Friday, October 30, 2009

We're Home!

We finally made it home after 2 long days of travel! Jack was really good on all three flights. We started out of Vladivostok for Moscow on Wednesday afternoon. Fortunately we had a bulkhead row near the front of the plane for that trip. The extra leg room provided a small play area for Jack and a place for Michelle and I to stretch out for the 9 hour flight. We had a bottle prepared for the takeoff to help Jacks ears pop with the increased elevation. Jack napped and ate on the plane with no trouble at all. Mommy and Daddy were extremely proud (and admittedly relieved) that he was so well behaved on the first flight of his life.

Upon arriving in Moscow, we grabbed our bags and headed for the Novotel Hotel near the airport. We arrived at the hotel around 5pm Moscow time which was about Midnight to our bodies after the 7 hour time change from Vladivostok. We basically just checked into the room, then settled in for our bedtime routine despite the fact that it was so early local time. We knew we would be up in the middle of the night because we were going to bed so early, but we also knew that we needed to take advantage of rest any opportunities when they present themselves on these travel days. We were up in the middle of the night for another feeding, then we all got a little catnap before starting out for the airport for our longest day of travel as a family of 3.

We checked into our flight from Moscow to the US with very little trouble which was a concern because this is where Jacks visa came into play for the first time. Fortunately we had no problems with any of our passports or visas. We made it through all the passport and security checks and finally made it to our gate, where we could at last start to breathe a sigh of relief. Everything was in place for our departure from Russia.

At the beginning of the flight from Moscow to New York, Jack cried for about 30 minutes of the first hour of the flight. We think this was more a problem with the disruption of the routines than of anything to do with the flight itself. So, we finally got Jack settled down and he was close to a perfect gentleman for the remainder of the flight. Just a side note on this flight, one of the movies shown was "Marley and Me", the movie about the the relationship between a family and their dog. Michelle and I are "dog people", and we stayed away from this movie because we knew how it ends (this is the same reason I have never seen Old Yeller). Anyway, with Jack asleep and nothing else to do on the long flight, we watched the movie and quite predictably we were a wreck at the end of it. It was a cheap shot on the part of Delta to show such a heart wrenching movie to the two of us near the end of such an already emotional journey! They could have shown "Scarface", and we probably would have bawled like babies. Having said that, the movie was great and there was a line in it that really summed up our adoption journey. One of the characters was talking about how his life wasn't quite going according to the plans he thought it would when he was younger. He wasn't complaining, he was just saying that he had one vision of how his life would be, yet it turned out differently, to which another character stated "sometimes life has a better idea". Looking at Michelle holding Jack right at the moment this line was spoken, it hit me like a giant light bulb.... yeah, sometimes life does have a better idea than what we thought would happen when we dreamed about what our lives would be like when we were younger. At that moment, there was no place I would rather have been than with my wife and new son on a flight home from adopting him.

At 2:57pm on Thursday October 29, 2009 we landed on US soil instantly making Jack a US citizen. He was asleep at the big moment, but Michelle and I hugged him and told him that we loved him and that this was a big moment for our family. We made it through customs with Jacks immigration paperwork then headed to our next gate for the flight to Norfolk. We had some downtime so Jack took a nap and Michelle and I had our first American meals (Wendy's burgers) in over a month. Jack slept the entire flight from New York to Norfolk, then Michelle's friend Jill picked us up at the airport and drove us home. Though we were fighting exhaustion, the feeling when we walked in the door of our home with Jack in our arms was amazing! We were finally home! For all the families following our blog who have yet to bring their child home, please know that the feeling you get when you walk through your front door at the end of your journey is worth every minute of the lead up to the adoption.

Today we rested and tried to get Jack acclimated to his new surroundings. He seems to love his new home, toys, books and especially his black cat, Mike. Michelle is feeding him right now, and we'll try to establish our routines again, including bath time once dinner is through.

We plan on keeping our blog going for a while so our family and friends stay up to date on how Jack is adjusting to life in the US. We appreciate all the love and support you have shown us along our journey and we invite you to continue along with us.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 24, October 28, 2009

Hello to my new Family and Friends!

Today I start off on a long adventure to go to my new house with my Mommy and Daddy. I am very excited to see my new room, toys and of course my pets! We will land on the 29th just after 10pm. As soon as the wheels hit the ground, I am an American Citizen!
My pediatrician said that I shouldn’t have any thing new for 2 full weeks that is different other than my parents and me just hanging out – because even this will be very overwhelming for me. Daddy says that he will even wait to watch ESPN until after I go to bed at 8:30! Mommy says that they will continue to read me a book every night after bath time and I still get to eat my favorite porridge!

Tonight I get to stay the night in Moscow at another hotel. We will get there around 4pm Moscow time, but to my body it will seem like 11pm because of the time change. Mommy and Daddy said that I will probably be a real ‘pill’ by then! We will let everyone know when we are home and safe.

Paka from Russia!


Day 23, October 27, 2009

Before we begin, I think Jack has had the best commentary on the state of the Redskins season to date. Early this morning he slipped into the bathroom and unbeknownst to us, placed his Redskins football in the toilet. Basically this is where the Redskins season is headed, so Jack may be some sort of genius to be able to make this kind of commentary before he can even talk. Does anyone have any connections at ESPN? Jack needs a job as a football analyst.

Our last full day in Vladivostok started with the usual wake up time, changing, feeding, playing and loving (oh, and trying to flush a football down the toilet). When it got close to naptime, we walked down to the Duda’s room to try to say goodbye as they were leaving today. We listened at the door but didn’t hear any noise, so we thought maybe John or Kristina were asleep so we returned to our room where Michelle wrote them a “goodbye” note to slip under their door. Luckily John saw the note being passed under the door, so he took it to his Mama and all three of them came down to our room to say goodbye. We were really glad we got to say goodbye in person as we have really grown fond of our new friends. We wished them well on their travel and new lives together back in the States. I have to admit, things weren’t the same around the Vlad Motor Inn tonight as we did not see John and Kristina playing or Gloria beaming as she told us of the kids’ latest adventure. We will miss them, but we hope to see them again sometime down the road. Until later, paka Duda Family!

Tonight we went through the usual routines including bath time where for the first time Jack was uneasy for pretty much the whole bath. We made it a quick bath for him, then we put him in his jammies and read his bedtime story to him. He didn’t get a very good afternoon nap earlier in the day, so despite being a little cranky after bath time, he went to sleep relatively well. He is sleeping away in his crib right now.

