2000-- New decade began and we were getting settled in as a family with our first two children, Irina and Max. We were learning (albeit slowly) how to become parents. We had no idea what we were doing but by this year, got the hang of things. Learned the difference between a fake cry & a real cry and that parents don't have to run every time their child calls their name. I worked for Merill Lynch as an administrative assistant. Warren worked for SAS. Some surgeries took place as well.
2001--Still parenting but differently. Working through issues. Warren still works for same company. I learned that being a working parent & having special needs children was not going to work for our family. I quit my business job and searched for something part time. Became an office manager of a florist shop & did some designing there as well. We were becoming more confident as parents. The world changed. America changed. We changed as the US was attack by terrorists. We were nervous but life went on. However, during this time, you held your children tighter and you ALWAYS kissed your loved ones goodbye from here on out. Oh, this is the year our new home also started to fall apart.
2002-- Still holding strong and having more fun. Relaxed more as parents and realizing our children will not break if we throw them up in the air. Going places with the kids and having a good time. Starting to think about our lives more and what direction we want them to take.
2003-- A year of learning and change. We learned we can do this parenting thing. LOL. We also decided that maybe we should think about more children. So, we hosted Yana, Alex and another child this summer. Decided to go back to Russia to bring Yana and Alex home & started the paperwork process to do so. Learned this year that family does not have to be supportive of your decisions. Though heartbroken, it was a life lesson nonetheless. Had a family reunion at our home despite the negativity. Max & Irina were thrilled to be getting new siblings. Aspen(our dog) was growing a bit older.
2004-- If this was a year to pick of change...this was it! We moved into a new home, which we had 2 days to find. Long story with a shady developer. We brought home Yana and Alex in May and started a massive remodel that same month. That year, we were chosen to host a delegation from Tajikastan to see if that country may be interested in adoptions. Remember, some countries still think that we use their orphans for body parts. No, all mine are still intact thank you very much. We also started the adoption process for Bojan this year b/c well, you know, there was not enough going on--LOL. Kids played soccer this year. We also put in our pool this year. And, attended my brother's wedding. Kids went to Hershey Park as well. Busy year to say the least. Oh, had quit the florist job and got a part time job at blockbuster. Introduce to the terminology RAD(reactive attachment disorder)...yikes!!!
2005-- Started the year off in Serbia bringing Bojan home. Got ripped off by a nanny that kept the kids while we were out of country. Learning again as parents as we were new to this type of special need. Missing limbs. Learned all about prosthetics and what to do with them. Got more daring and took the kids many more museums, aquariums and such that year. Had about 5 or 6 surgeries between all the kids that year. Were settling into routine and into our home. Fixing it up the entire time. Aspen was still aging. Kids were growing like weeds and we were dealing with massive school issues. Alex was healing from all his years of neglect. Differences were being seen and made. Warren still worked for the same company. I had to quit my job later that year. For the first time ever, I was without a job though Warren kept reminding me I had plenty to do at home. Lots of therapy I was doing and keeping up with school and kids. Started to think maybe our family wasn't quite complete.
2006-- Another year for change. You suprised? This is the year we brought home Alyona and Nik. All our other kids were doing well in school and things were starting to feel good at home w/ their needs. Some would say then why add more? We however did not feel quite whole. Felt like someone was missing. We had a lot to learn this year. The teen years were upon us with a vengence--LOL. I knew the teen years would be challenging but gee whiz. It would be easier to shampoo a porcupine than to deal with a teenager and their ever fluctuating hormones.
2007-- Finally, the screaming from Nik started to subside. He was learning to communicate through ASL and so were we. I started doing more advocacy work for orphans as I thought that was a way I could contribute since we were "done" adopting. (Gosh, I wish I had a recorder right now. My family is downstairs thinking up names for our 3 new kids. It is hilarious! I promise to not let some of these names through.). kept busy with Nik being at home and us learning together a new language...ASL. Had to fight for his needs. Had to decide what mode of communication was best for him & our family. Got to attend a Deaf Camp for the first tiem & finally felt like we belonged & that Nik belonged somewhere. Was reassuring and at that camp, we learned we should travel more with our children to see the world and this great nation. Special needs or not, we were going to start seeing and doing more and not be afraid of things. It was an eye-opening year for sure. We considered moving but decided to stay put. Warren still works for the same company. Aspen great extremely old this year & we knew he would not e w/ us forever. Bear was still around and doing just fine. All the kids were growing like weeds. We started getting the adoption itch again but knew our kids already home needed us more. We concentrate on some psychological issues going on with them to help them heal. It was a tryign year but a goodyear. We were meshing as a family.
2008-- Our beloved dog Aspen passed away. It was the hardest thing we ever had to do. Our kids missed him very much. This year we all learned much more in sign and I homeschool Max and Irina. My teens were getting into pop culture and the girls were very interested in boys. Thank heaven none have dated yet. We learned as parents to stick up for our children when the schools do not. Yana became taller than me this year. Nik started school & it broke my heart. It was SO hard to let go of this one. Really was. I know I'll have a new "baby" soon but Nik will always be my "baby" boy. Kids had a great time playing basketball and doing cheerleading.
2009-- Wow, what a year! We accomplished so much and I was so proud of my kids. They were really excelling in school and light switches went on for some. We were comfortable but felt something was missing. We went on wonderful adventures together and decided we could share those adventures w/ someone else as well. We felt strongly and decided to add to our family one last time. Thought we would finally end w/ our "baby." Not in the picture but what we do have is 3 wondeful kids that will be a part of us forever. We can hardly wait to get them home. We once again considered moving. We are still here. Love our home and are staying. Kids are happy, school is going well and we are at the point where we all agree we can welcome in new family members into our hearts. Warren still works for the same place & I still stay at home. All of us are healthy though all a little older. It happens over a decade. Bear is really getting older and we fear he won't be around next year possibly. Here's a picture of our beloved Bear: