Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So Much to Celebrate!

Happy New Year!! It is hard to say good-bye to 2008, with all the wonderful things that happened! In May, we saw pictures of our little guy and fell in love. In June, we met him for the first time! In October, we traveled back to Russia and became a family forever! In November, we brought him home! December was full of celebrating with family and friends. And now, January 2009...we look forward to the new year and all the new things that Bradyn will experience. Starting with the first New Year celebration. Complete with party hats, leis, and horns, Brady got to celebrate the New Year with his first American cold! Despite not feeling well, he enjoyed learning how to blow the party horn... All the fun was a bit too much and he was ready for bed by 8:00! So, Mama and Papa are bringing in the new year together with a little Guitar Hero, we'll see if we make it to midnight...I have a feeling us two new parents will be in bed well before the clock strikes! Hope your 2009 is filled with all you desire!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

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Now I finally understand the meaning behind the 12 Days of Christmas...Bradyn has been opening presents for 2 days now and we will be continuing the festivities tomorrow! This has been our best Christmas we've ever had, complete with our beautiful Bradyn and both sets of grandparents joining in the fun. Santa was successful in delivering an inflatable fire truck with play balls. Brady wasn't quite sure what to do with it, until Papa jumped in! Bradyn enjoys tearing little tiny bits of wrapping paper of the present, making sure EVERY piece is off before he looks at it. Then the joy of discovering the present, getting it out of the packaging, and then playing with it. Once the initial thrill of the toy has subsided, then he moves onto the box the gift came in...sitting on it, sitting in it, or pushing it around. He truly knows how to embrace and enjoy every aspect of every little thing. Oompa (Grandpa) and Oomba (Grandma) from both sides have made the day even more fun with lots of love, cuddles, kisses, oohs, and aahs. Bradyn soaks all of it up, laying on all the charm with those big blue eyes, and big dimples. We'll tackle the next round of gifts tomorrow, but for tonight the snow is blowing, while our little one is sleeping...we are so blessed. We hope you had a Merry Little Christmas yourself!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

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Bradyn got to enjoy his first Utah snow! I say "first Utah snow" because we have no idea if he was ever able to go outside in the snow while he was at the baby home. But this was definitely a first with us and we all enjoyed the white stuff...even the sabakas got in on the action! Bradyn seemed to love it and didn't want to come back inside even though the rest of us were cold. I think skis will be in order for next season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree



We drove to the local Christmas tree lot and picked out what we believe to be our best tree yet. Bradyn wasn't too keen on the whole idea....until we got home! Then it was pure excitement that we were bringing one of those green things into our HOUSE!! We couldn't keep him out of the tree while Mike tried to secure it down. Once it was decorated it wasn't all that interesting to him anymore, probably because the lights kept going out. After several blown fuses and many extension cords, we FINALLY have the lights figured out...and now he is interested again. Last night the three of us climbed under the tree and looked up to see all the lights. Now it is a constant struggle trying to keep him out of the tree. It doesn't help that the cat has taken up post under there! Oh Christmas Tree!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Fair Weather Fan?


What is this? Our baby dressed in a 49ers outfit? It is true the Packers lost on Sunday and the 49ers won...but rest assured...Brady is still a Packers fan. So, why the outfit? That is what we keep asking. My brother, Dolan, is a 49ers fan, and he constantly tells Mike what horrible colors the Packers have. So, he got Brady the 49ers outfit. Look at the slideshow below...note the wrapping paper. Yes, he had it wrapped in Green Bay Packer wrapping paper...now, check out Mike's expression! The difficult part is that we can't get even with my brother. Every team hat he has ever worn, that team loses terribly that year...so, we can never get him a Packers hat!

Niners or Packers...Brady still looks adorable in them all!
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

First Thanksgiving Dinner





We discovered that Bradyn's favorite holiday (so far) is Thanksgiving...this makes sense, since this holiday involves lots of food. And if you have learned anything about Bradyn, it is that he loves food! Not only did he love the food today, but he wanted to feed himself! Actually, there was one thing he didn't like and surprisingly that was the turkey. The meal ended with Brady licking his plate clean. 2 hours later? Nananana...yep, that means more food!! Grandma and Grandpa Taresh got to join in the fun! Definitely a day of Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we have SO much to be thankful for! We are so blessed to have Bradyn in our lives. We are so blessed to have a loving family that supports us! We are blessed to have so many friends that cheer us on! Yes, we are so thankful for each and every person that has touched our lives and that includes everyone that reads this blog. So, please know that we are so thankful for all of you...many blessings to you!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

First Zoo Experience!

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Bradyn loves animals, so we thought we'd take him to his first zoo experience...he loved it! He really loved the monkeys and made "ooh ooh ooh" monkey noises. We thought we'd have to make it a quick trip, trying not to overwhelm him too much. But that wasn't a worry at all, we ended up seeing all of the animals. He even stayed in the stroller! Grandma Lee was able to enjoy the experience with us as she flew out from Wisconsin for her first visit with him. They have really enjoyed getting to know each other. My only disappointment of the day was that there wasn't any Kettlecorn available!! It will be fun to take him to the zoo again next year when it is warmer and he's a little bigger.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SuperDad!


I always knew that Mike would make a wonderful father. Kids are always drawn to him! Now that he IS a father, he is everything I thought he would be AND more!! Brady adores him and gets so excited every time he sees him! In addition to having fun with Bradyn, he's also willing to get help out with the not so fun stuff! He changed 3 poopy diapers in one day and this was unsolicited from me! He helps with the meals and bathtime, too and always knows when Mama needs a few minutes to herself! Yep, Brady and Mama love our Mike!

We made our first road trip venture to meet aunts, uncles, and cousins! The 2 hour road trip there went smoothly. Then meeting my very large family went well! He was the center of attention and he absolutely loved the spotlight! We were worried that he would be overwhelmed and overstimulated, but he wasn't! The difficult part was the road trip home. He was great the first 15 minutes in the car and then screamed and cried the remaining hour and a half. We tried everything to console him, but it didn't work. When we were 15 minutes from home, he fell asleep. Needless to say Mike and I were the ones that were overwhelmed! When we got home, he had a big smile on his face and went and greeted all the animals, as if he hadn't cried for an hour and a half straight! All in all we were very pleased with the way the day went. I think he stole a few hearts that day!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Transitions…

While we were waiting for Bradyn to come into our lives, we had lots of time to dream about parenthood. Our head was filled with Kodak moment images of big, happy smiles, and being dressed to the hilt in the cutest clothes. A Martha Stewart-esque home with big bouquets of flowers everywhere and beautifully presented gourmet meals. You know…the picture of the beautiful family in the photo frame that you bought at the store.

Fast forward to reality…yes, we have Kodak moment images of Brady, but heaven forbid a camera to be pointed in my direction! A shower is a coveted act now and if a shower does happen, my hair still looks a mess! No such thing as a Martha Stewart home when you have a layer of dog fur on the floor because you don’t have time to vacuum. And the beautifully presented meals? What was I thinking…I couldn’t even boil eggs before Bradyn, why did I think I would magically turn into a gourmet cook once we had a baby?

Yes, reality…it is actually more beautiful than what we dreamed. Despite the lack of personal care, Bradyn still comes to me and Mike still loves me. The dog fur…Bradyn likes to pick up little piles and bring them to me, so little by little that is being taken care of. As far as the food goes…I’ve actually cooked meals every night this week, it may not look good or taste good, but we are all eating! The best part is laying my head down at night, seeing a precious little face peacefully asleep, and Mike and I looking at each other with nothing but gratitude in our eyes. The added bonus…hearing my boys snoring in harmony.

AND...this photo is proof that not all perfect Kodak moments have to be big smiles...isn't he beautiful?

