Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My name is not Jose.

How did this happen? I don't know what I was thinking and now I am beating myself up. I knew our Court docs were expiring since we hand delivered them on our first trip in March, but I guess I thought it was going to be different. Like, why keep redoing things over and over again? What's the point if no court dates are being scheduled? I suppose in my heart I was thinking this drought would never end.
Well now our agency says that we should go ahead and get to work. Our case manager replied to my email asking about Chad's passport that expires in December. Turns out it might as well have expired in September because your passport needs to be current within 4 months to even GET a Russian visa. Awesome. Would have been good to know, say, in June. So Chad spent his morning yesterday at the Passport agency as well as $200 in expediting fees. Awesome. Then our case manager called today at 5:15 and said, well, we basically need to redo every single document. EVERY. SINGLE. DOCUMENT. Awesome. But at least she said:
But you only need one copy of everything this time!
So, I think, ok I know I just spent 10 hours staring at the computer, but I have another few hours left in me tonight. I get home and start the shuffle. E-mailed my friend at the bank, emailed my doctor, emailed a sheriff friend that can help us with our local police clearance, called my mom about getting yet ANOTHER copy of our marriage license to be sent to Florida Apostilled.
I was feeling ok, reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day, and turned my attention to our USCIS approval that expires in January. I thought to myself, at least we were at least in the clear on that one. Then I read the fine print on the bottom. Despite the approval expiring in 2011, our fingerprints expire on SEPTEMBER 27TH. O.M.G. Panic mode.
Of course they aren't open now, so I left a voicemail and did some online stalking. It says "30 is more than enough time to process reprints, please notify us within 30 days" Ok- so I only missed it by 3 days. Please tell me it will be ok? So I sent them my request.
Then the phone rings: It's my sheriff's department friend running our local police clearance. He has the letters done (did I mentioned I just emailed this to him at 6:52 today, can you say rock star?!?) It appears from his search that someone has used my social security number fraudulently. He is some kind of criminal that has been deported from the United States and has given a handful of fake numbers, mine being one of them. He said it was unsuccessful and I shouldn't worry about it. (Ahhhhh!!!) He said when I got my federal fingerprinting done and they match those with my social, it is obvious that I am not a Hispanic male drug lord. O.M.G! He stopped by the house and hand delivered the clearance letters and showed me the rap sheet of my friend that is somehow attached to my name somewhere in outer space until the end of time. I hope I never have to explain that one.
Today has lasted forever. I have done everything within my power to do today and tomorrow is another day to hit the ground running. I hope this is the last time I need to do the great "redo" I don't think I have a round 4 in me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What you can buy for $68

So, I am officially addicted to coupons. I've decided what it is....it's like Black Friday (my favorite holiday of the year) like EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK! Helllloooo, a coupon in the paper on Wednesday for a penny mystery item at your local publix, I mean, what's not to love? My friend Sharon and I took a coupon class (how delightfully nerdy is that?) on Tuesday night and picked up some great tips. Sharon is incredibly organized, and well, absolutely brilliant, so I've been calling her about 4 times a day. Mostly with math questions. ("Sharon, it says this should be free, but I don't see how it adds up.....) Together we've been dredging our way through this. I hope it gets easier! I think I've finally gotten the hang of it, but don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of work and planning. At first, I would go into the store and make one purchase at a time with my little fistful of coupons, just thinking "this is never going to work and I'm going to owe more money than what this is worth!". But on Thursday I did my shopping for the week at Publix and today I went to Rite Aid and bought a cartfull too. I can't see how I am going to keep this up AND have a toddler in my house, but for now it's giving me a nice distraction from our never ending adoption (no we haven't heard anything substantial, other that the Judge may be going to the convention on September 9th and then after that may decide to go ahead and start scheduling court after that)
But....in case you want to know- here is my $68 bounty for the week: (Note I stack it up on the counter and kitchen table so that my husband gets a nice chuckle out of it, I think he thinks I've lost my mind)
1 gallon of milk
2 bags of salad
2 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes
2 pints Starbucks Hot Chocolate Ice Cream
1 lb Cabot Cheddar Cheese
2 packs Nathans Hot dogs
1 box Cole's Cheese Bread sticks
2 packs Johnsonville brats (go meat)
2 boxes Morning Star Veggie Burgers
2 boxes Morning Star Lasagna
4 packs Immaculate Cookies
1 lb green beans
1 lb squash
1 lb eggplant
1 lb zucchini
8 Fiber OneYogurts
1 pack sliced Gouda cheese
40 solo plates
1 lb Honey Ham
1 loaf organic wheat bread
2 v8 Splash
4 can condensed soup for cooking
1 box spaghetti
1 bottle A-1
1 lb Hamburger meat
1 Hormel ready made meal
2 tubs I can't believe it's not butter
1 box Ritz crackers
4 (12) pack rolls of Cottonelle
1 (4) pack roll of Publix toilet paper
5 boxes fiber one cereal (We are going to need all that toilet paper)
1 (32) load Tide detergent
1 package Tide stain release
1 (60) Downy Fabric Softener
2 Nivea Men's shower wash
2 bottles Gain Dish soap liquid
3 (12) packs of Coke Products
2 (22oz) Kraft Mayo
2 boxes Cascade Farm Granola Bars
2 cans green beans
2 cans Healthy Harvest Soup

