Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14th - Update! WE ARE COMING HOME!!!!

Last night the girls didn't sleep as well.  They woke up at 2:30 and were up until almost 5 am.     We then attempted an earlier nap due to such little sleep last night and the girls had a very hard time ever going to sleep.      They were then sleeping SO well and we had to wake them to get to the Consulate Appointment.   (isn't that about right?)    They were happy to wake up and are such sweet babies!  BIG smiles.. and give us lots of love.. like.. wow, you're still here!  :) 
(While I was attempting to get them to sleep.. Grace puts both hands on my cheeks and kisses me on the mouth and says very sweetly... "I love you!"   awe.. precious!)

We headed to consulate appointment.   I just had this dread that something would not be correct....  I know everyone has said the appointment is a breeze, but other things have been a breeze for others and NOT for us.. ;)    I was bracing myself for a delay.. yet, HOPING so much that things were all ok! 
The lady at window #3 was so kind.   She processed  all our info... took the last of our money.  ;)  and said that we are good to go.. at this point I just looked at her!   SERIOUSLY?!?  We have the girls.. we are wrestling with them while signing the papers... we are really out of here.. for real?!  I started crying!   Phil just smiles at me...  the girls are tired of waiting!   wow!!!    Amazing!  I have to say for Phil and I that this appointment today was much more emotional and exciting than court even..  Wow... we are REALLY coming home!!!
Here is a picture of the building that consulte is in.... 
... and here we are in front of the building!  The consulate is on the 16th floor! 

Penny and her driver then picked us up and we headed up into the mountains to look around!   The mountains here are absolulty beautiful!   We had a wonderful time exploring and seeing the mountains!  It was a great outing and a wonderful way to end our journey here!  :) 
We are forever thankful for Penny and Richard!  (Richard had to go to Astana on business today... so we didn't get a picture with him!) 
Here are some of our pictures:

The outdoor ice skating rink..  it's absolutly beautiful!
I have no idea why Grace would think to grab a snowball and throw it at Papa!   ;)  hee hee!   However, the snowball veered off and hit the red brick wall.  Papa didn't even know we were trying to hit him!  :)
The snow was melting and running off everything.  I showed the girls that they could touch the water dripping.   They were so excited!   They were in shock that it was ok to touch it!
FUN TIMES!!!    ... and yes, they got a little wet.. but, you know what?  They dried! :)
Aren't they precious?   I don't know how it's even possible, but I love them more and more every single day!  :)   My heart is bursting!  :)

Here the girls and I are with Penny!   She is truly a wonderful woman!  We will forever be in contact with them!  :)  Thank you Jesus for leading us to them!  :)   Faith and Grace just LOVE her and are going to wonder where in the world she is!  She's been such a vital part of our lives these last 5 days!  We miss her already! 
An attempt at a family picture in the mountains!  :)   The girls REALLY wanted to run around... NOT take pictures!
I love this one!  :)
... and how perfect that I end this post with that picture!   We are headed out of here soon! 

We leave here for the airport @ 2am!   (in 4 short hours!)...

For anyone who lives local and has asked... we will arrive in OKC airport on Tuesday, March 15th @ 7:34 PM.    If you want to be there... you are welcome!
I received info. from a friend that a local news channel will be there filming.... and that they are covering our story on the news that night.... WOWZIERS!!!! 
Please... pray for Faith and Grace and that they are not completly overwhelmed.    We don't want to miss an opportunity to speak positivily about adoption and the Lord... but, also want to ensure that F and G are ok!

I know all of you are...but, please pray for our travels! :)      I have us pretty much packed up... Phil and the girls are asleep.  

I am seriously in shock that we are heading home WITH THEM soon!  wow!!!!!! 
God is so so so very FAITHFUL! 

ok... one more thing.. this will most likely be the last post I make before we are home forever!!!    SO STINKING EXCITING!!!

So.. I want to share about this.
I know that so many people have followed our journey of Faith and Grace to Faith and Grace! :)  We are so so so thankful for everything that anyone has done... from donations to help to prayers!  We are forever changed and moved by this entire process....   

Please know that we want all of you to meet F and G... we really do!    However, after the grand airport celebration we plan to keep things VERY low key for about 4 weeks.    We are asking that we have very little to no company... please know that this is only for the best interest of our family and the twins.   We need some time to adjust and bond and Phil and I both feel this is VERY necessary.   We have several Dr's appointments already scheduled and things going on... so we will be out and about some.. but, we really feel we need to keep things as simple as we possibly can for at least a few weeks.    Please understand and know that there will be a time when you can love on them too!

