Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Calendar Project

Daniel's known the days of the week for a while. He can say his months. He's always asking if today is a school day or if he can stay home with me. So I thought it was high time to invest in a calendar!

After getting some great advice from Facebook friends, I settled on a homemade calendar. Well, the advice and the fact that neither of two stores on my way home from work had blank desk calendars available.

So I drew the grid, added in the month (May), the days of the week and all of the numbers. I gave Daniel a little bin filled with scrapbooking extras and he proceeded to decorate the edges, then he put the stars on the days he goes to "pre pre-school". We hung it up and voila...

One beautiful calendar! Hopefully this will help him determine the days of the week and the months as well as work on his numbers.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tinkering Around with Creepy Crawlies

Last night I told Daniel if he 'cleaned' his room up real nice that I had a new, special toy for him to play with. He was excited and so the cleaning began. We put on some music and he put his toys away while I pulled out his winter clothes that I know he won't be able to wear next year.

When we were both done I pulled out a box of TinkerToys. Not just any tinker toys, but the set where you can make all kinds of creepy crawlies, which is right up Daniel's alley these days, much to my dismay.

I need to insert here that I bought this $19.99 box of tinkertoys for $0.50 at a yard sale!! So while many think Daniel is spoiled with all his toys, in reality we have paid little for each of them!

For my well spent $0.50 we had two good HOURS of entertainment. I helped him build a cool spider (YES - ME!) and then I snuck out to do some other chores checking back every so often and of course snapping pictures. Daniel played by himself the rest of the time! Heavenly!

In other news - Daniel smashed his first bug with his bare hand - that was exciting to say the least and then today we cut a worm in half accidentally. It was still moving, so therefore I assume it is fine - both halves.

This is not a stage I'm looking forward to, but I'm trying...honestly!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Call You "Mother"

I used to be Mama. Then Mommy. I loved both equally. It seems we have entered a new phase.

Daniel has been watching Peter Pan and in the movie the children, especially Wendy, talk of their 'Mother'.

About a week ago I picked Daniel up after work and he ran to me saying "Mother". I was surprised, but nothing connected.

Then it continued. Daniel now constantly calls me Mother. I asked him why last night, and he said it's because I'm a mother like Wendy in Peter Pan and because I sing and read to him like she does (the part where she talks about their Mother and then sings and reads to the lost boys).

And that was it...I'm hooked - I now LOVE being called "Mother"!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Today is most importantly our anniversary for Daniel's adoption. We spent four hours in a courtroom asking to be Daniel's parents. While the length of the court process seems really long, it was relatively painless and every one was so nice to us. We had an unusual situation in that Daniel had been placed in a hospital to await our return due to a chicken pox outbreak so we had to wait for arrival of a doctor from that hospital to sign over guardianship.

All in all we were exhausted when it was over a bit disappointed that we couldn't pick him up the same day, (because it was so late), but we celebrated with peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches and barely slept, awaiting the arrival of the next morning!!

Here is an excerpt from an email I sent to my closest family and friends TWO years ago today!! I am sharing the email and not the post from my blog as this was much more detailed of the events and also because I wanted every one to see how kind the judge was to us. Read on...

"We are proud to announce that after 4 hours of speeches (by us, the social worker, orphanage director, children's hospital doctor) and being questioned by the judge and prosecutor that we are the parents of a very active, 21 and a half month old little boy named Daniel McQuin Williams!!

Today has been very emotional and we are exhausted. We tried not to cry when the judge finally announced her decision that we had satisfied the Russian courts and we were to be Daniel's parents. She also approved our motion to waive the 10 days as I (Rachel) gave a speech and then the social worker and the orphanage director supported my motion. This means we can return to the US on the 22nd as planned.

After the judge read her decision she came down to stand before us and said she wanted to talk to us not as a judge but as a mother and grandmother. She said to love Daniel well and let him be the light of our lives. She said he would certainly bring us much joy. She said she hoped when we were older he would return the favor and care for us as we care for him. Then she congratulated us and it was done.

We were then rushed to the vital statistics office and we have a new birth certificate listing us as his parents and a formal adoption certificate. Unfortunately we are not able to pick up Daniel today as it is after 5 pm. Troy and I will be celebrating with peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches as we ate out a big lunch during a break with everyone and we are just plain exhausted.We will pick Daniel up tomorrow in Votkinsk and then come back to Izhevsk to fly to Moscow. Wish us luck on the almost 2 hour flight. Love to all..."

I can't even begin to explain what that day meant to us and still means to us. That we were entrusted with this precious child to call our own. Did we think it would be easy? No. Were we prepared to work at it? Yes.

A lot of people didn't know at the time (except our family) that Daniel had a medical condition that had already required two previous surgeries in Russia. He was not considered special needs but we knew most likely he would have to have another surgery upon arrival in the US.

I want to point out in light of the news lately that the orphanage director was extremely honest with us about Daniel's medical condition. We received a ton of information and they answered all the questions we had.

Daniel's condition which you can read about in a previous post here may have given a few families pause about his adoption, but we truly believe Daniel was a gift from God, sent straight to our family.

Finally, Daniel is everything we ever wanted in a son and more. We are so thankful to be able to call him ours.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We Are The Truth Petition

The Joint Council has released a Petition entitled We Are The Truth. Please, please, please stop by and sign the Petition.

Here is the information about the petition from the Joint Council Blog.

"The letter asks both Presidents to ensure that intercountry adoption continues uninterrupted and to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of children. You can sign anytime, but doing so before Tuesday night would help us get the letters to both Presidents before President Medvedev leaves the U.S."

Here is the actual Petition for signature:

"Recognizing that the tragic abandonment of Artyem Saviliev is an isolated incident and is not at all indicative of the thousands of successful adoptions between Russia and the United States, we, the undersigned:- Respectfully call on President Medvedev and President Obama to lead an effort to ensure that the rights of children are protected and that every child’s right to a permanent and safe family is not interrupted due to the suspension intercountry adoption services. - Respectfully call on President Medvedev and President Obama to ensure that their governments aggressively prosecute any individual involved in child abuse to the fullest extent of the law."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So Sad...

By now many adopive Russian parents have posted about and I believe ALL have heard about the outrageous act of an adoptive mother putting her son ALONE on a plane and sending him back to Russia with a letter stating she no longer wanted him.

I can't even find the words to express my sorrow and thoughts on this subject. I spent some time last night praying for the child involved and all the children and families that will be affected should Russia halt all adoptions. My understanding at this point is that only the agency that was involved has been suspended, but it could change at any moment.

If you haven't heard, and even if you have, I'd like to point you to Amy's post. I read it tonight and she had so many good points that since I can't seem to get anything coherant out without getting very upset about it, I think her post among others, says the things I would say.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Update and Dairy Farm Field Trip

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We started celebrating a little early on Friday with an Easter egg hunt at my sister-in-law's house with Granny and Grandpa too. Daniel quickly got the hang of the hunt and ended up with lots of great treats and sweets! Then Sunday we had a beautiful spring day and spent most of it outdoors. In the afternoon Troy, Daniel and I headed out to the park to try Daniel's new bubble blaster, courtesy of the Easter bunny. We had so much fun!

Then today I chaperoned Daniel's daycare field trip to a local dairy farm. It had been cleaned spotless and while I was sad we didn't get to see a cow being milked, we did get to see all equipment. The best part was the calf barn where we got to pet all the calves. They loved licking our hands and arms and sucking on our fingers. They are a little skittish so you have to be gentle but boy are they cute!!

Without further ado - photos from our weekend and the field trip.