Saturday, October 22, 2005

Baxters go to America!

Well, at least some of them did.

Robert, Max and Dima got on the plane this morning and they are off to good old VA. We are so fortunate that Robert's work has decided to send the boys back for some testing. This should involve a whole work up for them - Educational, Psycological and Neurological.

We are hoping to get some answers to our questions and also find out the best ways to help our boys. They are both doing really well but Max definately has some learning issues and Dima definately has some emotional issues. This opportunity is a real blessing for us.

Alexander and I are sooo bummed that we couldn't join them, but I am so busy right now I couldn't get away, also, now that Alexander is in middle school, we were afraid for him to miss so much school. Anyway, Alexander has some vacation days next week so we are going to Germany to visit a friend and also so I can take a quick trip to the Temple.

It sure is quiet around here.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My letter to the Social Worker

Well, here is my letter to the social worker. The names have been changed to protect the innocent (or whatever!). It is my hope that you will pray that this letter will soften the hearts of those in power.

Dear Mrs. Social Worker with copies to, Chief Judge and Pokrovsky Children’s Home Director.

We thank you so much for all the work you are doing on the case of our daughter, Anastasia. Our friend, Alexander X has been in contact with you on several occasions and has told us of all the work you do to help Anastasia. Also, our agency, Crossroads, who is working through Olga in Vladivostok, has recently informed us that you have submitted to the court the paperwork to have Oleg’s parental rights terminated.

We thank you for your tireless efforts on our behalf and also on the behalf of our daughter. We wish to inform you of the progress being made by our son and her brother, Baxter, Max, formerly known as Suhar, Maxim.

Max is doing very well in our family. He now speaks fluent English and is getting good grades in school. His favorite class is computers and he shows a natural ability to learn about anything electronic, he is able to fix things around the house which break from time to time. He also enjoys reading and math. Max is very athletic and a popular player on the school’s soccer (football) team. Max and his two brothers all won trophies and awards last year for their outstanding efforts in baseball, a favorite American sport.

When Max first came to us, he had many behavior problems but that has all worked itself out now. Max has many friends at school and is a good brother to Dmitry (adopted at the same time from Ussuriisk) and Alexander (our biological son). Also, Max was very small for his age and quite sickly when he first came to us, but we are happy to tell you that he is now of average size and his health is now excellent.

Unfortunately, Max suffers terribly from the loss of his sister, Anastasia. These two children were very close as I’m sure you have learned. Anastasia was almost like a mother to him because she is the older child and she took care of him and protected him. He is bonded to her very strongly and he often has nightmares and crying spurts because he misses her so much. We have had a room and clothes and toys waiting in our home for Anastasia for the last 18 months. We walk by her empty bedroom everyday and it is a constant reminder to our whole family that she is missing and she should be here.

We spent three weeks with her in February of 2004. We promised her that we would be back in the summer 2004 to get her, as we were led to believe would be the case. We have had occasion to call her and talk to her at the Pokrovsky Home for Children without Parents. She becomes very upset because she can not understand why we don’t come for her. She cries and tells me she wants to come “home” to her brother and to mama and papa. She always inquires about all three of her brothers and wants to talk to “papa” even though he speaks no Russian at all. We have stopped making these calls because they seem more painful than helpful.

We share this information with you because we hope you will understand that two children are being torn apart and that it is hurting them terribly. Our family also suffers as we think and pray about Nastia constantly and everyday are trying to find a way to bring her home. We are helpless and can only wait for the Russian legal system to repair this damage to our family. We wish to humbly tell our story to the court and to you that we may beg for assistance in bringing our case to the forefront of your attentions so that it may be resolved quickly.

We understand that once the court determines to terminate parental rights that it is possible that Anastasia will have to go back onto the database. She was already on the database and no one wanted her. If we look online at, we find that Anastasia has been displayed on this database for the last year and a half and that no one has come forward to adopt her. The Russian people have been given every opportunity to take this child into their homes and hearts but she is left for us. We are her family and if you will only speak to her you will see that she suffers now because she is not with us.

Each month that passes, Anastasia and Max become further apart. Max is growing so much. He is changing so much, he has become a new boy and now wants to go by the name of “Max” and not “Maxim”. He says that Maxim is the old boy who did bad things and got in trouble a lot. He says that Maxim is the old boy who didn’t have a mommy and daddy. He wants to be the new boy, Max. He wants to learn and be very smart and very good at sports, but last night he told me he is still Maxim inside his heart and he told me that Maxim cries everyday for his sister but Max has to be very brave and not cry. This boy can not finish healing until he has his sister here with him. We know that Anastasia will have a long road too and the sooner we start the journey, the better off we all will be.

We had to put both Max and Dmitry back one grade earlier in school. They were very far behind their American counterparts and of course, they also didn’t speak English. They are both now in the 3rd grade by our American system. Anastasia needs to get started in the American system as soon as possible. Otherwise, Max will soon pass her up and it will be very difficult for her if her little brother is in a higher grade than she is. Max’s education has now come quite far and he can do things that she won’t be able to do or understand. We hope that you, as our representative, can make this important point to the court.

