Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Halloween Scare!

Last Tuesday I braved downtown Chicago traffic to deliver the donation boxes to MEEST to ship to Artemovsk. That was quite a trip! I'm not used to the heavy traffic, big city and I really had never driven to downtown before but I made it in spite of having both kids in the back seat and Sonny Boy poking at Igor every other mile and making him emit a blood curdling scream. Ha!

The MEEST office is in the heart of a Chicago neighborhood called Ukrainian Village. Most everyone I spoke with had a Russian accent or spoke entirely Russian or Ukrainian. Sonny Boy was amazed that the people spoke Russian. I think he thought I had driven him to Ukraine in an hour and a half. While in the neighborhood I stopped at a Ukrainian deli to look for some of Hubby's favorite Ukrainian beer. When I asked the man stocking the beer case he only spoke Russian or Ukrainian, thankfully a young woman there offered to translate and I was informed that we would not likely find his beer here as it's a relatively new beer not being sold in the states. The girl that translated for us said she couldn't wait to look for it on her next trip as she was traveling in a couple of months. Just a guess but she must be first generation American as she spoke fluent Russian and her English was completely un-accented. There was also some sort of Ukrainian museum there and several orthodox churches and a Ukrainian Catholic School. Made me wish that we lived a little closer in order to expose Igor to more of his culture. However it's not terribly far so when he gets older we can go to the museum and such.

The Toy Drive was a huge success. I ended up shipping 158 lbs of stuff to the orphanage. Thank you to everyone who donated. If you didn't donate, start saving your pennies as I will do it again sometime in the future but not real soon. Here are pictures of most of the items that were shipped. After I packed them there was still room in a box so a few more things went as well.

So if you happen to end up in the Artemovsk Baby Home keep an eye out for these items and let me know you saw them. It would be a relief to know that they gave the toys to the kids and didn't just sell them at the open market or take them home to the workers children.

Our town trick or treats the weekend before Halloween on Sunday afternoon. Not very spooky doing it in the afternoon hours but safer I suppose. Everyone got into the holiday spirit this year, even hubby who donned his old costume from a party a few years ago to take the kids trick or treating. I stayed home and handed out treats. We had only half the number of trick or treaters that we usually have so now we have lots of candy left over not to mention the loot Sonny Boy gathered.

Sonny Boy had a difficult time in the robot costume and it came home several times before they really got going for revisions, however it got rave reviews from others. Hubby even said several people stopped their cars and honked and gave a thumbs up. It was a simple costume to make, however this is probably the last year he could have worn it as he wouldn't have been able to get is arms and legs into the dryer vent hose. My own costume, well we are not sure exactly what it is. Hubby bought the mumu thing at Salvation Army to play a trick on his homophobic co-worker a few years ago. He never actually played the trick so it's been stuck in a bin for a while and I figured since Hubby was going to actually dress up I would too so I stuck it on and found the loudest headband. We decided I was either a gypsy or a hippie. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Home Six Months Today!!

Just a little over seven months ago we met our son for the first time. Though he I didn't give birth in the traditional since the labor was intensive ( can you say two dossiers?) the prep was expensive ($10 to ad a stamp??) and I endured a year full of more stress than Forrest Gump taking an Algebra exam. But you know what he FINALLY came home!
This picture was taken just a few days after meeting him. A child who was just beginning to walk, a child who was not saying anything understandable to anyone ( not even Russian speakers) and that the eyes we thought were merely crossed were almost blind.

This picture was taken today. Today Igor can walk almost as good as the average two year old, he doesn't stumble much. Climb like a mountain goat, say several words in English though he still hangs on to his Russian "Da". Today Igor can see fairly well thanks to the unbreakable toddler glasses on his face. Today Igor has now had all the immunizations that are reccomended by CDC, in the right order, in containers that we know were not expired.
Today Igor is 5 lbs heavier and 2 inches taller than he was 6 months ago. While that's not the quite the most astounding growth rate you've ever heard in the world of international adoptions, it's not bad considering that the child we met in the orphanage who would eat anything, turned into the kid with eating issues who barely chews and each meal can take anywhere from 30 min to an hour. Igor is now sitting on the height chart very well and edging almost to the 10% line for his weight.
If you've stumbled over my blog while researching adoption or just toying with the idea, know that not only will the child win by becoming part of your family, but you will win by seeing how a child can blossom and grow. If there is an inkling in your heart to raise a child there are ways to adopt if that is what you want, and while it is a long, expensive and stressful process the end will eventually appear.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hey! this kid isn't all perfect

