Monday, March 23, 2009

The Reader's Digest Version

Well I've been shuffling through the dossier paperwork and made a small dent in it. I'd say we're 1/3 to 1/2 way done with it. Many have asked "What happens now?"...Here's an abridged version:
Complete dossier, submit, dance with joy
Get The Call, freak out
Do a shot of vodka to celebrate, na zdorovia!
Make travel arrangements, pack, panic
Fly to Russia, meet baby Girl, dance with joy (stay one week)
Come home, wait for next call (court date)
Pray for baby Girl, back in Russia, blubber tears of sadness
Fly back to Russia, see the Kremlin, Red Square, more vodka, go to court, make it offical, more dances of joy (stay 3 weeks)
Fly home with Bek and Baby Girl as new family of 4!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Dance Happy Dance!

We officially finished our homestudy! Our social worker came tonight, asked us a bunch more questions & did an inspection of the house; led by Bek the dutiful tour guide. He showed her how to turn on the t.v. and where all his Star Wars guys are stored. Both very important to Russia & their consideration of us as parents I'm sure! We handed over all our precious paperwork that took months to compile, chatted a bit over some mixed nuts and that was that. As she left she reminded me the next time she'd she us would be for our first post placement meeting. Meaning when she comes to do our first post adoption report for Russia after Baby Girl is already home with us. Wow what a thought!
So what happens now you ask? I dive into dossier paperwork, which is a list of about 20 items. Most of them are easy but time consuming pieces of paperwork: copy of house deed, copy of county tax assessment, request to register in what region, financial forms, medical forms, letter of intent to adopt, employer letters, local criminal background checks...that's a sampling. Then ALL of that paperwork has to get notarized, each piece individually here locally. Then each piece gets sent to the Ohio Secretary of State in Columbus to get apostilled, which is like another form of notarizing only on a more important state-level. I've been slow to move on all of this, but now that the homestudy is done I have renewed energy to dive in & can focus.

Almost There...but not that There

Tonight is the last homestudy visit. I am much less worried about this one and want to just get it over with so we can move on to the next step!! Our house is nowhere near ready but I will go into attack mode here shortly and get it done in record time. I work better this way sometimes. We are down to one final piece that is needed for the homestudy, our taxes. This is the portion that has been Brad's responsibility. The only reason I'm not giving him grief about it is because he's been miserable with shingles for 3 weeks now. It takes everything he has just to function at a bare minimum, make it to work, etc. I'm going to see if we can use last year's return or just put the pressure on Brad that we can get them done at a tax service just to get it over with. Being Brad, I know he would not pay for this service so he'll probably get them done, doped up on oxycodone or not! I'm also trying to keep the attitude that every step of this process is happening the way it should, in the timeframe it should.
There's really no other news. I have the usual intermittant waves of fear and joy. Fear that Russia will close it's doors or some other major catastrophe will happen in international adoptions, fear that she'll have some health issue we're not prepared to take on, fear that Bek will get sick during the 3 week trip and have a terrible asthma attack in Russia. Right around this point my mind starts twirling out of control and I take some deep Sat Nam breaths, focusing on the Truth, on my breathing, on nothingness. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I have a glass of wine and just go to bed!
The joy part is easy and I love when this wave hits. I get so overloaded with it at times that it's physically palpable. I know now though, that there is a lot she must go through. I know that joy might not come easy for her, even though we are overjoyed. Surely there may be many moments, even very quickly, of laughter or smiles. But her life started as loss, and when we take her from everything she's known it will be another loss. Some children are effected more by this than others, but all feel it on some level. I can go into this one with eyes wide open.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a lull

>bek at one of the babyhouse visits

Well our last homestudy visit has been rescheduled for next Monday. It was supposed to be tonight. Brad had a work things that he forgot about and could not get out of. And since he's been writhing in pain for the last 2+ weeks with a serious case of the shingles, I cut him a break. This will give us time to finish up our taxes anyway.

At this point I really should start our dossier preparations. I don't know why, I'm having a hard time getting going on this round of paperwork. Could it be because all I've done for the last 3 months is paperwork?? Could it be I'm just tired of paperwork and want to be done and am in lazy mode?? Could it be some greater Force at work guiding me through each and every step of the process so as to set the whole plan in motion and determine who our daughter will be?? Hm. Maybe I just need another cup of coffee.

So of course my brain has been in Baby/Russia/Travel mode I seem to be thinking about the foods we ate in Uralsk and Almaty. Yes, somehow it's always about food for me. Sunday I made my rendition of a layered salad we had at Camelot in Uralsk. This restaurant had a whole King Arthur knights and castle thing going on, complete with swords and armour hanging on the walls. They tried their best to be able to offer their American patrons a menu written in English. Which was really nice and a great effort at customer service. Except the names of the dishes all came out like "bird beautiful on log" or "wind dancing thoughtfully", and if I remember correctly the name of the dish was in English but not the entire description. Brad and I wound up with this amazing salad that I've made many times now even after being home almost 5 years. I've added my own twists of course but basically it consisted of thin sliced cooked potato, long shredded raw carrot, super fine shredded white cheese that must've been in the swiss/gruyere family, julienne roasted beets, chopped pickle, crumbled hard cooked eggs, walnuts, raisins, and of course a huge dollop of that amazing, unpasturized mayonaise. I think our main entree was salmon but it was nothing memorable, it was this salad that stuck with me. Now having read many Russian/Kazakh/Eastern Europe cookbooks I have learned this is a very common salad and there are many variations but they will almost always include beets, potato, carrot & mayo. I will add fresh dill on mine as they use dill in everything. The mental journey that this salad takes me on is priceless!

Ok, coffee has kicked in. I'm off to get some paperwork done.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

paper pregnancy panic

I have the craziest thoughts racing through my head and I'm so emotional. I am more in love every day and I don't even know her. I see her in our lives and in our house. I'm terrified I won't have enough energy and worry how we'll be able to afford it and worry about her birth mother's health and pray she's not been swilling vodka every day. Yeesh...I forgot what a roller coaster this all is....
Outside of all my manic thoughts things are going great. We had our appointment at Homeland Security/Citizenship & Immigration yesterday. It felt like a big step closer to Her.
We took Bek out of school and he went with us. I wanted him to have a sense of being involved in the process and also it was just easier than trying to find someone to watch him at 8am & take him to school. It was strange being in the same square room with the American flag that we’d been in when we were going through the process with Bek. And there he was, 5 years old and our son & all his sweetness…waiting with us for our number to be called. It was a chilly but clear & beautiful day, just like the time before. Every Spring for the last 4.5 years, when I get the first deep breaths of that Springy wet greenness my entire psyche is taken back to getting our referral for Bek on March 15th,. I'll never forget that day when his face unfolded on the screen before us and my heart burst!
I am pretty much certain at this point that we are to go to Moscow. I have that same sense of Just Knowing, the way I did when I first read about Kazakhstan. No doubts creep into my head, no second guesses, it just feels like what we are to do. To be on the safe side I’ve done a lot of homework and talked to a lot of families who’ve done it. I’ve prayed and meditated and reflected. And what I’ve come up with is that it’s where our daughter will be waiting for us.