Sunday, March 28, 2010

Welcome Home!

We are so happy to be home. I promise I will post lots of details when my head stops spinning. We got home last night (after being delayed and stuck in Washington DC for 16 hours and literally having to beg Luftstansa to put us on a plane in both St. Petersburg and Frankfurt due to a ticketing problem) Everything was quite an adventure.
But all those things aside, obviously our previous posts via blackberry did not work out so well, and in case you missed our facebook updates, here is the nitty gritty:
Baby Deetz is perfect. He wasn't so sure about us at first, which hurt our hearts at in the beginning(because we were the "momma" and "poppa" celebrities of his groupa, all the other 15 children were vying for our attention when we walked into the room), but really that was exactly the best way to be. He was very attached to his caregivers and orphanage doctors, and thought we were strange people speaking a language he didn't understand.Once we were left alone with him, he warmed right up. He is very independent, understands every word spoken to him (in Russian)Says more words than we originally anticipated, was super intelligent, and was a very serious little guy. His wheels were always turning. He is labeled by his caregivers as "foxy" which would translate in English to "mischievous". He was wise beyond his years. It's was hard to believe watching him that he just turned 2 last Saturday. He is such a little man!
I promise I will start a day by day once I feel a little better. Our heads are spinning and I want these next posts to make sense!
Most of all, we thank you for your prayers (and continued prayers) Chad and I decided that this was the hardest week (physically, mentally, spiritually) of our lives. I have never before felt so completely bathed in prayer. Every step we took felt as if you were walking right beside us.
Talk to you soon!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Here we go.....

What's done is done, the stuff is all packed (two suitcases, two backpacks, and one purse!) Yipppeee! I am so proud of myself. I may be smelly by the end of the week, but I WILL NOT feel like a pack mule. Half of my suitcase is dedicated solely to orphanage aid, so think of all the space I'll have for souvenirs!
Hopefully, you can keep up with us via the blog (we will have use of our Blackberry internationally via email) and we will update Chad's facebook as often as possible. We are unsure about how reliable Internet is going to be in Pskov. Please no phone calls or text messages- Russia is the #1 most expensive place (no I'm not making this up) to receive calls and texts.
But PROMISE you will pray for a safe journey across the ocean (happy place, happy place, happy place) and a wonderful time with Baby S. Please pray that developmentally, both physically and mentally, he is where he should be. Pray that he has JOY in his tiny little heart; That living in an institution (despite how clean and nice it looks) has not broken his spirit. Even though I know without a shadow of a doubt, the ladies working there are doing the best they can with the resources they have, they are still NOT a substitute for a family. Pray that he knows we are his Mama and Papa and he knows our faces. Pray that tonight (on his SECOND BIRTHDAY!)that he dreams of our faces. Pray that he knows we are going to love him for the rest of our lives. Pray that on Friday when we leave him that he will not be confused; that he knows if we had one wish it would be that we could take him home with us IMMEDIATELY. Is it too much to ask that when we hand over our completed "Court Dossier" that they say- awe shucks, stay another week and lets do Court right away? Probably so, but miracles happen, right?
We appreciate all your prayers, warm wishes, and friendship. We are so blessed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Since my brain only works in "lists" these days I will continue in list format:

Good News

1- Got our VISA'S TODAY!!! Yipeee! Technically we have everything we need to get to Russia. My name looks funny in Russian.
2-Last minute details meeting with our case manager went really well. Made yet another list of things I didn't think of to do (ie call bank and tell them we are going to be in another country so they don't think we've been thieved!)I felt confident at what we had already accomplished and anticipated (mucho thanks Kate and other dear people that have paved the way for us in Pskov!)
3-Had a really wonderful time of prayer tonight with our church family. Talked to about 25 people in particular to pray ESPECIALLY HARD from 5:52 Saturday until 6:15ish when we are taking off. THAT IS THE WORST PART!
4-Made a really cute, soft picture album for Baby S to leave with him. I wrote a note in Russian using my "Russian for adoptive families" workbook. It looks good! I hope it says "I love you so much. We are so happy to be your family! We'll be back as soon as we can. Love, Mama and Poppa" I am going to show it to our translator to make sure it doesn't say something like "we can't wait to eat you" or something like that.
5-Feeling really good about what I'm planning on taking. I think it's reasonable. I am going to try to scale it down a little more. I am not there to make a fashion statement. It's too cold for that!
6-All of our court documents are ready to go (Apostilled) and be hand delivered. We also get to hand carry two other families documents with us to save them time getting things to Pskov! Isn't that cool???

