Thursday, January 31, 2008
Then I went to the chiropractor, to fix my stressed out and seized up back. He said there was indeed tension in my back. No surprise there! His daughter runs the office, and she is 7 months pregnant, so every time I go in, we have great conversations about baby stuff. She told me about a website that I hadn't found yet, Three Sisters Toys. They have nice wooden toys. There was a woman in the waiting area with a 3 month old daughter. Talking about babies and then seeing a beautiful baby made me feel a lot better!
After I came home, I worked on our visa applications. I filled out as much as I could, and we have the photos, so as soon as we get the final travel information, they'll be ready to take to FedEx.
The photos came today from Shutterfly. So I got the album put together that we're going to leave at the orphanage, and it's ready to go in the bag. It felt good to get that done too.
R talked to the bank, and our travel cash is now taken care of as well. All we need now are definite dates and some plane tickets!!!
Late this afternoon, my mom came by with some baby items. She brought us a Diaper Genie, some baby clothes and receiving blankets (that we're going to leave with the orphanage), and a nice changing pad. Since the baby's room is upstairs, I can use this changing pad on the bed in the downstairs guest room. It was such a nice surprise! (Thanks, Mama! And I meant to tell you that your hair looks great!)
Here is a photo of the baby blanket that we are taking. Liam's parents (Rob and Dede) had mentioned on their blog that they had left a couple of blankets behind on their first trip, and we thought that was a great idea. This blanket is SO soft and snuggly. I hope he/she can have it in the crib. (This isn't the best photo, but you can still see Pooh and Piglet!)
So today, the focus was more on the baby and less on the actual traveling, and I felt better. This waiting has been so hard, but we are blessed with a wonderful agency, and we trust them. We know they will make the right decision about the best time for us to travel.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
My mother and sisters all called, anxious to hear if we were getting on the plane, and I had to tell them yet again that I don't know yet! My family has been so wonderfully supportive. (Love you guys so much!)
Our dossier is supposed to be registered in the Moscow region on Friday, and we should get our definite travel date then. That means we will only have 1 week's notice. We do have the apartment reserved, but we do not have plane tickets or a visa yet. ARGH! This increases the cost for us, as well as the tension. I am not as upset as I was earlier today, but I'm still stressed.
Karyn thanks so much for your email this afternoon! You have been such a great friend during this journey! Sorry I haven't posted sooner. I had to leave the house and take a break from the computer for a while.
After we got the news that there was no news, I was really upset. The most upset that I have been during this whole process, I think. I was at my limit with anxiety and frustration. I changed clothes, and we went downtown to get our fingerprints done for the FBI clearance. When we arrived, they asked us if we had brought the fingerprint cards with us. They do not use their criminal cards for this type of clearance. Of course, because I was already having such a good day, we forgot to bring the fingerprint cards I had downloaded from the FBI website. We had left them at home, sitting on the dining room table. We told the woman at the desk that we would be back, and we drove home to get them. After we returned, we paid, and went downstairs. The police sargeant met us, and took us to the booking room. I told A. I felt like I was on a bad episode of "Cops"! We gave him our fingerprint forms, and they did not fit into the card holder. That did not help my stress level. He took our cards and left us in the room. After a few agonizing minutes, when I'm thinking he's going to tell us he can't take our prints for us, and I'm going to get in big trouble for having a meltdown in the police station, he returns. Some nice person trimmed the cards. We got our prints taken finally. We happily took them to the FedEx drop box and sent them on their way!
Then we decided as long as their was no news. and as long as we were out and about, that we would go do some shopping for gift items. We actually had some success. We went to the local University Bookstore, 2 other local bookstores, and a local market/deli. We found some good regional items that reflect this area. Then I felt a little better, because we did get something accomplished today.
On the way home, we stopped at Starbucks, which we don't normally do, and it was a nice treat.
So now, I have had a little time to calm down. Big sigh. I think this means Friday will be a very busy day, hopefully getting our plane tickets and sending our visa application on its way. I don't want to think about these travel details anymore! I want all this resolved, and off my mind, so I can focus solely on Baby F, and finally seeing his/her sweet little baby face.
