Thursday, December 31, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Irina called this morning to let me know that she was at the baby house and that Anna was crying and asking for Mama. Let me tell you that nothing could have pulled the heart strings more. Irina promised her that I would be there... and I arrived a quick 15 minutes later. I'm still not feeling 100%...but I had to see her. They let me see her for 30 minutes because of her change in schedule....No complaints... at least I got to see our beautiful little girl.

They have transferred her into a new group, but we had not been advised. Perhaps that explains the confusion surrounding yesterday's botched visit. I told Sven that I had not seen her like this before...she was almost hyperventilating with excitement when I opened the door and she saw me. She ran straight into my arms and cuddled so close. She must be sooo nervous in that new room, surrounded by kids she doesn't know. She finally relaxed after squeels of delight. I told her how much we loved her and once again, I know that she understands...She just replied "mama". Boy, this next week of waiting before getting her is going to be though! Yannik is also finding this wait long... he wants to see her too.

Annabelle is now with older kids even though she is only 20 months...must be intimidating. You can tell the age difference. They all ran to the door and said "mama, mama". Normally that would pull at the heart strings too... but I was focussed on finding our little one!

The new caretaker smiled when she saw how happy Annabelle was in my arms..she didn't even want to play...just stay put there and cuddle. Fine by me!!!

Now officially begin the countdown from 10.. The 15 day waiting period ends on January 9th.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting to know Anna

It's 3:00 AM our time and my stomach is gurggling up a what better way to spend time than looking at picturs of Anna ;0))), here she is, throughout the last 4 weeks. She's def. an Oborn...and the first little girl to enter the Oborn clan, with 4 older male cousins to charm on Sven's side! We think she'll do just fine! She certainly has Sven wrapped around his little finger. What I think is interesting is how smitten we look in these photos...the camera doesn't lie!

Celebrating with Anna after court

I tried to go see Anna today but there seemed to be a miscommunication as to her nap time and wasn't able to see her. I was pretty disappointed since I haven't been able to see her in 4 days....I miss her so much... I decided to download some pics... Here is the one we took after court.

Feeling a bit better everyday, but am still on my bland food diet for a while...Pity since we just found out that the Lajoys were successful!!!!! A family of 5 is now one of 7!!! We're so happy for them after all that they have been through. Wish we could celebrate, but I just can't stomach (pardon the pun!) restaurants at the moment....

We just came from Immigration Police - who extended our visas...We're now "legit" until Feb. 15th. A big relief since our visas were to expire on Jan. 1rst.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Traveler's woe

Well... I've officially begun to feel sorry for myself. It appears that I've developped TD...Ironically, I have been the most careful of the bunch. We are even doing the vegetarian thing while here...but I have to admit to a weak moment for mayo and fries... the mayo seems to have done me in.

Cindy is also feeling under the weather. Thankfully, only the "moms" have succombed! We're the tough ones, right? (hmmm....not!...especially not when that means that I am stuck here, without being able to go visit Annabelle.)

Sven's visit by himself yesterday was a success. Trying to see the positive in all of this! It means that Anna is now comfortable enough to be alone with her dad!!! A HUGE success. She sat on his lap and devoured a banana before looking at picture books with him. Sven was a pretty happy chap once he returned home. Another positive...perhaps I'll lose a few pounds! I haven't been able to eat in 2 days now.

By the way, what would be do without SKYPE? I got scared last night since I was feeling so ill....well...we just called our friendly neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart back home for some advice on antibiotics. The pharmacist was not only helpfull..but was really interested to know that we were calling by Skype from Siberia. Felt good to be talking to someone from Fredericton!

So, now I sit, with my de-fizzed Sprite and Anna's baby cookies, armed with antibiotics, hoping that it quickly goes away. (actually, now that I'm munching on those cookies, I know why Anna loves them so much...for a 6 grain cookie, they're delicious!)

