Friday, March 30, 2012

Texas, here we come

We are almost home! We had our U S Embassy appointment this morning. The lady that did our interview for Mila's visa was from Texas, so she was so excited to talk to us, and vise-versa. There was 3 other adopting families there. It was nice to be around other Americans. All the other adoptive children...all of which were Mila's age, were sitting quietly in their parents laps. NOT mine! She was laughing and walking from chair to chair to chair, and wanting to go all over the place! It was fun though. everyone laughed and got a good show. (Left me EXTREMELY excited for the plane ride home...should be a blast:)

We are at the Peking hotel. It is very nice. The rooms are very elegant, with ornate details.

I LOVE the breakfast here. There are several dishes I will be attempting to make when I get home.

Moscow and Krasnoyarsk are VERY different. Moscow is very big. A LOT of people are all crammed in here. BUT... There are a lot of beautiful buildings EVERYWHERE. The architecture is just stunning. I LOVE the colors of the roof tops.

                    Moscow                                             Krasnoyarsk
There is always traffic, and there are a ton of cars. I believe the lines on the roads are merely "suggestions".... we've gone 4 wide on a 2 lane rd MANY times. It is very different from America. (this is ALL of Russia, not just Moscow) Everyone is in a great hurry/rush all the time. I will be so glad to go back to podunky Leonard and take it slloowwww for a while.
Not to mention, Dawn, up at Sonic is probably getting a little worried as to where we are!!! (that's not a joke, she probably really is :)

It's been a yucky couple of days here. Mixture of snow and rain everyday. Its not near as cold as it was last time we were here, so that is good. I have gotten used to the cold. We keep our window open in the hotel and always have to open it in the taxis. I figured out the problem is that there is never circulating air. We are so used to ceiling fans and mobile fans and a/c and just air moving, that when you are somewhere where it does not move it is SO UNCOMFORTABLE.

Im so excited to hit Texas in the spring. (Feel like I've been gone forever) In Texas, around this time there are bluebonnets everywhere

 (Texas state flower) It is a wildflower that grows in huge patches on the side of the roads and fields and hills and everywhere.
There are always people stopped on the side of the road taking the "traditional family bluebonnet picture."  I keep getting these pictures from family and friends and I am ready to get HOME!!!
Here is my sister's family....
                                    (Hope you don't mind, Heather :)

As Texans this is most of our favorite time of year...before "Hell" arrives, also known as Summer.

The best part of this  post today:

 Passport......... "CHECK!"

Visa to America.... "CHECK!"


E-Tickets to go to America....."CHECK!"

One excited cutie patootie....


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Where's Weirdo?

I have sooo enjoyed the past 2 days bonding with Mila. I feel like she is MINE. Like she was hand picked for ME and my family.
I have watched her begin to trust me, and that trust is turning into LOVE. I'm no longer that crazy lady that comes to visit her and makes her laugh. Now, I get to be MOM. I truly believe that the yearn and NEED for a mother/mothering is born within each of us. Even many orphans display this "lack of" by rocking back and forth to sooth and comfort themselves. They KNOW that someone is supposed to be doing that deep down inside, so they do it for themselves (not knowing why, just that it comforts them) BEFORE...when I would see "rocking" exhibited on TV or movie etc.. I would think "crazy"....not anymore. No matter what age a person is, when things are not "right" you can see them "rocking." Everyone needs that motherly contact. That reassurance that it will all be okay. It all makes so much sense now. I have seen a different Mila the past 2 days. I have seen a different ME. I have had the pleasure of watching a little girl's eyes change before me. Well, not her eyes, but what is behind them. I always knew she liked me, but to watch and FEEL that "like" turn deeper...into a "LOVE" is truly unexplainable. I will never be able to explain what it feels like. I find myself holding her like a baby and rocking her while I rub her cheeks and she just smile a pure smile of comfort, probably for the first time in her entire life. She smiles a different smile, a more genuine smile. I'm finding out her quirks, and her likes and dislikes. I talk to her and narrate all day long (narrate is my fun way of saying I talk to myself out loud...a lot :) I will then say "come here Mila" She looks at me and then I will say it in Russian and her eyes get big and she smiles so big and BAM ! I'm hit with humility. Not only is she learning to trust and accept and LOVE...She doesn't understand a word I am saying!!! We are just sooo in sync with each other and I feel so close to her I just forget sometimes. When I see her face light up and she races towards me...I always think how amazing just everything is.
After adopting from an orphanage, and spending 24 hours a day  you start to notice their "coping behaviors." Some rock, some bite themselves, some bang their heads gently on things, some NOT so gently. There are many different soothing methods they teach themselves. I have been prepared for whatever it may be. Well...I figured Mila's out. She made friends with her left foot! I know, I know it sounds so strange, but seriously!!! She sucks her tongue when she is tired (which, my Hope did also.)  At night the first 2 nights she slept with us. I tried to cover her up and she was almost distressed, quickly ripping the covers off of her left foot. Then she would bring her foot up to her face and love on it. It occurred to me momentarily that this might be what she was doing, then I dismissed it...that is just way weird. Well I kept noticing this bond, especially when laying or when she was tired with her left foot. She seemed to show "lefty" her stuffed animals...her she tried to feed "lefty" some of her sippy and I knew it! This was her "not so imaginary" friend.
Over the last 24 hour we have had this amazing mother daughter bonding. I haven't noticed much of "lefty" today. As funny/weird as it sounds.....Once you think about totally makes sense for a baby struggling for comfort to come up with..pretty smart if you ask me!!!

