Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Things Are Getting Better Every Day!

Andrew has been doing so well, but he still has a few more things to adjust too. He finally likes to take a bath now just as long as we don't wet his hair. He also, at least for now, is sleeping in, until 7am. He also has been sleeping through most of the night without waking up. If he wakes up he usually just looks scared and needs reassurance that we are there. Sometimes, all we have to do is pat his little back and he goes right back to sleep. He is going down easier for nap time now also. I'm hoping to have him on some kind of due able schedule soon, and for everyone who knows me, knows that is how I function best. Our biggest draw back recently has been he doesn't want his bottle anymore or any kind of formula or milk. We have been trying everything. At one point he went 2 days with just a few ounces each day in him. Yesterday I gave him the sippy cup, and he seems to like that but it takes a lot to get him to drink some. I hope we find a solution for that soon. He is still eating a ton though. He eats as often as Cain, which means he is eating all the time!! Another thing Andrew is having difficult with is the car seat. He screams at just the sight of it now. We get to hear screaming from the minute we put him in there till the minute we he get him out. It doesn't make for peaceful driving, that is for sure. I'll continue to let everyone know how he is adjusting as time goes on, but all in all I couldn't expect more from him!

Look at me, I'm a big boy sitting in a big chair!

I like the jumpster that my mom put up! It gives her another 5 minutes to get something done!

My sister dressed me to look like her!

I love my cat Mocha!

I loved my visit with Grandma and Grandpa Stahnke!

I can't wait to play with my new ball set from my Grandma and Grandpa Stahnke!

My dad forced me to look like we were still in Kyrgyzstan!

I had a great visit with Grandma and Grandpa Johnson!

It was also great to visit my Great Grandma Cozzens!

I think my cousins are a ton a fun!

My cousin Kylee was a little scared of me at first because I was being rough, but then we started having fun!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Visit to the Doctors!

We took Andrew to the Dr. today. He was putting on quite the show for the Dr. and her nurse. They seemed very surprised on how well he has adjusted to his new environment. He of course cried when they took his blood and when they were digging the ear wax from his ear, but he stopped crying the instant I picked him up. Andrew weighed 12.33 pounds a week and a half ago when we had him at the SOS clinic in Kazakhstan. Today he weighs 13.67 lbs. I told Cain yesterday that I was pretty sure he gained some weight because I think his stomach is more rounder then before. The Dr. did a full examination on him and a few of the things we were concerned about don't seem to be much of a problem. We were told that he has a hernia but yet she couldn't find any sign of one. We also were told that he had a VSD but she could only hear a slight murmur in his heart. We will have another echo done on him in the future, but she felt that there was nothing much their to worry about. We are having him tested for other things so we should know more in the future. All in all Andrew is much more healthier then we ever thought he would be. Andrew seems to be adjusting more and more everyday. There are a few things we need to work on however, like letting me put him down to play by himself for more then a few minutes. He also struggles going to sleep, but once he is asleep he does pretty good. We are still working on adjusting his night and days. By 6:00 in the evening he is ready for bed so we have to work real hard to keep him up. He also doesn't like the car seat much. He has never been in a car seat until we got home, so I'm sure it is a shock to him that he has to stay strapped in there. He also still hates to take a bath so hopefully soon he will learn that the water is fun. Andrew does seem very happy when we interact with him, and his sisters still fight over him. God has really been with us through this time, and we thank God for our sweet little Andrew every day. Thank you for all the prayers through out this process!!!!!!

My train set is my favorite toy!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

After a delay of 9 hours, 19 hours of flight time in 3 different planes, 6 hours of layover time, 1 meltdown by me, and another 10 hour delay, we finally arrived in Cleveland, OH in the USA at 9am on Sunday, January 13th. No words can describe how hard this trip was, but Andrew handled it better then we could have asked. He was so excited when we met family and friends at the airport. My girls and us had quite the reunion with lots of tears of joy! Andrew seemed very happy to meet everyone but a little overwhelmed. Our first day at home was a little tough because Andrew's bed time in Kyrgyzstan time, was when we arrived to Cleveland. We let him take short naps and then we kept him up the rest of the evening which was so hard, since I was only running on 6 hours of total sleep myself in a three day period of time. Andrew did had a rough first night sleeping, but he woke up a different baby this morning. Andrew seems to really enjoy his new sisters. Alisha and Megan our constantly fighting about who gets to hold him. The girls took off school today to take another day to bond with their brother and it's great to see them enjoy their new brother. Andrew seemed much more comfortable with his sisters today. He will actually allow me to leave the room for a second while they are holding him. It is really starting to feel real that Andrew is ours now. It is a weird feeling to have a baby handed to you and then you spend over a week with him in a place that isn't home. The whole time it felt like we borrowed some one's baby. Now it feels like Andrew has always been with us. It was a long journey to bring our Andrew home, but he was definitely worth it!!!!! We love you Andrew!!!
My first airplane ride!!
Our family is finally complete!
Look at all the people who came to see me at the airport!

