Tuesday, May 27, 2008


After being home for a week, we are finally back to our normal schedule and have caught up on everything we missed while we were in Kyrgyzstan (sleep, mail, laundry, etc). I was concerned that the boys would have a few adjustment problems after our absence. I thought they may be more clingy or whiny than usual, but so far no problems. For the first 24 hours after we got back, the Monkey would come up and hug me every 2 or 3 minutes, almost as if making sure that I was actually there. So cute!
They are super-excited about their baby sister and can't wait until we bring her home. They were so proud to take her picture to school to show all of their friends. Of course, most of their friends were confused as to why they just had a picture and not an actual baby sister. I'm sure both of their teachers had several adoption-related questions that day!

We are head-over-heels in love with our little girl and are constantly looking at her pictures. She is adorable and we are amazed that she is actually going to be our daughter. We are so lucky! I know many of you are anxious to hear details about her; unfortunately we can't share much until she is officially ours. If all goes well, we will go to court in early July (our coordinator does this in our place; we don't have to be present for court). After every court decision in Kyrgyzstan, there is a mandatory 30-day wait before it becomes official. It takes about a week after official court decision to get various pieces of paperwork together and then I'll be able to go back and pick her up. So if everything goes according to plan, I'll be flying over in early August to bring our little HotDog home. After a lot of discussion, we've decided that I'll make this trip alone. The trip will end up being about two weeks again and we simply don't feel comfortable leaving the boys for such a long stretch so soon after our first trip. Plus, the Chipmunk will be in Kindergarten by then and won't be able to miss school like he did during this trip. In addition, Stu doesn't really have the vacation days for another big trip like that. While I felt comfortable with this decision all along, Stu was unsure. However, after this trip he agrees that it shouldn't be a big deal. I made sure that I could do everything on my own (airport transfers, money-exchange, buying groceries, etc.). Hopefully, we'll also be traveling with other families so I should have company. Our only big concern is the trip back home with her. It ends up being around 24-hours of traveling which is a lot for one person, much less having an infant to take care of. I'm sure it won't be fun but this is the right decision for our family.

So many people have asked if it was so hard to leave her. I want to say "yes, it was horrible," but it honestly wasn't too bad. Of course we would have loved to bring her home with us but we knew going into it that it wasn't a possibility. This is our third time doing this so I suppose we don't know any differently. We were so homesick and anxious to see our boys that we were happy to leave. My feeling was that we had two little boys at home that knew we were gone and missed us terribly, while HotDog is so little and has no idea what is going on. We were also thrilled with the care she is receiving at the orphanage. We know she is in good hands while we are gone. And we know several other families that will be visiting the orphanage in our absence so we hope to receive periodic updates on her too.
It has been almost a week and a half since we saw her and my arms already feel that ache to hold her again. I know it will get much harder as the summer progresses. But we have a lot of fun plans this summer (including a family trip to the beach in a month...yeah!!) so hopefully the time will fly. I also need to start working on her nursery and gathering baby items that we will be borrowing from friends/family. Plus, it's time to go clothes shopping! I've been eyeing baby girl clothes for SO LONG and now that we finally know her size there will be no holding me back now.

I'll leave you with a picture of Stu and me in front of Burana Tower. The history of Kyrgyzstan is incredible and the landscape is breakthtaking. We will be forever changed by our travels to this country.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

After an uneventful 28 hours of travel, we are home. We are still catching up on sleep and laundry. We are thrilled to be with our boys again and missing our little girl like crazy.
I'll post a detailed update soon.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Homeward Bound

We had our final visit with HotDog today. It was bittersweet. We love spending time with our little one, but we are anxious to get back home to our little boys. It has been a long two weeks and we are definitely homesick. On a positive note, Stu was able to get our first big smile out of HotDog this morning. She is so cute! It will be a long couple of months until we can come back and pick her up; I can't imagine how much she will change in the meantime. But we do feel good knowing that she will receive excellent care and attention in our absence. The caretakers really love those little children. We left a disposable camera so we hope they will take periodic pictures of her so we can have a little piece of the time we were away. And we hope to get updates/pictures from other families that will be visiting their children between our trips.
We're off to pack our bags now. Our plane leaves in exactly twelve hours (not that I'm counting or anything). If there are no delays (a big "if", I know), we should arrive home late Sunday night. I hope to post some pictures and a recap of our time here once we get settled back home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quick Update

