Lexie's Play Group

6/15/2007 09:09:00 AM Edit This 0 Comments »

Here are the pictures of the rest of Lexie's group. The younger babies are the 5 new ones that were just moved in with her on Tue. The ones in the walker and on the care givers laps are the babies with Lexie until the big switch on Tue. Five of the oldest kids where moved on to the next group as they brought the new babies in. It's sad that they don't let them stay together with the same caregivers for the whole time they are at the baby house. Then they might feel more like a family and certainly would grow up feeling like the other children where their brothers and sisters. I know some of them will be adopted but a lot of them will never be because their parents won't release them for adoption. Also, Kazakhs are allowed to use the baby houses as a place to leave their children for a while if they can't afford them. Then when they get their lives together they can come get them. I'm not sure when they can visit since I've not seen any "civilians" in Lexie's room or any other room for that matter but I understand that some of the parents do visit. The two handicapped girls in Lexie's group both have parents that visit but I've never seen them. One girl is paralyzed from the waist down because she was given the wrong dose of medicines when she was in the hospital when she was born. The other has "a half of a brain" is how they describe her. Her head is very small and she seems severely impaired. I didn't take pictures of them but the nurses do what they can for them. That is the other way the locals make use of the baby house. If they have handicapped children they can't take care for at home they can have the government care for them in these baby houses and visit whenever they want. So most of the children I've meet here are in fact not adoptable. But there are plenty that are or will be once they are off the national registry. I know one of the big babies that was just brought in is in the process of being adopted by a Kazakh couple and they have to go through a process similar to what I do. I haven't seen them so I'm sure their bonding period is different than ours but Zina said they have to go to court and then wait the 15 days just like we do. As I've said all along, I think they do the very best they can with the money and the knowledge they have. They are just up against some pretty tough odds.

I am so fortunate that Lexie was a favorite of Meruert's and she spent extra time with her. She told Zina that in all her years of working in the baby house and I think she's been working here for over 12 years, that she's only had two other favorites besides Lexie, a boy and another girl. I think that's why Lexie's doing so well and also why it's so hard for Meruert to let her go. Meruert's always calls me "MaMa" when she hands Alexis over to me and other encouraging things I'm sure (remember I can't understand a word she says) but I can also tell that she's really watching us together and she's really going to miss her. I can't blame her one bit. What a tough but rewarding job she has. I hope this helps everyone get a better picture of how Lexie has lived over the past year. Now if only you could experience the heat, the bugs and the food you'd know what my days in Aktau are really like. Gotta run.

Court now Monday or Tuesday

6/15/2007 02:05:00 AM Edit This 0 Comments »

Here we go again. This morning I got a call 15 minutes earlier than our pick up time from Zina saying they are downstairs waiting. Luckily we were ready so we rushed down to see Flora there as well. She usually only shows up in the afternoon a couple of days a week. Zina tells us that the judge told Flora to be at court today at ten regarding us. That made us all nervous and I could tell Flora was as well. She had asked me last night to bring the money for the 15 day waiting period and Kazakh passport and return flights. She didn't want to take the money right then either - she said after, after. Which made me even more nervous. I know she was thinking if something else goes wrong and they make us wait the whole month, then we'd have to go home and come back. So we started the day off not so good. Then I go upstairs to feed Lexie her morning porridge and she won't eat. She was happy to see me and she ate a couple of bites but then got really fussy and was even spitting it out. So through gestures and grunts Meruert tells me to try the bottle. She drinks it right down but refused any more food. They let me take her anyway since they could clearly see she wasn't having any part of it. I was glad they weren't going to make me keep trying to feed her. I think her gums are just hurting and it was already 90 degrees outside and a good 100+ in the room, so I know she was hot. Heck I wouldn't want to eat either.

We eventually got her outside in the shade where there was a little breeze but she still wasn't herself. I think between the heat and teething she just wasn't feeling good. So we had a quite morning and I gave her a few ounces of water while Mom kept watch. When we went back in, Flora was waiting for us with the news that the Judge has a conference on Monday in Astana regarding International Adoption and she's pretty sure she will be going. We'll know for sure this afternoon. So if she does go then our court date will be on Tuesday the 19th at 4pm if not then we're still on for Monday the 18th at 10am. We will know for sure this afternoon. So Flora said she felt better but she had been very nervous until she saw the judge. Of course I want it to be Monday but at this point either day will work as long as we get a positive decision and can start the waiting period without any more delays. Now Flora was willing to take my money and she is even going to charge me less for the 15 day waiting period since she and Zina will be leaving. That's right it's just Mom & I and our driver ReNot and a cell phone in case I can't gesture my way through a conversation. No translator. Flora did say the Director's 17 year old son would like to practice his English on us so he may be following us around with the hopes that he can "translate" for us. I'm not sure if that means he'll just hang around the Baby House while we are there or if he's going to drive around with us like Zina does. I guess all will be reveled in time. I'm fine with them being gone at this point since I know ReNot understand enough to get us to the usual places we go and if we need anything special I'll just call Zina and hand whomever I'm speaking to the phone. I've done that several times and it works fine.

I also found out what Alexis is feed every day. Here is her food schedule:

6am - a bottle of formula in bed - 220 grams

10am - porridge & fruit puree and 80 grams of formula

2pm - Yolk of egg, mashed potatoes, meat puree and chopped real meat (Meat is very important to Kazakhs) and 150 grams of formula

6pm - porridge and 100 grams of formula

10pm - a bottle of formula in bed again - 220 grams

That sounds like a lot to me but I haven't worked out the grams yet so maybe not. The bottles look like old coke bottles and the nipples are large with a huge hole in them. There is no need to suck with these bottles -it just goes right down their throats. I'll include a picture of them. I also can't believe a baby with no teeth is feed meat no matter how finely they chop it up but clearly it has worked for her so far. They also have a very regimented sleep and play time schedule for these babies. Even if they don't sleep they put them in their cribs at the set time and leave them to cry, play with their toes or sleep. The room is very hot and they just close the doors and leave them to it. Usually one of the nurses is in the play room doing chores or sleeping. I've come in several times to find one or both of them sleeping on the rug in the play room. I believe the head nurses are on 8 hour shifts but the assistant nurse that does most of the grunt work like changing the beds and diapers and cleaning up after meals - they are on 12 hour shifts. I will often leave her at 5pm and the same assistant nurse is on at 10 am the next morning. Like I said they have 12 babies - 2 that are severely handicapped - to care for from about 7-8 months to about 14 months. I don't see any signs of abuse but a couple of the assistants are pretty rough with the kids. They don't pick them up and hold them to their chests they grab them under the arms or in a few cases I've seen them just pick them up by one arm and put them in the high chair or play pen or crib. They do hold the youngest ones in their laps when they feed them so at least the babies get some face time. Overall they clearly do everything they can to make sure these babies have the essentials it's just the one on one attention, stimulation of the mind and a home environment that they need the most. Anyway, I'm going to stop now so I can get as many pictures of Lexie's playmates on as possible.

Sorry just time for the one picture but I'll add the rest tonight. These two precious baby girls new to Lexie's group and are about 7-8 months old. One has big blue eyes and the other has brown with the longest lashes. They are clearly big healthy babies. As far as we know they are not adoptable at this time.