Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 6....We are officially parents!!

We just finished court and are officially the parents of two beautiful boys! The court proceedings are closed so we are not able to post the details of court. I do have to say that the Lord was ever present in court and the proceedings were very smooth. Benji did a phenominal job....I have never been more proud of him. At the end of court we were declare the parents of our boys. We still can't post pictures but we will as soon as our waiting period is up and we are allowed to do so. Words cannot describe how blessed that we have been this week. Our adoption journey began 2 1/2 years ago. It has been a very bumpy road for us, but we always had faith that the Lord would provide and that he would get us to this very point. He has never left our side and regardless of all the set backs that we have endured...he knew what he was doing. There is no doubt in our minds that he had these two boys picked out for us from the beginning. It has all happened in his perfect timing and we couldn't aks for a more perfect timing than that. We are so fortunate to have an amazing support system at home that has prayed us through this journey every step of the way. Those prayers have been answered and we are finally Mama and Daddy! We get to go see the boys in just a little bit...we can't wait to see them again!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 5

We finally got to see the boys today. We had a great visit with them. We got to the orphanage and met with the doctor first. She gave us a few updates then told us that the boys have been asking when mama and papa are coming back. That made us so sad that it took so long but it also thrilled us. When we walked into the room, they were there waiting. For the first few minutes they were very leary of us again. D let me pick him up but was pretty guarded with me. He warmed up to Benji much better than me. N took just a bit and was just as sweet and affectionate as last time. He gave many hugs and let me kiss him.

D is a very inquisitive little boy. He likes to figure things out and he likes to do things for himself. He is speaking very good Russian and he repeats English words after us very well. We left them with picture books last trip and they still had them (along with the bears we left them). We pointed to pics in the books and told them who everyone was and he repeated everyone's names very well. I have no concerns on his language and how he will adjust to speaking English. He is very sweet and very patient with his "braht" (Russian for brother....and yes he refers to him as "braht" rather than by is really cute.) If N steals a toy, D just let's him have it even though you can tell it annoys him:) He is a very beautiful little boy and smiled much more today than last trip. We showed him pics that we had developed from last trip and he loved looking at them.

N is very affectionate and attached to me very well. I got a lot of hugs today and he stayed in my lap a lot. He is easy to make laugh yet he is most definatley a stubborn little fella. When it comes time to leave us he cried and they had to get D to come take his "braht" by hand to get him to go. N's head has been shaved and very unevenly at that. It looks terrible but he is still such a cutie.

We go to court in the morning. We are so ready to be done with court. We are just praying that tomorrow we become their official parents!!!

I wish we could post pictures but until the court decree goes into effect (10 days after court), we are not allowed to post pictures. All we did today was go see the boys and prep for court so I don't have any cool and interesting pics to post so for now I leave you with our dinner last night. I managed to make a teryaki chicken and rice. It wasn't half bad. We are headed to a different market in just a bit to see what we can figure out for dinner tonight. Hopefully my next post will be as parents of D & M:):)

Day 4

Today has been wonderful. We were able to sleep in a little, talk a lot on skype to family and friends (which is the only way we make it here), then we headed out for a walk. It is cold but again not miserable. It is in the 20's right now. The only thing that gets cold is my face. We headed out just to walk around and we came upon a clock tower that was our guide to the hotel that we stayed at last time. We figured from there we could find our way to the hotel where we heard there is a giant Christmas tree and several ice sculptures. What we found was nothing shy of amazing. At the hotel there was an ice sculpture playground. It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. Everything was made out of ice. There were several slides for children...all made out of ice. We just found a bench, sat and watched in awe. I think I could have sat there all day. Here are a few pics, however, the pics just do not do it justice:

An ice gazebo

They had fresh flowers frozen in some of the sculptures

Some of the sculptures were colored. They were much taller than they look here.
A piece of one sculpture that had Russian rubles frozen in it.

This is one of the many slides. We are hopefully that the weather stays this good and when we get the boys we can take them there.

Another ice slide

A large ice statue

The giant tree...this thing was massive. I'd love to see it at night.

Another ice slide

This is blocks of ice all along the sidewalks. We thought it was large rocks at first then we realized it was where they scraped the sidewalks.
This ice sculpture is not far from the apartment. It is Santa on a rocket leaving 2010 and headed to 2011
A close up of Santa
Today's groceries: Coke, apple juice, orange juice, rice, water, cinnamon, soy sauce (we hope), chicken (I know it looks dark but it isn't, it is just the picture) and in the white bag, we are praying is sugar. And daddy: no the cinnamon is NOT for the is for toast!!! HA
We also went to Cinnabon which is very close to the apartment.

