Monday, June 26, 2006
After being treated to an unexpected and very loud fireworks display out our window last evening I had hoped that everyone would sleep a bit later today. No luck. The boys were up by five. They showered and then went back to sleep for a bit. The girls managed to entertain themselves in bed for a while and then cat nap until breakfast. The morning was spent playing games and washing hair in preparation for our clinic visit. We frequented our favorite hang out at the food court for lunch and then Svetlana picked us up and took us to the SOS clinic. I am sure the poor ladies at the food court can’t wait for us to leave! Between the group of deaf young men they have been serving and us they are earning their salary this week. Last night I was approached by a young man and asked in English if I was American. He then wanted to know if I was adopting the children. When I answered affirmatively he shared his story of being adopted from here when he was 16 and moving to Ohio. He is now 20 and he and his parents are here for some short-term project. He was moved to see other teenagers finding families. Plus he ordered dinner for us. The deaf men were not so lucky. They had to make do with writing notes on napkins when sign language was getting them nowhere. Svetlana declared that I needed no help at the clinic and dropped us off and away she went promising to return in one and a half hours. Everyone got a relatively clean bill of health. Much to the kid’s dismay, they had to get immunizations before being allowed in the US. Rinat and Zarina only had to get one each with my promise to get their titers checked upon arrival. Sholpan needed two shots and a promise to take her to a cardiologist. Svetlana did return for us and then we zoomed to the embassy to drop off the medical reports before 4pm. Everyone came home exhausted from the excitement and the extreme heat. Another hike to the mall for dinner and we are now ready to settle in for a movie and bedtime.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
We have officially made it through a weekend together with no problems. At least none that I can understand. Zarina continues to talk to me as if I have a clue. The other two know better. This morning we had a translator for a couple of hours and none of the kids would talk to her. It seems they are shy around strangers. I am taking that as a good thing. They are doing great at staying with me and not straying when we go out. Crossing streets in this crazy-driver country still makes me nervous though. They hadn’t a clue what the traffic light was all about. Of course, the drivers don’t seem to know either! The escalator still amazes all three of them when we go to the mall to eat. It is funny to see me try to order food for all of us. I had hoped that they would tell the waitress what they wanted. Instead they try to tell me so I can tell her. At any rate they are eating whatever we get. Rinat may be a match for the other teenage eaters in our house. These girls will eat our others under the table at least in the vegetable department.
This morning we went to the zoo. It was interesting to see the collection of animals. There were some I had never seen before. Sholpan and Rinat rode on camels and had their photo made. Zarina wasn’t going to get close enough to even touch one! It was as close to crying as I have seen her. We all enjoyed getting out for a while. Life in a hotel leaves a little to be desired. Thankfully, the kids are not wild. The translator commented this morning how well behaved they were. She said she usually just works with babies, but the few older kids she has seen come out of the orphanages reminded her more of monkeys. We purchased Scooby Doo and Willie Wonka in Russian at the mall and spent the afternoon watching those. It is now time to head back out and see what kind of food we can discover. Tomorrow we will go to the SOS clinic for their visa checkups and finally to the embassy on Tuesday afternoon. If all goes well we will be on an early morning flight home on Wednesday.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The girls played with Barbies and Rinat raced his new micro racer around under the furniture and under our feet. We walked to the mall for lunch and had some pizza. Luckily, the children followed and nobody ran over any of us! Sonia is busy today and has only called to check on us. We will not see her until Sunday morning. She is taking us to the zoo or something like that.
I am adding soup-eating photos from Friday
It is Saturday morning and we all got a fairly decent rest overnight. Rinat and Matthew took one bedroom and Mom got the other. The girls slept, after lots of giggling, on the pullout sofa. They have really bonded to each other during this waiting period. Typical girls they are even going to the bathroom together! Matthew and I have no idea what all the whispering and giggling is about. At least no body is crying. We are waiting on Zarina and Sholpan to finish brushing their teeth and then are going to venture out in search of breakfast. No word from our translator on what the day has in store yet. The girls have on new outfits from home and Rinat is sporting some American jean shorts. When they arrived last night there was no sign of the clothes we had left here with them. The girls have now emerged and look lovely. Now we will see if I can get them to follow me to find food.
Friday, June 23, 2006
We arrived in Almaty early this morning after a very long day and a half of travel. The apartment was a bit far from things (like food and people that speak English) so we moved to a hotel. It has a couple of bedrooms and a nice sitting area. The kids arrived in the middle of a thunderstorm a couple of hours later than expected. Apparently there was a flat tire involved. Not real clear on those details! Svetlana dropped them off and ordered some soup for them and away she went. It seems to have been a long trip for her as well. All three of the kids got motion sick! Several times!! She says there is a story to tell but she does not have enough English words to tell it. Something about the orphanage has been shut down and we are missing paperwork, but not to worry. Yeah right! Our translator will explain it all tomorrow. Overall the children seem to be happy and exhausted. We just finished the soup and I am going to try to explain "brush your teeth and go to bed".
почистьте ваши зубы щеткой и пойдите спать
почистьте ваши зубы щеткой и пойдите спать
Thursday, June 1, 2006
We had our day in court Monday morning and everything went very smoothly. We picked Sholpan up at the hospital and Rinat joined us at the courthouse with the orphanage director. Everything about the court proceedings was quite positive and without controversy. Sholpan and Rinat had to speak to the court and tell the judge that they wanted to go and live with us in the USA. The judge seemed pleased with all their responses to his questions except when he asked them if they could speak Kazakh and then discovered that they could speak virtually none.
It was pouring rain when we left the courthouse so everyone rushed off to where they were heading without much in the way of goodbyes. We had time only to rush back to the hotel, pack our stuff, and get in our car for the 6-7 hour ride to Astana. We had long layovers in Almaty, Frankfurt, and DC. We ended up back home at 3am Wednesday, having traveled 48 hours, half of which we spent sitting around airports. The tiny seats on the trans-atlantic flight were completely filled with passengers. It was less than fun.
We have now begun to adjust to life in the eastern time zone knowing full well that Susan and Matthew will make this trip again in just 3 weeks. We hope to have everyone back home by the end of June. Keep in touch.