Tuesday, September 29, 2009

scenes from Ptown, toto I dont think we are in Kansas anymore





Scenes from Sunny K, the big city


finally got my laptop going again

since this is where all my photos are I couldnt upload any. I will now though







First meeting Benjamin and Sophie.

a special photo for my chat friends


yes that is what you think it is.

Monday, September 28, 2009

this weekend, Saturday is off to Sunny K

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which may or may not actually be sunny. but off we will go into the wild blue yonder to bring home our babies! who are definitely NOT babies. I cant wait to see them again!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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I look at the pictures on the side of this blog in wonder and its hard to believe they are not just pictures any more. they are real children and I have held them and can hardley wait to bring them home. They look so different from those photos now. but still so beautiful. I never intended to have a house full of blondes, and all girls blue/green eyed and all boys brown eyed. I didnt plan it. It just happened. I am so lucky. I miss them and Ben's mischievious laughter when he is naughty. I know miss Sophie is going to be a tough nut to crack but I see hope. I really do. (feel free to remind me of this when I am in the middle of her adjustment and want to pull my hair out!) I didnt post the pictures from our first meeting, but if/when I do you would see a smile on her face so big it brightened the entire room. and she just looks so proud and happy to be someones special one. I dont know what changed but they put her in Eric's lap first and she absolutely BEAMED. later she decided she didnt like him, like after a day or two. who knows what they tell them. SO I have hope that she will again revert to that little girl who was so overjoyed to have a Papa all her own.

Benji(my husband hates when I refer to him as that so I try to only do it in writing and never in person with Ben)is such a sweet heart. he offers hugs and kisses to us, accepts all of ours no problem. and when the nanny told him mama and papa had to go home for some days and then we would come back and take him to America he was visibly excited and jumping around. you wouldnt think a kid in afo's, and has only been walking a month could jump that high. He is strong willed too. but very loving. he holds my hand willingly and I adore when he does. He lets me grab him up and smooch on him. he doesnt like to share his Mama with Vika, which is sweet, but I played with Vika anyways, he wont be the only child at home so he might as well get used to it. His adjustment I worry less about. he seems to be ok with us and LIKES spending time with us. he is also older and maybe understands better.

I am waiting to hear from Golden Rule on flights. They had some for me but then Eric decided he wants to wait for the weekend and not leave his coworkers hanging. always the conscience that one. I am sure Maggie appreciates that. She has had to work a lot more with him gone. My dell cord has died and now I have no way to charge my laptop and my call to dell was fruitless after half an hours wait time I was disconnected because I didnt speak fast enough after the last person answered. I paused for only a breath and I immediately got a recording. so I dont know how much blogging will be going on in the next days until I get a new cord, from dell or elsewhere.

Monday, September 21, 2009

sophie plays ball

video

this one is my favorite. chrysta took it.

is this kid cute or WhAT?

more pics

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Have you ever gone to the zoo and wondered just what to wear? now you know! silk pants and high heels are perfect for ANY occasion! even the zoo!
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I would like you to meet a sweet little girl I met. Her name is Vika. she would reach out to me and touch my face as if in wonder that I was real. she likes to put her fingers in her mouth and offered several times to put them in MY mouth. She often gets left out of games. she doesnt really seem to get the games the kids are playing. but she does love to sit in a lap. I pulled her into my lap as I sat next to my Ben in the sandbox. Benjamin didnt like that and filled her shoes with sand! little stinker!! lol. she is very sweet. I would always caress her little face and say hello Vika and she would smile. I didnt think she could talk but by the end of our week there she DID talk! She is very cute. I think she is 6. She looks like a 4 yeaar old. but I had to give her some love she was so cute.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

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I wish I had more photos of the two together. it was very sweet, after we were able to have both one day they wouldnt let us do that any more and each kept asking after the other. sophie would call when she saw kids outside and call to him. he would want to walk towards her place and would say her name over and over. so I dont have pics of them together. and since I have been sitting here asleep drooling down my front while attempting to surf, you will have to settle for two pics for now.
court was 18th, came home 19th. We were granted the adoption of Sophie Anastasia( aka her royal highness) and Benjamin Artem. Yulia was great, Meredith said if you have Yulia, things will be handled. and they were. we had some problems(some minor, some not!) and she got it all taken care of and court went as planned and our time table as planned and Yulia made it all happen. So we are home enjoying our left at home kids again. They missed us a lot so its good we came home. Approximately the 29th we will return to SunnyK and on to Ptown. On our way home we met baby Laurel and her daddy. While in SunnyK we met Jenny and her 3 new babies(and one older baby she brought from home lol)

all through court the judge kept holding his head, rubbing it with his hand as if to try and understand a complicated problem. They just couldnt understand why we would take on two kids with medical problems when we already have 4 at home. but we met all the conditions, and the people who are in charge of the childrens services (one for each of the kids since they are in different places) as well as the attorney for the one orphanage were all there to say they believed it was in the best interest of the children to be adopted, the attorney for the city supported it also. after all the talking and questioning, etc. he took a recess. and after he pronounced that he would grant the adoption his entire demeanor changed. he was smiling and shook our hands and congratulated us. and we gave him a quarter for his coin collection. (is that a bribe? lol)

So while being homeless all of Friday(due to a paperwork snafu in SunnyK and us having to check out of our hotel at noon)Vanya came and took us back to sunnyK just as the sun was going down. we got to an apartment and fell into bed for a very short time before getting up. Nickolai met us at 415(AM!) and took us and another family to the airport. The flights were fine as far as Munich, then we had about an 8 hour layover. so we went to Octoberfest! came back and caught our plane on outta there to Chicago. then on to minneapolis. got in at about 9 something. waited for hotel to pick up and then jumped in the car and drove until about 1am and fell into bed at grandma's house. the kids were happy to see us, even at 1am. today we drove home. 3 of the 4 are home now. Cody will be here in a day or two. We will return to SunnyK around the 29th. Meanwhile I am coming up with ways to be more organised. photos to come!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ahhhhh life in Ptown

