Thursday, December 30, 2010

Heading into a New Adventure

Well, we are heading into a new adventure. At this time, we have not made a concrete decision as to where since there are incredible variables to each program.

Of course our dream of all dreams would be to return to Russia where there are many baby girls awaiting homes and that would be the ultimate of ultimate gifts to be able to give another child of our son's culture a home, brings me to tears to think about being back there. It made it that much harder after talking with the director and knowing this is how it is now and remembering the doctor in Russian telling us to come back for a girl.

Our hearts belong to Russia and will always be there. The second choice was to possibly go to Ukraine, a close second, however girls are not abundant at the moment and we would have to go with a child older then Alexei or the same age. Not too bad actually just wanted to go a bit younger and keep the age difference closer.

We are now looking into Korea as this may be our only choice that is easiest financially and yet will allow us to have a baby in 2 years. Yes, that's right, 2 years if I want a boy and 3 years if we could have our girl, however boy it is. 3 years is a huge length of time, however I know some endure the time.

We looked into Ethiopia and it also requires 2 trips and a very unfamiliar road through this adoption. I am still deciding and still gaining information.

I suppose the decision is so difficult and I often want to ask parents, how do you go to Russia multiple times with the costs so high. My only wish is that adoptive parents would have an easier time bringing a child home from any country without having to sacrifice all they have at home.

I might sound a bit angry and maybe going through the "Why can't we just get pregnant" stage once again as it seems like such a handful to get what seems so simple in life at such a large price.

I know so many of you know what I am referring too and it is most difficult to open my heart as I have, however I know that so many think it.

January will tell all in what we decide to do next.

I am wishing all adoptive parents out there right now happiness and a successful return if they are on trips. It is an amazing experience and you are never alone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It has been awhile... trying to catch up on the writing.

My son had his first soccer class today. Entertaining as always. A drummer beating to his own drum. As the other children stood listening to the coach, my son was running around organizing the cones, putting the flag colors together and kicking the soccer ball all over the gym.
The coach continuously attempted to redirect my little guy without a huge success. I could not help but smile as although he was not quite to the point of wanting to listen, he was incredibly smart with the ability to organize and understand the overall kicking of the soccer ball and eventually making a goal.
I cannot wait to see what he has in store for the coach this weekend.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gotch Day: One Day to the Year

GOTCHA DAY for The BOOTHS: What it means to us: For all parents out there, no matter what path taken, it's a huge job and for the adoptive parents out there who turned their world inside out, who spent days wondering if it would ever happen, every single minute is worth all of the steps to become parents.

Paper work for a year, driving to capitals, time after time waiting, physicals at the doctors, psychology reports from the psych docs, your financial details; basically before you are parents, your whole life is checked from the inside out, from your house, how u prepare, your finances, your medical and mental well being, in some cases twice to make sure things haven't changed in 2 months, 3 months, travels, court hearings in places you have never been and then for the next couple of years placement reports every 6 months, more drives to the capital. For some, all of this is often done after years of trying, years of fertility treatments, feeling like lab rats. I remember by the end before court, I knew I had given everything about us, who we were, who we are and who we were going to be and knew that it was worth us being stripped down naked so the officials knew our son was going to a good home.

By the time they asked me in court, "HunterAnn, how did you feel when you first saw your son?" I said, "How can anyone put that into words? I have no words for what I felt". Our court time was 15 minutes.

If someone asks me, "Why do it all over, go through all of this again?"
I say to them, "Because it brought me a son, who for the first year of his life was in a baby home and knew nothing of what a family could be or who a mama and papa were and what it was like to have his own room, his own toys, his own dog and the ability to feel and experience life for the first time, touching trees, grass and tasting different foods".
If I could give that to another little girl or boy who is sitting there hoping one day Mama or Papa will come pick them up, then I will go through all of the above and more. We only live once and to give that chance that I had growing up to another person, is worth any inconvenience. That is how I see "Gotcha Day"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm 2 Years Old and Lovin' It

May 14th was a special day this year as Alexei blew out a big "2" year old candle on top of a bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. He has been quite busy attending the Sesame Street show and waving hello at Elmo to learning how to skate and jump on a trampoline.

His personality has blossomed recently into a very humorous silly little boy as you can see with his froggy hat, which he loves to wanting to kiss his Elmo doll each time it wakes up and begins to talk with him. Honestly, toys have come a long way since I was a child. This Elmo doll recognizes if Alexei has put him down for a nap and picked him back up, a bit disturbing if you ask me. But the best part about it is Alexei's surprise face (will post pic soon). His mouth drops wide open and his eye brows flicker up in a frozen state. Simply hilarious.

