Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bringing Lexi Home



I think a montage is worth a thousand words!!! Although, I do want to mention that it was Polar Days when we adopted Katie Aunna (never got dark) and it was Polar Nights with Alexis' adoption (never had any daylight). Guess you could say night and day. Personality wise...they are night and day...LOL!!! Lexi is calm and quiet where Katie is bouncy and noisy;-). So, here is the picture journal of our trip to Russia to bring our daughter home. It will likely be posted on our family blog as well since this blog has been closed to the public. Additionally, now that Alexis is part of the family....I will not be making any more posts to this blog. However, you may still follow our progress and watch the drastic changes that will occur over time with Lexi. The family blog is titled "Journey To Yellow Brick Road" and may be found at this link:

http://journey2rfamily.blogspot.com

Once again....I am greatly appreciative of all your prayers and best wishes for our family. Many blessings!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

We're Home!!!

We are finally home!!! Lexi is doing very well and seems happy. Of course, she is still a bit confused and we are still jet lagged. We had Christmas on the 26Th and she had a ball!!! I am planning to make a montage for the blog;-). Today I need to work on getting her registration paperwork done and our SW will be out this afternoon to do her first report. But, I promise to do a montage very soon. Many blessings...Trisha, Duane, and kiddos!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Good News

Just wanted to make a quick post. We got Alexis' passport and visa this morning. We will be arriving home as planned. Please kids....don't get out in the cold night air to come to meet us. We will be home tomorrow night very very late and will wake you when we get home. Alexis is anxious to go home and asks often when will we go. Unfortunately, I have not been able to teach her any English as she refuses. But, my Russian has gotten very good now that she coaches me...LOL!!!! Also, don't worry as we will have Christmas as planned on Saturday. So, don't open anything until we get home!!! Lots of love and miss you all a bunch. Love....Mom, Dad, and Lexi

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Welcome Alexis Victoria Gartner

We successfully completed our exit visa appointment. There is a new Gartner child on the block now;-). She is anxious to go home and see her brothers and sisters. Patrick...we're coming soon!!! Thanks for those candles you've been burning and to all our friends and family for their prayers and help. I know Kisty is probably ready to jump over-board by now....LOL....however, just hang on for a little longer and we will be home. I do have just one piece of news about the issuance of the paper visa....the Embassy computers are down and so we may be delayed by one day according to the official spokesperson. So, hang on one extra day and pray they do indeed issue them as promised the following day. Many blessings....and many thanks to all!!!! Trisha, Duane, and Alexis Gartner
P.S...Thanks to Charlotte for keeping the kids informed!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hello From Murmansk

Hi everyone. We took Alexis from the orphanage yesterday. She was completely trusting and has been really enjoying herself with Mama and Papa. Her Gameboy...ummmm I mean...Gamegirl is a hit. It is such an entertainment for her.

Last night I gave her a great bath. She smells as sweet as can be and like the rest of my kids do. You should have seen the dirt going down the drain. Then she had a nice nail trim and I painted her nails red!!!! HaHa....she loved that. She kept saying that she is a princess now.

She also told me that when she grows up in America she will make me so proud because she will be a doctor and make a lot of American money....LOL!!! I would not be a bit surprised at her. She is very bright. Lexi is learning to say a few English words.

The words that I know she knows in English I won't speak Russian to her about those things. Hey kids...I miss you like you can't imagine and hope to be home on time if the weather clears off. We are not able to fly out yet. But tonight we will return to Moscow and start our way home soon. Hang in there and be good for Kisty. Our love to all...Many Blessings...Love Mama, Papa, and Lexi

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We're in Moscow

We just arrived about an hour ago. It was pretty funny as I kept negotiating with the taxi companies until a biding, of sorts, started among them about who could give us the lowest fare. It started off that the one taxi wanted 6000 rubble!!! I said NYET and another fellow jumped in at 5000. I finally got the lowest price possible as when I said less he said forget it. We got a 30 minute ride for 2200. Now that's what I call negotiating power...LOL!!!! Never-the-less...we have safely arrived and tomorrow begins another journey in our quest to bring home our little girl. I know she is "impatiently" waiting like only a Russian can;-). Many blessings and lots of love to all....Trisha and Duane

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Paka-Paka

See you soon...we are off to bring our daughter home!!! We will leave early tomorrow morning and so you will not hear from us until we reach Moscow on Saturday. Again, because of the new weight restrictions with the airlines, I will not carry my laptop. Instead, I will post from the business centers in both Moscow and Murmansk. Please, pray for our success in bringing Alexis home for Christmas. All the i's must be dotted and all the t's must be crossed to bring her through the Embassy. Your prayers are so greatly appreciated. I feel strongly this verse applies for our trip to bring new life into our family:

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
John14:18

Happy Holiday's and God's Many blessings!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Update




We are home now. In fact, we made it safely home last week. I have been grieving as our darling family pet passed away the day after our return home. You can read more on the family blog "Journey To Yellow Brick Road". I just can't write about it again and also feel that this is not the correct blog. So, I am letting all those who have been so faithfully in prayer for our family know that Lexi is so close to coming home now. We are returning to bring her home on the 18TH of December. We will be flying home with her on December 25TH. What a day for a celebration of new life joining our family!!!

I have only four days left to pack and continue with my Christmas preparations. We have not found time or energy to put up our Christmas tree. I have spent the last three days wrapping gifts and have finally completed that process. There are no Christmas goodies made!!! No time for cooking:-(. I am posting a Montage of pictures. Alexis is so happy!!! She appeared in court that day and told the judge that she had been waiting for us for the last year. Lexi said she knew we would return for her.

The judge asked her what if another family would have come and she responded with "No, I have been waiting for my Mama and Papa to come for me"!!! I am so thankful to our God that His wisdom is so powerful that He can answer the dreams of a little girl who yet does not know to pray to her Savior and God. Soon she will know the Lord and begin the most important process of her life...developing a relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I am so excited and anxious to teach this to her. How wonderfully blessed I am to be her forever mother and friend.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Amsterdam

We are in Amsterdam today. Our flights leave in about 2 hours. We are looking for a few Dutch items for the children. I miss Lexi already and do so wish we could just turn around and go back to wait for her. However, the children at home need their Mama. So, by late this evening we will be home and with our babies;-). Many blessings...Trisha and Duane...missing our Lexi

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mom2R10

Court today was a success!!! We are now the parents of Alexis Victoria Gartner;-). Poor Duane was very harshly questioned by the judge. He was really sweating!!! His answers seemed to not satisfy her. However, the ruling was in our favor. When it was my turn to respond I covered what I felt he had been too nervous to include. In the end...all is well and Lexi was very very happy. We will visit her again this evening and fly out to the USA tomorrow. Awe...what a relief for us both. Now we are officially parents to ten children. Thanks for all the prayers and support!!! Unfortunately, our 10-day wait has not been waived. However, we thank God for being so kind to grant us this adoption. He has been a great and kind God to us. Many blessings...Trisha, Duane, and Alexis

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Murmansk

Tomorrow we will go to court in the morning!!! Yuri says everything looks great. Lexi is so anxious to come home with us. She has enjoyed our visits greatly. The judge has asked her to come to court tomorrow. I will post when we have the ruling that she is officially our child. Please, be in prayer for the miracle of the ten day wait to be waived!!! Many blessings...Trisha, Duane, and Lexi

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moscow

Hi...Just wanted to say that we are safely in Moscow and waiting for our facilitator to pick us up so Duane can do the 8 doctor medical exam. We will then fly to Murmansk this evening t0 see Lexi on Wednesday and Thursday. Court will be on Friday. PLEASE....pray for the miracle of our 10-day post court wait to be waived so we may take her home and enjoy the Holidays with her!!!! It would be such a financial blessings abd lots of fun for her!!!!! She has waited so very long for this day to come. Trisha

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We're Leaving Today

Hi everyone....Just wanted to post a little note to say that we are leaving for Russia today. We will spend the night in Amarillo and fly out early in the morning. Nervous...yes...that's a fact. Excited....without a doubt. Duane has been very happy to see our dauther after such a long time. He is acting like a child ready to go to Disneyland...LOL!!! I know Alexis will be just as happy to see her Papa as he is to see her. I am packed. I have one large suit case with clothes and one small bag with bathroom stuff to check. We have my purse and one small carry-on to take. We have no donations or gifts to give to the Russians this trip. But, perhaps we can do that on our next trip. Christmas and travel has taken a priority with us for now.



