Wednesday, October 25, 2006


This is a classic!

Only In China

My mom sent me an email with these pictures and I just have to post them. Since we are preparing to get our daughter from China, we need to know what some of her special skills might be! These photos are amazing.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

We are back online!

It has been such a long while since I've posted. It was an exciting summer for us. We flew into D.C. and then drove to Boston, NY, Palmyra, Independence, Nauvoo, Liberty, Carthage (Church History Tour) and that was so awesome. Then we went to Salt Lake City and on to California. We then returned to VA via an more southerly route. We did tons of stuff saw almost all our family and had a great time. We also got very fat but we are working on that now.

Here are some highlights:
  • I so much loved all the Church History, I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see all these places I've been reading about for so long - I highly recommend this to all LDS peoples!
  • We got to have a reunion with a lot of the children from the boys' orphanage - it was so weird to see them all speaking English now and looking healthy and happy. We didn't tell the boys about it but just pulled into a park and there were all these kids from their orphanage - how cool is that??
  • I got to see some family members whom I haven't seen in many, many years -- my cousin Jamie, we were so close as children and then we haven't really seen each other for about 14 years or so - wow. My little boy is 12 and her little girl is 18 and her baby is 11! It was so great to see them and spend time with them. I also got to see my Grandfather whom I haven't seen in 10 years. This trip completed a circle for me which I have been struggling with for many years. I feel so at peace after having seen all of my family (except my brothers and I'm working on that!).
  • We stayed at Duncans Mills with Nana and Ken - we got to stay in a trailor and Robert and I got our own bedroom (hey -- 2 months in hotels with 3 boys -- your own room is a big deal). California is as beautiful as ever.
  • My dad and Sandy got to spend some time with our boys. For years they have been hearing about my family and it felt so wrong that they didn't know each other. It was so great to be home - I never really feel home till I've gone to The Prop.
  • We got to see 3 out of 4 of Robert's children and he got to see all 4 of them. This is the hardest part about being overseas - he can't have the connection and contact with his children that a father should have. We miss them so much. Elizabeth is out on her own now (18 yrs old) and living in St. George, Scott is still in VA and doing great - he looks great and seems happy and he is working really hard and taking church seriously. Stewart and Erin are unbelievable. They have such a wonderful and strong marriage, 2 beautiful boys and a third one on the way. We got to hear Stewart speak in Church and Robert was just so proud. We are so proud of all his children and we miss them so much!
  • We got to see everyone of Robert's 6 siblings and spend a little time with the cousins - the boys love all of their cousins and that was the best part of the trip for them. They also loved being spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa Baxter.
  • How blessed are we that we could do a trip like this - it was just great to be all together for 2 whole months.
  • Right before we left, we spent 3 days doing an intensive therapy program with Dmitry. We learned a lot of things and we feel it really helped us to get our family pulled together and help with some bonding issues. Dmitry was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It is no wonder, of course. His early life was miserable and he remembers all of it. He really seems to remember things from his infancy in great detail. His mother was an alcoholic and he was taken away from her by social services after he was found living on some rags on the floor. It was pretty awful. Anyway, one of the things that came out of this therapy was that we need to not talk so much about Russia with him. He has wanted to change his name to an "American name" for years now and we weren't quite on board with it, but the Therapist urged us to change his name. She said he is too sensitive to have withstood the neglect and abuse he endured and that he is now a broken little boy. So, we changed his name. He is now Daniel (named after his Old Testament Hero). We have seen a great change in him and in our family dynamics since this treatment and we are grateful we found out about it. Anyone who is interested should go to He deals with Post Institutionalized Children and has been featured on 20/20, 60 Minutes etc and has a book called Help for the Hopeless Child.
  • Alexander turned 12 years old!!! He was ordained last Sunday and is now a Deacon and holds the Priesthood. I can not say how proud I am of him that he is making good choices and that he is worthy to hold the priesthood. He will pass the Sacrament for the first time either this Sunday or next Sunday. How amazing is that? It gives me goosebumps.
  • We met Mrs. Lesley, the amazing lady that I've posted about before. She is even more wonderful in person. She took me out to lunch and we talked and she promised that her new class this year would work on helping us or helping Anastasia's orphanage. She is an overwhelmingly kind and generous person and it was a privilege to spend a little time with her.
  • We are now in Frankfurt and really like our new apartment, I will post more about it later, but we are happy and healthy and blessed far beyond what we can comprehend. We have started homeschooling and I'm shocked to say that I love it and we are having a great time with it. Life is so Good.

A Couple of "Low Lights" of our trip:

  • There was a lot of anti-Mormon propoganda which cast a darkness on me. I was stunned as we drove into Nauvoo, Illinois and I saw giant billboards with anti-Mormon propoganda. It is so sad to me - Let people worship how they may. Who are we hurting?
  • We got so fat. Robert and I each gained 10 pounds and poor Alexander put on 20 pounds.
  • It was hard being away from our dogs for so long. We really missed them and it was so good to see them again. They are doing fine and we are grateful to have had such a nice person looking after them.
  • It was very difficult to say good-bye to family, knowing we probably won't see them again for a long while.
  • Gas was about $3.00 per gallon average - that is totally crazy!

Well, that is my short update. I hope to be writing more and sharing some pictures from our trip very soon.