Thursday, December 18, 2008


We're going back and we could not be more excited!!

Alexis is almost three years old and she's perfect in every way.

Follow our new blog at

Alexis sends her love.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Well, we made it home at last.

We did head to Kiev on Tuesday the 24th. We had a nice relaxing day on the 25th, and on the 26th we got through all the medical and embassy work.

Friday was a wild day of travel back to Denver. All told, we traveled just under 27 hours. Alexis was a real trooper and only fussed when we were on the ground. On the planes, she slept about 70 percent of the time.

Anyway, it's good to be home with her and our boys.

We'll close off on this blog now. We'll probably leave it up for a while. If you have any questions, please email us.

Alexis sends her love.

Monday, July 23, 2007


We spent the better part of today making preparations for our trip home.

Tomorrow morning, we pick up Alexis at the orphanage, gather all our necessary paperwork and head back to Kiev. We have a car and driver taking us there and will probably arrive sometime around midnight. We've reserved a nice room at a newly-opened Hyatt in Kiev and look forward to enjoying the very best amenities.

Wednesday, we'll get through the medical exam and embassy processes and jump on a plane Thursday morning.

We look forward to seeing everyone (especially Darian and Tevor) and being home. We may not post again until we arrive in the U.S.

In the meantime, enjoy some more photos of Alexis.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Alexis is officially ours now... YEAH!!!!

Lately, it occurs to us what a long strange trip it's been. We've been 2 years in the adoption process and we're now less than a week away from being home with our new daugther.

When we got married over 10 years ago, one of the things that attracted to each other was the fact that neither really wanted children. We were both very career oriented and enjoyed our freedoms.

That changed one night at an Old Chicago Pizza restaurant when we decided to embark on the journey of parenthood. Sometime later, on a Saturday to be exact, we were sitting at home eating a late afternoon lunch of Taco Bell after having toured several open houses. Suddenly, Pam announced that it was time and we scurried around to gather the already-prepared hospital bag and head downtown. Interestingly enough, Pam remembered to bring along her last taco for the ride.

On August 1, 1999, Darian was born. His middle name is Presley, Elvis' last name. When we saw him, we knew we had made the right decision at the Old Chicago Pizza resaurant months prior. Darian starts the second grade this fall. He's a wonderful reader and worker of math problems. He will also be in his second year of cub scouts.

Thirteen months to the day after Darian was born, Pam had important clients in for some business meetings. All day long, she monitored the time between contractions. She called Stephen on her way home and announced that they would be leaving for the hospital about 5 minutes after she pulled into the driveway. She didn't have a taco to take with her this time.

Shortly thereafter, Trevor was born, the first of September 2000. His middle name is Aaron, also Elvis' middle name. Trevor starts the first grade this fall. His laugh makes everyone in the room laugh. He is as smart as a whip and brings humor to every situation. We were then two for two, a perfect record on children. We're three for three now, with Alexis.

Darian and Trevor - Mom and Dad love you very much. And we miss you terribly. We're bringing home a sister for you. But she's not going to replace you in our hearts. Our hearts have grown to a size to include all of you.

And let's not forget about Zippy, our other adopted child. We got him from an animal shelter a few years ago. Zippy, your sister will love you very much.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Alexis Is Ours Tomorrow

At the close of the working day tomorrow, our court decree becomes official and Alexis becomes a Haag.

We're busily making arrangements for the next week in anticipation of being on a plane next Thursday. It seems we have a few snags concerning Alexis' Ukrainian passport with which we'll have to deal. But we're not going to let anything stand in our way!

Pam got well and we both enjoyed spending the day with Alexis today, which incidentally is her birthday. You know how it is, when they are young you celebrate their birthday every month. Today, Alexis was 17 months old. Next thing we'll know she'll be going to college, winning the lottery, joining a bowling league, or something else really exciting.

Pam's Mom and Dad (Al and Fern) drove to Colorado (from Minnesota) late last week and are now watching Darian and Trevor, giving Stephen's parents a much needed break. So, we'll have the whole family there to greet Alexis next week.

We sure do miss Darian and Trevor. We've never been away from them for this long of a period of time. It's made us both realize how much we rely on our dhildren for happiness, inspiration, and the occassional goofy smile. We're coming home soon, boys.

Alexis sends her love.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Making Plans to Come Home

We've had a couple of wonderful days with Alexis. Pam was down with a cold today and didn't want to take the chance on Alexis getting sick so Stephen went it alone. He said the only tough part was trying to get up and down a couple of flights of stairs with a child, a stroller, a bag full of toys, and his backpack. Quite the juggling act.

We got our plane tickets reworked today. The two people we worked with at United (our cell phone disconnected one phone call) were absolutely great. Pam and I were able to easily change our flights and we were able to add Alexis without any problem. We're waiting for business class upgrades for all of us; in the meantime, United was kind enough to give the three of seats together in Economy Plus.

