Wednesday, June 21, and Thursday, June 22, 2006
Hi everyone! We are fine. I'm so sorry I have not posted for the last couple of days. I felt like I was getting boring but apparently you are still reading so I will keep writing. You have NO idea how much each and everyone of you has warmed our hearts. It is very humbling and we feel so incredibly blessed by our family and friends but also the many friends that have followed our journey that we only know by name all across the country.
I'll catch you up on the last two days but first let me update you on court and our return home. We have court on Monday, June 26th at 12:00 noon, which I think is 1:00 a.m. Sunday, June 25th CST. Just an aside, Jonathan is 9 months old on Sunday the 25th!!! We will get all spiffed up to attend our hearing where we will have Dina with us to translate. I guess the good thing about that, among other things is that if the judge asks us a question and she doesn't like the way we answer it, she can change it in the translation because he won't have a clue what we are saying. We got the male judge, which I'm sure there are several but we are a bit nervous because the other families all had the same female judge and she was quick and easy. We have heard some scary stories about some of the male judges so you can pray we get a nice one!! Can you imagine, if he looks at me cross ways- I'll start to bawl and that won't be any good will it?? We have been told to prepare a speech and that we will both be asked to talk about why we want to adopt and particularly why we want one of their children. Ok-how am I supposed to answer that without a breakdown. The good news for me is that they mostly address the man in these things and I'm to speak only when spoken too. That ought to be a challenge for me as all of you who know me will attest. Bryan has to wear a suit and tie AND give a speech. Extra deodorant will be needed that day!!!
Yesterday, we had another great visit with Jonathan. He was in a great mood and continues to squeal with delight when I go and get him from the caregivers. That does my heart good I can assure you. His giggle is infectious and makes everyone around him within hearing distance laugh out loud. I can't wait for you to hear it. Fortunately, we have captured it many times on video. We have been staying outside the whole two hours these last couple of days because it is way too hot in the playroom. We had fun though because Jonathan and Alaina hung out together which was nice because Alaina and Natalie get to leave on Thursday. It gets harder and harder to leave him each day and I anticipate the final visit next week will be a tough one.
Bryan has been going nuts not being able to golf so after the Baby House we set out in search of the one and only golf course in Astana. Our driver, Boshjan, took us to the outskirts of the city and from what little we could see it looked to be very nice. We were met by the security guard who would not let us past the gates because apparently the President or someone with more clout and money than we could muster was going to be playing that afternoon. We did find out that it is $120 American dollars to play a round. We don't know what they consider a round and what is included?? The other issue would be club rental. It is a splurge but Bryan is still not giving up playing possibly on Sunday with Ross, our friend from Chicago. They are chomping at the bit. We'll see if they can work that out.
After the golf course tour our driver took us by a mosque and then to see a Russian and Muslim cemetary. Very interesting. I can tell you they don't have anyone to mow and the weeds grow on the mounds of dirt--Mounds because they don't bury people very far underground and instead just put the dirt on top of the casket. In the Russian cemetary, they put an iron gate around the plots and most plots look to be for the entire family. The Muslim cemetary, did something similiar only they build elaborate brick gates and pillars around their loved ones. It was interesting to see. Nothing is very tidy anywhere and this is no exception and yet you can tell they are very respectful of loved ones who have passed on. More than you ever wanted to know about that I'm sure.
Last night, we had our final dinner with the American families because all but two left today(Thursday), It was actually sad-we really developed some nice friendships and you realize the likelihood of seeing them again is probably remote. They were all great people and we are going to really make an effort to keep in touch. After our Italian meal, we had ice cream and then went with another couple to watch the World Cup Soccer game on T.V. It was a lot of fun.
Today, we showed up at the Baby House and I again took my journey to Jonathan's room to pick him up(it is my favorite part of the day!) He was in his walker, dressed in his best outfit(that would be his Iowa State Cyclone outfit)and dewrag and he couldn't have looked any cuter. Must be the colors. They suit him well. He gave me the usual welcome which really tickled the caregivers today and little did I know that while I was greeting him in return, Dr. Alma, the head of the BabyHome was watching us interact. He was squealing with delight(which is a good thing when Dr. Alma is watching particularly) and then she tapped me on the shoulder and told me in Russian but using hand motions that he looked like his mama and we have the same eyes. It was a happy moment to say the least. By the way, Jonathan has the same squeals of delight when he sees his Daddy so it is truly a match made in heaven. We are so grateful to his birth mother for giving him life and know without a doubt that God wanted to bless us with this little boy. It is amazing what happens when we yield to His will instead of stubbornly trying to map our own course. This is better than anything we had could have even dreamed of.
After the BabyHouse we took naps. It was so hot, we couldn't bear the thought of taking our walk in the heat of the day so we snoozed a little and then headed out for our journey to nowhere in particular. We ended up at a restaurant that we had tried once before and now remember why we had not been back. That's ok-it was air conditioned so we enjoyed about an hour of being cool which was very nice. We have been trying for a couple of days now to go to the Presidential Museum and we haven't managed to get there when it is open so we will keep trying until we are successful.
By now you know we frequent the infamous Ramstore each night and tonight was no exception. I was again out of bread.....By the time we killed about 20 minutes in there, we left only to find that another rain storm had erupted and about 50 hot, deoderant free people were standing in a small area waiting for the rain to stop. We couldn't handle that so luckily there is a small mall above the Ramstore and we decided we would wait out the storm by shopping. YEAH!!! I don't know why that is so exciting, the clothes aren't exactly my style but just the word is a happy thing for me. We have passed this one beauty Saloon(yes, I spelled that right because that is how they say it-not Salon, but Saloon.)several times and it is quite the show. The guy in there can twirl scissors and spin a round brush through hair like nobody's business. It truly was a show and everyone walking out of there had fabulous hair!! Bryan thought I needed to have the experience so I decided I would give it a go. It was GREAT!!! For $40 dollars I got a 1/2 hour scalp massage, a deep condition and hair show like no other. I will say I was quite nervous and I kept stressing to not cut my hair off and I think after I practiced my charades with major conviction he got the idea that I didn't want purple hair or some crazy style. He had some loud crazy music on and he was literally cutting and styling my hair to the beat. He even put a few dance moves in there. I kid you not it was like an aerobic workout for him and he didn't just do this for my benefit, we watched him do this two other times before I got brave enough to go in. Bryan was laughing the whole time-especially when he told me he needed to color my hair because I had too much white(we call that grey in American!!!)in my hair. Lovely. The guy was spectacular and I really like my hair cut so everyone is happy. That was risky business I tell you. The other interesting thing is this was all occurring at 10:00 p.m. at night. Can you imagine? These people work long hours and every day of the week.
As we were leaving we ran into our new friends(the tennis players with Athletes in Action) and got to talk to them again. They are leaving tomorrow for Almaty so we were thrilled to see them one last time. They are so awesome! Not only have they been taking part in this tennis tournament, they are here on a mission trip to teach people about God and they have had some awesome turnouts at events they have planned for young teens and even families. They are doing incredible things. They will play one last time tomorrow morning so we may try to go and watch them before we see Jonathan.
So I've gone on long enough and hopefully made up for missing two days worth of info. We are doing well and continue to count the days until we head home.
We hope your day is full of many blessings! Enjoy the photos today.
Maggie and Bryan
"Hey, how's it going?"