Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blog in Print

This blog exists in print. To purchase a copy go to iuniverse.

In the unlikely event that I make a profit, this money will go to Kaden's college account.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Blog Book

For those who've read this story but would like to have a copy to hold, for those who haven't because they can't sit in front of a computer screen that long, but mostly for Kaden as a keepsake, I'm having this blog printed up as a paperback book. It's in the works with iuniverse and I'm not sure about the timeline but when it's available I will make an update. I'm hoping that enough people will want copies for me to break even (I get royalties on any sale and it will be available on, and should Kaden's story actually make some money well, profit would go into his college saving account. Anyway, stayed tuned for more details.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Last Post

Some of you (and there have indeed been numerous people) have been cracking me up - urging me to keep going with this thing. People have said it's been like a soap opera/reality t.v. -- well, the series must end sometime and why not now when I've got the new Harry Potter to occupy my time during Kaden's naps?!

As for my state of mind almost two weeks into the motherhood thing... I'd be lying if I said I've completely attached to Kaden. Sometimes I feel like a mom and sometimes I feel like a babysitter. The first day when we were out and about I wondered if people would assume he was mine or if they could tell somehow he hasn't been with me his whole life. I felt relieved when, in Eckerd, a women struck up a conversation, commenting on the Bjorn. She said her kids wouldn't have anything to do with it and then asked if Kaden was my only child.

But the in-love-with-him part of me continues to grow, even on bad days like today.

Here are some of the things about him I already love like crazy:

I love the "augh" noise he makes and how he sometimes turns his head to the side when he does it. The noise sounds like a soda can being opened.

I love two-tear sneezes. (Had some of those today.)

I love that he isn't scared of Gus at all. I thought surely Gus would do something to startle him (like when he barked for the first time) but nope, Kaden is all about the Gussers.

I love when he "sings" along with me or the radio.

I love that last night when he woke me up at 3:30am because he was crying he stopped when I picked him up and laid him on my chest. I simply sat with him for awhile in his big red chair and then put him back in his crib and he was fine.

I love when he falls asleep while drinking his bottle, shakes back awake and resumes drinking.

I love watching him manage food with his fingers.

I love that he loves it when I laugh. When he does something that cracks me up (intended or not) he gets a surprised and then very happy look on his face.

I love how happy bath time makes him.

I love thinking about our future. The short-term: What will his first word be?! When will he be confident to use the walking toys and then step out on his own? The long-term: How will God use his life? How will his Russian heritage effect his interests when he's a teen or older?

One journey has ended but the bigger one has begun. But don't worry - this part has paperwork too. It's called Post Placement Reports!

Happy in the Evening

He survived the beach and a haircut from Dad!

Not Happy During Haircut

Since he had such a rotten day we figured we'd add one more bad thing - get it all in and start fresh tomorrow. Actually the haircut wasn't so terrible. I think right after I took this picture I went and got a jar of baby food and fed him while Kevin continued and that kept him pacified. After the haircut we took a bath which he loves so he was in a decent mood this evening in spite of today's traumas.

Not Happy at the Beach

We were only there for an hour. I'd say he cry/whined 45 minutes of that time. He pretty much hated everything.

Miscellaneous Tips

Some folks plan to drug their babies into sleeping on the flight. I wasn't up for that. To get Kaden to sleep we simply gave him a bottle of formula. First time - 10 minute nap, 2nd time - 45 minute nap, 3rd time - no luck, and last time - two hours. He would have slept longer but we'd landed and had to get him up to go.

When packing clothes for your kid - think small. Kaden is sixteen months and the 12 month stuff is still pretty big on him. As for shoes - try to get his size the first visit. Either trace his foot, or guess at a size, bring along some shoes and see if they fit - so you'll know what size to pack for trip #2.

On trip #2, pack a hat for your kid.

If you don't want your kid in goofy orphanage clothes the whole time you're visiting him - pack clothes for him to wear on your visits. We left two outfits for Kaden which we did not want returned and they put him in these (always clean) for us.

It seems to us, at least in our region, that they are getting overloaded on clothes and toys. Instead, collect money, and make a donation for vitamins or medicine. If you aren't comfortable giving money to the orphanage just ask the orphanage doctors for suggestions and buy the vitamins and medicine in Russia.

