Quote of the Day



No news yet. Nothing to post. Perhaps I'll chatter about our furkids.

Holly and Laurel are our dogs. Holly is a ten year old Akita mix (smart and willful) and Laurel is a Corgi/Fox mix. Okay, maybe not Fox, but she sure looks it. We picked Holly when she was a pup. Laurel picked Jamie. She was starving, scabies-laden, crusty and slimy when they met. I think her little guardian puppy angel -- ack the theological implications of that are atrocious, but I'm half-crazed with waiting, so we'll let it be -- anyway her guardian angel pointed out Jamie to her: "Him, he's the nicest one ever; he's the one you want." So Laurel whimpered and staggered her way over to him and that was that.

Dill and Parsley are our kitties. When Pickle, our 20 year cat, passed I swore I'd never love another kitty again. It just hurt so much when they leave. But nine days later Jamie heard of a kitten that really needed us and I told him fine, it would be his kitty. We named her Dill in honor of Pickle. And yes, I love her. She was lonely though, and needed her own kitten. So then there was Parsley. She is in my profile pic and is probably the sweetest kitty that ever lived.

Joy and Bliss are our geriatric house-rabbits. Yes, they use a litter box. Mostly. They are mini-Rexes which are bunnies bred by the evil fur trade to be the softest thing you will ever touch. I most heartily hope that when you get to touch one, the fur is on its original owner. We rescued them from a hot cage in a parking lot with no shade and no water.

Alex and Betsy and Chester are our pygmy goats. Alex came to us first with his buddy Edgar (think Mariners 95). Edgar died and Alex went nutso with loneliness. Did you know that goat brains can either lead or follow but hanging around by themselves is not one of their options. They literally go crazy from the stress. (Hmmmm, sounds familar). So we found Betsy who was retiring from the breeder's life (She is a deluxo extra supremo grand champion descended on all sides from other deluxo supremo grand champions. She wanted me to tell you that.) and her wee son, Chester. So now we have a happy herd of three. Pics in goat post.

Egads. I'm done with the pet litany and still no news.


Random bits of news

1. Juliana grew! We got updated height and weight last night and I was so sad as Julina still weighed the same as she did in January (we got May numbers yesterday). This morning I took a closer look and she grew 2.75 inches between January and May. This is very exciting. She still weighed 30 pounds, but she was taller - 3 feet tall in May. Andy gained 1 kilo and 4 centimeters between November and May, so he was 44 lbs and 47 inches tall in May, when he was last measured.

2. The kids are and have been at summer camp all summer. !!!!!! That's all we know. It is rather surreal to get email telling you where your kids are, and it is somewhere you had never even thought about.

3. Our really important HAS-TO-BE-THERE-BY-AUGUST-FIRST-OR-ELSE documents were delivered to Khabarovsk last night. Remember the road trip on July 12th? Same documents. Apparently they have been touring the world the long way between leaving in Olympia on the 12th and arriving in Khab on the 27th.

4. Yesterday was, btw, our 19-months pregnant marker.

5. One of the bloggy families I follow -- Damon and Kim -- just brought home two little boys who are only a month older than Juliana. You may enjoy reading her informative posts.

6. We bought a Mommy-Car. Yup. It's the newest car I have ever owned, only ten years old, 1996 Green Subaru Legacy. I'm very happy with it.

7. Art for the day, courtesy of art.com:


Little Green Birthday Shoes

These just may be the cutest shoes I have ever seen. Can you see that the center of the flowers on the toes sparkles? Juliana will never want to take them off!

Mom and I spent all day Tuesday doing errands and shopping. We got my "returns" basket emptied, found gifts for the staff in Russia, and loaded up on socks and undies and other practical kid things (and a few not so practical).


Happy News for Other Families . . .

Yesterday was pretrail day in Russia for the two families in the batch immediately ahead of our batch. We've endured the long long wait with these folks and are elated that the judge found no problems with their paperwork and set court dates for mid-August for them.

If the judge keeps the same time-frame for our pretrial (a week from tomorrow), we are very likely to have court the 4th week of August which would let us overlap in Khab with these other families; that would be a real treat.

