Watch and be enlightened.
This nine minute video that we found helps to convey the important role that we each play in others' lives. We required our older children to watch this video clip. They said that the last lady reminded them of their mom.
Watch and be enlightened.
We've learned throughout this process that some days are more eventful than others. From the moment that we awoke, today was one of those days. The activities, actions, and decisions that were made today for our family and Julianna's adoption could have been stretched out into an entire week.
We heard from friends and acquaintances of ours that we have not been in touch with for years. This gave us a chance to share about our children, including our newest daughter, Julianna. Angelo's semi-annual review was also an opportunity for us to retell our memories of the times we have had with Julianna in Russia.
One family whom we know that has adopted from Russia before has generously given us educational items and clothes to take with us for the Children's Home where Julianna is currently living. It is expected that when we return for our daughter that we will bring gifts to the Children's Home. Before we left Russia, we learned from the Deputy Director, Olga, that the children really need educational materials. Thus far, we have purchased lacing cards, all kinds of math flash cards, a frisbee and some outdoor scoop ball games, plastic shovels and rakes to play with outside, small Disney princess softballs, some puzzles, and a variety of other educational materials. We are still hoping to get paper, playdough, wipeoff boards, coloring pages, crayons (which they don't have in Russia), markers, floor puzzles, and maybe some books that are written in Russian, i.e. The Cat In the Hat. If anyone would like to send any donations to the Children's Home, we would be happy to take the items. They really could use some nice clothes, and since the children are from age 5 through 18, they can wear just about any size except infants and toddlers. From what I understand there are children who are physically unable to leave their beds. There may be something comforting that we can take for them, too. After being there, any little bit helps. I've even thought about taking a bunch of toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Off to bed...late again tonight. At least I know that my little Julianna is one day closer to coming home. We made great strides today!! Let's hope for another successful day tomorrow. Praise God for a wonderful day.
Filling out endless forms is probably not a task that most of us would think of as pleasurable. However, Kenny and I were elated to receive four more documents this morning that came from Victoria via Sveta in Russia. This means we are getting closer! So, it is a cause for celebration!
Also, I am in the process of trying to get a letter from our local police department that verifies that Kenny and I do not have a criminal record. Our local police department is the Pennsylvania State Police. Trying to get a letter from them...well all I can say is I enjoyed my two root canals and gum surgery more. The letter...it's not happening from the State Police. The best they will do is notarize a NEW state police patch that we must apply for witihin the week; hopefully later tonight we can do this task. I did have a brainstorm of an idea. I have contacted our local township and asked for them to place in writing that we do not have a "local police" force and that our State Police covers the jurisdiction within which we live. I am planning to attach that letter to my notarized state police clearance. I do hope that Russia will accept this as a "letter."
Kenny has been busy, too! Our paperwork process is nearing completion. Once we have it notarized and apostilled, we can send it to Sveta in Russia. She will submit it to the judge and a court date can be established.
I am thankful for the redtape. It helps us to enjoy and have fun with the process. Then when we have our little Julianna, we'll be able to reflect back on all of this and thank God for how everything just fell into place...with prayer and God's grace of course!
Presently, I'm working on some other projects here at the Licata home. Everyone is healthy, happy (most of the time), and busy! This makes for interesting dinner conversation each night.
More later as we are preparing for Angelo's semi-annual review of his service plan. We are excited to hopefully be adding occupational therapy to his routine each week. Selfcare skills are essential to achieve so that we can move on to more academic-related skills once he hits school! Thank you God for already helping Julianna to achieve many of these skills. She will be able to soar once she is home!
As Sunday evening comes to a close, we have received word from our coordinator that our paperwork from Svetlana is on its way. We should have it by tomorrow when we awake. We are not sure if this means we will have more or will have to "redo" some of the paperwork that we've already filled out. Either way...it is news. One day closer to having Julianna home...
After what seems to me as one of the shortest weeks in history, we are beginning our busy, not restful, weekend. Tonight, Vincent's ball game was cancelled due to inclement weather, Dom and Francesca performed at the Pop's Concert, and Gabby's tiredness got the best of her.
Yesterday's results at the statewide National History Day competition did not fair well for either Gabby or Dominic. Both of them finished in the top six of the state, but neither of them placed high enough to go to the National competition at the University of Maryland in June. The bright side is that this won't slow us down in terms of a date to go to Russia and they both gained valuable experiences that will assist them in life!
We finished the kids' physicals today. Kenny and I got ours updated. All in all, it seems like we only have a few things left to do before we can go. Our paperwork appears to be in order. We even got our needed social work documents from the person who conducted our homestudy.
It would be great if we would hear how Julianna is doing. We must trust that God is taking care of her and the angels are watching over her. It is already Saturday morning in Russia as I write this...just another day for Julianna, wondering when her Mommy and Daddy are coming to get her. Today marks one day closer...
Dominic, Francesca, and Gabby have had a great week thus far! So much so, that it's worth mentioning on our blog! Francesca learned on Monday that she made Concert Choir at Bishop McDevitt. This is quite an honor! On Tuesday, Francesca & Dominic took a field trip with the music department at Bishop McDevitt to Inner Harbor, Maryland. Today, Dominic & Gabby participated in the state competition of National History Day. We just learned tonight that Gabby has made runoffs for tomorrow morning. Dominic will learn tomorrow how he placed with his group.
