28 February 2009

with approval

My friend Kerry e-mailed me after yesterday's news saying:

Yay! Now what?

To which I replied:
Now we WAIT! Woo hoo!
BUT we wait with approval.

Thank you all for rejoicing with me at this huge milestone...and thank you for continuing to hang out in the waiting place with me. I am overwhelmed by your generosity of spirit.

There's really no telling how long we wait with approval before we hear there's a referral and they register me so I can be referred that referral. The estimate when we *thought* we were approved last summer was 3-8 months for a referral. Then it could be another month or two before court...and another two weeks before I can bring d2b home (via the USA). So, we could possibly have her home by mid-September. That would be before my birthday and would give me the BEST FMLA maternity leave (our autumn is tough at school--no breaks from mid August to the end of October. That'd be nice to miss! We could go back to school after the October break.)

It's possible that my requested age range (4-6 years) will make things go faster. But, I think it could actually slow things down. It seems that so many people want to adopt "under three's". If everyone gets adopted when they are under 3, then there aren't many kiddos who were relinquished at birith left when they're 4-6 years old. And that's a good thing! It's very likely that d2b has been in a family and will be brought to the children's home because of neglect or trauma. I know that--and knew that when I made my age request. We'll just take it one day at a time.

I've had all sorts of people having "feelings" about how things are going to progress from here.
It will be fast.
d2b is plural
It will be this spring.
Anyone else have feelings or predictions to share?

Oh--and I forgot leap year when I added up the days before titling the last post. (I was a little scattered.) Yesterday was actually day 1087. Just for the record. ;>

27 February 2009

1086 days later...

Hi Kate,
I was going to email you today. Your dossier has been accepted at the MOE, so S is continuing to check in for referrals. I'll be in touch when I hear anything.

I'm simply overjoyed and unable to comment on this unexpected and very welcome news!

23 February 2009

simple joys

The cupboards are full and the laundry basket is empty.
The dishwasher is running.
There is a cat curled up beside me purring with unselfconscious abandon who has the softest, most stroke-able belly.
I have an excellent book and a LUSH bubble bath calling me upstairs.
It was light on the way to and from school today--and the sun shone!

Those are happy things.

22 February 2009

raining and pouring

Things are looking a little grey-er in the world of Russian international adoption.

US homestudy agencies are scrambling to track down missing ppr's and clear their names from the list (link takes you to a page with a downloadable list).

There is a move to standardize the paperwork needed to adopt across all of Russia. That's a BIG country to try to standardize. And, while I don't think this is a bad thing, it is a thing that could slow things down. Changes are being proposed for both international and domestic adoptions. That could mean all new paperwork from me. That gives me a headache.

And, there are e-mails from JCICS that another bill has been presented to the Duma that would put a moratorium on US adoptions. This has been proposed before and nothing has happened. But, it's a little scary every time we hear it.

I e-mailed new agency and asked for confirmation that they had everything they needed. I reminded them that the last time I'd sent everything requested, it was months later that more requests were made. And, I reminded them that all my papers have been in region for weeks now. I said I knew that all this Russia-news had them scrambling, but asked that they didn't forget me! I just think that being officially registered (even though that's not how this region works...) would be a safeguard against the tidal wave that's about to hit.

I was at the orphanage on Friday so, of course, I'm sick today. My sweet V, whose birthday we were celebrating, was SICK! And, while I didn't give her her usual kisses, I feel rotten today.

A little good news would sure go a long way to making me feel better.

19 February 2009

do the math

Okay, people. Math time.

I will be 40 this year. FORTY!

I would very much like d2b to be home by then.

That gives us seven months.

Let's keep in mind that my agency thought a referral could take eight months. Then, I'd figure another two or three months for court and the trip to the US and back.

8 + 2 or 3 > 7.

That's more than seven months until we're home. I don't like math.

Things need to get moving. Having the MOE see my dossier would be a good start. S didn't go on Tuesday. Maybe tomorrow?

[Ironically, when I first started making inquiries about adoption I was told I was too young to think about adopting yet. "Choice moms" (though that phrase had yet to be coined) were closer to 40 than 30. I had plenty of time. HA!]

In the meantime, read the post below and celebrate Maslenitsa next week. Happy Spring!