For those of you who is a summary of the remaining steps:

1. Expiry of a 15 day waiting period for the judge's decision to be final. That brings us to January 9 (the weekend of course!). So, we can only begin filing our paperwork with the local authorities on the 11th. They have to de-register Anna from the registration books and file what seems like tons of paper with the Immigration police in Petro. We can then get custody of Annabelle.

2. We can then apply for a new passport and visa for Anna. We've decided not to go to Moscow..I think it would just be too much for Anna. It will have to be for another visit. We're going to stay put in Petro and courrier our papers to Moscow. It will delay us by 5 days, but in the end, is much less expensive.

So...we're looking at beginning of February....At least we'll have good friends here. Cindy is staying put and the Yaegers should be arriving any day. It also means that we'll be able to meet our friends from Paris at the end of positive things to look forward to.

Have to admit that this is a LOOOOOOOOG stay.... I'm even catching Sven complaining a bit - that's telling since he's the constant optimist! Actually, the only one who has yet to complain is Yannik. He has his two parents night and day, a new sister, new friends...and well, a bunch of movies, books and toys. What a life!

PS - Spoke too soon... Yannik's stomach is bottering him as well....

Some more pictures of Anna

I am feeling under the weather, so am obligated to stay home today while Sven visits with Annabelle. I thought I would share some more pictures of her!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Adeste Fideles!

Today, we joined the Lajoys for an afternoon stroll on the other side of Constitution avenue which we had yet to visit. I had the opportunity to investigate parts of it this summer. There was an old church that I was curious to see... Perhaps my confidence was boosted by our number, I said, let's go in.... It turned out to be a Roman Catholic Church. What a lovely experience. Two nuns were there along with 3 parishionners. We didn't know if we had stumbled into a service or not....One of the nuns smiled at us and began playing the organ and singing traditional catholic hymns. I told's my finally feels like Christmas! I remember my grandparents singing Adeste Fideles and it's always been one of my favorites....Gave me a chance to pause a bit after all the stress and simply say "Thank you".

Our aspiring astronaut

Wowee...Kaz is so much fun! Yannik wants to be an you can imagine his delight in seeying this one when we entered the play park! It was a hit. Notice that the rocket has NASA on it.
It was a great place to celebrate Josh's birthday. I think we'll be returning for Yannik's 6th birthday....Anna will be with us by then... can't wait to see her reactions....

Gorgeous murals at the indoor play park!

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka

One of the many snow sculptures features around the city. This one is situated in the new indoor playpark where the Lajoys celebrated Josh's 7th birthday.

Oh Papa...let me eat my banana!

Bonding over food! Actually, we saw a beautiful side to the little one.... She shared her food with the both of us. She took a bite and then offered the next one before finishing off one of her favorite treats. I was quite touched by her sweet gesture.

Another lefty in the family!

Two right handed parents, two left handed children. I usually feed her even though she can feed herself. Yesterday I thought I would see how she would feed herself....a lefty!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Curious Annabelle and the glasses!

Our curious little one...boy is she silly and loves to have fun! We thought that these showed a bit of that cute personality of hers..She's a hoot!!!

1. Hmmm...what are these things?
2. Ok, I get it now!
3. A little bit more to the left!
4. Oh wow...that's cool...the color changes in the room (she "got" it) and was awed!
5. Mama... I looked really great in those, didn't I!!!
6. Here Papa, I know what I'm doing... let me adjust those for you!

We think she's an accessories gal - perhaps like her mom!! She's really into shoes as well ;0))

For those just tuning in..

Sorry....didn't realize. We have posted so have to go back one page for the beginning to read all about our Christmas miracle - and to see the first picture of our Christmas angel....Annabelle.

Boy do I like my presents!

aH HA HA... Santa Clause has a great sense of humour... I did ask for something with Kazakhstan on it!

Merci mémère et pépère!!! The robot speaks some strange language...but it doesn't matter since he shoots out these really cool disks!

Look... Santa even knew to bring me some kind of Russian version of LEGO!