Michelle packed our bags tonight (Jack helped) and we are ready to go tomorrow. We leave the VMI around 11:30am tomorrow for 2 days of travel. We have truly enjoyed our time in Vladivostok. Obviously the month we have spent getting to know our son has been world changing for all three of us. When we came to Vladivostok almost a month ago, we knew in our hearts we were already a family even though legally speaking we still had some work to do for that to be official. Because of the events of the last month, we are now officially a Forever Family. We think we have made some lifelong friends bound together by common experiences, but most importantly we used the last month to grow together as a family in every way possible.

Not a bad month.

For one of the last times…. Paka from Russia.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 22, October 26, 2009

Just to start the blog off right - this morning Jack had a diaper blowout that made us wonder if the Red Cross was going to show up to assist us with the disaster area he left behind. The Red Cross never showed, so we did the best we could, but it did require an impromptu bath. After that he was super happy and seemed to be laughing at Daddy (so was Mommy) because after looking at the diaper, Daddy looked as though he had seen a ghost.

A few updates on our son’s development for our family and friends are in order. First off, bath time. He does a really good job during bath time overall. We started very slow. Daddy got into the bathtub, and he showed Jackson how fun it was to take a bath. Then we would slowly work him into the tub with Daddy. We did this for the first 2 nights. The next 2 nights Jackson bathed alone. He seemed to do well, although at the end of the 2nd bath alone, he seemed to get really fussy. We weren’t sure if this was because he was afraid, or just because he was fussy. So, just in case – bath 5 was with Daddy again. For those of you reading this blog that are unaware – our son has never had a bath before because the orphanage he was in didn’t do traditional baths. Since this is totally new, we are taking it slow and trying to make it a positive experience.

Feeding is going overall very well too. He eats at 6am, 12pm and 7pm. Snacks are at 9am and 3pm just before naptimes. Since his entire world changed, we kept his feeding and sleep schedule identical for now. Jack gets upset just before feeding time, and wants to be held the entire time while I am making his food. We have been feeding him porridge every meal, but supplementing with veggies, fruit and meat (all baby food). He has a very sensitive gag reflex, and still does not chew (even though he has teeth). The baby home only fed him pureed foods so we are taking solids easy because he seems to choke. All of his food items are put on his tray with him, and as he finishes one item, it is removed from the tray. He watches this very closely and knows when one item is about gone. If we are not feeding him fast enough, he stretches his neck out and gives us a dirty look until we get him another bite. A few times, after the food is completely gone, he will cry some – but can be redirected. On fluids, he is drinking a bottle for 9am and 3pm snack. We are giving him juice cut with water for these snack times. When we first got custody, he was so dehydrated that his urine was almost gel like. He loves juice and water so we are good there too.

The bonding front is going as well as can be expected. He likes to play with us, running back and forth between the two of us to be picked up. He likes to play with Daddy, and snuggle with Mommy. During meals, he doesn’t make eye contact with us unless we hold the spoon up near our eyes, and this is how we get him to make eye contact during meals – otherwise – food is his priority. When playing, he makes below average eye contact overall. We are working on this, but for less than one week with his new parents we are proud of his accomplishments. We do plan to enforce the no holding rule for a minimum of 6 weeks for family and friends, and play the rest by ear. He tends to go play alone and ignore us so we have to really work to interact with him.

He babbles some, mainly “ba – ba”, and mainly when he is alone. He has started to babble more lately, and it is really cute. Yesterday he said “da – da”, and I am hoping it was the start of Daddy, but probably just more babble. He is laughing out loud now much more frequently, and seems like a happy little guy overall. We didn’t hear him babble hardly at all at the baby home.

Physically he seems pretty healthy. He was pulling on his right ear and had a snotty nose going on – so we started him on an antibiotic. It was a fairly traumatic event to try to give it to him through the syringe that the pharmacy gave us, so now it gets mixed into his porridge. He does have Intermittent Strabismus and at times it is severe (with his left eye). We spoke to a lot of families who adopted children with Strabismus from Orphanages, as well as several doctors – and they all feel this is a treatable issue. He has beautiful blue eyes and long eyelashes. When he bats those eyes at me I melt.

Overall, we are thrilled with the way he has opened up and adjusted. We know this is such a change for him, so we are taking everything slow. We push him a little, but not too much. When we get back to the States, we will set an appointment with his Pediatrician to address all his shots, development, and some tactile deficiencies he is having. We will also set him up with an Ophthalmologist that has dealt with Infantile Intermittent Strabismus before. We have a whole team of specialists just waiting to help us make Jackson a healthier child.

Well, I guess that covers it! We are thrilled to be a family of 3 and are blessed to have this time alone to bond and just be together as a family. We just have 1 full day left here in our son’s place of birth. Very soon, he will become a U.S. Citizen!

Paka! Paka!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 21, October 25, 2009

Hello from Vladivostok! It is after 8pm now, although to our bodies it is after 9pm because today was Daylight Savings Time here. What a difference an hour makes (to a 15 month old!).

We started off the day with waking up to Jack trying to make a break from his crib. He was standing up at the end of the crib pulling on the “bars”. After we assisted him in making the break – he was thrilled. He was such a happy boy this morning! He gave us a lot of smiles and hugs. We had breakfast, playtime, nap, lunch, and then we went to the beach with Gloria, Kristina and John Duda. Jack wasn’t overly thrilled with all the beach had to offer, he mainly wanted Daddy to just carry him around and talk to him. Kristina and John loved it though! They were a hoot to watch in all their energy and innocence. We had to get Jack back to stay on his basic schedule, so we walked back to the room. We saw a few trains, some birds, a couple cats, and an older man swimming in a speedo– pretty eventful.

When we got back to the room, Jack was NOT having a nap. I am not sure he got too tired or was still excited from being with the big kids – but he just wasn’t having it. We fought it for awhile, and finally just gave up. His gums are really bothering him right now, so that may have been a factor (although no fever).

This evening, Gloria had a birthday party for Kristina in the White Rabbit. She ordered a nice cake (that Kristina picked out), and brought hats, party favors and gifts (wrapped) for her. She didn’t hand out smiles for free since Bill and I were in the room, but as time went on – she would smile more and more. She loved the gifts (and cards) that Mama brought her, and seemed to like the cake a lot too. You only turn 8 once, and we are glad they let us be a part of it. Pictures do not do these kids justice. John has baby blue eyes that are lady killers, and Kristina is a strikingly beautiful young girl. Happy Birthday Kristina!

We are now back in the room and Bill is reading Jack a book and rocking him to sleep. It seems he is starting to fall asleep finally. He sucks his thumb and his pointing finger at the same time. Tonight it sounds different like he can’t get a good suction going. Bill thinks it is because I (attempted) to clip his nails today and it has thrown off his technique :)

A lot of people have been asking about his development/delays/improvements, etc. We will post on this in the next couple of days. It seems we would have a lot of time, but we really don’t, so more to come on that subject.