It's Allison again. We were able to visit HotDog again this morning. She gets cuter every time we see her. I swear, her cheeks have gotten bigger in the week and a half we've been here and she is developing quite the little double chin. It is amazing how much she has developed since our first visit. She is so much more alert now and holding her head up better. They were just finishing giving her a bath when we arrived and let me tell you, based on her screams, that little girl does NOT like the water. But she smelled so good when they brought her in to us. I think our baby girl is starting to recognize us now too. For the past couple of visits, she cries every time we lay her back in her crib as we leave. Of course, Stu picks her back up to give her an extra hug and kiss and she immediately calms back down. We have one more visit with her on Saturday before we leave; I don't even want to think about how difficult that goodbye is going to be.
Other than that, not too much going on. Stu has been fighting some major sinus/headache stuff (which is surprising, since I'm usually the queen of sinus infections).
We were able to meet up with John Wright and his family on Monday. What an amazing bunch of people. It was one of the most incredible days of my life. We were able to visit a privately-run orphanage for older children (4-years-old and up). It was so much fun. All of the kids are beautiful and were eager for hugs and attention. We fingerpainted with them and all had such a good time. I will never take such a simple act of fingerpainting with Chipmunk and Monkey for granted again. The joy this activity brought to those children was unforgettable. We also visited the Baurana Tower. It was breathtaking. It was hard to even wrap my mind around the history of this place. Words can't even describe how life-altering this day was for me. John has a few pictures up on his blog (www.actofkindness.blogspot.com). I thank God that there are such people as John Wright and his family in this world. The work he does for those in need is simply incredible.
Other than that, not much going on here. We switched to a new apartment. After the fiasco with the electricity, the fridge, and finally losing water, we decided it was time to switch. Our new apartment is very near the center of the city so we can walk down to the main street with the big stores, more restaurants, etc. We are getting quite homesick and are counting down the days until we can go home to Chipmunk and Monkey. Only four more days!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Husband of the Year!

The only thing I want to tell everyone is that I have the most wonderful, sweetest, cutest husband on earth. I go to bed everynight saying prayers of thanks.

Ok, she might not have said that exactly, but it was close. Since it's Mother's Day I am giving my wife the day off from blogging. This is Stuart here, wonderful father to the Chipmunk, Monkey and now HotDog.

To my boys at home, my mother, Nana, Nanny and the other approximately 12,000 family members, friends and fellow adopters, who are reading this, we miss you all very much and can't wait to get home. I hope everyone has/had a great Mother's Day. All of you guys are in our thoughts.

To all of Allison's blog friends, this will be the first time (and probably last after she reads it) you will hear from me so hello. I can't say that I've ever been on anyone's blog or traded emails with most of you, but I feel like I know you. Our nightly dinner conversation always contains the latest information of referrals, travel dates, agency compliments (and complaints) and a general update on all the wonderful kids.

So now to the details everyone is here for......We have visited HotDog the past three days (Friday to Sunday). She is doing great. It goes without saying that she is the most perfect, most beautiful, sweetest little girl on earth. It was really cool for Allison to get to spend time with her today on Mother's Day. I like to pretend that she will eventually be Daddy's little girl, but inside I know better. I can tell already by the way HotDog looks at her mother and how Allison looks at her daughter. They are a match made in Heaven.

We have been feeding her a bottle every day which takes about 45 seconds. She is like a vaccuum. It's amazing to watch. I even videotaped it today. She gets the hiccups after every feeding. At first, I thought it was something I was doing wrong, but after Allison fed her today she got them. So at least I know it's not something I'm doing. The weather this weekend has been great here. The last two days we have been allowed to take her outside out of the stuffy buildings. She really likes being walked around. I know that will come back to haunt us when she comes home, but we can't help it now.....

We bought a mobile at a kids store the other day and I installed it on her crib today (actually most of the physical work was done by our translator). She really loved watching it move and all the bright colors. She seemed to really try to hold her head up today. She seems to really be attracted to the color blue (UK FAN in the making!). We met again with the doctor yesterday and again she confirmed that she is a very healthy little girl. She seemed to have a bit of a runny nose, which will make her fit in very well with the boys and Allison.

We have seen several other children here that have already been referred and visited and others that are in the works. The caregivers are very excited to show off kids whose parents are in process of adopting them. All the kids are so cute. To you parents-in-waiting out there, please know and trust that your children are being taken care of very well. I can't tell you how much relief this gives us as we are getting closer to coming home.

Ok, enough of the sappy stuff. To close I'd like to give you the top five things to do while on a 12 hour layover in the Moscow airport......
5. Set a world record on hand-held Tetris of 357 lines.
4. Get lung cancer from second hand smoke from the 14,000 people smoking.
3. Talk with missionaries from Oklahoma for 3 hours.
2. Spend 45 mintues searching every little shop and snack cart for a "Coke Light".
1. Fall asleep in the middle of eating lunch from a combination of jetlag, overdosing on sleeping pills and general exhaustion from the entire process.

