The past 48 hours are a blur...here's a synopsis of events. I haven't had time to upload pics, will try to do that later today. In the meantime, picture this:
Waited all day Thursday (1/22)with crossed fingers in Almaty to hear that the boys' passports had been flown to Ust and back and were finally correctly stamped so we could go home
Received the call from Oleg around 6:00pm that he was bringing the completed passports to us
Much screaming and cheering could be heard from 2 excited boys and their parents
Called kids in US around 6:15pm KZ time/7:15am US time to relay the good news
More screaming and cheering over Skype
Several hours of waiting to go to the airport at 1:30am
Madiyar asked at least 10 times how many more hours before we leave and proclaimed he wouldn't be able to sleep
Woke two sleepy boys to ride to the airport
Held our breath as the boys' passports and stamps were reviewed at passport control
Started breathing again once we were cleared for our flight
Waited for 2 hours to board our 4:10am flight
Madiyar asked at least 10 times how many more minutes until we would board
Dad spent the last of our tengee on over-priced airport candy
Boarded our flight and smiled as the wheels left the runway
Experienced much playing with tray tables, seatbelts, window shades, etc.
Eventually experienced much-needed sleep
Landed in Frankfurt at 5:20am for a 6 hour layover
Parents drank life-giving lattes while feeding the children M & M's, distributed Mom's stash of emergency Russian comic books, encouraged GameBoy playing, watched a movie until the computer battery died
Introduced our sons to the joys of playing on escalators and moving sidewalks, calling it exercise
Explored every inch of terminals A and B while trying to teach Aniyar to push a baggage cart without maiming someone
Visited several bathrooms, elevators, and more escalators and moving sidewalks
Instructed our children on the finer points of not pushing buttons or opening alarmed doors
Fed our kids their first McDonald's Happy Meals, including an ice cream sundae for Aniyar, a desperate attempt to bribe our way through the last part of our layover
Finally meandered to our gate at 11:00am
Responded to Madiyar's 20th request about how many more minutes until our 12:15 departure
Boarded our flight and walked through Business class to get to our cheap seats in Economy
Answered Madiyar's question as to why we didn't just sit in the nice big seats of Business class, dispelling his fantasy re: his new parents' vast wealth
Enjoyed Lufthansa's good service and food...for 8 long hours...with Craig seated 2 rows away from the rest of us
We travel back in time, chasing the sun across the sky and regaining a day in the process.
Gave Madiyar hourly updates on how many more hours until our arrival in Boston
After 6 hours, returned from bathroom to find the boys belting each other over rights to the window seat
Mom pulls darling boys apart and sits between them
Dad walks by on the way to the bathroom and wonders why Madiyar is now in the aisle seat and sulking
Mom reads and ignores sulking
Madiyar decides to stop sulking and asks how many more hours to Boston
Aniyar gets teary-eyed and asks why it's taking so long
Mom tells him stories about doggies who will give him kisses at home
Boys are distracted by the movie Wall-E and a snack for the last 2 hours of the flight; Mom is distracted by a small glass of purely medicinal cognac offered by the flight attendants.
Wheels touch down in Boston around 2pm on Friday, January 23 as new sons flagrantly attempt to flaunt seat belt rules while straining to see out the window.
Mom and Dad smile at each other across the rows as our new sons become US citizens when wheels touch US soil.
Mom tells boys they are now Americans
Aniyar asks if he can have a fishing pole now...he has seen Boston Harbor and wants to catch us some dinner
We proceed triumphantly off the plane and to passport control and immigration
No one throws a temper tantrum like Max did at this point in 2005
We go to the room where the boys' visas are entered into the computer system and they are welcomed to America officially as its' newest citizens
Everyone smiles and off we go into the main terminal by 3pm...over 5 years after we met the boys in this very spot, they've finally returned.
Our friend Deb picks us up and drives us home
We search the house for our kids but no one's home
Aniyar and Madiyar are greeted warmly by the dogs and new friendships are formed
Our kids arrive home from our friend Laura's house a few minutes later, screaming and yelling
Mom is assaulted by screaming children who knock her down with hugs
Other family members, new and old, are similarly and enthusiastically asssaulted
A maelstrom of greetings, showing the new kids around, opening overdue Christmas gifts, etc ensues
After an exhausting frenzy, various children engage themselves in movies in various languages, then videogames, then remote control vehicles
Around 6:00pm, Mom and Dad order take-out Chinese food since a home-cooked meal seems like an impossible dream.
By 6:30pm, we sit down to our first dinner as a family of 7...and we're all smiling.