Monday, December 31

It's gonna be rough

Well, I guess from my previous posts you've already guessed it's going to be rough overseas. But this morning I got a little taste of just how rough it's going to before my kids here at home. Yes, I know that they'll miss us, but both my kids are very resilient and very easily adapt to change, so I know that they will be fine while we're gone. Plus they're better off here than in the unknown conditions we'll face overseas.

But this morning Kristopher woke up and as he walked through the house he started saying "Daddy, I'm up, I'm awake, let's go watch cartoons!" Then he got to our room only to discover that Mike had already left for work. He's been off since the 18th or so, and K has really enjoyed having him home! Kristopher left my room and came out to the family room, presumeably to watch cartoons and I dragged myself out of bed (after all it WAS almost 8am!).

I found this pitiful scene when I got to the family room: Kristopher lay curled up in a ball on the couch. No toys, no books. The TV was off but he was awake. When I came in he said nothing like a 'hello' or a 'goodmorning' and instead said "I miss him..." with that tiny sad voice that your kids can turn on and melt you with :( So we called Daddy and were happy to hear that the office will be closing at 12:30 today and he'll be home then :) But man, this is going to be rough!

Sunday, December 30

A prayer request

Tonight I received a call from a friend with an unusual question. A little background info first... I had shared with this friend that Mike and I were deciding whether we were going to try to find someone that would meet up with me overseas after Mike comes home. Partially for security, partially for an extra set of hands and some company- especially on the flight home. We also had discussed (and mentioned to a few students) the possibility of seeing if there is a college student that would like "out" and would like to move in to our guest room and essentially 'rent a room' from us in exchange for a few hours of help with the kids each week. This would be especially helpful during the first few months we are home with many doctor's appointments, etc. that we would rather not bring all the kids to. And although we have wonderful family and friends, we recognize that this will be right after taxing our resources and our friendships by depending on their help while I am away.

Ok... so the phone call... My friend said that her former childcare provider (who works as a 1-2-1 with children with special needs in Maine I believe) would like to adopt some day- a child with Down syndrome- from overseas! Pretty neat I'd say! But... there's more... This girl is not yet married or finished with school (partially done with college) so her adoption plans are not going to happen for a few years. She would, however, LOVE to come along on our trip overseas to help us and to see for herself what things are like. She also might consider coming back with us and helping us out at the house until August.

Sounds to me like it fits like a glove... but I have a few hesitations. One is whether this person I've never met is going to REALLY want to spend that much time with my husband and I (or even just me if she comes after he leaves) and whether she is going to be happy about offering to come and stay in my 'urban camping' apartment (I've been promised 4 walls and a toilet and told to be ecstatic if we get more!). I'm sure there are a few more thouhts but those are the only ones that come to mind.

So my request- would you please pray that "M" as well as Mike and I are able to clearly know whether she is supposed to be a part of our international adoption journey and possibly our family thereafter for a time? It is a big decision and needs to be made before we book our tickets... probably.

THANKS!

19 Days!!

We're leaving in 19 days!!

Today we went to Sams Club with Mike's dad (he has a membership) and bought all kinds of necessities to stock up the house. Paper towels, TP, diapers, cereal bars (Bria lives on these), crackers (and these), instant oatmeal (and these... that's all!), peanut butter and jelly, applesauce... all kinds of goodies :) I hope Elizabeth doesn't have to shop too often while she's here and she can instead enjoy a LEISURELY stroll around the store to get out of the house!

Then, if that wasn't enough, I went to Wal-Mart tonight and bought 4 gallons of milk, a ton of baby food (ok, she eats this too...), some frozen foods like chicken nuggets and hot dogs (yes, I freeze them), some refrigerator foods that last a while (gogurt is good until March and so is string cheese!), and a few more of the basics that I had decided against getting in bulk like evaporated milk (definitely a necessity for cream of wheat-- YUM!). Oh, and of course frozen pizza too-- can't have a week without that!

