I've been doing some shopping for the trip. I bought a bunch of wooden puzzles to donate to the Baby House, some photo albums to give as gifts, some shoes for Melanie (just guessing on the size! If they don't fit, I'll donate them!) The "little" pile on her toddler bed is growing daily. Christian and I went to a bookstore today and found a lovely coffee-table book about North Carolina.
For the uninitiated, we take "token" gifts (souvenirs, mostly) to show our appreciation for all the work everyone in Kazakhstan does to complete our adoption. We give small gifts to the caregivers who took care of our children for the early years of their life. They never seem enough ...
Thought I would add a map of Kazakhstan for the geographically challenged. For the record, Uralsk (shown as the Russified Oral on this map) is where Lisa was born ... in the far northwest. Melanie is from Taldy-Korgan (not on this map) which is approximately halfway between Almaty (far southeast, and former capital) and Khorogos. Also note Kazakhstan's position vis a vis Russia and China. (Every time I get a blank stare when I mention Kazakhstan, I say, "South of Russia, West of China". That usually gets an "ooohhhh, I see..."
How do we get there? There is a flight direct from Charlotte to Frankfurt or Munich; then a direct flight from there to Almaty. Sounds easy, huh?