Vasley was the name of the child I kept forgetting. Ben did not want to share his Mama and Papa and sistrechka today with the other kids so he took me by the hand and led me away from them, calling PAPA! And telling him to follow. I had told Chrysta she could play with Natasha and Illiana but he would have no part of that, he was calling CHRYSTA!!! Until she came along. didn’t really want to play with her but just wanted to claim rights to her haha. So he walked along holding my hand and then gave me the machina to carry. He is walking very well. Better every day! He loves to walk through the grass, especially long tall brambly grass. He walked us to an empty playground and then we played in the sand box with the machina. When he is naughty he laughs. He knows exactly what he is doing. I will say no to him and then he will laugh this crazy laugh and do it again. But he does listen after a time or two. Sometimes he laughs like that and then chooses to do the right thing and I try to not miss that chance to praise him. He is funny now, he says GOOD BOY! When daddy says ben, can you say ___________(insert some word here) and he will say Da. As in yes I can say it but no I am not going to. This morning we were playing in the sandbox and there was a big delivery truck and he scooted over next to me and put his hands in my lap and watched the truck. I don’t know if he was claiming me as his own or looking to me to protect him from the delivery guys and the truck. Twice he did that and it was very sweet. He is always full of kisses. He did let us go back and play with his friends for a few minutes before we had to leave. They are such sweet kids. Natasha follows Chrysta around. And Illiana has such blue blue eyes. Allina is very kind to my Ben. She gives him the ball rather than take it away from him. Vasly, Andre, and Vitalia are very interactive and want to do whatever the girls are doing. Vasly has this little round face with freckles, he reminds me of leave it to beaver. And of course Vika who craves human affection and attention. My Ben is the most wonderful little boy and I think he got that way from hanging out with these great kids in his groupa. (and partly cus he is just so darn cute!)

Sophie accepted Daddys hello kisses today. She let him sit near us and even interacted and spoke to him a little bit. He played a little bit of silliness with her and she tolerated it. wasn’t sure about it but tolerated it. She saw Mama Nina again today and she called the grandmother on the cell phone. So Sophie got to talk to her grandmother again. She got to play clean out the purse with chrysta’s bag this time. She was funny pretending to put purell on like lotion and rubbing it in. she would take the bottle and put it to her hand and say shh shh and then put the bottle back and rub her hands together. Then she would give some to all of us, saying shh shh as she pretended to dab it into our palms. She let daddy kiss her goodbye and waved Paka today. It was a much better day but obviously its going to be all on me to carry her home. I had wanted to sling her but I don’t know about that. Might need a stroller after all. Still deciding on that now that Ben is walking so well. I am writing this offline on Weds eve. I can not get anything online in the eves. Only mornings. So I have to type it all up and copy and paste in the morning. Tomorrow is our last whole day here in Ptown (for awhile anyways) I tried to get a picture of vanya but they meet us at the gate with Sophie when they see us coming. I asked which was vanya and they showed me a little boy who was NOT the vanya I was looking for. There is a little boy in a stroller though, maybe he is vanya? Kim maybe if you hurry to get your stuff in we will be here together when we return after the ten day. Court is on Friday and then we go back to Sunny K(although this could be called Sunny P because the sun seems to shine ALL the time!) changed the tickets to fly out Sat instead of having to wait until mon or tues. Maia and Ethan are missing us and we miss them too. I wonder how they have grown. I heard Ethan was helping in the garden at grandma’s. he loves that kind of stuff. He also told his big brother how much he misses him. And big brother returned the sentiment. Very sweet since they are often at odds. Maia wants to come home because she has been there lots of days. Too many to count probably in her mind. I miss my squishy little Maia and my not so squishy Ethan(although I left instructions to eat a lot at grandma’s and GET squishy) I will post this in the morning

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

another day in sunny Ptown. I guess thats the only kind of weather they get here

thanks for all the support that came from my beloved rr family. I so appreciate it. We are definitely Feeling better about things. Yulia was able to shed some light on things for us and talk to the nannies. We were very worried about her attitude! she has never had a daddy and just doesnt know about daddies and what they do. Also when asked she just calls him the man. doesnt realise who he is or why he is there. Unfortunately I didn’t get to ask about Vanya. We saw her for only a matter of minutes and ZOOM! She was gone again. Kim I will take pictures today of the kids I promise! Court is on for Friday. The judge is apparently flexible if papers are not finished by then he could push it back until later in the day. That’s a good thing. Emailed golden rule for travel changes, but cant access the mail to see if they responded. Will try again in the morning. Sophie apparently is not really getting the message that this is her papa and she has never had a papa so she really cant relate to what papa’s do. Eric gave her his hat and yulia asked where she got the hat and she said the man gave it to me. AHA! The man! Just any old man! She doesn’t realise he is hers, all hers(and ours) not just a man off the street stopping in to play. Mama she can relate to. And yes she is a spoiled princess because they do not have the time to deal with her(just as I suspected) but it was really Eric’s fears that needed allaying. He seems to feel better about things now. And when she sees how the other kids react to Daddy I bet it wont be long before she catches on too! Ben already seems to get it. He thinks Daddy is a riot, tons of fun!

