brother and sister 2009

brother and sister 2010

brother and sister 2010

Friday, October 24, 2008


Monday morning I got the two extra documents that we need for court notarized, drove an hour to Trenton on Tuesday to drop them off at the State building to get apostilled and then drove back to Trenton on Wednesday to pick them up. I had to send them UPS to the Atlanta Marriott where another family (thanks Karen and Kerry) is going to be staying before their flight out on Friday to Siberia to have their court date and pick up their little girl. They will hand-deliver our documents to the Moscow office....thank you! I believe that will be the last of the documents that I have to get ready for court, but you NEVER know!

Now, I will be preparing my lists for trip 2 and also for trip 3. Trip two will be for court and we will only be in Kaluga for about 3 or 4 days and then fly home. Trip 3 (picking up Olivia) will be about 10 days after that and I will be there for about 2 1/2-3 weeks.

During this waiting period,I will keep occupied by doing Olivia's room. I haven't even started yet and hopefully this will keep my anxiety level low while waiting for a court date.


bye for now,
Renae and Joe

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Well, we got home at about 1:30a.m. this morning. Now we have the unpacking, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.. We miss Olivia SOOOO much already. But, now that we are home, we just wait now for the court date which will probably be December or January (hopefully December).

I do have to say, Joe and I had a GREAT experience in Russia. It was so interesting to see the OLD Russia (Kaluga) compared to Moscow, which is COMPLETELY different from Kaluga and most of the outside regions. Moscow is similar to New York City/Manhattan, but 2 1/2 to 3 times more expensive! Although, I do have to say that the Russian's (whether Kaluga OR Moscow)(especially the women) are ALWAYS dressed in style. The women all where the high heeled boots up to the knee with the pants tucked in and a real nice coat and pocket book. You actually would stick out like a sore thumb if you wore sneakers!!

The staff that Catholic Social Services has in Russia is incredible! They are ALL so nice and will help you in any way possible. All of our needs were taken care of and we were never waiting for them, they were ALWAYS there waiting for Joe and I...They were the BEST!!!!

Well, I have alot to catch up on, so I will be sure to keep everyone updated! Thanks to all of our family and friends who gave us their support while we were over meant SO much to us!

Now we wait for our court date!!!!!

take care,
Renae and Joe

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Hi everyone,

This morning we had to say goodbye to "O" until we can come back to Russia for court. We were picked up this morning and taken to the orphanage. We could only have about 20 minutes with her because we had to get on the road to drive to Moscow. It was REALLY hard to leave her but I knew that the faster we got home, the faster we get back to pick her up.

Yesterday we had two visits with her and they were the BEST day of all. Angie and Kurt, who were there to have court, stopped in with their adorable little girl while we were playing in the room. When "O" saw their little girl being active, she held onto my fingers and just started walking like crazy. This is the first we have seen her walk (with help) that good. She is so precious!

We are in Moscow now and it is completely different than Kaluga. It is like New York City here and Kaluga is such a small town. But, I kinda miss Kaluga. The people were really nice who we were working with. We are staying at the Marriott Grand and it is really, really nice. The internet access is so much better than what we had in Kaluga also.

We went to the Catholic Social Services office here in Moscow to meet with Svetlana and Irena. They asked if we had pictures and Joe whipped out his laptop and showed them the videos we took. They loved looking at them and were VERY happy that we accepted her as our daughter.

Our driver, Vladimir, will pick us up tomorrow at 11:00am to take us to get our physicals and then tomorrow we will head for home.

We can't post pictures of "O" until after we court and we get her, so I will tease you a little.


Renae and Joe

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Hi everyone!

GREAT news! We are letting them know tomorrow that we want to sign papers to adopt this ADORABLE little girl!

I'm SO sorry that I didn't post our trip 1, but I was just SO nervous about getting all the right medical docs to our doctor and our access here is HORRIBLE, our Skype keeps breaking in and out and your really can't understand ANYONE your talking to and it has been hard just to keep in touch with the doctor and our family.....whew!
But, I can now share the AWESOME news and we are very excited!

Trip one was good, but as most of you adopting know, she was a little hesitant and scared. Then we visited her again for about an hour in the evening and it was a little better. All she wanted was to be held, she really didn't want to be put down to play too much at all.

We then went into the office and the orphanage doctor gave us all of her medical. Joe and I asked question after question and got I'm SURE all the medical in her file. Afterwards, the orphanage doctor told us that she wasn't prepared to be asked about so much. She was REALLY nice though and gave us everything we asked for.

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our translator Nadia (or Nadya?). She is THE BEST! She and our really nice driver Vladimir even drop us off at the restaurant that we want to eat at and she comes in to order for us before she leaves for the day. She takes really good care of us and so does the driver Vlad. We are NEVER left alone anywhere until after we get back to the hotel.

Today....our 2nd visit....was AWESOME! We took Michelle's advice (thanks Michelle) and asked if we could observe her with the other kids before she sees us. She WAS a completely different person than she was with us the first visit and, like Michelle said, it made us feel THAT much more sure of our decision!

