Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Have a Happy Halloween!

...from Big Bird

Saturday, October 27, 2007


As promised below are pictures from our first trip. I wish we could post pictures of him but we are not allowed to until court is complete.

On a 7-hour layover in New York

On the train from Moscow to Petro

Us in front of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow:

Our little man's room:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Alive and well...

Yes...we are alive and well. The only major malfunction (besides jet lag) is my computer (and USB drive) which decided to quit working in Russia and it appears I brought the wrong adaptor so sorry for the late post (I will definately be better the second trip...promise). We arrived back around 2:00 this morning and are doing great. We are loving seeing our daughter and thankful we came back on Friday to spend time with her over the weekend. I will post pictures over the weekend as we are in another hurry to get home and I still am struggling with the USB drive. But here are the last highlights from trip number one:

* We were able to spend twice a day with our little man for both days in Petro. He warmed up quite a bit to us and every time we visitied him we fell more in love with him. He is super sweet. On our last day I spend about 20 minutes rocking him with him just clenched to me - he is just thriving for attenttion and love. We also spent some time in his playroom with the other children his age. They are all so wanting that attention and the orphanage workers are so overworked - it was hard to see.

*We signed all official paperwork our last day there with the Ministry of Education. All our documents are set to go. They were waiting for one more item from the orphanage and then will be sending that off to Moscow where it will get processed (which takes 3-4 weeks) and then a court date will be set (pray for SOON!)

*Leaving the orphanage and Petro was hard - the feeling of having two children on totally opposite sides of the world hit very hard. The train ride back was very jerky and we did not sleep well. When we got to Moscow we did our 8 doctor medical appt. - 8 doctors in 3 hours with little sleep and no shower - quite an experience and not my favorite part of the trip!

*We stayed on the 22nd floor of an apartment in Moscow our last night - struggled to sleep due to the constant sound of sirens and noises.

*We then spent 24 hours traveling. Many of you may disagree but let me say - we do not know traffic in this country - it took twice as long to travel in Moscow as it did to fly from New York to Minnapolis! Literally no movement for 90 minutes!! The ride home was long - we did not sleep on any of the flights or layovers so we are tired. It was wonderful to see our daughter this morning. Our plan is to show her the video we took of her brother and explain to her (as best you can to a 3-year-old) what will happen next.

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and kind words - having support from family, friends and the adoption community has been what has held us together!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Our Little Man...

Our little man...we met him yesterday for the first time - it is still so surreal for us. So...a brief overview of our very exciting day: We were brought to the orphanage around 11am. Walking up was a little eye-opening. The orphanage is set amongst many very run-down apartments with a couple old, run down slides and graffitti on the walls. Walking into the orphanage is this immidiate feeling that everyone there is working so hard for these kids, every doctor and caregiver took as much time with us as we wanted. When we arrived we spent about one hour talking with the doctor, reviewing his social and medical history. A few concerns were discussed and then we were brought to a play room. I don't think I will ever forget the moment that occurred next. I was talking to one of our social workers when I saw her jaw drop. I turned around and in came walking this very cute, very small little boy...our little man. He is just adorable!! Ryan and I both gasped. It was a great moment. He is much smaller than we expected - he looks similar to many of the 9 month old children we know - both in weight and height. This was initially a concern however he appears to be doing well in so many other ways. We played for about 2 hours in a few different rooms. We also spent 30 minutes watching him have a session with a speech pathologist! He was able to complete all the tasks she asked of him, picking up blocks and stacking them, etc. During our play time there were a few times when he would put his arms out and run at me, giving me a hug!! Talk about pulling at your heart strings. He sat on both my lap and Ryan's (although he had never been around a man before). We gave him a blue teddy bear and a soft picture book with pictures of our family - he held onto those for dear life. We got to bring him into his crib for naptime and we then left for a couple hours and returned in the evening. He was just as cute and cuddly when we returned. As it neared bedtime he snuggled in my lap with his teddy bear for about 15 minutes. It was such a great day!!

So this morning (9am here) we are getting ready to go to the Ministry of Education to register some paperwork and name him!!!! We will be going back to the orphanage and then will be leaving for Moscow around 6pm tonight for another long 14 hour train ride. I think this ride will be so much more difficult because we are leaving him behind although we are also looking forward to seeing our daughter - and other familiar faces! Once we get to Moscow we have to do our 8 Doctor Medical (yep - that's right - we each have to meet with 8 doctors who speak Russian...looking forward to that!) We then will spend tomorrow night in Moscow (where I will post again) before heading home.

Monday, October 22, 2007


We have very little time to post because...WERE GOING TO MEET HIM IN 30 MINUTES!!! Things have gone fairly smooth so far. We will post pics and other information later tonight (its 10:30 Monday morning here).

A brief update:
Got to Moscow after a very long 9 hour flight from New York yesterday morning. We were greeted by two sweet ladies and a driver who gave us a great tour of Red Square as we had some time before we got on the train. We took a 14 hour train ride from Moscow to Petro. We were then greeted by Ann who took us to her apartment where we are now - I just took my first shower in 3 days - very nice. We are meeting with two social workers in just a few minutes and then going to the orphanage...we can hardly wait - this is one of those days that will certainly go in the top 10 list...make that top 3!

