Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Long Overdue!!

Yes, this post is so, so long overdue!! Can't believe it's been 2 months since I've last written! Just a few short months ago, these blogs were my life line!!! They were the place I could go and feel like I was not alone in this crazy process of international adoption, where I felt like I "fit in" as a mother in a way that I couldn't with my other friends who had biological children. Yet now, I am just a mom. We have become a normal family of three, and we have the normal life of any family raising a 17 month old boy! Randy and I are parents of a wonderful, amazing, adorable little boy who we get to wake up with every morning, put to bed every night, and just enjoy. It feels like we are finally just living our lives, instead of waiting to. Believe it or not, most days I don't even think about the adoption process, or what we went through to bring Brayden home. It must be like "labor pains" for moms of biological children. You do forget. You forget the pain and the negative stuff, and you are just living in the moment. Loving and enjoying your child, and are just so happy and grateful to have him..

However, I realize that there are many friends I've made in this journey that aren't there yet. They are still in the place of limbo. Their reality is the waiting, the uncertainty, the roller coaster of emotions that come with adoption. For those moms/dads I will try and be better about updating!!! I know how much I needed to hear and see how things were going with other families ahead of us in the process. I needed to see that things were going well and to just believe that at the end of all this, we'd REALLY have our child home with us! So I'm going to really, truly try to be better at updating for anyone out there who needs it! 

So in the 3 1/2 months since we've brought Brayden home lots has happened. Overall, Brayden is doing amazing. He has gained 7 lbs since he's been home and grown 2.5 inches! (and is still growing before our eyes!!) He was so small when we brought him home. He weighed only 17 lbs now he's 24lbs and looks like a healthy toddler! He is very happy and well adjusted. He is becoming so independent and is just so curious. He loves 'figuring" things out! How things work how to put things together, etc. He will watch Randy/I do something and then he'll try to do it. I think it's a riot that he tends to try to close drawers and cabinets with his foot. (Like his mommy!) He loves to play and explore and absolutely loves being outside! He has gone from walking to running and loves to have us "chase" him around the house! He also loves to dance!!! He is very social and just loves to be out and about! He is amazingly well behaved in restaurants, and at the grocery store he just waves at everyone who walks by him! He's a riot!!! He loves being around other children too! Luckily a few of my close friends have young children a bit older or younger than Brayden. He loves, loves, being around them!!! He still sleeps great! At least 11-12 hours straight a night and he'll nap daily anywhere from 1.5 - 2.5 hours!

As I said he's a typical 17 month old boy, so yes, once and awhile he decides to have a little tantrum!  (these started a few weeks ago.) Brayden does not like it when he doesn't get his way!! : ) They are also typical of his age, and are actually kind of funny sometimes!! He actually stamps his feet!! (Just like his mama used too!) and if he's really mad he'll throw himself on the floor!! (Also, like his mama did!!) ha! Randy and I just ignore him or try to redirect him with something else. They usually last an average of 2 minutes and then he just sort of forgets what he's upset about and is back to his happy self!! Ha!

The only "delay" we've noticed, and it's not too much of a concern just yet is that he doesn't talk. At all. He babbles and gibber gabs all day long, but he won't say any words. He HAS said mama and dada, yeah, shut, more, and hi. However, he'll go DAYS without saying any real words. Instead he points and does a squeaky "EHH" to tell you what he wants. HE will shake his head "no" when he doesn't want something, and he'll nod on occasion for yes. HE blows kisses when you say "I love you" or leans in for a hug or kiss. He waves for hi, goodbye, and night night. Once in a while he'll say a word but literally it's once on any given day, and then he's silent for 3 more!! His main form of communication is to just makes his noises and  point. Or shake his head no if he doesn't want something. That's about it. We also know it's not a language thing because he understands everything we say!!! When we say "do you want to brush your teeth" he giggles and runs to the bathroom. When we say time for "night night" he blows kisses and heads to the stairs. When I say "Do you want to go for a walk?" He goes to my closet and takes out my running sneakers!! Literally it's like this about  everything!  I can ask him questions and he'll shake his head for no or giggle for yes! So, we are just wondering how long until he actually starts using words!!