I love happy news. If you are craving more happy news, run over to Kim's blog and see the pics of her whole family.

In the meantime, Jamie and I cramming for court: coming up with possible judgely questions and polishing our answers. Q: "Why Russia?" A: "We are masochists; we like mountains of meaningless forms and the agony on interminable delays." As you can see we have some work to do.

Edited to add that apparently D&L are also cramming. We should have a study session.

Happy Birthday Juliana!

Today our lovely daughter turns five. I don't know if there will be a party or a treat or a gift. I like to think there would be, but there probably isn't. When we gave the children little goodie bags they were awe-struck. Not with the goodie bags, but with the concept of individual ownership. I don't think that these are children accustomed to receiving gifts.

Our birthday wishes for you Juliana are so big, and so small.

  • We wish for you a speedy court date and a favorable ruling (this it the big part).

  • We wish for you a bit of birdsong, as you loved the chirp my camera made.

  • We wish for you a touch-up on your nailpolish, as the polish we put on has surely faded and you so clearly loved having your nails sparkle pinkly at you.

  • We wish for you three square meals a day, tender care-givers, and the opportunity to learn and to laugh.

  • We wish you were here.

My birthday is in late August. I'm sure you know what I am wishing for.


A Mother's Prayer

This is the prayer my mother prepared for our family shower last week. Alas, she forgot to bring it, but it is too lovely to leave be.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today we come to you with thanksgiving for all the ways you have led our families

  • for the blessings of children

  • for the gift of faith to believe in You and your ways

  • for love which flows from person to person and family to family

  • for hope for Your future goodness to us all, but especially to Jamie and Suzanne as they wait for their family: Andy and Juliana.

Be with all those who affect these children's release and travels. Bring them safely here, that we may all -- with one heart and voice -- praise You for Your care, protection and wisdom in letting them be Family with us.

In the name of Jesus our Savior and Lord



Oh Yes! We received an email tonight stating that our pre-trial hearing will happen on August 1st. We don't have to be there yet. The pre-trial acts rather as a "last call" for documents. If there is something the judge needs, she'll let us know by then, and then, on August 1st, she will set our court date.

Based on other people's timelines, we anticipate court anytime between August 21st and September 4th. We should know by August 2nd.



I tell you, other than finding a spider on my person, I really can't think of anything less desirable than being dive-bombed by a bat whilst sitting peacefully at my computer. I do confess to thinking that bats are rather cute, but this is just too much.

Have I mentioned what a gentleman I married? At the sound of my squawking he lept from bed and is, at this very moment, gallantly chasing the bat through the house whilst I and the kitties hide in the office.

In other news, the goats have escaped every day this week. The root canal is in the past. We are still waiting for our court date.

Here, for your aesthic enjoyment, is a copy of one of the prints that we are putting in the addition. Yes, I shamelessly lifted this from art.com, but we'll count it as free advertising for them.

Updated at ten to one: Here is some interesting bat trivia. Bats have such sleepy metabolismd that they cannot launch themselves into flight without doing some shivering to warm themselves up. This is very handy to know if your husband gave up on bat removal, trapped the bat in the living room and closed all the doors but the front door, hoping that the bat would find its way out and if said bat decided instead to nap on your curtains. It is amazing how tiny a bat really is. While flapping about my ears he was the size of a chickadee, but with his wings all folded up he was the size of a walnut. Because I knew that he was incapable of launching into motion, I wasn't afraid (okay, I was, but it had to be done) to go pick him up with a towel and return him to the night, where he belongs. He was very cute and small and nervous looking. Shivering even.


The Great Goat Escape

   Okay, I admit, I spent the better part of Monday afternoon in the hammock. Some of the time I was working (really grooving on the laptop and the wireless), but yes, at one point I did surrender to the nap -- as that is what hammocks are for -- and what a lovely nap it was. I dreamt of goats, goats talking in complete sentences and remarkably near by. Strange dreams, yes, and dreams from which I was rudely awakened by a jolting push. There they were all three of them peering at me over the side of the hammock. Cute cute cute.

