Saturday, June 30, 2007

By this time next week we will be home

This morning was rough. Really rough emotionally. Having Jones here really brought up many feelings I felt when Mollie first got here. It is difficult to have a child that is yours but doesn't feel like it yet, speaks another language, and is already almost 5! I can't explain it. It was just hard plus I wasn't feeling well and he wasn't really listening. He had a time out this morning which was almost impossible to explain.

I have to say though that this afternoon and evening was completely different. He is changing every hour. He is starting to listen and feel comfortable. I think he see Joey more as a playmate and me as a caregiver but he is starting to get it. We are already Momma and Papa. He did call Mollie Mollie today also! He doesn't yet know his name is Jones though. We bought him these tiny hot wheels and this thing that shoots them out and we bought batteries this afternoon at the grocery store and he loves it! Problem is it is sooooooooo loud-like louder than a vacuum! And he likes to keep it running! We did let him pick out a few treats at the grocery store. He chose chips, a yogurt drink, and and ice cream thingy-not to have all today of course!!! He is a pretty good kid and finally started attempting a little english today under his breath like chicken, out, up. Tonight before bed he wanted us to go through the family picture book and pictures of home. He is memorizing who everyone is. Can't remember all the first names yet but knows the titles in Russian. Dyedooshka- Grandpa, Babooshka- Grandma, Momma, Papa, Dye dye- uncle, Tye tye-Aunt, and Coozena- Cousin. Very sweet.

Mollie just kind of goes with the flow now. She is just really suffering with teething, a cold, and now a bit of a rash so she isn't always a happy camper lately. She is sleeping and eating good though. She has been busy observing her brother and messing up his stuff! Ha! That's what little sisters are for. He is learning how to deal with it appropriately.

And Joey and I , well we just can't wait to come home. By this time next week we will be! Praise God! We cannot wait to be near family and friends. For those of you still praying, please pray that the transition to Moscow and then home goes smoothly. I feel bad for the kids that they have to try to figure out "home" two more times. Jones is excited for the airplane but I don't think he realizes we have to take 3 and over 15 hours of flying! Pray for the plane ride. We are going to need it! We are actually kind of excited for Moscow. Lots to do there. We leave Kaliningrad on Wednesday at 6pm. Tomorrow another American couple is flying in for their first trip and we are supposed to get together. That should be nice.

Well we miss you all. Can't blog quite as long any more but appreciate your loyalty and committment to us in staying in touch. We feel so completely blessed.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Gotcha Day

Joey hates that term but what else do you say? That is what it is called in the world of adoption. The children are both officially ours. The 10 day waiting period is over. I wish that meant we didn't have to WAIT anymore to leave! We signed off papers at Mollie's orphanage this morning. Today is the 29th exactly 9 months from the day God placed this in our hearts. He is amazing with timing huh? Then we got back in the car and the clock said 11:11. I quoted Bruce Almighty( one of the only movies we brought) in saying "Now, you're just showing off." If you are wondering the signifigance you can check back to one of our beginning blogs. It is a long story but it has to do with prayer for our family. So everything is signed, sealed, and soon to be delivered!

Joey went with Tatiana to go to the grocery store, buy our plane tickets to Moscow, and pick up Jones who at the moment is still Vadim. That will be a tricky transition. He is doing well. He went potty, ate dinner, took a bath, watched a movie, and went to sleep- all no problems. He tests us here and there but we stick to it. The language is very difficult and had me almost immediately questioning what am I doing? Not that it has anything to do with him but just the whole situation. I just have to continue to look back to God's direction and how clear it was to me on September 29th and follow through. Some of the feelings I had when we first brought Mollie home are here again but because I have been through it with her I know that they will fade and I know that genuine love and bonding will grow day by day. He wanted to sleep in his own room (such a big boy! good though because he has his own room at home) and so he is in the living room on a pull out bed, fast asleep. He did not come out one time! Amazing!

Well, I need to get some sleep while I can! 8 days and we are home! Praise the Lord! Oh, I wanted to say, Tatiana was a huge help today. :)

Home sweet NO

Ready to go

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Single Digits Baby

Oh yeah! It's my birthday! Go Erin it's your birthday! Not really but there is a celebration going on here! 9 days left until we are HOME!!!!!! Also today we actually WENT SHOPPING! And tomorrow we get our SON!!! We couldn't be more excited! Joey still has his cold but we have no medicine so he is living through it! His head and chest hurt a lot. We are going to try to get some aspirin tomorrow because all they have given us is teas like thera flu type that aren't working. And Mollie definately has a cold so keep praying if you can.

Today went by quick because at 3:30 we were able to go to a mall! They don't call them malls, it is a super market to them and it does have a grocery section. Our driver Sacha is so great. We bought him a gift at the adidas store. Not too many stores we were really interested. Pretty different from home but we did get Jones a bunch of Russian DVD's like Cars, Toy Story, Bugs Life, etc.. sooooo cheap! They are dubbed over. The Cars one has only Russian and we brought our English Cars movie so that should be good for him. The rest are dubbed over so you can hear the english behind it, kind of annoying but I don't think he will care. These will be good for the plane and good until he gets to know english which I hear shouldn't take long. He will probably be catching on in 4-6 weeks. It is going to be a couple challenging months. We also bought Mollie some long pants and sleeves pajamas because it has been so cold. The looked too big for her but was only a 9 months so we bought them. Well, they are too short so we had to cut the feet out. Oh, well she can wear socks and her legs and arms will be warm. It came with a cute little cap too. She did pretty good shopping though. We were so happy. Although she was seriously not happy at Adidas. Probably because we were taking too long to pick out stuff. She is a little scared of the car when we first get in and cries really loud. Hope she does okay with the plane. We also bought gifts for Tatiana and the Director of Jones' Orphanage. This is how it works in Russian culture.

Not long now and are family will be complete(for now!) We are excited to have both kids here and together. These next few days will be challenging with the language barrier and building trust and security in Jones. Pray for us if you get a chance that the bond is quick and he is interested in english. Thank you so much. I think he is looking forward to us picking him up. Just 6 days left here and then off to Moscow.

Well, that is pretty much it for today. Mollie is quite a funny girl with tons of personality and we are really becoming a family. Love you all. Talk to you tomorrow! I will try to post more pics!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Your prayers rock

Thank you so much for your prayers! Joey is better! He is just struggling with the cold now. Mollie may be coming down with a cold now too which would not be good so go ahead and lift up some more of those rockin' prayers!!! They are heaven quakin' makes the Devil shakin'! Whatever. I am crazy.

Today went pretty well. We went to the grocery store, woo! It's so exciting I know. It wasn't even the big good one, it is our little one down the street the size of plaid pantry. We didn't get out much because all of a sudden it is soooo cold and windy. Too cold for Mollie I think. Well it took forever to get her to sleep last night and I had to get up twice in the night and move her back to her bed because I found her in the hallway! So Joey feeling so much better got up with her and fed her and let me sleep in!!! How awesome is that! He just loves her so much and is such a good Dad. He thinks she is hilarious! Boy she loves to defy her momma though. I thought "Oh, no, not this kind of mother daughter relationship! Not in my house!" but then she always wants me for everything.I don't understand. We are working it out her and me. We are starting to really develop a great bond together.

Okay, so keep your prayers coming! Tomorrow we have our 3rd opportunity to go to the mall! We have a ride. The other two we couldn't do because I was sick and then Joey so I am hoping this one takes! We just want to get the kids some stuff and want to do it before Jones comes on Friday. We are getting so excited to bring him here. Then Sunday we might meet with Bob and Lesa who I mentioned yesterday and Monday go to the zoo. Tuesday prepare to leave and Wednesday get the heck out of here!

