We haven't made it to Almaty yet
Officially a parent - funny, it doesn't feel any different!

Radio silence has been due to lack of internet connection not anything else. Today was the day that the court decision becomes final and I am officially a mummy, at least in Kazakhstan, so we went out to the usual place, the Maslenitsa (remember the pancake house across the road), to celebrate and had the usual... did I mention Ground Hog Day before?

The end of the appeal period hopefully means that all the documentation can be picked up tomorrow, we go to sign the register and a new birth certificate is issued which allows the passports to be applied for. We had a good meeting with our co-ordinator who has arrived to start the new paperwork chase and have decided that we will probably head for Almaty next Friday, 15th December. With a following wind, we will get the passports on Monday morning of 18th and clear the UK Embassy in the afternoon and head back to London on 19th. That requires all the paperwork/documents to arrive in the quickest possible time. I'll leave you to decide whether I think thats likely. The back-up plan is to return on 23rd December.

Many of the children in the babyhouse have developed colds and they are trying to stop it spreading so we are all on infection control measures. Everyone has to wear masks in the same room as the children, only carers can feed the children, no outdoor coats or shoes to be near the children. I can absolutely understand their need to control the spread of the virus but when you have a child with a cold who is grumpy, trying to keep a surgical mask on when he is trying to pull it off is a challenge. I also find it increasingly difficult to do as I'm told (I know some of you will find that hard to believe) particularly as I have got to know Daniel's little ways now better than his current carers as they have only had him a few days. They don't know that he likes a drink of water in between meals and I'm not allowed to bring him in anything (infection control again) and I think he needs a biscuit between his breakfast and lunch and he needs more of a nap in the mornings as he is generally tired and crotchety then. I so much want to get him home now and get him into a routine as soon as possible. Spending this time here with him has been invaluable and hopefully he will transition much better now that he really knows me. But I'm ready to leave now. NOW!

More photos in the album - how many can I post of my cute little chap before you get bored!?

My Mother

My mother has been good for entertainment value on the trip so far and I am considering charging our travel partners for the pleasure of her company. She has finally got to grips with the snow and is leaping like a gazelle from icy mound to icy mound (sort of). She has decided that Aine is much kinder to her than I am and is planning formal proceedings to adopt her here and renounce me. Aine is going along with this on the promise of inheriting her huge estate or as she describes it - "my large central London flat". Aine, being Irish, doesn't realise that a 1.5 bedroom flat in Mortlake isn't exactly a penthouse flat on Park Lane and I haven't had the heart to break it to her. Mum is practising her Russian intensively and in 10 days has got as far as "spaseeba Alexei" (thank you Alexei) to our driver but I think her accent needs working on as Aine thought she said "See ya Monday" and wondered where my mother was going for the weekend. I'm beginning to think that my mum and Aine could be soul mates.

Ian, sad to say Mum is still blubbing though slightly less regularly than before. Weirdly, it seems to be confined to breakfast time in the hotel dining room which of course isn't at all public, no siree. I find banging her head on the table helps.

As an old hand with 10 days under her belt she is reminiscing like a good 'un about when National Geographic Channel was in English (sadly now dubbed into Russian) and counting the days down before going home. What a lightweight! Those of us who are starting our 6th week are not impressed. We are looking forward to the relative sophistication of Almaty and as it seems to be warmer than Ust, we are hoping there is not too much snow on the ground so that Mum can get around without two escorts. Her escorts are required to stop her practising for the UK winter Olympics figure skating team. It's being held in Almaty in 2011 so I think she is hoping for a place then. I think someone is coming out at the crack of dawn and carefully polishing the ice on the shiny granite steps in front of the hotel, especially for her to practice on. How kind.

Mum has also made friends with the lady behind the deli counter at the supermarket across the road, don't ask me how they communicate as Mum has no Russian and this lady has no English. They don't even seem to stick to pointing and finger waving. Mum explains very carefully in English what she fancies for lunch and the Kazakh lady explains in detail (in Russian) whats in all the unidentifiable things in the fridge and they smile knowingly at each other and Mum comes away with her lunch, which of course is always a surprise. I have this overwhelming urge to video the whole performance from behind a pillar as I'm sure it could be the basis of a fascinating anthropological study and is quite the most surreal but sweet conversation I've ever witnessed.

Daniel was back in pink today with a white lace collar and flowery pink fleecy trousers, He moaned and moped all morning and I couldn't help feeling that the two situations were linked.

Foxie was that post a typo?! Tornado in Kensal Green? I know you can't be drunk as you're pregnant.... you aren't drunk are you?

Musings on nearing the end...

