Sunday, July 31, 2011

Out & About in Moscow

It's Sunday evening & we've spent the last two days trying to find things to do to keep us busy. We found a really good tourist map at the hotel & have tried to find things to do within walking distance. We haven't been brave enough to try & figure out the metro system since we can't read the signs & carrying around a one year old is a challenge. Yesterday we walked the 1.5 miles to the Moscow Zoo & spent a few hours there. It was only about $8 each to get in & Jonathan was a real trooper. Andrew had him strapped onto his chest in the baby carrier & the looks we got from people were so carrying the baby & mom carrying the backpack :) He is almost too big for the carrier & my lower back can't take the weight. He has really done well in public & we keep reminding ourselves that up until last week his world consisted of the orphanage. The zoo was okay...not quite San Diego Zoo standards, but it was something cheap to do! We found a good & reasonable Italian restaurant & an authentic Russian restaurant just a few blocks from the hotel. The food here is DEFINITELY a few steps up from Krasnoyarsk, but it is a little more expensive than home. Jonathan is SO FLIRTY with all of our waitresses!! He has had all of them just gushing all over him which I have to say has gotten us good service :)
Today was not too eventful....we had breakfast at a really good cafe just a few blocks away & then found a decent park after Jonathan's nap. It started raining while we were there, so we headed for the TGIFriday's just a few blocks away for lunch. This kid can eat!!! We had all ready fed him lunch at the hotel before we headed to the park, but he ate a whole cup of soup at the restaurant, too. The only food issues we're having are that he won't eat anything with chunks even though he has 8 teeth...they pureed & mashed everything at the orphanage to make feeding go faster. We're trying to teach him to eat little pieces & not spit food out! We're holding off on giving him milk until we get home since the milk here does not seem to settle well with him & they boiled it at the orphanage...gross! He has made huge progress in so many ways over the last 9 days we've had him!! He looks healthier & has more color in his face, he is sleeping really well, he is all ready saying "mama", "dada", & "yum." He says "yum" when he sees food. He is even eating a little slower which we knew we would have to teach him. Last night was HUGE progress with his bath!! He did not scream at all & had a great time playing with his bath toys! He is waving hello & goodbye to people & Andrew taught him "give me 5." His sisters have even taught him how to blow kisses thanks to Skype :) His temper tantrums have decreased a little (for now), but I'm sure we'll go through some issues with adjustment when we get home. We really can't believe what a different little boy he is after just 9 days!
It's Sunday morning at home & we are going to talk with our small group at church on Skype in a few hours! We are really looking forward to introducing Jonathan to our biggest support system through this adoption process (by internet, anyway). They'll get to meet him in person next week :) We will go pick up his registration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russian Consulate) late tomorrow afternoon & then all official paperwork is DONE!!! We'll spend Tuesday packing & are going to try to make it down to Red Square again. We'll be headed to the airport after breakfast on Wednesday morning & our flight takes off at 1 PM!! We can't wait to get home!!! Here are a few pictures from the last few days. Thank you to everyone for praying & keeping up with our adventure. Thank you to our amazing babysitters for taking great care of our kids!! Love you kids!! We'll be home in 3 days :)
Pushkin Literary Statue
Sliding at the park

Friday, July 29, 2011

Moscow Update

We have been busy the last few days, so here's the update on how things are going in Moscow. This city is much nicer & more modern than Krasnoyarsk!!!!
Yesterday was Thursday & we all had to get up early because the doctor was supposed to be here between 7:30-8:00 AM to do Jonathan's medical exam for the U.S. Embassy. While we were getting ready we were able to watch the live webcast of Flood (our church's Wednesday night service). Thank you Pastor Brian for the shout out & for showing Jonathan's pictures up on the big screen!! That made our day! The doctor was running late due to traffic, so he didn't make it until about 8:30. He was very nice & had a great sense of humor. He does these exams on adopted children all the time & was very knowledgable about common issues. Jonathan threw one of his temper tantrums for the doctor during the exam & was not very cooperative...screaming with no tears & flopping his body all over. The doctor handled it well & had us laughing. He pointed out that Jonathan must have been a favorite at the orphanage because it's not common for these children to be so strong-willed & manipulative unless they received extra attention from the caregivers. We had all ready figured that out & told him how we were dealing with his tantrums which is exactly how he suggested to deal with it. I could totally get used to doctors making housecalls! Then P came & picked up the medical paperwork so he could immediately go file everything at the embassy.
We had the rest of the day to ourselves, so we made the 2 mile walk to Red Square in the 90 degree heat while carrying a one year old. It was a pretty amazing sight to see & the architecture is just beautiful!! We saw the Kremlin, Lenin's tomb, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier/War Memorial, & the Bolshoi Theatre. The Bolshoi is off season right now & they are doing some maintenance to the front, so the picture isn't perfect. We took the tour of St. Basil's which was kind of disappointing. It's 9 small churches all connected together & was like a maze to go through. The claustrophobic hallways of the 15th century didn't help with the heat. Jonathan threw a fit towards the end because he didn't want to hold Andrew's hand while walking. A Russian lady started yelling at Andrew which we think was about not letting him cry in the church...Andrew had a few words for her as well :) At this point we were hot & tired so we started to head back towards the hotel. We made a stop for an early dinner at TGIFriday's which is about 2/3 of way to the hotel. They are very popular here in Moscow! We crashed EARLY last night & I think Jonathan slept for 12 hours.
Jonathan & I woke up today feeling much better, but Andrew wasn't feeling well again. We went to Starbuck's across the street for breakfast & then found a pharmacy to get some meds for his stomach. Everything is locked behind the counter & we can't read labels in Russian....fortunately there was a girl there who spoke some English & she helped us explain what we needed. In the end, we got the right stomach meds for about $8. P picked us up at 11:00 for our embassy appointment & let me tell you- the U.S. Embassy & our American flag were a welcome sight!!! There were 3 other adoptive families there & we talked with a couple from New Jersey. Their little boy is the same age as ours & came from an orphanage here in Moscow. We were out of there with all of his paperwork within about 30 minutes & it was a very easy process!! The embassy officer walked us through everything concerning immigration when we get home & how the dual citizenship works. We got finished earlier than expected, so we were able to go to the Russian Consulate to file his registration paperwork instead of waiting until Monday :) This means it will be ready for pick up late Monday afternoon & then we are good to go! Tuesday was planned as an extra day just in case of delays, but it's not needed. We talked with P about possibly changing our flight to Tuesday afternoon, but decided it wasn't worth the extra fees just for one day. So, we will be home Wednesday as planned. Andrew is doing a little better & Jonathan is out for a good nap :) We put some pictures from Red Square on Facebook, but here are a few more. Home in 5 days....we can't wait!!!! Love you kids!!
View of Historical Museum from Red Square
St. Basil's Cathedral
The Bolshoi Theatre

