Joshua's Homecoming Video

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

After Court......

At the bottom of my post, I have a picture that I want to make sure that you don't miss..........

We are working on finalizing our travel plans.  Todd will be staying home this trip and my parents are going to go with me to pick Joshua up.  We leave July 9th and return July 22nd!  I found out on Monday that my brother Andy and his wife Erin (who are adopting also) got their travel dates and will be leaving a few days before us and return on the SAME DAY!!!  AMAZING!!  Their blog is Life's Little Miracles.  It is pretty exciting around here!!

I wanted to finish posting about our last trip before I leave on another trip and forget everything......

After court we went and visited Joshua again!  We didn't know originally that we would be able to see again so this was a bonus visit.  Here's some pictures: 

Coloring on the ipad.  He kept checking his fingers afterwards. 

Joshua had to wash his hands after playing with the ipad.  Too cute!

Here are a few Christmas pictures from a couple of years ago.  I was so
excited to have these.  Just some glimpses of his past.  They
really dressed the children up prim and proper.

While it is neat to see them open the presents, I am pretty sure
they would not get to keep them as 'their own'. 

Playing with the toys we brought.

Look who knows he funny!!!  We were cracking up!!

What don't I want you to miss?! 
I want you to meet Yana.  She is the newest baby at the orphanage. 
Perfect. Healthy. Beautiful. 

I had the honor of taking her newborn baby pictures.
Yana needs a family.  She was abandoned just like my Joshua
at one month old because she has Down syndrome. 
She will be such a blessing to someone's family!! 
Someone needs to adopt this precious little one..........

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Chance

Wendy/Social Director/Natalya/Todd/Irina

Where do I begin with our court day?  It has seemed unending actually.  Wednesday morning (Tuesday night in the USA) we were picked up from our hotel by E, our coordinator and her driver.   E was calm and so that helped to soothe our nerves.  She explained the procedures and reassured us that the judge was really for us even though she may not act like it.  Her job is to make sure that we have all the legal credentials and will be good parents to Joshua.  Our coordinator, E, could not be in the courtroom with us translating because she is seen as a biased source and may translate in our favor.  We met our translator, Irina, who was awesome to work with.  She gave us a few tips on courtroom behavior.  For example, we needed to stand whenever we were addressing the judge and to smile and not be too nervous. 
In the courtroom there were 8 people: the judge, the court reporter, the prosecuting attorney, the orphanage director, the social worker director, Irina (our translator), and Todd and I.    It was all very official and austere.  When the judge walked in we all stood and then sat when she sat down.  She asked us some vital statistics questions then had Todd give his speech.  Todd had written this speech and had rehearsed it many times.  He did great and I was very proud of him.  He’s a good manJ.  The judge then started asking him questions.  Then it was my turn and she asked me just a few questions.  She seemed to be satisfied with our answers. 
Then it was the orphanage director’s turn to talk.   Natalya is an amazing woman.  Her orphanage is possibly one of the best run in St. Petersburg.  She has been working with the University of Pittsburgh, teaching the caregivers and nurses how to help the children thrive.  She said that her orphanage has much experience with children with disabilities especially Down syndrome.  She said that the orphanage staff all loved Joshua and that he would do very well in a family.  (The main problem is that when the children turn 5 years old they have to be transferred to an older child orphanage or a mental institution.)  Joshua could not stay the orphanage and we were his chance to have a family.  It was very touching. 
The social worker/director then talked about his mother.  His father has never been in the picture.  This was probably the most emotional part for me.  He had a grandmother who used to inquire about him but she passed away.  His mother gave him up at 1 month of age and after a couple of visits in those first months – abandoned him completely.  He had no one.  She also mentioned that no one had ever ever inquired about him to adopt him until we came along.  Break my heart!  He was truly fatherless and abandoned with no family to call his own.  
After the social worker/director talked it was the prosecuting attorney’s turn.  She was the one who’s job it was to protect Joshua’s best interest.  After listening to the above speeches, she said that she had no questions for us because she knew this was his one chance at getting a family.  His one chance.  Tears. 
As it was winding down the judge read out loud the title of every document of our entire dossier.  Every last document that we have worked on since last September when we started this……..that felt good.  Kind of an affirmation of all the work we have done.  Then it was time for the judge to make her decision.  She walked into a room and shut the door and then returned about 30 seconds later and said she had decided that granted us permission to adopt Joshua.  Major relief.  Court was adjourned!!
So this all happened before lunch!!  I will have to do another post about our extra visit to visit Joshua in the afternoon!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We Passed Court!!!

