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Sunday, March 30, 2008

What to pack?

So let's reach out again to the folks who have gone before us.

We're thinking about packing and find ourselves being pulled in both directions. On the one hand, we need to pack EVERYTHING so as to be prepared for any and all contingencies. On the other hand, we (I) don't want to have to carry 145 pounds worth of luggage on our "round the world adventure with a 2 year old".

I am reminded that on our first trip, our luggage never showed up. BUT we did have our carry-on's with us. Katie, of course, packed smart things like a change of clothes, toothbrush, etc. I, being even smarter, brought a guitar. Yes, you read that correctly. I said a guitar. A great big stupid guitar that I carried all the way to Siberia and back and never played once.

I don't know what in world I was thinking. Without really understanding much of anything, I guess I had this vision of singing to the children and the whole orphanage magically lighting up. Children and caretakers a like would emerge from various rooms and all begin singing and dancing together. Soon, I envisioned the rest of "the band" coming into the room and before you know it, the whole world would be tranformed into a big jubille of happiness.

See below for a good example of what I'm talking about.






Oops! - I got distracted here.

This is my question: What is the ONE THING that you found most important to pack? We welcome your comments. (After watching this, I'm thinking steel drums may be the way to go)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

To all those who have done this before:

I need some help from the adoptive parents who have done this before.

We got our courtdate.  This is good thing, right?  This is what we've been waiting for.  So why do I feel so uneasy?  I seriously think I feel MORE stressed than I did before "the call".  I'm terrified that something is going to go wrong.  I'm convinced that Russia is going to shut down adoptions altogether within the next 25 days.  I cringe when the phone rings.  I'm paranoid that "they" are reading my blog and finding faults with me.  (Like the "dojo incident")

I'M FREAKING OUT HERE!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

COURT DATE

Do you know how long I've been waiting to be able to title my blog entry "Court Date"?

Yes, it's true. We finally got our courtdate today. April 22nd. I'm not sure what else to write about right now. I'm overwhelmed with emotion. One minute, I'm giddy. The next minute I'm crying. The next minute I'm numb. The next minute I'm all uptight with anxiety.

I'm just waiting for our agency to call back and say "Oh wait. Nevermind. You didn't really get a courtdate. You have to wait longer."

But that's not going to happen. We're going to RUSSIA BABY!

So.... Let's put the countdown clock back up!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Funny Story

Well... nothing... STILL!

But we already used the "depressed" theme last week (did you notice that Katie had to blog most of the week), so this week I have to turn it back to funny...

This story has nothing to do with adoption, but it's still worth sharing.

Jake and I were driving home together this afternoon and I decided to stop off at the Martial Arts Dojo. I was thinking that Jake might really enjoy a Karate class and additionally I thought that maybe they had some cool adult classes. Truth be known, I saw this bumper sticker on the way home that said "2nd Degree Black Belt" and I thought to myself (Like any man would), "I should be a black belt. That would be cool. Maybe I'll stop by that Martial Arts place right over by our house tonight". And so I did. (It's a guy thing...)

So I'm sitting there talking to the instructor about classes for Jake as well as myself. From the moment we entered this place, it was extremely obvious that they were very serious about what they did. On the wall were the words:

BUILDING CHARACTER THROUGH SELF-DEFENSE, DISCIPLINE & RESPECT

They seemed to be in between classes, so not much was going on. Several of the instructors came up and introduced themselves. They all had very firm handshakes and psycho intense eye-contact. I quickly realized what was expected of me and reciprocated their mannerisms. (When in Rome...)

Jake on the other hand, wasn't as receptive. When they asked him if he wanted to take a class, he simply shrugged. The instructor bent down to his level and said, "Can you say 'yes sir?'"

"Oh man", I thought to myself. "He totally blew that one."

We were led into a small office where a different instructor and I sat down to figure out what classes would be best (Jake ran off to a different part of the Dojo - not really harming anything or anyone). I quickly decided that the Philippine Martial Arts was best for me. The main lure was the weapons training. (Never mind that she said it's only for Black Belts. I just want to learn how to fight with sticks and swords. I'll worry about the black belt stuff later).

But here's the point of the whole story: Jake comes back into the room and procedes to climb up on to the chair and does a half-headstand. I call it a "half-headstand" only because I'm not exactly sure what else to call it. His head and his feet were on the seat of the chair, which then left his rear-end sticking up in the air. (Does anyone else's kids do this?)

At this point, I'm really thinking "Could this kid possibly do anything more to demonstrate that he is the antithesis of discipline and respect?"

The instructor firmly said, "Jake, could you please sit down in the chair on your bottom?" (Did I mention that they were very serious?)

