Kira is Coming Home!!!

This is Liz, Ralph, and Kyle's Journey to get Kyle's new sister from Kazakhstan. Please leave us a comment!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

April 4th

Our last two days have been a lot of fun. We went to the zoo yesterday. Kyle rode on a llama and Kira wouldn't even pet him! Mufasa was there too!
Today we took a drive to the mountains and went up on the chairlift at the ski resort. We enjoyed a beautiful day, about 65-70 degrees, blue skies and no wind. We had lunch with Jerry, Karen, Max and Elin outdoors at the cafe. It felt like we were in Colorado. It was a terrific way to spend our last day. Then we went to the Embassy and received Kira's official passport. We are now able to fly home!!! Notice the door in the first picture, we are on our way out!
We are being picked up in 6 hours for the Almaty airport and should arrive home about 18 hours later into JFK. We will then kiss the ground.
Thanks for all of your support and comments during our trip here. We can't wait to see everyone back home.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April 2nd

Hi! Here are some photos of our flight and stay in Almaty. It rained again today so we hope to get to the zoo tomorrow before Kira's visit at the clinic. We spent some time at Tzum "Zoom" today, it's an indoor market, and went to a very cosmopolitan cafe for lunch. I had the best hot mocha, it's sad, but it was the best food item since I left NY.

Friday, March 31, 2006

April 1st

Hello! Yeah, our first contact from Almaty. Our flight yesterday was less painful than we anticipated. There were no unexplained layovers and we arrived in 3 hours. The temperature was 66 degrees here. We had to get Kira's visa photos (woke her from a nap, not too cheery) and then go to WPA office to sign the embassy paperwork. We will have her medical visit on Monday and then our embassy visit on Tuesday. We are flying home Wednesday at 2:00 am!
Our apt. in Almaty, although it looks more updated, is so backwards in design. The kitchen has a door which when opened, blocks the refrig. and then when you do get the refrig. door opened, there's a table in the way! Also we to plug the washer in we lay the cord across the kitchen doorway, this is very dangerous for Ralph!
We have two towels for four of us. Enough of the compaints, it's a roof, and today it's raining. We are almost home and we're psyched.
The cool thing for Kyle is that we are in walking distance to a mall with a lot of video games and an indoor gym that he can jump around in, a little too big for Kira, but she dreams as she watches him.
If we don't make it home, have someone check the elevator in our apt., it's a bit outdated. We're on the 5th floor and with a stroller, not too many options.
Tomorrow we'll go to a city park for an outdoor market and visit the zoo. Hopefully it'll be sunny. Maybe we can post a photo(s) next time we come to the internet cafe. We don't have access at our apt.
Hope everyone is doing well. See you soon.
Happy Happy Birthday to MaryEllen and Eileen (my psychotic friend, hopefully someone will read this to her)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

March 30th

Well this is our last night in Uralsk. We fly out tomorrow on Air Astana to Almaty at 10 am. It's about a 3 hr flight. Hopefully, when we get there we'll drop our paperwork off at the US Embassy and then get Kira's medical exam at the clinic. Almaty used to be the capital, now it's Astana (why??) anyway, there's a lot more to do there than in Uralsk. We are hoping to get to the zoo, take a drive to the mountains and maybe see the circus. We're not sure about access to the internet yet, or downloading photos but we will do our best. Hope everyone is doing well, looking forward to being one step closer to home!
Spring feels like it's in the air here, it reached about 50 degrees today and most of the snow was melted. We ended our stay with a dinner at the Dixie Pub at the Atrium. Kyle was happy to get play his favorite video game one last time. We got to say goodbye to some friends we made here. We'll miss the families we met here and hopefully have a reunion in the states sometime.
Happy birthdays to Liz's sister in law, Pam and Liz's sister MaryEllen!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More 3/29 photos

As you can see, we're getting desparate with our entertainment, we need to get home soon!

March 29th

Hello Everyone,

It won’t be long now. We’re off to Almata soon and Kira can say “Almata, Go, Go, Go”. I’m sure she’ll be excited to meet everyone as she has been a social butterfly with all the locals and friends we’ve met here. She and Kyle definitely have that in common. The two of them have been making great strides together. The whole time during our visits the two of them stayed away from each other and were very possessive of their belongings. Kyle would have loved the opportunity to land a sucker punch on her each day we were there. The first couple of days back here were the same story. She enjoyed pushing his buttons as well by grabbing his things the moment they were unattended. Kyle continued telling people that he was jealous of her and would tell us “I hate her” and “Why did you adopt her” in his angry moments. She got pissed at him for taking something away from her one time and followed him into the kitchen and slapped him in the side of he face with a spoon. The steam was shooting out of Kyle’s ears as he came to us upset and angry that she would do such a thing after he had restrained himself for so long. The next couple of days proved that they would accept each other most of the time. Kyle began telling us each time she would bring him something saying “Look Mom and Dad. It’s amazing. Kira just gave me her doll. That’s a really big step for us”. Then they began racing each other across the apartment and playing pretend together. The other day for example, we went camping in California on the balcony. Kyle followed her around the apt. one afternoon and kept getting down on one knee to kiss her hand so the princess would marry him. Kira really looks up to Kyle and he knows it. She mimics his actions and watches intently when we praise him or discipline him.