For now – Paka from Russia!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 20, October 24, 2009

Our last weekend in Vladivostok (we leave 10/28) started with Jack waking up and fidgeting around in his crib and getting to where he was in a seated position with his arms and legs hanging out of the bars. He cracks us up when he wakes up because he gives the funniest looks. Most of the time he is serious, but today he was being goofy. We brought him into bed with us to cuddle for a few minutes, and then we got out of bed and started our routines. Everything was pretty normal today, but Jack was fussy during his morning nap. It seems like every day he is fussy for either his morning or afternoon nap. So, he and I hung out this morning and rocked and just rested a bit rather than nap though he did fall asleep about 30 minutes before he was supposed to wake up so he did get a little catnap this morning.

After lunch we walked with Gloria, Kristina and John to the store. I believe both families did enough shopping to last the rest of our trips, so we had quite a few items in our baskets. The store nearby is basically a 7-Eleven (or Kwikie Mart if you will), so I think most people just stop in for a few items and then get on their way. The Duda’s and Curran’s stopped up the line with our full baskets though much to the dismay of the 4 guys buying beer and liquor for their afternoon snack. The guys seemed frustrated with us, but give us a break it was about 1pm! The booze could wait for us!

When we got back from the store the Duda’s were heading out to the playground and it wasn’t quite time for Jacks nap so we went out to play them. Michelle and I rode the slide with Jack and he enjoyed watching Kristina and John play though he seems pretty content with being held and watching from a distance rather than mixing it up with those bigger kids just yet.
This evening we ate some spaghetti here in the room and fed and played with Jack. We just got finished with another bath and now Michelle is singing Jack to sleep. Simon Cowell would probably not be sending her through to Hollywood, but Jack and I like it!

Tomorrow we think we may tag along with the Duda’s to the beach, then at night we have been invited to Kristina’s 8th birthday party!

(The pictures above are from our 1st meeting in July)

Friday, October 23, 2009

H1N1 Paranoia...Tensions Rise (comic relief)

Day 19, October 23 2009

Though it seems like today was day #250 at the Vlad Motor Inn, it was really only Day 19. Nothing against the VMI or anything, but wow Trip Two is long! We can’t wait to get home and sleep in our own beds!

Overnight Jack was a little fussy and was awake for about an hour starting around 12am. He and I hung out and rocked and tried to figure out a way to get the world out of the global economic crisis. Well, Jack was thinking about saving the world, I was thinking about how the Vols were going to beat Bama this weekend. Anyway, he went back to sleep without any trouble around 1am and even slept in a little bit this morning to compensate. We went through our normal routines today without any issues except Jack was a little fussy for the morning nap, but this was probably because he had slept a little later than usual. We played at the White Rabbit while our room was cleaned, then we headed back to the White Rabbit for dinner with Gloria, Kristina and John. Jack was really interested in what the bigger kids were doing, but he sat on Mommy’s lap and watched them rather then get involved himself.

Right now Michelle is reading Jack his bedtime story (The Little Engine That Could – one of my all time favorites). We had bath time a little while ago, and this made 4 out of 4 baths without any trouble at all. Jack even helps dump water on himself to remove soap suds!

Michelle is feeling a little better today (not really), but Jack and I have slight coughs. I sound worse than I feel and sometimes I have no voice at all so I sound like a goose honking as I try to get my words out. Once we get home we’ll all clear up our colds, but sitting together in a hotel room 22 or 23 hours a day means we are just passing stuff back and forth to each other. Jack is on an antibiotic that our International Adoption Doctor from the US prescribed before we came over here. Michelle is on the viral infection meds (see yesterdays post about the viral infection), and she and I are both taking some cough syrups and drinking a lot of juice. The juices over here are excellent by the way!

That’s all from Vladivostok tonight. We hope everyone back home has a happy Friday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 18 October 22, 2009

Another fun day with Jack! So far today we have been able to stick pretty strictly to his routine from the baby home. We woke up, fed, napped and snacked at all the right times today which is a great thing for Jack. After lunch today we took him to the playground here at the Vlad Motor Inn for the first time. There we slid on the slides and swung on the swings and just enjoyed being together. We were the only ones out there, so we took his big cumbersome winter coat off of him so he could have a little more freedom. It was about 60 degrees outside today and since he was wearing a sweatshirt also it was way too warm for his coat, but we had it with us just in case some cranky Babushka’s wandered by and yelled at us. For anyone travelling to Russia for an adoption, here is some good advice for how to dress your child; take the actual outside temperature, subtract 75 to 100 degrees from this temperature and that is how you should dress your child. Instead of being called the “wind chill factor”, we can call this the “Babushka chill factor” because if your child is perceived to be underdressed, you will surely receive a chilly reaction from the locals.

Right now, Jack is napping and we are using the downtime to relax a little too. We love being parents, but wow, this is exhausting! We have a new respect for all you parents out there. Once Jack wakes up, we’ll go through the nightly routine and wake up and do it all again tomorrow. We can’t wait for him to wake up, but he really is cute when he is sleeping!

Okay, since this was sort of a short post, here are a few Michelle/Bill stories for you from the last few days.

Story 1: Michelle is still feeling the effects of her cold and ear infection, so she and our interpreter went to a pharmacy yesterday while we were out running errands. The interpreter was trying to talk Michelle into going to a doctor, but as mentioned before we have heard horror stories about doctor visits here. Anyway, after Michelle finally convinced the interpreter that she is not in fact dying, the pharmacist came out and immediately said to Michelle; “just by looking at you, I can tell you have a viral infection”. Really? Did you look into your crystal ball for that one? How can you look at someone and diagnose them? Luckily Michelle wasn’t feeling herself, or she might have countered the pharmacist with “Oh yeah? Just by looking at you I can tell you are a moron”. I wonder if the interpreter would have translated a shouting match between the two of them? That would have been a YouTube favorite!

Story 2: After the medical visit yesterday, Michelle, Jack and I as well as Gloria, Kristina and John Duda all piled into the van to leave. Once in the van, Michelle said “do I have anything on my back?” because she thought she felt a good amount of water or something drip on her while we were piling into the van. She leaned forward, and Gloria, said “yeah it looks like Jack spit up on you”. She had white stuff running down her back. Michelle then informed us that while she was in fact holding Jack at the time, he was always facing forward and therefore unable to spit up on her back. We then had a good laugh as it appeared as though a large bird had used her for target practice. Judging from the amount of poop on her shirt, Gloria and I estimate that she was either hit by a large eagle or a small pterodactyl. Michelle was a good sport about it and we all had a good laugh and helped her clean off her shirt.