That is pretty much the excitement for the day. Here is a list of the things Mollie has progressed and understands: lay down, time to go to sleep, bedtime, bathtime, eat, more, bite, Blue's Clues, Daddy, Mollie, no no, and she learned how to kiss! Amazing huh? Not bad for 10 days! I think we had a record tonight folks! She was down by 9:15. Wow!

Alright, well hope you are all doing well today and love your emails. Keep 'em coming! We are in the home stretch now. 10 days!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today well, you know.

Thank you for your prayers! I think they are working! He is feeling better. His cold is still very bad but he is not quite as dizzy and vomity. Let's hope it stays that way. He can atleast talk to me now. In the car his hands and mouth went numb and he could barely come up the stairs and he was so pale it scared me but he is looking much better now and moving around good. Well Tatiana visited with another tea medicine (they don't have pills for this kind of sickness.) He couldn't take that either. He is going to take nyquil before bed. That is the last medicine I have for him. Of course he is not tired now though cause he slept all day. Tatiana and I had a nice talk and I was able to tell her all the progress Mollie had made.

Mollie has been whiny and kind of freaked out in the car a little. She cries loud! We are still figuring out her favorite comfort techniques so it makes me a little nervous to be out but Joey was sick anyway so no shopping for us. That was crappy but hopefully we will have another opportunity soon. Looks like we won't be picking Jones up until Friday. That is the legal day he is ours anyway so maybe that's for the best as long as he is okay. Tatiana just didn't think it was a good idea to get him tomorrow with Joey being sick.

There is another family here that we have not had the chance to meet. We would like to but they leave on Friday already and they are not staying near us and it is just not working out however there is yet another family on their way. My AAI consultant told me they had some questions. I emailed them. I hope we can meet up. They will be here Sunday. It was nice to meet them- Hi Bob & Lesa!

Mollie was very hard to get to bed tonight. I was with her for an hour, then Joey a 1/2 hour then I tried some techniques for 15 minutes and then Joey took the last 15 and she finally fell asleep. Wow, that was rough. She will probably sleep in now and we will need the sleep but I wonder if I should let her? Maybe just a shorter nap tomorrow. She is so well adjusted to us already I think that it is hard to remember she is still adjusting. So we are still finding out where the line is with comforting or encouraging behavior issues and when to say "No no" and such. She is already a member of the family. The bonding is going well. Some resistance here and there from her. She is quite a stinker! But we sure love her and can't wait to show her off!

Keep praying if you have the time. We appreciate each and every one.

An immediate call for prayer

Joey is very sick. I have never seen him this sick and I am very worried. We could not go shopping today. We left and drove and he was trying not to throw up the whole time and was very pale. We had to call Tatiana and tell her to tell the driver to turn around. Joey barely made it up the stairs. He has been puking since we got back. He is trying to sleep. Please pray. WE NEED his immediate healing! I don't think we are going to be able to bring Jones home tomorrow. This has me so full of fear and hard to focus on Mollie but I am trusting in the Lord's healing and I know this is simply an attack from Satan to shake us. Please pray with me. We would really appreciate it. He just threw up a bunch and he says he feels a little better. He does not want to see a doctor. He said he feels okay except the dizziness and puking.

Food in Russia

I don't think I have yet talked about the food in Russia. It is very different then home. I think we are finally getting a grip on what is what but it sure took a long time. There are not a lot of ethnics foods here although Tatiana did say they have a Japanese restaurant she likes a lot. I miss the melting pot of America. In fact I would like to go to The Melting Pot fondue restaurant when I get back. I haven't been there yet and it sounds so good.

Everything grocery shopping is different. Tatiana had to find stuff for us because it is packaged all different. For example: milk comes in a plastic bag, cream comes in a sour cream like package, cottage cheese comes squished together without the liquid in a little round plastic package. Crackers are thick and hard. We look for labels for familiar brands and those things are usually not disappointing such as M 'n' M's, sprite, potato chips, ketchup- you know all the stuff that is good for you. However coca cola lite which looks like diet coke and you expect to be diet coke is not, it is much sweeter and tastes flat to me. I cannot wait to have a REAL diet coke when I get back.

They also drink coffee or tea after every meal and even the kids drink tea with their cookies as an evening snack. The coffee is too strong. I miss starbucks! We have to drink bottled water because the water is not good for us. The yogurt is very creamy and so is the ice cream, it is not cold or hard enough. They do have these yummy bars we found though. There are all kinds and they are in the freezer department. They taste like chocolate covered cheesecake squares to us (that is the texture) but they are actually made from yogurt. The other night we made pasta with chicken. We bought a red sauce with peppers. It was so sweet. It was like pasta with ketchup! Yuck so we bought a different sauce that looked spicy like salsa and mixed it. Better.

The restaurants are decent, the ones we have been able to visit but the food is usually much more bland than you would expect. If it is seasoned it is usually with dill. They don't eat a lot of chicken here but we always strive to find it on the menu. Today we are supposed to go shopping and there is a Sbarro. I hope we get to eat there. It is the only American place in town. Sometimes we order pizza from a place over here. It is a treat but tastes very different from any of our pizzas that we know.

Anyway, we have figured out what we can survive on for the next 11 days so we will be okay. We ate our last packet of top ramen that we brought from home today. Oh, they do have good sausages. We mixed that in. Like Salami types- tons of selections and tons of white cheeses- no cheddar!

When we get to Moscow there is a Hard Rock Cafe and a McDonalds and all the adoptive familes are so excited to go have an American meal. WE are no exception! And we can't wait to arrive in America and have a REAL American meal!

Just us Girls

Cutie Pie

Monday, June 25, 2007

quick note

Sorry. I have to be super quick today. Today was super boring but I love my daughter more and more and that is good. Joey is super sick. Please pray for him. He came down with a cold/flu really bad. We don't want to catch it and we really want him healthy. He is miserable. I am praying and claiming immediate healing! Tonight was great. Lots of wonderful emails. Thanks girls! And calls from Mom and Britt. Thank you!!! We are closer to coming home so that makes me happy. I love you all. Will write more tomorrow. We HAVE to get to bed. Joey already took his nyquil and I don't like to go to bed alone. I can hardly sleep here as it is! Talk to you all tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I am buying my daughter a HELMET!!!

Mollie is a crazy little girl! She throws her head around sometimes without caution or jumps of things that are dangerous! I am constantly trying to catch her flailing head! So today I said- "Joey I am going to make her wear a helmet! She worries me! She is going to cause herself brain damage!" He said "No, it will only encourage her." Ha! Well, then she fell off the bed and bonked her head. It sounded horrible! But I think it scared her more than it hurt. The bed is only about 9" off the ground. She did scratch her nose and lip though. Oh, pray that she is more careful with her precious little head.

She is also a very funny girl. I think she feels more and more safe and comfortable everyday. Today was probably the best the connection has been so far. She was just singing, laughing, and talking all day until the fussiness started at night which I think is related to the teething. One funny very tricky little thing that happened was we were pretending to stir food in a bowl and eat it. We were feeding each other then she kept trying to feed me and then would get mad at me and run away crying/whining or throw herself down. This happened about 5 or 6 times and I tried all different ways- opening my mouth, taking the spoon, keeping my mouth closed, etc. I said " I don't know what I am doing wrong!!!" Joey said "Are you kidding me? She is tricking you!" as he laughed at me hysterically. She was whining because I would try to cheer her up by tickling her which she loves. So there she was over in the corner whining with a grin on her face. I had to giggle a little but realized we won't be encouraging that game, that's for sure! We took a short walk today and she took a good nap. Joey put her to sleep for me tonight which was nice. She rocks herself but it takes a good hour and it is heart breaking for me to watch her. I wasn't sure if she would let him but she did after a little crying. They are bonding closer and closer too. Joey is so great with her. He adores her.