The plan is to be returning the 5TH of December with a successful court behind us. We will be bringing Lexi home on this trip only if by a huge miracle God touches this judges heart and she waives the ten-day post court wait. If that should not happen....we will return for her on the 16Th of December and home by the 23RD of December. Please, pray for the ten-day wait to be waived so Lexi can begin her life immediately with the family she has dresamed of all her life!!! Merry Christmas and many blessings!!! I will talk to you from Russia next time:-). Trisha

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Three Days Until Travel


I am not sure whether I am more anxious or nervous!!! Probably some of each. Well, for one thing, I have not even began to pack;-). There's nothing like throwing a few things in a suit case and flying half way around the world...LOL!!! But, I guess the last minute works for me, when it comes to packing, as I seem to often pack that way. Friday I have to get Duane's suit from the dry cleaners and I guess I will pack then. We are planning to leave for Amarillo on Saturday afternoon and fly out on Sunday morning. Please, pray for our journey to Lexi and for a successful court hearing next Friday (Patrick....keep that candle going....blessings). Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings...Trish

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Confirmed Court Date....At Last!!!

We have received our confirmed court date of December 4, 2009. I am sooo happy and excited that we will be visiting with Lexi on the 2nd and 3rd of December. I am a bit concerned about the close timing to Christmas. However, every child we have adopted I always think "Gee, I wish this could be a Christmas baby!" Well, there you are!!! After the ten day wait following court we will return for her on the 18th of December and be home sometime between the 21st and 23rd. Merry Christmas!!! Our last child is our Christmas baby....amazing!!! Praise God for His precious timing. Many blessings...Trish

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Waaaa...Postponed

I just had, a deep down in my gut feeling, that we would get postponed. Sure enough....we will not know the confirmed date until this Thursday. I don't even want to say what Duane said...but, he is very upset as we have booked airline tickets that will need to be changed!!! I honestly think he really regrets not going to see Lexi when I went...although he hasn't admitted it and I have not brought that up to him. So, more expense and bumps in the road:-(. Of course, the bottom line is, we are not the planners here, rather we are the players in God's great plan. So, Thanksgiving Day will not be our court date and I do so hope it is not a sad day for us. Please, continue to pray for our patience and for His Will and perfect timing to be done. Blessings...Trisha

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Making Plans

Casey, Lexi, and Mama
Lexi and big brother Casey

Happy girl Lexi and proud Mama!!! I love and adore her so extremely much. The feeling is mutual from her to Mama. Some how, in the depths of my heart, I think as I grow old she will be at my side to the end!!! Look how petite she got during my absence over the last year and a half!!! She is even prettier in person than on film. Imagine how she will blossom when she gets into her family!!!


I just wanted to make a quick update. Friday I had to travel to Santa Fe to get extra documents apostilled that the judge wanted. This happened to us with Katie Aunna as well, except it was the day before we were suppose to travel, which really complicated things. Needless to say, we were exhausted from traveling to Santa Fe, and then driving on to Amarillo that same evening. Please, pray that we will not be asked for anymore paperwork here and especially while we are over there.

Our plane tickets are booked and we continue to pray that our dates will not change. Just one week from today we will be on our way to see our daughter. I have not packed yet but, plan to do that next week. The part I dread the most is leaving her once again after court. I just can not see how we can stay during the wait. We are praying God will soften the judge's heart and allow Lexi's waiting to end after our court hearing. Duane wants Lexi to write a letter to the judge and beg her to please allow her to go home with us.

My back is much better and so God has answered the prayers of us all. Financially, we are still working on things to pull this all off. I know God will show us the way. Please, keep praying for our court date to stand, safety during our trip, for a successful court hearing, and for the judge to allow us to take immediate custody of Lexi. Will post again soon. Many blessings...Trisha (Lexi's Mama)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tentative Court Date

I am sooo in shock!!! Although, I was guessing that Thanksgiving would be spent in Russia, I still had my doubts. Today I received a tentative court date of November 26, 2009. I can hardly believe my eyes!!!

Prayer requests:
My lower back is hurt
We need funds
Updated documents need apostilles and returned timely
Our passports need visas and returned timely
We need childcare arrangements

Thank-you and many blessings....Trisha (Lexi's Mama soon)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day Six



October 22, 2009:

As usual Casey and I popped up around 5:00am as we had been doing every day. However, there wasn't any daylight until around 9:00am and so it seemed as though the morning time was much earlier. We got a free breakfast with our room and so we made this our main meal of the day. In the evening, we tried to eat inexpensively, to save money. This entire process is so extremely costly and money is very tight right now with the economic recession. Plus, the fact that we are such a big family is quite expensive.

Each step of this adoption has been a financial struggle for us and we are quite dependent of the foreign fees being covered (for the most part) by our $6800 grant from Until All Have Homes. Which I have been stressing about, as when I wrote to Ann Grabeman (several times) before we left to see Vika, I had not received any response. In the past she has also responded to me within a day or so. It had been several weeks and many emails later that I had been trying to contact her. Plus, we have now been required to do the 8 doctor medical exam in Moscow which is an extra $1700. Sadly, we have already paid and completed these exams in the USA!!!


Anyway...after breakfast we went to the lobby to wait for Yuri to pick us up. He and our translator, Tatiana, we already waiting for us in the lobby. He had documents he wanted to go over with me. After our discussion we all got into the car to see our precious Vika. When we arrived at the orphanage she was working on her math in her classroom. I think she is at about at a beginning third grade level in my home-school.


She is not multiplying or dividing. But, she is adding and subtracting two digit numbers. The twins learned that last year and refreshed it at the beginning of this school year. They are now adding and subtracting four digit numbers and learning their multiplication table. Further, they have had experience in measurement and fractions. I did see measurement but, did not see fractions or multiplication until much later in her math book.


Anyway...back to our visit....she was thrilled to see us and ran over to give us a hug and some kisses. After she resumed her seat with the other little boy in her class, her teacher had her finish her current work and then released her and the little boy from class. The little boy ran off to play and we remained in the classroom to visit with Lexi. I asked her if she could read a little reader I had found on the bookshelf which had the number three on it. I assumed it was a third grade reader. She took the book and began to read smoothly....in Russian, of course. Which is wonderful, as it means, she will also be able to eventually read in English as well.


The best part was it gave me some insight into what level of learning to begin with her. Of course, learning English will be our biggest goal, along with dealing with her medical issues. I think math will keep her confidence up. So, if she gets frustrated with tasks which require English, I can switch her to math where she can regain her confidence. She is very bright and not too far behind, academically, when one considers she is living in an institutional setting. I know she will get to her grade level quickly. She is so smart. I love her dearly. Not only is she smart, but, she is such a sweet and loving little girl!!!


Tatiana said we were moving to the room we were in yesterday. Shortly after that a lady came in and we followed her to the playroom. Casey was carrying a Walmart sack with several things we had brought for her. Once we settled into the play room she asked if the bag was for her;-). Funny girl....of course it's for her!!!! She was carrying the photo album I gave her the day before and she had placed all of her pictures into it.


I had a package of labels for her to stick onto the pages and label the pictures. I gave this to her and with our translator's help we explained to Vika what they were for. Next, we looked through the pictures stored in my camera and if she had one of those in her album she would point it out to me. Her memory skills are excellent. She made quite a game out of finding pictures that she now owned. Again and again we went over every one's names. She was especially interested in the girls' names and asked several times; "Now, what are the names of my girls?".


When she saw pictures of Duane she would point and say " my Papa". It was so cute, as she has such a love for her family, and for a Papa she spent so little time with last year. I had brought a package with two disposable cameras and I explained to her how they worked. She insisted on taking a picture of Casey, Tatiana, and myself. Sort of practicing with working the camera. I explained to her that she should take pictures of her orphanage, her friends, and care providers that she loved and wanted to remember. She agreed and put the camera away with the other one. I brought two of them for her. Then she spied the Barbie doll!!!