Story 3: One of our errands the other day was to go to the passport office to get Jack his passport. At the passport office (like every other place we go to in Russia) I had to show my passport to the official helping us with this particular task. The woman took my passport, thumbed through it then made a comment. The interpreter translated her comment as “beautiful picture”, and I immediately turned bright red and gave an “aw shucks” kind of smile. As I was blushing, I said “tell her ‘thanks’ for the compliment”, then my interpreter informed me that she was not saying my picture was beautiful, she was stating that the drawings of American icons like the Statue of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, etc. on the pages of American passports are beautiful. Guess I got a little too big for my britches there!

Michelle and I feel that it’s important to laugh a lot each day. Sometimes we give each other plenty to laugh at as we go about our daily routines.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 17 October 21, 2009

Today we woke up with Jack beside us for the first time! He went to bed around 8:10 last night and slept without any trouble until around 5:30 this morning. Michelle and I were up off and on through the night checking to make sure he was okay, which he always was. We woke up this morning when he was getting ready to wake up, and we just watched him until he was ready for us. When he finally woke up for good, he rolled into a sitting position with his arms crossed like he was waiting for a business meeting or something. We picked him up and started our day.

In the morning we kept to his usual routine per his caretakers. We fed him, played with him and put him down for his 9:30am nap. We kind of figured this nap was going to be his only real nap of the day as we were going to be out running errands during his afternoon nap time. After the morning nap, we fed him lunch and got ready for our errands. We went with Gloria, Kristina and John (as well as our driver and interpreter) to the passport office to pick up the kids’ passports. Jacks’ passport is a normal Russian passport, but it’s funny to see a little toddler’s picture on a passport. After this we went for the medical exams. Jack cried when the doctor checked him out. Maybe he was a little shy about being naked in front of someone, but maybe not because he was quite a little exhibitionist when he was naked before his bath tonight. Anyway, the doctor’s appointment went well, and we got a laugh when the doctor called Jack a “spoiled baby” when we were comforting him after the exam. It’s odd that “spoiling” a baby here means comforting them after a medical exam. After the medical exam we had a meeting at the US Consulate office in Vladivostok where we did a little interview with a US official who is in charge of helping us obtain Jacks visa.

Once the errands were done, we came back to the hotel where we made dinner and ate as a family for the first time (yesterday was a little hectic, so Michelle and I didn’t eat until after Jack was asleep). Bath time consisted of Jack and I in the tub while Michelle washed him. We are trying to ease him into the bath routine as a family because this can be one of the most traumatic events once a child is newly adopted from an orphanage. So far so good for us on the bath front, Jack has not shed a tear during the two baths we have given him.

As of now, Jack is slowly winding down from the day. He is overtired as he missed his afternoon nap except for a little catnap in the van on the way home from the Consulate office. He is just about asleep though, and Mommy and Daddy probably aren’t too far behind.

Tomorrow we don’t have anything scheduled which will be good. We can get Jack into a routine and spend some quality time with him without disrupting his nap or eating schedule like the last couple days.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Allow me to introduce myself

My name is Jackson Andrey Curran, and I am a pretty awesome little boy. My parents came all the way from the United States just to make me a permanent part of our forever family. I am almost 15 months old and have blonde hair and blue eyes. Daddy says I look just like Mommy!

Mommy says I will probably grow up to be an academia and go to Harvard. Daddy says I will grow up and be either the Quarterback for the Redskins (I hear they need one), or the next Ovechkin for the Capitals. They tell me whatever I grow up to be, I will always be their son and they will love me endlessly.

First things first, I have to teach Mommy and Daddy how to be parents. I think they are already wrapped around my finger. I will keep you posted on their progress.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 15 October 19, 2009

Our last visit before Gotcha Day! We had yet another good visit with the little guy. He was very active today and his favorite thing to play with was the bucket full of bouncy balls. There are about 15 balls in the bucket, and he enjoyed taking almost all of them out and bouncing them. He had to bend or squat down to get the balls and since he hasn’t mastered the whole balance thing, sometimes he would end up on his butt but he would just get right up and keep playing. This marked the first time we witnessed him going from a sitting to a standing position. He really seemed to enjoy himself today and we saw lots of open mouthed toothy grins. We told him all about how tomorrow is Gotcha Day and how he would be coming home with us for good. It’s hard to believe that this is our little guys last night in the home where he has spent pretty much every night of his life so far.

After our visit we went to the grocery store to pick up groceries for the rest of our stay here. We picked up plenty of baby food and diapers and we should be good for the remainder of our stay in Vladivostok.

Unfortunately Michelle is still feeling the effects of her ear infection, and now things are being complicated for her by a big nasty head cold. If we were back in the States we could take her to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor for the ear infection, and a Walgreens for some Nyquil for the head cold. It doesn’t work that way here in Russia. We have heard some pretty ugly first hand stories about the medical care here, so we don’t want to take her anywhere that she will have her spleen, a kidney, a lung, and her two big toes removed just to fend off a cold. So, she is going to try to ride it out with some cough syrup (which smells like it’s about 100 proof) and some cough drops from the local pharmacy.

That’s all for tonight. We are super excited for Gotcha Day tomorrow! I will be heading downtown in the morning with Gloria Duda so we can complete some paperwork for our respective families. We were informed tonight that due to the timing of our little guys naps and feedings, Michelle will need to go to the baby home by herself to pick up the little guy since I will still be downtown until late afternoon. We wanted to bring him home together, but things didn’t work out that way. We will be able to spend our first evening as a family together tomorrow though, so that’s all that matters in the end.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Days 13/14, October 17th and 18th, 2009

Our last weekend before Gotcha Day! We spent Saturday and Sunday taking care of some chores and preparing for the arrival of our son. Saturday we did some laundry, and relaxed before heading to the White Rabbit for dinner with Gloria. Today we did another load of laundry and ironed all of our Gotcha Day clothes. We enjoyed a little nap time this afternoon and just finished dinner and are now settling in for a little TV and probably an early bed time.

Tomorrow we have our last normal visit at the baby home, and then we will head to the grocery store to pick up groceries for the rest of our time here. On Tuesday I will go downtown to sign the rest of our documents, then we will head to the baby home one last time to pick our little guy! Wednesday we will go get the little guy checked out for his medical exam, then we basically just wait around the hotel for a week until it’s time for us to leave.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 12, October 16, 2009

Today our normal driver and interpreter had the day off. With several WACAP families in Vladivostok recently, the WACAP staff has really been spread thin and all of them are working very hard. So, one of the heads of the WACAP office in Vladivostok took us to the baby home so Vlad (our driver) and Anya (our usual interpreter) could have a three day weekend to recharge their batteries.

