Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Please Help Natasha!

So, today being the last day of November, it is also the last day of National Adoption Month.  I hope you all read my earlier post and took it to heart!

Recently on my FRUA Families for Russian and Ukranian Adoption) Facebook page, this little girl was profiled as needing a home.  The woman who posted the entry is Russian and is a volunteer with a foundation there to help abandoned children.  Everyone who has met this little girl says she is an absolute joy.  She's had some VERY serious medical needs, but is doing very well after having numerous surgeries and is cognitively just fine!  I cannot stop thinking about her, wishing I could go scoop her up and bring her home.  But I can't.  I cannot save every Russian orphan, unfortunately.  So, in an effort to help find her a home, I'm posting about her here.  If you can help with a donation through Reece's Rainbow (tax deductible) or know somebody who may be interested, please spread the word and/or contact the agency she's offered through, HAPS New Jersey International Adoption Agency.  Or you could even email the woman who posted about her, Natalia Zimina at

So, without further adieu, here is a link to Natasha's profile (her nickname is Tera!).  Please help if you can!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Please, Consider Adoption!

As I sit here and write (for the second time in a month!), my kids are upstairs sleeping.  Sleeping, in their warm beds, with food in their bellies, clean from a bath, knowing, finally, that they are loved.  Some people would say they're lucky. I say we're lucky to have them--we got the family we wanted.  But there are many children in the world who DON'T have the family they want.

We've had the kids home 9 months, and just hit our one year anniversary of meeting them, and November is National Adoption Month.   These things are making me very introspective about the journey we went through, and about all the children who got left behind.  And there are LOTS of them.

Here are some sobering statistics.  In the U.S. alone, there are over 500,000 in foster care, several hundred thousand of which are available for adoption.  At least 13 million children worldwide are true orphans, without the care of either parent or any family members.  In Russia, where our children were born, there are over 700,000 children in need of a family, most for social reasons.  SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND--and Russia has half the population of the US.  Russia is one of the top three countries from which Americans bring home children, the other two being China and Ethiopia. 
The fact is, nothing good awaits these children in other countries if they are not adopted.  These countries have no social safety net, and there's no way to get an education there without a family.  Once the kids age out of the system, they are pretty much invisible people.  The most recent stats I read for Russia stated that every year, 10,000 children age 16 or 17 leave Russian orphanages.  85% of those children turn to crime, drugs, and prostitution.  500 every year commit suicide because of the hopelessness.  I would bet my life savings that the statistics are not much better for China and Ethiopia.  And, the fact is, its not much better here for kids who leave foster care.  

So, my plea is--PLEASE CONSIDER ADOPTION.  Whether it be domestic infant (there's a special need for homes for minority children!), U.S. foster care, or international, children need homes.  Yes, most adoptions cost money (U.S. foster care adoptions are generally free), but I'm sure, honestly, many people could evaluate their lifestyle and realize they have a lot more than they realize.  How many lattes do you drink a week? Or energy drinks? How many trips do you take?  Do you feel the need to have a new car every 2 or 3 years?  These things may seem important, but they're not.  Not when you think about the fact you literally could be saving a life.  And I can tell you from experience, I cannot imagine loving kids more than I love these kids.  Every person I've ever talked to who has bio kids and adopted kids has told me there's absolutely no difference in the love for an adopted child vs. a bio kid.  From the moment these kids were brought to us in a hotel room at 9 am on a Tuesday in Arkhangelsk, Russia, they were mine. 

So, before I get off my soapbox, here are  few links to different websites.

Our agency, Adoption Associates, does both domestic infant and International.

Bethany Christian Services is another well respected agency that does both domestic and international.

For info on U.S. Foster adoptions, check out the link below or talk to your state Department of Social Services.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Fun

And AGAIN, it's been two months since I wrote something here. Absolutely pathetic. I REALLY need to make it a point to do this at least once a month. I always have something to say, of course. It's just sitting down and finding the time to do it!

We've been having a great fall so far. The kids are doing awesome. We're soooo busy though, before I know it, it'll be Thanksgiving (which we may host this year) and then the kids' first Christmas! So excited for that! Aaaahhh, can't get ahead of myself.

So, what we've been up to consists of this:
Monday morning, T has pre-school. She is still doing awesome, from what her teachers are saying. They love her.

