April 21
Bonding day 3 Ö

Touchdown day

This morning when we woke up we heard air sirens going off; I thought it might have to do with the Spaceship landing or an invasion. Maybe it was to get everybody moving because itís the start of clean up month. There probably isnít any city maintenance type workers so Habiba told us thatís it mandatory to have a section of street assigned to you that you have to clean, paint and get ready for the summer. Funny, I didnít see Habiba out there. Still no news on the spaceship touchdown but it should be by the end of the day. As always, our camera is ready.

We visited Almira ÖElmira same girl. We walked in and the little ones were sitting on the floor in front of the TV, soooo cute. Itís amazing how they handle these kids. There where 8 children from 16 months to 23 months old just sitting still. The care giver in that group is our all time favorite; she is so good with them and always encourages us to take pictures. She knows itís a good way to find homes for them. I wish more of them would see it that way.
Yes, Marie is checking into the availablity of these beautys
This time around we are met with much more friendlier caregivers they remember us and always refer to us as Aidannaís momma & poppa. They canít walk by without stopping to look at our pictures from home (if they could pry them away from Almira). A lot of the past Arkalyk families have sent us their home pictures before we left and I have to tell you guys they have been studied and passed aroundÖthey love Ďem. We donít realize that they really donít know what kind of family they are giving these kids up to and sometimes pictureís from home tell the story. We felt so good when Albina (not a pushover) told Habiba, she was so happy Almira was going to a good family and especially because they would have been moving her up north to the real big and a little rougher orphanage this summer. I made Habiba laugh when I told her that Gianna thinks that she was the one that took care of her since she was a baby.
Hey news flash, for any of you families coming out to Arkalyk there is an indoor swimming pool in the recreation building and Habiba (reluctantly) allows people to go. Bruce and his son are their right now. For us, the last thing we would think of packing for Arkalyk would be a bathing suit. This time around I could totally empathize with Habibaís situation. She watches over us like a hawk not really caring for us to be out in public much. That makes it really hard to spend so much time here but I really understand it now. Adoptions by foreigners are really looked down upon.

At first it angered us because we thought theyíd rather see these kids grow up in an institution instead of in a family. Thatís not exactly how they feel. They have pride, if Kazakhís have nothing else they have their pride. Not many of them would ever be in any financial situation to take on another child so they feel helpless. On the other hand they do not want to see their Kazakh children leave their country and heritage (that they are now reclaiming from soviet rule themselves). If you put yourself in their shoes, we have many foster care children at home, would we want to see foreign countries, especially some with very different lifestyles and beliefs take our kids away from America forever? So, keeping a low profile on us adopting keeps some people that may be able to influence the government at bay. I can testify that since the day we adopted Gianna this country had lost one of the most loving, caring and intelligent people forever. So the best way is keep it low key and still save these kids.
This is that "Gianna's" old bed, mine is back there...

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Our second visit today also went well, I was telling Habiba that Almira is behaving too good and thatís not the little girl I think she is. Habiba said that she thinks Almira understands how important it is for us to like her so she is showing us only her good side. If I could get through to her, I would tell to show us your bad side now and save the good stuff for us at home, just kidding! She did let her hair down today; literally, it is so long and fine. It was so funny when I was playing ball with her today she really wanted to go back to the bag for more treats but she didnít want to offend me (she must think I really like throwing a silly ball around all day). So she threw the ball real far in the other direction on purpose so when I had to chase it she took off running to go and dig through her bag!

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