January 5 2004

I will start this with "I am sorry for the late post". I could not connect to any site except for a .kz site. Apparently the Nursat server is having problems.  I tried several times last night and could not get outside of the country. I hope this post finds all of you well. We are doing just fine.

Hallelujah! We had a full nights sleep last night.  The moving of Katherine's bed certainly seems to have helped.  At least for one night.  She stirred once and all I had to do was reach down and pat her back.  Anthony woke up once and I just soothed him back to sleep.  That was it until 7:30 this morning.  We are proud, we are parents and we conquer one obstacle at a time.  We took a picture of her new bed setup.  And I'm not sure if we've ever discussed Anthony's crib.  I don't believe it would pass U.S, standards.  We took a picture of that too.  Notice the homemade bumpers we put on the metal crib frame.  Boy keeps banging his head in his sleep.  Also, the holes around the babies at the top of the crib have got to be big enough to get a small head through. (We have not tried, so there's no way to be sure).

Anthony is trying to say Katherine.  Usually his sounds are just sounds, or he does a lot of Da Da Da, which means Yes in Russian, but I'm sure he's really saying Daddy. It's not so surprising he's trying to say Katherine. He just thinks his sister is fascinating and we are always saying "Katherine". 

Bill talked to his brother Tony and sister in law Mary Kay today.  It's always good to talk to people from home and Bill had a good conversation with both of them.  We did some double checking on Anthony's diet with Mary Kay (I also did with my friend Taralee via email).  In the beginning Anthony was throwing up a lot after he ate.  We had tried to stick close to the diet in the orphanage.  We've basically cut out all dairy and put him on baby food and cereal and he's doing much better.  He must feel a lot better not losing half his meal each time he eats.

Jim Feret also called today. There was a couple who was adopting from the same babyhouse as the Ferets. They had a long and arduous trip.  They were not here with World Partners Adoption Agency. I believe they tried to adopt on their own, with the help of a lawyer and had a very difficult time finding a child to adopt. They went to several different regions and were here for months. So, after court the husband went home while the wife stayed for the finishing of the paperwork. At the airport in Almaty several young men came and 'helped' him with his bags.  These same young men (or ones like them) 'helped' us with our luggage when we were leaving the Almaty airport the first night we were here. We wound up paying the three young men $5.00 a piece.  We had our driver with us and he spoke English well and he looked out for our best interests.  The man that had just adopted and was leaving Almaty was asked to pay something like $200.00 for the help he got with his luggage.  Just goes to show once again how important it is to have a reputable agency represent you.  Anyway, Bill and Jim were already planning on how to dissuade the young men from helping.  Bill's been practicing his firm 'Niet, Spa ce ba' (No Thank You).

The four of us took a walk around the block this afternoon.  It was nice outside. Good to be outside. We really didn't know where to go so we just started walking. Katherine rode on the sled and I carried Anthony. He was oohing and gurgling the whole way. We wound up on a main road that we knew (thank goodness!) and Katherine was tired of riding.  She started pulling the sled as she usually does on our walks.  This time, however, I decided to put Anthony on the sled and let her pull him.  Bill had to help a little as Anthony is heavier than an empty sled.  Any small incline and I'm sure he weighed a ton to Katherine.  She just loved pulling him.  Kept looking where she had been instead of where she was going to.  There were several times Bill had to redirect her so she would miss things like man holes.  There were two men that walked past us and just thought she was the cutest thing going. They were all smiles and laughing and chattered at her.  Who knows what they said, but it was nice.  There were also two elderly ladies standing on the street discussing something.  As we approached, and of course we're walking slow, they asked us a question.  Good thing they made good eye contact or we would have just walked by and never said anything.  Not that we could help, but I threw my out 'Ya ni pani myo, Parusski' (I don't understand Russian). The interesting thing about that incident is it just highlights our paranoia. We believe that as we walk about we have huge writing on our foreheads that says 'I'm American!'.  These ladies have clearly lived here their whole lives and didn't spot us. They even looked a little surprised. That's something I forgot to mention yesterday.  As I said, I went shopping with Olga and Natasha.  I think it's the first time I've left the house with them and have not had make up on.  I was wearing day old jeans.  My hair wasn't done in any fashion. If you've seen the pictures, you've seen my outside gear.  Long black coat (borrowed from my sister LuAnn I might add - Thanks sister Lu!) rabbit hat and scarf and black gloves.  My hat was apparently sitting high on my head so the top was puffy. We were shopping in the market when Olga says to me 'We all agree' (I don't know who we all are it was just her and Natasha) 'You look like a local girl'.  Of all the days, all the times I've seen them, they picked the day I looked my worst to throw that one on me.  Olga thought it was funny.

