Friday, September 11, 2009

Wednesday August 12

So this was the day we would finally get to see the boys, but first, a morning to ourselves. After the previous 3 days, we actually slept in until about 9:30am. We discovered we had ESPN America as one of the TV stations, and it was actually in English. We could catch a live baseball game in the morning, but usually got replays of memorable games throughout the day. About 11, I was out in the hall looking for something when John and Amanda (the other couple traveling with us) came by. We invited them in and struck up a conversation. They were adopting a little boy, almost 2, from a nearby orphanage. Six years prior, they adopted a girl from Russia. We talked about what court was like, what to expect when we get home, when to start using the boys new names, how best to transition foods, all the stuff that only another couple who has adopted would know. We also talked about the shops around the hotel, where to eat and what to eat, and of course, how long 24 days in Russia would be.

Around 2:30 we headed downstairs to meet our translator. We would be leaving at 3 to visit the boys. Upon arrival at the orphanage, we were told to wait in the van. Shortly after, the translator returned with a packet of papers and we drove off. Steve and I just looked at each other a bit befuddled. According to Russian law, we were required to visit the boys prior to the court session. I spoke up and asked why we did not visit the boys. Turns out, the boys, as well as all the children in the orphanage, were at the "summer camp" a few miles outside of town. The children spend the entire summer there, and we would go to the camp to visit there.

Well it turns out the summer camp is about an hour drive from the hotel. Along the way we passed one of the largest steel mill in Russia. The plant, primarily on one side of the road, but at points was on both sides, spanned a 3-4 mile stretch a highway just northeast of town. Twice a day, once going and once returning, we were greeted by many a tall smoke stack spewing blue and copper colored smoke. The environmentalist in me cringed. Another 15 minute drive put us on a one lane dirt road that lead up a steep hill. As we drove up the hill we passed through a small village. Think Fiddler on the Roof...plots of land the size of my house, and houses the size of my living room, all with steep roofs that looked like they were original to the houses. Some were brightly colored with well maintained gardens. Others were as old and worn as the owners. I wasn't entirely convinced the village had electricity or running water until we came upon the summer camp at the top of the hill.
We drove through a large gate that at one time had been painted, but was in obvious need of touch ups. A bit further of a drive led us to the actual building. This was a 2 story brick building, about one quarter of the size of the actual orphanage. What we don't know is how many kids were actually at the summer camp.
We were escorted into a small office and greeted by the director of the "baby house." She scurried off to get the boys. Samuel was the first to enter. Just as in April, he seemed very unsure about the introduction. The orphanage workers who brought him reassured him that we were momma and poppa. Rowan was next, and entered screaming. We didn't quite expect this, as the only time he cried during the first visit was when he saw Steve for the first time. He continued to scream for about 30 minutes, open mouth, tongue shaking, tears streaming crying. After a couple of tissues worth of tears, he finally calmed down, and we hope, realized I was not going to hurt/leave him. He spent much of the time clinging to me with the tightest grip ever. He did not smile, he did not talk, he quietly ate some Cheerios with his head down.

Samuel seemed to be the same Samuel we met in April. He was a bit bigger, but not much. His right side seemed to be a tad more developed as he seemed to be using it more than before. He was a busy body. He wanted to sit at the small table and chairs, then wanted to move them, then back in that chair, then on the couch, and back to the small chair. We brought some paper and makers (thanks Brooke!) for him to color. He colored all right, all over his lips. We quickly learned that Samuel did what he saw, and most likely saw the ladies putting on lipstick or gloss. The markers were about the right size for that. Thank goodness for wipes. The worker with us thought he was quite funny with green lips. We also learned that Samuel called all the women in the orphanage momma, and really, every woman he had ever seen was a momma. I gathered that all the ladies told him they were not momma, but that I was momma, eventually pointing at me. He brain just did not compute.

At one point, we saw another challange...doing things to get attention. Any time the door would open, Samuel would run over and yell momma. When the woman left, he would do the same thing. Samuel wet himself twice in 5 minutes, and we a pretty sure he did it the second time so that his "momma" would come back and get him. Samuel waved bye, and was off. Shortly after, Rowan wet himself, and was wisked away.

Here are photos of the boys from that first re-meeting.

We left the summer camp and drove back to the hotel. After a quick dinner at the resturaunt upstairs (with English menus), it was off to bed. Court was the next morning, and we were leaving at 6:30am.