My first trip in my car seat!
I'm finally home!
I love my new house!

Alisha holding me for the first time!

Megan holding me for the first time!

Wow, carpet that I can crawl on that isn't dirty!

I love my new room!

I don't like having to get my clothes changed!

My sister Alisha is loving on me!

My sister Megan loves to give me my bottle!

My first teething biscuit and I loved it!

I'm having a great day!

Friday, January 11, 2008

USA Here We Come!

Well today Cain and I walked down the road here in Kazakhstan praising God that it was the last day we would have to walk down it. It is a beautiful country but nothing is like home. We miss home cooking, and being able to walk in our kitchen and fix what we want. We miss having our own bed, and being able to watch more then 1 channel of TV in English. We miss being able to hop in our own car and drive to where we need. We miss being able to understand what everyone around us is saying aside of each other, and most of all we miss our girls. I do believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I haven't felt more fonder about my girls then I have this week. Sometimes you can take things for granted when you live day by day, but after this experience I am so fortunate for our home, and for the food we always have. I am also thankful for the way Americans drive, and for traffic laws. Little things like that you would never think to be thankful for. Andrew has been making little baby steps every day in connecting with us and with life. He has been understanding the purpose of toys more and taking less interested in staring at his own hands. He has been eating better, and I even got him to eat carrots with apples in it. Yuck!!! Sleep time can still be a challenge for him because he is afraid to fall asleep in fear of where we may go. We are building his trust a little bit more everyday. I feel things will get easier when we get home because he can adjust to one environment for awhile. Here we are always going to appointments or having to leave to get something to eat. Pray we have a safe journey home. I fear how Andrew will do flying for such a long period of time, in once again an environment he isn't use to. We will see you all when we get home!!!!!!!!!

I'm learning to play with toys now!!!

I fool mom and dad making think I'm an angel when I'm sleeping!!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Making a Change!

Cain and I have been agonizing over something since we got our son. When we got to the orphanage to pick him up we realized that everyone has been calling our son Andrew, not Turat. At this point he doesn't respond to Turat anymore. When we got the video of him he responded to his name, and that was one reason we wanted to keep it the same. We also didn't want to take the only thing he had left, from where he came from, away from him. So that is why we decided to leave his name alone. After having our son for a week, we are having a hard time calling him Turat. First of all he looks like an Andrew, and we feel he will fit in more with Andrew. He also seems to be a little more responsive to Andrew then Turat. We thought about it for several days and we decided that his name will stay the same legally Turat Andrew Stahnke, but we are going to start calling our son Andrew instead of Turat. We still love the name Turat, so it doesn't bother us if people still call him that, but for the two of us we are going to stay consistent with calling him Andrew. We thought we would share this change on our blog before we came home, so it wont confuse our son so much. On a different note, we had our embassy appointment today and everything went to plan. We met two more families that were adopting but they adopted from Kazakhstan. We then realized that we are all on the same flight back to the states. That should be interesting with three adopted babies on one plane. The other two families had boys one was 9 months, and the other one 10 months, and let me just say there boys looked so big compared to our Andrew. Andrew has some catching up to do when he gets home. Andrew is showing a little temper starting yesterday. He just starts throwing his arms around and starts kicking and doing this squealing. He must be feeling better now and his true colors are shining through. The one thing Cain and I can honestly say is he doesn't get his temper from either of us. I couldn't ever say that with our other girls!!! Andrew loves to be with little clothes on. They bundle them like you wouldn't believe in the orphanage, with layers of clothes, and I think he enjoys being free. In fact every time we bundle him up to go outside he throws the biggest fit. I wonder if he thinks he is back at the orphanage with all the layers on. Andrew has seemed to kick the majority of his cold but he still has a rattle in his chest area. The Dr. at the SOS clinic thought that could of been due to his VSD, so that we will find out when we get home. He just may have a hard time breathing in general, because on our video he was also having trouble breathing. One more final day here tomorrow and we are heading out. We are counting the hours!!!!!

I love that my mommy and daddy are going to call me Andrew now!

I love to be naked or almost naked!!

I love to look at pictures of my two beautiful sisters! I can't wait to meet them!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Shopping Meltdown!

