Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Exploring With Katie Aunna

Katie exploring toothpaste...Yummy!!!!
Katie Aunna exploring EVERYTHING!!!!
More Exploring;-)
Murmansk Court House
Harbor of Murmansk

Today Katie Aunna has some tummy troubles. The one medication I did not bring was kiddie tummy medicine. I may go to the pharmacy if she does not stop having loose stools. But, this is pretty normal when they first get out of the orphanage with the stress and change in their diet. The other couple with us has some adult antidiarrheal medication if I can not find any for children here.

Katie Aunna slept with us last night and tossed and turned all night long. She sleeps like Kisty when she was a little girl...kicks like a mule...ha ha. Needless to say....We are all tired today....except Katie Aunna. She just wants to explore everything!!!! We took her to the toy store and she was in total awe. I really don't think she had ever seen such a thing as she just kept saying "OIY" and looking around with her hands on her face.
Her eyes were like two big silver dollars. She found a little puzzle that is a of the words I can say in Russian is bear. Duane and I puzzled on piecing it together at lunch. We gave up and sat it down...away she went to work and with a little help, put it together;-).

Duane took some pictures today and I have posted them. Katie Aunna talks a lot to me in Russian and I think she believes I can understand her every word. It is pretty funny. She is a little more receptive to learning English today. We have been looking at her word book and she is repeating words of pictures in English. But, I know she does not realize what she is saying. Although, in time she will have very good language skills. Her Russian is excellent.

Just want to close with telling you kids how extremely much I miss you and just simply can not wait to come home to you. Katie Aunna is darling and you all will really love her. She knows your names pretty well and still has the pictures that we put together in the album on the last trip. I love you guys!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Well, we took custody of her today as was our right to do. We can not have the court decree until the 12th of May which really stinks. But, we will use this time to bond. I have never seen a happier kid than Katie Aunna. She is thrilled and really enjoying her new found freedom. Tomorrow I will post some pictures as I am trying to keep her out of trouble almost every moment. She goes from one thing to another....ha ha!!!! We adore her...she is very bright and curious. Until tomorrow.....God bless!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Court Today

Well, today we had our adoption court hearing. The judge GRANTED the adoption, but, she did not waive our 10 day wait:-(. So, unfortunately, we will not be allowed to leave Murmansk until the 12th of May. I am so sad to leave my kids at home for so long!!! However, it is not in our hands.

We did a great job pleading our case and even the prosecutor asked the 10 days to be waived. It was the decision of the judge, that since the Supreme Court ruled that no region will waive the 10 days, unless the child is in need of immediate life saving medical treatment, she would not go against the Russian Federation's new ruling. So, we are stuck here until it is up. The judge did agree to allow us to take Katie Aunna to our hotel immediately, unless the orphanage director has an objection.

We are hoping tomorrow she will not object and we can have her with us. Going to the orphanage daily for the next two weeks would be a drag. Please pray for the director to allow us to take Katie to our hotel tomorrow. I will let everyone know. I feel so horrible that we must be away from our children, Kisty is stuck there without relief, our jobs at home will need to operate without us, and the extra expense is on us. This new ruling is a real hardship on the adoptive families. However, it could have been worse as the other couple must chase down extra documents from over here and did not get their adoption finalized today. So, I am thankful to God for the finalization of our adoption. I will write more tomorrow and add some pictures!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fun Day Today

Frozen street in Murmansk

Picture of Murmansk City

Today was lots of fun. We got up and went to the orphanage to visit with Katie Aunna. It was so cute. When we entered the orphanage, a little boy ran upstairs, shouting "Ana, your parents are here!" I think he was just as excited to see us as Katie Aunna. Fortunately, she was calmer today. However, she was still pretty hyped about our visit. She again asked for us to reassure her that we would be back for her. We explained that tomorrow we will go to court and legally become her parents forever. She was well pleased by this.

Please pray that our 10 day wait is waived and we may take immediate custody of her. She is very fond of her Papa and enjoys playing with him. She told us today that Mama looks at her too much...ha ha. I think she will calm down after she is with us for a while. It is so exciting to her to be the one with parents. Her turn has finally come and she is loving every minute of it. She is also very brave about leaving her orphanage and joining our family. We are grateful that God has chosen us for her and hope we will be able to have her immediately as it does stress her that we will not return.