Joey's Dad called today, they are on their way to the beach to celebrate their anniversary. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad Waller! Guess what we are getting you this year? Two grandchildren! My parents are on their way to Vegas with Brandon for convention. It is so hot there right now! I love family vacation but do not envy the heat! My Aunt & Uncle and cousin (s?) will be there too. I went one year and it was so much fun. I miss being with you guys! My sis should be calling me tonight which is your morning. I am looking forward to that!

Oh,I forgot to tell you something funny. When we first arrived in this apartment our bedding was folded on the bed. We pulled it out and had no idea what to do with it so we just kind of made it up. There was a big fuzzy blanket laid out on the bed and we left it there. So there were about 4 duvet covers, 2 of them pure white. THey do not open like ours at home. THey just have a diamond cut out of the middle of one side. We were like "How do we do this?" So we just fished around in there until we matched up corners with the blankets. The blankets are terry cloth like queen size towels! So weird! For those of you that are familiar with this European way, please excuse our being naive. So we used one as a bottom sheet, two for blankets, and the fourth we laid down for Mollie. And the bath towels here are the size of hand towels at home! Cracks me up. It was not that way in the hotel though.

I just want to thank everyone again for all your emails and our families calls. It is really amazing and so many of my relationships are growing simply by emailing everyday. It is amazing how God works. I see such a bigger picture. It keeps me going. This has been such a difficult thing, the emotions of adoption are sometimes overwhelming and unexpected. It has been wonderful to not travel this road alone. Today is our half way point- day 13. Just 13 to go. Woo Hoo! We are closer to coming home now. Thank goodness! If you are praying, our current prayer requests are: emotions, homesickness, bonding with the kids, picking up Jones on Wednesday and finding things to do. If you would like us to pray for anything, just email us at We would love to do that.

Just a quick note: we are having problems posting pictures on our blog so unfortunately we may have to wait and show you when we get home. Sorry.
We love you. Goodnight from the Waller family.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

She likes it!

I didn't know what to title today so I thought "she likes it" because Mollie seems to like everything we feed her. Today we tried a baby food with salmon in it (yuck! Joey and I hate seafood but we are working on it because we want our kids to enjoy it) and she really liked it. I am so glad. Starting throwing a fit near the end. She turns her head practically around backward and rubs her face on the back of the stroller. It is soooo hard for me to keep my patience when she does that. She is also very independant. At the orphanage she was learning to feed herself with a spoon so we hold the spoon together and it goes pretty good except sometimes she just trys to get it away and flip it upside down (and boy does she have upper body strength! I think it is from all that rocking at night.) Today she flung salmon across the room. I had to let Joey take over. Just being honest. I didn't want to be angry but it was a long day and I was just done. I didn't do anything just wasn't smiling and felt angry in my heart. I went a prayed for God to give me more strength and compassion and patience. It worked.

Joey has turned my baby carrying sling (which unfortunately too big) into a swing and she just loves it! She just laughs and giggles the whole time. Their relationship is still growing everyday and actually mine is with her as well. We went on a short walk and that was nice to get out. We are going on a long one tomorrow. We are going to try to make it to an actual shoppable store! So overall today was good. Just playing and laughing and whining. She is teething like crazy so I have had to keep up on the tylenol but we are going to try to find some numbing medicine for her. She is chewing on everything! We froze her teether. She kind of likes it but not for long. She also keeps her fingers in her mouth all the time.

Well, Joey and I are going to try to have a date night in before bed. We are watching Bruce Almighty again and having ice cream!

Friday, June 22, 2007

A visit with Jones

FIrst of all, let me say- Your emails are keeping me alive! Thank you for being such a blessing! Everyone has been so loyal. We had a wonderful day yesterday. Mollie is changing so much, she is feeling safe and happy and I even caught her singing today. SHe is a little goof ball anyway. She had a very rough night. She woke up when we went to bed and it took 4 hours for any of us to get to sleep. I cannot hold her and comfort her. It is hard. She has to rock side to side rapidly with her fingers in her mouth and her other hand in her hair. It is her way of falling asleep. I kept crying out to God for mercy on her and us! But I guess His answer was for us to stick it out. We did and today wasn't quite as bad as I thought despite the lack of sleep. It just breaks my heart how laborious it is for her to go to sleep though. Tonight is Friday night and tomorrow Saturday so please pray that the neighborhood noise stays at an even level. It can be very loud on weekends and the party never starts until midnight! The sun doesn't go down here until after 11 either.

Well, emotionally my days are pretty good. Joey is such a strength to me. He has stepped in when I just can't take it. She is so attached to me and it makes it hard for me to even go potty so she is kind of forced to let Joey comfort her and they have started to play and she lets him feed her now. My nights are a little rough with homesickness but we have been trying to watch parts of our American movies just before bed to help us feel at home. Plus Mom and Britt and Dad have been calling. I actually talked to Livi tonight! Woo Hoo! I felt better. I think she understands I love her. THey are going on their own vacation soon anyway. I talked to Jack too! That felt great.

Joey visited Jones today and it was good but a little awkward. There was not an interpreter and Joey thought they were going to a store to bring apples but that didn't happen either so he showed up empty handed with no communication. Oops. We thought he would observe the camp but instead they were in a tiny room just the two of them. Jones searched Joey for toys. Came up empty handed so they played with what was there. Joey called Tatiana to explain to him that we would pick him up Wednesday. He wanted nothing to do with the phone so the driver came in and explained it. He is fine with it. He is really happy right now at camp. It is better for him. We will pick him up Wed and still have a week before going to Moscow.

Joey went to the grocery store but we did not all go out shopping because of our rough night and I wasn't feeling well. The day was pretty decent though. She is such a funny character! And she eats everything we give her! Yeah! She also has three new teeth coming in and her walking is getting so much stronger. She is changins so much.

Well, we are going to catch some shut eye while we can. If you are reading this, send us a back dated prayer or actually with the time change, um........ well, anyway, that she doesn't wake up when we move her this time! Ha! For all our sakes!

Lastly- Happy 33rd anniversary MOM & DAD! You are the greatest parents ever! THank you for leading by such a great example of what it means to stick it together through thick and thin, rich and poor, and all that good stuff. Love you more than you know and admire you and am thankful for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Better Day

Thank you everyone for your email support. And my family for calling. I have to admit last night was bad, bad, bad for me. I took a shower and thanked the LOrd for everyone and everything, took a tylenol PM and went to bed. Today was much better emotionally and also with Mollie. We had a good day and it went by pretty fast. She is finally letting Joey feed her and comfort her sometimes. I just really have to stay back so that she doesn't have a choice but to let him. I think it's working. I would say their relationship grew in leaps and bounds. Smooth day all together. She is eating more which is good and sleeping more regular. Still moves around so much at night though. She rocked herself all the way to the bedroom door where I found her this morning. I really am going to try the suitcase tonight. Mom, & Britt called today and that was nice. I talked to Livi which was great just trying not to cry. The night is coming and that is always hard for me and my mind runs free. I am trying to keep it focused. I just wish Livi was old enough to understand. Last night I called Mom on my $6 a minute cell just so desperately needed to hear their voices. Dad called me and prayed with me. THanks Mom and Dad. I really needed you.

