Thursday, March 29, 2007

HE'S OURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have waited months to be able to say this:


Kenny Toktogul La Joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Isn't he the most beautiful, handsome, cute, adorable, sweet...did I say handsome???...little guy you have ever seen??? And he is all ours!!!!!!! WOW!!!

We received an email late this evening that his adoption was final today. I'm a mommy again!! Toktogul will have a family forever now!!

I simply can not believe God's blessings in our lives. One little boy and one family with a missing person. When I stop and think about it, I am astounded that He has done this 3 times in our lives, putting together people who really need each other regardless of distance. I am filled with gratitude this evening for what God has done for all FIVE of us!!!
I will post more photos of him later, and maybe I'll be able to eventually put into words what I am feeling right now...but at the moment I just can't.
We love you, Tokie. We'll have a long couple of months waiting to travel!! Each one of us is so excited and thrilled. Matt and Josh jumped up and down on their beds when they heard the news and Matthew was on the top bunk jumping and almost hit his head on the ceiling! Joshie asked if we are going to get him tomorrow :-) Sadly, we are not...but we'll all be together soon.
And now, I will go to bed and spend my first night as the mommy of 3.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Getting Closer!

We heard from our adoption agency yesterday (Thanks Karen!) and discovered that our adoption of "T" should be final tomorrow or Friday!!!! Yea! Can't wait for that all-important email to arrive! We also were given a tentative travel date of May 24th to arrive in Bishkek, but we are not booking tickets yet until we are confirmed with the court process completed. However, it does give us a target date...and we have been excitedly checking out hotels online, flight prices (Gulp!) and making plans.

I think we are almost as excited about seeing friends in Almaty as we are about adopting! We have two "adopted" Kazakh daughters there, Salta and Ayana, and we have not seen them in almost 2 years. They came to America and visited us for a month, and we had the most incredible time getting to know them, seeing our country through their eyes, and learning things about Kazakhstan and it's culture that we never could have learned otherwise. During that month we grew to love them very much, and they us as well. Matthew sobbed for over an hour after they left Denver International Airport and asked if we would ever see them again. Happily we are now able to say "yes"!

Salta was our interpreter when we adopted Josh, and she was only 16 at the time but had a great command of the language. She and Ayana are both excellent students in college in Almaty. While they were here we took them to Las Vegas, Denver, camping and shopping, shopping, shopping! They have kindly offered to help us after our coordinator leaves Almaty to return to Bishkek so that we can remain in Almaty for a few days, and I can fly to Petropavlovsk to visit our sponsor daughters there. Speaking no Russian we would be LOST without them and unable to add this extra time to our trip. I know that the girls and I will be up talking long after the boys are asleep, just as we were when they were here, and I will treasure that time with them. I also think it will be nice for them to show us "their" Almaty just as we showed them Montrose! But nothing, I am sure, will compare with the sheer delight they had at visiting Walmart :-) 1:00 AM in the Cosmetics Department with grins on their faces a mile wide! Although the Ramstor in Almaty will probably look pretty good by the time we arrive there :-)

Above are some pictures of my "Saltusha" and "Ayasha"!!! Love You Guys! See you soon!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Teachable Moments

I have been asked in the past how we go about discussing adoption with the kids, what age we start talking about it, etc. I always answer that it is easy and automatic and just part of who we are. I don't really give it much thought, it just happens. Well, tonight was one of those times when it "just happened". There I am, on the floor of our bathroom, hammer and screwdriver in hand trying to pry loose the carpet tack strip so we can proceed with our tiling project. In prances Joshie with little leather work gloves on so he could "help" me and we are just yacking back and forth about things, and I remind him that he and I are going to Grand Junction tomorrow to talk to older kids (high school aged) about adoption. And thus begins the conversation...

I asked him what he thought people should know about being adopted, and if he wanted to talk at all. And he said he would talk some, and that he said they should know that he didn't come from my tummy but was in his birth mommy's tummy. He wanted them to know he was from Kazakhstan...and he actually pronounced it right for the first time!! Until now it has always been "Taatan". And then he said they should know that he cried and cried when he came home. I asked him why he cried so much, wondering what his response would be. He said "Because I was sad.". Of course he doesn't know a thing about RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) but he DOES know he was sad and scared and mad, all things he has expressed himself in the past. I asked him "What if the kids ask if you remember your birth mommy?" and he said "No, but I remember my real mommy!" as he pointed at me. I then asked, hammer still in hand, "What made you stop crying after you got home?" and he proceeded to sit down on top of my leg and with his tiny gloved hand he slowly counted on his fingers..."1. Hugs, 2. kisses, 3. Rocking me, 4. Singing to me". He then said "I love you mommy SOOOOOOO much!" and plopped a kiss on my cheek, then grandly stood up and Elvis left the building.

