The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

The story so far: In Nov '02, we were accepted into a domestic infant adoption program. In Jan '03, we decided to switch to their Russia international adoption program. In Feb, we realized this wasn't the right program for us. We found a new homestudy agency, and a new adoption agency, Children's Hope International (CHI). In June, we switched homestudy agencies to Community Adoption Center (CAC). All of our paperwork was finished in August and in Sept our dossier was sent to Russia and on to the Tomsk region. We hope to get a referral sometime this winter and bring our daughter home before May. We hope to adopt a girl under 36 months. Below are daily updates, links, thoughts and tips I want to remember later.

Tomsk, Russia Forecast

Friday, March 19, 2004

For a variety of reasons, we have decided to pursue domestic (infant) adoption. This wasn't an easy decision. We contacted our international agency this morning to let them know we were done; I was waiting until we did that to post here or tell anyone else. The reasons have to do with our own fear of returning and losing another referral, our dissatisfaction with our agency, the frustration we would feel at beginning the paperwork over again if we switched agencies, and more.

We intend to put our profile into our homestudy agency's "resume file." This is the agency that actually did our homestudy--Community Adoption Center. We really liked our social worker and the office staff there, so we are looking forward to working with them more. We're not looking forward to starting the waiting game again. Nor writing up a "resume." It's 6-12 pages of information and pictures about ourselves. Birthparents look through the files to find families they like. It's nerve-wracking to come up with the "perfect" things to say.

Our timeline now? I hope to have our information in their files by the first week of April. Then, it's completely unknown. We have to wait for a birthfamily to choose us. Then we have to wait for the child to be born. Then we have to wait for the court hearing that severes the birth parents rights. I'm still trying to decide whether to continue this blog during the process. At the moment, I do not want to go through what just happened and have the adoption fall through. (The birthparents can change their minds anytime before the court hearing is over.) But, at the same time, I wouldn't mind some people knowing what we're going through. And it's easier to have be people I rarely see rather than the people I see every day. (Some of my friends here at work do read this, and that's okay. But it's not everyone, like how everyone knew every step of the Russia experience.)

I guess I'll have to change the name of this blog.

posted by AnnMarie at 5:55 AM |

Friday, February 27, 2004

I just wanted to let everyone know we're okay. Not great, but we're surviving this. I also wanted to let you know that Anna is not dead. It was one of my first thoughts, too, and a few people have asked about that. Not that I'd wish someone dead, but it would be easier on us if she were. We wouldn't wonder how she is and where she is and if she's still in an orphanage. This way, we'll always wonder what her life is like. We'll hope she's found a forever family...I just hope I can assume that and be happy.

We are looking forward as much as we can. We're making plans to continue working on adoption. I'll write more about that once we know for sure. We are still dealing with remaining paperwork right now. The last of it (we hope) was mailed yesterday. It was very difficult to hand it over to the clerk. Once it happened, I knew for sure this adoption wasn't going to happen. Maybe something could have changed before that moment--I don't know what and I know it wasn't really going to occur--but I guess a part of me that held out some hope was still alive. But I knew it would never be able to happen now.

posted by AnnMarie at 7:36 AM |

Friday, February 20, 2004

We won't be adopting Anna. We've been devasted over this for the past two days (and still are).

posted by AnnMarie at 12:22 PM |

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Take a virtual tour of our hotel--Marriott Tverskaya Hotel (Moscow). They don't picture the type of room we had--kind of the deluxe room without much room next to the bed. Had no idea we were so close to the sights. But it was also the coldest month...maybe this time we'll walk to places on our own!

posted by AnnMarie at 5:48 AM |

Friday, February 13, 2004

Heavens, I didn't think this would happen for at least another month: We have our court date on Feb 27! We're leaving on the 24th. (In Tomsk, the date is just a pre-court hearing. It's not likely the actual adoption will happen until at least the following Monday or Tuesday.)

We returned just one month ago, and our petition to adopt was only submitted to CHI early last week. It couldn't have arrived in Tomsk until this week! That means we will have had about 7 weeks between getting home and going to court. We're in a bit of a shock still! And we *aren't* ready. Thank goodness yesterday our updated medical form was completed. We still have to get the pediatrician's letter, however.

posted by AnnMarie at 5:04 PM |

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Our new medical form is done! Just needs an apostille. Got the last specialist's signature today. Then Eric took it over to our GP for his signatures. He signed them right away since the notary was in! Eric came to me at work to show it to me, even. Unfortunately, I noticed the GP hadn't signed his line, only the bottom! So he ran it back and got that done right away. Just need the apostilles now. WOOHOO!!!!

posted by AnnMarie at 11:01 AM |

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

You may be able to watch the weather in Tomsk! It requires a plugin that's not recognized on my Mac, so I'm not sure. But it would be so cool! I hope Eric figures out how to see it at home.... My father might be interested in more Tomsk weather info. It's all in Russian, but the graphs make sense (if you know what they are--temp, humidity, windchill, I don't know, wind direction, barometic pressure).