We had a surprise visit from Svetlana this afternoon.  Just after our walk. We were very unprepared. Anthony was in a diaper and shirt as he had gotten poop on his pants. There were toys strewn about the floor.  She just stopped by to ask if everything was OK. She reminded us we would be leaving on Jan 8th (as if we weren't totally aware of that).  We get the paperwork from the adoption Thursday morning and we leave Thursday night. It's really getting close.

We had another poop incident with Katherine tonight. I believe this is the green monster rearing its ugly head (pun intended). It happened right after Ann took Anthony in to get a bath. This has happened with her on several occasions surrounding time being spent with her brother or one of us telling her "NO" to some unacceptable behavior. It is not that her behavior is unexpected. Some of it is just in need of some parental fine tuning. She is a great girl and my heart goes out to what ever emotional pain a 2 year old has. The bottom line is that we, Ann and I, will love her into being the girl she is, not the girl we may want her to be. This is going to get better with time and patient understanding on our part. She is who she is and that is why we selected her. The credit actually belongs to God. All Ann and I did was get on a plane, fly to Karaganda and show up at Katherine's orphanage. God put 'his little girl' in our loving care. To protect, teach, guide, love and cherish. That is the fact simply stated.  I am sure this will change with time. I cannot begin to imagine what is in her head but it has to be overwhelming for her. I assure you, she gets her fair share of attention. I have been handling it as well as I possibly can, though it continues and will continue to get better with time. She is a very loving child, on her terms. She seems to not quite be overly trusting. Anthony seems to act as if he has been doing this his entire life. Katherine seems to have more memories of whatever she has memories of. As Ann has stated, we can only conquer one challenge at a time. The one at hand seems to be reinforcing our love for Katherine and that we are not going to let her down.

I had an email from Brad and Janet Ball today and they said they started packing like a week before they were leaving for Almaty. Guess what we decided to do tonight?  I picked all the clothes I won't wear and all the clothes I don't need and so did Bill and we filled up an entire suitcase. In the packing process, we came across a little jean jacket for Katherine. It's really a boys jacket and a little too small for her.  It goes with a pair of jeans we bought in the states. Well, she just had to put that on and button it all up. I got some pictures with her wearing it. Then we came across a little parrot that Bill won for her at the Aladdin restaurant. It had one of those claw machines and we threw in our 20 tenge and Bill got the parrot on the first try.  At the restaurant, she didn't give that parrot a second look.  Of course we thought, she's just not interested. Well, when that thing came out tonight, her eyes lit up and she was ready to ditch her much loved stuffed puppy dog for the parrot.  I was totally surprised. So she carried around the parrot (she called it a duck) and the dog and kissed them and loved them and put them to bed. It was very cute. Then, we hit the real pay load. She found my dress shoes I brought for court.  She just loved putting those on and walking around. I'm telling you dress up is totally in her future.

Tomorrow Olga and Natasha will be picking us up for the last time (except the airport). We will be giving them their gifts and some photos of them we have taken along the way.  I'm going to go get all that stuff prepared and let Bill load whatever pictures we took today.

Have a great day!

Here's a funny little P.S.  Bill and I were sitting here chatting after I finished writing. We complain on this website, but we try not to do it too much.  We are feeling pretty tired and travel weary. It's to be expected.  So as we're sitting here commiserating, I'm putting photos for Olga in a photo album. My head is down so I can see what I'm doing.  The laptop is still sitting in front of me. All of a sudden, the light in the apartment changed.  It got dimmer. Freaked me out. No light bulb burned out or anything, it was just the quality of light got dim.  This all happened in a second or two. I looked up, all freaked, and asked Bill if the lights just got dim. Me, I'm thinking if they didn't get dim for him, I've surely got a brain tumor.  You know how it is.  Bill just starts laughing at me and touches a key on the keyboard of the laptop. The screen saver was about to kick in so the screen had gone black.  Boy oh Boy, can I make my husband laugh!

Good Night! 


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