Tomorrow Joey is going to Jones' camp to visit and take snacks and talk to him about everything. WE are not going to bring him here until Wednesday for his sake. He wouldn't like it for that long. The 7 days he will be here is actually stretching it. We will see how the visit goes.

Thanks again everyone. I will write more tomorrow. I really need this evening with Joey. Oh, by the way, Mollie loves to be tickled. Keep emailing. Love you all.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Mollie had a rough morning crying a lot not wanting to leave my side but after her nap she was as happy as could be so she must have just been really tired. My emotions are crazy today. I miss my neice Livi. I can't even sing my new daughter songs because I just start crying thinking of Livi. And actually I really miss everything today and I do not know how I am going to make it through this time. I am crying out to Jesus. I know this will all be so joyful and rewarding for Joey & I and these two deserving kids when this is all over but right now I feel like just packing and going home. It really has nothing to do with the kids but everything to do with being in another country and being away from those you love. I don't know what to say. I don't really have anything else to say. My heart is breaking. Sorry.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A day of Oops.

Well, today started off really well. Mollie didn't wake up until about 8! Oops! That is about an hour later than her schedule. We all needed it though. We fed her breakfast which consisted of cottage cheese (which here is like our cottage cheese squeezed as hard as you can without liquid in a little package the shape of a cheese ball) mixed with cream and sugar. Eewww. She loved it. Except... we accidentally mixed it with yogurt. The plain yogurt is in a plastic bag container that is a drink. The cream is actually in a little sour cream like container. Oops again! Oh, well she liked it. I gave her some bites of bananna also. My Aunt Lisa called shortly after and that was a treat! It was so good to talk to her. Sorry I had to go so quick Aunt Lisa. Then we played and played and played and played until snack time at 10 and again until lunch at 12. She had the rest of her dinner last night. Then we all layed down for a nap. It took awhile for her to fall asleep. She slept for about an hour (her naps are supposed to be 2 1/2 hours) and woke up as we tried to sneak out of the bed. Oops again. Oh,well there was no way she was going back to sleep. We took a short walk around the neighborhood and picked up some more bottled water at the store. We came back and gave her a little more freedom roaming the apartment with a toy she found here. We were testing to see how it went. I checked my email really quick and Joey played his Nintendo DS. She did really good and seemed to be enjoying her independance.

At 7pm it was dinner time. Wow, we are back on schedule. We fed her baby cereal. Near the end of her meal she just looked up at Joey and started to cry. It kind of freaked us out. We didn't know if she was hurting or was scared of Joey for a second or was done and didn't know how to tell us or what! Then I thought maybe the cereal reminded her of the orphanage and she was realizing that she wasn't there. We still don't know but it made me sad. She was pretty fussy the rest of the night. I think the short nap didn't help. We tried to keep her happy playing but she just kept getting upset. There were moments of fun for her but she just wasn't happy. I gave her a bath which I think she liked and then put her to bed. Joey came in also and we layed there an hour until she fell asleep. She was so tired. I was surprised it took her so long to conk out. I played a lullabye CD and I think it helped drown out the passing traffic. It is also very hard because it is light out until about 11pm or shortly after. She had a difficult time and kept wanting to get up but she is sleeping peacefully now. This morning when I woke up she had moved from a makeshift bed we prepared for her all the way across the room on the floor, no blankets, nothing, passed out near our bed. Crazy kid. She moves so much during the night and she hates blankets but I keep putting them on her anyway. Tonight we changed her makeshift bed and put it in one of the big suitcases. I am not sure what else to do. We will move her from our bed into it soon when we go to bed. It is stacked up with pillows and looks pretty cozy but should atleast contain her rolling. We will see.

Tomorrow we are going to try to walk very far again. This time we are going to try to make it to another cafe and a toy store. We will see if we can do it. It is pretty hard on these broken roads with an umbrella stroller plus we have to time it with her schedule. It might be about 5 miles round trip. Not sure if it will work but we are giving it a whirl, nothing better to do and she likes the walks.

We are ready to get Jones and come home. It is hard to hang out here so long. We have to be so creative with play and meals and we just feel a bit trapped. The days are tick tocking so slowly. 15 more days in Kalingrad and then 3 in Moscow. uugh. We miss all of you back home so much. Thank you for writing and calling. It is the best thing to hear from you. The highlight of our day. We hope to have a better day tomorrow not that this one was bad but we just hope our little girl is happy.

Monday, June 18, 2007


We are Parents!!!

Well today went perfect! We woke up on time, got ready and time, and made it to court on time. The courtroom was a small room with a chair for the judge and chairs for the social worker, orphanage directors, and the prosecuter. There was a podium for Joey and I. The judge had purple/black hair. She was really really nice. Joey answered all the questions perfect and then they asked me just as many! But I think I did okay. Then the social worker and orphanage directors spoke on our behalf and then the decisions was made- we are legally the adoptive parents of Masha & Vadim, now names Mollie & Jones! The judge held my hand afterward and said "now you are a momma." I felt like she could really feel my heart.

We then took a break and went to the grocery store and bought more minutes for our phone so I could keep up with the internet. Then at 3pm Tatiana picked us up to go get Mollie! We met with the director for a minute and gave her a gift and the gifts for the caregivers & physician (this is a custom in Russia.) After that we went into the baby home and there was Masha. We caught her during snack time but she got right up and started walking to me very excited. That was soooooo precious. We changed her clothes and returned the clothes she had on to the orphanage. It is so exciting to see her in normal clothes! They gave us back our family/home picture album we had left with her the first time and we got in the care and left. Weird. It was an odd feeling. I guess we are not really even supposed to have her until after the 10 days but they let us. We signed a written document that said we are taking responsibility for her.

They don't wear seatbelts or use car seats here so we just had her loose in the back. It felt very wrong! She was very active but having a blast! We got back to the apartment and let her walk around and familiarize herself with the rooms. Then we got out all her toys and we played until about 7pm. Then we fed her 1/2 a larger jar of baby food. It was chicken, peas, carrots, and noodles. She really liked it. She got one baby cookie for dessert and some water. I bought a non-spill straw sippy cup she loves but can't figure out and a bottle just in case. SHe just kept pushing and biting the bottle and got water everywhere but loved it! She has been kind of attached to me but very friendly with Joey also. After dinner I gave her a bath. I was nervous because in her age group at the orphanage they are showered down and it is not a pleasant time. I went to draw her a bath while she was finishing dinner with Joey so that it would not be running and scare her and would also be the right temperature. She was nervous at first but I showed her toys and she got over it and seemed to enjoy it. She kept touching the water in amazement. We cleaned her up and brushed her 4 teeth and put her cute striped PJ's on that Auntie Britty bought her. She looks so cute. Then we layed down with her on the bed since we don't have a crib. The orphanage told us the kids go to bed at 8;30 but Mollie stays up until 9:30. THey said she just plays quietly in her crib. We layed down at 8:10 and she did stay awake quietly until 9:30- no fussing though! She kind of rocked herself laying down side to side (the only sign of institutionalism I can really see besides her size) and that was odd but it was obviously the way she puts herself to sleep. Now she is out like a light. I told you- it was perfect. Joey and I are going to head to bed here soon also. I think we will transfer her to the cozy carpet where I have prepared a bed for her. Joey and I had pizza for dinner to make it easy but for lunch Joey made yummy chicken and vegetables. I think we will be eating that a lot!