I will give a full blog update later!!  Just wanted you all to know that it went well!! 

Thanking God today for His Blessings on this day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Visit With Joshua

Today was good.  So very very good.
We got to see our Joshua.  He was just so cute and ornery!
Just look at this face....PRECIOUS!

Today was 65 degrees and rainy.  Now remember this is summer here.  So we put on coats, pants and hats and headed out!  Joshua was all over the place. We basically followed him around and tried to keep him out of trouble:).

Trying out a scooter......

This kid loves LOVES to climb.

We are going to have to work on the steering.....

Taking out some pigeons with the stroller............

Back inside and needing to freshen up! 

I forgot my measuring tape so we stood him up next Todd so we can see how tall he is.  I am pretty sure he is a solid 4T.  He is short for his age but he is solid/heavy. 

Measuring his shoe size.


Joshua watching video of his new brothers and sisters. 
He was captivated.  Such a sweet moment!

Reading books with Papa.

We feel so blessed!  We are thankful to God for this special little boy.  Keep the prayers coming!!  Tomorrow is court.  Please pray that the judge will grant us favor. 

Love, Wendy

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 2 - Medical Examinations

We got up very early this morning for our examinations.  Our translator/coordinator and our driver picked us up.  We felt very calm and peaceful.  Thank you for praying.  We drove for quite a ways until we made it to the state hospital. I think alot of these doctors were also professors, if I understood it correctly.  We went into the director's office (her desk and some small couches and chairs) and sat down.  It was spacious until we had 9 or 10 people in there at once!  It was a really hectic office - doctors coming in and out.  Another couple from Italy (with their translator), adopting a baby, were with us. 

The pulmologist was the first to ask us questions.  Questions like.....have you ever had TB (nope), have you ever had pneumonia (nope), have you ever had a cough/bronchitis........I finally had a question I could say yes too. 

We had to interupt this interview to go get our blood tests redone.  It was very similiar to how it's done back home.  Not a big deal (except frustrating that we had just done this in the back home less than 2 weeks ago).

Then we completed our time with the pulmologist by getting a chest x-ray.  The x-ray tech I had heard some stories about........let's just say she knows how to get things done.....very efficiently.  She took my arms, shoulders and head and placed them just exactly as she wanted it.  I want to say that she shoved me into place but that is not quite accurate. She just placed me EXACTLY where I was supposed to be (even if it felt like my face was getting smashed against the machine) and don't move unless you want to get chewed out.
We passed!

Then we went and got an EKG for the cardiologist.  Oh. MY. WORD.  It was close to medievel.  Todd and I laughed that it looked like something sci fi from the 60' or 70's or like out of an old Frankenstein movie.  They had these clamps that they put on our ankles and wrists and then these big knobby suction cup things that they stuck all over our chests. Hope they got the information they needed!!!
We passed!!

Next stop was the psychologist.  I was nervous about this one.  E, our coordinator, had told us that sometimes he asks tricky questions.  Thankfully, he was very easy on us.  Honestly, he just wanted to understand why we were adopting a child with Ds.  It doesn't make sense to their cultur especially since the parents are told to give up the children at birth.  He just shook his head in amazement really.  It was a great opportunity to share the love we have for this little boy, EVEN with the extra challenges he brings with him. That we want him in our family is hard to understand. 
We passed!!

