Monday, June 20, 2011

an overdue update

July 18th marked 7 months since Anna Lane was welcomed into our family. We have enjoyed watching her change and grow and seeing her sweet, God-given personality come out. She is a much different child than the one we picked up at the orphanage in December. The other 3 of us are changed as well and we are thankful for our little ray of sunshine.

Anna Lane is happy, full of life, and always wants to be in the middle of the fun. She loves music, clothes, shoes, and talking on the phone. She pretends to call people, not just her toy phones, but on a credit card, a spoon, a block- anything can be turned into a "phone". Mostly she calls her grandparents, but even calls my sister's dog! She brings us smiles and laughter every day. We are thankful that she is perfectly healthy, that her language skills are improving daily, and that she has no delays otherwise.

I recently read that when an adopted child comes home, she requires "parenting plus" and it's so true. Even an orphan without special needs has special needs. Anna Lane has needs that take time, energy, and prayer to address. She was shaped significantly by her first 2 years in the orphanage and though her basic physical necessities were taken care of, she didn't have love and didn't learn to trust. However, she is doing so well and we are amazed at her resiliency.

We are so proud of our Jack. After being an 'only' for 7 1/2 years, his world has been slightly shaken! Jack loves his sister dearly and he is her favorite person. He's been keeping busy this summer with sports camps, swim team, VBS, and fun with friends. In May, he and I enjoyed a mother/son trip to Atlanta for a baseball game and some fun at the GA Aquarium, Coke museum, and then he struggled through my shopping trip at Ikea :) Soon, he will turn 8 and begin the 2nd grade. It is true that the days may often seem to crawl by, but the years fly!

Here are a few pics...
Jack at a swim meet

Princess Anna Lane defending her castle

Family pic
Sweet :)
Loovvves the water!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

two months

In a way we can't believe Anna Lane has been at home two months, and in another way it seems like it's been much longer!

We have all been sick this month (except Jack- thankfully)! So that has definitely slowed us down some and not helped the adjustment phase. But things are becoming normal now!

Anna Lane and Jack are both doing so well. Jack's role as big brother has come very naturally. His role as helper/protector is so sweet. But we are having to referee more as Jack-the-antagonizer is coming out too! Anna Lane tolerates it pretty well for now, but i think when she learns a little more English, she'll be telling him what she thinks about it!
She sees Jack throwing some sort of ball ALL the time, and has come to think that all of her toys are for throwing too. A dear friend came by a few days ago and gave her a gift- a cuddly little bunny, that she pulled out of the gift bag and pitched into the air with a squeal. The bunny is a little pink football in her eyes! And Jack agrees that it's much more fun that way. Whatever works!

Recently we had some family pictures taken, not dreaming that we'd get to do them outside in mid-February, but we did! Kim Maye took these pics below at the Botanical Gardens (to like her on FB, search Kim Maye Photography). Anna Lane is a challenge to photograph- we laugh at how well she evades the camera- but Kim got some great shots!

David & I continue to marvel at the miracle of adoption and the number of spiritual parallels there are. We are thankful for our adoption journey and are even more grateful for what we have in Christ. We are so blessed!

Kim did a great job of capturing both of our little blessings :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

one month!

Anna Lane has been home over a month now and is doing great! It's really amazing how resilient children are, but i think she has an extra dose of it. She seems to be doing very well.

The first 2 weeks were the most challenging for all of us as she was getting used to a new, very different, environment and as we were dealing with jet-lag and holidays coupled with what was like having a newborn 2 year old. The things of every day life were hard for her and for us- sleeping, bathing, and as I mentioned in my previous post, she was into everything! On the 3rd week, Jack and David were out of town at the AU game (pics below!) and it was hard, but good bonding time for Anna Lane and me as well.

Since then, things are going more smoothly. She sleeps all night and loves her bed now. (There were nights for a while that she was terrified of getting in her bed alone, so she was in our room with us.) She is enjoying her baths as of two weeks ago- yay! She has adjusted to some of the boundaries now and, though i still need to watch her like a hawk, things are better. Her English improves everyday- right now she says about 25 words and understands much more. And she continues to have an unbelievable appetite. Some days I feel like I spend most of my time preparing meals & snacks for her (and cleaning up the massive messes around her high chair and in her hair afterwards - I had almost forgotten the unglamorous days of being a mom of a toddler)!

We are spending a lot of time and effort on discipline. Of course, there is a lot that we can't communicate to her like we would have to Jack at that age, and we realize it will take time for her to catch up on English. But there are things we know she does understand but continues to push the limits and cross the lines constantly. We know she's frustrated too. She has been biting sometimes and of course can throw a good fit just like any other toddler! She is quite determined and resourceful- probably partly her personality, but i'm sure it was learned at the orphanage as she had to fend for herself in a lot of ways. These qualities will hopefully be used for great things as she grows up, but right now they are useful for trying to get around the rules!

But overall, she is such a happy girl! Everytime she gets upset or angry, she can get over it in a heartbeat and is back to singing songs, laughing and playing. There is nothing cuter that seeing her joy when David or Jack come home after work or school. She squeals, does a happy dance, and runs to them with open arms. Precious!!

