Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We're so used to cutting things up in little bites for our children. Then came Andrei. He's not a big fan of having things cut up. He likes to just pick it up and dig right in. He does it with fruit. Last night it was a hot dog. And tonight it was corn-on-the-cob. He wanted nothing to do with the corn that Clarion had cut off the cob and put on his plate. He was reaching for a corn-on-the-cob. And he ate it! He's doing fairly well with food. He doesn't seem to be a big fan of meat, but it's probably because it's so new to him. Slav was like that too, and still is in many respects. Meat just isn't his favorite. I don't even think it's the taste. I think it's the texture.

Anyway, back to Andrei. All is going very well. We all seem to be adjusting nicely. Clarion took Andrei to the IA doctor in St. Louis last week for his first visit. Miraculously, he didn't need any vaccinations. Thanks to Sasha for translating his vaccination record from Russian into English. It proved enormously helpful at the doctor. They did, of course, have to draw blood. That he didn't like. But the doctor said that Andrei is quite healthy, just really really small, like off the charts small for his age. So, we've got him on Pediasure and are making sure he gets the foods and nutrients he needs to grow. He saw the dentist also last week and got a good report. Next week is the appointment with the eye doctor.

Wednesday Clarion will be going to our home study agency for a post-placement visit. The state of Illinois requires a post-placement report within a month of coming home. We expect it to go well. Andrei is an active boy, but we've had good training in that with Sergei, who remains very active. Clarion is enjoying her maternity leave and is definitely bonding with our new addition.

Prayers to all of you who are waiting and especially to the Booths who are in Vlad for court and for Kyle and Ashley who will soon be leaving for Vlad for court. God bless you all.


Joel, Clarion, Slav, Sergei & Andrei

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Sorry for the delay in posting! It's been quite busy since our return. We made it home on Saturday instead of Friday. Our plane from Moscow to New York was delayed by only ten or fifteen minutes, but it was late enough to make our already tight connection pretty much impossible. Unfortunately Delta had no more flights out to St. Louis that night, so we had to spend the night in New York. We also had to transfer from JFK to LaGuardia in order to fly out the next morning. Oh well, we made it. Andrei's Mama, brothers, grandparents, and his aunt and uncle were waiting for us at the airport. He is doing very well. We'll post more later. For now, enjoy the pics!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Finally Heading Home

Today is the day! I have waited for this day for a long time. It is the day I bring home my son, Andrei. His Mama and brothers cannot wait to see him. We cannot wait to see them as well. I am filled with all sorts of emotions this morning. It has been an incredible trip to be sure. While I am thrilled to be going home, I am quite melancholy at the same time. Russia is special to us. We have three wonderful boys from this country. We have seriously awesome friends here: Nadya, Irina, Lana, and Sasha to name a few. I don't know when I'll be back here. I hope to return within a couple of years, but that's doubtful. It is doubtful that we will adopt from here again, but not completely out of the picture. Who knows what the good Lord has in store. I'd love to return for some mission work, perhaps to do something for orphans. I don't know. I'm glad to be going home, but I feel the sadness of saying goodbye. Go figure! We've spent so much time here the last few years that it almost feels like a second home. Goodbye to all my Russian friends! We love you dearly! Hope to see you in the near future!



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Silly Boy

Things are going great here in Moscow! Got Andrei's visa yesterday.  Our coordinator is registering him at the consulate today.  We'll get his passport back on Thursday.  Outta here on Friday!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Great Weekend in Moscow

It's been a great few days in Moscow. Andrei continues to make progress. Every day he comes a bit further out of his shell. He is definitely a two year old little boy. He no longer just sits calm and still and quiet. He's all over the place. When he gets into some mischief and I say, "Nyet," he just smiles that sweet little smile, like an innocent little cutie who couldn't possibly do anything wrong. What a stinker! Actually, it's been a lot of fun to see his personality come to the forefront. Things that described him in his medical report and in his profile on the Russian orphan database are starting to make a bit more sense. At first, it seemed like they characterized him all wrong. Nope. Not at all. He's definitely active, struggles a bit getting to sleep, and is a happy child. We saw none of that during our first and second trip visits. But now the real Andrei is showing himself. Very cool.

Moscow has been a nice change of pace from Vladivostok. We love Vlad and cherish our time there, but it is definitely cool to have a change of scenery. Our dear exchange student from last year, Nadya, took a 12-hour train ride from her hometown to come visit us for a few days. It's been so awesome to see her again and for her to get to meet Andrei. We haven't been too adventurous in taking Andrei out and about. Sightseeing with a two year old who has not even been with us a week certainly presents its challenges. Mom has been kind to watch Andrei during naps and down time so that I could do some sightseeing with Nadya as my guide. Nadya took me on the Metro a couple of times and we visited Red Square and some other places. It's a plus if you can have a native Russian speaker with you when seeing Moscow! Thanks, Nadya!

Today we finally all ventured down to Red Square together. We just spent a couple hours there. Mom has some challenges with walking, and of course, Andrei is just a little guy, so we took it easy today. It was nice. This weekend was a huge celebration for the birthday of Moscow. There is a lot of stuff set up in Red Square, so you have to walk around it all when seeing the sights there. We did the obligatory picture in front of St. Basil's today, although we may return in a couple of days to try that again. Andrei's face isn't even clearly visible in the picture. Might have to have a redo. All in all, it was a nice day today. We'll be venturing over there again Wednesday and or Thursday.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is our appointment at the American Embassy for Andrei's IR-3 visa. Sasha will pick Andrei and me (and another family) up tomorrow morning for that. Hopefully, if it goes like it did for our last adoption, it will be short and sweet. We'll spend a little more time with Nadya tomorrow afternoon before she boards her train home. It'll be tough to say goodbye to her once again not really knowing when we'll see her again. She's such a part of our family! She spent a bit of time reading nursery rhymes to Andrei in Russian. Very cool.

Some of our highlights from the last couple of days...
-Andrei charming all the ladies on the hotel staff.
-Nadya taking me to the wrong Metro stop.
-Cramming into a Metro train like a sardine.
-Red Square with Andrei, Mom & Nadya.
-Teasing Nadya in person.
-Watching Andrei blossom.
-Andrei on Skype with his Mama, Grandpa, and older brothers.

That's pretty much where we're at for now. I definitely miss Clarion, Slav and Sergei more than I can even put into words. Can't wait to have our whole family together soon. Nevertheless, we're here in Moscow until Friday, so I'm sure we'll have more adventures to report in the days ahead. Paka paka from Moscow!


Joel, Andrei & Babushka

Friday, September 2, 2011

Safe in Moscow

Hey Blog World. Just a quick note to let you know that we are safe in Moscow. Andrei did very well on the almost 9-hour flight. We've basically been resting up and taking walks. We'll probably do some sightseeing this weekend. Then we'll do another post with some Moscow pics. Andrei is doing very well, definitely coming out of his shell. He smiles and grins and even blurts out something once in a while. He is a good eater and a good sleeper. Today our exchange student from last year, Nadya, arrives in Moscow to spend the weekend with us. We are very excited to see her. I'll post again soon. We have a nice free WIFI connection in our hotel lobby. We are at the Marriott Renaissance in Moscow by the way. Very nice hotel. And their hotel shuttle will drop you off right by Red Square. Pretty cool. More later!


Joel, Andrei & Babushka