Thursday, December 31, 2009

a Future StoryBoard

In the spirit of the traditional New Year's resolutions, I will share some tidbits about my life. Some things I will make an earnest effort to stop doing, some I promise to never stop. I am also throwing in some general observations and personal moments of clarity straight from the heart.
Smoking will be dealt with this year. I will continue to pray and plan, and plot and scheme for a doable way to quit this awful habit. I don't want to, but I want to.
I will not research any jobs in Russia for the next year. It's not doable right now. I don't want to give up my parents and sister, my work friends, my Church friends and mostly, I don't want to live without having fun with my "sistah from anotha mutha," Missi. I have a big ole new home and lots of support in my life. I won't trade that.
I am going to make an effort to open up my life to others. I keep a very small world for myself. I would like to open it up a bit. Maybe try to date, or meet someone who can share the grown up parts of me.
I am going to forgive my school district for not giving me a raise.
I am going to select a musical direction for my girlz. Piano? Violin? Guitar? Not sure which yet, but in the Spring, something will be decided.
I won't go back onto FRUA. I am glad I left it. I logged off several months ago, and haven't been back since. I got tired of reading parents blame their children's teachers for every ounce of misery in their lives. It was a joke. And honestly, a lot of folks over there seem to have a case of Munchhausen's by proxy. And if they weren't complaining about schools or how their child has this and that orphanage related malady, even though said child was adopted at less than a year old, then families were being flamed for not accepting a child who may have true disabilities. And then there were the questions. Really? Are you seriously asking what is the amount of time a child has to be on the data bank? Are you really asking if a your agency can tell you not to bring your older child overseas when you travel? Are you seriously going to ask about the 8 doctor medical, again? So, with nothing to gain but a clear head, I walked away from Frua..
I will continue to visit with old friends and new on Facebook. I Love It!!
I will find some new blogs to link to. I have found a couple of style and fashion blogs that for some reason, I keep going back to. It's not that I am tiring of any of my Russian adoption blogs, but I like feedback, and expanding who I follow might expand the entrees I make..I know people read this blog, but feedback matters and I haven't been getting it much. New ideas may bring new readers.
Somehow I will lose some weight this year. I have gained 50 pounds since Anna came home, and my body is hurting. I think it is a big reason my back can't really heal..I don't know how I will start to lose this weight, and I won't promise it all will come off this year, but some will start to come off.
I am going to do more praying about NewHope. Once again, I am feeling really disconnected from my small group and my friends there, and it aches my heart. I have some soul searching to do..
My kitchen will be remodeled this year. I want to go with an eclectic clean look. Nothing too fancy, but user friendly. I will also figure out a direction for my living room that is still empty. I am not sure I can afford to furnish it yet, but at least I will have an idea on how I will start.
Like like last summer, I will spend the whole time with my girlz. I should probably try to get a second job for the 2.5 months, but no way. I am spending the whole time relaxing. I hope to take the girlz to Disney World again, stay at my dads for month or so, and also spend some time in the Keys. We went last year for a few days and we really liked the laid back attitude. Missi's family and mine are hoping to rent a house down there. I am hoping that my sister and Marielle will come down for a few days, and of course, I gotta get my dear friend Lee and her family down there.
I have one secret dream that I want to pursue this year. I have told a million stories, and every time I do, someone in the group will inevitably say, "You should write a book." On this blog I try to be factual..I try to be honest and not so silly. But in real life, I am a silly, scary, hot mess and it may possibly make for good reading. There is a somewhat tragic "pre-story" to how I became a single mom of two Russian born daughters. A pretty sad story about how I failed myself, how others failed me, and how my body failed itself. The message of it the story is not one of hope, but one of persistence. The feeling of hope fades, but persistence is something that even a Christian Girl who smokes can practice..I don't pretend to think this book would ever be published. I just want to finish something that I have tried to start for 6 years...It only matters to me..
I am going to figure out if I think a tatoo on a 41 year old teacher is the ultimate in white trash or super fashionable. Yes, I want one on each inner wrist, reading up and down, with the words
"Комсомольский" on one wrist, and "Новосибирске" on the other..
The part of me that is organized and visual needs to map out my next year...

Happy New Year Blogger Folks...Hope you find and keep the dreams of your heart!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year, Yet Another Blog Design







If you read this blog, then you know...I love to decorate. This blog. My house is another story.
This little bit of the world can be switched around, changed up, and the cost to me...Nada.

