Saturday, February 28, 2009

Julia's First Blog

Hi this is from Julia...

Today we are going to church with some friends that we met here in Krasnoyarsk. We have to catch a bus to go to the church and I never thought that I would be catching a bus to go to church in Russia. Yestarday was Saturday and we went to the zoo. It was so, so much fun! We got to see bears, Polar Bears (and that is something you do not get to see very often in America).

We will be home in 19 days and I am sooooooooooo excited to see my soccer team that I really miss a lot...I miss Mackie, Madalyn, Abby, Rachael, Colleen, Brooke, Nat, Katie, Kristen, Rileigh, Madison, Julianna and coach Bill and Ken. We think of Coach Joel often as he prepares to go overseas to protect our country.

I also miss my friends at home and school.

I love my little brother. I cant believe that he said my name and he is soooooooo cute. He sits on my lap and plays with a lot of different toys. Now he feels comfortable with us that he thinks he can do a lot of other things as well. I cant wait to have all of you meet him when he comes home.

Some things that I have leanred on this trip...(Dad is making me do this part)

- I have learned that Krasnoyarsk is double the size of the Lehigh Valley

- I have learned that some people live in really bad houses but they have really nice clothing.

- I have learned that you cant save all of the dogs.

- I have learned to speak a few Russian words like,...ya tvia sistra (i am your sister) and eta ok (its ok) and tebe nuzen toyolet (do you need the tiolet)

- I have learned that Bryce is a fiesty little guy with lots of life and he is already learning our names.

- I have learned some things about black wolves that they mark their territory and it smells like a skunk.

We met a new girl that is adopted by a very nice family and her name is Nastia. She is 10 years old and she does whatever I do and I am glad to have her as a friend.

Friday, February 27, 2009

What a GREAT GOD We Serve!

The girls are still asleep and i am sitting here in bed praying and thanking God for His goodness to us. This journey has not been easy and yet I sense a word from the Lord today unlike any other day. I look at the pictures of Bryce and cant help but rejoice in the fact that in 7 days he will be our son and i am soooo glad to have Cindy to share this journey with. I am amazed at how God speaks to our heart in the queitness of the morning. I sense Him right here in our room.

Each day we recapture the moments of spending time with Bryce and his smile, his love, his laugh, his tears all make us smile as well. Some funny moments...

- We were told that the reason Bryce's hair is long is that asked not to have it cut. This is not true and we asked them to cut it and they said we can do that when we get home. He looks like a little surfer boy.

- We had dinner last night with several other families and the waitress spoke little English, not that we should expect her to. We had a lot of variations from what we thought we ordered.

- Bryce has been able to say a good amount of words in English as we say them to him. He is also learning the basic sign language signs and did please rubbing hiss belly.

- Julia has been getting some older sister advice from people and kids back home and basically she has been told that younger brothers are good but they can get on your nerves at times. She said after our two hour visit when we returend home...I am tired. Yes, Julia was tired.
We will not be able to see Bryce over the weekend and I am writing to ask each of you to pray for three requests...

1. For our transition with Bryce each day. He is really attaching to us each day and we would love to see that continue.

2. For Julia to stay strong being away for so long.

3. For our travel that will totally rock Bryce's world. He has rarely left the orphanage so a 5 hour flight, a week in Moscow and an 11 hour flight will be a radical change for him.

We love you!

Billy, Cindy, Julia and Bryce

To God be the Glory

Another Great Day With Bryce

Thanks for taking the time ot read our daily updates. We really enjoy giving you the opportunity to walk with us each day as we go about this amazing journey together. We had another great day that started with the 60 minute drive to the orphanage. Today they have an economic summit here in Krasnoyarsk and so the traffic was a bit busier.

Did You Know...
- That Russia has 11 time zones and we are 12 times zones from Pennsylvania.
- That Russia has close to 1,000,000 orphans.
- That Russia has 70 % of the natraul gas in the world.
- That Russia has the wealthiest city in the world. (Moscow)
- That the people of Russia are some of the hardest working and most practical people I have ever met that really use resources wisely.

