Friday, January 18, 2008


Another wonderful day with Millie. Our 2 hour visits seem to get shorter and shorter. She's so cuddly, which is foreign to me since Ben's NEVER cuddled with me. The only down side is it's REALLY hot here and the poor little thing is sweating her little tail off. It's getting harder and harder to hand her off to the care givers at the end of our time with her each day. The van ride to the orphanage, we and the other adoptive parents are all chatty...on the way back it gets pretty quiet in the van. We left a little booklet full of pics of us and Ben for her to play with while she's in her crib so she'll be that much more familiar with us, even though we have yet to not get a smile from her when she 1st sees us. She already prefers Abby to me, which while a little sad for me, it's awesome that she's bonding to Abby so well.

We had the chance to hang out with a couple of American families who live over here teaching english today. Had a good old fashioned home made southern meal, sweet tea and all, with a Baton Rouge family. It was great to connect with people here who can give us the lay of the land. Jake and Stephanie have been a total Godsend. They're ability to communicate and get around like locals is invaluable to us. Having Eva around the house for Ben to play with has been great too. They're getting along great...(Steve, you getting on a plane yet?) Not really getting used to the air gets a bit hard to breathe while sitting in traffic, not to mention half the cars don't have A/C and the other half choose not to use it since it hurts your gas mileage. Also VERY dry here...can't drink enough water and I won't tell you what it's doing to my boogers, ( was that too much info???) Ben's still adjusting to the jet lag. He wakes up at 3am every night, but usually goes back to sleep. Last night, however, he woke up at 3 and NEVER went back to sleep....daddy's tired.

We're still having a great time, just wish we could spend more time with Millie....hard to leave her knowing no one is holding her as soon as we leave. So unfair what these little kids are put through. Not saying anything about the orphanage's very obvious that they are loved by the care givers....just amazes me that anyone could abandon any of these babies.

Ok....hope you're all well. More to come.
Mike, Abby, Ben, and Millie


Bare with computer is acting very funny. when I hit my 'y' key it types a 'z' and I can't find hardly any of my punctuation please forgive all the misspelled and mispunctuated statements.

OK.....We have had a busy few days....1st of all...we're all doing very well and Millie's awesome!!!!!

On Tues. Abby started not feeling all know that feeling...I don't need to give you the details. Let's just say that if she were a McDonald land character, her name would be Pukey McPoopy Pants. We had heard from the other adoptive parents over here that several of them have had the same bug and it lasted about 24hrs. Well Abby in wanting to out do everyone, decided to make hers last for more like 52 hours. The 1st day was mildly uncomfortable for her, but the second day was a landmark day of toilet time....ugh. She finally started feeling better just in time for us to celebrate one of our friends getting to bring her bouncing baby boy home from the orphanage!!! We went to the american cafe and grill, even though she's one of our friendly neighbors from the north....(Canada.) Makes us all VERY jealous since she doesn't have to leave him at the orphanage!!!! Alexander is a VERY happy little boy, and His mama seems thrilled to have him out of that orphanage!!!!

We officially have a court date, which will be Sept. 12th. This is the day the judge approves or denies our request to adopt Millie. Our agency has never had a family denied, so we don't really fear that. We are hopeful that the judge will waive the waiting period. This is a 2 week period after the judge approves us, where Millie stays in the orphanage and we continue to visit her on the same schedule we have been for 15 more days. This is for us to 'make sure we REALLY want to adopt her' if flying half way around the world and spending half of our yearly salary isn't proof enough!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE PRAY FOR US IN THIS!!!!!!!!

Ben has been great...he's still having the time of his life with Eva. They take turns every morning waking each other up at 6. One morning he'll wake up early and the next she'll wake him up...and of course in that, we wake up as well. It could be worse, he could be waking up at 3 am still!!!!!!

