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!