I'm finding it increasingly hard to write anything at the moment that isn't rather maudlin! I have become very aware that my time here in Ust-Kamenogorsk is almost over and, having been increasingly desperate to leave, I now find that I don't want to bring this wierd, emotional journey to an end.
I'm torn in different directions. I want Daniel out and at home with me and have started to become quite choked when I leave him at the end of each visit, when he cries and holds out his arms to me, its really tough to keep walking down the long corridor towards the stairs even though I know I'm only leaving for a few hours. And yet there is a part of me that knows it is such a huge shame that he cannot grow up here with his birth family - their loss is my gain and that's a difficult thing to get to grips with. I know there is no future for him here, the children who are not adopted have very few prospects and even though the care here is excellent and the carers are warm human beings with the patience of saints, all children deserve someone to read them bedtime stories and tuck them in at night and light candles every year on their birthday, they deserve to have favorite toys and choose their own clothes and not just to share in a general pool of both.

I didn't choose to adopt for any reasons other than selfish - it was entirely about what I wanted, I wasn't trying to save a child, I wasn't doing anyone any favours except myself. But now that I am faced with the tiny human being that has become my son I am conscious of the huge responsibility I have to do everything in my power to make his life better than it would otherwise have been. Is this beginning of being a parent finally?

There is an occasionally quoted story in adoption circles that I have always found to be slightly sentimental for my taste...

"A man was out walking along a beach very early one morning, with no-one else around, when he became aware of a figure in the distance on the sea-shore. The person looked a little like they were dancing so, intrigued, the man approached. He discovered a boy picking up star-fish which had been washed ashore and flinging them high in the air towards the retreating sea.

What are you doing? - asked the man

These star-fish will die if they are left on the beach in the sun - said the boy

The man looked around at the star-fish which had been washed up on the beach,

But there are thousands - he said - you can't possibly throw enough back to make a difference.

The boy looked down at the star-fish in his hand and said,

Well it makes a difference to this one."

It always used to irritate me as it implies that these children who are adopted should feel in some way grateful for being "saved" but I have become fonder of this story recently as it dawned on me - Daniel isn't the star-fish, I am.

Blubbing has started again

OK confession time - I blubbed today (Monday) and quite a lot and in public too. I have been forced to admit this, having been so scathing about my Mother's blubbing, by Aine who has threatened to post a comment if I don't come clean.

This morning we went to sign the registers so the birth certificate and adoption certificate can be issued. After waiting in a corridor for about 20 minutes, I was called in and asked to sign the usual variety of paperwork, I have stopped asking what it is I just do as I'm told now. And the registrar lady said something to me in Russian and I looked around for which bit of paper she wanted signed this time and she was holding out something to me and said the same thing again - our translator Alfiya smiled at me and said "she says Congratulations, you are now a mother, have a very happy life" and handed me the birth certificate and adoption certificate. I didn't even look at them in detail, didn't check the names were right, nothing, my mind was a blank and I just knew I couldn't say anything I was so choked - the first person to congratulate me in the flesh (as it were) was a complete stranger in this tiny little room in a dusty government office. And yet the way she smiled when she said it was so genuine it really touched me. I stared at the certificates blankly (I think she was seriously considering rescinding the order on the grounds of mental infirmity at this point) and stared for about another 10 seconds when Baurzhan our co-ordinator whipped them away from me. They are needed to apply for the passport and though I know that really the most important thing, I would have been nice to have them for a bit longer.

So in a slightly wobbly frame of mind, we headed off for our morning visit to the baby house. I had a good visit with Daniel then headed off to the sick-bay. I have decided to give some token gifts to the carers in the sick-bay who were all so kind to me. Daniel and I spent most of our real bonding time there and they rarely get anything from people coming to adopt as it's rare that any of the children being adopted spend any significant amount of time in the sick-bay. I had some of the photos of Daniel with each of the carers developed and included them with a postcard of London so they can see where he's going to live (apparently he's moving into Buckingham Palace) and a few small treats like make-up and hand cream and small photo frames. As we hope to leave on Friday, I knew I would need to start handing them out today to catch all of the carers as they rotate duty about every four days. As luck would have it, Luda was on duty. Luda was always my favorite carer, she was so kind to me (she was the delicious chicken sausage woman) I just instinctively liked her from the start. She was so thrilled that I had remembered her and come back to give presents that she hugged me really tight and wished me a happy, healthy life and of course I started to cry, so she hugged me again and I cried more. I shall miss her. How can you miss someone who you have only been able to have stuttering conversations with and you have only known for little more than a month?

So then I came back to the hotel and told my mum about my emotional day and cried. So she cried. Then we talked some more. And cried some more.

So that's enough crying for a bit, I am trying to stay "dry" until at least Friday when we leave.

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Latest comments

10.07 | 13:22

We all have heard that dogs love to chew bones, Bones are a good source of minerals and other essential nutrients to satisfy the dog’s appetite.

07.06 | 16:37

Thank you so much for sharing. Makes me want to be there. We have told Ben and Ruthie we too will make a trip back and I hope it's soon!

03.06 | 11:35

Tears are flowing and laughter ensuing.

31.05 | 00:14

We're loving following your adventures!!! In Kew at the mo with my I laws. We have explained to Harry where you are but he says he misses Daniel!! Xx

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