in family / adoption / holmes

Our adoption story

  My wife Tara has written up our adoption story in response to that woman (living not too far from here, unfortunately) who returned that boy to Russia a couple weeks ago.Here's the link: tarasfavorites.blogspot201004our-russian-a... read more

Our Russian adoption story

  With the recent headline news about the Russian adoption that went very very wrong, I have been asked by many friends and family about my opinion of the situation. I've not been able to really articulate my feelings about it, but I do have a strong o... read more

Adoption videos updated

  You can watch them here: Holmes Russian Adoption, Part 1 (updated) ... read more

Holmes Russian adoption videos

  The links to both 1 and 2 are here. Part 1 has been updated slightly, in case you want to watch it again. Part 2 might be updated eventually, too, if more pictures come in. Here are the links: Part 1|... read more

Adoption video

  OK, so it took a year, but here they are, finally: Part 1 |  Part 2 You'll see all of our videos of Elizabeth, including the updated versions of these, on the right side on t... read more

Doctors say she's normal

  Tara took Elizabeth to the "international adoption specialist" doctors today for a psychological evaluation and another physical exam. They say she is perfectly averagenormal for a girl her age. Of course, that puts her well above average for a fore... read more

Summary

  To sum it all up: We love our daughter. Elizabeth is a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent little girl. We thank Russia for giving her to us. Otherwise, we did not enjoy Russia.In their defense, we weren't there under normal circumstances. It was not a... read more

More pics

  Elizabeth likes bows in her hair Red Square... read more

Stay tuned

  I hope to get the rest of the photos and videos on here, at least in raw form, over the next few days. I think I'm getting over my post traumatic stress disorder from the trip and can now face looking at the video again. :) Regarding Comments, I had... read more

Airport arrival

  Some pictures as we arrived in the airport. There was a great welcoming party there! We've never had an airport welcoming party before! ... read more

A few pictures

  Finally, some pictures of Elizabeth. They're not even the latest, but it should hold you over if you've never seen her before. ... read more

We're home!

  And now I'm going to bed! :) I'll blog tomorrow.Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, "Russian Adoption: From Nashville to Astrakhan and ... read more

Riding the Metro, part deux

  All three of us went to Red Square this time. I'm glad Tara was able to see it. Elizabeth was fascinated, too, but probably won't remember a thing.We then had lunch at Sbarro in the underground mall, where Tara bought some... read more

Riding the Metro

  We're going to attempt to ride the Metro subway to Red Square today. Wish us luck. The exits aren't numbered, they are listed by name ... in Cyrillic. Of course, the overhead announcements are in Russian. One helpful thing is that the announcements a... read more

Still in Moscow

  We're in a different hotel, the Holiday Inn - Moscow Sokolniki, for the rest of our stay. This is the one that was originally reserved for our return from Astrakhan. It has a reliable internet connection, costs less per night than yesterday's, and pr... read more

Can't leave early

  ... but at least it's all over. The Embassy visit went fine. Delta said that the only way we could take the available seats on earlier flights was to pay $2800 extra FOR EACH ticket. We said no. Unless someone wants to donate that to us, then we'l... read more

To the embassy

  Our last stop before the airport on the magical mystery tour is the US Embassy. They will make Elizabeth a US citizen and a registered Repu... read more

Update to the update's update

  I went ahead and paid for the 24-hour internet connection from the room. It wasn't even double the cost of one hour. I also swapped out the flaky cable and that seems to have fixed the connection problem. [Wrong. I had to call the techs back to fix i... read more

Moscow update continued

  We're in Moscow. Bill already summarized our trip here. I do believe that I am fully initiated into the sisterhood of Mothers. I have changed an exploding poopy diaper in an airplane bathroom, with turbulence! I'll spare you all details, but let's... read more

Back in Moscow

  We made it this far! The plane ride was terrible for several minutes when we had to fasten our seat belts, which Elizabeth did not want to do. She SCREAMED loudly for quite a while, ticking off everyone nearby. Luckily, part of it was drowned out by ... read more

