Kyrgyzstan Map

Kyrgyzstan Map


Lilypie Waiting to adopt Ticker

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Leaving Moscow

As I write this I am a bit teary. Not because I miss my little guy (which I do ). Not because I am tired and ready to be done traveling (which I am). But because of all the emails, facebook posts I'm's and letters I have received over the last 24 hours. To feel how much love this adoption journey has brought about. To know how loved one little boy is even though he has not been met. To know a million fold how much 65 other little kids are loved and missed and longed for. For all that I am teary as I bump along a back road to the airport. This has been an incredible journey. I am so thankful to everyone who is sharing it with me/ us. To all of you... THANK YOU,Bolshoi Spaceba!

Hang on its not over yet

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nikolas Benjamin Richard

I would like to introduce you all to a very long awaited addition to our family.

NIKOLAS Benjamin Richard

Nikolas aka Kolya has officially joined our family today. His adoption has been finalized in Veliky Novgorod. I will write more about the actual court later. I am writing this a bit ahead of time so that I can post it from the car on our way back to Moscow. We will return to Borovichi Moscow in two weeks to bring him home!!!!!!

But for now if you want to go back and read how this all fell into place go to


One thing stands out in my mind. Again I know I am right where I am supposed to be. Funny and amazing at the same time. God has sent signs all along this route. Even when there were road blocks and speedbumps. One such sign I know had to come as no mere coincidence was sent on my arrival to Moscow airport. David and Jayne Schooler were sitting right in front of where I was getting off the plane. I could not believe it! Well Jayne had just gotten up to walk away and I could not walk fast enough to catch her. But I did call out to David, who I believe was equally amazed to be hearing someone calling his name in the middle of Moscow airport. A wonderful welcome to Moscow indeed. For thos of you who do not know David and Jayne they are just returning to the United States from several months in Kyrgyz they are located here at The Journey Continues ( I said I missed Jayne as she had just walked away. But I got email from her later in the week. And I sure hope I will see her in July at the adoption conference in D.C.

Today I really should change the blog style... But I just can't bring myself to do it. I started this blog two years ago and wow what twists and turns we have taken over the last two years. Two years ago I was preparing to travel to Kyrgyzstan to meet Noodle. two years later Noodle is still in Kyrgyzstan and I am in Russia!!!

And I promise only to tease for a few hours longer... Then I will be temperarily posting a link to a different blog I have been working on until I can figure out how to combine the two! Until then Paka!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2 years

Well Today marks this blog's 2 year Birthday. Hard to believe I have been writing here for two years. A very long and mostly hard troubled two years this has been. The rocky road of International adoption certainly did plague us. Kyrgyzstan has forever changed my and my family. But all good things come to those who wait correct!! God certainly had a plan in mind of while we waited. Today came awesome news on the anniversery of the blog Birthday... While I wish the news was that we were finally going to get our Kyrgyz Princess home.... it is not.

What is the news you ask????

Well I am going to keep everyone waiting for one



But its well worth the waiting for..

Hint Hint

Das Viedanye

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Roza Otunbaeva on facebook!!

Good morning all!
I have failed to post here lately because I have been overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness and sadness. Latest updates have been far less then good for our kids. But finally a sliver of good news. I take a sliver of good over some of the bad.

Over the last few days evidently many of our waiting family members have reached out to the Interim leader of Kyrgyzstan. We have expressed support for her leadership while also asking very politely for a swift resolution to our cause. Anyone on facebook feel free to do the same! But here are two other email addresses to contact her in support of her country, her leadership and support for a resolution of 65 pending adoptions!

Dear Ms. Otunbaeva,
My name is Ann Bates. I know this is a very troubling time in your country. I am writing to express my words of support during this time of rebuilding. My thoughts, prayers and well wishes are with you as you re-establish a safe and secure environment for the people of Kyrgyzstan. I have visited your country three times. The first time two years ago. Then, I was just an American mother hoping to give a little girl a home in America. But two trips later I have not only fallen in love with a little three year old girl I hope to one day be able to call Daughter, but I have fallen in love with your beautiful country. I have made many friends and stay in contact with them on a regular basis. One has recently returned from an education trip here to the United States and I had the pleasure to host him for a day and show him around America. Your people have welcomed me on three occasions with open hearts and arms. I wish for them a country filled with many freedoms and the safety that a good leader will provide to them.
I am writing also today as a heartbroken mother to be. I am one of the 65 families waiting to adopt a child from an orphanage in Bishkek. I traveled to meet her 2 years ago. She was 18 months old then. She is now almost four. She has mild cerebral palsy and was born very premature. Her developmental delays are more and more evident with every update we receive. I know the baby houses are doing the best they can with their resources. But families are waiting with open arms to give these children the love and medical care they so desperately need and deserve as a human right. I am writing to you in the hopes that there is a way to bring closure to this situation. 65 kids are waiting for families. 65 families have been waiting for 2 years to call these kids son or daughter. I know that our cultures have many different religious beliefs. But I pray that God will grant peace to your country. I pray that your leadership will go on to sustain a new and better Kyrgyzstan. And I pray that God will grant safe passage for our 65 children.
Ann BAtes

