & that you all are willing to take care of our three kids. Thank you all again for taking care of our kids while we are in Russia trying to get our other kid home!! We'll give an update tomorrow on how our 2nd visit goes. Keep praying us through this....we come home on Friday & then have SO much to do when we get home to prepare for trip #2. Love from Russia, Andrew & Charity

Sunday, March 27, 2011

We made it!!

Well, we made it to Krasnoyarsk yesterday (Saturday) around 10 AM....but our luggage didn't! When we landed in Moscow on Friday afternoon we were supposed to claim our bags & go through customs before checking them on our flight to Kras that night. It turns out JFK in New York didn't load the luggage for about a third of our flight to Moscow. We spent 5 hours between lost luggage counter & customs trying to get correct paperwork filled out & stamped. As you can imagine, the language barrier made things VERY difficult for us. We learned 2 very important lessons: 1) There is no such thing as a single file, orderly line in Russia. 2) People do not wait their turn, but instead they push past everyone else to get to the front. Andrew had to fight his way up to the front & we finally got some help from a very nice airline lady. She let us use her phone to call P, our Moscow facilitator who had been waiting outside for us for about 2 hours at that point to take us on a tour. He said to do what they told us & he would be waiting for us with his driver. Three hours later.....we were finally finished with this disaster after dealing with a customs officer who spoke a little English. At first he seemed annoyed with us for being American & we weren't sure if he was helping or not. In the end, he signed & stamped all 6 forms we had to fill out & told us we could go. At this point is was about 6 PM. We were exhausted & starving. We just wanted to meet up with P even though we knew we wouldn't be able to do the tour. When we got outside of P & no driver! AHHHH!!!! We had no phone to use & we walked up & down the corridor a few times to check all of the signs the drivers were holding. NOPE. So, we decided to just go upstairs & get checked in for our flight to Kras & get some dinner. After checking in, we sat down for a few minutes as the frustration & feeling of being helpless really hit both of us. Andrew took a chance with the laptop & got a Wi-Fi signal for a few minutes to send P an email. It was out last attempt at trying to get communication with him & we both prayed. About 20 minutes later, a little Russian man holding a sign with our name on it started walking toward us!!!! It was the driver & we had somehow missed each other downstairs. He called P to let him know he found us & took us to get some dinner at a cafe in the airport. P had left airport around 6 we talked to him on driver's phone. We gave driver official stuff for P, ate dinner, & said goodbye to driver feeling some relief. We boarded our flight for Kras at about 1 AM & arrived at about 10 AM Saturday. It's cold, but nice & sunny here. It's in the high 30's/low 40's during the day. Our facilitaor Y & driver picked us up, but still no bags. We had hoped that by some miracle they had made it onto that flight. We spent all day Saturday & this morning stressing about no luggage. Not only did it have all of our stuff, but also our nice clothes for MOE appt. on Monday, 2 bags were orphange donations for the children, & gifts for officials. Y called Moscow & we learned this morning that our bags made it to Kras airport & we just picked them up!!!! We had one change of clothes & toothbrushes in the carry-ons & that was pretty much it. Thank you, God for getting our bags to us!!! In the middle of all of this, we realized the enemy does not want us here. He does not want this baby to have a family & has been working hard to discourage us & cause problems since the issue with our visas last week. Well, he's not going to win!!! After some much needed sleep, we both realized we didn't need our luggage to accomplish our purpose here. We are here for that baby & we will be his parents no matter what! We both came to the point of total brokenness & realization that God is bigger than anything that gets thrown at us in this process. We are almost to the end & He will see us through it. It's now Sunday evening here & we are sooooo happy to have our stuff, but even happier that we get to hold our son tomorrow for the first time!!!!!! Through all of this stress I have gotten some perspective & comfort by looking through his pictures when I need to. He is why we are here. Our appt. at the MOE is at noon tomorrow & we sign the referral acceptance. Then we get to go to the orphanage for the first time. Please pray for tomorrow-it's a BIG day! Well, we are starving & going to check out an Italian restaurant ddown by the river for dinner. Andrew took some great pictures, but was having a hard time getting them loaded on the blog. They'll be up soon. We'll post an update tomorrow after our big day. Goodbye from Russia! Andrew & Charity