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


We made it...Jonathan's first plane ride was ROUGH, but we are here. We were up by 3 AM this morning & out the door at 4:30 AM to head for the airport. Jonathan was quite cheerful for that early in the morning & slept the whole way there. I have to admit I got a little emotional in the car. It hit me that we were leaving his birth place, his heritage, his language...everything he has ever known. I felt a little sad for him, even though he is going to have a great life in California. Krasnoyarsk, Russia will always be a part of him & us. I hope his birthmom knows she made the right choice to give him life even though she couldn't keep him. I hope & pray she knows that he is with a family who loves him so much we came came all the way to the other side of the world to get him. There were a lot of emotions going on.
We fed him while we were waiting to board & thought that he would be okay since he had over an hour for his breakfast to settle. Well.....about 45 minutes after take off he threw up all over me...again!!! That makes 8 times I think since he was sick on Sunday. Andrew wasn't feeling well either, so I got both of us cleaned up & changed. Thank goodness I had planned ahead & packed extra clothes for all of us in the carry on bag :) The rest of the almost 5 hour flight was pretty miserable! Jonathan threw a big temper tantrum, flopped all over his seat trying to sleep, Andrew didn't feel well, the man behind us kept hacking up a lung, & we were right by the bathroom so we had the constant line of people (some with major B.O.) standing right next to me. AHHHH, the joys of international travel :) We were very happy when we landed & got off the plane!! All 3 of our bags were first on the baggage claim belt which kind of made up for the lost luggage disaster of first trip. We were out of there quicly & our driver V was ready & waiting for us :) After fighting through Moscow traffic & crazy driving for an hour & a half, we made it to our hotel!! We are staying at the Sheraton about 2 miles up the road from Red Square. It's really comfortable & the customer service has been GREAT!! We got settled & then headed to the ATM machine to get some more rubles....PROBLEM!! Our cards wouldn't authorize even though we notified the bank of the dates we would be here. URGH! While we are greatful for their fraud security, it is frustrating because we notified them about our trip. We had used ATM cards from a different account in Krasnoyarsk & had no problems. I sent an online message to our bank & hopefully this will be fixed tomorrow!!!
We got some lunch at a burger place down the street & it was good, but more than we would pay at home. Moscow is known to be one of the most expensive cities in the world...good thing we're only here for a week! Jonathan ran around the room & played for awhile when we got back to the hotel. It's good to see him in his normal state. Right now both of the boys are taking a nap & we will meet with our facilitator P in about an hour and a half. He'll give us the schedule for the week & we'll get our U.S. Embassy paperwork squared away for our appointment tomorrow. Keep praying...right now especially for the ATM card issues & for our appointment at the embassy tomorrow. We are looking forward to getting some sight seeing in of Red Square in the next few days & should have some good pictures to post. Only 7 days & we'll be home!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rough Few Days

The last few days have been tough! We are not too proud to admit that!
Jonathan was having some tummy issues & diarrhea on Saturday afternoon & evening after we picked him up from the orphanage. That lasted all night & then Sunday morning he started vomiting...ALL DAY!! He had a low grade fever & was vomiting mucus as well. At first we thought it was probably just anxiety, especially since we stuck to exactly the kinds of foods on his schedule from the orphanage. As the day went on, we started to get worried that it might be something more serious. We called our facilitator Y to ask about a pharmacy so we could try to find something like Pedialyte, but she didn't understand & just came over. She & S grilled us about what he had eaten, etc....we told them we had only given him foods on the list from the orphanage. They basically told us we were feeding him everything wrong & should only be giving him baby food. They meant well, but it was a little frustrating they didn't understand that we knew it wasn't the food. I tried to tell them I thought it was a stomach virus, but that didn't get, they took Andrew to the store so they could show him the "proper food for babies." It's so frustrating trying to communicate & then being told their way is better. We got through the day with many more vomit messes to clean up & he finally went to sleep around 10:30 last night.
Today he has been doing much better. He threw up a little after breakfast and has slept a lot. he had an appetite at lunch & we've just been trying to keep fluids in him. We actually made it to the little "playground" that's right across from the apartment building & that perked him up a little. He took a long nap & woke up very cranky!!! He has been extremely clingy to me & screams if Andrew tries to hold him or play with him. It's normal for bonding to happen faster with one parent & he is used to women taking care of him, so we're not surprised. He does need to learn to trust his dad & I have removed myself from the room a few times today so Andrew could have some time alone. He would scream for awhile & then calm down. We saw his first huge temper tantrum this morning when I closed the door to the bathroom so I could take a shower & get dressed. He threw himself down face first, pounded his fists, & screamed!! Andrew just let him ride it out & then picked him up which made him scream more. Eventually he calmed down & was fine. We have learned the difference between his "I need attention because I'm scared" cry & his "I'm not getting my way so I'm going to throw a fit" cry. Part of bonding is establishing boundaries & we are not afraid to tell him "no." He now knows that word in 2 languages :)
There are a few things we have learned about Jonathan in the last few days.....
He HATES taking a bath!!!!! We think they probably just sponged him down at the orphanage. He'll get used to it :)
H has a good appetite when he's not sick. He's very scrawny & needs some fattening up!!
He has learned the game of throwing his cup & food off of the high chair tray. He has also learned that it gets taken away when he does that :)
He puts himself to sleep by rocking back & forth on hishands & knees in the crib. Even if I get him to sleep before I put him down, he usually wakes up & cries. Within about 5-10 minutes he soothes himself back to sleep.
He is definitely soaking up all of the attention & testing the boundaries. The naughty little smirk he gets on his face when he's about to find trouble is so funny...but that ends when he's told "NO!" We are 9 days from home...I'm getting very homesick & starting to have a hard time being here. The kids are doing well over all, but they miss us. It's good to be missed :) Only one more day in Kras then we are headed to Moscow for our last week. We can't wait to get HOME!!!!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Here he is......
Jonathan Yevgeny Murphy
Born: June 2, 2010
Adopted: July 23, 2011
After 2 years, 4 months, & 21 days of waiting he is FINALLY our son (legally, that is!). Today has been a great & emotional day. We were picked up around 10 AM & headed to make the rounds of all of the government offices for the official paperwork. Andrew was very happy to see that Y had put a carseat in the van :) We got his new birth certificate & court decree then dropped them off with our interpretor so she can get them translated for us. We also stopped at a few different offices to take care of applying for his passport & Andrew will go with Y late Tuesday to pick it up. Then it was time to head to the orphanage!!
We got there at about 11:45 which was right before lunch time. The caregivers were very concerned about him having lunch on time, so we agreed they could feed him before bringing him to us. One of the caregivers took his new clothes & shoes upstairs. Then about 20 minutes later he was brought to us all dressed in his new clothes. He came right to me & his caregiver got a little emotional. She was very nice & had gone with us to get his passport photos taken. S took a few pictures of us & then we headed back to the apartment. Y got the portable crib all set up & then said goodbye. Jonathan got very comfortable with the aapartment pretty quickly & was into the toys. We were able to talk to 2 of the babysitters on skype & introduce them to Jonathan, but the kids were all ready in bed. Then Uncle Jarrod & Aunt Laura got to meet him thanks to skype again! We will talk to the kids when they wake up in the morning which will be close to bedtime for us. We can't wait for them to meet him!
Then we made our last trip to the grocery store & Jonathan just took everything in. He even helped push the cart :) All of these "normal" experiences are new for him & it's so fun to watch him. We're trying to stick to his schedule as much as we can, so at 3:00 sharp he went down for his nap. He rocked himself back & forth in the crib for a minute & then he was out. We'll see how sleeping tonight goes...Tomorrow & Monday we plan to take him out in his city to get some pictures. There's also a big park here we're going to check out. We only have 3 full days left here & then we'll be headed to Moscow bright & early on Wednesday morning!! Jonathan & Andrew are both taking naps right now & then we'll be taking him out to dinner to celebrate his Gotcha Day :) Thank you all who are keeping up on facebook for the encouraging comments! They are helping to get us through! We will be home in 11 days :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Waiting Day 10!!!!

