Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009

Congratulations to Sven, Jocelyn and Yannik who were told "YES" in court yesterday that they may indeed adopt Mlle O - Annabelle. That was the best gift any family could receive on Christmas day.

Truthfully, I found Christmas this year and mass in particular very difficult. Behind me was the sweetest little 3 month old girl, dressed in a red velvet and white fur outfit, her parents were filled with joy and pride. In front of me was a 3 year old girl playing with her mothers scarf, and beside her, her 6 year old brother pretending to be so serious, their mother looked at her children with joy as weel.. In fact all around were happy children and proud loving parents. And what kept running through my head was this Christmas was suppose to be MY first with a child. Waves of grief would pass over me. Maybe the children's mass wasn't the best idea.

But, it isn't my way to wallow in grief, so I dusted myself off and reminded myself that I will adopt a baby, not on my schedule but on the real one that will reveal itself according to life's plan.

So, at home we enjoyed opening gifts, then I made a brunch feast of Cinnamon Waffles with sausage and bacon. We enjoyed a little quite time, with the sounds of Lawrence Welk in it's endless strains when Kathryn is home. In the evening we braved the rain (thank goodness it all fell as rain or we would have needed the army again) to drive to our cousin's house for a lovely Christmas dinner with 25 of our relatives. Finally home again around midnight to share a little eggnog and rum (my first and only drink of the day as I'm designated driver) and the day was over.

Next milestone to survive is New Year's. Last year I was so certain as we marked the change, that 2009 was the year I would become a mom. Well, it is time to let that go, and now time to focus on 2010 as the year of Motherhood.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter's First Appearance

Winter arrived in Toronto this week. The rest of Canada is wondering if we need the army to help out. Come on, it was one time and that's after 100cm of the white stuff fell in 3 days, we needed help that year (1999).

The weather up till now has been very mild. I was wearing a fall coat even on Saturday last week. Some days in November were so warm people were dining on outdoor patio during the day.

Well, the white stuff fell for the first time Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. It was that heavy wet stuff. And then it rained later in the day. Now it is a solid icy mess. The streets are narrower as they were not plowed and now there are icy ridges on both sides of the road. Winter driving, hmm maybe I SHOULD have already had my winter tires put on the car. Wonder what my mechanic is doing next week?

Last night I was downtown for a taping of the Royal Canadian Air Farce's New Year Eve's special. We had to walk from the subway to the CBC building. Downtown planning is so well thought out, not! WIND TUNNELS when the temp is way below 0 Celsius, and the wind chill factor is in the teens, bad planning. As we walked and grumbled last night, I actually had to remind myself that I do love winter. 4 years without regular yard duty has made me a wimp. Another reason I need to get back into the classroom.

Have a great weekend all. I'm enjoying Lawrence Welk right now. All is right with the world.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Unexpected Depths

On Sunday my sister and I went to get our seasonal and H1N1 flu shots. There was a clinic at the local civic centre, so I figured that would be a good place to go. We used her wheelchair, think toddler - well very tall toddler, so much easier to push her where we are going rather than pulling and waiting!

As we got out of the car, she was asking if we were going shopping ("bank, going to go bank?" to be exact - as kids we had to go to the bank to start our shopping...) I kept saying, "No, we're getting our needles." But as I rolled her past the swimming pool towards the civic centre she turned in the chair, looked at me and asked, "Book?" We were right in front of the the very nondescript office tower looking public library. I don't know the last time she was in the library, maybe well over 20 years ago. Who knows what goes on inside her head? She never stops amazing me, there are memories, and knowledge in her head I have no means of accessing.

I constantly wondered what she'll make of her niece/nephew. A social worker at a workshop on preparing for adoption suggested creating a social story for her with a picture of me standing at the empty crib, an airplane, and then the picture of me with my little one. The group home staff would go over it every day to help her understand.

I spent a lot of time last winter trying to make my sister jealous. Not to be mean, but to learn how she'd react. I would go swimming with her and her group home housemates. My sister doesn't need any support in the water, instead she floats away with a noodle. I would support and pull around one of the others. My sister was never jealous. Instead she'd interact and try to engage the 'friend' I'd swum with. A good sign, eh?!

What worries me is the leaving of both my sister and the my new little one. I hate Sunday evenings when I bring my sister back to her group home. I cried all the way home for the first six months after she moved into the group home. The staff takes great care of my sister and she loves living there, but it feels wrong for her not to be at home with my brother and I. The longest my sister and I have been apart is 7 weeks, but at that time my parents were alive and she lived at home. The idea of traveling for 3 months and not being able to explain, argh! And the idea of going somewhere for two trips isn't any easier, as then I'll be leaving my little one. No one ever said this adoption stuff was easy, did they!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Busy Week on the Blog

It's been a busy week on the blog. In fact it has been a busy few months.

Back in June, I put Site Meter onto my blog. At the time I wasn't sure if anyone was actually reading my blog. I know my blog is listed on Lots of Kaz Blogs and I use that blog to find and get updates on lots of blogs that I follow, but get this.

Since I started the Site Meter in June I've had 1256 visits to my blog. WOW!

This week alone I've had 80 visits.

Hey, that's great and weird at the same time. I have survived most of this incredibly challenging wait by reading others' blogs. I have learned ever so much by reading the day to day experiences of both waiting families, families in Kaz, and the families finally at home.

I have to admit, in the beginning I read the blogs without leaving a comment. I didn't actually know the writers, so it felt intrusive to leave a message. Comments seemed to be from people the authors knew.

What I didn't realize at the time, that exchanging comments is how we all get to know each other. We have this wonderful Internet community of families in different stages struggling through the ups and downs of international adoption.

I'm ever so lucky, as I leave in an area where there are lots of families adopting from Kazakhstan. We have 2 to 3 parties a year, where we get together amazed at how the children have grown, meet the new children with their proud mamas and papas, and encourage the waiting families that the LOI will actually come for them. So I know many families in real life. I also belong to a group of single moms who are adopted or adopting from Kaz. And there is a group of families that we try to get together for play dates and our commonality is international adoption.

But, it is in the Internet group that helps to keep me going. While reading a blog post about a successful day in court, with tears pooling in my eyes, I think about my own experiences to come. I marvel at the posted pictures of the children and how they blossom each day as the bonding progresses and they begin to feel safe with their new parents, and I consul myself to see the bright bubbly child waiting to emerge. Reading the ups and downs, at home waiting or in country bonding, I learn and prepare myself as best as possible for the reality and challenge this process can be at times.