Casey pulled the doll out of the bag. She was jumping up and down and her smile was huge. He got this big hug from her when he gave her the Barbie doll we had purchased yesterday at the toy store. She was so thrilled!!! It was very cute and I knew she would admire her new Barbie doll long after we returned to the USA. She was so cute about it with her face glowing brightly!!! After she had calmed down a little bit, we talked to her about, her upcoming move to America. She is very ready to go and happy about it. The little darling has complete trust in me and knows that she will be well cared for in her new home.


One important thing....Yuri needed to know a name for the court petition and so I asked her about her name. She really made me laugh as when I said that I wanted to talk to her about giving her a name...she responded with "Mama, I already have a name!". That was so very cute!!! I told her that her "Russian" name of Vicktoria is very beautiful. It is a name she should always keep. But, she needed an American name also.


She asked if I had a name in mind for her. I said I did and it was Alexis. A short way of saying Alexis is Lexi. So, most everyone would actually call her Lexi. She gave a big grin and said "A-lex-is". She would say it a couple of times and continue to play. Then, after a short while, she looked up and asked me; "Now what is my name again, Mama". We all just laughed at her serious question. She laughed too once it occurred to her that she was funny.


Then she said it several more times until she was smoothly saying it. That was precious to hear!!! She also asked if all girls in America had this name. I told her maybe some did, because it was a beautiful name, and that many Americans loved it. But, it was not likely that anyone would have the name of Alexis Vicktoria Gartner. it was something that only she would have in America. This seemed to please her as she responded with "Good". Since I had her attention, I also asked her if she knew, who God was. She said it was a really nice man who lived in the beautiful part of the blue sky;-).


After a little time admiring her new doll, and practicing her name, she came over to me and took my face into her hands. Then she asked me in Russian "Mama, will I really go to America to live with you??? Will I really and truly??? Tell me so I will know." This brought tears to my eyes and to hers as well. I took her onto my lap, held her close to me, and told her that Mama and Papa loved her very much. We have every intention of taking her to America, to be our little girl, our daughter. I also told her that the other children at home are waiting for her anxiously!!! Particularly, Ana is waiting for her and everyone will love her dearly.


As I looked deeply into her beautiful blue eyes, I also told her that we would be back for court in November, and then she would get to go home in early December. She hugged my neck and was satisfied. Lexi said to me "I am glad I will be with you in America. I will have my Mama. The mamas here can't take care of everyone in one day. Then each night they go home to their own family. Now I will be home with my own family and you will not go away." I assured her that she was correct. I will be her mother forever. She went to look into the bag again.


Next, she pulled out the game-boys in the bag and asked "What is this?". Boy, was that a mistake, as it was all consuming for her!!! Casey sat beside her and played Mario on two players. I had brought an extra game-boy so she and Casey could play together. Guess I am "Americanizing" her from the word...."go"!!! She was completely enthralled and would scold Casey if he won. Of course, it was playful scolding, as she is so sweet natured. Casey just loved it...but, he let her win most of the time while showing her new skills. They had a blast for the rest of the morning.


As our morning visit concluded, she did what she had for the previous visits. Lexi painfully went down all five flights of stairs to see us to the exit. She was quite the little trouper. Her love for us has given her a strength to do what we are told is not often done by her....climb stairs. Casey and Tatiana got their coats on. I was in such a rush that morning that I forgot my coat. Casey had worn his to breakfast and I did not. Since Yuri and Tatiana were waiting for us, I became so excited to go and see her, that I walked right outside the Hotel without it. The sharp cold immediately reminded me of my mistake.


The Russians always have very warm cars and so I declined to waste any of my precious time with her on returning upstairs to our room for my coat. I told Tatiana (who was a bit freaked out over not getting my coat) that I would only be going from the car to the back door of the orphanage. It was warm in the car and so I was not really cold. Well, Lexi did not quite see it that way. As when I told her I forgot my coat...she shook her little finger at me and clucked!!! She told me "Mama...you will get sick. Promise you will never go out again without your coat!!!" So I had to make a solemn promise to "never" do that again...haha;-).


Casey and I went on our walk once we were returned to the Hotel. When Tatiana dropped us off she said Yuri would have our petition for court ready for me to sign this afternoon. She also said that our visit in the afternoon would only be a couple of hours as they had much work to do to prepare for Lexi's adoption. This would be our final visit with our little lamb. Oh how I dreaded returning without her. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to leave her after court. However, soon she will be with her family and home with us for many years.


In the afternoon, she was not in class, as she had been during the morning. Lexi was wandering the hallway looking for us to arrive. She was so excited when she saw us walking toward her. Her sweet little face just lit up like a glowing sun. The rays of her smile warmed my heart as it pounded with the joy of seeing her. She limped quickly to us and threw her arms around my waist. Then in Russian she said good afternoon to me and was quite surprised when I returned her greeting in Russian. I then told her "Ya tibya lou-blue...dara guya dochinka" meaning "I love you, my dear darling daughter." Her eyes got bright and she looked into mine and she said "I love you too, Mama."


We followed her to her bedroom this time. There were three other beds in her room. The three beds were on one side of the room and Lexi's bed was on the opposite wall. Unfortunately, the others in the room were boys. I just hated to know she was rooming with three little boys. It just seems to me that she needs more privacy. We all sat down at the table in her room. The little boys kept running in and out of the room and distracting our visit. Finally, Tatiana became frustrated with the situation and went to talk to one of the caregivers. A few minutes later the director came to us and took us to Lexi's classroom.


This worked out fairly well after the boys were locked out of the classroom. I asked Lexi if she would let me measure her for her new clothes that I would bring for her upon my return. She was very excited to know that she would have all new clothes. She asked if these clothes were really brand new from the store and just for her only. Lexi had a huge smile on her face when I told her that they were her clothes, brand new, and only she would wear them. Although, I would not bring them until Papa and I came to take her forever. I just wanted to cry...but, I gulped it down and just held her in my arms for a moment.


I then began to measure her body and arm length. I also measured her legs and I did not see a difference in the length, but it could have just been the way she stood to compensate for the difference. I almost think she has issues with her hip joint on that side. I'm sure walking lop-sided is also affecting her opposite hip. She is in pain with every step. I also noticed that she looses her balance. Although, she is very good at catching her balance and steadying her stance. Lexi is a hardened veteran of this situation and seldom expresses pain verbally. As she walks, it is apparent that it hurts her, and to climb five flights of stairs to be with us that extra couple of minutes just breaks my heart.


How I look forward to the day when she will get on that jet to America with us and never return to poverty....or so I pray, as her mother, that she will be prosperous here in America always. Next, I placed a piece of copy paper on the floor so that I could mark her feet. As I knelt before this darling child, I felt extremely honored, just to touch her feet. What a miracle of God to be in Russia and kneeling here with my child He has given to us. She giggled as I drew around her little foot. They were so stinky and I giggled, too. Although, she did not know I was giggling at her stinky feet. It was a very cute experience with her.


I look forward to the day I shampoo her hair and bathe her thoroughly. As my friend Charlotte...asked one time; "How long does it take to bathe all of your girls?" I said about 30 minutes. She laughed and said "What are you doing...spit shinning those kids!!!" It was very funny and it popped into my mind as I drew her feet....I can't wait to "spit-shine" my girl. All of the clothes that I have bought for her are waiting to be her own. I could just visualize her excitement when she sees the cute jeans and tops. Soon!!! Lexi is quite a bit smaller than I remembered her to be.


Tatiana told me that she had visited yesterday with the workers while we played with Lexi. They told her that for the last year and a half Vika has told everyone that "Ana's mama was her's too and that Mama was coming back for her". This worried the workers as she had no appetite during this time and lost about 6 kilograms or about 13-15 pounds. Each day she would ask "Is this the day my Mama will come to see me?" they knew she meant Ana's (Katie Aunna) mother. Lexi's faith just makes me weak with the desire to make her dream come true. Also, they said she missed Ana and felt alone. It just broke my heart.


The woman who is partial to Lexi told Tatiana that, a few days before our visit, Lexi asked her usual question. They told her "no, but soon your mama will come". They said she was so excited that she could not concentrate on her school work that day. She also got up very early the last few mornings and had watched for us to drive up to the orphanage. Apparently, unknown to me, she had been watching out the classroom window when we pulled up. But, she did not see our car drive up because we came into the back entrance rather than the front where her classroom window is located!!! That's how we surprised her when we opened the classroom door;-).