Abby and I have an ongoing challenge to find the best, (and by best I mean most familiar,) pizza in all of Almaty. Today we may have found it. There is a gondola that goes to the top of big hill that's got a lovely view and a really nice playground, which by Kazakhstan standards on sat. doesn't open until 2pm. A playground....on a saturday....not open until 2 pm....every other day of the week it opens at 10am.....but not on SATURDAY'S!!!!!! As the wise Scott Brickell would say....they're paying a lot in stupid tax around here!!!!! Yet I digress....the pizza we had today on top of the hill was GREAT!!!!! Of only want to order a cheese pizza around these parts....not too sure what's up with the meat, but it ain't quite right. All that to say, to get pizza that tastes like home, we have to walk 6 blocks, ride a gondola for 600 Tenge, (about 5 bucks,) to the top of a hill. Walk probably the equivalent of 3 more blocks to the Bistro. Order, and wait on the pizza. Then ride back down the gondola, for another 600 Tenge since they don't believe in round trip gondola tickets around here....walk 6 blocks back home. All for a pizza!!!!!! So the next time you order your favorite pizza, and they deliver it to your doorstep...please say a little prayer for us!!!!!!!

So last night Abby and I took an evening stroll with Ben to get some fresh air and get him out of the apartment as he had been cooped up all day. We walked down the hill about 2 blocks to a little park to let Ben run around a bit. We had a great time and as the sun began to set we began to make our way back up the hill. As we walked up the quaint little side street lined with trees and older apartments, we noticed this little old lady, or babushka, in russian. Well this babushka was getting up from a park bench and about to walk up the hill, but she was carrying a wooden and cloth chair with the back of it removed. We figured she was sitting on the bench in the beautiful evening weather recovering it while sitting on the park bench. Thinking that she probably lived in one of the many apartment buildings close at hand, I offered to carry it for her at Abby`s urging. She began saying something in Russian, (I caught the word for thank you in there somewhere,) and I replied with...'sorry, no ruskie'. She continued to talk as if I understood every word. For the next 26 minutes as we walked at the very least a half a mile, she talked and talked and talked...with Abby and I not understanding a word!!!! We did figure out that her husband had passed away, and as a car sped passed us, that she doesn't like the way the young people drive these days. We finally got to her apartment, on the 3rd lights what so ever in the stairwell...started thinking she might try to mug me in the dark or something!!!! As I dropped her off she kindly invited me in for tea, and I declined as best I could not speaking her language, (after this trip I will ROCK at charades!!!!) She said BOLSHOI SPESEEVA (sp) which means big thanks, and Abby and I were off for a half mile jaunt, in the pitch black, back to our apartment. She was a very sweet little old lady, but I wish you all could have heard her just talking away and Abby and I at a complete loss for what in the world she was saying. She was probably complaining about all the loud americans these days or something!!!!

Lorie is leaving us at 4:30 a.m. tomorrow which we're VERY sad about...pray for her safe return to the land of WHATABURGER and DR. PEPPER!!! She has been such a huge help and blessing to us, and will be sorely missed by us over here in the land of WHATAHORSEBURGER and PEPSI (with no ice...ugh)

Please continue to pray for us...especially Ben's continued health, and of course for the adoption process...We want to bring Millie home SOON!!!!!

Love you all, and miss you greatly,
Mike, Pukey, Ben, and Millie


That is my own spelling of the cross streets of our apartment...I get laughed at by the locals everytime I say it, so I don't think I have it quite right yet. I can however get home by taxi now which is quite the feat for me. Last night I learned what catching a taxi in Kaz means. Lorie and I went to the store while Abby and Christa were putting Ben and Eva down for the night. We decided to take a taxi. In Kazakhstan the way you do this is to hold your hand out about waist high, about 10 inches from your hip. Then the 1st car that pulls over you tell them where you want to go, and they decide if they want to stop there on their way to wherever they're going. Notice that I said 1st car that pulls up, not 1st cab. Basically you hitchhike around the city here...I'd be a little better with this if I spoke russian or kazak, but since I don't, it just becomes a long, awkward car ride with strangers. I also learned today that the national past time of Kaz is blowing snot rockets. If you ar
e unfamiliar with the snot rocket, it's basically blowing your nose without a kleenex. The REALLY interesting thing is that this is NOT a male dominated sport!!!! the weather here has taken an extreme turn for the's probably in the low 70's high 60's today. Not so upset about the lack of A/C anymore!!!!

Today there's a street ball tournament that Jake's in so we'll probably go check that out. Also there's a Kazak christian rap group here name Maranatha that will be performing. I met one of the guys from the group the other day and he was pretty excited to know that I'm in MM and that I'm friends with Toby Mac, John Reuben, and of course T-Bone. You can check them out if you'd like to experience what I experienced when he played it for me then proceed to point outhis favorite parts, none of which I understood. Their myspace is....

