Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Wow...I still can't believe I took a photo a day and completed 13 2 page layouts! YAHOO!!!!
Monday, September 28, 2009
I have a new appreciation for people who travel internationaly for a living. Getting your body asjusted to a new timezone stinks, especially a 9 hour difference. My brother travels frequently all over the globe...I don't know how he handles it! I don't remember it being this bad in March...although we were only gone 5 days, not long enough to adjust to Russia time in the first place. Being gone for 25 probably makes a big difference.
Max loves exploring his new environment...He has been outside a couple of times, but the weather really hasn't been cooperating. Maybe today we can go for a walk.
Tomorrow, Kelly is back in school and Mike at work. It will be just me and Max for the first time. More normalcy!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Max is doing well. He had a little melt down last night before dinner. But, he was hungry and tired. We were trying to keep him up until 8...but at 6:30 he was done. Thankfully, he is still sleeping. Hopefully, he gets converted to our time quickly. So far, so good.
We took him to the pediatrician yesterday. His rash is nasty and itchy. She gave us some antibotic, oral steriod and topical steriod. Hopefully we can get this under control.
The dogs seem to be a non-issue. They gave him a couple of sniffs and park themselves near his high chair when he is in it. Tucker, our empathetic one, is always around when he cries. Murphy has even given him a few kisses.
Kelly loves her new baby brother and wants to play with him every moment. I have to remind her to give him a little space. I don't think he really plays with other kids yet. I suspect everything in the baby home was a battle. And he is just a toddler...exploring everything and anything, not neccesarily interacting with others.
He is not too sure about his grandparents yet. I know Jackie is probably dieing to hold him...and Billy is trying to win him over. I think right now, he tolerates them...not quite warming up to them. There is just soo much for him to take in. It will take some time, then he'll be pinching Papa Billy's butt just like Kelly!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Now, to get over the jet lag. Even though I did not get much sleep in our over 24 hour day...I was up at 3:30 am and knew I wouldn't fall back to sleep. Mike was the same way. So, we got up and showered. The little man was also up. So, he got changed and Mike sat with him in the recliner...he has fallen back to sleep! Yeah...hopefully, we can get him transitioned to central time without too much of a fuss.
The plane ride was not too bad. He took a little nap on the way to the airport and ended up sleeping for about 3 hours of the flight. He went through his frustrated screaming because he couldn't fall asleep. The Russian ladies behind us kept wanting to help, but he wouldn't take a pacifier, so there was nothing I could do.
The airport was a non-issue...we got through immigration and customs quite quickly! We probably should have called Dad sooner to pick us up. I think we waited about an hour for him. Then an hour drive to his place, stay there for about 45 minutes and then hit the road for Muscatine. I think Dad wanted us to stay for dinner or even spend the night. In hind sight, we probably should have. But, we just wanted to get home and we had a little girl that was anxious to see us and her baby brother.
He has been a trooper. Seeing a bunch of strange people that want to take his picture and hold him, 2 different houses, 2 dogs, a big sister...all-in-all he has been taking it all in.
We will be calling the Dr. as soon as they open today to have his rash checked out. It flared up on the flight home. I'm pretty sure something we fed him caused it...but we haven't really given him anything different. I'm starting to wonder if there is some kind of filler in baby food fruits that is causing this. It "seems" to happen when he eats those. But who knows....I'm totally guessing. The benydryl that we were giving him didn't seem to help on the plane.
Well...I have a mountain of laundry that I need to attack.
WE ARE HOME!!!!!!!!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
We did skype home last night and Kelly got to see Max again. She was soo cute. She was trying to play with him across skype...peek-a-boo, showed him a webkinz, since he was chewing on a pen...she showed him a pen. 2 more nights and she'll be able to play with him.
Here is more stuff I keep forgetting to post. He weighed in at 23 pounds and is 31" long. His 18 months clothes fit, but I suspect he will be out of them soon.