We are Americans and we don’t understand how the Russian system works. In America, we could hire an advocate to speak for us before the court. We don’t know how to do this in Russia but we are certainly willing to if that will help. We will do whatever we need to to bring Anastasia home. We understand that perhaps her biological father has some fears or concerns. We would like to do whatever we can to assure him that Anastasia will have a wonderful life. If he desires it, we are willing to send him copies of the post placement reports and also pictures if he would like. I am willing to fly to Vladivostok now, today, to speak to the court or to the father if you would recommend that route. Our agency is trying to help us, but they too seem to have their hands tied. Too much time has now passed though and we feel we must take extraordinary measures.

We are asking our friend, Alexander X or one of his representatives to fly to Vladivostok so that he can talk with Anastasia. We would like him to bring some gifts for her. We would ask permission that our friend be permitted contact with Anastasia. We need her to know that we are still working and that we will bring her home, we just don’t know when. We would also ask that you speak to him as our representative. We can no longer wait for our adoption agency, but must find out what steps are being taken now. We must answer to our son and tell him what is happening.

We are sending a copy of this letter to our judge who decided the case of Maxim and Dmitry:
xxxx, Chief Judge
and also to the Pokrovsky Children’s Home Director:
xxxxx .

If you would like to see more pictures of our family, please look at either of our two websites:

Please scroll down to see the pictures on this site.

We also beg your response to the following questions:

How long will it take for the case of parental rights termination of Oleg Rahimova to come before the court?

Is it necessary for Anastasia to go onto the database again after the parental rights are terminated?

Is it possible for us to “host” Anastasia in our home while we await the outcome of all the legal proceedings? That is, we would come get her and keep her now and then later fly back to Vladivostok to formalize her adoption when the paperwork is ready.

Should we make inquiries to hire an advocate or lawyer in Vladivostok to help us?

It is our strongest desire that none of these questions be offensive. Again, we do not understand your system and it is different from ours. However, we have tried to be patient and we have waited a very long time to get answers and to get our child through the traditional route. Please be assured that we are only trying to find any other paths we might be able to take to get our daughter home as quickly as possible.

We look forward to working with you and hope that we will meet you very soon.

Most sincerely yours,
Robert and Holly Baxter

_____________________________ _______________________________
Robert Armstrong Baxter Holly Wendy Baxter

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Got our LID!!!

We got our LID today. LID is the Log In Date that our paperwork arrived in China. Our date is 9/12/05. Yippee.

Now, we have the waiting, waiting part. We have to wait 7 months from our LID date to get our "referral". The referral is when they (China) send us a picture of our baby along with her health info etc. We expect to get our referral in Aprilish and go get our daughter in June-ish.

Still no decision on the name, but we have lots of time. The waiting is the hardest part. At least when you are pregnant, you have the baby with you while you are waiting - somehow that seems easier!

One of the sisters at church had a baby about 2 weeks ago and she still hasn't named her - all of her children and her husband have strong opinions and they haven't resolved it yet. Boy, I can see that happening around my home.

Family Photo

We went to the Prater last Friday night. The Prater is an amusement park here in Vienna. It was Max and Dima's first time to go and they were so excited. My mom came for the weekend and her birthday present to Max was this fun filled evening. We had a great time and decided to top it off with this photo. The boys loved dressing up and I think (with the exception of me) all of my family looks wonderful!
From L to R it is:
Me, Grandma
Alexander, Max, Robert, Dmitry

Sunday, October 02, 2005

little bits of news on Anastasia

We have learned that the Russian social worker in charge of Anastasia's case has now submitted the paperwork to the court -- she is filing for termination of parental rights. We have no idea how long this process will take. To our devastation we also learned that once the parental rights are terminated (I suppose I should say "if") that Anastasia will have to go back onto the database.

All orphans must be "adverstised" for six months on the database. This is to give Russian families a fair shot at adopting them. Nevermind that she has been in the orphanage for 6+ years. Sigh. It is the law. When we started this process two years ago, she got put on the database and she then "came off the database" as an eligible child. It was after this that they found her bio father. This is highly unusual, I guess. Anyway, now they are saying that the whole process must start over again.

I have written a letter to the court and to the social worker making an appeal against this. It is a pretty long, emotional letter though. I hope it will inspire someone to say, Enough of this Nonsense! We have some dear friends who are helping us (thank you Mary and Alex) and Alex has just completed the translation of the letter. I intend to fedex it off next week along with some pictures of Max and our family. I will publish the letter here next week, in case you are interested in reading it.

We are just trying to use every avenue we can possibly think of. We will fast this Sunday if anyone would like to join us. That is Sunday the 9th of October. We have been fasting and praying all along of course, but this time we are asking our loved ones to join us if they like. If you can't fast, please include us in your prayers. We are fasting and praying for the following:
1) A quick resolution to any legal issues holding up Anastasia's adoption
2) Guidance on what exactly we should be doing to further the process
3)That the Spirit be with Anastasia to comfort her
4)That the Lord intervene at any point necessary to make the things happen that need to happen to bring our daugther home.

In short, we ask for more miracles. We don't deserve them and the Lord has given us so much allready, it is hard to keep asking. It is our hope and our prayer that He will see fit to bless our little girl though as she only asks to have a family.
Love to everyone and thank you for your prayers.