Tonight we played with Ben and his entire groupa outside. The nanny on duty gave up trying to herd them and let us all play. We danced, skipped, galloped, hopped, played London bridge, red light green light. I took lots of photos and heard paka zie! Paka zie!!! A hundred times until I showed them the photo. I got the funniest photo of the nanny. She said she did NOT love that photo. She was making a face and her eyes are scrunched shut. I didn’t tell her I didn’t delete it. Shhh. The kids were really all wonderful. Two little girls in particular have caught our eye and ERIC(totally him) is now talking about wanting to come back for them. They are lovely little girls, seemingly normal. But well beyond toddler and baby stage. They are about 7 or 8 I think. Eric got to hear everyones age before I got there. I was returning Sophie to her groupa. The kids were a riot and we had lots of fun with them. Little Vika, poor little Vika gets left out of a lot of the games. She often doesn’t get the game, or the other kids just exclude her. I tried my best to include her in everything and she would smile and smile. She looks to be about 4 but I think Eric said she is 6. She is very much delayed and has some facial features that make you wonder. But she wants to be loved. And that is universal. So if anyone is looking for a little girl all their own who would love nothing more than to be your precious, Vika is your girl! While we were there Ben was just adorable and very loving. He kept throwing his arms around us and hugging and even kissing. He would toddle around the circular shelter where they play and one of us would wait for him(and the other half dozen kids as well) and we would jump out and say BOO! Or Gotya! Or ROAR! And he would scream and laugh and jump in your arms. Then if I was distracted playing with the others when he came around that corner he would seek me out and I would grab him and he would hug me tight and just laugh and laugh. Every single time he came around there was a hug for someone, myself or daddy or chrysta.

Weather here in Ptown is just one beautiful day after another. It rained a bit this morning but warmed up plenty to be a nice warm day. It was a warm walk home! It just rained a bit now, but I am sure tomorrow the sun will wake me at 7 as it has every day this week.

We went out for ice cream this evening. It was a fun little excursion. A yummy treat. I cant say I have found much of anything here that I havent liked.

We are trying to remember all the kids in Bens groupa, there was Vika, Natasha and Ilianna, Alanna, Vitalia,
this morning did not go well. Eric picked up Sophie out of her wheelchair and she started wailing and throwing herself at me. He sat down with her on the step and held her and talked to her and she threw herself backwards and continued to carry on. I talked to her in english. I talked to her in russian(what I could find in my book) I gave her a pen. I gave her a marker. she would not be swayed. She has quite the temper. I wiped her little nose again and again and she carried on for 20 minutes! We finally had her distracted playing with the cell phone in Eric's lap and THEN! the "doctor" came and took her away from us saying its time for lunch even though it was half hour early. so she won. she wailed for 20 minutes and she got her way. can you imagine how long she will carry on next time? Eric has all but given up. He is hurt and upset and feeling rejected and wondering if something underlying is going on but how to find out what? we cant understand her, she cant understand us. so todays visits were short, so glad we rushed out there to be there right on time. Ben is never ready when we get there. snack time has slowly creeped forward so that we have to wait longer and longer to see him because he is eating when we get there. so snack is now at 10 and 4. thats when we get there. why make visiting hours at 10 and 4 if you are going to be feeding them then? so we only got about half hour with him and half hour with her this morning. She wouldnt even wave goodbye to us when we left. Yulia is supposed to be in town today for committee meeting of various people for Ben's orphanage to see if they approve us going to court for him.We have not yet heard from her though. Dont know if she is even still in town.

We are just confused, upset, and not sure where to go from here. What happend that she no longer wants Eric around? She was so precious in his lap when they brought her to us the first time, smiling shyly up at him.(by contrast Ethan wailed bloody murder when they left him with us) she was good with him the first couple days. then something changed. is this a sign of things to come? is she just spoiled rotton because no one can stand to hear her cry? or is it something else? is she going to be a manipulative little radlet? I wish I had someone to turn to. This is our life we are talking about! I dont even know who to ask. She seems to like when I hold her. she is VERY demanding though. she wants what she wants when she wants AND HOW! Court is Friday, today is Tuesday. help?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sophie seems to have it in for dada. she likes him there, but there is no way he is allowed to hold her and she will not offer him affection. she did before. in fact she was SO enchanted with him when they first met. Not sure what happened but now she just plays with him from my lap and will not sit in his lap. Some of the things she says are baloochka (no idea) posta lukie (again no idea) and na! na! which I think is Here! as in give it here! she doesnt ask, she commands. she wanted Daddy to open the lip gloss for her but would not say please so he wouldnt open it. then she did say please and he opened it but I took it away after a minute because when I tried to help her she had a fit about it, it was tipping in her hands, thats the only way she can hold things and I didnt want it all over my leg. THEN the tears came. and the screams. I just held her and rocked her and talked to her, even if she couldnt understand me. I said I understand you are angry, but you cant always have your way. and the very words I am famous for, I am sorry to hear you feel that way. she was nearly asleep in my arms when she heard a machina and popped up and all was forgotten(except her grudge against daddy) and we looked at a book of photos. She was still stand offish with Eric when we returned her to her groupa. Poor Eric is feeling rejected.

Ben is very quick to say please or mama or whatever it is you ask when he wants something. they did let us take him out this afternoon and we walked and walked with him hauling a machina behind him. he was happy to hold hands with us while he walked. When we went to get him he was playing in the water. they had a big bowl of water on the table and the kids were just playing in it. he was soaking wet and having a great time. he was less than pleased with us for removing him but since we were unable to break the language barrier to tell the nanny we would come back after awhile he was removed and redressed and off we went. we played in the sand box for awhile and then it was time to take him back. The other children all come running when they see us. One little boy we saw today has downs syndrome and is older, about 8 I would say. very cute. and was asking if we were mama and papa and I told him we were Bens mama and papa and he nodded and smiled.

