Getting Back to this Blog

HELLO THERE!!!  I know I know its been months.  I have some good reasons and a lot to share so go grab a snack and get comfy….  Ready ok.

So, last I blogged about our life, I gave you the 3rd Birthday rundown.  At that time we were still at my moms.  Remember, the house had flooded from the busted rubber washer hose??  Well fast forward to December and the house was FINALLY done.  So, what did I have done?  Well the whole house was repainted, the kitchen was gutted and remodeled, the downstairs bath got new tile and the whole downstairs got new floors.  The last things to do now are refinish the Master bath vanity and Vera’s vanity and replace the countertops with leftover granite from the kitchen.  Oh and install those pesky laundry doors 🙂  I am sure I will think of a few other things as time goes on, but for now, Vera and I love everything about the house and are VERY happy with the change.  Here are a couple of pix:

Before View

Before View

After View

After View

Before View

Before View

After View

After View

Christmas came and we decided to have my family over Christmas Eve to show everyone the house.  It was fun to have everyone here.  That never happens.  My sister cooked up a storm and we ate, chatted, opened gifts and had it was great.  After everyone left, we headed to my sister’s house to spend the night.  Christmas morning the kids woke up and that was a blast!  Vera was SO excited that Santa brought her exactly what she asked for.  What was that you ask?  Why a pink train and a new blanket of course!

Mommy and Vera Christmas Morning

Mommy and Vera Christmas Morning

Vera with her new blanket from Santa

Vera with her new blanket from Santa

New Years came and my dear friend Julie was turning 40 on NYE.  We normally go to her house and celebrate her bday and NY.  But this year, I just wasn’t feeling good.  I even got dressed, drove there and ended up heading back home before I even entered the party.  So, in lieu of a party, it was Vera, my niece Ava and myself.  The girls made it til 11:50.  They tried 🙂  I made it til 12:10!  LOL

The month of January was pretty busy.  I had two weddings to shoot and an engagement session.  In between, just normal life stuff.  Running here and there, dealing with the flu that got me, and making time for naps and snuggles on rainy days.

Vera is doing AMAZING.  She is talking so much and all the time.  Nonstop.  She loves to draw and is presently obsessed with all things princess.  She received a Cinderella costume and glass slippers for her 3rd birthday from Aunt Deb and she would wear those each and every day if she could.  She has learned to write her name and we are working on neatness and fitting it in the space for her Valentine’s cards for friends at school.  We are even having some friends over on the 15th for a Valentines Party as Vera calls it.  My girl loves a party!

She is still doing gymnastics.  She did change gymnastic schools.  Not because the old school was bad or not good enough.  We changed to a school that is owned by a Ukrainian family.  There are lots of Russian families there.  Vera LOVES it.  They love Vera as well.  She walks in and tells everyone “priviet” and when she leaves she says “paka paka”  The moms and grandmothers like to talk to her in Russian and Vera smiles and nods a yes or no.  Who knows if she knows what they are saying but they seem to be satisfied with her response.  She no longer is nervous on the little balance beam and will go across no problem.  She is great on the trampoline and can forward roll all over the place on her own.  Coach Anatoliy (he isn’t her coach yet but he watches her and greets us with a huge smile each week when we get there) even told his wife that Vera is very good and an amazing listener.  And I would have to agree.  Two weeks ago we spoke to one of the grandmothers and I shared with her Vera was adopted and she asked what part of Russia.  I told her and she quickly responded that she LOVES that area of Russia and vacationed there several times.  She then proceeded to tell me, “Your daughter, she is really russian, you must keep her in gymnastics.  It is in her blood to be here”.  LOL!

Vera has been home now 16 months.  She and I are mother and daughter and have a special bond that is so much stronger than I ever would have imagined.  When she crawls in my arms for hugs and love or we snuggle to watch a little TV, it is in those moments that I realize how lucky I am.  Part of why I was so quiet these past months is the adoption ban really did a number on me.  It made me so sad yet so grateful that I have my daughter.  It was all I could do to get thru each day without being overwhelmed at the thought of the children still there, waiting for their family.  A few weeks ago, Vera was taking a bath and randomly said, “I sad at baby house.  I wait for my mommy at baby house and you come back for me.  I get happy”.  When she said that my heart hurt and broke for all the children and families that will never be.  I am still praying that those that met their babies will be allowed court so that they can bring their babies home.

So, that is the latest and greatest in a summary overview on us.  I promise to be more regular.  I have a list of all things Vera coming up!  Have a great day everyone!!

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6 thoughts on “Getting Back to this Blog

  1. Very glad that you’re back and that things are awesome! I was afraid that you got affected by that ban.
    I hate politics, I’m scared of Putin’s regime, and I feel very bad for American families, which failed victims for this ban. But honestly the situation is not as dim as it is presented by American media as well. The main problem is that the majority of kids, which are gotten adopted by Americans – “relatively” healthy (there is no such thing as healthy there but at least you can manage their health problems), under the age of 3 — could have been adopted by Russians here BUT…And the sad “But” is that such kids were put aside (there are ways to do it) by authorities for the purpose of international adoption because of the bribes, made by adoption agencies (about $10-$12k per child, depending per agency and per region.) I read many investigative stories, made by independent journalists, talked off the record to agencies, talked to many-many-many families who are ready to adopt here or those who adopted then I came to the Child’s homes in summer and early autumn and could not even get a chance of referral… (I returned back, after 12+ years in the US, because I wanted to adopt a kid (My infertility story is similar to yours, and all money that I made in the US I spent for medicine purposes. Anyway, now, I can’t go back because my kid can’t.)

