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blog on sister

Monday, April 30, 2007

I've been trying for a long time to get my sister-in-law interested in blogging.

She reads my blog...sometimes, but I hadn't been able to convince her of the cathartic nature of writing all of your adoption experiences down for the entire world to read. Not to mention the bond that develops between bloggers who are going through the same experience.
But that all changed the other day.
I got an email from her asking me to set up a blog for her. Their home computer is a bit slow and with dial-up doing this kind of thing can take forever, so I said, 'Sure!'
Besides...I love finding pretty blog backgrounds.
So I set up her page.
She didn't use it.
So I badgered her. (It's not something I'm proud of, but I'm really pretty good at it.)
Finally, she caved in to the pressure. She blogged her first blog this morning!
I'm so proud of her.
So head on over to Valerie's page at 'Bringing Home Kaycee.' I've told her I would add a link to her site from mine and that people would be showing up to read her brilliant blog.
Please encourage her to continue. She's got a great story to tell.
Blog on sister! Blog on!

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so much for...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

So much for a day of rest...
Actually, so much for a weekend of rest.
I have been BUSY!
I don't think I've had this much adoption-related stuff to do on a weekend...EVER.
It has been pretty much non-stop homestudy homework since Thursday's meltdown.
Of course you know I stayed up until after midnight Thursday night. On Friday, after Q-ball's mother's tea, I picked Punky and JacJac up from the babysitter, came home, checked the email and found a note from our social worker. I've pretty much been sitting at the computer, swapping emails with her every two hours over the last three days. The most recent document she asked for was our credit reports. I just sent that off to her via email about an hour ago.
Good thing email is free. I'd be broke! ;)
The good news is I think we're nearing the end.
My goal is still to have everything to her by Tuesday...that may be a bit optimistic. I still haven't heard from one of the people I'd like to have do a reference. I'm going to start calling some backups here pretty soon.
The only problem is I haven't been able to find my backups. Our pastor is out of town, another person from church wasn't there this morning. I'm starting to run out of options! Since we only moved here three years ago, we have a lot of aquaintances, but not a whole lot of close local friends...made worse by the fact that we don't work here. I hate to bug anyone whose not around us on a regular basis...but I may have to. (Friends from Iowa be warned!)
I'm still bound and determined to get this done...it just means a busy week. And it's going to be a doozy! Between homestudy homework, Q-ball's birthday a week from Monday and my parents come into town on Friday , I've got a lot to do! We have all kinds of great stuff planned...but with that planning comes a lot of extra chores. I had hoped to get some of it done this weekend...
So much for a quiet week! ;)

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first date

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I had a date with my son yesterday.
It was the annual 3rd grade Mother's Tea.
All week long, Q-Ball had been too cute...dropping little hints about what they were going to do.
'Mom,' he would ask. 'Do you like 7-up?'
'Mom, what's your favorite color?'
'Mom, I need my church clothes washed.'
'Mom, do you like mints?'
And all week long he had been counting down.
'Just a two more days, Mom.'
'The tea is tomorrow, Mom.'
Finally yesterday was the day.
He pulled a polo out of the closet, which is definitely reserved for only Sunday or other 'special' occasions. And when I dropped him off at school he turned, and reminded me, 'Don't forget Mom. We have 'a date' at 2:30,' before turning and running for the front door.
I arrived promptly at 2:30 p.m. and Q-Ball greeting me at the classroom door.
His teacher took our picture and then he held out his arm and escorted me to our table. :)
He had written a 'Mom is special because...' paper which he read out loud. He made a coupon book for 'free chores,' drew some pictures and made a fun name place holder with his picture on it. The class sang a song called, 'I love Mommy,' which of course made all 16 of us cry!
That freaked Q out a bit.
Then we had cake, punch, mints and nuts.
I wish I had pictures. Unfortunately, Meshack didn't realize I needed the camera and walked off with it that morning. So I pulled out my camera phone and clicked a couple of shots. I haven't figured out how to get them off the phone yet...
But I have pictures in my head.
What a great first 'date.'

************

I forget to add...we also got a little present from the kids. A lunch sack with the following items and a note attached. It read...

Because I care...

