Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Julia's skating show

I don't know if we mentioned this, but Julia had her first skating show last week. I have attached the link and her pics are way at the end. She really did a great job and had alot of fun.


I will now turn the blog back over to JP.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

One week home

We've been home a week now. In one way, time has flown fast and in another it drags. I can't sleep. I've actually been pretty good at work--easily making it to midnight and then driving home. It's once I get home and get into bed--that's when the problem develops. Last night, I thought maybe--maybe--I could get sleep and poor Ted gets sick. Temp of 102, chilling and shaking, and then the fever broke. Sheets are in the washer right now. Of course, now he feels great. Julia and Rauan aren't sleeping the greatest either. Maybe its that we are just sick of winter and snow.
I am very lucky. I'm am privileged to work with wonderful people--both on the floor and in the craniofacial clinic. I asked the speech therapist I work with about getting cleft bottles to take back to Tokmok and she is checking to see if grant money she received can be used to purchase bottles. A few of my co-workers on the floor are asking about sending things with Ted on the second trip and I'm asking for infant vitamins, something that seemed to be the greatest need.
I do have to address something though. People have asked, why is Ted going back and not you? There are numerous reasons. Number one is Ted is an excellent parent--better then me I think. Adoption is a wonderful thing--it's not just dependent on the female. I returned to get Rauan and this time it's Ted's turn. Number two is FMLA. While the university and the union have developed an excellent FMLA policy (of course it is the law--but they are very nice about it), it's limited year to year. In the last 12 months, my father's cancer returned and he had many complications from it--and numerous hospitalizations at my hospital (again, impressed with my co-workers). I used a fair amount of FMLA time up until his death in July. Once Alihan is home, it's more important that a parent, particularly one with my background, is able to take him to the numerous appointments he is going to need. Also, quite honestly, the bonding doesn't happen until after the child is home. This stuff about bonding while in the country is ridiculous. The time is limited, it isn't the home environment and I do think behavior changes once we return home--both parent and child! With Rauan--and I have always been honest about this---I didn't fall in love with him, despite being there for over 4 weeks. He was whiny, needy, pooping constantly, had (and still does) an awful temper. I'm not sure if it was because he was older, a boy (I grew up with sisters) or what. I personally feel I had some post adoption depression. It took a while. One day, I looked over at this wonderful little boy snuggling with me and realized I can't imagine my life without him. I had to be in my own environment, with some control, in order to bond with this child. I do have to say, with Alihan I think the bonding will be easier, particularly since I'm older and wiser:) and he is an active child that will fit in with the lifestyle we have developed.
Now before anyone says anything--I LOVE Rauan. He is my child and I dare anyone to say anything against that. You'll get the backlash of the Graham temperament--Irish, Scot, and German. I'm just saying it CAN take a while and it isn't this instantaneous Hallmark moment from the time you meet. This is reality.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Kisses in the Wind

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.--- Unknown

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We're home

Home at last!!! For some reason, Turkey to Chicago took 14hours instead of 10. I believe it had soemthing to do with London's Heathrow issue--but didn't matter for me--I managed to sleep thanks to some well timed phenergan. Ahh--drugs!!! When you don't use them--the side effects can hit fast. Of course, the usual Pritchard luck hit when we got home--the park on the truck won't release. So, in bitterly cold weather, poor Ted is outside trying to get the truck moved so at least we can use the car until we can get the truck into the shop. Julia and Rauan were overjoyed to see use--and I guess Loki started pacing at my mom's between 3 and 4 pm--which is when we landed in Chicago. I swear by dogs' psychic abilities sometimes! My mom and Ted's parents drove us home from Janesville (we took the bus fromChicago to Janesville). Kids crashed, we crashed and then this am I started on the piles and piles of luandry. I have to say--my bed and shower are AWESOME!!!
So, I'm sure next week we'll have to start on some more stuff to bring Alihan home. He is so cute. Rauan is looking forward to having a brother. When I first saw Rauan--I swore he grew a few inches and this am I knew it for sure--his pants are a little shorter. Rauan is going to help me pick out clothes for daddy to take to Alihan and he wants to go shopping to buy Alihan socks, undies and new shoes. Julia still wants a baby sister--she's just going to have to be happy with her new baby cousin.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Preliminary dates

