Russian Word of the Day

  • present = padarak

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The end.

It's over.

Our journey is over.
Like any monumental hike to the summit, the journey to the top must end the moment you reach the peak. At that pivotal moment everything changes and for an instant you live entirely for the sweeping and seemingly endless view of the world beyond the mountain.

This final blog posting is my "one moment" and I hope you will all forgive me for gushing about the incredible view I have of my life as the mother of two amazing boys.

Looking back on my last posts from Kazakhstan, it is strange how long ago our time in Almaty feels. I was elated and terrified, nervous and exhausted. Poor Garrett was just reeling. In an oddly fitting way, the sleepless haze of our days in Almaty felt very much the same as the days Calvin and I spent recovering from his birth. I guess delivering a child into your life is exceptionally difficult no matter how you go about it!

The flights home from Kazakhstan were everything I feared that they would be. I won't dwell, but suffice it to say that I spent most of the 20+ hours pacing back and forth down the narrow aisle of the plane. When we finally landed in San Francisco, neither Garrett nor myself had a single piece of clothing in the generously packed carry-on bag that hadn't been spit-up all over... but it didn't matter... because the moment that plane touched down Garrett Ruslan Snyder became a U.S citizen. We were finally home for good! Caroline lugged the carry-on bags through the customs line and the immigration line. Garrett was greeted at immigration by a very tanned, 22-year-old immigrations officer who actually said: "Welcome home, little dude" in a very surfer voice. Only in California! I almost started crying because it was so good to be home! But the most amazing moment was yet to come because I knew that just beyond the baggage claim, everyone was waiting to welcome us. My mom had suggested months ago that we have "a little welcome party" at the airport and I had agreed. As we lugged our last bags onto the cart and headed for the giant wall of frosted glass that led to the public area of the airport, I couldn't have been more glad for that decision. I was so elated to have made it home with my son that I wanted to show him off to everyone! If someone had asked me in that moment, if they should alert the international media to cover our exit from the airport I would have answered: "Of course!" Yet there was no need to call in the press, because the roar of cheers and applause that greeted us as we walked through those doors might very well have been heard all the way in Kazakhstan. Everyone was there: Tim and Calvin, and so many loving relatives and friends all holding up signs and cheering and waving and clapping! And there I was with Garrett, finally!

I've always held that in moments of intense emotion, your heart can be heard beating out a single word over and over again. For me, with my husband and my two sons in my arms, I could actually feel my heart beating out "finally." "finally." "finally." "finally."

Finally, I had them all. Finally, I had brought my family together. Finally.

And now our new life has begun and I must say that we have already found a beautiful rhythmn. It is almost unbelieveable to me how quickly Garrett has acclimated to our family and it is a constant source of amazement to Tim and me how a strong dose of parental love has lit up our youngest son. The sweet and silent doe-eyed baby I fell in love with in Schuchinsk has blossomed into an affectionate, silly, openly-opinionated, little guy who's giant brown eyes absolutely twinkle when he's happy... which, I can honestly say, is most of the time.

Within a week, Garrett started sleeping through the night, even without being swaddled. He is eating like a little football player. He talks all the time in a constant stream of "dadadadadadas" and squeals and loves to get a reaction to his sounds. If you feign surprise or pleasure he lights up with the biggest smile and does it all again. He cuddles against my shoulder when he is tired or overwhelmed in a way that absolutely melts my heart. He does the army crawl all over the house and shrieks with frustration before settling off on his slow motioned pursuit of a toy that is on the other side of the room. He blows an impressively wet "raspberry" with his tongue, a skill which he and his older brother spend many happy moments trying to perfect. He is an absolute ham for the camera and will happily mug while I attempt to get Calvin to unscrew his otherwise adorable face.
Calvin is a great big brother. He is my helper in all things Garrett related. If I leave the room during one of Garrett's feeding, you can be sure that I will return to find Calvin messily shoveling food into Garrett's open mouth. He races to Garrett's room at the first sign that Garrett is waking up from a nap and has, on several occasions, taken it on himself to go into Garrett's room during his nap "just to be sure that he is still asleep." Yesterday, he told me: "You will keep and eye on Garrett when I am not around, and I will keep an eye on Garrett when you are not around." He is Garrett's protector, checking each room to be sure that outlets are covered and that nothing too small or pointy ends up in his little brother's firm grip. Calvin has even shared his coveted Bear-Bear with Garrett. Now that is brotherly love!
As for me and Tim, we love the new math in our life. We love having two car seats, two bedtime routines, two baths to give, two heads to kiss. I am becoming a pro at giving Garrett his bottle while cutting up Calvin's spaghetti. I can read a book to Cal while making silly faces to Garrett. You can also add to my resume the ability to play a low speed, but satisfying game of "tag" with Calvin while Garrett is straped to my chest in the Baby Biorn.

