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.