Monday, March 31, 2008

A Baby Shower Kind of Weekend!

Wow - What an amazing weekend I had and I just have to say I was completely spoiled! Or better yet, my little guy is going to be so spoiled.

First of all my work threw my a surprise baby shower Friday! I still have no clue how they snuck everything in without me seeing it, except for the fact at the end of the day that one very clever attorney (and friend) sat down at my desk and asked me about the adoption. Anyone who knows me, knows I can go on and on about that so we chatted the last fifteen minutes when another co-worker buzzed my office asking me to come to the conference room to help put together plats for a project that "just had to go out" that day. Of course I said yes and went obliviously to the conference room. Well, when I opened the door all my co-workers, men included were waiting for me and yelled "surprise". We had a delicious cake and champagne, which I could drink being paper pregnant!! I got to wear a sash that said Mother To Be and I opened some wonderful gifts. I have a few photos but due to privacy, I am only posting the photo of the gorgeous cake they had for me.

Cake from Work Shower

As for Saturday night and my sister's secret shower - well, it started someting like this...

My best friend from high school, Kerri and I getting ready to leave

Me blindfolded on the way

Then when we finally reached our destination, they led me (still blindfolded) into a room where my nieces thought it would be hysterical to mess with me when I couldn't see them!! When they took the blindfold off they told me to turn around and lo and behold, one of my best friends from college, Sarah, had driven all the way from PA to come. I was so happy to see her!!

Then they opened the doors to the fun - a place called Pump It Up Playground!! My sister rented the whole building! It looked something like this

It was an indoor playground with blow up, bouncy everything! There was a huge slide, a jousting/basketball/volleyball ring, a bouncer, and an obstacle course - after ten minutes all the adults were exhausted!

Cat & Rae heading into the ring

Amber, Ian and Parker coming down the slide

Cat and my mom falling off the edge of the slide

Caroline and Megan bouncing all over the place

On the way up the slide

Tammy & I bouncing

My throne where I got to open all the presents!

Books - our little fellow loves books!

The cake my sister oredered, but she decorated!!

Eating and visitng

Thanks Cathy - for a wonderful surprise shower - I had no clue - in fact I thought I had it figured out and that we were going bowling!! You really got me!!

What an amzing weekend, full of family and friends and I can't wait for our little fellow to meet all the people who care so much about him already!! We miss him so much!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In Two Weeks from Yesterday

We leave to for Russia to make our final trip to bring our son home. How lucky we are!

We have a lot on our plates right now and I am under a lot of stress. Please pray for us as we are still waiting for documents to arrive that are out of our control. Among those are our updated police clearances and our amended I-171H showing the fingerprint renewel. Both places say we will receive the items on time, but I can’t help but worry we won’t get them as the days count down. Another big worry I have is the amount of time between our flight on the way to Russia. We only have 1 hour and 17 minutes between flights and I am worried about making the next gate in an airport we have never visited. Troy seems to think we will be fine, but I can’t help but worry about every little thing!!

We have started making a pile in our guest bedroom of items we want to take to Russia for us and for our little guy. My sister-in-law Amber has been so helpful to us by letting us bug her questions such as “How many of these would you take?” or “Do we really need this?” We managed to cut several piles in half last night!! Thanks Amber!

As for the baby shower – here is my sister’s last comment from a few days ago.


Now I wonder if they are going to take me the SPCA, throw me in a kennel with a couple of dogs wearing my paw printed blindfold and of course the socks!! Okay by me – rubbing dogs for a few hours uninterrupted sounds relaxing to me!!! Of course wouldn’t my babies be jealous?!?!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Wooooo Hoooooo!! We got travel dates this morning and we are so excited!! What an emotional roller coaster we are right now!! Travel dates mean applying for Visas, running around like mad to get everything ready, packing, cleaning, praying, praying again, and praying some more!!! We never thought we would get to return so fast and we are so thankful we can!

We leave on April 9th to head back to Moscow. I am trying to book flights now and have a zillion phone calls to make at lunch time. We are still working on having our police clearances back in time, so please send some extra prayers up on that one still!!

