Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bonding is COMPLETE!!!! :)

I am so happy to announce that we have officially completed the bonding period with the girls! Kazakhstan laws requires 14 days of bonding... and today was day 14!!! Another step done! :)
I just have to say that we ended today with an outstanding day with the girls. One of the best days yet. They were so attentive and listening. They repeated things and remember so much that we've already taught them. We are SO proud of them! :)
Here are some highlights from the day:
I can now tell them to sit... and they will both come and sit quietly and wait for directions. (HUGE improvement!!!) We were looking at our family, house, etc. They remember so much and are pointing out family and naming them!

Faith had taken off and Phil and I both tag teamed (Team Gobble United - inside joke for our ME friends! ;) ) Grace here and she was ALL smiles!!! Grace, we love you SO much! :)

SILLY GIRL! Grace took her piggys out and we all cracked up at her... Faith even laughed. She thought it was funny too... so Symbat snapped this picture! She's so funny!

Our little poser! She was sitting like this with her little leg crossed and before we could grab the camera she stopped... I asked her to cross her legs.. and this is what we got... LOL!! Such a cutie!

I was playing around with different shots of them today... and decided to take this one. Isn't is precious? LOOK... you can see their legs! The funny thing is that is was colder today than any other day since we've been here in Kazakhstan, and it was the coolest inside the BH as well. This is the first day we've seen their legs... :) No tights... I find it really strange that they were dressed so cool today.. when it was SO cold.. but, I wasn't complaining!

I was showing Grace how to pose for pics... LOL! Bay wanted me to get the twins to cross their arms with their back together and take a picture....well.. I tried! LOL! This is the only picture that turned out.

We completed bonding and then had the driver drop us off at the following restaurant. It's Skeef, I believe. We were told (Thanks Dave and Jeannie) that they have good food and even onion rings. We decided to try it today! We both had HB's and fries... it was ok... pretty good for Kazakhstan version of fast food... lol, but as always it wasn't like home! We tried to order onion rings.. but, they didn't understand. We'll try again next time. Here's a picture of Skeef.
We decided that today we would really get out and about. I've been really wanting to walk to the 'big' mall, but we've not walked that far yet... so today we decided we would. :) Nothing like celebrating that bonding is complete!! It is quite a walk from the restaurant to the big mall... no idea how far, but a LONG walk. Honestly we weren't sure exactly where we were headed... we just knew which direction we were going.. LOL!

Here is a picture that I snapped while walking in the COLD!
Isn't that interesting? LOL!!!! (The rest of that flyer is in Kazak/Russian!)

This is a picture of the toy store. It is across the street from Skeef.

Ok.. so we head out on our LONG walk. I haven't gotten many pictures of the town.. and really wanted to take LOTS of pictures to be able to show family and friends.. as well as the twins one day. I told Phil that our LONG walk today would be a great chance to get some good pics of the city. We had walked less than one block and my camera would NOT turn on. YES, it was to cold for it to work. THAT'S VERY COLD!!!

We continued walking... and hoped it would turn on when we got inside a building.

After walking for a while we came upon this HUGE building. It was new and the closer you got to it the busier the traffic was. I talked Phil into going in it.. just to see what it was. It was a HUGE shopping building. There was everything you could ever want/need... from clothes to groceries. It was a new building.. and one of the nicest buildings we've been inside here. We were window shopping and I commented about a hat being cute! Phil insisted that I try some on... and then insisted we buy me a hat and scarf! :) I said ok... only if he'd take my picture!!! LOL... here it is!
I have to admit... he was correct! It makes a HUGE difference.. and it was SO warm! I definitely fit in more... now if I would just stop wearing my Nike's... lol! (NO way... to much walking to not be comfy!)

Phil was looking at something.. and I ventured on ahead of him... only to round the corner and find this:

I was taking pictures.. and people just looked at me.. I smiled at this lady nicely.. and asked her if I could take her picture... she smiled and posed with the meat! :)

There were 10 HUGE counters of meat.... it was a HUGE place. The meat was EVERYWHERE... and you've never seen so many workers. It was hilarious... you could see the word spreading among the local workers like wildfire... that someone was taking pictures. I then had someone ask me if they could help me... (I knew that's what they said in Russian). I said NO... I speak English... You could then see their face LIGHT up... they then ask me in Russian (where are you from?) and I say.. America!!! The lady lets out a SQUEAL and says two of three sentences in Russian... and in that says AMERICA!!!!! I am then SWARMED by blue aprons!!! LOL!! They are asking LOTS of ?'s... and I have NO idea what they are saying... There was probably 10-20 people crowded around me... and I'm thinking... Great!! Phil's going to KILL me.. LOL.. You know we are supposed to blend in... hee hee!! ;)
I then realize they are asking if we're from New York! I laugh and from Oklahoma... the puzzled looks on their faces says it all.. LOL!! They have NO idea and have NEVER heard of the state of OK...
About this time... a man says... Come with me... (very nicely) and takes me to the counter of this man... who I assume to be the head butcher.. and motions for me to take his picture.
Everyone was all smiles and so nice! I wish I knew more Russian/Kazak so I could really talk with people... About this time.. I look up and there's Phil. He's just looking at me in this crowd of people grinning. About the time I see him.. they see him too and motion at him, etc.. I then hand him the camera and ask him to take our picture. EVERYONE scatters and says NYET!!! (no)... I talk 2 of the women who first started talking to me into staying with me... :) and Phil snapped the picture. (I wish they would have smiled in the picture.. they were so sweet and kind.. and all smiles!) I wish you could have seen all the workers behind and around... it was SO cool! It's been said before that I don't meet a stranger.. and yes, that's true! However, communicating when you don't speak the same language is TOUGH, but doable!! :)
I just want to say that we SO take for granted where we live... These people here are so envious and would most likely give anything to have the chances and freedoms that we take for granted EVERY SINGLE DAY! Please... just slow down a bit and be thankful that we have all that we have... We live in a country where we can make our own decisions... choices... and freedom... We are a BLESSED nation.... and I'm as guilty as anyone else of having taken that for granted.... I will NEVER ever do that again. I guarantee you that I will never hear a patriotic song and not bawl again... We are so blessed America... so blessed!

