(Continued from two weeks ago)
There were only two more steps needed in order to finalize Dylan's adoption: take him to the International Clinic (or SOS Clinic) for a medical examination before he would be allowed to leave the country, and have an exit interview at the American Embassy. There was no American Embassy in Kostanai, so we needed to stay in Almaty for a few days in order to complete the adoption process. Well, Dylan and I had to stay. Bill was traveling with us just as far as Almaty and then he had to head back to the
We arrived in Almaty on a Sunday afternoon. The plane left something to be desired (it was a 50-seater that looked like it was built while Stalin was alive), but the flight was smooth and Dylan behaved really well. The difference between Almaty and Kostanai is monumental. Kostanai is flat, whereas the moment we arrived in Almaty, we could see snow capped mountains surrounding the city. Almaty is a very large, modern, bustling European-style city, and most families who travel there are very taken by the many sights there are to see. I can't tell you about any of them because I didn't see them.
I pretty much saw nothing of the city except for our apartment, which we were taken to immediately upon arriving. The apartment was much nicer and more modern than the one in Kostanai, but also much more stoic and cold. Literally cold, since the government had already turned off the heat, but also cold as in lonely and uninviting. The difference between what my experience in Almaty would be compared to the one in Kostanai was made evident at that moment, and unfortunately I wasn't disappointed.
We spent the day playing with Dylan in the apartment, and at 11 pm we took Bill to the airport and said a teary goodbye. Dylan and I were now alone in a new city, with no contact except our not-so-friendly adoption associate, no phone, no way of getting around the city without a driver, and worst of all, no Internet, as Bill had to take the laptop back with him to Chicago. I cannot even begin to tell you how cut off I felt from the rest of the world. If our associate had decided to leave the agency and ditch us, I have absolutely no idea how Dylan and I would have survived. Those days were the absolute loneliest of our entire adoption process.
On Monday morning, our associate took Dylan and I to the SOS Clinic for Dylan's medical exam. It was done in the blink of an eye. They pretty much just checked his vitals and looked over his immunization record and that was it. I couldn't believe we had traveled to another city for THAT...
On Tuesday, Dylan and I pretty much stayed in all day, going out only to eat lunch with our associate and another family from our agency that was currently adopting a child from Almaty. It was rainy and cold, so Dylan and I had to stay inside all day. Wednesday afternoon, our associate picked us up for the final step of the adoption, the interview at the American Embassy. Turns out, the Embassy was just across the street from our apartment, so we walked over there and signed in.
We were called to the window almost immediately, and a very kind gentleman went through the forms with me, had me sign a couple of them, and then handed me Dylan's passport and visa and a mystery manila envelope with "DO NOT OPEN" stamped all over it that I was to hand over to the Immigration officials upon arriving in the US (I found out later it had all of our adoption paperwork). That was it. Our adoption process was finally OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We went back to the apartment to pack and take a nap, and at 11 pm that night, Dylan and I headed out to the airport to start our journey home...