Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fish Bowls, Field Trips, and Full bags of trash

I must start by explaining something:  I live in what I call a "fish bowl."  I do my best to be real, honest, and sincere...but sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut.  Sometimes I want to put blinds up in my fish bowl or hide under a rock (thanks for the metaphors, friend).  Sometimes living in my fish bowl is just difficult.  Now, hear me, I would NOT change it for the world.  I love my life, and more importantly I love MY GOD who gave me the bowl where I live.

All of that to say, I'm sorry if I was offensive in my last post about being overwhelmed.  I simply was trying to live open and honest.  Thanks for understanding.

Now, on to the real stories:

Last weekend was Love Shack (a Senior High retreat at church where we talk about love, sex, dating, and marriage - not in that order).  Thanks to my incredible in-laws (Nana and Pop) I was able to go for a while Friday evening to be with everyone...then I was able to lead the girls in a little discussion on Saturday morning.  I love these girls.  It was great to be with them. 

After enjoying them, Sveta and I drove to Greenwood.  We were able to hang out with Berea, Noah, and Jess...and our Russian friends.  Sveta and Andrusha played great together.  It was interesting to see her use some English and Russian with a little boy that is a Russian speaker.  He would give her something and she would say, "thank you."  CUTE.  We got to see Poppy (Jim) for a few minutes...long enough to ask him for candy...and then we stopped to see Baba (April) and Granny (Jo).  I think we brightened their difficult day...so I'm thankful for that.  Plus, I enjoyed seeing them!

Sunday was a day full of church.  Sveta and I went to Batesville, where she enjoyed the preschool class and singing songs.  Then it was time to just be at home for a bit before church in the evening.  Barry let me listen to the sermon, and he took Sveta to play with the other kids (for a bit).  Dinner was fabulous with the Porter family...Sveta really likes Pastor Jon.  She has him wrapped around her little finger too...he's kind of a sucker for little girls (he's got 3 you know). And, I have decided that Kate should come over this summer to just play with Sveta and let me get things done.  She's GREAT with her!

Yesterday was fabulous:  Sveta and I took Griffen for a walk in the morning, and when we got the mail upon our return, we received Sveta's certificate of citizenship.  I thought it would take a LOT longer.  YAY!!! Barry took the afternoon off, so we had a little bit to just be together while Sveta was asleep.  Then we all went and flew a kite and played at the playground.  We came home and Sveta and I made a casserole together.  She was a good helper.  TOO cute. 

Today is library day, and tomorrow is the day where I take Sveta to do something fun, or just out of the norm.  It's what I'm calling our "field trip day."  I need some ideas on where to go, or what to do.  Leave comments, give me ideas, help me out here!!  :)

One more thought::  If you make $35,000 in a year, you are in the top 4% of the world's WEALTHIEST people.  If you make $50,000 in a year, you are in the top 1% of the world's WEALTHIEST people.

So, when you are about to think that you don't have enough, or it isn't fair that you didn't __________.  Think about the 96%.  And, if you don't make that much, you probably make pretty close to that...so don't think you are poor either.  Cause, guess what, if you are reading this, it pretty much means you aren't poor.  At least in regard to the rest of the world. 

I've been pondering this a LOT, and after reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker, I have been struggling with the excess I have in my life.  And, trust me, there's a TON! Yesterday, was garbage day, and we had 3 trash bags.  What?  We used to only have 1.  How do we have so much trash all of a sudden?? EXCESS. 

So, if you think of it, be praying for us as we figure out how to tackle excess, AND, pray that God would show you how to handle yours.

Love to all.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ok, so it's been almost a week.  Sorry.

Saturday Sveta turned 4.  She got to play with some new friends.

Sunday we had a little party...complete with chocolate cake and too many presents.

She's begun sleeping on the couch at nap time, without screaming.  Today she let me rock her first.  That was good, because she's been on an "I want to do it myself" kick. 

