Friday, December 21, 2012

It could have been me.

I just don't know what to say. Last Friday the World changed. Schools are no strangers to terror and violence, but last Friday was different. It was my day off, Charlie was at school, Jack was taking a nap, Chad went out to run some errands and I watched in horror as the whole thing unfolded. By the time Chad came home with lunch, I sat in the chair in front of the T.V. weeping. He practically dropped the lunch on the floor when he came through the door. He yelled "WHAT HAPPENED?!!" I could barely choke out the words. He said I scared him, when he saw me he thought something happened to Charlie or one of our parents. The thing that scared me was that it could have been Charlie. It could have been my baby.

Next, the news that once again Russia is threatening to stop all adoptions to Americans. The bill has already passed on the first level and is on its way to the second level. After that Mr. Putin will sign off or veto the bill. In no uncertain terms he has said he would approve the bill if it came across his desk. Now I see our story rehashed. My wounds that have not quite healed opened up once again. Moms that have met their babies and now are being told their court dates are being "postponed". Families waiting have been told to start looking elsewhere. Our worst nightmare is in the news again. This time, my boy is sleeping in the next room. Not in an orphanage across the sea. But once again, it could have been me, two years ago- it was me. In this situation I guess it would be easy to become complacent and say "It's not me. My boy is home" But then I see their faces. The ones we left behind. The ones that will never know a mothers touch or a fathers gentle reassurance. The ones that will die in an institution or age out of a flawed system. The ones that will fall to prostitution, crime and suicide. All because of stubborn pride.

I am asking you, as a friend, to please do what you can to end this. Even if it's not you. It could have been you. It could have been us. Charlie. So many others that are loving life and thriving with their families. Please take just a moment to go HERE and email your Congress people and Representatives. Here is my letter:

"Hello Mr. ______. My husband and I adopted our 4 year old son, Charlie from Russia in 2011. It took us nearly two years to complete the process due to an adoption freeze in our region following Tori Hansen's actions. Now, it seems relations between our countries are on the brink of disaster again, with political threats of a permanent ban on adoptions to Americans. Voting has passed the first level (in the Duma) and is now headed to another vote before presented to Mr. Putin. I believe the second round of voting will happen as soon as 12/26 to be approved by the New Year. This is heartbreaking. Children, especially orphans, should never be used as political leverage or vengeance. I think of our son and how, most likely, he would have spent his life in an institution without adoption. There are 750,000 orphans in Russia, many of which "age out" and become statistics of prostitution, crime, and suicide. Adoption saves lives. I am begging you to be our voice of reason to Russia, to be Charlie's voice, in your position. Thank you for taking an interest in this matter, it truly is a matter or life and death for so many precious children."

You can also go HERE and sign the Petition to keep adoptions open to Americans.  

Just for a moment, pretend that it is you.





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sending the Sunshine

I am asking for your help! We have a darling college senior at our church named Cameron. She was part of our youth group when we first moved here and she is one of those teens that just radiate sunshine. The "sonshine" of her father God, the sunshine of life and love and joy. To know Cameron is to be sunburned. You can't be around her without being illuminated. I LOVE this girl. She was a prayer warrior in bringing our boys home. She provided encouragement to Chad and I on our darkest days. The sun has a way of doing that :)
This year, while many college seniors are only seeking an "Mrs. Degree" Cameron has decided to take a HUGE leap of faith. She applied for and was chosen to take part in the World Race. You can check it out HERE. Make sure you watch the video at the bottom. Basically, it's this amazing humanitarian effort that puts together teams to travel to 11 THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES IN 11 MONTHS.
We're not talking Switzerland and the French Riviera, I'm talking about the poorest of the poor places. India, Africa....Orphanages, slums, and gypsy villages. Ms. Cameron will not be vacationing poolside. She will be bringing her Sunshine to the most destitute and hopeless places on the planet.
Of course this comes with a huge price tag. A sum that she is responsible for raising all on her own. Sunday night, lying in bed I started thinking about the money and how daunting it can be to look at a mountain of money you don't have, don't know how to even begin to have....I know a little about that :)
And my prayer was simple "Lord, how can I help Cameron?" Help her be at peace that the right people will give the right amount and exactly the right time. This sweet, precious girl is trying to do your will and your will alone. How can I help (obviously whipping out my checkbook is NOT an option for us...) But I can DO SOMETHING!!!
So....God spoke. "Sending the Sunshine" An online Auction. I have purchased numerous things from online auctions helping adoptive parents bring their kids home. Why not bring this venue to Cameron's situation? Maybe I'll raise $500. That's $500 I could have never just given on my own, but folks, I speak from experience- that's the way God works. A donation here, a yard sale there. We can all do a little. Mountains are moved rock by rock.
So, I'm asking begging you to do this. If you craft, make me something fabulous. Take a picture of it and send the picture to me. If as my friend said "No one in their right mind would buy anything I would make" BUY something- a gift card to donate. We all have something fabulous lying in our closet or jewelry box that hasn't seen the light of day in months. Donate it. Take a picture of it and email it. Share with other people that may want to contribute. I will compile everything and put it on a Facebook auction page. Then bid, spread the word. Lets help Cameron move this mountain!
Please let me know ASAP by commenting on this post, Facebook messaging me, text, pony express, whatever if you would like to help. I would really like to kick this baby off in mid January, so I would need photos or a description of your goods by JANUARY  6th.
I'll leave you with this, it's from Cameron's blog "Small girl BIG God"
"I know that this will be challenging and I know that I am going to be changed forever and for good but I also know and believe that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And the Lord has always had a plan for me and will always have a plan for me Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I'm excited to embark on this new journey and I know I won't be able to do it without God and without your prayers and maybe even financial support ."
Will you join me in helping send some sunshine?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Vapor

Life is but a vapor. We are but a vapor. James 14:4 "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away."
That seems to be a thread running through my mind today.
I've probably lost about half of my readers already. No one likes to think about how short life is. We build these illusions that we are going to be around forever. Sometimes days drag on and we think it will never end (IS IT BEDTIME YET?!?!) But in truth, we all catch a glimpse of it around the holidays. (WEREN'T WE JUST SITTING AROUND THE TREE IN 2011???) We blink and it's Christmas time again. Here it is again- what, 17 more days?
It all started with a wonderful quote I found on Facebook. It was spoken by Derek Loux. It said "My friends, Adoption is redemption. It is costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him."
Wow. Those are powerful words. After I read them, I thought, who is Derek Loux? So I facebooked him. Of course, right? In memory of Derek Loux. Oh no. But I was greeted with a banner of 12 beautiful children, obviously his children, from all different corners of the World. Most of which with special needs. Derek and his wife were are champions for adoption. He was a music minister, missionary, and musician. He died in a car accident two days before Christmas in 2009. He was coming home from a seminar about ending child sex trafficking. You can read about his Adoption Revolution Mission and Derek's life HERE. Last month his dream was realized through the opening of an orphanage in Thailand. His daughters are getting married. His kids are growing up. His life was not a vapor.
What are we doing that really matters? I worry about buying Christmas gifts. I worry about my dirty carpet. I worry about my clothes, my hair. Worry, worry, worry. And all about earthly things that are gone in a vapor. Stuff that just doesn't matter. Stuff that will ultimately end up in a landfill. 

What are we doing? What am I doing?

