I am so mad! I just spent over an hour writing and for some reason it didn't post1 So now you are going to get a much abbreviated version of what I wrote because I can barely keep my eyes open now. Hate it when that happens!
I know, it is odd to be leaving for Kazakhstan and having "Good Bye" in German, but since that was what was how we were serenaded as we left Montrose today and since I am writing you from Germany, it seems fully appropriate.
As you can tell, we somehow pulled it off by the skin of our teeth, picking up our passports on the way to the airport! Whew! I have no idea how all that fell into place perfectly, but somehow it did and we are grateful for those who played a part in it.
We were deeply touched to have so many of our nearest and dearest friends show up at the airport today, taking time out of a mid-week work day, to see us off. And they did so in grand style! While it may not have shown because I was fairly preoccupied and trying to mentally recover from the stress of the past few days, I don't know if there has ever been a moment when I have felt more loved. Dominick turned to me when we were settled in our seats on the plane and said "that was a day to never forget!"...and it had barely started!
The boys are just amazing little travelers, and at moments we have had to remind ourselves that they are still kids. They sat alone together while we are across the aisle, and we elected to do that so they could share and watch the same movies together. You never would have known they were alone...they were quiet, respectful of their neighboring adults, kept their area clean and we haven't had to even remind them at all to keep track of their belongings! They slept about 3 hours on the flight over, and are just now at about 6:00 PM Frankfurt time settling in to get some sleep. I am suffering as always, having not slept on the plane and finding myself now suddenly wide awake but hoping I will gt rid of this 2nd wind I seem to have caught and fall asleep soon.
We went for a walk and found a little grocery store around the corner from the hotel we are staying at. With the Euro having such a poor exchange rate with the Dollar, things are terribly expensive here! It is the Diet Coke factor we use to compare, and I think the 1 liter bottle I have was around $3.50...ouch! But I need it, if I get nothing else, I can keep going if I have my DC :-) We treated ourselves to one German chocolate bar and split it amongst us all...now tell me why there is no American chocolate that comes close? Hershey's is flavored wax in comparison!! But we avoided the restaurant with $4.5o french fries. I think I would starve before paying that for a few strips of potato. None of us were all that hungry really anyway as our schedule is already out of whack!
We are in two rooms as they had no room big enough to accommodate 5 of us, and as I sit here retyping this post Kenny, Matthew and Dominick came in and have a second wind themselves and are going to go out for a walk. Joshie is pretty much down for the count though and is all curled up in the bed nest to me. Matthew just leaned over, tucked him in, and gave him a kiss goodnight :-)
You'd think by now it would have sunk in, and I would be feeling some anticipatory excitement for the days ahead. But at the moment, I am as I have always been at this stage in the past...pretty mellow, not very hyped up, and feeling comfortable with what we are doing. I admit that there has been much the past few days that worked internally to cast doubt where before there had been none, and thanks to my mom and a couple of others reminding me this has always been about faith, not about certainty. Certainty can always let you down, faith walks with you regardless of where you go.
And between you and I, I find certainty just a wee bit boring :-)
I have no high expectations for our first visits together. It is hard for anything to feel natural when you are being observed by strangers. Neither am I nervous or scared (yet), although Matthew confided today on the plane that he was a tiny bit nervous and excited at the same time. We will just step aside and let God figure it all out, being present but not pressing. After all, it is the long term we are looking at, not the immediate gratification. Love takes time. And strangely, there is this "thing" that keeps telling me this is right and good, despite the odds that we are likely to encounter challenges along the way. Under it all, there is this rightness about it that I am choosing to trust. Right does not mean "easy", but "easy" often is not right either!
I never had the chance to appropriately thank everyone, and what an impossible task that is!! I couldn't possibly name every person who helped us along the way or touched our hearts, I could never express the sheer depth of our gratitude for so much from so many!
But I can't let this day pass without saying publicly to our Adoption Angels how profoundly grateful we are to be where we are tonight. We are halfway there! It might seem odd to others to have what might amount to even more gratitude for your ongoing emotional support than even for the financial gift that made this possible...but it is precisely because of who you are that I know you might understand that one gift made it possible, but another kept us going when it seemed all hope was lost. Thank you, thank you, thank you...words will never be enough. May we honor your gift by raising our daughters to the best of our ability, and we will "pay it forward" forever in the ways we can with the means we have.
I can't begin to thank specific individuals for their love and care for us, for the list would be so long it might kick me right out of Blogger! You know who you are, you angels in your own right. You have visited us in many forms and at just the right moments you have reached out. You have sustained us through the single most difficult test of our faith ever.
Will those for whom I have not been all I could be lately for you please forgive me for my selfishness.
We leave here tomorrow at 1:00 PM Germany time and arrive in Almaty at 1:00 AM Kazakhstan time. We received word that we will be spending the night in Almaty before moving on to Petropavlovsk...and will be staying at the lovely Hotel Kazzhol (AKA Home of the Box Springs Instead of a Real Mattress). Then we arrive in Petro on Sunday, and begin the process Monday.
From this point forward we have no internet access for a couple of days then dial up only. Pictures may be delayed because of that, but we can always paint pictures with words! We will post as often as we can, and we are all looking forward to sharing this experience with you.
For now it is time for me to try again to post this and hope I am successful, otherwise I am going to bed anyway and it will have to wait until tomorrow. That bed is looking mighty good about now, and Joshie's snoring is enticing!
Good night everyone, thanks for all your love...talk to you next in Kazakhstan!
(and please forgive any misspellings or typos, I don't have time to go over it and don't dare try spellcheck on some of these posts as the internet is spotty and bumps us a lot! So for the next few weeks, just break out your red pen and correct me on screen! HAHAHA!)