We then took her into the gym and she just felt so much more at ease with us. She played, giggled, walked around (with the help of someone) and just was SO funny and loveable. I cannot WAIT to bring her home to our family because they are going to LOVE her! She is so adorable, funny and LOVES to be held. She actually puts a choke hold on my neck! She's also teething VERY bad and loved to bite on anything that she could. Forget the little photo album Joe and I brought for her, she already destroyed it. She was chewing it and ripped out a few pages, but will NOT let us take it away from her. It was the only thing she wanted to hold and play with. She wouldn't take the teether I bought her..she didn't want it. Loved the gerber treats though!

Tomorrow we will go for her visa and visit with her two more times and then one time Thursday morning to say our goodbye's and off to Moscow for our medicals and then home on Saturday.

I will try to post again while in Moscow, maybe the access will be a little better.

I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS to Karen and Cathy for getting your COURT DATES....YEEEAAAAH!!!!

And, to our family, I can't WAIT to come home and have a MOVIE NIGHT with all of you so you can see the future addition to our family.....she's ADORABLE!!!

Love you Michael.

Talk to you all again soon!

Renae and Joe

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Hi everyone, we finally made it to the Kaluga region! It was a very LOOOOONG flight (about 10 hours) but a very smooth flight. We flew American Airlines from Chicago to Moscow. We were in business class and the seats were extremely tight. It was almost impossible to get a good night sleep on the plane (especially for Joe who is a little on the cranky side right now) but with the help of a couple benedryl and a few bloody mary's, we managed to get some shut eye.

Nadya, our translator, was right there at the airport waiting for us. She is SO very nice and helpful. We then were met by our driver, Basil, who is also very nice quiet, but nice) and drove for another 3 hours to our hotel in Kaluga.

Nadya brought us to our hotel and checked us into our room and we were then met also by Rita who works as a facilitator at the orphanage. She introduced herself, took our itinerary and said she would meet us tomorrow at the orphanage. You girls were right about having to check EVERY outlet in order to get internet access, but once we did we were fine. I'm sure our family was wondering what happened to us, but we just couldn't get access right away and we,of course, had no cell phone access. We tried to do some Skype calls, but our microphone must not be that great because my sister-in-law had a hard time hearing us. We were just so excited to have our own room and a BED....even if it IS as HARD AS A ROCK!

Anyway, we couldn't have been in better hands than we were with Nadya...she is GREAT! She even took us to a little restaurant around the block and helped us order. She said she is going to call us tomorrow at around 11:30 a.m. to pick us up for the orphanage.....we get to see our little girl tomorrow! I'm not sure about tomorrow, but she said that on Tuesday and Wednesday we will get to go to the orphanage twice, once in the morning for a couple hours and once in the afternoon for about an hour and a half. We were also so excited when we showed her the picture that we had of her (well, actually JOE had of her in HIS POCKET) and she said "YES, I know this little girl!" She was so happy. She said that she has the prettiest eyes and that when she saw her she just was sitting up happy in her walker, but all by sad. Nadya will be there with us every day to translate for us. We just cannot WAIT to actually see her face...finally!

Well, this is going to be a short post because I am exhausted! Joe is already CRASHED. I'm going to TRY to sleep, but I don't know if I'll be able to.

Well, I'll post again tomorrow after our first visit!

To all our family, we love you and just want to say thanks for being as happy and excited as we are. Dad, you can breathe now...we're here safe and sound! ha-ha!

Michael, love you honey.

Renae and Joe

Friday, October 10, 2008


This is the time we have been waiting for!!!! We are packed and ready to go. We will arrive in Moscow around 12:15 p.m. on Sunday. We will be picked up at the airport in Moscow by our translator (I believe Nadia) and our driver and they will take us to Kaluga which is about a 3 hour drive.

I spoke with "C" today and she said that we probably will not get to go to the orphanage until Monday. So, I guess we'll go to our hotel, try to settle in and get organized and get a little sleep (TRY anyway).

We both cannot WAIT to see this little girl. Hopefully all goes well and we are able have some good news to share!

Bye post will be from RUSSIA!

Renae and Joe

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I received and e-mail from "C" today telling us that we are going to Russia on Saturday, October 11th and leaving Russia on Saturday, October 18th....yeaaaaah!

We are now going through the crazy rush process of sending for our visa's and making flight and hotel reservations. Hopefully that will all be done tonight and tomorrow.
"C" said that we will arrive in Moscow on Sunday and a car will pick us up to go directly to Kaluga, which is the region where we are going to visit this sweet little girl. The trip from Moscow to Kaluga is a 3-5 hour drive. We will then go to the orphanage to visit on Monday, Tuesday and back to Moscow on Thursday (hopefully after accepting our referral), have our 8 doctor medical on Friday and fly home on Saturday.....whew!

I'll keep you all posted!

I sure hope all of you other families get some good news real soon also!

Renae and Joe