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Week In Review

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I don't quite remember a whole lot from our first week home as I was suffering from jetlag and extreme dehydration or I may have caught a bug. So, everything was a bit of a blur the first few days. I don't know how I would have survived last week without Mike and my Mom, but I'm feeling much better now.

We were finally able to bathe Bradyn once we got home. In Moscow, our hotel room didn't have a tub and the sink was too small for our hefty 23 pound, 16 month old! So, we had to wait until we got home to brave the bath ritual. We feared that he'd scream constantly like he did with the last bath, but the kid has got to be cleaned! So, Mike came up with a great idea to let him play in the tub without water and make it really fun. Genius! It worked! We spent some time playing in the tub during the day and then that evening we filled the tub with toys and bubbles. We played with the toys before we got in and next thing we know, he's wanting to get in! He splashed and laughed and tried to slide around! He loves it!! Yay!

The next day, while Mike was at work, Bradyn filled his pants with, you guessed it, poopka!! Poopka was everywhere and he decided he'd help me by grabbing at himself! Oh boy! My solution was to give him a bath...especially since he loves baths! So, I had my mom hold his hands while I ran and filled the tub. Well, we have one of those handy plastic tub spout covers that go over the water spout so he won't hit his head. I failed to notice that it had turned and the water spout was covered, so all the water that was supposed to be going in the tub, was shooting backwards and pouring all over the floor. It took me a second to realize what happened...which added more water to the floor. My wet socks finally made me realize what was wrong! Finally the tub was filled and I ran to get my poopy boy. He was thrilled to see it was bathtime and all was well again...until, he started crying to get out within minutes. So, I got him out started drying him off and then he started peeing all over the already wet floor!! Once he finished he wanted to get back in the tub...I guess swimming pools will love us!

Other special moments...Papa had to start back to work and we said bye-bye to him in the morning. The rest of the day, whenever I would talk about Papa, Bradyn would wave bye-bye. Once Mike got home from work, he was SO excited to see him and practically leaped out of my arms to get to him!

Neenee, our cat, is the big obsession. He talks about her while he's eating, when he wakes up, while he's playing and so on. Luckily, Neenee is really great with him and puts up with the obsession.

Machinas...boy does he love cars! We were worried that he wouldn't like the car seat, considering he had never been in one before. He loves it though...I think just the fact that he gets to be in a car, he'll put up with anything.

He experienced our backyard for the first time, and we believe it was his first experience with grass. He was thrilled! He ran and ran and ran and giggled and giggled some more!

Papa taught Bradyn how to do high five for his first Packer game. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do it very often during the game, but he's got it down! He looked so cute in his Packer jersey!

Now, it's on to week 2 and so far so good! Life is good!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Home Sweet Home

There's no place like home! We arrived home last Sunday night to a nice clean house that was decorated for our arrival and a home cooked meal! Thanks to Mom, Dad, and my sister Tami. Our day of traveling was long and exhausting...during our 29 hours of travel and layovers Mike got about 10 minutes of sleep and I got about 30 minutes. Bradyn did pretty well for it being such a long day, but there were quite a few tears, mainly when we tried to change diapers! We discovered that he will only go poopka in his diaper if it is clean and dry. We learned this on our flight to SLC from Chicago on a tiny airplane. He had a wet diaper, so I walked down the narrow aisle knocking people in the heads, finally getting to the bathroom only to learn that there wasn't a changing table tray. He was screaming and crying as I tried to figure out what to do, alas, we changed the diaper standing up! We made the trek back to our seats, got buckled in, and you guessed it...poopka! Back down the aisle! Oh well, at least we were on the flight and it was our last leg home. Our layover in Chicago was only 2 hours and we had to go through customs, recheck our luggage, immigrate Bradyn as a US citizen (which we were told would take at least 45 minutes), and make it to the domestic terminal! It was a close call, but there was nothing that was going to keep us off that plane!

So, the big question has been "How will Bradyn do with the dogs?" I think this picture answers that question...


He was SO excited to see the dogs and continues to be! He really loves the cat and spends his days saying "ow, ow"...which we think means "meow". The dogs were a little jealous at first, but now they've learned that Brady is a walking treat dispenser and they follow him constantly!

Our transition home has gone fairly well, although we've hit a few bumps in the road. My Mom stayed with us for the week, which was a HUGE help for me, especially since Mike went back to work. Thanks for everything Mom! Oh, it is so nice to be home!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Somebody's Ready to Come to the USA!


Yes, that's our boy inside the suitcase!! While Mike and I tried to pack our bags, Bradyn decided he would help by unpacking and climbing inside the suitcase. We had another busy day today registering Bradyn at the Russian Consulate. Then we went to the infamous Arbat Street for some shopping. Obviously we looked like tourists, because we were suckered into buying a drawing from an artist. We were fussing over Brady and the artist walked over and started drawing a picture of him. Yep, we are new parents, we spent WAY more than we should have for the drawing but it was just SO cute! Well, tomorrow is the big day, we leave our hotel at 4:00am and fly for 3 hours; layover for 4 hours in Frankfurt; fly to Chicago for 9 1/2 hours; 2 hour layover in Chicago; and then fly to SLC for 3 1/2 hours. Chicago will be the official place where Bradyn becomes a US citizen once the plane lands on US soil. It will be pretty hectic to make our connection. We have 2 hours to immigrate him, as well as going through customs ourselves. We are praying that we can do all that and make it to our gate in time. Needless to say, we look forward to seeing our family, friends, and our animals! We are also longing for some good american food and our own comfortable bed!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween


We are undecided on the Halloween Costume...which do you think? Green Bay Packer or Ralph Lauren Model? Well we are safe and sound in Moscow with 2 sick boys and 1 exhausted new mama. Despite the runny noses, Mike and Bradyn are getting in lots of playtime! As a matter of fact, we all woke up at 2:00am this morning and didn't nap until 4:00pm...yes jetlag is tough on a little 16 month old, for that matter it is tough on us all. We were starving as we waited for the restaurant to open for room service. Brady had a lot of snacks while waiting and that didn't prevent him from eating all his breakfast. He can't seem to get enough food...it feels as though he has been eating all day!! We were able to see red square this morning, although it was fast because it was windy and cold. What amazing architecture! We headed over to the US Embassy to do the paperwork there and we were told that he is officially a member of our family. There were a lot of families there waiting to do the same. I even ran into an email friend and finally got to meet her! It's a small world after all! Now for bragging time...he is so smart... already learning and saying papa and mama appropriately. He gets his own bib on, as well as telling us when he is hungry (all the time). He even cleans up proudly on his own...we've never asked him to clean up. The plane ride went very well! He was sound asleep during take off and landing and endured the 9 hour flight across 7 time zones. Now only 3 more flights on Sunday and we will be home Sunday evening SLC time. We love Russia but look forward to being home!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Life as Parents


Here is a photo that we took on the "Fog, a Shovel, and a Cookie" day.

Mike and I slept on both edges of the bed last night as our little one tossed and turned. I wasn’t able to fall asleep from all the excitement and Mike wasn’t able to stay asleep, waking up at 3:30 am. We both relished in the little sucking sounds Bradyn made. He sucks his first two fingers, while rubbing a pink hankie from the baby home on his face. Our morning call began with the smell of overloaded diaper. So, a bath was in order, however, he DOES NOT like baths even though he loves playing in the bathroom. The bath lasted about 2 minutes and then a struggle to get him dressed. Once he was dressed, the tears stopped and he was off playing! Breakfast is a favorite time, as well as, snacks, lunchtime, dinnertime, and car rides. After breakfast we had to go and pick up his passport and take him to the doctor. The doctor wanted us to take his clothes off…yeah right…we just got his clothes on!! (Remember, Russian culture has you dress babies with MANY layers). We all survived the doctor visit and then we were off to get his passport. What a treasure his passport is!! We returned to the hotel for lunch and lots of playing. Mike is getting sick, so he decided to take a little nap, but Bradyn wouldn’t let him. Brady would open the door to the bedroom and wave paka to Mike, over and over again. So adorable! The evening time became a struggle, as Brady isn’t feeling well either. Hopefully the boys will be feeling better tomorrow because we leave Vladivostok for Moscow. Each day brings us closer to home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

GOTCHA!!!