After all the fuss and mess here our court date is Feb. 4 and then we anticipate Ted will be returning March 23. It's funny because that's the day after Easter--and that's the first time we met Julia in Ulan-Ude, the day after Easter! We should know for sure Feb. 6.
We're just finishing up packing and we'll be picked up at 1:30 am here (12 hours ahead of Wisconsin) and hopefully flying out at 4:05am. Our interpretor spoke with Alihan today and told him that we will be leaving and that daddy will be coming back to get him soon and take him home. He was fine with that--but he has seen that happen quite a bit in his years at the orphanage. Actually it was close to time to eat and he really could have cared less what we were saying--he wanted his food. Just like Rauan. Why do I get the feeling that very soon I'm going to have the chorus of "I'm starving!!!" (insert pleading cry) at my house???
We're going out to eat at the Russian Yard tonight before we fly out. Don't worry Lisa--no vodka for me. Nothing worse then a hangover on a hot crowded plane! Everyone start praying again--I HATE FLYING! Prayer for my sanity and safety please (well Ted too!).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Travel Update

Ted and I will be flying home on the 18th instead of the 20th. Our coordinator here says we've fulfilled what we need to do at this point. We miss Julia and Rauan way too much and Ted needs to get back to work. We got a flight back as far as Chicago--we'll either get a bus or pray for an opening on a flight to Madison. I don't know what's going to happen with the second trip. We'll deal with that once we get home and get some sleep and our heads back on straight. All I can say is I'm glad this is our last adoption and adoption is not for the weak at heart! Alihan is absolutely wonderful. Today he grabbed onto me and wouldn't let go. For someone who grew up with only sisters, I can't wait to have 2 boys in my family--although Julia might say otherwise, especially when she is older!
If I can get internet later, we'll post more then.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Praying for internet

I swear if this goes out again, I will throw the computer across the room!!! Everything is going well with Alihan. He is definitely bonded with us and it's going to be hard to leave him this next week. However, we've been through this twice before, so we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I have to report, my whole day was made yesterday when the director of the orphanage asked me to assess a new infant that is cleft-affected. He is a 2 kg. premmie with a complete unilateral cleft. For those not medical people--think of Julia's cleft. There was also another baby there who looks syndromic that I swear has Pierre-Robin sequence(very small jaw and specific type of cleft palate is the best way I can describe it--Ted hates when I do medical talk!). Anyways, I'm a weirdo and love this peds and craniofacial stuff so I'm happy. I'm going to see if there is some way I can get some special bottles for Ted to bring back. Anyone of my medical buddies who has ideas on how to do this or who I should go begging to? They also desperately need infant vitamin's. When I gave the director the fever reducers, vitamins, and cream supplies by my co-workers , she was extremely grateful. You guys are awesome!!!
We have alot of snow here--not compared to what we left in Madison, but it's a good amount. We drove to Tokmok today in a minor blizzard. Ok--this is a knuckle biting hour ride in GOOD WEATHER . Imagine what was like today?? I need some more vodka! Oh yes, we found out today the building next to Asia Mountain is a strip club. An exclusive one, but a strip joint none the less. I don't know if they offer other "entertainment" there and I sure don't want to find out!
I do have to mention that I miss Julia and Rauan desperately. This is just way too long to be away from small children. I know they are being cared for and that everybody loves them--but it's very difficult. Ted is trying to talk me into being the one who comes back with the idea I can help with the cleft baby and show them how to use the bottles etc. but I honestly don't think I can leave the kids that long. Of course after taking care of them by myself for almost 2 weeks and I might be saying something different!
Ok I'm out of here before I lose the internet again. I'm also fully recovered from the vodka!

