Yesterday was a big day. January 9th marked the one year anniversary of when James and Julie arrived home. Unfortunately, Fred is away right now at a conference, so we didn't get to do much as a family, but we still honored this special day in small ways.
I cooked a requested breakfast of eggs, sausage and toast. We looked over photo albums of our days together in Kazakhstan. We talked about our respective memories of Jan 9th 2009. We made a cake and all sang Happy Anniversay to You! All meaning myself, our kids, and 5 of Patrick's friends who happened to be over.
Here are my blog posts from a year ago, starting with James and Julies' flight from Ust Kamenogorsk to Almaty, and ending with their first full day at our home.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
One Step Closer to Home!
Just received word from Lori that my kids survived the flight from Ust Kamenogorsk to Almaty and seem to be doing fine. Now they just need to spend a few days running about taking care of business with the coordinator before they can board the Lufthanza flight that will take them home. Can't come soon enough! Here's the word from Lori, as well as some pictures:
Anne, the kids arrived safe and sound in Almaty. I am not sure if I will see them again but I was very glad to see them both in person. Ylia is charming and seemed excited about her airplane adventures. Borya was much more serious. He stayed close to his sister. I felt like he was protecting her a bit. here are a few pics we snapped of them. I wish I could have gotten more but we were in the last row of the plane and they in the second row (you can see where the Printy's rate).
They are having a great adventure though. Ylia just kills me. She is so wide eyed and tickled with all of it. I can tell she is loving it. Borya reminds me of Kiefer. He is very sharp and always aware of what is happening. I actually had to tell him to smile in the picture by the baggage cart. I teased him by saying "I'm going to America" and that's when I got the smile. As wild a ride as this must be for them you can tell they are very excited to be heading home.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Borya and Ylia went to the clinic for their medicals yesterday, in Almaty. As usual, my friend Lori kept a maternal eye turned their direction and sent me a report and another photo.
Today they were very relaxed, many more smiles from Boris which was nice to see. Sweet little Ylia played peek a boo with Nina the whole ride to the clinic.
Got to speak to my kids on the phone last night. 10pm our time, 9am their time, I called Gratch and spoke to him a bit about how the process is going and what they've been up to. He tells me they went to the circus yesterday, and today they'll go see a movie after the business of the day is behind them. At one point, Ylia figured out it was me that Gratch was talking to, and I heard her get all excited and ask to speak to Mama. So he put her on the phone and she said "Hi Mama!" She still can't say much in English, but I think she can understand just a bit, so I talked to her about coming home soon, coming to America, seeing Mama and Papa in a few days, etc. Then she put Borya on, and we repeated the whole process. Gratch tells me they've been good, but I just know he's gotta be lying to me b/c I'm sure they must be busting out of their skin with excitement. So close for them, and yet still so far away. Hard to be in that predicament when you're 10.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Passports and visas are now in hand -- my kids are set to come home! Unfortunately, with the timing of the flight schedules, they still have to wait till Fri, but at least all the pieces of the puzzle have been put together now.
Court approval ..... check
Adoption decree .....check
Medical clearances ..check
Here's Lori's latest account of her most recent path-crossing with my little "immigrants":
Those pesky kids were with us again today at the American Embassy. seems they are approved to travel to the US. Your little immigrants are ready to roll! Both kids were once again awesome. They were genuinely excited to see Nina again and Ylia and Borya both played with her in the car. Then at the Embassy they were my little babysitters. I was really surprised to see how much fun they are having. Borya is smiling all the time now and Ylia is often in a full out giggle. Today Gratch bought Ylia a hat at the Green Bazaar. Ylia was so pleased with it and Borya was getting silly putting it on and having me take a picture of him. (Yes now he asks me to take pictures.) I asked Gratch if the kids were excited about going to America and he said yes. They told him that all the other children at the orphanage are jealous and they want to go to America too. They really have no idea what they are in for but man o man are they happy. They look like different kids from just a few days ago. I can't imagine a few months from now how they will blossom. Remember when I joked I would escort the kids home? Well I should have done it. I was sad when I realized I wasn't going to see them again. I got a big hug and kiss from each of them (seriously could they get any sweeter???) and we said our "bye byes" in english. So here are my last few pics of the dynamic duo. Can't wait to see posts of thier homecoming. It's been a long time coming for you and them.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tues night phone call ....
