Monday, November 23, 2009

First Week at Home

Well... we've been home for a week now and I know many people have been looking for updates and want to know how it's going.... all I can say is IT'S GOING ... it's been a little crazy and each one of us has/is having adjustment issues but each day gets better and at this point that's all we can hope for! Many of the blogs I read talk about everything being great and fantastic and kids adjusting and attaching quickly ... I'm not sure if I would say our first week has been fantastic but the boys are doing as well as can be expected after having been home for only a week and Stephen and I are learing to function with little to no sleep some days and we are getting to know one another and beginning to be a family.

Some low points of the week:
- Stephen had to return to work on the Monday after we got home
- the boys are NOT sleeping for long periods of time and are often awake and ready to go at 4am!
- Roman screams and cries any time he has to go nap or go to bed
- Roman being terrified of our 2 dogs and screaming any time they come near him

Some high points of the week

- hearing the boys giggle through out the house
- hugs and kisses from Roman and Max
- they boys playing together
- Roman learning to like Happy and Lucy and not cry or scream when they are in the room.
- taking the boys for a walk in the double stroller

A few pictures from our first week:

Playing with Papa

brothers together

look who can climb the stairs

playing in the yard together

look who is patting Lucy!

watching football with Mama and rooting for the best team EVER!!!

I would say the first week at home has been rough ... I'm not sure what I expected but the reality was VERY different than anything I could have imagined!! However, each day is getting better ... we are getting used to each other and becoming a family and getting into a routine together ... now if we could only get them to sleep just a little longer in the mornings ... I know, I know ... welcome to motherhood!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gotcha Day ReCap

At this point we are in Moscow with the boys and spending time playing with them and getting to know them. Since we picked them up at the baby home they have both REALLY come out of their shells and we are seeing their personalities in FULL bloom!!

After running around with Svetlana for some last minute paperwork and picking up the boys passports we headed out to the baby home and arrived at 5pm!! We went into one of the little rooms where we have been playing for the last few weeks and got the boys clothes and shoes out and got ready for them. Roman came in first and the minute he saw us he started undressing from his shorts and t-shirt and started putting on his new clothes. Max came in next and it was pretty much the same ... we got them dressed and then said a final good-bye to the boys caretakers and headed off to the airport.

Both boys did great in the car and neither got sick (I was a little worried about this)! We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare .... 4hours with 2 small toddlers ... luckily Svetlana got us signed into the nursery room and the boys were able to play with toys for about 2hours of the wait. I think we may have a new Russian nanny coming one day soon!!! The woman who ran the room wants to come to America and be a nanny or babysit so she gave me her number in Yekateriburg ... oh and she asked for ours!!!!

Once we got on the play at 10:10pm ... they boys did great ... Roman chatted the whole way and Max pretty much slept!!! The nicest surprise of the trip ... it appears Roman is potty trained because he tells us when he has to go ... even on the airplane and he gets very upset if we don't get what he's saying ... we are teaching him to say "potty" but the look on his face is usually the biggest clue!!!

So today we are in Moscow ... keeping 2 boys occupied in the hotel room when we aren't out sightseeing and later today we are going to the Embassy and tomorrow at noon we are headed home ... HOME ... we can't wait to get there and get the boys settled in!!!!

Saying Good-bye

Waking up in the hotel and waiting for the doctor to come!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gotcha Day - November 11, 2009

This is the day ... it's finally here ... the day we will become a family of four and be together FOREVER!!!

In the adoption world the day you actually "get" your child is known as "Gotcha Day" and a day that we will celebrate going forward as the day we became a family!!! Some people don't really like the term "Gotcha" but my friend Laura has it on her blog as "God Ordanined This Child Happy Adoption Day" ... and I think that is fitting so we will keep it!!!