My family and The God Family went on a trip to the Jersey Shore to visit another adoptive family. This is a family that traveled to adopt their daughter with Missi to Krasnoyarsk. Funny, while my agency was stuck in the whole mess with accreditation, I used to stare at the Russian National Data bank, and look through every region where Cradle of Hope worked. I picked out her daughter and thought she was so adorable, and decided if I went to Krasnoyarsk, I wanted her!

She is 4 now, and just precious. Our friend's hubby has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and a pretty aggressive type. Things have been pretty low for them, and Missi and I wanted to pay a little visit to brighten things up. We ended up having a great couple of days together. Being so close, we had to take the train into NYC.

Now we all know that I love Russia. and the cold. But oh my goodness, I was so cold walking around Manhattan. It was 17 degrees and windy. AugustRose had on two pairs of gloves and still cried at one point and said her hands were frozen. Even my polar bear Anna was cold.

I have Never seen the city so crowded. and I am usually there every Thanksgiving. Of course we did a quick run through American Girl, then we went to the Disney Store, then we went to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.
Anna and Sid...Lookin like a GAP ad

I think the most amazing part is that there were 5 adults and 8 children, (7 Russian, 1 home-made) 2 double strollers, and one umbrella stroller blazing through the city like commandos, daring anyone to try and break our parade of children.
For the first time, I got really cold. And I didn't like it. I didn't have the best winter clothes on, so maybe it was that. I came dangerously close to putting my dream to rest. (The one where I move to Russia for a couple of years)
The train ride into the city sucked. No seats, lots and lots of stops, and even a traffic jam of sorts..So when we got onto the train ride home, we were punch drunk from the day and had lots of room for silliness..

Anna and Sid eating some Disney Treats

BrooksieDoodle lovin' on her momma Ethan, Tati, and Jack

Fifi and Mr. Dave...It was his birthday!


We ended the night at Olive Garden celebrating Dave's birthday. It was great to be with so many people who love their kids and don't do the "party" thing. Lot's of laughs and lots of kids. I am living my dream.

We slept so well when we got the hotel! We took a quick tour of the Old Towne near our friends home and hit a sweet little consignment store and I was able to find AugustRose a couple of dresses and a few more hair bows..but as fabulous as she starts each day, she ends up like this on the way home!




Friday, December 25, 2009



All in all, it was a fabulous Christmas. I started buying for the girlz in September so I was pleasantly suprised at some of their gifts. Anna's favorite is her new pink laptop. It's an HP Mini, and just as cool as can be. That was a gift from Dadushka. AugustRose got a Leapster wireless computer type game. It hooks up to the TV and it works so perfectly for her age. Mom got both girlz guitars. Big hit.
I was sad that Church wasn't so good this year. Too much talking, and not enough singing. And we went to the children's service.
I am exhausted. The girlz have torn. my. house. to. hell. and. back!
I have to clean up tomorrow. We are heading to the Jersey Shore on Monday, and we have lots to get ready before we travel.
I hope everyone had a great holiday.







Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This is the first snow girl we have ever made. It's much more difficult to get a couple of wee ones to work together and make a snowman. Only minutes after we made our girl, the plows came and wiped her out..We were able to save...nothing.

AugustRose and I are sledding down the hill together.


This is in our front yard. Heaven right outside the door. My girlz were in and out all day.. They are true Russians. It's in their blood.



My dad and AugustRose heading down the hill. This was my dad's first time EVER sledding. It seems fitting that he would go down with his girl! They are so close. Thick as thieves as they say. Anna never wanted anyone but me, this little gal needs her Dadushka. She calls him "DADOO-MAGOOSKA."
It has already been a wonderful Christmas..




Monday, December 21, 2009

a sweet face

it's all in the eyes. the crusty sore on the mouth aside, this is one beautiful child. there may seem to be a distance or a slight vacancy there, but it's misleading. it's curiosity mixed with a slight sense of insecurity. but the girl behind this sweet face is growing more and more secure, more and more bonded, more and more settled. there is a fierceness to this child. an overall strength that is needing less reassurance, and accepting more and more love. she now saves all of her kisses for me. she doesn't physically agitate her sister anymore, now it's all about annoying her with songs and silliness. I am in love with this face, and the child who has it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

and after playing outside

So between snow runs, we came in for some hot coco and a little dancing. These are the times when I realize how truly blessed I am. When I look at my family and realize that I beat the odds. That God chose to bless me for some reason. I feel so happy today. I love my girlz so much.