When we arrived at the baby home, the first order of business was to talk to the head doctor to thank her for taking such good care of our little guy. We are truly appreciative of the way all of the baby home staff has taken care of him. When we were on our way out of the doctors’ office Michelle asked if we could see our little guys’ actual room so we could see where he has spent most of his life up until now. Thankfully she said “yes” so we headed up to his room. When we got to his room, there were about 8 or 10 kids all in a large playpen. They had just woken up and were getting ready for snack. All of them were wearing the same blue and pink outfit and were standing there anxiously anticipating the snack of the day. Our little guy was in the center of the playpen, but when he saw us enter the room he walked right up to us and grinned. We were happy to see that even in an environment where he had never seen us; the little man recognized us and was seemingly happy to see us. The baby room itself was clean and seemed like a little bit of a controlled chaos as the caretakers transitioned everyone from nap time to changing diapers to feeding them. We were only in the room for a minute or so, but we were happy to get a chance to see where our son has spent so much of his life.

After our little guy had eaten and was brought out to us, we took him out to the playground as it was a nice warm, sunny day here in Vladivostok. We spent about a half hour out there playing on slides and swings and just hanging out. Once we went inside, we headed to the gym where our little guy smacked the gator around a little more (go Vols!). There is a little riding car in the gym and our guy likes to push it around or ride in it. We also played catch with the bouncy balls he loves so much. Michelle says he is a typical little boy as he likes cars and footballs and bouncy balls and stuff. His favorite game today was to drop the ball and then look at me pathetically until I went and picked it up. When I would bring it back to him he would have this little devilish smile on his face, and I think he knows he already has me wrapped around his tiny fingers. Like yesterday, he tired out before our time was up so we decided to wrap things up a little early today as he has had a pretty exhausting couple of weeks getting used to us. We told him that we only have one more normal visit with him on Monday before we bring him back with us on Tuesday!

Tonight is Michelle and my last Friday night without a little one, so we are going to party it up tonight. If you know either of us, you may have gotten a laugh out of that line as neither she nor I have “partied up” a Friday night in several years. Actually we are spending our night making spaghetti and doing laundry then will probably go to bed early. We moved to a suite with a kitchen last night and we are taking advantage of some leftover spaghetti and sauce the Scrudato’s gave us before they headed back to Jersey a couple of days ago.

That’s all from Vlad tonight. We aren’t sure what we are going to do this weekend, but I think we’ll both be resting and preparing for the little guys’ arrival early next week!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 11, October 15, 2009

Another day, another couple of “firsts”. Our little guy is making big strides in getting to know us. Today when the caretaker brought him out of his room and set him down, he walked straight to Michelle marking the first time anything like this happened. On previous visits we would either take him directly from the caretaker’s arms (we get a little excited so we get grabby sometimes) or the caretaker would set him down and he would stare at us like we each had two heads. Today the caretaker set him down and he immediately walked over to Michelle who scooped him up and kissed him which made him smile.

After the initial greeting, we went straight to the gym to play. His favorite item to play with today was the picture album we brought him on Trip 1 and left with him so he could look at pictures of his Forever Family. He is teething so he likes to gnaw on the plastic edges of the photo albums, but we think he also likes the pictures. He touched and pointed at the pictures a bunch, and this is when he gave us our second “first” of the day; his first laugh out loud (or LOL if you are reading the blog via text message)! He was looking at a picture of Michelle and I when he laughed, so there are two possible explanations for the laugh, either he thinks we are funny looking or he remembered that he bit Michelle yesterday and that gave him a chuckle. Whatever the reason, we were really happy to experience this “first” together. In addition to the photo album, he still liked his gator toy (being Tennessee Volunteer fans, it brings us great joy when he pushes the gator around), his Redskins football and a few items that we bring him each day. Michelle also taught him how to kick a ball, so he walked around playing soccer for awhile. He was soccer natural, so maybe we have young David Beckham on our hands. He was up walking around a lot today which tired him out pretty quickly. He was asleep in Michelle’s arms about 30 minutes before it was time for us to take him back to the caregivers, so we took turns holding him while he slept, then returned him to his room a little early so he could have snack and go down for his real nap. He was adorable sleeping in his Mommy’s arms. We can’t wait to see him tomorrow.

On the way home we stopped at a grocery store for some food for us and the little guy. We also stopped at a pharmacy where Michelle picked up some cough syrup and cough drops. She is feeling better than earlier in the week, but she still has some lingering effects of a pretty nasty ear infection. She’s a trooper though, and we are using a lot of hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes when we are with the little man.

Tomorrow we have our last visit of the week. We only have tomorrow and Monday’s visits left before we go back on Tuesday for Gotcha Day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 10, October 14, 2009

Today we had another great visit with our son. We are getting in about 2 ½ hrs every day with him, and enjoying every second of it. Today was the first day that he didn’t cry at all when he was brought out to us, not one tear today! WooHoo!

He loves to drink out of his sippy cup, and has officially tried Gerber yogurt puffs. I procrastinated today when giving him a puff and he almost took off my finger. I had little teeth indentions for about an hour. Although Bill did think it was funny when I screamed (he has sharp teeth!).

Here is a picture of the adoptive parents we had dinner with last night. Lots of support and kids here at the VMI right now. It’s nice to be around others that have had the same experiences.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 9, October 13, 2009

Today we headed to the baby home as per the usual just after 11am. They were late feeding him so they didn’t bring him to us until almost 15 till 1. First we took him outside to explore the playground for about 30 minutes. It was chilly so we decided to take him into the gym for the rest of the visit. One of the caregivers brought up a couple children in to play with him. This was one of the first times we were allowed to interact with a child other than our own. They seemed to play well with each other overall. At one point, Bill encouraged our son to go play with the Caregiver and a young boy that was in his groupa. Our son immediately turned around and wanted Bill to pick him up. Rather this is the start of bonding, or a coincidence, we will take it!

Tonight we met several families in the White Rabbit for dinner and a play date with the kids. We enjoyed meeting with the other families and hearing about their experiences thus far. Lisa and Glenn, whom we have become very fond of, are taking Anastasia home to New Jersey tomorrow, and we wish them safe travels. Neva, her mother, Sergei and Peter will also be flying home to Oregon tomorrow. Most of the other families are leaving within the next few days as well. We wish everyone safe travels and best wishes with their forever families!

In closing, the attached photo is a pet of Artem. Looks like he was trying to escape!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 8, October 12, 2009

Father-Son Day at the baby home…

Before I get into the details of today’s visit, I need to backtrack to some information we learned last night. Our friend Kenny came to our room at about 6pm last night and told us that he had found out that Russian Prime Minister (and former Russian President) Putin was going to be visiting a government complex right next to the Vlad Motor Inn today. This news directly affected everyone at the Vlad Motor Inn, as we were being told that nobody would be allowed out of the area after 7am this morning and nobody would be allowed in before 8pm tonight. Obviously this concerned us because we were supposed to leave at 11:15am to visit our little guy. We received a call from our agency shortly after Kenny let us know what he had heard, and our agency confirmed that things were going to be a little crazy around the hotel today. The agency said there were basically 3 scenarios for being picked up by our interpreter and driver. 1, the driver and interpreter would make it into the hotel area like usual. 2, the driver and interpreter would have to park a little ways away and walk in to get us. And 3, nobody would be allowed in or out. Obviously options #1 or #2 were fine with us, but #3 was not good.