That brings me to my next point. This sweet little angel SOMEHOW is 100% mine, DNA and all...not because of the physical characteristics that DNA gives you, but see, for some unknown reason...... my husband's DNA and my DNA ..together....concoct a very special, rare form of weirdo. all my kids have it. There really is no other explanation.
(The one on the left is not mine, Though, she is related, I will not reveal as to who's side of the family, mine or Gary's, she comes from so as to not further implicate this particular side of the family for perhaps being the weirder of the two...)

I also believe that the "weird" gene is contained within the 21st chromosome. So...given all this scientific information, imagine what happens when that 21st chromosome is TRIPLICATED!!! Well, I'll just show you what happens

                 in the WORLD my husband's DNA and my DNA got mixed together and inserted INSIDE some Russian lady thousands of miles away is BEYOND me!!!! I just cant believe in this HUGE world we live in, it only took me 2 years to find her! That was a tricky little game God played on us:) Kinda like Where's Waldo...but not.

These two are definitely sisters from another mister, and I cannot wait to get her home!!!

By the way...That 21st chromosome may contain the "weird" gene, but it also contains the LOVE gene, and the funny gene, and the sweet gene and I'm sad to say....

The MESSY gene!!!!

I know what you're all thinking right now......"Luckeeeeeeeey"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Orphan NO MORE

*All the mishaps, extra time, delays, heartaches, and worrying have all led up to this point....and they were all ABSOLUTELY worth it! Yesterday was Gotcha Day. This is the day that the child is "removed" from the orphanage. It was SO bittersweet. I came to love and appreciate and look forward to seeing EACH and every face at that orphanage. Gary has video which we will post later. She was sent off with all of her belongings (by belongings I mean the things WE bought for her.) She has absolutely nothing to her name. Even the diaper she had on came from us. OH.... She did have 1 possession. Her workers hurried before we left to get her crucifix with a string around it. This is the ONLY possession she had. I believe it was given to her by the priest who baptized her at a few days old when she lay motherless in a hospital room.  They asked if I would be seeing Nastia (now "Phoebe".)  Phoebe was Mila's best friend in her groupa at the orphanage.
          Phoebe was adopted in December by the Smith family in Ohio.

 Lisa Smith and I stayed close during our adoption processes and remain close. ANYWAY.....
So, they asked if I would be seeing Phoebe, because they had her crucifix also.
They were both wrapped very nicely in a piece of paper. Each with their names on it. They made sure that I knew which was which. This is important, as it is their only worldly possession and I'm sure was given to "protect" them. I am very thankful to have this.

(BTW: Lisa, Phoebe's is pictured on the right neatly folded up. I will get this to you as soon as I get home:)

So here is Mila all bundled up in her car seat ready to go!!! WITH ear covers (Lisa warned me ahead of time to be sure to get a hat that cover her ears, she DID NOT do this and had to buy one here)

We headed straight to the photo shop to take her passport pictures:

Then we got to go "home" (to the apartment)

She was a little timid at first

soon enough, she was everywhere!

She admired the outside (it's no Texas, though)

Mommy gave her her very first mommy bath

Then we ate... IN BED... and layed by mom and dad
                                       And quickly, we ALL fell asleep.

Morning came and Mila was a little confused, 

until mommy gave her her tiger and rhino and she smiled...It all WASN'T a dream...

                           We had breakfast in bed..AGAIN...SOOO fun!!!

 And we are planning on living happily ever after, an orphan no more.


Friday, March 16, 2012


$2,000..... That is my goal by Sunday. ANY amount donated helps. You can hit the Chip In button on the left of this blog, or for a tax deductible donation click on Mila's picture on the Right side bar. I'm out of energy and drive. I was planning on a big fundraiser garage sale on Saturday, but I just can't do it. We are swamped with getting ready to leave, work, and the kids/house. Gathering paperwork, booking tickets (Thanks to some generous Delta donors, and all the miles we accumulated traveling overseas!)
SO... We put our farm truck up for sale last night, I don't have time to make any more coops.... Maybe just 1 more.
Finishing and delivering 1 this morning. My body is so tired!! I know it will all come together...I just  hope it happens b4 we leave.

 I'm excited to finally get our baby girl, but sooo not looking forward to this trip. I have so much to be thankful for though. I realized that there are some really amazing people out there with really big giving hearts. I firmly believe that those who give are blessed. When I say "give" I don't mean just money. Those who give their time, help, service, ANYTHING that helps benefit another.
I have also found that when you need something the most, is when you should give the most yourself. I have received had some amazing experiences with people throughout this adoption that I have either never met, are friends with, or are long lost friends. I truly believe that it is from giving. I know there have been many times that we were trying to make the money and fund-raise and have seen someone else that may need it a little more, or struggling with morale and have given what little we may have had..EVERY TIME it didn't take longer than 2 days and we were blessed double or triple or even quadruple!!  Tests of Faith and Trust. So hard, yet so easy.