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Introducing Bradyn Michael Lee, OUR sweet little boy. He was born in June 2007 and now he is in our arms forever. There were tears at the baby home, but getting him ready went quickly. Soon we were in the car (machina) and he really enjoyed the ride. There were some tears at the beginning of the ride, but pretty soon we heard him munching on the cookie we gave him. Next thing we know he is playing games with Papa in the car and really enjoying himself, even making machina sounds. It took a little while to get used to the hotel room, but then it was time for dinner and boy does he love food AND juice!! More food is expressed by the terms "Nananana", along with some fingering gestures. We even had some big smiles after dinner time. Then we attempted a bath…oh boy! That didn’t go over so well, as a matter of fact it didn’t go at all! Just getting the diaper changed and putting jammies on was absolute torture to him…at least that is what the other people staying in the hotel must have thought. Now, he is cuddled between us in bed and dreamland is quickly approaching. The Green Bay jammies look adorable on him, but he is too tall! So, we had to cut the feet off in the 18 month size!!

As far as Mike’s day in the city…it was all business (as usual). They were stuck in traffic most of the time and drove from place to place getting all the documents that we needed. No Russian bathhouses this time! It has been a long and emotional day for all of us, and now the only sound we hear is sweet baby breaths and all is well...Thank you God!

Monday, October 27, 2008

ANTICIPATION....

Oh boy!! Today is the big day!! Mike is with our facilitator getting the adoption certificate, birth certificate, and court decree. He left at 8:30 this morning and it is now 12:45. I was told that I would be staying behind at the hotel. Hopefully Mike isn't at some Russian bathhouse having to jump in ice cold water after taking shots of vodka. We highly doubt this is the case, but it is just the 2 of them...no interpreter!! Meanwhile, I stayed behind at the hotel and moved rooms to a suite, so that we have a kitchenette area, living area, and crib. He definitely won't be sleeping in the crib...I wouldn't even put our cat in it, as it looks like it will fall apart just by looking at it. Nonetheless, it is nice to have the extra space for Bradyn, even though we will only be here for 2 more nights. Now, I am frantically pacing, knowing that the biggest change of our life is only an hour and a half away. They are supposed to be picking me up anytime now. Pictures will be posted when we get back to our room and settled...settled is the key word. We are expecting quite the emotional ride home to the hotel as this will be his first car ride ever. Tears or no...we just can't wait to see that little face again...and this time it is forever!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day in Vlad

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We got out of our hotel room yesterday and braved the train to Vladivostok. We went with another adoptive father, which really helped, as he had visited downtown Vlad before. He had never ridden the train, so that was a new experience for all of us. It was a beautiful ride, the train travels right along the bay. Once we got there, we walked around getting lots of pictures and experiencing the culture. Whenever we are with our facilitator...it is all business and no time for taking pictures. So, we were glad that we were able to see Vlad from a tourist viewpoint. We even got a picture of the outside of the courthouse. We spent about 5 hours sightseeing (including train rides), so it really helped our wait time go by. We had a great meal (Italian...I know, we aren't very brave trying out traditional Russian cuisine). Then we headed back. Catching the train to Vlad was easy, but we were not very sure of our return trip. There were 4 platforms to leave from, and we had no idea which one to go on. I was able to use some of my basic Russian and asked a local if we were on the right train. She was helpful and said we were on the right train, and we were back to our hotel safe and sound.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting Closer

The days are slowly going by while we wait for that 11th day. The last 2 days have been filled with a whole lot of nothing! It is especially difficult when the internet goes down and the same shows are repeated over and over and over again. We spent today coordinating with my Mom to have her fax us copies of our last 3 years of taxes. We weren’t aware that we needed these, so Mom was a lifesaver to drive 2 hours and 2 different places to fax them to us. We also did laundry today…I know, not very exciting, huh? Luckily, Mike and I are best friends and we enjoy each other’s company. Especially considering we haven’t been apart from each other for the last 2 weeks straight. We are starting to get a little loopy though, things are either very amusing to us, or not amusing at all! We are going to take the train to downtown Vladivostok on Sunday with another adoptive couple. We are looking forward to that, not only to see more of the city, but to fill our day. We are sad that two other families are leaving that we have met here. They were here on their 1st trip and we really enjoyed visiting with them. Well, it is time to start our nightly showing of “Lost”. Only 4 more sleeps!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Waiting…again!

Today was the last time we were able to see Bradyn until our “Gotcha Day”. That means 5 days ahead of us trying to figure out what to do in our hotel room. Bradyn was very upset when he was brought into the room today. Every time a caregiver would try and distract him, he would get even more upset. The only thing that seemed to console him was holding him close and walking back and forth. Easy enough, however, he has no idea how to sit on my hip and wrap his legs. We think this is because they aren’t held very often. So trying to hold 23 pounds with stiff legs was a bit of a challenge for my weakling arms! Meanwhile, Mike was filling out paperwork for the embassy with our facilitator. We think they are trying to get as much done here, so when we go to Moscow we won’t have as much to do. The caregivers were decorating the room we were in for their fall celebration tomorrow. Bradyn would keep looking at them and then start crying. Finally, they left and he was able to settle down. We showed him the photo of our dogs again, and amidst the sniffles he was able to muster “Buh-ba-ba” (Sabaka). He spent the rest of the time on our laps playing with the toys we gave him. He especially loved looking into the diaper bag and taking out the toys…then putting them back…then taking them out, and so on. It is common for Russians to wear the same outfit a couple of days in a row, such is the case with Bradyn’s outfit the last 2 days. Yesterday, he was wearing red tights, with tight blue shorts over the top and a purple shirt. We thought he looked like a hockey player ready for practice. To add to the hockey look, he had a cut on his nose because he had climbed onto table and it fell on him. To help the cut heal they put the purple paste on it, so it looked like he had a big bruise between his eyes. He makes an awfully cute hockey player! Today he was wearing the same outfit, but his tights were pink, and his blue shorts looked like a leotard, so I thought he looked like a ballerina, regardless, he is absolutely adorable.

Now, we are sitting in our hotel room watching old episodes of Northern Exposure, drinking Orange Fanta, and eating cheese crackers. Obviously Scrabble and Cribbage will be our favorite pastime the next 5 days. It helps that there are several other families that are here right now, so it is nice to commiserate on our wonderful journeys.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Nose is a nose is a nose!


