Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Morning at the Ginsberg's

Christmas Day at our House.....
Our Tree and gifts
Coby and his gift from Brandy

Brandy and her gift from her mom

Could it be?

Yup!! Tickle Me Elmo...and it's Coby's!!

Trot is ready to eat it!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's Official

We received word that Children's Hope is now accredited in Russia. Here is the statement from our agency....

Children's Hope International is pleased to announce that as of December 14, 2007 we received official order #355 from the Ministry of Education , signed on December 14, 2007. We have also received Accreditation certificate #31, issued on December 19, 2007 giving us authority to place children for adoption from within the territory of the Russian Federation. This accreditation will be non-expiring.

We don't have other news regarding our process. They are saying there's a slight chance we'll hear something either next Thursday or Friday. If not, we won't hear anything until after January 15th.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

GREAT NEWS AND A LITTLE UPDATE

First...the little update. We talked to our agency today and they don't have any exact update for us on a new referral. They did tell us we could hear something by Friday so keep your fingers crossed. They also told us we would have some information tomorrow on how we can all help out little Andrey with medicine, etc. So we will update you when we know something.

Now the great news.....after a year and a half or so...our agency (CHI) has finally gotten accreditation in Russia. Here is the email we got from our agency.


Children's Hope International is happy to announce that our representative general is invited to the Ministry of Education to receive the accreditation this Friday, December 21, 2007! As soon as we receive the documents (order from the Ministry of Education and the Accreditation certificate) we will publish this on our website.


This is very exciting news and should make it a lot easier when we finally go back. We are doing pretty good. It's been hard the last two weeks not knowing what is next for us, but this is a glimmer of hope that we might know something real soon.

We'll keep you posted.

Coby and Brandy

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bitter Sweet News.......

Well, it must be important when our social worker calls me while I am shopping at Walmart and asks Coby and I to come into their offices for a meeting. Coby and I were given some hart breaking news today that went beyond what we ever thought possible.

Let me back up....

After posting this morning, I called my mom and we spent sometime talking, praying and reading through Isaiah. I was encouraged by the words of my Lord that said that He will hold my right hand, He will never leave me, He is my Savior, He is with me through the roughest times, He calls me by my name....He is my Lord and He is my deliverer. God knew that I needed this morning with my mom and in His word to be prepared for the news that Coby and I were going to receive at 3:30 this afternoon.

While standing in the dog food aisle of Walmart, our social worker called me and told me that she could not give us any information over the phone and they had received info on our child. I called Coby to make sure he could be there at 3:30.....he said no problem. So after asking one more time if I could have any info. on the phone from our social worker, she said no and we would see her at 3:30.

So Coby and I met at the agency and sat on the same couch that many months ago we sat on and made the decision to adopt from Russia. So Coby and I thumb wrestled and played rock paper scissors waiting for our appointment. We know that the news was not going to be good, but trying to figure out what it was wouldn't help. It would just create more worries that we didn't need to have.

So basically, here it is, we were told that our little peanut is sick. He went into the hospital the other day and they ran some tests and basically one came back that was pretty serious. Serious enough, that we have decided at this point, to terminate our decision to adopt him. The illness that he has is so serious that it could (and probably might) take his life. We don't know when.....but basically, Coby and I are not equipped to take care of him. ( I don't know at this point if we can post his illness, but please know that Coby and I did not make this decision without a lot of thought and prayer about this)

So what is the 'sweet' in all of this? Our agency is diligently looking for another referral for us and trying to get that going as soon as possible. We also know that we won't travel before the Christmas holiday and we are fine with that.

Can I just say that God has protected us in this. I wish I could write out everything that I feel right now, but I can only say that I feel at peace with our decision. I know that God's grace is greater then anything and He showed it to Coby and I today. I also know that God holds the little one that we met in His hands. God calls us to come to Him as children. This little one has not been a mistake. He came into this world and at 5 months given to an orphanage and at 16 months old, met 2 people who showed him a little love. We showed him that he can be loved, and one day will be held by our heavenly father. And Coby and I were given 3 days of pure excitement of the thought of being parents. He brought smiles to Coby's face that I have never seen. He looked into our eyes and then fell into our hearts. I wouldn't give up all the memories of laughs, smiles, poopy dippers, throw up and falling asleep in our arms. It was something that showed Coby and I that we do want to be parents.

God knew that this child would never come home with us even when we thought he would. And we are OK with that. We are not sad at the fact that he is not coming home with us, we are sad that this illness has fallen on him. I feel that we met him so that at this time of his life, when he has no one, he has Coby and I praying for him. He has all of you praying for him!! God is the God of miracles, and God is the God of grace. Whatever happens to this little one, I believe that God's name will be glorified in one way or another.

So, Coby and I are doing OK. We know that we will be parents of a little one one day, it just won't be this little peanut that we met on a cold day in October. This little one is God's, and the one God has for us out there will come to us in God's perfect time. There it is.....God's perfect time keeps showing up! I will hold fast to God's timing and I will hold His right hand through this all and stay focused on His face that smiles back at me......God knows what adoption is all about, for I am His adopted daughter!

Waiting Difficulties

I just opened my entry from June 8th of this year and read it. (I titled it 'Content') I knew that when I wrote it I would need encouragement along the way, and this morning I needed it.

This last week has been tough. Maybe the toughest week through all of this adoption. I say that because I don't remember a time where I have felt so many emotions all at once and so strong. I am so grateful that if there was a time that I might have felt worse, God has erased it from my mind.

Coby and I were told by our agency earlier in the week that if we don't get a court date by this week, then we will not hear any more until after their Christmas Holiday of January 7th. So basically mid January before court dates are handed out again.....and that doesn't necessarily mean we will be handed one right away.

To be entering into 2008 without our little peanut seams so far from what we thought was going to happen. To possibly enter into the first few months of 2008 without him even hurts more. I look at where Coby and I are today and we truly thought that we would be done. I thought we would be decorating for Christmas with our little one. I thought we would be planing a trip to California to see our families and have all my nieces and nephews meet their little cousin. To sit back and think that is not going to happen this year, hurts....... and Coby will be working on Christmas day and plain tickets being as they are......this Christmas will be quiet, very quiet.

God says to give Him our worries and to rest in peace with Him. I was blessed this week from a friend who gave me a verse. Psalms 4:8- "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Also, to know that in my weakness....His strength is made perfect. I am someone who depends on my faith in the Lord and someone who lives my life based on the Word of God. With that being done, I do believe in God's timing to be far greater than anything I could ever think possible. I also feel that being a child of God means that He, as my Father, knows best for me. I have prayed these past few weeks in a way that Jesus told His disciples to pray. Matthew 7:7- "Ask and it will be given to you, Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will be opened to you."

I have prayed specifically to travel to Russia before Christmas to bring our child home. I also know that many of you have also been praying the same way for Coby and I and our child. But, am I to stop praying that way if God says, "I will give to you, but My time is not your time?" No...I can not stop, and this week, I have felt like stopping. I have seen my weakness and my inadequacies laid out before me. God works in His time and that is what has given me strength up till now, and I must hold onto it until His time is complete.

"I praise You God of Grace that after I have suffered a while, you will establish, strengthen, settle and esteem me." I will hold strong to that verse through my suffering of waiting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our friends got their court date!!!

CONGRATULATIONS KEVIN AND HOPE!!!!
(see picture in last post of Kevin and Hope)

They were given their court date and they leave for Russia on December 18!! Coby and I have still not heard anything yet....but we are still praying that God will send us with Kevin and Hope. They have been such a blessing and a source of encouragement to us, that we can't imagine going without them. We met them in the business center of our hotel in Nofdgkzfjgz (still don't know how to spell it) right after they met their 9 month old twin boys!! We ended up spending most of our time together and flew back to Moscow on the same flight. All that to say that we met on the other side of the world, but know that it was God that brought us together as friends for life!

Matthew 7:7 says that we are to ASK God for the desire of our heart and Seek Him and Knock on His door and He will give us the desire of our hearts. This is my desire that Coby and I will bring our baby home before Christmas and that we will travel over with Kevin and Hope.

Coby and I are so excited just in the fact that court dates are being set before and during our Christmas. What more wonderful of a gift for Coby and I.....to have our baby home before Christmas!

Please keep praying that God will send us now! And we will let you know if we hear anything this week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Couples Shower....


SS Neil Hollis cake that Sarah made

Yvette-me-Sarah-Jenny-Hope

Yvette- Karen-Jenny-Hope-me-Katie-Sarah Cheers!!!

Sarah and Michael

Jonny-Jimmy-Coby-Kevin-Michael-Brian (need I say more???)