Well I typed a nice long blog ,and I hit check spell and the whole thing disapeared. We get charged per minute at this hotel for the internet and since it is dial up everything takes forever. So this is going to be short but sweet. We went to the mall today, and we are always amazed at how moderinized everthing is in both countries we have been in. We recognize a lot of the brands that we see. Infact they are infactuated with our hollywood stars. Anyways we decided to go farther then the mall and we went to this big store that has 3 floors. Well Turat right then decided he wanted to eat lunch and he wasn't going to wait. We looked everywhere for somewhere to sit down but there wasn't anywhere. It was about 10 minutes to get back to the mall area where there was an area to sit down, but we knew he wouldn't wait that long. We saw some steps and dropped everything and started feeding him his lunch. People were just walking by and laughing at us. Overall we are very bored and we can't wait to get home. Turat seems to be getting use to us but now he just always wants to be held and he never wants us to leave his sight. We know he is just insecure and it will take time, but we hope he will adjust quickly when we get home, so we can get things done. It is taking everything out of Cain and I to keep him happy and content right now. I have been showing him pictures of his sisters each day from the book I made him. He just stares at them and touches the pictures. I think he will love his sisters. We are counting the days until we can come home. We are very home sick. Tomorrow is our embassy appointment and then we get to head out early Saturday morning. Pray all will go well!

Shopping Meltdown!

Today we went out and did our exploring. There is a mall that isn't to far from here that we walked to. It is amazing on how much of America we see in these two countries that we have been to. There is a lot of brand names that we are familiar with that are in America. People here dress very modernized. The women dress up a lot when they go out. They have long coats, dress pants, and high heel boots. I think I'm the most comfortable one here. The traffic in Almaty is crazy however. Crossing the street it quite difficult. We just wait for the light to say green for us to walk across and we try to find someone that is crossing as well and we follow them. The cars sit in the intersections and a lot of times the cars still go even if the lights says red, so you always have to watch for cars coming at you. In fact are hotel is on a busy road and we here people honking their car horns ever few seconds. At times we here several people honking at once. We aren't quite sure why they honk. If it is to let some one know they are there and to watch out, or if they are all mad. We also noticed in Kyrgyzstan and also here in Almaty, that they combine lanes sometimes. They will turn two lanes into three and sometimes you feel like your going to hit the car next to you. They also drive right up against people that are walking. Everyone here is so use to it but for us new comers it can become a bit dramatic. We are getting a little use to it. While we are at the mall today we ventured further out to another big store that has 3 floors. Right in the middle of it Turat decided it was lunch, and he wanted to be fed right then. We were looking everywhere for someone to feed him, but we couldn't find anything but some steps to sit down on. The walk back to the mall area at that point would of been another 10 minutes, which he wouldn't of waited that long. They have these children from the orphanage on a schedule and when it is time to eat, it is time to eat. So we just dumped all our stuff and sat on these steps and fed Turat. People were just walking past us and laughing. Turat seems to be doing much better with us lately, aside of never wanting us to leave his sight or wanting us to put him down. We feel he isn't secure enough with us to trust that we aren't leaving him. It takes every bit of Cain and I to give him the attention he is demanding. We pray it gets easier when we get home. He has become more responsive with us which is good. I keep showing Turat pictures of his sisters in the book I made him and sent to him. He loves to stare at them and he loves to touch them. I think he will be so happy to meet them when we get home. All in all we are doing as good as could be expected and we are counting down until we can get home!

I want to eat and I want to eat right now!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Trip to the Doctors!

Today Turat Andrew had his Dr.'s appointment at the SOS clinic. He was sound asleep when we got him there and when they called him back they had to prick his finger for the HIV test. He woak right up. I felt so bad. We met another American family while waiting in the waiting area that was adopting another little boy from Kyrgyzstan. They arrived on the same day as us and they are leaving around the same time as us. They were using another adoption agency however. It was wonderful to have a conversation with someone that understood everything we were saying. The food is starting to get to us. My stomach has been upset for some time now and I hope it doesn't get any worse. We can't wait to get back and eat something familiar to us. We decided that we will be coming home on schedule. It wasn't worth it to us to try to change our tickets for the sake of a day. We are leaving on Saturday morning from the hotel at 1:00am. We are going to be so tired and ready for some serious sleep when we get home. We pray that Turat Andrew will adjust to our schedule. We are going to try to keep him up some when we leave for the airport that morning. It could be a rough trip. Tomorrow we are going to go exploring on our own. That should be fun. We already ventured out on our own a little this afternoon and going to dinner without an intepretor is quite interesting. People here just laugh at us. I wont be able to post as many pictures as before. We have dial up at this hotel and it takes forever to do one picture.

