It was the fall of 2005 when my husband Chris and I received our long awaited invitation from the country of Kazakhstan to adopt 2 children from the region known as Semey. You see we had originally begun this process in the fall of 2003 with the attempt of adopting from Lithuania. But a year later after nothing happening with our dossier, our adoption agency suggested that we switch to plan B. So in April of 2005 we resubmitted our dossier to Kazakhstan and thus our second wait for adoption began.
On the day of my 44th birthday we received the call from our agency to say that we were clear to travel at our earliest convenience. So of course we were anxious to get our new family started and 4 days later on the afternoon of November 11, 2005 we flew out of JFK to begin our journey.
We spent 4 weeks living in Kazakhstan to go through the adoption process. First we met Michael and Grace who at that time were known as Mikael, or Mishka as he was called, and Tanya. This process was a bit different from that of Russia in 2005, where a referral system was used. In Russia a couple would request a child by gender, age, and acceptable disabilities and then the governing body in the region would select a child that fit the perspective adoptive parents request.
In Semey it was a little bit different. We did give the orphanage the information on what we were looking for as far as age and gender, but...BUT...no child or children were preselected for us. Instead 4 possibilities were presented to us the very first day we went to the orphanage, 2 boys and 2 girls. Then we had to make our decision on who if any we wanted to adopt. God was good to us that day because out of the 4 children shown to us the 2 we actually had contact with were the two we decided to adopt.
2005 in the orphanage, Semey
We spent 2 weeks bonding with Grace and Michael for a period of about 2 hours each day, and at the end of the two weeks our court date was set. It all went very smoothly and we spent one more week in Semey to finish all the legalities of the adoption from Kazakhstan's end. Then we flew to Almaty to begin the process of bringing Michael and Grace home. They both needed to have physicals before traveling and our final paperwork had to be submitted to the American Embassy. This took about 5 days and in the early morning hours of December 9th 2005 Kazak time, we departed on the first of two flights equalling at total of 19 exhausting hours of travel, including a 3 hour layover in Frankfurt Germany, on our journey home. It was 12:45 pm EST when we landed at JFK International Airport in New York, and it was at that precise moment Michael and Grace became citizens of the United States of America.
Our two little lambs were finally home.
To read more about our adoption adventures in Kazakhstan just click below on the word adoption.
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