Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

Motivation for Moms

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

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Sunday, May 31, 2009
Mark and I like to affectionately refer to Reese, our younger son, as "The Boy". Today, I'll put Reese's interrogation answers here. Not sure if anyone ever reads my blogs but you never know.

Reese is younger chronologically than Nikolai, but older in every other way. He is such a blessing to me, I can't tell you. Here is Who He Is in the present day:

My age: 14 years, 7 months
My favorite movie: Pirates of the Caribbean (he does an HILARIOUS Jack Sparrow impression!)
My favorite TV show: Wipe Out!
My favorite song: None
My favorite pet: Adam
My favorite thing to do when there's nothing to do: Call friends
My favorite vacation memory: Climbing Xunantunich in Belize with Mom
My favorite color: Green
My favorite food: Mom's homemade lasagna
My future career: Not sure; some kind of businessman or attorney-type
What I'd like to re-name Simon: Something Russian
My favorite restaurant: Golden Corral
My favorite car: BMW
My favorite amusement park ride: Kraken [a roller coaster at Sea World]
My favorite holiday: Christmas
Some of my interests: Baseball, friends, family [I asked him if these were listed in order, and he rolled his eyes - ha]
My favorite memory: I don't know, I really liked climbing Xunantunich...
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Tonight, I took the boys out for supper (Mark couldn't make it). While waiting for our meal, I took out a paper and pen and began to interview them. I remember when I was a kid, I had a book that asked questions about you and you answered them, then every year after that you were supposed to answer the same questions and see what had changed. I had so much fun with that book! So I decided to interview the boys. I thought you might find it interesting what they said and who they are as people, now. I will do Nikolai first, then follow with Reese.

Age: 15 years, 1 month
My favorite movie: Transformers
My favorite TV show: Star Wars, Clone Wars
My favorite song: "Apologize" (didn't know the artist's name)
My favorite pet: Daisy
My favorite thing to do when there's nothing to do: Shoot baskets
My favorite vacation memory: Going on a cruise a couple of years ago with my Gram, my mom and my brother
My favorite color: Orange
My favorite food: Any seafood
My future career: A chef
The name I'd pick for "Simon" if I could: Luke
My favorite restaurant: Olive Garden
My future car: A Lexus
My favorite amusement part ride: Aerosmith's Rockin' Roller Coaster at DisneyWorld, but it would probably be the Hulk roller coaster at Universal Studios but the last time we went to Universal I was too short to ride it but I'm sure that would be my favorite now that I'm tall enough to ride it. Can we go to Universal next weekend, Mom? I really want to ride that Hulk ride.
My favorite holiday: Christmas
My interests: Cooking, cake decorating
My favorite memory: When Mom got married
Saturday, May 23, 2009

I just wanted to pay tribute to my husband on his birthday. Mark is sweet, sensitive, kind, loving, and silly. He entered our ready-made family as the father of two teenage boys and the husband to a very independent wife! He also left his home and moved across the country to a state that is far too hot for his tastes!! That can NOT have been easy!

The day he was born no one could have known what a music prodigy he would become, playing by ear, with two hands, on the piano after hearing a piece on the radio once. At 3 years of age.

I am thankful for my husband of almost 2 years, and the love that he gives me everyday. Happy Birthday, Markie! I love you!!
Friday, May 22, 2009

Well, "Option #2" it seems, has been closed. After much discussion, it seems that the "harder path" is going to be much too hard and we've decided not to take that route. This was the path that I wanted to take the most, but it must not be the path we should take.

Still not sure about options 1 and 3. Leaning towards #3. Doing lots of praying. When I can, I'll fill in the details.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mark and I have a big decision to make and we need prayer that we'll know what to do...

It involves 3 choices. I don't want to get specific, but these are the choices:

1) An easy path with a good outcome, but maybe not the right one.
2) A much harder path (maybe impossible), with the outcome that I think might be right, but I'm not sure.
3) A "blind" path, with total unknowing, but with the outcome being either fantastic or a dud.

Confusing, I know, but I don't want to give specifics right now. I will in time, though...

P.S. This has nothing to do with Simon. We are right on target for getting him and everything is good in that department. This is something different.

