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Sunday, March 19, 2006
Faith Hope and Love
These are the things that have gotten us through the past week. These are the things that will carry us through the rest of our lives.

I could bore you with all of the revelations that I (we) have had in the past week. Most of it is very religious stuff that many of you don't believe in anyway. However, our faith is very strong. No apologies or disclaimers here in referring God.

This little boy will be in our hearts forever. Personally I still consider him my son. We have tried to liken his loss to many things. Miscarriage, still birth, or even a child that was kidnapped and then found.

While these analogies are similar they just aren't quite right. A will never come and live in our home. He may never even leave Russia, but he is our son the same. Right now I consider myself to be a very lucky woman. I truly believe that the Lord sent this little boy who had nothing to us to pray for and love. There are people all over the world thinking of this little boy. Just look at the map below.

Not only did this boy have all of this love and support he now has a home, a mama and papa to love and care for him. He will never again have to wake up in the orphanage. My prayers have been answered.

So where does that leave us? Well... moving forward. Jen put it best. Adoption Adventure was all about A. She is correct. The past year our lives have revolved around that one little person. We felt it only appropriate to start fresh with a new blog. So this will be our last post from Adoption Adventure. We are packing up and moving to some new digs. Go check it out. Our new blog is called Unexpected Miracles. It will chronicle the second act in our adoption journey. We hope that you will continue to follow along with us. Adoption Adventure will still be here. We are going to leave it for people to refer back to. We don't want to erase the last year, we just want to move forward.

Bye Little A. We're going to miss you!

"Pray to God, but continue to row toward shore." -Russian Proverb
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The unthinkable...
The unthinkable has happened. As you know, L and I waited all weekend because our agency facilitator had told us last week that we should be receiving an update about A on Monday. Well Monday finally rolled around and I came home to find a message from Olga on our phone. She asked that we call her back right away because she had info to share... there was a problem with A. As you can well imagine my heart sank as soon as I heard those words.

So, L and I sat together in our office and called Olga back. She asked if L was with me and I answered yes. I put her on speaker-phone so that we could both hear what she had to say. Now I don't know if it's because she talks so fast and has a heavy Russian accent or if it was because she was saying words we didn't want to hear, but we we're having a hard time understanding. The news that we had been waiting all weekend to hear, was the most devastating news that I have ever heard in my life. Our boy, the one we had been waiting to go get for over 9 months, was no longer available. Our hearts broke immediately. Here we had been patiently waiting, hoping, loving this little boy in Russia and now in one moment, he was gone.

You might be wondering (I know we are), "How could this happen?" Well, the MoE changed the rules late last year. The new rules requires that all family members be notified before the child could be adopted. It also requires that the child be seen by 3 different Russian families before being placed with a foreign family. So in the process of all of this, one of the Russian families saw little A and chose to adopt him.

So the question that we've been asking in our heart and out loud in the last 24 hours is "Where do we go from here?" In the process of our crying and grieving last night we really didn't have a clue. We couldn't really bear to think about it. With each passing hour it becomes a little more clear. We know this much: We aren't giving up that a child that is meant to be part of our family and we still believe that he (or she) is in Russia. We will continue to grieve the little boy that has been in our hearts for nearly a year, but have some peace knowing that he has a forever family and no longer has to live in an orphanage. It doesn't make it hurt any less but at least it allows us to move ahead.

So now, even with a heavy heart, we forge ahead. We ask all of our friends and family for your thoughts and prayers during this time. We have to believe that some things happen for a reason. At this point we don't know what that reason is. We don't know why this child wasn't meant for us, but continue to believe that there is one out there that is. We are continuing to put our trust in God and walking the path that he lays in front of us. We don't know where it will leads us but I know that together we can get through anything.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
The iPod fairy visited us this weekend!!!! Woo Hoo!!!

The majority of you know D's obsession with the iPod. He has wanted one for months. The obsession is so well known that other people blog about it. (ok, secretly I really wanted one too, but just so I wasn't left out)

So we have this fantastic dinner with D's parents on Friday night and when we get back to their house Dad brings us these cute little gift bags. Inside... oh yeah! beautiful black iPod Nanos.

I thought for sure that as soon as we got home that night D would be sitting in front of the computer downloading every CD onto the computer. Amazing enough he didn't. We went straight to bed. However, after breakfast he didn't even wait for me to finish my coffee before getting up to play with his new toy. Wanna see it?

I will admit that the one with the headphone cord attached is mine, and I will also admit that the other end of the cord is firmly planted in my head.

Now the gift of the iPod did not come without its drawbacks. Of course, as with the TiVo incident*, we couldn't just download the songs onto the slim black beauties. Not only did new software need to be installed on my already overloaded computer, but new hardware as well. I asked D that if he installed a new piece of hardware to the inside of my computer that he had to promise me that it would work when he was done. He of course promised nothing. Yes the new hardware was a USB 2.0 card that had to be installed inside my computer.