Pictures of our life in Astrakhan

  Tonight is our last night in Astrakhan. So, I thought I'd post some pictures of where we've been living for the past 19 days.We've had many battles over clothing. She thinks I put too much clothes on her. In the hotel room, she wears her thermals. Bu... read more

Just another week to go

  ... maybe less! That cheers me up. That's assuming everything goes as planned ... and it WILL. I believe in positive thinking (when I'm desperate, anyway, because it leads to positive actions, which lead to positive results, or at least your chances ... read more

51-1/2 hours

  That's how long before we leave Astrakhan for Moscow. Not that we're counting or anything. The bad thing about these in-country flights is that they don't use "jetways," those expandable tubes that protect you from the weather as you get on and off t... read more

Nothing much to update about

  She's just driving us crazy. Luckily, Tara is taking the brunt of it. I had to get out and walk around town in the freezing cold, just for the sake of getting out. I was at least useful, coming back with some groceries. Elizabeth's sweet as can be a... read more

Update

  Everyone is wanting an update! Well, we're parents of a two year old now, no time for updates! She is keeping us busy. Her favorite things to do are: play in the sink, play in the tub, and play in the toilet. She is a waterbaby! One of the things we... read more

Sleep, what a concept

  I slept on the floor most of last night. It's a little after 7 a.m. here. Elizabeth refuses to sleep in her crib, even though we're told that's what she slept in at the orphanage. So, she sleeps with us in our bed. That bed is barely big enough for j... read more

Bowel movement

  I like a headline that demands attention!It's official, I'm a parent. Elizabeth had her first bowel movement since we've had her, and it was on my watch! Tara was unable to put Elizabeth down for a nap while I was out walking around town looking for ... read more

The first hours of parenthood

  Oh my gosh! She's a handful! Well we left the orphanage without much incident. She told the orphanage staff that she wanted to leave in the car. But, she refused to let me or Bill hold her hand or touch her other than put her snowsuit and boots on. ... read more

She's ours!

  We have her in the hotel now. I tried typing that sentence earlier but she shut the computer down as I was typing! I don't know how. But just a few keystrokes and it was shutting down. Now she keeps trying to run away from Tara down the hall. So far,... read more

More pictures

  Here are some photos from today of the hotel and the closest major street to us. We didn't get very far on our walk because it was too cold. ... read more

Picture of us before court

  ... from several days ago, the morning of our court appearance. Taken by the other adoptive family in town for their first trip, the Mees. ... read more

Light at the end of the tunnel

  We visited Elizabeth again today. We caught her when she was in the music room with all the other kids in her age group. She smiled wide when she saw us, but by the time she reached us, she tried to keep it cool. Like, "Oh, it's you. I thought you we... read more

She's warming up to us

  We had her laughing, smiling and giggling today. I pushed her around on the three-wheeler, then "flew" her around the room. She even let us chase her around, and it didn't scare her when I chased her! She seemed more comfortable with Tara than she ... read more

It's going to be a good week

  That's all I wanted to say. :) We had a shortened visit with Elizabeth today because we had to first stop by the pharmacy and get some Ben-Gay and ibuprofen for my sore neck. Ben-Gay actually sounds (and smells) the same in Russian, it just looks fu... read more

Went for a walk ...

  ... in the freezing cold, because we were THAT bored. I'm starting to hate this place. There's just nothing to do when we're not visiting Elizabeth or going shopping. And both of those require a driver, and usually a translator. I can't wait until we... read more

Beet salad

  The time stamp on these blog posts are in US Central Time, not Russia time. It's 6am Sunday morning here. We had lunch the other day with Nancy, Joel, Vika and Liena at a Western-themed restaurant called The Horseshoe down the street from the hotel.... read more

Much better visit today

  Elizabeth (a.k.a. "Masha") was much happier today. We were told that the orphanage caretakers probably were not telling her that we would be "taking her away," but who knows? She let me "fly" her around the room again, which made her laugh. We played... read more

Saturday morning

  Tara made a good guess earlier. She thinks that the orphanage caretakers are telling Elizabeth that we will be taking her away from the orphange soon. They think they're doing us a favor, trying to prepare her. But now, every time that we come to vis... read more

The day after

  Well, we're much more relaxed now that we've gotten past the court appearance. The problem now is getting Elizabeth to like us again. Today, she cried for the first time. She let me hold her, but my Russian words were not much consolation. She calmed... read more

Success!

