Thursday, April 30, 2009

Playing Around...

After a million different backgrounds, title pics, and layouts, I am going with this one. The key is finding something that reps the "Sunny" "Sunhsine" aspect of the blog. My daughter came home and I think I must have belted out, 'You Are My Sunshine'a gagillion times. My girls light up my world. Their giggles give me actual warmth like the sun. I am a wee bit ADD and love to change and play around with this type of thing so seeing all of the options was a true hurdle for me...
I want to keep the layout simple enough to be easy to read! I think K had mentioned that the songs were distracting, and now that I go to a friends blog everyday, (one with music) I get it..The song is important to the writer, but not so much for the reader!!
I write the way I speak, sort of all over the place. I need as little distractions as possible!

Today's plan,
get AugustRose 4 passport photos for her US passport
get Anna 6 pictures for her Russian passport renewal, Can you beleive it? (2 photos for her registration update.The Russian Embassy still has our old address)

Then on to a little festival in our town. There will be a petting zoo...Wonder if there will be pigs!!

I am playing around with my layout..It' true Kate, the photos are sort of greenish blue!
I am going to look for some new ways to fix that!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

About Today

Today at Church, my preacher Rusty told us that we were part of an experiment. You see, we are in a building that is less than a year old. After about 15 years as a Church that met in various high schools, we built a facility. It is amazing. Tons of extras that you would want in your Church. The experiment is that we are closing the balcony for a while. Rusty and a group of leaders feels that as a Church, worshipping together sometimes means being close. Physically close. I like it. I do feel the love of those around me. Sometimes, when I look around and realize how far we have come as a Church, I cry.

Although the message was great, I got a huge heart pain while there. Not a medical kind of pain. Just an ache. The kind the makes your mind wander all over the place. I was thinking only about Russia. I did the thing that an adoptive mom should never do while in a large group who are all now, very close. I allowed myself to remember when my girls were still in the orphanage. I allowed myself to imagine them being scared or lonely. I allowed if only for a brief minute the way my girls would appear if they were paraded out in front of families that may or may not want to adopt them. I torture myself sometimes this way. I think I am preparing myself to return to Russia next summer. What I don't know is if any of us can handle what we see while not wearing our adoption goggles. Jen, Missi, and I may think we are prepared, but in reality, it may be so difficult that we do the one thing I have promised Never to do..Forget the place where my girls lived...

So after I tortured myself Rusty read this:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Psalm 139

HOnest to goodness, I lost it. This is the verse that I would read and repeat in my car at lunch everyday while waiting on the process to start for AugustRose. I was like a savant, rocking and crying, and reading and reading and reading.

So today, I am still a little tender. Tender for all of those families who have their adoption googles on. Those who will nervously walk into the baby homes and find their children. Tender for those who are waiting and wondering. I haven't forgotten how hard the wait is. I haven't forgotten that somehow God walked my family through it.

You have read the verse that got me through AugustRose's adoption, here is the song that was sort of the song of the day...It reminds me of that time in my life

And from Anna's adoption,

big edit!!!



There is so much more that I wanted to say today but it is all wrapped up right now...

Saturday, April 25, 2009


So what is the all time best way to celebrate turning 7? A bounce house party of course. So along with the Hoozez, the Baker girlz, and Kim's girls, and lots of other little ones I don't know too well, we headed down to historic F-burg and went to the PlayRoom. Very cool little place just perfect for birthdays.
Missi upped the anti and made The Bounce House Birthday Cake. It was so cute. It was a 4 layer cake, and each layer was a different color and flavor! So cool!

My girls love to go to parties. As my bond with AugustRose grows ever stronger, she shows her dependancy on me by walking around holding my clothes. She was very fearful when we arrived and wanted to "just watch." Within minutes she told me she wanted to get in with me, so I pushed my big self through the little entrance slits, (think Winnie the Pooh) and climbed in. We jumped and jumped. It was actually a blast. I am sure my back will be aching tomorrow, but it was worth it.There was a ball pit, and of course Fifi and AugustRose had a grand ole time in the balls. I don't even want to imagine how much "funk" we picked up from that thing.
At one point, Fibi stood on the edge and took a giant swan dive into the middle of the ball pit. She is a riot that one.

We gathered for pizza and cake towards the end of the day, you can see how excited the Birthday Girl was to hear the crowd sing for her!

Happy Birthday Dear Sweet Girl, The Green Girlz Love and Adore You!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kindie Pals

My Anna has a little friend in her class that she tends to play with. She is almost as cute as my little one...Just for clarity, MINE IS THE ONE WITH THE BLACK EYES! They ended up with the same winter hat, and Mrs. Hall, Anna's most precious, lovely, wonderful, amazing, teacher caught them on the playground one day and took this! I think it perfectly captures my girls kindergarten experience. How lucky am I?
Some parents end up with teachers who seem to well, not like kids.But Anna's teacher is one of those gals who really seems to like children. Because of this, my girl is reading on a first grade level, writes pretty great stories, and can count for days.

