Thursday, December 11, 2008

Documents in Court

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas here in Michigan. Temperatures have dropped. Snow is on the ground and on the rooftops. Christmas trees are up and lights decorate the outside of many homes. I love this time of year, (except maybe the cold). Brrrrrr. Only one thing could make it even better. Yep, if only I had a date to return to Russia to bring home the Little Russian Princess.

All papers needed for court are complete and in Russia at this time. On November 26th, I was told that Oleg submitted all the documents to the court. Since then I have been waiting both patiently and impatiently for news about a court date. Still no news as of this morning. I was really, really hoping to be in Russia for Christmas this year. Still hoping and praying that news will arrive soon, as Christmas is only 2 weeks away. Also....December 15th will mark the 2 year point since the beginning of the adoption process. I'm thinking 2 years is long enough. Time to bring the Little Russian Princess home.

Hope this time of year is bringing Peace, Love Hope and Joy to all of your homes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pics of Moscow

Here is a little video of the pictures taken in Moscow from my first trip. Most were taken at the Kremlin, St. Basil's and the Gum mall with a few more of the Holiday Inn and view out my window.

Pics of Krasnoyarsk as promised

Just some pictures that I promised awhile ago. These were taken on our last day in Krasnoyarsk. Our driver, Dasha, was kind enough to give us all a tour of the city.

Time to update the Blog.......

Oh Boy....I've been a bad blogger lately. Sorry for the delay in this post. I know every one is wondering about court. No date as of yet, but I do have all of my documents completed. I think!!! I sent all of the required papers off a couple of weeks ago now, except for the CA police clearance and my extension to the I600 A. The papers (except those two) should be in Russia being translated now, and then off to the court in Krasnoyarsk.

As for the CA police clearance, I did receive my report back a week ago. ( Thank you to everyone who offered their assistance with this one.) Just need to check with my agency to see if I need to do anything else with it before forwarding it to Russia. I also received papers back from Homeland Security yesterday. I think the extension has been granted but want to ask someone at the agency to interpret as the wording is a little unclear. So anyway...everything is just about done from my end. Oh also purchased a couple of small photo albums yesterday and will put together a photo album for the Judge.

What happens next...??? Well, from what I've been told. Now the document preparation starts for my Little Russian Princess. Once her documents are together my agency representative in Krasnoyarsk will hopefully get us a date with the Judge so that I can go back to Russia to complete the adoption and bring my sweet Little Russian Princess home.

Home...that is a beautiful word. Can't wait to bring her home. The wait is starting to drive me crazy. I miss her so much. It has been a little over 5 weeks since I've seen her and it seems like forever. I don't want her to forget me. She wasn't old enough to understand why I had to go after spending three mornings visiting her at the orphanage. It has to be very confusing to her. I know it's been hard on me having to leave her there. I do know that she is being well cared for by her caregivers, so that part is comforting. Still, the missing her and wishing she was here part is hard. And so the waiting continues.......

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Almost two weeks home from trip one

Sorry for the delay with the pictures of Russia. It's been a busy (almost) two weeks since my plane landed. I have been trying to get all of the documents needed for court prepared. Not an easy task, but its coming together. I have everything in progress and almost completed except my California State Police Clearance letter. Since I now live in Michigan, this is proving to be very difficult. For any of you that read this blog and live in CA, please feel free to chime in and tell me who to contact to get this done. I should have everything else completed and waiting for apostilles by the beginning of next week.
Aside from recovering from Jet Lag, which seemed to last for a week, and running around with paperwork, I returned to work and had a wonderful baby shower thrown by my church. The folks at Grace United Methodist Church are so loving and giving. I was overwhelmed by their love and generosity this past Sunday.

Just a couple pics to share as my camera battery decided to die before the gift openning began. I need to get the rest of the pics from my sister-in-law. Thank you again Jill, Jane and Candy for such a wonderful party for the Little Princess.
And now to the pics of Krasnoyarsk:

This is the Hotel Sibier where I stayed
and the new Fountain by Hotel Krasnoyarsk
Okay, blogger is taking forever to upload today, so sorry. It could be the computer operator too. I need to figure out how to do a slide show to show you more pics.
Need to get going for now.
Thanks again everyone for all your kind words, thoughts and prayers. Please continue to keep me and the Little Princess in your prayers as we work toward getting back to court and bringing her home. Also pray that I can figure out how to get my CA police clearance.
Bye for now,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back Home

I'm back home again!!! I arrived home in the Detroit area yesterday around 1pm EST after a very long day of flying. No complaints about the flight, plane or food, just long...... The flight from Moscow to Franfurt was 2 1/2 hours with only about 1 1/2 hours in between flights. The next leg of the journey from Frankfurt to Detroit was 8 1/2 hours flight time. I sure was glad to get off the plane, but at the same time wanting to go back to Krasnoyarsk quickly to pick up my Little Princess.

Here's a couple of teaser photos of my Little Princess!! I can't post any identifying pictures of her until she is legally in my custody, or fondly known as "Gottcha Day" on the next trip.

These will have to do for now. Will post again later today with more pictures from Krasnoyarsk and Moscow.
Bye for now... Shannon
P.S. Just wanted to send out a big " Thank you" to Jill for providing taxi service to and from the Detroit airport along with emotional support prior to take off when I was sooo nervous.
Also, a great big "Thank you" to Oleg, Sveta and Dasha in Krasnoyarsk, for making Trip one a very memorable and enjoyable time. Also, Thank you for all the work you do on behalf of me with the orphanage and court system when I am not there.
Once more big "Thank you" to my niece Katie, for watching over the house and Jake while I was away.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Moscow Last Day

Just a quick post before trying to get some sleep for tomorrows early departure. It was a fantastic day here in Moscow. The three of us ventured out and tackled the metro system to get down to Red Square and the Kremlin. We spent several hours touring the sites and of course doing a little souvenir shopping. I got a really nice Matroshka doll and traditional Russian dress for the Little Princess, along with a couple of other little goodies. We ate lunch at the famous Gum Mall and then we mostly window shopped. The stores here are very posh and expensive. It was fun to look anyway.

Dinner tonight, again at the Hotel as we are all tired and need to get up very early to get rides to the airport.

I'm having problems with blogger and uploading pictures, so will have to add them at a later date.

Next post, home......


Thursday, September 25, 2008

In Moscow

It was a very early morning departure today from the hotel, leaving at 4:30am to catch our flight to Moscow. Flight on Aeroflot was very comfortable this time. No problems, even slept about an hour. yipee!!!

Rick, Angela and I are all staying at the Holiday Inn Sokolinski in Moscow. it's a very nice hotel and within walking distance to McDonald's as well as several small malls for shopping, grocery stores and a lovely large park to stroll in.

We are all feeling a bit jet lagged and tired after our quick trip to Krasnoyarsk and all the emotions that go with meeting your children and then having to leave them behind, so we did not venture down to Red Square today. That is planned for tomorrow. This afternoon we did visit all of the little shopping centers and took a walk through the park. The weather was beautiful, even if on the cool side. The sun was shining and the wind was light. All the time in Krasnoyarsk it was windy, cold and rainy on and off, so sunshine was wonderful. We opted to eat at the bar/restaurant in the hotel tonight and then call it a day as 1) we were unable to locate any eatting establishments near us that could handle our very limited Russian. 2)We had already eatten at McDonald's for lunch, so did not want that again for dinner. 3) we were all just too tired to venture out much farther. Dinner was delicious, so not a bad choice afterall.

