Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This photo is from the batch of new pictures our dear translator got for us. I wish you could see his little face fixed in concentration at his masterpiece. Can you believe this boy of ours is only 27 months old from the sight of this picture? I can hear his caregiver, Lala saying "show mama and papa how you hold the pen. Show them you are a good boy!" As my bloggy friend Amy would say "He's brilliant!" (Of course he is!) One of my mom's friend that works at her school evaluates children for gifted and readiness for kindergarten, noted his other hand, flat against the paper. She said that skill was more impressive than his "pen skills". I was so impressed with the way he was holding the pen even holding it with his right hand (He is left handed) I didn't even think about the other hand. But I guess this makes him doubly brilliant (Of course!)
Thought we could all use a little pick me up. Hang in there my brilliant boy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Say What?!?!

Things that were said to me this week and I am not making this up, as if this weren't already the suckiest suck-fest experience we have ever been through.

1- It will all be fine, if you say you are a Christian then you should know that.

2- Maybe you'll get pregnant while you are waiting

And the winner is....

3- You could give up the "referral" and try your luck in a different region. (Isn't that mentality what got us into this mess in the first place, Ms. Torry Hansen? That these precious children are like library books that can be returned or a pair of jeans that makes your butt look fat after you leave the store? Hello?)


Monday, June 21, 2010

While you were out.....

While Chad was on the White Water trip last week, I had a little project to keep me busy- Charlie's bathroom! Here are the before and after pictures. I love it. I am trying to stay as busy as possible, it's really how I deal with, well whatever it is that I am dealing with waiting for Charlie to come home. Next task, converting our messy cluttered office into a office/kid friendly playroom. Now for that, there may not be any "before" pictures! That would be embarrassing!

Only one question- how long does blue paint take to get out of dogs fur?

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Yippee! We have a complete robot bed, built just for Charlie, by his dad. His eyes are click on night lights, his ears those little door stopper thingies, and his face opens up to store all of Charlie's treasures. I was waiting  to post this because Mr. Robot needed a smile painted and Chad had been gone all week on a white water rafting trip with the youth group. So here he is.....I love him! How fun!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

News Update...

Rumor has it that the Russian adoption task force are in town until Friday evening, they have extended their stay in Washington to keeping working out some more details. Here is a brief update, finally some stories are coming out, there for a while I was starting to wonder.

Russia, US Officials Near Adoption Accord
UPDATED: 11:11 am CDT June 17, 2010

MOSCOW -- Russian and U.S. negotiators have agreed to set up licensed adoption agencies and allow monitors to visit the homes of adopted children as part of a new accord, Russia's children's rights ombudsman said Thursday.
Adoptions in Russia became a highly emotional issue after an instance in April when a Tennessee adoptive mother put her 7-year-old boy on a plane back to Russia -- unaccompanied by an adult. International outrage immediately followed, and new adoptions by U.S. parents in Russians virtually stopped.
Pavel Astakhov, a lawyer representing Russia in talks aimed at renewing adoptions, said a breakthrough occurred after U.S. negotiators gave in to Russia's demand that the accord be retroactive so that it protects children already adopted.
"For a long time U.S. officials did not want to give their consent to this," he said in a statement, "but Russia managed to accomplish this decision."
Astakhov said that the new agreement will set up a number of licensed agencies that will have the right to assist potential adoptive parents in finding a child. All adoptions through unaccredited middlemen will be banned, he said.
Training will also be mandatory for adoptive parents. "They will have to undergo training in a special course, for which they will receive the appropriate certificate," Astakhov said.
The agreement also calls for monitoring the adopted child in its new environment, going as far as to allow home visits official monitors.
"This was very difficult for the Americans to agree to this given that their right to privacy is sacred," Astakhov said.
The Russian ombudsman said talks have proceeded "constructively" and could have already been wrapped up were it not for U.S. negotiators, who need to agree everything "with their bosses."
Astakhov said U.S. officials needed additional time to coordinate provisions in the new agreement with the laws of several states. He said the agreement was two-sided and would apply to any U.S. children adopted by Russian parents.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

From Father to Son....