We then came into the orphanage play room and 12 kids including Bryce were doing a "Pancake" celebration celebrating the end of winter. And yes it is still really cold!!!

We watched Bryce for 15 minutes and the rest of the kids left and Bryce stayed and seems to really enjoy spending time with us. We think that he likes to sit in our laps to get the one on one attention that he has rarely recieved in the 2 short years of his life. He sits with each of us in our lap and most be right in the middle of our lap. We read, play with cars, trucks, trains, games etc. After 60 minutes Bryce was ready to have some active fun and we played, wrestled, tossed balls, played with the soft padding and generally had a great time and before you know it he was headed back to his room. Bryce is really coming around to us and each day allows part of his guard down and it is neat to see his personality come to life. This little guy is one tough and strong little guy...

This afternoon we went to the the top of a maountain via the ski chair lift and spent time hiking and then came back to the hotel. We will not be able to see Bryce this weekend as you are not allowed to visit on Saturday/Sunday. We are sorry that our comments sectiondoes not work...We do not know why?

Have a GREAT weekend!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

And the first kiss goes to...

Julia. Would you expect any different. What an amazing day today. We again meet with our Russian driver promptly at 8:00am and made the hour drive to the orphanage. The drive is amazing to think that we are in the middle of Siberia and for the rest of our lives will always have a special place in our hearts for this part of the world.

***And just in case you are wondering, Russia currently has between 700,000 to 1,000,000 kids currently living as orphans. Each trip in the orphanage makes us wish that we could bring more home and since we are unable to right now let us take a moment to encourage any person reading this "amazing" blog (just kidding) to consider an adoption from Russia. We would love to have the chance to tell you all about the countless reasons why Russia would be a wonderful place to add to your family. The kids are so beautiful...

When we arrived at the orphanage Bryce was already waiting for us and he started with a few tears for just a couple of minutes then he was amazing for the remaining 2 hours and 20 minutes. The challenge is that the room has kids in it coming and going with caregivers and these are the only people he knows. We only speak a few russian words and look very different from many of the people he is used to and so that makes it tough for him. I pray for his heart each day that God would protect him from the stress of leaving all that he has known and come live with us.

We read Brown Bear, Brown Bear (thanks Stricklands) each day and he really likes it. We play trucks, musical things, with the ball, etc. Bryce is such a really good boy and people have commented on how good he is in the orphanage. Today he said our names multiple times and also said the word grandma and at the conclusion of our time gave each of us a long hug and gave Julia a kiss right on the lips. Her response when he left..."I am so glad he gave me a kiss but did it have to be right on the lips"

Bryce is very smart and extremly inquisitive. He wants to understand everything. He sat on our laps for most of the time and just likes being held. We did spill a huge container of kids puffs as he would not let go of them. Very funny.

After the visit Julia did school and daddy worked then we went to the sledding hill followed by dinner at Subway and to the kids store for a stroller. It was a nice way to be together and we are so grateful for all that God has provided for us with Bryce. We are living literally each moment an Amazing Race scenario and God is leading every step of the way. Julia has been such a blessing each day and travels so well. Cindy has this amazing heart of compassion and it is a joy to be together. We are grateful for all of the other families here that we have had time to meet and some families here as miss***aries that have treated us so well. I trust that each of you know that we would not be here without your support. We have tears in our eyes when we think about it.
Tomorrow it is off to the orphanage at 8:00am.
Photo 1-2: This is the main part of town where they have amazing ice sculptors and this wonderful ice slide. Needless to say that -10 is fine to keep the ice for several months.
Photo 3-4: Bryce loves to hear a persons name and feed them a puff.

Photo 5: Billy reading with Bryce and realizing NOW just how much hair he has lost.

We love you and are so thankful for each of you.