More from Moscow tomorrow!

P.S. Thank you for all the comments from everyone. It is so nice to be able to stay in touch with everyone while being so very far away.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kras Day 3

We (Angela, Rick and I,the other family from CHI on their first trip), just got back from a great day. It's 4pm now, so I decided to take a little break and update the blog again before I get too tired and can't think.

The morning started just a little rough for me, as I wasn't able to sleep well last night, and then slept in past the time I had intended to awaken because the alarm didn't go off. I must have forgot to turn it to on after I set it last night. Hopefully I will do better tonight. Anyway, I woke up at 7:22am and was supposed to meet at 8am for our ride to the orphanage. I made it, but without my coffee. Oh Boy!!! I wasn't too cranky, just felt out of sorts for a little while. So...on to the orphanage for my last visit with the Little Princess. I was once again sent to the little office to use as my visiting area. Little Princess and I managed okay, it was just confining for a two year old as the room is only 3 ft by 8 ft, plus desk and office type equipment inside. I wish I could have had someone take a picture of me sitting in there with her at a little childs table with both of us sitting on little tiny kids chairs to play at the table. She looked very cute, but I am 5'9" tall and must have looked like a giant sitting at the table. For the most part it was just the two of us in the room today. I felt a little more relaxed with out the ladies sitting at the desk in there while we were playing. The caregivers did peak in every once in a while, but they must have trusted me more alone today.

Little Princess and I played with the remainder of the toys that I had left in my bag for her, and then played with almost every toy on the shelves in the room. We had a great visit. She even had the biggest grin for most of the visit. She is so curious about everything, it is just adorable to watch her try to figure out toys or how to work Mama's camera. I think she liked that more than the toys sometimes. When I first met her, she would not look at the camera when I wanted to take a picture, today was a total different story. She would look right into the lens and put on this big goofy grin. What a little ham already. Half way through our visit today she also spotted the outfits that I had brought to try on for size. I was very worried about how I was going to approach her about trying on the outfits, but I guess my worries were for not. She saw the clothes and right away wanted to put them on. At two, she can already dress herself with some help. We tried on two of the three outfits, as I put the third away knowing it would be way to big for now. She is just out of twelve month and into 18 month clothing.

Little Princess may be small for her age, but she sure does not seem to be behind in any other way. She is talking in one and two word sentences. Her motor skills seem right on target, and boy can this kid climb!!! I am going to have to do more baby proofing of the house than I originally thought. :) We had about 2 1/2 hours of play today. Just as I and Little Princess were both getting a little tired, one of her caregivers came in and saw her yawn so she took her back for a nap, and then it was all over way to quickly. Now it will be a couple of months before I can see that sweet little face again.

Well it is time to go and meet with Oleg and Sveta for briefing on trip 2, what to expect, what to bring, which documents to prepare, etc.. Yes, more documents. Hopefully these will be the last besides post placement reports. After our meeting the three American families from CHI are getting together for conversation and some dinner here at the Hotel. Tomorrow, Angela, Rick and I fly back to Moscow. Saturday we then should be flying back to the States. Hopefully we will get in a little site seeing in Moscow tomorrow afternoon and on Friday.

Paka Paka from Russia


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I've Arrived in Krasnoyarsk

I arrived in Krasnoyarsk on Monday, safe and sound, just very exhausted. It has taken a couple of days to figure out how to establish an internet connection so that I could update the blog. Here I am finally connected and it is Tuesday evenning, so I will back up my story for a couple of days.

Saturday 9/20/08, I left Detroit as scheduled flying on Lufthansa airlines with connection in Frankfurt. The flight over to Frankfurt was very smooth. No complications what so ever, just very cramped for space on the plane making it impossible to get any real rest. The flight was about 7 1/2 hours. The second leg of the journey from Frankfurt to Moscow was also very smooth with no problems. My layover was minimal with only about 30 minutes to wait before boarding the next plane. The terminal was fairly easy to manouver through to find a connecting flight, just large. They have a tram or monorail type vehicle to get you from one terminal to the other. This flight was about 3 hours long maybe a little less, again no sleep. I arrived in Moscow at 1230pm on Sunday 9/21/08. Once off the plane it was time to go through passport control. The line was long to get through and somewhat confusing, but after about 15 minutes I finally just went and stood in a line. Most books and information that I had received about passport control, all said to go to the right for foreigners, but on this day, they had everyone go to the left, foreigners and Russians alike. Anyway, 1 hour later I was through. My translater made it very easy to find her with a sign for CHI, so no problems after that. Once I found my agency representatives I found out that the itinerary that I was given in the US was not the one to be used for this trip. No problem, I can be flexible... so on Sunday night I flew out of Moscow and to Krasnoyarsk. The flight was a "red-eye" flight leaving at 9pm and arriving at about 6am on 9/22. The plane was very nice. This time Aeroflot and a new plane. I did manage to sleep about 1 hour, but that was about all. Now remember, I left Michigan on 9/20, now I'm arriving in Krasnoyarsk on 9/22 at 6am with only 1 hour sleep. Oh boy!!! and I still had a whole days worth of meetings to go to. Luckily the adrenalin of going to the Ministry of education (MOE) and meeting my referral kicked in to help me through the day.

Monday: meeting with the MOE went very well. I didn't know what to expect, but the two ladies that work in the department were very nice. I think I relaxed a little after the first 5 minutes. While at the MOE you are asked some basic questions about yourself and what you do, and why you want to adopt. After the questions the ladies give you the referral that they have chosen for you, along with some basic information. You are then asked if you would like to meet this referral. Of course I said yes!!! I was then given permission to visit my little one that afternoon at the orphanage.

After a very nice lunch of typical Russian cuisine (very delicious might I add), we were off to the orphanage, Oleg our CHI representative and Sveta my interpretor, and myself. First stop was at the orphange directors office to speak with the social workers. I was given all the information that they had on how my little one came to be in the orphanage, family background, etc... Once this meeting was over, we headed to another building where my little one is living. Here we met with the orphange doctor to discuss her medical information and then to speak to a caregiver as well. During the discussion with the doctor, they brought in the sweetest little girl all dressed in a very cute little pink and white dress with big white bow on top of her head. This precious little girl came walking right up to me and held out her hands to sit in my lap. That was it.....seeing those big brown eyes of hers melted my heart and in that very instant I knew she was to be mine. Nothing else the doctor said after that made any difference. Sveta did have to take her from me for a few minutes so that I could finish up with the doctor and also ask a few questions of the caregivers. After the formalities, we were able to sit on the floor and play for about an hour before our time was up and my little princess had to go to her groupa. It was so cute, on the way out of the orphange the caregiver had little princess hold my hand and walk me to the door. Little princess didn't want to let go. It almost broke my heart to already have to leave her behind.

It was back to the Hotel after the orphanage. We tried to get my computer to connect to the internet that evenning but no such luck, so I just sent out a couple of emails from the businesss center, had some dinner at the hotel cafe, and then back to my room to crash for the night. Sleep...finally sleep.

