Saturday, December 8, 2007


The purpose of this blog was to chronicle my story of adoption. I thought it was important to have this source of contact with family and friends while I was in Kazakhstan. I thought it was important for me personally to be able to journal my feelings and experiences. I also felt it would be important for Noah to one day be able to read this story. I will be having it printed into a book that he can keep and cherish and even one day be able to share it with his own children.

I have to decided to end my story ... "A Mother's Journey to Kazakhstan" and to concentrate now on my task at hand ... loving, nurturing, and raising Noah to be all God would have him to be. I have always said, "a picture speaks a thousand words," so I have put together a video montage accompanied by a beautiful and appropriate song called "Amazing." While there is no way I can find the words myself to adequately bring this blog to an end ... I believe the pictures and the song will say it all. Click on the link below and enjoy.

View this montage created at One True Media
A Mother's Journey to Kazakhstan

Noah ... I love you my little man. This is for you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Noah meets his Grandfather and Uncle Mack!

Saturday morning ... 4:00 a.m. to be exact, Noah and I woke up and prepared to drive to Birmingham, Alabama. My neice, Alison, lives there with her family. Her son, Henry, was celebrating his 2nd birthday! It was a HUGE day for us as Noah would get to meet his grandfather, oldest uncle, and a few cousins!!

My father had the biggest smile I have seen on his face in years! As Mack and my Dad approached Noah for the first time, Mack exclaimed, "Jayne ... HE IS BEAUTIFUL!" and then again ... "Oh my God ... he is beautiful!" Dad and Mack were wonderful with Noah today as were my neice and her husband, Martin ... and Noah's cousins, Greta and Henry. There were other longtime friends of our family also there.

What did today mean? It was our very first feeling of ... family ... and boy, did it feel good!!! We received such an affirmation from my immediate and extended family ... that of an open armed welcome and genuine LOVE, EXCITEMENT and ACCEPTANCE.

Mack is convinced Noah must have the blood of Genghis Khan ... that of a great warrior! Mack loves the name Ramazan and got a kick out of calling Noah that.

My Dad called me when he had returned home to MS tonight and said, "This is my opinion of Noah ... he is CALM, COOL, AND COLLECTED and he will break the heart of many ladies." Dad also said, "Thank you Jayne ... for a day from which wonderful memories are made."

Friday, November 30, 2007

North Forsyth High School Greets Noah!

Friday ... three days after our long journey home ... we went to my high school so that I could introduce Noah to THE GREATEST STAFF OF TEACHERS IN THE WORLD! We made the rounds for over two hours and the warmth and love given to Noah was indescribable. In the workroom between mine and Anita's room, I saw a poster where Anita has written beautifully ... "Bible Verses for Jayne and Noah." Below it were Bible verses given to her by different teachers ... the verse, location, and the teacher's name. Just amazing.

I'm including pictures taken that day. Noah was dressed in his University of Georgia warm-up suit ... as he knew that would be a crowd pleaser!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Noah is an excellent traveler! He only had one five minute meltdown out of 16 hours in 2 different planes. I would like to make note that once we boarded the first plane, he fell fast asleep and slept for a good 2 hours. I didn't want to wake him, and as a result ... his clothes got soaked with pee. Geez! Soooo, I took his only change of clothes to the airplane bathroom with me ... pulled down the baby changing station in those tight quarters ... and proceeded to do damage control. Strange thing ... I was thinking at the time ... Noah ... NOW is NOT the occasion to spray me the "first time." What did he do? I saw an extra dribble that shouldn't have been there ... I grabbed the baby wipe and before I could cover him ... you're right ... liquid warmth all over my hand and arm ... his only change of clothes ... and off course the airplane bathroom. Then I grabbed the clean diaper and covered him ... waiting for him to finish his "business." I then looked at him and he grinned from ear to ear and I just shook my head.

Needless to say, his only change of clothes smelled questionable the remaining trip as did his mother ... who had no change of clothes and later also acquired two baby vomits to go with the pee! Just lovely, can I say?

The trip home was exhausting ... a tiredness I've never known before ... down to the bone. Shannon, Derick, and Asher shared the first 6 hour leg to Frankfurt with Joanie and Hayden and me and Noah. When I said good-bye to Shannon and Derick and Asher in Frankfurt, I broke down. I fell apart emotionally ... I sobbed as I held them and told them I loved them. And it was as if Asher knew he was saying good-bye to his "brother" ... playmate ... friend ... as he took Noah's hand more than once and stared into Noah's eyes and Noah his. We watched in disbelief at what we were witnessing. There was not a dry eye.

After boarding the plane, I continued to cry as I realized a huge part of my support system for 5 weeks was gone, in a sense. I want to say it clearly ... I LOVE SHANNON, DERICK, AND ASHER and I will always hold dear the companionship we shared and the sense of "family" they gave me while in Kazkahstan.

Arrival in Atlanta was surreal. Did I kiss the ground? NO ... if I had, I would not have had the energy to get back up. After going through passport control and customs, we took the long escalator to our waiting friends. There was Crystal armed with "Welcome Home" balloons!! Joanie's mother (fighting back the tears) and friend, Marci, were there!