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ode to Tar'get

"On the road again" Bean Bag Chair
Oh Tar'get how I heart thee,
Let me count the ways....
You fill my restless heart with retail therapy.
You do not empty my bank account,
Your red clearance stickers send my heart a flutter.
If I cannot find you at the store, I can go .com and get your free shipping.
If you were not in my life I would cry and have to go to the dreaded Wally.
It's no wonder your logo is a bullseye, you are always on Target!
Skip-Hop "Moby" Faucet cover

Aquatopia bath kneeling pad

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's all in the details....

Cut Robot mom and I found at Jolly's Toys in Helen, GA
With some cute wooden letters added to the door.
A gift from Sarah's friend Heidi that we made into a switch plate cover!
Love Etsy! Thanks Heidi and Joe!
Charlie's name has finally made it onto the wall
As have the robot prints....
Finally found a cover (well dyed a cover) to match then added some bling!
Some "borrowed" art from Chad's office
Mr. Robotos and Build-A-Bear Buzz wait for
Charlie on his robot bed, all gifties from Grandma.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August Pictures....

When we returned from vacation, we had a little treat in our inbox- August pictures of Charlie from our insider friend... ;D
He looks soooo big. It's been 5 months since we saw him and his face has really thinned out. He is almost half way to being 3 years old, when we first saw him it was only a day after his second birthday when he was still a baby, now he is approaching toddler-dom  I suppose...
So this is what we think happens for the photo shoots. They bring him out of the room by himself, sometimes to the main room located outside of his class, sometimes outside to the playground, and I think sometimes to the "sleeping room" while everyone else must be in the playroom/eating room. This is why you need to know this information:
One of the pictures is taken in the main room, where all of the teachers and workers walk back in forth to the classrooms. It is like a living room if you will- a couch, a t.v., area rug and storage for ride on toys. So in this picture, sits Charlie, in front of the big window and couch ON A PINK POTTY shorts around his ankles. Yes, you heard me right. I think they are trying to tell us he is now potty trained. The funny part is that they moved the potty from the "potty line-up" in the bathroom to the living room for the photo. I can hear them say "show Mama and Papa how you can use the potty!" The funny thing is that he doesn't even look confused. Actually, sitting on his bubblegum pink throne, he looks as if he is mid-sentence. His mouth is open, head tilted to the side, one arm pointing forward and the other above the head mid-ballerina pose. Like he is saying "The potty use to be in that room over there, but now it's in the middle of the living room in front of the t.v and LOOK you have a CAMERA!" And perhaps also pondering why he is wearing terry cloth short shorts and continues to sport the reverse mullet. Oh wait, that's just his mama that is wondering that....
He looks happy, healthy, and not missing us a bit. Those three things are exactly what we were hoping for. That and we won't be needing "September Pictures".

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peelies and Blinkies (Or How I spent my Sunday....)