We go for his 18 month appt. in July, so are thinking we might look into getting an early intervention screening for speech. Randy and I both feel like it's a control issue. Brayden doesn't talk because he doesn't want to. He also doesn't really need too. We are meeting his needs/wants without him speaking to us, which... might not be the best thing! : )

Overall, I feel Randy and I have settled into parenthood pretty well! We finally went out on our first dinner date without Brayden last week! My parents came and stayed with him and put him to bed. Of course, we were home by 9:30 as we were both wiped but it was fun to get out just the two of us!! I also went back to work the day after memorial day. This was not easy!! Luckily it was only for 3 weeks and now I'm off for summer break! However, I had a very hard time leaving him. Everyday the 1st week, I cried on my drive to work. I was fine once I was there, and knew he was in good hands with his daddy or if it was one of his 24 hour shifts at the firehouse, with nana or grandpa! Even still it was just so hard to leave him. Randy would call me and say they were doing tubby time and I'd just feel an ache that I was missing it. That was "our" time, and now I wasn't doing it anymore. Yes, I believe it was harder on me than it was on Brayden!!!
 He had a hard time with the transition for the first few days but by the 2nd week he was much better as he realized Mommy would always come home in the afternoon after nap! Now,  I'm back to being home 24/7 again and I'm loving it and it's like I never left! However, we'll have to do it all over again in September!! : ) For now, I'm just going to enjoy my summer and this time I have with him!! Well, sounds like nap time is over! Hope all is well with everyone! For all my friends waiting for referrals and news, my fingers are crossed for you and we're thinking of you always!!! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

15 months Old & Overdue Update!

Wow, just realized that it has been a month since I last updated our blog! My last one was when Brayden turned 14 months and today he's 15 months!! I can't believe it's been that long!! Although, time seems to be flying by, and I must admit that it is hard to find time to write now! I am just loving being a mom and when my little guy goes down for a nap or the night, there is always so much to do! Laundry, dishes, cleaning, catching up on shows on the DVR!! : )  I can't believe at this point last year we were just finishing up getting all our paperwork together and the reality of bringing our child home seemed so far away. Yet, here we are! A year later and we have a wonderful, beautiful son and couldn't be more blessed!

 It is so strange to me that it was only SIX weeks ago that we brought Brayden home for good! Six weeks and I feel like he's been with us forever. He has changed so much in the short time he's been home & everyday  we are just amazed with the strides he's making! He's so smart and he learns something new every day. He's very curious and determined, but he's also so silly and funny too. He has the best giggle in the whole world. His laugh is the best sound I think I've ever heard in my whole life. I love to see and hear how happy he is. It has made everything we went through to get him, all worthwhile. To be honest, it all doesn't even seem that bad now. You forget. I promise. You forget how difficult it all was, when you look into the face of your child and you see all that love and happiness. It is the best.

So, updates on Brayden, well as you will see from the pictures I am going to post he has gained weight at a pretty good rate. His doctors are very pleased! When he was home 2 weeks we had his appointment at the international adoption clinic at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. He met with two doctors and went through a battery of tests and screenings. It was a long day but he was a trooper. We were very excited to hear that he was on target for his fine motor skills, and advanced for his emotional and cognitive development! He was obviously delayed slightly for speech (10 months old) and gross motor (11 months) as he wasn't walking independently yet. However, there was no real concerns about these areas since he's starting to say some words and is cruising, so they feel he'll catch up in no time! The big concern, was his size. He was only 18 lbs and 28 inchs long. and was in the 3rd percentile for weight and 1st for height. (He had already gained one pound since Moscow.) The doctor recommended us starting him on Pediasure and told us to feed him lots of fats! (cheeses, oils, butter, ice cream..) They agreed to keep him on formula until we go back in 3 months to see how he's growing! The worst part of the day.. the blood work. : ( They needed to take 5 viles of blood from him to check his tiers for immunizations. (His record was completely wrong!) AND they did standardized testing to check for Hep, HIV, and parasites, etc. All came back normal!!

Since that appointment which was only a month ago, he has gained 3 lbs, grown almost an inch taller and is understanding and talking much more! He's still not completely walking on his own yet, but he's so close!! He takes at least 3-4 steps on his own everyday, but then realizes he did and either makes himself fall or grabs on to the closest piece of furniture or human! : ) He saw the pediatrician a couple weeks back and they though he was doing great! We were so excited that he was 21 lbs! He jumped from the 3rd to the 20th percentile!!! (still wearing 9 month clothes, so got a ways to go!) She told us to keep it up though because he needs the weight in order to get the height! He also started his 1st round of immunizations, and although he had to get 3 shots in a row, he did a great job! Cried only after the 2nd one and once the cookie came out when he was done, the tears were gone!