We arrived home to a wonderful surprise! My friends, Crystal, Nancy, and Lisa had worked all weekend in my yard ... doing winter cleaning, planting pansies, etc., etc., etc!! They also put up ALL my Christmas decorations and had a steak dinner, baked potato, salad, and wine waiting for me! Of course ... Master Noah ... was top priority as he entered his home for the very first time!

I gave Noah his first bath in his new abode.

Crystal gave him his bottle and he then went FAST ASLEEP in his new room! I then enjoyed time with my friends ... and what friends they are! They spent hours upon hours at my house working to make sure that our homecoming was extra special! They also took our homecoming pictures which I am so happy to have to share on my blog site. How do I repay such kindness? At one of the greatest moments of Noah's and my life ... they were there ... recognizing the importance ... and making sure it was a night to remember.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thank you, God!

Today was all about the "finish."

The interview at the US Embassy was basically a "Congratulations ... all your papers are correct and in order." I'm including a picture of Noah's Kazakhstan passport and a picture of his visa to enter the US. Also pictured is a sealed envelope given to me by the Embassy with the instruction "Do Not Open. Give it to the US Custom's Office when you arrive." I also got instructions on how to apply for Noah's Social Security Card and a blue packet of all of the original court documents from Semey. All of us held these documents tight to our chest, pumped our fists in the air, and yelled YES!!

Back at the hotel, we met with Marina, the coordinator and Kate, the interpreter. We paid our final fees, exchanged gifts, and said our good-byes. At 1:30 a.m., Sam, our driver, will be here at the hotel to pick us all up.

Noah is in his crib fast asleep. He has no idea the long day we have ahead of us. Leaving the hotel at 1:30 a.m ... I estimate we will not step foot into my house for about another 24 hours. That's okay though. We've made it this far!

The title of my blog is "A Mother's Journey to Kazakhstan." My journey to adopt began over two years ago and during this time, I've had my faith tested, my heart broken, and I lost my mother. I read the book Hinds Feet For High Places and it made me understand that sometimes God doesn't take us straight up the mountain. He may have us take the long road there ... through a desert, down into a valley, or into a frightening, unknown place. There are lessons about faith, about hope, and most importantly ... about love that I have learned on this journey that I might never have learned had I easily strode to this mountain top.

I'm here ... humbled, wiser, more faithful ... and with a heart that has changed. God has prepared me as only he can ... so that when I hold Noah in my arms, I feel inside me ... the wide open heart of a mother.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Full day of fun!

Would you have your little finger cut off to save the life of your dog? How about your forearm? Would you boil a hotdog in water, save the water with hotdog juices in the refrigerator until it gelled a little and then drink it for $200? Would you live in Semey, Kazakhstan for a year for $1,000,000? Would you kill your dog for $50,000? (Derick gets credit for that sick question ... actually, I think Derick came up with all of them!) Yes, these are just a few of the questions that went around the breakfast table this morning! Can you tell it's time for us to come home? Ha!

It was a GREAT day today! Joanie and Hayden, Rebecca, and Noah and I left the hotel today to explore! We were gone for a total of SIX HOURS on foot.

We went back to the colorful Svyato-Voznesensky Cathedral … the Russian Orthodox Church. It was designed by A.P. Zenkov in 1904 and even while built entirely of wood … NO NAILS were used in its construction. It survived the infamous 1911 earthquake and so is one of the few pre-Soviet buildings in the city.

Nearby we visited the giant war memorial which has an eternal flame. There was a “memorial lane” with engraved stone pedestals commemorating the soldiers. The HUGE statues and stone pedestals were beyond description as far as I’m concerned and I was absolutely blown away by this memorial. I’m only including pictures of the eternal flame.

Next, we walked to the “AMERICAN BAR AND GRILL.” Here is a picture of the sign and a picture of Noah’s first ever french fry! There are certain foods I have been craving and one was a hamburger … so I actually had my first one in 5 weeks and it was so good!! Between every chew, I was moaning mmm … mmmmmm …mmmmmm!

We then found the amazing Tsum Mall. We were told that on the 3rd floor there were great Kazakhstan souvenirs. Well, they were right … almost the entire floor was dedicated to Kazkahstan memorabilia. I spent ALL my tenge and at the end of our spree, the stores began accepting my American money! My prize purchase was a commemorative coin for Noah. It cost a pretty penny but I think it will be something nice for him to cherish one day.

After this loooong hike back to the hotel, the “crew” all gathered in my hotel room. We are all on the same hall and Joanie and Rebecca are right across the hall … which is why we all laughed agreeing that we feel like we are back in college and hanging out in our dorm rooms … except with babies now! We laugh alot and it's this laughter that has helped us get through some difficult days. While hanging out ... we showed Derick and Shannon our purchases, let the kids play together, talked about plans for the next day …and of course we discussed our all important embassy appointment tomorrow!

After a full day of adventure, Noah was one exhausted little boy!

Tomorrow will be our last day in Kazakhstan. It’s really hard to believe.