They are also becoming partners in crime. Kyle made an apricot juice/water solution and they began mopping the apt. floors with it until we caught them. Then Kira accidentally hung up on her Aunt Mary Ellen the other night. Kyle told her “That’s good Kira. We can do bad things together”. Now he tells people that he gets along with his sister but he used to be jealous of her. Kira has really cemented us together as a family. Kyle has someone that looks up to him and we think that helps him feel loved and respected by a young person in addition to adults. He has someone to play with and teach things to, and he’s more comfortable being alone when he is tired of the scene. There are definitely times of regression but they are not as frequent. He's really proud of himself because after 2 years of crawling into our bed at some point during the night, he prides himself on sleeping alone in his own bed all night (in a new apt.?).

Kyle has been a real trooper for such a long time away from home. Although he knows he was born in this country, it seems only a fact to him. His heart is in NY with his family and friends. He misses the cats dearly and the wild ones outside our apt. door remind him of them each day. Every kid he sees on the streets is either older or younger than his neighbor Tommy. He’s not looking forward to the long flight back (only takeoff and landing) and we’re sure he will be glad to hit JFK.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

March 26th

So we’re finishing out our time here in Uralsk and seem to have exhausted our entertainment options. Our drivers are not allowed to take us outside the city limits so we can’t see the surrounding area; even if it is flat and frozen. We picked up a collapsible stroller for walks which of coarse are the highlight of our day. If we don’t get out, Kyle will start using the couch as a trampoline for hours on end. We have some DVDs plus the ones our fellow Americans have shared with us so every night is a movie night. Kira is having fun and seems to be adjusting well. Although everything is unfamiliar to her, she has been napping and sleeping well. She doesn’t seem to look forward to her naps but falls asleep in our arms and transitions to the bed without a problem. She has a good sense of humor and Kyle and she enjoy pushing each others buttons. Kyle has his own room so he can close it off and protect all his toys. If he leaves anything out she is sure to grab it and wait for a reaction out of him. She was tossing all night the first night and we weren’t sure why. Then the second night she did the same and we figured out her skin was irritating her. Some powdering relieved the itching and she slept well during the second part of the night. She did a good job scratching herself up so we cut her nails back and will see how she does. She may be sensitive to the bubble bath or maybe something she eats; or, it could be some parasite that we’ll all end up getting. Our coordinator recommended some over the counter medication for itching that she uses with her toddler.

Top 10 Reasons not to Live in Uralsk:

10. Breakfast not served
9. Super information highway has a speed limit of 15 mph
8. Fresh brewed coffee hard to find
7. More active living culture in a container of yogurt
6. Mystery meat served fresh daily
5. Corruption has spread like the plague
4. Public toilets are a breeding ground for germs
3. Infrastructure crumbling before your eyes
2. No Chinese takeout

……….And the #1 reason not to Live in Uralsk:

1. You can’t get any damn fresh vegetables

Friday, March 24, 2006

March 24th

We couldn't post photos last night so I'm doing 2 days at once. We picked Kira up this morning from BH#2. We had a farewell "party" with her caretakers and gave them gifts and cake. We thanked them for taking such good care of Kira for her first two years of her life and they shared their best wishes for her and asked to keep in touch with photos over the years. We had them fill out a journal we had written. It was a list of questions on topics such as Kira's schedule, her friends' names, what she likes to do, etc... and then Alia translated them for us.
We took Kira to the out to lunch, hoping for the best. She was so well behaved at the table, and trust me, service is so slow here! Then I took her into the supermarket, she sat in the wagon and enjoyed the idea of food all over her, I guess she trusted we would be feeding her!! When we got back to the apartment, we gave her a bath. She wasn't too thrilled with the water being poured over her head, but again dealt with it very well. After a while she fell asleep and has been napping for almost 2 hours. If this behavior keeps up, all may be good in the Sansone family, but we holding our breathe that she doesn't snap when she realizes this is it! We'll keep you posted or you'll read about us! Hope all is well back home. Love, Ralph, Liz, Kyle and Kira!!!