Other than that, everything has been amazing with him. He still sleeps amazing, 11-12 hours a night and takes about a 2 hour nap every afternoon! (We are so lucky!) He is eating great, although we have noticed that there are definitely a few things we've tried that hasn't gone over to well. He loves CHEESE, fruit, bread, potatoes, pasta, and most veggies! (except carrots, spits them right out or throws them on the floor!) One big change we've both noticed is that he will STOP eating now when he's full. Even if there is still food left, he stops and just plays with it, or shakes his head back and forth to say no. He will sometimes say "daa.." (which we know now means "done!") This was such a big step for him. The first few weeks he was home he'd eat anything and everything you put in front of him, and wouldn't stop. It was like he didn't know when or if he was full! Maybe he needed so much more food in the beginning, and now that his body is gaining weight and growing he feels full? We think it's great since he just has so much FUN at meal time. He loves to eat, and play and just babble! So different from when he 1st came home.

The other big change is the bath! HE LOVES THE WATER NOW!!!  It just sort of happened slowly, but his fear and the crying are all gone! He now giggles like crazy when he's bathing! He loves me running the water over his soapy feet from the faucet, and getting water poured over his head when we are rinsing, is his favorite. He just laughs and laughs. What a difference!! : )

I could go on and on but I will stop! Randy and I just feel like the luckiest parents in the world. It's amazing how much life changes and how different you look at things. Oh and I have to admit, I am LOVING being home! I am dreading going back to work already, but I keep thinking it's only for 3 weeks and then I'm off for the entire summer with him too! : )

I have posted some recent pictures too from Easter and from his Christening that we just had this past weekend! Will update again soon! Before he's 16 months old! Ha. Also, just wanted to say I'm thinking of all my blogging friends out there still waiting for a referral or court date. Ugh, the waiting. It's the worst. People told me when we were there, that it's all worth it in the end, and I tried to believe them, but I promise you. It. Is. All. Worth. It! Till next time!

Happy Easter! Having a few puffs before brunch! : ) 

                                         Having fun with Auntie Michelle! : )

Monday, March 19, 2012

14 Months Old Today!

Today Brayden turns 14 months old, and it is the BEST feeling in the world to know that he won't have one other birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc. without a family! :)  He has been "home" now 10 days and I have to say things are going well. The overwhelmed feelings that we had the first 48-72 hours are gone, and I feel like we are all getting into a  routine, (or trying too!) The unbelievable spring weather has helped too, I'm sure! Yahoo, fresh air, playing outside, going the park! So much more fun than sitting in the house all day!! :)

We had a great weekend and I have to say, our boy LOVES being out! We went to dinner TWICE this weekend with family on Friday and friends on Saturday, and he did great! He loved being out to dinner! He sat in his highchair at the table with us through our whole dinner, just looking around and smiling. He was so happy feeding himself pieces of bread, and mom's potato, and even tried a few small bites of grilled chicken! Of course this was all in addition to his own Gerber meal and applesauce! :)

He is liking his car seat now too, and really enjoys being in the car, well as long as we're moving! He whines a bit when we are at a red light, but once we start going he just looks out the window and  talks to things out the window and to us! He also will wave to us up front through his little mirror (since he's still rear-facing in my CR-V) Just yesterday, he started doing Peek-A-Boo with me too! So cute!!!  Then usually anywhere from 10-20  minutes in the car, he passes out! He LOVES to sleep/nap in his car seat! Yesterday he fell asleep on the short ride home from Whole Foods! Since it was close to nap time, and such a beautiful day out, I opened the windows and decided to drive around for 90 minutes and let him sleep!! We got gas, I got an iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts drive thru, we took the drive two towns over to my parents house so they could stare at him sleeping in his car seat! Ha.

So his other big adventure this weekend was our visit to Snip-Its on Saturday morning! Yes, daddy won, and we took Brayden for his first haircut. Mommy was torn with this you see. Yes, his hair WAS getting a little crazy, Yes, people tended to ask me if he was a boy or a girl, or just refer to him as "She",  but I love, love his curls! Anyway, we did compromise and I agreed he needed a trim. Well, he got more than a trim, he got a full on haircut! I have to say that the woman, god love her, did a really good job. Especially since he was far from still in his chair! Overall, Brayden did fantastic! To be honest, Randy and I were surprised at how well he did!!! The bubbles they had there that mommy kept blowing at him helped to distract him a lot! Not to mention, all the other little kids that were there too. He was fascinated looking around at everyone, only near the end did he start to fuss a bit because it was taking too long and he was done!! No tears from him at all! The only tears were from me!! His curls are gone! : (  I know they will grow back, but it was sad to see them go! Although, I have to say he is adorable with his short "boy's" haircut!  He looks like a little man and I think he loves it! He looks at himself in the mirror and smiles and talks to himself!!  Ha!