As for my AugustRose, we started to talk about her birthday today in the car and she said, "Oh no, no, no, and no." Then we giggled and she told us she didn't want to talk about birfdays. We laughed and laughed at her. She is a stitch that one!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We are Legit!

Together with Missi and Jen, I am diligently working on our 501(c)3. We are approved as an entity in Virginia, and we are waiting on our IRS application to be approved. Our goal is to work
with the orphanages in Khabarovsk from
which each of us adopted. We will focus on those homes first, since those are the ones we have connections. We are going to begin fundraising soon, and hope to raise the money to take back with us. We have a friend in Khabarovsk that will get approvals from the MOE so that we can go to the homes and speak with the directors to find out what they need. So much has changed that
we may need to purchase items that at one point were readily available to them.
My dream is to TRY and visit the judge who hears adoption cases. She has been very difficult to families lately and I wonder if she is moving towards allowing no American families in her court, or if she just wants to cover herself in light of the tragedies that she has heard of.
We are hoping to have our website go live by May 15 2009. That would be one year before our Launch Party, and we could start to ask for groups such as Girl/Boy Scout Troupes, civic organizations and Church groups to support us. We are very new at this, and want to keep our focus. I keep thinking about Anna's orphanage. She lived in the Komsomolsk Baby Home. She had a wonderful caregiver named Victoria. This dear woman found my address and wrote to me after I had been home for about 6 months. She shared in her letter that she had been the one to take primary care of Anna and was very happy that she found a family. Later she shared that she adopted a baby that was Anna's age. What I believe now is that she wanted to adopt Anna, but I got there first. In a recent letter she wrote that the only children that were in the baby group where Anna lived are children with very special needs. She called it "very sad."
I look forward to meeting her again. She loved my daughter and reached out to me so I know she cared deeply about my Anna. She said that she wanted our daughters to meet one day. I am not sure if I will bring Anna on our mission trip. In one way, I think it is important for her to go back to Russia, again. (she went on our trip to adopt AugustRose) I think it should be a regular experience for both girls to go back. I want them to be completely familiar with their birth country. I don't want it to be mysterious to them. We go to Florida every summer. We stay at my dad's beach house. They know I grew up in Florida and they know they are solnichka babies at heart, and dyevochkas in the soul.. In my mind, going to each place often will build a solid foundation of who they are...Yes, going to Russia every other year sounds crazy, but look who is writing this...Anyway, I can't imagine going back to Russia without them, so that means taking my dad too. He simply won't allow us to travel internationally without him. Me, yes, but not with his grands. So that means I need to save personally to take them. I won't ask anyone to help me bring my girls and DAD back. I figure I will need about 7K to take them and my dad is on his own!! So this 3Moms Mission is growing in scale, and cost! But it is so worth it..

"In order to move forward, sometimes you have to go back."
Now about working in Russia.
I had a couple of good leads for this year. They didn't work out and I can pretty much pinpoint why. I have tons of baggage and no international experience. My baggage being that I am single and have 2 daughters to bring along. The one lead in Saint Petersburg hired teachers with international teaching experience. The other lead sort of fizzled out before it ever got going. But this year, I plan to TRY to travel to Russia to meet the HR folks in Moscow at as many of the international schools as I can. I need to let them know that it may seem as though I am a wee bit of extra effort, in the end I am worth it. I am sure they are nervous that a single mother of two in a foreign country will be a problem, but really no matter where I am I am that same single mother and I do just fine. I have the ability to just figure things out no matter where I am.
I have figured out that I can enroll August in a preschool, and Anna would go to school with me, where ever that turned out to be. This is easy...And I have a strong family support system. Each Grandparent agreeing to taking turns in Russia for several months. My dad is even looking for work in Russia since he will retire later this year.
As for having international experience, I think teaching children in a school with over 20 languages should be of note. Right now in my very class I teach children from the following countries:
Bangladesh, Bolivia, El Salvador, Ghana, Libya, Pakistan, Mexico, and of course the good ole USA.
Many, many of these little guys are fresh off the plane from their homelands and go back throughout the year. At any given point at my school there are many children away from school and on a visit to their families "back at home." So I already feel like I have the international experience that schools want. I understand that they want me to be comfortable where I am, and that is where my adoption experience is not truly understood. I was shuttled about and taken care of by my agency and although I was there, I am sure schools worry that my heart was ready to get back to the US. What they don't know, is how hard I cried when I was being driven to the airport to come home. I can remember when this photo was taken...
It was mid October and we had left Khabarovsk and gotten safely to Moscow. It was my last chance to soak it in. We would leave Moscow the next afternoon. I cried off and on all day. I shared with my dad that I didn't want to come home. I wanted to stay in my Russian Bubble forever. Anna had been with me for about a month, and we were "thick as thieves." My sister was there to a part of it all and all of those years ago I began to wonder if I would ever make it back to Russia. Little did I know.