Stick of Gum - you always stick with me
Band-Aid - you heal my hurts
Toothpick - you 'pick out' my good qualities
Snickers - for all the fun times we share
Kleenex - you always help me when I am sad
Chocolate Kiss - a reminder of my love
Smarties - to remind you that I look up to you
Candle - you are the light of my life
Lifesaver - you're always there for me - 24/7

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war and peace

Friday, April 27, 2007

Okay...I'm better.
I'm not quite as emotional and a little more coherent.
Although it's certainly not because I got any sleep last night.
I just got busy.
After I blogged about my descent into a paperwork abyss, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and got down to business...
- I got on the phone and tracked down my brother and knighted him and his wife as guardians of my children...they were happy to return the favor.
- I hunted down four friends and asked them to be references...
- I scanned in our passports...
- I scanned our birth certificates...
- I scanned our marriage license...
- I scanned our employment verification letters...
Good thing I have a scanner...I would have gone mad if I couldn't have gotten all this done last night!
- I copied and pasted our monthly budget into another email...
- I wrote a little update on each of the kids to remind her of their history...
- Both of us rewrote a part of our bio to include more about our childhood and relationship with our parents...
- We wrote down as much information as we could about international adoption, attachment and bonding, so she would know that we know what we're talking about...
When it was done I emailed the whole thing off to the social worker at 12:30 this morning!
Every last one of the 18 items on the check list was checked off!
I can imagine what her face looked like when she came in and checked her in-box. I hadn't talked to her yet about the rewrite...so she wasn't expecting 20 emails from us! :) One of them was at least six pages long! The poor lady has a ton to sort through.
And it's not even her fault.
The agency is the one requesting the re-write of the great American novel. I understand, really I do (now). They're taking care of us, wanting to make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. It's for our benefit to get all of this right the first time. So the way I figure it we'll just rewrite the great Russian novel instead. If they want us to re-write 'War and Peace', we'll rewrite 'War and Peace!'
I just hope they're ready to translate a novel.

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devastated

Thursday, April 26, 2007

That's the only word I can think of right now. It's probably a bit too strong, but the way I'm feeling right now...it fits.
I just got a copy of the email our agency sent to our social worker with the list of things that need to be changed.
Eighteen.
That's how many things need to be changed.
Eighteeeeen!
I'm speechless.
It's such a long list I don't even know where to begin.
I feel like we're starting over from square one. Some of the items are things the social worker already has...the criminal background check, our physical health and description of our marriage. But other things like four references, guardianship and interviews with our children are things we've never had to do before...I don't think she even officially interviewed the kids when she was here.
I've already started scrambling - trying to come up with the information she needs. She has to state which documents she used to verify our births, marriage and financial information...I had already given her the last two years worth of tax returns and all of us went with the assumption that eight years worth of homestudies and post-placements would give her enough proof that we had been born and were married. The agency kept saying that Ukraine wasn't as strict as Russia was about their homestudies.
They were wrong.
We've never gone through this much re-writing...ever. And right now part of me just wants to shut down, crawl in a hole and give up.
Forget Ukraine.
Forget adoption.
Just move on.
I'm not going to do it. I never give up on anything.
But I want to.
Instead I'm going to do what I usually do when I get pushed into a corner.
I'm going to come out swinging!
I'm going to pull myself up by my bootstraps and start kicking butt. I'm going to get all of this junk together as fast as I can so I can prove to nobody in particular that I am not going to be beaten by this. My goal is to have everything in her hands by Tuesday morning when I have the final medical stuff notarized.
That way there are no excuses.

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he's baaaaack!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

After going missing for five days Willie 'the Wildcat' is home!

Come to find out he had been trapped in our neighbor's garage since Saturday. That wouldn't have been too disasterous except that our neighbor lives somewhere else and only comes up every other weekend or so. If Q-ball and his friend hadn't gone looking for him, he may have been a gonner!
Thankfully, the boys set out on a search and rescue mission yesterday morning before school and heard him 'crying'.
They were so excited to have helped rescue him! I was pretty pleased too!
But now the poor cat can't get any peace. The kids won't let him out of their site.
The price he pays, I guess, for his disappearing act.

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no news...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Still haven't heard from the social worker...hmmmmm...not sure what's going on there, but I'm going to try calling again in the morning.
Meshack and I had the doctor's appointments this morning. The worst part was the blood draw..I told you I'm a wimp! Honestly, the woman jabbed me! I've got a nasty bruise to prove it! ;)
But it will all be worth it if by next Tuesday I have all of the necessary medical forms in my hot little hands. We could be done way before then, but the doctor is only in that office on Tuesday and Thursday, sooooo...we wait. Again.
Still haven't heard from the USCIS...I'm getting a little anxious. I'm going to try and find a way to call them tomorrow to figure out what's going on. It could be they just won't do anything until we send them the homestudy, which is fine, but I thought they would at least send us a confirmation letter with a case number. The only thing I got was a cash register receipt.
I hope no news isn't bad news.

