A video about our family

Monday, May 30, 2011

USCIS

We got a letter with our date for USCIS fingerprints for June 17th. From then it will be 2-4 weeks until they send us our approval letter and we can submit them to Sveta for translation. Here's what needs to happen before we go back for trip #2: put together all documents for our dossier. The two things we're waiting on: USCIS approval letter after they take our fingerprints AND our 2011 certified birth certificates for all 5 of us. My mom is taking care of getting certified certificates for Tyler, Anna, and me (Thanks, Mom!!!) and we are hoping that our facilitator from our Ukrainian adoption, Olga, can take care of getting them for both Keith & Iryna. Once we get all those certificates and the USCIS + all the documents that we're currently working on for the dossier, we will scan/email/mail them to Sveta who will translate them and then she will submit them to the judge in Nizhny Novgorod. THEN the judge will give us a court date. Once we have the court date, Tyler & I will purchase plane tickets for a little over a week prior to the court date. Once in country, we have to have a physical exam for both of us and then visit both boys 7x each - we've been told that there' a possibility that we can see both boys in one day!!! - then attend the court date. We are hopeful that the judge will waive the 10 days. If she does, then we'll get their documents together - passports, etc - pick the boys up and head home! It's a lot to get done, but thankfully we have an excellent facilitator (Sveta) and adoption placement coordinator (Victoria) to help us get it all done.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the winner is...



Congratulations Laura! Email me your mailing address at jilldpierce at yahoo dot com so we can ship you your mixing bowl! And please note that Anna's solemn face is because she didn't want for you all to see her left eye - she had surgery on it this morning. She's still a bit loopy from all the medicine but she wanted to be the one to choose the winner - poor baby. Congrats Laura! And everyone stay tuned for a silent auction with several items - coming soon!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Last chance!

You have until 11pm tonight to enter to win the beautiful homemade red/black mixing bowl! You have 6 ways to enter! Thank you for your support! And stay tuned - we have a silent auction coming up very soon with many fabulous items! If you're interested in donating something to be auctioned, email me at jilldpierce at yahoo dot com.



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Calvin's Surgery Update

I just received an email stating that Calvin had a successful surgery in Moscow! Everything went well and they have moved him back to Nizhny Novgorod. Calvin will be at a local hospital for a couple of weeks for rehabilitation, so that he won’t be running around and exerting himself. And of course the doctors will be monitoring him. I understand that this is a standard pro-longed post-procedure to heart surgeries in Russia. I'm so excited that he's recovering well. I can't wait to see this smile again soon:


Speaking of smiling - there's still a few more days left for our beautiful red/black homemade mixing bowl! Please get the word out and you're able to earn an entry in 6 different ways! Thanks for your support!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Homemade Mixing Bowl

Made by my fabulous friend Elizabeth: You are bidding on a hand thrown mixing bowl. Made from Phoenix clay this bowl is the perfect mixing bowl for pancakes for 2-3 or eggs for the entire family. It measures 4.5" high and 6" in diameter. It is a beautiful black and red color combination, the picture fails to pick up the almost metallic shimmer in the glaze that makes this my most requested color combination. The bowl is dishwasher and microwave safe and makes the perfect gift for bridal showers and/or weddings.






Here's how to enter:
  1. Donate $5 to our adoption fund using the Chip-In on the sidebar of my blog.
  2. Post about our fundraiser on Facebook. To link to Facebook, click on the "Share to Facebook" button right next to where you leave comments.
  3. Blog about our fundraiser. To blog this, click on the "BlogThis!" button right next to where you leave comments.
  4. Email about our fundraiser to at least 5 people + me at jilldpierce at yahoo dot com. To email this, click on the "Email This" button right next to where you leave comments.
  5. Share this on your twitter site. To tweet this, click on the "Share to twitter" button right next to where you leave comments.
  6. Post our blog button on your blog - you can grab the code on the sidebar.
Each of these gets you ONE entry for this lovely red and black hand thrown mixing bowl! Leave a comment for each entry. This listing will end at 11pm on Monday, May 23rd. Thank you all for your support in bringing home Calvin & Silas. We greatly appreciate it! Stay tuned for more fundraisers! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Update on Calvin

Calvin was supposed to have surgery in Moscow last week. Sveta received word from the hospital that Calvin is still in the hospital, but has not had the surgery as of yet. There was the indication that perhaps some tests were being run before they could do the surgery. That is all we know so far. It's frustrating to not know more, but there it is.