Anyway, after I measured her, she asked if Casey brought the game-boys. He did not have his, but had instead, he had brought the other one for her to play with. Casey wanted to spend time just teaching her some skills in playing the game. It was very cute, as she would ask him to help her, and show her new tricks. It just amazed her and she enjoyed playing it like a true American kid!!! I must admit that she did amazingly well in gaining skills. Watch out kids...after the long plane ride she will be pretty good at it!!!


As she sat there playing and concentrating I said; "Lexi".....and her head popped up. I smiled as I realized that she had accepted her new name and was responding to it. Our two hours was flying past us as I watched the hands on my watch almost in fast motion. I wanted to just stop time for a little while to be with her a few extra hours. Really, I wanted desperately to take her and run from the building. But, I knew very good and well, that would blow everything. So I just watched her playing and soaked in her presence.


Several times, I would stand behind her and memorize every detail. I watched how her little hands worked the toy, the braids in her hair, her shoulders rising and falling as she breathed. Periodically, I would wrap my arms around her where she sat playing and hug her. She would bow her head down to my snuggling arms and give me a quick kiss on the arm. She did that every single time I hugged her. She continued to play the game, although I could tell, she loved me hugging on her and kissing the top of her hair. I think the hugs and kisses were more wonderful to her than the game. It enhanced her desire to play as she knew she would continue to get affection from me regardless of her activity;-).


Only too soon Yuri came into the room. He talked to me a little while about the court petition and court. He also told me that he asked the orphanage director to have Lexi's paperwork ready by the 6TH of November. Yuri said he felt like the third week of November was likely to be our court date. My heart raced as I dreaded hearing the words that would end our visit. While Yuri spoke with me, Lexi stood there with her arms wrapped around my waist, looking up into my face. I knew she was memorizing me as I had done earlier with her. She laid her head on my chest and I almost think she was listening to my racing heart.


Before we left the classroom, she went over to her desk, and took out a beautiful piece of art she had made for me. Apparently, Yuri knew about this project of hers. Back in the summer Lexi gathered flowers and she dried and pressed them. Then she managed to get a small cardboard backing. Like one that would have been behind a tablet of paper. She painted highlights onto the cardboard and then glued the flowers and leaves onto the painted cardboard. It was a gift to her Mama. She was so sure that I was coming she prepared a gift for me!!! I can not tell you how that blew my mind. It was carefully protected inside of a magazine she had been given. Oh how my heart soared with pride and swelled with love. This child has the faith of a Saint!!!


Yuri lead us out of the room and down the stairs as she came along in her labor of love. Her desire to see us for just a few extra moments over rode her pain. Oh, how I treasure those few moments!!! Lexi was pleased when Casey got my coat and helped me into it. She said I am a good Mama...LOL!!! I wanted to cry as we left, but, I did not want her to have that vision in her mind and so I smiled as we walked off. She turned to go to her floor and begin her journey of love back up those stairs. It flew into my mind that Casey and I would not be helping her back up the stairs and it saddened me. Even though, I knew it was only temporary, it still made me feel sad and alone as we left.


Each time I turned around to look at her...she also turned and kept blowing kisses to me and I the same. As I got into Yuri's car, I looked at a motion I saw in the second floor windows. Apparently, she had rushed to get to those windows to waive goodbye. Her little hand was enthusiastically waiving goodbye to us and throwing kisses!!! As we pulled away, she went form one window, to the next waiving to us. I could only imagine how difficult that was for her and it is still a memory so fresh...it seems only moments ago. For as long as I live, I will never forget those moments, where she raced from one window to another along the second floor hallway;-).


Once we returned to the Hotel...Casey and I splurged and went to a restaurant called Leto's to celebrate our new family member. As we walked along the street in Murmansk, my heart throbbed with the stinging pain of not seeing her again for the next month. Also, I felt a heavy burden of knowing it is unlikely, I can afford to remain in Murmansk during the 10-day post court waiting period. It would cost us an extra $3,000 to stay all that time, and this is such a financial stretch, as it is. So, I am praying God will keep her safe and that the other children will not pick on her, now that she is leaving them for a life in America. Please, pray with me as we wait...that she will be safe, comforted, and the adoption process will be completely successful. Many blessings...Lexi's Mama!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day Five

Casey, Lexi, and I on our first meeting;-) She is hugging Mama and Casey just couldn't resist joining the love!!! How cute;-).
Then she let go of me and grabbed big brother for a hug and picture....sweet sweet sweet!!!
Sitting in her Mama's lap. She just didn't want to do anything except love on us and we ate it up!!!
Look how slender she became during that year and a half that she grieved for me!!! Poor baby...but, she looks very happy now. I think, from many of the things she told me, that she had inner arguments every night at bedtime about me returning for her. She told me that some times she would think that it would be too wonderful to happen in her life. Then she would not feel very well. She would get very sad with those thoughts in her mind and really did not want to eat, bath, or go to school. Then she would make herself stop thinking that way and she would make the pictures in her mind of my eyes watching her with love in the playroom. Vika would tell herself that Mama would be back for her. She battled her own mind for all that time!!!!
First visit of the day....
October 23, 2009: Casey and I popped up out of bed very early. Several hours before the wake up call was due!!! We were so excited to see Vika that we slept very lightly and Casey left the curtains open for the first sign of daylight to wake us. But, the sun did not rise early, it did not come out until around 9:00am. This was not what, woke us up early, it was our strong desire to see Vika!!! We automatically awoke at 6:00am. Casey looked so sharp in his light blue dress shirt and his navy blue dress slacks. he looked freshly pressed and wore a soft smelling aftershave. He was so dolled up with his hair combed ever so carefully and full of hair gel;-). He was beautiful...LOL!!!

I had on gray dress slacks with a black turtle neck sweater and a short sleeve gray and black sweater as a jacket over the black turtle neck. It was very nice!!! I topped off the look with very pointed (Russian style) black patent high heal shoes. I made sure that not a single hair was out of place on my head and it was a great hair day;-). I think my make-up was quite nice as well.
We went to the restaurant downstairs and ate our breakfast.
I love their buffet breakfast. It is pretty good and is included with the room. To save money, we only ate a big (free;-) breakfast, and got something very cheap for dinner off the street vendors (only a few belly aches...LOL). So, quite a good deal. Anyway....Following our breakfast, we went up to the room to get some of the gifts we wanted to give her and get the pictures for her to build the photo album we had brought for her to put together. When we went to the lobby of our Hotel, Yuri and Tatiana were waiting for us. We all got into his car and zoomed away for the Ministry building and our 9:00am meeting.

Once we arrived at the Ministry, we went to an area to check in our coats. I took my purse with me, as it had the pictures that I wanted to give to them. They were pictures of Katie Aunna when we got her referral and some of her presently. Boy, talk about night and day between Katie's referral picture and her presently. The lady at the ministry gasped when she saw Katie's referral picture next to her present pictures. She just went on and on about how wonderful she looked.

I also showed her pictures of our friend's daughter who was adopted at the same time we adopted Katie Aunna and she was amazed. I also told her about some of the things their little girl could do given her physical limitations. The Ministry lady almost cried and just could not believe me. She was not only amazed, over the other little girl but, could not believe how wonderful and happy Katie Aunna looked.

She was so pleased to know Katie's arm was healed now and that she has glasses that are repairing her slight strabismus. It was very pleasing for her to hear that Katie Aunna is now a very healthy, happy, and developmentally on target little girl. She was also amazed at how quickly Katie Aunna learned to speak English and that Katie is reading now!!!! I played some videos on my camera of Katie reading and she smiled from ear to ear throughout the entire video;-)

She remarked that there is such a dull look in their eyes in the orphanage and now their eyes sparkle like twinkling bright stars. She also said that she loves seeing follow-up pictures because it shows them that they are doing the right thing for the kids!!!! She said they seldom see photos of the children they place!!! The Ministry lady immediately went through Vika's file with me and told me about her older half sister who is in an orphanage for unadoptable children.

