Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Whew!  I passed court today.  YAY!!!!!
My hearing was on Monday, in the morning and it lasted 2 1/2 hours!  They grilled me about being a single mom, my support system, finances, how much time I can be off of work, etc.  I had to stand the whole time and my body was so tense.  I kept locking my knees to keep them from shaking and then remembered from high school marching band, not to lock your knees because it could make you pass out.  That's all I would need, is to pass out in court and then I would be considered unhealthy and not fit.  So I just kept shifting from one foot to the other to keep my legs from shaking. Then I was standing so tense, after it was the social worker's turn to talk and I sat down, my back was killing me.

Then we ended up with a postponement after all that, because the local social worker didn't have all the paperwork she was supposed to have. So we all headed out in different directions to get papers completed, notarized and delivered.  The back we went this afternoon for another 40 minutes.  The social worker got chewed out by the judge and prosecutor (so glad it wasn't me!).  But in the end, they awarded him to ME!  I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders, I tell you what.  I just wish I didn't have the 10 day waiting period so I can get him home.

I didn't sleep last night but I am so exhausted that I'm sure I'll sleep tonight.  I have some interesting tales from that last couple of days but am too tired to post them. I will in the next couple of days.
Thank you all for all the prayers, I know they helped make today happen!
Soon Christian Ruslan Roth will be home with his 'Momma'  :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Orphanage Visit #4

Bbrrrrr....it's flippin' cold today!!!
Today was day #4 visit with Christian and my last for this trip.  We had another good day with it's ups and downs.  He came to me after a 3 second hesitation this time, YAY! We did the usual in the little office are again: music box, read the book, toy blocks, checked ourselves out in the mirror ;)  He got a big kick out of "riding around" in the office chair. Yes I was safe :)  We could only spin around so many times because I was getting sick.  The first two days he did not respond to tickling and I thought either he just isn't ticklish or has some sort of sensory issue.  Yes I have been reading all those adoption books and am looking for things and need to stop, you don't have to tell me to relax.  But today he responded to the chin tickle. I prompted each time with a sort of long sound and then would go in for the tickle. After a few times of this, I hesitated and he made the same sound so I went in the for tickle. He picks up things fast and of course I think he is the smartest kid ever :)

The language is going to be tricky I think.  I know a few basic Russian words but don't want to keep using those because I want him to learn the English word. So I say the Russian word followed by the English word so he connects the two. I was pointing out the cats and dogs in the book I brought and he kept calling everything a dog in Russian.  On this last day he said the English word "dog", or at least it sounded like dog.  I'm going with, he said dog :)

I am running the questions through my head they said would be asked of me in court and rehearsing my answers so I sound confident and intelligent.  They did warn me that they may be tougher on me because I am single.  So I just pray I say the right things and that they are translated correctly, that is always an issue too. I am very happy to say they will be using "my Natasha", that I have had all my trips, as the translator in court!  That gives me some sense of ease, that I will know someone in the room.  I will post as soon as I can, with hopefully good news, that I passed court.  In the meantime, off the practice my answers, eat some chocolate and plan my packing list for the next trip to bring home my two year old son.  (I love the sound of that, "son"!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Orphanage Visit #2 and #3

YAY!!!  It only took a couple of minutes for Christian to come to me on Day 2 and only seconds on Day 3! Ok, so I bribed him with dangling the music box in front of him but he grabbed it and held up his arms for me to pick him up immediately.  I am so glad he likes that music box and that he connects it with me.  I bring it back each day and he lights up whenever he sees it. Who knows, maybe he's a budding musician :)  Although he does screech, yes screeches, when I take it from him when I leave each day. They wanted me to leave it there but I know the other kids will latch on to it, I'll probably never see it again, and that special connection of the box between us will lessen and I don't want that right now.  I might buy another one when I come home and take it back with me to leave with them on my next trip.  However you just never know if they'll let the children have it or put it up on a high shelf where I see so many other toys right now.  As far as playthings go, they really don't allow much in the playroom for them to play with. They said it causes fights and they have to pick them up constantly.  What!?!? It's no wonder why their delayed in development and motor skills, they have to play with things to develop.  Sweet angels, all of them, I pray they find loving forever families soon.