So many people labor over what to bring as gifts for orphanage workers. It seems you can skip the worry about to buy State-side for them and save the luggage space. Instead buy them a cake and some champagne in Russia. We actually packed gifts for the care-givers in Kaden's room but still bought them a cake as well since this has become customary. We were told, while there we should have a present for the head social worker and Kaden's doctor, so we bought some Lindt chocolates at a Russian grocery store for those gifts.

Bring a toy or two with you during orphanage visits that you plan to keep. This way there will be something familiar once your kid leaves the orphanage.

After our first visit, we left a "Who Loves Baby" soft picture book with pictures of us and the grandparents but we aren't convinced Kaden ever saw it between visits. (It was back in a closet.) So, if you leave things for your child between visits it's likely you'll get them back but don't count on the child getting to use it when you're gone.

Souveniers are great in Moscow - Arbat Street. We did no souvenier shopping in region - there was nothing worth buying.

Poopy Day

This afternoon we plan to go to the beach so I hope to be able to end this blog on a positive note with a happy, toes-in-the-sand, Kaden pictures, but so far his day has been rough. Three poopy diapers before 12:30. Messy ones. His body is figuring out what to do with these new foods. I've been trying to go slow with the new introductions (all I've added since we've been home has been cottage cheese, peaches, and whatever is in those organic kiddy granola bars I bought) but it's not like food is his only stress... Plus he's back to having a runny nose. Poor kid. We've got a doc's apointment on Friday - he needs to hold on!

I did attempt to check his temperature and if I did it right (big if) then he's totally fine, and he doesn't really feel warm.

In other news - Kevin went to church this morning and everyone was super excited and thrilled with the pictures he brought along. It's tradition for church members to bring dinner to families with new babies so the free meal brigade begins tonight. (Yippee!)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Self-Feeding Success

Today during a snack we actually got Kaden to feed himself some banana, so tonight when we went out to eat I ordered Kaden a plane piece of grilled chicken which we cut up for him and we set the plate in front of him and he went to town. I'd say less than 50% ended up on the floor. Not bad! And the best part was we were able to eat in peace. We didn't have to take a bite, then feed him, and continue in that alternating pattern. We all just ate!

I think the dog is really going to enjoy this as well. More scraps for him.

Oh, and like the bib in the bottom picture? I got it in London. Our kid is stylin'

The future of this blog...

I don't intend to keep this blog going. In fact, I plan for tomorrow, Sunday, to be my last day of posting. I started this blog because when we were researching adoption I found the blogs of others'to be quite helpful and interesting. It has turned out to be a great resource for friends and family to keep tabs on our boy and the progress of this adoption. It also has served as a journal which I plan to print and make into a book of some sort to go with Kaden's own picture album (my version of a "life book").

And I know that adoption "issues" keep going once a child is home and there is still much to be learned from adoptive families sharing information with each other, but I think that for this webboards and Adoptive Family Magazine will suffice.

So, I've got to end things. Not because I can't find the time. Oh, I always manage to eek out iternet time, but because I figure my kid will have enough to hold against me when he's a teenager so his personal, growing up details published on the internet is not another thing I want added to the list.

Thanks for following along though!


I tried to hold him to one post-lunch nap today but we had meltdown just before 10:30am. He finally got a good night's sleep (8pm - 6:45am - perhaps he's over his jet lag!) ) so I thought today could be the day. I was wrong.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Tub Time

Blah and Today's News

It seems we can't return from Russia without one of us getting throw-up sick. Last time Kevin got food poisoning and was throwing up en route on the way home. This time I started to get a flu-sick achy on the way home but nothing too bad. But by Thursday night something hit me full force and I was throwing up - only I hadn't eaten so I was mostly gagging and or just throwing up Gator Aid. By lunch time today my appetite had returned and I'm feeling better.

Kaden got up a little before six am but was clearly still tired (laying down while playing) so he went down for a nap between 8am - 10pm (and so did I, since I'm trying to get healthy). Then we went out and about - to Toys R Us, to the Organic Food Store for baby food, and to drop off film. Kaden much prefers American roads and drivers over Russian roads and drivers.