Manoga schneck(lots of snow) and the Packer victory!

Greetings from half way around the world. For those interested our pics can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pritchardadoption/ You will need to be signed up to view them. By the way this is Ted. Janiece is mad since she spent a great deal of time on a post yesterday that was nuked when the internet went out. So I get the honor! On Friday we went out as a group for shopping and something to eat. I, unfortunately, am the token male and have nobody to talk to. After suffering through a few hours of shopping at the Zum, we decided to grab a bite to eat at a nice Asian restaurant. Two of the adoptive mothers wanted to experience some Russian traditions and since our facilitators here do not associate with us outside of the orphanage, I felt compelled to dust off the traditions Andrei instilled upon me on the shores of Baikal. Thus the Vodka and the recovery! So the 4 women and I proceeded to toast our way through a bottle of vodka(nyet Krystal). I must report that our group was loud and the conversation made me turn red a few times. I also had to escort one mother to the car so she would stop talking to all the men.
Today in the orphanage was a blast. We played in the room with all the kids for awhile and then we took Alihan and his friend Yuri out to play in the falling snow. I think that I saw tears of joy from the caregiver when we left, as I believe the two were getting on her nerves. Yes I must report that our youngest son is naughty.
Speaking of naughty, I want to fly back to the US and shake some sense into Bubba. For those who remember, he was refusing to participate in anything this spring-fall, but we thought that we were beyond that. Well I am happy to report that he is pulling the same thing on my parents at hockey practice. While I do see some humor in that they didn't think he was this bad, I now know what my parents meant by wanting to reach through the phonelines and strangle me as a kid. Must drink some more Vodka or I will be on the first plane back to escort his sorry butt back to practice to apologize to coach Adam for making a scene.
Well Janiece and I are going for a walk and if the internet is working later(doubt it)I will try to post more pics on the Yahoo site. Best wishes. Give the kids a kiss from us and tell Rauan that daddy's eye in blinking uncontrollably right now!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Too much vodka

Mommy drank way too much vodka last night. Mommy has a headache. Mommy is too old to drink like this. Mommy is in recovery and the ride to the orphanage is going to be rough today. Where is they tylenol???? But mommy and daddy had fun. Will write more after our recovery.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Early morning

We've taken to get up at an unreasonably early time just to use the internet. Didn't have anything after yesterday's early am post and then the TV pretty much gave out too! Needless to say, I'm hoping our big shopping experience today will help us find an English bookstore!
I'm missing Julia and Rauan more then I thought I would. This is way too long to be away from younger children. I know that they are well taken care of but I miss my babies.
Alihan is really starting to show more and more of his personality. Yesterday, we went to the playroom with one of his friends, Yuri and another little girl. Alihan does the fighting with his friends just like I've seen at home with Julia and Rauan! He loves to look out the window and watch people and cars and he loves to play with the wooden puzzles in the playroom. We went outside for just a brief period yesterday. Alihan does not like the dogs at all--or maybe he is just frightened of them. I remember when Rauan first saw our dogs, he curled up into a little ball and cried. Now, well, Loki follows him around because they are food buddies! Oh yeah, I think I'll now have two boys that start saying "I'm starving" first thing in the morning--and which continues all day long--usually within 15 minutes of eating! I might need to look at that second fridge! Thank God we live so close to Woodman's(huge grocery store).
So, I was able to get some pictures up. The plane is a Mig 23 that we see just as we enter Tokmok. Then the table is when we gave the children mandarins yesterday--can't have oranges but those are ok. I tried to get a good picture for you Marnie. Then it's me and Alihan outside. He loves snow!
That's about it for now. Ted and I will take some pictures of town today and hopefully be able to post later. Oh Ted wants me to tell you he is loving watching the Russian super league hockey. MEN!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Finally an update