Adoption started out for me, as a way to fill a selfish need. I wanted to be a mother. I wanted a family. But now adoption has ignited a passion in my heart that is a glimpse of something eternal, something that isn't a vapor. Something that matters. I wish everyone I knew would consider adoption. Commit to praying for orphans. Donate even a few dollars to help a family trying to adopt.

Let's vow to take small steps and do something that matters. Support an adoption auction. If you type in "Adoption" into facebook search you'll find at least a hundred. Then you can still buy things that serve a duel purpose. Support Reece's Rainbow (orphans with down syndrome) support Project Hopeful (orphans with HIV) support CWA (our agency) support Show Hope (Chapman adoption grants) The list goes on and on. There is no end to the amount of need in our World.

I'll leave you with this image I saw while reading the Loux family blog. It's of an Iraqi war orphan. The child had drawn a picture of his deceased mother to cuddle up to and fall asleep on. If this doesn't move you to action, I don't know much else that could.There are people hurting everywhere. How are we using our vapor?


I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I'm calling
Lord, you catch me when I'm falling
And you've told me who I am
I am yours- Casting Crowns

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

550! A history lesson. But not a boring one.

I consider 550 pages a perfect amount of pages for a book. Too many more and it's only purpose should be a doorstop. Too many less and the reader feels gypped. It's a fine line my friends, a fine line.
That being said, this blog From Russia With Love has hit perfection. 550 blog entries. Spanning close to four years. This my friends, is now an official epic novel. Holy cow. What a ride it has been. Charlie has been home almost 2 years. Jack for over a year. Where did all the time go?

For your reading pleasure here are the top 10 links to my favorite posts:

1- February 3, 2009 Our "Official Letter" Here is where it all began. Our letter announcing to the World that we were adopting. We had met with CWA a few weeks earlier and decided on Russia. We were so full of joy and hope!

2- March 3, 2010 "WE GOT THE CALL!!!!!" You really don't need to follow this link because the entire post consists of the following "IT'S A BOY!!! MORE INFO TO FOLLOW....I CAN'T THINK STRAIGHT RIGHT NOW!!!!" For the real scoop, you should read "Details"

3- March 28- April 9 And then the joy mixed with the pain. We got home from Russia "Welcome Home!" and then a brief two weeks later, utter devastation. She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named sends her son back to Russia and our World comes crumbling down around us. Prayer Request. Little did I know for the next year we would be in the battle of our lives to bring our boy home.

4- September 21, 2010. "If you think I'm a Saint DO NOT read this post" The low point in the wait, the red tape, the government stupidity. I guess we laughed to keep from crying.

5- December 7, 2010 "WE GOT THE CALL" Possibly the single greatest day of my life. After our region had been "frozen" for close to a year we finally got a court date. But with a disclaimer. We couldn't tell anyone. Kinda like the pastor that played hooky from church on Sunday to golf, scored a hole in one, and couldn't tell a soul. But when I thought about Charlie and he would be in my arms forever in another two grueling months it made all the secrecy worth it.

6- February 7, 2011 "No More Goodbyes" The only blog entry written by my husband. The day we finally liberated our little man and drove away from the orphanage in a big yellow bus into the frozen tundra. No longer an orphan. What a joyous day!

7- August 31, 2011 Out of the blue (we've been home from Russia about 7 months) we receive an "SOS", the opportunity to adopt an unborn baby. Still recovering from the great Russia disaster (the process, not the baby...) Our heads were spinning under the circumstances.

8- September 13, 2011 And the answer is..... Now we have two months to do a home study, hire an attorney, scrape together some more money, prepare our hearts and our home for a baby.

9- November 11, 2011. And introducing the world's cutest bear... "Baby Bear" I can't believe we have a baby. At our house. A baby. I didn't see that one coming.

10- March 19, 2011 "Brothers!" And everyday I still pinch myself. Two wonderful, beautiful boys. Our boys. Life is so sweet. God is so good. I am so blessed.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Note from the Trench

So, recently my dear, sweet cousin found this article and sent it out into the world via Facebook. But I really secretly think it was just for me. She was just placing it on her timeline as not to single me out. Now, said cousin has four children and is currently preggo with number five. She home-schools. Enough said? She is supermom. I think it might have been for her more than it was for me. Whoever it was for, I think you might enjoy this as much as I did.

It's from a blogging mama named Chris Jordan who might just be the funniest person who ever lived. She has seven children and writes "Notes from the Trenches" The article is called "23Tips for maintaining your sanity while living with children" and it might just be the funniest thing I have ever read. And the thing about the pee pee bathroom and the top sheet. Truth my friends. Pure Truth.

23 Tips For Maintaining your Sanity while Living with Children
Recently I had the mother of one of my son’s friends ask if I ever get mad or yell.  You seem so calm and peaceful all the time, she had said. I laughed.  My children laughed even harder. It was a great illustration of how we all think everyone else has it more together than we do.  I yell.  We are a loud family.  We talk loudly.  We make grand gestures with our hands, occasionally smacking someone by mistake, which results in more yelling.  My kids run and bounce through the house like balls in a pinball machine.  Yet somehow, I have managed not to run screaming from the house dressed only in my birthday suit.  At least, not yet.
Here are my tips:
1. Lower your standards for cleanliness and order.
2. Did that? Lower them even more.
3. Your house will never look like a magazine spread, period. Embrace that.
4. No matter how many baskets you buy to contain toys, they will always be visible.  Embrace the Toys ‘R Us/ frat house-chic decor.
5. You can never have too many popsicles in the freezer. How many bad moods have been fixed by a simple popsicle?
6. If you can’t change them, change your perspective. For example I read recently– probably on Satan’s website Pinterest– that toothpaste is great for cleaning things like faucets. So now when I go into the bathroom every day and see toothpaste splatter all over the bathroom faucet I think about how my children have done half the chore of cleaning for me. How considerate of them! Then I wipe it off while cursing.
7. Those chores that no one ever wants to do. Decide if you would rather do it yourself, badger your child to it, or let it go. If you are confused about what to do, see Number 1 on this list.
8. No one cares what is stuffed under your child’s bed, why should you. Unless it is old food.  In that case, you should get a dog.
9. If you have boys, your bathroom will always faintly stink like pee.  Invest in some Febreeze and count down the days until they move out and you can go visit them and pee on their bathroom floor.
10. Don’t buy white furniture. Unless you enjoy screaming at your children every time they go near it.
11. However bad a situation might seem, one day it will be funny. I have a few for which I am eagerly awaiting for the funny to kick in. Any time now….
12. When your child is a young teen there will be nothing more embarrassing than your very existence. Use this to your advantage. Start planning early.
13. Do not paint any walls in your house with flat paint.
14. Be okay with letting your kids stumble sometimes. Whether that is turning in an assignment late because they didn’t do it or wearing an outfit so hideous you have trouble looking at them without laughing.
15. Noise cancelling headphones are great for blocking out whining, bickering and the endless episodes of Sponge Bob.
16. Socks do not have to match. Every day is Crazy Sock Day at my house, which is infinitely better than Crazy Mom Day.
17. The crayons will break and it is okay to throw them away rather then save them to make some sort of craft that involves the hair dryer. In fact, I give you permission to not feel guilty about all the crafts you know you will never do.
18. Your children will not die from eating the occasional hot dog or frozen pizza. And by occasional I mean more than you are really willing to admit.
19. If your children are driving you crazy arguing with each other, start an argument with them. Then your children will bond over their mutual hatred of you and be quiet.
20. Children do not appreciate top sheets or high thread counts. Buy neither.
21. Homework time is the worst time of the day.  Help your kids and yourself by having a designated time and a quiet place to do homework. Preferably in a neighbor’s home.
22. Just say No to ironing.
23. Last, but not least, a glass of wine and some really bad TV makes everything seem a little better.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Boy!