Benji is a happy man!

That has been our day. I am off to make us some chicken and rice for dinner. We get to see the boys tomorrow. We cannot wait to see them again. Unfortunately we will not be able to post pictures of them until after court and our 10 day waiting period is up.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 2 and 3

I am a little confused on what day it is with so much traveling and so many different time changes. However...we made it safely to our region. The plane ride was a breeze and our facilitators were waiting on us the minute we stepped off the plane. We honestly couldn't have had smoother travels. The security at the airports here is pretty tight after the events of last week. We don't mind that at all. The only real problems that we have endured is we blew a fuse in our voltage adapter. Our driver in Moscow drove us all over the city to try to find a new one in which we had no luck. Fortunately, there is a converter in the apartment and we do have one fuse left on our adapter...but for me that mean no flat iron. As shallow as it may sound...that was one of my biggest fears in traveling. I may have to rock a ponytail all week but I have already come to terms with the fact that all pics of me in this trip may resemble a homeless person. HA! We also had no internet when we got here. This almost made us panic. Internet is our saving grace here, it is our only connection to everyone back home. Our facilitator sensed our distress when we called him to tell him so he let us use the cell to call back home to at least let our family know we made it. I was able to get in touch with my sister and she called my parents. A few hours later and our facilitator showed up with the internet people (which he told us he probably could not get until Monday). Our facilitators are such wonderful people and they do whatever they can to help us out. Do let me tell you, the Lord has traveled with us and made this trip so incredibly smooth. We feel incredibly blessed right now and even a little undeserving of all that the Lord had done for us.

We had our medicals in Moscow yesterday. Strangely, I was not near as nervous with that as I am going to my primary doc in the states....and do let me tell you, these Russian docs have seen more of me than he ever has. Praise the Lord it is done and over and we wont have to do that again.

We are staying in an apartment here in Kras. It is pretty nice. The weather is cold but it is not unbearable. I kinda like it to be honest. We headed out earlier and found a California Pizza Kitchen. We decided we can survive on pizza alone if we have to. We both got a slice of pizza and one to go so that we do have something in the apartment in case we didn't want to leave. We went for a walk and thought we looked silly carrying pizza slices in clear baggies so I walked around with the pizza in my coat pocket. Can't say I ever toted pizza in my pocket before but you do what you can to not stand out as bad around here.

Next, we headed to the market which is very close to the apartment. It was a little tough trying to figure things out. We tried to buy things that we recognized from the plane. Like we were able to figure out what butter was because it matched the packet of butter they gave us on the plane. We knew what a carton of apple juice looked like from the plane as well. Here is our first grocery store purchase...can you figure it all out?
We have: Coca Cola, cereal, apple juice, milk (we hope), chips, strawberry jelly, canned corn (I can live off canned corn), bread and butter. Not so sure how we got this combination of things. We will be a little more bold tomorrow. We have a full kitchen here are the apartment so I may play a little Iron chef and try some mystery ingredients tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 1 Trip 2

We made it safely to Moscow. I don't know that our traveling could have went any smoother. The Lord was most definatley traveling with us. Everything here is snow covered and beautiful. When we landed they pilots said the temp was 8 degrees Farenheit. It is chilly but not bad at all....but anyone that knows me knows that I love cold weather.
We had a tough time saying good-bye when we left. Benji and I are very much home bodies and we truly are not looking forward to being away from home this long but we know the end reward is well worth it.
We are about to venture out and see if we can find us some lunch. Tomorrow we have to have our medicals done in Moscow (not something we are looking forward to at all) and then we head to the airport to fly our to our region. I may not be able to blog tomorrow as we leave this hotel in the morning, fly out tomorrow night then land in Kras the next morning.
We are so thankful for all the love, support and prayer that we have recieved. We are most definately feeling the prayers!!
P.S. Stacy Woods: Sorry that we kept you up all night...I think Benji is going to miss you the most:)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The time has come!

Well, the time is here! We are leaving tomorrow. I don't have very much time for a long post. I just can't express who in awe we are in the Lord and all that he has put into place this week. Everything has fallen into place just like it is supposed to. We are excited and nervous all in one.
We are beyond blessed with such wonderfil family and friends who have been of amazing support. We absolutely could not be where we are today without all the support that we have recieved.
We leave tomorrow Benji and Shanon and we will return Daddy and Mama! We should be able to post daily while we are gone.
Thanks for all the love and support. God bless!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guess what???

