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.