Monday, February 21, 2011
- Our families who mean the world to us
- Water that you can drink straight out of the faucet. We rely on bottled water here. The maids bring us two bottles every day but we still have to go out and buy more. N has discovered where the water is on the maid's cart and everytime he sees the cart he goes running and snatches us a bottle. For this he doesn't get repremanded but rather praised. I hope I am not raising a cleptomaniac. So our 1 year old is helping keep us well hydrated.
- Room for the boys to run and be free. I am so ready for them to have a little freedom.
- Good old southern food....and Mexican.
- A car to get where I need to go.
- Being able to go out without having to spend 15 minutes just dressing each boy for the cold. I am tired of their ski suits:)
- A washing machine and dryer...I am a little over crunchy clothes. I am ever thankful for a dryer after 4 weeks without one.
Things that I am really going to miss:
- The time that we have had to spend together. The family time that we have been able to get here has been amazing.
- Maid service everyday...that is a fabulous commodity.
- Icecream. Russia has the best icecream ever!
- Free breakfast buffet every morning...and I don't have to clean up:)
I will be ever thankful for this country in that they allowed us to bring these boys into our home and call them our sons. This country has given us the best gift we could ever ask for!
Not only have I been blessed with 2 of the most precious boys ever...their daddy is pretty spectacular too! He has been so wonderful with them and he loves these boys so much. I think that this whole process has been a little surreal to Benji up to this point but his daddy skills have kicked in and he is amazing. I can honestly say that if we were counting he has wiped more behinds and changed more dirty diapers that me at this point. He just steps right in and does his daddy duties!
Tomorrow is our last day here. This has been a journey of a lifetime. One that Benji and I could have never ever done on our own. We were carried through this entire journey, and the last leg the Lord sent me an little extra gift in allowing my parents to be here with us. Blessed doesn't even cover how I am feeling right now!
Sunday, February 20, 2011
By the time we left the market we were all so frozen that we just headed back to the hotel. It is brutally cold here right now. They told us this is the coldest Feb that Moscow has had in over 70 years. I love the cold but I must admit I am sick of constantly slipping and sliding. It is a sheer miracle that I don't have a cracked tailbone.
The boys are doing fantastic. D only had one small meltdown today. Today he finally warmed up to my Mama. It takes him a long time to warm up to people. He has had a very good day. And even spoke and English sentence today. There are mirrors in the elevators and he, Benji and Daddy came to the lobby for a bit. While in the elevator he pointed to Daddy's reflection and said "Is that you Pops (sounds more like Powps though)?". The language barrier is very hard with him but we are so proud of how well he is dealing with is.
N hasn't had a bad day yet. He just goes with the flow. He is very laid back and easy to please. He is a very funny little boy though. He keeps us laughing with his facial expressions. The child will eat almost anything. He has a massive appetite. I have no idea where he packs away the food but he loves to eat.
We are 3 days from finally heading home. We have very much enjoyed this experience but we are so far beyond ready to be home.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
My daddy is realizing he is far from Kansas here. He ordered mashed potatoes for dinner the other night and a sweet tea (with one refill), his meal ended up being $33. The sweet teas were $12.50 each. Anyone who knows my daddy knows he just about died when he got the bill! We laughed...a lot!
Here is our family portrait at St. Basil's...yes we have our local newspaper with us. Don't laugh!:
Friday, February 18, 2011
We had another great day. Our appointment at the Embassy was this afternoon. The boys did fantastic. On the way back they both passed out in the car. D has not even had a meltdown today. He has been very happy today....so long as he is with one of us. If I get out of his sight you will hear "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mama, Mama" until he hears my voice. He has really began to let me in the past couple of days where as up to this point he has really preferred to have nothing to do with me. In Kras, he would cry if we put him in the bed with us. He wanted to be in his own bed. Now he is completely fine in the bed with us. Tonight we were laying down with him and I often try to hold or rub his hand. Most of the time he allows me to but doesn't usually hold my hand in return. Tonight, I was holding and rubbing his hand and I stopped for a second. He reached down and grabbed my hand and held it on his own. He is a very sweet little boy. He takes to men very well. He has really taken a liking to his Pops. He is getting to where he likes to be silly. He just feels so much more relaxed than he once was.
