Archive for March, 2007

The luckiest Mama

…happens to be me. My cup of gratitude runneth over. Court was yesterday and the judged granted our petition to become Isabel’s parents and family. I feel happy and stunned, though I don’t know why. Hearing on the phone that I am legally her mom made me want to go over there and scoop her up and do a little dance. I’ll be traveling mid-May. I can’t wait to bring her home. I would write more, but my brain isn’t working right now.

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March 30, 2007 at 12:23 pm 8 comments

Waiting for dates

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I am hearing very soon if court went well and if so, then what our travel dates are for trip #2. I think about Isabel so much. I know she is fine and being cared for very well. I just ache in my heart for her. I fell for her little personality that is showing through loud and clear. She copies the sounds we make for her. Her eyes do this cute little thing when she smiles. She grabs onto my fingers tightly. She loves to be held and we love to hold her. I miss her.

March 29, 2007 at 11:56 am 3 comments

Photo Friday

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Does she, or does she not take your breath away?

March 23, 2007 at 12:31 pm 7 comments

It’s just the beginning

Well. So we’re home. I am experiencing a huge emotional slump and I’m trying to bolster myself against it, but right now it’s kicking my butt. I should back up.

We said our good-byes on Saturday to Isabel and everyone at the orphanage. I was strong until the last minute before handing her back to her ‘Kyrgyz Grandma’ as she calls herself. We just kept kissing her little cheeks and smelling her and trying to take in all her details before leaving. Two weeks felt so long and yet it wasn’t enough. It was hard to go. We all got back in the jeep we drive to and fro in and were all a pretty silent bunch. Early next morning, we piled back into the jeep and began our 30 hour journey back home. Three flights and two good-sized layovers made for one long haul. Zannie of course was her usual incredibly patient trooper and took all the difficulties in stride. She slept, she played with her dolls, she ate a little bit, and slept some more. She really didn’t complain. Did I mention she’s five?

We got home at around 3 in the morning and we tried to sleep but we couldn’t. So, we stayed up and looked at copious amounts of felt craft we’d purchased while in Bishkek. I’ll have to take a picture of it all, I just fell in love with it so much.

Now, it’s been a couple of days home and I’ve noticed, I mean other people have told me that I’m quite edgy. Edgy might be a nice way of putting it. Today I yelled at husband for something that I did. Yeah. That’s not good. All day I felt shattered and I couldn’t figure out why. I kept trying to figure out why I feel so low. Then, I thought about Isabel. “What’s she doing? Does she wonder where we’ve gone? Does she wonder if we’re ever coming back? Does she want us to come back?” And on and on. Then, I felt whatever I’ve been trying to keep together just rip open and I realized what I was really upset about as I fell into my chair. Lots of tears spilled out and then I felt better. I’m not great, but I’m better. Maybe I’ll feel even better when I know my travel dates for the second trip.

People, I need ideas for my own personal distraction. I’ve got to keep busy. Cleaning just isn’t doing it for me. Please…keep your suggestions clean. Maybe it’s time to break out the old knitting needles.
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Just before leaving…
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Zannie at JFK waiting for the last flight home

March 22, 2007 at 4:07 pm 8 comments

It’s not easy living in an orphanage

As happy as some of my feelings have been while being here, I have to  tell you that some of the things I’ve been experiencing while visiting Isabel have been hard to fully absorb, let alone write about.  Kyrgyzstan is a third world country and has not really come into its own since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  It does not have the benefit of natural resources like other former Soviet states.  Thus, there is a lack of some basic infrastructure.  It is hard to reach out of poverty here. 

The orphanage reflects all of this.  There is no shortage of caring there though.  The nurses and caregivers are very responsive and take their duties very seriously.  The children get massage and have a cheerful play area.  But still, it is an orphanage.  A child living there has no worldly posessions of her own.  She has no privacy.  Even the clothes aren’t really belonging to any one child.  There is a lot of structure, but not enough love to go around, and certainly not a family’s love.  There is a gross lack of fresh fruits and vegetables.  The children are fed according to schedule, not according to hunger.  They are told when to play and when to sleep.  If you are pushed down by a peer, there is no motherly love to brush you off and send you off with a kiss.  The babies really don’t cry in the nurseries because they have figured out over time that their cries will not be answered immediately, but rather when the nannies are able to come.  And this is life for the healthy ones.

