Posted by admin @ 12:34 pm
Shelved under In Country

Going Home Day 13
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Today’s visit with the Embassy yielded us Gabriel’s passport and visa.  Gabriel will be an American citizen as soon as we touch US soil.  We’ve confirmed our flights to Amsterdam and New York.  We had a nice surprise as well, we got to see the Olympic torch pass rite in front of our hotel.  We’re packing our bags and going to go to bed early in anticipation of the long flights.  Gabriel did fine on a 2 hour flight, so we’ll see what over 16 hours of air travel does for him.

We are almost home, one can only imagine how grateful and blessed we feel.  This truly has been a journey that we will always treasure.  We are so fortunate to have all of you to share this with.  Thank you to our families and friends for all your love and support.  Thanks for all the comments and parental advice. 

We would like to send special thanks to Mom and Pops for helping us prepare for this trip and their continued support throughout our journey.  Rj and Michelle for taking care of our precious puppy, Dakota and also for driving to Washington, DC for our visas the day before we had to leave. 

Special thanks to our Aktobe friends, Ben, Karla & Erlan, for the best home cooked meals in Aktobe, Eric, Kami & Lincoln, Agnes & Sacha and Bernadette & Gaia.  Also to Bayanna, who kept us sane, shared the Kazakh culture and danced with Gabriel, thank you very much.  You will all always be part of Gabriel’s life story.

Thank you to Lindsey, Nathan, Gianna and Camille for sharing their 2007 Aktobe adoption story with us.  You’ve helped us prepare for this trip and given us so much support throughout.
 
Thank you to Marge, Ramon, Ellen and Ken for writing the referral letters to our agency.  

We are sure that we’ve missed a lot of people to thank and will remember it as soon as we post this.  We will continue the list when we get home. 

So this will be the last blog entry from Kazakhstan.  Next stop New Jersey, USA!!

Paka!

Posted by admin @ 12:32 pm
Shelved under In Country

Going Home Day 12
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We’ve got two more days before we leave Kazakhstan.  Since we’ve got an open schedule today, we decide to go to Kok-Tobe, which means blue mountain.  To get up the mountain, one takes a cable car.  From what I understand, it’s a nice scenic ride to to the top.  So we go through our morning routine with Gabriel, head down to breakfast and come back up for his nap.  We prepare his things and wait to meet with the other families.

Gen, Gabriel and I go downstairs and meet up with Julian, Sara and Zoe.  Also with them is Greg, Gretchen and Danyar (sorry if I spelled his name wrong), their son.  Eric, Kami and Lincoln follow shortly.  Everyone squares their gear away and off we go.  For the next half hour or so Julian and Sara take us through a series of back roads and shortcuts in Almaty to where the cable car starts.  It’s not a bad walk, even though there are a lot of hilly sections that we passed through.  Along the way, we pass by what appears to be a university, Hotel Kazakhstan and some memorials.  We saw some graffiti at the university that didn’t take too kindly to President Bush, Americans and NATO.  I’ll post the PG rated pics up here. 

As we arrive at the ride, we notice that there is a van parked up front of the place with a cable car logo on it.  This can’t be a good sign.  We buy our tickets and then we are informed that the cable cars are out of service and we need to take the van up to the mountain.  In the van we go and up to the top of the mountain.

It’s nice and sunny with a nice breeze hitting us when we reach the top of Kok-Tobe.  There’s a billboard with picture of some famous actors, who had visited here.  Also up here is an alpine racer ride, some restaurants, mini zoo, a telecom tower and of all things, a statue of The Beetles.  They’ve never been here so I wonder why their statue was put up.  Weird…

All the while, Gabriel’s eyes were wide open.  He was taking in all the sites, and then, he fell asleep.  He was probably out for a good two hours or so.  He woke up right before we were starting to leave.  As we headed for the van, Eric ran to the cable car to see if it was operating.  It turns out, they started it up and we could take it down the mountain.  We all packed in and off we went.  Afterwards, all of us walked back towards our hotel, exchanged some email addresses and went our separate ways.

Gabriel is really getting comfortable in the baby carrier.  He enjoys looking at things and appears to be content.  We can’t wait to take him home and take him on our hiking trips with Dakota and Milo.

Tomorrow, we head for the US Embassy.  Let’s hope all goes well!!

Paka!