Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Call!!!!

I am happy to be writing this and letting you all know the time has finally come!!! I got “The Call”, yesterday at 7:25 am, with the news of, “We have a court date for you!” Wow! Have I been waiting for that call or what? On my birthday, which was the 18th, I received an e-mail from the adoption agency……

Hello Jennifer
I was just informed that your documents were submitted to the court. Hopefully we'll soon know which judge is assigned to your case. Then the judge will review the documents (normally takes them a week) and let Irina know if anything else is needed. Good news……

I met a wonderful couple on my first trip to Russia, Steve and Sharon. They are currently in Russia right now, finalizing the adoption of their daughter Victoria. We have kept in touch and they recently shared with me their timeline as to when they had docs completed, submitted to court, and notification of court date. I knew I would hear any day now, but I still had the concern that when the judge reviewed the info., maybe something else was needed…..can’t imagine what else unless they decide to request a limb!!!! Seriously!!!

I e-mailed Pam on Thursday (26th) with the question of “Any news?”

Her reply was, “No, sorry. I will call you when I hear something.” =(

At that point I thought, well maybe next week….BUT the very next morning the phone rang, YES!!!! The call….”Jennifer, did I wake you?” …who cares if she did….HELLO!!! Ok seriously, no small talk! Not soon enough Pam says, “We have a court date for you!”

Wow! Immediately I am frantic trying to find a pen and well just frantic! I took down some information, asked a few questions, got off the phone and tried to get Dylan moving for school because he was still just standing there in his underwear very excited too and was already late! Made a few calls to family, got Dylan to school, got back home and Pam called again…details and stuff! I had to get out the door because I was now late! Got to work and at the start of first period one of my female students says to me, “Ms. Elbe, I am not used to seeing you without make-up.” Lol, yep, I ran out of the house without make-up and about ten minutes later it dawned on me that I forgot to BRUSH MY TEETH too!!! Oh well, right?

That morning we had an assembly for the kids because we were tracking off for a month. I had not really mentioned it to anyone at work yet except my boss and the record’s clerk, Paula (she is sweet; she asks me often if I have heard anything). At the end of the assembly I got on the microphone and announced to my students, other teachers present, and the parents attending the assembly that while we were off track I planned on traveling to Russia to finally bring MY DAUGHTER home!!!! The room full of 200+ erupted! It was awesome! I was trembling, shaking, and lots of emotion going on! What a great day! And I continue to be on that high…I have lots to do though! That is OK, I will get it done!

This has been a long road, one which is really just the beginning. I have been in this process since June 2007. The last time I saw my sweet little girl was September 25, 2008. I will see her again for the first time on April 16, 2009. That makes 6 months and 22 days…I can’t wait!!!!! With regards to Victoria Irina Rae Elbe, over the last 6 months I have felt joy, wondered, worried, prayed, been frustrated, smiled, thought about, viewed pictures of over and over, laughed, remembered, been sad, answered questions about (lots from her brother!), been excited, lost sleep over, anticipated…..the list goes on…I just want her home, I just want to bring her home!!!! Soon…...

Oh…BTW…I appear before the judge on April 17th. Please pray I pass the biggest examination of my life!
My love to you all,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Holidays 2008...E-mail to friends

Well here it is, the almost late Christmas greeting!

OK, I cheated sending via e-mail....

I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a happy New Year! As you can see from the pictures, Dylan is no longer a little boy, but a very handsome young man! He continues to be very involved in sports at the high school. It seems like he ended his football season on a Saturday and the very next Monday wrestling began! Wrestling is 5 nights a week, not including any matches or tournaments that get added into the mix. His first tournament was very new and exciting, as I did not know much about the sport. I am learning. He came off the mat from his second match with blood running off his face. That was my first real experience with wrestling as a parent! I am getting used to it, as I am sure there will be many more bloody noses to come. Today, with his team, they feed 500 families in need in a hanger at the local airport, a very good experience for him. I am so proud of the wonderful young man he is becoming!

The adoption process continues to progress at a fairly steady rate. I just recently sent 35 or so documents to Russia, with about 10 more to go. These documents are in final preparation for court. I hope to be traveling again in February, fingers crossed here. Of course, when I get definite news I will let you all know.