It’s amazing what you will allow someone to do when you love them so much!! Bradyn was fascinated with Mike’s nose today and insisted on sticking his finger in it. We found this quite humorous and obviously allowed him to continue to do it. Today was a much better day for him emotionally. He whimpered a couple of times, but the rest of the time he was content, we even got 1 smile out of him! He sat on our laps, and at times reclined, while we entertained him. We have some toys cars for him and Mike & I drove the cars around making noises with our lips. Soon enough, Bradyn was driving them and making the same noise…he’s so smart! His caregiver gave him a hankie to have in one hand today, and the other hand had a toy. He obviously has to have both hands full to feel safe. We would try and wipe his nose for him with a Kleenex and he would grab his hankie and wipe his own nose…what a little gentleman! Today he was sucking his 2 fingers and we figured we would try a pacifier. He had no idea what to do with it (they wean them from bottles at a very early age). He kept trying to bite the nipple off and he had it turned the wrong way. Then we showed him the photo album we brought which kept him amused for 1/2 an hour! We have pictures of Sierra and Eiger in it and he got SO excited when he saw that page. He started moving his fingers like he was petting them. We kept pointing to the pictures and saying “Suh-ba-ka”, he caught on really fast and started pointing to them and saying “Buh-ba-ba”. He got many praises from mama and papa for that. So, he kept doing it. Then we had pictures of his grandmas and we’d point and say “Babushka” and then he’d point and say “Dad”….yes, our chid is bi-lingual! We enjoyed our time together immensely. Our translator walked in and asked him in Russian if he was ready to eat lunch, he jumped off our laps and took off running out of the room, around the corner, and when I caught up to him he had his body pressed against the door to his baby room. He obviously loves food. We learned today that he is the youngest in this room, but he is the tallest and biggest. So, we left the baby home and went to the baby store and stocked up on some food for when we get him…and he may have even gotten a few more toys. Tomorrow we get to see him again…stay tuned

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fog, a shovel, and a cookie

Today began with a blanket of fog everywhere! We weren’t able to see a thing, except for the cars that we were passing at 60 miles per hour on a two-way road. So, I guess the only weather left to experience would be snow…please, please let it snow! Upon arrival at the baby home, our translator told us that we were going to get Bradyn’s passport picture taken today. She told the caregivers to prepare him for going outside, which meant several layers of clothing, a coat, a hat, and snow boots. (Keep in mind his feet never touched the ground, nor was there any snow considering it was 50 degrees outside). In addition to the many layers of clothing, his ensemble consisted of a plastic toy shovel in one hand and a zwieback cookie that was about the size of my arm in his other hand. Today’s visit was a difficult one for him. He wasn’t too happy to be leaving the baby home, even though we only had to walk 2 blocks to get his picture. Trying to get his picture was another feat in itself…he cried big crocodile tears the whole time. He didn’t want me to set him down in the chair, so I had to try and hide behind him so that I wouldn’t be in the picture. Despite the tears, his passport picture is awfully cute! Then we made the trek back to the baby home, where we tried to take off his coat, but we had to take the shovel and the cookie out of his hands…he didn’t like that. More crocodile tears. He didn’t want to be set down or held while sitting down…he only wanted Mommy to stand and hold him close. Every person that walked in to the room would set him off into fear and whimpering again upon which he would cling even tighter. The encouraging thing is that he clings to us, but our hearts break knowing that he is having a hard time understanding what is happening to him. The rest of our visit was spent rocking and soothing him, definitely no interest in playing. When it was time to go, we were able to go into the entry of his room and ask his caregivers some questions about his schedule, foods, naps, etc. While we were there, several little ones had to come and see who we were and say hello. Bradyn was upset when we returned him to the room, but he managed to go through his typical routine and walked over to sit on the bench where they take their shoes off. While he was heading over to the bench, he dropped the enormous cookie that he never took a bite of and quickly picked it up. He is so very precious. We learned that we will be returning again tomorrow and again on Wednesday…which we are so excited that we will have consistent days of seeing him. Our worry is that Wednesday will be the last time we see him before we pick him up the following Tuesday and that will be a long stretch of time. We know that final day will be full of tears. Now I’m off to take a bath and soak my arm muscles! So looking forward to tomorrow!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vlad in the Fall


Beautiful, isn’t it? We spent the first day celebrating as parents with a little R & R…well, kind of. We woke up at our usual 4:30 in the morning and watched the two English channels that we get, as well as some Russian Hockey. We lounged around most of the day, even getting a bath in! That got us to about 10:00 in the morning…we soon realized that our wait to see Brady is going to take awhile. We tried to get in a game of tennis, they have courts, rackets, and balls at our hotel. Unfortunately, we weren’t ever able to get on because there were some locals using the courts. When we returned the rackets 10 minutes later, the front desk inquired as to why we played so quickly…we told them why and they adamantly offered to kick off the people that were playing. Both Mike & I quickly denied their offer…we imagined what it would be like having some rather stoic Russians glaring at us as I’m running around the court (most likely tripping) and not able to get the ball over the net…no thanks, we can wait! So, instead we walked to the beach and the local mini-market. The beach wasn’t as crowded as it was last time we were here, so it was nice to enjoy the surroundings. Thanks to a little woolite and the bathroom sink, I was able to do some laundry. Then we squeezed in a nap. All these events got us to about 4:00. So, several cribbage games, scrabble, and watching the Office (DVD’s) filled the remainder of the day. Mike had spaghetti for dinner and I had chicken wings, then it was time for several episodes of Lost.

Now, it is Sunday and pouring down rain…thunder and lightning as well! Life is good! (If you don’t know us…we love rain, snow, clouds, etc.) So, it looks like a day of being inside. So far we’ve had breakfast and even worked out this morning! Yes…it was a little difficult. As most of you know…I am allergic to exercise….okay, okay, maybe not allergic, but it definitely is not on the top of my most favorite things to do. I think it will become part of our routine, mainly to fill up the days, and I have to build my arm muscles. My arm was SO sore after holding Bradyn the other day. I can’t wait to hold him again!! We get to see him tomorrow and we’re hoping he won’t be woken from his nap. Tomorrow we get to say “Ya dvaya Mama, sigda” (I am your Mommy forever) and “Ya dvoy, Papa, sigda” (I am your Daddy forever).

Sorry this is so long-winded…just trying to fill up the day! Missing everyone already!
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Friday, October 17, 2008

It’s Official!!

We have officially been named the parents of Bradyn Michael Lee! After an hour and a half of grueling courtroom proceedings, sweating bullets, and on the verge of passing out, we were given parental custody. After all the court formalities, we were asked to wait in the hall for the judges decision…it was at most a 2 minute wait, but it felt like 5 years!! The ten day waiting period was not waived, so we will get to pick him up on the 28th and he will be ours forever!!! In the mean time we will get to visit him three times, and we will be celebrating our wonderful news! Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers…we definitely felt it!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reunited

After much anticipation, the moment that we have been waiting for happened this morning. We saw that sweet precious face again! We rode what seemed like the longest hour of our lives to the baby home, and spent 2 hours with Brady. We could hardly contain ourselves as we waited for that door to open. Finally, the door opened and in walked big blue eyes wearing blue corduroy pants, a blue plaid shirt, and a blue vest. His skin was bright and beautiful, but his bottom lip was sticking out. He was woken from a nap for our visit, so we was little crabby. He came over to us but wasn’t that impressed. He kept rubbing his eyes, trying to figure out what was going on. During our visit, another adoptive parent was visiting her baby, so we shared the same room. I think it was comforting to Bradyn knowing his buddy was sharing a similar experience. The caregiver left him with us, but he whimpered a bit, so our translator held him. Even though we felt for bad for him, we were still elated to have him back in our arms again and we couldn’t stop smiling! During the 2 hour visit, we met with the social worker and doctor again. They reviewed the information from our last visit with some updates…preparing us for court. During this time, Bradyn sat on our laps trying to figure everything out. The social worker commented on how he looks just like us! It will be nice having her in court! By the time the 2 hours was over he had warmed up to us again. He enjoyed cuddling into us and even preferred us to the translator. What a special treat to have before going to court. The 2 hours passed by quickly, and then it was time for lunch and naptime. We were able to catch up on some of our jetlag and spent the evening reviewing his information so that we are prepared for court. Our coordinators will pick us up at 1:30 tomorrow and court begins at 3:00. Stay tuned…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back in Vlad!!

We arrived today in Vlad, safe and sound, after spending the night in Seoul, South Korea. When we checked in this morning to fly out, the airlines were concerned that some of our luggage wouldn't make it. We arrived in Vlad, and all 3 bags were there!! Yay...all our gifts, donations, and clothing made it!

We are now ready for bed and it is only 5:00 in the evening...so, we'll try and endure the jetlag so we can get adjusted to this time zone. Tomorrow? Off to see Brady...we can hardly wait!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Snowy Sendoff



The icing on the cake!! What better way to send off two snow-lovers, than 6 inches of snow in our front and backyard!!