Tuesday: That brings us to this morning... I woke up at 5:15am and was unable to sleep anymore. Both anxious to go back to the orphanage and wanting to get the computer to work. Tried again with the luck. Had breakfast at the Hotel, which by the way, I am staying at the Hotel Siberia, and a large breakfast buffet is included with your stay for those travelling to this region. The Hotel is very nice and new. It is actually part of a new convention center. This week is a big meeting for the military people here, so lots of uniforms walking around. I was wondering what was going on up until someone told me today. :) I thought there seemed like a lot of military personnel for this one area of town. I think I was just too tired yesterday to really put it all together.

Anyhow, at 930am my driver Dasha arrived to take me to the orphange for my visit today with the little princess. Today I was by myself with no interpreter as she was busy with another family that is here. The orphanage staff are all very friendly and helpful even if we can't speak the same language. This morning my little princess came to me all dressed up in her winter coat and hat and cold weather clothes so that we could go outside for a walk around the orphanage. Originally I thought they told me I could take her for "a walk around the orphange", thinking around the block. Whoops..not exactly what they meant. after a few frantic hand gestures, I realized that I was not supposed to go outside the fenced in area. I quickly brought the princess back inside the fenced yard and we played on the outside play equipment for a little while until we were both cold and noses starting to run. Once inside we played in a very small office for about an hour. Unfortunately the orphange is being renovated right now so play areas are very limited. It will be very nice when it is all done, just lots of painting and dust, and furniture all moved around right now.

As for the Little Princess, she was much more playful and active today. I even got to see several big smiles. She loves to put things together and take them apart. She is very smart (mama bragging already) and has the cutest giggles. Can't wait until our visit tomorrow, although it will be the last for a couple of months. I am not looking forward to the next wait. I am already praying that I can complete the next set of documents in lightning speed so that I can receive a court date very soon.

After the orphanage, I came back to the hotel and had a nice nap (almost 3 hours). At 445pm the phone rang and got me up out of the bed, thank goodness, or I would have missed the whole rest of the day. The call was from Sveta that she was here with the other family that is here from CHI that I was supposed to travel with. ( I'll tell that story in a different post). Anyway, finally got to meet them along with another CHI family here on trip 2 (another single Mom). We all had coffee here at the hotel, then time for the one family to call it a day. The family for trip 2, myself, our interpreter and a couple family here from Spain all went out to dinner at the German restaraunt downtown by the Hotel Kras. we had a great evenning sharing stories and good German food, all speaking in Spansih ,Russian and English. Quite interesting!!!! :) I had a really nice time and enjoyed all the company. Once back at the hotel we were finallly able to get help in getting me online. So here I am, and after a very long post I now have you all caught up to date.
It is now 1230am and I must get some rest as I have an 8am pick up time to make in the morning for the orphanage and my last visit with the little princess.

paka for now....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's Time to Go!!!!

Did you see the ticker??? No more days left until time to go. Yippee!!! Suitcase is packed, tickets, passport and visa are in hand. Now I have to shower and get dressed..must not forget that part. :)

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. Next post....Moscow!!!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Travel Dates

Just a quick post to update everyone on my travel dates for trip #1. I'll be leaving Michigan 9/20/08 and returning on 9/27/08 provided everything goes as planned in Russia. While in Russia, I get to complete my 8 doctor medical visit in Moscow prior to heading to Krasnoyarsk. I will spend the night in Moscow on 9/21, to complete my medical eval. on 9/22. The evening of 9/22 I believe I will be flying out of Moscow and headed toward Krasnoyarsk to arrive the morning of 9/23. Once in region I will have a meeting with the Ministry of Education to officially receive my referral and get permission to visit the orphanage where she is at. The next couple of days I will spend visiting the orphanage and completing paperwork to petition the court for adoption, provided all goes well. The plan is to leave the region on 9/26 to begin my journey back thru Moscow and then fly home on 9/27.

Other good news to pass on is that another family working with CHI will be travelling to Krasnoyarsk for their referral trip the same week as I am. How wonderful is that?? Now I can relax a little about going on this trip by myself, as I will have another family to share this amazing adventure with.

I am still so excited I can hardly stand it. (But I will, cause I can't wait to go.. :) ) So far, I have managed to purchase the plane tickets to Moscow, and get my visa paperwork on its way to get completed and back to me by the 17th. I've also gone to the bank to get my order in for new money. Oh, and also notify my boss, so she can find a replacement for my shifts at the hospital. With most of the major things on their way to being completed, I can concentrate on packing lists and maybe even putting a few things in the suitcase. By the way, Thank you to all of you for your suggestions on what to bring for the little one at the orphanage. Okay, now I need help with what to bring to make my lap top work in Russia. I have an HP lap top. Also, should I purchase an international calling card, or try to figure out this Skype thing that everyone talks about, or both?

Thanks again everyone for all of the well wishes and please keep the suggestions coming. For some strange reason, once you actually receive your referral, a wierd phenomenon occurs where all of the ideas and plans that you had in your head for packing get completely lost in a euphoric fog. :)

Take care,

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Dancing!!

It's really hard to believe that I actually get to type these words now as I am still in a state of shock... today is the day to start the major Happy Dance... and to praise the Lord, as today I got "The Call".

Anna from CHI surprised me late this afternoon at work with the mystery call which started "is this a good time to talk?" I was really disappointed that I actually had to say No, I'm in with a patient, and can I call you back. But believe me, I had this gut feeling that I knew what the call might be, so as soon as I was finished with what I needed to do for my patient, I sprinted to my locker to find my cell phone so that I could call her back. you already know, yes my gut feeling was right. I was still speechless when she told me about my soon to be little Russian Princess. It was just amazing. I'm sure I had every ones attention at the Nurses station though as I was talking to Anna with tears streaming down my face. At first they must have thought something was terribly wrong, until I nudged one of my co-workers and spelled out on a piece of paper that I was getting my referral at that very moment. She quickly got a great big smile on her face and spread the word to everyone else. Hugs and cheers followed!!!

Anna was able to tell me that my referral is 2 years old, her name , along with a few medical details that she thought I might want to think about over night. Nothing seemed to be unexpected, or anything that I wouldn't be able to handle, so I told her I didn't need to think about it. Just let me know when I need to go!!! I can't wait to meet her. I believe I will be leaving for Russia on Sept. 20th, to be in Krasnoyarsk by Sept. 22nd. More details to follow on the exact dates of travel.

Oh my much to do now. Isn't it always like that for everyone??? Wait, wait, wait and then huuuurrrryyy up here we go. Okay everyone. it's time to request the packing lists, and list of questions to ask the doctor, etc.. Also what have most of you taken to play with and then leave for a 2 year old?

Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for me all this time. Now I just ask for continued prayers for a safe journey and that my precious little Russian Princess is doing well and thriving, and that our meeting goes well.

Take care all, and God Bless everyone of you!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sad News and Garden Surprises

I received a sad and disappointing e-mail yesterday from my agency rep. The e-mail was letting me know that she was leaving the agency on August 8th. I know many of you fellow PAP's know exactly how I am feeling as you have all had to deal with agency changes. Here I was going along feeling very lucky as I have had the same CHI rep, Marti, since way back in 2007 when my first dossier was completed. I will miss her very much when she leaves, as she has become an important extended part of my family during the most emotional roller coaster adventure of my life, called adoption.

I still have not heard anything from Krasnoyarsk about a referral. Keep the prayers coming for me as I am having a really hard time waiting these last few weeks.