This afternoon following our visit with her we went to the toy store and bought her a dolly with a cry mechanism in it. I hope the toy does not drive everyone on the plane home crazy. It is a very cute little doll and I know she will like it very much. Today she worked puzzles for us and is quite a smart little girl. She also knows all her colors and can count to Russian, of course.

During our outing for toys this afternoon we went to a pizza parlor with our friends here. It was so funny!!! Duane won;t eat fish and despises the smell of it. My knee started to give me problems again and so I asked Duane to go to the counter and order for us. Well, he ordered a cheese pizza with ham. Guess what we got??? A cheese pizza with shrimp and fish chunks on it. Duane refused to eat any of it. After about fifteen minutes of convincing, I picked off the fish and ate it. Not bad. It also had small pieces of "meat" on it.

The problem is that there is little to no beef here. It is all deer meat. Our friends tried to convince me it was bacon...yeah right. More like Bambi in small pieces. Duane sat there with his fingers in his nostrils so he would not smell fish on my breath...ha ha. The Russians were just appalled by his behavior. He acted like a little kid. It was pretty funny. So, he is going to bed tonight with NO supper.

We will be in our court hearing for Katie Aunna's adoption tomorrow at 2:30pm. Please be in prayer for our 10 days to be waived. It would take a lot of stress off of Katie Aunna to go with us right away and off of us too. This would be about 12:30am on Sunday for New Mexico time. I have included some pictures. Hope you all enjoy them. Blessings to all!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Katie Aunna

This morning was lovely with her. She was happy to see her Papa and played their little growling games....ha ha. Katie Aunna thinks Papa is really a great big toy for her entertainment. Naturally, she went through the bag I brought looking for CANDY. Duane said she is in for a surprise when she gets home as we have very little sugar foods in the house. So a new change is about to occur in her life. They ask her if she was afraid to go all the way to America and she said she was not afraid with Mama and Papa. However, she will not speak English no matter what. Guess we will see about that little fact.

The evening visit was even more wild. Duane left the room to go sign papers for a few moments and as soon as the door closed she was on a roll!!! She ran over to the desk and started opening drawers, climbed into the window seal, stuck her finger in the plant, and just went wild in general. I told her (in Russian) to chill out and she told me "Nyet"!!! I hope I know what I'm in for...she is a little spunky!!! But, we adore her just as she is.

I was quite surprised that she had been dressed in a dress I brought for the orphanage on our first visit. I hope her clothes I brought from home will fit as she was wearing a size six dress that I thought would be too large for her. This evening I will take a couple of pants to try on her and I guess if they don't fit then we will need to find a few items for her. She is really slim and fairly tall. If anything, her pants will be too short, but, will probably fit her in the waist. I brought size fives with me!!!

The orphanage is very well maintained and there are so many beautiful children. They were so sweet and just wanted a hug or two as we walked by them. I met one of the children (Vika) that is listed on the site and I just fell in love with her. No, unfortunately, we can not adopt her. But, I do want to mention her as she would be a wonderful daughter and we will be praying for her a family. She is extremely sweet and kind!!! Several of the children came up to us and asked if we were Katie Aunna's Mama and Papa. Such sweet children here that I am taken back a bit. I did not expect such an overwhelming response to our presence within the orphanage. The director and staff are also very kind people. I can not tell you how much the children want families of their own. They are all such sweet little kids and have so touched my heart.....especially little Vika. She is darling!!!

I have not heard from Casey email us and let us know how things are at home. I really miss you kids so much and look forward to bringing Katie Aunna home. She is a little on the ornery side though. At one point, Duane went to sign paper work and the translator went with him. I stayed with Katie Aunna at the orphanage in a little play room. She was running around and touching EVERYTHING!!! Looking into the cabinet, opening the desk drawers, and messing with the window. I scolded her to stop running wild and she scolded me back...ha ha. She will be a little more busy than I realized. But, she is just so cute and very funny. I lightly swatted her bottom (in play) and she swatted me back...ha ha.

