Saturday, August 30, 2008

Officially Official!!

Yup! It's true... I am officially official! In the mailbox today was my copy of the Dept of Homeland Security approval to adopt an orphan! Also known as the 171H form. The precious 171H. While I am starting to feel a little better, I wasn't able to do the major dance at the curb I planned, but I did manage a mini jump-hop.

OK, bear with me here for a minute. This is where I will loose some of you. Laugh at me if you must, call me crazy behind me back... I think I am tough enough to take it. You already know my terrible ability to be patient for things I am excited for, but if you don't know me all that well, you may not know that I am a sentimental FOOL. To the extreme.

Yesterday, Friday August 29th, the day I received two pieces of good news, critical to my future in Russian adoption, also happened to be the 1 year anniversary of the death of one of my favorite Aunts, Barbara Ann (Clarkson) Ginther. I like to believe that after we all die, there is a place called Heaven where you get to rejoin all your family and friends who passed before you. And I also believe that these family and friends look out for you and guide you through tough times in life. So was it just a coincidence that these two pieces of news were delivered yesterday? Honestly, we expected to hear the registration news last week, but rumor is someone at the MOE in Vladivostok was on vacation. As for the 171H - my HOPE was that it would arrive any day, but the original receipt letter I received from them said up to 3 months -- which would have been another 30 days.

So, you decide. Heckle me if you wish, but I like to think Barbara Ann had something to do with it!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Little Post, Big News

Quick Post as I am still fighting off a summer cold...

BIG NEWS!! I got the official call that I am now registered in Vladivostok! Yea!!

However, the "typical" wait time for a referral is 1-3 months. So please say a prayer, cross your fingers, throw some salt over your shoulder for myself & the Confers, the other family from my agency waiting for Vladivostok. I am hopeful, thinking positive, for a quick referral!!

So if I were feeling better, you'd see me dancing in the streets -- but I am not up to it right now, and there is more waiting ahead!

Hot off the press... it's a DOUBLE BIG NEWS DAY!! Lorien from my agency just called and she has received a copy of my precious 171H! The official form saying the the BCIS has approved my adoption. This means I am PAPER READY! I checked my mail and nothing up here, maybe tomorrow! But just knowing it's completed is great news. That means I received that form in 2 months - a month ahead of the estimate. Woo hoo!!!! When it rains, it pours!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Carrie/Amy Story...

A couple people have asked about my friend Carrie -- and the Carrie & Amy story.... so here goes! It's really actually a cute story, if I do say so myself.
Once upon a time, there were two couples: Sue & Tom, and Gary & Linda. Sue was the Hall Director for a all girls dorm at Central Michigan University and Gary was the Hall Director for the corresponding all boys dorm. Magically, Sue and Linda are both pregnant at the same time - and both couples have girls 3 months apart -- the first (and only!) child for both. Welcome Carrie and Amy! Carrie and Amy lived the first couple years of their lives in the dorms - surrounded by lots of college students (built in babysitters).

From there, Sue & Gary both got promoted to each manage 1/2 of the CMU Residence Halls. So both families move off campus, but because Sue/Gary work together and both couples have little girls about the same age -- they still spend essentially every weekend together. The couples combine babysitters and social circles.

Even though the girls don't end up going to school together until Jr High, they are always friends. During one summer, Carrie and Amy decide that they will: move out together (at 16), buy a car together and then live on the same block with their families.
After college, Amy buys her first car (a lovely 1992 black Grand Am - too cute!) and then 6 months later gets a job with a company car (a 1993 maroon Taurus wagon, not so cute, but free!). So she sells the precious car to Carrie's dad Gary to use the $$ as a down payment on a condo. Two years later, Carrie moves in and is now driving the aforementioned black Grand Am. Live together? Check. Share a car? Check. Ok -- so we weren't 16!!

After living together, Amy introduces Carrie to her cousin Barry. Eventually, after a few years of dating, Carrie and Barry get married and have a little girl - Mary. Now with the timing of Amy's adoption -- the two could have kids about the same age. How cute is that!!

So long story short, she's probably the closest thing to a sister I have! Enjoy your week -- I hope to have some GREAT news later this week!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For Robbin!

I have mentioned before that I have the patience of a gnat. So when I get bored, one of the things I like to do is "stalk" blogs. I'll read the blogs of other families that I know -- and then click on the links of their contacts and so on and so on. Come on, admit it! You do it too! It's fun! And that's what this crazy high-tech world is about.

So maybe a month ago I stumbled across another single from Michigan, Robbin, who is in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. You can stalk her from my blog under Baby Mama Drama Queen (http://fromaddisababawithlove.blogspot.com/). She's VERY funny and has a lot of the same thoughts I do about this whole process (coincidentally, she fesses up to blog stalking as well!!).

She's been passing the time during this maddening, frustrating, drive you insane wait period, by counting off each of the weeks. In this count off recently, she's posted some HYSTERICAL pictures from her childhood. It really takes me back to my childhood - so in Robbin's honor I dug up one of my own.

This is my lifelong friend Carrie and I probably around 1975ish. As you can see, we were whizzes with the make-up. I can't believe the whole eye-shadow on the chin (yes that's what that is!!) never caught on. Apparently we were practicing here for future mother-hood. Carrie is also now family - as I fixed her up with my cousin a few years ago. They are now married and have a little girl, Mary, who is now 15 months old.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In David Letterman's Honor

I have always been more of a late-nighter than a morning person. And yes, (sigh) I know that will need to change, as I won't be on my own schedule (soon I hope!) someday. If you are a late-nighter, you are familiar with the run of late-night TV shows, present and past. I've probably watched them all: Carson, Arsenio, Chase (remember that one?), Snyder, Leno, Daly, Kimmel (love it) and of course the king of the Top 10 List... David Letterman. He's just funny. Dry funny. Which I can be as well... so in Dave's honor, I have composed my own Top 10 List for the week.
From the Home office of Croswell, MI (he doesn't do this anymore since he switched networks!), the Top 10 Things I Can't Wait to Share With My Little Russian:

1) Summer Sweet Corn: messy, in your teeth, butter dripping down your arms corn!