So now I've loaded up the house- where do I put it??

No luck with tickets yet. With it being the holidays I haven't heard back from either of the online adoption travel agents I contacted and I couldn't get our local agent either... I'm hoping by Wednesday to be able to buy something though!

Saturday, December 29

The most original (and treasured) gift I received

This Christmas I got a BIG surprise. My sister whom I miss because she moved to MN almost a year ago is down for Christmas. And although I knew she'd bought the children each a small gift and she brought me down a 'surprise' because I couldn't buy it here, she also blessed me with the most original and treasured gift I've gotten in a long time.

She took the time (LOTS OF TIME) to print out each of my blog entries since late August when I started this blog along with all the pictures onto scrapbooking colored paper. She then assembled a scrapbook and made me a REAL BOOK with all these entries telling of our adoption journey this far!! And it has room to grow (LOTS!) as we complete this journey so I can add to it until Aleksa is home!

I'm sure there was no way that I could really get her to know HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS GIFT, but let's say I have it on my dresser and each time I walk by it (at least 5 times a day) I open it up and just look. It's amazing! I can't think of a better way to have made these electronic entries into something that we can sit and look at and read together and remember the journey. I can't find an "adoption book" for older children (like a baby book but with adoption benchmarks instead of first tooth and birth weight, and even better would be for kiddos with special needs!).

THANK YOU ELIZABETH!!!!!
And just as a side note this is the same amazing person that is taking 3 weeks off of work to fly back down here in 3 weeks (she'll only be home for 2!) and watch my kids while Mike and I are overseas. Isn't she wonderful?? I LOVE YOU ELIZABETH!!

Friday, December 28

LOTS of info I found useful

This one is for my fellow prospective adoptive parents :) Some info (LOTS OF INFO) that I received over the past few days about things that I'd never thought about before. SOME OF THESE ARE WRITTEN AS 'WE DID THIS'. PLEASE KNOW THAT THIS IS A COMPILATION OF MANY DIFFERENT TRAVELERS AND ONLY SUGGESTIONS :) Also, all of this info is written about our specific country in Eastern Europe. Although I am not comfortable disclosing this publicly at this time, you may leave me a comment including your e-mail address and I'd be happy to share this with you.

FIRST OF ALL TO DO is get the Power of Attorney, or guardianship set up, and call the bank. Call the bank SOON, this can take some time. The other things you can put together in a few minutes at a time here and there. (See below for details on the bank and on the POA)


-Money money money...
Here's some tips for this area:
1. All the money that you travel with should be cash. Although you may be able to withdraw some more money while over there, it will then have fees and may or may not be an easy thing to do.
2. Cash should be in "new bills" and that means no 'dog eared', folded, or marked bills. Also, they shouldn't be dated before 1991. This is because the government over there originated in that year and they have difficult accepting bills older than their government it seems... So CALL THE BANK TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOU NEED THE MONEY because they may need to order new bills in order for you to withdraw a large sum of money in 'perfect bills'.
3. People over there prefer exact change, so once you know what the costs of some things are, ie: hotel stay, make change to get it in exact bills.
4. Get a money belt for each of you and wear it with your cash split up between the two of you at all times. One that goes under the clothes either around the neck, ankle, or waist.
5. Put money for the Visas and medical exams in an envelope or ziplock bag and label it so that you don't mistakingly spend it. Do the same for your facilitator fees.
6. Split up your cash into separate envelopes and label with "hotel", "food", "leisure", "travel", etc. This way it is easier to carry out the budget that you set for yourself.
7. Bring a ledger and mark all money that is exchanged and spent so you know at all times how your finances are doing.
8. Contact your bank and/or credit card company and let them know you will be in Ukraine begining on whatever date. That way IF an emergency occurs and you need to use a credit card/debit card, it won't get denied due to a security quirk with your bank.
9. Find out details about what is covered in your facilitator fees. Does a ride to and from the airport mean just one ride or a ride for each parent(since you're leaving at seperate times). If your facilitator is arranging for you to drive to region(since you're so close to the capital), ask NOW what that driver is going to cost. These little things add up to big bucks and throw a lot of people over budget while in country.

