Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dept of Education/Baby House

Our interview at the Dept. of Education was quick and painless.  We then headed over to the baby house.  I'm not really sure how to sum this meeting up in words yet.  We had no idea what to expect and are still trying to digest everything.  We have another appointment there tomorrow morning to spend some more time.  I hope that we will have more news to post then.

We are doing ok, just going with the flow.

Looking for clarity tomorrow.  Cross your fingers for us.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We have arrived in Petropavlovsk!!!

Local Time - just after 6:00AM

We arrived in Petropavlovsk yesterday afternoon about 4:30. Our driver and translator met us at the airport. After we loaded up the tiny car with all of our bags, we headed into town to the market/grocery store. We stopped in to get a few items to get us started. Then we headed over to our apartment. The apartment is interesting – so different from apartments in the US! It has a lot of space and everything that we will need. We do have internet in the apartment, but it is dial-up. We will try to post some pics of it later. We unpacked and cooked dinner. First “meal” since Saturday (not counting airplane food)! We attempted to watch a movie, but fell asleep about 8:00PM. Our schedules/time zones are still off. I haven’t been sleeping well for the last couple weeks anyway…too much to think about. So this morning @ 3:00AM I was wide-awake and ready to go.

Later this morning at 9:00AM we have a meeting/interview with the Dept. of Education and then we hope to be able to go to the baby house later this morning or this afternoon!!! This has also added to the loss of sleep around here. Dustin and I are so nervous & excited!!! It will be interesting to see what today brings!!

More later…off to go iron our clothes for the meeting!

Dust & Cort

PS- I picked up a bag of delicious looking rolls to have with our pasta last night, only to open the bag and discover they were éclairs!!! Let the stupid American moments commence!

Monday, March 29, 2010


We are feeling better, but still zombie-like with the jet lag!  After we woke up this afternoon we headed out to check out the area around our hotel and picked up some food/drinks.  Everything is going well and we are so excited to get to Petro tomorrow!!!

Here are a few photos of the trip so far!

layover in Frankfurt

Dustin brushing up on Russian

at the house, ready to head to the airport

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We are in Kazakhstan!

We are in Almaty and will be here for for a little over 24 hours until we can start the last leg of our trip to Petro, via Astana.

Will update more after some much  needed sleep!!

 - D & C


First leg of the trip complete!!! It was a long 9 hours stuffed in the 2 middle seats of the middle row…not ideal. We were claustrophobic and super hot. Good thing we dressed in layers!

We are now in Frankfurt having a lovely layover. In order to get to the gate we had to go through another security checkpoint. We hadn’t realized this and had just bought a $5 coke that they promptly threw away. While Dustin was being scolded for the liquids, I was taken away for advanced screening. We finally get done with security and head to the café to attempt round 2 of getting a coke. We went to the gate and got comfy and were then kicked out. For security reasons, we cannot sit at our gate until closer to boarding time so we are currently camping out on the floor in the approved area.

The good news is that we have the longest flight behind us! I can’t believe we are getting closer and closer!! Tonight we will finally be in Kazakhstan!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Process

We are getting asked this question a lot, so we wanted to try to explain (to the best of our knowledge) how things will go from this point on.

  • Leave Saturday @ 5:00PM and fly to Frankfurt.
  • Couple hour layover in Frankfurt and then fly to Almaty, Kazakhstan.
  • Arrive in Almaty about midnight, local time on Sunday night.
  • Meet driver/coordinator in Almaty who will take us to a hotel.
  • There are no flights from Almaty to Petropavlovsk on Monday, so we will be in Almaty until Tuesday morning.
  • Fly Tuesday morning from Almaty to Petropavlovsk.  (We are hearing that this leg of the trip is a journey all in itself!)
  • Tuesday early afternoon - finally arrive in Petropavlovsk!
  • Hopefully go to the Department of Education for a quick interview.
  • Head over to the orphanage (baby house) for meet & greets!!!!!!!!
Once we have selected a child, the bonding process begins.  We will have a 14 day bonding period where we will go to the baby house everyday (except Sundays) to spend 2 hours bonding.
  • Once the bonding period is complete, we have to schedule a court date.
  • Go to court for adoption proceedings.
  • If we are approved by the judge, then there is a 15 day appeal period before they can finalize the adoption.
  • We will go home during this appeal period, right after our court date.
  • Once back in Texas we will go back to work and work on getting everything ready for Pebble's arrival.  (Little Stone)
  • 3-4 weeks laster after everything has been completed, we will travel back to Kazakhstan (Petropavlovsk) to pick up Pebble.
  • We will then head to Almaty to do final medicals, get passport for Pebble and final out-processing type stuff.
  • Head back to Texas as a family!
We had always wanted to take 1 long trip, but the way that things worked out with our agency and LOI, we are unable to do that now.  We will have to take the first trip and come back before our visas expire.  On our second trip, we will be able to use tourist visas.  This will probably end up working out better because there are always delays and Kazakh Holidays!

