Monday, August 11, 2008

Getting Settled and Adjusted

Andrei was supposed to pick us up yesterday at 9:00 to take us to the orphanage. We were both awake at 5:00 and up by 7:00, so we were up and ready to go before 8:00. Steve went to go exchange some money, and when he returned at 8:00, Andrei was already outside. He said he wanted to leave early to be at the orphanage by 9:00. Now, it was no big deal since we were already ready, but what would have happened if we had slept better and had just gotten up at 8:00? You know, we're trying to be laid back and flexible about everything, but it's little things like that that make me a little annoyed. Communication is a wonderful thing, but it has to be used!

Anyway, we drove to the orphanage and stopped by a grocery store on the way. Andrei went in and came out with 2 cakes and 4 packages of shortbread-like cookies. Steve and I began to wonder, "Is there going to be a party? Should we be doing something more?" As always, Andrei was silent, and we continued on to the orphanage. As it turns out, 1 cake and 2 of the cookie packages were for the director, and the other cake and the other 2 cookie packages were for the workers in her room. We had taken a little spiral notebook and the director and one of Katie's caregivers wrote her a lovely note. At least I think they're lovely; we're going to try and get Andrei to translate them for us. That way, when Katie gets older, she can have that piece of her past. As we were playing with her just outside her room (waiting for Andrei), her group left her room to go outside. Since Katie would be gone when they returned, they all said goodbye to her. The workers gave her lots of hugs and kisses, and one of the boys in her room came to her, and they embraced and shared kisses. It was too sweet!

Katie is now on my lap and says hi. Here she is. kvf ncn mm ,d ,m d d f m, m mm f mm m m f mf mfm n b mn mn mn k m m bm .

After leaving the orphanage, we went and got her picture taken for her passport. After that, we went back to the orphanage to pick up a document that they had been working on while we were gone. It was a good thing that we went back, too, because we had forgotten to get her photo album and teddy bear that we had left with her on our first trip. There were no tears when we left, but Katie seemed unsure of what was going on. In the car, she was absolutely fascinated with everything that she saw. It was awfully fun watching her experience all these new things. After leaving the orphanage again, we went to the Ministry of Education to get the letter necessary for her passport. We stayed in the car, and when Andrei returned, he said the letter would be ready at 2:00. Therefore, Andrei took us back to the apartment, where Katie and I ate lunch while Steve and Andrei filled out the embassy paperwork. Then they left to pick up the letter from the MOE, and to go apply for Katie's passport. Katie took a nap while they were gone. It took her awhile to go to sleep because she was too busy talking to me. On the one hand, it was good to see her being so vocal (I took that to mean that she's feeling more comfortable with us), but on the other hand, it was nap time not talking time. She eventually went to sleep with her head hanging off the bed so she could see me around the partition.

I was so encouraged by what I saw while she napped. Many children from orphanages will do what's called the "orphanage rock." That's where they rock themselves back and forth as a way to soothe themselves while in bed. Katie didn't do anything like that. Instead, she put her left index and middle fingers in her mouth and sucked. It was so wonderful to see her pacify herself in a typical fashion. After her nap, Steve came back from his afternoon with Andrei, and they had done everything they needed to do. We still needed to register our visas, so Steve left again to do that while Katie had a snack and watched, "The Little Mermaid."

After dinner, Steve and I were fading fast with only 3 hours of sleep the night before, so we all went to bed together at about 8:45. Katie and I were in the bed, and Steve was on the sofabed. I was so tired that I fell asleep almost instantly, but Katie kept brushing my hair back from my face and giving me kisses, which kept waking me up. She was being so sweet and loving, though, that I didn't really mind!

This morning, Andrei and the doctor came by at around 8:00 to examine her. He said that she is in perfect health, and that even though she is small, she is proportional. He suspects that her biological parents were simply small as well. He said that she must have been a favorite in the orphanage because her verbal skills are so good. We've heard from 3 different people now that she was a favorite. Most kids from orphanages have a speech delay, but she is on target. We have no idea what she is saying, but she's very passionate about some things. For instance, we have heard these phrases alot.

da coo dya Mama
da bu du mwa mo
ba te da
me ta da du ee

She smiles when we repeat them back to her, but we have no idea what she is saying. The doctor also told us that the orphanages teach the children to be very self-sufficient, and they would like for us to continue that and to not turn her into a "typical American child who won't be able to tie shoelaces until they're 25." We've tried so hard to not be offensive with anything we say, but apparently that doesn't go both ways. I was really bothered by that statement for so many reasons. I think he made that statement because her shoes today have velcro with a fake buckle on them. I think he would have preferred a real buckle that she would have to fasten, and since they didn't, he assumed that we were going to do everything for her and make everything easier than necessary for her. Talk about jumping to conclusions! Except for that one comment, though, he was extremely nice and easy to talk to.

We've been calling her IrinaKatie since we've had her in the apartment to start transitioning her to her new name, and this morning she is already responding to just Katie. She loves all her new clothes, and just turns back and forth in the mirror after getting dressed.

She is a pretty good eater, but she is so slow! She gets the job done, though. With finger foods she is faster. We already knew that she loved goldfish crackers, and we have learned also that she likes blueberry muffins and raisins, but pineapple didn't go over too well. She ate her mac and cheese and chicken noodle soup so slowly yesterday that either she's not too thrilled about the spoon, or she's not too thrilled with the food. We'll see.

Now we're done with work until Thursday. Andrei will pick up only Steve at 8:00 Thursday morning to go pick up the passport. So we have the rest of today and all day tomorrow to do what we want. We think we might go to a park today, and go to the zoo tomorrow. We'll let you know.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Congratulations! It sounds like things are going great and Katie is happy,healthy, and adjusting very well. I am so happy for you!

The doctor told me that he could tell I picked up Valerie every time she cried and I was spoiling her. He also gave us the same speech about being self sufficient and not doing everything for her. And Andrei... well that sounds just like Andrei. At least you know the job will get done, even if you're in the dark the whole time! Hang in there. Enjoy your new daughter!