31 October, 2007

November is Adoption Awareness Month

So, my blog has been purpled out for the cause!

Go purple for adoption in November.

Halloween 2007 - We're Diggin' It!!

First of all there is the first bit of good accreditation news on FRUA that we've heard in several months! The long awaited proper signature has been obtained and two confirmed agencies (and several others I'm sure) have news that their certificates will be issued within 2 weeks!

Second of all . . . we broke ground this morning on "the Land!!" The construction has begun on our new house. It'll be easy to remember the date! Hopefully we'll begin on Halloween and move in on Easter??!!

I missed getting a picture of the bobcat thingy ( I think it's a front end loader??), I just got a picture of the "after". I'm so excited to see this get started!!

Herbert Henry the happy Jack-o-lantern

This year we let D pick out the very pumpkin she wanted to make her Jack-o-lantern with. We usually have a little input, but not this year. It's all her! She drew the face and Daddy carved him. So, this is Herbert Henry the happy Jack-O-Lantern (he's a bit long in the tooth :o)

30 October, 2007

Little Girls' Tights Hanging in the Laundry Room

A few minutes ago, I turned around and this is what I saw. Little Girls' Tights Hanging in the Laundry Room. Even after 6 years 12 days since D came home, I am still caught anew with huge gratitude and thankfullness to see such everyday things in MY home!

We had 6 1/2 years of longing for a child. Those years went by quickly, even with the pain of yearning for a child. But the 6 years since D came home have flown by like the wind! I guess I'm nostalgic because my baby is about to turn 7- years-old in four days! Where did my baby go? Those tights used to be so much smaller!

Sometimes Hubby and I will lie in bed at night talking and say, "Do you think all parents love their children this much?" I don't think so. I think so many take their children for granted. After such a long, hard road to even having a child at home-I pray that we will never for a minute take our child for granted. I never want to lose this gratitude and thankfullness to God for bringing us to our child.

I hope I'll be blogging (or whatever we will be doing in 2017) in 10 years about Teenage Girl car-keys on the counter and being ever still thankful that I have a teenager.

It could happen.

Don't laugh!

p.s. You can see my funny mobile home laundry room in this picture with the sideways washer! Oh how grand it will be to have our new house - all the more thankful I'll be for it!

27 October, 2007

Bricks, Windows and Rooftops

Hubby and I had a great day yesterday. It was a gorgeous Texas Fall Day. Completely clear skies, breezy and nice cool temps. Perfect for a drive.

We drove a little over an hour away to one of the larger towns in East Texas to look at the brick yard and decide on the brick for our new house.

Oh my, we didn't realize how hard this would be! There were many, many blocks of bricked "walls" to look at. So, we chose our top two choices (we agreed fairly easily!) and went in and told the salesman. He sent us to the back room to get a sample board of each while he looked up on the computer some houses in that brick for us to drive by and see them enmass on a house.

So, next we drove about 10 minutes away to a couple of new subdivisions to see these houses. Our favorite brick from the "walls" was called Fireside (that's it up there in the middle). So that is the house we went to see first. Hmmm, we were a little disappointed, it looked brownish on the house

So, we drove on over to look at our second choice brick on a house. It was awful, we didn't hardly even slow down.

We decided to just drive around and look at all the houses until we found one we just fell in love with. Yep, we had high expectations. But just a few minutes more and we found it! It was great because it had the white woodwork on the front porch like ours will and it had the black trim like we'll have. We took a picture of it and wrote down the address to give to the brick yard and they'll research it and find out the name of the brick for us. So, here is a picture of our brick-to-be (up close on the mailbox with the house in the background.)

We continued to drive around looking at windows, and roofs (rooves? like hooves?). We're pretty much decided that the windows will have 9 lights on top and 6 on bottom like this house. We want a black roof with some "texture" to it, so we found this roof and took a picture of it. It's a little blurry, though.

The builder has the workmen scheduled to come and begin the pad next week. I hope it's early next week! I'm ready to get this show on the road.

25 October, 2007

Thursday in my life

Wood cottage in Smolensk
Originally uploaded by wetbaloney

The tummy bug hit me again yesterday, but so far so good this morning. It's going around the community like crazy.