So, today, when you read my blog, drop me a comment so I know that you are there. And let me know what your there is all about. Where in the world do you live? What stage of adoption are you presently grappling with?

So, Hi there, I'm Michele, and you are...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Name's Not Murphy

Have you ever heard of Murphy's Law? It's not generally known in Ireland, however, it states that if it can go wrong it will go wrong. Well, let me tell you a tale about redoing my paperwork for my provincial approval.

I need a local police clearance for my provincial approval. I knew this the moment I knew I need to update my home study. My local police take a LONG time to do a clearance for adoption, from 4 to 6 weeks. As I want to have my paperwork for the update done as quickly as possible, I kept asking for the forms to request the police check.

A week ago Sunday I finally got my AP to give me my police clearance (up to that point I think she believed I'd be able to get an extension). When I collected my form, it was just that, my form. There was none for my brother who also requires a police check as he lives in the same house. I call my AP, remind her I need another form, and the next day collect the form.

At that point, of course I've misplaced the first form. (If it can be done, it will be done.) It took me a few days, but finally I located it. I wasn't it a great rush as I ended up working way across town and would not be able to go to the central police station to deliver the forms.

Today I was able to go downtown. I went during lunch. I stood in line for 20 minutes. Got to the counter and ...oh... the AP didn't sign one of the forms. I'm required to take the form back to the AP to get her to sign it.

I pay for my check. Go back to work fuming. Leave work. Drop off form at AP's place (I'm lucky that she actually lives relatively close to me) and leave a rather peeved message on her phone. Not impolite because it isn't in my nature, but abrupt.

AP calls, totally apologetic, explains what happened but explaining and taking responsibility. As an apology she offers to deduct $50 from the cost of my update. I thought that was reasonable. And then she quotes an amount $200 more than she'd told me the month before. HUH.

Anyway, everything will come right. I will have the signed form in my hands tomorrow morning. I will go downtown again tomorrow after work and stand in line for however long it takes. I will take my brother's ID with me to prove that he is who I say he is. (He is always who I say he is, cause I'm the boss LOL). And then, cause I don't believe in negativity. I'm going to have some fun shopping downtown. I might even treat myself to dinner downtown.

And I will only be paying the original amount for the update minus $50 dollars.

Just remember, my names isn't Murphy. This shouldn't be happening to me. Right?!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Adoption Advent

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Church season of Advent. A time of waiting for the birth of the savior. At school I taught my students how we prepared room in our hearts for the rebirth of Christ. To help them understand the preparation I always made the connection to the preparations parents make while waiting for the birth of a child.

Well, I guess I could say that I'm in the Advent season of my life now. A time of waiting and a time of preparing for my child. One day I will travel to Kazakhstan to meet my child, but for now I wait.

Waiting is hard. Every season marks another milestone that I thought would be different this year. But the passage of time also means I'm moving closer to getting my LOI and officially packing for the trip of my life.

One thing this season of waiting is not, it isn't lonely. With my real life friends and my on-line friends, the waiting time is shared.

I've resolved to really enjoy this Christmas and have a wonderful time with friends and family. Usually I have to fight myself not to get into the mood too early. As a primary teacher it was always a struggle to keep kids minds on work when they were thinking Christmas, and I mean from two days after Halloween. This year I'm as bad as my former students, I've already been listening to Christmas CD's in my car for 2 weeks, I've put up some decorations and I attended the Santa Claus parade.

The reality is I have a lot to do before I travel to meet my child. None of it HAS to be done before I travel, but it would be nice to have my to-do list smaller before my workload doubles. So, Advent roll on, I welcome you and your message. I'm happy to prepare both for this Christmas and the child I will one day call my son/daughter.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Santa Claus Parade

Last Sunday Toronto held the 105th annual Santa Claus parade.

Now, I've lived in Toronto my entire life, and this was only the second time I've attended the parade. The first time was 2 years ago. I joined Diane and her daughter Ciera, Diane sister, and a friend of Diane and her daughter.

It was a cloudy and cool day. Not actually cold, sort of comfortable. It wasn't until the end of the afternoon that I began to feel cold.

There is a lot of waiting around, as you have to be there early to get a spot on the sidewalk. I actually was later than I'd planned as I lost track of time. But Diane and friends had found a great space on the sidewalk. The road is closed off hours before the parade actually passes and the children use sidewalk chalk to send messages to Santa and the marchers to stop in front of us.

A favourite of the parade is always the upside down clowns. Diane and her sister love the clowns. I have to admit I really like them too.

There were lots of marching bands and beautiful floats. Next year I hope to be there with my own little one. (Fingers crossed - not that that wasn't the thought I had 2 years ago when I attended the parade)

My camera is a Canon Powershot SD300, a Digital ELPH. It's nice and small and can fit in my pocket. At one of our Can-A-Kaz parties, someone mentioned they had a similar camera, but upgraded to a better one after adopting their child as the camera wasn't fast enough. I didn't understand until I tried to take pictures of the marchers at the parade.

Heck, the people are just walking and they come out all blurry. I guess I'll be looking for a new camera for myself for Christmas.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Feature on the Blog

I've added a list of the final stages my dossier has gone through. I love reading on other peoples blogs when they passed through each stage of the process, and as time passes I realize I'm beginning to forget when I did things. To help me remember I've added a list from the translation stage forward, with Return Home at the top of the list.

I would have liked to have gone back further in the process, but my memory is faulty to the exact date of different steps, and I love to be exact.

I'm still waiting to hear which of two cities I will be traveling to. My file is will either go to Uralsk or to Almaty. I've been reading about both cities and have talked with families who have traveled to both cities. I'm exciting about going to either. Hopefully, I will learn shortly where my LOI will be issued from.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Still Waiting to Start Paperwork Over Again

Well, I got the final, final, final word that my letter of approval would not be extended and that I need to do a renewal. That's fine, but since I don't know what paperwork I need for this 'renewal' I can't start on the paperwork.

I emailed my AP yesterday, and I learned that she is out of town. She'll be home on Sunday, so she can prepare the paperwork for me to pick up.