Friday, April 25, 2008

We're Here

We finally arrived today after many hours of exhausting difficult travel. The "Russian Travel Marathon" began on Tuesday morning. We went, for the third time, to Santa Fe for apostilles on our documents. It was about 10:00am when we left for Santa Fe and arrived back home around 8:00pm. I wanted a bath in my own tub, after which we drove two more hours, to get to Amarillo. By the time we arrived and checked into our hotel Tuesday evening it was around midnight. Around 4:00am on Wednesday, we got up and flew to Houston. There, we had to wait in Bush International for seven hours.

Once aboard the flight to Frankfurt, Germany we endured ten and a half hours of flight. Fortunately, we only had a couple of hours between flights and took off for Moscow on another four hour flight. I encountered a very horrible knee injury. As I was returning to my seat, we hit turbulence, and a huge man flung into me. To keep from falling in the isle, I sharply pivoted allowing him to fall on a sitting passenger!!! SORRY!!!! My leg bone partially popped out of joint. I was in so much pain (I should have taken that pain medication with me Kisty tried to give me).

I asked the flight attendant for ice and she acted like I had insulted her and must be out of my mind. She ask me three or four times if I wanted "just" a cup of ice??? The seat belt sign was on and when Duane tried to stand up to get my bag (they insisted on putting over-head to begin with) they made him sit back down. So the attendant brought the bouncing cup of ice as I sweat bullets with this leg and I had no baggie to put it in. So what did I do??? You know that little plastic bag that all that airplane information is held in??? got it....I took the plastic bag and filled it with ice. The pain was excruciating!!! No words can describe how painful it was combined with extreme travel exhaustion.

I limped through the airport and finally made it through passport control to find out that we had a three hour taxi ride to our hotel. Once in the taxi, I laid in the back seat, and rolled around in pain while the driver weaved at 140 kilometers per hour through heavy traffic. I did not even bother to buckle!!! When we arrived at the hotel, I got into a very hot bath tub. After soaking it for a while, I forced myself to straighten my leg. I literally screamed as it snapped painfully back into place. Thanks be to God as it immediately stopped hurting and seems normal (although weak) today. I was even able to walk to a restaurant this evening on shear ice streets. All I could think about was...DON'T FALL!!! I clung to Duane's strong and steady arm for support in case I should slip. Murmansk is still frozen solid and seems colder now than when we were here in February.

Oh yes...also we were informed by the Moscow translator, that since the Russian Supreme Court has ruled that all regions will uphold the ten-day wait, we will likely not have it waived. Unfortunately, there are two Russian Holidays which will fall in the ten day wait. During this time, the government will be closed and we can not process Katie Aunna's paperwork. She will also not be allowed to leave with us until the waiting period is over. We will be stuck in the region during this time. I cried so hard with our agency on the phone, though sympathetic, they have no control over this issue or I'm sure we would be home as we had hoped. It will be in God's hands and so it is even more important to pray for our release from the ten day wait. Our court hearing will be on Monday afternoon, which will be Sunday in America.

When I got off the phone with our agency, I remembered something my adult daughter said to me a while back when I was stressing over dossier paper work. Kisty said; "Mom, the boogeyman loves to make us think that an impending disaster is about to occur just before God gives us a huge miracle!" It was at this point in my thinking that I realized that this is an uncontrollable part of this journey and best of all Katie Aunna will shortly be coming home. We do not want to leave Russia without her. So I am now rejoicing (plus feeling well and much more rested) in this fact.

We are also here with another couple we have been communicating with through the Internet. I have to tell this hilarious story. We all happily boarded this ancient Russian airplane. It is literally a miracle we did not crash, as it was in very poor condition, proving miracles do happen. Well, the couple we are traveling with (God bless them...they are wonderful people) sat in front of us and when the plane landed in Murmansk we were all very excited to get off. Only, Nate's seat belt would NOT unbuckle. He hopelessly struggled to get free of this vicious seat belt in a wretched plane.

Naturally, the only thing we could all do was laugh hysterically as he struggled. He said, in the car to our hotel, that he was very thankful we did not have a fire on board as he would have been burnt toast. Isn't that just absurd that his "safety" belt would not release!!! He ended up slipping out of it and standing up in the seat. I noticed several Russian passengers were watching him and shaking their heads (without cracking even a smile) as he struggled. They acted like...."what's he doing that he does not know how to unbuckle". I could see they were not even blaming it on the dilapidated airplane which was in such poor condition.