Sorry it's taken so long to get an update. The internet has been hit and miss--mostly miss! We've had snow here and bitter cold (like Wisconsin when we left). I guess that has affected the internet. Marnie and Johnda--bring an extra sweatshirt and warm jammies--it is cold even in the hotel.
Alihan is warming up to Ted. Yesterday we got to take him outside--actually we were told to take him outside. He LOVES the snow and loves being outside. I bought him some good mittens so he can play in the snow and we don't have to worry about his poor little hands getting wet and cold. I also got the medical update from the doctor. Really not much there. I questioned some spots on his back and I got the famous sugar allergy response. I pretty much knew beforehand--but yes Ted will be bringing something for scabies when he returns. Again--kept my mouth shut! They are giving him antibiotics for a cold--who knows what it is???? I don't know--after working at the university for so long with one of the top infectious disease MDs in the world--it's hard for me to say ok. We know antibiotics for a cold--or RSV are worthless, but apparently they seem to think the kids need them.
Anyways, Ted and I are trying to get out and walk everyday. This is so much different from our previous adoptions. With Julia and Rauan, the coordinators and interpreters were so eager to show us their country and provide us with knowledge about their countries history. Here, it's pretty much to the orphanage and back again. We're left on our own and told to take a taxi if we want to go anyplace. Like we would know where to go! We've found one place that is a grocery and shopping center about a mile away. It's a good hike and we're bundled up. I am now the proud owner of a very warm wool hat! Tomorrow we're going out for dinner with the other moms. We figure with a large number of us, we'll figure something out.
Well, the driver will be here soon. If we can get internet later, we'll post pictures.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Day 3

First of all, I am not responsible for my husband! Apparently, when he updated the laptop, he somehow deleted the modem. Mind you--I don't know computers that well so I'm not sure what the heck he did. Darn good thing he has other great qualities!
Marnie, I'm not sure which girl you are talking about. Just by eyeballing some of the kids though I've made tentative diagnoses. I was in one of the baby rooms with the new moms and I could hear RSV cough. I would just love to get in there and do what I do, but I'm resisting. I was talking to our nurse educator one day and I told her I think a nurse is always a nurse whether she/he is getting paid or not. But--everyone who knows me well be proud of me--I kept out of it--but it is so hard!!!!
Just heard, Asia Mountain is going to let Ted try to download pictures so we can post them. They really are nice here.
Well, for our adventure today--Alihan has definitely decided I am his mom and he isn't going to let me go. He's not so sure about Ted. We got to the playroom and I sat down on the floor. He plopped right down on my lap and wasn't about to move. He literally had his butt 1/2" away from my lap when we moved to a different area of the playroom. When I finally got him to move off my lap so Ted could have some involvement--he let us know in no uncertain terms he was pissed!!!! He warmed up to Ted eventually (don't all kids?) and we had a good time with lots of hugs and kisses. He is talking alot--not that I understand it--but he has a nice gentle voice.
When we left today, our driver took us to the edge of Tokmok and showed us how close we are to the Kaz border. I had no idea we were that close. I don't think a world map does it justice. Does anyone know the name of the river that is on the border? We also got a tour of the area. It really is beautiful.
Dana and Linda, I heard about the accident on the interstate. Did either of you get mandated? I'm able to check my work email occasionally so I would love to know more. Yes--once a nurse always a nurse thing again!
Ok, we're going to try pictures now. Hilary--I'm buying some Pringles tomorrow!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Adventures today

