Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our court paperwork is on the way!

Well, this has been one hectic week! We are excited to say that I went to the Secretary of State this morning and our documents are on their way to Dallas. They are expected to arrive in our case manager's hands at 10:30 in the morning. Copies are all made, so she should be able to send them right to Russia.

Once they arrive in Russia, the Russian staff will translate them and then submit them. This is where the "hurry up and wait" part comes in again. We hurried to get everything in and now we wait for the judge to assign a court date.

Please pray for favor with the judge so that he or she will have an urgency in his/her heart to quickly assign our date.

David and Amy

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Update and prayer request!

Great news! We got all of our documents that we will need to send to Russia to get a court date. The lady at the appraisal district signed the letter that we needed. This has been a battle that has been going on for many weeks now. Praise the Lord that she finally did what we needed her to do! I got to pick up one more letter from our social worker on Monday.

I will then take all documents to the Secretary of State's office in order to have an apostille placed on each one. They will be closed on Monday for President's Day, so I will have to be there bright and early on Tuesday. We will then overnight everything to our agency and from there they will send it to Russia to be translated.

We need prayer! Please pray for a speedy court date. We want to go back as soon as possible!

I never dreamed that it would be this hard to be away from her. This has been a very difficult week for us! We know the Lord is control and His timing is perfect.

Monday, February 13, 2012

We are home.

I titled the blog ending it with an exclamation point and then retyped it ending in a period. It is such a bittersweet time. We are thankful to be home where it is familiar but are so sad that we are home without her.

On Saturday, we checked out of our hotel at noon and were picked up by Natasha. We drove to the Hermitage museum for a tour. Words or pictures cannot even begin to describe this place. With a large part of the items in storage and not even displayed, it would still take 7 years to spend one minute at each exhibit. This should give you some idea of the size. Paintings, sculptures, etc. from all over the world.....including the famous one "The Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt. We basically just walked through the place with our mouths wide open trying to take in what we were seeing. If you ever get a chance to go to St. Pete, this place is a must see!

Now here are the details of our last meeting. It was a Saturday, so there was not a whole lot going on at the baby home. They brought her to us and she was as cute as ever. I felt like we had such a great amount of time to play with her. She had on about 4 layers and the room was extremely hot. They like to keep the babies warm there. We noticed so much that really encouraged our hearts about her. In just 3 visits and those few hours of one on one attention, we saw many positive changes with her. I am blown away by this and can't wait to see how far she comes when she gets to be with her forever family! After about 2 hours came the time we were not looking forward to....the time for them to take her away. We sadly told her bye and the caregiver took her along with all the items that we left with her. I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut at this point. I soon after had the urgent desire to get home so we could get everything done to get back here as soon as possible. I talked with Natasha about how hard it was to leave her and she agreed it was the most difficult part of the process. She too wished that we could have taken her. We then drove to the airport and were thankful that we were able to end the trip with one last visit with her.

I wanted to call each and every one of you to tell you that we were home, but I feel asleep around 8:00 pm. We had quite the day(s) of travel to get home. We left St. Pete at 8:30 P.M their time and arrived in Frankfurt, Germany at 8:45 P.M. It looks as though our flight was 15 minutes, but no there is a 3 hour time change in there. This was our first gain of 3 hours. We arrived in Germany and spent the night in the recliners at the airport to be able to catch our flight the next morning at 8:10 German time. We left Germany and flew for 8 hours to land in Chicago at 10:00 central time (another time change). We caught our next flight in Chicago at 12:10 and arrived in Houston around 3:00 PM. We were laughing because we basically experienced Sunday two times! We left Houston around 5:30 and drove back to Buda.

I know you all are excited for me to post pictures, but I am sad to say that I cannot. She is in our hearts "ours", but legally she won't be until after court. We are being over the top careful until then. I wish I could sit down with each of you and show you the pictures and the video that we have. I think I have watched the videos three times and can't even tell you how many times I have looked at the pictures. We are in awe of her and can't believe that she will soon be home with us.

I know you are wondering what is next. Well, it is a bit complicated and frustrating. We now have to wait for our court date. Natasha is thinking this will take 2 months. Here is where the prayer request comes. Please pray that the judge that we are assigned will move forward quickly and give us a court date. There is a adoption treaty between the US and Russia that was signed last summer. It was signed by both sides, but Russia has not ratified it yet. Natasha's team heard it should be ratified in a month. Some judges are unaffected by this and are continuing to assign court dates. Others are holding off on assigning court dates until the treaty is officially ratified. Pray our judge is one that will go ahead and give our date.

After court, we return home to wait the official 30 days before we go back to get her (trip 3). As you can only imagine this is a hard waiting time for us. Pray for us!

I am going to try to keep this blog going in between trips. In the meantime, please feel free to ask any questions about the process. We love to share about our journey.

Thank you for praying for us. We have seen so much of the Lord's favor with this little girl's life and with us on trip one. What an amazing testimony she has and will be able to share one day!

David and Amy

Friday, February 10, 2012

Time with our little girl

Hi everyone!

We went to the baby home this morning to see Riley Ann! We had so much fun together. I have some great pictures of her interaction with Amy. At one point she was saying, "Mummumumum". We are not sure whether she is trying to say "mom" or not. Amy was the one holding her. She did not say it when I was holding her. After a while, she did reach for me. At that time I happily took her from Amy and began to play.

Ok. We did over stimulate her a little bit with the toys we brought, and we had a good time doing it.