We knew a toddler bed would be in our future when we first saw Charlie scale a stack of chairs and crawl into a window in 2.1 seconds flat at the orphanage. As I watched him pull himself up into the window like a monkey, I thought of the beautiful crib in his room. It does turn into a really nice full sized bed, but he looked so small to be in such a big bed. So when we returned we started looking at an inexpensive option to just get him by for a year or so until he was ready for a big bed. We couldn't find anything to our liking. We searched for HOURS. We wanted a robot bed. We found trains, cars, and even a pirate ship. No robots. So Chad said "I think I'll just make him a bed" My husband, the youth pastor and apparently, part time carpenter. I just gave one comment "It needs to be safe, sturdy, no visible nails." Then I turned him loose at Lowe's. For weeks he gathered materials. He worked on it for days out in the garage. His head (red cube pictured) is going to be a toy box. His feet, a little place to sit. I would peek in every now and then and see the work in progress. Occasionally, Chad would pop in and say "I need some more_______, gotta go back to the store." But other than that, this really wasn't my project. So imagine my surprise when Chad called me to the garage to show me the frame. I was shocked! He said "you didn't think I could do it, did you? I sheepishly said "well no....." He said "it's OK, I didn't think I could either." We laughed. I took down Charlie's crib and cried. Chad moved the finished robot into his room and cried. Our boy is outgrowing his things and he doesn't even know it.
 I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. I really think this was Chad's way of staying connected with his son. I buy things to shower him with, Chad builds him a bed that will be the beginning of sweet dreams, night time prayers, and bedtime stories. What a precious gift. What a great dad. Just wait till you see the finished bed! I am saving it for the next post. Sweet dreams Charlie.....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

300th post (just kidding)

So, on my dashboard of the blog it said that this was going to be my 300th blog post. I really felt that was monumental, so I've been thinking about what I could say to pay homage to this momentous occasion. I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and trying to come up with some thought provoking message of where we have been and where we are going, the highs and lows throughout this incredible journey. Then I realized I had like, 20 "drafts" that I needed to subtract from that number. A few of them I tried to write from my phone that ended up in binary code, but mostly the ones that I thought twice about posting. Posts that were just me blowing off steam, you know stuff like "if you don't have something nice to say....." So good news, I have a few weeks before my 300th anniversary. No pressure. So, something a little more, well, less momentous.
We have gotten A LOT of Target gift cards. We are saving the majority of them for necessities to get him after he comes home, things we may need. But I just couldn't resist this! I can't wait for it to arrive! It's made by Italibike and it will work as a trike, push or petal and will last until he is able to ride a big boy bike, with the adjustable seat. How cool, huh? So here's to post number 288.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Special Post Request....