On a side note, this summer I was not up to planting a vegetable garden, just worked on the flower gardens. So I basically let the vegetable patch go to the weeds. Well low and behold ,one day I decided to mow the garden weeds down to keep the backyard from looking like a total eye sore and disgrace, when, I saw these small green plants that didn't look like your ordinary garden variety of weed. I decided to keep these little plants and mow the rest down around them just to see what they would turn into.

Here is the result.

Gotta love the weeds some times......
Take care,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Not yet.....

No word from Russia yet, although I feel like it should be any day now, shouldn't it????? It's been over a month since Registration and the waiting is becoming excruciatingly difficult. I called my SW at my agency last week to get an update but have not heard anything back yet. Hopefully I will get some information tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest.

In the meantime, I did have an appointment with Homeland Security to have my fingerprints retaken on 7/10/08, as they were expiring on 7/25/08. They were taken and my amended I-171H form with new fingerprint expiration date was received in the mail on Friday. Their turnaround time was terrific. I was very thrilled to see it back already. Homeland Security gets a great big Kuddos from me this week. Okay, so now I think everything is up to date once again. Phone ring pleeeaaasssseeee....

Nothing else really exciting happening in the neighborhood. I've just been picking up more hours at the hospital almost every week to try and pay down some loans taken out for this adoption. I know it will all be worth it in the end, so I keep on chugging away. The good thing about working so much too, is that the vacation time is accruing faster. :) I think I have over six weeks PTO saved up now. I want to have as much time home with the kiddo as possible before having to return to work once we are back from Russia.

Please keep me and my Little Russian Princess in your prayers this week as we wait for the MOE and my adoption agency to send us word that we will be able to meet soon. Also keep the following blog friends and families in your thoughts and prayers as they are traveling to Russia this week to meet their children: Kyley and Greg Smith, Russ and Monica Canestraro, and Amy of 4 from Russia?. See my side bar of blogs I follow for their stories as I haven't learned how to imbed the links in my text yet. Also welcome home Becky and Keith and the Peanut.

Take care all!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Finally Registered!!!!!!

Yippee!!! I can do the happy dance again....

I received a call back from my agency rep today (Thanks M. !!! You did make my day!) and we found out that I've actually been registered now since last week 6/16/08. Hallelujah! and Praise the Lord!

So what does this all mean to me now...Well this means that the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Krasnoyarsk, Russia now has officially accepted my paperwork and request to adopt. They will now begin the search to match up my application with my Little Russian Princess and then I will receive "The Call". I pray that the call comes quickly. I'm not sure what the typical wait time is between registration and referral for my region, but will pass on the information as soon as my agency rep finds out for me.

I'd like to send out a congratulations to Becky and Keith who have received their court date and will be travelling back to Russia tomorrow for their "Little Peanut" , and to all the other families who I don't know as well but hope to know soon, who have received calls for either their 1st or 2nd trips. Safe journeys to all!

I'd also like to congratulate my nephew "B" on his graduation from LCN High School. Way to go buddy!

In other's been a fairly wet month filled with storms here in Michigan. Nothing quite as devastating as with the rising flood waters along the Missouri River. (My heart goes out to all of those families who have lost everything to the rising waters. ) My basement did get wet again and I am still trying to dry out some of the flooring. My power was out for four long days and nights. My back-up sump pump that I installed after last years flood waters also failed, so water again came in. Only about 1/2 inch this time instead of 1 1/2 feet. Just enough water to wet all of the carpet and the new tile/ vinyl flooring that I'm having to pull up to dry underneath as it is a floating floor, not glued down. Ha Ha...I just realized...floating floor..literally.!! I can laugh now, but a week ago I was in tears.

I also lost my computer to the power surges from the storm. Even with a half way decent surge protector, it still got fried. Maybe God just knew how much I was contemplating buying a new lap top for my trips to Russia. I normally use a tower HP computer and have an old lap top that my Dad gave me 5 years ago, which makes it probably at least 8 years old. Now I have a brand new small light weight lap top that should travel well. I'm still trying to get used to its new functions, but it sure is pretty. :)

Well this short post is turning into a novel and I need to go pick up my Mom in 30 minutes for ice cream. Yummy...the best part of summer. Even if it is raining again! Got to run.... more thing..I didn't get to go on any vacation as of yet. My work schedule hasn't worked out for one. Hopefully Mr. and Mrs. Russia will call and I'll be headed there instead.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Wait Continues For Word On Registration

I wish I had some happy news to report but, alas, yet another paper snafu has delayed the registration process for a couple of more weeks. :( Apparently another document change has taken place this year that my placing and home study agencies needed to update. This one wasn't found out until my Dossier was taken to the region to be registered a couple of weeks ago. It was just one document and I didn't have to do anything to update, but my agencies had to take care of completing it and getting it back to Russia. I've gotten word that it (the new document) has now reached Moscow as of last Friday, and that it will be another week and a half before it reaches Krasnoyarsk.

I've been feeling a bit gloomy over the wait time as it is now approaching the one year mark from when my first Dossier was completed and sent to Russia, and yet I still have not been registered in my assigned region. Hopefully Dossier number two is the lucky one and I'll hear news by the end of this month. God is definitely in the drivers seat for the time line on this adoption. I know there has to be a good reason for all of the waiting, right?

As I wait, and wait some more, I have really tried to take on a new attitude about the whole thing. I had been just sitting back on pins and needles waiting for "the call" at any moment, and not enjoying life in the here and now. I've been really trying to stay focused on today. It doesn't always work, but I'm trying... I finished planting flowers in the planter beds in the backyard this past week. I also fixed my front door that the paint had all peeled off of this past winter during the freezing cold. ( A bizzaire event in itself). The door is now a pretty blue- green rather than bright red. (Thanks Mom for your help too!) I've been working extra hours at the hospital. And now I'm thinking of planning a road trip some time in July. Nothing big or expensive (still have to watch the budget), but if Russia doesn't call soon...I still need some sort of vacation. :) Where to go????? Any ideas?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Still Here!

Yes, I am still here....just nothing much to report on the adoption front lately. Russia has been busy celebrating with two holidays over the past couple of weeks, May Day and Victory Day, so there has been a slight slow down in processing. Hopefully most people will be back to work Monday with business as usual. I am still waiting to hear whether or not I am registered in my region. Next week will mark the four week time period since my registration paper work was sent in to CHI in St. Louis. That should be about enough time to get everything to Russia and have it translated, at least that's what I was thinking for a time frame. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that I receive a phone call from my adoption rep some time next week. :)

I've been picking up a few extra hours each week with work to keep myself busy and to make a little extra cash. Aside from working at the hospital, I've been busy trying to get the yard back in shape after the long winter. I've cut the lawn twice now, weeded all of the flower beds, fertilized the lawn and just now spent a couple of hours spraying all of the dandelions and thistles that want to keep popping up in the backyard. Everything is starting to shape up and look beautiful again. This next week I hope to purchase a couple of fruit trees to plant in the yard. One for the front and another for the back. I'll have to take pictures when I get them. I'm also looking at new front doors. This house came with a bright red front door when I purchased it a couple of years ago. While it was okay for a while, even though not really my style, the Arctic cold winter this year caused the red paint to peel off. Weird!!! Now I have a half red and half ugly steel front door. I could just strip the paint off the rest of the door and repaint...but then again....forget it. It's time for an update!