Christian danced for me again today along with a little karoke to the Farmer and Dell, although the words resembled "La, La, La"....He is enthralled with mirrors, it just cracks me up!  The orphanage is having their old tall water heat radiators replaced so the place was torn up and we couldn't be in the playroom by ourselves, instead we ended up in the office area.  I kept chasing him around (figuratively chasing as this room was about 12'x15') keeping him out of the desk drawers.  He kept asking for me to turn on the microwave thinking it was a TV.  They had a TV in the large playroom this time and some ballet was on the caregivers were watching, nothing kid friendly. They had a full length mirror on a cabinet door that he kept going back to. He would move just past it, then look back, like kids do when they are figuring out the person in the mirror is them.  He was so cute to watch!  Then he would turn to the side and look at himself in a stance and look on his face like he was checking himself out saying,"dang I look good."  I would laugh at him and he would laugh at me. Good thing I have a full length mirror at home! In a moment of fussiness, I brough out my next piece of kid soothing ammunition, a book with kittens and puppies dressed for Christmas or sitting in ribbons, stuff like that. I put him on my lap and read the story to him or tried, as he was flipping the pages back and forth telling something in Russian. He spoke alot more these two visits, even though I have no earthly idea what he said.  He would explore the room, come back, hand me the music box he constantly clutched, held up his arms to be put on my lap, put the book in my hands, take the music box back and tell me to read it (at least that what I interrupted he said).  We repeated this several times throughout our 2 hour visit.

We did have one major meltdown and I still haven't determined the exact reason.  He was coloring with the washable markers I brought, got a little on his hands, and my translator wanted to wash it off immediately. So off we go into the tiny bathroom in the office.  We turn on the water and he freaks out big time!  I make sure the water is warm, put a little soap on his hand, rub away, then pick up the squirming, now bordering on hysterical child, to rinse his hand. I mean major upset, huge tears, red face, the whole thing.  Natasha said she thought it was because the water was cold but he freaked the minute she turned it on. So I'll have to tread lightly and slowly for our first bath time to see if I can figure out what the issue is.   I felt so sorry for him but he calmed down quickly after we left the bathroom.  I hope this isn't a sign that he'll balk at even going into bathrooms because potty training will then be an interesting scene.

We go for another visit tomorrow and then on Monday at 10:00 is the court session. I was briefed today about what they would ask and I am so incredibly nervous. I just pray I answer all the questions the way they like.  Hoping to get some sleep tonight, got only 2 hours last night. Found a place that has good pasta!!!! Yay, a break from PB&J's :)
Thanks for all the support!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Orphanage Visit #1

I got to see my little boy today!!!  He was afraid of me at first, crying and trying to escape into another room, but that is to be expected. If you remember I had the magic music box last time, but that only made him more upset.  After about 20 minutes, and them putting me in a long white doctor's coat (thinking that would make him think I was one of them...yeah right) he finally calmed down enough that I could touch him. Then we progressed to him sitting beside me and now the magic of the music box kicked in. I tentively picked him up (yes I made sure the music box was wound full on) cautious if he would start crying again. He just looked at me with interest. We moved around the room and spied a mirror on the wall, which we had great fun with, or at least I did. I kept making faces at him, he'd stare at me like I was some sort of loon, but eventually he started smiling at me and looking from me to the mirror and back again, trying to figure it all out. I love to watch kids when they have that look in their eye of trying to reason something out.

It was snack time, so in the playroom we went with the other little children. When I was here 3 months ago, there were eight kids including Christian, now there are 16 kids.  They all stopped at stared at me for a few seconds when I walked into the room, and then the non-shy ones, ran up to me, babbling away in Russian and I knodded like I knew what they were saying. So many tiny little faces looking up at me with anticipation, of what they did not know, but for something, anything to happen.  I wanted to play and hug them all but my time with Christian is so short and precious during these visits,  patted them all on the head and moved on to find my son.  He warmed up quickly after we entered the room, running to me to start the music box again and dancing around. (I have GOT to teach this child better dance moves :) ).   The caregivers kept telling him I was his Momma, and told him to give me a hug. He ran to me and threw himself in my arms and gave me a big hug!  I know he doesn't understand who I really am, but that moment will stay with me for the rest of my life. I only wish I had gotten the moment on video.

The caregivers were calling me Momma over and over again so Christian would understand and then another child came up to me, called me Momma, and wanted me to hold her. My heart just broke! The music box was a big hit, again, and all the little children wanted to hold it but of course Christian was having none of that which led to a few tugging matches.  I tried to distract them by organizing a small "ring around the rosey"  circle, dancing and singing to Farmer in the Dell. Hey it was normal but it worked...too well. I couldn't get them to stop ringing around the rosey, whew!

