A video about our family

Monday, January 31, 2011

Passports all around

Today the passports for the kids arrived in the mail! Hooray!

I have a question. Have any of your ever had to do child abuse clearances (for each state that you've lived in since you were 18 years old) for your home study or international adoption? I was talking with Victoria from AAC and she said that they aren't necessary to have the clearances to adopt from Russia. However, my home study adoption worker says that we need them. Anyone know why that is?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The decision to take the kids

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!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Giveaway Fundraiser!

First I want to thank everyone who is following this blog. It means so much to us to have your support in our adoption to Russia! I love reading your comments and feeling of your love and encouragement as we grow our family with more special children. Thank you so much!

We have three items up for our Giveaway Fundraiser! How it works: choose one (or more) of the items that you are interested in winning in the Giveaway Fundraiser and go to the top right side of this blog, where is says: "Pierce Family Adoption". Click on "ChipIn!" and it will help you through the process.

First is a Coby Digital Photo Album. One entry for each $5 donated to our adoption fund, and if you link to our blog with a note about our fundraiser on your Facebook (or send an email to your friends), let us know and we'll give you an additional entry. To link to Facebook, click on the "Share to Facebook" button right next to where you leave comments. Please leave the name of the item you want to be entered for in the "comments" section when giving your donation.

Second is an AVerMedia DVD EZMaker PCI Digital Video Maker (it turns home videos into dvds). One entry for each $5 donated to our adoption fund, and if you link to our blog with a note about our fundraiser on your Facebook (or send an email to your friends), let us know and we'll give you an additional entry. To link to Facebook, click on the "Share to Facebook" button right next to where you leave comments. Please leave the name of the item you want to be entered for in the "comments" section when giving your donation.

Third is a 10.4" Digital Picture Frame. One entry for each $5 donated to our adoption fund, and if you link to our blog with a note about our fundraiser on your Facebook (or send an email to your friends), let us know and we'll give you an additional entry. To link to Facebook, click on the "Share to Facebook" button right next to where you leave comments. Please leave the name of the item you want to be entered for in the "comments" section when giving your donation.

We're happy to ship the items to whomever wins, so please spread the word. We will accept entries until February 3rd at 3pm. Thanks!!

Bombing at Moscow Airport

I hope that this won't affect our upcoming adoption in Russia. :(

Moscow (CNN) -- Terrorists detonated a bomb at Moscow's busiest airport on Monday, killing 35 people and wounding 152, Russian authorities said.
President Dmitry Medvedev, who called the bombing a terrorist attack, ordered additional security at airports and transportation hubs around the country, and Moscow police went on high alert in case of additional bombs.
The explosion occurred about 4:30 p.m. at the entrance of the international arrivals section of Domodedovo Airport, Itar-Tass said, citing a spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee, Tatyana Morozova.
State TV aired video of the smoke-filled terminal, including what appeared to be bodies and luggage on the ground.
The Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee said 35 people were dead and 152 had been wounded in the explosion.
State TV, citing Russian authorities, said the bombing was the act of a suicide bomber who stuffed a homemade bomb with small metal objects to make it more deadly, then activated it in a crowded area where many people were waiting for arriving passengers. CNN could not independently verify those claims.
A heavy police presence remained outside the airport nearly four hours after the explosion, and more than 10 ambulances left the airport with lights flashing and sirens screeching.
Incoming flights scheduled to land at Domodedovo were being diverted to Moscow's other airports, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo, Russian TV said.
However, airport spokeswoman Yelena Galanova told Russian state TV that the airport was "operating as usual."
"There have been no departure delays. We were shut for only about 20 minutes after the explosion," she told state TV.
An airport employee, Andrei Surkov, told CNN that while the international arrivals area is still closed, international passengers were being routed through the domestic terminal located on the other end of the airport.
Lufthansa spokeswoman Claudia Lange said the airline has suspended all flights to Domodedovo until further notice.
Elina Bakhtina told state TV she was at the airport cafe she owns when the explosion occurred.
"The blast must have been very strong, because our cafe is about 100 meters from the arrivals area. When we heard the blast, glass just started falling from the ceiling," she said.

