Monday, May 23, 2011

A GIRL? Well, I am just not sure....

A girl? Well, I am just not sure.... was my way of thinking until we decided on a girl and guess what? Oh man, oh man, has the pink started to trickle in and the incredible clothes, shoes and decor. She is going to be one very chic cutie pie. Take a look and see what this Tom Girl Mama has turned into ;)

The fashion compliments of Kinder Britches and Nordstroms.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Three Going on Thirty

It is 1:21am. Why am I not asleep? Good question since my son slept 8 hours the night before and has let me sleep very little since we came home.

Leaving our toddler at home with grandma was a good idea for all of us or was it? I laugh as I write this since in all honesty on some level I think we did pretty well considering it was our very FIRST ever separation away from our son since we brought him home. This should be a good thing but man did he not think so and still does not.

I have to say Alexei took about 2 days to really warm up to me again, fully. Tonight as he crawled into his toddler bed, looked over at me, he said, "Mama, I love you", then said it in Russian (I think he thinks he has to say it twice lol) and then he blew me a loud kiss with his palm waving in the air. Yes, it tugged at my heart and we both stared at one another for a few moments. I knew then he was telling me that he really loved me but did not know how to feel with us having left him to go to Russia.

See, a month prior, he begged us to let him go to Russia with us. We did not feel it was a good idea at the time with the very long plane ride. Let's face it, he is an energetic boy who most likely would try to entertain everyone around us and crawl under the seats. Not calm moments for us parents who were going on an emotional and at times stressful trip.

Looking back with what happened in Russia and our little to no energy we were grasping onto like it was pixie dust and we were going to fall out of the sky without it confirmed it was a good decision.

Having said this we are juggling with the idea of bringing him on our next trip. We may need one extra person lol but it may be something Alexei really is ready for and quite possibly trying to communicate to us.

Our 3 year old is a boy going on 30. Some days, I often wonder who is ahead of who haha in this family.

He has said his sister's name 5 times in the past 24 hours, unprompted and at random times speaking about her. He is watching us decorate her room, trying on her flip flops haha and working on wanting to help out as much as possible.

Our son is very aware he is Russian, Papa is Canadian and I am American and we are one big happy family. He waves around all 3 flags and often tries to use Russian words. We also subscribe to Russian television and surround him with tons of hockey from both countries and instill in him his Mama's California surfer type attitude and ease.

Having said this he recently said, "I want to go to Russia" after we came back in reference to coming with us to meet his sister and bring her home. He is so completely aware of the videos of his adoption and now seeing her photos and both of them from the same baby home, I am beginning to think he believes all children come from this room ;)

He did well when we were away but he did give Grandma a run for her money, BIG TIME and 3 weeks is a very long time to endure Alexei's ability to get what he wants and/or let us know how he feels.

A new question to ponder. A better understanding of my son's feelings.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back from Vlad

30 hours and counting, yes still awake in order to get back on west coast time.

Alexei had his big "3" birthday today. Very exciting as we flew in just in time to celebrate with a little cake and Chinese food with his grandma and grandpa from Toronto.

We brought him home a special Chuberashka (sp) matroshkya doll. So AWESOME. I could not believe when Michael found this at the Vladivostok Airport. It has all of the characters from Gena to the old lady inside. Such a collectors item.

My 3 year old watched videos of his new sister and then collapsed in his bed wearing his adorable Woody pajamas.

Our Vladivostok Trip:
It was a very difficult trip for us this time from not knowing that we were traveling until 6:30pm a day prior to leaving to finally thinking we our referral was official to arriving and losing our referral. Emotions ran high but as with any adoption, we know there are risks.

The first night we wrestled with the idea of leaving without a new referral or to look at a new referral. A few minutes later the first night, we decided fate must have wanted it this way and decided to go ahead with a new referral. Our hearts weighed heavily as we looked over her photo, rushed to get the medicals reviewed by UW, which by the way had a response from them within 9 hours, EFFICIENT.

The next day we had to go to the MOE and receive permission to see the new referral. When I say no one has changed in the last 2 years, I mean they are all still the same people we remember being interviewed by from our last adoption. Brings back plenty of memories.

We were given permission, had a nice lunch in Vladivostok (Really good Borscht) and headed up to the baby home. It was a long drive, more so now because Vladivostok is getting a complete make over by the airport and down past the Vlad Inn. They have torn up all of the roads to pave new one's as well as making them wider with some bridges over top. There is also a very large structural bridge being built across the ocean off of the Vladivostok port. Should look very cool when done but in the mean time prepare for a very bumpy, sometimes muddy adventure.

When we arrived at the baby home, we met with Dr. T and showed her a video of Alexei. Within a few moments she was ready and was brought to us. She was very calm, studied us a bit looking at me, then at Michael. She would frown and then give a look of surprise a few times before she began to reach out and touch Michael's hand.

She is 13 months old and is probably one of the happiest babies I have ever seen. Smiles, laughs, babbles and communicates very well letting us know what she wants: i.e. up, down, rocked and walked.

With help, she can walk all around, however independently she will use chairs to pull herself up and start to walk on her own. She is one strong little lady though as she giggles and throws the rattle into my face lol.

She has very little to no hair, normal around that age in a baby home. Hazel green/blue eyes with a hint of brown. Maybe light brown hair to very dark blonde. A chubby cheeked sturdy ball of sweetness. You can see in her eyes the warm heart she carries and the kindness she possesses. Of course she was dressed in 3 layers of clothes, yup all 3 and the outer one was a sweater outfit. Poor sweetie, as if you put your hands near her neck, she was perspiring, dripping wet.

6 teeth are in and boy can she chew up a storm from clothes to fingers. She tried it all, even pulling hard on my earrings, didn't wear them again.

