Saturday, May 29, 2010

A day at the zoo...

and was it ever gorgeous!  We walked over the the Moscow Zoo and paid the grand price of 300 Rubles to get in (approx. $10-11 US).  They have a huge selection of animals and while it may not be up to US standards, the animals looked well-cared for and the staff were friendly and welcoming.

We saw all the major exhibits then hit the streets for a Stardog.  If you don't know about the Stardog, let me enlighten you... Stardog's is a chain of street kiosks that sells hotdogs and sausage-y type things.  OMG is the little spiral sausage sandwich good!!  Okay, so it sort of looks like Pomeranian poop on a roll, but it IS tasty.  They put it on a toasted roll with crunchy fried onions and spicy mustard...complete yumminess.

We came home to decompress, then braved the Metro.  We were able to successfully buy tickets and negotiate our way through a couple of different lines.  The Metro stops were built back in the 1930's and doubled as bomb shelters.  They all have different themes and are all just beautiful inside.  They trains go about 8 million miles an hour and run close together.  You have almost no wait in between... all in all, a very efficient way to travel!

Happy boy at the zoo!

I dare you to look at this photo and NOT sing "I Like to Move It" from Madagascar!! Original King Julian in da house!!

Jack and Daddy

It's hard to believe that tomorrow we'll have been here a week!  Next weekend we'll be getting all antsy about getting the boys... it's hard to believe it's really happening.

Paka for now....

Friday, May 28, 2010

This is what the judge gave Jackson...

It's a little crystal.... thingy.  It's not big enough to be a paperweight, so I'm not really sure what to call it.  It's about two inches high and one inch square.  Obviously, it's Lady Justice, and Jack thinks it's the absolute coolest thing!  We ended up hiding it from him as he'd dropped it five hundred times in his efforts to admire it.  I'd at least like to get it home and keep it safe til he's a little bit older, you know?

Anyway, we'd gotten a couple of questions about exactly what he'd been given... and since a picture is worth a thousand words, here you go.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Supporting the local economy...

I don't mean to sound preachy or self-righteous, but I really do think we owe it to the economy to patronize small local businesses when traveling abroad.  Lance and I were out walking around and found this lovely little coffee shop on Old Arbat.  The coffee was amazing AND they spoke English!  Who'd of thunk it?  Here's a photo so you can find it the next time you happen to be in Moscow...

I know... I'm totally lame, but Good LORD I loves me some Starbucks!!  I've never been happier to see a little green logo before in my life!  Is it wrong to deliberately go out in search of something so very patently un-Russian?  

Excuse me while I go enjoy my Peppermint Mocha.  Dasvidanya!

It's official...we're a family of five!!

We just got back from the Moscow Regional Court and had some lunch.  Truth be told, I could've used a stiff shot of Vodka, but I guess a serving of Cheesy Mac will do!!

Court went very well.  The judge was lovely, the prosecutor initially a bit severe and the social worker was very passionate in her arguments on our behalf.  They asked Lance to make a statement to the court summarizing our experience with Jackson and why we wanted to adopt more children.  He did quite well, I think I'm the only one that noticed his voice was a little shaky!  The process itself was pretty routine, the only thing they seemed to emphasize and question was our commitment to the children.  They also wanted some assurance that we would seek medical and psychological help if they became "troublesome" to us.

They had several questions about sibling rivalry and how we had prepared Jackson for the boys.  The judge, prosecutor and social worker were VERY pleased that we'd brought him along to meet the boys and that we were staying the 10 days to let them all become better acquainted.  So if this is your second adoption, bringing your older child with you most certainly seems to help.  The judge and the prosecutor both wanted to meet Jackson, and gave him a little gift to remember court by. (like two little brothers isn't enough?)

Lance had time to come home, scarf down some food and then had to run out the door again to the notary office to sign a power of attorney.  That allows our coordinator to handle pretty much all the paperwork and appointments on our behalf... that will come in VERY handy when we pick up the boys.

Speaking of pick-up... gotcha day will officially be Wednesday June 9th.  It's exactly one year to the very day that I wrote our home study agency to begin the adoption process.  Pretty cool, huh?

Here is our obligatory family photo outside of court, the relief on our faces is readily apparent!!

I'm going to take Jackson out for a scooter run to the grocery store.  I've got to burn some energy off that child before I have to sedate him!!  We're planning on doing some sightseeing this weekend, so stay tuned for more family fun from Moscow!  

Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement... we really appreciate it!!  

Much love,  Kim, Lance, Jackson, Cooper and Carter

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

8 Doctor Medical D-O-N-E!!!

And how completely painless!!  This was the first time our agency has used this particular clinic, and I have to highly recommend the process.  As most adoptive parents know, the 8 doctor medical is pretty much a formality.  For some, it is painful, for others... not so much.  It all depends on where you get it done.  So here's how it went down, for those that are interested.

We drove to the wrong place a couple of times.  Like I mentioned, this was the first time they had used this place and they weren't sure exactly where it was.  Once we found it, we went into a big conference-type room and sat down to wait.  We were joined by three other families and their coordinators.  One by one the different doctors (all women) drifted in the room.  They began shuffling everyone's paperwork and x-rays around and making notes.  At one point they got everyone's stuff all tangled up and confused, but it all got straightened out, thank Heaven!

Apparently HIPPA rules don't apply here, they just went around the room asking questions of each family. Had we ever sustained a head injury?  Had our parents ever sustained a head injury - like that matters?  The neurologist made us look at her little hammer then tapped our wrists and knees.  That was the neuro exam.  We got asked very generally and almost in passing if we drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes.  Had we had any surgeries ever seen a dermatologist for anything.

Then we did the dance behind the little curtain.  With our shirts off, they listened to our lungs and checked our blood pressure.  One poor woman forgot where she was and walked back out without her shirt on.  We all laughed a little and that was that.  Over and done.

I really have no idea who was who, and the whole process lasted just under two hours.  We never left the conference room, just paid up and left.  Out of all of them, only three of them asked us any questions.

One more thing down... one left to go.  We get to see the boys again tomorrow, then court at 10:30 on Thursday.

That is all the news that is news around here....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oh how things have changed...

We got to see our babies today!!  Cooper looks just the same, gorgeous and a little reserved.  He warmed up pretty quickly though and did seem to remember us.  Carter has changed a lot.  He's definitely a toddler and not a baby anymore.  He's so steady on his feet and has most assuredly decided what he does and does NOT want.  YIKES!  Here's a blurred face photo of the brothers together for the first time, I just about DIED when I got them all to sit in the same place at the same time!

We got to feed them lunch and they ate more than I do.  I've never seen small humans pack away the chow like they can!  It's no wonder they're both on the hefty side!

We can tell they've been working with the boys.  Now Cooper knows who and what a brother is.  When you ask him "where's your brother?" he points to Carter.  When we are more specific and ask "Where is brother Jackson?" he points to Jack.  I know, it hardly qualifies him for Mensa... but we think it's pretty cool!!  He also points to us respectively when asked "where is Mama/Papa?".  Dare I hope they've been using the little photo album we left on Trip One?

There was a different vibe today.  We were both looking at them in a another light, with more possessiveness... is that even a word?  They're still strangers in a sense, but now they're OUR strangers.  And we can't wait to get to know them better!

We have the ever exciting 8 doctor medical tomorrow and can't wait to get poked and prodded by 8 indifferent strangers.  

I'll let you know how it goes...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

We are here....

Good GOD am I tired!!  Props to Lufthansa for their nice plane and excellent choice of movies.  Big fat thumbs down to the fact that they broke our damn stroller!!  Do you recall the VERY nice Peg Perego Aria that my sister bought me?  Yeah... they broke off one of the clips that makes it collapse and lock.  I can get it to collapse if I jam something in the hole like a car key... but how white trash is that?  All they did was put it in the hold as we checked it at the gate.  When we changed planes in Munich it was laying in the middle of the tarmac, all sad and lonely.  Oh well, perhaps we can order a new little piece for it?

Jack did so well on the flight.  He fell asleep almost immediately after take off and woke up in time for breakfast.  Unfortunately he only had about six hours of sleep, when he normally gets 11-12.  He was fine for the duration, but passed out cold on the way to the apartment.  I had to peel him out of the stroller and pour him into bed.  I surely hope he doesn't wake up at 3 a.m.!!

The only thing I didn't care for about the Lufthansa routing is that you have less than 8 hours to Munich, the another 3 to Moscow.  Not really enough time to get some good sleep in between plane changes and meals.  Thank Heaven we won't have to do it again after this!!

We had some sad news on our arrival, apparently the driver that normally works with our translator died unexpectedly.  It's an awful bit of news... he was a lovely, kind man.  He and Violet had worked together for over 10 years.  He will be sorely missed.