Well..that's about it for now. Just wanted everyone to know that I haven't fallen off of the face of the earth. Just trying to keep busy to make the wait go by faster. Thanks to everyone for all of your kind comments and words of encouragement. I really love hearing from everyone! And, yes I know I've been tagged, but I haven't been able to think of six quirky things about myself. I'm too boring, I think, although maybe my friends and family could answer that one better than I could ??? Just be nice...if you decide to participate. :)

Love you all!! Shannon

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's Finally Spring In Michigan!

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post. I apparently needed to just stay home and be quiet for awhile just vegging as I ended up sick again..... This time with bronchitis and laryngitis. Honestly, I believe I got sick because I was feeling totally frustrated, stressed and disheartened about my home study update. It just wasn't getting completed in the time frame that "I had planned". Each time I thought it was done, another piece of missing information would pop up and I'd have to track it down or go and get it done. Once I finally let go of the control and just collapsed, (getting really sick does that sometimes) and just did what I had to do to take care of this missing information, it all fell into place. Amazing sometimes to me that I can't just give it up to God in the first place. Oh I do try, but I always want to take it back for some crazy reason. :)

Long story made home study update, along with a couple of other documents to complete my packet for registration, have now all been completed, notarized, apostilled, sent to CHI and from what I hear, are already on there way to Russia to be translated. Whew!!! Now what happens you may ask??? Well, now I sit back and Wait to hear that I am Registered in the region of Krasnoyarsk. It should take about three weeks for this all to happen if everything goes alright. Once I am officially Registered, then the process of finding a child that fits my adoption profile begins. The referral!

While I am getting very good at the waiting process, I am very ready to have the waiting come to an end. It has been 10 long months since my original dossier was completed and sent to Russia. By normal standards of 9 months..this child is way past due. I am so ready to meet her, see what she looks like, and of course give her all of the love that I have been saving up inside since I made the conscious decision to adopt her back in December of 2006.

In other the title of this post states, spring has finally arrived in Michigan. It has been 70+ degrees and sunny for at least three days now. The grass is turning green. In fact I think I will have to mow it next weekend. My daffodils are blooming. The tulips are growing! Trees are budding! And, all of the birds are back in town. We have lots of Canadian Geese, Ducks and Robins in my neighborhood. I love Michigan in the spring and summer...not so much the winters, but I do love the green and warmth. My spirits are lifting, and I'm beginning to feel rejuvenated.

Last but certainly not least.....Congratulations to Troy and Rachel and Wendy and Slade, just to name a couple of families who have just completed their adoptions, or are just about ready to come home with there new little ones. Congratulations to those of you who are on your first trips, or about to embark on your first trips(Keith and Becky), and to those of you who finally have gotten court dates. While I haven't posted much lately...I have been reading most of your blogs, and have been sending up prayers for all of you. God Bless you all!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Praise The Lord For Answered Prayers

First of all....I must say" Thank You!", to all of you who have been wishing me well over the past couple of weeks when I was under the weather. I am feeling much better now, physically and mentally!

Secondly, No, I didn't get "The Call" yet, but I finally got a return call from the Supervisor for the Child Protection Unit in California, where my clearance letter has been sitting. She found my paperwork! Thank you God!!!! She will mail the completed letter back to Michigan to my Home study agency today. I am doing a small happy dance again...yippee!!

Now I will just have to wait a few days for my HS agency to receive the letter and put the finishing touches on my Home Study brief before I can pick it up. Once I pick it up from them, I will have to get it apostilled and then shipped of to CHI in St. Louis. They will then add it to my pile of paperwork that I completed last month for my registration packet. This is the packet of information that then goes to Russia and my region Krasnoyarsk. As stated in previous posts, you must be registered with the Ministry of Education in your region before they will find a referral that matches your families adoption application. So, in other words, this last document is what has been needed in order to receive a referral, and "The Call".

Since my last post, two weeks ago....besides re-cooperating from the flu/cold, I've done a little bit of Retail Therapy. Mostly, window shopping with my new and fellow adoptive friend Kyley. With my Mom yesterday, we stopped at Babies 'R'Us and I found an excellent light weight stroller on sale at half off the original price. I have a stroller on my registry waiting for the time to have my baby shower, but this was too good of a deal to pass up. ( I'm sorry Jill, there are still lots of other things left to buy). :0)
Here's a picture of it. It's made by Peg-Perego, and is the Aria. It only weighs 8lbs, so it shouldn't be too heavy to carry and lift into cars and load on the plane.Does anyone have any advice to offer regarding strollers in Russia. Has anyone taken a stroller with them? If so, how did you manage? and Was it worth it? I'd like to take this one with me on trip two, but if this is a bad idea, someone please tell me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Laying Low

Just laying low this week trying to recover from the cold/ flu bug that is going around. It really knocked me for a loop last week, but I'm starting to feel almost human again today. I did make it through work yesterday too, provided I carried my glass of water around wherever I went to prevent a coughing attack. I also had to make sure that I didn't bend over too much so my poor nose wouldn't run. Try not bending over and taking care of patients. That was a major accomplishment. Just had to do a lot of deep knee bends instead.

No news on the adoption front. I am still waiting on the completion of my home study brief. I have an e-mail out to my HS agency to see if it is almost ready for pick up. I am hoping to have it by the end of the week. Stay tuned for news possibly later today on this important piece of papers progress.

On a totally different note...can you believe it is almost spring!! Yippee. Just a couple of more days. St. Patrick's Day yesterday...Spring on Thursday and Easter on Sunday. March is flying by.

Aarrghhh...just got an e-mail back from my HS agency. They are waiting on the state of CA to send back information on my background check. Everything else is ready to go. There is a new procedure this year where Michigan has to check backgrounds in every state you lived in over the past ten years. I hope this doesn't mean another month or two before I can get the last of the new documents done in order to become Registered with my region in Russia. Please pray for the government officials in CA to finish up the paperwork and send it back to Michigan this week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I think that about does it.....

I think I have just about gotten everything updated that can possibly be updated document wise. My SW (social worker) from my Home Study agency came over today for her scheduled visit so that she could prepare my Home Study Brief. As I had mentioned previously, my home study report expires at the end of this week. One of the required documents for Registration is the new update. Once my SW has a chance to write the update, and the last of the reference letters and background check information arrives at the HS agency, I should be able to get the new update apostilled and then to CHI to forward to Russia. (Does this part sound familiar?)

I'm hoping to have all of this completed by the end of next week. Then I just wait for the e-mail to say that I'm finally "Registered" with the MOE (Ministry of Education). For those that don't quite understand the international adoption process in Russia just yet, you must be registered with the MOE before you can be assigned a referral. By the way, if you don't understand the process yet, don't feel seems like it is forever changing anyway. Just when you think you have it, another step is added. It does get easier to complete the steps and the paperwork the more you do it though. The only thing that doesn't get any easier is the "Wait". It just seems to get harder. As I told my SW today, I am so ready for the wait to be over. The Nursery is ready, the playroom downstairs is nearly complete, I've read every book that I can think of on adoption, I'm ready to be a Mama, now all I need is my daughter. :) Hopefully this isn't sounding too negative, I'm just very anxious, and READY for "The Call" to come. I'm still praying that I will hear something by March 28th, 2008. I know travel is coming soon, I can just feel it. It is the not knowing exactly when I will be travelling that is driving me crazy.