Billy for the family

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

T-Shirts and English Words

So thanks for keeping up with our great adventure here in Krasnoyarsk!!! The past 24 hours have been some of the best and funniest days of our lives. A few examples...

- Julia was ready to leave to go to dinner and take pictures by the ice sculptors in a short sleeve t-shirt. Cindy replied "Julia, a t-shirt is NOT going to cut it. We are in the middle of Siberia" It was a very funny moment.

- We had the chance to go the orphanage again today and it was amazing! Our little guy (I call him my little man) started our time crying but quickly came around and we left with the most amazing highlights that you can only dream of...

- He looked at a truck and called it the Russian name "machina" and then we repeated the English word "truck. He responded truck. This was his first English word. We all were amazed that from then on he would call it a truck.

- Most amazing to us was the second word he said in English...JULIA! We are working with him to learn our names to call us and when we said that Julia was his systra and her name is Julia he responded Jula...And did it several times. Needless to say having Bryce say Julias name has made a lasting impression on her and exactly what she needed. Bryce also knows Cindy as MuMah and Billy as PaPuh. He would take his apple puffs and feed each of us one at a time as we called out our name. It was so neat as he would not do this in June.

We are learning so much about each other, the power of Gods mighty hand each day, Bryce and the desire to adopt. Bryce has snuggled with each of us and is so full of life. Our international adoption doctor told us that he is the healthiest boy she has seen come out of an orphanage and he is very smart and is full of life. He loves trucks, balls and all of the fun boy things and I tried to get him to say Go Eagles and we are still working on it. With Cindy being a Giants fan we must start early.

We have meet several families here for adoption as well and we have been spending time with a family here for "higher purposes" that we know through friends. It has been great to get a tour of the city and learn so much about Krasnoyarsk

We wish each of you a great day in the Lord!

Billy, Cindy, Julia and BRYCE!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Family of Four...Pashalsta!

Dear Friends and Family...

We have just returned from court and GREAT NEWS...We are officially the parents of Bryce Andrew Vasiliy Dunn. This picture to the left is the photo we took just after court right here in Krasnoyarsk. We started the day a bit late as some of our sleeping schedules have not snyched with the time zone here!!!

We spent time doing Julia's school work and I spent time working on several Habitat for Humanity projects in the morning and then we took Julia sledding on the man made ice sculpture and Julia really enjoys this a lot.

We got ready for court and headed off. The court session lasted about an hour and then we waited out in the foyer for about 30 minutes and came back into have the judge read us the decree and congratulate us as the parents of Bryce. Billy did most of the speaking and then they asked Cindy a few questions and the heart of a mom came out. I think that the time that impaced me the most was the statement the orphange director made that not one person from Bryce's family came to see him in the past 2 years...NONE! ZERO! NOT ONE VISIT! Needless to say we are so grateful to the Lord. The judge asked many questions about finances, the reason for adoption, our family etc.

We are going to go to a German restaurant and enjoy dinner. In order to save $$$ we eat breakfast and lunch in ther room and it has worked so well. Thanks to the many of you that were praying for us!!!

With Love,

Billy, Cindy and Julia (and Bryce as well)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time Bryce

What can we say other than thanks be to God! Last night we made every attempt to get to sleep at a reasonable hour...And it worked until 2:00am when each of us found ourselves wide awake from the trips, time change and uncertainty about hte future. Cindy went to sleep in the other room and Julia and I watched Madagascar 2 at 2:00am then played from 4:00am to 7:00am.

We got ready this morning and meet our adoption team (Go Yelena and Sergey) and headed to the orphanage. It is located about 60 minutes from our hotel and with today being "Defenders of the Fatherland" Day the traffic was light.

We arrived at the orphanage and it was very queit...We actually thought to queit. We waited for about 10 minutes and out little man came walking thruogh the door. He looked so cute and he came over to Billy and sat right on his lap...Then the crying started. He cried for the first 45 minutes as we played with him and we tried everything to settle him down. We actually found out that this is a VERY GOOD thing as he has leanred the unique ability to attach to adults. We are glad for this.

