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We’re Alive

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Good grief. It's been a hell of a journey. We just got internet connection a few hours ago. The thirty something hour trip was an adventure. We left on Saturday and we got to our destination Monday, and there were no hotel room stop overs, just travel and layover. Not sure I have the energy to talk about it. Shymkent is an interesting old world type of town. I will blog about it as I get to know it better.

Yes we have news and it's mostly good news, but there are still the adoption uncertainties that just leaves the nerves on edge. The day before we left home, we saw that there will be a six month break from accepting new dossiers for Kazakhstan and of course we froze at the news. Something to do with international adoptions and it’s through the Hague and we don’t completely understand it, but luckily it does not affect people who currently have dossiers in Kazakhstan. So we’re ok there.

So after that thirty something hour travel and after roaming the airport searching for our contacts and being pestered by a persistent taxi driver and just when panic started to kick in we did meet our contacts, which thank heavens included a translator. After some brief introductions, a little small talk, they whisk us to our apartment to drop our things, a quick bathroom break, and off to the Ministry of Education, which apparently is in charge of adoption. After waiting a couple of hours, we’re in front of the Minister and with our dossier in front of her and she’s drilling us with questions. Mind you, we probably slept four hours in the last forty and this interrogation was completely unknown to us. The Minister was a stout woman with gold teeth and a severe Russian expression. I’m not even sure I can remember what the questions were. I assumed our translator was answering correctly. She seemed to have approved us.

Then we were off to the baby house where we were told we would meet the babes that very first day. The baby house is on the outskirts of town where we pass a boy on flat board buggy being pulled by a donkey, up chopped up road that probably hasn’t seen paving in a decade, around a bunch of turns and to an old building, ala soviet days. It’s a temporary facility we are told and in a month they will be moving to a new place. But it’s got lots of shady trees and stray dogs roaming about.

We meet with the chief doctor, a tall slender woman, who seems very kindly. She asks us a few personal questions and tells us there are two boys up for adoption to choose from, but now that it’s late in the day, we will meet them in the morning. After that we go and meet with our coordinator in Shymkent, a smart looking woman lawyer whose office seems a bundle of energy. She lays out the game plan for us – one month and we’ll be set. Sounds like everything is under control. Hmm.

Next day, bright and early we head over to the baby house. We wait sitting in the hall on a bench as if we were in school and we hear all sorts of yakking in Russian inside the various rooms around us. We’re sitting on the edge of the bench jittering with nervous anticipation. I think Pussnboots asks me if I’m nervous. “A little” I said. Finally we’re called into the room, they sit us down and they bring in a set of children. We know the standard operating procedure out here is to show the very hard to adopt children first. They bring out children with Downs Syndrome, with heart problems, with dwarfism, and with cerebral palsy. We’re kind to all of them, but our expressions show that this is not what we were looking for. They understand and it’s not a hard push, more a perfunctory attempt.

Finally they bring out an eight month old chubby baby and put him in my arms. We go through his history (without getting too specific, mother’s first pregnancy and abandoned him, she having some psychological issues which were not explained) and he’s healthy. Only medical issues are that he’s a little crossed eyed and that he’s overweight. Overweight is a problem for babies? I thought one was to fatten babies up. He was 3.0 kg (6.6 lbs) and 50 cm (almost 20 inches) at birth and now at eight months he’s 8.7 kg (19.1 lbs). According to their tables he should only be 6.5 kg (14.3 lbs). Well if this is the worst, then we can live with this. Worst case is possible diabetes or thyroid issues, but frankly 19 pounds is not that over weight.

Meanwhile, the baby is enjoying himself in our arms. He feels no anxiety with strangers, he smiles when I tease him and he even giggles when Pussnboots rubs noses with him. He’s got a grip like a wrestler, grasping my finger where I couldn’t pull it out. He grabs the book that’s on the table and later with a wry smile on his face grabs my glasses off my face and then when we take them away he starts grasping at my nose.

This is great. This will be our baby ! We found our little boy.

Apparently babies up for adoption in Kazakhstan must pass a registry period before they can be adopted. They think he's got another month to go before he comes off the registry. What that means for us is that our adoption period won't start until another month, and then our time begins, which is about another month.

So the question is now what do we do ? If we go home, what guarantee is there that the baby won't be given up to someone else ? I don't know if there is a guarantee. can we stay here an extra month ? I can't be away from work for two months. On top of it, our fingerprints expire now before this will end and we will have to have them redone, and so we need to go back home for at least that. This is all so exasperating.

Updated 08-18-2010 at 08:26 PM by Virgil



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  1. Scheherazade's Avatar
    Good to hear from you, Virgil, and glad that things are moving on.