We don't have alot to do this morning except pack and be ready for Svetlana to pick us up at 2:30pm. Tuesday was the paperwork day ... we went to one family office to get the boys adoption certificates that list us as their parents and then we drove across the city to another office to get their new birth certificates with their new names and listing us as their parents!!! The family offices were very interesting ... there is no line system so people just come in the door and look at the people and say "who is last in line" ... people kept looking at me so I would point out the last person who had come in!! The other interesting thing is that ALL offices and place close from 1pm - 2pm for lunch so at 1pm the woman behind the closed door comes out and tells everyone to leave EXCEPT for the americans!!! It was a little nuts at this point because some people were upset they had been waiting and now needed to come back!!! We got everything done and then Svetlana went to get requests their passports ... we pick those up at 3pm today!!

Once we have the passports at 3pm we then head to the baby home and get Roman and Max and then it's off to the Yekaterinburg airport and our flight tonight at 10:10pm to Moscow!!!

I'm sure today will have many highs for us but also a few lows for the boys as we take them from the only home and staff they have known ... I'm sure there will also be a few lows for the staff as they say good-bye to the children they have cared for ... we can't thank them enough for all the love and attention they've given our boys!!!

It's going to be a whirlwind of a day!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Snow Day ... Russian Style

It's snowing today and let me just share with you what an experience it is to be in Yeakterinburg when it snows!!! Stephen was "kind" enough to let me ride up front today in the car as we made our way to the baby home. Now, I have driven in snow my entire life ... I've lived in Colorado and experienced snow storms there ... I have even driven over a 14,000ft mountain pass in a freak spring snow storm ...head out the window to see the edge of the mountain and all that and NOTHING has ever prepared me to drive in snow like this!!! I have no idea how Svetlana is able to navigate these roads and highways but thankfully she does and make it from point A to point B with little trouble ... although I have to admit I think I may have left my fingers permanently glued to her door at one point!!! Check it out and let me know what YOU think ... definitely a good day to stay home in pj's with hot chocolate and a movie!!

the road outside our apartment

traffic outside on a snowy day

Getting ready to head back to the city ... snow is a fallin

We did spend about a 45minutes with the boys today. THIS IS OUR LAST DAY VISITING. We will not go out on Tuesday because we have to run around and do paperwork for them so we can all leave on Wednesday.... Wednesday is the BIG day ... we will go to the baby home in the afternoon and we will all leave TOGETHER ... A FAMILY AT LAST!!!

Pictures from today!!!

Silly Boy!!!

Look at ALL these toys!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Silly boys

Today as we were waiting for Roman and Max to come to the room for our visit we could hear Roman walking down the hall talking to his caregiver ... he was saying over and over .."Mama and Papa, Mama and Papa"! He is becomng very familiar with us and today we got to see a little of his "wild" side after Stephen got him all hyped up while playing. He wanted to give Stephen a toy so he said "DadDy and then DaDa" to get his attention.

Max continues to be "quiet serious" but we know it's a matter of time before he cracks and we see him smiling and laughing!!! We won't see them this weekend so Monday is our last "visit" with them since Tuesday we will be working with Svetlana to gather all the paperwork to leave and the embassy and then Wednesday when we go to see them they will be leaving with us!!!

Check out our silly monsters!!!

batsaloy mishka ... hugs and kisses for the bears

just a little crazy at the end of our visit!

They gave us mask to wear but the director told us we didn't need to put them on unless someone came into the room ... WHAT ... ok, whatever ... but I think it's ironic they want us to have masks NOW ... now when we are both better and not sick...oh well ... only 1 more day for visiting and then they come with us for good!!!

5 years ago today....

I got to marry an amazing man, my best friend.. who has made every dream I ever had and some I didn't even know I had, come true. It's been a LONG road to make this final dream of becoming parents come true ... but we did it and we did it together!

I love you Stephen and can't wait for the next part of this journey as we take it with Roman and Max!!!

getting ready ... see the veil in the background

introducing Mr. and Mrs. Pupek (ring bearer and flower girl too!)

cutting the cake... "I want to grow old with you"!