Speaking of that... I've been told that there is a HUGE celebration planned in April 10th from 1-3 @ the Perkins community Building in the new Territorial Plaza!   Just an FYI.. Faith and Grace will be there!  :)   Please come and meet them that day... we'd love to have YOU help us celebrate them being home forever!!!     I will share more details about this as I know them!  :) 

We will be home in a few hours... I hope I don't pass out at the airport!   I can not even imaigne the awesome presence of God that is going to fill that airport!  OKC watch out...   ;)    

ok. I could go on and on.. but, I will stop here and try to get a couple hours rest!  I bet I will need it, huh?!  ;) 
I will post from Germany and Chicago if I can... but, you just never know if that will be possible!
Pray for good seats, peaceful sleep  and wonderful flights!  

I will post as soon as I can when we get home!  
Love and prayers... and THANK YOU for loving our little family!  
Paka from Kazakhstan for the last time... (this trip!)  ;)  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March 10-12, 2011 - Update from Almaty!

It's Sunday afternoon and my precious babies are sleeping so I'm going to try to catch everyone up to date on the last few days.   Honestly, sitting here thinking about all of it the days all run together!  :)  Let me attempt to tell you about our fun adventures!

The girls slept from about 2:30 am until about 8 am on Thursday morning (3-10).  The staff in Pavlodar told us our appointment for the SOS clinic was @ 10:30 am and that we'd be picked up around 10 am.    We got up and around and headed downstairs to eat some breakfast.   Penny (our friends we are staying with) greeted us with HUGS and she had porridge already made for the girls.  :) 
I don't feel like I can write more without sharing more about them and how we met.  

Get ready.. this is another one of those AMAZING God stories!  :)  I indicated a few posts ago about meeting Penny when we were delayed due to snow @ Christmas time.   We were in the Almaty airport attempting to leave yet again after a 14 hour cancellation/delay of our flight going to Frankfurt.   Phil brought a bright orange OSU hat that he wore while traveling, but quickly put away upon our first arrival in Pavlodar and realizing this made us stand out even more.   LOL!   He had not touched this hat for MONTHS.. but, pulled it out of the suitcase in the Almaty airport minutes before.   We are about to check in through the international flights area... and we hear a very sweet excited voice say.. "Are you from America?   Is that an OSU cap?"  to which we both BLINK (keep in mind we've been in Kazakhstan for 2 months at this point!    Phil and I gulp and think... surely we are imagaing that someone is speaking to us in English... much less realizes and recognizes that this is an OSU hat... seriously OSU - Stillwater, OK!  NO WAY!   We stammer and stutter and get out a Yes... it is...    do you speak English?   DUH!?  hee hee!!    We start talking and quickly discover that Penny is from Altus, OK..    We had been talking about 5 minutes when they announce that we can check in for our flight.    Penny was on the same flight for Frankfurt... she was coming home to the US for Christmas.    Richard was catching a flight later in the week.. so we met and said Bye to him in a matter of minutes.       As you can imagine we talked with Penny for hours while waiting on our flights... and then in Frankfurt (during that MASSIVE snow storm) we were all delayed again together.   Richard works here in Almaty and they live here.    We showed Penny pictures of the twins and told her all about the adoption and we immediatly became wondeful friends.   It wasn't long until we knew they were Christians too and she was saying that when we come back through Almaty we will just stay with them!   We were blown away!   :) 

Penny and Richard..  you will never know how much you've shown us Jesus!   We are truly blown away by your kindness and giving hearts to virtually strangers. 
The best way to describe our stay here with them is like this:    When I had my biological daughters, my mom came and stayed with me for the first week... she took care of all of us!     She cleaned, cooked and did our laundry.  She made sure that I could rest and spend all the time and energy I wanted with my new babies.   Penny is that person now!   She has cooked meals for us.. shopped at the store, found things the girls will like.  She has made sure Phil and I are ok.    She has literally waited on us hand and foot!   I am about to bawl writing this.. but, it's so true!   God has truly and completly taken care of us and my little family once again.   WOW!    God, I just continue to be so touched by YOU and how you keep showing us your love, compassion and grace!   INCREDIBLE!

