Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Sisters!

Today was our meeting with Gulzhan. We met with her at the same time as our travel partners. It was so wonderful to see her again, and for her to see Cameron! She remembered him and was so happy to see how much he has grown. I felt like we were reacquainting with an old friend. We didn't get a picture of her two years ago, so I made sure to get one today.

She went over the rest of our trip and gave us the dates for our second trip.

From there, we made another run to the Ramstore and then home for lunch and a nap.

Vitali, our driver, will be picking us up at 7:45 a.m. for our 9:30 a.m. flight to Petropavlovsk. Sveta will be our interpretor for the first week, until Marina can come and take over. We spent time with both ladies last time, with Marina being our main translator, and we are looking forward to seeing them both.

We are so close now. Tomorrow, we will meet our daughter, and brother and sister will be united. Tears come to my eyes when I envision Cameron and KJ seeing each other for the first time. Gulzhan told us that KJ is anxiously waiting to see us. And that she talks about Cameron all the time.

We saw the mom who sent us pictures of Katya while at the shelter while we were at the Sisters. She told Tom again how beautiful KJ is and how sweet too.

For anyone interested, I'm using a Canon PowerShot S110 Digital ELPH. It is a couple years old.

Tom and Cameron with Gulzhan, one of the "Sisters" Posted by Hello

View from Apartment Posted by Hello

Springtime in Almaty Posted by Hello

Blossoms Outside Apartment Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Home Temporary Home

Cameron finally fell asleep at the airport and proceeded to sleep most of the way to Almaty. Tom and I managed to grab a few winks, but not many

We had met up with our travel partners, the Gravesmans, in Frankfurt. They also are going to Petropavlovsk to adopt a gil, who is KJ's age.

We arrived safely in Almaty, and our concerns about Passport Control were for naught. They let us go through early. Our driver, Visali and the Sisters' rep, Dilnosa were waiting for us. They took us to our apartment, where we settled in.... for about 3 hours sleep!

At 11:00 a.m. Visali took us to the Ramstore where we bought some food and a new hairdryer for me. I sorta kinda had fried mine in the morning. We came back and had a peasant's lunch of cheese and bread. They make the most delicious bread in Kazakhstan!

We are meeting with Gulzhan today at 5:00 p.m. to go over the rest of our trip.

It is beautiful and sunny here, and there are blossoms on many of the trees. We are talking about taking a ride up to the mountains tomorrow.

So, until tomorrow!

The Bathroom Posted by Hello

Cam's Bed Posted by Hello

The Bedroom Posted by Hello

The Kitchen Posted by Hello

Hanging out in the apartment! Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Flying to Frankfut

Our flight to Frankfurt went off without a hitch. Except for the fact that Cameron didn't sleep a wink! Which means that Mama and Daddy didn't either.

I'm Flying! Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Paka Paka! See You in Kazakhstan! Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Our Visas Are Here!

The final piece of the puzzle has fallen in place. Our passports arrived this morning with our travel visas pasted inside. We are ready to go! Cameron didn't need to get a travel visa, as he will be travelling to Kazakhstan on his Kazkh passport and returning to the US with his US passport.

Our Visas! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Another Problem Solved - Update

Jim from WPA talked to the Embassy this morning for us. He was able to get the problem sorted out, and our visas will be shipped out today.

More Gray Hairs

Tom got a call late yesterday afternoon from the Kazakhstan Embassy. The lady processing our visa request told him there was something wrong with the dates on our Letter of Invitation. When Tom got home I printed out the letter again. Nope, I don't see anything wrong with the dates, they look fine to me.

We emailed Jim at our agency. He doesn't know what the problem is either. He is calling the Embassy this morning to get it straightened out for us.

Thank goodness we have our agency watching our backs! I hope to have good news to post in a few hours.

This evening we're having dinner with Dante's babysitter, aka Uncle Burl, to go over everything. Dante has a special request that Aunt Linda bake up a supply of her wonderful biscuits so he can dine on them throughout Uncle Burl's stay with him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

More Luggage Posted by Hello

Luggage Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

It's a Go!