2) Croswell's Famous "Swinging Bridge": Michigan's longest suspension foot bridge, a favorite of mine growing up, and well, it still ROCKS - literally!


3) The kitties: My furry family members. Cross your fingers for no allergies.

4) Nestle' Toll House Cookies: No, not my division of Nestle', but you gotta give props to the original bad boy of cookies. Warm and gooey, straight from the oven... yum.

5) Pizza: The world's most perfect food.

6) My Grandma!! This will make Great-Grandchild #21 for her, and her closest in proximity (she lives about 1 mile from me!)
7) Disney movies: I've long been a fan. They'll all be in the DVD library, except Bambi, which is FORBIDDEN.

8) Hockey: Especially the Red Wings! I mean, he's Russian, right? A natural fit.

9) My "girlies": The "faux" nieces - Jenni and Carrie's girls - his "faux" cousins!
and last but not least...

10) His "new" life: New country, new house, new room, new mom!

I am sure there are 100 things I have missed... but there's so many things to list! Feel free to add your own...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Creating a Monster...

I've gone video crazy! Ok -- well not really. This was a specific request from my Dad and Sharon. I've tried to email it - and apparently it hasn't been working. So here is try #4.

video

Just Like a Kid At Christmas

I got a new toy this week! On the Lighthouse Adoption yahoo board last weekend, one of the topics of discussion was having your child seen by a doctor during the referral status. One of the ways some families achieve this is to create a video and send it to an International Adoption Specialist.

This was a challenge to me, as I don't have a video camera. I haven't needed one in the past, so I never bought one... and was thinking that if Chilled Beverages @ Nestle makes plan again this year AND we have our catalog points system for a bonus, a nice video camera could be on the horizon next year. However, in the interim, I have nada and wouldn't feel comfortable asking someone "hi, can I borrow and take your expensive nice video camera out of the country?"

So Tamara (http://tamaras-corner.blogspot.com/) had posted about using her "FLIP" camera in Russia and that it was really small and handy. For those of you who don't know Tamara, she's a total lifesaver! She's been through this whole process twice -- and is truly helpful! So needless to say, I listened (read) what she had to say. And smart as she is... she even posted a link. So I went off to check out the FLIP. (http://www.theflip.com/products.shtml) After reading all about it, I was sold. Amazon.com even had the Ultra model cheaper than list (I am told Target does too!) So I ordered it and it was waiting for me when I returned home from a work trip on Wednesday. (I LOVE Amazon 2 day shipping for free, works well with my patience level!!)

So here is my first published video. It's from this morning - Saturday mornings in this house are earmarked TUNATIME for the kitties (they aren't spoiled or anything). And as you'll see Gracie gets particularly excited for tuna. Enjoy.



video

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I Think We're Going to be Alright...

During this whole adoption journey, one of the thoughts in the back of my head has been: "How the heck are my kitties going to re-act to a kidlet joining our home"?

For those of you who don't know me that well - I am NOT the Crazy Cat Lady (but I do have 4 cats!). That title has been taken in my family already, by my wonderful Aunt Marion. She bestowed the title to herself, so it's NOT something we say behind her back. She's a cat lover and from her house in Northern(ish) California, she fosters unwanted/neglected cats and finds them forever homes. It's a wonderful thing to do, and I know I couldn't do it, because I couldn't give them all up!!



Being an animal lover is genetic on the Repp side of my family. It may have started with my Grandmother (Babushka for those of you paying attention) who I fondly remember taking in any animal, taking care of it and finding it a home when I was young. (There is even a story about a duck family who got frozen in a pond during a spring freeze, my Gramma taking Gramps down to the pond to help the ducks and Gramps fell in.... well that's one way to break the ice! ) Most of Gram's 7 kids and numerous 13 Grandkids have pets and one cousin is even a Vet! Yes, we're serious animal fans in this family! So back to the story...

This weekend I had my cousin Jenni's girls (picture) with me most of Saturday and Saturday night. The girls come to my house often, however, my cats are NOT fans. It's not them, it's ALL children. Kids are little, they move fast and they tend to like animals -- and so they chase the kitties. Not fun in the eyes of my furry crew. Typically they all scatter in various directions when the pitter patter of little feet arrive.

We spent most of Saturday in "tiring out activities": Lexington, MI's Art Fair (cool!), Petsmart for cat food (always fun), Kohl's for the big sale (wait? Kohl's had a sale? NO WAY), Staples for ink cartridges (boring), and Cici's Pizza at the girl's request (not the best pizza, but what a bargain!). Saturday evening we went out to another cousin's house for more tiring out activities: playing outside in a LARGE back yard with lots of kid toys and kids! By the time we got home, it was time for baths and bed. The girls camped out on the floor of my room with the aforementioned Aerobed (see Graciegate '08!) since there is no more guest room in the house and no one wanted to sleep in the crib! They watched a little Spongebob during settling down time (always a favorite), while they were watched from above by kitties on my bed. Now this didn't help the settling down mind you... but it was cute.

By the time the girls drifted off to sleep, my cats were fully intrigued. Gracie actually slept with the girls part of the night. Roo and Nougat stayed close by much of the time to "guard" the girls and Murphy hung out, but just for treats in his usual move. By the time morning came, they were much more comfortable with the girls, and while still not best friends -- it was definitely progress! So I am hopeful that like when adding any new member to the household, there will be a slight adjustment process, but eventually they'll learn to like the little Russian!!