N is my little ladies man. The boy likes to flirt. He is a very easy child. He isn't talking very much but he mimicks everything that you do. It is hysterical because he is very animated with his mocking. He has really gotten close to his Grammie. He will go to her in a heartbeat.
Tomorrow we plan on doing some sight seeing. Russia has a very rich history. One that I honestly never cared about but now I want to know as much as possible so that the boys will have a little better understanding of where they were born. But for now...I am hitting the hay because I am pooped. With two toddlers, I don't know if I am coming or going...but I know I am loving every second of it!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
We got to Moscow and my parents arrived about 2 hours behind us. Words cannot express how wonderful it was to see them. D has had a few meltdowns but they are very short lived. N is very happy go lucky...so long as he sleeps and eats when he is ready. We have just became VERY aware at how attached D is to us. He has really come around with me. The other day while laying down with him at naptime, he stood up on the bed, walked over to me and literally layed down on my stomach and chest. I was shocked, and relished in every second of that moment. He layed on top of me for a good 30 minutes. Benji or I one have to be with him at all times, otherwise he has a major meltdown. I feel so good that he is attached so well. N has attached very well also , but he is a very friendly and sociable little boy so he will go to just about anyone.
They had their first experience in a pool today (indoor and heated...it is -27 Celcius here...your boogers freeze...no joke!) and they LOVED it. We are having such a good time and they are enjoying their Grammie and Pops.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
We have had a great day. D has had a few of his "moments". We notice that they are only in the morning and early afternoon. So come late afternoon and early evening he is perfectly fine. Bedtime, naptime and wake up times are a little hard for him. He gets very sad during those times, but it is ususally very short lived. Benji had to go pick up their passports tonight so I was on my own for a bit. D loves to have his picture taken... and no matter what when he sees a camera he turns on the charm. We have been working hard on him being able to communicate his feelings to us so we worked on "happy" faces and "sad" faces. I took pictures of him doing both and we would show him the pictures and when he saw himself with a smile he says "hoppy" and when he sees his frowny faces pictures he says "sod". I was hoping this would help him to communicate to us when he is sad. However, my genius plan backfired. Now when he wants something and can't have it....we get the very exxaggerated "sod" face. It is really funny but we have created a monster I think. Here are his "hoppy" and "sod" faces:
That is all I have for now. I do hope to be able to continue to blog once we are in Moscow but we don't have internet in the room there so forgive me if I am a little behind:)
Monday, February 14, 2011
They boys have done very well overall today. D has had a few "moments". He periodically gets this far away look in his eyes and he has teared up a couple of times. We aren't so sure what triggers this and we may never know. Benji went to the market today and brought me back a tin of chocolates for the boys to give me for Valentine's Day. We let the boys split one of the chocolates and Daniel (who loves to throw things in the trash, he seriosuly looks for scraps of paper or anything that he can throw away) threw away the two wrappers of the chocoaltes that we had just eaten. The one that Benji and I split was very good so he grabbed the wrapper out so that we could look for it later. This triggered something in D. He was laughing and playing then went into that forzen look. Benji had put the paper in his pocket and D just stared at Benji's pocket with huge tears in his eyes. He never cried but was very effected bu this wrapper. Benji tried to hug and console him and eventually they took the candy wrapper and out it in a drawer. D has gone periodically to that drawer today to make sure it is still there. We may never know what all that is about but it brought a serious sadness out in my little boy.
I have mentioned before how D hides toys. We haven't noticed it yet here until today. He has been hiding toys all over the place and if N gets anywhere near his stash he gets very upset. In the bath tub, he will play with one toy and hide all the others behind him so that N can't get to them. We finally had to get D to make a pile of toys that N could play with because there was a point to where D wasn't allowing N near any of the toys.
