Sunday, March 19, 2006

We're Here

Wow, what a trip. Thirty six hours of planes and airports. A nap and a shower have never felt so good. We set a new napping record with a 4 hour nap! The travel was pretty uneventful, which is a great thing. Only one delay on the flight to Astana and we think that was becuase of fog. Our coorinators were waiting at the airports for us here in KZ which was so comforting to see.
When we first got here (Astana) our coordinator and translator met us at the airport and took us to our apartment. We are very happy with the apartment. It has a washer and microwave and is located right down town. We can walk to many shops and restaurants and to the jogging trial (yipee!!). They showed us around the apartment and left us to rest and shower. They picked us up this evening to meet another woman who is here (will be leaving next week) and to go to church with them. From there, we went to the Ramstore (grocery) to pick up some food and I-cards for the phone and internet. After getting everything home and settled, our translator and coordinator left for the night, and we ate some dinner (rice pilaf with meat and veggies with meat). We are now trying to wind down to get some rest for the big day tomorrow.
We are getting picked up tomorrow morning to go to the Ministry of Education and then the Baby House. This is the day we have been waiting for so long for! With this comes an array of emotions...excitement (we're meeting our baby), nervous (will we know which is meant to be ours), and anxious (I wish tomorrow was here!).I'm sure it is the range that any first time parents go though, but that doesn't settle us too much. Tomorrow night, this time, I think our stomachs will be much more settled. Till then, the excitement will carry us through.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Travel Day 1

We sit here in the 2nd of our 3 hour layover at the Detroit Airport before heading to Amsterdam. We both were filled with anxiety for the last 2 days as we ran around Lexington collecting last minute "necessities" for the trip.

After we got checked in at LEX, we both felt our stress levels plummet and the excitement finally has set in for the two of us.

Thank God for small airports. Bluegrass Airport does not have a scale with which to weigh luggage at the Northwest counter so, no overweight luggage charges for us.

I'm sure this won't be the case on our intra-Kazakhstan flight, but we've heard that luggage overage fees are far less significant in KZ than in the US.

We've also learned that our flight from Detroit to Amsterdam is equipped with OnDemand music, video and game equipment as well as power ports for laptops/DVD players. This should make this 8ish hour flight seem a little shorter.

We hope to check in again from Amsterdam tomorrow morning upon our arrival there. In the meantime, Go Cats!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The following is our itinerary from Lexington, KY to Almaty, Kazakhstan:

Friday, March 17

Depart Lexington 2:35PM Northwest Flight 5888
Arrive Detroit 4:10PM
306 Miles

Depart Detroit 7:05PM Northwest Flight 54

Saturday, March 18

Arrive Amsterdam 9:05AM
3,920 Miles

Depart Amsterdam 2:10 PM Northwest Flight 8417/KLM Flight 409

Sunday, March 19
Arrive Almaty 2:00 AM
3,265 Miles

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Good Friends

The Village staff helped us celebrate the adoption with an Open House yesterday. People popped in and out all day to wish us well and generously give to the adoption and baby Schlafer. Thank you to all that contributed and Anna, Kelly, Andrea and Brittany for organized and hosting it. From there, it was a girls night enjoying the last Saturday before becoming a Mom.
Todays list of to do's is book plane tickets and create lists of to do's for the next 5 days. Friday's big to do...Leave for KZ! 5 more days...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Special Delivery Shower

A special thank you to those who have been showering us with gifts. Grandma Peggy hosted a "Special Delivery" shower in which family and friends from all over the country sent gifts through the mail. Peggy did a wonderful job creating handmade invitations. We received many wonderful and generous gifts. Thank you to everyone!! Gifts from this shower continue to arrive.

Friday, March 10, 2006

For those of you interested in the procedural end, I (Jason) who am in charge of the procedural dealings of this deal for the Schlafer's (Michelle's a lock for the emotional president of this family), I'll attempt to explain from my point of view what has occurred in our lives over the past week.

Wednesday, March 1: Andrea (our adoption coordinator extraordinaire in Chicago) calls to inform us that our Letter of Invitation is being processed and should be ready to pick up by Erken (our adoption coordinator in KZ) by Friday the 3rd. If not Friday, then most likely Monday.

Friday, March 3: We talk to Andrea who informs us that Erken has been to pick up the LOI and it isn't ready. The letter itself is ready, but the government had yet to assign the necessary numbers to each letter.

Monday, March 6: Andrea calls us again to inform us that Erken has been back and the gov't still has not assigned the necessary numbers.

March 7-9: Repeat Monday the 6th only add some emotion, stir, serve in a chilled glass with Olives.
During this stretch, I take all of our notarized documents (updated medical forms for each of us, copies of our doctors' current licenses, psychiatric evaluations, copy of the license of our psychiatrist, copies of our passports, etc, etc) to the county clerks of Jessamine, Fayette, Boyle and Franklin Counties. At each County Clerk's office the clerk (or its designee) signs a form certifying that the notary is indeed a valid notary.

After my treks around the Bluegrass, I headed to the State Capitol to the Secretary of State's Office. At the Capitol, I somehow ended up in a rally against the governor's platform of making the Commonwealth a 'Right to Work' state. Yep, me and 5000 Union representatives from around the state. ANYWAY, I met with one of the Secretary of State's designees and had each document Apostilled. The clerk at the SOS office told me that she is basically looking to see that the County Clerk's designee is registered to sign on behalf of the Clerk.

Friday, May 10: Got the great news (which you can read about below), contacted the bank to order some more crisp Ben Franklins, a travel agent or two to find out how best to give the airlines a couple of month's pay, and off to FedEx to send off our application for travel Visas from the Consulate of Kazakhstan in NYC.

Now, we are both exhausted. We shall get some sleep tonight, but with a travel date of next Friday, our days of sleep are no doubt numbered. Thanks for reading.

"It's a Beautiful Day"

Wonderful news...we received our LOI (letter of invitation) today! Andrea called the school around noon today and we have been on cloud nine ever since. We will be leaving for Kazakhstan a week from today. The feeling we have today is indescribable and I'm sure it only gets better from here.

Waiting for the LOI this past week was the most difficult time we've had. It was 7 days of constant emotional ups and downs. Waiting by the phone, checking emails, stalking poor Andrea (sorry Andrea!!), and going crazy wondering when we would get the good news. Our friends and family put up with some major moods (Okay, more Michelle's than Jason's!) and we thank you for your support.

Our posts will become more frequent as our travels begin. We can't wait and hope you will enjoy the journey with us.