Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sleep - It's Over Rated

Well, at least that is what Dennis and I are telling ourselves. We are not sure what the problem is, but Cassidy REFUSES to sleep. The battles begin as soon as she see's the bed. We understand it is unrealistic to expect that she will sleep through the night, or that she can sleep by herself (coming from sleeping with 11 other children) however, we did expect some sleep. Last night we gave her a bath, calmed down, and then pulled out the bed - only to have her go into a FIT of RAGE, screaming, crying, hitting, etc - Finally, somewhere after 2 hours of this, she finally calmed down and slept for 2 hours. Yes, you read right - 2 hours!!! And no, she has not slept since - Dennis and I had to take turns staying awake. As you can imagine, we are hoping that tonight is slightly different. So, that was the NOT so fun part of our evening, let me tell you about the funny part.

Cassidy can EAT!!! Between her brothers and her, Dennis and I will be working for the food bill. Last night she ate 2 helpings of carrots, a whole potato and 3 pieces of London Broil - and we had to stop her from more for fear her belly would get upset. Later that evening she had yogurt for snack. This is a good sign that hopefully she will put some weight on.
Currently, according to the orphanage she is a whopping 26lbs (seriously, her clothes are falling off of her). I brought all 4T's with us, and they are all TOO big. Thankfully her cords and jeans have the adjustable waist so we have tightened then as much as possible, tuck in her shirts, and roll up the bottoms.

Anyway, tonight is a new night, and I am sure a new battle. Hopefully Dennis and I will be able to implement some of the hard lessons we learned (from last night) to make tonight easier.

We will continue to keep you posted.
Stephanie (and Dennis)

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Thursday, November 27, 2008


While it is no longer Thanksgiving for us here in Russia we want to wish all our FAMILY & FRIENDS HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!

We have so much to be thankful for this year. We are truly blessed to have each and everyone of you in our lives. We look forward to sharing many more Thanksgivings together.

All our love,
Stephanie & Dennis

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brief visit today...

Today was a brief visit with Cassidy. We were only allowed to play outside with her today for 30 minutes. Something was going on in the "visitors" room, so we were not able to get a full visit in with her. But, we did have fun in the snow!!! She really likes the outside, and I think she is getting more comfortable with us by the way she has begun to test us as parents. It begins - The Battle of Wills!!! Somehow I think she believes since she is so cute she can get away with it. Little does she know!!!! HA HA HA

Anyway, here are some pictures from our visit with her yesterday. It was a fun day. It started by playing outside, then we moved inside and colored and listened to music.
We will post again soon with more updates!!! (BTW - only 2 more days until GOTCHA day!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ok.. I give in... The BOWS have it

For many of you who know me, I was never the girly-girl type. I much preferred jeans, t-shirts and sneakers then dresses, tights, and ponytails. Being over in Siberia has made me appreciate style much more then normal. (Now please - don't get me wrong, this wont change my style, I have just learned to appreciate it more) Everyone dresses up just to go to the market. Designer clothes are ALL over the place, and it is a HOT day in Siberia before women wear sneakers. Most wear VERY high-heeled boots through the winter in the snow & ice!! (GOD BLESS THESE WOMEN!!!)
Each day that we go to visit Cassidy, I am amazed at the number of women hiking up HUGE hills covered in ice & snow wearing designed coats, skirts and boots! More amazing are the kids at the orphanage. The kids all share their wardrobes (with the exception of a few pieces), but for the most part, they are well kept and well made. What I find the most amusing is the hair styles.
In a previous post, I was lamenting over this BIG WHITE BOW that Cassidy had in her hair. Well - Ladies & Gentlemen, I will NEVER, EVER say a thing about the big white bow again!!! I think this next pictures says it all!!!!

Yes, those are the latest fashion trends here. Dennis kept calling her Princess Cassidy - and trying to make her say "Help me Obi-One, your our only hope". It didn't really work, but he got a chuckle out of trying to get her to say it.
Anyway, we continue to keep ourselves amused. We are watching a lot of TV, and reading quite a bit. Tonight we are going out with Sveta & Oleg (Dasha is studying for finals) and then it is back to work for me (starting at 9pm local time).
Enjoy your day, and we will post soon.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Passport Picture Day

Today was our 1st day out with Cassidy. We took her to get her passport picture taken. She was very excited to go for a ride in the Machina (car) with us. She got to sit in between us with her eyes wide open!!! Everything was moving so fast.

