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 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


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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


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 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 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


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


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, 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! 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!