Well, I better wrap up, the little man should be up any moment and ready to start his day! Oh and here is a picture of the "new" Brayden!  :)

BEFORE PIC - "I'm not sure about this place...." 

AFTER PIC - "I'm a new man, and ready for lunch!!!"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gotcha Day!!

Wanted to share a video that we took of Brayden playing in the hotel room the afternoon we got him! He loves the mirror!!! :)

Also here are a few pictures too!!

 I really loved my papa and he's so comfy!! 

 My girlfriends gave us a great homecoming last week!!!

I just woke up, and I'm covering my big yawn!!!

Sweet Potatoes!!YUM!!! 

Look at me! I am almost walking on my own!!!

One Week Home!

Ok, Yes! I have meant to post earlier than now, but I think it's fitting that my first post home is on our week anniversary of being home together as a family! So, what can I say? We are parents!! We have a 13 month old son, our house looks like a bomb went off in it, I am tired in a way that I didn't think was even possible, our lives have 100% completely changed and I could not be happier!!!! Randy just got Brayden down for the night, and now it's "our" time to just hang out, check email, watch a television show, and when I go to bed at night, I can't wait to wake up and see him again! I am just so, so, in love with him!

So, everyone's wondering, How's he doing? Honestly, he's doing unbelievably fantastic! He has adjusted so quickly and is just the happiest little boy most of the time! Yes he gets whiny and cries here and there, especially when he's tired and wants mommy to hold him and rock him, but I also know how lucky we are that he has attached to us so well! (especially to mommy!!!) He really does have such a great little personality on him and he's funny!! He's full of smiles, giggles and he has the best, best belly laugh ever! (especially when your playing and you give him raspberries or tickle his tummy!) Before bedtime he just LOVES to cuddle with mom and just the other day, began giving me "kisses". Every day he tends to get more comfortable here and more independent and we've already seen such huge strides in him!The first few days, I literally had to carry him around with me, and couldn't leave his sight without him screaming! Now, he will play with his toys and if I leave the room,  he just thinks it's a game and will crawl or wall/walk towards me to find me, giggling and babbling away. Yes, there are still times when he only wants mama and will cry even when he's with daddy till I take him, but I'm just so glad that he's bonding!!! He's all boy though, let me tell you! He LOVES to climb, and he loves to MOVE!! Just started dancing for us the other night too! It's hysterical and I have to get it on video soon!!!

So other positives, he sleeps through the night without problem. He averages anywhere between 11-12 hours STRAIGHT a night! He has since we've gotten him! Last night he went down about 8:15 pm and woke up at 8:30 am!!! I couldn't believe when I woke up at 7:40 am and he was still sound asleep snoring away in his crib! Ha! He really hasn't taken morning naps much (yesterday he slept about an hour since we were in the car doing errands!) but NEEDS an afternoon nap. He's a late napper though, usually somewhere between 3 - 4 pm and sleeps anywhere from 1-2 hours. We haven't had any problems with him eating either. He eats everything and LOVES to eat!! Especially mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, and applesauce!! :) We are still mostly doing baby food but in the last few days he has fed himself some finger foods! (pieces of cheese, banana, Gerber puffs & Gerber little crunchies!!(Oh my god he LOVES these!)  He is also still taking formula as well, and luckily he absolutely loves it! He literally sucks it down!!! We are SO happy since he's still so tiny for his age and we really want him to get the nutrients and all the good stuff he was missing! Overall, feedings have been a breeze!!!

Okay now the few challenges. 1st) Brayden WILL NOT take a nap in his pack-n-play OR crib during daylight hours. He literally can be asleep in my or Randy's arms and the second you try to put him in, He stands right up and screams and screams and cries and shakes. It's really sad, because he actually seems scared and is truly distressed. However, at night, he goes right in his crib no problem and as I mentioned, sleeps without problem through the night! I can't help thinking that he's thinking of the baby home where he spent hours upon end in a crib during the day. I truly think he may still be afraid that we're going to leave him in there. So, we usually let him nap on the couch in the living room or on one of us as we lie on the couch! He falls asleep in his car seat and his stroller when we are out walking no problem either! Not sure how/when he'll get over that, but it's a battle I'm not willing to have with him just yet. I sort of get it! The only other challenge, which many have had as well, is bath time. It's SO, SO much better than it was in the beginning but he still cries for most of it. He doesn't shake anymore or try to kick his way out, and he's definitely intrigued by the bubbles and his bath toys, but he does STAND with one arm around me and cries as we wash/clean him. Although he always stops the crying for a few seconds when I rinse his head with water. He loves it you can tell, but then he starts crying again.  I do have faith that with patience and some creativity, bath time will get to be fun for him!!!

