Friday, October 30, 2009

She is perfect!!!

My trip to Russia has been even better than expected. This has been my first chance to get to a computer so I will try to hit the highlights. To end the suspense I will just start by saying that I have met my daughter and she is perfect. My heart is full.
The travel went very well. I was quite nervous to go this alone but everything went like clock work. All my flights were on time and when I arrived in Moscow I breezed through passport control and customs to find my agency rep waiting for me with a sign. She got me to the other terminal and checked in for my in country flight to Krasnoyarsk. There is a couple here with my agency also and they are adopting from the same orphanage so we have been together almost all the time.
Our first stop was at the Minister of Education where we received our official referrals. It went quite smooth—the couple was asked more questions about why they were adopting than I was. We both found out our orphanage was in Sosnovaborsk—about an hour from Krasnoyarsk.
From there we went straight to the orphanage and there was my little girl sitting waiting in the room when we entered. I,of course, wanted to run right to her and pick her up but she didn’t seem to interested in any of us so I just admired her from afar. It was a little akward at first as we all got our coats off and figured out what we should be doing. The caretaker held her up to give me a hug and she did kind of half-heartedly and then went back to playing and not looking up. I got out the toys I brought and started parrellel playing until she was interested. When I brought out the Disney princesses, we started interacting and then when I got out snacks, she really was happy. By the end of the visit I got some physical contact and lots of smiles—no laughing yet but many smiles. All in all it was a great visit and my heart was captured. She is just so sweet.
On the second day she did come to me but still rather shyly. We got playing much quicker and colored together, read books, played. I got quite a few hugs and at one point when I was sitting on the little bench, she came and slided right into my side and snuggled for a second—boy did that feel good. I also got some great laughs today—playing with balloons and throwing her around. She is a very well behaved child from what I see—she plays with one toy at a time an d puts it right back on the shelf in the same spot before taking another one. At this visit we had to see the orphanage director again and I signed the paper to say YES to adopting her. I had to state her name which still remains private until court is over after the second visit. She blew me a kiss when she said good-bye.
The third visit was great—we had a full two hours together. She came running right to me this time and gave me a big hug. Every once in a while during the visit, she would look at me, hold out her arms and give me a crushing hug that just for a second and then she went back to playing. I loved them. She loves drawing and coloring so we did that quite a while during this visit. When it was time to leave I could hardly stand it—she still goes right to her caregivers and waves good –bye without getting sad but it was hard for me this time because I won’t see her now for a while. It was hard not to shed tears when she was there but I just hugged her tight, told her I loved her, and asked for a kiss—she gave me one with a smile and then ran off with her caregiver. I have to say it took me a moment to compose myself.
Each day the visits take up about 5 hours of our day so we have had some free time and have done some exploring in the area around our hotel. We found a good grocery store and a couple good souviner stores, a great book store, and some good restaurants so it has been fun. The weather here reminds me of January in Minnesota. It has been between 0 and 20 degrees and the ground is covered with snow. Every morning everything is frosty and the trees look so pretty. Fortunately it hasn’t felt too bad for walking around and exploring but I am very glad that I brought my boots.
We leave tomorrow morning so tonight it’s the German restaurant and then home to pack. Before leaving we fill out the forms to petition the courts for the adoption. Our agency rep thinks we will be back before the end of the year—Sounds too good to be true so I hope she’s right.
I can’t say that I exactly feel like a mom yet but I do know that I love that little girl. I knew that venturing out on this trip by myself would be scary but worth it—I just didn’t really realize how worth it. I am so glad I didn’t let fear stop me—look what I have gained!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It's time!

I sort of feel like I am at the end of my pregnancy. I have been going through the nesting stage—running around gathering documents, cleaning house, organizing and reorganizing, telling everyone that is important in my life, and so on. Now I am packing my bags and I am ready to go. Only I am not going to a hospital but to a place half way around the world. And I have not been waiting 9 months for this day but instead have been waiting 2 years and 8 months. And lastly, I will not be able to bring my child home with me but will have to leave her there for a few more months. This is just the best thing that I have ever done and I know when I leave it will be the hardest. But, the wonderfulness and joy that are to come make it all worth while.

I wrote a simple note to my daughter and had it translated to Russian so that I can say it to her in her own language. It is simple because my Russian is simple but it goes like this:
My Darling (her Russian name),
I have waited so long to find you. I have so much love for you and I really want to be your Mom. I promise to always take care of you, keep you safe, and most of all to love you always.
I promise I will come back to bring you home with me. Then you will be my daughter and I will be your Mom always. I love you forever, Your Mama

Today I had many good friends wanting to see me, say good-bye, and wish me well. I squeezed three get togethers in the middle of my preparations. Sharing my excitement and having so many people happy for me was very emotional—it helped me to realize that this is really happening.

So now some details about my preparation. My trip takes 26 hours on the way there and 33 on the way home. I go through Chicago and Amsterdam before getting to Moscow and then onto Krasnoyarsk. I will actually only be in Krasnoyarsk from Wednesday to Saturday—the whole rest of my trip is traveling. Thanks to my friend Lisa, I got a reservation for a Yotel room in the Amsterdam airport on my way home when I have a 12 hour layover—it is just like getting a hotel room but it’s right inside the airport—you don’t even have to go outside security.
I have made copies of all my emergency info and sent it to two family members just in case—I will also carry it all with me.
As I mentioned before, I have a bag of toys. Some one wanted to know what was in it so it has a couple books, some counting cards, a kids photo album, a car, a toy cell phone, some Disney princesses, and a stuffed animal that I plan to leave with her. I hope that she gets to keep the photo album and stuffed animal but if they disappear, I have duplicates of both at home.
I tried to be very minimal with my clothes, hair products, and make up—that is hard for me but I did good. I put in a couple different size kids clothes to see about what size she wears and I plan to leave them at the orphanage.
Other things I included in my packing are—medications, mini voice recorder for the orphanage visit, camera, portable DVD player with movies and CD’s, a few snacks, and of course my documents.—oh and of course, new money!
Two things I wish I had but don't are a video camera and a laptop--I know, I know, get into the 20th century. I will have to put them on my list for the next trip.
I also got out my boots, down coat, and hat and gloves as the forecast for next week in Krasnoyarsk is chance of snow every day with high's in the 20's and low's in the single digits.
I feel as prepared as I think I can. Now it is time to live it.

