February 27th - Day 17: Pre-court meeting with Olga; Kaz Theater

Since no one told us not to, we took Sierra with us again this morning to visit Emil.  Since it is a weekend, her presence is less likely to be noticed and, therefore, frowned upon.  Emil is so fascinated with Sierra and she loves to show off for him.  Often, he is content just to sit on my lap and watch her run around!  This afternoon, we brought in the Snugli to try it out.  (Thank you, Jill!)  He didn't like being in it so much facing toward us but loves it facing out.  At his age (almost 11 months), he's very interested and curious about what's going on around him and wants to observe everything.  He hasn't seemed to be much of a snuggle bunny so far.  When he's with us he mostly wants to play and crawl.  Toward the end of our visits when he's getting close to naptime, he sometimes actually resists being held.  He'll reach for me to pick him up, I'll try to rock him or snuggle with him, then he'll push away ... I think it's because, when it's time for him to sleep, they just put him in his crib.  They no longer swaddle him for sleep like they do with the infants and he puts himself to sleep in his crib.   

After our afternoon visit, Olga came over to our apartment to meet with us and the Andrews to discuss our "pre-court" appointment tomorrow.  This appointment is in preparation for our official court meeting which, we found out, will be on March 2nd instead of March 3rd!  The purpose of the court meetings is to file our two applications: one is to request permission to adopt Emil, change his name to Emil Paul Sander, and register ourselves as his parents; the other application is to request immediate execution of the judge's decision (as opposed to the two-week waiting period that usually goes into effect before the decision becomes permanent.)  Olga gave us a list of questions that the judge is likely to ask us, like why we wanted to adopt, why Kazakhstan, where we work, who will care for the baby, who will be the guardian, if we are aware of the baby's health condition, when we started visiting Emil and for how long, etc.  The judge will direct most of the questions to Dave as the family spokesperson; then I will get to answer a few questions.  Then, the judge addresses the baby house director to get a report on Emil's care and history and the inspector from the Department of Education for proof that a search has been made to identify his mother.  (We found out today that Emil's grandmother as well as his mother signed off on their rights to bring him up while he was at the baby hospital.  We also found out that apparently his birthmother wrote him a letter, the copy and translation of which we will get while in Almaty.  This is such an unexpected blessing to be able to have this treasure for him!)  We're excited about the appointment tomorrow; it really makes us realize that we are one more step closer to being the proud parents and sister of Emil Paul Sander! 

This evening we went to the Kazakh Drama Theater to see a play.  The theater is absolutely beautiful.  It's very modern and built with oil money.  The play we saw was entirely in Kazakh and the director of the theater generously offered to translate for us.  So he translated in Russian for  Aliya who translated in English for us.  The play itself was also very modern with lots of symbolic imagery.  Essentially, it was about the transfer of Kazakhstan's religious focus from shamanism to Islam.  When the Kazakhs were primarily a nomadic people, they lived off the land and worshipped the gods of nature.  It was interesting to see the similarity in the attire with that of the Native Americans in the United States.  Also, at one point there was a large ring hanging from the back of the stage that looked just like a dream circle that's frequently found in Native American tradition.  The director was very grateful for our interest in Kazakh history and culture.

After the play, we went to the Golden Cat for some more shish kebab and "kaleidoscope" salad: shredded carrots and beets, mayonnaise, mushrooms, and french fries. 

  

            He's my little brother and I love him!                                                        We're so happy!

  

                    Emil and one of his doctors                                                    The percussionist and jazz pianist

       Emil: "My book!"  Amy: "No, my book!"                                        A night at the theater

                                                                                                                                Kazakh Drama Theater