Church on Christmas Day!

I so wanted to attend church on Christmas, the best Cindy and I could do was to go visit the orthodox Russian church near their apt. For such a huge structure, it was strangely small inside. You stand up for seats. There was a priest dressed in his black robes and hat (it was strange to see black on Christmas...but it's not yet their Christmas!). Cindy had been told that their Christmas service in Jan. is 3-4 hours long. ouf...Uncle Louis... you may be right...perhaps visiting the church will suffice. I hope that we will have Anna by then...perhaps a bit much for a now 20 month old!!! I was happy to visit the church nonetheless. I didn't want to take pictures of inside without permission. Cindy had gone earlier and was allowed to take a few and has promised to share. There is one painting of Peter and Paul that I would love to take a photo of since Petropavlovsk is named after these two apostles.

Contempt of Court!

I told Sven that I would be poking fun at him... and he's quite nervous. This morning, I woke up and looked at his mess. Now...the background. Yesterday, during court, he was asked whether he would be helping out with the housework since I would be so busy taking care of two children. Would he ironing his own clothes? He replied "certainly....I always help with the housework". We had smiled at the question. Now...waking up this morning and seeying his pile of clothes on the floor...I've decided to use his own statement to my advantage!!! He'll be in contempt of court if he doesn't clean up after himself from now on...ah ha ha....(actually, I see that it's his tie...he was soooo anxious to be removing it. I don't think he's worn one since our wedding a little over 8 years ago!)

Je suis un grand frère maintenant!

I couldn't wait to put this shirt on Yannik. Sadly, we had purchased a size 4 a year and a half ago since we were supposed to be heading here at that time. I had to go and purchase a bigger one ;0)) Just so happy to see him wearing it! Our little elf is a big brother. Notice our angel in the tree!!!

Yes, Anna... you'll soon be coming to Canada

Reading up on Toronto ;0)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hats all around!

Thanks for all of those comments on the hats... Sven surprised me for Christmas, not only with one but two! I bought him one as well!! Boy do I look exhausted.

Summary of Court for the curious!

We have to admit to being "burned out" after yesterday's early morning and the stress of going to court knowing that the judge held our family in her hands... We were so strangely calm during the process... I knew that prayers were being said across the world for us!!!

We owe so much to the Lajoy family for taking care of Yannik all day yesterday...especially when he was fending off a bug and wasn't his cheerful self. They threw quite a Kaz Christmas and we weren't as celebratory as I thought we would be...just too exhausted. We've all had a good nice sleep and I'm happy to report that it looks like Yannik fended off that bug. It's really difficult for everyone, and we're so proud of him. Most of the time, he doesn't know what is going on, why we are always preparing papers, etc.... He just knows that we have to go through all of these hurldes in order for Annabelle to come home.

In any event, I know that everyone is curious about the court here is a lawyer's account ;0)

"Court" was actually very informal, in the judge's office. We sat on plain chairs in front on her, with the prosecutor and the steno on each side of her. She was wonderful. Not intimidating. When I first saw her, I thought...phew...this will be ok. I wasn't wrong. She began by stating in French that her French was awful! I was soo stunned and just began to laugh in relief.

Sven and I had prepared speeches but the judge just preferred asking us questions which we had already prepared. They had told us that generally people get many questions of the we had all of these numbers in our head...but she merely, will you have enough money for another child? Sven said "more than enough"... and that was that! (I found it hilarious though that when it was time for me to answer the questions she said: a woman, you're in charge of the you agree with your he right in saying that you have enough money since you know the situation better than he does?). Ok...I know that a ton of people are laughing out loud at this point.....I could barely keep from smiling as well. I'm not known as the financial savy one... I married a financial wiz!!! Just happy to be told when to transfer money in different accounts and I still manage to mess that up!