Jenny and Jonny

Brian and Yvette

Hope and Kevin

Katie and Jimmy

Jack-Hope-Karen-Oliver

This passed Saturday night our friends Sarah, Michael, Jenny, Jonny, Yvette and Brian threw us a couples shower. It was a time to celebrate that we are parents.....we just don't have our baby home yet. It was a great time and the food and games were so much fun.

The 3 couples that threw the shower Coby and I met in Colorado on a ski trip earlier this year. We had a blast and from that trip Coby and I have developed friends that we will have for a life time...and longer. They all live close by to us and it's wonderful having them just a quick drive away!! Sarah, Jenny and Yvette....you 3 truly are my sisters in Christ! I can't imagine going through this adoption without the 3 of you!

Our friends Kevin and Hope from Kentucky, who we met in Russia in our hotel......were able to make the shower as well. They are adopting twin boys from the same region we are. How God sent is that!!?? We met them in the business center of the hotel we were staying in and the 4 of us were together until we returned home. We are all praying that we will be granted a court date at the same time and be able to travel back together. How wonderful that would be!!!

Our other friends Jimmy and Katie we know from living in Hendersonville. They live right next door to our "15th" home. They are wonderful and Coby and I always have a blast with them on their boat, or just hanging out with them. They had a baby boy last year and he is only a month younger then Neil.....so I can already see best friends developing!!!

Our friends Carrie and Michael stopped in (see their blog for their story). They are adopting from Russia as well. We have gotten to know them and have spent time encouraging each other with our waiting time!! They are a wonderful couple and our prayers and thoughts are always with them during their adoption.

Aaron and Crystal from our church that we go to also came by and it was great seeing them!! Crystal is going to be having a baby in the spring (a boy as well!!) and they gave us a beautiful prayer for our baby that was very heart felt and we thank them so much for that. (It too is my prayer for Neil) And Gary stooped by as well....just in time for a whipped cream bubble blowing contest. You know....find the gum in the whip cream and then blow a bubble.....but you can't use your hands in finding the gum in the whipped cream. Those pictures are quite funny!!! Coby is going to be working with Gary very soon....and we both are very honored to know him and I know Coby is super excited about working with him in real estate.

Coby's co-worker Karen showed up with her one year old twins Jack and Oliver so we could get a little taste of what parenting will be about. Our friends Hope and Kevin who are adopting the 1 year old twin boys really had fun watching them and getting a glimpse of what they have to look forward too!!! Karen, thanks for 'keeping it real!'

Well.......there you have it. We got so much stuff and had the best time ever! Isn't it a blessing when you can look around and see all your friends that God has brought into your life.....and know that it was by His grace alone, that we have these friends. Each and everyone of them was brought into our life for a reason, and we are so grateful for that. You all hold such tender spots in our hearts! Thank you for a shower and a time that we...as parents already.....will never forget!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

4 weeks and waiting...

Just wanted to give everyone an update......

Here is the update....there is no update.....

Wish we could tell you we have some news, but none at this point. Coby and I are doing well and we are staying busy until we get the call.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. We will let you know as soon as we know anything.

Love to all Coby and Brandy

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Something Amazing Out of Something Horrible




(Alyssa is the one holding the teddy bear with the Governator. Denise is the one in pink with the Governator.)
"Let me do it! No let me do it! No I'm going to do it!"....the previous was a conversation between Brandy and Coby before Coby tied Brandy up and started pounding on the keyboard.

It's Sunday night and Brandy just returned home from her fabulous trip to L.A. where her family threw her (us) the "greatest baby shower one could ever have." All she has done since the plane landed was praise our sister-in-law Lucy and everyone who helped put the shower together. And after seeing everything she brought back, it's truly unbelievable how much greatness and love we have for our family and friends. And little Neil is truly going to love all of his gifts.

So we're hanging out and I happened to look up on the internet all the homes that were burned down in San Diego. Brandy's matron of honor and her family live in a place called Ramona that we know was hit pretty hard by the fires. The Lamborns (Dan, who married us, Denise, Phillip, our ring bearer, Lauren, our flower girl and Alyssa--remember her name) live in Ramona.

So I asked Brandy to go find their address in her palm pilot and we found homes that were burned down on the Lamborns street but according to Brandy's address, their house was spared.

Brandy picked up the phone to call Denise and it turns out, they did indeed lose their house and all their possessions.

But here's the cool part...when Brandy called Denise, they were in the middle of a showroom, shopping for an RV. This would be a potential place to live while they figured out where they were going to go. But Denise told Brandy, "google Alyssa Lamborn. I'll call you back in a few minutes."

We did and the first result we find says this...

Text of president's weekly radio address - MarketWatch
At one recovery center, I met an amazing young girl named Alyssa Lamborn. Alyssa told me, "I lost my house, but I didn't lose my home -- because my family.............."

If you want to listen the G.W. (as we're calling him now), click on this link.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/10/20071027.a.mp3

Alyssa got to meet the President and the Governator, who she said to his face, "you're the greatest governor we've ever had." To which Arnold (as we are now calling him) responded, "get this girl anything she wants."

She was also on the Today Show, the Early Show and all the local TV channels in San Diago (Ron Burgundy reference). Which in German means....never mind.

Not bad for a 10-year-old! What an amazing experience she'll be able to tell her kids and grandkids about.

Oh, Denise said they got out safely and their animals, which included dogs and horses are all safe as well. And by the way Dan was on a mission trip to Thailand and returned Tuesday to nothing standing but a mailbox and the fronts steps to the house. Denise did tell the mailman to keep the mail coming since they're going to rent the house down the street.

Another blessing from God was two weeks ago, Lauren, their oldest daughter who had just turned 16, needed to be added to their insurance policy. While there, the insurance agent told them, we need to look at your policy and re-adjust things after the 2002 fires. Your policy needs updating, he said.

They decided to do it on the spot, they were told to clear a 200 foot perimeter around the house, the adjustor came out and took pictures last Wednesday and the policy was updated. Their house burned down on Sunday night at midnight. If that wasn't an act of God, I don't know what is.

So it's all good for them, they're going to rent a house down the street from their house that burned, while they determine what type of house they're going to re-build. They figure it will be 18 months. They did lose everything but have each other and their animals, and a few pictures, which were wedding pictures that Phillip said, "mom you should take these."

(This is Brandy, I had to add this in.)
I spoke to Denise last night and let me tell you... her attitude and outlook on this whole event is just amazing! She truly is filled with the Holy Spirit and His joy.....it's not everyone who can talk to you a week after they lost EVERYTHING, and be joyful during their sufferings. I don't even think she is looking at this as a 'suffering.' Denise told me that if she could go back in time to 2 weeks ago and have the opportunity to change what happened to her and her house...she would not do it. The events that have happened since the fire have been so amazing for her and her family....she said it just shows that God is totally in control and He works all things together for His glory.

And in other news, thanks and love to everyone who came to the shower and "showered" baby Neil with all the gifts. It's truly overwhelming and we love you all.

Nothing new to report on the adoption but hopefully we'll have some news soon.

Love,
Coby and Brandy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fires in California






These are updated photos from Coby's friend Brian who took these photos from the hill in front of his house.








I thought I might just post a quick blog about my family in California....

My grandparents have evacuated from their home in San Diego a few days ago. The home is still there, but they evacuated...just in case. They evacuated to my aunt and uncle's house which is also in San Diego. My brother and his family were told yesterday morning at 6am to pack up and get ready to evacuated. So they got ready, but never had to leave. The fire in San Marcos (San Diego) became under control, so they never had to leave, and my brother Wes told me last night that they are fine and will not have to leave.

My parents home in LA is doing fine. This is the home I grew up in and I have evacuated from this home once before when I was younger. There was a fire that was burning in the direction of their home (Castaic Lake) but that fire, was kept under control.

My mother just called me this morning and told me that my aunt and uncle and grandparents have just evacuated from my aunt and uncle's home in Valley Center (San Diego). My aunt has many horses and animals and my uncle is a landscaper and has all of his equipment at their home. I am not too sure what their plan is...but please keep them all in your prayers as they are leaving their home. I will keep you posted.

One of Coby's co workers from his TV days in San Diego (CBS), Larry Himmel lost his home in one of the San Diego fires. Coby used to travel for sporting events with him. He was Coby's reporter, while Coby produced. Larry actually took a camera guy up to his home and did a live shot in front of his home as it burned to the ground. CNN and most of the stations are airing his story. Coby said that Larry is a great guy and he always loved traveling with him! Please keep Larry and his family in your prayers as they go through these next few months of adjustment.