31 dead in Moscow airport explosion

Tatyana Papova, who was waiting at passport control when the explosion occurred, told state TV that escalators stopped working at the baggage claim area and airport employees started breaking down walls to help clear people from the area.
Domodedovo is 22 kilometers (14 miles) southeast of Moscow. According to the airport's website, it is the largest of Moscow's three airports, as well as the busiest in terms of passenger traffic.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the bombing a "premeditated attack against innocent civilians."
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the U.S. government had no information that any Americans were injured.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said British officials are "in urgent contact with Russian authorities to establish the facts and to provide consular support to any British nationals who may have been affected."
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned the attack and urged greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
German, French, and Isreali leaders also condemned the attacks.
Will Geddes, terrorism expert and managing director of International Corporate Protection Group, called the bombing a "very significant terror strike."
"To strike in the airport -- which is fundamentally believed and understood by many to be one of the most secure types of installations in a city or in a country -- to have such a devastating an attack with such a tragic result, means that they had planned this considerably well and gone ahead in achieving their aims," he said.
Russia has a long history of dealing with terror attacks.
In 2004, two airplanes that took off from Domodedovo exploded, killing at least 89 people in an attack blamed on Chechen suicide bombers.
More recently, female suicide bombers struck the Moscow metro during rush hour in March, setting off two explosions that killed at least 38 people and wounded more than 60. Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for that attack.
In November 2009, an explosive device derailed an express train, killing at least 26 people.
CNN's Maxim Tkachenko contributed to this report

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Question on visas

After making a list of pros and cons and praying about it - we have decided to take our children with us on the first trip to Russia. We are now looking at visas to enter Russia. They have single entry, double entry, and multiple entry visas. Victoria at AAC has recommended that Tyler & I get the multiple entry visa for ourselves, but I'm wondering if the kids could just get the single entry visa? Also, since Keith & Iryna have dual citizenship with the US and Ukraine, do they need a visa to enter Russia? Anyone know?

Because I Have Been Given Much

The following is from this blog that I found through this friend. Enjoy.

It's estimated that there are nearly 150 million orphans in the world.  That's a staggering number.  It's a number that can make it seem impossible for us to help, or powerless for us to change.  But when you look at the faces of those orphans, it becomes a little different.  It becomes personal.  And when you look at the faces of some of those orphans and see one that calls to your heart, that reaches out across the miles and grabs hold of you and doesn't let go, it becomes more than personal: it becomes family.  And what wouldn't you do for your family?  What wouldn't I, as a mother, do for my children?  Our little boy in Eastern Europe reminds us of Zane; in fact, when most people see his picture, they tell us that he looks like he's already part of the family.  And it's true, he does look like he's already part of our family - and in our hearts, he is.  But he's not here with us right now.  He's in an orphanage.  And because of his special needs, he and all the other children there with special needs are in a desperate position: they will age out of their baby house when they turn five (sometimes sooner, if their orphanage is overcrowded) and be transferred to an adult mental institution.  Can you imagine?  There are no provisions made for children at the institutions - for their special needs or for their care as tiny children.  No hugs, no kisses, no treats, no toys.  What wouldn't I do to save Zane from a fate like that?  When I think of our other little boy waiting in his orphanage - waiting for his family, waiting to be saved from transfer to an institution - it makes me feel frantic.  Desperate.  And determined.

This is not a road most of us would simply choose for ourselves.  It's hard.  It's a hard position to be in - we're working with a single-minded purpose to bring our son home, to save him from a life worse than death in a place no child should ever be, and we're working against a ticking clock.  When the paper chase seems like a hassle (you've never seen so much paper in your life, I promise you!), when it seems hard to do it all at once, or to find the time for the fingerprints and the passport apps and the social worker visits and the physicals for all six of us, when you feel like all you think about is fundraising and worrying that you're going to annoy everybody with your barrage of blog posts and fundraiser ideas... it's all outside the comfort zone of pretty much anybody you'd ask.  And it seems impossible.  BUT...

Because I have been given much, I too must give.  We cannot see this need, and feel this pull, and turn our backs because it's too hard for us.  It is too hard for us, but it is not too hard for our God.  He has commanded us in the scriptures to care for orphans, and he has prompted me specifically with a heart for this particular little boy.  That still small voice has whispered to my spirit that I must go and do, and I know that when the Lord gives a commandment, He prepares a way for what He commands to be done.  

How can we help change the fate of so many children in such desperate need?