    You have come such a long way that one or two more months won't matter that much
  2. motherhubbard's Avatar
    Always bad with the good it seems. I know you'll be so glad when this is over and you and your family are all home together. I'm glad you took the time to blog. Thank you for the update.
  3. Virgil's Avatar
    Thanks ladies. I just can't tell if this is a serious development or just an inconvenience.
  4. Madhuri's Avatar
    It seems that your really enjoyed your time with the little one.
  5. MUMUKSHA's Avatar
    Hey Virgil, so glad you could finally share this with us. I read it with so much excitement, feeling joyous to read about your meeting with your baby and upset about the problems that still need to to tackled. But it's all worth it now, isn't it? Your happiness is quite evident. I wish you guys lots of luck with whatever's left of the adoption procedure. I'll eagerly wait for your next update.
  6. Niamh's Avatar
    Think of it as your last hurdle and its clear sailing after!! so happy for you guys!
  7. applepie's Avatar
    You are so close. Hopefully things will be resolved in short order, and you can begin the final bit of the process.

  8. mtpspur's Avatar
    At work now so reading this before I start. Hang in there sounds so trite so be at peace seems more approriate.
  9. 1n50mn14's Avatar
    I can hardly wait to see pictures. I know it might be a while, but .
  10. qimissung's Avatar
    That's exactly what I was hoping for for you guys. It almost sounds like they want to give you a hard time; surely not, but still...
  11. The Comedian's Avatar
    Hold tight. Everything should work out for you. You two have come a long way. Literally.

    Unfortunately, I don't know how to answer the "should I stay another month issue?"
  12. Maryd.'s Avatar
    Yes, well, my good sir, this sure is a tough one. The fact that you have your young man in your arms, brings me joy and I know the wait is going to be monotonous. Just think though when that month is up your little fellow will be yours. The only thing I can suggest is that you both go back home and return in 3 weeks. I know the costs and time juggling will be a pest. But what else can you do?
  13. andave_ya's Avatar
    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3.

    He sounds adorable! good luck to the three of you! whatever happens - hang tight! You can do it! ALMOST THERE.
  14. L.M. The Third's Avatar
    My sympathy that the process keeps getting longer, but I'm sure you'll be able to say it was all worth it for your bundle of joy (and mischief, no doubt)!
  15. BienvenuJDC's Avatar
    I definitely understand your sentiments, but if you could bring one of the Downs babies home for me, I'll take another. It sounds like it's a hurry up and wait situation...and a definite maybe. It reminds me of a song...Que sera sera! Whatever will be will be. I'll be praying for you two. You'll be happy, just like any parent.
  16. Virgil's Avatar
    Thank you all.

    Mary - The expense of staying a month is about the expense going back and forth once, so I'm not sure the cost impacts the decision. The factors are being away from work versus the risk of the baby being taken away by someone else. As it turns out we have to get fingerprinted for the upteenth time, and so we do need to get back home for at least that.

    Bien - You can probably adopt a Downs Syndrome baby (and the two we saw were so cute) in the US relatively easy. My agency does international adoptions, but I'm sure they can find out for you if you want me to put you in contact with someone.
  17. Themis's Avatar
    Sounds very cute (There's a little boy that frequently visits us who also grabs at anything and everything. Glasses are a favourite too! Oh, and he's quite a bear, would be what in your report was called 'overweight', but there's not a problem. He's just a big happy baby. I'm sure you needn't be worried in the least.).

    And as for that extra month - don't worry about that either. Enjoy your time with the boy but don't feel you've got to stay on. If everything works out, you'll have all the time in the world to spend with him.
  18. PrinceMyshkin's Avatar
    It's mind-boggling to think what you and Pussnboots have been through and might yet have to endure. Here's one apparently adorable boy and two adults eager to share their love with him - and here is the maze of bureaucratic complications that we humans seem to relish inflicting on them. I passionately hope you and X will prevail.
  19. Janine's Avatar
    So glad you are safe and things are working out well. The baby sounds ideal. I agree that weight is relative and kids really range in size and weight. I don't see that as a problem at all. Slightly crossed eyes mean weak muscle and it can be easily corrected. I read up on it online. My granddaughter used to pull my glasses off at that age; and my earrings. She still takes a great interest in jewelry when I wear it but she usually is more gentle about it now. If he is active and noticing things and doing things like that he is a healthy happy baby.

    I am concerned about your returning home. Will some of the actual official bonding take place before you come back? In that way I would feel a little secure that they will give you the right baby. I would ask a lot of questions before I made any set decisions.

    I know it all has to be stressful and hard on you two. But as others have said, the outcome will be so great it will have all been worth the effort. Sons are wonderful. I enjoyed my son when he was a baby emensely.
  20. Joreads's Avatar
    Virgil thanks for keeping us updated. I am glad that you finally made it there. Hang in there it will all be worth it in the end I am sure. I have everything crossed for you.

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