Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's Spring so time to clean up the old blog header and add a new one..Just so you know, I hate this one. But I have done it three times and can't get a good feel for what I want..So this is it for a while.
School is on break, and I am in Heaven.
I am singing in the choir for Easter this year. There are 21 of us, and it is thrilling! I love to sing, but for the first time as an adult, I get to do it. I am learning a lot, but thank goodness I took piano and oboe for years, because they are not messing around!

We are all well, and enjoying our time together. Not much news to report, just wanted to pop in and wish you all a Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And Just as KATBAT promised, I got our treat, and it is truly very Russiany! The girlz and I just love it!!! Thank you sooo much!
The girlz were so excited to think that this came all the way from Moscow.

Anna said Moscow was the best place in Russia since it had all the good playgrounds and chocolates.

(Mind you, they were wooden, splintery, almost dangerous, and she could FLY down the slides since there was snow on them) (Plus the fancy smancy grocery store had little carts for her, and a candy aisle with all "DIFFunt" chocolates!)
On a side note, through my charity, SOAR, I am trying to raise some money for a single adoptive mom to take with her to Khabarovsk. If anyone is interested in sending a donation please do.
It would be easy to buy items here, but the luggage overage fees are too high. She will be able to purchase some things for the outlying baby home that is BEYOND Komsomolsk, in the Khabarovsky Krai.
All checks are tax deductible and should be sent to:
1412 Milbank Road
Woodbridge, Virginia 22191
*If you have something specific you would like her to try and purchase, you can let me know!
Any amount will be appreciated!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Catching Up!

This weekend my sister took the girlz to her school for "Garden Day" for some outdoor fun. And to give momma a day to START cleaning the mess around the house. Auntie went to NYC last weekend and of course she got us a few more I heart NY shirts. We always have a few of those in the house. The girlz were so silly when they came home. It was a combination of some good ole fashioned "spring, outdoor fun" and time with Auntie. You can see from the pics just how much AugustRose has changed. Not just in the way she looks, but the way she loves.
Like every orphaned child AR had developed a protective shell around her. AugustRose dealt with her time in the orphanage by shutting out adults, and by fighting every child that crossed her path. This was so shocking to Anna, who has such a gentle soul. It was equally shocking to me. I think at the time, I was too protective of Anna, fearing that this "terrorista" would forever damage her gentle soul. It made for a very, tough, awful, first 6 months home. Really. I wanted to give up. But thankfully, my dear BFF Martha, kept encouraging me to give it 6 months. And she was right. Around that time we stopped the meltdowns, All of us, and started to live more normally. But now. We aren't just living normally. Now its way better. Every since the summer, AugustRose has become the child she is supposed to be. The one God intended her to be. She started to show her really Funny Wild Silly Smart Self! And now I can see the parts of her that were a mystery to me for so long. Since the summer she and I sleep together every night. (BTW, I think this is the Essential Building Block to bonding with a baby/toddler) Now, every morning, she wakes me with an epic snuggling session. Kisses, and hugs. She says, "Tighter Momma" And part of me cries inside knowing that we are just now getting to this. It has been over two years since she came home to us. But I have to take it as it is, and take all the loving, and make up for time lost. I can do that!
All of this seems normal to bio families. But with adoptive families we have to take it as it goes. And work to unveil the true child that has been living in their shell at the orphanages.
I have been so happy lately. I never believed in Seasonal Affective Disorder before this year. But man the sun has been shining and my girlz have been in the yard playing when I drive up after school and I just want to cry out in joy!! This is what I asked God for. A family of my very own. Everyday stuff.
And I had a great "back and forth" with the principal in St. Pete. He offered me the chance to interview for a 5th grade position. With absolute appreciation I had to turn down the chance. I am a primary teacher. I wouldn't have done a good job, and I want to work and make a boss' life easier and not add to his burden. BUT, he told me of primary openings next year, and asked that I plan to either come to the job fairs, or plan to meet with him next year to discuss the vacancy.
I am going to be in prayer about this. I have asked my small group to pray for me and the direction I should take...
There are pros and cons to each side. But for me, I am still forever grateful to the country that gave me my girlz. I want the girlz to be there to see Russia, with loving arms around them. I want them to feel Russian. It sounds ridiculous. But I also want to give them Back a bit of their past. I also want to be where they are. My mom was a teacher at my school. Then later, the principal of my school. It was nice. All school events we did together as a family. School was the center of our family.
But, I am going ahead with a plan in my head and for now, we are going to just be.
Today I am teaching Sundee school again, and later tonight, my mom is being baptized. She was already "dipped" as a teen, but in my Church, they like to baptize ya again as a public event to show that you are fully following Christ. My sister will be there, and lots of my small group will go to support her!!
My surgery is scheduled for Tuesday April 27th. For all my locals, I want some flowers, cards, letters, chocolates! (hee hee just teasing) BUT I am planning to go out the night before. Silver Diner in Woodbridge. Be there to celebrate!! Missi, you bring the cake!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today I worked at my school until 8.oo pm.
We had a Partners In Print Night.