Kevin came home to Kaden actually using his fingers to eat -- a granola bar type thing I'd gotten at the organic food store. Kaden had it all over his shirt, face and hands (it was a sticky granola bar not a dry one) so, lots of fun.

A Big Thanks

To my dad who housesat for us while we were in Russia. He made sure our lawn got mowed, he gassed up our cars, he kept the hurricanes away from Wilmington, he even had Gus's dog bed washed. It was such a relief not to have to worry about things at home while we were gone. It's nice to have a dad who's retired!

Kaden's First Outing

Was to Toys R Us... I have walker type toys for him - but he isn't even confident enough of a walker to get behind 'em and go, so today we went out and bought a jumping swing thing (hangs in doorframe) so he can hopefully strengthen his legs with it by hopping up and down.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Kaden Explores His Room

1. Kaden just threw a block at Gus and finds this very funny. 2. Kaden meets his stuffed animals. 3. Kaden and some toys from his grandparents.

Kaden Dmitriy Stratton - US Citizen!

I know you're all dying to know whether or not we ever made it to Gorky park on Tuesday afternoon. We did not. Instead we met up with Igor, Luda and their sons Alexi and Feodor for an afternoon at the Moscow Zoo. I'm not sure what Kaden got out of this excursion. We paid extra to see a dolphin show and he never seemed to be looking in the right places but at least we met up with this Russian Wilmington family and helped seal that connection with them.

Next you're all dying to know about how we faired on the plane. Just fine. Much, much better than I'd hoped. Kaden was his fussiest that morning in the comfort of the VIP lounge. Once we got on the plane he was remarkably easily entertained. As soon as we got on the plane I gave him a bottle for his lunch and he fell asleep for take-off. Unfortunately this nap only lasted about ten minutes. Around 3:30 I gave him another bottle and he fell asleep and napped for 45 minutes. I tried again around 6:30 with no success. His fussiest was probably after that when we tried to get him to sleep. But around 7:30 when we officially gave up and went back to entertaining him he was all smiles. Around 9:30 I gave him another bottle and then he crashed - slept the last two hours of the flight even through the landing!

He was understandably tired and cranky in the Atlanta airport which we pacified with food and then again on the plane to Wilmington which we just dealt with but then at the very end it was quite turbulent and we circled three times before landing and I just held him tight and he didn't cry at all. Once we got home it was all excitement at the newness of everything.

Kaden isn't scared of Gus at all. Not from our arms looking down at him and not while seated in the floor while being licked by him. He's seems quite pleased that he got an American family with a dog.

We don't know how Kaden feels about Noodle because there seems to be no more Noodle. My beloved kitty has been MIA since Sunday (he couldn't have waited three more days!?). I'm going to put up posters in our neighborhood but I'm not entirely hopeful. I'm sad but not overwhelmingly so. I'd prepared myself for Noodle's death back when he was sick before we left and I'd given DNR instructions if he had the same problem while we were gone but if I stopped to think about it (and so far no time) I'd be more sad.

Kaden went to bed around 9pm US time, Kevin shortly thereafter, myself after that. I was first up around 4:30am, then Kaden around 4:45 (much to my disappointment - I wanted to get some things done!) then Kevin a little after 5am. Kevin was off to work by 6am and Kaden was back down for a nap just before 7am which pretty much brings me to the present...

plenty to do!

Our pile of mail and our living room this morning.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

We're Home

And Kaden is asleep in his crib. It was actually a good day of traveling. More tomorrow...

Another Step Closer

We're in the Moscow airport and thanks to a hook up we're in the VIP lounge with free snacks and free internet! Kaden is alternately fussy and happy so there's no predicting his mood on the plane. Right before we leave the VIP lounge I'll probably prepare another bottle and try to get him calm at least - boarding time (12:55) coincides with nap time. Hmmmmm.

Looks like we're getting out of Russia right in time. Because of another abuse/killing (An American women just killed her two-year daughter adopted from Russia) there's a current outcry for an overhaul of the system. There could be a big time slow-down in adoptions out of Russia coming up... (and perhaps there should be all things considered) We just hope this doesn't affect our friends who were supposed to get custody yesterday and the friends we met our first week in Volgograd who were on their first trip. There is no adoption related court in the month of July so maybe that will help. Who knows.

I can hear my boy so I better go help Kevin...

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