I won't go into detail, but Vika's older sister has many many many issues both mental and physical. Vika and this child, never lived together, as Vika lived in the Murmansk baby home with Katie Aunna and another little girl we'll call "A". Then Vika, Katie, and "A" (who was also adopted the previous year leaving only Vika and Katie to cling together) were moved to the older children's orphanage there in Murmansk. "A" also lived in the baby orphanage with Vika and Katie Aunna. Vika's older sister lives in another region and they have never met.

Following this discussion, with the Ministry lady, she got out a paper and filled it in. She made several official stamps on it and asked me to sign it. The translator, Tatiana, translated the document for me. Just about that fast our meeting ended and we were on our way to see our darling girl!!! We all got into Yuri's car and zoomed away to the orphanage. My heart was pounding in my chest all the way over there. I just keep wondering if Vika would look badly, as I had received an email from Katie Aunna's step sister who, at my request, went to the orphanage to visit Vika. She knew Vika when she used to visit Katie and Vika was always with Katie. She told me Vika was depressed for me and had lost a lot of weight and she was no longer chubby. That worried me!!!

As we drove up to the building, it brought back so many memories, those times that I began our adoption process of Katie and the day we met Vika. It was definitely familiar ground that I was going into. I felt unusually comfortable. We immediately went into the director's office. She had Vika's file and began to read things about her.
Things like information about her parents, grandparents, an aunt who also lived locally. But, none of these people were willing to take her and they signed relinquishment documents forever releasing any rights to the child. This happened a long time ago. But, the grandma would still come to see Vika on the "sly"....so to speak and for the lack of a better word. They were unofficial visits not documented by the orphanage.

Next, we were taken to the doctor's office and she went over her medical file on Vika. When she had her last vaccinations, her last doctors check up, the optometrists results for her, and the orthopedic doctor for her leg length difference. She was scheduled to do another, however, they will not do it now and they expect the American doctors to do it. That was a relief. Next we were led to Vika's classroom where she sat at her desk looking like my princess!!!

Vika was so darling in a brown and cream colored silk shirt, jeans, and a matching bow in her hair. It was a huge bow that is traditional for the Eastern European orphanages to put in their hair for special occasions;-). The most shockingly delightful thing about her was her hair. I had ask them to stop chopping it off back last spring. Lo and behold...they had stopped cutting her hair and it was quite long. Considering it was braided, it went to her shoulder blades in the back, and no more bangs (thank goodness). So, if her hair were taken down from her braid, it will be several inches longer. She has thick beautiful light brown hair that I feel certain will be dark blond in the summer sun!!! I am so excited to doll her up in some of the beautiful clothes I have bought for her!!!

When we first walked into her classroom, as she saw us, Vika sprang to her feet and came over to me. She buried her head in my bosom while wrapping her arms around my waist looked tearfully into my eyes and said some things that blew me away. "Mama...it's really you!!! What took you so long to come back for me after you left with Ana?" I almost cried and gulped it down and replied "Honey, there are many things that have to be done and lots of papers, too. I brought pictures of those papers."

Then she said "Mama, I knew you were going to come back for me. When we were in the playroom with Ana you looked at me a lot with a smile and your eyes said you loved me!!! Mama...I've loved you every day." Then she smelled me visibly and looked into my eyes while continuing this big bear hug. I sat down in her school chair and she was all over me. I felt weak in the knees because of my love for her. She came up beside me and just hugged and kissed and smelled me a million times!!!
Vika then asked about where Papa was. I told her that "he could not afford to miss his work. We really needed to make money for the bills and for her adoption. Plus he is taking care of her brothers and sisters while I am here." She seemed satisfied about this and began to take me around her room showing me her artwork that she had painted. She is really very gifted. I took a picture of one the paintings she made and she gave one to me as a gift she had painted over the last year while she was waiting for me to return for her. Even though she had no confirmation of my return she made this gift to give to me!!!

The care givers said they never told her we might come back and said nothing when we were coming until the day before we were due to arrive!!! She just believed in her heart and she didn't care that different people would say that we might not return. The director told me Vika would correct anyone who said I "might" not come back for her. To that she always responded with "Mama loves me and will be back for me soon". They said her faith was astounding and her courage unwavering. She did lose a lot of weight over the last year and a half as she would have days of discouragement and not eat...awe!!!!

After Alexi and my initial discussion with her, we were taken to a playroom with her, so we could visit in private. She sat down in my lap and started to ask me questions. "How many are in our family? Where will I sleep? Do we have any pets? Will you take me home soon or should I wait for a long time? Do you have clothes for me to wear? If not, then what will we do about that?" It was really cute all the questions she had for me. She also adored Casey Jay and had so much fun making jokes about his attempts at Russian and he had a blast getting her to say English words.

Next, I got out the pictures of the house and the family. We looked through them and I named each child. She was amazed and very pleased that she had siblings to play with!!! I gave her a photo album so she could arrange the pictures however she wished. She enjoyed putting them into her album. I also bought her the cutest little ladybug watch and a 14K crucifix. She put it on right away and was very proud of her new gifts. After this, we left for her lunch time and returned in the afternoon.
Afternoon visit of day five.....
During this visit I visited with her about her new American name. I asked her if she liked her name and she said yes. I said is this name your Russian name (duh for me...LOL) and she responded with "Of course it's Russian". I told her it was a beautiful name and it is important that we keep her beautiful Russian name. Her heart belongs to Russia and America would be her beloved home. But, she needs another name, a second name. She said "But, mama, I have two names already". Then I told her that in America, girls and boys usually have two names, in addition to their last or family name. She was listening very intensely!!! I said "you will need an American name as well as a Russian name".

It was so cute...she asked me if I had a name in mind for her. I said I did and it is Alexis Viktoria
Gartner. Then she asked me the funniest question..."Do all girls in American have this name???". We all laughed lovingly. I said "of course not sweetie. This is your special name and although there may be some girls whose Mommy's like this name and their daughters have it...many girls have different names. But, you will be the only person in America, most likely, that has three names of Alexis Viktoria Gartner".


She asked me to write this name in English and Russian so she could learn her new name;-). Then she said "I will take this American name and yours and Papa's family name. But, you are not spelling Viktoria the right way"....HaHa!!! I told her that we would keep her Russian name exactly as it is if this is what she wanted. She smiled and I made the correction. Shortly after, the translator called Yuri, who was out gathering paperwork. He was waiting for me to talk to Lexi and get her opinion. Tatiana gave him Lexi's new name and the proper spelling for it!!! Now how cute was that?!?!?!


Lexi paused and thought about this information for a while. Then she said she wanted me to know that she loved her new name and would practice writing it for me until I return for her. Her next question was when would I return to get her. I said Yuri says about one month. And she was thrilled!!! She also wanted to know if Papa would come then and I said "yes". She was extremely happy. I did not tell her about the ten day post court wait as this, I felt sure, would be a stress and heart ache for her. It is actually 10 business days and there will be two weekends that fall in that time frame. That's if there are no Russian holidays!!!
I am thinking if I could somehow, by miracle of God, find an extra $2000, then I could rent cheap apartment I could clean up (live cheap..feed her and ration me) and get regional custody of her. This would allow me to stay with her in this flat (apartment) so we could bond. Duane would fly back to the UA after court to care for our children and keep our income going during these hard economic times. Then, two and a half weeks later after I process her out of the region, he could fly back to Moscow (where Lexi and I would meet him) for three days to get us processed out of Russia and through the American immigrations.
If your heart feels Lexi separation anxiety and God should whisper this request to you....please donate so we can save this money and Lexi would have Mama with her as she waits. I already have $500 that people have donated so I might make my goal if we work together and not have to stress her out by leaving her for another three weeks while she hopes I come back for her!!! God will bless you ten fold if you can walk by faith and help this sweet little girl. We are only $1500 short. Please, help us do this for her!!! I never have asked people for help and this is a greatly difficult for me to do. But, love is a strong motivator for a mother ><> May God touch many hearts for Vika's mental health and her inner peace. She has waited so long!!!


