The Boccini Family
Update - February 11, 2008

Still Waiting

It seems that every time someone asks me how the adoption is coming along, I have the same reply, “I’m still waiting, but it could be any day now.”  Yes, it’s true that I’m still waiting – it’s my daily mantra – but I found out a few days ago that I now have at least another 4-6 weeks to go before I travel. My agency informed me that the reason is that there are currently no healthy little girls that fit my age description, who are coming off the national database for my region.

As you can imagine, I am extremely disappointed by this news.  Although the logical me realizes this is only a minor setback, and the most important thing is that I am united with a healthy child, I can’t help but be frustrated that my time hasn’t come yet. I’ve been ready in my heart for so long.

On the pro side, I know a family who is in Aktobe now, and I’m hearing good reports about their adorable little boy and their positive experience there.  It will be very helpful to learn from them. Also, traveling a little later will bring me closer to spring. Considering that Aktobe often experiences frigid temperatures in the single digits, this could be a very good thing. I hate the cold!

Since I was expecting to travel at any time, I have made great progress getting ready for my trip. Although I haven’t completely packed my bag, I do know what I’m bringing. At least I have that weight off my mind.

I have been to Bye, Bye Baby and Babies ‘R Us to look at strollers, car seats, etc., and I have to say that I found the initial experience overwhelming. Babies need a TON of stuff!  However, I’m taking my time purchasing things. I still don’t know if my little one is going to be six months or 16 months, so it’s hard to shop. Once I’ve met my daughter, I will be in a much better position to buy items that are right for her. I have the feeling I will be extremely busy between my first and second trips to Kaz!

I would like to thank everyone who has been so incredibly supportive as I wait for my letter of invitation.  I have received words of encouragement from people all over the country – family, friends, colleagues, clients, and other adoptive Kaz families.

Admittedly, it is daunting to know that I will be traveling 8,000 miles from home to meet my forever child, but your love, support and encouragement mean a great deal to me. It’s a great comfort to know that I have a home team rooting for me and my soon-to-be daughter. Thanks a million.

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They say that there are hunters and gatherers in this world. Anyone who plans to adopt a baby certainly falls into the second category!  Since I received my referral in December and learned that I will be heading to the Aktobe region in Northwest Kazakhstan, I have been busy gathering things for the trip.

Although there was a great deal of paperwork when I submitted my dossier back in late April, there is still more to be done before I travel. Apparently, some of the documents become outdated, so I need to get them all notarized, county sealed (a New York State requirement) and apostilled again. I also need to make copies of my dossier and several other documents, which will be taken to court with me.

Paperwork is only one part of the preparations.  The most fun is buying clothes and toys for my daughter and the baby house.  After spending years shopping in the women’s department, it is wonderful to browse through the racks of children’s clothes, where every outfit causes me to ooh and ahh! For example, I couldn’t resist buying a pink sweater with ballet slippers stitched on the front. Yes, I admit it. I’m going to send the little one subtle hints about the wonders of dance from the very beginning!  I won’t even tell you about the ballet slippers that are packed away in a box in the attic.

Although I feel that I have much to do, and I’ll never be truly ready, another part of me is 100 percent prepared to step on the plane this very instant. No matter what I am doing, thoughts of my baby girl keep popping into my head. I can’t help but wonder what she’s doing right now. Here I am half a world away thinking about how much this child is going to transform my life, and she is just going about her daily routine oblivious to the fact that her Mom-to-be will be joining her any day.

A miracle is coming, my miracle…and soon!

Fuzzy Friends Await Baby’s Arrival
Update - October 17, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

It has been a very busy week, and that is an incredible understatement!  Just today, I have gotten a haircut, returned a cable box, gone to the bank, voted for the U.S. president (early, of course), drafted an article for work…and I haven’t even had lunch yet!  Most significantly, I’ve been getting ready for my trip.  I’m not 100 percent packed, but I have faith that all will be in place before I head to JFK later today.

I’m thrilled to be finally heading to Uralsk, but I am surprisingly calm given the reason for this journey.  I think this feeling will fade as soon as I get in the car with all my luggage (heaps and heaps of it), and the reality of leaving home and my family for a distant land finally hits me. 

