Our Life. So Far...

So basically....our life is about to get completley turned upside down. An adventure of EPIC proprtions. So buckle up and get ready for a bumpy, though hopefully not too bumpy, ride. Stay tuned as we move through the rigorous, technical process that is international adoption, travel to and from Russia, and ultimately come home with our son.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I Dreamed a Dream....

As I'm sure most of you are already aware, on Dec 28th Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill that prohibits all U.S adoptions from Russia. A lot of people are asking me what this means for those of us currently in process. Well folks, its means this. Its over. Dunzo. Kaput. Finito. For the last year Connor and I have known one thing to be true. That we would soon be the parents of a little boy from Russia. That any day we would be receiving his picture in the mail. A little boy we were going to call Oliver. Turns out this was never going to happen. Ever. That little boy, along with so so so many others, will remain in his orphanage with no family and no hope. Devastation doesn't even begin to cover what we feel. As sad as we are that we have to go yet another year without the family we so long to have, the real tragedy here isn't lost on us. Our loss pales in comparison to the innocents over there in those orphanages who've been robbed of their future. What a sad day for humanity. As much as it sucks for us, at least we have a family, food and warmth to console us. And always hope.

The question now is what will we do next? Well, its hard to say at this point. We have many options and we're carefully considering all of them. It's been difficult to detach ourselves from the idea of international adoption. Once it took hold of us it really resonated and became almost like a cause or a mission statement. The reality is that every country operates differently and we'll have to decide if its a possibility for us to continue down that path.

 We've certainly met with our fair share of adversity while in pursuit of our family. This isn't the first and most definitely wont be the last. But we're happy, healthy and hopeful. This year won't be what we thought it would be but it could easily still be the best year yet! As we look forward to 2013 I cant help but count my blessings. Its odd to feel so sad and so lucky at the same time. But lucky we are indeed. I have the best family in the world. The whole entire world. Emphasis on "whole entire world". Friends who came out of nowhere who I couldn't possibly live without, ever, ever, ever. A fat, orange cat who just makes me really happy. And of course Connor who is the coolest, most amazeballs(worst word ever!) human being to ever walk the earth. Life is good.

I'll update as soon as we know what our next step is. Here's to 2013!! Maybe just maybe Russia will open back up again and those kids will have chance. I guess thats what prayers are for right?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What to do while you wait......

Something about this grey, pacific northwestern fall day has inspired me to blog. I'm just sitting here listening to Regina Spektor (shocker) thinking about how, to steal a line from Weezer, life is so rad. We've been on the wait list in Russia since July which means, when you factor in the mandatory 6 month wait period, we're half way through!! I've been told over and over how waiting can be the hardest part. Umm...maybe we just don't get it at all and we're crazy insensitive, heartless people but....waiting has been nothing short of a blast. We're using it as an excuse to go on a ton of epic adventures and check a few things off of our bucket lists. I'm sure if I didn't have such and awesome family, killer friends and yep, a husband who is soooo cool, it would be far more difficult. But I really have no complaints at this point.  I think this is where I launch in to the photo shout out section of the blog. So, without further ado,  here's a list of some things you can do when you're waiting for something.....

Host a murder mystery dinner party.

Go to a Regina Spektor concert with one of your favorite people!

Spend a night in the ER with some strange, unexplained but ultimately non-life threatening heart issues.

Take in a Monday Night Football game. GO SEAHAWKS!!
Go to California with your besties!

Go to Disneyland and spend way too much time coming up with stupid photo ideas.
Exhibit A.

Exhibit B

Help your friends make a short film for a film festival.
Go on a 20 mile backpacking trip and be blown away by this freaking amazing earth!

Wake up on top of a mountain. 
Go white water rafting with your family.

 And that my friends is my recipe for killing time. All you need is some awesome people, a beautiful state to live in and well, more awesome people. Here's to hoping this process continues to go smoothly. You never know what may happen tomorrow. All I know is that today is pretty great.

