Family time, Farm time, Faith, Adoption So for those of you who read my last post and know me. You probably wondered why I didn't mention my daughter? It's because her story is so special that I felt like it needs a blog all it's own! After we moved back to the farm we lived in a small 2 bedroom mobile home for about 3 years until the farm could afford to build us a house! We were so excited when we got to move in we had so much room! We now lived in a three bedroom 🏠 house! Which meant we could adopt another child! We really wanted a little girl. We didn't care what race, or color. We tried going through foster adopting but that didn't pan out for us. Then we checked out other adoption agencies but to be honest once you have adopted 1 child through an agency it is hard to adopt another. The waiting lists are so long, at least that's the way it was 19 years ago! So then we turned to international adoption. We were thinking maybe a 2 or 3 year old. Hopefully a little girl! It actually took a couple of years once we started the process. We were on a list to be on a list. They would find a child and then it would fall through. Our hearts were on a roller coaster ride. The adoption process is not for the faint of heart! One day I was in the grocery store and I started to turn down the infant isle and I thought to myself, I'm never going to need that isle again! Then it just popped into my head, why not? Why not adopt a baby? So we told the agency and they started looking for a baby for us. We were definitely going to be older parents! Finally about April of that year the agency called us and told us they had found a baby girl for us in Russia! Did I mention that we were going to be older parents? I was born in 1963. My Dad had been in the Air Force for twenty years and my family had lived all over the United States! I even have a sister that was born in Morocco! Well during most of the time my Dad served and for years afterwards, the United States was in a cold war with Russia! Russia was the enemy and honestly, of all the places in the world I wanted to go, Russia was on the bottom of my list! Fortunately for us, ,about ten years before Ronald Regan stood in Germany and said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" and he did! That meant people could not only reconnect with friends and relatives but people could also travel to Russia! So we made plans to go to Russia. We had to raise enough funds not only for adoption expenses but also to travel. If you read my previous post you know that by now I knew I needed to give this whole thing to to God and let him handle it! We were getting close to our first trip and we hadn't raised enough money for our Airfare. Then we had someone call us out of the blue and they gave us a litter of purebred registered Collie puppies to sell with papers! We raise Collies here on our Farm! For someone to just give them to us was incredible! So we went to Russia on our first trip. It was a lot like the movie planes, trains and automobiles. We flew from Kansas City to St Louis to New York to Frankfurt to Moscow to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. We left our luggage in a hotel room and went to an office to sign papers to say that we wanted her, even before we saw her! The agency said they had a dark haired, dark eyed baby for us and they were having trouble finding a home for her because everybody wanted blonde haired blue eyed babies. We didn't care what she looked like. She could have had orange skin and purple hair and we still would have wanted her! After our meeting we discovered that they had already purchased our tickets to take the train to Munisink where the orphanage was located. We slept on the train and woke up in the morning just in time to get off at Munisink. They took us to the orphanage and we waited in a big play room where obviously no child ever got to play! They brought her to us and we exchanged looks. They handed us a nine month old baby girl who had blonde hair and blue eyes! They asked us if anything was wrong? We said no, and we got to hold her and play with her for about an hour! She cried the whole time! We finally realized that all the orphanage workers wore white coats! She wasn't used to color! So I took my blue shirt off, I had a white tank underneath, she settled right down and clung to me. Such a good feeling! Then I handed her to my husband and she started to cry again. There were no men in the Orphanage! After we saw her and reluctantly left her there, we had a delicious meal at a Lady's apartment. No McDonald's in Munisink! Then we caught our train and I do mean caught it. It stopped for 30 seconds and we hopped on. Again we slept on the train, returned to Krasnoyarsk and spent one night in the hotel! Then we repeated our trip home, only in reverse. I remember when we got home waking up in the middle of the night thinking where in the world am I? They set our court date for 6 weeks later. It was the 1st Anniversary of 9/11! This time we flew out of Kansas City to Chicago. We got on the plane at O'Hare for our overseas flight ✈️ but instead of taking off we sat there for an hour. It had something to do with the baggage hold. They had to move the luggage around to evenly distribute the weight so we wouldn't use up too much fuel and would make it across the Atlantic. So 8 hours later we flew into Frankfurt and we had already missed our connecting flight ✈️ to St Petersburg. My husband managed to get us on another flight but by this time we had already lost our luggage! By the time we got to St Petersburg it was 11:00 pm their time. We were supposed to be met by a driver and an interpreter. The interpreter had our tickets for our next flight. There was no one there. The terminal was completely empty, there wasn't even any chairs to sit in! Did I mention that we also had our Son with us? We felt very strongly that he needed to be part of the process! My husband went in search of our luggage and someone who spoke English. Our little boy, (he was 7 at the time,) and I sat down on the floor with our backs against the wall and I started to pray! My husband finally came back. Our luggage was still lost! He did however find someone who spoke English. It was a counter girl and she told him that if we went over