Let me just say that he is one active and strong little boy. (Our neighbor Dave has said to me on several occasions that he cant wait to see Bryce outside playing soccer and for the first time to day I could truely see this)After this crying time Bryce settled down nicely and we read Brown Bear Brown Bear Who Do You See atleast 20 times and Julia ate animal crackers with him. I rubbed his long hair for the longest time and he sat so close to us. Bryce then began to open up and play with a lot of different toys and we did etch a sketch, blocks, cars, balls etc. It wasos much fun and suchm a blessing to be with him. Towards the end of the 2 hour time our driver asked Bryce who Mu-Mah was and he pointed to Cindy. He then asekd him who pu-pah is and he pointed tot me and he then asked who his sistra was and he pointed to Julia. He is such a blessing for us...

We had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and played some Uno. Soon it will be night night time. Tomorrow is the BIG DAY with court at 4:30pm Russia time(4:30a PA time) and this iswhen they ask us a lot of questions and decide if we are fit to adopt. Would you please pray for this time. We will spend tomorrow preparing for court (we are both a bit nervous) and then it is off.

Thank you again for be a part of this journey in our lives. We are grateful for so many people that have been a part of Bryce coming home. We would love to hear from you...

Billy for the Family

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arrival In Krasnoyarsk

We have arrived in Krasnoyarsk this morning at 5:45 am. This is a picture outside of our hotel that has the largest Christmas tree in Russia and lots of amazing ice sculptures. We landed in a snowstorm and they had a plow come out to the plane. I have never experienced a landing like that before. It is definitely cold here but they say it has warmed up since last week when it was -45°C which is probably about -32°F. Driving from the airport to here was quite an experience. When the cars pass you, you barely can see the road from all the snow being kicked up from the car in front. I have to say the snow and ice sculptures outside our hotel are breathtaking. We were able to sleep today from about 8-3. Definitely strange sleeping during the middle of the day. The missionary family that we were going to stay with called and we went to dinner with them at California Pizza. They have two adorable little boys and are a wonderful family. Julia had a lot of fun with their boys. Right outside our hotel is this ice slide so the boys taught Julia how to go down it. I was unable to watch because it is steep and one complete ice hill. Just goes to show how cold it is here when you have ice sculptures that can stay up all winter without melting!

We were not able to see Bryce today. Our facilitator said we should rest since we have had busy days of traveling. Sergey will pick us up tomorrow at 8:00 am and then we will go see Bryce for the first time on this trip. We cannot wait to see if he will remember us. We are thankful for the opportunity to visit Bryce tomorrow. Monday is a Russian holiday to honor the military men so typically we would not be allowed to go to the orphanage. We have been overwhelmed by God’s little blessings each step of the way!

Our court date is Tuesday at 4:30 pm instead of 10:00 am. Please keep praying for God to move a mighty mountain and allow our 10-day waiting period to be moved. They said it is highly unlikely unless the child you are adopting has a medical emergency and thankfully Bryce does not. We were talking to our missionary friends today and we said Julia will be missing her PSSA’s and that we were going to try to talk to the judge about coming home early for that. She did say that they value children here and education and it is worth a try. We know that God can do all things so please be praying with us. Therefore, when you are all still sound asleep, we will be meeting with the judge and they will decide if we are fit parents for Bryce and hopefully wave the 10 day waiting period. We know God is in Control!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 1 and 2

What an amazing past two days. We left on Wednesday afternoon for thr airport (thanks Ted Brunner for the ride) and the flight from Newark to Frankfurt was excellent. We enjoyed a movie and arrived in Frankfurt at 7:50am (midnight EST) and Cindy sat next to an Israeli game maker that gave her a good 3 hour lecture on the development of games.

