Baby House

6/21/2007 01:53:00 AM Edit This 0 Comments »

14 days left and Lexie get's her first DO. It was so hot her hair started to curl. Now we start the count down until I am officially Alexis' mom and I can take her out of the baby house. So I thought I'd show you pictures of the Baby House. The last pictures are of the playgrounds at the Baby House. It's just what I want Lexie to play around - medal play equipment with rusted pipes stick up from the ground, tall weeds and broken glass everywhere. They don't ever mow or weed eat the grounds so weeds are tall and there are cigarette buds, sunflower seeds and trash everywhere. The local teenagers hang out there at night and there is new graffiti on the exterior of the buildings most mornings. This was an elementary school until 1986 when it became an orphanage and they haven't done much to it since. I do think that is why they have the paintings on the hallway walls, the music room with the piano and the kitchens. But it also means they haven't painted the interior walls for 20 years which I can certainly believe. The floors are very uneven linoleum but they try to keep them cleans. The poster is on the wall as you enter. I can't read it but they clearly want to appear to be concerned about germs but I've never seen anyone wearing a mask even around the sick kids or when they gave Lexie a shot.

I'm including my journal of the first day I meet Lexie and came to the Baby House.

May 25, 2007

Friday Day 1 of Bonding

Meeting the Babies

So today is the day!!! It’s been a long time coming but in a few hours I’ll be meeting the child God picked out for me. I’m a little nervous about the whole “you choose your child from a group of babies we will show you” thing but I got the impression from Flora last night that she really expects me to adopt the girl she picked out for me two months ago that was 10 months old at the time. She said she sent pictures and medical information to Svelana, the head country coordinator, when she first “found” the child but I never received anything other than an email saying there is a healthy 10 month old baby girl at this Baby House for sure. So if I would be willing to travel blind they know there is at least one child in my age range at this Baby House. So two months later I’m finally here with no more information than I had months ago. At this point I just want to get this part over with.

Were back from our first trip to the Baby House and we met 4 babies but first the process of getting to meet them. We went with Zina & Flora to the Ministry of Education office but no one was there since today is “Last Bell.” It seems they start school on Sept 1 every year and end it on May 25th, today. They only go to 11 years of school but start at six or seven for first grade so most are 17 when they have “Last Bell.” All the graduates wear blue sashes with gold writing on it which I think is the name of their school. The guys are in suits and the girls are dresses up like they dress on the first day of school for 1st grade with short dark dresses on with white lacy aprons and big white bows in their hair. Most had either knee socks or sheer thigh high white hose but some wore panty hose like the two in this picture. They all had heels on though. It looked to me like a Penthouse fantasy letter come to life but Zina said this was a long standing tradition for the graduates to finish school as they started – literally. They also came to the baby house to give the kids some toys so which was sweet and also why they were at the Baby House when we got there.

Anyway, the Ministry of Education office was deserted so Zina went with ReNot to pick up Rosa, the lady from Spain, at the airport and we would wait with Flora for the people at the MOE to come back. Not 5 minutes after Zina left the lady we needed to see showed up. So we all sat in this office and Flora gave her a bag of candy and a hug then they got down to work. Mom and I just got to sit there on display as they clearly talked about us and even asked a few questions which of course we couldn’t understand. I got my cell phone out (the one I rented from here before I left the states) and pointed to it saying Zina but Flora was very clear she didn’t want me to call her. It was a good 40 minutes before Zina came in with a very tired looking woman in jeans and a t-shirt (Mom and I where dresses up as we were told to be.) Poor Rosa had to sleep at the airport in Almaty when she landed at 11pm last night and then caught a 7 am flight to Aktau. They came straight from the airport but the MOE seemed to understand and not take affiance. So then Zina explained to us that this lady (I couldn’t pronounce her name let alone remember it) would be representing us at court and to the baby house today so she’d like us first to tell her what child we would like and then to tell her something about ourselves. Well I can see my dossier right in front of her but I guess this was to make sure we were the people who wrote the information or something. So first I said that I wanted a girl under 1 year old but looked to Flora to see if I could asked about the second child. I got a head shake no, so I let it go for now. Then I explained what I did for a living, that I owned my home, that Mom lived with me and would be able to stay with the baby when I was working. They asked if Mom worked – nyet. Then what if I got married and the man didn’t want this child? What a strange question. But I said we’d be a package deal and that if he didn’t want this child then I didn’t want him. I think that satisfies her because she moved on to Rosa. They didn’t ask her any of the same questions but she must have been happy with what she heard because she said we could now go to the baby house to meet the children. That’s when I asked Zina to ask Flora if she would ask if I can adopt two on this trip. The MOE lady was very firm in her nyet, that single women can only adopt one child at a time unless they are siblings and they had no siblings at their Baby House. I really don’t know why Flora told me that she thought it would be no problem yesterday if this is the rule and she didn’t seem overly surprised when the MOE lady said it. I was really disappointed but I didn’t want to rock the boat at this point. I’d bring it up with Flora again later.

