One week

WE’ve been in Poland for one week. I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed tonight so I’ll just do what I do: write and hope I come to some sort of point. I might or might not.

When we left the orphanage, we got a bag of food (more about that in a minute) and the one toy Violet owns- a stuffed raccoon that plays music when you pull this  wooden disc that comes from the raccoon’s bum (I question the placement every time I pull it, but WHAT. EVER). It was her single possession in the world.

Also when we left, everyone cried. And not only teary happy sad crying, but there was also downright sobbing. Then I cried.Violet was already crying, Lev was holding his fingers in his ears, and Alex was laughing at him and me. Then later I cried when I realized that Violets little friend O was all by herself because all her friends got  adopted and she’s still waiting for her parents to be able to come back and get her. And now I’m super stressed about that. Also, I want the girls to hang out while we’re here.

The big bag of food, which was all this formula like stuff, came with a schedule, and various instructions, some of them strange: no mushrooms until she’s 5. What? Ok.. NO clear juices. No sugar. Now cow’s milk. Just let her eat only this stuff. Oh, and feed her at 10 PM, when she’s asleep. Sure, orphanage. WHATEVER. This is the girl who does what Lev does, goes where he goes, and wants what he has.  We immediately came home changed clothes Skyped with the grandparentals, and gave Violet ice cream. She loves cookies and cream. Normally I follow the rules, but poor Violet has been eating mush since she was born, and I felt like it was high time she experienced the high life. She’s mostly rejected everything in the bag except the morning and evening formula ( and she wont even take the morning formula right now anymore) and basically just eats what we eat. She uses a spoon better than Lev, but he beasts her in the fork wielding category. I feel like her basic mentality was, “I broke outta this joint, so take that orphanage food! Except you, bedtime bottle. I’m still into you a bit. But only a bit.”

We got to meet Lady judge in person at our custody hearing (most people i know dont go to this… but we have Lady Judge, so of course we had to show up.) Of course, all the super crazy people are always beautiful and she was no exception. And she was crazy. She kept me up there quizzing me for 20 minutes about stuff like my graduate degrees and why I wanted to adopt. She calls up Alex, he answers her with his 10 words of Polish, she gets super excited about that, and lets him sit down 3 minutes later after asking him what he does for work. I was like, “Wow. Cray Cray.” Then she says, “ok well, we’ll deliberate now.” Deliberate what LadyJudge? And why does it take 30 minutes to do it? Then she’s making us have 2 court visits (most people only have one) before the final court date, which she changed to a day earlier, which inconveniences EVERYONE. Even my friend who was coming to stay with the kids during the final court date. So WHATEVER Ladyjudge! If I outlast your cray cray, I win.  And I’m the girl who navigated an IRS adoption audit while singlehandedly assembling a dossier, and came out with her still on straight. So bring it. I’ll still win. I’m confident of this.

Today it was raining and we were out walking to the store with our sad umbrellas, and a car came by and we know the driver saw us but we all got soaked because the car ran through a giant puddle. Lev cried, Violet laughed, then gave us stink eye, and Alex was stunned a polish person would actually do that. “People never used to act like that here.” Well, maybe he was the only one.

Two last things:

Nuns are mean. More than one nun here has given me stink eye for pretty much no reason other than being in their line of sight, and now I’m sort of afraid of them. Also, I’m convinced that nuns never actually die. They just go sit in a library somewhere and stop talking. There are some old OLD nuns here.

Also, don’t take the potatoes the little old ladies in the grocery store wants. She’ll follow you for 2 aisles rebuking you in polish until you give her the potatoes. This is a true story. I make sure I’m by myself at the potato box now.  I’ve been to Poland several times now and each time a nun gives me stink eye, and I make a little old lady angry. But I still love Poland. I think those things are just par for the course. And more exceptions to the rule that Polish people are actually super nice and friendly.