We just got back from dinner out. there is a place on the main road that is the only restraunt we have really been able to find. The place was deserted. we were the only people there. the foood was good but it was a more upscale restraunt and a bit more expensive than any place else we have found. we went to the place in the market yesterday and ate cheap. But overall we are just not having a lot of luck in finding places to dine. we dine at home more often than not. So tonight it was fun to eat out. I had chicken with mushrooms and rice. very good. Eric had salmon which he loved. Chrysta had the chicken too. It was strange to us being from the land of plenty that the plate was not "full". yet when we were finished WE were full. In fact I was unable to even finish it all, I dont think Chrysta ate all hers either. We are so used to large oversized portions we just dont even know what a normal sized portion is! the waiter was very kind to us and tried his best to communicate with us. brought us an English menu, he had only one cold water so he split it into glasses with the warm so no one had warm water, he told us how he speaks italian but not so good english. when we left I said Ciao! Anyways it was a good meal.

oh have I mentioned that Chrysta shaved her eyebrow off? yeah I asked myself the same thing, how does THAT happen? she was using the electric razor under her arm and somehow just shaved off her eyebrow! she tried putting some makeup on it and that looked worse, it looks better the way it is, half there and half gone lol. She will be mad that I told.

We hear some strange music here. one song was about it used to be a fun house, but now its filled with Evil clowns! now Im gonna burn it down!
very strange song.

I cant seem to access my yahoo from my room at hotel Ptown. of course thats where my mail is. Lydia I have the starcard will that work at the post? will I have better luck there?

todays tales

There is a little girl named Natasha in Ben's group who sort of looks after him. She is very cute. Eric wants to know if she is available for adoption. we feel bad that we cant take them all. She is probably about 7 or 8. but alas we are approved for TWO not three. but it would be nice if there was no more orphanage, they were just cleaned out and all the kids went to homes. We visited once already today. will go back in about an hour. Ben has inflamed tonsils today so they wouldnt let us take him out side, we played in his room with him. I think he probably just has to lay in bed otherwise. He has this mischievious laugh when he thinks he is getting away with something. and when he drops something or needs help he calls MAMA! and I help him. and he keeps saying "good boy!" when he does something or we do something. thats what we say to him when he is doing something well Good boy!

Today's taxi tale is about the very helpful taxi driver. This guy couldnt be more than 18, very young looking. and he kept popping second gear so I dont know that he has been driving very long. He tried to drop us at the wrong gate and we couldnt get in there. we thought we would just walk to the other gate, no big deal. of course he couldnt understand us and we couldnt understand him. and he made us get back in the car and take us to the correct gate(which was still the wrong gate) and waited for us to go in. so we went in, knowing full well that we would not reach our destination via this route. he turned around and left and we went back out and went the way we needed to go. I had asked him to return for us at 12 and we were there at 1150 and he was right there waiting for us and surprised when we came out the gate we came out of since he was expecting us to come out of the one he dropped us at and watched us go into. and he drove us back to the hotel no problemo. so now we laugh about the "very helpful taxi driver" . It costs about a buck and a quarter USD one way. cant hardly beat that!

Sophie, her royal highness, colored wwith the markers we bought for her and loved it. she likes to have her picture taken and says PAKA ZIE! so we will show it to her. She sure can have a temper when things arent going her way. I can tell she has been spoiled rotton! She loooves chrystas lip gloss. Chrysta puts some on her and then she has to show daddy and mama and of course then kiss everyone. its funny. she is such a glamour girl already! She very much likes to sit in Mama's lap. and she likes mama to carry her. but she very happily goes back into her chair when its time. its so cute the way she just BEAMS and wiggles all over and waves her entire body when she sees us coming. The adults usually see us coming from Ben's orphanage next dooor and meet us at the hedge with her. of course all the other little ones gather around. we laugh and smile and say hello to them and they all wave Paka! when we take sophie out of that area to go and play by ourselves.

Today is much cooler. the weather has been so incredible! very warm. even hot! today is cloudy and cooler. We went to a restraunt in the market yesterday and thought we would go back today but oops they are only open on the weekends apparently or at least not on mondays. the market was all closed up too. We bought a back pack there for Chrysta yesterday since the zipper on her bag broke before we left Sunny K. You can buy anything there. underwear, purses, nuts and bolts, air compresser, clothes, motorcycle helmet, ANYTHING! and its all outdooors. wonder if they do that in teh winter tooo? anyways its almost time to go back to see the kids for a visit. Ben has to play inside today because he has sore throat or inflamed tonsils or something

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday

I keep trying to post photos but it goes soooooo slow and then quits so I may not be able to post any photos until we are either home or back in Sunny K.

Life here is becoming routine. Today our taxi didnt come back for us so we walked home. We have walked a few times just because we wanted to but today we walked for miles already so we wanted to ride home after our visit with the kids. I asked the taxi driver to meet us back there for virnoot(return) at 18:00 and he pointed to the spot as if to say here? and we agreed. I was so proud of myself that we were getting so good at communicating. so at 6 we were ready to go, didnt want to keep the cab waiting. but he didnt come. 6:05 no taxi. Finally at 6:15 we started walking home. We saw a taxi go by as we were walking and slow to stop so we thought hey thats our cab! and we walked toward it and he DROVE OFF! so we kept hiking towards Hotel P town. We saw another cab go by at about 630 and sure enough we watched and he turned down the road that the orphanage is on. there is nothing else on that road. but too bad for him, or too bad for us we kept on walking. We stopped at the store for yogurt. got home exhausted.

Today (sunday) the doors were locked and no one answered when we went to see Ben this morning. so we didnt get to see him this morning. But this afternoon he was subdued and quiet, not at all the wild man he has been. we played in the sandbox together squishing sand clumps. daddy would hand them to Ben and Ben would give to Mama and instruct me to squish them and then he would brush it off my hands with his little hand. if that didnt work he would put it back in the sand box and STOMP on it with his AFO! he doesnt wear shoes over his AFO, but it has a tread on the bottom so he still has traction. but it was funny to see him just stomp on the clumps. he is clever, if that didnt work he rubbed it against the side of the sandbox, grating it. He is very much getting into climbing up any kind of monkey bars. We have to hold him the entire time because he is not very coordinated and his feet are slippery. He has only been walking about a month. His detsky dom is very small. there are only a couple groupas. maybe 3? It is right next door to Sophie's, seperated by only a small grove of trees. in fact you can look from one and see the other. We had played with both kids together one day but the next day they said no no no. you have to play over THERE with little boy, and play HERE with little girl. not little boy and little girl together. Which is rather sad because every day each asks for the other.