Tuesday we went to the library.  She only yelled once.  She got excited about an animal poster.

Wednesday we went to church in the evening.  CRAZINESS.  She did well...I did not.  Overwhelmed to say the least.  I will be staying home for a while. Late night...no bath, different routine.  Not fun.

This morning I was able to watch my friend's little girl, Ally for the morning.  The girls played well, but wore me out.  Sveta didn't do well with lunch today at all.  It was later than normal, Barry wasn't able to come home, and she didn't like that I didn't have potato soup for her to eat (sorry, but you can't live on it child).

She's asleep now...and I'm about to be.  This week has been Barry's first full week back at work, and this weekend there is a retreat for the Senior Highers.  Which means: I need to nap now before I don't have the chance again. 

Night night.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Barry and Sveta are out for their Friday morning Papa and Daughter date...and I'm at home.  It's quiet, and peaceful, and no one is yelling "mama, come." 

I'm happy.  I L.O.V.E. hearing, "mama, come."  But, I also, enjoy a bit of time to myself.  I might even shower without hearing Sveta ask Barry where I am.  Cute.

Sveta is doing extremely well.  I'm going to try and just give a list of random things she says, or does that I think are adorable (sorry if you don't find them quite as endearing as I do).

1. English words: She can count to 10 (most of the time), say her abc's although it's not clear, says to Griffen: come, lay down, good boy, sit; animals: lion, sheep, dog, cat, owl, bird, fish, horse, pig; random words: girl, doll, please, thank you, you're welcome, stand, bath (loves them still), chocolate, candy, o's (cheerios), tree, blue, green, red, light, kite, knuckles, give me five, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, shoes, lemon, book, ball, baby, cup, fork, knife, spoon, water, apple, duck, leaf, bear, tongue, laugh, happy, sad, socks, clock, tv, computer, telephone, hot, basement, pizza, pasta, cheese, frog, ambulance, cow, chick, zebra, sun...she's only been with us for 2 and a half weeks.  Incredible.

2. She now sleeps with the pencil she got from Dr. Hodson's office on Wednesday, and a magnet that says "BIG SKY."  (It's from a ski resort in Montana, where Barry's sister Jill lives). 

3. She LOVES to ride in the car.

4. When Barry is at church she tells me that "Papa sad" because he's at church without us.

5. Thankfully, we borrowed some new movies from Jack and Ally McNealy (and their parents) and we didn't have to watch Strawberry Shortcake again!!  YAY!

6. Sveta asks for candy after every meal...even after she ate a donut for breakfast (Thanks Jon for the donuts). 

7. Whenever she sees kids she gets really really excited.

8. She still LOVES Griffen.  Last night while watching Aladdin she was leaning on him completely and he just laid there.

9. She's still coughing a bit, but the fever is GONE!!

10. Today is her last day as a 3-year-old.  Tomorrow, my baby girl is already 4.  Oh, and if you call her baby girl, she tells you she's not a baby.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The last few days have been interesting:

Sveta went to her pediatrician for the first time on Monday.  She did GREAT.  And, we LOVE her pediatrician.  We have an appointment with the International Adoption Clinic at Riley in a few weeks...this will help us determine which vaccines to give, etc.

Tuesday afternoon Sveta said her head hurt, and after feeling her head, I knew she had a temp.  Mama was right...tylenol here we come.  Except I bought the chewable kind to take on the plane.  She wouldn't take it.  Nor would she take it when I smashed it up and put it in juice.  She also told April on the phone (who was helping us so that Sveta would understand why she had to take the meds) that she was not sick.  She's a bit stubborn.  So, Papa, being the amazing man that he is, ran to the store for liquid tylenol.  And she slurped it right up. 

She slept through the night, but because she started coughing, and the fever was still sticking around...we took trip 2 to her pediatrician (she's in Greenwood...about an hour away).  She had a strep culture...it was negative.  Turns out it is viral, and that's why her throat hurts.  Tylenol seems to be keeping the fever down, but she's a bit more whiny today than usual (rightfully so). 

