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THESE ARE JUST SOME OF THE QUESTIONS PEOPLE EMAILED ME THE FIRST YEAR WE WERE HOME AND MY ANSWERS TO THEM. I'M GLAD I SAVED THEM AND HOPE THEY HELP OTHERS SINCE I NEVER SEEM TO HAVE COMPUTER TIME ANYMORE! IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS, PLEASE EMAIL ME AND I'LL TRY TO ANSWER YOU AS SOON AS I CAN BUT IT MAY TAKE A FEW WEEKS. GOOD LUCK!

>Did you bring any clothes for them?

WE HAD DONATIONS IN ALL SIZES AND JUST PULLED OUT WHAT WE NEEDED TO KEEP.

>Did you get the daipers over there or did you bring them?

WE BROUGHT SOME TO GET US STARTED IN A SIZE 3. WE BOUGHT MORE THERE AND THEY WERE EASY TO FIND BUT YOU CAN'T FIND WIPES ANYWHERE SO BRING THOSE. WE HAD ONE BIG CONTAINER FOR 2 KIDS AND IT WAS CUTTING IT CLOSE AT THE END! (BY THE WAY, WHEN WE GOT HOME THE KIDS WERE WEARING SIZE 2 & 4 DIAPERS).

>Also, I saw you mention the "Diaper Genie" how is that? Worth getting?

IT'S GOOD BUT FOR 2 KIDS IN BIGGER DIAPERS YOU END UP HAVING TO EMPTY IT EVERY OTHER DAY AT THE BEGINNING. NOW THAT THEY ARE DONE REGRESSING, NOT SO OFTEN BECAUSE THEY ONLY WET WHILE ASLEEP AND EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE POTTY.

>As far as the curcumcision, are you making it a bris?

WE HAD IT DONE IN THE HOSPITAL AND IT WAS FINE. NO BIG DEAL FOR HIM. WE WILL HAVE A FORMAL CONVERSION FOR BOTH OF THEM LATER. I HAD WANTED TO DO IT RIGHT AWAY BUT IT'S JUST TOO MUCH TO DEAL WITH RIGHT NOW!

>I appreciate any thoughts regarding the sibling bonding. Thanks so much.

ANA & ALEK ARE BONDING GREAT! THEY HONESTLY LOVE EACH OTHER AND NOT ONLY THAT, THEY REALLY LIKE EACH OTHER TOO! A LOT OF PEOPLE WARNED US ABOUT COMPETITIVENESS SINCE THEIR AGES ARE SO CLOSE BUT WE HAVN'T SEEN IT SO FAR AND WE'RE NOT WORRIED ABOUT WHEN THEY GET OLDER BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT SEXES.

>and also to ask about the Russian tapes you mentioned that contained songs that you learned to sing to your children.

IT'S CALLED "TEACH ME RUSSIAN" AND IT COMES WITH A TAPE AND A COLORING BOOK THAT HAS ALL THE WORDS IN IT. I BOUGHT IT AT AMAZON.COM (I'VE SEEN THEM LOCALLY FOR OTHER LANGUAGES BUT NOT RUSSIAN.)

>I was wondering how did you make the choice? I mean how did you know Alek was the child you should take home and would fit in your family. I am not sure how you know this in just a few minutes?

IT WASN'T EXACTLY A FEW MINUTES. WE HAD ALREADY CHOSEN ANA AND THEY LEFT HER WITH US WHILE SELECTING A BOY. THEY FIRST BOY THEY BROUGHT US WAS NICE BUT I JUST DIDN'T FEEL ANYTHING. WHEN THEY BROUGHT US ANA, WE BOTH CRIED BUT THIS BOY, NOTHING. WE PLAYED WITH HIM FOR ABOUT 40 MINUTES AAND HE HAD STARTED TO GROW ON US. I THINK WE COULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY BUT I ASKED IF WE COULD SEE MORE BOYS (THEY HAD TOLD US THERE WERE 5). WHEN ALEK WALKED IN HE WAS TIRED AND CONFUSED (HE HAD JUST BEEN IN ANOTHER ROOM WHERE THEY HAD SELECTED ANOTHER CHILD) AND WANTED NOTHING TO DO WITH US. HE WOULDN'T COME TO US AND THREW A TANTRUM WHEN I WENT OVER TO HIM. BUT WHEN THE ORPHANAGE DIRECTOR CALLED HIM OVER, HIS FACE LIT UP THE ROOM WITH HIS SMILE AND HE GAVE HIM THE BIGGEST HUG. WE WENT HOME AND HAD LUNCH TO DISCUSS IT. EVEN THOUGH WE BOTH KNEW IN OUR HEARTS WHICH BOY WAS OURS, IT'S HARD TO JUST POINT TO ONE AND NOT THE OTHER AND ALSO, WE WANTED TIME TO THINK IT OVER AND BE SURE. I NEVER BELIEVED PEOPLE WHEN THEY SAID THEY SAW THEIR CHILDREN AND JUST KNEW, OR FELL IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED FOR US. BUT THEN AGAIN, IT COULD JUST BE THAT ANA WAS THE FIRST CHILD WE SAW AND THE OTHER BOY WAS DRESSED IN A PASTEL, VERY GIRLY JUMPSUIT!