We spent 2.5 hours in Frankfurt (just enough time to eat breakfast) and the catch the flight from Frankfurt to Moscow. This is a 3.5 hour flight and 2 additional time zones and I think it is safe to say we slept for most of the flight. We arrived into Moscow with snow on the ground and a 1.5 hour ride to the hotel (the traffice is really bad). We ate, got settled and went to sleep and we each slept really well.

Friday February 20

We spent the morning getting ready and enjoying breakfast and then Cindy and i went for the $1000 medical phyisical where you bring your own lab results. Cindy described it this way...Long, nerve racking and thankful it is over. We drove about an hour to an 8 story Russian building and started with the skin doctor. He was not in and what we found out is that he simply signed our paper for us without even seeing us.

Then we went to the 6th floor and waited...and waited...and waited. Then we had to meet with the head doctor and then we waited...and waited and then we meet a team of doctors that asked us about 3 questions and did a normal physical of breathing, reflexes etc. We waited again and left. The summary...


20 minutes of actual doctor time

2.5 hours of waiting

1.5 hour drive

AND WE ARE SET to present these to the judge Tuesday morning in court. We did find out thatafter us they will requeire a lot more paperwork from doctors and it seemed like they wanted us to have the same paperwork and so we simply prayed...And God worked it out.

Tonight we went to Red Square and took a few pictures. I have posted one for you to enjoy. Tomorrow we leave for Krasnoyarsk at 8:55pm and arrive into Kras at 6:00am (and another 4 hour time change.)

Billy for the Family

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cindy and I asked each other this morning...How are you feeling? And we both answered thequestion in a very simliar fashion...
- grateful
- ecstatic
- anxious
- humbled
- amazed
- pumped
- uncertain
- happy
- in love
- were going to be parents to a little boy
- what are we doing
- why are we doing this

We are amazed that God has brought us to this place after close to 5 years of waiting. If you are reading this then you have played a part in our journey and I am reminded of these words that Jim Elliot wrote in 1956...

He is NO FOOL who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose!

Thank you for praying for us and for all of the support. The next blog update will be in Russia.

We love you!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

3 Bags Packed

I never would have imagined that we would have three bags packed and down stairs plus Bryce's room is complete and ready to be lived in. We enjoyed breakfast today as the three of us marveled at how much our lives were about to change in the next four weeks...

- Flight to the middle of Siberia (and yes it is -40)

- Four weeks in Russia

- A lot of second hand smoke

- A lot of money spent

- A new smile

- New foods

- A little guy that will experience a lot of firsts in the matter of hours and days.

We are so grateful to God at His work in our lives and the blessing that Bryce will be to us as we parent him in the way of the Lord! This is our last weekend together as a family of three and we are really enjoying this special time before Bryce joins us!
This photo is a shot of Bryce's new room...


Billy and Cindy

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dunn Adotion Schedule/Travel Plans

Adoption Schedule
February 18 to March 19, 2009

Wednesday February 18
Leave Newark at 6:10pm for Frankfurt on a Lufthansa flight. We arrive into Frankfurt at 7:50am and then leave for Moscow at 10:35 am and arrive into Moscow at 3:50pm.

Thursday February 19
Check into our hotel in Moscow and crash!!! Moscow is 8 hours ahead! We will have a good friend that lives and serves in Russia with us for the first few days, John McIntosh and we are grateful for him.

Friday February 20
Cindy and I each have a 2 hour physical that costs us $800 each and we have very little examination done. We even bring our own lab results. In the evening we will have dinner with a friend and go to sleep.

Saturday February 21
We will spend the day in Moscow and then leave for Krasnoyarsk at 8:55pm. This is a 5 hour over night flight across 4 time zones. Can you say Amazing Race?

Sunday February 22 (Krasnoyarsk is 12 hours ahead)
We arrive into Krasnoyarsk at 6:00am and we will go directly to the apartment we have been provided for by some friends and missionaries in Krasnoyarsk.
Here is a photo of our apartment looking out at the public skating rink. (Yes, it is in a stadium)
We will spend most of the day resting and getting food for the time in Krasnoyarsk.

