Monthly Archives: April 2009

24-hour Sam, day 1

Sam is at the apartment, and he is loving it. He threw up and pooped in the first three hours, and he slept 11 hours last night. He has eaten everything we have given him, and even took a bath, although the bath was like torture. Things have gone really smoothly so far. It’s very surreal right now, but so cool. It’s sort of hard to put into words. This is what we have been working 2 years to get to, now he’s in the apartment with us. Mom and Sam are playing in the floor right now.

Here are a few pictures captured by iPhone technology.

So things are good, and we are back to another waiting game. We are praying and trusting our coordinators all we can because we have very little clue what is going on right now. Hopefully we will be headed home very soon.

We met a lady in the baby house who is from the Dallas area. She is adopting one of the little girls in Sam’s class. How crazy is that?! Not only a little Kazakh person, but one of the girls who grew up in Sam’s class with him will be living in the DFW area soon. We were very excited to meet her.  And what an answer to our prayers already. The day after we posted the blog about praying deeply for moms and dads for these little kids a mom shows up for one of them. We will continue praying, but it’s cool to see answers like that.

This is Aaron, and I want to make a clarifying statement, as well. On another one of our posts we had a comment from some friends here about other children and their situation in the baby house. While we are pleading for parents for these guys, person to person and in prayer, the reality is that some of them are not available for adoption at this point. There are different reasons for that, and some will join the available ranks sometime in the future, but things are not as simple as we might make them sound. I think most of our readers have gotten that message of complication and difficulty as you’ve followed us. It’s just a reality and an acceptable side effect.

Part of the heart that father has grown in us during the last two years is to be advocates for these little people, not just here but in general. We want to be ambassadors for their cause, and we really hope that people who have followed our story will consider adoption because of the great life-giving picture that it is. We hope that we can walk through the process with families in the future, and our appeal here, along with any pictures, are to illustrate the need and the mass of little faces and lives out there. These kids are by no means the end of the story, and a total of 4 from Sam’s class have been adopted or are in process during our time here, so good things are happening. We’ve done our best to share our hearts, and these are some of the people who have impacted our hearts on this journey, both big and little people.

Thank you guys for reading and walking so consistently. We love you.


Wednesday is our last day to sleep in for a long time

Only one more visit for us and one more night for Sam in the baby house. It’s all getting very real and surprisingly a little sad. We are mostly very excited, but there is sort of a sadness to all of the change that Sam is about to go through. There is also some of that on our part, too. We have spent 7 weeks seeing these kids almost everyday, and we feel connected to them. It is going to be hard to leave this season of our lives and hard to leave them behind when there is so much to be done for them. We trust God’s leadership and his hand in it all, but it is hard just the same.

It’s really just the result of a broken system that is doing the best it can. They take pretty good care of these guys, and they do all they can for them. The sitation is just such that there is only so much they can do. Because of who we are at our core, broken, there are certain things like this that are inevitable in life. They are the natural results of our imperfection, weakness, selfishness, and need for Jesus. But Jesus is the overcomer, and he has overcome the world. We just pray for these little guys left behind that Jesus will make a way for them to families, to parents, to intense love and attention, and to the gospel.

We did have a “party” today in Sam’s class. We took juice, a cake, cookies, and a cake, which we asked about beforehand, but then they said it was not a good time for a snack, so we just left the snacks for later and basically played with balloons for 45 minutes. It was still sweet time with Sam and his friends. Sam actually got a bit restless nad jealous after a while. We’ve never stayed with him in his class and played with him and all the otehr kids. It was a reminder to us of how difficult all this change is going to be for him and for us. But we are excited to get him here and then to get him home.

Some of you have asked about our visa situation, too. We had to pay about $205 in fines and fees, and they re-registered us. They renewed our visa immediately after, so we should be good there. We are good until June 3rd, and hopefully we’ll be home way before that.

Thanks for praying. Keep it up. We need wisdom as new parents of a two-year old. Please pray that our paperwork would be processed quickly and effeciently. Please pray that we would get home with no more problems by mid-May.

Thanks for holding us while we walk down a hard road. We are excited to be turning the page to a new chapter in it.

t-minus 3 days…

Hey everybody. The last few days with Sam have been really good. We have definitely noticed a difference in the way he is acting toward us. He seems very confident when he is with us, and we see him light up every day when we walk into the room. He has changed so much in these 7 weeks. It is almost impossible to believe the actual physical change that has taken place, along with so many other things. We just can’t overstate how much love and attention, not to mention so much prayer, has influenced little Sam’s life already. Thank you guys for being such a big part of it.

We uploaded a new video on our youtube page, It’s called Sam Clip 39 Great Walking. We titled it Great Walking because we are so excited at how much he can walk now. In our first few days with him he could only take 2-3 steps at a time, and they were usually falling toward whoever he was walking to. Now he can walk decently on his own, and he will go pick things up, walk to the couch, and even walk all the way across the room. He doesn’t just lean and fall toward people anymore. Such a change.