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homestudies, doctors appointments and bob

Monday, April 23, 2007

Well I didn't get in touch with the social worker. I left a message and am hoping I'll hear from her soon. She's usually pretty good about returning phone calls...sometimes it just takes a couple of days.
Since I couldn't get in touch with her I decided to call our agency...I had to feel like I was getting something accomplished. The 'paperchase coordinator' said they received our KBI clearances yesterday which I was thrilled to hear about. I was starting to think we'd never hear from them. So I get to cross them off the list today!
Check.
Tomorrow is a big paperwork day. Meshack and I have our doctor's appointments. Now let me tell you - this is my least favorite part of this process. I hate going to the doctor. I go...I just don't like it.
They have needles there.
I'm sure this is going to be a most unpleasant appointment (if you know what I mean) and I'm not looking forward to it at all...but I will do anything to bring Maddie home.
After we get those documents signed and notarized and have our final homestudy in hand, we'll be ready to send our packet to the agency. It will take too long to wait for the USCIS approval so we'll send everything else on ahead.
After that, the agency says it will just be a matter of getting a few more forms signed, which they say should literally take a day, and we'll be set.
Yea.
On the name front, we still haven't made any real progress. Meshack has been trying for weeks to get me to go along with his first place name, "Mallory." I just can't get past the image of Michael Keeton's sister on 'Family Ties." It's a picture in my head that just won't go away! Sorry.
He tried for the umpteenth time yesterday to try and coerce me into going along with him...this time by using a very dirty trick. He used our daughter.
'Punky,' he asked her, 'Please tell Mommy what you think we should call baby sister.'
She looked at him with a big grin and said, 'Bob!'
Bob...hmmmmmm...I kind of like it. ;)

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tiny bubbles...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I should have known something was up when I drove up to the local car wash yesterday. The little red light wasn't on. It was a sign.
I wasn't paying attention.
All I wanted to do was get the van washed. It was the fourth day of a six day window of plenty of sunshine. Not a raincloud in the sky. It's been beautiful.
It was time for a wash. Way past time.
Our babysitter lives on a dirt road. I had half of that road on our van. It needed to come off.
So I put my debit card into the little slot and selected, 'Premium Wash,' for $7!
The car was really dirty.
A woman's polite voice comes over the system, 'Your card has been approved, please pull into the wash bay.'
The little green light flashed and we pulled forward.
The kids love the car wash. I don't know why. It's entertainment for them I guess.
Q-Ball used to be absolutely terrified of car washes...now EVERY TIME we drive by one, he asks if we can give the car a bath. Boys!
So I pull in and the undercarriage wash starts...I drive slow, making sure it's getting all of the dirt.
We pull into the tire holder and the machine starts circling us, spraying on a thick coat of pre-wash...the idea is to let it soak so the dirt comes off.
Right.
The spray stops and we sit waiting for the rinse to come on.
We sat...
and sat...
and sat...
Nothing.
Hmmmm...I thought. Maybe something is jammed. I'll just back up a little and hit the little tire holder again, maybe a jiggle will do it.
Nothing.
We sat...
and sat...
Okay....maybe I need to it again. (Now, why would I think that? If it was going to work it would have worked the first time!)
Nothing.
At this point the kids are starting to get worried that we're going to become trapped inside the car wash. We'd be stuck there all night. They start asking questions like, 'Where will I sleep,' 'How will I brush my teeth,' and my personal favorite, 'Where will I go to the bathroom?'
Don't worry...I'll get us out of here. I managed to pull the van through the rest of the bay, without damaging the vehicle and as we hit daylight I realized what a sight we were.
We looked like one of those old Tom and Jerry cartoons where Tom gets trapped in a washing machine and comes out looking like a white blob.
Yep...that was us! There was soap EVERYWHERE! I couldn't keep up with it with the wipers!
Thankfully no one was around.
I jumped out of the van, dodged a blob of soap, and ran over to the sign that said, "If you need assistance please call xxx.989.xxxx.' So I called.
Nothing.
Great.
I left a message, hoping they would call me right back.

Nope.
So I got to drive home with bubbles all over my car...and of course as I hit the highway (with everyone gawking at me)...the bubble blobs kept flying off the van and hitting the people behind us! :)
I wish I had pictures to share...no, really, I do.
This morning, I sent Meshack and the kids back to the car wash, where the owner promised to redo it for free.
When they came back I went out to inspect the job.