Ok.. back to the morning of the 10th...  Penny quickly starts asking about going to the SOS clinic and we tell her it's just who the staff uses.   She has some friends (christians) who run a clinic here in Almaty called the IMC (International Medical Center).   She asks is we'd be willing to take the girls to them if they can do the embassey exit visa exams.   We say sure and she starts checking.    We quickly find out that only them (IMC) and the SOS clinic can preform these exams.   Penny contacts our staff, cancels our appointment as SOS and we now have an appointment with their friends @ 2:30 pm.    

We have some lunch...  the girls take a nap and we head off to the IMC with Penny and their driver.   Their driver is such a KIND and sweet man.   He speaks English and Russian and the twins instantly love him.  He's so so so kind and great with them.  Another amazing blessing!  

We arrive at the IMC and meet the incredible staff... wow... we are SO blown away!     They radiate JESUS!!!!    They want to hear all about our story.. which we share!!    There are tears and praises as we share how God has provided and miracously shown up!    They exam the girls and are SO sweet with them. They speak Russian and English.. so the girls love that and it's just a special time for all of us.    Again.. .so incredible!    They asked if they could pray with us and over us before we left... YES you read that correctly!  WOW!
I of course asked for a picture:

Dr. Alexander (Sasha) Shinkarenko (who completed medical residency in Tulsa, OK - YES! Incredible)  and Dr. Vitaliy Krylov.

This is their office manger, Julia playing with the girls.   Julia was so kind and precious.   We felt Christ radiate from them!
 We found out at the exam with Dr Vitaliy that both girls need 2 immunizations.   :(   We then head across town with Penny and their driver for the shots.   That was NOT fun.. but, with Penny's help and a small box of Cherrio's.... we survived!  :)   Poor babies! 
Oh.. and one more thing..  our appointment at the IMC clinic was paid for!   WOW!    We are so humbled by all this.. I can't even tell you how we just continue to be blown away.    I know that we know that God said he would provide and take care if and when we trust and believe...  God, WE ARE SO THANKFUL... and LOVE YOU.. we give YOU all the Glory!  

We also found out that we needed passports size pictures of the girls as well, and had planned to take those after the shots, but decided it would be best to just come back to Penny and Richard's and take the pictures the next morning first thing!

A real update on the girls.   Overall, they are doing GREAT.... honestly, they are.    I will be honest here ( as you all know that I am) about some things, but some things I will not share.   I am sorry.. but, I want my girls to read this one day and not say.. Mama, why did you tell the world that? :)  
Just know that there are LOTS of sad behaviors and things they do that are a direct result of institualized life.. it's sad and heartbreaking and flat out WRONG!
These babies have lived in that orphange from the time they were TINY babies @ age 3 months.  They do not know any life outside of there.    
They will be 4 years old in May and they weigh (@ the IMC clinic) 26 and 27 lbs.   They are tiny. 

They eat every single bite of anything put in front of them... they eat fast and cram their mouths FULL of food.  They have ate what they could get to survive.     They are already learning so quickly.   We've shown them how to chew slower, take smaller bites and go slower.... they are learning that they can have food and water already.   :)   We have lots of healthy things (fruits and veggies) that we are giving them every few hours.  It's SO hard to know when to make them stop... but, I feel that we are doing fairly good with it all.   We are being VERY aware of what they are eating... NO sugar and trying so hard to help them to transition easier.   PLEASE keep praying that Phil and I will continue to have wisdom and make decisions that are best for them. 

The babyhouse claimed they were potty trained, but we came armed with pull-ups and immediatly put pull-ups on them.. knowing they would regress in this area most likely... if they were really trained at all.   Going to the bathroom and showing Papa and Mama that the pull-up is dry is their FAVORITE game right now!  :)    We are doing good and working hard!!     Yes, there are some accidents, but we are getting there!  :)    Plus, they are drinking LOTS of water! :)

I am so excited about the progress we are already making with bonding!  I have read all the books and trying to just follow my heart and gut with what to do.   They are truly loving being with us.   (most of the time!)  ha ha!!!    and vise versa.. ;)     They become more attached every day and it's just so incredible to see the changes in them coming back. 

I have so many things I could share.. but, think I better not... just know that we are seeing first hand that an orphange (regardless of how nice or awesome it appears) is NOT a life for ANY child.    We are seeing it first hand...   it's so so so sad.   I can't even tell you the magnitude of the sadness that we feel seeing some of these things.    It just makes me KNOW that we all have to do more.   There are SO SO SO many babies who are still living that life... the are not Grace and Faith, but Violetta and Stella who are laying in a bed ALONE rocking themselves to sleep night after night..
What can we do?   What can you do?   PLEASE pray for those babies all over the world tonight who have NO ONE!   They need US! 