Yesterday was our last day this week to spend time with Millie. Good news is, we are through with our 1st week of bonding!!!! Band news is, no visits are allowed at the orphanage on the weekends, so we just have to find stuff to do. Millie was sweet as always and once again fell asleep on Abby. Every time she wakes up from her little naps, she's even smilier than she is when we 1st see her each day. God has blessed us with a very easy bonding time, we can't thank Him enough!!!! Every now and then she does this rocking back and forth coping thing when one of the other babies gets in her grill and she gets upset. We were told that a lot of orphanage babies go through this. She stops instantly when one of us picks her up, which is a great sign that she feels safe. She's only cried like once in our time with her...she really is a happy little thing. Sad that she has no idea how much better life is supposed to be. She has no idea what we're trying to give her....There are currently 4 babies being adopted while we're here. They're all beautiful and going to go home with very loving parents. It's been fun going through this process along with other americans, and 1 canadian!!!

This morning we spent some quality time with Ben as he is still waking up between 3-4 am. We went for a walk around 6 am. We met this really nice Russian gentleman who Ben REALLY liked. He was exercising in the park and Ben started following him around. It was pretty funny to watch....He asked me if, "I could give sweets to Ben?" in rather broken english, so this morning at about 6:45 am Ben had his 1st gummi bear!!!! It was a proud moment for me and Abby actually handled it quite well!!! Ben liked the gummi bear so much he gave the old ruskie a was pretty sweet.

Mike, Abby, Ben, Millie, and some old guy in the park.


So we've discovered that Sept. 4th in Almaty, Kazakhstan is actually Halloween...or at least at the orphanage it is. It was a little chilly out today by orphanage standards...(74 degrees) so they brought Millie and Bennet out in matching pumpkin outfits. There's just no accounting for fashion sense I guess when you're living in an orphanage. This tuesday, (the 5th,) Millie was more active, smiley, and engaged than we've seen her the whole time we've been here. It's like she's really turning a corner and starting to realize that we're here for her. It was another great day visiting with her...she really made our day the way she was responding to us. Our daily routine when we're there with her is...

Go up to the 3rd floor, give them a few diapers to help out as the caregivers start yelling out her name so they can get her ready for us by layering her in 3 layers of clothing. They bring her to us and we walk back down the stairs to go hang out under the trees on a picnic table by the playground for the next 2 hours. We usually lay her on her blanket on the table for a few minutes to play with toys, then I take her over to the swing, or just walk around carrying her and talking to her, then I hand her over to Abby who she almost instantly cuddles up to and falls asleep for the rest of our visit. Day after day after day after day...this is what we do.

On this day we went to the zoo with our translator and had a great time. The main difference between a Kaz zoo and a USA zoo is your proximity to the animals, and your ability to feed the animals pringles as we witnessed a local girl do most of our zoo tour. The high point for me was either being within mere inches of a polar bear, or when I saluted and sang 'my country tis of thee' as I watched the majestic Bald Eagles in their 12x12 cage....(God Bless America.) Ben loved it...I think his favor part was probably the snapping turtles in the fish house. He also seemed to like the bears as well since we were only 3 feet from them.

Tonight we went over to yet another family's house for dinner....BBQ...(once again, God Bless America!!!) For dessert, we were introduced to the cakes of Kaz. They have the most beautiful cakes/pastries here, but they use about 1/4 the sugar, so it doesn't quite hit the old sweet tooth like back in the states!!!! In getting to know them, I found out they met at OBU, which is the college that we used to play at a lot in the early days of the band. Well upon further investigation, they were actually at the 1st show we ever played at OBU, when we opened for Audio A and started our long and fruitful relationship with the one and only Scott Brickell. To take it just a step further, Clint later took a short term trip overseas to Hungary with Awestar ministries which MercyMe got our start with....amazing how small our world really is. They live on the 9th floor of their apartment complex. We've been warned about the trustworthiness of the elevators over here, so you can imagine, of course, that Abby was NOT going to ride that elevator. 9 floors carrying a 2 year old is harder than I would have imagined....especially with a back pack full of cameras etc. Needless to say I was VERY thankful that Abby agreed to ride the elevator back down. I have never been in a smaller elevator. I'm not kidding you this thing was like 3'x4'. It was ridiculous. As soon as we got in, Jake began to read the signs on the wall...they said things like...max 700lbs. No more than 4 people. We had 5 adults, 2 toddlers, and were well over the weight limit...especially after eating BBQ!!!! Fear not...we made it out alive.

