Thursday, August 26, 2010

Adoption Success

OMG! It truly IS a miracle, I have success in my adoption!!!!!!!

The little boy I came over to see originally did not work out due to medical issues. I was very upset because before we went there, the Director told us that they did not have any other children that were available for adoption if I declined this boy. My agency people here felt so sorry for me that they called him back and pushed a little for them to look again in the files. So they showed me the file of another child, a little girl, but I had to decline to even meet her based on medical conditions in her file. At this point I was convinced it was over for me on this trip as we left the office. My rep stayed behind to talk to the Director. She told me that he said he didn't think I was ready to adopt and that I was looking for a perfectly healthy child which they do not have. She explained to him that I AM ready to adopt but I cannot accept a child with severe special needs, which the children they showed me had. He said he would think about it and to call him the next day.

The independent doctor I hired that flew in from Moscow was such a wonderful lady. She felt so sorry for me but kept reassuring me that the child meant for me is out there some where. She bought me dinner, she was very concerned about how upset I was and said that carbohydrates would do the trick (like I need any more carbs) so we had a pizza.

Wednesday morning (gosh it feels like I've been here a month!) the Director called and said he had a child for us to see. Off to his office we go, read the file, it all looks promising, so I am excited but extremely cautious at this point. We drive 1 1/2 hours to the orphanage, most of which I slept, to find it was the same orphanage I had been at on my first trip. Yes I was worried based on my last experience but in we went.

The child is a little boy, 2yrs. old and was scared to death when he saw us and cried of course. We went into a playroom and let him just wander until he calmed down. Eventually he would play with me but at a distance. I coaxed him with a music box I brought that worked like magic. Who knew "The Farmer and the Dell" song would be such a hit :) I better not lose that box! I took some photos and videos, talked to the caregivers and doctor at the orphanage to get all the information I could. I then sent it to my two US international adoption doctor specialists to get their insight. All their comments back back positive! We went back today and he responded much better to me and warmed up much faster and even let me hold him! At this point I am still cautious but want to jump around in happiness. I had some alone time with him, then watched him play with the other children, eat lunch and then it was nap time so we had to leave. We then went to the city children's hospital to talk to the doctor there and she had the same positive information.

So based on the medical information, his interaction with me and how I felt, I decided to accept him!!! So tomorrow we run around signing papers, notarizing, apostilling, etc. and I have to think of a name by tomorrow too! His name is VERY Russian, so I decided to give him an "American" first name but keep his Russian first name as his middle name to maintain that connection to his heritage. So names have been flying through my head all afternoon but after looking at the photos and videos again, I have decided what he "looks like" and have chosen a name. Yes I'm going to keep you in suspense :)

I leave for Moscow late tomorrow night, spend the night in Moscow, then leave early Sat. morning for home. It will be good to get home :) I've not adjusted to the time change and am completely exhausted. My hearing is now fine tuned like a dog with a dog whistle, because when someone speaks English, I hone right in on it and head toward it like a moth to a flame :) If I knew German that would have been a plus as that seems to be their second language. So once I am home, I do more paperwork and wait 2-4 months for a court date. Then back I come, court and then bring him home!

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for everyone's words of encouragement and support, it means so much to me!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Visit to Orphanage

Unfortunately the stars are not aligned with me so far on this trip....very sad.

The little boy I've been waiting 2 1/2 months to finally see was adorable, with big brown eyes and long eyelashes. Sadly those beautiful eyes cannot make eye contact hardly at all as well as a large lack of reaction to stimuli (i.e. tickling) which is indicative of autisum. This evaluation was done by my independent doctor from Moscow who specializes in pediatric adoptions and is the top in this area as well as being trained in western medicine, so I could understand what she was saying in "American" medical terms. So after I cried yet again, and they sympathetically consoled me, assuring me "my child" was on their way, they took me back to the hotel to take some Tylenol and a nap while they ran around to get the paperwork in order. (that's a part of feeling sorry for myself). I tell you, it was VERY difficult going through that again, but even worse by myself....miss you Beth :)

I tell you what, I am sure learning ALOT about the various pediatric challenges children have, so much so, that I might go to med school....yeah right! The people who know how I freak out at the sight of blood and my low tolerance for pain are laughing at me right about now.So they showed me another referral, a little girl; a photo and basic medical info but from this it was VERY obvious that she has classic fetal alcohol syndrome. So I declined to even meet her because I knew it would not work out and quite frankly did not have the emotional energy for it again in the same day. So they found me a third referral that I am to go see about tomorrow morning, and if it looks good, then I go meet them. I do not know right now if it is a boy or girl or what age. They told us that if I decline this referral, they're going to "boot me out" of this region and send me to another one!  I am very upset about this because that means more paperwork, more money and more time. I have already "lost" so much money now, that I have to seriously sit down and think when I return as to whether I will be able to even continue with the adoption process.