I leave in the morning for California for my a baby shower this weekend. I am flying into Burbank, not LAX. My sister in Law Lucia and my family are throwing a shower for me...so I can't wait!

Please keep the family's in San Diego and LA in your prayers and if anything else happens with my family, I will let you all know!

Oh ya...no new news with the adoption. All is quiet on the home front!
Love to all!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

1 week of waiting....

Well, we have been waiting now one week and we have ??? more to go. At this point, we have been told anywhere from 4 weeks up to 3 months. So anytime from now...till January. So, we are staying as busy as we can till we get the call.

We are very sorry that we can't post pictures of our little guy. We will not be able till until after we go to court. We would love to.....but can't.

I am heading back to visit my family next week for a family baby shower in California. I can't wait! It will be good to see my family and friends and hang with them. Then the second week in November our good friends that we meet on our ski trip in Colorado are throwing us a couples baby shower. Considering Coby is already a daddy...or I like to call him' Big Papi' it would be fun for him to be apart of the celebration!

Well, we just wanted to say a quick hello and everything is good and we are just hanging out in the waiting pool again! We will give updates when we get some.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pictures!!

Thought you all might enjoy some pictures....Sorry we don't have any of the little guy....

Coby in the morning!!! This was a doll at the orphanage that we thought was funny!!!



Our little Guys feet........Coby's flippers!








Coby's shoes in the 'shower caps'








Outside the orphanage, after our first visit with our little guy. I am holding the silly orange doll thing that we bought on the way to our first visit.












Our first day in Moscow wearing clothes we left Nashville in...yuck!












Coby sleeping on hotel couch during our 7 hour layover in Moscow.








Brandy sleeping in Moscow airport during our 6 hour delay.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Is it 2 p.m. already?!!!

You'll have to read on to understand the headline....

Hello from Nashville! Well we finally made it home from our week excursion to Russia and of course we have a few more stories of our last day of travelling.

You learn to appreciate the litte things in life when you haven't had them in a week. We woke up on Friday morning at 6 am (Moscow Standard Time, or whatever time zone they're in) and got ready to come HOME!

The hotel we were staying in, a very nice Holiday Inn, as Brandy described in the previous blog, offered a buffet breakfast as part of our 8,350 Rubles (you do the math) we paid to stay for one night. But at least it was a smoking room so that made it nice, not!

So as we're getting ready, we can only imagine the things this buffet is going to have. Maybe some buckwheat and some overfried eggs, like we've been having for breakfast every morning, and definitely no butter for our bread, because we don't know how to ask for it in Russian.

Boy were we wrong!!! We go downstairs and oh what a spread. Like a breakfast buffet on the Vegas strip. The people there must've thought we were crazy because we walked hand and hand and admired everything before we actually picked up a plate.

It went something like this....(walk, walk walk) Brandy, "oh look at the cheese" (big smile on her face)....(walk, walk, walk) Coby, "oh look, BUTTER!" (huge smile on his face)....(walk, walk, drool) Brandy, "oh look, OLIVES!" (pretty funny, huh Safta, considering she used to be "allergic" to them. Inside joke, if you want to know, just ask us.)

Needless to say there was more than one plate filled up by both of us. I think the popular choice between us were the croissants loaded with butter and jam. I'm sure this wasn't on the weight watchers diet but who cares.

So after waddling out of the buffet room, we go upstairs and get our luggage, check out of the room, and go downstairs to wait for Vitaly and Natalia (yes another Natalia) to pick us up for our trip to the airport.

After sitting in some traffic (we were shocked) we get to the airport in about 30 minutes. This was surprising. A side note, this was the original airport we flew into. Moscow has 5 airports and a sixth that only President Putin, or as I call him, the Puter, gets to use.

Er whsd (oops sorry, I looked up while watching the USC game and wasn't paying attention to where my hands were on the keyboard. I wasn't speaking Russian again. )

Getting through security wasn't bad, although we had actually had all our luggage hand searched by a very nice Russian who didn't speak English (of course). I bet he liked my dirty socks right on top as the first thing he got to see when opening my suitcase.

Our flight took off at noon and we were on our way home. Woo hoo. The flight was going well, a little sleep, a little movie (Ocean's Thirteen, thank God), a little Sudoku, a little Brandy having a panic attack with about three hours remaining. This was fun.

I was asleep when I awaken to her holding her chest and saying she couldn't breathe. I even heard her say at one point, "I think I just had a heart attack."

I explained she just need to relax and she would be fine. That worked for about 30 seconds before I had to dump out the brown paper bag they gave us that had my eye patch, a tooth brush, ear phones and lotion, and give that to her to breathe into. She said it made her feel better but I think it was placebo.

Well we made it through that flight (we actually flew over Iceland. We got some amazing pictures) and had about a two hour layover in New York before leaving for Cincinnati. Of course we had to have a Starbucks (or a Bizzle as some have called it...another inside joke).

Brandy is feeling a little better during the wait but as soon as we get back on the plane (she knows it's not spelled plain) her sickness starts again. The hour we waited on the runway to take off didn't help either.

Once we get in the air, it's an hour and half flight to the 'Nati, which doing some quick math, we only had an hour layover, so this wasn't going to work. An of course, this was the last flight out to Nashville for the night so we were a tad concerned.

We land and get off the plane and after looking at our watches, we figure we have 10 minutes to get to our next plane to come home. We're told they know we're coming but we didn't want to take any chances.

We start running (which is good for her sickness and nausea that she's feeling) and realize of course the gate is on the complete opposite side of the airport. And this is not a small airport, it's actually very big!

Things heard while making the run from gate #C27 to B6...Coby, "wow this is a really nice airport." Brandy, "I think I'm going to throw up." Coby, "Hey look a PGA tour store, can I stop and look for a second." Brandy, "I really think I'm going to spew." Coby, "Hey look a place to get Chili, can we get some." Brandy, "Where's that vomit bag we took from the airplane. I don't think I'm going to make it."

We made it.

The plane ride was about 47 minutes and by the 42nd minute I'm pleading with her not to throw up on this plane. I'm telling her, "you can throw up as much as you want when we get home."

She made it and amazingly so did our luggage, which we thought was going be stuck either in Moscow, New York, Iceland, Canda or Cincinnati.

Our friends Sarah and Michael, who have been awesome to us by picking us up and also taking care of our house and animals (thanks so much guys), pick us up and take us home.

During the drive home we were sharing a few pictures and telling a few stories, mostly about the food we ate. This is not a good conversation topic for someone who is on the verge of hurldom.

We turn down our street and I say, we don't have a key because we left them in the house, do you guys. Oh crap! They both realize they've left the house key at home but wait, there's hope yet. I remember we've hidden a key on (you thought I was going to tell you where our spare key is).

We get in the door and off goes Brandy. I'll spare you the details, but she does emerge out of the bathroom 10 minutes later feeling a whole lot better.

So now it's 10pm and we get in bed, and turn on ESPN. Yes! Another small thing in life you learn to appreciate once you haven't had it. Butter and ESPN, that would be a good name for a book if I decide to write one based on our experience.

Now here comes the reason for the blog headline...we woke up briefly around 8am but both fell asleep again. The next thing we know, we're waking up and it's 2 p.m. I think we have a slight case of jetlag.

But everything is all good with us. Brandy is still not feeling all that great but she's better than she was. I am feeling pretty good. I'm going golfing tomorrow. (I know y'all are shocked)

So let's review, looking back and looking forward to the next trip (which we hear will probably be the first of December).

1. Carry that stupid little Russian translation dictionary with us EVERYWHERE, when we go back.
2. Learn how to say butter, which is Masla, in case you were wondering.
3. Figure out how to laugh at the appropriate time so when Natalia, Natalia and Ludmila are having a conversation in the room you're in, in Russian, you can laugh so they think you know what they're saying. That'll teach them.
4. Don't play helicopter with baby, after feeding him rice casserole (we think that's what it was).
5. Take room in Moscow when they tell you it's a 7 hour layover.
6. Know how to say, "can I sit in the bulkhead row or emergency exit" in Russian.
7. Pack noseplugs or pot pourri for next trip.
8. Pack noseplugs and more pot pourri for next trip.
9. Pack extra extra diaper and a freakin sippy cup for baby when we return.
10. Bring about 10 jackets or grandma's yak (another inside joke) because we're told it could 22 below the next time we go.

So that's it for now...we'll keep you posted and post pictures when we're allowed to. We're not sure when we'll hear about our court visit but they say it will be about 2 to 3 months. Lot's to do before then.

Thanks for all your words of encouragement and love while we were there. It did help us get through the week.

