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October 25, 2006

Good-bye to Kokshetau

Today was truly a bittersweet day.  Of course, we’re SO ready to get on our way
and get closer to bringing the girls home, but we’re also so sad to be saying
good-bye to some of our new, very dear friends.  Saying good-bye to Assel nearly
broke our hearts.  She promised that she’d try her best to come see us some time
very soon, and we’re going to hold her to that!  We also begged her to bring
Alama with her, but I’m not sure Alama was quite so excited about the idea.  I
sure hope she changes her mind though.  She’s one of my very favorite new

It was also heartbreaking to say good-bye to Makhabat.  She was the coordinator
for the Larsens, our friends here who are adopting Vika from the same baby house
where the girls were.  Even though she wasn’t officially part of our adoption,
we had lots of time to get to visit with her at the baby house, and she just
became so dear to us.  We met her husband and her daughter (cutie!!) a couple of
times, and feel like they’re all part of our Kazakh family now.  I can’t even
explain how much I’m going to miss them all.

We didn’t exactly say good-bye to our friends The Larsens yet.  They’ll be
traveling with us to Almaty, so we’ll still get to see them some over the next
few days.  Still, we had a nice, though slightly sad party at Alama’s café today
where she sent us off with one of her wonderful lunches (of course)!  Here are a
few pictures from that party.

Makhabat, Assel & Steve

Alima with the Larsen children (Aren’t they adorable?)

Mommy & Ryn

The whole gang

After lunch it was time to get ready for Maggie and Ryn’s first plane ride – and
of course we’re starting with the YAK 40.  I was a nervous wreck.  I didn’t know
what to expect from either girl, but it was a blast!  I can’t believe how
excited Maggie was.  Her little eyes were glowing.  The biggest challenge was
trying to get her to sit still in the seat during take-off.  She wanted to watch
everything.  Even after we got in the air she was fascinated with looking out
the window.  Ryn was a little less enthusiastic, but she did pretty well.  We
kept pulling books and toys and treats out of those wonderful bags, but after
three hours she was pretty fed up.  She never seemed scared, but she did seem
awfully bored.  I guess that’s better than terrified and screaming the whole
way!  I’m not going to complain.

Vitaliy was waiting on us again when we landed in Almaty, and we went straight
to the apartment we’ll be staying in for the next few days.  It was huge!  The
girls were so excited.  They ran as hard as they could from room to room,
playing hide and seek and giggling so hard any time I found them.  I thought it
would be hours before I’d finally get them settled in for the night, but we got
into jammies and they almost settled themselves in.  I guess today really was a
pretty huge day for them and I’m sure they were tired.  Of course, if bedtime
could possibly be this easy from now on it would definitely be alright with me!