Archives

Hey, We’re Famous!

November is National Adoption Month.

I can’t put it into words how grateful I am for being able to have Dagny in my life.  I have never thought it was possible to love a person as much as I love my daughter.  I can’t even put the emotion into words.  She is the most precious thing to me and her father.

I am so happy we had the chance to share our experience this month with a local magazine, Genesse Valley Parent.  Check out the Johnsons online or you can get your very copy around town for free!

My best girl and I

Barbara

Metcha Day (Number 3)

Three years ago, our lives changed forever. We met our little angel and it’s been the most amazing experience.

Here is my little cutie back in 2008.

And, today!

Dear Dagny,

We love you so much!

Love,

Mommy

For My Dagny

In the past three months it seems Dagny has grown so much.  I realize I have been hypocritical when it comes to Dagny and hitting milestones.  I am always so excited when she hits a new milestone and then at the same time I get sad that she is growing up so fast.  At this point she has lost everything baby about her and is officially a little girl.  Bummer, but awesome. I give up.

I remember when Dagny sat on my lap for more then 30 seconds, and holding our hands as we walk.  These are huge milestones when your child comes from an orphanage.  Sensory issues and trust were the milestones that I was most excited about.  Even though she was so young (11 months old ) when we met these were very real issues.  She didn’t like her hands touched and she didn’t like to sit in our laps.  None of these are issues any longer.

holding on

snuggling

There are times when I let my mind wonder to the time before and I feel guilty that she had to be without us for 11 months of her life, as if somehow it’s our fault. I don’t know if other adoptive parents feel the same way, but I do.  I know it’s ridiculous.

Even back then Dagny seemed all together.  I remember thinking that we needed to gain her trust, but she isn’t fighting us.  It’s as if she was really getting that we loved her and would never let her down or at least try our very best not to.  We were mommy and daddy and she would no longer be without those figures in her life. It’s so hard to explain, but I know we are one of the lucky ones. For this we are extremely grateful for.

So much has changed recently with her, it’s hard to even keep track.  That is the only reason I am keeping this blog going.  For my Dagny!

We went out on President’s Day weekend and bought Dagny a mattress (isn’t that when you’re suppose to go?) for her BIG girl bed. Seriously, when did mattresses get so expensive?  I mean really.

Here is her new bed, new duvet, and everything else that comes with becoming a big girl.

The new bed

She really transitioned wonderfully.  Sometime I catch her in bed “reading”  (which by the way I don’t think she is that far away from) her new favorite book, Skippyjon Jones.  The best part is we can now lay on the bed with her and read a bedtime story or two and having her fall asleep before we finish.  Those are the best nights.  It’s not always the case, sometimes she fights going to bed, especially if she has a nap during the day.

D in bed

Reading Skippyjon Jones

For about a few months now Dagny has been randomly asking me how to spell things. So far I can manage the words she’s asking, but I am grateful for my iPhone when the words get more challenging. Seriously though, she knows how to spell her name, dog, cat, hat, and a few more.  She’s not even 3 1/2. She loves to watch WordWorlds on PBS.  Actually, she found this show all by herself on my iPhone using the Netflix app.  We don’t have her DVD in the car, only when we go on longer trips.  But, sometimes when we are out and about, she asks for my iPhone and I admit I give it to her.  On her own, in the back seat while I am driving, she navigates to a game that we downloaded for her or to Netflix and she picks out something to watch.  I am sure she isn’t the only 3 year old that does this, but I am still super proud of her.

Now, that she is older and really can enjoy them, we have gone on a couple of play dates and have more already scheduled.  She has made friends with one of the girls in her dance class and we were all invited to their house a couple of weekends ago.  It was so much fun seeing Dagny out of her element and handling it so well.  They played dress up and made jewelery to name a couple of things.  The bonus is that we really like the little girls parents too and had just as much fun talking with them.  Then last week Dagny and I met up with her best friend from her class at preschool at Jump Club.  We had taken Dagny there once a few months ago and she didn’t like it all.  I think she got intimated by all the bigger kids and not to mention the place was packed.  This time the place was empty and the girls had the place all to themselves.  Having her friend there helped her come out of her shell and for two hours they did not stop moving.  By the end she looked like she just stepped out of a shower, she was all wet.  That night she went to bed at 7:00 pm, by far the earliest she has ever gone down.

bounce, bounce, and more bounce

‘Tis the season for doctor visits.  She had her annual eye doctor visit a couple of weeks ago.  Her pediatric ophthalmologist moved to a different practice and this was our first visit with him since he moved.  We just love him, where he goes we go. After her eyes were dilated we were called back in by her doctor.  This was the highlight of the visit.  He said “Dagny, Dagny, Dagny.  When I look at the list of patients for the day and I see your name I know who you are.”  Craig and I just looked at each other.  He said he loves her name and loves how unique it is.  I told him that is one of the reason we picked the name.  I don’t want her to go to class and have the same name as five other girls.  I want her to standout.  He said he understood, when his daughter was in preschool she was Sara M, because there were five other girls named Sara.  The fact that he sees tons of kids every year and he remembers our little girl proves my point.  WOOT.