We drive up to another sad concrete building with a blue gate at the entry and go into meet the director. She is new so Flora hadn’t met her yet. She’s probably in her early 40s and wearing a white doctor’s coat over her clothes, sitting behind a nice sized desk with a picture of their prime minister behind her. The lady from the Ministry of Education was already there. The director asked us what we thought of her city and luckily they explained that Rosa had just gotten off the plane so I didn’t have to say anything. I don’t know what positive thing I could say about it right then but I’m sure I’d have come up with something. She and the MOE Lady looked at some papers and then the Pediatrician came in and they talked about what I assumed was the children that were available. A few minutes later they led us down a series of hallways to a very small room (maybe 6 x 8) with two overstuffed chairs, a little occasional table, a book shelf, 4 nurses, the director, the Pediatrician, the lady from MOE, Flora, Zina, Rosa, Mom, myself and 2 very frightened babies and a 3 year old girl. It was unbelievably hot, crowded and noisy. I knew the 3 year old was for Rosa so I looked at the babies and Flora was patting the cheek of one crying baby in pink and the other baby was just starring at her nurse that was holding her. So they gave me the baby in pink that of course started crying more but Flora was beaming so I assumed this was the baby she wanted me to choose. The crying was normal stranger anxiety and she looked fine but it was hard to think with the heat, noise and pressure to decide that I wanted to cry too. Anyway, I held her for a minute and then held the child in green. She had recently had a hair lip operation and looked a little bit off, poor baby. Plus she just sat there and didn’t really respond at all. They then gave me back the pink girl and brought in another very sickly looking boy baby. I asked to see the foundling boy who was about 18 months to 2 years old and God love him he was completely terrified and didn’t look older than a year to me. Needless to say when they asked who I wanted to bond with I choose the girl in pink. They said her name is Muldir and come back at 3 pm and we could start bonding. The whole thing took about 10 minutes and clearly I didn’t have a choice at all. I didn’t like feeling manipulated but knew I wanted to spend more time with this child. This was definitely not how I pictured meeting my child but you really aren’t given any choice.

So they took us to the grocery store which was a very interesting experience but I just wanted a quite minute alone to think so thank goodness they dropped us and our 10 gallons of water and 8 grocery bags of food at our apartment and told us to be ready in an hour to go back to see the babies. I have to say I felt very detached and unsure about the whole thing but figured I might as well go back and see how it goes.

This time it was just the “nurse” and Muldir in a large room with a piano, hence the name of The Music Room. Zina was with Rosa since her daughter was old enough to speak so she needed to translate for them. So the nurse just tried to get her to come to me and not be upset. Mom and I played peek-a-boo with her while the nurse held her for a couple of minutes. Then she gave her to me and played peek-a-boo right out the door. She handled it very well. After she was gone Muldir (that is how it’s pronounced – I’m not sure how it’s spelled) settled down and we had a quite time playing in the room. She really livened up when I played the piano. I would stop playing and she would put her fingers on the keys to try to make the sound. What a smart girl. She crawled around a little bit and took the toys from one hand to the other which are all excellent signs that she was developing at a normal rate which is great. I measured her while Mom watch out for someone to come along and she has 17 & ½ inch head circumference and is 29 inches long which puts her in the 50% if I read the charts right. That’s amazing since the International Adoption Physician that I talked to said if these children raised in an institution are at 15-20% that would be fine, so that made be feel really good about her health. I wasn’t exactly connected to her yet but she seemed to be very sweet even though she was still worried throughout the whole two hours but who can blame her. When I went to take her back to her room she didn’t want to go back to the nurse that was now on staff. I’m not sure if it says something about the time we spent together or that she didn’t like this nurse but I’m going to be optimistic and assume she enjoyed our time together.

Overall it’s been a very overwhelming and I have to say a little disappointing day with a lot of emotional ups and downs. We had a lovely COLD shower to look forward to and some food that we weren’t sure what it was. But I was looking forward to spending more time with Muldir tomorrow.