Today has been quite eventful!! The temperature dropped last night & we had a rain & lightning storm that knocked out our electricity. So, that's 2 utility disasters since we've been here...we've learned to laugh about it :) At about 8 AM we called Y & S to let them know. They called back a while later to tell us that a power line had been broken during the storm & power "should" be back on "soon." Those are two words that don't exactly have the same meaning that we're used to...things take a little longer to get done around here. We got dressed in the little bit of light coming in from the gloomy day outside & decided to head to Traveler's Coffee for a good breakfast. S called the cell phone to let us know the power was supposed to be working & to our surprise it was when we got back to the apartment! Miracles happen :)
Our visit today with baby was great. It was the LAST day of the 10 day waiting period!!!! WOOHOO!! The French couple was there, too & at first we were going to share the music room for our visits since the weather wasn't great & construction was going on outside on the playground. Then one of the caregivers said we could use the playroom next door, so we said goodbye to the French couple. So far their little girl has not broken out with chicken pox :) The new playroom actually had more to do & we wished we had done all of our visits in there! There's a ball pit, a slide, better toys....he had a blast! He also said "mama" about 10 more times :) Y got all of our paperwork together for the vital statistics office during our visit & we signed it. We said our LAST GOODBYE at the orphanage!! YAY!!!! We are really looking forward to tomorrow. When we got back to the apartment, I got the pack & play out so we could get the room arranged for it. Y likes to do things her way & told us she would put it up when we get back to the apartment after picking baby up. We've just learned to roll with it....Then I got his bag ready with his new outfit for his Gotcha Day. The caregivers will change him into his new clothes before they bring him to us. I can't wait :)
Tomorrow will go something like this: Y will go to have court papers signed & then take them to vital statistics office for his original birth certificate firstthing in the morning. She & S will then pick us up around 10 AM to go back to vital statistics for new birth certificate with his new name & our names on it :) After that I think we go to the passport office to apply for his passport. THEN we get to go to the orphanage once all official paperwork is in hand. We should get there sometime around 12:30 & be headed back to the apartment with him after we say good bye to his first home & caregivers. It will be bittersweet...we are so excited, but also have to be sensitive to the fact that he is about to leave the only place & people he hs ever known. We have been VERY impressed with how well he has been taken care of & how much his caregivers really care about him. We will forever be greatful to them!! So, tomorrow we will officially be parents again & cannot for all of you to meet him!! We love you kids & are one day closer to home!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Waiting Day 9

Only one more day of the waiting period to go!!!! It's getting so hard to say goodbye to him at the end of our visits & leave him at the orphanage. We are SO HAPPY that tomorrow is the last time we have to do that! The bonding time with him in his familiar environment has been so beneficial for all of us, but it's time to move on :)
Today we were given a tour of his group's section of the orphanage after we had played with him for awhile. We'll get the pictures up on Saturday when we're all official. He seemed very proud & excited to show us around. There were two playrooms, the bathroom with a big tub & all of the potties, the "locker room," and the sleeping room. There are 15 cribs lined up in the sleeping room & each child's name, birthday, & number are on their crib. Their number is also on their potty, bathroom cubby that holds their towel & washcloth, & their locker. He actually had a pair of shoes, a hat, & a change of clothes in his locker. The playrooms were pretty sparse when it comes to toys & the bigger room had little tables & chairs for mealtimes. He has not experienced life outside of these rooms or the playground for the last year. That's all about to change! Then we finished our visit outside.
During playtime inside we definitely saw his side of mischief! We had to discipline for the first time becasue he kept taking toys & hitting the televsion that's in the music room. He knew he was being naughty & responded right away when we told him "niete!" (no). He started making a game out of it & would run towards the t.v. with a toy in his ahnd & then would run another direction when one of us told him "no." He thought it was funny, but was pretty responsive to our commands. We can tell he is going to be into EVERYTHING & his curiosity reminds us so much of Ben at that age. During playtime outside we saw just how tough he is. He tripped & fell on a big crack in the asphalt & just got up & kept going. Most kids would have been screaming, but I think that the combination of his personality & the fact that they are not coddled by the caregivers when they fall has made him so tough. He also fell backwards off the small bench & landed flat on his back...again no tears. I helped him get up & he just went on with life as if nothing happened. He mad a little progress with the sippy cup today & definitely speaks the language of food! He knows right where the snacks are & is not shy about trying to grab them. We're hoping he does well with all of the new foods he'll be having soon! Saying goodbye was hard, but we just told ourselves "only one more time!" We can't wait for Saturday afternoon when we FINALLY get to leave the orphanage with him for good.
We have 13 days to go until we are home & it cannot come soon enough!!! We miss the kids, home, good food, & are just ready for the 6 of us to be in the same country. We were able to watch the live webcast of our church's Wednesday night service this morning & that was a huge boost to our morale! Skype has been giving us technical issues which has made talking to the kids a little challenging this week. We love you guys & miss you! See you in 13 days!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting Day 8 & A Surprise :)