>What gifts did you give to the people that helped you out or as thank you gift to the various people you came across? Do you have any suggestions? What would you suggest to take for the orphanage other than clothes?

WE GAVE A LOT OF OFFICE SUPPLIES (PADS, PENS, STAPLERS WITH STAPLES, WHITE OUT) AND THEN SOME PERSONAL ITEMS TO SPECIAL PEOPLE LIKE WALLETS, BLANKETS, MAKEUP, LAZER POINTERS, FLASHLIGHTS, SOAPS. AS FOR THE ORPHANAGE, THEY REALLY NEED THE CLOTHES AND SHOES. ALSO, SMALL TOYS THAT MAKE NOISE OR MUSIC WENT OVER REAL WELL WITH ALL OF THE CHILDREN. WE ALSO GAVE MEDICINES AND DROPPERS FOR DISPENCING THEM TO KIDS.

>In the court when they asked you why you didn't work...were they wanting mothers that do work. I also want to stay home with the children.

I JUST TOLD THEM THAT I WASN'T WORKING SO I COULD TAKE CARE OF THE CHILDREN. IT'S A VERY POOR COUNTRY SO THE IDEA OF THAT IS VERY STRANGE TO THEM BUT THEY DON'T HAVE ANY PROBLEM WITH IT. IN FACT, IT PROBABLY GIVES THEM THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU ARE VERY WEALTHY!

>What was the best aid to help you prepare for the adoption process. Was it a book, if so which one? A lecture???

THE INTERNET! WE WENT TO CLASSES THROUGH THE AGENCY BUT I REALLY GOT THE MOST INFO FROMM PEOPLES WEB PAGES AND THE EEAC AND FRAU SITES AS WELL AS THE EMAIL LISTS (LOOK AT THE LINKS PORTION OF MY WEB PAGE). SINCE WE ARE HOME, THE BEST INFO HAS COME FROM A BOOK CALLED "WHAT TO EXPECT - THE TODDLER YEARS".

>How did you explain to people that you didn't eat pork with out them knowing it is due to religious reason.

THE AGENCY ASKED US WHAT WE ATE AND DIDN'T EAT BEFORE WE LEFT AND HAD TOLD THE HOST FAMILY IN ADVANCE. WHEN WE GOT THERE, THE HOSTS HAD THE TRANSLATER GO OVER IT WITH US TO MAKE SURE BEFORE SHE WENT TO THE MARKET. THEY NEVER ASKED WHY. IT WAS GREAT KNOWING THAT WHATEVER IT WAS IN FRONT OF ME, IT HAD TO BE EITHER CHICKEN, BEEF OR LAMB WITHOUT BEING RUDE AND ASKING ALL THE TIME LIKE I HAVE TO DO NOW!

>You used an adoption agency but did they help arrange the different people that would walk you through the process in the Ukraine? We were thinking of doing all the adoption on our own so we could save money because we don't just have this amount sitting in our bank account or anything like that.

YES, THEY DID EVERYTHING EXCEPT BOOK THE TRAVEL ARANGEMENTS FOR US (ALTHOUGH ONCE THERE, THEIR PEOPLE TOOK CARE OF ALL OTHER TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS). IT WAS VERY COMFORTING TO US KNOWING THAT IT WAS TAKEN CARE OF BY PEOPLE THAT HAD DONE IT BEFORE BY USA STANDARDS. ALSO, YOU PAY AS YOU GO. WE DIDN'T WRITE THAT LAST BIG CHECK UNTIL A WEEK BEFORE WE LEFT.

>If you were to go through this process again what would you do differently or what could you do to save some money?

STAY AT A CHEAPER HOTEL IN POLAND. LEAVE MORE STUFF AT HOME AND BOUGHT MORE THERE! (NOT REALLY SAVING MONEY IN THE SHORT TERM BUT IN THE LONG RUN.)

>I was also wondering how much did your children weigh when you adopted them. I am finding it is better to go by their weight than by thier age because one 2T is totally different than another 2T. However on shoes...did you just guess? I don't even know where to begin about their shoes. What sizes do you think we should take?

ALEK WAS 24 MONTHS, WEIGHED 22 1/2 LBS, 30 1/2" TALL, WORE 18M-24M AND A SIZE 6 SHOE. (5 MONTHS LATER - 29 MONTHS, 32 LBS., 36 1/4", 2T-3T, 8 SHOE!) (15 MONTHS LATER- 36 LBS., 40Ē, 4T, 13 SHOE!)
ANA WAS 20 1/2 MONTHS, WEIGHED 15 1/2 LBS, 28 1/2" TALL, WORE 9M-12M AND A SIZE 3 SHOE. (5 MONTHS LATER - 25 1/2 MONTHS, 24 LBS.,31 3/4", 18M, 6 1/2 SHOE!) (15 MONTHS LATER-27 LBS., 35 ľĒ, 2T, 8 SHOE!)
FOR CLOTHES, WE BROUGHT SOME BUT MOSTLY TOOK OUT OF THE DONATION PILE WHEN WE KNEW THIER SIZES. AS FOR SHOES, WE GUESSED AND WERE WAY TOO BIG! WE BOUGHT THEM VERY CUTE SHOES THEIR FOR ABOUT $2-3 THAT THEY PROMPTLY OUTGREW WITHIN 2 WEEKS OF BEING HOME!