I love the socks. I picked them up at the Dollar Store. They are just so cute! And BTW, what did I do before the Dollar Store opened up?
OK, just wanted to share a bit of our day. I have a big end of the year post coming soon. Enjoy your day everyone!
5 more shopping days til Christmas...




Snow Day

It's been a snowy fun day. My dad is here, so he got to enjoy the snow and the new sled that works so well.

Both girl can sit on the sled, and it's easy to pull.



It was really coming down yesterday. All day. We went out and in, and out and in..



The nesting dolls spent a little time in the snow too.






I have a photo of AugustRose from two years ago when she was about to be "sprung" from the baby home. It looks pretty similar to this.




Anna kept saying, "This is one of the best days of my life." She is forever greatful for the good times we spend together as a family.





Of course I couldn't slow them down to get a good photo of both girlz together. This is the best I got!






Thursday, December 10, 2009

Still Here...

Been busy. Teaching, testing, teaching, testing.
Christmas, shopping, decorating, shopping, running around.
Going to build our gingerbread house this weekend. Just chill and try to wrap up the shopping..

best of luck to my dear sweet Ethan this weekend..
The youngest in his whole team is heading for the swim team finals!
YEahhhhhhh!!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Condo Sold..

I was afraid to post this until I saw the MONEY in my account..and it is.
I wrote a nice check to my Church, one I can be proud of.
I wrote a check to my mom, to catch me up with her.
I wrote a GIANT check to my credit card, ending my debt to them. And that is the best part.
That debt represented hard times, when I relied on credit rather than actual income...
And after writing a few more checks here and there to catch me up, I will have just enough to put a little in savings. I need about 4K to redo my kitchen, and by summer I should have enough to get that started.

Do you ever wonder why we are given the blessings we are given? That is the part of being a Christian that I still don't understand. I still wonder why God is good to me. I shouldn't, but I do..I think I am still struggling in so many areas of my walk in Christian faith, but I try everyday to be better. I have a million areas to work on~~
I have to spend my quiet time reminding myself that God is good to everyone, and that I shouldn't feel guilty..

Sunday, November 29, 2009

and now, I am Truly Thankful

So maybe you want to see some snaps of my family on Thanksgiving? Well, there won't be any..I woke up and saw this lovely gal from across the room. So instead of sharing the traditional pictures I had to introduce you to my new friend. She is Kate. She is a Knightsbridge Quinn. And she is fabulous. Yes, we were at the mall with my lovely babies in the double stroller at 4 am in order to get online to get into Mrs. Spade's store in order for me to get my new purse at a discount, so worth it.
And the pink wallet. SPLENDID.
And this cute little pencil case, perfect for Anna's teacher from last year.
One more little hobo bag completed our stop at Mrs. Spade's store.

Don't Judge.
The day was actually wonderful. The girls had a great time, and couldn't get over that we were shopping in the dark. We shopped until mid morning, and then had a great breakfast at IHOP...
I am sure Mrs. Spade wouldn't approve.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

This weekend, among the happiness and thankfulness of some, my oldest and dearest friend from my childhood said goodbye to her beloved cat
CoCo
This deserves it's own post, since this is a cat that has been a part of my life since it was a kitty. I sat for this cat when it was just a little guy and he and my dog played together like old friends. This cat was like an old dog. He laid on you, constantly came to you for some scratching and lovin, and helped my daughter develop a love for cats..We have talked about this cat since we met it, and now at close to 20 years old, he passed away.
The end of an era.
Sad.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful, But



