Introducing our budding family. We hope you will enjoy watching us grow... and everything else under the sun. ;)
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Say Goodbye To Yesterday

It has been months since our last post and there has been a LOT going on around here. In a nutshell, we will be glad when the clock strikes midnight and the year 2010 is gone, done, and behind us. It was a tough year for us, and we hope that 2011 brings us new health, (wealth would be nice), family, and more love.

We apologize for being... lackadaisical with our blog. Maybe that should be part of our New Year's resolution. ;) Regardless, we have "some news" that we can share with you today, that will eventually be worth all the wait.
Though we can't go into too much detail until things are official, we have been working diligently since the beginning of December in the adoption world to move things along. We will be sure to spread the good cheer once we are able.

Us V's had a wonderful Christmas, traveling to and fro. Hayden and Daddy got in some sledding during their winter break, and I got in some relaxation, though I could use some more... *wink wink*. Santa gave us as a family, an early present... and we are praying that we can "open" it soon.

In the meantime, we want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. We also ask that you think of us during this very important time - more than ever. Please pray for our family to become whole and for a child to come home to their family. Also, please pray for our middle cat Mints. Recently, after losing our older cat, Chocolate, we found out Mints has cancer. Unfortunately it is not curable, and it is financially out of our means.

Visit our Daily V's page to view the fun we had this December. 

Happy New Year! 0 comments

Peek A Boo, Where Are You?


No, I haven't been hiding! Things have been - well, how do I put it lightly - crazy around here. But we haven't forgotten about our friends and followers. ;)
To be honest, blogging has been the last thing to do on my list. I have even neglected uploading pictures and sharing them (since Hayden's last play in July even, yikes!). But have no fear, Mel is still here!

Since the last time I have posted, a bit of "stuff" has happened. We had our 8th annual visit to Didier Farms and I was tickled pink to be able to attend *ahem*. Hayden enjoyed a family wedding, chatting up Michael's Godfather and dancing with his grandmother. He had oodles of fun, even with the absence of other kids and electronic toys. Who knew?

Also, I don't think I have mentioned before, but Hayden was invited to join a Reading enrichment class at school at the beginning of the year. The class meets once a week and is currently focusing on scrambled sentences - sometimes it even stumbles Mommy. This class was developed for children who have a passion for school, excel in reading, who are responsible and well behaved. We were honored when Hayden received the note home from school and very very proud.

We have updated our "Daily V's" page to include some pics from the month. Here you will see Hayden enjoying the pumpkin patch, a Halloween festival at our park district, and carving pumpkins. And a sneak peak at the decorations I manged to get up this year before our "Wind Storm" took it down.
Visit the Daily V's

In adoption news... our home study report has just been sent to DCFS at the beginning of the week. From what we hear, they are behind on processing and can take several weeks before we get it back. In the meantime, we can start on other paperwork, and just wait. More waiting, we're kinda used to it by now. 0 comments

Being Put On Hold

It's been crazy busy here. Between the frequent emails and phone calls to our adoption agencies (both home study and international), therapies, doctor visits, and more therapies... who has time to just sit back and enjoy a good book these days?

On the topic of the adoption, I thought we should share some news with you. In light of everything that has happened with Kazakhstan, Michael and I had to make a very difficult decision. We are changing countries, for a third - and we hope final - time. We will be traveling to Russia. We will be meeting with our social worker tomorrow (Friday) to get our home study revamped. We will need to start the process all over again of course, including new physicals and new FBI prints. If the police at our local station don't know us by now...  Of course, with the switch comes the added bonus of expenses and stress. Our agency has passed along some information for grants which I will be starting shortly - but I am also looking into starting a "local" fundraiser. At this point, we could use all the help we can get, any little bit helps. If you could swing by our online fundraiser, it has been modernized to include more than just magazines. Please take a look, think gift giving season is right around the corner. We would greatly appreciate it.
Kazakhstan info will soon be swapped out for Russia on our "Where Is"... page.

