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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The last time we will ever leave Nastya

Today was our final visit before GOTCHA DAY!!! Today was the last time we will ever leave Nastya, which is a huge praise in and of itself!!! We were able to visit Nastya's room today and see all of her little friends, her bed, her eating table and her shower/toilet room. When we walked into her room we were swarmed with little children. They loved Curt, mainly because they rarely see men and so they all wanted his attention. There was a precious little girl who followed Nastya around, I am not sure if they are good friends or not, but she was just darling....someone please adopt this child!!! There were over 20 kids in that one room and there are tons more like this one. Rooms, bursting with children who may be institutionalized for the rest of their lives, heartbreaking! Curt and I went out yesterday and purchased a snowsuit for our snow angel! She adored putting it on and she wore it the entire time we were allowed to visit. We are so ready to bring her home and show her lots of love!

Little sinks for Nastya and her friends

This is where Nastya bathes and the little portable potties behind her are the ones they use..her's is number 10

These are all the beds. There were more behind me.

This face right here is how we know she's going to fit right in.......she loves to aggravate her daddy!

Her number is 10

Her favorite baby that she sleeps with

Her play area

Her eating table

Her closet

Her name until Monday is Nastya Perminova, soon to be Anastasia Hanna

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Passport Photo Day!

Today was great!!!! Everyday with Nastya keeps getting better. She is more outgoing and free spirited every single time we see her! We began with her snack in the upstairs playroom and I was able to try her hat, mittens and scarf on her, which she loved! She enjoyed admiring herself in the mirror. We then loaded her up in the car and headed to the photo place. She did so great in the car, she wasn't scared at all. After her photos, which we beautiful by the way, we went to play at the local playground. It was COLD!!!!! Curt and I decided that we need to buy Nastya a big coat versus the one we brought. We were afraid we would get fussed at by the Russian women for not having Nastya bundled up properly. Tomorrow is a rest day for us, so we will venture out and look at coats, buy a few groceries and take in some sights. Thursday we will visit Nastya's room. Enjoy the photos!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

orphanage visit

To recap the last few days, not much has been going on around here. The weekends are pretty much a time to do NOTHING! We have been blessed though, we flew into Kras with another adoption couple from Minnesota and have spoken with them numerous times on the phone since arriving. Saturday, we met them at the was actually very good, I was surprised since I was coming off the virus/food poisoning. We ate, talked, then went to the toy store and roamed around for quite a while. Sunday consisted of watching my tigers lose....AGAIN! Still a Tiger fan, always will be! Curt and I stayed in on Sunday, it was VERY cold, we watched a few movies and read books most of the day. Today was great, we were back to the regular schedule which makes the time pass quicker. Nastya was her cheerful self again today and that is something we have prayed for! We were fearful that us being gone over the weekend would make her upset, but she came right in and let us hug and kiss all over her, she's a sweet girl. At the end of our visit we played puppets, she is quite the drama queen and loved entertaining everyone in the room. We were able to watch her eat her lunch, very interesting and smelly I might add:) After we left the orphanage we had our drivers drop us off at this huge mall to meet our adoption friends for lunch. We ate, bowled and talked for hours and then went to their apartment for dinner. We took the bus was not scary at all! We are so ready to get this week behind us...tomorrow is passport pictures for Nastya and then on Thursday we will get to go to her room and see where she sleeps and bathes and basically lives. Nastya is #10 in the orphanage, everything she wears, even the napkin she uses at mealtime has a #10 on it! I hope you enjoy the photos and the video!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Orphanage visit

Nastya had an incredible day with us yesterday! She is becoming more comfortable with us and is showing more affection, as much as she can at this point! The sad thing is that after we have made all this progress with her, we will not see her over the weekend. "2 steps forward, 1 step back" I guess! I wonder if she has any idea that next week is her final week as an orphan? My heart leaps everytime I think about it.....her last week to wonder if anyone cares, if anyone hears her! Sweet Nastya, you will never have to be alone again!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

orphanage visit

These pictures are from Wednesday's visit. Don't you love this hairdo? Sweet Nastya!

Orphanage visit

Here are some pictures of Nastya over the past couple days. I was sick yesterday, so Curt took a few shots of Nastya! Enjoy!

Down and Out

It's 4:00pm here in Krasnoyarsk and I am here at our apartment while Curt is visiting sweet Nastya. I was up most of the night with either a stomach virus or food poisoning, if Curt gets it then it is a stomach virus:). We decided that missing a day seeing Nastya was NOT an option, so he left me here, well stocked with poweraides of course! I am anxiously awaiting his arrival to see the videos and pictures of Nastya for the day. I am always looking forward to seeing her hairdo....she is always beautiful! So, while I sit here and read my new favorite series "The Hunger Games" and watch chick flicks courtesy of April and Austin, I am missing all of my babies and here and at home. Gosh, aren't these the most adorable kids? Curt and I didn't do too bad!!!!