We hope to be back home, with Pebble, late May/early June...

--Cortney & Dustin Stone

Packing Update

We were able to pack EVERYTHING into 3 suitcases!  With room to spare in each!  So proud of us!  The good thing about taking 2 trips is that we'll have extra space both times to bring back as much Kaz stuff as we can!!!  I know we'll need/want it down the road!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


When I arrived home today, the FedEx envelope with our passports/visas was waiting for me on our doorstep.  It came.  The last piece of our puzzle!  All paperwork is 100% done.  All prescriptions are picked up.  All shopping is done.  All the bank visits are done.  All the 5,000 errands are done.  Or so I think!!

Tonight is time for packing.  We have lists, lists and more lists!  Everything is in the guest room, in piles everywhere, ready to be packed.  I'm hoping to get everything into 3 suitcases so that we will have lots of room to bring stuff back...but y'all know how I pack...we will see.

We had a great dinner with the fam last night to say goodbye!  We will miss you guys!  Can't wait to add one more to the gang!

Dust and I are tired!  This is so draining and at this point I am looking forward to the long flight, so that I can sleep!

I cannot believe 2 days from now we will be leaving Dallas!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Travel Dates!

We have airline tickets purchased!!!  The dates may change, but as of now we are scheduled to leave next Saturday, the 27th!

Monday, March 15, 2010

And the road changes again...

I don't even know where to begin...

Here is the quick and dirty...

We have learned that we have been issued a letter of invitation to travel to Kazakhstan.  This was crazy news as we had no idea and were in the process of selecting a different program.  Come to find out, the LOI (letter of invitation) was issued in December and gave us a travel window of 12/25/09 - 4/25/10.  CRAZINESS!!!  So, on top of exploring other options, we have been exploring the possibillity of completing our Kazakhstan adoption...and completing it quickly!  Dustin and I have been running around frantically for the last week trying to figure out all the what ifs?!?!

We have applied for our visa and are working on possible travel arrangements.  We were still waiting on an updated FBI approval (since January) and we received news just a little while ago that we are good to go!  FBI is overnighting us the letter today and we will have it tomorrow!!!

It is ABSOLUTELY CRAZY how things seem to be falling in to place to make this happen for us.  We are still crossing our fingers as there are constantly things that could go wrong, but we are very hopeful!

Thanks to EVERYONE for the outpouring of support, it means so much to us.

I want to send a special shout out to all the people that we've never met, but who have reached out to us!  It is comforting to hear things from people that do know what we are going though!  I cannot tell you how much all of the advice and encouragement mean!  Thank you!


Thursday, March 11, 2010


It's hard to describe what we are going through right now...this is the best way that I can try to express...

Exhausted.  Information Overload.  Stressed.  Nervous.  Excited.  Wary.  Cautious.  Hopeful.  Wondering.  Angry.  Truth Seeking.  Hurt.  Protective.  Anticipation.  Wondering.  Apprehensive.  Contemplating.   

Monday, March 8, 2010

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Thursday, March 4, 2010


We have an appointment scheduled tomorrow morning with our angency to look at what other options they have for us. We will also be researching other agencies and programs that still service Kazakhstan.

Round 2 of the infomation gathering and fact finding mission is about to start...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hard News

Family & Friends,

We were informed yesterday by our agency that they are going to shut down the adoption program in Kazakhstan. We are beyond heartbroken and in disbelief. Next month will be three years since we started this journey. We were very close to going and our agency anticipated us traveling to Kaz this spring. Our agency has been experiencing some problems with recent adoptions and don’t want to send over any more families until they are able to work out the issues with the government and adoption authorities over there.
We are now uncertain what the future holds for us and what path we should start pursuing next. We have many options in front of us and many other programs to choose from. We could switch over to another International program or start looking into our Domestic options. We will meet with our agency in the next few days to go over all the options. As always, we will keep you posted as we know more.


I am absolutely devastated. Dustin and I have worked so hard and sacrificed so much in the last 3 years. We have amazed each other with our patience and perseverance and although it is unclear why we’ve had to go through this, I hope that someday I am able to understand. Going through the adoption process isn’t for the weak of’s tough. It’s emotionally draining and the absolute hardest thing that I’ve ever had to go through. The C in Cortney stands for “Control Freak” and not being in control of all the emotions and things that are going on right now is beyond excruciating. My heart aches and is just broken. We're going to get through step at a time...

Thank you all for your care and support, it really means so much to us.