Our Family

Our Family

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Russian Ban

Yesterday Putin signed a bill banning American families from adopting Russian children.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Over the last 20 years over 60,000 children have been adopted from Russia and have had new lives here in America.  Of those 60,000 19 have died in the custody of American parents.  When the U.S. signed a new law last week blacklisting certain high ranking officials from doing business and owning property and bank accounts in the U.S. if they are believed to be violating human rights.  In retaliation the Russian government struck back and are not punishing the U.S. government, they are hurting their own children and American families.  They claim that the U.S. is not a safe place for their children because of the 19 deaths mention before.  While it is 19 too many, there were 59,981 successful adoptions with no problems in over 20 years. 

In my new crusade to be more forward I contacted the news media about doing a story about the ban, with NO intention of being interviewed, but when they asked, I said yes, literally threw all the junk and clutter in my dining room and prayed that they would NOT look in that room.  As I have said we have been slowly remodeling our house and we only have two rooms left, but I still get pretty embarrassed by those two rooms!  They are hideous.  But here are the links for the story, if you would like to watch.

http://fox4kc.com/2012/12/28/russian-ban-on-american-adoptions-angers-kck-mom/

I like how they titled it!  It ANGERS me! :-)  Oh, and I said that one day we would LIKE to go back and adopt, but they made it seems like we were going tomorrow.

In all seriousness though, they are only hurting the children, As I mentioned in the interview, Dasha would not of been adopted in Russia.  Simple as that, she would of aged out at 16 and I can only imagine the horrors of how her life would be after that.....

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Program

Friday Dec. 14th was the kids first Christmas program at their preschool.  Camden didn't get to do his program last year because we were in Russia at the time.  Camden, who has been thriving this year, got to be a wise man in their play.  He actually got a big part because he got to travel across the church. I totally admire his teachers because the put together a play with over 40 4-5 year olds, complete with parents making costumes.  Since I don't have a creative bone in my body, I ordered Camden's costume off of Amazon!!! 

Dasha's class also got up there and performed the fastest 3 songs I have ever seen!  It was one of those blink and you miss it type of things, but hey they are 2 year olds.  The little girl next to her blew zerberts the whole time!  Dasha was most definitely the cutest one up there with the best dress!

 All ready for the program
 The cutest wise man ever!

 The kid of the left was having some major costume malfunctions, Camden was the only one who remembered to bow.

 The speaker is in the way, but definitely the cutest one up there.
 Evidence of zerberts in action!
Watching zerbert girl getting told No!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Full Year

Yep, as promised, the last one!  We landed in D.C. one year ago and Dasha became a legal citizen.  In some ways the year has flown by so stinking fast that I can't believe we have been home an entire year, and in other ways it has been an incredibly long and trying year.  I have never fully come out and said it on the blog, but I have hinted at it, and I am very public about it in person, but after we came home I did indeed suffer from P.A.D. (Post Adoption Depression).  The lack of sleep, not being able to eat, a husband who had to go back to working 90 hours a week 2 days after being home, and bring home a child who hated my guts was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. 

I thought I would of had the support of my adoption life group when I got home.  There were 3 of us who all brought home kids within 1 month of each other, and it was determined to not undermine the attachment process, the women would meet one week, and the men would meet the next week.  I was told that I could NOT bring my kids on the woman's week, but that it would be detrimental to Dasha if I hired a babysitter so I could attend.  I got no help from the group that I desperately needed at that time.  Not many people's husbands work 24 hour shifts, it is a unique situation.  My sister and I were on the outs, and though I love my parents to death they didn't understand adopting a child. 

I was all alone, crying at every moment that my kids weren't around, and praying for help.  I decided to email the only person that knew what I was going through.  She may not know it but she helped me more than I could ever imagine.  Those emails back and forth were my saving grace from someone who had "been there, done that."  I also called some my close friends from back in college who also are the TRUE friends that everyone wishes for.  The ones that even though you haven't talked to in years, they will drop everything for you. 

Over the months things really started to improve, Dasha and I definitely formed a bond, and are nicely attached now, and I truly can't even picture our loves without her anymore.  I know she was meant to be in our family.  We defiantly have our moments, but what parent/child relationship doesn't.  Please don't let my experience deter you from adoption, if it helps, I also went through the baby blues after Camden was born, so for me MAJOR life changes affect me pretty significantly.  But I made it through it.  I also have made changes in my life.  I don't wait for people to include me, I seek out my friends, I plan stuff, something that is HUGE for me.  I am a very shy person, and I don't have a lot of self confidence.  I am trying to stay positive and I have even started making strides to improve my relationship with my sister. 

