John:

We spent most of today packing and cleaning since we leave tomorrow and run around getting birth certificates and such. If we have time to update this site tomorrow, it might be late; don't get worried if you don't see it!

Maya can sit up by herself really well now. But she can't get down from sitting up! Since she's so mobile now, the best way of getting her to stay in one place is to have her sit up. You can get move around and do your thing, and she's stuck sitting there looking at you. We also found she has some sort of foot fetish. She crawls all the way across the room to play with your feet or grab your dirty slippers.

Daniel LOVES it when I juggle. I figured out it's just as good to toss around anything in front of him; he just cracks up! We put put up a video of him laughing as I toss a DVD case around. He's sitting up better and better. He does a lot better when something grabs his attention; otherwise, he's just all over the place!

Anne:

Well, the day of our departure from Kokshetau has finally arrived... and now I'm getting nostalgic.  So I apologize in advance if I start rambling or fall down a rabbit hole... skip to the photos if you want!

As you know from our ranting here, the last days have been tough, only because we are so looking forward to coming home.  The last couple of days or so, though, I've also been doing some looking back and thinking about the journey that brought us here-- many journeys, in fact, in our lives and in the lives of others.  As we've been walking the streets of Kokshetau, we sometimes come across people that look stunningly like Daniel or Maya.  We know that both of their birth mothers live in the area, and I would imagine the birth fathers, as well.  I keep waiting with a combination of fear and intrigue for someone to come up to us with a light of recognition in their eyes.  It hasn't happened (and I'm grateful for that!), but I've been thinking about the people that gave life to these children that we already love so much.  We know little about the women and nothing about the men, but I wonder about their lives and the difficult decisions they had to make.  I wonder about the directions in which their lives have gone in the last eight months... and I just want to thank them for what they did.

I'm also thankful to the people in power, the government, the lawmakers of Kazakhstan.  Our feelings about the process have been mixed and at times it has been frustrating.  But in the end we know that although the Kazakh people aren't particularly happy about giving their precious children to foreign parents, they know that sometimes that is what is best for the children.  So I'm thankful for their difficult decisions, as well.  I'm also thankful to Inna, Oleg, Natalia, Gulzhan, Gulbanu, Traci, Cindy, Jim and all those that work for our agency and guided us every step of the way.

And lastly, I'm thankful for our own life journey which brought us to Kazakhstan.  Infertility is a difficult road, not one that I would wish anyone to have to travel.  Many of you have walked this road with us, and it's because of you that we made it through.  When we were in the middle of that road, I could not have imagined saying this-- but I'm glad we traveled it.  We are different people now than we were five years ago when we began all this.  And although life didn't turn out the way we had originally planned, I can't imagine being happier.

I don't believe in fate.  I don't believe that things are predestined to be a certain way.  But I do believe that we have choices, and that sometimes those choices involve letting go.  And sometimes in the letting go, we find a new road that is different, but still incredibly beautiful.  I tend to hold on to bits of inspiration I find in random places along those roads, so I'm going to finish with three of those bits of inspiration I've been reflecting on in the past weeks.  As I said, I find them in random places, so I leave you with thoughts from three pretty disparate sources:  Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple), the Persian poet Rumi, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band!

From Steve Jobs:  "You can't connect the dots looking forward:  you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will connect somehow in your future.  You have to trust in something- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

From Rumi:   This being human is a guest house.  Every morning a new arrival.

                  A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

                 Welcome and entertain them all  Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture.

                 Still treat each guest honorably, He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

                 The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

                 Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

From NGDB:     I set out on the narrow way many years ago,

                     Hoping I would find true love along the broken road.

                     I got lost a time or two, wiped my brow, kept pushing through.

                     I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you.

                    ... This much I know is true--

                   that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.

That's all the rambling from Kokshetau... we'll catch you in Almaty.  Blessings on you all!

 

Our dream ... Daniel training to wipe himself!

Maya sitting up. 'How do I get down from here...?'

Maya loves feet!

Click here to see Daniel laughing at John 'juggling' (1MB Quicktime)