Saturday, September 6th

Today was an incredible day! Our sweet Dana crawled for the first time!! We cried at this milestone (weíre such parents already). It happened at the end of our visit. Dana was sitting with Donna in the music room where we usually have our visits. Dana caught a glimpse of a toy that our travel partnerís son had across the room and decided that she wanted to investigate it. She began squirming in Donnaís lap so Donna put her down on the floor. Dana lunged forward to her belly and pushed up with her hands. Her favorite caretaker, Maigul, came into the music room at this time and Dana turned her focus to Maigul. Maigul was also on the other side of the room and motioned to Dana to come to her. Dana must have decided that there were too many fun things on the other side of the room that she didnít want to miss out on so off she went - scooting at high speed across the room. Everyone clapped and cheered and Dana grinned, very proud of herself.  Perhaps, when she does it again weíll be able to catch it on video. What a moment!

The Babyhouse dresses the children very warmly even if it is very hot outside. The Babyhouse is not air conditioned and it is usually warm inside . Dana is brought to us wearing two layers of clothing, the top layer being made of wool or a similar Fall or Winter material. The babies are very hot and some of the adoptive parents think that this is why the babies arenít motivated to move all that much. Today, Dana had on a very light summer outfit and she definitely moved around a lot more. The Babyhouse  feels that warm clothing  will keep the babies from getting sick. Dana has not had many colds so maybe they know something that we donít know. Only time will tell.

We did a lot of new things with Dana today during our visit! The Babyhouse allowed us to take Dana outside and provided us with a stroller to take her for a ride. Dana loved it! We also sat on a swing with her and she loved that too! What a great day we had with our adorable baby girl!

When we arrived home at our apartment, we had another special treat. Through our adoption agency, we sponsor a 16 year old girl named Sholpan from Uralsk, Kazakhstan. Sholpan has lived in an orphanage since she was a very young child. She is unfortunately too old now to be adopted. We send her a donation each month and also a letter. We have been amazed by the letters that Sholpan writes back to us. She speaks and writes beautiful English and is very intelligent. She is ambitious, optimistic , has a warm generous nature and a big heart. We love receiving her letters. Several people from our adoption agency have met her and told us that she is indeed a special girl. When she found out that we were adopting a baby, she hoped that we would adopt in Uralsk so that we could visit her also. We, too, would have loved this . Unfortunately, Almaty (where we are) is very far from Uralsk (where she is). It is on the opposite side of the country. I asked our facilitator if it would be possible to call Sholpan while we are here and our facilitator worked hard to arrange this.

It was such a thrill to actually talk to this charming teenager. Her English is so good!! She was very happy to hear from us and we were just as excited to talk to her. We chatted about the weather, about school and about Dana. She loved hearing about Dana. We told Sholpan that we love her and are here to help cheer her on to a successful life. I know that she will be one of the ones who will make it. She has already shown incredible strength and courage. We admire her greatly. We will try and call her again when we make our second trip to pick up our sweet Dana. We hope that Sholpan can come and visit us in America when she is older.
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