We are, at long last, the wild and happy family I dreamed that we would be almost 16 long months ago when Tim and I officially started out on this amazing journey. I am thankful for every moment of that process, delays and all, because they brought us to this moment. I am thankful for each of you, as well, because your kind words on this blog have truly warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing in this journey and loving my little family. For those of you on the long roads to your own children, good luck and enjoy the ride!

Well, Garrett is waking up from his first nap and Calvin is, at this very moment, trying to help me type, so Mama is back on duty. I love you all. Thanks again.



P.S. - Calvin is already asking when he gets a little sister, so give us a couple of years and SnydersBacktoKaz may be up and running!


Lou Ann said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. It's so wonderful to know another Kaz family has had a Happy Ending or as I tell my daughter A Happy Beginning since returning to the states is when life as a family really begins. I also hope you might decide to post updates on the boys now and then. I thought I'd stop my blog once I returned as well but discovered that my new found "Internet" friends as well as my friends and family wanted to see how we were doing. Plus it's a great way to keep track of the events big and small in their lives. So just maybe this won't be "The end." of the Snyders2Kaz blog but just the middle!

Best wishes to you and your family.

Lou Ann & Lexie the Aktau Kazakh Princess

Dean and Janie said...

Ditto..about the blog "end". We would love to hear how your beautiful family is doing now and then. Aren't we part of your family now, too? :) You have been such an inspiration in the way you write from your heart in so many ways. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Blessings to your family each and every day!
(press the blog button, then press the blog button again, and there is our blog.)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful ending to the true start of life together. I feel as if I am still in the afterglow of our time in Kazakhstan. It was life changing for me personally to be part of the Snyder team for five weeks and for this I will forever be greatful.
What have I learned? That love does change the world and a single person who takes action can make a difference. Adopting is not an easy process and it takes a special person to keep filing those papers and dashing off to S.F. or Sacramento to file even more, but you knew all along that Garrett was waiting for you. You were right, he was waiting for you and now he is finally home.
Watching how Garrett has awaked in just two short weeks shows without a doubt the power of real love. He went from a very quiet baby who just watched his limited world to one who is truly enjoying his new life. His smile… that huge smile that stretches across his whole face just captures your heart.
I am so proud of Calvin! He is a natural big brother and he was a true adventurer in Kazakhstan! Not many three year olds can say they learned to ride a bike in the snow in Kazakhstan.
He and Garrett will keep your house wildly busy, busy, busy …. Perfect!
I can’t wait to watch them grow up together.
Love always,
Nana of two…

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing and caring while you were on your journey!you truly helped....

Hope to be in touch again soon.


Anonymous said...

Loved the update - thank you Becca. I am with the other blogger that requests periodic updates - we want the Blog to live on! - as we just enjoy so much hearing about the family and all the wonderful developments.

And yes, go get that baby sister...who knows, perhaps I'll join you next time!

Welcome hope Garrett & great job in the big brother role Calvin!

Love Auntie Carrie

Anonymous said...

Its 10pm and Garrett is getting a bottle - Calvin is sleeping soundly after a day of swimming and the family is all tucked in. I am so proud of you. This was a joint effort between us and so many others; family, friends, unknown diplomats, Makhabbat, Shizida, The Sisters, notaries up and down the state of California, the good people of FedEX, but were the impotus and driving force...and I am proud of you for bring our family home.