Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving



We all know that this time of year is for giving thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed on all of us. We gave thanks for the addition of William to our lives and we gave thanks for al of our friends and family. This entire journey would not have been possible without each and everyone of you.

William had a wonderful first Thanksgiving. He learned to say tukey and learned that it is very delicious. If he did not eat his weight in turkey I would be very surprised. We spent Thanksgiving day with our families and we hit the road on Friday to get all the great deals. Thanks to Claudia, Richard and Rebekah for watching Will that day. It would have been really challenging standing in line with him.

Saturday was a good day because we went to Riley and Morgans birthday party. Will had a great time riding in the tractor and seeing some of the country. Nathan tried to get him on the four wheeler but that wasnt happening.

Sunday we decided to get the Christmas tree out and get it put up. We did it while Will was asleep and when Amy brought him downstairs his eyes light up with wonder. We had to then say no about a million times because he wanted to touch everything. But that is how it is going to be for the next few weeks. We are really getting excited for Christmas and the rest of the holidays.

We hope that all of you are doing well and we will see you sometime between now and Christmas.

Love,

David, Amy and Will

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Update on the Hall Family












Hey Folks,

It has been quite a long time since we have posted anything here. We have been home three months now and it seems like a lifetime. I can still remember the excitement of getting off that plane and seeing our family. Well lets not reminisce too much lets talk about the now. A lot has happened since we have gotten home.

Will had a birthday on August 6th. We had cake and icecream and had a big celebration. All of his family and friends came over and we had a great time. I will post some of those pics. We have been on the go ever since. We have had a ton of baby showers and have gone and visited a lot of family. Just a few weeks ago Will took his first car trip to Tulsa Oklahoma. Terry and Amy Allen got married and we took the trip with Claudia(Me Me) and Rebekah(Ra Ra) to go see the wedding and all the family members. William was the hit of the wedding, he entertained a lot of people.

He is speaking more and more every day. Just the other day he started to say two words together for the first time. He has been a little slow on speach development but he is coming on very quickly. He has also been to see Dr. Lana twice. His last visit was last Friday and he is doing wonderfully. His head circumfrince is in the 50 percentile which is outstanding. His height and weight are in the 10 percentile. That is wonderful also. He has gained almost 5 pounds and has grown a few inches.

He is also becoming very spoiled. Just the other day he was sitting in Momas spot on the couch leaned against a pillow with a blanket over his legs, the sippy cup was laying on the blanket and he and Daddy were watching TV. Moma came over to sit on the couch with him and he started to throw a fit. She got up and he stopped crying. I guess he thinks he is now the king of the castle and must have the couch all to himself.

He has also become a very big ham and show off. Just the other day we were going into church and it was about 10 minutes before mass and the church was getting full with people and it was quiet. There were a few people talking or praying and as soon as we were in the middle of the church William blurts out HI to everyone. Amy and I both turn 15 shades of red and purple and almost everyone started waving back at him. He is the life of the party and we will probably have our hands full with that.

Alright well enough of the stories. I have lots of pictures to post and please feel free to post comments or email Amy and I about what is going on. Talk to all of you later. We are also going to try and update about once a month.

We hope everyone is doing well and we will talk soon.

David, Amy and William

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hey Everyone!!

Sorry for the long delay in posting. David, Will (Az), and I made it safely home June 18, 2007 around 5pm. We made it through customs with flying colors and were met with a cheers of joy from all of our family at the airport. These past 3 weeks have flown by. Will seems to be adjusting very well to his new home and family. He loves all the attention and can't get enough hugs or lap time. It's taking David and I a little longer to adjust to the new job of parenting. We made it to the pediatrician last friday and Will is healthy as can be.

We were so excited to get home. Memphis never looked better than on June 18th. Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers during our journey to adopt Will. We would not have made it through without your support.

With much love,
Amy, David, and Will

Monday, June 18, 2007

First Leg Done

Hello from Amsterdam!

We are very happy to be here and we are waiting as patiently as possible to get on the next plane to Memphis.

This past weekend we did a lot of walking and taking in the sights in Almaty. As you read in our last post, the flight from Pavlodar was a little rough. But the stay in Hotel Kazzhol was great. The first day in Almaty we went to the doctor and had a good checkup. Az was given good remarks from the doctor who said the he tought this was a healthy little boy.

The rest of the week was waiting on the next thing to do and basically eating. When Friday got here we found out that we had to leave the hotel because they were booked. We moved into an apartment close to Silk Way, which is a nice area for artists, musicians and shopping. My wife was in heaven.

The weekend went a little slower than we expected but we made it to Monday morning without any hitches. The first flight from Almaty to Amsterdam went really well. Az got a belly full of bananas and oatmeal and he played really well. He also took about a 2 hour nap which helped mom and dad a bunch.