I also know that without God, and my special email friend, I really don't know where I would be without them.

This is my favorite picture of the two of us.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Family Day

This is the big one!  It is family day!  One year ago today we busted Dasha out of the orphanage, went to the hotel for about 30 minutes, and then caught the train.  We were not able to share our initial post until the 15th because of our schedule, but the 14th is Family Day.   My how she has changed in the past year.  Below I posted a photo of Dasha in the same dress, on the same day exactly 1 year apart.  I think she has grown just a little bit!
 
 
Below is the video that we shared to announce Dasha to the world.  If you missed it before, please enjoy.
 


Friday, December 7, 2012

Family Pictures

As you can tell by my top photograph we got family photos recently back in October.  Our photographer did an amazing job.  Here is some of her handiwork.











Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another Anniversary

Yes, another one!  There are only 2 more.  Don't worry I won't do this every year, just the first year as I feel we all celebrate the first year of a child's life a little more than other birthdays.  I have never met anyone who didn't throw their 1 year old a huge party to celebrate that feat, since we don't get the 1st birthday, we get the first year together. 

 
Well our anniversary today is DA day.  On Dec. 2nd 2011 the judge came back and literally said "DA!"  We were officially a family of 4.  It was a bittersweet day for me.  I was happy because we had been granted the custody of a beautiful little girl, and it was sad that our fun family of 3 was no more.  I would not change it for anything though.  We have definitely had our ups and downs, but we are on a steady uphill track. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Warning: Rant Ahead

When we decided to adopt we researched both domestic and international adoption.  Pros for domestic, cheaper, maybe even free, and helping a "local" child.  Cons: Open adoption, years of court trying to get parental rights terminated, and risk of a judge overturning the adoption later on.  Yes it has happened. 

Pros of International adoption: Child is AVAILABLE at that moment for adoption, child is living in an institution and the want these children to be adopted.  No bio parents or family to come back later wanting their child back. Cons: cost.

In the end after a lot of prayer, we decided International.  My husband is a fireman, I am a stay-at-home mom, we are not millionaires.  But we knew we could do it.  By the way, half of the cost of International Adoption is the travel. 

When we were in process we got comments of, "Buy American."  That just really stung because why do people think that one child deserves to be adopted over another child just because of citizenship?  Well, we finished and in total our costs were just under $50,000.  The government offers a tax credit in the year that we completed the adoption of $13,170.  Seems like a lot of money yes?  Well after spend $50,000, it was an answered prayer to restore our savings.  Unlike the rest of America we buy what we can afford, we spend money that we have.  We do not play the credit game. 

Well after this year the adoption tax credit ends for families and is reduced to $6000 and only applies to families who adopt "special needs" children.  That means that most families will not qualify anymore for the tax credit.  And just so you know, Domestic Infant Adoption runs on average $25,000.  I have petitioned my congressman and senator to extend the tax credit for future families.  Today someone shared a page on Facebook for the Save the Adoption Tax Credit I went over to look at it.  I was reading some of the comments and I was truly appalled.  One poster posted a PowerPoint that people who adopt internationally should NOT receive any tax credit because we are ELITE people who do not need the finances back.  And that we are "purchasing" a child.  I finally lost it and responded to them.  I was firm but not offensive.  In my opinion.  It just makes me so angry that people who feel that children in orphanages deserve less because they are not American Citizens yet.  In this power point also it showed children who have been killed by their American adopted parents.  Guess what, it happens to "American" children who are adopted also.  It infuriates me that people can be so narrow minded.  I know that people are not going to change just because they get called out, but I hope that before you think less of a parent who has adopted internationally, I hope you watch this video of A LOT of Russia-born babies, who are now ALL American Citizens and are going to do AMAZING THINGS!
Also if you watch, pay attention around 4:36 you might see some local celebrities.  I know I am not a great writer and I am sure that what I needed to say could of been said SOO much better, but I needed to say it and get it out there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cruisin'


Yes, we are sailing on the Disney Magic on Feb. 5th for a 4 night cruise  out of Galveston, TX!  I am so excited for all of us!  None of us have been on a cruise and just know that we ALL are going to have a wonderful time.