And here we are today ... 5 years later with our newest additions!!! Just gotta love the path that life leads you down!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A day of massages and music

Ha ... most of you probably read that title and thought .."WHAT.. Christine is getting a massage in Russia"? Well... I wish that were true but it was actually Mr. Roman who got the massage!!! When we got to the baby home this morning for our visit Svetlana said they would be bringing Max but that Roman was scheduled for his massage ... apparently they get massages at the baby home for circulation and health! Since we were there they brought him to play .. he was NOT a happy camper but if you took me out of line while I was waiting my turn for a massage I wouldn't be happy either!!! When his turn came ... they came to get him and after his massage they brought him back and he was in a much better mood! I mentioned this to Stephen on the way home and he said "well you are usually in a better mood after you get a massage so stands to reason he would be" ... was that Stephen's way of telling me to get more massages ....hmmm I'll have to think about that!!! The best part was when he was walking to get his massage the woman asked him what he was doing and he clearly told her "Mama and Papa" .. yay he knows who we are!!!

Max was his usual curious self today ... it was nice to play with him for a few minutes by himself ... we don't usually get to do that since he comes in 2nd and is always the first to leave. He was having a good time with Stephen's cell phone and really liked listening to the music ... that's why the cell phone is up to his ear in the picture below ... he's listening to the music!!! He is so cute how he comes in the room and then scootches himself into one of our laps ... what a cuddly little monkey ... I can't wait to get him home and just watch him blossom!!!

Oh and before we left the director brought in the 2 cameras we left for each of the boys back in March ... not sure how many pictures they took but it's GREAT we got them back and give us hope that we will get the picture albums, stuffed dogs and other toys and clothes we have sent!!! We shall see.... I hope we do just because those things will have the smell of the baby home and since that scent is familiar to the boys it should help on the plane and while we are in Moscow... fingers crossed!

Pictures from the day!!!

Roman getting his massage

Max listening to music on Papa's cell phone

Roman and Mama

Max and Papa

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

7 month letter from Russia

Yikes .. in all the excitement of seeing the boys and getting to post pictures of them I totally forgot that November 3rd was time for our 7 month letter! I am thrilled to be able to write this months letter while we are in Russia with them and knowing that yesterday, November 3rd we got to see them!!!! So here's what we have 7months after our first trip to Russia to meet Roman and Max and accept our referral for them to be our sons.

Dear Roman and Max,

November 3, 2009 ... we have COMPLETED our court date and officially become your parents as of Friday, October 30th! Your Papa and I were very excited to hear the judge announce that from this day forward you would be officially known as Roman Robert Pupek and Maxim Vincent Pupek and that we would be known as your parents in every way!!! It was a day we looked forward to over the last 7 months and the day we worked so hard to get to ... the day you would officially be ours forever and be coming home with us!!!

Papa and I have been here for over a week and most of that time has been spent with you and getting to know you and you getting to know us! We are having a great time playing with you and it seems you are really enjoying all the toys we bring to you!

Roman - you are the curious one of our bunch ... you like to explore what we have and this week you have begun to play with things that aren't "toys" but are fun to have anyway ... you were really interested in Mama's chapstick on Monday and Tuesday you were all about having Papa's cellphone and wearing it around on your belt like he does. You are a chatterbox! We aren't sure if you are always saying words but you do talk up a storm and you are beginning to repeat words we say in English! You love to play with the shape puzzel and have gotten very good at putting it together! You are also good at sharing the toy cars with Maxim... when he comes into the room you immediately go up to him and give him a car ... you are a good brother!!! You are also beginning to smile and giggle with us ... you like to laugh at Mama when she does crazy things .. that's good because Mama is always doing something crazy at home so you'll be laughing LOTS!!! At the end of each visit you give lots of hugs and kisses ... nice big HUGS ... and say "dysvidania" and wave as you walk out the door ... always knowing we will be back tomorrow or the next day!!!

Maxim - you are still are quiet observer! You are very funn with your "little old man walk" ... you love to come into the room and look at the toys and you have been going to find the animal puzzle and you like to play with that. If you love that puzzle you are going to love your room because we have lots of jungle animals in there just waiting for you!!! You haven't said anything since we started to visit with you but you keep watching us and looking at everything that goes on so we know one day you will share your voice with us. Not to worry though Papa says he was the same way when he was your age and now Mama can't get him to be quiet ... he's a huge talker ...epecially in the early morning when Mama is still asleep!!! Yesterday we were able to get a little smile out of you so we know you are having a good time with us and we know once we get home you are going to just open up and show us who you really are!!!