But when it's all said and done, it's all worth it. He's so cute and can't wait to bring him home for y'all to meet him and spoil him. He really does have a sweet personality.

Off to bed now.

Love,
Coby and Brandy

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our last blog

Well, here we are in Moscow and it is our last day. It has been a long trip and we are both very tired and can’t wait o be back home. Although, this trip will be one that we will never forget!

I think our last blog left you with our morning visit to our little guy. So this one will pick up with our last visit with him.

We went in the afternoon and this time we went into the Dr.’s room to visit with him. When we walked in we knew right away that we were in the room that all the health and Dr. stuff is done in.

Coby and I thought that this last visit we would just pretty much let him do whatever and we would just kind of hang out with him. Well…….that’s not exactly how it went. Remember our theme throughout our trip….smells…well, the granddaddy of them all is about to happen!

So after about 10min of visiting with him, we realize that he is much happier then he was in the morning. He is laughing and smiling and hanging on us and cuddling and playing. He actually wanted to love on Coby more then me. We would law on the floor and he would lie on top of us and laugh and we were having a great time.

Well, in walks a lady with more hot tea and some kind of rice casserole. She tells him to come sit on the chair so he can eat it. He walks over to her and she motions to me to put him in the chair and feed him. Well, I start feeding him and then hand it off to Coby.

I think Coby has the hang of it and it doing a great job of feeding him. He finished all the casserole and tea (the serving was as much as I would eat) and we wipe him clean and put him down. Well, he is happy and laughing and wants to play. So Coby picks him up and starts to hold him over his head and he is laughing and smiling and it is the cutest ever. (see where this is going????)

So then I do the same and he again is laughing and even cooing a bit and just having a great time. He probably laughed and smiled more at this point then he had at any other visit. So after about an hour Natasha walks in and says that our time is up in 5 minutes and we should begin to say our good bys. So I am sitting on the ground with my knees bent and he is sitting on me looking right at me.

I start kissing his neck…you know that little area that you could just eat up…..and I look at him and he decides to give me a going away gift. He throws up all over me…4 times! All that food…and that was a lot of food….was no all over my sweater, his shirt, his pants and through m sweater. I think I would have joined in with him if Coby didn’t walk over and tell me to breath through my mouth.

Oh, and did I tell you that the Dr. and our translator were in the room and saw this happen? So there we are sitting there…we both stink and are completely covered, and he is just looking at me like, ‘now what?’ No tears or anything….he was just like….’that was fun….can we play some more.’

So his care taker comes in and takes him and we say by and he leaves and I am standing there covered and smell like…well….you know what. Our smell stories just keep getting better and better! So after using 10 hand wipes to try and get the smell out, we go to the Director’s office to get our coats and she looks at me and says something to our translator and I can only imagine what she said….”welcome to motherhood.” Yah, I thought I got my welcome gift this morning with all that fun….I didn’t need seconds!

So, I guess there is a blessing to this. Coby and I really didn’t know how we would feel after we said our goodbyes. This was good. Instead of crying all the way back to the hotel, I was breathing through my mouth and trying not to gag by the smell of myself.

Well, we caught a 7:40am flight the next morning and on the way to the airport, f course, it started to snow. The snow that we had yesterday stopped and actually most of it melted away. But this morning it was colder and snowing again. So we got to the airport and realized that there is only one flight out the entire day.

So of course Coby had to state the statistics of that. You know….1 in 100 plains crash. Well, if there is only 1 plain and 1 flight and we are it……you get the picture. Thanks Cobe!

Our translator had written out for us in Russia a little something to give to the check in people that asked if we could sit somewhere that had more leg room for Coby. Well, we walk up to the counter and hand it to the first lady…who hands it to the second lady….who hands it to a guy twice the size of Coby and they all look at us and shake their head…no! Great…..this is going to be fun!

So as we are waiting to board the plain, I find the tallest and largest man in the airport and I point him out to Coby and say, “watch….that is who they are going to put next to you.”

Well……Coby and I get on the plain and they put us in the emergency row and we were very thankful! Coby had tons of leg room!!! BUT…..guess who was walking down the isle and looking right at the seat next to Coby….you guessed it, the tallest and largest man on the plain. The best way to describe him, is to say that he is built like a linebacker! So Coby got the leg room, but absolutely NO arm movement at all. And did you know Coby is left handed?

Well, the flight was fine and we slept for most of it. We arrived in Moscow at 8:10am (we gained 3 hours) and drove in traffic….yuck…..for over 2 hours to our hotel. It was painful! Here, let me paint a picture. Take a car the size of a Honda Civic and put a truck in front of it, on either side and behind it. Now, take the exhaust pipes for all those trucks and aim them right at the Honda Civic. Now, open the vent to ‘outside’ air in the car. Lastly…….start breathing like this for 2 hours! I think Coby and I thought we were going to die!

I must say, the traffic was the worst traffic that Coby and I, hands down, have ever been in. Just to arrive at the hotel at 10:30am and we walk up to the desk and they said that there are no rooms ready and they probably will not be ready till 2pm! Ok, shoot us now! We quickly look around for those couches that we occupied a few days ago when we had to kill 7 hours.

Well, they did get us in at 12:30 in a smoking room and we took it. At this point our lungs are blacker then black it didn’t matter.

Oh, totally forgot…..funny story…when was the last time you were flying and you realized…..hum….someone’s smoking?? Well, for me, that would be today! Yup..as Coby said earlier in another blog, we are not in Kansas anymore. About 30 minutes before we landed, someone lit one up in the bathroom on our plain. NICE!!

Well, we got a wonderful tour of Moscow from a lady named Olga. She is a school teacher. We drove around the city for a few hours and she gave us a wonderful tour! She knew EVERYTHING there was to know about Moscow. We even got to go to the Red Square. It was wonderful! It was a perfect end to the week!

Well, this is the second time that I am typing this to you all because we bought a 1 hour internet card, and it ran out 2 min. before I was done and I lost my entire blog. So I am re-doing it and I hope it sounds ok. Please pray for our flight in the morning. They are saying that it is going to be cold again and possible snow….we will see.

Well, we hope that you have all enjoyed our bloging and we haven’t made things out to be bad. We have loved every min. of this trip because it has created memories for a life time and longer. We can not wait to see you all and share our pictures and tell you even more stories that didn’t make the blog…yup there are more!

Thanks to everyone who have been praying for us and keep them going…our journey is far from over! BSF ladies, I can’t wait to see you Saturday morning at 7:25am! I will be the one in the corner sleeping! (just kidding!) I have missed all your encouraging faces!
Mom…I have missed your voice too!

See you all very soon!
Brandy and Coby

Monday, October 1, 2007

10/3 Once again.....check the post below...we don't know why the computer is doing this.

Well, it is not snowing, but it is very cold and rainy. We woke up around 5:30 and left around 9:30. (Coby needed plenty of time to get ready)

We were prompted on the way over to Baby House #2 on the things to expect and our interiew with the Dr. Once we arrived, we had to put these slip covers on over our shoes because of the rain. With Coby having size 14 shoes, the covers barely went on over his shoes. It was pretty funny.

Our first impression of the home was that it was very clean, and the colors were very bright and happy. There were lots of windows and pictures painted on the walls and lots of care takers walking around. It seemed like a very busy place. We had our appointment with the Directior and the Dr. and got all the info. we needed for our boy.

And then...guess who walked in the room.....a little angel! We thought we were going to meet him in the play room, but the door opened and he walked in. As cute as ever! He was clean, well dressed and had new shoes on. They put him down in front of Coby and he looked up at him and gave him the biggest smile. He eventually walked up to me and I picked him up and we left the Directors office and went in a play room. Everyone left and it was just the 3 of us.

We snapped pictures, made videos and played with him. He was so excited and happy and a little shy as well. He didn't mind one bit being in there with the 2 of us alone. We brought him a little stuffed animal and he loved it, but he really loved to play with balls. So we got some out for him and he loved it. It was so amazing to be in there with him and think that this could be our little one. Coby and I completely felt at peace and I had no tears!! We just played with him and loved on him for about an hour.

And then, he began to yawn. One and then two and then the head started to go and I picked him up and held him like a little baby and rocked him back and forth until he went out. He was holding his little toy car that we brought him in one hand, and his stuffed animal in the other. He seemed so small once he was asleep, but oh how perfect!

After about 5 minutes, I gave him to Coby and he held him as he slept. We just sat there in the middle of this beautiful room filled with every imaginable toy that a child needs and held our little one. He just seemed so content to be in Coby's arms and sleeping. It felt like 100 degrees in the room and he was sweating like crazy, but still slept!