We are READY...with thanks to our fabulous family and friends!! Not only do we have 3 bags packed (1 of which is overweight by 26 pounds), 2 carry-ons ready, visas in our pockets, but we have a spotless house that is baby-ready. We have also managed to finish the basement project we started!! Our animals will be well taken care of (thanks Ian)! We've said our good-byes...thanks to everyone for all your best wishes! So, now in the wise words of the Beasley's "We leave as a couple and will return as a family".

Das Va Danya! (Good Bye)...Keep reading for more updates!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Whirlwind of Excitement!!

I'm WIDE awake at 3:00 in the morning...can't tell that I'm excited, right? Since I'm awake I thought I'd document our whirlwind of excitement! We got the call at 10:35 in the morning..."I have your court date, but I don't know if it's going to work"...those were the words I heard from our agency. Then she informed me that our court date is on October 17th, with the problem being that it usually takes 2 weeks to get a visa. October 17th is only 10 days away, which seems like it should work, however, COURT is ON the 17th, that means that we need to be IN COUNTRY well before then! As I'm listening to those words I've longed to hear, my head reeling with excitement, I realized that I have my class of students wondering why in the world I'm on the cell phone!! So, I told her she had to call Mike. I immediately called Mike first and gave him the good news, both of us SO excited, yet fearing that we may not get the visas in time. Mike then talked to our agency and she gave him the number to get the visa. He called her and her words were "There's NO WAY you will get visas in time!" Yeah right...does she realize who she is talking to? So, plan B...Mike calls another place that issues visas and for an expedited fee we can get our passports on Saturday!! Meanwhile, I'm in my classroom, trying to be an effective teacher, wondering if we are going to get this court date!! Finally at 12:00, Mike calls me and tells me that we have visas coming!! Thank you God!! TAnd thank you Mike for doing all the legwork! Next hurdle...getting a flight on such short notice...I'm still in a state of shock, not sure what to do next, and trying to teach math to my students (a challenge for me in itself). 2:45...I get an email from Mike with our flight itinerary!! Is my husband awesome, or what?! And all this is happening while Mike is still working! I think our agency is even in shock that we were able to make this all happen! So...next steps....
Leave SLC Monday October 13th
Arrive Vlad Wednesday October 15th
Court Friday October 17th
10 day waiting period in country
11th day - Gotcha Day
Head to Moscow for paperwork!
Bring Bradyn Home!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wait...HURRY UP!! HURRY UP!! We have dates!

YES!!! We have a court date!!!!!! Not only do we have a court date, it is a week away!!! Got the call today and we were able to get our visa processed in enough time and we even got our flights!!! We leave on Monday the 13th!! Ready or not Bradyn...Here we come! Gotta go pack!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Run In the Rain

I received this email from my mom today...and in true "Mom" fashion, she must have known exactly what I needed to hear. I have no idea who the author is, but I give credit to whomever they are.

Run in The Rain
A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day. The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in "Mom let's run through the rain," she said. "What?" Mom asked. "Lets run through the rain!" she repeated. "No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit,"Mom replied. This young child waited about another minute and repeated, "Mom,let's run through the rain,". "We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.
"No, we won't, Mom.. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm. "This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?" "Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'" The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith. "Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said. Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing. Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. I HOPE YOU STILL TAKE THE TIME TO RUN THROUGH THE RAIN.

I guess this email was poignant for me, as I have spent so much time just wishing my time away wanting to hurry through the days...failing to realize that even though Bradyn isn't with us yet, each and every day is a time to make memories. I spend so much time wishing for the future that I'm not enjoying the present. So, from this day forward...memory making moments! I think I may even run in the rain...tomorrow we're supposed to get rain!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Twice Tagged!!

Looks like I've been tagged twice! So, the rules are:
1. Link to the person that tagged you.
Amy
Nancy
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random facts about yourself.
4.Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the taggers know when your entry is up.

Even though I've been tagged twice, I'm not going to give 12 random facts...6 will have to do (although I'm pretty sure I could come up with 12). So...random facts....

1. My first date with Mike was a blind date, double date...with MY PARENTS!! To make matters even more embarassing I was 32 years old! This was after my parents spent the 5 prior years trying to set us up! (I should've listened to my parents, a long time ago!)

2. My feet are constantly dry and scaly...despite all attempts to make them soft!! Random...I know!

3. I HATE HATE HATE talking on the phone!! I don't like to answer it, I don't like to talk on it, I don't even like to hear it ring!! Funny how life changes have forced me to stare at the phone trying to force it to ring!!! If only...

4. I have the best parking karma ever! I always get the best parking spots! The flip side...I hit EVERY single red light!

5. I used to be a Portland TrailBlazer Dancer. I used to be embarassed admitting this, but now I LONG to be able to fit into those outfits again!!

6. And for the most embarassing fact... I seem to give my pets numerous nicknames...and they each have their own personal theme song that I sing to them! (If you know me, this is VERY embarassing as I CANNOT sing at all!!)

Now it's time to tag 6 others:
Marissa
Joanne
Gillian
Sandy
Stephanie
Ineke

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hurry up and W..A...I...T...!

Hurry up and wait...hurry up and wait...hurry up and wait! Such is the life of international adoption. We thought we had finished our final cycle of "Hurry Up" and that we were just in the last "Wait" phase...when we got a call from our agency saying that the judge was requesting another Home Study update (yes...that would be 2 updates, now). Needless to say, I thought the world was coming to an end. Luckily, Mike was optimistic saying "At least we know the judge has looked at our papers and they aren't sitting in the corner". True, true...so, with the help of Mike and my family, I pulled myself together and pressed on and entered the next round of Hurry Up...except of course--we had to wait. Our social worker was out of town. Finally... we got the update yesterday (hurry up, hurry up!) and we were excited that Mike would be able to take it to get it apostilled at the Capitol today (hurry up, hurry up!). We decided we'd go ahead and pay the $60 per page apostille fee for our 6 new documents (hurry up, hurry up), just so we could get the documents sent off and it might get Brady home quicker. So, Mike made the trek up the capitol stairs (hurry up, hurry up!) and low and behold, the governmental offices are now working 4 - 10 days....yes, that means they were closed today!! (Is that the sound of screeching brakes?) Ah yes...time to wait...and wait...and wait.... This means we won't be able to send the papers until Monday, which is really Tuesday in Russia...factor in the travel time, and translating time and what do you get? Yes, MORE "wait, wait, wait". Am I cynical? Maybe...I guess it was time...I've experienced every other emotion possible on this journey...why not cyncism?

So, we have immersed ourselves in other activities to keep our minds and hearts from screaming...
I've decided to get back into ballet classes. It has been wonderful, but I can barely walk right now. I guess I should have taken it easy my first day back, but of course not, I had to go full steam ahead and I've been sore since!
Mike's project has been finishing a room in our basement, complete with wiring (Thanks Dolan), sheetrocking (Thanks Larry, Tom, and Ian), and now mud and tape (thanks Tom!). Looking good, isn't it?
We've also been excited that The Office is back on!! (And Survivor & the Amazing Race). All of these things have helped keep our minds busy, but I don't think anything will ease that ache of missing Bradyn...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Third Times A Charm...Right?



Can you say 3 showers?? Yes, we've had 3 showers!!! We are blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives, who care for us so much! On Friday, my 2nd Grade team of Teachers threw me a baby shower! I'm so lucky to work at a school that has such supportive, caring, and wonderful people! Everyone was so generous, and once again I am overwhelmed by the excitement, care, and support of SO many people! These are the people who see me, day in and day out, and experience on a daily basis, the range of emotions that I go through since I started this journey. They've given me hope when I wondered if I'd ever get a referral. They've shared in my exhuberant excitement when I finally got the call to meet our little one. And now, they hold me up, when I think I can't go on with another day of waiting! Thanks to all of you! To add to the excitement of the day, my Mom and sister, were in town and came to the shower with me. It was nice to have them there to experience another celebration for Bradyn and to have some girl time while Mike was out of town.

