Kazakhstan Adoption

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Almost a year later

Here she is almost a year since coming home with us. She loves her big brother and enjoys rides. Here she is on the train ride at Busch Gardens. She has hair now! She laughs a lot and is walking all over the place. We are very glad that we adopted her. She fits right in with the Harrison clan with her goofy sense of humor.

Friday, November 05, 2004

She is crawling all over the place, even over Logan. He likes playing with her and makes her laugh. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 25, 2004

Back home and adjusting

Krysta is slowly adjusting to her new schedule here. There is a 9 hour time difference from where she has lived her first 10 months. It’s coming along - she sleeps through the night at least. It appears her feeding schedule will take the longest for us and her to get to a good point. She has times she seems so hungry for food and is impatient for it. Her naps are the other item to get adjusted. She fights taking her nap, which she didn’t really do for us in Almaty. Yesterday, Oct 24, went well with her schedules, so we will work on it.
She likes her big brother, and he likes her. He likes to help feed her and entertain her. If Logan hears Krysta cry, he tells us and feels he needs to help her to stop. He goofs around with her during car rides to help keep her happy. The only problem is that he also likes to play with her toys. Guess he is going through his 2nd childhood already. Krysta was a little nervous at first with the dogs, but now enjoys them. The Jack Russell had her laughing yesterday when he was playing around her. This morning, she actually was following him around. No problem with the cat, just that the cat better watch his tail or else Krysta will grab a hold of it sometime.
We did have 1 instance of jealousy from Logan. First, I took him to his school PTA function on Friday night. Then on Saturday I took him to Busch Gardens for some alone father and son time to make sure he understands he will still get quality time with his parents. But after we got home, he got jealous when I spent time with Krysta. He said that maybe we don’t want him anymore since we have her. We explained that we give both of them our time. He got over it pretty quickly when we played with both of them together.
We had over 400 emails in our mailbox - mostly JUNK. We could not access our home email address while in Kaz, just our Yahoo one. And we had a bin full of mail, which I did finally go through and sort out the important stuff. We are trying to find a way to organize the house to make it easy to get anything we need for Krysta or Logan when needed. Good thing Logan is 6 years old, he now likes to get some stuff by himself.
Krysta gets her portrait taken this Wednesday for the announcements. Those should come out good now that she is growing some hair and getting to a good weight. She weighed 15.4 pounds at her Dr app’t in Almaty. And the best part, she has not been sick since we got home. We knew the Florida weather would be good for her.
It is good to be back in Florida. It has been in the 80’s and mostly sunny everyday since we got back. A big change from the cold, changing weather in Kaz. The weather in Kaz reminded me of Buffalo - with it changing a lot in temperature and even snow. It’s good to have regular TV again. And burgers and Dairy Queen and Dunkin Donuts and Dr Pepper and watching a little football.
There won’t be many updates now that we are at home with her. We will post her portrait photo when we receive it and give any major updates. For any future travelers to Kaz or info specific to Uralsk, feel free to email us at Loganbear22@yahoo.com

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Krysta in her new favorite toy - the exer-saucer. She also likes her bedroom and even tried to pull up on the picket fence painted on the walls. Posted by Hello

Krysta trying out her new stroller with big brother and mommy. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

The trip home

Finally home….
Mike here…..2nd attempt at updating our blog. I was updating last night and started to fall asleep at the computer and when I tried to save it, it got deleted.

First, let me start with the numbers: we started our journey home at 1 AM in Almaty when we got picked up to go to the airport. We arrived home to our house at 10 PM. The thing there is that it was 2 PM on Oct 19 in Florida when we left and we arrived on Oct 20 at 10 PM -- that’s 32 hours of traveling. Now, we add the fact that we got up at 8 AM that morning and didn’t go to sleep that night since we were leaving at 1 AM and it would have been hard to wake up and get going with just a little sleep. Besides, we were excited to be going home. So all together, we didn’t have any real sleep for 49 hours. We did get some naps here and there, but nothing to refresh someone.

