December 15 2003

We were up bright and early this morning for a visit with our lawyer. He will be representing us in court on the 24th.  Ann and I both had cotton mouth and were nervous as all get out.  The questions were pretty straight forward.

Here is the skinny on the visit.  The first thing we noticed was that security is high against US standards, the doorman at the office had a Sub machine gun.  I asked Olga "why does he have a gun" she said "Why Not".  Enough said.

The first question we were asked was "Who will be answering the questions in court"?  Ann and I agreed it would be me.  Then the questions came, Ann answered pretty much all of them.  We re-thought the original decision and Ann will be answering all the questions in court.  The questions were pretty standard, why are you adopting, why Kazakhstan, have you forgotten how to parent a baby, do you have pets, if a child is allergic to your pet will you get rid of the pet, how much money do you make, is Ryan accepting of the idea of a new brother and sister?  The hardest thing will be to look at the judge the entire time.  We were told to look at the judge not our interpreter.  That is difficult to do.  It goes against everything we have been taught.  Look at the person speaking.  Olga said "Keep your eyes on the Judge and you will be just fine".

We saw Jim and Suzanne, our travel partners, at the lawyers office.  It was a really nice way to start the day.  We made plans to get together for dinner tomorrow, Tuesday, night.  Tuesday and Wednesday are "Kazakhstan Constitution Days".  They celebrate their independence from the former soviet union.  The actual day is the 16th, but they get 2 days off from work.  We will get only one visit with Katherine and Anthony on Tuesday.  So, we figured it would be nice to hang out with Jim and Suzanne maybe playing cards, scrabble and just speaking English with somebody going through the same stuff we are.

On to the visit.  We finished up at the lawyer's office a little late and got to the Orphanage about 10:30.  We dropped off our stuff in the play room and went to pick up Katherine.  Oh my God, her face lit up like the Christmas tree in NYC.  She was beside herself, she hung to Mommy for dear life.  As if she were saying "Don't ever let go of me mommy".  Ann was all full of herself with mommy pride.  We took Katherine to get Anthony, he was ready to go as well.  It is funny, they are programmed for us now.

Anthony spent the entire time smiling, cooing, and trying to get around the room.  He is going to be walking before you know it.  He came up to me and wanted me to help him up on two feet.  Once he is up, he goes.  Walking, unsteady, all over the room.  He giggles when I make sounds with my mouth.  It is so cool watching him change every time we visit with him. It is like he is morphing in to a 13 month old right in front of our eyes.  Last week all he did for 2 hours was sit and rock.  That was it, period. Would not look at anybody in the eye; almost not acknowledging our existence. This morning, a different child.  When we walked in his room, he knew us and was ready to go. We gave them some yogurt this morning for a snack.  He loved it, not sure what to do with it at first. After the first real taste, you couldn't get it in quick enough.  They are both going to love all the new tastes that are out there waiting for them to try. I said it before, Ryan be warned, "Your brother is going to on your heels".  Anthony has beautiful eyes and the most handsome little grunty grin ever. He seems to like being snuggled and held close.  Kisses make him smile big, also.

Katherine is a ball of fire. She and Ann went through all the books again today. I am not sure how many they read.  All I could hear from them was laughing.  Katherine's giggle is music to my ears. She will struggle with control for a while, she is the ring leader in her group it would seem. I am sure that Ryan, Mom and me will be able to teach her how to be a kid again and not to worry about some of the grown up things she worries about.

After our morning visit we stopped at the market. There are many markets in Karaganda and apparently you go to different ones for different things.  The one closest to our apartment is the one I wanted to stop in. It does not have a good fresh fruit selection. There were things that may have once been tomatoes.  They were moldy and mushy. Yuck!!!  The best reason for stopping at this market is to get diet coke - Oh, excuse me, that would be coca-cola light. Coca-Cola is everywhere.  Pepsi is in many places. Diet soda is very hit or miss. Our market has it and I buy it up often and regular.  We got more fresh bread, which is very good and yogurt which is just delicious.  It's Dannon yogurt.  I've gotten the 0% and the 6% and they are both more creamy than anything you'll find in the states.  Bill had his first taste of the yogurt today.  I see I will have to buy more as his reaction was Mmmmmmmm!  We have been eating much salami and cheese. You must request the stick of salami from the girl behind the counter.  They have many different types. I was really hoping for a pepperoni.  They do not know what pepperoni is. I saw a few sticks that looked close and asked what some of them are.  I was told the one I wanted was beef and pork fat.  The woman behind the counter kept trying to convince me it was the wrong choice. She pointed out this big thick salami, it had bumps that looked like the bubble packing you use when you mail packages.  Our interpreter kind of went "OH! She asks if you would like this one, but it is horse meat".    Ugh!  Need I say more.  As we were checking out the check out clerk said if we handed our receipt to the lady sitting in the front of the store we could win a prize. There was a big wheel there, so we handed over the receipt and Bill spun the wheel.  The wheel was certainly not carnival quality. Good thing Bill didn't spin it hard.  It seemed like it took forever for that thing to stop. As it was spinning round a small crowd gathered. It was funny.  We apparently just missed winning a Super Prize, although no one  could tell us what that would be.  We did win one lollipop and two bags of tea.  That's not two tea bags. Two bags of tea.  I will bring them home as souvenirs.

