Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008


One year ago today, we landed in Semey, drove straight to the Babyhouse and held our daughter for the first time.

Here is our cherished Aila now - at 21 months old:

We've all come a long, long way together since that amazing day a year ago.
We are so thankful and so in love.

- J

P.S. To view a photo of the 3 of us in our first minutes together, go to our first post in this blog (May 24, 2008).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Our Little Pumpkin

Last year at this time, we were anxiously awaiting our Letter of Invitation (LOI) from the government of Kazakhstan.
I was only beginning to believe that maybe, just maybe, this would be our last difficult-to-endure Halloween. I even went out willingly, for the first time in years, and bought candy for the kids who might knock on our door. I was cautiously optimistic, but I was also so, so tired of wanting to be a mom. The wait for that LOI was agonizing. And to those of you who are waiting right now to get your LOI, I wish I could say that we found a way to make that wait easier, but we did not. It was just brutal. The good news is that it DID come (on November 4th - election day this year!). Oh what a day that was!

The thing is, it is all still so fresh in my mind. A whole year later I find myself looking at my daughter and feeling a depth of emotion that is difficult to explain. It is a mix of profound appreciation, intense, unconditional love, undying devotion and, I have to admit, quite a bit of sadness. I hate that she was all alone last year at this time, waiting for us. I hate that she is almost two, but that this is her first Halloween in costume. I know, I know. I shouldn't focus on these things. But I feel compelled to be honest about what is running through my head and heart. Yes, she is thriving and is the cutest pumpkin on the planet. Yes, we'll have a blast at the Halloween parade. Yes, yesterday I went out and bought candy WITH her by my side at our local CVS. That all being said, the more I love and know her, the more I cannot stand that we were without one another for the first 9 1/2 months of her life. I am sure other parents who have adopted children can relate.

Anyways, enough of that.

Here are some fun - really delightful updates:

Marshall has been (successfully!) teaching Aila how to say "I love you!" It is unbearably sweet and cute. And in the last 3 weeks or so, she has suddenly let go in a new way and is starting to lean into us. She runs to give us hugs, and she is even super cuddly these days. Wow, that is huge for her (and for us).

Oh, and joy of joys! Although we are not officially potty training her yet, we've started reading a potty training book to her that is SO CUTE and she LOVES it (Once Upon A Potty)!! She sits on her potty every night before bed, and I read the book to her. She brings it to me constantly, and then, yesterday...well, we had a successful outcome! YIPPEEE! No pressure on our sweetie, as she is only 21 months old, but we'll take success when it comes! I have never been so excited to see a poop in my whole life!

A few more things. Aila says "hi" to everyone and everything. This is how she greets us in the morning. And, she is trying to figure out how to jump. She saw her 6 year old friend, Dahlia, jumping, and has been trying so hard ever since. She's had a few good attempts and I am sure she'll be hopscotching soon. Aila is a huge fan of Elmo and Abby and Grover. She sees Elmo EVERYWHERE and everything about Sesame Street is a thrill for her. And...yesterday, while in CVS, she was looking at a packet of toy letters, and she said, clear as day, "A, B, C, D, E"!!!!! I almost fell over!

We love being Aila's parents. We are tired, and yet life is richer than ever. I am so glad we are on the other side of that wait, living with our sweet, darling daughter. And yet I'm not sure we'll ever be able to forget how hard that wait was. I guess it is just part of our story.

Happy Halloween to all!

- J

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Party in the Pumpkin Patch

A real pumpkin patch with a corn maze (maize?), pick your own pumpkins, and lots of dirt. What's not to love?

Alas, Linus was nowhere to be seen.

- J & M

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This is a big week for us.

As of now, we have known and loved our daughter for longer than the amount of time she was alive before meeting us.

Aila was 9 1/2 months old when we held her for the first time. It has been 10 months since that first meeting!

I remember those first minutes with her vividly. All 3 of us were absolutely terrified. It was hard to believe that she was actually in our arms, and that we were finally in Semey, holding our precious child.

What a long, long journey it was to find Aila and bring her home.
It was worth everything. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. Each day with her has been so full, so rich, so magnificent - we are so completely hers in every way.

- J

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Update

The past week has been very exciting in our household.

Our sweet Aila has started, in a very real way, talking!
At 19 months, she is saying "bye-bye!" and "night-night" and "ice" and "purple" - it is the most adorable thing in the world!

But this is the best: Today, she called out to Marshall when he was walking out the door to leave. She called, loudly, "daddy!?!" to stop him from leaving! She has been saying dada a lot, but not directly to him.
Today, there was NO question! He could barely get himself to leave - both of us melted on the spot.

Then, only about an hour and a half later, I was upstairs working and Aila was playing with her babysitter, when, all of a sudden, I heard her call out "Mama?!!" - well, I almost fell out of my chair! I ran down to her and grabbed her and hugged that little girl! I felt like I had just won the lottery!

What an honor it is to be a witness to such magnificent, miraculous growth in our beautiful child. And what joy it brings us both to hear her call out to each of us.

Wow. The love we have for this little girl is mind-boggling.

Just had to share.

- J

Monday, September 1, 2008

Down East

Weren't we welcomed this weekend past with all the hospitality our Mainer friends had to offer: gracious warmth, blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies, and lots of tireless touring around the charming town of Boothbay Harbor. As depicted, much fun was had by all, and the two little ones got on famously (except for when the rocking horse saddle was in dispute).

Thank you, Morrisons! This singular bond continues! See you soon...

- J & M (& A)