Today is Monday May 27th here in Kazakhstan but these pictures are from our second day with Lexie. We still don't have internet at the apartment but hope to by the end of the day. Who knows? We are at an internet cafe in a much smaller mall in Aktau just a few blocks from the baby house. They have dropped us off for lunch but I'd rather get these pictures off than eat food that I have no idea what it is.
Anyway, back to Alexis. We got to speak to the pediatrician (of course I use that term loosely since we have to speak through an interpreter but we sat in the same office and smiled at each other as we talked through Zina) and she told us that Lexie was born May 17, 2006 to a 25 year old woman. Alexis was her first birth and she left the hospital without her. She weighed 2 kilos at birth and she was premature at 33 weeks. She had some disease that I can't pronounce but they say lots of babies here have it and it has to do with being born premature. She stayed in the hospital for 25 days but they moved her to the baby house at that point because they needed the beds at the hospital. When she came to the baby house she then weighed 2 kilos 300 grams and I don't have my notes to remember the rest of her measurements. They said she caught up and was doing better at 4 months. Now they say she weighs 7 kilos 800 grams (I think) and she's in the 30-50% for length and head circumference right now, which is great. Overall she is very healthy and she's had all her shots. Because she just turned one they are going to give her "some more" as they said. I wish they would just let me get them in the states but we don't get to have anything to say about her medical care until we get her in about 5-6 (very long) weeks. Right now she is covered with bug bites and scabs where she has scratched herself and these sores on her back and shoulders and tummy. I asked the Dr. about them today and they said that she is probably allergic to the soap on her clothes but if I bring clothes for her every day and then I wash what she wears at home each night with "good" water that it should clear up. I'm hoping in the next week that will be the case since I put new clothes on her today and will wipe her down this afternoon to try to clear this up. I'm sure once we get her home she'll be just fine.
As for Ms. Lexie, she is a real pistol. The first day she was scared and unsure but by the second visit she didn't want to go to the care givers. We were all very surprised. By the second day she came right to me and was a different baby. Now we were outside which they don't get out much at all but the had the whole baby house outside because of the "infestation of mosquitoes" which they were having fumigated for that morning. They also put screens on some of the windows which will make a huge difference for these kids. So anyway, we walked to the back of the building and they had a good 20 "nurses," the director and the pediatrician and about 40 babies under 18 months laying around on rugs on the ground. I've included on picture but I'll send more later. Normally we never would have seen all of them but because of the fumigation they had them all together. I'd say half of them have serious issues that I could see just by looking at them. All of them seemed small and pale but these women really tried hard to take care of them. They were in the shade at first but as the morning went on they were chasing the sun so they brought out blankets and hung them over them to keep them as cool as possible. Unfortunately this "playground" was horrible. There was broken glass, cigarette butts, and trash all over the dirt. There are just little covered seats and metal poles and bars that look like they might have been a jungle gym and swings without anything to climb on or swing on. Plus there were weeds growing very high everywhere and no grass. I haven't seen a blade of grass anywhere since we got here so it clearly doesn't grow here. Please don't think that I am complaining about the baby house because I really think they are doing everything they can both with the money and knowledge that they have. There is a new director of the baby house that just started a few weeks ago and she was the one supervising the fumigation and keeping the babies safely outside until it was safe to go in even on her day off. I think she will make a big difference in the care of these children. I just keep thinking about this group of missionaries I meet on the plane to Almaty. They were about 12 college kids and a group sponsor that where coming here to work at an orphanage there for 2 weeks. What a difference 12 young Americans and two weeks could make to this baby house. I am going to see what I can do when I get home.
Now back to Lexie. She was so happy and full of herself on Saturday it was like meeting a completely different child. She was climbing all over me and anything she could get her hands on. Laughing and bouncing around outside. Then in the afternoon we were back in the "music" room, which is a large room with two throw rugs, lots of folding chairs, a piano, little kids drums and tambourines and some stuffed animals. I put her down on the rug and away she went. She can crawl really well and likes to explore everything. She can also walk if I hold her hands. I'm sure she'll be walking on her own before we leave. Poor Kit and Kaboodle will be spending a lot of time outside until they learn not to knock her down. Or she may be knocking them down as wild as she likes to be. She has great hearing and reflexes. Mom would hide behind a pillar in the room and then jump out and she know just where she'd be and follow her around the room. She also likes to "play" the piano. I'd play some keys and then stop, then she'd put her fingers on the keys and try to make them play. I think she's very smart and alert and responsive. She also is very sweet and likes to laugh a lot. I've been sneaking her a little apple sauce and water since they are feed only a set amount of food and on a very strict schedule. She's not skinny but I think she could put on a few pounds. Well see what we can get away with.
We are on day 4 of our "bonding" days so we have 10 more to go. Then they will apply for our court day, which I hope will be sooner than later but they have up to 3 weeks to see us. Then a 15 day waiting period (which I will beg the judge to wave but I'm not counting on it) and then a week with the American embassy in Almaty. See it will be a breeze (I wish we had a breeze since it's about 90 degrees and no AC) and we'll be home before you know it. I have to say it seems like we've been here in Aktau a lot longer than 3 & 1/2 days. I would definitely not call this a vacation destination. More about the town later. Thanks to everyone watching my business and the dogs and my clients who are being so understanding about my being gone. Take care and I'll post more as I can.