There, on the windshield was a fresh bird dropping.
Great.

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how do you explain it?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I've been racking my brain over the last few days trying to find something to blog about and the only thing that keeps popping to mind is a comment we get from some well-intentioned people when they find out we're adopting...
"We just think it's great what you're doing. These kids are so lucky!"
If I heard it once I've heard it a thousand times in the last few weeks...and it always leaves me struggling for something to say. I usually mumble something about us being the ones that are blessed...but somehow it just doesn't seem like enough.
The thing is, while adoption is a great thing, and the kids are better off...we're not so great and they're not so lucky. At least not in the way they're implying.
They seem to think just because we've adopted internationally and are getting ready to go back one more time that we're great humanitarians. That we've cornered the market on sainthood. That we're modern-day Jobs.
But they're wrong!
I try to tell them we are being completely selfish. It has nothing to do with 'rescuing' children. It has everything to do with wanting to build a family. That selfish pursuit means we dragged these kids away from the only home they'd ever known. We took them away from everything familiar and plopped them down in the middle of a culture completely different from their own. These kids had to bounce back from not only losing their 'home', but their caregivers, food and language as well.
Now, I'm not naive. I know these kids had it pretty rough. I saw the rooms they 'lived' in - full of lead paint and rows upon rows of cribs. I felt the drafts coming through the windows as I played with them on the cold floor in the babyhouses. I watched them scarf food down until they were sick, out of fear it would suddenly disappear. I was the one who went shopping for 6 to 9 month old clothes to put on a almost 2-year-old girl.
Meshack and I stayed up late every night rocking the children so that they could go to sleep without rocking themselves in their cribs. We applied the ointment to the patches of scabies all over their bodies and then did it all over again the next month because it wouldn't go away. We were the ones who had to rush to their side every time they bumped their heads so that they could learn that it was okay to cry and that we would be there to comfort them.

We know. And we couldn't imagine building our families any other way.
Still, we feel selfish in our pursuit. These kids bring way more into our lives than we could ever give them. All we can do is provide them with warm beds, plenty of food, lots of opportunities to grow, discipline and plenty of love.

These kids have given us ten times that.
They've given us a family.
If they should be pitied for anything it's that they got stuck with two middle-aged, out-of-shape, Bon-Jovi lovin' parents. They deserve to have a mom and a dad with boundless energy, who can't say no when they want to play hide-and-seek, who will drop everything to play Barbies and can still run behind them when they try to ride a bike without training wheels.
They shouldn't be pitied because of where they came from. They should be admired.
These kids beat the odds.
They beat the system.
They survived.
They were strong enough to make it until we could find them...and came out the other side stronger for it. Sure there are some 'leftovers' from the experience. But it's nothing that's holding them back...nothing they can't overcome.

These kids are inspiring.

It has nothing to do with Meshack and I.
It has everything to do with these kids.
So that's why I get a little tongue-tied when people say "We just think it's great what you're doing. These kids are so lucky!"
I can't help but think...
I'm the one that's blessed.
I'm the one that's richer for it.
I'm the one who is lucky.
But how do you explain it?

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wrapping up loose ends

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I've been struggling over the last two days to come up with something to blog about and the only thing I can come up with is a subject I'm just not quite ready to tackle. I've got a rough draft of a blog in my folder that I'll try and finish this week, but I'm afraid if I'm not careful I may end up hurting some feelings, and that's the last thing I want to do.
The subject really isn't that touchy...it's just one of those comments that well-meaning people make, that just hits me the wrong way.
But I digress.
In family news...
The kids finished up AWANA tonight. I'm so proud of them. They all finished their books this year. Q-ball finished his first year of T&T, Punky finished her first year of Sparks and JacJac wrapped up his final year of Cubbies. Exciting stuff! They've learned so many verses this year. My favorite part is hearing them recite John 3:16 and having Q-Ball rattle off all of the books of the Bible in less than a minute!
Cool huh!
All these years later I still find it amazing that these kids, who came from such a rough background have come so far. God is so cool! Eight years ago Q-Ball was just a skinny little guy from an orphanage in southern Russia who didn't know us from Adam and now he knows over 100 Bible verses and all of the books of the Bible! And almost five years ago Punky and JacJac were living in an orphanage in northern Russia...both incredibly underweight, but with an un-squashable spirit. I marvel at them today...healthy, smart and so full of life.
Not to mention how far they've all come physically and emotionally.
God is sooooo good!
In adoption news...
I got the new copies of my employment verification today so we're back on track. I still haven't heard from the USCIS or the KBI...I probably look a bit pathetic staring into the mailbox every afternoon, searching for an envelope that just isn't there.
Doctor's appointments are set for next week so unfortunately we can't do much else. I hate this part! I want to be doing something. Waiting has never been my strong suit!
In the meantime, I live vicariously through other PAPs and their blogs. There are several that are either in Ukraine or are getting ready to head there. Check them out on my favorite blogs list. There are some great stories.