18 February 2009

get ready

Next week is Maslenitsa! I'll reprint an old post originally written in 2006 here (it's also over in FAQ's as I get lots of questions about this holiday) for those of you who are new to this Russian holiday. I've seen several posts lately wondering about ways to celebrate the Russian heritage of adopted children. I think this is a great way. It's a neat way to welcome spring. And who doesn't like pancakes? (Ummm...we mean blini here, not American pancakes.)

Old post:

By request of a friend who wanted to celebrate with her adopted child, I'm re-publishing last year's post about Maslenitsa. This is a holiday I look forward to and will continue to celebrate after I'm home in the US.

"We had a BALL at the Russian village today! (2007 note: We're going back on Thursday. 2009 note: We also went last year and are going again this year.) Our entire school went to celebrate Maslenitsa. The village is a living history museum (basically). We participated in folk songs and dances, painted whistles and played traditional games. (2007 trip included ice slides! 2008 was too warm so we had carriage rides instead.) Then we had a lovely meal together--topped off with blini!

Here is what the guide told us about the holiday:

This is a week-long celebration to welcome spring that has been celebrated for hundreds of years.

On Monday: Make two small dolls for your home. One, made of straw and dressed in old, ugly clothes symbolizes winter. The other, of cloth or wood and dressed in fresh, new clothes symbolizes spring. Put these dolls in the window to let friends and neighbors know they are welcome to come in. (2007 note: Your entire house should be cleaned before visitors come. This is another way to say goodbye to the prior year. 2008 note: We made these dolls this year. The girls and boys had a good time making them.)

A large straw doll was made for the entire village as well.

On Tuesday: Whistles are given! Boys get horse whistles (strength) and girls get bird whistles (beauty, ability to rise above and fly). Cat whistles are the sign of a warm and loving family/home and can be given to either sex. The whistles are blown to call the birds back and to cast out sickness.

Wednesday is pancake day! Pancakes are warm and round and yellow like the sun.

On Thursday there is dancing and singing. (We sang songs about how people walked--ladies, grandmas, soldiers...)

Then, on Sunday the straw maslenitsas are burned. This is also the day of atonement. You must ask forgiveness for anyone you've hurt or wronged in the last year and make amends. (2009 note: I think we get to burn the large "scarecrow" this year.)

On this day, people who like winter sing sad songs to mourn its end.

Like most holidays in Russia, there is a mix of pagan, Christian, and Jewish elements. It's easy to see the overlap in these traditions--Lent, Yom Kippur...I think it's perfectly fine to celebrate the fact that God has granted us another spring!"

17 February 2009

heads up eta

There is a long list of homestudy agencies who are delinquent in their ppr's whose documentation is no longer accepted by the Russian government. (Completely understandably.)

If your homestudy agency is on that list (check FRUA chat->Russia->Has anybody heard this? ) then I'd start looking for another hs agency. eta: AND if the agency doing your ppr's is on the list, you'll likely need to look for someone else to do them.

Please do them. Post-placement reports (aka your chance to show how fantastic your child is) are so important!

Thankfully, my hs agencies are not on that list. See--there are benefits to my strange hs situation.

No news yet about today's visit--if it happened or what was said. I'll share when I hear.

16 February 2009


Hi Kate,
No news. When S went to the MOE, they were not dealing with adoptions that day, so he is going to go back this week. I'll keep you updated.

I was told the days S goes to the MOE are Tuesdays and Fridays. So maybe tomorrow...

koo koo ri koo

Nothing yet. I don't understand WHY the weekends have to be such a vast pit of silence.

If the regional rep *did* present everything on Friday, why couldn't a quick e-mail have been dashed off to me telling me either yea or nay? And, if he didn't, why couldn't an even quicker e-mail have been sent?

Add to the typical weekend silence the previously mentioned fact that it's Monday evening here before my agency opens shop in the US and my pit of silence grows larger. It gapes, even.

With no school this week, all I'm doing is compulsively checking e-mails and clicking around the web in an irrational quest. Somehow it feels that if I just find the right site I'll find all the answers. I know it's not rational. I know it's not true. But it does niggle.

Speaking of false and irrational, here's what the Chinese (and a few friends) have to say about my upcoming year. Since I think astrology is (at best) a little less accurate than the magic eight ball (and at worst dangerous), I give it little credence. Just for grins, I'll share the all-positive, happy-glowy prediction for my Chinese new year. I will say, this is as easy to apply as "signs point to yes".