Today was day #8 of the waiting period...2 more to go! We had a really great day with baby today! When we got to the orphanage, we were told we would take him to the photo studio first. We went inside & a few minutes later one of the caregivers came walking down the hall with him. He came to me without being timid or crying, & actually kind of smiled when he saw us :) He had a bath & was wearing a very nice outfit for his pictures. There seem to be no carseats or laws about them here, so I just put him on my lap & buckled us both with my seatbelt. Andrew handled the no carseat thing well :) Baby really took in the experience of riding in the car! He liked the bumps in the road (there are MANY) & he just watched out the window to see what's going on. This was probably the first time he had ridden in a car since he was taken to the orphanage a year ago.
He did a great job getting his passport pictures taken. He seems to be used to a camera in his face! The caregiver went with us & she held him for the pictures. This was probably easier since she understood the photographer's directions. After they were finished, he actually reached for me to take him!!!!! This is the first time thathas happened. He also did REALLY well with Andrew today & let him hold him a lot. When we got back to the orphanage, we finshed our visit outside. The French couple was there for their first visit of their 10 day wait period. Their court hearing was yesterday & lasted 2 1/2 hours!!!!!! We felt really bad for them & told htem congratulations. We shared & rotated through the toys & play equipment with them. We are praying for their little seems the chicken pox is going through her group & she hasn't gotten it yet. If she does get it during the 10 day wait, this will cause delays for them in being able to take her back to Moscow while she is sick. We're praying she doesn't get it & all will go according to the plan!!
I got a HUGE surprise from baby today!!! He said "Mama" two times!!!!!!!!!! I was holding him & saying it to him, and all of a sudden he said it back to me :) I clapped & cheered which made him so proud of himself :) Then he said it again for Andrew, Y, & the French couple's facilitator to hear! Everyone cheered for him & he was so happy with himself. That made my week!! We had a great time playing with him today & he wore us out. He has SO MUCH energy & is so active! One of the caregivers commented that he should be a good athlete because he is so strong, tough, & active. It's a good thing because his big brother is ready to put a baseball & bat in his hands :) We got a little extra time with him today & he was very excited to go play with his friends when it was time for us to go. He seems to really like being with other children & we think he'll do great when we are ready to put him in the church nursery in a few months. We said goodbye & crashed for a nap when we got back to the apartment. Tomorrow we get to take a tour of the orphanage. Only 2 more days to go & then we are OFFICIAL! It has gone by fast & we are ready to have him for good & move on! We miss you & love you kids!!!! We are now more than halfway to HOME :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Waiting Day 7!!

Today's visit was quite eventful....and MESSY!!! When we arrived at the orphanage, there were 4 caregivers waiting with baby in the music room. They had his lunch tray all ready for us & there was enough food to feed 3 babies! Their biggest meal of the day is lunch & this is considered a special meal when the adoptive parents get to come feed their child. He came right to me & again...NO TEARS! We sat him down at the little table & our favorite caregiver showed us how they feed him the soup. It was a bowl big enough for a man with a big spoon! After she gave him a few spoonfuls it was my turn. He ate every drop of soup in that big bowl along with a piece of bread! I started feeding the mashed potatoes & meat/vegetable mixture (not quite sure what it was exactly) to him & he only ate about half of it. He decided it was more fun to spit it out & play with it. The craziest part is that he drank tea right out of a teacup & actually didn't make a mess with that. By the end of the meal, he was a big mess with soup & mashed potatoes all over his face & shirt. The caregiver took him to get cleaned up & then brought him back a few minutes later.
He got very comfortable playing with us right away & then he pooped. Fortunately he was wearing a diaper just for our visit so there was no mess :) Y went & got a caregiver to change him & they brought him back with underwear on this time. They start "potty training" at 6 months here because diapers are so expensive. They just sit the babies on the potties every hour or two & don't take them off until they go. Well....about 20 minutes later he peed all over the floor! Y went & got a diaper & change of pants for me to change him this time. He HATES to have his diaper & clothes changed! He squirmed & flopped all over which made it a challenge, but in the end I got him dressed!
He ignored Andrew for the first half of the visit & was playing pretty independently. It was so great to see him just play & be a boy. Crashing trucks together is definitely one of his favorite things & he tests out toys by throwing them on the ground to see how much noise they make :) He finally warmed up to Andrew when they started chasing each other around the room. We also got him blowing raspberries which he thought was hilarious. Then it was time to get him appropriately dressed to go have playtime with his group outside. The outfit he ended up in was shirt, green shorts, orange socks, pink shoes, & a light yellow scarf/hat thing on his head!! He looked like an elf...we got pictures which he'll probably be completely embarrassed about one day!! It's all about what's clean & somewhat fits at the orphanage...not fashion! Don't worry...we are ready with plenty of USC & Angels all boy outfits for him!! I can't wait until Saturday when he gets to leave in his new clothes & we can give him a bath!
We said goodbye, came back to the apartment for a few minutes, & then headed to Cinnabon for good coffee & cinnamon rolls :) It was much needed!!!! Then we found him some shoes in the right size at the big children's store. Everything is SOOOO marked up here & we were happy to find the shoes on sale for 50% off (they were still about $25!!!). Tomorrow we get to take him to the photo studio for his passport pictures & will probably get a tour of his part of the orphanage. I'm emotionally trying to prepare myself for that. Things are going well & tomorrow is the halfway point to HOME!!! Only 3 days to go until he is in our arms for good :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Waiting Day 6