Monday February 23
This will be the first day that we have the chance to visit Bryce. We will get a two hour visit and we will also have to file some paperwork with the courts for our court date the next day. We will also drop off all of the clothing we have collected for the orphanage.

Tuesday February 24
HUGE PRAYER DAY…We will have court on this date at 10:00am in front of a Russian judge who will be the person to officially decide the fate of Bryce. It should last 1-2 hours total and lots of questions for us to answer. Pray that the judge will grant us Bryce and we are also praying that she would waive the 10 wait that Russian law has for adoptions. This would allow us to come home 2 weeks earlier than expected.

Wednesday February 25 to Friday February 27
These three days will be 2 hour visits to the orphanage with Bryce and lots of time to be together as a family. We will not have much else to do but wait for the Bryce countdown…

Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1
These are the toughest days for an adopting family. In the 10 day wait they do not allow you to see your child on the weekend. We will spend a lot of quality time together and work at putting together a life book with pictures and stories that Julia will do to tell Bryce the story in picture and word of where we meet him. We plan to go to church with some missionaries that we know in Krasnoyarsk on Sunday and enjoy as much of the -20 F culture we can possibly enjoy.

Monday March 2 to Friday March 6
This is 5 days of visiting Bryce for two hours and enjoying the remaining 22 hours in the middle of Siberia. Two important parts of this week include…
1. Bryce’s first trip outside of the orphanage…EVER! We will go as a family to get his passport and visa picture. Pray that he will enjoy the trip.

2. Bringing closure with the caregivers and people that have looked after Bryce for two years and giving them gifts for taking care of him. The people have loved him to the best of their ability and get paid very little for it. We will also give the orphanage gifts for the children that are not going to a home. (One thing we hear is the need for new socks. If you want to give a gift of socks to the orphanage in socks or money please let us know)

Friday March 6 Part 2
If the judge is feeling kind, she may allow us to come and get Bryce late Friday afternoon. This is the back-up prayer request if she does not allow us to waive the 10 wait. It would be a HUGE blessing to have Bryce for a few days in Krasnoyarsk before we leave for Moscow and then home.

Saturday March 7, Sunday March 8 and Monday March 9
If we must wait until Tuesday March 10th then it will be our second weekend in the middle of Siberia enjoying crisp temperatures and lots of borsch! We plan to take full advantage of the time to really get to know the area Bryce is from and enjoy this time together. We will eat at the California Pizza kitchen (amazing it is in the middle of Siberia) and ice skate/shop/read/sleep etc. Sunday & Monday is a Russian holiday knows as Women’s Day so we will be unable to go to the orphanage on Monday since the whole area will celebrating women. Lucky Cindy!

Tuesday March 10
All families call this GOTCHA DAY! We will get the call to come to the orphanage, change Bryce into Eagles clothing (Billy only can wish this), take a picture and than quickly head out and he will be with us from this point forward. So much to pray for this first day…
- language understanding
- food understanding
- sleep
- Julia and Bryce and their relationship
- health

Wednesday March 11
This will be our first full day with Bryce and we are very excited about having him all to us. We are so grateful to God for His love and compassion for us and children.

Thursday March 12
This will be one of several challenges as we make the 5 hour flight from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow. Pray for Bryce especially as he will have gone from never leaving the grounds of the orphanage to flying to one of the biggest and most expensive cities in the world.

Friday March 13 to Wednesday March 18
We will enjoy 6 days in Moscow getting Bryce’s passport, visa, medical exam etc. and try to enjoy the sights of one of the great cities of the world.

Thursday March 19 HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We leave Moscow at 7:05am and arrive into Frankfurt at 8:40am. Our flight to Newark departs Frankfurt at 1:15pm and arrives into Newark at 5:20pm. We are flying on Lufthansa and our flight number from Frankfurt to Newark is 402. We should be at the airport in Newark and through customs by 6:00pm.

You can follow our journey and leave messages for us at the following blog site…