  As you probably read below in Tara's post, our court appearance went very well. Ten days from now we will officially be the proud parents of Elizabeth! And now Vika tells us that we get to visit her not just a few times, but every day except Sunday. ... read more

And the judge says......

  She's ours!It's official! Elizabeth is ours. The court hearing went very smooth. It took about an hour and a half. There was a judge, prosecutor, a rep from the Child protective services, and the Minister of Education. They had a lot of questions abo... read more

Showtime!

  We leave in an hour for Court. I just got back from breakfast. Tara did not join me because she can't eat, she's so nervous. Gotta go get dressed. Wish us luck!Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, ... read more

Comments welcome

  I set this blog so that you can now add your comments anonymously without logging in. So, comment away! I was afraid that the requirement for a login was keeping people from participating. Now you can go crazy because you're anonymous. Just watch you... read more

Russian adoption consultant

  I've taken a job here as a . The hours are long, and the pay is in barter, but you gotta do what you gotta do, seein' as how I can't leave the country. :) But seriously, the Children's Hope office in Brentwood, TN has an opening for such a job. Th... read more

Back in Astrakhan

  We made it to Astrakhan, but I've lost my immigration form that goes with the passport and visa. It's just a little sheet that they have you fill out on the airplane before you land. If I'd known it was so important, I would have stapled it into the ... read more

Tuesday (2007-11-26)

  Time flies when you lose nine hours. We fly to Astrakhan this afternoon. This morning, we'll be having the free breakfast that the hotel offers. Then we'll exchange our dollars for rubles (before the dollar devalues even more). I could've done that y... read more

Back in Moscow

  We made it. The flight was horrible. I think I slept about 30 seconds out of the 11 hour flight. It was not a full flight, and half the people around us were able to take up two or three seats, but we weren't quick enough. The other movie on the flig... read more

In the air again

  Sunday, November 25, 2007, 5:00pm CST We're in the air on our way back to Moscow. Delta Flight 46. The current in-flight movie is "Evan Almighty," which we saw on one of our other flights to or from Moscow last time. You know, when you jet back and ... read more

Mweh yeddum v aeroport eta ootra

  You probably guessed what that means: We are going to the aiport this morning. It's probably not grammatically correct, but I ain't got no time for linguistic correctitude. :) Unlike last time when the cat kept waking me up, this time I was able to g... read more

Elizabeth's room

  OK, here are the pictures: Before |  After ... read more

Internet access

  I'm wondering about internet access now that we've tentatively planned to stay in a weekly apartment in Astrakhan instead of the hotel the entire time. We'll probably wantneed that internet access for the sake of something to do. Normally, we could ... read more

Skora mweh tam boojum

  Translation: "We'll be there soon." This time next week, actually. I really want to be able to communicate with our daughter Elizabeth when we get there. I've been playing ... read more

Round two

  We've received our court date. We're haggling with the airlines now. One round-trip ticket for one adult costs a little over $800. One one-way ticket for our daughter's flight home with us costs $1,600!! I suggested just buying our daughter a round-t... read more

We're home!

  OK, now we're home! I'll try and do a trip summary tomorrow after a good night's sleep ... in my own bed. Tara says she feels like Dorothy, "There's no place like home!"Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, ... read more

Atlanta!

  We're in the Atlanta airport now! Good to be on US soil, except that they keep mentioning George Bush (... as in the Houston Airport). :) It's 1:45a.m. Moscow time right now (5:45p.m. EDT), but I'm not tired. I'm anxious to catch the flight to Nashvi... read more

Last visit for a while

  We'll be leaving in a few minutes for our last visit to the orphanage this trip. I'm practicing asking for my baggage back from the hotel baggage room. Baggage actually sounds like "boggage." "Please" is pa-ZHAL-sta. Fascinating, I know. I thought ab... read more

Another great visit

  We're feeling closer and closer to our child, especially after today. And I think we passed "the test" of having the psychologist there, observing. She was pretty cool, actually. She didn't stay the entire visit. I think she could see that Tara, the ... read more

