Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life? -mary oliver

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Weekend

After resigning myself to the extended time over here, I spent Friday afternoon with a Coca Light, a pint of chocolate chip ice cream, and the BBC channel broadcasting the entire Royal Wedding production start to finish.  I loved the stylish (and not so stylish, did you check out Princess Beatrice's number?) hats and since next weekend is the Kentucky Derby, perhaps more fabulous hats will appear.  I spent some time on Ebay during the breaks, so Grandma Archer...some packages will be arriving in our mail!

According to Andy, my glass is half-full utopia I live in is not all that realistic sometimes!!  Hence the reason he's not all that surprised with the extended delay of court.  And since I pack how I feel at the moment(cold in Ohio), I neglected to pack for warmer weather.  Seriously, how do you pack for 5-6 weeks?  The City By The Sea is pushing 70 this week, so he took me shopping this afternoon to buy some clothes.  Three hours later, plenty of bags and some NEW SHOES, and  the sun is shining brightly!

She's shaking her finger, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

 We had to capture this image.  The lawn mower at the orphanage.  Electric!

 She hasn't figured out that lotion is not for eating.

The caretakers are so kind to us(even the one who intimidated us at first) that when we walk in they smile, say hello, and motion where she is.  Even the other kids yell for her once they see us, grab her hand, and bring her to us. 

Once court takes place, I'll be able to share our plans for home.  They given us some scenarios, but nothing is for sure.  Once the court decree takes effect, her birth certificate and passport paperwork needs to begin.  And once again, it begins here, travels to the capital, processed, and sent back here before we can leave the City by the Sea with her.  And since there is no Fed Ex, the paperwork is transported by train(10 hours each way). 

So we wait patiently...

Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Power of Words

Like ripping off a bandaid, there's no way to say it softly.  
We learned our court date today and it's not what we had hoped.  
It's scheduled for next Wednesday.  Monday and Tuesday are holidays, so Wednesday it is.  Evidently, our process is smack dab in the middle of every single Spring holiday over here.  
  Go figure.

While I can't change it, I did shed some tears.  
Got it all out and now I move on.
And so we continue to be in a holding pattern.
After my watershed moments, I saw this on another blog.

It made the moment a little brighter, and I'm reminded.  Every day over here is a beautiful day, seeing her smile, laugh, and reach her arms around me for that special hug and kiss she's now accustomed to getting.  Yes, it's a beautiful day and it will be a beautiful day tomorrow.

I love that smile!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shifting Sails

Today, we learned that the paper we needed from the capital city wouldn't arrive until this afternoon or Thursday morning.  Now, it needs to move through the system in the City by the Sea before a court date will be assigned.  At this time, the earliest would be Friday, and that's wishful thinking.  The four day Easter holiday did not help our case, as most businesses and mail were on holiday.

While we are disappointed, we're not discouraged.  There is a great distance between those two points on the emotional continuum, and we are not anywhere discouraged.  Sarah will come home to our family,  perhaps not in the timeline I mentally hoped it would be.  There is not a standard timeline for adoptions, nor procedure in this country.  Everything varies from region to region.  Our papers began in the capital city, processed and sent to Sarah's city, then we signed more papers and sent them back to the capital to be processed, then back here.  It's complicated, timely, and a waiting game.  For now, we keep on keeping on, learn something new about Sarah daily, and await the adventure each new day unfolds.
Shifting our sails as the winds change...

This is her expression whenever the birds fly away.  She sees them sitting on the ground, walks or runs to them, and then doesn't understand why they fly away.
Spring has sprung in this City by the Sea.  Sunny, warm, beautiful, and the flowers are blooming.  

This morning, she sat in our laps for almost the entire visit.  Very rare:)  Andy was teaching her the sign for book, which she's learned.  And she likes to growl and "scare" with her hands when we read Brown Bear.