The same feeling. Different region, different daughter. My time in Novosibirsk was so short and chaotic. I had this ONE day to be with AugustRose in her city. I picked her from the orphanage on Thanksgiving Day. The ZAGS office that would provide her birth certificate couldn't fit her long name on her documents and asked me if I could change her name just enough for it to fit. I agreed to remove 1 letter but that wouldn't work. The judge had agreed to the original spelling and there would need to be a hearing for a change. So Moscow was contacted. Within one day, they agreed to allow the ZAGS office to issue me a new HANDWRITTEN birth certificate. That same day, we took that to the office that provided her adoption decree. That office was closed for the day. My coordinator called the woman at her home, and magically the decree was issued from a closed office. (I could have this story flip flopped/It could have been the adoption decree and not the birth certificate that were the problem) ANYWAY, all of this was done the afternoon after my court hearing. Yes, you read that right. I had sprung AugustRose taken her to meet my mom and Anna, left for the marathon paperwork chase, and came back to the hotel to see my mom strung out from the day... All of those documents had been delivered to the passport office and we waited 1 day to get it...There was a super blizzard happening, and I took the girls on a walk to play in the snow and see the town. In the photo above, you can see that AugustRose was holding on to my diet coke and water bottles for dear life. The next afternoon we picked up the passport and the next morning we were on a plane to Moscow. You can see that I am worn out in the photo. But oddly, I wanted more time to see the city with my new little family. Once again, I was thinking, "Will I ever get back to Russia?" I was never thinking, I gotta get back to America, I was always thinking, "How can I get back?"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dear Family and Friends...

Here are the gilrs cologing eggs, the kids said, "These are real eggs, what do we do with them?"

Have you ever had one of those few days when the stars line up and all is right in the world? Well we are in the midst of those days right now.
We had our special visit from Laurie and Tanner, then mom's surgery went off pretty well, my dad already got our tickets to Florida, we had our Easter Egg Hunt with Missi and Dave and the family, and my girls are simply magical. AugustRose has been a bit fussy today, but just kept saying "Hold me Momma." Seems odd that with my broken down back, I would want to hear those words, but the longer AugustRose is home, the better we bond.

She has always loved my dad. Looking back, it should have been a sign in the orphanage when she went to him immediately. She let him hug and squeeze her and play. Anna was momma's shy, unsure baby and only wanted me. Anyway, AugustRose is her Dadu's girl and everyone knows it. But I will do when he is not around. She is holding my clothes when we walk together, holding my hand when we sit, and whenever she rests, she wants me to Pap-pap her back...

The past week has been so great to be together. Lots of random kisses, lots of sleeping together and lots of new words. Augusts' newest phrase is "Actually no." When I ask her something, and then she changes her mind this is what she says.

Another new one, is "My My My" when something is funny and silly. Anna will do something crazy and August will say this.

We got to spend a bit of time with our "play cousins" and enjoyed seeing Hadley too. Kim's girls came along for our egg hunt and seemed to enjoy being with everyone. Kim is pregnant and I think the girls are little unsure of how to deal with it.

New Hope was amazing. The outdoor service was very good, and the children loved it!

The youth band played and they really rocked it out. The leaders Miss Stefanie and Paster Jim did a great job on Friday and today at re-telling the story many different ways so that Anna left Church understanding that today is a happy day since it is the day the Jesus came back to life. This is the day that He became our Savior as Noone else has done this before Him.

We don't do a big lunch with friends. Today we came home and I made Pizza for the girls and added strawberries and blueberries for their desert! This made me the best mom ever as they both love all berries.

So now, the rest. And momma has to go back to work tomorrow, and I will rest too.

Our first egg hunt...With the people we love so much, the Hughes, Bakers, and Kim's girls!

Anna at Black Out Friday at New Hope Church, Friday night...Notice the boy in the background..

Here is Anni with her white eggs after Church...

Here are both girlies, loving their loot from there 2nd egg hunt.

And of course AugustRose being silly with her eggs!

Happy Easter!

We painted the eggs.We did the egg hunt. We went to Good Friday service. The Easter Bunny came. Now we are up and enjoying our time together. We are about to get on our Sunday finest, (not actually, at our New Hope we are wearing all white as a follow up to Black Out Friday...White Wash Sunday)
Then it will be back to the real world.

I have been on Spring Break this weak and it has been a bit hectic, but I loved my time with the girls even if we were on the go. I have to say that my girls have become quite the little travelers, loving their time being "out and about."

Promise to post some photos of the past couple of days!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Corotid Artery Time Again...

Mom is the hospital again for her 2nd corotid artery surgery. It went well, but recovery didn't. She has blood pressure issues afterwards, and they spend the rest of the day trying to get her pressure down, then up, then down...
She tends to get very sick after the surgeries, and this time she stayed in intensive care for the night.
I am hopeful that she can come here tonight, and then we will go from there.

We had such a great time with Laurie and Tanner, and both of my girls wish they had a big brother, Hhhhhmmmm? Don't think it will happen, but it's fun to dream!

We look forward to our Easter Day with the Hughes and then Easter at New Hope Church.
Happy Easter to all of our friends in Bloggerland...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cherry Blossom and Spring

This past weekend was the Cherry Blossom Festival. The girls love to go "Out and About" and enjoyed the windy weather and the sunny day!

One of my oldest friends, Laurie, came up to visit from Florida. She has a son Tanner and we did the town all 5 of us!