After pictures we went back to the orphange and played a little longer with her. It is very difficult occupying a 3 year old in a small room for hours. We asked to take her outside but it was too late and getting close to the time we would have to leave.

We hope to be able to play outisde tomorrow (if it is nice enough).
Have a great day!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Do you know how many things you can make with play dough? Me... I can only make 2 recognizable things ( a snowman and a worm) - Daddy on the other hard can make dogs, cats, birds, turtles etc - the list goes on and on.

As you can imagine today was our "creative" day. We made animals, shapes, rolled the play dough out of the table - only to scrunch it all up and do it again. It was fun, and I think all 3 of us had a good time.

Anyway - News alert - BETTER BOWS today!!!! Much easier to handle.

We hope all is well back home and we can't wait to be able to post her face!!!!

Love Stephanie

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A visit with Cassidy....

I have to admit, I never laughed so hard as when I was getting scolded by a 3 1/2 year old (in Russian) over a BOW!!!! I know I should not have laughed, but you had to see her face. It all started when she came out with this HUGE bow in her hair. Now, Cassidy has very fine hair - and because of that they usually put her hair in pigtails (they stay in easier). But not today. Today she had a huge white bow on the top of her head, and every time she would tumble into the ball pit, or jump after the balloon it would fall out. Then she would pick it up, bring it to Dennis (and then Dennis sent her my way - he has no clue how to wrap a bow in her hair). So finally after the 3rd time, I just took it out of her hair and put it on the table. Well - Let's just say that is NOT how you do things at her children's home!!! Nyet Mama, NYET!!!! Then she started rambling (in Russian of course) then huffed, and stomped away from me. TOO FUNNY. Eventually I did have to put the bow back in her hair because she kept trying to do it herself and was obviously not going to give up until she completed her mission!!!

(just thought you might like to see how BIG the bow was - not exactly a child's size - HA HA)

Anyway, Dennis and I think she is starting to get used to us. We are trying to stay consistent with her schedule, and believe it or not, we have already had to tell her Nyet (No) a few times.

We can't wait for her to come home. Her brothers are going to go CRAZY over her.

We will continue to keep you posted.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

COURT Update

WE WERE APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously we still have the 10 day wait until we gain official custody of Cassidy but at least this stress is over. Court went very well. The judge was very nice, and Dennis got the majority of the questions. Thankfully Sveta prepared us for everything. We found out that not only did they speak to the birth mother, but they also had the grandmother and aunt sign a release waiver (just in case). So we are very happy!!! Soon we will be a family of 5.
Thank you everyone for all your support & prayers!!!
Love Stephanie & Dennis

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our Day with Cassidy

What an exciting day today was. It was the 1st time in 6 months that we got to see Cassidy Masha. I was soooo nervous that she may have changed, or that she would not want us there. Thankfully, my fears disinegrated withing minutes of being there. 1st - when she walked in the door and saw us, she started telling the care giver that her mama & papa were here. She played with us, laughed with us, she even let Dennis hold her most of the time (I think she may be a daddy's girl - and I think she already has papa wrapped around her little finger!)

Cassidy Masha has not gotten much bigger since the last time we saw her. She did however get new shoes - The outfit was the same, but the shoes were new.

Cassidy Masha definitly rememebered the backpack - she dove right into it. It was almost laughable. I didn't realize that we had not taken some of the chocolate candy out, and when she found it her eyes got wide. Unfortunately, I had to tell her Nyet - I don't think she was very happy with me at that moment. But, she did find Dennis's MP3 player again - and her and Papa danced away. Later, Cassidy Masha took Mama to play in the ball pit - she could not stop laughingh as we put our feet into the small ball pit and wiggles our toes around. Then the 3 of us played catch with a balloon and she could not stop cracking up!!!

Too soon it was time to leave - and all 3 of us were upset to go. We promised Cassidy Masha thst we would be back soon. Tomorrow is court and hopefully all will go well.

We thought we would include a teaser photo - we can't put her picture up on the blog yet, but hopefully in 2 weeks.

Say a prayer!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This post will be 1 word......