(sorry about that... I just have an even deeper passion now!) 

ok.. so back to our days here.  We came back home.. Penny made a WONDERFUL dinner and we all had a GREAT evening!  

The girls had some troubles going to sleep.. but, finally got there!   Mama is not sleeping well.  I feel like I did when I had newborn babies.   You know how you never allow yourself to go into a deep sleep.. for fear they will need you and you will not know it? lol!?   Well... that's me.. but, this time it's times 2 and they really need me to be there instantly if they wake up scared.   Guess what..  by night 3 when they wake up they say, "mama, Papa? "    :)   YEAH!!!  They are already calling out to us.. or making sure we are STILL here!!  

Friday, March 12

We are up about 7:30...  take another bath (they LOVE water) and get ready for the day!   We then head downstairs after a lotion massage from Mama and have some breakfast!  :) 
We head out to pictures with Penny and the driver @ about 9 am.

The girls did great.. and LOVED sitting up on the blocks for the actual pictures.  They smiled and Penny and I thought it would be GREAT to get one of them together... so we asked the man and he of course said SURE!  :) 
Here it is:
Aren't they precious?   :)  Faith on Left.  Grace on right!
After getting the pictures taken the girls were getting VERY tired and overwhelmed so Penny suggested we bring them back home and one of us stay with them here and one go and finish the things we had to get done.  I just have to share here more about Penny.. when the girls begin to get stressed in the vechicle or overwhelmed.. she just quietly begins to pray for them.   :)   SUCH AN AMAZING BLESSING!
 Penny had an appointment so the driver dropped her off and brought Phil and the girls back home.    I went with the driver to take the pictures to the IMC clinic and meet Oleg - our Almaty coordinator.    Oleg came to the IMC and met me there and he was then headed straight to the Embassy to deliver our paperwork.    Our visa exit interview is on Monday @ 2:30 pm! 
The Dr's were all so kind when I took the pics back to the clinic and I was able to share so much of our story with them.   They were so sweet and supportive and I just can't tell you how blessed we feel to have met them.    We exchanged info and they want to follow the girls for years!  :)

The girls then napped and had more fruit and healthy snacks!  :)   We then decided to venture to Lori's house (Penny's friend).    Lori has an indoor swimming pool in her home and given how much the girls LOVE the water and swimming... we thought this would be a great bonding as well as a good way to spend a couple afternoon hours.  
Their home is BEAUTIFUL and the pool area was so so nice.   However, the pool water temperature was colder than the twins or Mama liked.. :(  Papa did do the polar bear plunge.. hoping that the girls might as well, but after sticking our feet in the edge they kept saying, NYET - to cold! (Penny's driver came in with us and translated!  :) ) 
Here are some pics though:
This one is out of order..but, here we are brushing our teeth before our pictures1  :)
Kicking water on Papa!
Warming up in the Sauna!
The girls slept much better on Friday night...   Mama not so much!  :)   We are having quite a bit of trouble going to sleep.

We have been here for Sat and Sun with no plans and nothing to do for 2 whole days.  Again, THANK you Jesus for Penny and Richard's house!  The highlight of the past 2 days has most definitly been our 9 am appointment to skype with the girls and our family at home!  Faith and Grace have loved it as much as they have.  It's been so much fun watching them all and seeing them meet on the computer! :)   
Saturday was a lazy day.. we did venture out after naptime because the days are LONG for Phil and I.  However, again we are SO SO SO thankful we are not doing this in a tiny HOTEL room with NO kitchen.   To those of you AP's who have already been here and lived this part out in a hotel... I am so so so sorry!  :)  I wish I would have prayed harder for you!  :)  