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there's good news and bad news

Monday, April 16, 2007

First the bad news...
The person I needed to talk to about getting my employment letter redone and who I was going to ask to notarize our recent mortgage statement, was out of the office sick today. Sooo...all of that has to wait until tomorrow.
Not so bad...I can deal with that...hope she feels better.
The good news is...I had a nice little present in the mail this afternoon.
It looks like mortgage company guy came through for me.
We have our mortgage company statement!
That's another item that we can check off the dossier list.
I've added it to the growing pile of papers that we will need to send off to get apostilled, but I'm in a bit of a quandary over what to do with them. When we adopted from Russia, I just sent off for apostilles as the notarized documents came in. When we adopted our oldest son it wasn't that big of a deal. I worked in Topeka and just ran down to the Statehouse on my lunch break. For the last adoption in '02, I just did it that way because it made me feel like I was getting somewhere.
For those of you who have submitted your dossiers in Ukraine I'm wondering...should I send them off as I get them, or should I send them all in one big packet? Is there a problem with the apostilles not all having the same date or even a date that is close together. We're going to have to get apostilles from two states anyway, because we live in one state and I work in another.
Any thoughts?

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is it monday yet?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Most people live for the weekends...looking forward to spending time with their friends and family.
I do too...usually.
But in the middle of the adoption process, I tend to find myself longing for the weekdays, when I can make phone calls, mail stuff off and generally feel like I'm getting somewhere on the dossier.
This adoption is no different.
I have so much on my to-do list it's not even funny...and there's nothing I can do about it today.
I would really like to check the mail to see if our mortgage statement is in there. I'm dying to hear from the USCIS. It's been almost two weeks since we submitted our I-600A...surely we should have an appointment for fingerprints by now. I haven't heard anything on our KBI background clearances. I need to get an doctor's appointment scheduled for Meshack and I need to have my employment statements redone. The homestudy should be completed this week...IF we get our bios to the social worker (Don't worry...I'm working on it.)
So as weird as it sounds, I'm kind of looking forward to Monday when I'll be able to really tackle my to-do list.
On tap for tomorrow...make the photocopy of our mortgage statement (the bill we get that we have to have notarized) and email our bios off to the social worker.
In the meantime, all I can do is clean the house, finish the laundry, make dinner and play with the kids. Things I would usually enjoy, but I can't help but wondering...
Is it Monday yet?

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good news

Saturday, April 14, 2007

It looks like getting the mortgage statements of good standing may not have required a degree in rocket science after all.
The guy I talked to the other day, who seemed like he knew what he was doing, evidently did.
He sent all of my paperwork to the right department that very same day, and in my email inbox the next morning was a note from someone who said they had made three copies (for my obsessive need to have enough copies), signed them (in BLUE ink), had them notarized (in BLUE ink) and had mailed it all back to me that same day, although they probably didn't go out until that morning.
Not only that, but she included her name, direct phone number, email address and a good-luck wish for a successful adoption!
Wow!
I wish all of this was that easy!
*************************
I've published a list of our dossier documents and the status for each so you can follow along with us on this paperchase.

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anybody got a floatie?

Friday, April 13, 2007

I saw this link to Google Maps on a fellow blogger, Debbie's site and just had to give it a try. I plugged in Kansas City and Ukraine to an idea of the best way to get to Kiev. Just wanted to start planning...it's never to early to start.
Click here for the DIRECTIONS.
Meshack and I realized this trip would be quite complicated, but step #23 has me thinking it may take some advance planning! Does anyone have any tips on the best kind of luggage for the trip? Remember, we're going to need it to be light. I don't want to pull a hammie carting this stuff all over creation.

And I may need to borrow some floaties.
Anybody have some I can use?
A lot of them?
Also, I know these mapping sites usually have the time frames all wrong. I'm thinking I could shave off a few hours. They have the trip at 6,466 mi (about 31 days 4 hours). I think we could cut off a few miles by cutting straight across Pennsylvania via the turnpike.
What do you think?