Here is a list of all of Calvin's heart conditions:

Mitral Stenosis
Double inlet left ventricle
High pulmonary hypertension
L-aorta

If you have any experience with the double inlet left ventricle, high pulmonary hypertension, or L-aorta, please leave a comment or email me at jilldpierce at yahoo dot com.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Paperwork, Paperwork

And so the paper chase begins! I am mailing off my USCIS today and will begin collecting other various documents that we need for our dossier. I am eager to get it all done as soon as possible, as I would prefer a July court date for trip #2!

We haven't heard anything about how Calvin's surgery went...still waiting for details. I hope he's recovering well.

I miss my boys! I wish they were here with me now. As we are back in the US doing dossier stuff, the posts on this blog will be less often as most of what is going on adoption-related is behind-the-scenes-paperwork-stuff. I will post when I have news and updates! Until then, if you want to follow my day-to-day-non-adoption-world, click here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Back in the good ol' USA

On Friday (in Russia), we cleaned up the apartment and rearranged it to how it was when we arrived. We packed up all of our things. The Sister Missionaries came over and we gave them the rest of our food from the fridge and cabinets. I withdrew some rubles to pay for the taxi in Moscow and we bought a few more little souvenirs. Sarah & I watched some HOUSE while the girls watched some SpongeBob Squarepants. At 9:30pm, Sveta and the landlord showed up. After getting all our luggage (4 carry-on suitcases, 1 large suitcase, 3 backpacks, CPAP, laptop (in bag), and my purse + coats for everyone + a box of orphanage donations downstairs, we packed it all up in Sveta’s tiny car. Iryna had to sit on top of one of the carryon suitcases on the drive to the train station. Sveta helped us get on the right train car, and put our luggage into our room. There are four beds in the room on the train car, with one communal bathroom per train car. Iryna & Anna took the beds up top (think bunk bed style) and Sarah & I took the beds on the bottom. The train left at 10:45pm, so it was time for bed right when we got on the train. Anna fell asleep before the train even left, whereas it took the rest of us a few minutes. At one point I was dozing off, and suddenly there was a woman in our train car – which scared me to death! She came to collect the tickets and even spoke a very few words of English that I could tell she was happy to be able to use with someone. J

There wasn’t a plug-in inside the room, so I couldn’t use my CPAP. There were plug-ins in the hallway down the train, but I didn’t see how that would work, having people trip over my cord all night and then I couldn’t keep the door closed. With 4 women in our car and no men, I didn’t think we should leave the door open all night. So no CPAP, but I did take melatonin which did help me doze off some. The bed was pretty hard, though, so I flipped from side to side all night and didn’t get much sleep due to my legs being numb.

Vladimir, our taxi driver, showed up at our door on the train car right after we arrived. He was really nice and didn’t speak much English – or so he said to us in English. He thankfully helped us by pulling some luggage on our much-longer-than-I-had-anticipated-walk to the taxi from the train car. We were prepared for a 2 hour drive to the airport, so imagine our surprise when we arrived in 30 minutes. I guess the traffic isn’t too busy in Moscow from 7 to 7:30am.

We had a LONG wait at the airport before we boarded out plane at noon and flew out at 1pm. The flight was pretty uneventful. They played some good movies, which helped pass the time. Iryna behaved exceptionally well until the last 30 minutes or so – and she was completely over stimulated and out of control. That made it “fun” for the 2 hours it took to go through customs, pick up luggage, find and ride the Air Tram, get on the shuttle, and finally get into our hotel room.

We were hungry, so I ordered from a local Italian place. I figured that it would cost more to eat here, since it is NY. I ended up buying $35 worth of food. It ended up being enough to feed an ARMY. We still have ¾ of it left, one day later. We went to bed at 7pm and I woke up at 4am, and then made myself sleep until 5:30am. We got ready and ate breakfast at 6:30am. It was so lovely to have an American style breakfast with a TV playing a news station in ENGLISH. Oh, how I’ve missed my country! We’ll leave this afternoon to fly back to FL. I can’t wait to see my husband, Tyler, and son, Keith!