We grabed some snacks in the airport and now they are calling us for the security check to go to the next station. We are looking forward to coming down the terminal in Memphis and seeing all our family and friends.

After we get home and setteled I will do another post to wrap up our trip.

Thanks to everyone who has followed along and kept up the great prayers for us.

Sincerely,

David, Amy and Will

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hanging out in Hotel Kazzhol

Well we made it into Almaty after a very rough 2 hour flight. Az would not close his eyes and go to sleep. We left Pavlodar at 11:00 pm and an hour before that we gave him a dose of Benedryl. We just knew that everything would be fine because he would go to sleep. Well we were wrong. The screaming and whinning was so bad one of the passengers with a 3 year old girl came up to meet our whinny baby. She was very nice and did help calm whiny but down. At the very end of the flight the pilot turned the lights off and he settled down and fell asleep with a sucker, “Chupa Chup” in his mouth. Thanks to Kim for the suggestion.

Once we got to the hotel he was fast asleep and does not remember coming in or riding on the elevator. Nickoli our driver told us that he would pick us up at 9:15 to go to the doctor, a very short 7 hours away from the time we got to the hotel.

Az woke up around 7:30 and was ready for breakfast. We got dressed and went downstairs to the café for a buffet style breakfast. Breakfast is included with your stay. The food was pretty good. We had a mix of scrambled eggs, bananas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a variety of breads. After breakfast we went back to our room and got ready to meet Nickoli in the lobby so that we could go to the doctor.

After about a 15 minute ride we made it to the SOS International Clinic. This medical exam is required by the US embassy. When we walked into the waiting area there was a little girl and her parents, who thankfully spoke English (they might have been American but we weren’t sure). She was there for a checkup and shots. Finally, it was Az’s turn. The nurses weighed him and checked his height. As of June 12, 07 he is 21.8 pounds and is 81 cm. Next, he had to have some blood drawn for an AIDS test. He was very brave. He didn’t make a sound. Finally, the doctor examined him. He thought that Az was very healthy and that we shouldn’t worry.

After the doctor’s visit, we had to go a get some more pictures made of Az for the embassy. Apparently the ones made in Pavlodar were not sufficient. We were then dropped off at the hotel and told that Oleg would be here in about 45 minutes to fill out the paperwork for the embassy. We waited for about an hour and ½ but no Oleg. Az was getting very fussy because he was starving. The only place that we could go was the hotel café because we didn’t want to miss Oleg. Our lunch was nice. We had a variety of breads. One had dill and onions baked into them and the other had poppy seeds. Az had a soup with meatballs and potatoes and Amy and I shared some pasta with tomato sauce and parm cheese. Near the end of lunch Oleg finally showed up to fill out paperwork. Oleg thinks that we will have our exit interview on Friday. While Amy filled out the paperwork I kept Az busy, but he was getting sleepy. We finally made it back to the room for a long overdue nap. Az went down pretty easy with only a couple minutes of crying since he was soooo sleepy. Amy and I also got a nap. We all slept for about 2 and ½ hours.

Because we had not been taken to a grocery store to buy some necessities, we decided to explore Almaty and try to find a supermarket. The receptionist gave us directions to a large shopping center called the Silky Way. We made our way to the destination and found a very nice area like Main Street in Memphis. There were stores lining both sides and there were vendors selling all kinds of things on the street. This was nice to see but it was not what we were looking for. While we were looking around we ran into the couple that we met at the doctor’s office that morning. We talked with them for a few minutes this morning and their child was there for shots and a checkup. We just happened to run into them on the street and they directed us to a grocery store on the other side of this area. We thanked them for their help and took off for the store. Unfortunately, we did not find it but we were glad for the advice.

We decided to head back to the hotel and try to find a small convienent store. Luckily Amy and I remembered a store that we went into in December. It was a tiny store but it had what we needed. We were able to pick up some water, apple juice, milk, bread, crackers, and yogurt. At least we now had some snacks for Az if he got hungry. We got back to the hotel and went downstairs for dinner. Amy had a chicken casserole and I had some steak with onions, bell peppers, potatoes, and squash. They called it Meat on Texas. It was ok, but nothing like home. After dinner we made it back to our room to settle down for the evening. Our first day here ended with all of us glad for bedtime and we all went fast asleep.

Day 2 in Almaty went a lot smoother that the first. We did not have any meetings or appointments. We woke up and had breakfast in the café. Then we wanted to try to find a grocery store. Since it was a fresh set of receptionists, I went to ask if they knew where a grocery store was located. She told us of a place about 3 blocks away. We struck out and were able to find what we were looking for. We were so thankful for the directions. It has everything that we could possibly need for the rest of the stay. We got lunch there instead of eating at the hotel café and picked up some diapers and fruit. It will be nice not to have to eat at the hotel café for every meal. We made it back to the hotel with goodies in hand and Az had some lunch. We bought him a hot dog in a roll. He devoured it along with some strawberry yogurt. Amy and I just snacked on some bread since we had such a big breakfast.