I was in the store two days ago and a favorite show of ours is "Gavin and Stacey". I really did not think Alexei paid much attention to the show when it is on as he is usually playing with his toys. The show is a British comedy with characters from Essex and Whales and there are particular lines used frequently. Alexei is in the grocery cart and I am searching for something or other on a shelf, suddenly I hear quite loudly "OY"! I stopped, looked over and thought nothing of it, maybe I didn't hear correctly. "OY!" came from the cart again so I turned around and looked at Alexei as he had his hand out trying to get my attention. He says quietly, "OY". I sat there for a few moments thinking what in the world, where did you ever hear that?! "Gavin and Stacey" came to mind and I couldn't help but start laughing out loud in the store. If you ever hear someone say it, you know what I mean. It was hilariously surprising coming from my two year old as if he had been saying it for ages.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

8 Months back home & Hockey crazy

8 months back home and my little monkey is on the move daily from having to explain why we do not jump on the bed to never putting the hockey stick down. Let's put it this way, take his hockey stick, which he practices being a goalie with and you will see a fine example of a two year old tantrum.

I have to give him credit though, he is one committed lil hockey player! This past weekend he got an early birthday gift from his grandparents who came to visit. They upgraded his hockey stick, which he chose himself, got him a new Bauer helmet and little ice skates.

If you ever want to slow the boy down from running around the house, click on the telly and find a hockey game as he will stop mid track and just stare into the glass screen mesmerized.

On another note, he surprised everyone in the backyard. Grandma was pulling weeds and he promptly went over to her pile, took a handful of weeds and ran them to the compost pile. We still do not come close to knowing how he knew that is where they were all to go at the end of the day. It is a long run across the yard too.

In addition, he LOVES and let me tell you, not just likes, but LOVES Everybody Loves Raymond. Now, I could not figure out why we have to watch the show nightly and then my husband said, "U know, that was the show we had on in Russia at the hotel, maybe he remembers it" and here I thought he was just excited to go visit his family in Long Island, NY ;)

Here are some updated photos of our little boy at 23 months old.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy 6 Month return from Russia!

Today, 6 months ago we returned home with two other families and our children from Russia. I remember how exhausted we were as we stepped off the plane holding our luggage, stroller and child. This was a new exciting experience but also one where we could have slept for days following.

We still had to sit through customs, which took over an hour and I remember at first our Alexei was excited by all of the new surroundings of the airport, however quickly settled into my arms and fell asleep.

Just a few moments after we made it through customs and turned our paper work in, we were greeting by two grandparents who I must say were pretty wet in the face as they met eyes with our Alexei for the first time.

There are few words I can think of to describe the experience of bringing Alexei home. I was torn when leaving Russia as I had grown such a huge heart for the country, the people and culture. I was thankful to have Alexei there with me and to know that his forever culture would be Russian first as we lead him into new cultures of American and Canadian, both very different with some similarities.

There are stressful times in adjusting and transitioning into becoming parents suddenly, however I always remember to revisit my happy place.

My happy place these days was me standing in front of the window of the hotel in Russia looking outside. I could hear the music playing below at one moment for a wedding and another for a party. Two days, two time periods, two moments standing at that window. One evening Fire works would go off following the celebration of the wedding and there was a sweet summer scent in the air and a small breeze swimming through the leaves. The other moment was day time as I watched the security guard dressed as a clown entertaining children running down the pathway of the front side of the hotel.

Either way, these were the memories I had just a day or two before we picked Alexei up for the first time.
With him, I remember standing by that same window pointing to the leaves of the trees and a rather large spider who had made their web there, perfect Halloween type web for our entire trip.

There was a sense of peace and calm I found there despite the hurried running around doing paper work, doctor appointments, meals, and adjusting to a new life with a little 15 month old boy. One that is unforgettable and gives me the yearning to do once again.

Alexei is more than we could have asked for even at the trying times where he is hoping we understand the new words he has come up with. At any rate, this 6 months makes me think about how much time has gone by and how quickly Alexei has grown, changed and become the almost 23 month old he is now.

Thank you Russia and our agency for giving us a smooth process, showing us what it means to be committed to this and making our life a little more interesting. To Russia With Love.

Friday, February 19, 2010

US Passport and Families Coming Home


This is to give a heads up on getting a US passport ASAP when you get home. Do not wait too long.