We haven’t heard any updates on Calvin’s surgery. I hope it went well and that he’s recovering well. He had a hard recovery from his first surgery, so I hope this one will be smoother. Prayers are still appreciated, as heart surgery is extensive and very serious. Thanks!











Goodbye Nizhny Novgorod - we'll be back soon! Hugs and kisses to my boys: Calvin & Silas! Your mama loves you lots!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

7th visit with Silas

We played with Silas inside, because it was cold and threatening rain outside. Silas is babbling sounds, although they don’t sound like words yet. He doesn’t respond to his Russian name, hearing issues? He had a lot of fun and after an hour of playing with us, he was very tired and sweaty. When I dropped him off with his caregiver, I got the feeling that he didn’t want me to go. That made me happy and sad at the same time. I am going to miss him and Calvin when we go home this week. I only have one more visit with Silas, which will equal a total of 8 visits with Silas. We saw Calvin 4 times. I am hopeful that the judge will understand why we didn’t see Calvin more times.

Sarah was able to get some antibiotics and they are helping, but making her nauseated at the same time. She threw up an hour ago. L She is eager to get home. Can you blame her? Of course, I think I can speak for all of us here that we’re ready to be HOME!

We went to an outside market. I was hoping to find a “fuzzy hat” or a Russian t-shirt for my brother, Evan, but no such luck. I did see a huge contraption that held gallons of milk, complete with a hose to fill up containers that customers brought in. If I had had my camera, I would have taken a picture. Forget buying milk at the store, just go to an outdoor market and they’ll hook you up. J

A sweet observation: I’ve seen several romantic couples around town. Generally, the girl is holding a long stemmed rose. I think it’s sweet. J

I’m on day 5 of my yeast infection cream. Bad news: it’s not completely gone. I guess I’ll have to go see Dr C when I get home, but it won’t be until Monday. Bummer.

Today we’re going to start packing up and rearranging the furniture back to where it was when we came to the apartment. If I had known it had to be put back, I think we wouldn’t have moved it around so much. I wish Tyler was here to help. L We’re doing laundry and trying to use up all of the food we have. The landlord is coming over tomorrow night to get the keys and make sure the apartment is in good condition.

I should be busy cleaning and packing, but I just feel sort of down right now. It could be due to leaving my boys here in Russia and it should be at least 3-5 months before I can come back and bring them home. It could be that since it’s my second adoption, I know more of what to expect in bringing home two children who come from a foreign country and who don’t speak my language and who both have special needs. It’s not going to be easy. I was ignorant with the twins – I’m not walking into this adoption blindly. It could be my yeast infection that’s not gone. It could also be that we might be losing our tenants up in our Ohioan house, since they lost their job. It could also be that I’ve been in Russia for 4 weeks and I’m ready to be HOME. I don’t like sharing negative thoughts, but I want to remember how I’m feeling – so there it is. Positive encouragement and prayers is appreciated. In the meantime, here’s some eye candy for you:










Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Playground

We played with Silas outside today. It appears that he doesn’t play outside very much. His coordination and balance was lacking. His favorite toy is the rocking horse – I can tell that I need to have one waiting for him when we bring him home. J He played on the slide with his sister, Anna, a lot, too. He and Anna have such a sweet relationship. Anna is so kind and helpful with him. She will be such a great mama someday. He seems much more comfortable with me loving on him now, which is nice to see. I love cuddling him and kissing on his big cheeks. He’s so adorable!

After we left the orphanage, we drove to the bigger grocery store. I bought a strawberry cake to take to Silas’ orphanage tomorrow for his caregiver and the orphanage director and I bought a chocolate cake for Sveta (and her mother and grandmother). Sveta has been such a wonderful facilitator; I wanted to give her something before we leave. I also picked up some Dr Pepper for me and some of the cheese pizza. J They also had some strawberry milky way candy bars that I picked up. They look…interesting.

So Tyler is trying to potty train Keith and his teachers at school are working with him as well. Here’s a dialogue from yesterday:

Ms Tammy said that Keith had a little accident right at the end of the day and he had just gone to the bathroom a few minutes before.
Ms Tammy asked, "What happened? You just went to the bathroom."
Keith said, "I turned the hose off."
Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

I took some pictures during today’s visit with Silas, but I left the camera in Sveta’s car, so I’ll post them tomorrow. By the way, the adoption button for my blog is fully operational! So feel free to post it on your blog to spread the work about our boys! Thanks in advance! :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Adoption button

So, I've been working on this adoption button for my blog! What do you think?