We are having so much fun with you boys and can't wait until November 11th when we will come to the baby home one final time to see you and when we leave we will all leave together ... FOREVER A FAMILY!!! There are so many people at home waiting to meet you and counting the days until we arrive at JFK and they can see your cute little faces!!!

We love you,
Mama and Papa

Together AT LAST!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Papa's Cellphone

Our visit today went VERY well! Both boys come into the room excited to see us and Roman always has a big smile on his face!!! He was very excited about the new toys but his favorite toy today was Papa's blackberry! He was busy typing on it and carrying it around with him! When he noticed that Stephen wears it on his belt ..well then he wanted Stephen to help him put it on his pants as well! We got a giggle out of Max today and a hint of a smile!!! The pajamas he has on today are ones we sent in June so at least we know his clothes will fit! People have asked why Roman is always in shorts .. the baby home is VERY hot so alot of the kids are in shorts ... not sure why Max isn't but he's always bundled up .. usually with tights under his pants and a onesie under his t-shirt ... I think he has an extra 5lbs in bulk just from his clothes!!!

A few shots from today!!!

Fun with Papa

Mr. Giggle Pants

Don't mess with me ... I have parents!!

The funny story we heard today at the baby home was that Max got into a "little row" with 2 other children in his grupa... not sure if this is really true but the told us that Max was the "bully" and it's because he now has parents ... really... but he's just 18months old and I'm not sure how much of this he understands!!! He's always so gentle and good when he's with us .... time will tell but he is coming up on the terrible two's!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Today we journeyed out to baby home #6 for our visit with Max and Roman. We had a great time and the boys seemed to remember who we were even though we didn't see them for 3 days!!! Roman has LOTS of fun going through the toy bag we bring but since we had already emptied he went through the side pockets and found my chapstick, hand sanitizer, gum and tissues. I was able to get all but the chapstick away so the chapstick became the toy OF THE DAY ... I think he enjoyed putting the cap on and off. Tomorrow I will make sure all the goodies are out of the bag!!! Here are the brothers hanging out together!!!

We then spent the afternoon driving around with Svetlana as she delivered paperwork for us and another family who will be arriving in a few weeks to adopt 3 children! It beat sitting in the apartment all afternoon and she's always a hoot to spend time with. Our reward for being such good helpers was a little taste of home ....

Only 9 days to go until we pick up the boys and head to Moscow!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First Weekend in Yekaterinburg

This is our first full weekend here and we spent most of the weekend exploring the sights around the city! First thing first... it's COLD here ... and not just a little COLD but cold like January is in New York.... on Saturday we walked down to Cathedral of Blood .. this is where the czar and his family were killed and then they built a cathedral on the sight. We got to see a wedding party in front taking pictures! On our way back to the apartment we walked through a street fair .. kind of like a farmers market ...lots of produce,eggs and fish and I mean FISH ... like whole fish and the sellers had scales that they would weigh your products on!! There were also sweaters, scarves and a collection of winter items for sale (boots, hats, mittens) it was very cool!

Today,Sunday, we walked down to the Park Inn. We were looking for a toy store that another family had found when they were here in April/May but no luck! We did stop in to the Park Inn for lunch .. they have an english menu and the food is pretty good so for a taste of home we had burgers and fries! Our walk back to the apartment included a stop by the Greenwich .. this is the large supermarket down the street from our apartment ... seems like we are there every other day and today we stopped for some water (we buy this in bulk since we drink ALOT of water and you can't drink for the tap) we also got some chicken and lettuce!! You have to pay for the bags and I guess the checker didn't understand we wanted one bag so it was NO BAG FOR US so while Stephen carried the water I carried the lettuce and chickne!! Oh and it was snowing so it make the walk more fun!!!

Here are some pictures of our sights over the last few days!

This is our apartment building ... we are on the 3rd floor!

Cathedral of Blood

Our Sunday in the Snow!!

Last ... the market we go to daily ... it's in a mall!!!