Penny had told us about a rest. with an indoor playground inside it that was not far from their house.  We couldn't find it.   We found out today that we were only a few feet away.. lol!  oh well..  We wanted to get something to eat and get out of Penny and Richards hair and kitchen.  They were having a dinner party.. and we didn't want to intrude.  They insisted we were not.. but, we were trying to be respectful.   We looked and looked for the rest... and couldn't find it.. finally we see a sign that says, Sandwich shop in English!  :)  I go in and check it out.. they have an English menu.   It's small and the choices are not great.. but, it ends up being good food.   :)
Phil and I had a sandwich and we ordered some pasta for the twins.. however, Grace didn't like it (the first thing either have NOT eaten!) 
Here we are on our outing yesterday:
Here they are in their new stoller for the first time!  This is on the steps of Penny and Richard's house!
Headed out and down the gate to the street.  That is Penny and Richard's home in the background!
Phil took this picture of us in the sandwich shop while waiting on our food.  I just had to include this one.. ha ha!   Don't you love my "fake" looking smile?  Grace is saying, "seriously tell me that these people don't expect me to sit still in this boring place!"   and then there's Faith... just smiling (don't be fooled by that adorable smile....  DO. NOT. BE. FOOLED!  ;)

So, we survived our first eating out experience!  :) 

On Saturday night the girls slept for 10 straight hours.   I went to bed when they did and also slept for 10 hours.. only waking up 3 times!  :)  yeah!    Not nearly as worn out feeling today!  
It's now 10 pm here on Sunday and I'm finishing up this post..
Today was another good day.  The girls are learning so much every single day!   I am so so so proud of them! 
They are so precious and loving to us!  
We just hung our around the house today and played.  We did venture out to a nearby park and walked around some.  Penny went with us and showed us some sights.   The girls played in the snow and we threw snowballs at Papa!  That was fun.. they were in shock when I threw the first one!  It was obvious that they were NOT allowed to touch or throw the snow at the bh... but, after some encouragement Grace was a PRO!  Faith didn't really like to get her hands wet or cold!   LOL!   They are polar opposites!   It's amazing!

We have our embassy apt. tomorrow afternoon and we're going to drive up into the mountains to sight see tomorrow with Penny and her driver.   Hopefully the girls will enjoy the car ride!   Phil and I really want to see the mountains!  :) 
Pray all goes well at the embassy!   This is the FINAL step...  Our flight is scheduled to leave Almaty @ 4 am on Tuesday monring... so about 30 hours from now!  Wahoo!!!  

We are so excited to think that we are almost heading home!  However, we DREAD the travel!
PLEASE keep praying for the girls!

We love all of you! 
Remember that if the Lord asks you to do something... He is planning on paving the way!   JUST take a step and TRUST him! 
Today I just continued to think of the scripture....  "Did I not tell you that if you believed  you would see the GLORY of God?"   Wow!  Yes, Lord you did... I am so sorry I doubted you for a second!    We give all the praise and glory to YOU!   Thank you Jesus for these two babies who are sleeping feet away from me!    THANK YOU JESUS... THANK YOU for trusting us with them!   We are honored!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Part 2 - GOTHA DAY - March 9, 2011

Just to catch you up to date.. it's now Saturday March 12th.   We are at our friends home in Almaty.. scheduled to leave on Tuesday @ 4 am!   Wahoo!   I am going back to last Wed. and trying to catch everyone up to date.    Yes, they are asleep... my precious adorable wondeful babies are sleeping!  :)  (Papa too!)  so.. I only have a good hour to get this written uploaded and posted... 
on to the good stuff...

Now to continue from Part 1:
We then headed to Faith and Grace's group/room to pick them up. The caregivers had dressed them already in the clothes we brought.   I also brought as assortment of barrettes and hairbows, and planned to figure out the best/cutest way to fix their hair.. lol!    The caregivers had put EVERY single barrette in their hair!  :)
As you can see in the picture below of Faith.. :)   I just smiled and let it go and knew inside that I had YEARS to fix their hair!  :)    (oh and I was so excited to see that they hadn't cut their hair again while we were gone...  thank the Lord!  I know it's just hair, but I can't wait to get it cut cute and fix it for them! ) 
I asked if we could take a picture with them beside their beds.   The caregivers weren't very happy, but agreed.   Symbat (translator) took the picture.   I was hoping she'd get the entire room of beds, but as you can see she didn't.   The room is JUST like this - lined from one end to the other with little beds.   SO SO sad...
The caregivers put their coats on them etc...  This is one of their caregivers telling them Paka (bye)!
This is the door to their group.   We went out it for the LAST time!  Thank you JESUS!!   I don't know if I had Faith or Grace here.. but, they were waving at the caregivers and their friends and telling them bye for the last time!   WAHOO!
Going down the stairs from their group...  FOR THE LAST TIME!
One of the doctors wanted to see us in her office one last time.  We were just coming out of her office here.  It made our stomachs DROP, but she just wanted to tell the girls bye and wish us luck!