Today was a GREAT day! We got to visit our little guy after a long 2 day weekend of no visits. We were a little worried that he might regress with bonding since he hadn't been around us for few days, but he did great. Our BEST visit yet!
When we got to the orphanage, the French couple we met last week was there for their visit, too. They have court tomorrow & were signing some papers in the waiting area when their little girl was brought to them. She is GORGEOUS & the happy look on their faces when they saw her just melted my heart. We know EXACTLY how they feel :) The weather was nice so they headed outside for their visit which was our plan, too. A few minutes later our little boy came walking down the hall with my favorite caregiver. I kneeled down & held out his favorite teething toy we have had with us this whole time. He timidly came to me, BUT NO TEARS!!!! Andrew was standing by with the snacks & juice. We headed outside & he warmed up to playing with us almost instantly. PROGRESS!!!
His personality really started coming out today. He was very cuddly with both of us...he'll let Andrew hold him if he has snacks & if I'm sitting right next to them. He was helping himself to the snacks & feeding himself. We tried the sippy cup again & he did okay. He actually does really well drinking out of a water bottle. He was showing a lot of independence & is very good at figuring things out. All of a sudden it started sprinkling & lightning, so we headed for the covered play area. This is where he really started having fun & showing his true self. He was crashing trucks together, pushing the play wheelbarrow & push car around, & playing with anything that had wheels. He is a TOUGH kid! He fell several times & just got up & kept going as if it was no big deal. We had him laughing out loud & making happy noises like we hadn't heard yet. It was great!!! At one point he cracked himself up so much he started dancing & laughing so hard he almost fell over! This was by far the best day with him yet!
Towards the end of the visit, Y said she would give our huge bag of donations to the director. She took care of it while we were still playing outside & thanks to some friends, the children in the orphanage now have tons of new clothes, shoes, & toys!! Andrew's mom also knitted some hats, gloves, & booties for the babies. She wrote a thank you card to the director & a friend of hers from work who is from Russia translated the note. The director was very appreciative & touched. Time was up & one of the caregivers came outside to get him :( The closer we get to no more goodbyes, the harder it is to say goodbye. He happily went with her & smiled at us as he walked away. Only 4 more days to go & then we say goodbye to the orphanage!!!!! Y told us that we get to go 30 minutes earlier tomorrow so we can feed him lunch :) We know we'll have a few caregivers telling us what to do, but that's okay. We've learned to just go with their way while we're's just for a very short time. Wednesday or Thursday we'll go take care of passport photos & paperwork. We were told that on Saturday we'll go to the passport office first to pick up his passport & then get him from the orphanage sometime in the afternoon between 12:00 & 3:00. We will be counting the minutes!!!!
We took the shoes we brought for him today to make sure they fit & they're too small. So, we headed to the mall when we got home & found him a hat, but no shoes. They didn't have any of the shoes we liked in his size. We're going to try the big children's store tomorrow & we'll just leave the small shoes at the orphanage. So, we are almost there! Only 4 days to go....thanks again for praying & pictures will be coming soon!! We love you kids & we'll see you in 16 days!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Waiting Days 4 & 5

Today is the halfway point of the 10 day waiting period! YAY!!! The next 5 days will be filled with paperwork, visits with our baby, and some other official stuff. We've had the last 2 days free to rest & do some sightseeing (even though we would have LOVED to have visits with him instead!).
Yesterday the cold water was shut off for maintenance from 12 AM Saturday-12 AM Sunday through most of the city which was interesting. Fortunately, the hot water worked so we had something. We had breakfast & then headed down to the Krasnoyarsk Museum of History & Local Lore which is right on the river bank. Andrew is the history geek & insisted we go...I wasn't too excited, but it turned out to be more impressive & interesting than I had expected. It was only about $4 each for admission plus an extra $1 to take pictures. It only took about an hour to go through the whole thing & the public restrooms were closed due to the water issue. We're not sure why, but the outside of the museum is Egyptian Russia...weird. When we went through the part about the wildlife here in Siberia, Andrew's comment was, "Too bad I don't have my hunting guns!" Typical...HA HA :) Then we headed to KFC for lunch...let me tell you people, KFC is a happening place here in Krasnoyarsk! The girl who took our order was very patient with us as we pointed at the pictures on the signs & struggled through ordering. It tasted just like it does at home, so that was nice :) Again, public bathrooms were closed. After lunch we headed to the big children's store to look for a hat for baby. I forgot to pack one of his baseball hats & as I mentioned before, it's tradition & superstition for children's heads to be covered outside at all times. You just have to go with their way of doing things here. The cold water came back on at midnight right as we were going to bed :)
Krasnoyarsk Museum
Crest of the Crowned Prince of Russia
Painting of the Good Samaritan
Russian Orthodox Communion Bible
This morning we talked with the kids, Andrew's brother & sister-in-law, & one of the babysitters on skype. It was all ready Tara's 7th birthday here in Russia, so she opened her presents while we were talking with them.
Everyone is doing well, but we can tell the kids are starting to have a hard time with us being gone. They're in great hands, but we miss them so much! There's definitely going to be a lot of emotions & adjustment when we get home. I started getting caught up on the laundry & then we headed out to climb the big staircase up the hill to see an old Russian Orthodox chapel. It was Andrew's idea & something he has wanted to do since our first trip here. That was an's almost a mile walk plus crossing a busy street with no crosswalk to get to the stairs at the bottom of the hill. When I say staircase I mean old, rotted, rickety wooden staircase with missing steps & surrounded by weeds & bugs. It's almost 300 steps to the top & then you get to walk uphill for another mile or so to get to the chapel. We finally made it! The view was really pretty & it was a nice clear day. The chapel was very small, and I didn't go inside since women must wear a scarf on their heads when they enter a Russian Orthodox church. Andrew went in for a moment, lit a candle for our son, & put it under the cross that was on the wall. We went and sat on a step where we read Psalm 145 from the pocket NT Andrew had & took a moment to thank God for our new little boy & bringing us this far. We are missing our PFB family today, but it was a very nice Sunday morning here in Kras.
We're just hanging out at the apartment for the rest of the day & getting ready for the busy week ahead. In exchange for me hiking up the hill, I get a foot massage & dinner made by my husband :) We're hoping the next 5 days go quickly. The 10 day wait period is over at 12 AM Saturday & then we get to go pick up our son FOREVER sometime that day :) We can't wait! Thank you all for keeping up with our story & for praying. Here are some pictures from the last few days.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Waiting Day 3

We've made it through waiting day #3! We caught up on some sleep yesterday...we took a 6 hour nap & then went back to bed about 3 hours later. We woke up this morning to the sound of a loud thump, flapping, & bird seems a bird flew into the window of our enclosed patio! It's a good thing it wasn't open :) We decided to treat ourselves to breakfast at Cinnabon which is only a few blocks up the street, but it was only 8 AM & they didn't open until 10. We were STARVING & found Traveler's Coffee up the street. They were just opening when we got there & we had some GREAT coffee for the first time in 10 days & good omelettes :) Then we headed back to the apartment to talk to the kids on skype, watched mercy Road's question & answer session with Pastor Josh, watched PFB's service from Sunday, & got ready for our visit with baby.
He did REALLY well today & we made good progress with bonding! He cried for about 30 seconds when I took him from the caregiver, but then he was okay. We had our visit outside today since the weather was nice & we met a French couple who was having a visit with their little girl. They spoke a little English & it was nice to have another family to talk to :) They just arrived yesterday & were having their first visit before court next Tuesday. They asked about court & we assured them it would be fine & wasn't as bad as the anticipation. Their little girl is BEAUTIFUL & was born the same week as our boy.
Today he took snacks from daddy & at first would only eat them if Andrew put them in his mouth. We tried the sippy cup again & he got it a little quicker today, but then would go back to chewing it. He'll figure it out soon. We let him go down the slide, ride a push car, & his favorite was the baby swing. That's when his personality really started coming out! We got some great video of him swinging & laughing out loud! He's a very quiet, serious thinker & this was the first real noise we had heard from him besides crying. By the end of the visit he was taking snacks out of the snack cup, feeding himself, & letting both of us cuddle with him. We got A LOT of smiles & laughter today! The next 2 days are Saturday & Sunday so we don't get visits with him :( When we asked about tomorrow, Y said yes, but then later said, "Rest for next few days. See you on Monday same time." Bummer! Things get a little lost in translation sometimes....
Y & S informed us that the cold water in the apartment's district was going to be turned off at some point in the next few days.....we'll see how that goes! We didn't understand exactly when or for how long, but we're praying it's quick! We plan to go to the Krasnoyarsk History Museum this weekend for something cheap to do & Y showed us a good store for buying nice souvenirs. We're hoping to find something special for baby to keep from his birth city. Next week will be busier with paperwork to sign & we'll get to take baby to the photo studio for passport pictures. We'll also get a few longer visits with him to feed him lunch & take a tour of the parts of the orphanage where he lives. Things are going well, but we miss home & the kids!! We are 1/3 of the way through the trip....18 days & then all 3 of us head HOME!!! Please keep praying us through!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Waiting Day 2