I can't believe our little peanut is a year old. Time passes us by so quickly, even though tough days have the illusion of going by so slowly. (Is it bedtime yet?!?!?)
My screen saver at work is compiled of thousands of family snapshots. When the boys pop up from even a few months ago, I marvel at how fast they grow and change.
J has quite the personality. It's so funny the way his sense of humor is already evident. It's funny to me that even though he can't quite walk, his favorite activity is wrestling and climbing. He is all boy through and through. He loves his big brother. The way he looks at him is really something to behold. Even though he can't speak words of adoration, it is so clear in the way he looks at him. The same goes for when mommy or daddy come home. His little eyes sparkle and his eight little teeth break out in the widest grin.
Any time he hears applause he starts clapping. One hand turn correctly and the other slapping the opposite side, like he's giving himself a little hand spanking. 
Any day now I am waiting for him to start running. He lets go of the wall or furniture, takes one step, then crumbles into the ground and right into a "speed crawl". As if he is thinking about walking, changes his mind and says "crawling is waaay faster and waaay safer, I think I'll go with that!"
He is mimicking up a storm. His favorite word is "done!" (Other than Mama, of course....)
He eats anything and everything. More than his big brother on some days. So far his favorite dinner is salmon and cous-cous. I mean what baby do you know that spits out babyfood and thinks cous-cous with onion, garlic and tomatoes is the best thing ever?? After every bite you get a "Mmmmm!!!!" from him, which has really boosted my cooking self esteem.



I am so thankful to be a Mama to such an amazingly brilliant little guy. I don't know what we ever did to be so blessed, but whatever it is I tell God thank you everyday! I love you peanut!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Fail...

For the second year in a row we have had Halloween fail. Gone are the days of walking your neighborhood for treats. Now it seems as if the Halloween "events" has taken center stage. Neighborhoods look like a New York City caliber traffic jam because apparently, children have lost the ability to walk door to door and must be driven in mini-vans with open sliding doors from house to house.
Scooby and the Gang!
Shaggy and Scoob
Let me begin, we started off this year with a bang. The week before Halloween we had trunk or treat at our church. It was a great event. We invited the school and surrounding neighborhood. We had candy. We had spray on tattoos. We had bouncy rides. We had coordinating costumes.
Cutest Giraffe EVER!
Then came Noah's Ark day at C's school where he proceeded to inform me he would like to go as a giraffe. Okayyyy....no problem, it's time for creative mommy to make an appearance. You see, she's been hiding under piles of laundry for approximately 2 years. So I busted out the rusty, trusty glue gun and Voila! Giraffe. No problem baby. 

Youth Party
Now, please keep in mind at this point we have been to TWO pumpkin patch/farm/hayride kinda places. We have picked pumpkins, apples, and corn. We have petted and fed various sheep/goats/pigs/horses. We have gotten lost in not one but TWO corn mazes.
Not to mention a fall festival at school. And a date with mama to see Hotel Transylvania. We carved pumpkins. We made Oreo pumpkin pops. We grew skeletons in water (grows up to 600x their size!!!) For good measure we attended the youth Halloween party on Sunday, in costume I might add. 

Now it's October 31st. I tell you all of that to say this. You would think after all this hoopla we could simply "skip" Halloween trick or treating. We went to church, in yet another costume. Sorry no pictures because at this point I am Halloweened out. I was planning on glazing over the fact that we were just going home after church, but noooooo....apparently some little booger at my kids school told him about going door to door for candy. He insisted. I tried to be a good sport. Last year, we just went to friends homes. This year, all of our friends were at church. So we tried a mega church down our street hosting a "Truck or Treat". The line was wrapped around their mega building twice. I told C I would take him to the store and buy him whatever candy he wanted if we could leave. Being the savvy businessman he is, that was an easy bribe.

As we drove through our neighborhood, I noticed quite a few porch lights on. I thought "Ah ha! Halloween can be saved! We'll go at it the ol' fashioned way!" First door (WITH LIGHT ON!) No answer. Second door (WITH LIGHT ON!) no answer. Third door....you get the picture. If C was a few years older, I would have encouraged him to go get the TP and eggs. Ok, that was a joke. But I'm not gonna lie- the thought crossed my mind more than once as I carried J up the hill and watched C's disappointed face three doors in. I told him I would buy him TWO candies of his choice if we could just go home and watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown". So we that's what we did. We handed out candy to THREE kids. Next year, I think I'm going with "Didn't you hear honey? Halloween has been canceled!"



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Re-writing life

Ever wish you could have a "do-over"?
Like today for instance. I took the boys for an impromptu trip to the mountains to surprise our youth group. They were camping about an 90 minutes from home and I thought "that would be fun!" First our GPS took us literally through the woods and spit us out on a dead end, insisting that we drive through the woods to "reach our destination ahead." Right.
When we finally regained cell service we found our way only to be stopped by a giant gate guarding the camp. There was a buzzer. Buzzed. Nothing happened. Called hubster and everyone else I knew on the trip. No cell service. Called the camp number. Answering machine. Called the "emergency" camp number. Answering machine. (REALLY?!?!) Was about to turn around and go home when I huge man in a huge truck pulls up. Here I am, a lady with a baby and a boy and being from someplace other than the south, I think "This man could kill us and there is no one around to hear us screaming." (In case you are wondering YES I always do think the very best of people...NOT!!) At this point we are out of the car and letting C run off some energy as I call everyone I know.
I nervously eye the house up the hill. I would never make it holding my 25 pound baby. Turns out he is a nice guy from Zellwood, FL. We had plenty of time to chat as we wait for someone to let us into the stinking gate. Long story short a lady finally left the camp and we rushed the open gate.

Do overs. Everyday I wish I could erase something.Today, I wish I would have gotten the gate code before I thought I was going to get myself and my kids chopped into pieces. Sometimes, I wish I could just re-write big sections of my life. And, well, that's pretty stupid because I've had a wonderful life. But what about those who really have a reason to re-write life? Days, weeks, years, spent in an orphanage. Even under the best circumstances, it's a horrible existence.

It's hard enough getting a ticket out when you are a perfectly healthy person. The chances of being adopted are slim at best. Now, add in even the smallest health problem and those odds reduce significantly. Next, add a mental impairment, and you might as well forget ever having a home or a mom and dad to tuck you in. You will never celebrate a birthday or wait for Santa. You won't get proper health care or nutrition. You'll be hungry and you won't be able to tell anybody. You'll need comforting and rarely receive so much as a hug. You may start out life in a baby home with compassionate care, but at age FOUR you will be transferred to a mental institution. With adults. At age FOUR.

Fortunately, hope is not lost. There are angels among us that are called to adopt children with special needs. Adoption is a huge hurdle on so many levels. But when God opens your heart to adoption and you are met with a face of a child, your child. You will stop at NOTHING to bring them home where they belong.

