Saturday, March 19, 2011










We are alive and well and adjusting to life as a family of three! Angelina has been a very happy baby and we are so grateful for that! Angelina likes to be cuddled, have her hair brushed, eat (A LOT!), examine common household items (wrappers, labels, lotion bottles, paper, etc.), have her diaper changed and love, love loves to look at herself in the mirror (her all time favorite). Her dislikes are going down for a nap/bedtime (who wants to sleep when there is so much fun to be had?), and having a bath (although she loves feeling clean; makes her very cuddlely). Overall, she is adjusting well to her new life with us. As for us, we are adjusting as well. As first-time parents, we are getting a crash course on life with an active 14 mos. old. Who needs working out when you have a baby to chase around the hotel room all day? We are indeed thoroughly exhausted, but are also having the time of our lives with our little girl. She is awesome! Tomorrow we are heading out on the town, as a family of three. It will be our first outing together, aside from adoption related business (having passport photos taken, etc.). We will post pictures tomorrow of our adventures in St. Pete.





Good night,

Eric, Kathryn & Angelina

XXOO


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gotcha!

Today we met our facilitator bright and early. First stop: City Hall, where they prepared a new birth certificate and changed the city records to reflect us as Angelina's parents and setting forth her new name. As they read the record to us, we couldn't help but become teary. It was an emotional moment.
Next stop: Baby Home #16, to pick up our girl! We met with the chief nurse while they changed Angelina into the clothes we brought for her. The chief nurse shared with us Angelina's feeding schedule and daily routines. As we were talking with the chief nurse, they brought our peanut into the room. She was adorable!
She initally shed some tears, but we held her and slowly rocked her and the tears disappeared right away. From there it was smooth sailing . . . . we bundled her up in her puffy snowsuit, hat and scarf and Daddy carried our little sausage over the threshold and into her new life with us, as a family of three. :)

When we arrived at the hotel room, and peeled Angelina's cold weather gear off of her, she seemed immediately at home in our hotel room. She was so, so happy! Just all smiles and rolley-polley. It was great! We rolled around on the bed, tickling her and we all just loved on each other (see picture, above). When we finally wound down, it was time to eat so we gave it a go and . . . she inhaled everything! We gave her a second helping and another bottle and just had to cut her off for fear she would pop! She is starving! After the feeding frenzy, we all laid down on the bed, with Angelina between us. She finally pooped out and is now sleeping. For a while, we both just watched her and couldn't help but feel overcome with love for this child. So much love, already.
She doesn't seem traumatized or upset in the least bit. In fact, she seems to be really enjoying herself, which is a huge relief to us.

That's all for now. We'll post more pics of our sweet girl tomorrow.

Good night,
Eric, Kathryn & Angelina
XXOO

Monday, March 14, 2011

Twas the Night Before Gotcha Day . . .

Today was the last visit with Angelina where we had to give her back after playing together for an hour . . . tomorrow is Gotcha Day! We are excited, ready and a bit nervous as well. Today we were prepped by our agency about what may happen in the days following gotcha day. They said it is common for a child to cry a lot, have diahrea, and even run a fever. They said it is basically a traumatic event for a child to be removed from the only life she has ever known and to expect her to react accordingly. This, of course, was a bit distressing to hear. It is hard as parents to imagine our daughter going through such stress and trauma, knowing there will probably be little we can do to comfort her, except to help her ride it out. We expect the days following gotcha day will be very hard for our daughter, as she so clearly adores the caregivers who love on her and care for her on a daily basis. Of course, we know that ultimately, it is in her best interest to be with us, as a family, and that she will have a wonderful life full of love and opportunity. But in the very short term, we fear it may be hard on our little one making such an adjustment.

Please keep us - especially Angelina - in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow and the days that follow.

Good night,
Eric & Kathryn

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sightseeing!








































































No baby home visits allowed on the weekend (boo!) so we decided to set out and do some sightseeing. Today we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress (shown above, along with a picture of a bridge over the Neva River). The fortress was the first building in St. Petersburg. In the cathedral, are the entombed bodies of Nicholas II and his family and their servants - who were all executed by the Bolsheviks while in exile in Ekaterinburg. Also entombed in the cathedral were other Russian dignitaries. The cathedral was spectacular, with ornate gold carvings and equisite crystal chandeliers. Tomorrow we going to check out a museum but haven't decided whether it will be the Hermitage or the Russian Museum.
We are having fun exploring the city of our daughter's birth!
Note: my spell check is not working. Sorry!







Friday, March 11, 2011

Back in Russia!











