Saturday, April 30, 2011

Three Kisses

Today marks 12 years from our accident.  I wish you could know him.  He's amazing.  He's funny - he makes me laugh.  He's loving. He's fearless - I'd love to watch you teach him to ski - you'd be way better at it than me - and don't get me started on skating... that was always your thing.  He loves our family and beams at the mention of their names.  He's beautiful - his smile lights up a room and his eyes are so full of wonder and life.  He's animated.  Like someone else I knew, he likes to entertain the crowd.  He's friendly - again, like someone I knew, he walks in knowing no one and has invited people to his party while putting on his shoes to go.  You and I had this thing... 3 kisses.  I don't know why it started or if there was a reason, but I know that we always shared 3 kisses on the way out the door.  It didn't matter long goodbye or short... I got 3 kisses. I am glad I remember our final ones.   Now, my boy does the same.  I often think of you when I collect my kisses from Corbin.
Scott, it's 12 years today that we had to say goodbye.  I wish you could see him.  I wish you could know him.  I wish you could love him.  I wish you could watch him grow.  I wish you could be his Dad.

Over the dressing room where you coached some amazing young men is a quote from your memorial,
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel"

Scott took this team internationally to compete in a tournament in  Russia.  Now we've stood on the same soil amazed for completely different reasons. 

Love you. Miss you.  You loved me more in a minute than most people get in a lifetime.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A pretty perfect 10

Months that is.  Yesterday marked 10 months home for my boy.  It was a great weekend to celebrate Easter and mark the day.  Pictures will get posted later as the camera got left behind at our SECOND Easter dinner.  The weather was perfect and we've enjoyed getting out in the sun.  Going to places we haven't been for a long time is a great way to see how he's grown and developed.  The Zoo... so amazing to see how much he's learned and the things he is able to express now (for example he's not a big fan of some of the birds (I think Rio in 3D was  causative to this sudden dislike or mistrust) or asking why baby animals don't wear diapers?  His language has developed to talking about his feelings - "I like, I love, My favorite, I don't like, I don't want, I want it later, I'm angry, It makes me angry, I'm sad, I'm scared and even I'm hungry (he would never tell me this until recently? or I'm tired)" - this has opened up a whole new area of conversations for us. On our way into the zoo he must have told me 10x "I so 'cited Mama... Sooooo 'cited".  Love it.  This was repeated during the egg hunt the following day.  I hate laundry even more than usual lately and that's because I'm turning brand new shirts and pants into the "that's too small" pile.  I shouldn't have bothered with size 3 at all - I think he was in it for one laundry cycle.  Size 4 it is... 4T is a little long but by next week we should be good lol.  It was fun to see him wake up Easter morning to find the basket outside his bedroom door and the start of an Easter egg trail but have him come in and climb up on my bed first with eyes as big as saucers to exclaim, "The Easter Bunny... left some stuff on the floor" - so we explored together.  Easter dinners - yes - plural were wonderful.  He looks so forward to spending time with my friends children and pretty much vibrates out of his car seat before sprinting to the door yelling out the kids names to let them know he's arrived.  He looked so handsome in his new Easter outfit but you'll have to trust me... my camera is still at my friends :(
My friend Steph left today to bring her son home from Vladimir and Corbin loves talking to her on Skype.  He knows she is bringing her baby home just like Mama came to Russia to bring him home and it's sparked some interesting conversations and cuddles.  It still catches my breath when he snuggles in and whispers I love you Mama.  As I tucked him into bed tonight it ran through my mind that it shouldn't have been that hard to bring our kids home... quickly followed by I'd still do it if it were 10x harder just to know my son's love.
Times are going to heat up around here over the next month: Soccer starts this weekend, Steph gets home with baby, our nanny arrives, someone turns 4 and someone goes back to work (hint: the only "4" I'll be turning will have a "0" with it and that's not for a few years).  It's gonna get interesting and it's always fun.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Unspoken Thank you's

Although I had plenty of time during the process to say THANK YOU to those who deserved to be recognized, there are some people who I will never have the chance to say you made a difference, you kept me sane, you helped me get to the next breath, moment or day... and I wonder if they will ever know?  Some of these thank you's I know I've said - but twice or 3x never hurts.  Here's my list... and I could probably sit for days and keep adding on as the memories come back.

* Thank you to the friends who listened to me complain, cry, scream and repeatedly reach the end of my rope while I waited. You made all the difference in the world to me - you kept me sane. (or at least kept me from the psych ward) 

*Thank you to those who have taught me humility while witnessing their process being harder, more complicated, more heart breaking and longer to persevere through.  You remind me that you are stronger and more patient than me but that in the end, love is all that matters and somehow we make it through.