We cannot wait to see our little guy again. I hope and pray God keeps him safe and comforted everyday and that he knows in his little heart that we are coming back for him. We miss him so much!

As for the baby shower – here is yet another clue from my older sister!


Blindfolded with socks on – that’s reassuring!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We Got Our Court Date!!

We are completely in shock, but we just found out we got our court date already!! It’s April 15th and it can’t come soon enough!! Please say some prayers as we have to redo our police clearances and they take a minimum of two weeks. I have called the Virginia State Police and am working with a lady who seems to think we can have it back in time.

We should get official travel dates tomorrow!! I can’t believe it. We are again over the moon at seeing our angel again so quickly.

As to our surprise shower, my sister left me this comment on our last post:

"shower rsvp's are good, especially you out of towners!!!....RAE YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Uhhhh, what in the world does she have planned? As Becky mentioned to me, it’s starting to sound like a Bachelorette Party!! With her...somehow I wouldn’t be surprised!! I’ll keep you posted if I get any hints!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We're Home

We made it home safe and sound on Saturday. We were very tired and very happy to see my mom, my older sister, her husband and my younger sister all waiting to pick us up at the airport. By the time we arrived home, I was all talked out and extremely tired as we had been up over 24 hours. It has taken a couple of days but Troy and I think we are back on schedule and are both back at work today.

It’s funny but today has been the hardest as we get back in to the swing of things and feel almost like nothing has changed. Of course we know our whole lives have changed and our minds and hearts are still back in Russia, but going back to work and doing the every day things there really feels odd.

We just can’t believe we have a little one and that we left him halfway around the world. Our court date can’t come quick enough. Our coordinator called us yesterday to check on us and see how we liked Russia and Troy kept asking in the background if we had a court date. I finally asked her and told her Troy was being insistent that I ask and she laughed and said “not yet”! But hopefully soon.

We went into the nursery last night and just stared at it for a while. We still have a lot to do but mostly in the way of sorting through clothes that will fit him and then after our baby shower putting the bed set together etc. My older sister is planning a baby shower on the 29th of this month and it is top secret. I have no idea where it is, what it’s going to be like etc. I just know that it is evening time (8-10 pm) and that it is going to be exciting. With my sister – who knows except I do know it will be exciting. She said it is not traditional and now I’m wondering just what kind of excitement she is talking about!! I’m not even allowed to see an invitation until after the fact and then I can have one for our memory book!!

Please keep us in your prayers that we will get that court date as soon as possible and be able to bring our little one home soon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Day Six

Troy and I were totally free today and decided to walk to see the sites of Moscow. We were told by our driver that it would take approximately 30 minutes to walk to Red Square and so off we went. It actually took us 40 minutes but I think it is because we do not walk as fast as the natives do! When we made it to Red Square we were so in awe of the buildings and especially St. Basil’s Cathedral. Troy had so much fun taking pictures of all the architecture.

We ate lunch at a Sbarro and each had a piece of pizza and shared a salad. It was very good. We also located the TGIFridays we have read so much about from other adoptive couples. Maybe we will go there next time!!
Here are the famous tourist shots!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day Two with our Son

Day two went great! We feel like we are bonding well with our kiddo. He came right to us and we got to play for 2 hours. How in love we are with him!!

We flew back to Moscow after a busy day and today (Thursday) we did our medicals in Moscow. It was painless and we are glad they are done. Everyone was very nice to us. We were lucky to meet another adoptive couple at the clinic and talked with them in between seeing the 8 doctors.

We are free the rest of today and all of tomorrow. We plan to walk to Red Square and St. Basil’s cathedral tomorrow to do the tourist thing. We will fly back home on Saturday. We are looking forward to returning home to finish his nursery and then hurry back!!

We are taking it easy the rest of today as the last 3 days have been so busy and very emotional. We plan to watch movies that we brought with us!!