The Dr. and Natasha walked in and looked at Coby in a chair in the middle of this room holding our little one, and me sitting on the floor in front of them and they smiled and started to mutter things back and forth in a tender voice. I think the scene that they walked in on made them very happy. Natasha asked Coby if he wanted to go put him in his bed, but the Dr. said we had to wake him up because he needed to eat. So Coby lifted him up and let me tell you, I have never seen a baby wake up so quickly and so happy as he did. He sat up and half his hair was plastered to the side of his head all sweaty and the other half still perfect. The Dr. took him and left and we then went to visit with the Director and Dr. one more time.

As we left, we felt very excited and good about this little one. Maybe all our questions have not been answered and maybe tomorrow might be different then today, but this was definitely a wonderful day from God! He heard our prayers and gave us a day I know neither one of us will ever forget. I know that I don't believe in 'luck' but they say that when it rains on your wedding day, that is a sign of good luck. Well, maybe today was a good day. It rained on the day we met our little boy.

We go tomorrow to petition to adopt and then we get to visit with him again and then Natasha is going to take us out for a little shopping. (any requests??) We will write more tomorrow and would love to hear from you all!!

Good night and Good morning to y'all!

Love,
Brandy and Coby

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Quick Riddle For Ya

What do you get when you combine scalding hot tea, two huge shortbread cookies and a 16 month old baby who doesn't feel well?

Give up?.....That's right an explosion in the middle of the nursery when we were playing with him.

You can add, nasty poopy diapers to the list of smells we've experience in Russia.

We were picked up at 8:30 this morning by Natasha and our driver and driven to the orphanage. Before we got there, we had to stop and buy him diapers. (It's customary for adoptive parents to buy them for the baby before going home)

We got there earlier today because we asked to be able to spend some time with him at a different time then his usual nap time.

They brought our little man to us and we went to the play room to hang out. We also requested that a couple of his caretakers hang out with us for a little while to see him truly interact in his "environment."

They also took us up to his room and let him play with his best friend and some of his other toys. (This is the room where all his pictures that we had emailed to us were taken in)

He really liked this book that played music. In fact, he would dance to the different songs. It's really cute and of course we have video of it. He's going to like music city I think. It will only be a matter of time that he's doing the two-step at the Wildhorse.

Anyways, we took him back to the play room we've been hanging out with him in and they let us be with him alone. A short time later, a nurse walked in with two huge shortbread cookies and a glass of the hot tea.

She then told us this.... "sdkjslfjsdkl....shidoshodifhsiodf.....shdioshfiosdhfiosh...shidohsfdihs...iondfnso\rhhbfh. Da?"

I'm pretty sure she was giving us instructions on how to feed him but for all we know, she could've been giving them to us as a little snack because she thought we might've been hungry. Maybe that's why he had the explosion...we weren't supposed to be feeding him. I guess a hint would've been Brandy having to cram them in his mouth....just kidding.

Anyways, we fed him the cookies and tea, which was a lot of fun. He's a great eater but wanted to hold a piece of cookie in each hand while we fed him.

But during the whole time we spent with him this morning, we could tell he seemed a little lathargic and we could tell he had something in his chest.

Our thoughts were answered pretty quickly when within a minute of each other, he let out a huge cough to clear his lungs and then had the "explosion" we mentioned earlier. And did we mention the smell?

The poor little man....and the poor big daddy and mommy. Wow that smelled bad. Did we mention that?

Anyways, I went to go find a caretaker to get us a diaper while Brandy stayed in the room with him. When I came back, she was cleaning him with paper towels because he had another episode while I was gone. We are jumping into this thing feet (or nose) first.

The caretaker came and took him to change him and just then, Natasha came and said are you ready to go?

But we did get some good news, we get to go back again this afternoon and spend another hour and a half with him. So we haven't said our goodbyes yet.

We're back at the hotel typing in the business center, looking out the window to a huge snowstorm. It's pretty but we just hope we're not going to get stuck here when our plane is supposed to leave tomorrow morning.

Oh well...we'll figure it out. We're almost parents now.

We're not sure if we will blog more tonight but we definitely will when we get to Moscow tomorrow.

Please keep sending us messages.

Love,
Coby and Brandy

P.S. Mom we are checking emails too.

Have you ever felt like you were...

The butt of a joke and everyone is in on it but you. Standby for the rest of that story....

Brandy and I arm wrestled for who would get to blog and naturally, I won, so I get to occupy the keyboard for this post.

My sister-in-law Lucy always says I'm a walking movie quote so I'm not going to disappoint in this blog.

You know that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Gus is introducing the family to Ian Miller's parents and he says, "this is my brother Nick and these are his kids, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nicko, Nicki"?....

Well we come out of the hotel this morning and meet up with Natasha who quickly tells us her name is actually Natalia but prefers to be called Natasha. Thinking nothing of it, we get in the car, that seats 6, but has 7 in it, and get introduced to everyone, and it goes something like this...."this is Brandy and Coby. Brandy and Coby, this is Natalia, Natalia Natalia, and of course I'm Natasha."

So we make the 25 minute drive to the orphanage with Brandy essentially sitting on my lap because Natalia #2 is crammed in next to her and all the way (here comes the part about being the butt of a joke) Natalia, Natalia and Natashia having a deep, and when I say deep, I mean LOUD, conversation that goes something like, "sdlkfjsadofsa0fudosaiuf (laughter really LOUD), dfasdfasdlkfjaklsdfjklsa (laughter really LOUD), odfjwaiodfusaiopdufio (laughter really LOUD)."

All I could really think they were talking about was Brandy's scarf that was wrapped around her shoulders.

So we show up again to the Baby Home to see our little guy for the 2nd day and we get out of the car really annoyed and really deaf. And because it was raining the day before, we were required to put the shower caps on our shoes again which was great for everyone who had a size 10 shoe and under. I however was having a few issues because of my size 14 shoes. I immediately ripped two of them trying to get them on and start looking around for some crazy glue because I figure I was going to have to take two of them and glue them together. And to make matter worse, Natalia, Natalia, Natalia and Brandy are gone because they had no problem getting the on. Finally I was able carefully get them on (don't worry, we have pictures of this) and we were on our way.

We went into Ludmila's (the orphanage director) office and within 5 minutes, our little man was brought in. He definitely looked like they just woke him up because he wasn't really sure where he was but took about 30 seconds before he gave us the look of, "hey, you guys look familiar. You were the ones that brought me that stupid orange stuffed animal thing from the grocery store, that smelled like the airplane you rode in on (see blog below if you don't get it) and those really cool cars. "

Our man went straight to me and I picked him up. The ladies in the orphanage immediately took us to the same room we were in yesterday and left us alone.

Brandy pulled out the Noah's ark blanket her mom made for him and another stuffed animal and more cars and put them on the floor.

Well, he went straight for the blanket, and it was the cutest thing...he grabbed it and started bunching it in a ball grabbing all the corners. When he had it the way he liked it, he put his head down on it and fell asleep. We are starting to get the feeling we are boring him.

It was really cute but at the same time, we only got an hour and a half with him and wanted to spend more time bonding and playing with him. From 10-12 is his usual naptime so we just happen to be screwing that up for him.

So we let him sleep for about 15 minutes and then decided to wake him up. He woke up and wasn't cranky at all. He immediately started smiling when we were tickling him and playing with the toys with him.

Brandy then decide to stand him up and walk him around the room. She would walk him in a big circle around the outside of it and then when they got within 10 feet of me, she would let him go an I would have my arms out. He would then run to me and put his arms out as if to say, catch me. It was really sweat. He would hug me as soon as he got to me.

We then would sit on opposite ends of the room and hold out our arms. He just went back and forth to each of us with his arms out and was such a cuddle bug when he would get to us always laughing and smiling.

So our time was up and we said goodbye until tomorrow, but before we did, I made the mistake of pulling out my cell phone and showing it to him. He grabbed it and kept flipping it around and would not let go. (I'm pretty sure, even though he's not blood, he's definitely a product of me)

The doctor finally came in at Noon and said our time was up. We said goodbye, took my phone back (which he wasn't thrilled about) and gave him his blanket to sleep with.

We're not sure how we're going to be able to say goodbye tomorrow when it will be the last time we get to see him until we come back.

O.K.....wipe your tears away.

After leaving the orphanage, it was more of the Natalia, Natalia and Natalia hour. This time I think I picked up on them making fun of me putting the shower caps on my shoes but that's neither hear nor there.

So...we're signing off now. We'll be back with you tomorrow. Thanks for all your responses. Keep them coming. We love reading them...it helps us feel like we have some communication from this huge isolated island we feel like we're on.