He fell asleep without crying last night. My husband convinced me to let him suck his fingers for sleep. Kelly had a pacifier for nigh-nigh, so Max should be able to suck his fingers. I didn't want to back down...that would only let him know that we are willing to back down. Now, his tantrums seem to last much longer, a 52 minute one yesterday. Almost like he is waiting for us to give in like we did with the fingers.
He has grown more comfortable with us. And has learned how to signal to be picked up. He also has a come here sign down. We are working on others...more, all done, and eat. He even lets us play with him now...like horsie on the leg and throwing him in the ear...you should hear him giggle in delight.
Well, I think that is about it. Today is Embassy day and hopefully we get all the paperwork we need to bring him home on Wednesday!!!
We picked up some russian benedryl and anti-histimene creme to help with his rash. We are not sure it is working.
Kelly did not prepare us for Max. She was such an easy child. Max's temper tantrums are incredible. One lasted for 45 minutes today. I may need to get some valium or something. LOL!! Hopefully, he will figure out a way to deal with his anger and frustration in a different way. Plus, hopefully we will figure out what he wants. But the tantrums are usually started by us telling him no to something. Oh well...
We are both tired and bored. It is time to go home!!!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
And then there is this otherside of our son. The willful side. The side that throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way...He is NOT even 2 yet! LOL!! Anyway, we are trying to improve his reaction to his dislikes....Like throwing an object in anger is unacceptable. The go sit and start crying and pouting is not working for him either! Here is a photo taken of him after being told no stove...
Plus...we don't really know his signals for his wants and needs. And feeding...at the orphanage they just fed him the set amount...whether he was hungry or not, full or not. So...are we feeding him enough, is he full, is he hungry? We just don't know. He has learned to finger feed little toddler snacks and cookies. I don't think he even got a change to do that. He is liking the sippy cup and is learning to tilt to drink.
We may have made a tactical error which may not be helping his transition any. He sucks his thumb and index finger of his right hand. (We think he may be left handed). We have been trying to stop the sucking and substitue a pacifier. He is NOT happy about this change. But he knows what we want...he is just not happy to comply.
Tomorrow we will be continuing our journey of bringing him home. We have to get visa photos taken (another thing Tatyana didn't do...the list just keeps growing...she also didn't get some papers translated) tomorrow a then he goes for his physical. They may take blood because of the possible HIV infection at birth. I'm sure he is going to LOVE that...Oh Joy! Then CHI takes all our papers to the embassy. They have to get there between 9:30 and 11am in order to get the Visa on Monday to go home. We are going to find out what time the visa is supposed to be ready. If early enough in the am, we may be able to fly home on Monday...but we are not counting on this. American doesn't fly on tuesday that is why we would be coming home on wednesday.
So...at most...6 more days!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
It starts off with issues with our visas. We were supposed to get "adoption" visas. Tatyana, our agencies representative, paid for special invitations so that we can get these "adoption" visas. I remember a conversation in March about getting "adoption" visas.
But when It came time to get the visas, we received the standard invitation from CHI and no mention of the "adoption" visa. Furthermore, the gotorussia.com website doesn't offer an "adoption" visa. So, we got "business" visa. Adoption is a business afterall...that was my thought process anyway.
What no one bothered to tell us is that the passport agency, the one that has to issue Max his passport so he can travel with us, only issues passports to adopted kids if the parent have "adoption" visas. Therefor it is critical that we have "adoption" visas.
NO ONE bothered to check our visas until the day we are supposed to get HIS passport! WHAT A CROCK OF CRAP!!! This is such a critical issue and no one bothers to check our visas. They are in Russian....I can't check AND I didn't know it was such a big deal! The minute we got the visas, the were scanned and sent to our representative in St. Louis. She didn't bother to check the accuracy...she had the copies at least 6 weeks before we left! Tatyana didn't bother to check the visas...I'm sure our St. Louis rep forwarded her the copies AND we gave her copies on September 3rd when we went to court. That means she had them for 2 weeks prior and she never bothered to check. But, according to CHI this is all OUR fault. Another stunning example of the ineptitude of our adoption agency. Oh by the way, the city is even wrong on my visa.