>Hello. I only know you but by your website, but I was hoping that you could offer some advice to us. We are expecting our first child next spring so we have begun crib shopping. We have been looking at Baby Dream's Generation Next crib so we did an internet search and landed on your site. Are you happy with the crib? It is a little unusual in how the gate folds down...has that caused any troubles? Any other thoughts?

IT WAS A LITTLE STRANGE TO GET USED TO AT FIRST BUT WE LOVE THEM! AND THEY WERE VERY EASY TO CONVERT TO TODDLER BEDS. WE LOVE ALL OF THE FURNITURE WE BOUGHT IN THAT LINE (AND WE BOUGHT A LOT!)

>It looks like Alek might be old enough to have graduated into the toddler bed. Has that worked well? Is there any resentment in that his bed used to be his crib?

WE SWITCHED THEM BOTH ABOUT 2 MONTHS AGO AND THEY LIKE THEM EVEN BETTER! THEY LOVE THAT THEY CAN GET OUT AND PLAY IN THE MORNING WITHOUT HAVING TO CRY TO WAKE ME UP FIRST (AND SO DO I!!!). ALSO, THERE WASN'T ANY TENSION OF WHERE DID MY CRIB GO. IT STILL LOOKS THE SAME IF YOU TURN OVER!

>I was wondering if you had to make a return visit to finalize the adoption. Did you have to re-adopt back in the states. Our adoption class says that there's two trips involved. The adoption work only said one. Please help.

WE ONLY HAD TO GO ONCE BUT I THINK THAT RUSSIA NOW HAS A TWO TRIP PROGRAM IMPLEMENTED IN SOME REGIONS.
WE ARE RE-ADOPTING IN THE STATES AND DID ALL OF THE PAPERWORK IN SEPTEMBER. I DON'T KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES BUT THIS WAY YOU GET AN AMERICAN BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

>We have been instructed to take "Gifts" for the officials. What kind of gifts did you take?

OFFICE SUPPLIES: PADS, PENS, STAPLERS WITH STAPLES, WHITE OUT, PAPER CLIPS...

>Was there anything you wished you would have packed that you didn't? >Was there anything you thought you'd need but didn't, and then lugged it everywhere?

MORE COMFY SKIRTS (SHORTS) & LESS THERMAL UNDERWEAR! (IT WAS VERY WARM WHEN WE WERE THERE)

>Was there any bonding issues with your children?

I DON'T THINK ALEK WAS THRILLED WITH THE CHANGES AT THE ORPHANAGE BUT BY THE TIME WE LEFT THEY WERE BOTH COMING TO US FOR COMFORT & HUGS.

>Did they adapt quickly to life in the US?

OH YEAH, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT! AFTER BEING HOME ONLY 2 MONTHS, PEOPLE DIDN'T BELIEVE THEY HAD GROWN UP APART FROM US IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY!

>My husband and I are hoping to go to the Ukraine next month. What kind of suit cases do you suggest bringing?

SOFT, DOUFFEL BAG TYPES WITH WHEELS AND SHOLDER STRAPS!

>Do you suggest any special gift ideas for the hosts? or facilitators?

THEY APPRECIATE ANYTHING.

>Your orphanage looked pretty nice. Is there much of a choice of where they send you?

IT DEPENDS ON YOUR FACILITATOR.

>Our papers are in the Ukraine we are waiting for a visa invitation. Does that take very long?

YOU NEED TO GET THAT FROM THE UKRAINIAN EMBASSY IN THE STATES. AFTER YOU APPLY, IT SHOULD TAKE AROUND 10 DAYS.

>We are working with an agency World Child and The Stork. Have you heard of them?

I'VE HEARD OF THEM BUT I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THEM ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

>Are you both computer experts?

LAURIE (ME) DOES ALL THE WEB PAGES AND I AM SELF TAUGHT.

>What kind of a camera did you use.

OLYMPUS D-450 DIGITAL CAMERA

>How did you send the pictures back home from the Ukraine.

I ASKED FOR AN INTERNET CAFE BUT THEY TOOK US TO A UNIVERSITY WHERE WE COULD USE THE COMPUTERS. WE HAD OUR LAPTOP AND WERE ABLE TO DOWNLOAD THE PICTURES AND PUT THEM ON A DISC SO WE COULD UPLOAD ON THEIR COMPUTERS.

>Did you use a digital camera to do your web site?

YES BUT WE ALSO HAVE A SCANNER AND HAD TAKEN REGULAR FILM PICTURES AND VIDEO AS WELL.

>Should we bring clothes for the child.?

WE BROUGHT SOME AND PULLED THE REST FROM OUR DONATIONS WHEN WE KNEW THE CORRECT SIZE. BUT YOU CAN ALSO BUY STUFF THERE.

