Saturday, September 12, 2009

tons of updates


Today we went for a loooong walk to the zoo. While we were on our way there we sidetracked ending up on a beautiful university campus. University of Finance it was called. Very old buildings, very treed grounds, park like with trails. Many people there walking among the trails. We asked a young couple where the zoo was and it was literally across the street from where we were standing but we couldn’t see it for the trees all around. The zoo was great. We had a fun time there. I made friends with the gorilla. We looked into each others eyes and when he would scratch I would scratch and he would just look at me like what in the world is going on here? A chimp was looking at me too and I made kissy noises at him and he perked up but then turned away. Awwww. Goodness we walked for MILES today. So after our zooo adventure we walked home and up our personal stairmaster to our apartment on the 4th floor. We got a call from Yulia that our papers would be ready and we would go with Nicholai in 5 minutes! Yikes! So we threw our clothes back on(it is HOT here today and our apartment is VERY warm) and there was Nicholai waiting for us at the street when we got there. We got to see Jenny and Claudia and their three little ones again. They were coming from their embassy appt. Chrysta and Claudia got on very well and plan to keep in touch when we get home. They are both 12. We dropped jenny and her crew off at her apartment and headed for the office of adoption. Nicholai marched us right in there and told the lady who we were. And she said Nyet. And he tried again and she said Nyet. One more attempt and another Nyet and we have a problem. So out of the office we went and waited in a hallway. He called Yulia who in turn I suppose called the office and found that our papers were awaiting a signature. It was after 5 and these papers can only be picked up between 5 and 6. So we waited some more for them to finally at about 6 bring them down and let us sign for them and take them and go. While we were waiting we were talking with a couple from Italy adopting a boy. They said they had no choice where to adopt, their agency said this is where you go. There were several other couples there ahead of us when we got there. Which means hopefully several other kids are getting adopted!

So after we got back to our theighmaster(apartment) we dropped off our papers in our apartment and headed back out for some dinner. We walked back to the great pizza place we went last night. Good food, cheap! Two pizzas three waters and one draft beer for about ten bucks. that’s better than the coffee shop we go to for breakfast!

Tomorrow(Thursday) we will have fruit and clean out the refrig for breakfast as we have to meet yulia and a driver at 640AM and head to P town. Hoping to get everything accomplished so we can see the kids tomorrow. Benjamin and Sophie , Mama is coming!! (and cestra and Dada) so I have to go and repack everything we have spread all over the apartment and we will not have internet again until….I don’t know when…. Depends on how things go in P town. I guess I will post this then because I am not getting up and running across the street(which really means you have to cross one street go under one street and cross another street) to go to cafĂ© for net at 4 or 5am!! It took me a little while but now I think Sunny K is fab. But I am looking forward to seeing P town!!

Eric’s note: K is a grand old city with lots of 19th century buildings. The capital buildings are very impressive. Well, off to P town tomorrow!



I am writing this as we sit in the car and wait for Yulia who is in the office of circumlocution(little dorritt) Eric and Chrysta are sleeping beside me as we sit in the warm car waiting. Vanya, our driver, is here waiting with us. We have seen the children today and they are very darling and very clever. Mr Benjamin is now wearing an AFO, and SURPRISE! He is walking!!! More like toddling but he is on the move and there is no stopping him. Although after many surgeries his one leg still turns inward. He is an extremely clever boy, he figured out immediately what to do with my watch., and worries of mental delay beyond orphanage delays are no longer on our minds. He is a little shy. His legs are not frozen, if they ever were. He is a little blonde darling and apparently a business man in Sunny K has taken to him and sponsored him and though he could not adopt him he helped to pay for some of his medical care. His daughter has the same diagnosis and they were on the same ward together for a long time. We are hoping to meet him and thank him. We were told that is a possibilitiy and he would be willing to meet us.

Miss Sophie is an absolute Joy and I defy anyone to spend 5 minutes with her and not be enchanted. When we arrived for our afternoon visit there was a group there from Cargill MINNEAPOLIS! They were enchanted with her too. This child, while a stunning beauty, is also smart as a whip. In the first hour we were there she was calling Chrysta “Kristina” and was sweet as pie giving us shy looks out the side of her eye and later giving kisses. I am utterly SHOCKED at her fine motor skills. Her hands may be twisted but she can hold a little beetle the size of a lady bug between her fingers. Amazing. (funny aside, at the zoo in Sunny K we were looking at this beetle we found and a mother and child walked by and the child said something and the mother looked at us and very clearly said dumb Kopf. She wasn’t talking TO us just about us I am sure haha) She relished the attention and tried to teach us her language and quickly picked up the words we offered her in English. She likes to go for rides in her chair but moreso likes to be carried and held. They say she gets frustrated when she can not do what the others do. I saw a hint of that on our second visit. She wanted to crawl off and I wouldn’t let her. She does apparently crawl on her knees but I didn’t think they would like me to let her do that in her pretty white dress OUTSIDE!

The orphanage has been very kind to us and they are very happy to see us taking the kids home. They offered us a flat to stay in, we did look at it but it was very far into the suburbs (of an already TINY town) and the cost was similar to the hotel, but we just didn’t feel it was a safe place to stay. Our helper agreed.

Apparently our Sophie has a grandmother who visits her and she is supportive of adoption and wants her little precious to be adopted. She has also requested a visit with us and to keep in touch after we go home. I would love to send her photos as Sophie grows and gains mobility. I would also love to send photos back to the man who is partially responsible for Benji’s walking!