-Besides money, the next most important thing to bring is a good antibiotic for YOU and your hubby! You can possibly ask for and get Cipro.

-There is more paperwork to prepare than we were aware of, and rather than re-type it all... ok, I'll retype it all, but I got the list from Shelley's blog of her adoption of little Xander, which I've been reading religiously and I hope she doesn't mind me linking to it :) (a few tips from others are added too)
Here goes...
Official Adoption Paperwork:
1. a copy of complete dossier
2. I-600 form
3. ds-230(visa application)
4. Embassy checklist
5. medical waiver(you sign it at the embassy)
6. vaccination waiver(again, you sign it at the Embassy if you are adopting a child under 10)
7. copy of previous 2 year's tax returns
8. a copy of hubby's paystubs for a month
9. a page with the english speaking phone number for the SDA and our registration number
For Personal Use:
1. a page with important contact numbers, important email addresses and favorite websites
2. a page on sites to see in the capital/region
3. a copy of our plane tickets with the confirmation number (so that when I need to change the return date and order our son's ticket, I can
4. the address, phone number and emergency contact info for the US Embassy
5. A list of questions to ask at the orphanage, and a place to write notes from the caretakers.

-PACK LIGHT! I think 10 people told me this and told it to me in various forms... I will post my 'packing list' soon when I get closer to finished writing it. Yep, I'm a LIST person, can you tell?? (Thanks mom! LOL)
More specifics to this idea (in no particular order):
1. in January, think layers, not additional outfits. People there do not have closets full of clothes like we do. They wear the same things over and over and over. You can get by with 2-3 "outer" outfits plus church clothes (see below), but make sure you have long-johns, warm socks, etc...You will need them. You can buy things there, but if you can take them with you, do so. 5 days worth of underwear/socks. In the winter, I would include more socks and a couple more undies.
2. if you must have a washcloth bring it with you!
3. bring something to help you sleep either Tylenol PM or Melatonin or whatever you prefer
4. one dress outfit is all you will need. This will be for court, church, and really you can wear it most days. Think dark colors. and layers. IF you will be going to or even touring any of the Orthodox Churches (Highly recommended) you will need a head covering. A thin scarf will work. We went to one monestary that ladies HAD to wear a dress or skirt. In the capital, nice pants were fine, but the head covering for a woman is a MUST.
5. We took a laptop and it was also invaluable!
6. Bring DVD's of movies you want to catch up on (I would get one of those wallet book things, and put them all in there. Saves much room over individual cases) TV series you like, etc... Also cards or travel games
7. A Thumby drive was SOOOOO valuable for us. We wrote our updates each night, put them and any pictures on the thumby drive, and took that to the internet cafe to upload the next day.
8. a couple, or a few, good books. Paperbacks are good, and you can always leave them with your facilitator. They also make great gifts to English learners there when you are done with them.
9. You will need an international adaptor, but not a "converter" for a laptop (check other items you might want to plug in to see if you need a converter for those!). The converter steps the power down so the thing does not get fried. Laptops have built in converters now. I suggest getting two.
10. Hand sanitzer! Yes, do take plenty of this. I would get a travel size bottle, and one large bottle to refill.
11. To follow the hand sanitizer- another person said that they had no need for hand sanitizer as things were available such as soap and water in restrooms and cleaner in the market :)
12. Sanitary supplies, deodarent, etc...are all readily available there. You get them at the local "drug store". You will be able to point, and easily recognize brands.
13. Carry ons contained the laptop, DVD's, one change of underwear each (just in case our suitcases got lost, we could at least freshen up) a book each for the plane, camera, etc...You will want a big purse to carry-you can put lots in it. We actually used a backpack as my "purse".
14. translation books, we used Russian and it worked ok. We have a small, purse sized one, and a larger one
15. pack many of your essentials in your carry-on, as it seems so many people lose their luggage. 16. tie a ribbon or something on the handles so you can identify them quickly.
17. Take neutral clothes that you can interchange....and things that will air dry quickly.
18. Febreeze....don't wash until you just have to. They don't wash clothes very often and don't expect you to either.
19. Bring something to some way to carry your child.....a sling or a stroller. A sling is much easier than a stroller because their sidewalks are horrible....and most are NOT accessible for a stroller. EVERYTHING has steps! I also thought the sling was very eas in the airport on the way home. Of course older children or multiples are a different situation. Bring SOMETHING!