The good news is that we get to see our little guys tomorrow!  I thought we were gonna have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday.  We're so excited to see how much they changed and grown in the last few months!

Now Lance and I are going to practice better living through chemistry and get some good sleep.

Da Zaftra!!  (see you tomorrow)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

And.....we're off!!

Well, today is the day.  I got all teary-eyed last night putting Jackson to bed... I kept thinking about how this was the last time he had me all to himself at bedtime to snuggle for as much and as long as he wanted to.  I feel so torn.  I love him so very much and I can't even fathom how I could love anyone else as much.  I know, I know... love gets multiplied, not divided.  I just don't know how my heart could get any fuller!

We're done packing.  The entire house has been cleaned from top to bottom.  I've checked and re-checked our documents about a thousand times.  We've consolidated down from 5 lists (Lance LOVES him some lists) to one.  Hopefully we won't have any more of those "Dear God, we forgot about ________!!" moments.

We have three 45 pound suitcases (I don't want to hear about it), two backpacks, one diaper bag, a double stroller and my ginormous travel "purse".  I use the word purse's huge!  I had NO idea that packing for three plus weeks and three little boys would require so much stuff!  Really, it's not that much of their stuff, we are just loaded down with all our gifts for folks and our orphanage donations.  Once we get rid of all that, we should be able be able to only have two suitcases.  We will leave one of them there when it's empty.

Really, it will be an even trade... one 45 pound suitcase for 54 pounds of children.  At least they can walk!!

We will be posting photos on the blog as soon as it's legal.  Those of you that contact me privately will receive a private showing of the cuteness!!

Next post from Moscow!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

T minus 72 hours and counting...

Until we leave for Russia for the final time!  The last weeks have been filled with packing, then unpacking - buying, then returning and buying something different - cleaning and rearranging only to mess it up again.  Jack keeps running around the house saying "I can't WAIT to go to RUSSIA and see my brothers!"

I should have taken some photos of the boys room... we keep calling it "Ground Zero" since it looks like a bomb went off in there.  As each suitcase is packed up the room gets cleaner and cleaner.  The only thing we have left to pack is our clothes and toiletries.

I've been researching different parks and outdoor things to do with Jack while we're there.  We're still hoping to see the boys at least four or five times prior to taking them the final time.  We'll be bribing them with bubbles and cookies... I have no shame.

Today is my last day at work, and I have to say I'm relieved.  It's not my last day forever, just until my maternity leave is over.  I feel like I have so much left to do, but we really don't.  Tomorrow I have to pick our money up from the bank (gotta love those new $100 bills), and get my skirt for court from the tailor.

We've got all our gifts and orphanage donations packed.  I was able to get a great deal at Carter's and bought some summer footy pajamas.  We'll ask if they have another specific request when we're there and get them what we can.

I've gotta run get ready for work... Paka for now!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

In just a couple of weeks...

We FINALLY get to see our boys again!!  At that point it will have been FIFTEEN weeks since we met.  I doubt they will remember us at all, and that's the hard part.  We did so much work getting them to warm up and get comfortable with us... now it all starts from scratch.  The big difference this time is that it's for forever.  We won't be coming home again without them.

I'm looking forward to being able to spend time with them again, getting to know them and starting the attachment process.  Who am I kidding?  Attachment?  More like survival in the beginning!  We are hoping to be able to see them at least four times during the two week wait.  We have to pay for a driver and translator each time, and the cost adds up very quickly!  We're hoping to have the last two visits come the two days prior to our pick up day.

Ooooh!  I never laid out the proposed time line for you.  (this is as close as I have it) We get there Sunday the 23rd and check into our super cool, deluxe Peace Travel apartment (which I just found out will NOT have hot water for the first three days we're there?)  **Updated - We will have hot water to shower, just none in the kitchen **

I'm pretty sure we'll have our medical exams on Monday and be able to see the boys on Tuesday.  Quiet day Wednesday, then court on Thursday the 27th.  The court decree should be ready for pickup on the 8th or 9th, which means we'll actually pick the boys up forever on the 9th or 10th of June!  Depending on how efficiently we can get our paperwork done, our flight home should be Thursday, June 17th... maybe a day earlier, depending on how things go.

We've still got a fair bit of stuff to do, mostly busy work, but the list is long enough to make me wince a little when I look at it!  We are getting so excited!  It's coming up quickly!

Paka, paka for now!