N has been his usually self...a wild man. He really isn't wild, he is just an active 20 month old. He is into everything and knows when he is into something he isn't supposed to be in to. He will just grin and keep his eye on you and when he sees that he has been busted he takes off. He has been a very happy and easy going child...so long as he has his food. Meal times are no joke with N...he means business. He usually eats all of his food, and then finishes off whatever D has left and often still wants more. Heaven forbid you take his plate away before he is done.
D is my little cleaner. He wants to clean off the table all by himself. He doesn't want anyone to clear their own plate...he wants to do it. He brings me the dishes to the sink one by one. Then he goes and puts anything in the fridge (ie: the butter, ketchup) then he finds a rag and wipes the table off. We have never shown him to do any of this but he cleans like it is his job. He found the broom and dustpan today. The handle on the broom here is no taller than my waist and the dustpan has a handle like the broom. You would think that he had hit the mother load. He wants that boom and dust pan to be where ever he is. It even had to sit by him at dinner tonight. He walks all over sweeping. One of the things that makes him laugh the most is our pretend clean up game...that he created...not me! Long story....but he loves to make a pretend mess and clean it up.
D is still extremely attached to his daddy. Benji can hardly leave the room. The boy loves his daddy, and almost cannot deal with Benji giving N attention. He gets very jealous if Benji holds N or does anything for N. He wants his daddy's undivided attention. I have to work a little harder to get D to connect with me, but we have a lot of very good moments. N has bonded very well to both of us. He is very snuggly and loves to snuggle with both of us.
We are just praying that change in locations from here to Moscow doesn't affect them too much. We do worry about the flight. We are just praying that they aren't petrified on the flight and that they handle it well.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I must say by the end of the night last night, I was exhausted and ready to crash. But then as soon as they were asleep...I was ready for them to be up already. I could have watched them sleep all night. They went to bed without any more hesitation than a normal 1 year old and 3 year old. When I woke up this morning they were still sleeping so peacefully, I had to resist all urges to wake them up, but I was so ready for them to be awake again.
As I sit here in the very moment watching all 3 of my boys (yes daddy is snoozing too) taking their naps, I am ever reminded of Jeremiah 29:11. It is in the title of my blog and means more to me this very day than it ever has!
I thought I'd add a couple more pics today. This is an ice slide outside our apartment. The boys (and by boys I mean all 3) loved it! We had the best time. Hopefully as soon as the boys wake up we are going to head to the ice slides down neat the river that we saw at the beginning of our trip. So hopefully I will have those fun pics to share soon!
We had several stops to make this morning before we were able to get the boys. A lot more legal things and we were able to get their Russian birth certificates. As we sat in the car waiting to go pick up our boys...I was reflecting a bit on this journey. I looked at Benji and said "Do you realize all that the devil has done to try to prevent us from this very day? A week before traveling he gave us a possible cancer scare, three days before coming there was a suicide bomber at the airport we were supposed to be going to, along with that comes terrorist threats, while here he sent an earthquake." This is not to mention all the small monkey wrenches he has thrown in along the way. He has done everything in his power to stop us from being here...yet our God has proven victorious! We stand here at this very moment looking over our precious, precious sons while they are napping (ok..so one is napping the other has fought it hard but so long as he is quiet I don't care), and we are so in awe of the Lord and all that he has done to bring these boys into our family.
On the small scope of life, today has the potential to be a horrible day for our boys. We know in the larger scope of life it is a wonderful day for them. However, today their lives got flipped upside down. Everything that they know and have known is gone. Everything that they once found security in is no longer. Yet thus far, they have not missed a beat. They have even shined since we have been back at our apartment. D didn't get lunch before leaving the orphanage today so I was giving him his lunch and he began to even feed Benji and I. This is huge in the adoption world. He is yet to hug us (he leans in and lets us hug him, but he has not yet hugged us), however not 10 minutes after we got to the apartment Benji was blessed with a very unprovoked hug from our little boy. He has also gotten a kiss...and is braggin constantly about it.
