Monday, April 9, 2012

My Apologies for the Delay!

Happy Easter from the Hanna family!

So sorry that I have taken so long to update the blog. Our family has gone into ultra busy mode since I returned back to teaching at the end of February. Spring brings so many activities with it: the boys have baseball starting up but thank the Lord that they are on the same team, so practices and games won't leave the family on different fields this year. CG is still dancing away and gearing up for the recital in May, she will be a beautiful ballerina. I have end of year awards programs to rehearse and music and entertainment for the relay for life pageant at school. SPRING BREAK is here though and that means No ball, No dance and No responsibility at the moment! I am excited that we have a full week with no plans except hanging out at home and enjoying this nice weather!

Nastia has been a part of our family for only 4 months......seriously it seems like she has been with us forever! She has made amazing progress since landing on American soil. I will say that she is going to one day appear on the show hoarders! I have NEVER in my life understood what it means to "piddle" until Nastia came into my life. This girl has treasures hidden all over our house. Every bag in her room is full of junk that she finds throughout the day. I am not being mean about it, we think it is hilarious! She adores her sister, follows her around all day, and has learned most of her english from CG. One of the coolest things about the girls is that they make the other one a better person! Before Nastia came, CG was meek and would let another child take her toys and not fight to get it back. Nastia can be a little bully, she came to us that way. If she wants something she is going to take it. It didn't take long for CG to learn to stand her ground. If Nastia takes a toy now, CG sternly will say "no Nastia, you don't snatch toys". Nastia has learned this and is learning how to share and get along with other children so much better! Nastia is amazing and did I mention how beautiful she it? Those almond eyes and pouty lips.......we are in trouble with these pretty girls around!!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Communication is the KEY to a successful relationship

Since touching down almost 3 week ago, my mind has been in overload trying to figure out different ways to communicate with our Russian speaking daughter. After researching different ideas, I stuck with an idea that I have observed in our autistic classroom. I created posters based on feelings, needs, wants and rules. These posters seem to work well with autistic students who cannot communication their desires, so if I continue to be consistent with Nastia, she will most likely be able to communicate with us and learn english very well.

I began by posting the rules poster yesterday and went over it with her before bedtime. It is very simple, has a picture of what not to do and then the result is a picture of her timeout chair. There are also pictures of things to do like smile, hug, kiss and share. She got up this morning and went to her poster and was able to say a few of the pictures in english!!!!!! She has done well with this today. I posted her feelings poster yesterday and am working on her needs/wants poster right now.

I have read many blogs and facebook posts about people who have been home for 4-6 months and are still struggling......adoption is a difficult process and can really place stress on a family. Patience (as difficult as that is sometimes) and consistency are KEY!!!! Nastia has done extremely well conforming to our schedule. Curt and I have always said that our kids are troopers. They live in the car somedays, and for the past 3 years they have arrived at church at 7:50 am and haven't left until 1:30! She fits right in and is becoming more comfortable each day! I will keep you posted on her progress with communication!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2 Weeks Later

Nastia's referral photo looked like this......

Nastia's Gotcha Day photo looks like this.......

And now just 2 weeks later, Nastia looks like this.....

Sisterly love....for the most part:)

Christmas Day with her new doll from her Nanny and Papa

Daddy needs to gas up the 4-wheeler!

Christmas eve with the Cann Clan!

A birthday cake just for her! Around 4 months too late, but better late than never!!

Nastia is a different child now than the one we got off the plane with 2 weeks ago. She is adjusting very well and has brought so much joy to our home! It is hard to believe that the same child that threw a tantrum in the London/Heathrow airport is the same child who is now learning to share and control her emotions with ease. While there are still times of frustration and tears, a simple time out normally clears things up quickly. Nastia loves to eat chocolate and has become the late sleeper...SHOCKER! While she is very territorial she has come completely out of her shell and is comfortable around most all members of our extended family. She has taken an extreme liking to both my dad and Curt's dad. She can speak around 15 english words: potty, eat, drink, nap, car, dog (molly, belle), silly, her aunt Meg, baba for my mom and mimi for Curt's mom.......just to name a few. I am fortunate enough to still have quite a few weeks left to be at home with her. The boys will return to school next week and then Nastia, CG and I will get back to our normal routine. My goal is to have her very comfortable with my mom and communicating her needs. We thank you all for continued prayers and visits! We have quite a few friends still in this adoption process and we ask that you continue to remember them. A new law will go in to effect on Jan. 1 which will extend the wait time from 10 days after court to 30 days, making the Russian adoption into a 3 trip process. This is very frustrating to deal with, I cannot imagine having to prepare for that challenge. I will be checking back in soon, I have been extremely busy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our final days in this process