Wow! This post is getting super long so I need to wrap it up!! :) So in conclusion, everything has been going really well and we couldn't be more happy!! It's so strange he's been home 7 days and it already feels like all we went through to get him was a million years ago. None of it seems that bad now. Not the ministry, or court, or the WAITING, or the 12 hours of flying with a baby!! Ha!! Aww.. it was so worth it! I just stare at this beautiful, adorable, amazing boy and can't believe how LUCKY we are that he is ours!!! Another update to come soon!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quick Update from Moscow!!!

So, have a few minutes while Randy is getting Brayden down for a nap!! Things here are going really well! Can't believe it's already Wednesday and tomorrow we'll be bringing our little boy home forever! The last two days have been going really well and he's adjusting great! He is eating great,, LOVES the formula we brought which I am so happy about and inhales it!! He's sleeping through the night about 10 hours straight, although naps have been a bit of a challenge due to appts being scheduled during his usual time, and in the afternoon he just wants to play and explore! I am so so in love with him, I miss him right now as I am in the lounge checking email and updating! : ) Our biggest challenge has definitely, 100% been bath time. Wow, it's really hard. He's this cute, happy, giggly boy then once we get him undressed and in the bathroom, forget it! He's screaming his head off and shaking. He is so, so afraid of the tub. It is heartbreaking, but the two of us made it through but it was really hard.

So another quick trip for us, but honest I'm so glad it worked out this way! WIth the embassy being closed THursday and Friday this week, they expidited our passports/visas so we got everything done today! So, we got here Sunday, picked him up from the baby home on Monday, physical yesterday and Embassy today!! We are done.. well except for the 11 hour plane ride. Sigh. WE'll make it through. Praying that he does okay. He loves being held and rocked and walking when he's sleepy and cranky so hoping for a smooth flight where we can get up with him a lot!

Well, I will update more and post pics once we are home! Haven't had any luck doing it here!

Friday, February 24, 2012

We're Getting So Close!!!

So, first I should say sorry to all who read my last post, which I now refer to as "My Freakout!" Ha. I have to say though, my mini meltdown in Babies R US, and then writing about how I was feeling on our blog, actually helped so much! I haven't felt overwhelmed or stressed since!! I just needed to get it all out of me I guess! : ) Let's all be honest, this journey, as wonderful as it ends, has many emotional ups and downs as you are so excited to be told in court you're a parent, but then just 2 hours later... you are saying goodbye to your child for another 5 weeks... It's not easy for sure, but it's 100% worth it! 

Now, we are just SO SO close I don't feel anything but excitement!! Like a little kid waiting for Christmas x 1000! Everything we have been through in the last year, all the running around, expenses, changing of agencies, waiting, traveling, waiting again, it' almost over!! We are rounding the bend, and it feels so amazing!! 

I have had this week off due to February vacation, and Randy & I have gotten some last minute stuff done around the house! Opened the baby monitor and tested it out, baby-proofed the kitchen and bathroom, shopped (surprise, surprise!) , oh and we made his 1st appointment with our international adoption specialist at Tufts in Boston! Not to mention, we've gotten lots of "good stuff" in the mail this week! We got our passports back yesterday with our 3rd and final visas inside, we also received Brayden's airline ticket, and HE got his own mail from my great-aunt Pat! Inside was a St. Patrick's Day bib that says "Kiss me I'm Irish!" Ha. (Well.. He's NOT really Irish.... I guess by default he will be 1/2 now?!)  It just all felt so amazing! Yes! He will be here for St. Patrick's Day, and Easter, and my papa's 83rd birthday (His great-grandfather!!)  Finally, all the holidays, family gatherings, birthday parties, etc. He WILL be there for!!! Sigh. Feels amazing. 

So just one more full week to get through and we are on our way! I go back to school Monday for just 5 days!! Those 5 days of work will FLY by, and then we're leaving to finally bring our son home! I can't wait!!! 

Thanks again to ALL of my blogger friends out there who have been such an amazing support system for me as we go through this! I truly learned so much from those of you who have done it before me and just hope that I can offer some advice or assistance to others as well!! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting Ready!??