As usual, I'm really worried about the local police clearance. That takes over 6 weeks to come back. And we are going into the holiday season, so I don't know how long it will take now. The sooner I can drop off the request the better.

IF I get the form to bring to the downtown police station this weekend, I can take it down after work on Monday, otherwise it might be Friday before I get a chance to go down there again during their open hours.

My AP keeps reassuring me that this is simply my provincial approval. This is just a technicality and that it won't affect my dossier at all. Okay, I get that, but I hate not having all my ducks in a row, signed, sealed and delivered.

In the meantime, I'm working on some redecorating. I was pulling up the carpet in the bedroom. Ummm, aren't the tack strips just supposed to be tacked down themselves. I think my father, God Love Him, put the strips down because they have 1 and 1/2 inch nails ever inch or so. I'm quite handy with the crowbar these days.

This evening I'm going to finally pick a paint colour. I've never really done this before. All my life I've lived in a white house. The array of available paints is so incredible. I could never understand my mother's desire for white throughout the house. We live in a country where the outside view is all white for 1/2 of every year (feels much longer most years). I'm thinking of a soft yellow.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Christmas Carol Movie - Not for Little Ones

On Friday evening, as I wasn't picking my sister up from her group home, I decided to go the movies. My brother, Christine and I decided to see the new Christmas Carol movie.

We attended the 5 pm show. What a great time to go to the movies on a Friday evening. There were maybe 20 other people in the theater. We went to see it in 3D in IMAX. WOW, that is a great way to see the movie.

At the end of the movie, by brother turned to me and said he found it scary, I thought it was me because I'm quite the movie wimp. Because Jim Carey is the star, I expected it to be 'ha ha ha' funny. It isn't! I found the movie to be a great version of the Dickens story, I was scared by scenes and moved to tears by others. I just read the Sunday Independent news coverage for the movie and the sub heading said "Christmas has come early, and it's a thoroughly ghoulish affair". And it certainly was ghoulish. This is NOT a sentimental treatment of Victorian England. Oh, and dress warmly for the movie. I was SO cold watching it, as the movie is completely believable in it's coldness that you 'feel' cold.

Oh, and Jim Carey is wonderful in this movie. It is the Christmas Carol with Jim Carey, not the other way around. You totally forget that the actor playing Scrooge is Carey (for that matter, most of the movie is Carey, not that you get that until the credits).

Just a word of warning, don't take young children to see this movie. It does have some very frightening scenes, sensitive little ones might be overwhelmed . Or the little ones might not be able to follow the story. It relies on the telling of the story as much as on the 3D effects. A little one in our audience actually was very bored, as she didn't get it, and of course we could tell, luckily her parents bought her more popcorn to keep her quiet.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Paperwork, Here I Come - AGAIN

Well, I heard back from my agency and I have to get a new Letter of Approval. That means an update with my adoption practitioner, new police clearances (both local and RCMP/Interpol) and medical. Once all the paperwork is done it could take up to 16 weeks to get the new Letter of Approval. Considering the local police clearance can take 6 weeks, this process could take me 22 weeks.
Supposedly, I could have gotten a 6 month extension, however the province stated that they couldn't issue an extension as I don't have my Letter of Invitation right now. So that means starting the paperwork again.
I have to tell you I hate this! It had better not take 5 or more months to get my Letter of Approval. I can just see me waiting to see which will come in first, my Letter of Approval or Invitation.

Blogs: How many is too many?

Blogs have been SO important to me as I've learned about the adoption process in Kazakhstan and in keeping me sane as I wait. I also, along the way discovered knitting blogs. They are a wonderful way of sharing my love of knitting and learning about this comsuming hobby. So it seemed natural to begin both a blog about my adoption journey and my knitting. However, somewhere along the line I started a third blog about my house. I guess somehow I'd separated my life into boxes and created blogs for each of the boxes.
Well, I've decided to do away with my home blog and I've deleted it. It's now gone. Hmmm, maybe I should have saved the entries first, oh well, it's not really gone for the next 90 days and then it will be really gone.
From now on I'll have a blog to keep track of my adoption and homelife (they are one and the same, right) and one for knitting.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The short life of Paperwork

I was thinking the other day that it has been nearly 2 years since I got provincial approval for my adoption. At the time I believed it would only be 6 or so months later that I'd become a mother. Well I'm still waiting and the paperwork is expiring again.

Since I began this process I've had 3 sets of fingerprints for RCMP and Interpol clearance, local police clearance twice, 4 medical forms, and 1 home study update. I sent a note to my agency last night asking about my provincial approval. I learned today that it is set to expire on the 20th of this month. Hmmm, is it my role in this process to stay on top of these things???? I've never had a provincial approval, I didn't know that they expire after 2 years. Good thing I wondered about the age of that document, eh? I have less than 18 days to do whatever I need to do. What do I have to do to get re approval (my agency is looking into this issue, they don't know exactly what will is required- I guess I'm the first to go through this process - not!)

The only problem with fingerprints is actually getting good prints from me. Who knew that hand washing dishes and forgetting to use gloves would make my fingerprints so hard to read. Do crooks know these things?My brother (as we share a house he has to be checked too) has no problem getting his prints read (read that anyway you want). Once I go to the fingerprinting office, I receive my clearance letter within a week.

Local police clearance is a little more challenging. I have to ask my adoption practitioner to give me a request for a police check. Then I go over to her office to pick up the paperwork. When I have the requests filled out, I go downtown to the central police station, where I stand in line to hand in my request and pay the fee. As I stand in line, I listen to the officer tell the others how long they have to wait for their request for clearance to be completed. Most are done in 3 to 10 days. Then it's my turn and they say it will be 6 to 8 weeks. Yah, lovely.

Thankfully, my doctor is wonderful when it comes to the paperwork for this adoption. All she does is fill in the paperwork and say, "Let's hope this is the one that works the charm." She does remind me that I'm not getting any younger and that it's hard to parent a little one as you get older. Ya, that's helpful. Like I could hurry this process up.

I rant over all this as I might have to update all this paperwork to get a new letter of approval from the province. Then, when I go to Kazakhstan I will probably have to get them all done again.

If you haven't been through this process, you have no idea how frustrating paperwork and their expiration dates can be.