Bad News
1- Did a trial run of my "happy pills" last night. I felt exactly the same. They did not turn me into the drooling, groggy, mellow person I hoped for. Took it at 8:25. Waited, waited, waited. Watched tv for hours. Felt EXACTLY the same. Started to get actually angry that I was not in my happy place. I was so disappointed. I am going to call the doctor and ask him if I can up the dose a little. (Now I don't want y'all to think I'm some sorta druggie or something! I don't even like taking Tylenol! So I was really thinking my "anti-drug" body would really react to medication, it failed miserably. I am actually more exhausted tonight. Ugh.
2- Our fresh, unmarked bills DID NOT COME IN ON TUESDAY! Bank girl called me personally Monday night and PROMISED they would be in tomorrow morning. I do not want to make a scene at the bank if they are not in tomorrow, but that is not beneath me.
3-House is an absolute mess.
4-I have to get on a plane soon. With pills that are obviously faulty.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

So here's where we are.....

Stuff that's done
1-Plane Tickets bought.
2-Transportation arranged to and from airport.
3-Visas arriving by Thursday. Yikes.
4-New money being picked up on Tuesday.
5-Court documents completed for hand delivery during first trip.
6-Clothes laid out in some semi-organized fashion.
7-Small Gifts for S have been purchased.
8-Starting on docs that expire prior to reasonable anticipated court date.
9-Found pocket translation book, travel book, and "Russian for Adoptive Families" CD and book. (I say that because its incredibly difficult to locate things you bought a year ago)
10-Bought necessary travel items- Converter, tiny hairdryer, Extra camcorder battery and DVDs. And this super tiny iron. It may take me an hour to iron one shirt, but darn it, we will not be wrinkled!

Not-so-good, yet
1-Missing suitcase. How does that happen?
2-Unable to find solid-colored black winter hat in any store. (Finding a bathing suit, however, would not be an issue, despite it being 40 degrees outside, stores all look like were ready for a beach party)
3-Trying to lighten up the suitcase FULL of orphanage items I've been collecting for a year. Should we just ship it? Should we just man up and have to lug three suitcases? Should I just pack less stuff? Split it between trips?
4- Trying to get a handle on work since I will be gone next week.
5-Trying to get the house in some sort of clean, working order. Yeah right.
6-Go get the happy pill prescription filled that the doctor gave me so that I don't give Chad bruises on his arms while flying or make other passengers scared/angry about my absolute terror of being on a plane.

Things that need your prayers because they are making me hyper ventilate.
1-Our home study is expiring on May 27th and some other documents that need to be signed off on by "she-who-must-not-be-named" are expiring even sooner than that. We are still up in the air about how we are going to juggle this one. Waiting to hear from agency if there is a better solution.
2-Confusion about some documents. I am trying to be proactive and not use the approach "we'll wait until someone tells us it isn't right/is expired" and trying to get a jump on these things and do them now since we are going to Columbia on Tuesday anyway to Apostille our court documents.
3-Freaking out about how much money we are spending right now.
4-REALLY freaking out about how much money we are going to spend NEXT TIME. Yikes.
5-That nothing (aka Visas) are held up and send me into a tizzie. I feel one coming on.
6-Flying. Ugh.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Sorry I didn't send you a card this year, I've been a little pre-occupied as you can imagine. But I was thinking about you all day, mostly about how great a grandpa you will be. I just take the idea of what a great dad you were (and still are to me) and then multiply that by 100 of what a great poppy you will be.
I know you are excited to have our little fellow in our lives. I can't wait for him to do all the things we loved doing together- playing in the shop, camping, building fire squirrels and soap box cars, rock tumbling, and general adventure seeking activities.
You mean so much to me. I wish we weren't so far apart, but you are always close to my heart! That rhymed (just pretend it was your card!)
I love you so much!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

24 hours....