Monday, January 28, 2008
1) We reserved an apartment today with Peace Travel. We will be staying in the White House on Novy Arbat. Even though we don't have firm travel dates, we decided to go ahead and reserve the apartment for the week of the 10th, because I was afraid there wouldn't be anything available if we waited until the last minute. Peace Travel has such excellent customer service! The reservation process was so easy. If we do have to change our reservation dates, the fee is only $50 (as long as we give them 7 days notice). We will be sharing the apartment with another family with our agency, Marty and Lisa. We are not experienced travelers, so we are excited that we will be sharing this experience with another family! It has helped a lot to ease our anxiety about being in a new city.
We found out today that Doug and Kathy will still be in Moscow while we're there, and we're looking forward to seeing them too!
2) Our other good news was not adoption related, believe it or not! There is a huge piece of property in our neighborhood that is currently just undeveloped green space. For a while now, there has been a fight going between those who want the property to be a park and those who want commercial development. Every time there has been a public meeting, we have attended, along with lots other people from our neighborhood. Tonight we went to the city council meeting, where they voted on the proposal for the property to be zoned "General Commercial". The request was denied! The property will remain zoned residential. We were so happy! We really hope there will be a city park there one day, and we continue to support the cause.
Since this was a public hearing, many people got up to speak. When they talked about the future of this community for our children, I thought about Baby F.
I am starting to feel less anxiety about traveling and more and more excitement about finally meeting Baby F and seeing the cute little baby face and baby smile! I'm ready to book plane tickets! Maybe tomorrow!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Earlier this summer, I read something I really liked on one of the blogs. (So sorry I don't remember who wrote this originally.) They said that we don't travel to Russia alone. God is already there. He has gone ahead of us and prepared our way.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" -- Philippians 4:6-7
Friday, January 25, 2008
I'm feeling a lot less anxious than I did yesterday. Today I feel more excited. As Beth reminded me, my Valentine this year will be my precious little one!
Thanks to everyone for all the support over the last 2 days! It helped so much!
I keep reminding myself that this is in God's hands, and will happen according to His timing.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Everyone was so supportive. The notary asked all about Baby F. and was so excited for us. She is the human resources director where R. works, and she talked to us about adding Baby F. to our health insurance as soon as possible. She was very helpful. Then when we were having our photos taken, the guy told us he is expecting his 1st child in March, and he also knew a family who had adopted from Russia. When the FedEx driver came in to pick up packages, she was telling us about the families she knew who had adopted from Russia. Everyone was congratulating us and seemed genuinely happy for us. I really needed that today. Their enthusiasm helped take the sting out of not getting a travel date today.
Please pray that God guides everyone who comes in contact with our dossier.
If she is able to reach S. and our dossier is registered in the morning, then we could still travel on the 2nd. We are anxious about that, because that would only give us 1 week to get our visas, tickets, apartment reservations, etc. At this point, it is most likely we will be traveling on Feb. 9. I told C. we were fine with that. She'll call us tomorrow, hopefully with firm travel dates. So for now, more waiting. Ugh.
I couldn't stand it. So I called C., and she hadn't heard anything yet. She said she would call as soon as she heard from the Russian office. I'm trying very hard to be patient, but it's such a challenge! I've been watching the clock all morning.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
We're not sure when we're traveling. It could be as early as Feb. 2, or it could be Feb. 9. We will find out tomorrow. We're so anxious to know exactly when we're going. We're so excited and overwhelmed right now!
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
After she performed her miracles, we went and had lunch. It was so nice to spend some time with her today. It perked me up after the frustrations of this past weekend.
When R got home from work, he took our medical forms to FedEx, and now those are on their way to our agency. It felt very good to send those!
Thanks to info from another family with our agency, I was able search online and find the email address for the USCIS officer that processes the adoption petitions in our regional office. I was so excited when I found that! After R got back from FedEx, we sat down together and wrote an email, begging for them to expedite the processing of our paperwork so that we can travel and to please let us know when we can expect to receive our approval, so we can finalize a travel date. Until we know when the approval will arrive, our dossier won't be registered, and we won't have firm travel dates.
Thanks, Karyn for reminding me that the timing is all in God's hands. As impatient people, we do what we can to further the process along, but ultimately, it will all happen according to His plan. Even though I lose sight of it in the heat of the moment, I do trust that He knows what's best, both for us and for Baby F.