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'calling dr. killjoy'

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Remember the other day when I bragged about how great it was to live in a small town? About how easy it was going to be to get into the doctor and get our physicals taken care of? About how that was one of the great benefits of living where everyone knows you and wants to help?
Forget it.
All of it.
I was wrong.
There is no such thing as 'small town utopia.'
It doesn't exist!
Apparently living in a small town is going to make completing our dossier THAT much more complicated. Let me give you an example.
I called our doctor's office yesterday expectating to hear a friendly voice that was willing to help. What I got instead was the run-around. Now I know why we can always get in to see the doctor on just an hours notice! Meshack could have had his appointment that very afternoon...but they don't have a notary. 'No big deal,' I thought. 'Surely we can work this out.'
She promptly told me his only option was to go to their other office 25 miles away to have the exam. He would also have to start over as a new patient, which means waiting a couple of weeks for an appointment.
'Can't you just send the paperwork with the doctor to the other office to have it notarized,' I innocently asked. Oh, no. We wouldn't want to do that. It might get lost. 'Could we bring in our own notary?' Oh, I wouldn't want you to go through all that trouble, it would just be so much easier for you to go to our other clinic! 'How do you usually have items notarized?' I go to the bank, but the doctor doesn't have time to do that.
UUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!
I haven't been this frustrated in quite awhile...probably since the last time we adopted and had to have the medicals done! (Different state, different physician, different blog)
So...we are changing doctors. If we're going to have to wait to have the appointment anyway, I might as well get a doctor who will be happy to have me as a patient and office staff who will work with me and not give me the run-around.
I have an appointment at another clinic in town, who is associated with the hospital I prefer anyway. It's not for two weeks, but that's not so bad. They don't have a notary in the office, but the doctor says he can just run across the street to the bank and have it done. Now THAT is what I call service.
In other news...
The other typical benefit of living in a small town is that if you get a home loan from a local bank, you can walk in and get personal service. On our last adoption, our banker not only was eager to help us fill out the forms, but even offered us the use of the notary at absolutely no cost. We didn't pay a dime for any notary signatures!
But when we bought our home three years ago, we found out the banks in our town are not eager to hand out home-loans to new residents. So we went with a big mortgage company based in Virginia. We got a great rate and get pretty decent customer service over the phone, but it's not real personal.
Fast forward to yesterday morning as I'm trying to explain to a customer service representative in Virginia about our need for a 'mortgage statement' saying that our account is in good standing.
Somehow I don't think it quite translated.
She said she would do some checking and get back to me. Meanwhile I e-mailed her the templates...
I didn't hear anything.
So being the pushy broad that I'm quickly turning into, I called them back this morning.
I finally got in touch with someone who seems to actually know what I'm talking about. He said things like, 'Oh yea, we do this all the time.' 'Each country's requirements are different so do you have any instructions,' and 'This needs to be signed in blue ink, right?' I wonder if he's adopted internationally before...that's the only way I can explain it.
I re-e-mailed the documents to him...he said it would take a day or two. WOW! I was expecting a week or two at the very least.
There may be hope.
I'm holding my breath.

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a civics lesson

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Part of the joy of adopting internationally is learning the culture of the children we bring home. Meshack and I try as hard as we can to incorporate our children's Russian heritage into our family, sometimes that's easier said than done...but we're working on it.

Unfortunately, we know even less about Ukraine. We know it used to be part of the Soviet Block, but we know nothing about it's culture. Now that we've started on the journey to bring Maddie home, we are determined to learn as much as we can. After all the more we know of Ukraine the more we will be able to teach her about her heritage!
So when I saw this post on one of my e-groups the other day, I knew I needed to share it with you. I hope you find it as informative as I did. It's from the book "Ukraine", published by Children's Press.
Ukraine Trivia...

1. Europe's geographical center is in Ukraine, near the town of Rakhiv in the Carpathian Mountains, making it technically in Central Europe and not Eastern Europe.

2. What is the name of Ukraine's currency? Hryvnia, issued by Prince Volodymyr the Great whose picture is on the one hryvnia note.

3. The name "Ukraine" originates from the ancient Slavic word 'okraina', which means borderland.

4. The two major mountain groups in Ukraine are the Carpathians in southwestern Ukraine and the Krymians along the southern shore of the Krymian Peninsula.

5. The Ukraine's longest (and Europe's 3rd longest) river is the Dnipro River, which flows 609 miles (980 km)!

6. The bright blue on the Ukrainian flag represents the beautiful blue skies and blue waters of Ukraine and the bright yellow represents the fields of wheat and sunflowers.