First, I want to share that I realize when you say "BUT" it negates everything prior, but I don't want it to come across that way.
I AM THANKFUL, I AM GRATEFUL
The settlement for my condo has been set 3 times thus far. I have taken off two separate half days thinking it was going to happen, only to find out hours before that it wasn't going to occur. I have been to the settlement office, signed my name, left the keys, and filled out the wire transfer information for the funds to be placed into my account. But as of this very Thanksgiving Day, nothing has happened. It has gotten so ugly, that my real estate agent doesn't want to say or ask anything in fear that some hot head may back out. And in this transaction, there are many hot heads, me included.
The problem could be blamed on all of us really. The original closing was set up for last Friday. The buyer's lender wasn't ready with his paperwork and although my agent called several times, he assured us it would be ready. Funny, the appraiser only showed up days before settlement. Anyway, that day was scrapped, without a walk through. The buyer decided not to do it, since he didn't want to face traffic to the burbs if we weren't going to the table. The day after our first settlement he did the walk through and found that we hadn't fixed a window that he wanted repaired. I never knew of this, and my agent didn't realize it was in the contract. (neither did the buyers agent) So we agreed to throw money at the problem and get a glass company to come over, write an estimate, and have a check ready for him at our second settlement day which was on the following Monday. With lots of back and forth about this window, and my agent running around and faxing estimates, copies of the check, and contacting the settlement company, we finally arrived at "the table."
But the buyer didn't.
We called his agent and it got ugly fast. She was convinced that it was our error, and she didn't know if her client was okay with everything surrounded the window. People, a window. At this point we had offered about 2 hunj to get the window fixed, and we all know that a new window would cost what? 3hunj??
So I left the table, with nothing...
The settlement was supposed to happen on Tuesday..But once again, his lender couldn't get it done that fast. The lender's documents must be date stamped for the day OF settlement, not the day before or after...It wasn't until mid-morning did I know it wasn't going. And I was devastated. Actually, I cried.
This is the money I need to catch up from the move, and I am in the hole right now. I needed to get this into my account..You know the story, we all can tell how our finances aren't as pretty as they could be..
So now, it should happen on Monday. Fingers crossed. But,
I AM THANKFUL, I AM GRATEFUL
that is only the beginning of the back story to the BUT..There is more.
Normally, I am in Manhattan for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I started going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when I was married. My X had an auto repair shop, and only had the actual day off, so we would leave on the night before, drive up, find a parking spot on the parade route, and sleep in his truck. We had the whole thing set up really well, with blankets to cover the front, snacks, and all the necessities. I can remember one year, we were sleeping in the truck and we heard a group of people, and then one of these thugs tried the door handle, then we opened the "curtain" and he had a tool out to break in...When he saw that we were in the car, there was lots of "Ohhh man, I'm sorry, wrong car." Yeah right..
We would sit on the roof of his car, watch the parade, then eat in Little Italy, and then do a quick tour, then drive back home.
When I started with my girls, we clearly did it the right way. Train or bus to the city and then 3 nights, 4 days in a Hilton...All paid for with my dad's miles.
Well, dad retired, so there are not enough miles to cover the whole trip and when I tried to find out how much it would cost, it was over 4 hunj per night, and I just can't do it..But,
I AM THANKFUL, I AM GRATEFUL
So my heart is a little sad today because,
I am also awkwardly emotionally about this being the day that I got custody of AugustRose. I had expected to be in Russia for a month, and planned it in my mind that way, so when the judge waived my ten days, I was somewhat sad. I can't tell you how much I love a Russian Winter, so knowing I wouldn't see much of it was a let down. For me, that time in Russia is the time to bond without having to share your new baby with family and friends. Some tell you to keep their world small, but honey, my family is from the South, and they will tell you
" kiss my grits and lemme give that baby some sugar." There is no small. It's granny and dadoo, and auntie and of course, Martha Stewart isn't letting you come home without a sign welcoming you to America.
So our time in Novosibirsk was
Pick up AugustRose, pick up adoption decree.(Which took a call to Moscow since her name was too long to fit, so we have a HANDWRITTEN adoption decree)
Call the lady from the birth certificate office at her home, have her come open the office and prepare birth certificate. Yes, my coordinator had serious pull..
Go to Aeroflot and change our tickets to Moscow, not all the way home, the international change would have to happen in Moscow.
The next day, we would pick up the passport in the morning and have the rest of that day to enjoy the town. Yes, a half day of to see the town, in a blizzard, with a backache. The next morning we flew to Moscow and met my sister. We dropped our document off at the embassy on the way to our apartment. The next morning, the doctor came to our apartment, and that afternoon, we were at the embassy. We came home the next morning. The whole trip was 11 days total. And for some reason, that makes me sad. But,
I AM THANKFUL, I AM GRATEFUL
I know that some of you are in the "waiting" stage, with nothing to envision, nothing to hold, nothing to plan for, and my advice to you is to hold on, and don't feel overwhelmed if your ten days doesn't get waived. Some of my friends are a bit overwhelmed by being home and dealing with their kiddos. Some of my friends are sad, as this is one more holiday without a parent who may have passed away. Some of my parents are alone. So truly,
I AM THANKFUL, I AM GRATEFUL
Lee, Jetson and Al and J, you are my family and I adore you. If I had my way, we would see each other everyday! Lee, I know you are hurting and missing your mom. I can only say, I love you and pray that your heart finds strength.
Jen S, Hillary, My Expat Friends and their mommas, (Tina)my school mates who fill my heart with comfort. (Staci,Heather and Margaret I love you 3)
Stacey, my waiting blogger friend, my heart is right there with you, Bernadette and her kiddos, Jenny and her family, Stephanie and the SHHHHHleyers,
and my favorite real estate agent Tina, I love you all to bits, you have special places in my heart and I am with you in spirit. With you. And Martha, my dear Martha, I love you. I don't ever tell you, but I do. Your kids are my babies, and Dave, well,he has to realize I am his other wife. He might not like it, but he has to accept it. Tell him to watch BigLove, I am the sisterwife!
To my momma and daddy, and my sister, you know how much I love you. I can never never, never, ever, thank you enough for how supportive and wonderful you make my life. I can never thank you 3 for giving my girls the love you give. I am truly a blessed girl..The Lord has blessed me, and for this
I AM THANKFUL, I AM GRATEFUL