I have some big Thank Yous to do when we get home. I'm looking forward to seeing those faces that helped us SO much. I'm looking forward to them seeing what they helped us to achieve. The life they helped us give this precious little girl. She only had a year and a half left in a baby home, then she would have been institutionalized and hidden away and all the light that she was sent down to Earth to share would have been gone. I am so grateful to those with our agency HERE and IN COUNTRY. They truly care about finding these babies homes. They give up so much of their life and time to help others. I hope they all know how much they are needed and appreciated.

I am feeling so many feelings as we draw closer to leaving. I don't have time in life right now to consume myself with worries. Worrying is not going to change anything, only change my attitude throughout the day. It's Friday!! I LOVE Fridays! The sun just broke away from the clouds and Im going outside to get ready to load up this coop, deliver it and come home and listen to A LOT of whining when I tell my kids that we need to clean the house:)

Thank You ALL.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

where did it go???

Well, tickets are purchased and we live in 4 days!!! We used all the money in the FSP for our tickets. I purchased tickets from JFK. WAYYYY cheaper!!! Now we just have to get to JFK!!! We need about 25,000 more miles and we can fly our Delta miles there. Ive been looking at all airlines to find maybe a last minute deal or something!!!! IF all else fails I have a great friend that can get me a flight out of Austin on her buddy passes and we will just drive to Austin and fly to JFK from there. We ARE OPEN TO ANYTHING!!! ??? !!!

We also need about $4000.00
. We have between now and Tuesday. I can honestly say I have not been worried about it at all, BUT...WHERE DID THE TIME GO! Seriously, where did it go!! 3 weeks fly by when you are working to make $$$$ fast. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little nervous today, BUT I also have an awful lot of faith so....

Ending this one short today, gotten chicken coops to build and a sick baby girl. :(
OH yeah, AND I have NO earthly idea what I'm doing with my kids while I'm gone, now THAT I AM stressing about!

Regardless of all the details, on Friday the 23rd baby Mila is MINE! I cannot wait!!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We have 7 days....

Well, I've gotta book tickets TODAY! We will have 7 days before we leave to pick up our little girl. I don't wanna see an airplane again for a long time!

Trying to calculate expenses and add everything up. We will probably have enough miles for 1 ticket or to at least take some of of the cost, so THAT is good. We need about $4,000.00. I have several orders for chicken coops already and I havent even put them up for sale yet!!! I will be a busy bee for the rest of the week!!

If you would like to donate there are 2 buttons. For a tax deductible donation, click on Mila's picture on the Right column of this blog. If you don't care if it is tax deductible or not please click on the chip in button on the Left side of this blog.

We are so excited and so very grateful to everyone that has helped us in any way. THANK YOU!!!!!

We will keep you updated

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Getting CLOSE

OK so, We have a few people donating miles later this week. Exciting!!!  IF we get all the miles that we need, then we just need around 4,000 more dollars. My husband has been working so hard making money to get caught up and AHEAD on our bills from our extended stay last month. I was planning on chicken coop building today, I am building and selling backyard coops that come with egg-layers. Here is the first of many:

Selling them with brown egg layers and green egg layers.

HOPEFULLY the rain and storms will end soon and I can start up again.
I have acquired a firm and true testimony of FAITH throughout this process. You have to have constant faith and trust in the Lord through a process like this, because I don't believe it can be done on your own.
I have learned that I am much stronger than I ever thought I was. I can endure more than I thought I was capable of a year ago. My life is in no way organized. Never has been. BUT with this adoption I have kept it all together, and stayed on top of things.

We are supposed to head out on the 20th. We of course have not bought our tickets yet...My goal is to have them by Monday or Tuesday. We will arrive in Mila's capital city on March 21. How fitting. 3/21 is World Down syndrome Day. The 3 represents 3 copies and the 21 represents the 21st chromosome.
A chromosome that I have come to love and adore. I feel so honored to be chosen to be the mommy of one of these special triplicates.

I am MOST thankful that I was able to see the gift that I had been given. I see it, and I crave it. I feel so much joy so deep in my heart when I see this smile and feel the grasp of her tight little hugs. Sometimes I feel like she is gonna just burst , she gets so excited just to have me sit by her and love on her. What an amazing gift we have BOTH been given. I'm thankful that I was able to find my Mila, from the other side of the world. She will be able to let go, and simply BE. She will be able to LOVE and hug and kiss and run and be as goofy as she wants. She will get claps and pats on the back and tearful proud moments from a real mommy and daddy. She will have a safe haven at home and with all those around her who have been taught and educated and will never judge her by what she can't do-she will not know the word .....CAN'T. Her brother and sisters will love her and accept her just like she was born into our family. JUST LIKE they LOVE that little goober pictured above:)

Educate yourselves. Educate your kids. These kids are smart. They are willing. They ARE special.
I wish the rest of the world could see that too.