On a recent document that I submitted, I had to identify what her legal name will be. I identified her name as Victoria Irina Rae Elbe. Victoria is my mom's name and my great-grandmother's. Irina is her Russian name. Rae is my grandmother's middle name.

We gathered as a family tonight at Dad and Jan's. I was touched that Victoria was remembered by Jan in our Christmas Eve prayer. It was very touching and yes, brought tears to my eyes as well as other family members. I am blessed to have the family that I have, they have shown me so much support and concern. Our hearts broke for her, as we wished she could be here with us, and prayed for her well being. I reminded the family not to be sad, at this point she does not know family and celebration like we do. She is safe and cared for, I feel confident in that. I also know that her spirit is strong and happy, considering what she has been through thus far in her life.
I suppose besides reminding my family of this, I was reminding myself as well. I have been moving through the past few weeks without trying to focus much on the holidays and her not being present. I did not fully realize that until tonight. Soon, she will be with us soon...

Thank you all for being a part of my life!

Venite Adoremus.....O' Come Let Us Adore Him!

Love to you all, Jen

Beneath the Wings of Angels

Beneath the Wings of Angels

Beneath the wings of Angels
We sometimes find release
From the trials that prevent us
From finding lasting peace.
God often sends us His messengers
To guide us on our way.
They shelter us beneath their wings
and somehow save the day.
God knows that we're not perfect and we don't understand.
So He sometimes sends us Angels
To lend a helping hand.
Angels guide us and protect us
From dangers in this world
For beneath the wings of Angels
His blessings are unfurled.

I think that God's Angels were watching over Tori considering all she has been through.
Love, Mom

My mom sent that poem to me after we returned from Russia.

Lil' Miss T

With hair of gold and skin of white,
The angels came and changed your plight.
The woman from whom you were born,
Her heart was tattered, her spirit was torn.
She wanted for you a better life,
One devoid of poverty, anguish and strife.
Our family she entrusted you to,
A life of blessings known by few.
For now you have more, not less.
For now, my darling, our lives are blessed.

Reminded me of lil miss T....
Love, Ashlee (my neice)
Sent to me December 2008

September 11, 2008...E-mail to family and friends

Things have been very busy around here making flight arrangement, phone conferencing, Visa applications, and so forth. I will finally be traveling to Russia. I received word on Friday that it is time and finally confirmed my flight arrangements.

My mom will be traveling with me and my son has made the decision not to go at this time. He was very concerned about missing school and football. He struggled with the decision, knowing that the opportunity to travel internationally does not happen often, coupled with the prospect of meeting his potential sister! I left the decision entirely up to him, but do think it is a good choice on his part at this time. Family will be staying with him while I am away.

My mom and I will be departing LAX on the 19th. We will first arrive in Seoul, Korea and then fly over to Vladivostok, Russia. We will arrive in Russia Saturday afternoon. Monday morning I will visit and be interviewed by the Department of Education and Science of Promorsky Krai and visit the orphanage. My first visit to the orphanage will consist of meeting with the doctor or director of the orphanage to discuss medical information and history. I will then finally be able to meet her and interact with her. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will again be visiting her at the orphanage. If all goes well, on Thursday I will visit a notary office and file a petition to adopt. Friday we will be heading back to the USA. We first stop in China, then Korea, and finally LA. We will be home Friday late afternoon, as Russia is a day ahead of us.

I am excited, happy, nervous, anxious......really just tons of emotions that change from minute to minute, so it seems!!!! I look forward to sharing my trip and pictures with you all when I return! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.....
Love to you all....

August 10, 2008...E-mail to family and friends

Well, I have been trying to put off updating everyone, mostly because I am waiting on more definite information..I don't feel like waiting any longer and just want to share!!!

On the 25th of July I received a referral for a little girl!!!! Honestly, it totally came out of no where, so I thought. I will give a recap of the last few months really quick here. I was assigned a region in which they would find a child for me. One is assigned a region because regions have different requirements and paper work for adoption... a region would be similar to a state here in the US. For example, CA adoption laws would be different than Ohio adoption you are assigned a region and then work on paperwork requirements for that region until a child is determined. Shortly after that, I was contacted by the agency asking if I would be willing to switch regions. They felt there was more "movement" going on in this other region and things would move quicker....sure, I said yes, that was fine with me.