Krysta took the flights very well - better than mom and dad. We had the carry on bag, 2 bags with Krysta’s food and spare clothing and jackets. The first leg was from Almaty to Frankfurt. This was a 7 hour flight. The VIP check in that had been discussed in the trip paperwork is really no longer needed. We went to the check in counter to check in our bags and get the boarding pass. This took a while since we asked for front row seats to give us more room. When we received our boarding passes, I asked if we got the front row and she had to redo it again - she seemed quite lost. From there, we went through passport control where they check our passport and boarding passes before allowing us into the terminal waiting area. After that, we had a little less than 2 hours to sit and wait. We waited with the Sarvers and their children. Their plane left first, so Krysta said goodbye to Alyssa and Alex and they were gone. Our flight boarded a little later and everything had to be scanned, so we had to take off our jackets and the Snugli that Krysta was in. This was quite a chore since we were all organized with this set up.
When we boarded the plane, we found out that we were seated in the 4th row (the check in clerk could not get this right if she tried - and she did try 2 times). Eileen asked a flight attendant if a front row seat was available. He did direct us to a perfect front row and said a bassinet may be available. Our flight had 4 other families with children (they also seemed to be adopting their children), so it was going to be an interesting flight. Krysta fell right asleep when we took off and we did get a bassinet, so we put her in there to sleep. Then we met a boy about 3 years old that I nicknamed ‘Chuckie’. Chuckie was loud and into everything. His parents allowed him to walk around the plane and play with door handles and the window blinds. The 2nd time that Chuckie went into the row behind us and slammed the window blind, I was just dosing off - so I jumped up and said ‘what the heck- that’s enough’ (in a very angry, low voice) and his dad heard me. He said they better go back to their seats. For the next 3 hours I tried to nap, but every 2 minutes Chuckie would let out a scream or loud noise. Even his dad went to the back of the plane to take a nap. At one point, Chuckie let out a really loud, high pitched scream that woke Krysta - I was not happy and tried to let them know since the parents did very little to quiet Chuckie down or get him to sleep. We were awake for the rest of the flight and Chuckie never stopped - he was even disturbing the people in first class, but there was nothing they could do either.
We went into the Frankfurt airport and had a 7 hour layover. We used the Europe City Lounge, which cost 16 Euros. They had nice comfortable chairs and food and drinks. We fed Krysta first, then had something ourselves. It was quiet in there, but Krysta would not nap. I had her close to napping at one point, but someone in the room made a noise and she was awake. She was not cranky - in fact, she was smiling at the other people and babbling. She did spit up 3 times, and Eileen had to change her shirts 2 times since she was the target. We were tired and could have used a nap, but was not meant to be. After using the lounge for over 3 hours, we left to explore the terminal and go find our gate. Once again, we had to undo our organized system of jackets and bags to be scanned and enter the gate area. Eileen said the woman scanned her private area with her hands and detector. We found our gate and just stayed there so we wouldn’t have to be scanned all over again. We got a hard pretzel, donut and coke for $9 (the Coke tasted funny and so did the donut). I checked our seats and once again, they were not front row seats so they had to be changed. This flight was full, so no extra room like the first flight.
The flight from Frankfurt to Washington DC was 8 hours and full and tight. We got a bassinet for Krysta, but she was not going to nap here either. She did go into the bassinet and lay there with a toy. The seats in this plane were so close that I could not get comfortable enough to sleep since I was in the center seat. When we got our dinner, Krysta would try to crawl out of the bassinet so Eileen and I would put 1 hand on her and try to eat with the other. Eileen and I switched seats and I got to nap a little (less than an hour). Eileen talked to the nice, older women in the seat next to us. This lady was with a group that had the row behind us and they were supporting us in our effort to get Krysta to take a nap so we could also nap. This was 1 long flight…….
When we arrived in Washington DC, we got the official sealed paperwork for Krysta to become an official US citizen ready to give to the passport control officer. We were told that once we set foot on American soil, she was a US citizen - but you need the paperwork to make it official. They took us to the front of the line and the officer took our passports and the sealed envelope for Krysta and did his stamping. He said once he stamped her paperwork and passport, she was a citizen. I was ready to sing out “I’m proud to be an American” ( I also was ready to sing when leaving Germany, but Eileen stopped me). It was good to be back in America. People here talk English and we were able to get updated news on events that happened while we were away. I found out the Tampa Bay Bucs were 1-5 …. how did that happen? Anyway, the process was pretty quick and she had to also go into the 2nd passport inspection office for one more quick processing.
In the Washington DC airport, you have to claim your luggage and carry it into another room with a conveyor belt to be sent to the next flight. And of course, we were scanned once again. So we had to take apart our organized system of carrying everything to be scanned. Then off to the gate for our last flight home. We ate some McDonalds for dinner and called home to the sitter to let her know we were just a few hours from being home. This was less than a 2 hour layover, which went fast since we had the passport control paperwork and ate. We were boarded quickly and off to Tampa airport. Krysta fell right asleep in my arms and I also got some nap time in. I would wake up from time to time when I felt like Krysta was slipping. Before I knew it, we were descending to the Tampa airport. Yay, home at last- kind of. We grabbed our luggage and got our Enterprise rental car and car seat. It was 80 degrees and humid there - at 9 PM. I was not expecting that, but it was better than 32 and snowing. I wish I had someone pick us up at the airport instead of driving home - I was tired and had to really concentrate at times. But we had special cargo on board and had to make it home safely. 10 PM and in the driveway.
Logan came running to me and jumped into my arms - he either gained weight or I was tired and weak. It was really good to see him. He looked at his sister and softly touched her head. He said she has fuzzy hair. We talked for a while about our trip and Logan told us about his time with Ms Sandy and the fun stuff he did. Then off to bed. Krysta went down easily for bed and we let Logan sleep in our bed that night. He was very happy to see us. It felt really good to be back in my own bed. Krysta made a noise and Logan was concerned that she woke up and needed something. We assured him that she will make some noises and we will let him know if she needed him. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Look at that smile we got while in the Almaty apartment. The Almaty apt was like a palace compared to the Uralsk apt. We enjoyed our stay there, but were ready to come home. Posted by Hello

Krysta on her first bath with us while in Almaty. The Almaty apt had a baby bathtub we used (and a stroller). She enjoyed the water and held herself up the whole time. Posted by Hello

Here is Krysta in the bed we made for her in the apartment in Uralsk. We took our big suitcase and placed pillows inside and lined with a sheet. It gave her a chance to lie down and relax- she did not sleep while inside this. Posted by Hello

Catching up on photos

Mike here... I am catching up on posting some photos here before the update blog on the trip home. We all made it and are very tired, but more on that later. First, some new photos that were unable to get posted while in Kaz......