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Almost there...Part 1

So, we are leaving for the first trip to Russia in a day and a half! I can't believe it.....after 2 years of waiting this has happened so fast. I feel so completely unprepared & a HUGE mix of emotions right now. I know a lot of this emotional roller coaster comes from not getting enough sleep in the last 2 weeks, the stress of planning a trip to the other side of the world with just 10 days notice, & getting 3 kids & 2 dogs taken care of here at home. Our biggest catastrophe has been getting our Russian travel visas in time. After a big mistake by UPS & then having to pay a lot of extra money for 2 day processing service, they will be here with our passports tomorrow. Nothing like the last minute!

The kids are excited things are finally happening to get their new brother, but a little disappointed & sad it didn't work out for them to go with us. They will be well taken care of & have a great time with family & friends while we are gone. The girls have been showing some anxiety in their behavior, but I know they'll be okay. We're trying to take some moments in the busyness to give them extra attention. Yesterday, the girls & I had a hot chocolate tea party in our pj's. It was much needed for all 3 of us! Ben is a very mature 9 year old (almost 10 year old)& he amazes me at how well he understands what's going on right now. He is such a blessing & is looking forward to making the numbers even in the house with another boy! He is going to be a FANTASTIC big brother & all ready has plans to get his new brother on a baseball feild as soon as possible :)

We are mostly's in the 20's & 30's in Russia which is going to be quite cold for us southern Californians. I was at least able to pack all of the warm clothes in advance :) Thanks to some friends we have almost 2 suitcases full of donations for the orphange! Crib sheets, blankets, new shoes, clothes, hats....and Andrew's mom knitted some sweaters & hats as well. We are so grateful we get to bless all of the children in the orphanage in a small way.

We are ready to meet our little guy, but it's really hitting us how hard it will be next Friday when we leave Russia without him. I keep telling my self to focus on the time we get to spend with him, but as a mom I have no idea how I am going to get through 2 months of being separated from him. I'm having a really hard time with that, but I am armed with waterproof mascara & lots of kleenex :)

Thank you to everyone who has supported us & prayed for us! Please keep it coming! Here are specific ways to pray as of now....

1. Protection & safety on our trip.
2. Bonding with our son. Our emotions as we have to leave him there at the end of this trip.
3. For the kids & their babysitters.
4. USCIS to process & send our renewal. We NEED this when we get home so we can ship our court documents & get our court date for trip #2.
5. FBI fingerprint clearance letters to get here ASAP, too. We need these for trip #2 as well.
6. Finances-we know this is a continuous prayer request for our adoption. We have gone through trip #2 expenses & what we still have as resources. We are short several thousand dollars to be blunt. It's hard to see past this huge obstacle, but know we have to trust that God all ready knows how he's going to provide. God is bigger than money-PERIOD! If you feel led to help us out, you can send your tax-deductable donation to our fundraising account with Lifesong for Orphans. We are so grateful for the people who have all ready given & for those of you who are led to give now.
7. For us to get the rest of our court docs together quickly when we get home. The sooner they get to Russia, the sooner we get our court date, the sooner we go back to get our son!
8. For all of the details for trip #2 to come together just like they have for trip #1.

Thank you again to everyone who is following our journey! We are so incredibly grateful for the prayers & support. We still can't believe God called our family to do this....that he made this special little boy to be a part of us. I have had so many moments where I have felt so unworthy of this gift & that God is using us to change a small part of the world. It's very humbling. We will post updates about our trip & pictures of the sights & snow. Sorry, but no posting pictures of baby on this trip :( You'll all have to wait to see his sweet little face when we are officially his parents. Thanks again.....we are almost there!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The last 5 days have been INSANE! Andrew & I have not slept much since Thursday. On Friday afternoon we were given tentative travel dates of being in Kras on March 26 with our MOE appointment & first visit with baby on the 28th!! PANIC & EXCITEMENT set in at the same time. And then every plan for travel we had made for first trip changed.....