There was a brief moment of silence as we all waited for Jake to comply. Then, it happened. With his buns pointed right at our faces, my son ripped the biggest fart that I've ever heard come out of a 3-year old's body.

The worst part of the whole thing was that I completely lost it. I just started laughing and I couldn't stop! The instructor quickly changed the direction of the conversation - but I just sat there and giggled. I have no idea what she said for the next 3 minutes.

So it's safe to say that the Horner's aren't quite cut out for the life-style of a martial arts expert. It seems to require a maturity level that, quite frankly, neither one of us has.

I'll guess we'll just stick with drumming and baseball.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter





Hope you had a blessed Easter day. Katie




Friday, March 21, 2008

Note from Vladimir

So, we received a note from Vladimir today. He is the Russian representative for our agency. Here it is:

Dear Ryan and Katie,
Please don't worry about anything, I keep everything under my control. I don't need any updated papers from you. I got everything. I understand that you are very excited but please try to relax and don't think about anything! Everything is all right!

Best regards,
Vladimir

"Don't think about anything," just cracks me up!

Well, obviously no news of a court date this week. We have really run the gammit on emotions this week. Last night, after a day of "blahs" and tears I was reading a devotional about how Rahab had to wait on the Lord for the Israelites to take Jericho. Then I pick up a new book and start reading it. The first chapter was all about waiting patiently. A quote from the book is, "What may seem to be too late, isn't." A coincidence that I was being reminded over and over again last night, after a day of pleading with God for an answer? I think not! So, once again I am at peace surrendering the timing of this adoption to God. Although I am thankful for Vladimir's letter the reality is that it is not him that is keeping, "everything under control," but it is God.

Hope you all have a great Easter weekend remembering God's perfect love demonstrated in Christ's death for us.

Thanks for sticking with us while we wait. Katie

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dear Zac

Dear Zac,
It's been 9 months since I last got to hold you in my arms. As you will some day find out, we had a "computer glitch" that has resulted in you staying in your orphanage for much longer than was needed. Your mother and I deliberately decided to make the best of this terrible news and have chosen to remain positive. In fact, we even committed to making this a learning experience. We told ourselves that we would focus on the positive part of life no matter what happened. Afterall, we do have so many things to be thankful for.
Nevertheless, I want to make sure you understand how hard this has been. If you someday take the time to read this enitre blog, you may conclude that our wait for you was easy. You may think that life was simply great here and that we never once thought about how unfair it was that you weren't allowed to come home when you were still a 1 year old. You may see pictures and videos of your older brother and sister and wonder why we "forgot" about you for so long.
Zac, waiting for you has been the most difficult, emotional, painful experience in my life. I literally feel sick to my stomach most days. There have been countless sleepless nights. I look at your pictures daily. I pray for your development. I pray for you to come home. I am completely powerless.
Your mother and I will continue to focus on the positive. We will continue with the hope and dream that you will come home soon. But I wanted to make sure that you knew that this has not been an easy journey for us. Our hearts ache for you. We love you so much.
Love, Daddy

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Still nothing

The title sums it up here. I'm slipping into a funk....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No News...but a good day





Well, no news today from Russia but I feel confident it's coming soon. The kids and I had a great day enjoying a taste of Spring in Omaha. This afternoon they got on their bikes and we rode to the park. When we got home they were playing together peacefully in the backyard sandbox. How is number three going to change things? I can't wait! Here are some pictures from our day since you haven't seen much of Hallie and Jacob on the blog lately. We look forward to sharing pictures of Zac with you very soon!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Something to Talk About

So, today I am doing laundry and Ryan calls home around 10:45. He says, "Hey, Katie. Donna is on the line." Of course my heart starts beating double time.

It was NOT about our court date, BUT we did get some encouraging news. There are three families with our agency that had to wait for the databank. All of our paperwork was submitted on the same day to Moscow. Today, one of the other 3 families (who have been in our same situation received their courtdate! We're really thinking that this means we're within a few days of getting ours. Afterall, all 3 applications were turned in on the same day.

The other "news" was that UPS failed to deliver our package today to our agency. They said the address was invalid, even though we have sent countless documents to this address. Well, after several phone calls it seems the manager from the UPS Rhode Island branch was going to personally deliver our paperwork. It will still get there today so it can be sent to Moscow ASAP. It is going to be late arriving at the agency but is supposed to get there today. Why is this paperwork so crazy? Anyway, I am thinking Ryan will probably be getting some money back from UPS for this fiasco. (The paperwork was to update documents in our dossier that expire April 11.)

All in all, an exciting day of something.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Getting somewhere?

We received an email from our agency on Friday stating that we needed to send them a few more updated documents in lightning speed fashion. They said they needed to get them to Russia by the end of next week. There really seemed to be some urgency in their request.