Well, that's my rant for today. Tomorrow I'll discover what I need to do to get a new letter of approval.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kaz Mommies Take Over Canada's Wonderland

The only place XuiZhu really wanted to go in Toronto was Canada's Wonderland, and she made it not once but twice the week she was here.

Here are all the Kaz Mommies. Maybe one day I'll try and get everyone's attention before I take a picture. But we were just too busy talking, laughing, and watching the kiddies to pose for photos.

And here are the kiddies. XuiZhu, who was hamming it up for the photo, and Ciera were trapped in the airplane ride until the ride attendant came and unlocked their seat belts. Yeah, it was the best chance to get their picture.

Alex enjoyed a graham cookie while we stood in line for another ride.

And Dastan found the buggy was a perfect toy for him.

As darkness fell and the park and all it's rides began to close, the children found a new ride. It didn't go as fast or as far as the park rides, but they enjoyed it.
Alex was already totally tuckered out and slept through the later part of the evening, though, it memory serves me, poor Loretta and Alex were up to way past 2 that morning and the following day was a work day for Loretta.

As we left the park, Loretta and talked about getting season passes next summer. The park is a fun place to spend an evening. And it doesn't have to be an expensive place to spend a couple of hours, as long as you eat elsewhere and don't buy any anything.

Summer Memories

I finally found the cable for my camera, oh, and I found my camera. So I'm going to post some of the pictures I took during the summer.

Dastan and Alex enjoyed ice cream cones while we were at IKEA in August. XuiZhu didn't make it into any of my photos that day as she was having WAY too much fun in the IKEA play center.

Loretta,(Alex's mom) Sheila and Clarence (Dastan and XuiZhu's parents) met on their way to Uralsk last September. Their experiences and stories of Uralsk are one of the reasons I want to go to Uralsk myself. The other two have ice cream all over the faces in these pictures. LOL

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Luck to A and L and L and A!

A and L, a couple I met at a waiting families session, are off this weekend to Uralsk. There they will be meeting with officials early next week and most importantly their son/daughter. I'm not sure, but I think A said they will be meeting a 2 year old boy. I got a chance to speak to A on Saturday and she was ever so excited. After what seems like a never ending wait, the LOI came and they are off for 3 months in Kazakhstan. Good luck and God bless you both.

Their paperwork left Canada in February, I think. Hmmmm, so let's start the traditional "If their dossier was there then, then I should hear sometime around ..." game. Actually, I don't like the figures with this math, because that would make my LOI coming in March. I like the dream of travelling in January or February. Absolutely desire spending January and February in Kazakhstan. I LOVE our Canadian winter and would love to experience a Kazakh winter.

Another family (L and A, not to be confused with the above A and L, got it????) received their LOI, no sorry, they got the call that their LOI is ready for them. The call came on Friday and they were told they will be traveling in the next couple of weeks. We asked L when her dossier went to Kazakhstan and she thought it was in May. Well, Diane and I know very well that it wasn't in May because nothing went to the embassy in May. You might remember that we had hoped to have our dossier go to the embassy in April, but they didn't but we did learn that our files were each number 1 going to the the different regions (mine for Almaty/Uralsk and Diane's for Karaganda), and then we had to wait until mid June before they FINALLY got there, so we know! Therefore it must have gone in April or maybe even March. Can you believe forget such an insignificant point as when your dossier went to Kaz???? How can I play the 'When will my LOI come?' if I don't have the relevant information. LOL

I saw A and L and L and A on Saturday at our 3rd Annual Republic Day celebration. It was wonderful to be with all our Kazakh family. I'll try to post some photos tomorrow. We had 13 Kazakh cuties at the party ranging from a 5 year old to a 14 month old. We rent a lawn bowling club which is a great place for our parties. There's room for the kids to run, play ball, ride toys and have fun. This year, many of the children enjoyed making crafts at the craft table. That was a surprise to Diane and I, because we thought there would be no one at that table this year.

The party is a pot luck and we try our hand at traditional Kazakh foods. It is fun to try out a recipe from the internet. I did Samsa last year, and meant to try some kind of dessert this year, but it was too hectic of a week. So I made my staple of Kazakh Chai tea with cardamon and fennel seeds. I think it tastes yummy.

Diane, Loretta and I are already trying to pin down the date for our next party which is Nauryz in March. With both Diane and I waiting for LOI's we figured it would be best to have everything in place as early as possible. I also wanted to get the date posted as early as possible as Canakaz members outside the GTA might want to attend. Sheila and family hope to come from New Brunswick, so she needs the dates to get the best possible seat sale prices available, right Sheila?????

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day

It is Thanksgiving Day and I am thankful for every so many things.

My brother and sister, and my extended family.
I have a job I love and wonderful co-workers.
My circle of friends has grown to include Kazakhstan AP and PAP.
I have new 'sisters' who are there every step of this journey to parenthood.
My file is in Kazakhstan and I'm waiting for my LOI.

My brother, sister and I have a tradition started when my mother was alive, where we go to the local Pioneer Village for Thanksgiving dinner. We've carried on the tradition since Mum's passing. (Oh, and I'm thankful I didn't have to cook or clean up after Thanksgiving dinner. - my mother didn't raise a fool!)

Last year the weather was warm and mild. We had a delightful lunch and enjoyed our walk around the village.

This year it was very cool, in fact we became very cold walking around after lunch. We were thankful for winter coats and hats.

We had a delightful time, however as we sat in the dining room, I could help but think that last year I was certain we'd be sharing our meal with a little person. As we ate dinner I told my brother that I'm 99 per cent sure that NEXT year, I will have a little person at the table.

Come on LOI, coming to mummy to be!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Still Waiting

When my file went to Kazakhstan in June, I thought I'd be traveling by the end of 4 months. Well, 4 months have passed and I've not heard a thing. It is hard waiting, and even harder to get myself to do the things I should do before I travel. (Do you REALLY need to put together a crib before traveling??????)

Now on the good side of not traveling yet, and yes there is a good side, I put my back out on the Labour Day Weekend. It was one of those really stupid things. I was standing in the kitchen of my cousin's cottage just talking while leaning against the sink, when the rug under my feet moved forward. I didn't fall (though many friends have said maybe a fall would have been I felt okay then, but a little while later my back was ever so sore.