"Hi Mama (giggle, giggle)"
"Hello, Ylia, how are you, kag delah?"
"Goot (giggle, giggle)"
"Mama will see you in three days in America"
"I love you, ya tibya looblue"
"I love you too, (giggle, giggle)"
"Hello, Borya, how are you, kag delah?"
"Horrahshow. I am goot."
"I will see you soon in America."
"I love you."
"I love you, too. Bye, bye!"
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Last phone call
Spoke to the kids by phone again last night. For the last time. B/c tonight when I would normally call, they'll already be in the air heading for home. Still can't hardly believe it!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Home at last, home at last,
Thank God Almighty, they are home at last!
Touchdown, spike the ball, funky endzone dance, the kids are in the house!
When we got in the car in the airport parking lot, Fred briefly looked over the papers he had been given by the escort and said, "I don't know if we have the [such-n-such] we were supposed to get". I said, "Drive. Just drive. I just want to get these kids in our house and anything else can be straightened out later"!
So we've been home with them about three hours now and they're doing great. We got home late b/c their flight was delayed. But we had dinner waiting in the crockpot, then gave them an abbreviated tour of the house, and showed them their rooms. They are reacting completely as I had expected: Ylia is all excited and bubbly and looking from one thing to the next, where Borya is wearing more of a shell-shocked expression. As is typical for him, he is taking it all in quietly, scarcely saying a word. Ylia loves her room, and get this, had a poster hanging on her walls within two hours. Oy, preteens. Daniel has been busily introducing Borya to each of his stuffed animals. Borya sat down and quickly drew an amazing picture of Puss-n-Boots that he presented to Daniel, and Daniel just about fell to the ground in worship. He showed it to me and told me he would file it with his "special papers". Tomorrow I will post a picture. The first ever picture of our family of 8, taken at the airport. But tonight I'm exhausted (not much sleep last night, like a kid on Christmas Eve), so I'm afraid uploading and downloading will have to wait till daybreak.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Introducing the new clan
Taken Friday night at the Philadelphia Airport. This is the very first picture taken of our new family. Incidentally, we are standing in front of an artistic display of the Declaration of Independence. There's a message there, don't you think?
From left to right, Rosie, Daniel, Anne, Bella, Ylia, Borya, Patrick and Fred.
Life as usual
Seems funny that this day, the first full day with all six kids under one roof, should seem so .... ordinary. I don't know what I'm expecting. Ticker tape parade? Sparklers and streamers? News reporters banging on my doors and windows? Instead of that scene I have this one: Patrick and Borya, my 13 yr olds, playing x-box. Duh. Daniel asleep on the couch while Bella's eyes are glued to Tom and Jerry on the TV. Another big duh. Rosie and Ylia still sleeping at 9 on a Sat morning (need I say it again?). Again, I'm not sure what I thought our first morning home together as a family of 8 would be like, but after all the angst of the last three months, the year-long paperchase to prepare the doc-oo-ments, the three years spent writing to Borya and hoping and dreaming and praying to find a way to bring him home, and the two years prior to that of trying to track him down after he left the Detsky Dom, I guess I just thought this moment would be more remarkable looking from the outside. You know, God light streaming in the windows, Mormmon Tabernacle Choir music filling the air and all of us floating through the house glowing from the inside. That kind of thing. Not ordinary people going about their morning doing ordinary things without a speck of introspection going on. But then again, maybe this scene unfolding about me on this Saturday morning is the holiest of all. When you come right down to it, all of the "holiness" in our lives is made up of the small, I'll say it again - ordinary - things that take place time and time again without notice, without any kind of fanfare. We look at the big things in our worlds while failing to notice the small, seemingly insignificant things happening all around us.
New Year's Resolution? Notice and live for the "small things".