Friday, February 15, 2008

Roman David Green!

Happy Valentines Day!

We got the best Valentines gift of all….our little Diaper Dude!

Tuesday was a whirlwind of a day for us. First, we had to go to the Leninsky Vital Records Office to obtain our adoption Certificate and Roman’s new birth certificate. Then we had to visit the Russian passport office to file his passport documents.

Finally, we went to the orphanage to pick up our son. It was right in the middle of his nap time, so he was a little sleepy. The caretakers brought him out to us wearing bright green tights… then we changed him into his new clothes (as you can imagine, he was rather cranky since he’d just been woken up, and getting him into his snow suit was quite a challenge). Each of his caretakers gave him a kiss goodbye, and wished him lots of luck. Of course, he had no idea that he was leaving for good.

He slept all the way back to the hotel (about an hour’s drive), then we carried him in, still dozing. Once we got him into the room, he stirred, and looked annoyed that we’d woken him up, but when he noticed that he was in a brand new place his eyes got really big . . . and suddenly it was time to explore. Within in his first five minutes “home” with us, he attempted to turn on the stove, open the window, stick his fingers in the radiator, and scale every piece of furniture he could find.

Our first night, we holed up in our hotel suite, just enjoying being a family. Roman was excited to be with us and did not show any signs of being upset. He loved the Russian spinning top we had bought him, and spent almost an hour running back and forth through all the rooms playing with it. We will especially remember his first night with us, as there was a power cut for about 90 minutes! There we were, brand new parents, chasing after a toddler in the pitch dark. No one told us toddlers can see in the dark, but it certainly seemed like it…it didn’t stop him at all. Rich got the video camera out and put it in “night vision” mode, so we could see what he was up to!

Roman’s first meal was some peach baby food and formula. Formula is an important part of his diet because he has a lot of catching up to do. The baby home had taken him off formula and we were a bit worried that he wouldn’t go back on it, but he loves it! Since then he’s been eating us out of house and home! But of course, when food goes in one end, you get a return on your investment. Rich was rusty at best atc hanging diapers, and Helen had never had the pleasure in her lifetime. The poor kid didn’t know what had hit him. Of course, it didn’t help that the baby home swore he was potty trained. Of course a 17 month old boy isn’t potty trained!!!!! The business at hand(and in the diaper) was messy. We are now much better with another 48 hours of experience. He never stops moving and that makes it difficult to change him but Helen is getting good at changing him on the move (you’ve just got to be sure to catch everything).

He has been sleeping very well but to get him into bed we have to cuddle him until he falls asleep, then gently move him into his crib. He screams like a wailing banshee if we try to put him in his crib immediately. We were worried that he would have trouble sleeping since he was used to sleeping with nine other kids, but so far, he has been sleeping through the night. Helen and I are night owls and he is used to getting up at 6:30 am. The first morning he slept until 6:40 am and woke up happy (we woke up cranky). He takes two naps a day usually. We say usually because on Wednesday he missed his afternoon nap due to a doctor’s appointment and signing legald ocuments for his passport and visa. On the way home about 6 pm he fell asleep and didn’t wake up until the next morning at around 5:45 am. He woke up happy again and he was running around again nonstop.

We are thrilled that we have such a good-natured little boy. He is bringing us such joy. Valentine’s Day was the first full day where we didn’t travel anywhere. We took him around the grounds of the Vlad Inn in his stroller (which he loves). There is a little play area with a slide, swings and the usual kid stuff. He enjoyed swinging, but he was kind of like the little brother in “A Christmas Story” since he was so bundled up. We were worried he might try to lick some metal and get his tongue stuck.

We took him back inside to play in the kids area and he loved it. There were balloons and a little kid fort that he was running in and out of. Since he is a rough and tumble kid, he also took his first header with us. He slipped off the couch and did a nose-dive into the portable potty. (The potty hasn’t been used yet and is more of a toy to him.)

Roman is also getting a little more comfortable with strangers. He usually buries his head in Helen’s shoulder and cries, but today he wasn’t showing thef ear that he had been displaying earlier. His institutionalization shielded him from outsiders, especially men. We are happy with his progress but don’t be surprised in the future, if he shies away from you if he hasn’t met you before.

Tomorrow we go to the US Consulate here in Vlad. This will be our final official business. They will be asking us questions and getting the paperwork ready for his US visa. Once that is done, we just have to wait for his paperwork to be processed in Moscow. That will take about a week and our wonderful Russian advisor Tatiana will be taking care of that so we know it will be done correctly.

Russia is treating us well. The people are so kind and wonderful, and the food is excellent. There is no such thing as fast food here. There are no McDonald’s, Wendy’s etc (Rich might lose a few pounds because of that fact!!) The grocery stores are quite interesting to shop in. At times the language difference hinders certain communications with people and full understanding but in the end it doesn’t matter that much. We have met some wonderful people who are also adopting, and cherish our new friendships because we know what they are going through. Rich is homesick but hanging in there thanks to FOX News Channel and American Idol on the STAR ASIA channel. Helen is also homesick but prefers to watch BBC World and the Australia Network (although she does admit to being hooked on American Idol too, which we get only 9 hours after it airs in the US, wow!) We’re trying to keep Roman away from TV as much as possible (he’s at risk for ADHD due to his birth mom’s nicotine use, and early TV exposure has been shown to exacerbate that). We do admit though, that he may have caught just a bit of American Idol tonight, we hope it hasn’t scarred him for life!

We both want to get home because we miss our fourlegged kids, friends, and relatives. We cannot wait to bring Roman David Green home. (His passport says Roman Devid Grin). This process, although frustrating at times, has been more than worth it. We have been blessed with the perfect boy for us. We are so thrilled to be his parents. We cannot believe how lucky we are. Random chance brought him and us together and we are blessed.

Thank You for being our friends.

Spaciba Bolshoi (Big Thank You)

Helen, Rich and Roman

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