So, now that I've had 3 showers...shouldn't that be the charm that brings on the court dates? I know that the court dates will come when it is God's will...but I love looking for meaning in everything. The fact that this was the 3rd shower isn't the only "3"...This was the 3rd baby shower at our school...the last 2 showers ended with the mothers going into labor that night. Also, It has been 3 months since we saw Bradyn. Today will be the Green Bay Packers 3rd game. We have 3 animals in the house...so, now all we need is Bradyn and then we have 3 humans in our house!! And....I'm really hoping that our court date will be in 3 weeks! Okay, okay, I know this may all be far-fetched, but it's fun none the less!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Pirate's Life For Me!!




My sisters, Tami and Jody, decided to throw me a baby shower, but not your typical baby shower. Since Bradyn is a toddler and his room is decorated with a PIrate theme, they decided to throw me a Pirate Shower! They decorated the house with cobwebs, pirate flags, treasure chests (complete with jewels), pirate cake, and even foggy grog (dried ice in juice). When we arrived we could hear pirate music playing! To top things off, we all dressed up as pirates! Even my little nieces were dressed up! For those of you who know my fear of birds, you will be shocked to know that as part of my outfit, I wore a parrot on my shoulder!! To add to the ensemble, I had tattoos of my boys on my arm. We had an absolute blast! Bradyn was showered with so much love...if only he were here to experience it. My dad and sister made and painted a chair like one of the chairs in Bradyn's Baby Home, so he will have a little bit of Russia with him. Even Mike got to join in the festivities at the end of the evening. Thank you Tami and Jody for giving us such a fun shower! Thanks to everyone for making it so special! Aargh!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Showered with Love



I went to visit my best friend Julie in Portland and she threw me a wonderful baby shower! It was so nice to see all of my Portland friends again! I miss all of them so much, as well as missing Portland in general! It was amazing to me to see how many people are cheering for Bradyn and how much he is already loved! He was showered with many wonderful, fun, and meaningful gifts. Thanks everyone for celebrating Bradyn and supporting Mike and me! You all mean so much to me! Thank you Julie for throwing a wonderful shower...you know you mean the world to me!

Portland was beautiful as usual! I was a bit disappointed in the weather though! I was looking forward to nice temperatures and some Portland sprinkles...instead it was sunny and 103 degrees! Ugh! Even though it was hot, it was nice to be back in the Northwest! I spent my days holding Julie's new precious little guy that was only 4 weeks old. After one day of holding him, my arms were exhausted! So, I REALLY need to start carrying around weights to get in shape for our little guy.

As far as when we get our little Russki, we are back to the waiting game. The call can come at anytime now. My agency consultant told us that the judge has 1 month to schedule a court date from the moment he gets ALL of the paperwork. Well, we sent all of our paperwork awhile ago, but they called and told us that the US Embassy in Moscow didn't have our fingerprints. So, we were in a mad panic to figure that out! After numerous emails and phone calls all around the world, they finally found the fingerprints! So, I think the offical "paperwork in Judge's hands date" is probably this week or last week. Through all of our journey to find Bradyn, I've learned that this is all in God's hands. Bradyn will be in our arms when he is supposed to be! It is still extremely difficult knowing that each day that goes by, is another day we have missed of his life. I try not to focus on that and instead I keep reminding myself that each day that goes by is another day closer to him!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Last Documents Sent Off!!

I noticed that our last post was almost a month ago!! It's not that we've taken a break from blogging, but we have actually been SO busy!! Once we returned from Russia, I had my last week of school...complete with field trips, report cards, and all! The very next weekend we were off again to celebrate my niece's wedding...congratulations Christina and Sean! Then I had to prepare for my new class, since I teach at a year round school. We had our 1st day of school on Monday this week, and then back to school night the very next night (on my birthday no less)! Mike has been busy with work also and even had to travel to Colorado.

During all of this, we were in a mad rush to get the final documents done for adopting Brady...fingerprinting with the FBI, fingerprinting with the State Police, Psychological evaluation (567 questions!), Physician's evaluation, the deed to our house, and countless other documents that prove we exist and how, where, when, and why we exist! After 3 weeks of collecting these documents, getting them notarized and running back and forth to the State Capitol to get them apostilled we finally have it all completed! Our package of papers was mailed off yesterday!! I have a feeling that the people at the State Capitol will miss us, as well as our pocketbook!!

The next steps with our package...our agency sends it to Russia where it will be interpreted. Our contact in Russia compiles everything with the documents they have to do in Russia. Once it is complete it is assigned to a judge, who reviews the documents and requests new documents if any are wrong or expired. Hopefully all of our documents are perfect. If the judges thinks everything looks good, then they assign a court date. Then we get the call to come back. We could have anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month notice to get tickets and visas once the date is assigned. So, when will that call come? Back to the waiting game again....they told us the minimum wait is 2 months from when we were there. So, we already have 1 month, 3 days, and counting under our belts. We hope it comes soon! If our wait is long, we will have to re-do some documents, as they expire and are only valid for 3 months! We will wait as long as it takes though because Brady is worth it!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Safe and Sound

We made it back safe and sound last Saturday night. Spent the day on Sunday unpacking, doing laundry, and trying to adjust to our time zone. Then we had a whirlwind of a week at work!! It was my last week of school so that had me really busy and Mike was catching up on work and doing inventory! I guess being busy has been good as it helps keep us distracted. We have started scheduling appointments and getting all the final paperwork that we need to do. We are hoping to get everything done quickly in hopes that we will be able to bring Bradyn home soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Alarming...

There’s nothing like being in a foreign country, sound asleep, and being woken up by the hotel fire alarm at 12:30 at night…then the next night at 3:30am, and the next night at 10:30…The first night we were concerned and filed out into the lobby accompanied by all the other Americans and Canadians. However, we noticed that there weren’t any Russians escaping from their rooms. I guess being immersed into a culture, you learn pretty quickly how to adjust…so, the next night when the fire alarm went off, we just rolled over and went back to sleep. We have bets on what time the alarm will sound tonight.


Today we went to the notary and signed the petition to the court. It took about an hour and a half, so we had the rest of the day to keep ourselves busy while we guessed what Brady was doing. The hotel has a room named “The White Rabbit” which was made just for Mike…hockey memorabilia everywhere, t.v., pool table, darts… a nice place to hang out. The only thing it is missing is Green Bay Packers d├ęcor…we figure we will bring some with us on trip 2. So, we’ve spent some time there…and to satisfy my needs, we brought our travel Scrabble! Mike continues to inform me that after 6 games we are tied (I’ve let him win a couple so he doesn’t feel so bad). We also walked to the beach area and were stared down by all the locals there…so, we made it a pretty quick trip.

We spent the rest of the time talking about all that we need to do between this trip and the next one. Our facilitator informed us that it will be a two month minimum before we return. We are being hopeful that it will come soon and to keep ourselves busy we have at least 270 pictures of him to look at, as well as 15 video clips of him! Tomorrow we get on the plane for a long ride home. We leave at 4:20pm on Saturday and get in at 8:30pm on Saturday, with layovers in Seoul and L.A. (16 hour flying.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spaiseeba (thank you), Spaiseeba, Spaiseeba!


We wanted to say thank you to everyone! We are so grateful for your thoughts, prayers, comments, excitement and support. We were talking about how truly blessed we are and we really feel it, even if we are half way around the world. Every day that we have been here, we looked forward to hearing from you. We know that we will be able to make it through this separation from Brady because of all of you. From the bottom of our hearts…spaiseeba!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

He Has A Name!