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Terrible Day

I had so many things I wanted to do on Saturday. But none of it happened.
Anna had a meltdown that I couldn't understand, and it was epic.
I share all of our good times here, so I might as well share the awful days too. And it was awful.
It started when she woke up, and carried all the way through the night.

AugustRose has been sleeping with me lately. She comes to me and says she wants me to snuggle, and I ask her why, and she says, "because I love you." This is big, So we snuggle, and she wants me to tickle and scratch her back, and love on her. This is how it was with Anna until the night before she started kindergarten. I tell Anna that I did this with her so it is important that AugustRose needs that time too. It has been fine, but on the weekends, Anna will come in with me and want to snuggle too. And this makes AugustRose very jealous. The argue and fuss about Who Gets In The Middle... So that argument started, and I got irritated with it, and then to diffuse the situation, I encouraged the girls to take a morning tubbie.
All seemed a bit better and then an argument between the girls happened and I said those magic mother words, "If you don't stop arguing, I am coming in there and taking you out." At that point Auggie said I want to get out. I normally get their clothes ready and take them to the bathroom and hand them a towel, and they take cared of drying themselves off and getting dressed..Auggie needs some help, but she likes to do it on her own. Anyway, yesterday I wasn't ready with the clothes, so I went in, bundled her up in a towel, and took her to her room to dress. And Anna got very sad that I don't pick her up and take her to her room to dress..
We got through that, but it was only after lots of crying and explaining.
Then we go to Ikea to look for dining room chairs. And when I tell you Anna lost her mind, she LOST HER MIND. Why?
Because I used the cart she was playing on to load some heavy shelves. And she began crying, and wouldn't stop. Then she began demanding:
IceCream
Go To TOYsRUs
TAKE ME TO THE MALL
YOU HAVE RUINED THE DAY
YOU ARE VERY RUDE
I AM VERY MAD
TAKE ME TO SOME STORES, TOYSRUS OR THE MALL!

and all of this while crying, screaming, kicking, and generally losing her mind in the car. I was so upset. We came home and I put her in her room and she went to sleep for the day. She got up and I told her we were going to talk about her behavior. She asked me when, and I told her after I had a chance to think about it...
And I have thought about it, and feel very uneasy about the whole day. It was so upsetting for me, that I too slept in the afternoon. I woke up feeling drained and tired.
Today I am going to Church and praying for some clarity on this. It was much more awful than I can explain.
I am sure this has happened to some of you, so I know I am not alone. It is just very unsettling.

Friday, November 20, 2009

We were supposed to close on the condo today, but the buyers lender couldn't get the paperwork together, so we put it off until Monday.
We are so blessed to have a quick closing anyway, so I can wait a couple more days.

After settlement, I will be "adoption debt" free. I know that in reality, not many people could/would spend around 40K on an adoption and considering I am single and a teacher, I feel a very lucky to have been able to complete two adoptions. Once everything goes through I should be in a better financial position, and should be able to start saving.
I haven't been "into" blogging lately. I am feeling a bit tired too often, and have miraculously lost ten pounds. I have had lots of tests so there isn't a concern about a problem. I think I am just holding a lot of stress about my job..And my computer broke, so I am blogging using my school computer and I don't really like to use it for my personal stuff. So there has been a little unintended break.
School is much better this year, we had to open a new kindergarten since we had so many
little ones in our classes. The stress comes with the addition of new processes, new testing programs, and another year of being told, "You won't be getting a raise next year."
I have given up going to Russia to teach. At least for the next 4 years. I can actually retire after that, and then I will make a decision about what I am going to do. I will only be 45 years old, with 2o years into my county so I obviously need to start something new!!
I love my new townhouse. It is really big and the three levels, probably has something to do with my weight loss. It is so open and the light. There are these great windows and the creek behind our house can be seen from all of the windows in the back...