We did have one pretty smooth football play.  Yes those who know me, know I did not know much (ok anything) about football and don't care to but here's an analogy for you.  Christian is sashaying around with the music box when Tatiana goes in for the steal. She charges him, blind sides him, grabs the music box, tucks it under her arm and spins around for the getaway, only to collide with another child (there to assist the steal in my opinion). Now these two girls had been stalking him, waiting for their opening for the steal and they made their move, only to be tripped up by each other. Tatiana goes down, taking the other kid with her, while Christian (who by now realizes what's happened) pounces on Tatiana grabbing for the music box.  Another kids joins the fray,so we now have four screeching tugging kids in a pile, literally in a pile, at my feet.  I hesitate, not sure whether I should start pulling them apart and risk the caregiver coming after me for touching the kids or just wait until I see blood and pray it isn't Christian's. I send a worried glance to the caregivers and the two of them are just sitting there watching the action. I give them a helpless gesture that resembles something like, "really? are you kidding me? you're going to just sit there?" kind of look, which then prompts them to get up and separate the flailing arms and legs.  Finally the screeching stops, Christian gets the music box back and we retreat to safety to the other side of the room.  I feel sorry for the kids because they see Christian gettting attention with the music box and have put two and two together.

Christian starts winding down and supper is coming soon. He allows me to hold him, swaying to the music and eventually he puts his head on my shoulder.  It was such a special moment!  Tomorrow I'll be taking the clothes and shoes I brought to see what fits him for the Gotcha trip. Today he had a nice fleece jacket and pant set.....yellow with flowers all over it.  Girl clothes again! Hey at least the pink hat is gone :)
We'll see if he warms up to me faster tomorrow, I can't wait :)
Rainy and cold here. Had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in Thanksgiving Day.  I will definitely make up for it on Christmas.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

16 Hours and Counting

I leave in 16 hours for Russia!
1. clothes packed - check
2. food packed - check
3. Christian's test clothes and shoes packed - check
4. Christian's toys and snacks packed - check
5. paperwork packed - check
Just have to pack my last minute morning stuff and this laptop, and off I go!

Court is on May 29th, so please send prayers my way!  I am hoping they are not too tough on me because I will be a single mother, pretty worried about this.  I will be in a room with 5-6 other people I do not know. The agency rep is not allowed to go in the judge's room with me but I am hoping they use my translator I've had on all my trips. A familiar face would be wonderful!

Crazy but I have to fly from St.Louis, to Dallas, to Frankfurt then to Moscow.  Going west to travel east......gotta love the airline routes these days.
I'll be posting as I can during my trip. I know you're all sitting on the edges of your seats, waiting in anticipation for my next post :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Three days and counting

Packing lists are made, laundry is done, packing has started. I'm off Monday morning to Russia for my court date on the 29th!  I get to see Christian 4 days in a row while I am there!!!  I hope we get along as good as we did the first time.  I've been so busy at work this week trying to get things ready for the project team before I leave that I haven't been sleeping very good. I am exhausted but figure I'll get some sleep on the long planes rides.

Tomorrow I have to go the bank, post office, pay final bills, buy food and stuff then drive 2 hours to drop my cats off at my parents house to cat sit while I am gone.  Then home to pack and run around for any last minute things I may have forgotten. This packing will be much easier than the next trip when I have to take a ton of stuff with me for Christian.  I am so glad and appreciative that my sister will be going with me on the next trip to bring him home!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Making Lists

This past weekend a friend came to visit (Susan) and we did some power shopping. We found some great sales!  I got a few more clothes for Christian and found some snow pants on sale.  So now I think I have everything I need....at least for now.  My plan is to take some clothes on my court trip, see what fits, then bring those sizes with me when I go to bring him home.

Now I have to start making my packing lists!  I feel like I am behind but I know I still have plenty of time before I leave on Monday. I'm trying to push and get as much stuff done on my work projects as possible so I don't leave people in a lurch when I am gone.  I still have a few projects I wanted to get done at home before I bring Christian home, but I have conceded that I won't get everything done. I am fine with that, I have the important stuff done.  I do have a few "grandpa" projects for my Dad though :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ready with Clothing

I got alot of good advice and feedback about the clothing situation. Thanks all!
I go for my court trip, return home for the 10 day waiting period, then go back to bring him home. So I'm taking the clothing with me on the court trip to see what fits and can then bring the right sizes back on the second trip. I have two sizes of tennis shoes and then will buy warm boots for when I go back. I have 2T size clothes to see if those fit.  I need to get some long underwear and snow pants.  Thankfully I got a winter coat, warm hat and gloves from my shower so that's going to work great!

