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Reunion with Robbie’s buds from Kazakhstan


In September 2001, six people from different parts of the United States met up at the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on our way to adopt children from Aktobe, Kazakhstan. We'd never met before. We hadn't had any contact, save for one e-mail, with any of them. But all of a sudden, we were thrown into a situation where they pretty much became like family.

But for the next 18 days, we traveled together. We worried together. We celebrated together. We pretty much spent every waking moment with P.J. and Brandi, and Amy and Missy. We were there when they first met, received custody, and took possession of their children. And they were there when we first met, received custody, and took possession of Robbie.

In circumstances like that, you develop a kinship. And the kinship continues. But something was missing. We realized we missed seeing little Indira and little Maddie and their families on a daily basis. And we felt left out when they all got together for a couple of weekends because they live two hours apart. Despite hearing that they felt something was missing, it was tough being 500 miles away and unable to see them. While we can talk on the phone and e-mail digital photos, it's not the same.

But we had the opportunity to travel to the midwest over Memorial Day weekend, so we called P.J, Brandi, and Indira's and pretty much invited ourselves to their place. And then we invited Amy, Missy, and Maddie too.

The last time we saw everyone was a very rushed goodbye at JFK Airport in New York as we raced to make our connection to Baltimore and they headed off to Cincinnati. But now, as we turned into the driveway at Indira's house, we saw the whole crew come outside to greet us.

Hugs and kisses all around. Maddie's still got those heartbreakin' dimples when she smiles. And Indira has hair! A whole full head of it. (Nine months ago, she was as bald as an eagle.) We didn't recognize her at first.

Pictures say more than words any day of the week. So take a look at the photo gallery from the reunion. All I can say is it was very cool. We've gotta get together again real soon.


The hostess with the mostest - Indira - welcomes her pals to her home

Maddie, alone in the den with all these toys.
It doesn't get any better than that.


Indira joins Maddie in trashin' the den.

The three amigos with Robbie's big sister Wendy.
From L-R, Indira, Wendy, Maddie, and Rob.
(We tried to get Rob to sit up, but being
the guy he is, he kept slumping back.)


Checkin' out the backyard.

Robbie and his future wife?


"It's either really bright out here, or I've got gas."

"Isn't my big 'do pretty
when I pull the bow out of my hair?"


The kids version of happy hour
means juice and TV. Twenty years
from now, beers and movies.


"It's a beautiful morning," says Indira.

"I'm not so sure about that," thinks a tired Maddie.


Maddie is happy to pose with Missy and Amy before breakfast.

Not Robbie. He's hungry and wants breakfast NOW!


"Ooh look, Indira's got some cool toys!"

"Mom!!! They're touching my toys!"


Indira does her happy dance.

Maddie models her new summer dress.


"Wow! Barney on a big screen is awesome!!!"

Maddie and Missy - the M&M gang.


Indira, Maddie, and Robbie and their families
pose for a group shot at the end of the reunion weekend.

Since these photos were taken, he's had the opportunity to reunite with Leila, our coordinator from Kazakhstan, and Alla, our coordinator from Russia, at the Frank Foundation 10-year Anniversary party in Washington, D.C. It was great to see them again, and wonderful for them to see how well he's doing.