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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Still waiting

No call today.

So instead I'll pitch Freedom Firm again. I mentioned this organization several months ago, but since I have so many new readers, I figured I'd mention it again.

Freedom Firm is a team of American lawyers that have stationed themselves in India with the sole intention of breaking up underage prostitution. Many of these girls are forced into their circumstance. Their stories are appauling.

What our friends do is pretend to be customers and instead turn the event into a sting. The BIG job then is to head to court (remember these are lawyers) and make sure that these brothel owners are sentenced to the absolute maximum. The message that they are sending is clear: If you are a brothel owner, you will pay for it BIG TIME.

Right now, Glen and Bec are back in the US and I was able to spend Sunday evening with them to get a report on how their first year went. You can check out their site at: http://www.parkspage.com/

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Optimisery

I remember years ago listening to a former POW. During the question and answer portion of the presentation somebody asked about what most dangerous during their time as prisoners. "Optimism" he replied.

Optimism?..... really?

Yea, it was the optimists who didn't make it, because they would say things like, 'we'll be rescued by Christmas' or 'we'll be home by summer time'. Naturally, Christmas would come and go.... summer would turn to fall.... then turn to winter again. Eventually, the optimists dreams would be crushed along with their spirits. Those were the ones that didn't make it.

Although this illustration is a bit dramatic, I believe that it makes a point. While we wait, I refuse to be optimistic.

(But I really hope we get our court date this week)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hmmm

I purposely left the last post hanging for a few extra days so that everyone would have time to check out "The Promise".

Additionally, I haven't blogged b/c there is nothing to report. Our agency said that there seems to be a slow down at the Fed Gov't level in terms of getting Zac's name from "the databank". As a result, we wait. All along, I figured we get the call this week or next. Naturally, we were hoping for this week. If we get the court date next week, we'll still be in a "normal" range. (Oh, the things I tell myself to make me feel better)

One of the nice parts has been emailing our freinds "D&A". (Remember, they are the other couple from the US that were in Novo at the same time we were). They, too, have not received their court date. So at least we're able to email (daily) to check on each other.

In the mean time, my fingernails are about down to a nub.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Promise

While we wait,

Take a look at http://thepromise.org.uk/video.htm

This is a great organization that Katie stumbled upon a few weeks ago. She has heard that this is a legitimate organization mentioned by both adoptive parents as well as some physicians that specialize in international adoption.

The Promise is an organization that reaches out to special needs children in Russian orphanages. The video tells it all.

We ask each of you to consider donating to this cause as they truly are being a Voice of the Voiceless.

Friday, July 20, 2007

For what it's worth

We got word today that our agency was officially reaccredited. Obviously, this is not tremendously important to us, but nevertheless it gives us reassurance that our agency is a great one.

We now have one less thing to worry about in terms of something weird happening down this final stretch.

On a side note, I was in Best Buy today and when I gave the sales guy my credit card he said, "Do you know a ZAC HORNER?" I said, "Of course I do, he's my son." I didn't realize that the word was getting out.

To make a long story short, there appears to be another Zac Horner in Omaha. We'll see if paths cross eventually.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another Olga e-mail

We got another email from Olga today. We get so excited to hear about Zac. We hang on to every word that Olga writes, as it is our only connection to our Son. Today she wrote:

My Dear Friends,
I will write you as soon as possible about Zac!
I hope to see you in August or September, not later.
All my best wishes for you!
Good luck!


So let's break this down.... She mentioned his name: Zac. She included an exclamation point. That could mean that she really likes him. Of course, her mention of August and September is good. ....OK so this email really didn't tell us anything. But at least we know that nothing terrible has happened.

Still waiting...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

OUCH (from Katie)

My heart is starting to hurt quite a bit. I look at pictures and videos of our precious little guy and wonder if he will ever really come home and be with us. Today is the first day we could have possibly received the court date. (and, we didn't) We've got a bedroom with bags half packed, collecting things Zac will need for travel and we are talking about it every day! Ok, enough blubbering...you all know we miss him and want him here!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Today's activities

This evening, we spent about an hour and 1/2 putting together paperwork that the US Embassy will need as we're bringing Zac into the US. ....as if we haven't done enough paperwork. We attempt to rescue a child and in turn, kill a tree. I guess we'll have to adopt a few trees when this is all over with.

Some of the docs include:

1. Tax Returns (3 years)
2. W-2's (3 years)
3. Pay stubs (3 months)
4. Proof of employment
5. I-600
6. Original Homestudy

I think we're pretty close to having this all rounded up. Of course, some of these things need to be notorized and sealed. (But we're starting to get used to that drill).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Another story of our Trip #1

As we continue to wait for our courtdate, I might as well share another story of Trip #1.