Don't forget, we're only 6 days from our court date. Lift us up PLEASE!!!!!!

Love you all....
Mike, Abby, Ben, and our little pumpkin.

HI HO SILVER AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a weekend!!!!

Saturday we went to lunch at the American Cafe', which was actually quite American and came complete with a western motif and a full statue of Jar Jar Binks in the corner of the room....Who knew he was such an American icon???? After that we walked to what everyone here calls the old square for the Street Ball tournament. This was basically an "And 1" tournament....a really BAD "And 1" Tournament. Those of you who know me well, know that I'm no basketball player, but I could have teamed up with Abby, (who actually is quite good at basketball,) and together we could have dominated. Jake and his 2 friends came in 2nd, but only because of bad officiating. Seems like it was similar to this year's NBA finals as far as bad calls, (GO MAVS!!!)

My new friend Timor and his rap group Maranatha preformed, and quite honestly were the best group on the stage that day. They also had a 30 minute Hula girl techno limbo romp!!! The PA was horrific and everyone sounded as though they were talking through a "Mr. Micrphone." Ben had the time of his life in the park adjacent to the stage. There were 2 weddings going on, and a nice little pond with swans and such. Ben kept climbing up and down on the little retaining wall next to the pond, and was COVERED in dust and soot since there is nowhere in this city that is safe from the dirt and pollution.

That night we went to a local family's house for a traditional Kazak meal, complete with a lo-rider table so we could all sit on the floor. Now I grew up in the south and thought I knew something about hospitality, but I had NO IDEA how to treat a guest until sat. night. We arrived and were welcomed in and brought to a sort of sunroom outside and offered drinks. Then the 1st of 5 courses started rolling. The 1st was Barsok bread. It's kind of like a funnel cake without the powdered sugar. Ben thoroughly enjoyed it. Next came 2 salads, one of which was like a tomato and cucumber salad, the other was similar to a potato salad. Neither of which I'm really a fan of. I did try the potato salad, in which everything was cubed, including, potato, ham, carrots, peas, hard boiled eggs and some sort of mayonaise based sauce. Then came the Main course....Bisch Bar Mak (sp) and Plaf. Plaf, was pretty much rice pilaf, including some vegetables and some chunks of beef. It was EXCELLENT!!!!! Bisch Bar Mak literally means 5 fingers since that's how you're supposed to eat it. They actually said Ben was a "real Kazak man," since he dug in with his hands. It was made of flat noodles, onions, and meat. This is the fun part....can you guess the meat???? There was a hint in the subject line...that's right....hello folks, I'm Mr. Ed!!!!! It mostly had beef in it, but the delicacy in it was the horse meat. I've never been an adventurous eater, but I'll be honest with you all....Horse meat is AWESOME!!! It was a little greasy, but tasted incredible. I raved over it so the matriarch of the family went to get me some more. This was a mistake. She brought out a tray with horse intestines on it. The way they prepare the horse meat is to stuff it in the intestines and cook it up.......I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit just thinking about it. I of course, in not wanting to dishonor my host, watched her cut about half of the intestine up and slide it onto my plate which I then consumed while trying to smile. A little side note here...

Abby's experience with this part of the meal was GREAT...she was diving into her Bisch Bar Mak, and got a piece of meat that was more fat than meat. Not knowing what might offend our host, she found a way to pack the piece of fat as far up in her cheek as possible, and finished the entire meal with a piece of fat hidden in her mouth. The next course was a lovely soup.....lovely until we realized what it was!!!! This alleged soup was actually just the grease from when they cooked the meat. I thought I had lucked out by chasing Ben around the yard and missed this course, but NNOOOOO. They had a hot fresh bowl waiting for me as soon as I sat down. Jake warned us to all eat this very quickly...we now realize this was because the grease would start to congeal across the top if didn't drink it quickly. The final course was dessert....THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!! This was also Ben's favorite part of the meal. This family absolutely loved Ben and Eva, and treated them so sweetly, including giving Ben candy and cookies o' plenty. You all know how this goes against EVERYTHING Abby holds dear to her, so through tightly clenched teeth, she approvingly nodded each time they offered him yet another cookie. By the end of this course he was literally high on sugar....couldn't hardly stand up and he was laughing at everything!!! They had chocolates, cookies, and fresh fruit for dessert and it was great. The dad came in later from work and was so kind. He was a very jolly fellow who Ben took to very easily in his drunken state.

