Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stork Alert

A co-worker/friend has been in the process of adopting a little girl from China for a very long time. She actually started the paperwork around the time we started the process for M. (mid-summer 2005). It's been fun to share all of the ups-and-downs with someone else who is adopting. Anyway, it's finally her turn! It looks like referrals are on their way from China and she should see her daughter's face for the first time in the next few days! I'm so excited for her; it brings back all of the memories of seeing our boys' faces for the first time. She's waited so long for this and is going to be a great mother. Good luck and congratulations J.!

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Weekend Away

This past weekend I went to Atlanta for a girls-weekend with family. It was so much fun. We sat in our pajamas for most of the weekend and just basically lounged around, playing games, listening to music, and having a few drinks. And it was great to sleep in for two mornings in a row! Of course I missed my boys and was happy to be back home, but it was nice to be away for some "me" time and not obsess about the adoption for a few days. Now back to the waiting...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Happy Family Day!

We adopted S. three years ago today. It's amazing to think that he's been with us for three years; it feels like he's been with us forever. I don't remember what life was like before he was part of it (except the sleep; I do fondly remember being able to sleep in on the weekends). I can still vividly remember what an incredible feeling it was to hear the judge say that she approved the adoption decree. Our coordinator then turned to us and said (via translator) "Congratulations Mama and Papa". My eyes still tear up just remembering it. We didn't pick up Sawyer that day, too much paperwork to finish. But this is the day we became parents to the most incredible little boy!
I still can't get over how much S. has grown. He's such a big boy now. When we brought him home at 14 months, he weighed 16 pounds. He was so tiny and weak, just barely crawling. Now at 4 years old, he weighs almost 40 pounds and is 40 inches tall and and is so strong and healthy.
We don't make a huge deal out of family day but we do like to mark it with some small celebration. Stu is out of town this week so S. and I had a "big-boy" day and we did whatever he wanted to do. What did he request? Chuck E. Cheese, of course! So S. and P. (our niece) had a fun afternoon, eating pizza and playing games.
Happy Family Day my sweet boy!

Friday, January 19, 2007


We are officially finished with all of the required paperwork! Our dossier has been finished for several months but we still had some minor paperwork (that didn't have to be turned in with the dossier). Today we sent in our visa applications, so that means we don't have anymore paperwork to worry about. At least until after our first trip. Then there will be another big round of paperwork we have to do before we return on our second trip. It's a really good feeling to know that we're finished with our part, for now. And the waiting continues...

Monday, January 8, 2007

A Merry (Russian) Christmas

It is very important to us to make sure the boys recognize and appreciate their Russian culture. I know at this point they are too young to comprehend much, but we do try to encourage an interest in it. Some people think that there is no need to emphasize their Russian heritage since they are now Americans (although they do have dual citizenship so they are Russian-Americans) and look so much like us that nobody would ever assume they're adopted. This irritates me. Trying to ignore the fact that they're from Russia would be like sweeping the first year of their life and their backgrounds under the rug. I want them to take great pride in the fact that they were born in Russia. It's an incredible country with an amazing history and I'm glad that they'll be able to say that their roots are in Russia. I'm happy to say that S. can tell you that he is from Astrakhan, Russia and can even point out where Russia is on most maps. We have Russian toys, several Russian CDs, watch lots of Russian history specials, subscribe to a Russian magazine, and I've read countless books on Russian history, Russian authors, etc. We look at photo albums from our travels to Russia constantly. S. loves the picture of the castle in Moscow (St. Basil's in Red Square). I know this doesn't seem like a lot but we do try to encourage an interest in Russian issues and I don't think there is more we can do at such a young age. It's a fine line though; we want them to appreciate their background, but don't want to go overboard in promoting Russia history/culture. I don't want them to feel like we're constantly shoving Russia down their throats. I'll take their lead on it once they get older. If they show an interest I'll help them in whatever way I can. We do plan a trip back to Russia sometime when they're older, maybe in their teens.