Shortly after that switch, they found out that region would no longer adopt to they would determine another region for me.....all my paperwork would be submitted back to Moscow and then when a new region was located, sent to that region. Basically in limbo!

In the meantime, the consultant that I had been working with decided to quit the agency to stay home with her young children and I would be assigned a new consultant. After the new consultant was in her position for a week or so, I contacted her to discuss that I was in limbo and wanted to know if they had found a new region for me yet. Her response was no and that the paperwork was still in Moscow. She would let me know when she heard news.

On the 24th she called and left a message to return her call when I get a chance. I did not think much of it. The other consultant knows I teach and am gone most of the day...also if it was anything really important, she (the other consultant) would call my cell and know I would call her just as soon as I had a break.....Anyway....I heard the message and thought I would just call her in the morning due to different time zones and again knowing I was in limbo and did not think much of it. I called and got the news that they had a referral for me, but they questioned if I would accept because she was 6 months older than what my paperwork stated....I am open to that, of course..send the info already!!!! She wanted to have the file in front of her when we talked, so she said she would call back in 5 minutes....which really was fine too because I was trembling!!!!!! I really needed to collect myself, though 5 minutes was just not long enough!!!

That day I received some pictures and very scant information. The medical info was in Russian and will be translated and sent to me. Fast forward a day or two...I still did not have medical info, but spoke with my consultant and she informed me that somewhere along the lines there was suspicion that this little girl had had a seizure...she did not know any details, info was vague, but a CAT scan had been ordered...I went very quickly back to not getting my hopes up and of course a ton of stuff flooding my mind...I continued to push for the medical report. I have been consulting with an international adoption Dr. that does an amazing job at interpreting these medicals and I wanted to get him the info ASAP...At this point, I do have the medical info, but in Russian. This Dr. has someone to translate it, so that he can make some assessments. After he has reviewed we phone conference....and for the phone conference I really need it to be in English...I take lots of notes, so I am trying hard to still wait and hope to have it in English by Friday....

BUT...I have been slowly receiving bits and pieces of information and it turns out the CAT scan has been done and shows nothing abnormal....and even more calming...she did not have a seizure after all. They gave her a shot/vaccination and she fainted....aaawwwww!!!!

She is a BEAUTIFUL little girl!!!! Though I may be biased....It looks as though she has red hair, and her eyes are amazing!!! She needs some love, some hugs, some kisses, and just to cuddle on someones lap for a this point, I will be traveling to meet her (unless something really wild shows up in the medical). I do not have any idea when I will be going..very soon I hope...nobody seems to be in a hurry except me!!!.....lots of prayers please!!!


I stepped into her room today
Knowing she's not there
This waiting for referral
Is more than one can bear.
But taking in the moment
I sit down on the floor
And dream of her here with me
When waiting is no more.
A little giggle fills the air
As I rub her feet
I place my hand upon her heart
To feel its every beat.
A song is sung so very soft
Her eyes begin to close
She's meeting me in dream land
A place where love still grows.
My vision now is very blurred
The tears stream down my cheeks
I've dreamed of her quite often
Throughout these past few weeks.
Suddenly a sound is heard
The phone rings in the hall
Waking up I quickly pray
Please let it be "The Call".
Author: Tom Fisher, 2005
Given to me from my Mom on Christmas Day, 2007

11-09-07...E-mail sent to family and friends

Items posted prior to today were just some things I had saved on my computer as I have been moving through this process. They show as all posted yesterday, but I included the dates on the post of when they were written or stored.

Subject: Adoption update

Hello All,

What an overwhelming process this has been so far, and I have really only just begun!
First of all, I need to try and explain to all interested that an international adoption from Russia has some political issues involved with it at this point, which has slowed down Russian adoptions tremendously. All agencies lost accreditation with Russia and are in the process of getting that accreditation back as fast as they can....Russia seems to be in no hurry what-so-ever. With that said, the agency I am working with has not yet received accreditation, but hopes to "any day now".

My goal was to have this paperwork done by the beginning of Sept. I did get it done, but ran into some problems with the home study agency and social worker not sending me all of the documents I needed from them. I also had a big delay (I think six weeks) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services. I actually ended up taking a day off and going to the Field Office in LA to get what I needed, instead of waiting for more of an exchange of documents and the mail man. This trip to LA was a whole adventure in and of itself.