Benji is much bigger than Ethan was but still on the small side for almost 6. Sophie is a peanut and not very big at all. We are definitely going to need a stroller for Benji when we go home. He is way too heavy to haul around on our backs for long. Sophie, though, I think we could easily sling, she is only about 30 pounds.

OH! I forgot to mention something that happened. Apparently Benji has been in the new place longer than we thought, he has been there about 8 months. But they are both next door to each other and they let us take Benji to Sophie’s place to play with them both. And the very second Sophie saw him she started talking a mile a minute to him saying his cultural nickname. She remembered him! She was mothering him immediately and giving him toys and talking to him. That didn’t last long though because he wanted to GO GO GO!! So Daddy walked him all over.

We only got to spend about ten minutes with the kids before they said well what do you think? Have you decided? As if there was any doubt. We had decided long ago and this was just a formality, but for others who have not met a child before I would think they might need more time than that. We heard that there was an Italian couple coming into the hotel last night but don’t know if they were to adopt or what. We also met an Italian couple waiting at the referral office for our papers.


Today is our first day on our own in Ptown. Dinner last night was from the convenience store around the corner because the food next door was the same food we saw sitting there at lunch. It was already dark and too late to go far from the hotel when we finally got checked in. So this morning we are starving.

Cody, My special boy, Happy Birthday. I wish I could have spent it with you. I love you and miss you. I cant believe you are already 15!

Hoping to pick up an internet card this afternoon. Will post all of this then.

Friday evening.
We had a busy eventful day. We never did get to the internet. Time got away from us. We got home after morning visitation and had a little lunch, settled in for a little rest with intentions to go find some internet after that. But as we dozed we got a call from Yulia. It seemed the orphanage was sending a car for us. The man who was helping the orphanage and sponsoring our little Benjamin was at the orphanage at wanted to see us.. His name is Sasha and he was much younger than we expected. We had a little visit in the directors office, very little, we don’t speak the language and he doesn’t speak ours except for a few words. Mostly we all just played with Benjamin and laughed at him and wowed at him. Then we all had an impromptu tea party. Sasha gave him a chocolate and he loooved it. No one said anything about it. Then we had cake. I gave a bite to Ben and he liked it. The second bite, I got caught. And all three women at the table gasped and said NO NO NO!!! through their gestures we figured out they were worried about ruining his dinner. I just smiled sheepishly and wiped his face. He was fine with it. I have no idea what he thinks of this man but he said goodbye to him with a hug and a kiss. We will try to get his address from the orphanage director and send him photos as Benji grows. Then the director was kind enough to let us stay and play with Benjamin even though it wasn’t visiting hours and it was almost his snack time. So we played and had a great time and then he had his snack, COOKIES! So he couldn’t have cake because he was going to have cookies? THAT makes a lot of sense. Ahh well we just go with the flow and do whatever they ask us. They are very welcoming of us there.

While he was having snack I was on the floor near him and the little girl at his table kept reaching out to me as if she weren’t sure I was really there. I would touch her hand and say Privyet! Or hello! And then encourage Ben to eat his snack. I didn’t want to be disruptive but I couldn’t just ignore this little girl touching my face, looking for an interaction. Then she did it one too many times and Ben got mad and the ladies gasped and said his name! and he pushed her little hand away as if to say NO! that’s MY Mama!! You don’t touch! They let us take him outside for awhile after that. So we walked around with him pushing a little stroller and he walked and walked. He loved to push the stroller over the rough patches best and would stop and maneuver to be sure that a wheel would hit a hole or bump, quite the opposite of the people around here who drive cars. They seem to try and avoid the bumps and holes in the road. We left him with his groupa to go visit Sophie for awhile since they would not let us play together with them today. Not sure why it was ok yesterday but not today.

When we left Sophie this morning she cried big crocodile tears and it nearly broke my heart but I tried to be light and upbeat so as not to upset her more. So when we saw her this afternoon she was outside with her groupa and I swear she was waving her entire body at us saying hello! They were happy to hand her off to us. We wheeled her a little ways and then sat in the grass to hold her in our laps and play. She is so very sweet and loving. Ben flashes me this little grin as if he knows I am his Mama when I kiss on him and sometimes returns a kiss. And Sophie just lights up like a lighthouse beam when we kiss and love her. When I carry her I have to put her arms up on my shoulders for her. But this afternoon she started doing it herself. And she is relaxing more into us when we play. Ben just wants to go go go and move move move so there isn’t a whole lot of snuggling going on there! Sophie’s Daddy told her he loved her in her language and you should have seen her face. She just beamed up at him as proud as could be. It was very precious. She offers us kisses and has the softest cheeks. Eric got her playing ball this morning. I brought a beach ball and we blew it up and I sat her on my knees and Eric would toss the ball and I would lift her arms to bat it away or catch between her arms and let her toss it back. She progressed to me just steadying her and she was throwing her arms in the air and batting that ball and laughing the whole time. She played that game until she wore Daddy out. She was still ready to play some more! This afternoon Sophie figured out how to unzip my bag, which is no small accomplishment when your hands are twisted and turned. So I let her take everything out. She was happy as a lark doing that until she found the pen. She wanted to write! And she did. She is amazing in the things she can do. She is miles ahead of where I thought she would be. And social butterfly for sure!! Benjamin is amazing tooo in the things he can do and how quickly he learns from us.

Since the orphanage had sent a car for us this afternoon we had no way to get back to the hotel so we did what they do in the old country. We walked. It wasn’t so far. And we enjoyed the walk, along with a stop at the grocery store for some meat and cheese. The bologna around here is outstanding. Nothing like the kind we have at home. So we never did get the chance to find internet because the whole days schedule got thrown off. Hoping to post this tomorrow(Saturday!)