And yet, I know this is the path I must follow to reach my baby girl…and I’m extremely ready to embrace her, love her and share with her all I have to give.

Your prayers and well wishes have given me great strength during this substantial waiting period.  I know that they will continue to lift me, as I journey to Kaz to meet my forever child.

Click below to go directly to each entry:
Initial Thoughts
February 11, 2008
March 11, 2008
April 14, 2008
Update - March 11, 2008

And Waiting Some More 

It’s hard to believe that a whole month has passed since my last entry. I had hoped that the next time I had something to write, it would be news of my letter of invitation. However, I’m still in a holding pattern without any indication of when I finally will go abroad.

Now when people see me they sometimes say, “Oh!  You’re still here!”  They recognize in an instant that I haven’t received my good news yet.  It’s amazing how many people are sharing in the anticipation of this journey.  If the date of my trip was determined by good wishes, I would have already been to Kaz and back a dozen times.

I have heard from others that waiting is the worst part of this process, and I think this is true.  I am having what is called a blind adoption, so I really have no idea if I’m going to be meeting a tiny six month old or a toddler with more advanced motor and speech skills. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter to me in the end.  I am just praying for a healthy little one, who is open to being kissed and hugged a lot.

This past weekend I bought a car seat and stroller. Although it’s true that I could have waited a bit longer to purchase these items, I figured I’d need to get them sooner or later. Plus, buying them made me feel that I am actually doing something constructive. It’s a small step, but it makes this whole process seem a little less theoretical and more concrete.

One thing that has been helping me through this waiting period has been the support I have been receiving from people near and far. I especially have to thank the families who are now in Aktobe. Their words and beautiful photos have helped me envision a world I will soon be joining. If I close my eyes, I can see in my mind the room in which I will be playing with my daughter. I can envision the streets of Aktobe, the buildings and the monuments. These families, for whom I rejoice because they have been united with their sons, have been a lifeline to a place that resides each day in my dreams.

Thanks, too, to the families who have already adopted from Kaz. These wonderful new Moms and Dads are proof positive that you can succeed in bringing a Kaz cutie home.

And lastly to those families who also are waiting to travel, particularly my WHFC friends, I wish you peace as you wait. Remember to keep the faith; it won’t be long now.  We just have to keep believing.

Update - April 14, 2008

Where in Kaz is My Baby Girl?

I bet you’re wondering why I haven’t received my letter of invitation to travel to Kazakhstan yet. You are not alone. I’ve been wondering the same thing for months.

As you may recall, I was assigned to a specific region, Aktobe, in December. However, due to the holidays, it was unlikely that I would travel. January came and went, and two families, who were assigned to Aktobe at the same time I was, received their invitations to travel. However, since they were adopting boys, it was not a surprise that they received their invitations first. I have been told all along that getting girls can take longer than getting boys.

Another WHFC family and I, who had asked for girls, were told in early February that we would have to wait another four to six weeks because there were no little girls available in Aktobe. At that point I asked if it made sense for me to change regions, but I was told that this is a very complicated process, and it probably wouldn’t move things along any faster. So, again I hunkered down for another wait. At the end of the six weeks, I still had no news.

Then on St. Patrick’s Day, I learned that I was going be assigned to another region because there would be no little girls coming off the registry in Aktobe until at least late May or early June. Needless to say, I was very annoyed to hear this news because I had suggested changing regions weeks before and was met with resistance. However, I was assured that it would be easier to change regions now because there are no girls where I was originally assigned. Perhaps, this change would finally move things in the right direction.

During this period, I learned that my social worker, who was truly a cheerleader for me, had left the agency.  I have since been assigned to another social worker, who has been with the agency for many years and who is lovely, but it was still a blow to have one of my advocates disappear.  This week I learned that my coordinator in Waltham, who has been my main point of contact, was also leaving. Although I’m happy for her, I am terribly unhappy for me. I’m sure that there are other members of the team, who will be there to see me through this process, but I can’t help but feel disappointed and upset.  My anchors have been set adrift.