One of those hurdles, unfortunately, is financial uncertainty. When you see that cost, it's so easy to think. "Deal breaker" If you don't have it, you don't have it. But once again, there is hope. Agencies like Reece's Rainbow exist to bring home the most hopeless of orphans home, where they belong. They work tirelessly to provide grants (sometimes full grants) to bring these angels home. And the awesome part is YOU CAN HELP RE-WRITE 10 of these angel's lives! Cultivate Wines hosts a semi-annual charity giveaway to award $50,000 to one deserving cause.

This year, Reece's Rainbow is in SECOND PLACE. That means, no $50,000 or 10 grants to waiting orphans. No chance to "re-write" the course of their lives. Voting is easy. You can vote EVERYDAY HERE 
On October 31st we'll know if 10 precious babies are that much closer to a "do-over" that will save their lives.
Please vote. Please share. Let's be part of something BIG. It only takes a second and the impact you can make will be life changing.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kiss and tell.....

Here's a little fun for you. Please keep in mind that C is 4 1/2 years old. FOUR.AND.A.HALF.

One of C's speech words was "kiss" (We're working on K sounds) and his speech therapist likes him to try the word on the flashcard before we tell him the word if he won't say it on his own. So, he's sitting there, starring at the picture of two cartoon people kissing. I kept saying- C, you know this one. You know what they're doing....He finally says "Yeah, I know Mama. I do that to the girls in my class"
WHAT?!?!
I quickly said "C! You better not be kissing girls in your class!!! To that he says:

DON'T WORRY MAMA, I ONLY KISS THE PRETTY ONES.
Lord, help me.
Flashback of the Victoria Secret commercial a few weeks ago. If you're not my friend on the ol' book of faces. Let me recap for you.

We're sitting around watching something like Jeopardy. I tell you that because I don't want you thinking we were up late letting C watch late night TV. A Victoria Secret commercial comes on and C, immediately stops what he's doing and gives the TV his full (no pun intended) attention.
We go with the "don't make a big deal about it" route.
At the conclusion of the peep show, C says:
MAMA, I LIKE HER SKIN....
I bet you do son, I bet you do.

I had no idea that this fun would start this early. Should I be worried???

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Party and other ramblings...

I am enjoying the few years in my boys life that I can actually choose their party theme and guest list. I have a feeling those days are over when it comes to big brother. C has already informed me that for his birthday he wants a bouncy house, Scooby Doo, and has already started to assemble the guest list. Keep in mind that his birthday is MONTHS away.
But, little man is going to be a YEAR OLD next month. Isn't it crazy how time flies? It seems like yesterday I was sitting in the hospital with his birth mom, scared out of my mind. With the normal "baby" stuff like, well, "What the heck am I going to do with a baby??!?!" and a terrible fear that she was going to change her mind. You see, we hadn't had the best of luck in the adoption department with C's process and even though that ended well, I couldn't shake the feeling that we were REALLY pressing our luck in the family department. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am the perpetual doubting Thomas. But much to my surprise, they handed me this little 7 pound 11 ounce baby boy on November 10th and my life forever changed. Our lawyer was a little high strung and was adamant about getting J OUT OF THE HOSPITAL FAST!!! once he was released to us. You see, he is an adoptive parent times 15(!!!) and his last adoption fell through at the hospital as they were getting the baby in the car. Talk about adding unnecessary pressure. I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest as we stood in the freezing cold trying to latch the FREAKIN' car seat into the car for the first time. Finally the nurse stepped in and did it for us. She STILL handed us the baby despite our lack of car seat skills.  In retrospect, I have no idea why we didn't do that in advance. And we were almost out of gas as well (going back to the surprise that these people actually handed us a one day old baby!?!?!) In our defense we thought we had another 2.5 weeks before his arrival, but still. Geesh. Honestly, we weren't thinking of anything else except. GET.THAT.BABY.HOME!!!
Flying unicorns could have picked us up on their golden chariot and I wouldn't have thought twice about it.
Wow, that was a tangent. Still with me?
So, the pressures of a first birthday party. It's odd, because J won't remember a single blasted thing from this day. Yet, I am assuming this is a multi-million dollar industry. You would be shocked to know the amount of things that boast "My FIRST Birthday!" I'm not one for the BIG birthday hoopla. That show "My sweet 16" makes me almost vomit every time think about it. Don't tell C, but he can dream of the bounce house all he wants. There WILL NOT be one in our backyard come Spring. Nor will we ever have a petting farm, circus performers of any type, D.J.'s, face painters, tattoo artists, castles, rock walls, or anything of the sort at a birthday celebration for these two boys. Sorry guys. If it's any consolation you'll get to pick out your birthday dinner and cake flavor....
We have cake and friends at home. Period. Maybe as they get older a "location" party, slumber party (do boys have slumber parties??) I guess they are called "camp-outs" or something of that nature. But anyway, I think it's INSANE to spend hundreds of dollars on one day of fun to simply say "You were born today and I'm glad".
Don't get me wrong, I want it to be special and atheistically pleasing. I WILL buy coordinating plates and napkins. I WILL make a ton of handmade stuff like banners and cute labels for food. My goal is to make it LOOK like million dollars NOT spend a million dollars. That could be the theme of my life :)
So, we I am going with a construction theme. It's gonna be so cute! I can't wait to show you the pictures. In the meantime, here are some seek peeks! And for the record, I am addicted to Pinterest.
The holy grail of construction parties. I can stop pinning now!
Cake inspiration
Meri Meri - Meri Meri, Big Rig 9\" Plates  <B><FONT COLOR=#FF5DF2>NEW!</FONT></B> | Meri Meri - Meri 450309Chocolate covered donuts "Spare Tires" Toy Truck BirthdayTruck party
truck birthday partyWrecking BallsConstruction Birthday Party Idea: black table cloth and yellow streamer=road!





Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Trip to the ER

Well, that was fun. Monday I picked C up from school and as soon as the door closed he burst into tears. Totally weird for my child. He's just not a crier. He says his belly hurt. Asked him 500 annoying mommy questions- what did you eat? have you been potty? Etc.
We get home and he can't stand up straight. He can't walk out of the car without doubling over and holding his tummy.
My brain is screaming- APPENDIX!!! I try not to panic and overreact. We go in, try to go potty. We lay down and try to get some rest. I give him a warm bath. I rub his back. Gas drops. Pepto. Nada.
Now, you should know, C has guts of steel. He NEVER complains of an upset tummy. In the close to 2 years we've been home I can't think of a time he's been sick in the tummy department.
Hmmmm. Since he still can't walk straight, we decide to take him to the ER.
We take J to a friends house because babies and ERs DON'T MIX.
At the hospital, C barfs in the lobby and poof, we're taken right back. Apparently they think it's his appendix too. This is NOT looking good.
Tests, tests, and more test. They poke him, prod him, take 5 vials of blood from him, x-ray him.
His nurse is from Russia. She has a tiny matroshka pin on her lapel. I tell her that C is from Russia too. She starts speaking to me in Russian. I tell her "I'm not from Russia, just C..." she is puzzled. But keeps talking to him in Russian even after I tell her I don't think he understands her. But then I look at his face and I think he might....Hmmmm....At least he is very comforted by what she is saying.
After hours of tests, and a hefty chunk of change, the results are in.
MY CHILD IS FULL OF POO.
Awesome. They give him a prescription for some Miralax and off we go.
So, did I overreact? Probably. Was I scared out of my mind? Definitely.
I would like to think I perform well under pressure. Apparently not. I was a crying, blubbering mess. I yelled at my husband, I came unglued that I didn't know what to do. Lord, please keep additional emergencies OFF my plate, because I really did NOT do well. I failed the "Keep Calm and Carry On" portion of my mommy test.
P.S.- The next morning after the Miralax did it's ahem...."Magic" C says "Mama, my sleep made me all better! It fixed me!" Thank goodness baby, thank goodness....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Welcome!