I can see already she is a jewelry and shoes lady. She LOVED her shoes, played with them for a lot of the time.

Her development is incredibly strong from imitating Michael tapping a chair 2x to her tapping a chair 2x. She was able to clap after we did and responded to whatever we were hoping to have her do.

The 2nd day came around and we had to go back up to the home. The driver if you can believe it drove about 50 - 70 kilometers the whole way. YUP, a trip that takes a normal 1.5 hours with our coordinator took a little over 2 with him. It was a long day. This time when they brought her out, she teared up a bit, maybe for a minute and then studied us once again.

We were so exhausted from getting everything done in a matter of a few days that we would head back to the hotel, take a walk, think about the times with Alexei there, maybe have some soup and fries or potato skins, take our baths and collapse.

I was having a difficult time sleeping though I admit because I really needed to work through everything in a very short time and study the medicals, think about our bonding time with the new referral and make decisions.

The last day's visit was a tough one. Emotionally exhausted and physically spent, we headed out early for another visit. This time when she was brought out to us, she smiled widely and knew who we were. She was so sweet, very ambitious about wanting to try more walking and had the most wonderfully kind head butts with me just looking into my eyes as she pressed her little forehead against mine.

So, I should be finalized on my decision right? Or so I hoped. We met with the SW and my husband was sure as anything, he loved our little girl from the moment he met her not to say that I didn't but I think it was all very overwhelming for me. The SW looked into my eyes as if she read everything I was thinking and in short said, "You have doubt, take your time and try harder". Well, that was it. I felt like I was read inside out and felt extremely emotional following the next couple of hours. We ended up having to call it a day and asked to go back to the hotel as we were just that tired and drained. We felt like we just needed an hour to recoup and talk over our decision as we were to sign final papers the next day.

Michael and I returned to the Vlad Inn where we got room service and talked for a bit. The thing that still continues to enter my head was the word, "Ohana", no one gets left behind and all is family including those adopted. I knew the moment we met her we would be signing the papers for her, I just wasn't sure how I felt about everything that had happened in a short amount of time.

The next day we signed the papers and left to the Vladivostok Airport. Then through Korea and straight on to Seattle. Very, very long day so far as I am now writing this at almost midnight the same day.

Tonight after celebrating our Alexei's birthday, we sat and watched the videos we had taken. With certainty I can say, she is the perfect choice for our family. She has the sweetest disposition and is very strong willed. I could not ask for more and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us in the next few months.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our First FULL Day in Vladivostok

Yesterday, we flew in from Korea after a stay in the transit hotel, which is the best option if you must wait a few hours as there is nothing like a shower and a place to sleep after a 12 hour flight.

We arrived at the Vlad Inn where we skyped our little on back home and had a small dinner as we were utterly exhausted. It is so nice to be back. There is a lot of construction going on around the high way all the way to the airport as they construct a new airport, buildings and high way. A bumpy ride but interesting to see.

Things have changed as not often but sometimes happens. We are trying to go with the flow and stay positive. The first few moments were a bit teary but we have gotten through and are wrapping our heads around a new outcome. I will say more when I know for sure what we have decided, however I know some of you will get this right away.

I must say the doctors at UW International Medicine is SO the way to go if you ever have to have a new look over of medical documents. They responded within hours with lots of questions and answers.

Today is a day at the Education office and possibly driving to the baby home. Nothing is set in stone just yet but the office visit.

I think the arrival at the hotel was the most interesting part of our trip so far as memories flooded back to us when we looked down the hallway and could envision our little Alexei running down the halls just 1.8 years ago or thinking of all of the good times we had with Christi and Tom and our favorite families from Vlad. It was such a wonderful experience to have everyone here.

When we went into the White Rabbit again, nothing has really changed but I could see everything swoosh into my mind from what we experienced, the laughter, the nerves, the worry and seeing so many incredible people become parents for the first time or again.

Well, that is all, must get dressed to get on with the day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Little Russian Boy: Toy Obsessed

Toy Story has essentially created toy stories among parents who have obsessed toddlers who cannot think, speak or dream of anything else but...

My son has woken up in his sleep the last couple of nights saying, "Woody costume". He has asked for the Woody Costume for his birthday in two weeks, however it has become more of an obsessive compulsive issue and one that tests a parent's patience to the brink of insanity. I have even thought about changing his birth date.

I must say I alone spend roughly 10 hours with my toddler listening to "Mama, I need my Woody costume now, please Mama right now." If I say you need to wait until your birthday or I do not have one in this house or redirect with let's put on your Buzz costume, the TEARS, I capitalize as they are Large TEARS start streaming and then they go into uncontrollable temper tantrums. I have tried EVERYTHING to redirect, to talk it out, to help him understand (I gave in and ordered it out of a desperate moment) that the mail man is bringing it in a couple of days. Is this satisfaction for a 2 year old who needs it NOW? Nope. In fact, it gave me such a headache, I crawled off to bed zoning out on television without telling my husband and left him with the 2 yr old talking obsessively about needing a lot of toys. (Mind you he has tons). He is a popular boy.

So 800mg of ibprofen later, one valium for muscle spasms and I wake up to "Mama, I need a lot of toys now." He has in the little time we have in the morning, thrown a toy at me, banged a door and is terribly upset that he supposedly does not have a lot of toys and specifically the Woody costume. I have explained to him that his behavior must improve to get his Woody costume and that being kind and respectful to Mama and Papa is a must. Having said this, I have no idea as to whether this is anxiety from feeling that since we are heading to Russia soon, he is acting out or simply being Toy Story obsessed, which I have heard can be an issue for toddlers.

Needless to say, I am open to any and all suggestions if other parents have gone through this toddler, demanding toy stage. For someone who has been going through this for a week, I am ready for advice :)