P.S. Both going and returning today, I drove past the house that has the 2 llamas! This morning, they were in the back pasture, and I could hardly see them, but this afternoon, they were grazing and hanging out closer to the road, so I was able to get my adorable llama fix!
Monday, January 21, 2008
I wish I had more news. I didn't have a good weekend. I was frustrated and irritated, because we didn't get to meet Norm and Karyn and because nothing arrived in the mail from USCIS. I'm SO frustrated that the immigration approval might delay our travel.
I am SO ready to finish packing and get on that plane. I'm SO ready to meet Baby F. and bring him/her home. The waiting is getting harder with every passing day.
P.S. I was inspired by Karyn to add the USCIS approval tracker, especially since that's all that stands between us and traveling right now!
Friday, January 18, 2008
We also thought that on our way home tomorrow we'd have a chance to go by our agency and turn in our medical forms. We were going to talk to C. for a few minutes before heading home. Now we won't be able to do that either. I'll have to FedEx our medical forms on Monday.
The other disappointment today was a possible delay in our travel dates. Technically, we can travel on our 1st trip without having our 171-H, but if we do, our court date would be delayed. We need the 171-H to get a court date. It would extend our time between trips 1 and 2, and no one wants that. Not our agency, and certainly not us. So, if the 171-H doesn't arrive soon, it could push our travel date from Feb. 9 to later in Feb. I'm bummed about that too. I was really hoping we could leave for Moscow in 3 weeks. So, we'll wait and see what the mail (or snail as I call it) brings.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Made some progress on the packing front. I ordered the rest of the clothes that we needed. From Land's End, I ordered coats, scarves, and long underwear for both of us and a cute fleece hat for me. Then I ordered another pair of pants for myself, dark grey slacks. I wanted another pair of dressier pants, since I'm not taking cords or jeans. I am taking a pair of comfy yoga pants though, to wear when we're hanging out in the apartment. Except for snacks and a few items from Target, I think that's everything we need, at least for this trip. I can't wait until I know Baby F.'s age, so I can start buying baby clothes!
R took my charm bracelet to the jeweler's today, to have the charm added that he gave me for Christmas. Of course, it's a little llama! It's SO adorable! I won't be taking it to Russia, but I'm looking forward to wearing it to church.
I wish I could turn off my brain. It's just so full! I'm so glad that we're going to Asheville on Saturday to meet Norm & Karyn. It will give me something to think about besides packing!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
So today, I sent the medical forms to be apostilled. Now I'm just watching the mailbox every day for the 171-H. I sent the laptop off to be repaired too, and we should have it back within a week, plenty of time before we travel.
I looked at video cameras online, but we haven't made a decision yet about which one to buy.
I'm feeling tired today. I haven't been sleeping well. Too much on my mind! I'm going to try to go to bed early tonight.
Monday, January 14, 2008
It's not definite yet, but most likely, we will be going to the Moscow region on Feb. 9! We are so overwhelmed right now! Happy, excited, and freaking out, all at the same time! My mind is just whirling, thinking about finally meeting the baby and what he/she will be like, as well as about traveling and packing, and what is left that we need to purchase or do.
Since Moscow is a blind region, we won't have any information about the baby before we travel. C. said that Baby F. will probably be a boy, and that's all we'll know until we arrive.
Please pray for everyone handling our paperwork.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
We decided to have it repaired this week. It's no longer under warranty, of course. We hate having to spend the $$$, but the laptop is no good to us if it doesn't work.
I realized it is a blessing that the hard drive failed now, while we still have time to have it repaired. What if that had happened while we were in Russia? That really would have been upsetting. Things continue to work out for us!
Friday, January 11, 2008
I had ordered backpacks to use as our carry-on bags. They arrived today, but after looking at them, we decided that they are too small. So I ordered the same backpack in a slightly larger size, and we are sending the small ones back.
I emailed our agency to find out if our dossier had arrived in Moscow yet. Since the dossier is being delivered by DHL, we are anxious to hear that it arrived safely. They said they would talk to the Moscow office on Monday, but so far everything is fine. Please pray that it does arrive safely, and that it is translated quickly.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Otherwise, our day went well. First thing this morning, we went to the doctor and had our lab work done. The nurse was wonderful. I didn't even feel the needle go in! She was done before we knew it. We gave her the medical forms to be filled out by our doctor, and hopefully, we'll get those back soon.