On a completely different note...Barry and I are incredibly grateful that we are home with Sveta.  We've heard some news about adoptions potentially being suspended in Russia soon.  The bill just has to pass in the Duma.  We are praying that it doesn't pass.  If adoptions are suspended, it will cause more and more families to have issues who are already in the process of adopting, and it will cause others not to even try.  What is so sad, is that so many children who could benefit, won't because of the suspension.

I know there isn't much I can do to help those who are in process and are praying that they can get their child home before adoptions are suspended...but I can:

1. Raise awareness and ask people to pray.  So, here's what we need: PRAYER.  People to get on their knees for these families, for the government officials (Russian and American) who are making these decisions, and for the precious children of Russia to be protected by our Lord and Savior as He is in control of this.
2. Financially help these families so that they can travel back and forth as needed to finish their process as quickly as possible.  Here's how I'm going to do this (since I do not have money growing on trees):

I sell Pampered Chef.  I'm going to do a fundraiser show and donate the proceeds to a specific family that has stolen my heart.  Their story is incredible. (http://www.ourheartforadoption.blogspot.com/) If you want to be part of this...please visit http://www.pamperedchef.com/ to write down what you'd like to purchase.  I will be closing the party on Friday, February 24th.  Just send me a message here on the blog, on facebook, or call, email, or text me to let me know what you would like to purchase. 

Oh, and if you purchase something...I'll be doing a drawing for a few free prizes from those that decide to buy/give!!  The prices will include::
1. Classic Batter Bowl
2. Easy Read Measuring Cups
3. A tasty dessert sauce of choice
4. A Surprise or 2

Also, I'll be giving my host benefits to one of you!  :)  Let me know what you need, and you'll be helping bring another former orphan into his family.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Don't have a ton of time...Strawberry Shortcake will be over soon and it will be bed time for all three of us!  :)  Yes, I realize it is only 8:18, but today started at 5:45am with Sveta saying "Mama."  After I said, "da" she said in plain English, "cheese."  Apparently she woke up hungry. 

So we fed her cheese, and then she wanted potatoes, which was really a soup with broccoli and carrots.  She ate that around 7am. 

She's doing really well overall.  Really well.  She has a doctor's appointment on Monday, so that'll be a long day.  And Mama and Papa are just tired, and busy chasing and taking pictures of her.  She loves when Papa plays the guitar, and she enjoyed him a lot today! 

She also LOVES bath time and still asks for one multiple times a day.  We are trying hard to stick to somewhat of a schedule.  I think she's getting used to things.  We love her...a TON.

Hope to post pics soon, but I can't figure out Barry's incredibly organized filing system.  I don't know how to use it yet!  :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"I'm Leavin' on a Jet Plane...don't know when I'll be back again."

The last few nights have been wonderful!  Sveta slept for 11 hours straight last night…and it was WONDERFUL!  We are grateful that she is getting rest.  She needs it.

Our adoption paperwork is now completed and we are preparing to travel home.  We aren’t going to post a specific time, or day for that matter, but just a simple…we are soon headed that way and will be home by the end of the week.

Our reasoning, honestly, for not posting flight information, etc, is because we don’t really want everyone who has access to this blog (everyone in the WORLD) to welcome us home.  We want it to be quiet around our house for a while…not only for our own sanity (there will be lots of laundry and catch up to do), but also for Sveta.  She needs to continue to bond with us, and only us for a while. 

We desire so much for everyone to meet her, but it has to be the right time.  She’s so friendly, and we want her to know that we are Mama and Papa and we aren’t leaving her.  Then we can introduce her to you. 