That is it for now. I will try to post a couple pics. Keep us in your prayers. Now it is just a waiting game until July 7th. Love you all. Thank you Mom & Dad, Bran, Jam, Alex, Britt, Jer, Livi, & Jack for calling and praying this morning my time. It meant alot! And thanks for the call tonight Britt! You guys rock! And thank you everyone who wrote comforting emails last night and this morning. I really needed it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thank You Jesus.

I am so very thankful to Jesus to placing this dream and faith in our hearts. I am so very thankful that he has brought friends in our lives that love us and given us a family that I wouldn't trade for anything. I know he has our best interests at heart. He knows the future of Joey, myself, Jones, & Mollie. I do not doubt for a second that there will many challenges along the way but that are lives are going to be filled with such joy, and love, and it is my prayer that we will continually be used by Him. I am thankful through the pain and uncomfortableness of this place and of this night.

I can't sleep. I am feeling alone. I am missing home sooooooooo much. I have to get up in 6 hours for court and I assuming that is why I cannot sleep. I don't feel nervous about it but I bet somewhere inside I am. I think I am more nervous about the family part. I have grown to love these children because they are sweet children in need of a home and I feel that they are God's blessing in our lives. But I wonder how will I love them enough? I don't doubt that I have it in me but it is very hard to imagine right now and that sort of scares me. I love my friend's children deeply, I have loved the children I have nannied. And the love I have for Jack & Livi is so deep that I would just die without it. I want to love my kids THAT much. In my mind and my faith I know I will. They are completely loveable and deserving of it. It is just hard to wrap my mind around and here I go tomorrow signing responsibility for their life. It is scary. I think it is much harder because I am in this place and it is just Joey and I. We rest in the Lord's hands. Near Him is the safest place. I just wish I could go home tonight. I miss my house, my bed, my bathroom, my kitchen, my family, my friends, my church, my grocery store, etc... When I am here it is hard to imagine life at home. Sometimes you forget that you have it, you know? I am just extremely home sick tonight and I need to sleep but can't.

Thank you for walking this road with me and encouraging me. You are all priceless. I hope you don't mind me sharing my honesty. Join with me in prayer if you get the chance. I hope you are having a great day. I am wishing I was where it is 4:30pm.

And Jesus, I love you and I do indeed trust you. Please bring me through this and please help me sleep. Give me your love that I could love my children the way you do. Thank you for my family and friends. I am truly truly thankful & blessed.

Hum Drum

Today was sort of a hum drum day. We didn't do much of anything. We took this last chance opportunity to relax. We played flip words on the computer, studied for court, and watched a movie. We are just getting ready for bed now. We have to get up early for court. Tomorrow is definately a prayer needing day. Pray for court and also for our family as we pick up Mollie. This will be a transition time for the three of us and then we will pick up Jones later in the week. Please pray that the judge is merciful and kind. Pray that Joey is able to remember all he has to say. I am not really allowed to say anything except "I agree with everything my husband has said" and then a little part at the end if I want. I am not too nervous but I know as the hours go on I most likely will be. Okay, well that's it for now. I love all the calls and emails, keep them coming! Love ya. More excitement tomorrow.

P.S. Last night was super loud starting at 3am with loud music and a car alarm that went off aprox 30 times before the owner finally drove away. Annoying!!!!!!!!! So I ended up sleeping in until 11!!! It is one thing for me but when we have kids... well...pray that it doesn't happen again.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day!!! (We can say that! It's after midnight here.)

I hope you have a happy father's day. Thanks for being fun to hang out with and always being there. I am glad we like to do a lot of the same things. Er and I love spending time with you. We love ya,

I miss you like crazy and I wish I could be there with you today. I am so glad we just were able to talk a few hours ago. I am sorry I forgot to say it then but that was too early anyway right? But now I can... Happy Father's Day! I hope you have an excellent, fun, relaxing day! Thank you for being a great Dad. You have worked so hard your whole life to provide for all us kids and gone above and beyond in so many ways especially vacations. You have never let us fall. You are always there for us. Thank you for supporting me in my life especially right now when it means the most. It would be kind of counter active to buy you a gift right now but hey how about I bring home a couple live souveniers? Sound good? I love you with all my heart and I am so proud to be called your daughter. See you in like 20 days! Uugh.
Love you more than you know,
Erin (Squirt #1)

Jones' bed at the orphanage.

Jones' bathroom at the orphanage.

Jones' playroom at the orphanage.

Jones' Paternal Grandma and Great Grandma

Dinner when we were at the hotel.

Joey studying his Russian.

Double door protection! (Actually we are told it is very safe here.)

Little blue bathroom with big blue tub


Living Room/Kids Room



Jones did not want to share his new things!

Mollie Masha

Watch out for bombs!

Last night we went to bed around 10 and then all of a sudden there was loud booming outside. I said “Do you think it is fireworks?” Joey said “I don’t know” and went back to sleep. I got up and looked out the window and watched them for awhile. They did it in two faces. I made Joey get up and watch for a second and give me a quick kiss to celebrate our own early 4th of July since we won’t be home. I love the 4th of July! Oh, well, there is always next year, Lord willing. When they were over I went to bed and read for awhile and finally fell asleep around 11 or 11:30pm. Then at 2:15am I was awakened again by booming. I thought “What is going on?!” I looked outside the kitchen windows and saw the sky continually lighting up but could not see the actual strike of lightening so I started wondering if some crazy bomb testing was going on behind the trees and then my imagination raced to “What if Poland and Lithuania got into a fight and we were caught in the middle?!” Remember this was the middle of the night and I wasn’t in my right mind. The booming took place long after light and as far as I have ever learned we counted seconds to determine how far away it was. But this was not calculating because it was such a long period of time in between and yet it seemed so close. What do I know. I woke Joey up because I was a little scared being our first night here and I am still adjusting and something just didn’t feel right. He confirmed to me that it wasn’t bombs but only lighting and that I needed to go back asleep. I did. I did have terrible dreams last night though. Might have been the cookies before bed.
This morning I did not wake up until 9:30! That is pretty late since we have been getting up much earlier. I had a usual pop tart for breakfast ( almost running out, not sure what I will do since the milk here is way sweeter and cereal would not taste good and other breakfast foods sound disgusting right now.) I put some loungy clothes on and straightened my hair. Joey played video games. Tatiana came around 11:30 this morning to prepare us for court. She has another family arriving tomorrow for their first trip so I think she is going to be busy and we will probably not see her much for this next week. Not sure what we will do with our time. We have a list of things we want to do at least once: zoo, shopping mall, Sbarro for dinner (American- woohoo!), amber store, toy store (for the kids), and the waterfront. Hope we get to because that will break up the weeks. There will be lots to do in Moscow within walking distance. Where we are now there is a park, a small grocery store, and the lake. These things will be good to walk to but I am sure will get old after a few trips.
We finally decided to get out of the flat (that is what they call it in Europe.) We wanted to walk as far as we could walk and see what we could see so when we have the kids we know what we can do. Our goal was to make it to 12 Chairs which is a restaurant we have visited on both trips and know very well. We had an extra incentive involved as well…we were hungry! On the way we saw the park which was basically a memorial with overgrown weeds and grass and the lake which was covered with algae. We reached our goal and ended our walk at 12 Chairs. We sat down in the cave like underground restaurant (it is located under a theatre) at our usual table. They are getting used to us now and automatically bring us English menus. Today we were the only people there. It was at 4pm. Joey tried “beef Figaro” and “china city salad.” We were hoping it was an Asian chicken salad and some kind of Italian style beef. Well the salad was rice and some sort of seafood displayed nicely in a dessert style bowl (Joey at it, I would not try it!) and the beef was like chicken fried soft mushy steak with a decorative cocktail sauce on the side. This restaurant does do a great job with presentation I have to say. Last time I had the “Butterfly Chicken.” It came with chicken breasts on each side with a sauce and cheese on them as the wings and in the middle was two red pepper strips with olive halves up the center as the body and chives as antennae. I wanted to take a picture for Annie B. (I don’t even know if you like them anymore but I always think of you.) Today I had “stuffed chicken Michelle.” It wasn’t really stuffed. It had cheese on top. And I tried a coffee milkshake thingy. Um, no that cold, kind of bitter. Uugh. We always think things are going to be so good and then they are not. Oh, well. Joey and I had great conversation at lunch talking about our kids and all of you back home. We had a good time. Then we heard the thunder and thought “OH NO, we just walked as far as we could (well, maybe not that far but a long way) and now it is going to downpour because when it rains here, it RAINS! By the time we left the restaurant the rain had passed. Woo Hoo! On the way home we passed a bakery and a candy store! Yeah, at least we can walk the kids there! Somewhere! We also decided to take pictures of all the kinds of wrought iron. The Russian iron work is sooooooooooo beautiful. We are going to make a collage of pictures at home and hang it in our stairway I think. We came back and went over the court information. Then my Dad called. Yeah! We talked for a long time and that was great. I love you Dad! Then the rain came bursting from the sky again. I just had to video tape it and the thunder was soooooooo loud and the lightening so bright. The thunder set off seven car alarms in front of the building! I got it on video! And ever since then, Joey and I have been playing this addicting game on the computer that downloaded when we did the update called Flip Words. It is so fun. We are now going to watch a movie and go to bed. We are staying up late tonight because we are having fun and we don’ t have kids yet! Haha! Not for long. Oh, I almost forgot. You are going to think this is so funny. Okay so the bath tub is big and blue and there are no walls and no curtains but there is a shower thingy (you know, the kind you hold?) Well, I just cannot bring myself to sit in someone else’s tub just yet so I am standing up in this tub holding the shower thingy over my head getting water everywhere! Then Joey takes his and he sits! He looks like the old old days when (at least on TV and movies) adults sit in gigantic bath buckets! It was very funny looking. You may have had to see it to get the full hilarity of it.
So that’s it for today. We resized a bunch of pics so I will try to post them finally. Joey downloaded like 3500 pics on my computer before we left and I was so mad but now I am so grateful because I can just sit and stare at all of you whenever I want. I have been organizing them today. I love organization! Good night! Actually- you guys have a good day! Saturday is long gone for me. One more day and we will be parents.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Meeting the Grandmas