These last 24 hours have been a sprint. We are so drained! Last night at 4:30 we had a telephone conference with our IA doctor out of Charlotte. He was a very smart, kind, and knowledgeable man and he put a lot of our fears to rest (much needed rest). We were delighted to hear that he is in the 70th percentile in his weight!!! As well as just a little below average height. Everything else looks very good. We are of course (like any adoption) missing some pieces to his puzzle, we will try our best to get some more answers when we talk to the orphanage doctor in person, but may never know some things about his past. At the end of our conversation we began to talk about leaps of faith. That lead to Dr. Douglass asking if he could pray for us. I thought he meant it much like many people say "I'll be praying for you" meaning in their private, personal time, but NO....He meant like right then and there! He prayed for a long time, for baby S, his health for his caregivers, for Chad and I. Chad and I were just overcome with emotion. Once again God has put exactly the right person in our lives at exactly the right time. We called our case manager and officially accepted our invitation to Russia and for S to be our son. Within minutes a new e-mail with lists and things to do were sent. When we got home, we started to research flights. I have NEVER been more excited to get on an airplane!
1-Went to see our doctor for our physicals and to get copies of his letter of approval and medical license. He had them already prepared and notarized. We breathed a sigh of relief.
2- We then were off to Spartan Photo to get our pictures for our visas done. The photographer was a really nice guy and turns out he is a bi-vocational youth pastor in Greer.
3- Breakfast at Papa's Breakfast Nook. Yummy.
4- Off to the police station to get our "local background check" the lady at the police station looked at me like I had three heads. We were in the wrong place- we needed to go to the Sheriff's Department across town.
5- We go to the Sheriff's Department. We were informed that we weren't allowed to get our own background check information. (Say huh?) They needed something on our agency's letterhead. A year ago this would have totally set me off and I would have probably argued with that lady. Adoption paperwork has taught me not to fight about the details, but to keep the end result in mind when asking "ok, then tell me exactly what I need to do to get what I need" I called our agency and they will fax over a letter tomorrow and then we can go get everything processed.
6- Went and picked up our passport pictures
7- Went to Chad's office and filled out our visa request. I just thought we picked up the phone and said "Hi. I'm ready for my visa now" but I spent at least an hour today looking up my community college's address and my previous employer's phone number. Bizarre. But once again the question is not "why" rather, "how".
8- Went to the post office and over-nighted our passports, pictures, and payment to the Visa company.
9- Went to the bank. The teller we spoke with about our "clean, new, un-marked" bills (a lot of them may I add....) Did not look at us like we thought she would. She told us she does all the "ordering" of the new money and placed an order for "brand-spankin' new bills" to be picked up on Tuesday. Like still in plastic wrap. Wow. That was awesome. We showed her our boy's picture and she wanted to know all the details. We gladly filled her in. She said she would personally call me when our money is ready.
10- Went to lunch. We were like zombies in need of caffeine. Bad.
11- Went to visit our travel agent. She is awesome and I love her. When we walked in she said "Ready for another cruise?" We told her this was MUCH more exciting than that. She sat with tears in her eyes as we talked about how adoption has impacted her family. She was very honest and said the flight we were looking at on our own was better than she could do, but she would hold two seats for us until we could get confirmation from our case worker that the flight would work.
12- The flight will work! Talked with Anya about accommodations while in Russia.
13- Called our financial case worker and requested our grant money be requested for our account. Yeah Steven Curtis Chapman! Yeah Show Hope!
14- Went to Toy-R-Us to buy some cars to take with us to give to Baby S. And some bubbles. And a C.D. with fun kid songs.
15- Went to Hamrick's to see if we could find Chad another pair of dress pants. Ended up with a really cute outfit for Baby S instead.
16- Talked to my mom who got another copy of our marriage license from central Florida and she sent it off to Tallahassee for us to be re-Apostilled (since our other one will most likely expire before we can have Court)Yeah Mom!
17- Called Brittany and bamboozled her into bringing us dinner because we are like blobs of jello.
18- Update the blog!
19- Go to bed. I am so tired, that was the most work I've ever done on a day off from work!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things I forgot to say.....