Some people say, everything happens for a reason. We are sad to leave Kazakhstan behind. We learned a lot about the country during our "waiting time". However... I can't quite get the idea out of my head that maybe God had a better plan. A plan to make me better, make me heal, and our family able to bring our daughter home together without any added stress. I guess I will never know for sure. What I do know is, you never get between a mama and her cub. Where there is a will, there is a way. We will get there, and we will bring her home, where ever she might be. 0 comments

Coming To A Screeching Halt

Chocolate - We Miss You! 2000-2010
Well, I've got a lot say. And a limited amount of time to get it down (the school bus should be here soon). First off, I want to address the above, our cat Chocolate. I originally planned and arranged this beautiful slideshow, but when I pressed play - I cried like a baby... so it will have to wait. In the meantime, we are sad to say that our oldest cat has passed away. It started when one night she woke up on the bed with us and seemed disoriented, kinda hobbled to her feet and circled around before hopping off. This condition gradually got worse, and then one day Chocolate’s circling didn't stop. We took her to an animal hospital and the Docs diagnosed her with a vestibular disease, one that was most likely neurological (or in the brain). After a week of medicine, we knew our playful, leaping Chocolate wasn't going to be the same... and we let her go. She will be forever missed!

Little bit of bad news, little bit of good.
At the beginning of the month, we headed over to Coco Key to go swimming to celebrate the end of summer and the end of Hayden's play. We invited some friends along, stayed a few days, and enjoyed lying back with no worries. Plus, the Lazy River was free water therapy.  ;)
Also, Hayden graduated from Bike Camp! The last session was commenced by Hayden and another boy riding their bikes through downtown Grayslake to get to “Tastee Freeze” for ice cream. Though it was a hot day, not much ice cream was lost (he saved some on his chin for later); no knees were skinned during the journey. We are sooo proud of him.
Next, I have started real aquatic therapy. It's great not having horrible sore muscles. This will teach me, or my body to finally use the correct muscles to keep my body up and moving. When that starts to kick in, I'll let you know.
Also, school has started! Hayden has been waiting for this since June (and mom too!). He has officially become a tween - he's worrying about messing up his hair! He started out by styling it with mousse, but went the extra mile to get it cut the correct way, and then used gel. He now asks me in the morning to help make his hair spiky. He's growing up before our eyes. Here's a sneak peak of his first day as a 2nd grader, and his new do!


And lastly, in adoption news: Imagine a child was given a yo-yo, but didn't know how to use it. He would throw it in the air (and you would get really excited!) or start the roll/drop and it would slightly spring back up (a hint of good news), but the yo-yo never completely winds back up or comes back to the top. This is how our journey has been - a yo-yo of unexpected expectations and surprises and disappointments.
This afternoon we learned that even after signing a petition to keep our dossier in Kazahkstan, it was unfortunately returned to the States. We are now left with yet another fork in the road, or a decision to make. Either we stay with Kazakhstan and wait until it reopens, then most likely redo our paperwork and resubmit our information as a new case and start the wait over again... Or we jump ship, to say Russia or Ukraine. We haven't made any decisions yet, as we haven't quite processed the news, but can't believe this is happening again - to us... to make a choice. "Should we stay or should we go?"

It's been a long, hard and trying month. Or even year. We hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere - soon. Cuz I need a break. 2 comments

A New Look... On Life, On Site

You probably have noticed by now things look a little different around here. Unfortunately our old background was about to "expire" and I couldn't get the site to come back to me. So... I scoured my techie pages and some blog template pages - deciding it was time for a change. Our family will be going through some changes in the coming months, so this is only appropriate. ;)

Some things to expect as you browse our newly designed site:

  • The Daily V's (pics), Adoption Timeline, and Where is Kazakhstan? links have grown legs. They now have their own page, (their own home) and links which are located on the upper right hand side of our page.
  • You can always click "Home" to get back to the front page. The "Home" button is available at the TOP, in the clouds.
  • The "About" link in the clouds gives you a little background info on our family. A cute read. :)
  • If you would like to follow along on our journey, get updates, or be a frequent visitor to our blog - click on the "RSS" in the clouds OR find the "Followers" bunch on the side bar. We hope you come back often.
  • Comments are only a cloud away. Want to read about what everyone has been saying? The "Comments" link is in the clouds above.
If you have any questions or comments... or our template isn't working for you, please let us know. Currently my "Search" feature isn't active, but I hope to add labels to my posts soon, to make this feature available.