So I would appreciate it if you could keep the prayers coming because I am exhausted and losing hope. But maybe after I eat my chocolate bar (found one for $2.00 instead of the $4.00 I paid last time) and a good night's sleep, I will feel more hopeful tomorrow.

Sorry the news is depressing but maybe tomorrow you will get a FABULOUS email from me :) Thanks!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Frankfurt Stop

Well I won't be able to email every day like I'd hoped because the hotel I'm staying in this time makes you pay for internet and it's timed! Boy it's amazing how spoiled you get about some things. So that means my emails will be less frequent but longer...YAY! I'll try not to be too wordy but that's hard for me :)

Spent the night in Frankfurt on my way over and it was beautiful! Stayed in a historical part of town; beautiful buildings, "farmer's market" happening in the "platz" square by the catherdral, children playing in the fountains, I felt like I was in a movie. I walked around, took lots of photos as I made my way to the Rheine River. The streets were winding like Venice and I lost my map and finally found someone who spoke a little English. The blue street signs run parallel with the river while the red ones run toward the river. Got it, off I go. I found the river and sat on the steps that lead down into it and did some people watching and river watching, just chillin' and relaxing. Bought some "German ice cream" from a street cart on the river (it had a long line of people so I figured it was safe to eat). It was wonderful and I wandered (literally because as this point I am still theoretically lost) back to the hotel, eating my ice cream while the sun was going down. Like I said, a movie.

I visited the Old Cathedral, that was being renovated, the same one I attended Sunday mass at. As all those old churches are in Europe, it was breathtaking and had such a prescence. Yes I took alot of photos! I made a MAD RUSH to the airport the next morning. I took a taxi to the hotel only to find out after the money conversion that I spent $71...ouch! So I took the train back to the airport for $14...much better. However, the train was late so I was running which wasn't pretty. But I made my flight and it all ended up working out.
Your continued prayers are appreciated and still needed :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Running and Packing

I spent alot of this week running around getting my court documents prepared, notarized and apostilled.  I wanted to get as much done as possible so I can submit it fast and hopefully get a fast court date.  I messed up the dates on some of my documents so I had to do them twice....ugh!  At least I've hit the threshold dollar amount and don't have to pay for anything else when I get it apostilled.  I'm am having a hard time getting anyone to provide my Statement of Residence.  It's simple letter with basic information about my house: address, square footage, year it was built, how many rooms and what are the room sizes. I have it all complete, I just need a bank, real estate company, lender or title company to confirm the information, print it off on their letterhead, sign and notarize. I've contacted all of the above with the exception of my realtor, because they're out of business, and no one wants to provide the letter. Not sure what I'm going to do.  I'm going to call my adoption rep to see if anyone else has run into this issue and what they did to solve it.

Packing is all done except for my laptop :)  I leave for the airport in three hours!!! I am getting nervous to travel over there by myself. I know I'll be alright, it would just be nice to have someone share this with me but the money just wasn't there to take someone with me this time.

I'll try to post while I am there to keep you updated on my progress.  Wish me luck and send prayers please :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Freaked Out and Pondering

So my adoption agency rep completely freaked me out today!  She gave me the list of court documents to get started on them.  So today she sends an email asking what I've got done and depending on the time, I'll have to hand deliver some.  I looked at the checklist again and it said I had to have ALL the documents before my first trip!!!  WHAT?!?!?  I frantically call her AND email her because there is no possible way I can get my doctor's appointment/evaluation done before I leave. Then I got freaked out because if I need all this and don't have it, I'll have to cancel my trip and lose that money.  Oh yeah, I am under alot of stress :)  She emailed me back and said the checklist shouldn't say "before your first trip" and that whatever I can get done before I go on Friday to better off I'll be when I get back.  Whew!  Talk about me overracting, I was having heart palpatations I swear :)

I laid out everything on the bed to put in my checked bag and it makes me ponder.  I don't have near the amount of stuff I had on my first trip so that begs two questions: 1. what am I missing or; 2. did I just overpack that much the first time.'s just plain obvious that I need to keep my snacks in my carry-on, heaven forbid I lose that! :)  I am trying to lighten my carry-on bag load but I just seem to "need" everything I have in there.  My sister lost her bag on the way over when she went with me and of course they found it two weeks after we got back to the U.S.  So I am paranoid I'll lose my checked bag so I'm overloading my carry-on bag. But it's just plain too much so I'll have to taper down and hope for the best.