On a lighter note, a have really enjoyed reading all of the blogs of those families who are now traveling in Russia for trips one and two. Congratulations! It is truly exciting to see so much movement now in Russia. I gives me Hope, and continued Faith that my turn is coming soon.

Friday, March 7, 2008

More Paper Work

I found out last week that Russia is requesting more updates to documents. This time mainly from my Home Study Agency. My understanding to all the paperwork lately is that since the new year and re accreditation process completion, verbiage changes have been made to the old documents to standardize the format to make it easier to read and process. ( Or something to that nature). I totally understand making things easier. I just hope that I am getting closer to finishing all of the re dos. I can't think of very many pages that I haven't redone, so it must be close, right? Next week I hope to have my Home study update/ brief finished since my original Home Study report expires March 14th. That should about do it.

In order to make the paper chase today more fun, I decide to document all of my stops in photos. I am also going to put these in "T"s Life Book so that she can look at them and see some of the people that have helped to bring her home, and the places her Mom went to get the paperwork completed.

First Stop today was to pick up my Mom so she could keep me company and meet some of the people at my Home study Agency who have helped in a big way to make this dream all possible.

Next stop, Ann Arbor, an hour and 15 minute drive from my house to the Hands Across the Water Office to pick up the documents and say "Hi" to all of the people that have helped me out with my Home Study Reports. Unfortunately my Social Worker Alanna was sick, so I'll have to catch up with her next week for a photo op.

Once all the documents were picked up, and notarized at the HATW office, it was off to Detroit to get them Apostilled. Thirteen documents this time. Here I am in front of the Secretary of States Office in Detroit after receiving the golden seals. Long line again today... 1 1/2 hour wait.

Once the Great Seal was affixed, we headed back up north toward home in Chesterfield and New Baltimore, to the Staples store where I always make copies of everything before I send them off. my favorite Post Office in New Baltimore to Express Mail my precious documents off to Children's Hope International. So, Marti, if you are reading this blog today, be on the look out for my package. :0)

Whew!!! Now I'm a little tired and think I'll relax and see what everyone else has been up to today.

P.S. No phone call today regarding travel or a referall, darn.... Maybe all of these papers will help.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

It's March 1st....

Today I'm feeling blue and optimistic all at the same time. Is that possible? Blue because I have no news of a referral yet, but optimistic because I had a nice long conversation with my regional rep from CHI. (Thanks Pam!! You seem to know just when I need to hear from you the most.) Things are starting to move quickly for many families with my adoption agency. 18 families have/are travelling in February. My agency hopes to have 40 families traveling each month from now on. Thus the optimism. I am still optimistic that I will hear something about my referral by the end of March. Since today is the first day of March....that means there are only a few more weeks of waiting...hopefully. :)

On a lighter note...we had more snow on and off all day yesterday. This morning I awoke to a beautiful sunny day with a new white covering of snow all over. While I am ready for winter to be over any day now, at least if it has to be cold I like it a lot more with snow rather than dreary brown and grey yuckness everywhere. Is "yuckness" a word? Hopeful you get my point with that description anyway.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Friends, Paperchase complete???, and Birthdays

Wow! Time has flown this past week. Lots happening to keep me busy, but no "Call" yet.

Since Monday was holiday, I was unable to complete the adoption paperwork that I had started working on the previous week, so I met a new waiting adoptive family friend, Kyley, for lunch at the Mall. It was wonderful to have a chance to meet in person and talk about our experiences, and to also peek in at all the great children's shops at Somerset Mall. Believe it or not, I didn't buy anything, but will definitely have to go back when I know what size to buy.

On Tuesday, I went to my doctor's office and picked up my medical, then proceeded to my bank to have a few of the other documents notarized. After that I headed downtown Detroit to have them all apostilled. Oh my goodness....there must have been 100 people in the Secretary of States Office that day. I had to wait about two hours, but finally got everything stamped with the Great Seal. Then off to Staples to copy everything. Once I had copies I then proceeded to the post office to Overnight the updated docs to Children's Hope, and another packet to my home study agency as I'm working on getting my home study updated too!! A long day running around, but I think I have everything done now that needed to be updated so that I can have my Dossier registered with the region. I'm still praying that I'll get the call by March 28th, or sooner.

After three more very long days of work Thursday- Friday, Saturday was a day of fun. A group of friends from church, along with my Mom and I went to see the musical Chicago. We had excellent seats in the 4th row, middle of the stage. The performance was great! After the show, my Mom (who is now back from Florida) and I headed for my sister's house to my nephew's 18th birthday party. Brandon, my nephew, was also sweet enough to share a little of the lime light with my great niece, Alivia, who is 3 as their birthday's are only a day apart.

Today has just been a day of printing out pictures from the birthday party and updating photo albums, attending church, and then afterward finding the 70-80% off sale at Kohl's in the Children's Department. I didn't go hog wild, cause I already have several things that I started purchasing over the past year, but I did find some super bargains on a couple of outfits and a dress. I got sizes 18 months and up. If the smaller sizes don't fit, oh well!! I haven't spent a fortune and I can always donate them to the orphanage or families in need here.

For this will be back to waiting!!! And finding a time to meet with my home study agency social worker to complete the update. Please keep me in your prayers that the call will come soon. And, may God Bless all of those families who are now traveling to meet their children for the first time, or who are traveling to bring their children home.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

The past couple of days have been spent chasing paper, and going to appointments to complete the paper chase.

Yesterday I completed:
  • New Employer letter
  • New Medical appointment with new PCP to do a medical clearance for homestudy agency and Children's Hope International (CHI)
  • Completed 2007 Taxes
  • Got new local police clearance letter for homestudy agency
  • New Registration letter to Russian Consular Division
  • New Post-Placement Commitment Letter
  • New Questionaire Of Candidate to Adopt
  • New Application letter to Regional Operator of Government Database in Russia
  • Signed and sent BCAL-1326 form for Homestudy agency to check my background in Michigan. (They still need to send another form for me to fill out for the time I resided in California, since I have only lived in Michigan for 2 years.) They need to check the last 5 years of residency.

Today, I spent time getting letters notarized and double checking everything for accuracy. Once the medical letters come back from the physician's office next week I'll have to go to downtown Detroit to get them all Apostilled, then sent off to St. Louis, and then Russia. Whew!!!!

Aside from running around chasing paper, I did get to spend a few minutes with my Pastor and friend, Jill today to vent about the stress I'm feeling at having to redo several documents, updates and new forms. Thanks for the shoulder Jill!!! I needed it. She did remind me that I did get positive feedback from CHI about the adoption happening, or referall portion hopefully happening soon. So, I am reminded once again to"keep my eye on the prize". I know this stress will pass and that God is watching out for me and taking care of everything. Next year I'll be holding my daughter and will have forgotten all about this week. :)

I almost have all of the paperwork done again. I Just need to gather the medicals and complete a financial form. Then the Homestudy "brief" can be written. ( You are right Becky, the second time through the paperwork is much faster). Pretty soon I'll be a Dossier writing Pro too...although I sincerely hope that this is the last time for this adoption.

On a cheery note... I got to have lunch with my oldest brother Russ today followed by a tour of his new building which is just a couple of miles from here. In a couple of months the construction will be done and he and his partner will be able to move their business into the new building. It has three times the square footage as the old one. It's going to look fantastic when completed inside. They purchased an existing building and have redone the inside to fit their business needs. He and his partner are in the fire and water damage restoration business. I'm so proud of him, his business has really grown over the last few years.

