Thursday, October 27, 2011

High Five!

My beautiful girl is 5!

I have been writing this post in my head for a few weeks now.  Part of me really wanted to write a letter to the woman who gave birth to Tatiana and give her an update.  As marvelous as that sounds, from what I know about her birth mother, I highly doubt she's internet surfing.

I have debated the birth mother search for a couple years now.  My final vote is still out on that one.  Maybe some day.  When I think about what I DO know about Tatiana's first month or so, it makes me furious.  I won't share all the details here, because I do believe it's a personal thing - but suffice it to say, my protective mama bear claws come out thinking about her life in October and November of 2006.  The first months were rough for her and it breaks my heart to think of how rough things were.  I think as parents our constant thoughts go to how we can love our children MORE and protect them and keep them safe.  To know that I couldn't do that for her then makes me sad.

If her mother WAS searching the internet and if I COULD talk to her to update her without wanting to punch her in the face, I would say THANK YOU.  Thank you for creating the most wonderfully sweet, smart, sensitive, snuggly, sassy, silly 5 year old I have ever met.
Taken each year on her birthday...

Because her birthday week is also the anniversary of our "meeting", I can't help but think of how she's changed over these past few years.  Physically you can't help but see her growing and thriving.  Mentally and emotionally, she's a different girl.  The girl who barely knew any words - Russian included, when I met her now talks NON-STOP!  The girl who only smiled occasionally has been replaced by a girl who lights up any room she's in with her beaming smiles.  While it's easy for me to be caught under her spell, I had to laugh last Friday during her first Kindergarten parent-teacher conference when her teacher told me, "I just adore her".  Yup.  She's really hard NOT to adore.  Then she told me the news that floored me.  Her teacher said, "developmentally she's the age of someone who is just turning 5".  WHAT?  My little learning sponge is basically caught up to her same age peers.

During Alex's adoption earlier this year, on one of the many days that my friend Sara and I roamed the streets of St. Petersburg, we talked about Russia.  I can't help but think of what either of their lives would have been like had adoption not entered their life stories.  Who knows where live would lead them and where they'd be.  I do know that MY life if better with both of them in it!

Putting all this nostalgia behind us, we had a FABULOUS birthday weekend.  Tatiana loves all things princess -- and Tangled (aka Rapunzel) is one of her favorites.  We had a combination Tangled/Bowling party.  Odd combination, yes, but when you live in a small town, your options are narrow!  The princess and her friends had a BLAST.  There were NO meltdowns (ok, Alex had 1 or 2... but the girls didn't!), no fighting over whose turn it was to bowl and no fits about being tired.  Tati and her friends cheered each other on and generally had a great time.  3 thumbs up!  Happy birthday girl makes for a happy mama!
The "Tangled Cake" - Celebration Day 1!

Making a wish - Celebration Day 2!

She's 5!

Happy 5th Birthday my gorgeous girl!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Worst Became Best

I will never forget October 21, 2008.  In some ways, I can’t believe it was ONLY 3 years ago as it seems like so much longer than that; and in other ways, I remember it as if it were just yesterday. 

My traveling BFF, Rhonda and I (she’s off soon on another adventure to Cambodia – but I digress, typical me!) landed in Vladivostok, Russia the night before, October 20th.  I was traveling to meet my son!   We were greeted at the airport by a translator, Kate and a driver – who spoke no English – Sergei, to meet my long awaited Russian referral – we’ll call him “Baby V”.   I had waited for this moment for months, buying boy clothes, decorating his bedroom – and for the past 3 weeks staring at his picture, imagining HIM in my life. 

In the car on the way to the hotel, Kate translates Sergei’s half of our conversation.  And then I hear those horrible words, “The boy is not good”.  I don’t know if I ever shared here on the blog exactly what was said to me in the car that day – but there it is.  The boy is not good.  

I freaked.   I remember wanting to get out of the car to vomit.  Panic set in.  Wait.  What did you say?  I just traveled for what feel like a week, spent how much money on airfares and burned a very valuable week of vacation time and THE BOY IS NOT GOOD? 