I thought this was SO funny... just in case you might need to have a key made... while you buy a hunk of meat!

We then left this building... and decided to head towards the 'big' mall. We go out and find that there is a outside market area here as well. We decided to check it out... and walked down through it. We ran into our lawyer again... LOL! A city of 300,000 and we keep running into her. We had a nice visit! Here are some pictures of the outside market:

We then head in the direction we think the 'big' mall is.. and we discover we were correct... and it's really close! Here are some pictures as we are walking towards the mall. That big building in the background with yellow writing is the mall.
Notice the lady looking at me... ;)

This is a picture of the HUGE outside market behind the 'big' mall. I wanted to take more pictures of the outside market.. but, guess what... my camera froze after about 5 minutes. I tell you it is REALLY cold here!! Here are a couple shots I took before it froze!

These pictures do not even begin to show you the outside market. It is HUGE! It was/is a cross between a flea market and the state fair! LOL! There are food vendors.... with YUMMY deep fried food as well as people playing instruments for money on the corners. You can find ANYTHING you could ever want out here... from car parts.. to toys, clothing, bedding, underwear, kitchen sinks, flooring, shoes... I am not kidding... you can find ANYTHING you could ever want or need. We bought a few little toys for the girls.. but, nothing big! We did however enjoy the food vendors... and had a great time walking around and just looking at all the stuff. It was cold... but, a GREAT afternoon!
We want to/will go back and look around some more... we got so cold and tired.. so we headed back to the apartment. It is a fairly LONG walk back. I will take more pictures next time.
Well... we've had internet issues tonight/today... so, I'm really late posting today's post.. so I guess I'll let this be it for today! We are going out tomorrow with Aida and Jhanar (post office girls)...
Monday Svetlana will file our paperwork with the court... and we will know more about an upcoming court date...
I will include an updated list of prayer requests in tomorrows posts. Thanks again for all the love, support, and prayers... PLEASE keep them coming!!!
Night from Kazakhstan!


Angie said...

Did you guys tell the agency people that you were going to the outside market? They were so panicked about us going there alone! We also had a lot of fun there, only instead of freezing cold, it was burning hot. It's such a place of extremes! It's so nice that they let you finish your bonding on Saturday. When we were there they didn't count Saturday as a bonding day at the babyhouse. Thank God for favor with officials! Another step done--only a few left to go!

Friends and Family said...

Waiting to hear the 14 day report was worth it!!! I checked a couple times today! Reading about the city and the shopping areas and the COLD makes me slightly guilty for complaining about turning on the heater, flannel sheets and heated matress pads. I am THANKFUL for all of those things and that I can have them. Loved the legs pics.... Loved the hat a scarf, they were made just for you! Praying and anticipating the updates for the next steps. Took a few minutes to look at the pics from the first day that you found your girls and day 14.....the difference in their eyes! Love you guys! Shari

Friends and Family said...

So you're finding out that WHEN you smile is a cultural issue. When our friend from Kyrgztan (sp?) moved here, she was just amazed at people smiling so much.
Katherine learned, when she was in France, that the French assume someone who smiles a bunch is not very bright.

Our Kyrgz friend misses the outdoor markets the most.

I love that you're getting a big dose of cross-culture. Great experience. There's probably nothing that changes your life more.

When I see you the next time, we will talk about having choices being cultural too.

Loving the pictures.

aultfamily said...

This post made me chuckle! Faith and Grace may not get many pictures of the city, but plenty of the meat market!! :) I wonder if they thought you were some big photographer that could make them famous or something?! I love the sweet little pictures of the girls' ankles and feet. So cute! I'm glad got you the hat and scarf, it's cold out there lady! Bundle up. Congrats on the completion of your bonding period! Prayers for a speedy court date!

Jessica and Chris said...

Yay!!! for bonding to be complete! I had so much fun looking at your pictures :) We had a market close to us called the Green market very similiar to the outside market you went to. They have everything there! So fun!

Jstar said...

Congrats on finishing bonding - every hurdle crossed is such an exciting milestone! Our agency was really concerned about us going to the green market as well, but we definitely enjoyed our trip and also have photos of the gals posing with pig heads :)

Can't wait to hear about your court date!

Friends and Family said...

So weird to see photos of good ol' Pavlodar. We certainly miss it... well parts of it. Skif is actually around the corner from the restaurant in the picture (down the left side of the photo). I only say so because it's pretty decent food and their menu's have pictures! Kari has been keeping me posted with your story, so I figured I'd start following your blog too! So excited to see the girls find their forever family! Congrats on finishing bonding!

James Letterneau (Ava's Dad)

Kim said...

Ah sights & sounds of Kaz! Brings back many many memories! We loved our outdoor market too but were slip sliding on the ice through it. They didn't count our Sat. visits toward bonding days for us either! You are lucky there. Love the pic of their little legs! Precious!

Friends and Family said...

Oh my goodness!! Sooooo many memories flood back when I see the pictures of everything Lanetta!!!

Praise the Lord for answered prayer!!!

You guys are being well taken care of and we're sooo thankful with you!!
You have an awesome support group and so many generous friends!!!!
God is soooo good!!!!!

Praying for miracles with court dates and special waivers!!!!!!!

LOVE you guys!!!

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me!” Matt 18:5

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