*To Dr. Bledsoe for being so definitive on my first referral and sensitive as I cried. Then, on my second in sharing my joy based on the same definitive advice. 

*To the people at my bank who re did obscure documents in ways they had never seen without question and to my personal banker geek for driving in rush hour across town to get the bank manager to sign something on her day off then get it to me on the hiway so I could make it to FedEx. 

*To the Fedex driver who delivered my travel visa for trip one 4 hours before I needed to be at the airport.  I hope she enjoyed the bottle of wine and the happy dance at my door.

*To the mother and daughter across the isle on my late flight from Amsterdam who gave me their phone number and wrote me emergency notes in Cyrillic just in case I needed them. I missed my flight... and needed their sign but never had the courage to call.

*To the man in the grey suit from the Russian consulate at the Sheremetyevo airport on Christmas eve who became my Christmas miracle when he swooped in to rebook my flight and a hotel for me after a mix up with my travel visa.  Your dry Russian sense of... was it humor??? not sure - kept me from a complete break down as I was alone, terrified, and didn't speak the language being stranded as the clock turned over to Christmas day not knowing how I was going to get from Moscow to Khabarovsk in time to get everything done before Russian Christmas break.  

*To the young woman from St. Petes who befriended me in my stressed out, red faced from bawling, make up all over or absent, smelly from traveling 14 hours moments to make sure I got checked in ok at the hotel and asked to be my facebook friend so she'd know things turned out OK with my adoption. She still celebrates with me today. 

*To the kind woman beside me on the plane who bridged a language barrier to tell me she was happy for me and made sure that I ate even though I didn't want to. To that same woman... I'm sorry for spilling my entire glass of apple juice into your purse... really really sorry. 

*To the airport check in people for NEVER making me pay for my EXTREMELY overweight bags or making me check my GARGANTUAN back pack.  I promise to never be overweight again... maybe.

*To the driver Anton from trip one... thank you for somehow NOT killing us on the twice daily hiway drives between Komsomolsk and Selihino. 

*To the Baba who held my hand and spoke to me in Russian in the visiting room while I said a tearful goodbye to Grisha on trip 1.  Thank you for telling me not to be sad that you would show him my pictures and love him while I was gone.  Some of the words I understood... the rest was just the care, concern, gentleness and motherly love in your eyes.  

*To my lawyer friend who got the Russian lawyer on staff to expedite and manage the process for my time sensitive documents at the Russian Embassy - Evegny - we may never meet but thank you. 

*To the director at the Alberta government who apparently can be a bear to pretty much everyone else but was always kind to me in my frantic obscure requirements for documents that didn't exist. 

*To my mother for paying for the airline ticket to bring her only grandson home.  The "gift certificate" will be in his memory book forever.

*To my friends for throwing me the most incredible adoption shower - I have never felt so loved as watching 30 women wipe their eyes as I read the meaning of Corbin's name.

*To Ole for giving up almost a month at home with your son to make sure I got home with mine.  

*To Anna - amazing Anna who welcomed me into her home for 5 long weeks on trip two. For showing me the city of Khabarovsk, for taking me to the ballet and "making me" buy my fur coat, for making me laugh, for calming me down, cooking special Russian dishes for me, for showing me the beauty of the city and sharing the joy of Russian Champagne.  Thank you for the celebration - the yellow Tulips, the home made lemon apple tart and for caring so much with your whole heart.   I learned so much more about Russian culture, history and people just by being in your everyday world.

*To Irina the baby home director for her kindness and for going out of her way to get Corbin's passport picture done and driving 6 hours into Khabarovsk from Selihino (Komsomolsk Na Amur) for court. For joining us for a celebratory lunch and telling me she thought I'd be a good Mama.  Thank you for giving me early custody even though mean spirited people didn't allow for that to come true.

*To my baby Grisha's little friends at the baby home: Anna, Karina, Alosha and the little girl whose face will forever haunt me, Zhenya... thank you for making my boy laugh and being his friends.  I promise to never ever forget.

*To the court translator who after my speech grabbed my hand so tightly and whispered in my ear, "You did perfect... PERFECT... the judge won't have any problems I know it". I crumbled inside in that moment but somehow managed not to cry. Thank you too for hugging me with the most genuine celebratory hug after her verdict came in.  This is one of the most amazing moments in my life... and I shared it with a woman whose name I will never know but it couldn't have felt more perfect.