We’re going to leave you with a newly created list of things “to do” and what “NOT to do.”   We hope that it is helpful and not upsetting to you.  Please remember that we are so grateful for your support as we brought Sveta home, and we still need your love and support as we make sure that bonding, attachment, and transitioning goes well.  This is just one more way we are asking for your love and support.  Soon, she will be running around, and it will seem as though she’s always been here!  (again, we’ve adapted this from Jen Hatmaker (if you’ve not read her new book 7: An Experimental Munity Against Excess, do it) http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2011/11/02/how-to-be-the-village)

Things you could do:
1.     Bring us a meal. Talk with Katie McNealy or drop a gift card off in the mailbox so we can just run and pick something up!  To avoid the stress of Sveta having to meet lots of people, we have asked that meals be taken to the church for Barry to bring home with him.  The meal would be HUGELY appreciated, and the recipe with it would be awesome too (I can’t wait to cook again!). 
2.     Offer to help.  Call or text to see if we need something from the store while you are there.  Take our laundry home to do so we can spend more time together.  Come over and wash our dishes, clean our toilets, sweep our floors, etc. Offer to go to the church to run copies for Barry.  There are many things that will take our time away from Sveta, and anything that you can do to allow us to be her primary caregivers would be AWESOME.
3.     Spend time with us.  Ask if we can chat after Sveta is asleep, or see if Barry or I could come out to lunch, dinner, breakfast, tea, etc for an hour.  We will need our family and friends, and their companionship.  We have missed you terribly, and will want to spend time with you even if it isn’t as much as it used to be! 
4.     Tell us how our adoption story has affected you.  Maybe you have a pull to adopt, or a desire to help others do so.  Maybe you want to volunteer at the Pregnancy Care Center to help mothers who are struggling with how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.  Etc.  We would be so blessed to hear how our story is crossing into yours.  One of our biggest blessings in this process has been sharing stories with an adoptive family who lives down the street…and how our stories overlap is a constant reminder of our BIG God.

Please DO NOT do/say these things:
1.     Ask “when are you finally going to let me/us meet Sveta?”  We want you to meet her.  We want her to meet you.  We just don’t want to overwhelm her with that amount of love.  She’s already overwhelmed enough, and needs to know us, and her extended family before she’s introduced all over the place.

2.     Stop by our house without an invitation. We know you might just want to pop in to drop off a gift, or dinner, but we are going to be trying to establish a routine and a comfortable place for Sveta to call home.  She’s had revolving caregivers, and if our door revolves with people in and out, she will likely not realize that this set up is permanent.  That her Mama and Papa are constants, and that we aren’t going anywhere.

3.     Do not hug, kiss, touch, hold, or use physical affection with Sveta…for a while.  Maybe even the next few months.  We know how much you love her.  You’ve cried, prayed, hoped, wished, etc for her as well.  You are a gift to her and to our family.  We are grateful.  But, again, she needs to bond with us first and foremost before having confusing messages about whom she should show affection to.  We don’t know what was required of her before, and we want to erase the need to show affection to all adults (I’m sure you can imagine why).  Now, if you have children, and our little Sveta decides to hold their hands and hug on them…that’s a different story.  Don’t prevent your children from doing so, but also don’t force them to try and hug her.  J

4.     Don’t assume that now that we are home (almost) that everything is PERFECT. Yes, the journey to bring Sveta home is complete (soon)…but this redemption story isn’t over.  God still has a lot to accomplish with this story, and it’s not going to just be easy.  I guarantee your life isn’t just easy either.  That doesn’t mean we want to return to a different life, or that we’d change it for anything.  We are following Jesus, and most times, that path isn’t paved or comfortable.

5.     Don’t forget we exist.  We know that this process has been great to watch…but it isn’t over.  We still need you!

“…we hope you see that we serve a faithful God who heals and actually sets the lonely in families, just like He said He would. And even through the tears and tantrums (ours), we look at our children and marvel that God counted us worthy to raise them. We are humbled. We’ve been gifted with a very holy task, and when you help us rise to the occasion, you have an inheritance in their story; your name will be counted in their legacy.