Important things we have learned for others getting ready to travel

-Keep all registration forms from the hotels inside your passport so at the airport you can prove you were registered where you stayed.
-I would suggest bringing the travel rolls of toilet paper as the hotels quality of toilet paper isn’t that great and if you get sick you’ll want them (thankfully we haven’t been sick, but I can only imagine.)
-Be sure to ask the driver to help you buy water BEFORE checking in to the hotel as the water there is extremely expensive.

Some neat things we have learned while here.

-The potholes really are that bad
-The traffic really is that bad
-Drivers put Vodka and water into their cars windshield washer fluid so when they spray to clean their windshield, it smells like Vodka (keeps water from freezing)
-Do be careful when crossing the street. Although it seems like they really don’t want to hit you they just want to come close!
-Even if there are four lanes for traffic you can expect 5-6 lanes actually running.

Hopefully we will be able to post tomorrow night with our “touristy” photos!! I’ll be catching up with blogs soon. Can’t wait to see how everyone else is. Internet at the hotel in Moscow is pretty expensive so we only have enough for 24 hours. Take care everyone.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We Met Our Son Today!!

And let me just claim parental bragging rights. He is the cutest thing ever and we are in love with a new little guy!!

The day started off with a great breakfast and then a trip to the ministry where we received our formal permission to visit the child. Off to the orphanage about an hour away and we got to see our little guy right away. He sat in Troy’s lap while I talked and took notes from the director. She was wonderful. She answered all our questions.

Afterwards our little guy had to eat and nap. We went out to lunch with our regional rep and translator and had a nice time. Then they took us to Tchaikovsky’s house (great composer) and we took a few photos and then we shopped. We got some great pieces and souvenirs for 1,675……..rubles – gotcha didn’t I – I think that works out to approx. 71.00!! Like I said we got some beautiful pieces. Wish us luck packing them up!!

We got to go back and visit with our little guy for 2 more hours and it was wonderful. We played and played and played. For those wondering what toys to bring I highly suggest the Little Tykes hammer as it makes noise and lights up and was a HUGE success. Our little guy is defiantly going to either be a drummer or a carpenter.

We are over the moon tonight and just so happy. We will see him again tomorrow and then do some paperwork and then head out back to Moscow. We would rather stay here as we love our hotel and the restaurant and we’re closer to our little guy. We are already dreading leaving him.

Thanks to everyone for their support and comments during this process. We still have a ways to go, but we’re almost there!!

Tchaikovsky's house

Troy & I in front of Tchaikovsky's memorial
View of Izhevsk outside our hotel window

Monday, March 10, 2008


Today (Monday) we made it to our region. We took a 2 hour flight and it was fine. We had heard some not so great things about the flight, and were a little bit nervous, but it was just fine. Our driver picked us up at the Holiday Inn in Moscow and drove us to the domestic airport Domodedovo. He helped us all the way through check in and as far as he could go to the gate. He was very kind to us. The flight was completely Russian and we were separated but it went pretty well. The flight had some turbulence as it was very cloudy, but all in all it was fine. Troy and I joked that when the announcements came on in Russian we would look around and if everyone suddenly assumed the position for a crash landing so we would know what to do. When we stepped off the plane in Izhevsk, our interpreter snapped us right up (obviously we stuck out like sore thumbs!!) and off we went to the hotel.

Our room is great as it is more like an apartment with a kitchenette, bathroom, living/dining room and separate bedroom. We even have a few dishes and plenty of free drinking water. Our stay for 3 nights was cheaper than the one night in Moscow. Our interpreter then pre-ordered dinner for us. Troy got a fish soup which came with a shot of vodka (I’m not sure I would eat anything that came with alcohol!!)!! He also got red fish and grilled vegetables. I ordered chicken that came with onions and red peppers on a shish kabob and the best baked potato ever. It was cut into cubes and had a garlic butter sauce that was delicious. We got two Cokes and our grand total was 475 rubles which is only like 20 bucks. I had heard food was cheap in Izhevsk, but we were pleasantly surprised!!