I am told repeatedly that my agency is working very hard to match me with a new region, so that I can travel soon. I have to believe this to be true because any other scenario is just too difficult to accept.

So, I must be patient a bit longer, but it’s very hard.  For months I have put my life on hold, not knowing if the call will come today or tomorrow.

I truly believe my little girl is in Kazakhstan just waiting for my loving arms to embrace her. This belief, and my faith that the Lord will bring me safely to my very special daughter, keep me going each day.

Update - April 27, 2008

Westward Ho!  Going to Uralsk

At long last, I have some good news to share! This week I learned that I will be heading to Uralsk (also called Oral) in Northwest Kazakhstan and very close to the Russian border. Although I still don’t know exactly when I will be traveling, it will likely be this summer. 

As I’ve mentioned, I have been in limbo since I learned that there are no baby girls that fit my dossier description in Aktobe. So, being assigned to Uralsk is a very significant and positive step forward.

Another positive thing is that I will now be taking one trip instead of two, as originally planned. Uralsk is the only region in Kazakhstan that waives the 15-day appeals period. 
I will still have the 14-day bonding period and have to wait for court and the filing of the required paperwork, but this should not take longer than five to six weeks (assuming there are no major delays, of course).

I have also learned that another family at WHFC, with whom I have been corresponding, has also been reassigned to Uralsk. Although there is no way of knowing if we will be heading to Kaz at the same time, I certainly hope this will happen. It would be wonderful to share our adoption experiences together.

Aside from being thrilled that I now know where I’m headed, I’m excited that I will be going to the same city my friend, Carolyn, traveled to in the fall to adopt her adorable son, Henry. Although I’m not sure if I will be going to the same baby house where Henry lived, it’s certainly a possibility. There are only two baby houses in Uralsk, and they are not far from each other.

I have already riddled Carolyn with questions about her stay in Uralsk, and she has been kind enough to share many of her recollections with me. It is comforting to gather first-hand information from a friend, and it is reassuring to know that an adoption in Uralsk can go smoothly.  Henry is proof positive that dreams really can come true.

As I already mentioned, I’m still not sure when my letter of invitation will arrive, but my reassignment to Uralsk has reinvigorated my spirits. Even though I still have to wait some more, I am trying to focus on the positives. For example, because of my delay, I was home today to celebrate my oldest nephew’s confirmation in the same church where I made my own confirmation when I was in eighth grade. My whole family attended the mass, and I was so proud of Daniel, and so happy to share in this very significant and  important day in his life.  As I sat with my family in church and at the celebration afterwards, I was reminded once again of how very blessed I am. What an amazing family I have!   I also was thinking about how lovingly my own daughter will be welcomed into our family and how much she will add to all of our lives.

And so, I continue to look to the future with hope.  I have taken one step closer to my little girl this week, and for this I give thanks.
Update - May 11, 2008

Mother’s Day Wishes

I have been giving great thought today about the definition of the word mother. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a mother is a female parent, as well as a creative source (no surprise there).  As a verb, mother has three definitions:  1) to give birth to; 2) to create or produce; and 3) to watch over, nourish and protect.

Although all of these definitions are obviously accurate, they merely skim the surface of what a mother is, and that is because motherhood has myriad facets and tremendous depth.  Still, if I could only use one word to define motherhood, it would be love.

As I prepare to become a mother myself, I can’t help but reflect on my own Mom, Alberta, a woman of incredible beauty, strength, intelligence and grace. The tremendous love she has for her children and grandchildren is palpable and evident in everything she does (which is way too much to recount in this brief posting).  For as long as I can remember, my Mom has always been there for me in big and small ways.  She has helped to shape me into the woman I am today, and the parent I hope to be tomorrow.  If I can be a mother to my daughter, as my Mom has been to me, I will surely rejoice in this tremendous gift, as will my little girl.