Tuesday morning, T has dance. She loves it and smiles from ear to ear the whole time she's in the studio. It's so freaking cute.
Wednesday morning, T has school and C has library story time. I like going to the library, but the part he likes the best is the music stuff and the playing after. I have to remember, HE IS TWO. (Although now, closer to THREE!)
Thursday, our free day of the week.
Friday, T has school and C has gymnastics, which he has taken to like a duck to water. His teacher says the things he can do already are NOT typical of a child his age, i.e., he has excellent motor skills and coordination.
Most Saturdays, I go to yoga class (thank god) and Brian takes the kids into town to go to Great Harvest Bread Company to buy our yummy loaf for the week. Double Cinnamon Chip makes PHENOMENAL French toast on Sunday mornings.

So, we are a pretty busy bunch. Almost every weekend from mid-September through October was/is too busy for my yoga (bummer) and then B has all his hunting stuff in November. Grrrrr...... Also, B still does travel, quite a bit at times, so sometimes I'm totally solo. That's why all of Cola's activities are at times when Tania's at school. I have to participate with him in these things because of his age, and there's no place for her, you know? If he has to come to her dance class, its fine, because I have to wait outside with the other moms and look through the glass windows anyway. So, he could play or run up and down the hallway (it's in an enclosed strip mall type place) for the 45 minutes.

Have a great fall y'all! (Cheesy, I know).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Fun!


I am a pathetic blogger. I have friends who have kids smaller than mine who post every week! I feel like a LOSER. :) But honestly, as you fellow Moms know, its hard to get much done during the day that involves 5 minutes to yourself, and at night, I generally either just want to watch TV with Brian or go to bed.

Also, its been a super busy summer, which for us is a good thing. I know summers are normally chaotic, but we've had a structured one, with quite a few activities. Tania has been in school 2 days a week all summer, Tuesday and Friday morning, and she's doing AWESOME. She loves it and they are really great with her. After Labor Day, I'm going to start her in 3 mornings a week, which is a fairly typical 4 year old schedule. I really hope she'll be ready for kindergarten in a year.

Cola has had his LESA playgroup for most of the summer and also a few field trips to different places, like petting zoos and things. On Tuesday, he took his first horse back ride and loved it! He also chased around a potbellied pig named Boris (how ironic!). He and I WERE going to story time once a week at Borders, but alas, that's no more. I think I'm going to check out the Community Ed and look for a class to register him for (like tumbling or something, the boy has boundless energy for jumping and thumping) and maybe dance for her. I think those would be fun. Next Spring/Summer, I definitely want them in swim class, since Cola fell in my mom's pool a while back and was bobbing up and down like a buoy. Luckily, their Uncle Grant literally vaulted in there and grabbed him right away. But they both still love the pool!

Tania did great since her dental work and eye surgeries. She is SO beautiful. I mean, she was always beautiful to us, but now, wow, she's a knockout. And he is the cutest little poop ever to live, everybody says so. He's still so tiny though, but we're starting to think that's just him! So, we're just updating all their shots and I'm trying not to fret about it anymore.

Okay, since Brian's gone camping, I really just want to get some rest, because of course they'll have me up at 6 am tomorrow or something. I really will try to post more for my loyal followers! Ha!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just the Three of Us...

So, Brian is gone this entire week. He won't be home until Friday morning. This is the longest he's left the kids and I in the nearly four months we've been home. I'm both anxious and calm about it. Anxious because it's a long time for him to be gone and me to be alone with the kiddos all on my own, but also calm because I know everything'll be okay. I just know that when ge gets home, I'll immediately want to turn them over to him! Ha ha. But, we have a fairly busy week. Tomorrow, my aunt Margaret is coming to visit. She hasn't seen us since she stayed when Tania was sickly the first time he left us. They are so different, WE are so different. I think she's going to be shocked! Tuesday is Cola's playgroup, and Wednesday our social worker is coming for our first official post placement visit. I think she's gojng to be very pleased with what she sees!

As you can tell, things are a TON better around here. I think we're through most of our transition. It was short but traumatic! At one month in, I felt like a crazy person, at two months, I was starting to see the light at the tunnel, and three months in, I let out a huge sigh of relief and thought, "Wow, this is gotten pretty good!". And now, we're four months in, and I love these little monsters so much! Cola is the sweetest little boy and Tania is such a beautiful, smart little girl it's scary! I'm so excited for her to start pre-school in a week. I think she's going to thrive. She seems excited and she can start in some catch up learning.