So we are just under two weeks away from being reunited with our son forever! It cannot come fast enough! Court already feels like it was so long ago, and I still get tears in my eyes when I think of watching him walk down the hall, looking over his caretaker's shoulder at us as they took him away from us two hours after becoming his parents. He knew it was goodbye again. I just pray that he also knows that we were coming back for him, and that when we do, we will never, ever be leaving him behind again. I just hope that the final countdown goes by quickly! We have really done our best to try and keep ourselves busy and distracted to help the time go by, but he's on both our minds pretty much 24-7! In some ways I feel like we are so ready for him to be home and in other ways I feel like we have no idea what we are doing at all! 

We have been waiting to bring him home for so long, and are so happy & blessed to have Brayden in our lives, yet, I'd be lying if I said we weren't both having our moments lately of being a little panicked and completely overwhelmed! Sigh. I said it. Yes, I'm so excited that I'm a mom but I'm also freaking out a bit too. The truth is we don't know MUCH about him right now! We don't know his exact weight or height, we haven't gotten a really good idea of what he's eating over there, and we are sort of guessing at everything. 

We both felt that Brayden looked the exact same size in January that he did in November, however it was such a whirlwind trip, we only saw the director of the baby home at court, and didn't get to ask any questions. Both trips he was dressed in 6 or 9 month clothes and the same pair of size 3 shoes. We brought a 12 month outfit with us in January just too see and it was HUGE on him! So when we got home I was back at Children's Place and Carter's buying him lots of 9 month clothes since 90% of what we had here was 12 months. (Hoping they'll fit him in the fall!?) 

As fun as it is to shop for him, it's causing me a bit of stress to which is silly, right?! What if it's way too big? What if it's too small? Then I think, Um.. big deal you'll exchange stuff!! For instance, just last weekend we were shopping and I found an adorable outfit for Easter! I had to buy it right THEN, thinking it might not be there in a few weeks! So for a good 20 minutes we went back and forth between the 6-9 month or 9-12 month and I came really close to just buying both! I'm like a crazed person!! Randy and I both agreed as we held it up that the 9-12 month would be too big for him right now. So we went with the 6-9 months. Can I tell you that I look at this outfit every day and wonder if I should exchange it for the bigger size!? What if it's too small? I literally feel like if it doesn't fit, it may be the biggest tragedy ever! 

But my new neurosis doesn't end there. Nope, there was the other day when we were at Babies R Us looking for baby food to bring with us and buy for when we come home.  Okay, so yes, of course we don't need to bring too much as we can buy it when we get to Moscow, but the truth is we really have no idea which ones would be good for him. Does he NEED more fruit and veggies? Will he be able to eat food with chunks in it or will it have to be completely strained?  Honestly, we don't know! We were told he eats porridge, pureed foods, mashed boiled potatoes, and lots of dairy. (cottage cheese and yogurts) and drinks milk. That's about all we got from them last trip. So there we were in the aisle, looking at  500 different types of baby foods, different stages, different varieties and mixtures, and I felt my eyes fill up and looked at my husband and there I was crying in Babies R Us. "We have no idea what we are doing," I said. Which unfortunately, is sort of true. We really don't KNOW that much about our child, and this was a hard fact to face. Other parents of 13 month old babies have been there. They KNOW what they are eating, what they like, what foods they've been introduced to so far, they also know how much their children weigh and what size clothes they wear. These are all things we don't know for sure about Brayden, and it makes me feel.. not ready. 

We both know, what he needs, what he really NEEDS is our love and affection and he's going to get lots of that, so the rest will all work out right? Of course it will! I think that being separated from him for all these months, not having him here with us, makes the little stuff seem like BIG stuff!. Maybe because the little things are the only things we can control right now? 

So needless to say, the timing couldn't have been better when my parents gave us an incredibly generous gift of a "babymoon" weekend away in the city this past weekend!! This trip was exactly what we needed!! We ate really good food at nice restaurants, drank good wine, and just relaxed and had an amazing time! It was really nice to be away together just the 2 of us! Of course, we DID do a bit of shopping for Brayden and talked about him non stop, but the key was we both were able to relax for 48 hours! Who knows the next time we'll be able to do that! It was perfect and felt really nice to unwind!

Now I am recharged and literally counting the days until he's with us for good. (13 by the way.) I will keep doing my yoga and deep breathing and before long, all this sweating the small stuff will be over and he'll be home and we'll be LIVING in it!!! Oh, I can't wait! 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mixed Emotions

Well, we are home from Moscow as of Wednesday night, which means it has been 4 days since we've seen Brayden last and we have five more weeks until we can see him again. I don't know what else to say except, this sucks. I'm really trying to stay upbeat but the truth is, I'm not doing very well with this.I miss him so much already, and it hurts. Yes, we have LOTS of pictures and video of our time with him, and trust me I love looking at them, but wow, this is hard. I just can't believe we had to leave him. Again.. .