>We have asked for a 13-15 month old baby girl. Do you have any idea what size clothing might fit that age child?

ANYWHERE FROM 6 MONTH TO 12 MONTH.

>Did you have a cell phone or a satallite phone?

OUR FACILITATORS HAD CELL PHONES THAT THEY USED.

>Also were you able to use phone cards and where can they be used.??

WE USED MY MOMS , I THINK IT WAS MINDSPRING.

>Did you bring bottled water with you??????

NO, WE BOUGHT IT THERE. JUST MAKE SURE YOU ASK FOR WITHOUT GAS (WHICH IS HARDER TO FIND, BUT ITíS OUT THERE) IF YOU DONíT WANT IT CARBONATED

>How did you get so many pictures?

WE TOOK OUR DIGITAL CAMERA AND BOUGHT THE BIGGER MEMORY CARD. SINCE WE ALSO HAD OUR REGULAR 35 MM WE PUT THE DIGITAL IN LOWEST RESOLUTION (THEY DON'T PRINT AS WELL BUT LOOK FINE ON THE CPU) AND WERE ABLE TO STORE ALMOST 400 PICTURES ON IT. WE ALSO HAD THE LAPTOP SO WE BACKED THEM UP EVERY NIGHT JUST IN CASE BUT WE DIDN'T ERASE THEM FROM THE MEMORY CARD UNTIL WE GOT HOME!

>My question is, when we decide to do this, is Ukraine a better option then US and perhaps even more, is it something we need to start saving for now, and figuring a long time period? I am guessing it would take at least a year or two to go through required paperwork, visits, etc. but I am naive on this and do not know.

WE THINK SO. IT ONLY TOOK US 8 MONTHS FROM DECIDING TO ADOPT TO GETTING ON THE PLANE & WE HAD SEVERAL DELAYS. IT TAKES MUCH LONGER IN THE U.S., ESPECIALLY IF YOU WANT A HEALTHY WHITE INFANT. THE THING ABOUT UKRAINE IS THAT THEY ARE NOT NEWBORNS, THEY ARE AT LEAST 14 MONTHS OLD UNLESS THERE IS A MEDICAL CONDITION. IT WAS A PERFECT SITUATION FOR US BUT EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, IT JUST DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU WANT. AS FAR AS SAVING MONEY, YOU SHOULD START NOW BECAUSE ONCE YOU HAVE KIDS YOU WON'T HAVE MUCH LEFT! MY HUSBAND SAYS THAT IT'S NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU HAVE TO BUY, IT'S BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU WANT TO BUY!

> We started the process a few months ago, but have become frustrated with our agency. It took over 2 months to schedule the homestudy, which was supposed to be this wens(so we both took off work) and the lady cancelled at the last min. They charge $3000 for homestudy and $4000 for document preparation. Do you really think I can do this myself?! We have gathered all paperwork, and were fingerprinted last month at INS.

WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY CHARGES LIKE THE ONES YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT BUT WE DID USE AN AGENCY SO I DON'T KNOW IF YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF BUT I KNOW OF MANY WHO DID.

>How much advance notice did you get prior to traveling? The agency said we would only have 1-3 days advance notice, before going to get our "designated child" This seems to conflict with other stories I have read on the net.

WE TOLD THE AGENCY WE WANTED 3 WEEKS AND WE HAD TENTATIVE NOTICE. WE DIDN'T KNOW FOR SURE UNTIL ABOUT 10 DAYS BEFORE. IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT THE NAC IN KIEV TELLS YOUR AGENCY. THEY CAN LEAGALLY TELL ANYONE WHATEVER THEY WANT BUT NO ONE ELSE CAN SO IF YOU GO INDEPENDENT, YOU WON'T KNOW ANYTHING. WE ONLY KNEW WHEN TO GO FOR THE AGE AND TYPE WE WANTED.

>We like the idea of seeing several children, so as to see who we bond with, rather than one preselected child. What do you think?

WE SAW 3 CHILDREN & GOT 2. WE WRE SUPPOSED TO SEE 3 GIRLS & 5 BOYS BUT ASKED THEM TO STOP, IT WAS JUST TOO MUCH.

>1. How long did the adoption process take you start to finish?

8 MONTHS FROM APPLICATION TO COMING HOME.

>2. How did you come up with the finances to afford an adoption?

SAVINGS & HOME EQUITY.

>3. How did you decide which adoption agency to use, if you used one?

RESEARCH ON THE COMPUTER & AN INFORMATIONAL MEETING WE WENT TO.

>4. What was the Ukraine really like?

IT WAS POOR BUT MOST OF THE PEOPLE DIDN'T SHOW IT. THEY WERE VERY FASHIONABLE BUT IF YOU PAYED ATTENTION, YOU SAW THAT THEY KEPT WEARING THE SAME STUFF ALL THE TIME! HUSBAND & I FELT VERY COMFORTABLE BUT I THINK THAT WE WERE EXPECTING IT TO BE SO BAD THAT IT WASN'T. WE KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HATED IT THERE BUT THEY MAY HAVE BEEN EXPECTING TOO MUCH, ESPECIALLY AFTER HEARING US SAY THAT IT WASN'T THAT BAD!