View from our hotel room.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Off to Kazakhstan!

We made our journey to Kazakhstan today. The drive was a little crazy however. It was snowing and the wind was blowing quite hard. At times there was a white out. On the highway driving to Kazakhstan it is a two lane highway, and a few times the driver jumped into the other lane when it was a white out to get pass another vehicle. We had no idea if another car was coming or not. God was really watching over us today. I, once again would just sit back and try not to watch or I think I would have a nervous breakdown. Going across the border was also quite interesting. Lets just say when you have a baby you get very special treatment. The officers told us to go to the front of the line and the lady that was next in line got very upset with him, so she started yelling at the officer. The officer got so mad he grabbed her visa and slammed it down and told her something about moving back. The lady continued to argue but the officer didn't seem to put up with it. Then they yelled at another lady that had her hand on the counter. The officers didn't want any one near us. It was something else! People just stare and make over Turat. They seem to really enjoy babies here. I have noticed that no one uses any kind of strollers or infant seats for babies. They always get carried everywhere. Kazakhstan is beautiful but we haven't had a chance to go exploring much outside our hotel room. They tell us to stay in our room when it is dark which is around 5:00, so that doesn't leave a lot of time in the evening for us to go out. The food we had for dinner in the hotel wasn't so good tonight. I have a feeling we may be more hungry here, it that is possible. Today is Russian Christmas and they celebrate it in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. We are across the street from lots of Christmas lights and we did see a few fire works go off. We had a Christmas gift for Turat today, and some more for him when we get home, since he missed our Christmas. Tomorrow we head to the SOS clinic for a checkup for baby. Then our embassy appointment is actually scheduled for Thursday. We may get to leave a day earlier but don't know yet.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Mountain Extreme!!!!

Today we made a trip up to the mountains. No picture can describe how beautiful they are. We saw some interesting things on our way, and Natashia our guide kept saying "today is an extreme day to go to mountains". It snowed a day ago and the roads are only cleared enough for one lane of cars at a time. That makes it difficult when the driver is near a cliff and the cars are trying to pass. I have learned to trust the drivers here, and I don't watch the roads when they are driving. The driving in Kyrgyzstan is a blog in itself. We went to a restaurant called the Twelve Fireplaces while in the mountains. It was really different because they take the food outside to cook on the twelve huge fireplaces and then they bring it back in to serve. Cain said he had his best meal since we left, so I guess the food was good. Turat still has a horrible cough and is having a hard time breathing, but he seems to be doing a little better each day. He slept well again last night and he takes plenty of naps. Our only challenge at this point is getting him to drink from his bottle. He will eat food all the time but doesn't want formula. I had to put baby cereal with banana in the formula today to get him to drink it. He is defintely getting use to us. He seems to always want us to hold him now. I think he is afraid we will leave him if we are out of his sight or not holding him at all times. What a difference from a few days ago. Yesterday evening I got him to start laughing for us, and I swear he was giving me kisses. What a change in him we have seen. Tomorrow we head to Kazakhstan and are hoping to see some more interesting things.

The view from the car on our way up the mountains!

A Christmas Tree at the, Twelve Fireplace Restaurant.

Kyrgyzstan celebrates Christmas tomorrow!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

It was a difference of night and day with Turat today. First of all, he slept 9 and a half hours last night without waking up once. That I'm sure made all the difference! He got up this morning and ate well, and had his first complete bottle of formula. Then he played and seemed very happy. We have seen him smile more today then we have the other two days combined. He actually seems to look at us in our face instead of in a blank stare. He had a nap before lunch and then we took him shopping. He then fell asleep again in the baby carrier that was hooked to me, and he let us complete all of our shopping. I couldn't of asked for a more perfect day with him. He is still feeling sick however. The rattle is still in his chest which concerns us, but he has a Dr.'s appointment scheduled for the first week we get back. Turat had his first real bad diaper today. Yea, for being parents of an infant! It was so bad we had to strip him down completely and give him another bath. Of course Cain claimed he wasn't sure if he remembered how to change those types of diapers, so I got the honors. We for the first time feel like we are bonding with our son. He seems happy to be in our presence and actually cries for us. Thank you for all the prayers out there!!!!

My first bath, which I didn't like to much!

Look, I do tricks!

I love to play with my hands and my feet, because they have been my favorite toys for 9 months!

I'm finally sleeping good for mom and dad and yes my crib is pink, it was all they had!

I love my new pacifier, which allows me to not have to suck on my two fingers all the time!

I'm having fun playing with my new mommy, and I think I might like her now!

I even like to play with daddy now, and I love to get his face!