We've got to get serious about the rest of our adoption/dossier paperwork. We've got to get a new letter from the people who own the house we're renting while our new one is being built. We've got to re-do our financial statement too. In January, our fingerprints will expire again. We had them done last October before our visit trip to see Viktoria. I just can't get motivated to get it done. This is SO unlike me! I'm usually right on top of it. It sounds like accreditation for a big batch is right around the corner. It's possible for our agency to be in this batch although they've given us no indication to that end.

With the new house, we've learned that the dirt-work and pad will be started next week. The builder called yesterday and told us to go out and mark where we want the two front corners of the house. Oh the pressure! What if we get it wrong and forever our house is crooked :O) He also told us to get busy finalizing our brick, roof and window choices so he can get them ordered to be ready when they get to that point. So - it sounds like we're about to begin! Yay!

Now that my big women's retreat is over, I can move on to these other things and focus my attention in other places. I didn't count on being down with the tummy bug, though for most of this week.

D's birthday is coming up and we've got to get that planned. We'll just do a family party in Dallas this year for her 7th. The next big party she'll have with friends will be her 10th. Some people go all out for their kids parties every year. But we decided early on not to do that. We had a big one for her 1st (of course! she'd only been home 2 weeks then); her 3rd (Dora theme); her 5th (Clifford theme) and the other big ones will be 10; 13; 16 & 18. She's chosen "Dogs" as her theme this year. So, we'll order a Dalmation cake and get 8-10 Dog themed cake plates and napkins & some balloons and take them with us to the restaurant to celebrate with family. She gets to choose a "theme" each year no matter if it's a family party or big friends party.

My friend (who is also our pastor's wife), lost her sister Sunday and I'll drive a couple hours this afternoon to attend the funeral. Hubby will pick D up from school today. Her sister died in her sleep, she was about my age. The autopsy report is still out, so they don't know the cause.

So, that's my day.

Till later . . .

23 October, 2007

Monday on Tuesday

Autumn Road
Originally uploaded by Yume_Love

I missed yesterday. If it weren't for a couple of Mommy neccessities (of which I have little memory) I would have slept the day away yesterday. But D required of me to pick her up from school and take her to dance classes.

So - today is Tuesday, but it feels like Monday. I had a tummy bug yesterday. Isn't it amazing how those little things have an exact 24 hour timer on them? I started feeling terrible about 11 a.m. yesterday morning and right about the same time today I began to feel normal again. Just like a switch were flipped, On goes the nausea . . . 24 hours elapses . . . Off goes the nausea.

We closed on the new construction loan this morning at the Title company. I never knew there were all these steps before hand! It's so different from just buying an already built house. We learned of a couple more "out of pocket" things we've got to get set up and paid for before or at the same time that construction begins. We had to go to the City Hall to pay for and order a sewer tie in and water pipe tie in. Then there are different size pipes you can choose. 3/4 inch or 1 inch for the water? 4 inch for the sewer or 6 inch? We lucked out and one of our church members who works there gave us insight. So, we chose 3/4 inch and 4 inch. That was $600. Then while there we learned that we are also responsible for paying for the city to install culverts since although it's in city limits, it's still a more rural neighborhood and culverts are neccessary. That'll be another $420 there. I hope there aren't many more of these little preliminary costs to pop up. I'm just glad we were able to sell our house for a good deal more than we owed on it so we have these monies available! We're definitely learning lots and I want to share what we learn so perhaps someone can learn from us. I didn't realize we'd need our builder's contract while at the Title Company this morning, so I've got to run that back to town before I pick D up from school this afternoon. I've got to just carry our new house binder everywhere I go from now on that involves new house stuff. I'll learn. I had given it thought before I left the house and though, 'nah!" But I did need it. Live and learn!

Maybe I'll have some dirt digging pix soon! I'm so ready to see some real action here on this house building business!

Oh, and fall decided to come to East Texas last night! Yay! It's in the low 50's today and got into the 40's last night. Sooooo much better than the 90's - I'm so tired of sweat!

16 October, 2007

Happier Thoughts

Fall Road
Originally uploaded by Mahones

Sorry to be so doomie-gloomie yesterday. I have moments, but they're becoming fewer and farther between. I think once we pass this anniversary time of our visit to Viktoria last year, I'll do better and better.