Between jet lag and “the boy is not good” I was a stress MONSTER that night.  I took a Tylenol PM to help me sleep and fell asleep with Rhonda still awake in her bed skyping with her family back at home.  A little while later – in my jet lag, stress induced, Tylenol PM haze, I heard what I can only describe as someone breaking into the room.  I remember yelling at Rhonda “WHAT IS THAT?”.  Ummm that would be her going into the bathroom, and it’s creaky door.  Stress and lack of sleep are NOT a great combination.  She still reminds me of that evening often – HA!  

You can read the details of the morning of October 21st here.  As you obviously know by now, HE became a SHE that day.  My fears of the evening before were confirmed, however in the end – I met THIS face.

 IMG_6807_edited-1 Taken 10/21 – Vladivostok, Russia – One of the 3 pictures I sent home to “Gramma Darlin” who was freaking out for me at home!

And the rest, they say, is history.  Or in this case HERstory!   The worst day of my became the best of my life.   I cannot imagine life without Tatiana.  She makes me laugh everyday.  That shy little girl I met 3 year ago today in Russia is now a gregarious, loving, sweet girl who keeps me in stitches and teaches me as much about life as I do her.  Rough day, but in the end, I wouldn’t change a thank.   Happy Metcha Day, Tatiana! 

IMG_8931 Before school 10/21/11

And tonight, we say a prayer for “Baby V” – who is still listed on the database today.   Bless you, “Baby V”. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quick Catch Up

Between work, two kids, kindergarten, birthdays, and shortening days… it seems like there is never enough time to get everything done.  Alas, blogging sometimes apparently falls later in line than I hope.  Looking back over the past few weeks, I’ve missed a couple things – they made facebook, sure; but not the blog.  So here’s a quick catch up review.

Kindergarten?  Yup.  You read correctly.  How did I miss posting about Tatiana’s big step toward Kindergarten?  Seriously – someone tell me, because I can’t believe it myself.   When we left school last spring, the plan was for T to enter Young 5’s – however with cut backs in the state, Young 5’s was one of the first things to go.  Don’t get me started on that…  so alas, come September it was off to Kindergarten.  The only other option was back to preschool – which really wasn’t an option.  Intellectually, T is ready for Kindergarten – but socially she’s not quite there yet.  Putting her back with kids as young as 2 1/2 would be fun, but she’d  probably be bored.  And bored kids at school… well, we all know what happens there.  So Kindergarten it is. 

We’ve had some struggles this year – which is new.  Last year she LOVED going to school.  This year parents aren’t allowed to go IN to the school beyond the office in the morning.  This seems to be causing some heartburn for Tatiana.  Some mornings we have tears, some mornings it’s only stalling and feet dragging.  Either way, it’s hard on us both – not sure who it’s harder on though!  (Including Mrs. Armbruster – the secretary!)   She’s also had some issues following directions – which doesn’t surprise me.  Tatiana has always had her own agenda in life. 

Here’s the princess on her first day:

IMG_8842 IMG_8839Ready for school!  And yes, my backpack is still almost as big as me!

Last Friday, as you probably remember, was Alex’s 2nd birthday.  2nd Birthday – 1st party.  All in all – he was a total trooper.  We had the party on Friday evening at the restaurant we always go to – and Alex did well.  It was just family and some close friends.   He didn’t seem to care much about the cake – which is a shocker because UNLIKE his sister, he LOVES sweets.  The older kids were a little slap happy after a long week – and there was lots of running around.  Alex so badly wanted to be one of the big kids – and just wanted to run around too, so cake wasn’t his priority.   Here’s some shots of the evening:

 IMG_8885 IMG_8877 IMG_8898

Hey everybody!  I’m 2!

Finally, in other “anniversaries” of sort – 3 years ago yesterday I received a call and subsequent email matching me with a child in Vladivostok, Russia.  That day I wrote this post.  Most of you know the history – in the end that referral was not meant to be.  I’ll always remember Baby V though, he was a crucial step on path to meet Tatiana. 

I think we’re all caught up now.  At least to the best of my memory!  I am sure there is SOMETHING I forgot… and if there is – I’ll fill you all in later!