I won't even mention how long its been...
With the Olympics in Russia this year, I've been thinking about our adoption of Andrei. We were told by our coordinator that because Andrei had Asian features and dark skin that the chances of a Russian couple ever adopting him was slim to none. In fact, 30% of the children in Russian orphanages have Asian features, and foreigners are their only hope of finding a family. And now that Russia has removed Americans from that equation with its ban of Americans adopting Russian children, I just think of the 100s of kids that "look like Andrei" who will spend their days in these overcrowded understaffed orphanages. We were told that the babies stay in the hospitals until there is a made available space in the orphanages to move them over--space provided by a child being adopted. With Americans unable to adopt, and the fact that America accounted for a thousand of those children being adopted in 2011, I cannot imagine what a backlog of overcrowding conditions that must amass as a result. I sincerely pray that the other welcomed countries will step up their adoption efforts and fill the void. We have a happy, unbelievably smart little boy that was provided for us through this Russian system. So many kids like Andrei will remain lost in that dismal existence. Please keep these children in your prayers! I also can't help but think about all the Russian coordinators, drivers, translators that have been without a job (not to mention agencies in the US).
On a more positive note...We have completed our last post placement report! Yeah! We were refunded our $1000 deposit for submitting all four reports on time. That's a nice reward! With regards to adoption, we keep the adoption talk going in our house. Andrei knows that he is from Russia. He will tell that to you if you ask him. He knows that we got on a plane and picked him up in Russia and he knows he cried all the way home to the US on the plane. With my sister-in-law recently being pregnant, the girls were asking about their births. Andrei knows that he was not in my tummy but another mom's tummy and "she took me to the hospital." I'm sure it's a bit surreal for his little mind to firmly grasp, and I need to get going on that Lifebook this year for him. A Lifebook is a book for him and his emotions, his experiences of his life basically before we became a family. It's very personal to him--not our experiences or emotions, but his. From what I've read, it is instrumental in helping adoptive kids understand their adoption.
We also enlisted the help of a lawyer and attended court to apply for his Texas birth certificate in December. Having a Texas birth certificate will make life so much easier. There's nothing like having the only original Russian birth certificate in your possession and knowing that if you lose it, you get to hop on a plane to Moscow or Krasnoyarsk and get another one. So many states simply have a form for you to fill out and give to the district clerk and for the low, low price of $40 you get a state birth certificate. Texas does not have a simple form for you to fill out; I suppose you could represent yourself in court, but after days and days of research of trying to figure out what forms and how to fill them out, I gave up. We hired legal representation. So, we're done with all the "adoption" stuff with the exception of getting Andrei a US Passport. We'll do that at some point in the future. That will require a bit of a nail biter because you have to send in to our extremely efficient US government the only original copies of the stuff the US Embassy gave you and said, "Don't ever lose these papers". Yikes!
Here is a video of the Olympic Torch in Krasnoyarsk, the city where we picked up Andrei! It looks as cold as it was when we were there. Doug and I were going, "Hey, I remember that!"
Andrei is now four! In a few days we will celebrate his 3 year Gotcha Day. The girls are already planning a little party with cake to celebrate. He's so bright. We thought he might be color blind because for a year everything was the color green. One day he woke up and said, "Mom, that's red. That's blue." Literally overnight he learned the color wheel! He knows his ABCs, can count to ten, and can now jump with both feet off the floor. He loves guns, trucks, and the Disney Cars--and in any given order on any given day. He loves playing in the dirt and helping Dad. "We boys!" he is always telling me. He is every bit the child I thought he would be when we first talked about adoption so many years ago. He's become my buddy during the day, and I'm already not looking forward to him going to school. (2 years down the road but still....)
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