Okay sorry.....back to Lexi darling.....We then sat down, to look at the pictures a little more, so I could show her the house, kids, and a picture of all the dossier documents laying on my kitchen table. It amazed her that so many papers were needed for her. She really got wide eyes when I said that more papers were still needed from Russia and just a few more from me. It wowed her that she was actually that valuable...LOL!!! We closed our first day of visiting with much love, many kisses, and big bear hugs. She has the greatest innocent love inside her golden heart and the most super sweet personality I have ever seen in a little girl. What a darling little girl and I can not believe that I am lucky enough to have her as my daughter. God has truly blessed us with this darling child!!! May God bless you...Trisha

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day Four

We got dressed early and decided to take the shuttle to the airport and find breakfast there. Once we checked our bags in to Aeroflot Russian Airlines we had the opportunity to look around the airport. It really is not a very difficult airport to navigate at all. In fact, I like it a lot better than many I have been in. We found a great little breakfast buffet and ate before our flight time.

The flight to Moscow seemed to go quickly since we were sort of rested from the night of sleep. I still felt like I was in motion when I woke up but, this was a great day as we would fly on to Murmansk from Moscow. We arrived without incident to Moscow and took a taxi over to the Hotel Novotel to wait in their lobby where we were met by the Frank Foundation representative, Irina. She loaded us up in the van and we went to the domestic airport.

There we boarded another plane and flew about four hours to Murmansk. Yuri was there to meet us and gave a big bear hug. He had a new translator, which pleased me greatly, as I really did not like the translator we used during Katie Aunna's adoption. This one...also named Tatiana, was very pleasant and sweet. I liked her right away. The strangest thing happened as we all stood there chatting.

One of the airport police came up to us and asked to see our passports. She said we were foreigners and wanted to see our visa. This was odd as it is doubtful we would have made it to this point without one. But, she was insisting we did not have a visa to be in Russia!!! I asked to show her several times before she and Yuri along with Tatiana began having a loud Russian discussion;-).

Finally, I was able to get my passport and I flipped to the visa in mine and then showed her Casey's. she wrote down everything on her little pocket notepad!!! I kept thinking how crazy this was, but, whatever made her happy was thrilling to me so we would be allowed to get our bags and leave. We checked into what was the Zori and now is known as Parkway Inn. Yuri said we would meet with the ministry official at 9:00am and then we would go to visit with Vika...YEAH!!!!

Day Three








We landed in Amsterdam exhausted after flying for ten and a half hours...plus two hours before that with layovers. I made my first mistake on this trip!!! Casey went through passport control first. When I went through I did not see him waiting for me. Panic set in as I looked everywhere and did not see him in the busy baggage retrieval area.

I began to walk around searching for him and thinking how I was going to tell Duane that our boy was missing!!! My heart was pounding as I walked around. So many people and the door to the outside world was just right there and accessible. Although, I could not imagine how someone could get Casey to willingly go outside. Of course, there are lots of scam artists in this world and lots of ways even adults are abducted and killed. So, that demon went through my mind as I searched.

Just as I was getting ready to cry I spotted him talking to a woman across the hall. I immediately went to retrieve him and he saw the look on my face as I approached. He began to explain that this lady needed some help getting her baggage. I just patted his back and told him to come over to get our bags. Boy did I give him a piece of my mind when I got him aside!!! I told him that he could not trust anyone and not to do that again or he would never travel with me again. He was very apologetic and assured me it would never happen again. I thought to myself..."Right, buddy, cause I'm going through first from now on."

Once I collected my mind and our luggage we went outside to wait for the Hotel bus. It was 9:30am and our bodies felt like it was bedtime. We saw a McDonald's on our way to the Hotel and decided we would get a cheeseburger. The man at the counter looked at us very oddly as it was breakfast time for them;-). We left our luggage at the Hotel as our room would not be ready for about thirty minutes. So, this was the perfect time to get some food. When we returned we went straight to our room and took a bath.

Naturally, Casey and I wanted to go to bed!!! However, I knew this would do nothing to get us adjusted for "Vika" time. It was around 11:00am when we got into our beds. I was thinking that time seemed to be slowly moving by at a snail's pace. Then Casey said; "Mom, does time seem to be passing unusually slow?" That just cracked me up laughing and I told him that I had that exact thought only moments ago. He began to flip through TV and found news in English. We watched for about an hour and then he found animal planet in English.

It was so hard to stay awake, however, we managed it for another hour....about 1:00pm. Then I told Casey we should take a two hour nap. I called for a wake-up call at 3:00pm. I looked over at him and he was almost immediately sleeping like a little lamb;-). I also fell asleep quickly with visions of Vika dancing in my head!!!

It was so difficult to wake up at 3:00, but we managed and got dressed for some dinner. We went downstairs and ate wonderful lasagna. It was delicious!!! It was so easy to get back into bed and fall asleep very early that evening. This helped immensely with our adjustment to the time difference. Early the next morning we were off to Moscow and Vika!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day Two


Walking like an Egyptian at 30,000 feet;-).

October 19, 2009: Casey was so extremely excited to be going on this trip. He hoped to learn many things about people and he was very anxious to meet his new sister first!!! He had worked his tail off last week to do two weeks of school work in one. His goal was to go to Russia homework free and he was successful. I had hopes he would have a great trip and be a wonderful traveling companion. Thus far, he had filled the picture perfectly. He loaded luggage into the car, unloaded it and checked it in at our first flight from Amarillo. I love that he held doors open for me and was a very pleasant young man.

Our flight to Houston was perfect and timely. We had four hours to burn there and so we looked in the shops and just had a great time walking around the airport and talking. He was so excited and happy. It was really sweet to see him enjoying my undivided attention. It was nice for me to have one on one time with him. He is so intelligent and such a kind person. Casey gave me a number of belly rolls during our trip.
After a few hours or goofing off we went into a sports bar/restaurant to have some food before our flight and watch some Sunday afternoon football. I had a couple of vodkas in preparation for our next flight...LOL!!! Guess I was sprouting some wings of my own. But, it was good for my nerves, as I was beginning to get anxious. At long last my Vika was waiting for me to arrive and I knew she was feeling as anxious as I was.

Our big airbus pulled to the dock and we boarded for a ten and a half hour flight to Amsterdam. This was our overnight flight to the European side of the world. Casey was very excited and I dreaded it;-) on one hand and adored it on the other. It was my passage from mother of nine living children to ten. I love even numbers and she represents that and the end of adding onto our family. A final step in our life and yet a happy beginning to the state of fulfilment.
During our long flight Casey and I watched a lot of TV and had many interesting conversations. At one point, I had a stress out, and so Casey took over and found a comfort zone for me. He noticed one of my favorite comfort movies (Wizard of Oz) and plugged me into a safe place. After it was over I was just fine and ready to continue with my heart's desire. What a sweetie pie he has been and quite a world traveler. Neither one of us slept on those flights to Amsterdam!!! We were just way too excited;-).

Day One




Loaded up and ready to fly out for Russia;-).


October 18, 2009: Casey and I rushed around like crazy people getting things packed and re-packed. I reorganized at least one hundred times...LOL!!! I wanted to have one carry-on and two checked bags. We actually started with the DVD player with DVDs in it's case, my briefcase full of dossier papers, flight schedules, hotel reservations, and maps, and my purse filled to the limit.

I had made a reservation at the new Holiday Inn in Amarillo for that Saturday evening in the hope of a good night of rest before our long journey. Finally, we loaded up and said our goodbyes. Kisty, Shane, DeeDee, and Lil' Trish came over to wish us a safe trip. Then Duane came home from work and we made our family prayer circle to pray for safe travel and wonderful memories.

John was thrilled to see Kisty. He knew he was going to stay with her during my absence. John-John kept rolling his Spiderman suitcase all over the house. Just chomping at the bits to go with Kisty for some baby time from big sister;-). When they came into the house he gave Shane a high five and jumped into Kisty's arms...ready to leave with her!!! Shane's sister would be coming on Monday to be my substitute teacher while we were gone.

Casey and I loaded up and left mid-afternoon. On the way to Amarillo, I had this idea to put the dossier folder (very thick and heavy) and the DVD case in one rolling suitcase. We stopped in Amarillo and bought a cheap rolling bag for the carry-on. We went to dinner and then checked into our hotel room. I slept very well somehow!!! Casey did not, as he had never flown out of the country, and was quite nervous. The next morning everything went smoothly and timely. We were on our way to see Vika!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Girl!!!