Next their middle daughter Saule' played a little ditty on the Dombre, the traditional instrument of Kaz. It's a 2 stringed lute like instrument, or for Barry a 2 stringed Bazuki without the hand cramps.

They then brought out hot tea for us. They had bowls of fresh blackberry jelly, which you put in the bottom of your tea cup. They then pour piping hot tea over it. Abby had her tea this way, while I went for the more traditional milk and sugar. There was also this grain that we put in our tea that basically was kind of like cereal. It tasted like an ice cream cone.

This evening BY FAR was the best time we've had outside of holding Millie in the orphanage. It was so cool to experience the way another culture lives even for such a brief moment. They were some of the kindest, most welcoming people I've met in my life.

Sunday, Ben finally slept into until 5:30am...WOOHOO!!!! We went to a family group with several american families who are all here, uh.....teaching english? It was a great time of fellowship. It was awesome to see people on the front line especially with what MM has been trying to do with the Go Foundation. After a bible study and food, Abby proceed to whip the mess out of me in a basketball game called knock out. i've never played before, but that wouldn't have helped me win....she's WAY better than I am!!!

Monday.......Ben slept till 6:30!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally we got to go see Millie again!!!! She was a bit stand offish, but we were warned this could be the case. Sometimes the babies get mad when you spend a whole week with them, then stand them up for the weekend. She's basically learning to trust us. We also think she was sleepy. She conked out on Abby once again and when she woke up she seemed to be her old self again. Hopefully tomorrow she won't have to warm up to us. 2 of the other families will be going to court tomorrow to try and convince the judge that they didn't fly around the world for a vacation, but that they really love these babies. Pray for them and that they would have favor in the judge's eyes. We may hear when our court day is scheduled for on tomorrow also. Please be in prayer for this as the court date is when the judge decides whether or not we're fit parents and can also choose to waive the waiting period that comes after the court date. We are having the time of our lives, but I'm seriously jonesing for some Whataburger!!!! Oh yeah, and that little tour, and just being at home and all that stuff!!!!!

Thanks for keeping us covered!!!! Can't wait for you all to meet her!!!!!!
Mike, Abby, Ben, and Millie

P.S. the official soundtrack for Mike's trip to Kazakhstan is Leeland's The Sound of Melodies. This album is absolutely amazing and I recommend everyone of you buy it or download it LEGALLY!!!!!


So in 2 days we go to court to make Millie officially ours...then of course we can't take her with us until 15 days later, but rules are rules I guess. Good news is the passport situation that has been taking as much as 3 weeks is rumored to have been remedied. We've been told that it should now only take 5-7 days. This would mean that after we take her to the apt. with us, we'd only have another 5-7 days till we were on a plane coming home!!! I'm a few days off on emails since it's such a royal pain in the rumpus to get anything sent out due to the dial-up and not-so-high speed wireless they have here. So here are our last few days in a nutshell.....

So we left off with a scary elevator ride.....the next 3 days with Millie were AMAZING!!!! She has really started to open up to us and acting more and more comfortable with us. Since Abby and I are both pretty good with kids and they usually open up to us fairly well, it's weird to be with a baby who really is untrusting. I've never experienced this. i guess most babies feel secure since they have families...not the case least not for long!!!! On Thursday at the orphanage some of the older kids came out to play. They usually keep to themselves and we keep to ourselves, since we don't know what boundaries there are. Well...our new friend Dan from the great state of texas decided to break the rules a bit and started chasing some of the kids, so I quickly joined in. It was a blast, but heartbreaking at the same time. These kids were SO starved for attention and adult interaction. We literally became human jungle gyms for the next 35 minutes. Some how he ended up with all the lightweights, I got the older kids, and I kid you not when I say there wasn't a moments break. I'm pretty sure at that point I had decided in my mind that we could surely take at least half of these kids home with us...surely!!!! One little kid in particular that has just the sweetest face and sadly has a clubbed foot and hand that can be easily fixed in the states, but over here not so easy...especially when you're an orphan. Sadly most of these kids are unavailable as they have some distant relative who won't sign off on them to release them to be adopted. So instead they'll grow up without parents or opportunities, and the girls will become prostitutes and the boys will join gangs or become beggars. Reminds me of when God calls us to take care of the widows and orphans in their distress....I'd consider this a distressed situation. That afternoon we went to a store and I bought a soccer ball, but sadly on friday the kids didn't come outside:( Dan and I were looking forward to playing soccer....or probably would end up more like keep away...or just Mike and Dan sweating and wheezing....either would have been fun. Maybe monday.