Today was a very interesting day. We started off by waking up at 6am because one of the cell phones alarms was accidentally still set and we couldn’t get back to sleep so I am pretty tired right now. It is about 8:45pm. Then we packed up our stuff and moved to the apartment. It has a small kitchen w/table, living room with door to close when kids are sleeping, hallway/entry, tiny bathroom/big blue tub, and a bedroom where Joey and I will sleep. It is definitely decent and we can cook and do laundry but of course I am having a hard time adjusting. I wish I did better with stuff like that. I just have a hard time using other people’s stuff so even though her house is really clean, I went around with wet wipes (thank you Brittany) and disinfected remotes, counters, light switches and stuff like that. I know I am kind of weird. Whatever.
We then proceeded to Jones’ orphanage to spend some time with him before he leaves for camp. The kids go to camp for 2 months. We will of course pick him up from there but the date keeps getting pushed back. We are now thinking of picking him up on Friday just to give him this last bit of fun at camp with his friends and he gets to be “by the sea” as Tatiana says it. It will also give us time to adapt to Mollie and her schedule first. I feel okay because we have been able to explain things to Jones so he knows what is coming. Mollie has no idea so she will have to live it to understand. I also don’t want Jones to feel uncomfortable if Mollie is inconsolable or something. He is very protective of her. At the orphanage he played with his friends and we brought snacks for him to share but when they started grabbing some he flipped out and chased them down trying to hit them and he was crying. I asked Tatiana to please tell him we would like him to share but she said he doesn’t have a problem sharing but he is upset because they did not ask permission. I understand. This also happened with the toys. He ran around the back of the building crying. This was my first opportunity as comforter. I went and picked him up and held him. He started to grin and then would fake cry for more. This was a test I think for him to see how I would be there so I caved into it to a point. Next…………..
SURPRISE! What? His Grandma has been visiting him ( we didn’t know this, we were told no one visited but I guess they were talking about Mollie when they told us that) and she showed up with the Great-Grandma! They were both very tearful but very kind. They expressed through Tatiana that they have mixed feelings. They are going to miss him so much but they just cannot afford to raise him and they believe he should have a father and mother. They cried, I cried, we hugged. She would like me to call a couple times a year. We don’t have to but I probably will. Jones greeted her and introduced us to her as Mama & Papa. This is a HUGE step, especially to his family! He also introduced us that way to his friends and caregivers. He also said he is going to live in a different country and he sounded proud. Wow, someone must have told him, but I am very glad. His Grandma gave me pictures of Jones growing up and guess what? The original referral picture we received of Mollie was not Mollie- it was Jones!!! No wonder it didn’t look like her! They also gave us a picture of his father. Very handsome & young. She explained that he died 3 years ago. He was very healthy but was out walking or running and something just happened with his heart and he died instantly. Let’s pray this isn’t hereditary. Anyway- so this must mean that the kids have different fathers. This also explains why Mollie has no visitors but Jones does.
We went inside the orphanage and were able to see his locker, playroom, table, bathroom, and bedroom. All very large, clean, and colorful. Very warm and inviting and looked very fun. Really nice looking. I will try to post pics. I was impressed. I am hoping he is okay with leaving it behind. After the orphanage we went to the big grocery store. We purchased about $120 worth of groceries and tried to buy similar things like home- fruits, frozen veggies, chicken, pasta sauce, ground beef, and spices. Tatiana helped us pick out some food for the kids as well. In the morning Jones usually has bread with butter and soft cheese on it (this explains the bread, butter, and soft cheese on the plane that we are never sure what to do with) and cottage cheese ( think of our cottage cheese minus the liquid and squished together) mixed with cream and sugar. Yuck. Doesn’t sound good to me but of course I am American and we are not used to that. She also had us by some cocoa puff type cereal. The milk is much sweeter though and comes in a box. For Mollie we bought baby foods and yogurt and an oatmeal type cereal that is ground up. It was an interesting but fun trip. I went upstairs to the other store section and bought a cool pair of shoes as I am in need of some comfort shoes that are not flip flops because it is colder than expected. I saw these shoes last time I was there and thought they would be fun to get and a travel hair straightener as mine would not heat up this morning. Joey and I got back and had tuna snack packs with crackers that I brought from home- not that good.
Around 3pm we went to visit Mollie. It went well. She was quiet at first because I think she had just woken up. She acted like she didn’t know who we were which is weird because we have visited 4 times over the last 2 days. She warmed up quickly and we try to distract her from the ground. She loves the little fruit puff dissolvable cereal we brought. She comes running when she hears me shake the tube full of them. Over all it was a good day. I can’t wait until court on Monday when the kids will be ours and we can start bonding with Mollie and then soon with Jones. I will really try to post pics soon. Not too many of the kids yet. It is hard to take pics when you are playing with them. I am sure all you parents have experienced that.
Keep your calls and emails coming. We love hearing from you. It is a real treat during the day and it helps keep a strong connection with home. Thank you sooooooooooooo much.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. We needed to exchange money today and we decided on about $4000 hoping that would cover most of our expenses in Kaliningrad. It was so weird, we drove up to this parking lot and these guys passed money in the car 100,000 rubles and our driver Sasha counted it. Once he said it was good we passed the $4,000 out the window and left. Felt a little drug deal shady to us. Crazy! But we have to trust Tatiana. She said everyone knows these guys and it is the best exchange rate. Something we'll remember. I felt like we were in a movie.

