The Trip and Home

November 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm 7 comments

Monday, November 17th, 2008: Day 3 at Home

Thanks so much for the well wishes from all. The support from family and friends and those who have “popped-in” with comments on the Blog have kept me going over this entire process. I can’t express my gratitude enough! Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

It is now 4:25 a.m. and Kairat and I, along with Kineo our dog, are enjoying some quality early morning time together. Jet lag has turned its ugly eye upon the both of us. My excellent sleeper is now having problems resting throughout the night and is completely comatose during his daytime naps. Think about it; it is now 5:30 p.m. in his little body’s time clock and instead of an early breakfast, he is gearing up for dinner. I can’t say that I blame him. His 2 a.m. waking coincide directly with my thoughts of, “I wish I could just fall back asleep.” This morning he was WIDE AWAKE at 3 a.m. and everything I tried was not going to convince his internal clock that he should be going back to bed. I’m sure it will take a week or so to work this out so for now, I’ll just be tired.

The week in Almaty and the trip home is really what disrupted his wonderful sleeping pattern established back in Kostanai. During our hotel stay afternoon naps were interrupted by sporadic appointments so evening hours were unbearable, but he did still sleep throughout the night. The trip was what really messed up any pattern familiarity.

41796Kairat was woken at 1 a.m. on November 14th, Almaty time, in order to get to the airport for our flight. [Our hotel on the left.] We and another family with the same itinerary were promptly picked up from the hotel at 1:15 a.m. After checking our bags through, we headed to the Lufthansa waiting terminal where we visited with our new friends who would be returning for their court date sometime in December. While there Kairat took a very short nap while being held in the Ergo carrier.

Our flight left promptly at 4:20 a.m. and, overall, went well. Because I decided to purchase a lap-seat I41915 had made reservations for the bulkhead area where they able to attach a baby bassinette to the wall in front of the seat. The flight was not full so we had two full adult seats with an attached baby bed. Very nice! We were also one step away from the lavatory, which came in very handy with a child. I have to check and see what type of plane we had because the seats and the leg areas were very roomy. It actually was a very comfortable flight. Kairat had no problems with take-off or landings and slept in the bassinette for the first three or so hours from Almaty to Frankfurt.

41925While not sleeping, he was sure to charm the stewardesses as well as a gentleman sitting across the isle with his stares, smiles, and chatting. Not realizing it until near the end of the flight, we were seated in the same row as another woman and her newly adopted son. They were traveling home to Paris and, although we had interacted and talked a little during the flight, it wasn’t until almost the end that it was discovered we were both new moms. 41935

Having a toddler as a traveling companion is certainly much more challenging than a 9 month old who is easily entertained with objects such as a paper cup, plastic spoon, and anyone walking by to use the bathroom. The other new mom certainly had her hands full with a fussy little guy who wanted to move around every waking moment.

Once in Frankfurt, we found the couple we started our journey with earlier and spent our morning? afternoon? sitting at the McDonald’s Café taking turns walking around the airport while the others watched carry on luggage intermixed with learning more about each other and our adoption processes. They were also wonderful baby assistants as they held and played with my little guy when I needed to take a short break. It was a long but pleasant six-hour layover. Once again, Kairat had only a short nap in the Ergo as there was just too much going on in the airport terminal for his curious mind to rest.

The last leg of our journey was a little more difficult. A crowded 747 with less legroom (even with a bulkhead seat) and more crying children proved to be exhausting for everyone. The hour-long delay on the tarmac didn’t help, either. Because he was so overtired, Kairat screamed for the first 5 or 10 minutes just before take-off. Rocking him the best I could, he finally fell asleep and I plopped him in his little bassinette where he stayed for the next five hours. Yes, he slept through most of the entire flight.

The company of a very nice gentleman who happened to work for Hasbro helped the passing of my time. We spent the trip talking about our families, children, traveling, and the ins and outs of daily life. He was great company and very helpful and patient with Kairat. I’m sure he is a wonderful dad, himself.

Our trip was very long but bearable. However, if I hadn’t had the bulkhead with the bassinette seat I may have lost my mind. I’m not one to sit for extended periods of time so any flight is difficult for me. To spend so many hours in an airplane on my butt is torture enough. With an almost 19 lb kid on my lap the entire time would have been unbearable. If I couldn’t have reserved the bulkhead seat I definitely would have purchased and additional ticket for my child.