We have to get through Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and then Alexis is officially ours. We're hoping to take care of everything here on Saturday and travel back to Kiev on Sunday. We'll then have plenty of time to take care of everything there before our flights on Thursday. If we're lucky and finish early, we'll try to get out on Wednesday.

Thanks again to everyone who is posting comments to the blog. We apologize that we can't respond to everyone of them. Bob did have a good idea in recommending a Polaroid camera that makes photos in a few minutes. If you do bring one of these to an orphanage, please check before taking photos of children. We cannot take photos of other children or the inside of the orphanage here.

And Stephen would definitely recommend bringing a selection of cooking spices. We've been able to find fresh garlic, onions, parsley, and basil. But we haven't had any luck finding oregano, chili pepper, cumin, etc.

Alexis sends her love. God smiled on us the day he put her in our arms.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Boy, this gets old after awhile. We dearly love Alexis and enjoy spending time with her but both of us feel like we’re wasting time by being here. We’re ready take little Peanut and get on a plane!!

If all goes well, she is officially ours next Saturday. We hope to move through the rest of the process and be on a plane a week from coming Wednesday.

We have had a few nice breaks to keep us mildly entertained. One night we went to an Armenian restaurant with several friends and had shashlik. (Pronounce that using the “a” in ball and “lik” as leak.) It’s Armenian-style barbeque. It was a nice departure from what Stephen cooks but you don’t need to “depart” for very long. With the meal, we were served sour milk that had gas or some sort of carbonation. According to our friends, we were to drink a large glass of this throughout the evening to help with digestion and thus not feel so full eating so much meat. Pam passed; Stephen lived on the wild side and was none the worse for wear.

Then yesterday, we joined several people in celebrating a couple of birthdays by going to a campground area with a beach on the river. It was a beautiful area but there were about 10 people who only spoke Russian, a couple of people who spoke fairly good English (and fluent Russian), and then the 2 of us. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but always felt a little awkward. And guess what… we had homemade shashlik!! It was again quite good but it can’t hold a candle to good ol’ Texas barbeque.

We’ve also been doing whatever we can to make our apartment more like a home. Each evening, Pam lights a couple of scented candles. This is a very nice “comfortable” touch and we recommend – for any of those of you preparing to make a trip similar to ours – that you bring some good candles. We also bought a microwave oven, a fan, several floor mats, and an iron and ironing board. We’ll leave those things and many others with the orphanage.

The bed needed a lot of work. The mattress measures 74 inches long and 56 inches wide. That’s short and narrow, but the other measure is even worse. It’s about 3 inches thick and sits on a solid board. In other words, in the morning every pain point – shoulders, ankles, knees, hips, and elbows – hurts. So, we went on the hunt for foam padding, and of course we found none. You also can’t find fitted sheets or mattress pads here. So, thus began our search for the cheapest and thickest comforter that we could put on the mattress and then sleep on top of that.

Stephen found one at a flea market. It was blast white with great big red hearts on it and sayings like “Groovy kind of love.” We tried it one night and then Stephen went back the next day to buy another one. The ladies who had the booth at the flea market laughed at him and – although we couldn’t’ fully understand them – joked about whether or not he would return the next day to buy a third “Groovy kind of love” comforter. We never did go back to buy a third, but we now have a soft (small) bed with 2 “Groovy kind of love” comforters on which we sleep.

Speaking of which, here are some recommendations of things to bring for people who are preparing to make a trip similar to ours.
· Baggies – bring lots (we mean literally boxes) of different sizes of baggies (quarter and gallon) that have the Ziploc-style mechanism. These are impossible to find.
· Cheap ice trays – we can’t find these anywhere. They do have bags that you fill with water and then freeze (Hmm?).
· Toilet paper – we only brought 6 Quilted Northern double rolls. It wasn’t enough.
· Soaps – bring your favorite.
· Candles – see above.
· Cooler – small soft side, collapseable cooler
· Wet wipes – all types and kinds (singles, baby wet wipes, etc)
· Water supplement packages – those little individual packages of Propel, teas, etc
· Towels and washcloths (that you’re prepared to leave when you return home)
· Your own pillow

We’ll think of a lot more stuff and post it to the blog.

We had a couple of brutally hot days in the middle of last week. The heat beat down on us from above and rose up equally hot from the ground. It was a tough couple of days but Alexis handled them surprisingly well. If you look closely at many of the photos of Alexis, you’ll notice that we spend a lot of time in a dry swimming pool. It’s only about 2 feet deep but provides a smooth surface and an area out of which Alexis cannot run. During the hot days (and the other days we spend in the pool), we throw down a large blanket and just let her play, run around, and crawl all over us.

Alexis sends her love.