Now in close, I want to tell you, that it is 11:00pm here and still DAYLIGHT!!!! We have Polar night here. No's dim daylight outside. An odd type of dim light...not like dusk at all, but, more like an overcast sky.

Please, be in prayer regarding our court date Monday, because if it is not waived we will not be able to bring our daughter home to her family until the 17th of May. Kisty is taking care of our six children at home, plus her own two precious girls. She also needs your prayers for strength to have stamina in this great responsibility. Plus, she is missing work to do this labor of love for her family. I LOVE YOU, KISTY!!!! Mom and Dad are trying to come home to you soon. Hope the blog was enjoyed today. Tomorrow we will visit with Katie Aunna. The orphanage told her that Mama and Papa have come for her and she will see us in the morning. I am so excited to finally walk up that long sidewalk and will post some pictures. Kids....don't forget to get into your prayer circle and pray for us to return soon. You are powerful prayer warriors in this way!!!!

Oh yes...and Casey I flunked computer lab for today. You taught me how to change to their wireless Internet. Guess's dial up. I fiddled with it for a while and then gave up. I had to call the Hotel manager to come get me going;-(. But, I really wanted to write to the blog and check emails. Love you guys and will write about tomorrow!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Count Down

Well, it amazes me how time flies!!! Two more days and we will be on a plane for Russia to complete our life with Katie Aunna. I am so excited and yet a little nervous. Next weekend we will spend it bonding with Katie Aunna. I will post pictures of her on the blog and keep a running account of what is going on.

Since, Murmansk is 10 hours ahead of us here in New Mexico, we will be in court on your Sunday evening. Please, pray that our ten day wait is waived and we can take her right into our custody. Also, there are two Russian Holidays which close everything down for four days each. This would mean that our stay in Russia would be about 25 days!!!! That's such a long time to be away from my kids!!!!

Our passports/visa should arrive Tuesday morning and I still have last minute documents to apostille in Santa Fe. So, I am dedicating Tuesday to driving up there and back. Then stop in at home and leave for Amarillo. We will stay over and leave out at 7:35am Wednesday morning. We fly to Houston and then to Frankfurt, Germany and on to Moscow for an over night layover. Next, it's off to Murmansk where Katie will be looking out that orphanage window for Mama and Papa to come!!!

I know in my heart that she is as excited as we are. She is such a pretty little girl and has a very sweet personality. I will take pictures of her luggage tomorrow and post them. Well. guess I better try to sleep a little. Please, keep praying for Katie Aunna and don't forget next Sunday evening to pray for us as we stand before that Russian Court of Law and God. It is a very miraculous time when we will become the parents of one little orphaned girl!!! Many blessings<><

Friday, April 18, 2008

At Last the Day Has Come

We are so happy today as we have received the magical date for court and now our little princess will come home to join her anxious brothers and sisters. When I first heard the news I was helpless. There were a million things that I needed to do, but, could not function as I was so excited about going to hold my baby girl in my arms. So I paced the floors for about an hour and then sat in a hot tub in shock...joyfully!!!!

Plus, we will be in the region for a special Russian Spring Holiday (May Day on the first). It is a special Holiday as it is a celebration like Easter and also honors the coming of spring time. I am hoping the children in the orphanage will do something special for us as a celebration. I am planning a going away party for Katie Aunna!!! I will bring cake, juice, and fruits as a treat to Katie's farewell party at the orphanage. I will dress her in a beautiful dress that I have brought for her and we will celebrate her leaving and say goodbye to her friends.

Also, we are thrilled to know that we have made friends with another couple who is adopting from Murmansk Region and they will be completing their adoption process at the same time that we will. They are adopting the cutest little 3 year old girl. She is so extremely pretty and i just can't wait to meet her!!! So God is very good to us much beyond the basics that we ask for. He gives us so much more...Praise our wonderful God!!!!

