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February 12 - It's Official!

Introducing...


Temirlan Michael Snedden
Born: November 15, 2001
Adopted: February 12, 2004

...and...


Nicole Gulnaz Snedden
Born: April 7, 2003
Adopted: February 12, 2004

Today at around 10:45am the judge ruled in favor of our petition to adopt Temirlan Michael and Nicole Gulnaz. The judge, prosecutor and everyone present were all in favor of our request to adopt the children. We will be picking up Temirlan and Gulnaz at the baby house this afternoon. We are excited to have them here at the apartment with us and, even more so, we are looking forward to bringing them home to Ohio in about a week! Our lives are about to change!!! We will try to keep updating the web site but can't make any promises at this point ;)


The proud parents outside the judge's office.

Well, it's currently 8:20 pm, we've been here at the apartment for about four and a half hours, and so far, so good. We picked up the kids at the baby house at about 3:00 and had a small ceremony (sort of a going away party) in the music room. We took two beautiful cakes for the childrens' caregivers prepared by Igor's neighbor (Igor was our driver this week). Dr. Irina (the baby house director), Gulnaz' doctor, and Temirlan's favorite caregiver came down to see us off, and other caregivers stopped in for a few minutes as their schedules allowed. Olga (our Uralsk coordinator), and Assia were also there. Everyone had many kind words for us and for the children. Temirlan's main caregiver (Jozhalou, although we know our spelling is wrong--sorry!) also wrote him a letter and gave him a small model musical instrument to remember her by. Temirlan knew something was going on because when she kissed him goodbye and left the room, he cried and cried. It was very sad and we all nearly cried ourselves. We also saw a first as Nikki Gulnaz also cried just before we left. We started putting her into her brand new snowsuit, but I guess she hasn't developed a fashion sense yet because she cried the whole time we wrestled her into it. However, once into the suit she was back to her nice calm self.

We can't say enough about the baby house staff. They really love the children and do a wonderful job caring for so many children at once. It was apparent from our first days visiting that they are a caring and loving group of people, very dedicated to the childrens' welfare. However, they also realize that a group home can't take the place of a family and were all so happy for Temirlan and Gulnaz.

Thank you so much to the staff of Uralsk Baby House #1 for the excellent care you've given our children. Balshua Spaceeba!!

The ride from the baby house was uneventful. Temirlan was fascinated to be in a car and just stared out the window watching the scenery. A couple minutes after leaving, Nikki Gulnaz was asleep and drifted in and out all the way to the apartment. Upon arrival, Temirlan was curious and began exploring the place. It was so cute how he would hesitate and peek into the kitchen before setting foot in there. He would take short little trips to the foyer and kitchen and quickly return to us in the living room. He was very surprised to find all his favorite toys laid out for him. He quickly became comfortable and started playing peek and crawl-and-chase with Mama. He also loved turning on the TV and watching his favorite shows (in Russian, of course) including 'Name That Tune' complete with a big band to play the tunes and a variety show called (something like) Bobwar Compka. Suprisingly, Nikki Gulnaz seemed more uncomfortable and wanted to be held for about half an hour. Then with a big smile she suddenly exploded into action and started crawling everywhere. She even stood on her own for about five seconds before lunging into Papa's arms. As she got more tired, she tried to keep up but more often was content to lay her head on Mama or Papa's shoulder and just watch. About 8:00 she had her last bottle of the day and is now fast asleep.

Temirlan seems afraid to use his potty in the new environment (even though he has used one for quite a while at the baby house) so he is now trying out his new pull-ups (that seem to be no problem). We just had dumplings with tomato sauce for dinner and although Temirlan ate about half a bowl, he liked the bread better (didn't we tell you the bread here is awesome?). Now we are just playing and waiting for Temirlan to get tired. He is still a bit wound up so we don't know how much sleep we will get tonight. So we now bid you a tired but happy...

Paka-Paka,...Paka-Paka! (there's two more of us in the apartment now!)


The beautiful going-away cakes.
[We were a bit slow on the draw. Temirlan's cake used to be 3-tiered also!]


Leaving the baby house for the last time.


Temirlan explores the apartment...


While little sister waits on Mama's lap.


Look who jumped up on the big couch with Papa!


My first home cooked meal.


Ahhh...This place is not so bad!


Watching 'Name that Tune'...Kazakhstan Style!
[This show's OK, but bring on Bobwar Compka!!]

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