And so, with that we hope you enjoy our newly-decorated site! 0 comments

One Step.... Errrr, Jump at a Time

It's been an interesting July. We're still here... in town, in country - with no travel date in sight. And even though we are sad, we are trying to make the best of it.

Hayden's summer camp will be coming to an end soon. We can't believe how fast time flies in the summer. He will be performing in Aladdin Jr. at the end of this month and rounding out his summer therapies, including bike camp. In fact, as I type this... my little bicyclist has just completed 3 laps around our park (Daddy sent a text while I stayed home and rested). We are super proud of his achievement.

Here is a sneak peak of Hayden practicing one of his Aladdin song's - an actor in the making ;) .

video

Meanwhile, we have been trying to keep ourselves (if not our minds) busy. We raised butterflies from tiny caterpillars! It was a great experience for all of us to watch them grow, flutter, and then fly away to "find their new home". My youngest brother graduated high school and had a party thrown in his honor. We were more than happy to visit with family and relax. We visited some friends and had dinner, and also got to tour their new house - Hayden LOVED this part. 
In addition, we are going to visit a water park the first week of August. (Shhhh! It's a surprise for Hayden!!!) We want to celebrate Hayden's play and just take a break from our daily routine - I think we deserve it.
I'm sure there is much more in store for us and the summer isn't over yet. We are taking advantage of the free time before Michael and Hayden go back to school while we can.

Though the days can be tough... like walking by our trip box (that is finally filled with supplies for our travels) in the office daily, and seeing our empty suitcases as we grab the laundry basket, but I can't help but think there is a silver lining somewhere. It's hard to find at times. It's definitely frustrating, but we are still crossing our fingers. With that, we are just taking it day by day... and hoping for tomorrow.

Anyway, please don't forget to check out our "Summer Fun" pics on our new Daily V's page (link is located on the top right under "Pages"). We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer... and please keep us in your prayers. 0 comments

Asking For Your Prayers...

The past few weeks have proven to be very difficult. We have spent it waiting for phone calls and emails on updates about our case - hoping for the best - but ending up hearing what could be the worst case scenario.

We don't feel comfortable going into detail about the situation we are going through right now, therefore we are keeping things confidential per the request of our agency. However, we are praying that it all pans out and that it can be resolved in a timely manner. We trust that it will all work out in the end, and we ask that no one question our decision(s) or bring doubt into our heads (during this difficult time or otherwise). We know we are being very vague, but we wanted to get the word out and are asking for your help in prayer.

As we learned when we switched from Kyrgyzstan and throughout this whole process, international adoption is unpredictable. We are at the mercy of the country.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Happy 4th of July 2 comments

I Wanna Be...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Jungle Book - I Wanna Be
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Slideshow generated with Smilebox

As promised, photos and a video clip of our little actor!
Last weekend we were all a little winded. Four performances for a child is a lot to handle. But we all managed, and in the end Hayden was still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We would definitely have to say Jungle Book Jr. was one of Hayden's favorite plays out of the four he has been in in the past. To this day he still walks around the house singing "I wanna be like you...". He was well versed on not only his lines, but everyone else's! Though sometimes, you could tell he was a bit tired on stage, he would always perk up from a silly wave or smile from Mommy, Daddy, or any of our guests. We are so proud of our little thespian! We hope you enjoy the video clip of Hayden saying BOTH his lines as much as I enjoyed using our little handy-cam that we purchased for Kazakhstan.
            
In adoption news, we are on the edge of our seats. We are frantically checking our email almost every hour waiting for our LOI to come in (letter of invitation - allowing us to travel). We are keeping ourselves busy by getting packing items ready, counting down the minutes until hubby and Hayden finish up school and so on. I don't know about you, but I am now more anxious than ever! So cross your fingers, and say a little pray for us to be traveling soon. I (we) wanna be... in Kazakhstan soon!
       
Happy Memorial Day!
2 comments

Shop 'Till You Drop


Wow, we cannot believe June is right around the corner! With that comes the presentation of Hayden's theater play - Jungle Book. This is the forth play he has been in and he is loving every minute of it. He is playing two parts this time around (both monkeys) and has his lines down pat. He can't wait to hop on stage this weekend and "project" his voice for all who come. Pictures coming soon!