Here she is rocking her awesome paper glasses she got afterward.

cool kid

Next on our list was Dagny’s six month check-up with her dentist. Because her teeth are so close together, when her permanent ones come in most likely there wont be enough room for them. I see braces in the future and that’s OK.  Otherwise all is great with her.  We have a great regiment going on everyday with brushing and flossing.

getting ready

This week we signed up Dagny for gymnastics.  It’s something I never  thought I would do.  It just doesn’t appeal to me.  But, Dagny has been asking to go because her best friend goes.  We decided to sign her up for the Spring session and let her experience it with her friend.  This summer we are planning on signing her up for soccer.  I can’t wait for that.  She loves the idea of playing it.  So, the activities have started.  But, it’s all good.

Dagny brought this painting home that she did at preschool and I just absolutely love it.  I love it so much I went out the next day and got a frame and framed it.

My little artist

Other then all of these activities its been all about hanging out with each other and having fun.

Here is the Johnson Duo playing in your local attic.

The Johnson Duo

Dagny found the boxes that I put a lot of her “first” items away in.  She found her first Christmas dress and she decided to put it on.  When I turned around this is what I found.  I was quite surprised that it still fit, with the size being 12 months.

look at me

Then she found her first Halloween costume. Who am I to stand in the way of some good old dress up fun?

My little ladybug

Shoveling the driveway is a family act.  We all chip in.

shoveling

But, we also know how to have a good old snowball fight.

family fun

It’s been an amazing few months, busy but fun!

Barbara

Our Blog History

I am so happy some people decided to delurk and share their stories with me.  It really makes me feel great to know that our blog has inspired others through their adoption process.

I have decided to keep this blog going for now.  When we first started this blog, it was back in 2002 when Craig and I were getting married. (Has it really been nine years?!) It was meant for our families. Both our families are not from the area.  Craig’s parents are from Ohio, my brother and his family from Long Island, and at the time my parents were living in Hungary.

Then late 2007 for about a year we (I) took a hiatus from the blog.  That’s when we were going through the adoption process. I decided against keeping an online journal, instead I kept a paper journal for the daughter that I hadn’t met yet.  I envied other people that were going through the process and could share everything.  I really wished at the time I could do that, but that’s just not me. That’s when I realized that I am in fact a very private person. It wasn’t a secret, we told our families and friends when we decided to move forward with the adoption. But, when you put things online I feel you lose some control, and believe me when I say during an International adoption you hold on to whatever you can, because so much is out of your hands.

When we knew we were getting close to going to Russia, it was time once again to get online and keep our families up to date from far away.  And, now I keep it going for Dagny.  I like to capture as many milestones as I can for her. I am cautions as to what I share. I just hope I don’t embarrass her too much, perhaps when she is a tween I will make the website less about her. But, probably not.

Keep the comments coming.

Barbara

Our Day

Dearest Dagny,

One year ago today, your Dad and I stood in a Russian courtroom and heard the most beautiful words we have ever heard; that we were your parents and you were our daughter.

That day only rivaled our first meeting when it came to our emotions. I remember waking up that morning and thinking that this day forever will change our roles in the world. Nerves weren’t an issue for me at that point, that came later in the day. I was as calm as a nail, which is out of character for me. I am usually the nervous type. But, I knew that you were our daughter and the Judge would see it that way too. As we waited to be called into the courtroom, one of our team members, Vlad, wrote up a request in Russian to the Orphanage Deputy Director requesting permission to have custody of you for the 10-day waiting period. I remember your Dad and I signing it and thinking, “WOW, she might be in our arms today forever.” That was very emotional. While we were in the courtroom and we were waiting for the Judge to come to a decision, I was sitting next to your Father holding his hand and looking forward. If I would of looked at him, I think I would of lost it. The Judge came back and we stood up, and she made her ruling that we were your parents. There was a big lump in my throat and tears rolling down my checks. It was the happiest moment in my life, Dagny.

After court we drove back to the Orphanage to see you and to drop off the Deputy Director. At this point we still didn’t know if were taking you back to the apartment with us. When we got there you were taking a nap and all we knew was they were getting you up. The next thing we knew they were asking for the clothes we brought along just in case. As they were dressing you, your Dad and I were watching. You were so tiny and all ours. That is when the nervousness kicked in for me. I was a Mom and I was now responsible for another human being. It can be a little overwhelming. Up until then our mind was about the adoption process and how to bring you home. When we got through court and all worries were done the reality that we were now parents set in. When I looked at you, all I kept thinking was how lucky I was to have such a beautiful daughter and you were put on this earth for us to be your parents.

After they bundled you all up, we walked out of the orphanage with you in our arms. You were closing that chapter of your life and we were doing the same. We were now beginning the most beautiful thing, a family, our family.

This first year went by in a blink of an eye and I realize the years are going to continue go by that way. Everyday I try and take a moment and just look at you and soak it all in. You have grown so much in one year it’s unbelievable.

Just know how much me love you and how much happiness you have brought into our lives.

We love you very much.

December 1 2008

Riding away
With Mommy

December 1 2009

Today with your buddies
one more

Love,

Mommy and Daddy