Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We're Home

Just a short post for now: Finished paperwork in 2 days; took a flight out 3:20am Wed, returned Wed 8/20 to Chicago, then drove back and arrived at our home by afternoon. Thrilled to have Ana in our home!

More later -

The Byrne Family...all five

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In Daddy's Arms

Dan arrived in Almaty about midnight Monday morning(1 pm Sunday in Wisconsin). Less than 2 hours later he was handed Ana. Daddy and Ana are spending a few days in Kazakhstan for more paperwork. We are counting the minutes until we are a family of five in our home.

Love From Around the World,
Allison, Joe & Matty and Dan & Ana

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Due Date

We have a due date. After a lot of bureaucracy Dan is leaving August 16 to go to Kazakhstan to get our daughter home! She is legally ours according to Kazakhstan - if we could get the US on that train we would be in great shape. Seriously, we do not foresee any hangups (?!.) Dan and Ana will arrive in Chicago on August 22.

Dan is reading over my shoulder and said I was being too reserved in my comments so I will add an official "who-hoo" from the new-again Daddy.

Love The Byrne Family

Dan, Allison, Joe, Matty and Ana

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Four Home

Dan and I are writing this blog from our couch in Wauwatosa, listening to music sung in English, drinking real coffee. Joe is playing legos and Matthew is still asleep after 12 hours.

It feels like Christmas morning.

Thanks everybody. We'll keep you posted this month. Keep praying the magic day will be about August 15.

Love, Dan, Allison, Joseph and Matthew

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bonus day with Ana

Well, the punch line of this story is that we went to court today and the hearing went well, and we were granted our request for adoption – so that is GREAT news. As it happened…our supposed 10am appointment at the court finally got underway about 4:25pm! There were no issues with our paperwork or anything, this was just one of those random things that can happen; who knows, maybe something pressing came up for the courts or an official was out of the office unexpectedly, or whatever. In fact, there were probably 4 additional families who also were supposed to have their court hearings in the morning, and all of us were delayed until the afternoon.

So this threw us for a loop only because we were supposed to have our court appt at 10am and then be on a plane to Almaty at 3pm. So after waiting from 10am until about 1pm, we ended up changing our flight to Almaty to one day later (so now Thursday we go from Ust back to Almaty). We should still be in plenty of time for our flights back to the states, we should land in Almay about 5pm Thursday and our flight to Frankfurt doesn’t leave until 3am so some 10 hours later.

But now we do get one added bonus, we get to see Ana one last time tomorrow morning, since our flight (there is only 1 per day from Ust to Almaty) doesn’t leave until 3pm. So we are now back in the Shiny River for our second “last night.”

The big news of the day, though, is of course that the court hearing went well. All that now remains, at least from the perspective of the Kazakh adoption process, is to run out the clock on the 16 day waiting period. So now we’ll count the days until July 26.

We’re not sure if we’ll be able to post again before we get back to the States – hopefully we won’t be writing from the Shiny River again tomorrow night!

Some pictures below, one of Ana teething, one of her noticeably not enjoying a Mets hat (we’ll need to fix that), also a picture of the boys on a little boat at a park we found and Matthew in front of the WWII monument (we had a lovely walk by the river & monument with our translator, Olga, who has been a great help to us). Also one is a shot of a picture Joseph made for Ana's room while we're gone.

-The Byrne Family

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Getting closer...

Very important news: today Ana got her first tooth! We know she has been teething (this based on copious amounts of slobbering & chewing on her hands and anything else she could find for the past 2 weeks). This morning we felt and then saw the top her first tooth, on the bottom left side. So when she chews on things now it will sometimes sooth her and other times give her a shot of pain from this or maybe other teeth that are close. Just makes us want to get her home all the faster. We were imagining today that when we finally get her home she’ll probably have even more (unless she is as slow at teething as her brothers were). But it was neat to be here for her first one anyway.

So now we are busy getting everything ready for our last visits…gifts for the caregivers, translators, drivers; court documents, etc. It’s actually good to have these things to keep us busy in these last few days.

Somewhat disappointed we missed the 4th of July at home, this is always such a great holiday in our neighborhood. But we told the boys we’d have our own little 4th of July celebration the day we get Ana home, again this is making the assumption that this adoption stays on track & all goes well.

So here’s where we are in terms of process: After court (Wed, July 9) the “appeal period” starts. This lasts, we think, for 16 calendar days. Then on July 25, if no one has objected during the appeal period (her biological parents, grandparents, etc.), then the deal is really done. As of July 26, no one can undo this thing, from there on out it is just cleaning up paperwork and getting her back to the States. So on July 26 we’ll breath easier and start the real party! Again – this is all on the assumption that the court hearing goes well on July 9, which we expect will be the case.

Boys continue to do well, although the trip is starting to wear thin on them. Meltdowns are become somewhat more frequent. But who can blame them! We are so happy we brought them along – sometimes on a tough evening here it has been only the boys who could put a smile back on our face. I don’t think the combination of this process and being away from the boys for a month would have been easy to swallow. Will try and finally get the boys to the zoo this afternoon, also we hear there is a Mexican restaurant over there with potentially good Fajitas and Margueritas, so we'll give it a try.

Well, we have only three more full days here in Ust, almost can’t believe it. We have encountered so many good people along the way that have made this tough process easier for us. And we have received great support from our friends and family at home. We are so blessed, and so thankful to everyone.

Few more pictures below, one is of the boys on a playground here, this is a typical playground that we see here, usually positioned in the middle of several multifamily housing units kind of like a courtyard.

All the best –

The Byrne Family

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Week 3

We’ve had some really fun visits with Ana the past few days. Seems she is feeling better, she is still congested a little but maybe her bronchitis has been mostly taken care of with the meds they gave her. She is giving us more in the way of interaction and smiles all the time, which is great.

Only real news to report is our court date. We found out yesterday that our first court date is July 9. This is good news, as it should allow us to keep our original airline schedule for return flights, etc. So the plan at present is to leave Ust on July 9 after the court hearing, spend July 10 in Almaty, then leave for USA at 3:20am on Friday July 11, putting us back in Chicago by 10:30 or so local time (connect in Frankfurt), then a couple hours to Milwaukee via car and HOME.

We are really looking forward to home, except of course it is getting harder to think about leaving Ana for a month. But we’ll make it and provided everything goes as expected, we hope to finalize this sometime in mid-August.

Also – we’ve said it before, but it has been so great to have many other wonderful families here going through what we are experiencing, it is a necessary support group. Thanks to everyone for their help during this process.

More pictures below, enjoy. The one with me & Matthew is haircut day. I convinced Allison to cut my hair rather than try & figure out a barber, and Matthew wanted to help. So Allison duct taped some paper strips on a grapefruit and Matthew had a great time cutting "Mr. grapefruit daddy's" hair. Also there is a picture of Matthew sleeping in his "cozy bed" here, he likes it when we push together the two armchairs & then put a comforter & blankets in there for him.

-The Byrne Family