When we got to this corner the staff (doctors, caregivers, etc) were all gathered out here and waiting to tell them Bye.   I still can't believe all the people who came out to tell them bye.  The girls just smiled and laughed and said Paka and Bye bye both!   Their doctor (the nice one I've posted pics of before) was about to cry.. so I hugged her.  Faith then hugged her too, and the doctor took Faith from me.  Faith started to whimper and said NYET (no) Mama and reached back for me.  The crowd LOVED that and so did her Mama!  :) 
Notice in the picture below...   if you've followed our blog all along you will remember that this is the doctor who was SO incredibly mean to us.   She was in the group.   She was all smiles and very kind.   I patted her and smiled HUGE and she smiled back.   It was one of those moments where you just KNOW that God is all over it! 
Papa and Grace are coming up the hallway.. we are heading to the door!!!!  :)
We are signing FOR THE LAST time the registry book in Bagdat's office (director)!!!  
Here we are with Baghdat.   Baghdat told us that the donation money we gave (you are required to give a large donation when you adopt a child(ren) from an orphanage here) was used to redecorate this entry way.     We were happy to hear this.. but, a little sadden that it wasn't something more for the children there.. BUT at least we know the money was used at the babyhouse. 

The classic BREAK-OUT picture!  We are OUT OF THERE!  On the front steps and about to embrace the world!  PURE joy and the praises all go to our wonderfull faithful Lord and Savior!
We then went by the ministry of education office because some of the ladies we met and got to know at court wanted to see us!!  TRULY amazing!   The twins however, were NOT happy campers in the van.   The women came down to the van to see us..  We got to hug them and they wished us the best,, etc.. but, overall it was so stressful.  The girls were so on overload!  
Svetlana said the ladies asked to see us specifically.  Isn't that wonderful?!  God so has plans and we are so thrilled to see those coming to pass!   Pavlodar.. you have not seen the last of the Gobble's!  :)

We made it back to the apartment and things were a LOT better.   It was about noon when we got back.. so we needed a little lunch.  My plan was to fed them some lunch...  give them a good bath, a nice massage with some lotion,  brush teeth and take a nap!  We discovered when we got back that we had NO water!  URG... gotta love Kazakhstan!  :( 
However, we did eat some yogurt and a banana.   They were SO hungry! 
In our bed at the apartment.. with their blankies!    This ended right after this picture was taken and one went with Papa to the living room and one stayed with me in the bedroom.  They both went right to sleep VERY easily.   Incredible!   
They slept for about 1 1/2 hours.    :)   They were in shock when they woke up and thrilled to see us!  It was SO sweet.. we got the Mama and Papa screams!  :)    Here they are playing in the apartment!
The water came back on while they were napping, so we were able to take a bath (the water was NOT clear, but it was water!)   The girls LOVE water which we already knew.    Remember the day I got to see them 'smimming' at the babyhouse in the 'pool'?   They are 1/2 fish!   Perfect cause we have 2 more 1/2 fish girls at home!   Summer-time HERE WE COME!  :)
Svetlana felt SO bad for us when they dropped us off at the apartment, in fact she really wanted to come up and stay with us to help.   :)  It was SO sweet, but we insisted that we would be ok...  She wanted to take us to dinner (since it was my birthday) and thought we could go to the RubyCom to the indoor toys that are on the 3rd floor.    Here the girls are all bathed, lotioned and ready for another outing! 