Anyway, I was recently contacted by a woman who lives in our small town that has two children adopted from Russia. I was THRILLED to hear this; there are many children adopted in our area but I was unaware of any from Russia. She told me about a group of families with children from Russia that meet every couple of months in our general area. Yeah! It just so happens that they were having a party to celebrate the Russian Christmas on January 7th. So we packed up the boys and went to another Christmas party(an aside: the boys love that the Christmas celebrations are continuing for such a long time). We had a really good time. I think there were probably about 8 other families and lots of kids. The majority of the kids were much older than S. and M. though, which was a little disappointing, but they didn't seem to mind. I think it will be good for them to grow up knowing other children with similar backgrounds. Stu and I enjoyed talking with other parents about their travels and sharing our story. We'll definitely meet up with them again sometime in the next few months. I'm so happy to have found this group.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Why Russia?

Upon making the decision to adopt, the first question many people asked was "Why Russia?" There is no real answer to this question. For us, it just "felt" right. We looked into China firm. However, one of China's requirements is that both husband and wife must be 30 years old. That knocked us out; at the time we were both 27 years old. We briefly looked into domestic adoption but knew that it wasn't for us for a variety of reasons. We glanced at other international programs available, but just "knew" that Russia is where we were supposed to go. I had always been fascinated by Russian culture and history. For Stu, Russia offered a stable program with a predictable timeline (as predictable as international adoption can be). With his CPA-mindset he always needs to have a plan and most other programs at the time were inconsistent and volatile from one month to the next.
We've never regretted that decision. With S.'s adoption, the process was close to perfect. With M.'s journey there were several bumps in the road that slowed us down, but in the end we met our son who was absolutely meant to be part of our family. There have been further bumps this time along but we're just enjoying the ride. I'm not a very spiritual or religious person but there is no doubt in my mind that we will end up with the little girl that God has chosen for our family. With both of the boy's adoptions I was so anxious about getting "the call" to come and meet them - it was constantly on my mind. This time around I'm very relaxed about the whole thing (of course, that could be because I don't have much time to think about it with my two boys running around). Of course, I'm excited about meeting her and bringing her home; I just figure that it will happen whenever she is ready for us.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

And So It Begins...

Hi all! Thank you for joining us on this roller-coaster ride known as adoption. Most of you know our background but I'll give a brief overview for those of you that don't know the details.
I'm Allison and my DH is Stu. With live in a small town in the south with our two young sons, S. (who just turned 4) and M. (2 1/2). Stu and I met at college in the fall of 1994; we dated off and on throughout college and married in May 2000. We are both from big families so having children was always something we discussed. Our plan was to wait a year and then begin our family. Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans...We had several family tragedies within a year of our wedding and it took us awhile to regroup. We finally decided we were ready for children and started trying for a baby...and trying...and trying. After 9 or 10 months, we decided to do some basic testing to see what the problem was. No problem was found so we started some very basic treatment. We decided to take al ittle vacation to de-stress and vowed not to talk about what our next step would be. As we were waiting in the airport for our flight, we noticed a large group of people gathering. They all had welcome home signs and American flags. We figured that it was a soldier returning home and couldn't tear our eyes away from this joyous homecoming. Eventually a couple with a little boy in their arms walked out and the crowd erupted in cheers. We didn't know the details (although we found out the specifics later since the couple were friends of our social worker), but we could tell this family was bringing home their newly-adopted son. Stu and I almost missed our flight because we were so wrapped up in watching this family introduce their new son. We boarded the plane and couldn't stop talking about adoption for the rest of the vacation. So much for not talking about our next step! But there was no ignoring this huge sign; this was the path we were supposed to take. We got home, chose an adoption agency (Children's Hope International - they rock!), completely the home study in record time, and sent our dossier to Russia in early-November 2003. By mid-December we were in Russia meeting S. for the first time and he became part of our family in January 2004. We knew immediately that we would adopt again; we wanted S. to have a brother close in age. So in June 2005 we sent our dossier to Russia (the same region S. is from), requesting another little boy. We met our M. in October 2005 and brought him home in November 2005. It has been a wild ride and these two keep us busy, but we can't imagine our lives without them. Anyway, that's a "quick" wrap-up fo where we are today.