When we first went through customs coming from Russia, the guy said "make sure to get his US passport in the next couple of months". I was like ok, no big deal, he is a US citizen. Isn't that the whole point of those papers?

Okay, so we went to travel December and at the United desk, she said to us, "I'm sorry he can't travel with you, he does not have a US passport." We said, no, he has a temporary sticker in his Russian passport that allows him to travel until June with us until we get the US passport. She said, "That's not true. He needs his green card." We said, that is his green card, temporary one. She said, "No, it isn't" We almost missed our plane and Michael was not leaving until she went to customs.

Needless to say she did and they said it was okay for now. So, we went through, then got to customs and the agent was like, "I need to clear this as I do not think you can travel with him." OMG OMG OMG lol, u know how u get frustrated when things are just so fricken complicated and yet we were in the right.
So his boss told him to let us through for now but we would need his US passport before that expires or he would have to go through and apply for a whole new green card, yada, yada.

We got through. On the way back into the US, they said, "he can't come through". We said OMG, yes he can. Had to go through it all over again. I kid u not. I am being so fricken arse serious. This has been the ultimate pain the arse. They, anyone agency customs needs to be more clear with us, then just get their US passports when they get home. They don't tell u why.

Okay, so we get back in the US and I go to the postal service today and say, I need to get a US passport for my son. He said, "You need citizenship for him, the parents, both parents need to be here unless one gives consent with this formalized paper etc." I said, "Do I need anything else because he is adopted from Russia, but he is a US citizen"

The guy said, "Yes, you need his US citizenship, the adoption papers both in Russian and English, and we need his green card." I said, "Right, the green card is a temporary sticker in his passport." The guy said, "No, I need his green card or no passport." I said, "No, adoptive children get a temporary sticker to travel in their passport and that is their green card for now." He said, "We'll see about that, I have not heard of anything like that."
He said, "Make sure you have his passport as we will be taking that in exchange for the US passport." I said, "You can't take his Russian passport. He needs that until 18. You can't have it permanently." He said, "Yes, that is an exchange for his US passport."

I AM NOT giving up his Russian passport. That totally sounds wrong to me. I am so furious as we have been through so much with this silly ordeal. I just want to get him a US Passport and be done with it but oh no, I have to jump through major hoops still to do this.

We need to be more informed of the new laws and understand them completely as this is a lot of work and things I am not comfortable with doing. The US citizenship papers should be enough and the adoptive papers.

This is basically to let you know what I've been told over and over and that we highly recommend to just get it over with and do it, however I may contact customs to make sure about his Russian passport as I do not want to give that up.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hockey Gear

My hockey boys

Boy, oh boy do I have serious hockey boys. My husband and 20 month old have been going weekly to the hockey games and Alexei sits for a good three hours in his own chair cheering on our local WHL team, the Everett Silvertips (which have won 14 games in a row).

Currently, they are watching the Toronto Maple Leafs against the New Jersey Devils and I hear Alexei yelling, "Go, go go!" while waving his hand in the air and looking around to see who is watching him. Oh and he is wearing his Toronto Maple Lead Pajamas too and his Papa is wearing his TML shirt too.

I share this as I am still in awe over a 20 month old having the patience to sit for 3 hours. Now, if mom goes I am going to bet, he will not have the incredible patience he has with Papa. We shall see this weekend.

A couple of new photos are here from this week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Year 2010

Hope everyone had a great holiday! Ours was so busy, I was wondering whether I was really awake for it all. Toronto was pretty and snowy, however the airport was a whole other issue. I love how Conan O'Brien puts it, once u have kids, going through an airport with dignity is the past and he goes on to talk about juice boxes flying everywhere and keeping track of his two kids. No kidding I say. By the time, I strip Alexei down, strip myself down with him in my arms, fold up the stroller, I am lucky I haven't broken into a sweat. It is a great workout.

Just finished our first post placement.
It was pretty easy. The SW came in for 2 hours, talked to us and left.

Now it is time for his 3rd doctors appointment next week and circumcision in 3 weeks. I guess the circumcision they say will be a whole day at the hospital. My husband will be with him I am guessing and I will have to wait outside. A whole month I am told until he is back to normal. February should be interesting.

Alexei had his first haircut. Did very well. Only screamed at the end when his hair was prickling him in the back under his shirt. That took two minutes to fix.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

PPR Tomorrow

Our first post placement report is tomorrow. Wow, how time flies. We are preparing and getting ready for our appointment. Alexei is amazing and growing like crazy.