Testing Boundaries

Hi Everyone. We miss you soooooooo much. Britt, I haven't heard from you yet!? I talked to Livi and Mom on the phone and sang Livi a song. I miss her. Well, we are doing good. Things felt like perfection this morning. Last night I stayed up really late and organized all the suitcases. good thing too, we are moving tomorrow. This morning I was able to straighten my hair and use many other conveniences. It makes such a difference being on our SECOND trip. We learned what we needed on our first trip. We went to visit the kids this morning. We picked up Jones as usual and went to Mollie's orphanage and played outside. It was challenging. Jones wasn't really interested in the toys (we bring new ones everyday) but he liked the snacks, especially the snacks we brought for Mollie (little fruit cereal puffs.) He respected our backpack full of toys and asked with his actions if he could get inside. Joey said "Da" which means yes. He then felt more comfortable and started to play with the toys. Joey chased him around and they seemed to bond he even rested his arm on Joey on the way back. In the middle of our visit he started climbing up this structure and I would say "Nyet" meaning no and he would laugh. I did it over and over and got down on his level and looked him in the eye and said "Nyet." Joey took over after that and distracted him. Mollie wasn't too happy this morning. She seemed tired. She just wanted to crawl on the grass which she is not allowed to do especially with shorts on.

For our lunch break we walked to 12 chairs which we have been to on our last trip a couple times and we enjoyed our meal, we then went to the grocery store and bought more water and some sausage for our top ramen we are having for dinner. Then we were picked up for our second visit. We picked up Jones and learned that we will have custody of him as of Monday but can choose to pick him up any day. This may seem weird but we may wait a day or two so that we can establish Mollie's schedule first and allow Jones extra time with his friends. He is going camping tomorrow so we will only see him in the morning. We will talk with his caregivers about his schedule and such. I can't wait. It was pouring rain so when we got to Mollie's orphanage we were able to go inside and play in her groups toy room which is only used about 15 minutes a day for psychologist tests, music time, and such. Wow, I was hoping they would get to play each day in there. I can't believe they have all these toys and instead they are stuck in their play pens all day. We had a great time playing and Mollie was walking everywhere on her own. We returned both kids to their group and returned to the hotel and here we are.

Earlier today Tatiana called and said they finally found an apartment but it is $2500 and 4 bedrooms. No thank you!!! We can't afford that. That is more than our mortgage! She said the only other option is her relatives apartment. They are leaving tomorrow morning for Moscow for two months. She said they didn't want to rent it out but she told them we were really young and nice. We felt weird but what choice do we have. We went and visited and I think she liked us. It has one bedroom, one kitchen/laundry, a living room, hall, and bedroom. THe kids will sleep in the living room on a pull out bed. Good news is we will have phone and internet, stove, fridge, and laundry. We move in tomorrow morning and it will be $1000 which is about what we were counting on. We hope this is the right decision. It is not in the location we wanted but it is down the street from a little grocery store and a lake. It is near Tatiana's house. She said we can call if we need anything. I will try to give my mom the phone number tomorrow.

Tonight we are just going to rest and watch a movie and make top ramen. It sounds really good. Email us when you can at Talking to all of you by email is like life to us. We love to hear about your daily lives even if it seems boring. It reminds us of home.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We made it to Russia