- For the family at home
1. make sure whoever is watching your children has a power of attorney for medical care/major decisions while both you and your husband are out of the country. Temporary custody is just as easy to do as a POA and it safeguards for even the worst of situations.
2. make sure your will is where someone can access it. Things you don't like to think about, I know. But, you are both leaving the country for several weeks.
3. ask whomever is providing childcare to blog along with you, so you can keep up with what they are doing, and they can be a part of what is happening overseas.
4. make two photo albums, one for your children at home and one to bring with you. The one for home can have pictures of the kids with mommy and daddy
5. You can Build A Bear and leave your voice in the bear for your children
6. Talk with your child care providers and as them to be extremely sensitive and gentle, and patient, and understanding...basically lower their expectations and raise their tolerance level, especially with little ones....I can only imagine what it will be like for them to be scolded, put in time out, etc. etc. for several weeks, only to see mommy and daddy come back with a new sibling
7. Make a schedule to make it easy for your caregivers to follow and to keep the children in some srt of familiarity. Make sure you follow it before leaving to get them used to it!



- For your newly adopted child
1. You can put together a couple of little photo albums of your home, current kids, neighborhood, stores, car, car seat, etc... Others will want to see this too.
2. we took a few paperback books (I acutally saved the Cheerios ones, so they were very small and lightweight), and an Usborne First Thousand WOrds in RUssian book. This served as a translation book for us, as well.
3. we'll take a brother-and-sister bear with us containing hugs, kisses, and singing from the siblings at home to our new child.

- Some cultural/area things to know
1. People prefer exact change (see money section above)
2. You can't take a backpack into a store with you, but they have lockers to keep them in while you shop.
3. The Raddisson hotel has free high speed internet in their lounge. You can take your laptop in and plug up. You do NOT want to stay there....it's outragious. But, you can walk their with your laptop & hang out in the lounge.

Thursday, December 27

Yes we're going nuts

I am so excited and somewhat in a fog that we finally know our travel dates, but now it's a matter of... WHAT DO WE DO?

Here's what I did today:
- set up appointments for K's 4 yr and B's 2 yr well visits
- set up flu shots for both kids (we'd rather they stay well while we're gone)
- set up a consultation with the pediatrician to discuss adopting from EE, Down syndrome, safe medications
- set up to get the results from Bria's thyroid bloodwork
-- (yes, all FOUR of those things for ALL THE KIDS will happen at ONE appointment one week from today! YAY!!)
- looked up flight info to find out what rates are available on cheaptickets.com (I'll check a few other areas sometime soon)
- e-mailed a ton of people but still have more to send out to (ahem... MIKE- send 'em! LOL) letting them know of our newly acquired DATE!
- confirmed with Elizabeth, my sister, that she is coming down to watch the kids while we're both traveling
- set up dates (somewhat) with grandparents to help out Elizabeth with the kids
- talked to the baby I watch's parents and found out I'll just have her for one week before they put her in daycare for the remainder of the school year so I don't need to arrange care for her too