I have recently been bitten by the coupon craze. Let me back-up and explain. I have some "super-mommy" friends that often boast of these incredible coupon saving experiences. They facebook about it, blog about it, and even send an occasional "I just spent 36 cents on eighteen bags of kitty litter!" email complete with pictures of a backhoe removing a pallet of kitty litter piled to the roof of their mini-vans in their driveways. (To that I say: But you don't have a cat....) I always thought it was cool, but I thought- who has time for that? Then last week I was in the grocery store behind a super perky little mommy with her super cute little daughter unloading a truck load of groceries onto the conveyor. She allowed the clerk to complete the ringing up of the items, total $132. Then she handed over her bi-lo store saving card, down to $87. I was impressed, but I shop the bogos too (buy one get one free) and to date have saved $544 on my bi-lo card, so I was like "ok perky mommy lets get on with it" (I was particularly moody because it was pouring down rain outside and had run in to grab just a few items and landed directly behind granola mom with $132 worth of groceries, I digress..)
THEN on come the coupons. First the store coupons. Then the manufacturers coupons. Then the duplicate coupons for those bogo deals and multiple purchases (see 18 bags of kitty litter). This took a while. But it caught my attention. Granola continued to talk to the clerk about the weather and how Juicy-Juicy really ISN'T as healthy as it claims to be while I watched her spendings dwindle down to next to nothing, literally. GRAND TOTAL 63 CENTS. My jaw dropped and as the clerk rang up my $24 worth of groceries I was holding, total- $16. Not bad, but NOT 63 cents, ya know?
I caught up with Granola at the front door. I struck up a conversation as we waited for the rain to slow down. She told me she spends about 2 hours on Sunday, with the 8 sunday papers she buys (she promised that they pay for themselves) and a copy of "All You" Magazine. Then she goes to http://www.southernsavers.com/ and checks out what is free or under a dollar at her local stores. She clips and organizes and then they start the "circuit". Going around to all the local stores and buying up "staples" at the right time. Whew. I think I can do that...I started doing some research upon my soggy arrival home (Darn rain) because at some point during her rant, Granola was talking about "peelies" and "blinkies" and I felt confused.
Fast forward to this Sunday. I went to the dreaded Wally after church. I spent $22 on a 2" binder, baseball trading card sleeves (to hold my peelies and blinkies) two Sunday papers, All You, and a pair of new scissors. I felt like I should be using a coupon for these things, but I let it go because it seemed like the cart before the horse scenario.
Now I have been sitting on the couch for 5 hours clipping coupons and becoming a facebook fan of feta cheese to get a "try it free" coupon. I am still confused at the overabundance of information at my fingertips, but now I have several papercuts as well. I should also add, my supplies cost $22 and I still have no food in my fridge. I am trying to be patient with this new way of shopping- not buying because you "need" it right that minute, but instead stockpiling items you need when the price is at it's lowest. I know that doesn't actually help with whats for dinner tonight, but the good news is I am buying a cat to use up all that kitty litter I can get for 4 cents per bag!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


So I'm sure you've heard of those expectant parents that take one last pre-kid vacation, we decided that sounded pretty good. But really, we needed a little break to re-group. We hadn't been on vacation in close to two years. "Saving time" for Russia has been our motto for over a year. So this week we took a much needed vacation to Surfside Beach, South Carolina (just down the street from Myrtle Beach....) Our daily activities? We slept in every morning, eating breakfast at "home" and then heading out to the beach. After a few hours we would walk across the street and eat lunch at "home". Then take a nap! (All that rest is hard work!) After waking up we would get cleaned up and go see the sites, having dinner out. (Shrimp and grits, REAL crabcakes..mmmm. One night we even...gasp.....went out to see a movie. Most nights we came home after dinner and watched a dvd. I read two books and about 5 magazines or so that had been stockpiled on the coffee table. It was awesome.
Our cozy little beach condo- thanks Whitt family!
But in all this, we couldn't help but looking at the toddlers playing in the surf and waves and think our boy should be here with us, experiencing the ocean for the first time. But we are hoping that this is indeed a "babymoon" and we'll get to bring him to the coast very soon.....and then we'll probably think "look at all those couples on the beach, sleeping and relaxing, remember that use to be us?" As we dig the sand out of our bums and wipe sunscreen out of a cranky Charlie's eyes. We'll gladly trade lazy days for toddler chasing marathons!
Downtown Myrtle Beach

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Caution...Serious rambling ahead.