Here's to getting some sleep tonight....hopefully.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Paperwork and Lists

I took my test for my psych evaluation this morning. It was 536 questions and my hand ached after filling in those little circles. Some of the questions could be answered either way, let's just hoped I picked the right one.  It takes 10 days to get the results and then I have a sit down with the Doc for the evaluation which is the Monday after I get back.  Right now my FBI fingerprints haven't expired so I'm hoping my court date falls under that date because those take weeks to get back.  I'm having a tough time getting my "Statement of Residence" letter completed. I have to send it to my mortgage loan holder and that has switched hands three times in two years, doesn't make it easy.  Makes me want to change my loan to my main bank.....might look into that when I have time.

I made three lists tonight for the trip: 1. what left to purchase; 2. what to pack in my carry-on; 3. what to pack in my checked suitcase.  I plan to get everything in one big suitcase, then have my carry-on with a change of clothes, contact solution, book, snacks, camera, laptop and then stuff a backpack in there to use when I'm running around during the week. I did the backpack things last time and thought it worked great!
I've been putting things in my suitcase as I think of them and realized it was pretty heavy already and wondered what I had accumulated.  Well to my surprise, one of my cats wanted to travel with me and made camp inside my suitcase, hence the extra weight and believe me, he's no small cat! I feel bad leaving my two cats, they don't eat much when I am gone.....yes I am an animal lover.  Hopefully I'll be bringing home a playmate for them soon :)

Getting more excited as it gets closer but am still cautious.  I pray I don't get on that bad emotional rollercoaster again this trip, it is so heart breaking .  Staying positive!  Hope I can sleep better tonight.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Starting Court Documents

I thought I'd get a head start and do as many of the documents required for court as possible now. Yes I am trying to be positive that this is the child for me :)  If the information gathering was just on my shoulders, I would be in good shape, but for some I have to get information from other people. I just hope I can get them to return it by the date I want.  My plan is the have everything completed by the end of the week when I return home, that way I can get it to Russia ASAP and hopefully get a fast court date.  It will be so hard to be with my little guy for a week, then have to leave for 2-4 months!  But a few people have told me that some areas are assigning court dates within a month so I'm praying that's me.

Was a little concerned about the fires around the Moscow region but my rep assured me that most of the flights are still on time. On my way over, I only have a layover in Moscow in the airport but on the way back, I have to spend one night in Moscow.  So I'm packing a few face masks has people who have just returned have recommended.  So tomorrow I make my list of what I need to pack.  I am tired yet energized at the same time, strange huh?


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Travel Arrangements Made

They're all done!  After stupidly thinking I could arrange the flights myself, I gave in and called a travel agency.  I did book a flight with my frequent flyer miles to get my as far over there as I could and had the travel agency get me the rest of the way to Kaliningrad via Moscow.  So I saved $600 but still had to spend $1380 on flights which kind of stinks.  I lay over one night in Frankfurt and used my Hilton stay points for a free night!  I tried that too for the night on Moscow but the hotel was booked. I'm going to keep checking back though in case there's a cancellation.

I've started on my court documents already and want to have most of them complete before I leave, if possible. I still have alot to do for the trip so I may not get as much of the documents done as I want but I'm going to try.  I made the doctor's appointments for the second day after I return home because it usually takes weeks to get on their calendar. The faster I get my court documents done and sent to Russia, the sooner I"m assigned a court date.  Then back I would go for court, the 10 day mandatory waiting period and then home with my little angel, God willing.

Then I get an email earlier this evening that the government is cautioning people from traveling to Russia because of the forest fires.  So tomorrow I'll contact my agency rep to see what they think. I will only be laying over in the airport on my way to Kaliningrad which is a 2 hour flight west of Moscow, no where even remotely near the fires. Then on the way back, I do stay one night in Moscow.  However, on the Russian Yahoo message boards that I am a member of, read daily, and get amazing advice and support, there are families over there now and they seem to be handling it in Moscow.  So I'll see what my rep says but I really want to continue to travel and am pretty sure I will.

So keep the well wishes and prayers coming, I truly appreciate them more than words can say :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going to Russia!