Here's the beginning of my "3-weeks to-do" list:
- Get vaccinations (tetanus for me) and flu shots for Mike and I
- Make POA for childcare of the kids while we're gone
- Gather copies of all our paperwork
- Make POA for sale of our home incase God has an even better sense of humor and sells it for us
- Finish arrangements for a garage sale benefit
- Finish childcare arrangements for K and B while we're gone
- Clean the house!!
- Pack the bags... that's another list in and of itself!
- Set up bill-pay for the next month or two
- Make our guest room hospitable again (it's been a 'storage' room for Christmas the past few weeks!)
- Figure out the whole money stuff- how much, from where, and to where!
- Make a trip to BJ's and stock the house up with diapers, dry oods, cans, and frozen foods for while I'm gone
- Buy those 'weird travel items' like money belts, a ledger, and the things that I can't think of because I don't yet know I need them
- Arrange to get the items that we're borrowing from friends/family such as a portable dvd player, sound cancelling headphones, and a travel pillow

Well, I'm beat... that was a long list! Just thinking of it is a bit daunting and I'm sure there is more to add... Thanks for enduring my lists- there will likely be more!

Wednesday, December 26

WE GOT OUR DATE!!

YAY!!! What a wonderful late Christmas gift!! Our SDA appointment in Aleksa's country is.... JANUARY 21st!!!

Not just a Christmas gift, BUT also a great early birthday present as well! I will be 26 on January 22nd! :D :D

Start praying please! More later...

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas!!

I'll have to post the picture of the kids with Santa after Christmas unless I find a miraculous minute in the next day or two, but I still wanted to wish all of my blogging friends a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Friday, December 21

A Brianna Update

Although this is supposed to be our "adoption" blog, there's no real news there. So here's a little about what Brianna has accomplished lately...

Brianna is AMAZING. That's the only way I can put it! She pulled to standing once about 2 weeks ago and although she hasn't accomplished it again yet, she is getting into a tall-kneel and putting one foot up :) She's on her way and I bet she'll have it figured out in the next few weeks. Also, some of you may not know that Brianna's primary mode of transportation is on her fanny. Yep, she scoots everywhere on her butt! We tried for a while to get her crawling but to no interest of her own. Well... while I was on the phone today sitting on the floor, she looked at me, grinned, then CRAWLED on all fours! PERFECTLY! It was only about 3 or 4 feet, but she did it! I'm so proud of this little munchkin!

And in communication she has just blossomed lately! Just a few weeks ago we'd ask her questions with no reply or a grunt or nod. She has some words, has some signs, but used them sparingly and not always on-demand. This kiddo has come out with 3-part signs now! She'll ask for more-eat-please or more-milk-please or more-play! She's waving hello and goodbye and even saying bye-bye every time now. She also is saying please and thank you pretty consistantly and loves to blow people kisses when they're leaving (although it's pretty much the same as thank-you ;) ). She's also learned a lot of animal signs lately and in addition to her dog and bird signs she is signing (granted not all the time...) cat, sheep, cow, and pig, and has attempted fish and a few others.

We used to have a hard time with me being around during therapy because she just wanted to be held or cuddled when I was around so I started leaving and watching from the other room while involved with something else. I usually stick around a few minutes at the beginning just so she knows I'm not running away and then I slowly slip out. On Wed when she had speech she looked at me, waved and said bye-bye, and pointed out the door! She then signed 'play' to her ST! She was ready to play and ready for me to leave.

Her absolute favorite sign is baby. She loves her baby dolls but even moreso loves the baby I watch during the day. Little AB is 9 months old and I think she has had a big hand in teaching Brianna some of these recent gross-motor milestones. She crawls and pulls to standing, so although we haven't been able to convince Bria that it's a good way to go- AB seems to have done that for us! Thanks baby girl!!

Brianna will be 2 in a week and along with her big brother is the joy of our days!

I love you Tiny!!

Tuesday, December 18

God's provision

Well, today is day 21 of our 20 day wait... and yes, we're still waiting!