Jack is doing great! The first two weeks i think he was ready to send her back, but now he is adjusting into his role as the big brother. He is a helper to us and an entertainer to her! And needless to say, Anna Lane adores him!!

Our appointment at the international adoption clinic had to be cancelled b/c of the snow & ice and we had to reschedule for Feb 7th. We look forward to that appt next week to evaluate her physical health, which seems to be very good, and also her attachment to us.

We are so thankful to God for this precious gift! Anna Lane is a blessing to us already. The journey of adoption is amazing. We would love to talk to anyone who is considering it and would like to know more details about our story. Please email me at

here are some pics...

At the circus. It was fun, but i think 3 will be a better age to take Anna Lane!
Happy 2nd Birthday Anna Lane!

Birthday girl!

The girl loves to put on clothes & shoes- here she has on about 4 of my shirts & my shoes...

David, Jack & Aunt Dana in Glendale, AZ

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Busy, Busy

Since we've been home it's been non-stop! We have been so glad to see so many friends and family for the holidays- Anna Lane came home at just the perfect time.

I think she has done well with the adjustment so far. She loves playing with her big brother, loves playing outside, and of course, eating. She has tolerated us zooming here and there for Christmas events, but does best when she's at home. The biggest issues we've had are sleeping and bathing. Some nights she wakes up often, but we've made progress- she's now sleeping in her bed in her room (the first several nights she was in our room- the pack-n-play or our bed). And her bath time is a nightmare- she screams bloody murder the whole time. Any tips from fellow adoptive parents??

She is so different than Jack was at the same age. She is into absolutely everything! We can't take our eyes off of her for one second. She's climbing the couch, eating dirt out of the plants, trying to use the phone, changing the computer settings, breaking into our supposedly childproofed cabinets, scrounging for food in the pantry (she managed to break into a bottle of molasses), ripping up Jack's books, turning over lamps, tearing ornaments off the Christmas tree, playing in my lipstick... We're thankful she's a very typical almost-two-year-old. It also means I've been crashing at 9:30 every night :)

Jack is loving his sister. He has moments where he is irritated with her antics or the attention she gets, but mostly he's good! He just lights up when she smiles at him or gives him kisses. It's been great for him to be on a break from school right when she came home!
Santa brought him and his daddy tickets to the AU game in Arizona. He is super excited!!! This will be one of his most memorable Christmases!

It's 9:30, time to crash :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home

To say we are glad to be home would be an understatement! Our travel day yesterday was exhausting, but there were no big delays in flights, Anna Lane did as well as could be expected, and we had the sweetest welcoming party at the B'ham airport!
Jack is the best big brother ever!! He has said several times today that he likes having a sister. He wants to help out with her, teach her things, and hold her. He just lights up when she smiles at him- so cute!
Anna Lane slept for about 5 hours last night and we've been up since 3:30 this a.m. Poor jet-lagged girl! She is hanging in there today, but understandably, is grumpy. We feel like we have a newborn again! I think each night will be better and better though.
We are so thankful for our little girl and what a great addition to our family she is. We're blessed beyond measure!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Russia post

We are packed and ready to leave Russia in the a.m.! We leave about noon local time and will be in home, sweet, Homewood by Saturday night. We are really looking forward to getting home (what an understatement) and have missed our Jack terribly.

Anna Lane is still doing pretty well. The past day or two she has really started pushing the limits, just like any almost-2-yr-old. Today she refused to eat breakfast for 5 hours b/c she was holding out for an arrowroot cookie. Then she decided we were just as smart as she is and by lunch time ate what we offered her.
We were able to go to Red Square today- it was freezing, but really enjoyed seeing it. Anna Lane tolerated it, but she especially enjoyed seeing the hundreds of beautifully decorated Christmas trees ( or New Year trees, as Russians call them) in a mall nearby.

We are so thankful for the new addition to our family and can't wait for Jack to get to know his new sis. He is going to be such a wonderful big brother. He has been talking about all of his big brother plans; to teach her English words, to play with her, to watch her while she sleeps :) He can't wait until she is big enough to sleep on his bottom bunk! The next post and pictures will be of the whole family!!

Thank you all, again, for your thoughts and prayers during this process, especially as we have traveled (21 flights down, 2 to go- yes i counted :) and as Anna Lane is adjusting to life outside the orphanage. We do not take for granted your love and friendship!

We look forward to seeing you and talking to you when we return home. We are planning on having a Craddock Camp-In for a while to bond as a new family, to allow Anna Lane to adjust, and to recoup from traveling/adoption stress/ etc. So, if it's a while before we respond to calls, email, etc- thanks for understanding :)

God bless the USA!!!!!!!!!!

Red Square

Red Square- it was 14 degrees and snowing

helping mom and dad pack- "I'm ready to go!" (NikNik we love her in this snowman dress :)

what a great sleeper she is- so far! This is a pillow my friend Brittney made for her, and pjs from her Mimi

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Moscow prices

Thinking about traveling to Moscow? bring a lotta moolah...
here are some prices we couldn't believe:
Hamburger (no fries or drink included) is $32
Ribeye steak with potatoes au gratin $97
8 oz diet coke $10
4 mile taxi ride $85 (using the hotel taxi)