Saturday, April 30, 2005

Mama's New 'Do Posted by Hello

Friday, April 29, 2005

Friday Dance Night Posted by Hello

Friday Dance Night Posted by Hello

FIVE More Days!

I have gifts now for everyone but our beloved Marina. We want to get her something truly special. I'm hoping I'll have a little time after my haircut on Saturday to look around some more.

I woke up this morning to discover that our travel visas are on their way back to us. Now if we can just get our airline tickets. I email our agent on Sunday, phoned him on Monday, and Monday evening he said he'd send them out Tuesday morning. Well, they haven't arrived yet. We have today, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday for them to arrive. Guess I'll be phoning him again...

A week from today, and Katya will be with us forever.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Six Days and Counting....

The time before we return to Kazakhstan is growing shorter. I'm still playing Super Shopper, buying gifts for everyone in Kazakhstan. Okay, that's an exageration.

I just finished up buying gifts for the 49 children at the Shelter, and Katya's 6 caregivers. I also bought a Braves cap for Sergei, our driver. I still have the director, the assistant director, Shaisada, Marina, Katya's ex-caretaker and the Dept of Ed rep.

Then I have to buy a few more items for Katya and start thinking about packing!

I have a hair appointment for this Saturday, my first haircut in about 7 months. So, I might look slightly different in my next photo.

My mother arrives Sunday afternoon. I've been talking to Cameron about how he's going to play here with Grandma and Dante while Mama and Daddy go get Katya.

Now we have an email from Gulzhan asking us where we want to stay Friday morning when we arrive in Almaty. I have to let Jim know by the end of the day. We thought we were going to stay at the Hotel Peking, but it looks like we have a few options.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Safely Home

We arrived safely home yesterday evening. We figure that door to door, it took about 28 hours to do it!

For those bringing your adopted children back to Kazakhstan, upon exiting, have both US and Kaz passports avaiable. The airline wanted to see Cameron's US passport to show that he had permission to enter the States. Otherwise, show the Kaz passport when going into the passenger area and when going through passport control. In Amsterdam or Frankfurt, show the US passport, as once again, you are proving that your child has permission to return to the States.

Cameron slept a good 3 hours on the flight from Almaty to Frankfurt and then about a few more hours from Frankfurt to Atlanta. This gave us some time to rest and sleep as well.

When we arrived at Frankfurt, we made a beeline to the McDonald's, so that Cameron could play. From there we did a little shopping and then when to our gate. We finally boarded our plane to Atlanta.

There was a huge thunderstorm moving through Middle Georgia, so our landing was delayed by over 40 minutes. My BIL Burl was waiting for us at baggage claim and my SIL Linda was at our house, with a hot meal waiting for us.

We had some supper, and put Cameron to bed at about 8:50. Tom and I both took showers. That shower was like being in heaven. Sweet smelling water, ahhhhh...

Now, we have to start getting ready for trip number two. We already have our letter of invitation, so I have to get our visa application in the mail on Monday. We've purchased our plane tickets, but I need to let our agent know we are home, so he can mail them for us.

We leave again on May 4th.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Our Last Day Here or...

Top o' the Morning to yee!

This is our last day in Kazakhstan. We started the morning with a trip to the Sisters' for a last meeting before heading out. We filled out some forms and then drove to Mad Murphy's to have lunch with Lauren and Claire Sumner, and Lauren's mother.

Cameron was delighted to see another baby, especially a girl, as you can see by the photos. The is a nice play area outside the restaurant, so Cam got to run in the grass for the first time in weeks. We had a yummy lunch of chicken fajitas.

After lunch, we went to the park and walked around the grounds. Workers are busy all over town preparing for Victoria Day, which they celebrate on May 9.

Returning to our apartment, we realized that we are in the apartment across from the one we stayed in on our arrival in Almaty 2 years ago. This is the apartment we saw another family with WPA come out of our first morning here. We discovered that we already knew them through email, as they live in Macon, near us. We have come full circle.