This morning we woke up and before we could even deal with the Prime Minister, we had a bigger problem. Michelle was feeling awful. We think she has a bad ear infection and her throat has been giving her trouble for a week now and everything came to a head overnight. She was really caught between a rock and a hard place as she had to decide whether to go visit the little man and risk getting him sick, or staying back and missing out on a visit. Ultimately she decided not to put the little guy at risk of catching anything she has. He is coming off a tough cold of his own, so we didn’t want him to relapse and start feeling bad again. I haven’t ever seen Michelle this bad off, she is really ill, so I think she made the right decision to stay home today.

So, minus my better half I set out to fight my way through the Russian security perimeter to get to the baby home. Our interpreter Anya and our driver Sergei met me in the lobby and informed me that we were going to be fine to leave the hotel but we had to walk to get to their vehicle. They had to park about 3 blocks away, so it wasn’t bad at all. On the walk to their van, we saw several military guys in the side streets around the hotel. Most of them stared intently at me as I was carrying a backpack that was making a lot of noise. I was really hoping that none of them were trigger happy because I didn’t want to be taken out due to a children’s toy making a little noise in my backpack. Perhaps I have seen too many movies because I sort of anticipated a Red Dawn style chase scene with the Russian military in hot pursuit of Sergei’s van as we left the area, but I was pleasantly surprised as nobody even looked twice at us while was we hit the road. (I am willing to bet that was the first ever “Red Dawn” reference in adoption blog history. What a great movie!).

Now on to the best part of the day…the visit. When our little guy’s caretaker brought him out of his baby room, he looked at me and stated to cry. Hopefully he missed his Mommy, but I took him and assured him that we were going to have a great day no matter what. He only cried until we got to the gym, where he saw the slides and decided that this was going to be a fun day after all. He and I spent some time playing on the mats, and then we got up and played on the slides and walked around the room. There were two toys that were a huge hit today, his Redskins plush football and the traditional Russian weeble toy we have mentioned in the past. He carried that football with him the whole day, which made me happy! He made a lot of sounds today too which is something he had only showed brief glimpses of on prior visits. He really came out of his shell about halfway through the visit and became really active. He played with his toys more than he ever had for us, and really seemed to be enjoying himself. Of course we rode the slides and rocked on the rocking tiger again too. Father-Son day was really a lot of fun for both of us I think, but we are both looking forward to having Mommy back in the action with us tomorrow. The little guy and I took plenty of videos to show Mommy back at the hotel, and she has already been through them and said she can’t wait to get out and see him tomorrow. When we returned to the hotel we were stopped by a guard, but our driver said something to him in Russian and the guard allowed us to drive right up to the Vlad Motor Inn parking lot.

While I was gone, Michelle said that word of her sickness spread around the hotel, and several families chipped in some cold medicines and things to get her health headed on the right path. We really appreciate everyone’s concern and willingness to help! Thank You.

Tonight we will take it easy and rest up for what will hopefully be a full family visit tomorrow. As far as we know nobody famous is visiting the Vlad Motor Inn, so traveling around the hotel should be back to normal again!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 7, October 11, 2009

Today we went into downtown Vladivostok with the Scrudato's and Duda’s. The Duda’s asked their driver Sergei if he would take us for some sightseeing, souvenirs, and lunch today and luckily he was more than willing to take us. First he drove us to a point high on a hill above the port of Vladivostok. We took many postcard quality pictures of the city from this vantage point. The weather was perfect today, and it was really beautiful to see the mountains next to the ocean beyond the port. We took some pictures of some Russian naval ships too. It’s strange to think that just 20 years ago, a group of Americans taking pictures of Russian Navy ships in Vladivostok was called Espionage. Now it was just a nice outing among new friends. We also did some sightseeing in a town square near the water where the Scrudato's little girl Anastasia was able to take her first pony ride.

Once we finished with the sightseeing we went to a nice little souvenir shop where we did the tourist thing. After that we went and had lunch at a cafeteria style restaurant which had really good food. Michelle and I didn’t branch too far off of the beaten path though as we just had rice and chicken and vegetables which were similar to things at Oriental restaurants back home. They had plenty of traditional Russian fishes and meats at this place, but I guess we weren’t in a daring mood today. They had excellent desserts though!

On the way home we stopped at a kids clothing store where we bought a hat and some pants for our little guy (actually the Duda’s chipped in the pants as Michelle and I weren’t patient enough to find them in the store on our own). We want to make sure we have him properly dressed for when we leave the baby home next week. “Properly dressed” in Russia means “about 13 layers of clothing no matter how warm it is”, so we need to do what the Russians do (at least while they can still yell at us).

That’s about it for today. We are resting in the room tonight so we have some energy to play with the little guy all week. We know you are all looking forward to seeing some pictures, but we need to stick to the rules we agreed to and wait until Gotcha Day (Oct 20th) before we publish any pictures. Believe us, it will be worth the wait, we have some good ones of the little man!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hello from Vlad! Today we had a lot of down time as we were not allowed to go to the baby home to visit our son. We walked to the store and picked up a few items, and did laundry to get ready for next week.

We also went to the playground to watch Glenn and Lisa's little girl play. What a cutie! We met a family from California that adopted a little girl as well. There were several families on the playground, mostly Russian.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to going into town with the Duda family to do a little shopping and have some traditional Russian cuisine.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 5, October 9, 2009

Our Court Date!

Before I get too in depth about todays events, let’s just cut to the chase….. Our Court Date went off without a hitch!!!!!!!!!!! Michelle and I are now the parents of a beautiful baby boy! Of course this does not become official until the 10 day waiting period is over on October 20th, but the court handed down a favorable decision for us this morning and granted us the parental rights over our little guy!

