Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back home!

We arrived safely back home and are trying to adjust to the 9 hour difference again! Thanks everyone for your e-mails and comments. We have no doubt that we will be going back soon...and we left some of our suitcases in Petro. Packing will be easier this time around!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

To be continued...

We are heading back home next week and will be making a second trip to adopt our little one. We ran into some bad luck. The Dept. feels badly about what happened. They have assured us that they will begin matching us with a child meeting our requirements ASAP once they return back from vacation in Sept. We considered remaining here, but since it could take a few months, we felt it would be best for everyone to be back home. We are very grateful to the officials for their continuing efforts in rectifying the situation. It's def. bittersweet. We have the assurance that we will indeed be matched very soon...but we had hoped to bring our child home with us on this trip. One never knows why things happen...but we strongly believe that everything happens in its own time. Our little one just wasn't ready yet. We feel that it's better for our family to be patient rather than adopting a child whom we weren't in a position to parent.

We certainly have grown from this experience. We stayed true to ourselves and it has made us stronger. We're at peace and can't wait to come back to Petro. We'll miss our new friends and have come to know and love the city.

We are very grateful to everyone for your support. We couldn't have gotten through these last few weeks without your words of encouragement and prayers. Please also think of a baby girl who is in hospital here. We visited with her and she stole our hearts. She has to remain in hospital and may need quite a bit of medical treatments and surgeries. She's a fighter and an inspiration!

We hope to be travelling either next Tuesday or Thursday to Astana and then making our home way through Frankfurt.

We'll keep in touch with our new friends!!! and for those at home... see you soon. I guess you could just say we needed to hit the "pause button" stay tuned... To be continued!

XXO Sven, Jocelyne and Yannik

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ah..the good life!

Our "cool dude" at age 5... can't wait to see him as a teenager. He has been so great. We didn't bring alot of toys so are improvising. Yesterday, we had a picnic on the, he decided that we would be having supper at his restaurant...He drew a picture menu and served us! The best service we've had...and the cutest waiter. We need to give him a big tip!

Three pretty ladies!

Yannik actually took this picture of Maria, Svetlana and Irina...He certainly loves the women... and I can't say that I blame him ;0)) Svetlana had brought Kinder chocolates for he was pretty happy to meet her... as were we!

Meeting with Svetlana

Today, we finally met Svetlana, our coordinator, to discuss our current situation, time frames and options. Tomorrow, she will be meeting with the officials in Petro to discuss our file. I guess we had hit a bit of bad luck, so hopefully we can all work together towards a solution. She is also looking into transferring our application to another region if it comes to that. We really like Petro...but we are prepared to travel to another region if there is a child available. Please think of us while we wait.

I took advantage of more down time today to go out and do a little bit of souvenir shopping...and I wasn't disappointed! Yannik and I also went for a walk to feed the pigeons until they got overly enthousiastic and scared him off. (well...actually, they kind of scared me too!!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A new bathroom experience

After a rather unpleasant bathroom experience, I make sure to "squeeze" the paper before purchase... This one was pretty soft and I thought...ok, we had blue at the apt, let's try pink for a change.. Well.. I never noticed the raspberry sent ;0))

Eldery lady

The eldery women with their kerchiefs in their hair and their kind smiles have captured our hearts.

Alexander and Maria

This is our wonderful driver, Alexander, and his beautiful daughter, Maria, who took us to see the birch forest.

The Oborns in the Birch Forest

Trip to Petro's birch forest

Today, our gracious hosts took us for a short drive to see their beautiful birch forest. It was a gorgeous afternoon, sunny and hot, and the forest was beautiful. It was so peaceful. According to our driver, Alexander, it's a popular place to go to pick mushrooms! We also visited their river since it's a tad out of the city. Saw a few people out fishing...which explains the fresh fish that we see at the market (Kaz is landlocked so I wondered about the fish!)

Tomorrow we meet up with our coordinator, Svetlana, to discuss our options and see how she can help us out. Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The iceberg complex

Grocery shopping is always an adventure at the Iceberg! What foods will we discover today! Actually, there are hundreds of little shops over 4 stories in this complex. It's a real maze and I have to admit to a few anxiety attacks thinking that I had gotten lost in there, unable to find my way out. Shops in Petro consists of many little 12 by 12 rooms, filled from floor to ceiling. Some of them carry the goods behind a glass counter, so you need to ask for the item (not good if you can't speak Russian) or you need to enter (even more intimidating!). Didn't think I'd hear myself ever say this...but I hate shopping! ;0) (or more accurately, I'm too intimdated to shop).

Our favorite dessert!

