Saturday, January 22, 2011

Meeting our son

Okay, here are the promised details about our day at the baby home. We woke up much to early. We have not been sleeping well and this morning found us wide awake around 4:30am. JJ played the new Karate Kid movie on the laptop to pass some time. We left for the baby home around 8:30am. Our agency contact rode in the taxi behind ours with our friends the Beshears, so when our taxi driver pulled up I wasn't sure if we were at the right place. Most buildings in Kotlas looked the same to me. They all were around four stories tall with no signs to designate what might be inside. This building was no different, but it was the right place. Dimiti, our agency contact, led us inside, up some stairs and through several halls to an "office" of sorts. I was trying to soak everything in, but Dimitri walks so fast and I didn't want to get lost. I did notice several colorful decorations and door labeled in Russian with various child friendly designs. The "office" was fairly large with three desks near the walls, a table with a tea set, and a large bookcase covering the back wall full of toys. We were greeted by the doctor who let us know that our boys had different schedules. We would get to see our little guy first, but he had to leave at 9:30am for his first nap. The Beshears would see their little boy shortly after and he would stay until 12:30pm. We would both have a second visit in the afternoon. Soon they brought our son into the room. I cannot adequately describe that moment. The first thing that hit me was how small he was. We knew his height and weight from his medical records, but it was another thing entirely to see him in person. He came readily to us. In fact, if we would hold out our arms and gesture for him to come he would almost run to be held. It was wonderful and nerve wracking at the same time. He did not seem to care at all that we were strangers. He did not cry once during the time we played together. He was very tired that first forty-five minutes and only wanted to be held. He did not want to interact with the toys. He had a runny nose and a cough, but my nose has been running for over a week, so we took turns wiping our noses. They came at 9:30am to take him for a nap and we went to meet with the doctor and social worker. Well, I guess she was a social worker. She actually never introduced herself, but she gave us all the available family history. The doctor was very personable and open. She didn't bring up anything we didn't already know. He is much smaller than he should be and the most concerning is his head circumference. We know he had some challenges in the womb and his first few months of life working against him. Yet, he continues to make developmental progress and he is not far behind from where he should be. We were allowed to ask as many questions as we wanted and encouraged to send more questions if we thought of something later. After the meeting it was still not time for him to visit us again, so Anya, the translator, showed us a few more parts of the building and helped us find the secretary's office to send an email to our families. We did not have Internet access in Kotlas and I wanted to make sure someone knew we were alright. They brought our little boy back around 12:30pm and he got to stay until 3:00pm this time. He was much more alert after a nap and meal. We got down to the business of playing. He liked to hide things and then find them again. He loved anything with wheels. We got him to walk all over the room. We even heard him making sounds. He seems to love repeating what you do, which was very encouraging. My Russian is so limited, so when I would hide a toy I would raise my shoulders and spread out my arms to say, "Where is it?". He would mimic me in the cutest way. We showed him the picture book of his family, but he was much more interested in turning the pages than in looking at the pictures. At 3:00pm we were allowed to take him back to the room with his group. Everyone was busy playing when we arrived. Once again words are not adequate. Those little faces are burned in my mind. We were shown his crib and then his caretakers tried to get him to wave, "Paka". He was already playing and was not interested in stopping the task at hand. Of course we got one last hug before leaving. I was concerned again that he did not react to his caregivers or the other children really. Something to be praying about. We had been at the baby home this whole time and had not eaten since much earlier in the day, so we were very tired and ready to head back to the hotel. It had been an exhausting day emotionally and physically. Just before we left I went the restroom by myself and I contemplated what would happen if I ran back downstairs to his room and just took him with me. I think we are now in the hardest part of our journey, but we have so much support and I feel tremendously blessed. Soon we will be back home and I can get started on our paperwork. For now I am enjoying soaking up as much Russian culture as possible. I know this was super long, but I had so much on my heart, more than I can even share in words. It was such a marvelous day.


  1. Sounds like you guys are having some great visits!!!! Enjoy every minute with him!

  2. wow! Great description of your meeting! Really brings back some memories! Yes, those months between visits, and actually leaving Russia without our son was one of the hardest things I ever did. I'll be praying for you guys!