The next day I had to drive myself home, which on the Monday of the long weekend became a 3 hour odessy, and then back to work. It really isn't in the cards calling in sick the day after Labour day when you've been on holiday for the past 2 months, eh?????

Slowly, very slowly my back has been healling. It probably would have healed faster if I'd taken some time off work, but I want to keep that for when I'm in Kazakhstan. So, I keep waiting. If only I knew when I might be traveling, then I could procrastinate with greater accuracy.LOL

Monday, July 27, 2009

Play Date

Sunday saw 'our gang' get together for another play date at Carrie and Edwin's house. Amazing how the children change. The last time we got together back in February, Alex was rolling around on the floor and Aimee, Ciera and Yerlan took a long while to start playing. This time Alex's is walking all over the place and the other 3 quickly got down to some serious playing. According to Yerlan they were playing Motor cross.

I brought my camera but I forgot to get any pictures. I'll have to make sure to take some pictures the next time we get together.

Diane's, MarieClaude and Martin's and my dossiers all went to Kazakhstan at the same time. Diane, MarieClaude and Martin dossiers all went to Karaganda, mine went to Almaty. It would have been so nice if mine had also gone to Karaganda, we might have ended up being in country together. At least it is nice waiting together.

We all seem to feel that we probably won't receive LIO until after the new year. Bummer, I was so hoping this would be the Christmas I'd have a little one at home. Oh, well, as long as my file is on it's way I can just keep waiting. But it certainly is wonderful having such good friends along the way. I absolutely love our play dates as being with these wonderful children actually makes the waiting easier. I love watching them grow up.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Adoption Reading

As I wait, I've been doing a lot of reading about adoption and the parenting of adopted children.

At the moment I'm reading Patty Cogen's Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Through the Teen Years.

The book is a great mix of research, practical suggestions and first hand examples. Cogen is family therapist assisting families who have adopted international. She frequently refers to a program she runs called 'First Year Home' with families as they negotiate their first year after forever family day.

I'm presently on page 103 of the 413 page book. Unfortunately I'm having a hard time remembering what I've already read. That's what I get for trying to read during the school year. I'll reread it this summer and write up some notes for myself. I always remember 'stuff' better if I read and write notes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear Birth Mother - Letter #1

I've been thinking a lot about you lately. Okay, I've been thinking about you since I began my journey to become a mother through adoption. I've decided to start writing letters to you. I don't expect to ever give you the letters, but it seems right some how just to put these words together.

I wonder how you are and how you are coping with your decision to relinquish your rights as a mother. It must be hard. Did you know the whole way through your pregnancy that you would have to give him up at the end? How did you feel as you felt each movement, kick of our child? Did you take good care of him? Did you have a lot of trouble with morning sickness? Were you tired a lot? Was he your first child, or have you had other children?

The other day I was with a friend who became a mother for the second time in March. She is very interested in my journey to become a parent. As we talked she suddenly turned to me and said, "So, your child is already born now." I looked at her in stunned silence. I'd never thought of it that way. I knew when I met our child he or she would have to be at least 6 months old, and I hope to be traveling in 4 to 6 months, but math has never been my best subject. I never thought that our child is alive and growing in a baby house some where in Kazakhstan.

At the moment we are both in the same boat, we are both wondering how our child is doing. I think of our child as a son. You at least know if we have a boy or a girl. Did you see him, hold him before you had to leave him? Did you give him a name? I hope when I meet our child I learn a little about you.

In time, when our child is older, I expect him/her to ask questions about you, question for which I won't have answers. But they will be questions that I am asking myself now as I wait to meet our child.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day

To think today might be the last of my quiet Canada celebrations. Hopefully next year on Canada's 143rd birthday I'll be celebrating with a little new Canadian citizen.

Kathryn is home for the day from her group home and is in her usual place, lying on the couch watching Lawrence Welk. She slept in this morning. I actually got to sleep in to 9 am myself. I doubt that will happen next year.

I'll take Kathryn back to her group home this evening after dinner as her day program is just closed today for the holiday. She was so excited when I went to the group home last night to pick her up since I rarely pick her up on a Tuesday evening. She is really trying to figure things out these days. While in the group home she asked if we were going to the doctor. I guess the only other times I've picked her up has been to take her to the doctor. And she is recovering from a fracture to her left ankle. It seems a logical explanation to me. I'm so happy to see and hear her thinking these days. For a lady with only a vocabulary of roughly 200 to 500 words she is certainly good at getting her ideas across. Okay, to me she is good at getting her thoughts across. She rarely talks to any one other than JB and I, and I get the most conversation. I wonder what she'll make of her new niece or nephew!

While Kathryn slept, JB and I watched another episode of Star Gate Atlantis Season 5. It was just released yesterday. I love the show and am sorry it's canceled. I plan to take the whole series with me to Kazakhstan to watch while I'm bonding.

It is a beautiful day here today. Not hot, but the sun is out right now. I think it is suppose to rain this evening, as it has for the past week. The lawn is a right mess and I need to get it cut. Every time I think about cutting the grass I think of Lori and Dart's pictures on their blog of Dart mowing the lawn with Nina in a back carrier. Thank goodness for the Kazakhstan adoption blogs out on the net!

There are so many people I have met and become friends and even family with since I've started on this journey to motherhood. In recent days I've received so many encouraging and supportive responses from the wider Kazakh adoption community. I know I've lived on blogs during the past 2 years as I've surged ahead and suffered set backs on this journey. I rarely left messages because I thought it might be rude or inappropriate. Now I see how wonderful these comments can be as you wait. It is so reassuring to know I'm not alone.

I truly know I'm not alone from the wonderful support I get from my new sisters Diane and Loretta. Who knew that becoming a single mom would mean I would also adopt and be adopted by the other single moms. Their 'been there done that, now you do this' help and Diane's companionship as our dossiers paired up at the agency and are traveling together has made this process beyond exciting. I've loved getting to know their children. Ciera is delightful and I was so shocked to see the girl she has become in the recent dance recital pictures. And Alex is simply wonderful. The future is so exciting.

And of course you can't be on a journey like this with out the support of friends and family. JB is so excited about being an uncle. He has such a wicked sense of humour. He came home from shopping the other day and told me I would be so proud of him. He saw a teddy bear but he DIDN'T buy it. I was sort of confused until he explained that it was called a Swear Bear. You push on the bear's stomach and the bear goes off on a swearing rampage. Yes, I am so proud of him.