Sophie is such a little doll. she is very tiny. Ben is pretty solid. and heavy! He wears about a 4T and she today she had on a little sweater sized 86 that fit perfectly. Not sure what that translates too but will look it up later. I know Hannah Andersson sizes are in cm. Sophie has quite the little temper when she doesnt get her way. Ben cried and cried yest when he didnt get his way, and today it was sophie. but at least she let me redirect her. he was too stubborn for that. She was playing with my cell phone(from home) and figured out how to turn it on. So I turned it off and gave it back and sure enough she turned it on again. So I turned it off and put it away. boy was she mad. but she loves to write so we gave her the pen and she was happy again. She drew lots of pictures. She sure loves to clear out my purse to see whats in there. usually she finds the pen and thats the end of it and she writes/draws. She was holding a grudge against Daddy today because he brought her back to her groupa yesterday and she didnt want him to. But by this evening when we saw her she allowed his kisses and hugs but no holding. She doesnt complain when Mommy holds her though. She likes "kristina" a lot. Chrysta let her listen to my ipod and she loved that. musica. she says musica. She talks all the time. sometimes this little quiet singsongy voice. sometimes loud and clear. She was mad at Daddy but she didnt want him going off into the woods, she yelled at him DAAA DAAA! She is always dressed so cute. Yesterday we met Mama Nina. She was with Sophie when she has been in the hospital. She likes Mama Nina very much. While we were there yesterday she phoned Sophies grandmother and let her talk to her. She gave us her address so we could send pictures.

The orphanage grounds are at the edge of town in the country. its very peaceful and quiet. The neighboring properties have chickens and you often hear a rooster crow. It has been so warm out that the children play out every day. Every time we go there Sophie's groupa and the others from her building are outside. The older ones not as much. That doesnt make a lot of sense but thats the way it is. The children all LOOK and seem well cared for. The nannies speak softly to them(most of them anyways) and seem to really care about them as children rather than just a job. It is a stark contrast to where we went for Ethan. The children here wear nice clothing, even brand name. the children where Ethan was wore rags if they had anything at all. The children eat about 5 times a day here it seems. They are mostly on the smaller side but definitely NOT undernourished like ethan was. We saw Sophie eating an apple today. I dont think Ethan ever saw an apple before he came home. And the whole feeling around the orphanage and with the nannies is very different. Everyone knows who we are and why are there. they are all kind and friendly or offer guidance. we never met any of the workers where Ethan was. We didnt get to go to his room but once or twice to return him. We have been all over this orphanage. They are very welcoming when we arrive to take a child for a visit or to return them afterwards.

Still it isnt home. And we miss the kids. and we miss our bed! we sleep on two twins pushed together. guess who sleeps in the crack? I miss our quiet little neighborhood at night. it is very noisy here at Hotel Ptown. Well I guess thats about it for now. more to come, no doubt.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

tons of updates

Wednesday

Today we went for a loooong walk to the zoo. While we were on our way there we sidetracked ending up on a beautiful university campus. University of Finance it was called. Very old buildings, very treed grounds, park like with trails. Many people there walking among the trails. We asked a young couple where the zoo was and it was literally across the street from where we were standing but we couldn’t see it for the trees all around. The zoo was great. We had a fun time there. I made friends with the gorilla. We looked into each others eyes and when he would scratch I would scratch and he would just look at me like what in the world is going on here? A chimp was looking at me too and I made kissy noises at him and he perked up but then turned away. Awwww. Goodness we walked for MILES today. So after our zooo adventure we walked home and up our personal stairmaster to our apartment on the 4th floor. We got a call from Yulia that our papers would be ready and we would go with Nicholai in 5 minutes! Yikes! So we threw our clothes back on(it is HOT here today and our apartment is VERY warm) and there was Nicholai waiting for us at the street when we got there. We got to see Jenny and Claudia and their three little ones again. They were coming from their embassy appt. Chrysta and Claudia got on very well and plan to keep in touch when we get home. They are both 12. We dropped jenny and her crew off at her apartment and headed for the office of adoption. Nicholai marched us right in there and told the lady who we were. And she said Nyet. And he tried again and she said Nyet. One more attempt and another Nyet and we have a problem. So out of the office we went and waited in a hallway. He called Yulia who in turn I suppose called the office and found that our papers were awaiting a signature. It was after 5 and these papers can only be picked up between 5 and 6. So we waited some more for them to finally at about 6 bring them down and let us sign for them and take them and go. While we were waiting we were talking with a couple from Italy adopting a boy. They said they had no choice where to adopt, their agency said this is where you go. There were several other couples there ahead of us when we got there. Which means hopefully several other kids are getting adopted!

So after we got back to our theighmaster(apartment) we dropped off our papers in our apartment and headed back out for some dinner. We walked back to the great pizza place we went last night. Good food, cheap! Two pizzas three waters and one draft beer for about ten bucks. that’s better than the coffee shop we go to for breakfast!

Tomorrow(Thursday) we will have fruit and clean out the refrig for breakfast as we have to meet yulia and a driver at 640AM and head to P town. Hoping to get everything accomplished so we can see the kids tomorrow. Benjamin and Sophie , Mama is coming!! (and cestra and Dada) so I have to go and repack everything we have spread all over the apartment and we will not have internet again until….I don’t know when…. Depends on how things go in P town. I guess I will post this then because I am not getting up and running across the street(which really means you have to cross one street go under one street and cross another street) to go to café for net at 4 or 5am!! It took me a little while but now I think Sunny K is fab. But I am looking forward to seeing P town!!