We leave in less than a week!!!!

We are super excited...but in complete panic mode. There is an incredible amount to get done and very little time to get it done. I am off now to get our visas sent off and hope and pray they make it back in time!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Satan has been bound!

To say this has been a rough week would be an understatement. On Friday, we had to get chest x-rays to take to Russia with us. Low and behold there is a spot on Benji's lung. The technicians pointed it out but they said "Oh it's probably nothing to be concerned about, someone will call you Monday". How can you not be worried about somthing like a spot on your lung? From there we had to drive to Atlanta to get a few more things apostilled. I don't think that either of us said a word to each other the whole trip...and it's a three hour trip. I was trying hard to not think the worst, but some how my mind just went there. I began to think about the "what ifs". The fact that this could potentially halt our adoption was not the first thing on my mind. The thought of losing my husband became an unbearable thought. Benji is a very laid back, easy going, cut-up all the time kind of guy. After the chest scans....he was a very solemn man. I knew it was bothering him very bad and that was very difficult to see. He typically doesn't worry about much of anything (I am the worrier in the marriage). We agreed to just give it to God and not worry about it until we had reason to....even though we both still were sick with worry about it.

Later that day I found out my Mema had been admitted to the hospital and was very ill. At one point my mama said to me "I am so worried she wont make it to see your boys".

Then later on in the afternoon, my sister confirmed that she and her family will be moving to Texas in just a few short weeks. My family is very close and my nephew is my heart. I love him as if he were my own. The thought of not seeing him often is heart breaking. My brother in law has accepted a postition as a children's church minister in Texas and it is truly a great opportunity for them. So we do fully support their is just so hard to see them go.

By Friday night, I was throwing my hands up as asking God what else? I know he doesn't give us any more that we can handle...but must he think I am so strong? We spent the weekend almost in a fog. I was almost in "shut-down" mode. Benji and I didn't leave the couch all day Saturday...this NEVER happens. I have never dealt with depression or anxiety in my life but after Friday...I was there.

I began reading a book a while back and I picked it back up this weekend. As I was reading it I know that it was somthing that I needed to read. Through the book, I was reminded that the Lord gives us the power to bind the devil. I began to think, if the Lord has given me this power then why in the world am I allowing the devil to have such a hold on me in worrying so much? The Lord does not give us the spirit of worry. I went to stay the night at the hospital with my Mema last night and the whole drive down there I exercised that power that the Lord has given me. I bound the devil from my husband's health, my Mema's health and from our adoption.

I am happy to report that Benji had a CT scan today and all is well. It is nothing at all the be concerned about his is going to be just fine. I called my Mama as soon as we recieved the report that his CT scan was clear and low and behold my Mema was in the car with her....on her way home! Can we say the Lord is awesome?? As silly as it may sound, there are times that the devil has such a grasp on our lives that we find it very hard to find the Lord through the devil's tight grasp. Never forget that the Lord gives us the power to bind the devil when he tries to sink his hooks in.

Thank you so much to the family and friends that have prayed us through this rough time. You guys mean the world to us! Now we can get excited because we are headed back to see our boys soon...real soon. We still don't have full confirmation just yet (we were hoping to have that today),but we could be leaving as early as a week from today:)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The time is getting near!

I know, I blogging has been slack lately. There just has not been very much to report. We have had a "pending" court date for a while now, but there is one issue with our paperwork that should soon, hopefully, be resolved. We are waiting on one thing to come in the mail and it should all be good. I am not going to say when that court date is until it is official, but it is fast approaching. Thus causing a sense of panic in getting everything done: getting the house re-organized, scrubbed from top to bottom, and child proofed and getting packed for a three week stay in a very cold region in Russia. I really have no idea how I am going to pack for us and two little boys for 3 weeks in under 45 lbs per bag, but we will make it work.

We had a good Christmas. It was on the tough side. I personally felt very guilty celebrating the holidays when they are stuck in an orphanage with no family to celebrate with. However, they were blessed with all sorts of goodies for Christmas. Benji's parents, my parents, my sister and her family, and my BFF's Renee and Ashley all got the boys Christmas presents that are just patiently waiting for them to get home:)

Hopefully within another week or so our court date will be official and then a week or so from that we will be off to bring our boys home. So is fast approaching. For now we are praying that the court date sticks because if we have to wait much longer, I do believe I will turn into a complete crazy person...I am looking over that cliff right now:)