Now for the details of how the decision mentioned above was reached. We left the hotel around 8:15 this morning after a nice pep talk from the Duda’s (who are in court this very minute and are hopefully hearing the same news we heard this morning). Our Court time was 9:30am, but we wanted to allow for the unpredictable traffic in Vladivostok so we left with plenty of time to spare. We needed just about every minute of this time as there was a fender bender causing a huge traffic jam not too far from the hotel. It ended up taking us over an hour to travel the 20 kilometers to court (that’s right, I just went metric on you!). The social worker who was testifying in our case rode with us to court. Now that I think about it, this should have been a pretty good indication that she was going to give a favorable opinion for us or else the car ride back to her office might have been a little awkward. Anyway, we arrived at court about 10 minutes before our session, so we had a minute to take a deep breath before all the fun started. Once the prosecutor arrived, we all entered the court room and waited for the judge. The prosecutor was a middle aged woman in a uniform, and she seemed like she had somewhat of a personality which we took as a good sign. A minute or so after we were in the room the judge walked in. The judge was also a middle aged woman, but she was all business. No smiles or high fives or fist bumps or anything as she walked to her desk. The hearing began with some legal information spoken in Russian (for all we know, they could have been discussing the latest episode of Jon and Kate or something as most of this was not translated for us). The judge then asked Michelle and I if we would like to make any requests before the hearing started. We gave our answer of “no” from a seated position which is a very bad thing to do. We got scolded by the judge for this, and our interpreter, Elana, translated that we need to stand up when we address the judge. At this point the score was Judge 1, Curran Family 0 for those of you keeping score at home. We apologized, and Michelle made some comment that we “humbly ask for her forgiveness” or something, then we got on with the session. Everyone in the room identified themselves (while standing), then it was time for the grilling to commence. The judge indicated that I was first up for the questions (apparently she saw me as a slow learner so she reminded me to stand). She asked me questions ranging from our sons medical diagnosis, why we want to adopt and adopt from Russia, about our marriage and maybe one or two more topics. For the questions about our sons’ medical diagnosis, the judge returned to me two or three times stating that I had not properly answered her questions (I paused to make sure I had not accidentally sat down without knowing it therefore causing the extra line of questioning). Finally whatever I said satisfied her and she turned the questioning over to the prosecutor who had a couple follow up questions which were no sweat. I was then informed that I could sit down and Michelle was asked to stand. Michelle was asked questions about her job and how we will take care of our little guy when she needs to return to work as well as a few other topics. I felt Michelle got the hard line of questioning but she did a fantastic job. She did so well actually that the prosecutor didn’t even have any follow up questions. Way to go Michelle! Either you were so thorough in your answers or you intimidated a Russian prosecutor. Either way, I am tremendously proud of you! Once we were done being questioned, the social worker spoke on our behalf stating that it was her opinion that we would be suitable parents and that we should be awarded the parental rights for our little guy. After she was done, everyone had to leave the room so the judge could think over our case. After less than 2 minutes the judge called us back in the room. We figured the decision was going to go in our favor, or else we would have set a world record for the quickest denial ever. Once we were all back in the room, the judge read the decision that she agreed with the prosecutor and social worker and that we should be granted the rights over our son….. Our son!

After court was over, we headed to Artem to see the little guy and tell him the fantastic news. On the way over there, we asked our interpreter if she thought that we could take him out of the baby home and into town at some point next week so we could get his passport pictures taken. To our surprise she said, “let’s do that today”, so as soon as we got to the baby home we took him and headed to the van. He hardly cried at all today even at the initial meeting, and he really seems to be getting used to us. One of the caregivers rode to downtown Artem with us because I guess they figured we would make some sort of break for the States if we took him out alone. To our surprise, he really liked being in the car. He sat on Michelle’s lap and seemed to enjoy the new sights and sounds around him. Once we got to the passport photo place, he sat in a little chair and they took a few pictures of him until they got a good one. We rode back to the baby home and this time he sat on my lap, and again seemed to enjoy the ride (hopefully he likes planes as much as vans). Back at the baby home, we played for a few minutes on the playground before heading up to the gym for more sliding and horseback riding. He loves the slide, and his giant toothy grins never get old. We sat with him for the rest of our visit and just enjoyed being a family together. Wow, as of today, we are a family. That feels great to say, and even better to experience. We didn’t want to give our little guy back to the caregivers today, but we know that this week has been hard on him and that he needs some rest so we can have another great week next week.

Next up is a little downtime as we head into the weekend. Tomorrow we plan on getting some rest and organizing our gifts for everyone involved in the process. Sunday we think we are going on a little excursion into downtown Vladivostok with the Duda’s (stay tuned for more hilarity as I try to figure out a public toilet or something).

Guess that’s all for now. It looks like there is another Curran in the world tonight. For many of our readers, that means as you wake up back in the States on Friday morning many of you have a new Grandson, nephew or cousin as you head off to work or school today. We can’t wait for everyone to meet him!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 4. October 8, 2009

Smiles! We saw smiles today! Believe me, it’s not easy to get a smile out of a Russian but today we got plenty of them from our special Russian (soon to be American as long as court goes okay tomorrow).

When we first saw our little guy today he cried like he did the first three visits. I took him from the caretaker and immediately went outside to the playground while Michelle stayed back to speak to the caregiver about our guys’ daily routine. He and I sat on a swing and he stopped crying enough for us to have a chat about our court date tomorrow. I told him how important tomorrow is for our family and that hopefully when we see him tomorrow we will have good news for him. He didn’t say much in that conversation, but he did burp and drool which is about the interaction I get from some coworkers (though none of the ones who read this blog, I assure you). Michelle got some good information about sleeping and eating habits from the caretakers, then met us out on the playground. We had mild success on the playground, mostly in part to the traditional Russian toy we bought at the store yesterday. We bought some of these toys (sort of like a Weeble that makes a sound like a wind chime) for the baby home on our first trip, and our guy seemed to like them a lot. He still likes this toy, so we played with it a little on the playground then decided to head to the gym for the rest of our visit.

When we got to the gym we placed him down on his blanket and he cuddled up to Michelle and loved on her like he was doing on Trip 1. We were thrilled to see him like this, and we spent 30 minutes or so just enjoying watching him look us up and down. After a while we stated to walk him around the gym and eventually we went to the slide they have in there. I would guide him down the slide into Michelle’s arms at the bottom. This is where the magic happened and the smiles started coming out in force. He loved the slide and we did it over and over. Eventually we got to where Michelle would help him walk towards me and she would let him go and he would finish the walk on his own (only a step or two, but still amazing in our books). I wish everyone could have seen the full open mouth toothy grins he was giving us as he walked between the two of us. Michelle and I felt like we had won the lottery when we saw these smiles! We played like this the rest of our visit. Once we took him back to his caregiver, he cried when we handed him over marking the first time this week he seemed upset to leave us. Needless to say, we left the baby home feeling extremely good about the visit which is a good place for us to be as we head to court tomorrow!

