Friday, December 28, 2007

Back to Russia!

Drasvoyte Everyone!

We have some exciting news! Earlier today, we received the phone call we have been waiting for ... we will be returning to Vladivostok on January 27th to pick up our little boy Roman!

It's been six weeks since we returned from Russia, and it has been an anxious time for us. We didn't know how long it would be before we would get to see Roman again. Today's phone call was a complete surprise, as we had been told not to expect to hear anything until after January 8th (due to the Russian Christmas holdiays). Our court date in Vladivostok is February 1st. We then have a 10 day waiting period, during which we will be able to visit Roman at the baby home every day. If all goes well, the adoption will be finailzed on February12th. We will then have full custody of Roman, and the three of us will hunker down at the hotel in Vladivostok while we wait for the adoption agency to take care of Roman's US immigration paperwork in Moscow. We should then be able to return to Seattle on February 20th.

As you can imagine, since we got back, we've been rushing around trying to make the house kid-friendly. We are moving our bedroom downstairs so that we will be on the same level with Roman. His room will be our old family room just down the hall from us. Our room will be Helen's old den (otherwise known as "the Wine Bar" for those who have attended our Christmas parties). We are in the middle of painting Roman's room with some Disney themed paint called Bibbidi Bobbodi Blue. The molding and windows will be white. Rich has beenc ussing because that room has a ton of trim and more windows than usual. But, Rich is very happy that the TV has moved into the living room (which Helen swore she would never allow). The upstairs will change into a family room/spare bedroom.

The cats are not enjoying all the changes... they hatec hange. They have demanded that we feed them more since we have interrupted their schedules. We're not sure how they are going to react when we bring our little tail-pulling terror home with us! Our other furry child, Missy the Basset Hound, is ecstatic because her short legs don't have to climb the stairs as much. She likes us being mostly on the ground floor. She is, however, concerned that Roman may enjoy pulling her long ears!

Due to the December rains in Seattle, the basement is getting a bit of an unplanned makeover too because it flooded. Sadly, Rich's "Man Room" (featured on national television) was hit the hardest. We just never expected a flood since we live on a hill.

Helen has read just about every adoption book she could get her hands on. Rich has been reading about the Green Bay Packers. Go Figure!!! Rich will eventually read a couple of the books... someday...maybe....Anyway, we are getting ready for the arrival of our son. We couldn't resist sending a couple more pics of Roman. In one of them, you will notice that he already knows how to handle cats! We are so appreciative of all your thoughts and prayers.

Thank You for being so supportive.

The Greens

Friday, November 16, 2007

Privet from Russia!

(that's "Hi" in Russian)

This will be our last missive from Russia, as we will be heading home tomorrow. We will be leaving Vladivostok at 3pm on Saturday and are due to arrive in Seattle at 11am on Saturday ... we arrive in Seattle before we leave Vladivostok! Saturday is going to be 42 hours long for us.

Today was a sad day as we had to say goodbye to our wonderful little boy. We won't see him again until January, possibly even February. The Christmas holidays will probably slow down the process because Russians (like the British) take two weeks off at Christmas.

It was so difficult to leave! Even though we have only known Roman for 5 days, we really feel that he is our son. We didn't tell anyone this before, but we fell so in love with him that we made the decision to adopt him even before the results of his hepatitis C test came back (his birth mom had hep C). We knew that, no matter what, he was our son, and if his result was positive we would find a way to deal with it. We were over the moon when we found out it was negative!

We will still have to watch him carefully for any signs of learning difficulties, but that's OK. We love him so much, we'll help him through whatever comes along.

Yesterday evening we took the adoption staff out to dinner at a traditional Russian restaurant. We wanted to thank our Russian Adoption agent Tatianna, our translators Ylena and Ylena (we called them Ylena 1 and Ylena 2) and our wonderful driver Sergei. We had a Russian drink called Kvas, dumplings, chicken pie, and crepes with honey.

We can't wait to show you more photos in the future, plus of course the HOURS of video we have shot :-)


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

News from Russia

Hi everyone,

We are proud to announce that we are going to be the parents of an adorable baby boy named Roman David. In a couple of months, if everything works out properly, we will be flying home from our second trip with him.

Roman is his Russian given name and we decided to keep it. We thought of all sorts of other names but ... "Roman" just fits. "David" will be his middle name in honor of our friend Dave Campbell who passed away recently.

Roman is cute, cuddly, friendly, inquisitive, and very active. He likes to play and loves quick snuggles and kisses. He smiles all the time and is making good sounds vocally.

We have gone to the baby home the last three days and have spent time with him playing every day and he just loves both of us. He has a super disposition. He rarely cries. He seems to learn quickly. He had not learned to wave goodbye, so we were teaching him yesterday. Well, today he waved goodbye to us when we had to give him back to his baby group.