Friday, November 14, 2008

Medicals are DONE

We have finished one more step in the process. We have completed our Medical Evaluation at the Moscow downtown hospital. We have the documents in hand and we are ready to take another step towards bringing Cassidy home.

It was a long day at the hospital. We got there at 10am in order to be the 1st in line (evaluations start at 12pm). The process went relatively quickly. We had to see 7 doctors - and it only took a little over 2 hours. Not bad!!! There were 7 other couples behind us in line, so I was very happy that our interpreter got us there early.

Afterwards, we went out to lunch with our interpreter at a nice Italian restaurant - Il Patio. The food was good, and the company was enjoyable. It was nice to talk to our interpreter outside of the adoption process. She is a very nice woman, and I hope that we get to see her on the round trip back to Moscow with Cassidy.

This evening, Dennis and I ventured down the street to the KFC for dinner. I got a great picture of Dennis in front of the chicken!!!
Tomorrow is our big sightseeing day, so hopefully I will have lots more pictures to post then. Until then, some of these local (non exciting) pictures will have to do -

Enjoy for now, and we will post as soon as possible.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Privyet from Moscow

Privyet from Moscow.... This is our 1st official post. It is Nov 13th at 4:30pm (8:30am US Time)

We decided to fly Aeroflot for the WHOLE journey. I must say - the food on Aeroflot is MUCH better then the food you would get on Delta, Continental, etc. The flight was uneventful - no movies were offered, but I slept most of the way, and Dennis read and watched movies on the portable player.

We are staying at the Marriott Grand in Moscow. It is beautiful and only a few minutes walk from Red Square & the Kremlin. We can't wait to go tour - But for now, I think we are going to try and relax, grab something to eat, and just chill -

We will post some pictures as soon as we can.
Love Stephanie (and Dennis)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We are packed......

Yes, you heard me right - with one day to go, we are COMPLETELY packed. We were able to get everything into our 3 pieces of luggage. Go figure - I hope we packed heavy enough clothes. As the temperature changes here in NJ, so does it in Russia (except in Siberia there is usually a - in front of the #) HA HA HA.

Anyway, now that the packing is out of the way, it is on to the document review. I have to go through ALL the documents to make sure that we have EVERYTHING that we need. Including all the documentation for the kids school since we will be away for so long.

I have my list, I am checking it twice!!! Hope I don't forget anything.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Race against time.....

Race against time.... that is what I feel like right now. Everything has to get done, checked, and double checked. I finally got our suitcase packed last night. Dennis and I have taken everyone's advice and PACKED LIGHT! We are bringing only the bare essentials, and figure we can do wash while we are over there. All of our outfits are mix & match, so that helped save room. Closing the suitcase - 43lbs. 1lbs under the maximum weight!!! WHOOOO HOOOOO.

Next on the list is Cassidy's suitcase. Her's is going to be the most difficult. They told us we should bring 7 outfits for her, plus a plain white shirt for her passport picture. Also, she will need a full snowsuit & hats/gloves/scarfs (Those are not a problem). What is going to be a problem is deciding what to bring!!!! She has so much already. Her closet is a far cry from what she has now at the orphanage (3 outfits, 1 set of stockings, and 1 pair of sandals).

Hopefully we will be getting all this done within the next day because I would really like to be able to relax and get in one last FAMILY FUN DAY - (whether it be on a Sunday or Monday or Tuesday....)

We will continue to keep you posted.

Friday, November 7, 2008

CIS - Immigration

CIS - Immigration.....Those are the words that usually bring fear and dread into my heart. But NOT TODAY!!! I have to give Kudos to the CIS staff, they really went above and beyond the call of duty for Dennis and I. Let me tell you the story -

Yesterday, as I was packing up our documents for Russia, I realized that our old Immigration fingerprints expired, and the new ones would not be taken until the I-171H extension was completed. What does that mean??? That means we would not be able to bring Cassidy home because we were not "officially" cleared. So, I called the 800# for CIS and they told me that Dennis and I had to meet with a local field agent to figure out if there was anything we could do. We went on-line, made an appointment, and 2 hours later were travelling 45 minutes away to the field office. When we got to the field office they told us - oh no - we are your local field office but adoptions are only handled at the Adoption Unit in Newark, NJ. You have to call them. UGH!!! Ok - so, instead of leaving there and calling from home - I whipped out my handy dandy blackberry and called the 800# the CIS agent gave me - Ring.... Ring.... Ring.... no answer. Ring... Ring... Ri... Hello?