This will be my last post before leaving. I want to thank all of you for the great encouraging and happy messages I have gotten from you—it means so much to have this network of support. I don’t know when or if I will be able to blog or email while there but if I can, I will. I will definitely be thinking of you all and channeling strength from all who have gone before me on this journey, hope from all still waiting, and love from all my family and friends. Thanks also for all the prayers--I have really felt them lately. God has brought me to a really good place.

So Paka Paka for now………………

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Am I doing okay?

It is so weird to be preparing to go to Russia to meet my child--my daughter. Everyone asks me if I am walking on air and the answer is "yes" of course. I start smiling anytime I talk about it but yet...
I feel like I am spinning in my tracks. I am getting so much done but yet have so much left to do. I am making lists like crazy and I am not a list person. Sometimes I think that I am too calm like I am missing something because it's too easy and other times I think I am scared out of my mind but mostly I am pretty calm about it. I look at her picture every night in bed and dream of when she will be beside me in person. I can't think of anything better.
At work I try to go through the day just like always--there is so much to do each day that I don't have time to think about much else but yet my daughter is always in the back of my mind. I have a new appreciation for the mother's that want to call their kids 2-3 times a day to check on them.
When I get out of work, there are two hours left before businesses close so I have been running errands every day after work.
So far this has been my week:
Monday--get a money order and get my passport fed-exed for the VISA, Transfer funds at bank so money is available to me, call the travel clinic and get my prescriptions for travel, inform them at work about needing the days off.
Tuesday--finalize the airline tickets, call my bank and credit card to let them know I will be out of the country and not to cancel me, go to Russian Language class
Wednesday--pick up new money from bank, reviewed dossier part 2 requirements with agency, got forms ready for psychologist and MD, started search for daycare
Thursday--made appt with psychologist and MD for first week after I get back, send forms to their secretaries so they would have them early, scheduled fingerprints for FBI check, ordered international phone from, shopped for new winter coat
Friday--visited HR at work for proof of employment and insurance forms, got copies of birth certificate and deed of house, got letter from county assessor
Saturday--made another list (for packing), cleaned house, practice packing light.
Hopefully I am remembering everything.
I don't know how to feel --This is the best thing to ever happen to me and I am so happy it's unreal. It also feels like the scariest thing. It also feels peaceful, like this is where I am supposed to be--this is my life. And I almost to mention--I find myself thanking God very often these days.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Airline tickets are purchased--with a little anxiety in there.
I had received an itinerary from the agent with a quote but had to have that approved by my agency staff from Russia. It took a day to get the approval and then when I told him to go ahead and book it, it priced out $800.00 higher than the first time. Luckily the agent worked on it for a while and got it for the original price which is still pretty high but more what I expected. Big sigh.
Called my bank and they are gathering "new condition" money--should be able to pick that up tomorrow.
Now I got to work on organizing my personal things--paperwork and bills, etc.
I just gotta keep ticking things off the list.
Of course, I put together the little bag of toys and books to take for my daughter right away so the most important thing is ready. :-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

checking things off my list

I had a great weekend away with friends and had a little time to absorb all this good news--it still seems unreal.
We were in Northern Wisconsin and got quite a bit of snow. I think the weather is just preparing me for what I will find in Siberia.
You would think that after 2 years of waiting I would be ready to just pick up my suitcase and leave but not so. I should have been more prepared. Now I have a big checklist of things to do.
Today I got the money order and sent the VISA application overnight by Fed-Ex, got my money transferred, called the travel clinic and got prescriptions for a broad spectum antibiotic, something for sleep, and something for motion sickness--just in case, and got plans made for time off work. Feels good to have that done.
Still working on finalizing my airline tickets. So far 4 flights each way--it seems quite gruelling but anything is worth it just so I am there on time.
I got a new list for tomorrow--will just work on it one day at a time and before I know it, my travel day will be here.
One quick question for all you experienced AP's out there---
I don't own a laptop so do you have any good ideas for communication back to home?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Travel Dates

OMG--I have to be in Russia on Oct. 27th!!!!!!!!! I have only known about this for 3 days and I never dreamed it would happen this fast once I heard. I have so much to do and get figured out. Wowzer--I better get going.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My premature purchase is SO worth it!!!!!!

It finally happened--
My adoption agency called yesterday with my REFERRAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES--that is right, I now have a little girl that I will be going to meet in person.
I can't officially share any info right now so the picture, name, age, and all will have to wait.
I am walking on air but trying to act normal since I don't want to share it at work until I have more details .
It is so exciting and scary all at the same time.

Most likely it wil be a month or two before I can go meet her on my first trip which will be about a week long.
Then I will have to come home and wait for the Russian courts to process her adoption--could be 2-4 months after the first trip. Then I return for about a month before I can finally bring her home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It will probably 4-6 months before she is home.
Wish I could share more but all I can tell you is that she is so cute.....I can't wait.

Long term I am overwhelmed at the thought of being her mother and meeting all her needs but my short term fear is coming up with all the money I need--it has gotten to be so much but some how it will work out--whatever it takes it is so worth it.

It is just so surreal. I am going to be a Mom--I will have a daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I now refer to my diaper bag as my lucky bag.