The not so fun part is we are driving to Galveston.  That would be 12 hours in the car, in 1 day... Yes we are a glutton for punishment!  We were able to score a super slick deal on a cruise, about $1000 less than a normal cruise with them, so we decided that the kids could miss a week of school to go on this little excursion.  I have a friend who used to work for Disney on the Magic and she still has a lot of friends on the ship and she said she is going to get us the "hook-up"!  Her words.  Not sure what that means, but her information has been invaluable as to what floors to stay on, the tipping schedule, what characters are going to be on board, and lots of other info.  I think the kids are going to be so excited that they will just run like crazy for 4 days straight.  We are not revealing to them yet as they have NO concept of time, but we sail in 70 days!

In other news Thanksgiving went well.  We only had two days and we actually went down to Arkansas to my parents soon to be home on Saturday, walked in just in time for the feast, and then had to come home on Sunday.  The life of a family where daddy works a TON! 

Since we will be making a port call in Mexico I did HAVE to go apply for Dasha's passport today!  So I am glad that it is finally done and I don't have to do anymore paperwork for a long time.  Post-Placement #2 is on it's way to Russia and we don't have to mess with that for an entire year!  The kids are gearing up for Christmas and I finished Christmas shopping today!  So glad that that is finally done. 

I hope everyone had an incredible holiday and as the Christmas season comes up I pray you all have a wonderful holiday season celebrating the reason for the season.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Dave Ramsey changed our lives

This is not adoption related, but I hope it can help some future adoptive parent sometime in the future.  When Randy and I got married in March, I knew that Randy had some debt, but as young(er) people who were just so happy to find each other, we really never discussed the #'s.  2 weeks after our wedding, and home from our honeymoon I went out to get the mail and Randy was at the fire station that day.  There was a bill from his student loan, and so I took the liberty as his new wife to open said bill and pay the bill.  Well when I opened the bill I started crying.  I have never had student loans from college or my masters, and I didn't have CC debt either.  I immediately called Randy and was crying as I asked if the #'s were real.  He was so sad and said yes.  After much back and forth, we decided that the next day we were going to sit down and map out a plan, because I was NOT going to have Sallie Mae make herself comfortable in our home.  She was getting kicked out ASAP.  There were 3 different debts that we had to tackle, 1 was a lowly CC, which we paid off that day with a CD that I had, the second was his car, and then Sallie Mae. 

We got on a plan, we followed Dave's Plan, $1000 in the bank for emergencies, and then starting hitting the debt.  Now even Dave says that when you start doing things right, Murphy's Law will hit and hit you hard.  Well he did.  Pretty much right after getting married, I got pregnant, and while I was so excited, we were both scared.  Things were trucking along smoothly and we had eliminated about half the debt in a year, refinanced the house, and we JUST paid off his car.  The only thing left was Sallie Mae.  Then we had an ice storm.  I had a dentist appt. that morning and school was canceled, well I decided to go anyway.  Bad idea.  I was hit from behind and my car was totalled.  Being pregnant I called Randy to come and get me and he got hit when he was about 250 yards away from me, his car was totalled also.  Our insurance adjuster had been in the business for 25 years and had never run across that scenario EVER!  So we are out 2 cars, we didn't even have the cleared title for Randy's car yet.  We were able to purchase a car from my parents with our insurance money, and Randy was given an almost 20 year old truck that leaked oil like a sieve to get us through. 

We started going some more, and we were 3 weeks from Camden arriving and it was June and it was hot, and our air conditioner decided that it was done.  Well because of new EPA regulations, we not only had to do the air conditioner, but also the heater also.  $6000 for both, I was a hot mess literally and figuratively!  That done, we still were not completely done with our debt, but I had already left my job, but I was due to get my last 3 paychecks the day after Camden was scheduled to arrive.  That was suppose to finish off Sallie Mae, but instead it went to the A/C. 

Now we were down to one income, a new baby, but we were happy and in love.  Randy went and got a part time job and we were able to finally kick Sallie Mae out 4 months later.  In total we paid off $62,000 in 18 months, plus we cashflowed Randy being in Nursing school the last 6 months of that also.  Yes we did have a good income for the first 14 months, but we had A LOT thrown at us and we still prevailed.  ANYONE can do it, single parents, married couples, widowed, anyone.  You just have to have the drive to do it.  We even had the opportunity to call into Dave Ramsey's show and scream that we were DEBT FREE with the exception of the house.  Because of this we have been able to live comfortably but frugally on one income.  We were scared when we decided to adopt because we didn't want to borrow money, but only had to borrow $5000 of the $50000 that we had to have, and paid that off within 2 months of being home with Dasha.  Now we are actively paying off our house, we replaced the old truck, and we live a comfortable life.  Just remember that car payments are NOT the norm, you don't have to have them, save your money and go pay CASH, it is amazing the deals you can get when you whip out $100's instead of a CC.  My husband is the King of bargaining. :-)