We're now trying to get Cameron to take a nap, so we can rest up for our flight home, early tomorrow morning.

It's been a truly wonderful, incredible experience here. But we are anxious to get home and prepare for Katya's homecoming. We'll soon be back...

Enjoying the Tulips Posted by Hello

By Rose Bushes Posted by Hello

Russian Orthodox Church, with Workers Preparing for Victory Day, May 9th Posted by Hello

Looking Throught the Park Toward the Cathedral Posted by Hello

Michele, Cameron, Lauren with Claire Posted by Hello

Their First Kiss Posted by Hello

Cameron and His New Girlfriend, Claire Sumner Posted by Hello

British Telephone Booth, Outside Restaurant Posted by Hello

The Famous Mad Murphy's Posted by Hello

Playing at the Restaurant Posted by Hello

Hanging Out at the Restaurant Posted by Hello

The Stadium That Has Never Been Finished, Near the US Embassy and the Sisters' Office Posted by Hello

Scenes Around Town Posted by Hello

Local Pub Posted by Hello

Scenes Around Town Posted by Hello

Front of Apartment Building Posted by Hello

View from Apartment Posted by Hello

The Refrigerator Posted by Hello

Kitchen at the New Apartment Posted by Hello

Moon Pies in Kazakhstan? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Day Twenty or...

In the Air Again

Our evening with Katya went well. We brought home pizza from the pizza place again, and Katya ate 4 slices. The last two, she ate like an American, with her fingers! After dinner we had some ice cream and watched Lady & the Tramp II.

The movie was delayed a bit, because I had started to put a few things away, and Katya became upset thinking of us leaving. So, Mama and Katya spent some quality snuggle time, until the tears were gone.

Soon, it was time for bed. But it was very warm in the hotel suite, and no one really got as much sleep as they needed.

After showers and cleaning up in the morning, we headed downstairs for blineys. Before we knew it, Marina arrived and it was time to take Katya back to the Shelter and say our goodbyes.

We were able to see Galina and thank her for all the love and care she has given to our girl. Mama got teary eyed when it was time to say our goodbyes, but Katya handled it pretty well.

Then it was back to the hotel for some intense packing. We were done with only minutes to spare, and we lugged all our luggage downstairs. At 1:40 p.m., we were off to the airport.

Marina was with us on the plane as far as Kokshetau, which is about 35 minutes flying time from Petropavlovsk. She was going to catch a train to Astana and arrive at midnight. She was scheduled to meet another adoptive family in the morning at the Astana airport, and then take them on to Akkol, where they would be picking up the two children they had adopted.

We said our goodbyes on the plane, and it was difficult, even though we will see her again in just over two weeks. I don't think Cameron realized we were saying our final goodbyes to her, as he kept asking for her after we arrived in Almaty. I know he is very fond of her.

The second leg of the flight was about 2 1/2 hours, and Cameron slept almost the entire way. He fell asleep shortly after takeoff and I had to wake him right before we landed.

Dilnosa and Andrei were waiting for us at the airport, and we lugged all our luggage out to his Machina. They brought us back to our apartment, a different one than last time. We calculate that we have stayed in four different apartments in Almaty now.

After a quick cleanup, we were off to the Ramstore to buy food for dinner. We made ourselves a delicous supper of spaghetti and French bread, with ice cream for dessert. Our neighbor downstairs was quick to call us complaining of a headache and to please ask "the child" to stop running around. Okay, how do you tell a 34 month old, who was on a plane for 4 1/2 hours not to run around???!!!???

Then it was off to sleepyland.

I will try to post some pictures of scenes around Almaty and the apartment in the next installment. We arrived back to lush trees, grass, and tulips blooming all over the city. I truly beautiful sight, with plenty of sunshine and blue skies.

Goofing Around! Posted by Hello

Singing in the Rain Posted by Hello