The kids are NOT going with us...we were told there is an outbreak of some illnesses & no gurantee our kids would be allowed in the orphange to meet their brother. Flying 5 of us to the other side of the world with 10 days notice was going to cost WAY more than we had planned.....on top of it fitting the 5 of us in a European car with luggage, driver, & adoption facilitator was proving difficult. If you've been to another country you understand we have unusually large vehicles here in America.

We are also not going to go through London to spend the night with family. It was more expensive to use our air miles & go that way. Plus, the flight from London went to the wrong airport in we are going to fly STRAIGHT from LAX to Krasnoyarsk with layovers in New York & Moscow. We leave next Thursday the 24th & have about 20 hours of flying & 15 hours of layovers. Brutal, but cheaper :) We arrive in Kras on the morning of the 26th & we have that day & the 27th to get adjusted before all the official stuff starts.

We will have our first visitation at the orphanage on Monday the 28th & also have our appointment at the MOE to sign the referral acceptance. This reserves him for us & takes him off the available children list. We get visits with our son on the 29th & 3oth as well. We have the 31st as a day to do some sightseeing & get ready to come home on April 1st. We fly Kras to Moscow, then straight home to LAX. We fly for about 18 hours & only have a 5 hour layover in Moscow. We are very excited & have gotten all of the big stuff like plane tickets, visa applications, & hotels taken care of.

Our family & friends are the BEST! Andrew's brother & his wife as well as a few good friends are taking care of the kids & dogs. It has worked out that most of our trip is during the kids' spring break. Thank you God for the little details that have made things a little more convenient for everyone :)

Here is how you can pray over the next two weeks:

1. Our visas will get here in the next few days like they are supposed to. We paid rush fees of course, but won't breathe until they are here!!
2. Protection over us as we travel to the other side of the world & are in a foreign country.
3. For our son to bond with us during our visits!! Prayer for us to focus on enjoying him & help our emotions when we have to leave him after the thrid visit & come home.
4. For our finaces to STRETCH as far as possible. God has provided so far & we know He will provide the rest.
5. For the kids as we are gone for 9 days. Pray for the people taking care of them & for their sanity :)
6. We will not be able to file our court documents in person on this trip as we had planned because of such short notice. USCIS hasn't even processed our renewal yet (I checked this morning), our FBI fingerprints are still being processed, & we still have a few other things that need to get taken care of. So, we will have to ship our court docs after we get home & get everything together, signed & stamped by the right people. This should only delay getting a court date by a few weeks, but it's so important that we get to meet him so fast & sign the papers to officially reserve him as ours.

So that's what is going on around here!! We'll blog as much as we can while we're there. We still won't be allowed to post pictures of the baby on this trip, but we will post pictures of the sights in Kras.

Thank you all for praying & following our adventure! We're almost there :)


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Travel plans...

So today we got a phonecall with some unexpected news....we could be travelling in about 16 days! It's tentative, but possible. We can't confirm & start getting ready until our doctor meets with us to go over baby's medical report on Monday. We know we are 100% moving forward, but they want us to get a medical professional to explain what everything means before we commit to him. It's totally understandable, but he is OURS no matter what and we are 100% committed to being his family:)

I'm sure I sounded like an idiot on the phone with our social worker (I was VERY surprised at this news) & couldn't believe we could be there so fast! We could be holding him for the first time on the 28th of this month. There's so much to do & plan....Andrew all ready started looking at flights & we've started preparing the kids for the LONG travel to Russia. It will take us 3 flights & 22 hours of flying to get there. We are planning to spend the night in London with family both ways, but will take the cheapest way that stretches our air miles :) After I calmed down a little from the news, I sat down to read my daily devotion book. I was several days behind, but the Bible verse it referenced was perfect for today.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5

