Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm a big girl now!

The day we found out about Jyly, she was 14 months old and we were supposed to have her home in just over a month. I was so excited that I rushed home and took the crib out of storage. Then I found the perfect bedding set and got busy putting it all together. Well, Jyly is now 22 months old and has outgrown the crib before she even got to sleep in it.

I had made up my mind to put away the crib and find a toddler bed after I saw the sleeping arrangements in the orphanage. Jeremy wanted this Dr. Suess looking bed from Ikea but getting to Ikea is a challenge and they wanted $300 to ship a $150.00 bed. I decided to try ebay and I found the perfect little bed from a company in PA. Now my little girl has a big girl bed waiting for her when she comes home.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Generosity from strangers

I got a call the other day from a clothing company that I sent a donation request letter to. I knew that they generally had some misprint product and I asked if they would be willing to donate what they couldn't sell. I thought that I would end up with a small box of clothes that I could check on the plane when I return to Kyrgyzstan. Imagine my surprise when the representative told me about the pallets of clothing that they were going through for us. They are even willing to arrange shipping. I never in my wildest dreams anticipated such a sizable donation. I hope that we can use a little PR to make others see what a difference this can make. We live in a society of perfection. We will throw away a perfectly good item just because the logo is upside down. These children don't care how it looks as long as it keeps them warm and comfortable. My next challenge is to find a shoe company that will make a donation.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A little help along the way

In my quest to find out more about Kyrgyzstan, I stumbled upon a Yahoo message board for people who are adopting or have adopted from Kyrgyzstan. The information that I have received from this group has been invaluable. I have also made a lot of new friends who have allowed us to be involved in their adoption journeys.

As families go over to Kyrgyzstan to meet their children or bring them home, they take pictures of Jyly and give me updates on her progress. It was from another families trip that I learned that Jyly's diagnosis of hearing loss is very likely incorrect. From what I have been told, a family wishing to adopt a deaf child had the referral for Jyly. After they spent some time with her, they did not feel that she had a hearing deficit and they turned down her referral. Their loss is my gain!

I got some new pictures today from a family that just returned with their little boy. I am so happy for them and so greatful that they would take the time from their special trip to think of us and take pictures. When I bring Jyly home, we are going to get the kids together.

Love at first sight

This was the very first picture that we received of Jyly on January 30ith. One look and she had my heart.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Day 3 at Tokmok

To make a long story short, we started our adoption journey a little over two years ago. My husband Jeremy and I chose Moldova for personal reasons but after submitting our dossier we hit a brick wall. We just kept hearing that there were no children that fit our criteria.

Our Journey to Jyly began on January 30ith. Our agency contacted us about a beautiful little girl from Kyrgyzstan that they were trying to find a host family for. They wanted to bring 4 children to the states for medical evaluation. They told us about this 14 month old little girl that was born premature and had a suspected hearing deficit. One look at her picture and I was sold (and in tears).

We started the paperwork process and expected to have our baby girl by early March. She was to be with us for 6 months on a medical visa and in that time we could process her adoption. Due to politics, the medical program was denied and by April we were full force into the adoption process. We were not going to lose this little angel.

Our homestudy update took forever. We had to start from ground zero recreating our entire dossier. This also meant re evaluating our finances because the fees for Kyrgyzstan are higher and just gathering all the documents again is costly. I have to say that the money issues did slow us down and everytime we thought we were on track we would get hit with another curve ball.

We were initially told that Kyrgyzstan was a one trip process. Then the new Minister of Education changed that. For those of you not familiar with international adoption, the rules change constantly. The last week of June, we found out that we had to go to Kyrgyzstan for a bonding period. We decided that we would both go. By both of us going, we fulfilled the requirements set by the USCIS (Homeland Security) meaning that Jyly would be able to become a citizen upon entry to the US. If just one of us had gone, we would have to readopt in the states.

After booking our flights only to find out that Aeroflot had cancelled their leg of the trip because they did not agree with the price that Continental had given us, we were off. July 12th we flew to JFK and spent the night with friends. On the 13th we flew Turkish airlines to Istanbul. That was a very nice 10 1/2 hour flight. We had about a 5 hour layover before we were off to Bishkek.

At 1:30 Sunday morning we arrived at Manas Airport in Bishkek. Our facilitator Chinara met us with our driver and took us to our apartment. Chinara told us to lock the door, get some sleep, and she would be back in the afternoon to take us sightseeing. Being that it was Sunday, we couldn't go to the orphanage until Monday. We slept for a few hours and decided to be adventerous. We walked a few blocks to the ATM and withdrew 500 Soms. That turned out to be about $13.00. Then we went to the Beta store and got some bread, juice and water. By the way, you have be careful when buying water because some is spring and some carbonated.

Chinara arrived around 3:00 with our translator Ksenia. We went to the Central Department store to buy some things for the nurses at the orphanage and some things to take home for the boys. We went to a local restaurant for a late lunch early dinner. We all had Logmon which is a traditional Kyrg dish of Mutton, vegetables and noodles. Then it was back to the apartment. We fell asleep until about 9:00pm. The National Geographic channel is not very entertaining and you can only watch so much Sponge Bob in Russian. Because of the time difference, 10:00 at night made for a good time to go to the phone and internet place to email and call the boys.

Chinara and Ksenia picked us up at 8:00 Monday morning to go to Fatboys for breakfast. It's an American cafe. We had a quick breakfast and then took the Silk Way to Tokmok. We had to be at the orphanage at 10:00am. We met with the doctor and she took us to the playground to meet Jyly. As she carried her to me, she told her "this is your Mama" and she said "Mama". My heart melted as I took her into my arms.

For the next 2 hours, we played with all the children until they had to go in for lunch. They have a very strict schedule that they have to adhere to. After lunch, the children went down for their nap and we said our goodbye. We spent the next few days continuing this same routine of visiting with the children and bonding with Jyly. Then we would go out to lunch, shop and go back to the apartment. By our last day with the children, they were a little out of control and Jyly would not stay in her seat for lunch but we had a great time. We loved all the children and wish we could bring them all home. It broke my heart to leave my little girl behind but I know that she is being well cared for.

Jeremy got sick on the last day. Be very careful of what you eat in foreign countries and always bring Pepto. With all of our flight times and layovers it took us 44 hours to get home. Jeremy was so happy to be back in his own bed.

Now we are dealing with the authentication portion of our documents. Once we are done with this, we can finally get a court date. Keep your fingers crossed that everything moves quickly. We still have a month and a half wait after we go to court to bring Jyly home.