This is by no means to be a bragging post, just to share the lessons that we learned and hope to pass on to someone else.  Imagine the difference you can make if you have NO payments, no car payments, no CC payments, and even more importantly no house payment.  I know many people have made a HUGE difference in our lives because they live by the same principles as we do.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

1 year Metcha Anniversary

I went back and reread our Metcha Post.  Boy I must of been very tired because it was so random and sporadic!  We have lots of anniversaries coming up very fast.  Today is our Metcha Anniversary.  We had been traveling for about 48 hours and SOOO tired.  We had an hour and 15 minutes to take a much needed shower and eat some interesting eggs and ham, but it didn't matter because we were so hungry.  We loaded up in the death trap van and headed out to the orphanage.  I feel very blessed that we did not have to spend hours in car traveling like many people have our orphanage was in the city limits and very close to our hotel.  We went to the play room and in came our little girl.  The rest as they say is history.  I have posted some video also because I really haven't shared a lot of video that we took, but just shows how timid Dasha was.


The Van!
video
Please ignore my annoying voice.  She was very timid, just trying to encourage her.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween


This was Dasha's first Halloween and boy did she have a great time. She really got into the whole trick-or-treating. She was a perfect little Dorothy. Our little girl clicked her heels 3 times and she was transported from Russia to Kansas!  Camden was a doctor again, his costume still fit and he was excited about the doctor bit again.  Next year we will get a new costume!




 Off she goes in her Ruby Red Slippers, they only lasted about 10 houses, after that it was the pink Crocs.
 First house. Wait, I say Trick-or-Treat and you give me candy?!?

 Got it!
 Off to the next house!
 The first treat from the bucket.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Shots

Today after dropping Camden off at school Dasha and I headed to the doctor's office for yet another round of shots.  It seems like it is never going to end!  But we are so close, only 1 more after this one!!!!  We went in and I knew it would cause major confusion so I brought the shot schedule that her Pediatrician gave me when we set up her schedule.  We were called back and when I told the nurse what I was there for, she was very confused since Dasha is 2.5 years and with their normal schedule she should of been done at 2.  I then told the nurse what shots she needed and handed over her immunization card.  She gave me a look and said, "Well we'll see." and took the card and left. 

About 5 minutes later she came back with another nurse and she actually looked at Dasha's file and said, OHHH, IA, shot catch up!  What shots do you need?"  I pulled out the paper and showed it to her, and they checked to make sure we were good, and then they went to get the shots.

Dasha did as well as she possibly could when someone is jabbing something sharp in your skin.  She cried of course, and when she was done I was holding her trying to calm her down and they asked her if she wanted a sucker.  She cried, YESSSS! They gave her the big tootsie roll sucker, not just a little dum dum sucker like I would of liked! :-)  She got her band-aids and she was good! 

Off the gymnastics then where she proudly displayed her band-aids to the other kids who ooohed and aaahed!

On another note, last week we were walking the dog, and I stepped in a hole wrong and bit it big time on the the driveway and buggered my knee up pretty good.  Well we are having an Indian Summer right now, 82 degrees as we speak, and I put on some shorts last night, I usually wear capris, and Dasha saw my knee and she was patting my knee, saying, "sorry, mama, boo-boo bad." Then she would try to kiss my knee, which I would NOT let her do, ewwww!  She is very empathetic! 

She can now independently count to 5 and 10 with some help, and can identify red and green, can draw a circle on demand.  Plus her language is taking off!  She is doing so well.

Sorry if you want to make a comment but I had to turn the "you are not a robot" captia again as I have been getting a lot of spam, not trolls, but just spam.

Friday, October 12, 2012

One year ago

Yes, we are finally to the point where we are making it to the Anniversaries of the past year.  We are quickly coming up to our 1 year anniversary of bringing Dasha home.  It has been a tough year, full of transitions and trials on everyone's parts, but it also has been a good year.  She fits in with us as if she was born here.

So, the first of our anniversaries.  I had dropped Camden off at school and came home to take a nap because I had a wicked sinus headache that wouldn't go away and the phone kept ringing!!!  Now if you are ever around me you know that my phone hardly EVER rings!  I am just not a phone person.  I don't like talking on the phone at all.  I perfer to just text, yes I know this makes me anti-social, I just am not much of a talker.