   Cute, that is, until it was time to get them repenned. Have you ever tried to herd a goat? Probably not so much different than herding a cat, though in my case, in triplicate. Every time I got two of them near the pen gate, the other would dash off and call loudly to them. I believe he or she was saying, "Fools, don't go back in there! In there there is only grass and trees and dandelions to eat, while out here there are dandelions and trees and grass!! Goats live in a perpetual state of Grass-Is-Always-Greener syndrome.

   What has this to do with adoption? Absolutely nothing. Just fill while we wait for our court date. It's hard to not think of every day as fill. We are getting enough done on our ToDo list that we no longer appreciate the extra time to prepare. Really, we could go right now if we needed to. My excellent student teacher takes over next week, so I could leave without any troubles. There are no good times for Jamie to be gone, so now is just as good (or bad) as later.

   In the meantime, we herd goats and deskunk dogs and rearrange household items ad infinitum.
    We are looking forward to the Darrington BlueGrass Festival this weekend. I'm odd -- I know; I listen pretty much exclusively to Classical and Bluegrass.


Showers of Cousins!

Recipe for a really lovely day:

  • six first cousins
  • eight first cousins once removed
  • one brother
  • one mom
  • one sister
  • one auntie
  • one couple waiting to go to Russia

  • a table of build-your-own sandwiches
  • sunshine
  • a handful of dogs, cats, goats, and bunnies
  • a never-before-used playroom to test
  • a pile of presents to unwrap
THANK YOU Auntie Donna, for orchestrating such a lovely day for all of us. MMMMMMMMWHHHHA

Click here to learn what a once removed cousin is. (My first cousins' kids are my first-cousins-one-removed. To my kids, those same kids will be second cousins.)


My terrible horrible no good very bad day, and yes, it included a dentist

When your day starts at 7:00 with the dentist saying, 'Yes, you are correct, you do need a root canal" you truly do want to just go home and crawl back in bed, but no! Onward ho! to class then to a ton of errands and then, what is that smokey/steamy stuff arising from the hood of the car? Sure it has been wisping like that for a long time, but this is no longer a wisp. Billow would be the word. And yes, the temperature needle is really really high.

Okay, pull over into the Wallmart lot, call around for a ride, have a good cry and think "surely, what else could go wrong?" (Never ever ask this, as an answer will be supplied). One of those big bucket trucks pulled up next to me to change the lightbulb of the parking lot light and of course it needed to keep its great big engine running the power the bucket, and of course the great big engine resonates, nay, takes occupancy in my tooth. BRRRRuummmm BRRRUUUUMMMMMM.

Yeah for Jamie who dropped everything and left work to rescue me (him leaving work is a Big Deal but with me weeping in the Wallmart lot, what else could he do?) and double Yeah to my Mom who was picking raspberries in her garden and thought "Suzi (she's allowed to call me that still) needs me; I should call her." She called and we were able to reroute Jamie back to work and she brought me home. I want to be a Mom like her.


Road Trip

We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Apostille. Yes, it is Road Trip #4 to Olympia for the most recent version of the "one last document". This time we are picking up in Renton, apostilling in Olympia, FedExing to Alaska and saying (again) "Done! Done at last! Done at last!"

What does apostille mean? It is adoption speak for getting a State seal put on your document thereby affirming that the notary's signature is that of a legitimate authentic notary. Of course the notary was affirming that the document is a legitimate authentic copy of a licence. What does the license do? It documents that the social worker is a legitimate authentic social worker. What does the social worker do? She documents that we are a legitimate authentic couple waiting to be parents. You might think that this last part is the important part. You would be wrong in thinking this. The important part is the fancy State seal that we will drive across state for tomorrow.

Three cheers for Dad, who is doing this trip with me, again.

Simple Wishes Quilt

So, for those of you who are not domestically impaired, check out this really cool Simple Wishes Quilt project that Elle is doing.

While you are over there, you can congratulate her on their happy news.


What I learned today . . .

I learned why you don't set up your ironing board over your nice new area rug (if your area rugs are wool, you may put your ironing boards wherever you please). For the rest of us -- who are making do with polyester knockoffs -- thou shalt not set up your ironing board over your rug.

