Alison's Journey Home: An Adoption Story - Page 7
Well, the good news is that Alison and I are both feeling much better. A few days of antibiotics has her just about back to her happy self. She loves going outside, but it snowed again the night before last, so we were stuck inside yesterday.
Today seemed nicer and the snow was melting, so we headed out. It got progressively colder, and it's now freezing!
I'm very bummed because my friend Amy, from Houston, is leaving tonight. She flies to Moscow at 2:30 AM (the same flight I'll be taking Tuesday night), and leaves for Houston Friday morning. Alison and I will miss her and her precious son, but my wallet won't!
She's been a really bad shopping influence on me! On Sunday, we went to the bazaar... we were told it was like a giant flea market... but they sell everything. I bought a beautiful Shearling jacket.... This jacket at home would cost at least $1200. I only paid $210. Amy bought a mink jacket (and also only paid around $200 for it). Yes, they had beautiful leather and fur coats at this flea market.
We also went for another massage last night. Luckily we've had the services of Jezegul to baby-sit.
I wish I could paint the picture happening right now. Amy had to leave to go for her exit interview at the US Embassy here in Kazakhstan. (I'll be doing that on Monday.) Amy and I ordered lunch, but it took so long that she had to leave to get to her appointment at the Embassy. So, she left me here, and they just brought the food.
I'm typing, with Alison on my lap, feeding her a Kaz pizza and eating some sort
of hamburger type dish that I guess I somehow ordered, and Amy's plate of food is sitting here as well. Feeding a child, eating, and typing email is not easy to do. The room is filled with six computers, and on four of them are American Peace Corps workers, so at least it's a compassionate group in here with me.
However, I don't think Alison's going to last very much longer sitting relatively quietly on my lap. So, I'm going to sign off now... she's getting really cranky!
Congratulations are in order! Today, my 15-day waiting period required after court ended, so it was time to go all over Almaty to get new documents.
We had to drive back out to Karakastek, the village where Alison's orphanage is located, to get her adoption certificate, and to the Almaty registration office to get her new birth certificate listing me as her mother. Galiya is now getting copies of those documents and taking them to the passport office and police department, to get the paperwork started on Alison's passport so we can come home.
A few interesting observations about 21st century life in Kazakhstan: The office in Karakastek that handles all certificates (birth, marriage, adoption, etc.) has had no phone service for a few weeks. Apparently, they have an unpaid bill of 120,000 tenge (about $80). The woman who handles these duties was going to take "sick leave". Luckily, Galiya had her home phone number and when Galiya called her last night to tell her we'd be coming today, she said she would not be in. Galiya told her that the families needing adoption certificates wanted to settle her phone debt, so she decided to come in just for us (and our money). This same woman kept the last group of adopting families waiting four hours before she helped them.
There are no computers there, so all the paperwork was done by hand and took two and a half hours to complete for three children (mine and two others). There was also no heat and it was freezing! People were lined up in the hallway to see this woman, who told them she was not working today, she was only there to take care of us.
We then drove back into Almaty to get the new birth certificates. Although this building did have heat, they too didn't have computers! They had all the birth records in archive books ... pink for girls and blue for boys, filed by year. They looked up Alison's original record, complete with made up names for the mother and father (as she was abandoned on someone's doorstep). The woman making her new birth certificate crossed out the false information on Alison's permanent record and wrote in my name and address, as well as Alison's new name.
Galiya is now rushing around trying to get a passport processed for Alison in time for us to leave Monday night. I was supposed to leave Almaty Tuesday night, go to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Wednesday, and fly home to the U.S. Thursday morning(leaving at 7:00 AM). However, Amy (my friend from Houston who left the night before last) was delayed in Moscow. She didn't get into Moscow in time to get to the Embassy that day. The Embassy must receive your paperwork, including a medical report on the child done by an Embassy certified doctor in Moscow, between 9:30 and 11:30 AM in order to get an appointment that afternoon. She missed it. Unfortunately, if I miss that window, I'm in trouble. All the flights home after the one I currently have reserved are completely booked ... for days. So, I'm frantic, trying to get out of here a day earlier than planned.
Even though Amy already left, she's still a bad spending influence on me. She demanded that I visit the national museum ... not to see the displays, but because they sell the most beautiful hand made rugs. Yes, I admit it, I bought a rug. But it's beautiful and I paid a fraction of what it would cost at home. I guess these are considered real art pieces, since I have to have an official certificate to take it out of the country. Don't ask how I'm going to get it home, with the jacket, dombro (national instrument), all the gifts, and all the souvenirs (including three old Soviet-era radios). Oh yeah, and a daughter! It is a good thing I brought over so many orphanage donations that I have an empty duffle bag. I'm sure it's full by now.
Speaking of that daughter, my skinny little Alison is now a chubbette. Remember how I said I thought I'd lose weight over here? No way! I'm fattening up this little girl with lots of butter, pasta, cheese, etc. All the food in this country is fried and the bread is fresh and delicious.
Aside from a really bad night last night, Alison wouldn't sleep and cried continuously unless I was holding her walking around, she's doing great. I, however, am exhausted. Hope to be on U.S. soil soon.