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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween

Just wanted to wish everyone a safe and fun-filled Halloween. Tomorrow night we will have Peter Pan and Tinkerbell at our house. We plan on doing some trick or treating and then attend the "Trunk and Treat" event at our church with the kids. It should be a fun night. In preparation we carved pumpkins tonight. Jacob opted for a scary face and Hallie wanted a happy face. Here's what we came up with.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Zac Dream

I had another Zac dream the other night. (These dreams are actually becoming quite common now-a-days) Although he wasn't really a character in the dream, it was certainly about him.

I don't remember all the details, but somehow Katie and I were eating dinner in a Russian restaurant. (No doubt, we were "in the neighborhood") and as luck would have it, Vladimir Putin was also dining in the same restaurant.

Somehow our translator appeared on the scene and told us that it was "Katie's turn" to talk to Mr. Putin. As she began to make her way across the room, everyone else in the restaurant started chanting "Let Him Go! Let Him Go!"

The funniest part was that they were chanting this in Russian. (Keep in mind, I don't really know Russian..... so, now I'm wondering, "How in the world did I have Russian in my dream?" ...... and even moreso, "How was I able to translate it correctly?"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Ryan's birthday was on Friday. He opted to stay home with the kids and have a great day with them. They went to the Pizza Machine for lunch which is this huge pizza buffet with a game room that has zillions of rides and games. Of course, this was Dad's choice. (He uses the kids as an excuse to go.) That night we went out again to the House of Genji for dinner. This is a Japanese restaurant where they make the food at the table. This was a first for the kids and Hallie's comment was, "I want to come here every day!" We ended the birthday with a local high school football game. It was a fun day. Happy Birthday to one of the greatest dads in the world!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Baseball 2.0

I tried to capture more of Jake and his amazing baseball skills. One of my videos turned out well. (He hit 6 of 6)

The other video..... well, I'll let you watch it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Hit the break Jake"

I've said it before and I'll say it again. My son can play some serious baseball. After hitting the ball over the fence 5 TIMES IN A ROW, I decided to get the video camera out. He was a bit distracted by the "camera crew", so he didn't hit it quite as well, but check out his 2nd at bat.

SIDE NOTE: I have no idea where he gets his talent. A few years ago, I was actually benched by my church slow-pitch softball team. (The ultimate low point in my baseball career... actually, it wasn't really a "low point"... rather more of the epitome).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In search of Christmas card photos

Today was a beautiful fall day. We thought that the changing leaves would make for an incredible backdrop for what hopefully would be good pictures to send with Christmas cards. (Yes, we have to start thinking about that already)

I think the pictures turned out great, but it was yet another reminder of how different we thought things would be. A month ago we were discussing strategies as to what we thought may be the best way to take good Christmas pictures of Zac. Now, we're merely moving on without him. Our time frame is quickly moving down to 4 more months (as opposed to 5), but there are still many moments when it seems like time is standing still.

Other ways to keep busy

In our continual pursuit of being dorks, Katie an I participated in this video for a friend's church. (Can you figure out which one is Ryan and which one is Katie?)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Now THIS is a big deal

Several months ago, I believe that I shared a short story about how Katie and I received a phone call to do a show in New York. (Side note: "doing a show in New York" sounds cooler than it really is. What were doing is a music review style show for a hospital fund raiser. It just happens to be in New York.... but it's not like we're going on Broadway or anything. Nevertheless, I've never been to New York - so when someone offers you money and pay all your expenses, you say "YES")

Anyway, this was several months ago and, of course, we said no because of our adoption, but things have obviously changed. And wouldn't you know it but two of the performers backed out last week, so it looks like we'll be going to New York!

That's the good news. The bad news is that it's in 2 WEEKS!!!!

Yes, that's right. We have to re-learn a 2 hour show in 2 weeks! Ooof-da.

so..... I guess that'll be keeping us preoccupied for the rest of October.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Birthday Party Report

We had a birthday party for Zac yesterday. Just a small family gathering. Both Katie's parents and my parents were in attendance as well Hallie and Jake.

We made iron-on t-shirts with Zac's picture. (See above. I purposely took one picture from behind so you can't see his picture... sorry. Rules are rules).

