John:

Well, our first major disappointment of the trip! Our court date was set for Monday instead of tomorrow. There was some initial confusion over the date, anyway. When we checked our notes, the initial date was expected to be tomorrow, but later in our hand written notes from our meeting with the lawyers in Almaty, they did make reference to a court date of Friday, which we had forgotten about. Then after our pre-court meeting, which I'll talk about in a bit, Inna told us we were assigned for Monday. We were bummed since now we have wait for the whole weekend! Inna was sympathetic, but said it's not worth it to fight the court and get them angry at us. Then she reminded us that after we get the kids we will not have time together like this for 20 years or more! As we were told before this trip started, and which we repeated early on, 'Leaf in the Stream!' As our friend Bruce in Oak Park, who adopted from Kaz too, said, 'Leaf ... getting rocked ... leaf ... being jostled ... stream ... getting agitated ... !' Actually, we're fine, what else can we do but wait?

So about that pre-court meeting with the judge today. He looked very serious the whole time while he reviewed our paperwork. Then he said 'you probably have heard about the adopted Russian baby who was killed by his parents?' and asked what we thought about it. We said we had heard of this. Then we thought, is this some sort of trick question? There's really only one way to respond to that, right? 'Well, these things happen?' Anne then said that we thought it was terrible; I agreed it was horrible, heartbreaking. Anne said we took adoption parenting classes from our agency, and that this was very useful. We feel we're prepared. The judge harumphed. He asked if we really wanted to adopt two. 'It's such a big responsibility, and you really never know what happens. What if you get divorced?' I said that yes, adopting two might be a bigger risk, but we felt this would be the best for us as a family, and that although I could never imagine we will ever get divorced, no matter what happens, we will always put the children's best interest first, no matter what. The judge harumphed. He asked us if there are other guardians for the children. We looked at Inna, not knowing what this really meant. He added, such as the government or the courts? We said no. The judge harumphed. He looked at the papers some more, leafed through them page by page. Then he said, 'we accept your papers and will assign a court date.' We said 'thank you, spaseba' and out we went!

Afterward, I commented to Inna, boy, that judge sure is serious. She said, "I know!", with a great big smile and laugh, which is how she typically responds to everything. 'Yes, he is, but that's how everyone is in this country.' She said all her friends tease her for always smiling and laughing so much. Anne said she's noticed everyone at the stores and markets always have a stern, irritated look on their face. I'm usually looking at all the food, so I've never really noticed. Anne said she read in The Lonely Planet guidebook not to be offended or surprised by that, because that's just how people look at each other and interact here. Well, at least we'll be ready for court!

We had an ok visit with the kids. We were able to bring them to our apartment again, which was nice. Daniel was smiley and fun, then he got fidgety, I rocked him, and he was asleep in two seconds;  but Maya was a bit out of sorts today. Rather than crying, she just gets quiet and less interactive. Plus, Anne woke up not feeling up to par, so she wasn't very energetic, either. We watched another Baby Einstein today, and again, the kids were captivated. Count me as a believer!

Well, Anne is crashed out on the sofa, so I'm writing a bit more today. Check back to see if Anne adds her bit; she may just catch up tomorrow. I guess I'll read my book 'Kite Runner' today, which, by the way, is the best book I've read in a while! Or I could watch 'Old School'. We'll see. And we'll have to cancel dinner plans - Dana and Arsim were kind enough to invite us to their place for dinner tonight. And we'll have to cancel the baby party plans - everyone else's last day here is Friday, and we had hoped to get all the kids together tomorrow night for a meeting of the babies after we got custody and before everyone else left. I'll just go to my big soft chair with my iPod and pout now. After I surf the web.

Oh, and of course, since I did today's page, I had to add a picture of the big slab of vanilla ice cream we bought at the 'Viola' (the 'has everything' store down the street) yesterday. I put some in the freshly made blini (crepe) (also from Viola) and added some deenya melon for good measure. Pretty tasty! Too bad Anne wasn't up for it; maybe she can have some tomorrow.

Anne using up the last of her energy for the day

Anne and Maya fading fast

They're playing together, NOT fighting! I don't care what anyone says! If you look really closely and use your imagination, Daniel is smiling!

Mmmmmmmm, Ice Cream! D'oh! That date stamp tasted terrible!