One child at a time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mailing addresses

Can you recall all the addresses that you have lived at for the past 28 years??? That's what Tyler & I are having to do for our home study. It's crazy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet big sister

When Carri was having her interview with Anna, she asked her what she thought about getting a new brother or sister. Anna responded that once she got to know Keith & Iryna, everything was fine. So, she is just eager to get to know her new siblings. She's such a good big sister. :)

Home Study Visit

Carri from our home study agency came out to meet with us today. She's very nice and I think we had a good visit. Here is where we are in regards to finishing up the home study:

- finish filling out Child Abuse Registry for New York (we had to do this for every state we've lived in since we turned 18 years old)

- Email list of names of my siblings, their spouses, and their children

- wait for Carri to receive the results from the Child Abuse Registry for every state we've lived in since we turned 18 years old - this includes TAIWAN for when Tyler served his mission there.

- pay second half of home study fee after taxes come in

So basically, Carri will write up the report, we'll finish up our end (the one form for New York, email of names, pay second half of home study fee), and then we'll all just wait for the forms back from all the states (and Taiwan). Once those all come in, the home study will be complete and we will book our flights to Russia. I've been checking prices and currently it's around $830 for one round trip flight. Any suggestions on airlines for flying into Moscow?

Friday, January 14, 2011

God works miracles

This past week we were having an issue with some medical documents. My husband is active duty in the Air Force, which means that our primary doctor on base changes from time-to-time due to PCS (moving) or deployments, etc. Our main doctor is deploying, so when we went in to see the doctor to get our medical paperwork filled out, we met with a new doctor. He really rubbed me the wrong way. He has a aggressive and dominant personality. He said that if he had his way, everyone would be on medication. (!!!) He also told me that I needed to get my lapband taken out and get gastric bypass. He was so insistent on this - it made me very uncomfortable. I tried to just not say much, because I could tell we would not get along. He wasn't nice to me at all about my weight. I left that appointment very frustrated.

Well, the paperwork that he filled out wasn't done correctly, so I had to go back to get it done right. I was reading my scriptures the night before my appointment. I read about someone asking God to go before him and destroy his enemies. The doctor that I'd previously met with felt as close to an "enemy" as I've had. So, I prayed that God would go before me and "destroy my enemy" or just make things work out in the appointment.

The next day, I went in and they had me meet with a different doctor. What a sweet man! He was so kind and sensitive and complimentary of our adoption. He himself adopted two children! He happily filled out my adoption medical forms and was only too happy to do so. He said that there should be more people like me in this world. I tell you what - it was a miracle! I know that God heard my prayer and answered it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Update on Home Study

I had sent a check in to the agency, but made it out to the wrong name, so I resent another and they have received it. You'd think that the name on the website would be the correct name to makes checks out to, but no.

Tyler & I have to go in to the clinic tomorrow because our medical paperwork for the home study was done incorrectly. *sigh* I am eager to get this home study off the ground!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Moving forward!

We have submitted all of our home study documents. We have an appointment on January 17th for the home study visit. Yesterday we applied for passports for Anna, Keith, & Iryna. We are planning to take the kids with us when we go to meet our children (1-3 kids) in Russia! The region we are hoping to adopt from is Nizhny Novgorod.

My friend, Sarah B, is planning to accompany us in our trip to Russia. I think it would be nice to have some help with our 3 kiddos while in country, espcially during important meetings! I feel like things are moving along nicely! Financially, we are waiting for our taxes to come in, so we can book our plane tickets to Russia. Since Tyler is active duty Air Force, we are thinking about the idea of hopping over to Europe, but that would only take us to Germany and we'd have to take a train to Moscow. Still debating on that idea. Nizhny is one hour away from Moscow.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a meetinghouse in Nizhny, which will be nice! I am eager to meet the LDS people in Russia. The people we met in Ukraine were so warm and welcoming towards us. I am planning to sing Zdes Khorosho again for the judge in Russia. As a classically trained soprano, I want to share my unique talent in Russia as well. It was amazing to sing for the judge in Ukraine. I am pretty certain that it was a first for him to have an adoptive mother sing a song just for him. I will never forget it!

I am hoping that we can travel in February, but am trying to convince myself that March would be okay, too. I am so eager to meet our littles ones in Russia!