If you are in an orphanage and you have a disability or have special needs…life is almost unimaginable.  These past 11 days I have seen babies and children with different levels of disease and permenant learning disabilities.  It is sobering and painful to witness.  Some of what I’ve seen is even too hard for me to write about yet.  I’m still working through all of the images in my mind.  I just keep thinking how every single one of these kids just need a home.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or tidy or perfect.  It could be in Kyrgyzstan or the United States or anywhere.  They just need to have a home that is theirs.  They need a bed that they can call their own.  They need to know that they don’t have to fill their bellies to brimming when food is given to them because there will always be food for them.  They need to know that the world hasn’t given up on them, even if they feel that way.  Being an orphan, living in an orphanage, despite the good that these people do for these kids there, is not the way to grow up.  And while that seems like a ‘no brainer’ I just had to get this all out tonight.  My heart is so full and yet so broken.  I have never felt so many conflicting emotions in all my life.  I am so mentally exhausted and ready to come home.  Yet, getting on the plane without Isabel in my arms is something I am dreading.  It will be about five weeks before we’ll see her again.  She is so tiny.  When we come to see her, she is awake and the nurses say that she wakes up just a few minutes before we get there because we arrive at the same time every day.  The other babies sleep most of the time.  There isn’t anything else for them to do.  She smiles when I first hold her and look at her.  She looks at me the whole time I feed her.  We’ve got something going on, Isabel and I.  I don’t want it to stop for a second. 

So, as much as it is hard for me, it is much harder being a kid there.  And that is what I will remind myself when I am boarding the plane for home.  I will be brave, because they are ten times braver than I will ever be.

March 16, 2007 at 6:28 am 13 comments

Slowly but surely

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We are getting more and more officially closer to being Isabel’s family.  Yesterday and today we got to go see her in the orphanage and today we started the legal proceedings.  It feels very exciting.  We are nearly done with our visit and while we are enjoying it here very much, it is feeling like it is time to come home. 

To celebrate, our coordinators took us (three families over here to do our adoptions)to an authentic Kyrgyz dinner.  It was so delicious.  We had naan, tomato and cucumber salad, Chuch Vara soup, Lagman noodles, various lamb dishes, crepes and Soviet beer. Now we are back at the hotel feeling very satisfied and tired.  It was a very good day.  I am not superstitious so I will say openly that our adoption experience has been incredibly smooth and rather fast.  I am thankful for our agency who is so thorough and most of all, ethical. 

Anyway, you’re only coming here for the pictures, so here you go.  

March 13, 2007 at 2:51 am 5 comments

I Heart Bishkek

isabel12.jpgIt is Sunday afternoon and we have had the day ‘off’ from going to the orphanage.  I would have much rather gone and seen Isabel, but the coordinator and translators get to have a day off too.  I spend a lot of time wondering what Isabel is doing and if she is being held or if she’s sleeping and if she likes the special formula we brought her.  I am wondering how I am going to cope with getting on a plane without her in my arms. 

Yesterday when we arrived at the Tokmok orphanage, we had a brief meeting with the director of the orphanage again to discuss any questions we might have about the latest medical reports.  I had some follow-up questions from the adoption doctors in Seattle and then we were done.  I walked with Zannie over to Isabel’s little room that she shares with two other babies and when we get there, she is receiving her daily massage!  They use Swiss apple-seed oil on her and they knead her muscles and pull on her legs and arms.  They take her arms and wrap them around her like she’s hugging herself tightly.  That made her laugh and smile.  Then, she is briskly turned over and karate-chopped all over her back.  She starts to coo and the hand-chopping makes it reverberate and it is very funny.  We got it on videotape and they asked us to commit to doing it for her when we bring her home.  We nodded and said, of course!  Our interpreter was talking to the nurse in Russian and told me that she said that the nurses all saw how much we already loved her and that they were glad that she was getting a home very soon.  Also, she said that Isabel was everyone’s favorite and that they loved holding her and feeding her.  YAY!!!! 

We brought fresh bananas and apples to the toddlers and we played with Sergey and Rita (being adopted by the folks over at silk road blog…on my blogroll…) and Sergey ate two bananas in a row.  They are DARLING children and we told them that their new mama and papa were so lucky to be getting such wonderful, nice children.  They beamed. 

We’ve been exploring when we have time and energy.  I am loving the local felt crafts and plan to fill a suitcase full of it probably on the next trip to Bishkek.  If you are wealthy, there is a place here where you can have a felt rug made to your specifications with whatever colors and sizes you prefer.  There are affordable felt rugs and other little things like baby booties, ornaments in the shapes of horses, yurts, donkeys, hats, etc.  I love them all.  I really want one of the wooden hand-held thingamajig that you use to prick the naan bread before baking it.  I love buying baking things from other countries. 

Alright.  I think it’s time for me to sit awhile and gather my thoughts, feelings and energy.  We may go out tonight for a quick dinner.  Tomorrow we go back to Tokmok.  Thank Goodness.  

March 11, 2007 at 12:31 am 3 comments

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