After lunch Az played around the room with his toys and us. We were able to get him down for a nap pretty easily. I had an idea to put him in the stroller, lock the back wheels, and lean it back on a chair. He went fast asleep without any tears. It was so nice although he didn’t last long in the stroller. He started to wake up and I moved him to the crib where he cried for several minutes but then fell fast asleep. We plan on exploring some more of Almaty this afternoon and having dinner in our hotel room.

Thursday will be the same as Wednesday. We hope to explore more and take some pictures of the area. We hope everyone is doing well at home and know that we are only 5 days away from being home.

If you have any suggestions about flying with a toddler please feel free to help out. The doctor suggested trying the Benedryl again, although it didn’t seem to work on the first trip. Az fought sleep the entire trip until the very end. Any advice will be great.

Look forward to seeing everyone.
Love, David, Amy, and Az

Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Flying to Almaty Day!!!!!!

What a terrific day!!! We are flying to Almaty tonight around 11pm and we can't wait. This is a huge step to coming home. We are not sure if we are staying in a hotel or an apartment while we are in Almaty, so the frequency of our posts may decrease. We are not sure how much internet access we will have.

Today was really good. We woke up around 7:30 and had oatmeal for breakfast. Az seems to like everything that we put on his plate. After breakfast was bathtime. Az does well in the big tub. He loves to splash in the water. We got dressed and I had to run to the store to pick up some water and coke to get us through the day. Az and I had noodle soup and Amy had her usual can of pinneapple. After lunch, Svetlana, Lena, and Tanya stopped by to say goodbye and bring us the important paperwork that we needed for the embassy. Svetlana also came bearing good news. Az's passport was on its way to Astana and she was going to be working on the exit visa paperwork. We also have to wait on Az to be registered in the Consulate in Astana (thank goodness we don't have to go there, we have representatives that will take care of this for us).

When we get to Almaty, we have to take Az to the doctor for a brief medical exam. After Az is officially registered in the consulate we can have our exit interview and make our way home, which we can't wait to do. We hope that the flight to Almaty goes smoothly and are ready for a change of scenery.

After everyone left, we decided to walk to the TSUM and exchange some money and then took our last walk to the park. For dinner, we finished up anything that we had in the pantry and frig. It ended up being a veggie dinner including green beans, corn, kidney beans, and potato dumplings. This meal is probably the closest we have to something from home. We are so ready for some American food, we can almost taste On the Border.

Well we have about 1 hour before Tanya is going to pick us up for the airport. We have everything ready to roll and are trying to rest a little bit.

Hope everyone is doing well. Can't wait to see everyone.

Love, David, Amy, and Az

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Saturday, June 9, 2007








1st full Day as a Family of Three

Amy and I woke up around our usual 7 am and to our surprise Az was still snoozing away. He slept the entire night and didn’t wake up until around 8:30 am. After Az woke up, Amy changed him and we decided to fix some breakfast. Az had a scrambled egg, a piece of cheese toast, and milk. He enjoyed all of it. There has not been one thing he hasn’t eaten. Yesterday he had a banana and 2 cracker sticks for snack and beans, rice, and half a hamburger patty for dinner. He does really well feeding himself. We try to make sure that he only puts one bit of food in his mouth at a time. It seems that sometimes he sucks food down whole. Also thank goodness for the stroller that we brought. It has been a life saver. He uses it as his seat for meals. We push it up to the glass coffee table in front of the couch, which makes a great dinner table.

After breakfast we played around the house for a while then decided to take a walk around the WWII memorial park. We struck out around 10:30 am. Az walked for a while through the park, but then wanted to ride for a bit. We walked through the rest of the park and down to the water fountains. He liked watching the water shooting out of the spouts. He has also discovered that he can push the stroller. After strolling for a bit more we walked back to the apartment to get ready for some lunch. I had a grilled cheese sandwich while Amy and Az had green beans, potato dumplings, broccoli, and bread. Yes, he ate all of his veggies even the broccoli. After lunch we actually got Az to take a nap although it took about 30 minutes for him to settle down. I think the “happy feet” soundtrack will be a naptime and night time ritual. He finally fell asleep watching the shapes and colors of the screen and listening to the music.