YAY!!!!  I decided yesterday to accept to travel and meet my little boy referral!  As you know, I have been agonizing over some medical tests I was waiting on answers for.  Well I got them and the three doctors I had look at them say they look good.  There is always a chance for something else, but I have asked and gotten as much information as absolutely possible. I got the final doctor evaluation on Monday and let my rep know Tuesday morning that I want to travel.  She tells me that they want me there fast so I leave pretty soon - due to security I don't want to annouce the exact dates :)

Now I am rushing around getting my visa and travel arrangements made.  After that I will tackle the list of what to pack. I did learn from the first trip what I took but didn't need so that's good.  He is 16 mo. old already!  If I accept him, then I'll return home to more paperwork, wait 2-4 months for a court date and then return to the 10 day mandatory waiting period and bring him home!
I am SO excited but also a nervous wreck!  I pray he is the one because I am out of money and more than likely won't be able to continue the adoption if I don't come home with an acceptance.  So everyone send me your prayers please!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Looking Better and Better

One doctor has positive things to say about the medical tests! I am waiting for my initial doctor in St. Louis to respond to me (the one who was out of town last week) and hope to hear from her tomorrow.
There may still be some unforseen challenges that may not arise until I see him or even after, but that is the leap of faith you take in adoption.  So if my local doctor gives relatively positive news like the other, then it looks like I may be traveling to Russia again soon.  YAY!
Stay tuned.....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rush to Find Another Doctor

I tell my agency rep Wed. afternoon, that my regular IA doctor is out until next week. She says she'll have to talk to the in-country rep because waiting until next week may be a problem. So of course I freak out that after all this, I may lose this referral. So I send a frantic message to the adoption Yahoo message boards and check my blog, to find that fabulous people have given me advice that I should find another IA doctor and provided names of ones that would respond quickly.

So I call the first one, she is in go.  I call the second one, she can review my information and turn it around in 48 hours, for an expedited fee.  So $750 later (another unexpected cost) I talk to her last night for an hour.  She was EXTREMELY thorough, listened and answered all my questions completely and so I could understand.  She is a native Russian, went to medical school there, then moved to the US and went to medical school here too.  So she knows the Russian system inside and out, knows what their medical terms really mean to us in the US and what is typical care in the orphanages. She makes periodic trips over there to keep abreast of how things are run so she can stay up to date with the current situations. I was VERY impressed and felt VERY comfortable with her.

She had one major question that we need the answer too before I will accept to travel.  So this morning I asked my local rep if we could find out WHY they had a certain test done because that might tell us alot.  She said she would ask the in-country rep to see if she can find out. I ask if it's ok that I wait to make a decision to travel until I hear back from her and she says "no problem."  I was a little mifffed because I have been in a panic the last two days because she said it might be an issue if I wait to decide and now it's "no problem" AND I spent $750!  But I am trying to see the silver lining and I think that it's that I found another great doctor to give me a second opinion and the fee I paid includes her to review the information, photos and videos I will take while I am in Russia. So I will have two doctors opinions which, in the end, will be great reassurance for me.

I am praying this all works out, that's he's healthy so I can accept him and bring him home soon!!!
Stay tuned to my saga :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Waiting Again - Ugh

So I sent the test results to my local doctor on Monday and was hoping for a fast answer. I left a message with their office secretary on Monday and Tuesday and again today to leave a message for the doctor to check her email. I have not been sleeping because I can't keep my mind from racing back and forth to believing it will be good news to scared it won't be good news.

I've been carrying my cell phone around on my hip (which I hate doing) but don't want to miss the call. It's the secretary.....only to tell me that the doctor won't be in the office this week.  WHAT?!?!?  Did she know this on Monday and Tuesday and this morning when I called and just space out????  My heart hit my stomach and tears filled my eyes, I was incredibly disappointed.  So now I continue to wait and hope I hear something on Monday.  Of course I am traveling for work next week and hope I'm not on a plane but sitting at my lay-over when she calls because as we all know, whenever you call back they are never able to take your call.  Sigh.....I just pray this wait is a good sign.  Now if I can get some sleep while I wait :)

Monday, August 2, 2010


I got the test results from Russia just moments ago!!!  I sent them immediately to my local doctor for interpretation and recommendation.  I am SO excited I can hardly stand it but want to stay reasonably cautious so I'm not devastated like I was before.  As soon as I emailed the test results to the doctor, I called her office to tell the secretary to leave her a message to check her email.  I hope that wasn't too rude but I can barely stand the wait now that I have the results I have waited two months for. I hope she has time to read the results yet today or early tomorrow and then calls me tomorrow :)  Stay tuned and keep praying....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy News ....finally!

I got the email on Friday morning that I have been waiting for, for a month now!  They found someone to read the test results and will send the information to me tomorrow! I am so happy and just pray it is favorable news.  So I will send that information to the STL doctor for her evaluation so I am anticipating by Wed. or Thurs. of this week I will know whether I will be traveling to meet this little boy. Thanks for all the well wishes, support and prayers, they are all greatly appreciated :)