I kid you not, that is word for word the conversation. Josh is only 4 years old, and he "gets it". It is NEVER too early to talk about adoption, it is never too early to embrace ALL of what your adoption experiences are as a family...good and bad, challenging and easy. You don't have to work all that hard at it, you don't have to sit down and have "the talk" about being adopted.

I happen to think my son is an amazing kid. Actually ALL my sons are amazing, but Josh is one cool cat. He is resilient, he is sparkling, he is bright, he is intricately wired. In a couple of sentences he explained from a kid's perspective how a parent can best work with a child who has RAD...hugs...kisses...rocking...singing...and a word he wouldn't use, connecting.

Dominick was sitting quietly in the background, taking it all in, but you could hear his deep chuckle at the question from Joshie that I left out of the above re-enactment. No doubt he was quite glad it was I on the floor with hammer in hand when Joshie casually asked in the middle of all this "Where does the baby come out of the birth mommy's tummy???". Hahahaha! And that is a conversation for another day :-)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Quiet Fears

We all have those quiet fears we don't share openly with others. I am lucky enough to have a few very close friends with whom I can share some of them. But as a woman who believes quite fervently that God has a plan for my life, and that adopting "T" is part of that plan, how do I admit to those fears? Isn't that a sign of a lack of faith if I express that I am scared at moments of the unknown? If I feel so strongly that "T" is my son and was meant to be in my life, how can I possibly have any concerns? I have struggled at moments with this very question, and as the time draws nearer for him to legally become our child, I have given voice to certain doubts , most of which are fleeting thoughts but they exist none the less.

Fear #1- What if he doesn't like me/us? What if he wishes he were adopted by a different family? I am quite aware of my short comings...I am not an attractive or educated woman, I am not special in any way. I wish I could offer him the kind of mommy that is beautiful and perfect and "Martha Stewart-ish", but I am not any of those things. I think Kazakh and Kyrgyz woman are so incredibly beautiful and I wonder if he will be disappointed once we meet.

Fear #2 - What if he has Attachment Disorder? Having been down that extremely painful road once before with Josh, I can't imagine going through it a second time and complicating matters by it being with an older child whose behaviors could be extreme and perhaps beyond my ability to handle. Of course I realize there is a higher probability of this occuring with an older child, and you may ask "Well, if you feel that way, why do it??". I guess I combat it with telling myself that just because we are afraid of something doesn't mean we still shouldn't do it. But I sure wouldn't look forward to it.

Fear #3 - What if I am not the mom he needs me to be? What if I am not intuitive enough to "get it" when that is what is most needed?

Fear #4 - I quite readily understand that this will not be at all like our infant adoptions, and I wonder how long it will take for us all to settle in with one another? How long before it stops feeling like there is a stranger wandering around our house? Will it be days, weeks, months or heaven forbid years???

Fear #5 - What if I don't have the patience to deal with all the educational and developmental issues that might arise?

Fear #6 - How long does love take to grow?

Fear #7 - What might I miss in working with him and trying to fill in the gaps of his experiences that I won't ever know about? What important things that will form his character is it already too late to try and impress upon him?

Fear #8 - What if I mess this all up?

Fear #9 - Will he ever look at me and see and feel in his heart that I am his mommy? Or will I just be relegated to the same position of all the other women who have been in and out of his life to take care of him, but never elevated to the status of "Mommy"?

Fear #10 - What if he comes to me one day and says "I want to go back..." because he is unhappy.

These are just a few of the things that have run through my head the past several weeks. The logical part of me knows that some of this is irrational. The logical part of me also knows that not all of these fears are irrational, and that is the scary part. I have never seen myself as particularly courageous or a risk taker. I usually like my life well charted out. But I am jumping into unknown waters here, and fear can cause you to quickly sink, so I am fighting off these doubts and hopefully will be able to remain afloat.

When I narrow it all down though, it comes down to one thing and one thing only: I want him to love me, and I want to feel deep love for him. No matter what else is involved, if we have that at the core we will make it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

He Likes It!!

I woke up this morning and as usual checked my email first thing, and saw an email from our agency. "T" did indeed receive his photo album and they said the following:

" "T" loves his photo album. All of the children are calling him “the American boy” and he is very happy about this new name."

So tell me, why in the world did that bring tears to my eyes?

I thought a lot about it during my long drive this morning. With Matthew and Joshua I spent a couple of months staring at their faces that I had taped to my computer monitor at work. They quickly became very familiar and comfortable to me. It is quite a turn around to think that this time, our new son is doing exactly the same thing with our photos that we are doing with his!! And all the while his little buddies are calling him "American Boy" we are thinking of him as "Kyrgyz Son".