Two days of the waiting period down! We had a GREAT visit with baby today, too! It was raining when we got up this morning...the weather today was insane. We had until 12:00 to sit around & wait, so we grabbed our umbrellas & headed down the street to the flea market. Interesting......reminded us of Mexico. We somehow stumbled into the meat & fish market then quickly turned around & left. I couldn't handle the smell! Then we headed to the grocery store for a few things & finally it was time to go to the orphanage.
We had our visit in the familiar music room today which helped. When the caregiver brought him in he cried for just a second when I took him. We were prepared with snacks & some juice. He ate the Gerber puffs we brought, but only if we fed them to him. They don't drink out of sippy cups in the orphanage, so we introduced that to him. He did really well & we know he'll have it down by the time we take him next weekend. I guess they just give them a teacup to drink out of once tey are off the bottle. He warmed up to both of us, but only let Andrew hold him a few times. He preferred for daddy to be near him so he could watch hm, but for me to be holding him. We fed him a piece of a banana, too & again he would only eat it if we fed it to him.
About halfway through the visit, he was very comforable & his personality started to come out! He was playing with all of the noisy toys, of course & we had him smiling & laughing :) One of his favorite things to do is hold our fingers & take us on walk around "his place." He is SO AWARE of everything going on around him. Every time someone would walk down the hallway he would turn towards the door & stretch his neck out to see who it was. There was a maintenance man outside doing some work & he was very interested in all of the noises he was making. He likes to open & shut things...I think we played the game of open & shut the toy cabinet about 25 times :) When it was time to go he was very recpetive to our hugs & kisses. We got smiles from him when the caregiver took him & se helped him wave goodbye. They are telling him we are "mama and papa" & he is starting to trust us...little by little. Even though the 10 days is hard for us to wait, it is going to be SO beneficial for his bonding to us before we take him away from his whole familiar world. Only 8 days to go & then he is ours OFFICIALLY!!!! We got back to the aprtment & crashed! After a 6 hour nap we are wide awake & it's 10 PM. I don't think we'll be going to bed anytime soon! We love you kids & happy birthday to Ben!!! We are looking forward to our visit with baby tomorrow & are hoping for more bonding progress. Goodnight from Russia!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting Day 1

We got through day one of the 10 day waiting period! It was an unusually hot day...91 degrees in Siberia!! Who would've thought that was possible?!
Our visitation appointment was at 12:30. When we got to the orphange, we were told that we could play with him outside on the playground (I use that term loosely) since it was so warm. There's no A/C in the orphanage, so that was a good decision. It was another 15 minutes before they brought baby downstairs to us & he was walking with one of the caregivers. I kneeled down & reached my hands out to him...he cried. Normal for the second day, but the tears only lasted a minute. The caregiver picked him up & started walking outside with him. I decided right then & there that I was going to carry him outside. PERIOD! I took him from her & he did just fine...a little nervous, but he clung onto me. She finally left us alone & we let him walk around holding our hands. It was like he was showing us around his place. Very cute :) I got the GREATEST picture of him walking with Andrew which will be posted as soon as he's officially ours.
He would warm up to us & then get upset if a familiar caregiver came near us. It was time for his group to come outside for play time & that caused some problems. He was very distracted from us & kept walking toward his group. One of the caregivers was very concerned that he did not have a hat on & went all the way inside to get one for him. No matter the weather, children's heads are always covered here so they don't get sick. Y made a comment about how the caregivers don't have a clue that they need to give the families some space with their children & asked them to stay on the other side of the playground where he couldn't see them. Let me just add that there are some other BEAUTIFUL babies here who need families...just sayin'. After a while he was doing better with us :) There were very few tears today & we got him to almost smile while playing with a ball & stomping his feet. I was so glad we had water with us & he drank about half of the bottle. The heat & humidity made us all a little tired. When it was time to go we took him over to his group & said goodbye. One of the caregivers was very affectionate with him & when she put him down he looked at me & cried. Again, heartbreaking while at the same time a good sign.
We get to go back tomorrow at the same time & were told that we could bring some snacks & a cup of water or juice for him. Feeding is a big part of bonding...just giving him some water today made a difference in his trust for us. We stopped at the Krasnoyarsk Regional Opera House & Ballet to see if they had tickets available right now. We had seen a sign for "Romeo & Juliet" ballet, but it turns out it's not until October :( BIG BUMMER (for me, anyway!). The opera & ballet here & at the Bolshoi in Moscow are off season. Andrew wasn't too upset.
We are feeling much more at peace now that court is over! We are all ready 8 days into the trip. We have 9 days to go until he is officially ours & in our care. 20 days until we leave for home! It sound slong, but it has gone by faster than we thought so far. Thank you again for all of the support & prayers!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Today was court day! This is the most important day in Russian adoption. We had a few unexpected surprises, but all went well. We were supposed to have the first court hearing this morning at 9:30, so we were up really early. We talked to the kids on skype while we were eating breakfast...we miss them!!!! At about 8:15 we got a phonecall from our translator, E. She told us that our court hearing had been postponed until 3 PM due the judge having to take care of some issues with a family....we thought she meant another adoptive family, but we later got the clarification it was a personal family issue with the judge. So, we had another 6 hours of waiting....
We changed clothes & headed to the grocery store. The way of life here & most of the world is to shop in small amounts every few days. Only buying 3 days of groceries seems so small to us, but is a lot compared to what the other people in the store were buying. We are getting familiar with what's safe & recognizeable to eat! We talked to the kids again before they went to bed & they were very disappointed that we did not have the news of the adoption being official yet. Then we just killed some time watching a movie on the laptop & studied the prep questions a few more times.
We changed into our dress clothes again & were finally picked up at 2:30 by Y & S. The courthouse is only a 10 minute drive from the apartment, so that was nice. It was a VERY hot day here today...85 degrees!!! It was bright & sunny which helped the overall atmosphere here. E was all ready there waiting for us as well as the orphanage director & rep from the MOE. We went up & down several staircases & ended up in what seemed like the basement floor. We entered the courtroom & there was a big white cage for criminals & 3 big "thrones" behind the judge's table. The seal of Krasnoyarsk was on the wall & the Russian flag was of course there, too. When the judge entered, we all stood up.
Russian adoption court is closed, so we can't post the specifics of the questioning. Basically, the adoption petition is read, the husband gets 90% of the questions, & the wife gets a few questions plus makes a speech. Then the orphanage director & MOE rep read their statements. Then we left the room for a few minutes & were called back in. The judge gave a favorable consent to the adoption & the decree will be signed at the end of the 10 day waiting period next Saturday!! So many people want to know why there's a 10 day wait...basically it's to give the child time to bond with the parents in their environment before we take him. It also gives people who decide to change their minds 10 days to cancel the adoption (seriously SAD!) before the official decree is signed. We were in & out of court in EXACTLY 60 minutes! E told us that is record time & the average hearing is 90 minutes to 2 hours. We think the judge was ready to be done for the day & had other matters to tend to, so she was very matter of fact & quick. That definitely worked to our advantage! E & Y also told us that we did a very good job answering the questions & that my speech was very good :) We are SO RELIEVED to be done with that & feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders!! We get a visit with baby tomorrow at the orphanage & should have visits on all of the weekdays during the 10 days.
We changed into CA wear since it was so warm & headed to New York Cafe for our celebration dinner. It's attached to the hotel we stayed in on the first trip & the big town square is right in front of it. All of the fountains were going, there were street vendors, pony rides, music playing, we walked around & took in the happy, sunny side of Krasnoyarsk. Below are some of the pictures we took. Thank you all for praying! We are past the biggest, most stressful hurdle! We plan to just enjoy our visits with baby over the next 10 days & then he will officially be ours!
Court House
Court House Fountain
Horse and Carriage Rides
Fountains in the square
Yenisey River