Now, let's talk about the house. That always gets me happier (so far!)

We're moving along, although there is nothing to be seen of it yet. I never knew there was so much behind the scenes stuff that had to happen before the house building could begin!

We learned yesterday what our new address will be! See, we bought three lots, so we weren't exactly sure what it would be. We actually had a choice between 1017 ; or 1019 or 1021. Hubby let me decide because I had talked earlier about how I hoped our address would be 1017.

It seems the number 1017 is an important number in our lives. My Mama's birthday was October 17; my sweet puppy B. Bopp (who died the day before we went to meet Viktoria) was born on October 17; Hubby's anniversary at the church is October 17 (he's celebrating his 13th anniversary tomorrow by the way!); and we left Russia to bring D home on October 17. So now the address of our new home will be 1017 Ouic_ _ _ _ _!!

Another neat thing about the house. When we met with the builder last Friday, he told us to go ahead and be thinking of windows, roof color etc. So we were driving around Saturday evening looking at windows. We happened to see D's Vice Principal outside the house they are building. They're about 2 months ahead of us. Their house is already framed in and they're getting their bricks on this week. Anyhow, she asked us to come take a look at it. We walked in and she started explaining what all the rooms will be (they're still just studs right now) and at about the same time, it clicked with both hubby and me THIS IS OUR HOUSE! They found the same house online as we did! They even made some of the same changes to it that we did. The only difference is that their house is completely reversed from what ours will be. It was so cool to see what our house was going to look like! The outside of theirs will look quite different than ours, they're going more for the rustic look with cedar beams outside and a more earthy colored brick. Ours will be more traditional with a reddish brick.

Now hubby is afraid that it will take some of the thrill out of seeing ours go up since it's the same layout. But I think it will benefit us since we can learn from anything that goes wrong with theirs :O). They're contracting theirs out themselves and we're using an established builder with his own teams in place, so who knows, we may catch up with them as I've heard it's slower going contracting it yourself.

We're waiting to hear from the bank to do our initial "closing". Yesterday, Hubby lined up getting the water and sewer tie-in's done by the city (we pay that out of pocket, about $600). Once we do our initial closing, the builder gets his permit and we're off!

I wonder if anything amazingly wonderful will happen tomorrow? It will be October 17 after all!!

**No, we haven't settled on windows yet. The debate is over how many "lites" (the little squares). In our area, the trend seems to be 9 over 6, but I think it's too busy. I think we're leaning toward 4 over 2, but I wish I could find 6 over 4 - I think that would be just right. The search is still on!**

15 October, 2007

A year ago today . . .

Hubby and I were more tired than we'd ever been in our whole lives.

About this time of day (Russian time), we were sleeping on a train in the middle of Russia after doing something we will never do again!

We had traveled from Dallas to Atlanta on an early morning flight. 5 hour layover in Atlanta. Atlanta to Moscow. Killed 5 hours in Moscow then straight to the train. By the time we got on the train we both had emotional meltdowns. It was too much for a body to handle, especially with all the other emotions of knowing we were on our way to visit Viktoria only to have to leave her again. Never knowing that when we left her that time, we would never see her again.

It was the closest we ever came to wanting to quit. It was too hard. It is too hard. But for our child, we will do anything. And we still will..

I was looking at the only picture we have displayed anymore of Viktoria. She is my daughter. My goodness, she looks just like me! I think that fact will always haunt me. Anyhow, I got to thinking, I feel somewhat how a birthmother must feel knowing that she is my daughter, but another family has now adopted her and is raising her. No, I didn't carry her in my belly for nine months. More! I carried her in my heart for over 17 months. I held her in my arms many times and heard her laughter. I smelled her little girl orphanage smell. I feel as if I am like a birthmother who is forced to place her child for adoption. It isn't what she wants. It isn't what I want. But now the child is gone. She is my second daughter - she always will be.

12 October, 2007

The day the judge said "Da"

We have been talking this week about today being our family day - the day the judge said "Da."

D has known her adoption story since the day she came home, but I think she is really starting to understand. I think losing Viktoria has helped her understand the process a little more and that she is thankful to have her family more because of it.