Love,
Coby and Brandy

P.S. Last night we were having dinner in the hotel restaurant and we met a couple from Idaho who were adopting a son and were picking him up in the morning. It was nice to speak English to someone else again. We saw little Roman this morning as we were leaving. He is cute but cried as soon as I said hi to him. He must not like Nashvillians :-)

P.S.S. Sarah, how are Pebbles, Trot, Bam Bam and Ashland Kitty? Brandy says to give them all extra kisses and hugs.

P.S.S.S. Dana, I saw the score of the game and I'm really glad I didn't watch it. But how the hell could we fall to #2 without a loss?!!!

P.S.S.S.S. Holly, now I know what you were smelling that you thought was pork loins.

Prieviet (Whatever) from Novokutzhnik (I think)

Captain's Log - 10:37pm (Sunday), which is 9:37pm, Saturday in Nashville, 7:37pm, Saturday in California, and 8:37pm, for those of you logging on in Provo, Utah, not that we know anyone in Provo but we figured we were on a roll.

Brandy finally let me steal the keyboard for one blog so I figured I'd do the first one from Russia.

Has anyone seen the Seinfeld where they did the entire show backwards, starting at the end and working their way back to the beginning? Well, we're going to try that just for a second...

42 hours of travel later, we checked into our hotel. Goodnight everyone....just kidding.

So we left Nashville at 10:35am on Friday for a two and a half hour flight to New York. That flight was great and we actually flew over Atlantic City on approach and saw a ton of beautiful houses. We both looked at each other and said, move number 18? :-) It did have a beautiful golf course that I was trying to figure out a way to sneak in a quick round before the flight to Moscow.

That didn't work...so we had a two hour layover in New York and then it was on to Moscow. The flight, which was 9 and a half hours was pretty good. No turbulence and the flight over the ocean went very quickly for us. And Wes, you were right, we did fly over Greenland to get ther.

I did get stuck behind a guy that was a mix between John Lennon and Buckwheat. His hair was very large and blocked the entire movie screen. I had to sit in Brandy's lap to be able to watch it. I mean how am I supposed to watch "Spiderman 3" and "Meet the Robinsons" in these conditions?!! Are you kidding me?!!! Out of all the movie choices there are, these are the two we get stuck with?! But I digress.

So we land in Moscow and spend about 20 minutes in customs, because Brandy picked the wrong line....ouch, don't hit me. O.k. I picked the wrong line and got the slowest passport checker in Moscow. And to slow it down even more, because we don't "spreakin da Russian" (Madagascar anyone?), we didn't know to fill out the customs form. So after losing a game of rock paper scissors of who would go first through the line, I lost and Brandy went first. The woman was nice enough to fill out the form for her, but when it came my turn, I think she was mad at her boyfriend or husband or guy she met at the bar last night, because she throws the form at me and makes me fill it out myself. It took me about three minutes to even understand where to put everything because, once again, I don't "spreakin da Russian."

So we both make it through customs and thankfully our luggage all showed up. Let the fun begin.

We were given instructions before we left by CHI of what to do next. So I pull them out after getting our luggage and read them before carrying on. They said, go through the double doors,
"push through the taxi drivers" and wait for Natalia, our rep on the ground in Moscow. No big deal right?

It wasn't really but when they say "push through the taxi drivers", they aren't kidding. They want to take your luggage worse than a homeless guy after a $20 bill. We made it through and thus the waiting begins. Natalia wasn't there yet because, as we soon discovered, the traffic in Moscow is worse than L.A. to Santa Monica in Rush hour. (Dean gets it) Or Nashville to Murfreesboro at 5pm :-) (Times 5,000!!!!)

Natalia shows up after we've waited about an hour and a half and she is very nice. She also tells us that there is another family showing up from Atlanta. Bill and Tara arrive and after introducing ourselves, we discover they just flew from Atlanta, they're actually from Nashville. They were on the plane behind us and were following us across the ocean 10 minutes behind. Pretty funny.

So we take our luggage and meet our driver, Vitaly, and load into the van. Moscow is very big and developed but is very industrial. We also find out, it's the most expensive city to live in, in the world.

Natalia informs us we would be catching a flight later Saturday night to Novakutzhnik (whatever) at 10:20pm, while Bill and Tara would be staying the night in Moscow and going to their region on Sunday afternoon.

We opted not to check into a hotel for the 7 hours we had to kill and just stored our bags in Bill and Tara's room. It's only 7 hours right!?!?!

We walked around the area of the hotel, which is in the heart of Moscow, just down from a huge park with a large carousel and a long walkway with benches, pefect for people watching, and listening to Brandy's commentary on their interesting choice of outfits. We did think we saw, Shirley Maclain in Steel Magnolias, not from In Her Shoes.

Bill and Tara and Brandy and I did find a Mexican (yes Mexican) restaurant to have lunch in. Thank God they had pictures on the menus so we could order a Chicken burrito and a chicken quesadilla, which were both pretty good. But no chips and salsa was ever served....boo!!!

It's now 4pm and we have 4 hours to kill before being picked back up by Vitaly and taken to a different airport in the Southern (y'all) region of Moscow. What are we going to do?

We found a couple of couches in the lobby of the hotel, which by the way is very nice. It's a Holiday Inn but it very ritzy. We will be staying there on the way back.

I somehow fell asleep on the couch (maybe because I had two hours of sleep) and woke up to find my computer and Brandy's camera sitting next to me on the couch but no Brandy. I'm not even sure where I was but it definitely wasn't where my dream I just had said I was.

Anyways, Brandy comes back about 15 minutes later and says, "I found another couple from Birmingham sitting in the business center. Come meet them."

Josh and Lindsay are kind of in the same situation as us....they had time to kill before being picked up to go to their region, Vlad.

So we get talking to them and the next thing I know, Brandy is waking me up and Josh and Lindsay are gone. I fell asleep in the middle of talking to them and they were gone. Sorry guys, no offense.

Fast forward now....it's 8:00pm, we're both laying on "our couches" in the lobby when Vitaly shows up, right on time. Brandy, who had fallen asleep, wipes the drool from her mouth and we get in the car, and within 10 minutes are back asleep again.

Now here's where the real fun begins...we get to this much smaller airport, about the size of the one in Long Beach, in 1985, at 9pm for a 10:20 flight. Ha!

Vitaly takes us in and looks at the screen, which IS in Russian, and says, "uh oh, your flight is delayed 3 hours. "

So when we were supposed to be checking in for a 10:20 flight at 9, we were now told to check in at Midnight for a 2pm flight. Great!!! Five hours in an airport, where we QUICKLY find out, we're the only people in the whole place (trust me, Brandy asked everyone), who spreakin da English.

So after taking turns taking naps, so that we could each check the screen every 30 minutes, I took the chance to take a real estate class that I needed to take, and Brandy caught up on her BSF and homletics.

In one of the "every 30 minutes" checks, I now discover our flight is delayed another hour, to 3:10 AM...checking in at 1:10 AM.

We go down to check in and notice many people have saran wrapped their entire luggage. Great, were we supposed to do this? And because nobody "spreakins da English", we've become concerned if this is required.

We decide not to and at 2:30AM finally get on the shuttle which drives 10 minutes to take us to our plane.

Next adventure....the plane was pretty decent sized, like a Southwest plane, but they've not taken the liberty to think about anybody over 5 foot 8.

Let me back up a second...we take one step on the plane, and you know that smell you get when you walk into an Indian or Thai restaurant? You know the food's good but you kinda want to throw up from it? Try that smell on an airplane at 3 in the morning, for four hours. Wow!

Brandy was trying to convince me it was the meal we were going to get, I told her to look around and see if she still thought that. I had to bury my nose inside a shirt that had been worn for 2 straight days with no shower, that could probably find it's own way to Russia, to get some "relief" form the overbearing stench.

Then it was time to sit down in my seat to quickly find out, I was either going to have to stand throughout the flight in the captain's closet, or take a hacksaw to my legs, right below the knees. So we asked a flight attendant, who you guessed it, doesn't spreakin da English, if we could move to the front bulkhead row by pointing and gesturing to my lower legs. She walks up there and throws all the flight attendants stuff to another row so we could move, which was awesome because there is now way in hell I would've made four hours like that.

Fast forward again...the flight was great and we land at, adding another 4 hours for the time change, at 11 am, pushing the chickens and goats off the runway as we land. We're not in Kansas anymore Toto. Boy, when Neil gets older and starts talking back to us, I'm going to remind him of "our labor" to having him. But it's all worth it.