The way I see it, this could mean two things:

1. Our agency is somewhat unorganized and likes to do things last minute.

2. Something is happening and we should be hearing something soon.


I think this coming week is going to be emotional.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Now what?

Yea.... still waiting.

Looming on the horizon is April 11th.  "What's April 11th?" you ask.  April 11th is the day last year that we got all of our original dossier notarized and apostilled.  (Has it really been a year?)  Of course, everything in Russia expires after one year, therefore, (like so many who have gone before us) we have to redo our paperwork if our courtdate ends up being after April 11th.  

The good news is that we've already got all the paperwork redone and put together.  It's just that we'd rather not have to spend $10 PER DOCUMENT to have them re-apostilled.  

It's always something isn't it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It started

Well, it started today. I was bumming around at work, just like any other day, and then all of a sudden it hit me. I just couldn't help it. I've been trying to prevent it, but it just came over without any control. I thought to myself "maybe we'll get THE CALL today". Ever since we found out about the databank mess back in October, that feeling had completely left me. It's been a solid 5 1/2 months since I've had to think about it.

Today it all came rushing back. I have really been telling myself that we probablly won't hear anything until next week at the earliest, but I just can't help it. I have officially decided that we could receive our courtdate ANYDAY now.

So here we go! You all know the drill. Keep your cell phones on and charged and at times. (Grandparents) You just never know when it could happen!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Update

Some various updates:

1.  After thorough analysis, we decided that NONE of those 3 kids in masks is actually Zac.  Of course, this makes the picture even funnier.  The bigger deal is that it's so cool to see pictures of Zac and others having so much fun and play time in the orphanage.  It beats the image of them having to be on their hands and knees cleaning all the while singing "It's a hard knock life".

2.  We're now waiting for the Databank to do whatever they need to do and then get back to our region.  I'm not sure we'll hear anything this week, but we're getting closer and closer to "anyday" status.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is a Russian holiday from what I understand.  National Women's Day.   Hmph.  

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The news keeps coming in

I feel guilty for turning this blog private.  I looked at the number of visitors today and noticed that we had about 1/2 of the normal numbers.  I've tried my best to send out invites, but obviously I've left a few behind.  Like most everybody agreed though, it's just not worth the risk.

Moving on...

We got an email from our agency today confirming that the request letter was received at... (drum roll, please).....  The Databank.  Ah!  The next step will be confirming that the databank sent a letter back to the region.  This was obviously the part that tripped us up last time.  So it will be a huge relief when we get through this part.

ALSO, after careful consideration we have decided to go ahead and post a picture of Zac. Afterall, we've gone private now, right?  We've decided to post a picture that we found particularly interesting when we got the latest batch of pictures last month.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why go private?

So here's the story:

We got a call from our agency saying that we needed to delete a sentence that was in our homestudy update.  Specifically, the homestudy report gave details as to how we have received pictures of our boy from our agency.  Apparently, this is a big no no.  Our agency (Gift of Life - Rhode Island) said that they really weren't supposed to be sending any pictures of our little guy and it could really jeopardize things.

We immediately became paranoid about how much stuff we've disclosed on our blog and thought, "It's just not worth it".  I'm sure it's completely unfounded to think that the Russians are going to run a search for blogs, but you never know.  We just don't want anything else to go wrong.  

So there you have it .  Also, Katie still doesn't want to post pictures of Zac.  She wants to have it be a "fun surprise" once we have our "gotcha day".  We'll see if I can change her mind.

What do you all think?

Going private

Sorry for the change everybody. We had to take our blog private today. We're on our way to church tonight, so I'll post later and give you all the details. Heck, now that we're private I might as well post pictures of Zac too. I'll be back soon!

PS - I sent out invites in a hurry. If you know of someone who was left out, let me know.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Good bye clock

Well, I guess it was time to remove the countdown clock. I thought about starting a "count-up" clock that would count time going forward until we get a courtdate, but that seems to go against the whole "don't waste life waiting for something".

So instead we'll just quietly say good-bye to our old friend the countdown clock.

Good-bye buddy. Thanks for gettin' me through the last 6 months.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Let me translate

I probablly should have done this as we posted each video, but I am now going to translate all the Russian that we've posted in these last 3 videos.

#1 - Ryan

Pasha! Don't be afraid. I'm your daddy, you're my son. I love you. I will always love you. Can I have a hug? I love you.

#2 - Katie

Hi Pasha! Don't worry. I'm your mommy, you're my son. You're going to live with us. We will take good care of you. I love you. Can I have a hug? Do you want a drink? Let's go! Let's go! Juice? Milk?

# - Hallie and Jake

I am your sister. I am your brother.