Prayers are appreciated!! Thanks!!!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's not a big one, though... We found out that we need to send in two "more recently" certified marriage certificates and get an addendum to our homestudy in re: to Mark's income. Nothing major, and the addendum was sent out today from Ft. Pierce and I got the m. certs. today here in Titusville, but it's still more apostilling, and another FedEx package to Ukraine. I'll be so glad to get this boy HOME!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Today was insanely busy. Besides having to go to Tampa today with both boys for more (very long!) Shriners appts. Reese has his Awards Night at the Middle School! UGH! I even had to see a couple of patients after getting back from Tampa so I am just tooooo beat to go, so Mark is going. Before they left, I got this shot of Reese and I thought it was so good I thought I'd put it on here. He hates to have his picture taken with glasses (he wants contacts so badly!) so he took them off, which made his hair over his ear stick out. Silly boy! He sure is sure growing up... (And he's my baby!!!! Waaaaahhh!)

(Reese, 14)

Monday, May 11, 2009
...the Space Shuttle!! One of the many privileges of living here in FL is the VERY close proximity that we have to the Kennedy Space Center! Every so often, the Shuttle goes up (of course) and we can see it from pretty much wherever we are: our backyard, the local mall, the interstate... It's so much fun to watch, even if the traffic is absolute GRIDLOCK around the time of the launch! People from all over the area come to our little city to see the launch. It's so much fun, and everything *rumbles* when it goes up. My favorite part, though, is when the Shuttle comes back into the earth's atmosphere and the HUGE sonic booms make you jump like you've been shot! It's always a surprise and always makes me laugh - it really startles you! Anway, I went to a local McDonald's here in Titusville and watched the launch from the riverfront. The pics are a little fuzzy (I would love to get a higher-tech camera!) and it was a bit hazy and cloudy, but what the heck - they're cool, anyway!

Sunday, May 10, 2009
Mother's Day started off the usual way, with breakfast in bed. This is traditionally the kids' favorite thing to do, as they make breakfast for me (getting more sophisticated each year) and take my picture eating it! (Usually those pictures are a HIT, as I half lie there in bed, with one eye open, a gallon of milk on my gut, a cookie sheet with my cereal bowl on it and usually a present. I'm half asleep and my hair is EVERYWHERE. It's a very treasured picture of me for them!!) This year, they got creative and made eggs for me: Sunny side up, with their best efforts to make the eggs look like a face, with yolks for eyes, bacon bits for (acne? - after all, they are 14 and 15...!) and a carefully ripped ( for the smile. ...only the ( shape ended up an O so it looked like the face was yelling, which I found curiously ironic!! LOL

Reese gave me a cute card and Nikolai presented me with a cake that his school did for a fundraiser where the kids decorated little heart shaped cakes for Mother's Day (I'd forgotten I'd bought that!). It was sweet.

We then went to church and JUST missed our friend Meredith and her family getting their new Ukrainian children Dedicated!! UGH! Later, we went to their house for a nice little party.

I was feeling low about something and whined about all of the house chores I had to get done before tomorrow when I had to go back to work, but Mark talked me into taking the nap I so desperately needed. I very quickly went off to sleep. When I woke up, I went out to the living room and Mark and the boys had been cleaning the house! Not only that, but Mark had gone to the grocery store and bought 2 small rotisserie chickens and fixins and we had supper. :o) We finished it up with Nikolai's cake.

It was a nice Mother's Day.
Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's on it's way...!!

(And if you have to ask, you haven't been paying attention!)
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
  /əˈpɒstɪl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [uh-pos-til] Show IPA
a marginal annotation or note.
Also, a⋅pos⋅tille.

1520–30; < class="ital-inline">apostille, n. deriv. of apostiller to add marginal notes, deriv., with a- a- 5 , of ML postilla marginal note, perh. from the phrase post illa (verba) after these (words), with illa construed as the L dim. suffix

It doesn't make any sense to me, either...

But an apostille is a BIG DEAL to anyone who adopts overseas!! It's basically a seal that is put on a document.

First, you have to have the document notarized. Then, in certain states (like in TN, I know from experience!) you have to have a county person certify that the notary is a notary. Then, you have to have yet ANOTHER "apostille seal" (usually another 8 1/2 X 11 document) stapled to the certification from the state stating that the certification is an actual certification!!

Fortunately, in FL we can skip the certification step and only have to endure the notarization and apostille.

Remember the photo of the documents that I had on my last post? Well, each and every one of those documents had to be notarized (or certified, such as our marriage certificate - no notary needed on those) and then each and every one had to have an apostille attached.

So where is my beautiful husband today? On the road to Tallahassee with the stack 'o' stuff (what we call our dossier of documents) to get apostilles on them so we can FedEx everything to Ukraine tomorrow!! Bless his heart, the a/c is out on the Caddy (what a beater!) and so he took my beloved yellow Bug with the flower decals all over it on his trip! He HATES to drive my Bug!! (Can't really blame him, though, it is a total "chick" car!!) It even has flowers on the dashboard in a vase and a Snow White ornament hanging from the rear view mirror. Poor guy!! Ech - it's good for him. ;op

Saturday, May 2, 2009
I've never had an actual baby, but I know what labor pains are!!! Adoption labor pains, that is!! The above is the product of many weeks and months of an extreeeeeemely long labor!! It is coming down to the wire, too, and the pains are quickening!!