I am so at peace now and ready to reunit with our daughter. My little Katie Aunna is coming home. We will be leaving in just 4 short days. However, we will be in Russia a long time this round as we will be caught up in the May Day Russian Holiday for five days of!!! Maybe, some celebrations in the streets and much merryment. How wonderful!!! Also, it will be very nice, as we will be in the region, for this celebration.

Here we come Katie Aunna!!!! Mama and Papa adore you little princess of our many prayers.....we are also practicing our Russsian;-). Thank you everyone for your precious prayers for us and don't stop now as we have a few more formalities and a number of difficult to overcome while in court. Please check our blog as we will post pictures and blog every possible day. Keep that candle burning Patrick. Many blessings!!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Waiting

Just wanted to post quickly!!! I can not sleep tonight as I am thinking of what lay ahead. I have told myself to "Fear not" and "Be not anxious about anything" and "Tomorrow will take care of itself". All in God's timing and not my own (that's a tough one for me though). We still have no official word and so.....we wait. I have to admit that this has been the toughest adoption of all and has quite well finished my desire to ever go through this process again. I read on one of my adoption boards that the wait for a court date can be two to four months. We are at the five weeks in waiting.

It is time to finish this adoption and then enjoy our beautiful family. I appreciate the friend who is praying in Texas (please keep the candle going for her) well as all those praying in many places for our darling little Katie Aunna. Our children are under the weight of this process as well and we continue to have our prayer circles before class in the morning and at night before bed. The children's prayers always bring tears to my eyes as they are such sweet pleas on Katie Aunna's behalf to the Lord. Thank you all so much for those prayers, as the fact that I know you are praying for us, keeps me going!!! Please keep them coming now more than ever. Much love and many blessings to you all!!! Thank-you;-).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Time To Relax

I guess I have a little of God's peace today. He knows our family needs it right now. We all had a very productive school day and Christian read like a champ!!! I am so proud of him. It has finally clicked with him and he applied the rules for reading he has been learning from me all year. Christian is excellent at math and Karissa is a very good little reader. As we all know, Casey is the computer lab teacher and he is so good at it!!!

Well, today Christian has joined the "Great Reading" group. He sounded out his words beautifully and made Mama soooo proud of him. It was really cool, as all he wanted to do today, was sit beside me and read all the "Step into Reading" books. He enjoyed the stories and he is now in proficiency. I must also brag about Casey and Karissa, too. Both worked very hard for me today!!! Oh yes, and I also noticed that Annie is using her computer mouse with skill now.

We use a computer program called "Jump Start Advanced" and she has been working on the disc called "Toddler School Time". Today, she was able to make her musical creatures turn on and off with precision. It was so cute to watch her work with her headphones on and her long slender finger working the mouse pad. I think she will do well in kindergarten this coming Fall!!! It is hard to believe she will be five years old this July. Wow, time flies!!!

So, we have decided to relax this weekend and try to get over a bad cold running through the family. I came down with the cold a few days ago and have felt pretty awful. But, today is better. Please, pray for our little Katie Aunna over the weekend and for good news soon. We pray that God will give her peace as well and keep her spirits up. It is so difficult to accept that God's timing is the best for all. Many blessings!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Waiting....

Our dossier is in Moscow and being translated. We are hoping for next week. I am beginning to feel like the "next week" which will have our court date will never come. It seems that each week we are promised a date by the end of the week and the end comes and slips past without a date.

Some days I just want to give up as it is so difficult on everyone in the family. Our children ask about her often and make plans on when she might come home, friends ask, and worst of all...Katie Aunna is watching for us to come pick her up, watching for us daily out of that orphanage window. So now, we wait for next week for any news......PLEASE pray for our success.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Another Week Of Waiting

Here we go into another week of waiting it out and praying for a court date. I just can not sleep tonight and decided I would post to the blog. We are so anxious to get things set and firm up our travel plans. One thing I know for sure is this adoption has really burned me out. We will definitely not be adopting again. So all this junk about uneven numbers does not even phase me!!! It is nine children for us and not one more little kiddo.

