Thursday, May 31, 2007

Something in the Mail!!

Two days ago we received a nice big package from CHI. Inside was great book with the first 1,000 words to learn in Russian. The best thing is that it has a link on the internet where you can hear the words spoken. No excuse now, we must learn Russian!! We also got more forms to fill out and sign. Go figure. Additionally, we also received our travel packet which has great information. It kept me busy yesterday reading it. Each little thing like that is a bright spot for us as it signifies another step in the process for us and brings us one step closer to our little one.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

About Vladivostok

Another weekend gone and Troy and I managed to plant flowers and tomatoes. We also managed to stain our deck which was much more tedious than I imagined. Each day our "to do" list seems to get bigger instead of shrinking in size. The more to keep busy with!!
About Vlad
I thought I would give those reading some information about Vladivostock “Vlad” that we have learned.
Vladivostock is Russia’s largest port city on the Pacific Ocean. The word Vladivostok means “Lord of the East” in Russian. It is mainly known for shipping, commercial fishing and its naval base. It is the home of the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. There are 6 universities there and it is the last stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Vladivostok is also the capital of the Primorje region. The city’s population is about 600,000 and was founded in 1860. Its sister cities include San Francisco, Tacoma and San Diego here in the United States. We are excited to learn as much information as we can about the place where we will meet our child for the first time!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ahhh, the weekend is here

Well, we’re off for a long weekend and I need it. I will be spending my normal one day at the SPCA but I am looking forward to 2 days of relaxation and trying to get the adoption off my mind for a little while by doing some home improvements. I saw where a couple of families have received their court dates in Vlad and I am so happy for them. That means things are moving. I also saw that there are several people who have been waiting since February and March so I know we will be waiting a while. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Meet the Furry Family

Troy and I have been adding to our family through the adoption of animals since the week before we got married and these are our current babies!! Hopefully soon we'll be adding another 2 legged member to our family as we are currently out numbered!!

The cats:

Jack – The 12 year old cat who is the very reason we are adopting a child. We have taken to putting him in baby shirts and pushing him around on his new favorite toy we bought for our new little one!! No really, Jack just had a tumor removed off his back and the shirt is in lieu of an Elizabethan collar around his neck. It keeps him from licking and keeps the site clean. Poor guy, just had the tumor removed, his teeth cleaned and then put in a baby’s shirt!! And what’s even worse? I humiliated him by taking the picture!

Jill – How creative were we with her name. She came to us about 5 years ago as a stray where she had been living in a barn with about 6 other kittens. Troy put on a glove and made a grab for a kitten. I pointed at a black one and said “That one”, and he grabbed and out came Jill and he said “This one.” Hence, Jill became a member of the family.

The dogs:

Elka – a Sharpei-Shepard mix who is the love of my life, after Troy of course. She is 9 years old and better live to be 100. She is the sweetest, most loving, most well behaved dog in the world. She won’t sit on command but will give kisses when asked. She loves to visit her “grandma’s house” and is just a wonderful girl.

Jerry – a mutt through and through and not yet a full fledged member of the family. He is the tan guy in the middle. He actually is a foster dog from the local SPCA where I spend one day each weekend as an adoption counselor. He was treated extremely poorly and was brought to the shelter by animal control. He was extremely shy and wouldn’t let anyone near him but me. He is currently learning how to be a dog!! He will now play outside by himself and has made himself at home. (I am sure he will be a permanent member soon!)

Ruby – a Heinz 57 brindle hound mutt!! She loves Troy and Troy only. She will only sit in my lap or cuddle with me when he’s not home. When he is, she is all about him and I do not exist!! Gotta love her although she thinks she’s a cat most of the time!! She has been with us for 2 years!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Catching Up - The adoption process summed up to where we are now...

Troy and I went on our second cruise for our 10th anniversary and it was during that cruise that we decided we were going to adopt. We had done all the research and talked about it for quite some time. Then a few months before the cruise we decided we weren’t going to talk about it anymore until the cruise at which time we would each share our thoughts. Well, the rest is history...

So the process began.

The first step...calling Children’s Hope International (CHI) and asking for the application package. Then filling it out and waiting to hear if we were approved to continue. We received the approval on Troy’s birthday –December 7, 2006. At that time we were emailed the dossier documents and told we should start by applying to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and contacting homestudy agencies. We did both right away and were pleased when we received a fingerprint notice on January 3, 2007. Wow, this was moving quickly!! Even our homestudy went quickly as our agency agreed to meet with us on weekends and we scheduled the meetings as close together as we could. We received our homestudy on February 9th and sent it straight to USCIS. During this time we began the tedious process of collecting the documents for the dossier. Those of you reading who have adopted or are in the process you know just how many of those there are. For those of you who know, you can probably figure out how many there were by my level of stress over the documents and to Bambie, my good friend who notarized them all—thank you!!

So far the biggest snag we have had with the adoption was receiving our I171-H from USCIS. We had our prints done January 3, 2007, and they received our homestudy on February 9, 2007. They had sent us a letter stating the current processing time was 9 weeks. NINE WEEKS??!! I kept hoping they would come in early and finally in the 9th week I contacted our local congressman after trying to call USCIS myself and getting nowhere. Our congressman was kind enough to get a response from USCIS stating that a decision had been made but wouldn’t be sent to us until May 5th. We finally received it on May 8th (12 long weeks later) and our dossier went to Vladivostok “Vlad” on Friday, May 11, 2007. I suppose if this is our biggest issue of the adoption process then we are in good shape. Now the fun stuff...waiting. I have joined several online groups and been chatting with some great people. Troy and I have been out looking at baby stuff constantly but get discouraged about buying anything as we don’t know the age or size of the child. We have managed to pick up a few small things from stores, like the blanket we want to take and leave with the child and a new carry on bag for the plane for me that Troy said he’s be ok to carry (in other words it’s not too girlie!)

So here we are now.

A waiting family. Waiting to bring home a son to love, cherish and become a prosperous person and a member of our family. Troy can’t wait to teach him how to fish and hunt and if he doesn’t like either of those, then to cook instead. Me, I just can’t wait to be a mom. I want to teach our child how to play games, the value of family and I want them to learn they can always count on Troy and I for anything and everything they will ever need.

We are praying daily that God will bring us to the right child and the right child to us. So, even though we hate waiting we know God’s plan is at work for us.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Waiting Family....

So, here we are trying to learn how to blog!! I thought this would be a great way to help pass the time until our referral. I'm not very good at this so hang in there. I hope to start a timeline of events and post pictures and begin a journal that our future child can one day read.