We are home safely and feeling the jet lag!!! I caught myself dozing off this afternoon and so got up and did some cleaning. But, I find myself fully awake now. Perhaps I'm on Russian time!!! I can't believe the house was as tidy as it was when I got home. Karissa told me that on Sunday afternoon Daddy told everyone to clean up quick because Mama would be home Monday evening. Further, he told them that I would have his hide if I saw this house like it was...HaHa...little Miss Tattle-Tail. I wanted to put this picture of Lexi on just for now. I kept a journal each day in Russia and will get it posted tomorrow. For now....here's My Girl;-).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Moscow

Just wanted to write a note to let everyone know that we have completed our time in Murmansk and are now in Moscow. Casey and I walked around today and looked at Red Square. We were actually able to get in to see Lenin. It was a bit gross considering he will be preserved...forever!!! His hair and finger/toe nails continue to grow and peridocally they have to be trimmed....YUCK!!!! But, Casey and I found it interesting enough. I have a lot of beautiful pictures to post once we are home. We will leave for the USA on this Monday. Vika was so darling and I was sad to leave her. Soon we will come back to Russia and she will be home with her forever family. Take care and many blessings...Trisha and Casey

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Visits With Vika

Yesterday we began our visits with Vika. The ministry meeting went very well and they were happy to allow her adoption. She is a delightful little girl!!! I have to tell you that she was so happy to see me and is especially fond of Casey whom she calls "Sasha". Today they played with the gameboys it was ever so entertaining to her. There is much illness here and her orphanage has been closed to visitors. However, we are the exception. I am keeping a journal so that I may write every little detail once I get back home. Since I do not have my laptop with me I am having to buy computer time. I wanted to post that she is very happy and yesterday the first thing she said was "Mama, what took you so long to come for me???" Now how cute is that??? Today she told me that she knew when we took Ana (Katie) that we would return for her. She remembers every detail of this meeting last year and recalled it to me perfectly. God Bless...Trisha, Casey, and Vika

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amsterdam.....

Hi...We are safely in Amsterdam and enjoying the sights. I am a bit stressed...mainly yesterday when I was so extremely tired. We checked into our airport hotel and then walked to a nearby McDonald's;-). We then returned to our room and took a wonderful...needed...bath!!!! Aftr eatin a bite we then got into bed for a little rest;-). After a two hour nap we were feeling much better. Neither Casey nor I slept on the flight from Amarillo...Houston....Amsterdam. We were hooting like two little owls...LOL!!!! At this time we are checked into our Moscow flights and I am certsainly a Mama on a mission now. Casey has been such a wonderful little man!!!! Talk to you once we are in Murmansk tonight. Much love and many blessing~Trisha and Pal Casey

Friday, October 16, 2009

Count Down to Vika

Well tomorrow we leave for Amarillo. We will spend the night and leave on our first of many flights to Murmansk!!! There God's greatest treasure awaits our arrival....a child who wants a family and a family who wants a little girl....coming together at last!!! I had such sweet dreams of her last night and enjoyed my sleep. Usually I don't remember my dreams. However, it was so wonderful that my mind carried the vision into my day today.

We are packed, passports with visas are in hand, money from the bank is together, and now we prepare to travel. I want you to know that as we travel to Murmansk (Sunday through Tuesday) I will not have access to a computer. So, do not be alarmed!!! You will get information regarding our travels and our meeting with the Russian Princess. I will also attempt to post pictures!!! Talk to you one more time before we go tomorrow. Many blessings...Vika's Mama!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Two More Nights and Two More Days!!!

I can't believe we are leaving in just two short days!!! I have several appointments tomorrow. Unfortunately, the stress is catching up to me. I have this tiny cough developing and I feel that I may be coming down with a cold. But, in the morning I have an appointment with our nurse practitioner so hopefully she will hook me up with some Z-Packs.


I have very delicate ears that seem to get flyer's ear even without any sinus drainage. But, this does scare me. I don't know what I will do if our nurse practitioner does not prescribe antibiotics...urg!!!! So, say a little prayer for me!!! If I am sick they will not let into the orphanage. Oh how awful that would be. Guess we will see how I feel in the morning as I also have some runny nose, pressure in my left ear, and a mild sore throat.


***Special note to Tammy...Remember when I said that I thought we would be flying on the day you were. Only you are going home with your son and I am going to my daughter??? I read your blog and see you are flying back on Saturday!!! HaHaHa!!! We are driving over to Amarillo Saturday afternoon to catch our Sunday morning flight out to Houston, Amsterdam, Moscow, and on to Murmansk where my darling little girl is waiting for me. So...yes we are two ships passing in the night;-). Big congrats on your precious little boy!!! He is a darling angel!!!


Okay...just for the record. I am 90% packed with about 8 pounds to spare. We are checking two small bags and will have two carry-on bags. Casey is excited beyond belief. We have been adopting since 2002 from overseas and this is the first time Casey will accompany me. I believe that it will give him an entirely different perspective of his own life and how very lucky he is to live where he does. Also, he is thrilled to be the first one to meet his new sister. I do wish Duane could go with me on this trip. However, he needs to continue to work and keep our income steady and secondly the children will need his parental care!!!


Guess that's it for tonight. I will make two more posts before I go. One Friday and one Saturday. Once we reach Russia I will update our progress and post some pictures of our little girl. I know you are as anxious to see her as we are. Many of you have made personal donations to this adoption as you know how much we need the funding and most importantly "you all love Vika"!!!! How lucky we are to have such wonderful people following our journey and praying for us. You are such a blessing and God will be chasing you down to bless you for your love of this little Russian orphan girl. Although, soon she will no longer be an orphan girl!!! She will have her forever family!!! Many blessings and thank you all so very much for your support and prayers. Trisha (Vika's Mama)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

We have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and we're off!!!!!! We are flying out of Amarillo to Houston on Sunday morning early. So, we have decided to spend the night in Amarillo Saturday evening. After we get to Houston we will be flying to Amsterdam. Once there we will spend the night and then continue on to Moscow. In Moscow we will take the next plane out to Murmansk. Then we can relax for dinner and get a good night's rest. On Tuesday morning we will have the Ministry meeting and will be allowed to see our little girl. It is so awesome that in a matter of moments her future will change forever and so will ours!!!! Many blessings...Trisha (Vika's Mama)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The World Has 142,000,000 Orphans!!!

Starving girl in Guatemala waits for her orphanage ration!!!

Many starving children in an African country and many are homeless.


This baby languishes in an orphanage without mother or father to quench his desire for love and comfort.

Boys in a Russian orphanage who just need a family to guide them into God's Will for their life rather than left to their own devices for survival.

Orphans inside a cold and poorly heated room. They need the warmth of a mother's heart!!!


Orphan's shower room where they often hose off in cold water just to feel a little clean and comfortable!!!

Orphanage bathroom which doubles as a storage closet. Not even a roll of toilet paper for personal hygiene!!!

Sinks to wash dirty little hands and faces in cold water!!!

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I am getting so excited as we have 7 days until we travel. I never count the day that we travel as that is a day of haste;-). Then to make it seem even closer, I don't count the day we are in as it will pass in a matter of hours;-). So, I am in Friday, and have Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday to wait, and we have lift off!!! That's eight nights and eight days until we start the journey which will once again change our lives forever.

It will also change my family unit and throw us all into a state of transition and we will be adjusting to an altered family unit. A brand new cohesion of the family unit. Some of my family will transition well and some will have difficulty. I may have difficulty or it may be smooth as glass for me. It can not be predicted!!!

So, A little girl sits half way around the world. This child has no awareness of what is about to happen to her...to her life as she knows it. The adjustments she will contend with in regard to a foreign country, living with people she only slightly knows, who poorly speak her native language and vaguely understand it. A place where the food is strange and the customs are different.

Even the daily care of herself will differ greatly as she will have a mother to care for her when she needs assistance and to constrain her when she has been use to living without anyone with expectations of her performance for her needs. A mother to tell her that she must do things this way, or that way, when she is accustomed to being alone with her decisions. She is used to an institution's daily routines and taking care of herself all alone and with only the bare minimum.

If she didn't want a bath or shampoo her hair...okay whose to tell her otherwise. No clothes or furniture or space that belong to her. Many things will be different for her when she walks into her new life. But, for now she has no mother and no father. What family she might have in Russia is far too poor to care for her regardless of whether they love her or not. So, they might as well not love her, as it does no good for either one to love her. She is unloved due to her own physical limitations and the economics and social restraints of where she has been born.