We are not so niave to think that life will be this perfect everyday. However, we are just in amazement at how smooth the transition has been for them. Our cups truly runeth over!
Friday, February 11, 2011
We have been noticing for a while now that D tends to hide toys in the room. Today his a tiny drum stick up inside the squeaker of a squeaky toy. We have come to realize that he is doing this only with toys that he really loves and he is doing it so that he can get it later. I am sure this comes from not having any toys to call his own and having to share with all the other children there. I am sure that it is survival of the fittest there and being he is the little guy in his group and very mild tempered, I feel that he is learning to outsmart the others.
They gave us pictures of the boys from when they were first admitted to the orphanage a year and a half ago. We also recieved their little crosses that they recieved when they were baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church. Those are priceless to us. They will certainly be a special gift to give the boys on down the road.
We are so thrilled that this is the last time we have to tell them good-bye. Tomorrow is the day that we have prayed for, for oh so long. I sit back and think of all the things that the Lord has carried us through to get here. He has made good on all his promises and has blessed us far beyond anything that we ever deserve. The Lord never promised that the road would be easy, and we never expected it to be. I think back on when we took the first steps in our adoption journey. I remeber clearly feeling him saying "Take the leap of faith and I will provide". He has provided!!! We have been so very blessed to have amazing support from our family and friends and their love and prayers have gotten us to this very point. Tomorrow it all becomes official, the court decree will be in effect and we will be a family of four!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Nothing seemed to matter once I was with my little guys. They were as sweet as ever, and we had another great day. We had to share the room with anther family from Spain that is adopting. N can tend to be a pill when he has to share the room. He wants everything the other family has and doesn't want to share anything. He gave me a workout today. The little guy has a way of making my heart melt to where I don't know that I could ever be mad at him for more than 10 seconds. D was happy go lucky as usual. He is easy to entertain and strives to please you. He is a little sweetheart!
When it was time to clean up today the boys stalled. This never happens. When they are told to clean up...they do it. They have never had to be asked more than once. Today the caretakers had to tell them 3 time. D was clearly stalling. Then usually, they give us hugs and let us smooch on them to tell them good-bye and they head down the hall to their rooms. Today, they kept turning around waving good-bye all the way down the hall. They watched us until they had to turn a corner and couldn't see us anymore. It is so sad, but I know those days are soon coming to an end...just one more of them to be exact!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
We got to take them out today to go get their passport pictures made. They were all smiles and happy to see us and excited about the car ride...then we got in the car. N sat in my lap (there is no carseat law here) and we buckeled D up beside us. Then...we got the look. D was petrified. Benji put his arm around him, snuggled him close and held one of his hands. I held his other hand. The poor child never moved, smiled nor said a word the whole trip. He was just as calm as could be but it was so obvious that he very scared and very out of his element. It was a little hard to watch him look so scared. Once we got out of the car, we took their snowsuits off of them for their pictures. We were surprised to see them actually dressed up. D had on navy pants and a tan sweater. N had on green pants and a blue sweater. And...they both had on boy boots...not sandals! They were the most handsome little things I think I have ever seen. D did as he was told and went right up and got his picture taken, he smiled when they told him to smile. N, went right up but he doesn't quite get the smile on demand thing. The photographer had to pull out a squeaky toy to get him to look. After a couple of attempts we got a good pic of him. Then we suited the boys up and headed back to they car while our facilitators finished in the picture store. I had snacks waiting, and D was back to his ususal self. N could have cared less about the car ride, he was enjoying the sights. D did much better on the trip back to the orphanage. We had about an hour left to play with them and it was wonderful as always. N is very affectionate and gives hugs very freely. D is fast coming around and returning our hugs...which is heaven to us!