Sights of Astrakhan

  I'm attaching pictures we made of Astrakhan and our room. We are staying at the Hotel Azimut in Astrakhan. They are going through major renovations right now. It's kind of funny to see the interior design mix. The lobby is decorated in Art Deco wh... read more

Great visit

  We had a great visit with our little girl this morning. There were no observers. That happens this afternoon. Vika had mentioned that we should think about showing more affection in front of the observers. It's more in line with how Russians treat th... read more

Thursday

  First things first: Our little girl is warming up to Tara. She gave her a kiss yesterday, I think without even being asked. Now, for some more random thoughts: Before I forget to mention it, I need to tell you what happened Tuesday. I think it ... read more

Wednesday

  We just got back from today's first visit with the child (we're not supposed to mention her name online). We'll be going back this afternoon. In the meantime, Tara's trying to catch up on her sleep. She had woken up around 5 this morning. I was able ... read more

It's a girl! It's a girl!

  Oh My Gosh what a difference 1 day makes!So, we have a beautiful blond haired, blue eyed, 2 12 year old girl!First, the obvious question: "What happened to the 4 year old boy?" We don't know. After 2 trips to the Minister of Education, and two inter... read more

Tuesday (2007-10-02)

  Just some random notes this morning There's a real stray dog problem in Russian cities; or, at least Moscow and Astrakhan. A lot of people even apparently let their dogs run loose. They're almost all large dogs. The small ones don't survive. Th... read more

What a day...

  Where to begin... The original plan was for us to go to the Minister of Education and submit our dossier and then formally receive our referral. What really happened:Galina called the ministry this morning only to find out that they were closed in t... read more

It's only Monday?

  Monday - 1 Oct 07 - 6:37PM zzzDRAHST-vueet-ya, DRAHST-ya, BREEV-yet ee DO-bree-dyen from Astrakhan! I just (phonetically) said "Hello, hey, hi and good afternoon" (even though it's now evening here) in Russian. I couldn't remember how to say "even... read more

We're in Astrakhan

  After a nerve-wracking trip to the airport and getting through the airport security we finally made it to our plane. We were told that our Rep, Galina would be flying with us. We never saw her until we were already on the plane. She was one of the la... read more

Check out time

  We check out in an hour. We got a nice free breakfast this morning. We then went back to that grocery store and managed to pay the right amount for the right kind of water (not sparkling, which is hard to find). Security guard work is apparently a la... read more

Moscow

  Well, we made it to !After a long plane trip, we managed to get through passport control and customs with no problems. And all of our luggage made it!Our CHI Rep and driver were late getting to the airport and we were worried, but they did eventually... read more

We're in Moscow

  We'll be spending the night in Moscow, after all, and flying down to Astrakhan tomorrow afternoon. I was stressed out without an internet or even a usable power connection. But I'm obviously connected now. I had the power converters, but not the thr... read more

In the air

  28 Sept - 3:55pm CDT -- We're in the air on our way to Moscow. A little bit of good news is that it's "only" a 10 hour flight instead of 12 as we had thought. Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, ... read more

Travel day

  We fly out today. It would've been nice to have gotten one last good night's sleep, but the cat made sure that didn't happen. Stupid cat. Anyone want one? Seriously. She's very pretty; and sweet when she's not keeping you from sleeping. I'll miss the... read more

The day before

  Sounds like a movie title. Anyway, it's Thursday morning. Grey's Anatomy season premier tonight. Tara says woo-hoo! Flying halfway around the world tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I think I figured out that I can take the SD memory card out of t... read more

Preparation

  Tuesday morning. Everyone's still asleep except for me, the pug Joey and the cat Sunny. I'm trying to reacquaint myself with the digital cameras, video and still. I would've put Joey's and Sunny's pictures here, but the camera is connected to Tara's ... read more

This time next week....

  I'm happy to say that this time next week, we will be in Astrakhan, Russia! We leave the States on Friday, September 28 and arrive in Moscow on the 29th. Depending upon the schedule of the flights to Astrakhan, we may have to stay in Moscow one night... read more

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