We were just so happy and so excited when we passed court and were told that we were the legal parents of Brayden Patrick Belanger. We were so relieved and so ecstatic, he was "officially" our son, and we were "officially" his parents. However, your happiness begins to deflate a bit when you then have to say bye to him again,  get on a plane, and leave him in the baby home for 5 more weeks!?! It's just crazy and cruel and I HATE that there is nothing we can do about it. It's the law. It's the way it is. It's out of our control. (Which I NEVER do good with!) : )

I laugh now thinking of how a few months ago, Randy and I were trying to decide if we were going to come home in between court and our "gotcha" day or were we going to stay in Moscow during the 10 day wait!! 10 days.... Oh my what I would give to be going back in a week!!! Or to have had the opportunity to stay there and go see him everyday... but it is what it is, and March 5th can't get hear fast enough!!! My fear, which is probably completely irrational, is that he's going to hate us. That he is going to be angry at us for leaving him for months at a time, that he won't understand how much we truly love him and want him when we keep popping in and out of his life. Our time with him both trips has been AMAZING!! He has bonded to us so quickly already! He is cuddly and happy and smiling and cooing. He loves touching our faces, playing with my hair, and he absolutely loves being held.. by both of us. It has been so wonderful, and I'm afraid of seeing him again and seeing hurt, confusion or anger in those big brown eyes, and the thought of it, kills me. I know, I know, I'm completely overthinking and worrying about this, but I'm a mother right?

 I don't mean to rant and complain or whine... I know how blessed and how lucky, Randy and I are to be given this amazing gift of being Brayden's parents. This beautiful, wonderful, boy is our son. I also know that two months, when he is home with us and getting settled, this feeling, this hurt, will be forgotten. I know that we just have to get through these next 5 weeks, and then we have our son. With us. Forever. We are so close... I just need to stay strong. It will ALL be worth it....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We are Officially Parents!!

Greetings from Moscow!! So although it's only 9:30 am back home, here it is 6:30 pm and about 6 hours ago, we passed court and officially became the proud parents of Brayden Patrick Belanger!!! Court was pretty easy actually. Okay, yes I was sweating and thought I was going to pass out during it, but truth was it was pretty smooth! The judge asked us about 5 questions or so. Why we were adopting & why from Russia,  about our careers and income, and then about our time with Brayden. The whole process was quick & only lasted about 15-20 minutes or so. Olga, who was our translator during court, gave the judge our photo album of pictures from our last visit and of our families and the room, etc. and she seemed to love it. She kept smiling and at one point asked about our big family! She, along with the prosecutor, were laughing when we told them how he had grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all waiting anxiously for him to come home!!

After we spoke the director of the baby home and one of the social workers talked about his history for a few minutes and both said they felt it was in his best interest for us to become his parents. She left for about five minutes and then came back with her decision and we got a Yes! I was surprised at how emotional I got when the judge congratulated us. I was crying, Olga was tearing up, the director of his baby home was crying and gave us both a big hug and kiss. It was pretty cool, especially when we realized that we had done it. This crazy, long, stressful process was almost over and we were now parents!! Now, we just have to wait to pick him up!

So, the only downside is the 30 day wait period now. It offically "ends" on Saturday, February 25th which means that we travel a week after that. Olga explained that after it is lifted they need a week to prepare documents for us to be ready for our  Embassy appointment, Trip 3. So this means we will be back in Moscow on Sunday, March 4th, pick him up on the 5th and bring him HOME on Saturday, March 10th. I just pray that the time goes by quickly!! Yes, it is a pain that they added this law, but we also know that when we see him the next time, we take him with us! He's ours and he'll really, truly, be coming home!! Not to mention, it's one more week later that I go back to school! Now, I won't have to go back until the last week in May, which means only 3 weeks of work and then I'm off again for the summer!!! : )

Okay well I think we are going to hit our mini bar and have a well-earned celebratory drink!! Will update again soon when back in US! (leave in just 18 hours!)

P'aka!!! (bye!) 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One week from today we are on our way!