Finally, we get a Newark agent on the phone. I explain the situation - ya know what he says? He says call back next Wednesday between 1pm - 4pm - that is when we take adoption questions. UMMMMM - NO - I am suppose to be in Russia on Wednesday!! So, at this point I am in the CIS office in Mt, Laurel trying to keep my cool. I start to get a little loud, so the nice man on the phone goes and talks to his supervisor. He gets back on the phone, asks me to explain the situation again, and once again, goes back to talk to his supervisor. Finally, he comes back on the phone and says that Dennis and I need to come to CIS Newark - Adoption Unit, and pick up new letters tomorrow and that we could get appointments to get fingerprinted! YEAH!!!!!!!

So, needless to say, today, we went to CIS Newark, picked up the appointment letters and finally got to meet face to face the woman I have been corresponding with via email for weeks - Mona, I want to say THANK YOU!!!! She gave us the new appointment letters, we went over to get fingerprinted and were down with everything within 1.5 hours - WOW!!! You go CIS Newark!! Good Job!!!!!

SO - the moral of the story - Keeping your cool allows calmer heads to prevail and more things get accomplished. And now, I think I have accomplished boring all our friends and family, so I will move on.

Have a great day - I will post again soon,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Well, it is all set. Our itinerary is as follows:
  • Nov 12th - JFK to Moscow
  • Nov 13th - Arrive in Moscow
  • Nov 14th - Medicals in Moscow
  • Nov 15th - Leave for Krasnoyarsk
  • Nov 16th - Arrive in Krasnooyarsk
  • Nov 17th - Visit with Cassidy
  • Nov 18th - COURT DATE!!!!
  • Nov 28th - Gotcha Day
  • Dec 3rd - Return to Moscow
  • Dec 6th - HOME!!!!!!

Now, of course, this can all change. But, I can't wait to get Cassidy home. It has been a long time coming!

Also, I want to say CONGRATS to our friends who has ther GOTCHA DAY!!! He is beautiful and you are truly blessed.

We will continue to keep you posted.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Knock on wood!!!

Wow, I guess all stars aligned and the earths magnetic waves were adjusted - I spoke to Marriott and between my father and I we had enough Marriott points to book our stay at the Moscow Marriott Grand (both trips) and still have points left over.

I was so happy to hear that! It saves so much $$$$.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy.....

I know it has been a few days since we have posted, but we have been very very busy. When we found out that we got out court date we had a momentary sigh of relief. And I do mean momentary- since then it has gotten CRAZY!! We have had to get plane tickets, order new money, etc - The best was our visa's. I ordered our Visa's on Friday afternoon, thinking that I had a solid week for them to be processes. Guess what - NOTHING is every simple. As it turns out, Monday & Tuesday are a Russian Holiday and all forms of government are shut down. That means that our Visa's won't be processed until probably Wednesday or Thursday. That doesn't give us much time to get them back, but we have faith in the system........

Additionally, work has been crazy busy as well. Q4 is always the most hectic for my company and this year is no different!!!! I have lists of things EVERYWHERE. 1 for work, 1 for the kids, 1 for documents, and 1 for a to do list. And I only have 11 more days to accomplish everything. That is right 11 days!!!!!

Our itinerary is as follows:
  • Nov 12th (JFK to Moscow) - got a GREAT deal on Areoflot.
  • Nov 13th - Arrive in Moscow
  • Nov 14th - Medicals in Moscow
  • Nov 15th - Leave for Krasnoyarsk (Moscow to Krasnoyarsk)
  • Nov 16th - Arrive in Krasnoyarsk
  • Nov 17th - Visit Cassidy
  • Nov 18th - COURT
  • Nov 28th - GOTCHA DAY (Hopefully)
  • Dec 3rd - Leave for Moscow (Krasnoyark to Moscow)
  • Dec 4th - Appointment at US Embassy
  • Dec 6th - Return Home (Moscow to JFK)
Dennis and I will try and keep the site posted on our activity as often as possible.

Have a great day,