Monday, May 3, 2010

Answered Prayers

Over the last two years I have come to know and care about 65 children and 60 some odd families "stuck" in the same waiting game as we are in. We share our fears, we share tears, we share hopes and dreams. Even as those dreams slowly change and take on new shapes, we share them. Originally we all had dreams of bringing home infants and toddlers. Today all those infants are toddlers and the toddlers are slowly becoming preschool age. Some are older. How must it be for those few who KNOW they are waiting for their moms and dads to come back and take them home to the family they were promised. They know something has gone horribly wrong. But I digress......

One of those mothers has become a very dear friend. Someone I talk to almost every night in our virtual world. Either by computer or recently by Blackberry, whether she is in Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Denver, and I am at home or in Moscow we have still been connected by this wonderful virtual realm we live in. I have met Kimberly.... And I have had the great pleasure to meet Moonbeam on two seperate occasions. We had dreams that Moonbeam and Noodle would grow up as Kyrgyz sisters here in the states. We dreamed and hoped of the day we could plan our trip to Bishkek together and travel to pick up our daughters together. But tonight over at Hoping for Hannah ( that dream has changed. But step back to March 6th first. Kimberly's wish /prayer for Hannah was that she no longer had to wait in an institution. That a family would come and take her home to be their forever child. The best gift a mother could ever give. The gift of letting go.... A prayer for God to find a family so that Moonbeam would not spend even one more night in an orphanage. How exciting and appropriate that she has learned that as soon as that prayer was sent up God listened. And tonight a call that affirmed the answer to the prayer. God has found a family for Moonbeam. Someone in Moonbeam's Biological family has come forward and decided to apply to adopt her! The paperwork has been started. A PRAYER ANSWERED... But that does not make the loss any easier. So for all those reading tonight say a prayer not only a thanksgiving and a hope for a wonderful future for Moonbeam... But remember that for two years Kimberly was Moonbeam's Momma. She held this little girl close to her heart. She prayed for her. She loved her. Pray that Kimberly will find peace in this answered prayer as her adoption journey winds down yet another road of uncertainty.

More wait... More uncertainty

Almost a month has come and gone since our conference call with the Department of State. It has been almost a month since the fateful day of uprising in Kyrgyzstan. The interim government of Kyrgyz is at work implenting new decrees, drafting a constitution, holding talks with high level officials from the U.S. and Russia. But we remain not even a blip on that radar. Don't get me wrong, in the world of countries and politics, where lives are at stake and freedoms and all those other things I really just don't care to think about, I understand our 65 kids are not even a blip on the interim government radar. How could they be with so much else going on. But in my world I want to be more then a blip! I want our kids to be known and have a voice. I want to scream to the mountaintops THIS IS IMPORTANT TOO!!!! What if one of these kiddos IS the future of Kyrgyzstan? Or even better yet the future of the world we live in!! Wait... Not what IF? These kiddos ARE our future. Don't they deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity with the same rights as everyone else. The right to be loved, and held and to have a family and medical care and an education? Isn't that just as important? I think so! Do you know what is the most frustrating? It has been one month since the 65 families had a conference call with our government concerning these kids. And our one request has yet to be granted. Involvment in this issue by SOS Hilary Clinton. To date we have no idea if a letter has been drafted? They have openly admitted they do not "want" to engage SOS CLinton. They do not "want" to ask the Interim government of Kyrgyzstan if anything can be done to expedite our cases. Can anything be done? At least can we ASK the question? If they say no we wait again but at least we have ASKED!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Reading Eagle... an Update

Originally Published: 4/23/2010 Latest comment: 4/23/2010 2:06:08 PM
Stalled overseas adoptions: Bernville woman knows firsthand
A Bernville woman's attempt to enlarge her family collides with strife in Kyrgyzstan and a botched arrangement in Tennessee.


By Dan Kelly
Reading Eagle
Ann Bates of Bernville writes a blog about her preparations for adopting a child from central Asia.

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Ann Bates and her fiance, Brian Achey, had hoped to give Brian's parents their first grandchild.