After the 3rd phone call I thought about turning my phone off but decided against it in case Camden's school needed to get a hold of me. Well I was just drifting off and the phone rang AGAIN! I was super annoyed and rolled over to see who it was, it was the Adoption Agency! I answered excitedly and it was what I expect. We got Dasha's referral! After 30 minutes on the phone, I was almost in tears, and I had this picture.


I quickly hung up with the agency and called Randy, and sent him all the info.  We had some questions but sent it off the the IA doc.  Two weeks later we accepted her referral officially!  That was the longest 2 weeks ever, we didn't tell anyone that we got a referral, so it was killing me!  Then the official whirlwind began.  More later as we celebrate more anniversaries.

I apologize for any typos, blogger is having issues with Spell check.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oncology Visit #3

3 down, 1 more to go!  We then will have met our requirement for future issues should anything arise.  This appt. got moved and it was not at the most ideal time, 12:45 so no food or water after 8 a.m.  At 10 sharp she was begging for a snack!  I love having my kids on a schedule, but sometimes it kicks me in the hiney because of it.  I got her distracted by taking her out to mow with me, yes I know it is not the safest thing to have her ride the mower with me, but if I don't she stands and screams and cries because she is afraid of it, but if she rides it with me she is fine.  Go figure!!! 

We show up at Children's at 12:15 and get checked into Radiology, and at 12:45 sharp they call us back and they have a student who is doing her clinical there doing the ultrasound.  From our last few experiences I thought well Dasha was going to give her a "training" on difficult kids!  Other than protesting a little at first Dasha was a PERFECT little angel.  She laid perfectly still for the entire 30 minute ultrasound.  We then went and had a chest x-ray and then finally lunch!

After lunch we had 30 minutes before her oncology appt. so we went to the car and I let her watch a movie since she had been so good.  She is really addicted to movies now I have to be really careful on how much I have the T.V. on.  I usually like it on for background noise, but she gets sucked in.

We then went to see her oncologist and we had to do two potty samples because the first one wasn't as clean as they would of liked,  downfall of a 2 year old who likes to wipe herself.  Miss Independent.  They then put on the numbing cream on her arms so they can get blood later, and we waited for Dr. Shore.  He came in and it was good news as always, he LOVES Dasha, he always takes her and shows her off to the nurses and takes her to the prize box, they normally don't get healthy kids in Oncology.  Then came what I thought would be the worst part of the day, the blood draw.  Well the numbing cream worked and the nurse was AWESOME!  NO TEARS AT ALL!  Not even a whimper, she didn't feel a thing.  God was looking down on her that day.  We will have one more appt. at the end of the year and then we will be done! 

We also are coming up on our 1 year anniversaries so be prepared for memory posts in the future.

Also, we have gone almost 2 weeks with no potty accidents and she has been dry during nap time for almost a week now and only 1 night time accident in the last week.  I think next week I will ditch the diapers during nap time and we will see during night!  So proud of her, once she got it, she got it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Diary of a bad Blogger!

It would start with some excuses, a tale or two of why I haven't able to blog, and there are some, but overall I just haven't felt the urge to blog, and not a lot has been going on to talk about and share.

Just a quick recap of the past month, the kids LOVE school, I am talking LOVE in all CAPS, jumping up and down in the morning with excitement love school.  Camden has improved so much in the past month it is astounding.  Dasha also is doing really well, she love to show me circle, and other things that she is learning.  I am taking full advantage of my 5 hours a day that they are both gone on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get homework done and get caught up on the house.  It is in need of some serious TLC. 

This past weekend the kids, dog and I loaded up the car to head down to Wichita for a family get-together and air show.  This was probably the last time that I will sleep at my childhood home as my parents are moving in 3 months and retiring down at the lake.  The majority of my extended family have never met Dasha so it was a perfect time for a party!

 4 Generations of Women
 
 4 Generations: My Grandmother, Mom, Sister and her boys and Me and my kids
 
 Dasha's Great Uncle George
 
 Cousins having fun
 
Being silly
 
 
I will try to be a little more efficient on my updating from now on but no guarantees!


Friday, August 31, 2012

First Day of School

Wednesday the 22nd Camden started his first day back at school he will be going to school 4 days a week 5 hours a day.  Dasha started Thursday the 23rd and she will be going 2 days a week 5 hours a day.  Let me just tell you, I can get so much done when they are gone it is amazing!  Yesterday I got the next two weeks of homework done for my anatomy class.  So nice!  Here are some pictures of their first days back.  Have to say I have some of the cutest kiddos!