to the Lufthansa office there would be someone there cleaning the plane and maybe they could help us. Unlike airport terminals in the United States where all the airline offices are under one roof. There, we had to go outside and go completely to another building that honestly from the the outside, looked pretty rundown. Once we got inside we discovered that the inside had been totally modernized. We found the Lufthansa office but it was locked, no one was there! So we waited and after a while a man walked in. He was wearing the Lufthansa Uniform, he had a plie of paperwork in his hands and a set of keys. He spoke English and we told him our problem. He opened a closet and put his paperwork away then he unlocked the Lufthansa Office and let us come in. We explained that we needed to make a phone call to the United States. We needed to talk to someone from the agency and tell them our problem. We had no way of making contact with our driver and interpreter. He let us make a phone call and said he would put the call on his tab. At the time it cost 100.00 to make a phone call to the US. It was Sunday afternoon in the United States and we were unable to reach anyone. Then I explained that we needed to find a place to stay and we were going to need a 🚖 cab. We had our little boy with us and it was very late! He made a phone call in Russian and even though we didn't realize it he was making reservations for us at one of the nicest hotels in the City. Again I said we're going to need a cab and he said oh no I'll just take you there in my car. The cab company will charge you 100.00 just to go across town! He was right the cab company's gouged Americans. He took us outside to his 🚗 car. I don't remember the make or model but I do remember it was old and dilapidated. It was a dull red and as I looked at the car I was beginning to wonder. On the way to the hotel he said his name was Vladimir. We thanked him for helping us and he said no problem, he understood, he had children of his own. When we got to the hotel my husband tried one more time to reach the United States. To make a long story short we finally made contact with our driver and interpreter. My husband wanted to go back to the domestic airport to check on our luggage.
He also wanted to go back to the Lufthansa office to thank Vladimir and leave a gift 🎁 for him and his children. I stayed out in the parking lot with our Son and the driver. It seemed like my husband had been gone for a long time when I finally saw him coming back. He still had the gift in his hands. I looked at him questioning and he said, "There is no one who works there named Vladimir and there was no one cleaning the plane last night!" I know my mouth fell open, then I just smiled! I had, had a feeling that there was something more going on! So we finally caught our last flight ✈️ into Krasnoyarsk and we were met by our driver and interpreter there. We were all so glad to see each other! They had already brought our daughter on the train from Munisink to Krasnoyarsk and she was waiting for us in an apartment they had rented. When we got there she was asleep and I have to admit that we woke her up to play with her and count all her fingers and toes! The next morning was our court date! We barely made it! The thing was, if we had missed our court date we couldn't have afforded to come back! We had enough money left to get home but that was it. So the next morning we went to court. We left our daughter with a baby sitter and took our Son with us. If you think going to court in the United States is intimidating you've never been to court in a foreign land. It was a lady judge but she was very scary. We were asked questions which we answered in English and our interpreter then replied to the judge in Russian. We have no idea if we gave the correct answers, or what Elena, our interpreter said to the Judge but when it was all over we became the parents of Samantha Inna Angelina Peelen. When we stepped outside the court house the bells in the city began to ring! We asked why they were ringing and were told it was for the Towers that fell down in the United States. The date we adopted our daughter was 9/11/2002. As my sister's say, for our family, we turned it into the best day ever! We were in Krasnoyarsk for a week while all our paperwork was getting done. When we first got there they took our passports and didn't give them back until right before we left. That made us a little uneasy! We didn't get our luggage back until the day before we left. When you get a baby from an Orphanage they hand you a naked baby. They want and need their clothes back! All our baby stuff was in our lost luggage! So we had to go shopping for baby stuff. At that time stepping into Krasnoyarsk was like stepping back to the 40's. Instead of going into a big department store where you could find everything in one place. There, we had to go to one place for blankets another for shoes 👞 and yet another for clothes. Did I mention that at 11 months she wore 4 - 6 month clothing? She was tiny! We made it, we had to fly back to Moscow to go to the US Embassy and finish our paperwork. We were handed a manilla envelope and told not to open it until we got to customs in the United States. It was amazing the number of other adoptive parents we met at the Embassy! When we finally got home we were met at the Kansas City airport by my family and Tom's parents! We all went out to eat and then they drove us home, (Thank goodness because we couldn't keep our eyes open.) We were so glad to be home but what a story we had to tell! Things didn't necessarily go without a hitch while we were in Russia. We had frustrating moments, lack of sleep and let's face it, Russia is still a communist country and that made us uneasy. After our help from Vladimir I wasn't worried! God had reminded me that he is the Lord of all the Earth and it didn't matter where we went, he was always with us. There was nothing that he couldn't handle! My sister, Twila, looked up the meaning of the name Vladimir. Its meaning, "One who comes in peace!"
Love you in Jesus my friends!
FG Farm Girl
Pic # 1 Right after we stepped off the airplane at KCI, my sister Tenny is holding her and my Dad is standing next to her.
Senior Prom and Graduation! She is now 19!