Sunday, October 17, 2004

SSSHHH ... Melanie's sleeping!

Big day today ... Melanie is now at the apartment with us. We got a crib brought here today, and borrowed a blanket from the baby house. She ate a good supper: takeaway from the Hessen Pub. She ate a pile of mashed potatoes and a hamburger steak, with some bread and banana. We gave her a bath ... which she does NOT like (we had been told that the kids didn't like to take baths, but three years ago Lisa jumped in and didn't want to get out!) This was the first time I think I really heard her cry. I did it as quickly as possible, then we did the baby lotion massage, and the tears stopped. She has been puttering around the apartment all evening, playing with her water jugs and plastic forks & spoons that I brought. She is happy and cheerful, but I'm wary about how bedtime will go. A friend of mine recommended some "Sleepy Time" herbal tea that helped her kids sleep, so I have some steeping in the kitchen. It smells wonderful ... like chamomile and herbs; maybe we'll start a bedtime tradition!

This morning was our usual visit. As the weather was not too cold , we walked around outside with Corey and Christie, then came home for lunch and a nap. About 3:00 Aida came to go over the main points we need to put into our speeches for court. That will be our task for the week. We went to the neighbor's house for the crib (it is Aida's but had been on loan to a lady in the same building).

It was strange leaving the baby house. The caregiver on duty, Marzhan, said (through Aida of course) that it is good for the children to be adopted, to have a family. It has been a rewarding and fascinating journey for us, to get to know all the children in Melanie's groupa and their various personalities. Most of them are not available for adoption; we have seen mothers and dads and brothers come to visit on the weekends. While it's nice to see that, Aida says that it's really not a good thing that the parents keep promising that they will come someday to take them out of the baby house, but that they rarely do. At least if they are "refused" by the parents, they have a chance to be adopted. As long as a parent visits, they can't be adopted. One morning a few days ago, we saw an older lady (grandmother perhaps?) with a large quilted bundle arrive on the steps of the baby house. She was going to "refuse" the baby, or deliver it to the baby house. The lady was all dressed up with a sparkly scarf on her head, and the "bundle" was bright red and covered with animals. It was an incredibly sad thing to witness.

David and I had our favorites in Melanie's group .. one little girl Jasmine, is quiet and somber, but hardly ever makes a peep. She is a tiny thing; but she runs to David everytime we come into the room to visit Melanie, and he used to hold and cuddle her. Her mother is only 16 or 17 and still in school, but she and the grandmother came to visit every weekend. One little boy, Sukhail, was "Uzbek boy" (as the caregiver said) and was new to the group. He was the one who cried so much when he first came to the group. He usually just laid on the floor sucking his fingers; I so worried about him and always tried to speak to and play with him. Aigerim was another beautiful little Kazakh girl who is going to be adopted by a local family. Same goes for a cutie named Alisher with curly brown hair. Miras was another Kazakh boy whose mother visited every weekend; and Aibek, who looked like a tiny little sumo wrestler. He never made much noise, just sat happily and watched the other kids. His mother and older brother visited him. Madi was a cutie who was always smiling. Damir, of course, I've already mentioned, really attached to David, as did Nursultan who is ALL BOY, pushing the furniture around. I think he was the oldest in the group. Oxana  left for Spain the other day, and then there's Aida. She is another cleft-affected little girl who had her lip revision surgery done at the same time as Melanie. Her cleft looks a little more serious than Melanie's. Poor Aida is the attention craver; she always latched herself on to my legs and wouldn't let go. She always had a huge smile on her face, but was pretty "high maintenance". David called her the "drama queen", as she was always "throwing" herself on the floor and crying when something happened that she didn't like...only to stop about 5 seconds later! David wants to pack several of them in his suitcase and bring them home...but alas, it is not to be. We love each and every one of these kids, and only hope that their futures are as bright as they can be, as we will definitely be leaving a piece of our hearts here in TaldyKorgan when we leave.

Post Script ... Melanie had a little trouble going to sleep, but finally eased off only 45 minutes past her scheduled bedtime. Now we'll see how the night goes!

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