I have been blessed in my life to have been influenced by many amazing Moms.  My oldest sister, Chris, adopted two terrific children from Paraguay and Russia, and she serves as a constant role model for me. Whenever I’m saddened by the delays in my adoption process, I look to my sister and her family, and am reminded that the wait will surely be worth it.  My sister-in-law, Bridget, is also raising two wonderful children, while holding a full-time job. She reminds me that it’s possible to have a family and a career, and to find a balance.  I will be turning to these Moms for advice time and time again!

There are so many other wonderful Moms in my life, including my many friends, who have their own fantastic families and unique stories to tell. And I can’t forget the Moms, who are no longer with me – my grandmothers, Emilia and Jeanne. They were two amazing women, who brought my own parents into this world and set a path for generations to come.

And so, I wish all the mothers out there a very special and joyful day.  I’ve learned from you that being a Mom is the toughest job I’ll ever love, and I can’t wait to join your ranks. No doubt, it will be one of the proudest, most incredible days of my life.

I also send extra special congratulations to my friends, who have adopted in the past year from Kazakhstan. May this first Mother’s Day bring you the happiness about which you’ve always dreamed.  And to those Mom’s still waiting to adopt – hold on…keep your hope alive. Our children will be with us soon.

Happy Mother’s Day!

“The Original Mommy and Me”
Alberta, Jeannette, Bridget and Chris
The Fabulous Four
Update - June 3, 2008

Rise Above It

When I was a little girl, my dear friend Phoebe’s Nana parceled out a bit of wisdom that has stayed with me my entire life.  When things looked bleak – we couldn’t go out and play because it was pouring, or we burnt the lemon bars we were baking (tragedies to Phoebe, my sister, Maria, and me) – she would calmly tell us to “rise above it.”

At the time, I had no idea how profound these words were, or how tightly I would hold onto this phrase when things in my life looked darkest.  But these words have helped me time and time again, as they are helping me now.

Last week though, things were looking up. I was in a flurry trying to update my adoption paperwork, as I was told that I would be traveling in June.  Then, one of the employees from my agency came to New York en route back to Kazakhstan, where she lives, and we had a wonderful visit.  Lena and I sat outside on a beautiful afternoon in Manhattan and chatted about our lives, Kazakhstan and the wonders of adoption.  As we laughed and gabbed like old friends, our words spilling over each other, I knew I had found a kindred spirit.  I was sorry to see Lena go, but I was enormously comforted by the thought that she will there in Kazakhstan when I travel.

Less than a day later, I received an extremely upsetting call from my agency saying that I will not be traveling to Kazakhstan this month, and there is no guarantee that I will be going in July either.  Adoptions have become increasingly difficult in Kazakhstan, particularly for those adopting baby girls, and there are currently no healthy babies, who fit my dossier description, who are available right now.

It is extremely difficult for me to fathom this situation. I submitted my dossier over a year ago and was told that I would probably travel in January or February of 2008, which was already later than I had originally anticipated. Also, as you may recall, I was originally assigned to Aktobe, but my dossier was switched to Uralsk as a result of a shortage of available children.  And now I am experiencing the same thing all over again.

I feel I have been punched in the solar plexus, and my emotions swing from absolute disbelief to extreme anger and from bitter frustration to despair. How can this be happening again?

It’s unfathomable, but there don’t seem to be any valid answers to this question. It’s just the way things are, but this does not take away the extreme disappointment, fear and pain that I’m feeling. How long am I going to have to wait? When will my journey begin? When will it end?

I’m trying very, very hard to “rise above it.”  I allow myself to feel the sadness, but I refuse to be enveloped by it. I am blessed in so many ways, and I must hold onto the belief that I will be united with my daughter soon. I must believe that God has a plan for us, and even if I don’t understand it, everything will work out in the end.

I read recently that “God’s delays are not His denials.”  I have since rolled that thought through my mind dozens of times.  It speaks to me in a profound way, and reminds me that things happen in God’s time, even if I don’t understand why.

And so, I will continue to try to rise above this delay. I also will try to accept that there are some things that I can’t control, and put my faith in God’s plan for my soon-to-be daughter and me.  And I’ll hope. And I’ll pray.  Please pray for me, too.
Update - June 15, 2008

For the Daddies Dearest

When I was a little girl, my father used to pick me up and put me on his shoulders. Having three older siblings, I can only imagine that my Dad’s shoulders were pretty tired by the time he got to me, but he still lifted me up so that I could see the world. 