7. The Ukrainian legislature declare Ukraine an independent country on August 24, 1991.
8. Ukraine's first president was Leonid Kravchuk.

9. The words of the Ukrainian national anthem are based off of a poem written in 1863 and later set to music.

"Ukraine Lives On" (Shche Ne Vmerla Ukrayina)

Ukraine lives on, so too its glory and freedom,
Good fortune will still smile on us, brother Ukrainians.
Our enemies will die, as the dew does in the sunshine,
and we, too brothers, we'll live happily in our land.
We'll not spare whether our soul or our bodies to get freedom
and we will prove that we are brothers of Kozak kin.
We'll rise up, brothers, all of us, from the Syan River to the Don,
We won't let anyone govern in our motherland.
The Black Sea will smile and grandfather Dnipro will rejoice,
In our Ukraine good fortune will yet abound.
Our persistence, our sincere toil will prove its rightness,
still our freedom's loud song will spread throughout Ukraine.
It'll resound upon the Carpathians, and sound throughout the steppes,
While Ukraine's glory will rise among the people.

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putting pen to paper

Monday, April 9, 2007

I'm wasting time.
Putting off the inevitable.
I'm procrastinating.
I should be writing.
But not on my blog.
I need to write my life story.
It's part of our homestudy requirements. Our social worker wants to know all about our backgrounds...our life growing up, how we met, schooling and the last eight years as parents. But how do we put all that down in just a few pages?
I'm at a loss.
It's kind of funny really. I'm a writer by trade. As a journalist I use words every day. I once heard that women speak around 20,000 words per day, and when I first started blogging I thought I wouldn't be able to keep up with it. I was convinced I used up all of my words at work. But somehow I've been able to keep this thing going.
I must recycle my words.
But it's not translating to my life story.
What I've come up with so far kind of sounds like one of my Newswriting 101 assignments when the instructor had us write our own obituary. It's all just a tad bit superficial, superfluous and more than a tad bit self-serving.
I'll eventually come up with something. I always do. I need to. If I don't, the homestudy won't get finished. I'm motivated. Really.
I'll just have to dig out the laptop and curl up on the couch with Meshack tonight. While he's watching '24', I'll try to punch this thing out. I just wish I knew where to start.

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i come in peace

Sunday, April 8, 2007



No...really. That's what he said...complete with the hand motions! :) I don't know where he gets this stuff! Certainly not from me!


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little piece of paper

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I have a little piece of paper in my hand this morning that makes everything seem so real.
I stopped by the post office just a little while ago, to pick up a package for my husband (He had purchased a motorcycle helmet off of e-bay...a whole other blog!) While I was there I pulled our mail out of the P.O. Box. Inside was an envelope I wasn't expecting.
It's a receipt from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
It's weird how a little receipt, which looks a lot like the slip we get from our small town grocery store, can put absolutely everything into perspective.
I guess it's because until now, it's just been a dream. It's something we had decided to do, but nobody was really joining in the effort. Our family is behind it, our friends are on board and our agency is doing a great job, but nobody was really active in the process of bringing Maddie home.
Until now.
Now the federal government is working with us.
Wow!
It's suddenly very real...thanks to a little piece of paper.

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one puzzle piece...

Friday, April 6, 2007


The first piece of the puzzle is in place!
I have my employment statement, the first dossier document, signed and notorized!
Woohoo!
I also know that the USCIS packet was delivered to them Thursday morning and the KBI got their packet today!
I had a bit of a frustrating day today with Meshack's employment statement. You would think three veterinarians could figure out a way to set up the documents, (tongue firmly in cheek). They couldn't, so I nominated myself.
BAD idea.
They called me four times to make minor changes...without so much as a thank you! I think someone forgot the lessons their mommy taught them about manners!
Other than that, things are going swimmingly.
I'd really like to get our doctor's appointments done next week (that's the great thing about living in a small town...you don't have to wait too long to get appointments.)
Then I need to find a local office for our mortgage company so I can track down a statement from them.
Lots still left to do...but we're getting there.

