The photos are poignant, sometimes goofy: little Noah with a purple plastic ring on his head, tearing up at his first haircut or splashing in a baby pool. Then there is the video of a father twirling his son through the air, both giggling uproariously.
The website is called "Becky & Jeremy's Exciting Adoption Adventure," created by a Haverford couple to capture a once-in-a-lifetime odyssey to bring home a son from Kazakhstan as well as the joys of raising a first child.
But what has happened so far to Becky Compton, Jeremy Meyer, and the 16-month-old they call Noah Aldanysh Compton-Meyer in the mountain-ringed city of Taraz has been anything but routine.
It is there, about 6,350 miles from home, that Meyer, 40, and Compton, 39, have spent most of the last 7 1/2 months as Noah learned to walk, ate his first banana - and became a pawn in a battle with Kazakh officials who have blocked what the couple expected to be a routine adoption.
Compton, a psychology professor at Haverford College, remains in Taraz, spending three hours a day with Noah at an orphanage while fighting the Kazakhstan bureaucracy. Her husband, a labor lawyer with a Center City firm, returned four weeks ago to an empty house on Haverford's campus and the possibility that Noah might never arrive at the freshly painted, toy-filled room that has been waiting for him for nearly a year.
"It was incredibly hard to leave," Meyer said. "I may never see him again. That's horrifying."
Since January, government officials in the region have abruptly rejected adoptions by seven foreign families - another is pending - leaving in limbo the families and the 10 orphans they seek to adopt. The families call them the "Taraz Ten."
Besides the growing resistance of many countries to giving up their children to foreign adoptions, the much-publicized death in January of tabloid celebrity Casey Johnson may have played a role, adoption advocates speculate. The fast-living heiress had adopted a daughter from the Taraz orphanage where Noah lives.
"Attitudes toward international adoptions are changing, absolutely," said Leonette Boiarski of the Pearl S. Buck Welcome House, the Perkasie adoption agency that arranged the boy's adoption. "Countries want to be able to take care of their children."
Meyer and Compton were hopeful when they set out for sparsely populated Kazakhstan on Dec. 16.
They were encouraged by the country's reputation for treating its orphans well. As recently as 2008, about 380 Kazakhstan orphans had been adopted by Americans. Boiarski said Welcome House began working with the country in January 2007 and had completed three adoptions when Meyer and Compton arrived.
The process was expected to take roughly two months. Typically, the family arrives in Kazakhstan and begins two weeks of bonding with a child, followed by a court hearing within a month or so.
Meyer and Compton were shown three children. The second they met was 9-month-old Aldanysh. Though he was undernourished and barely able to hold up his head, Meyer said, "it was love at first sight."
"It's hard to put into words," Compton said. "I think because he was fairly small, there was a protective instinct. . . . He also seemed very alert and curious even as a young infant. . . . I felt a responsiveness."
They were able to visit the boy, whom they named Noah, for two hours a day. "We brought toys," Meyer said. "Early on he grabbed things and flung them around."
The couple also got to bond with several other couples - American, Canadian, and German - waiting to adopt. They filled the rest of the day - "the other 22," they called those long hours - by trading books or DVDs with the other families or warming noodles on the hot plate in their hotel room. They blogged about their odd experiences, such as buying a donkey for a local family.
The legal process moved forward slowly. Meyer said that through 2009, no international adoptions had been rejected in the Zhambyl region, and that there had been no reason to expect things would be different.
On Jan. 4, Johnson, the pharmaceutical heiress, died of diabetes complications, leaving behind her 3-year-old Kazakh daughter, Ava-Monroe. News reports revealed her drug history as well as her homosexuality, which is cause in Kazakhstan for denying an adoption.
Then in March, a couple from York, Pa., was accused of murdering the 7-year-old boy they had adopted from Russia, and in April, a Tennessee mother pinned a note on her adopted 7-year-old and sent him unattended on a flight back to Russia.
The climate for international adoption seemed to change overnight, even as Noah celebrated his first birthday March 26 and started hitting developmental milestones.
"One day we went to pick him up, and he was standing," Meyer said with a father's pride.
But on May 14, the municipal court rejected the adoption, saying the orphanage had not shown Noah to enough local families - there had been two - before making him available to foreigners, as required by law, according to the court record.
To Compton and Meyer, it seemed that they and, worse, Noah were being penalized for someone else's error. They said that the law does not state how many local families must first be approached, and that they had been told that two or three was normal.
Several calls to the Kazakh Embassy were not returned.
While adoptions are progressing normally in other parts of the country, no new applications are being taken while Kazakhstan implements the Hague Adoption Convention, an international agreement to safeguard intercountry adoptees, said Welcome House.
A State Department spokesman called the Hague Convention, which prevents the abduction or sale of children and emphasizes local adoptions, "the most important change in international adoption."
Compton and Meyer, now on their second appeal, said they would fight all the way to the Kazakh Supreme Court if necessary.
That could take months. Compton needs to return to the United States in August for a week when her visa expires, the first time both will be away from the boy for more than a day.
"He's bonded with us," Meyer said. "He cries when we leave him. . . . Honestly, I think he's going to forget me."
Home in Haverford, he tries not to walk past the "depressing empty baby room," with its blue walls, bookshelf filled with stuffed animals and bright new toys, a stack of baby clothes that Noah is fast outgrowing, and a quilted ark handed down from his wife's late grandmother.
But the couple is resolved not to give up, even if Kazakhstan's highest court rules against them. Said Compton by phone from Kazakhstan, "We're committed to him like any parent is committed to his child."