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Monday, December 2, 2013

Five years ago and half a world away...

Our life was different 5 years ago. We only had 3 kids then. We were embroiled in a fight with the government of Kazakhstan to adopt 2 more children and had spent a big chunk of the fall in Kazakhstan, away from our home, our jobs and our children. By Thanksgiving 2008, Craig and I were back home after a series of frustrating delays in our petition process. We were hoping for a court date in early December and a quick second trip back to Kazakhstan to finalize the adoption of our 2 new sons. Didn't work out that way...Here's what I wrote back then:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving...and fear

We've been back from Kaz for 2 weeks now. If all had gone as we had hoped, we'd be on our way back for our anticipated Dec. 2 court date...but it didn't happen.

On November 20th, we were notified by our agency that our judge had decided that our adoption dossier was out of date and we needed to redo it. For many, this would have been the death knell of the adoption. Never mind all the updated docs that we had given to the judge in Kaz while we were there...she wanted the full dossier, 30+ docs, all approved by the Kaz Embassy. She gave us until Dec. 9 to accomplish the near impossible...assembling an adoption dossier generally takes 2-3 months, then another 2-3 months to get it approved at the Kaz embassy in Washington, DC. If we can meet her goal, then she says we can have a court date of either Dec. 17, 18, or 19. Sigh...I did a lot of whining and not sleeping for the first few days, then I kicked it into high gear and started assembling a dossier...for the fourth time. Our adoption friends have been a great help...our home study agency and social worker have moved the world for us to update our docs; our friend and personal notary even showed up at our house in her bathrobe late one night to notarize docs for us. Our international agency arranged for emergency translation services so that each document could be translated as I completed the notarization and apostille process, even over Thanksgiving weekend. People we don't even know have hand-carried docs for us from Kaz to the US which they will send to our agency tomorrow to complete our dossier...and yes, after I finished whining and complaining, I did manage to assemble a 25+ document dossier in a week's time. Craig and I sent it via Expressmail yesterday to our international agency. Our new docs and the updated docs that were returned to us from Kaz will be married up, checked for accuracy, and sent to the Kaz embassy this week. We have been told that the person who reviews dossiers there understands our special circumstances and will review our paperwork on an emergency basis. We can only hope...

Yep, Thanksgiving 2008 was a real nail biter. and the weeks that followed were equally filled with drama and intrigue. Suffice it it say that we survived and prevailed....that which doesn't kill us really does make us stronger, I guess.

Fast forward 5 years. The highlights of Thanksgiving 2013 are as follows:

  • TADA!! we have 5 kids, all teenagers who alternately delight us and drive us a little batty not just on Thanksgiving but every day
  • there was no drama in our house other than the adolescent kind
  • there were no trips half way around the world; the closest we got to Kazakhstan was the giant vat of Russian winter borscht I made for Thanksgiving lunch
  • we watched the Macy's parade, cooked all day, and ate too much
  • we counted our blessings

    • Our blessings included a very special dinner guest; Craig's nephew David is working in Boston for a few months and he joined us for the holiday...sooo nice to have extended family at our holiday table, a rare treat for us.
    •  Did I mention that David is my favorite relative right now??? He gave up an afternoon of his time to hang wallpaper in my dining room and I'm ecstatic with the results. Talk about something to be thankful for!
    • Then there's my DH who took the week off from work and installed copper back splash tiles in my kitchen. Gorgeous! 
All in all, it was a pretty normal kind of Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving with some Black Friday shopping thrown in on the side. Five years ago, I was afraid we'd never get the chance to be a family of 7, to celebrate holidays together that were just traditional and maybe even a little mundane. Grateful doesn't begin to describe how I feel about that.

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