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guilty pleasures

Thursday, April 5, 2007

We all have them.
Little guilty pleasures.
Things we secretly love, but just don't want anyone else to find out about.
I have the typical ones...
- Chocolate (that's a big one)
- Christian fiction (You know...the western frontier love stories)
- Oreo cookies with a HUGE glass of milk (kind of goes along with the chocolate)
- Survivor (I know, I know...but it's fun to try to figure out who is going to get
kicked off next.)
- Blogs (I'm absolutely addicted to blogs...don't know what it is, but I can't get enough of reading about other people who are adopting.)
- My Josh Groban CD (It may be cheesy, but you've got to admit, there's nothing like it.)
But there is one guilty pleasure that I am absolutely embarrassed to admit. It's kind of childish really. Something I normally would never admit to liking, but since I'm confessing I might as well admit...
I love...VEGGIETALES.
I've never been one to get into cartoons, but for some reason I really like Veggietales. Maybe it's because of it's Christian themes or perhaps it's because I don't really have to worry at all about letting the kids watch it for the first time unsupervised. But I imagine the real excuse is just that it's really funny!
What's really sad is that I think I love it more than the kids do. As soon as I find out there's been a new release, I'll run out to the Christian bookstore to pick up the latest copy...before the kids say a word!
I know...I know...pathetic.
Tonight, the kids are watching 'The Lord of the Beans' and as I sit here reading blogs. eating chocolate/peanut butter girl scout cookies and gulping down a big glass of milk, every once in awhile I will catch myself peeking into the living room to follow the journey of a Flobbit named Toto Baggypants (Junior Asparagus) and his mentor Randalf (Archibald Asparagus). It's really a great little story, but I have to keep reminding myself that their target audience is a lot younger than I am.
With all of that said...there's still more.
Here's a really big confession...
I have a Veggietales ring tone on my cell phone.
I tell people it's for the kids...and I don't activate it often...but it's there and I love it!
Whew.
I feel better.

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check...check...check

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I'm quickly going down my dossier list and crossing things off.
Last Saturday was the homestudy...check.
Sent off the USCIS application yesterday...check.
Walked across the street to the post office again today to send off our state background check application...check.
Trotted down the hall to H.R. to have them fill out and sign the proof of employment...check.
All that's left on my immediate list is calling my mortgage company and making an appointment for a physical. Thankfully the agency we're working with only gives us this stuff in stages, which hopefully means I won't get too overwhelmed by a big stack of stuff.

With our other adoptions the agencies we worked with just handed us a big list and wished us good luck. This time our new agency is holding our hand and talking us through the process. Something I don't really need...but it's kind of nice. And after only three days I am more than half way through my list.
I'm elated.
I'm impressed.
I feel good.
In the last three days I've made more progress than the last two months combined.
Sigh.
I feel real good...check.

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out of the mouths of...6-year-olds

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Last Saturday during our homestudy, the social worker asked our daughter, Punky if she knew why the she was there.
'Oh, yes!' Punky replied. 'You're going to get us a new baby sister!'

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special delivery

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Fed Ex man is coming to my house tomorrow and I'm so excited!
Our adoption agency is sending us the paperwork! And I've got the tracking number to prove it! :)
WOOHOO!
That means we can finally get to work putting together our dossier. I can't wait!
I know...that sounds sick. I mean, I've been through this three times before, I know what's coming - months of chasing piles of paperwork, doctor's appointments, tracking down notaries and standing in line for apostilles, only to produce a binder two inches thick full of papers that we have to cart with us to Ukraine...but I DON'T CARE! It also means we're one step closer to bringing home our little girl (who by the way, still doesn't have a name! :)
So bring it on!
We're ready for our special delivery.

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one down...

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Our homestudy visit was yesterday and my house was spotless, (unless you opened the closet doors) thanks to my three great kids and wonderful husband. I didn't realize we could get so much done in such a short time. Now I know! :)
She got here around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon and immediately sat down to start visiting. Two hours later she was on her way home. She was very thorough...but not at all intimidating or nosey. We talked a lot about how our current children are doing and how we think they will adjust to a new little one. We also talked about what our expectations are in bringing home a child and what we're doing to get ready, and we talked about our approach to discipline and how that has changed over the past eight years.
We had one minor incident, but that is to be expected with kids who are 8, 6 and 5 years old! Our youngest, JacJac, decided to start showing off...and of course like any kid who loves to be the center of attention, once that starts it just gets worse. He ended up just ignoring our suggestions that he settle down, so he had the priviledge of going to his room and taking a nap! Oh the horrors! Thankfully, we got through it without needing to spank! Whew!
By the way - for those of you who were curious. She didn't look for outlet covers, cabinet locks, smoke detectors or fire extinguishers. She did take a tour, without our prompting, but didn't say anything about needing a safety gate in front of our very steep stairs.
All in all a pretty quiet homestudy...thank goodness! Now we just have to get all of the rest of our paperwork done! :)

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