The video has some funny, cute stuff, but it’s also just some moms and pops giddy, proud stuff, too. It’s a little over 4 minutes. Take a gander if you have a few minutes and are dying to catch an active glimpse of Sam.

Today we went to a small town just outside of our city where Sam was born. We went to see the maternity home and the hospital where he was for the first few months of his life. It was cool. It’s weird to think about where we were and what we were doing the day Sam was born in this little place in a small town in Kazakhstan. They didn’t want us to come inside (something about being stinky Americans), but we did get some pictures of the building. It was a cool day.

I talk about this in almost every post, but we cannot get past seeing it almost everyday in our son and our whole process. The gospel is so deep and so changing. Sam is being changed by it and its effects even though he does not realize it. If you have not recently or maybe even ever considered the gospel, considered Jesus, look intently into the eyes of a little boy who is being changed by it, and consider it. It has changed us and motivated us to all of this. We’re not talking about rituals or routines or traditions. We are talking about the raw, real, overcoming gospel of Jesus. It’s good to have Jesus. And there are so many kids in the baby house that need it, too.

Our “gotcha” day is this Wednesday. That means only two more days with no Sam. Then it’s all Sam all the time, and we are very excited about it. Please pray that all of the paperwork after that will go smooth and quickly, and that we will be home soon. We love every one of you guys, and we cherish your thoughts, prayers, and comments. We read every single one of them. We don’t respond to most of them because there are a lot, but we do read every one, and they encourage us so much.

We’re glad to be walking this road with you guys. It is a privilege to have you there. Thank you.

nothing surprises us anymore

I would say the last few days have been an adventure, but the word adventure is usually thought of as good, cool things, and it brings to mind images of excitement and other goodness. I would describe the last two days like this: famous is to infamous as adventure is to…”whatever these few days have been.”

Sam = good. We’ll start with that. We can see a cool change in him. It’s hard to pinpoint, but he just seems to be learning so much, acting different, and just more grown up. He even looks different to us. We’ve had people comment on how they think he looks different, both people here and people who are looking at pictures and video. It is amazing how much love and attention can make a difference. What a necessary thing adoption is. There’s just no arguing it. There’s no arguing that it’s hard, inconvenient, and painful, either. But with those things in full view, adoption is worth it, and adoption is necesssary.

There are 10 other kids in Sam’s class who are so cute and perfect who are just waiting on something. They aren’t sure what. No one really is, but they are just waiting. We were talking yesterday about how hard it is to really get it into our heads that they live here when we see them in class. It looks like a class at church or school where the parents are at work or something. It’s hard to register that these guys aren’t going anywhere. No one is coming to pick them up. They live in this room with each other.

And then we see what a difference our love and attention is making with Sam. It breaks us that we cannot do more, and we are already thinking about how we might be able to. The bottom line is adoption is necessary. Many adoptions are necessary. There isn’t much more that can be said. If you’re thinking about it, do it. If you’re not thinking about it, read the Bible and at least think about it. God leads people to all kinds of different things, but how many people are not responding to this particular need because it’s inconvenient or unfamiliar.

Now, on to the last two days. Our visas expire on May 3rd, which is a separate story in itself, but we have to renew them in order to stay longer and finish this thing. So we went to do that yesterday. We waited a while, which is bascially normal here, you always wait. Then we got into a room with all kinds of forms taped to the wall. You have to figure out which form you need and then use your own paper to write out the form exactly right. We, along with our translator and coordinator, had to do ours 3 times, and in between each one he would look at it for like 10 minutes then come tell us it was not right. Finally the guy came out and told us exactly what to write.

Then he asked for our registration cards, which we were told we would not need. So we had to catch a cab and drive all the way across town to get them and go back. We finally turned all of that in, thinking we would find something out.

Then the guy came out to tell us that we were in violation of Kstan law because we were registered in one address and living in another. Apparently you have to register with the government and let them know where you live, which we did not know. Our coordinator had registered us at the hotel when we came into the country, but we had not been reregistered at the apartment we live in now. So the guy said that we had been living there against the law and that we would have to pay a fine and possibly not get our visas extended.

We were crushed, and our minds started racing, obviously. We didn’t know what that might mean for everything with our process. We waited a while and our coordinator tried to talk to him. Finally two policemen showed up and we were told to go with them. We asked where we were going and they said the police station. What?! So we got in their car (a regular car, not a police car, at least), and we drove to the station.

Once we got there they filled out several pages of paperwork on us and basically had us sign that we agreed we had done this. For the record, the two men were very courteous and friendly to us the entire time. They made it so much better than it could have been. 