By the way - if any of my fellow adoptee bloggers can comment on how I change this site from Russian to English we'd much appreciate it :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

In less than 24 hours...

We will be on our way to Moscow. We are so excited and nervous. It looks like all of our paperwork is in order and we are so ready to meet our son. We are disappointed that our new friends Marie and Shane will not be able to make it after all (they were going to be on the same flight to meet their son but were told only recently that they will have to continue to wait)...we will miss you guys! We will spend the next few days on planes, trains and automobiles to get there (leaving at 4:30 am Saturday to get there around noonish Monday) will all be so worth it. Apologies go out to those phone calls and emails we haven't returned the last few days...can't wait to post our pictures and details from abroad!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where in the world is Petrozavodsk?

So, I realized my map to the left leaves a little to be desired so here it is enlarged. Petro is on Lake Osega - near the Finland border. Petrozavodsk (Russian: Петрозаво́дск; Karelian/Finnish: Petroskoi or Äänislinna) is the capital of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, with a population of 266,160 (2002 Census). It stretches along the western shore of the Lake Onega for some 27 kilometers. We are very excited about the region. It's sister city is Duluth, Minnesota (only a few hours from here and one of favorite places to visit).

It is hard to believe that it is less than a week from us meeting our little guy. This past week is a very big blur. Allie is super excited about visiting Gramma and Grampa. She has every toy packed ready to go (which is helping us). Last night I explained to her (again) that Mommy and Daddy will be in Russia meeting her brother and she says, "I know mama and you gonna miss your Allie" with a big smile on her face, patting me on my shoulder. Tonight she helped me pick out a teddy bear to bring to her brother. She gave it a big hug and said, "you go to Russia with Mommy and Daddy" and then put it in my suitcase. (Where's the video camera when I need it?)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Our itenerary

Here is a brief version of what we will be doing on this first trip:

Oct. 20th - leave US
Oct. 21st - Arrive to Moscow before 1pm, train to petro
Oct. 22-23 - Stay in Petrozavodsk where we will meet our son!!!
Oct. 24 - doctor visit in Moscow
Oct. 25th - leave Moscow

It seeems so surreal that we are leaving in less than a week. We have a variety of emotions going though us (none of which at all resemble calm or collected). We have spent the weekend packing, getting last minute paperwork together and reserving hotels and apartments in Moscow and Petro. The most difficult thing (gulp) will be leaving our daughter while the best will be meeting our son for the first time (Wow - this is so different than being pregnant) and then again knowing we will have to leave him there...ugh - I can't imagaine how that will go.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


We leave Oct. 20 and will return Oct. 25! We are super excited and stay tuned, more excitement to follow!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


IT'S THE CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Our NEW destination: Petrozavodsk, Russia
Our Little Guy is 15 months old and ADORABLE (we can't post pictures until court is complete) I realize many of you are looking for an explanation. Trust me...we are as surprised as anyone that this is happening.'s what happened:

I was recently in touch with a woman who had swithced agencies when adopting from Russia. She suggested I contact the agency she had swithched to. We have loved the agency we had been using... they work very hard to ensure these children are placed into good homes however at what I believe is really no fault of their own, they had to extend our wait time. So...I decided to place a few calls to check on how much time and money is lost when switching agencies...really not thinking we would go through with the move. In fact after speaking with other agencies I figured I was pretty happy with what we had. My last call was to the agency the woman I had been in touch with had recommended. So...after an introduction the phone call went something like this:

Her: "What age and sex are you hoping to adopt?"

Me: "A..."

Her: "Let me guess, a boy under 18 months."

Me: Sigh (here it comes...the wait time conversation, this is where she tells me we have another year to wait and everyone she has waiting is looking for a little boy). "Actually, yes"

Her: "Really? And your paperwork is all ready? I actually have a little boy who is one-year-old coming off the database tomorrow. I just needed to find him a family who is ready to go by the end of October."

...She went on to explain that she should have some basic medical info and a picture (what we received yesterday) soon and we would then need to make a decision. The agency is very small but we happened accross it at the right time (when everyone else seemed to be looking for little girls or older children).

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?! The remainder of the conversation was followed by many squeals and pinching (this honestly felt like a dream). So...this is a God else do you describe this?!? We have since been incredibly busy rescheduling some things and scheduling others (doctor appts, international doctor preadoption consultation, updating our home study, getting immunizations, etc., etc.). We complete each and every task with such smiles and excitement. Our day has finally come.

So...the reason for not posting anything until now (the phone call took place about a week ago) is for a variety of reasons - first, we really wanted to be sure this was true. Also, we really only got the official call late yesterday and accepted the referral this morning. We spent time emailing and getting in contact with others who have used the agency (all very positive responses) and verifying the referral would actually occur. Secondly, while we are ESCTATIC, there is a large sense of guilt for those I have become close to in this waiting game...especially to those who have been waiting longer. So...I really felt the need to get in touch and explain this to those people before making our big blog announcement.

We are so happy to be able to share the most exciting and uplifting piece of this journey with all our friends, family, coworkers, fellow adoptees and bloggers...we will be posting prior to and while in Russia so keep tuned in.