Then R. went to work and I went to the DMV. There was no crowd, and I didn't have to wait in line. Turns out they had assigned 2 different customer numbers to me. I signed a form saying that both customer numbers were one and the same person, and they got the account and address correct finally! The woman was very nice and helpful, and I was glad to get that straightened out. Now my tag has the correct sticker!
Nothing adoption related scheduled for tomorow! G. is coming over tomorrow afternoon, and I'm going to help her with her algebra. I'll enjoy seeing her and having some time with her.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
This afternoon, I went to the store and got a few more of the items on my list: neosporin, immodium, benadryl, small packs of kleenex, ziploc bags, disposable razors, a sink stopper, and a small led flashlight. It made me feel better to check some more off the list!
We also found out today that we have to go to the DMV tomorrow! Because we just haven't done enough paperwork lately! When we got married, I changed my name on my driver's license, and then when we moved into this house, I changed the address on my driver's license. I thought they had changed everything, but my car, tag, and taxes were all still listed under my maiden name and our old address. I never got the sticker for my tag, because it was sent to the old address. The post office didn't forward it because it was listed under my maiden name. So now I have an expired tag, and I have to go to the DMV tomorrow to get it all straightened out. Thanks to the adoption, I just happened to have extra certified copies of our marriage license! R was laughing at me, becuase in less than 10 minutes, I had the form printed off the DMV website and in a folder, along with the marriage license, tax receipt, and car title. I can pull some paperwork together now!
So those are all my annoyances for the day. At least it's passing the time while we wait!
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Convinced there had to be SOMETHING that I needed to be doing, earlier today, I went over my lists, both of what we have left to buy and what to pack. Everything is in order. It's too early to buy the baby stuff, because we've decided to wait until after our first trip, when we know the baby's age and gender for sure. It's too early to buy a new coat or any additional clothes for the trip, because it depends on when we travel and what region. (Kemerovo will be colder than Moscow.) It's too early to finish packing. I have a lot of stuff already laid out on the bed in the baby's room. So, for now, we don't have anything adoption related to do. How is that possible?
I guess this week I'll find some things to do to fill the rest of this month, as we wait for our dossier to be translated and then to be assigned a region. I do have some non-adoption related books I can read, and I can always clean the house!
Friday, January 4, 2008
We just loved our agency's office. It's downtown, in an old Victorian house that has wonderful detailed woodwork, gingerbread, and high ceilings. C's office is upstairs with a fabulous bay window. Very cool!
We talked to C for 2 hours, and it was so helpful. We had prepared a list of questions, and we covered everything! We talked for a long time about regions. She went over each region in detail. We said we are open to traveling within Russia. So, we still don't know which region yet. It will be Moscow, Kemerovo, or possibly Kaluga. At this point, we don't have a preference. We're prepared to go wherever our baby is!
Our dossier will be going to Moscow next Tuesday (1/8/2008) for translation. It will be carried by another family. We don't know who is taking it, but we're so thankful. We're hoping when we travel we'll be able to do the same.
Our first trip will probably be mid-Feb. to early March. We're hoping it will be as early as possible! I'm very excited and ready to start packing! The waiting is going to be challenging.
We talked about age, and we're hoping for as young as possible. We also talked about potential health issues that can affect the babies and birth mothers. We feel like we're prepared now for whatever might arise as far as the medical information we'll receive. We talked about the blind referral if we do go to the Moscow region, and we are fine with that.
Since R has never flown before and I've never flown out of the country, we talked details about how to get our visas, and about flights.
There were pictures on the wall of the children who have been adopted, and they were all so adorable! I can't wait until we have a picture to send!
I'm so glad we had the chance to talk to C in person, and I'm so thankful that we are working with our agency.
I'm excited and SO ready to start packing! I'm going to be up late tonight, I think. My mind is just so full. It's going to be a while before I can calm down enough to go to sleep!
On another note, Susan and Randy had some difficult news today, and they are in our prayers.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Tomorrow, we're driving 3 hours to our agency to submit our dossier in person! We'll have time to talk to them, and hopefully get a better idea of region and timing for our 1st trip. We're nervous and excited! I can't believe we're finally ready to turn the dossier in!