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It Started With a Fortune Cookie - Russian Style

Hi! My name is Patti Ann Borgren. I am an adoptive and biological mommy along with being a military spouse. I am also a writer of children’s stories and owned by my pets. I love children and was successful bringing into the world beautiful and healthy Zachary, now a studious very talented young man of 13. And Amanda Caitlin, 10 going on 30, always smiling, my daily ray of sunshine. They were and still are the light of my life. Newly divorced at age 34, I had to undergo an emergency surgery to save my life. I remember telling my mom at the time, “watch me meet the man of my dreams and I won’t be able to give him a child.” To help me forget my own woes I decided to write funny letters to cheer up the troops during Operation Desert Storm. Two months after I began, I received a reply from a Captain Jim Borgren, USAF, that would forever change my life. Now a Major, Jim was 8 years my junior and had never been married. After only knowing my kids and I for four days, Jim asked us to become his family. That was eight years ago. Jim has always loved Zach and Amanda as his own children and they worship the ground he walks on. But there was always something missing in our life; a baby to raise together.

International Adoption

After two too many nightmare experiences with domestic and international adoption agencies back in 1993, Jim and I thought maybe adopting a third child was not meant to be. We went on with our happy little family and Patti got a new puppy or kitten every six months to soothe those maternal cravings. Then one day in October of 1997, I was surfing the Internet and discovered an all-new world of international adoption, in the former Soviet Union. Always the writer needing to research her sources I did my homework. The following week, still playing with the idea of sending in our application to adopt Jim and i attended a Christmas time Chinese food luncheon. Throughout the meal i chattered on and on about how Jim and I were going to adopt a baby girl from Russia. Jim looked sad, still feeling it could not happen. We had too many bills and had already suffered emotionally in the past. The fortune cookie platter was passed around and i screamed with delight when I opened up mine. 'You shall succeed in whatever you choose to adopt.' Eerie!!!!!! After new years' we sent in our adoption and loan application and were approved the same day for a low interest unsecured loan with ten years to repay! Jim and I proclaimed 1998 as the 'Year of the Kat' with a K. As in Katerina Nicole, the name we chose for our baby girl to be. To keep myself from going crazy during the waiting process, I got baby fixes by shopping for baby clothes every other day. I bought a greeting card from target with a picture of a baby girl and wrote the message. 'Desperately seeking Katerina Nicole' underneath it and it graced my dresser. My dream baby i called her. At last Jim and I completed the mountain of paperwork and went through the home study process. A week after our dossier was submitted to Russia for an adoption referral, Jim was given notice that he was being immediately transferred from Texas to Illinois! Oh no, would this calamity end our dreams of adopting? Nope! We put our travel plans on hold. Two days after I lifted the hold and five days before we were to move to Illinois, a referral came through. The stork announcement about our dream baby girl. Two hours later, after literally peeling myself off the ceiling, I get a call. "Patti, are you sitting down?" Oh no, those aren't the words I wanted to hear! I clenched my teeth and tried to calm my stomach. "Patti you will never guess what your baby's Russian name is. Ekaterina Nicklovena. Also known as Kat." her date of birth was January 4th, 1998, the day our adoption application was submitted. Twilight Zone theme song please. Kat's video and picture arrived the next day. Taking the picture out of the package I almost had a Depends moment! Kat and the greeting card baby could have passed for twins!

Our Kat comes Home

Barely three weeks after settling into our new home in O'fallon, I received my court date. This white knuckled flier boarded the first of numerous planes to reach Rostov on Don, Russia. My Moscow coordinator, Irine, was a petite, very outgoing, very sweet young woman. While waiting to board my domestic flight, she turned three potentially boring hours into a fun mad hatter's scenic tourist ride and shopping spree. I found the Russian people to be very friendly, and helpful. On the domestic flight, two Russian businessmen carried my bags on and off the plane and saw to it that I met up with my Rostov coordinators. Jim and I will be forever indebted to them. After a much-needed shower at the house, the cook and housekeeper made me a delicious Russian meal. The next morning I met Kat and I cried silently. She was even more beautiful and tinier than I had expected. The next day was court and it too was a positive enlightening experience. My translator, Natasha, was a bubbly outgoing woman who prepared me well and I sailed through the two-hour proceedings without a hitch. I was on the trip by myself and my coordinators made sure I was well taken care of; always a protective arm was offered when crossing streets or just walking. Companionship. There were also two other American families adopting baby girls and I keep in touch with both. I told Irine, back in Moscow finishing up my paperwork at the us embassy, that i felt this was not my last visit to Russia. She agreed. Tearfully I said farewell to my new friends a few days later and Kat and i flew home. Arriving at St. Louis' international airport, I placed a sleeping Kat in her father's arms as he cried. Zach and Amanda were thrilled with their new baby sister. She was no longer just a dream. Well it’s been over five months since Kat and I first met. She has gone from being a quiet unemotional baby at orphanage #2, to a very outgoing, always smiling, overly curious little girl who is all over the place. She's gained over 5 pounds and aside from being small for her age, due to three months prematurity, Kat is in perfect overall health.

Our Kat comes Home