The normal person wouldn't panic when her very technologically savvy husband says he is going to open up a computer case. But I am not a normal person. I never shut my computer off. NEVER. I am afraid that if I do it will never start again. Then what would I do? How would I check my email? There is so much stuff hooked to my computer I could wire a 3rd world nations. I am not kidding. Look for yourself... This is the area that my computer normally sits. It had been disconnected at this point.

Attached to my computer is (was) 3 printers, a monitor, keyboard, mouse, digital card reader, scanner, palm pilot docking port, Cable modem router, Vonage router, microphone, speakers, and USB hub. Now and iPod.

Of course if you will also please note the copious amounts of dirt and dust where the computer once sat. This sparked an unexpected allergy attack on my part. The frivolous use of canned air with in my exposed computer did not help the situation. So I had to retreat to the couch and leave my computer unsupervised. I really did start to worry when D made many trips to the garage for various tools and eventually a can of WD-40.

Needless to say my computer still works. The fan is a little noisy, hence the WD-40, but my iPod is just fantastic!! Now if I could just figure out how to make the photos run while the music is playing I would be a happy camper.
*The TiVo required the purchase of 2 very expensive new cables to require one remote for the TV, cable box and sound. Veeeery long story.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Managing the adoption expense
Funding an adoption is a difficult matter. I am sure many of you out there have looked at your significant other or someone in your life and said, "how the hell can we afford this?"

D did the same thing to me when I told him I felt the call to adopt. At that point I wasn't quite sure. I just knew this was something I had to do.

In my infinite research I started looking for anything and everything that would help. Loans are not really an option for us. I subscribed to a yahoo group about fundraising for adoption. Let me know if you want info on this one because this group is great! I also did my homework on grants. Ahh, the ever elusive "free" money.

I was lucky enough to find a list of available grants. There are approximately 52 organizations listed here. Of those 52 we qualify for 6. Yes, only 6. Actually it is 7, but D refuses to profess his belief in the "creation story." Anthropologist issues.

Last spring I dutifully filled out applications for these 6 grants. I received rejection letters from all but 1. We were fortunate enough to actually get a grant from an organization here in Washington. We are so thankful for their gift.

Anyway, as I find myself getting closer to bringing the boy home my thoughts turn again to the finances. With some odd luck and a whole lot of hard work we had managed to gather all the money needed to complete our adoption. Then came last September. Remember the day? When we heard that we would have to travel back to Russia to see 8 doctors. That put a little damper in the financial happy dance. So here we are. Needing money again. Shocking.

Today I revisited my list of grants. I was able to find one more that we qualify for. 1 that we had applied for, but the people we listed as references never sent their questionnaires back and one application that I have yet to send in.

My question is if there are over 50 agencies out there why do we only qualify for a piddly 6? Our advantage at the 6 is that we are Christian people. Of the 6, 3 are Christian organizations that require you to complete a faith statement or a salvation statement or some other God based form. What about those families that don't have a strong belief in God? Why are they excluded? Better yet... why am I excluded from applying because I am not adopting a special needs child? You can't tell me that my boy isn't going to have issues from living the first 2 years of his life in an orphanage.

Last year D and I made a commitment to each other. When this is all said and done we want to start our own grant foundation. We want to welcome all applicants. Doesn't matter what agency, what religion, what country you are adopting from, what nationality you are, what needs you feel you can handle as a parent or anything. EVERYONE. No more discrimination.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
The Weekly Update
Only 9 comments?! 9?! And 2 of those were from the same person!! Please oh Please don't make me go with the politics. With as many people that read this blog I am surprised at the number of people that don't comment. I won't bite I promise. Like how I am trying to guilt you into commenting? I'm special like that.

So without further ado... This week's update is brought to you by Jack's raging bile duct. So sue me. I need to watch a little of the Fight Club and Brad Pitt action.

When we last left our freaked out mom-to-be she was frantically obsessing over the mounting paperwork that was now once again required.

I have completed the necessary paperwork and a few additional things that have been added. Like new employment letters, a new financial form and I advised my special social worker that we needed a letter from DSHS.

As far as agency info goes, nothing can move forward until our facilitator in Khabarovsk has an actual hard copy of the accreditation certificate. She should have that by Monday.

On a troubling note, there is a new judge in town. We'll call her Judge Newbie. Judge Newbie is a little intimidated by proceeding over adoptions due to previous bad press. Let's just say that her first court hearing was a little longer than normal. The good news is we won't end up being her guinea pigs. She is quite green and is taking a little time at getting accustomed to the whole international adoption process. All in all the process is not expected to go as smoothly as it has in the past.

But you want to hear the best news ever!!! We were informed that by Monday we should have an update on the boy!! We are expecting to get height, weight, updated medical info and maybe even a photo. This is going to be the longest weekend of my life. I cannot wait. I bet my little guy looks like a toddler by now. Please Lord let him have hair. (the child was a bald as a cue ball in June)

So there you have it. A little bit of good news mixed in with the so-so news. I'll take what I can get at this point.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Coffee Talk: Parenthood
For months I read the blog of one of blogging's greats. Soper. Ah how I miss you Soper. Soper is an infertile turned adoptive mom. She and her husband recently returned home from Kazakhstan with their baby girl Moonpie. A regular feature on her blog was Infertile Coffee Talk.

I have frequently threatened my readers with a politically charged debate, however I am not politically motivated at this point. Just wait until Presidential elections roll around. Then I will have something to say.

In honor of Soper and Coffee Talk I thought I would institute this feature here. This will be an opportunity for you numerous lurkers to come out of the woodwork. I thought I would start with something that was actually published as part of the Uterine Wars Coffee Talk.

Top 10 things I resolve to do as a parent.

1. I too will not throw elaborate birthday parties requiring me to purchase gifts for all small children in attendance. I did not get gifts at a friend's birthday party when I was a kid.

2. I will kick my child outside on nice days. Despite the fact that I watched way more Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street than the average child I did play outside on a regular basis.

3. I will give my child every opportunity to think for himself.

4. Much to my chagrin, if my son wants to play soccer I will let him. (don't think I won't try to talk him into hockey first)

5. I will make every attempt possible not to give in to whining. Even if this causes stink eye from the old ladies and other mommies in the grocery store.

6. I will expose my child to as many learning possibilities as he can handle.

7. I will be the adult in the house.

8. I will not be super sanitary mom. Boys are meant to get dirty.

9. I will make sure that we are a family first and foremost. I do not want our child to take over the relationship that D and I have worked for nearly 10 years to build.

10. I will strive to be the best mom I know that I can be.

I am very aware that there are resolutions that we make as a parent that fly right out the window as soon as our children come home. Many of these will probably fit into that category.

Your topic of discussion is to either complete your own list of resolutions as a parent or to inform those of us who are pre-children what resolutions you made that you did not keep. Post your feedback in the comments section. Don't be afraid please. I am sooo not a judgmental person and welcome everyone. You have until Thursday, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, time to post your thoughts since the Weekly Update gets posted at 7 on Thursdays.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I like being popular
I was such a nerd in high school. I was the type of kid that hung out with the band geeks. I didn't play an instrument (although I tried to teach myself the flute once.) I was just that nerdy.

My secret squirrel stat counter informs me that there are a whole ton of you viewing our blog. Granted most of yesterday's count comes from D posting our blog address on, but still. We had 138 unique visitors yesterday and our counter from June is over 11,000! Congrats to the person who was 10,000 by the way. I would have sent you a lovely prize for that, but I've got nothing. Would you like a cat?

So with 138 people visiting you would think that there would be more comments. Sure the content of the blog has been a little less than thrilling to comment on, but hey just leave us a note and introduce yourself. You really don't want me to whip out that politically charged debate do you?

I have nothing on the adoption front. So in the mean time I will tell you a little about Khabarovsk.

It is pronounced huh-BAR-ovsk. Not HA-ba-rosk. I know this because we have a very good friend that lives in this town. We were lucky enough to get to see her during our trip in June. Her name is Galina and she is ex soviet military turned humanitarian. She worked with a project called To Russia With Love in the mid 90's. My MIL worked with this project and that is how we met her*. We have a few other friends in Khab (Hahb) also.

Khab is a town of about 700,000 people. It is located in Far East Russia (not technically Siberia) right on the Chinese border. The Amur River separates China from Russia at this point. Khab sits right where the Vladivostock peninsula meets the mainland of Russia. The town is built on 3 big ridges. The 3 main streets run atop these ridges. If you wander off the main street (Amurskya Ulitsa) you have to go down a big hill and back up the other side to get to the next main street.

I absolutely love Khabarovsk. The people are very friendly, the main areas of town are quite clean and there are even a few little museums and places to visit. The people speak very little English, which can be difficult, but the ones who do speak English are often willing to translate for you.

One of the best parts is that there is a brand spankin' new hockey rink in town. It is called Platinum Arena. If you follow the Webcam #1 link you may be able to see a live shot of it. That camera doesn't seem to work all the time though. So for your viewing pleasure here is a photo from June. Leave it to the hockey player to find the rink in town. I am thinking I am going to have to sneak my skates into my suitcase for the next trip.

I will try to post more photos of town later. I have quite a few of them. Shocking.

*Her meaning Galina, not my MIL. Just had to clarify that one.