Additionally, we had a cake made with Zac's picture (Hallie chose to eat the Zac face - I think it was out of love.... I hope)

The highlight for me was that I was able to put together all the pictures and videos from our first trip to Russia and put it to music. Someday, I'll be able to show you all.

One last pleasant surprise was the email was had waiting for us this morning. It was from our (great) agency who forwarded an email from their contacts in Russia. It read:

"Yesterday they had a birthday party for Zac. They bought him a present, a big car! He and a whole group of children were taken to some entertainment session. A lot of pictures were taken and they will send them to us soon."

Some interesting points:

- They called him Zac. I call him Pasha. Funny.

- A group of them were taken to "some entertainment session". I'd love to know what that was exactly.

- "A lot of pictures were taken" - Yea! I can't wait! I'm dying to get more pictures!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Birthday (officially)

Today is my son's birthday. Today he is 2 years old. Two years ago, my little Pasha was born. Born in Russia. Born to a stranger. A stranger to me. A stranger to him. Where is she now? Is she thinking about him today? I think about that a lot.

Pasha, on the day you were born, I did not even realize that I was going to adopt. And yet, I can promise you right now that I love you just as much as I love my first two kids. You are 100% my son. You are burned into my heart just as Hallie and Jake are. I've held you less than 2 hours of your 2 year life. I am so sorry that I haven't been able to do more.

Right now, it's about 11 in the morning in Novokuznetsk. I hope that you get cake today. I really hope that we get pictures of this special day.

My prayer is that today is a good day for you. That today you are a happy little 2 year old. I pray that you have pure joy like a 2 year old toddler should have. I hope that you feel like you belong to your environment right now. I wanted so badly to hold you today. You don't understand this yet, but the strength of a father's love is like no other. When needed, dad's can bend steel, outrun cars, or take on a pack of wild animals. Fathers will do anything for their children in need.

And yet today, I am completely powerless to bring you home. We're trying. We really are.

Please know that I love you and we will soon be a family.

Happy Birthday little Pasha. Daddy loves you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ready for normalcy

Woah. My testosterone tank is officially filled back up after this weekend.

It started Friday night with a 10 year college reunion with my fraternity brothers. (Lots of grunting, yelling, and laughing)

Followed by Saturday's Husker tailgate and football game. (More grunting, less yelling, a little bit of crying)

Followed by Sunday's Chief's tailgate and football game. (A 3 hour road trip with 7 other guys in a 15 passenger van.... grunting, eating, yelling, cheering, eating, eating, more eating... followed by some much needed Tums)

OK - now I'm ready to go back to my more "hormone-neutral" lifestyle.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A day in my life

So I warned you all that I may turn this blog into a journal of everyday life while we wait for Zachy. (Which is what my son, Jake, calls him now)

A couple of guys at work were talking outside of my office and the conversation went something like this.

"What do you think about Boeing right now?"

"Bowling. Yea, I like bowling."

The next thing I know 7 of us are headed to the local bowling establishment for a quick 2 game tournament over the lunch hour. I'm proud to announce that I was the "winner take all". I now have 50 extra dollars that I didn't have when I woke up this morning. The funny part was seeing a bunch of guys in their 30's dressed in suits and ties out on the bowling lanes. I'm sure people were wondering what in the world we were doing.

The 50 bucks will come in handy this weekend while I'm at the Husker game on Saturday and the Chiefs game on Sunday. Go Red!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Birthday Boy

Our little Zac is turning 2 years old next week. We really thought that we would have him home by now, so there is some emotion floating around this event. Regardless, Katie and I have decided to have a birthday party for our little guy. (just us, our kids and our parents) Obviously, we'll be missing the "boy of the day"...

Additionally, we found out that our agency is going to attempt to deliver a cake to Zac's orphanage on his birthday. How cool is that? Even bigger than that, they are going to try to capture pictues of him the day of his birthday. The ultimate would be if he got a haircut for his birthday. (I'm quickly stepping up into the role of his father, aren't I? ..... "cut that hair, boy")

Of course, it goes without saying that we'd much rather have him here in person, but if we can't have that, then I'm glad that he'll have something.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Won't give up


Obviously we had some changes last week. Of course, we are disappointed, but by NO means have we given up hope. To be honest, I'm feeling quite a bit of relief these past few days. I didn't realize how much this "unknown" stuff was weighing on me.