Latvia was a lot of fun, but it feels great to be back in Russia. Although we had fun on the train and felt like a couple of college kids traveling from country to country, we decided to forego that experience for a second time and instead booked a flight back to St. Petersburg (thank goodness!). When we returned to our hotel - The Petro Palace - in St. Pete, we were greeted with a complimentary "adoption upgrade" to a gorgeous suite with a balcony that overlooks the city. The suite is so nice and spacious, it will make life with Angelina for the next 1 1/2 weeks much more comfortable. We even have our own fluffy white robes and slippers! We feel like the King and Queen of St. Petersburg! The best part, however, is the crib in the room, which in only four more days will be filled! Hurray!

Yesterday we had a good visit with Angelina. She is such a little lovebug! We were brushing her hair and rubbing her back - she just loves being pampered! Mostly we are either helping Angelina practice her walking or we all just lay around and give kisses to each other. Pure heaven! We will visit her again this afternoon, and once again on Monday. Tuesday is Gotcha Day, and we are counting down the days.

Last night we went to the Mariinski Theatre and saw the opera Rigoletto. It was awesome! The theatre itself is magnificent and the opera was equally as good. The pictures just don't do justice to how grand the theatre is. What an evening! We are going to try to score some tickets to the ballet Romeo and Juliet, which is playing this weekend. Posted are pictures of the Old Town in Riga, Latvia as well as pictures from the theatre.

That's all!
Eric & Kathryn

Saturday, March 5, 2011

From Latvia with Love
















Greeting from Riga, Latvia!










Because we cannot visit with Angelina during weekend, we decided to hop the overnight train and head to Riga, Latvia - where Eric's grandfather was born - for the weekend. The train was quite an experience. The coach was very old, we guessed at least 50 years old, and very simple (see pictures and videos), but extremely clean. Once we got used to our new surroundings, and made friends with the one English-speaking Russian on board -Larisa- it became much more comfortable. At around 3:30 a.m., we were awoken by customs officials demanding our passport, and about 45 minutes later, by the Latvian officials also wanting to see our passports. Although it was a fun, different experience, we are glad to trade in our bunks for a real bed at our hotel in beautiful Riga. The hotel is lovely; with a Scandinavian feel. We are relaxing right now in our room and are planning a night out on the town tonight. Larisa (our train bunk-mate) frequently travels to Latvia with her husband, so she is very familiar with the best places to eat, shop and visit in town and was kind enough to share this information with us. Thank you, Larisa!

video We know we will enjoy ourselves this weekend and it will help the time pass until we can see our precious Angelina again.

That's all!

Eric & Kathryn

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's Official!

Today we officially became Angelina's parents! Court lasted about an hour. The whole experience was very positive, and emotional (notice my puffy face!). First I spoke before the court, for about 15 minutes, then Eric addressed the court. Then the baby home representative, social worker, and prosecutor addressed the court and gave their recommendations that we be declared Angelina's parents.

After a very, VERY, short deliberation, the judge returned and declared that we are now Angelina's legal parents. It was an overwhelming, awesome moment! Tomorrow we get to visit OUR DAUGHTER, ANGELINA. We sign her out of the baby home on March 15th, and begin the final leg of this journey together, as a family of three. We feel incredibly blessed and are very thankful that Russia allowed us to adopt this precious child!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Great Day!


Today was a great day for two reasons: the first was of course reuniting with our daughter, Baby A. She was a little congested today, and as a result was a bit more snuggly and less active than prior visits. By the end of our visit, we had warmed to each other all over again, just in time to say goodbye for the day (boo!). Tomorrow we have court at 11:00 a.m. and hopefully another visit afterwards. Tonight we are meeting with our facilitator to prepare for court. We can hardly wait until Baby A is officially in our arms . . .

The other great part of the day was (you've probably already guessed) Eric's suitcase was located and is on its way to the hotel! Hurray! No emergency shopping necessary! We are going out to our favorite restaurant here for dinner tonight and hope to be able to get some much needed sleep so we are rested and ready to go tomorrow.

That's all!
Eric & Kathryn

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We Made It . . . .







but Eric's luggage didn't! They are tracking the bag and we are fairly certain it will turn up while we are here (bummer!).

Otherwise, everything is good. We are relaxing at the lounge in our hotel - we are exhausted from our trip & the stress of losing our luggage. Tomorrow morning we will be reunited with our girl! It has been over two months since we have seen her and we are looking forward to seeing how she's grown in that short time. We have court on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. We may try to shop tomorrow afternoon, after our visit with Baby A, to pick Eric up a nice shirt or sweater to wear for court, assuming the luggage is not delivered in time. Right now, he only has the clothes on his back, which consists of a short sleeved shirt (we traveled from sunny, warm Florida), jeans and loafers. It will all work out, one way or another.

That's all for now; we'll keep in touch.