We officially named him Bradyn Michael. We had it narrowed down to two names we really liked and we decided this morning as we were leaving. His official name is Bradyn and we will call him Brady as a nickname. It will be hard to call him his new name, since we’ve been using his Russian name for the last 3 days. Although, we both felt like his Russian name really didn’t fit him.

We forgot to mention the good news yesterday…as soon as we entered the baby home, after visiting him only 1 day, we signed the acceptance paper. There was no question in our mind about having this little guy in our lives, so we went ahead and signed the papers on the 2nd day!

Now for today…a bit of a heartwrenching day, as this was the last time we will get to see him until we return for the court day. Every moment we spent with him was precious and we savored every last bit of him. He arrived today in his finest Russian costume…complete with velvet pants, vest, and bow tie! What a sight for sore eyes!! Once again he came through the door with those big blue eyes and a huge smile when he saw us! He immediately began the “walk back and forth between mama and papa” game with a big smile. Today the room we were in had a rug on the floor and we were allowed to let him crawl. So, the game was short lived when he realized we would let him down. We were so happy about that because we were questioning if he were able to crawl…well, that question was answered…not only can he crawl but he can do it FAST! We broke out in a sweat trying to keep up…he broke out in a sweat because he was dressed to the nines in various layers. We played hard for an hour and a half and then he started to get tired. He actually fussed a little today and we were able to cuddle and reassure him, he nestled right in and started sucking his 2 fingers to self-soothe. Then we had to say good-bye…we both held him and told him we loved him and then the intepreter took him out of our arms. Packing up his toys was a bit of a teary blur, but we managed to make it through. Then we asked if we could see where he eats and sleeps and they allowed us to peek in through the door. What an extra special treat, as we got to peek at him one last time…his finest Russia clothes were put away and he was wearing purple tights and an orange shirt and was playing with the other children. We feel assured that he is well loved and taken care of at the baby home. We then went and bought 2 huge packages of diapers to leave at the home and then we headed back to our hotel. Of course, we immediately looked at the pictures we took and teared up most of the way back.

Tomorrow we will complete some more paperwork and start packing to head back on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quite the Charmer


Well, we just got back from our second baby home visit and we are smitten!! He came into the room with a HUGE smile! I had the camera in my lap ready with my finger on the shutter, so that when he came in I could get his picture. Well, excitement overcame me and I remembered to press the button, but forgot to hold the camera up and aim it at him. The good news is…this is one picture we can actually post. I realized what I did and forced myself to remember how to use a camera the rest of the time we were there. He definitely recognized us and was excited to see us. He was very happy and active for the hour and a half we were there. The three of us worked up quite a sweat, playing and taking pictures. He is very loving and affectionate; snuggling and cuddling into us, leaning his head into our head, and leaning back to see our faces when we hold him. He is very aware of his surroundings and watches anytime someone comes into the room. One of his caretakers came in and you could tell that he loves her. This is encouraging to us because we know he has attached to another, even though it will be sad for him when he leaves. However, we don’t think it will be a problem for long as he is VERY fond of us, as well. He was excited to play a game with Mike and I. He would walk from me to Mike, giggling and laughing as Mike would grab and squeeze him. Then he’d turn around and walk to me giggling and laughing, and I would grab and squeeze him. This went on for quite a long time!! The belly laughs, smiles, and hugs proved that all three of us loved the game. The interpreter was able to get some of it on video for us…we’ll treasure that! Our day began with us hearing great news from our International Adoption doctor. He analyzed the information we had and he didn’t have any questions for us to ask or any concerns. We will get to see our little guy one more time tomorrow and we know it will be difficult to say goodbye. So, we will definitely enjoy every minute.

He's All That....And More!!



We met the sweetest little guy today! Our day began by ordering breakfast at the hotel restaurant, which opened at 7:30, and wasn’t put on our table until 8:00, which is when our facilitator was arriving. We didn’t think it would take very long for breakfast since we were the only ones in the restaurant. So, the day began with us being a little nervous about being late. We left the hotel at 8:05 and headed to the Ministry of Education to get the official referral. We ended up waiting in the hallway for the director to show up, so it didn’t matter if we had been late. Our translator warned us that we’d be asked some personal questions and to be prepared. She asked us about three questions total. I think we were in there about 5 minutes, if even that. Then we were off on an hour and a half ride to the baby home. The ride was great and Mike and I were surprisingly calm. Then we pulled into the orphanage parking lot and saw some little ones playing outside. Our translator walked us through the hallways (that were all being redone) and upstairs to the director’s office. The social worker, director, caretaker, translator, facilitator, Mike and I were all in a room that was about 6X8. Things moved very quickly at this point. Everyone was talking Russian and the translator said to get out our notebook and take notes. The Social Worker started rattling off information and I couldn’t find my pen!! Panic!! Soon enough I had the pen in my hand and was trying frantically to take notes on the birth mother’s history. Meanwhile, people were walking in and out. I guess the translator told us that they were going to go get our little guy and bring him in. Luckily Mike knows me and knew that I didn’t hear her, so he told me what they said. So, the social worker is still talking and I’m still writing…panicked that I’m going to miss the little guys entrance. All of a sudden our Russian-speaking facilitator yells “Look! Look!” and little guy was walking in the room towards us with the help of his caretaker. Love at first sight. He seemed rather confident and proud walking into a tiny room filled with lots of people. The caretaker walked him over to us and I think I said “Privyet” (hi) several times. I held out my hands and next thing I know he is in my arms. The translator had to remind us to give him some toys to play with as Mike and I were just sitting there in awe staring at him. Mike grabbed the stuffed Sabaka (dog) and he got very excited and started making “ba” noises. Next thing I know everyone is leaving the room. We were told to go into another room that they were remodeling and to bring chairs. I had little guy in my arms and that was all I was thinking about. (I think all of the above transpired in about 3 minutes, not sure, it was all such a blur.) The translator, Mike, and I were all alone in the room with little guy and he went readily to Mike, while I got out his other toys. He was very interested in the stacking cups and liked banging them and then discovered that these crazy Americans would pick them up if he threw them on the floor. He seemed a little timid, but didn’t cry once. He didn’t like that I kept trying to take pictures of him. We kept calling his name to look at the camera, but he wasn’t that interested. He just sat on Dad’s lap and was rather comfortable playing with the toys. He even tried kissing Sabaka, which was very cute. We think he wanted to get on the floor, but when I tried to put him down, the translator said the floor was cold and the caretakers would not be happy to see him on the floor (even though he was really warm and we were sweating in the hot room). Of course, we did not want to press our luck so we kept him from getting on the floor, even though he kept making head dives for the floor. We spent a good time playing with him and he even gave his Dad a little snuggle. He was very interested in my lips and kept staring at them and trying to grab them. Not sure if it was my lips or my teeth. It was so precious to see his little hands, which are not so little…actually, rather chunky. He did have several “mosquito” bites on his face and they put the purple paste on them, but he appeared perfect to us. I actually wondered if he had chicken pox, because he looked like he wasn’t feeling well. He seems really strong, too. Next thing we know, the caretaker came and told us that it was time for his nap, so we had to say paka (bye bye). We spent about an hour and fifteen minutes with him. As he was walking away from us he looked back and gave a little tiny smirk of a smile. Then the doctor came and gave us his medical history. It seems like he has some very minor things that he will get checked out, but we don’t have any concerns at all. He’s even grown from the measurements that we were given from before. Once we got in the car, the facilitator asked if we had any questions…our only one was “when can we take him home?” We made it back to our hotel and are looking forward to our visit with him tomorrow…we are thinking we will get about 2 hours with him. Now, we are resting from our emotionally exciting day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

From Russia with Love


We arrived in Vlad safe and sound! The flight was very uneventful, and we were able to get one last “Western” style meal in at Subway before we left. Vladivostok is very pretty. We had a half hour ride to get to our hotel, and we were amazed at how wooded it is. We can actually see the ocean from the hotel grounds, and we are hoping to walk down there tomorrow night. We just got back from dinner, and are planning on getting to bed early tonight, as we are getting picked up at 8am. Our coordinator informed us that we will be going to see the Ministry of Education in the morning, and they we are off to the orphanage to see our baby. We absolutely can not wait.