 One week from now we will be heading back to Moscow for court, and.... to see our boy again!! God, I miss him! Just can't wait to hold him!!! Time cannot go by fast enough this week! : )

Have to say, I'm not really nervous yet about court (that will happen the night before and I won't be able to sleep!) but I am trying to figure out what outfit to wear! Randy has it easy. He packs his suit and a tie and is done. I on the other hand am struggling! It's going to be cold and all my dresses are eiythery for spring/summer or they're really dressy! (Like for weddings!) I went out looking today and almost bought a gray pant suit on sale, but as I held it in my hand, I really began to have 2nd thoughts. I don't wear pantsuits! Ever!! I teach elementary school and certainly don't wear suits to school! So, even on sale it was still a good amount of money and do I want to spend $$ on something I'm going to wear once? Trust me, I don't  mind spending $$ on clothes!! I just like to buy stuff I'll actually wear!!! So now, I'm leaning towards a conservative sweater, black skirt, tights and boots. I just got a new cashmere blend sweater from Ann Taylor that's charcoal gray and black. I was thinking of that with a black skirt? Too casual??
I need help from those of you who have gone before me... What did you all wear?? : ) Should I suck it up and go back and get the suit?

So, I also wanted to say thanks to everyone who commented and gave me ideas and suggestions for gifts for caretakers!! I have to say, finding items that were made in USA was not easy! Oh my god, everything is made in China! I first was looking at pashminas but all were made in India or China! So, I ended up on and found these really cute quilted cosmetic bags from They were only $7 each and they had really cute patterns in bright colors! I picked 5 different patterns and bought two of each. Then it was off to Bath and Body Works to find stuff to fill them! (Thank you Jessi for the idea!) I got travel size shower gel/body lotion sets, cute designed nail files, mini hand sanitizers, and lip glosses! They really came out cute & will be easy to pack! I just hope the ladies at the baby home like them!!! Thanks to all for the suggestions!

I can't believe it's been over two months since we've been with our son! So many friends/family have told me how quickly it's gone by?!! I have to say.. didn't go by fast for Randy and I at all!!! We have been keeping busy though!!!! As I mentioned in a previous post, Brayden's room is completely done, his clothes are in his dresser or hanging in the closet, his books are on his shelf and his toys are in his toy chest!! All we need now, is him! This quick trip next week is going to be crazy fast and while we don't get to spend a ton of time with Brayden while we are there, (3 visits tops) I know that in just a few more weeks.. we will be going back to get him for good and to bring him home!!! We should get our exact date for when we get to pick him up this week when everything is open again after their holiday, or when we are over there next week! Either way we are so close and only have to make it a few more weeks!!!!!

Thinking about Trip 3 and what we'll need... that is how I'll spend my time when I get back from court!! Most likely I will be posting questions on here and looking for help! Thanks again for everyone's help with the gifts!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Court Date!

Happy New Year!! 2012 is going to be a great year!!! : ) Our agency called on Tuesday with good news! We have our court date! In just over two weeks we'll FINALLY be reunited with Brayden!!! Our trip is crazy quick though! We leave MA on Saturday the 21st and fly home Wednesday the 25th!  We will get to Russia on Sunday, spend Monday at the baby home with Brayden, Our court appt. is Tuesday morning and then we fly home Wednesday!! Talk about a whirlwind!! Our agency did tell us that we should be able to go visit him quick on Tuesday afternoon after court as well. (fingers crossed we can!)

So for all those who are unsure... Yup. The 30 day wait is "in effect". (At least in Moscow..) We haven't received our Trip 3 travel dates yet as we were told that our coordinator wants to check with the court on the exact date we can pick him up from the baby home. She explained to me that it could be a few days less or even a day or two more depending on how the days in the week fall. 30 days from our court date is Thursday, February 23rd! So we are thinking we'll either leave the weekend before that or the weekend of the 25th-26th! Obviously, we are hoping we get to pick him up a few days EARLY!! : ) 

Brayden will turn one on January 19th. We were really hoping we'd be over for court for his birthday, but at least we'll be seeing him just a few days later. We are so excited to be with our boy again! I keep wondering what it will be like when we see each other again. Will he remember us? Will he have more teeth? Will he be walking? (I hope not!) The next two weeks can't go by fast enough! My gut and my heart thinks that he will know us when he sees us again. Especially if the caretakers are really showing him the photo book we left for him! I mean those four visits with Randy and I on trip 1 were just so amazing and the way his face lit up when he saw us on the 2nd day just warmed my heart. He was so happy to see us again! I would LOVE to see that look again! It would make waiting these last two months worth every second!! : ) 

Lastly, for any moms out there who already brought their little ones home, any good ideas for gifts for the caretakers??! We were told by agency to buy 10 small gifts (under $20 each.) to bring with us. I have a few ideas(thought about pashinas or scarfs, lotion from B&Body works,  or some fun necklaces? I am also thinking about 10 gifts that will be easy to pack as well!! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks!!!