Thank you for being the village. You are so important.”   - Jen Hatmaker (she said it better than we could have!)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It’s bath time for Sveta (Sunday evening).  She loves baths.  Mama and daughter play for a while.  Sveta looks over and over again at the colorful bath toys with pictures of a dog, a light, a boy, a girl, a kite, a doll, and a frog.  Mama will ask, “where is the dog?”  And Sveta will look at the toys stuck to the side of the tub … then point and say excitedly, “dog!”  She’s right nearly all the time as she points. (Given that the ‘doll’ is also a ‘girl’). 

After playing a few more minute Jessi will give her a good wash.  Then the PJs are on.  This time the bed clothes arrived after Steva turned around just after she got into the bathroom and called, “Papa, ‘odeshda’” (Papa, clothes).  That’s my bath time role for now.

We’ve created a simple power point presentation with a few pictures.  They show her the routine leading up to bedtime.  There is an image of the bath.  An image of TV.  Other images.  Then an image of the bed.  We show this to her between each of the stops on the path to the bed.  I’m not sure it’s helped her sleep, but she seems to understand what does come next.

Bed time is difficult.  She sobbed and moaned and even screamed for about an hour and a half last night.  We’ve discovered she didn’t have a fear of the bedroom itself.  But other than that, we are nearly clueless.  Is she just stubborn?  Is she fighting us?   Is she fighting sleep?  Were caregivers at night not nice to her?  Is it the big bed?  Is it the fact that she may have never seen an adult sleep … and here are two in bed with her?  Is it unfamiliar sounds?  Is it unfamiliar smells?  Sights?  Is it a pain from missing friends from the baby house?  Or what combination of these thoughts and others?

Today we moved to a different apartment.  The adoption agency found us an incredible deal on this place on Arbot Street.  The apartment we were in was very nice.  Two bedrooms – which we only used one as the other had a large window providing both a great view and an even better draft. 

It is currently Monday morning (some of you might even still be at Super Bowl parties) and we had the best bedtime last night of all the nights.  A few nights ago, Barry had the brilliant idea of putting a little picture slideshow together to help Sveta understand the bedtime routine (bath, cartoon, etc).  We have been using it, but realized that when we say "spat" and point to the bed she whines and repeats something over and over.  We called April via Skype and had her listen to what Sveta was saying.  Apparently she was saying she can't sleep because she needs a little bed, she can't sleep because she doesn't have a little bed.  SO good to finally know why she was so upset at bedtime.

Barry walked around the apartment we are in looking for a way to create a "little bed."  He was successful, and showed Sveta.  She didn't show any emotion about the little bed.  So, bedtime came, and she let me pick her up...out in TWO MINUTES!!  I held her a little longer and then laid her in her little bed.  It was probably around 10:15pm.  No tears, no screaming, not a peep.  She just curled up.  And I laid in my big bed next to my husband.  And it was great.

Let me back track and try to tell you more about the last few days.  I don't think it's going to be in any order (although, I'll try to start on Friday and think through things about each day)...so bear with the bullet points of random information.  It's been busy around here chasing an extremely active little girl and making sure that she's doing well.  We haven't had much time to blog.

1. Friday at 11:00 we were escorted by a rep from our agency to the US Embassy.  It took us about 7 minutes to walk there.  (We can see the Embassy across the street from the window of our new apartment).  We bypassed the long line at security and they let us in.  We paid, and waited for our name to be called.  Window 3.  The lady who conducted our "interview" was Cathy.  She was GREAT!  She made us raise our right hands and promise to tell the truth.  We did.  Then we were asked a few questions, and Barry signed a few papers.  Barry held Sveta up for her picture to be taken and then the lady said we'd "passed" or something like that.  She gave us lots of information about what to do when we arrive in America, and how to help get through faster! (This ends our part of the business stuff to get done before going home)

2. One of the days we ran out of bananas.  Sveta, in her little Russian voice, told Papa he needed to go to the store to buy bananas.  It was too cute.  Of course, he went.

