February 16th - Day 6: Emil is sick again

It's so fun to wake up in the morning in anticipation of visiting Emil!  Our visits with him yesterday went so well and we're so looking forward to getting to know him better and bonding more with him.  Our driver, Igor (pronounced "eager"), is a really nice man and I really appreciate his patience with me as I try to say things and ask questions in Russian.  His English is fairly good so that helps a lot.  This morning, a gentleman came to take Emil's photo for his passport.  Masha held him while the picture was taken and he had no trouble looking right at the photographer ... we're thinking he was transfixed by the man's gold teeth!  We brought some nesting cups and they were a big hit.  Nevertheless, he wasn't quite himself.  (It's amazing that we've only known him a little over a day and can already tell when he's off.)  He felt warm to me and so I just held him, rocked him and sang to him.  He kept making vibrating sounds with his lips like he was pouting and sad and he would cock his head to one side.  We felt so bad.  I commented to Masha that I thought he might have a fever again and she said she would tell the caregiver.  She did and the caregiver decided it was best to end the visit early.  She said they would put him on a treatment and that it would be better to suspend our visit for this afternoon and tomorrow morning.  It's such a mixed and frustrating bag of emotions for us.  On the one hand, we know that they are trying to do what's best for him and bring him back to health and we definitely appreciate that; on the other hand, we'd like to take him home and take care of him ourselves!  It's so hard to leave him, especially when he doesn't feel well.  Also, he really hangs on to us when it's time to go.  It's not like he doesn't want to go with them; I think he's just really starting to like being with us!

Knowing that we wouldn't be returning in the afternoon, we were able to spend some good quality time with Sierra and work some more on updating the website.  Sierra's been such a trooper so far.  Things are different here in every way and she's been very resilient.  I keep trying to find things to do with her but there literally are no places for young children to play.  They are either in school or home.  We're still waiting on Masha to get back to us on the possibility of ice skating and apparently there's a place to bowl.  Hey!  We're not picky!  We have a few card games, crafts and drawing supplies, and some good (appropriate) movies.  This afternoon, we bundled Sierra up (it's never much above zero, Fahrenheit) and took a nice long walk.  We tried to find a bookstore that we had been told about that supposedly has some children's books in English.  Even with a map, we never found it.  We walked all around the block we thought it was on and never saw anything that looked even remotely like it had books.  Granted it was near the end of the business day, so we'll double check with Masha or Igor and try again tomorrow.  It was pretty cold out ... glad for the long underwear, snow boots, and neck gaiters.  Even with the cold, though, Sierra enjoyed climbing the snow banks along the sidewalks and it felt great to be outside.  Robin brought some hot cocoa mix with him so that was a nice treat when we came back inside!

Two nights ago, Sierra fell asleep on the couch at 5:30 and slept through the night (except for getting up several times with a stuffy nose).  Since she was congested and also coughing a little, we gave her Robitussin a couple of times in the afternoon to help her get better.  It seemed to give her some relief right away and yet, last night after dinner, she fell asleep in our arms at the table!  Today she woke up much, much better!  Thank God!!  

We decided to have the cooked chicken for dinner tonight and expected it to taste something like the rotisserie chickens you can get at supermarkets in the U.S.  Not at all!!!  Apparently, it was smoked and super salty and Dave said it tasted more like sardines than fish!  So, we cut it up and gave it to the cats that hang out outside and around the building.  We now have a joke that we're willing to try almost anything but that if we can't eat it, at least the cats will enjoy it!

Please say a prayer for Sierra and Emil, that they both be healthy soon.  We miss you all and hope you are well!   


                                Father - Son Talk                                                                            Uncle - Niece Play




                Amy journaling in the apartment (nice doors)                Sierra enjoying some Kazakh alphabet soup (real salty!)


                     Brother - Sister connecting in the kitchen