I have lists of what I need to do yet and realized today that I leave in 11 days! I am getting excited but also nervous.  I pray I answer the court questions the way they like and they don't give me too hard a time for being a single mother.  I have been told to expect it and that makes me nervous.  But I figure that I've been through so much that God will see me through to the gloriously blessed end with my son in my arms.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Clothes Plan

I have heard two different scenarios about what happens when I go pick up Christian at the orphanage to take him to the hotel. One scenario is they hand you the child with only the clothes on their back and shoes on their feet.  Ok I can understand this, items are hard to come by, so they keep the other belongings for the other children. The other scenario is they hand you the child wearing only their diaper. Now this is a bit much if you ask me. How traumatic for the child to have their clothes removed, handed to a stranger, who then puts clothes on them, carries them to a car (most have never been in a car before) and drive away.

I've decided I'm going to take a change of clothes and shoes on my court trip.  I get to see him while I am there on that trip, so I'll see if they'll let me try the clothes and shoes on him to confirm size.  At that time I will also ask if he comes with clothes on or if I should bring a set when I go to take him to the hotel with me.  I'd hate to go there without anything and am supposed to have clothes for him.  I wonder what they do if that happens???  I know it is practical, but it also seems sad to me that they take nothing familiar with them, not even a favorite shirt or toy to ease the transition.  I left a stuffed toy/animal with him on the last trip.  I wonder if they let him play with it or if it became someone else's.  Oh well, he'll have plenty of his own things and more love than he might be able to handle when he gets home :)


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just Did It

I just went ahead and did it.  I called the credit card company and got a balance transfer for the remaining funds I needed.  I did get a good deal at least, 0% interest until Feb. 2012!  Now I just have to tighten up the purse strings to make the monthly payment.  Still praying for a decent sized tax return!

A friend and business associate, Tiffany, told another business person about my adoption. This person, Peggy, also adopted from Russia.  We emailed and met for lunch today and it was wonderful!  It was so incredibly nice to talk face to face with someone that completely understands and has been through the adoption process, especially Russia, and knows what you've been through and how it makes you feel.  She gave me alot of good advice and tips for when I bring Christian home.  She also knows another woman who adopted from Russia, who has a 2yr old, and is going to get us in touch with each other. That will be great! Christian is 2 yrs old also, so they are tracking together, and it will be nice to be support for each other.
A BIG thanks to Tiffany and Peggy!!!

Sending off my final adoption fees to my agency tomorrow.  I've been trying to save every dollar I can and wouldn't you know it, my darn 'check engine' light comes on in my car.....ggrrrrr.  Off to the mechanic I go tomorrow and pray it's just a fluke and the light popped on and nothing is really wrong.  Can I be that lucky....please???
Another beautiful day here, enjoy it will it lasts.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Final Fee Money in Hand

So I have enough money now for the final adoption fees!  However, I don't have it yet for the travel and to cover some costs when we get home.  I have exhausted every avenue, so all that is left to try is to get a balance transfer on my credit card. Visa credit card is running a 0% interest on balance transfers until Dec. 2011.  Even though I hate to go this route, at least it's 0% interest and I'll have the money.  Just need to pray I get a decent tax return amount to put it against the credit card!

I went to Target last night and bought Christian some shoes!  I'm not sure what they will have on him when I get him. When I visited last, he had on pink girl shoes one day and the second day he had on boy shoes but they were too small, leaving red marks on his feet.  A friend has a 2 yr old boy, so I asked what shoe size he wears, and bought a size 6 and 7 shoe, just in case. I'll at least have one pair that will hopefully fit well when I pick him up and then will buy ones that really fit.  They are so small and cute, I'm smiling as I type :)  My nieces and nephews are older now and I forgot how small toddler's things are, just adorable. It's going to be hard to control my spending when Christian gets home, but of course I have to until I get my "loans" paid off.

My sister Cindy, who is going with me on the second trip, was cracking me up today. She called me, I think it was three times, asking questions about filling out her visa request form.  She's already thinking about what she's going to take and we don't leave on our second trip until Dec. 11th.  I am SO relieved, excited and happy that she will be going with me.  I got so lonely the last trip and it will be nice to share the trip with someone as well as some of Christian and my "firsts" together.  I don't think she's figured it out yet, but she's going to be the photographer and video taker :)  Love ya sis!