Anna had an event at her school that began at 5:30. Families were invited. AugustRose and my mom and Anni went, and had a lovely time.

This is why I need to work where my girlz attend school. I don't like to split my loyalties.

*Side note:
AugustRose has a new line. "Mommy, are you happy?"
Me: "I sure am."
AR: "Momma, what makes you happy?"
Me: "Your beautiful face, butterflies, watching you play." (etc.)
AR: "OK, now you ask me so I can share my happinesses."

Good times.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Plan

I am writing this so that I can say, "no, I have a plan." or "yes, I have to since it's part of the plan."

Employment Plan:
Next year will be 2o years teaching in Virginia. So that leaves 10 years until I can retire.
I would be 51. But, because I just need a break from the easiness that is my life, I want to work all of next year to get ready for the job fairs that international schools attend. Those happen in February.
Obviously my first choice is Russia. And if given the choice, I would prefer St. Petersburg over Moscow. Novosibirsk has a tiny little school, but it's not likely they will need someone next year.
If I were to get a job in Russia, then I am set. Gosh, if I got a job in Russia, I would be jumping for joy. Look, I know it is hard there. I get it. BUT, the thing about me is that I thrive on the tough road. The straight, well paved road, on the way to Glory is where I struggle.
If I get there and hate it, I come home after three years. and get my job back, since they have to hold it for two years.
BUT, I would be willing to sign a 5 year contract if they would hire a single with two dependants.

BUT, if I still can't convince AAS that I am a steady kind of girl, then I would push for another city. I am doing some research to see what the least preferred city is and go there! I could almost consider going to Africa, (I HATE THE CONSTANT HEAT) for a year or two if it got me into Russia, later.

I have this giant house to think of. Currently I am thinking that I would rent it out for the time I am gone. It is big enough for a family and with all the military around, I don't think it would be too difficult to do.

And then there are my parents. Well, my thought now is that they could each come over for 3 months at a time. I am trying to get my mom to actually go back to teaching. She retired when Anna came home from Russia, but she was a teacher, then principal so she knows what she is doing!! Then we would be a type of couple...Right? Ok, maybe not a traditional couple, but two people at least.

Then there are my Church and IRL friends. I would hate to leave them. I would. It would hurt very bad. But sometimes there is a little voice in our heads that tells us we have to live for our families and not through or for others. I love the idea of working and being with my children.
Right now I lose 2 hours a day on commuting. I wouldn't mind the commute if my girlz were in the car with me. I am not making grown up progress with new relationships. I don't know how going to a foreign country would help with that, but I am feeling a little stuck in the mud lately. (Sorry, I know I am not explaining that well)

Then there is my health. After I recover from my surgery, I plan to join a women's gym. I want to get myself into shape. I need to lose about 50 pounds. And if I never end of leaving Virginia, then at least I will feel better~~

I sent my resume to a principal today. Not to ask for a job, just to remind him that I am still out there, dreaming of coming to work for his school. I don't expect to hear from him, I just felt like reaching out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It Hurts

to hurt for a friend. And not know what to do.
To wonder if this is all a huge mistake. To wonder if it's the wrong thing to do..But to know that it's not.
It's not our way to be in misery. We are happy girlz. And no matter how hard it hurts, all of us have to make moves to make our own hearts happy. It makes us better in the end.

I bet you all have a friend is hurting right now. The kind of hurt that goes all the way to their bones. That makes them a crazy hot mess to follow. But follow them. If you have to follow them to the depths of hell, you gotta do it. Because they are our dearest friends and they need us..Right now it's them..But soon, it could be us. So follow.

Pray for Friends today. I will.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A View of My Other World

My sister, sufficiently freaked me out about posting the pics of my students so I took them down...Oh well!