I took a bottle of water again. D learned that he could screw and unscrew the top all by himself. So we had quite a while of unscrew top, take a sip, say "aaahhhh" when finished (daddy you will love it....he thinks it is hysterical), then screwing the cap back on only to immediately unscrew, sip, say "aaahhhh", and screw top back. When N wanted a sip, D wanted to give him the water himself...which he would nearly drowned his little brother. It was the cutest sight ever, he really is a good big brother and very considerate of N.
Then we had to say our good-byes....only 2 more!! We can't wait. Saying good-bye is harder than ever.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Then came the most humbling part of this experience yet. We got to go see where the boys sleep and we got to see them eat their lunch. First we went to see N. He beamed when we walked in the room. He was sitting at a table with three other children (there were other table surrounding him) eating his bowl of soup...with a gigantic metal spoon. There was something very sad to me to watch my 18 month old eat his meal with an oversized metal spoon, cut his own meat then drink out of a ceremic mug. He is a good little eater! We got to see where he sleeps before heading to see D have his lunch.
The children were washing their hands and coming out of hte bathroom one by one. Wheh D came out and saw us there...he smiled and smiled. He kept is eyes on us the whole time so much that they asked us to move so he would sit straight in his chair. D's group is a little more "energetic" as it is 3 year olds. But our little boy just sat in his chair and ate his lunch not causing a bit of trouble. They told us he eats slow but he always finishes everything.
We saw 2 familiar faces in his group...faces that we knew we may see but had hoped we wouldn't. There is a long story behind those two faces, but as I saw those two precious children I have never been more sure of anything in my life. I knew in that moment that the Lord brought us to the exact children that he had for us. I will continue to pray for those children to find loving homes as we will for all the children that we have seen. I just know that those were not the children that the Lord had for us.
The 3 year olds were slightly rambuctious (no more than typical for that age group). They were silly and playing...mostly showing out for us. But our sweet little son just sat there as obediently as usual and ate his lunch as he was supposed to. As we were leaving the room our facilitator whispered to us that D was the best out of his whole group in her opinion. This, we already know, but we may be a little biased:)
It was so nice for us to see where the boys have lived for much of their lives, yet a little hard to see those other children who all need homes so very badly. We know that the Lord cares for all orphans and we know in our hearts that he is with each and every one of them every day.
We are on a count down now....just 3 more good-byes and then they are ours forever!!
At one point several of the other children in the orphanage came out to go for their afternoon walk. It was such a humbling experience to see all of those little faces...all who so desperately need good loving families. Let me tell you...if I could load them all up and bring them home I think we both would have today. They were all so precious and it just made us so sad to see them all. They were all in very good spirits. The orphanage workers really do love them and they are all very well cared for. They don't often see men so they were all quite taken by Benji. He tried to shake some of their hands when they didn't understand him, D stepped in and shook his daddy's hand to show all of them what to do. At that point they all wanted to shake Benji's hand....it was really a precious moment. Seeing all those children just re-affirmed in me that we are doing exactly what they Lord called us to do....not that I was doubting it at all. I just really felt in my spirit that the Lord was telling me today "See...I told you to trust me!".
The boys have done so wonderfully with us that we have just been amazed. They are our sons and it feels like it is clear to all four of us.
This is how my son cleaned up today. Here are his "machinas" (cars) all lined up perfectly. Did the Lord serously not hand pick this child for me??
Sunday, February 6, 2011
We walked down the street to a toy store in town. It was pretty big and very neat. The whole store was almost like a maze. We bought the boys the little sled thingies so that we can take them to the ice slides next weekend.
From there we went to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch and then on to the mall across the street from our apartment. The mall was pretty neat, they had more shoes there then I have ever seen in my life...my heaven:) We then headed back up to the room and watched movies the rest of the evening. Today was the first day that I have been homesick. I must admit...I am getting very ready to be home. I do love it here and am facinated by everything...but I just want to get my boys home to where we can see them every day. It has not been fun not seeing them the past 2 days...we miss them badly. We have tried to stay very busy but now we are just ready to see them again. Luckily, Monday is here now and we will be headed out to see them shortly!