I’m very happy violet is finally with us. SHe’s a great addition to our family, and I like waking up knowing she’s just in the other room. Giant load off my shoulders there. I am so so glad that we didn’t turn down her referral. I still don’t like that there were 4 kids her room at the orphanage who don’t have parents yet. That actually really bothers me, because only one of those kids has a moderate to severe condition that I bet could be easily alleviated in the US with therapy and the right medications. The other 3 kids are just so amazing and firendly and sweet, and I hope that people who see their faces in referrals don’t reject them because of how they came to be in the orphanage. I think I’ll write more about this later, though.



Odds and Ends before we leave

I’m going to start winding up this blog here, since we’re leaving on Saturday for Poland. I’ll be updating while we’re there, but once we’re home, I’m going to start transitioning back to my photography website and blogging personally there. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun at It’s mostly my photography site, but I’ve been trying to integrate my personal life more into my business. I made the choice early on to keep a seperate adoption blog. In some ways, I’m very happy I did that. In other ways I wish I hadn’t. I still have a hard time deciding what personal thinks are going to make up the personal part of my blog. It’s sort of a fine line- mixing the personal and the business. I want to do it well, and I’ve actually been OK with slowly growing my business and being careful about my choices versus going all out and letting all my junk fly free into the wind. I don’t know if that makes sense. I think it’s going to be an ever evolving process for me. I’m ok with being open about myself. But my family requires some extra consideration and care.

Anyways, we’re all in a tizzy her. But not a stressed out tizzy. Just happy excited busy tizzy. Lev starts out every day asking if today is the day we go to Poland. Then we have to talk about the days, then we talk about  the orphanage and go over the things we can do and probably shouldn’t do. For example:

Yes to: gentle hugs, sharing toys, using kind words, letting others go first, washing our hands before playing with the kids, politeness, and smiles.

No go: yelling, throwing, unkind words, sitting on someone or something other than chairs or the floor. Eating other kids snacks. not washing hands after coughing sneezing or the potty (this is based on a recent play date he had, where he was the only boy, schooled in the arts of polite behavior by the girls. It was a very productive playdate for him. He committed all the fouls, all the girls corrected him. THen they made him have a tea party. he was not a fan of that part.)

I did assure him that he wouldn’t have to have a tea party.

In the mean time, I’ve been getting my money’s worth out of the facilitator, by telling Lev about her, and about how Magda likes things done decently and in order. So when he’s screaming, yelling, being recalitrant etc. I simply inform him that Magda doesn’t appreciate that sort of behavior and would say things like, “Lev, seriously, you’re a big boy. Why is your mother putting your pants on?” Magda has accomplished more in 3 weeks than I have in 4 years of parenting. Lev dresses himself, eats with a fork, and has curbed most of the yelling. All becuase I told him Magda likes good behavior. I’d say my money was well spent and we haven’t even arrived yet. Too bad I didn’t think of this while I was potty training. And double sad, when he gets to know Magda, and she thinks he’s so cute, he’ll realize he’s been had and that she probably doesn’t care if he yells indoors. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. FOr the moment, I’m winning. That’s honestly all I care about.

I’ve been thinking of a way to update everyone without using facebook. Not everyone who wants updates is on facebook I discounted that. Then I discounted making my blog private, because that irritates me when other people do it, so that was out. All the was left was good old email, which works best because i’m not guaranteed the internet every day, nor am I guaranteed facebook. So if youl’d like in on the email updates, send me a quick note to I’ll make sure you get added to my list, and can see the emails.

Finally, my sister came over tonight, and we had fun with Lev, then she gave me her garden gnome Cecil, which she always carried around on her travels and took pictures of. We agreed Cecil should see the alps, and Prague, and different parts of Poland, so he’s going into the bag and hanging out with us on our travels.

We are truly weird, my sisters and I. We know all the words to the Princess Bride and Napoleon Dynamite, and the Sandlot, and we take a garden gnome on our travels with us, even though we’re in our late twenties and 30’s. We’re comfortable with this level of nerdiness.  My sister goes so far as to leave Cecil in a noticeable place, like the middle of  the sidewalk, or a bridge, and watch people talk about him from a nearby bench. I don’t think I’ll really go that far, but I am looking forward to instagramming Cecils travels with us. You can follow me on instagram: @onecrazylovephoto. I’ll be hashtagging the gnome: #ceciltheroaminggnome. It should be good times.