I am hoping to get it fully operational with a code and everything and put it on this blog so that anyone can post it on their website and help us get the word out about bringing our boys home. A typical topic that comes along with international adoption is fundraising. I don't know anyone who just LOVES to raise money, no matter how just the cause is. It can be frustrating, because you want to bring home these special children, yet you don't have $40,000 just hanging out in your bank account. If you do, well, I'm happy for you and if can spare some, please donate towards our adoption! So please, if you can, look for the adoption button that I'll be posting on the sidebar, and help us spread the word. We really need to get these boys home. They need to meet with pediatric cardiologists as soon as possible to get them on the correct treatment, medicine (if applicable), and surgery(ies) that they need. Thanks in advance!

Tyler & Keith are doing well back at home. Apparently, a group of black/brown widows decided that they wanted to infest our front yard. Lucky us. So, Tyler spent all day Saturday looking and destroying all that he could find. My hero! Tyler is also trying to potty train Keithy. Calvin is already potty trained, so it would be nice to just have Silas in diapers when we bring the boys home. Pray for Keith - he's learning how to hold his bladder, but not initiating the need to go to the potty.

Keith is happy to be back at school. His teacher, Ms S, asked him where he was. Keith replied, "Russia." Ms S asked Keithy where Iryna was, and he replied, "With Mama." He's really understands more than I think he does. What a smart boy! Speaking of school, I recently came across this website: The Writing Faculty. Has anyone else heard of it? Looks like a great resource. :)

Sarah is out with Sveta right now. Her back looks like it is healing, although causing her a lot of pain. Please keep her in your prayers. She's such a good friend of mine and has come all this way to help me - I feel bad that she's hurting. My yeast infection is still here. I'm on day 3 of the cream. I hope it is completely better by day 5!!! The next 3 days we are able to visit Silas, but not today because Russia is celebrating their Labor Day (May 1st). The girls and I have been playing wii, yahtzee, and just being together. I sure do love my two daughters. It's strange to think that soon I will have more sons than daughters. I'm excited to have more children to love and care for and to help with their medical needs. I feel so blessed to live in the US and to have such incredible military insurance - how can I not share my blessings with these two sweet boys? I can and I will and it makes my heart sing to do so. Thank you, God, for helping me to help these children. I am grateful to be your servant.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Consider the Lilies

Yesterday was a cold, dreary day, so we opted to stay inside all day. Sarah has a rash on her lower back that has been giving her some trouble and so she hasn’t been feeling well. I appear to have a yeast infection – nice timing, eh? So, I went down to the pharmacy and was able to get the 5 dose treatment. I’m on day two and hope to feel some relief very soon. With both of us just not feeling good, we watched a lot of HOUSE and ate some comfort food (macaroni & cheese).

Today is Fast Sunday, so I fasted that we would have a safe trip home – with the overnight train ride, and the flight to NY and the flight home to FL. I pray that we’ll be protected and that we won’t have any problems. Church was wonderful – I invited both Alexei and Sveta (both came) to hear me sing CONSIDER THE LILIES. The testimonies were wonderful and even Anna bore a very short testimony (in English). I am proud of her. My song went well – I wish that they could have understood the words, but most seemed to enjoy the song. I enjoy bearing my testimony through singing. J

In Sunday school class, we watched a video about Joseph Smith. I felt the Holy Spirit so strongly. He truly was a prophet of God. Alexei enjoyed the video and said that he feels it is true. This evening, the missionaries and Alexei came over for ham & potato soup, macaroni & cheese, and blini (with bananas & nutella) for dinner. They also shared a spiritual thought and I felt the spirit again. I love feeling the Holy Spirit of God. Sarah also received a priesthood blessing for her rash. It was a wonderful evening.

Here are some pictures:


Walking to church.


Elder Beck, Alexei, & Elder Bitner.


Sister Rosenbladt, Sarah, Elder Bitner and Denis playing foozball (spelling?); Iryna playing chess; Anna & I playing pingpong.