We had to go see their boss where he explained that we would pay the minimum fine of around $85 USD. They also said that our visas would not be a problem, and that they would get extended. Finally we got home after about 7 hours of that stuff. To make it better the taxi driver on the way home gave us the business, too. Nice.

Today our coordinator was supposed to pay the fine for us and we would meet at the visa place again. After waiting there 30-45 minutes we got a call from her. They said that we would both be fined, so $85/person. And the guy she was supposed to see about our new registration was out on duty, so they won’t do it today. So we have to try it all again tomorrow. We are hoping that they were right in saying that our visas will get extended. We’ll just keep praying, and hopefully this will all be over tomorrow.

So it has been a difficult few days, sort of like most of this process, but we are still hopeful. We aren’t necessarily all that excited right now, but God is good, and it’s good to have Jesus. We got a great chance to have a very insightful and deep conversation about Jesus yesterday with our translator, and she brought it up. Several people also commented on how different we seem through all of this than most people. Who knows, maybe all of this is Jesus’ way of making a name for himself. I guess it’s possible.

“Remember my affliction and my homelessness, the wormwood and the poison.
I continually remember them and have become depressed.
Yet I call this to mind, and there fore  I have hope:

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!
I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.  

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks Him.
It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is still young.”
Lamentations 3 

As we walk this road, whatever it brings, old friends and new ones, thank you for walking it with us. It has made all the difference.

Sam’s first wipeout, a day-trip to Astana, and of course, pictures


Hello faithful. I say that because anyone who was mildly committed to the blog probably disappeared during its mysterious silence. Sorry we have been so quiet. Some questionable internet mixed with busy days are our only two decent excuses. Things have been good, though.

On Saturday we went to Astana, the capitol of Kstan, for Aaron’s birthday. We started talking about possibly doing that and how it would be nice if we had a person there to help us find our way around the city. Right about the same time an American who is a friend of a friend emailed and said that he wanted to check in on us and invited us to come to Astana sometime if we wanted to see it and get away for a day or so. So we said how abot this weekend? He and a friend of his met us at the bus station and spent the whole day showing us around Astana, taking us to eat some excellent Chinese food, treating us to Baskin Robbins, and basically making our week. We really enjoyed ourselves.

The weird part about it was that we had no idea how much we needed it until we got it. We thought we were doing just fine here in our own city, doing our own thing with the little guy. But getting to spend the day with two native English speakers who are like-minded, just talking, showing pictures, listening, it was such a refreshing time for us. We didn’t realize we missed or needed it so much, but we could tell a huge difference when we got back that night. We just didn’t realize how little we were getting that kind of time and community, and it made a big difference to us and our whole process. And it was amazing how fast we clicked with them. The body of Christ is an incredible thing. You realize your need for it and the value of it even more when you are removed from it for so long. Thank you S and S.

Charity made a little photo scavenger hunt for me to do while we were in Astana, too, so it was part of the fun. 


Sam is doing really well. He has started to utter a few more words. The funniest is bye-bye. He waves pretty regularly now and he sort of mouths and barely whispers the words, but one time he said it very loud and clear, “Bye-Bye!” We had our first spill the other day, too. And by spill I don’t mean juice. I mean Sam ate bench. We were trying to get a picture of him so we backed away for a second, and that happened to be the second he decided he wanted off the bench. He scooted forward and slid off head first into the bench across from him. Here’s how it went down:

1. Mom sets Sam down
2. Dad takes picture
3. Scoot
4. Scoot
5. Whammy Ka Blammy!
6. Silence, face in anguish
7. Still silence, this ain’t good.
8. Uncontrollable screaming!
9. Blood everywhere
10. Mom passes out
11. Dad takes off running 

(Just kdding about the last two) It was not a good parenting moment, but once we got the bleeding stopped, Sam semi-cleaned up and calmed down, and our stress levels down to “relatively high” from my “head might explode” it turned out to be a very good bonding moment. Sam learned to lean on his mom a little, and mom and dad got to hurt with him, not the first time or the last, we’re sure. Since it was such a good moment we are going to do it again tomorrow. It’s all about attachment at this point, right.

Thanks for keeping yourselves updated. Right now we have done all we can and are praying that our case would move fast through the rest of the steps. We have to get Sam’s birth certificate, passport, and US visa, and the timing on all of it just depends on work schedules, how motivated people are, holidays, etc. So please pray that the Lord would move our things through and finish this whole thing quickly.

I have been reading and thinking on Lamentations 3:19-27, and it’s very rich and reassuring right now. We want to be people who wait quietly, patiently, with hope, on the Lord. He really has been sustaining us and renewing us with his mercies every morning. Because of his faithful love we have not perished, and our spirits have not perished. 

Thank you for walking with us. We love you guys more than you know.

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