Today my father still lifts me up. Although decades have passed since I bounced on his strong shoulders, I have never gotten too big to be enveloped in his loving embrace.

It’s Father’s Day, and I would be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to all the Dads out in the world, who have shaped their children through their abundant love and care.  Fathers play a major role in a child’s life, and I am blessed that my own Dad has always been an incredible role model for me, my sisters and brother.

As a single woman planning to adopt, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the fact that my daughter won’t have a father of her own (that is unless Prince Charming walks through my door with his glass slipper).  Although I don’t believe I can be both mother and father to my child – I don’t think this is really possible for any one person – she will be entering into a family of incredible fathers.  I know that they will take my girl under their wings.

It is too difficult for me to capture all that I have learned from my Dad, so I’ll be succinct.  Like my mother, he taught me about love – love of God, love of family, and love of self.  He also taught me how to love others. What better gift can a father give his child?

My brother, Manny, and my brother-in-law, Angelo, have also become great Dads. Yesterday, as I watched my brother coaching my nephew (Manny IV) in his championship baseball game, I felt so incredibly proud to be his sister. He’s grown up to be just like my Dad – really involved in his children’s lives, committed in every way imaginable, and a genuine model of what it is to be a truly good and decent man.  My brother-in-law, Angelo, traveled to Paraguay and Russia to adopt his son and daughter – an amazing commitment to parenthood that began long before he held either of his children in his arms. He would give the world to his children, if he could.

I know that it isn’t going to be easy being a single Mom – it takes a village to raise a child, right? But I know that these men will not only be there for me; they will be there for my daughter.  Sometimes they may even carry her on their shoulders, and she will see the world.

Dancing Duo
Dad and Jeannette
Update - June 23, 2008

One Step Forward: Letter of Invitation Arrives!

Today I received a wonderful surprise that truly lifted my spirits.  My adoption agency informed me that I have received my official letter of invitation from the Kazakhstan government. This means that my dossier is truly in the system, and I’m moving forward after many frustrating delays.

However, I’m not heading to Uralsk quite yet. The actual invitation to travel is between July 25 and October 25, and the agency won’t have a better idea of when I’ll be going until at least mid July. Of course, I am praying that I will be going July 25!  I can’t wait to meet my little girl.

I am now in a position to apply for my Visa, so I will get that started soon. I also need to review my paperwork. My CIS document, which gives me permission to adopt in Kaz, expires October 1. So, cross your fingers that I go sooner rather than later.

As I’ve mentioned previously, waiting is one of the most challenging aspects of adoption. Although I still have at least one more month before I travel, today things seem just a little bit brighter.

Update - July 22, 2008

Kazakhstan Here I Come!

Sixteen months ago I submitted my dossier, and since that time I have waited patiently for “the call.” Today it finally came!

I will be heading to Kazakhstan this Thursday (yes, I have only 48 hours before boarding the plane), and I am feverishly preparing for my journey. As such, I won’t write much tonight. However, as long as technology is on my side, I promise to provide updates and photos from Uralsk and Almaty.

Please visit my blog from time to time, and let me know your thoughts.  Many of you, dear readers, have lifted me up during this long journey, and I expect that I will need your support and prayers now more than ever. Also, I will someday share this blog and all your comments with my little girl, and she will know how many people loved her and couldn’t wait to welcome her home.

Oh, happiness! Oh, joy!  I’m finally going to meet my angel baby!

Update - July 25, 2008

You Are Not Going To Believe This, But…

I know that many of you have been anxiously awaiting news that I have landed safely in Kazakhstan and have been united with my forever child, but the wait continues.

Six hours before my departure, I returned home from a lovely “bon voyage” luncheon with my parents. My bags were packed and in the car, and a group of family and friends had gathered together to send me off in style. However, when I checked my voicemail, I learned that I had an urgent call from my agency.

