Saturday, December 29, 2007

Some really great kids

I thought I would add some pictures of my neices and nephews at Christmas since I don't have my own yet.

They are all holding a pink Lion that will be given to my daughter.

This is Kristin (13) and Emily (15)--my sister's kids

Luke (6) and Annika (5)--my other sister's kids

Neil (16) and Kasey (18)--my oldest brother's kids


Matt (9) and Mary (3)--Another brother's kids

this is my youngest brother Dan--he's 28 and was home from the Navy--he has no kids yet.

I also have five other neices and nephews that aren't pictured--two were unable to come--Josh (18) and Brittany (16) and three of them were gone before I thought of taking pictures--Pam (I think she's 23), Joe (17) and Katie (14). I hope I got all their ages right but whether or not I did, they are all pretty terrific kids.

Update on the process

Christmas with my family was wonderful. 26 of us were together at my brother's house for two full days and it was great. My neices were especially interested in when their new cousin would be coming. She is going to be a very blessed girl to be a part of this family and she will receive lots of attention!

My adoption agency had a conference call for all Kazakhstan adoptive families--there were close to 50 that participated and it was really great. They were very honest about what is going on in the International Adoption world as well as in Kaz and why the waits are increasing. It seems that Kazakhstan families are adopting more children and they get first priority and also many other countries are getting much harder to adopt from so many more families are turning to Kaz than ever did before. They also shared some sad facts--a couple families came home without a child because they were only shown children with very severe medical problems and also shared the good stories of families that found their child across the world in Kaz. The whole process of International Adoption is a very long and winding journey that requires the traveler to be quite flexible and patient. Three things were quite evident to me in the conference call 1) Most families going through this have the same fears and anxieties and give great support to each other and 2) the staff at our agency are very concerned about the process and outcome for each family and are working very hard to make it as good as they possibly can and 3) the adoptive parents need to make themselves as educated as possible and as prepared as possible to face whatever comes up along the way.

Realistically, I have quite a few months to wait yet. I hope to have my daughter home by the end of the year but until that time I will follow the advice of many adoptive parents before me and try not to put anything off.

Some things I have on my list are:

1. Read more of the adoption books I have--I seem to get about half way through each one.

2. get in better shape

3. Prepare my house--I have a couple small remodeling projects I would like to complete as well as decorating my daughters room. I do have the bedding and curtains bought but that is about all.

4. Make a book of my family and home to leave with my daughter in Kaz

5. Prepare all my bills to be paid while I am gone.

6. Prepare my packing list and make sure I have everything I think I need.

7. Buy a video camera

8. Save more money and vacation time--my plan is to have 3 months of paid vacation built up before I travel and I am nearly there.

As I make my list, it sounds like I have done nothing to prepare but that is not the case--there is just always more to think about. Even though the wait is longer than expected, I think it will go by quickly and I will still feel unprepared (but oh so ready) when it arrives.

Lastly I will continue to pray that the Lord leads and directs my agency and the Kazakhstan officials and takes me to Kazakhstan for my daughter in his perfect timing.

I will quote the refrain from one of my favorite songs--

I don't regret the rain

or the nights I felt the pain

or the tears I had to cry some of the times along the way

Every road I had to take

Every time my heart would break

It was just something that I had to get through

To get me to you.
To get me to you.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Peaceful Feeling

This has been a good weekend in the adoption world for me.
I have been following the adoption blog of the Woods family and their story is so wonderful and inspiring--they are truly a great family. I have done a lot of reading and praying and have communicated with a couple adoption agencies and heard updates and feedback from my agency. Everything confirms what I know and I have a much greater feeling of peace about the process. I started the process feeling like everything was right and I still feel that way. Maybe it will take slightly longer than I first anticipated but I truly believe that I will find my daughter.
Now it is time to focus on Christmas and all that the birth of Jesus brought into our lives.
Have a great holiday season everyone!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Very Brief description of Kazakhstan

Located south of Russia in Central Asia, northwest of China, the Republic of Kazakhstan was the second largest of the former Soviet republics in size. The breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to sharp economic declines in Kazakhstan which contributed in turn to the large number of children abandoned and living in orphanages. Although the economy has improved in recent years due to economic reform and foreign investment, the number of children living in institutions has grown. Over 3,000 Kazakhstani children have been adopted by families in the U.S. since 1997. Kazakhstan is a very ethnically diverse country, with over 120 different heritages represented. Children could be Caucasian, Asian, or Eurasian in appearance.
The typical food of Kazakhstan resembles that of the Middle East or the Mediterranean in its use of rice, savoury seasonings, vegetables and legumes, yogurt and grilled meats. Other dishes have developed from the subsistence diet of the nomads - mainly mutton (including entrails), milk products and bread - whereas in the heavily Russian-populated cities of northern Kazakstan, the dominant cuisine is Russian.

Dad making progress, adoption.....not so much

My Dad's recovery continues to go well. He left the hospital on Friday, stayed at my house for the weekend and he made the three hour trip back home today. I called to check up on him and he says he feels fine. It has been amazing so far. God has been good to us yet again.
I am still just as confused as ever regarding Kazakhstan adoption. There is so much information on the web and I am just scratching the surface but learning so much. Nothing new to report at this time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

All's going well

My Dad came through surgery just fine--he had his heart surgery two days ago and today he has all his tubes out, is up walking around, and eating real food. The Doctors say he is doing perfect. He will be in the hospital a few more days and then recovering at my house. My thanks go out to all those praying for or thinking of him and our family.
The adoption blogs have been busy lately. There is lots of discussion about long timelines and about medical conditions in the children of Kazakhstan. Sometimes it is scary and depressing to read about it all (how long I may have to wait or what medical problems the child may have) but the happy stories outweigh the others. I do think it is important to be informed and know what you can be getting into so I am reading and researching. After a day or two of researching and obsessing about what could go wrong, I felt that all would be okay--I will cling to that feeling and trust that the perfect child for me will be found. I wish that for all those out there waiting for a child and I know with patience, faith, and some hard work we will have the families we desire.--I just hope it comes soon.(so much for patience).

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Break from thinking about my child to thinking about my father

My dossier has been at the MOFA for six weeks now and I hope to hear soon that it has moved on to the MOE (Ministry of Education).
This week my focus will change to my Dad--he is having open heart surgery tomorrow--he needs a new aortic valve and 2 bypasses. He is having it done at the Medical Center where I work so he and my mom are staying with me--the babies room now becomes the grandparents room! One of my brothers and my two sisters will be here also. Tomorrow will be a stressful day but we are confident that God will hear our prayers and he will come through it feeling better afterwards. He will be in the hospital for 5-7 days and then recuperating at my house for a while.
I will be with him and my Mom the first two days but then plan to return to work as I need my vacation time saved for the future!
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Thanks, Mary