Saturday, November 29, 2008

I-600A

Russia has finally received our clearance for us to adopt. It only took 11 months to arrive. But hey, it is there! We also received our Russian visas the other day. Thing are coming together for our departure. I am even close to finishing the Christmas shopping. All the shopping has to be done, wrapped, shipped etc. since we won't be back in the states until the 24th. Phew!

This is a picture of the girls' recent pedicures. They each earned a pedicure for different reasons. Alex earned her pedicure by winning the BARS at the North State Gymnastic meet in November. Taylor earned her pedicure by finally getting over the VAULT with straight legs. (She no longer looks like a frog when she vaults.) Lauren earned her pedicure because she is such a trooper and has attended gymnastic meet after gymnastic meet after gymnastic meet. For those of you not involved in gymnastics, meets are loooong. They usually last about 4 hours and we had to sit through 2 session each meet. Lauren's days were at least 8 hours long for each meet during the season. She only complained a little. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Polar Express

Last night we took the girls on "The Polar Express" train ride with some of our good friends. It was about an hour long train ride. It is a very cute idea. We boarded a train and listened to the story of "The Polar Express" and Christmas music while we rode to the "North Pole". When we arrived at the "North Pole" we picked up Santa and his elves. Santa went around and visited all the kids and asked them what they wanted for Christmas. We sang Christmas carols, drank hot chocolate and ate cookies. The kids even got to wear their pajamas on the train ride. Here's a picture of the girls right as they boarded the train.
Me and the girls in our seats on the train.
Picture of me and Chris before he got too hot and bored. He thought the ride was a bit long and way too hot.
This train ride was a very cute idea but after participating in it we decided they need to work out quite a few kinks for us to do it again. It was also a bit pricey for what it was. At least we were able to do something Christmasy with the girls though before we leave for Russia. Our trip is less than 2 weeks away now. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Taylor's State Meet

We drove to Taylor's state gymnastic meet this weekend. We thought she needed a painted car too!


Taylor didn't have her best gymnastic meet but she was ok with how she performed. We are so proud of how far she has come since severely breaking her arm last year. Taylor qualified to compete in the highest gymnast division at the state meet..... GOLD. It is hard to believe what all she has accomplished since her surgery. She is an amazing little girl whose work ethic is fantastic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New cell phone!

Alex was promised a cell phone if she took first place on an event at the state gymnastic championships. We obviously had to fulfill that promise. Here she is with her new cell phone. Talk about an excited girl!

This is a picture of Alex teaching her dad how to text. We added the unlimited text package since we know all the kids want to do is text one another.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

WE HAVE A STATE CHAMPION!!!!

Alex took the title of the State Beam Champion this morning! She took first place with a 9.775! We are so proud of her. Alex also placed 3rd in the floor event and 3rd place overall. Way to go! Here she is with her Daddy, her uncles and her beam and floor coach. Everyone is proud of her! :)

Alex and Amanda (beam and floor coach)

We are so sad that Amanda is moving and will no longer be able to coach Alex. We love her!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heading to the State Competition!

Alex's teammates decorated our car to show Alex their support! They are the greatest.

The wind was blowing like crazy when I took these pictures so they aren't the best. You can get the idea though.


Best of luck to our gymnast. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Airline tickets

I've been working on our flight arrangements the past couple of days. What a pain. I predicted this pain since we are travelling around the holidays. Chris and I decided to drive to the closest big airport to save $500. This isn't convenient but $500 is $500. The day we leave we will drive the girls to school and then head out.

I am so excited my mom can come down and watch the girls the first part of our trip to Russia. Then when the girls' school is let out for the holidays my mother-in-law will come and pick them up and take them to her house to spend the holidays there. I am so grateful for their williness to help out. That is one less thing to worry about.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

December 23rd or December 26th

Based on a lot of "ifs", we will either be home from Russia December 23rd or December 26th depending on if our little man can get his passport ready "early". If it is ready "early" we will fly home on the 23rd of December. If not....we miss Christmas with the girls and can't leave Moscow until the 26th. We are talking with the girls about the possibility of not spending Christmas with them. It is sad to think about but, we are bringing home an awfully good Christmas present! :)) We were told to buy tickets that can be changed without too much penalty. We all know those are more expensive.