On a side note, today was a very long day. It began when the baby I watch was brought to me with a mild case of hives. Not a really big deal because they started yesterday and we just went through this with her a few weeks ago and this looked EXACTLY like it had then... it was an allergic reaction. About an hour after she was dropped off we all pile into the van to go to the church where I (usually) drop off the kids for a few hours to get a little Mommy break :) But, this morning it was going to start a half hour later so I planned to drop by the post office to get Kim's monkeys in the mail.

When we were finally all ready to leave I realized that the little one's face had about 10x as many hives as she got to me with, and her feet were really patchy and swollen as well. So I called her dad and instead of hitting the post office (sorry Kim!) I dropped her off to her Daddy. Then off to the church for what could-have-been a morning off. Except today was Kristopher's age group's special mommy-day and they were making ornaments, singing Christmas carols, and icing cookies for 2 hrs instead of having regular class. Parents must attend (not that I wouldn't... :) ).

So I brought Brianna to her class just in time for her PT to come and have a WONDERFUL session with her (Bria stood unsupported for 3-4 seconds two different times! YAY!) And Kristopher and I headed over to the gym for a little running. Then we listened to the Christmas story, made ornaments, iced cookies and sang carols. Eleven o'clock rolled around and Kristopher and I snuck off to the post office (see, I really did get the monkeys out!) then headed back to the church to pick up Brianna and to have lunch with Mike. About this time I called the baby I watch's dad and arranged to pick her up from their house after lunch. An uneventful day at the doctor- they pronounced her free from STREP and decided it must be another allergic reaction-- no idea what!

We swallowed down lunch, picked up the baby, got home, unpacked the van (including children!) and got everyone to lay down for a little rest. Somehow this time went by and I'm not sure WHERE it went... but it did. And then everyone was up and bustling around and playing HARD. Four o'clock came around, the baby got picked up, my tutoring student showed up, and I somehow breathed twice in the midst of it. That's about when the fun began.

Kristopher decided that it was a good idea to 1) scream loudly from his little snack table and see if he could talk Bria into getting in trouble with him by screaming back 2) throw little balls at Brianna's head and continue to do so after he's been told not to just to see what would happen 3) talk back and generally "mouth off" to his mother when he was told to go to time-out for hurting his sister 4) throw things at the walls in his room when he was finally sent there for a time...

Needless to say I felt really bad for my student and apologized when his mom was back an hour or so later. He did great in the midst of the chaotic house and Mike did get home sometime in there and rescued me from the little monster-boy (Kristopher, not my student ;) ).

Whew. I'm tired just writing that... but here's the cool part- did you make it this far?? :)

When I'm done tutoring I asked Mike what he'd like for dinner and like a sweet husband that KNOWS that I'm spent and really don't want to make ANYTHING for dinner, much less starting at 6pm, he says "Why don't we go out?".

Well, that's the question, isn't it? And I had a reply on the tip of my tongue just WHY we shouldn't go out-- it's the WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS, we're trying to ADOPT, we have a HOUSE ON THE MARKET, Mike's in GRADSCHOOL... all these seemed like good reasons why we don't go out to eat. But... I was spent. So we spent.

Mike suggested Sonny's and I thought, "ok, I have a coupon for $5 off and we'll just get something inexpensive". So we went out. And when we went to pay our bill it was $26, then the coupon brings it down to $21, and a tip back up to $26. Mike hands the casher the slip and coupon then stands and waits for her to ask for his card. She needed a manager 'card' to scan to input the coupon so she went and got one, then when she asked Mike for his card she instead looked down, saw what looked like a gift card on the counter, and swiped it. OOPS! It was the "manager's card". It MESSED UP their system!

So 10 minutes later we were finally able to pay our bill and they had to get the ?owner? out there to fix the mess that this card had made. And guess what? He reduced our bill by 50%! So now our $26 dinner (including tip) was $12! We added the tip back on to that and dinner for 4 ended up being $17. What a night. I guess God knew how much we needed a night out. Even if it is Christmas and we have other financial responsibilities. Isn't God's provision great?