Well we brought bananas and cookies to the kids today. It was a big hit (especially with Jyly!). Some of the kids tried hot chocolate for the first time--that was iffy--but it's good to try new things. Asia Mountain--we're paying with credit card. It costs a little extra, but after our coordinator rejected a bunch of our $100s, I'm glad we're doing that. We tried our best but just because we want new bills doesn't mean the US mint if going to produce them--especially at Christmas time!
Alihan loved the bubbles. Marnie I brought a lot of those, so if you need the luggage room......I got coloring books yesterday, but we didn't even get to those. Alihan fell asleep in my arms and then when he woke up he faked still being asleep cause he didn't want to let go! The interpreter was laughing about that. I had her tell him that we would be back tomorrow and there is going to be lots of snuggle time in the future. I also showed him pictures of the family and he was very interested, ;Julia and Rauan really caught his interest. When we gave him his blanket and stuffed animal (a Polar Cap polar bear--it's a hockey thing), he went running to his caregiver and had to show her. She made a big deal of putting it on his bed for us to see. Ted spent alot of time on the floor with Alihan playing helicopter and legos. We also heard Alihan talk today--tying words together. He is really soft-spoken. He does have a "best friend" there and when they got playing, it sounded like home to me. I think the interpreter thought we were nuts, but Ted and I were both laughing and having a blast with the noise.
We got a internet card today, so tonight Ted is going to work on getting the computer up and going so we can download photos. Everyone say a prayer--it's in Russian and Ted is trying to remember how he did it 2 1/2 years ago!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

First Meeting

We met Alihan today. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) we didn't get much time for pictures--we were too busy playing! He is very similar to Rauan--even down to taking things apart to see how they run! Heaven help us--I'm going to have to hide all the mechanicals and tools in our house otherwise I can see Rauan and Alihan putting their heads together and plotting on how to unassemble and reassemble things in our house. I think Julia is going to have her hands full.
Alihan's cleft isn't that bad. It looks like his palate is fine, but to my ear--which is ok but nowhere near a speech therapist's ear--he sounds hypernasal. His mid-face is depressed too, so I'm not sure what we will fine when he gets back to the states. His teeth are a mess. I can see he will probably have to be sedated for a good cleaning and whatever else the dentist might find. Personality wise--he is hilarious! The interpreter adores him--she told us he is very kind and generous with the other children--quite the gentleman. He loves cars and trucks and a dog ran past us and he was more curious then anything. That bodes well for Loki at least! Alihan is also neat--capped the markers and put everything back when he was done playing with it--Julia and Rauan will soon change that. Anyone who has been to our house knows it is well lived in and messy too. Kids, dogs and cats---fun, loud and noisy. It's too quiet here--I'm used to kids yelling and dogs barking.
We met some other adoptive moms today. Ted is the token male! I think he likes it but won't admit to it. They are all adopting babies--the babies are absolutely adorable! One of the moms missed the Turkish Air flight that we ran too in Chicago. O'Hare is terrible--I would suggest if people can bypass O'Hare--do it! They are still waiting for their luggage.
I'm hoping for pictures tomorrow. We had a blast with Alihan and the time flew.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

We're here!

After an extremely rough ride here--nasty turbulance--we are here at Asia Mountain. It looked like a blizzard when we landed in Turkey. But I made it!! I have just finished eating--very important after all (and not much was going to stay in earlier!) and Ted is passed out. I'm lucky--all those weird hours I've worked--and then slept for a few hours and taken care of Julia and Rauan have paid off. My MIL called this am--Julia and Rauan are missing us--and boy do I miss them! Julia gave me her little Tinkerbell pillow to sleep with and it is getting used. If anyone has any tips for using the AT&T card to call here can you post them. She couldn't get through using that and went through something with Charter instead.
We're going to the orphanage tomorrow. Our interprepter said they want us to rest and get used to the time change first. I think that's a wonderful idea. We didn't get to do that with Julia and Rauan and I think that affected those first couple of days. And for anyone that is wondering--it's like Wisconsin weather here and actually what I could see of the sidewalks and streets--the plowing looks about the same too.
Ted decided to try and bring our laptop along. He surprised me with this in route. Hopefully we can use it to post pictures--but it's old and who knows? It's a crapshot.
I'll post more as stuff happens.