So not much excitement..

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Referral..

It wasn't a good medical report. But stop by Stacey's Blog and lend some support.
She (click link)
has a referral...
When a friend has been waiting, and longing for a child, it brightens the world to know she is just a bit closer to having that little child in her arms..The best part is she is going to KHABAROVSK! Congrats Stacey!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ratified

So I am still in HIGH demolition mode at the new townhouse. Dad has been here since September 18th and we are definitely gettin on each other's nerves, but it would be much worse if I hadn't just........

Ratified a Contract On My Old Condo!!
And to celebrate, I brought this puppy home. A perfect match to the table lamps I am still looking for.



I am losing a ton of money on the condo, but that money was money I made on my first townhouse. So really, it is not money I owe, it is money that I "coulda" made if the market wasn't so terrible. I bought the old condo while I still owned my first townhouse, so my dad had to put a boatload of money down. My sad little teacher salary wasn't enough to allow me to qualify for a second loan without a big down payment. So, dad is losing that down payment. We knew the chances of us getting our money out of the house were slim to none. I was afraid I would actually have to come to settlement with money, but thankfully, I am walking away with enough to pay off some things I am behind on, and even put a little away for my new furniture. I need to start saving, so a little will go to that too!
I am just so shocked that in less than 3 weeks I have a contract! God is good to me.


Monday, November 02, 2009

A Halloween Recap













In our family we celebrate Halloween and Easter with our God Family, headed up of course, by the matriarch of the family, Martha Stewart, also known as Missi.. This year the festivities were top notch. There were about 7 families there, too many little ones to count, and lots of great food. There were enough adults to keep up with the growing number of kiddies we take along for the "trick or treating." I usually hang back and poke fun at everyone with Debra, but AugustRose's cupcake was cumbersome so we were slow. It was all good. She did a lot of singing. She is picking up one of her big sister's best qualities. She is started to show her gratitude while in the moment. So, while we are walking in the dark, with tons of glow necklaces, she is saying,"Mommy, I love trick-or-treating. Thank you for taking me." " I love my cupcake costume. Thank you for making it." It is nice that she understands that we should be grateful in the moments of goodness. My big girl has always been a good one to share her appreciation for anything I do that brings her joy.

I have been very busy with school conferences, DRA testing, cleaning and organizing my class room for the 2nd quarter, and planning for our activities.
We were lucky enough to get a fourth kindergarten teacher, so I have been preparing the 7 children who will go to the new class. I have gathered their materials and sent them to their new room for tomorrow. I have some parents who blew off their conference, and have made no mention about their child going to the new room. Oh well, I can only teach them. I cannot be their mother.

I had Anna's teacher conference tonight. She is reading on a level 12. This is very good. The end of the year benchmark is 16 (18) so she should be in good shape to hit the mark. The books get increasingly more difficult as the year goes on, so she will not just breeze through. It will be tough, but she will do it. She is starting to read more at home jut for fun, so I am confident she is prepared to make it. AugustRose is also doing well, and I have a phone conference with her teacher tomorrow. I worry about her a little since she tends to react wildly, when she doesn't get her way, or the toy she wants.

Life is good.





















































Saturday, October 31, 2009

I haven't shared this with many people, since it was so painful that I honestly didn't want to remember it. It wasn't any one's fault, nor do I blame anyone, well, I do but more on that later...

In order to understand this story, you will have to go back several years. It was very soon after I decided to adopt a second time, and I had whizzed through my paperwork and although I had started my second adoption in January, I was quickly paper-ready to review or receive a referral...I went to the offices of COH and was able to review the files of 5 different children. Girls. Babies. My social worker and document specialist told me that I would only be able to get the information packet for one child. So we spread the pictures out on the table and I sat and stared at the faces of these darling little ones. One was quickly eliminated due to her age. If I remember correctly, she was around 18 months old. Another child was eliminated because she was Tartar or Roma, and would look very different than Anna and myself, and I wanted this new little one to blend in with us without looking like the child that was "adopted." Then I was left with three little girls. Two of the little girls were in Komsomolsk Na Amur and the other was in Khabarovsk.