Here are all the children and happy parents...Daaren and Crystal Sarver with their 2 new children Alyssa and Alex. Then us with Krysta. This was taken the day we took the children from the baby house. Posted by Hello

Here is the whole group at our Kamelot thank-you luncheon. On the right side is Masha in front, Eger, Philipige, Assia then Olga at the head. The Sarvers and us on the left side. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 18, 2004

October 18

Krysta slept from 7:30 PM til 8 AM last night. We went to the doctor who was surprised at how on target she is developmentally. After the doctor’s visit (which went well), we tried to buy Krysta’s formula at the Ramstore with no luck. After lunch, Andrei took us to a huge store (crose) that had just what we were looking for. Tonight we’re finishing up leftovers. Tomorrow night, we/re having dinner at ‘American Bar & Grill’ with the Sarvers - a good meal before we have to catch a 4 AM flight that takes almost 1 1/2 days to complete. This will be our last entry from Kaz. I’ll update when we get home.
Mike here....the other night we had a little concern as we heard Boom! Boom! Boom! over and over again. I looked out the window and couldn’t see anything. I did see a couple walking down the street, so everything seemed OK. We weren’t sure if there was some sort of revolt going on. Things were quiet again, then an hour later it started back up. They did not sound like fireworks - but this time I could see colored lights as the fireworks went off. They sounded more like cannons.
We got to watch ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ in Russian. They loose something in the interpretation, but it was good to see something I knew.
- Forgot to mention that since we have had Krysta, her personality has shown through. We are getting laughs and lots of smiles. She has really opened up to us and is already attached. She has progressed a lot in her mobility as well. She pulled herself to her feet today. Even the doctor said she will be walking soon. It’s good that the apartments in Almaty have microwaves in them - it helps to get her food ready faster and easier.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Getting there...

Mike caught whatever gunk I had, so we took it easy today. After lunch we walked to a nearby park and then to a department store about a block away. Then we came home and took naps - yes all 3 of us! For dinner we walked to the Stetson Bar. Mike had chicken wings and fries and I had a personal size pizza. It was OK, but I want to go to American Bar & Grill again before we leave. Oh yeah - future travelers - Stetson has a high chair! Came home and fed our bottomless pit of a daughter and she went down for nap #2.
Tomorrow we have to take Krysta for her required doctor visit. Tuesday we have an appointment at the US Embassy for our exit interview and paperwork. We leave for the airport at 1 AM on Wednesday.
-Can’t wait to get home!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

October 16

Krysta woke up around 9:00 and in a much better mood. One of her top teeth broke through and I think that helped a lot.
Andrei picked us up at 11:30 to go the Tsum store. We met the Sarvers and had lunch at the City cafe there. They had high chairs! Krysta ate a huge lunch of rice cereal, juice, apricots and about a zillion fruit puffs (they are like cereal but “melt” in baby’s mouth). She enjoyed pushing them around and picking them up. You should see her chew! She was given ground meat at the orphanage, so she’s a pro. After lunch, we went to the 3rd floor of the Tsum to buy souvenirs. I just wanted a few things for her to have later - post cards, a children’s book about Kaz written in Kazak, Russian and thankfully English, a flag and a few Christmas ornaments. I found a yurt (traditional Kazak house) with 4 dolls inside. I really wanted it but it was too big to fit into our already full suitcases. I’m still trying to figure out how I can get it.
After our afternoon nap (2 hours for Krysta), we walked to the supermarket and bought some prepared chicken wings and peroshkies. I really liked the wings - lots of spices but nothing hot or overwhelming.
Krysta had her 1st bath tonight. I am happy to tell you that yet another Harrison loves the water. She didn’t mind it in her face or when Mike rinsed her hair. We’ll try to post a picture.
-Miss you all - we’re counting down the days!
Mike here....I am currently unable to post any new photos. The computer will not recognize my camera, so I cannot get the photos onto the computer. I was using the Sarvers help in the past, but now they are too far away to walk to. But our apartment is very well located near 2 supermarkets and 2 restaurants and a park. The weather is nice again, so we will be out some more. It was around 55 and sunny today. Anybody that plans on coming to Kaz should look into a pocket translator. I have a small one that can translate words and give me the exchange rate for dollars to Tenge. It has come in very handy to make sure we bought the right thing and to make sure they are giving me the correct money when I exchange dollars into tenge. The translators are very cheap - mine was $8 on Ebay. It also has a calculator and clock - and fits into my pocket.