When we found out in June we didn't make it in time to catch the Judge before her vacation, in my mind I was clinging to the thought that I just needed to make it to August. August was my great white hope. July 31st was like Christmas Eve, in the morning I would wake to find gifts and treasures untold. August. By then the agreement would be signed, the Judge would return to her post rested and relaxed, the thousands of prayers sent up would somehow soften her heart to us and our little boy waiting for his mama and papa.
August 2nd did not go so well. I thought to myself, ok.....I'm flexible, Rome wasn't built in a day, blah, blah, blah. I need to be patient. (Shouldn't I be an expert in that department by now?) I thought about my desk when I return from vacation, its a mess. I need to give it a few days. Tuesday brought odd e-mails. Wednesday, Thursday, SILENCE. And Friday, our hopes of "August" were gone. News that until an agreement is signed the Judge will not finalize American adoption cases. The small amount of hope I was clinging to was crushed. It's an impossible to describe what we were feeling on Friday. Friday was a very bad day.
In response to my previous post I was inundated with e-mails. I tried most of your suggestions. Before I even wrote that post I e-mailed the Secretary of States office and the embassy. I had spoken with them before when news first broke of Torry Hansen sending her son back. They have asked me to continue to update them as our situation changed (or not), so on Friday I just continued on our correspondence. "Hi we are still stuck, signed anything yet?" Last time they wrote me back immediately and even called me at work to get some more details. This time, silence. I still haven't heard anything from them. In April I contacted all of our congressmen and senators and three contacted me personally. I don't know that any progress with that was made, but it did make me feel better to know that people in a position of power know that Ms. Hansen's actions have had a profound effect on real people. That we have a real son that sits everyday in a real orphanage waiting for his real mama and papa. They gave me an emergency cell phone number to a SOS employee. I decided I will give them a week before call some poor unsuspecting intern and bombard her with information while demanding answers.
I have been given a few email addresses for some adoption gurus. I have wrote them.
I have posted on yahoo message boards and adoption support groups. I have facebooked and used your "friend of friend" contacts. I spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday responding to emails and message boards. I am sorry if I haven't written you back personally, there were ALOT of emails.
And all roads lead to this conclusion= we wait. This decision is out of our hands. There is nothing we can do, nothing our government can do, The only thing left to do is wait and pray.
We have been told that our Judge is attending a conference or training of some sorts in September in Moscow. Our agency said the beginning of September, someone on the "inside" says the 20th. The Judge would like to resume court if she can obtain reassurance in Moscow on the way to proceed. But will it matter if an agreement is not signed? We just don't know. I hate the thought of putting our hope into another little "hope basket" for September as we did for August.
So it's like this: We know by some of your emails that there are a lot of people in worse situations than we are. (I know, can you believe it?) It has opened my eyes to the widespread devastation that this situation has caused. I think my perspective was focused on the families that "made it out" before the bottom fell out. "Why couldn't have we gotten a referral a month earlier?" "I wish our home study would have been finished a month earlier" I think for those of us that didn't "make it out" we feel like sad isolated "woulda, coulda, shouldas". Instead, I wish that we would bind together and pull each other through.
We know that we need your prayers and your support.
 We know that this story will have a positive outcome. Eventually, we'll get a call and all will be right with the world. Until then, we wait and we pray.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Any Suggestions? Know anybody who knows anybody?

Ok blog friends, we received word today that the Judge in Pskov will not, under any circumstance hear any American adoption cases. We are assuming this means until an official bilateral adoption agreement is signed, but the way it was presented it sounded like a very permanent decision. I ask our case manager a million questions, all assuming that there is SOMETHING that can be done about this. Maybe this is just an American way of thinking, "I'll keep asking until I get a response I like/everything is negotiable/never take no for an answer" but in my line of questioning it appears that:
There is one Judge in our region
We cannot have another Judge hear our case (Anyone heard any different?)
We can contact the US State Department and see what they can do for us.
The Russian Ministry of Education is the only governing body that has any say in what Judges can and cannot do.
Our region appears to be the only region with a Judge that feels this way
However, the DOE in Pskov are processing new families and accepting new dossiers, allowing people to travel for their first trips. She said as a matter of fact our agency got a Pskov referral this week?!!? (I KNOW IT MAKES NO SENSE!)

There just has to be something else we can do. If you don't want to discuss this on a public forum (I don't really want to either, I am just at my wits end and grasping at straws) PLEASE email me at sdeetz1023@gmail.com
I am hoping that someone might have some advice to share. I just feel so hopeless.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Cryptic e-mail messages, supportive friends, a weeping wife, an angry husband, a child stuck in the middle of an International "situation". It may seem like the jacket of the latest fictional thriller, but no, it was just my Tuesday afternoon.

Without going into detail, because I honestly don't have any, just speculation (see cryptic e-mail messages) It appears that we are no better off than we were in May. But perhaps I am wrong.

We are giving it some time for the agency folks to work their magic, but it appears as of now we are still NOT being considered for Court anytime in the near future. I hope and pray that I am wrong and the word "yet" in the phrase "The Judge will not take your case yet" can be translated today to mean yet as in the phrase "It's not Friday yet" or "All of my hair hasn't turned gray yet" or I haven't polished off the emotional eating chocolate cake in my fridge yet" Like as in, yeah it's going to happen, just not, like, today.

Rumor has it we are now turning our efforts to a mysterious "Plan B". I have no idea what "Plan B" is nor that "Plan B" even existed, but I guess that is what we have resorted to at this point. I'll keep you posted, are you as curious as I am about this?

We do thank you for your continuing prayers and we know that this will be a success. We are in it for the long haul (as long as it takes it takes!) and we know that God is going to see us through this wait. He is giving us the strength that we need and the grace in which to get there.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Sorry it took me so long to post.... I'll cut to the chase- today we heard absolutely nothing. I was told to call after lunch, Chad and I called together because by 1:00 I was convinced that we were in for some bad news. I just couldn't face it alone. Then we waited, and waited, and waited. And NOTHING. I try not to leave multiple voicemail messages, because I can't stand it when people do that to me, but I did call again around 4:00. Nothing. I know they say "no news is good news" but I think in the world of adoption no news usually means someone couldn't or didn't do what they intended to do. We'll leave it at that.
So I guess we'll try again tomorrow.
Now if you'll excuse me I've made a chocolate cake to drown out my sorrows....