>5. How did you decide which two children to adopt (we agonize about how we will decide)?

WHEN WE SAW ANA, WE CRIED AND GOT ALL EMOTIONAL. WHEN WE SAW THE NEXT CHILD, WE DIDN'T FEEL VERY MUCH. WHEN ALEK CAME IN, HE STOLE MY HEART!

>6. What was the trip back with the children like?

THEY SCREAMED AT THE BEGINNING GETTING ON THE PLANE. AFTER THAT THEY WERE FINE. I DON'T THINK THEY REALIZED EXACTLY WHAT WAS HAPPINING OR THAT THEY WERE IN THE AIR AND WE HAD LOTS OF SNACKS, DRINKS & TOYS TO KEEP THEM BUSY.

>7. Describe their adjustment month by month.

THAT'S A HARD ONE! I'D SAY JUST LOOK AT THE MONTHLY UPDATES TO SEE HOW & WHAT THEY WERE DOING.

>8. In retrospect, how do you feel about the entire experience?

GOOD. I ACTUALLY MISS UKRAINE & THE EXCITEMENT OF IT ALL. EVERYTHING WAS SO NEW & A DISCOVERY EVERY MINUTE. NOW IT'S ALL SO ROUTINE. I'M VERY HAPPY WITH THE CHILDREN, I JUST WISH WE HAD MORE INTERACTION WITH OTHER KIDS... & PARENTS!

>And just for me, how are the kids doing, I so worry about the adjustment, especially with my 3 1/2 year old.

IT'S AMAZING HOW FAST THE ADJUST! THE WAY THEY DEMAND COOKIES & MORE PRESENTS, I THINK THAT THEY'VE FORGOTTEN EVERYTHING ELSE! (ON THAT NOTE, ANA JUST CAME IN AND TOLD ME SHE WANTED A RING!!!)

>How much information was available on their orphanage medical records?

WHEN THEY SAT UP THE FIRST TIME, 1ST STEP, 1ST TOOTH & HOW MANY AT 1 YEAR OLD, VACCINATIONS, HIEGHT & WEIGHT AT BIRTH, AT WHAT DISEASES THEY'VE HAD LIKE CHIKEN POX.

>Did you get to wander around the orphanage and observe the kids and then say "I'd like to meet that one?", or how did it work?

WE WERE BROUGHT INTO A ROOM & ASKED WHAT KIND OF CHILDREN WE WERE INTERESTED IN. THEN THEY BROUGHT THEM IN ONE AT A TIME UNTIL WE SAID YES, NO OR MAYBE (LEAVING ALL THE CHILDREN IN THE ROOM WITH US). WITH EACH CHILD THEY REVIEWED THE MEDICALS WHILE THE CHILD WAS SITTING WITH US.

First, how concerned were you with health issues? Mainly FAS, HIV, Hepatitis, and such... I don't expect a perfect child and I know there will be a lot of minor issues, but I am worried about some of the biggies. It didn't sound like you really got to review any of their medical history. I know others I have talked to were given more of a chance to look over the medical and such at the National Adoption Center. I picked up on the fact that you know several others who have adopted from the Ukraine... have their children been okay?

WE JUST TRUSTED IN THE AGENCIES PEOPLE WHO FACILITATED & TRANSLATED FOR US & OUR OWN HEARTS. IT'S HARD & VERY NERVE RACKING BUT WE GOT LUCKY. MOST OF THE PEOPLE WE KNOW HAVE ALSO BEEN LUCKY BUT THERE ARE A FEW WHOSE CHILDREN HAVE SOME HEALTH ISSUES THEY WERE NOT EXPECTING.

>Second question, have you heard about anybody not being able to find children when they arrived? I received a story about a family who went and they basically were given a couple of older children to pick from and that was it. I would hate to come home alone. Have you ever heard of this happening?

I'VE HEARD OF IT BUT DON'T KNOW ANYONE PERSONALLY WHO'S HAD THIS HAPPEN. I DO KNOW PEOPLE THAT WENT FOR A 1 1/2 YEAR OLD & CAME HOME WITH A 5 MONTH OLD BABY!

We are curious and concerned about the commitment that must be signed to maintain the child's Ukrainian citizenship til age 18, and to supply info once a year to Ukrainian consular office about the child and to let the Ukrainian consular officers keep in touch with the adopted child. Is this some sort of "non-event" that we really shouldn't be too concerned with? Would you mind explaining a little about this?

THIS ISN'T ANYTHING TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT. THEY DON'T REALLY HAVE CONTACT WITH YOUR CHILDREN, THE KIDS ARE REALLY JUST NUMBERS TO THEM. THEY LIKE TO KNOW THAT THEY ARE HERE, HAPPY & WELL CARED FOR. I LOOK AT IT AS SOMEONE ELSE TO BRAG ABOUT THE KIDS TO! ALSO, AS FAR AS CITIZENSHIP, AS OF 2-27-01, ALL FORIEGN ADOPTED CHILDREN OF US CITIZENS AUTOMATICALLY BECOME US CITIZENS. THAT MEANS THAT THE US THINKS THEY ARE CITIZENS HERE & UKRAINE THINKS THEY ARE CITIZENS IN BOTH PLACES.