Az woke up about 3:20 pm from about an hour and a half nap. He was ready to play and loved to bang empty coke and water bottles on anything that he could reach. He also likes to look out the window and press his face against the glass. Amy even got Az to start blowing kisses. I even think we got it on film. We had a good spaghetti dinner except that when it was gone Az started to get upset. We took an after dinner stroll down to the river for a few pictures and fresh air. Az did not feel like walking so he rode in the stroller while enjoying the wonderful weather. It was sunny and between 65-70 degrees. It was great weather for a walk in the park. We made it home around 8pm and let Az play for about an hour. During our playtime Az started giving us kisses for the first time. It was great. Then it was bed time, a time that Az does not like. We again played “happy feet.” Az fussed and cried for only about 5-10 minutes, which is much better than the naptime and last night. At least we have found something for the meantime that works. Maybe tomorrow’s fussiness will be even shorter. Amy and I finished the rest of the evening with “The Daily Show” on CNN.

We are now two days closer to flying to Almaty and can’t wait for a change of scenery. Nothing is on the schedule for tomorrow except pancake Sunday and a walk to the park. Who knows what Az will do tomorrow?

Hope everyone is doing great and we can’t wait to get home to visit with everyone. Have a great weekend and we will talk to you all soon.

Love, David, Amy, and Az

Friday, June 8, 2007








GOTCHA DAY!!!!!!

What an exciting morning? This day has finally arrived. It feels like we have been waiting for an eternity. God has truly blessed us. Today is the big day of bringing Az home from the baby house. Surprisingly we were able to sleep last night. We got up around 7 am and Amy excrcised while I talked with some family. After breakfast, we got everything ready to go. We were ready to go about 30 minutes early. They picked us up around 9:50 am and we headed on our errands. We had several places to stop before making our way to the baby house. First we had to exchange some money and then we went to buy our plane tickets to Almaty for Monday night at 11pm. We were excited to get these because it is one step closer to making the final trip home. After purchasing the tickets, we needed to buy some champagne and a Pavlodarian newspaper for Az’s baby/scrapbook. Next, we headed off for Krindles the local bakery for several cakes. We have heard that it is tradition to have champagne and cake when a baby is born. After we had bought the supplies and tickets we went to pick up Svetlana and Nina. Finally we were on our way to the baby house by 11am. When we got to the baby house we dropped off one cake, bottle of champagne, and a gift for the Director. Then we dropped off the same with the doctors. Finally we went to Az’s room to pick him up.

When we made it up the stairs and into his room, all the children we finishing up with the bathroom and about to sit down for lunch. Az came out of the bathroom and headed straight for Amy’s arms. Az did not want to sit down in his chair for lunch. He wanted to stay in mom’s arms. The caregiver finally took Az and got him seated for lunch. He had a pretty big lunch which included a piece of black bread, a bowl of cabbage soup, and a bowl of mashed potatoes, meat, and beets. We were amazed at how well the kids fed themselves. Only a few needed help with the spoons. After lunch, Amy took him into the bathroom and got his clothes changed. He looked cute in his plaid shirt, khaki pants, and crocs. We then headed down to the Director’s office where Svetlana and Nina were waiting for us. When we got to the director’s office Nina wanted to hold Az. She reached for him several times, but he wanted nothing to do with her. He even started to get upset because of her persistence. Then they wanted pictures with Amy and Az. We got one shot and that was it. Az was not into picture time. He was pretty upset by this time and got even more upset when we got into the van to come home. He cried almost the entire ride home. Hopefully with practice he will come to like riding in cars.

We finally made it back to the apartment and Az was great. We stripped him down to a t-shirt and diaper. He played around the apartment for awhile. According to his schedule he was supposed to take a nap between 1-3 pm. Amy and I tried to put him down for a nap but he refused. There is a small playpen but it is a bit small for Az and he wouldn’t lay in the bed. We tried for about an hour and then decided we wouldn’t force the issue. While Amy played with him, I ran to the grocery to pick a few things up and then made it back to the apartment to play some with Az. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening playing with his trucks, singing elmo, and empty coke bottles. We got to talk with all the family and Az even said a couple of words/sounds. It is amazing how well he is doing. He is talking, babbling, and repeating us more than ever. He is even saying “tickle, tickle, tickle.” Amy and I love to tickle Azamat and we always say that phrase. I started to tickle Amy’s foot and Az did the same thing. He even puts up his feet for you to tickle (Rebekah does this sound familiar, we will now have to do tickle feet with Az) and he will tickle his own feet. It’s really cute and we have been trying to get it on film but everytime the camera comes out he refuses to do it.

After playing for a while and having dinner Amy gave Az a bath and got him into his pjs. We settled down on the couch and watched a bit of CNN and then around 8:30 we decided to try to put Az to bed. We knew he was tired because he had no nap. We put him in the playpen and turned on the soundtrack to “Happy Feet.” He was fussy at first and didn’t want to go to sleep but then he started watching the shapes and colors on the computer screen and it lulled him to sleep. Amy and I felt that we had finally accomplished something. Hopefully he will sleep through the night. Amy and I sat up for a bit longer and then headed for bed ourselves. Only time will tell if Az sleeps through the night. Talk to everyone soon.

Love, David, Amy, and Azamat