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Happy Labor Day from Kazakhstan! May 2nd, 2005
Today is a holiday here in Kazakhstan. In fact, this week has three holidays. Yesterday was Russian Orthodox Easter, today (Monday) is Labor Day and most people are off of work. Next Monday (I think) is VE Day (Victory in Europe Day), a day to commemorate the end of World War 2. It’s the 60th anniversary this year, so there is a lot on the news about it and they are erecting a statue in town as well. We were told there will also be a parade.
We have now been here for two weeks. We have been to the orphanage everyday except today (it’s closed because of the holiday). The adoption process is progressing. Our court date is scheduled for May 11th. We’ve had to sign a lot of paperwork that we couldn’t read (our translator read it to us) and go to an office to have our signatures notarized. We also had to be interviewed by a social worker (via the translator). The day the social worker came to the orphanage, Andrei decided he was going to test his boundaries. He keeps trying to do things when we’re there to see what he can get away with. While we like indulging him some, we don’t want him to think that parents let you do whatever you want (who knows what he thinks?). While the social worker was sitting in the room, he started trying to scale the storage shelves to reach something that was on top (something he wasn’t supposed to have). I told him to get down and he started to pout. Then he started to run away. I chased him and he thought it was funny. When I brought him back to the visitation room I told him he was in time out (while I know he couldn’t understand what I was saying he understood he was being bad). He kept trying to get up and run away, so I sat next to him and held on to his arm. Then he spit on me. Then he decided he would teach me by removing his clothes. (Remember he is doing all this in front of the social worker). So I grabbed both his hands and made him stop…..then he put his teeth on my arm like he intended to bite me. I told him he better not and he stopped (he understands us just fine). When it was our turn to go over to be interviewed by the social worker, I was sure she would arrest me for child abuse. When we took him back to his room, he wouldn’t kiss me or hug me to say good-bye. The next day Andrei was back to his generally happy disposition. Don’t misunderstand, he’s a great kid….but like any other child he is testing to see what his boundaries are.
Vera is a real sweetheart. She’s kind of a flirt. She gives you these sideways glances as if to say: “look how cute I am!” We learned how to say the word for sister in Russian and we told Andrei that Vera was his sister (“sistra” in Russian). He thought the idea of her being his sister was the funniest thing he ever heard. He seems to be accepting it though. When we drop her off at her room he kisses her to say goodbye. He also kisses her periodically for no apparent reason. Vera just stares at him wondering why he does it. She is fascinated by him though. She loves to watch him and tries to do whatever he does.
Dave took Andrei to the bathroom a couple of days ago. Apparently, in the orphanage they teach all the children to sit on the toilet when they go. Andrei was fascinated that Dave stood when he used the toilet. Now he wants to go to the bathroom every five minutes so he can try it.
We have been enjoying the company of the other American couples we have met here. There are two other couples from the Capital District, so I’m sure we will see them when we get back home. Its great talking to them since they have all been through the same problems as us (infertility, making the decision to adopt, the adoption process). Several of the other couples ended up adopting boys instead of girls. One couple adopted an infant instead of a toddler. One couple wanted a blonde haired, blue eyed boy and nothing else. They are going back home without a child. Kazakhstan is an ethnically mixed country (although not as much as the U.S.). There are Russian children in the orphanage (blond and blue eyed), Kazak children (brown hair, brown eyes) and mixed. We are not sure why (although one can speculate), but the children in the orphanage are separated accordingly. Andrei is in a Kazak room we were told.
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