He is turning 2 on March 20th. He is so beautiful (o.k. I said that already, but I wanted to say it again)
If all goes well tomorrow night with the IA doctor we will begin making travel arrangements to be in Russia around March 20th-26th. I wish I could see him on his birthday, but I don't think we'll be able to with the timing. But we'll celebrate on March 22nd.
He is so gorgeous (I know...I know....)

Friday, March 5, 2010


I’m sorry I haven’t posted many details, as you can imagine I am overwhelmed and absolutely exhausted!
So here’s all the juicy details…..
Rewind to Tuesday. My BFF is having her first baby, I am hosting a baby shower for her in Florida on March 21st. So I decide, I need to start flying for practice since it’s been 10 years since I’ve flown, am absolutely petrified to fly, but I figure a nice warm up, 1 ½ hour flight will be a good start. So I book the tickets. Jokingly tell everyone that the next day we are going to get “the call” since I’ve booked a non-refundable ticket. (I did get the insurance so that I can use it within a year)
Fastforward to Wednesday morning. In the morning I’ve been e-mailing our case manger back and forth b/c a lot of our forms are getting dangerously close to expiration. 4:18 p.m. The phone rings with that area code! You know the one! I answer the phone. My voice cracks like a pre-teen boy, it is shrill and about an octave too high, it kinda startles me coming out of my mouth. It’s odd enough that my co-worker stops working and looks up at me. “We have good news for you, Sarah!” I jump over my desk (At which point co-worker has alerted the entire office what was going on) and run into an office where I continue to scream, cry, and jump up and down. “It’s a little boy!” She continues to give me all the details, height, weight, history. I wasn’t listening to anything. I think this is a common occurrence because later that night a nice email came through with all the details clearly typed. A huge crowd has gathered. I call Chad. My boss tells me to go on home because it’s obvious no work is going to be done for the remainder of the day, get on home. We were told pictures and the official translated medical information wouldn’t be available until tomorrow morning. I was so happy it happened on a Wednesday because we were able to share the news with our teens and church family all at one time.
Thursday at 2:34 (after checking my email every 3 minutes, beginning at 8:03) we finally get another call with that fabulous, wonderful area code. The pictures are on the way. AND THERE ARE 4 OF THEM!!! We are thrilled. I call Chad and tell him to come IMMEDIATELY! He arrives in 10 minutes. We wait and wait and wait. I am now checking my email every 3 SECONDS. At 2:56 I can’t take it anymore. I send an email IN ALL CAPS!!!! “WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN ANY PICTURES YET!!!!” 3:04 the most beautiful e-mail I have ever received arrives in my box. “Pictures of Baby S” YIPPPEEEEE!!!! We open them up and stand in awe, and tears of the most perfect little person. He looks so healthy. He has rosy beautiful cheeks, full lips, a little mischievous smile….(yes he was smiling in his picture!!!) GREY eyes and dark blonde hair. He looks TALL! And even on the chunky side! I wish I could show you his picture, but you know the rules, he’s not legally ours, so no pictures until everything is official!
Now we are taking care of nuts and bolts. We are meeting with our doctor on Monday that is reviewing his medicals. After that we’ll get hopefully get his stamp of approval and Tuesday morning we’ll be making our travel arrangements.
I was hesitant writing all of this because so many things are up in the air. But this is real. This is the way I feel right now. I have always been up front and honest about the way I was feeling, so I am not ashamed to say “I am in love!!” I know it’s probably not the wisest thing, or they way I should be guarding my heart in case of some unforeseen disappointment, but I don’t care! I want to shout it from the rooftops “I have met my son!”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

WE GOT THE CALL!!!!!!!!!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Retail Therapy

O.K. Amy, blog friend, you are a dangerous friend to have. I saw the post on the HABA Russia blocks and just had to have them. So I got em'. How cute are these?

Plate Winner!

Congratulations to Shawn, the winner of the plate with lucky ticket #40. (I used the random number finder online, isn’t technology a wonderful thing? Sure beats drawing out of a hat!)
A big thank you to Corey and Rose for their contribution to Operation Baby Deetz. Hopefully we’ll have some good news soon, March- will you be the month?