Keep in mind, during our trip we never met up with our luggage. On the second day while in Moscow we decided to do some sight seeing. Afterall, how often does one make it to Russia? Natually, we chose to visit Red Square.

Red Square was a wonderfully cool place to look around but it was a tremendous hike from where our hotel was. In all, we ended up walking about 4 1/2 hours to Red Square and back. The funny part was we chose to take our carry-on luggage with us as we were paranoid that we were going to loose what little possesions we still had. Below you can see Katie (in the same outfit as all the other pictures that we've shared over the past few weeks) and her HUGE Booty-backpack.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Time to take a survey

I saw this cool feature on another bloggers site. I'm merely copying the idea. (I never claimed to be too original).

When will our Courtdate Be?
The week of July 30th
The week of August 5th
The week of August 12th
The week of August 19th
The week of August 26th
After September 1st
  
pollcode.com free polls

News from Novokuznetsk

It's time for another Trip #1 story:

(Gather 'round please)

One of our translators in Novokuznetsk was Olga. Now, when you think of an "Olga" you may picture a large, older woman with facial hair (and a mysterious capability to benchpress 200 lbs) - but the truth is that our Olga was not really your stereotypical "Olga". She was about 25 years old. Nice looking. Always well kept and well dressed. Her English was extremely good and Katie and I even commented a few different times on how she came to be so well off and had such a great job.

Are you ready for the punchline? She was an orphan.

We were amazed. It turns out that she has been to college and is even considering getting a master's degree. Amazing.

But here's a cool story that goes with it. We exchanged emails before we left and just today we received an email from her. It read:

I am really glad to hear from you!
Pavel is fine!I saw him 2 weeks ago and going to see him next week because I am having more families ...
How are you doing? That would be fine to keep in touch.
Olga


So how cool is that? Zac is doing well!!! We're going to write her back to see if we can get more details next time. I can't tell you how encouraging it is to hear about him during this painfully long waiting part of the adoption.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Microblog

Last week, I read of a growing trend called "the microblog". Apparently, one can use a microblog in lieu of talking to friends and family on the phone. Additionally, (for those with teenagers) a microblog can even replace lame forms of communication like text messaging.

So today, I thought I would make my first attempt of a microblog. It goes something like this:


Still waiting for a court date. Trying to pass the time with fun summer activities, swimming, trampoline. Hoping to get my 2004 tax return soon. Updated our health status and criminal record this week, more fingerprints (ugh!)

Monday, July 9, 2007

People worth mentioning

One of the many "trip 1" stories that I haven't shared yet is the one about D & A.

D&A are the initials of the two WONDERFUL people that we were able to meet up with in Novokuznetsk. (I'm keeping their identify a secret because it's the cool thing to do in the blogging community..... I'm still not sure why we keep everything a secret, but whatever.)

Anyway, D&A were Americans who were also on their first trip and going through virtually everything that we were. I cannot tell you how great it is to have fellow Americans on a trip like this. First of all, it gets a little lonely when you don't know the language. Anyone who speaks 100% natural English is a blessing. But even more so, D&A were great people. We ended up spending 2 days with them: Eating meals together, going to the same orphanage together, buying gifts for the orphanage together....

When you spend a lot of time together with someone, it doesn't take long for their true colors to shine through. Well, let me tell you: D&A have wonderful colors. (that was a metaphor for "they are great people")

Our hope is that we will get our court dates at the same time as D&A (preferrable tomorrow) so we can see them again. Russia is too big of a place to keep it all to ourselves.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Missing him

As I look at my posts, I realize that I haven't talked much about Zac on this blog. This is quite a contrast to what actually goes on in my head. When talking to people face to face, we show pictures, show videos, and talk about him non- stop.

Part of why I don't talk about him is because I'm paranoid. I don't want to do anything to screw things up. The reality is that Zac is SO CUTE that I'm afraid if the word gets out that people will try to "get to him" first. (I'm actually serious) This week there was a HUGE announcement that a bunch of agencies were finally reaccredited. (This is great news) Of course I'm happy for all the thousands of parents and children that this will positively affect, but deep down inside I'm thinking, "I don't want anyone else to see Zac, because once people see him they'll want him. Afterall, it is without debate that Zac is the cutest kid in Russia. I'm surprised that it hasn't been in the news yet. ** NEWS FLASH **: The cutest kid in the world was spotted in Russia today. Rumor has it that he is supposed to be adopted. Russian officials are seeing what they can do to ensure that the cutest kid in the world can stay in Russia. This one is too cute to let go."

