Sunday, April 12, 2009
April 12, 2009
When we arrived today, Nate was still sound asleep. He had a pretty busy day and was yawning often at the end of our session yesterday. The care givers told the translators to tell us to wake Nate up because his food was getting cold. We thought that was odd as they didn’t need to feed him, we’re there for that and they had 10 other kids to feed so someone was going to get cold food anyways. Also, they had just spooned the food into the bowls and were only starting to feed the first babies. The logic was beyond definition…. When Nathaniel opened his eyes and saw us, he was very excited! Waking him up from a deep sleep didn’t alter his good mood at all.
Nate ate his food and was content as always having a full belly. We’re kind of surprised at the runny-ness of the breakfast food over the last week or so. By the end of breakfast, it’s soup and most of the liquid just drips out of his mouth and down his neck. We noticed some more little bumps on the back of his head and are wondering if he is allergic to something. Irina had some little skin rashes when she was at her baby house and they disappeared pretty quickly after we brought her home. He had some of the blue medicine on the side of his forehead this morning so we were thankful that the man came yesterday to take his passport pictures.
We moved to the adjacent hallway near the main room and spent our time there playing with the other American family that is here with us (with a different agency). The other family didn’t want their son playing with Nate’s toys but we kept telling them it was okay. Kev was encouraging their son to crawl all over him as well. It was a really good morning watching Nate and the other boy play side by side. They were babbling a lot and we don’t know if it was to one another or what. We have learned to try to keep Nathaniel upright for awhile after his feedings!
We are amazed at the advancements we’ve seen with Nate since we arrived here a few weeks ago. He’s sitting up on his own and babbling quite a bit. Nate’s really developed his leg muscles as well so standing is becoming easier for him. The one thing we’re amazed at is how happy he seems to be all the time. It doesn’t matter who walks by, he always has a smile on his face. It’s going to be hard leaving in a few days but we’ll be back before we know it to rendez-vous with Nate in Almaty for the long ride to the US and then back to Belgium. We’re really excited to bring him to the US and Belgium so everyone can meet him. Likewise, we’re excited for Nate to meet our friends at home and abroad and to settle into our own routine at home. Our time flew by this morning. It is hard only being able to see him once on Sundays and not being able to explain to him that not coming in the afternoon is not our choice.
This afternoon we ate lunch at our apartment (Irina gets to excited to eat blinis with jam, which is like having crepes with jam) and then spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the malls and bazaars looking for a few last minute gifts. Shopping here is kind of like it is in Belgium-there really aren’t department stores so you have to go to the individual stores or bazaar booths that sell whatever it is you are looking for. Two differences are that everything is open until about 7 or 8 PM everyday (including Sundays!) and all of the store employees have been so nice and helpful to us. We bought dombras for Irina and Nathaniel to have when they are older. It is a traditional Kazakh instrument that is like a guitar. Karaganda is not a touristy place-it is an industrial city that used to be a site of prison camps for Germans. The Soviets would send all the German POW’s here during WWII. There are two German restaurants here and some German communities throughout Kaz. Finding souvenirs for them to have of this area has not been easy for us. Irina had about an hour to play in her favorite part of the mall-it’s called Babylon and is a big arcade with games for younger kids and older kids. There are some rides for little kids and a big climbing area that is great for Irina to burn off some of her energy. Irina sometimes gets to take a break while we get in an old-school game of Galaga or Ms. Pacman. Another added bonus is that there is a Baskin Robbins ice-cream stand just outside of Babylon. Luckily we have been able to resist the adorable puppies that are illegally (we think) sold in a parking lot near one of the strip malls. People have the puppies, and some kittens, in the trunks of their cars and are constantly looking around like they are ready to make a run for it if a police man comes. We walked around for about 4 hours this afternoon and for once, it was nice to come back and relax in the apartment. If you have ever lived overseas, you will truly appreciate the next statement: We are very excited to get back home and have AFN (Laura is bc Kev’s been watching the cycling classics and it doesn’t matter what language it’s in). Our evenings have been watching the following programs on television in or dubbed over in Russian: weightlifting, bicycling, hockey, NCAA b-ball, National Geographic (Irina is learning about the circle of life!), and some American shows that we like but can’t understand anything. Irina gets to watch some Russian cartoons or US/Canadian cartoons (dubbed), which is a treat for her so she doesn’t mind not understanding anything. The only show NOT dubbed is Hannah Montana (Kev makes puking noise).
By the time you read this, we’ll have been to pre-court on Monday and be at the baby house hanging out and playing with Nate. Pre-court is a new requirement to ensure our paperwork is in order. We are scheduled (to our knowledge) for court on Wednesday. If all goes as planned, we’ll fly out
Wednesday night to Almaty and then depart at 0300 on Thursday our time for a morning arrival in Belgium on Thursday. We’re excited to get back and see everyone and get back to work (Just FYI, Kevin wrote that last line about work). But Kev has a ton of work to do so he’s eager to get back and knock some stuff out and burn off the great Kaz food on his bikes. We have consumed an unbelievable amount of carbs every day here!
One big difference for this last bit of time here for us is that we don’t have to plan parties for the baby house. With Irina’s adoption, we had to have two parties on the last day we were here after we went to court: one for the caregivers and one for the doctors/director. All of the caregivers, even those who were not working that day, attended the party in her room. At those parties, we gave gifts and made little speeches about how grateful we were to be there and how grateful we were for all that they did for Irina. It was also a time for the women to ask us questions about our lives and what was in store for Irina after she left Kazakhstan. They also told some good Irina stories, which we treasured. We have a picture of Irina surrounded by all of her caregivers on that last day and that is a special picture for her as well as for us. At this baby house, we do not give parties. We order a cake for the caregivers and a cake for the doctors. Whoever happens to be working on Wednesday after we go to court will enjoy the cake. It was really nice to have a sense of closure with Irina’s adoption. We’re not really sure what to expect on Wednesday but want to ensure that all of the wonderful women who work with Nathaniel know how grateful we are for all they have done for him. When we are there for our visits, there really isn’t time to socialize or talk with any of the women because they are so busy cleaning and taking care of all of the babies.
Two of the babies in Nathaniel’s room are being picked up by their adoptive families tomorrow and Tuesday. Both families are American and we are very interested to meet them after having gotten to know their boys.