The plane is coming to a stop and the flight attendant is giving instruction (in Russian) overe the P.A. system. When it stops, we are the only ones to stand up. Quick thinking tells us, she probably said, stay seated, it's going to be a few minutes before the shuttles can get through the chickens to come out and pick us up off the plane.

Finally, everyone gets up and works our way to the buses. One last beef about the plane, as I'm getting off, I nail my head on the doorway, because once again, the plane is built for those 5'8" and under and I'm half asleep and don't notice the height of the door.

The weather is crisp and cool but very beautiful. Brandy keeps saying this reminds her of Muldova, for the two of you reading this that may have been there.

We get to the "terminal" and meet our translator, Natasha, who is celebrating her birthday today and has already thanked us for giving her the best gift ever....not having to get up at 4 am to come pick us up, instead being able to sleep in until 10 because of our 6 hour delay in the airport. Happy freaking birthday to you Natasha.

Our luggage, once again, showed up and we were on our way to a 30 minute car ride to the hotel. She did explain to us the saran wrap was just for protection from weather and other suitcases. One other side note, Natasha did say our boy is very cute and sweet and said if he was a little older, she'd date him. That gets us more excited about tomorrow when we get to meet him. She said he has my eyes and a lot of Brandy's features.

The drive is simple and along the way we see little villages where people live in pretty poor environments. We should all be thankful for what we have in the U.S. Natasha also tells us the main industry and source of employment in Novokutzscnek (whatever) is coal mining. She says it's actually a pretty "rich" town because of this.

The town is very developed from what we expected, has a lot of shopping, and the hotel is pretty nice and clean. We get there at 11:30 am, Natasha takes us to our room and within 30 minutes, we have taken a quick shower (that water smelled great, between the combination of body funk and the smell of the water itself) and have fallen asleep, which is noon.

We wake up at 9 pm and realize, oh crap, it's 9pm and we haven't eaten. We call Natasha and ask here where we should go. She says there are two restaurants in the hotel and are both good. We decide on one, thankfully the menu was in both English and Russian, so we were able to order a pretty good chicken dinner with rice plate.

And now, here we are, blogging for the first time at 11:45pm at night, 10:45am Sunday morning Nashvegas time.

We are getting set to go to the room, put together some list of questions for the orphanage doctor about little Neil and then go to bed, because we are being picked up at 9:30am to go and meet him for the first time.

So until tomorow when we can blog again, good night and good luck.

Love,
Coby and Brandy

P.S. We have pictures and video to share but can't upload becaus we are using a computer in the business center, not our laptop. So we'll share them when we can.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

We leave in 24 hours!

Well, I want to first say how wonderful everything has been. Coby and I received our VISA's on Monday and finished up our last bit of paperwork and packed yesterday. As I was checking the weather over there, we found out that they are expecting snow Monday-Thursday. So as Coby said, 'that should be fun.' I don't know if he meant that as a good or bad thing?? But it definitely will mean more reliance on our Lord!!

Well, if I can ask all of you for your prayers while we are over there, we will greatly appreciate them! Please pray for our travels and everything that goes on with traveling over seas. Also pray for our health and that we will be energized! (yes, like the energizer bunny...that will will keep going, and going, and going.....) Lastly, for wisdom and clarity about this little one that we are about to meet. One of my BSF ladies told me yesterday in an e-mail that, 'I know God has gone before you and made your path clear.' That is such a comfort and knowing and believing that is an even more comfort! Or days were already planed even before time. Psalm 139 says it best and I love this Psalm because it is an encouragement. (my grandfathers Psalm) v.13-16 "For You formed my inward parts: You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest part of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written. The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."

Well, we are very excited about this trip and all the adventures that we will encounter. We would love to hear from you all while we are there, so write on our blog and I guarantee it, we will need it!

Praise be to God from whom all blessings come!!!!!!
Talk to you from Moscow! Dasvidaniya!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We leave in 8 days!!!

Well, here we go again! We leave one week from tomorrow. We are running around and trying to get everything in order. I came down with something on Monday morning that kept me in bed the last 2 days. I think it was just a really bad cold that drained me. And during my yuckyness, I was studying to take my real estate exam today! I did better then I expected! My Bible Study group started up- BSF and I was placed with 17 ladies!!! That is another answer to prayer, so I have been busy with that as well.....oh ya, and we are leaving in a week for Russia!

So sorry for the delay, but here you go:
We leave Friday the 28th for New York. We will leave out of New York on the same day for Moscow. Once we are in Moscow, we are not sure of what will happen. Unfortunately, we might not know until we arrive there what we are doing. What I mean by that is we don't know if we will go straight to Kemerovo or stay overnight in Moscow. So please pray for flexibility!! I do know that we will visit the child on Monday the 1st and Tuesday and Wednesday. We will be able to see him for a few hours each day. Then we will return home Friday, October 5th around 8pm back into Nashville. (We will first stop in NY before heading for Nashville)

So, we have a lot to do in a short time, but know that all time and strength and will comes from the Lord, so we will be looking to Him to provide this these next few days.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

HERE WE GO!!!!

We have travel dates!!!! We will leave on September 28 (Friday) and will return on October 5 (Friday). We are trying to book our flights today, so when we have exact times, we will let you all know.

Well.....here we go!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No Travel Date Yet

Just wanted to quickly post an update that we have not gotten exact travel dates yet. We have been told by CHI that it will probably be around Oct. 1st. We have not made any arrangements yet, but we are keeping that date in our head....

Our little guy turned 15mo. yesterday! I didn't even realize it until I was telling his age to a friend of mine and I realized that. I was also told by another friend that I am already a mommy and Coby a daddy. Now that is crazy! In a matter of speaking, yes we are! I hope he is being on his best behavior!!! No really.....it is kind of cool to think on that....

I'll let you know travel dates as soon as I do!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

WE GOT A REFERRAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well.....the long awaiting day has finally come!!!! We were given a referral for a little boy....and we accepted it!!!!!!!!! He is almost 15 months old and he is ...of course.....the cutest thing ever!!! Coby and I are hoping to find out our travel dates in the next few days....so we will let you know as soon as we know!!

We have been asked by our agency to not post pictures or details of the little guy....but after a few days of prayer and Dr. consultations, we called CHI this morning and said YES!!!! OK...now I'm emotional! It has been a few crazy days, but to sit down and actually write to you all that we have been shown our little 'Neil Hollis' is oh so sweet!

I will write more in the days to come. All you mom's out there waiting, it is amazing to get the call. Almost not real. I think Coby and I are in shock. God's blessings DO come at a perfect time! And these children that we are all waiting for, your child will be a blessing and I now I see how God's time is perfect. This child came to us at the best time in this child's life. I guess I have been thinking that he would come to us when our time was right, but now I see that this little one is coming to Coby and I at the best time of his life.

Also, don't stop praying for your little one. I have seen how my prayers and everyone else praying for Neil has been helpful. We have seen how prayer works and have been shown glory and grace from God.. when we read the info on him. We were given his medical report and some pictures to use when consulting a Dr. I can truly sit back and see that God's hand was laid on our little one. He was protected and held in our heavenly fathers hand until he was ready to be placed in our arms. GOD IS SO IN CONTROL and I don't know how better to say it. Maybe that's why John 16:33 is my favorite verse....."In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have OVERCOME THE WORLD!!"

Mothers to be....continue to hold on to the hope! All my prayer warriors....don't stop, we need it now more then ever! Family and friends, it is your love, smiles and listening ears that have been our encouragement!

My heart sings and leaps for joy,
my eyes hold tears of contentment and peace......
for MY GOD has shown favor in me and has blessed me with HIS GRACE!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Coby is fine!!!

Well....quick update......we went to the Dr. appointment today to check out what Coby's allergies could be and we got some good news. It is not life threatening!!!! I'm just kidding....we knew it wasn't, but I had to say it because the Dr. said it. It was funny because the Dr. had the same humor as Coby and loved golf and is Jewish.....need I say more?? He and Coby hit it off and at times I sat back thinking, "Are we at a Dr.'s appointment or a social gathoring?"

Anyway, the Dr. was great and he thinks that Coby is probably allergic to aspirin! Of course nothing is for sure until Coby has another reaction, and there is blood work done at the time of the reaction....but at this time, that is what we are going with. My mom is also allergic to aspirin and she found out a few years ago when she had the exact same reaction that Coby had while in Chicago.

So we have a few things we need to change....but over all, Coby should be fine! We have an EPI pen for Russia and a few prescriptions that Coby will take when we are over there that should help prevent him from having a reaction like he did in Chicago and when he came home.

Thanks for your prayers and I think the patient will live!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to the ER....