>We live in the Raleigh/Durham area . I was pleasantly surprised to see that your INS approval happening in a couple of months. We have been told to expect a 3 month delay...do you know if that is normal?

US TOO. I KNOW THAT HAD A BIG DELAY AWHILE BACK & HAD TO GET PEOPLE FROM OTHER OFFICES IN TO HELP THEM GET CAUGHT UP. THEY CHANGED THE JOB DISCRIPTIONS SO NOW (I THINK) THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON ALLOTED TO APROVING ADOPTION PAPERWORK & THAT'S WHAT SLOWS THINGS DOWN.

>Overall, were you pleased with the health status of your children?

WE GOT VERY LUCKY & THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING WRONG EXCEPT THE NORMAL DELAYS & ANA HAD GIARDIA (A PARASITE CURED BY ANTIBIOTICS).

>Were you able to select from the age ranged promised or did they try to offer you older children?

JUST WHAT WE ASKED FOR. I WAS ACTUALLY SURPRISED THEY DIDN'T TRY TO SHOW US OLDER BOYS AFTER PICKING ANA THOUGH.

>I was also wondering if, in addition to the fees you paid, you had to pay extra, i.e. protection money, while in Ukraine. Our agency says they handle all money and there are no "extra" payments.

WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY EXTRA FEES. LIKE YOU SAID, THE AGENCY COVERS IT ALL. WE DID HAVE TO LAUGH AT THE WAY THE DRIVER WOULD GO GET PAPER, FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATES FOR PEOPLE WHO STAYED LATE TO HELP US!

>Did you bring any clothes with you? We want to bring some from home. Now is a good time to buy, everything is on sale. And as you can imagine, we are on a tight budget these days. We were thinking 12 months - 24 months for sizes. What do you think if we are looking for 14 - 30 months?

I WOULD SAY 9 MONTH - 2T. STUFF YOU CAN ROLL UP OR STUFF WITH ELASTIC ANKLES & WRISTS. WE WERE REALLY OFF WITH THE SHOES BUT THEY WERE EASY TO FIND THERE & CHEAP. WE GOT A LOT AT GOODWILL & OTHER THRIFT SHOPS & THEN DONATED WHATEVER DIDN'T FIT.

>Now that you have had some time to adjust to parenting the two kids, I would like to know your perspective on this, in relation to adopting only one. Did it feel overwhelming at first to go from the two of you to four, practically overnight?

NOT WHILE WE WERE TRAVELING BUT ABOUT A WEEK OR 2 AFTER GETTING HOME YOU SUDDENLY GO "WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!"

>What did you find the most challenging as far as initial adjustments and changes in your life, and daily schedule. As far as our homestudy, we are open to adopt an infant up to two years or siblings. I am anxious to hear how about your experiences in adopting two.

A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY THEY DON'T KNOW HOW I DO IT WITH 2 BUT THE TRUTH IS, THEY PLAY WITH EACH OTHER ENOUGH THAT I CAN GET A FEW THINGS DONE. IF IT WERE ONLY ONE, I WOULD HAVE TO ENTAIN ALL THE TIME. ON THE OTHER HAND, I DO HAVE TO BREAK UP A LOT MORE FIGHTS OVER TOYS THIS WAY! AND THEY NEVER WANT TO GO THE SAME DIRECTION!!!

>Are you raising them as virtual twins?

NO, WE ARE RAISING THEM AS BROTHER & SISTER. THAT'S ALL. I DON'T WANT THEM TO EVER THINK THEY WERE A REPLACEMENT OF THE TWINS WE LOST.

>I do have one question and hopefully it will not offend you. We are considering having our son circumcised but are worried about how it might effect him. Currently he is only 5 1/2 months old and wouldn't remember it - but we are worried about the way the procedure is done. Our doctor made it sound pretty horrific and barbaric.

NOT AT ALL. OUR DR. TRIED TO TALK US OUT OF IT UNTIL WE SAID THAT WE ARE JEWISH. BUT THAT WAS ONLY PART OF IT. WE WANTED ALEK TO LOOK LIKE HIS PAPA TOO. IT REALLY WASN'T BAD AT ALL & HE COULDN'T HAVE CARED MUCH EITHER WAY.

What was the recovery time for your son & how long was he in the hospital? Was he in much pain? We do not have any religious reasons to have it done and are wondering if it is really necessary. Any insight you might have would be helpful.

HE WAS ONLY IN THE HOSPITAL FOR A FEW HOURS & WHEN WE LEFT HE WAS AS HAPPY AS WHEN WE CAME IN! THAT DID CHANGE WHEN THE DRUGS WORE OFF BUT AFTER WE GOT SOME TYLONOL WITH CODINE, HE WAS FINE. AND HE DIDN'T NEED IT MORE THAN A FEW DAYS. I'M GLAD WE HAD IT DONE.