Well, I'll share as soon as I say that I'm most disappointed to learn that I'm a rooster of all things. I don't like birds. And ROOSTERS? Ick.

Rooster Outlook for 2009

Rooster Overview

Get ready for an outstanding year. Aside from the Snake, the Rooster has the best prospects in the year of the Ox. This is the kind of year you have been waiting for, as everything seems to go your way. You have been diligently working towards some long term goals that finally come together this year. Your relations are felt at new levels, as you find a sense of satisfaction that you may not have experienced in a long time. Things you may have thought not possible will become a reality for you in this positive year.

Rooster Rating

72% (10 favorable and 2 neutral months)

I am also going to be healthy, signs are good for romance and if I have questions about money I should ask.

I think that the Chinese new year starts in March. Is that right? If so, it sounds like we should have some good news next month! I hope it comes sooner...

(The title of this post is what roosters say in Russia instead of cock-a-doodle-doo.)

eta: The Chinese New Year started 26 January. Let the positivity commence!

13 February 2009


JUST found out that my case is being presented in-region to the MOE today (Friday)! Retroactive prayers and good thoughts appreciated.

10 February 2009


Anybody kindle? I am torn. I love books--the feel, the smell, the weight. I like paperbacks, not hardbacks. I like to read in the tub and in bed. So, I'm not convinced kindle if for me.

But, I live in Russia. And this would let me get lots more books way fast.

BUT, I don't know anyone who actually has one. Odd, isn't it? They're always sold out and yet NO
ONE has one.

I need personal experiences! Please?

07 February 2009

ex-pats and travellers

Hey! Just wondering if any of you have used DTV4PC? I love my slingbox when it's working. But, it hasn't been very reliable. When it's down I rely on iTunes. I've also been watching Channel 131.

Any input about the DTV4PC experience would be appreciated.


05 February 2009

Большой CHECK!

My Russian hs is finished and on it's way to the reps in Moscow!

We *love* my Russian social worker.

We *love* DHL who copied the document for me, free of charge, before guaranteeing it, along with my entire dossier, would be in Moscow tomorrow. Tomorrow!

And, we're quite fond of my international sw right now. She says we don't need to do an update. New agency might be persuaded by her experience (much) in the world of ex-pat adoption over theirs (none, it turns out). Might. Hope. Pray.

Insert those happy pink elephants dancing -->here.

03 February 2009

aeroflot reservations?

Let me begin by saying that I have flown Aeroflot internationally and I really *like* flying Aeroflot. The seats are big and comfy, the food is quite decent, and I get tickled at everyone clapping when the plane lands.

But. An article in the Moscow Times highlighted an incident that happened in December. Passengers,suspecting their pilot was drunk, wanted a new crew. After all

"I don't think there's anyone in Russia who doesn't know what a drunk person looks like," said Katya Kushner, who, along with her husband, was one of the first to react when the pilot made his announcement. "At first, he was looking at us like we were crazy. Then, when we wouldn't back down, he said, 'I'll sit here quietly in a corner. We have three more pilots. I won't even touch the controls, I promise.'"

As passengers waited three hours for a new crew to board the plane, more than 100 of them signed a statement saying they believed that Cheplevsky was intoxicated.

At the same time, an Aeroflot representative sought to assure them that "it's not such a big deal if the pilot is drunk."

"Really, all he has to do is press a button and the plane flies itself," the representative said. "The worst that could happen is he'll trip over something in the cockpit."

I found this hilarious. And don't doubt it for a minute!

(A tv personality got on the phone, passengers signed a petition, and they got a new crew. Apparently a blood alcohol test is not included in the battery of pre-flight tests that a pilot undergoes.

radio oracle

You never know what is going ot play on Radio Heat. It's a mostly-English..or Demi-English radio station here. But they're playlist seems to be a lot like my reading list (aka-anything in English). We get random songs I've never heard (Ra-Ra-Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen--which is one of my second graders favorite songs, btw), old Michael Jacksonand George Michael, some UK pop (I love you, baby, but , baby, she's Madonna; No man on earth would say that he don't wanna). It's...eclectic.

I woke up this morning to a song that was composed of the repeated phrase, I'm with you, followed by a Blondie remake-The tide is high but I'm holdin gon..I'm not the kinda girl who gives up just like that.

Prophetic? Could be...