At our morning visit Katherine and I walked the halls a bit. We found Olga sitting in a chair reading a book. I was surprised to see that the book was in English.  It was a Jane Austen book. I said "Hey! I'm reading Jane Austen"  For the trip I picked up Pride and Prejudice. So we started talking about books and Olga indicated she'd love to read ANY contemporary novels or magazines. I had a Readers Digest I was already done with, so I gave her that.  I will give her whatever other novels I have before we leave. I'm sure I will not have read them, but I can always get them again. She cannot.  It feels odd to start becoming close to people,  knowing you will not see or speak to them again when this is over.  Olga and Natasha have been such a big part of this process. I know it's just her job and she keeps saying It's nothing, but it's huge to us.  I am going to keep thinking of ways to express my gratitude.  It will never be enough. 

I happened to mention to Olga today that my mother is a good cook.  She was surprised. She said that they are led to believe that all Americans hate to cook and all Americans are bad cooks. We dispelled that myth as best we could.  It's pretty easy when there are great cooks in our families. Mom, Mary Kay, Becky....

At this afternoon's visit Katherine spent a lot of time in the bathroom.  We got there at 4:00 and the caregiver showed us she had a blister on her heal. So we had to wait while she went and got a band-aid. Band Aid applied, upstairs we go.  We collected Anthony and went to the visitation room.

We brought some snacks with us and started in on those.  We had some carrots and yogurt and Kiwi and a few pretzel sticks.  Katherine indicated she had to go potty. So down the stairs we went. Business done, Up the stairs we went.  This was cool because for the first time when I said up, she said up.  Very exciting.  Back to the room. Suddenly, she's go to go again.  Down the stairs we went, business done, up the stairs we went.  Back to the room.  Guess what.  She had to go again, but this time you could see it was urgent and she let out a little toot.  This time I scooped her up and hurried down the stairs.  This was one accident I preferred did not happen in route.  When we got downstairs this time, the children in her room were having book time.  Each child is given a book to read or eat, (depends on how old they are - heck, maybe it depends on the book) and they sit at their tables and read and exchange books.  Books are Katherine's all time favorite. She went potty, but I did not have the heart to make her leave book time.  I asked if we could stay and we did.  Good thing, because that little girl made several more trips to the chamber pot.  I think we'll have to back off the carrots and fruit.   I sat with the other kids and read books with them. Some of the boys are so bright. When you say a word in English they parrot it right back.  All the children in Katherine's room speak Kazak, not Russian.  The caregiver did come over at one point and read with them a bit.  I found out that a pig makes a different sound in Kazak then it does in English. It's not oink oink. 

Back upstairs.  Bill and I traded. He took Katherine, who is definitely bored with the visitation room and I took Anthony.  There are two big things about Anthony today. That boy is going to walk any time.  I can't believe the difference.  He knows to grab a finger from each hand and start cruising.  He'd do it until he fell asleep if you let him.  He absolutely amazes me. I can't imagine how much he will blossom when we get him home.  He will already be worlds different then. The other thing is, like so many of the children, he's got boogies. Lot's of runny noses at the babyhouse. Well I just don't know how to explain Anthony's attempts to dislodge the boogies from his nose. No fingers are involved (Thank God). He scrunches his eyebrows together and lifts and wrinkles his nose and upper lip. Then he blows through is nose.  I first I thought he was turning into the Satan child.  Then I figured out he was trying to clear the crusty boogies.  Did you all need to know that?  Yes.  It was absolutely adorable.

I can say that I am sick of the visitation room. Bill and I discussed it tonight.  We felt obligated to stay in that room. Olga had said earlier that we could go to the music room or walk through the halls.  I think we will do more of that. Perhaps structure our time to start in the visitation room, spend some time eating snack and then do something else for 15 minutes at a time.  It feels a bit claustrophobic.  I'm starting to complain and don't mean to.  I think it is mostly our own fault for being nervous about moving freely around the baby house when we were told we could. We will take better advantage of the space available.

Well, only one visit tomorrow. That would usually mean lots of email from us, but I think we'll be hanging with the Ferrets.  We will certainly enjoy visiting with another American couple and the Ferrets are OK in our book.  We certainly had lots of fun the other evening.

That's it for me.  I really didn't have anything to say. Bill made me type tonight. Bill is also making me type that he loves his kids, he can't wait for Ryan to meet his brother and sister and he thinks that the three of them are going to have a great time playing together.  I think that was it.  There's only a few pictures from this afternoon.

Until tomorrow - God Bless and Good Night!

© Bill Delmedico 2013