Eric’s note: K is a grand old city with lots of 19th century buildings. The capital buildings are very impressive. Well, off to P town tomorrow!

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Thursday

I am writing this as we sit in the car and wait for Yulia who is in the office of circumlocution(little dorritt) Eric and Chrysta are sleeping beside me as we sit in the warm car waiting. Vanya, our driver, is here waiting with us. We have seen the children today and they are very darling and very clever. Mr Benjamin is now wearing an AFO, and SURPRISE! He is walking!!! More like toddling but he is on the move and there is no stopping him. Although after many surgeries his one leg still turns inward. He is an extremely clever boy, he figured out immediately what to do with my watch., and worries of mental delay beyond orphanage delays are no longer on our minds. He is a little shy. His legs are not frozen, if they ever were. He is a little blonde darling and apparently a business man in Sunny K has taken to him and sponsored him and though he could not adopt him he helped to pay for some of his medical care. His daughter has the same diagnosis and they were on the same ward together for a long time. We are hoping to meet him and thank him. We were told that is a possibilitiy and he would be willing to meet us.



Miss Sophie is an absolute Joy and I defy anyone to spend 5 minutes with her and not be enchanted. When we arrived for our afternoon visit there was a group there from Cargill MINNEAPOLIS! They were enchanted with her too. This child, while a stunning beauty, is also smart as a whip. In the first hour we were there she was calling Chrysta “Kristina” and was sweet as pie giving us shy looks out the side of her eye and later giving kisses. I am utterly SHOCKED at her fine motor skills. Her hands may be twisted but she can hold a little beetle the size of a lady bug between her fingers. Amazing. (funny aside, at the zoo in Sunny K we were looking at this beetle we found and a mother and child walked by and the child said something and the mother looked at us and very clearly said dumb Kopf. She wasn’t talking TO us just about us I am sure haha) She relished the attention and tried to teach us her language and quickly picked up the words we offered her in English. She likes to go for rides in her chair but moreso likes to be carried and held. They say she gets frustrated when she can not do what the others do. I saw a hint of that on our second visit. She wanted to crawl off and I wouldn’t let her. She does apparently crawl on her knees but I didn’t think they would like me to let her do that in her pretty white dress OUTSIDE!

The orphanage has been very kind to us and they are very happy to see us taking the kids home. They offered us a flat to stay in, we did look at it but it was very far into the suburbs (of an already TINY town) and the cost was similar to the hotel, but we just didn’t feel it was a safe place to stay. Our helper agreed.

Apparently our Sophie has a grandmother who visits her and she is supportive of adoption and wants her little precious to be adopted. She has also requested a visit with us and to keep in touch after we go home. I would love to send her photos as Sophie grows and gains mobility. I would also love to send photos back to the man who is partially responsible for Benji’s walking!

Benji is much bigger than Ethan was but still on the small side for almost 6. Sophie is a peanut and not very big at all. We are definitely going to need a stroller for Benji when we go home. He is way too heavy to haul around on our backs for long. Sophie, though, I think we could easily sling, she is only about 30 pounds.


OH! I forgot to mention something that happened. Apparently Benji has been in the new place longer than we thought, he has been there about 8 months. But they are both next door to each other and they let us take Benji to Sophie’s place to play with them both. And the very second Sophie saw him she started talking a mile a minute to him saying his cultural nickname. She remembered him! She was mothering him immediately and giving him toys and talking to him. That didn’t last long though because he wanted to GO GO GO!! So Daddy walked him all over.



We only got to spend about ten minutes with the kids before they said well what do you think? Have you decided? As if there was any doubt. We had decided long ago and this was just a formality, but for others who have not met a child before I would think they might need more time than that. We heard that there was an Italian couple coming into the hotel last night but don’t know if they were to adopt or what. We also met an Italian couple waiting at the referral office for our papers.

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Friday

Today is our first day on our own in Ptown. Dinner last night was from the convenience store around the corner because the food next door was the same food we saw sitting there at lunch. It was already dark and too late to go far from the hotel when we finally got checked in. So this morning we are starving.

Cody, My special boy, Happy Birthday. I wish I could have spent it with you. I love you and miss you. I cant believe you are already 15!

Hoping to pick up an internet card this afternoon. Will post all of this then.


Friday evening.
We had a busy eventful day. We never did get to the internet. Time got away from us. We got home after morning visitation and had a little lunch, settled in for a little rest with intentions to go find some internet after that. But as we dozed we got a call from Yulia. It seemed the orphanage was sending a car for us. The man who was helping the orphanage and sponsoring our little Benjamin was at the orphanage at wanted to see us.. His name is Sasha and he was much younger than we expected. We had a little visit in the directors office, very little, we don’t speak the language and he doesn’t speak ours except for a few words. Mostly we all just played with Benjamin and laughed at him and wowed at him. Then we all had an impromptu tea party. Sasha gave him a chocolate and he loooved it. No one said anything about it. Then we had cake. I gave a bite to Ben and he liked it. The second bite, I got caught. And all three women at the table gasped and said NO NO NO!!! through their gestures we figured out they were worried about ruining his dinner. I just smiled sheepishly and wiped his face. He was fine with it. I have no idea what he thinks of this man but he said goodbye to him with a hug and a kiss. We will try to get his address from the orphanage director and send him photos as Benji grows. Then the director was kind enough to let us stay and play with Benjamin even though it wasn’t visiting hours and it was almost his snack time. So we played and had a great time and then he had his snack, COOKIES! So he couldn’t have cake because he was going to have cookies? THAT makes a lot of sense. Ahh well we just go with the flow and do whatever they ask us. They are very welcoming of us there.