Here they are waiting to go play at the indoor playground.   Grace LOVED every second.  Faith DID NOT!   Faith was scared and ended up not playing at all.  Mama just held her.  Honestly, I should have followed my gut and declined this outing.. but, it was our last evening in Pavlodar with the staff... so we wanted to spend some time with them as well.   It was ok.. they helped us a lot, but this was to much for the twins.  
We then spent more time at the apartment packing up and getting ready to go.   We then headed to the airport.  The drive to the airport was once again KILLER.  The girls would not sit still at all. They were from one end of the van to the other and NON-STOP.  It was absolulty insane.  They were on the floor boards, standing in the seats, etc..  It was all SO overwhelming to them and they had NO clue how to react!     We finally made it to the airport and the REAL fun started!  (the van was NOTHING compared to the rest of the day.. ha ha! )     They are remodeling the airport (have been for months) so it's a complete MESS..they are construction junk scattered everywhere and everything is COVERED in dust and dirt.    The girls are running all over the place.   We literally chase them all over the airport.   At one point EVERY single person in the airport waiting area was STARRING at us!  LOL!   It was such a FUN experience!   They were not that interested in the 'survival' Dora backpacks that I packed... and I was trying HARD to save the 'snacks' for the plane ride!    The 2 hour wait felt like 17 hours.    I laughed when I looked through the pictures.  I honestly don't remember taking this picture... however, it is THEM and it's in th airport in Pavlodar.   I think this had to be the ONLY time they sat down!   I can't believe this picture.. so I included it.  
After 9,543 minutes they FINALLY announce boarding... EVERYONE gets up to leave and heads out... Grace decides she wants to be carried.  Faith throws herself in the floor.   We are LAST already... trying to head that way!    We head out the door.... the COLD blast of night Kazakhstan air hits us and they do not want to walk.   I have Grace.. Phil has Faith.   Grace will NOT let me carry her, but when I put her down she will NOT walk.  She's fighting... she is upset.    I am trying to walk against 120 mile per hour bitter cold.   They start the plane engines... YES, they do...  The blast from the engines about knocks us over and scared them to death!    Faith starts SCREAMING and kicking and YELLING Mama... we try to change kids... They are in shock, scared to death, freezing and over stimulated.    Phil and I... well, you can imagine.     Now, I have to be honest here... when I get to the point of complete stress and about to breakdown I have this CRAZY insane reaction that I can't control...   it's so wrong.. but, I start laughing.. and usually when I get to this point.. the tears and laughter all mix together.   By the time I get one twin (Faith) to the top of those stairs SCREAMING... I am at my end emotionally...  The tears start falling and the laughter starts!  Yes. you read correctly.. I walked down the entire aisle of the plane with a SCREAMING kid while I was laughing and crying at the same time...    and yes, our seats were the next to the last BACK row!  Lovely! :)
Phil finally makes it on as well.... we are trying to get their coats off and calm them down...  Phil gets Grace calmed down...  Faith is sobbing, but it's getting better.... as you can imagine I'd been praying for a solid 2 hours for peace, comfort, DIVINE intervention from our heavenly father!  ;)      Faith is still crying some and Phil looks over at me and smiles (across the aisle) with about  1/4 smirk.. like.. what's your problem lady.. I got my kid calmed down.. and the second he looks at me like that... Grace touches the window and the ENTIRE side panel of the plane comes CRASHING in on her!    Now..If you aren't laughing by this point.. just laugh!  (we are all better now.. so just go ahead and enjoy the humor in this REAL LIFE story.. and I'll admit it.. I'm cracking up writing it all out!)..
humm...  Mr. Papa had it ALL together.... NOW he's putting the plane back together cause we sure as heck don't want them to delay the flight..  lol!!!   He gets it all stuck back up there... sort of!  lol!!!! 
We sigh.. and think we're headed to the runway.. so we break out the dum dum suckers.   I thought I was so good and thought of it all.. dum dum suckers for take-off and landing... go Mama.... However, NOTE TO SELF:  Do not administer suckers to early... or all suckers will be in belly LONG before flight leaves the ground!  LOL!  Yep... you guessed it..  They chewed them up in about 2.3 seconds and we then stopped before even taking off.... LOVELY!
The suckers were LONG gone before take-off.      However, they did fairly well once we got in the air.   Landing in Almaty was some stressful.... had some crying, but nothing bad.   Faith slept a little, but Grace never went to sleep.  
We then finally land in Almaty.  (if you've ever flown into Almaty you understand this.. you exit plane and stuff yourselves on these shuttles and head in to the airport.   The shuttle ride was KILLER.. they hated it and were so exhausted and overwhelmed.... it was a nightmare again.   We finally head to baggage claim and Phil says... Ok..  can you take them both and walk straight to Penny (our new friends who were meeting us here in Almaty)... I carry them both and we head out... and I see Penny!   It was like she was GOD!   :)  She could see the desperation on my face.  Thankfully Grace let her carry her and we went straight to the car.  Their driver was waiting.   Penny got us settled with their sweet driver and went back in for Phil.      I will write more later about Penny and Richard and how wonderful staying here has been.  It's been ABSOLULTY another God thing... you will get chill bumps reading about how God once again provided for us and these precious babies!   I will write all about this later.     We arrive at their BEAUTIFUL home here in Almaty @ about 1:30 am...  We went ahead and gave the girls another bath to try to calm them... (in CRYSTAL CLEAR WATER)... Here they are sitting on the bed after their bath and lotion!
I know my stories of the nightmare mere seconds before this are hard to believe... given the adorable sweet cuteness that this picture radiates!  :)     ... and with some back rubs from Mama and Papa and some kisses and pats...  they are asleep @ 2:30 am!     