Time to sign off and watch some "Game of Thrones" since the kids are sleeping!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Me!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there! I myself had a great day. We had breakfast out at IHOP and the kids did great, then I cleaned my upstairs (I know, cleaning on Mom's Day? Well, it makes me happy), and then grocery shopping BY MYSELF. Then, played outside with the kids and Brian and had a delicious barbecue dinner. A good day!

Lots of stuff has been going on here, and it's pretty much all good! The kids sleeping is doing GREAT. Cola is sleeping through the night every night an average of 9.5-10.5 hours with a good nap in the afternoon, and Tania is sleeping through the vast majority of nights about 10-11 hours, so Brian and I finally feel rested again, and like a couple again, as we have some time to spend by ourselves. Also, Cola's been doing a playgroup through the county for 2 year olds, and I think its great. He's also getting speech once a month, and the therapist thinks he'll catch up wonderfully! Tania is starting preschool after Memorial Day, and I'm super excited about that--I think she'll thrive. At that point, she'll be evaluated for speech and other services through the school district. We think they're both doing awesome with it! They never shut up. We don't catch everything that they say, but they are vocalizing like crazy, whether it's English, Russian or gibberish and that's half the battle.

The few bad/anxious things going on are that Tania is having her major dental work done Tuesday. I am VERY nervous about it, both how she's going to do and having to leave Cola. He's going to stay with our neighbor for the morning, and he knows her and her two daughters well now, but it's the first time we're leaving either one of them with anyone. So, it's going to be an anxious morning for me. The other thing is that we found out recently that Cola is EXTREMELY iron deficient/anemic. He had some of the worst numbers the pediatrician had ever seen. So, he's on a very high dose of iron now, which makes his diapers pretty interesting. I'll stop right there. :)

I have more to say, but I'll save it for another post!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm Not Trying to Count My Chickens....

BUT, it feels like we've hit a MAJOR turning point here with the sleep issue!!!

So those of you who are on Facebook with me know that Cola has magically started taking naps in his own bed. It actually wasn't magical--it was me reading a book on sleep, and figuring out his cues and that he has a fairly strong internal body clock. He's ready for a nap right around 7 hours after waking, maybe sooner if we have an active morning. I've learned not to miss the nap window so he doesn't get too wound up and then not want to fall asleep. Also, I feel that this HAS to mean he's feeling more comfortable too, in his big bed, that he can fall asleep there. Unless you've dealt with a child who doesn't go down easily, you can't understand how much it means that I don't have to drive him around every day, especially with gas hitting possibly $5 a gallon. You have to lay with him to get him to go down, but since we figured it out, it's not taken more than 15 minutes! When we were first home, it would take an hour of screaming to get him to go down for less than an hour nap. So, I'll take 15 minutes for an hour and a half or more nap! Yay!!! The next step would be to get him to sleep independently at night, but that may take time. He's still so little and he can't communicate much yet (but more all the time!), that sometimes he just wakes up and cries.

NEXT--TANIA SLEPT IN HER OWN BED LAST NIGHT WITHOUT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been preparing her for this, that this is what big girls do, and that Mama is always close by and will come if she calls, etc. Last night, I was feeling really patient, honestly, and for some reason, it just felt like "the night." So, I told her it was time for that. She didn't protest, but wasn't thrilled, either. I explained that if she woke up, her drink was on her bedside table, she could call for me, or could come and get me in my room, etc. It took her almost 2 hours to fall asleep, she was so nervous. Finally, at 9:45 pm, with several false starts, she was out. I hardly slept a wink, I was so nervous myself about how this was going to go. I expected HUGE screams. She woke up at 2 am and called to me, and I went immediately. She wasn't hysterical, which is GREAT. She had her drink and went right back to sleep. (I wish I could have!) She then woke up at 5:30, and was slightly more agitated, but not bad. I took her to the bathroom and then showed her where I'd been sleeping in "Mama and Papa bed" and then we went back to her room. I tried to leave after she dozed off, but she immediately woke up. So, I decided it wasn't worth leaving and laid down with her until 7. I am running on empty today, but it feels great. Now that I know she CAN do this, life seems good. I am excited for tonight, as she seems pretty proud of herself today and we've had a great day so far!

So, that's the big news I promised this morning. To many of you, this may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, when you've dealt with this sort of issue, you'll understand!