>I just have one question I hope you don't mind answering. What kind of translator thing did you bring with you? I saw one in LLBean and I'm wondering if it is the same kind.

THE BRAND IS CALLED LINGO & IT HAS 6 LANGUAGES ON IT. WE BOUGHT IT OFF OF THE LOCAL COMPUTER FOR SALE SITE FROM SOMEONE WHO HAD ADOPTED FROM RUSSIA.

>I know Mitch must be in the computer field or is just really good with them from your story. Did he have something in his lap-top?

NO, HE JUST THINKS HE'S GOOD WITH THEM! WE MOSTLY USED THE LAPTOP TO BACK UP PICTURES & PLAY CD'S.

>What about charging the batteries in your camcorder? Can you do that with one of those adapters?

WE BROUGHT A SPARE AND CHARGED THEM WITH THE ADAPTERS.

>Did you try to find batteries in Ukraine?

NOPE

>We are hoping to travel in May or June so I am really interested in your packing list. Is it a cultural thing that women wear skirts or was it just more comfortable?

I FOUND A SALE RIGHT BEFORE I LEFT & IT WAS TO HOT TO WEAR ANYTHING ELSE I BROUGHT! THEY WERE THE KNIT T-SHIRT TYPE FROM LEARNER'S AND THEY WERE SO COMFY!!!

>Did you wear your sneakers with the skirts?

ALWAYS!

>I think you mentioned Mitch wore a suit jacket for court? Is that necessary or can you get away with a shirt and tie?

A SHIRT & TIE WOULD PROBABLY WORK SINCE I NEVER SAW A UKRAINIAN IN A JACKET!

>What about an iron?

WE DIDN'T USE ONE BUT I DO REMEMBER SEEING THEM IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM AT THE HOTEL IN KIEV.

>I'd love to read an update on how the kids are doing.

CHECK THE WEBSITE ABOUT EVERY 3 MONTHS I TRY TO GET A NEW UPDATE ONLINE!

DRUGS: Basically it looks like we need pain relievers, cold remedies and stomach remedies. Would you suggest we pack all the things you listed or just the ones that you used?

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU MIGHT NEED & IT'S HARD TO FIND THERE. BESIDES, THEY DON'T TAKE UP THAT MUCH ROOM!

CLOTHES: How did you get away with only 2 bras? Did you just rinse out everyday? I will definitely bring socks and underwear for the majority of the trip. I think I might go out and buy some extra cheap underwear. (Even if I just throw it away) We plan on living in sweats in the hotels. Did you feel that you needed less jeans because of the weather or because they are inappropriate. My husband was bringing only jeans for daytime.

DID I ONLY HAVE 2? THAT MAY HAVE BEEN A TYPE-O, I DON'T REMEMBER NOW BUT I DID WASH THEM WITH THE UNDERWARE & SOCKS & NO, IT WAS NOT COMFY! AS FOR THE JEANS, I JUST DON'T FIND THEM AS COMFY ANYMORE. THE FOOD IS REALLY GOOD & THERE ARE MANY COURSES SO YOU MIGHT WANT SOME STREATCHY CLOTHES!

SNACKS: Did you have any trouble bringing food into the country? Did it get crushed in the luggage? Did you bring the cheerios with you, or can you buy them in Ukraine? The plastic forks and spoons is a great idea! I will take those. Were you able to find regular tea bags?

NONE. A LITTLE, JUST PACK CAREFULLY. THEY HAD BABY CEREAL THERE BUT I NEVER SAW DRY CEREALS. I DON'T DRINK TEA SO I DON'T REMEMBER BUT IT'S REALLY BIG OVER THERE, IT'S CALLED "CHIGH" (LONG I).

OTHER ITEMS: Did you have any trouble using your laptop? Where did you buy your moneybelts? Are they any particular kind? Were you talking about the plastic grocery bags?

IF YOU HAVE AN ADAPTER YOU CAN PLUG IT IN ANYWHERE BUT WE COULDN'T GET THE INTERNET TO WORK. THE MONEYBELTS WERE BOUGHT ON THE INTERNET. THE BAGS WERE FROM THE GROCERY STORE.

JEWELRY: Would you suggest leaving my engagement ring at home and just wearing my wedding band?

YES!!! THEY DO NOT HAVE THE ENGAGEMENT RING TRADITION THERE AND THE ONLY DIAMONDS WE SAW ANYONE WEAR WERE VERY TINY!

KIDS CLOTHES: Our agency keeps telling us that clothes and kids items are available there. How was the quality? Because we are so unsure of sizes I was thinking of buying pajamas there? Same with shoes. I want to bring a few hats for them. Did you bring baseball style hats or some other type?

A LOT OF IT IS MADE IN OTHER COUNTRIES. WE ONLY BOUGHT UKRAINIAN MADE CLOTHES SO WE COULD KEEP IT FOR THEM BUT THE STUFF HERE IS MUCH BETTER. ALSO, THE PJ'S ARE NOT FLAME RETARDENT. THE SHOES ARE CUTE BUT THEY REALLY HURT WHEN THEY CLIMB ON YOU!!! THE HATS WE BROUGHT WERE BASEBALL.