I've noticed in the last few post I've raved about how Igor is adjusting so well etc. Well I can honestly say we are starting to hit the terrible twos. I think many of the tantrums stem from a lack of language skills as in many two year olds, however Igor lags far behind most home-grown kids his age so it's even more difficult. As a rule the tantrums are over normal things and end fairly quickly but occasionally a doozy will pop up and he'll rage for 20 min or more. I'll simply sit down with him and hold him till it passes but I'm sure anyone walking by (the sidewalk is very close to the house) might think I'm killing him. I've taken to the tactic of placing words in his mouth for him and he can now say " I'M MAD!!" quite clearly. I hope he starts screaming that instead of the general yelling he usally does.

Last week my mother visited, it was her birthday and Igor's was a couple of weeks ago so we held up Igor's so they could celebrate together. Mom doesn't get to see many of the milestones of the kids so it worked out pretty good. It didn't take long for Igor to figure out the present opening thing and he really liked getting new toys. Cake was not such a big hit though, I had read gobs about the famous Ukrainian sweet tooth but I guess he didn't inherit it.

Yes his glasses are usually that smeary all the time. We clean them constantly but little fingers tend to be greasy!

Sonny Boy was just as excited about all the new toys, you would have thought it was his birthday! Probably the biggest hit of the toy parade though was a ball popper, both kids have played with it tons and it is funny with the ping pong balls flying around all over.

The last couple of days have been spent purchasing toys and making an inventory list of the orphanage donation drive I instituted. I've had a generous response from many people that I never expected to. At this point I expect to send two large boxes of toys (many new) clothes (many of those new as well, thanks to one generous donation from a fellow FRUA-ite) and a nice supply of baby lotions, shampoo etc. There has even been enough donation to pay for much of the freight which I expected to pay for myself. I'm thankful for that, as I didn't expect so much stuff to ship! The boxes are quickly taking over a corner of my bedroom. I simply hope that once the stuff arrives at the baby house it's allocated to the kids and doesn't end up at the open market instead. I have heard from others that the director there is honest so I can only hope that the kids actually get the stuff.

For anyone who doesn't know me I'm a voracious reader and generally read a couple of books a week on average. I can't say I read anything of substance usually, as I read for pleasure and who really wants to read a history of the Roman empire ( unless you need to fall asleep) However I came across a book in the non-fiction section of the library no less, that is pretty remarkable. Until I fell into the world of eastern European adoption I never paid heed to any politics there, however now they certainly catch my attention. The book THE ANGEL OF GROZNY -Orphans of a Forgotten War by Asne Seierstad caught my attention. The book is very eye opening with regards to the atrocities that occured during the conflict in Chechnya that occured in the mid 90's and then again around 2000. The "Angel" in the book is a lady who quite by chance ended up taking in numerous orphans of the war though it doesn't focus solely on her. It really made me think about how Russia behaves and their current saber rattling in regards to Georgia and makes me fear for Ukraine more than before. I'm not a foreign policy expert by any means but when a presidential candidate ( John McCain) brings up the threat of Russia to Ukraine during a presidential debate you can bet it's very real. This book brought to life that while the Soviet Union we all grew up to loath may be dead, it's leaders still are not and their tactics of torture and kidknapping are very much alive and well. I'm not nieve, I know that Ukraine is not going to win a prize for government morality, however I WANT to believe that they are a young country that will eventually work out the kinks, whereas Russia tends to be backsliding to their Soviet Union days.

Well, it's getting late and it appears that I've rambled enough as I can't come up with a topic for a new paragraph. Aren't you proud of me for getting new pictures up though? Hopefully a new post to follow soon as Igor's six month anniversary home is on the 15th.