Sorry I missed this one Jennifer- here is the next special request blog! You might have noticed- I am approving all comments now and I will definately get your request if anyone else would like to put one in.....
Food in Russia
People in Russia eat the opposite of the way I eat with a huge breakfast, small lunch, and huge dinner. Usually my biggest meal of the day is lunch!  All of our meals were home cooked, we didn't eat at a restaurant at all during our entire stay, so I'm sure our experience was very different than a lot of folks.
The first day we arrived at lunch and Ludmilla made us "American Spaghetti". I think she was trying to be respectful of our palates, but really Chad and I are pretty adventurous eaters. The American spaghetti was not, well, American. It was kinda in a sweet and sour sauce. After that meal Ludmilla asked if we wanted her to make us "American" food or Russian food. We eagerly said "Russian Food" and we were not disappointed. If you get the opportunity to eat authentically- do it! It would be like me trying to cook Korean food if we had a Korean exchange student. Good food is good food, you should always cook what you know. Ludmilla was a wonderful cook. In my journal I wrote down every single thing we ate. (You should try to do that too) I also wrote down every tiny town we passed on the way, every place we visited, and things people said to us, day by day. It's amazing how things start running together if you don't write things down!
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at the food. I only met two things I didn't like- one was a cottage cheese and flour mixture deep fried in oil  and served with sour cream and jam for breakfast and the second was the coffee. It was like motor oil. Sludge. They make it on the stove in a metal coffee press.
I packed some "emergency food" of beef jerky, trail mix, nuts, and some high protein bars. Just in case. We were not well received in the village where Charlie lived, so we were really grateful for those healthy snacks. Not like we would have wanted to eat at that cafe- the meat looked petrified under heat lamps. I think it was suppose to be a cafe, I'm not really sure. We did get the chance to shop in the local market there, other than people looking at us like we were from Mars, the food was great. I finally found some TicTacs (they were mint cherry favored and cost a fortune, but worth every penny!) and we bought goodies for all the children there to last the week.
Now the specifics....
We rolled out of bed everyday around 6:30am and breakfast was served promptly by Ludmilla by 7:00am for our 7:30 departure. And it was always huge. Breakfast everyday was delightful. Honey, Bread, Jam, coffee (not delightful) tea, chocolates (yes chocolates and cookies with every meal, presented in a nice bowl...) THEN on top of those items a main dish- omelets, crepes, or bacon. By far the honey was my favorite part of breakfast, it was this yumm-o spreadable deliciousness. If you can buy some buy it! We never stopped at the store, but on our next visit Ludmilla has asked us to bring some real maple syrup in exchange for some honey. She said syrup doesn't exist in Russia and she loves it! I have her jug ready (hurry up court date)
Then on the way to his village everyday we would stop at a pseudo gas station (it had gas, but also cafe's and televisions playing for the patrons) and have hot tea and more chocolate (I love these people!)
Then when we got to the orphanage everyday, before we saw Charlie we would sit and have tea and CHOCOLATE with the director. The kids would also stop by and get a "sweet" from her everyday. No wonder Charlie could spot her from a mile away- she was the sweets lady!
Lunch- we were still full from breakfast, we couldn't be served in the cafe (long story) but I did bring a few snacks everyday from our stockpile- some for us and some to bribe Charlie (a must- get those little goldfish and teddy grahams in the un-crushable serving cups lifesaver) I wish I would have brought a sippy cup for him too, make sure you do that!
Dinner- We had lots of pork, a variety of noodle dishes and chicken twice. One night we had these yummy dumplings filled with meat. Ludmilla promised the recipe, she said she made it so many times, she didn't need a recipe. She ate hers in the liquid it cooked in (like a soup) but she served ours without the broth and with sour cream and some sweet/spicy sauce on the side.  
Her husband joined us every night for dinner. She would give us the two "big plates" stuffed full of food and they would eat off of side dish sized plates. By the second night I convinced her that I could eat off the smaller plate and her husband (a sweet, jolly man) could have my large dish. He did not protest, but I really had to twist Ludmilla's arm. She was a wonderful host and really one of the only folks we got to talk to in depth about Russian culture and life there. She probably thought we were the most chatty people in the world, because you'll find when it's a task to be understood, it's easier just to be silent!
Since it was still winter when we were there, we only came across one piece of fruit and no fresh veggies (a few frozen ones at dinner) but for the most part it was meat and starch, tea and chocolate.
I was really worried about the food and it turns out I should have been more worried about the roads and other things! So don't worry about the food, if you don't like breakfast, lunch, or dinner, know that tea and sweets will be in your future shortly!
P.S- One night we had "celebration cakes" and champagne to celebrate Charlie. Olga served them to us in St. Pete. She said her mother use to work in the factory that made them growing up. I don't know what those little cakes were, but if I ever see them again I'm buying a truck load of them!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Showers of Blessings....

On Sunday, my sister, Brittany, gave me a baby shower. It was a reminder of all of the blessings in my life- my family (all the way from Florida) were there, constant reminders of never ending support. My first friend- Kathleen, who took time away from her busy life with three kids and flew up with my mom. We have known each other since we were two years old (Charlie's age!) Just to think, a lifelong friend, someone who knows everything about you and likes you anyway! Our church family, there in full force. They have showered us with prayers and concern every step of the way. My co-workers are planning to thrown a shower after Charlie arrives home, but my friend Michele was there from start to finish, even a co-worker of my sisters. And, of course, my sister. She planned everything from start to finish. She did recruit some help with food (thanks Carol and Debbie!) but other than that she had some very ambitious plans- a banner (I wish I could show you, but we took ALL the pictures in front of the banner and I can't post any of them because Charlie's face is front and center on it!) The decorations were done in our nursery theme- rockets and robots. Everything looked great. She really did a fantastic job, I was so appreciative. We got a lot of great stuff! (Pictured) Currently, it is spread out all over our dining room! I have no idea where it's all going to go. I've never been to a baby shower for a toddler, so the stuff was a lot more fun than your standard receiving blankets and bibs. We got some much needed practical items- a stroller and car seat and a ton of fun stuff Charlie will love to play with- books, art supplies, a sand water table, outdoor toys- toy mowers and t-ball set.
Chad came in the front door and said simply said- "whoa". Then we sat down and played for a bit! On Monday Mom and I did some residual baby shower shopping with GIFTCARDS! We got some "must haves" the magnetic locks for the cabinets, an ear thermometer, booster seat, some finishing touches for the bathroom remodel, and a little potty. It was so nice to fill in the gaps and not spend any money!
It was so nice to have all of my closest friends and family around me on Sunday- all for Charlie. There were pictures of him all around, I made announcements for everyone to take home with all of his "stats" and specific ways that people can continue to pray for us. It was so nice because some people hadn't seen his sweet face! It's nice to know that I'm not the only one that thinks he is the cutest thing on the planet!
So here we are, celebrating Charlie and hoping that we can bring him home soon so that he can play with all his fun stuff, but most importantly, share the love that is all around him.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Good News (but not THE news)