I have totally gotten myself into a mess I'm afraid. Who knew switching over a blog to private would cause such a giant headache. I have been importing, exporting, dowloading and uploading. Some contacts stick (Yeah! You're here!!!) and others disappear. Hmmmmm.....So I have a ragtag half list of people that want to read my blog.
So if you're not here yet it's not that I hate you and don't want you reading my blog. It's either I am technologically stunted (likely) or Blogger hates me (likely)....
Sooooo hang in there. I am working it out. I need tech support. Hubster????

Monday, August 27, 2012

Going Private...

After thinking long and hard about this decision, I have decided to take this blog private. Why you may ask?- Well, I am planning ahead for the very near future. Soon, it won't be so cool to my boys that their faces pop up when you google their information or the word adoption. That and I am concerned about privacy and the recent influx of "Nutters" accessing my blog according to my stats page. You may be asking- what does that mean to me?

Well, if you send me your email address I will add you to the approved readers list. Not so bad, right? If you could help me out- if you are anyone other than my mom, sister or in-laws, include a brief note- something to the effect of "You know me you ninny- we went to the third grade together" or "I'm so and so, we adopted so and so from such in such" Just to jog my memory. My memory is really, really bad. Sorry.

I am aiming to switch everything over within the next two weeks- so....email me by lets say September 17th.

Here is my spanking new email address for blog purposes only:
sarahblogger1@hotmail.com

(If you have my personal addy, keep using it- I am not switching permanently to hotmail, just wanted to have a nice clean slate for blogging usage :)

If this is the end of the road for you following my blog, let me just say it has been an absolute pleasure. I never thought that so many people would care about our journeys to bring our sons home. It has been a humbling and encouraging experience. I am now connected to more adoption loving people than I even knew existed. We've laughed together, cried together, experienced great loss and great joys together, and cursed various government employees together. What a ride.

Never in a million years would I have thought that this blog would become a way to speak out about adoption, get sound advice from fellow parents, and expand our friendships with other people going through similar circumstances. You have given us tremendous support and love and I can't say thank you enough for the joy you've brought to our corner of the world.




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bye Church School- Hello Pre-K!

We have been truly blessed for C to attend school at our church (where we work as well as worship). One- it's down a flight of stairs from my office. and Two- The teachers there have been patient, kind and loving to take care of a little boy fresh from an orphanage, not really sure about this whole "daycare" thing, because I'm sure to him- a bunch of kids in a class with a caregiver didn't immediately bring warm fuzzy feelings. When we arrived home in February of 2011 with C, our goal was to return to work by May. When we took C for a "tour" of downstairs he literally froze in my arms. He couldn't say the words, but his panic was palatable. Something about those long hall with cheerful paintings and noises of children made him come undone. Rightfully so. He just wasn't ready. And I wasn't either. After fighting for a year to get him home, I wanted to wear him like a sweater everywhere I went.
So we set up a little school in my too-big office. Train tables, books, puzzles, blankets on my sofa, even a little potty in the closet. C hung out with me while I worked for seven months. Then we re-toured that Fall he was like a different child. He was so excited to go to school. You can see his joy on the picture from September 2011.
I cried for the first week. He wanted to go to school every minute of everyday. I would go in to pick him up at 2:30 and the popular phrase became "No, Mama...I stay...." So we let him stay until Hubby was done working at 5:00. The difference was like night and day. He was confident that we would return, loved being around his friends, and loved his teachers. Ms. Pearl, Ms. Heather, Ms. Judy, and Ms. Vicki were angels in disguise. They were so loving and nurturing of my little guy. Hopefully, he didn't get too much special treatment due to the fact both his parents were staff members. But if he did I can't complain. I know what a difference a little bit of nurturing can do....We called his first class the "International Room" because of the 8 or so kids, three were from different countries.- India, Russia and Ukraine. He flourished. Coming home with new words and phrases on a daily basis. And a love of Dora the Explorer. So some of the phrases were Russian-English-Spanish hybrids.
A year has passed and now it's on to Pre-K at a great Christian school. Uniforms, school supply lists, class rosters, and school calendars. 5 days a week (!!!) Again, I am feeling so fortunate at the level of education he will be receiving. It's going to be strange to not have him "under my roof" during the day. I guess it will just take a little getting use to....
So, thank you church for making my boy feel loved. Thank you for taking what could have been a bad experience and making it joyful. Thank you for understanding my little guy's needs even though at first you couldn't understand a word he said. Thank you for fostering in him a love of learning. Thank you for letting me experience the fun of every single field trip. Except the corn maze, I didn't really enjoy the corn maze. You made C's first educational stepping stone a firm one and I can't thank you enough.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Busy. Busy.Busy

We've been on vacation! (It was wonderful!) I flew to Orlando solo with the boys. That was fun. (Insert sarcasm here....) You may recall how much I hate to fly, but it's amazing how you forget your fear when you are entertaining a 4 year old, opening snacks, digging through a diaper bag and trying to keep an infant from grabbing the hair of the lady sitting in front of you as he octopus climbs up your face.
We ate at our favorite restaurants. I saw two of my closest and oldest dearest friends. We went to Legoland. We went to Disney. We went to the Science Center. We went to the Disney Marketplace. We ate at the T-Rex Cafe. When we asked C what the best part of vacation was he says- "The pool" (as in my parents and in-laws pool) Further proof that it's the simple things in life :)
Both boys great throughout the week. They were champs. Despite their schedule being seriously disrupted and the super intense heat. I am truly blessed with wonderful, easy going boys. High energy, but truly go with the flow little guys.
I still haven't unpacked our bags. I should say "BAG". One thing Russia has taught me that I feel liberated to know is that Americans carry too much stuff. One suitcase for the three of us. Yes, I am bragging. You should try traveling with 4 outfits. It's quite liberating to be quite honest. You do laundry mid-week and feel all travel savvy. You don't even have to recycle your underwear, I promise. Pack half of what you think you need and you'll thank me for it, I promise.
So, we are back to the swing of things- back to school shopping. *sniff* My baby has a school list. With a lot of stuff on it. I finally gave up couponing and picking stuff up from here and there just to save $ and just bought everything in one trip to WallyWorld today. I surrendered to the school list. I just wanted it over with. But then I realized I forgot an entire section on the page. Ugh. I guess I'm not done after all. You moms out there are saying "oh no....you're never done...." I hear it gets worse and more expensive.
So, I am excited for C to start school. He is going to a top notch private Christian School with a VERY small class size. I am hoping this year allows him to make up some lost ground by leaps and bounds. I am really excited. He is not. He keeps insisting he is NOT going to a new school and wants to stay at daycare. Hmmmm.....
In other news:
1- J's two top teeth are in!
2- He is standing up and kinda walking along furniture
3- He still HATES to crawl. But will do it as a last resort.
4- C is having some dental work done on Tuesday (prayers please) We are going with another dentist and trying a different approach. 
5- I got a crazy wacko comment on my blog concerning the Warm Shelter Auction. I wasn't really sure what was trying to be said since the person writing it was obviously poorly educated and used several words out of context, but if any of you saw it, I apologize. I am now moderating my comments. I tolerate a lot of crazy, but I will not tolerate taking my Lord's name or motives in vain or people that speak poorly of Russian adoption or orphans. Now if the coward that posts "anonymously" will have to man up and have her crazy comments made public to me if she wishes them to be shared on this blog.
That's all. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

PLEASE HELP!

