Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Thank Heavens for Family and Friends!!

Another good night's sleep for Melanie ... she did wake up once, but just for a minute. A little pat on the tummy and readjusting of the covers and she was back in dreamland. I slept a little better too, although I was on the couch (but frankly the couch is more comfortable than our bed, which c-r-e-a-k-s! every time you roll over. It's in serious need of some WD-40). She was up early, though, at about 6:00, and I laid her on my stomach where she dozed for another half hour or so. Then we decided it was time for Dad to get up too! She started going, "uhm uhm? uhm uhm?" as if to say, "Time to eat!!" so we all stumbled into the kitchen to get breakfast started. She chowed down on a banana and some cheerios while I scrambled some eggs and Dad made kasha. I think Melanie is in the "I have to shove everything in my mouth at once" mode, which is pretty typical of post institutionalized kids. When she sees that food will always be available, that will slack off.

At 10:00 we went by the Baby House to do a quick errand, and I was wondering how Melanie would react. She ran right into the room! David needed to take a picture of the radiators in the sleeping room, (don't ask me why?) and Melanie took off running into the room. She ran straight for her bed, followed by all of her groupmates. It was like a party ... they were all screaming with joy, as if to welcome her back to the fold! They ran and laughed and hid between the cribs. It was hilarious! Melanie didn't stop smiling the whole time ... she actually missed her buddies! It was a little bittersweet for me, to think that she may never see any of these little people again. Maybe the ones who will be adopted through WPA, but they probably won't remember each other. I wanted to freeze the moment in time ... but I guess I'm just terminally sappy and sentimental. We're going to go back again tomorrow to do some measuring in the courtyard; maybe she can spend a little time with her groupa again.

Aida took us to the photo store to have pictures developed. We have had to take a family shot for every day that we visited with Melanie, to show the court that we did, in fact, visit her for the two-week bonding period. We also took pictures of Melanie with each of her caregivers to give them as a remembrance. All these pics. we have digitally stored, so David had burned them onto a CD to take to the photo place.

We also did a little shopping for a Kazakh national costume for Melanie. Lisa has one that (I think) still fits, so that will make a cute picture when we get home. We also stopped at a little stand for some "samsa" which is like a flaky croissant-type pastry filled with meat or cheese. They were delicious!! It is very cold today, (probably in the 30's?) and the samsa were just out of the oven. Perfect to warm us up.

Meanwhile, Melanie, whom Aida bundled up within an inch of her life, in a turtleneck, sweatshirt & pants, tights, socks, fleece jacket AND a fur/leather coat, fell asleep in the car. And I mean out like a light. I carried her into the apartment and laid her in her crib just like she was, coats and all, and she proceeded to sleep for 2 hours! She missed lunch, of course, so was ravenous when she woke up.

Things are not good at home. Last Sunday David's dad fell at our house and fractured a vertebra. He has been in the hospital ever since, and my poor mother-in-law has been running ragged keeping up with all the kids and driving downtown to the hospital to be with D.R. This is the nightmare scenario that we all dreaded would happen while we were in Kazakhstan. Thank goodness, David's brother, "Uncle Bill" was able to clear his schedule and fly down from Maryland to help out for a while. The kids are crazy about him, so I'm sure it was a special treat. We feel terrible that this happened while we were on the other side of the planet, and are pretty much trapped here until after our court date. Today David got on the phone with Lufthansa and changed his ticket home; he'll fly out early this coming Monday morning (4 am flight) and be home Monday afternoon. I'm sure everyone will be relieved. My mom flies in to Almaty this Friday, so she and I will be able to hold down the fort and take care of getting Melanie's physical exam, and taking her to the American Embassy. Of course, as a woman, I am hard-wired to feel guilty about everything and I am really taking it on the chin with this one. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Anne for being there for us, and to Bill ... and to all our friends and neighbors who all chipped in to help. Especially the Orrs, who have been taking Christian to cub scouts, and to the Creels who have driven him to baseball practices and games. I'm sure there are many others that I don't know about, but I will be able to thank you all in person very soon!!

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