Tuesday, December 11

Will Santa be bringing

a gift or two for your adoptive child/ren?? I've specifically asked Santa to bring a "toy with a match". I've been attempting to make things a little more real for Kristopher and I hope that putting Aleksa's matching baby doll on her bed might help him know that 1) she is really coming! and 2) that there are things that will be hers and he won't be able to just take :) At the moment he has pretty free-roam of kid stuff since Brianna shares most everything (except her blankies and her baby doll).

Santa always leaves us each new toothbrushes and that type of thing along with a little Christmas candy in our stockings and he agreed to leave a little something in the extra stocking :)

Have you talked to Santa? Will he be bringing something wrapped up for your new kiddos or did you ask him to wait until next year?

Monday, December 10

I need a nap

Many of you who know me well hear this phrase as my anthem :) But did you know that I have another blog? One more family-related than adoption-based? It's called, ahem, "I Need A Nap" and you can view it at http://www.mcornish.blogspot.com :)

And after you read about my day today, you'll know that I really DO need a nap ;)

After my littlest one gets picked up by her folks I'll post the picturs and song that I learned from my son's closet today :)

Christmas lights and Coral Snakes- Maybe FL isn't so great after all

Yesterday I finally got the lights on our Christmas tree (it's been up over a week) and I even convinced Mike to get up on the roof and put lights on the house :) So Kristopher went to play on the swingset on the side yard in the fenced area with the dogs and I set Brianna down in the grass to play while I pulled weeds, cut bushes back, and handed new strands of lights up to Mike on the roof.

After almost an hour Kristopher very calmly came around to the front of the house and said "Mom, there's a snake over there." Ok, we live in Florida. We live in a pretty wooded area, and we have black snakes pretty often. No big deal. So around the corner I go and ask K to show me the snake. He walks RIGHT UP TO IT and points. IT'S A CORAL SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I quickly rehearsed the short "Red and Yellow kill a fellow, Red and Black a friend to Jack" and said, oh yes, this one is poisonous! I grabbed Kristopher (yes, before rehearsing my little poem :) ) and called Mike off the roof. Yep, he was on his way already. Luckily my super-wonderful-ever-protective-saved-my-kid's-life dogs had already killed the snake.

When Kristopher and I walked back out to the front yard he said to me "Mom, I hit it with my shovel!" WHAT?? Yes, fearless. Oh, to be three again, but how do you put a healthy fear in a little boy??? He and Mike had that nice little chat and by the end he was at leas saying things like "I shouldn't touch snakes" and "If I see a snake I need to walk away and find Mom and Dad"...

Ugh. Thank God Kristopher is ok. And here's a little pic of my heros :)

Sunday, December 9

Day 15 and Cyrillic

Tomorrow is Day 15 of our 'supposed to be' 20 business day wait to hear of an appointment date. Maybe this week?? Maybe?? Poor Charissa has already been waiting longer than I have and still no date. Bummer!

In the mean time I am attempting to learn some Russian. At least how to pronounce their alphabet, which, may I say, is REALLY confusing??

For instance-- something that looks like a P is pronounced like an R. And what looks like an n is really said like an l. An r sounds like a g, and something like a u? or a y maybe? sounds like 'ts'. Then there's this letter that looks like an X with a vertical line through it and it makes the 'zh' sound... Oh, my favorite? The #3 and the #6. 3 is a letter and sounds like a z. And 6 (although this makes a little more sense) is a b. Hmmm... guess I have a LOT to learn!

Saturday, December 8

Thanks

Thank you everyone that has been praying for our decisions. However difficult they were, we are now at peace with what we have come to. Please continue to pray for all of the waiting angels as well.

Friday, December 7

We need prayer

Would you pray for us please? Things are coming along- at least I hope they are- and we are still just waiting for our appintment date. But a few decisions unrelated to Aleksa have cropped up and we need prayer for knowledge in what to do. Nothing scary, nothing bad, just some big decisions. Thank you all for your prayerful support throughout this entire journey. God has already proven Himeself time and again in this process!