(the Pumpkin Patch in November)

Normally, I never post pics of my students, but just had to today. They have been so precious and lovely in the past few weeks, and we have taken lots of photos of our day.
I was out sick two days in a row, and they were so pitiful. (I had strep!) All better now.

This little guy is sorting cereal to 100. We made cherry pie on President's Day!

And these two little guys drew their neighborhood!

I wrote and rec'd my first grant this year and got a whole lotta love from LeapFrog. 6 TAG Readers, battery chargers, cases, software, and a million book sets. What you see on the table is about half of what was included. I actually packed the rest into boxes because I have no space for the amount I was given. I am tickled about the program and will be using it daily. I am still downloading software to get all of the stories loaded onto the TAG Readers, but should be completely up and running by the week's end. My kindergartners are now preparing to take spelling tests. Even the one little pig tailed gal pictured who didn't speak a word of English in September, is excited to get to take a test like the "big kids." We give the children 3 words each week to practice. We have worked our way through basic beginning site words and now we are working on word families. This week's words are: jet get net
We practice them everyday and the children love to find those words in books and poems.
The favorite activity of most of my little guys is the stamping center, where the "job" is to write the word, then stamp the word, then write the word again..
The key to the kids loving this is that the ink pads are all different colors, and they smell delicious.
I so wish my job was contained in the four little walls of my room. That world is so soft and easy. Chaotic, yet ordered. Always fair. Always with an "I'm sorry" after any hurt feelings. Always with a sticker for a job well done. And most importantly, always with love.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Honest Scrap

I too love it when I am given a task to write about. I take it more seriously, and I don't just wing it as I go..This was Annie's task for me..
Content: Ten things that no one or only a few people know about..
Send to: 7 Friends

So if I may, I will share with you. But as I do, you’ll have to promise me that you won’t judge. I may not be anywhere near perfect, and I don't try to be. BUT, I do try to do the right thing everyday. Even when it’s hard.
So Here We Go:
I’ll start with the little tidbit that still irritates my parents, but was no surprise to any of my friends. I was kicked out of college. Yep. After a super successful run throughout high school, I left my parents home and realized that college was way more fun with cigarettes and beer. And boy oh boy did I partake! I can’t say that my college wasn’t patient. They gave me several chances, but try as they may, I still continued to party and blow off class. After two years, my parents were called to uninvited me to the party!! My mother sent me up to the school on one break to pack my room alone. There was no one on campus and looking around, I knew I had blown the biggest opportunity I had been given up to that point. After that, I went to a Teacher’s College in Ft Lauderdale and lived with my mother. No more partying. At that point, I just wanted to be finished and be on my own.

Another unknown to most people who read this blog is that I don’t fight fair. In cases of serious Heart Matters, I can cut deep. And I have. Nothing I am proud of, and since my girlz came into my life, I haven’t had to stoop this low, but I look back on some of the scrimmages I have been involved in, mainly the last one that involved my adoption agency, and sort of cringe. But, there was a child involved. I had to stand up. I was prepared for giving it all.

Going back a hundred years…My favorite childhood memories pretty much all come from the time I lived on a chicken farm. We lived there when we had record cold winters in northern Florida, and it actually snowed. (Not good for small birds) I can remember laying down in the chick houses, and thousands of baby chicks would surround me like a pale yellow blanket. My sister got a couple of motor/dirt bikes and I got my horse Dinky.
I hand raised a steer, bottle feeding every day. He and I were tight. We had a pretty large pig operation, and boarded a couple of horses.

Another one that still irritates my parents, My sister is a lesbian. Doesn’t really bother me one way or the other. When you grow up playing Donny and Marie, and your sister demands that you allow her to play Donny, it’s not really surprising. She and I dealt with that a loooonggg time ago. It may seem weird that I go to Church and all, but at my Church, they have taught/preached that you are not to judge others. So I don’t. It’s funny, because I believe the Bible. I do. But I love my sister, and somehow we make it work. And my sister has been to my Church a lot. No one there judges. It’s a hippy crowd. God is proud of that.

I never mark “divorced” on forms. I mark single. Maybe it is a little bit of a lie, but also true. Since I am single. I have pretty much been able to rewrite history to eliminate my marriage from my life. Shady? Not really. Was my marriage shady? Sure.