Anyway...to make a long story short...we got some document from the Department of Education saying that it was her fault the wrong visa was obtained. We owe her big! We should be able to pick up his passport @ 3pm today and be on our train this evening.
Then in Moscow, we work on getting his visa to the US.
Oh...did I mention we picked him up from the baby home yesterday. We spent most of the day in the car obtaining paperwork...certificate of adoption, then traveled to DNO (this is not an acronym, it is the city his birth mom is from) 150 km from Pskov (1.5 hour drive) to get his birth certificate redone with our names, then to the baby home (an additional hour drive there and back) to pick up Max, then to the passport office, then the notary, then to the department of education. What a day.
We were rushed the whole time. Tatyana is from Smolensk...a 5 hour drive from Pskov...and she did not want to spend the night and was anxious to hit the road home. So, she didn't let us see his room or crib or anything. She really pissed me off yesterday. Plus, we found out, the supposed $150 amercian dollars passport expiditing fee, probably ends up in her pocket. We wondered why a Russian government agency would charge a fee in american dollars. Another crock of crap in our opinion.
But...we have Max...and what a different child he is. He was extrememly reserved during our visits. We were worried how he would be taking him from the only place he has ever seen. But...he soaked all the new experiences in. He only cried when he saw Ludmilla and we think that is because he associates her with the baby home. Once we got back to her home, he totally came out of his shell. He play, laughed, screamed with delight...it was amazing! He had no problem falling asleep in a strange bed.
Today...he got the other side of having parents. We let him explore...but stoped him from the outlets and banging toys on the furniture. He did not like that. He would throw the current toy in his hand, sit on the floor where he was and cry. It is good to see his personality and I'm sure he will realize that response will not work with Mike and I. He had his first little timeout today...A forceful pickup and seating on the couch with not toys or comfort. The look of shock on his face was priceless. His antics have not been as severe since.
We also had his inagural dump today. OMG...I forgot how bad that stuff stinks. Even though the dumpage was contained in the diaper...the smell permeated into his pants...We had to change those too!
Tomorrow...once we get situated in the hotel...I will get some photos up. Sorry for the delay...I just didn't feel like messing with that on Ludmilla's computer and dial up line.
Thanks again for all the support from you all!!! I can't wait to post photos so you can see him!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Max was in way better spirits today! He had fun playing and even gave us some smiles and laughs. Again, he cried when the caregiver came to get him. I hope that means he enjoys the time with us and that he will not be too uncomfortable when he leaves the only place he has ever been.
We stopped at the store today and picked up some snacks for the 12 hour train ride and bibs. He has not been allowed to feed himself yet...so I'm thinking eating may be a messy endevour. I wonder if he will even try to feed himself. We will see tomorrow!
We also stopped and picked up our train tickets for Wednesday. We are getting closer to going home. Just 2 more nights here, then a night on the train, and then 6 nights at the Hilton. Our plane leaves at 2:30 pm on the 23rd and arrives at O'Hare at 4:30pm. I wish it was only a 2 hour flight, but once you factor in the 9 hour time difference it is about 11 hours. That makes for a VERY long day on Wednesday. Then we have a 4 hour drive to Muscatine. Yep...we will be tired. I hope Max sleeps for most of the time.
It is ANOTHER cloudy and rainy day. I am starting to panic about our laundry. There is no way it will be dry by wednesday if we cannot hang it outside in some sun. I have visions of grocery bags of soggy laundry coming with us to Moscow!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I finished my Computer Tricks for scrapbooker's magazine yesterday. I can't wait to get home and try out my new photoshop knowledge.
It is a somewhat cloudy day today, but we are still trying to get our laundry done. Not having a dryer really makes doing laundry difficult...we are dependent on sunny weather. But, today and tomorrow are probably the last days we will have a chance to get it done...So, with another hopefully, the weather will cooperate.