I don't sew. I don't iron. But I hate sewing more than I hate ironing. I am cuciraphobic. Yes, I made that word up because the great list of phobias does not include a sewing phobia. I digress. I hate sewing more than ironing, yet curtains have to be made for the addition: 13 sets, some of them have sheers. Enter the magic of StitchWitchery.

Cut. Iron small flap. Insert white stuff into flap. Iron again. Even I can do this!

However, if your iron is resting on the ironing board and the puppy jostles the ironing board, as puppies are wont to do, you will get a lovely iron-shaped pattern melted into your rug.

Even more reason to hate ironing.

Awesome New Widget

Okay, all you fellow bloggers. Run, yes RUN over to this cool site and get yourself a w.bloggar. Template editing made easy and fun.



Barn pics are up on the fazenda blog.



When your children first arrive home, how do you plan to help them acclimate to a new family, a new culture?

Think of it like this. You are on a big trip (travel, not vacation) to Europe. Every day is full of new experiences, new food, new language, new non-verbal cues, new expectations of how you will be treated. Now in the middle of that, someone asks you to process some really big emotional stuff. “Not Now!� you would cry out.

Living here in America with us will the the new-new-new for our kids. I have to help that exhausting novelty transition to reliable routine so that they can do the emotional house-keeping. We’ll do that by keeping the orphanage schedule and limiting the number and frequency of outings and adventures. For them, getting out of bed in the morning will be an adventure.

We’ll be heeding the good advice found here: 10 Tips After Your Older Child is Home.

We are not putting them in school. If I work at all - which is a maybe - it will be two mornings a week, 3 hours each. We will be homebodies, which suits me just fine. :)


Back to our regularly scheduled interview

How are you preparing yourselves for potential physical- and mental-health issues your children face or may face once they come home?

Both children are patients of record with the Center for Adoptive Medicine in Seattle. They will both have full assessments when we get home. Given the medical info we came home with, we have an understanding of the full range (least disruptive to most disruptive) of possible medical concerns. For mental health issues, they are losing everything that is familiar – another loss on top of their previous losses of their first or birth mothers, losses that I highly doubt they were every able to grieve. We expect that as soon as they get settled in they start to feel these sorrows and we will help them walk through it. Additionally, as orphanage life is highly regimented, and as there is security in knowing what comes next – especially at a time of such change – we will keep the orphanage schedule and meal patterns for quite awhile.


Happy Happy Joy Joy

See all those fireworks out there? They are in celebration that we have been filed. They are actually FileWorks, but we have that "l" "r" pronunciation problem -- must have picked that up from my Korean students. Okay, yes, I am silly - giddy even.

What does being filed mean? That the court has all our documents, and all the children's documents, and that we are now eligible to receive a court date. It is theoretically possible that we could be asked to travel at any time. Unlikely, but possible.

The judge had 60 days from whenever we were filed, presumably last week (let's say the 28th of June) in which to either ask for new paperwork or set a court date. She could, on the 27th of August, set the date for ages and ages hence, but it is more likely that she will set the date for around the 60 day mark. Yes, this puts it near my birthday -- that would be quite a birthday present!

So, I'll get those bags packed and gather up another round of paperwork.


Why are you adopting older children?

I am being interviewed this week by a lovely woman who is writing a book about adoption. She has sent me some questions to think about, and I do my best thinking on the keyboard. Comments very very welcome.

Why are you adopting older children?

Why not? They can walk and talk and play. Yes, we anticipate that we will be doing full-on therapeutic attachment parenting as they know absolutely nothing about belonging to a family, but Attachment Issues can be out-parented, whereas FAS and FAE cannot. With younger children, the risk of FAS/FAE goes up as it is harder to spot the younger the child is. You can't out-parent FAS/FAE.

Also, as infant adoption is seen as the “norm” (this is embedded in your question even), older kids are left to languish in the orphanages. That’s sad. They are not bread that goes stale after awhile. Older kids are as vibrant and attractive to me as are younger kids – moreso perhaps. By way of example, our son Andy threw his arms around my neck and asked (in Russian) “Is it true!? Is it true!?” He doesn’t know how to be a family kid, but he sure does know that he want to be one. Babies really don’t celebrate their new families in the same way.

Oh, yes, and diapers. No diapers.



pics of the kids' room are up on my fazenda blog