My friends have also been so excited. They get goosebumps every time I tell them about my dossier passing another stage. And they are SO nice encouraging me to talk on and on about my favourite subject, my adoption journey. All my friends are parents themselves and they are looking forward to me joining the club. I get all that teasing advice about enjoying my free time now as I'll never see it again. LOL

Happiest of Canada Days to all and thank you for your love and support on the journey!

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's Gone, It's Gone

I got an email to say that my file has flown the country. Yahoo. It is on it's way to Kazakhstan. I wonder how long until I hear that my file has reach over there.

Time to start setting up the baby room.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dossier to Embassy

It's gone! It's gone! My dossier and Diane's have gone to the Embassy.

At 4:51 this afternoon Diane called me. Her first question was if I had read my email today. I started to get excited and say, "Did they go? Did they go?" Poor Diane was trying to wait until I read the message myself as she sort of knew they were to go today as she was bugging Krista at our Agency on Friday. She didn't want to spoil the surprise. But I was in meetings all day and just checked my email twice (wasn't I showing incredible restraint only checking twice). I was online at 3:32, I know because I sent an email out at 3:32. The email from Krista came at 3:45. I wasn't online at that time.

Okay, calm down, deep breath, now tell the story properly. It is a good story, well at least to me. Diane and I have been taking turns bugging Krista at our Agency. One week I ask about our files and the next week she would ask. On Friday Diane decided it was her turn to bug so she sent an email to find out if there was any action on the horizon. Krista responded by saying she'd just heard from the Consulate and the agency would be able to send files on Monday (today). Being the good friend she is, Diane asked if the files being sent would include mine. So poor Diane has known all weekend that they were to go today, but as I said she wanted me to have the joy of reading the email. And on many days of the week I work at a computer with my email open all day and would have heard the 'ping' of new mail. As soon as I was on the phone with Diane, I checked my email and there was the message for me, subject line: Dossier to Embassy.

Well for the rest of her drive from work to Ciera's day care we talked a mile a minute about a dozen issues, but I'm afraid I hardly remember any of them. Actually I was dusting a couple of shelves while I was on the phone. I don't know why I was dusting, it's not a normal activity. But while on the phone with Diane I got a rag and the lemon oil and took all the books off the shelf and dusted. Is this what cocooning is like? Am I beginning to nest? Will I change out of my 'laissez faire' style of house work and become a clean freak????? Yikes, I have no idea what the coming months will bring.

Anyway, dossier's next stop is to be authenticated and then off to Kazakhstan.

I'm so excited I can hardly think straight. Now, let see, so far I've told my brother, Loretta, my friend Anna. That leaves...the rest of the universe. Yahoo!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No News This Week

Another week passes and another week without news. Diane and I exchange phone calls and emails as we await the news that our files have finally been sent to the consulate. I'm sure when we finally hear that the remarkable event has occurred everyone will hear our cries of "about time" across our respected cities.

I haven't been posting that much because ... well nothing is happening (have you caught that thread yet????), but last night I realized that 'nothing's happening' is not the truth. Something happens most days. And if nothing actually happens during the day I will have read or think or dream of something. Will it be worthy of sharing? Maybe not. But it will be worthy of recording to remind myself of everything when I'm finally a mommy.

I was on the phone last night with Loretta. She and Alex survived and thrived through their first week with Loretta back at work. Alex is the sweetest little boy. I keep teasing that I want the Alex- Mark 2 for myself. He is almost 14 months old and nearly walking independently, he takes a couple of steps and looses his balance or confidence and down he goes. Alex is very observant. Last weekend when I was at Loretta's house, Alex saw the flicker of reflected sunlight on the ceiling. It was just a tiny patch of light, but Alex pointed it out to us all. At Loretta's mother's house Alex noticed when the light fixtures were replaced and more remarkably, Alex noticed two clocks on the wall had been swaped. I've been in and out of the house and I don't think I'd have ever noticed if it hadn't been pointed out to me. Both are roughly the same size and colour, just a slightly different shape. It is incredible that children who can't verbalize can get across what they are thinking and noticing.

Alex was also very cute with my sister Kathryn. Kathryn is incredible shy and especially around little children. She will not make eye contact with little children, she never has and I doubt she ever will. Well, last weekend I was holding Alex while sitting beside Kathryn. Alex tried to make eye contact and Kathryn wouldn't look at him. So Alex began to very gently pinch Kathryn's arm. I wonder what Alex was thinking during this exchange. I also wonder what Kathryn thought. She didn't seem to be bothered by me holding and playing with Alex. A hopeful sign for when she becomes an aunt.

As Alex grows out of clothes Loretta washes them up and sends them on to me. I know that it is more likely that I will adopt a boy in Kazakhstan rather than a girl, but if I do adopt a girl she might suffer from gender identity difficulties as all her clothes will be boys clothes. LOL

It's Saturday morning and Kathryn is training me for being the mother of a little person. We talked about getting up at 4:15 this morning, and again at 5:20. Finally at 6:10 she was determined to get up, so we've been up and watching her favourite, Lawrence Welk, since 6:10. Lots of chores around the house have been ignored for most of the week, so I guess I should stop procrastinating.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Still Waiting

D. and I are still waiting for our files to go to the Embassy. It's been over 6 weeks now. D. said she can understand waiting when the paperwork is in Kazakhstan, but having it here in Canada is driving her crazy. I totally understand. I'm beginning to go insane. I knew this process was going to be a total roller coaster, but I didn't realize I was going to be going insane at each stage.

D's file is the first file to go for her program and mine is the first to go for my program. As they are both at the head of the line, I really, really, really hope that they both go to the embassy and on to Kazakhstan together. It would just kill the other if one file went and not the other. You know we are going to take it personally. Our friendship might not take the strain... ya right, I don't think so, we'll just get on the phone and bitch to each other like...usual.

I spent a lot of time with L and her son in the past couple of weeks. That's sort of over now that she is back to work. Unbelievable that it has been over 9 months since she left to travel to Kazakhstan to meet her son. He became a Canadian citizen last month. But according to a letter in the Citizenship package, he doesn't have full rights of a citizen in that he is considered to be a 1st generation Canadian and as such his children if born outside Canada will not be granted automatic citizenship. Okay, I know it is REALLY strange to be worrying about the offspring of a 1 year old, but we were told adopting using the old Immigration process the child would have full citizenship. But this letter says the opposite. We'll have to look into it more. Another hassle for children we haven't even met yet.