We also met with our regional representative today and we leave tomorrow a.m. for our appointment with the ministry. Afterwards we have about an hour drive to the orphanage and we get to meet our little guy and we will have a chance to ask tons of questions about his health, habits, etc. We can’t wait!!

The neatest thing tonight that we discovered is that our hotel has blinking lights, red and blue and flashers all over the building at the top. It seems like a happening place!

Lastly, a hint for anyone traveling – the hot and cold water is on the opposite sides than we are used to!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

We Made It To Moscow!

We're here!! I have to say our flight went very smoothly. We flew Aeroflot and were very comfortable. They even fed us twice and I ate both meals - now that's saying alot!! The flight was long and we were glad to land but the most improtant thing is that we are here!
We were supposed to leave for our region by overnight train tonight, but somehow we got mixed up and we are actually leaving by plane tomorrow morning to our region. While not looking forward to it, once again we will just be glad to get there.

We did venture out for a walk in Moscow and made it to McDonalds and back! We took a few pictures along the way. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

And Counting...

Two days and we leave – how did this happen? I thought we would never get to this point and now I’m trying to figure out how we got here!! I think we are almost all set. Our Visas are coming in today – talk about last minute. I’ve already had enough panic attacks over them arriving at all that I’m all panicked out, which is probably a good thing. We have our blood work results, lots of original documents in hand and our chest xrays films are now complete and ready to be packed.

Have I mentioned I haven’t packed yet? Oh yeah – we’re a little behind. Tonight my wonderful sister-in-law, Amber, is coming over to help make sure my head is on straight and she is going to do some things around the house to help me out. Thank you, thank you! Tomorrow, my sisters and my mom are carting me all over town to pick up the last minute things and help me pack. I just know my older sister, Cathy, can cram everything we own into one suitcase – she’s good at things like that!

Lastly, I need to make a few shout outs:

Congratulations to Carey & Norman on the completion of their Russian Fairy Tale

Hip Hip Hooray to Carrie and Michael who finally received their court date!

Becky & Keith are counting down to tomorrow for some travel dates – you deserve them!

Janine has a referral!! She leaves March 11th!

Matt & Patti are counting down their 10 days in Astrakhan for their son!

Lots of others are in between trips or on the edge of referrals. What an exciting time in Russian adoptions right now!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

We have dates!

Okay - we finally have dates. We are leaving....dum, dum, dum dummmmmmmmmmm

Saturday - this Saturday - March 8th!!! Set to return on the 15th. Holy cow! We're in panic mode!!

Looks like we won't be spending much time in Moscow at all except long enough to get off the plane and hop a night train to our region. We may have one night in Moscow on the way back to do our medical exams. I was hoping to see some of Moscow, but maybe next trip!

The train sounds great. It's overnight, but we should get to see alot of the countryside in the morning going into the region which is something I really wanted to do. Troy hasn't been on a train before either, so I think he will like it. We used to take trains all the time when I was young.

We are so excited!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to be posting while in Russia!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Sorry for the lack of news lately. Monday after posting about our referral I went home and came down with a seriously bad case of the stomach flu. I missed the entire rest of the week at work and now 19 pounds lighter, I am back...sortof.

I won't go through the details just suffice to say it's been 6 days and I just started eating this morning. We did make it to our fingerprint appointment on Friday - barely. We only had to stop once. I think it was more of a motion sickness.

We were supposed to leave for Russia this coming Saturday - the 8th. However, we are having trouble with a document our region requires. We had it signed and notarized and unfortunately in Virginia it can't be apostilled. We are trying to work our way around it, but in the meantime, flights have gone up and we are having trouble finding seats together on the planes etc. We are now at the point of possibly pushing travel back one to two weeks. We did apply for our Visas and should receive those this week.

My coordinator has been working around the clock trying to get a different document format the Virginia will accept. Please pray this will happen so we can go meet our little man.

Those of you who have emailed me, I will be working on returning emails this week. I promise I'm not ignoring you.

Please also pray that Troy doesn't get sick. We'll keep you posted.