They all understood very quickly how an adopted child's point of view as an adopting parent is special....all the questions about biological child vs adopted child were almost irrelevant when I explained how being adopted by such a loving and supportive family had made a difference in my life. I also told them that my brother and sister in law were adopted and they were just awed!! (was like..ok, enough said...don't need to question this one!!!)

The only question that through us a bit was on religion. They knew our different faith backgrounds and I thought..ok, where are they headed...and I could tell that Sven was thinking the same. In any event, we were stunned... they asked whether we were adopting to increase the size of our church and explained that church and state were separate in Kaz. Sven quickly's the same in Canada! We simply want to expand our family! I wonder if something happened in the past. They did ask us the question about discipline citing those sad cases of children being killed by their adoptive parents...once again, pretty easy to express our views on that one!

We got pretty teary eyed when Dr.Rhimma (the orphanage director) and the guardianship officer talked about how much they had appreciated our family and especially Yannik and how Anna had quickly bonded with the entire family. It meant the world to us to hear those words coming from them. Even the "prosecutor" HIGHLY recommended that our application be granted. He was a really nice fellow. We talked about our respective careers in the waiting room. He even gave us a lift back to the baby house where we celebrated with three women doctors. Dr. Rhimma invited us to a very special Christmas celebration for the kids on the 29th. We were also told that they had waited to give us a tour of the entire baby house since everything is being renovated (we could tell!). In any event, we found it very touching to talk with these 3 amazing women. She said that though they tried their best with the kids, they can't replace a family and that Anna would do great with such "Smart people". Again, laughter!! (hmmm...she was looking at Sven!!! - they think he's brilliant...and so do I). I was told that my daughter would always be smiling since her mother has a permanent smile on her face.

So, that's the story of how 3 became 4 on a very special Christmas day! I can't wait to tell Annabelle all about it, every Christmas eve. I'm thinking of writing a little story book for her about a Christmas angel...since that is what she is. That angel on top of the tree!


Introducing our beautiful little "Anna", as we have been calling her.



(These are actually Sven's feet!!! The baby house provides slippers for visitors and Sven has faithfully put these on everyday for our visits. Today, we went to visit Mlle O. after court and I looked down at his feet and just started to laugh!!! How fitting.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

6 AM Christmas morning - A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU.

First of all, the Oborn family would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. It has meant the world to us. You don't know how much we value every little e-mail or comment....especially on this VERY special day for us. We realize how everyone is so busy with Christmas celebrations, yet take time to say, hey, we're thinking of you. FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS - we LOVE you and THANK YOU so much!

As we are now preparing to head to court in a few hours, we think it's that much more important to take a moment and say THANK YOU. We are so thankful on this Christmas morning, for all that it means to us. A little child promising love to all who embraced him entered the world today....We are hoping that this love will prevail. He has carried us through all the way here and we can't think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than a promise of love to one his children.

Twas the Night before....Court!!

How does that story go again? Twas the night before our court date and all through the apartment, Sven and Jocelyne were running around finding their Sunday best and preparing to answer questions while nervously grinning ear to ear!!!

I'm not sure how we will sleep tonight. Hear that there is also a jolly fellow coming to town as well. We're a little overwhelmed. Besides Christmas presents, we are trying to gather the presents to give to the numerous local officials who have helped us get here in the first place... So much wrapping paper, different events...Don't really know whether we are coming or going at this point..but I'm just that we will get it all done by tomorrow morning.

We had a great visit with Mlle O. I drew a heart, used a bit of sign language and told her that Mamma and Pappa loved her in Russian. She "got it". She just looked at both of us and began babbling away. Irina "interpreted": She loves you back ;0)) Whatever she said, she sounded happy....or perhaps it was just the new apple sauce we had just given her. Her face was all dirty, so were her hands and she was beaming ;0)) Lovely way of sending us off to court!!! We promise to love you whether clean or dirty ;0)))

Please think of us tomorrow morning. Sven is nervous right now while I'm strangely calm....perhaps because Irina told us our respective roles: Sven gets to talk about the finances, our houses, our jobs, etc. I get to explain how much we have come to love this little person ;0)).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 29 - A Christmas miracle

To our utter amazement and delight, it appears that we may be headed to court on Christmas morning!!! I can't think of a more beautiful day nor a better fitting one to begin our new family life. My mom has been praying for a Christmas miracle...It certainly feels like one!

