Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Five Favorites Vol. 1
For a while now, I've enjoyed the Five Favorites posts at, and this week I've decided to try doing it myself.

Number One:
Vidalia Chop Wizard
This chopper is amazing -- very quick and fairly easy to clean.  It also wasn't terribly expensive.  You can buy it at Bed Bath and Beyond or here.  I used it on Friday to make the recipe below.
Number Two:
Olivye Salad
Easter is here, and we got to eat meat, blessed glorious meat, on Friday due to the Octave of Easter.  I had a church Women's Society book club meeting, and I wanted to bring something meaty and good to the meeting -- yet I needed something that would work well cold, since I was facing about an hour's drive.

What would be better than an Eastern European recipe to share a bit of our future children's culture with the book club?

It was a huge hit with the club, and the leftovers were a huge hit with my hubby later.
Natasha's lovely version of it can be found here.  I also found out about the Chop Wizard on Natasha's blog.  So maybe my favorite should have been Natasha's blog -- but I have to stretch this out to five somehow, right?  #cutthen00bsomeslack
Number Three:
We and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland
Of all the parenting books we've read for our now complete home study (yay!), none of them really addressed the issue of introducing faith based learning to our children.  This book explains it very well.  Now, there is a modified (post Vatican II and new calendar) version of this book called How to Raise Good Catholic children.  I prefer this, the original 1953 edition.  I hope to get Mrs. Newland's The Year and Our Children, which discusses recipes, activities, and crafts for each liturgical season and holiday.
Number Four:
Goong: The Royal Palace
Not adoption, family, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, or in any official way related to this blog whatsoever.  (Unless you count it as something I amuse myself with in between scouring the internet for updates on Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, which is very much what it is, I must admit.) However, I am ADDICTED to this comic book series from Korea.  Usually I read Japanese Manga, so Korean Manhua is new for me.
This series is a romance in an alternate history setting -- the author explores the idea of what Korea would be like today if they had a monarchy.  Against that backdrop, she develops very interesting characters and actually makes an arranged marriage plot seem realistic in today's world.  The art is simply beautiful -- I love that it incorporates both traditional Korean clothing and modern Western clothing -- and in both cases it is so very beautifully drawn.  :)
Number Five:
Pimsleur Russian I
We love the Pimsleur approach for language learning.  It works great, and we do our Russian lessons when we're in the car together, either on the weekends or when we take SuperPup to the dog park.  It's fun to do together, and we are learning more and more Russian, which we use when we go to Russian markets, delis, and restaurants.  :)
It isn't the cheapest thing out there, so I recommend trying their free lesson to see what you think.  I will say, though, that they run frequent discounts, and that their method has worked really well for us.  :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Storks are from Kyrgyzstan?

For about a year now, we've been waiting for Kazakhstan to reopen -- and our agency has been accredited since December of 2012.  So far, there doesn't seem to be very much movement in that direction.  Every once in a while, rumors will start that things will happen soon, sometimes even with a rumored approximate date of reopening.

So far, all those rumors have amounted to not much of anything -- Kazakhstan still isn't taking dossiers from American families/agencies.

So now what?

Kyrgyzstan seems more likely than not as a possibility for us -- they should be accrediting agencies and reopening soon.  I've mentioned this before, but the tone we're getting from our agency seems to indicated that Kyrgyzstan is likely to open before Kazakhstan.

If that happens, we plan to jump on the Kyrgyzstan bandwagon pretty quickly.  I plan to continue blogging no matter which way the wind blows, but I may need to think up a new name for this blog if we do end up switching to Kyrgyzstan.

In other news for us --

We completed our home study visits last Thursday, so we really are in a holding pattern.  I'm still trying to keep busy and keep the wait from really driving me nuts.

We also went on a trip to visit my family, and while we were there we went to the Russian area of San Francisco for dinner.  I have pictures of that and also of some Russian Easter goodies we enjoyed on Monday -- so expect some fun posts in the next few days.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Just my luck that I'd get sick the week of our home study visit.


Just breathe. (At least as much as one can through a plugged up nose.)

And keep looking at adorable nursery ideas on Buzzfeed, Pinterest, etc, especially the ones that would work fantastically for older children or toddlers.

There are some great ideas here.  We have two flea market find dressers to repair, repaint, and pretty up.  We're waiting for a referral to get started on painting the two unused rooms upstairs, and I definitely want to do something fun with the dressers.

So many adorable ideas!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Any day now?

We're living our lives, going to family events, plugging away on getting the house "home study visit ready."  Still trying not to let the wait get to us, but of course it does, though we try to keep faith that everything will work out in the end.

Like other families who set out on the journey to adopt from Kazakhstan, we've started to have the "what if Kazakhstan never opens" conversations -- with each other and with our adoption agency.

There are rumors that Kazakhstan will open within the next few weeks.  But, of course, there have been rumors like this before, and nothing really came of them. No one seems to know anything, but there's hope, of course.  Even so, our agency does not want to string us along, and we have talked about what do to if there's no movement from Kazakhstan.

There are other options, of course.

There's Ukraine, but the general political instability there concerns us, even if adoptions are continuing to be processed. (At least for now -- who knows what tomorrow will bring?)  They also have a policy/process of "traveling blind" without a referral, and the children available are all age 5 and above or have moderate to severe special needs.  We have great respect for families who are called to adopt special needs children, but at this time, as first time parents, we do not feel that we are called in that direction.  Even if we were, however, traveling blind leads to very little time to review the child(ren) and their medical files.  We don't feel this is a good fit for us.

Then there's Bulgaria.  They have a good solid program, but their wait times for a referral are higher, so we'd prefer to keep this program as more of a "last resort."  They also don't seem to allow adoption of children under the age of two, which isn't a deal breaker for us exactly, but would narrow down the diversity (and potential number) of sibling groups that would work for us due to my younger age.

Latvia is another option, though a limited one due to my age and the fact that they rarely allow children under the age of nine to be adopted.  However, we are willing to explore this option if a waiting sibling group we qualify for becomes available.  If this happens, our agency will call us.  However, if we get much farther with another country, this option would no longer be viable, which is fine, because at least we would then be moving forward.

Kyrgyzstan is currently our first choice back-up country.  They are very culturally similar to Kazakhstan, and they are a Russian speaking country (many also speak Kyrgyz, but the orphanage we would adopt from is Russian speaking), which is good as we have been learning Russia. Kyrgyzstan borders Kazakhstan and is also a former Soviet republic.  There is less time in country on the first trip that Kazakhstan requires, though, and we have come to see the 30 day bonding period as a major blessing.  They are also not currently open, though they have allowed agencies in the US to apply to become accredited by the Kyrgyz government.  This country is at the "any day now" point in terms of announcing which agencies are accredited -- and our agency has applied.  The hope is that, following accreditation, Kyrgyzstan would accept dossiers fairly quickly, though this isn't guaranteed.

So where does this leave us?

Waiting, still, though waiting with more options, especially with Kyrgyzstan seemingly serious about reopening their adoption process. 

If Kyrgyzstan opens (meaning they've accepted our agency and are also accepting dossiers from US families), we will continue to wait for Kazakhstan until our anniversary in mid-May.  At that point, if Kazakhstan isn't open, we will pursue Kyrgyzstani adoption.

We appreciate prayers and support during this time of decision -- both for our own decision making and that of the countries involved.