While he was having snack I was on the floor near him and the little girl at his table kept reaching out to me as if she weren’t sure I was really there. I would touch her hand and say Privyet! Or hello! And then encourage Ben to eat his snack. I didn’t want to be disruptive but I couldn’t just ignore this little girl touching my face, looking for an interaction. Then she did it one too many times and Ben got mad and the ladies gasped and said his name! and he pushed her little hand away as if to say NO! that’s MY Mama!! You don’t touch! They let us take him outside for awhile after that. So we walked around with him pushing a little stroller and he walked and walked. He loved to push the stroller over the rough patches best and would stop and maneuver to be sure that a wheel would hit a hole or bump, quite the opposite of the people around here who drive cars. They seem to try and avoid the bumps and holes in the road. We left him with his groupa to go visit Sophie for awhile since they would not let us play together with them today. Not sure why it was ok yesterday but not today.

When we left Sophie this morning she cried big crocodile tears and it nearly broke my heart but I tried to be light and upbeat so as not to upset her more. So when we saw her this afternoon she was outside with her groupa and I swear she was waving her entire body at us saying hello! They were happy to hand her off to us. We wheeled her a little ways and then sat in the grass to hold her in our laps and play. She is so very sweet and loving. Ben flashes me this little grin as if he knows I am his Mama when I kiss on him and sometimes returns a kiss. And Sophie just lights up like a lighthouse beam when we kiss and love her. When I carry her I have to put her arms up on my shoulders for her. But this afternoon she started doing it herself. And she is relaxing more into us when we play. Ben just wants to go go go and move move move so there isn’t a whole lot of snuggling going on there! Sophie’s Daddy told her he loved her in her language and you should have seen her face. She just beamed up at him as proud as could be. It was very precious. She offers us kisses and has the softest cheeks. Eric got her playing ball this morning. I brought a beach ball and we blew it up and I sat her on my knees and Eric would toss the ball and I would lift her arms to bat it away or catch between her arms and let her toss it back. She progressed to me just steadying her and she was throwing her arms in the air and batting that ball and laughing the whole time. She played that game until she wore Daddy out. She was still ready to play some more! This afternoon Sophie figured out how to unzip my bag, which is no small accomplishment when your hands are twisted and turned. So I let her take everything out. She was happy as a lark doing that until she found the pen. She wanted to write! And she did. She is amazing in the things she can do. She is miles ahead of where I thought she would be. And social butterfly for sure!! Benjamin is amazing tooo in the things he can do and how quickly he learns from us.

Since the orphanage had sent a car for us this afternoon we had no way to get back to the hotel so we did what they do in the old country. We walked. It wasn’t so far. And we enjoyed the walk, along with a stop at the grocery store for some meat and cheese. The bologna around here is outstanding. Nothing like the kind we have at home. So we never did get the chance to find internet because the whole days schedule got thrown off. Hoping to post this tomorrow(Saturday!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

picture of true love


this is true love, public affection AND he carries her gigantic purse for her.
Tuesday
Got the referrals at our appointment this afternoon. The woman there was pleasant enough. She did ask us why we wanted children with special needs. Apparently our answers were enough because she did show us the referrals as well as one other child with some heart problems and some syndrome, the name of which I forget. The referral for Benjamin was somewhat disturbing. He is said to have mental delay. We were not prepared for that. We expect SOME after being in an orphanage his entire life but it was NOT documented that Sophie was delayed. They only told us her physical problems. Also Benjamin has had some surgery, we are not clear what sort of surgery or when or why. If our referral papers are able to be processed today we will hear at 4:00 and then we will have to run up there and get them(with Nicholai) and then tomorrow off to P town. If they are NOT issued today, then I am not sure if we will have to wait to go to P town or not. Yulia said that they were issued between 4 and 5. So I guess if not today we would have to wait until tomorrow between 4 and 5? Yulia is very nice and Nicholai picked up his daughter this afternoon after we dropped off the Brown family, his daughter was very funny and nice. We got to hold some of the Brown kids during our ride across town. They were all exhausted, but anyone who is wondering, the Brown’s are coming home the 11th! They adopted not one, not two, but THREE children with Down’s syndrome. I have NEVER met a baby I didn’t like but let me say that these three were PRETTY DARN CUTE! Chrysta and I got a little bit of a baby fix there.

This morning we went to the café for breakfast so we could post on our blog with the internet there. THAT was interesting. The menu was all in Russian! The waitress didn’t speak English at all. But we managed to get our message across and we had good food. Chrysta wasn’t feeling so good so she didn’t eat too much but she has perked up as the day has come along. I have to tell a funny story about Chrysta. She fell asleep in Germany as we waited for our connecting flight. Poor thing was absolutely exhausted. She was so deeply asleep she was drooling on her bag that she was using as a pillow. Unfortunately I had to wake her and get in line for our flight. She was very disoriented and confused. She kept asking for Eric. Where is Eric? I said he is right there behind you. I believe he said something like Yeah Im right here. She looked and me and demanded WHERE IS ERIC!??? I was very concerned at that point. I said he is RIGHT HERE! She got frustrated with me and said “ you know, Eric? YOUR HUSBAND! Where is he?” I said lets just be calm we need to get on the plane and they wont let us on if you are not calm so we just walked over and got in line and she kept asking where is Eric. Then she forgot who she was looking for and couldn’t think of his name and was saying “not nels, but…..oh oh what is his name, I cant think of his name” I thought I was going to have to commit her! She seemed to come out of it after awhile and Eric thinks it was caused by the extreme exhaustion. She slept from germany to K. After we arrived in Sunny K she slept in the car on the way to the apartment. Then she slept until 4 or 5 when I insisted she go to her own bed and she stayed there until after 6 this morning. That’s a lotta tired!! I seem to be faring better with jet lag this time. I stayed awake most of the way from the airport and stayed awake until 7 or 8 and then slept most of the night but woke several times. Finally this morning(as usual) I was sleeping really good, but then we had to get up! Some of these posts may be disjointed as I have no direct internet access and am writing in word and copy and paste when I get a chance to get internet.

