Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Waiting in Expectation

Waiting to go back and get Nathan is hard. We know he is ours and that nothing will change that so we are waiting in expectation. Practically speaking we still have lots to do that is keeping us physically busy...at the moment it is the yard sale on Saturday...but it's still tough. We are in complete limbo. No plans can be made because "that could be the day we travel" and with the holidays coming up, not to mention both boys birthdays, we really really want to do this. Last night I had a dream that we finally traveled but when we got there Nate was an adult. Yikes!

There's been no new information about the passport processing time, but we did hear that his birth certificate was done and all the paperwork officially went to the Kazakhstani agency that does the passports. At least it is another step in the right direction! I miss him terribly and can't wait to feel him in my arms again...and get him cleaned up and in some new clothes. :) Waiting to get started on our new life as a family of four is so tough but God obviously has a lot more about patience for us to learn!

One thing we did do was get a booster seat since we have to have one once we land back in the States. It's really crazy to see one in the car again! We have been storing it in the car since our house doesn't have any room for it, but we keep having to move it to the trunk...or out of the car altogether because of all the people we seem to drive around. Not sure how this will work once that booster seat is actually needed. I never really saw myself as a mini van kinda girl. :)

"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." -Psalm 5:3

Monday, September 20, 2010

Inside of the baby house

I don't think you are ever prepared for the inside of the baby houses. You read millions of other blog posts about them and look through endless pictures, examining the rooms from every available angle - and yet, it doesn't even come close to how it is in person.

When we arrived we were incredibly tired and totally disoriented, having just arrived in Semey an hour earlier. We were wisked down halls that all look the same (doors everywhere but they were all closed) and into the director's secretary's office with no notice. The smell in the building is overpowering. It's a very clean place, don't get me wrong, but the smell is like no other. It's got to be something to do with cabbage but it literally gagged us.

They really do a good job trying to make it a cheery place. The stair wells all have murals painted by college students (as I was told) and every time we would go up or down N-M would point to various animals and we would do the Kazakh-English version of the word thing...and make animal noises of course!

The outer room for N-M's group of rooms was a little cubby room that the kids used to put their outdoor shoes and clothing on in. They each had a locker which housed a hat and maybe a sweater/heavy shirt. That was it. All of the kids had a pair of shoes to wear inside and one to wear outside...sizes were not exactly right for the child but they would sit down on the little benches and change them religiously. The caregivers were always very proud to show us how well N-M could straighten up after himself...neatly lining up the shoes and straightening the bench, etc.

Each locker had a different animal picture on it, and there were some hygiene pictures above them. I guess they went over some of the stuff with the kids (although it doesn't look like tasks such as brushing your teeth are very important here).

The next room in was the eating area where all the little tables were set up. It was so cute/sad to see the little kids sitting there drinking their tea. They had a fair number of toys on these shelves but I never saw the kids playing with them. The only ones I ever saw them with in the inner room were the really big lego blocks. Bigger kids would use them to bang the heads of little kids if they were in the way.

Here is N-M (who had just faithfully washed his hands before returning to the group!) heading into the 'inner sanctum'.

The tables are directly to the right of little peanut. The doorway he is going to head through there is one that was normally open and all the kids would pile up right there and wave to us or play peek-a-boo. When we would show up to get him they would see us and scream Mohammed...Momma...Papa! A second later the little guy would pop his head around the corner, see us there, and run full speed to jump into our arms. Hard to beat that!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The baby house...outside

While we were in Kazakhstan our blog posts were limited to what we could write up at night and load during our 30 minutes a day (if we were super lucky) at the internet cafe. It didn't leave much time to post stuff that wasn't directly involving the young star of the show! Now that we're back though...and have tons of time on our hands while we wait, and have unlimited internet access (thank you God!) I can finally share some of the other stuff. Actually, all of our photos (thousands of them) that weren't loaded onto the desktop to go into the blog were accidentaly erased but I do still have some of the baby house since I intended to do a post or two on it. Before we travelled I spent tons of time looking over other peoples blogs to catch even a glimpse of where we would be going. So, for those of you who may end up in Semey...

This is the front of the baby house...the main entrance is just on the other side of the car there. Nathan's rooms are the three windows on the top floor right in front.

I was told that these signs say "Baby House" in Russian and Kazakh.

The baby house is surrounded by typical Soviet-style apartment buildings on most sides and is right next to the main down-town part of Semey.  

On the baby house grounds there is a road/path that circles the whole thing, and there are playgrounds scattered around it. If you are here while the weather is nice you can take your child outside to play instead of using the bonding room. We much preferred it...but we were also visiting an 'older' child. Some of the families with younger ones would come out for a walk but in general I think it was easier for them to be inside.