Although he is 14 months old, his physical development is that of a 10 month old. This is normal for a child raised in an institution. For every 3 months a child has been institutionalized, their physical, emotional, and cognitive development is delayed by 1 month. He seems to be a little delayed emotionally and cognitively but it is hard to tell at this stage. He actually seems quite smart to us, as he imitates our actions and picks up on things quickly. His motor skills seem to be right on track for a 14 month old. He stands up and loves to walk (he also likes to climb on things).

We're determined to help him catch up in every way. There is a possibilty of some learning difficulties when he gets older (due to his birth mom's alcohol use). That's something we will have to watch out for, and we'll do everything we can to help him. We love him so much already!

We are going to be his forever family. We are overjoyed and we hope everything works out properly.

We met with his social worker Svetlana today and our interpreter Ylena helped us with questions we had about Roman and his biological family. The social worker just adores him. He is quite popular. We found out that his mother was 22 when she had him. She is considered attractive, tall and slim. He will probably tower over us when he is full grown. For the most part his background and family information on the biological side is good.

Last evening we had a delightful dinner with two residents of Vladivostock whom we contacted through Helen's friend Katie. Olga works for the Port of Tacoma as the representative here in Vlad. Her husband is a wholesale meat seller. They are wonderful people and they may try to help us on our second trip with various things to make our lives easier.

We are meeting a ton of adoptive families and parents from all over the country. Everybody's story is a little bit different. This hotel, the Vlad Inn, is like Grand Central Station for adoptions.

At Roman's baby home, the staff treat the children extremely well. The baby homes are government supported but they don't have a lot of extras. They are very grateful for any help that people can provide. We bought diapers for the children yesterday and some toys. We do not get to see the other children when we are visiting our child. If we did we would want to take more home.

Tomorrow is another big day. We will be visiting Roman, signing the official forms and then taking some of our adoption staff out for a meal.

We love you all,

Rich and Helen

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Hello from the Russian Far East!

It's bloody freezing here in Vladivostok, but thankfully we have borscht and vodka to warm us up! We spent last night in Seoul, but didn't get to see much as we were just staying in a hotel near the airport. We did sample some Korean food though - we love "bibimbap" (beef, rice, sesame oil, and a chili sauce with a fried egg on top that cooks as you eat it) but we're not so keen on "kimchi" (a kind of spicy cabbage).

Tomorrow (Sunday) a driver and translator from the adoption agency are going to show us around Vladivostok. Then, on Monday morning we have our meeting at the Department of Education. They will refer a child to us, and the agency representatives will take us to the orphanage (known as a baby home). The baby home could be here in Vladivostok or up to a four hour drive away. If it turns out to be further away, we'll move to a hotel that is closer to the baby home.

We won't be able to keep in touch as often as we would like as the hotel's wi-fi does not work with our Mac laptop. So we have to pay 300 rubles ($12) an hour to access the internet. We'll try to check our email once a day though.

If you'd like to give us a call, we're in room 216 at the Vlad Inn (4232) 38-88-88. We're not going to call you because it costs hundreds of rubles!


Rich and Helen

PS. We're 18 hours ahead of Seattle, 16 hours ahead of Stoughton, 15 hours ahead of Atlanta, and 10 hours ahead of Newton Abbot!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Off to Russia!

Drasvoyte! (that's Russian for Hello!)

We have some exciting news! We will be leaving for Russia to meet our new son or daughter on November 8th! We fly directly from Seattle to Seoul, spend the night in Seoul, then fly to Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

All we know is that we have been matched with a healthy child between the ages of 9 months and 18 months. We weren't expecting to be matched with a child until next spring, as couples usually have to wait a few months after their dossier has been accepted by the Russian authorities. Well, our dossier was only submitted three weeks ago! It turned out, that the two couples ahead of us wanted to adopt a girl, and the Russian authorities couldn't guarantee there would be a girl available. Since, we don't mind...we jumped to the front of the line! (So, there's a good chance that we will be adopting a boy).

Russia requires adoptive parents to make two trips. The first one is for about 10 days, where we visit the orphange (known as a "baby home") every day, and spend time with the child we would like to adopt. We then complete all the Russian paperwork stating our intention to adopt a particular child.

The second visit takes place about 2 months later. This time we spend about three weeks in Russia. We have a court hearing and are given custody of our child. We then have to wait for various documents to be couriered back and forth to Moscow, before the adoption is finalized and our child's US visa comes through. So all three of us (the Brit, the American, and the Russian) will be hunkered down in a hotel room in Vladivostok for three weeks!

We'll keep everyone posted via email (if we can get organized, we'll start an adoption blog!)

The Greens

PS Our friend Mari will be housesitting while we're gone, and will be looking after our five furry children.