Tuesday eve
Because the kids paperwork was not finished in time we have to stay in Sunny K awhile longer. The plan is that it should be finished tomorrow but we are unable to receive it until 5 to 6 pm which means we have nothing to do tomorrow. And we wont be heading to P town until the next day.

We went for a long walk up the hill and down the other side and stopped for Pizza since we had nothing else to do. Eric wanted to go to the circus which is literally right next door to our apartment but they are not having any shows for a long time. I find the street signs here very funny. I took some pictures of some of them. We saw a picture of TRUE LOVE and I took a picture of that for sure! It was a young man and woman walking down the street holding hands while HE carried her gigantic purse for her. It was cute. Just before I realized her was holding her purse they had a kiss. I laughed and said wow! PDA AND he carries her purse, that really IS true love!

Tomorrow(weds sunnyK time) we will start walking and see where we end up. Hopefully it will be the zoo. We managed to figure out how to use the washer to wash clothes so we have clean clothes, unfortunately I havent figures out how to dry them so they are clean but SOAKING WET! Haha. If I have to I can hang them up.

Very anxious to get to P town and see the kids. But should be fun having an extra day to explore Sunny K!

Monday, September 7, 2009

breakfast

in this country.
I have no idea what we have just ordered but I have a koka kola in my hand so its a start!
The coffee shop across from our apt has wifi. but of course my battery is about dead on my laptop so I wont have much to say. Appointment is today. Nicholai will be here to pick us up. and we get to go SHOPPING again this morning since we are out of one very essential thing...TP!!!

Ethan and Maia and Cody we miss you lots and lots. thinking of you all the time. Love you bunches.

Oh and I almost finished the second twilight book. I guess I will have to read it again because I dotn think I will find book 3 here!
Well it’s 4pm Monday and we are finally at our apartment and able to put our feet up for a bit. The apartment is small but very nice and right across from a big store. There are lots of vendors along the underground walkway you use to cross the street. We are exhausted and the wifi is across the street. No one feels like getting their stuff on again to go over there so this will be a late post. Tomorrow is our appointment with SDA. Nicholai did meet us at the airport and drove us to our place and helped us exchange money. Hopefully tomorrow or the next day we will be heading to Pryluki to see the kids. We have had a loooooong time traveling and I am falling asleep writing this. Bedtime soon, I don’t care if it is only 4 oclock!

in germany

we had to go through security TWICE here. Once after exiting our flight from US to Frankfurt before being allowed to go to the concourse. then again before going into the specific gate. seems kind of redundant but I figured as long as I had to dig my lap top out of my bag AGAIN I might as well make a post! We are tired but not exhausted. we did sleep a little on the flight from US. Between babies crying we did. There were several young babies and once one started crying others started in. one cried for most of the trip. I felt so bad for the mom and for the little one who was obviously NOT HAPPY with this whole travel thing! Didnt bother me any. I just tuned it out. It is 130m back home and 830am here. I finished the book Twilight and loooooooved it and had to buy the second book, new moon. I am about half way through new moon. I love it. Might have to pick up the next one while we travel(if I can find it in english)Our feet are all swelled up and I had to loosen my sandals a notch to get them back on my feet after the long flight. We munched our way across the ocean with Lufthansa. We have a 955 flight to our final destination. Hopefully someone will be there to meet us, and we will have a place to stay. I never heard anything from the girl helping us with our adoption as to where we should stay or if she found something or we should find something. Everyone keeps telling me this will work out and the girl who is helping us is very busy but she will be on it. Let us hope they are right. So tomorrow we have an appointment and then I hope its off to P-town after there. not sure how that works. Just wanted to let everyone know we made it across the pond.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Begin Phase 2

today we will deliver two more kids to "Grandma Aleen." We will stay over there and visit a little and visit with grandpa tomorrow. Saturday head to the twin cities and stay in a park and fly hotel because its cheaper than long term parking at the airport.(phase 3!) Sunday we are on our way. I have been to the bank. I have money enough to get us through. I also have a few bucks for our traditional cappucino at the airport. Its tradition for us, every time we travel. its a luxury we afford ourselves on trips. The rest of the year we do not drink coffee at home or anywhere else. After today I will probably not have the chance to update this page until at least Monday or Tuesday, possibly Weds. See you all on the flip side!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

phase 1 complete!

phase one of the get ready to travel and drop kids to various relatives is complete! My sooon to be 15 year old son is off to Grandma's along with the dog. I miss them both terribly already. I still have 3 at home though. Need to work on the packing. mostly have an idea WHAT to pack just need to DO IT! I also need to get the two little kids packed. and find the cat. Tomorrow begins phase two. And off we will go, over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house to deliver two more kids. Saturday begins phase three, head for the city that the airport is in and stay over night. SUNDAY WE FLY OUT! I know Sophie and Ben dont know we are coming for them, but I have enough excitement for ALL THREE OF US! Official appointment is on Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dear Ben and Sophie

We can hardley wait to hold you in our arms. we are making plans and getting things done so we can come and see you. We will arrive in the same country as you are in on Monday afternoon. Even though we wont get to see you until Tuesday or Wednesday it will feel good to just be near you. We are so looking forward to holding you and playing with you and taking walks with you. How I wish you were both together in the same place but since Ben has moved we will have to split our time between you. I am sad that we will only be able to see you each once a day. If you were at the same place we could see you both twice a day. but now we will have to divide our time. Soon enough though we will bring you home and never leave you again. We love you and will see you soon!

Love, Mama