KIDS STUFF: BIG QUESTION: You were all for the back pack carriers, but we were thinking of using umbrella strollers. The problem is: my husband is 6'6". According to the packaging on the back pack carriers, they should only be used on someone up to 6'2". Any feedback on this issue?? Should we drag diapers over, or just buy them there? What kind of rice cereal did you bring?

OURS DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT HEIGHT. I GUESS IT'S HOW THEY FIT YOU. WE SAW MORE PEOPLE WITH STROLLERS THAN BACK PACKS. THEY HAD DIAPERS BUT NO WIPES. GERBER BRAND CEREAL.

DONATIONS: Did your agency give you suggestions or were these things your ideas. Our agency is leaning towards us just bringing cash. They say it is easier to travel without extras items and cash is more appreciated these days.

THEY GAVE US IDEAS AND I TALKED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT THEY BROUGHT.

"what did you and your husband wear in court ? what kinds of questions did the judge ask you ? do you recommend a water boiler at all or is it possible to boil some bottled water for tea..im a big tea drinker and just was curious if that is something that you can do ..heat up water on the stove so to speak ? were you able to take showers ?"

I WORE A SUIT & HE WORE SLACKS & A TIE. IT'S ALL LISTED IN THE DIARY. WE DIDN'T BRING ONE & DIDN'T NEED ONE, THE HOST FAMILY DID EVERYTHING. EVERYDAY.

"did you have any problems with your beautiful children not attaching to you - I have gotten several e-mails from people that have told me because the children are not cuddled and held in the orphanage, they do not attach quickly to the adoptive parents. Secondly, what agency did you go through to adopt your children?"

IT WAS SLOW BUT IT STARTED BEFORE WE TOOK THEM FROM THE ORPHANAGE. IT REALLY HELPS BEING ABLE TO VISIT AND PLAY EVERY DAY. CAROLINA ADOPTION SERVICES, THERE IS A LINK TO THEIR SITE ON THE LINKS PAGE.

My biggest question is how on earth you managed to pack all that stuff you mentioned in your packing list. How many suitcases did you take? How have your children adjusted since being home? Have you noticed any problems that may have been caused by institutional life? Did you feel comfortable in the country? I guess one of my fears is living for weeks without the comforts and luxuries of home. Did you have any problems with the water or food? Were your accomodations OK?

VACCUUM BAGS! 4 PLUS A CARRY ON & "PURSE" EACH (IT WAS ALL THEY ALLOWED)! GREAT, IT STARTED SLOWLY BUT NOW YOU CAN'T EVEN TELL THEY DIDN'T GROW UP HERE. SOME SLIGHT DELAYS BUT THEY ARE CATCHING UP FAST. VERY COMFORTABLE, WE MISS IT. YOU'RE TOO EXCITED & TIRED TO THINK ABOUT IT MUCH & IT HELPS TO BRING YOU CLOSER TOGETHER. NOT REALLY. INSIDE THEY WERE FINE, JUST SMALL, KINDA LIKE BEING AT YOUR GREAT GRANDPARENTS HOUSE.

How did you decide if you would change their names?

10 MONTHS AGO MY HUSBAND & I SAT IN A ROOM HOLDING OUR NEW CHILDREN ANASTACIIA YURIVNA & RUSLAN RUSLANOVITCH (NOW ANASTACIA ELANA & ALEKSANDER RUSLAN). IT TOOK ALL OF 1/2 A SECOND TO DECIDE WE NEEDED A NEW NAME FOR THE BOY! WE DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING PICKED OUT (WE WERE HOPING HE'D HAVE A BETTER SOUNDING NAME) BUT EVEN THE PEOPLE IN UKRAINE MADE A FACE WHEN THEY HEARD HIS NAME! WHY WOULD WE WANT TO KEEP A NAME EVEN RUSSIANS DON'T LIKE & WE COULDN'T REMEMBER? ALSO, THE MIDDLE NAMES MEANT DAUGHTER OF YURI & SON OF RUSLAN. AGAIN, SOMETHING I DON'T WANT TO BE REMINDED OF! THEY ARE OUR KIDS NOW! THEY ADJUSTED TO THE NEW NICK-NAMES FINE (ANA & ALEK) & KNEW WHO THEY WERE BEFORE WE EVEN LEFT THE ORPHANAGE A WEEK LATER. IT PROBABLY WASN'T A BIG DEAL SINCE THEY HAD BEEN CALLED IN THE ORPHANAGE: NASTIA, NASTUCHA OR NASTINKA, & RUSIK OR RUSLANCHIK.
THE THING I HAD A PROBLEM WITH & DID NOT DO IS THAT THEY ASK YOU IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE BIRTHDATE OR BIRTH LOCATION ON THEIR BIRTH CERTIFICATES! ALTHOUGH IíVE HEARD PEOPLE CHANGE THE PLACE TO SPEED THINGS UP RATHER THAN HAVE TO TRAVEL FAR FOR THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

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