A few months ago we received word that a small orphanage in C's hometown had lost their government funding. Placing them at risk for being shut down- their children would then be transferred to a large facility. ("Large facility" in Russia is NOT a good thing....)
Long story short, it is VERY hard to get funding directly to them. BUT, God's angels are always available, a future adoptive mom was on her way to Pskov to meet her little girl for the first time. In less than a day we were sending Wal-Mart gift cards to "Agent 88" and she bought about $500 in clothing and medication to deliver on her first trip. Well, that about broke her back and her wallet. So THIS time there is an online auction. 100% of the funds will travel in Agent 88's wallet and be used to shop in country. Much better. Right?
So, you may be wondering how you can help. Well, start by bidding on SOME GREAT STUFF!!! Goes live on Sunday. So:
1- Go HERE and bid and bid often! There are some really cool things. And really folks, Christmas is only like 5 months away. And my birthday is only like 3 months away! Buy for yourself or buy gifts. Just buy! Ok?
2- Please re-post this and share this information.
3- Go to the link again HERE and share it on your social media of choice. Please help us get the word out.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Auction starts at 1:00 on Sunday, July 22nd and closes on Sunday, August 5th at 10pm.
Of course there are gift cards for everyone- Wal-Mart, Target, Game Stop...but there are also some beautifully unique items- jewelry, clothing, quilts, etc. Here are some of my favorites:
If I had a daughter of course...

Moleskin Journal with silver charm

Super cute!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Big Boy-isms

"Are you kidding me?" When I say it, it's more of a phrase of disgust, when I drop something and it shatters, when I can't find my keys after searching for them ALL.DAY.LONG. (That is a true story and I'm about to loose my mind....) C prefers it's in it's literal context.
C, it's bath time...
Are you kidding me, mom?

"I can't know" To which I respond, you mean you don't know? Yeah, mom, like I said "I can't know!"
C, what did you have for lunch today?
I can't know, mom.

He is frequently shorting words. I used to be "Mama", now I am "Mom". This works for a lot of words, except "Baba" (his grandma) Whom unfortunately, is now "Bob". 

Tonight, I am standing in the kitchen (looking for my keys...) and C is playing with J in the living room, rolling a ball back and forth. C comes in and says "What mom?" I told him I didn't call him. He says....guess....."Are you kidding me?" No, C. Not kidding you. I didn't say your name. He says "Oh, it must have been my tummy calling my name"
My tummy doesn't call my name, but it does say FEEEED MEEEEE CHOCOLATE!!!

A tale of 2 teeth....(tooths???)

Ok, more than 2..but the name just sounded catchy. Ahhh...teeth. I brush them, floss them, yet we are still having MAJOR issues.

Poor C. We went to the dentist on Wednesday. Major trouble. Back molars...done. Next molars, cavities. The dentist (who was ridiculously good looking by the way, I digress....) says we need 4 silver caps and 2 fillings.We tried x-rays and after several attempts verging on tears, we stopped. I guess when you don't get dental care for the first 3 years of your life you may be prone to issues and extreme fear of people poking around in your mouth, no matter how good looking they are...Dashing Dentist wants to have the work done all in one shot at a hospital, under anesthesia. . Estimate: $10,000!!! Say whhhaaatttt???

Saturday night: I look over at C and he looks like a chipmunk. His cheeks have ballooned up like the third round of chubby bunny. I ask him what happened- he says he hit his face on the wall. But it's not red, not bruised. We ice it down. No improvement. We give him Benadryl. No improvement. Fairly certain at this point its an abscessed tooth. In the front. Whaaattt???

A friend of our family's brother is a dentist. Sunday we get an antibiotic prescription called in and an appointment for a second opinion.

Now you may ask, what about the other tooth in this tale. Ahhh....J. He is breaking in the next round of teethers. The top two front ones. Oi. There has been three sleepless nights of wailing and gnashing of teeth (literally) in this household and I am about to scream. It's a horrible feeling not being able to help your babies. I hate seeing them in pain. Praying that it all goes away. Quickly....

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's HOT, but we're still having fun!

Hubby said it best last night. We moved from Florida to a "milder climate" and have since experienced ice storms, snow storms, an earthquake, monstrous hail storms, and triple digit heat for DAYS at a time. I guess it's the price we pay for trading in Florida's Hurricane season. After sweating my face off for days 20 days in a row I am starting to wonder if that was a fair trade....So, it's hot here. I mean like 102+, the worst being one particular 107 degree scorcher. Our fun has been limited to swimming in friends pools and playing after 7pm. But that doesn't mean we're not having fun :)
Hope you're enjoying your summer too!




Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tell me a story...

During the summer C and I pretty much live at the Library. (J gets his own squishy book to chew on while we browse) We love the Library. Except for THIS trip to the Library you may recall. Anyway, we are pretty much obsessed with books. If you have ever seen C in action, you know he is in constant movement. Even in his sleep, he moves like the hands on a clock in his bed. But you crack open a book, two books, three books and the child is as still as a stone. He will literally sit for hours while you read. It doesn't matter the storyline. You could read him a how-to on land irrigation and as long as there are pictures....
When we go to the library we check out 8 books. I don't know why. It is my favorite number, but that's really not why. Seven is too few and 9 seems a little excessive. Within this "Magic 8" C picks 4 and I pick 4. Mainly because there is a lot of rubbish out there. I mean some real stinkers. I don't want to hurt his feelings when he chooses "Trains vs. Sharks" so I smile, look excited and tell him "That looks like a good one!" Then I choke through ridiculous plot lines and sad illustrations. All for the love of literature, the whole time thinking "Why can't I write a children's book???" So, four and four. I've compiled a summer reading list* for us and I NEED YOUR HELP. I feel like I am at a bit of a loss remembering some great books we read as children or you've read to your kids.  Here is a preliminary list. PLEASE comment me and add your favorites!
*Some titles are omitted because we own them and have read them OVER and OVER again!