It was then that I heard that there are no little girls available right now for adoption in Uralsk.  Needless to say, I was completely devastated and overwhelmed by this news.  How could it be possible that just 48 hours before, they had invited me to travel? What happened to the little girl who was waiting for me?

I was told that I could still get on the plane, if I wanted to get a boy instead. However, if I was not ready to make that decision, it would be better to postpone the flight until the agency had more time to gather details about the situation in Kaz.

Well, you can imagine my reaction – shock, despair, anger, confusion, and panic. The only positive is that I had my family with me for support. I can’t even imagine what would have happened had I landed in Kaz and received this terrible news alone.

The evening was surreal.  As the time ticked by and the intended time of my departure came and went, my thoughts continued to swirl.  I knew I’d have to wait a few more hours to get an update from my agency.  I went to bed resigned that I would not be meeting my daughter any time soon.

This morning, I received a call from WHFC and was informed that there would be no little girls fitting my dossier until at least October. However, I would be “guaranteed” a girl at that time.  As I’m sure you can guess, the word guarantee is no guarantee at all, as nothing is ever concrete when it comes to international adoption, particularly in Kazakhstan. However, the agency would stand behind me and my wishes and do everything in their power to unite me with my daughter.

I spoke with an adoption attorney, too.  He acknowledged that these delays do happen in Kaz – even at the 11th hour – and there is no rhyme or reason. Since the agency has held out the October date, and I already have my letter of invitation, which is good through October 25, as well as my visa, I should wait the few months more and see how things go.

It is hard to articulate the myriad emotions that are coursing through me right now.  Just a few short days ago, I was on top of the world. After an extremely long wait, I had finally received my happy news, and though I had to scramble like a mad woman to get everything organized – my work, my home situation, my paperwork for the trip, packing, etc. – I was ready.  When I was sitting having lunch with my parents, almost electric in my energy, I said that I almost felt like I had two heartbeats. After hearing that aloud, I was taken back by my own very spontaneous insight. I felt like I had two heartbeats, not because I was feeling so energized, but because I was so close to meeting my girl that I could feel her heartbeat beating in time with my own.

I am shaken to the core, and I’m deeply saddened that after having shared my great joy about my departure, I now have to share my grief.  So many of you have written such beautiful, supportive messages to me, and I have been touched by every single one. Thank you for lifting me up.

Now I ask you for two more things, which I have requested before. Pray for me. Pray that I receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, particularly fortitude.  Although I feel like Sysiphus rolling the great rock up the hill only to have it roll back down, I know that I can rise above anything with your support and the power and love of God behind me.

Also, pray for my daughter that she is safe and healthy and that we are united soon.  As I am waiting for her, she is waiting for me.

Two heartbeats…a family waiting to be…a miracle waiting to happen. There are no more words to say for now. 
Update - August 10, 2008

Still Counting My Blessings

Several months ago my colleague, Betty, gave me a book entitled Mother to Daughter: Shared Wisdom from the Heart by Melissa and Harry Harrison, Jr., a wonderful collection of lessons that mothers should share with their girls.  One particular lesson is: “Teach her to find ten blessings a day. Twenty on bad days.” 

I love this bit of wisdom and have actually tapped into it since my trip to Kaz was postponed more than two weeks ago. Although I am still deeply upset that my trip didn’t take place as scheduled, I refuse to be defeated by this setback.  I continue to remind myself that despite recent challenges, I am still quite fortunate. You see, I don’t just have ten blessings or even twenty in my life. I have hundreds, and I won’t let myself forget it.

I’m not going to lie to you; it’s been a tough few weeks. Thoughts of my little girl drift through my mind each day and even pervade my dreams at night. My daughter may not be here with me, but she is ever present.

And yet, I know that hanging on to anger, sadness and frustration does me no good. I have to look forward, and I have to believe that everything will happen for the best and in God’s time.

I have received an incredible amount of support throughout this journey. When I thought I was leaving for Kaz, dozens of emails flooded my inbox wishing me well and offering assistance. Since I shared news of my postponement, I have been lifted up by so many people – many I know well and some I’ve never even met – who continue to encourage me and pray that I will be united with my daughter soon.  It is truly humbling to have received so much good will from so many people, and I truly believe that it is keeping me strong.