3. Saturday we had some friends visit.  Beta, Megan, and Ksusha came from Vladimir to see us.  We met them at Red Square (we walked about 20 minutes to get there).  We ate in "goom" and warmed up.  Then we went out and took family pictures in front of St. Basil's.  Then we rode the metro back to the apartment we are in.  Ksusha is awesome (she's an interpreter for the team) and read a book to Sveta about the airplane.  She said over and over as she read how much she LOVED airplanes!  It was great.  And since Mama wasn't feeling well, it was nice to have others around to help with the little ball full of energy. :)

4. We are ready to come home!  Won't be long now!!  :) YAY!!!

That's all I can think of for now.  Will write more later hopefully.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tears. Fears? And a hairbrush!

Greetings everyone.  This is Barry.

Jessi and Sveta are taking a nap, so I will try to type fast.

She cried herself to sleep with Mama just now.  Mama sat on the bed holding her while rocking.  I sat next to them and sang.  She screamed.  And cried.  "I don't want to nap" she screamed in Russian ("nee we nada spot" is as close as I can get to explaining what that sounds like).   But now it's quiet and I have come to chat with you.

Tuesday morning we did pick our daughter up.  It was a nice visit at the baby house.  She said goodbye to her caretakers ... not even knowing what this goodbye means.  I cannot imagine how much her little mind is processing.  There is still some wonder in her eyes as she looks at us.  There is a sense of a honeymoon feeling.  But at least once she's asked to go back to her group at the baby house.  For the most part, she has been incredibly brave and very trusting.  

Like Jessi posted earlier, the process with the passport was taken over by God.  We are so thankful.  When Jessi returned from that adventure she found Sveta and I doing quite well.  We had drank some water, scribbled on old airline tickets, looked at the window and said "EE DEE SUE DAH, MAMA" (come mama) with smiles on our faces.  Then we drank more water ... clinking our glasses together saying "cheers".  No translation there.  We both said "cheers".  Then we hunted for mice in the hotel room ... we found two of them in a matching game that was laying on the bed.  We would have hunted for chickens, goats, and other animals ... but I only knew how to say mouse in Russian.

Jessi's return was nice.  Our friend, David, had ordered us pizza to be delivered.  When it arrived I took one bit and realized I was not feeling too well.  At 7:00pm started nearly the longest 24 hours of my life.  My theory: the chicken I ate for lunch at the hotel restaurant wasn't done clucking when I ate it.  I'll spare you any details on this.  

In that 24 hours we "slept".  Our daughter slept between us in the huge bed.  She held her hairbrush the entire time.  She's not a huge fan of the Teddy Bear we gave her before leaving the orphanage.  In fact, while Mama was our working on a passport, she threw the bear in a corner and yelled at it.  Then looked at me and gave me a speech.  No idea what the bear did, but I am glad I've not done the same.  But she woke every (what felt like) 10 minutes ... either because Papa was up and she had to know where I was or she was playing with her hairbrush (brushed mama's hair and papa's hair at least once at night).  

The alarm went off at 5:45am.  Our taxi arrived to pick us up at 6:30am.  I was very weak.  Our driver and Jessi carried most the luggage.  I sat in front and the girls in back for our 3+ hour ride to a doctors appointment in Moscow.  While stuck is horrific Moscow traffic Sveta cried.  After a while she couldn't keep a snack she'd had earlier down.  Her coat and most of her clothes were soiled.  Not to mention most of mama's outfit as mama had been holding her while she cried.  In the middle of a busy Moscow street 2.5 Americans were cleaning up.  There was not much we could do as most of her clothes were in the suitcase ... in the trunk.  Her PJs were the only thing accessible, so she’d see the doctor in those.

We arrived at the doctor: an exhausted little girl wrapped in a blanket, a weak father, and an amazing mama. 