Wednesday, December 5

Yes, me again- note the time??

It's 11:54 PM. But I crawled back out of bed to write this down. Because someday soon I know I'll need to read it again and again and again, and I want to know where to find it.

I just finished my devotional tonight and at the end is a short prayer. Monday's goes like this: "Lord, it is so hard to balance the needs of my children with the realities of life. Help me to be the best mother I can be, grant me wisdom to make wise choices, and give me peace when I am doing all that I can. Amen."

Wednesday's says this: "Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessing of motherhood. Give me strength and encouragement to face its challenges as I seek to fulfill and enjoy Your ordained plan for our family. Amen."

And because I'm a bad person and read ahead... here is Friday's: "Father of compassion and comfort, thank You for loving and caring for us! We know that no matter how difficult the journey, You are there to pick us up and point us in the right direction. Wrap us daily in Your arms as we do the same with our children. Amen."

1 Peter 5:7 "Cast your anxiety on Him because He cares for you"

Speaking of Angels...




The first picture is Daria. A sweet angel still waiting for a family. And the second? My Brianna. The rest of the story? Here you go...

Daria will soon be FIVE years old. Yes, that is a recent picture. Taken this year. Can you believe she is four in those pictures?? Brianna likely outweighs Daria at a measley 18lbs. Daria is estimated to be 15. She is holding on. Barely. And time is closing in on her.

My heart is consumed for this little girl tonight. She needs some strong arms to protect her, and a strong heart to keep her going.

Please say a prayer for little Daria tonight. You can also visit her on the Angel Tree.

Books, and Kristopher

Yesterday Mike and I took the kids to Orlando and went to a quick dinner at Panera's. Then we went to Barnes and Noble and found 2 pocket phrasebooks, a book about the culture and history of Aleksa's country, a book suggested to us by the Reece's Rainbow moms called "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk", and a book called "We are Adopted". I can't seem to get through the kid's book without crying so far, so I'm not sure how that'll go over, but we wanted to get something that will explain the process a little with Kristopher.

Also, speaking of the big boy, we've been having these little spikes of "jealousy" with him lately at the idea of adoption. Although these are VERY normal, we're trying to help him understand his place in our family a little better- that he'll always be loved and always be our "big boy". He's helped pick out some clothes and things to give him a little bit of ownership, but I suppose it's just going to take some time. In the next few weeks our "rest time" is going to be spent with a little more 1-1 time with K and hopefully that will help some. Today at rest time he wanted to lay down and watch his little movie though (which is our usual routine) so we'll see what happens.

Monday, December 3

There are no orphans

Wow, that's all I could say. Avalon sings this song "There are no Orphans"...

Sunday, December 2

Happy Birthday Aleksa!!

Well, we don't know of the date of Aleksa's birthday, so I guess we will celebrate this entire month! This is likely the first time that anyone is celebrating Aleksa's birth and her life, and the last time that she will have to be alone for it. Although this birthday isn't going to be a special day for her, nor will she likely even know that there is a reason to celebrate, but SOMEONE should be happy, and SOMEONE should be celebrating, and from this point on--- it's ME!!! I'm looking forward to having a "Homecoming" party for Aleksa when she has been home for a short time so that we can celebrate each of her 5 years.

In the next few weeks I'll be posting a few new fundraising things that we're going to do to raise money to bring home Aleksa. Here are a few ideas I've received, let me know what you think:
1. a "virtual raffle" of a handmade lap quilt (buy a chance for $5, I'll make a lap quilt and mail it to the winner)
2. an online Princess House party where the amount of "product" earned for us (a portion of the total amount sold) will be donated to our RR account instead of being redeemed as product.
3. e-bay auction with the total amount benefitting our family adoption fund

A few other great ideas- several of which I may consider still, but those are the top of my list this far :)