We have been running around the city today, getting ourselves ready, printing off pictures, last minute Christmas items and gifts. We noticed quite a bit more people out shopping today. They will be exchanging gifts on Dec. they are really beginning to get in the holiday spirit. We certainly are!! The countdown to Christmas has taken on a new Sven and I are counting down the hours as well as Yannik! I told him that this year, his sister would be quite the gift to us all. He asked whether we could wrap her and put a bow on her head...hmm..knowing our little gal's personality, I'm not sure she would put up with that ;0)))

We visit her again tomorrow...I wonder if she will feel our excitement! We had supper with the Lajoys tonight and I confided that I was feeling a bit nervous...not only for court (ha ha... yes, a rather nervous lawyer!) but also at beginning this new chapter of our lives. I plan on telling Mlle O. tomorrow that if the judge says yes, I promise to be the best mom that I can be...even though neither one can understand each other's language at the moment. Who needs words when you have love, right?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It will give you infinite pleasure!!

The translations always make us smile...(always a tad stronger language than we're used to...perhaps "hours of fun" would be more appropriate for an 18 month old...) In any event, this one had Dominic and Cindy laughing...hey it's already providing pleasure!

We picked it up for Mlle O. for Christmas. She loves anything with music, buttons and lights...pretty typical I think!

Day 28 - Crossing our fingers

Thanks to alot of brainstorming, we hope that our documents will be arriving in Astana on Friday or Saturday. We'll then hire someone to fly them over to Petro. It might seem like quite the ordeal but Fed Ex was asking $1800 for the privilege of PERHAPS receiving them Friday. Ouch! It was only going to take 4 days to Astana with that's the plan. Cross your fingers everyone...we need a court date before 2010 for one of our documents to be valid.

Svetlana and Irina are requesting a court date for Tuesday, Dec. a week from today!!

We had a nice visit with Mlle O. today. She discovered crayons...not necessarily drawing! She also figured out that the apple sauce we had brought was ALOT more delicious that the crayons ;0)) Lesson learned..lesson learned! She hung on to that spoon (first time we have seen her with a utensil) during all of our visit - almost to ensure that she could have access to more food. I think we need to reassure her that there will always be food....seems like a pretty typical result of orphanage living. We had read about it. I want her to realize that we are more than the providers of food...but it is a start.

She is really getting attached to Sven now...She is really enjoying teasing him. Today we were practicing the alphabet sounds with the letter A - Ba Ca Da Fa Ga... she really got into that...we were happy to see that she she just has to learn it!

I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I wasn't nervous about having her full time after having only 2 hour visits. (Kaz has got it right though...having lived through the bonding process... we really appreciate this getting to know each other phase!) We are now thinking long term and just hoping that she will get used to us being there all the time. She will def. have to mourn the only home that she has known for the last 20 months. Guess you could say that we are swichting gears in our heads now and are preparing for a new part of the journey... Let's just hope that we can get there in a week's time!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kanada is just as exotic to them as Kaz is to us!

What a neat find at our local Tsum! We had to get it.

By the way, I was stopped for instructions this morning while walking with Yannik. Get we must finally be fitting in!!

Scenes around town....portraying the cold!

Day 27 - Little reminders that we are no longer in Canada

1. The hot water is actually on the right, not the left. Important not to forget when taking your shower. After one month here, you would think I would get that down...brrrr.

2. The capacity to do U turns in the busiest intersections...for example, imagining deciding that you wanted to go back downtown midway up Regent street in Fredericton...Here, you just quickly turn the car around..and the streets are icy!

