Tomorrow we enter Phase 2, as Dominick leaves to return to Montrose for 2 weeks, and the rest of us remain behind. He will depart Montrose on January 17th to return, then we will tentatively leave Petropavlovsk as a family of 7 on January 29th, and while we are waiting for registration paperwork for the girls to be completed in Astana and sent on to Almaty, we will actually visit Astana ourselves and hopefully spend some time with our dear friend, Ayana, and see what there is to see there. We have even joked about going to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to visit our telephone "buddy" Indira who was bugged for weeks by us about Matt's passport!(Vegas, wouldn't that be an absolute gas???)
We know this is our last time here...YES IT IS to the peanut gallery that I just know is saying "Yea, right!"...and it is extremely important to us that our kids get a strong sense of their background and culture. I mean, we now have a passle of Central Asians living with us!! Hahaha! We have all seen the less affluent side of Kazakhstan, more of it actually than we wish were in existence. Now we want to leave their birth country with a strong sense of pride in where they are from, understanding the promise this land has to be a great nation one day. Having been back here 4 times now in 10 years, it has been fascinating to see the changes in daily life that have occured in a relatively short period of time.
The truth is, the Kazakhstan that we all see today will not exist 10 or 20 years from now, should any of the kids return. It is our deep hope that one day, it will be hard to explain why they needed to be adopted from such a flourishing country!!! So, since we can hop a flight that will go to Almaty via Astana anyway, like I flew in here myself 2 years ago, we decided to stop, and show our children the shining star of the their country, the new capital.
Then we will be on to Almaty, where we will be until February 9th, when our flight will leave for America via Frankfurt. We are there so long because we need to "pad" our trip by a couple of days in case something doesn't arrive in time to complete our Embassy appointment, which is the final hurdle to us being allowed to get on the plane to go home. We don't want to have to pay the extremely expensive fees to change 7 tickets should something cause a delay...and let's face it, we have had every single delay imaginable so we are taking no chances! Hahaha!
So I will be here alone with the boys, visiting the girls every other day...and probably having a lot of time for introspection and self-examination. Although we will be fine, and I am surprisingly not worried one bit about being here by ourselves without Dominick, I will be missing my hubby very, very much. We are a strange pair, he and I. We are not all mushy all the time with each other and we don't make time for the date nights like we should. But we are a perfectly matched set, like salt and pepper shakers. Very different seasonings, and yet they just automatically go together. Dominick and I couldn't be more different, and yet...we are the same. You'd sort of have to know us to understand, I think. He is conservative, I am liberal. He is outgoing and doesn't know a stranger, I am actually pretty shy and uncomfortable in new situations. He is Italian and In Your Face, I am more the wall flower. But together we compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses. We are alike in that family comes before anything else, laughter is our aphrodesiac, and we know how to work hard and get a job done.
And I will most definitely miss him while he is taking care of business at home.
So we will begin to hit the books hard, as we will have plenty of down time and have not done quite as good a job as I think we might have been able to do if the trip had not been so emotional thus far. It was far more important to us that we simply all be together and deal with it all than to worry about the the R's. Family first, always. Books will always be there, this experience will never repeat itself. But even so, we have managed to get quite a lot done and with the school break anyway for the holidays I don't actually think we are at all behind.
Phase 2 - contemplating what life will really be like as the mother of 5 kids. I think in many ways I never allowed myself to go to close to that place, as I was afraid I would embrace the idea and then it would never happen. Of course there were moments when I imagined us all at home around the table, or crammed in the van on our way to do who-knows-what (you never know with us!). But I really did protect myself a bit from the possible pain of failure all these years.
Now, it is real...laundry for 7, meals for 7, logistics for 7! Haha! Just sitting at the travel agent's office booking tickets I had all 3 boys leaning on me or on my lap and we joked about where there was room for 2 more!
The truth is, when we open our hearts, there is always room for more...much, much more.
We'll try to keep the pictures and blogs coming. We'll try to keep our spirits up during this unexpectedly long and very cold winter. We'll definitely keep the love flowing, no matter whether we are separated by half a globe or not.
Here's to Phase 2!!! Phase 3 is more than a month away. Wonder what adventures still lay ahead of us here? Let's all pray to God that we are used in some amazing way here...a month is a lot of time for cool things to happen, and I hope they do!