Tomorrow we will visit Max again and then stop at the grocery store and pick up food for him. What do you feed a 17 month old for 8 days and no kitchen. We don't even know if he will use a sippy cup yet. I hope he will transition to that cup easily...I did not bring enough wipes, if not! LOL!!
Well off to read my photography tips and tricks magazine.
Oh...and it is opening weekend for football!!! Go Bears!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The church...more like cathedral to me...has the most icons -- 7 rows of icons. Icons are a big thing in the Russian Orthadox church. I was actually able to take non-flash photos in this church. Usually you are not allowed to take any photos in the church. The church is not like our typical churches. There are no benches to sit during the service. The people stand during the entire service and I suspect they are wall to wall...there is not much room. The church is VERY ornate...icons/pictures/places for candles/casket of bones/etc. Everything is gilded with gold or silver. Always there are pictures of the many saints that they have.
We then went to a market. It is called a car market. When communisum fell, many people lost their jobs. Those that had money went to the surrounding countries and brought in goods. They would come to this market and sell them by setting up the goods on the hood of their cars. As their wealth increased they would purchase a tent/awning, and then a more permanent kiosk. This market is row upon row of permenant kiosks. And then surrounding the kiosks are the tents and tables of goods.
11 more days. I think I'm going to run out of reading material. I finished my photoshop primer, I'm about halfway done with Computer Tricks for scrapbookers #3 by Jessica Sprague, and then I have a photography tips and tricks magazine. After that...I'm done. I've already finished one of the 2 puzzle books I brought and am halfway through the other. But, I suspect that Max will keep me busy once we pick him up.
They sell what seems like everything there. Coats, shoes, boots, clothes, curtains, umbrellas, car parts, bicycles, watches, etc. It took about 30 minutes to walk the entire market.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I will be taking some photos tomorrow. Ludmilla will be taking us around Pskov tomorrow. Pskov was founded in the 900s, so there is a lot of history in this town. I need to get photos of our hosts and their home. It is very nice. We even took a little walk around the subdivision yesterday. It is kinda crazy...There are a lot of unfinished homes looking like they will never be finished. Also, people live in the unfinished home. Ludmilla's doesn't have siding yet.
We saw Max today. He must not have slept well. He was tired and took a little nap in my lap. It looks like his dermatitis is returning. I can't wait to take him to our doctors. He constantly has a runny nose and seems congested all the time. I sure hope he does not have a bunch of allergies...but it is sure looking like that. At least he has a mommy that knows how to deal with them! Plus, he has a bunch of bumps on the back of his head. Looks like his noggin has taken quite a bit of abuse...probably from falling while walking or something.
He is still unsure of Mike. Although, he did sit in Mike's lap for a little while today. We have one more visit on Monday, then Tuesday we take him with us. He has never been outside, in a car, or been exposed to many other experiences we take for granted. I think he will be soaking up his new environment like a sponge.
Tuesday will be a long day. We have to pick up paperwork from the court, apply for his passport, and get a new birth certificate. The problem is that his mother is from a tiny town 120 km from Pskov or Pechory...I'm not sure which. We have to go to that town to get the new birth certificate which we need for the passport. All the paperwork stuff has to be done before we pick him up. But, the passport should be ready on Wednesday, then we hop on the train back to Moscow. Another new experience for him.
I made spaghetti for our hosts yesterday. It wasn't bad...I was worried about the sauce. But, shopping for the ingredients was interesting. I buy everything in pounds...here it is kilograms. We got too much meat and the spices did not seem as potent as back home. But Ludmilla and her husband enjoyed the American dish.
Kelly is still anxious to see Max on the computer. She asked about it again today. We told her we would try on Thursday when we are back in Moscow. Tomorrow the Grandparents switch. Bill and Jackie arrive...My Dad and Marylou head home.
And...Dad told me MCC called! It looks like I'll be teaching at leat one class in the spring! I'm excited...I really enjoy teaching! Plus, it increases my scrappy budget. Although...we have a LOT of expenses to pay off from this trip. So, I will need to limit my spending! I can't wait to see what classes they want me to teach.