This verse is on our refrigerator right next to his picture. I started thinking about how God planned this baby to be a part of our family....before he was conceived in his birthmother's womb, before he was conceived in my heart, before the world even existed. He was made to be ours & we were made to be his. Being half a world away from him is killing me, but I am sooooo looking forward to holding him for the first time. Now that reality is setting in that this is happening NOW, I've realized I can't let my anxiety take hold of me. When I stop & think about taking 3 kids to the other side of the world, "Are you crazy???" crosses my mind. What an adventure this is going to be :)

Here is how you can pray:

1. Monday's appointment with our doctor will clarify some things on baby's medical report. (Nothing major, just a few questions).
2. Confirmed travel plans next week & ALL of the crazy details that go with it, especially our visas!
3. FINANCES...that God would stretch our air miles & airfare will be less expensive than we think. 5 people taking 3 flights to the other side of the world...we need a miracle! We know that God will provide for trip #2, we just don't know how. Keep praying.
4. Our emotions as we have to leave baby at the end of trip #1. We will have 3 visits with him & then that's it until Andrew & I go back for court & finalizing everything to bring him home.
5. Details, details, details...I know I'm forgetting something important, but God knows :)

So, we are almost there! Thank you to everyone who has walked through this with us. Keep praying!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Today marks exactly one year since our paperwork was registered in Russia...and God surprised us with our son's referral!!! We knew it would be here this week and he is GORGEOUS!!!! We aren't allowed to post pictures until he is legally ours, but you better believe we will have a ton to show when we can! He is an infant....the youngest age that can be referred for adoption in Russia. We are so excited & the next step is to apply for our Russia travel visas & make travel plans for trip #1!!! We are hoping to be on our way by mid-April or sooner if possible.

The kids are very excited & he looks SO MUCH like Tara when she was a baby it's crazy!! They look like they are biological brother & sister. God is so good & we are so thankful for this gift. To think that if we weren't adopting him he would be on his own at age family, no future, nothing. What a blessing to be chosen as his mom & dad!! The kids are going with us on trip #1 & we know this experience will be life-changing for our whole family. God has been preparing us & nudging us to get things accomplished in the last few months so we would be it's time to collect court documents so we can hand-deliver them on trip #1. WOW....we are almost there! I am DYING to squeeze him!

Please continue to pray for us!

1. We sent off our fingerprints to FBI for state police clearnace yesterday...pray the letter from FBI gets here soon! It's taking 10-12 weeks.
2. FINANCES!! God has been SO GOOD to provide the funds to get us through trip #1, but trip #2 is yet to be covered. Our fundraising account with Lifesong for Orphans is still open for donations which are tax deductable. Please pray God will lead people to give or provide in another way. Andrew & I will be in Russia for about 25 days to finalize the adoption in court & take care of all the paperwork needed for both countries. When we land in the U.S. he will be a citizen!
3. USCIS renewal was sent on Saturday. This allows us to get him a U.S. visa at embassy in Moscow & bring him home! Pray that gets processed quickly & we get updated approval soon!
4. Preparation for all 5 of us to travel for trip #1....we are going to Russia for a week with 3 kids. Enough said. All of the details of trip #2...leaving kids here, babysitters, being apart for so long, court, FINALLY bringing our son home!!!! It's overwhelming!
5. Collection of documents required for court....we will be running all over So Cal for this. Everything is time sensitive & must be stamped & sealed by the right people.
6. God will prepare our baby for us & that he will accept us & bond! Remember, we are strangers to him & babies are aware of what's going on.
7. Leaving him at the end of trip #1 will be devastating for us. We come home & wait to go back a few days before our court date. The average time between trips is about 6 weeks. That will be the longest, hardest wait ever!!!

PRAISE-the weather is warming up! It's been about 20 degrees this week...that's fabulous compared to the negative temps of the last 3 months.

That's it for now! THANK YOU to everyone who has been a support to us through this process!!!! We are so grateful to you & can't wait for you to meet him! I will update when we have travel plans :)