Now that I am able to get around a little more... we must start ticking things off our "Packing To-Do" list. Today I hit Walmart and and just started dumping stuff in my cart. I grabbed things like ibuprofen and antacid, travel kleenex and toothettes, a travel size of deodorant, toothpaste and laundry detergent, plus so much more! I barely put a dent in my list, but I feel a slight weight off my shoulders to have finally gotten started. We still have a TON of stuff to do, and no idea when we need it done by. We haven't heard word on when we will be traveling, but we are crossing our fingers that it will happen once Michael finishes teaching and Hayden is done in school, both the same day - June 4th. Either way, I have several more trips to the store ahead of me - crossing more of our list off by the minute.

Even though I can make it to the store, take Hayden and myself to therapy and back - I am still working on the big stuff. I do my days in shifts, groceries get unpacked s-l-o-w-l-y, etc. I could start to vacuum, but I am anal about cleanliness and have a lot of floor to cover tiring me out quickly, so I have left that up to Michael until recently. We finally agreed that we just can't handle it all - there just isn't enough time in the day. So, with a recommendation from my friend Laura, I called a cleaning service and was glad I did. Though I have to admit, I wanted to jump up and give them a hand, and I felt guilty laying around while they worked... but the end of the afternoon, I was tickled pink! My sink was gleaming brighter than it ever has been (I have never been able to get that white porcelain sink clean!) and the house was smelling clean and fresh. We aren't the type of people to "hire help". We know this luxury won't last long, only because the cost does add up, and because I like to do things my own way - when I can.

*Lastly, I want to take a moment and pay our respects to Fence. It was an old Fence. It kept us hidden from our neighbors, sheltered us from most winds (where we still had fence panels left), and created a boundary line for the wandering kids on the block. We will miss you dearly.

Fence was taken done by Michael and his father on Sunday May 16th. There was no reviving of Fence due to finances. Fence left behind a warm and loving yard, playset, two maple trees and a great family. You will be missed.

Fence was disposed of on the apron of our drive - only to learn funeral services would cost $300. Family made other arrangements, and Fence was adopted/purchased by a loving family and new yard and home. Mostly likely Fence will be shortened to give him back some youth for many more years to come.

Whew... 2 comments

Happy Birthday!

On Thursday April 15, I woke up as usual... with a pain in my butt. Literally. I was scheduled for a steroid epidural injection shortly after we put Mr. Hayden on the bus that morning. Though I am not a fan of pain or needles, I was determined to do anything to feel better, and make it to my son's birthday party in just 2 days time.
So the simple procedure was a success, minus the numb feeling in my legs and bottom. I was told no stretches for twenty-four hours. You got it!
Come Saturday, I wouldn't say I felt like a new woman, but I definitely felt better. I walked about Hayden's party (held at a pizza like arcade called Rinkside), talking, handing out tokens, and admiring the kids. Eventually my legs said "Take a break lady!" and I obliged. Overall... the party was a success and Hayden was happy. That's all that mattered.

Now... I'm at a fork in the road. Maybe I took advantage and moved around too much, too much sitting or driving. Maybe one cortisone/steroid shot isn't enough, because I've regressed. I never left my good old friend the couch and bed for long -  and they seem to be glad I'm back. Me on the other hand, want to chuck them out the window in a fit of anger. But if I did that, who knows what body part I'd hurt next. ;)
Either way, we're in the waiting game. Michael has been extremely busy with work, grocery shopping, cleaning, and cooking. If we aren't neglecting one thing, we are another. Just recently we got a warning about our fence... which is falling apart. With every intention to take it down, we are now forced to do this before we face a fine - by May 3rd. When we (or shall I say Michael) will find time to do this is beyond our imagination. Yet we keep chugging along...

Hayden had a fantastic birthday. We took plenty of pictures of his big day - him turning 7! Check out the Daily V's on the right. He got his beloved Nintendo DS and some games, in addition to some Bakugan toys. We are also grateful for the donations to Hayden's summer theater camp. He had such a blast last year. Swimming, dancing, and singing, OH MY!

