February 28th - Day 18: Emil's room; Pre-court

Even though we only got to visit Emil once today because of pre-court in the afternoon, that one visit was all the more special because we found out that he was out of isolation and back with his group and we even got to see his room!  Emil is all over his cold and the other children are doing much better as well so they're no longer concerned about him getting sick again.  We're so happy for him that he gets to be with his friends again!

Below are pictures of his room.  He is in group 2.  (As I understand it, in this baby house the infants to 6 months old are in group 4, the 6 month olds to walkers are in groups 2 or 3 and the toddlers are in groups 1 or 5.)  As you walk in to his area, there is a small room where the caregivers hang their coats and heat water for formula and tea.  Beyond that is the play room with a large bookshelf and two large playpens for the babies.  There are also some mats on the floor for climbing.  In a room behind the playroom (on the other side of the window with the lace curtains) is the sleeping room.  All the cribs are next to each other and each kid gets his own crib.  We were impressed at how clean and nice everything was.  This has been his world since birth and, clearly, he has been well cared for and loved in it.

Also during our morning visit we got to present our donations to the baby house director.  These included clothes, sippy cups and spoons, and infant drugstore items from friends and family as well as some medical equipment from Welch Allyn.  The director is a doctor by profession and was especially grateful for the pediatric stethoscope, digital thermometer and otoscope.  We felt so honored to be able to present, not only the things that we had collected ourselves, but all the other items from everyone else.  It spoke volumes about how much people want to help and make a difference and we know that in the years to come it will mean a great deal to Emil to know how much his family and friends reached out to help the other children at the orphanage.  Our church also raised money to give to the orphanage and we're waiting for the director to finish putting together a list so that we can go shopping for what they need most.  As we left the director's office, we saw a young Kazakh couple sitting there waiting to meet with her.  Masha told us that they were also adopting and were there to meet some of the babies.  I asked her if they were also required to meet with the baby twice a day for two weeks and she said that she thought that they actually visited the baby for six months but just once a week.  I guess that would actually work out to the same number of visits.  I'm just glad we're able to do it in less time!

Pre-court went really well.  It went exactly as Olga had explained and Masha was great at giving us cues when we couldn't remember what we were supposed to say or do.  We had been told to bring a small photo album with about 20 pictures from home plus a bunch of dated pictures from our visits with Emil to prove that we had been seeing him.  The judge kept a few of the pictures of us together and that was it!  Only about 10 to 15 minutes in the judges quarters and it was over.  No problem!  I'm glad we did this today so that we will feel more prepared for our real court date on Wednesday ... only two days away!


                Sierra making breakfast a la Robin                                            Toddler group entering Baby House


                        Snuggly in the Snuggli                                                                        Kaz flag and emblem


        Presenting donations to baby house director                            Manchuk, female WWII hero from Uralsk


                           Masha and Emil                                        Ariya, one of Emil's caregivers in Group 2


                            Emil's room (Group 2)                                                           That's Emil standing on the right


                                Playpen closeup                                                                 One of these cribs was Emil's


                                            Kaz TV                                                                        Kaz President Nurbayaev