Then their hopes to adopt two children, a boy from Russia and a girl from Kyrgyzstan, were suddenly dashed.

Bates, a pediatric nurse who lives in Bernville, was on her way back to Moscow from an orphanage in the countryside on April 7 when she began receiving text messages from friends and family members reporting that an apparent coup d'etat was under way in Kyrgyzstan.

When she got back to the hotel she tried to contact friends in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek. Her friends live near the orphanage where her 3-year-old adoptive daughter-to-be is living.

"I was so worried about the children and about my friends in Bishkek," she said.

The next day, Ann was resting in her hotel and watching television for more news from Bishkek when the BBC broadcast in Moscow reported that an American woman, who had adopted a Russian boy, had put the boy back on a plane to Moscow unaccompanied.

The boy carried a note from the mother, Torry Hansen of Tennessee, saying a Russian adoption agency had lied to her and that the child she adopted was psychotic, had threatened her friends and family - and had even threatened to burn down her house.

"I sat there for a minute and the only thing I could think was, 'You have got to be kidding me,' " Bates said.

Bates said she couldn't believe that two international incidents had occurred in two days, both of which threatened to keep her from adopting children.

She started adoption proceedings in Russia last year after becoming disheartened by constant delays of her adoption efforts in Kyrgyzstan.

Chuck Johnson, acting chief executive officer of the National Council For Adoption in Alexandria, Va., said Bates' family is one of more than 60 that had been trying to adopt children from Kyrgyrzstan for about two years when the former government, acting on allegations of corruption, declared a moratorium on foreign adoptions.

In Russia, adoptions had been proceeding well until the Hansen incident, and probably still are being processed, Johnson said.

"The problem some families have experienced in Russia is a lack of uniformity in the courts," Johnson said. "One court may make requirements on a family, even though the law says differently, and the family has no choice but to comply."

When the 7-year-old Russian boy stepped off the United Airlines flight from suburban Washington, D.C., Russia's foreign minister declared a moratorium on U.S.-Russian adoptions. The problem, Johnson said, is that adoptions are controlled by the Russia's Ministry of Education and the foreign minister apparently didn't have clear authority to change policy.

The U.S. State Department asked if it could send a high-level delegation to Russia to resolve the matter quickly, so as not to delay adoptions already in the works.

"The delegation was on its way to Moscow when their flight was ordered to turn around because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland," Johnson said. "Their hope is to get to Europe as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, the Renton, Wash.-based World Association of Children and Parents, which had arranged the adoption for Hansen, had suspended its work on U.S.-Russian adoptions.

Julie Snyder, a spokeswoman, said the organization had been asked to suspend further work in Russia while the case in Tennessee is fully investigated.

Her statement wasn't clear as to who asked for the suspension or whether it was voluntary on the agency's part.

"In unusual situations such as this, it is expected that authorities would suspend an agency until a full investigation can be completed," Snyder said.

The State Department and the Russian Ministry of Education have scheduled talks for Thursday and next Friday in Moscow.

In the meantime, the Russians have clarified their position that adoptions are still going forward, provided the U.S. continues to commit to a bilateral agreement on adoption.

Johnson of the National Council For Adoption said the U.S. is already party to the multilateral Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption. But the Russians did not adopt the Hague Convention and instead seek individual contracts with countries it allows to conduct adoptions.

The U.S., which previously had resisted bilateral adoption talks with the Russians, has agreed to seek an agreement because of the Hansen case, Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Bates said she hopes her Russian adoption will go forward, but she has lost hope that it will happen before June.

"They say kids lose three months of development for every year they are in an orphanage," Bates said. "I still have hope."

Contact Dan Kelly: 610-371-5040 or

The Associated Press

US families persevere in seeking Kyrgyz adoptions
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Facebook Twitter Delicious Digg Fark Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Bookmarks Print AP – This August 2008 photo provided Friday, April 23, 2010 by Lisa Reickerd shows Reickerd holding a baby … By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer David Crary, Ap National Writer – Fri Apr 23, 4:03 pm ET
NEW YORK – Amid high-profile furor over adoptions from Haiti and Russia, about 60 American families are persevering with a two-year struggle to complete adoptions from Kyrgyzstan — an already emotionally draining quest further complicated by recent political upheaval.

The families were formally matched with the children — most suffering from serious medical problems — in 2008 and have grown deeply attached to them after visiting their orphanages and bringing back photographs and videos.

"I feel that's my daughter, and she's my responsibility. I can't let go," said Angela Sharp, a 36-year-old cosmetology instructor from Flint, Mich., who visited for a week in April 2008 with the now 2-year-old orphan she hopes to adopt. A room with a crib and children's clothes awaits the girl, already given a new name by Sharp — Mia Angelina.

