February 15th - Day 5: Say hello to Emil Paul Sander (Revised)

Here are the photos you've all been waiting for!!!  We feel so badly that we've been unable to post pictures and journal entries until now; it's been *&%# to get online!  There have been many obstacles that are too boring and frustrating to talk about.  For any of you WPA families coming over here, we recommend bringing the software that you use for your website with you so that you can download it at the internet cafe.  Also go to Chagala ... it's more expensive but a lot faster!

Yesterday, I felt badly for not having taken any pictures of Emil to record the moment we first met him.  But he was feeling so sick on top of the awkwardness of meeting us strangers that we were distracted by just wanting to attend to him and kind of forgot about the camera.  Today, he's feeling a lot better and we've been able to take some great photos.  Enjoy!!!









                Emil's fascination with tissue                                                   The music room where we see Emil each day


        Entrance to Baby House #2, Emil's home                                               Baby House #2                       


Playground at BH#2, built by World Partners Adoption

As you can see from the photos, Emil was doing great today!  Masha (the interpreter) called us this morning to let us know that he no longer had a fever and that we would be able to visit for the regularly scheduled times of 10-11 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. (yippee!).  Each morning when we go in, we are to bring five diapers and clothing for that day.  The next day when we take in another set of clothing, they return the set from the day before so that we can wash them.  The routine is to go right into the baby house, up to what they call the music room, remove our coats and boots, and lay out a blanket or sheet on the floor so he can be on the floor without getting dirty.  Also, we've brought a bunch of small toys with us to Kazakhstan so that we can bring a different one each day for him to play with.  This morning we brought a soft, multi-colored ball with a chime inside to roll around as well as a little plastic dump truck.  Either someone like a caregiver or his doctor will bring Emil into the room or Masha will go and get him.  Masha explained to us that even though he is getting better, they will probably keep him in isolation until we pick him up to take him home.  I know that they are doing this to try to keep him healthy, yet I feel badly that he's all alone.  (He has a caregiver with him, of course, but no other children.)  When they brought Emil in today, he seemed so much more content.  He still cried a little in the hallway and when he entered the room he looked at us with uncertainty but also a sense of familiarity.  He came to us more readily and seemed interested in what we had brought to play with.  He sits really well on his own and can pretty easily pull himself up to a standing position.  The little kids' chairs surrounding the room are perfect for that and, together, we've also discovered that they make great drums!  Dave and I started beating rhythmically on the wooden chair seats and Emil began nodding his head, then bending his knees in rhythm and beating on the chairs as well.  It was so precious!  He just wanted to be a part of our band!  I had thought that he had been getting music instruction of some sort but Masha thinks that that starts at a later age.  Anyway, he was (actually, we all were) having a ball!  Since he still has a really runny nose, we were constantly whipping out the tissues to wipe it and he became intrigued with the plastic wrap they come in.  He loved to grab it and listen to the crinkle sound.  In fact, in spite of our putting a lot of thought into what toys he might enjoy, he clearly enjoyed tapping on the chairs and squeezing and crinkling the tissue wrapper the best!  The visits go by way too fast and are actually shorter than we expected they would be.  On the other hand, it's probably good for Emil to rest - during the afternoon visit he seemed ready for a nap - and it means less time away from Sierra.

This afternoon after our second visit, Robin, Sierra and I went back to the Atrium to do some more substantial grocery shopping while Dave headed back out to the internet cafe to try yet again to send some pictures, etc.  (He's been a real trooper!)  We bought a bunch of staples ... you know like vodka (just kidding!), milk, eggs, butter, juice, apples, yogurt, some soup mix (alphabet soup in Kazakh for Sierra!), pasta, sauce, frozen veggies, some canned fruit, cheese, and a cooked chicken.  We couldn't figure out the other meat so we decided to wait until Masha could come with us to help out.  I'm getting a little better with some of the more common Russian greetings and phrases, like DObraye Utra (good morning), DObry DYEN' (good afternoon), paKA (see you later), paZHAlusta (please and you're welcome), spaSIba (thank you), PIva (beer), kharaSHO (that's all right; it's okay).  I'm also learning the names of some of the food, and people are always surprised when Dave and I throw out the occasional word that we've learned from the language program we were doing at home on the computer.  Masha claims that we have no accent (nice compliment; of course, we don't know any words either!).  

To celebrate a successful day of visits with our sons, we had the Andrews over for an elegant dinner of pasta with store bought sauce and frozen broccoli!  Actually, it was just fine!  We also had bread, champagne and piva (beer).  Our apartment has just enough to accommodate our family so we had to have them bring their own forks, two glasses and their own chairs!  Kind of like the college days ... and we had just as much fun! 

da ZAFtra (Until tomorrow!)