Lots of great things are happening in Hayden-ville: Hayden's biking skills are coming along awesomely. He rode from two neighbor houses down - to our house all by himself. A tremendous feat and an accomplishment for our big guy!
He's conquered shoe tying "Mommy's" way, as long as he takes his time and the laces are a decent size.
Hayden's teacher came back from a medical family leave - which meant cleaning out desks and bringing home weeks old papers. One included a worksheet from St. Patty's Day titled "My 3 Wishes". Hayden wrote very nice and neat his three wishes, 1. to be speed racer's car. 2. a baby toy for his baby sister. 3. a baby bottle for his baby sister. Michael and I were soo touched by our loving and thoughtful boy!

We are still awaiting news on Baby V, and will be sure to post when we hear something. But I wouldn't doubt you'll hear me shouting from the rooftops when the time finally comes. ;) In a blink of an eye we have been going through this process for 2 years (But no cake for you!). We can't wait to meet her and bring her home.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 0 comments

Have a Snack While You Wait...

video

Monday I had an uplifting conversation with our adoption coordinator. We are going to be assigned our orphanage and given travel dates soon. With that, a flood of questions came. One of them being that we could potentially be traveling as early as the middle to end of May. With all that has been going on with my injury, this news has us "tickled pink".

One of those questions included how... how do we travel if the "boys" are still in school? And how long? We are going to do our best to make it to Kazakhstan in one trip (which we hope will be about three to three and half weeks). And we are asking to have an escort bring Baby V home. Of course... now we seriously have to get our butts in gear, paint and finish her room, and buy girlie things!!!! *That's one of the fun parts!* Unfortunately, since we are looking to adopt a toddler girl between the ages of 12-24 months, clothes sizes vary widely. So that will have to be put off until we come back from our trip and we have met our daughter.

In other news, I am still waiting to hear back about my MRI. My doctors office decided to take a little Easter vacation, and left me in a lurch. Nice, huh? Meanwhile, I am still recovering, doing my stretches and venturing to therapy twice a week.

Yesterday, Hayden kept himself occupied a good portion of the day with his Vtech kiddy digital camera. He's not only able to take pictures, but quick little videos. One of his videos included him laying at the top of the stairs filming his self singing the theme song to Scooby-Doo. But our most prized video is of him snacking.

Before we know it... it will be May or June and we will be heading to Kazakhstan. We hope to get things in gear soon, and will keep you posted with our progress.

Happy Easter!
1 comments

Step On A Crack, Break Your Back


Almost 5 Weeks and counting - should be the title of this post. This month has been one of the worst, trying my patience, health, and sanity. All the while... I have had plenty of time to write (though in a horizontal position - it isn't all that easy), think, and make mental notes of nail pops.

March 1, 2010 changed me. Our family's whole routine went out with the garbage (pun IS intended, as you'll read soon) that day, and sometimes... when my patience and frustration gets the better of me - I feel I will never gain control again.

To give you some insight, I have a slipped disk... just by maneuvering the garbage cans on a chilly icy morning. I must have twisted my body the wrong way, and have spent my time since paying for it. I have started physical therapy, but mostly I spend my time abusing my couch and bed. They haven't seen this kind of company in like - EVER! Standing, sitting, and walking (for long periods of time) are painful. Which basically makes daily living dull, boring, and uneventful. I have caught up on more TV shows than I can count, OnDemand shows I never knew existed, and have even watched TV online. I bring new meaning to "couch potato".

Hubby and Hayden have been extremely helpful (or as helpful as an almost 7 year old can/want to be). But it's hard. When you want a snack and you don't quite know what you want... you need to raid your pantry. Or you want to go to the store (so you can find a snack to buy) and use those coupons - the ones you having been clipping for weeks while on the couch! And you hear the birds now, but you would actually like to SEE them. But you just can't do it all.

Don't get me wrong, I have made it out. I manage, or do my best, to make it to Hayden's therapies (though car rides/driving is difficult). I am able to make Hayden's lunch with his help and walk him down to the bus stop. But standing to make a long meal, like dinner, is more challenging. Let's just say I am tired of take-out.

Either way, I have come a long way with my injury. I was on my hands and knees in so much pain I couldn't stand almost 5 weeks ago. I understand the healing process is long and grueling, and sometimes I think it would have been easier had I have broken a wrist, etc. Least I'd be more mobile and could still tend to my family.

This injury has taught me a few things, one being trust. Also I know some things just aren't life threatening, and it's ok to let it go. Who cares if the floor isn't swept and the dishes aren't done. Yes it's annoying, it will get done... eventually.