On a home front note...today is 9-11. Can you believe it has been 8 years? A day etched in my memory. Hopefully it is never forgotten.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Anyway, we have about 12.5 days to go...Hopefully, it will go quickly. We visited Max yesterday afternoon and saw him walk. He is still a little shaky, but is walking on his own. I suspect he will be running soon! We got him to smile and laugh. The only time he cried is when Mike showed him his shoe. A big black size 13 would be scary for sure...I don't know what he was thinking! LOL!!! Anyway, Mike is convinced he was crying when they took him away yesterday. Not from the shoe, but because he didn't want to leave. I'm not so sure...but you gotta love wishful thinking!
I'm still dealing with our laundry...It is not drying and I can only hang so much of it outside. So, I'll hang some up and when it dries I'll swap it with some wet stuff. Hopefully, it will stay sunny today and I can get it finished. We had planned on doing laundry again before Moscow. I hope it is sunny again this weekend so I can get it dry! I'm half tempted to go by a fan for the basement so that there is air blowing on it...but I don't know if there is another outlet to plug it in!
Queen size beds suck! For me anyway. For those of you that don't know...Mike rocks in his sleep. Yes, rocks...back and forth while holding a pillow. We have a select comforts King size bed at home and I am not bothered by it. I don't know if it is the boys or the bed that shields me from it...but I have neither here. It was sooo bad the first night in Moscow, that I slept on the floor. Nothing like waking up nausiated because the bed is moving. And he was in the middle. He laughs at me when I complain. He says just move me! Or wake me up! LOL!!! Yeah...like waking a sleeping bear or moving a big rock...I think not! LOL!!!
We have been calling Kelly every other day or so. The 9 hour time difference and her schedule make it somewhat difficult. The best time to catch her is right before she leaves for school. She will have an exciting time this weekend with the grandparent swap. Billy and Jackie will arrive on Saturday around 3-4 and my Dad and MaryLou will leave around 5. I'm sure everyone is keeping her busy so that she is not missing us too much!
Thanks to everyone that is reading the blog and leaving comments! I do appreciate it! I feel soo isolated here and those little things help keep me connect with you all! Thanks!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
We still do not know if he walks or crawls. He just sits and reaches with us. I think they were trying to walk him into the room when we first saw him...but that is all we have seen.
At least he is no longer in a state of pure terror when he sees us.
And, for those of you still wondering...his hair is a very light brown...lighter than Kellys, NOT red as it seemed in the photos.
I think since the adoption is actually official, we could now probably post a photo or two. But we will wait until we actually have possesion (SP) of him...Which will happen a week from today on Tuesday, September 15th. Once we get back to Moscow, we will try to post a photo.
After visiting Max, we visited the monestary in Pechory. The baby home is actually in Pechory, not Pskov. What a surprise! The monestary is nestled in this little valley and is absolutely gorgeous and extremely well kept. Not much in Russia is well maintained. I had to wear a scarf and a skirt. We lit a candle for Max, walked through one of the churches, and purchased some soveniers and Russian things for Max.
Today, I am attempting to do laundry...another interesting Russian experience. The washer is tiny! And, no dryer. They hang the laundry in the basement. I'm not sure how long things like jeans will take to dry.
We have 3 more visits with Max, then we will pick him up. Today we found out that they will let us see his room and were he plays. We will be able to take photos. I'm glad. I want him to know his beginnings. I will definitely have plenty to scrap when I get home!!!!
I think I might run out of "stuff" to do before we head back. I have finished the 7 books I brought with to read. I now am working on some of the puzzle books I brought and my elements reference magazine I found...Although, I'm not a photographer and it seems that references are written for photographers. I tend to take photos...then "fix" them via cropping. Then I'll print at what size I want. It seems in photoshop...you need to start at the right size. Oh well, I'll eventually get this figured out.