OK...I know that this blog needs to be about our road to our baby....but I guess you can call this a speed bump on the way...
We were back in the ER Monday night when we returned home from Chicago just that morning! After our excitement of Sunday night in Chicago in the ER. Coby thought we needed to see the Hendersonville ER on Monday night (that is a joke...). He ended up driving himself to the ER because he was having a hard time breathing and the itching was coming back. So as he was there they said that they needed to inject him with EPI and another steroid. Well.....I won't go into the details of everything....but Coby opted to pass on both of those and they gave him a few prescriptions...and he left. Well....around 10:30pm, I am woken up to Coby saying that he is not breathing too well and that the bumps on his body are coming back and he wants to go back to the ER. (yup.....3 times to the ER in less then 48 hours) So we get there and the Dr. looks at Coby and says, "I thought you might be back...just not so soon." So they give Coby the EPI shot and hook him up to an IV and give him Valium, a steroid and Benedryll. In about 10min, he was out! Sleeping and snoring in the ER!

Well, we have made an apt. with an allergy Dr. next week to see what is causing all of this. I can't wait to see what it is. We have a few ideas....but will know for sure when we see the Dr. As some of you have said, we do not want this to happen in Russia! Or at least if it does, we need to know what he is allergic to so we can try and stay away from it.

Coby is doing much better today. Please continue to pray for him and God's will in His life! :-) Besides that excitement of visiting the ER....there is no news on the home front! Love to all! Brandy

Monday, August 27, 2007

9 months and going strong!!

Well, If I was giving birth to our child...this would be my due date. Today is 9 months....but we are still pushing, or I should say waiting patiently. If good things come to those who wait...I can't wait to see this wonderful child we will be given.....maybe he will be made of gold!

Anyway...Coby and I just got back from a weekend in Chicago! Coby was asked to produce the post game show for the 49ers and Bears game. The FOX station that he worked for in San Fransisco asked him to come out and work this game and of course he said yes. And of course I went and shopped!!! The weather was beautiful and it was a great weekend! Coby's mom just happened to be there visiting a friend she had not seen in over 20 years. She knew Coby' s mom from Israel. The 3 of us ended up shopping down Michigan Ave. and it was wonderful!!

Although, we had a bit of a situation......Coby had an allergic reaction to something while we were there and we ended up in the ER last night. He had huge welts ALL over his body and he couldn't stop itching and we tried a few over the counter things....and it just seamed to get worse! So we went to the ER and he got some Benedryl and steroids to stop the welts and it really seamed to help a lot! We think there was something in the hotel bed...or sheets that set him off. After we got back to the hotel last night.. we had Giradano's pizza (the best deep dish pizza...EVER) he had another reaction at 3am. This time his tong was swelling up. So he popped some Benedryl and he was good to go. So that was a lot of fun. He is much better now and the Dr. said he should be fine in a few days. Thank goodness we weren't in Russia and had a situation like this.

Well, my first few days home have been good....my house is so clean!! And of course Pebbles, Bambam, Trot and Ashland Kitty are all happy as well!Love to all!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Neil Hollis Ginsberg........

So there it is! That is the name that we have picked for our baby. I was able to call my Grandfather last night and talk to him and tell him that we are using his name!
Neil was Coby's father's name. His father passed away when Coby was only 3 years old. Hollis is my grandfathers name. He is still alive and kicking strong!

What a wonderful memory I will always have when I told my grandfather we were going to use his name. I had called my grandmother and was talking to her for about 30 min. (those of you who are family know what I mean about talking to grandma.) She is in her 80's and can carry on a conversation with anyone, anywhere about anything.....she has the mind of a 30 year old! So she put me on speaker phone and I told them both the name, and then grandma says, "what did you say?" so I said it again and again, they didn't understand me.....so I said it a 3rd time and my grandfather said, "Hollis....like h.o.l.l.i.s?" My reply was, "Yes Grandpa, like your name, Hollis."

So my grandmother's laughter was the only thing I heard and then she said, "honey, your grandpa can't talk right now, you got him all choked up." And then I heard my grandmother say, "Grandpa (she calls him that), you have tears in your eyes, oh honey don't cry." And then for the next 10 min. I didn't hear a word from my grandfather.....he was that happy! My grandma then went on to describe to me what grandpa was doing. She said he was smiling and had tears, and was so happy and she said that Neil Hollis was a wonderful name! My Grandfather is such a strong man with such a sincere soft heart.

Finally she told Grandpa to say something to me and she left the room because she had company that just arrived. So grandpa got on the phone and said, "I am so honored that you chose my name." I could hear him choke up again and I told him that the reason I wanted to use Hollis was because he is one of the most God fearing man that I know. His love for Christ is what leads his life. My grandfather has such a wonderful life story and such a servants heart for our Lord. The best way that I can explain it is how Paul explains it in Romans by saying that he is a "bond servant" of Christ. He said that he 'willingly" serves His Lord. That is my grandfather.....he willingly serves Christ and his family and that is how I have always know him to be. I told my grandpa that our son will hold such a solid name of his grandfather and great grandfather. He told me he loved me and couldn't wait to see our baby. How perfectly he put it........we are all waiting to see our baby!

What joy that brought to Coby and I knowing that our son will bring such joy to our family and friends. Coby and I can't wait to be parents....but we also can't wait to share our son with all of you! He will truly be a gift! We have to travel across the world to get him, but once we receive him.....what a joy that will bring! "Praise God from whom all blessings come!"

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

WE ARE NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just a quick blog update......we just got notice that the 2 families that were ahead of us just received referals...therefore.......Coby and I are NUMBER ONE in line!!!! Thanks be to God for His timing is perfect!

Sorry this is short...will update again very soon! May this bring joy to all y'all!

Friday, July 27, 2007

8th Month....

Well, I thought I would update you all with the fact that Friday was our 8th month of waiting. We were told that things should be happening soon. We were given some updates last week from our adoption agency about where we are in line with getting our baby and we are VERY CLOSE!!!! We are not the next in line....but we are getting there. I just wanted to thank those of you who are still lifting us up to our Lord in prayer! He hears them and is giving us the comfort we need while we wait.

I Peter 5: 16- "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."

I also realized that I still have not posted the name that we have chosen, and I am sorry, we will post it soon! Love to all!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Russian Adoption Tee-Shirts

I found this web page with the cutest tee shirt sayings about Russian adoption. Here were some of the sayings,

Baby:
"Yes, I'm bilingual I can cry in both Russian and English"
"WHAT!?!? You mean I don't look like my parents"
" I was SO worth it"
"Made in Russia" (written in a heart)
"Worth the wait"

Our personal favorite- "My mommy and daddy went to Russia and all they came back with was me"

Mommy:
"I'm adopting therefor I blog" (all you adopting mothers will understand this one)
"I have a child in Russia"
"I'm expecting a little boy from Russia"
"Pregnant on Paper"
"Expecting from Russia"
"Love knows no borders. Building our family through international adoption"
"I helped this little hand come home" (written inside a baby hand print)

This web page has tee shirts with the Russian words for Mommy, Daddy, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.....check out this web page, the tee shirts are adorable!!! www.cafepress.com/buy/russia

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

8 Agencies Have Received Accreditation's!!!!

Well, we got news last week that Russia has given Accreditation's to 8 agencies, but CHI is not on that list. I am so excited that it has started...that means CHI's accreditation is coming!!!



I was reading this morning and came across a verse, Isaiah 55:8-9 "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'" It is great to be reminded that God's thoughts and plans and ways and heavens are so much higher then I could even imagine! God has been giving me His Words as a guide. I can't help but to turn to Him in my time of need.



I wanted to share with all of you about a friend of mine who is going through her own trials right now. Her trials FAR outweigh my trail of waiting. She is going though a trial of Breast Cancer, for the second time in 2 years. I have known her and her twin sister since Kindergarten and they both have been dear friends of mine since then. She is also my sister in Christ and I praise God for that. Every time that I think of my waiting and longing to have our baby boy, I can't help but to think of her strength and courage during her struggle. God is blessing so many people through her. I just wanted to take a moment to tell her that her strength and faith in our Lord and Savior is something that inspires me. She is a strong woman of faith and I thank God every time I think of her and for her constant words of encouragement.



So all that to say, I am joyful for my suffering and thank God that He only gives me enough that is sufficient for me to go through with His help! "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (thanks for reminding me of that Pat T.)



Please continue to pray for Coby and I as we wait and I mostly ask for prayer for our baby that he will be taken care of until we can go get him and take care of him ourselves.



If you want to check out my friend, Jennifer's story...you can go to: www.caringbridge.org/visit/jenniferuwarow