... and that's the wonderful ending to the longest, yet most rewarding, fulfilling and exciting birthday of my life! 
Check back soon..   I will post more pictures and details.. this story is LONG from over!   We continue to see God's hand and wonderful provisions for our family and these precious babies!
Did I mention that I'm still in shock!   wow!   They are really with us!
We give YOU all the praise and glory Lord!!  YOU ARE SO FAITHFUL!!!  
gotta go.. they are up!   Bye for now!

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 9th, 2010 - Gotcha Day - Nauryz Party - PART 1

WOW! The day was incredible!     We are still in shock I think... but, none the less thrilled and excited! 
I think sharing about 50 (ha ha) pictures will tell the story of our day much better than I can write about it... :) 
Here's the day.... (it was a LONG LONG LONG day for us!!!) 

It started out with the staff picking us up at 8:30.   We were able to dig Svetlana's special gift out of the donation suitcases and give it to her. I made her a frame with pictures of all the families that I know that she has helped find their children. She was THRILLED and blown away by the gift! She sends her warmest regards and best wishes to all those families!

Here we are taking all the luggage (donations) into the babyhouse.  As you can see it took LOTS of help!  :) 

There was a special program @ 9:30 that focused on a couple of adorable twin girls!  :)  They were SO thrilled when we walked in...  :)   Here are some pictures of the program.  Yes, that's Faith in the cream dress... grinning at us from ear to ear... AWE!!
That's Grace with her fingers in her mouth.   She was VERY excited to sing and do the motions! 
That's Grace in the caregivers lap.  :)
We took pastries and goodies for the children.  We were able to give them out to the children after the program.   Phil had the camera and was supposed to take pictures of me handing the treats out..however, he took a video of it.   SO, we don't have pics of the kids eating their treats... but we have a video!  :)
The other children went back to their rooms and we took these pictures with the twins!
The lady in the midde below is the music director.   She was so kind to us for the entire MONTHS we've been coming to the babyhouse!   She got teary eyed as we were talking after the production and told us that the special (solo) that Faith and Grace sang was a song she wrote just for them to sing today for us!  Awe.. precious!  :)
After the show was over the caregivers and staff wanted us to give them the clothing we brought for the girls to leave in... and they wanted to dress them in them.  I was a little sad about this, but agreed.   I have LOTS of times to dress them in the I just let it go.. :(    We then went to the offices to unpack and donate the things we had brought.    Here we are unpacking the donations.
The above picture was when we were completly finished.   We literally filled the entire room up with clothing and toys.  The staff was in SHOCK!   Word quickly spread throught the babyhouse and staff would appear at the door to look at all the stuff.   It was amazing.   The director and staff were in shock and said that they've NEVER had anyone donate so much stuff.  They were so thrilled and excited.   We smiled and said that we just wanted to bless this babyhouse and the children who weren't going home today.    They were very kind and appreciative.     If you donated items... thank you so so so so so very much!  
We were then able to go to a couple of different rooms and hand out trucks and babydolls.   I have to say this was my FAVORITE part.    These kids are precious and BEGGING for attention and love.   I don't think I have to say anything else... you can see it in the pictues.

As you can see in the above pictures.  The Nauryz party was a SUCCESS!  I do wish that we could have brought more food and actually seen them eating more of it.. but, we were able to give them the treats we brought after the celebration, and we left more with the director for the entire babyhouse.  

This is part 1 of our day... I will post more soon... We are doing good.    My goal is to try to get caught up on the blog this weekend.  We are in Almaty until Monday night late.   However, there are 2 precious bundles who are sleeping in this room right now that might have different plans for this tired Mama... and if they do...  oh well!  ;)    
I think I'm still in shock that they are WITH us forever!   I will write more about all that soon.. I have to get some sleep.. the nights are SHORT these days!  ha ha!  :) 
Paka for now... PLEASE keep praying for these sweet babies!  
... and I promise the next post is the break-out pictures and some we've taken since they've been with us!   Check back soon!!
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me!” Matt 18:5

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Click here to visit our website to read about how our journey to international adoption began... and how God spoke to our hearts to open our lives and family to a child who otherwise might not ever know him.
God bless!

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