Andy ordered recordable postcards before we left, so the kids could record a message for Sarah.  As you can see, she's elated to have a syestra (sister) and brat (brother) and a Family. 
Her eyes tend to water and she's had a runny nose off and on.  Once I gave her a tissue, she sat on a bench and wiped her nose clean.  Afterwards, she "learned" to tear it up in minuscule pieces and put them in Andy's pocket.  He was delighted:(

Tomorrow's another day, with new adventures and love all around.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Walking through the gate this morning, a bright yellow bus with 17 kids and 4 adults was waiting to be let through.  Two caretakers got off and between our limited russian and their english, they asked us if we want to go to  the park with them.  Uh, YES, PLEASE.  Tuesdays for her groupa are FIELD TRIP days.  Imagine...

And so we loaded onto the bus, they moved Sarah to our seat, and off we went.  To...the park. And not any park, the 411 Battery Memorial Park, complete with military equipment and vessels.    They didn't seem bothered that Andy shot lots of pictures and video, and this afternoon he made a DVD of the trip to give to the orphanage.

Unbelievable, awestruck, indescribable...this adoption trip has been surreal.  We recognize our experience is atypical.  Instead of the Groundhog Day metaphor, we've chosen a morphed Bourne Identity meets Kindergarten Cop movie genre to describe our adventure.

We understand not every group in this orphanage is afforded these same experiences.  But, we are daily filled with gratitude and give thanks that someone saw Sarah's perseverance, her determination, and her desire to learn everything she can.  Someone thought she deserves a chance, and she is living every day with gusto.

Instructions for Living a Life: 
1.  Pay Attention
2.  Be Astonished
3.  Tell About It
Mary Oliver

Monday, April 25, 2011

To Market, To Market

Shopping here is an experience all its own.  Grocery Stores are frequent, and the locations differ.  Some are in the basement of malls, or buildings.  No preservatives, and mostly organic.  The yogurt is creamy, and the produce is always fresh.  We are very fond of the ripe, plump tomatoes and make tomato/mozzarella salads often.  Tap water is not for drinking, unless you are married to a water quality expert engineer.  Then, you're in luck:)   Andy purifies the tap water in a bottle for his drinking.  I prefer to buy it in 6 liter jugs, and pour into my water bottle. 

I do miss having a Target.  Last week, a button on my coat came off, and I've been obsessing over it since.
Only I would take a picture of a missing button:)
Every store I venture in, I'm seeking a needle and thread.  No go, and other buttons are becoming loose.  The laces on Andy's boots are wearing thin, but we can't seem to find laces, either.

Outdoor Markets are the all-out shopping venue.  The City By The Sea houses the very first and largest outdoor market in the entire country.  We were in awe our first trip, unsure of how to navigate.  This past weekend, we found another building that houses shoes and clothing.   If you're seeking that ONE item you need, it's difficult to find unless you know your bearings.

I'll be making another trip.  I think the pants I brought for Sarah may be too small. 
What the orphanage street looks like Monday-Saturday
Sunday Views

All morning until mid-afternoon, people walking up and down the street.  Notice the baskets?  The Paska Bread, along with other items were being taken into church for the blessing.  Beautiful experience.
 Happy Monday:)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Our two countries are celebrating He Is Risen, Indeed on this morning.  In our country, Addy and Austin are dressing in their Sunday best.  Addy's wearing her white sandals, as Easter is the beginning season of white shoes:)  They'll go to church, and the message will center on the Salvation, Resurrection, and Redemption story.   Our Contemporary Worship Band will be singing, Thank You For The Cross, which brings chills every time I play it.  Then, our family will gather for a meal, eating chocolate and the marshmallow peeps, that are only good if left out to harden into a crisp, gooey dessert.
 Sarah's country recognizes Easter, in similar ways.  We've seen luscious chocolates, stuffed animals and trinkets, and decorative Psyanky eggs.
  There are unique and beautiful traditions, as well.
Willow Sunday
 Sarah's orphanage is on the same street as a monastery and church.  Last Sunday, the street was blocked and so we walked, fascinated  by the sights.  People were making their way to church or coming from church, carrying Pussy Willow branches.   On both sides of the street, up and down, tables were selling these branches.  We were in awe, feeling the significance of the moment.  Walking up the street carrying the willow branches, resembling Jesus' path into the city on his last week.   I was humbled and needed to know more about this tradition.
Palms were difficult to come by, so the church began using willow branches.  On Palm, also known as, Willow Sunday,  willow branches are tapped on one another, repeating a blessing. " 'Be as tall as the willow, as healthy as the  water, and as rich as the earth."  These branches are placed on vases on restaurant tables, also.
Paska Bread
Friday afternoon waiting on our cab, many were carrying what looked to be giant cupcakes.  At the grocery, they were all shapes and sizes and we bought one.  It's tradition to have one at Easter to welcome springtime, and to carry these in baskets to church.  While there, a candle is placed in bread and a blessing is said.  The bread tasted sweet, with raisins, and icing on top.