Now for the neurologist.  This was a young, pretty doctor who for some reason was pretty sure that I (Wendy) had some head trauma that I wasn't telling her about. My arm reflexes weren't sastifactory so she had me do some extra little tests and kept asking me, Are you SURE you haven't had any head injury? Nice.
She passed us anyways!!!!

The last 3 doctors were all together in a tiny room with Todd, myself and the translator.  I believe there was a skin doctor, an oncologist and ????? I am not sure what the 3rd one did!  And because I know my children read this, I won't go into too much more detail than that!!
We passed!!

Then we went back to the director's office and gathered up all the paperwork, found out that our blood tests came back clear, signed it all and WE WERE DONE!! 

We spent the rest of the morning getting these medical papers notarized and delivered to court.  We also went to the Committee to deliver papers and find out info for other familes that are adopting children with Ds. 

Well off to bed!!  It's the middle of the night here!  Tomorrow is the BEST DAY!!  We get to see Joshua!!  Can't wait to see him again!

Lots of love,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 1 - Free Day

Hello!!  We made it here safely with no problems at all!  We are staying at a tiny little hotel.  It is completely different than staying at a Marriott like we did last time.  It is nice though.  I slept so good last night.  That is a first for me!!  Actually we almost overslept!  We were supposed to be ready by 11:30 and we woke up at 11:00!  Today was a free day so we took a tour.  It is cool here about 65 degrees.  This is typical summer weather here.  We visited a palace (traveled by boat!).  Very very neat.  Beautiful gardens and water fountains.  This place looks completly different than last time.  Last time it was a vast frozen city and now it is a green lively place. 

We listened to church back home live over the internet.  It was really neat to get to listen this way.  My brother had the sermon this morning and it was neat to hear him talk about our dad. As we listened to one of the hymns ('I'm Going Home", we wondered if our oldest son had called it out.  He loves it because it is one of my dad's favorite hymns.  When we skyped later we found out he had - just a neat connection to home for us today.

Happy Father's Day to both of our wonderful fathers.  We love you so much!!

This evening we went to a grocery store to pick up some soap, detergent and some snacks.  I started to crave some milk (I have always loved milk).  They had some that was unrefridgerated and I was a little nervous about it so I decided to check out the refridgerated section.  We bought it and when I opened it up in our hotel room, it erupted all over the place!  It didn't smell good at all either!  So we decided to transtlate the label on Google translate.  Anyways, what I bought was:  Carbonated Sour Milk!  Gross!!!

Last night we ate at local little pizza place.  It was really good!!  Tonight we ate at a fastfood pancake kiosk.  This was also very good.  They call their pancakes 'blini'.  We had a ham and cheese and a strawberry jam blini.

Tonight we skyped with the kids.  I love to be able to skype with them.  It just keeps us feeling connected.

Tomorrow morning our are medical exams.  This should be quite an experience!!!  8 doctors...............

Good night for now!!

Here is the a bear on the wall next to our bed!!

Friday, June 17, 2011


We are sitting in O'Hare waiting for our next flight. This one takes us to Frankfurt, Germany. We decided before we left on this trip that I would take charge of getting us through the airports. Especially since Todd will not be going on the 3rd trip. This is very good for me because it is so easy to be dependent on him and just go along for the ride. He usually has everything under control and I just follow him around. So we land in O'Hare and it is up to me to find our next concourse. Oh brother! We started walking and I had no idea where I was going, except to leave the current concourse. I couldn't find a map or anything. I was getting pretty close to tears. Of course it didn't help that every time I looked at Todd he had a goofy grin on his face. He was enjoying this a lot! It finally hit me to check our next boarding passes (brilliant - I know!) I still couldn't figure it out!! Finally, with tears welling up in my eyes, I desperately asked a pilot for help:). Bingo! He gave me directions to the concourse! Success !!!! So for now we wait until our flight takes off at 6:30p. We decided to eat our last Americanized meal at McDonald's......I can hear all my health conscious friends and family groaning already!

As a side note, we would have never gotten out the door today without the help of our family. It has been so hectic the last few weeks. I have the best babysitters and helpers around! Thanks so much for all the help!!!!