Monday, July 11, 2011

First visit & court prep

Today was a much better day! The sun was shining, the temps warmed up a little, my stomach is almost over motion sickness, & we got to hold our baby :)
The morning started with me putting too much in the little washer & the hose & electrical cord pulling out of the wall. OOPS! Andrew got it all fixed & we got the water cleaned up, but there was still a leak. S fixed it after our orphange visit & court prep. Lesson learned..don't try to wash 3 pairs of jeans in a washer that can barely hold 2.
Onto the baby....when we got to the orphanage we had to sign some paperwork which wasn't ready. While we were waiting, Y asked why baby had not been brought to us yet. Apparently he was finishing lunch & being changed. They brought him in about 5 minutes later & he was walking!! We had wondered if he would be yet. Anyway, he cried when I tried to pick him up which is totally normal. He wanted nothing to do with his bear he had been so attached to on the first trip. We got him a little interested in some toys & learned a few Russian words they use when playing. He is definitely responding to Russian commands. He was very timid with us & it took him longer to warm up than on the last trip. It was a gradual warming up process...halfway through he was doing much better & even let Andrew hold him for about 5 minutes! That's huge!!! The rest of the time he clung onto me & didn't want me to put him down. I hugged & kissed him all over. He started getting sleepy & just wanted me to hold him :) Our papers were ready to sign so we got that taken care of & then had some more time with him. When it was time for him to go back to his group for naptime, one of the caregivers came & took him. She was much friendlier than the caregiver last time & let us have a moment to say goodbye to him. Then the BEST thing happened-he cried & reached for me when she took him!!!!! It was heartbreaking, but at the same time FANTASTIC progress that he had bonded & recognized he was supposed to be with me! YAY!!!!
Then we headed back to the apartment & discussed court on the way. We feel prepared & Andrew just has a little homework to do. We have the first court hearing in the morning at 9:30. It will be 6:30 PM (Monday) in CA. PLEASE PRAY! Tomorrow is the most important day of this trip!! We were told we have a judge who can be friendly & smile.....we'll see! We'll keep you posted tomorrow & thank you all for the support! We love you & miss you kids! We're so glad we get to see you on skype! LOVE YOU!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Time to kill & some pictures

We had absolutely nothing to do today....This made for a very hard day emotionally for me. It really hit me how much I all ready miss the kids & home. The weather was cooler today & grey outside to go with the grey buildings. It's very hard not to be depressed here. I am also still feeling the effects of plane & car sickness from yesterday with the anticipation of court in 2 days on top of it. I'm having a hard time...5 days down, 23 to go before we leave for home. We went to the other grocery store that's a few blocks away & liked it better than the other one. They had a better produce selection (you have to be careful with that here) & some American brands. We bought some groceries to get us through the next few days & headed back to the apartment. After lunch we took a walk to "the mall" & found a few things to take back for the kids. Then we walked around, took a few pictures of things around town, & headed back towards the apartment. There's not a whole lot to do here....
We saw the poverty & sadness of the city today. We took a different street back to the apartment & passed through a long line of people trying to sell produce on the street. There were elderly people & children begging. One little girl tried to follow us & tried pulling on my purse. It was sad to tell her "no" in Russian, but her mother had sent her to beg from us. It was obvious she would've kept following us if we had given her heart wrenching. We are so grateful that we will soon be leaving here with our son, but we know our experience here has greater purpose. We are forever changed & have such a greater appreciation for what we have & where we live. Every American needs to experience a country like this...the poverty & depression is just at a whole different level than what we are used to seeing.
Tomorrow will be our first visit with our little guy. We are really looking forward to it & can't wait to see him again! Tuesday is the big day-COURT DAY!!! We really need your prayers over the next 2 days. I am especially having a really hard time emotionally with all of this. I have never been so torn up as a mom....we HAVE to be here on the other side of the world so we can get our son & have missed him SO MUCH, but we miss our 3 kids at home so much it hurts. We know this is a very short time in the grand scheme of life, but it's really hard. I'm really hoping that seeing him tomorrow will lift my spirits & that getting through court will ease some of the stress. Please pray...we are very isolated here & need any piece of hope & sunshine we can get right now. Here are some pictures of Krasnoyarsk in the summertime...NO SNOW!