The doctor came out and apologized that he’d not be able to see us.  A friend of his had died and he was going to be with the friend’s mother.  He told us he’d visit our apartment the next morning to check out our little girl.  We completely understood, but, of course, were a bit overwhelmed.  We learned later that the doctor’s friend was a doctor.  He was at a gas pump in Moscow when a drunk driver hit him.  We told him we were glad he was able to be with the family. 

When we finally arrived at our apartment I was beyond exhausted.  I have no idea what time we arrived.  I just know I laid in bed trying to sleep.  I felt miserable.  My body hurt.  I could hear my daughter and wife talking, laughing, and bonding.  I was so grateful, but it was torture to be laying there.  I just prayed and cried.  Finally I slept.

When I came out of the room I think it was around 7:00pm.  I felt a little better.  I ate a little.  The girls would soon prepare for bed.  I took some time to study our washing machine.  Cleaned up a little around the apartment.  And stared out our window at a frozen, but never sleeping, Moscow.  The street we’re on is similar to Times Square in New York.  Sirens.  Lights on buildings.  And in the distance a glow from Red Square.  We’re only close enough to see the spires on the Kremlin. 

The little one fell asleep on a couch.  Jessi and I snuggled up next to one another on the couch.  I asked her what day it is.  “It’s Wednesday.” 

We’re now most of the way through Thursday.  The girls are still napping with a hairbrush.  Clothes are drying.  Sirens still blast on the street below.  Pigeons can be heard cooing softly through the widow high above the hum of the busy street below. 

My girls are napping.  My head still throbs.  And I might be one of the happiest people on earth right now. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

She's OURS! She's finally with us.

It has taken a while for me to update because the last few days have been CRAZY!!  In a hardest and best days of my life kind of way.  I'll start at the beginning:

Tuesday morning Barry and I woke around 5:30am and packed up all that we could before heading out the door at 7:30.  We went to Gus, and upon arriving at the baby home were told that I needed to run out with V and the social worker to apply for something to do with Sveta's bank account (who knows).  Barry was to stay and play with Sveta.  Now, I'm sure that Barry was looking forward to this, but I was worried that he'd run out of energy because he's not been feeling well.  We started him on an antibiotic because he just wasn't feeling right.

So, off I went.  I sat in an office, showed my passport, and signed my name.  Something about going to the Consulate when we return home...not really sure, but another family has to do it too, so I'll ask them.  Barry and Sveta were having lots of fun wearing each others' hats and taking pictures when I returned.  We changed Sveta's clothes and played for a while while the social worker got some kind of papers ready for us.  She was able to give us more pictures than I expected, but less papers!

Sveta went upstairs to say goodbye to her friends, and she was smiley as she waved to them. We got her bundled up (the social worker took care of making sure her scarf and hat were on properly) and were out the door.  Barry and I just kept staring at her in between us and looking at each other and smiling.  Surreal.  Sveta didn't make a huge scene as we left, but as we drove huge crocodile tears fell down her cheeks.  They about killed us.

We drove to Vladimir and waited outside a building for Vita.  Sveta did SO well waiting!  Then it was to the hotel (because the passport was still with the head man).  At lunch in the cafe we laughed and laughed.  Sveta ordered herself tea, and biscuits with jam. I realized that she was asking the waitress for tea, and let her...but the women came back with more than that.  Sveta ate the jam with a spoon.  Barry and I both convinced her to share the jam and we ate the biscuits, because she didn't like them.

After lunch, Barry was on Sveta duty again because I had to be the one to get the passport since I applied for it.  So, V and I went with a gift.  She went in to the head man's office and convinced him to let us have the passport.  (It was ready, just needed his signature).  She got an ok, and as I was signing papers the man's secretary asked how V convinced him!  The lady said she was shocked he did it for us.  I told Vita that I had been sitting just praying for her and the man, and for Barry and Sveta...and as we walked away she was saying "thank you" and crossing herself.  God did this.  It's for His glory.  He did it.