She did enjoy it when I picked her up in the air from the floor by the waist and put her back down over and over again. She did get a little over heated after our playing and we had to remove one of her layers of clothing. I think there were four. She was much happier after we did this. We offered her a cheese rabbit that Amy likes to eat and after showing her how to eat it. She was happy to do so.

We had a great time with her today. We were given permission to spend time with her tomorrow before we go to the airport for our flight home.

Please pray that we can get the letter we need from the Appraisal District and notarized documents from my doctor, so we can get our next set of documents to Russia. We want to bring her home soon!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our meeting!

We are excited to say that we met her and she is adorable!

We arrived at the baby home and remained in the waiting area until they brought her to us. We began interacting with her on the sofas in the waiting area until we were able to move to the music room. Here we were able to sit in the floor and just play. We brought a set of stacking bowls that she seemed to like. Her absolute favorite toy was one that another family in the same room had brought for their little girl. They kindly gave the toy to Riley Ann. We spent probably an hour with her. She is extremely energetic. We each had time with her and we were able to gather lots of pictures. Our visit was right after lunch, so she grew sleepy towards the end of our visit. I think she probably would have curled up in my arms and fallen asleep. David had her in his arms when the caregiver came to take her. She was hesitant to go with her and acted as she wanted to stay with him. The caregiver even made a comment about how she seemed to want to stay with "daddy". Of course she said it in Russian!

We can't wait to go back tomorrow to see her. We also get to see her on Saturday since we had a change in schedule due to the second doctor visit that was required.

Speaking of the doctor visit, we had our 8 doctor medical visit. Normally we would have done this on trip 2 for court. Since David needed his complete check for this trip, I went ahead and had mine too. We started early in the morning and ended around 10:30. The Lord gave us favor with the doctors because they were all there bright and early with just less than a day's notice of the appointment. They were so delightful to work with and we grew so attached to the hospital administrator. She was so hospitable to us. She had us in her office and gave us many cups of tea and goodies in between doctors. We saw a neurologist, oncologist, psychologist, cardiologist, dermatologist, pulmonologist, infectious disease doctor, and a general practice doctor. We also had full panel of blood work done. The great news is that we checked out just fine! They all signed off and this is exactly what the adoption committee needed.

It is currently 5:30 pm (we are ten hours ahead) and it has been a full day. It has been so great for us to see this side of the adoption process and how hard the staff here works.

I will post again tomorrow after our visit to the baby home and our trip to Paul and Peter's fortress.

David and Amy

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 3


Today was a jammed packed day. We went to the adoption committee this morning and found out that we need one more piece of information before we can officially be invited to meet our little girl. It is something that is very easy to gather and we can get it all taken care of tomorrow morning.

The committee had David go see a doctor yesterday because of something in our home study. That checked out. This morning we found out he must complete the rest of the medical examination. We were assured by the committee that everything is ok.

We will write again tomorrow with an update.

David and Amy

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 2

Today started off at 6:00 with breakfast and Natasha picking us up from the hotel lobby at 7:50. We had a nice breakfast and we were off to do one adoption related item. This whole process was extremely smooth and put us on track for tomorrow's visit.

After we were dropped off at the hotel, we walked across the street to a beautiful cemetery. This is where many of the people who are considered masters of the arts are buried. Pytor Tchaikovsky is here. We have lots of pictures and video of our visit!

After the cemetery, we had a nice lunch at a little cafe close to the hotel. We then came back to the room to rest a bit.

We are currently in the room. I am on the computer. David is reading the St. Pete tour guide book and watching Russian TV. The focus of the program seems to be popular music.

The weather is cold. The good news is that it is not windy and it is sunny. These two factors make it pretty tolerable for short periods if you are layered and dressed properly.

Tomorrow is our biggest day for sure. We are meeting Natasha at 9:30 in the lobby and going to meet the adoption committee to receive official permission to meet our little one in the baby home. We found out that our meeting with the committee consist of us with one person. In our minds, we thought many more people would be involved. This was great news for us to hear.

Afterwards, we head to the baby home. What an amazing thought and I really can't believe that it is happening tomorrow!

I loved talking with Natasha today about our little daughter. It is so fun to meet someone who have actually met and interacted with her. She talked about how cute she is and gave us some more insight about her. Natasha is so precious and you can tell that she thoroughly cares for the children. She just leads us and we follow! For all the worriers out there, she is taking great care of us. We know exactly what to expect every second we are with her. We are growing very attached to her!

It is almost 7 in the evening here. We are about to go down for dinner and visit the shops down the street.

Thank you all for praying for us. We feel very safe and thrilled to be here! We will update tomorrow evening (morning for you) after we return from our visit to the baby home.

David and Amy

Monday, February 6, 2012

Praise the LORD we made it to Saint Petersburg!

We are in our hotel room right now about to go to bed. It is 8:32 p.m. here.

Natasha picked us up from the airport. She is a sweet lady and we look forward to our time here with her.

Y'all should see this hotel! It resides in a huge building with many shops, restuarants, and a supermarket.

Amy and I went to the supermarket to get some water tonight. Also, we walked over to McDonald's for a Big Mac. I had one. Amy wasn't hungry.

We are looking forward to our day tomorrow to explore Saint Petersburg, but Wednesday is the big day!!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One week from today!

One week from today we will meet our little girl! I wish the time would go faster, but we need every minute of it!