I really hope we have good news this week. I know I'm driving myself around the bend thinking and talking about this process, so what I'm I doing to my brother, friends and co-workers. They are probably avoiding me so as not to have to hear what I have to say again. I sound just like a broken record because I keep saying the same thing over and over because nothing has really changed for the longest time.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Another Updata

My agency posts a general update every other week, and this is the week of the update. I was reading about someone in Kaz right now from my agency. How did that happen and I didn't know. LOL

The update also gave a time frame for the next set of files to be going to the Embassy and it says late May. We were hoping for early to mid May. Can we get any pickyer? (I don't know if that is a even a word). I want to say to my dossier,"Just get gone already, would ya!"

Well, some news is better than no news, I guess...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finally Some Good News

I just got a response from my agency, my dossier is back from the translator. I was beginning to think it had been lost in translation. It had gone to the translator back in February. Well it's back now and next it is off to the Embassy.

Second Guessing Myself

I've been following some friends as they go through the 'in Canada' stages of this game called Adopting from Kaz, and they are going MUCH faster than I am. My file has been in translation for over 2 months and I saw that someone else's file was translated in 3 days. 3 days. I'm still waiting. My complete dossier has been with my agency since November and it is still being processed, others have already gone to the embassy and they were still collecting paperwork in December and March. I feel like a kid saying, "It's just not fair" in my high squealing voice.
So, the second guessing begins. Do I stay the course because I do like the people I am working with in the agency? Do I forgo all the money I've spent so far and strike out with one of the other agencies?
The answer is, for now I'm staying the course. Just because the 'in Canada' paperwork is going so fast doesn't mean that the in Kazakh stages will be as fast. They might be, but... I can't rationalize it actually. It just seems like standing in line at the grocery store. If I switch lanes, am I really moving faster. Or do I just feel better because I'm moving??????

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Canakaz Roll Call

We are doing our first roll call on the Canakaz Yahoo Group. It is amazing how many Kaz cuties there already are in Canada. And it is so exciting that as one family went to tell us where they were in the process they were able to share they have their LOI. That is truly a very good sign.
I'm so grateful for our on-line and in person community. I have learned so much about this process, had many fears relieved and met so many wonderful fellow Kaz adopters. Many of these fellow Kaz adopters I know consider to be closer than just friends, they are now part of my extended family. Cousins for when I finally come home with my son or daughter.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Waiting

It seems that almost daily there are ups and downs with this waiting process. One day you hear wonderful news of files moving, adoptions approved, families arriving safely home, children making amazing progress. Just as you are enjoying the feeling of happiness bad news comes your way; potential changes in country, adoptions denied, families files going astray, months with no LOI's, regions closing.
I sometimes wonder if I should just close my mind to all of this and just go about my daily life and wait for my phone call. Ya right, as if!!!!!
I'll take the downs as long as all those wonderful up come with them!!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Birth Mother Returned

I heard some sad news regarding a fellow adoptive family. The adoption of their son ended when the birth mother returned to re-establish parental rights. I am so sad for the parents who had taken this child into their heart and made him their son. At the same time I am happy for the child. I hope he can have a real and loving relationship with his birth family.
Losing a child mid way through the process is one of my biggest nightmares. It goes with the fear of determining if a child I'm presented is 'my' child. And of course only being offered a severely handicapped child.
My beautiful and loving sister is profoundly developmental handicapped. To know me is to know my sister as I talk about her ALL the time. I call her my baby, as her mental development is around 2 and1/2 years of age. She is a total joy in my life. I cannot imagine not having her in my life and I enjoy all the time we get to spend together.
Having said that, I've done the job and I am continuing to do the job of caring for her. (She lives in the most wonderful group home, but I have her home with me on weekends, etc.) I want a healthy and normal child. That is the reason I chose international adoption. I was warned years ago, well before I actually began the process, not to go the domestic route as I would appear to be the perfect match for children with significant special needs.
With all bad luck stories coming from adoptions in Kazakhstan, of course I believe in one half of my heart it will NEVER happen to me, and in the other half (the one that wakes me in the middle of the night) I'm afraid of it happening.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sourcing Information

My friend D and I are both awaiting our files going to the Embassy. She, unfortunately has been waiting with a translated file since October. We are forever on the hunt for information. Who's file has gone to Embassy? When did they submit their completed dossier? Where are they going? Who is waiting for LOI?
We've become quite good at ferreting out information, but of course we never feel we have found enough. This is like chocolate or potato chips, the more you get the more you want.
But it also seems so secretive, as if our agency doesn't want us to know all the information we are learning.
D and I, secret agents in the search for LOI information.
Do you have any to share?????

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lost In Translation

My file has been in translation now since just after Feb 17, and it's still there. I knew that it was 4th for the translator to do, but I didn't know it would take so long to go through.
I asked about the file going to the consul and was told it would go with the next batch of files to go after it comes back from translation and is bound. That doesn't help as I don't know when it will be coming back from the translator. As usual I still don't know anything.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

When oh when will I travel

I have to tell my boss when I most likely be travelling to Kazakhstan. But how in the world am I suppose to know. I called my agency last week and heard that I was 4th in line for the translator, and then today I heard my friend is 5 in line to go to the Embassy. Does that put me 10th in line?????? If her dossier is going to the Embassy at the end of March, does that mean mine goes at the end of April or towards the end of May. I though it could be April that my paperwork would be going to Kazakhstan and I could be travelling in August or September. Now I'm thinking my paperwork could be going in May or June so that I could be travelling in October or November.
Oh when oh when will I be travelling??????