I have been blessed to travel. Bahamas and Mexico as a kid, all over Europe in high school. Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore as a 20something, and of coarse Russia as a real grown-up. I have loved everywhere I have ever traveled.
But as far as I am concerned, the most magical is wait…..for……it…….Orlando. Ok, I am kidding. But Disney World is pretty magical.
There are a few places I still want to go. I would love to spend at least one Christmas in Greenland. And at least one spring in Holland. I would love take an entire summer splitting my time between Greece and Italy. (in this current economy, we are settling on the magic of Orlando and some dinners at Olive Garden and a Greek salad)

From this point on, (if you are still reading) everything stems from the affects that my adoptions had on my life. You’d sort of had to have adopted to really get it

I am more interested in Russian History than American History
. If I had my way, I would design a Master’s Degree in Russian History with an emphasis on post Soviet Government Affairs. I am most interested in the years just before and just after the fall of the USSR. I have read the Oligarchs twice. I wish there were more like that one.

I was forced to lie during my adoption process. And by forced, I mean, it was the easy way out. I had lost a referral due to timing and had waited for over a year to complete my second adoption. I had an almost complete dossier when I lost that original referral. So, it was time to update everything, since there was a referral for AugustRose. I had a second home study since I moved, I revised, amended, re-Apostilled, and FedEx’d like crazy. And then it happened. I had been told on my first trip to meet August that there were only a few documents left for me to be court ready, and that the coordinator wanted them sent to her within days of me returning home. She knew that the judge would be leaving for a vacation and wanted everything ASAP. She gave me the list. The first on the list was my CPA’s license. I wasn’t asked for this during Anna’s adoption. My CPA is a friend from Church and I emailed her from the lobby of my Russian hotel. During the time she completed my financials for Anna and the time she completed the financials for AugustRose, she let her license lapse. She was at home with her kids and not working. But I never thought to ask her if she had one anymore. I had never asked her for one in the first place. When I got home I read her email that her license hadn’t been renewed.
My head nearly exploded. I went into “Ok, what the hell is next?” mode…Within minutes I had her license number from the state. Minutes later, I had a jpeg image of what a license looks like. Within hours of being home, I had a license if it was still current. Allegedly!
For effect, I faxed it to myself, and then made a copy of it. Everything about the whole thing was kept a secret. NO one, and I mean not even my CPA knew. I later told her, and she laughed and told me she could have given me the original and it would have been easier to cut and paste with that in hand. Allegedly!

But I have a pretty good idea that I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t completely legit.(the info was accurate, and the license was real, only the date was changed) Allegedly!
Because of my stealth ability to work quickly, I was back in Russia in 5 weeks for court. And in a time when everyone around me was waiting out their ten days, mine was waived. No bullying there, that was just a good coordinator working her magic!

I was in Russia 4 times. Heard a lot of stories. And stalked just enough Russians who allegedly bullied their way through the process. I am not just a teacher, I am an international private eye on the side. And its been crazy easy to find out stuff when you have Facebook friends who share wayyy to much. Especially when they have no idea they are telling on themselves.
(That was the biggest confession, the part where I hope you won’t judge. If I knew then, how awesome my girlz would become, I would probably have kidnapped them both on the first trip) It was all about the love!

I haven’t done a birth family search. And unless Anna or AugustRose wants it, I won’t ever do it. Secretly, I don’t want either one of them to. I am not sure how it would change my girlz’ hearts and souls. And anything that might hurt my girlz makes me want to go to that “ fighting unfair like a raging momma tiger” thing. I hardly ever think that my girlz were in someone else’s tummy. I think I must think they were delivered by the baby fairy. Or that these two souls were always with me, just waiting to appear when I was ready to surrender to the absolute and complete love that comes from a child..

Please don’t judge on this one. Because in reality, I don’t know anyone who has disrupted, not personally. The sentiment comes purely from the way I feel about my own children, therefore it doesn’t exactly translate. The thought of being without my girlz, uggg never mind that thought. BUT. I think people who disrupt their adoptions did the wrong thing. Please know that if you did, I am not directing this at you. I know adopting an older child is different than a baby. Mine were babies. But I made that choice. And so did the families who adopted older children and then gave them away. Can you imagine what goes through a child’s head? Again, ugg, I can’t think about it. I almost think those “given away” children would have been better off back in the orphanage. At least they didn’t have the additional scar of being given up twice.

So that’s my ten simple truths. All wrapped up in a few rambling run on set of sentences that may or may not be complete.

Friends I would love to hear from....

1 Missi
2. Jen
3. Stacey
4. Tina
5. Kandee