Tyler & I originally thought to take the kids with us to Russia. Then we thought about how expensive it would be for that many round-trip tickets and thought perhaps we shouldn't. Then we decided to make a list of pros/cons for taking them and pros/cons for not taking them. In the end, there were so many positives to taking them: start the bonding process with their new siblings sooner, help them feel more a part of the adoption process, and not put a strain on our relationship by having them separated from us for up to 2 weeks. The only real negative was financial about taking them. So, we prayed and felt good about taking the children with us. My friend, Sarah B, is going to come with us and help us with our own children while being in Russia. There are times that Tyler & I will need to do things adoption-related and it would be better to not have the kids with us. However, there will also be a LOT of downtime while in country, and why not have my sweet 3 kids with me to discover Russia? I'm very excited. They are excited. Anna is super excited about missing school (no big surprise there). Iryna is excited for a "baby brother and a baby sister". Keithy is excited about riding on the airplane. Ha ha. It will be an adventure, for sure.
When we went to Ukraine, I was so focused on the adoption - naturally - that I wasn't as focused on making it a vacation and enjoying myself while in country. This adoption, I am trying to think about relaxing and enjoying Russia while focusing on the adoption. I am excited!