On this day, Millie was the sweetest she had been up to that point. When we started to give her back to the caregivers, I acted like I had changed my mind and we weren't going to give her a few laughs out of the caregivers. Then as she was being taken away from us....she reached out for us and started to cry. This was the single greatest moment of the trip for us. Thursday was the day we got to leave the orphanage and go get her passport picture taken. She did awesome in the van as did Bennet and Grace. Abby loved her cuddling up and falling asleep on her on the way back...she's such a sweet little thing. On friday she was totally up on her knees trying to crawl like 3-4 times...we'll have very little non-mobile time with her. She also today discovered how to blow a raspberry at her daddy!!!

Friday night...or was it sat. morning??? 3 am we hear Eva cough that horrible cough that you never want to hear a child cough. Croup. So now of course we're worried that Ben will get it since we're living in the equivalent of our living room and kitchen back home with 4 adults and 2 kids. So far he hasn't gotten croup, but last night at about 3 am we heard..."mama?...mama?....yucky." Uh-oh. Ben filled his little diaper and most of his pack-n-play with what can only be described as beef vegetable poop soup. So far we haven't had another "movement" of that type, but we would covet your prayers nonetheless. Since 3am here is like 4pm there, I got on the phone with our Dr. after tracking her down and sending Bart on a Dr. hunting mission as well. She said the usual...pedialight, bland food, no fruit, etc. We're good so far today. Poor little Eva had a rough go of it. Sat. from 6am till 4pm Abby, Steph, Christa, and Eva were at the local clinic, which actually has western drs. including a dr. from south africa...(thank God for anyone who speaks english over here!!!!) That netted me a ton of quality time with just me and Ben, so selfishly, I was a little glad for it. More glad however that Eva's doing much better. Still sounds bad when she's breathing, but there less coughing for sure.

Today, (sunday) is Christa's, or Kiki as Ben has named her, 19th birthday. We're doing our best to make it special for her including, a breakfast at Domino Donuts, (very close to Dunkin Donuts, and not only in their logo.) We then went to Mad Murphy's for lunch. Probably the most american like meal I've had since being in Kaz. Right now Abby's mixing some cake mix...we have no measuring cups and the oven only goes to 250, and yet the recipe calls for 350. Wait...we just figured it out. Directions are in Fahrenheit and the oven is in Celsius. This cake is gonna ROCK!!!! We have no mixer, so the instructions call for 450 stirs by hand.....I miss home. Our washing machine, which takes literally 3 hrs to wash ( no dryer, ) sounds like a space ship of some kind that seems to be in some sort of major distress. It also only take about 1/3 of the load that a washing machine in the states can handle. Well if you've ever seen Ben eat, you know this is a problem...Abby's in constant laundry mode. We had no idea that street racing was so popular here at 4 a.m. Also who feels the constant need to set off fireworks all night long on no particular holiday, (Jim you don't count.) conclusion...I'd like to add. Tuesday at 11am here so monday at 10pm, I think, we'll be in court trying to add another Scheuchzer into the world!!!! PLEASE pray for us. Pray that we have favor in the judges eyes, pray for our nerves, pray that we represent Christ and America well.

Love you all...more updates to come.......
Mike, Abby, Ben, and Millie

P.S. enjoy the picture of Steph arguing with the police officer. This picture was taken at the beginning of a 30 minute ordeal since she told them she would not pay them to get out of a ticket, (which is standard fair here in Kaz.) at which point she completely offended the cop. In the end she neither paid him nor was she given a ticket, so I guess it worked out ok.

