Saturday, January 23, 2010

Best Visit Ever

We all talked later today about how this visit felt like we had crossed some sort of bridge, that we are mentally all moving into Phase 2...thinking about traveling and moving on, playing together naturally and sharing our lives more easily.  While we still have a week and a half before we can move on from Petropavlovsk and on to Astana, we are all finally realizing that visiting is almost over and some transitional stage of real life will soon begin.  I think we are all really ready for that.
 
We spoke with Irina today about our next steps here, about address registrations and unregistrations, about Consular registrations and Embassy appointments.  Our tentative plans as of right now are that we will say good bye to Petropavlovsk on February 4th.  We will had to Astana where we will spend a few days while waiting for paperwork to finish processing.  There we have been thankful to have had the Oborn's connect us with their coordinator in that city who has been emailing us back and forth and will be taking care of us there, finding us an inexpensive apartment, arranging transportation for us each day, and will be spending each afternoon with us translating and taking us to see the various fun and cultural sites in the nation's capital.  We are so glad we are going to have the opportunity to do this, to have our kids see the shining star of their country and leave with that as a lasting impression.  One day, it just might be that all of Kazakhstan has pulled out of their pre-independence days and become the prosperous nation it is poised to become.  We can only hope.
 
We are making the final decision tomorrow after a little more research but have decided to try and save money and add to the adventure by taking the train both to Astana and then to Almaty, if all goes well!  It will save over $600 for all of us for this travel and we are excited and hope it works out.  Trains here are a fraction of the cost of Amtrak in America...if it were this inexpensive we would be visiting all OVER the US!  The train ticket to Astana from Petro is only $17 per adult and $9 per child!  What an amazing deal!  It travels 12 hours over night, and it will be a blast to have all the kids experience train travel here.  I only wish it was going to be light enough to see a little of the countryside.  We are making sure we can get 2 of our own "cupas" or rooms as otherwise it won't work well because we could be spread all over the train and we don't feel comfortable with that.  The girls, of course, have never been on a train OR a plane, and Josh was very little the only time we were on a train so he doesn't really remember it, so it will be our first step on introducing our daughters to the Big Old World and would be a lot of fun...I hope it works out! 
 
Here are the pictures of the goofing around that poor Irina had to put up with today!  I am sure at moments she has said to herself "Oh my, it sure is easier to have parents adopting infants and going to the baby house!" but she has been a great sport about everything, participating in making paper dolls, decorating for the holidays, helping with impromptu fashion shows and trying hard not to laugh out loud as the kids all run around and rough house together as their own personal way of bonding begins.

15 comments:

Michelle said...

It is so exciting to start planning the next phase! February 4th is a great day for adoption related travel ;)

Tammy said...

The light in the girls eyes are becoming more and more prominent. With each passing day, the glow a little more. What a momentous day Feb. 4th will be for all of you! And going on a train sounds like fun and may be less scary for the girls. I have heard quite about about these long train travels across part of the former USSR!! It should be quite an adventure!

It is so much fun to see your relationships evolve and they will deeper so much more when they are with you full time.

Tammy said...

The light in the girls eyes are becoming more and more prominent. With each passing day, the glow a little more. What a momentous day Feb. 4th will be for all of you! And going on a train sounds like fun and may be less scary for the girls. I have heard quite about about these long train travels across part of the former USSR!! It should be quite an adventure!

It is so much fun to see your relationships evolve and they will deeper so much more when they are with you full time.

Tammy said...

Opps - it said my first post didn't post because I had typed the word verification in wrong. So you can read my comment twice!!

Shannon said...

Love all the pictures! There sure is a lot of life there! It's so great to see that you all are fitting so perfectly. I can't wait to follow the next leg of your journey. The train trip sounds like a blast!

Kathy W said...

OK, I know I should probably have gotten this from your posts, but I must be slow. You are waiting on address registrations. But isn't your waiting period almost up? Do the girls move to your apt before the date of your planned departure?

Kathy

Anonymous said...

You have given Irina a gift that cannot come from infants and their parents (although I am sure they come with their own gifts). You have given her the gift of watching a family unfolding, of being enfolded into the fun and love. Have a great journey. We'll be eagerly awaiting your return.

Love,
Lael

Carol M said...

Cindy, I love "tuning in" each day to see how Team LaJoy is doing. Everyone looks so happy! Today, the song, "There's Something Perfect Happening Here" by Michael McLean came to mind as I looked at the beautiful photos of your children. Are you familiar with it? I'm so happy for all of you! And by the way... I also enjoy reading Lael's kind, wise, supportive comments. What a great friend he must be!

Anonymous said...

Well said Lael!
Teresa F.

Heather said...

Cindy, Astana is where Grant was born. It has changed SO much since we've been there. We stayed in the tall white and orange apts. on Constitution right on the Ishim River. There was a nice little souvenir shop down the street and the National Museum across the street that your kids (and you and Dominick) would be interested in. There is a little bakery above the Ramstore too. Hope to see pics from Astana so I can show Grant!

Gavin said...

Are those tears of joy in Angela's eyes in the last photo?

Anonymous said...

the picture of Angela laughing is GORGEOUS!!!
Kim in Seoul

Anonymous said...

Love, love the pic of Angela in the white top...hair flying, huge smile...she's gorgeous and the photographer (you?) did a great job capturing the moment! As always, love the whole post!

Bob; Carrie DeLille said...

Infectious and gorgeous smiles!! I hate to break the news to you, but there's a reason the trains are that much cheaper than Amtrak :o). Wait till you kids experience the bathrooms, you know, that go straight to the ground outside :o) You'll be glad if you don't have to live near a train track. Teehee. What an experience it will be. Pack snacks and water, but don't drink too much so you don't have to use the bathroom too much!!

Kimberly said...

Oh my goodness - look at the sheer joy on those faces - it is wonderful to see! I am so excited for you guys to be on to phase two!
Praying for you guys!
Kimberly