Ta Ta for now!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Dirty Thirty

Well, I'm officially no longer in my 20's. Today I made it to the big 3-0! I know I'm supposed to be feeling all depressed and sadly introspective but on the contrary I'm feeling rather incredible. I had a few moments of quiet reflection this morning at the U.S Department of Homeland Security while waiting to get our biometrics taken for immigration services. (Yeah, not your average start to a milestone birthday.) Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined, 10 years ago,  for myself the life I'm living now. What a trip it has all been.  Our dossier is 100% complete and will be mailed to Russia next week. We can officially say we're on the wait list for a child! Words can't even express what it feels like to finally be able to say that. And on my birthday no less. Technically we mailed our dossier in on Wednesday (D-day.....so symbolic of us!) but got the confirmation that everything was accurate and ready to go last night. So, today was really the first day that we were able to truly bask in the glow of this significant event. Now we wait. Could be 6 months, could be longer. All I know is we're closer today than ever before to having the family we've longed to have for so long. So far 30 is feelin real good!! In fact, I'd be so bold as to say that this will be one of the most memorable birthdays of my life. Cheers to 30!! I almost added a "shout out" paragraph to this post but went ahead and deleted it. I feel like its a bit preemptive to be delivering thanks as if I've won an academy award when we're only half way there. If I give you a shout out too early you might think that I don't need your help anymore........ and we wouldn't want that. I have to say though, what a lucky girl I am to have the raddest people in my life. Much love y'all! (hmmm....as it turns out, I've been quite introspective after all)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hurry up and wait.

I'm gonna go ahead and save you a few seconds this time around and skip the part in the post where I go on and on about my lack of blogging consistency and just get right to the good stuff. We are so close to finishing ALL of our adoption paperwork. Actually, if I'm being honest, I am completely finished with everything on my end. I'm just waiting for a few things to come in the mail. As soon as said items arrive and we get all 10 thousand papers notarized and apostilled, we're ready to mail in our dossier! This is big time. This is everything. I can officially start to breath again and even maybe sleep a little without this weight pressing down on me.  Now we get to launch into the next phase of this process which is pretty much just a whole lot of waiting. I feel like I've rushed around like a chicken with my head cut off all so  I we can get to this point where we sit around and wait. But i'll take it!!! Because what comes next is gonna to get all sorts of crazy. Traveling across the globe, meeting the little guy that will become ours and well, the craziest part of all, becoming parents. Which I hear is a total trip. I have a feeling that one day I'm going to look back on this and shake my head with wonder as to how I managed to stay completely sane. I guess I can't take all the credit for that. I've been able to fill my non paperwork filling out,  non letter writing, and non fingerprint taking time with my favorite people doing my favorite things. I'm not much one for scrapbooking so I've thrown together a few little "movies" to sum up my good times.

Anyone who knows me knows I cannot turn down an invitation to Disneyland and this spring was no exception. This was one of those trips that just oozed with perfection from beginning to end. It's like the stars aligned and all was right with the world. The Marshall's, Winder's and Valentine's (yes! even Connor!) finally reunited in the most magical of all places to get our party on.  And party we did!


I also had the sad task of saying goodbye to one of my favorite people ever, Sharon Hubbell. She so selfishly decided that her husband's career and family stability was more important than hanging out with me so she up and left to Southern California. The bonus was that me, Jana, Sharon, Leche the cat and Amelia Hubbell the newborn baby got to set out on a very epic road trip extravaganza that spanned from Seattle to Aliso Viejo, California. It was one for the books and I'll never forget it. Sharon, you will be missed.


I'm so very blessed to have my family, friends and a fat orange cat who just totally rock. I don't know how I'd do it without you guys. For real.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dossier. Pronounced Doh-see-ay.

