22 May 2006

Why Russia?

Early classification lessons teach children to group things broadly and then more specifically. In the game twenty questions it's sensible to start by determining animal, vegetable or mineral. Charades begins with a genre.

In the world of adoption, the first distinction made is between domestic and international adoption. People choose to adopt internationally for a variety of reasons. Some feel drawn to a particular culture. Some have been given a heart for the children of their ancestors. Some think it will be an easier journey (I'm certain those people are disabused of that notion quickly!). So, for me, why international adoption? Why Russia?

For me, there was never a question. I have never considered domestic adoption. While I know that it is a less expensive, potentially easier path, it is not where my heart has been led. I have been interested in Russian history since I discovered the biography of Anna Anderson in seventh grade. That started a period of reading about Russian history, culture, and current events. There was a mystery and a romance to Russia that appealed to my junior high self. I quickly took the Romanovs to heart. I admired the tenacity of the people. I longed to visit Soviet Russia and see what exactly was going on there.

About that same time, I decided to adopt. (Why I decided that at the age of 13 is a story for another time.) So perhaps it is natural that the two merged--my interest in Russia and my desire to adopt.

One added bonus in this process is the virtual friends I've made from around the world. There truly is an international adoption community. I am grateful for their wisdom and support. I welcome the experiences shared by those who walked a similar path before me. And, it's great to actually have comments on the blog!! So, my virtual friends, welcome!! Please come back again and again. Thank you all--old friends and new, virtual friends and family-- for joining me on this journey.


21 May 2006

Cinderella to Princess Leia

I have signed with an agency! I sent off stacks of notarized documents (okay, that's expensive over here--$30 each!!) and a healthy check to my new agency. They are a small, Christian adoption agency with much experience in Russia and Eastern Europe. I'm excited to have taken this new step!

After school is out, I'll head to Moscow to file an application for a visa for my new little one. While this can be done via post in the US, I have to do it in person. It will take two days--one to file and one to be fingerprinted.

Then, I fill out more paperwork and wait. While my agency doesn't think it will take that long, I'm still hoping for everything to be finalized in March 2007. That would allow my maternity leave to run into summer vacation. We all know how likely it is that my plans will pan out...so I'm flexible on that date. Flexible, but still HOPEful.

And, as far as signs go...all my students refer to the REAL "Star Wars" as "New Hope". (The middle-schoolers actually try to out-trivia me. Please.) I've always said "Star Wars" was the ultimate fairy tale. Here's to happy endings.

14 May 2006

weather pixie?

So what do we think of the weather pixie? While I do like the fact that she shows you the weather here, and even records sunrise and sunset, her cartoon-y style fits neither me nor the look of this blog. Any alternatives to suggest?

10 May 2006

my doodlebugs

Here they are! I think it's okay to post first names: l-r, top-bottom we have Annastasia, Neta, Jessica, Mellica, Maksut, Sharunas, Shota, Vani (pink sweater), Miriam, Jin Sun, Katie Rose, Katya, Brandon and Carl.

They are a delight to teach. I will MISS them next year when they go to third grade.

09 May 2006


Tomorrow is Victory Day. All across Europe people will celebrate VE Day--Victory in Europe--and the end of WWII. Here in St. P we celebrate more. We celebrate the end of The Great Patriotic War (also known as WWII).

Everyone is in a festive mood. The streets have been full of fireworks, races and hundreds, possibly thousands, of men and boys in uniform. Tomorrow they will march down Nevsky Prospekt to Palace Square. I saw them two weeks ago practicing for tomorrow. The different groups of sailors and soldiers all converged on the square in front of the Hermitage. Then, a marching band took center stage--right under the angel.

If you haven't seen it, there is a massive statue of an angel right in front of the tsars' winter palace. She stands with arms raised and head bowed. As long as she stands, the people believe, St. Petersburg will be safe.

There is an excellent series of children's books about Russian history. These three fictionalized accounts take readers from the revolution, in "The Angel on the Square", across the Siberian wilderness and finally through the siege of Leningrad. It is the end of that siege that we celebrate tomorrow.

The tenacity of the people who lived in my new city amazes me! They were blockaded for five and a half months. Electricity was cut off and public transportation stopped. They were freezing and starving. They had eaten everything--grass, the bark from the trees in the summer garden... Finally, finally the water in Lake Lagoda froze and they were able to drive across it on "The Road of Life" to secure supplies.

Despite losing between a million lives, one-third of the pre-war population, the citizens of Leningrad fought bravely in fierce hand-to-hand combat and defeated the Germans. That defeat marked the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. That defeat told the world that Hitler could be stopped; that evil would not triumph.

It's interesting to me that this part of the war is not often covered in our history texts. It's an amazing story! And yet in school all I remember learning about the Russian involvement in WWII is that they were part of the Allied Powers fighting the Germans. I know that the defeat in Russia (usually accredited primarily to Russian winters and the mud that follows in the spring). Yet, this is an amazing story of a brave, tenacious people! It is a triumphant, victorious story. I think it should be celebrated. Tomorrow, I will join the citizens of Russia in gratefully thanking the survivors of that war and celebrating their victory.

I hope you find a way to celebrate your own small victories tomorrow. Be triumphant!

02 May 2006


If you've got a minute, go to this site and then click on "adoption" for a FAB advert. Are they showing this in the US?


More soon...no news now but surely something newsworthy will happen soon. Here's a favourite quote of mine to tide you over until then:

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." Martha Washington (1732 - 1802)