The List
Barrett, Judi. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs. New York : Aladdin Books, 1982, c1978.
Base, Graeme. Animalia. New York : H.N. Abrams, 1993, c1986.
Base, Graeme. The eleventh hour : a curious mystery. New York : Harry N. Abrams, 1993, c1989.
Bridwell, Norman. Clifford, the big red dog. New York : Scholastic, 2002, c1963.
Cannon, Janell, 1957-. Stellaluna. San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1993.
Cronin, Doreen. Click, clack, moo : cows that type. New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2000.
Day, Alexandra. Good dog, Carl. New York : Aladdin Paperbacks, 1997.
DePaola, Tomie, 1934-. Strega Nona : an old tale. New York : Simon & Schuster, [1988], c1975.
Degen, Bruce. Jamberry. New York, NY : HarperCollins, c1983.
Jenkins, Steve, 1952-. What do you do with a tail like this?. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
Johnson, Crockett, 1906-1975. Harold and the purple crayon. [New York] : HarperCollins, c1983.
Kellogg, Steven. A rose for Pinkerton. New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, c1981.
Leaf, Munro, 1905-1976. The story of Ferdinand. New York : Puffin Books, 1977, c1964.
Lewis, Kevin. My truck is stuck. New York : Hyperion Books for Children, 2002.
Long, Melinda. How I became a pirate. San Diego : Harcourt, 2003.
Muth, Jon J. Stone soup. New York : Scholastic Press, c2003.
Numeroff, Laura Joffe. If you give a mouse a cookie. New York : Harper & Row, c1985.
Penn, Audrey, 1947-. The Kissing hand. Terre Haute, IN : Tanglewood Press, 2006.
Portis, Antoinette. Not a box. New York, NY : HarperCollins, c2006.
Rinker, Sherri Duskey. Goodnight, goodnight, construction site. San Francisco : Chronicle Books, c2011.
Rosen, Michael, 1946-. We're going on a bear hunt. New York : Little Simon, 1997, c1989.
Shaw, Nancy (Nancy E.). Sheep in a jeep. Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1986.
Silverstein, Shel. The giving tree. New York : HarperCollins, [2004], c1992.
Sobel, June. B is for bulldozer : a construction ABC. San Diego : Harcourt, 2003.
Stead, Philip Christian. A sick day for Amos McGee. New York : Roaring Brook, 2010.
Taback, Simms. Joseph had a little overcoat. New York : Viking, 1999.
Trivizas, Eugenios. The three little wolves and the big bad pig. New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1993.
Tullet, Hervé. Press here. San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2011.
Van Allsburg, Chris. Jumanji. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981.
Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. New York : Aladdin Books, 1987, c1972.
Waber, Bernard. Lyle, Lyle, crocodile. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993, c1965.



Wick, Walter, 1953-. I spy treasure hunt : a book of picture riddles. New York : Scholastic, 1999.
Wiesner, David. Flotsam. New York : Clarion Books, c2006.
Willems, Mo. Don't let the pigeon drive the bus. New York : Hyperion Books for Children, c2003.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tired of wasting time?

AdoptI don't know about you, but I waste A LOT of time online. I browse Facebook at least 5 times a day. Don't even get me started on Pinterest. OH.MY.GOSH. A half hour "just checking in" turns into a lot of late night recipe and craft ideas that most likely will never come to fruition.

Take a break and do something truly life changing. It's a contest from Cultivate.com. 
They are awarding $50,000 to the most voted for charity. And one of the "worthy causes"? PROJECT HOPEFUL!  Project Hopeful is a wonderful non-profit that specializes in finding children with HIV/AIDS families. Wow.... When I think about that it just makes my eyes tear up. I feel this is the ultimate demonstration of love. Project HOPEFUL exists to educate, encourage, and enable families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS.  And with your help, you can donate $50,000 to their agency. Wow.

It literally takes 3 seconds a day. So stop Facebooking, Pinning, Tweeting, whatever for 3 seconds everyday and VOTE. Please. They are currently in the lead, but only by 1000 votes. We just need to HOLD ONTO our position. 9 more days. $50,000. You can do this!

GO HERE and vote. Everyday for the next 9 days. While you are on the page and think to yourself "Self, not only do you have 3 seconds to spare, but 10 seconds to spare" please consider re-posting the link to your facebook, twitter, pinterest for others to share the word. It's right there on the voting page. If you are a blogger PLEASE re-post and get the word out! $50,000 for these precious children is well within our reach.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another brillant use for nose suckers.....

Jack vs. the nose sucker. Personally, I don't think there is anything funnier than a belly laughing baby. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy Re-Adoption Day!


This pretty much sums up the day


Me and my Dada
With Baba and Dada
Gettin' my shrimp fix


All this Court stuff makes me tired














Today was Charlie's re-adoption day. We started out the day with Chad driving through the night from a youth trip in Tennessee to come back for Court. Poor guy got in at 4:00am, slept till 10:00am, went to Court and got back on the road to drive 4 hours back. Yuck. Sorry Chad. When they asked me if any dates weren't good I was thinking more like "Is Monday better than Wednesday?" kinda thing. Not, are you going to be out of town at some point? Ooops.
Well we got to the courthouse at 11:30 for our 12:00 hearing. You may remember in a moment of bravery insanity, I decided to represent us in Court without an attorney. We waited in the lobby until 11:55 and then the Bailiff appeared with the Judge's assistant. She called me over, with a huge file in her hands. And said...."Uh, the Judge has been reviewing your file...." At that point I was honestly waiting for her to say...."And it's all wrong". But instead she told us the Judge had reviewed our file, already signed an Order and we didn't even need to appear before him. Well, that was anti-climatic. I am soooo glad I stayed up half the night drafting my own Order, ironing 3 pairs of dress pants, and 3 dress shirts (including two miniature sets of clothes, that let me tell you is a real domestic challenge.) I think I had totally psyched out to be the attorney, you are the attorney....It was kinda showing up with your game face on for the big game and the other team forfeits.
On the other hand, it was wonderful to get in, get out. Mission accomplished. No nerves, no judge, no hoopla.
And it wasn't a total bust. Charlie got to see prisoners being escorted in shackles to jail. He talked about it ALL.DAY.LONG. We talked about why you shouldn't steal/hurt people and always listen to your Mama. Perfect.
The other bit of good news is that we were under the impression that all of Charlie's Russian documents would be sealed, as in, without a Court Order we would never even see his Russian birth certificate again. And you all know how sensitive about my boys documents. As if a little part of his heritage would be sealed away with it.
BUT they never asked for it and I never volunteered it. The clocked and stamped and signed and we walked ran out the door. Documents intact. Woooo-Hooo.....
And Charlie got a shrimp lunch and toy out of the deal since we told him if he spoke to the Judge and was polite in Court. He got out easy....and so did I.
Now both my boys will have birth certificates from the good ol' USA and both from the same State to boot.
So now we have another huge notch in our adoption belt. Two more baby steps to go. Home studies in February 2013 and February 2014. And then we are DONE baby!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Resource Giveaway

I've been doing a little spring summer cleaning and have come across some GREAT resources we used in Charlie's adoption. Some were "pre-adoption" preparation, some were "in-country" language guides and a few have been "once you're home" kinda stuff. Only 3 out of the 7 are geared towards Russia specifically, the others cover a broad spectrum of adoption information and topics.
I would really LOVE to give these away to a family who needs them or could use them. We've certainly found them helpful! I personally wish we had the "Little Pim" language videos BEFORE we went to Russia because they are geared towards 0-5 year olds learning Russian and that's about the language skill level I operate on :)
Anyway, just leave me a comment telling me which "prize pack" you are interested in. I'll pick a winner on Random.org. on June 21st. I'm dividing the drawing into 3 categories because I realize you may be in a different place in the adoption process. If you would like to enter all three categories when please leave three separate comments.
Please feel free to share this on your blog or social media too- I realize I may not have many "Potential Adoptive Parents" as readers any more. Also, maybe you could win them for a friend? Someone thinking about adoption?
Prize Pack #1 "Thinking about Adoption"
The Complete Book of International Adoption by Dawn Davenport
The Complete Adoption Book by Laura & Raymond Godwin


Prize Pack #2 "In the Process or Post Adoption"
The Whole Life Adoption Book by Jayne Schooler & Thomas Atwood
Adoption Parenting (mandatory Christian World Adoption reading, BUT full of useful information) EMK publishing, edited by Jean MacLeod & Sheena Macrae