Well, Hello from Russia! We are here and made it on time (well, 15 minutes late) and safely! We flew from Portland to Frankfurt, Germany on Lufthansa. We left at 1:20pm home time June 11th. We arrived in Germany 8:15am on June 12th. It was a 10 hour flight. We did not have assigned seats so we were assigned the two middle seats in a four person row. We were slightly concerned for comfort reasons but it worked out fine. I sat next to a woman celebrating her 50th anniversary. Her husband, and four children. The first one who was adopted. The children are in their 40’s and none of them have children so they all saved up to go on a 2 week European cruise. Cool huh? Probably won’t see me doing that anytime soon after this or ever but it sounds like a great time. She was very nice. She took my email. They are from Portland and she is excited to see how everything turns out for us. I really enjoyed talking. I don’t usually sit next to people that want to have a conversation (like the person next to Joey) and I have to say it was a nice way to pass the time. We watched Catch and Release and Freedom Writers on the way there. We enjoyed them both. We did not sleep but I did use my neck pillow and loved it! I took one of my valium type pills before the flight. I was still nervous but not freaking out so I think it worked. I got a little scared later and took a second one. Near the end of the flight I took my third. No I was not overdosing. They are only 2mg and the directions say to take one or two every six to eight hours. I took one before each of my two following flights. That is exactly half my pills so I will save the other half for the ride home. I didn’t feel loopy or tired just less worried so that is good.
Our second flight left Germany around 10:50. The Frankfurt airport changed our gate so we had a little confusion but we did fine. We did not have to have any additional checks which is good. We sat for about an hour and a half and waited for our plane. Oh, I forgot to tell you. Joey beeped in the Portland (and Moscow) airports. I don’t know why this always happens! Kind of funny! In Portland my carry on got pulled aside. I had sealed bottles of children’s medicine. They said that was fine. And I had baby food. They said baby food is only allowed if you have a baby. Well, what can I say? I like to eat baby food on the flight? Ha! I explained and he measured and they passed through just fine. He said our kids light up timer toothbrushes were the craziest he had seen. He was really nice. He did have to take away our children’s yummy Little Einstein toothpaste though. Darn, now they have to use our spicy cinnamon. I wish I would have checked that in my suitcase. Oh, well. So not a big deal. Our flight from Germany took Moscow was pleasant as well. A slightly older plane. We were in the exit row with our little steward guy strapped in his little seat next to us during take off and landing. He kind of looked like Moby with glasses and has this cute little funny accent. Joey and I slept. I had taken a Tylenol PM because I knew this was my only chance to get a “good nights sleep.” It was a three hour flight. We woke up to eat a meal but that is all I remember. We arrived In Moscow at 3:50pm. Our flight was 3 hours. It is crazy with all the time changes. You never know how long your flight is until you look it up on your itinerary.
Upon arrival in Moscow we had to wait in Passport Control for over an hour! Very hard to be patient but we got through fine. We were greeted by a different Tatyana, Alex’s mom (Guy Alex is our contact in Moscow although we have yet to meet him on either trip.) She was very nice. She went to get her car and picked us up on the curb. It was soooooooooooo crowded! She said 5 international flights landed at the same time which is why the lines were so long and their were cars parked everywhere!!! She said she had never seen it like that. She also told us that there was a big storm in New York which caused delays in some of the arrivals to Moscow and also that passengers had to wait on a plane in NY for 5 hours and then told they couldn’t take off! Are you kidding me?! I thought we took care of that with the Jet Blue incident! Anyway, she helped us drove us to the other terminal and explained what we needed to do for check-in. It turns out we are one of the first passengers to use the brand new electronic ticket system in Russia. She left and then we waited around for a few hours until our boarding and flight taking off around 8:30. We then boarded our very old Aeroflot plane (scary but not as scary with valium!) I slept for a bit. It was a pleasant hour and half flight. I am telling you- Russian pilots know how to fly!!! They have the smoothest take-offs, flights, and landings then any flights I have taken otherwise. We arrived and the pilot was applauded by the 30 or so passengers. Each flight was older and smaller as we went along. We arrived at 9:15 or 9:30pm Kaliningrad time which is 11:30am home time. So after a total of 24 ½ hours of airports and airplanes, we have touched down for the next 20 days. Finally.
We were picked up by Tatiana (the one we know) and Sasha (Alexander) but not Alexander her father, he is on vacation. Sasha is a young guy and drives a nice Mercedes. He is our driver for this trip. The drove us to the hotel and helped us with our luggage. She told us she would pick us up at 10am to go see the children. We know the drill. No problem. Okay so we went into our room and both of us all of a sudden could not see our little black suitcase that we had carried on! The one that got pulled over in Portland. With the medicine, emergency clothes, some snacks and toys, and…………laptop!!! We freaked out for a second and then prayed. We did not remember loading it in the car. We immediately called Tatiana and she called the airport. They had it!!! Praise God!!! She said Sasha would pick us up at 8:30 am to go pick it up but it would cost extra.( It ended up being $50-soooooooooo worth it, we just gave him 1500rubles which is aprox $60.) We went there this morning not knowing if it would really be there or not and it was! Then they asked for our passports. “Oh no!” The hotel front desk had them because we had to turn them in so they can do our registration which is required by the government. Luckily the woman accepted Sasha’s passport and we were returned our suitcase which still included all of belongings including the laptop! Praise God again! Then we picked up Tatiana and went to Jones’ orphanage. They said he was at the hospital having a hole in his tooth treated. Actually he had four teeth treated. I am assuming it is his 4 upper front black teeth. We will have to get that looked at in America.
We left his orphanage without him and went to see Mollie. She didn’t recognize us but let us play with her. She tried to get down on the grass again. So many little bugs though. We tried our hardest to keep her entertained for an hour but it is hard to do when you don’t speak her language. She would just light up when she saw any of her caregivers or when Tatiana would speak to her. I can only imagine how she feels. I imagine Olivia and two people just taking her and trying to play to her and speaking in Chinese or something. She would probably do the same thing- pretty much ignore us. She likes to be thrown in the air though and she liked when I rocked her and sang “la, la, la.” She would repeat me. She really likes to play with the grass and sticks way better than the toys we brought. She ate three little cookies we brought. She did a really good job. Much better than last time but still had to chew them with her 4 front teeth. We left the orphanage and went back to the hotel for our break. Tatiana ordered us a cheese pizza. We feel too tired today to go out. It was alright. I don’t love it. It is no Papa Murphy’s that’s for sure!
Tatiana was going to call us to go see apartments around 2pm but she called the Russian cell our friends Kevin & Alisa sent us and it was actually in the infamous little black suitcase which we now left in the back of the car!!! Hello! We need to get it together! So we slept, really slept hard, jet lagged drugged like sleep. She called up to the room at 3:10 when she arrived. We were startled and jumped up with impressed lines on our faces and ran downstairs. We explained the confusion. The apartments they found were too far from the city. They are still looking for something. We are supposed to have something to look at tomorrow. Please pray that we find something convenient, affordable, clean, in a good location and the icing would be air conditioning which is rare here! We went and picked up Jones and he seemed happy to see us but didn’t talk at all to us because he knows we don’t speak Russian. He sure talked to Tatiana though. It was an awkward silent drive. He was wearing a pink sweater and pink shoes. Both kids were wearing shorts which if funny because it is colder today than it was last time we were here but I guess it has been very hot recently. He was happy to see his sister but then went off by himself ignoring every attempt we made to play with him. It took him about a half hour to warm up. He did not want to play with any toys. He just wanted to play with sticks and bricks in the back of the yard. We took turns joining him and finally started to bond and he started trying to communicate with us. And Mollie- my goodness. She surprised us and started to walk around by herself! She is so independent. This visit was easier but still a little weird. When it was over we took Jones back to the orphanage. We gave him 2 Hot Wheels cars and some stickers. He liked the stickers but did not want to use them. He kept saying what sounded like “Are you sure?” but in Russian it means “more.” He is persistant! We told him “zaftra” which is tomorrow in Russian. He still kept repeating it. Tatiana said “Don’t spoil him, he is testing your boundaries.” I guess so. We dropped him off and headed back to the hotel.
So overall it has been good so far. It helps when you have been here before and know what to expect and what to bring. Tonight we are just going to eat something little like leftover cold pizza or snacks we brought and watch a movie and go to sleep. Tomorrow we should have the same schedule and Friday also except I think Jones is going on a camping trip with his group. I am so nervous he is going to want to go to his “home” after he is with us. Please pray for quick bonding. I think we get to talk to the caregivers on Friday to find out all their details and schedules and such which I am excited for. Then this weekend we have nothing going on but I am hoping we switch to an apartment and buy groceries and get it all set up for the kids to join us. We also have to study for court. Court is Monday at 10am, we are first! Joey has to give a speech for 5-10 minutes and then the prosecutor will ask questions. All I can say is “I agree with everything my husband says.” This will be interesting. Oh, yeah one more tidbit- we found out today that their mother is pregnant again. This makes me feel weird. Pray if you get a chance.
Thank you Mom for calling. Thank you Alisa and Kevin for leaving us the fan, soccer ball, baby towel, and hot pot and for sending us the cell phone!!! You are a lifesaver! Thank you family and friends for emails and prayers. Thanks Em, Steph, Alisa, April and Tam for your kind words! Well, bye for now. I will write again tomorrow and I am going to try to post just a couple pics in a minute.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Update on the Kids

Tatiana emailed us and let us know that they have not cut Mollie's hair like we asked them not to! Woo Hoo! Barretts and headbands here we come! She said Jones is waiting for us. She has visited a couple times. She bought some fruit for the kids from us. He was very happy and said he likes to look at our pics. We had also emailed additional pics that Tatiana took to the orphanage to show him. She said that he told her he was upset when they took away the clothes we had given him but they explained to him that it was too hot for those clothes. Tatiana told him that we would bring him new clothes. It sounds like he is getting excited! Just like us! We have been praying since the day we found out about them, throughout the trip, and since we have been home that the children would dream of us so they could remember and be anticipation our reunion! I love when Tatiana visits the kids and tells us how they are.

It's Almost Time!

I can't believe it is so long since I have written. Things have been so crazy and busy. It sure takes a lot of work getting two rooms ready and making sure we have everything we need. We are getting there. I just finished putting Jones room together and then today my friend Stephanie and I worked on Mollie's. I just love seeing their little rooms all decorated and cute and waiting. I still have quite a bit of documents to organize and need to start organizing our packing but I am actually feeling like I am acomplishing things today. Yesterday was all paperwork and mailings and applying for our visas. It is an all day process but doesn't feel like you have accomplished that much. Joey is in Seattle doing some classes for his job so I am here working my tushy off! It looks like I might get to have a girls movie night out though which sounds great! My sis and friend Emily put on a huge fundraiser on Sunday-a bunco benefit and it was a great success and so many people came to show their love and support. It brought me to tears. We have also been receiving other donations. I am just so humbled and feel so blessed. I am so thankful. Well, everything seems to be falling in to place. If you are one of our faithful prayer warriors you can pray for continued financial provision, safety, calming of nerves, bonding, and that our preparations can be completed in time. Oh, and grace with the officials, judges, etc. We will try to update our blog frequently from Russia if we can get a good connection. Thank you again family and friends! Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it's off to work I go..........