About two weeks ago I sent a large amount of documents to the Secretary of State. They apostilled the documents (basically notarized the notaries). I picked up all of those documents yesterday from the post office. It was pretty cool to look at them all and see the CA State Seal on all of them. Today I sent all of those documents and an additional one from INS, along with a fat check to my adoption consultant, Pete, in Arizona. Pete will look these over and make sure everything is in order. Let's all cross our fingers and pray on that one! I have tried to be very thorough, but this paperwork seriously has been unbelievable! I think it was easier getting my MA! Pete will send my documents to Children's Hope International (agency I am working with) main office and from there they will add more documents, translate and send to Russia for registration. And so, the real waiting begins....

I wanted to briefly share with you my adventure to downtown LA and remind you all of how much I love my son. I tell Dylan we have to go to downtown LA to get some documents. While we were there I thought we could go to Olvera Street, have lunch, look around a bit after I take care of the adoption stuff. Cool, Dylan is excited about the trip and we make an afternoon of it. We get in the vicinity of where we need to be, the Federal Building. I decide I need to find a parking garage and it will be easier to figure out exactly where I need to go once on foot. We park, find the building and entrance, and proceed to go inside. Of course security checks before entering right?

We walk up towards the building, see the signs for security and Dylan says, "Oh crap, there is a metal detector."
I assure him it is OK we can bring our CELL PHONES in.
Dylan...."No, mom the cell phone is not the problem!"
Me..."What do you mean, what is?"
Dylan...."Well you told me we were going to downtown LA!"
D...."I can't go in this building. Sorry mom, but you said downtown LA and well, I brought a knife and I think it best that you don't know what knife I brought!" you can all guess my response!!!!! "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!!!!!....

Those that know Dylan, know that he has a pretty good collection of swords, daggers, and knives going on here. It just didn't occur to me that he thought he might need to protect his mom and himself in big bad downtown LA...I can appreciate that about him, but honestly it did not occur to me.

Well, he is not staying outside that is for sure. He has to get rid of the knife, sorry!!! We go through this big fricken ordeal about him finding a place outside to hide this knife. He asks me not to follow him and to let him hide it on his own because it will be easier and he takes off down the street. Well, he is not getting out of my site in big bad LA. He sits up on a retaining wall about half way down the street and fiddles around in his pocket, comes back and give me the thumbs up. All the while I am still thinking to myself, "You have got to be kidding me!!!! Sheeesh!"

We finally get into the building. All I can focus on is getting what I need and the only thing he can think about is the hope that no one jacks his knife! We get back outside, stupid knife is fine! I tell him that the knife is staying in the car and that is one is going to get us! I still have not seen the knife and have no idea what he has with him. After we get home from our days adventures, I request the knife. HOLY COW!!!!!! That is all I have to say is HOLY COW!!!! I have never seen this piece of his collection, no idea where it came from ......and HE will never see this piece of his collection again!!!!! I do love him!

Anyway, sorry so long, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue this process! Sorry it has taken so long to update, there really just has not been much going on to report.

Love to all of you,

Application Approval

Date:Fri, 1 Jun 2007 13:08:04 -0700 (GMT-07:00)

To:"Primary E-Mail"

Subject:Application Approval

June 1, 2007
Dear Jennifer

Congratulations! Your application for adoption has been approved by the Program Director.

We will be mailing out your approval packet today or tomorrow with instructions on how to proceed. Also, Children's Hope has Yahoo! groups available to provide adoption and parenting information and support to our families in all stages of the adoption process. These CHI groups are for the exclusive use of CHI application approved families. You will be receiving instructions in your approval packet on how to join.

We are very excited for you, and wish you well as you begin your adoption journey!

The Intake Department
Children’s Hope International/St. Louis Home Office


Attended an information meeting today in Long Beach with Mom and Karen about adopting internationally.

Also today’s horoscope ….Love can come into your life by many different routes, and it can also show up in many different guises. There's romantic love, friendship love, and the love you have for the human race -- to name only three. No matter which of these three types of love you're lacking, concentrate on the third type. Believe in the kindness of strangers, and encourage it by being kind to them. Creating more love in your life is easier than you think.

Sent application to Children’s Hope International