So that's it for my first and probably last blog post. I have to admit this is really harder than it looks. Again I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day and please keep saying prayers our trip continues to proceed so well. Also say an extra one for all the kids out there still waiting to meet their parents.....


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sights and Sounds

I wanted to post a quick update about the past couple of days. We aren't able to visit HotDog again until Friday, so we have had time to explore Bishkek. Yesterday we took a long walk down the main street by our apartment. We took our time and just observed the sights, sounds, and smells. We visited the outdoor market across the street and Stu bought a lot of fresh fruit and veggies. We also made a trip to the grocery store and stocked up on some provisions (including Diet Pepsi...Woohoo!!! I had been going through withdrawal since we arrived without my Diet Pepsi). We thought we did a good job with reading labels until we arrived at the apartment and found that what we thought was a cheese spread was actually cheese-flavored butter:)
Last night we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. We sat outside and just watched the crowds go by. The weather is perfect so I think everybody was out taking walks with their children. Stu and I sat there and stared at every baby that crossed our paths. They are all so beautiful.
Today we were lucky enough to be able to go up into the mountains for a little hiking with two of the other couples with whom we are traveling. The scenery was breathtaking; we were surrounded by snow-capped mountains and our trail was full of streams with some of the clearest water I've ever seen. Stu and I have been to many places around the world, and I have to say that this place is the most beautiful I've ever visited. I have some amazing pictures I'll share when we get home. We then went to a huge outdoor bazaar where we were able to barter for some wonderful traditional Kyrgyz items. We finished the day with a great Italian meal with one of the other couples.
Now we are going to head to our apartment and hopefully watch a few episodes of Arrested Development before the electricity is shut off. Several of you have asked about the electricity problem: Evidently they are having a massive energy shortage so they are doing rolling shutoffs. Unfortunately for us, that means that our electricity is out usually between 2:00 until 6:00 in the afternoon and then again between 12:00 and 6:00 in the morning. Of course, that is not set in stone because the other night our electricity went off at 9:00 at night and didn't come on until the next morning. We have a candle by our side all of the time because we never know when the lights are going out.
I think we're shopping more tomorrow (said as Stu groans beside me). We're actually just trying to kill time until we get to see HotDog again on Friday. But we are having the time of our life. We have absolutely fallen in love with the city and country and can't wait to explore it more.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Greetings from Bishkek!

We are here! We arrived early Sunday morning after a long, but uneventful journey. I slept away most of the first day so I think I've gotten over most of the jet-lag and am on Kyrg time now. We have a nice apartment (although the electricity is cut off from midnight until 6:00a.m. every day) that has two bedrooms, a little kitchen, and a living room that has a TV with several English channels, including ESPN...Stu is is heaven!
Now on to the important stuff: We met our HotDog this morning! She is beautiful. She has the biggest cheeks I've ever seen on a baby and the cutest little lips ever. She already has the "pout-lips" mastered and Stu realizes that he is putty in her hands. We were able to spend two hours with her and she slept the entire time, despite my best efforts to wake her and catch a glimpse of her eyes. I was even able to feed her a bottle, and boy, can that girl eat! Even though she was asleep while she was eating it, she managed to suck it down in less than two minutes. If she continues to eat like that, we are going to have to take out a second-mortgage just to keep paying for formula:)
Our Chipmunk will be thrilled to know that she does indeed have hair. That was his biggest concern and it drove him crazy that in our referral picture she had a cap on and he couldn't tell. Although she was bundled up today with a hat on, I snuck a peek and saw beautiful, thick black hair.
She seems to be very healthy and is gaining weight rapidly (though most of it is in her cheeks, I think). We were thrilled with the condition of the orphanage too. It is very clean and colorful. The caretakers absolutely adore the children and are so happy to see them with families.
So far, this trip has been great. We aren't able to visit HotDog again until Friday so we have a few days to go out and explore this wonderful city. On Wednesday, we are going to make an excursion into the nearby mountains and we are very excited about that.
I'll post an update again soon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

In just about twelve hours, Stu and I will be heading to the airport to begin the long journey to Kyrgyzstan. The boys are packed and anxious for some fun time with grandparents, the plane tickets and passports are ready to go, and Stu and I....need to pack. We always have a great plan for packing our bags early and getting a good night's sleep, but it somehow never happens. Not to worry, though; I do have a detailed packing list and all of our clothes are freshly laundered. It is just a matter of going through and deciding what to bring.
I think I am finally starting to believe that this is really going to happen.
Our next post will be from Kyrgyzstan!