3. Yesterday, an eldery neighbour was outside with an ax while we were waiting for our drive. I wondered what he was up to. They sell frozen fish here - just on the sidewalk leading to the market. Since I don't like fish, I always dread that part of the walk...but was intrigued to see them in blocks of ice. Well..our neighbour was getting ready for his lunch. He took out his fish and just began hacking away.... Given my thoughts on fish...I was happy when Alexander arrived to fetch us...but it reminded me that things are never just quite as easy as back home.

4. The joy you feel when you actually see acquaintances. It's happened twice at the Iceberg now. Yesterday, one of the shop keepers where we go regularly spotted us in the Iceberg. She immediately gave me a big grin and said privyet. I told Cindy..she knows me!!! - then realized who she was (since she wasn't in my familiar environment). It gave me the feeling of familiarity which you don't realize how much you miss until you don't have it!

5. Words for items or brands. We had a good laugh with the Lajoys on this one. Shopping for "Moment" ;0)) It's not what immediately came to mind ;0)) It's actually a form of crazy glue that I needed to try to fix my old glasses (and makes probably more sense than crazy glue when you think about it!) Cindy has also warmed me about "Barf" - ironically, a cleaner. It's really fun looking at the names of stuff. I wish I could remember them all and write a little dictionnary. When we tell Irina what we think of in our North American mindset, she immediately gets it and finds it amusing. She would probably think that most of our stuff is somewhat odd as well ;0)) It's just fun to discover.

6. Time. Sun rises around 9:30 in the morning and sets around 5:00. It makes for very short days. We are really sleeping in these days...and I think it's because the sun is simply just not there to wake us up!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Candy Cane hat! Cindy and I were Christmas shopping and I REALLY got in the spirit..but I couldn't pass this one made me smile and instantly put me in a good mood ;0))

I found some traditional children music in Russian for the little one and a few surprises for the boys.

The much needed bath tub

Can I take this "baby" for a test drive???

We don't have a bath tub in the we purchased this one and will probably either donate it to the baby house if it could help them out...It not, we'll simply leave it with the apartment for future adoptive parents staying here.

Yannik though that the tub was rather big... and actually...he can probably take his own bath in there ;0)

Day 26 - She sings and claps!

Perhaps we have a musician in the family....The little one entertained us today. We all hummed jingle bells together....ok...perhaps she had her own version, but we cought it all on tape nonetheless ;0)) She also likes to clap. Sven had never witnessed her do it and wondered if she did... and two minutes later, she did so with no prompting...just happy with herself ;0))) Actually, she pulled quite the capper. She likes to take Sven's glasses and attempt to try them on.

She also caressed Sven's hair today again...another little highlight that brings so much's always those little gestures. For me, it's when she nestles in my arms and puts her head on my can tell how comfortable she feels.

We are running out of ideas on how to entertain her in that playroom...there is only so much you can do...never realized how much fun one could have stacking and unstacking chairs. She is quite pleased with herself! Today, we walked down a different hallway just to do add a little bit of spice!! It's part of our routine to say privyet (hello) to all the pictures hung on the wall of the today we had different pictures to say hello to... a BIG adventure ;0))

Mlle O. had yet another rash on her face today...We were told to avoid "red" foods as well as sweets since they are not sure what is triggering it. We have been giving her bananas... I don't know what to think. I can't wait to get her assessed for allergies when we get back home. Gee... can't imaging being able to avoid all sweets... we certainly haven't been giving her red foods. I don't know how we'll feed her once she's in our care. She and 3 others are on a special diet... I think we'll just follow that until we know what is triggering this rash.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tribute to our favorite tree!!

Speaking of trees...look what we found at the local Nan Plus (Bread store): a yule log...Now we're talking trees..yummy trees. We couldn't pass this little guy up. (Actually we convinced ourselves that we need to taste it to see whether it would pass for one of our favorite Christmas treats).....Sven gave it a two thumbs up! (By the way, those are little mushrooms on cute!)