HALLELUJAH long night last night....well at least for Christa. Let's just say she had some sort of upper AND lower G.I. issues. I'm wondering if it had to do with all the partying we did for her 19th b-day. This included her puking her guts out in the van on the ride home last night, which of course as those of you who know me know that it sent me into fits of gagging. Of course, I then had to be the freaking gentleman and carry her nasty puke bag to the dumpster. She's better now, but it has been a long day for her. Of course the day she chooses to get sick is the one day that neither Abby nor I could stay home and help since it was.....(drum roll)....COURT DAY!!!!!!

Abby and I got all prettied up and headed on down to take our usual van ride, only today we didn't go all the way to the orphanage. We stopped off at the courthouse to meet with the judge and the prosecutor, so we could be scrutinized and tested to see if we were worthy parents for little Millie. We arrived at the courthouse, which the lobby seemed like any small town courthouse in the U.S. We sat down as a pair of nervous wrecks and waited. The head pediatrician at the orphanage had not arrived nor had our adoption coordinator. After the longest 30 minutes of our lives, they finally called us into the courtroom. This was a small wood floored room with a judges bench, prosecutors and defendants benches, some benches for either a jury or for spectators, and a large metal cage. That's right...I said a large metal cage. I'm guessing that this is for when they have uncooperative defendants. For the record, neither Abby nor I were asked to enter the cage. Let the questioning begin.

I was the 1st one to undergo the inquisition. They started by asking my full name, birth date, and place of employment. Then proceeded to ask why we wanted to adopt, and why we chose Kazakhstan. They asked about my hobbies and since one of the answers was hanging out with my family, they asked what Ben likes to do when we hang out. They asked what we had observed about Millie in the 3 weeks we had been with her. I told them how she's been growing more and more attached to us and every day she was more and more interactive with us. Then Abby was on the chopping block. She was asked probably twice as many questions as I was, including...and I quote...."Do you have any diseases that you could pass to the baby?" The answer was no. She was also asked how long we had been working on the adoption, if she had any education since she is strictly a "homemaker." They asked why she wanted to adopt, and also asked if Ben had any illnesses, to which the answer was also no, then the judge asked..."He's never been sick???" Abby said, well he's had colds like any child, but nothing serious. She also asked Abby if we were aware of her medical condition, which are VERY minor things that she will quickly grow out of, basically that she's under weight and slightly under developed. She then moved on to asking the pediatrician a series of questions such as, How is the babies health, did she have an HIV test and yes it was negative. She also asked about our interactions with her, and she said that we were very warm with her, and she could tell we sincerely desired to be good parents. The judge mentioned that Millie has such big eyes, and is so beautiful that she was surprised no one local had adopted her. The pediatrician said, " She is Ukrainian and the village that we are in is strictly Kazak families and most Kazak families prefer to adopt Kazak babies." WE ARE SO BLESSED that she ended up in this village...GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!!

The Prosecutor said that she had no reason why we should not be able to adopt this baby, then....the moment of truth....The judge said....I have gone through the paperwork and after studying this case, I also find no reason that this family should not be able to adopt this baby. You're request has been granted.


So on this, the 12th day of the 9th month, in the year of our Lord 2006, we officially became the parents of Millie Nadya Scheuchzer. More importantly, Millie has a family. We don't officially take custody until the 28th of this month as there is a mandatory waiting period to allow us to change our minds...which as you all know is ridiculous, but we must wait as these are the rules of Kaz. In the meantime we will continue to visit her everyday until we can bring her home to the apt., then HOME FOR GOOD!!!!!!

Here are a few more pics...keep praying for us. Ben still has a touch of the poopy pants, and we're all getting over various crud that we seem to be passing around amongst ourselves in the apt. Also Pray for Stephanie and Eva to have safe travels back to Astana as they're leaving us tomorrow.

Love you all and miss you more to hear from you...anything in English is a gift from God these days....
Mike, Abby, Ben, and Millie Scheuchzer!!!!!

P.S. I did discover something called Scrunchy Marshmellow Dreams, which is a perfect knock off of Lucky Charms....Praise God for the little things, right?!?!?!

P.P.S Notice the hole in the toe of Millie's fleece outfit that she had to wear outside in 80 degree weather.