Tonight we had a meeting with our agency to go over what we should expect for court tomorrow. Michelle and I went over our court preparations again, ate some PB&J and are now getting ready for bed. We have a big day tomorrow, and we feel like a couple of kids on Christmas Eve. Well, one of us feels that way, the other is a bit nervous but we both feel like we will have a good day tomorrow. Court is at 9:30am, then we will go visit the little guy for more slide rides and toothy grins (we hope).
We’ll let you know what happens when we get back to the hotel tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 3. October 7, 2009

Today started a little earlier than most days here. A typical day has us leaving the hotel around 11:15 for the ride to Artem, but today we had to go to downtown Vladivostok to have some paperwork notarized. We ran into Ken and Gloria Duda in the hotel restaurant and had some coffee, then headed downtown to see the notary. We got to the notary office before they were open for business so Ken and I went down to the bank to exchange money while Michelle and Gloria held our places in the notary line. Our driver/interpreter, Sergei went to the bank with Ken and I, but was not allowed to enter the teller stalls with us. Ken seemed to have no problem with this, however I am a chicken and to be honest I felt a little intimidated to be doing a bank transaction in a foreign land. When Ken was finished, the armed guard (a young man of about 18 or 19 years old) motioned for me to enter the stall. I went in, and handed over the amount that we wanted to exchange as well as my passport, Migration Card, and hotel registration. The woman didn’t speak any English. She carefully examined the money I gave her under a little microscope, and then called her supervisor over to closely inspect one particular bill which resulted in a discussion, presumably whether they were going to call the police or just have the guard take care of me in the alley behind the bank. I tried not to make it look like I was scared, but mentally I was wondering what kind of Home Study addendum we would have to do if I was thrown in a Russian prison for 10-20 years for trying to pass a fake American bill. Finally though the supervisor must have said the bill was fine because the teller counted all of the bills, then showed me a calculator total for what she totaled up. Her total was $100 less than what I gave her, so I said “no” and proceeded to try to explain that she was wrong. She then recounted the money twice and came up with my figure twice so she gave the correct amount and Ken and I left the bank. I think the teller made an honest mistake with the counting error, but I am still claiming that as a victory!

Okay, now onto the important stuff, our visit! Day 3 started the same was as Days 1 and 2, with our little guy crying as soon as his caretaker brought him out to us. We were told ahead of time that today would be the day the Social Worker would be observing us and our interactions. We were hoping the little guy was going to warm up to us a little easier than the first two days, but it didn’t appear to be the case from the start. We immediately took him out to the playground where we took turns walking him around or sitting and rocking with him. Nothing really seemed to work outside, so we headed inside to the gym. Inside, he calmed down a little but cried again when the SW arrived. This is when we put Operation Rocking Horse into effect. During our visit yesterday, Michelle put our little guy on a little rocking horse (actually a rocking zebra) in an effort to find something that would calm him. This move hit the jackpot. The tears stopped, and he really loved it. When we realized that Michelle had found something he enjoyed, we knew we had a secret weapon for when the SW showed up. So, when the SW did show up today, I took him over to the rocking horse (actually a rocking tiger today), and he immediately shut off the tears and was a perfect little angel for the entire duration of the SW’s visit. Michelle immediately struck up a rapport with the SW, and we really feel like we had a good visit with her. Our little guy laid his head down on the tiger head and just looked around the room perfectly content with having me rock him a little. When the lights came on and it was time to perform for the SW, our little guy was the star of the show. We feel like the tables are starting to turn and he is starting to warm up to us. We hope this trend continues tomorrow. All 3 visits so far have been special, and it’s so good to be with our little guy again!

Tomorrow we really begin court preparations when we have a mock court session with Tanya from our agency. We’ll be going over the Home Study a lot between now and court…

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 2

We went back to Artem today to see our little guy. He cried a lot again, but a little less than yesterday. He has a cold and is teething, so combine that with the anxiety of being with two strangers, he has had an appresenvie couple of days. Today towards the end of our visit, he showed some signs of warming up to us. In the gym, there are several rocking horse type animals, and he liked to ride them. Still no smile - but last time it took several days. We look forward to being with him again tomorrow.

Tonight we had dinner at the VMI with Glenn, Lisa and their daughter Annastasia. They gave us a few pointers on court and we were able to see how well their daughter seems to be bonding and attaching to them. She is a hoot! They also gave us a spare adapter so we are using an internet card in our room instead of borrowing the hotel computer.

In the morning we leave at 9am, and along with the Duda family we go to the notary and sign updated medicals. We will also exhange some money (exhange rate not so good right now), and go to the baby home. After the baby home, Anya and Vlad will take us to the baby store and to the grocery.

It is 9pm and we are exhausted!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 1

We have arrived! We are safe and were already able to see our son.

We landed yesterday around 11am and was picked up from the airport and went directly to the childrens home. He was super scared and cried about 90+% of the time, and was also probably teething so felt a little icky. We don't think he remembered us, but 3 months is a long time in the life of a 1 year old! When the Caregiver brought him out, she put stood him on the floor and he did the drunken wobble for a couple of minutes. He didn't take a step, but he didn't have time because I went and scooped him up pretty quickly! We went to the gym and that didn't fly, lots of noise from construction, so we went outside and he did a little better. A Caregiver was burning some brush on the playground so it was a bit noisy outside too.

We have our same driver - Vladimir. We do not have the same Interpreter, instead we have a girl that is new so we had to lead her around a bit (never been to the baby home), but is accomodating so she will be fine. Today they are picking us up at 11:15am and we get to go see the little guy again!

We met Glenn & Lisa and the Duda family. Everyone is pretty awesome, so we feel lucky to be here with them. We were able to meet Glenn and Lisa's daughter and she is a sweet (active) little thing. What a cutie!

Oh, Bill just found out the Vol's lost! I can't believe he is so willing to miss College Football. Luckily his family will keep him updated.

More to come!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

T - 0 days

Our driver will be here in about an hour, and we are off to the airport. The kitties have Aunt Jill coming in a couple days to check on them. The puppies are at Nana and Papa's getting extra spoiled. We are set!

We are taking our laptop this time so should be able to get the blog updated a bit more frequently then trip 1. We will not take our cell phones because they do not work in Vlad.

Wish us luck!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

T minus 36 hours

We are on the home stretch now. We are about 2/3's packed and just doing some busy work until we leave on Saturday morning. Bill picked up his suit, got a hair cut, and is doing some last minute laundry. I am making copies of dossier paperwork, and confirming everything is in order otherwise.

We packed our little guy several outfits and PJ's. I love the PJ's with the sock feet! He is accustomed to being super warm, so we will try to keep him warm so he doesn't have a shock. We plan to TRY to keep him on on his nap schedule and on his diet as well to alleviate any unnecessary additional stresses. We will let you know how this works out :)

We did receive good news last night. We get into Vlad around 11am Monday, and we get to go visit him at the baby home. We didn't know if this was possible originally, but luckily our agency made it happen. Now we will get to see him for 4 days prior to court (M-Th), and then Friday after court as well.