Friday, July 8, 2011


We made it to Krasnoyarsk around 12:30 PM (Saturday) after 6 hours of delays in Moscow. Our original flight was supposed to leave last night at 9:45, but rain & lightning storms caused all kinds of problems. First, we were delayed until 1:30 AM & they kept changing the gate number. Then it became a delay until 2:30 the middle of all of it we started talking to the girl sitting next to us. She & her mother live in the States, but are from Kras. They were on their way to visit her grandparents & were so helpful with translating all of the flight announcements for us. It was nice to have someone to talk to in English & have their help!! They were so excited to hear that we are adopting from Kras & gave us their e-mail to keep them posted on how things are going. They also offered any help to us if we need it while we're here & they leave only a few days before we do. This was definitely a bright spot in the middle of the airport chaos :)
I got really airsick during landing which was not fun. When we got to the baggage terminal we were greeted with hugs from Y and S (our facilitator & driver). It was SO GOOD to see familiar faces!! All 3 checked bags made it (YAY!!) & we were headed to the apartment. I got carsick right before we got to the apartment, but I am doing better now. We are getting settled in & then we're headed to the grocery store. The apartment is very secure & cozy. We'll post pictures when we get a chance. Y and S own the apartment & keep the basic essentials here for all of their adoptive families. They even have a cell phone here with their numbers programmed for us :) We have a kitchen with everything except a dishwasher (I'll deal!) & there's a small European washing machine in the bathroom (they don't use's all about air drying). They have a portable crib for when we get the baby & some toys. There's a park right outside our window, too. It's really nice here...NO SNOW!! Everything is green & the temps are in the 60' nice compared to the 100 degrees we left at home in CA!
We have today & tomorrow to rest before we see the baby on Monday. W will do court prep with Y after that then it's court on Tuesday!!! We will be sooooo relieved when that part is over! Thanks for your prayers. We are 4 days into the trip...only 25 to go!

Medical Appointment

Today we had our medical appointments that are required for adoptive parents....interesting. We went to this huge building hidden behind a big blue wall that is the medical building where gov't officials have had their stuff done for former leaders of the country. We saw 8 different "specialists" & most of them just asked questions & then wrote a bunch of stuff in our reports then put their big stamp on it. Every piece of paper here MUST have at least one official stamp...I guess it makes it look more official?! Anyway, it was INTERESTING & quite an experience....we both ended up with blood pressure readings that were higher than normal & much higher than what our doctor's readings were last week...hmmmm....stress, maybe? Mine was still within normal, but Andrew's was high enough that they were trying to convince him to buy medicine for it. He declined & said he would have our dr. check it when he gets move.
It took almost 3 hours to get through this & we were finally finished with "official" report in hand. We will give this to our facilitator in Kras who will submit it to the judge. Then we headed to McDonald's for a late lunch/early dinner on our way to the airport. We got here 5 hours early & the airline changed their baggage allowance on domestic flights since our last trip, so we were stuck paying baggage overage fees for one bag. Oh well....whatever. Our driver helped us get through that little obstacle & then we went through security. We've been hanging out ever started pouring with rain & lightning a few hours ago. We're hoping we leave on time. They keep making announcements about gate changes for flights in Russian, of course & sometimes they repeat it in English....sometimes. Anyway, sometime tomorrow morning we should be in Kras & one step closer to our little guy. Court is in 4 days...w can't wait until that part is over with!! Thanks for praying & please keep it up!!!! Overall, things are going well so far. Itwill be even better when we see his little face again...hopefully Sunday. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


We made it & so did our luggage :) Our flight was a non-stop from LAX & it was only 12 hours instead of our miscalculation of 15 hours. We'll take it!
When we arrived at the Moscow airport it was actually nice to see a familiar place :) We had a very nice passport control officer who evn smiled at me. She got us through within a few minutes & then it was off to baggage claim...after our expereince last time with lost luggage my stomach got a little queasy. No worries, though. All three checked bags were there!! YAY! We made it through the green line for customs in about 2 seconds & our driver M was right there waiting for us :) I can now say I have a good experience with Moscow's airport. traffic in Moscow makes L.A. look like a piece of cake! IT"S INSANE!!!!! It took us almost 2 hours to get from the airport to our hotel in the city center. Our hotel is really beautiful & Hilton converted it from an old historical building from the Stalin era. Our room & view are so nice. We were starving & exhausted when we got here about an hour ago (6:45 PM Thurs), so we treated ourselves to room service for dinner. I have to say the chicken caesar salad & parmesan, prosciutto, & arugula pizza is WAY better than the airplane food we had!
We plan to skype with the kids before bed & then get some sleep. Tomorrow we'll check out around 11:00 & then go get our medicals done at the clinic here. Then it's back to the airpor for our 5 hour overnight flight to Kras. We will hopefully get to see our little guy this weekend, but definitely will on Monday. Here are some pictures of our hotel & our view. Good night from Russia & we'll post again after we get to Kras in a few days!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Today we leave for TRIP #2!!! We can't believe it's finally here :) We are headed to the aiport in a few hours & feel so much more at ease this time about the travel. It definitely helps that we've done this before & somewhat know what to expect.

The kids are really excited & have been giving us lots of hugs. We took them out for ice cream last night & then had family movie night. They all fell asleep & then it was time to finish packing & organizing. We quadruple checked our embassy paperwork, medical lab results, passports, etc.....everything is in order & correct :) We'll post as soon as we can from Moscow. Our hotel has free Wi-Fi & we should have good internet connection.

In 28 days we will be home with our new little one. I can't wait :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Tomorrow we will be headed to Moscow...I can't believe it! It's been exactly 2 years & 4 months since we started this process to adopt our son. I am a HUGE mix of emotions right now. I am SO EXCITED to finally be at the end of this process & get our baby, but my heart is SO HEAVY that we have to leave our other 3 kids for so long. They will be in excellent care & will have so much fun with the babysitters, but we have all ready had some emotions. That's to be expected, of course. The longest we have been away from them is 2 weeks...this trip is about 4 weeks. I'm hoping I can keep it together tomorrow when we say goodbye. Thank goodness for Skype!

I've been thinking back over this process & how so many things have been exactly the opposite of how we had planned or imagined. We expected an 18 month-2 year process. We were told to expect an older child in our age range & were prepared for a 4 year old. We thought we had the finances figured out so many times & then God had a different plan to provide. We thought we would have our referral by Christmas 2010. We thought we were taking the kids on the first trip. We thought our luggage would make it with us on first trip. We thought we would be back in Russia within 6-8 weeks after first trip. We thought we would have more than 10 -12 days to plan for each trip. HA!!! All of those things that we "thought" we had control over turned out so differently, but it's been exactly how it is supposed to be. We have been reminded over & over again that we have the priviledge of being a part of this, but all is happening according to God's greater plan. That's pretty crazy to think about....we wouldn't change a thing :)

So, we'll see what the next 4 weeks have in store for us! We begin the adventure tomorrow afternoon and arrive in Moscow 15 hours later. That's one long flight! We appreciate all of the prayers & support from all of you. PLEASE pray us through the next month!! We'll update as much as we can & will post MANY pictures of our new little guy as soon as we are allowed.