Guess what?!?! On Thursday, I received some news from Russia. Our translator was able to score some updated current pictures of our little guy! As I opened the e-mail, simply called “Surprise for Sunny Sarochka” (That’s me by the way….) I saw my little angel again, 6 photographs in all. It was a relief as much as it was heart wrenching. In two months, his cheeks have gotten a little fuller and his hair a little less blonde. I noticed the tiny gap between his front teeth was a little less pronounced. The warmer weather outside has obviously been good for him- he looked cheerful and rosy playing outside in his little hat. One of the pictures was him sitting at the little desk we spent a lot of time at during our visit, he was writing on a piece of paper, blue highlighter in hand (right hand, should have been left) and the amazing thing was he was holding it like a pro, like he was in grade school already! That one particularly broke my heart because he looks so much older than his 26 months. In my mind I could hear his caregiver saying “now show mama and papa how you can hold the marker”. I put it beside a picture we took of him at that same desk two months ago. He looks so much more healthy now! It’s so obvious he is being so well cared for. In every picture he was in a very nice outfit, he looked clean, happy, and healthy. I was so relieved to see the gash across his check present throughout our first visit had totally healed. It was so red and angry before, I was worried it would leave a scar! His dry skin (from the extreme warmth indoors during winter) had gone away, showing beautiful smooth, pale skin. I noticed he was still wearing the same pair of shoes during the majority of our first visit, It gave me some relief that the shoes he has waiting at home might still fit. I studied those photographs for hours. I felt the same emotions I have felt throughout these last two months, only intensified: Gratitude and comfort knowing he is being so well cared for and has plenty to eat. Anger knowing that no one is a replacement for a mother and father. Sadness that he is not here with me. Bitterness over our poor timing. Reassurance that God’s timing is perfect. Peace that he does not appear to be longing for us the way we are longing for him. Gratefulness for unlikely friends in far away places. But I am so thankful for that wonderful surprise. It has given me more peace about our current situation.
On a side note, It was a very busy weekend, I think it deserves it’s own post, my sister threw a baby shower for me on Sunday, but until I get that one done I just wanted to let you know our good news with the pictures. Also- I found this article today about the next step in the adoption talks:
“The next round of Russian-U.S. consultations on a bilateral child adoption agreement will be held on June 14-16 in Washington, a U.S. State Department spokesperson on consular issues told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
Two rounds of Russian-U.S. talks on the inter-governmental child adoption agreement were held on April 29 and May 12-14 in Moscow.
"In May we received our "homework" and now we want to see how it was done in order to meet in mid-June and continue discussions on the draft treaty," Alina Levitskaya, who heads Russia's education ministry's social protection department, said earlier.
"According to the Foreign Ministry's information we will receive the draft agreement from our U.S. colleagues tomorrow [on Thursday]," she added.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Single Ladies Devastation

Ok, so I just saw this on TV and thought it was so funny. I had to find it on YouTube and share with you. Maybe it's because my sister and I sing this song all the time (even though I'm not a single lady either....) So it's just funny because of that, but I don't know, I can so identify with this father when he says at the end "I'm a terrible parent!" I am trying to remember the phrase "I was the BEST parent, before I had children" As I watch video of myself with Charlie, bribing him to come with me for food (gasp) or scooping him up at the very thought of his lip poking out into a pout (yikes) or encouraging him to kick a window just to see him smile (oh boy) I think, this little guy has my heart and has me wrapped around his little finger! Just don't tell him that, ok?
Edit- I watched the Today's Show interview with the family and they said if anything this video has brought their platform of adoption to the forefront, the "not so single lady" is their adopted son, from South Korea. Yet another reason to post this video on this site! That and it makes me crack up.