Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Adoption Day Isabelle!

It's hard to believe that three years ago today (April 23rd - blogger's wrong on the publishing date) I stepped off the plane in Seattle with a 10 1/2-month-old wide awake baby named Isabelle Zamira and our little family was born. There are so many milestones and important dates in an adoption from Kazakhstan that we could really be celebrating for months. Should we celebrate the day we first met Isabelle, the day we officially became her parents after appearing before the judge in Ust-Kamenogorsk, the day I was finally able to take her out of the baby house or the day we re-adopted her here in the States? We decided that the first day we were all together as a family, home after spending six weeks in Kazakhstan would be Isabelle's Adoption Day.

I don't want to brag (okay, I do a little) but she is the most amazing, wonderful child ever and we are so lucky to have her! She is silly and funny, smart and beautiful, kind and helpful. Isabelle is also showing us what a fantastic big sister she is by being so patient and gentle with Madeleine.

We reserve Isabelle's adoption day just for our little family and usually just take the day to do something fun together like go to the zoo or the Children's Museum. This year was a little different though since we're still trying to keep things low-key for Madeleine. So, I resorted to presents and cake. Never a bad combination! I also got out some little items I'd been saving for Isabelle that I bought while I was in Kazakhstan. Some of these she'd seen before but the children's books were new to her. They're written in Cyrillic but Isabelle doesn't mind if I just make up a story to go with the pictures. While we were in Kazakhstan we tried to buy things that we could give Isabelle as she grows up. I know we're going to run out of items at some point but I think we've got at least a few adoption days left before this happens.

The Matryoshka doll was a big hit.

Nothing says "so glad you're in our family" like Barbie.
Her first Barbie doll - a moment of excitement, a lifetime of esteem issues. :)

On Isabelle's first adoption day I put together this video of our first year together. If I was really on top of things she'd have one for every year but sadly, I haven't gotten around to this. In my defense, I'm a blogger now so I'm pretty sure I've chronicled most everything. Watching this video again really makes me miss Kazakhstan. For all you Ethiopia families out there - it's sooo different! In Kazakhstan you spend two weeks bonding with your child, visiting two times a day. After that you wait for a court hearing and have to appear before the judge and read a letter about why you're adopting and what you will teach your child about their country of birth. After you're granted custody you wait and visit some more while your paperwork is being processed. Finally, you get to take your child out of the orphanage - but it's still not time to go home. You then fly to Almaty (the former capital) and spend another couple weeks waiting for medical appointments and processing through the U.S. embassy. The process is extensive and daunting but so worth it in the end.

I'm not one to quote from the Bible but I think Isaiah 43:6 applies to us. "Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-" We really have traveled to the ends of the earth to make our family and it's been the best experience of our lives. Enjoy Isabelle when she was just a wee one!


Rachel said...

Yeah Isabelle! Yeah Mommy and Daddy--you really did go to the ends of the earth to build your family! I'm so glad that you are finally a family of four.

Liam liked Isabelle's movie too!

Eastiopians said...

Happy Adoption Day/Week sweet Isabelle!

I loved the pictures and the video. Thank you so much for sharing that. When I see a video like that it rejuvinates my love and excitement for adoption, and just makes me soooo thankful to be adopting. Isabelle is such a joy and she just lights up your life.

We also became a family in March 2006 when my daughter was born. And I can't wait to bring her sister home from Ethiopia!

Do you think you all will adopt again? I sure hope that we can.


Adrienne said...

Happy Adoption Day!
I did not realise until I saw the video that Isabelle was from Ust-Kamenogorsk! We adopted our second Kazakh cutie from Ust at the end of 2006 and met with Sandy & Frank there....

Congratulations on your two beautiful daughters....

Kind Regards
Adrienne.... adopted Elena , Taraz, Kaz in 2003 and Alex, Ust-K in 2006

jenbaum said...

Oh Aubrey! You have every right to brag about what a beautiful, sweet, radiant daughter you have in Isabelle! And, hopefully, she will brag about how lucky she is to have such wonderful parents one day real soon - I assume it will start in preschool, and if I am remembering correctly, that is in the fall. :) You constantly amaze me, Aubrey! Hope all is well!

Sandy said...

What a bright-eyed, button-nosed little beauty you got - God is amazing...I got all emotional just seeing your beautiful video. Reminded me so much of all the feelings leading up to meeting our daughter as well. May God continue to bless beautiful Isabelle.

What an amazing month you have had!

Your's truly

Frank, Sandy (writing) and Caroline

shauna said...

That was great... I loved the video. It makes me excited for establishing traditions too... Thanks for sharing.