Getting an IR-3 Visa


It is finished! Our adoption is final and complete. We have jumped through all of the hoops that this country could have us jump through, having left the U.S. Embassy today with Aliya's Kazak passport stamped with a U.S. IR-3 visa, allowing her to enter the country, and granting her provisional rights as a citizen of the U.S. We have done our visitation period, we have been approved by a court, we have endured an appeals/waiting period, we have obtained the golden passport, we have mucked through the sludge of "lost" embassy paperwork, we have passed a physical with a western doctor, and today at the U.S. Embassy, we got our final sealed package of paperwork (not to be opened until in customs at LAX). There will be no more appointments and no driver will show up to whisk us away---until we leave that is. What a huge relief and weight has been lifted!! We will of course have follow up post-placement reports to be completed by our social worker over the next few years, but Aliya is a permanent Nelson and we couldn't be more thrilled!

Enjoying Almaty

Frances in Thailand

We had a relatively uneventful flight today, and arrived in downtown Almaty about 1:00 p.m. We've been spoiled already by the France Family's enormous hospitality. Faithful blog readers, they've figured out our Kaz favorites, and stocked our kitchen for us. Now that's cool.

Tomorrow morning Aliya has a visit to the international clinic, required by the U.S. Embassy before entry to the U.S., and then Friday afternoon we go to the embassy to get her paperwork.

This photo is from the Frances' recent visit to Thailand for a conference. We were hoping the Almaty scenery looked like this, but we're out of luck.

Farewell Karaganda


I may have posted before about these steam pipes all over the City. They are well known throughout Russia and the former USSR, and they are all over Karaganda. We learned while we are here that they all come from a single source in the City, about three or four miles north of downtown, where there is a public works facility

Psalm 139

The great thing about the bible is that its depth and riches are never exhausted, they never reach their end. And it takes on deeper meaning as we get older, as well as through different circumstances that life offers us. This Psalm, known to Jews and Christians alike for thousands of years, has new meaning for our family now that God has invited Aliya to join us. She was formed of god, born of someone else, and knit together with us. Psalm 139 is the same as it was when each of our first three children were born, and it's still all that, but more profound (and more appropriate!) to us today when we think of Aliya's life:

Happy Valentine's Day II


Happy Valentine's Day and an interim Thank You! again to our Webservant, Jason, and his lovely bride Becky, who tolerates long late hours of his creativity and service to us and others. This photo was taken at a recent re-enactment of their wedding!

Pop back right here with a comment to thank him for creating this experience, or to compliment him on his choice of apparel, or anything else.

California Dreamin'

Sunny Days

The day dawned bright and sunny---we loaded up the kids and headed off to the beach for some fun and relaxation. Aliya has never visited the beach before--she crawled happily in the warm white sands. The boys frolicked playfully in the waves and Cassidy warmed herself under the sun while building a giant sand castle. At one point we had to put up our umbrella, for the sun was just so hot. We treated ourselves to ice cream, and Cassidy wore hers happily on her face for hours. We headed home slightly sunburned--but with warm and happy hearts and sand between our toes.

Happy Valentine's Day

Two Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day, Amy--Number Sixteen!!

Here's a photo of two of the three most beautiful Valentines in the world. How blessed I am!!

And thanks to you, Shae, for making our day special with a garland, and Valentine's Day cards and candy for us and the kids. 2Shae!!



With so many cell phones in the city, I don't know who uses these things anymore. Was it cruel of me to tell Austen to step in and call Papa John's??

If you're in the area, call 745-5555 and tell them we said hello, and we'll be home soon . . .



Gross Out


As we count down the days until we leave Karaganda on Wednesday morning, I had to make one more trip to the store we've frequented here. In my earlier post on the growing supermarket economy, I neglected to mention that the store is called "Gross." Or, "Gros" here locally.