posted by AnnMarie at 11:28 AM |

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Friday, February 06, 2004

Our petition to adopt arrived last week, we got it notarized and apostilled, and we FedExed it to CHI on Monday. The petition is what the judge needs before a court date will be set. Once it arrives in Tomsk, then we can bet on 2-3 months until Maggie's home.

posted by AnnMarie at 11:07 AM |

A few weeks ago, I started a baby sign language course which uses materials from Sign With Your Baby. It's weird to be learning two languages right now--Russian and sign language! Luckily, I have a background in ASL, having taken a community education course in it while I was in KY and a college course at MSU. The first couple weeks, I knew the words in Russian, but this week we learned a lot more that I don't know in Russian. It's just weird to learn multiple languages at the same time and be thinking of a word in three ways! I hope sign language helps Maggie overcome communication difficulties that would be natural in any 2 year and likely worse with changing her language completely.

posted by AnnMarie at 10:38 AM |

From Anne in Alaska:

"We won't see her first smile,
we won't hear her first word,
But ours will be the first hearts she holds in her hands
She can keep them beside her in her very own room"

Lucy Kaplansky, song is "This is Home", about her
daughter, on CD The Red Thread, from Red House Records

I get tears in my eyes each time I read this. (We hopefully will hear her first word, however!)

posted by AnnMarie at 7:09 AM |

Monday, February 02, 2004

A few people have recommended medical evacuation insurance. Medex was recommended. The couple said it cost them about $70 for their trip. On our first trip, we met a couple on their way back with their two children. He had a hernia, and was waiting to get home. That could happen to us! It's very expensive to be medically evacuated should anything happen to us...

posted by AnnMarie at 8:12 AM |

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Things are going well vis-a-vis the new medical form. Saw the infectious disease and pulmonology doctors last week and the week before. Have their signatures and license copies. The wonderful office manager at our regular doctors' office is helping work on the rest except the psychiatrist, which is set for the 9th. Everything is going smoothly so far, which is such a relief! The first two gave us a basic exam, listened to everything, reviewed our medical history, asked relevant questions, and had us both out of there within 30 minutes. What a relief! We forgot to ask the second one, but the first said he'd charge us only a minimal amount. Another relief.

Then, last Saturday, Eric went to the emergency room with a breathing/chest pain problem. My primary thought was "Don't have a heart attack and die! They might not let me adopt Maggie alone!" Eric's was "Thank goodness we saw the pulmonologist already and don't have to see a cardiologist." ::laughter all around:: Can you tell what's most important right now? Getting Maggie home! Whatever the problem was, it's cause is unknown and just sometimes happens to people and he should get better with heavy duty pain meds this week.

posted by AnnMarie at 9:36 AM |

We finally got the Petition to Adopt Tuesday. Had it notarized yesterday and sent off for the apostilles. Faxed a copy to CHI, which they will send to be translated. Sometimes, the judge will accept the fax and set a court date. Sometimes they insist on the originals. That means our "average of 2-3 months" can officially start ticking. Just like the referral, however, it could be set tomorrow or it could be set in 6 months [both are highly unlikely]. My understanding from the Tomsk list is that the date will be set about 10 days in advance, and they we get called to travel right away. Some regions give more advance notice; Tomsk doesn't tend to. I guess this means I should finish up the stuff we want to do before we leave!

posted by AnnMarie at 9:33 AM |

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Maggie pictures! Maggie pictures! Maggie pictures! (maybe tomorrow I'll have real labels on them. Thought it was more important to get the link up than to wait for it to look better.)

posted by AnnMarie at 1:24 PM |

Interactive map of hotels in Moscow. Not doesn't work on Safari on the Mac but others recommended it. We stayed at the Marriott Tverskya. Wish landmarks were indicated.

posted by AnnMarie at 10:02 AM |

Thanks to my husband for this site: Digichromatography: Restoring Prokudin-Gorskii's Photographs. Beautiful images of Russian in the 1910s.

posted by AnnMarie at 7:55 AM |

Friday, January 23, 2004

Shortly after getting home, we want to have Maggie evaluated by our Birth to 3 program. I hope we remember to email or phone just before we leave.

posted by AnnMarie at 11:06 AM |

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I wish we could participate in the Harvard Language Study when we return. They are study language acquisition in children adopted internationally. But, they want children who were 30 months old when they arrive. I hope Maggie's too old! But maybe someone else reading this can participate.

posted by AnnMarie at 6:30 AM |

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Did you wonder how far away Tomsk is? Use 56.5° N 84.9° E for Tomsk, but it should recognize US cities. It's 5497 miles (8847 km) (4777 nautical miles) from Oshkosh as the crow flies.

posted by AnnMarie at 7:28 AM |




my Tomsk guide

support groups


toddler adoption





lists of links

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