Monday, September 05, 2005

ADOPTION SAGA: Dessie comes through

My wife has made it home, Max safely in tow, with flying colors. For two days we and the six kids we started the summer with, have all been together, for the first time since Sean went off to West Virginia to visit his grandparents, back at the beginning of June. Man, has that ever been nice. Anyway, Dessie's now getting over the jet lag, and I've headed back in Houston to go to work and start trying to make up for lost time and income from August.

Let me stop to say that before Dessie left, she had arranged for young Larisa to get the $400 she needed to be able to enroll in school, and you guys who support CCCP have also come up with the rest of the $800 she needed for the full semester's tuition. We delivered to Lyena-from-Asyem the $300 that had been sent to her by an American family, and the $200 that were meant for the Zharka youth house in which Lyena lives, is I believe going to be used to set up the English classes that the girls have been begging for, assuming we can come to terms with the young lady we want to hire as the English teacher. Maryam says that she has a place to stay, and friends to help her take care of her baby; and Dessie put about $150 into the purchasing of cribs, etc., which we'll either raise retroactively through CCCP or else pay for out of our own pockets. Finally, Dessie and Rada went apartment-shopping for the new little satellite youth house, and while they didn't make a final choice, Dessie is convinced that Rada knows exactly what's required, and we can place the negotiations completely in Rada's capable and trustworthy hands. We're close to being able to pay for the apartment itself, but we're figuring that for an apartment in our price range, we'll probably have to settle for a fixer-upper and put another few hundred dollars into new plumbing, etc. Dessie will have to take stock of the donations that came in for the youth house while we were out of the country and give us a status report on where that stands.

But all in all, the direst needs seem to be covered, or within shouting range of being covered, at least temporarily.

Back to our own family, now:

Dessie brought back presents for the kids, and a present for me, and a present to her from our Zhenya. (I'm very jealous because she got to see the graduates again after I left.) I very much liked the hats she got for Merry and Sally; but my two favorite presents were the present for me, and Zhenya's present to Dessie.

For me, Dessie found an immense bag of MacКофе ("MacCóife") packets, maybe two or three hundred of them. As somebody who likes his coffee and is picky about it but has, shall we say, very nonstandard and plebian tastes, I love the premixed MacКофе combination of coffee, sugar and dehydrated cream, which you can buy everywhere in Kazakhstan in the little kiosks, or in the little neighborhood stores, or on railway platforms from vendors who roused themselves out of bed in order to meet your train and peddle their wares during your five-minute stop at two in the morning. Jessica and Jennifer knew that I was careful to make sure we always had an adequate supply of MacКофе in the apartment, and they had derived educational value from its presence. For one thing, I had decreed that Jessica could have as much as she wants since she's (physically) an adult, but that Jennifer was limited to one in the morning and one in the evening. They found this difference in rules surprising and amusing. For another, their new mom had shocked them by having her MacКофе over ice, an innovation theretofore unheard of in our girls' circles. At any rate, Dessie says that Jess and Jenny were tickled pink when the three of them found that enormous bag of MacКофе for me.

My very favorite present was Zhenya's, partly because Zhenya has so little money that she has to put a lot of thought into her presents. Dessie handed me a little box and said, "This is what Zhenya gave me." I looked at the box and saw on the top flap the word ты (ti = you). I opened the box, and inside it was another box, with the word всегда (fsegda = always). And inside that box, of course, was another, and another, until I had read the sentence all the way through <<Ты всегда в моём...>> ("You're always in my..."). And when I opened the last box, there was an elegant little stone heart.

I'm working my way through the more than 700 unread e-mails that awaited me, building up lists of things I didn't get done so that I can get back to doing them. For example, there were questions I forgot to ask Zhunara Zhumobayevna; so I need to call her back and ask them. And several parents had asked me for advice on various things, or had asked me to ask Marina about stuff that I never asked her because I left before I got back from vacation, etc. So if you're in that hopper, please be patient.

Thanks again for all you guys' support, especially the prayers. All that's left is to make it through the paying of bills and the purchasing of one more set of tickets (one round-trip and two one-way between Austin and Almaty), despite having generated several thousand dollars' less income over the last month than I expected to generate. One more trip to Kaz to fetch the girls and bring them home, and maybe as early as this time next month I'll have my whole family all in one place. Then maybe in another four or five years I'll be out of debt... ;-)

Life is good, isn't it?


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