Ahhh!! Finally I'm blogging! I'm the worst blogger in the history of bloggers. Mostly I'm lazy. But also, not a whole lot has gone down adoption wise for a while. I believe I jumped the gun on my last post stating so exuburantly that we had finished our homestudy. Well....turns out I was off a bit. And by a bit I mean about a month. So, along with being lazy, I felt slightly embarassed to have made such a big proclamation. Oh well, alls well that ends well. I can now say with 100% certainty that OUR HOME STUDY IS COMPLETE!! Not only that, but our registration for Russia is also complete. Check me out!! And to think I called myself lazy.

So the next step is a little thing called our Dossier. It's actually not little at all. In fact, it's a bit daunting to think about. The good news is that the dossier is the last phase of this never ending, stress inducing, black hole that is the adoption process. The bad news is I'm pretty sure I don't know what I'm doing or exactly how to approach this. I have to get so many documents notarized and apostilled (which, by the way, I have no idea what that is) that I don't know where to begin. It'll happen one way or another. Of that I'm sure. Knowing that this is the last step before the fun stuff begins, motivates me to figure it out and get a move on! Not to mention the sooner we finish this the sooner we get our child. And the sooner I get my child the sooner I get to take said child to Disneyland. If there was ever a reason to have children, that's it right there. So here's to dossiers and Disneyland.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Moving on to phase two....hopefully...

So, apparently, I'm not a very dilligent blogger. In my defense, not a whole lot of action has taken place on the adoption front. Unless you count hindrance and frustration. There are times when I feel like there is just no end in sight.  How many papers will I have to fill out, get notarized, scan and copy?  I don't actually want an answer to that because I might just stop dead in my tracks. And to add to the endless heap of paper work, that all must get notarized, (if you can't tell, the whole notarize thing has me feeling and bit hot under the collar) we both had to get complete physicals. I thought the days of getting my blood drawn and tested were behind me. The best part was paying a notary to travel to both our doctors' offices, which luckily are in the same building, to notarize our doctor's signiture on our physical. I'll save you the details but this was absolute chaos. The good news, however, is that Connor and I do not have AIDS. Everyone can breath a little easier cause I'm sure you were worried.

Having said all that, there does appear to be light at the end of the tunnel. Upon completion of some online video courses and assuming our finger prints check out with the FBI, we will be FINISHED with our home study!!! This is big news considering the home study is what takes the longest. Oh there are still plenty of forms to be notarized in our future, but I feel better knowing there's progress being made. On to phase two! Registration. What we're registering for, I don't know. And to be honest, I don't care. I just like that we're moving on. This will be a pretty simple process. It's mostly just making copies of some things we've already done and sending them into our agency. To be clear, the company conducting our home study and our adoption agency are two seperate entities. Our relationship with the home study service will end when our home study is complete. However, our agency will be with us all the way through the entire process including when we travel to Russia. Our hope is to complete the home study and registration before Christmas leavng us the post holiday recovery month, also known as January, to dedicate ourselves whole heartily to finishing the next steps and getting our child!! If all goes according to plan (yeah, right) we'll be making our first trip to Russia in the spring.

Although I did some ranting earlier, I have to say that I do feel incredibly blessed at the moment. Connor and I just spent a wonderful week in Utah with my family for Thanksgiving. I was reminded of just how fortunate we really are. I feel so grateful to have a family, both Connor's and mine, who are so unquestionably willing to accept this new little person into their lives. I have zero doubt that this child will be loved more than any child could ever hope to be loved.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Extravaganza

The first thing I thought of when we bought our house last February was how excited I was to host a Halloween party. So, a couple months ago, Sharon, Lauren and I began planning the festivities. The result was far more excellent than I could've hoped for. Delicious food, wicked awesome costumes, a kickin dance party complete with strobe and laser lights, fog machine and most importantly, good friends. For someone like me who has a tendency to get homesick for my fam on a regular basis, I feel very lucky to have met such fantastic people here in Renton. Props to you May Creek ward. You rock.