When the other kids went outside they rarely ever played on the playgrounds. I guess it would be too much for the caregivers to look after that many kids scrambling around on this stuff, but it was still sad. They mostly just walked around the circle a time or two...and maybe stopped by the swings for 2-3 minutes.

This is the little shelter at the very back of the property where we headquartered ourselves (at N-M's request) almost every day.  There are two swings on one side of it, and the two slides on the other. That was it.

And our favorite part...the trash area right next to it. They didn't burn every day though! :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to survive the wait???

To all the other Kaz moms out there, how do you survive this wait??? I am going crazy just thinking about our little guy and how he is doing. I know he's in good hands...but they aren't my hands.

Nathan Mohammed...we love you and miss you and wish we could tell you that we are coming for you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our kids are the BEST ever!!

Being gone for a month is a long time...and when it's so open-ended it seems even longer and crazier. But one of our awesome college students, Kristina, stayed in our house and took care of our two dogs and everything else for us. She did a fabulous job!! She even had the place totally cleaned and 'prettied up' for us. It was beautiful!

She and two of our other college girls, Ally and Tasha, totally redid Nathan's bedroom for him. They told us they were going to decorate the room but we were totally blown away. I can't say how impressed we were, or how loved we felt, or how blessed we know we are to have them in our lives. The pictures just don't do it justice...and my comments just don't do the girls justice.

You can see what it used to look like here...the pictures of his room are the guest room ones at the bottom. Wow - what a difference! What little boy isn't going to absolutely love, love, love this room?! The girls brought a friend's young son in to see what they'd done and apparently his jaw hit the floor in amazement...so I think we're good! :)

If you look carefully on the shelves you'll see all kinds of toys that they got, including a phonics program so he can learn english!

They even put his name in his play mat!

I can't describe how amazing the art is -- professional! It must have taken endless hours for them to do this...not to mention that they ALSO did Matt's room for him. His room has really awesome teenage boy stripes and they rearranged his furniture and hung some bulletin boards and did some other cool stuff. He loves it!!

I really could go on forever about it, but if you live nearby you'll have to come see it for yourself. We cannot wait for Nathan to see it - he is going to flip!

Kristina, Ally and Tasha - we love you guys SO much!!!!

Public again!

Now that the appeals period is over we are public again...hallelujah!!

Hail to the Redskins

Trying to go on with life as usual here but it's really tough! Now that we've spent a month with our little guy we just aren't the same without him around.

Sunday night the Skins played the Cowboys and WON in an incredible, edge-of-your-seat, nail biter of a game - if you didn't see it you missed out! Matt was all decked out in his Portis jersey and had his Redskins blanket wrapped around him just in case it got too cold here in Georgia. : ) I was screaming so loud Matt was seriously worried ( but that's nothing unusual for football season). Only thing missing was another young fan to keep him company.

Oh well, his t-shirt is ready and waiting!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Appeals Period is Over!!

We haven't heard any official word, but our appeals period has ended and no news is good news. Nathan is officially, irrevocably ours...meaning forever!!

We couldn't be more excited but we've also heard that passport processing is now taking 3+ months instead of the previous one month turnaround time. For those of you who don't know, in Kazakhstan once the appeals period is over you are issued a new birth certificate and adoption certificate and it is at that point that the Kazakhstani passport can be applied for. We are praying that it is much faster than predicted and know with certainty that God can work this any way He chooses. Once they have his passport it goes to Astana for visa processing, which takes about 5 days, and then we can go get him out of there!! After taking him out of the baby house we'll go back to Almaty where we have to get him a medical exam and process him out through the US Embassy. This should be quick - about a week total - which is so nice.

It is hard to be here without him, not knowing when we'll be able to see him again, and we wonder how he is taking this. God has been so faithful to us though and instead of worrying endlessly about our situation He has placed a burden on our hearts for the other children around the world with no parents, food or medical care.

Here is a copy of the "announcement" we sent out today!

We are so excited to introduce you to the newest member of the Brogdon family, Nathan Mohammed! Thank you all so much for praying with us through this process. We have felt your love and support in so many ways, and are very blessed indeed.

We had a wonderful month-long trip to Kazakhstan, received a positive court decision, and managed to wait through our appeals period -- so it is now official! At this point we are waiting for his Kazakhstani passport to be issued and we have been told it can take up to 4 months. We are praying that it is MUCH faster than that.

Nathan is a wonderful little boy, filled with energy and smiles, and is looking very forward to coming home to America. He will be 6 on November 4th, just 3 days before Matthew's 13th birthday, and in spite of his age he is a little peanut. We cannot wait for you all to meet him!

You thrill me Lord with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. -Psalm 92:4