Even if her family decided to try to take care of her, they would suffer great social stigmas associated with her physical handicaps, that would bring shame and degradation to her family. In Russia, less than perfect children or adults, are unacceptable and both the disabled person and their family are treated very poorly. Her future is likely to be a life of prostitution, begging on the streets, starvation, social abuse, unemployment, and eventually suicide from total despair.

This week is orphan week and I want to give my readers complete awareness in regard to these 142,000,000 orphans who are facing these very odds that my daughter-to-be is facing. Although, she does not know I am coming to give her hope and a future, at this point in time she knows only the things I have described above. In addition to her physical disabilities she is an older child. Unfortunately, her age also becomes another detrimental factor for her demise in her home country.

Vika's next stop in life, at age 10 years old (without us), is that she will next go to the institution for permanently damaged people. This institution houses children through adults for life or they can run away from the institution and become street rejects. Sound like a pleasant blog post??? Well, it's not...welcome to "orphan reality 101 class". But, do not despair, as Jesus has other posts to show you which will greatly satisfy your soul with joy.

At the moment that I write this post let's go to Vika's side.....Vika is sitting in an orphanage knowing that she is slated to go to the institution for damaged children. She probably is wondering why she has not been transferred yet. I can only assume, that at this point she would not dare to dream that a family is coming for her. She awaits her fate like a murderer would wait the death sentence on death row. She knows that the mortality rate in the institutions is 80%.

She also likely knows that she is a virgin at age 10 years old and that she will certainly be repeatedly raped and sexually abused once she is in this next institution. How would you feel as an adult....think of it...she's a 10 year old child thinking these things. It would be maddening to think of this fate as an adult...but, as a child!!!! I am so sorry this post is so straight forward. It is needed to help everyone pray precisely for this child and for those children left behind without parents. We can not save all the children like we are Vika.

But, perhaps through your awareness, other children will be saved, if not by direct adoption, then through sponsorship. Because, even though I can't save ALL the children, and make a huge difference in their lives. I can save this one child and make a magical difference in her life. So....it is now eight days and eight nights before, one little girl is brought down the hallway of her orphanage, and will see a woman (me) standing before her to say "Privet, dara guya dochinka. Ya tibya lu blue. Men-ya-za-vout Mama." or in English..."Hello, dear darling daughter. I love you. My name is mama!!!"

How will she respond??? I can not say for sure...but, I think her hearts desire will be met on that beautiful and special day. Please be there with me through the blog. Look at her darling face and see the photos of her attaching to Casey and Mama!!! Please, pray for the other 141,999,999 orphans still awaiting their fate!!!! Forgive me the boldness contained in this post. Happier posts and thrilling days are forthcoming!!! I love you all and therefore wish you many blessings and much love in your lives...Trisha (mom2Vika)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Airline Tickets...Check

I made the airline and hotel reservations. We are ready to travel and see our darling. Duane will not travel with me on this first trip since we already met with Vika last year. I am relieved to know that the children will have Daddy to watch over them in my absence. A family member will be the substitute teacher during the day while I am in Russia. This is also a tremendous relief to know that the children will continue with their school work. Now, all I need to do is pack!!! I am so excited to see Vika soon and I know it will be the surprise of her life when she gets her heart's desire....a family who loves her!!! Many blessings...until next week...Paka-Paka;-)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dates Changed

Just got word that we will not be able to go on the 13Th as first planned. However, I am not too disappointed as we are confirmed to travel on the 19TH. Airline tickets and Hotel reservations are made and now I just have to pack. I doubt I will post pictures while in Russia as I am not taking my laptop. I do plan to post to the blog. So, keep those prayers going!!! Step by step...we are getting closer to our precious little girl. Many blessings!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Travel Date

Yippee!!! Our Sissy is coming home!!!


Oh my I did not expect them so soon!!! We are scheduled to leave on the 12TH of October and return the 17TH. Talk about a whirl wind trip....five days to Russia and back is so killer exhausting. But, that's how Frank works. They are so fast once they receive the dossier. I just can not wait to see my sweet little girl and give her lots of hugs and kisses!!! Now I have to do the dreaded packing.
Another thing is that we have already spent thousands of dollars on medicals here in the USA. Now Murmansk wants all the medicals done in Moscow. So, we get to do the dreaded 8 Russian doctor medical garbage done over there during this short five day trip. But, I don't care. I just want to see my little girl and hope she is in good health for our visit. Keep praying...we are rolling now. I expect court by the end of October. Then return for the pick up trip the middle of November...tentatively. OH MY!!!!!
Many blessings...Trisha (Vika's Mama)

Monday, September 28, 2009

DTR!!!!!

DTR

Just got word that our dossier is on it's way as of today to Moscow for translations. I will therefore travel very soon. I would expect a travel date next week;-). Frank approved our documents and off it went FedEx. I can hardly wait to see the FedEx bill this month...urg!!! But, my little sugar is worth it. Dossier and shipping...$6000...seeing Vika....PRICELESS!!!!! Many blessings...keep those prayers going as we continue to move forward.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Looking Forward to Monday


I am so looking forward to Monday. This is the first full day Frank will have to briefly review the documents and (hopefully) approve them and ship them out to Russia. I love the Fed Ex truck;-). Once they hit Moscow the facilitator there checks them briefly and sends them to Murmansk for translations.
This entire process takes about ten days to two weeks. Because, Frank works so fast, and has such a good relationship with officials, the visit trip is sometimes set before the documents are fully translated. I will be in transit and my documents will be in the finishing phase for the Ministry Officials. On the day I arrive, the officials will have had time, to make sure each component needed is present.
It will be during trip one that he/she will mention any document they do not like and that they want done differently. It is next submitted to the judge and he/she will set the court date.Oh please, please, please, pray that we will get our documents approved and receive a fast travel date followed by a quick court date.
I want to be with her so much...but, I am thinking she wants to be with me even more. She has dreamed of this for her entire life!!!! I know Vika is so excited about her mama. She will be so very thrilled and so will I!!! So, please pray very hard with us, as two or more praying, are powerful in God's own ear!!! Thank-you and many blessings....Trisha and Vika


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today's News...It's Even Better!!!


I was hoping for a speedy turn around so our dossier could soon be DTR. Well...this is "Over The Rainbow" where dreams really do come true;-). Our dossier went out to Frank Foundation today by overnight FedEx Express!!!! Tomorrow Frank will have the dossier....oh my!!!! This means they will do a quick look at it and add whatever they need and it will then be off to Russia....VERY SOON!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!

I'll be traveling in about two weeks from now. So, my corrected documents got to K2A on Vika's birthday and shipped out same day to Frank today. JENY...YOU ROCK!!!!!!!! Those hugs and kisses from my daughter are only weeks away now...I'm so happy that I may not sleep tonight.
My little girl is about to have her lifelong dream become a reality and I'm so blessed to be so loved!!!! Let's pray for a fast date...a miracle date that only our great God can do!!! OMGOODNESS:>))))))) Plus, Jeny is sending an email attachment with the visa applications. Another good indicator of needing to get our "ducks" in a row!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Final Paperwork Complete

"Over The Rainbow" Russian style. Now how's that for a cake??? We took a picture of this cake while in Russia for Katie Aunna's adoption. The building behind me are reflected in the window glass. I think this is a very appropriate picture for Vika's adoption progress;-). "Happy 10TH birthday tomorrow darling girl!!!"


At long last....the final and corrected paperwork came FedEx this afternoon. Thank-you for your prayers as they have been answered!!! They were beautiful and very correct;-). I have shipped the new corrected documents and a copy of the dossier to Kids To Adopt. "Go Jeny...go!!!" This shipment weighed 2.85 pounds. So, with the 6.8 pound shipment, that makes slightly over 9 pounds of documents!!!


God is orchestrating everything so beautifully!!! Tomorrow will be Vika's 10TH birthday and our dossier will likely be shipped out to Frank Foundation as soon as it is received and organized by K2A. We are so happy and relieved to have it all in perfect shape. Now I can say "Yes...my documents are in order"!!!! Keep those prayers going to Russia and we appreciate them so much. Now we need a travel date;-). However, I am told that Murmansk is waiting for our dossier to arrive. They are ready on their side of things. Many blessing!!!