We are each beginning the bonding process, claiming one another as our own even though we have never yet met. For the uninitiated it may seem like a strange first step to take in a relationship as important as a parent-child relationship is, and wierd to those who have never done this before...but for us it is normal and natural. And no doubt for all of us, the person or persons we see depicted on paper and growing in our imaginations will be quite different from the real life person we eventually meet. Perceptions will be changed to reality and that will require adjustments for all of us. But for this brief moment in time our imaginations will run wild as we guess at what life will be like with this stranger, or these strangers, who live half way around the world from one another. Our dreams have a bit longer to take flight. But not much longer...soon we will be face to face, performing a dance that might seem a bit odd and stilted to outsiders, but a dance that is nonetheless quite necessary. And eventually, that dance will turn into a waltz as we come to really know one another and find ourselves slowly and gradually in step with one another over time.

Adoption is one of the most fascinting and wonderful life events. I sometimes find myself feeling sorry for those who have "only" given birth! hahahaha! And I'll bet there are those who look at me and think "How sad, she doesn't have any children of her 'own' ".

If they only knew...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Duh...How Stupid! Kyrgyzstan Yahoo Group

I was just thinking yesterday that it was quite stupid of me not to have a link on the blog to the only active Kyrgyzstan listserv that I am aware of. Somehow I inherited the moderatorship of the Yahoo Kyrgyzstan Adoption list, and if you are interested in learning more about adopting from Kyrgyzstan I strongly encourage you to join us. We have about 90 members and are a fairly active group. I hope to see you there! For the link, check out my links section on the right side of the blog.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sleepless Night

Ok, I'll admit to having a pretty sleepless night last night. I tried to imagine what it would be like for "T" to suddenly discover what is in his future. I also tried to imagine what our lives will be like with a third little guy running around our home. For the moment I totally let go of my heart and any reality that I have been preparing myself for and just let it sit there and ruminate for awhile. I am going to be the mommy of 3 boys (4 if you count Dominick...which if you knew him you would include him in the count!)! I can say forever "My Three Sons" and those of us who are old enough will actually chuckle at the reference to the old TV show. I will have another wiggly, funny, silly little guy in my life. I must be the luckiest woman in the entire world, really. Why have I been so fortunate? What did I ever do right to deserve something like this in my life? I just shake my head in wonder sometimes.

I thought about what he will look like in some of the clothing we bought, what it will be like to tuck him in the first night in his own bed here, what it will feel like to have 3 jumping beans bouncing around on the bed with us on a Sunday morning. I tried to grasp what it will be like to feed three strapping teenaged boys!! How much milk will they go through?? I also envision all the firsts we will get to witness, in spite of what we have already missed, and I am grateful for the future we will have together and not at all regretting the past we never shared.

As I sat here alone in the quite house last night, a song that I have always associated with my boys kept running through my head. It is a beautiful song that gets me every time I hear it and I think is even more profound as I think of "T" and what his life must have been like up until now. After all, at 8 years old he is old enough to have an understanding of children leaving the orphanage to live with new families, old enough to have had many, many lonely moments, old enough to wonder what it would be like to have a mommy and a daddy like most kids do. Below is a portion of the lyrics:

Someone Else's Star by Bryan White

Alone again tonight
Without someone to love
The stars are shining bright
So one more wish goes up
Oh I wish I may
And I wish with all my might
For the love I’m dreaming of
And missing in my life

You’d think that I could find
A true love of my own
It happens all the time
To people that I know
Their wishes all come true
So I’ve got to believe
There’s still someone out there who
Is meant for only me

I guess I must be wishing on
Someone else’s star
It seems like someone else keeps getting
What I’m wishing for
Why can’t I be as lucky
As those other people are
I guess I must be wishing
On someone else’s star...

This song really goes both ways, as I certainly could relate to the lyrics myself before Matthew came into our lives. I never thought about it until this moment, but maybe "T" and I will have something in common after all...

So, as we wait patiently for a court date, we will prepare and dream, knowing that finally now, so is he!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


We had an exciting email this morning! Our dossier is now in Kyrgyzstan and things are beginning to move much closer to a court date. But the most exciting news is that "T" is going to be given the photo album we sent tomorrow. "T" does not yet know about us, and so tomorrow (or technically tonight, our time) he will be told he has a family coming for him and will see what his new home and family look like. WOW! That makes this real in a way I can't quite explain, and we are thrilled. I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight, as I lie there in bed thinking about what this will be like for him. I'd give anything to be a little mouse in the corner observing when he is told. Believe me, I am not the Scrapbooking Queen by any means, but hopefully he will like it and it will help him feel more comfortable with the changes that are right around the corner soon.

WOW! I am feeling more and more like the mom of 3 every minute!