    Now, Americans adopt about 50 kids with strong disabilities per year. It is very plausible that many kids would not get a chance to survive in Russia (terrible medicine, plus the society does not “acclimate” people with certain disabilities like Down syndrom). This is the awful scary truth and it’s a grief and shame, and those kids are the real victims of this ban. But even here, over the past 3 years, at least, Russians did adopt more kids with disabilities than foreigners did, hopefully, they’ll continue doing it.

    A high percentage of kids cannot be adopted they are only allowed to be taken by guardians and foster families (certain legal conditions.) Supposedly, they are working on a state level on this problem but those kids are not affected by the ban in any way.

    I have no exact statistics on kids over the age of 7-10, but the preliminary numbers from independent research agencies show that surprisingly they are mostly adopted by Russians, rather than foreigners. It really came as a surprise to me…

    Plus the demographics’ has changed in Russia – the population of 90s has reached the child bearing age and this is a very small population because we could not afford to have kids in the 90s (plus their parents, a population of the late 60s, is a scarce population itself because their parents were born during the WWII (40s), when Nazi was on our territory.) Bottom line, the number of kids, which can be adopted by average person, and those, which are usually adopted by Americans, is going down…

    So, bottom line, I do feel horrible for kids, who have no family, don’t get me wrong. And there are still thousands of such kids and Russian society must keep working on this tragedy. But that ban (although it came as a fruit of dirty and disgusting political games) won’t really change their life for better or worse…

    Sorry for this dissertation. But it’s a painful question for us, right? And while I was not surprised seeing games by Russian official media, I was extremely disappointed by the way American media covered it, seemed like f-n propaganda.

  2. Hi Nina! The whole time I wasn’t blogging, I was thinking about you and how you were probably worried over Vera 🙂 You have my email so email me anytime. I want to be there for you like you have been for me during this whole journey. I am sure there is corruption at some level. I don’t disagree with you there. The whole issue is just terribly sad for everyone. Americans, Russians, kids. I think the part that hits me the hardest is that (and you know, you have seen the baby homes and orphanages) there is so much potential there in each of those kids. Even though many of those children in the homes and orphanges (at least in Stavropol) are not available for adoption. I see Vera and who she is today and all the opportunity and experiences she has been able to have and imaging those children still there, still in that same day to day routine hurts my heart. Anyway, Vera and I send hugs and love to you Nina!

  3. So glad to see you blogging again Tracy! Your home looks beautiful (love your daily photographic journal) and Vera continues to radiate with confidence and health. 🙂

  4. Glad you are blogging again Tracy! Sometimes I feel guilty that my adoption from Russia was so AMAZING! I have a deep love of Russia and wish I could travel to Russia. Wow, love your home! I just feel connection to all who’ve adopted from Stavropol in particular.

    My son’s orphanage in Stavropol only had a few children available for adoption too. My son was considered special needs and I was told this was one reason Russian families had not adopted him despite the orphanage working very hard to find him a home: also because his heritage was Armenian and not Russian was brought up in my court hearing. My child was a favorite I was told over and over again and even the American Embassy doctor mentioned that he could tell my son was a favorite due to his personality. I did not expect this to be the case; prior to my adoption I thought all Russian orphanages would be ‘terrible’ places as often portrayed in our media. As I said I felt guilty that my adoption went so well.

    Anyway, my child was loved in the orphanage and cared for very well but the thought of the day to day schedule and seeing his joy in so many things also hurt my heart. In the first months home he often wanted to share with his ‘groupa’ the wonders he saw. On our first trip to an amusement park near my home here in US he said in an awed voice (in Russian): Mama, many many many mommies. We get groupa, da. What he meant was ‘Mama look at all these wonderful families doing this amazing thing…going to an amusement park…I think the staff at my groupa does not know there is such a place or surely we would have come here. we should get my groupa friends because they would love this. It hurts my heart to think of those children as he explained ‘the same same same all time same, get up, go potty, eat kasha, go potty, play, walk,eat cabbage soup and black bread (he called it grass soup because didn’t know English word), go potty, nap, eat black bread, go potty, sleep sleep sleep…get up go potty eat kasha…’

    Sad for all.

  5. Oh Candice! I’m glad to finally be back and feeling like I can blog. I was so in the weeds! I’m finally in a place where I can gather my thoughts :-). And I have a lot of them!!

  6. I am not sure how I arrived at your blog, but my husband and I were in the middle of an adoption of a little boy from Stavropol when the adoption ban hit in Dec. He is considered special needs with 2 holes in his heart and a type of dwarfism called Achondroplasia. We have a biological son with the same condition and know that he can live a full and happy life, but needs proper medical attention available at all times. Because of the ban and our sons medical needs, we are planning to travel to Russia next month and request guardianship for medical reasons. We are hoping to bring him back home as his legal guardians to get him the medical help he needs. He is still 3 and in the baby house, but we are very concerned once he is moved from there he may not survive long. Do you know anyone in Stavropol that could help us? Thanks so much!

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