We have found as our kids get older, they still need us...sometimes even more than when they were little. They just don't always tell us. We are proud of all of our children and are anxious to get Julianna over here with her siblings.
Regardless of where I am, now that I have returned from Russia, I look at time differently. Time in Russia seems more relaxed, slower, and perhaps a bit different than here in America. Our materialistic society is always looking to squeeze one more activity into an already crowded day…but not in Russia. My sense is that the Russian culture is not in the “hurry” that we are in the United States…at least here on the East Coast. Perhaps that’s why I struggle with the whole concept of wanting Julianna to be over here yesterday, knowing that it won’t be until mid-June at best.
The clock also reminds me that there are eight hours difference in time. Right now in Russia, our little Julianna is finishing her Tuesday night sleep and awakening on Wednesday morning! So, perhaps today is the day that we will hear more about our little girl. If she could only know that I showed her pictures to her pediatrician today and that her pediatrician is writing a letter to help her come home sooner, I think she would be excited…no not about the letter…but that we are making progress on bringing her home quicker.
Savoring this process is important. Why? This documents part of Julianna’s journey into our life and into our family. It is important to “live in the moment” NOW. Kenny and I were very much able to do this when we were in Russia, as we had no other commitments and responsibilities. Living in the moment and being present to the promptings of the Holy Spirit is what we are called to do…not just in Russia but now, every day in all that we do.
So when we think about time …how important is the clock if one is living in the present moment for when living in the present moment, one comes face to face with God. Somehow, I don't envision God wearing a watch!
When I awoke early on Mother’s Day, I thought about how blessed I am to have been given the opportunity for others to call me “mom”. Angelo awoke first to wish me a great day. After he dressed, we awoke Francesca to head out to her second of four days of Lifeguard Certification class. Happily, Angelo and I dropped Francesca off at the pool. When we arrived home, Vincent and Gabriella were next to wish me a “Happy Mother’s Day.” Once our brunch was underway and Daddy was up to help, Dominic awoke last on Mother’s Day. I couldn’t help but thinking at brunch that my day would be complete if only our little Julianna were here with us, too.
Chocolate at Hershey Chocolate World, shoes for all the boys, laundry, and Mass (twice for me since I went with Francesca later) filled our day…one of the highlights was the Coconut Cream Pie from Costco. What a treat! Again, I thought about how much Julianna would love this sweet dessert!
Being a mom is certainly not an easy job…but one that I take very seriously. I look forward to Mother’s Day each year. It’s one of those special days of the year that reminds all of us how important life is…and thanks to our moms we are here to celebrate it. Thank you to all those moms who are out there doing God’s work here on earth and to those who are doing the work from heaven! Amen!
I wish I had something to share about Julianna today. The best that I can do is that she is one day closer to coming home to her new family. Kenny and I have been taking the steps necessary on our end to get the appropriate paperwork completed while successfully maintaining our jobs and caring for our other five very active children. We have found that if we do a little every day - baby steps - we will eventually be travelling to Russia to pick up our daughter.
My contacts today included talking with Svetlana for a brief two minute conversation, getting physicals for three of our five children, and wishing my sister, Rita, a happy 40th birthday and learning that according to my father's news source that Russia has voted to continue with adoptions to the US. I also contacted Victoria to learn that Svetlana still has forms she needs to forward to us to complete for our second trip.
Today, I shared with our family at dinnertime the personal contact that I made with the Dinello family who is responsible for us learning about the website that led us to Julianna. We are planning to get together to talk about our experiences. The Dinellos have adopted two children from China. Both of them have special needs.
The last update today comes from my youngest children, Vincent and Angelo. For Mother's Day, Vincent's class performed several songs, a poem, and a special personal message for each mother read aloud by the child. Vincent said, "My mother is special because....she smells good." Everybody laughed with me. His message is very meaningful because Vinnie often wakes up early in the morning, afraid of the dark, and sneaks into my room to snuggle with me. For Vinnie, the smell of Mom, is comfort! What better way to feel special than to know your child is comforted by your distinct smell!! :)
Angelo, too, had a special gift for me. His caregiver during the day while I work, Christine, created a picture with his name and handprints, framed and all. It was tied with a pink bow. What an awesome gift from Angelo (and Christine).
Those are the updates...as I know them.
The biggest news that we have learned about little Julianna in the last 24 hours is that Julianna does not share Dominic's birthday. Contrary to our earliest introduction to Julianna last summer through ReecesRainbow, our newest daughter was not born in June of 2002. Julianna has a birthday of March 6, 2002, which makes her one month older than Vinnie and not two months younger. Knowing Vincent, he'll take good care of her regardless of when her birthday is. Interestingly though, when Vinnie said his prayers tonight before bedtime, he kept Julianna's name and "place" in the siblings the same, right between him and Angelo. Last year, Vincent claimed he wanted a younger brother between the ages of Angelo and himself. In a month or so, we'll be adopting a little girl who is older than he is. Funny how God works...