I really wanted to go back to Komsomolsk, but one of the children had a minor disorder that I was unsure of, and the other two little girls were equally precious. My choice came down to choosing the youngest child. So, as a group we agreed that I would take the video, medical records, and other relevant information. Being a second timer, I knew that I had a few days to think about this and contemplate what I would do.

I took the video home and watched it over and over, I emailed the video to a few friends for help and sent it off to an international doctor for his review. This little gal was born premature at 32 weeks, and weighed just over 5 pounds. That was a concern, but I knew I was willing to listen to the doctor's advice and then rethink everything! His report was positive and I accepted this little gal. This was at the beginning of April.

That year, was the dreaded year that all agencies licenses expired. The Russian Ministry of Education had not yet written the new requirements for reapplying for their licenses to perform adoption work, so everyone knew that year was going to be very tough...Looking back, I don't think anyone thought it would be as long as it was.

My agency agency's license expired in May.

My documents were sent to Russia in the first part of April and at the middle to end of April I began to worry and push my agency for answers. By then I was in love, that sweet little face was burned into my memory and I could imagine all the fun that she would have with Anna. I got frustrated and did some undercover spy work, and contacted my friend in Russia about my little one. She let me know that she was still on the database and would not come off of the registry until the end of May. Meaning, I could not travel to meet her until then, meaning my agency would have no license, meaning, I couldn't go meet her. I couldn't tell my agency that I knew when this child was scheduled to come off of the registry, since they hate it when we go around them, so I was stuck to ask pointed questions and push them to ask more questions to the coordinator.

The day before my agency's license expired(along with countless others) I called my agency's director and blew up. I told them what I knew and refused to share how I knew it..I cried and screamed and let them know that I couldn't wait for an unknown amount of time for the Russian government to decide how to re-accredit agencies with this little gals face in my head. I couldn't walk around living my normal life knowing that there was a precious little gal who I had fallen in love with, languishing in an orphanage.

At the time, there was a middle man/company associated with COH and this mm/company tended to lie to COH and so although the COH staff may have wondered if this middleman was a dishonest man, they couldn't prove it, so they had to tell us wild stories to explain events that were out of the norm. COH's hands were tied to this mm/company and as much as they wanted to work directly with the regions, this mm/company wanted ultimate control of information. It was a very terrible time. For a while I didn't know if I could still travel to meet the child since my documents were submitted prior to the expiration of COH's license. For a while everyone was in limbo as to what the regions would do. Ultimately, Khabarovsk decided to stop everything. No first trips, no court trips. Yes, there were those who had already traveled to meet their children who had to wait for their agency to get their license reinstated. At the time, many families waited hoping that "any day" the Ministry of Education in Moscow would outline the plan for agencies to apply for their license. After many months, most agencies steered their families to the agencies whose licenses had not yet expired. After even more months No agencies were technically able to work.

This left me completely out of luck. As far as Russia knew, the little girl that I had fallen in love with was never promised to me. I had no legal right to meet her, visit her, love her. So as with many families, I lost her.

I was okay for a while, but then she disappeared from the Russian database. Then I knew that she was with another family..Maybe Russian, maybe a family from another country. I was happy that she had found her family, but sad for myself.

Then while looking at Khabarovsk's list of available children recently, I saw the face of a little girl that I knew. It was her and I was devastated. She had much more hair, and was lots bigger, but her eyes were just the same. It was her. The happiness of knowing she was with a family had long since conquered my sadness about losing her. And now seeing her back on the registry meant that what seemed like a permanent home for her turned out to be only

temporary. If there is one thing I have learned through adoption, its that the heart can be broken on many different levels. Curious levels. Knowing there is nothing I can do, knowing that she is waiting, wondering what happened, all break my heart on many of those curious levels.
So what do I do now? Where is this going?
Nowhere.
I can only pray for this child who slipped through my hands. Please pray that someone will love this child. Pray that my heart won't break for her anymore.
So much has changed in the years since all of this. No longer do agencies get packets of information with videos, medical reports, and photographs. Pretty much everything about adoption has changed.
I understand that this loss brought me to AugustRose, and that makes me happy. Not choosing one of the others saved me from a year of devastating waiting for the system to catch up..And after being home a few months, I went to an Easter party at the Russian Embassy. While there, I met a family who had adopted a little girl from Komsomolsk. It was the little girl who was just a few months older than the gal I lost. It brings me such happiness to know that my choice to go with the younger child meant that family could find their perfect child!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

She Wasn't Who I Wanted..