Today, our family will also celebrate the redemption of four little girls.  
Alina, Zoya, Sofia, and Nadia
their stories brought us to the beginning of adoption.
Their families traveled the ocean last year to give redemption to their daughters.  These girls were given a new life, a family, and everlasting love.  A special place will remain forever in our hearts for these cherubs.
Remember Carrington?
The little girl who was brought to the U.S and immediately placed in the hospital because of her malnourishment?  A little girl who brought doctors and nurses to their knees in tears.  She was released this weekend, and was able to join her family for the first time.  
 All the family is together under one roof. 
A salvation story like no other.

How Great is our God!
Our celebration of Easter will take place on the orphanage playground.  Basking in the laughter and smiles of another little girl, who will soon have her own salvation story to share.
The secret to redemption lies in the remembering. 
Richard von Weizsaecker
Happy Easter, Addy and Austin.  We miss you very much.  Love and Hugs to you, and waiting until we are a family of five together!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kindness All Around Us

 “Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. 
It is anything that lifts another person.”
Thankful this appeared on the counter this morning, and my husband hijacked my blog.
He's Amazing:)
Our Sarah is loved by many where she lives. 
A special caretaker adores her.  On separate occasions, she has given her crackers to put in her pocket when we go outside to play.  Kissing her, holding her, and motioning us to put Sarah in her room, even though she's in another groupa.  Sarah lights up when she is working.  I'm going to try to get her picture soon.
 Sarah is always clean and in clean clothes when we get her.  She may not be in the latest fashion, but there is a diamond in the rough waiting to shine her light and love for everyone in her path.
 The orphanage director is a classy, lady doing her job, marvelously.  She always waves, and speaks in her limited English in passing.  Today, she said,"Dog, child,  a family."
And then she was on her merry way.  She sees...
There were many cars in the drive when we arrived this morning.  Up the stairs we could hear music, coming from her room.  A singing and dancing troupe was performing for the groupas, and there were film crews, along with dignitaries.  Andy and I stayed in the locker area corner, out of the way.  Sarah's teacher and another caretaker motioned for me to come over and watch, even though I would block their viewpoint.  It was lovely, and then the kids were given bananas as a treat.  Once  everyone began dispersing, her teacher motioned for me to go into the groupa room and sit by Sarah.  Another lady was holding the banana for Sarah, but her teacher told her I was Sarah's mama and gave me the banana to hold.
I was able to look around in the room, while she ate.  This orphanage is very blessed and I am thankful Sarah was placed here.
(We may be on the local news, as they were filming outside when we were reading at the table:)
Artwork displayed outside.

When Sarah went to wash her hands, another little girl said, "Sarah, go to your mama," and held her hand until she reached me.
Today, I heard her giggle for the first time.  She was in the swing, and she learned to giggle.
What a sweet sound:)
 Every day, I see kindness before my very eyes and I celebrate.  Inhaling the goodness around me.

1. What are you using to upload your videos and video camera do you use?

First, our location has a superb internet connection.  Uploading pictures and video does not take long at all.  We have a small flip camera that we carry in our bags always.  It's very simple to shoot and download the clips.

Second, Andy and I are two different mindsets.  I prefer simple and easy, but looks nice.  I use Picasa to edit and upload my photos to web albums, and OneTrueMedia for video-making.  Both are free and online. 

Andy, however, prefers a more complicated route to tax his engineer mindset.  He uses Windows Movie Maker, and then converts the file format on the audiotrack.  Believe me, he was up until 2am, because of its complication.  But, it was fantastic.

Stick with One True Media, if you want simple.

2.  What was the song he used?

Brandon Heath,  Love Never Fails. 

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.