These first two weeks without him have gone relatively fast, but it seems like the last two days, Katie and I are REALLY wanting to get our court date so we can bring him home.

I can't stop looking at his pictures. (I can't wait to post them on this blog)

Well, I guess I'll have to do what everyone has to do: WAIT.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Adoption Abbreviations

One of the many mysteries of adoption is the lingo. Any adoption website we have navigated through has left us wondering what all these abbreviations mean. Eventually, we figured some of them out like PAP is pre-adoptive parent, but we could not make sense of DS and DD no matter how hard we tried. The only thing that came to mind was that it meant, "'dopted son and 'dopted daughter"! Finally today we were reading posts from the Kemerovo Yahoo group and someone had listed the abbreviations. DS is Dear Son and DD is Dear Daughter. What? Affectionate maybe, but how is a PAP supposed to figure that out? Here are more abbreviations for those of you still wondering what in the world all these abbreviations mean.

AD Adoptive Dad
AF Adoptive Father
AM Adoptive Mother
AP Adoptive Parent/s
AYAP As Young As Possible
BC Birth Certificate or Because depending on context
BCIS Bureau of Customs & Immigration Services (now USCIS)
BIL Brother In Law
BioF Birth (or Biological) Father
BioM Birth (or Biological) Mother
BTW By The Way
CIS Customs & Immigration Services (now USCIS)
CoC Certificate of Citizenship
DD Dear Daughter
DH Dear Husband
DOE Also DoE or Dept. of Ed. - Department of Education
DS Dear Son
DW Dear Wife
FIL Father-in-Law
FP Fingerprint / Fingerprinting
HS Home Study
I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
I-600A Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition
I-171H US federal approval to adopt foreign-born child
I-797 The new I-171H
IA International Adoption
IMHO In My Humble Opinion or In My Honest Opinion
IMO In My Opinion
INS Immigration & Naturalization Service (now USCIS)
FIL Father In Law
LOI Letter Of Invitation (to get a visa to travel)
LOL Laughing Out Loud
MIL Mother In Law
MOE Also MoE or Min. of Ed. - Ministry of Education
OP Original Poster
PAP Pre Adoptive Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent
PP Post Placement
PPR Post Placement Report
RAD Reactive Attachment Disorder
ROTFL Rolling On The Floor Laughing
SIL Sister In Law
SN Special Needs
SPD Sensory Processing Disorder also known as Sensory Integration
Disorder
SW Social Worker
USCIS United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (used to be
know as INS)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Food: Not bad

One of the interesting discoveries on our trip was the food. Truth be known: it wasn't that bad. It was actually very similar to what we eat here. Slightly on the bland side, but I prefer it that way. One of the places that we particularly liked was.... well, I don't know the name of it. It was right next to our hotel so it was easy to get to. We started calling it "Boston Market" after we got back home, because it reminded us of a Boston Market and the sign actually looks like it could be translated to Boston Market. So - here are pictures of "The Russian/Boston Market"






Monday, July 2, 2007

Another Russia trip story

Sorry I disappeared last week. Truth be known, we were out of town (again) - but our trip involved neither Zac nor adoptions so I won't go into details.... except that I have to mention that my 2 year old son knocked out his 2 front teeth while we were on vacation. Geesh... it's always something....

Anyway, I thought I would share a funny story of our Russian travels today. It goes without saying that going to Russia involves a VERY long plane ride. It was close to 19 hours to get to Moscow (including layovers) and another 4 to Novokuznetsk. It also goes without saying that the only real constructive thing to do on a flight like this is sleep. Unfortunately, I didn't sleep a single second on the way over. However, on the way back, Katie and I managed to pop a few sleeping pills (which I washed down with a glass of wine) and we were successfully able to sleep a little on the long leg of our journey back. (Moscow back to Toronto was a 10 hour flight). I felt myself waking up and my first reaction was "yea! I must of finally fallen asleep". When I looked at my watch I realized that I slept for over 7 HOURS!!! I couldn't believe it. Of course I was happy that I finally got some sleep, but also excited that we only had 3 hours left on the flight from hell.

Here's the funny part: We both had those U-shaped travel pillows to sleep with - and they came with a nylon carrying case. Somewhere along the way, we discovered that the bags were very useful to block out light and sound. Therefore, both Katie and I rode 7 hours on a plane with bags over our heads. (See below)



I realize that it looks like we're being held hostage, but we actually were like that by choice. I'm sure the rest of the plane was making fun of us. (and truthfully, we were so drugged up they probablly could have drawn on our faces with markers or put shaving cream in our hands or.... (come up with your own scenario)

Nevertheless, Katie and I have laughed at this picture several times. I thought you all would enjoy it too.