Saturday, February 5, 2011
We spent at least 3 hours just walking around and let me tell you...it was cold. I foolishly didn't wear anything under my jeans because I haven't had a problem with the cold thus far. It was 14 degrees here today....and I was cold.
The city here is very interesting. It has a really nice charm that kinda grows on you. It is a very old city and it has a very rich history. You can hear music all along the streets as you walk. There are some very beautiful old building, some very old dilapitated buildings and then some newer more modern buildings. The woman here are beautiful. Majority of them are covered in very expensive looking fur coats and hats. Most of the men are either in suits or more trendy looking outfits. I could sit on a bench and people watch here all day.
One more week until our court decree goes into effect and we will have the boys here with us and can post pictures. Until then, we are not allowed to post any pictures. I do have another sneak peek: Yes...they are in tights and girly shoes, but this is all that they have. All the children that we have seen in the orphanage wear the same thing. Once we get them, rest assured their days of flowery sandals will be long gone. I just thought this picture was precious.
Here are a few pics of the city:
This is a church that we pass on the way to the orphanage. I love how ornate the churches are here. Most of the churches that we have seen are this beautiful.
This is the view from our apartment window.
This is another church that is here in the city.
And another church in the city.
This is a monument that was put up on the 375th anniversary of the city.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Benji has also recieved a new name during our stay here. Our coordinaters have begun to call him Bill. It is hysterical! His first name is actually William so that is how they normally refer to him, but in the past couple of days he has somehow become Bill. I giggle everytime they call him that.
From there our facilitators took us to a mall that has a very big grocery store in it. I could have looked around that place all day. They helped us pick out some meats, at which point we found out they eat a lot of horse here. Please Lord, don't let the meatballs that we so bravely cooked the other night have been horse! We picked out some Russian salami and some Russian sausuage. We also got some ground beef and a couple pork tenderloins...which Benji repeatedly asked to double check that it was cow and pork. HA!
Next...the best part of the day....seeing our precious boys! We had another fabulous day! D was very silly today. He loves to play with his daddy. And he is so easy to get to laugh. I don't want to be repetitive everyday, but he is a super sweet little boy, and very obedient. He is obsessed with putting things back exactly where they go, he loves shoes and now one of the first things he does is goes to my our bag and pulls out my chapstick and brings to me to put on him.....is this my son or what? No one can ever say that the Lord didn't hand pick him:)
N was a little less stubborn today. He was very snuggly and would let me hold him rock him more today than he usually does. Benji will click his tongue at N and N starts doing it back to him...he loves this. He is so precious. Towards the end of our visit, another Russian couple came in to visit the sone they are adopting. This wasn't working out for N so well. D stuck right by us hte whole time the other family was there. N was determined to steal every toy that the other little boy had. He did not like sharing the toys that he already had out with this little boy. At this point N threw a few fits when the mother took out toys that she had brought for her son and I wouldn't let him have them. He was not a happy camper with me. We just have to laugh...he is our strong willed child. Even though he has his little fits...I could still just eat him up.
We don't get to see them again until Monday so it was tough to say good-bye today. I have a pictue of them walking down the hall with one of the caretakers turning around waving good-bye. I am so ready for next week when we don't have to wave good-bye anymore. I am ready for them to be waving good-bye to the caretakers!
Here are a few pics from the day. We are so ready to be able to post pics of the boys. I have a few of the backs of their heads with them looking out a window that I almost posted, but I don't want to take any chances.
This is the mall with the grocery store. I wish it were closer, I'd love to have more time there.
This is the river in Krasnoyark. The sun and clouds over it was beautiful today.
Oh happy day....sweet tea. Not an easy find here and still not the tea that we are used to but makes my dear hubby a happy man. I saved a water bottle to make tea in. Yes, I am aware that it looks like coffee here. It was a touch strong but has since been diluted. Anything that you can do to make it feel more like home here helps tremendously.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
We found this icecream in the market today...Yummy! It is melon icecream, not a sorbet. It tastes just like cantelope. It's a little different but oh so good!