The first thing many people ask us when we tell them we are adopting is, "Why Russia?" Well, it all started with a first grader who I was lucky enough to have in my class. She was constantly drawing pictures and writing letters for me, kind to her classmates, amazingly smart, extremely well-behaved. After talking to her mom, I found out that she (and her little sister) were adopted from Russia. I remember being amazed and inspired by their story! It's four years later now and she still runs to me with the biggest smile every time I see her. When Jacob was having kindergarten nerves, she sat by him on the bus, walked him to his line, and gave him special treats and crafts she had made in school.
So when Adam and I were first talking about adoption by the campfire, my mind automatically went to Russia. Then we looked up the statistics...
According to data from the Health and Social Development Ministry, more than 730,000 children in Russia either have no parents or have been abandoned by their parents. Of this number about 200,000 of them live in orphanages and internats. More than 160,000 children are waiting to be adopted according to the state database. In 2007, 9,000 Russian children were adopted by foreign families. Approximately 4,000 of these went to the United States.
Statistics show that only one out of ten Russian orphans becomes a functional member of society. The others are lost to drugs, crime and suicide. Millions of Russian children are on the run living on the streets or in underground sewers desperately needing basic food, medicine and clothes.
About 15,000 Russian orphans leave orphanages each year, once they are 16 to 18 years old. Of these, 5,000 are unemployed, some 6,000 are homeless, around 3,000 resort to crime, approximately 1,500 commit suicide, and roughly half the girls are forced into prostitution.
Enough said... and that is why we are adopting from Russia. :)
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Adam recently found out that he was awarded some vacation in May. So we figured we might as well get some use out of the place he is renting in Southern California... especially if we could fly stand-by and get a military discount on Disney tickets! We decided to keep this trip a surprise for the boys, since we had to base the days we would be there on flight loads anyway. Last Monday, everything looked great to leave so we sat the boys down and had Jacob read a little poem I made up.
There's a reason why you're missing school,
and it's really really REALLY cool.
We are flying to the third largest state,
and we have to leave now so we won't be late!
(The excitement starting welling at this point and Jacob starting guessing... "We are going to Alaska?!")
Tomorrow we will be at a place that starts with a D and ends with a D.
Gavin was there when he was three!
("Begins with a D and ends with a D... Dad?!")
There are rides and parades and lots of fun,
Everyday there will be warm, comfy sun.
Who wants to leave this house,
and fly down to see MICKEY MOUSE?!
(Lots of screams followed by "ME, ME, ME!!!!")
So we distributed Mickey hats and were on the road!
So we distributed Mickey hats and were on the road!
The next day we were off to California Adventure! Between the super short lines and fun rides, I think we had even more fun here than in Disneyland!
Whoa. I just now realized the guy behind us has his entire neck tattooed. Ouch!
The little train dropped us off each morning in Downtown Disney... and our boys immediately RAN to the fountain. For some reason, they were all just enthralled with it and we literally had to pull them away.
Then Jakey was off to lead us with his little map again... straight to Toy Story Mania!
We stopped along the way for some pictures though.
Casey kept climbing up the rails to peek over at what was ahead.
Hooray! We made it!
Chillin' in line with our 3-D glasses.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to the biggest Toy Story Maniac in our family! How funny is it that he had a higher accuracy percentage than his momma?
Mickey's fun wheel, the swinging side of course! ;)
Interestingly enough, Casey refused to ride on the horse carousel in Disneyland, but he was more than happy to ride on the little fishy carousel!
The Silly Symphony Swings... Jacob's favorite ride of all! Thankfully it only had a five minute wait, so he got to swing his little heart out. ;)
Below them are all of the sprinklers for the World of Color show.
The tortilla shop! Mmmmm...
Climbing on the ropes with Daddy
Time for a snack!
This little Crush the Turtle show cracks me up every time. Adam can imitate him pretty well, which our boys think is hilarious!
Adam decided that Casey didn't need a stroller, so he carried him on his back almost the entire day. :) He loved it... best view in the whole park, right?
Not only is there a Casey Jr. train in Disneyland, but there are Casey Jr. cookies in California Adventure! You would think we had just visited Disneyland when we came up with the name for our little guy! Casey thought he was pretty special.
Sometimes I worry that Adam spins our boys a little too fast! Makes me nervous!
Waiting in line for bumper cars
Jacob was so excited that he was big enough to drive his own!
We ended our day a little bit earlier tonight. ;) After Bug Land they just. couldn't. walk. anymore. ;) Thought we would take advantage of it and get a good night sleep. Here they are waiting for the train with freshly popped kettle corn. My other favorite thing!!