In other (quick) news, Hayden has learned to tie a dummy-set of shoes, has pedaled 6 cycles on a bike at therapy and came home with three 100% on his tests last week, one including spelling. He is doing so well, his IEP services has dropped O.T. to consult and all that remains is speech. And even speech was lowered. He is so happy, and we are proud of his progress.

Still no word on the adoption front. But we put out an email and hope to hear back soon.

Here's to no more injuries, no more bad fast food (a nasty encounter with raw chicken doesn't do a tummy good), and oh for some warm weather to get some fresh air!

Edit: Needed to change the number of weeks I have been "laid up". Apparently you lose track when all you see is ceiling everyday. That and I never have been good at math. ;) 0 comments

Happy Mother's Day in Kaz!

While we were hoping for an update this week, it didn't come. Instead we are thinking of the country's 2 day celebration for mothers which starts March 8th. We hope to receive some kind of news once the holiday is over. Until then, Happy Mother's Day to the moms in Kazakhstan!

Meanwhile... I can't wait for this week to end. While running some errands Monday morning for my business, I managed to pull my back out. Though I worked through the morning and early afternoon, I wasn't truly aware of the damage until later in the afternoon when I couldn't rise from the couch. From Monday evening on (and still to this day), I have spent most of my time laying... laying... and catching up on television shows. Not an enjoyable week. My sis and I made an uncomfortable trip out to the doc, got some meds, etc. and was for recommended physical therapy.
If there's anything I have learned from this week - it's two things. One... take it easy when moving the garbage cans, they can ruin your week in a blink. And two... trust. I have had to depend on my family for everything. From something simple like putting on my socks, to walking Hayden to the bus, and even help in the washroom (embarrassingly enough to say). But my husband, mother, brother, and sister were my rocks this week, and without them... I would still be in tears in a fetal position on the floor - in pain.

Here's to a better week, a recovered back... and some good news. ;) 0 comments

Crossing Our Fingers For An Update...

Video courtesy of http://www.twoheartsforhope.org/
Visit Two Hearts for Hope and learn about what more you can do to help. Donate to the 2 Hearts 2 Kaz Mega Fundraiser and help the children of Kazakhstan. Fund "Project Playground" today, because every little bit helps.
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News has been slow here. We hope to have an update by the end of the day, but at the latest, next week. We will keep you posted ;)

Hayden has been enjoying school immensely these past few weeks. School has never seemed to be a struggle for him, and we are crossing our fingers that is never the case. However, there are times when things get in the way, i.e. colds and doctor appointments, that forces him to miss his beloved past time. Earlier this week, Hay came down with a fluky bug... keeping him home from school the first 2 days of the week. But once he went back, it was one of the best days he's had all year.

First, Hayden appeared all bright-eyed, smiley, and yelling "Mommy! Guess what!" on Wednesday afternoon upon pickup. Once I got him to quiet down, I saw this odd necklace he was grasping on to for dear life - a tooth necklace. The dangling bottom K-9 tooth finally found its way out, during hot lunch pizza, and Hayden was rewarded with a neat gift. His name was put on the wall in the office, and given a necklace to carry his prize home in.

Later on, driving him to therapy, Hayden entertained me with a tale of at lunch when he felt his tooth fall out, he was thinking and his brain worked out a situation to get that tooth out... without swallowing, or losing any pizza. ;)
We made it to therapy shortly after (I, in stitches from laughing so hard), and Hayden attempted and conquered one of his hardest and scariest tasks from O.T. At the end of the session, we were all very proud of him. He is coming a long way.

On another note, we visited an ENT a few weeks ago. Hayden enjoyed the giant camera that took a picture of his neck, ah... adenoids. We heard word shortly after that his adenoids are enlarged (a concern expressed not only by me, but by therapists). He was given a prescription nose spray, we hope this helps the enlargement, and the fluid in the ear. We go back in the middle of March for another check-up. And unfortunately, if he makes no improvement, surgery is recommended.

Rounding down to our 2 years... we think and dream about what it will be like to have our family together - everyday. Even Hayden, who asks frequently "When will baby sister come home?", is puzzled why this process is taking so long. It's truly a heartbreaking question to answer, but we hope to be able to do that soon. 0 comments

Once Upon A Time...