After consulting with Gulzhan in Kazakhstan, we've been given the go ahead! We will still be leaving on March 28. We will be hanging out by passport control until 12:01 a.m. of the 30th. We are told that should NOT be a problem.

Cameron and I are off to FedEx with our visa applications this morning!

The Shelter where KJ is waiting for us. Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Glitch

We received our Letter of Invitation this morning. Excitement turned to concern. Our original travel dates asked for us to arrive on March 30. When we called the travel agencies, we learned that there were no flights that would arrive on that day. Since we were told we couldn't come later, we arranged to arrive a day earlier. Well, actually 45 minutes earlier, as the plane arrives in Almaty at 11:15 p.m. on March 29.

Unfortunately, the Letter of Invitation is allowing us to enter the country on March 30. We contacted our agency, and they are checking into it. They hope to have an answer by Monday. My guess is that they are checking with the Sisters to see what we are to do. The easiest thing for us of course, would be to get a new LOI with March 29 as the entry date. But things in Kazakhstan don't always work the way we think they should work. So, we are on standy.

If we have to change flights we'll have to leave on either March 30 or 31, and pay penalties for the changes.

I guess no one said this would be easy, only that it would be worth it.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thank You Brother

My little brother (okay, he's not so little, he's a geology professor at a state college) called me last night. He's sending us his digital camera to take on our trip. Seems it is an excuse to buy himself the new and improved version. So, thanks to Mike, we should be able to post pictures of our trip in the photo album.


We now have airline tickets on hold for us. Because of airline schedules we will be leaving March 28 and returning on April 22.

I just got off the phone with our travel partners. They are adopting a 11 year old at one of the regional boarding houses in Petropavlovsk. We'll be meeting up with them in Frankfurt and will be with them for the entire trip. I'm so excited that we'll have new friends with us in Petro to spend time with. And then when we go back to pick up our girls, we hope that they'll hit it off and play with each other on the way home.

Only 12 days until we leave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Enough !!!s?)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Travel Fairy Cometh!!!

We're going to Kazakhstan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We leave March 29th, and we'll meet our daughter on April 1st!!!!

We'll be there for the 2nd anniversary of Cameron's court date!!

We'll be going back to get her on a second trip and we'll be home with KJ forever on May 14!!!

Praise God!!

Thank you for all your love, friendship, support and prayers!

We're going to Kazakhstan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our agency emailed us at 6:45 this morning! They know how hard it's been waiting!! Thank you Cindy!!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Still No Travel Dates

Well, we called the Travel Fairy and she said, "Don't call us, we'll call you." She still didn't have travel dates for us. The one bit of encouraging news is that someone else on a similiar timeframe as ours got their travel dates this week. All we can do is pray that they will come next week.

So now we have two days of not wondering if the phone will ring. I worked on our packing a bit more. Think we can make it with 155 Super Huggies? :wink:

Friday, March 11, 2005

KJ's Room Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 05, 2005

An Open Letter to the Travel Fairy

Dear Travel Fairy,

I know there must be good reasons why you have not visited us yet. But we want you to know how ready we are for your arrival.

We have a huge stack of new bills waiting for us in the safe at our credit union. We received our new notebook computer so that we can have internet access and watch DVDs from the comfort of our hotel room. Michele has her new BIFOCAL glasses so she can read on the plane. Our housesitters and babysitter are ready and sitting on go. We have travel rolls of toilet paper packed for emergencies. All we need is word from you that we can go!

Every day, Cameron says, "Go to Kazakhstan, NOW!" Won't you please heed his plea and bring us our travel dates? We thought you might come on the 2nd anniversary of your last visit. We laid out the welcome mat, baked cookies, and anxiously waited. But alas, you did not arrive.

So, we are asking, we are requesting, nay, we are begging, PLEASE, TRAVEL FAIRY, COME!

Michele, Tom, and Cameron