I have seriously considered letting this blog go "dark" for 4 or 5 months until we're back on track with the adoption, but honestly I've grown rather addicted to the process of blogging. I never realized how theraputic it was. Plus, I don't want to disappoint my "fan base". (Anyone? Anyone? Oh yes, thanks mom... send cookies)

Therefore, I have decided to keep it going - BUT I must warn you all that I will most likely deviate from the topic of adoption. It is very likely that this will blog will be evolving into a "life at our house" type of blog. Even scarier, this may be nothing more than a "My thought of the day" blog.

I really wanted this blog to be focused on our adoption process (with the intention of Zac being able to read it someday) BUT I really don't think that I'll be able to come up with a unique and interesting way of saying "we're still waiting" for the next 143 days.

Therefore, welcome to my new blog.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

1 day down

Alright.... sweet..... we made it the first day.

Only 145 days left.

(Don't worry, I'm not going to do this every day)

Thank you friends

Can I just say that I have the best blog-friends in the world? Before we started our adoption process (and before I started this blog), I would have never guess that I would develop meaningful "cyber-friends". The concept seems silly. Friends via the internet? Who knew?

But these last two days has proved me wrong. I DO have good friends out there. A special thanks goes to Steve and his comments on his blog. An additional thanks goes to Tricia and everything she is going through. It's no secret that this Russian adoption thing is a difficult journey. We've all had our up days and down days.

Thanks for support everyone!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

We received the following email today:

Dear Ryan and Katherine,

Unfortunately, I have to inform you that we have bad news for you.

We were informed that your child was put at the account of the Federal Data Bank only on August 28, 2007. It means that the child will be available for adoption only after February 28, 2008 because according to the law, all children left without parental care must be listed at the account of the Federal Data Bank for 6 months, after that they are available for adoption.

As the regional inspector explained us, this problem appeared due to some computer failure that happened when your child’s data was first sent from the Department of Education of Kemerovo Region to Moscow Federal Data Bank.

The only thing that I can guarantee you now is that you child will have a special care during that time and I am sending you new pictures. We will provide you with any information about your child that you want.

Once again, I am very sorry that such unpleasant situation happened to you and you faced this delay.

Hmmm.... believe it or not, one of the many emotions we have is that of relief. I'm not really looking forward to waiting 5 more months, but simply KNOWING that I have wait rather than wondering day by day is somewhat comforting. Additionally, we were able to get a few new updated pictures. Zac is still as cute as ever. (Although, they must not put much value in haircuts in Russia - he's starting to look pretty "shaggy").

I'll keep the posts coming. We're refusing to let this get us down. Life is full of choices and we're going to choose to make the most of these next 5 months. Sulking for 5 months does NO GOOD whatsoever.

Have a Happy Day!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sad News

Well, we heard some sad news from our agency today. After further investigation it seems that Zac was not on the official Russian databank when we received our referral and this is the reason for the delay in getting a court date. There are four other families that all traveled around the same time as us with the same problem. It seems that the regional office sent the paperwork to Moscow about these children before we even received the referral but somewhere between their office and Moscow the children never were officially put on the databank of orphans.

We could ask a million questions that we would never get the answer to and place blame on so many people but that really does no good. The fact of the matter is that Zac has to be on that databank six months before he can be adopted internationally. We hope to find out tomorrow when he was officially put on the databank so that we can estimate when we might go back to get him and bring him home. The scary thing for us is that during this time he could be adopted by a Russian family.

We are trying to remain positive and hopeful. The "good" news in all this is for Zac. If the worst happens and we do not get to adopt him we can be thankful that it was this process that put his name on the databank so that he had a chance at adoption and a family. Of course, we hope that is our family.

We will let you all know when he was placed on the databank. The only other remote possiblity is that maybe because this is happening with all four families they will decide to start his six month wait from the original date that they sent in his documents to Moscow (pretty far fetched).

Thanks for your prayers and support. Please pass our story on to anyone you think might want to know so that we don't have to tell the story over and over again.

We are still going to choose to focus on what we do have, choose to be thankful for it and hope that Zac will still be ours.