November 19, 2008
It’s hard for me to believe that Emilia and I have finished our last full day here in Uralsk. Of course, I’m very excited that we’re going to Almaty because it’s one step closer to home, but I’m feeling a little sad, too. I have been here for almost five weeks, and during this time I have met and come to know many amazing people.
Aliya has not only been an extraordinary translator and coordinator, but she has been a true friend, travel guide, advocate, social director, baby helper, and the list goes on. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I feel she and I are kindred spirits, and I will truly miss seeing her. I really hope that she comes to New York to visit Emilia and me. She has been so gracious about showing me her world; I want to show her ours. I will never be able to thank her enough for all she’s done to help me in my journey to Emilia.
Vladimir, or more affectionately, Velodya, my driver, was always a steadfast presence each day, transporting me to and from the baby house. Although we couldn’t converse due to our language barrier, I always knew he was there to help me. I’ll never forget our unexpected trip to the Catholic Church. It still warms my heart to think of his kindness.
The adoptive families here have been an incredible support system to me, and I thank them for their friendship and for always adding entertaining conversation and humor to my days. Adoption can be a very scary and draining process, particularly when you are on your own in a foreign country, and these new friends made each day so much brighter. I wish all of them every happiness with their forever children.
The staff at the Pushkin has also been so very kind and helpful. I will miss the manager and his family, the cheerful front desk staff, and Chef Hassan and his wonderful waitstaff at Atilla’s. Not only have they been kind to me, but they welcomed Emilia with such warmth and affection. She had a fan club from day one, and everyone, even down to the cleaning staff, knew her name and welcomed her. Needless to say, Emilia enjoyed the attention!
Our flight leaves tomorrow morning at 10:30. I have everything packed except a few toiletries and the computer. I thought I would be returning home with less luggage, but somehow my bags are still bulging at the seams. How is that possible?
Almaty will be the last phase of our trip. I have to take Emilia for a medical exam and go to the American Embassy. I also still need to finalize Emilia’s passport and visa. She will be an American citizen when she enters the U.S. Hurray!
I am still praying that all goes well, and that we’re able to fly home on Tuesday. However, everything hinges on the paperwork. We’re just going to have to wait and see.
I hope I’ll have Internet access in Almaty, but I can’t be sure that this will be the case. If I can’t get online, I will finish my updates and post them when I get home to the States.
Some of you have written direct notes to Emilia, and I think this is a lovely idea. I encourage all of you to “drop a line” to the little miss, so that when she is old enough to read, she will know how many people supported her and loved her long before she even put one tiny foot in New York.
In case I can’t write, please know how grateful I am to all of you, who have shown such tremendous love and support for me, too. You’ve added even more beauty to an absolutely beautiful experience…finding Emilia.