Napoleon tort! Yummy! We keep going at Black Jack's coffee house for this sweet treat. It's so light and yummy...which probably translates into tons of calories...but with all the walking we're doing, we are telling ourselves that we deserve it!

Typical apartment building

The vast majority of apt buildings here are old and tired from the outside. We've hardly seen any new construction and most of the exterior of buildings are in desp. need of a makeover. However, once you're in the buildings themselves, many have been nicely renovated.

High heals in this?

Sven and I have the greatest admiration for the women of Petro walking around these streets in their fashionable footwear. I feel so old in my "sensible" sandals...but there is no way that I could manage to pull it off. They have more grace than any of those runway models for sure!! One positive effect on me since we've arrived: better posture! The women here are so graceful and walk around with their backs ever so straight, necks held high....I"m mimicking them...perhaps I've even gained an inch or two of hight ;0)

The waiting game

Unfortunately, we still do not have good news to report. Yesterday's visit at the baby house has left us with more questions than answers at this point. We may have one possible lead, but it is yet to early to tell. If not, we are looking into other options, including perhaps relocating to another region if we cannot be matched with a child that meets the description in our approval letter. As you can imagine, it's a pretty difficult situation though we were trying to remain optimistic and yes patient...(as my mom keeps reminding me...perhaps not my strongest attribute!)

Some of the children we have met here will always remain in our hearts although we know that we are not able to parent them. Please think of them... you might have noticed, this has turned into more of a travel blog than an adoption blog for the time being. (hopefully, this soon will be rectified!)...So, for now...:

Norway again? We went back to our fav coffee house on Constitution Ave this morning and had a lovely conversation in ENGLISH!! with the owner. He said that he had noticed us walking along the pedestrian street during the weekend and thought....yup, foreigners! Now...I believe in trying to fit Sven and I had his converation over the weekend... I feel like the women especially are looking at me.... and I think I might have figured it out. The very same thing happened in Norway. Sven...ever so Swedish...had fit in perfectly of course ;0)) I, on the other hand, was considered a gipsy because of the long curly brown hair. I think the same thing is happening here. We noticed that no one here has curly hair. (and it's been looking so lovely since we arrived ;0)) Or...perhaps it's only the fact that I'm actually wearing walking shoes as opposed to stylish high heals to deal with the unreal pot holes and unforgiving sidewalks!

Other odd tidbits:

- Security in stores. I find it always unnerving having so many security guards the most unusual places: the bread stores, the stationary stores... but none at the high end stores! Can't figure it out.

- You tend to order a litre of juice at a restaurant as opposed to individual glaces... can't fault the system... you certainly do get alot more for your money!!

- black mud...or "goo" as Yannik calls it. The weather is strangely tropical here. A beautiful sunny day turns into a downpour in a matter of minutes. The amount of rain able to fall within a few minutes is unreal...and then, you have to contend with the aftermath...the deep black mud than stain your feet! We actually had to buy Yannik some serious footwear this morning to contend with it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weddings "parades" in the park

There were tons of limos in the park on Saturday, all beautifully decoratatd with colorful ribbons and all displaying huge wedding bans on the roof. It's quite a thing to witness.

Ladas and a park?

Obviously, Ladas abound in Petro!. Our driver, Alexander, drives one (a tad more modern!) and I think they're neat. As for the park facilities next to our apartment...I think this picture pretty much speaks for itself. This, however, appears to be an anomoly since Petro (as well as Kaz from what we can ascertain) is geared towards children. There are plenty of play parks in restaurants, malls, etc.

Our weekend and plans for upcoming week

We were by ourselves this weekend. We walked all around the city again and are starting to get a flavour for it. We saw brides and grooms getting their pictures done in the park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. What was amusing was observing the wedding parties and friends strolling about while openly consuming alcohol. We also witnessed some pretty typical scenes: babushkhas walking with canes and older men playing chess in the park...exactly like you would imagine a small russian town to be. What is wonderful is the mix of both the Kaz and Russian cultures. Just when you russian, you hear the mosque's call to prayer. Irina was very interested in bilinguilism in Canada since it's pretty much the same in Kaz...bureaucrates work in both languages, Russian and Kazak. Funny how things are so similar! I keep going from French to English and she says that it works the same here.

Irina informed us that we will be returning to the baby house on Monday to visit with a child that we had thought we might not be able to adopt for reasons unrelated to health. It now appears that this child may indeed be available. We'll visit the baby house and try to get more information but at least it's a lead. She also advised us that our coordinator would be meeting up with us by mid-week to discuss all of our options and see where to go from here. (we hope that this week proves to be more successful!).