Monday, November 10, 2008

WOOO HOOO!!!!!!

OUR COURT DATE HAS BEEN SET!!! DECEMBER 15TH!!! WE ARE SOO EXCITED! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO US!

USCIS has received our FEDEX letter. Apparently it wasn't indicated on our application which country we were adopting from so our adoption clearance wasn't sent anywhere. Things are starting to move now. We need to focus now on getting our state to get our state police clearances passed through and also getting our homestudy updated. Unfortunately, our homestudy expires the day we have court. Of course, it is more money to update it. Nothing is for free in this adoption game.

Black or brown hats? I'm sure we will be wishing we had some of these fur balls as we travel to Siberia in December. BRRRRR!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

USCIS

Fellow adopters...does anyone know phone numbers to the USCIS offices in Dallas and Oklahoma City? What about specific names of Orphan officers? I want to call both of these offices tomorrow so that they can be looking for our FEDEX letter we sent both of these offices on Friday. I also need to plead our case to get them to move quickly in this immigration matter. Our little man needs his heart evaluated for surgery so we need to get him to the United States quickly! This paper delay is just nuts! I looked back on our records and I think our immigration stuff was done last January.

Friday, November 7, 2008

More problems!

You read the title correct! More problems. It seems that immigration has not let the Moscow embassy know that we have been cleared for adoption! Our adoption agency wrote letters today to immigration and overnighted them to their offices. We all know it is Friday! They won't even receive the letters until Monday. I wonder how long it will take them to put our clearances through to Moscow? It is always something. At this point things are not looking good to get back over to Russia in November. This is frustrating!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

State clearances

Yesterday our adoption agency told they still hadn't received our state clearances. :( Our agency had us go and do a local clearance in hopes that this information would be enough to get a court date scheduled. You'll be glad to know that neither Chris nor myself have been arrested in the past year! Phew. :) I just knew everyone would be wondering!

This is a picture of the playground at the orphanage.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Adoption is an interesting thing...

Our adoption has been a very interesting process for us. First off, it has been extremely humbling that our Heavenly Father asked us to adopt in the first place. I know I'm not a perfect parent and have made many mistakes. I feel humbled but honored that God would entrust another child of His to raise. Practice makes perfect? Also, along with the pain, heartache and frustration that goes along with the adoption process there have been many opportunities for personal growth. Chris and I have been blown away by the support we have received from people during this process. Our families have been on board from the beginning but people we would have never thought would be supportive or even interested have been overwhelmingly supportive. On-the-other-hand, people we thought would be supportive have been disinterested and apathetic. This caught me by surprise. I have to say it even hurt my feelings. I do not mention this to get sympathy or to be critical but to be grateful for the opportunity it posed for introspection of myself. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I can change and be better. How can I be more Christlike? I don't want to be an apathetic or disinterested person. I want to be a kinder person with more interest in other people's lives. I never would have thought that an adoption could or would present so many opportunities for personal reflection and growth.

On a lighter more random note....gas is below $2/gallon :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Busy, busy weekend!

Alex was interviewed for the local paper! She feels like a celebrity!

Alex took First place Saturday at an Invitational Meet.Saturday was Taylor's District Championship meet! She qualified to compete in the State competition in the GOLD division. We are so proud of her and how far she has come in the last yeat. We just were talking about how a year ago she had just had surgery on her left arm that she broke at gymanstics. Now look at her. She will compete in the highest division at the state competition in a few weeks! Way to go TayTay!
Here is a picture of Taylor and Lauren on Halloween night. Alex went to a "Big" kids party and it just wasn't "cool" to take her pictur there. I couldn't take her picture before we got to the party because she had changed in the bathroom at gymnastics and they were trying to close the gym up. Silly me thought I could take a picture at the party. Anyways...she did look cute for the party though.