I knew there was a child available. I knew this child was in Novosibirsk. I knew that she was very healthy and off the data bank. I knew she was 15 months old. My agency had never worked in this region prior to my adoption and I was asked to travel to meet the child with only the information about her health. I jumped at the chance. At the time, I secretly thought if it wasn't a match, I would request another referral. In my mind, it was 'win-win.'

When I agreed to be the guinea pig for my agency, I went straight to the federal data bank and started to look for the little girls that were around 15 months old. I found 3 or 4 but was able to eliminate a couple, because they were either Eurasian, had siblings, or looked as though they were ill. So I made my travel arrangements and the trip was set. Just prior to leaving to meet this little girl, I got an email titled, "Here She Is." I opened the email and my heart sank. These are the two photos that were attached.

The first thing I saw were her ears. Oh those ears. Then as I looked further, I fell farther out of love. She was odd looking and she had blue eyes. Because Anna has very dark brown eyes, I felt like that was what this child should have.
I called the BFF, Martha and asked if my agency was punishing me? Why would they think I could bring home this sad looking little child? How could this be? But in my endless googling I had found a website specifically highlighting the available orphans in Novosibirsk. I went back to the couple of girls that I thought my referral could be, and realized that SHE was one of them. I can remember when I saw the other site, I said, "Aw, Look, I bet that little girl has big ears, so they put a headband on her! Going back and forth, I began to see that my referral wasn't so photogenic and I needed to get over myself. Here is the photo that made me take the trip.

Upon meeting my gal, I was blown away by her beauty. She was long and lean with the most stunning blue eyes. She was 16 months old, and looked like she was 3 years old. Her fine motor and gross motor skills were way ahead of my big girl's skills at that age. Here we are in the moments that we met. She was tentative, yet warmed up nicely.

We got back to Novosibirsk quickly and had AugustRose in our arms on Thanksgiving Day of 2007. She was 18 months old. Everything I had for her to wear was a wee bit short. She looks small here, but she was a giant!
(1st Meeting with Grandma)
Can you figure out why I posted these two photo together? Do you see the common link? It's the bracelet. Both girls loved it and held onto it every time we were together. For some reason they both liked to try and put it on their feet, and both girls loved to snap it open and closed.


Once in Moscow, Anna took some funny photos of us. My sister flew to Moscow to meet us. Thank goodness, since just before leaving for my court trip is the precise time that I injured my back. (so if you are adding it up yes, it has now been two years of aggravation.)

I bought tons of this chocolate because AugustRose resembles this little gal!

Anna took this...I think she was telling me to bend down! At least I hope this pose wasn't what I thought made me look thin!

I took this at Gum. I am not sure what Anna is doing, but if you look closely, my AugustRose was just about to reach her arms out for me. She was still only wanting her mama.

I can't believe it's been two years together. AugustRose is so much more complex than her sister. She can be as silly as a circus clown, and can fight like a cornered tiger if she needs to. Adopting her changed the dynamics of our family in more ways than I can explain. It has been much tougher than I imagined, but it has also been more precious than I realized it would be. AugustRose is extremely bright and can read several words already. She colors in the lines and can nail a nail into a 2X4. She has perfect pitch when she sings, and makes up songs almost everyday. She doesn't like pet names, and even today when I called her "sugar-baby" she said, "I am not a baby." She has an independence about her, sort of an aloof attitude towards many things, but always wants to hold my hand or ride in the stroller when we go out in public places. She adores her Dadushka and I am pretty sure she thinks he is superman...
Everyone in my family says that she is the "spitting image" of me when I was little. Funny, every time she stomps her foot and replies "Never" when asked to do a chore, I hear how much like me she is...
With AugustRose, I have found that I am much more laid back. Her spirit is strong and I dig that about her. Looking back, I am sad that my first reaction to my girl wasn't a great one, since I was so wrong..Maybe that first image made me think she wasn't who I wanted, But God Knows how much I love her now. So tomorrow at our 2 year post placement appointment I look forward to sharing my baby's special gifts. But shhhh, don't tell anyone I called her a baby!