The big question most people are asking is: “What’s next, Jeannette?”  I wish I had a crystal ball, but since I don’t, I’m trying to go with the flow.  Since my I-600 is going to expire in October, I have taken steps to update it, and my social worker plans to update my home study this month.  At this point, my agency expects I will be traveling in October. As autumn approaches, I will update my medical and employment documents, too. 

I know full well that October can turn into November and so on. I’ve been on this path long enough to know that anything can happen and I may experience a few more bumps along the way before I have final resolution. But, right now, today, waiting is what I feel I must do.

Thanks to all of you who continue to wait with me and pray for me. You raise me up.

Update - September 22, 2008

And the Beat Goes On (and On and On and On…)

It has been quite some time since I’ve last written, and I know many of you have visited the site for updates. I have not intentionally been remiss. It’s just that there is not much exciting news to share when you are waiting to travel.

Still, I have not been sitting idle these past several weeks. In August, my social worker visited my new house, so that she could update my home study. Happily, it passed with flying colors.  My child will have plenty of room to play, explore, learn and grow in our new place. Also, I submitted my renewal request to INS, as my paperwork was going to expire on October 1.  I now have an extension until August 2009, but I desperately hope that I will be home with my daughter long before then.  Since my LOI is also expected to expire in late October, I have requested an extension from the Kaz government. I don’t want to take any chances that I will run into trouble as a result of expired documents.

I would by lying if I said that this waiting period is easy. I am still being approached by people who think I’ve already traveled to Kaz and returned.  Just this past week I went to a business event, and a woman approached me and said, “Hi Mom!  How’s the baby?”  I absolutely cringed, and yet this woman had made an innocent mistake.  When I told her the tale of my aborted trip (I think I’ve told this story a million times), she couldn’t believe that I’m still waiting to travel.  I get this reaction a lot.

As I await my trip, I can’t help but think of all the things I want to share with my daughter.  Yesterday, my family and I participated in the Lupus Walkathon, an event we attend annually in memory of my beloved sister, Maria, who we lost to the disease in 1994.  Just a few months ago, I thought that I’d be pushing my daughter in her stroller, as I raised money for this important cause. And yet, I will have to wait for next year’s walkathon to do so.

As I walked, I kept thinking about how happy I am that soon I will be bringing my daughter into my family. I was also thinking about how good it will be to teach my child about giving back to others, who need our help and support.  One of the greatest things about my family is that they are truly loving, caring people, who will make the extra effort to make someone else’s life better and happier. I can’t wait to introduce my baby to her new family, who will embrace her and teach her so many important life lessons.    What do I hope she will learn from our annual walk in memory of her Aunt Maria?  Love is eternal. Family is forever. In giving we receive our greatest blessings.

Walking in Memory of Maria
Celebrating Together After the Lupus Walkathon
Update - October 8, 2008

Flying to Kaz – Take Two

Last week when I was browsing through the shelves at the New York Public Library, my cell phone started to vibrate.  I answered it in hushed tones, expecting to tell the caller that I would ring back later after I checked out my books.  However, it was my agency telling me that my trip to Kaz has finally been rescheduled. This was a call I wanted to take!

Although I was inclined to whoop for joy, I wouldn’t allow myself to get overly excited. My trip cancellation in July is still a terribly painful memory, and I’m very aware that there are no guarantees when it comes to travel. And yet, my heart was beating faster, my mind was racing forward, and visions of my little girl were dancing in my head. They still are.

I have a little more than a week to wrap things up at my office, organize my new home (while clearing out the old one), finalize all my paperwork for Kaz and prepare for my trip. Fortunately, I have already booked my flight, updated almost all of my documents, and much of my luggage is ready to go.

Still, I’m in an absolute whirl.  I have a million things to do, but I have faith that all will come together in the end, and I will meet my child soon. I have been waiting for so very long, and I’m counting the moments until I can hold my little one in my arms.  I can’t wait to tell her that her Mommy is there for her at long last, and she will forever be a part of me.