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September 7, 2006

Paper pregnant and feeling it!

I said when I started this journey that one of the great things about adoption was that, unlike pregnancy, I wouldn’t have to worry about swollen ankles, an aching back, massive weight gain and stretch marks.  I was wrong…

After 20 hours on one plane or another, my hands are swollen, my feet are swollen and yes, my ankles are swollen.  As you might expect from me, I packed a whole library to bring with us.  And guess what – a whole library loaded into a backpack gets heavy quickly!!  So, now I’ve got the aching back part too.  While I didn’t gain 70 lbs with my “pregnancy”, I think for the past six months I must have subconsciously been eating for three because I’ve had the “best” appetite of my life!  (I’m blaming any and all weight gain on the easy and steady supply of banana Popsicles!)  As for the stretch marks – I think I’m still okay on that one, but I’m really just not looking that closely.  If they’re there, I don’t want to know!

But it’s worth it.  We’re in Almaty now, and everything’s great.  We arrived at 12:15 a.m. and finally made it to the apartment by about 2:00.  Lufthansa lost two of our bags, but we had enough to get by for our first night.  (Of course, that’s easy for me to say.  It was Dave’s luggage that was stuck somewhere at the Frankfurt airport.)  Everyone we’ve met so far has been wonderful.  Vitaliy (our Almaty driver) and Dilnoza (our Almaty coordinator) met us at the airport and helped us take care of all of the paperwork necessary for chasing luggage and then got us set up in our apartment.  Here are some pictures of the apartment in Almaty:


We met with the lawyer for the adoption this morning and got the information on our schedule for the next month.  After that meeting we got to experience the Ramstore.  Let me tell you – any old-fashioned ideas we might have had about what to expect in a former Soviet Union area were so wrong.  The Ramstore is the ultimate mall!!  We started in the grocery store – which puts any Super Wal-Mart to shame – and then were blown away by the mall.  Hugo Boss, Pierre Cardin, Izod, Givenchy, an ice-skating rink, a movie theatre, a whole store just for GameBoy Advance games (sorry Luke – I didn’t have time to check it out closely enough – maybe next trip), and anything you could imagine in the food court.   I wish I hadn’t been so exhausted so I could’ve really explored.  Hopefully we’ll have a chance to go back on our next trip.  Definitely worth checking out!

We’ll be flying to Kokshetau in the morning and should be going to Tschuchinsk for our first visit with the girls tomorrow afternoon.  I’ll definitely be spending time with both of the girls together, so we can start getting used to our whole little family straight from the beginning.  I can’t wait!!

It’s getting so late, so I’m going to sign off for now.  Hopefully by tomorrow night I’ll have the first pictures of the girls ready to post.

Dave can sleep on any couch anywhere!
Living Room -- loaded down with luggage