I've got to close for today. I have to do a few Domestic type duties before another couple of long days at work Friday and Saturday. I also want to make sure that I am done with chores before Survivor starts tonght.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Return from Florida

Hi everyone! I'm back from Florida and back to posting after having to work a three day stretch immediately following my return home.

Florida was great this year. The weather was perfect the whole week I was away, unlike last year when it rained almost everyday that I was there and I got the flu on top of it. It was really good to see my Mom and get away from thinking about when my adoption referall might come. The stress and tension were getting to me. I found myself watching the internet news almost every spare minute I had, instead of living my life day to day. Anyone else been there?

While in Florida, I got to see Melbourne Beach where Mom usually stays for a month or two every winter. It's a very nice Beach town, reminded me a lot of Laguana in California. I checked out the area as much as possible for the two days that Mom and I were there before heading to Orlando, as I have plans somewhere down the road to move back to a warmer climate. I'm still not crazy about Michigan winters.

Orlando was really fun. I had gotten 4 day Magic My Way tickets to Disney, so Mom and I went to all four parks in four days. She was a real trooper. I have to give her credit. She made it through most of the time without complaining too much and sticking right with me. There was only one day when she left the park early not feeling well, and came back later to get me. I'm used to 12 hour days on my feet, but Mom isn't, so she was exhausted by the 5th day...

The timeshare that Mom has in Orlando was beautiful, just wish I could have stayed a little longer to enjoy the ammenities. Will have to plan for more time next year. Hopefully "T" will be with us too by then.

Back to waiting for a was one of my worst days of waiting. I was feeling at an all time low, not hearing anything from CHI and receiving e-mail messages and a letter from my homestudy agency while I was away, stating that my homestudy is expiring soon and several documents need to be completed again. I called CHI this morning and was able to talk with my representative who was wonderful at helping to raise my spirits. She assured me that my adoption "was going to happen". She also said that Russia has requested a few more documents to be updated, which she said is a good thing because that means that things will most likely be happening soon for me, especially since they didn't request all her families to update docs, only a few. I am still 5th on the list in line for Krasnoyarsk, but 2nd in line for a baby girl. All baby homes are again open to my agency in the region now that we are reaccredited. I believe there are 5 baby homes in Krasnoyarsk. While my agency was waiting for reaccreditation we were only able to work with 1 baby home. This is all good news, even though my CHI representative couldn't confirm that I would be traveling by the end of March.

I was really hoping to have my referall by my birthday, but since that was Saturday Feb 9th, I am now going to pray for a referall by March 28th, 2008 (that's the last business day of the month). Since my Mom and others in her prayer group say that it is best to state a particular date in your prayers rather than just praying for soon, I'm going to ask that all of you who are out there praying for me, please concentrate on March 28th for "the Call and a referall".

In closing, I hope all of you out there in blogland are doing well today. Congratulations to those families who have recently received their court dates. It must be an amazing feeling knowing that you will be bringing your children home very soon now. Congratulations to everyone who has recieved their referalls and will be traveling for the first trip. For those who are like me "waiting", hang in there. God has the perfect child picked out just for us. We just have to wait for Mr. and Mrs. Russia to find our children for us and "Call". May God bless you all!!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


It's been another busy week here in Michigan. The hospital seems like it has been extra busy lately. My patients have been sicker and there are more of them. I usually work 12 hour shifts at the hospital, but this past week has been so crazy that I haven't gotten out in under 12 1/2 hours, usually 13. Boy my legs can sure tell that extra hour. Luckily I only work 3 days a week instead of 5, because I definitely need the extra time to recoup. The increased patient load I think is due to the freezing cold Arctic type weather we've been experiencing. Brrrrr.... I guess I'm getting ready for the Russian climate this time of the year. This week Krasnoyarsk was showing -22F. We were at +8F. Still almost a 30 degree difference, but I think now that my body feels this cold it wont make any difference.

Aside from working long hours this week...on my days off I did start packing. One suitcase for Russia and the other for Florida. Here's a few pictures of the items I've set aside to take for "T"in the Russia suitcase. Three outfits of different sizes from 12mo - 18mo, to see which size she'll fit into, A small quilt that her grandma made for her to keep until she can come home with us, and a few toys to play with during our visits.

I haven't heard any news from CHI this week, so I am headed for warmer weather in the south. I'm leaving Chesterfield on Wednesday and flying into Orlando. Mom is already in Florida soaking up the sun (when its not raining), so she'll come and pick me up. We'll spend a few days in Melbourne Beach where she has been staying at some friend's "park model", since January 4th. She has been fortunate to have wonderful friends that have shared a park lot with her (and Dad when he was alive)for the last few years. This time I get to see where they've been hanging out all winter. Then on Feb 1st, we'll pack up Mom's stuff and we'll head back to Orlando and stay at Mom's time share beginning Feb. 1st. While at the time share we get to go and visit all four of the Disney Parks. Yippee!!! I just picked up our Magic Our Way tickets from the Disney Store today, so we are all set. I'll head back to Michigan on the 6th of Feb. and hopefully by then I'll have some more news to share on the adoption front.

In other news....Pastor Jill had her surgery last week and everything went well. Now we just have to make sure she doesn't over do it :0) and follows the docs orders to rest. Are you reading this Jill??? Be good while I'm away.

I had a chance to visit with my brother Russ's family yesterday, and share a delicious spaghetti dinner. My niece, Samantha has been at home with her parents (my brother and his wife Terri) since she had her little girl Illiana, as her husband was deployed for military duty only 3 weeks after the baby was born. Today, Samantha and the baby had to fly back to their home in Washington (the state). We're hoping that her Daddy will be able to come home soon to see how much she has already grown, and before he misses too much. Yesterday was my last chance to get in hugs and kisses with the baby, until they fly home again in the summer. She is so darn cute. I'll talk to Samantha about posting a pic sometime. My other little great niece who will be turning 3 this year was over as well. She just loves her little cousin so much. I got some great pictures of them together. These are the two little ones that will be close in age to my Little Russian Princess. I just know that they are going to have so much fun together.

My sister Robin and her family came over this morning and joined me for breakfast and coffee. Brandon, her son, and my nephew, just found out he has been accepted to Northwood College in Midland. Yeah Brandon!!!! I can't believe he is turning 18 next month and now will be going off to college next year. Wow, time has flown....It seems like just yesterday, or the day before :0) that I was at the hospital holding him a few minutes after he was born. While I'm in Florida,Brandon is going to stay and watch the house as well as Jake the dog and Grandma's cat, shadow (who is also staying at my house).

I think I have everything ready for my trip now, just have to finishing packing the clothes. I probably wont post again until I get back from Florida. I have to work the next three days, and then I'm off. Hopefully more families will have news of travel and court dates over the next week. My agency's Russian coordinator has been in Russia this past week setting up more regions and hopefully working out any kinks in the old regions to make things run smoother and quicker for everyone.

Hang in there my little "T", Mom's bags are almost packed. We just have to wait for the government to find you and pair us up together. I pray every night that God is watching over you and that you will get to come home soon. Know that you are Loved so very much already.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Wait continues....