She asked last night, as we were snuggling before bedtime, if she could wear her Russia Dress to school today since it is the day the judge said "Da" and we celebrate this day. I was afraid it would get messed up, but said I would ask Daddy. He said, "Well, if it gets messed up, it gets messed up. If she wants to wear it I think we should say yes." Of course he is right. The dress can be replaced, but her "owning" her story is priceless and a wonderful step as she grows.

So, here's our beautiful girl - six years later!

Spasiba, judge Alexander Petrovich Kachanov.

Spasiba Bolshoi!

08 October, 2007

Final Drawings!

Woo Hoo! We got our final drawings this morning and they're on the builder's desk as I write! Now this party can finally get started :O)

I tell you, I was a little nervous and shaky looking at them! See, we have to try and get every detail in that drawing because if we go adding things after the fact, it costs extra. For example, if you add a recessed can light after the fact it's $50 for each one. So we had to look it over VERY carefully to make sure every electrical outlet, light fixture, tv and computer hook-up were listed.

I'm so ready to see some action begin on "the land!"
**Added 7:00 p.m.**
We drove by "the Land" after dance this afternoon and the electric company had been there and installed the two new poles and the underground electricity box! Only thing is they didn't remove the old pole that will be right in front of D's bedroom window?? Maybe that takes a different truck or something - 0h well, we will stay on top of it. But Yay! More progress!!

05 October, 2007

A light at the end of this tunnel??

Birdcage Walk in November Fog
Originally uploaded by Andy100

We received an email from our agency's director of International Adoption today. She directed us to read the blogs of the Executive President and President of our adoption agency who have been in Russia over the last several days.

I don't feel comfortable posting the full article here, but suffice it to say this is THE BEST NEWS WE'VE HEARD IN A LONG, LONG TIME! It's not accreditation, yet, but by the way things sound, it's
the closest we've been in ages!

Here is just a snippet of what he writes, ".... we pronounced greetings, blessings, and words of kindness. This was a moving time for me.

Of utmost concern to us during this visit is the re-accreditation of Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services with authority to process adoptions in Russia. We had several very positive conversations that resulted in advancing the re-accreditation process. Dr. H and I committed to continued investment in this country and a willingness to develop Buckner Russia as a national entity with services and programs designed to bless children throughout the country.

I will never forget the expressions on the faces of children who are waiting to be adopted. They had glimpses of hope and eagerness. My heart was broken as I spent time with them. All they want is a mom and dad who will love them and raise them, a dad who will pray with them, and a mom who will tuck them into bed at night and who will see to their daily needs. Jesus loves the little children and so do we. Will you pray for Re-accreditation for Buckner in Russia so children waiting to be added to 29 families will have much to give thanks for at Thanksgiving?"

01 October, 2007

Monday, Monday

Hey y'all. It's Monday again. I just want to go back and crawl in my bed. Yawn.

Thanks to Debbie, I finished reading The Right Fit (click on the title to read her review). It was really a good, quick, fun read. I read it in a little over two days, which is fast for me now that I'm a Mommy. If anyone wants me to send it on to them, I'd be glad to.

No news right now on the adoption front. Hopefully we'll get this dossier question hammered out today and send this stuff on to Austin. I do want to clarify that our dossier is NOT going to be submitted to Smolensk until after accreditation comes. It's just going to Moscow for translation, then to sit (& sit?) until the time comes that it can be submitted to the MOE. I sure hope we hear some good accreditation news this week. It sounds like it could be close according to some PAPs on FRUA.

On the house front, I think I'm going to get to keep my big, corner, soaking tub. The architect re-configured the bathroom and I think it's going to be better than ever! It gives Hubby and me two seperate vanity/sink areas on opposite sides of the bathroom. Hubby is loving this idea. His vanity area will be about 6 inches taller than mine so he won't have to bend down so far shaving. That was my idea, by the way :O) I hope we learn something else on the house this week so things can get started.

Nothing else much is new. I'll probably be pretty scattered until this Women's Retreat is over. How do these things grow so much? I thought this one was going to be so simple - uh - NO!

So, I'll be here and there, but mostly there.

**Edited on October 23 to add, no one has requested "The Right Fit" so if you're reading this after the fact and are still interested, let me know and I'll send it out to you.