"Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what." ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


March 1, 2011 is the day we added 1 to our 2 to make 3:)  Our court was about 40 minutes, with a very nice judge.  She was serious about the questions she asked, but also made a few jokes.  She first questioned me about how we would feel about our adopted child versus our biological children.  Then she asked about discipline, did I know her medical diagnosis, was I confident in my ability to deal with issues, and did I know about her family background.  Then it was Mark's turn.  She started by asking very seriously, "You already have 3 women in your house, are you prepared for 4?".  He said, "As prepared as a man can be for that!".  We got a little laugh out of that.  Then she asked him about his feelings about the adoption(listening to him made me cry), religion(listening to him made me sweat), and his ability to provide financially(listening to him made me daydream about shopping).  After the judge questioned both of us the head doctor from the baby home gave her recommendations and then the social worker gave hers.  They said nice things about us and reviewed S's health and family background.  Then a representative from the Ministry of Education and the prosecutor have to give their blessings.  After all that the judge goes back to her chambers to make her decision and then returns.  Finally she awards us guardianship of S and says we can pick her up on March 14!  Yeah!  As we left the courtroom our translator said, "You should feel good!  The judge just told the head doctor nice match, nice girl, nice couple!"  We think so too!

After court!  Happy Mommy and Poppy!

We had enough time to go back to the hotel and change, and then we went to the baby home for a visit.  With our main translator out sick it's been a little crazy.  So, we had a non-English speaking driver who took us and dropped us at the baby home.  It's not like going into a school and checking in the main office, there's a lot of steps to it.  So, we went into the first security house you pass through and tried to explain that we were there to see our daughter.  That was difficult.  The security guard came out and escorted us to the door, and said something to the coat checker.  She thankfully recognized us and scolded us in Russian for not being fast enough getting our coats off and shoe covers on.  She's a trip!  Then she walked us in the building and took us to a doctor who did not recognize us.  We motioned upstairs toward the head doctor who new us and just hugged us at court!  So, we followed her up there and thankfully the head doctor was in her office!  It gave us a taste of what Sofia's world will be like trying to communicate your needs to people don't understand!  They brought her to us and big surprise...she cried!  At least we can say she's consistent!  This time we were armed with the snacks she liked so we were able to warm her up much quicker than previously!  Interesting note on the eating...She loves little finger snacks and will shove as many in her mouth as you will let her.  But...if you put the bag away and she thinks there's no more, she will clasp the last one.  She will not let you take it and she will not eat it.  She's saving it because she thinks it is the last one:(  When you pull the bag out again she immediately pops it in her mouth and goes for more.  We did the usual playing with puzzles, stacking cups, balls, her purse, etc.  I was feeling quite bold(after all she is mine) so I changed her diaper and took her tights off.  She was very good for me changing her!  I wanted to see her little naked body.  Her skin is beautiful(something Mark nor I could give her genetically!).  Her feet are too cute and I only saw a couple little scars on her arms that indicate she had chicken pox.

I also tried on my 18-24 mos. shirt which fit perfectly.  I wasn't as off on the size as I thought!  She loves clothes and shoes!  She gets all excited when you change her!  We played with the shoes again for a long time.  She would put them on, take them off, do the buckle, undo the buckle, and so on.  LOVE this girl!  Finally it was time to say good bye.  When the caregiver came she was very excited again.  The caregiver had to walk us out because we were on our own, so we followed her and S down the stairs.  S kept looking back at us and waving so proud of stair skills!  She was so happy!  We feel good about the care at the baby home.  S is always happy to see her caregivers and seems well groomed and fed.  With that we left the door for the last time without S.  Next time she will be coming with us!  We couldn't resist taking pictures of the snow.  It's ridiculous!  What's even more crazy is the fact that it is all hand shoveled(and there is a VERY long walkway and driveway)!  When they need to get some snow out of the way they use wheelbarrows.  What a defeating job.  It's like laundry, even when you think you've caught up it starts piling up again!
Mark is 6 feet tall!
I may use this idea as a punishment at home!

Next post will be from home where we will be frantically preparing to leave again! 



  1. I am sooooooooo happy for you!!!!! Finally...now that it has happened it seems like it went so fast (can't believe I am saying that) I should be working but I am bragging to my co-workers that S. is officially all of ours!! And...possibly she may be home before our last baby of the Freitag/Culley clan comes : )

  2. CONGRATS to the whole Culley family...WOW what a life changing experience, SO HAPPY for you! Can't wait for you to go bring S home!

  3. Congratulations!!!! Cant wait to meet her!!!!
    And Emily, did you say LAST?!?!

  4. I LOVE the comment from the judge - she couldn't be more accurate! Congrats Culley party of 5!

  5. Congratulations to you all! Don't you just love the coat room lady? :)

    See you soon (in St. Pete!).

  6. Congratulations! I found your blog through another one . . . It's nice to meet other families who have adopted from St. Petersburg. Which judge did you get? It doesn't sound like the same one we had . . . Yours sounds nicer:)


  7. This post warms my heart Jen!!!!!!