The long two week Holiday season is finally over and the old feelings of excitement and anticipation of "the call", coming in at any moment have returned. I worked on Monday the 14th, which was a good thing, because I probably would have been sitting with the phone in hand all day long, not able to do anything else for fear of missing that call. I guess I was secretly hoping that by magic the call would come in that day. Anyone else "waiting" share similar wishes for the 14th? Alas, the call has not come in yet... maybe by my birthday in February??? Who COULD happen! I have to keep reminding myself that God holds the master plan and He has the perfect time in mind. I just need to be patient...., but it is oh so so hard some days.

Yesterday, I kept busy reading a couple more family blog sites and doing the necessary household choirs like laundry and cleaning. It continues to amaze me how one puppy dog can bring in so much dirt from outside and lose so much hair in just a couple of days.

In the evening I went with my sister and her teenage daughter ( now 16 and driving, yikes...they grow up so quickly), along with a friend of my nieces, to the high school varsity basketball game. We won!! Way to go LCN! Oh, I almost forgot...I also went and voted before the game. It was Michigan's Primary voting day yesterday.

Today begins a new day of waiting. After grocery shopping this afternoon, I think I'll start packing a few things for my Little Princess for trip #1. One of the other adoptive families who recently returned from trip #1 said that she wished she had started setting things aside earlier, so I will take her up on her advice.

Tomorrow my friend and our church Pastor is having surgery, so I'll go up to the hospital in the early afternoon and see how she is doing. Please say a prayer tonite for Pastor "J" that she has an uncomplicated surgery and a speedy recovery.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Region Chosen for Adoption

I have chosen the Region called Krasnoyarsk to adopt from. It is in the middle of Russia, about a 6-7 hour flight from Moscow. I chose this region because it is new to my adoption agency. I accepted in hopes that the wait time will be shorter and that I would be closer to the top of the list. I believe I am about 5th in line at this point. I'm not exactly sure how many of the families ahead of me have requested baby girls, so its difficult to judge the wait time for me. I just know that it is a longer wait for girls than boys, and could be up to 12 months. Hopefully not, but for those asking how much longer....well, there you have it.
Mom has been telling everyone that she knows about her soon to be adopted granddaughter and has everyone praying that she will arrive soon. The power of prayer has moved mountains in the past, therefore, I'm counting on it helping to bring "T" home quickly for her sake and mine.
As the wait continues I continue to find things to do to occupy my time. I'm trying to pick activities that are either geared towards adoption, or activities that I might not be able to do with a toddler at home. Here's a list of some of the things I've done over the past year to stay busy:
1) Went on a cruise to the Carribean last March with Mom (which I had promised myself I
would do after graduating from Nursing School in Dec. 2005).
2) Once Dossier completed, bought "T's" crib and started working on the nursery
3) Painted the kitchen and living room
4) Re-did the basement after it flooded last spring. (That's a whole story in itself) This project
has taken many different days of sweat, blood and tears over the course of at least 8
5) Read adoption books by Dawn Davenport "The complete book of International Adoption",
and John Maclean " The Russian Adoption Handbook". I highly recommend both of them.
I sit at my kitchen table every morning that I don't have to go to work and read a chapter
in one of them. ( I am now re-reading them for about the 3rd time.) :)
6)I've become very active in church activities, and making new friends through church. I'm
new to this area, as I just moved here 2 years ago now, so this group of friends has been my
constant source of strength and encouragement. I Love you all !!!!
7)Spending time with family
8)Joined on-line chat groups which are adoption oriented for support from families going
through the same process.
9) Planning a trip to Florida at the end of January to visit Mom, whose down there now, and
also to see one of my favorite places on earth " Disneyland".
Yep!! I'm a Disney nut, I'll admit it. Before moving back to Michigan to be near family, I lived in California for close to 10 years. I was out in Southern California near Disneyland, so now every year I have to go down to Florida to get my Disney fix. I sure hope "T" will like Disney as much as I do.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Learning how to blog!

Well....I'm taking the leap and learning how to blog. (Notice I said this has not been as easy as others make it look).

I have begun to create this blog site to share my journey of adoption with my family, friends and other families who are on this wonderful emotional roller coaster of a journey called adoption, or with those who have already adopted or those who are considering adoption.

I actually began this journey a little over a year ago now. It was December 15th, 2006 when I realized how much I truly wanted to have a family of my own. This wasn't the first time that the thought had crossed my mind, oh no...for I had thought about it many times before. But, it was the first time that I felt God working in my heart telling me it was time to do this and that adoption was the way to go. I prayed all night long that night. I was scared..not sure if I could do this by myself. God just kept speaking to me and saying that he would be there every step of the way. All I had to do was " Build it and she would come", like the field of dreams. The next day I awoke and began doing the research and contacting adoption agencies. On January 3rd, I signed an agreement to work with Children's Hope International. I had also decided at about this time that I would adopt a little girl, an infant if possible, but definitely under age two. I chose Russia as the country to adopt from, mainly because that's where I felt God was leading me. I just heard him say " your daughter is in Russia".

From those days a year ago.. the ball has just continued to roll. I keep trusting God to bring "T" home soon. There have been many emotional roller coaster days in between then and now. A few of the hardest times were going through, or preparing for my homestudy. I was so afraid that I would be rejected as a parent, but my social worker made the home visits very comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. She remains very supportive to this day and continues to stay in touch even though my homestudy was completed and approved on March 14th, 2007. I just love her and will continue to use her knowledge and support.

Another scary sort of thing for me was getting fingerprinted by the Homeland Security personnel for the I-600A and I-171H forms. It was just so official I guess, though looking back I wonder what was so scary about it. Then there was the psychologist visit. Again other person to pass judgement on whether or not you would be a fit parent. I've passed all of the tests and paperwork.

Once all of the pieces were complete it was stressful and exciting all at the same time gathering everything together and getting everything notarized and the apostilled. I will never forget the feeling of excitement I had on the day that I finally had all of the papers completed in my hand with their gold stickers on them and carefully putting them in an envelope to send off to Children's Hope, saying here is my completed Dossier. That was June 6th, 2007. On June 29th I received word that my dossier had been sent to Russia. And so the celebrating began and so did the very long wait that continues today.

During the time between completing my dossier and now, Children's Hope International's accreditation with Russia expired making it more difficult for the agency to complete adoptions in that country. Wait times for everyone were beginning to drag on and get longer. We were all feeling depressed, and then the rollercoaster of emotions started again. Children's Hope received it's new accreditation on December 14th, 2007. This time it is non-expiring in Russia. Yippeee!!! What a great Christmas present, even if I didn't get my wish of having a referall by Christmas, this was the next best thing.

This past week has been Russia's Christmas and New Years celebration, so no adoption news has been taking place although my adoption agency has sent out emails stating that they expect things to begin happening quickly beginning next week. They have also continued to say that anyone adopting a little girl will take longer due to the availability of girls under 24 months. More boys are available for adoption than girls, because Russians are adopting more of the girls apparently.

While I have been waiting I have pretty much completed "T"'s room. (That's as much of her name that I want to reveal to everyone until I see her for the first time). Here's a couple of pictures to share.

It's been sooooo much fun putting this room together. I just can't wait to bring my Little Russian Princess home. I will be adopting from Krasnoyarsk, Russia. A region in the middle of the country. I'll try to insert a map on my next blog. Hope you all enjoy.