*To the lady in the coat store in downtown Khab the first day I struck out alone to shop.  Your kindness and extreme effort to communicate in English absolutely made my day.  I get so many compliments on the coat you chose for me... but it's your kindness that I won't forget and international charades are hilarious!

*To the Ballet Dancer from Bolshoi who danced the part of the Jester in Swan Lake, for making small talk by asking what the English girl was doing in Russia for 5 weeks as you signed my program.  When I told him I was there to adopt a little boy  he locked eyes so intensely with me to thank me for what I was doing for this boy and for his country that I could honestly feel it in my soul.  

*To Anya's friend Zhenya for dropping everything to be our taxi - to the ballet, to the train, to dinner, to the baby home 6 hours away to deliver my donation of the washing machine, 12 cribs, merry go round and fax machine.  2 am or 6am you were always there with a smile and the genuine hug when we left made me feel like family. 
*To the Courtyard Marriott for after 4 weeks of sleeping on a plank provided feather duvets, soft pillows, dreamy pillow top mattresses and for being so close to the things I wanted to see. 

*To Jenn and her children on the flight home who entertained me and my son for 8 hours with crayons, dinky cars and stories of inspiring hope and love from the other side of adoption.  

*To the crowd of my family and friends that met us at the airport and cheered as I quietly cried tears of relief... it was over... we were home. It was just like I pictured it in my head for 2 1/2 years... you were all there... and we were home.  The hugs, the tears, the celebration and the feeling of exhausted joy... couldn't have been more perfect.

*To all of you here or along my path who provided advice, support, laughs and encouragement on the way. The friendships I've made will last a lifetime and the stories... oh the stories we've shared. 

*And last but never ever least, to my son and to Russia for honoring me with the privilege of being his Mama. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I couldn't have handed over a detailed list to some adoption God and hoped you could be any better of a match. Thank you for being my son...

Every mile of the long way home is worth waking up to your smile.
The long way home

Sunday, April 10, 2011

View from the top

It's been a great weekend and this post will be short :)  Soccer teams are set and Corbin will get to play with his buddies Luke and Thomas, and, I get to wear a coaches whistle (read: herd cats, manage the bucket of oranges, carry kleenex, tie shoelaces, think up fun awards, and give lots of high 5's).  Grandma is coming for a visit tomorrow and yesterday we skied.  Corbin has seen pretty much every kind of lift now: magic carpet, platter tow, t-bar, chair lift and his new very favorite - the GONE-DO-LA!  It's so much fun (except for the spring melt down that occurred on the last  bit of the last run and I'm not talking about the weather!).  It was a long day with a lot of mountain to cover for some 3 year old legs... I should have seen it coming.  Here's why I love living close to the mountains and no, it's not a fake background!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Adoptive Mom

As the ladies on  say "OH EVEN YESSER!".  This is a blog entry that hits home to most of us out here in adoptive parents land.  I'm in the process of putting together a little ditty on my experience with the "stupid schmidt" that people say... stay tuned :)  Here is the link to their posting... and their blog... OH MY MAUD is it funny!!!
On the home front, things are just bumping along.  Nanny is another step closer to arrival (on my top ten exciting things happening in my life list!), work is creeping ever closer to reality (oh to return to adult conversation, free lunch, rocking out in traffic to something other than "the wheels on the bus", mmmmmmm  STARBUCKS!!! oh yeah... and a pay check!!!), school's back in with another round of "playball" which is a glorified gym class where kids learn to kick, throw, jump, roll, run, hop... all at the sound of the whistle,  the weather is getting better all the time (the funk of the thick grey fog is lifting), Corbin has a "girlfriend" at school (maybe I should meet Hannah's parents since they have taken it to the next level by holding hands all the time???) and Corbin is officially eating me out of house and home.  They measured them at school the other day for a unit on measurements and he is 40.5 inches tall and is creeping in 40 freaking LBS (I re-weighed him at home since I know our scale is accurate and it peeled off a lb but 38 is why my arms hurt hauling him in and out of the car seat)!  Perhaps I should institute a goal of losing as much weight has he gains over the next while - like the scales of justice ;)  His favorite statement these days (and I have a funny video of it) is, "This is DEEE-licious! DEEE-licious Mama... DEE-licious!  I LOVE this dinner... it's my FAVORITE!!!  (note: he seemingly has a lot of favorites).    And for his closing act tonight, Corbin told me as he polished off his dinner, " Soon, I be big enough to drive and YOU sit in my special chair in da back"  (as usual his statement was ended with "All-wite Mama?") followed by, "Where are da keys?"...  Perhaps he should start with a 2 wheeler sans training wheels??? Yeah... I think we'll do that :)