Once upon a time there was a man and a woman. They fell in love, married and decided to start a family. What a glorious idea, the Heavens thought... as they blessed this couple with a son almost 2 years after being wed.
The family felt whole - complete, with three cats, a fish, and a frog. But one day... an urge started to rattle their bones. A feeling like something was missing.
It was at that moment - more than two years ago - the Heavens introduced the miracle of adoption to the V family. A sibling, a daughter, a home. Happily Ever After.

We finished up Hayden's B&B play, took a break, and now we're back to business. Hayden continues on being a thespian. He will join the cast of Jungle Book starting next weekend and is excited to "get back to work". A Valentine party at school and a trip to an ENT (recommended by Hayden's speech and O.T. therapists) next week will kick off a busy weekend. Our busy February will turn into a busy March, filled with family bdays (including Daddy's!). Hayden's birthday isn't too far around the corner and is a frequent topic of discussion (mainly from Hayden, LOL).

In adoption speak, we are back to doing paperwork. Yep, you heard me right. One of our forms will be expiring soon, including our fingerprints. With these items needing to be renewed, our homestudy needs to be updated. Which, consequently, means more translating, shipping costs... etc. Yeah fun! We haven't received any word if we've moved up the adoption "food chain". But as always, we'll keep you posted.

B&B moments posted on our "Daily V's" slideshow to the right. Enjoy! 0 comments

Anxiously Awaiting... Waiting Anxiously...

Last week was a heck of a week. We have dealt with many up's and down's (in the past and present), of which we are proud to say has only made us stronger, and the urge to continue on greater. Preparing to bring our daughter home is no small feat. The process is in no way comparable to buying a car or a house. And like Michael mentioned previously, it's not easy. Though there is nothing in the world that we can compare this experience to, we wouldn't trade it for the world. The end result will by far outweigh... and none of this will matter then.

To help everyone better understand, I (Melissa) have broken down the process of where our dossier is today:

1. Prepare and compile a Dossier and forward to International agency.

2. Dossier is sent to Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington D.C.

3. Once approved, dossier is sent to "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" (MFA).

4. Then sent to "Ministry of Education" (MOE).

5. Once approved again, dossier is sent to Guardianship Board in the city where you are adopting.

6. Once cleared of step 5. parents are issued a "Letter of Invitation" (LOI).
This letter is necessary for the parents to obtain a Kazakhstani visa. Soon after, parent(s) are allowed to travel to the country and visit, arrange court dates, etc.

The bolded step (#4) is currently where we hope to be standing as of this week. We received word that our dossier was to move on early this week, putting it at the MOE.
Of course, changes can happen at any time. There is no specfic time line in between the steps - thus we have no idea how long it will take officials to go over our paperwork, in addition to other families. This is only an example. :)

Other news that came in last week, we were offered the rare opportunity to adopt 2 sisters, a sibling group. These girls are younger than Hayden, filling in any gap in between ages.
Though it was a very difficult, heart-wrenching decision... we decided a family of five was not in the cards for us at this time. We continue to hold out for one child, a girl, preferably between the ages of 12-24 months. Through all this... we have learned that God will make it happen when it's time.

Hayden's Beauty and the Beast play is this weekend and we couldn't be more thrilled! Besides singing, Hayden has a tiny speaking part that suits him perfectly. We hope to capture it on video, or at the least have plenty of pictures. Though our evenings this week are spent shoveling dinner down our throats, dashing out the door to get him to rehearsal, and then back home to bed ASAP... Hayden is having a blast! We can't wait to show off our little charmer.

Have a great week! 0 comments

Put Yourself in Someone Else's Shoes

It's nearing the end and we are starting to imagine the day our daughter will be home. What will that day be like? What or how many more obstacles or loopholes will we have to endure to get to that day?

With that in mind, we have no regrets, there isn't a moment that goes by that would make us trade this experience. However, everyday life gets harder and harder. We are constantly hit with questions and problems that are out of our control. Who will watch Hayden while we travel? Should we take Hayden with? Do I (as a mother) feel comfortable leaving him home while we leave and meet our daughter, leaving him in family/friends hands? Why am I told not to worry, but get puzzled looks when asking about the welfare of my son? His life is full too, therapies to help with his developmental delays, fun activities like play, and his love for school. How will he handle mom and dad being gone for several weeks? Do we have all our finances in order? And our paperwork? Yet again, we are faced with expiration dates - papers and fingerprints that need to be re-done.