Here’s the breakdown:
4.5 hours- Checking out of the hotel, going to the airport, and catching our flight.
7.5 hours- Flight from Almaty to Frankfurt.
6 hours- Layover in Frankfurt airport.
1 hour- Hanging out on the runway in Frankfurt.
7 hours- Flight to Boston
2 hours- Drive from Boston to Freeport
29 hours= Total Traveling Time to Get Home

41939Customs and registering Kairat at the Passport Control in Boston419371 went quickly and we were soon out the gate and in the arms of Pa-pa. Ahh…what a feeling. I missed Doug so much I can’t describe it. Seeing him was just, well, wonderful.

Both Kairat and I slept most of the way home, arriving in Freeport around 7 p.m. Maine time. Our bed never felt so comfortable and Kairat settled into his new crib quickly, until around 2 a.m.

Jet lag is tough but it must be even tougher on a 9 month old. I’ve been waking up at around 2 a.m. every night unable to fall back to sleep and so has Kairat. Although he is ready for bed at his typical time of around 7:30 p.m., his internal time clock keeps waking him up in the early morning hours. Yesterday during the day all he wanted to do was sleep and today he woke up at 3 a.m. all chipper and cheery-eyed and refused to take a nap until almost 12:30 p.m. I’ve been trying to wake him and follow his typical schedule even though he may not be ready to get up from a nap, but it just hasn’t kicked in yet.

41946I think this week has been the toughest week with our little one so far. He is tired and out of sorts and Ma-ma is his main focus. Along with the mixed up sleeping patterns he has a bit of separation anxiety when I am out of sight. Right now I’m the only one that can seem to soothe him. That is to be expected and he is warming back up to Doug already, but it has been a tough few days. That is why I haven’t posted anything…just too darned tired and busy. [Kairat hanging out in his little toy box.]

We’ve also had company our first two full days home. It has been wonderful to see everyone but we are looking forward to a few quiet days this week to get back on track with our sleeping patterns and to have Pa-pa become as much as a focus as mom.

Being home is the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever imagined. Kazakhstan was wonderful but I was definitely ready to leave. The comforts that we all take for granted are so welcoming; English speaking people every where you go, drinking water from the tap, a large washing machine, brewed coffee in the morning (around 3 a.m. the past two days), sitting on a couch that doesn’t slope downhill, family and friends, and being back with my husband. I could go on and on. Being away for 73 days really took its toll and I’m so excited to be back.

I can’t wait to get out and about in a few days and show off our little charmer. Unfortunately, I’m going to need a little more recovery time than I expected but we should be knocking on doors and catching up with friends very soon!

At this point, I’m going to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to nap while Kairat is taking his. I have some other posts I wrote while in Almaty that still need to added to the Blog as well as more on our acclimation to home.

I’d love to hear any advice other adopting parents may have on how they got their little ones back into their sleep patterns after such an extreme change in time zones. I’ve tried soothing him by patting his bottom in his crib (a typical sleep-inducing rhythm he likes), a bottle for at least one of his wake-ups, letting him cry, rocking, waking him up during the day to set a pattern, etc. Is there something I’m forgetting or, maybe, it is just going to take some time.

Thanks for any information you’d like to share.

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Entry filed under: Kazakhstan Adoption.

We’re Home! I Think We’re Settling In

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kris  |  November 18, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve been following your adoption since “finding” you online. I was in Kostanai four years ago and am planning our return for #2 in the Spring (I hope). So sorry I won’t see Dr. Irina while there…

    Anyway, the jet lag is to be expected, of course, and is not easily overcome, as I recall. I remember not trying to force it with my little girl–we were home, together, and that was blessing enough I thought. So we slept when we were tired, ate when we were hungry, etc. I’d do a load or two of laundry, play with her, go on walks, have visitors…anyway, it eventually turned into a “normal” schedule at normal hours.

    It’s all part of the adventure, in my view. You will swiftly forget these days (and nights!), but you should always cherish them!