I told Duane we should buy a Harley and do some of the things we want to spend loads of money on.....ha ha!!!! Sure.....Like raising nine kids we will have any extra funds. Funny how we forget the pain of "birth" and the pain of "adoption".....I have had a rough time waiting it out this round. After almost six international adoptions...I feel we have done more than our part for the world and our self. It feels very satisfying to think of not stressing anymore with dossiers, more children, medical needs, and so on. Sound selfish??? Well, maybe it is just a little self serving.

However, I am 52 this August and Duane is going to be 57. I said to him this weekend..."Hey babe, let's ride a HOG next year and not adopt anymore children. After all we have adopted two domestic at birth (1977 and 1981) and then gave birth to an IVF baby (1993) after five painful tries. Then we adopted Annie in 2005, Mary in 2006, John in 2007, and now darling Katie in 2008. Duane looked at me with adoration and he loved the idea of a HOG and said that sounds great.

So, precious little Katie Aunna is the last. Now it will be time for us to take wonderful family vacations, ride a Harley on the weekends, and do some other cool things we want;-). Oh yes, the boys want a go-cart and I think we will get them one, too. My gosh those things scare me. But, Duane promises to buy a safer go-cart with the heavy roll bars, and a good safety harness seat belt system with head gear. So, okay fine!!! When we recover from the financial and emotional burdens of this adoption we will get more self focused. Also, a nice camper sounds fun to me!!!! We have beautiful forests to camp out in New Mexico!!!!!!

Also, our daughter Kisty can not have any more children, she wants to adopt a child. So, maybe we will help her to do it. We would love a little grandson. Well, enough chit-chat, I think I will finally go to bed, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE pray for our court date soon and a successful process.

It is so wonderful to have all my paperwork in and it is not likely that we will have anymore to do. But, we will see what the judge says as he is the boss;-). None of our documents expire until middle of May so we should be alright unless the judge comes up with something we never dreamed. I think we have covered all of our bases. But, only time will tell next week or maybe the following two weeks. Then I expect before the first of May we should be traveling.

The house is so peaceful right now. Duane is sleeping in the bed next to me. The children are in dreamland in their beds and Little Trisha is sleeping in the sitting room next to our bedroom on the big comfy couch. I kept the girls this weekend and bought summer clothes for them. They had a ball although Grandmother is a bit of a nervous grouch....we still had fun. My kids and grand kids are the greatest.

My I can't imagine my life without them. Harley motorcycles, and traveling the world over is great....but, my kids give me a feeling of youth and gusto mingled with great joy. Praise God that He had the infinite wisdom to know what is best for our life, as if it would have been up to me, I would probably have messed things up horribly!!!!! Thank you God for taking care of me. I'll keep you posted of any news we get. Many blessings!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another busy weekend

Well, we were up early this morning as Christian, Karissa, and Annie all had soccer games and pictures after their games. So it would have been an all day soccer mom day!!!! But, glory hallelujah Kisty took the kids for me as DeeDee had a game, too. While Kisty spent the day at the ball park, I ran errands in preparation for our anticipated court date!!! We should have some news any day next week. I just hope it is soon.

I am having these night mares that Katie Aunna is looking out the window with her little picture book wondering when her mom and papa will return for her. Each night she thinks....will it be tomorrow. Plus, that surgery she endured alone in the hospital has been awful for her. I just want to kiss her boo-boo and make it well.

I miss her so extremely much and can not wait to see the excitement in her face when she sees us coming for her. I am taking a very pretty party dress so we can have a farewell party for her at the orphanage. God is so good to allow us to go and so what ever date He sets will be glorified by us and appreciated.

It was our hope to go on the 14th but this just would not give the Russian translators time to translate the dossiers, then give it to the facilitator to review, and next have the judge look over the documents. So I would much rather they all do their jobs and make sure they do not need any more papers. I don't want to rush over there and not be able to complete the adoption without trying to gather documents from over there. So God has given reason to my mind for the delay. I know He knows the best timing!!!! We give Him the glory for bringing us this far and allowing us the opportunity to add our darling Katie Aunna to our family.

When we hear the blessed news officially we will let you know. Check the blog periodically. All documents are now complete and are in translation. It has gone too far now to get cold feet!!! I do wish this would happen soon though, as I feel like my paper pregnancy is bursting to deliver within the next few weeks;-). Many blessing!!!! We will announce the date just as soon as we officially know!!!!!