Yet we rarely hear anyone ask... how are you doing? How are you holding up? This must be hard on you, how are you managing?... Instead we are frequently asked "When?". A question that we don't always know the answer too, a question that most people react like they have opened a can of worms. Or one that people feel that warrants a response like "How come you don't know" then "that's ridiculous!"

And after 20 some odd months, we feel like we are going down this road alone.

We started this blog to help educate our family and friends about the hometown of our daughter while we are there, make them aware of our progress, and share family moments.

So, from this day on... put yourself in our shoes. Imagine how hard it is to want to bring your child home. Imagine how hard you have worked everyday for this for months. How hard it is to explain to your 6 year old who is just as desperate as us why the process takes so long? Or a cashier who your 6 year old just told - that he's getting a baby sister (and your not pregnant). Imagine that yearning to finish the child's room, without a child to fill it. Imagine having no one understand how hard of a process this is, and dealing with that day after day. I (Michael) was just asked by one of my former students who is doing her research paper on International Adoptions as she has a close relative also working through the process, "What was the easiest part of the process?" It took me a really long time to think of a response...made me realize "they" don't make it easy, not one darn thing! Her next question was what would I change...now that I could easily answer and went on and on and on. She said her relative pretty much said the exact same things as me. And it's really frustrating, but we know in end it will all be worth it when we finally bring our daughter into our lives.

Yes, life is hard, we manage. We have good days and bad. We try to keep our heads up. We try to empathize with others, so why can't others empathize with us? For example, while calling a bank that took away our last loan that we needed to finish the process, a loan that is for people who are adopting, the customer service rep felt horrible, yet it was out of her control. The bank made the decision to pull this type of loan and didn't care if we still needed the rest of the money. I could hear the sympathy in her voice, she wanted to help, but the computer was in charge.

This is the first blog entry we have collaborated on, sharing our feelings to those who read. 4 comments

Jeans Like Swiss Cheese

We had a terrific Christmas! The snow held off long enough to make the journeys out to our family's homes. Hayden enjoyed opening his gifts, in addition to his favorite one being a piano. We are lucky to have a musically inclined child... i.e. easy on the ears and keys. Though currently, he has found out that the "electronic" keyboard plays drums. Of which he is totally excited about. This is one aspect of the piano that is NOT quiet.

So, we have a treat for you! To show you just how much he is enjoying his gift from Santa... view the video below:

video

We are anxiously awaiting the summer. Not only because we can't take another ounce of snow, or for school to be over, but for us to meet and bring our daughter home! I have started the research again on the design of her room... anxious to implement my ideas. Imagine brown paint, white furniture, pink curtains, and a tree on the wall... I hope it turns out to be everything I envision and more!

Recently we made a trip to JcPenney. With some holiday bucks and a coupon (from the use of my bargain sites), we turned what could have been an empty-pocketbook into a steal of a deal!
Hayden was in dire need of new jeans. With a growing boy, we couldn't live with re-patching the same knee on the worn out jeans. And he needed to get used to buttons and zippers.
So we bought Daddy a warmer coat for under $25, Mommy a new fashionable scarf, and Hayden 2 pairs of Jeans... leaving the bill a tad over $50. We were psyched... and yet I was dreading the days ahead.

Hayden woke several days later, and I laid out a pair of his new jeans. Dreading the "dressing" part... I simply told Hayden to let me know if he had any trouble, to let me know and I would be glad to help him. He has made great strides lately across the board... and occupational therapy is just one of them. So I wasn't surprised when I heard lots of grunting and yelling coming from down the hall at 6:50am Wednesday morning.
I soon came to aide my sulken boy - only to be shut down (not uncommon). But this time was different. Instead of him telling me no, or running away. He told me "Mommy, you always tell me you want me to do things myself, I want to do my pants on my own."
I continued to watch my boy struggle, yearning to help him, though knowing the best thing to do was watch my boy grow confidence in himself.
A couple minutes later, those pants were buttoned - by himself - the grunting and yelling stopped, and I gave my boy the biggest, proudest hug a mother could give.

Happy 2010!

P.S. Pics updated on right sidebar 0 comments