    Best wishes,
    -Kris, Zarina’s mama since 11/04

    Reply
  • 2. Angela  |  November 18, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I followed your journey but have not commented for a long, long time. We were in Kokshetau off and on from late August to late October adopting our sweet daughter Alia (who is about the same age as Kairat). My husband and mother-in-law stayed in Kazakhstan during the last leg of the trip, so I can empathize with your husband – it is hard not being the favored parent. It has been almost 4 weeks since they have been home and Alia becomes more and more attached to me and her 5 year-old brother every day. That part just takes time. We have been really trying to lay low and limit outside contact. This seems to help in Alia’s case.

    As far as sleeping goes, Alia did not sleep a lot on the flights, so she was so tired when they arrived home that she fell right into our time zone. I would say to try to do the exact same thing before every nap and bedtime. At night, Alia has a bath, book, then bottle. We try to do things that soothe her and make her sleepy and also indicate to her that it is time to go to sleep. She has a book and bottle before every nap as well. I rock her for a while to calm her down, then put her in her crib. It sounds like it will just take some time. Do you make sure his room is as dark as possible? We installed a roller shade in Alia’s room. All that being said, she does not take the greatest afternoon nap.

    Kairat is adorable. Congratulations!

    Reply
  • 3. Jennifer M  |  November 18, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    For us it just took time. 3 weeks to be precise to get over the jet lag. One of the things that we discovered the hard way was that Gigi was used to a very warm baby house and sleeping in a 72 degree room, even dressed in a fleece sleeper, was way too cold for her. We had to bring a heater into her room and keep the temp around 78-80 and then she slept much more soundly with fewer night time wakings. Just something to think about. She also liked a night light and some instrumental music playing softly (basically a little noise as she was used to lots of noise at the BH). Essentially we found it best to re-create her BH room to the best of our abilitiy (and within reason). Whether that’s dark or light, cold or hot, quiet or noisy, etc.

    So glad you guys are home! Kairat is just adorable!

    Reply
  • 4. Susan  |  November 19, 2008 at 11:40 am

    welcome home!!!!!! i love the pics of the cutiie and you-and he looks great in his ergo!
    It took a couple weeks for Leeza to let Joe feed and hold her-but now,a month home, she is an equal opportunity lovie and goes to daddy happily and snuggles. I felt so bad the first week when she would hold her arms out for only momma, but it goes away very fast!

    We did not have the jet lag issue at all to deal with-I think Leeza was just so exhausted cuz she did not sleep at all the night we left on the 3:20 am flight-and really not terribly much on our 32 hour flight home-so although the flight home was tough on mom(no bulkhead seat-leeza in the ergo), she was in a routine very quickly. we got to bed at 1 am first night home,and she woke up at 5, we all did,but after that-she was back on track. I think we wear her out-we are so busy having a 10 year old brother and we are out and about a lot-then my parents came, her sip and see was scheduled, and her baptism.
    My dad said”wow, i don’t think you need to isolate her, she is a very social child”.

    I can see you are taking it all in stride and enjoying your time with him-you are such a wonderful mommy and i am so glad you are home!! Kairat will be a daddy’s boy in no time-so don’t worry!!! I am so glad we had the chance to get to know each other so well in this remarklable journey to our children.

    all the delays-worry-etc waiting to go-it was all timed perfectly because Kairat, Leeza, and Ermeck, and of course Rustam, all are with the perfect parents. I get teary thinking about it–all such perfect matches. Of course, i’m speaking specicially of our Kostanai group-evertyone i know has the same story and i just love how it all works,although it’s hard waiting to get there. 🙂

    I hope Kairat and you are back on schedule very soon and we look forward to more updates.
    How is the house renovations???

    Reply
  • 5. Carol Nylen  |  November 19, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Welcome home Kelly and Kairat! And now you start your new life–the three of you! It sounds like he was a CHAMPION traveler–you are so fortunate. I was so worried about that!

    Well now you just have to get around and visit and show off your new son! We’re waiting here at King!!!!

    Reply
  • 6. Sadie's Mama  |  November 19, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Great post! So glad you’re all home and back together!!!!!!

    Reply
  • 7. Tricia  |  November 20, 2008 at 2:44 am

    I love the photos on the plane. So cute! That is great that Kairat did so well on the way home and that you had others to hang out with in the airport. I agree that Kostanai is great, but there really is no place like home in the USA. It truly makes you appreciate the conveniences we have. You and Doug enjoy hunkering down for a little while and enjoy your new pack of 4. By the way, how is doggie doing with baby? I am looking forward to hearing more. Great post! Tricia

    Reply

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