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Friday, July 11, 2008

3+2=5 (we hope!)

Even after we got home from KZ with Max in the fall of 2005, we didn't stop thinking of Aniyar and Madiyar. We told everyone we could think of about the boys in hopes that a family would give them a home...and slowly, we came to realize that the family was ours. In the summer of 2006, we asked if the boys were still available for adoption. It took months to get an answer...but just before Christmas, we were told that the boys were still available. We started assembling our third mountain of paperwork and jumping through the hoops necessary for an international adoption. By early spring 2007, we were approved once again to adopt from Kazakhstan. We were hoping to travel in the summer of 2007...and then the problems began. We were informed that there would be a minimum of 6 months delay in our process. The reasons we were given were many and ever-changing; we won't bore you with the details. The bottom line was that we would have to wait until the spring of 2008 before we could even attempt our adoption of the boys. We ranted and raved to all who would listen...and when we calmed down, we decided to visit the boys anyway.

We left for a two week trip to KZ in August. Our agency and our friends in Kazakhstan made our visit possible. We took our family of 5 to KZ as tourists who just happened to be visiting our children's friends. We also visited Tanya and Max's former caregivers at the pre-school orphanage in Ust-Kamenogorsk and made an amazing trip to meet Tanya's birthfamily in a rural village. The good friends we had made on our previous visits took care of us, providing us with an apartment, transportation, and translation services whenever we were in need.

It wasn't easy getting permission to visit Aniyar and Madiyar since they were both in the boarding school for older kids in Ridder; we didn't know a soul there who could help us. We explained our plight to the director of the pre-school orphanage in Ust-Kamenogorsk who knows us well...and she solved our problem with one phone call to the orphanage director in Ridder. We were allowed one 3 hour visit with the boys...and it was a 3 hour ride in a van over rough roads to get there...but it was worth every bump and bruise! Our friend Olga served as our translator during the trip which was very hush-hush...the orphanage director approved our visit and called the boys to the room where we would meet with them but then he took a long walk. We had been cautioned that this was an unofficial visit which had not been sanctioned by the Ministry of Education. We didn't care...we just wanted to see the boys and ask them how they felt about being adopted.

The boys were shy at first but quickly relaxed; they remembered Tanya best and warmed up quickly to us all. We asked them if they knew why we had come...and Madiyar quietly said, "To adopt us...". We asked them what they thought about being adopted...and they said they wanted to join our family. (Big sigh of relief here...what if they had said they weren't interested?) We explained the delays before we could ask the court for permission to adopt them. We cautioned that it would take a long time but that we would try our best to return for them in the spring of 2008. Then we sat back and watched our children play with the toys and videogames we had brought...and dreamed of the day when we would officially become parents of five. We took lots of pictures...after all, we needed another picture to hang on our refrigerator just as we had done with Tanya and Max before we brought them home!

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