Seoul Continued...

We enjoyed ourselves in Seoul, everyone was very nice to us. We did find some things rather humorous though. In our hotel, all of the electricity was done by the remote control to the t.v. So, Mike thought it was rather funny to turn the lights off while I was going to the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom, there was a sign on the door that said not to put toilet paper in the toilet….mmm….so, maybe that is why there was a bidet system installed on the toilet. I have no qualms trying out a bidet, however, all 10 buttons on the toilet were written in Korean. Needless to say, we weren’t about to try that. The shower was interesting as well. The shower and separate bathtub were in a room together. As we were getting ready to shower we discovered that there was a shampoo and soap dispenser on the wall – OUTSIDE of the shower. Then we saw the flip flops and then we noticed that there wasn’t a drain in the shower part at all, but outside of the shower. After adding all this together, we realized that the entire room was the shower basin!! So, you get yourself wet, walk out of the shower area to get soap, then walk back to rinse off. If you know me at all, you know this was a disaster waiting to happen. But unbelievably I did not fall once!! We ended up getting a great nights rest, and were up at the crack of down ready for another flight.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Half Way Around the World


We are sitting in our hotel room in Seoul, South Korea struggling with jet lag. It is 6:15pm Sunday Korea time, but 3:15am Saturday Salt Lake time! We arrived in Seoul this morning at 5:00am safe and sound. We were able to check into our hotel room early and took a power nap and shower. Our flight from SLC to Vegas was short and sweet, and our excitement and adrenaline were on hyper-drive. Had a 3 hour layover and then headed off to Korea on Korean Air. Awesome airline!! Even though we were in coach seating, it felt like first class...plenty of leg room, movies, etc. Thanks to Ambien we were able to sleep a solid 6 hours on the flight and the remaning 6 hours were spent being excited about where we were headed. When we landed in Korea, we must have looked VERY lost and out of place, because a very nice Korean family offered to help us call for our hotel shuttle. (I'm not sure why we looked lost...it couldn't have been the fact that we were taking pictures in an airport and staring at a phone booth). We spent the day in downtown Seoul in the shopping district. We didn't buy anything, except for a Starbucks...yes, we were not very adventurous, we had latte's and then TGIFriday's for lunch. We figured we should play it safe in our eating choices, so we weren't sick for our Baby Home visit. So far, so good. We'll upload pictures when we get to Russia...our cable is in our checked luggage. This day feels like it has been the longest day of our lives, we can't wait to go to bed and we are so excited about landing in Russia tomorrow! The adventure continues...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Counting Down...

Yes, we are counting down the days, hours, and minutes until we get to see our little guy. We have our airline tickets, the hotel rooms are reserved, passports and visas are in hand. It was a bit of a close call with the visas though. We received a confirmation page via email for our visas, however it wasn't in English, it was all in Cyrillian. For some reason, I thought we should translate just to make sure everything looked good. So, we copied and pasted it into a translation program and discovered that our visas had us arriving the 16th, but departing on the 15th...of the SAME month!! So, we were leaving before we even got there! I'm so glad we double checked that and we were able to get them to change it before we travel. (So...for our fellow PAP's out there, please make sure your dates on your visas are accurate.)

As for everything else, we have started the packing process...well, the beginning of the packing process. We have almost everything that we are taking sprawled all over little Russki's room. We've been collecting things over the last 11 months, but now that the time is here, we are trying to get it all organized. Even though we collected a lot of things, we still ended up going out and buying more things...like dual time zone watches, new clothing, and other things we probably won't need...but it has been fun shopping for things we MAY need!

Even though we are super excited about going, I've been a little stressed out about all I need to get done for my classroom. Since we are at a year round school, we are still in session. The week we get back, will be the last week of school...so, that means report cards need to be done, and we will be busy with all of our end of the year activities. Thankfully, my Mom and Dad came down this weekend, and my Mom helped save the day by grading papers, filing, sorting, and helping prepare things for my substitute....Thanks Mom!

Mike is his usual calm self, methodically getting things done. His main concern right now is whether or not he will be able to eat anything while we are over there....if you know Mike at all, you know he is a picky eater. So, we spent a good portion of our day buying some snack foods that he can get by on-just in case.

One final note...while we were laying everything out on the floor to pack...our dogs insisted on laying in the middle of all of it. Obviously they know something is going on. They won't be happy that we are leaving them for a week, but I know they will be thrilled someday to get a little boy to play with.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Father's Day Surprise!

We received our travel dates!!! We are leaving Father's Day weekend to meet our little guy!! We can hardly contain the excitement! We will spend an entire week there and look forward to every moment that we will get to be with him! There is so much to do before we leave and we are frantically trying to remember all that we need to do! Plane tickets are bought, hotel is reserved, visa applications are submitted, the list goes on... in just a short time we will get to see that beautiful face in person.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Room



We've had the baby's room ready for quite sometime, but we were missing a dresser. We searched for many months, but couldn't find exactly what we wanted. So, my dad came to the rescue and made the perfect dresser! Thanks Dad!! Now, we are completely ready for our little guy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

The frenzy of paperwork is completed! We mailed our little package today! Pray that we don't have to make anymore changes to our documents. Now, we wait for travel dates. We can hardly contain ourselves, as we have already fallen in love with our little guy. Hopefully we will be traveling soon! We wanted to say a big thanks to everyone for being so supportive!! We appreciate all your comments and caring wishes!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Too Good to be True?

We got a referral!! Yes...I said, we got a referral. I have to repeat myself because it is too good to be true!! We keep pinching ourselves to make sure it is real. We ended up signing with Life Adoption Services instead of WCS, and they had a referral for a little guy for us!! We have been busy updating paperwork and will find out more next week. In the mean time, we can't stop smiling!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ch..ch..ch..ch..Changes!

After 15 months with our agency, we made the decision to part our ways. We loved our consultant, but felt that things were taking way too long. We are well aware that the world of international adoption requires patience, patience, and more patience but it seemed as though we were slowly going nowhere. Our dossier has expired and so it seemed like the perfect time to make a change. So, we decided to apply to another agency that works with a fewer number of families.

We actually feel excited and hopeful again! We look forward to hearing that we are accepted with the new agency. Then it is back to the paperwork!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tagged!

Looks like I have been tagged...

Rules
Link to the person who tagged you: Nancy
Post the rules (see below)
Share 6 unimportant habits/quirks about yourself: see below
Tag three other people - Shannon Joy Stephanie
Make sure the people you tagged know you've tagged them

Hmmm...quirky things about me?
1. I eat everything with chopsticks, everything! If I use a fork, I will inevitably spill food on myself or chase food all over my plate with that weird metal thing. So, chopsticks for me, please!

2. I must have lotion on my hands at all times! When I wash my hands, I must immediately put lotion on.

3. My closet has to have everything sorted by sleeve length, then color. My sister claims that I used to measure the width between my hangers so everything was spaced the same distance. (I adamantly deny this...but it is a good idea, maybe I'll try it!)

4. I am a klutz...if I don't trip while walking, then I will inevitably drop or break something. Usually it will be my car keys- every single time I go to unlock my car door.

5. I have a very interesting memory...I can't tell you how much I get paid or how many years I've been teaching, but I can tell you exactly where some random item is or what someone wore 3 weeks ago.

and

6. I love t.v. so much, that sometimes I blur the lines of reality. Yes...talking about Michael Scott as though he were not a character on The Office, but a family member of mine.

Yikes...I guess I am pretty quirky!!