The nearly completed adoption proceedings for Sharp and the other families ground to a halt in late 2008 when Kyrgyzstan said it needed to overhaul its adoption system because of suspected corruption. A reform bill was introduced but never finalized, an investigation launched but never finished, and Parliament was dissolved following a bloody revolt this month that ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Meanwhile, one of the waiting children has died and another suffered such severe neurological damage that her prospective mother in Florida — a pediatrician — shifted from trying to adopt to campaigning to help ailing Kyrgyz orphans get better medical care.

"These children in Kyrgyzstan รข€” their level of care is sub-par at best, and they've been waiting there now for two years," said Tom DeFilipo of the Joint Council on International Children's Services. "The commitment of the families to these children is astounding. Once they get attached to a child, it's their child."

Lisa Reickerd of Orange, Calif., the single mother of a girl adopted from Kazakhstan in 2003, is now trying to adopt a 3-year-old girl she met in an orphanage in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, in August 2008.

"I knew she was meant to be with me," said Reickerd, who has served as the waiting families' main liaison with the State Department, which handles international adoption matters. "I feel no less love or compassion for this little girl than for the daughter I have now. We're all very committed to waiting this out."

However, recent events have compounded the frustrations of the waiting families. They noted that hundreds of pending adoptions of Haitian orphans by Americans were expedited after the earthquake in January, and they felt neglected amid the tumult this month that prompted Russia to freeze U.S. adoptions after a Tennessee woman sent her adopted son back to Moscow alone on a plane.

The families are now making two specific requests — that the State Department draw up a detailed plan to resolve the stalemate and that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton telephone the new Kyrgyz leader to raise the issue.

The State Department says it empathizes with the families, while noting that the new Kyrgyz leaders are struggling to restore basic government functions and may not consider adoption a high priority for the moment. The department also accepts Kyrgyzstan's position that its corruption probe must be completed before adoptions resume.

"The Kyrgyz authorities should urgently complete the criminal investigation into alleged adoption fraud and resolve the pending cases so that eligible children can be placed in loving homes," Michele Bond, the deputy assistant secretary for overseas citizens services, said Friday.

She stressed that many of the waiting children have serious health problems and that the U.S. families, despite the challenges, remain committed to adopting.

The families and their supporters say the Kyrgyz investigation appears to be stalled and are pleading for the pending adoptions to be finalized now.

"There is no legal concern over these pending cases, no concern whatsoever regarding these children's orphan status or their availability for adoption," said Chuck Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Council for Adoption.

Both Johnson and Reickerd suggested that U.S. officials have placed the adoption issue on the back burner while they try to make sure the new Kyrgyz leaders will let the U.S. continue using a strategic air base for the war in Afghanistan.

"The air base and oil are on the top of their minds; our children are not," Reickerd said.

One of the waiting Americans is Ann Bates of Bernville, Pa., who is not only persisting with her Kyrgyz application, but also trying to adopt a child from Russia — and thus is affected by Moscow's new freeze.

The Kyrgyz group initially numbered 65 families, Bates said, but four have dropped out to pursue adoptions from elsewhere, while Dr. Suzanne Bilyeu of Jacksonville, Fla., shifted to pushing for broader orphan assistance after the severe deterioration of the hydrocephalus-afflicted child she'd been matched with.

One couple, Kevin and Shannon Fenske of Reeseville, Wis., already have an adopted child from Kyrgyzstan — a boy named Esen who turns 4 next week. They were part of the first significant wave of U.S. adoptions from Kyrgyzstan, which increased from four in 2005 to 78 in 2008 before the delays began.

Eager to expand their family, the Fenskes were matched in July 2008 with a Kyrgyz baby girl afflicted with a severe cleft lip and palate. They hoped she could start corrective surgery this month, but the political upheaval forced cancellation of a mission to Kyrgyzstan by German doctors who were going to operate on her.

Meanwhile, Esen has been learning about his native country and the plans for him to have a sibling.

"It's hard for him to understand why the country he's from won't let his little sister come home," Shannon Fenske said.

A New York City couple, Drew and Frances Pardus-Abbadessa, had been hoping to adopt a child from Vietnam, but when corruption problems disrupted that system they turned to Kyrgyzstan.

The couple, both in their 40s, were matched in June 2008 with a newborn boy named Vladimir, and they've visited his orphanage several times.

"We think of him every day — when we're eating dinner, we're thinking what would he like to eat," said Frances Pardus-Abbadessa. "I can't imagine abandoning him at all."

"As time goes on," she added, "we get older and it gets harder."