We arrived in Moscow last night and received some very good news as soon as we landed. It seems we can complete some paperwork at home and that means we are able to come home 4 days early!!!! I have not been this excited since.......gotcha day! Curt and I have finally come to the conclusion about our new daughters name. At home she will be NASTIA....spelled with an "I" rather than a "Y" and then to everyone else she will be Anastasia. Later on, if she wants to shorten it to Ana or Anya, she can do it. We really wanted to preserve the little Russian heritage she has left, so her name is very important to us. Nastia had her doctor's appointment this morning, all of 20 minutes........and then we went out to walk. Nastia has been doing really well! There are those moments of misunderstanding and frustration and she cries, but for the most part we are able to comfort her and talk her through the frustration. Nap time was a success today as well, she went down like a champ! Tomorrow we have our embassy appointment and then Saturday we leave Moscow at 6:45 am......that's right A.M!!!! We are just so ready to be home!!!! We love you all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gotcha Day

Our Gotcha Day has been amazing!!! Anastasia has done wonderfully well since bringing her to the apartment with us. She hasn't cried..YET....she has played, talked to everyone via Facebook chat, ate a big dinner, took a bath and is now laying in her bed trying to go to sleep. The orphanage visit didn't take long because her caretaker dressed her and handed her off to us. We were there maybe 20 minutes tops. We are looking forward to beginning our journey home on Wednesday, but the first stop is Moscow for a few days. Please pray for us as we begin this leg of the trip and pray for Anastasia to not be too frightened of planes!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Her name....

Anastasia is considered an "old" name here in Russia, I guess it's like old lady names in America....but I do adore a good old lady name! For short, she is called Nastya. Now, if you were to see Nastya spelled in Russian, it would look NOTHING like the way we spell it. She knows her name and is comfortable with her name, but that American spelling, sheesh...NASTYA. Curt and I have been torn as to what to call her because we adore her Russian name and we love Anastasia as well. We have thrown around a couple ideas for what to call her. Nastya is a name that, sad but true, will cause her to get picked on when she gets in school and not only that, Curt will be putting some little boys in their places for that matter. Anastasia is difficult to learn to spell. We thought about Ana, but then there is the whole Ana Hanna....I'm not much into rhyming names! So we thought since her middle name is Elizabeth we might do Ana Beth Hanna. It is totally American I know, I have mixed feelings. We do like double names in our family (Campbell Grace)! So, any thoughts on the name idea?? We are leaning strongly toward Ana Beth at this point. TOMORROW is GOTCHA DAY!!!!!! It's like Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Extra photos from our last visit before Gotcha Day

How I did overlook these photos? I can be scatter brained sometimes. Can I reiterate that Nastya has nothing to her name. The clothes in the locker in the previous post are not hers, the clothes she wears belong to the orphanage. So, Thursday when I brought her snowsuit and boots for her to try on I should've not been surprised at all when she refused to take them off. I thought, surely she's hot playing inside with those thick clothes on....WRONG! Nastya was so excited to have such nice things......and they were the cheapest we found because when in SC are you really going to need a thick snowsuit? Nastya didn't care that we got them at the Russia "walmart", she didn't mind that it was a little big, all she cared about was that it was hers. No one else was going to wear it, no one was going to take it from her. So when she cried when I tried to take it off of her, I immediately backed off....that was not a battle I was going to fight with her. As I type this, I am looking at the outfit I just laid out for her Gotcha Day. We still have the weekend to go, but her clothes are ready, leggings, boots and all. I cannot even begin to imagine her expression when she sees that she not only has one new outfit but an entire suitcase full of new clothes! Clothes are not really the important factor here, I know that. We have been so blessed by God through this entire journey. He has supplied all of our needs, why would we not do the same for a child who has nothing? So while she is celebrating new clothes, her own shoes, her new hair bows and her own toothbrush, Curt and I will be celebrating the chance to influence another life who in turn will one day influence another life ,and so on ,and so on. Isn't the power of adoption amazing? And to think our heavenly Father began it all!