Mike and I have been playing a lot of bejeweled twist! HEHEHEHE...I loaded up the high score board before we came and challenged him to knock me off. LOL!!! He does love a challenge. I think he now has 2 of the 10 high scores, but is ticked-off that he hasn't toppled my high score. He pooh-poed my idea of purchasing a game before the trip. Now he praises his good idea! LOL!!
Oh I almost forgot. On Sunday, we skyped home to see Kelly. I think she was a little disappointed. She really wanted to see Max. But we talked for about 30 minutes. She was having fun with the camera. We will try to skype home again when we get back to Moscow so she can see Max.
Anyway...that is about it. The weather is bright and sunny today. It had been gloomy and rainy for the last couple of days.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
We are definitely missing our little girl. She is being brave and told us she hasn't cried yet. Although last night there was a little snafu. We used the CHI phone to call home. We only get 5 minutes of talk time and we should have disconnected before time rain out. But we didn't and the connection was dropped. Kelly thought she disconnected the call and started crying. Dad called us back on Mike's phone. We re-assured her it wasn't her fault!
I think my dad and MaryLou may need a vacation after watching her for 2 weeks. Dad made the comment that Kelly is a very busy little girl. Oh yes she is! Well, at least Monday is Labor Day!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Anyway...The Doctor visits on Monday were not as bad as I envisioned. We saw about 5 different doctors and were told we are healthy...but fat! Yeah, tell me something I don't know. The doctor visits were $800 each...they told us $750 before we left. It seemed to go into the main doctors pocket. Oh well.
Then we had late lunch/early dinner at a Ukrainian chain restaurant...It was good. Mike had a beer and they served it with a dried/salted fish. He did not like the fish. I had a chicken noodle soup and pork ravioli things. Like a peirogie maybe. They were both good
When we left the restaurant, I twisted my ankle. VERY PAINFUL. I did not think I'd be able to walk on it. But somehow, it is not as bad as I feared. We motrined me up, and kept it elevated on the 12 hour train ride. It is still tender...but I'm not hobbling around.
More "funny" business with the train tickets. In March we paid $300 for the tickets and they included dinner and breakfast. We just paid $330 and got no meals. We never see price sheets and are at the mercy of our Russian hosts. I feel that money is pocketd. But, what can we do?
We arrived in Pskov on Wednesday and saw Max in the afternoon. He is soo big, much bigger than I thought. I can't wait to get him home and have our drs. measure him. I don't believe the measurements that we received are accurate. We are unsure if the clothes we brought will fit him. He also has a very bad case of dermatitis(?). His entire body is covered with dry skin and scabs. He is soo itchy! He cried for the first half hour or so. But, he seemed comfortable in my lap and mostly afraid of Mike. He is not accustomed to seeing males, let alone big men like Mike. But, eventually he calmed down and played with us for a while.
Thursday morning was our court time. We gave a speech, answered questions, and then told the adoption is approved. There is a 10 day waiting period that must be fulfilled before we can take him. So, we will visit as often as we can. We will be picking him up on Tuesday September 16th.
We went to see him on Friday. His skin rash is looking better. I think they are finally giving him something for it. But, he seemed very tired. After the visit, we went to Ludmilla's home. We are staying with our translator during the waiting period. Here home is nice and she is a very good cook. I had hoped to lose 10 pounds during my stay in Russia. But, she is feeding us a lot of food!
The weather right now is gloomy. It has been raining on and off for about the last 2 days. It is cool outside. But Russians keep their buildings very warm. I find that I am hot and sweaty more often than not!
I FINALLY slept an entire night last night. Although, I do feel tired today. I suspect my body will finally adjust to russian time for us to go home!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
We are just about ready to check out of our Moscow hotel. Our CHI representative will be picking us up at 11:30 to take us to our 4 hour physcial exams. Then a quick lunch/dinner, then the overnight train ride to Pskov. I don't know if I'll be able to post while in Pskov...we had problems getting to the net on the first trip. But, we will be there longer this time and hopefully we will get it figured out!
We arrive in Pskov on the 2nd and will be seeing Max later that day. On the 3rd is the court date. Then the wait begins!
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