In 9 days, we should be on the airplane. Our first airplane, to be exact. We leave next Saturday for Frankfurt, Germany. After a mere 6 hour layover, we leave for Almaty, Kazakhstan. We get to rest in an actual bed in an actual hotel room for a few hours, and then it's off to our final destination.
When we get there, we will begin to get settled for our 4-5 week stay. This is what we expect to happen. I say expect because, as you know, things don't always happen as expected or on any anticipated time line. I am writing this for our family and friends who have been with us on this long and often uncertain journey for the past few years. I am also writing this for those of you who are in the process of adopting yourselves and are trying to figure out what might happen along the way. I know that I learn an enormous amount from reading others' blogs, so I hope this helps.
Soon after arriving in our destination city in Kazakhstan, we will visit the baby house. This might happen the day we get there or it might happen the following day. From there, we will likely be shown the medical records of several children who are up for adoption. We should be able to briefly meet with one or more of these children. Then, in what we expect to be one of the toughest things we will ever experience, we choose a child to begin bonding with. How, you ask, will we choose? As Larry asks, is it like picking a puppy? We don't know how we will choose. We just know that our child is out there and we will find him or her and we'll know it when that happens.
We will then have a chance to gather as much or as little medical and biographical information as we can about the child and consult with an international adoption doctor, who we contacted today and will begin consulting with this weekend.
We will then beging a required official two week bonding period with our chosen child. We will hopefully be able to visit with our child for an hour or two every day. Yes, this means that we will be spending Thanksgiving with our child. It doesn't get much better than that!
At the end of that period, the referral becomes official. We then get a date for pre-court. From what I gather, pre-court is a meeting with the judge and others to make sure that our paperwork is in order. From there, we get our final court date. That date is usually about a month away from pre-court, so we will travel back home for the holidays. We will return to Kazakhstan for a couple of days, hopefully in mid-January, for court. Then, it's home again for a few more weeks.
After court, there is a fifteen day appeal period. Once that is over, we are officially parents! Amazing, but true. However, we're not quite finished yet. More paperwork to get done. There is someone in Kazakhstan who gets a new birth certificate and a passport. Then, we return once more for about a week to get the Visa for our child so we can bring him or her home.
I know I'm talking as if nothing else is going to happen to this process. At this point, I am being as positice as I can possibly be.
That's the plan. That's what we hope will happen. Keep your fingers crossed and think happy thoughts!
As for our preparations, things are coming along. We should be good and ready by next weekend. Due to the timing of all of this, we have to renew much of our paperwork. That is coming along. We should have everything out by Monday! The shopping is also coming along. The weather is going to be a huge change. To say the least, it is going to be cold! The high today was 50 and the low was around freezing, but a lot could change in 2 weeks. From the almanac from last year, it is unlikely to get above freezing while we are there and there are likely to be days that don't get out of the single digits!
That's about it for now. I hope the information and the timeline helps.