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Play Dates

It's play date time again!
Carrie is having a get together at her house to meet Alex. It will be Carrie and Aimee, Diane and Ciera, Sandy and Maggie, Loretta and Alex and me.
I do love our get togethers. I've learned so much about the adoption process, those first few days with a new child, the first few weeks home, trying to find day care etc., etc.. Talking with all the mommies is the best, realist education, books just can't give you the same time, amount of information.
And then there are the children. The children are wonderful, and it is great to spend time with them, watching them grow. Every time I see Alex I can't believe how much he has changed.
But, I do wish my turn would hurry up and I could go on one of our outings with my own little one. It is hard, but this is a group that truly knows what I'm going through. Still, I do feel unconnected, no that's not the right word, removed maybe at times. It as though I'm trying so hard to know what it feels like, but suddenly everyone in the room has started talking in a different language or I've gone into a bubble. I can hear the conversation but I don't actually hear it. As suddenly as it occurs, it goes and I'm back in the swing.
I thought the last few years, since I decided to adopt and began all the different steps to getting here were hard. Knowing all my work is done, and that it is out of my hands and the true waiting has begun is the hardest step of all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Step Forward

I was beginning to think my file would never get out of the Notary. I sent an email to my agency to find out how much longer it might be at the Notary and's already back from Foreign Affairs. Yahoo.
Today I called the agency because I needed to know if I would be around in the summer so I could sign up to teach a summer institute. I learned my file should be going to the translator today making it one of 4 with the translator. I'm guessing it would take about a week for the translation to be done, so let say it gets back to the agency in March. Some time with the Embassy and then off to Kazakhstan. I'd say I should be receiving my letter of invitation sometime in the fall. So,yes I can teach a couple of summer institutes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Get Together with Diane and Loretta

Sunday afternoon I went to Loretta's home for a get together with Diane. Loretta's mom and her new son, Alex were there, and Diane of course brought Ciera, and I brought my sister Kathryn. We enjoyed the winter sunshine sitting in Loretta's kitchen, eating the wonderful soup Loretta's mom made for us.

I enjoyed hearing Ciera trying to figure out who everyone was and how they were related. She wanted to know which car we belong to, and of course who was Alex's dad. The mind of a little one is a incredible. Wouldn't it be excellent to be able to go inside their brains and find out exactly what they are thinking at any one time.

Loretta took us for a tour of her beautiful 100 year old home. It is an incredible place. And I love how Loretta has decorated it. When we were going for the tour, I asked my sister if she wanted to go for the tour too. She's still got the very swollen foot from breaking it a couple of weeks ago, so I wasn't sure if she wanted to walk around the house, but she was very happy to join in the tour. After the third room, Kathryn got into the swing of things and started telling me that everything was beautiful. Okay, that's another mind I'd LOVE to be able to get into.

I can't believe how time flew, we arrived around noon, and we finally said goodbye and got out on the road after 5. It was simply a beautiful day and wonderful people to spend the day with. I realized on the drive home that I'd never make it back to Kathryn's group home in time to get her to dinner, so I took her to McDonald's. Boy did she enjoy that.

When we got back to her group home she JUST wanted to go to bed, but I wanted her to stay up until her 7:30 medication. As soon as she'd had her medicine, I took her downstairs and put her to bed. I staightened up her room after putting her into bed, maybe about 5 minutes, and when I went to give her a kiss, she was already asleep. That's my party animal.

Kathryn was totally taken with Loretta's mother. She spent a good part of the day looking at Mrs. B and trying to get Mrs. B's attention. She enjoyed watching Ciera and Alex and didn't seem to mind them at all. At one point, Ciera was leaning against Kathryn and Kathryn just looked down at her.

All in all a great day. I look forward to many more of these get togethers. Our extended Kazakstan family.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dossier to Notary

At last, at last, my file is beginning it's journey. I got an email to say it has been sent to be notarized. Yahoo, that only leaves about, oh, 9 more stages and oh about 6 to 9 more months before I get my letter of invitation to travel. Do you think I should unpack? LOL

Actually, I have so much to do before I actually do travel to Kazakhstan, the time will fly. It's flying right now, I can't believe that its January 23 already. Didn't we JUST celebrate the New Year.

I want to redo the bedrooms and office upstairs. I'm planning to turn my old bedroom, the master, into a playroom. It is a huge space and really, it doesn't make that much sense to keep it for just sleeping. We also have to get the basement finished so JB can move back down there without worrying about floods.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Movement with my file

Yipee! My file is beginning to finally move. It's gone for Notary. Roll on all these many more steps.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Visit with Loretta and Alex

This evening I went to visit Loretta and Alex. Alex is changing already, just in the 8 days since I saw him last. It was so cute, Loretta and family have been teaching Alex to do a high five. He's getting the hang of it. Now they are working on waving goodbye.

Today Loretta showed me the Alex's Kazakhstan passport. It is the most beautiful passport photo I have ever seen. There is so much I want to know about the process, what she experienced, what I can expect. One short 4 hour visit never covers all the conversation. We barely touch the surface of all I want to learn and all Loretta has to share.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ringing in the New Year

Okay, it's taken me 10 days to get around to writing this, I'm slow.

On New Year's Eve, when my brother and I were ringing in 2009, I got shivers as I said, "Happy New Year" as I realized this is the year I will becoming a mommy. I'm so focussed on this journey. I'm sure I'm driving all my friends crazy as it's ALL I want to talk about at the same time it seems as NOTHING is actually happening.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another New Canadian

On Sunday I finally was able to visit Loretta and meet little Alex. Loretta arrived home on the 14th of December, but between work, snow storms, Christmas and terrible colds (Loretta's,
Alex's and mine) it wasn't until Sunday that we finally got together.

Alex is such a cute boy. Did I also say big? I knit Alex a little sweater in a 12 month size. It will definitely fit now, but I don't know for how long. He loves to eat. No need for airplanes or trains with this little man. Just hold a spoon with food anywhere he can see and his mouth is WIDE open. And let me tell you, he'll let you know if Loretta is to slow putting that food into his mouth. He turned 8 months old on Christmas day, he's about 20 inches tall (well if he was standing) and is a solid weight. But those cheeks, most of his face is cheek.

He was napping when I arrived, but when he was fully awake, wow. He has a delightful laugh. I could barely take my eyes off of him. He's almost crawling. He can push his bum up into the air, and actually lift his head up and the same time, but then he doesn't seem to know what to do. Strange how you can watch stuff like that and it is so entertaining.

It was great to be with Loretta again too. Yah, she was there, but truthfully, I'm not sure what she looks like. LOL.

Loretta shared some of the stories about her adventures in Kazakhstan, including a trip looking for wild camels. There are lots more stories to come. We're planning to go out on Wednesday when I finish work so we'll share some more then.