Prize Pack #3 "The Russian Prize"
Little Pim Video Series, Videos 1: "Eating and Drinking" 2: "Wake up smiling" and 3: "Playtime"
Simple Language for Adoptive Families C.D. Russian by Amy Kendall.
Russian Dictionary and Phrasebook by Erika Haber


 Good luck! As always, if you have ANY questions about International or Domestic adoption, please feel free to contact me! By no means am I an expert, but I know how challenging each can be. At the very least I could offer you encouragement, a listening ear and prayer!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

:0(

So, you may remember my post about the possibility of the return of your original USCIS packet. HERE is the post. If you are a adoptive parent you know what I'm talking about. If you're not the only thing that you need to know is (at least in our case) you are given very little information about your child, then to add insult to injury you are given ONE copy of their new birth certificate and ONE copy of their adoption decree when you leave Russia. That's it. Everything that you know about your child fits into a letter sized envelope. For whatever reason, this makes me sad. I think about all the meticulous documentation that occurred before my first month, not to mention the volumes that were written before my third birthday. Then you look at that envelope, with two pieces of paper and obviously lacking any photographic proof of infancy, first tooth, first step, first haircut and it just makes you want to cry.
Anyway, with the return of this packet, there is rumor of at minimum another set of original documentation, which is not only practical, but enticing as the possibility to double the amount of documentation in your possession. THEN there is the rumors of the hospital records and photographs. Be still my heart.
Well, we were prepared to wait up to two years for the return of this magical packet. Well, on Friday, we got a letter from USCIS. I thought maybe it was a "thank you for your request, we'll be right on that in approximately two years" But instead it said "thank you, but everything in your child's file was a certified COPY of the original document other that the original visa application, which we cannot return to you and must remain in our file." SAD.
They did say I could fill out another form to request "copies of the copies" but really, what's the point in that. I'm going to do it anyway, just for the possibility that they have a copy of something I don't have, but still. SAD.
I hope all you guys who are waiting and filled out the form have better luck and find some real gems in your packet. Ours was a dud.
But, we are still focusing at making new memories and document those wonderful things as they happen!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Running Out? Run In!

 I had a lot of fun shopping at Publix today! In the "old days" aka "pre-children days" I use to come home from the store, put everything on the counter and make hubster guess how much I spent and how much I saved. Like our own personal Price Is Right. Now we're lucky if we can get the food put away before Charlie is asking for juice or something more pressing needs attention.
But today, we played the game. Wanna play??? I know you do! Here is what I bought:
2 Boxes Rice Crispies
Aveno Baby Lotion
Aveno Baby Wash
2 Tubes Crest Vivid White (Running Out? Run In!)
3 Tostino Pizzas (Running Out? Run In!)
2 Giant boxes of Luvs Diapers (Running Out? Run In!)
4 V-8 Splash Juice
10 Cans Tomatoes/Green Beans/Corn
2 Charmin 6 Rolls
Lipton Family Box Tea Bags
2 Ace Bandages
2 Spot Shot Carpet Cleaner (I know....NOT green, but my homemade recipe isn't cutting it on nasty pet stains....)
2 Smart Balance Milks
3 Cans Crescent Rolls (Running Out? Run In!)
3 Cans Buttermilk Grands Biscuits (Running Out? Run!)
2 Mitchum Deodorant
2 Reynolds Foil Pans
Kraft BBQ Sauce
2 Planters Peanut Butter
3 Land O Lakes Butter
Betty Crocker Cake Mix
Betty Crocker Icing
2 Pepsi Next (2L)
2 Sun Drops (2L)
2 Sierra Mist (2L)
7 Voskos Greek Yogurt

Thanks for the diapers Blog Spark!
Ready to guess???














I saved $148.10 and spent $64.82!!! Whooo-Hooo!!!! I was able to get some really great deals with stuff already with the sale and then matched with coupons courtsey of Southern Savers. Plus there is a sweet $5 mail in rebate HERE.

Don't forget to enter the $25 Publix Gift Card giveaway tomorrow at noon HERE. Right now there are only 9 entries, so you have pretty good odds.... And then you can score some great deals too! Good Luck!

My blog spark is a new site I joined from the recommendation of my friend, Meagan ( at Fairly Fabulous) to "get great material to share with my readers such as coupon offers, photos and images." I received a $25 Publix card to shop this sale and get to give away a $25 gift card to one of my wonderful, lovely, kind readers! Yeah!

By the way...All of these opinions are my own and the Publix gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Giveaway (Celebrate!)

To celebrate the birth of my new blog LIVING YELLOW we are having a giveaway! Ooooh I love free stuff!

Here is what you need to know: 
  • May 17-May 23 Publix is having a "Running Out? Run In" Sale. Tons of stuff will be on sale AND there will be in store coupons to match the sale items. 
  • Here's what's on sale and the store coupon matchups (they expire 6/2/12):
    $2/1 Totino’s Pizza Rolls 90 count
    $2/1 Wanchai Ferry Frozen Entrees
    $1/1 Chex Cereal
    $1/2 Green Giant Frozen Vegetables assorted varieties 7-10 oz package
    $0.55/1 Dawn any size
    $2/1 Luvs Diapers
    $1/2 Pillsbury Ready to Bake Cookies
    $2/1 Bounty 6 roll or larger
    $1/2 Charmin or Charmin Basic
    $0.55/1 Crest Toothpaste 4 oz or higher
  • PLUS there is a mail in rebate for $5 when you buy $30 worth (before coupons) of said sale items. HERE is the link for that rebate form with all the specifics.
  • I suggest you also check out your regular couponing site (or my favorite couponing site, Southern Savers) on Tuesday, May 15th in the afternoon because there are SURE to be tons of manufacturers coupons to match up with those store coupons making those deals even sweeter. I will post on this blog and on Living Yellow on May 17th to fill you in on what I bought AND announce the winner of the giveaway.
Now, you may be saying....blah, blah, blah. What are you giving away??? I am giving away a $25 Publix gift card! I don't know about you, but in coupon land $25 goes a long way, especially when there is a sweet sale going on like the one outlined above. Now you may be saying....how do I win? Easy.
  • Go to the new blog LIVING YELLOW before noon on May 17th. 
  • Leave me a comment on the blog post called "Winner Winner Publix Dinner". Tell me you love me, you love my new blog, you are crazy about my eyes. Tell me I talk to much, I can't spell, use too many parenthesis or little dots.....It doesn't matter because because the winner will be chosen at random by Random.org. But if you believe in random karma, you might want to say something nice :)
  • Come back to the blog on May 17th and see if you're the winner! 
  •  If you don't have a Publix near you (I shed a little tear for you) but you would still like to enter, that's perfectly fine. Maybe you can gift it to someone you know that has a Publix near them. If you're cool with it, I could shop the sale for you and donate the items to a local charity that could really use the diapers/toothpaste/paper towels etc.
At this point I need to give you the fine print. But it's not fine print at all because I don't think I can make the print small on blogger.  “Disclosure:  The Publix gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”

My blog spark is a new site I joined from the recommendation of my friend, Meagan ( at Fairly Fabulous) to "get great material to share with my readers such as coupon offers, photos and images." So far, I can't complain I got a $25 Publix card to shop this sale (can you say free Luvs diapers??) and get to give away a $25 gift card to one of my wonderful, lovely, kind readers! Yeah!

P.S.- If you're still reading this, I am still keeping From Russia With Love....just adding a new friend to the mix! Love ya, mean it!