The above is what is called our "dossier". It is an un-Godly amount of paperwork (but still a fraction of what some countries require...!) that is required so that Mark and I can become parents. I will tell you what the bulk of it is. In no particular order. Ready??

  1. Our Homestudy (which includes massive amounts of paperwork in and of itself! This is a 10-page (or so) summary of who we are as a family and what we can and want to offer to Simon. It had to be done by a licensed social worker. It's a BIG DEAL.
  2. Copy of the social worker's license
  3. Copy of the social worker's agency license
  4. The all-important I-171H document, which is the permission by the INS (USCIS) to us saying that we're decent enough folks to adopt and bring an orphan here to the US.
  5. Two color copies of our passports
  6. A Power of Attorney letter giving our facilitator permission to act on our behalf when needed in-country
  7. An employment letter from my employment
  8. A letter re: Mark's self-employment
  9. A Certified copy from the Property Appraiser of our county re: our house
  10. A letter from our mortgage company describing our house
  11. FBI clearance for each of us
  12. Two copies of our marriage certificate (isn't that romantic?)
  13. A copy of the warranty deed on our house (if we rented it would be so much easier!!)
  14. A Petition to Adopt: this is a thing stating what kind of child we want, like disability types, age range, etc. This goes to the officials in Kiev.
  15. Two copies of a Letter of Obligation: This just tells the officials over there that we'll register Simon at the Consulate, etc. when we get him.
  16. Our IRS 1040 form for 2008
  17. Mark's income verification statement
  18. A somewhat detailed Medical form filled out by our doc
  19. A copy of our doc's license
  20. A letter specifically requesting that Simon be offered to us when we present ourselves to the officials in Kiev.
Each and every single one of these documents has to be notaried or certified, and sent to Tallahassee for an apostille, which says that the notary is an actual notary, and not a fraud.

When that's done, then we sent it all off to our facilitator who then translates it all (poor thing!!) and submits it to the authorities (the State Department of Adoptions) in Kiev and hopefully they will approve it!! If and when they do, they give us an appointment date and you'd better believe we won't miss it!!

I think it's neat that the boys have been able to witness what Mark and I are doing to get little Simon and bring him here. When I got Reese, I tried involving Natasha so she could see what I went through to get HER, but I know she remembers nothing of it. Then, when we got Nikolai, both Nat and Reese could see what I went through to get him, but I'm sure Nat doesn't remember any of it either (I don't believe she remembers much of anything from her years with us - probably a lot of it is "selective memory"). Reese says he only remembers how "hard" it was, with Nikolai being one of maybe less than 1% of Russian orphans being adopted directly out of a mental institution; and the director doing so much to try and stop it. It was incredibly stressful! But this time they will both remember it (Reese and Nik - of course, Nat isn't here with us), and I hope it will help them cherish him a little bit more, seeing the process and what all of us have done to get him here. :o)

So that's that. We still have a document here and there that needs to be finalized, but for the most part, we are READY. I'll let you know when they are 100% complete and ready to be sent for their apostilles!! It's getting close!!
Whew! What a day!! I was supposed to take the day off to take the boys to Tampa to Shriners for O&P fittings, but Nikolai came down sick, so I had a free day! WOW!! This was the perfect opportunity to get my stack of stuff notarized. We took it all to our coordinator who checked it over, then we begged free notarizations off of a friend of the coordinators who notarized 13 documents for us! You should have seen the papers all over her desk!

The challenge came when we had to get our Medical documents redone. I found a traveling notary online and he agreed to meet us at the doctor's office at 1:15 to get our papers notarized. I made an appt. several days ago and verified the appt. in the morning. Well, when we got there, the doc was hugely busy, ready to leave for the day, and we were told we didn't have an appt.!! Long, stressful story short, the doc put his big swirl on the papers, and the notary notarized them. WHEW! It was very obvious that they wanted us to LEAVE the doctor's office, but the difficulty of not only getting Mark and me there at the same time, but with a traveling notary that we had to pay, was just too much and we pushed and insisted until they did it. Now, we have to get that document checked for accuracy, as that is the document that everyone seems to have so much trouble with!! ACK!!

Gotta run. I have a full day of work - yes, I know it's Saturday, but I didn't want to take Friday off without pay, so I have to work today. Ugh. But you do what ya gotta do...

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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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